Crop

Crop: (n) the produce from the ground.

As the piercing tones of the political pundits wrangle with one another over decibel level, it never occurs to anyone that the United States of America cannot be compared to any other place, because unlike these other locations, this nation has a heart, a soul, a mind and a body.

Without understanding this, you begin to believe that you can nurture the mind of America while ignoring the heart, soul and body—or foolishly believe that you can honor the soul and ignore the other parts of innovation.

During my nearly thirty-five years of travel across the country, stopping off in villages, towns or bustling cities, I immediately understood the crop that comes from the soil of this great nation.

America has heart.

It has emotion. If you live on the coasts, you may think that the middle states are agrarian and backward. Matter of fact, there are people who would not even know what the word agrarian means because they consider it backward.

On the other hand, if you land somewhere deep in Nebraska, the antics of the West Coast may be discussed over the dinner table with a sneer and a frown, as those huddled around faithfully consume their biscuits and butter.

You cannot love this country, its people, its purpose, nor envision its destination without traveling to its heart, musing over its soul, mulling its mind and allowing the body to bring strength to the economics and the gross national product.

What is the crop of America?

  • Iowa believes it’s corn.
  • Silicon Valley in California would insist it’s technology.
  • The Ivy League schools on the East Coast would certainly extol the importance of higher education.
  • And those who dwell in the South will spend hours testifying of the importance of family, devotion and hospitality.

It is difficult for us to be at war with each other.

We need one another so intensely that we end up really fighting ourselves.

So when I drove my van into beautiful downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with corn fields and soybeans surrounding my journey, I knew I was in for an evening of warmth, reflection and conservative reaction to new ideas. They were never averse to progress—just wanted to make sure that no sacred lanes were destroyed to make super-highways.

When I went down to Lebanon, Tennessee, I was fully aware I was in for an evening of a probable potluck dinner, some hand clapping and folks who were frightened that they might lose the spirit of their faith by accepting too much of what, for them, seemed abnormal.

In a journey out to Palo Alto, California, surrounded by the students and faculty of Stanford University, my heart was engorged with the explosive energy of learning, experimenting and researching to find answers to problems that plague the populace.

And then, finding myself weeks later in New York City, I watched the ships come and go, feeding an economy which generates the crop of prosperity, making the whole landscape well-funded.

What is the crop of America?

It is the freedom to have a heart, a soul, a mind and a body—and to treasure each and every part.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Bat

Bat: (n) a mammal whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making it capable of sustained flightDictionary B

To a certain degree, everything in life seems normal until you have a chance to escape the circumstances and reflect on the weirdness.

I traveled the country with my family for a season, sharing music and ideas with audiences in coffee houses and churches. That in itself might be viewed as bizarre. But we were together, loved each other, attempted to maintain civility with the world around us–and laughed a lot.

So it didn’t seem particularly odd to arrive in rural Nebraska at a church in the middle of nowhere, which had invited us to come and share, and set us up to lodge in the fellowship hall so that we could save money on a motel (which did not exist anywhere nearby.)

We were grateful.

I should have known there was something wrong when we arrived at the location, set up our equipment, and I went to the men’s restroom to urinate. Totally preoccupied, I failed to look at where I was peeing and suddenly discovered there was a bat which was fairly upset over my splashings.

Yes, I peed on a bat.

I quickly departed, figuring it was just an aberration. But that night, as we lay on our makeshift mats on the floor, we began to hear the scratching, creaking and high-pitched squealing of creatures directly above our heads, in the ceiling.

It was very disconcerting–a soundtrack from the worst horror movie you’ve ever heard.

I suddenly realized that the bat I had pissed off–or pissed on, depending on how you look at it–had friends in high places.

We were surrounded.

Matter of fact, turning on the lights we discovered there was a hole in the ceiling where the bats were obviously finding an exit to fly around and check out the rest of the building.

We went on a frantic search to find a place where we would be safe. After careful inspection, we found that the only place in the building that was closed off and private seemed to be the nursery–and only a small portion of that room.

So we all huddled together in the midst of the bassinets, stuffed our ears with cotton, covered our heads with blankets and tried to sleep, praying for morning.

Needless to say, we checked out early … just in case the bats were getting up for continental breakfast.

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Background

Background (n) the circumstances or situation prevailing at a particular time or underlying a particular event.

“What’s your background?”Dictionary B

A very popular question.

I learned many years ago to dodge all inquiries which attempt to squeeze me into a favorable box.

Once people discover the roots of my nationality, the place of my birth, my chosen occupation and even my favorite color, for some reason, these nosy neighbors determine that they know enough about me to converse with me–or even market a product–in my direction.

I believe this is why we’re so juiced up on the idea of cultures and customs. Because once we determine that somebody is from Jamaica, then we are most assuredly confident that they must love reggae music.

So how difficult is it to be a rock and roll advocate and live in Jamaica?

How absolutely frustrating must it be to live in Wisconsin and have never eaten cheese?

Can you actually dwell in Iowa or Nebraska without having a running dialogue on raising corn?

The thing that makes us most uninteresting is the thing that we seem to pursue with great fervor.

“Let me shrink who you are so that who you are will fit into what I need you to be.”

So even as I watch the phenomenon of the gay community gaining credence in our society, television insists that all gay people speak with a lisp, love theater, cry at the drop of a hat and are basically snarky.

So what are we really achieving when we claim to be accepting of people–but we’re really only accepting of people when they arrive in large, definable clumps?

I will not tell you my background.

What I will share is my present footing and what I dream to be my foreground.

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