Catchy (Sitting 39) And On the Third Day… March 11th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog


Cassidy Templeton was a lineman for the electric company in Logan County, Oklahoma, which served the little town of Guthrie, population 11,000. Overnight, Guthrie went from being a quiet village of contented Sooners to a disaster area, as a tornado passed through, leaving behind a swath of destruction one mile wide and four miles long.

Cassidy was called in the middle of the night, and by the time he arrived and gathered his gear, the sun was peeking through, beginning to show the aftermath of a Mother Nature temper tantrum.

He was driving his truck on a county thoroughfare when he noticed a car stopped in the middle of the road. What was more disconcerting was the huge tree that was uprooted, sprawled across the electrical lines, pulling them down, closer and closer to the car below, as a heavy branch continued its descent.

Cassidy didn’t understand why the person in the vehicle didn’t back up to get away. He leaped out of his truck and ran up to the car, discovering a woman in her thirties, frozen in her ten o’clock/ two o’clock position, hands on the wheel.

He screamed but she didn’t respond. He looked in the back seat and saw three children buckled into position. He could hear the tree crackling above him, putting more and more weight on the lines, which were looming nearer and nearer to the car.

He just reacted. Instinctively–and stupidly–he ran and grabbed the wires to keep them from touching the car. He was struck down in the middle of the road with the full impact–electrocuted.

The woman regained her senses, backed her car up, put it in park, got out and dialed 911. Within three minutes there were firefighters and EMTs at the scene. But it was fruitless. Cassidy Templeton was dead.

They took him to the hospital, where after an hour of noble effort, he was officially declared DOA. His body was rolled into the morgue, his clothes were removed and a toe tag was attached so he could be autopsied later by the coroner.

That normally would have been the end of the story–except six hours later, a very dazed and confused Cassidy sat straight up.

Before he could realize his vulnerable position of nakedness, he got down from the table and strolled into the hallway, to the horror of the nursing staff. Fortunately, one of them noticed that he had a toe tag, and had emerged from the morgue.

He was gingerly led to a treatment room, where doctors examined him for four hours, only to discover that reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.

Cassidy was alive.

His hair was completely burned off his body and his hands were toasted, but all the other systems of his human anatomy seemed to be functioning at a high level. When friends and family arrived, frantically and joyfully, to see their loved one, they were all astounded at how mentally alert he was.

Cassidy had never been ignorant, but had eschewed most of the attributes of learning in favor of hunting. Now he sat in a chair and spoke with the articulation of a politician, without the accompanying lies. He explained to his family that something had changed. It wasn’t that he felt smarter–just that everything he had ever experienced seemed like fresh visions in his mind. He even remembered algebra.

In the midst of a horrific toll from the tornado, Cassidy’s story line was immediately picked up as a “feel good” closer for the nightly news.

Meanwhile, back at headquarters, Jubal Carlos decided to fly the whole troop into Guthrie for a noontime rally on the third day after the tornado. Matter of fact, it was the lunchtime of the morning that Cassidy was released from the hospital. The forty-six-year-old lineman went straight from his examination room to a stage in the middle of town, surrounded by about three thousand folks and the national press.

Jubal Carlos had no idea what Mr. Templeton was going to say at the rally. He had no time to prep him. Matter of fact, Cassidy arrived in a pick-up truck driven by his wife and accompanied by his son, got out, climbed up on stage, comically pounded on the congas for a few moments and then stepped toward the microphone.

Jubal spoke. “Well, I guess you know who this fella is. Around the team, we’ve started calling him “Lazman.” You remember–Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead?”

The crowd cheered and Cassidy giggled. There was a sweet, childlike quality to him that nearly startled Jubal, but he went on. “I have asked Mr. Templeton–can I call you Cassidy?”

Cassidy lit up a huge smile and nodded his head.

Jubal continued. “Anyway, I’ve asked Cassidy to come and speak to you all today, and he has literally just driven up from the hospital to be with us.”

Carlos glanced over at Cassidy, giving him a once up-and-down. “Damn, that’s the best-lookin’ dead man I’ve ever seen.”

