Apologetics

dictionary with letter A

Apologetics (n.): reasoned arguments defending a theory or belief.

Living in a world that wants to debate the power of argument and argue over the rules of debate, I find myself retreating in self-defense.

It isn’t that I’m afraid to make a stand, nor that I lack evidence of a personal nature on what I hold dear. It’s just that when I am limited to the power of mere articulation, I lose the majority of the beauty of my human emotion and faith.

We are not better people when we are convincing. For after all, Adolph Hitler was able to make a case for his Super Race.

What makes us viable and appealing is the stream of evidence which oozes from our pores as the proof of what lies within.

So a politician who is jaded and angry off-camera fails to convince me of his or her sincerity.

A corporation which revels in its slick advertising, capturing a market, is not nearly as appealing to me as one which takes responsibility for inferior products and sets in motion the research to improve.

And the religionist who mocks the simplicity of a child-like faith in favor of a theology with so many twists and turns that it produces a pretzel logic is not the mind of God to my weary ears.

Here’s what I want to know:

  • Can you tell me the truth?
  • Is it working for you?
  • What can you share with me that confirms that assertion?

Many centuries ago, a blind man who was healed by an itinerant preacher was mocked by the intellectuals of his day because the so-called miracle didn’t make any sense nor follow any acceptable form of religious practice.

His response was precious.

He said, “I don’t know about all your opinions and learned ways. All I know is that once I was blind, but now I see.”

Amen.

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Apologetic

dictionary with letter A

Apologetic (adj.) admitting and showing regret for a wrongdoing.

In my opinion, saying “I’m sorry” is only effective when it comes from the lips of an explorer instead of a captured criminal.

We live in a time when people do and say ridiculous things, and then are compelled by our media to stand in front of a microphone and mouth some sort of anemic confession of weakness, waiting for the news cycle to lose interest in them.

If they don’t do this, we assume they’re perniciously evil and should be shunned from the next barn-raising.

Yet an apology is probably the most powerful tool in human relationships. It is the glue that holds pieces together which are mismatched, but still strong because of the bond.

Still, an apology, like any other misused virtue, becomes nearly sinister when it is coerced and turned from the beauty of repentance to the aggravating death-march to compliance.

It reminds me of the parents who stand around and require their child to say “thank you” when you give the little one a candy bar. You become the victim of their insistence as the child, with chocolate dripping down his cheek, reluctantly mutters what is assumed to be words of gratitude.

How can we teach ourselves that an apology does not diminish, but rather, accentuates, our status?

I don’t know.

But there is a wise adage which states, “Except you repent, you will perish.”

To the human mind that seems unlikely. So what does perish?

What we lose in this transaction, because we have not used our own cognition to apologize, is the peace of mind and trust we have in others to be sincere–which can cause us to become angry, unforgiving souls … if we don’t believe them.

 

 

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Apolitical

dictionary with letter A

Apolitical (adj.): not interested or involved in politics.

I made the mistake of claiming to be apolitical in the midst of a group of people who were energized by the conflict we call the American election process.

They looked on me with disdain. The kinder ones began to reason with me, saying that I had no right to comment on the world around me if I was not going to participate in the quagmire.

It’s not that I have anything against the American system, nor that I wish to pursue some other foreign derivation. It’s just that I decided years ago that once something does not work, the most merciful thing you can do is abandon it and give it a decent burial.

For instance, I once had a lovely clock radio. At the time it was the pride of my possessions. It was easy to read, easy to set and had a powerful speaker which enabled the AM/FM radio to ring out with almost stereo clarity.

One day it stopped working. Completely. I considered getting it fixed, but was informed that it would cost more than the instrument was worth.

Being a stubborn sort, I kept it plugged in the wall with the hopes of resurrection. Even after the third day passed, I still persisted in dreaming of its return.

It didn’t.

One day a friend came into my home, saw the clock radio and asked my why it was still plugged into the wall, considering that it was doing nothing. I explained my allegiance, preference, hopes and dreams.

He squinted at me in disbelief and commented, “Go buy yourself a damn radio that works.”

His words pierced my soul.

I don’t know whether it was the sternness or the logic that awakened a spirit of reality, but I did it.

It was so refreshing to have a working clock radio that I soon forgot my old friend.

  • I am intent on changing my world.
  • I just know that politics … is broken.

 

 

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Apogee

dictionary with letter A

Apogee (n.) 1. The point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is furthest from the earth. 2. The highest point: (e.g.: his creative activity reached its apogee in 1910.)

We live our lives looking through binoculars, unaware that history will view us under a microscope.

We keep hoping that something will come along and stimulate our sensibilities and promote our ideas to greater influence and gain. The flaw of all humanity is the notion that we deserve a break, so we will sit here and wait for it.

Yet history will peer back on our deeds and reflect on where we messed up our GPS, missed a U-turn or put the brakes on.

So therefore, we can all become guilty of claiming our apogee long before we have actually achieved our highest point.

Life is a mysterious collision of confidence and insecurity.

