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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THE

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WORD


“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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The D Word … February 26th, 2019

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WORD


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The D word—the word that is so obtuse, unusable and meaningless that it should stop being in everyday use. For me this one was easy:

Devil

Devil is the word evil with a D.

Whenever I hear people mention the devil, I immediately fight off the instinct to consider them superstitious, ignorant, backwoods, prejudiced and, to some extent, angry with the world around them.

The theological approach to the subject is that we “can’t believe in God” if we don’t “believe in the devil,” because the devil is the counterpunch to the Almighty.

I find that ignorance gets started because people are too nervous to ask the obvious question before the stupidity gets spread around.

God is the only Spirit

Even if you follow the story of Adam and Eve, the serpent mentioned in the tale ends up being cast down to Earth. It is an earth-bound misery.

Human beings produce all the evil that is necessary to make the world shitty. They need no assistance. And personifying darkness in a creature called “the Devil” is the best way to allow human evil to continue without being challenged.

  • The Devil did not make anybody do anything.
  • The Devil did not possess little girls or little boys.
  • The Devil did not command a whole brood of witches.

Perhaps the reason the word “devil” makes me conjure images of incest is that poor people, unlearned individuals and those who feel superior because of their color or religion often use the word “devil” to describe all the forces they find to be unacceptable.

“The devil is rock and roll.”

“The devil is Hollywood.”

“The devil is a political party.”

“The devil is some race.”

“The devil is a woman seeking equality.”

And once they place the D word onto you, all of your actions will have the sniff of fire and brimstone.

Why don’t we consider a world where there is no Devil and human beings are responsible for their actions?

We are not tempted by God and we are not tempted by the Devil.

We are drawn away by our own lusts to do foolish things.

I don’t care if you’re conservative or liberal—as long as you don’t blame the Devil for your objections to the world around you. It is a sign of immaturity, irrelevance, and a lack of understanding of how evil human beings can be…without ever adding the D onto the word.

 

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The C Word … February 19th, 2019

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Jonathots Daily Blog

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When I sat down to consider “the C word,” many grotesque possibilities came to mind. I will not go into the ones I rejected. They are obviously repugnant or too controversial to even give utterance.

Instead, I chose a peculiar one because it is subtle and might even seem to be positive until you carefully study the history of its drastic devastation.

So the C word—the word that should never be used again or even spoken—is CULTURE.

For eighty-five years in this nation, we fostered, promoted, advertised, argued and finally fought over a fictitious cultural difference.

Here was the contention:

Mason liked fried potatoes. Dixon preferred grits.

Yankee Doodle drank beer and brandy, while Johnny Reb preferred whiskey and moonshine.

The North favored a Union. The South touted states’ rights.

Missy, a woman living north of the line, spent time working in the fields with her husband, planting, while the Dixie chicks pretended to be more fragile, appearing dainty.

Mason didn’t have slaves. Dixon did.

But Dixon didn’t call it “slave labor.”  Working under the guise of business, these folks who were shipped in from Africa were addressed as “field hands,” for it was the commerce of the South—and King Cotton required serfs to work, and black ones seemed to be more suited for the heat and the burden.

For eighty-five years, we pretended it was a “cultural difference.”

Men we extol as the founders of our nation, ignorantly hid behind debate, hoping it would disguise the atrocity.

It came down to a simple question:

You say slave, I say worker—almost a member of my family.

You say a person and I claim property.

You interrupt my culture and I wail and squeal about states’ rights.

We thought we could compromise, tolerate, negotiate and even appease one another. There were so many compromises that we started naming them after states, like Missouri. There were so many times we thought we had it worked out on paper, negotiating a deal or producing a favorable agreement, that many people were shocked when this “culture problem” created a Civil War which killed three-quarters of a million people.

And the fires of that conflict still smolder to this day.

We thought we could handle cultural difference. We believed we could let bygones be bygones.

But a cultural crisis was brought on by the crisis of culturing.

The truth is, human beings become viable to one another when they insist on similarities and pursue commonality.

You can eat your potatoes and drink your liquor any way you want.

But free will, justice and equality cannot be negotiated.


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