Catchy (Sitting 51) A Woman at the Well (Doing)… June 3rd, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3692)

Matthew stepped out of the shower and dried himself with the $300 fluffy towel provided by the casino as a part of his luxurious accommodations. He stared into the huge mirror, surrounded by the finest lighting available, to accentuate and showcase the beauty provided.

After peering into his face for a moment, making sure the wrinkles were not opening up tributaries, he stepped back to eyeball his penis. It was respectable–at least, he thought so. And the women he was with last night seemed impressed. Matter of fact, she was out in the other room, waiting for the two of them to have breakfast before she took her money and scooted.

Taking a second look at his friend from “south of the border,” it did appear a bit bedraggled and weary. But what would a penis know?

His brain was stumped over a decision–talc or no talc? He liked talcum powder. It felt good–cool, with just a bit of a sting–but it never disappeared. For the entire day, you walked around like some sort of ghostly apparition, leaving white clouds of dust behind as you shimmied through the room. So he took some lotion and put it on his private area, which felt equally as good, but was more sticky than spooky.

He had absent mindedly been listening through the door, hearing nothing, when suddenly there appeared to be a conversation going on in the adjacent room. He turned off the bathroom fan so he could hear better. There were two women talking.

Who could it be? Who was talking to…? Uh…

He couldn’t remember her name. It was Russian. The name. She wasn’t Russian–she was almost San Fernando Valley. He could not remember. God, he hated it when he didn’t know the escort’s names. Because “sweetie, honey, dear” and “precious” would only take you so far before you started sounding like discarded dialogue from “Wuthering Heights.”

Maybe if he listened through the door he could catch her name from the person she was talking to. Who in the hell could it be?

Well, there was only one way to find out. He combed back his hair (which was still hanging in there, though threats of evacuation continued). He donned one of the thick, white, terry cloth, Penthouse robes and stepped out the door. As he did, his guest from the previous night was speaking.

“…and I especially like the story of the woman at the well…”

“Me, too.”

The “me, too” voice came from Soos, who looked up at Matthew, smiled and continued her dialogue with the unknown Russian.

“What I like about that story, Borish…”

Matthew blinked and nodded, mentally repeating the name three times in a row, hoping it would permeate his skull.

Soos continued. “Jesus knows everything about this woman–knows all her problems and failings, that she’d had five marriages, and she’s living with a man now, but he offers absolutely no condemnation.”

Borish sat for a moment. “I never thought about it that way,” she said. “Matter of fact, he commends her for telling the truth in her own non-truthful way, when she said she wasn’t married.”

Soos laughed.

Matthew couldn’t stand it any longer. “Soos–what’s going on? What are you doing here?”

Soos leaped to her feet and ran over to Matthew, giving him a hug. “I was worried about you. I hadn’t heard from you in some time, so I decided to take advantage of the fact that we have a jet, and fly here to see you.”

Matthew walked over and sat down in a large, expensive chair, crossing his legs modestly.

“Well, you knew I wasn’t dead,” he said with a bit of snip.

Borish looked at him with disgust. “Is that any way to talk to an old friend?”

Matthew looked over at Borish. “Just imagine how I might treat new friends,” he snarled.

This did not sit well with the young woman.

“Are you going to insult me?” she asked.

Soos stepped in. “What a great question! Do you plan to come out of the bathroom–your freshly showered self–and insult the whole room until everyone is convinced of your superiority and dominance?”

Matthew sat still, a bitter taste in his mouth. He hated to get bettered–especially by a woman.

Soos continued. “I was talking to Borish about Jesus.”

“Yeah, I gathered that,” said Matthew. He stood up and walked toward the door. “Where in the hell is our breakfast?”

“What did you order?” asked Soos.

Borish smiled, perching up on her knees like a young girl. “I’m starved!”

Matthew whirled around. “Well, don’t act like I didn’t feed you! We had steaks…you know. Before.”

Soos couldn’t resist. “Before what?”

Borish looked at Soos with big, wide eyes and said, “Mr. Matthew here hired me for the night. You see, I’m a prostitute.”

Matthew grabbed a magazine nearby and threw it down on the table. “Why did you have to say that?”

Borish giggled. “I was just practicing being honest–like the woman at the well.”

Soos laughed. “Well done!”

