Good News and Better News … October 24th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-plainwell-stage

Yesterday when I arrived at the First United Methodist Church of Plainwell, Michigan, a gentleman asked me, “So, what do you think about the 2016 Presidential election?”

I replied, “It’s like going to the grocery store to get some steak and finding out they’ve only got baloney.”

Yes. The campaign is just “cold cuts.”

So it’s very important that when we come to church, we give those who have chosen to attend a “people experience”–full of emotion, joy, humor and inspiration–because they certainly are not going to get it on MSNBC, CNN or Fox News. Likewise, neither Donald nor Hillary are motivated to edify people.

My Plainwell experience began the day before when I arrived for setup, and was delighted to meet Pastor Kathy and Sue, who generously afforded us their efforts, hospitality and gentleness. They were absolutely inspiring human beings who just happened to be women.

Therefore, when Sunday rolled around, my heart was full, and I wanted to ensure that everyone I met was aware that even though the world is full of tribulation, this is our season to “be of good cheer.”

good-news-plainwell-cup-and-spoonHowever, serving up good cheer demands that you portion things off in the right units. Otherwise, the recipe doesn’t taste quite right.

For instance, I do think we need a tablespoon of Bible–as long as it’s mingled with a cup of mercy.

How about a tablespoon of prayer, with a cup of helping out?

You can have a handful of church if you throw in a bunch of kindness.

I would welcome a teaspoon of preaching mingled with a quart of living.

I think you can have a cup of worship if you stir in a gallon of joy.

I suppose I could stand a pinch of study, if it will motivate a dash of discovery.

And certainly feel free to throw in a tablespoon of faith–as long as you realize it functions best with a cup full of effort.

The Gospel works because it is suited to people.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us to find the gaps in the world, and instead of being angry about them, fill them:

  • Life is rather tasteless, so bring your salt.
  • Things get pretty dark, so make sure you light it up.
  • Most people demand–learn to ask.
  • Lots of folks blame. Jesus suggests that we seek.
  • And of course, it’s very common to stand on the outside and feel cheated, but Jesus insists that it’s more fulfilling to knock on the door.

We had a fabulous time yesterday in Plainwell.

We laughed, cried, snickered, snorted, watched, listened and embraced. It was a human event–which means it gave God glory, since He was the One who came up with the idea of humanity in the first place.

So the good news is, church is a great remedy for politics.

And the better news is, the more people-friendly church becomes, the more people will be drawn to it.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 26) A Psalm of David … and Jack – October 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

David was one of the young host who invaded the Garsonville Church, sitting near the front altar on a vigil for a lost friend.

After that eventful Sunday, he and two other members of the high school started to attend.

He was what nicer Nebraskans refered to as a “soft boy.” He seemed to favor activities with less dirt and muscle. Now, the more aggressive Nebraskans, many attending his school. called him a queer–a fag.

David didn’t argue–just adopted many of the mannerisms and catch phrases of the gay community, not necessarily because he was born with that sensibility, but because he was only fifteen years old and welcomed any identity.

David immediately found a place for himself in the body of believers. He made it his mission to ensure that every Sunday morning, the holy foyer was filled with art–paintings, as it were–some masterful knockoffs and others done by the third grade class from the Wintermute Elementary School.

His displays played to mixed reviews among the congregation. Some of the pew-sitters felt it was inappropriate, and others actually joined in and brought some of their own made-up drawings.

David was faithful.

David was searching.

David was a sponge looking for a wet spot.

Jack was an adorable alcoholic. That’s what his family called him. He was one of those drinkers that got happier the more the liquor moved toward his liver.

And move it did–so much so that during one binge of whiskey and gin, he was rushed to the hospital with alcohol poisoning, and after many tests they discovered he was in the midst of liver failure and in need of a transplant.

This seemed to scare the hell out of Jack, leaving a hole ready for Jesus, so Meningsbee was called to come and witness to the once happy-go-lucky town drunk.

Meningsbee didn’t say much of anything; actually, Jack did the talking. And like many sinners who are eventually saved by grace, hearing his own story out loud, for perhaps the first time, sent him into a fit of weeping and a season of repenting.

Jack was born again in Room 315 of the Garsonville Community Hospital, with tubes poking out of almost every orifice on his body.

Jack never got strong enough to attend church. He was given the good news that there was a liver available for him, and before he knew it, was on the operating table, praying for a fresh start.

These two souls of God, David and Jack, collided one night in the same hospital at the same time, in similar conditions.

David arrived because he had been invited to a party, and in a moment of weakness, trying to make friends, overdosed on a cocktail of drugs which had been tossed into a punchbowl and dissolved, for the consumption of teenage fools.

His heart stopped three times on the way to the hospital and he was now on life support.

Jack’s operation was successful, but he fell victim to a serious and potentially lethal infection, which had him back on the table, doctors desperately trying to save his life.