Cassidy clapped his hands and the crowd roared with laughter and cheers. Jubal didn’t say anything else, just held out his hand, offering the platform.

Cassidy paused, glancing out at the crowd, exhibiting a few nervous twitches, and then slowly moved forward, stopped, and then spoke into the microphone, a bit surprised at how loud it was.

“It is amazing that you have to die to find out how dead you were. At least, that’s the way it worked for me. I loved my wife, I loved my town. I thought I loved God. I loved to hunt and I loved the shotgun my Grandpa gave me. I loved sweet corn with lots of butter…”

Each time Cassidy mentioned an earthly delight, the crowd murmured approval. He continued.

“But that morning, when I saw the woman and her children in the car, about ready to be pressure-cooked–yes, I guess that’s a good way of puttin’ it–I realized in a breath of time that to do nothing was to be a coward. Oh, my God, I did not want to be a coward. I didn’t want to wait and then later tell people I was following protocol. I didn’t want to see them pull four dead bodies from the scene when one would be better.”

He chuckled. “Unfortunately, that was gonna be mine.”

The audience responded with nervous laughter.

“So everything I had ever been taught, seen, believed, experienced and hoped entered my legs and pushed me forward. My hands decided to give up my life. I’d like to tell you that I thought about it. I’d like to say I was trying to do the right thing, but actually, in that split second, my something-or-other believed it was the only thing.”

Some “amens” chorused from the audience.

“They tell me I was dead. I don’t know much about that. I suppose I could tell you I saw God, Jesus or maybe Elvis. I didn’t. The next thing I remember after grabbing for that wire was looking down at myself in the hallway, standing upright, without my boxer briefs. It almost killed me again.”

The audience roared.

Cassidy concluded. “So I’m not gonna take much more of your time. But I would encourage you to go out some place by yourself, sit for a spell–and check if you’re dead, so you don’t have to die.”

He finished, then slowly walked away from the microphone as a stillness fell over the crowd.

Jubal left the tender moment alone. Everybody stood in silence for a good solid minute.

Cassidy had time to walk off the stage–a makeshift-flatbed-trailer–and start ambling toward his truck. Suddenly the gathered erupted in applause and he was surrounded by people who just wanted to touch “the Lazman.”

That night, every network led with the story. Every newspaper in America carried the picture, an insight or an editorial, and nearly all the souls in America stole a moment to take their own pulse.

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Cracked 5 … March 7th, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog


cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Other Countries Presenting Challenges Which President Trump May Wish to Ban

A.  Britain: Suspicious nooks and crannies in English muffins


B.  Luxembourg: A spelling threat


C.  Canada: Not sure what they mean by “eh”


D.  Switzerland: Neutral?? My ass!


E.  Saudi Arabia: Since most of the 9/11 terrorists were citizens of it

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Good News and Better News… January 23rd, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog



On Inauguration Day 2009, many of my conservative brothers and sisters were profoundly convinced that Barack Hussein Obama was the Anti-Christ.

Likewise, this past Friday during Inauguration, many of my more liberal brothers and sisters were in a complete stew over the assumed devastation coming with the Presidency of Donald Trump.

In this back-and-forth treachery of accusations, abiding truths are being completely ignored.

Since 9/11, we have become a nation living off of hope because of our fears, and ending up with fears because of the disappointment caused by our hope.

But hope and fear are not opposites, but rather, uncomfortable cousins–because when hope does not deliver its promises, it produces fear over its failures. And when our fears are in full force, hope is set aside with a jaded sneer because we are convinced there is really no way to escape our difficulty.

In the midst of this topsy-turvy war between hope and fear, faith and love have been set aside.

Very simply:

  • Faith is when I realize that when God and I work together, great things can be done.
  • Love is when I decide to include you.
  • And then the three of us–God, me and you–can do almost anything.

The aspiration of the church should be to return faith and love to the equation so that hope and fear do not continue to rebound off one another.

The good news is that faith makes us believe in both a divine possibility and our involvement in the solution.

