The F Word … March 12th, 2019

THE

WORD

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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symPATHy … June 2, 2012

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Manifest destiny.

It was a contention by the Democratic Party in the mid-nineteenth century that the entire continent of North America was not only available but the God-given right of the American people to possess for their own. It turned our nation into a bunch of settlers. The word “settlers” is very interesting, don’t you think? It unveils two meanings: to settle in and also to settle for.  It is the third part of the cultural DNA that permeates the history of our country.

(Please understand that as I share these, I do not do so to be critical of our nation’s heritage. Recognizing the lineage of our existence and the way things came about, is by no means a condemnation of who we are, but rather, a challenge for us to consider in determining where we want to go.)

There was one main problem with “manifest destiny.” We landed on the shore of a world that already had inhabitants. They are called “Native Americans,” or by many people, just “Indians.” They were organized into tribes, and being human, they were having conflicts with each other.  In fact, they had established some territories, boundaries and areas which they considered to be their possession and home.

We disagreed. The history of the relationship between the arriving immigrants from Europe and the Native Americans is tainted with many atrocities and many sad tales. Some would say it’s a blight on the conscience of our country. But I think a blight only exists if we fail to recognize the lessons we have learned and apply them into our next situation.

Here’s what settlers never do: they never have sympathy for the world around them. The definition of sympathy is “sharing the feelings or interests of another.” Is it possible that we could have found a way to settle this country without stealing land, creating enemies with the local inhabitants and generating a series of wars which cost the lives of many innocent folk? Of course it is, but it would have demanded that we have sympathy instead of believing we had a manifest destiny.

The only sure way to guarantee the God is NOT with you is to insist that God is ALWAYS with you.

On the other hand, the greatest piece of intelligence that any human being can have is to believe that the will of God is not contingent on our feelings or on our need, but rather, on the best for all of His children. It demands a mindset, a heart and a spirit of sympathy.

Jesus characterized this in his statement, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Yes–it is definitely a trade-off. Showing a lack of mercy guarantees you no mercy in your time of need. Showing mercy places a deposit of mercy for you in a bank, to withdraw at a later time, when you are overcome by your circumstances.

Instead, we settled, as settlers often do.  We Americans perched on land that was not our own while robbing other human beings of their feelings and concerns in favor of our pursuits.

It is in the cultural DNA of our nation. We are the children of the settlers. We have a tendency to want to settle in ourselves–to our homes, believing that our families are the most important units in the world, and acquiring jobs and lifestyles that may be less than what we desire. This causes us to be a little bit on edge, which makes us lack sympathy for others. And when we lack sympathy for others, honestly, they lack sympathy for us. It sets in motion a chain reaction of indifference, which aggravates us, makes us defensive and causes us to settle for less.

What could have been different in the foundation of our country that would have included the Native Americans as part of us, instead of going on a campaign to promote them as “savages” to the public? I am just a humble writer, but may I offer three suggestions that might have enabled us to avoid manifest destiny, and instead, could have established the third path to true spirituality and a world view in expressing our sympathy?

1. Make your intentions clear. One thing that infuriates people is when we try to disguise our true motives with lies. If you want the whole land, then go in negotiating for the whole land. Don’t steal it county-by-county, acting like there’s nothing you can do about it.

2. I would have insisted that the Native Americans organize their tribes so that I could speak to one voice instead of trying to negotiate with hundreds. This would have been good for them. This would have aided them in stopping some of the squabbling that had gone on  amongst them for generations.

3. I would have gotten an accurate count, a census, of how many Native Americans there were and determined how they could have been included in the mix of the American dream. The greatest enemy of negotiation is a lack of information. If you do not know your adversary, you are destined to create an offense that will lead to war.

Is it possible to have established the United States of America and still have given sympathy to the Native Americans who inhabited the land before our arrival? Of course–but it would have demanded that we reject two little tin gods that settlers always revere. And those two false deities are arrogance and ignorance. We would have needed to stop believing that white people were supreme and have learned the value of our Native American brothers and sisters.

As in the case of slavery, even though the wars have ended, the conflict between the white man and the Indian still exist. It is an unhealed wound. So if we’re going to go onto the path of true spirituality, giving us the necessary world view to be inhabitants of earth instead of infestations, we must use sympathy. We must have a capacity for understanding the feelings and concerns of others. We must be merciful so we can obtain mercy.

Without this, we become settlers. We settle into a place where we can settle for the next piece of foolishness that floats our way.

Sympathy–it is more than expressing a sentiment, but rather, a decision to foster and promote legitimate concern for the needs of others.

So we have three steps to the path so far: apathy, empathy and sympathy. These are universal, spiritual, holy altars needed in the human being to avoid being Puritans, participating in slavery and becoming settlers. Where will it take us? What do we really acquire as a gift when we finally allow ourselves to have correct apathy, excellent empathy and the sanity of sympathy?

