Chicanery

Chicanery: (n) the use of trickery

I keep finding closets.

Little tiny storage places inside my soul where I’ve tucked away mistakes, vices and little lies–so therefore I don’t feel the need to confess
them.

I was struck recently by the fact that a lie is the absence of the truth, or an evasion. That’s tricky business.

As I’ve traveled across the country putting together press releases, I have adopted some “promo talk.”

What is promo talk?

It is the truth being adorned by a very attractive, but sometimes flamboyant hat.

It is a face which is beginning to wrinkle, disguised by heavy makeup.

It is that little piece of elaboration that makes a story seem more powerful, but may not exactly be the completely factual.

Even though this kind of promo talk is considered normal human banter, it has begun to bother me.

Because once you join into the practice of chicanery–the pursuit of deception–it is very difficult to insist that your chicanery is better than other chicanery.

It’s not so much that the truth is hard to tell; it’s just that the truth just never makes us look as good as we want to look.

If we will cure ourselves of the ridiculous notion that status can be acquired through lies, and we cease to be ashamed of our own journey, we can become liberated from the need to expand our story, in order to impress.

 

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Below

Below: (prep) at a lower level

Dictionary B

It takes guts.

It probably shouldn’t.

Honesty, by its very definition, should be a statement of the reality that we presently know.

But since reality tends to scare us, we develop stories. We conjure excuses. And we fail to realize that our character–and ultimately, our popularity–is determined by how well we recognize when our efforts are below standard, and admit the shortage instead of denying responsibility.

How wonderful it would be if I could convince myself, and maybe therefore others around me, that the only way to be truly diminished is to insist that I never fall below the best.

  • We all do.
  • We all will.

And we all have an opportunity to be considered valuable by admitting this deficiency instead of covering it up.

It baffles me that I don’t know this. Why I pause before telling the truth of the matter is a great source of mystery to my soul.

Because when I am candid, the world rushes to my side to lift up my spirits and encourage me to do better.

When I lie, I make humanity around me turn into my enemies so they can honor the traditions of candor.

My efforts are often below the quality I am capable of achieving.

I have never improved my status … by lying about it. 

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Apologetics

dictionary with letter A

Apologetics (n.): reasoned arguments defending a theory or belief.

Living in a world that wants to debate the power of argument and argue over the rules of debate, I find myself retreating in self-defense.

It isn’t that I’m afraid to make a stand, nor that I lack evidence of a personal nature on what I hold dear. It’s just that when I am limited to the power of mere articulation, I lose the majority of the beauty of my human emotion and faith.

We are not better people when we are convincing. For after all, Adolph Hitler was able to make a case for his Super Race.

What makes us viable and appealing is the stream of evidence which oozes from our pores as the proof of what lies within.

So a politician who is jaded and angry off-camera fails to convince me of his or her sincerity.

A corporation which revels in its slick advertising, capturing a market, is not nearly as appealing to me as one which takes responsibility for inferior products and sets in motion the research to improve.

And the religionist who mocks the simplicity of a child-like faith in favor of a theology with so many twists and turns that it produces a pretzel logic is not the mind of God to my weary ears.

Here’s what I want to know:

  • Can you tell me the truth?
  • Is it working for you?
  • What can you share with me that confirms that assertion?

Many centuries ago, a blind man who was healed by an itinerant preacher was mocked by the intellectuals of his day because the so-called miracle didn’t make any sense nor follow any acceptable form of religious practice.

His response was precious.

He said, “I don’t know about all your opinions and learned ways. All I know is that once I was blind, but now I see.”

Amen.

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Apologetic

dictionary with letter A

Apologetic (adj.) admitting and showing regret for a wrongdoing.

In my opinion, saying “I’m sorry” is only effective when it comes from the lips of an explorer instead of a captured criminal.

We live in a time when people do and say ridiculous things, and then are compelled by our media to stand in front of a microphone and mouth some sort of anemic confession of weakness, waiting for the news cycle to lose interest in them.

If they don’t do this, we assume they’re perniciously evil and should be shunned from the next barn-raising.

