Not Long Tales … December 3rd, 2019

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(4441)

17.

The Man Who Would Be…

Santa Claus.

A complicated simplification.

For he is a homebody with a flair for adventure and a generous soul with a mission to “nice up the naughty.”

A lowly toymaker with a vision for all the children of the world.

Reginald Carlson was a fan of Santa Claus. He was obsessed with the good saint from the North. It was usually the second thing he shared with any person he met, right after saying, “Fine. How are you?”

For twenty years, Reggie (as they called him at work) found his station in life in the backroom of the local post office, sorting letters that he hoped found correct destinations. But all day long, he would share, with whomever would listen, whatever he had recently learned about Father Christmas.

He studied books.

He read all the legends.

He had over two thousand pictures of Old Saint Nick in his personal possession.

For Reggie, rather than reaching an age when he ceased to believe in Santa Claus, not only continued to keep his faith in the icon but developed a hero worship—an everlasting sensation of sympathetic connection.

He wanted to be Santa Claus. There were three problems:

First, Reggie couldn’t get any skinnier if he were to fast for ten days. No, not an ounce of fat on Mr. Carlson’s frame.

He was also not bestowed with hundreds and hundreds of elfin assistants to aid him in his quest to bring a toy and joy to every girl and boy.

And finally, the traditional marshmallow-white skin envisioned for the toy-giver—well, Reggie’s was a bit more toasted.

But in the midst of one of his musings about trying to do something to become more “Clausian,” he came up with his idea:

North Poling.

It was a rather plain concept. Reggie envisioned selecting twenty small towns in his home state and finding a group of grown-ups in each locale who would become Santa Claus to their community by taking all the families in their little village who were unable to provide a solid Christmas for their children—and not only provide the toys and extras, but deliver them, wearing costumes, on Christmas Eve.

Reggie was so excited he could barely contain himself.

He shared the dream with everyone he knew, and though it seemed a bit farfetched to them, it had a bit of sparkle and nobility, which made each one promise to support and even participate.

Counting his hometown of Baskerville, Missouri, Reggie lined up twelve other communities within a hundred-mile radius and started writing letters. City councils, mayors, preachers, store owners…

He contacted charities and pursued government grants to procure the money for the yuletide venture.

Word of his efforts spread quickly, and some pictures of the first fruits of his gathering in Baskerville even went viral on the Internet.

He received an invitation from the television show, “Invest or Bust.” The program featured entrepreneurs with reasonable ideas, who presented their plans, trying to get money for their causes from the star of the show, who dubbed himself “Snarky.”

Snarky was hard to convince. He was prideful, cynical and had left many people in tears, walking away feeling foolish for having uttered their visions.

Things were going so well with North Poling and there was such a great level of intrigue that when Reggie received the invitation from “Invest or Bust,” he was reluctant to appear. But everybody circled around him, hounding him, for a whole week, until he nodded his head, called back on the phone and set a date for taping.

Meanwhile, Reggie had no illusions of grandeur. He didn’t need some billionaire from New York City to feed his hopes with cash. He kept promoting. He kept sharing. He kept believing and even started his initial planning.

By the time he headed off to tape “Invest or Bust,” there were ten communities which had agreed to be part of North Poling, with over a hundred volunteers. He was ecstatic. His faith in becoming Santa Claus was materializing right before his eyes.

So he took the trip to New York more or less as a lark. He imagined himself being the bearer of great news and receiving—well, overall, a vote of confidence.

But when the show was taped, Snarky, being particularly surly that night, attacked Reggie for his presumption, explaining that it was not only foolish and a waste of time and money, but that in a sense he was discouraging poor people from improving their situation. Reggie tried to defend himself, but Snarky kept up his attack, viciously snarling rebukes and repudiation.

At length, Reggie explained that he wasn’t looking for any money and really didn’t need Snarky’s approval. In doing so, he feared that he had come off angry and defensive.

Reggie was so disappointed with his appearance on “Invest or Bust” that he took an early flight home, only to discover that apparently the whole world had been watching.

The phone started ringing.

One after another, the small towns that had signed up for the project pulled out, stating that they lacked the money or some other lame excuse.

Snarky’s prophesy about the adventure being doomed was being fulfilled.

