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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Crusade

Crusade: (n) any vigorous, aggressive movement for the defense or advancement of an idea or cause

During one December vacation from traveling on the road, I focused in on a seven-word slogan which I planned to use for the following year’s touring.

“No one is better than anyone else.”

I was so excited I could barely contain myself.

I couldn’t think of a better crusade to embark upon, to bring people together, point out our similarities and to hearken one and all to the commonality of humankind.

When it came time to go and do the production, to emphasize this beautiful seven-word crusade for human peace, I met resistance.

People didn’t like it as much as I thought they would.

To some, it seemed to be definitive and absent the possibility for discussion. (Yes—it is absolutely true. There are people on this Earth who feel the concept of love requires a debate.)

I was offended. I was defensive.

I found myself hoping that someone would question the beauty and integrity of “no one is better than anyone else,” so that I could argue with them—knowing, of course, that my stance was pure and holy and theirs most certainly had to be riddled with prejudice.

So rather than becoming a “repairer of the breach,” I succeeded in just making a more intelligent and merciful breach.

It upset people—to be common with others.

I was ready to do battle, like the knights of old—to climb onto my stallion and go into the Holy of Holies and establish the dominance of my particular edict.

Finally, one night I just sat down and came to two conclusions:

If you find yourself fighting, you’re not loving.

And whatever is written will eventually have to be rewritten.

 

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Counterproductive

Counterproductive: (adj) tending to defeat one’s purpose

I think it is wisdom to take a moment—maybe even sit down—and consider what it means to be a productive person.

There are five words that come to my mind:

  1. Solvent
  2. Temperate
  3. Loving
  4. Generous
  5. Focused

Now, there may be others, but you can take these five attributes, blend them together and end up with a productive human life.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So let’s take a moment and consider what is counterproductive.

Starting with Number 1, solvent, I would assume the counter would be financially in need, as impulsive would be the opposite of temperate.

Let’s move along. Shall we say that spiteful might be considered counterproductive to loving? And stingy undoubtedly would discourage generosity.

Distracted certainly is the antithesis of focused.

So what do you get when you put together a human life which is financially in need, impulsive, spiteful, stingy and distracted?

It seems to me that you might end up with the American culture—so intent on individual families that it lacks vision for the entire humanity on Earth, and also so entwined with the Internet that opportunity which often stumbles into the room is ignored in favor of binge-watching.

I’m not so sure you can build a human being of quality, soul or mercy by trying to emphasize counterproductive values.

I think our first step into escaping our own trap of inefficiency is to realize that we’re all in this together—over the seven continents, all of the countries, all the races, all the religions and both genders.

In doing so, we might begin to produce instead of having our fruit rot on the vine.


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Average

Average: (adj) mean or median norm, meaning something that represents a middle point.

It caused me to become a better man, dad, writer, musician, driver, shopper, handler of money and general human being.dictionary with letter A

The day I realized that everything in life eventually averages out and lands in the realm of modicum was the time that I finally knew how to set my goals.

Let me give you an example:

When I looked over at the batch of children hatched from my lust and whim, I thought to myself, what do I want these little dudes to be in 25 years?

At first, my list of requests and preferences was too long. And then I came up with three words:

  • Solvent
  • Loving
  • Creative

With that in mind, I developed my parenting approach.

To make sure they were solvent, I never gave them money without giving them work. Why? Because the only ways to get money other than working for it is winning the lottery and stealing. You can see why I chose what I did. They did not always like the work, and their work was usually pretty mediocre. But even an average work ethic pushed them to the front of the class.

To make them loving, I forced them to go see people who were not very lovely–hurting, frustrated, addicted and poverty-stricken. They were somewhat repulsed, but still ended up much more empathetic than some of their friends.

And finally, creative. Every time they wanted me to buy them something, do something for them or get them off the hook for using their talents, I refused and made them produce something with their own hearts and hands, even though I must tell you, the result was often so ugly that I needed to quickly bury it in the back yard.

Still, they knew they were responsible to come to Earth and provide resources instead of just consume them.

Since human beings will generally end up average, it’s a good idea to have a standard. That’s why we keep Santa Claus around–he reminds us of the importance of giving.

And we maintain a belief in God, although we’re not sure…because He encourages us to find our better humanity. 

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