Catchy (Sitting 58) Sand Building…. July 22nd, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Shifting.

A gradual erosion of confidence among the populace about the once-favored “Jesus movement.”

It was difficult to know where it started. Perhaps this loss of faith was just a trait of the human race–just no longer able to tolerate goodness.

Although folks insist they are in pursuit of “peace on Earth, goodwill toward men,” they still continue to huddle around the television set to hear of wars and brood over body counts.

A movie–a parody–was released by Hollywood, entitled “Dullsbury.” It was supposed to be a gentle poking of fun at the Soulsbury experience. The premise was that the government and the elite of New York decided to isolate all of the “stupid people” and place them in a huge camp in Upper State, telling them they had won the lottery. For some reason, it didn’t occur to the “winners” why the settlement was called “Dullsbury” and had streets named “Retard Lane” and “Brain-Dead Boulevard.” Yet attempting to maintain some sort of evenness, the Hollywood ending to the motion picture was that many of the people who deemed themselves to be intelligent packed up their belongings to go live in the simplicity of Dullsbury.

But the message was clear: good is cool, but bad is hot–and the majority of the American people like their burritos caliente.

Things were further complicated when Michael Hinston was indicted on suspicion of breaking campaign finance laws and taking a bribe.

Jasper also ran into problems on his comedy tour. In trying to explain the evils of racism, he used nasty words like “nigger, chink and wetback,” causing an uprising leading to cancellations. Liberals everywhere denounced his offensive terminology.

Not to be outdone, Jubal was recorded at a rally in Egypt saying that “it was up to the Israelis to come to the peace table in good faith, and compromise.”

He was immediately dubbed anti-Semitic. He refused to retract his statement, and so became the subject of great debate on talk shows.

It wasn’t an uprising–it was a deterioration.

Like so many things that happen in life, it simply took the steam out of a heated movement and turned it lukewarm.

The two surviving graces were Jo-Jay and Carlin. Both stayed faithful to the cause. Jo-Jay kept marching in the same direction with her boots on the right feet. And Carlin continued to counter the cynicism and scandal with humor and humility.

But pretty much single-handedly, he took on the brunt of communicating the mission with little reinforcement coming from anywhere–especially Las Vegas.

Matthew completely checked out–whatever interest or intrigue he once had for the project was gone.

He pursued a love affair with an oboist. He studied her. He played her. He leaned his feelings in her direction.

Day and night he thought of new ways to pleasure her in the bedroom, and when he wasn’t thinking of sexual techniques, he was remembering the ecstasy he felt when he was in her arms.

He was smitten.

He was old enough and smart enough to know it wasn’t love. He certainly could have called it by that name, but he knew it was actually an advanced dose of infatuation, mingled with personal affection.

But it was all about the sex.

Over the past year, Matthew had indulged in so much intercourse that he had forgotten what it was like to be sexually entwined–what it meant when someone kissed you deeply without fulfilling a checklist, racing toward orgasm.

The relationship between Matthew and Leonora would have been perfect if they never had to leave the bedroom. But even though the joy between the sheets was exhilarating, both of them struggled during their conversational times to make it seem purposeful, or perhaps, meaningful.

Interaction was awkward–especially since Jasper and Soos had dropped in, and it was obvious that Leonora possessed a hostile profile toward all things divine.

Matthew was not so inclined. He didn’t hate God–he just wished that God would move to the other side of town, and not frequent the neighborhood shops. He didn’t want a world without God, but he wanted no God in his world.

Unfortunately, he felt compelled to follow the energy of Leonora’s atheism. To compromise, he stopped taking all phone calls from his cohorts on the front lines of the Jesus campaign. It was his way of tipping his hat to Leonora’s aggression, without shaking his fist at the sky.

Carlin, realizing he needed to have contact with Matthew, flew into Las Vegas. But even though they found themselves in the same building, Matthew was careful to avoid placing them in the same room.

There was no meeting. There was no agreement.

Carlin felt that the weight of the calling shifted to his shoulders, and he was ill-prepared to play the part of “Chief.”

In despair, frustrated and angry, Carlin headed back to the airport to return to Washington, D. C., to meet up with Jo-Jay and try to find a way to still “go into all the world” and share the Gospel.

As Carlin stood in the security line at the airport, two gentlemen in black suits, white shirts and black ties approached him on his right and left sides.

Lefty whispered in his ear, “Would you please come with us?”

Carlin looked to his right and then back to his left and realized he was wedged between two mountains of male humanity. He thought it best not to make a scene. He was led down the thoroughfare, through a door. A private jet stood ready.