Yet an apology is probably the most powerful tool in human relationships. It is the glue that holds pieces together which are mismatched, but still strong because of the bond.

Still, an apology, like any other misused virtue, becomes nearly sinister when it is coerced and turned from the beauty of repentance to the aggravating death-march to compliance.

It reminds me of the parents who stand around and require their child to say “thank you” when you give the little one a candy bar. You become the victim of their insistence as the child, with chocolate dripping down his cheek, reluctantly mutters what is assumed to be words of gratitude.

How can we teach ourselves that an apology does not diminish, but rather, accentuates, our status?

I don’t know.

But there is a wise adage which states, “Except you repent, you will perish.”

To the human mind that seems unlikely. So what does perish?

What we lose in this transaction, because we have not used our own cognition to apologize, is the peace of mind and trust we have in others to be sincere–which can cause us to become angry, unforgiving souls … if we don’t believe them.

 

 

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Ancillary

dictionary with letter A

Ancillary: (adj) providing necessary support to primary activities or operation of an organization, institution or system.

It’s a two-step process. At least, I think so.

This thing we call life–or the pursuit of it–affords a dual purpose:

  1. Find out what’s really important.
  2. Get behind the importance.

I’m tempted, like the next guy or lady, to be distracted by temporary terrors and fleeting fads. Matter of fact, I suppose to some degree there’s a certain amount of excitement in chasing your own tail.

But in the long run, or even in the short run, the most fulfilling way to live a human life is to be supportive of important things.

They are few. Isn’t that good? If there were too many important things, we could quickly become overwhelmed.

I remember when my mother-in-law died, her attorney explained that it would be our responsibility to make sure that final expenses and bills were paid. So feeling the need to come across as officious, I asked him to send us these expenditures quickly.

He laughed and said, “There’s really no hurry. After all, your mother-in-law’s not worried about her credit rating.”

Absolutely.

So even though money, status, clothing, food, family, houses, cars and possessions are always jockeying for our full focus, they really are not important.

They are needed–just not the kind of ideas and goals that should encompass our thinking.

So it really boils down to two things. Well, actually three:

  • God
  • Me
  • People.

And I am warned in the Good Book that I should take care of “me” first. Otherwise, I will be constantly nervous about covering my own behind.

And then, miraculously, God and people sort of merge into one project. Because truthfully, whatever I feel about people and how I treat them is the same thing I feel about God.

The Golden Rule is the most sensible concept ever devised. It tells me to find out what I want, then to assume that others also have wants and needs–and to be equally as sensitive to theirs as I am to mine.

It is the only way to be ancillary to the needs of our planet. After all, whether global warming or climate change is exaggerated or not, it certainly won’t hurt me to address kindness in the direction of God’s creation.

Whether there is crime in the world and immorality is insignificant to me finding my peace of mind and spreading that as a gift to others.

I will tell you as a friend, if you continue to chase the whim of our society, you will end up ignoring what is truly important, and therefore pass your time with trivial details, never being supportive of greatness.

Find out what’s important, and then suddenly everything you do … gains importance.

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Alter

dictionary with letter A

 J. R. Practix

J. R. Practix

Alter: (v) to change or cause to change in character or composition, esp. in a small but significant way.
There is only one thing that makes a good human being: a desire to change without being forced to do so, welcoming the spirit of repentance.

The only question we all need to ask ourselves is, do we want to alter? Is there a passion within us to improve our status in order to gain the benefits which will certainly follow?

What do I want to alter?

  1. I’d like to not be so fat.
  2. I would like to get rid of all of my brattiness instead of settling for the amount that has already been chased away.
  3. I would like to stay on the cutting edge of transition which is moving towards making better human beings.
  4. I would like to get rid of all the remnants of fear that cling to the walls of my will and desire.
  5. I want to welcome the chance to be challenged, disproven and to be the first one to move forward instead of dragging my feet.
  6. Be a better husband and father. (Maybe better stated, I would like to more effectively understand the jobs.)
  7. And finally, continue this list for the rest of my life instead of being satisfied with my status quo.

Too many people who linger at the altar of prayer spend too little time letting their prayers alter them.

God, help me to be different.