There seemed to be no encouragement coming in from the appearance in New York except one tailor from Los Angeles, who donated a red and white pinstripe Santa suit for Reggie to wear. When the garment arrived three days later, Reggie looked at the beautiful costume with a deep sense of futility. All that was left was Baskerville, which had shrunk to a staff of only five—to deliver toys to thirty-two households.

Then a sneaky, sinister statement began to circle through the community.

Reggie was trying to make money off the idea.

One of the volunteers asked him why he had so much money in his checking account. Reggie was shocked. How did this fellow know how much money he had bank? It was outlined to Reggie that “someone knew someone” who worked at the bank.

Reggie explained that he had no place to put the donation money that was coming in, or the few grants that had been afforded his way.

But it didn’t really matter what story he offered. The five Baskerville volunteers were really just looking for a reason to escape. They all deserted.

It was three days before Christmas, and all through the town, all the creatures were stirring, but no support was around.

Reggie was depressed. His wife and oldest son had cautiously stepped away. Oh, they still spoke their support, but whenever he brought up new ideas or asked if they would help him find more volunteers, they gently changed the subject.

The question hanging in the air all over Baskerville was:

What is Reggie going to do on Christmas Eve with what he’s begun if he has no one to help him. What will become of the money? What will happen with the toys? What will he do with the huge truck he rented for the evening?

The answer was simple: Reggie had no idea.

By five o’clock Christmas Eve afternoon, he sat alone in a rented warehouse, staring at presents which were already wrapped—with no place to go.

He was alone. Darkness was falling. The warehouse was chilly, with shadows were lingering across the walls. Reggie sat on a big box containing five bicycles—and started to cry.

After about a half an hour, weary of his own tears, he spoke aloud.

“I am not a religious man. I have nothing against God (if You’re listening). I just don’t like church—sitting for so long and ending up doing nothing. I don’t get it. I mean, if there is anything supernatural—if there is a spirit that causes Santa Claus to be real, why in the hell didn’t it show up? Is it because of me? Am I so stinky and dumb and meaningless that the idea has to wait for a better person to carry it? What did I do wrong?”

He continued. “Was it prideful for me to go to New York? Why couldn’t North Poling work? Even if it is a dumb idea, other dumb ideas work. Putting cinnamon on cereal kind of worked. I think it’s stupid, but it’s still out there. They messed up Coca Cola for a while, but people are still drinking Coke. And even when we have really bad politicians, no one gives up on the government. What happened?”

All at once Reggie raised his voice with a mighty thunder. “What in the hell happened?”

He heard a sound behind him and whirled around.

Standing there was Kathy Gillespie. She was one of the teenagers from the high school—a cheerleader. Reggie knew her because the school often sent her down to the post office to pick up specific packages that the principal wanted as soon as possible.

There she was, standing in the darkened room, frightened and shivering. Reggie foolishly stepped toward her. She jerked back, terrified. “I’m sorry,” she said sheepishly. “I didn’t know you were crazy.”

She burst into tears, turned on her heel and ran out of the warehouse. Reggie thought about chasing her but the image of a grown man tracking down a teenage girl in the night didn’t seem very promising. So instead, the middle-aged post office laborer loaded a few things into the truck, not certain what he would do once everything was in place. All he knew was that he needed to make a go of it.

And if he couldn’t finish it, he still needed to begin.

The truck was nearly loaded. He stepped out and walked down the ramp, and there before him was Kathy again—but this time, she had brought seven teenage boys and five teenage girls with her. Standing alongside them were what appeared to be six younger brothers and three little sisters.

Reggie didn’t know whether to defend his angry speech to Kathy or to simply allow her to share why she had returned. Was she going to try to get him in trouble? Had she brought friends to make fun of him?

Kathy, sensing his nervousness, spoke up. “I’m sorry I bothered you the first time,” she said sweetly. “I ran away because—well, because you seemed kinda nuts.”

One of the boys laughed but then covered his mouth. Reggie was about ready to speak when the girl continued. “The reason we came was that all of us here—felt that you got treated, well…you got treated…”

The biggest boy of the group jumped in. “Like shit,” he said in a basal tone. This caused everybody to laugh. Reggie even chuckled through his depression.

“Well, anyway,” said Kathy, “we thought it was terrible. I mean, all you wanted was to be Santa Claus to a bunch of kids who need one. If we’re gonna wait for answers to fly out of the sky, then a lot of people are going to go without.”

Reggie’s eyes filled with tears. He was sensing that something beautiful was about to happen. He needed to just be still.