“Is it Sunday?” asked Matthew, striding over to his desk. “No, here’s my calendar. It’s not Sunday. So why are we talking about him?”

“Because he’s good seven days a week,” said Borish.

Soos applauded and the two women hugged.

Matthew moved over with the stealth of a roaring lion, sat back down in his chair and said, “I didn’t hire you to be glib.”

Borish looked up at Matthew. “I don’t know exactly what glib means, and I know that probably thrills you. But I have a life. It’s not a life people would approve of–and certainly the Sunday people who talk about Jesus would not believe that I could be a believer. But I do my best. But I have always wanted to try to do better.”

Soos looked at Borish, tears in her eyes, then over at Matthew, who was doing his best impersonation of a slab of granite.

Soos erupted. “Matthew, you’re just a goddamn son-of-a-bitch. If you want to have your faith crisis or your penis introspection or your drunken binges or your spending insanity, go right ahead. But there are some people who realize they’ve been given two nickels and are trying with all their strength and might to make it spend like a dime.”

Matthew frowned at her. “You see, that’s the trouble with you Christians. You talk in circles, expecting people to follow you. Just because your leader spoke in parables doesn’t mean they make sense today.”

He took a breath. “What are you trying to say? That I need to be nicer to the young whore? Doesn’t that come with the tip? Isn’t that me ordering strawberries and cream with Belgian waffles? Why do I have to believe that everybody who comes into my life is just as good as the last person who came into my life, who seemed, by the way, to possess more dignity? I don’t mind that she’s a prosptitute. Matter of fact, she’s damn good at what she does. Truthfully, she made me see God last night between the sheets more than she’s doing this morning. But I’m not going to pretend that she’s something she’s not.”

He stopped abruptly. He obviously had much nastiness to spew but he resisted.

Borish rose, walked over to Matthew and knelt beside his legs. “You don’t need to explain to me who I am. I got that. Not every morning of my life ends up in a beautiful casino penthouse with a kind gentleman who has ordered me breakfast. I spend just as many mornings looking in the mirror, trying to figure out what kind of make-up to use to cover the bruises. I know I’m a fool. I know I’m crazy. I know that every time a door opens in front of me there could be a monster waiting. I don’t know what else to do. I have needs. I have a child. It sounds like an excuse–even to me. But until I can get over making that excuse and be willing to live a little simpler, and maybe rely for a time on the kindness of family, or some strangers, I will be doing this.”

Matthew stood to his feet and walked away. Soos came over, knelt beside Borish and hugged her.

“My dear,” said Soos, “you don’t have to do this even one more day. What that gentleman over there has failed to tell you is that we have lots of money. And we have lots of Jesus. And if you’re willing to learn, we’ll give you a job–so you can take care of your daughter, but you can become a woman at the well of doing, instead of a woman who’s afraid of what’s gonna happen next.”

Borish looked at her in disbelief. They embraced. They cried. They stood up and started to make plans.

Matthew turned to them, enraged. “Would the two of you please get the hell out of here? I don’t want to lose my cool. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I just want you to get the hell out of here–and by the way, get the heaven out of here, too. I am sick to death of it. I shall eat my breakfast alone.”

Soos looked over at Matthew, confused, with a squinted face. She chose not to speak. She put her arm around Borish and said, “Why don’t you and I take in one of these breakfast buffets at the casino? We can make some plans.”

Soos and Borish walked by Matthew–Soos careful to place herself between the raging bull and the hapless lass. When they reached the door, Matthew spoke.

“Listen, I’m just trying to tell you…”

Soos interrupted. “Please do yourself a favor. Shut the hell up. Understand–there are people who love you, who still love you, even though you’re an asshole. There are some beautiful things going on in this country. Most of them are not at the bottom of a bottle or happening in this room. We’re waiting for you. Whenever you’re ready.”

Matthew gazed at Soos in complete disgust. He didn’t know what to say. So like men often do when they’re devoid of thought, he said something nasty.

“I hate you.”Donate Button

 

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The Alphabet of Us: A is for Anger… December 8, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2437)

Baby block A bigger

All human beings possess a heart, a soul, mind and strength.

Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

  • Trying to deal with our emotions by thinking our way out of the situation is doomed to failure.
  • Becoming emotionally involved with mathematical equations is equally sunk in the bog.
  • And ignoring our spirituality, hoping to physically dominate in every facet of our lives, is just downright exhausting.

