Damn

Damn: (v) to declare something to be bad, unfit, invalid

 “…and he that believeth not shall be damned.”

I think I was eight years old when I read that for the first time.

I wondered why.

Why does God need to damn anyone?

I wasn’t sure what I believed about God. It is an evolution. Matter of fact, to this day our love affair is a private matter.

But I was pretty sure, from my understanding, that He was “man enough” to survive an unbeliever.

After all, I do. There are many people who don’t believe in me. Some of them have gone so far as to declare their unbelief and pronounce damnation on my soul. But I never had the inclination to toss my own rendition of ultimate rejection back their way.

It’s not because I’m noble. It just seems very childish to be really mad at someone because they don’t believe in you.

The instinct may be there.

Perhaps hurt feelings.

A bit of confusion.

But fury? Rage? I don’t think so.

And why would God, who has so many devotees, focus in on the few who decide to be reluctant, or even rebellious?

Why would God damn anyone?

Hell, if He started damning people, I don’t know where He would stop.

So yes—I’m pretty sure if damnation is part of the nature of God, we all are lost and abandoned.

No, I just have to believe that somebody wrote that. Maybe they were trying to scare their congregation into being faithful. Maybe they wanted their race to seem better than others who did not believe.

I don’t know.

I just don’t reckon God is so insecure that He has to retaliate apathy with judgment.

Wouldn’t it be funny if each one of us received an eternity that matched our own choices? Those who believe heaven is “streets of gold and mansions” would discover that they are surrounded with great wealth—but nothing really to do.

And those who believe we come back again through reincarnation to be other creatures would find themselves on that merry-go-round.

And of course, those who believe there is no God, and the grave is the end of the journey, would be allowed to decay in peace.

Counterculture

Counterculture: (n) the culture and lifestyle of those people who reject or oppose the dominant values and behavior of society.

Take any thirty years.

Yes—look back in your history book and isolate off a thirty year period and you will realize that every group of people who was deemed to be “counterculture” was ignored for ten years, rejected for the next ten, but by the third decade had gained position, if not predominance.

It also holds true for our common values. Case in point:

Divorce used to be never spoken of—ignored, if you will. Then for a while it was rejected as unacceptable. And now, it’s not only a part of our society, but it is generally assumed that any human being over the age of thirty-five has divorced at least once.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

An obvious example is the gay community, which was at first ignored, then heavily rejected, and now appears deeply rooted in the fabric of our culture.

Yet there are two outstanding exceptions to this theory—black people and women.

Our American citizens who happen to have black skin seem to have stalled somewhere between rejection and inclusion.

And women continue to be bandied about as sexual objects instead of living, breathing sisters in our fight for sanity.

’Tis perplexing. It certainly gives some food for thought.

For when I was a young man, the war in Vietnam was a symbol of courage and American will to fight communism. Enter the counterculture of anti-war. Now, the Indochina conflict is basically a very dark joke.

I, for one, am going to be very careful to reject to anything as counterculture—because even the faith I hold dear, which proudly meets in churches every Sunday, was once condemned to be a counterculture, secretly fellowshipping in the tombs.


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Copy-edit

Copy-edit: (v) to edit for publication

Although classically it is portrayed that writers suffer “blockage” and are unable to come up with ideas—or even the next line—the truth is,  when a writer is inspired with a good story, the characters often become so verbose, and dare I say overbearing, that the end result is an overabundance of syllables, paragraphs and even chapters.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

There is actually only one rule in writing, and since there’s only one, we shall not call it a rule, but rather, refer to it as a smiling opportunity.

That would be: “Don’t do anything to interrupt or impede your own story.”

This is why it’s important to copy-edit a book, a story or even an article (such as the one I’m writing to you).

It is not fair to the reader, to get him or her all tied up in useless information about the entwined colors in a particularly plush davenport—when what is happening on the couch is the real gig.

Some writers become fussy and sentimental about one particular thought or character’s involvement. But as you age and mature, you realize that the reader is what you’re writing for—not the approval of other writers or publishers who would jump up and down in great glee if they got the chance to reject a submission from Ernest Hemingway.


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Cold-call

Cold-call: (n) an unsolicited visit or telephone call made by someone trying to sell goods or services.

“Good morning! My name is…”

I immediately could tell that the person on the other end of the line was not convinced of the goodness of the morning, and did not give one flying Frito pie as to what my name was.

In baseball that’s called Strike Two.

What I did next would determine whether I would immediately go to Strike Three in the first twenty seconds, or survive, crossing thirty seconds–or the amazing possibility of a minute.

Cold-calling.

So referred to because it is calling that is made to human icebergs.

Usually when I realized that the person I was speaking to was not convinced of the beauty of the day, and was not impressed with my name, I would unfortunately have that two-second gulp in my throat.

This was always the length of time it took the individual who had already expressed indifference, to come in and close the deal on me.

“Listen, I don’t need anything. Bye.”

My supervisor in the company pointed out to me that when I was doing the cold-calling–the phone solicitation–I had deprived this individual of the benefit–dare he say, blessing?–of hearing about the terrific product.

All of this done through a misplaced gulp.

I got better. Sometimes I survived past the first gulp and got all the way to this phrase:

“What I’m calling you about today…”

Then a second wall, needing to hurdled, standing tall, wide and thick, suddenly rose before my nose–and once again, was terminated with the party on the other line (who, by the way, was not having a party) excusing him or herself and hanging up.

If I could get to the one-minute mark, where I explained how the product I was offering was not only beneficial but terribly inexpensive, I found that one out of four times I actually made a sale.

