Coot

Coot: (n) a foolish or crotchety person, especially one who is old

I have officially become old enough to become a coot. I’m not sure what age qualifies you, but age is certainly a factor.

There are other considerations:

Coots always talk about “how good things used to be.”

Coots tend to refer to society as using a “handbasket on their way to hell.”

Coots pine for a time when they were younger and full of energy.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I honestly don’t feel any of that whatsoever.

Many of my growing-up years were filled with ignorance, prejudice, anger, self-righteousness and bloodshed in an unrighteous war. So I don’t yearn to go back—I just insist that there are two things the human race can’t live without, and we should cease deleting them from our browser.

Human beings must have empathy and self-deprecation. If you don’t like the idea of self-deprecation, then insert humility.

When we stop feeling empathy for the man or woman next to us, we become enemies to our own species, similar to a bee who plots with the flies to steal the honey.

And when we don’t produce adequate humility, the obnoxious odor that comes off our being chases people from the room.

I’m not an old coot.  I don’t care who you sleep with. I don’t care what your political party is. I don’t care what your faith or lack of faith might be.

But when you mess with empathy and humility, I will dig my heels in, because then you’re plotting the destruction of the human race—of which I am proudly a member.


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Conviction

Conviction: (n) a fixed or firm belief

There is a new rule. If the word “rule” sounds too stodgy for you, then call it a guideline.

If “guideline” is still too restrictive, you may consider it an insight.

If “insight” gives you the creeps, then let’s just call it an idea.

Here it is:

You are allowed, permitted and granted an opinion, as long as you’re willing to be wrong.

The very second that you—or I, for that matter—start insisting that our opinion is really a conviction held by millions and even, maybe, heralded by the heavens, we probably need to be hauled off somewhere to live in a poverty-stricken situation until humility settles into our souls.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Discussion would be no problem if we actually discussed. We don’t. We enter discussions with convictions.

Disagreements would still be fine if we were conscious of the need to evolve. But we aren’t, because our convictions arrived to us engraved in stone.

It would even be possible to argue—as long as our convictions didn’t cause us to be arrogant, feeling that we’re pleasing a political party, a science project or a deity by being stubborn.

I used to have many convictions. I used to scrunch my face up when I heard people advance their theories or share their preferences.

Whenever I did this, my ass always found my hole and created an unrighteous unity.

Over the years I have abandoned, ignored, walked away from and giggled at many of my convictions, realizing that the majority of them were hatched in the henhouse of speculation. Let’s be honest—your speculation is as good as mine, and mine is pretty worthless.

So now I listen, I get an idea of what’s going on, and from that idea I develop an inkling which I take into the discussion, only to discover that much of my inkling needs to be trimmed away.

I am not impressed with convictions.

What truly touches my heart is seeing human beings who have the mercy and grace to be wrong while still smiling.


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Cabaret

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Cabaret: (n) a nightclub or restaurant where entertainment is performed.

Even though life is not a cabaret, it also is not a church service.

It’s not a funeral.

It’s not a long wait at the DMV.

It’s not sitting in a doctor’s office.

It is not watching a second television show because you have nothing else to do.

It is not reading a book and thinking it’s just as good as traveling.

It is not a night out with the boys or one out with the girls.

It is not a political party.

It is not intolerance.

It is not going to your job and being miserable.

It is not going to your job and offering a lackluster performance.

It is not favoring your culture over another.

It is not thinking that you’re better than other people.

It is not owning anything (but a winning smile).

It is not selfishness.

It is not well-advertised bigotry.

It is not…

Well, I could go on. Let me change my original thought:

Life is a cabaret.

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Bet

Bet: (v) to feel sureDictionary B

There are those who deem themselves very conservative and would insist they would never place a bet on anything–as they sit down at a fast food restaurant and devour a double-bacon cheeseburger, betting that their arteries will withstand the attack.

We all bet.

  • In politics, they call it “tendencies” and “polls.”
  • In business, they refer to it as “great ideas” or “hunches.”
  • In romance, it’s deemed “beauty” or “fragrance.”
  • And in religion, we revere it as “faith.”

For after all, none of us are sure of much of anything as it pertains to the future, and all attempts to contradict that ignorance only make us appear insistent, not intelligent.

So what do I bet on?

1. I bet that people are self-involved, and you get along a whole lot better when you know it.

2. I bet there’s more evil in a private meeting of a political party than there ever is in twenty demons congregating over the fires of hell.

3. I bet the things that have sustained us–faith, hope and love–will continue to work, even when some cynics consider them outdated.

4. And I bet that I will reap what I sow.

These are my sure bets.

I have found that when I understand them to be true … I always end up with an excellent payout.

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Association

Association: (n) a group of people organized for a joint purpose.dictionary with letter A

“Guilty by association.”

What does that mean?

I guess the definition would be, “because I find myself in the proximity and influence of certain individuals, I am therefore equated to possess the same character.”

