Communion

Communion: (n) the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.

I get the same sensation when I go to Red Lobster with a friend and he or she insists, with a giggle, as the cheddar bay biscuits arrive, and they gleefully take one from the basket, that, “This is what Red Lobster is all about!”

I nod (knowing that soon I will probably nod off.)

Red Lobster is not about the cheddar bay biscuits. It’s about the seafood.

Just like baseball games are not about the peanuts and the Cracker Jacks. There’s a ball, a bat and a game.

And marriage is not about starting a family. It’s really about how much you enjoy having sex with this one person and hope you can keep it up for the rest of your life while you have a family.

I find myself going to church from time to time–reluctantly.

I don’t like that about me. It seems jaded. In this season of agnosticism it smacks of the predictable.

But you see, in church there’s just too much emphasis on the cheddar bay biscuits, the Cracker Jacks and the family.

Many of them center their whole agenda around communion–a symbolistic representation of the blood and body of Jesus Christ, which he gave for the sins of mankind.

It’s disconcerting to me.

First there’s the thought that I am such a piece of shit that God had to kill His own kid to try to make up for my buffoonery.

Then there’s the notion that a dynamic spirit which walked in the flesh among us for thirty-three years only gained significance in the last few hours that he hung, as an alleged criminal, on a cross.

What an insult to all things loving and eternal.

Yet if you lodge an objection, somehow or another you become apostate–which, if you don’t know what that means, is the religious system’s way of telling you that you don’t belong.

The truth of the matter is, I admire the hell out of Jesus.

Long before he bled, he led me into an understanding of how we might begin to see God’s will done on Earth as it is in heaven.

 

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Collect

Collect: (v) to bring or gather things

I collect.

I grab my basket and step into life, picking up things that suit my fancy, meet my needs or stir my soul.

From democracy I collect the value of personal freedom.

I collect a wisp of meditation from the Buddhists.

I collect tenderness, mercy and endurance from my sisters.

I collect devotion to country from communist China.

I realize the danger of eating too much pork from my Muslim brethren.

I collect the value of play from the children encircling me.

I collect my thoughts by rejecting my prejudices.

I collect the true history of my life by quieting the ideas I wish to promote.

I collect fruits and vegetables at a good price at Aldi.

I collect the power of the Golden Rule from my friend, Jesus.

I collect a searching, inquiring and probing mind from my atheist friends.

I collect a respect of science from God.

And I collect a respect for God from science.

I collect things that other people think are meaningless so I can have a personal treasure in my heart.

I collect a respect for things old, current and even those things which sniff of the future.

I stand in awe of Earth as I collect my trash and throw it in the garbage instead of allowing it to go “blowin’ in the wind.”

I collect my anger and force it into a small box, where it doesn’t think it is bigger than it actually is.

I collect those little boxes of anger and open them up in my private times to address the concerns.

I collect passion for my dreams.

And I collect dreams to welcome passion.

I am a collector.

Not much of what I collect has a dollar value.

Yet all of what I collect is valuable.

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Clobber

Clobber: (v) to hit someone hard

The quotation is attributed to Teddy Roosevelt: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

An admirable thought, but in a world filled with wack-a-doodle-dandies and nutzoids, there is always someone who eventually tries to make you use your stick.

So if you don’t plan to use the stick, or if you’re against that type of violent behavior, then carrying it around may seem intimidating, especially when you run across someone who has an assault rifle.

I must be honest–I have never actually been in a fist fight with anyone. I have tackled people and used my girth to lay on them, to make them submit to my will–but I have never chosen to clobber them.

The only time clobbering has come into my life was when I was in the middle of a football game and I was running down to cover a kickoff, when all of a sudden, something hit me like a meteor from space. For the next five minutes, I went to visit the Lilliputians on Mars. I was babbling, incoherent and obviously damaged–from being clobbered. To this day I don’t know which player found the correct angle to block me without me seeing it coming, but I came about three-and-a-half angels from meeting Jesus.

On that day I decided that if this were the by-product of clobbering, then I no longer wished to partake, participate or initiate such endeavors.

Even though there is some sort of vague concept in our society that we need to “stand up for ourselves” or otherwise, the bullies will take over, my preferable experience is to learn how to send out really good reconnaissance and find out if there are any bullies on the road ahead, and set my GPS for milder paths.

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Chosen

Chosen: (adj) having been selected as the best or most appropriate.

Without spraying dark, sticky thoughts into the air, I must admit that if I knew what I know now, I might not have chosen to be born.

I don’t think I would have chosen Mary and Russell as my parents. Considering my youthful antics, they might not have chosen me.

