Crouch

Crouch: (v) to stoop or bend low.

I’m going to do what I don’t normally do—but when I do it, I feel free to do it at will.

I’m going to abandon this definition and tell you a story about a man named Andre Crouch.

It’s spelled the same.

Many, many years ago, when the United States was recovering from a war and an egotistical President who was a tyrant, and crooked (pause)…

Hmm.

Anyway, it was a while back.

There was a young, black soul and Gospel singer named Andre Crouch who came on the scene for a season and did his part to open up the United States to racial harmony and integration—taking the land of Dixie and the world of Southern music, and twirling it on its head.

For these old church singers did not want to accept a black man into the inner circle (which could not be broken) but also could not deny that this gentleman was one helluva songwriter, and an even greater performer.

Arguably, it could be stated that he was the father, or at least uncle, of contemporary Christian music.

He was my friend.

I had a puny little group from Central Ohio. We were desperately seeking some attention from the marketplace when I met Andre Crouch. He did something he should never have done. He took us in—pale though we were—and allowed us to be the warmup group for his large concerts.

Even though he was gradually integrating, most of his audience was of a darker skin color. Why he thought he could get away with having a white warmup group when there were probably hundreds of black brothers and sisters in the audience who sang a “choir’s-full” better than us, is a mystery.

But it’s what Andre wanted to do—his way of integrating his race—by using us.

He was an unpredictable, never-on-time, kind, flakey and humorously fussy individual.

He helped me.

I got to see firsthand how an audience is to be gently handled—loved to life.

I got to climb onto his tour bus and drive around with him, seeking good barbecue in Toledo, Ohio. (We failed).

And I was shocked one Saturday morning when he arrived at a tiny gig I had—a breakfast for about forty people. Andre decided to drive up some 150 miles from Detroit, where he’d been in concert the night before, and surprise us.

Needless to say, that itsy-bitsy audience came alive once Mr. Crouch entered the room, and soon forgot I was even there once he walked over to my Wurlitzer electric piano and banged out some tunes.

Andre died several years ago.

But as is the case with all of us, he lives on because one of the people he loved and helped is here to tell a good story.

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Cronkite

Cronkite, Walter: 1916–2009, U.S. newscaster. 

He had the right look to calm our prejudices.

The perfect voice to allay our fears.

A coiffed mustache to parallel favorite uncle.

And a serious tone to let us know he knew the hell what he was talking about.

We never could confirm if he was a Republican or a Democrat. He felt that his political leanings were inconsequential—even detrimental in delivering the news.

He cried once, when a President was shot.

And he beamed like a proud father when he saw American brothers walking on the moon.

His name was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t have anyone like him, basically because we’ve decided that people who bring us the news events from around the world need to be pretty, opinionated, over-bearing, caustic and political.

It would be difficult for the younger generation to imagine a “newsman.” They are accustomed to talking heads, pundits and rating whores.

When there was no 24-hour news cycle, but there was a need to know what was going on in the world, millions of Americans invited one man into their homes, through their singular television set which sat in the living room in a corner, offering three channels.

This man was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t know if he had fetishes, affairs or a history of juvenile delinquency. It wasn’t because he was secretive. It was because Mr. Cronkite did not believe that he mattered—only that he accurately, truthfully, and dispassionately delivered the update of what was going on in our world.

He was a treasure. He is still a treasure.

And through the miracle of video tape, he can be viewed by some of the young news gatherers, who might just gain credence by personally taking on a revival of his spirit.

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Countryfied

Countryfied: (adj) not sophisticated or cosmopolitan; provincial.

Short elections ago, when candidates were desperately searching for a means or an end to guarantee the vote of people of color, there was an abiding premise that the United States was becoming a deeper shade of beige.

Those running for election tried to guarantee the support of the younger crowd who could hip and hop instead of the older ones, who seemed to flip and flop.

Then, in 2016, the notion of the decline of rural America and the urbanization of the nation was startled by the election of the new President. His constituency didn’t seem to know too much about Hollywood, the Oscars or America’s Top 40.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Their musical selection landed somewhere between “the Johns”—Lennon or Cash. Their clothing was simple and bought from a common department store they shared with their neighbors (being careful not to wear the same shirt on the same day).

Their food was country-fried because they, themselves, were countryfied.

Although attempts were made to characterize this voting block as bigoted, prejudiced, ignorant and unwilling to accept new ideas and different people, it turns out that in many cases, they didn’t hate blacks, gays, Hispanics and feminists—just chose not to hang around them.

The reason for this, in their minds, was simple. These countryfied folks were taught to be humble and not pushy, with a stringent fear of God and zealous honoring of the flag. They deemed themselves patriots. Actually, it’s the piece of arrogance they proudly display while trying to suppress any other willfulness that attempts to surface.

So suddenly, in our time, the politicians are trying to find “countryfied” again.


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Cosigner

Cosigner: (n) a joint signer of a promissory note.

The definition of greatness, and perhaps even the best description of faith, is possessing a vision greater than your substance.

Very few of us arrive on Earth with enough substance to match our vision.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I found this to be true in my early years of adulthood. I knew what I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure how to do it, so I was very susceptible to the lame-brain plans of others—or even of my own making—which might be shortcuts for achieving my goals.