Kathy, who apparently had been assigned as a spokesperson, went on. “Well, anyway, there’s only…”

She looked around at the gathered friends. “…about a dozen of us. Maybe more. But we’ve come out—by the way, with our parents’ permission…”

More laughter.

Kathy cleared her throat. “We’ve come out to help you deliver all the stuff in your truck.”

Reggie was beside himself with joy.

It wasn’t the army of toy givers he had envisioned.

It wasn’t the march of twelve communities in unison, providing for the needs of the less fortunate.

It was not the triumph of his childhood dream to become Santa Claus.

But it was something. It was something good.

Maybe the towns should have done better. Maybe Snarky could have been kinder. Maybe…

But this Christmas, it would be the children doing the leading.

It would be those who were young caring for their young friends who didn’t have enough.

There was something heavenly about it.

It took the better part of the night. Some households were happy to see the truck arrive. Others felt put out because of the lateness of the hour.

It didn’t matter.

At exactly 4:02 A. M., they delivered the final wrapped present—this one was for the McCaultry children.

They were done.

Reggie put all his helpers, his elfin assistants, into the back of the truck and drove to a restaurant about ten miles away and treated the whole entourage to breakfast.

Stories, laughter, tears, jubilance.

The owner of the restaurant was so impressed by what this quickly-put-together committee had accomplished that he gave them their morning eats for free. Reggie was speechless.

In its simplicity, North Poling worked.

Maybe trying to do something big was the opposite of Santa Claus.

Maybe trying to get the whole world involved and failing was why we needed a Santa Claus in the first place.

When Reggie arrived back at the warehouse and parked the truck, the kids all got out, hugged, and then turned to head home.

Reggie watched them walk away. They probably always had been good kids—but now they were good kids who had done something good.

Reggie learned a lot that Christmas.

Mainly, Reggie learned that being Santa is a hard row to ho-ho-ho.

 

 

Good News and Better News … May 2nd, 2016

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Konnoak Hills UMC Good News

Our clothes get dirty.

When this happens, we check our GPS and head off toward a local laundromat.

It is always an adventure–we certainly encounter some intriguing human beings.

Jan met a woman who was frail, lying on a bench, who told her that she had spent the night in a hospital ward, taking chemotherapy. She explained that she needed to eat something but was not really hungry.

Jan pressed the point and offered to buy her a meal. The lady described in detail a certain entrée just down the road at Bojangles that she might be able to choke down–mentioning that she would want the selection with extra hot sauce.

So Jan and I trekked to Bojangles to procure the treat.

Why? Did we do it because we thought the woman was in need of nourishment? Were we convinced that this little action of mercy was a way to convey love and affection to this frail child of God?

Absolutely not. We did it for us. For after all, to do anything else makes you feel like crap.

Let’s understand something–people who are lost are horrible.

That’s why they’re lost. They’re not “partly good and partly bad.” They aren’t following five of the Ten Commandments. They are often selfish, liars and wiling to do almost anything to get their way.

The truth is, you have a choice in life: you can work or you can con. If you don’t want to work, you’ll probably end up conning.

Anyway, back to the story: we brought the chicken, gave it to the lady and left her alone to enjoy her delicacy. A few minutes later she was gone. (I asked Jan to do a sketch of her just so we would have the memory. See below.)

We have to remember what the purpose is for hope, faith and love.

We’re not hoping the world becomes a better place, that our faith will produce miracles, or love will change the planet.

Hope, faith and love abide. That’s what the Good Book says. They abide because they really don’t solve problems–they just prevent us from becoming part of the mess.

Hope gives me the confidence to get up every morning thinking I can actually accomplish my mission.

Faith embraces me with the belief that I am not alone–what I do and say matters.

And love is my doorway to escape hate because hate sucks.

When I went to the church on Sunday morning–Konnoak Hills United Methodist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina–this was fresh on my mind.

Such beautiful people with wonderful stories, who are constantly being bombarded with the concept that the world is changing at a breakneck pace, so they’d better grab onto the caboose or be left at the station.

Hogwash.

Right now in our country, “crazy” thinks it is the boss. It’s time for us to rise up and share the good news:

  • Shouting is loud, not smart.
  • Popular is advertised, not quality.
  • Anger is mean, not strong.
  • Cynical is frustrated, not clever.
  • And atheism is the absence of hope, not evidence of intellect.

