Antipsychotic

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Antipsychotic: (n) a type of drug used to treat psychotic disorders.

I believe the old saying is that “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

I don’t know if that means that fools are careless, or angels are chicken shit.

But I do know that ever once in a while, it’s important to risk appearing foolish in an attempt to focus on something that’s important.

So playing the part of the fool, let me state bluntly that America is nuts.

I know that’s not a clinical word normally used by psychiatrists, but it does describe the mishap of activity that is being presently performed under adult supervision.

Religion, politics, entertainment and corporations have lost all sense of morality and even any compass for productivity, chasing down either imaginary dragons or unicorns in the enchanted forest.

There seems to be a national sense of neurotic.

Now, what is the difference between being neurotic and psychotic?

  • Neurotic is when you’re afraid that you’re going to go out on the street and get robbed, so you end up staying at home.
  • Psychotic is when you stay at home and have a visceral experience of being robbed by imaginary thieves named Imogene and Darnell.

Here’s my concern: neurotic people can become psychotic if their neurosis is not talked out.

I believe we’re already on the verge of finding imaginary enemies that are chasing us down instead of having the good cheer and wisdom to tackle simple problems in our everyday lives. So more than ever, people are being prescribed medication for conditions that should be handled among our peers with comedy and conversation.

Yes, if we stop talking to each other, only texting and posting on Facebook, the little demons will start crawling out of the closet and begin to gnaw on our ankles.

So let me be foolhardy and tell you that social networking, the Internet and cynicism are tempting us as a nation to leap from neurotic to psychotic. Then we scratch our heads and wonder why somebody would ever go into a school and shoot a couple dozen little kids.

I know we’re concerned about tragedies like this, but I’m much more worried about the loss of humanity, the missing link in our species that creates brotherhood instead of culture wars, and the rejection of a gregarious nature, forcing us back into our caves, where we scrawl on the walls, admiring only our own artwork.

We will become psychotic, and then will probably become so alarmed that we’ll prescribe a national antipsychotic for the water system if we don’t learn to deal with the neurotic notions that make us feel superior to each other and afraid to merely use our abilities the best we can.

 

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Antinomy

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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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Annunciation, The

dictionary with letter A

Annuciation, The: (n) announcement of the Incarnation by the angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:26-38)

Angels have personalities.

I suppose one has to believe in angels or accept the concept of personality.

We know they have some sort of thinking process– one-third of them decided to rebel against management and ended up earth-bound. (Sometimes I think we fail to realize that losing a third of your personnel is a pretty heavy indictment against the employer.)

So I wonder what Gabriel, an angel in good standing, felt like when he was instructed to go to Earth and tell a young, teenage girl that the Holy Spirit was going to overshadow her and that she would bear a child, and even though the offspring would be the Savior of the world, for the first nine months, it would be a much-unwanted pregnancy.

I’m not so sure that a young, Jewish girl in that time would have been aware of the procreative process. So did Gabriel get stuck explaining sex and God–in the same visit?

Or were young girls of the time so confined within tiny, stone huts that actually, Mama and Papa’s evening groanings needed to be explained earlier than usual?

But I will tell you three positive things:

  1. Only a teenage girl would think it was cool to have a baby. If God had caught her any older, she would have been more rational.
  2. Only a young lass would have the faith of a child and the optimism to think that God really saw her personally and wanted to bless her uniquely.
  3. And only Mary stands out singularly as the woman that God chose, to birth the promise of the ages.

What a difficult assignment it was for an angel to annnunciate the heart of God into the fragile mind of a superstitious, adolescent and poverty-stricken little girl.

It is so much the story of humanity–with all of our technology, intellect, pursuit of knowledge, political maneuvers and theological profundities, it is still one single person believing in the unbelievable … marching us forward.

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Animal

dictionary with letter A

Animal: (n) 1. a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized organs and nervous systems 2. any such living organism other than human beings

Sometimes I feel like a cop, standing in the middle of a thoroughfare, attempting to direct traffic, with two huge trucks bearing down on me from different directions, seemingly unwilling to yield.

It’s how I feel about the overbearing nature of the secular community playing “chicken” with the zealots of the religious contingency.

One group screams that human beings are “just animals,” knowing it will aggravate their adversary, as the other gathering of souls touts the eternal nature of our being and the need for God.

I have found in my life that when you maintain a philosophy and speak it aloud more or less just to annoy others who disagree with you, you not only lack the power of your own conviction, but you are infiltrating the world around you with unnecessary conflict.

I decided a long time ago that human beings are monkey-angels. There is no denying our similarity to the family of animals but there is little doubt that we have some DNA in common with the angels of God.

I don’t know why we can’t come to this conclusion:

  • I think it would be nice to have a member of the animal kingdom who has graduated to a spiritual sensibility for respecting the planet and caring for the weaker members of the jungle.
  • Simultaneously, I think there is a certain adorable quality to us motoring a spirit but being a trifle inept in steering it.

As John Merrick, the Elephant Man put it so well, “I am not an animal.”

Perhaps better phrased, “I am not just an animal.”

There is a living, breathing soul within me that aspires to the Divine … while wallowing in the mud.

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Angel

dictionary with letter A

 

Angel: (n.) a spiritual being believed to act as an attendant, agent, or messenger from God, typically represented in human form with wings and a long robe.

