Deacon

Deacon: (n) an appointed or elected officer of a church

I can’t remember who told me this, so I apologize for not being able to attribute it to someone directly.

But in describing the chain of command, this individual told me that it is divided into three sections:

At the bottom is de-shit-cleaner.

Next up, de-shit-kicker.

And at the top is de-shit.

Perhaps a little over-simplistic, but in every organization, there seems to be someone who believes themselves to be in charge, another individual who determines themselves to be the enforcer of the rules, and then, a person or people who spend all their time cleaning up the messes and making the daily bread bake well.

This latter would be the deacon of a church.

A church is like any other corporation—in the sense that it has a mission which is often sullied by repetitive duties.

It may be fine to be the priest, delivering the sermons or the elder, telling everybody where to stand and where to go.

But someone has to unclog the women’s toilet at least twice a month.

Someone has to gather up all the bulletins left behind by parishioners, who swore they wanted to “take it with them.”

Someone has to check the hymn books for crayon marks from bored children.

Someone has to break up the rift between two sisters in Christ who have, for some reason or another, just discovered they can’t stand one another.

There is a deacon in every situation.

It is the person who knows that worshipping God does not make people godly.

They are still full of themselves, mistakes, carelessness and apathy—as they head out the door and wiggle and wobble back to their private retreats.

Ampersand

dictionary with letter A

Ampersand: (n) the sign &, standing for and, as in Smith & Co

Must have been a hard sell.

Sometimes we don’t appreciate how the things we take for granted or assume were always around had to go through a process to become acceptable or even permissible.

Can you imagine the meeting?

Some guy or gal walking in, trying to convince everyone that the word “and” was so repetitive that every once in a while, changing it to this new configuration of an ampersand would be helpful to break up the monotony and obtuse traditionalism.

I don’t know–I might have objected. After all, it’s a slippery slope, right?? Pretty soon, we’ll be inserting pictures of frying pans to represent women and football helmets for men.

Where will it end? After all, how exhausting is it to write a-n-d? And also, after you figure out, with your pen, how to make the ampersand look respectable, you could have written “and” seven times!

It was definitely a public relations miracle, pulled off by some individual determined to simplify our lives, even if the simplification may have been over-simplified.

We must understand that the little victories that etch their way through the stone of committees and boards of scrutiny set in motion the possibility that if something important truly does come along, maybe a crack in the rock will let in some light.

So here’s to the person–whoever he or she is–who came up with the ampersand. It didn’t change anyone’s life. It didn’t heal the sick or raise the dead. It didn’t even leave an imprint in the wet cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

But it lets us know that ideas have a chance … even when they’re teensy-weensy.

 

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Again

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Again: (adv) another time; once more

It’s all about french fries.

For a very brief season, french fries lost their appeal–they became an afterthought: “Would you like fries with that?”

Having already selected my sandwich of choice and determined my milkshake preference, I had french fries thrust upon me by my server, giving me the sensation that they were trapped in the back, toasted brown, desperately lonely. Matter of fact, in that era, not much care was put into them.

They began to taste like fried sticks.

So you had to decide if you were gonna have french fries AGAIN.

You see, the trouble with the word “again” is that it threatens to become repetitive, bringing sameness to our lives, which causes us to become bored, robbing us of entertainment.

Thus french fries.

Matter of fact, I am not sure they could have survived this season of doldrums if someone had not come along to smear them with cheese, bacon, jalapenos, and I don’t know…maybe even whipped cream. Then french fries gained interest because they brought along friends and a fresh outlook. They were welcome–even flirting with the possibility of bumping the main course.

It’s not that there’s anything WRONG with “again,” but normally when we use the word, our voices trail off into the great pit of despair:

  • “I have to go to school … again.”
  • “It’s Sunday morning church … again.”
  • “I’ve been married for thirty years. I guess it’s time to kiss my wife … again.”

If we don’t do something to spice up the side dishes of our lives with innovation and flavor, having something “again” will never be pleasant. It will become the kind of march to blandness that convinces us that we’ve been cheated rather than blessed.

I’m going to write my essay again …but I’m going to make it cheesy and spicy.

Ad infinitum

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Ad infinitum: (adv.) again and again in the same way forever. e.g.: registration is for seven years and may be renewed ad infinitum.

I’ve never been particularly impressed with the word “forever.”

To me, the weakness of eternal life is that it’s eternal. I guess the miracle of God will be His ability to explain how something that goes on and on can escape being repetitive, and therefore, boring.

This has caused me to be able to do my occupation as a vagabond artist. While others in my human family find it comforting to know where they’re going to be a year from now, I feel no sense of compulsion to dance about in the ballroom of security.

Insecurity seems to be a bad word, when actually, life itself is geared to be such. Guarantees are few, promises are many, sameness is unusual, but pursuit of identical results is universal.

Somehow or another, the key to life is not in looking for anything that lasts forever but to forever look for things that are lasting, but changing.

That seems to be a contradiction, doesn’t it? How could something be lasting AND changing?

There’s a little phrase in the Good Book that says, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Kind of makes him sound like a Grandpa, clinging to his Beatles albums.

But actually, the way Jesus is the same is that he’s constantly and faithfully evolving toward meeting human need.  And since we are going through a similar process, being creatures of the earth, he has to have a lot of mercy and a lot of good humor in order to embrace our foibles.

I don’t need forever.

Matter of fact, sometimes I think the things we want to last for a lifetime are unrealistic.

  • I don’t require a lifetime guarantee on my muffler.
  • And perhaps even marriage would be better if we renewed it every ten years.

I don’t know–such decisions are reserved for individuals much more intelligent than me.

But ad infinitum is not necessary for this pilgrim. All this pilgrim needs is some turkey, dressing, a little gravy … and some cranberry sauce.