Chinese

Chinese: (adj) relating to China or its language, culture, or people.

My daughter-in-law is from China.

She is the wife of my godson. They have two beautiful children. I don’t see them much because they live in China.

My first encounters with this dear lady were enlightening. We struck up an immediate friendship, and I was deeply impressed by her work
ethic, her respect and her honoring of those who have more age then herself.

But she is Chinese. She was raised under an absolute totalitarian form of government, which discourages people from being inventive. Now, the Chinese diplomats would probably take issue with that, but the danger of trying to make everyone the same is that they take you up on it. And once sameness has been achieved, the desire to excel, be different or discover an original path seems pointless.

In our capitalistic system, discouragement comes from a different arena. We are constantly pumped full of the helium of hope–that anyone can be wealthy and successful, while simultaneously closing doors of finance and opportunity on ideas coming from ingenious folks who weren’t born with any spoon in their mouth.

I suppose the controversy rages over which system hampers the human spirit the most. Is it more vindictive to quell creativity, or much more punishing to be creative and unable to find the means to your end?

I suppose my daughter-in-law and I could talk about this for hours. But the real issue is free will. Although many religionists and politicians would persist in trying to steal it from the human condition, God is intensely committed to free will.

So where the Spirit of God exists, there is liberty.

I have the choice to be lazy, productive, genuine, fake, kind or mean. Then I also have the responsibility to rise and fall on my choice.

It would be amazing if the Chinese people, with their great traditions and immense passion for excellence, could be unleashed with creativity and complete freedom, to choose their own path. Would they maintain the quality of their passion, or become complainers like many capitalists?

I don’t know.

True spirituality is feeling responsible without being confined, and being creative without insisting you’re entitled.

 

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Boring

Boring: (adj) not interesting; tedious.

I used to be deathly afraid of being boring.Dictionary B

Because of this phobia, I almost accidentally became friends to my children instead of a good parent, denied my faith rather than creating a backbone for my principles, and attempted ridiculous entertainment projects to prove I was youthful and alive.

I don’t know why “boring” scared me so badly–except in our particular American culture, it is the word that ushers in the “last rites” for misunderstood ideas.

In other words, if something is determined to be boring, it is soon abandoned and left to die in the field of forgetfulness.

But then one day it struck me–every great notion and progressive invention in the history of our race was at one time considered boring.

Can you imagine Thomas Edison explaining to all the people who deeply loved candles and gas light lamps how his incandescent bulb might be able to work better, and ultimately even be cheaper?

Boring.

Or how about Abraham Lincoln, stumping to his Cabinet and Congress, how the addition of the freed slaves to our everyday life would give us a great brotherhood to exemplify the idea of liberty?

Really boring.

Or the guy named Salk, who came along and said that just weeping over children with polio was not enough–that maybe we could come up with some sort of vaccination to protect them from the disease instead of just praying for them and telling stories about their hideous struggles.

No thanks, Jonas.

Boring is not what is truly misplaced or ill-timed. It is the piece of truth that we do not yet understand, which we decide is meaningless because it mystifies our limited reasoning.

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Audacious

Audacious: (adj) showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.

dictionary with letter A

I am very curious exactly how many miles one would have to run with a stick before actually tripping, falling, having the pointed end of the stick lodging in the eye.

Yet we were led to believe that such careless running with loosely held wood would ultimately most certainly lead to blindness.

We were not raised to be risk-takers.

So rather than ending up with a generation of people who are careful planners, adept at common sense, we have an “earthful” of cautious, lazy folks who occasionally rebel by actually doing things that are dangerously risky.

If you continue to avoid activities which merely demand a certain amount of skill because you think they’re risky, you’ll eventually get fed up, go out and enter a jalopena-eating contest.

Somewhere along the line we have to teach our children that the pursuit of excellence does bump up against risky endeavors, but the power of planning and the presence of practice does enable us to run with a stick without gouging our eyeballs.

I have taken audacious risks all my life.

I will tell you this–simply writing a blog on the Internet is risky business. The possibility for obscurity, criticism or being stalked by a person with a manic disorder who doesn’t like to swallow pills is always prevalent.

