Christian

Christian: (n) a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

Montanian.

Please describe. Yes, take a moment and grant me your visual interpretation of a typical person who lives in Montana. Here come the
stereotypes:

  • Cowboy hats.
  • Rodeos
  • A slight drawl in speech
  • Independent thinking
  • Might even carry a gun or two

That is what we think about Montana. If we encountered someone who lived in Montana who did NOT fit any of those stereotypes, we might feel a little irritable, wondering why they insisted on living in our Montana.

Christian.

As long as we cling to the typical stereotypical definition of what this creature seems to be, we quickly will find out that Jesus, himself, would not make a very
good Christian.

  • He did not favor ceremony.
  • He didn’t like being called “good.”
  • He didn’t seek the praise of people, but rather, encouraged them to prosper in their own faith.
  • He certainly wanted to be known for his teachings instead of the time he spent on a cross.
  • And it was his habit to rebel against any tradition and formality which took away the intimacy of personal belief.

So the truth is, when Jesus is presented the way he really was, we get irritable.

How dare he be a Jewish Messiah, fulfilling Old Testament prophesy as the “Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world,” and instead, present himself as the Good Shepherd, who welcomes everybody and does not think that judging others is a legitimate practice.

 

 

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Buttress

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Buttress: (n) a source of defense or support.

I construct a buttress–a physical barrier to communicate that I am prepared to withstand an attack.

I suppose if it stopped there it might be fine. Certain safeguards are necessary in a violent world.

But once I physically construct a buttress, I begin to believe it’s necessary to build a mental buttress for my brain.

What is that?

Only certain information is allowed. This data must be in harmony with my present philosophy and level of understanding.

Once I’m fully protected from the possibility of errant or alien ideas attacking my mind, it becomes necessary to build a buttress for my spirit–the soul.

And how shall I construct such a protection? By developing an unwavering conviction on who God is and who the Creator is not, never allowing foreign doctrines to permeate my walls.

Even if I am granted a vision sent from the heavens, I must defend the traditions–or risk losing the certainty I have over established belief.

So now I’m protected from physical assault, mental aggression and spiritual infiltration.

I certainly must complete the isolation by erecting a buttress to guard my feelings.

The emotions need to shrink, only including certain members of my family, color, styles and predilections. I find myself getting cold but adjust to the chill by warming myself with a cloak of self-righteousness.

Now I am fully encased, each buttress in place to secure body, mind, soul and heart.

But why am I awakening in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, screaming?

What has come in?

What is troubling me?

What has breached my fortification and now disrupts my rest?

I am undefended from me.

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Below

Below: (prep) at a lower level

Dictionary B

It takes guts.

It probably shouldn’t.

Honesty, by its very definition, should be a statement of the reality that we presently know.

But since reality tends to scare us, we develop stories. We conjure excuses. And we fail to realize that our character–and ultimately, our popularity–is determined by how well we recognize when our efforts are below standard, and admit the shortage instead of denying responsibility.

How wonderful it would be if I could convince myself, and maybe therefore others around me, that the only way to be truly diminished is to insist that I never fall below the best.

  • We all do.
  • We all will.

And we all have an opportunity to be considered valuable by admitting this deficiency instead of covering it up.

It baffles me that I don’t know this. Why I pause before telling the truth of the matter is a great source of mystery to my soul.

Because when I am candid, the world rushes to my side to lift up my spirits and encourage me to do better.

When I lie, I make humanity around me turn into my enemies so they can honor the traditions of candor.

My efforts are often below the quality I am capable of achieving.

I have never improved my status … by lying about it. 

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Because

Because: (conj) for the reason that; since.Dictionary B

Because is not a reason.

Yet I will tell you–it is the beginning for a good reason.

Because can be misleading.

A child asking a parent why a certain rule has been put in place will become impudent and rebellious if the answer is, “Because I said so.”

Because is the roadway that takes us to either great thought or immense stubbornness.

Sometimes people ask me why I believe in God. Here are three answers I don’t use:

1. Because I believe in the Bible.

Lots of folks think it’s just a book and you will not impress them with the fact that you contend it’s holy.

2. Because I grew up believing.

That would also include the Tooth Fairy and Jolly Old St. Nick.

3. Because Nature is so intricate and beautiful, there has to be a Creator.

Who says? If you gave me a billion years, I might be able to become beautiful.

My because has to have a great follow-up. Otherwise it becomes opinionated, or dare I say, flirting with ignorance.

So when people ask me why I believe in God, my answer probably is shocking:

“Because I discovered I needed one and drew up a prototype in my brain, which ended up coinciding with some existing themes.”

That’s the truth.

Because must be followed by something that is personally convincing and shares a piece of our heart instead of just our traditions.

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Amerasian

dictionary with letter A

Amerasian: (n) a person having one American and one Asian parent

It’s time for a moratorium. At least, I’m declaring one.

I refuse to indulge anymore in the constant creation of new names to segregate people off into smaller and smaller clumps based upon minute cultural differences, separating us from a greater understanding of one another.

I am especially averse to this word, “Amerasian.”