Safely out of the airport, Carlin began to struggle with his captors. They were too strong. He shouted, but the roar of the jet engines covered his screams. In no time at all, the two hooligans physically lifted Carlin and carried him up the air steps and into the Learjet.

They dumped him into a large, comfortable seat.

Carlin quipped, “I sure hope this flight has a meal. So far the service sucks.”

 

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Catchy (Sitting 7) Accumulating … July 23rd, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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On May 8th, the largest blizzard in the history of meteorology in the state of Nebraska dumped nineteen inches of wet, slushy snow all over Lincoln, closing the freeways and the airport.

Matthew was at that airport.

He had cleverly put together a plan to meet up with three of his old college buddies from the “Leaven of Seven,” and explained to them in vivid detail some of his ideas about how to take the money from the eccentric billionaire and attempt to make Jesus not only the Christ, but popular again.

He had left messages with each, and they had successfully negotiated their air itineraries to have at least a two-hour layover at the Lincoln, Nebraska Airport–all at the same time. It was a feat of magic, only to be expected from those who had benefitted from higher education and had never had to be concerned about anybody but themselves.

When the announcement was made over the public address system that all flights were canceled and that the local motels were also filled, Joanna Lawrence (Jo-Jay) let out a tiny whimper that culminated in a miniscule scream. Yet it was loud enough to alarm people around her who already had experienced the danger of the sky falling.

“I can’t believe this,” said Jo-Jay. “I am going to need lots of alcohol.”

Matthew interrupted. “You always say that, Jo-Jay. You don’t need to be intoxicated. You just choose to be drunk. And if there isn’t a crisis, you’ll tip your glass to the threat of one.”

Jo-Jay paused and peered at Matthew with a surprised expression. “Wow. That was deep. I think you just changed my life. Why don’t we get a drink and celebrate?”

Paul Padwick thought that was hilarious. When he agreed to join them at the Lincoln airport, he requested they no longer use his college name, Pee Pee. (Matthew had texted him back and said, “If we call you Pee Pee, will it piss you off?”)

Michael was supposed to join them from Washington, D. C., but missed his flight, and in trying to catch a later one, discovered they were all canceled.

So after much inquiry and questioning, Matthew, Jo-Jay and Paul Padwick (never, ever to be known again as Pee Pee) discovered that they were going to be stuck overnight at the airport without the benefit of a shower.

Just moments later, poor Jo-Jay found out that the bar had closed at the establishment out of fear that cantankerous folks who were trapped in tight quarters might get along better without being totally sauced.

“I guess,” said Matthew, “we should find our corner in the airport, where we can bed down for the night.”

Bedding down had become possible because airport staffers had begun to circulate cushions and blankets, formerly the property of the “Cornhusker Airline” before it surprisingly went out of business. So the three of them, taking their cushions, blankets and a respectable supply of candy, chips and soft drinks, found a remote corner in the airport where the Cornhusker Airline had formerly dreamed of building a massive terminal.

It was quiet, it was pretty warm and it was just a little bit spooky–the kind of atmosphere which was ideal for old friends to catch up and discuss plans that might bring them together once again.

Jo-Jay had barely opened up her Doritos and begun to consume them like a starving woman when she croaked, “Can I get this straight? At least let me hear it from your mouth. Basically, from your message, you have an old man who died with some sort of religious compunction to leave behind money to make his God the Number One God in the world.”

Matthew corrected her. “Actually, it’s Jesus–but you are kind of close.”

“I guess I felt like the Jesus thing kind of maxed out a while ago. You know what I mean?” posed Paul, making his contribution. “Like, the ones who were really interested in it had already gotten on board and everybody else gave it a look-see and passed on it for their own reasons.”

“That is so true,” agreed Jo-Jay. “I mean, short of lying, cheating and fudging the figures, you either dig Jesus or you don’t.”

Matthew leaped in. “Well, I kind of dig Jesus, but I wouldn’t call myself religious–though I think it’s admirable to be Christian. So I might classify myself in that category…”

Paul laughed. “Well, it’s admirable to be a weight lifter, but don’t you have to actually lift something?”

Jo-Jay roared with laughter. “Yeah, God-guy. If you’re going to be a Christian, don’t you have to do a lot of Christian things?” She reflected. “Or maybe not, come to think of it. There seem to be a lot of those who claim the title who don’t pursue the agenda.”

At that point, they all just stopped speaking.

Maybe it was the darkness falling outside that left the room even more dismal. Perhaps it was the realization that the area they had selected for their resting space was a little chillier than they thought. Or maybe it was just the awkwardness of being back together.

But they didn’t hurry it. No one tried to make small chat or bring up the consistency of their candy bars. Just a moment to reflect on who they were, where they were and what the hell they were going to do about this “heavenly” issue.