The better news is that when we include love, we increase our numbers, we increase our passion, and therefore we increase our possibilities.


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G-Poppers … May 22nd, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog



G-Pop scoured his memory.

His oldest son had asked him what he thought about David Letterman retiring. G-Pop was trying to remember a quote he believed to be from Cher. Yes, he was pretty sure that Cher was the one who referred to David Letterman as “an asshole.”

It was a pretty strong conclusion.

Actually, Letterman was not an asshole–he was a smartass. A smartass is someone who is so insecure about being dumb that he will act like an ass to prove he’s smart.

Yeah, that pretty well sums up David Letterman in his early years.

The trouble with a smartass is that he may accidentally end up conveying a jaded or negative approach about life around him. He believes that profile to be the definition of humor.

Time marches on.

Yes, some pain entered the life of David Letterman:

  • There was the pain he saw of 9/11.
  • There was the pain he inflicted with a sexual scandal with staffers.
  • And there was the pain he felt when he was confronted with heart problems and had to have bypass surgery.

When you come out of the pain, you want to stop the pain. You don’t want to be the cause ever again.

David Letterman became more comical as he got older. But when he lost a little bit of his “asshole,” he also dropped in the ratings, proudly ending up in the trailing position of three late-night hosts.

But he learned. Humor is pain diverted. Diverted where?

To a common human understanding.

To comprehend David Letterman, you had to be willing to be silly. You had to cast sophistication to the side in favor of sheer joy.

Because silly is where mature people go to laugh at the pain. 

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An Eye for a Tooth… July 17, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog


eyeballGenerally speaking, I make a practice of avoiding anything that Hitler liked. Matter of fact, sometimes I’m a little uncomfortable about sporting a mustache.

Adolf despised gypsies, spirituality, homosexuals and let us not forget … Jews.

But ironically, considering his disdain for Abraham’s seed, he was a faithful follower of the Law of Moses–at least in the sense that he fervently applied the discipline of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” If a German soldier was killed in occupied lands, it was the edict in the Nazi Party to have ten locals murdered in retribution.

So even though the concept of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is included in what we refer to as “holy writ,” I know that it never came from the mind of any God who created human beings and understands our chemistry.

As a race, we are completely and totally devoid of the ability to be even. So what we always end up doing is plucking out an eye … for a tooth.

For instance, if we had actually gone in to Afghanistan after 9/11 and used specially trained troops to hunt down Osama bin Laden and twenty-eight hundred of his cult members and punished them for what they did in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., and then departed, we would have demonstrated the literal application of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

But that’s not what we did.

Infuriated, bruised, energized and over-wrought, we launched ourselves into twelve years of war, costing hundreds of thousands of lives.

Why? Because human beings can’t measure. Even though Jesus warned us that the “meter we measure out” to other people will come right back to us, we become enraged and inflict too much punishment for what has happened to us.

So are you telling me that God didn’t KNOW this about the emotional human beings He created?

  • Are you telling me He would have told Moses to unleash vengeful people on their enemies, hoping for some restraint?
  • How about this–did we really need to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, killing hundreds of thousands of people, to end the war–pay back for Pearl Harbor?

What might seem to be an unpatriotic questioning of our country’s dealings is actually just a microscope placed on human character, explaining WHY retribution never works.

If you punch me in the face, I am much too explosive to immediately respond to you because I am completely capable of losing control and taking more from you than you gave to me–even to the point of destroying your life.

The purpose of turning the other cheek is not to be a loser. It is to give yourself a chance to keep from losing control and doing something that you truly should regret, but end up rationalizing.

It is astounding to me that our heartland citizens always espouse that we are “a Christian nation,” when we continue to follow the principles of Judaism, Islam and even Adolf Hitler. Someone has to grow up.

If we really could be even and take “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” then who knows? Maybe the system would be a deterrent to evil. But historically, dastardly acts have always stirred formerly reasonable people to flirt with darkness.

So what IS the answer?

We need to admit that an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” and any attempt to initiate punishment on our own is not only going to perpetuate the problem, but will actually accelerate it.

