Chinese

Chinese: (adj) relating to China or its language, culture, or people.

My daughter-in-law is from China.

She is the wife of my godson. They have two beautiful children. I don’t see them much because they live in China.

My first encounters with this dear lady were enlightening. We struck up an immediate friendship, and I was deeply impressed by her work
ethic, her respect and her honoring of those who have more age then herself.

But she is Chinese. She was raised under an absolute totalitarian form of government, which discourages people from being inventive. Now, the Chinese diplomats would probably take issue with that, but the danger of trying to make everyone the same is that they take you up on it. And once sameness has been achieved, the desire to excel, be different or discover an original path seems pointless.

In our capitalistic system, discouragement comes from a different arena. We are constantly pumped full of the helium of hope–that anyone can be wealthy and successful, while simultaneously closing doors of finance and opportunity on ideas coming from ingenious folks who weren’t born with any spoon in their mouth.

I suppose the controversy rages over which system hampers the human spirit the most. Is it more vindictive to quell creativity, or much more punishing to be creative and unable to find the means to your end?

I suppose my daughter-in-law and I could talk about this for hours. But the real issue is free will. Although many religionists and politicians would persist in trying to steal it from the human condition, God is intensely committed to free will.

So where the Spirit of God exists, there is liberty.

I have the choice to be lazy, productive, genuine, fake, kind or mean. Then I also have the responsibility to rise and fall on my choice.

It would be amazing if the Chinese people, with their great traditions and immense passion for excellence, could be unleashed with creativity and complete freedom, to choose their own path. Would they maintain the quality of their passion, or become complainers like many capitalists?

I don’t know.

True spirituality is feeling responsible without being confined, and being creative without insisting you’re entitled.

 

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Cherry-Pick

Cherry-pick: (v) to selectively choose (the most beneficial items) from what is available.

Living in an era when social slop is often offered as emotional cuisine, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain the bad from the good and call it ugly.

Matter of fact, upon reading the word “cherry-pick” this morning, a negative feeling came over me–images of prissy people sitting around
choosing their favorites based upon preference in design and structure.

People often say that I cherry-pick my political views, missions and certainly my spirituality. So to those critics, let me say with full-throated confidence:

You are right.

I have no idea if what I believe about government would actually work, but in my mind it is certainly preferable to the “dance of the dunce” that we presently parade in Washington, D.C.

I don’t know if I am any kind of expert on television, movies and entertainment–I just know that I don’t like anything that doesn’t both entertain and inspire me.

And I certainly cannot contend that the Gospel I believe in is completely in line with the one that was in the mind of the Nazarene who strolled the Earth in loincloth so many centuries ago. But after many years of living, I believe it is still the good news that actually functions in the hearts of all cultures.

It is time we begin to cherry-pick:

Start liking movies for their content instead of who stars in them or who directs them.

Begin to believe in ideas, not because 25,000 people gather to cheer them on, but because they are full of mercy and grace.

Listen to music that stuns our consciousness with an immersion of human awareness instead of merely demonstrating the height and breadth of technology.

I am a cherry-picker–and because of that, I have found my life to be fruitful.

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Changeover

Changeover: (n) a change from one system or situation to another.

Once again, the system we have precariously referred to as democracy has created a changeover from one leader to another.

It happens every four to eight years, but each time it does, there are those among us who foretell of great evil and damnation because a
certain individual is occupying The Chair.

I have all sorts of chairs in my house. They’ve been occupied by a great variety of humans–and also creatures. But the truth of the matter is, the chair still maintains its quality and dignity.

We have selected a form of government that revels in the ridiculous notion of changeover. Businesses do not do this–they search and search until they find a good CEO and they keep that individual in the position until he or she dies or retires.

But not America.

We feel that a “musical chairs” approach to governing will grant us freedom from fascism. It might be true if those who were knocking over other people to get into the chair did not have a bit of fascism in themselves.

So when Eisenhower became President everyone was sure that as a general, he would try to take over the government with the military.

John Kennedy was going to let the Pope rule the country.

Lyndon Johnson would turn the United States over to the control of angry Negroes.

Richard Nixon was determined to bomb Southeast Asia into oblivion.

Jimmy Carter was so peaceful that he would lead us into war.

Ronald Reagan might tax America into poverty with his “trickle-down economics.”

George Bush, Sr., could cripple us with wars in the Middle East.

Bill Clinton was going to legalize every vice in America and have our children offered marijuana cookies in the cafeteria.

George Bush, Jr., would try to finish his Daddy’s war until he bankrupted the country.

Barack Obama–turn the nation over to African-Americans, while white people would be killed in the streets by the anti-Christ.

And now, folks claim that Donald Trump is going to lead us to the brink of destruction and thermonuclear war.

It’s just a changeover, folks.

As always, it is ugly, perhaps foolish and filled with mishaps.

But because we have taught ourselves in this republic to be more critical than helpful, it is virtually impossible for any one human being to devastate the glory of our freedom and the power of our principles.

 

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Bubble

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Bubble: (n) used to refer to a fortunate situation that is isolated from reality or unlikely to last.

When my parents told me there was no Santa Claus, the revelation that the rumor had been greatly exaggerated did not totally deflate my young, eleven-year-old soul.