All of these ideas that were hatched in front of me and inside me always entailed the need for money. It was the idea that money needed to come before I could do the work.

Whenever someone suggested that I could do the work without needing money, I rejected it because it extended my waiting period and therefore discouraged my faithfulness.

I cannot tell you how many times I went to family, friends or even strangers, asking them to cosign on a loan, a car, a motor home, or even sound equipment, because I was convinced that my need for the substance was inhibiting my faith.

Most of the time, very wise people said, “Absolutely not.”

I did not like them. I thought they were selfish, unfeeling, perhaps anti-Christ.

On three occasions, when people gave into my “pitch” and signed on a piece of paper for money or goods on my behalf, they were left holding the bag—which I believe contained turds.

Later on in my life, when I got substance, I came back and reimbursed these people. But at the time, I am sure they felt very used—and their faith was damaged because I stole their substance.

Family and friends come to me sometimes, asking me to cosign a loan or a contract. I just pull out my wallet, peer into it, and figure out which President, with his face on the paper money, I can impeach from my ownership and give to them. If I can’t afford to give it, I don’t offer it.

Cosigning always seems like a great idea—sometimes even to two people. But if you really believe that substance is needed more than faith, your lack of faith will make it impossible to please either God or Earth.


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Coordinate

Coordinate: (v) to place or arrange in proper order or position.

“Where am I?”

I find that many people spend too much time trying to figure out, “Who am I?”

There is some childish notion that we can be separate from the rest of humankind without any regard for the flow of the times, and be able to maintain our autonomy without finding ourselves lonely and out of step.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

It is not 1955. We do not have television shows where men and women who are married have to sleep in separate beds. We are allowed to say the word “pregnant.” Chauvinism is no longer an acceptable behavior, or even one that can be winked at as just part of “human tribe banter.”

It is not 1974. We are no longer going to tolerate a President who breaks the law and tries to cover it up. (At least I hope not.)

It is not 1985. We are no longer promoting greed and believing that the AIDS virus is a punishment from God against the gay community.

Where am I?” is a very important question. If I am not able to coordinate what I believe in some sort of harmony with the world around me, I will not only be ineffective, but can quickly gain the reputation for being bigoted and notorious.

While I am sure some people are frightened that we’re losing the moral fiber of our society, a decision was made millions and millions of years ago by a Creator—to imbue His creation with free will.

Free-will opens the door to evolution. Evolution invites change.

There is only one immutable fact: if we don’t love our neighbor as ourselves, we will always be out of step and out of time.

We must coordinate with the world around us.

To do so, we must honor where we are much more than who we are.


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Commute

Commute: (v) to travel some distance between one’s home and place of work on a regular basis.

Sitting around the room at a party last night with a bunch of friends and family, a young man piped up and said, “I evaluate people on whether they voted for this President. If they did I know they’re stupid.”

Well, truthfully, this article could be read forty years from now and it would still apply to someone who felt that way because “their” person did not make the White House.

I did not condemn the young man for his judgmental attitude. I didn’t try to convince him that he was wrong.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I did explain to him that he didn’t understand the mindset, simplicity and utter joy of small-town people all over America–who don’t have to commute an hour-and-a-half to go to work.

If they want a loaf of bread, they climb into their truck, drive down to the local market, where they spend much more time jabbering with their neighbors than getting their purchase. The trip back home takes no more than two minutes. There are no frayed nerves from traffic jams. There are no attitudes that the human race is full of assholes because they got cut off at the one stoplight in town.

It is much easier for them to be genteel.

But it’s also easier for them to be suspicious of the “big city ideas” trying to come in and take over.

When you live in a city where there’s a commute, you, yourself, develop a different pathway to sanity.

You may be more defensive.

You may be more interested in the government taking over matters of social order, since you don’t grow your own corn and soybeans.

You are not worse than the man or woman who lives in Iowa and only needs five minutes to get to their job or their barn.

You’re just different. Your perspective varies from theirs.

Wise is the soul who understands the simplicity of the village folk, and the struggle of those who commute.

 

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Cohesion

Cohesion: (n) the action or fact of forming a united whole.

The power of a premise is that it gives you some place to sit down, kick off your shoes and relax, or some standard which is going to remain as truth, no matter what the circumstances.

The premise of America is “we, the people:”

  • We, the people, in order to form a more perfect union…
  • A government of the people, for the people and by the people…
  • Self-evident truth, that we all are created equal…

Cohesion is threatened when we invent stand-ins for “we, the people.”

Is a representative form of government an acceptable replacement for the will of the people?

Is a charismatic-driven president a superb substitute for the will of the people?

Do the courts, deciding over legal ramifications, grant us an equal eye as does the vision offered by “we, the people?”

Because of this slipping, sliding, replacing, retrieving and taking for granted instead of questioning, we often find ourselves at the mercy of an “emotional coup” in our nation, as the needs and hearts of the citizens are displaced by what is deemed to be political necessity.

Flatly, there is no equal to “we, the people.” And it should never be switched out by those who disrespect the intelligence of the citizens, feeling they are incapable of making adequate choices.

The cohesion is simple: “we, the people” creates the mind-set for “us, the nation.”

 

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