Cyrene

Cyrene: (n) an ancient Greek city and colony in N Africa

He was desperately trying to remain invisible.

If not invisible, at least unnoticed.

Although he had arrived in Jerusalem to be part of the Passover celebration, driven there by his deep, abiding faith, he was a black man.

Some people believed he was the offspring of Cain, the punished murderer of his brother, Abel.

Others seemed blind to his dark complexion.

It was confusing to know what to do.

Should he be apologetic for his skin color?

Bold, assuming equality? Or defiant, to scare away the bigoted and cynical?

It was constantly on his mind. Would there be more scrutiny from the religious Jews or the self-important Roman soldiers?

Beyond his will, interrupting his progress, he was swept away by a crowd moving swiftly along the Via Dolorosa, forcing him to change his direction and move with the will of the throng.

It was a procession—a death march to the crucifixion of condemned men, heading up the long hill to die. One was struggling. He was carrying his crossbeam on his back yet finding it impossible to stand under its weight.

He fell and they beat him. He stood and they beat him.

The black man had a spontaneous urge to step forward and do something. He regretted it immediately, because one of the nearby soldiers grabbed him by the arm, asking him who he was and what the hell he thought he was doing.

“I am Simon, the Cyrene, and I was just being foolish.”

The soldier pushed him toward the beaten stranger lying in the street. “Since you give a damn, why don’t you carry his fuckin’ cross?” spat the legionnaire.

At that moment, the man, who had been lying flat down in the street, rose on his haunches and turned to look at Simon. His face was grotesque, bruised and bloody, but his eyes maintained a focus. A warmth, a purpose.

Not wanting to be crucified himself, Simon chose to heed the command. He picked up the broad beam and put it on his back as the soldier helped the weakened victim to his feet.

Trying to regain his balance, the beaten-up stranger hooked his arm with Simon’s. They were linked.

Together they made the journey the rest of the way, to the “Place of The Skull.” It seemed right to all those standing around, staring at the scene, that this black man, condemned by his color, should perform such a duty for the wicked traveler on his way to death.

Simon was stilled in his confusion. He had been black all his life. He rarely left his home in Cyrene because he never knew what level of bigotry awaited him in the outside world.

He covered the distance to the top of the hill, breaking a sweat but still able to support the battered frame of the convict. Before he knew it, they lifted the beam off of him and busied themselves nailing the man to the cross.

Simon had an instinct to stand and watch, but his better sense told him that he could easily be mistaken for one of the criminals and end up slain.

He quietly left.

As he was coming down the hill, a young man, no more than twenty years of age, approached him. “Thank you for carrying the Master’s cross,” he said.

Simon nodded. The young man continued. “His name is Jesus and we believe him to be the Son of God.”

Simon smiled. He felt pity. Or was it respect to a childish dream? He didn’t know.

Matter of fact, for almost five years, he never thought about it again. He never heard the name—until one day, back in his home of Cyrene, a young preacher—an itinerant man bronzed by the heat of the sun—said the name again.

“Jesus.”

He told a story. He filled in details that Simon could not possibly have known. He burst into tears.

“What is wrong?” the messenger asked him.

Simon shook his head. “I know that man. I carried his cross. I just didn’t know that it was the cross he was carrying for me.”

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cursory

Cursory: (adj) rapidly going over something without noticing details

“America, love it or leave it.” (A cursory look at the history of our country and the value of patriotism)

“God hates sin but loves the sinner.” (A cursory expression of the love of God and the theology of grace)

“Men are men and women are women.” (A cursory comprehension of the human species and how the genders function together)

“Politics is a dirty business.” (A cursory excuse for accepting bad behavior as necessary maneuvering)

“Mommy and Daddy don’t love each other but they still love you.” (A cursory, bizarre explanation given for parenting which is neither rational nor practical)

“Young people are not as in tune with history and current events as they used to be.” (A cursory jab at an emerging generation by boomers, who sold out their rebellion for IRAs)

“Jesus would be a Republican.” (A cursory proclamation by those who fail to realize that Jesus was apolitical)

“Take care of the poor.” (A cursory miscalculation of what is involved in providing for those who are without means and often minus motivation)

Cursory is what is offered when agendas are put ahead of reason, and an engine is added to the rear.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cross

Cross: (n) the structure on which Jesus was executed.

Word has it the angels appeared at his birth.

There were doves flying about as he was baptized.

He certainly favored his time with children.

His whole message about life began with the word, “Happy.”

He wanted us to consider lilies.

He told stories about sparrows.

He fed five thousand people with bread and fish.

His hands possessed some healing.

It says that he wept.

He marveled.

He talked about seeds, planting, fishing.

He favored the second mile.

They claim he personally emptied a tomb—more than once.

People walked after they met him. They hadn’t done that before.

People could see after an encounter with him—some of them born blind.

He was moved with compassion.

And he had the ability of looking at the world around him and discerning how things work—without bitching.

Yet with all this symbolism—all this imagery—all this amazing storytelling, he is known for a cross.

Unfair.


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Crisis or Crises

Crisis or crises: (n) an upheaval or upheavals

Fear.

Calm.

Worry.

Anger.

Belligerence.

Surprise.

Freaked.

Cowardly.

Brave.

Humorous.

Serious.

Cheerful.

Pissed.

Relieved.

Unaware.

These are the reactions human beings select when something happens which they did not want to occur.

A crisis.

I listed the words because some of them will be considered praise-worthy and others, frowned upon as being foolish.

