Congregation

Congregation: (n) a group of people assembled for religious worship

Walking in the door, I’m uncertain.

Everyone is dressed nicely, but seem to be caught up in a quiet spirit–a somber profile.

I glance into the room, where everyone is beginning to gather, and notice that it is illuminated, but with a subdued glimmer.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I’m not sure what to do. I do not know who I am in this place. Moments before, I was in my car with all my stuff around me–familiar parts of my existence. Now I am in an unusual space with an unusual sensation, unusually uncomfortable.

Why have I come?

Better question: what is it I need?

I desperately need to be bolstered. Yes–there’s the word–uplifted. Made to believe that the faith I place in myself, my family and the world around me is justified.

What else? I could use some joy.

I could certainly benefit from appreciation.

I wouldn’t be averse to a hug, as long as it was accompanied with a warm welcoming.

Though I believe in God, I don’t exactly know what He wants from me. I have concluded that He needs my passions placed in appropriate directions, and for me to do my best to treat my neighbor as myself.

Does He demand my praise? Interesting.

It is so quiet I can hear myself think. That’s not good. I spend too much time mulling things over in my brain.

I need to escape–break out of the jailhouse of my own imprisoned opinions.

I need to hear music that stirs me.

I need to hear words that encourage me.

I need to be around people who are invigorated by being around each other.

I have stepped into a room which has been sanctified for worship.

I am uncomfortable.

I am part of a congregation.

I’ve lost myself.


Donate Button


Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

(click the elephant to see what he’s reading!)


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Advertisements

Clap

Clap: (v) to applaud

I have spent much of my human journey with two little toes in heaven and the rest of my footage on Earth.

Those two little toes did not go to market. They went to church.

It’s where I sang my first song.

It’s where I met my first girlfriend.

And it’s still one of my favorite spots for spontaneous dozing.

One of the things I discovered about the experience of “church attendance ” is that there is a wide range of opinions on many subjects.

Clapping would be one.

Some churches believe it’s sacrilegious to express appreciation, worship or excitement by striking palms. They find it Biblically and spiritually unsound.

Other churches clap so much that you can’t hear anything else going on. They clap for everything. It’s kind of a “clapping without ceasing.”

As a person who shares his talent in a church, I have to admit to myself that I am also a performer and an artist. (Although I think the word “artist” is overused–even by me.)

As a performer, I do have an ego. Ego is not a bad thing–it’s that little “Nancy-cheerleader” who keeps us from jumping off a cliff just because we had a bad day. (“It might get better tomorrow. Yea, team!”)

When you perform a song, come to the end, and receive silence, it is not golden.

It’s rather moldy.

Ashen.

Empty.

I’m told I’m supposed to sing to the glory of God. But it was God who said, “Clap your hands, all ye people.”

If you’re afraid I’ll get the big-head if you applaud my efforts, then you should pray for me. Don’t snub me.

Until we understand that the Universe pushes energy one direction and there is supposed to be a push coming back from the other way, or else something is afoul, we may just continue to believe that God is so insecure that He is frustrated with anyone else receiving adequate appreciation for his efforts.

Since I wouldn’t even have lunch with someone who’s cantankerous, I choose to believe that when I perform, God applauds, the angels screech…and the congregation should follow suit.

Donate Button

 

 

Chaperone

Chaperone: (n) a person who accompanies and looks after another person

Back in the day before phones told us where the hell to go, there was a yearly event called the hayride.

It was a rather simple principle–young people who were somewhat infatuated with one another, with raging hormones, were placed at
dusk–nearly dark–onto the back of a wagon covered with hay and driven around for a while to supposedly conjure the memory of former days.

Matter of fact, even now I can remember the odor of the mingling of hay, sweat, apple cider and teenage urges filling my nostrils.

Here was the goal: it would be a fun time for the kids–and a chaperone, or maybe two, would ride on the hay to make sure things didn’t get out of hand.

The one time I went on such an excursion, I had no young lady with me (similar to going to a chili cook-off without your jalapeno).

Also, the minister who planed this particular hayride selected chaperones who happened to be recently married. So rather than watching to see what the kids did, they started making out in the front of the wagon, hiding themselves by covering up with hay.

This opened the door to a Biblical orgy. People were kissing and touching as I was…

Well, I was watching.

Little did I know that I would become the chaperone by default. Except, of course, I had no authority to stop anything, but instead, sat there and lusted in silence.

After the hayride, we arrived back–all the boys, girls and chaperones–with flushed faces and watery eyes.

When the minister asked if everybody enjoyed the hayride he received the enthusiastic “amen” that he rarely heard on a Sunday morning.

Later on, when it was revealed that our hayride was just a makeout buggy, the minister was reproved by the congregation, and as far as I know, no hayrides were ever held again.

The moral of my story is, chaperones should not be horny.

 

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

 

Chant

Chant: (n) a repeated rhythmic phrase, typically one shouted or sung in unison by a crowd.

“If a powerful thought is repeated intensely by many people over and over again with greater volume, it has even more impact.”

Lots of people believe that.

It’s like being at a rally and hearing the crowd chant, “Give peace a chance,” or at church, with the congregation repeating with vigor, “God is so good.”

The truth is, we will continue to breed dictators, evil forces, charlatans and murderers as long as we insist that strength lies in the number of chanters.

After all, it was a raucous mob chanting, “Crucify him!” that instigated the assassination of the Light of the World.

Enough said.

 

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

 

Bishop

Bishop: (n) a senior member of the Christian clergy

Dictionary B Fathering six sons, I was always torn, trying to discover what profile was best for their well-being.

After all, being a parent is not strutting your stuff in front of fellow-parents, but instead, doing as little as possible to gain as much as possible, while allowing your children the freedom to experiment without killing themselves.

As awkward as the previous sentence may seem, the process has an even greater clumsiness.

Three words:

  • Guide
  • Lead
  • Control

In many ways, the same thing is true in discovering the purpose of leadership in a church–taking the title of Bishop and finding the correct balance for “bishoping.”

After all, guiding is setting a course for your own life and allowing the sweet aura of joy and peace that surrounds your efforts to draw others in the direction of your belief and pursuit.

Leading is when you motion to them to follow your aspirations and adhere to your principles.

Controlling is when you remove part of their freewill because you fear that their choices will lead them astray.

If the wrong decision is made, you can translate what was meant to be holy into something that is wholly unacceptable.

We guide by doing more than by talking.

We lead by talking without demanding.

And we control by demanding and enforcing.

Sooner or later, the bishops of the church will have to trust the congregation to pursue the path of goodness by choice instead of intimidation.

It will be a frightening process, speckled with error from misguided trial, but still will end up producing the true fruit of the spirit instead of forced compliance to the rigid law.

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