Cloven Hoof

Cloven hoof: (n) a divided hoof ascribed to the Devil

I refer to it as “descending theology.”

It begins with a plausible notion and ends in the deepest dumpster of superstition. Let me give you an example:

There is a Creator who made the Universe.

Now, you may not agree with this, but at least the concept itself has some plausibility. In other words, if there were an eternal force, this
Unit would be able to hatch a Universe.

Yet from that point on come descending assertions, affirmations and doctrines about this Creative Force. For instance:

He had a son.

He decided to kill his son on a cross.

He believes in witches.

He had little children murdered because they laughed at a prophet.

You see what I mean? Whereas the original idea may have been feasible, when more and more tales of the bizarre are added, the theology descends into the graveyard of Mount Olympus.

Let me try another one:

There is evil in the world. (All right, I’m with you)

That evil appears to be organized. (Sometimes certainly feels that way.)

The mob boss of evil is named Satan. (You’re losing me…)

Satan is not really human or angelic, but rather, a creature. (Okay. I’m backing out of the room.)

Word has it, he walks on cloven hoofs. (Now I’ve turned and I’m running away very fast.)

If we were able to believe in God without the deterioration of descending theology, which turns everything into R-rated nursery rhymes, we might be able to take the better nature of our Deity and find it inside ourselves–and love one another.

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Bountiful

Bountiful: (adj) large in quantity; abundant.

What do we have the most of?Dictionary B

Or is it:

Of what do we have the most?

You see, right then and there you discover the power of determining what is bountiful.

The first way I asked the question is common speak. The second way is considered to be proper English, but a bit clumsy.

Is proper more important than clarity?

Good question.

What is bountiful in the American culture?

1. Individuality

We are so proud that each one of us is a snow flake that we’re unwilling to melt into a common cause.

2. Opinions

So because we’re convinced of our uniqueness, we feel the tiny creek of understanding that descends from our brains to our tongue is spilled out, pretending it’s an ocean

3. Sense of fear.

When you blend the fear that was placed in you as a child with the fear you developed through disappointments, and add onto that the fear and superstition from too much religion or academia, you end up being too cautious to be productive.

Life is bountiful–but not with blessing.

Rather, life is bountiful with opportunity, which through patience and effort, can turn into majesty.

 

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Boiling

Boiling: (v) to bring a liquid to the temperature at which it bubblesDictionary B

It’s not that we forget old sayings, nor that they’re proven to be untrue, but rather, that their validity annoys us so much that we punish them and cast them into obscurity.

“A watched pot never boils.”

This is an adage.

I would venture to say that the average person under the age of thirty would not only be unfamiliar with this premise, but also baffled as to the logic of its meaning.

Why, you may ask?

Because we have convinced ourselves that waiting for things to happen–becoming impatient with the length of time involved and finally frustrated–is normal human behavior.

I don’t know why we can’t take the truths discovered by one generation and carry them into the next, while dispelling the superstition and silliness–but apparently if someone over the age of forty thought it, we just throw it in the trash.

Human beings suck at waiting.

If we’re told there will be a ten minute delay, after forty-two seconds, we are convinced we have been waiting a half-hour.

The only way to wait for anything is not to wait for it.

So if you put a pot of water on the stove to boil, it knows its job. Leave the room and let it boil.

The happiest you will ever be is when you realize that you’re not as capable as you think you are.

Then you can work with your frailty toward a realistic solution instead of insisting that the damn pot is taking longer this time.

 

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Appliance

dictionary with letter A

Appliance: (n) a piece of equipment designed to do a specific task, typically a domestic one.

I have often thought it would be a very intelligent maneuver to set my mind to becoming more of a handy man.

I have a very firm conviction (though many of you would consider it a superstition): I think my appliances know that I’m ignorant.

I think secretly they hide out in the kitchen, the bathroom or the office and plot ways to make me nervous by pretending to pull up lame at the most inopportune times so they can view me fidgeting nervously, wondering how to accomplish my task without them.

If you think about it, this is the only self-worth an appliance has. No one pops the bread in the toaster, has it cook to a golden brown and then pats the chrome while saying, “Thank you, toaster for doing your job.”

The only time we actually acknowledge the toaster, or any number of appliances, is when they decide to go on the fritz or become intermittent in some disgusting pattern. It is only then that we appreciate the value they bring to the household.

Is it too far out for me to believe that these appliances might have some sort of agreement among each other, to seek approval by refusing to operate?

So I think becoming a little more handy with tools, threatening to break them open and play with their innards, might be enough to rein them into submission.

Of course, the times I’ve hung around such skillful laborers, I have quickly deterred from my passion to pursue their abilities, because within moments, their explanations and terminology leave me totally baffled. (For instance, a friend of mine talked a good ten minutes about various types of screws before I realized he wasn’t being lascivious.)

So since I’m pathetic with the implements which might be able to fix my appliances, I’ve decided to be very polite, gentle and appreciative to them. Landing somewhere between encouraging a baby to walk and a dog to retrieve a frisbee, I have developed lingo for each and every one of them to let them know how much I value their service.

  • So the dishwasher is “dear.”
  • The toaster is “cool, man.”
  • And the blender is “wow.”

I hope by using these little bursts of encouragement, I can keep them operating in tip-top shape…so they don’t feel the need to threaten me with the silent treatment or their shut-down mode.

 

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Apostasy

dictionary with letter A

Apostasy (n.): abandonment of a belief or principle.

