Good News and Better News … August 1st, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Enola NewsletterI always request a church newsletter–every place I go. I imagine the staff might speculate on why I want it. They might think I’m trying to confirm whether our appearance was adequately advertised, but since I’m already there, it would be fruitless to know.

The reason I read the church newsletter is that I’m trying to figure out what they’re doing and where they’re going.

It’s very important. Without a definite idea on doing and going, we can find ourselves whisked away with many a tornado of confusion.

So I read the newsletter of Enola Emmanuel United Methodist Church while I was sitting in my green room before the program.

The main article was about “branding”–passing on an easily identifiable image to the surrounding community concerning mission.

Here’s the dilemma: in branding, we too often try to chase spiritual goals, using limited human abilities. For instance, we extol the importance of prayer, witnessing, church attendance and Bible reading to human folk who spend most of their time working, eating and sleeping.

Jesus had a different idea.

He told us that the world was full of tribulation but there wasn’t anything we would be able to do about that.Good News Enola Good cheer

He also said the world would need to be overcome. He placed that chore on himself.

He gave us a human mission: “Be of good cheer.”

Yet if you share this with people, they look at you as if you’re silly or irresponsible. But good cheer is the only thing we can accomplish with energy.

It begins by understanding that church should not be a service or a worship experience, but rather, a rally. We need to teach our congregations to:

1. Be

“I will find joy, joyfully”

2. Of

“I will join with others”

3. Good

“Together we will discover what is valuable”

4. Cheer

“Linking in fellowship, we will celebrate goodness”

Removing celebration from church is like taking the breath out of lungs. It leaves us with reverence and no praise. The Gospel of Jesus was intended to be human-friendly, not ethereal.

Good News Enola penSit down, take a pen and paper and write what turns you on. Make a list of the things you find joyful, enhancing and enriching. Then go out and find a way to do those things while benefitting others.

There is an empty chair waiting in the church for the person who will dare to be real and admit that he or she is human, and not ashamed of it.

The good news is that branding is finding our way to “be of good cheer.”

The better news is that cheerful people are a great draw.

Good News Enola chair

 

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Do As: Heal … January 26, 2013

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Spirited set

6:52 P.M. last night–eight minutes until show time in Lake Worth, Florida. Above you see a shot of the stage, which I am about to enter. What do I know?

First, if you don’t mind, let’s look at what I don’t know:

  1. I don’t know if anyone will be out there, in the audience. I mean, the event has been advertised. We tried to stimulate interest with an intriguing press release. But the slightest little thing can come along and keep people from showing up to ANYTHING–even free turkey sandwiches passed out on the street.
  2. I don’t know whether these folks are going to like me or not. I am not famous, so they feel complete freedom to reject me at will. “Reject” is a little strong, but you get the idea.
  3. The best thing I possess is who I am, free of lies.
  4. And finally, I don’t know if everything is going to work. The presumption of the status of all things being tuned and ready has often left me embarrassed, with my pants down emotionally.

So what do I feel eight minutes before the show? Invigorated, excited, careful, curious and humble. And here are the two things I know:  first, I need to walk out there and do what I do as well as I possibly can, without offering lame reasons for why I am not ready. Secondly, in pursuing what I do, if I am intelligent, I will perform my duties and mission as if I were doing it for myself. Yes, I always look out at the audience, viewing a sea of faces which all resemble me. I am not about to give folks less than what I would require for myself.

That’s why it’s important that I begin the process with feel–understanding that if I am not touched by the infirmities of life, admitting that I am tempted like everybody else, I can become a first-class jerk with no heart for mankind, just spouting a bunch a rules and pretending that I’m God‘s hall monitor.

Once I have purified feeling, I am ready to worship in spirit and truth–to symbolically kneel before my gathered host, letting them know that I honor the heavens so much that I’m trying to build a branch office here on earth.

Whenever I am in front of an audience, it’s helpful to be prepared not only to think, but to learn from them. In the process, healing occurs. Sometimes the healing is in them; occasionally it’s in me. But if I insist that I am the thinker and they’re the learners, they will quickly be repelled by my approach and protect themselves from the onslaught of my domineering attitude.

I am inclined to DO AS–to deal with what is going to happen and use it to my advantage instead of recoiling in fear because some unknown factor has surprised me. Yes, I will tell you good folks a simple truth: preparing is better than planning. Yes, preparing your heart, spirit and mind to feel, kneel and heal is ten times more effective than thinking you have covered every eventuality and closed the doors of difficulty.

Right now the stage is empty. In a minute, it will be occupied by the human-flesh spaces known as Jonathan Richard Cring and Janet Clazzy. We owe it to ourselves and those we are about to meet to feel, kneel, heal and finally–deal with what is available.

Are we ready? Have we made a plan? More importantly, are we prepared to be ourselves without shame?

Deal–the process by which we arrive in life with a pure heart, a truthful spirit, a healed mind, without any hidden agenda to control but instead, are grateful just for the opportunity to be alive and breathing deeply.

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