PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 8th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Lunchtime

by Jonathan Richard Cring

If Jesus took me to lunch

What would we talk about?

As we sat down there to munch

Would I share my inner doubt?

 

For as much as I appreciate

The forgiveness of my sin

What would be truly great

Is learning how to win

 

I desire to have a lovely soul

Sparkling so sublime

But must the years take their toll?

A wrinkle in my time

 

I want to possess a mother’s voice

Tender, reassuring and kind

But also make a divine choice

In the lover and friend I find

 

The anthems that I raise

As I sing my songs of praise

Always make me smile

But only last a while

 

As Jesus and me break the bread

Will I allow him inside my head?

 

For man does not live by bread alone

And woman is much the same

Flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone

To share a common name

 

So pass the salt, my dear Lord

There’s no one quite like you

For I refuse to become bored

Never aging, always new

Our guest reader is Lisa, a singer/songwriter living in South Florida with her two children

 

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3 Things… July 19th, 2018

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That Will Slow the Aging Process

1. Think, using your reasoning

 

 

2. Listen, using your mercy

 

 

3. Laugh, using your humility

 

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Ask Jonathots… June 16th, 2016

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Three times last week, I heard national news spokespeople say, “People don’t change.” How did this philosophy become commonplace in America?

Just a quick note to begin this answer–whenever you seek counsel, you will normally get one of three approaches:

1. The cynical approach. “Based on the data provided, we can tell you that it is unlikely…”

2. The hopeful approach. “With God all things are possible…”

3. The practical approach. “Present trends do not bode well, but certain actions could change the outcome.”

So I would like to answer this question by explaining that normally people are cynical about human beings changing because they, themselves, are no longer hopeful of much transformation in their own lives, and when presented with alternatives, they reject them.

I think it is a problem for older people to change simply because they embrace three erroneous profiles:

A. “The best things in my life have already happened.”

In other words, if you contend that the most exciting parts of your journey are already over, it will certainly cause you to be less-than-motivated to make transitions.

B. “It’s worked pretty good so far.”

There is an abiding notion that the philosophy which has taken us to this point in our experience should be sufficient to carry us on through the times ahead. There is no basis for this conclusion, but it prohibits aging people from taking an hour to learn how to work a computer.

C. No one’s listening to me anyway.

As you get older, there is a tendency to believe that your influence has greatly lessened because the children are grown, the job is in the past, your appearance is more fragile and you’re cast into the role of a soul on the way out the door.

These three ideas can cause a human being to dig in and refuse evolution. Matter of fact, when we talk about individuals who have great repentant leaps, like Ebenezer Scrooge or George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” these changes usually revolve around interventions from angels or spirits.

So to guarantee that a certain amount of enlightenment continues, consider three principles of power:

1. The best has not already happened or I would not still be here.

2. What worked yesterday will need some tuning for today.

And finally:

3. The best way to make sure people listen to me is to say things that are relevant to the moment instead of nostalgic about the past.

People can change. They just don’t naturally do it.

It takes a desire to live our lives all the way to very end instead of walking around in a misty haze of the past.

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Populie: The Longer You Live, the Better… November 19, 2014

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nursing home

Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody’s in a hurry to get there. Even the more bitter and pessimistic souls around us are not anxious to exchange “streets of crime” for “streets of gold.”

It is an open contradiction.

So what do we desire? A superficial form of immortality called longevity.

People work the first forty years of their lives to save up money, so they don’t have to work the last thirty-plus. Very few people ask the big question: how important is the quality of life?

So we create the populie. We applaud people who reach their ninety-fifth birthday without ever asking what is propping them up and whether they are dreading the daily pains of life.

Entertainment works both spectrums on this issue–sometimes portraying that “old is mold” and other times insisting that “old is gold.”

Religion extols the promise of long life because therein lies their piggy banks. Yes, it’s true–young people don’t give as much to the church as old folks.

Politics tries to garner a huge block of graying voters by playing to the fear of these souls, while reflecting back on the nostalgia of what they consider to be “better times.”

But if we’re looking for good life and all we get is time spent, then there’s the danger of ending up in a prison of disappointment.

For instance, if I drove over to a retirement home today at lunch hour, would I hear laughter, conversation, gaiety and feel energy in the room? Or would I encounter disgruntled human beings, who thought they were going to enjoy their “golden years,” and now find the whole experience sullied by too much concern, too much worry and too much pain.

