Debase

Debase: (v) to lower in rank, dignity, or significance

It’s difficult to know whether human beings prefer stories which end in success or are finalized in some degree of tragedy.

I, for one, become light-headed and sleepy if I hear too much good news all at the same time, fearing that some of it may be embellished to maintain the sugar content.

Yet I have to admit, all of this “dark theater” that surrounds me adds an extra layer of worry to my soul—which is desperately in need of being cleansed from unrighteousness.

But universally, all of us are aware that we take our turn being debased. Or as I jokingly call it—spending time in “de-basement.”

Sometimes we even stand in line for it.

We’ll enter a contest, apply for a job, petition for a cause only to be flattened at the last moment like a housefly which paused too long next to the watermelon.

It’s not just part of life.

It is actually the portion of life that makes life ultimately livable.

If I don’t know how to do without, or be left out, rejected and mistreated, I will never have the sensibility to be merciful to others.

It’s a helluva way to learn it.

Certainly the heavens should have thought of a more cotton-candy schooling.

But sometimes you go without so that when you go with, you have a greater appreciation and perhaps even a broader understanding of value.

So give me a story where someone tries, fails, survives, laughs, rallies and then kicks ass.

Thus, the definition of the American dream.

 

Death Penalty

Death penalty: (n) punishment by death for a crime

I am so happy that life is more like a motion picture than a brochure of photo shopped stills.

Honestly, if you had frozen my face, attitudes and beliefs at any one particular time in my life, I not only might have been contrary to you, but also at odds with my present incarnation.

There’s just too much to learn on this journey to ever be certain.

“Certain” is the profile taken by either fools or people who have enough money to pay for an alibi.

So I will freely tell you—there was a time when I was favorable, if not an advocate, for the death penalty.

My reasoning was not vengeance.

Rather, I cited the case of Charles Manson. I felt he was given a cruel and unusual punishment by having to live inside his own tormented brain the rest of his life. It seemed to me that capital punishment in a situation like that would actually be merciful.

Folks would “ooh and aah” over my insight–and I felt that I succeeded in killing off the bad guys and looking genteel at the same time.

Then one day, I opened the Good Book and read the story of Cain and Abel. According to this volume, Cain killed his brother, Abel, generating the first murder case.

When God caught up with Cain and spoke to him, He asked him why he was hiding and tried to get him to tell the truth. Though not totally successful, God, who had the power to take his life, instead exiles Cain. He goes, starts his own family and continues his breathing.

This gave me pause.

If God, who had a slam-dunk murder case against Cain, chose to give him the opportunity to live out a new possibility, who in the hell was I to lobby for the death of another soul?

I am not trying to insinuate that rehabilitation is successful.

I don’t think that someone who is massively cruel deserves to continue existing.

I just know that God chose not to execute the first murderer.

And He’s really the only judge,

For we all know there are many roads and detours before we arrive at our destination.

 

Data

Data: (n) individual facts, statistics, or items of information

There are certainly occasions when the pursuit of truth is greatly hindered by facts.

Likewise, the beauty of possibility is just stomped to death by information.

I am temporarily many things.

  • I am temporarily lazy.
  • I am temporarily ignorant.
  • I am temporarily a liar, confused, opinionated and misguided.

Well, I could go on and on.

For you see, if you just give facts to provide the information of my status, you can present me any way you wish.

Then it would fall my lot to justify myself.

You don’t need to go dig up dirt on me.

I’ll tell you myself:

  • I have been unfaithful.
  • I have sexually harassed a woman.
  • I have cheated.
  • I have stolen, lied and misrepresented myself.
  • I have gotten angry without having a real reason.
  • Jealous.

I have been all of these things—for single moments.

Then I have repented.

  • Regretted.
  • Changed my mind.
  • Assisted.
  • Given.
  • Healed.
  • Been a peacemaker.
  • Become merciful.

Yet to claim that these virtues are continually my personality would also be false data and deceptive information.

To the average Jew in Jerusalem, Jesus was a troublemaker who didn’t follow the faith and was making himself noticeable, which was going to create problems with the Romans and unearth a dangerous environment.

The data said he was a huge problem.

The information concluded that he must die.

The truth was waiting to set us free.

You can collect your data and your information, but let it mingle with other realities, other examples and other testimonies before you become certain that you’ve gained enough input to make an honest conclusion.

Blunt

Blunt: (adj) uncompromisingly forthright

Dictionary B

I am recommending a divorce.

I think it is time to create a Splitsville between the words “blunt” and “honest.”

No human being has the authority, integrity or history to be blunt.

We can’t afford it. It’s too easy for other folks to find the skeletons in our closets–which, by the way, are still so fresh they’re covered with rotting skin.

And “honest,” although an improvement in temperament, is subject to our present comprehension.

So when people tell me they want to be blunt and honest with me, I request that they refrain. I am not confident that my burgeoning human spirit of consolation has grown enough to endure the “hard rain” of their critique.

I prefer honesty tempered with mercy. How would that manifest itself? I will give an example.

Blunt–“You are way too fat.”

Honest–“Don’t you think your obesity is hurting your health?”

Merciful–“I’m thinking about losing a few pounds myself. Have you ever tried and do you have any suggestions?”

Some individuals would consider this misleading or disingenuous.

I just consider it the only acceptable way to affect the world around you without crumbling it.

 

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Bedroom

Bedroom: (n/adj) a room for sleeping in; relating to sexual relationsDictionary B

If you realize how silly we human beings are, it actually will make you become more merciful of the thoughts and actions of others.

This is evident to me with the word “bedroom.”

Even the dictionary can’t decide whether it’s a place of sleep or a launching pad for pleasure.