Perhaps the accusation could be made that I am a soul who is susceptible to suggestion.

  • For if I watch a television show about weight loss, I become determined to pursue at least twelve hours of frugal eating.
  • Viewing a football game makes me want to toss the old pigskin.
  • And going to church makes me want to believe in a God of love, a Jesus of compassion and angels of mercy.

While others debate the existence of divine creatures, or even become vehement in their attacks or defense, I find this boring. Here’s what I think:

If there are no such things as angels, then we should pretend to be them.

If there is no Jesus who loves children and touches the lepers, why not impersonate him?

And for some reason, if God does not exist–a Father which is in heaven for the human race–then maybe it might be nice, in a small way, to comfort the fatherless.

Religion, to me, is not believing in the supernatural, but instead, taking the natural world around me and trying to do something super with it.

Will I be disappointed if I find out there are no angels? Not really–because I’ve read enough about them that I can steal their profile and try, in my miniscule way, to be angelic to my fellow humans.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if it turns out that the key to life is how well we imitate good things, and that our little performances actually become the only representation of the heavenly tale? Weird, huh?

Anyway, I think angels are cool–proclaiming messages of hope, helping out folks who are hungry, having a good word for those in despair, and arriving at just the right moment to do the right thing.

Since angels are cool and I like to be cool, I will continue to take on the role to the best of my stumbling ability.

Likewise, I will be a big, fat bald Jesus to those I meet.

And if necessary, I will come down from a theological perch of understanding and offer my shoulder to those who are crying … just like any good god should.

 

 

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Anabaptist

dictionary with letter A

Anabaptist: (n) a radical Protestant sect in the 1520s and 1530s which believed that baptism should be administered only to believing adults.

It’s not so much that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It’s just that by the time a dog reaches a certain age of maturity, it is always looking for a warm piece of sunshine in which to take a nap.

It is so much easier to teach a young dog which is hopping around with energy, to do something unnecessary, like a trick, because the creature is already predisposed to be active.

When I read this definition of Anabaptist, I immediately noted that their particular goal of profession of faith didn’t last very long. The reason for that is that trying to teach adults to be spiritual is similar to the quandary of pursuing chasing a stick with the old dog.

The people who are most intrigued by God, love, mercy, angels and promises of heaven are young.

Very young.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus told his disciples that we all need to “become like little children.” Otherwise, we’ll have no appetite to learn the new tricks that are available for our spirit.

If you remove Sunday School, Bible school, church camp and youth outings from the average religious organization, you basically end up with traditional worship services once a week … and funerals.

Matter of fact, that is the menu of many congregations in this country.

It is the infusion of youthfulness and the passion associated with it that makes spirituality alive and well. Otherwise, the minute we find a warm place to sleep in the sun, we no longer care about God, the earth and fellow-travelers.

Yes, the Anabaptists made a serious mistake. Merely getting old and sickly does not prepare one for eternity.

It is the introduction of youthful, childlike playing that “draws us nigh unto God.”

 

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Alabaster

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Alabaster: (n) a fine-grained, translucent form of gypsum, usually white and often carved into ornaments.

What a great word for the Christmas season!

I don’t know where I got the idea–I’m sure somewhere in my twisted history it slipped in through an available crack, but I always envisioned the wise ones from the East, who came to Bethlehem, bringing their gifts in alabaster boxes.

Maybe it’s something I just absorbed over the years from viewing artists’ renditions of the astrologers’ luggage. But it was always a beautiful sight–because truthfully, you can tell the value of a gift by its packaging.

Let me rephrase that. I believe you should be able to tell the content of the quality of a gift through its container.

A story: many years ago, at Christmastime, one of my children, lacking finance for the occasion, bought a good number of the one-dollar boxes of chocolate-covered cherries. The reason that I knew they cost a buck is that the store printed the price on the front of the wrapper, and my child was unable to dispel the evidence. Being a little bit embarrassed over offering such a cheap gift, he wrapped them beautifully in gorgeous paper, placing a bow on the top.

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed, after commenting on the beauty of the packaging, to discover the cheap contents. I hid my disappointment pretty well, though, and acted like they were the best chocolate-covered cherries that God, the angels, or Russell Stover, for that matter, had ever come up with.

But the incident gave me reason to contemplate the issue of presentation. It’s why we dress up for formal occasions instead of showing up in t-shirts and jeans. The person inside is the same, but the outward appearance certainly advertises better possibilities.

So I imagine when these star-gazers from the East arrived in Bethlehem, and Mary and Joseph saw the alabaster boxes, a tingle went through them, down to their spines, because they suspected they were in for a good haul. Being simple folks on the fast track for sainthood, they probably attempted to hide these very carnal sensations. But I’m sure the presence of  alabaster  stimulated a great hope in their hearts, that just maybe they wouldn’t have to be poor forever. And sure enough, upon opening them, they found gold, frankincense and myrrh.

So you may think it’s funny to wrap a stick of gum in golden paper with ribbon and tinsel. Or you may want to play down your offering by placing the gold watch you purchased in a brown paper bag. But I will tell you, there is a power in at least attempting to match what’s inside with what’s outside.

For instance, it’s why I continue to diet … even though my efforts are mocked by the universe.