Code

Code: (n) a system of symbols substituted for other words for the purpose of secrecy

When we’re finally convinced that we cannot establish our superiority over other human beings by clearly stating it out loud, we develop a code.

It is a code we only teach to certain people–the ones we feel are worthy of our intelligence, depth, maturity and spirituality.

We sneer when others try to understand but fail due to either their weakness of character or lack of brain power.

This is why doctors choose to use medical terms instead of practical ones.

It’s why ministers refer to oblique verses of Holy Book, in order to communicate the idea that only they, a few others and God are privy to the translation.

It’s why politicians have a stump speech, and then have a real code of behavior which they enact with their staff and subordinates.

This is one of the reasons Samuel Morse developed a code–so ideas could be quickly passed from one party to another without having to wait for the arrival of a letter by stage coach.

There’s nothing innately wrong with a code.

It would be extraordinarily paranoid to assume that not being familiar with a code of one group or another was a purposeful snub.

But I do think it is the responsibility of kind human beings everywhere to dispel codes and find language, emotions and gestures which have a more universal appeal.

 

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Closet

Closet: (n) a  wardrobe, especially one tall enough to walk into.

Coming out of the closet has become synonymous with revealing one’s sexual preference. Yet an earlier mention of the closet was offered by Jesus: a location for prayer.

He was concerned that people would pray in public to be heard, using flowery words and long sentences to make themselves appear
spiritual.

Jesus recommended a closet.

So when coming out of that closet after prayer, the power of the experience should be the energy offered and the optimism initiated. It was to be a place of reflection, empowerment, personal humility and discovery.

Much has been achieved by encouraging humans to come out of the closet, offering revelations on their personal status. No doubt about that.

But we are human. Ultimately our main concern is not whether someone is gay or straight, or whether they pray or not, but instead, if they’re going to be cooperative. It’s not the status of male or female, but instead, an evaluation on how well they are able to evolve. Also, it’s not if they are Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Jew, but rather, a determination about the comprehension on how Planet Earth really works.

So to some degree, we all need to come out of the closet–after a sweet time of contemplation, consideration and prayer.

And hopefully, when we do come from the closet, we will arrive to promote acceptance and unity with those around us.

If we do, then our time in the closet was well-spent.

If we don’t, we feed the suspicion in others that our choices are selfish and rude.

 

 

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Clergyman

Clergyman: (n) a male priest, minister, or religious leader, especially a Christian one

All the mistakes I’ve made in my life were caused by me thinking that what I had to offer was not enough.

Whenever I calmed down and realized that the stash in my duffel bag was the total subsistence of my life and journey, I was fine.

But when I allowed myself to be intimidated by forces around me which deemed my offering to be meager because it lacked some
certification, I always ended up either a fool or a liar.

I wanted to help people.

I wanted to use my art to do so.

I wanted to share a message that had humor, hope and heft.

But I also once was very young, and contended that I needed some title to punctuate my adequacy.

Since I did not go to college, I wasn’t allowed to be called “a Reverend.” Therefore I could not be a clergyman.

I don’t know why I wanted to pursue such a position–I guess I just wanted folks to be impressed when they heard the full extent of my resume spoken in a word: “minister.”

So I lied. I manufactured higher learning. And eventually I just called myself a “Reverend” even though I didn’t have any pedigree to bark out spirituality.

It took me many years to escape the foolishness of my insecurity. As soon as I did, I realized that being a clergyman was actually to my disadvantage, because my music, writing, dramatic pursuits and screenplays were much more effective tools for reaching my brothers and sisters than climbing into a pulpit and emoting.

I often think, what is it I’m doing today that’s equally as stupid as my pursuit of being a false cleric?

I don’t know. But I keep looking.

Because if I catch it early, maybe I can avoid some of the embarrassment that occurs when people finally find out the truth.

And…

They always do.

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-cide

-cide: (combining form) denoting a person or substance that kills.

Sitting here leisurely in my comfortable chair being allowed the luxury of thought, I am suddenly and completely overwhelmed with the futility of killing.

I don’t know why it struck me that way this morning. I didn’t have any trouble eating my breakfast sausage, which certainly required the life
of a pig (or was it a turkey?)

But overall, I am bewildered.

It seems to me that as long as we live in a world where an insult from our neighbor causes us to close down communication, and further intimidation coming from this newly found enemy pushes us to contemplate violence, won’t we always just be two steps away from murder–especially when those portions of life which are supposed to soften our hearts–moments like spirituality–are mysteriously fueled by feuds and sensations of supremacy? What will ever drag us away from the “killing fields?”

I shall not continue sharing much more because I fear that I’m waxing eloquent instead of relevant.

Are there people, creatures, causes, nations or even religions that deserve to be eliminated?

I don’t know.

