Dedicate

Dedicate: (v) to offer in testimony

Fearing that our mere words fall short of conveying any sense of passion, we hunt for the right term to confirm with greater emotion how much we are involved with the cause.

It is the unnecessary promise.

It is the swearing by our little pinky finger.

It is placing our hand on the Bible.

It is when we know that our reputation precedes us and warns those around us that we are capable of running away in the heat of the battle.

So to cement our involvement in the building of the cause, we tack on words.

It is that long prayer from the unrepentant sinner.

It is the over-explaining speech by a wrangling politician.

It is the husband offering an explanation for why he is always late arriving home.

It is the teary-eyed, offended face of the teenager being challenged about a naughty activity, who wishes to come across bruised for being doubted.

“I dedicate myself.”

Really?

Is it your way of saying your participation will certainly fall short of glory? Or is it an admission that your word is not very good unless it is nailed down?

I would exchange sixteen newly-dedicated men and women for four seasoned veterans any day of the week.

Because when trouble begins, dedication departs.

And when dedication departs, trouble remains.

David

David: (n) a king of Israel.

Faith might occasionally be interesting if it weren’t so damn religious.

Rather than being a state of spirit, where we seek to know ourselves better and understand God by loving other people, it is turned into a mortuary, where we sit and perform all sorts of religious exercises that make yoga appear to be not such a stretch.

One of the more interesting characters in the Bible is David.

He’s not interesting because he prays, and he’s not fascinating because he wanted to build God’s temple.

He’s intriguing because any time, day or night, when he removes his human will from religious pursuit, he goes to town—just a’sinnin’ away.

David knew how to repent. That’s how he pleased God.

I understand David. When he saw a naked woman bathing, he immediately conjured a plan to get inside her.

You see—that’s human.

I am not impressed with people who only sin and am completely terrified of those who claim to refrain from it.

David has a good story even without the Bible.

Why? Because David was human and didn’t try to pretend he wasn’t.

He was a rotten father yet never touted his children as being anything but the renegades they were.

He had a huge ego, which created problems with the King of Israel before him.

Early on, he had a really good day when he accurately tossed a stone and killed a really bad giant.

It doesn’t happen again.

But I guess if you do it once, it can last for a lifetime.

He is called “the apple of God’s eye.”

It isn’t because he was very religious.

It isn’t because he never sinned.

It isn’t because he went throughout Israel, trying to get everybody to be judgmental and mean.

David found a gear.

He knew exactly how far to go before he drove himself off the cliff.

Short of that disaster, he stopped and got himself right.

It’s a great talent.

Because he understood sin, he didn’t judge the sinner.

And because he understood grace, he did not advertise the sin.

Darrow, Clarence

Darrow, Clarence: (N) a lawyer and author of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he was known as the defense attorney in the Scopes trial.

There are two ways to err:  (1) making a mistake because you’re being too cautious, and (2) the predicament in which your forward thinking causes you to be too radical.

Let us take a historical journey to consider both.

How often have people from our past been wrong because they followed the party line or continued to promote old ideas that were desperately in need of revision?

And how often were some found guilty of being too progressive or too open-minded?

Seriously—think about it.

The man most religious people follow as being the Savior of the world was declared guilty and crucified for sedition.

What is the definition of sedition? It is conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against authority.

So who, really, was Jesus? Was he a religious icon, martyred for the sins of the world? Or did he come to rebel against the religious tyranny which left people ignorant and was brutally judgmental?

In Tennessee there was a court case which has become known as “the Scopes trial.” A science teacher in a high school was arrested and charged with teaching evolution in his classroom. This was forbidden.

Two attorneys showed up for the confrontation:

  • William Jennings Bryan, who was a Biblical scholar and aspiring politician.
  • And Clarence Darrow, an East Coast attorney who was always looking for a case to challenge the hypocrisies he felt existed in the law.

If you lived in Dayton, Tennessee, at the time of the trial, you would have been convinced that Attorney Bryan was representing the will of God, making a stand against a satanic effort to steal Creation from our Maker, placing it with the evolving monkeys. But if you live today, you are fully aware that William Jennings Bryan was misled and ended up ignorant—on the wrong side of history.

Clarence Darrow, ridiculed by the hometown folks, is now deemed, in our times, to be a hero.

Nothing good happens when people are aware of injustice and remain silent.

But we always must remember:

To be a saint in the future, you must be prepared to be considered a sinner in the present.

 

Crypto

Crypto: (adj) secret or hidden, as in “a crypto Nazi.”

 What a cool word.

Of course, I’ll never be able to use it. If I applied it in an everyday situation, people would say, “What do you mean by that?”