I certainly would not have chosen to be raised in the Midwest of the United States during a season when prejudice, bigotry and self-righteousness were considered to be “American values.”

I wouldn’t have chosen to be fat. Even though some people try to gain their self-esteem while encased in blubber, the excess poundage does take its toll.

I don’t know exactly what I would have chosen–I mean, I could continue this list and probably offend everyone I know.

But I certainly would have chosen Jesus.

This is not because I’m a religious person. Matter of fact, I have been known to doze off immediately at the mention of prayer.

It’s the practicality.

It’s the humanity.

It’s the responsibility that Jesus of Nazareth placed on himself and his followers that lets me understand that he “gets it.”

He gets what it means to be a human being on this planet called Earth. I don’t know if his manifesto would work on other planets. I don’t know anything about habitation in other galaxies.

But Earth requires a certain payload to launch your rocket.

I’ve chosen that.

I fail at it, and as long as I realize it’s a failure on my part and not a master plot against my happiness, I’m usually just fine.

I don’t know what else specifically I would have chosen.

I would not have chosen a career as a writer, because criticism and obscurity are your only friends.

Would I have chosen to pen this essay? Probably not.

I got up in a rather relaxed, lazy mood, and your interest just didn’t interest me that much.

So I’ve chosen, at times, to persevere–even though the immediate benefit does not scream its worth.

 

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Chirpy

Chirpy: (adj) cheerful and lively.

Coming upon the dead body of the strangled prostitute, the young woman declared, “At least she’s with Jesus.”

That is classic “chirpy”–the optimistic thought which is suddenly expressed at what certainly is an inopportune time.

It reminds me of an occasion when I was traveling with my music group and our vehicle caught on fire. We were standing about a hundred
yards away from it, watching it burn so as to not endanger ourselves with a possible exploding gas tank.

We were only able to salvage our cooler from the fiasco. One of the young ladies from the group, sitting on the cooler, remarked, “I think we have Coca-Cola and Fritos in the cooler.”

I know she meant well–but it seemed that I was commanded by the heavens to scream at her over such simplistic optimism.

When is “chirpy” an expression of good cheer instead of an annoying bird sound, pecking at our aggravation? Now, there’s a good question.

My conclusion has always been, if a statement is not going to build the faith of those around you, it’s best to honor the silence.

 

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Chaplain

Chaplain: (n) a member of the clergy attached to a private chapel, institution, ship, branch of the armed forces, etc.

One of the major dangers in life is to be overwrought, which means that for some unknown reason we place greater intensity, importance
and value on some matters than others.

We certainly do this with people’s occupations.

If someone says they work at a grocery store, we probably will not launch into a statement of gratitude for providing food for the masses.

But if someone says they’re a chaplain in a prison or the military, we raise our eyebrows, impressed, thinking we’re dealing with a sacrificial individual who is doing really, really valuable work.

The distinctions we make in life cause our prejudice–because there is such a thing as a good chaplain and also a bad chaplain, just like there’s a good grocer and a bad grocer. There are people who do their job well and people who do their job poorly.

So to judge a person who is a doctor as noble and kind is absolutely foolish. Many Dr. Jekylls are actually Mr. Hyde.

I think it would be very difficult to be a chaplain in the military, for the Gospel he or she would preach would not necessarily be in line with either the stars and stripes or the red, white and blue. Jesus had his differences with capitalism, and certainly was not a great advocate of violence.

Yet I respect the chaplain who brings the hope of the Gospel to people who find themselves in the position of making decisions that have far-reaching effects.

So if we can stop our silly bigotry about occupations and start asking ourselves what makes a good person in any situation, then we will be on our way to truly grasping equality and the wisdom of understanding.

 

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Change

Change: (v) to make or become different

A prototype is required.

Human beings cannot run on ideas, just like lovers fail to subsist on kisses. If something needs to be changed, it needs to be seen so it can be
imitated.

We talk too damn much. We yap and yap and yap and still plan for another talk show.

Seeing is believing.

The faith to believe may come through hearing a good idea, but the human species requires some evidence before rendering its verdict.

If you think the world needs to be a more loving place, then you need to visualize and also make visible a loving life.

If you think the world lacks music, make good music that’s sensitive to the audience’s heart instead of just your finicky taste.

If you think the world needs Jesus, make Jesus human instead of dangling the divine in front of the disappointed.

If you think the Republican Party is going to change our nation, offer some obvious results that can be eyeballed.

If you think the Democrats hold the key, develop a news reel of your plans that make it crystal clear where you wish to head.

Change for change’s sake is rather changeless. It just never catches on.

But if we’re able to see how it benefits our entire being–heart, soul, mind and strength–we just might pick up a tambourine and join the band.

 

 

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