Fascinating.

In actuality, I have abandoned many beliefs in order to embrace principles.

For when reality takes hold in your life, you realize that any notion of God which is not in synchronization with nature is superstition rather than truth.

And in like manner, any reverence for a natural order that does not in some way include a creative force is believing that life occurs in adulthood with no reverence for the birthing egg.

I guess in many ways I practice apostasy all the time–because I am equally as disillusioned with religion as I am with the secular world. I am perpetually unimpressed with the presence of a practice that ignores reason and the appearance of a reasonability that denies faith.

So on the occasions that I sit around with my brothers and sisters and listen to the common conversation proffered, I often find myself internally asking more questions than actually receiving enlightenment.

Many years ago I decided to abandon an agenda.

  • I am not a promoter of the Republican or the Democratic party.
  • I do not particularly find the Judeo-Christian form of governing spirituality to be edifying.
  • And I certainly cannot go along with the populist view that my family is “more special than anyone else in the world” simply because it was conjugated from my sperm.

Sooner or later what we call apostasy becomes a gentle move of common sense towards inclusion.

Often it’s just including good information.

Usually it involves including others without prejudice.

But honestly, mostly it includes the possibility that since knowledge has expanded, there is the chance that it will continue to do so.

Locking ourselves into a prison of platitudes is the best way to end up looking foolish to our grandchildren.

I guess I’m apostate–because I’m not satisfied with what I’ve discovered.

What I have uncovered has only made me hunger and thirst for more.

 

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Antiquity

dictionary with letter AAntiquity: (n) the ancient past, especially the period before the Middle Ages.

Every once in a while, a startling revelation will cross my mind, giving me a sensation similar to standing on the deck of the Santa Maria, spying the New World. Of course, as in the case of Christopher Columbus, nor is it to me.

Truth has been around for a long time and it always has three important ingredients:

  1. It actually works.
  2. It doesn’t hurt anyone else.
  3. It’s not ashamed of the failed experiments leading to greater revelation.

Often when I find myself in a circle of believers who are discussing the Good Book and stories of biblical proportions, my brain freezes, as I wonder why they think these individuals had any greater spirituality than we do.

Actually, if I found myself translated back to antiquity, I’d be walking around as a god with my level of knowledge, in comparison to the fear, superstition and incomplete hypotheses of their time.

If we really believe that spiritual evolution stopped on the Isle of Patmos with John the Apostle, or on the mountain with Mohammed, then we are negating hundreds and hundreds of years of scientific miracles and human growth.

I think the Good Book is exactly that–it’s a good book.

As a good book, it has plot twists, character development, elimination of villains, and the exposure of bizarre ideas, as the story line is pushed along towards what we hope will be a happy ending.

Even though our children have a difficult time imagining Alexander the Great or Cleopatra, when we parallel these individuals with updated versions of our own time–like Kanye West and Kim Kardashian–it’s much easier to see where we’ve come from and possibly where we need to go.

I am not of the belief that any good thing should be thrown away. Generally speaking, I don’t walk out of a movie once I’ve paid my premium price, even if the flick is not to my liking. I try to find something usable.

There is much we can learn from antiquity:

We can learn that superstition cannot shout down science.

We can learn that we are learning, and therefore should never be content in our own level of comprehension.

And we can learn that those who made the history books were once just clumsy, insecure flesh-and-blood creatures … who spent way too much time wondering if they were sexy.

 

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Anti-intellectual

dictionary with letter A

Anti-intellectual (n): a person who scorns intellectuals and their views and methods.

I ain’t sure, but I just may be one. Darn tootin’.

Can there be anything more annoying than someone who claims to be an intellectual, or on the other hand, some other varmint who insists “they’re just country.”

It all revolves around this nasty-dastardly deed of feeling the need to be right.

I would never call myself an intellectual, but I would never make fun of progress or science just to prove that I’m “one of the people.”

I often wonder, as I view my society, if we have all just gone crazy–and the process was so subtle that no one picked up on the nuance.

After all, the things we now accept as common sense tend to avoid any reasonable commonality and reject the need to be sensible.

I will tell you this–you will never get anywhere with anyone by insisting that you’re an intellectual. The goal of the whole room at that point will be to find the chinks in your armor and insert a spear deep into your self-righteous breast.

Likewise, you don’t gain the appeal of anyone who has an IQ above 75 by insisting that you eschew new discoveries, revelations which contradict the fables and lifestyle choices that you promote as old-fashioned, apple-pie American thinking.

Of the profiles afforded in the human experience–those being rock, cement and sponge–I choose to be a sponge.

I do not want to stand on the rock of mere intellectual pursuit, portraying myself as an agnostic, self-involved pursuer of education.

On the other hand, I don’t want to have a brain that’s cemented with superstition, fear, religion and political nonsense, and pass around another bucket of chicken with my equally stubborn brethren.

I am a sponge.

  • I do not fear science because God made it.
  • I am not afraid of the turmoil of nature because they are in the chemistry of our world to protect us and simultaneously teach us how things work.
  • And I do not deny the existence of God because I’m perfectly unwilling to believe that the whole system of the Universe is run on chance and chaos.

I do not care if I’m in the minority. I happen to know that minorities fare very well in the historical account.

As it turns out, I am not anti-intellectual nor pro-homespun. I want to absorb what’s true because I need to be free.

And rumor has it that truth is the only mechanism that delivers freedom. 

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