But it will take some risks for us to avoid greater risks.

It will take the frightening thought of negotiation to keep us from negotiating another war.

It will take risky conversations about racism to eliminate dead young men in the street.

It will take brave souls insisting on the common humanity of men and women to bring about the true peaceful interaction which will prevent us from being constantly at each other’s throats.

What is worth the risk?

Any time we have the chance to advance the cause of peace, liberty and justice, it’s well worth getting up out of our easy chair and grabbing our baton (which is just a stick)… to start running. 

 

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Asunder

Asunder: (adv) apart, divideddictionary with letter A

In 1861, South Carolina seceded from the Union.

They quit on the idea of being part of the great American dream. The threat had been in the air for many decades.

You can feel free to speculate on what caused this breach. Some people insist it was states’ rights being violated by the federal government. Others will tell you the country was torn asunder by the issue of slavery.

I find the debate to be irrelevant–because even though a war was fought, which cost the lives of more than a million American citizens, what brought this democracy to the brink of destruction is still lurking.

Even though we insist that we are “the United States of America,” our lack of definition and unity on freedom, equality and justice continues to tear us asunder.

We ridiculously talk about “red states” and “blue states” like it’s some sort of game, when actually, a more intelligent glance at the divisions of those states gives you virtually the same map that was present during the Civil War.

When you count the states that were sympathetic to the Southern cause, the red states pretty well reflect the once-organized Confederacy. Likewise, the blue states comprise the Union.

Even though we believe in the power of debate and controversy in this country, we must understand that open wounds continue to seep viral puss, and also are susceptible to further infection.

There are certain things we need to agree upon to keep from destroying our royal decree.

We must define three words, and we must come to agreement on them, or we will continue to debate what should never be questioned:

  • Freedom
  • Justice
  • Liberty

And may this humble essayist offer a possible starting ground for the clearing house of understanding.

Freedom: I possess no freedom if you do not possess the same freedom.

Justice: Every person is given an equal interpretation under the law, without prejudice regarding any of his or her choices.

Liberty: We are granted the license to pursue our dreams as long as they do not injure or interfere in the dreams of others.

The reason these definitions are rarely accepted is because they do not always submit to religious propriety, moral uprightness or social calm.

That’s the price you pay for being in a democracy. One person’s freedom is your annoyance. And your forbearance is permission for that person to be free.

We are torn asunder. We have not escaped the decision by South Carolina to leave the Union. And we will not be powerful and productive again until each and every one of us swallows a bit of our pride and self-righteousness and arrives at a solution that will “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.”

 

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Apartheid

dictionary with letter A

Apartheid: (n) in South Africa, a policy and system of segregation or discrimination based on the grounds of race.

If you’re an American citizen, you had little to no chance of having an understanding of Apartheid unless you allowed yourself the blessing of reading up on it and discovering all the subtleties.

In the 1980’s, when the issue was inflamed with turmoil, the communique in our country was to stay out of it or to side with the South African government by offering some sort of lame excuse for the existence of such prejudice.

Matter of fact, there were religious leaders in this country who insisted that Apartheid was necessary because without it, the natives (who just happened to be black) would tear one another apart because of their tribal conflicts. There were actually people who accepted this reasoning as being reasonable.

It is similar to those in the North and South during the Civil War, who feared that freeing the slaves would unleash an unholy terror of massacre and mayhem on the white population.

Matter of fact, throughout history we have decided to keep a bad system in place rather than risk bettering it. Of course, every time we’ve done this, the proponents of such foolishness have ended up looking like idiots–as those religious leaders of the 1980’s do today with regard to Apartheid.

I do not really care what tenets of philosophy and religion you adhere to, as long as you will agree with me that even though progress often takes time, the energy of the universe is always moving towards freedom.

There are countries in the world today which subjugate their population and terrorize their brothers and sisters with all sorts of rules and regulations, which will soon be as extinct as the dinosaurs and viewed by history as oppressive lunacy.

You can’t take freedom away from people without being viewed a tyrant.