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Turning Kids Into Humans (Part Two): 0-1–Atmosphere… August 25, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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HumanatingI was in the airport watching a very pregnant woman place what appeared to be two suction cups on her belly. They were attached to some sort of I-Pod. I realized she was playing music for her unborn.

There was a time in this country when we would have considered this bizarre behavior, but now it’s become acceptable and considered by many to be stimulating and therapeutic.

If that is true, why do we change our attitude simply because they come out of the womb and no longer need suction-cup speakers?

Why do we allow these little ones, in their first year of human life, to control the entire environment of the household, forcing people to walk on tip-toes, whisper, lose sleep and change the entire pattern of living?

Yes, somewhere between the notion that children are possessions, to be trained as farm-hands, and the more modern assertion that little ones come into a family and change everything, lies a truth which is most beneficial to all parties involved.

Mom and Dad, it is your job to sit down and decide what the atmosphere of your house is going to be, and instead of having your newborn change that climate, you should faithfully usher them into understanding and adapting to your lifestyle.

Otherwise, children will “milk” everything. And not just Mama’s breast, but every moment of time, every nerve, every possible pleasure and every feeling of security you have about being a good parent.

Here’s what I suggest for those who have just found out they have a new one in the fold, and are trying to decide how to conduct the matters of family:

1. Find out what you want to be.

In other words, if you’re active, stay active. If you’re a loud household, continue to be loud. The baby will adjust. If you like quiet time, then teach your child to enjoy the same.

2. What do we want to do?

If you go out to dinner, don’t start leaving your child with a babysitter, but instead, teach the little one to become gregarious and outgoing, just as you are.

3. How do we want to feel?

Yes, what is the atmosphere of your house? Just as that mother I saw in the airport was trying to influence her yet-to-be-born child with music, create the atmosphere you want in your life and then include your child in it.

The biggest mistake you can make in raising your kids to become humans is thinking that they will change your life instead of taking on the responsibility you have–to change theirs.

Even as a baby, your child can learn empathy if you manifest your own atmosphere and include him or her in the framework. And you can teach gratitude by being courteous and grateful to each other. Although you may think the baby is too small to comprehend, no one is certain what penetrates all the gurgling, gooing and baby powder.

It’s your life. The child is an invited guest.

As an invited guest, the little one is entitled to be part of the household, but not to make the rules.

So don’t give up your be, do and feeling just because you’ve been blessed with a kid.

Welcome the kid–and initiate the young’un into the atmosphere of your life.

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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ProbThree: “It’s not my fault” … November 3, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Uncle SamFingers.

They perform two obvious functions: touch and point.

Touching is good. It’s a way of expressing our tenderness by putting our emotion into our fingertips. Pointing is when we try to place the blame on someone or something other than ourselves. We do this in three ways:

1. Pointing up.

Sometimes we feel so inadequate, inferior, ill-prepared and ignorant that we place all of our life concerns and journey needs on God in the sky, hoping for divine intervention. We use prayer to pass the buck to our heavenly Father. So we either procure our miracle or we get to act persecuted for the lack of attention.

Belief in God should build our character, not diminish it. It should make us more willing to serve ourselves and others instead of turning us into lazy supplicaters who feel that God has a responsibility to support us–since He fathered us.

2. Pointing down.

Some people, when they discover they don’t want to blame God anymore, decide to finger Satan, Lucifer or evil, which they can point down toward as the source of their failures. It is the ultimate superstition. Not only does it unrighteously free us of our own task and involvement, but it places good and evil on an equal footing and gives darkness too much light.

3. Pointing out.

This is very popular. When in doubt, accuse someone else. When confronted with deficiency, explain your indebtedness by insisting that another person has caused you to be a debtor. It is vindictive for two reasons: (a) it takes away the joy of achieving for ourselves, and (b) it often targets people we don’t like as adversaries, when those who really ARE against us are given a free pass because we like them better.

The three approaches of fingering–up, down and out–turn human beings into inferior, superstitious, vindictive souls.

The key to ProbThree–“it’s not my fault”–is to use your finger to point IN–not to create fault, but rather, to find your own definition of responsibility.

Here is my rendition of responsibility:

A. I have ability

B. I have problems

I will never be happy if I focus on one of those more than the other. If I only tout my abilities, I look like a jerk when it becomes obvious that I’m lugging baggage around. And if I only lament my problems, I become the buzz kill that turns every party into a departure gate at an airport.

It’s the blending of the two that creates responsibility. And responsibility allows me to point at myself without feeling the need to be guilty and faulty. Here’s how it works: I use my ability to help my problems and I use my problems to enhance my abilities.