I turn the other cheek because I don’t want my temper to control my future.

There you go.

After all, if you don’t do it that way, you find yourself defeated–with the world turned against you, stuck in a bunker, too frightened to swallow the pill and too much of a coward to put the gun to your head.


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They, We and I — September 13, 2011


They, We and I (1,268)


As I was packing up to leave on Sunday morning, an aged but sprightly couple—I assumed to be somewhere in their mid-eighties—came up to my table and posed a question. “What can we do to be less religious and more like Jesus?”

At the same time, a young man, maybe about fifteen, also strolled up, overheard the question and said, “Me, too. That was gonna be my question.”

I just smiled—exactly what God wants. The older generation and younger generation finding the same mind in the spiritual realm, to do great things together. And fortunately for me, the answer for both of them was the same. Isn’t it grand when truth applies to all races, genders and ages? Here’s what I told them:

Believing in something falls into three categories—they, we and I. If you want to escape being overly religious, you’ve got to stay away from “we” because spirituality is a world that revolves around “I.” In other words, you’re not trying to force other people to agree with you. You’re not even attempting to put together a fellowship of believers who coagulate around the bloodstream of a great idea. It is simply your own person conviction—what’s right for you. Here’s an example.

Number 1: I believe in God. See how simple that is? It’s just who I am. I’m not drawing any judgments on those who don’t. I’m not even requiring that you participate in the adventure. I’m just asking you for two things—to allow me the grace and space to do so, and secondly, you might want to note if it’s a fruitful experience for me.

Number 2: We believe in God. I know agreement is a good thing, but when faith requires linking up with other people, getting them to agree with me, the beauty of the experience becomes a bit tainted with possible self-righteousness. Is believing in God really more powerful because ten people do it instead of just one? After all, the first confession of faith was made by one simple fisherman from Capernaum, Galilee, who spoke his own heart without fear of the world around him or the need to have reinforcements. “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”

Religion is created when we feel the need to have others agree with us to give credence to what we do instead of having the simple faith to work out our own salvation with a bit of fear and trembling. The problem with adding “we” to any belief is that very quickly it can transform into…

Number 3: They. Religion often becomes weary with its own tenets and begins to attack others. It expresses insecurity about its own precepts by trying to extinguish the energy of contrary beliefs surrounding it. So “we believe in God” can easily turn into “they don’t believe in our God. And because they don’t believe in God, we must …” Well, there’s the problem. The completion of that phrase could be—and has been—anything from evangelizing “them” to flying planes into their buildings.

The perfect expression of “God in me” is found in the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd (you don’t have to agree)

I shall not want (you can feel free to want at will)

He makes me to lie down in green pastures (if you enjoy the desert, it’s your choice)

He leads me beside the still waters (you like the rapids? Go for it!)

He restores my soul (you don’t need restoring? I’m so glad for you!)

He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake (maybe you’ve found righteousness without being led. Not so for me.)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil (yes, that’s the question, isn’t it? Who are we when it comes to an end?)

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (I’m not leaving you out. I hope you find your house.)

If you want to escape religion, you need to cease and desist requiring a confirmation of your own testimony by having everyone affirm everything you believe. The danger of “we” is that it becomes religion—speckled with self-righteousness—and then can quickly descend into evil, which is making enemies of our brothers and sisters instead of finding ways to build bridges and repair the breech.

Of course, I didn’t go into this much detail with the couple and the young man, but I think they understood. I think they comprehended that if a way of thinking is really fulfilling, we don’t need to line up an army behind us and we certainly don’t need to use that army to destroy others.

Pure religion and undefiled, says James in his epistle, is to visit the fatherless and widows and keep yourself unspotted from the world. It isn’t demanding that other people do it or criticizing them because you found spots on them that looked like the world. If righteousness is really a great human gift, then it doesn’t require reinforcements or applause—just enactment.

So wherever you are, if your faith demands a “we,” it has moved into the realm of religion and in these tenuous times can too easily be turned into a “they”—looking for enemies instead of making friends.