Every human being gets angry. Beware of those who insist they don’t–they are ticking time bombs, having stuffed all of their frustration down inside, likely to explode at a most inopportune time.

Anger is an emotion. To take a class in anger management is the belief that we can control that emotion by using better thinking.

I must disagree. As an emotion, anger must be handled emotionally.

So in pursuing the alphabet of us, let’s look at how we should handle our anger:

1. Be verbal.

Emotions should not be trapped without speech. It is “out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” What you want to ensure is that you can speak in a climate where you don’t have to be judged by your adversary, but can sound off to a friend and hear your feelings expressed in syllables.

That’s right–practice. Rehearse your anger–in the mirror, to a friend, to God or to anyone who is not the source of your resentment.

2. Listen to yourself.

There is nothing worse than being in the middle of an argument and hearing yourself voice your misgiving for the first time, and suddenly realize how stupid it is. Then you’re stuck in the midst of a fight, with your pride trying to win the day.

Listen to yourself.

That’s why we need to be spiritual. It is the soul that gives us the ability to separate out the real complaint from the blown-up rendition.

3. Clear your head.

There’s only one way to renew your brain. Make sure you take all previous experiences and set them aside in favor of a fresh encounter.

That’s what clearing your head is. It’s offering a brand new pathway, to allow conversation to produce change.

4. And finally, choose what’s really important.

Before you go have that interface with a person who has upset you, find out the core issue. Keep your anger as small as you possibly can to make it easier for the person hearing your insights to comply.

The biggest mistake we make is separating our parts–heart, soul, mind and strength–and believing they have the power to act on their own.

They are a team. They perform best as a team.

And the only way to handle anger is to use their teamwork.

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Click on Santa to browse “Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories Til Christmas”

Iffing Way (Part 7) Nic at Night … December 1, 2014

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2430)

If bigger

What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

He was summoned, forcibly invited.

He felt like a schoolboy under the control of the master, with no will of his own. But he knew what it was about.

The head chair on a committee where he sat had a vendetta. Now, the distinguished leader would choose to call it something else. Perhaps “a needful intrusion.” “A holy mission.” Or even, “a matter of course.”

He knew better.

He wasn’t sure if it was jealousy on the part of the chair person, ignorance, or even something as simple as an ongoing tiff with his wife which had left him grumpy.

It wasn’t the first time there had been a summons. No, many times the subject had been discussed and debated, but finally tabled, with everyone leaving in a huff, unfulfilled.

But this time was different. Apparently the boss now felt he had the votes to pull off his will.

It was all so bizarre.

In the midst of a decline of popularity of the national faith, a young man from Nazareth had arrived on the scene and re-energized the populace. Now, an intelligent conclave of distinguished fellows might have seen this as an opportunity to bring in fresh blood and move people to spiritual awareness. But this particular gathering of theologians and pseudo-politicians lacked vision.

He was preplexed. What was even more confusing to him was that he had made a journey by night to visit this young man who was stirring up the religious system. He clearly remembered two words from their discourse:

“Born again.”

The carpenter-turned-preacher had told him that he needed to be “reborn” to be in step with what was going on. He was offended. So because he considered himself to be a dynamic debater, he tried to make the young Galilean feel stupid or awkward by challenging the meaning of the term. Facts are, he knew what this young Jesus meant by “born again.”

Everything around him reeked of old–ancient ideas and meaningless practices.

Yet that night, he’d found himself walking away–trying to include the message of the Nazarene instead of being born again into it.

But this was different.

He knew that Caiaphas was in charge of the board, and was seeking to levy punishment against this innocent unaware.

What was he going to do?

He prided himself on the fact that he was smarter than Caiaphas because the officious leader was so headstrong that he frequently left himself wide open for counter-point.

Yet he had grown weary of argument and become known as a sympathizer, which was now rendering him ineffective among his peers. After all, it was not only improper, but illegal to be a follower of Jesus.

Arriving at the meeting, it quickly became obvious that Caiaphas had a death warrant for Jesus.

What was he going to do? Should he remain silent, and still curry the favor of his fellows? Or was it time to be born again and use the wisdom and style that he had developed over years of practice, to help save the life of the freshest idea to come around in decades?

It was nighttime again. But this time he would not walk away and pretend he didn’t understand.

