Communion

Communion: (n) the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.

I get the same sensation when I go to Red Lobster with a friend and he or she insists, with a giggle, as the cheddar bay biscuits arrive, and they gleefully take one from the basket, that, “This is what Red Lobster is all about!”

I nod (knowing that soon I will probably nod off.)

Red Lobster is not about the cheddar bay biscuits. It’s about the seafood.

Just like baseball games are not about the peanuts and the Cracker Jacks. There’s a ball, a bat and a game.

And marriage is not about starting a family. It’s really about how much you enjoy having sex with this one person and hope you can keep it up for the rest of your life while you have a family.

I find myself going to church from time to time–reluctantly.

I don’t like that about me. It seems jaded. In this season of agnosticism it smacks of the predictable.

But you see, in church there’s just too much emphasis on the cheddar bay biscuits, the Cracker Jacks and the family.

Many of them center their whole agenda around communion–a symbolistic representation of the blood and body of Jesus Christ, which he gave for the sins of mankind.

It’s disconcerting to me.

First there’s the thought that I am such a piece of shit that God had to kill His own kid to try to make up for my buffoonery.

Then there’s the notion that a dynamic spirit which walked in the flesh among us for thirty-three years only gained significance in the last few hours that he hung, as an alleged criminal, on a cross.

What an insult to all things loving and eternal.

Yet if you lodge an objection, somehow or another you become apostate–which, if you don’t know what that means, is the religious system’s way of telling you that you don’t belong.

The truth of the matter is, I admire the hell out of Jesus.

Long before he bled, he led me into an understanding of how we might begin to see God’s will done on Earth as it is in heaven.

 

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Astir

Astir (adj): 1. in a state of excitement 2. awake and out of bed.dictionary with letter A

Angels with attitude.

One of my favorite stories in the Gospels is the part of the resurrection of Jesus, when the women who have come to prepare his body for burial are confronted by a snarky angel.

Being a bit condescending, he asks these ladies, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

I suppose they could have gotten defensive; it’s possible they could have spit back that the last time they saw Jesus, he was pretty well gone.

But the words have always given me a chuckle of glee.

Why do we seek the living among the dead?

Why do we continue to tolerate a religious system which purposely generates anti-human rituals which historically have proven to be boring and sleep-inducing instead of requiring that life be pumped into these pious services?

Why do we roll our eyes when the word “Congress” is brought up–because we have decided that Washington, D.C. cannot possibly produce anything of lasting quality?

Why do we feel dumbfounded on the issue of race and despaired over the possibility of people getting along instead of gently ridiculing those individuals who still see color instead of character?

Why do we seek the living among the dead?

Why don’t we find the better part of youth–which is energy–and blend it with the better part of aging–which is humble wisdom?

Wouldn’t you like to live in a world full of energetic, humble wisdom?

To do so, you will have to stop coming to your tombs for funerals and start dressing for a party…and demand that what is dead rise up from the grave.

 

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Another

dictionary with letter A

Another: (adj & pron) a word used to denote an additional person or thing

I have just learned to go with it.

People often ask me how I’m able to write a column every day on the Internet. They think it’s impressive.

For me, impressive is someone digging a ditch on a ninety-five-degree day, or my food server remembering my exact order, complete with a side of horseradish.

But the reason I can write is because I don’t fight the first sensation that comes to me and try to improve on it too much. Most of the people I know who are writers fail at the task because they’re waiting for another idea.

They become too critical of their first instinct or try to complicate it or embellish it too much and lose the beauty of what I refer to as “slapping your face” inspiration.

Two immediate examples came to my mind when I read the word “another.” Both of them are comical in nature because they show how ridiculous we become when we are either too analytical or feel too entitled.

There is a story in the Good Book about the character John the Baptist sending his friends to ask Jesus the question, “Are you the one or should we look for another?”

It’s pretty funny. After all, there weren’t a lot of people doing miracles and railing against the religious system, while preaching a universal message of love.

But Jesus didn’t fuss. He just went out and did a good day’s business. Then he told the messengers to go back and report to John what they had seen. He left it to John to decide for himself if there was another.

