Deacon

Deacon: (n) an appointed or elected officer of a church

I can’t remember who told me this, so I apologize for not being able to attribute it to someone directly.

But in describing the chain of command, this individual told me that it is divided into three sections:

At the bottom is de-shit-cleaner.

Next up, de-shit-kicker.

And at the top is de-shit.

Perhaps a little over-simplistic, but in every organization, there seems to be someone who believes themselves to be in charge, another individual who determines themselves to be the enforcer of the rules, and then, a person or people who spend all their time cleaning up the messes and making the daily bread bake well.

This latter would be the deacon of a church.

A church is like any other corporation—in the sense that it has a mission which is often sullied by repetitive duties.

It may be fine to be the priest, delivering the sermons or the elder, telling everybody where to stand and where to go.

But someone has to unclog the women’s toilet at least twice a month.

Someone has to gather up all the bulletins left behind by parishioners, who swore they wanted to “take it with them.”

Someone has to check the hymn books for crayon marks from bored children.

Someone has to break up the rift between two sisters in Christ who have, for some reason or another, just discovered they can’t stand one another.

There is a deacon in every situation.

It is the person who knows that worshipping God does not make people godly.

They are still full of themselves, mistakes, carelessness and apathy—as they head out the door and wiggle and wobble back to their private retreats.

Charge

Charge: (v) to rush in a particular direction

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

It’s a line from Alexander Pope.

‘Tis a beautiful thought–but the absence of charging into the conflict often leaves things unaccomplished. And charging at the wrong time,
like Pickett did at Gettysburg, extracts a horrible toll.

When does foolishness later appear to be wise because it was needed to promote justice?

Certainly when Martin Luther King, Jr., did his marches in Alabama and people’s heads were busted in by policemen with sticks, it did not immediately appear to be a prudent move. Blood spilled on the ground rarely seems justified.

  • When do we charge?
  • When do we stand?
  • And when do we retreat?

These are great questions, certainly not to be handled by this meager mutt in this short bark. But I will say this:

When the voice of common sense is silenced by raging inconsistency, there is a need for good men and women everywhere to rise to their feet and move forward to stop it.

 

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Cabin

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Cabin: (n) a small shelter or house, made of wood and situated in a remote area.

The human brain is not spacious.

Matter of fact, it’s pretty cramped.

When you add the clutter of prejudice, misconception, disappointment and selfishness, it can be extraordinarily confined.

That’s the way it was with my dad.

My dad never got a chance to find out if he was a good man or a bad man because he was surrounded by men just like him. Therefore he compared himself to them.

They were all frightened of change.

They were all nervous about not having enough money.

They were all intimidated by despondent and dissatisfied women.

And they were all looking for a retreat.

My dad went to Canada–sometimes twice a year–to hunt and fish, but mostly to try to find something in his brain that was his own.

My mother didn’t mean to be intrusive. She always felt she was being helpful. The problem is, helpful is rarely achieved if no one is asking for help.

My dad was not unhappy, he just wanted to be left alone. So he built himself a cabin out on a small piece of land that we owned outside town. It was rustic, it was small, and had very little in it–except my dad, when he wanted to be away from everybody.

My girlfriend and I occasionally slipped out to the location to “play doctor” which eventually led to “hospital.”

But every time I came into that room I could feel his loneliness. I know it sounds poetic, or even misplaced, but there was a quiet in the room which was disconcerting instead of reassuring.

The day he died, people gathered at our home to consume all the casseroles which had been brought in by well-meaning relatives. I slipped away and drove to that cabin, walked in and sat down on the cot that was in the middle of the room.

I don’t know what I expected. Perhaps I thought I would feel the spirit of my dearly departed father.

All I felt was the loneliness which was now even more lonely, because its only visitor had finally escaped.

 

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Angle

dictionary with letter A

Angle: (n) the space, usually measured in degrees, between two intersecting lines or surfaces.

In the pursuit of our human journey of discovery, revelation and wonder, there are actually very few dead-end roads.

Yet we all sometimes dramatically feel that we have come to such an impasse–where choices have abandoned us and we are left staring into the Great Abyss. But honestly, most of the time–whether you believe it’s life, luck or God–some road intersects into your possibilities just short of falling off the cliff.

That road, joining up with our present march towards extinction, creates an angle.

What a great word.

Yes–there is always an angle allowing us to escape in the nick of time.

There’s even a verse in the Good Book that reinforces this idea. We are provided “a way of escape”–a road that joins our dismal retreat, allowing us to turn right or left, gaining a new perspective and no longer being on a dead-end street.

I have been part of many failing plans. Yet you don’t make money as a writer, nor gain fans, by discussing your dismal results. People normally like to hear about the successes.

But I’ve never had a success which was not a branch from a road heading toward failure, which granted me a new angle–a fresh perspective and a glorious reprieve from doomed conclusions.

It is too much to ask or demand, that we never have a set-back. Matter of fact, in an attempt to avoid such interruptions, we usually invite the possibility of disaster.

But when you’re on one of those dead-end roads that seems to be going nowhere, start looking for the turnoff … the miraculous intervention of opportunity that gives you an angle for escaping the great leap off the edge. 

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