The On Must Go Show … September 23, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2015)

onFuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

But last night, in the middle of my show, when my electronic piano went fuzzy, it was very hard to bear. Bluntly, it’s difficult to be a workman without tools. Maybe we should not be too vulnerable to the world of miracle machines, but unfortunately, we ALL suffer under the addiction.

I made what I thought was a “quick fix” and tried to do one additional song, but my piano had figuratively stomped out of the room and called it an early evening.

What next?

The good folk who had come out so graciously to see and hear us did not need to be disappointed by my failing keyboard. Also, in my opinion, it was not necessary to involve them in the dilemma since they probably have sufficient difficulties of their own.

You see, it’s not so much that “the show must go on,” but instead, “the on must go show.”

If you’re going to call yourself a craftsman–someone who has achieved a level of expertise–it is your job to be “on.” What does that mean to me?

To be “on” is to know what and why I am doing what I’m doing. When I forget that, I become simpy, obnoxious and double-minded.

An electronic keyboard throwing a fit onstage doesn’t have anything to do with my calling. It is my duty to stay “on.”

So then I am ready to go. I love people who really understand the word “go.” It means “keep moving towards a solution.”

If you have an emotional breakdown every time you see a breakdown in your plans, you will be useless to yourself and others. It was my job to come up with a solution on the fly with regard to my temperamental eighty-eight keys. I did not look to the audience; I did not look to my stage partner, and honestly, dear friends, I didn’t look to God.

Even though I believe that He is constantly divinely inspired, I do NOT think He has hung out a shingle advertising, “Piano Repair.”

It was MY “go” and mine alone. I needed to move towards a solution. I had approximately three seconds of dead air available to achieve a positive direction. Here’s what I did: I rose from my piano and quietly moved over to the grand sitting nearby and continued my escapade. I made no explanation; I didn’t apologize. Truthfully, I didn’t even acknowledge that I had a problem, which brings me to the final point–“show.”

Here’s what I think a “show” is: don’t make your job and your life everybody else’s business.

After all, it’s only “sharing” if people are interested in what you’re saying. After that, it’s boring. It was not the privilege of that audience to be privy to my tribulation. They were there to join into a common experience of inspiration and entertainment.

I wish I could pass this on to politicians–that it’s their job to be “on,” to move forward to solution, and to understand that it’s not the fault of the American people that they’re inept.

Every preacher should realize that when he or she arrives on Sunday morning, they need to be “on” and go towards Spirit–and not show the congregation all the frailties of finance or the frayed carpet in the narthex.

It’s a part of growing up.

I don’t know if some of the people in last night’s audience even knew there was a lack. Good. For after all, they don’t need another concern, do they?

So I pass this along to you, not to lead you to believe that I’m special or a dynamic professional. What I did last night was basic–basic humanity.

The on must go show.

It’s the ability to rejoice in your burden ,,, and be grateful that you’ve been given the honor of carrying it.

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

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

Antidote … September 22, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2014)

poisonI am a poison.

It is a rather recent discovery; may I say, somewhat disheartening?

I always viewed myself as a perpetually refreshing drink, cooling and soothing–a blessing, if you will.

I’ve worked very hard … (Oh, forgive me for that. How pretentious.) Truthfully, I’ve simply focused on a couple of principles of congeniality in an attempt to turn myself into a pleasant beverage.

So imagine my surprise the other night, when I discovered that a relationship I’ve nurtured for twenty-one years was actually needful of termination in order for the person I was trying to assist and enlighten to escape my poison.

Yes, to him, I was deadly.

It isn’t true of most folks. Most individuals I encounter take in my elixir and find it intoxicating and sweet. But I must be fully aware that the choices I’ve made, the person I’ve become and the attitudes I hold dear are poisonous to travelers whose bumps in the road have varied greatly from mine.

I wondered if there was a way for me to change my configuration just enough to cease to be venom to this journeyman–and then I came to the conclusion that some things are just not meant to be. The reason we need everybody in the whole world is because the world is big and varied in its tastes, and one dose of medicine does not necessarily heal all ailments.

Still, I felt a deep sense of loss and hurt. Was it vanity? Was it some sort of childish tantrum: “How dare this human being find ME repugnant?”

Did I really care about him? Or only have feelings about him as it related to me?

Good questions. I’m really not sure.

But you see, it doesn’t really make any difference. In this case, I am a dose of humanity which should be bypassed because my chemistry is lethal.

There is a maturity that settles into our souls when we realize that we are not someone’s cup of tea, but instead, their mug of hemlock.

Is it possible to have universal value? Yes. But that treasure always has to contain the word “love,” and the presence of love always means to seek better for others.

I am not “better” for my friend. My way of thinking, doing, walking and living is a source of aggravation.

This is why we need a savior–because quite honestly, none of us are able to save ourselves and the human representations around us are often murderous.

I learned something. I came to the blessed conclusion that we make ourselves available to others, allow them to sip and not insist that they gulp, granting them  the opportunity to determine whether our particular concoction is nutritious to their being.