Meningsbee sat in the waiting room on a hard, yellow, plastic chair, purchased during the Eisenhower Administration.

Both families, empty of words, had taken their leave and gone to the chapel to pray.

Meningsbee was alone with his thoughts. It was always on such occasions that he wondered if there really was a supernatural order directing a plan.

Was God really in the room with His angels, watching over the frail forms of David and Jack?

Had the Angel of Death arrived along with the Angel of Mercy, to take them home?

Or was it all just some sort of collage of grace, medical technology and just pure dumb luck determining the outcome?

Meningsbee found contentment that there was no answer. Just as an ant never discovers what is beyond its own hill, human beings likewise have much freedom but little insight.

The hours passed. It was touch and go.

At first they thought David still had good brain function and feared that Jack had lost too much blood to survive the repair.

The night wound on.

Five minutes after all the prayer warriors discovered that Jack had pulled through and was going to barely make it, they were told by the doctors that David had been assessed as brain-dead.

Two families stood side-by-side, digesting different news.

Jack’s family was careful not to express too much elation and relief, knowing that David’s mother and father were on the verge of collapse. Lacking words, fatigued by prayer, hampered by doubt and in the human state of confusion, they simply turned to one another and embraced.

David’s mom and dad made the agonizing decision to pull the plug and let him go home. He lived for ten minutes.

Reverend Meningsbee had one last prayer.

He hoped David would be granted a great space in the foyer of heaven…to display his art.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … October 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I was thinking about Donald Trump.

 

Woman: What a coincidence. Because I was thinking about Hillary. What brought Donald to your mind?

 

Man: There’s such an uproar about him and the things he says. I was just wondering…well, I guess, wishing I would have had the chance to know him when he was young.

 

Woman: That’s so weird. I was thinking the same about Hillary. Yes, I would love to have had a chance to know her before there was a Bill Clinton, or all this political barbed wire that tries to cage her up as a villain.

 

Man: What I was thinking about is that when we’re young, there are three things that happen to all of us, in some form, that shape us. Three things that expose us to everyone around us, and we develop our sense of security or frustration.

 

Woman: That’s interesting. What are the three things?

 

Man: Well, you can probably think of your own, but I find the three things to be the locker room, camp and dating. That’s when we are suddenly taken out of the comfort of our zone, and we fall under the scrutiny of other people’s judgment.

 

Woman: Wow. That’s heavy. So I guess what I’m saying is that I would like to have met Hillary in the locker room.

 

Man: Now, that does sound a little bit odd.

 

Woman: No more odd than you wanting to meet Donald in the locker room.

 

Man: So what would you have said to Hillary?

 

Woman: “Relax. Some people look more endowed, more blessed, more athletic, but in the long run, it all comes to the surface and they are less advantaged in other areas. Don’t try to be the prettiest and the best or feel cheated because you aren’t.”

 

Man: Exactly. “Donald, stop worrying about your hands, or anything else that protrudes from your body. Just realize that you have gifts and they will come to the forefront when it’s time.”

 

Woman: Do you think he learned to be a bully in the locker room?

 

Man: Do you think she acquired some of her insecurity there?

 

Woman: Camp–the first time the lights are turned off in the cabin, and you’re with a group of girls and you can talk about what scares you, why you think your hips are too big and who you really like…

 

Man: Yes, I wonder if Donald ever actually sat in a log cabin somewhere in the woods with a bunch of guys who were at ease, and truth started slipping out because the room was just dark enough that you’re not afraid about how you sound.

 

Woman: You can tell by the fact that these two people choose lying lying that they were horribly misinformed about life.

 

Man: It is the truth that makes us free. But to allow for that freedom, we need to at least be around someone who allows the truth to come forth without criticizing us.

 

Woman: And then there’s dating. Isn’t that the third thing you mentioned?

 

Man: Absolutely. It’s terrifying.

 

Woman: Why do you think it’s so terrifying? Let me answer my own question. For me, it brought every fear and inadequacy to the forefront–like I was certain the person I was going out with was completely aware of all the stubble hair in my armpits.

 

Man: Could you ever eat enough Tic-Tacs to be confident about your breath? So what would you tell Hillary about that?

 

Woman: I would say, “Hillary, you’re going to meet a lot of men you’re going to love and who would be willing to love you. But you won’t meet many who give you a love that you can trust in.”

 

Man: I would say to Donald, “Even though you grew up in a neighborhood with a family which felt that bullying, being forceful and mean was viable, the best way to prove your strength is to not use it all the time. It’s all right to lose as long as you learn from it, and it’s certainly necessary to apologize if you want to be forgiven.”

 

Woman: I would love to have known Hillary when she was young. I would love to have caught her before she ended up with a cheater, believing it was the best she could get.

 

Man: And I would love to have known Donald when he still had a chance to believe in the power of kindness mingled with ingenuity instead of trying to control through domination.

