The K Word … April 16th, 2019

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I lived in Nashville, Tennessee for nearly twenty years. Overall, I found it a very pleasant experience.

Yet seventy-four miles south of my home, on Interstate 65, was a town called Pulaski. It is the community where the Ku Klux Klan began. So most assuredly, confidently and sadly, I will tell you today’s word that should never be used again—the “K” that should not be spoken—is the Ku Klux Klan.

The K Word is the Ku Klux Klan

It’s not so much their views. I don’t agree with anything they say. Yet if they were coming from a position of personal experience, I might need to consider their perspective. But no member of the KKK has spent fifteen years playing in the National Football League, surrounded by black men. If they had done this and come out with a negative insight, then I would have to conclude that they had a right to their opinion.

Or if some of the members had lived in Israel for ten years and after the visitation, had stated that Jews were greedy and less than human, I might question their premise but certainly would have to acknowledge that they had been involved in a live-in experiment.

But there’s no member of the Ku Klux Klan who has spent any time with members of the black race or the Jews. They are not well-traveled individuals who, after careful research, developed a doctrine of the division among the races, with the hypothesis being that “white people are better.”

These are little boys and girls who were never allowed to formulate their own thinking but instead, absorbed the prejudice, anger and fallacious notions of their ancestors.

Unfortunately, these ancestors came to the conclusion that keeping their cotton crop in the black was much more important than the blacks who made it possible for them to have a cotton crop in the first place.

They are childishly ignorant—ignorant because the philosophy they cling to was long ago abandoned by people of reason, science and emotional well-being; childish because they’re still trying to please parental figures, aunts, uncles, grandfathers and ancient kin who held to a belief system that found its only power by leaving others powerless.

There is a school of thought that if you want to do away with the Ku Klux Klan, then let them speak their mind, let them be heard, and they will be revealed for who and what they are.

Unfortunately, unfoldings in our country over the past ten years tell us that giving breath to a murderer is granting license to murder.

This is why I’m saying the KKK should never be mentioned. It should not be discussed. It should not evoke either anger or apathy.

We should pretend that it does not exist until it’s so small that evolution can swallow it back into the earth—where it will finally die—with the graves of those who were once so presumptuous.


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The J Word … April 9th, 2019

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Salt Lake City, Utah.

When the founders of this community came together to name their new home, they opted for an obvious and practical choice. Since it was located on the Great Salt Lake, it seemed natural to call it Salt Lake City.

Perhaps it was the same case with Little Rock, Arkansas. (I have no personal knowledge.)

But undoubtedly, the worst miscarriage of logic in naming any area is Jerusalem. It translates:

CITY OF PEACE

Yet there is no place on Earth, no ground, no terrain, that has been more blood-soaked than this domain. Almost every nation of the world that was once an empire has sent troops, conquered it and owned it for a season, only to have someone stronger, meaner and uglier snatch it away.

How it ever received the honor of being deemed “The Holy City” is far beyond this author’s comprehension. Because even though Christians joined with Jews and Muslims to tout the great significance of Jerusalem, it was the source—and the final execution arena—for Jesus of Nazareth.

Matter of fact, he wept over the city because it was so unable to repent of its self-righteousness and realize the futility of its direction. He closed his statement by saying, “Your house is left to you desolate.”

Desolate.

Empty.

Not worthy of habitation.

Even the great temple of Solomon, which is advertised by the local tour guides, is now just a piece of crumbling wall. Why? Because it was destroyed.

Then, in Crusade after Crusade, European Christians attempted to free this “holy of holies” from Muslim domination, as it was passed back and forth like a bloody hot potato.

There is nothing holy about this city. And let us not forget—the Bible warns that it will be at the center of the final last destruction of humankind.

It is a city of blood—the showcase of a great feud between the children of two faiths who should be brothers, but instead, struggle and battle like feuding rattlesnakes.

So the word that should never be spoken aloud because of its falsity, misleading nature and foul reputation is Jerusalem.

Yes.

J IS FOR JERUSALEM

And I, for one, can think of many other regions that are more deserving of the title, “City of Peace.”

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The I Word … April 2nd, 2019

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The I Word is Ignorance

I am reminded of the passage in “A Christmas Carol,” where the second of the Three Spirits warns Ebenezer Scrooge, when unveiling the two children of humankind beneath his robes.

