Concordance

Concordance: (n) an alphabetical list of the words in a text

There was a season in my life’s journey when I wanted to be a “Reverend.” Not just a minister or preacher, but an actual, full-fledged cleric.

I liked the sound of it. “Reverend.”

At that time, my immature, jealous spirit was anxious to be recognized for doing nothing while having a title. To accentuate this need and punctuate its funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
possibility, I bought myself the “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.”

I immediately realized why it had the name “Strong” and “Exhaustive.” To just carry the thing required you to be built like an ox.

I located some churches to pontificate spiritual lessons (in other words, preach sermons) so I opened up my Exhaustive Concordance and found words I wanted to share about, and discovered where they were peppered and placed all over the Bible, and then spent all my time trying to pull together these abstract texts–which were thousands of years apart–and create a cohesive message.

It was “inspiration by committee”–the inspiration being anything anybody could get out of my mish-mash and the committee being a host of ancient Bedouin writers who happened to mention my favored word in some favored way.

It is a horrible way to share truth, persisting to this day.

As I lost my interest in the word “Reverend,” and most of my need to evangelize through my sermonizing, I soon discovered that I no longer needed a concordance.

I just needed to share my life–good and bad–and in so doing, become much more enlightening.

And much less exhaustive.

 

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Clergyman

Clergyman: (n) a male priest, minister, or religious leader, especially a Christian one

All the mistakes I’ve made in my life were caused by me thinking that what I had to offer was not enough.

Whenever I calmed down and realized that the stash in my duffel bag was the total subsistence of my life and journey, I was fine.

But when I allowed myself to be intimidated by forces around me which deemed my offering to be meager because it lacked some
certification, I always ended up either a fool or a liar.

I wanted to help people.

I wanted to use my art to do so.

I wanted to share a message that had humor, hope and heft.

But I also once was very young, and contended that I needed some title to punctuate my adequacy.

Since I did not go to college, I wasn’t allowed to be called “a Reverend.” Therefore I could not be a clergyman.

I don’t know why I wanted to pursue such a position–I guess I just wanted folks to be impressed when they heard the full extent of my resume spoken in a word: “minister.”

So I lied. I manufactured higher learning. And eventually I just called myself a “Reverend” even though I didn’t have any pedigree to bark out spirituality.

It took me many years to escape the foolishness of my insecurity. As soon as I did, I realized that being a clergyman was actually to my disadvantage, because my music, writing, dramatic pursuits and screenplays were much more effective tools for reaching my brothers and sisters than climbing into a pulpit and emoting.

I often think, what is it I’m doing today that’s equally as stupid as my pursuit of being a false cleric?

I don’t know. But I keep looking.

Because if I catch it early, maybe I can avoid some of the embarrassment that occurs when people finally find out the truth.

And…

They always do.

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Adept

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Adept: (adj.) very skilled or proficient at something: e.g. he is adept at cutting through red tape; an adept negotiator.

Beware of titles that require follow-up.

I often come across individuals who want to quantify my abilities or value by assessing names or positions to my talents. We all are tempted at times to tout our value by putting some sort of signature on it, which is supposed to communicate our qualification or aptitude.

  • Lieutenant
  • President
  • Senator
  • Manager
  • Father
  • Mother
  • Principal
  • Reverend
  • Husband
  • Wife

Well, the list goes on and on–an unending collage of words that are supposed to scream out our uniqueness, so people will give us respect in the foreground before they check too much into our background.

Matter of fact, without these accolades, we sometimes feel that we’re just human beings, God forbid. But when we insist on such bravado in front of others, we take away the element of surprise, which allows people to surmise our lack of worth based upon our appearance, only to be proven wrong by the tally at the end of our endeavors.

Sometimes I don’t even like it when people ask for a resume. I always hated it in a job interview when the question was posed, “Tell me a little about yourself.” An impossible inquiry. If you stumble or act humble, people will say you lack confidence. If you go on and on about your personal achievements, you certainly will flirt with arrogance.

Yet for some reason the human race is convinced that carrying our “blue ribbons” to the starting line is confirmation that we will win the race.

The beauty of life is also the most frightening part. For after all, what I did yesterday is worth very little if I plan on screwing up this morning–and calling me by some regal proclamation only increases the pressure or takes away any praise I might achieve by exceeding expectation.

Am I adept at things? Probably. But I will never tell you.

  • Tell someone you’re adept at writing and they’ll critique your paragraphs.
  • Adept at love-making? God help you.
  • Adept at comedy? Be prepared for the audience to stare at you, waiting for the funny.
  • Adept at parenting? Watch your neighbors scrutinize your children very carefully.

“Adept” is one of those American words we use to attempt to impress before we actually perform. Sometimes it’s just better to shut up, do the best you can and surprise everybody when you actually have … some game.