There is a very simple three-part mission given to human beings, which, as long as we are actively and joyously pursuing, makes any age in life feel like twenty-two. You don’t have to go much further than the beginning of the Good Book to find it:

“Be fruitful, multiply and replenish the Earth.”

Can we all agree that when we stop being fruitful, what we feel is rotten?

The lack of multiplying subtracts purpose, and doesn’t add up in our thinking.

I, too, am getting older. So every single morning I get up and ask myself a question: am I still fruitful?

In other words, can I do what I’ve always done to some degree, and still do it well? Maybe there will be a drop-off due to age, but I still should be peddling towards the second mile.

Secondly, am I multiplying? Am I taking the energy I have for living, and helping others do what they do well?

One of the things you will discover as you get older is that your greatest value is not self-obsession, but rather, self-awareness in blessing those around you.

And finally, am I replenishing? This one is simple. Am I still giving more than I’m taking?

Each one of us has seasons of vulnerability, where we must draw from our account instead of making deposits. But if that season continues, the will to live slowly dies in our being.

It’s not about living long. It’s about living well.

Candidly, if I were told tomorrow that the next fifteen years of my life would be spent breathing, but my talents, joy, good attitude and spirituality would be dimmed in the process, I would choose to go.

I might be reluctant, but I would be fully aware that to be truly human requires fruitfulness, multiplication and replenishing the earth.

 

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Peace with the Pieces… March 10, 2013

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piecesIt was odd.

I was suddenly overwhelmed by the notion of my own inadequacy.

Thinking about the sharing I would be doing tomorrow morning at Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, I was confronted with my lacking. I am a bald, aging man with limited mobility, who has suffered–or at least struggled–with obesity all my life.

To say that I feel humbled by the notion of offering exhortation, edification or even insight into the lives of others would be an oversimplification of my vacancy. I don’t know whether anybody is worthy to be a voice crying in the wilderness–especially entrusted with the concept of challenging people to “prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight.”

Somehow or another it seems prudent for me to straighten some of my own paths before instructing others in path-straightening.

But what does that mean? Am I to sit around and wait until I am a worthy representation of goodness in order to praise goodness, point to goodness or even stand in awe of what goodness can do?

I am pieces, trying to make peace with myself.

I am chunks of what could be a whole, but doesn’t really promise to ever coagulate.

I am an incomplete vessel who really has only one responsibility–don’t lie about my insufficiency. Don’t exaggerate my qualification. And don’t pretend to be anything other than the subtotal of my pieces.

When my knees gave out on me late last year, I thought my time  of speaking in front of audiences and pouring out my heart was over. I honestly did not want to be a disgrace to the kingdom of God through my weakness. I was determined to develop an excuse for escaping my continued participation in the unification of the human spirit with the presence of God by pulling up lame–literally.

Maybe it’s just that I felt stupid. Maybe “wheeling” my way in front of an audience to hobble to my keyboard was just a little too much hyperbole of uselessness.

I don’t know. It wasn’t that I wanted to quit. It just seemed that quitting was an honorable thing. Make room for someone who’s more … whole.

And then I remembered the words that God said to Adam in the Garden when his little buddy was hiding among the fig leaves.

“Why are you hiding?”

“I’m hiding because I’m naked,” said Adam.

“Who told you that you were naked?” asked God.

Yes–who told me I was unworthy? Who told me I was weak and beyond redemption? Who told me that it was time to graze in the grass instead of  shepherding people to greener pastures?

I did.

I decided what was righteous.

I decided what was beautiful.

I decided what was marketable.

God hasn’t worked with me for these many years and seen me crash and bounce to the earth to not allow me to continue to speak my mind.

I’m finding ways to be at peace with my pieces. For after all, being complete is over-rated. When we express our weakness, those around us perceive us as stronger by the confession. When we pronounce our strengths, yet obviously sprout flaws, we are only made weaker by our boasting.

I come to you in pieces, trying to find a way to have peace with them.

You can decide … whether it’s worth hearing.

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Eco-Quality… April 3, 2012

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A gift.  For a gift to have true value it has to possess two attributes–it has to truly be “mine” and I have to understand it. I have received presents that were not gifts, because the instructions came in German or Chinese and I was unable to access the true worth of the intention.

