Busk

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Busk: (v) to play music or perform for voluntary donations in the street or in subways.

What is sacred?

Or for that matter, is there anything sacred?

Is Earth so earthy that everything is earthen?

Is there anything of heavenly quality on a miniscule planet orbiting in the midst of an immense Universe?

We certainly think there are sacred things–and it’s not limited to those who have a religious swing to their club.

No, everyone, in their own way, will make it clear to you what they perceive to be so important that it must never, ever be ignored, criticized or portrayed in an unseemly way.

The Muslims insist Mohammed is sacred. No pictures. No criticisms. No embellishment in any way, shape or form.

Some Christians are still that way about Jesus, but the Nazarene has certainly been allowed to tiptoe through darker halls of speculation.

Some people think money is sacred. Just ask them for some. They will explain in vivid detail how separation from finance is the true definition of being cast into outer darkness.They will walk by a musician busking on the thoroughfare and deem the musical effort to be glorified begging instead of allowing some humanity to dribble from them as they realize that this individual who loves music is merely trying to find a way to subsist while doing it.

The list goes on and on.

Motherhood.

Some people consider their sexuality to be sacred.

On Sundays in the autumn months, football is a sacred rite of passage in the United States. If you don’t believe so, factor this in–it comes complete with wings and fantasy leagues.

When I sat down to write this essay, I asked myself, what do I think is sacred?

I know the answer. But I’m afraid to speak it out loud for fear that people will accuse me of “busking” a foolish idea. Or worse, that I will be expected to revere my own assertion.

Yet I believe the only thing that’s sacred is the way I treat the next person I meet.

 

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 

 

 

Advertisements

Arena

dictionary with letter A

Arena: (n) a place or scene of activity, debate or conflict.

I grew up hearing stories about Christians being killed in various arenas of the Roman Empire. Recently, I’ve discovered that some of these reports are erroneous and that the Romans didn’t really deem such uncontested murder to be entertaining enough to bump the gladiators off the sports line-up.

I was always curious about it.

I know the Romans were quite brutal, but what would be so harmful about the Christian philosophy, requiring it to be condemned in a public arena?

It is a message that attempts to be inclusive, and blend in to the mixture like yeast in dough, allowing for expansion without destroying the surroundings.

But of course, there are certain things that need to be placed into the arena of public debate, which are too often taken for granted. Perhaps I should remove the phrase “public debate.” We certainly have enough of that. There are people who make a living by stirring up trouble and never hanging around to clean up afterwards.

Perhaps I should say there are certain ideas which should be taken into the arena of our hearts, where they can be battled through to a conclusion which causes us to be non-harmful to ourselves and others.

1. Drug use.

Even though we’ve tried to make it an issue of freedom, in the long run, it is a medical dilemma.

  • What happens when any drug goes into our bodies?
  • How does it alter us?
  • Does it improve us?
  • Is the improvement worth the alteration?

2. Killing.

The trouble with killing is that it’s very permanent. There is no such thing as a temporary murder. Since it tends to hang around forever, we might want to think a bit more about enacting it–whether it’s war, guns or abortion, would it (pardon the expression) kill us to consider, in the arena of our thoughts, the ramifications of our deeds?

3. Intolerance.

First, I don’t like the word. It has an arrogance about it which connotes that I reluctantly “tolerate” something or someone. I actually prefer the word “indifference.” There are many things I disagree with, but since I don’t have to participate, why should I care?

Do I really think God in heaven is sitting around musing over color, culture, sexual orientation or preferences? If He is, He’s a real nudge and a brat.

Since He made us inconsistent, He might just want to be patient with our inconsistencies.

Every single day of my life, I try to go into the arena of my heart and think about these three monsters that have basically been welcomed into our midst and devour parts of humanity without our permission as we allow them to lumber about.

I don’t like drugs.

I’m against killing.

And it’s not hard for me to be indifferent about things that aren’t my business.

 

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Anti-Semitism

dictionary with letter AAnti-Semitism (n): a hostility toward or prejudice against Jews.

It is the duty of those who have suffered to make sure that they are not the perpetrators of suffering on the lives of others.

This is why the United States still struggles with the issue of race–because of our horrible history of slavery. It is our responsibility to make sure that we never allow such idiocy to reign supreme in our populace again.

And it is why the people of Germany have made it illegal to propagate any form of Nazi doctrine within its borders–because of the atrocities they committed against the Jews.

There are undoubtedly groups of people, even among Christians in our world, who have a hatred for the Jewish nation. There certainly is a conflict among the Arabs and Jews concerning rights to Mesopotamia.

Balancing this situation out in our society creates hypocrisy rather than understanding. Some people are so strongly against the Jews that they have no perspective on Hebrew rights and feelings. Others are so pro-Israel that they place no responsibility on the children of Abraham to show mercy on the other children of Abraham.