We grow up as people when we realize that if they need us it is good … and if they don’t, it is even better.

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

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

Mount Vernon … September 21, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2013)

Mount VernonI suppose, to the average person, the mention of Mount Vernon might conjure a hazy memory of an American history class, where the name was mentioned as the location of the home of General George Washington. Even though I, too, have that realization, to me, it was a community twenty-three miles north of my boyhood home town.

As I rolled in to Mount Vernon today, I was astounded at how much living, doing and feeling I had birthed in that space:

When I was twelve years old, we had a Bible League contest in the town, with teams from all over the Central Ohio area gathered to push buttons and light up bulbs, answering questions about Holy Scripture. We had studied every jot and tittle, and split the information apart like atoms to compete with one another for points, prizes or just the privilege of partaking of some overly sweet church punch and dried-out cake. All in all, it was a great way to consider the musings of ancient patriarchs without dozing off in the process.

Mount Vernon was also one of the first places that I promoted my own gospel sing, consisting of my group along with some others, in the Memorial Auditorium. I actually saw people arrive in cars, park them and gather to hear us all squawk and wail.

Just outside of town, in the early seventies, I got the chance to perform for the first time with a fellow named Andre Crouch, who had a group called the Disciples at the Bible College, in front of a good-sized crowd of local folks who certainly didn’t come out to see us, but tolerated what was supposed to be our fifteen-minute fronting of the main event. As I discovered that night, and also from working with Andre Crouch in the future, he was never on time, so our mini-concert turned into a forty-five-minute show, which was certainly a problem, especially considering that fact that we only knew six songs.

Mount Vernon was also the location where in my early years, when I was destitute financially, some of the local quartets gave me a dribble of money to arrange music for them, to try to make them sound a little better in front of the small congregations they were able to schedule to hear their efforts.

And last but not least, my third son, Jerrod Micah, was born in Mount Vernon–about two minutes after I walked in the door of the hospital, rushing to get there to see his arrival. (My wife never seemed to have much trouble with labor. I guess some women would insist she never went through it–more like calisthenics.)

I was nearly in awe of all the memories that just splashed in my face as I drove down the main street of the metropolis. And to think, blessed man that I am, now in my sixth decade, I get to go to Mulberry Street United Methodist Church and make another memory, tomorrow morning and night, adding a new page to my dusty catalogue of memorabilia.

Life is wonderful if you don’t get fussy.

And if you do get fussy, life is still willing to be wonderful … if you just don’t give up on a good idea.

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

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

Survival Kit … September 20, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2010)

buckskinHonest to God–he was dressed in  buckskin.

He had long hair and a bushy-wushy beard, giving him the appearance of a bear that had been almost completely swallowed by a deer sporting “frillies” on its hide. He was explaining, on the National Geographic Channel, the three elements necessary to survive in the wilderness.

To my surprise, toothpaste and deodorant did not make the list. The essentials, by my mountain man’s standards, were a knife, a ball of string and matches.

Hmmm. If I had a knife, I would also need bandages and antibiotic cream. I would never be able to get the string off the ball, and in no time at all, my matches would be wet and useless.

Yes, I am willing to admit publicly that my survival time in the wilderness would be brief and distressed.

But I am cognizant that there is a survival kit for just being a good human.

I think the first thing you need is a sense of self–preferably not exaggerated, by the way, and certainly not depleted by a feeling of inadequacy. But if you can emotionally muster the courage to admit who you are and who you aren’t, you probably tackle a goodly percent of the difficulty involved in remaining sane.

Yes, I do think there’s a point where we all have to say, “I am not scared of me.”

If we are secretly frightened of our own motivations, iniquities and predilections, we will work much too hard to disguise our frailties. That is why, when I am in front of an audience, I make it clear to them who they’re gettin’.

A sense of self is one of the greatest scents we possess, to draw other humans to our trail.

The second thing in the survival kit for being a better person is a sense of humor. Do you understand the purpose?

It just lets folks know, “I am not scared to fail.”

It’s quite ridiculous to be frightened of something that is inevitable. As far as I know, failure is the short-cut to success if it’s used wisely, applied correctly and walked away from with good cheer.

A sense of humor is the greatest sign of mental health.

And the final thing that I feel needs to go into the knapsack of our journey on earth is a sense of God.

Now, my definition of “a sense of God” is different from most theologians. I don’t believe we discover God in the Bible, but actually use the Good Book to confirm our revelations.

I don’t think we retrieve God through prayer–that exercise works best when we’re already well-acquainted with the Person we’re contacting.

No–I think we get a sense of God when we can truthfully proclaim, “I am not scared of people.”

For to dislike people, disdain them, ignore them, judge them or always try to change them into your image is to aggravate the mind of God and cause His Spirit to depart from your midst.

For it says quite clearly that “whenever we’ve done it unto the least of these, my brethren, we’ve done it unto Him.” The parallel is clear: to do good unto God means to eliminate any bigotry we might have toward people.