For me? I believe in God and find great comfort in the teachings of Jesus. How about you?

They Dare — September 12, 2011

They Dare (1,267)

I’m going to take the risk.

I spent a delightful morning in Perry Hall, Maryland, enjoying the human beings that came before me and stood with me on September 11th, 2011. Such fine people. I am enriched beyond words to be in the presence of God’s good folk.

I met a minister who quietly goes about the business of loving people and maintaining a vision for his congregation. He has quite a background. He was a missionary for many years in the Caribbean and also in Africa. So many stories he can tell us. But yesterday was not a time for us to share our personal potential, but instead, commemorate the horrific loss on September 11th, 2001.

Here’s the risk I’m going to take: America stinks at commemorating. We have no idea how to turn an event of such tragedy into a celebration of human life. I’ll give you a clue—it doesn’t revolve around showing one more ash-covered person escaping from a collapsing building. Matter of fact, promise to do me a favor—ten years after I die, would you please swear not to sit around and discuss how I died, how horrible it was and how brave I was during the process? Would you please have a great conversation about my life, my dreams, my fulfillments and my legacy?

Because all of the discussions of the weekend—all of the news broadcasts, in my opinion, just served to produce the frustrated, self-righteous attitude of, “How dare they?” How dare these terrorists come and attack our country? How dare they destroy human lives? How dare they intrude upon our way of thinking and believing?

They dare.

And they will again—because they err. Yes. They dare because they err.

They have taken three portions of life that are precious and glorious when balanced and have turned them into a war cry instead of a gift from God. Country, God and family. They’re over-zealous about their national status, their upbringing and religion tells them they are a “chosen” race with a mission to save the world through their particular brand of “Godism.” And when it comes to God, they are convinced He is a wrathful blaze of anger, ready to extinguish the heathen into a vapor. And they only see family as being those who are linked to them through genetics, culture and proximity.

Yes, these are the three things that make people crazy—too much patriotism, a belief that God hates some people and loves others and that your family is limited to those who gather around your table for the holidays.

While we decry the actions of these pathetic madmen, we must be careful that we do not allow ourselves to become just as single-minded in these areas, and therefore in our own way, just as dangerous.

How did Jesus address these issues? He made it clear that he was not part of a provincial thinking, but rather, embraced the entire world. When the people around him wanted to lock him into a Jewish family in Nazareth, he refused to go back home, but instead, gestured to the people in the room with him and said, “Anyone who does the will of my Father is my mother, my sister and my brother.”

When he was rejected by his own countrymen, he said, “A prophet has no honor in his own country—amongst his own kin.”

And when dealing with the severe nationalism of the Jewish race, he told the leaders that “God was able to make children of Abraham from the stones.”

And finally, he made it clear that we should be careful not to expect a warm greeting from God if we treat those around us who are considered the “least” with disrespect and dishonor.

I was not pleased with how America handled this anniversary. However, there were some bright moments—honoring the courage of those on Flight 93, who gave their lives to save an unknown target in Washington, D.C., was moving. When they focused in on individual people, their stories and dreams, I was touched. When Mayor Bloomberg said that the tragedy had brought about thousands people moving into New York and turning it into a more family-environment rather than merely a habitat for Wall Street, I was astounded at the image. When I realized that because of the efforts of firemen, policemen and first responders, nearly 25,000 people were saved from the destruction, I was moved to tears.

Every commemoration must end in a celebration of human life or we merely confirm that we’re victims and we develop that arrogant notion, “How dare they?”

They dare because they believe their country is supreme, their God is mean, and their family is small. Let us not make the same mistake.

So I thank each and every one of you for your ongoing miracle of living out your heart and soul. I am glad to be on the planet with you at this time. And I am grateful that we, as Americans, can overcome our feelings of self-importance and realize that our country is part of a world which exists as a tiny spot in a universe created by a God who loves and grants mercy and wisdom to those who care—and teaches us to enjoy our personal families, as we extend that same tenderness to the entire family of man.

God bless America.

Yes. God bless America as we continue to bless others.

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