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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Broad-minded

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Broad-minded: (adj) tolerant or liberal in one’s views and reactions

Presumably, to be a Christian is to possess the mind of Christ.

At least, that’s what the Good Book says.Dictionary B

So that begs the question, what is the mind of Christ?

356 denominations in the Protestant movement meet together every week to advertise their concept of Jesus’ mental status. No wonder we have confusion. It’s a bit surprising that it hasn’t turned into a theological Demolition Derby.

What saves us from murdering each other is a common understanding of a few attributes of the personality of Jesus which are universally accepted.

  1. He loved people.
  2. He wasn’t pretentious.
  3. He had a servant’s heart.
  4. He was willing to die to save the world.

Without these, we would probably have just as many sects of terrorists as the Muslims.

For even with the predilection to shun particular lifestyles, every denomination is still stuck with the warning from Jesus: “Judge not lest you be judged” and “Those that are not against us are for us.”

So what does it mean to be broad-minded? The definition is very simple, but more complicated in application.

To be broad-minded is to acknowledge that some things are just none of our damn business.

The only debate is: which ones and how many?

 

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Bedouin

Bedouin: (n) a nomadic Arab of the desert.Dictionary B

What is the difference between an Arab and a Jew?

It’s a question you are not allowed to ask in our day and age of politically correct diplomacy.

Even though there are many people in Israel who are white with blue eyes and blond hair, it is not the natural personification of a Jew.

The land was once a kingdom of Bedouins.

If you read the history of the Jewish race and that of the Muslims, you of course immediately find that they have a common father and a total disagreement over the issue of which son of Abraham should have predominance.

It is amazing to me that this rift between the Jews and the Muslims is viewed as a spiritual conflict, since there are so many sexual overtones to the story.

Abraham had Ishmael by Hagar.

Then he had Isaac by his wife, Sarah.

So immediately, the process is tainted by the introduction of the byproduct of genitals.

On top of that, it was decided that the Jews would become different from the Arabs by trimming off the tip of the penis, thus creating the circumcised and the uncircumcised.

So once again, we have a return to focus on the male sexual organ in determining Heavenly approval.

And then it is further complicated by who married who, who screwed who and whether they should have done that indiscretion in the first place.

So I guess the theory of Middle East politics and theology is that it doesn’t matter what you put in front of the grinder as long as your particular favored sausage comes out at the end.

 

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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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Aloft

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Aloft: (adj.) up in to the air; overhead: e.g.: the congregation held their hands aloft

A loft–a warehouse that’s been converted into a living space in New York City, renting 750 square feet for approximately $2500 a month.

That’s what the average person living in the 21st century thinks “aloft” is.

I have no intentions of reviving this word, to have it come back into our society so that pretentious people can tout it.

The word that is more common to us is lofty. And I dare say that anyone under the age of twenty wouldn’t even know that word.

But there are a myriad of things which are presently over our heads which should be in our hearts, and there are things attacking human emotion which should be put under our feet.

I think the primal example of this is God. I am sick and tired of talking about God as a concept, a deity, a theology, a belief system or a heavenly goal.

The God we present is similar to a person who shows up at a party and sits around for hours, explaining all the things He intended to bring as treats, only to conclude by proclaiming that He was so indecisive that He brought nothing except His presence.

  • Descriptions are nice.
  • Hopefulness has its moments.
  • Promises can build up expectation.
  • But sooner or later you have to deliver something tangible or it is of no use to humanity.

In other words, nothing that is aloft ever actually has any value–because we have to look up to see it, instead of keeping our eyes on the road.

The only politics I need in my life are the principles that allow laws to be passed which benefit the common good.

The only entertainment I require are pieces of art that inspire me to be a better human being–more intelligent and creative myself.

And the only God that is of any use to me whatsoever is one who not only comprehends humanity from a scholarly point of view, but also shows up every day to join in the grit and the grind.

There are too many things in our society that are aloft–over our heads, trying to make us feel inadequate or to overwhelm us with pseudo-intellectualism.

“Keep it simple” is not a condescending statement alluding to mankind’s stupidity.

It is the realization that ideas are only valuable when they grow legs, sprout arms and move us closer to solution.

Alabama

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alabama: (n) a state in the southeastern U.S. on the Gulf of Mexico, capital Montgomery, statehood, Dec. 14, 1819.

A state of mind.

Even though I must tell you, having traveled all over this country, that there are nests of belief, custom, culture and theology that persist or flourish in their particular homeland, the hatchet job that has been done to our fifty states to promote causes, newspaper articles and political agendas is abominable.

Nowhere is this more evident to me than in the perception of Alabama.

I would be amiss if I merely portrayed the “sweet home” aspects of this particular state. Like every other principality which has ever existed on earth, it is riddled with mishaps, bad judgments and incoherent ideas being fostered as “normal.”

But to personify Alabama–or any part of the south–as the hotbed for bigotry, ignorance and inequality is not only short-sighted, but comes from a place of arrogance and a desire to limit the qualities that these dear folks can offer to our country in faith and hospitality.

Some of the worst memories I have of my journeys have been in the south–especially Alabama–and also some of the golden treasures of people and discovery have also been found within its borders.

Here’s the truth: people live where they were hatched, take the best parts of their surroundings and mingle them with tolerance and love to form a workable way of being. No matter where they abide, if they accept the portions of their culture which alienate them from the rest of the world, they have gone down a foolish path. But if they set aside childishness, they gain eternal perspective.

Prejudice was not born in the south. Long before slaves were brought to this country, there were slaves in Rome, Greece, Egypt, China and every corner of our globe. Those who were intelligent, historical and also spiritual learn to recognize the limitations of their upbringing in deference to the mercy that the God of our creation requires of His children.

I love Alabama. I love Massachusetts. I love California–not because of the history book or the spouting of their individual Chambers of Commerce. No, it’s because I have met people in each of these locations–and many others–who have overcome their ancestors to be born again … to newness of life.