I gave my faith, hope and love to the folks yesterday morning at Konnoak Hills. That’s the good news.

The better news is that I hope they’re smart enough to realize that the lost we are trying to reach can never be virtuous enough to please us.

It’s up to us to bring the heart, soul and patience to the matter.

 

Good News Winston Salem

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G-Poppers … April 15th, 2016

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Jon close up

G-Pop’s grandson was a bit spooked by the notion of evil coming from the hearts of humans, so G-Pop continued his discussion with a little more sensitivity toward a little boy’s tender consciousness.

“Let’s put it this way,” said G-Pop. “If evil is out of our control, then who’s to say that goodness is available for us to choose?

The power in life is in having power in your life.

If the devil can defeat you and the angels have to rescue you, you kind of become the classic damsel, constantly in distress. So here’s where evil comes in:

  • Our appetites. We’re just too hungry.

We keep looking for adventure. And the more advertised forms usually involve risk or deceit.

Our true adventure is life. And when we screw it up the first time, fortunately for us, we usually have another chance to revisit the location with a better travel plan.

Our appetites drive us to do stupid things. It’s good to be hungry, but just as we adjust our physical diet to include nourishing portions, we should do the same with our emotional, spiritual and mental buffet.

  • Our second problem is ego. It’s when we are too selfish.

There is certainly nothing wrong with loving yourself if you make sure to leave enough time to grant your neighbor the same courtesy. But if you believe you must destroy, out-flank, cheat or curse your brothers and sisters to get your portion, you will eventually hatch some form of evil.

  • And finally, there’s delusion.I’m too important.’

Finding our true worth is our greatest achievement. Otherwise we start thinking we’re more valuable than we really are, making us pompous, or less valuable, which causes us to become defensive over our deteriorating worth.

This allows delusion to come to the forefront. We convince ourselves that we have a greater capacity than we can prove, and become quite infuriated when anyone challenges our assessment.

When our appetites make us too hungry and our egos cause us to become selfish, then our delusion makes us insist that we are primarily important.

There you have the formula for evil.

Goodness is when we let our appetites lure us to righteousness, our egos make us generous to the needs of others and our delusion is eliminated because we know exactly who we are and who we aren’t.”

G-Pop finished explaining this to his grandson. Amazingly, the little fella appeared to understand.

He turned and said, “I think I’ve got it, G-Pop. Don’t eat too much of anything.”

G-Pop smiled.

A pretty good analysis.

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Good News and Better News … September 7th, 2015

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Sugar river

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.

Verona, Wisconsin has a small church called Sugar River. I had the pleasure of being the guest artist for that congregation yesterday morning.

There is much good news to proclaim about Sugar River. First of all, they have the unique distinction of meeting in a former bowling alley, which honestly, unleashed the “demon” of pun and wordplay I felt had been dormant in my soul, culminating with me referring to the gathered as “a bunch of Holy Rollers.”

What was good about Sugar River?

1. They seemed glad to be there.

That in itself is a bit unusual in this day and age, when many people arrive at church with the passion level of a fresh recruit assigned to guard duty.

2. They kind of liked each other.

I know that may seem to be a silly statement, but merely attending the same worship facility does not necessarily stimulate friendship any more than arriving at a political debate causes all the candidates to hug.

3. They are weary of “old church.”

I’m not so sure that “old church” was ever a church. The real old church we often refer to was filled with compassion, energy and social awareness, but the old church that exists today is the back-slidden version of that former gregarious gang. Either way, Sugar River is tired of the back-slidden body of Christ.

4. But they all seemed a little afraid of the change they know must come.

Matter of fact, it’s causing many churches to cement their spirits and become advocates of certain doctrines, so as to protect themselves from the perceived anarchy that just might happen if the religious system was exposed for being a charlatan.

So I was happy to bring them better news. Matter of fact, Jesus often began his discourses with “be not afraid.”

No, Sugar River, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

The church that will emerge from the existing malaise now exists will only require that you bring your heart.

  • Not your soul, so you can pore through the scriptures to find obscure interpretations.
  • Not merely your mind, so you can draw psychological parallels between theology and the latest Hollywood movie.
  • And not just your body, to plop down and go through the formalities of surviving an order of service.

You will be required to be emotionally involved with your heavenly Father and with those humans around you.