I have a beautiful grandson named Wyeth, whose mother is from China and whose father is from Louisiana. I suppose that would make him Amerasian if I was so dumbfounded by the culture that I participated in such nonsense.

  • There are no African-Americans because none of them could actually live in Africa.
  • I am not a German-American because seven generations ago my family came over on a ship to get away from that country.
  • There are no gay-Americans.
  • There are no female-Americans.

We’re just human beings, and the more we try to promote our culture, maintaining the traditions passed down from a lineage we don’t even understand anymore, the more we will confound our own personal journey with the clutter of clatter.

I even laugh at my own children, who worry that little Wyeth won’t get enough of China–or Louisiana–to enrich the mix of his life.

Let me give you a clue: Wyeth is a person, so as long as he has purpose, food, clothing and love, he’s not going to give a crap about whether it comes from China or Louisiana.

Can we get over the childishness of “cultural integrity?”

I want to possess a philosophy that would allow me to live anywhere with anyone at any time. If I don’t have that in my possession, I will fine-tune my thinking until I acquire it.

Wyeth is not Amerasian. He is my grandson. And by the grace of God, if he continues to grow and use his talents, someday he’ll be a blessing to the whole earth.

 

Affiliate

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Affiliate: 1.(v) to officially attach or connect to an organization 2. (n) a person or organization attached to a larger body

“Who are you affiliated with?”

“With whom are you affiliated?”

Whenever I hear either of these questions, I realize I am encountering someone who is discovering that I am not qualified to do what I do and is out to expose me or at least discredit my efforts.

It fascinates me that we live in a nation of freedom, liberty and supposedly independent thinkers, but we all scurry to the corners like cockroaches when the lights come on, making sure we have our little nest of individuals who agree with us, as proof of our credibility.

I don’t mind affiliating. I love to be around people. I enjoy folks. But I’ve always been a person who follows common sense with a side of spirituality and heartfelt emotion for dessert. Honestly, sometimes it’s difficult to sign on the dotted line with the causes made available to me because they don’t necessarily agree with that criteria.

  • I don’t make a good atheist–mainly because I believe in God.
  • I’m a horrible agnostic because I have actually seen faith work.
  • Republicans sniff me out and know I’m not part of the flock because of my generosity to people in need, and I am not totally convinced in the doctrine of “every man for himself.”
  • Democrats walk away shaking their heads sadly because I support the value of personal responsibility and don’t think that the taking of human life in any form, including abortion, possesses viability.
  • I’m a horrible Muslim. Bad knees. Can’t kneel on a carpet.
  • I can’t be Jewish. Too much ritual. Like my bread leavened.
  • Honestly, I don’t make a very good Christian because I like my life to be sparked by ideas instead of traditions.
  • I suppose in some ways I don’t make a great American male because I’ve never found pleasure in making fun of women when they’re not around.
  • Yet the females don’t accept me because … well, I guess that one is obvious.

I don’t have anything against affiliation. It’s just when I start following the butt of the person in front of you without seeing clearly where the crowd is heading, well … it makes me a little nervous.

So I have decided to try to get along with everybody the best I can, and in my private house of thought and worship, to allow the wisdom that trickles my way to rule the day instead of polling the masses.

So who am I affiliated with?

I guess anybody who’s willing to take me as I am.

Advise

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Advise: (v) to offer suggestions about the best course of action to someone

You can spend your time lamenting why things are the way they are, or you can learn how they are and make clever adjustments to try to restore them to normalcy.

That’s the truth.

So with that in mind, let me tell you that giving advice is similar to playing tennis with a third leg protruding from the middle of your back. At first you might think it’s a good idea, but when you get out there, hittin’ the ball, you pretty much want to reach back there and yank the thing off.

Let me say it loud and risk the critique of those around me: Americans don’t take advice. So don’t advise them. They feign interest. They pretend to be intrigued if they think you have enough clout to be worthy of their ears, but they will just as quickly leave the room and go do things exactly the way they envisioned.

So here is my idea of what to do when the instinct to advise begins to tickle at the corners of your conscience:

  1. Find out what people really want to do and understand it thoroughly.
  2. Discover what parts of their aspiration are dangerous, illegal or stupid.
  3. Don’t share these discoveries with them directly.
  4. Take the balance of what is not self-destructive in the plan and encourage it heavily.

There you go.

Even though there is conventional wisdom which says there is great benefit in a multitude of counselors, this is only true if you listen to them. Since listening is not only a lost art, but more like a Nazi book burning–totally rejected by most people as they dance around the fire–it’s a good idea to establish a pattern of encouragement for smart while ignoring stupid.

  • If we did this in politics, for example, we could soon eliminate bad ideas by giving them no air play.
  • If we did it in religion, the better parts of God which benefit humankind, could be thrust to the forefront, while ignoring abstract traditions.
  • And if we did it in our personal lives, we would soon find that the weird things we’re pursuing are actually rather boring in the long run, and we could turn vegetables into candy. (Well, I went too far there. But at least we could find things to pour over vegetables which would make them edible.)

So you can feel free to ask for advice, but you must understand that folks expect you to heed it.

The best thing to do is to pay close attention to what works, what blesses, what enhances and what uplifts … and try to do that again tomorrow.