Antipathy

dictionary with letter A

Antipathy: (n) a deep-seated dislike or aversion.

“Let’s take a vote!”

It was the scream that rattled a van I was traveling in many years ago with a bunch of kids from a church camp. Yes, any time any subject was brought up concerning the day’s activities or where we were going to eat, the children suddenly became democratic.

I wanted to be open-minded.

I wanted to be considered one of the “cool adults.” So I gave into the notion that the kids should have a right to determine their favorite projects and preferred tasty treats.

After traveling, playing and eating like this with a bunch of pre-teens for four days, I was not only constipated from the food choices, but also completely exhausted from absolutely meaningless activity.

The only thing I achieved was getting an extra ice-cream bar given to me by the collective horde for being the coolest counselor at the camp.

But unfortunately, the other adults at the camp were not nearly as impressed with my loose leadership.

I will tell you of a certainty that this problem is not limited to younger folks who have not yet discovered the purpose of life. For please consider–there are just some things on our journey that are not up for voting or discussion.

1. Loving people.

I don’t want to hear you tell me how hard it is to do or how you’ve been cheated or how you believe that God really would like to kill some folks. Here’s the end of the discussion: God loves people, and if you want to get anywhere near God, you’d better go along with His idea.

2. “I don’t want to change.”

That is most unfortunate. Maybe when we get done changing, we can give an ear on why it frustrates you. But showing up in a world that is structures through evolution and deciding that you’re not going to change is demanding that your hard head be forcibly cracked open.

Things are going to change and the only way you gain any control is by getting ahead of it instead of having the wheels of progress roll over your ribcage.

3. “I’m busy.”

No, you’re not. And the best way to become overwhelmed is to think you’re busy because then you’ll slow up and end up procrastinating, creating more work for tomorrow, which causes you to appear completely inept.

I am astounded at how much I get done when I don’t take the time to discuss how much it is.

So those are three things that can’t be voted on by our childish whim. In other words, some things need to be left alone and pursued with all of our passion, because believe it or not…they’re just right.

 

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Antinomy

dictionary with letter A

Antinomy: (a) a contradiction between two beliefs or conclusions; an oxymoron.

It really doesn’t matter whether someone is intellectual, spiritual or hedonistic.

There is one antinomy that plagues our race with such ambiguity that it causes us to become overly zealous in our certainty or nearly suicidal in our despair.

We just can’t make up our minds whether life is based on freewill or providence.

By “providence” I am speaking of destiny, or a pre-determined course for our life.

Even though we exert great independence about our choices, we also, at the same time, continue to insist that our lives are guided by forces beyond our control.

It’s what causes an atheist to ask, after viewing a horrible disaster, “Why didn’t God do something?”

And at the same time, it motivates a person of faith to proclaim that some irrelevant and maybe even preventable piece of anarchy “must have been God’s will.”

So as different as we may consider ourselves to be, we are trapped in the same flypaper as hapless insects, at the mercy of universal stickiness.

It’s utterly ridiculous.

Yet it is difficult to find anyone who will take a stand and admit they are solely “freewill” in their belief, or that they contend that everything for our lives.has been pre-destined.

When you persist in promoting this oxymoron of “freewill/destiny,” you always end up with a conclusion that nothing could have been done and that the purposes–divine or secular–were just enacted.

So let me be bold:

I am a freewill creature.

99% of my problems are caused by my poor choices, ignorance or stubbornness.

Even those things I deem to be accidents, when later reflected upon, were quite avoidable. For I would much rather take responsibility for the sum total of the additions of my life than superstitiously gaze into a crystal ball, wondering what the gods have devised for me.

Life clears up really quickly when you understand the concept of freewill. You don’t fear devils, you don’t summon angels, and you can alleviate most of your finger-pointing.

For after all, the only way to empower human beings is to let them know that their destiny is forged … one decision at a time.

 

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Anti-intellectual

dictionary with letter A

Anti-intellectual (n): a person who scorns intellectuals and their views and methods.

I ain’t sure, but I just may be one. Darn tootin’.

Can there be anything more annoying than someone who claims to be an intellectual, or on the other hand, some other varmint who insists “they’re just country.”

It all revolves around this nasty-dastardly deed of feeling the need to be right.

