PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 24th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Mortal

The Dignity of Every Mortal

I always flip so I won’t flop

I continue the drip until my last drop

I dream ’til I smile to forget for a while

That I am a jerk, churning out work

 

I seek for a sign to challenge the Divine

Wondering why, yet failing to try

I simply maintain and choose to refrain

Life is the same–I’m not to blame.

 

I yearn for a kiss–and then I miss

The lips of my steady, I’m never quite ready

To pucker and peck–oh, what the heck

It drives me insane, so then I complain.

 

I refuse to address my unholy mess

But grumble at others, pronouncing my druthers

Looking for an excuse to justify my misuse

Master of my fate, unless it’s second-rate

 

So often caught and trapped in my thought

Perceiving myself wise, snagged by my lies

Yet humble becomes the heavenly portal

To save the dignity of every mortal.

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Cracked 5 … August 23rd, 2016

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Signs That Summer Is Coming To An End

A. Deflated pool toys floating down the stream to the river below

 

B. Mis-matched shorts and bikini tops marked down at Wal-Mart

 

C. Chocolate marshmallow angels and snowmen stocked on the shelf at the Dollar General checkout line

 

D. Footballs flying, ceasing the masses pretending that baseball is a sport

 

E. Check a calendar, dork.

 

Cracked 5 swimsuits

 

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Good News and Better News … August 22nd, 2016

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Sue and Bill

“Things are bad.”

I’m told this continually.

And if I’m tempted to forget, then the powers that be re-tweet, broadcast, discuss and reiterate it in my direction 24 hours a day.

Sometimes I grow weary of nagging doubt and negative notions and want to refresh my brain with a baptism of hope.

I am quickly scolded and told to “grow up and be realistic.” They define realistic to be a declining world filled with oblivious people.

Then I end up spending the weekend in Orefield, Pennsylvania at Jordan Lutheran.

Many months ago while performing in Hilton Head, South Carolina, I met a couple at my concert who were wintering in the vicinity. They handed me their business card and said, “If you’re ever in Pennsylvania, please contact us because we would love to have you into our church.”

This happens to me frequently. I always tuck these cards away in my wallet and never give them another thought. Suffice it to say, I don’t usually pursue such invitations.

But for some reason when I realized we were heading to Pennsylvania, I broke my pattern, pulled out the card, gave it to our agent and said, “You might want to check these folks out.”

Sue and Bill were not only delighted that we called, but made all the arrangements for us to appear at Jordan Lutheran and became the “busy bees of benevolence,” advertising the event to all their friends.

So when we arrived on Saturday, even though we had never met the people who were sent to greet us and help us with our equipment, in the one hour that we were together, the common work joined with common sense and common humor to make us common friends.

Then, on Saturday night we went out to dinner with Bill and Sue. Can I tell you that the spiritual concept of breaking bread is even better when you get to eat it? Stuffing one’s face does seem to expand the brain.

When we arrived Sunday morning to do our shows, there was an energy in the church–a sense of expectation that together we were going to try to hatch a magnificent day.

My dear friends, we are just healthier when we try. Despair not only leaves us sad, but annoyingly boring.

The day finished with a flourish of warmth, tenderness, hugs, awe and wonder.

As I drove down the road I felt good. That’s the good news. It feels good to feel good because you did something good in a good way.

But here’s the better news: I now find myself searching for the next card dealt to me.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 17) Parking Lotsa… August 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

It was apparently the Sunday that would never end.

As Meningsbee headed out the door of the church, evicted from the House of God by Sister Matrisse, standing next to his car was a smiling Sammy Collins, with all the jovial attributes of a freshly pardoned Thanksgiving turkey.

Sammy rushed toward him, vigorously shook the pastor’s hand, and gave him a huge “Day of Pentecost” bear hug–the kind that leaves you torn between appreciation and embarrassment.

Releasing his grip, Sammy blurted, “Are you prepared to take in about fifty ready-to-go souls who already know where the exits are and the location of the bathrooms?”

With this he laughed–very pleased with his joke, which he obviously had rehearsed.

Meningsbee crinkled his face. This gave Brother Collins permission to continue.

“Whoo-ee! We had a big blow-up this morning down at the church at the Holiday Inn Express–so much so that the front desk lady came and told us to tone it down. We were bothering the other guests who were still enjoying their continental breakfast.”

