Consider

Consider: (v) to think carefully about something

A lily.

Let me consider this…

A carpenter who talks to his friends about considering lilies.

Certainly the more macho factions of our society might find this to be somewhat effeminate.

Liberals might think this statement, “consider the lily” is a sign of unannounced but obvious support for the LGBTQ community.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

But what the carpenter wanted everyone to consider was not the beauty of the lily, but how it grew.

So much talk. So much reasoning. So much discussion about growing.

Yet the assertion of this carpenter was that the lily was worth considering because it grew without struggle. It didn’t work hard or try to manipulate circumstances to its favor.

It found dirt, absorbed the available nutrients, waited for the rain to enrich it, and then it trusted that there was good stuff inside the seed to create a flower.

There are so many beautiful thoughts there that it would be difficult to focus on one over another. So let me not steer the wheel of your journey in comprehension.

After all, the carpenter had the best word to describe what we need to do if we want to understand how Earth, Mother Nature and even faith flourish.

He suggested: consider.

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Archetype

dictionary with letter A

Archetype (n): a typical example of a person or thing; an original that has been imitated.

Even though I am sure the number changes continually, the numeral I garnered from research was 353.

That is the number of Protestant Christian denominations at work in our world today.

Some people think this is a necessity so that we’re able to express our personality flair with our spiritual experience. But with each and every one of these denominations comes a focus on a specific point of philosophy or doctrine, which makes them imbalanced from the overall impression that was intended by the archetype of the faith, Jesus of Nazareth.

If you want to be mocked and considered naive, just merely suggest that the ideal circumstance for Christians is to attempt to live like Jesus. People will smile at your abstract innocence and say, “Well, many things are open to interpretation.”

(With that I would agree. That’s why we should avoid many things.)

But the gospel records give us a great shadow of the lifestyle of this carpenter-turned-preacher, so we certainly should be able to focus on a few personality traits and incorporate them into our practice.

1. Our archetype, Jesus, didn’t care if people were religious or whores–just as long as they knew that a certain amount of repentance is necessary for us all.

2. Jesus didn’t favor Jews over Gentiles, making the Jews very upset and the Gentiles stomp around, joyously saying, “‘Bout time.”

3. Jesus was not impressed with the traditions of men, which were manipulated so as to generate a climate of intellectualism instead of true spirituality.

4. Jesus didn’t really care much about people who wanted to be mediocre.

5. Jesus didn’t chase people down. He let them find him and bring their faith.

6. Jesus was more concerned about people who were lost than about people who were found–or at least, thought they were.

7. Jesus wasn’t impressed with the Temple.

8. Jesus was not a person who was focused on the family. He said, “Those who love only their family are no better than the heathen.”

9. Jesus bravely died on the cross but made it clear that the person who betrayed him was the Son of Hell. Certainly not a letter of recommendation for Judas.

10. Jesus made his gospel about love and challenged those who trivialized it to seek a deeper understanding of the word and its potential.

There’s only one thing I know for sure–if all these denominations came face-to-face with Jesus, there would be 353 disappointed board meetings.

Jesus didn’t come to make everybody happy. He came to get us to feel and think. That usually, for a brief season … makes everyone a little uncomfortable.

 

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Aorta

dictionary with letter A

Aorta: (n) the main artery of the body, supplying oxygenated blood to the circulatory system.

“Take no thought.”

It was an admonition from a Nazarene-carpenter-turned-itinerant-preacher many centuries ago. He contended it was good to not think about things we cannot change. It was not approval for lethargy or indifference, but a warning that the same fussiness that causes us to be concerned about our lacking is the thief that quickly steals them from us.

That’s the way I feel about the word aorta. I need to not think about it too often.

Realizing that my life is at the mercy of a small clump of skin and blood vessel which has been given a job of carrying my lifeline of survival is just about enough to drive me crazy.

I know I have a heart–I mean, a physical one. But the best way for me to maintain my emotional and spiritual heart is to not spend too much time studying or considering my physical one. Does that make sense?

We are frighteningly fragile, and but can on occasion fall a hundred feet from a cliff, bounce and rise to our feet. I do not know how it works.

