Good points Mike. As a VERY poor historian myself, I can't speak to what Ueshiba was up to in his writings/references. I think even among those who know much on the subject there is still a lot that is up to interpretation.
From my studies in the ki no nagare waza found in Aikido, and my studies of Chinese internal, and Brazilian Jiujitsu (from Tim Cartmell) I have found a distinct difference between things generally called "ju" and things called "aiki". This is why I make a distinction.
Now there are understandings/definitions of these different words (Ju and Aiki) used by many different "authorities". These "authorities" often explain these words differently. This is why I say we must find our own agreed upon definition before we can talk further on the issue. Because when one person says Aiki, they are not necessarily talking about the same thing as another person.
To be clear, it's not important to me that you agree with my personal definition, it's only important that we agree on a single definition when we use the word.
Well, I take your last point, Chris, but in my opinion it still leads into the realm of "we use the same words but they mean different things" which I tend to avoid.
I'm somewhat reluctant to get too much into "authorities" because I find that many people use people with "names" in place of people with real authority. I think you must have seen similar situations in your time in Asian martial arts. Heck I could tell you stories about "authorities" that widely conflict with stories about the same "authorities" as told by people who studied with that person when he was studying. A few cases come to mind, but one of the most interesting that comes to mind is about a Chinese "name" guy who has written a number of books and the people who studied with him in the same schools on Taiwan since his childhood are aghast at the reputation this person has as an authority.
You see how it goes.
My suggestion is that instead of looking for a definition that is acceptable, why not take some basic physical demonstrations (e.g., Tohei's "ki tests") as a starter and explain how they're done, demonstrate the static before moving to the dynamic, etc., and then you can be fairly certain that your definitions will mesh with reality.
Heck, posting videos of demonstrations wouldn't be a bad idea, either. For instance, someone could post a video demonstration of standing against a push (static) and people could rebutt with "here's my video of me doing it", or etc. Hmmmmm.... maybe if there was a set example using certain criteria, that would work even better. That way, the guy depending on his lean, his back-foot brace, etc., could be pointed out and a consensus of 'correct' could be arrived at before a final definition was agreed upon.
In terms of dynamic, which we could look at something like a sudden application of power done clearly in a non-technique mode and discuss how it was done and our opinion of the how's and why's. A rebuttal could again be supported by a video, and so on. Comments could be about use of the middle, using the shoulders, augmentations of power, replays of 'the way Tohei (or Ueshiba or Shioda or whoever) did it', and so on.
What I'm suggesting is that an "agreed upon definition" would be much clarified by a simple video (say, everyone in the discussion pretty much showing their ideas on video of the same simple demonstration), as opposed to verbal "here's my take on it" discussions.