A Wilderness Crying with a Voice… March 12, 2012

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Sunday morning in Tucson, Arizona.

Blessed man that I am, I found myself with the unique opportunity to come before a gathering of good folks and share my heart. Since my platform of communication is a church, I am fully aware that the green pastures are often inhabited by sacred cows. I certainly do not wish to be insensitive, but a certain number of sacred cows need to be butchered. Otherwise we can’t have a good steak dinner.

But which ones? Which notions grounded in social acceptance, which have become part of the general thinking of the American public, need to be spoofed and gently illuminated, to discover more useful awareness?

For me it’s easy. Instead of having a “voice crying in the wilderness” in our generation, we have a wilderness crying with a voice. We have given a megaphone to confusion. We have vacuous, empty-souled people who have been granted the privilege of screaming their frustrations and attitudes on reality shows, with politicians vacant of new ideas attacking their opponents, as religion opts to fuss and fidget over social issues instead of more soulful concerns.

It’s not just that the inmates are in charge of the asylum. It’s more dangerous than that. The inmates have the key to the drug cabinets and are beginning to distribute medication to the masses, in order to intoxicate our country in a dizzying stupor of “who cares?” Spend a few minutes watching television, perusing the news or even listening to the lyrics of many of the songs, and you will understand that the wilderness is crying with a voice. The wilderness, having no boundaries or sensibility of its own, is now claiming the be able to lead a people who are trying to escape bondage. It is the bland leading the bland. What characterizes this wilderness? It consists of a group of people who have:

1. Nothing to be. Everything is up for grabs. Cynicism has replaced faith. Sarcasm is the new humor and pursuing understanding is viewed as a useless step when retaliation and retribution appear to be more satisfying. Over the past week I have heard three different television shows off-handedly make fun of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It was mocked as an archaic concept which never works. If we are not to have empathy towards our fellow-man, then we are going into human relationships demanding acceptance while offering no desire to accomodate. That may be the actual definition of war. And since these people have nothing to be, it lends itself to:

2. Nothing to say. This is why we have so many re-makes, re-dos and re-sharings of old ideas–because when our artists reach into their minds for fresh concepts, the lack of anything to be renders them mute of anything to say. If you want something to say, you’ve got to decide what you’re going to be. And if what you’re going to be is even influenced by the twenty-four-hour news cycle, you will be at the mercy of parroting what the pundits have said. Curiously, once you have nothing to say, you may find yourself with:

3. Nothing to do. America requires an agenda of entertainment, pre-fabricated in some boardroom to inspire the people to perform what they, themselves can no longer muster. When you don’t know what you’re going to be and you don’t know what you’re going to say, how could you possibly know what to do? It so reminds me of liturgy in the church. When you actually isolate the words written by inspired men and women of previous generations, well … they’re magnificent. But when they are spoken in a monotone by those who do not know what to be, say or do, they proceed from the mouth like dust blown in the wind. Interestingly enough, when you have nothing to do, there is:

4. Nothing to believe. I know the common thought is that first we believe and then we do, but actually, in human beings, the nature of our deep beliefs is accessed from actions in our lives which have proven to bear fruit. In other words “that which I have seen and heard, I declare unto you” instead of “that which I have been taught or heard preached.” The wilderness which cries with a voice is peppered with those who do not believe anymore because they have stopped doing, are completely baffled about what to say because they have no idea on who to be. And of course, when you remove a sense of belief, the final step is:

5. Nothing to feel.  And human beings who were created with nerve endings primed and ready to explode with joy are instead dulled into a sleepiness where they are overly fretful, suspicious and eventually numb of understanding.Then we take this status–this dead wilderness and graveyard of human lack of sensation–and proclaim it to be “normal.” After all, isn’t it normal to be uncertain about who you want to be? Isn’t it just logical sometimes to be devoid of things to say? Certainly all of us are bewildered about what to do. Right? And it’s only natural that we should be a bit befuddled on a course of belief. And finally–feeling…well, feelings can be over-rated and certainly over-stated.

So by the time I see a collection of friends on a Sunday morning, they have gone through the gauntlet of listening to an entire week of “the wilderness crying with a voice”: nothing to be, nothing to say, nothing to do, nothing to believe and therefore, nothing to feel.

What’s my job? I start at the bottom nd work my way up.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. For the next forty minutes, let’s dare to feel. In the process of doing that, what will emerge is something that we truly can believe in. Might we take that beleif and simply find one thing to go out and do that resembles the intensity of our faith? And once we have done that thing, let’s take our voices and speak the goodness of our discovery. And having spoken those praise-worthy thoughts, may we allow it to affect what we decide to be from this point forward?”

It’s my job. I just happen to love it.

I don’t resent the wilderness. I just realize that everyone who comes from there and has spent any time in it … feels lost.

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Got a question for Jonathan? Or would you like to receive a personal weekly email? Just click my email address below and let me know what’s on your mind! jonathancring@gmail.com

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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