What is anti-Semitic, and what is merely challenging a group of people to be fair-minded?

It’s learning how to delineate between truth and opinion.

Here’s the truth:

The Jewish Council were the ones who brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate for crucifixion.

Here is also a truth:

The Jewish community, over the years, has been instrumental in discoveries, intelligent progress and humane endeavors.

Here’s a truth:

The Jews were granted the land of Israel after WWII by the English so they could have a homeland.

Here’s another truth:

The Palestinians are human beings and need to be given consideration for their rights and purposes.

It is not anti-Semitic to ask our Jewish brothers and sisters to accept an equality which welcomes peace on Earth. But it certainly is anti-Semitic to blame the Jews for things that have nothing to do with their journey or actions.

It is a political nightmare, a spiritual quagmire and the makings of a social faux pas.

But I love my Jewish friends enough to believe that they have the intellect to live up to the quality of humanity which has marked their fairness, their pursuits and their heritage.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) — J.R. Practix

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.

 

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Agnostic

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Agnostic: (n) a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence of nature of God and has neither faith nor disbelief in God.

“Can’t decide.”

I’m sorry. I just have a real problem with people who can’t land on a decision. Sometimes you’ll turn to ’em and ask ’em what they want to eat for dinner.

“I don’t care. Anything’s fine.”

Here’s the problem. On the first occasion you believe them. So you make Sloppy Joe with corn chips and apple slices. Then you notice they pick at the food and seem to have little appetite. If you dig deeper, you discover they were disappointed in the choice you made for them–when they refused to make one for themselves.

Alas, we have found the truth, have we not? Everyone does have an opinion, whether they speak it aloud or hold it within.

Those who decide to build a cave in which to harbor their thoughts only choose to do so in order to grumble at you from their dark place.

Thus the agnostic.

Facts are, if the only thing afforded me was organized religion and the existing spiritual circus which collects offerings and possesses land, I would probably be an agnostic or even an atheist. I would place myself in that no-man’s land because I object to the options provided. In a cowardly way, I would hide behind the inefficiency of the organization and pretend it truly represented God,

But that’s not what I do. I have decided to believe.

  • I do not believe in the God of the Jews. Too much wandering in the wilderness.
  • I do not think the God of the Christians has anything to do with real life.
  • The multiplicity of the Hindi gods only perplex me.
  • The absence of a god in Buddhism is a proclamation of self-righteousness that boggles my mind.
  • And the God of the Muslims at times seems to get up on the wrong side of His heavenly bed.

My God is the reality that I need a God.

I need someone to remind me that my humanity is more ingenious than “monkey.” I need a companion who helps to explain why goodness does come, through effort, while evil always tends to be the lazy choice.

Agnosticism is the fear of deciding. It is sloth–one of the seven deadly sinsfatal because it keeps us the victim instead of pursuing the possible victory.

Adjudicate

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adjudicate: (v) make a formal judgment or decision about a dispute

Courts freak me out.

I suppose there are very few people, except lawyers who make $750 an hour, who find them appealing. I guess a judge might enjoy the atmosphere, since he or she gets to wear the robes. But if you’re not making the bucks or not getting to judge, that particular arena can seem like the Coliseum in Rome on a lions-chomping-Christians mid-afternoon.

I sometimes think about the fact that even though I am a law-abiding citizen, toeing the line and trying to be faithful to my responsibilities and as honest as I can possibly be, I do realize that if someone had a vendetta against me, they could probably dig up something which could be misconstrued as criminal.

Isn’t that weird?

Sometimes in life, it’s not the piss in the pot that gets you in trouble, but rather, who you piss off.

About seventeen years ago, I took three children into my home. They were going through a rough time with their father, who certainly had some difficulties and struggles, and was not treating them up to par. I thought I was being generous. Damn–I thought I was being Christian. I thought I was helping a lady out, who was being abused, and her children, who were being somewhat neglected.

But this fellow took the legal system and used it against me, making up stories and twisting situations to get those in authority to adjudicate against me, forcing me into a courtroom to explain my actions.

As his lawyer sat in that room accusing me of everything except the Kennedy assassination, I realized how fragile we all are, and how we should never become so arrogant as to believe that our actions could not possibly be viewed as questionable.

So even though this gentleman was proven to be a charlatan, I still had to go through a grilling process which made me empathetic to a two-inch sirloin steak.

So what is my point?

None, really.

It’s just that legalities are filled with so much legalism that no one could ever escape if the law was determined to get them.

That’s why I tip my hat to policemen, stay away from downtown areas where there are lions sitting next to lots of steps in front of courtrooms, and I try to keep all of my disagreements simple, discussed and resolved.

Because if I ever started being adjudicated … I don’t know how well I’d hold up.