You also will be unleashed to “be of good cheer.”

The only true enemy of spirituality is the notion that we seriously can figure out God. Discovering that we can’t and having a good laugh about it is the abundant joy that Jesus promised us in following His path.

The world has tribulation.

Heaven is beyond our grasp.

So be of good cheer.

Relax in your skin, love your life, and don’t get too solemn.

And finally, the last piece of better news for Sugar River is: be prepared to simplify.

Everything is complicated. Matter of fact, we are almost prideful in the pursuit of complicating things further.

In a world of unsolved problems, the genius in the room is the person who walks away from the problems and finds a place to be productive.

Simplify.

Get your faith down to two or three solid ideas, and then chase them down with all your heart.

I enjoyed my time at Sugar River.

And I’m so glad that I went to the former bowling alley with my spare time…and made a strike.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 41 (July 14th, 1967) Needing Change… November 22, 2014

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(Transcript)

It had never happened before.

There was going to be a carnival set up at the Westerville Shopping Center, right across the street from Redman’s Hardware.

Even though that in itself was cool, even cooler was that this cavalcade of amusements was advertising unlimited rides and midway games for five dollars for the whole day.

It was great.

The only trouble was, Randy and I didn’t have five dollars apiece, so I was ready to do my usual small-town plan of giving up and spending my carnival time complaining about missing the parade.

Randy, on the other hand, had an idea.

He went down to our local phone booth, sitting on the north corner of the Town Commons, and stuffed a bunch of Kleenex into the change return, so that when people missed a call or had money coming back their way, it would get caught and would not return to them.

I thought it was the dumbest idea I’d ever heard.

I wasn’t so concerned that it was dishonest as that I didn’t think we would ever get ten dollars out of such an adventure, with the money coming out in increments of ten cents a throw.

But Rand did it anyway, and three days later, when he pulled out the Kleenex, we ended up with a haul of $10.75.

Apparently a very popular phone booth.

We could not have been more giddy. We went to the carnival and had a fabulous time, never once feeling guilty about how we acquired the funds.

No, for me it was four days later.

I was sitting in my mother and father’s loan company, and I peered out the window and saw there was a policeman inspecting the phone booth.

It scared the crap out of me.

I had to do something–not out of guilt over my misstep, but rather, because I didn’t want to go to Juvenile Hall, where I heard they only served partially cooked pot pies.

So when my parents weren’t looking, I snuck into the safe of the loan company and grabbed a roll of dimes. I quietly stepped over to the phone booth, trying to pretend like I was going to make a call, and as calmly as possible, stuffed that whole role of dimes back into the slot, one at a time, to do recompense for my sin.

Once again, it never occurred to me that I stole from my parents to cover my previous thievery.

It was nearly three weeks later, when my uncle gave me five dollars for school supplies, that my conscience finally showed up.

I determined to go to the bank, purchase a roll of dimes and slip them back into the safe, no one the wiser.

Unfortunately, my plan was foiled by the fact that my parents hung around all day long, never giving me the chance to do penance.

I decided to try again the next day, but on the way home I passed by the local five and dime, and they were advertising candy bars–six for 20 cents.

Well, the only 20 cents I had was in the roll of dimes, and I thought, what the hell? What difference would two dimes make?

The next day I forgot to return my dimes to the loan company, but I did stop off at the Dairy Queen to get a hot dog and a coke, which took another seven dimes.

Long story short, within a week I spent all the dimes I had planned to return.

I didn’t feel bad–I felt stupid.

I did make one determination, and that was to never steal from the phone booth again. And when Randy tempted me, I changed the subject and refrained from further iniquity.

From then on, I went on a personal journey in search of my own integrity.

It was ten years later, long after my dad had died.

I was visiting my mother at her home, and I walked up to her and gently placed a roll of dimes into her hand. She looked up at me, quizzically.

I patted her on the shoulder and said, “It’s a really, really long story…”

 

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Populie: Always Be Positive … April 2, 2014

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black eye smiley faceTo review: a POPULIE is an idea which is popular but is laced with a lie.

It is something we agree to when we’re around large groups of people, but privately either question or dismiss as irrelevant when applying it to our own lives.

One of these is the contention that it is important in all of our dealings to “always be positive.”

Politics loves it because promises get votes. Reality often scares people away.

Entertainment favors this particular populie of “always be positive” because it gives them an ending to a movie that the audience members can predict, making them feel smart and preferably, happy.