Likewise, around the age of sixty-one through seventy-two and beyond, we receive a gift. Unfortunately, most people of that age do not believe there IS a blessing imparted their way. Maybe it’s because the instructions are in the language of logic and we’re looking for something deeper or more mature. Maybe it’s because we focus too much on the difficulty of implementing the gift and fail to recognize the benefits. I’m not sure. But the ecosystem of Planet Earth is perfectly balanced within the human species by having us begin as children and basically end the same way.

Estrogen and testosterone removed as chemicals of dependence, we arrive in our later years once again on an even playing field, able to communicate if we so desire.

It is an eco-system that proffers quality, which I have blended to form a new word: eco-quality.

We are children again. As children, we can either choose to be child-like or childish. Verily, verily I say unto you–the greatest natural resource unused in this country is not natural gas trapped beneath the surface, but rather, our retired, aging, experienced, elderly population, which is set aside to vegetate and die. Maybe it’s because they never got over their addled essence and have decided to live a life that is adversarial rather than friendly. Maybe it’s because they wish they were still “kidding” and become overly involved in the lives of their grandchildren–ending up  interfering more than enlightening. Perhaps it’s because they think they’re still in their forties, struggling to make ends meet and haggling over the price of toilet paper at Costco. But more often than not, they get stuck dissing in action, and continue to pick at one another, finding fault and resenting each another because everything didn’t turn out quite as perfectly as planned.

So instead of having a flourishing, mature population, full of experience and wisdom, we have bratty old folk who need to have their diapers changed, bitching about eating their strained prunes and broccoli. I cannot disagree with those young humans who find this both annoying and pathetic. If you reach sixty-one years of age and the things you wanted to do with your life have still not happened, do yourself a favor and get up off of your rocker and imitate some of your aspirations with the energy you still have remaining. If we can teach our graying citizenry–many attending Woodstock, who were part of the disco revolution and survived all sorts of financial meltdowns–yes, if we can teach them to take on the better parts of chilled-hood and put that into practice in their everyday, senior citizen existence, we can unleash an intelligence for our youth and probably save a lot of money on medical care.

When children are happy they do two things–they learn and they play. If you reach sixty-one years of age and you think there is nothing for you to learn, you might just want to go to meet your Maker, who will be more than happy to explain to you the error of your conclusion. There is nothing more exciting, amazing and enthralling than an older person who is still willing to learn. We insist that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, but since we are not of the canine species, we might want to rise a little above our “dogged” determination.

Learn. What’s necessary in order to learn? Two things: (1) “I don’t know,” and (2) “please teach me.” Since testosterone has ceased making men sexually obsessive, and estrogen isn’t cloying at women’s souls to keep them domesticated, we can actually enjoy things together and learn simultaneously.

And of course, play. There is no joy in longevity if we can’t find a way to pleasurably do everything. If life is a chore, please bring sundown so we can go home. But if we can find a way to make grocery shopping interesting, going to church a new vista of experience, or even a doctor’s visit to be a time of learning and information-gathering, then every day seems to have purpose and potential.

Yes, the greatest resource that is lost in our society is not the oil from old fossils, but getting our old fossils who are still alive to squeeze out some oil of gladness.

God gives us the tools:

1. We are not living in the pressure cooker of addled essence, where our hormones are screaming demands, making our bodies twitch with indecision.

2. We no longer have the pressure of “kidding.” I will be honest with you and hopefully others will join me–I enjoyed being a parent, I find grandparenting interesting, but I am glad I am back to my life being my own, thank you.

3. We have the intelligence to dodge the futility of Re-Spend-ability–causing us to fret over money–and  instead can take our experience and patience–to use it more wisely.

4. Hopefully, we will cease from dissing in action,  generating an atmosphere of tension, which has digressed to an ongoing silence of dissatisfaction.

Learn and play. Everybody gets older, but no one needs to get old.

The years from sixty-one to seventy-two and beyond should be conducted with two mantras:  (a) “I really know a lot, which makes me want to know more.” and (b) “if it ain’t fun, it ain’t done.”

A simple submission to these two precepts would change our society from a youth-crazed, fad-driven mania to a more balanced situation of looking at things through the eyes of experience instead of need and greed.

