Cling

Cling: (v) to hold on tightly

I cannot explain the choices I make in the middle of the night, when suffering from a bit of insomnia and flipping through the channels on television.

In my conscious mind I am trying to find something that’s boring enough to put me to sleep. Therefore I often stop at religious programming.

Just a couple of evenings ago, I landed on a program with a preacher who had a Georgia drawl, explaining why he was not afraid to die. He became very emotional, citing that he knew he was going to go to heaven and spend eternity with Jesus. Surrounded by the dark room and feeling very impressionable in my nighttime skivvies, I nearly believed him.

I wondered why I didn’t feel that way.

I don’t want to die.

I don’t think it sounds interesting.

I get teary-eyed thinking of a world without me.

I can’t imagine how my friends and loved-ones will survive. (Maybe that’s why the Pharaohs locked all their cats in the tomb with them.) I digress.

I cling to life.

I am not a hypochondriac, but if one is needed, I can do a pretty damn good impersonation. Why? Because every breath, every pain, every trickle in my system makes me suspicious that it is the precursor of a wave of destruction.

I think it’s foolish to say you believe in a God who made a beautiful Earth and then to be in a hurry to get away from it, thinking that the upgrade will be an improvement.

I like Earth.

I like people–even when they’re unlikable, because then they’re a puzzle.

I like being around.

I like what happens when I’m around.

So I cling.

Whatever seems to be full of energy, vitality or just the general circulation of the blood, I support with all my heart.

It is time to admit that I am an Earthling who will need to be evicted to get me to leave my particular duplex. Perhaps my Creator has set aside a place for me in a spirit world which is beyond my comprehension. I cannot cling to that.

But I can cling to faith, hope and love.

These are the three things that matter. These are the three things that make Earth sweet.

And these are the three things that make me so glad that I’m still alive with people like you.

 

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Brash

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brash: (adj) self-assertive in a rude, noisy, or overbearing way

Brash is the uptown insult we hurl at an adversary when he or she says something we don’t like–whether it’s rude or not.

So it’s difficult to know what truly is brash and what is simply rejected by the hearer.Dictionary B

The politician may candidly point out that the American public need to take more responsibility for their own lives, and therefore be deemed brash.

The director of a movie may instruct his actor to be more authentic and stay in character, and certainly be proclaimed as brash during the break by the affronted thespian.

And certainly a preacher who points out the error of sinful ways would be considered a bumpkin–and brash.

But actually, brash is when something that is very obvious and already recognized as a problem is brought up once again simply for the sake of poking the bruise.

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Bondage

Bondage: (n) the state of being a slave.

Dribbling sweat and spitting out angry consonants, the preacher forewarns his timid congregation of the dangerDictionary B of the bondage of sin. Here’s the real essence of bondage:

Bondage is the loss of free will.

Whether it’s taken from you due to addiction, removed by the authorities because of your criminal activity, or snatched from you by religious fervor which insists on stringent practices to please a pissed-off God.

Bondage is when human beings can’t decide for themselves.

Presently, we are in bondage to the delusion of destiny–the ridiculous notion that our lives are pre-determined by some ethereal force which has programmed us for purposes beyond our control.

Actually, the most frightening thing about human life is that we choose to do both the evil and the good that spew from our nature. We are not prodded by the heavens nor are we drug to the depths of hell by demons.

The only true bondage is when we revoke our free will to something, someone, or some place and find ourselves dissatisfied, without a vote.

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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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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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Aka

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Aka: (abbr.) also known as: e.g.John Merrick, aka the Elephant Man

J. R. Practix.

That’s the name on my birth certificate.

But during a brief season of playing football, I was aka “Big Jon.” Matter of fact, through high school, I was “just Jon, without an h”. I often joked that I selected the name because I wanted to “get the h outta there.” Some people thought that was funny.

  • A tiny handful knew me as “the music guy.”
  • There were those in my town who acquainted my personage with “deadbeat.”
  • Aka “Daddy,” which became “Dad”–and on more formal occasions is even announced, “my Father.”
  • Aka “Studly,” even though that was used so infrequently that I’m embarrassed to bring it up, but still, willing to propagate the myth.
  • Aka “Composer.”
  • Aka “Vagabond.”
  • Aka “Writer.”
  • Aka “Preacher”–though I was never actually able to embody the look or attributes of a parson.
  • Aka “Musician”–though I must bow my head in the presence of the true clerics of chords.

Then came grandchildren. So …

  • Aka “G-Pop.”
  • Three of my sons were adopted in my heart as god-children, and they chose to refer to me as “Pop.”
  • Aka “Husband.”
  • Aka “Lover” (in generous moments by forgiving females)
  • Aka “Business man” (unless you look at my books)
  • Aka “Traveler” (Just check my odometer)
  • Aka “Human being,” of which I am most proud.

I realize today that I have so many names associated with me that if I had a driver’s license to match each one, I would look like a criminal on the lam.

And speaking of lamb, I recommend it … with mint jelly.