Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee: (n) a great ape

“Keeping an open mind so I can claim to have one…”

Yes, that’s me.

I don’t think I’m alone. It seems, in our generation, that being decried for having a closed mind is the worst insult we could sling at someone.
We all pretend that we are very willing to learn new things as we strategically place ourselves smack in the middle of repetition.

Being a person of faith, I got tired of those who are not bent in that persuasion, accusing me of being ignorant because of my insistence on valuing creation instead of adhering to evolution. Actually, I agree with evolution–up to a point.

And that point is the chimpanzee.

The chimpanzee is supposed to be our closest cousin, or some sort of relative. So one day I decided to go to the zoo, observe the chimpanzee, and discover what similarities I had with this non-kissing-cousin. I stayed for a full hour–matter of fact, I stayed so long that I think the little monkey became paranoid.

The chimpanzee seemed to have a great preoccupation with its own penis. It frequently reached down to pull on it, as if releasing it from some sort of prison.

The creature also favored scratching its ass, made unintelligible sounds, and hopped around from place to place with no real destination.

It became aggravated when someone took its food or threatened to occupy its space.

It seemed to glare a lot. (It could have been gas.)

It wasn’t particularly friendly. Of course, that could have been due to the fact that it was in a zoo instead of out on the Serengeti.

It didn’t like its fellow-monkeys, and appeared to be a little chippy, looking for a reason to argue.

It was obviously selfish.

It stopped from time to time–appearing to preen. (At least that’s the way I would describe the self-stroking.)

It was very preoccupied, and most of the time, seemed bored.

I realized I was wrong.

It is very human.

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Chancy

Chancy: (adj) subject to unpredictable changes and circumstances

My confidence is kept in a bucket. You may not know it, but yours, too.

  • It’s not in a salt shaker, where it can be sprinkled.

It’s not in a cup, where it can be gradually poured.

Generally speaking, I have to take all of my confidence and dump it into the next thing I’m pursuing. Confidence cannot be used sparingly.

So we often find ourselves looking in the face of a “chancy opportunity”–wondering if it’s worth our confidence.

I feel that way about so many things I wouldn’t even know where to start.

I think the American way of government is a chancy proposal, that still demands my full bucket of confidence.

I think the marital institution is a very chancy proposal–fifty-fifty, if you will–which still requires I bring a full bucket of confidence.

I think the whole belief system which contends there is a single God who created the universe and is waiting to meet us in heaven, is rather chancy.

But I certainly cannot enter into it halfheartedly or with extreme doubt.

It’s a chancy thing.

Every day of our lives we dump confidence into our jobs, our families, our doctors, our lawyers–hoping that our great investment will bear dividends.

There is no man or woman alive who does not live by faith.

Just some of us decide to call it God.

 

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Chafe

Chafe: (v) to make a part of the body sore by rubbing against it.

In the pursuit of complete transparency, wisdom dictates that some subjects still remain opaque. In other words, keep it to yourself.

I can think of a few:

I don’t want to hear about your bowel movements.

Maybe every once in a while late at night with a really close friend, the subject might offer some entertainment value, but overall, keep your
fiber intake private.

Here’s another one: your sexual prowess.

Please don’t even allude to it. Don’t get in mixed company and talk about how you were voted the best kisser in your senior class as you peer around the room to see if all the hearers have truly heard. I admit, it is rare to find any human being who will be truly honest about their weakness in the bedroom, but please, don’t tell me a bunch of stories or offer affidavits from satisfied customers.

Here’s another one: make your faith in God a visual thing that I can perceive by watching your actions, instead of something you need to recite in detail to make sure you have truly and completely fulfilled your obligation to testify.

Religion should not be personal, but rather, very public–because we live it out. But if living it out is not enough for you to make your point, then passing out pamphlets probably won’t improve your chances.

There are many others I could mention, but let me close by saying that you should probably not discuss how or how often you chafe.

I am an obese man, so my thighs have been known to have unnecessary intercourse with one another during the day, leaving them red and raw. But you don’t need to hear me discuss it or request possible remedies.

Weakness is a good thing if nearly everyone in the room shares it in common and can immediately identify with it.

But if your skinny friends have never chafed, they will probably have neither interest nor sympathy for your red, glowing, puffy legs.

 

 

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Centurion

Centurion: (n) the commander of a hundred men in the ancient Roman army.

I’m not sure what causes a person to be open-minded.

Certainly rejecting fear would help.