Without abilities I wouldn’t have any way of addressing the problems that come up or possess the confidence to conquer. But I have to understand that if I never have a problem, I have no need to grow and increase my talents.

So every time I put the blame on God, Satan or others, I lose the capacity to become the beneficiary of a great life lesson. I also am admitting that I’m at the mercy of whatever I’ve fingered.

So ProbThree, “it’s not my fault,” is solved by the decision to point inward, taking responsibility and using my ability to solve my problems, knowing that my problems only enhance my abilities.

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I’m Really Not Sure… October 15, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

I do believe that the Apostle Paul was mistaken.

He insisted that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Instead, he contended that the earthly journey is more or less we humans being stuck in a comic battle between good and evil. You’re welcome to agree with him if you so desire. I don’t.

My discovery of life on terra firma is that we are dealing with flesh and blood issues. Bluntly…us. Appetites, genetics, weaknesses, insecurities, frustrations, indignities, victories, defeats… and of course, worst of all…pernicious apathy.

For about fifteen years I’ve been struggling with leg and knee pain. There are times when it’s been worse than others, but for years, I have been the chooser of the closest parking space at the shopping mall.

I am not lazy. I have crisscrossed the country at least a dozen times, shared thousands of shows in front of tens of thousands of people and marched through airports to get to those destinations–most of the time, in some sort of pain. It’s a flesh and blood issue–and it happens to be mine.

Since January and the passing of my sixtieth birthday, the problem has settled in as a permanent occupant of my daily schedule. In the past two weeks it has gotten even worse than that. Finally, I found myself basically unable to walk–cramped up and with the dark notion that I was finished and would need to seek other ways to express my mission, my message and my heart.

You see, that’s more of that flesh and blood problem. It doesn’t matter how many times we have seen miracles, God move, or the universe tip a little bit to the right to our advantage. For some reason, we all tend to go a little dark whenever anything lands in our toy box and we don’t know exactly how to play with it.

Matter of fact, I was ready to cancel all of my dates last week and “nurse myself back to good health.” Can I tell you something truthfully? I have never gotten over any ailment by lying around. Even when I have a cold, I am better off getting up, moving and redistributing the mucus than I am by letting it settle into my chest, as I pretend to recuperate. I have sprained my ankle, iced it and rested it–but the first time I stepped down on it, it still felt sprained. I don’t know how long it would take to get better laying down on the job.

So I woke up in the middle of the night–early Thursday morning, actually–and realized that my calling is not to sit in a motel room, prop my feet up and lament not being able to go out and share. I decided to rent a wheelchair. I had no idea what I was doing.

I really wasn’t sure.

Now, some people, when they’re not sure, feel they have walked into a deep, dark cave and they’re frightened of the attack of blood-sucking bats. I don’t feel that way. Matter of fact, sometimes I think it’s impossible to know what you really have until you lose what you don’t need.

When I went to the church in Fremont on Sunday morning and was rolled in in my wheelchair, I was convinced that everybody in the world was turning his head to peer at the freak. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. I have never been embraced, loved, assisted, confided in and included as part of a family the way I was yesterday. In both the church in Fremont and the church Sunday night, in Port Clinton, the folks rallied around me and helped me do whatever it is that I do–and never were they ashamed of my lacking.

I’m really not sure. You see what I mean? If I had not come to this crisis in my life, would I ever have set in motion a plan to try to rectify my chronic pain? Would I ever have gone on a food regimen again–now in my eighth day–which is already helping both my energy and my blood sugar? Would I ever have made myself vulnerable enough that my needfulness gave me the space for humanity to enter without apologizing for intruding? Would I ever have planned every step of my day so meticulously because I was learning my wheels?

I’m really not sure you can live a successful human life if hell is your fall guy and heaven is your only safe place. Sometimes the best way for God to love you is to allow you to reap the fruit of your labors–and see if you can’t grow out of your pain instead of just miraculously relieving it.

I’m driving to Indianapolis today. I feel absolutely great–except my legs just don’t want to balance and help me walk. I’m not sad; I am not looking for demons which have caused this interruption. And I certainly am not blaming God for failing to deliver my latest care package of grace.

What I am doing is stopping to realize that there is nothing happening to me right now that isn’t better than if I were still hobbling along, pretending I was all right, but wracked with pain.

  • How can God express His love if He’s not allowing circumstances to generate a better world for me?
  • How can God be God and not honor the principles of His own creation?
  • And how can God be God if the resolution to my situation is not improving my station?

It’s a powerful day, my friend.

I’m really not sure–and in the midst of that unsureness, I find the origins of my joy.

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