On the other hand, there is the advice you get from people, usually older adults, when you’re a teenager, about romance, after your girlfriend breaks up with you.

“There are a lot of fish in the sea,” they proclaim.

You see, that’s fine if one fish is as good as another, but if you were thinking about getting a bowl and having a fish of your choice to be your lifelong pet, then some specific attributes would be required. (There’s a reason they call them “gold-fish.”)

Human beings are not like buses. You can’t miss the opportunity to love one and think another one is going to be coming around the corner real soon.

“Another” is a dangerous word. If we use it too often, we begin to believe that we are merely consumers who are being wooed by God and our fellow-humans with their wares.

If you ignore blessing too often and miss out on the moving of the Spirit … you might find yourself stuck with something much less satisfying than what was originally offered.

 

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Anglican

dictionary with letter A

Anglican: (adj) relating to or denoting the Church of England or any Church in communion with it.

If my only job were to teach and promote atheism, I would choose, as a platform for my presentation, to just share pieces of church history.

In no time at all, the most ardent believer, based upon the information I shared, would shake his or her head, turn his or her back and walk away from the “stinky pew.”

Why? Because faith is meant to be a leap, not a step.

When men like Martin Luther, John Knox and John Wesley decided to depart from the Catholic Church, they eventually got around to holding committee meetings about who they would become, and ended up keeping much of the religious ceremony, traditions and superstitions of the Mother Church from which they allegedly wanted to orphan themselves from.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Anglican Church, which, when it came to America by boat, became the Episcopals. With its founder, Henry VIII (an unlikely theologian) it continued to take on the heavy burdens and abstract practices of the Church of Rome, while loosening the belt on the underbelly of less important issues.

It is the problem with the religious system–at least in the Christian faith.

Even though we have a movement which dubs itself Protestant, there really isn’t a lot of protesting going on. What actually occurred in the Reformation was a reaction instead of a revolution.

Rather than returning to the teachings of Jesus, which would have expanded the vision of the Christian movement to include all cultures and all people, the Protestants basically embraced the teachings of the Apostle Paul, while sprinkling in portions of Catholicism.

Therefore, Christianity is the most “choiceless” option of spirituality available. This is why many of our young people end up dashing among Buddhism, Muslim, Judaism and agnosticism. Even the denominations that are much more relaxed in their approach, like the Pentecostals, still maintain the seeds of the Vatican, with communion, offerings, trappings and ritual.

The Anglicans essentially left the church of Rome because their King, at the time, wanted a divorce. There’s nothing spiritual about it, and until we actually have a soulful awakening, returning us to the tenets of our founder from Nazareth, the church will continue to be a jumbled mishmash of ingredients, thrown together in a dark kitchen, baked in the oven … with the aspiration that it will end up to everyone’s taste.

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Alchemist

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alchemy: (n) the medieval forerunner of chemistry, based on the supposed transformation of matter. It was concerned particularly with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir.

“I need more.

Those three words form one of the more useless phrases in the English language. Yet the proclamation–or at least the sentiment–is in the air constantly.

I don’t know when we established the notion that pleading poverty, lack or futility is an acceptable profile for human behavior. What I mean is, even though we all pull up lame and make excuses, we privately hate it when it is done by others.

I have really noticed this over the past ten years. About a decade ago, I realized that whatever is going to happen in my career, dreams and aspirations has already happened, and unless I learn to take what is available and turn it into something better, I will become disgruntled.

One of the more stupid attributes of the human family is the insistence that we’re waiting for our “big break.” It’s why I would never buy a lottery ticket. Buying one would demand buying at least a dozen others in order to increase your potential, even though the odds of the bonanza coming my way are astronomical.

I want to stop complaining about what I have–and turn it into gold (or at least some yellow material that would pass.) That’s what the alchemists did. Their main claim was that they could change lead into gold. (Maybe that’s what we mean by “getting the lead out.”)