But what really destroys our souls, robs our faith, shatters our hope and shakes the foundation of our love are crises. This is when one unexpected attack is followed by another equally mysterious dilemma.

Now I will tell you, a lot of good folks can survive a crisis, though it may not be the best moment of their lives.

But the crises are what bring us down.

Why? Because deep in our hearts we were trained to believe that when the Christmas tree has no presents underneath, Santa Claus arrives.

If a tooth falls out of our heads, a fairy gives us money.

If we don’t have enough money for college, some family member or friend figures out a way to at least fund our first semester.

And if diagnosed with a fatal disease, Jesus will come and heal us.

Unfortunately, we are in no condition to survive the symmetry of the Earth, which is often invaded by chaos.

Tribulation haunts us. It is upheaval.

So whether it’s a crisis or crises, the only thing that allows us to soar above despair is accepting the fact that these intrusions will certainly come into our lives.

Santa Claus, fairies, rich uncles and even Jesus don’t always arrive on time.

Often the conflict requires us to endure, even to the end, so that we can experience a salvation from the trial.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Cripple

Cripple: (n) a person who is disabled or impaired in any way:

Webster considers the word “cripple” to be offensive.

I wonder if we have reached a point in our play-it-safe-society where, in trying to pursue what we might refer to as neutral language, we’ve actually ended up becoming more offensive by pointing out that this particular language which we now eschew is forbidden because the people it refers to are constantly perceived as underdogs.

Honestly, I never gave the first thought about someone in a wheelchair until I found myself in one.

I suppose I assumed that they were paralyzed, or perhaps had been so stricken by disease that they were unable to stand and walk.

Certainly, my training as a good Midwestern Christian let me know that such individuals required healing, and if Jesus were really here, he would quickly get them back on their feet.

But you see, what is really offensive is believing that because a person can’t walk, he or she is less than someone who can, and therefore we must be careful not to offend them with some misused term.

After all, there was a time when the word “retarded” to the average person meant exactly the same thing in exactly the same spirit as the word “challenged.”

Is it less vicious to call someone challenged than to call him or her retarded?

I don’t know and neither do you. We just follow the temporary whim of society’s need to imitate inclusion.

Then again, the “N word,” which is now considered to be abominable, was derived from the romance languages. For in Latin, the word “black” is “niger.” In Spanish, it is “negra.” Perhaps that’s where they came up with the “N word.”

What is offensive is a condescending belief that we must defend people because we have decided they are incapable of speaking for themselves. Is that not truly the most prejudiced thing that we can possibly do?

So if you come to see me and you want to find out what difficulty I’m having with my legs, you can relax.

Because crippled, weakened, impaired, challenged, hobbled or blessed all sound basically the same to me.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Crawl

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crawl: (v) to move on the hands and knees

It is a story found in the Good Book. What makes that book good are the tales that enlighten us, inspire us and cause us to question our mediocre choices instead of covering them with the doctrine of grace.

She was a woman.

This particular lady in this specific story had been crippled for eighteen years. The passage has a detailed description of her problem—she was bowed over, couldn’t walk, and basically found herself uncomfortably situated in some sort of heap, lying on the ground.

Jesus comes upon her. She is some distance away from him, and the assumption is made by everyone in the room that he would walk over, talk to her for a few minutes, and then do some of his jim-dandy magic and heal her. But that’s not what he does.

He calls her to him.

Yes, he requests of this disabled, disheartened woman, that she make the journey across the room, pulling herself along on her arms, elbows and thighs—inch-by-inch making her way to his side.

Can you can imagine the reaction of the room? “This is gross. He’s making her crawl.”

The woman does not complain.

The prospect of being made whole, improved, or even just included was worth it.

She crawled to Jesus.

He did not make her do this because he was a son-of-a-bitch. He wasn’t trying to showcase his authority.

He was giving her a chance to be an intricate part of her own miracle. “Crawl over here and get your blessing.”

Even though each one of us may feel it is cruel or unusual, there are times that we cannot heal the psychological burden of our pain unless we feel as if we are making the crawl to our solution.

I have crawled.

I have made the crawl in joy.

I have crawled, knowing that without the crawl, I would not be able to overcome the anxiety in my soul.

After the crawl came the miracle.

Now…imagine that.

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Coworker

Coworker: (n) a fellow worker; colleague

Do you like funny statements?

I often find myself giggling over ideas that are presented as truthful, or at least positive, which have no basis in reality whatsoever.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

One that really tickles my funny bone is the notion that someone is “in charge.”

Helpless we arrive, dear friends, and helpless we live—and in between we do our best with what we’ve got.

So if you’re at a job somewhere and everyone’s jockeying to be the big boss, you might want to calm down and realize there are only two advantages in being the big boss. They are:

1. More money

2. More blame.

Wait—I guess that second one is not an advantage.

Because as long as you’re a co-worker, you can share the money with everyone else and also share the blame. But when you become the boss, the reason they give you extra dollars—if they do—is to prepare you for the realization that if things go badly, you are the one who will be holding the bag.

Life would be so much better if we stopped trying to boss each other around or act like we’re the boss of politics, or the boss of God, the boss of our families or the boss of our jobs.

The best bosses in the world act like coworkers.

Matter of fact, when you get right down to it, that is the message of the New Testament from the Bible. God got tired of being the boss and getting all the blame, so He came down to Earth as Jesus, to be a coworker with us, so we could share in the profits, but also evenly distribute the responsibility.


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