Decree

Decree: (n) a formal and authoritative order

Maybe not formal.

Certainly not overbearingly authoritative.

But it certainly would be nice if one simple thought could permeate the minds and hearts of the human race. It would not be a decree that would solve all the problems, but rather, a climate which fosters the atmosphere for problems to be solved.

Is it too much to ask?

Are we so struck with our own brilliance that we could not faithfully enact a dynamic purpose?

Must everything be our own doing?

Or maybe it has to come from our race. Our religion. Our gender. Or our clan.

Yes, that is our weakness.

We believe we are stronger when we cling to smaller and smaller groups of ourselves and proclaim that particular cloister to be holy.

Meanwhile, to live under a simple decree which births the potential for both creativity and respect for the past seems odd to us, if not evil.

I’m ready.

I am prepared to join with all my brothers and sisters in the human family and agree on something instead of debating everything.

I am weary of promoting my own ideas.

I am aggravated with being fussy.

It’s time for a decree.

I’m certainly willing to consider any thoughts you might like to offer.

But in the meantime, may I present my suggestion?

Like most concepts that would be proffered as universal, it may seem a trifle odd at first, or insufficient.

But let it grow on you.

Let it settle into the middle of your soul and sprout a garden of possibilities.

Here it is—my decree:

“Make it easy.”

Coaster

Coaster: (n) a small mat placed under a glass to protect the table underneath.

It’s one of those factors that determines whether you are a bungler or a baron.

There are many.

But when you find yourself with a glass of drink and there is a table in front of you, do you procure a coaster so your condensation does not leave a ring on the table, or do you just put your glass down and later act completely bewildered because your hostess or host was offended by your choice?

It’s where we teeter–all human beings teeter between understanding and arrogance.

Often we understand the purpose for matters, yet in our arrogance, we resist performing the courteous function simply because it seems tedious and makes us appear too subservient.

A long time ago I had to decide whether to be a bungler or become a baron. Would I be willing to learn the things that are important to my brothers and sisters, and simply avoid conflict with their tender conscience by doing them? Or would I stubbornly going to insist that it’s a “goddamn free country,” and proceed to take my pet bull off the leash for the latest visit to the china shop?

Coasters are not effeminate.

Coasters are not irrational.

Coasters may not be necessary–but you won’t know until you don’t use one. So why take the risk, especially on the chance that you might unnecessarily offend a friend?

But stubborn we are–all children of Adam and Eve.

Yet, if you want to get back into the Garden, you need to swallow your pride and discover the location of the forbidden apples.

 

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Claw

Claw: (n) a horny nail on the foot of a beast

“Claw your way to the top.”

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?

Matter of fact, if you enter the intense dialogue of a business meeting or the fevered pitch of a pre-game sermon, you might just hear that
statement presented as the best way to achieve victory.

Animals have claws.

And when we continue to portray ourselves as animalistic, we lose all the anointing of having just a teaspoon of the Divine sprinkled into our souls.

We don ‘t have claws. We have hands.

And the advantage of having a hand is that it comes with fingers which have the sensitivity of merciful touch.

We don’t have to hurt people to affect them.

We don’t have to rip into their flesh to garner their attention.

We don’t have to clasp them and violently carry them away to do our will.

We have fingers with fingertips, and the ability to reach out, caress and communicate the tenderness that’s in our minds.

Be careful with those who like to keep us in the jungle instead of allowing us the honor of using our hands and fingers to till a garden.

We are human. We don’t need to claw our way to the top.

We can gently feel our way.

 

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Budding

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Budding: (adj) developing buds in the normal growth process

Ideas may be our worst enemies.

Even though many people yearn for them, plead for them or even pay good, hard cash for them, ideas often takDictionary Be us off the track of the successful trail.

We honor ideas too much. We are afraid to abandon them when the budding of a new possibility appears before our eyes. We feel a false sense of loyalty–especially true when it’s our own brainchild.

