Cornerstone

Cornerstone: (n) a stone uniting two masonry walls at an intersection.

My children hate President Trump.

I suppose I could take a couple of paragraphs and try to explain the level of dissatisfaction that seems to trouble their souls but then I might funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
be promoting their rumors.

On the other hand, I live in a community where I often find myself surrounded by people who think President Trump hung the moon. (Well, probably didn’t hang the moon, but has acquired building rights on it.)

When I get around my children, they sometimes become convinced that I am a conservative Republican because I refuse to join them in their vendetta against the President. And when I meet up with old friends who were once hot sauce and have become milder over the years, they are a little fearful that I might be “too liberal” for them.

I am neither liberal nor conservative.

I find myself being the stone that the builders often reject. They look at me and say, “He’s too gentle. He’s too calm. He’s too accommodating. He’s too open. He’s too willing to share. He has no place in our plans for a cataclysmic conclusion.”

I do sometimes feel rejected.

I don’t hate the President of the United States. I don’t even wish to tell you whether I agree or disagree with him, since he personally has not asked my opinion.

I am not the kind of person who likes to hide behind rocks, spit at people when they walk by, and then run.

Likewise, I am despaired of joining clubs or organizations that refuse to change their rules or guidelines when the mercy of realization has made it clear that transformation and adjustment are in order.

Yet I take heart.

There is an old adage: “The stone the builders rejected becomes the cornerstone.”

Somewhere along the line, my angry children and my complacent old friends will meet each other once again and I will be there…to bridge the gap.


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Comment

Comment: (n) a verbal or written remark expressing an opinion or reaction.

Having abandoned journalism, many forms of etiquette, courtesy and basic grammar, the Internet continues to pass along ideas from people who refuse to accept the fact that others have a creative bend and require consideration.

Somewhere in the past two decades we have lost the true definition of commenting. Let me begin by telling you what it is not.

A comment is not you offering an opinion. In other words, if someone writes an article stating that the President of the United States is a great historical figure filled with virtue, a comment would be on the writer’s approach, delivery, information and process in drawing conclusions. A comment is not jotting down, “Idiot, moron, and son-of-a-bitch” with multiple exclamation points. (A single exclamation point is supposed to express great passion. When I see two, I perceive stupidity.)

Commenting is letting folks know how what they had to share, think, or even a meal you prepared was received. It is not replacing their input with your dogma–feeling as if this resolves the issue for all time.

Often my children recommend a movie to me. If I watch it, I offer the following comment:

“I can see why you liked it. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for this movie on the night I watched it, but I did not garner the usual impact or inspiration that I normally enjoy from a flick. It is certainly the kind that I normally do pursue, but this particular one left me cold. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand what the writer and director were trying to communicate.”

This is commenting–a blend of honesty and humility allowing the person who has shared to leave the house without fear of being gunned down by a maniac.

I welcome comments.

I make errors.

But I do not give you permission to ravage my material simply because it busted out the walls of your mental one-room sublet.

 

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Berserk

Berserk: (adj) out of control with anger or excitement; wild or frenzied.

Dictionary B

Calm down.

I find myself saying that, thinking that and praying that incessantly in today’s environment of erratic behavior, showcased by overwrought promotion.

I like excitement.

But a world that feels the necessity to stimulate interest by standing in a dark tanker, lighting a match to read the sign that says, “Gasoline,” is opening the door to explosive results.

There are too many oddities, nervous twitches and borderline personalities on our planet to permit us to encourage bizarre behavior by over-selling.

Terrorists killed people in Brussels. It is a horrible thing–but it is what terrorists do.

What is an adequate response to such an atrocity? I’m not sure–but I don’t think berserk is honorable.

We’re trying to select a President for the United States. It is a serious decision.

Yet I think going berserk and exposing the underbelly of the American political system is unwarranted.

Somewhere along the line, we have to learn how to “measure out:”

  • If we measure out mercy, we obtain mercy.
  • If we measure out common sense, we open the door to more tender exchanges.

But if we measure out berserk and give it a microphone, platform and poster, we more than likely will reap ... a harvest of crazies.

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Belie

Belie: (v) to fail to give a true notion or impression of something.Dictionary B

I have been accused of being either crazy or a glutton for punishment because I watch the political debates.

I, myself, am not political.

But I think it would be total foolishness to live in this day and age and wish for a different time, or else pretend, through self-righteousness, that I am above the fray. The Republicans and Democrats are my brothers and sisters whether they embarrass me or not.

On this particular evening of viewing, there was a lot of noise, banging and viciousness. I know it is popular to criticize these politicians who aspire to be the President of the United States, for their attacks and ferocity.

But I must tell you–they are not the culprits. In many ways, they are the victims.

Because as the debate ended and the camera swirled across the audience, it fell for a moment on the countenance of the moderator–the newsman–the journalist who had been in charge of the affair.

There was a tiny smirk on his face.

It angered me.

