PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … September 23rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2701)

PoHymn Anniversary September 23

Anniversary

45 years

Many good cheers

Started to date

Began to mate

Planted a seed

Created a need

Flew far away

Met at U of A

Decided to remain

Drove me insane

Changed your mind

In Buckeye we find

Gossip and chatter

Just doesn’t matter

Carolina bound

To confirm we’re sound

Started a coffeehouse

With my brand new spouse

Yet scared away

To New York that day

“Thou shalt not kill”

We changed our childish will

Birthed a son, then two

Three came before we knew

Music and dance

Take a chance

To the Bay we went

Running, not sent

Lost a son too soon

Born the last of June

So I took my maven

And started The Haven

Saw each state

Tempting the fate

Then came four

At Peoria’s door

Soon lads were men

And needed to begin

To Music City

Seemed quite pretty

Gained a daughter

To tote some water

Given another

Who married his brother

Welcomed a friend

Remains to the end

A flash of cash

Building a stash

Started a band

Blessed the land

Raised a quartet

Bayshore’s where we met

Music, movies and books

A festival of looks

Lost the family home

Time again to roam

Spreading the blessed news

Writing the daily views

We continue to this day

Seeking a better way

So I say to you from me

Happy Anniversary, E.G. C.

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Cracked 5 … September 22nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2700)

cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Things We Want to Ask the Pope to Do While He’s in America

 

A. Give us permission to sell “Pope is the Dope” t-shirts.

 

B. Offer better refreshments for Holy Communion.

 

C. Request he begin all his speeches with, “Let me be Frank.”

 

D. Update Mother Mary’s Facebook status to “Single and Available.”

 

E. Remove all calories from barbecue ribs and caramel crunch ice cream.

 

Cracked 5 Pope Francis 2

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Good News and Better News … September 21st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2699)

Tomah

Many years ago, I sensed a voice within me, encouraging me to go out and share my heart and abilities with the world. Some people would say it was the voice of God, while others would probably insist that it was just me, declaring my own bidding.

I don’t care.

I heeded the call, and that decision has taken me on an exotic adventure.

I was so proud. I finally got it right.

I spent the week misspelling the name of the town we were headed for our next gig. It was Tomah, Wisconsin, but I kept trying to move the “h” up next to the “t”–forming “Thoma.”

Try as I might, I apparently had placed a crease in my brain to prefer the premature h. But when I arrived in town and was jotting down a note or two for the upcoming presentation, I actually spelled it correctly.

Let me get back to that.

The people sent to greet us and assist us in setting up for the performance were Mary and Paul. Lovely folks.

You see, the key to hospitality is realizing that the quality of our being is not assessed on how well we treat ourselves or our families, but rather, on the profile we select in caring for strangers. (Strangers scare us. That’s why we emphasize it with the word “strange.”)

But Mary and Paul relaxed, so did we, and in no time at all it seemed like this was our eighth barbecue together instead of first conversation.

When it came time for Sunday morning, I arrived at a church whose pastor had recently suffered two strokes. I was saddened by this for a pair of reasons:

Number one, it is the responsibility of every human being to temporarily take on the pain of others to bring the reality to bear of the need for prayer.

Secondly, the lady who books us said that the pastor was a delightful, loving, giving and warm-hearted man. The Kingdom cannot afford to lose such a valuable creature.

In his stead was another fellow, who was formerly the pastor of the church, who kindly, gently and ably was filling in during the absence of the ailing shepherd.

How do I describe my experience with the Tomah people?

First and foremost, delightful. I do like people.

I like them when they’re difficult because it presents me with a challenge.

I like them when they’re easy because then I don’t have to survive a challenge and we can get to the business of just enjoying one another.

The two services were filled with great emotional moments. Emotion is our fuel:

  • If it’s a football game, we cheer.
  • If it’s a sudden burst of finance…well, we also cheer.
  • But if we’re in church and we realize how good our life is, how blessed we are, or how we were spared a disgrace or indignity, we tend to sit, bewildered by what to do.

You see, that brings me back to my situation with the spelling of Tomah. There apparently was some stubborn part of me that wanted Tomah to be spelled the way I proposed. Even though I was incorrect, I felt right enough to continue to be wrong without apology.

Yes, there was much good news at the Tomah church, but I can offer them better news, and here it is:

Blessing arrives in tiny bites which need to be appreciated, or you will never experience the satisfaction of a full meal.

Church was never intended to be a place where we come and tiptoe around, attempting to find the will of God.

After all, church is not for God. It’s for us.

It is a sanctuary.

It is a place where we come to escape debates, anger, shootings, frustration, foolishness, politics and threats that surround us all week long, in a world that seems determined to self-destruct.

We need a place where we can lounge in the confidence of the love of those around us, while celebrating the bites of truth that are gradually coming into the vision of our understanding.

So don’t tell me your denomination doesn’t get emotional when your denomination is filled with people–and people are emotional.

I don’t care how you do it. I don’t care what kind of music you use as background to your decision to feel.