Yes, if I stop looking at the lead that comes my way and start using it more productively, maybe some gold will come out of it. I don’t know about you–I’m a little tired of seeing people turn gold into lead:

  • I’m weary of a religious system that takes a gospel of love and transforms it into a mediocre pabulum of rules and regulations.
  • I’m angered by the nobility of the American dream and the cause of freedom being denigrated down to voting, campaigns and political gridlock.
  • And I am certainly bedraggled by the hounding about “family” in our society, while we simultaneously have entertainment and shows portraying the relationship as detrimental or even destructive.

You and I have one responsibility: stop bitching about what we’ve got and try to turn it into something more.

Because quite bluntly, if we don’t understand that this is the mission of human life … we will end up leaving behind much less than what we were given.

 

Additive

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Additive: (n.) a substance added to something in small quantities, typically to improve or preserve it: e.g. many foods contain chemical additives.

I am an additive.

I have never been the main substance or the primary focus in my entire life.

I have come upon a political system where I neither fit in nor agree and can only disperse granules of my feelings into the concoction.

I am part of a religious system which is encumbered by its own lack of essentials, and I attempt to stir in my flavor and saltiness to produce a better brew. But is there a vanity in proclaiming that my additive will make it a better brew? I don’t know that for sure.

For instance, when making a cup of coffee, since I don’t really care for the “squeezing of the bean” in the first place, I find that I prefer the additives to the original concept. In other words, creamer and sweet ‘n low are to my taste, whereas I tolerate the coffee.

Let’s be candid. I am not alone here. Anyone who tampers with the “original black gold” is admitting that the additives are possibly more appealing than the caffeine blend.

What would we do without additives (although they certainly have a bad reputation)? Matter of fact, we like to advertise that our particular rendition of something is “pure” because it’s free of additive.

Our politics is completely Republican, with nary a nod for the teeming masses.

Our Democratic Party is one hundred per cent liberal, castrated of ANY conservative values.

We will not allow additives, so as to make sure that we are offering the purest product possible.

So you see my dilemma. I am an additive. I come along and try to sweeten, smooth, flavor, enhance and even color the broth of humanity, to make us all more palatable to each other.

Purists must hate me.

Those who like a good mug of joe probably despise my artificial sweetener.

I don’t care.

Additives in and of themselves are not evil as long as they don’t give you cancer or take away the power of the original concept but instead, make it more palatable. They are not only precious, but I will go so far as to say–necessary.

We could use some additives:

I would like a little courtesy with my human interaction.

I would like a bit of smile with my faces.

I would like a dose of humanity with my spirituality.

And I would like a little spirituality within the Politick of the Body Earth.

So being an additive, I am an advocate of such inclusion. Just make sure it won’t kill you … and it just might bless you.

 

Accrete

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accrete: (v.) grow by accumulation or coalescence: e.g. ice that has accreted grotesquely into stalactites.

It’s hard to accumulate anything when you’re spending all your time convincing yourself it’s trash.

Although there are people in our society who think they come across intelligent by poo-poohing every idea and coming up with some reason why it won’t work, ultimately we have to take the plunge or we’re just wearing a swimsuit and never getting wet.

But as long as we have a firm belief that being critical is the definition of objective and that analyzing is the best path to progress, we won’t accumulate much of anything but ongoing failure for the project that should have been uprooted long ago and now is held in place because we have no idea how to get rid of it.

There are so many things in our political system which should have been stuffed in the garbage can generations ago, but are kept around because the alternative to them seems frightening to those who are terrified of their shadows.

There are certainly ideas which have come forth from religion, such as self-righteousness and exclusivity, which wore out their usefulness eons ago, and merely propagate because somebody has already purchased the supplies, even though there is no demand.

There are countless things being taught  in our educational system which no one will ever use in their entire life and will only make them seem like nerds if they brag about knowing them.

We continue to pummel one another as men and women, even though this alleged opponent can be the source of one of our greatest physical pleasures.

I don’t know what it’s going to take for us to develop a sense of humor and the common sense to accrete valuable things, but until we do, second best will seem like a dream, as we constnatly settle for the dregs.

I am a human being. If I am going to be honest with myself, I have to ask three questions about everything that comes my way if I am trying to decide if I want to accrete it.

