Will It Play in (east) Peoria?… June 23, 2013

(1921)

play in PeoriaIt’s the question the old vaudeville troops used to ask whenever they were breaking in a new act: Will it play in Peoria?

In other words, does it have enough appeal to mainstream America to immediately make an impact and cause ’em to want to come back for more?

Well, vaudeville has come and gone. We live in the age of the reality show, the Internet, Twitter and instant gratification. So as I get ready to go to East Peoria First United Methodist Church this morning, I realize that the minds of the congregation are scattered over any number of issues and pursuits.

  • I could probably get a good laugh if I walked onstage and talked about Miss Paula Deen using derogatory names for her kitchen crew of Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima.
  • Somebody might think it was interesting if I talked about Exodus, International, agreeing to remove the pray and welcome back the gay.
  • How about this for a headline? World War Z is panned by movie critics as F.
  • Or we just experienced the first day of summer, which officially allows us to complain for a season about the heat we prayed for in January.

Yes, I suppose any one of those would raise an eyebrow, produce a chuckle or evoke some chatter. But that’s just not the way of the gospel. The gospel is good news.

So to give it, the first thing you have to do is have a story. I learned a long time ago that you’ve got to do some living before you start giving. People get tired of hearing you talk about Moses and the Apostle Paul. They’d really like to see somebody stand in front of them who’s alive and well–who can give a story about how it works today.

So that’s the second thing I’ll do. I’ll share my story. And you know how I’ll do it? I’ll talk “people,” not “steeple.” I’m not going to try to impress folks with a demonstration of pronouncing all the cities in Asia Minor on Paul’s second missionary journey. I’m going to speak the words that are common to my life and enriching to the ears of my audience.

And then I’m going to make a story. I’ll reach out into the lives of those folks I meet, who might think we’re strangers, and turn the whole event into an experience. I’m going to have a hope that our faith will sprout some love.

Because without that, church is not only repetitious, it’s cruel to people who need an answer for their lives that is understandable, and not just some scripture verses that are meant to be comforting.

So I don’t know what the folks in East Peoria expect, but I have a story, I’m going to share a story, and I’m going to hug them around the neck and we’re going to make a story.

And I can guarantee you–it won’t just play in Peoria. It will resound all the way from earth … up to heaven.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below for a quick daily thought from Jonathan

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

******

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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