He says, “Beware them both in all of their degree, but most of all, beware this boy—for on his brow I see that which is written, which is Doom, unless the writing be ceased.”

And the boy’s name was Ignorance.

Ignorance may be one of the few words in the English language which is used both as a taunt of criticism and a badge of pride. It evokes a situation in which we choose to ignore that which is obvious, that which is blessed, that which is praise-worthy and that which is true, in favor of a mythical tale often of our own making.

It is dangerous—especially when flaunted by those who seem to be totally content with their lack of knowledge and education and have begun to wear their misinterpretation as proof of simplicity instead of simply lacking proof.

Ignorance says, “I will ignore any opinion that differs from mine.”

Ignorance also proclaims, “I will call those who disagree with me ignorant.”

And most notorious of all, Ignorance closes out its rampage with, “I will lie to maintain my ignorance.”

It is a word we must cease using, because it has no power as an excuse and becomes a vicious attack when pointing the finger at another, rendering the accuser the villain.

 

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The H Word … March 26th, 2019

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“Go to Hell”

Even folks who are very particular about using profanity will often favor this pronouncement. Matter of fact, they believe it to be their Christian duty to warn lost sinners, deviants and the depraved that there is a “devil’s hell.” And if these unfortunate and misguided souls do not decide to comply to the common appeal of salvation, they will certainly spend all of eternity suffering within the confines of this dungeon of torture and despair.

Hell is a hell of an idea. What’s even more surprising is who ended up being one of the greater promoters of the location.

Yes—Jesus probably talked about hell more than any other religious teacher who ever walked the face of the Earth.

The Old Testament doesn’t have many references to such a place, and really relegates it to one single word: Sheol—meaning “grave.”

It was Jesus who came up with the lake of fire, outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the bizarre inclusion of this city ablaze being eternal.

Even if you are able to affix your mind on the possibility of there being an afterlife where those who are evil are sent to receive their retribution, it hardly seems likely that someone—even if they spent one hundred years on the planet, killing, maiming and leaving their puppy out in the cold in the winter—well, it just seems a bit bizarre to think that person, for a hundred years of evil, should receive an eternity of fire and brimstone.

Yet we kind of like the idea.

It’s not so much the notion that there is a hell, or that some people end up there, but rather, the advantage we gain in our self-righteousness, by imagining who we think should be there and how painfully they should be slapped around for mistreating us.

So I will tell you that even though hell is a promo that came from Jesus—and I am very fond of his work—I do choose to believe that this isolated concept was conjured during his “blue period,” and I do not favor it.

Is it not punishment aplenty for each one of us if we go through life without living?

Is it not agony to take this gift of time and sleepwalk through it without giving?

For that lack of tenderness, foresight and rebellion, there certainly will be a grave conclusion.

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The G Word … March 19th, 2019

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The G word is God

It is definitely a word that needs great clarification before it’s spoken in a room occupied with human beings. After all, I don’t know whether you’re talking about the one who blesses, or damns.

I don’t know what intention you have in referencing the Almighty. The name of God has been used to foster genderism, racism and nationalism, not to mention rape, war and murder.

It’s just too easy.

The Great Fix: when in doubt, mention God.

Your political campaign circling the toilet? Make some reference to your faith and how you feel God has called you to pursue government position.

Get caught abusing young boys and girls? Explain that your work for God left you desolate of the fortitude to withstand your own temptations.

Is this a God that blows up buildings, or a God who laments the loss of the unicorn?

Is this G-O-D you’re tossing in my direction a blanket of comfort or a hand grenade to blow up my dreams?

We can no longer allow people to utter the word “God” in parlor conversation, and then turn around on a whim and assign all sorts of duties, actions and even atrocities to Him.

I would much rather hear you explain what your faith is going to do than have you hand me a book of text verifying how old and sacred your belief truly is.

“God” is a word we need to stop using—unless we’re prepared to back it up with a life that honors His creation instead of decimating it.

Because even the One who was proclaimed to be the Savior of the World said to beware those who come crying, “Lord, Lord”–but know nothing about the Heavenly Heart.


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The F Word … March 12th, 2019

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I was there, live and in person, when “golly” surrendered, without a shot, to “OMG.” Oh, My God.

Likewise, when “Geez” transformed into “Jesus H. Christ.”

