Combine

Combine: (v) to unite; merge.

Earth is not a recipe.

Although we often consider it to be some sort of careful, articulate blending of ingredients, forming a broth or stew, it actually is nothing like that.

I think we’re a little frightened by how chaotic life actually is.

When you have a recipe, you gather your ingredients and you put in just the right amount of each one, to create something tasteful.

That’s not life. All life does is combine.

It doesn’t care if things agree and is indifferent to whether the enjoining of elements will end up being palatable.

It throws everything together, provides resources and stands back to see what will happen.

Those who pursue the comical belief that “everything has a purpose” and “God has a wonderful plan,”should go into the jungle, stand there, and just stare in every direction.

Thousands and thousands of forms of life, not to mention vegetation, combine to form what appears to be a huge single view with no apparent connection. Often the most intimacy in the jungle is burping after eating someone.

Although it frustrates the conservatives with how openly things combine, and it enrages the liberals about the inequity of the plan, favoring the fittest, the Universe doesn’t seem to care.

Matter of fact, on the day you’re born, the cosmos peers at you curiously and says, “So you’re here. Good luck. Please understand, it’s nothing personal. But we must get rid of you.”

 

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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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Clear-cut

Clear-cut: (adj) sharply defined; easy to perceive or understand.

In the pursuit of writing you a delicious essay or a tasty tidbit of insight, I suddenly was completely overwhelmed by the fact that I am not so
certain I know of anything that’s clear-cut.

It’s not so much that life is ambiguous as it is evolving. There are two reasons it evolves.

There is the scientific fact that there is an upward mobility to evolution that is going on at all times.

But there is also the presence of free will, which often makes our attempts at predicting reaction and conclusion to be a farce.

Just when we think we know how Nature works, Mother will surprise us. And after studying humanity incessantly, we are still bewildered by many of the choices made by those within our species.

Some people think their faith is clear-cut. They believe they’re going to heaven, even though many people of deep spiritual conviction have died, promising to send back a message. So far all mail boxes are empty.

Some people think democracy is clear-cut, raising it up onto the shoulders of “Truth”–as the best form of government. Of course, democracy, like everything else, is at the mercy of science and free will.

So being unwilling to disappoint you brilliant, lovable people, I concluded that the only thing that is clear-cut in life is for me to use my free will carefully, to make decisions based upon my current understanding of science.

Because to understand science is to be introduced to God, and to be introduced to God is an open door to the Universe.

 

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Clap

Clap: (v) to applaud

I have spent much of my human journey with two little toes in heaven and the rest of my footage on Earth.

Those two little toes did not go to market. They went to church.

It’s where I sang my first song.

It’s where I met my first girlfriend.

And it’s still one of my favorite spots for spontaneous dozing.

One of the things I discovered about the experience of “church attendance ” is that there is a wide range of opinions on many subjects.

Clapping would be one.

Some churches believe it’s sacrilegious to express appreciation, worship or excitement by striking palms. They find it Biblically and spiritually unsound.

Other churches clap so much that you can’t hear anything else going on. They clap for everything. It’s kind of a “clapping without ceasing.”

As a person who shares his talent in a church, I have to admit to myself that I am also a performer and an artist. (Although I think the word “artist” is overused–even by me.)

As a performer, I do have an ego. Ego is not a bad thing–it’s that little “Nancy-cheerleader” who keeps us from jumping off a cliff just because we had a bad day. (“It might get better tomorrow. Yea, team!”)

When you perform a song, come to the end, and receive silence, it is not golden.

It’s rather moldy.

Ashen.

Empty.

I’m told I’m supposed to sing to the glory of God. But it was God who said, “Clap your hands, all ye people.”

If you’re afraid I’ll get the big-head if you applaud my efforts, then you should pray for me. Don’t snub me.

Until we understand that the Universe pushes energy one direction and there is supposed to be a push coming back from the other way, or else something is afoul, we may just continue to believe that God is so insecure that He is frustrated with anyone else receiving adequate appreciation for his efforts.

Since I wouldn’t even have lunch with someone who’s cantankerous, I choose to believe that when I perform, God applauds, the angels screech…and the congregation should follow suit.

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Chancy

Chancy: (adj) subject to unpredictable changes and circumstances

My confidence is kept in a bucket. You may not know it, but yours, too.

  • It’s not in a salt shaker, where it can be sprinkled.

It’s not in a cup, where it can be gradually poured.

Generally speaking, I have to take all of my confidence and dump it into the next thing I’m pursuing. Confidence cannot be used sparingly.

So we often find ourselves looking in the face of a “chancy opportunity”–wondering if it’s worth our confidence.

I feel that way about so many things I wouldn’t even know where to start.

I think the American way of government is a chancy proposal, that still demands my full bucket of confidence.

I think the marital institution is a very chancy proposal–fifty-fifty, if you will–which still requires I bring a full bucket of confidence.

I think the whole belief system which contends there is a single God who created the universe and is waiting to meet us in heaven, is rather chancy.

But I certainly cannot enter into it halfheartedly or with extreme doubt.

It’s a chancy thing.

Every day of our lives we dump confidence into our jobs, our families, our doctors, our lawyers–hoping that our great investment will bear dividends.

There is no man or woman alive who does not live by faith.

Just some of us decide to call it God.

 

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Centerpiece

Centerpiece: (n) a display placed in the middle

The centerpiece of education: experience that promotes retention.

The centerpiece of human romance: a woman who really wants to have sex.

The centerpiece of faith: adventure.

The centerpiece of love: faithfulness.

The centerpiece of hope: introspection.

The centerpiece of America: a toss-up between “all men are created equal” and “liberty and justice for all.”

The centerpiece of music: a memorable melody.

The centerpiece of business: repetitive quality.

The centerpiece of humanity: good cheer.

The centerpiece of the Universe: controlled chaos.

The centerpiece of God: free will.

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Cell

Cell: (n) the smallest structural and functional unit of an organism

Mind boggling.

The human body is nearly beyond our comprehension. A great poet once said, “How fearfully and wonderfully we are made.”

Just the notion of getting all the tiny cells in the body to work in cooperation with the cells surrounding them means that the Universe was meant to be harmonious instead of disengaged.

Yet once all of our cells–the billions–the make up our singular body grant us a unity of purpose by providing blood, oxygen, nourishment and life, we decide to take the people next to us and act like they’re aliens.

Cosmic order seems to stop at the human race.

Is it the inclusion of a brain that causes us to be brainless?

Is it an emotional make-up that turns us cold?

Is it the theological notion of possessing a soul that causes us to be soulless?

I’m not sure.

But it would do us well to imitate a cell in a kidney, which does not suddenly decide to stop participating in urine expulsion, but instead, grants us the blessing … of being pissed off.

 

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