Conviction

Conviction: (n) a fixed or firm belief

There is a new rule. If the word “rule” sounds too stodgy for you, then call it a guideline.

If “guideline” is still too restrictive, you may consider it an insight.

If “insight” gives you the creeps, then let’s just call it an idea.

Here it is:

You are allowed, permitted and granted an opinion, as long as you’re willing to be wrong.

The very second that you—or I, for that matter—start insisting that our opinion is really a conviction held by millions and even, maybe, heralded by the heavens, we probably need to be hauled off somewhere to live in a poverty-stricken situation until humility settles into our souls.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Discussion would be no problem if we actually discussed. We don’t. We enter discussions with convictions.

Disagreements would still be fine if we were conscious of the need to evolve. But we aren’t, because our convictions arrived to us engraved in stone.

It would even be possible to argue—as long as our convictions didn’t cause us to be arrogant, feeling that we’re pleasing a political party, a science project or a deity by being stubborn.

I used to have many convictions. I used to scrunch my face up when I heard people advance their theories or share their preferences.

Whenever I did this, my ass always found my hole and created an unrighteous unity.

Over the years I have abandoned, ignored, walked away from and giggled at many of my convictions, realizing that the majority of them were hatched in the henhouse of speculation. Let’s be honest—your speculation is as good as mine, and mine is pretty worthless.

So now I listen, I get an idea of what’s going on, and from that idea I develop an inkling which I take into the discussion, only to discover that much of my inkling needs to be trimmed away.

I am not impressed with convictions.

What truly touches my heart is seeing human beings who have the mercy and grace to be wrong while still smiling.


Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Advertisements

Continue

Continue: (v) to last or endure

He bowed his head and began his prayer.

“God, who by the way I consider to be my Father since You made me and everything. I’ve been doing some work on me lately instead of worrying about them. It seems like every time I get concerned about other people, I get bratty and start believing my efforts are sufficient and theirs are bullshit. It’s actually a lot of fun.”

(He paused his prayer, waiting for an answer. There was silence. So, he continued.)

“Well, anyway, I just wanted to stop off and talk about the fact that healthy eating is all right if you’ve got the time to think about it and can actually find the four or five foods you like which contain vitamins. Or maybe it’s minerals. I do feel better. What do You think about that?”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

(Once again, he sat still, waiting for a divine response. There was none. He pushed on.)

“I’ve been thinking about that ‘loving my neighbor as myself’ bit and I realize that one of the problems I have pulling that off is that lots of times I secretly am so pissed off at myself that I am pissed off at everybody else. Therefore, I kind of do treat everybody the way I treat myself. I know I’m not supposed to be conceited, but if I’m not confident in where I’m going and who I’m trying to be, I will never believe that anybody else is worth the time of day.”

(Once again, he sat motionless, listening very carefully for some murmur or mumble from His Majesty. It was quieter than a mouse since they do occasionally squeak. So, he concluded:)

“I won’t hold You any longer. Just understand how I depend on Your grace, subsist on Your mercy and I’m trying, in my simple way, to imitate Your class. Thank you for your time. I hope You heard what I had to say, and I would welcome any recommendation You might have for my life.”

(He finished praying, said his amen and then, in a very small, still voice, he heard, deep within his soul, “Continue.”)


Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Communicate

Communicate: (v) to share or exchange information, news, or ideas.

Sometimes a gentle breeze of wisdom will blow my way and leave behind a noble idea.

It happened to me recently.

I was at a store, considering buying a product, when I looked down at the instructions on how to put it together. Please understand, I was very impressed with the item–but very put off by the length of the instructions. Matter of fact, I walked away from that particular situation and found something simpler.

Is it better? I don’t care. It’s simpler.

Now the breeze that blew across my brain, depositing a universal precept, was this:

We do ourselves a disservice as human beings when we come with too many instructions.

When people need to be aware that they “can’t do this” or “shouldn’t do that” or “the following subjects are taboo” or “never bring up the state of Hawaii”… Well, after hearing all the instructions and you realize what would be involved in putting together a relationship with this person, the wise choice is usually to move on down the road to less complicated possibilities.

For verily, verily, I say unto you, the most difficult thing in life to do is communicate.

We shouldn’t put ourselves in the position of needing to do it often. The less we have to communicate, and the more that is worked out my mercy, grace, compassion and understanding, the better off we are.

So here’s a word to the wise:

Work with your design until you don’t have a helluva lot of instructions, and ideally, it’s better to show up already put together.

 

Donate Button

Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Colon

Colon: (n) large intestine or large bowel

Talk about “it’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it.”

How’d you like to be a colon?

“What’s your job, Mr. Colon?”

“My entire function is to take the shit to the hole.”

I’ve had two colonoscopies in my life. That’s where they go into your intestine with a camera to make sure that it’s ooey-gooey and doing its job. They want to confirm that you don’t have cancer or polyps, which are possible precursors of the disease.

The first time I had a colonoscopy I went into the hospital feeling really bad. A beautiful young woman from China was my doctor. She was so sweet–but I knew
she thought I had cancer. It’s not that I believed I was free of the affliction, but I saw no particularly good reason to etch my tombstone until I had more information.

So they prepared me for the whole process.

