Crux

Crux: (n) a vital or decisive element (often in the phrase “the crux of the matter”)

Tossed off as a comment by a pundit on any one of a hundred new shows:

“This needs to be taken care of. It is the crux of the matter.”

I don’t know whether the word “crux” is a current one or not. Sometimes I am sympathetic to the younger generation’s unwillingness to adopt language from the past. Other times I want to scream at them to buy a history book or a dictionary.

But I, for one, am very careful about using the word.

Crux is one of those odd terms that is lifted directly from the Latin and placed into our lingo.

In Latin, the word “crux” means cross. And cross is normally associated with one situation and a single individual. It was the form of execution used by the Romans at the behest of the Jewish Council, to kill off Jesus of Nazareth.

So even though the young Nazarene spent his life healing, loving, challenging, organizing and believing, he has become known for the “crux (cross) of his matter.”

A man of peace reflected upon as a criminal hanging on a tree.

So as I look at the climate of our society today—considering the crux of the matter—I wonder what our cross is. What will we be known for?

We certainly want to be recognized for our skill in changing the oil in our car or our delicious recipe for the potato salad we bring to the family reunion each year.

But do we get to choose?

Would Jesus of Nazareth actually have chosen a cross as a symbol of his life?

The crux of America is three-fold:

  1. We allowed slavery to exist for 350 years and bigotry for another century and a half.
  2. We stole our country from the Native Americans, who didn’t own it either, but certainly had squatter’s rights.

And finally:

  1. What will be the crux of our matter going forward? Will it be world domination or the inability to manage our own affairs with grace and aplomb, stumbling our way off the historical stage?

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Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi: (n) the body of Christ

I suppose they thought it was extremely clever, to manufacture a rubber bodysuit—bruised, beaten and bloodied.

When they made the movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” they had their actor don this monstrosity of an outfit, believing it would convey the suffering of Jesus on the cross.

It is a classic case of over-kill.

To understand the true indignity of the sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth, you must step into an operating room in a hospital and breathe in deeply. The smell of funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
blood will rattle your nostrils. It is a nasty odor, meant to be foreign to our consciousness.

Perhaps you want to go on the scene of a horrible car wreck and see the blood still pouring out of the wounds of dying people to understand his situation—there was no time for clotting because the beating continued and the blood was pouring forth, dangerously leaving the body and threatening death long before he was nailed in the hands and feet.

Perhaps if you were around someone bleeding to death and you heard their screams of thirst and realized they were in agony just from the lack of water…

As always, Hollywood dramatizes but never actually captures the drama.

The most tender, gentle man who ever lived, who healed lepers, hugged children, granted women equality and offered love as an alternative to the futility of fear, was beat to a pulp by religious people who thought they were acting in the name of God.

May we learn from that image: Corpus Christi—the body of Christ—which was ravaged by the self-righteous.

May we quietly, humbly and reverently realize how the stupidity of hatred, lying, cheating and self-promotion continues to murder him today.


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Channel

Channel: (v) to take possession of a spirit’s mind for the purpose of communication

Standing in line at the local department store, I was listening to two young women discuss philosophy. Girl 1 said to Girl 2: “No one’s gonna tell me what to do. I’m my own person.”

It gave me pause for thought.

If we have eight billion people on this Earth trying to “be their own person,” we have an emotional explosion which is greater than any
megatons of bombs.

I don’t want to be my own person. I have met him. He is bland, mediocre, nervous, insecure and adds the disgrace of pomposity.

I need to channel greatness.

I would love to channel the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, who uttered, “with malice toward none and charity toward all” just a few days before he was murdered in a theater.

I would like to channel the moment that Thomas Jefferson decided to sheepishly write the phrase, “All men are created equal”–even though he knew he owned slaves.

I would enjoy channeling the fresh, creative, youthful energy of John, Paul, Ringo and George when they brought such singable and danceable music to America.

How about channeling the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth, who in the midst of ignorance and war, told the Earth to “love your neighbor as yourself”?

I would like to channel the spirit of the bear, who has the sense to know when to hibernate, the loyalty of the dog and the devotion of a woman to her man, her children and her cause when she feels that the circumstances are righteous.