 

Woman: Too bad we weren’t there.

 

Man: Actually, I’m grateful there was someone there for me so I don’t have to constantly prove my masculinity by pushing my way through.

 

Woman: And I’m glad that I feel confident in myself, and just include others for the joy of it instead of the need.

 

Man: Do you think we really could have made a difference?

 

Woman: Probably not. We were just learning the stuff ourselves.

 

Man: Maybe we can just help the young Donalds and Hillarys around us, who have not yet decided to give up and use deceit instead of talent.

 

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G-Poppers … October 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop’s thought for the day:

Stop explaining.

Don’t do it yourself and certainly quit demanding it of others.

Explaining leads to lying, lying ends up in mistrust and mistrust is the seed that sprouts hate.

It is very important to understand human beings:

  1. Human beings make mistakes.
  2. Human beings are selfish.
  3. Human beings insist they don’t make mistakes and are not selfish.

So if you ask one of your fellow-travelers about a mistake that was made or a piece of selfishness you encountered, they will definitely explain how you misunderstand.

The best way to live this Earthly life is to answer yes and no.

“Who ate the last doughnut?”

I did.

Truthfully, most people won’t leave it at that. They will ask why or sometimes even how it happened. If you give in to the temptation to produce a storyline about your clumsiness or lack of attention, you will probably find yourself, like Brother Adam and Sister Eve, making really lame excuses and eventually pointing fingers at each other.

Because of that profile, Adam and Eve went from being prosperous gardeners to “Paradise Lost.”

The more explaining you do, the more you try to convince yourself that you’re a victim of unusual circumstances.

No one buys it, no one believes it and everyone is quietly thinking to themselves, “Please shut the hell up.”

One of the greatest ways to contribute to the peace and harmony of Earth is to stop explaining and certainly refuse to make others go through the agony of the process.

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Ask Jonathots… October 20th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

The Presidential election has raised my awareness about gender bias in America. What can I do as a woman to raise the level of respect for women?

Stop trying to raise the level of respect and equality for women. That’s a good start.

As long as you are talking about yourself as a woman, men have been trained to act overly sensitive, or worse, condescending.

The struggle is–and always will be–for human rights.

It was Jesus who used the inclusive word “neighbor” instead of focusing on a pronoun such as “he” or “she” when proclaiming who we should love.

If you treat yourself like a special case, people will never include you as part of the general population. This is why terms like “African American” do not increase fairness for the black race, but instead, qualify them as visitors to the country instead of primally intricate.

Anything you put before the word “human” is useless and ends up relegating you to a status of something different. When we stop talking about difference, we will finally get down to having an Earth-saving conversation about commonality.

You will astound the men and women around you when you start referring to yourself as a human being, a person or a fellow-traveler instead of a gender-bound individual whose feelings have to be isolated and studied for understanding.

For instance:

If a man who thinks he is being extremely equitable says to you, “What is a woman’s thinking on this?” you should respond, “I don’t know, but as a human being, my thinking is…”

If someone asks, “What’s it like being a woman?” you should respond, “It’s very human, just like being a man–except we’re able to birth duplicates.”

Keeping a sense of humor, along with an awareness of our similarities, is the path to equity.

To do this you will have to shed some of the fantasies, silliness and cultural trap doors that have been created by our society to make sure that men stay in their boxes and women remain in their dollhouses.

You can do this. It’s a simple formula:

  • Reinvent the language, you change your attitude.
  • Change your attitude, you revise your approach.
  • Revise your approach, you begin to be perceived differently.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … October 19th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-not-always

 Not Always Like This

Concerning this morning’s mode

I seem burdened, overload

Hampered by nagging retreat

Fostered through vague deceit

I pity again my worried self

Placing others on the shelf

Determined that I must be seen

Bubbling a heart of treacherous mean

I probe to find the callous slight

Denying the evidence of what is right

I am the critic for the meek

Sneering, I mock the lovely weak

Exposing their obvious lack

Hoisting burdens on their back

Enemy, I emerge of that deemed decent

Ruddy with anger over offenses most recent

Finding the Christ I deny

Shaking my head, I decline to try

To simply deal with my lot

The portion provided, what I’ve got

Frowning at the human race

Unmercifully mocking the joyous face

For goodness seems too good to me

Foolishness and fear are what I see

In this cauldron I melt into a creep

Unworthy to mingle with the holy sheep

Beware, my friend, something is amiss

Please understand, I’m not always like this.

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Cracked 5 … October 18th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border
 Other Ways to Skin a Cat

A.  Have any rational person spend one day with a cat

 

B.  Let dogs be dogs

 

C.  Start the rumor on social media that cat skins are very valuable

 

D.  Have your cat live near a Chinese restaurant

 

E.  Nurture a virus in your laboratory that loosens paw fur–then pull with delight

 cracked-5-cat

 

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