The day before the event they brought in a gallon of fluid and told me to drink all of it in as short amount of time as possible. The drink loosens the bowels and empties everything inside–or at least, everything that is willing to be dislodged.

I was faithful. I pooped until my poop looked like water. (And that is a little weird.)

Well, long story short, she went in with her camera and found out there was no cancer and gave me a clean bill of health.

What I remember most about that experience is the legitimate joy on her face when she came to tell me I was alright. It was so intimate, tender and childlike that I teared up and cried.

Was I crying over her gentleness, or was it releasing tension I didn’t know I had about the possible diagnosis?

I don’t know. But it was beautiful.

So every time I go to the bathroom–well, nearly every time–I think about my colon and how patient it is to do its job.

And I also think about someone who was a complete stranger to me–a doctor–who possessed such empathy that she took a moment of grace and the memory of it will last for my whole lifetime.

 

Donate Button

Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Codicil

Codicil: (n) an addition or supplement that explains, modifies, or revokes a will or part of one.

It was probably a Saturday morning, and the young fellow was perched in his tiny office in the back of the sanctuary, wondering what in the hell he was gonna talk about the following morning during his sermon at the church.

Although he wanted to be a minister, he forgot how terrifying it could be, to try to come up with a twenty-one minute homily once a week which would both appease and inspire. (Unfortunately, those two words–“appease” and “inspire”–often tend to contradict each other.)

So imagine his glee when he came up with the thought that God’s love–which he had taught about many times–was unconditional.

How good that was going to make everybody feel! The classic warm-and-fuzzy and oh-so-cuddly. He certainly had enough Bible verses to back up his contention.

So when he shared it the following morning it became so popular that it spread across the town, the Internet and eventually became a phrase that evoked tears and deep-rooted reflection from everyone who uttered it: unconditional love.

Unfortunately, the young minister who began this tumbling dice of good feeling failed to remind his congregation that there are codicils.

If love is the will of God, then we must sit down like good attorneys and read over the “will” a bit more carefully to understand how it is executed.

Just as grace demands that we be gracious and mercy is obtained by being merciful, God’s love is possessed by expressing affection and concern for those we deem to be “the least.”

If we fail to do this–in other words, be gracious–He resists our pride.

No mercy? Well–no mercy.

And if our love is not extended to those whom we psychologically view as untouchable, then God is completely willing to view us as equally uninteresting.

If I were to sum up the Bible in one word, it would be “if:”

  • If you want love, give love.
  • If you want mercy, share mercy.
  • If you want grace, be gracious.
  • And if you want understanding, try to understand something that you pretend is completely unacceptable.

 

Donate Button

Subscribe to Jonathan’s New Podcast

 

 

Clueless

Clueless: (adj) having no knowledge, understanding, or ability.

Three categories.

No knowledge: Hardly seems likely. In this information age, a decision to go without knowledge has to be a purposeful dodge to avoid it. It’s feasible, but even if we’re trying to escape, some of the volume still pierces our defenses. Therefore it’s difficult to use “no knowledge” as an excuse for avoiding responsibility.

No understanding: The ability to interpret the circumstances around us and come up with a suitable solution does require engaging our souls. If we’re just looking into a pool of self-interest or trying to ignore becoming connected with the people around us, we can certainly pretend we did not understand the severity of the situation.

Yet if you’re around someone who’s crazy and they threaten to do something drastic, it is unlikely that you can claim ignorance of the crime.

No ability: We might lack expertise. Expertise is achieved when we take the ability we have and teach it to be useful.

The concept of “natural talent” is humorous. The idea that our ability arrives intact and ready to go is mind-boggling.

Ability demands an obstacle course before it can be classified as capable of overcoming obstacles.

Clueless is a choice.

Attempting to remove oneself from knowledge, understanding and ability might temporarily give us the free pass of grace, but ultimately exposes us as charlatans who run away from the heat of the battle.

 

Donate Button

 

Chide

Chide: (v) to scold or rebuke

Some of the more painful moments in life are when we experience disappointment or defeat–and after the sting of the failure is dying down–the chiders show up.

They have three distinct approaches that really do stink:

  1. “I had a feeling this wouldn’t work.”

It’s usually not a feeling they shared with you–and certainly not based on any sentiments they previously expressed. No, after the fact they create new facts.

  1. “I’m disappointed in you.”

Oh, I see. It’s not enough that life has slapped me in the face. You have brought fresh salt for the wound. It doesn’t even matter if I’m impressed enough by you to be hurt by your disappointment. Disappointment is often the straw that kills many a camel.

  1. “If it were me…”

Yes, folks who have all the facts available to them have now seen the outcome and understand the complete situation, but relentlessly explain how they would have done things just right.

We talk about love all the time. It’s a good thing.

We talk about kindness. Certainly valuable.

But the greatest gift a human being can offer is mercy.

Since life has kicked you in the teeth, I promise not to remind you of the high cost of dental bills.

A great man once said that merciful people are happy because they have the confidence that the mercy they express will be given back to them.

Because most certainly, each one of us takes our turn at being the fool.

So to withhold chiding is opening the door to grace–which can cover a multitude of our deluded efforts.

 

Donate Button