The bedroom itself, with all of its elements, is divided up equally as confusing.

For instance, the word “pillow” does not conjugate to any kind of sexual inference at all, but if you say “sheets,” then thoughts of what happens between them might cross your mind.

No one seems to get horny at the mention of a “blanket.”

And certainly, the word “dresser” does not rise up the blood pressure–unless you change it to “un-dress-her.”

How about the closet? I guess you could come out of it.

The accompanying bathroom does not evoke much passion.

But the word “mattress” does conjure visions of a high school fling or two.

I don’t think we are turned on by “box springs.”

But “night stand” might make us think about special implements and lotions located within.

We are so hilarious and uptight in our actions, yet often lascivious in our thoughts.

Yet if you did a chart on the amount of time you spend in the bedroom having sex, even reading and watching television would soar high above the antics.

Bedroom–another example of how childish we remain … while still insisting we are worthy of a mortgage.

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Becoming

Becoming: (n) the process of coming to be somethingDictionary B

She was pretty sure of herself. Matter of fact, she stated it as a fact: “Young people get more conservative as they get older.”

I guess this can be stacked up with other definitive phrases like, women belong in the kitchen, Asians can’t drive and baked beans create farts.

We certainly do love our categories.

But if I were to stop and think about it for a moment, I would have to contend that the true power of longevity and surviving near-disaster is to come out of the experience more compliant, less sure of oneself and granting grace to others.

My life has not made me more conservative or more liberal. But it has taught me to be more merciful.

I have only one function left to me in breathing air, moving about and meeting others: Becoming merciful.

It is the only becoming that truly makes me becoming to others.

Without it, I am a cranky plant, growing without flowers and sprouting ever-increasing, ugly leaves.

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Atavistic

Atavistic: (adj) relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient or ancestral.dictionary with letter A

So there’s a word for it.

I have described this condition many times, but never realized that the word “atavistic” existed. How blessed I am to have stumbled onto this idea of pontificating on dictionary words!

Because I certainly know that our society suffers from atavistic attitudes.

As I have tried to discern my ways and negotiate my path in this journey of life, I have found that every time I draw a line in the sand and say that everything behind it is holy, and everything in front of it is acceptable or up for discussion, I have repeatedly found myself redrawing the line in the sand–back a bit further each time.

  • It’s made me grumpy.
  • It’s made me wonder if I’m a sellout.
  • It’s made me curious if anything sacred actually exists.

But then one day I realized that my problem in life was that my own experience was not matching up with my proclaimed convictions. In other words, I was pursuing an atavistic lifestyle, which was often honoring the traditions of my parents or forefathers instead of what I discovered for myself.

I will go so far as to say that I don’t care what the Apostle Paul had to say about God. I am happy that he had an experience he decided to write down, but unless I have a fresh encounter of my own, I will have a tendency to defend his opinions instead of uncovering the truth for myself.

So when I realized that I was hearkening to former eras (which I discovered today was “atavistic”), I cleared my head and came up with three things I know to be true:

  1. I can’t share a vision, but need to have one of my own.

Even if my goals do not agree with everyone else, they must be borne out in my own soul, and believed in my own heart–without doubt.

  1. I don’t have the right to tell anybody else what to do.

That would include expressing disapproval. If I am a mature person, I will understand that it all plays out. Foolishness never ends up wearing the king’s cap. In the long run, it is deemed foolish.

  1. Being merciful is the only way I can obtain mercy.

Since I require mercy from time to time, I should probably be making deposits in case there would be a need for a sudden withdrawal.

Now, I will tell you–these three ideas were not common sense to my family and ancestors.

They are my experience.

They keep me from being out of step with my own conscience.

They keep me from being a hypocrite.

 

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Anti

dictionary with letter A

 

Anti (prep): opposed to; against

 

I usually don’t date my material by speaking on contemporary issues, but rather, addressing broader subjects to have lasting appeal which salves the ego of this writer, who believes his material might survive his own mortality.

But I do wake up this morning feeling the need to share my heart on the death of Robin Williams.

I am certainly against it.

You could say that I’m anti-Robin Williams’ suicide.

Matter of fact, I had a chilling thought go through my mind as I rose from my bed this day: less than twenty-four hours ago, Robin was still alive, though conflicted in the process of determining to cease his journey.

What could have been done?

You see, there’s the problem. Because the news cycle feels the need to make a lot of money, movies desire sensationalism and religion works feverishly to frighten converts and potential clients into salvation, we have so negatively charged this planet with an anti-contentment of despair that it is very difficult for some people to pull out of the nosedive of depression before they crash to earth.

Am I saying we are all to blame for the death of Robin Williams?

No. He alone is the perpetrator of his own disaster.

But I am saying that God has given us many sensitive souls who are fragile in nature, and are susceptible to fits of fretting, in order to warn us when the temperature of hope has plummeted to the point where we begin to freeze out the possibility for true joy.

When someone has the gift to make people laugh, but he, himself, is so despondent over the conditions that surround him that he takes a deadly journey through drugs and anguish to finally end his own life, we must realize that a fragile soul like Robin is here to warn us of our own tendency to be dark, depraved and faithless.

  • Somewhere there has to be a light. Otherwise the darkness is no longer considered to be bleak.
  • Somewhere there has to be a pro to every con or we become convinced that life is a perpetual misery waiting for a terminal conclusion.

I wake up this morning praying for my brother Robin, because I still believe that a merciful God will show kindness to such a loving soul who just wasn’t well-suited for the “anti-everything” climate which permeates our society.

I refuse to be against anything right now because it’s too damn easy.

 

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