Conservation

Conservation: (n) the action of conserving something

There are many noble causes, but each is ill-served by advocates who are bratty and self-righteous.

I am more than willing to listen to anyone explain the importance of a rain forest or even why it is good to keep the glaciers frozen. What I will funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
not tolerate is an individual who thinks I am ignorant because I don’t already know it, or judges my reaction as being insufficient to the need.

It is actually quite possible to plant more trees without hugging the existing ones.

It is certainly powerful to enjoy Christmas without insisting that everyone react to it and celebrate it exactly the same way you do.

Conservation always puts our eyes too much on the affairs and lifestyle of others. We begin to believe that our cause is so significant that anyone who might suggest we are a trifle overwrought is an enemy of life or God.

Perspective.

Here is the perspective, and order of importance, for Planet Earth:

  • People
  • Animals
  • Trees
  • And video games (I’m just trying to gear this to the Millennials.)

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Cheesy

Cheesy: (adj) cheap, unpleasant, or blatantly inauthentic.

Wow, did you read that definition?

I guess Webster was really loaded for bear against “cheesy.”

Blatantly inauthentic?? Well, that would mean that each one of us would actually know or be acquainted with what is authentic.

We are not.

Everybody has their own taste in “cheesy.” (Please forgive that offering.)

In other words, if you go to a fundraiser, fighting some disease, they will drag all sorts of pitiful people in front of you to tell their stories of debilitation to
establish the need for contributions. This is not considered cheesy because…well, I guess because it is trying to help sick people.

Traveling on the road, I see a myriad of local TV commercials which try way too hard to be entertaining while inserting inordinate amounts of information in a thirty-second capsule. I might consider them cheesy, but the people involved would just declare them a “sales strategy.”

Sometimes I go to church and they bring the children’s choir up to sing “Jesus Loves Me,” as the adults feel compelled to ooh and aah, or say “Amen,” or worst of all, stand for a cheesy ovation. But it’s not really–it’s our kids, after all.

But then something comes our way that we are not invested in, is not our livelihood, and did not come from our loins, and we suddenly turn into critics, calling it maudlin, silly or cheesy.

Everyone is fully aware that without reaching the human heart, it is unlikely that you will impact our race. And what touches our emotions is rarely deep or convoluted. No, it’s some sort of kitty-cat video, where the little pussy runs across the frame chasing a bit of string and suddenly runs into a wall.

We giggle, embarrassed, and then repent by whispering, “Be careful, little kitty…”

The human race is cheesy. We are moved by the simplest of sentiments and absolutely baffled by complex interpretations.

You can feel free to act aggravated or high-falutin’ when you see something that yanks on your feelings, trying to pull you in the direction of glee or tears.

But without these gentle reminders of goodness and wonder, we become animals, growling at each other across the rain forest.

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Beagle

Beagle: (n) a small sturdy hound with a coat of medium length, bred especially for hunting.Dictionary B

Shall we discuss the word “rescue?”

For you see, when people tell me that I should get all my pets from “Rescues,” I must remind myself that these creatures have been salvaged from dire straits.

Therefore, since they do possess a brain, they just might have memories of being dangled over the flames of hell.

So when my young son wanted to get a dog, we went to the local Rescue, stepped behind the desk where they keep all the animals in cages, and were suddenly confronted with a collage of confused, frustrated, angry and sometimes even half-starved dogs crawling over one another to gain favor of this most recent human entering the room.

I suggested to my son that he pick one in the corner, who was not quite so survival-minded and seemed to have a sweeter temperament. Unfortunately, we found out that the reason this particular pooch was so silent ended up being that he was near death’s door.

But we nursed him back to health.

He really was a mutt, but the breed he most closely resembled was a beagle. We were pretty sure he would never get too large–except the other unknown portions of him did not know he was supposed to remain small.

So we ended up with a midsized dog who obviously had some brain damage from the trauma he had experienced, and therefore was a little cranky with strangers, while also picking up the personality and goofiness of our clan.

Even to this day, if you mention his name, there will be a split vote in the family on whether he was Snoopy or the Hound of Hell.

He didn’t care.

He had opinions on everything, similar to an old man at a Chinese buffet. But in his own way, he lived a full life of sixteen years before wandering away and apparently forgetting where he left his keys.

One of my favorite memories of that unique creation was his “hidden hound.” Even though I think he aspired to be a full beagle, if you began to howl like you were wailing at the moon, in no time at all, he would join you with a most baleful rendition.

He fought it.

He tried to pretend he didn’t understand, but always ended up with a bit of Southern heritage, barking at the air.

The dog’s name was Madez, and in honor of him, I will place this essay under the title of…”Beagle.”

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Babel

Babel: (n) Also called Tower of Babel, a tower presumptuously intended to reach from earth to heaven

Get busy doing the work, or you’ll find yourself busy chasing foolishness.Dictionary B

That’s some sound advice. It does beg some questions: What is the work? And of course, what is foolishness?

There is an Old Testament story about a tower which was presumably built in an attempt to rendezvous with the heavens and have communion with God. The premise itself is absolutely ludicrous, as most human ploys seem to be when viewed over the distance of time.