He made a case against Caiaphas–quietly, reverently, but also with a conniving purpose. In no time at all, the stubborn Pharisee was speaking double-talk and the committee dismissed itself to go back to their homes, unresolved.

Jesus was saved for another night.

Jesus would be able to continue to teach.

And Nicodemus would be able to hold his head high and just maybe start the process in his life…of being born again.

 

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G-23: Console or Counsel?… May 9, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2226)

murderPerhaps the most important discovery in understanding life is an accurate representation of what has happened and what didn’t happen. Arriving at that story line and discovering the truth of the matter not only allows for clarification but permits us to go forward with a bit of intelligence.

Man and woman had two sons. It was a by-product of their love and also their horniness.

Like every other set of parents that followed them, they had no idea what they were doing. Parenting is not a science, nor is it a religion; rather, it is a game of chance.

Since there were two children, there were two different interpretations of the family goals. One son grew up diligent, straight as an arrow and willing to accept the spiritual principles of the household. The other grew up sympathetic to the cause, but in search of short-cuts and ways to limit his involvement.

Yet man and woman loved them both.

Not so much the brothers to each other, though. Because the danger with the righteousness possessed by the one sibling is that it can quickly become self-righteousness. And the danger with short-cuts, as pursued by the other brother, is that they often take you down dark alleys.

So a conflict arises and it’s time to decide how to resolve the breach.

Do you counsel or do you console?

Humans quickly become addicted to consolation. Matter of fact, even those who have committed atrocities still find themselves hunkered down in a bunker at the end of their journey, desiring a hug.

On the other hand, the human family is not quite as receptive to counsel–because at the root of all counsel is the proposition that we must stay involved to improve our situation. Giving up is so much more fun. Admitting that things are impossible and beyond our scope is often comforting.

So when God comes and talks to the one boy who is very sad and crestfallen by his lack of approval over a recent offering, God offers counsel. I know we tend to believe that God is a consoler, but actually, a careful viewing of His style will tell you that He firmly believes in humanity and considers us capable of following advice. The advice was concise:

“If you do well, you’re going to succeed. If you don’t you’re going to fail, and then, if you feel sorry for yourself, worse things will happen.”

That was it. No pat on the back; no “nice try, kid.”

The young man found no consolation in being told to do better, so he started hunting for a victim. One day he found his brother in a field and they argued.

Please understand–it was an argument. That means that the straight-as-an-arrow brother decided to stick the tip of that arrow into his brother, to make a point. His righteousness gained a bit of piety. And of course, when people are already pissed off, it doesn’t help to remind them how inadequate they are.

The end result was a murder.

I think it’s safe to say that if we were rating God as a counselor, we might just have to give Him a fairly low score on this adventure. This is why we learn from spiritual discovery that there is a time to console and a time to counsel.

  • You console when you encounter people and there’s only pain.
  • You counsel when there’s pain … but also the first fruits of questioning.

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

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

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

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Fault Line … May 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2225)

fault lineA fault line is what triggers earthquakes.

Living on a fault line is accepting the possibility of a disruption.

The same thing is true in human beings with the issue of fault. A majority of the upheavals which occur between human beings is based upon fierce disagreements over the fault involved. So because of this, people establish their opinions along a fault line, which best represents their willingness to interact.

1. Everything is my fault.

This is way too vulnerable. It often puts us in the position of being considered the underdog and the dumping ground for other people’s deception.

2. Most things are my fault.

Once again, this is much too difficult to define, still leaving us over-exposed to those folks who refuse to consider their own part in any failure.

3. Some things are my fault.

Always too much to explain. By the time we finish clarifying our part in the fiasco, we’ve bored the listener.

4. Nothing is my fault.

This certainly reeks of arrogance and eventually drives away all of our cohorts from working with us because they have to carry the burden of our lack.

5. I don’t believe in fault.

It may be a noble gesture, but you are surrounded by a world which points fingers–and has plenty of digits available.

Personal success is wrapped up in our level of personal responsibility.

This is the truth that Jesus says will make us free–free because we are no longer dependent on other people’s participation.

We look for our part in the project and continue to pursue it with diligence and joy instead of probing for someone to blame or the nearest scapegoat.

Let me give you an example.

Seven years ago a friend of mine died. He was a victim of cancer.