Yet I am very disconcerted by a report given from a coroner which says, “Well, all I can tell you is that his aorta just wore out.” They shouldn’t do that.

I remember when I was a little kid, I watched a show on television where someone died from swallowing his tongue. Even though that seemed implausible to me, I spent the entire night wide awake, pinning my tongue to my cheek with my teeth.

Maybe I’m a little bit weird, but I think some things are better left to be studied in the halls of academia, tested on and practiced in theory rather than discussed in great detail.

I have an aorta … but I would rather not talk about him.

 

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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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Antakya

dictionary with letter A

Antakya: Turkish name for Antioch.

Antioch.

The Good Book tells us that Antioch was the first city where people were referred to as Christians.

The fledgling movement that continued to adhere to the teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth was struggling to find an identity.

Rejected by Judaism, much too simplistic for the Greek philosophers and comically peaceful for the raging Romans, these followers of the Nazarene were literally a people with no country.

So when they were ridiculed in Antioch for having no personal identity or unique awareness of themselves, but instead being “little christs,” rather than taking hubris to the accusation, they decided to adopt it as the namesake of their cause.

It has endured for two thousand years.

And even though nowadays the term “Christian” doesn’t mean much, it still lets us know that Jesus is in there somewhere.

Although I would welcome a new term and have adopted the word “Jesonian” to represent my appreciation for the universal concepts of the Carpenter-turned-community-organizer, I am still in awe of how these simple, gentle folk in Antioch decided to embrace a criticism and make it their own instead of bristling and demanding equal rights and respect.

Yes, the name itself is really the personification of the enduring belief. And that belief is this:

If you love yourself and you love people, eventually, after all the insanity has quieted down, you will have a voice.

 

 

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Anno Domini — AD

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Anno Domini A.D. (Abbr.) :In a specified year of the Christian era; “in the year of Our Lord”

I think the closest I ever came was when the town council of my little burg where I was born considered having a day designated to me because the musical I had written was going to be premiering in the capital city.

Unfortunately, the measure was voted down because one of the members of the board was an old rival from high school who always thought I had cheated him out of something or other.

So I, who was unable to get a single day of honor in my city of kin, am greatly enamored–and baffled–by how a rejected carpenter from a tiny village in Mesopotamia, who ended up executed for crimes against the state, managed to get the date of his birth marked as the beginning of modern time.

You have to be honest–there is either something magical about that or this guy hired the best damn Jewish agent around. Am I right here? Even when his name is spoken out loud in anger, it’s still great advertising: Jesus Christ!

I know there are those who cannot believe in a SON of God because they don’t believe in God in the first place–very similar to not wanting to see the movie, Son of Flubber because you were disappointed with the first Flub.

But in thirty-three years of human life, he did something right. Maybe we shouldn’t try to study him so much theologically, but rather, analyzing the chemical reaction of human experience. What did he set off that caused such notice and took him from the tiny, fragmented vision of the Jewish people, to dominate the Greeks, Romans, Angles, Saxons and even the Afrikaans and the Chinese?

His message was simple. That was smart. Even though he never had a car, he realized that anything you want people to remember should fit on a bumper sticker.

  • “Love your neighbor”
  • “Love your enemies”
  • “Blessed are the pure in heart”
  • “You must be born again”
  • “Do unto others”

The list goes on and on. Matter of fact, his famous Sermon on the Mount is merely a hodge-podge of many, many sound bites and slogans, glued together by a devotion to mankind and God. The message was so simple that even those who were considered foolish could grasp it, even if they didn’t embrace it.

And for some reason, a hundred and twenty of the remaining followers of this teacher, who survived the horror of his crucifixion, were not only willing to dedicate the rest of their lives to spreading the message, but sacrificed their lives in a belief about his resurrection.

In other words, I think it’s safe to say that most human beings might pursue a hoax if all it meant was that you had to travel and stay in cheap hotels. But when you’re standing in front of a judge and he offers you clemency, if you deny the message and then you choose death, it’s difficult to believe that there is not some credence to the original experience.

So I shall not lament the failure of my local city council–to grant me a day of recognition in my home town. But I will use the awareness of that slight to be in awe–that as I mark my calendar today, I honor the person with the message of love … who got the ball rolling.