Therefore, we fail to question what is already unraveling, innovate that which is archaic, and simply laugh off things we have planned which are ridiculous.

We should be looking for the greening of an idea–some evidence that the planted seed is actually breaking through the soil, reaching to live.

Most people spend too much time visiting their ideas, which they buried, and now, rather than becoming a garden, resemble a graveyard.

 

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Beseech

Beseech: (v) to ask someone urgently and fervently to do something

Dictionary B

I beseech politicians to answer the question and then offer explanation instead of the other way around.

I beseech women to stop thinking they are smarter by treating men like they’re dumb.

I beseech men to stop acting dumb while secretly relegating women to a secondary position.

I beseech religion to start believing that God is our Father and therefore does not want to hurt us.

I beseech business to perfect the product before inflating the price.

I beseech parents to create a balance of responsibility and blessing for their children.

I beseech the military to be so prepared and so powerful that they don’t ever have to actually prove their worth.

I beseech educators to teach a balance of humility with information, since we are constantly learning things that contradict our arrogance.

I beseech those who are blessed to imagine what it is like to be without such a courtesy before deciding to judge weaker brothers.

I beseech the homeless to organize and simplify their lives to match their financial intake.

I beseech those who offer counsel to do so with an eye on their own weaknesses instead of merely poring over the philosophies of psychologists.

I beseech humanity to step far enough out of the jungle to plant a garden.

I beseech myself to remember all these things that I have beseeched from others.

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Apple

dictionary with letter A

Ap·ple (n): the round fruit of a tree of the rose family, which typically has thin red or green skin and crisp flesh. Many varieties have been developed as dessert or cooking fruit or for making cider.

It’s the power of having a good agent–because certainly the apple needed one.

It began its fruitful journey as the traditional forbidden delicacy eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden, the symbol of the knowledge of good and evil and certainly the subject of great controversy.

Then over the years, through what could only be considered a miraculous amount of promotion and transformation of public image, it has turned into “Mom and apple pie.”

Try this one on for size:

  • The apple of his eye.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  • Apple cider with doughnuts
  • Apple dumpling.
  • Apple face cream.
  • Famous people even name their children “Apple.”
  • When the Beatles were looking for a name for their studio, “banana” was not even considered, but “Apple” was immediately plucked from the tree.
  • And moving with the technology, Apple willingly became a computer.
  • Don’t forget–apples that are green and sour are covered with caramel so they can be part of the carnival.

Somewhere along the line, the apple hired a VERY good agent to escape the scandal perpetrated among the trees in Eden.

Of course, even with the best publicity, you still end up with “rotten to the core.”

 

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Anthropogeny

dictionary with letter A

 

Anthropogeny: (n)  the study of the origin of humankind.

I guess it doesn’t matter much whether you believe in Darwinian evolution, all the way up through the human, or if you believe in a Creator who spoke everything into existence in seven God-ordained days.

Still, somewhere along the line, if it’s evolution, some monkey looked around the jungle and said, “Enough of this banana farm! I’m launchin’ on my own.”

Or some Adam, in a Garden with Eve, said, “Enough of the rules. I’m gonna eat what I want.”

For at the core of humanity, there is a willingness to learn and a strong unwillingness to apply the knowledge.

This has caused many people to be self-loathing, with disparaging thoughts such as, “I’m only human” or “human beings are crap” or “people are no damn good.”

But I think the true essence of the history and the progression of the human race is found in the simple statement, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

And those who focus on their flesh often find that they gain only temporary pleasure because there’s no spirit, and those who tighten the spiritual belt become critical of other folks because they’re jealous over unattained pleasure.

So what’s the best way to be a human being?

Clean–unafraid to admit who you are, what you’re feeling and what you desire, realizing that tomorrow it may change. So since you know that it may change tomorrow, you aren’t intent on stealing, killing and destroying to acquire the moment’s whim.

In the process you can try to become a bit more effective at taking what you’ve learned and using it to improve your situation.

