Decay

Decay: (v) to become decomposed; rot

 It saddens me deeply that intellectualism is incapable of delivering its promise to our humanity.

I’ve listened for decades to those who contend that education can swerve us out of our natural inclination to crash and burn.

There probably is truth to that.

Knowledge would be a wonderful thing if it did not present itself as all-knowing.  Yes.

There is knowing, and then there is all-knowing.

Knowing is when you discover something and respectfully present it, fully aware that more data is going to come along, which will either enhance your discovery or flat-out contradict it.

Knowledge requires humility.

Unfortunately, the knowledgeable do not favor a humble spirit.

Throughout my youthful times of poverty, I was completely unable to afford going to the dentist. The one or two times I found myself in the holy seat of the tooth doctor, I was told that my teeth were not straight, my wisdom teeth should be removed, and I needed a bridge put in somewhere on the Mississippi River.

All of this was impossible.

And rather than telling me what I might be able to do, the dentist criticized me for being impoverished, unable to take care of my teeth, therefore threatening them with decay.

And decay was his swear-word.

Just uttering the word decay was supposed to make me shudder to the depths of my soul, scaring me into going out and borrowing money from a bank somewhere so I could fund his “toothy project.”

I didn’t do it.

It wasn’t because I was rebellious. But every extra dollar I had went into my career—or shoelaces for my children’s footwear.

If my teeth did not hurt, I assumed they were fine.

If they did hurt, I took lots of aspirin until they stopped hurting.

What has occurred is that as I’ve gotten older, some of my teeth have decided to die and go be with Jesus before the rest of me.

I guess they decayed enough that they just fell out.

I don’t normally share this story with anyone, so if it grosses you out, I apologize.

But it’s amazing. The teeth that remain seem to have greater resolve, fill in the gaps, and I am still able to chew a good steak or bite into an ear of corn.

I don’t know whether I chose the right path.

But I have found that the people who did put thousands of dollars into avoiding decay are now wearing dentures.

I only have a small army left.

But each one of them came with the original fortifications.

 

Birthplace

Birthplace: (n) the place where a person was born.

My birthplace is Ohio.Dictionary B

I suppose I could end the essay right there.

But perhaps it is my responsibility to make comment, storyline or even complaint about the location.

Having traveled for many years all over the U.S., I will tell you–there is no such thing as a natural Eden or a perpetual hell.

Once a birthplace has been secured for you due to the proximity of your conception, what follows is a needful series of feelings, which make that place tolerable–even blessed.

They tell me that the Son of God was born in a barn. Yet when we want to insult people, we make reference to the fact that they act like they were “born in a barn.”

So is the problem our birthplace?

Are there really regions of the country which are outposts for prejudice, anger, antipathy or intellectualism?

Of course not.

Being born requires a vagina and gravity.

After that, if you’re going to make a human being, you must mingle love, responsibility, work ethic and humor.

If you’ve got those four working, the place of your birth is truly insignificant.

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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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Arboreal

dictionary with letter A

Arboreal: (adj) chiefly of animals living in trees.

Intellectualism often frightens me because it is willing to be stupid for the cause of alleged progress.

To me, one of the ways this shows up is the penchant that the intelligentsia often has in placing the human being into the animal kingdom.

Matter of fact, if you are of a mind to be ridiculed, just walk into a party at a university anywhere in America and suggest that human beings were created instead of spawned from the jungle, hanging in the trees.

Let’s just deal with the arboreal. I’m not even gonna discuss our lack of a tail, our superior intelligence and our deep-rooted emotional and spiritual capacity.

Setting all of that aside, I remember as a child the idea of climbing trees with my friends. It was never very successful. There was always one small child (who might have actually been ape-spawned) who could scurry right up the tree and look down at us mere mortals (yet human) who were standing on the ground, terrified to take the first step.

Most of the people I knew who tried to climb trees ended up with a broken something-or-other. I may be speaking out of school, here–literally–but I don’t think monkeys fall out of trees very often.

Humans, on the other hand, are far more likely to choose that descent.

So based just on tree-climbing ability, unless we have attributed that to the Missing Link, Homo Sapiens have neither the footing, the tail nor the grasp to achieve it very well.

One of my chimpanzee-like friends actually built a treehouse. The rest of us took about two weeks to get up into it, and eventually devised a ladder to acquire participation.

I think it’s good for us to study science, discovering as many different truths as possible. But we also must deal with the reality and the distinctions that exist between us and the animal kingdom.

Then, rather than mocking one another … we can celebrate the blessing of our uniqueness.

 

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Academia

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Academia: (n.) the environment or community concerned with the pursuit of research, education, and scholarship: he spent his life working in academia.

I just don’t know why we can’t find a middle ground–especially in the realm of those who enjoy a walk of faith and individuals who solely embrace a religion of education. It seems like they stand on opposite ends of a scorched battlefield and hurl fireballs at one another.

Is there such a thing as SMART faith? Or perhaps better stated–“faithfully smart?”

Is it possible to believe in the divine blessing of a Creator and still be fully aware that Mother Nature runs her household by “the survival of the fittest” and freely evolves at will?

I don’t know why prayer has to be framed in ignorance, nor do I understnad why the discovery of a great treasure of information can’t be celebrated in reverence to the original Information Giver?

At times I feel pulled. Should I side with those who seem to possess a cranial superiority? Or kneel at the altar with my brothers and sisters who understand the value of repentance and humility?

Am I a weirdo? To me, knowledge is just the wonderful, greasy slide that gets us more quickly to the swimming hole of wisdom. I don’t think it’s possible to understand the wisdom of God without recognizing the tenets of knowledge that get you there. Nor do I think that revering academia and some “Ten Commandments of intellectualism” draws you closer to your Daddy in Heaven.

I like smart things. They further enlighten me of the higher intelligence of the universe–and I’m so benefitted by knowing that there IS a higher intelligence in the universe. It gives me hope that I might one day escape my own stupidity.

There is no actual war between God and knowledge–only a skirmish in our own souls when we believe you can separate one from the other.