Then I’d find myself in that state of trying to explain something, defending myself on why I decided to use it. No thanks.

But for the sake of this article, I will tell you that I do believe in Jesus, but I am a crypto Christian.

No one could be more reluctant than I am to admit to being a part of such a disorganized organization, and unloving ministry of love.

I guess I’m a crypto male, too.

I just don’t buy into all the myths about the human penis, domination, superiority and winning the dame by flattering the hell out of her.

Some people might consider me a crypto American because I don’t join a political party. I learned a long time ago to never go to a party that doesn’t serve refreshments.

In some ways I’m a crypto writer. It doesn’t mean I can’t write. It means that I find the snotty, bratty people who edit and publish to be restricting—kind of like that suit I bought when I was twenty-five, which I really liked but was two sizes too small so I never got a chance to button it.

But I will never admit to being a crypto human.

Religion wants to make humans faltering sinners. Secularists want to make them individualistic gods.

I know what it means to be a human.

It means discovering your weaknesses but working through them to discover your strengths.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C



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Consort

Consort: (v) to habitually associate with someone

It took me a little while to realize that I am not a savior.

I was not particularly arrogant or self-righteous, but I felt it was my job to carry a cross–and if there wasn’t one available, to build one.

During this season of misconception, I lived in Louisiana and consorted with other agencies to help people who were in prison or the county jail.

It was my full intention to be an intermediary. They had attorneys to get them through the court portions of their difficulties, but I thought they needed a guide funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
to get them somewhere near the “strait and narrow.” For some ridiculous reason I fancied myself to be motivated and perhaps even qualified to perform this function.

What did I learned through the process? When life sends people in need your way, into your own environment and your own field of control, you should do everything you can to help them.

But if you’re going to the lion’s den, or in this case, the prison, to be of assistance, you must realize that this arena is not your home.

For I will tell you as a fact: I heard so many stories and listened to so much self-pity and poured out my heart in empathy so many times that I began to actually side with those who were behind bars.

For some reason it totally escaped me that they were criminals and that was why they had been detained. It wasn’t because they needed a hundred dollars as start-up money to begin a car repair shop–or that they desperately required someone to pay their bail, giving them freedom to be out of the clink, working on their cases.

I learned that when you consort with the sinner, you sin.

When you consort with liars, you start finding sneaky ways to fib.

And when you consort with the ungodly, your counsel begins to suffer and your own veracity is soon shaken.

I gave myself a gift.

I now make it clear that I love people and I care about them–but I have no intention of chasing them to the gates of hell to make sure their britches don’t catch on fire.

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Coerce

Coerce: (v) to persuade an unwilling person to do something by using force or threats.

Broken things need to be fixed. It’s just the honest-to-god truth.

Holding lives–or even damaged tables–together with a few temporary solutions just never works. Broken things always break apart even further–just at the worst times.

So somebody came up with the idea to take broken people, and try to degrade them in a pit of fear, hoping to coerce them into “being good” simply because they’re terrified of digging a deeper grave.

Sometimes we call it religion.

Other times, it’s just a series of laws put in place to intimidate.

But rather than healing the broken and making them stronger, we decide to prop them up with threats.

It never works.

You can never scare a teenager out of drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

You can never frighten a sinner from committing adultery.

And you can never coerce people who think they’re good to ever consider getting better. 

 

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Better

Better: (adj) an improvement on an existing or previous level or achievement.

Dictionary B

“Better” is in the probing of the critic.

It immediately has sprouts weaknesses:

  1. It has us probing and over-analyzing the good things of life,
  2. And it makes us believe that we are viable or possibly more intelligent by being critical.

Matter of fact, to gain the approval of everyone in the room, all you have to opine is, “I want to get better.”

I suppose it’s because each one of us is intoxicated by the notion of becoming the best. That solitary position, afforded to the individual or even the team that acquires the top position, seems to drive us to the exhaustion of hurrying and worrying.

When is enough, enough?

When do you finish making a great meal, sit down and just enjoy it instead of musing, “You know what this needs?”

When can you have great love-making, and just lay back in ecstasy instead of contemplating the next “better position?”

And when will we finally look across the terrain of our present landscape and point out the attractions that are filled with promise instead of gazing off in the distance, believing there should be more?

Better is an anxious word.

It is filled with dissatisfaction and it often makes us believe that we can do more than we’re actually able to accomplish.

It aggravates the saint and condemns the sinner.

Even though I will probably fall under the spell of those who want to better everything within their purview, for the time being–at least for today–I will enjoy all that I have that is good.