But when you leave a church, you should sense that you’ve been uplifted and touched in your heart.

That’s what I tried to bring to Tomah. Were they listening? Well, honestly, that’s not my business.

Just like it was not my job to change how they spelled their town.

 

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Jesonian: Enlightened … September 20th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2698)

enlightened thinking

The average man sitting in the audience listening to Jesus of Nazareth believed the following:

1. God was angry and manifested His displeasure through disasters, afflictions and plagues.

2. Nature was beyond comprehension, and to be feared because demons caused illness.

3. People were evil unless they were related to you or were part of your village. Any strangers who lived outside your enclosure were dangerous and needed to be killed.

How do you address such superstition and ignorance?

Here’s one thing we know for certain: Jesus did not cater to their bigotries, wave their flags or agree to their religious lunacy.

Jesus told them that God was our Father. As our Father, He is at least as nice as we are as parents.

Jesus told them that Nature was meant to be understood and discerned, and we can apply what we learn from that study to improve the quality of our lives.

And Jesus told them that we are judged by how we treat our enemies or those who are adversarial to our point of view.

It was an enlightened way of thinking, containing one solid eternal truth:

Where the Spirit of God is, there is freedom.

Every time we try to remove freedom from people, governments, spirituality or relationships, we place ourselves in a Dark Ages of misunderstanding, setting us back generations.

Unfortunately, those who followed Jesus did not remain enlightened.

  • They went on Crusades.
  • They bought human beings and used them as slaves.
  • They attacked their brothers and sisters who had different lifestyles, calling them abominations.

I don’t know where the Spirit will take us in the years to come, but I do know that the true gift of God’s presence will be granted to those who are enlightened.

And to be enlightened, you must believe in freedom instead of legalism.

 

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Confessing … September 19th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2697)

XX.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Some time ago in a parish far away, I joined with some friends who had a creative bend and believed that art and faith were intended to be wed, and rented an H & R Block building, which had completed its taxing season and was available for occupation, gathering with these sweet folks at least twice a week to discuss the beauty of music and words, and also how we might be able to help others.

Yes, there was just enough hippie in us that we chose to have a concern for the needy in our midst.

So one day at our little headquarters, a large, cocoa-complected young man strolled through our door with an appearance that foretold his lack, possessing only a huge, toothy grin.

He wondered if we had $1.99 so that he could go to Church’s Fried Chicken, which was two doors down, and pick up their special–two pieces of chicken and a side.

We all liked him immediately.

We told him we would give him the money if he would pick up the same deal for the rest of us. Then we could all sit down, eat together and get to know one another. I think my friends were a little surprised when I pulled out a twenty-dollar bill, gave it to the big fellow and told him to purchase seven of them, come back, and bring me the change.

By the way, he told us his name was Johnnie, and I’m sure that all of my acquaintances were convinced that Johnnie was going to abscond with the twenty dollars.

He didn’t.

He came back, we ate chicken and it became a daily ritual for the next several months. We got to know him as a person instead of merely an object of charity.

So one day, when Johnnie told us that he was supposed to go into the Social Security Office and apply for disability, we took him to the local Goodwill, and after much shopping, we found a suit big enough to cover his girth.

He was so proud of it.

He went to the meeting, and then we didn’t hear from him for several weeks. I was concerned, so I went out into the streets, looking for my buddy.

I found him sitting next to a dumpster about a half-mile away. He tried to run away from me, but I was able to stop him. I asked him why he was avoiding us.

He explained that he was embarrassed because he had sold the suit so he could purchase a bucket of chicken.

I gave him a hug and explained that we didn’t love him because he was wearing a suit–it was just a gift, for him to use as he wished.

Shortly after that encounter, our little group decided to move our headquarters since the H & R Block building was no longer available. We found a place about three miles away and told Johnnie about our exodus.

He was sad.

I was bewildered. After all, we weren’t leaving town. So I made him promise he would come and see us.

He didn’t.

After about three weeks I went out on another search for Johnnie. Finally the lady at the Church’s Fried Chicken told me that Johnnie had been arrested for erratic and disorderly behavior, and that they were holding him in the mental ward on the 13th floor of the local hospital. I got in my car and went to see him.

Amazingly, since I wasn’t kin or connected to him in any logical way, they let me in to talk to him.

When I walked into the room he was sitting next to the window, staring into the distance. I was very disappointed when Johnnie didn’t recognize me.

He was heavily medicated and docile. I tried to stir his memory but was completely unsuccessful.

So I took his hands, which lay limp in his lap, and prayed for him. I stood to leave and was just about out the door when Johnnie turned his head and said, “Chicken.”

Just as quickly, he turned away and resumed his vigil of nothingness.

I cried.

He remembered.

But you see, I also learned. People are not projects. They are human, with real needs. We can’t just pick them up and handle them when it’s convenient to our charitable inclinations and then drop them off in the middle of nowhere without a map on where to go.