He smoked, drank a little bit, was angry much of the time, single and frustrated with the status, and full of animosity toward those around him because his life had not worked out the way he had hoped.

When he passed away, rather than pointing at him in his coffin and proclaiming that “he had made his own bed” and would now sleep eternally in it, I instead took a look at what responsibility I had in his demise.

It was a beautiful, healing journey. Candidly, most of my discoveries were positive. I had been generous; I had been kind. I had influenced without becoming an interloper.

But in the process of reviewing the case concerning this friend, I did discover some truth. I could have stepped in earlier and encouraged–or even insisted–that he go to the doctor, which could have made a difference in his prognosis.

I didn’t feel guilt about it. I didn’t assume that it was my fault–but I realized that if I ever had the opportunity again with another human being, I would step into the gap a bit sooner and offer positive solutions.

It was so cleansing.

I didn’t have to take on fault, nor did I have to absolve myself of guilt.

I found personal responsibility.

In a generation which is trying to escape our part in the disaster, we are also running away from the truth that can make us free.

Not everything is my fault–but it is also not the case that nothing is my fault.

The fault line, which spurs our hearts to personal discovery, is there to bring the “truth which can make us free.”

Personal responsibility is the only doorway that allows us the dignity of finishing our day with a smile instead of a nervous apprehension about tomorrow.

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

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

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Yellin’ … February 11, 2012

 
(1421)
 
Yellin’ is what we do when mere shouting proves insufficient to propel the magnitude and importance of our necessary opinion. It is an exercise which seems brutally–yet reverently–valuable in the moment while rendering us rather embarrassed upon later reflection. So humiliated are we at times that we choose to “re-write”  the tale of the event, using much softer tones. 
 
For instance:  “We weren’t yellin’–we were having a discussion.” (That is one often used to explain to the children when Mom and Dad have increased the decibels so much that the young ones hear. Unfortunately, there isn’t a child born since Cain to Adam and Eve who actually buys that particular excuse.)
 
The new one in our society to describe yelling that really isn’t yellin’ is “we were involved in a heated debate.” Of course, the difference between yellin’ and heated debate is that in any form of proper exchange, space for breathing air and allowing the hearing of your opponent is provided.
 
Then there is the more spiritual approach, which is calling it a “disagreement” or the famous “we just agree to disagree.” Of course, none of us ever do agree to disagree–we just take our complaint to someone else and talk about you behind your back.
 
I bring this up because I was involved in one of those “yellin’ sessions” yesterday. Now, it’s always been my intention with jonathots to be as forthcoming with you as possible, so as to keep our lines of communication pure in heart. So even though I’m not proud of the fact that I was involved in a heated debate fostered by a disagreement further nurtured by an avid discussion, giving me a sore throat–I must be truthful that such outbursts in the human expression are real and part of our lives. The only true danger is when we are so ashamed of our own part in the childish rant that we try to disguise the event or even pretend that nothing really happened.
 
Yellin’ is important. The reason it’s important is that we know it occurred because talking had stopped, thinking was on vacation and respect had taken a holiday. When we have respect for ourselves and others and we think about what we feel and what they must feel, the normal response is to talk. But when respect has gone into the wind and thinking is clouded by fear and ego, talking seems quite inept–especially when our newly-found opponent has already ramped up the volume.
 
Here are the main reasons we yell at each other:
 
1. We don’t understand, and rather than asking, we have already developed a scenario that suits our fancy.
2. We are offended and haven’t taken the time to express our pain but would rather live it out in vivid description to the offender.
3. We are jealous but find that childish, so we opt for some moral, spiritual or mental high ground to justify our nastiness.
4. We are drawn to this other person, but feel they do not care about us and therefore our affection is unrequited.
5. We have some half-baked notion that God is angry at our adversary and will really be happy if we “go get ’em.”
6. We need a nap or a good dinner and we opt for a riot.
7. And finally, we have convinced ourselves that the best way we are heard is by screaming.
 
Now, when you look at those seven motivations for verbal mutilation, you begin to humbly understand how yellin’ comes to be. It’s going to happen, my dear friends.
 
And the best thing we can do is avoid the shame, check over that list and find ourselves, and then, as Jesus suggested–heal the inner parts of our heart and purify our own motives before we next hop on any train of thought towards our brother or sister.
 
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