Confidence says, “Given the opportunity, I can do this.” But it must be accompanied by a mistrust that such an advantage will come our way without us hustling for it.

When I study greatness, I find two components. People who achieve their goals do the following:

  1. Work on their gifts until they are prepared for the moment.
  2. Create the moment.

I am not a believer in destiny. I am certain that the acquisition of my dreams will be executed by the energy of my effort.

What will be my apogee? I am not there yet.

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Apocalypse

dictionary with letter A

Apocalypse (n.)1. an event involving great destruction. 2. (The Apocalypse) the final destruction of the world, as described in the biblical book of Revelation.

It didn’t take me long in my travels to discover that there are only two things that motivate human beings: fear and love. And the truth is, if you have one, you don’t have the other.

Those who fear are greatly inhibited from loving.

And those who love have comfort, which protects them from fear.

Let me share my own little bubble of naiveté: if the world is actually going to end, don’t tell me. Matter of fact. don’t talk about it.

You can feel free to suggest ways that I can prevent such a cataclysmic occurence. That will be fine. But when you start talking about times, dates, circumstances or blame, please leave me out.

Because I will tell you, in my lifetime I have seen the threat of such annihilation twice:

During my whole growing up years, people were building bomb shelters, preparing for the inevitable tossing back and forth of nuclear weapons.

And then the Cuban Missile Crisis took us to the brink of a global fiasco, flirting with devastation like cheap whores at a bar near closing time.

I didn’t care for it–and not just because we were so close to oblivion. It was also the tension leading up to it and the apprehension that remained following.

I run across many religious people who pray for such an Armageddon so they can go home and be with Jesus. Isn’t it interesting that the Savior who prayed to stay here with us is now plagued with disciples who pray to go?

How bizarre.

  • I don’t want the world to end on my watch.
  • I don’t want to stand before God and have to explain why the whole damn thing blew up while I was idly figuring out the day and the hour.

I plan on going to my demise kicking and screaming, needing to be convinced by any divine being who has prepared a place, that this heavenly offering is actually better than what I had.

 

 

 

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Aplomb

dictionary with letter A

Aplomb (n.) calm self-confidence.

When I was growing up there was a game called “Pick-Up Sticks,” where everything was thrown down in a pile, and I had the job of picking up the sticks from the pile without disturbing the other sticks around it.

It was nerve-wracking–very similar, matter of fact, to the game Operation, in which you had a pair of tweezers to remove a plastic body part without getting buzzed by touching the sides.

That’s why I find it difficult to justify the word “calm” and the idea of “self-confidence” being linked together.

Because I will tell you, self-confidence is a house of cards.

Those who truly believe they are full of it … well, are usually full of it. They are trapped in a misconception that what they bring to the table is sufficient without any addition and certainly without correction. It is a dangerous profile which robs you of your calm because humanity is very willing to remind you of your lack and remove all praise in the process.

Actually, I think the best way to become jaded is to insist on a profile of self-confidence. You will quickly find that a situation comes up beyond your scope and requires some adjustment–and if you don’t, you end up looking foolish, or worse, rationalizing your lame efforts.

If I were defining the word “aplomb,” I would say it’s a “calm use of true humility.”

Humility is much better than self-confidence simply because humility demands that you show up with some stats and facts, otherwise you’re not being humble–just unrealistic. And also, humility opens the door to the realization that since you had to learn what you’ve done so far, the possibility for additional learning is likely.

I meet many people who would insist that they’re self-confident. Matter of fact, they wear it as a badge of honor, unaware that it is actually a cloak of deception, leaving all parties who don the masquerade eventually looking over-dressed.

The reason I am calm is not because i believe I am sufficient. I find peace in my soul because I realize that the same humility which allowed me to do some great things will prepare me to gain the wisdom to do more.

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Aplenty

dictionary with letter A

Aplenty (adj): in abundance (e.g.he has work aplenty.)

I needed this word this morning.

Often my perspective needs an adjustment and I have neither the aptitude nor the tools.

Why? Because the momentum of my heart and soul has been stalled by my mind and body. These roommates fight all the time–and just when I think that my emotions and spirituality have gained an edge, my greedy brain and my insatiable appetites rally their forces and win the day.

It’s always over the same issue: is this going to be enough?

  • It’s why romances break up–because we begin to believe that the person we once adored has somehow become dowdy.
  • It’s how obesity overtakes our physical frame–because we’re convinced that our usual single doughnut isn’t quite enough to finish our cup of coffee.
  • It’s how many people abandon spirituality–because they expect God to make the journey to them instead of meeting Him halfway.

For me, it was looking ahead to a busy day and wondering if I had the wherewithal to cover the many nuances. Rather than taking it one step at a time, and realizing the fact that I was breathing was certainly a positive sign, I instead allowed my brain to become worrisome, which immediately made my body grow fatigued in sympathy.

I don’t know what “aplenty” is. By the time I’m convinced that I have enough, I sit there alone with my stockpile–having missed the present opportunity.

Maybe that’s the definition of maturity: keep firing your bullets and stop counting your ammunition.

 

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