Relieving yourself of the conviction that you and all your co-horts possess the only answers would also be beneficial.

But in the Good Book, there is the story of a centurion. He has a servant. Now, we know the centurion is in charge of a hundred men, which
means he’s been given some rank and confirmation of the authenticity of his ability. So why would such a fellow be concerned about a servant? How would that relationship have sprouted?

We know that the gentleman was not only a commander, but was also open to the idea that opportunities can come from unlikely places. So rather than having a servant who hates you, why not have one who loves you?

But when that servant becomes sick and you realize that all those possessing medical knowledge who surround you are inept in advancing a cure, then it becomes necessary to use your open mind to consider a more unorthodox option.

How about an itinerant preacher from Nazareth, who is disrupting his religious community, but supposedly has healing in his hands?

The centurion did not allow his sense of Roman superiority to overwhelm him, leaving him without a remedy. He sent a messenger to ask Jesus to heal his servant. When Jesus started to head his way, the centurion was sensitive enough to realize that if this Nazarene came into his home, the young man would be considered unclean because he was at the hearth of a heathen.

So the centurion told Jesus just to say the word, and the servant would be made well. After all, as a centurion, he did that all the time with his soldiers. “You go do this. You go do that.”

Jesus was impressed. He said, “Never have I seen so great a faith.”

So maybe the definition of faith is when we realize we don’t have anything to lose, so being open-minded about other choices just might be life-saving.

 

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Centerpiece

Centerpiece: (n) a display placed in the middle

The centerpiece of education: experience that promotes retention.

The centerpiece of human romance: a woman who really wants to have sex.

The centerpiece of faith: adventure.

The centerpiece of love: faithfulness.

The centerpiece of hope: introspection.

The centerpiece of America: a toss-up between “all men are created equal” and “liberty and justice for all.”

The centerpiece of music: a memorable melody.

The centerpiece of business: repetitive quality.

The centerpiece of humanity: good cheer.

The centerpiece of the Universe: controlled chaos.

The centerpiece of God: free will.

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Cahoots

Cahoots: (n) colluding or conspiring together secretly.

By cracky, it’s just not groovy to use the word “cahoots” even if it does sound boss.

What a bummer.

Once again, it’s kind of unfortunate–because private unions and secretive agreements have become the favored way of doing business in
America, which leaves the common man–and woman, for that matter–wondering if they can trust anyone, yet feeling mighty nasty for being suspicious of everyone.

I think it’s important to establish your allegiances in life.

I don’t know if I pledge allegiance to the flag or not, but I certainly honor those who have given their lives and continue to sacrifice for the cause it represents.

I have an allegiance to my brothers and sisters who are presently on Earth. It is not more than I feel for my family, but it is not less.

I have a tremendous allegiance to the faith that has proven to be effective in my everyday life.

I don’t want you to wonder who I’m “in cahoots” with.

I don’t want you to read my material and try to guess whether I’m a conservative, a liberal or whether I post on Fox News or Huffington.

I want to be clear.

I don’t want any silent arrangements on anything in my life. If I know it, I want you to know it.

Unless for some reason it’s none of your damn business.

 

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Cage

Cage: (n) a structure of bars or wires in which animals are confined

Even though Maya Angelou seems to know “Why the Caged Bird Sings,” I, myself, do not.

I believe in the power to overcome negative circumstances, but such an endeavor always takes a toll.

A loss of simplicity.

A leaking of faith.

Some intangible that departs the soul because we struggled too much to maintain normalcy.

There are three cages.

Undoubtedly, one is the cage we build inside ourselves to limit our passion while justifying such a move by having lengthy explanations to quantify our fears. We’re never able to adequately interact with others or fathom why they would be interested in any person like us–locked up.

There’s also the cage right beyond our space–a barrier we’ve created that says since we’re a father, mother, religious, addicted, black, white, brown, gay, straight, male or female, we are not going to be able to cross the bars of that enclosure and enter into a larger hemisphere of fellowship. We try but we pull back in horror, fearing that the barricade is electrified to discourage our noble effort.

Then there’s the cage that is somewhere out there. We don’t know where it is. We can’t see it. It’s the boundary of our limitation. We don’t speculate on what it may be, but instead, explore all terrain until confronted by the wall. Perhaps we can avoid it. Yes, maybe we never have to reach the edge of our understanding and ability.

So in the meantime, we can pretend that we’re powerful.

 

 

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