But in the moment, it seemed noble.

It seemed regal.

Worse, it seemed righteous.

Human beings are a horrible lot when they become discontented with being human and instead, try to either become animals…or God.

We’re not allowed to just be animals. Our brain is too big for that.

We’re not allowed to be God. Our brain is too small for that.

So what is the work? In the story, God confounds their plans by offering them different languages, so that they had to learn to communicate with each other.

There you have it.

My only work on earth is to learn to communicate with other people.

  • It’s the way I make money.
  • It’s the way I make friends.
  • Hell, it’s even the way I make love.

My only foolishness is to avoid humans, over-love animals or over-worship God.

Aside from believing in God and using the principles of love which He has imparted to me to interact with my fellow-travelers, that “Father Who Art in Heaven” who has the “Hallowed Name” only becomes my concern when one day I breathe my last breath … and He is my new reality.

 

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Ark

dictionary with letter A

Ark: (n) in the Bible, the ship built by Noah to save his family and two of every kind of animal from the Flood; Noah’s Ark.

He kept repeating the question to me over and over again with additional ferocity and challenge with each inquiry.

“Do you believe that Noah and the Ark is true?”

There’s nothing more annoying than an evangelistic atheist or an ardent fundamentalist. In both cases, they want you to commit to stuff you don’t know anything about.

Since I did not live in the time of Noah, I’m not quite sure what the Ark was. And though the measurements are quite large for a boat, it is not possible for it to contain two of all the animals of the world, even at that time.

So does that negate the story and make it a complete lie?

I am also fully aware that almost every culture in the world has its own Noah and the Ark story in some fashion. And does that give it less validity–if it might have been “Omar and the Big Canoe?”

When it comes to matters of spirituality, I have a very simple rule I apply to all stories, theories, doctrines and even axioms: how does it apply to me?

I know that sounds rather selfish, but I seriously doubt if God wants me to study yarns from the past that have little to do with the woven fabric of my doings.

What do I get out of Noah?

Sometimes what is right is hard to do because it doesn’t make sense to the mob around you, and the only way you’re going to prove that it is right is by finishing what you set out to do … and letting the rain fall.

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Animalism

dictionary with letter A

Animalism: (n.) behavior that is characteristic or appropriate to animals, particularly in being physical or instinctive.

I think it is possible to appreciate members of the animal kingdom while still being candid about their limited capabilities, and often vicious tendencies.

People who do not respect the teeth of the lion often get swallowed up in their error.

But what bothers me the most about the animal kingdom is how we, as human beings, who have been granted great heart, spirit, intellect and physical abilities, have deteriorated these gifts to the more base representations.

So our emotions are animalistic.

For instance, our movies and art fail to portray the sensitivity available to us as human beings, but rather, expand on the aggressive, selfish and dark aspects of hapless iniquity.

And I am certainly fed up with a spiritual animalism which turns the life of Jesus of Nazareth into a human sacrifice, complete with the members of the cult cannibalizing over his remains in some symbol of religious consecration.

As it pertains to intellectual animalism, I am bewildered why we think the accumulation of knowledge with no application of wisdom does any good for us in our progress as a species. I, for one, have grown weary of people who are smart but unwise. I am tired of hearing debates, serving up facts without allowing for the smorgasbord of human heart.

And let me be the first one to say that I am appalled at the physical animalism which has taken human sexuality into the realm of unashamed pornography. There is nothing more awkward, comical and tender than human beings having sexual relationships with each other. To turn it into a circus act or some sort of abusive domination of power, where one person is subjugated, is a glorification of the mating season, with beleaguered females being raped by their male counterparts simply because nature demands the encounter.

I am willing to be part of an animal kingdom which I respect and caretake. But I am not willing to take the beauty of my heart, soul, mind and strength … and allow them to be defined by the rules of the jungle.

 

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Afoul

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Afoul: (adv.) into conflict or difficulty with. e.g. she ran afoul of her boss.

I think I would be upset if I were a chicken.

I know the word isn’t spelled the same–but normally if the word “foul” is used without a football field  nearby, one gets the image of a “clucker.”

But as I think about it, other animals suffer from us humans characterizing them in a negative light. Because even though your local hen has to live under the subjugation of the term “afoul,” the cow has to cringe every time we say we have “a beef” with someone. Not to mention when we scream at an adversary, “That’s bull!”

Likewise, if someone is acting shady or dishonest, we refer to him or her as a “weasel.” Or if they’ve succeeded in weaseling us and pulling the wool over our eyes (there’s another one!) we say they’ve “out-foxed us.”

The pig becomes the symbol for obesity by being “a porker.”

And men are often referred to as “dogs” in a very derogatory sense–even though we believe the creature to be a best friend.

But I think the chicken suffers the most with “afoul,” don’t you?

So not to become some sort of PETA zealot, I do feel empathy for my fellow-earth-creatures who are unable to speak for themselves and express their displeasure over our characterizations.

After all, we also insult amphibians sitting on their lily pads by referring to our death as “croaking.”