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?

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Compliant

Compliant: (adj) inclined to agree with others or obey rules

Historically, it’s been proven that the rule is golden.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

You can actually judge the sanity of our planet and the people who inhabit it by whether they consider this rule to be essential and have chosen to be compliant to it; or if they have concluded that it’s a whimsical idea of a Nazarene poet who didn’t live in dangerous times, and therefore could postulate on peaceful coexistence.

Yes–when you see society begin to ignore, set aside or even mock the Golden Rule and take a non-compliant position, you realize how desperately we’ve slipped from the only strand of rope that can save us from stumbling off the cliff of common sense into our own free fall to insanity.

 

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Cherry-Pick

Cherry-pick: (v) to selectively choose (the most beneficial items) from what is available.

Living in an era when social slop is often offered as emotional cuisine, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain the bad from the good and call it ugly.

Matter of fact, upon reading the word “cherry-pick” this morning, a negative feeling came over me–images of prissy people sitting around
choosing their favorites based upon preference in design and structure.

People often say that I cherry-pick my political views, missions and certainly my spirituality. So to those critics, let me say with full-throated confidence:

You are right.

I have no idea if what I believe about government would actually work, but in my mind it is certainly preferable to the “dance of the dunce” that we presently parade in Washington, D.C.

I don’t know if I am any kind of expert on television, movies and entertainment–I just know that I don’t like anything that doesn’t both entertain and inspire me.

And I certainly cannot contend that the Gospel I believe in is completely in line with the one that was in the mind of the Nazarene who strolled the Earth in loincloth so many centuries ago. But after many years of living, I believe it is still the good news that actually functions in the hearts of all cultures.

It is time we begin to cherry-pick:

Start liking movies for their content instead of who stars in them or who directs them.

Begin to believe in ideas, not because 25,000 people gather to cheer them on, but because they are full of mercy and grace.

Listen to music that stuns our consciousness with an immersion of human awareness instead of merely demonstrating the height and breadth of technology.

I am a cherry-picker–and because of that, I have found my life to be fruitful.

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Broad

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Broad: (adj) an ample distance from side to side; wide.

We are a peculiar people.Dictionary B

Every July 3rd in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, we commemorate Pickett’s Charge, where thousands of Southern gentlemen attacked a wall of cannon at the bequest of an aging general who was in the midst of having a minor heart attack due to the summer’s heat.

But for some reason we call that brave.

We paint the picture of humanity with broad strokes.

We weep over acts of patriotism or occasions in which hundreds of thousands of us merge into a common trough.

But I am personally stalled by the warning from a Nazarene from two thousand years ago, who stated, “Broad is the way to destruction.”

It is shoulder-to-shoulder that we march to hell–unaware of our destination, but satisfied that we are right…because we are not alone.

What foolishness.

The best decisions of my life always happen absent human hovering.

When I’m on the “strait and narrow” of my passion, angels of authenticity are prompted to whisper in my ear.

If not, I am inundated by the bad breath of baffled Bohemians.

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Bogus

Bogus: (adj) not genuine or true; fake.

Dictionary B

Although I’m sure the word “bogus” has not been used by anybody since Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure finished playing at dollar theaters, I must say that the definition and the concept is rather important, and certainly would be enlightening for our times.

Somewhere along the line, or absent a line, we have begun to believe that real life has to be replaced by the exposure of reality.

So if a television show is done about a preacher and his family, we don’t focus on the good deeds, but rather, the conflicts that often arise in their character, which contradict their Biblical nature and expose their human foibles.

We are fascinated with failure.

Pointing at bad people does make us feel good. Therefore, symbolism is preferred to experience.

Whether it’s politics–where we have an Electoral College with a confounding number of votes to select our next leader; or the College Football Playoff, with a coalition of experts to muse over the manly efforts of the varying teams; or a church, where we replace the message of the Nazarene with bread and wine as a token of his life, it is bogus.

But like I said, since that word is outdated, we will just have to find another way to describe a season where illegitimacy is honored–because to revere the legitimate might leave us all convicted of our lack.

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Aqueduct

dictionary with letter A

Aqueduct: (n) an artificial channel containing water.

The Romans built them. They were very proud of it.

Matter of fact, it’s what the Romans did best. (Not build aqueducts–be prideful.)

They felt like they were bringing civilization to the world, and it really angered them when the world didn’t grovel in appreciation.

Matter of fact, when I was researching a novel and I began to study the life and times of Pontius Pilate, what I uncovered was a frustrated Epicurean aristocrat who was always aggravated about the Jewish peasants around him and how they failed to appreciate the sophistication that the Empire’s culture proffered.

He was particularly perturbed with their indifference toward the aqueducts he built in Jerusalem, circa 25 A.D. Of course, back then nobody knew it was A.D. because a young preacher from Nazareth had not yet circulated among the masses, changing the historical timetable.

What this Nazarene stumbled into was an ongoing tiff between the zealous Zionists and pompous Pontius. He continued to be the self-reliant governor of Judea, appointed by Caesar, and they, the self-righteous children of Israel, allegedly ordained by God.

Something had to give.

There was an ugly chasm between them. And as Pilate promoted the glory of his aqueducts, many of the Jews refused to use the water because it was provided by the “dog gentiles.”

In walks Jesus.

He had the misfortune of teaching love for mankind in the midst of a quarrel over water distribution. so when the Jews decided to arrest him and bring him in front of Pontius Pilate, the tension in the air was already thick due to the misunderstanding about aqueducts.

Yes, it is very possible that Jesus was crucified … because Pontius Pilate had grown weary of water issues.

 

 

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Aorta

dictionary with letter A

Aorta: (n) the main artery of the body, supplying oxygenated blood to the circulatory system.

“Take no thought.”

It was an admonition from a Nazarene-carpenter-turned-itinerant-preacher many centuries ago. He contended it was good to not think about things we cannot change. It was not approval for lethargy or indifference, but a warning that the same fussiness that causes us to be concerned about our lacking is the thief that quickly steals them from us.

That’s the way I feel about the word aorta. I need to not think about it too often.

Realizing that my life is at the mercy of a small clump of skin and blood vessel which has been given a job of carrying my lifeline of survival is just about enough to drive me crazy.

I know I have a heart–I mean, a physical one. But the best way for me to maintain my emotional and spiritual heart is to not spend too much time studying or considering my physical one. Does that make sense?

We are frighteningly fragile, and but can on occasion fall a hundred feet from a cliff, bounce and rise to our feet. I do not know how it works.

Yet I am very disconcerted by a report given from a coroner which says, “Well, all I can tell you is that his aorta just wore out.” They shouldn’t do that.

I remember when I was a little kid, I watched a show on television where someone died from swallowing his tongue. Even though that seemed implausible to me, I spent the entire night wide awake, pinning my tongue to my cheek with my teeth.

Maybe I’m a little bit weird, but I think some things are better left to be studied in the halls of academia, tested on and practiced in theory rather than discussed in great detail.

I have an aorta … but I would rather not talk about him.

 

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