So there you go.

Even though I am not clad in buckskin and gnawing on beef jerky, I am giving you my survival kit for passing through the wilderness we call life:

  • A sense of self: I am not scared of me.
  • A sense of humor: I am not scared of failure.
  • A sense of God: I am not scared of people.

It may not book you on the National Geographic Channel as a wilderness wrangler, but it sure will qualify you … as a great pathfinder.

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

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

For Once … September 19, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2009)

kid and grannyFor once, I would like to be a part of a civil discussion without all parties involved arriving with pre-packaged, shrink-wrapped conclusions.

I would rejoice to be part of a dialogue about God and science free of scripture quoting, name-calling and the contention that anyone who believes in the supernatural is bare-footed and living in the bayou.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a debate about men and women that doesn’t place one group on Mars and the other on Venus?

I would like to believe that faith doesn’t have to be considered foolishness and a lack of faith the definition of intellectual superiority.

For once, I would deeply enjoy listening to a truthful presentation on why five to seven percent of our population prefers sexual interaction with the same gender, instead of being pummeled by Old Testament scriptures decrying the practice or schmucky television shows portraying that everything is acceptable “just because we say so.”

How about a conversation on sexuality free of giggles about pornography and absent being shut down by prudes who think it’s inappropriate to discuss the subject with anyone under the age of thirty, when that’s the age group which needs the information the most??

Abortion–is it possible for us to take a more clinical approach to the subject, free of displaying a picture of a disembodied fetus or using quotes from females insisting on their right to terminate pregnancies at will?

How about a simple poster-board example of good food to make a good diet instead of making fun of fat people, forcing them to sweat profusely and insisting that obesity is an act of free will, while we simultaneously claim that everything else is genetic?

Would it be possible to interface with one another as Republicans and Democrats and ascertain what it means to have a government “of the people, for the people and by the people,” without inserting campaign slogans, fund-raising and just general meanness?

And for once, could WE be the generation that refuses to look at people as “old” and “young,” viewing them only as a demographic, but instead finds a way to connect the humanity in all of us, despite our pimples or wrinkles?

I don’t think things are going to get better until we admit that they’re intolerable. As long as we think it’s “our right to be wrong,” we will continue to be wrong when we desperately need to be right.

For once, I would like to put my beliefs, feelings, culture, family, attitudes and fears on display–and have them either uplifted or decimated by the truth that makes me free.

Are you game … or are you just going to continue to play the game?

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

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

Except What? … September 18, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2009)

cartoon melting potThere is no such thing as a “pure-blooded American.” America was accumulated, not ordained.

We are a mish-mash mess of a miraculous mixture, a mysterious mutation majestically merging into a magnificent mob.

Our ancestors left monarchy, anarchy, oligarchy, patriarchs and matriarchs to come and experiment with the outlandish assertion that all men–and women, for that matter–are created equal.

So what causes us to jut out our multicultural jaws and claim that “we are exceptional?”

Do we really become more valuable to the human race by expressing superiority? Does God in heaven smile down on us as the new “Chosen People,” having abandoned the Jewish race for the job?

I guess what bothers me is the word “exceptional.” The root of it is “except.” In other words:  to make exempt from consideration.

Even though all of my training, understanding and basic common sense tells me that whoever has much, of that person is required more, we have taken on some sort of “Holy-Roman-Empire-mentality,” believing that since we are born and reared within a three-thousand-mile radius of one another on this continent, then we somehow have a free pass to make mistakes without critique.
When I was a kid I did childish things. Some slack was cut. Thank God.
When I had kids of my own, the slack was removed and was replaced with the “r word”–responsibility.
When those kids grew up and needed me to be a wise sage to them for guidance–and to transform myself into a grandfather–it was my purpose to make that journey without grumping or complaining and certainly minus useless immaturity.

So looking at our country, I see that we went through our toddler phase during the Revolution, through adolescence by continuing slavery in a rebellious way, which led to Civil War. But now, as we father the notion of freedom and become grandfathers to the concept of democracy, we should put away childish things. We should not compare ourselves to other countries when we talk about human rights. Most of THEM never claimed that expression of equality in their forms of government.

We shouldn’t even look at our Olympic athletes and extol them as higher and better when they win medals, for we live in the lap of luxurious training as a lifestyle instead of having to work it in around the planting and harvesting seasons.

The word should not be exceptional, but instead, should be “expect-tional.” Since we’ve been blessed with freedom, ingenuity, prosperity and spirituality, we should expect more from our country than those around us.

When I finally see us use a different measuring stick to our own morality than we do to the world at large, I will understand that we finally have comprehended what it means to be American, settling our souls on the fact that to be exceptional means you must live by the credo: to he who much is given, much is expected.

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

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

Quatrain of Literature … September 17, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2009)

girl reading

 

Tell the story

Select the words

Add some heart

Trust the reader

 

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

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

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: