Coerce

Coerce: (v) to persuade an unwilling person to do something by using force or threats.

Broken things need to be fixed. It’s just the honest-to-god truth.

Holding lives–or even damaged tables–together with a few temporary solutions just never works. Broken things always break apart even further–just at the worst times.

So somebody came up with the idea to take broken people, and try to degrade them in a pit of fear, hoping to coerce them into “being good” simply because they’re terrified of digging a deeper grave.

Sometimes we call it religion.

Other times, it’s just a series of laws put in place to intimidate.

But rather than healing the broken and making them stronger, we decide to prop them up with threats.

It never works.

You can never scare a teenager out of drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

You can never frighten a sinner from committing adultery.

And you can never coerce people who think they’re good to ever consider getting better. 

 

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Clump

Clump: (v) to form into a clump or mass.

There is an unwritten command to never challenge contradictions–especially if they are well-populated or in some way garner profit.

Yet it is what maintains the presence of a universal ignorance, which on occasion, rears its head and growls at humanity because we refuse to rectify the obvious.

The objection should be simple.

For instance, we maintain that human beings are individuals unto themselves while insisting that we have a predilection to “clump together.” Our excuse for this anomaly is that there are times when we want to be autonomous, and other occasions when being part of a group is essential to our well-being.

This paradox is supported all over our society, from religion to politics, entertainment to business, simply because there are so many adherents and it allows us to make a lot of money from lifting up one culture above another.

No one stops to ask if clumping is good for people, or under what auspices linking together is positive, and when it is running for the corner of the room to avoid responsibility.

When should I clump?

Should I clump because I’m in a room with people of German descent?

Should I clump because I’m around a congregation of believers who favor my view of the Eternal?

Should I clump because I have a penis instead of a vagina and find those who share that appendage?

Should I clump because I like romantic comedies better than adventure films?

And once I decide on clumps I want to pursue, how do I escape them to gain my own uniqueness and flavor?

Maybe there’s only one clump–the human race. And we escape the human race by temporarily splitting off to our own thoughts, which prepares us to come back and be more gracious to one another.

 

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Cloying

Cloying: (adj) an excess of sweetness, richness, or sentiment.

When we need something and we can’t find what’s real, generally speaking, we have to settle for the best fake available.

I remember the first time I ate imitation crab meat. I had eaten real crab meat before. The imitation did not taste the same. But when I considered the price difference, I allowed that phony crab to attract me–in its cloying way.

It is my great exasperation that we are getting so accustomed to cloying, tugging, pulling, phony emotion out of awkward situations, that we will begin to believe that the original, natural form of feeling is implausible.

After all, since human beings are heart creatures, they need to feel.

Even though there are philosophies, political parties and religions which try to remove sentiment from the equation, we still end up with stiff cardboard cutouts, who every once in a while have to fake paper-thin emotions.

When does it become cloying?

It’s cloying when I realize I need to feel something but don’t, so I insert it anyway–instead of feeling something and needing to express it as soon as possible.

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Clown

Clown: (n) a comic entertainer

There are actually three types of clowns, offering varying degrees of danger.

Yes–clowns are dangerous. They forewarn of outrageous comedy but soon become common, needing to push the envelope, opening the
door to all sorts of excesses.

Clown 1: Often referred to as the “class clown,” although he or she can be quite classless.

This is a person who feels it is their job to bring a giggle, even if a sigh or tears is required. He or she is quite angry if you suggest that the insertion of levity is poorly timed. And God forbid that you would ever try to take away their First Amendment right to be funny. After all, what gives us the authority to determine what is comical as opposed to offensive? (Wait! Isn’t that what being mature is all about?)

Clown 2: The Classic Clown, wearing a red nose and floppy shoes, to warn those around him or her of a calamity of errors, which is supposed to be interpreted through the slapstick antics, as side-splitting.

Physical comedy is an instinct to laugh at another human’s pain. When stated that way, people wrinkle their brow and suggest that you’re an old fuddy-duddy.

Clowns have to work too hard to get the job done. This would be similar to a fire-fighter attending a backyard barbecue just in case a three-alarm blaze might break out.  And finally…

Clown 3: These are the people in government, religion and business who have discovered they have gotten away with some egregious action, and nobody has stopped them, so they continue their path of errancy, adding on boxes of insult to the shipment of injury.

“Since I got by with THAT, and nobody challenged me, I wonder if I can do THIS.”

These clowns are particularly annoying because they don’t sit in a classroom, nor do they wear fright wigs. (Well, at least most of them don’t.) What they do is fit in–while not fitting in at all.

They take a code of ethics and turn it into a paper airplane, which they toss through the air to prove how free-wheeling they truly are.

They question values which have proven to be gold, and pretend they are nothing but yellow bricks.

As you can see, all three clown roles seem to have more drawbacks than positive contributions. Yet we continue to allow them to exist under the canopy, “we all need to laugh.”

Actually, we all need good cheer, which means most of the time, if we’re going to mature, we should be laughing at ourselves, not at the pratfalls of others or the decimation of common sense.

 

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Civil Disobedience

Civil disobedience: (n) peaceful form of political protest.

I often wonder if there’s any truth to the notion that to keep from being an asshole, you sometimes have to be one.

It would be terrific if I could voice my opinion and be heard. But normally, by the time the question arrives on my doorstep, someone’s
already passed a law or determined the answer. They’re just asking my opinion to pad the poll.

Yet I must tell you–sometimes there are things that are so important that we need to stray from the broad path and stumble down the “strait and narrow.”

We may disagree on what the subject matters may be, but they never have anything to do with human morality. By the time I discover what is moral, the opportunity to do anything about it is usually far past, and I am standing on the sidelines, insulting others through my judgments.

Powerful issues always revolve around one central theme: Since God gave humans free will, are you going to take it away? Are you going to infringe upon it? Perhaps put a time limit on it, or the need to buy a license?

Civil disobedience is a decision to stand up for free will.

There are occasions when it makes you very popular–and then there are moments when you’re accused of being damned.

But here’s the truth of the matter: No one is better than anyone else.

I have no right whatsoever to edit that reality.

There should never be a controversy over race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or preferences in music.

But since there is, sometimes we will be compelled to stand up for the rights of humans to be what God intended them to be … human.

 

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Christ

Christ: (n) the title, also treated as a name, given to Jesus of Nazareth

From the original Greek, the word “Christ” means “Anointed One.”

So much like religion–one definition requires a second definition.

What is anointed?

Is the Christ the only Anointed One?

Are you anointed?

Am I anointed?

Or is it a religion because there’s only one anointed person, who is worshiped by scads of non-anointed followers?

When I read the New testament, especially the Gospels, I can envision Jesus as a person. It’s when they start working hard to make him the Christ, fulfilling
Testament prophesies and legitimizing traditional practices, that I tend to duck back into the shadows.

I often wonder if Jesus would consider himself the Christ, the Anointed One.

We do have the occasion when he deflected praise for being God from a rich young ruler.

He constantly elevated the floor plan of people’s lives by telling them that “their faith made them whole.”

Is it possible that all of a sudden he turns into this opulent Son of the Most High God, who declares himself to be the Anointed One?

And it begs the question: do human beings require an Anointed One? Does somebody have to be perfect, free of sin and sent from the heavens in order for us to be impressed and impacted?

I woke up this morning to a world of white, layered in snow. I looked out my window and watched as a man in a car braved the elements, sliding his way over the ice, out onto the main thoroughfare of humanity.

That was pretty impressive. I wouldn’t call him anointed, but I did stop for a second and applaud him.

What does it take to touch us as people?

We are touched when we’re around other people who are burdened by our same difficulties, and still have not given up.

That’s what moves us.

Jesus did pretty well with the multitudes.

But Jesus Christ lives in a more uppity neighborhood.

 

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Chosen

Chosen: (adj) having been selected as the best or most appropriate.

Without spraying dark, sticky thoughts into the air, I must admit that if I knew what I know now, I might not have chosen to be born.

I don’t think I would have chosen Mary and Russell as my parents. Considering my youthful antics, they might not have chosen me.

I certainly would not have chosen to be raised in the Midwest of the United States during a season when prejudice, bigotry and self-righteousness were considered to be “American values.”

I wouldn’t have chosen to be fat. Even though some people try to gain their self-esteem while encased in blubber, the excess poundage does take its toll.

I don’t know exactly what I would have chosen–I mean, I could continue this list and probably offend everyone I know.

But I certainly would have chosen Jesus.

This is not because I’m a religious person. Matter of fact, I have been known to doze off immediately at the mention of prayer.

It’s the practicality.

It’s the humanity.

It’s the responsibility that Jesus of Nazareth placed on himself and his followers that lets me understand that he “gets it.”

He gets what it means to be a human being on this planet called Earth. I don’t know if his manifesto would work on other planets. I don’t know anything about habitation in other galaxies.

But Earth requires a certain payload to launch your rocket.

I’ve chosen that.

I fail at it, and as long as I realize it’s a failure on my part and not a master plot against my happiness, I’m usually just fine.

I don’t know what else specifically I would have chosen.

I would not have chosen a career as a writer, because criticism and obscurity are your only friends.

Would I have chosen to pen this essay? Probably not.

I got up in a rather relaxed, lazy mood, and your interest just didn’t interest me that much.

So I’ve chosen, at times, to persevere–even though the immediate benefit does not scream its worth.

 

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