It’s not because I thought it was alright for them to mislead me, and it wasn’t because I found the Nordic purveyor of toys to be Dictionary Bpersonally distasteful.

It’s that nothing really changed.

I was getting toys–and I continued to get toys. The fact that they weren’t coming from the North Pole was somewhat insignificant.

Even if I wanted to be huffy about the “fake news” concerning Mr. Claus, it was difficult for me to make a major case, considering the fact that I still had the presents.

But when I was told that the government of the United States was “for the people, by the people and of the people,” and as an adult I discovered there is much misrepresentation to that assertion–well, it’s a different “checks and balances.”

It will also be much more disappointing if I find out that God was a Holy-Land-Hoax.

In both cases, I can’t live in a bubble or isolate myself and pretend I don’t know.

Because with no government or God, the toys quickly disappear.

The absence of a good government opens the door to all sorts of graft, corruption and scandal.

Likewise, to be minus a deity is a guarantee that my eternal home will be grave circumstances, with my dreams turning to dust.

This is serious stuff, folks.

I can live without Santa Claus.

I cannot prosper if our government is dishonest or if the two-party system is a one-lane road to dissension.

And I certainly don’t want to spend my Earthly life revering a supernatural being who ends up merely the figment of the imagination of Bedouin nomads.

Help.

What can I do to make sure that my leaders–Republican and Democrat–honor the premise of liberty?

And who should I have been if God ends up taking the Santa Claus nose dive?

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Bazooka

Bazooka: (n) a short-range tubular rocket launcher used against tanks.Dictionary B

I wrote a contemplative movie entitled “The Drive.”

Some people would consider it anti-war but since I don’t really think there are “pro-war” options, let’s leave it with my original representation.

I will not get into the total storyline except to tell you there is an anguished father who decides to wreak revenge on the U.S. Government by trying to assassinate the President of the United States in St. Louis.

He chooses a bazooka as his weapon.

I would assume this is because he knows he’s not a very good shot and wanted a twelve-foot margin of error.

So when it came time to film the project, we were in the market to locate a bazooka. The first few people we asked thought we were referring to the comics from the 1960’s. Rather than contradict their perception, we just quietly hung up the phone.

We finally found a collector of WWII memorabilia who had a bazooka, even with its own case. Fortunately, he did not have the shells for it, so we had to figure out how to stuff firecrackers in the muzzle to make it appear that the long tube was threatening.

As I look back, I realize that finding a bazooka and simulating firing it in public was certainly a dispensation of the time. I can’t imagine how many government watch lists we would be placed on nowadays for even inquiring about such an object.

But we not only fired it, we had a street full of extras who ran away in horror and terror at the onslaught.

It was really quite pungent and effective for a low-budget film, but I must tell you–when the actor pulled that bazooka out of the case, which was in the trunk of his car, a chill went down my spine–one which is duplicated as I write this piece.

May we look forward to the day when “bazooka” will only be remembered as a wise-cracking bubblegum comic.

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Attention

Attention: (n) notice taken of someone or something dictionary with letter A

After a handful of decades of public speaking, I will tell you that human beings are not interested unless they’re interested.

That may sound silly, but if you stop to think about it, all of us are inundated with information which has little use to us in the moment. But we are challenged to believe that someday, at some place, it will become valuable.

So unfortunately, this puts us all in a conformity of boredom, feeling mature by enduring speeches instead of enjoying the now.

Here’s what I think about attention. It goes really well with two ideas:

  • Attention to detail
  • Attention span

I think these go together as a pair.

If I go into a lot of detail and lose the attention span of my audience, then no matter how righteous I feel in sharing my data, it is absolutely worthless because no one’s listening.

On the other hand, if I take some time and find out what really does interest people and put it in the context of what will actually help them, then I can use my attention to detail effectively.

People may have a limited interest in government, but they really want it to work and not interfere.

Folks may want to go to heaven, but nobody’s in a big hurry to get there.

And people are only interested in following instructions when it means they can put together something that will be fun.

I think we’re in danger of hating humanity because they’re so human instead of studying humanity and loving them for being human.

My attention is held by what seems to be pleasurable. If I can make love, generosity, tenderness and creativity a pleasant experience, then I have brought a great gift to my generation.

 

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Atmosphere

Atmosphere: (n) the pervading tone or mood of a place, situation, or work of art.dictionary with letter A

As our earth cannot exist and sustain life without oxygen and water, so the following ideas, organizations and gatherings require a certain atmosphere in order to generate life:

  • Movies–inspired entertainment
  • Government–cooperation and service
  • School–a focused relaxation
  • Church–a joyful noise
  • Business–eager integrity
  • Parenting–detached awareness
  • Sexuality–mutual respect
  • Racial relations–no one is better than anyone else
  • Conversation–breathing and speaking
  • Exercise–to one’s ability
  • Creativity–simple and daily
  • Eating–tasty fuel
  • Friendship–encouraging confrontation
  • Laughter–frequently and often at oneself
  • Confidence–inside more than outside
  • Music–heart journeying to soul
  • Sports–fair-minded competition
  • Religion–humbly helpful

These are the necessary atmospheres.

When you don’t provide the atmosphere for the challenge … you suck the air out of the room.

 

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