Conclusion: (n) a judgment or decision reached by reasoning.

I have come to the conclusion that the more conclusions you come to, the less likely it is that you will actually arrive at a conclusion.

The human race has an inordinate greed to be smart. It’s in all of us.

Each one of us has to press it down a little bit or we would be incapable of standing in line at a grocery store without strangling the person in funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
front of us, who has twelve items in the ten-item lane.

You see, the problem is, we know this person has twelve items because for some ridiculous reason, we counted them.

Yes, the conclusion we must come to is that there’s a certain amount of indifference–dare we say, apathy?–which is necessary to possess in order to live with other humans. Otherwise, we begin to desire to treat them like animals, brought to us for training.

So may I present to you, in all humility, the only three conclusions that matter from the moment they cut your umbilical cord until the day you sever the cord between yourself and the living:

  1. The happiest people in the world do not draw any conclusions.
  2. If they have conclusions, they use them to benefit their own journey and decorate their own space.
  3. A world without conclusions is often chaotic, but does allow for excellence to rise to the top.

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Both: (pron) two identified together

There is only one natural enemy of humankind.Dictionary B

It is called apathy.

Whenever it arrives, good becomes a little less glistening, and bad is viewed as too normal.

So we need both:

  • We need both believer and atheist
  • Republican and Democrat
  • Business and consumer
  • Rich and poor
  • Freedom and oppression
  • Give and take
  • Male and female

And as we look at each one of these possibilities, it is contingent upon our intellect and awareness to realize that truth lies in the midst of the disarray.

It would be wonderful if virtue would light up so we could follow it, or if evil smelled like farts. But it’s not that simple, is it? No–it takes our full concentration, attention, passion and involvement to make sure that we are at least attempting to find the common good.

In doing so, we defeat apathy.

Because if we don’t, it will destroy us.


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Bitter: (adj) angry, hurt, or resentful

Nothing ever gets better if we insist it should never have happened.Dictionary B

It is the source of all bitterness.

Discussion is avoided because the mere mention of the event creates such a ferocious response that conversation is impossible.

Maybe there’s a little arrogance tied to it. Perhaps it is this “life in a bubble” experience that we all desire–which is continually burst. Then not only are we offended, but also find ourselves rigidly refusing to consider reconciliation.


  • Because “how dare he?”
  • Or “how dare she?”
  • Or even “how dare they?”

Even though we acknowledge they are just human beings, we still think they should have had the divine insight to be aware that we should not have been challenged.

The Good Book calls bitterness a root.

It is a seed of pride which we plant in the dirt of failure, which sprouts a rage burrowing deep within our soul, disguising its presence.

So we cover up bitter with apathy … and we insist our apathy is just a preference or a decision to move on.

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Award: (n) a prize or other mark of recognition given in honor of an achievement.dictionary with letter A

I went through a phase in my life when I would describe myself as “delightfully obnoxious.”

I know that might seem like an oxymoron, but I think in our journey to find great confidence which is balanced with humility, we occasionally veer off the road toward one extreme or another.

I was living in Shreveport, Louisiana, and had teamed up with a couple dozen other folk. We deemed ourselves to be artisans. (Whether we actually were is probably hidden, along with beauty, in the eye of the beholder.)

We busied ourselves with the local cable TV station, making all sorts of videos, little movies and programs to be aired for public consumption on a first-come, first-served basis.

What frustrated the Public Access station was how prolific we were. Matter of fact, one of the managers characterized it as “annoyingly prolific.”

So when it came time for the local awards show, we ended up being nominated in all six categories available. Rather than this being viewed by the provincial committee as a positive, it was instead snubbed as distasteful and overwrought.

This caused us to turn up the level of volume and amplify the arrogance.

On the night of the awards show, every member of our team showed up, hooted and hollered each time our name was mentioned, turning it into a festival of joy instead of the rigorous necessity of compliance to formality that had been envisioned.

Of course, they got even. Of the six categories, we only won a single award. But we didn’t care.

It was a fabulous night of rejoicing, and having some sense of being awarded for the hard work we had put in on the projects.

By no means do I condone our actions or our over-zealous approach.

Yet I will tell you that it is often required for passion to be accelerated to such a level that it shocks apathy into actually feeling something.


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by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acolyte: (n.) a person assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession.

I make no judgments on traditional religious practices which I may or may not consider to be part of my lifestyle.

Yet some of the more humorous events have happened to me while watching young and old try to walk down to the front of the church and light the ceremonial candles.

We call them acolytes. They are usually young people who have been convinced they have been granted an honor by sitting through a couple of classes, hearing an over-explained description of an age-old process, which appears to be VERY simple until Sunday morning arrives and they are put in the position of being the fire-starters.

One of my favorite visions is the young acolyte wearing the ceremonial robe with a pair of dirty tennis shoes sticking out of the bottom. I won’t even go into the symbolism.

I recall being at one church and an acolyte came forward to light the candle, only to discover that his magic fire stick was not making connection with the wick. For some reason the thing would NOT ignite. So in a moment of humanity, he proclaimed for all to hear: Aw, shit.”

Laugher ensued (even though I am sure folks sought absolution later.)

I DO like it when there is a hovering grown-up presence off to the side, nervously watching the youngsters go up to light the candles, like a mother hen concerned that the chicks will not know how to receive the nourishment of the grain being thrown by the farmer, breathlessly anticipating a fiasco–nearly apoplectic.

And of course, you can’t forget the acolytes who come forward dragging their feet, completely disconnected, barely able to get through the process before collapsing, exhausted, on the front pew designated for their position.

I know that the lighting of the candles is a symbolic portrayal of “bringing in the light of Christ” to our spiritual gathering. But like most human attempts to honor divine concepts, it is always laced with inadequacy, comedy and apathy.

I am not suggesting we should train and pay acolytes who are more professional in their approach.

But in conclusion, my favorite of all the events was when one of the deacons at a church realized that the trainee acolyte was having difficulty lighting the candle. The deacon ran up to the rescue, tried to light the candle himself using the apparatus, was equally unsuccessful, and so reached into his pocket and pulled out his cigarette lighter, leaned forward to complete the job, had his cigarettes fall out of his pocket, bounce on the altar–and scatter all over the top of the prepared communion.

In the seconds that followed, you could sense the man’s horror. There were probably countless revelations about his character revealed through this single action–and speculation on whether it would be appropriate to remove one of his cigarettes from the holy goblet, nearly rendering him paralyzed.

At length he gathered up his smokes and retreated to his seat to languish in his humiliation.

Being an acolyte is another one of those rites of passage that you have as a young person, which older people tell you is very, very important–but no one ever really mentions … after their eighteenth birthday.