Things I Learned from R. B. (April 5th, 2020)


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Episode 10

We decided to settle into Shreveport, Louisiana, where I took a job as a professor at a Bible college, teaching drama and also Music Director at the adjoining church.

The college was very small—only twenty students—and the church maintained a faithful fifty. But it garnered me living quarters and a small weekly stipend.

I took the opportunity because I thought “college professor” would look good on my resume.  I also speculated that it would give me several months to think things over before the evangelical church, which financially supported the college, grew tired of me and my creative ways.

R. B. accompanied us, but only in body—somehow absent the heart and soul which had once plumped him up into being human. The misadventure in Minnesota had left him defeated, devoid of confidence. So upon arriving in Shreveport, he found a young couple who had an extra room, and he moved in.

Although he was only ten blocks away from us, we gradually lost contact.

He despised the director of the Bible college and came to church services very infrequently. I did not agree with him about the founder of Hope Bible College,  even though the man wore cowboy shirts, bolo ties, boots and stabled two horses on his property. He and I were not a natural match, but still maintained a strange respect based upon the fact that he yearned for my youthful intervention at his dream institute.

And I certainly loved having my rent paid and enough money to fund my addiction to lunch meat.

There was a small dormitory on site which housed six students. One was the onsite janitor, whom the college touted as “recovering from mental retardation.” He was not really challenged—just a young kid with the shit intimidated out of him. There was also a black student, fulfilling Hope’s MLK moment. And then there were four gentlemen who certainly, in the real world, would have been prescribed anti-depressants, but were instead being sustained by prayer-healing.

Now, I knew my stay would not be long, so I launched.

I wrote two original plays and staged them in a small auditorium where we built a stage and I wired in two banks of overhead colored lights. The proctor of our “college-ette” was thrilled beyond measure when we presented the first play, and not only was the auditorium filled to the brim, but the local newspaper arrived to review it.

Yet R. B. only showed up when I asked him to play organ in the church. He arrived attempting to play with a black gospel-jazz flair. Unfortunately, R. B. was not black, nor jazzy.

In a nutshell, he was frustrated and confused.

He took up smoking, started to socially drink (which the congregation found quite unsociable) and he was touchy. I guess “touchy” was an old-time word we used when a human being was always ready for a fight. For R. B, a grimace had replaced his grin.

My stay at this institute of higher learning turned out to be seven months. It was eventful, troubling, and even though the president of the college loved my talent, he hated the challenge and the competition.

Truth of the matter is, so did I. I was weary of having ideas that had to come under the bar of religious prejudice.

So I left Hope on agreeable terms. R. B. gladly left with me.

I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I was not madly in love with Shreveport, but even less inclined to pack up one more time and darken the road. My wife had a job; my kids had schools.

So I stayed—and so did R. B.

But it wasn’t a mutual friendship holding us together. Rather, it was the need to hold onto one another during a mutual disintegration.

Cracked 5 … April 4th, 2020

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Cracked 5

Things That May Never Be Quite as Appealing After the Pandemic Ends

 

A. The phrase “going viral.”

 

B. Spending some quality time with the family.

 

C.  The come-on, “You give me fever.”

 

D. “Let’s shake on it.”

 

E. Oral sex.

Sit Down Comedy … April 3rd, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

Eunice Buell was a Sunday School teacher for the junior high class at my church. Somewhere deep in her heart, I think Mrs. Buell liked me very much—maybe even found me entertaining.

But every once in a while, I sent her into a near-saintly tirade over some of my comments. She called them crude, unwarranted, hurtful, offending—and once even went so far as to say “vulgar.”

When I said something she did not approve of, she often turned to me (while simultaneously gesturing to the whole class) and said:

“Think before you speak. That’s what separates us from the animals.”

I didn’t have the heart to correct her and say, “Animals don’t speak.”

She expected us all to understand.

We did.

And we still do. There is no place you can go where “think before you speak” would not be considered a holy axiom, possibly even found somewhere in the Bible.

