Brotherhood

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Brotherhood: (n) a community of people linked by a common interest, religion, or trade

She crinkled her twenty-four-year-old nose, frowning, and said to me, “I don’t know about that. It was before I was born.”Dictionary B

Somewhere along the line, people have decided to trace the history of our race beginning with the date of their birth. Nothing before–or, I assume, after–really matters at all.

So in the process of pursuing this arrogant practice, we discarded a lot of powerful ideas.

One of them is the concept of brotherhood.

When I was a boy, there were many songs that talked about brotherhood, the human family and the common spirit of mankind.

They have disappeared.

Matter of fact, if you sang one of these songs, people would think it was maudlin.

Because in the process of establishing individuality, we have eliminated similarity. Also, while trying to convince ourselves that we are unique “snowflakes,” we have allowed an avalanche to sweep away much of our commonality.

We’ve replaced the entire Earth tribe with allegiance to our own domestic family. We are convinced that if we love our kin, we need do nothing more–even though a great teacher once warned us that if we only love those who love us, we’re stinking slobs.

What am I looking for?

Reasons to love everyone I meet.

If I don’t, I will eventually notice that their particular birth certificate frees me of the responsibility to give a shit.

 

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Box

Box: (n) a container with a flat base and sides, typically square or rectangular

There are several phrases I do not like.Dictionary B

Actually I despise them so much that I scold myself when I use them.

  • “You’re stupid.”
  • “I hate you.”
  • “You don’t get it.”
  • “You’re a foolish asshole.”

Well, I could go on.

But one of my least favorite–a thought that makes my skin crawl–is when people turn to me and say, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

I know they’re really not interested.

I know they’ve sized me up and they’re trying to figure out what box they want to put me in.

They want things simple.So they have a system of storing people away so that their decisions are neat, tidy and final. If you don’t fit into one of their boxes they will decide that you’re a misfit or a rebellious anarchist.

They’re listening for buzz words.

About ten years ago, someone asked me about my occupation. I explained that I was a writer but also a performer. So they said, “Are you a teacher? A storyteller? A philosopher? Or an entertainer?”

Then they smiled, waiting for me to climb into their box.

My response was, “Well, really all of those and more.”

This was displeasing to them. They shook their head and walked away.

Mankind is ready to build a box for you.

They will encourage you, praise you, instruct you, guide you and applaud you until you get inside one of their pre-prepared cartons.

And once you do … you will never be heard of again.

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Archangel

dictionary with letter A

Archangel: (n) an angel of high rank

Gabriel drew the short straw.

God had decided that announcing the birth of the Messiah would have to be prompted by a visitation from an archangel.

Gabriel lost.

It isn’t that the archangels were especially angry about saving mankind–it’s just that trying to tell a fourteen-year-old virgin that she’s pregnant is not exactly the most pleasant task.

Angels are always a little perplexed with humanity anyway. Matter of fact, the only thing an angel and a Homo sapien share in common is free will. And any respectable angel will be quick to tell you that they use their free will much more righteously than earth-bound bipeds.

Gabriel mused. How do you tell a young girl that her life is about to be interrupted in the most inconvenient ways, only to be further dismantled by adventure and mayhem?

It fell Gabriel’s lot.

He spent a few moments alone to make sure he had rid himself of all preconceived ideas and prejudice. He realized that a certain amount of compassion would be necessary to talk to Mary of Nazareth about welcoming a baby which would not be easily explained tor either her betrothed or to her parents, sitting around the dinner table.

In contemplating it, the archangel gained more and more heart and sympathy for the human race:

  • They were certainly more tempted than angels, who spent time surrounded by goodness and mercy.
  • Humans also possessed an emotional explosion not fully comprehended in the heart of the standard celestial inhabitant.
  • And on top of that, Mary was a young girl with dreams which would have to be melted into a divine mission of being the mother of God.

Yes, Gabriel drew the short straw.

The rest of the angels flew away, giggling in delight. But instead of viewing it as a burden, Gabriel took it on as a challenge, which turned into an opportunity.

“Behold, Mary, you are blessed.”

That’s a pretty nice thing to say.

Even though the rest of the message was much more daunting, he felt good about blessing the little lady.

Archangels are the bridge between God and human beings.

Michael, one of the other members of the team, once noted, “We angels have just enough of God to know what we should do, and enough human to sometimes be miserable doing it.”

Maybe that’s true.

But without the archangels, our world would slide into a pit of mediocrity, and nothing of excellence would be achieved.

Time passed (though angels have no watches).

Gabriel sat for a moment, remembering what it was like to speak to Mary. There were many jobs that followed.

He recalled that one of his favorites was whispering into the ear of an artist who was staring at the ceiling, wondering what to do … prompting him to paint God.

 

 

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Anno Domini — AD

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Anno Domini A.D. (Abbr.) :In a specified year of the Christian era; “in the year of Our Lord”

I think the closest I ever came was when the town council of my little burg where I was born considered having a day designated to me because the musical I had written was going to be premiering in the capital city.

Unfortunately, the measure was voted down because one of the members of the board was an old rival from high school who always thought I had cheated him out of something or other.

So I, who was unable to get a single day of honor in my city of kin, am greatly enamored–and baffled–by how a rejected carpenter from a tiny village in Mesopotamia, who ended up executed for crimes against the state, managed to get the date of his birth marked as the beginning of modern time.

You have to be honest–there is either something magical about that or this guy hired the best damn Jewish agent around. Am I right here? Even when his name is spoken out loud in anger, it’s still great advertising: Jesus Christ!

I know there are those who cannot believe in a SON of God because they don’t believe in God in the first place–very similar to not wanting to see the movie, Son of Flubber because you were disappointed with the first Flub.

But in thirty-three years of human life, he did something right. Maybe we shouldn’t try to study him so much theologically, but rather, analyzing the chemical reaction of human experience. What did he set off that caused such notice and took him from the tiny, fragmented vision of the Jewish people, to dominate the Greeks, Romans, Angles, Saxons and even the Afrikaans and the Chinese?

His message was simple. That was smart. Even though he never had a car, he realized that anything you want people to remember should fit on a bumper sticker.

  • “Love your neighbor”
  • “Love your enemies”
  • “Blessed are the pure in heart”
  • “You must be born again”
  • “Do unto others”

The list goes on and on. Matter of fact, his famous Sermon on the Mount is merely a hodge-podge of many, many sound bites and slogans, glued together by a devotion to mankind and God. The message was so simple that even those who were considered foolish could grasp it, even if they didn’t embrace it.

And for some reason, a hundred and twenty of the remaining followers of this teacher, who survived the horror of his crucifixion, were not only willing to dedicate the rest of their lives to spreading the message, but sacrificed their lives in a belief about his resurrection.

In other words, I think it’s safe to say that most human beings might pursue a hoax if all it meant was that you had to travel and stay in cheap hotels. But when you’re standing in front of a judge and he offers you clemency, if you deny the message and then you choose death, it’s difficult to believe that there is not some credence to the original experience.

So I shall not lament the failure of my local city council–to grant me a day of recognition in my home town. But I will use the awareness of that slight to be in awe–that as I mark my calendar today, I honor the person with the message of love … who got the ball rolling.