So when I heard about Apartheid in the 1980’s and listened to both sides of the issue, I realized that it is a God-given right (of course, by God) for people to be as foolish or intelligent as they want to be, as long as they are free to do so.

We cannot control the actions of human beings. What we can do is provide the liberty, without question, for them to play out their philosophy quickly.

Anything written on paper that proclaims a truth will surely need to be amended … by the spirit of liberty.

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Amendment

dictionary with letter A

Amendment: (n) 1. a change or addition to a legal or statutory document: an amendment to the existing bail laws. 2. an article added to the U.S. Constitution: e.g. the First Amendment.

Perhaps the most appealing part of the American story–from the birthing of a nation to the present-day collision of government–is the notion that even though we were greatly inspired to begin a country, with forefathers who have been touted as geniuses and revolutionary thinkers, we did understand that there would be a need, as time pressed on, to amend our original convictions by the sheer beauty and majesty of revealed wisdom.

If not, we would have those running for Congress who would still insist that because the original document claimed that black slaves were less than a whole human being, that we shouldn’t veer from that course and change our approach.

There is nothing written by man, whether inspired or not, that doesn’t require some sort of editing and tuning up as the clock ticks away.

This is true whether it’s the Constitution of the United States, which began with an agrarian society encompassed by slavery with no comprehension whatsoever about how much land mass would eventually be involved within its borders, to the Good Book, which started off with two people in a Garden and ends somewhere far away in the Universe, in an Eternity of Eternities.

I don’t believe that amendments are contradictions, but rather, necessary stipulations absorbed, to remind us of the original spirit of the text and the need to be inclusive instead of destructive.

Yes, the Good Book has many amendments in it, which some fundamentalist preachers and congregations fail to recognize because they give the same weight to a chapter in Deuteronomy that they do to the red-letter truth in the Gospel of John.

Here’s what we know for sure:

  • Life is moving towards life.
  • Freedom is moving towards freedom.
  • Liberty is also packed up and on its way to liberty.

Anything that comes along to deter the journey of this trio will be recalculated and rebooted in a different direction.

I want to be part of the amendments which make everything we believe more human, more accessible and more powerful, to create better people … instead of just maintaining strong control.

Alcoholic

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Alcoholic: (n) 1. containing an alcoholic liquor 2. a person suffering from alcoholism.

The most difficult thing in life, in my opinion, is to balance freedom and common sense. Honestly, we do it very poorly.

When we err on the side of freedom, we indiscriminately promote ideas which are detrimental to the human family.

Likewise, when we take the other extreme of common sense, we create burdens and rules which inhibit the liberty necessary for our race to move forward.

How is it possible to allow for freedom and common sense to co-exist in the same room without both of them resorting to fisticuffs?

This is my feeling about alcohol: I have grown weary of the notion that we establish our adult sensibilities by allowing ourselves permission to drink fermented fluids which have proven themselves to be devastating to members of our earthly clan. But by the same token, prohibiting the imbibing of these refreshments is unsuccessful and unrealistic, considering that they have been around for thousands of years, and even Jesus Christ took boring water and made it wine.

I think we need extraordinarily anointed and intelligent leadership, which knows how to promote freedom while establishing common sense. Here are several questions about alcohol I have never heard adequately answered:

  1. Is it truly healthy? Are we better off having some alcohol in our lives, or not?
  2. Are there people who are just cursed to be alcoholics by their genetic configuration, or is it an acquired vice which can happen to anyone at any time, simply based upon the level of consumption?
  3. Is there an adequate alternative to alcohol which would provide stimulus without promoting drunkenness?
  4. Is it possible to be a social drinker without finding yourself in the company of those who exaggerate their need and exacerbate situations by becoming either dangerous on the highway or confrontational?
  5. And finally, how can we promote the consumption of alcohol so that our movies and our society do not present it as a rite of passage, causing younger folks to feel mature by sneaking it?

I am unwilling to concede that freedom and common sense cannot be brothers in the cause of the betterment of humanity.

I personally don’t drink and never have. It’s because the questions I listed have not been answered to my satisfaction, so therefore, rather than pursuing the ridiculous … I select the sublime.