I would never call myself an intellectual, but I would never make fun of progress or science just to prove that I’m “one of the people.”

I often wonder, as I view my society, if we have all just gone crazy–and the process was so subtle that no one picked up on the nuance.

After all, the things we now accept as common sense tend to avoid any reasonable commonality and reject the need to be sensible.

I will tell you this–you will never get anywhere with anyone by insisting that you’re an intellectual. The goal of the whole room at that point will be to find the chinks in your armor and insert a spear deep into your self-righteous breast.

Likewise, you don’t gain the appeal of anyone who has an IQ above 75 by insisting that you eschew new discoveries, revelations which contradict the fables and lifestyle choices that you promote as old-fashioned, apple-pie American thinking.

Of the profiles afforded in the human experience–those being rock, cement and sponge–I choose to be a sponge.

I do not want to stand on the rock of mere intellectual pursuit, portraying myself as an agnostic, self-involved pursuer of education.

On the other hand, I don’t want to have a brain that’s cemented with superstition, fear, religion and political nonsense, and pass around another bucket of chicken with my equally stubborn brethren.

I am a sponge.

  • I do not fear science because God made it.
  • I am not afraid of the turmoil of nature because they are in the chemistry of our world to protect us and simultaneously teach us how things work.
  • And I do not deny the existence of God because I’m perfectly unwilling to believe that the whole system of the Universe is run on chance and chaos.

I do not care if I’m in the minority. I happen to know that minorities fare very well in the historical account.

As it turns out, I am not anti-intellectual nor pro-homespun. I want to absorb what’s true because I need to be free.

And rumor has it that truth is the only mechanism that delivers freedom. 

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Anti-hero

dictionary with letter A

Anti-hero (n): a central character in a story, movie, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.

Is it an oxymoron or just redundant?

For after all, there are no true heroes who fit the criteria we normally assess to such an honor.

  • All heroes come from nowhere just in the nick of time.
  • They cannot be manufactured–though we have hammered away.
  • They cannot be educated, though classes continue to be held.
  • They cannot be ordained, though religious institutions anoint at will.
  • And they are not born heroes.

One of the greatest misconceptions in our culture is the notion that people are born any particular way. We are all birthed with the need to be born again–emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically–or else to be cast in the role of being mere understudies of our parents’ stage work.

No one would expect a scrawny attorney from Illinois to be the central figure for the emancipation of the black race and the maintaining of the union of our country.

No one could ever have anticipated that a young man who struggled with math would later convince us that E does equal MC squared.

Could anyone have foreseen that a gentleman of great promise who was struck with polio and was confined to a wheelchair would be elected president four times, guiding us through a national depression and a world war?

Looking at a string of poets, musicians, authors, statesmen, inventors and liberators, there is not one of them who was naturally inclined to greatness.

It is those we preen to be heroes who disappoint us and those who we have cursed to obscurity who end up astounding us.

After all, could anyone have thought that a refugee to Egypt, who grew up in a village of less than five hundred people, the son of a carpenter, would be proclaimed the light of the world?

 

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Anti-government

dictionary with letter A

Antigovernment (adj): opposition to a government or the administration in office.

Of the people, by the people and for the people…

 

I think that’s the right order.

What is a government of the people?

It is an organization which is sensitive to the feelings, standards, morals and faith of any given group. Even though the United States would love to believe that the whole world should be democratic, there are countries which have lived with kings and emperors for centuries, and would not be comfortable with a democracy.

What does it mean: by the people?

It means that a secular government is a fluid idea based upon the changing goals of the people it is meant to serve. So even though our forefathers would arrive on the scene, look at the United States with some concern, and maybe even criticism, we cannot put together a contemporary institution based on the ideals of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

They had their time.

Government must be secular–tends to upset religious folks. But it must be an amalgamation of the sentiments of the populace, even if those assertions will soon be amended by better reasoning.

And finally, for the people.

Are we making our citizens more enriched, intelligent, enlightened and aware? If government is causing us to be ignorant, then government is not for the people.

So in the areas where we have legislation which isn’t of, by and for the people, it is necessary for someone to stand up and be anti-government in order to challenge the abnormality.

And what are the enemies of progress?

Religion and corporations.