Because of this, we now have politicians who polish their lingo, scrubbing it of all possibility of controversy, while inserting enough lying to make sure the proclamation has some heft.

Our religionists require blind devotion from all followers, lest someone stand up and suggest that there are contradictions, or at least confusions, dwelling in the Holy of Holies.

Our corporations and businesses hire lawyers to develop statements placed at the bottom of the product in small print to protect the stockholders and investors against all liability.

And relationships—oh, dear God—relationships are riddled with a series of phrases used to manipulate one party into performing “your will”–without ever noticing that they’re sacrificing their individuality.

It spawns from the notion that humans are capable of perfecting themselves.

We aren’t.

The theory is permitted to exist so we can maintain our arrogance. But it is the emotions in our lives that need to be spoken, even though they are often raw and uneducated.

They are the real we feel.

Certainly, these thoughts fester with frustration and can frequently be proven wrong.  But when we are the only ones correcting the language in our brains, we close the door to greater revelation being afforded us through discussion.

So without trying to cast myself in the role of renegade, I challenge each and every one of us to:

Speak before we think.

And since we know it comes out as raw ore—not gold—after we speak, we should be quiet.

Listen. Register the reactions. Ponder the possible contradictions.

Then we must do something that makes the human race truly unique:

Change our minds.

As a species, we are worthless to one another and an enemy of the Earth when we are incapable of recanting our initial feelings and replacing them with common sense.

Because once we change our minds, we can speak again.

And those who know us realize that we are not only sharing the truth with them as we feel it in the moment, but we have also alerted ourselves to gain new insight—and then verbalize our fresh discovery.

Thinking before you speak turns you into a self-editor.

No good writer should ever trust himself to be the sole editor.

Speaking before you think presents the emotion and heart which very well may be overwrought or even wrong.

Yet it provides the opportunity to inform those around you that you are fully aware of your imperfection—and prepared to be a student of the planet we share.

 

3 Things … April 2nd, 2020

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That Happen Right Before Joy Appears

 

 1. I refuse to tolerate sadness for one more thought.

 

2. I realize I am in control of all things “me.”

 

3. I ignore the obstacles constructed by the competition.

 

Drawing Attention … April 1st, 2020

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Forested (Part 2)

(tap the picture to see the video)

art by Clazzy

Published in: on April 1, 2020 at 9:23 pm  Comments (1)  

Scrambles … March 31st, 2020

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Take a few minutes and unscramble this week’s inspirational thought from the words provided:

waving

Someone

sexy

is

with

going

up

to

coming

get

by

rich

P. S.  Find the unscrambled answer in today’s jonathotsjr.com

Published in: on March 31, 2020 at 7:24 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

1 Thing You Can Do to Ease Your Mind … March 30th, 2020

 

Believe in Free Will

If it’s any comfort to you, God does.

God doesn’t have a plan for your life. He’s given you a beautiful life for your plan.

God does not have a will that He wishes you to pursue to some destiny.

Your life has not been mapped out.

Demons are not meeting in the Netherworld to plot your destruction.

The Universe, the Earth, the Creator and the Cosmos are not trying to teach us a lesson through climate change or pandemics.

This is still in your control.

Although the scenes may change, the dialogue, costumes and characters you wish you join you in your performance are completely at your disposal.

There is no future because you have not yet decided what it should be.

There is a past—and you should not waste your free will to relive it continually in fear or guilt.

The next move is yours.

After all, how much do you really expect God to do, leaving you jobless?

What will your free will be during this season of abstract destruction and infirmity in our world?

Are you looking for someone to blame?

Are you blaming someone because they’re looking in your direction?

Ease your mind.

You have free will.

You can use it however you feel inspired to do so.

Just keep in mind:

The Earth is always in pursuit of justice, so what you sow you will certainly reap.

The Earth is in need of great caretakers, so don’t ignore the cries of nature through foolhardy behavior.

We can come out of this as long as we understand that free will reigns supreme.

Therefore, we aren’t at the mercy of an angry God, a frustrated ecosystem or a Master Plot to destroy the world from the Eastern Lands.

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