We thought we were so damned generous, but we didn’t realize that Johnnie needed daily care, daily love and a daily location in which to go to give him a sense of balance.

Johnnie taught me a lot.

Johnnie taught me that since the poor don’t go away, if we’re going to start helping them, we have to have a plan to keep from abandoning them.

Confessing Johnny

 

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G-Poppers … September 18th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2697)

Jon close up

She came into the room angry and frustrated. G-Pop asked her what was troubling her so.

She explained that she was really pissed off about how the Syrian refugees were being treated by the Europeans. G-Pop sat quietly listening, allowing her to vent for a few minutes until she ran out of steam.

When a few seconds of stillness had settled into the room, he said, “Let’s say you had just finished your dinner and you were sitting down in your chair getting ready to watch some television. Suddenly there was a knock at the door. You rise to your feet, open your door and discover a stranger standing in front of you, obviously distressed. You ask what you can do to help him, and he explains that his home has just burned to the ground and he has no place to go and needs some assistance. The first thing that crosses your mind is that you’ve never met this person before. Is the story true? How would you be able to find out? So you cautiously invite him inside the door while you consider your options. Before you can gather all your thoughts, he explains that he just needs someplace to stay until he can get on his feet and find out what he really wants to accomplish. You ask him if he has family in the area who could assist and he explains in vivid detail that he is from far away and doesn’t know anybody. So while you’re trying to figure out what you want to do, he informs you that he also has a wife and two children.

So now there are four people involved. He goes on to share that as frightened and taken aback as he is, they are completely devastated. Then in passing he mentions that his wife is also pregnant.  You have to make a decision. Trying to be wise, you inquire if he has checked with the local shelters and food banks for possible emergency intervention. He looks at you with a blank stare, not aware of how to go about such a maneuver, and still wishing that you would do something to help. So you agree to invite the family in to sit down while you make some sort of plan to help out. As the wife and two children enter the door, the man goes on to say that his cousin had been staying with them and also has a wife and one child, and is equally as abandoned by the disaster.

“Now you have seven people to deal with. What started as a quiet evening in your home, watching television, has now become an invasion of needy people who seem to be growing in numbers every minute. What should you do?

She looked at G-Pop, wanting to object, even to suggest that the scenario was not the same, but then realized that they were identical.

G-Pop continued. “We are really foolish when we think other people should do what we would not do ourselves. Honestly, there’s not much that I can do about the people who have run away from Syria. Any money sent in that direction would be a drop in the bucket and would take months to reach its destination. So my only recourse is to go into my own community and find the refugees–people without homes, seemingly unwanted humans, rejected souls and struggling families–and before their world utterly falls apart, forcing them to my doorstep, I will seek them out and do what I can.”

G-Pop finished the story and she seemed to understand.

You see, Jesus was absolutely right: the poor will always be with us.

The only thing we can do is share from our bounty before they end up on our porch–and we feel compelled to turn them away.

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Ask Jonathots… September 17th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2696)

ask jonathots bigger

Let’s cut to the truth. Why aren’t women considered equals in the workplace? My company has one female division chair out of twelve divisions. Upper management is less than 10% female. What is the future for equality for women?

Fortunately, the future for women can be improved by their involvement. For the power in life is finding your weakness, acknowledging it, ceasing to be defensive about it and therefore, turning it into your strength.

Up to the age of eleven, girls and boys are practically the same. At that point, Mother Nature, the Creator or Evolution–depending on your beliefs–strikes women with the whammy of estrogen.

Because it’s a chemical and therefore a drug, it places females under the influence of its power. It leaves them a little bit weaker physically, and therefore, in the world of the jungle, dependent.

So what should we do?

We should teach our young girls that merely being commissioned with carrying the procreation responsibilities of our species does not render them ineffective for also toting leadership possibilities. Instead, we now tell our young ladies that they don’t amount to much of anything if they’re not loved by a boy.

Likewise, we should tell our young men that even though they may possess greater muscle mass through testosterone, that the management and proliferation of our human race is almost solely contingent on the female. After a man commits his semen donation to the cause, women carry the ball.

Any man who has ever watched the birth of his child can attest to this. There are few times that a man feels any more helpless than when he’s observing his mate bring a child into the world.

Until we cease to fund and support a cultural war between the sexes, the female of our species will suffer inequality, injustice and unfortunately, often abuse.

So where should we begin? May I suggest four steps which would aid us in developing mutual respect?

1. Stop insisting that the way “Grandma did it and believed it” needs to be passed along to the next generation or we will all fall into a godless hell.

2. At the crucial time of puberty, find sports, activities and projects that young people can do together instead of separating them off due to muscling.

3. Stop portraying emotional response as a negative and realize that the entire human race is steered by the heart.

4. Find reasons for commonality–physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Women are doomed to carry the cross of burden and the angst of disrespect until we realize that this characterization is based solely upon the introduction of estrogen into their bodies.

Once we understand this and honor one another for our contributions instead of limiting each other, we will not only start generating more equality but will also reignite the passion that men and women have for each other.

 

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