Religion tends to cement ideas in stone and corporations function by staring at the bottom line. Neither approach affords the flexibility and breathing room for great government.

The “declarers of independence” were revolutionaries who were anti-government of King George.

They took a chance.

Undoubtedly, we will need to do the same in the future, but it can’t be to promote a corporation or a religion.

It has to be to improve the general welfare of all our countrymen.

 

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Antifreeze

dictionary with letter AAntifreeze (n): a liquid typically based on ethanol, which can be added to water in a car’s radiator, to prevent the engine from freezing.

 

Poverty promotes poor decisions.

Aside from the obvious dangers of starvation, eviction and financial humiliation, having little money often causes one to cut corners, which leads to dumping all of your existing treasure on the ground in a big heap.

When I was nineteen years old, I purchased an old green van which had originally been used by the telephone company. It was well-worn, but I was pleased to get it for $300.

Living in Ohio at the time, I was confronted with the perils of winter. One of those obstacles was the issue of “winterizing” your vehicle by adding antifreeze to make sure that you did not literally ice over and destroy your engine.

Well, here’s the problem. Antifreeze cost $2.99 a gallon, and I would be required to purchase two such units to take care of my vehicle. That was nearly six dollars–the equivalent of the food budget for my young wife and myself for three days.

I heard through the grapevine (which, by the way, is also inhabited by some nuts) that you could add rubbing alcohol to your radiator and protect it from the cold just as easily. Now, a bottle of alcohol was only twenty-nine cents, and I felt that three of them would be sufficient to provide me with the necessary coverage.

So I poured my alcohol in. A very cold Ohio night transpired, and I rose in the morning to start my van. I decided to peek in the radiator to see how my plan had worked.

It was frozen solid.

In my late adolescent mind, I figured that the best way to unfreeze my radiator was to start my engine and let the car warm itself up. (It made sense at the time.)

After starting my vehicle, I realized that I had cracked the block.

I discovered the reason for antifreeze. It performs a function. Its six-dollar price tag saves you from spending several hundred dollars repairing your engine.

It was a very expensive mistake, and one that I never repeated again.

Sometimes you swallow a little expense … so you don’t choke on a larger lump.

 

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Antietam

dictionary with letter AAntietam: historic site in northwestern Maryland, known as Antietam Creek, the scene of a major Civil War battle in September of 1862.

It was a lost cause.

Unless you’re a careful student of history, you may fail to realize that Abraham Lincoln was probably the most hated man in America.

Not only had he been elected President, causing the South to secede from the Union, but he had also made a decision to surround himself, in his cabinet, with competitors and critics.

When the war began, it was a fiasco. At the First Battle of Bull Run, the South nearly ended the entire conflict with one day’s murder and mayhem. But Lincoln continued, searching for a means to keep the country together, and possibly in the process, heal some old wounds and atone for the sins of slavery.

The problem was, the North couldn’t win a battle. Not even close.

So rather than being considered a great leader or a man of vision, he was viewed by his contemporaries as a clumsy goofball, ill-prepared for the challenge of repairing the breach.

He kept replacing generals in charge of the Army of the Potomac, hoping that someone might grow a backbone or at least field an army.

Lincoln had two goals:

Primary was to keep the Union together, for a reason which he almost singularly held within his breast. Everyone else had varying degrees of indifference on the issue.

But secondly, he realized that emancipating the slaves was not only an important step of contrition, but also would keep England and France out of the war,siding with the Confederacy. But it was certainly difficult to issue any kind of Proclamation in the midst of defeat.

The Battle of Antietam was a standoff, with more soldiers killed on the field than in any war in history, and Lincoln seized on that result, deeming it a moral victory, and set in motion to free the slaves.

Even though the Union became more proficient at war and eventually wore down their Southern brothers, it was the Battle of Antietam that gave Lincoln the doorway to make the Civil War about something other than states’ rights. In doing so, he robbed the countrymen clad in gray of the possibility of gaining international acceptance, therefore stifling their resources to those found within their own borders.

It was enough.

It’s why we still honor Abraham Lincoln today instead of shaking our heads in sadness over another failed Presidency.

Antietam was a bloodbath which ended with no conclusion–except permission for a President to change the rules and certainly, change the world. 

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