So as it pertains to the raging debate between the evolutionist and the creationist, we still end up with today, in which we’re human beings in need of some direction … and are desperately required to be more honest.

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Anachronism

dictionary with letter A

Anachronism: (n) a thing that belongs in another period than the present, usually referring to old-fashioned.

One of the more rib-tickling moments in my recent life was when I overheard two seven-year-old kids discussing how Kraft macaroni and cheese dinners used to have better cheese–when they were younger.

It was both endearing and enlightening.

It made me realize that it is possible at any age to reflect back on a previous time, which you have convinced yourself contained more promise, power or purpose.

It got me thinking.

What are anachronisms? What makes something old-fashioned? Just because some individual promoting an agenda wants to claim that a particular attribute is old-fashioned doesn’t make it so, Joe.

Because the things I find to be anachronistic are the causes put forth in our society which have historically proven to be errant or stupid:

1. Drug addiction.

We may want to debate whether drugs should be a crime or a freedom, but it doesn’t change the fact that any time you suck in smoke, swallow a pill or ingest a fluid to change your mood, you’re admitting that you, personally, do not have the ability to be happy without props.

2. Cultural appreciation.

I know some people think it’s important for black children to learn black culture, Chinese children their particular rendition and Hispanic offspring to pay their respects to Cinco de Mayo, but candidly, it’s just another subtle form of racism. It’s a way of distinguishing differences in the human race which only pull us apart instead of joining us together.

3. An aversion to manners.

Yes, there are folks who insist that being a lady or a gentleman–courteous–is too up-tight or phony. What is phony is thinking that you can treat people like crap and not end up being considered a turd yourself.

4. And finally (at least for this list), there is an ongoing belief that there is a battle between God and science.

Matter of fact, we’re choosing up sides again.

If we really believe there’s a God, then His creation certainly instituted scientific fact and Earth’s physics. If there is no God, then we’d better cuddle up to science, because it’s our only chance.

So since I believe in both, I consider it intelligent to keep them friendly.

  • An anachronism is something from the past that we cling to.
  • Tradition is a practice that we continue because of reputation.

But wisdom is an anachronism that needs to become a tradition because it offers human beings a chance to overcome our jungle … and plant a new garden.

 

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Amendment

dictionary with letter A

Amendment: (n) 1. a change or addition to a legal or statutory document: an amendment to the existing bail laws. 2. an article added to the U.S. Constitution: e.g. the First Amendment.

Perhaps the most appealing part of the American story–from the birthing of a nation to the present-day collision of government–is the notion that even though we were greatly inspired to begin a country, with forefathers who have been touted as geniuses and revolutionary thinkers, we did understand that there would be a need, as time pressed on, to amend our original convictions by the sheer beauty and majesty of revealed wisdom.

If not, we would have those running for Congress who would still insist that because the original document claimed that black slaves were less than a whole human being, that we shouldn’t veer from that course and change our approach.

There is nothing written by man, whether inspired or not, that doesn’t require some sort of editing and tuning up as the clock ticks away.

This is true whether it’s the Constitution of the United States, which began with an agrarian society encompassed by slavery with no comprehension whatsoever about how much land mass would eventually be involved within its borders, to the Good Book, which started off with two people in a Garden and ends somewhere far away in the Universe, in an Eternity of Eternities.

I don’t believe that amendments are contradictions, but rather, necessary stipulations absorbed, to remind us of the original spirit of the text and the need to be inclusive instead of destructive.

Yes, the Good Book has many amendments in it, which some fundamentalist preachers and congregations fail to recognize because they give the same weight to a chapter in Deuteronomy that they do to the red-letter truth in the Gospel of John.

Here’s what we know for sure:

  • Life is moving towards life.
  • Freedom is moving towards freedom.
  • Liberty is also packed up and on its way to liberty.

Anything that comes along to deter the journey of this trio will be recalculated and rebooted in a different direction.

I want to be part of the amendments which make everything we believe more human, more accessible and more powerful, to create better people … instead of just maintaining strong control.

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.