And religion touts this precept because we have this imbalanced notion that faith is about believing that good things will always happen because God is in control. (Of course, on the flip side, spiritually it makes us believe that when bad things happen, we’re being punished.)

I think the most important question we can ask is what kind of people does this create and what kind of society does it evolve?

If you’re going to live a life where you’re always trying to be positive, you will view trials, tribulations and hassles as deterrents to your cause instead of little friends–pesky as they are–who come along to warn you of fallacies in your plans.

So if you’ll allow me to offer an alternative to this populie:

THE CORE OF FOUR

Yes, let me introduce you to the Core of Four.

We need to determine what our outlook should be in any given situation. To get this information, simply ask four quick questions:

1. What do I see?

Faith is not about poking your eyes out until you become blind. Faith is about accepting what you see, but then also being able to see beyond it, to further possibilities. You will never be successful if you’re not able to deal with reality. Matter of fact, one of the signs of mental illness is the insistence that reality should “go away.”

2. What do I believe?

Sometimes the things you want to accomplish are not yet seen, but the need for them is still in existence. Belief is a wonderful combination of what we see, what we desire and what we’re willing to endure.

3. What will I do?

A positive attitude is quickly killed off by an unwillingness to participate. I won’t tell people I think a plan will work if I cannot commit to them how I will be involved. For after all, nice words and encouraging prayers are not very helpful in the heat of the struggle.

4. And finally, what are the prospects?

As I take a look at what I see, what I believe and what I’m willing to do, it pretty quickly becomes obvious what the logical prospects are for the adventure.

After this evaluation, I can choose my profile.

  • Often I can be passionately positive, because my “see, believe, do and conclusions” are very encouraging.
  • On other occasions, it’s important to be realistic. That which I see, believe, and am willing to do show my prospects to be within the realm of possibility–but maybe not quite as fruitful as I once thought.
  • And finally, there are times when it is required for us to be needfully negative. What we see, believe, and are willing to do has brought forth prospects which show that this particular endeavor is doomed.

A fruitful process. It is the absence of the populie which tells us that we should walk around with a smirk on our face, saying that everything will be fine, when secretly we’re dying inside.

Don’t forget your Core of Four. This will help you to choose the right attitude to approach each and every opportunity.

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New Life… January 4, 2014

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New Life

I picked up my calendar and noticed that tonight I’m going to be sharing at New Life Lutheran Church in Pearland, Texas. I couldn’t help but notice the two words: New Life.

I like that idea. I think everybody wants a new life to some degree, even if they’re enjoying the essence of their present journey. “New” is fun and fresh, and “life” is beautiful, if for no other reason than it’s the absence of death.

But I have never been a soul satisfied with the offerings of organized religion. I want new life, but Heaven and the promise of eternal existence is not enough to get me through Earth.

I need some heaven done here.

This is what Jesus promised in the Good Book–that it was possible for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I’ve always wondered why we thought Heaven was going to be so special if we weren’t impressed with the adventure God offers us on Earth. It’s like owning a Toyota Camry and being dissatisfied, and having the company offer you a Tercel. Still made by Toyota. No reason to believe the different name will make things better.

So I go to Jesus to find out what he thinks life is. Two things jump out immediately. He contended that life should be “abundant” and life should be “joyful.” Actually–full joy.

So what is abundance? I suppose it could be interpreted as “wealth” or accumulation. But I think in this case it means variety.

Yes, I will know that I have new life when I’m not afraid of what’s coming. If God was with me yesterday, why would I believe that overnight He’s abandoned me simply because today offers a different dilemma?

Yet, it is what plagues us. We really gain new life when we’re not afraid of what’s coming and we welcome the abundance because we know it grants us the wisdom to use our talents to gain our security.

And I need joy. Joy is the decision to be happy while you’re pursuing contentment.

If you do it the other way around, you’ll end up quite disappointed, trying to find contentment as a means of determining your happiness. This means that every disruption of your experience, actually bringing abundance, will distress you instead of bless you.

Yes, “new life” is the ingenious blending of abundance and joy.

So as I talk to these folks tonight I will share with them that Jesus did not come to try to make things comfortable. Instead, he came to comfort us as we grow able to handle our circumstance while maintaining our good cheer, eager for a chance to prove that what is in us … is up to the challenge.. 

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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