And of course, it would be wonderful to channel the moment when God said, “Let us make man in our own image.”

I am not enough and never will be.

When I settle for me,

I end up cheating everyone I see.

 

 

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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.

 

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Brood

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brood: (n/v) a family of animals, or to think too deeply

There are several ironies in life.Dictionary B

Well, more than several, but a couple come to mind.

The idea that politicians can actually be statesmen. (I don’t know if that’s ironic or just pathetic.)

A second irony is the assumption that religious leaders actually give a damn about human beings.

You can be accused of being a misfit by railing against organizations which have lost their mission and purpose. Matter of fact, Jesus of Nazareth was crucified for sedition. That means he objected vehemently to existing standards–to such an extent that those who promoted the agenda found a way to kill him.

Maybe it’s because he called them a “brood of vipers.” It would be difficult to take that back, wouldn’t it? You couldn’t exactly say, “You misunderstood. I like snakes.”

But when you take into consideration the double meaning of brood, that being “a clumping” and also “a downcast, sour outlook,” you have completely described organized religion.

Religion worships a God who insists He loves everyone while simultaneously being so pissed off at humanity that He establishes stringent rules and threatens damnation.

It is alarming that atheism does not thrive more in our species, considering the abuse we endure by embracing faith.

Jesus didn’t like the Pharisees.

He said they created burdens which they expected people to bear, while they were privately finding ways around lifting their share.

Many things come in broods:

  • Certainly vipers
  • Religionists
  • Politicians
  • And white collar criminals

I suppose you can have a brood of thieves, and no doubt, a brood of murderers.

But whenever a gathering of souls completes their meeting and the departing participants have a smug grimace, you have unearthed something venomous instead of healthy.

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Begotten

Begotten: (v) past participle of beget: to procreate or generate offspring.

Dictionary B

“His only begotten son.”

It is a phrase within a verse from the Good Book which describes the master plan of a loving God who is trying to redeem the people He created.

Perhaps the most unfortunate situation in the world is the misunderstanding that bubbles up over the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Some people, in a desire to create the solemnity of holiness, generate the image of a half-god, half-man–or all-god, all-man–individual, who was present in flesh but mostly absent in true humanity.

There are others who try to turn Jesus into a common Jewish prophet or teacher–someone who expounded with great wisdom and suffered the consequences of his idealism.

There are even those who insist there is no historical evidence that such a human ever walked the Earth.

But the source of all the misconceptions is always grounded in a desire to promote an idea which suits us instead of a truth which saves us.

Maybe Jesus was exactly who he said he was.

Maybe God, who was able to forge a Universe, was also able to initiate a human life which was completely susceptible to difficulties and struggles, while internally inspired by the freshness of heaven.

Why not?

If God wanted to make Himself totally human, why couldn’t He?

There are only two reasons He couldn’t: either He didn’t, or He doesn’t exist.

And since Jesus made it clear through his words that he was the Son of Man, the “didn’t” reason is unlikely.

So we are left with a choice:

Is Jesus a human being who was also begotten of God, or is it all just a horrible Middle-Eastern joke? 

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B. C.

B. C. (abv.) An abbreviation used with dates of events that took place before the birth of JesusDictionary B

After human beings were created–or evolved, depending on your persuasion–it did not take us long to find ways to screw one another over, while sealing the decision with a word of prayer.

The true danger with religion is that it allows its converts to pursue evil while not tolerating any transgression in others. Matter of fact, we become obsessed with how vacuous of righteousness the people around us are, as we tout our two or three good deeds as evidence of our superiority.

So it is no accident that the modern era of time is marked by the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth, who made it quite clear that religion was bowling us over, and that our only hope was to embrace our humanity with humility.

Many found his message obtuse.

Arguing with him and criticizing his personal habits soon was not enough, so an assassination plot was devised to rid the earth of a reasonable nature.

Fortunately, better thinkers won out, and today we have his message of “loving our neighbor as ourselves” available, though you often have to be patient to unwrap it from miles and miles of theological tape.

But in the long run, human beings will only survive if they become concerned about the survival of other human beings.

For the phrase, “every man for himself” immediately leaves out women and ushers in a less noble idea of “last man standing.”

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