I’ll join you tomorrow and we’ll close this off.

 

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Come Out … May 1, 2012

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You are living in Paris, France, in 1942.

You have just finished your morning croissant and tea, and you step out of your house into a world filled with huge red flags sporting swastikas.The Nazis are in control. The Nazis are everywhere. The Nazis seem powerful–hell, invincible. The Nazis insist they make sense, so you are gradually lured into accepting the perceived sensibility. The Nazis … well, the Nazis are Nazis.

What should you do?

Move ahead in time. Conservative, liberals, Puritans, Epicureans, religious, atheist, Republican, Democrat, “innies” and “outies.” The world is determined to start a gang, get as many members as are willing to submit to the rules, and reign with power and intimidation as necessary, in order to achieve the agenda.

It never makes it right.

How about 1958 in Birmingham, Alabama? It was not only improper, but illegal for a black person to partake of a white person’s drinking fountain. The rule of the day was wrong–but that didn’t make any difference, because it was not only the law but also the custom, which was also the preference–which ended up being the acceptable. But it wasn’t really acceptable.

There is no way to be part of this world and ever find a path of righteousness. Simultaneously, you can’t hate the world around you and think that you are enacting the love of God. What is right? What can you do if you are living in Nazi-occupied France in 1942? How about Jim-Crow-Alabama in 1958? Vietnam War era 1969? Watergate, 1972? Moral majority–1985? Clinton and Monica, 1998? Weapons of mass destruction, 2003? Banks, finance corporations and lending institutions–2008?

Don’t you think these are good questions? Because it doesn’t make any difference whether the goal of your organization is to reestablish purity or if the aspiration or your particular clique is to push forward some more liberal agenda. In both cases a standard is being established which alienates human beings, and therefore will historically be foolish.

I have friends who hate the world. I have friends in the world who hate the church. I know churches who hate sinners. I know sinners who think they despise God. All of these friends make their cases, scream their arguments and at the end of the rant, are all wrong. Because here’s the truth: NoOne is better than anyone else.

Any movement, doctrine, philosophy or disposition that mocks and contradicts that concept is in itself going to be the source of ridicule within a generation. In other words, stupidity seems powerful until truth sheds light on its weaknesses and leaves it naked and barren of purpose.The only principle that remains steadfast–since the beginning of time– is NoOne is better than anyone else.

So if you’re sitting in some religious conclave, deciding that some individuals are inferior in God’s eyes because you have discovered the essence of doctrinal supremacy, you are wrong and will be left desolate. The only truth that has lasted since Adam started his gardening is that we’re all in this together and separating ourselves off into ANY kind of difference only creates conflict, which when resolved, makes the combatants look like imbeciles.

I love the church. I love the world. I love Republicans. I love Democrats. I love Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims and anyone else that has human skin and a soul. And what do I mean by love?

  1. I will leave you alone to the evaluation of our heavenly Father.
  2. If you insist on being detrimental to humanity, I will defeat you by continuing to enact that “NoOne is better than anyone else.”
  3. I will use the greatest weapon available to achieve those purposes by instituting good cheer in my own life and allowing Jesus to overcome the world.
  4. I will come out and be separate, refusing to participate in any endeavor which targets human beings for scrutiny instead of embracing them as brothers and sisters.
  5. I will honor only one tradition–my space is sacred as long as your space is, too.
  6. I will undermine efforts to create any kind of super-race, super-cult, super-party or super-god which is determined to alienate instead of rejuvenate.
  7. I will outlast you.

I have friends, members of my family, acquaintances and notables in our society who all believe the best path is to give in to the present insanity. They are Frenchmen, devouring their croissants, and reluctantly–but still faithfully–saluting Hitler. They are trying to get by through giving in. They see a world that has gone crazy, and are assuming that some form of lunacy is necessary in order to maintain integrity. They are surrounded by tanks, flags and despots who really have no idea what to do next–yet they believe they are in the hands of the powerful.

The United States of America is one major disaster away from bankruptcy, yet we still continue to listen to our economists, politicians, intellectuals and pundits offer their predictable opinions with little revision. As Jesus said about the Pharisees, you should give them respect for their position, but for God’s sakes, don’t listen to anything they say.

Hear, hear. We desperately need some intelligent people of fortitude who will cease to argue with the world, but at the same time, will come out from among the confused horde and be separate. Is this a popular message? No. Quite the contrary. “Popular” is what gets us in trouble. This is a voice crying in the wilderness, saying, “Prepare the way of the Lord and make His path straight.” It is a voice that refuses to give into the voice of repetition simply because it’s so loud.

It is a voice that holds ONE truth to be self-evident: NoOne is better than anyone else.

 

  

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