Cleave

Cleave: (v) to either split or join

“A man shall leave his mother and a woman will leave her home, and they will cleave together and the twain shall be one flesh.”

A paraphrase from the Good Book. I think it’s very fascinating that the King James translators used the word “cleave.” Because as you can
see, it has a double meaning. It can refer to cutting apart–as in when it is associated with a cleaver. Or it can refer to enjoining, a fanciful term for clinging.

Isn’t that fascinating? Because that pretty well describes marriage.

A bad marriage can tear people apart. It can take a hatchet to their confidence and self-worth, leaving them childish and vengeful.

A good marriage, on the other hand, is when two intelligent people realize the power they have together, and mingle their energies into one solid human-life effort.

I guess what the Good Book fails to communicate is, what makes the difference? What distinguishes a bad marriage from a good marriage?

It’s actually the same thing that separates friendships, partnerships and family relationships. Somewhere along the line, people who love each other stop competing. It’s usually not planned–it’s probably not the by-product of a long conversation or hours of counseling.

Confident of the love of another person, we no longer feel the need to be superior. We are satisfied with a joint project. We don’t insist on separate minds, separate practices, separate ways or separate fears.

We blend. We relax. We realize that if love doesn’t work, then we’ve just used up our last chance.

How shall we cleave?

Shall we cut one another apart in an attempt to make our portion seem more valuable?

Or shall we blur the differences and congeal into a sense of oneness?

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Buttock

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Buttock: (n) the back of a hip that forms one of the fleshy parts on which a person sits

I do not favor foul or coarse language, yet I have to admit, I am seriously exhausted trying to keep up with people who make it their mission to be the “word police.”

If you have ever written a paragraph, you have run the risk of being arrested by these cop-outs. They stand by ready to criticize every single syllable that comes before them as being either inappropriate, misplaced or evil.

So how shall I describe the back side of a human?

I can call it a rear end.

Perhaps a caboose.

They might even allow me to call it a butt–if the material is not viewed by too many children.

There are some folks who would even allow me to use the word “ass.” (The Bible had no trouble using the word “ass.” It’s a little difficult to believe that the translators in the court of King James were more progressive with their street lingo than a librarian in Peoria, Illinois.)

Sometimes words just fit. Sometimes they’re needed to give power and passion to an idea.

For instance, if you have a teenage son who’s sitting around during summer vacation doing nothing, would you really ask him to get off his “buttock” and get a job? Rear end? Caboose?

A wise man once said that “by your words you are justified and by your words you are condemned.”

I agree with that. So pick the word that communicates the thought, while making sure that the thought is exactly what you’re trying to communicate.

 

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Bushel

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Bushel: (n) a measure of capacity

The Good Book was written in ancient Mesopotamia, translated in Merry Old England when men wore powdered wigs, and is now trying to be understood by a Smart Phone generation.

Problematic.

One of the examples that immediately jumps to mind is that Jesus suggested that we should not hide our aspirations, talent and insight “under a bushel.”

That was the King James translation.

Dare I say that most of the people in this country under the age of thirty have probably never seen a bushel of anything.

Most of them would think the word “bushel” is a mispronunciation of our 43rd President.

Yet truth leaps over generational gaps and maintains its integrity. Therefore we should take obscure terms and translate to make them comprehensible. (And by the way, the more emotionally charged we can make that presentation, to give it lasting quality in the human spirit, the better.)

Therefore, what was once translated from the Good Book writers as a “bushel” really is a prison cell–a place where we lock ourselves up and cease growing because the fear of failure, inadequacy, and even the apprehension over accidentally doing something evil has left us lying on our bunk, biding time.

We’re still alive, we’re still breathing, we’re still consuming three square meals a day and every once in a while we stroll through the court yard. But we desperately try to avoid confrontations and we shower in fear.

A bushel is where you gather an abundance.

There is so much fruit that you can’t put it in a bag.

A little box won’t contain it.

It needs a bushel basket.

If we don’t believe that God has called us to be fruitful, we will arrive with a tiny teacup instead of showing up with a gallon jug.

 

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