The smirk was not a smile of success, but rather, belied an agenda by a news organization to sensationalize an activity in order to gain ratings, with no real concern about the toll it was taking on the gentleness of the American people.

It was rotten.

And for that brief moment, I felt sorry for those gentlemen running for the Oval Office. They are being used. The American public is being refused a chance for a kinder way.

It belies us to believe that any goodness can come out of those who make the most profit off of reporting the evil.

 

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Bazooka

Bazooka: (n) a short-range tubular rocket launcher used against tanks.Dictionary B

I wrote a contemplative movie entitled “The Drive.”

Some people would consider it anti-war but since I don’t really think there are “pro-war” options, let’s leave it with my original representation.

I will not get into the total storyline except to tell you there is an anguished father who decides to wreak revenge on the U.S. Government by trying to assassinate the President of the United States in St. Louis.

He chooses a bazooka as his weapon.

I would assume this is because he knows he’s not a very good shot and wanted a twelve-foot margin of error.

So when it came time to film the project, we were in the market to locate a bazooka. The first few people we asked thought we were referring to the comics from the 1960’s. Rather than contradict their perception, we just quietly hung up the phone.

We finally found a collector of WWII memorabilia who had a bazooka, even with its own case. Fortunately, he did not have the shells for it, so we had to figure out how to stuff firecrackers in the muzzle to make it appear that the long tube was threatening.

As I look back, I realize that finding a bazooka and simulating firing it in public was certainly a dispensation of the time. I can’t imagine how many government watch lists we would be placed on nowadays for even inquiring about such an object.

But we not only fired it, we had a street full of extras who ran away in horror and terror at the onslaught.

It was really quite pungent and effective for a low-budget film, but I must tell you–when the actor pulled that bazooka out of the case, which was in the trunk of his car, a chill went down my spine–one which is duplicated as I write this piece.

May we look forward to the day when “bazooka” will only be remembered as a wise-cracking bubblegum comic.

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Baloney

Baloney: (n) foolish or deceptive talk; nonsense.Dictionary B

Bologna is a luncheon meat that is derived from unknown sources. The origin of this delicacy is so frighteningly unknown that some individuals refuse to eat it.

On the other hand, most Americans consider it to be a staple of life, and in the throes hunger, one of the tastier ways to soothe the gut.

But the reason we refer to stupid conclusions and ridiculous notions as “baloney” is because our society is very good at taking crap and throwing it in the blender, and then using the “press” to produce a conclusion which has questionable origins.

Matter of fact, there are things we just accept today which twenty years ago, we would have ridiculed.

The reason we accept them is because we are afraid to deal with the issues that might come up if a real conversation was held on the subject.

It’s why the old adage, “never discuss politics and religion” has been ignored in favor of believing that further debate will somehow or another bring about revelation or harmony.

Let’s be frank. Politics and religion are useless if they don’t make our lives better. Matter of fact, almost everything is useless if it doesn’t make our lives better.

Case in point: I was sitting in a gathering of mournful souls who were lamenting the loss of a loved one. It wasn’t even ten seconds before someone intoned the platitude, “He’s in a better place.”

Obviously, that’s baloney. We don’t know where he is. We are mortals, held on this Earthly plane without any awareness of the universe.

But “better place” is an idea that can quickly be pressed together to form a product which is palatable.

It’s like in politics, when we say, “We’re looking for the best person for the job.”

Of course we’re not. The best person to be the President of the United States could never be elected President because that person’s background would be too colorful and could never survive the vetting process.

Baloney is what is served up to the public without revealing how it was actually processed and ground up to form a thought.

And like its counterpart, bologna, it is normally stuck between two pieces of white bread and adorned with something cheesy.

 

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Armageddon

dictionary with letter A

Armageddon: (n) in the New Testament, the last battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgment.

I have this memory from Sunday School class of a verse in which God shares with Cain that the blood of his brother “cried unto God from the Earth.”

Pretty powerful image.

So every time I think about Armageddon, I’m a bit baffled.

I have never had a desire to go to the Holy Land–mainly because I do not believe that any particular parcel of dust and stone is holy–and especially when the landscape has been so stained by human blood, shed for meaningless doctrines and interpretations.

I am not certain that this position I have taken would be a popular one with those who want to go and see where Moses received the Ten Commandments, or where Jesus walked on the water.

But if I found myself in the unenviable position of being the President of the United States, I would never send any troops into a kingdom that is already crimson with blood.

I would never allow myself to be known as the conduit that initiated a battle over nothing, which destroys everything.

There isn’t much I can do about the Jews and the Muslims wanting to fight with each other. It is my belief that Jesus came to break truth off of tradition, so that we could be human beings with each other instead of tribes.

But I guess as long as we insist on honoring our cultures more than humanity, protecting our kin more than seeking reasons to call the people of the world our brothers and sisters, and debating the personality of a God which is far beyond our comprehension, we will gradually inch our way periodically towareds Armageddon.

When we do, look for me in the rear, turning around and heading the other direction.

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