Communion

Communion: (n) the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.

I get the same sensation when I go to Red Lobster with a friend and he or she insists, with a giggle, as the cheddar bay biscuits arrive, and they gleefully take one from the basket, that, “This is what Red Lobster is all about!”

I nod (knowing that soon I will probably nod off.)

Red Lobster is not about the cheddar bay biscuits. It’s about the seafood.

Just like baseball games are not about the peanuts and the Cracker Jacks. There’s a ball, a bat and a game.

And marriage is not about starting a family. It’s really about how much you enjoy having sex with this one person and hope you can keep it up for the rest of your life while you have a family.

I find myself going to church from time to time–reluctantly.

I don’t like that about me. It seems jaded. In this season of agnosticism it smacks of the predictable.

But you see, in church there’s just too much emphasis on the cheddar bay biscuits, the Cracker Jacks and the family.

Many of them center their whole agenda around communion–a symbolistic representation of the blood and body of Jesus Christ, which he gave for the sins of mankind.

It’s disconcerting to me.

First there’s the thought that I am such a piece of shit that God had to kill His own kid to try to make up for my buffoonery.

Then there’s the notion that a dynamic spirit which walked in the flesh among us for thirty-three years only gained significance in the last few hours that he hung, as an alleged criminal, on a cross.

What an insult to all things loving and eternal.

Yet if you lodge an objection, somehow or another you become apostate–which, if you don’t know what that means, is the religious system’s way of telling you that you don’t belong.

The truth of the matter is, I admire the hell out of Jesus.

Long before he bled, he led me into an understanding of how we might begin to see God’s will done on Earth as it is in heaven.

 

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Christian

Christian: (n) a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

Montanian.

Please describe. Yes, take a moment and grant me your visual interpretation of a typical person who lives in Montana. Here come the
stereotypes:

  • Cowboy hats.
  • Rodeos
  • A slight drawl in speech
  • Independent thinking
  • Might even carry a gun or two

That is what we think about Montana. If we encountered someone who lived in Montana who did NOT fit any of those stereotypes, we might feel a little irritable, wondering why they insisted on living in our Montana.

Christian.

As long as we cling to the typical stereotypical definition of what this creature seems to be, we quickly will find out that Jesus, himself, would not make a very
good Christian.

  • He did not favor ceremony.
  • He didn’t like being called “good.”
  • He didn’t seek the praise of people, but rather, encouraged them to prosper in their own faith.
  • He certainly wanted to be known for his teachings instead of the time he spent on a cross.
  • And it was his habit to rebel against any tradition and formality which took away the intimacy of personal belief.

So the truth is, when Jesus is presented the way he really was, we get irritable.

How dare he be a Jewish Messiah, fulfilling Old Testament prophesy as the “Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world,” and instead, present himself as the Good Shepherd, who welcomes everybody and does not think that judging others is a legitimate practice.

 

 

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Accomplish

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accomplish: (v.) to achieve or complete successfully.

Is it permissible for me to slightly disagree with a definition?

Because I have to be honest with you–I feel like I have accomplished things in my life without being successful. I think placing the term “success,” tying that word to every endeavor, is a great way of discouraging people from launching into activities that might fall short of expectation.

Sometimes I accomplish what I am able to do, but I don’t think anybody would brand it a success. When you take away my sense of accomplishment because I don’t meet our culture’s definition of achievement, you not only rob me of personal satisfaction, but you also greatly tempt me to avoid taking on anything that is risky enough to fall short of the “glory road.”

Sometimes we accomplish without ever seeing success.

Every once in a while, we find ourselves in a garden of despair, praying alone, fully cognizant that we are exactly where we need to be, even though it seems that running away would be a better alternative.

Every once in a while, the criticism nails us to the cross, as it were, where we declare that our work is finished, even though it looks like we are on our last legs.

Not everything is as simple as people make it, or even as Webster dictates. There is a season when ideas must be pursued, even when the prejudice and anger of the world around us dooms them to obscurity. There is a certain amount of bravery necessary to accomplish your mission, without receiving any badge of merit.

No, in this case I have to disagree with the dictionary. It is very possible to accomplish an intricate and essential task without ever being rewarded.

  • It is completely plausible to be a good parent and have lousy children.
  • It is possible to take care of your car and accomplish all maintenance requirements and still break down,
  • And it is certainly in the realm of reasonability to be a good husband or wife and end up in a divorced situation.

If we’re going to use superficial qualifications to have joy in our lives, or if we’re only truly happy when accolades are sent our way, we will eventually steer our ship toward safe, still waters.

Maybe that’s why mediocrity is now accepted as normal–and our world suffers in the malaise.