Darn it, after that, “heck” didn’t have a chance. “Damn” and “hell” reigned supreme for quite a season.

Then people stopped referring to the “butt of a joke” and screamed at you to “get off your ass.”

Time passed.

It seemed like “give a shit” would hang around, but the times, they are a’changin’.

Here comes “what the fuck.”

“Fuck” is like an old friend who got lost in the wilderness but came back into the house, was ready to sleep on the sofa and willing to throw in a few bucks for pizza.

It stuck closer than a brother.

It became a noun, an adjective, a verb, an interjection—and I do believe I have even heard it used, from time to time, as an adverb: (“…he said fuckily…”)

This disturbs many people, who yearn for the time when language was carefully watched by censoring forces who desired that anything untoward would not cross the ears of young children, or even mature adults.

We most certainly know that Rhett Butler would never say, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” if he was able to let Scarlett know that he didn’t “give a fuck.”

It is not the profanity of f-u-c-k that makes it particularly nasty. Although overused, it is not the foulness of the word that creates a problem. It’s just that on the journey from “golly” to “fuck” we got angrier.

We’re not using the language to be clever or cute. We’re using the word because we’re more pissed off than we used to be.

We even tease with a friendly “fuck” to remind people that just beneath the surface is a bubbling oil, ready to spill out and burn anyone in sight if they dare cross our path.

It would be absolutely fine if we could “fuck this, fuck that” and “fuck the other” if it was accompanied by a smile instead of gritting teeth.

It may be necessary to back off the language just to give us the chance to regain some civility. Because you can tell me I’m dumb all day long and I may not like it, but if you tell me to go fuck myself, we’re at war.

So let us not be childish.

First, let’s not be Puritans, pretending that language can be controlled and taken back to an 1853 purity.

But also, let’s not be so idiotic as to assume that the rampant use of more and more “fucks” in our society does not mean that we’ve lost control and no longer have the ability to deal rationally with each other, without tempers flaring.

So the F word is “fuck”

This is not because it’s particularly profane, but because it is a precursor to violent behavior.


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The E Word … March 5th, 2019

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There are words that are so vile with violence and bedeviled by bigotry that they should never be written or spoken again. But there are also words, shrouded with sinister self-righteousness, which are equally poisoned.

Such is the case with our E word this week:

EXCEPTIONAL

From the Greeks feeling philosophically elevated to the Romans commanding allegiance through their powerful armies, to the Jews believing they were “the Chosen Ones,” to the touting of a Holy Roman Empire, there have always been cultures, races and faiths that have attempted to establish their dominance over fellow-humans.

I must be candid. My skin crawls whenever I hear my American brothers and sisters bolstering our national ego by referring to the United States as “exceptional.” It is the kind of blatant arrogance that made us pursue “manifest destiny,” stealing land from a native people, while simultaneously shipping in souls from Africa to become our slaves.

It is evil—not just because it is pompous and misrepresents reality, but because it works hand in hand with two other failing thoughts.

For you see, people who think they are exceptional eventually believe they are superior. And those who proclaim they are superior eventually insist they are supreme.

After World War I, the German people were devastated in morale and financially destitute. A little man came with a huge idea. He told the German people they didn’t need to be the doormat of the world. He raised the consciousness of their Germanic roots. He told them they were exceptional.

In doing so, he stirred the pride of the nation. They began to rebuild.

Once they contended that they were exceptional, the evil little fellow then told them that they were superior.

He gave them a common enemy. By the end of the 1930’s, nearly every German, in some capacity, believed that he or she was superior to a Jew.

But to go to war, the small man, who in the meantime had become their dictator, needed to convince them they were supreme—a Super Race. This became something worth dying for—at least tens of thousands of them believed so. Unfortunately, it was not a suicide mission, but also took the lives of hundreds of thousands of other people who had to break the hypnotic spell.

Yet I will tell you, preaching “exceptionalism” is not different just because it is hatched in America. The notion is already beginning to make us contend that certain individuals are superior to others, and if we’re not careful, we will start reacting as if we are supreme.

Exceptional is a word that not even God will use. The Good Book makes it clear that He is no “respecter of persons.” If God makes no distinctions among His creation, why in the hell do we think we can?

“Exceptional” is our E word—a misguided attempt to build patriotism or national pride by ignoring the beauty of commonality and the glory of “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”


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