I guess, this morning, all I’m telling you is, I sure as hell don’t want to be the one to de-“cide.”

 

 

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Chinese

Chinese: (adj) relating to China or its language, culture, or people.

My daughter-in-law is from China.

She is the wife of my godson. They have two beautiful children. I don’t see them much because they live in China.

My first encounters with this dear lady were enlightening. We struck up an immediate friendship, and I was deeply impressed by her work
ethic, her respect and her honoring of those who have more age then herself.

But she is Chinese. She was raised under an absolute totalitarian form of government, which discourages people from being inventive. Now, the Chinese diplomats would probably take issue with that, but the danger of trying to make everyone the same is that they take you up on it. And once sameness has been achieved, the desire to excel, be different or discover an original path seems pointless.

In our capitalistic system, discouragement comes from a different arena. We are constantly pumped full of the helium of hope–that anyone can be wealthy and successful, while simultaneously closing doors of finance and opportunity on ideas coming from ingenious folks who weren’t born with any spoon in their mouth.

I suppose the controversy rages over which system hampers the human spirit the most. Is it more vindictive to quell creativity, or much more punishing to be creative and unable to find the means to your end?

I suppose my daughter-in-law and I could talk about this for hours. But the real issue is free will. Although many religionists and politicians would persist in trying to steal it from the human condition, God is intensely committed to free will.

So where the Spirit of God exists, there is liberty.

I have the choice to be lazy, productive, genuine, fake, kind or mean. Then I also have the responsibility to rise and fall on my choice.

It would be amazing if the Chinese people, with their great traditions and immense passion for excellence, could be unleashed with creativity and complete freedom, to choose their own path. Would they maintain the quality of their passion, or become complainers like many capitalists?

I don’t know.

True spirituality is feeling responsible without being confined, and being creative without insisting you’re entitled.

 

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Cherry-Pick

Cherry-pick: (v) to selectively choose (the most beneficial items) from what is available.

Living in an era when social slop is often offered as emotional cuisine, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain the bad from the good and call it ugly.

Matter of fact, upon reading the word “cherry-pick” this morning, a negative feeling came over me–images of prissy people sitting around
choosing their favorites based upon preference in design and structure.

People often say that I cherry-pick my political views, missions and certainly my spirituality. So to those critics, let me say with full-throated confidence:

You are right.

I have no idea if what I believe about government would actually work, but in my mind it is certainly preferable to the “dance of the dunce” that we presently parade in Washington, D.C.

I don’t know if I am any kind of expert on television, movies and entertainment–I just know that I don’t like anything that doesn’t both entertain and inspire me.

And I certainly cannot contend that the Gospel I believe in is completely in line with the one that was in the mind of the Nazarene who strolled the Earth in loincloth so many centuries ago. But after many years of living, I believe it is still the good news that actually functions in the hearts of all cultures.

It is time we begin to cherry-pick:

Start liking movies for their content instead of who stars in them or who directs them.

Begin to believe in ideas, not because 25,000 people gather to cheer them on, but because they are full of mercy and grace.

Listen to music that stuns our consciousness with an immersion of human awareness instead of merely demonstrating the height and breadth of technology.

I am a cherry-picker–and because of that, I have found my life to be fruitful.

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Cherry

Cherry: (n) a small, round stone fruit that is typically bright or dark red.

Rhonda wanted to impress me.

Traveling on the road, feeling young, my hair down to my shoulders, in a beat-up van, with a few songs I had written and dreams of
greatness, Rhonda had bought into my whole delusion and was along for the ride.

Our relationship was an interesting mingling of respect, lust, spirituality and availability.

One day Rhonda went to the store.

It was rather ironic that she was there because we didn’t really have any money. I had given her just two dollars–one to buy some bologna and one to buy some bread and mustard. (This was back when you could buy bread, mustard and bologna with two dollars.)

About forty minutes later she was back with the entrees, but also with a huge bag of cherries. It seems that she had arrived in the produce section just about the time that the manager was ready to throw away a whole bunch of cherries which he had over-ordered for the appetite of the community.

She saw him heading for the dumpster and she asked if she could have the sweet treats. I guess he must have looked at her bell-bottom jeans, hemp blouse and long, stringy hair and felt sorry for her.

He gave her the whole bag.

There were probably three hundred and twenty-eight cherries in there (not that I counted.)

We ate bologna sandwiches and cherries until we could eat no more. Some of the cherries were old and grumpy and others were soft and too mushy, but most of them were deliciously ripe and ready for consumption.

About an hour later, after eating all these cherries, a volcanic rumble began low in my belly, and crept its way up to my chest. Rhonda too.

We both were in horrific pain from a cherry juice hangover.

We needed to go to the bathroom, but there was no real indication that anything would happen.

So we rolled on our bellies all afternoon with a mixture of pain and gratitude over such a cherry experience.

 

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