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Anatomically Correct

dictionary with letter A

Anatomically correct (adj): {of a doll} having the sexual organs plainly represented.

Humans share two things in common:

  • the need to have something bigger than ourselves
  • and the desire to always be bigger.

It is a mental infestation.

Because in trying to find something bigger than ourselves, we usually come up with some sort of god-figure who is more cantankerous than helpful.

And with the penchant for wanting to be bigger, we often become petty and fussy with one another.

I remember junior high school locker room during shower time–even though the guys sincerely tried to make it clear that they weren’t “gay” or, as we called it at that time–“queer”–we all had a tendency to peek over to see what manly bestowal had been granted to our neighbor.

I guess with girls it revolves around the breasts.

Of course, in junior high school, some guys had bloomed earlier and others had a similar wee-wee to what was afforded them right out of the womb.

So self-conscious, nervous, frustrated and almost paranoid energy permeated the steamy room. And the worst part of it was that the only comfort afforded to your being was discovering someone smaller than you.

Therefore I’m a little bit put off or even intimidated by the notion of “anatomically correct dolls.” Even though they are inanimate objects, in their own way they seem to scoff at me from their pre-determined status.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s saint or sinner, priest or penitent, or prophet or porn star. We are all unnecessarily preoccupied with our presence and prowess in that limited region beneath our belt.

Matter of fact, the criterion for maturity may be a successful ability to ignore such instinct and push past it, creating something of beauty that just might be everlasting.

Here’s what I think about my anatomy:

If it’s working and not trying to kill me, I really don’t want to give it too much attention.

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Amphetamine

dictionary with letter A

Amphetamine: (n) a synthetic, mood-altering, addictive drug, used illegally as a stimulant and legally to treat ADD in children and narcolepsy in adults.

Thirty seconds to explain what it does and thirty seconds to scare the crap out of you over the side effects.

That is the construction of the normal commercial on television advertising a new drug.

We need to get away from the concept that drugs are miracles.

Perhaps they are miracles in the sense of describing the Grand Canyon if you’re only viewing it from a safe distance or in some sort of slide show.

But if you’re standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and leaping head-first into the abyss, it loses some of the glow of its “miraculous.” Then it just becomes a bunch of rocks smashing your brains.

Here’s my truth: use as few drugs as possible.

For me, this became fairly complicated when I was diagnosed with diabetes. They recommend you try to keep your blood sugar down through diet and medication. But with this particular condition, the doctors began to introduce other peripheral possibilities which they decided to pre-medicate by giving me additional drugs, which, separate from their helpful tendencies, are basically poison.

Just as ministers want to make you a sinner and politicians want to put you into a voting block, physicians feel useful when they discover ailments in you.

I don’t hold it against them. It’s their profession. After all, in the process of being paranoid, even crazy people avoid obstacles and difficulties.

But drugs are nothing to mess with–especially amphetamines. It is beyond comprehension that we pump our children full of chemicals to get them to be attentive when it used to be handled in the schoolyard at recess by somebody throwing a ball at your head and saying, “Wake up, Billy!”

It’s not that I recommend the crude treatment of children to one another. But I am not convinced that rattling the human body with deadly potions is a better alternative.

I am not an individual who places great faith in holistic medicine.

I am not against prescribing cures for those who are hurting.

It’s just that I think the truly mature human being needs to step back from any diagnosis, and before popping a pill of purpose, ask if there is any other way.

Because when drugs get done with human beings, they mostly addict us and hurt us.

Therefore, we should only welcome them temporarily … and cautiously.

 

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Abernathy

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abernathy:  Ralph David (1926-90).  U.S. minister and civil rights activist. He served as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) from 1968-1977. His autobiography, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down, was published in 1989.

Mr. Abernathy grew up believing, or at least being told, that he was a “nigger.” It was an era when people didn’t consider the word to be particularly derogatory, nor did they refer to it as the “n word.”

What often surprises me about great men and women of history is not so much that they did great things, but rather, the obstacles they had to overcome to forgive the world around them of ignorance so that greatness could be pursued.

How many times did someone call Abraham Lincoln a scrawny, backwoods lawyer? How many times did Alexander get criticized before somebody figured out he was Great? How many times did FDR wonder if he was just insane for trying to lead the free world from a wheelchair? And how many times did Jesus Christ have to be called a sinner before he got the opportunity to save sinners?

That’s what impresses me.

Mr. Abernathy, how did you survive the meanness of your world and come up with enough grace to continue to struggle, love and outlast the insanity to see “the walls tumble down?”

People of history are not beyond my understanding. They all have one thing in common–they knew how to turn down the noise.