Let’s not kill off our old people, but let’s create eco-quality,  joyously returning to our chilled-hood, when male and female were much the same and we we had great fun bouncing a ball … and learning our biology.

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Listen to Jonathan sing his gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, accompanied by Janet Clazzy on the WX-5 Wind Machine

 

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

A Bookmark … December 18, 2011

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I am a child of God
The heavens reverberate with a shudder of grief when I am in tears
The angels from a million pinnacles give a shout when I find joy
For I am part of a universal plan
A determining factor in His Almighty decision
Whether I fly by night or drive by day
All of heaven is hushed and brought to action
When I am in need …
 
This is a poem I wrote on a Greyhound bus when I was twenty years old, on my way to meet up with a friend who was in need. I had a can of Vienna sausages stuck in my pocket, two containers of Zesta crackers and a can of Diet coke–with exactly $1.25 in my wallet for other incidental expenses. I didn’t care. After all, I liked Vienna sausages. I also didn’t care that I had $1.25 in my pocket.  And truthfully, I still don’t.
 
I wake up this morning sixty years of age–my birthday.
 
Sixty is significant. First of all, you’re no longer fifty, which is that in-between number, where you’re not quite an “old codger,” even though you’ve passed any possibility for male model or stud. Sixty is the gateway drug to Medicare, or perhaps that would be better phrased, the gateway Medicare to free drugs. There are sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour. Sixty is three twenties, six tens, four fifteens, twelve fives … and now I’m just getting ridiculous.
 
The reason I shared the verse with you at the beginning of this essay is that I could have written it today and it would have been just as fresh and true. I still believe it. I still believe that I am a son of God–not in the sense that I must be careful handling my water glass, lest it gain alcoholic proportions, but a son of God because I am included in the mind of my Creator and Father.
 
Everybody in our generation is concerned about “liberal” and “conservative,” right and left–but honestly, my friends, I’ve always prayed for a straight, plain path and avoided the drastic turns based on society’s pressure to conform.
 
In the 1960’s, when I was  teenager, it was posh to cast a jaundiced eye towards civil rights and social reform while rallying around the American flag about Vietnam. It just never made sense to me to go halfway around the world to kill off the people in a small country in the name of democracy when we hadn’t yet given full rights to all of our citizens.
 
In the 1970’s, it was all about partying and lavishing oneself with platitudes of perfection and dancing the night away. Since I knew I wasn’t perfect and wasn’t a very good dancer, I chose to work on my personality, principles and trying to practice what I preached.
 
In the 1980’s, while the religious community was becoming obsessed with social issues, I continued to expound upon the notion that since God does not look on the outward appearance buts looks on the heart, we should spend more time working on our own internals and not so much about our own morality falling into the majority.
 
Likewise, in the 90’s and even coming into the 2000’s, I just could never become a “signer on the dotted line” of the Contract with America–to be self-obsessed.
 
You see, it’s because I know how limited my faculties are, how fragile my talents and how weak my resolve that I find the will and determination to avoid movements that extol the great panorama of potential in the individual. What I mean is, the problem with self-esteem is that it easily loses its steam and always has to be boiled up again, leaving us totally self-involved, with no awareness of our true self or the needs of others.
 
Today I am sixty years old.
  • Starting at my feet, they feel about seventy-five.
  • My ankles are hangin’ in there at about fifty-two.
  • My knees are about ninety-one.
  • My hips maintain a really cool forty.
  • My waist … well, let’s not go there.
  • My heart is a mystery, but certainly has more creaks than it used to.
  • My face has a myriad of ages, depending on how much sleep I get.
  • My eyes are a split vote–the right one an octogenarian, and the left one, still floating around thirty-five.
 My emotions are daily cleansed so they’re like a newborn.
My soul is always attempting to be as old as God but as young as a child.
And my brain … well, my brain is still twenty years old, riding on that bus, believing that God cares …  about me.
 
Don’t be so concerned about the right and the left. Look at where you want to go–and steer your life straight ahead. Because after we’re gone, no one is going to discuss our faults, only our good points. If we don’t leave behind much of a record of righteousness, we probably won’t be mentioned at all. What I want people to remember is that I started out doing something and on the morning I passed, I was still doing it.
 
So let me call sixty a bookmark. I have fewer chapters to write than those that have already been edited. But that means I have the complete capability of going for a great twist in the end.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

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Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm  Comments (1)  
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