Even in the definition afforded us by Mr. Webster, we have two words that immediately seem to be at war with each other: “organized” and “purpose.”

For often, you see, the purity of a purpose is greatly diluted by the process of organizing.

A political party may begin on the premise that “all men are created equal,” only to end up with the evolution of “equal men are all created.” It’s a twist in the phrase which allows us to determine that certain people are not equal because of their intelligence, background or even hue.

It is in the process of organization that we often lose our purpose, and end up in an association with other individuals who share a common name, having abandoned a royal theme.

I am a Christian. Yet I am often hesitant to speak that aloud because it conjures images into the mind of the hearer that are contrary to my true heart and beliefs.

On the other hand, if I don’t claim any association, I can be viewed as a renegade or a heretic, off on my own, trying to create god in my image.

It is tricky business.

So it is my practice to not join associations–especially when they spend more time organizing than pursuing purpose. 

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Alternative

dictionary with letter A

Alternative: (adj.) available as another possibility: e.g. the various alternative methods for resolving disputes

Webster’s dictionary definition is very generous.

In a world where the status quo is extolled as not only being common, but nearly godly in its significance, a concept like “alternative” is almost always associated with being out of the flow.

  • Alternative rock: another name for “your rock band has no chance of being played on Top 40 Radio.”
  • Alternative lifestyle: a warning shouted by Middle America to discourage you from moving into their neighborhood.
  • Alternative political party: a guarantee that you will only receive votes from family members.
  • Alternative worship experience: the real one is happening at eleven o’clock, but we’re going to let the kids play around at nine.

Here’s what I know about alternative: if I’m in a room discussing an issue with friends, family, acquaintances and by-standers, and somebody offers an idea that may be contrary to the norm but addresses a need that no one has yet considered, it is no longer an alternative view, but rather, a necessary inclusion.

Bluntly, just because people don’t agree with me does not mean they don’t possess smart ideas that are required to form the solution.

It doesn’t matter what issue we are trying to finagle–from gun control to abortion to immigration to war to homosexuality–well, the list goes on and on. What is required to make the requirement is to listen to others tell you what they require.

What we are calling alternative opinions are often pieces of the puzzle which must be kept in readiness, so when we get to the end and find out we’re incomplete, they can be placed in their needful position to form the picture.

It reminds me of the story of the feeding of the five thousand from the Good Book. After the initial miracle of providing grub for a large crowd with limited funds for the menu, Jesus tells the disciples to “gather up the leftovers, that nothing be lost.” I am sure they thought it was stupid. Everybody was stuffed; they had gorged themselves on food. What was the purpose of carrying around twelve baskets of extras?

Simple. He was telling these fellows that somewhere along the line they were going to need them.

If we throw away every idea that is not part of our own philosophy, when our reasoning breaks down, we will not have the available knowledge to know how to address the issue.

In 1961 in Birmingham, Alabama, there were many white persons who were fully aware that segregation was not only filled with error, but useless. Yet because alternative views were not allowed on the subject matter, we were forced to produce a bloody conclusion instead of an intelligent one.

I know what I think. But I also know I need to think.

In order for that to work, I must realize that the alternative values of today may very well become the mainstream thinking of tomorrow.


Advocate

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Advocate: (n) a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy

I shudder. Honestly, this definition scares me.

  • Publicly supports.
  • Recommends.
  • Cause.

I just look back in history and realize that the vast majority of people who have lived on this planet called Earth have, at least for a season, been advocates of immoral and ridiculous ignorance.

It is so easy to jump on the bandwagon and begin to play out of tune. Why do we DO it?

Maybe a better question is, are there ideas or standards that need to be defended, or, if they really are good ideas and standards, are they going to survive a little critique and analysis without me bullying people into following them?

I don’t know if I’ve met an advocate who I think is actually contributing to the common good.

For instance, I certainly believe we should treat animals with respect and honor their space, but I find those involved in the cause of animal rights to be overwrought and obnoxious.

I also believe in God and the loving mercy He wishes to bestow upon His children, but I find the tedium of religion to be tiresome, burdensome and even vicious in its intent.

I absolutely love my country, but those who are advocates of a political party and beat the drum for votes are not only aggravating, but at whim can shut down the very government they promised to serve.

Maybe our goal should not be to become an advocate, but rather, a billboard–to quietly pursue our dreams and beliefs, demonstrating them through our successes and personalities. Perhaps mankind did not evolve from the monkey, but I will tell you this–like the ape, we are much better at mimicking than we are at taking orders.

We seem to more enjoy looking around and finding things that appeal to us and are beneficial, adding them into our own lifestyle, than we do having someone preach it, teach it or advocate for it.

What would I be willing to publicly state as truth? What would I believe is still going to be around a hundred years after I’m dead, maintaining its validity? Doesn’t that narrow it down?

The only one I’ve come up with is: NoOne is better than anyone else.

I guess if you were pushing me, I would have to say of that assertion and statement that I am an advocate.