Let’s analyze the numbers:

Ninety percent of the people cut me off at my first gulp.

Five percent of the people stopped me with “the great wall.”

This means that five out of every one hundred people became my potential market of sales. I would have to ask you (and myself) what I would do in life if the potential for it only rallied five out of every one hundred times?

Honest to God, I think I would give up sex over that.

Cold-calling is something that many adults in the past experienced in an attempt to escape being criticized for not having a job.

And by itself–with its trials, its rejection and its nastiness–it nearly turned all of us into vagrants.

 

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Away

Away: (adv) at a distance from a particular place, person, or thing.

Life is all about getting ahead of the problem.dictionary with letter A

It really is. Even when people inform me that they were in an accident or were surprised by a dilemma, as I sit and listen to them talk, I realize there were several signposts along the way, telling them of pending difficulty.

Is it our sense of optimism or our laziness that keeps us from heeding the calls which forewarn of misfortune? Because after all–or maybe during all–it’s about discovering when to be close and when to be away.

And when it comes to the status of away, it is much better to go away than it is to be told to stay away.

You will get warnings when it seems that your involvement is no longer beneficial, and if you can quietly bow out and move on to the next possibility, you will never have to feel the embarrassment of banishment.

But the reason we fight is because we don’t know when to go away and we wait for someone else to tell us to stay away.

This has speckled my existence with annoying bouts of insecurity, because I experienced rejection instead of merely stepping into the shadows, on to the next possibility around the corner.

How can we know when it’s time to be away?

  1. We are no longer edifying the situation.
  2. We are taken for granted
  3. People have to be free–and in this case, that means free of us

There’s a tremendous blessing in finding yourself away from circumstances which have left you stagnant. It can be uncomfortable; it can be sad.

But in the long run, it is the pruning of our tree that allows us to grow new branches.

 

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Agape

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAgape: (n) Christian love, as distinct from erotic love

I was always told that “agape” was God’s love.

What would that be?

I suppose even if you were an atheist you might like to speculate on what style the mythical figure of God might have when it comes to expressing love.

Of course, it’s popular nowadays to present the love of God as “unconditional.” This might be the same reaction you would receive if you went to a convention of men and asked them if they believed in equal rights for women. The only acceptable answer would be a resounding, “Of course!”

But as often has been expressed through the cliché, “the proof is in the pudding,” it is not what we THINK about love, but how we express it in the moments that are inconvenient that demonstrates its true value. The truth is, no one truly loves me if they allow me to continue destructive behavior which limits my possibilities and jeopardizes my life span.

So does unconditional–or agape–love mean that God smiles on whatever we do and finds some way to adjust His philosophy and Kingdom to our whims? I don’t think even an atheist would contend that such a God would be able to maintain order in His universe under those specifications.

Agape love is set apart as important because it understands weakness, tenderly addresses it, challenges, but never leaves nor forsakes.

That IS quite miraculous.

Normally by the time we are angry at someone, we also have concluded that we are prepared to disassociate from them.

  • Unconditional love is not telling people they are fine the way they are.
  • Unconditional love is sharing your heart with people, expressing your concerns, but remaining.

If we truly taught agape affection, humanity could stop being so defensive, self-protecting, lying and cautious, and begin to believe that nothing can separate them from the tenderness of another.

So I make it clear to the people who I love that I will listen to their dreams and not allow them to stray too far from their aspirations without reminding them of their own hearts. Then, if they don’t want to listen to me, I will settle into a position of presence, without feeling the need to condone.

It IS possible. Until we define unconditional love, we will believe that every time we are challenged, it is rejection.

Rejection does not occur … unless someone stomps away in disapproval.

Abase

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abase: v. to behave in a way so as to belittle or degrade someone.

By the way, abase is not to slide into second on your face. I just wanted to make that clear. When I read the definition, what struck me is that “abase,” “abasing” or the action of “abasement” is considered by Old Dic to be negative.

It’s something we do to other people. I would welcome it if someone could actually and legitimately belittle me.  Fat chance.

It’s rather interesting that the Bible suggests that we learn how to be abased. How does one learn the correct procedure to be degraded? You look like a real doormat if somebody puts you down and you go, “Oh! Good one!”

It’s really stupid to anticipate rejection and be flinching in the presence of others because you are prepared for them to them to swallow up all the air your ego needs to breathe. The only thing I found successful is to point out one’s own flaws, weaknesses, quirks and oddities before other people have a chance to enjoy picking the bones on your carcass. To do this, you have to have an excellent sense of self and appreciation for the parts of you that contribute in a positive way to human life. Then you can detach those portions of your personality that have decayed and are about ready to fall off.

I guess it’s hard to go into the a-base-ment when you  haven’t really enjoyed your own living room. It’s damp down there in the a-base-ment. It smells like what you think would be the odor if a book farted.

Disgusting, huh?

So it’s not recommended for anyone to be thrown down into the cellar unless you know how to ascend  the stairs with a good sense of humor and warm yourself by the fires of your own contentment. I don’t like to ridicule people. The ones who fight back are too mean and the ones who don’t are too pitiful. I don’t like to belittle anyone. I learned a long time ago–there’s always someone better than me, and having played football for a season or two and sharing a locker room with other men, i can tell you of a certainty–we are not all created equal.

Abase is something I must do to myself in a comedic way to make certain that it’s always my idea and not yours. Otherwise, I end up looking through dirty windows surrounded by decade-old magazines, a busted washing machine and a broken bicycle–trying to get a peek at the sun.