Decontextualize

Decontextualize: (v) to remove from a context

Water.

What do we use it for?

  • We drink it.
  • We swim in it.
  • We clean with it.

Very simple.

This is the context for water.

So the young prophet shows up at the river and he wants to use the water to baptize people. Why?

Because it’s something we drink, we swim in it and it cleans us.

The context is clear.  Water is a symbol of life, joy and cleanliness.

What a great way to communicate a transition in our beings. Take us into the water, let us promise good things, let us believe better things. Then splash us beneath the deep and rise us up—cleansed.

Could anything be more beautiful than that?

Does it matter how the water is used?

Does the top of my head have to get wet?

How about my hip bones?

Is it less significant if my kneecaps remain dry?

Since we understand the context of water bringing life, joy and cleanliness, why must we decontextualize by insisting the style in which we enact this ritual is more important than the expression itself?

How shall we take our communion?

Should we use wine or grape juice?

How can we take the symbolism of the body and blood of Christ and trivialize it down to grocery store concerns?

Are you saved?

How do you know?

Did you confess?

Did you come to it on your own?

Did you do it in church?

Did you do it in public?

Do any of these things matter?

Is it necessary to take the context of something beautiful and change it to a complexity and make it nearly inaccessible?

How do you know when you’ve found something pure?

That’s easy.

When no one needs to explain it to you.

 

Consult

Consult: (v) to seek information or advice from (someone with expertise

Try as I will, it is impossible to get anything but orange juice out of an orange. It might be handy; if I woke up and decided I wanted grape funny wisdom on words that begin with a Cjuice and could communicate my need to the orange, then I wouldn’t have to go out and buy a bunch of grapes.

But oranges are stubborn. They stay in their own skin.

And grapes won’t give me grapefruit juice, even though the name is included.

This is also true with human beings. Once people establish what flavor they are–what flows from them and what their essence is, it’s ridiculous to think they will offer a vast array of different ideas.

For instance, I would not go to a Catholic priest to talk about birth control. On that issue, he’s an orange. He’s going to impart orange juice.

Likewise, I would not go to a Planned Parenthood Center to make my final decision on whether to have a child born or aborted. They also may have a pat answer.

Who we consult and how we consult determines whether we actually have consulted, or just informed.

Anybody will inform you on anything at any time because we’re all susceptible to giving our opinion–even though we don’t know what the hell we’re talking about.

So when you discover something that needs to be explained or fulfilled in your life, you should go to the more neutral party–or else pick the person who is more likely to juice you up.

 

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Blood

Blood: (n) the red liquid that circulates in the arteries and veins

Dictionary B

Common.

Although we extol the value of finding things in common, there is a great danger of taking things of value and making them much too common.

When I realized that my word for today was “blood,” I immediately became aware that I was torn between two emotions:

First, a realization that blood is so much a part of the entertainment industry, and even the theology of Christianity, that it nearly has no significance; and secondly, escaping this inane idea and grasping the notion that the presence of blood is life, and the loss is death.

Yet after I’ve seen my fifteenth murder for the evening on television or gone to church and looked at the sight of a tortured man bleeding from a cross, I become hardened and inflexible.

It is frightening.

It is nearly abominable that we can slaughter human beings in an action/thriller indiscriminately, or think that the little bit of grape juice we pour into a plastic cup adequately represents the sacrifice of a courageous redeemer.

I, for one, am tired of symbolism.

I am weary of being told that it’s “just a television show, just a video game or just a way of having a ceremony in remembrance of a human sacrifice.”

These are huge concepts which demand our introspection instead of our frivolous observance.

 

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