“What was the problem?” said Meningsbee, concerned.

“I confronted him,” said Sammy. “Yes, I confronted Patrick Swanson about what he said to you in my living room the night I invited you over to fellowship in my home.”

“You heard?” asked Meningsbee.

“Yes. I snuck in the dark room where my kids keep their toys–nearly tripped over a Tonka truck–but I was curious why Patrick wanted to talk to you. Never one to be shy, I decided that since it was my home, I had the right to know.”

“So you’re the one who told everybody in the church about our conversation.”

“Absolutely.”

“Well, he thought it was me,” cited Meningsbee.

“Sorry about that, but I had to let him think that way until I could get all the friends and neighbors organized for the revolt, and the opportunity to return to the Garsonville Church–our home church. Preacher, most of my kin is buried out there in the back section of the property. I could show you their gravestones. This is my church. This is where I want to live. This is where I want to die. So we’re comin’ back.”

Meningsbee stood quietly. The joy on Sammy’s face had disappeared quickly as he told his tale of dissension and vengeance. He was now flushed and also a bit bewildered about why the good reverend was not jumping up and down for the chance to include more sheep and coffer stuffing.

Meningsbee realized he had to say something. “Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. I love ya’. But the church is not a club, though it might seem that way since we collect weekly dues. It’s not a game. The choices we make are often life and death. You must believe me when I tell you that the church also is not a family reunion, though we are all part of the same bloodline. God knows, it’s not a political party. We’ve already chosen our leader. Sammy, well…it’s an adventure. Or maybe a competition. Yes, it’s an adventurous competition, to see who can love their neighbor as themselves the most and still remain deliriously happy.”

Sammy’s dark cloud burst. “Listen, Meningsbee, I didn’t come for a sermon.”

“Oh, you’ve gotta forgive me,” said the pastor. “I didn’t get to preach one today so I guess I felt a little cheated.”

Sammy frowned like a frowning man frowns when frowning is in order. “So you don’t want us?”

“I don’t get to choose,” said Meningsbee. “I was just explaining to you how we view the kingdom of God.”

So … Sammy Collins turned on his heel and walked back to his car sadly because he was very religious.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … August 20th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: It really perturbed me.

 

Dear Woman: “Perturbed?” What an odd word.

 

Dear Man: Well, I didn’t want to use “mad” or “angry.” I was looking for a softer term and I came up with perturbed.

 

Dear Woman: So, what perturbed you?

 

Dear Man: I was listening to some pundit on television talk about sexual politics.

 

Dear Woman: Sexual politics… I don’t hear that much anymore.

 

Dear Man: No. because we’ve taken it for granted. Now we call it gender wars, battle of the sexes…

 

Dear Woman: And the reason it upset you?

 

Dear Man: Not everything is politics. Not everything is a struggle for power and money. There are so many lies, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

 

Dear Woman: And if you did begin, you wouldn’t be able to finish because sexual politics is big business. Billions of dollars are made every year in television, movies, books and seminars, keeping the conflict going, so there is a lot at stake to keep men and women at odds.

 

Dear Man: So you’re saying that in a battle for power and money, we pretend that there’s a battle for power and money.

 

Dear Woman: Basically. Here’s how I know. The truth is, women don’t get along any better with women than they do men, and men don’t get along better with men than they do women. Women vie for place and men kill each other in war.

 

Dear Man: Wow. I hadn’t thought of that. Actually, the human beings that get along best are men and women, because they do succeed in procreating and raising families.

 

Dear Woman: Sometimes. But when you add the dimension of politics, then it’s kind of like men become the Republicans and women are the Democrats.

 

Dear Man: I see what you mean. In other words, men are the level-headed pragmatists and women are the “feely-good” liberals.

 

Dear Woman: Exactly. So what I think needs to be done…

 

Dear Man: Let me step in here and tell you what I think. I believe we need to call it out every time we see it. Every time that smirk comes across the face of a man, or a woman takes on the profile of bitching and complaining about a male problem, we should step in and say that if men and women can’t get along, the human race is doomed.

 

Dear Woman: Well, of course it is. If 50% of the people are fighting 50% of the people, you have a 0% chance of survival. But keep in mind, this applies to civil rights, too.