1. Is it easy and simple? If it isn’t, I probably won’t do it more than once, and spend the rest of my time on earth complaining about the initial encounter, while offering an explanation on why I would never do it again.

2. Will it benefit me? I work really hard to be generous about including others, but it is certainly easier to pursue openness when I am already savoring the fruits of the experience.

3. Is there a way to make it cool? I believe one of the signs of mental illness is the insistence that you don’t need to feel cool. It is the first fruits of a persecution complex that often drives people to the top of the tower with a deer rifle, looking for targets.

There you go.

I do believe that those who have good ideas should make sure they package them in a way that’s easy, beneficial and cool. If they don’t, be prepared for the cynics to pick them apart.

Abnormal

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abnormal: adj. deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way that is undesirable or worrying.
So I have spent my life worrying people. I felt it was my job.

  • I worried my kindergarten teacher by coloring outside the lines. she felt it warranted a meeting with my parents.
  • I worried my high school football coach by choosing music over linebacking.
  • I worried my wife by flying out to Arizona to “rescue” her from her parents’ disapproval of me.
  • I worried people in the music industry by refusing to conform to trends, but rather, pursuing the melody in my heart.
  • I worried the political system by turning down the invitations to all of their parties.
  • I worried the religious system by believing in God without reciting all the prescribed words.
  • I worried my doctor by creating a scenario of longevity, wherein I have only a “fat chance.”
  •  I worried my family by continuing to faithfully execute my talent in a world which seems to be negating the need for gathering and fellowshipping.
  • I really don’t see the sense in living your life if you don’t worry those people around you who are content with mediocrity.

The truth of the matter is, there is nothing we regale, worship or believe in today that was not, at one time, abnormal.
Of course, some abnormalities need to be confronted and changed.

For instance, the idea that elected officials from varying corners of the country can come together and pass constructive laws …

Abnormal

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abnormal: adj. deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way that is undesirable or worrying.
So I have spent my life worrying people. I felt it was my job.

I worried my kindergarten teacher by coloring outside the lines. she felt it warranted a meeting with my parents.
I worried my high school football coach by choosing music over linebacking.
I worried my wife by flying out to Arizona to “rescue” her from her parents’ disapproval of me.
I worried people in the music industry by refusing to conform to trends, but rather, pursuing the melody in my heart.
I worried the political system by turning down the invitations to all of their parties.
I worried the religious system by believing in God without reciting all the prescribed words.
I worried my doctor by creating a scenario of longevity, wherein I have only a “fat chance.”
I worried my family by continuing to faithfully execute my talent in a world which seems to be negating the need for gathering and fellowshipping.

I really don’t see the sense in living your life if you don’t worry those people around you who are content with mediocrity. The truth of the matter is, there is nothing we regale, worship or believe in today that was not, at one time, abnormal.
Of course, some abnormalities need to be confronted and changed. For instance, the idea that elected officials from varying corners of the country can come together and pass constructive laws …

 

Abiotic

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abiotic: adj. 1.physical rather than biological; not derived from living organisms. 2. Devoid of life; sterile

I found a definition for Congress!!  “Devoid of life and sterile!” A physical body not producing any life. How remarkable! Do you think anyone in that particular institution would comprehend it if I refered to them as abiotic?

I was thinking about other things in our society that are abiotic:

Certainly, the entertainment industry came to mind, which continues to pop out pet projects from a group of spoiled technicians who refuse to allow new ideas into their coven of interaction for fear of losing both prestige and dollars.

Certainly our religious system is abiotic. For after all, we more celebrate the death of our leader than we do his life, and even gather around his carcass weekly to grab a hunk, for old times sake.

Our educational system seems to have become abiotic, trapping us into a repetitive merry-go-round of stats and facts, which don’t always add up to the requirements of our ever-burgeoning world.

What a fascinating word!

Sometimes I’m abiotic. I see life happening in front of me and I pull up a chair instead of putting on my tennis shoes.

Abiotic–ignoring life in motion. Being present in the physical without generating any living thing.

Because after all, to live a cautious life is to have completely misunderstood the directions that came with our kit.