 

Dear Man: What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: There’s money to be made in civil rights. Keeping black people agitated and white people pumped up with a sense of superiority generates huge donations to causes and eliminates the common sense of finding things we share.

 

Dear Man: So do you think it’s sinister?

 

Dear Woman: No, I think it’s greedy. If you’re a comedian making millions of dollars off of sexual politics, why would you repent and try to find another way to make millions of dollars?

 

Dear Man: So without a quiet revolution which gradually makes prejudice taboo, we will live in an ignited atmosphere of sexual politics, which feathers the nest of those odd birds who want to make a living off of the struggle for more power and more money.

 

Dear Woman: Exactly. That’s why the most important thing to remember is that we have a human problem, not a gender problem. We have a human problem, not a race problem. We have a human problem, not a cultural problem. And we have a human problem, not battles between nations.

 

Dear Man: Sounds impossible.

 

Dear Woman: It does, doesn’t it? Of course, we could take the first step. You and I can agree.

 

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G-Poppers … August 19th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

As G-Pop sits down to write one of his children, he is suddenly aware that tears have come to his eyes, threatening to dribble down his cheeks.

He does not know why. Oh, he has some ideas–and in the midst of his own joyful pursuits, there is an aching sadness threatening his sense of well-being.

Yet he feels like an old fool.

Yes, G-Pop thinks if he shares his heart and the ache within, he will be viewed as some relic from the past. But the pain will not go away and his personal convictions persist.

The source of his tears is really simple. G-Pop just wants to know: where are all the good guys? And gals, for that matter?

Where are the people who take it for granted that loving your neighbor is essential instead of merely the duty of monks?

Where are the human beings who value the truth instead of acquiescing to deceit?

Where are the Olympic athletes who feel grateful for the opportunity to train and represent our country instead of tearing apart a bathroom and lying about their ordeal?

Where is a President who feels the confidence to tell his countrymen the complete truth concerning a transaction with Iran, hoping in his heart that they will understand his motivations and the difficulty of his choices?

Where are the people running for President who would rather lose than perpetuate a scandal?

Where is the sense of commonality among brothers and sisters that compels them to respect one another’s rights?

It is a worrisome thing.

It is difficult to live in a day and age when viewing pornography is accepted as a passing fancy instead of a weakness of character.

G-Pop feels ridiculous sprouting tears. He doesn’t want to be considered irrelevant.

But he fears hypocrisy.

For after all, lying is not really accepted. If you lie to your boss, you’ll lose your job. If you lie to a policeman, you’ll get arrested. And if you lie to your spouse about being unfaithful, you can pretty well guarantee a divorce.

Lying is on the march–trying to conquer honesty.

Can we stop it?

Can we find the good guys and gals?

G-Pop wonders.

Maybe it begins by humbly, carefully and faithfully trying to be one yourself.

 

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Ask Jonathots… August 18th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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What does Jesus mean when he says “Let the dead bury the dead?”

Jesus was neither extremely religious nor just a “lovey-dovey hippie.” Any extensive study on the life of the Nazarene will bring out two strong impressions:

1. He believed human beings had great, untapped capacity

2. He also believed human beings were capable of being judgmental jerks.

So when you consider Jesus’ words as recorded in the Gospels, apply these two principles. He is always trying to get us to tap our greater humanity by learning to deny our selfishness.

One day he meets a fellow who really wants to be a follower, but uses the excuse of burying his father to delay his decision.

Jesus responds, “Let the dead bury the dead.”

This is not a disregard for giving honor to a family member, but rather, a realization that missing the moment of our greatest conviction normally means that we never get back to what we originally set out to do.

A crossroads of contrition: where we focus on what we really want to be and what we really want to accomplish.

This person had decided he wanted to follow Jesus. Jesus’ point was simple: You will never, ever feel this energized again.

Find a different way to give tribute to your father, but truly show your respect to him by pursuing your heart.

Nothing should stand in the way of an inclination to make our lives better. Too often we use family responsibilities, such as weddings and funerals, as a way of excusing ourselves from chasing our dreams.

Give your tribute to the dead some other way than showing up to the funeral.

Share the responsibility with another family member.

But don’t miss your day in the sun … when the warmth is on your skin and it’s clear what you need to do.

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