Cracked 5… September 29th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Some Major Changes In College Football Following the Results of Saturday’s Games

A. They-tah, We-tah, Utah

 

B. Apparently, Ar-CAN’T-Saw

 

C. Arizona is definitely a state for retired people

 

D. Auburn has returned to being a shade of women’s hair color

 

E. The Oregon Ducks officially became the Oregon Sucks

 

football girl

 

 

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Charles in Charge … April 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Can one man make a difference? So as not to be sexist, can one woman do the same?image

It’s one of those classic questions intended to be thought-provoking but ends up coming off rhetorical.

Somewhere along the line we have ceased to believe in the power of a voice crying in the wilderness. We favor coalitions, parties, denominations, corporations and plurality of polls.

His name is Charles. Not  Charlie. That would be too flimsy. Certainly not Chaz. Much too quirky.

He lives in Paonia, Colorado. If you don’t know where that is, you would find yourself in one of those socially comfortable majorities.

Charles invited Janet and myself to Paonia to share our life, heart and talents. This was several months ago. Although we were appreciative of the interest, a quick glance at the map showed us that Paonia was not near anywhere, and therefore not in the direct line of any future tour.

Thinking we were being kind, we just ignored the invitation. But you see, Charles was determined. So he contacted us again. People who take a second crack are rare in our split-second gratification society.

But once again, we just chose to ignore the kind gesture.

Then we found ourselves in Arizona. Our next real plan of action was to be in the Midwest, which either meant to take a southerly route or to go north and then east.

Charles came to mind.

Even though to journey in his direction was still impractical, it sniffed of an adventure.

So this weekend an unlikely destination for an unsuspecting pair of travelers ended up joining forces for a blessed excursion in the throne room of faith.

Even as it was transpiring,  my thoughts drifted to Charles and his determination.

Some really neat things happened on Saturday and Sunday.

Some lasting connections.

Some ideas were exchanged and some giggles passed around.

It was all set in motion by one man.

Yes, one fellow who wanted to try something for his small town–and persisted.

I am a better man for having experienced the soul of Paonia, Colorado.

And I close out my stay by praying that God will send a whole new crop of people like Charles, who will take charge of something they envision and stay with it until the power of their dream rolls up to the front door.

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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.

Taking a Decision … February 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2147)

decisionThere is no such thing as making a decision.

By the time committees, opinions, selfishness and reluctance are factored in, progress is brought to a grinding halt in order to maintain some silly notion of “consensus.”

Some things are just too important to leave to the mass hysteria of voting.

It’s all about taking a decision.

In 1970, I took a decision to fly out to Arizona to pick up my girlfriend, who was pregnant, even though the counsel from all my friends, family and certainly her family was for us to be apart. Forty-four years later, there are a lot of exciting human beings walking around because I took that decision.

In 1972, I wrote two songs and decided to go into a recording studio to make a 45-RPM record. Young boys from Sunbury, Ohio, were not allowed to do such things–at least that was the opinion of those I asked for help. Forty-two years later I am still making music all across America. Matter of fact, I sang one of those two songs on Saturday night.

In 1975, everybody had a bad mood about me leaving Centerburg, Ohio, to move to Nashville, Tennessee, to seek a greater platform for my writing. I took the decision and ended up getting my song signed and making the gospel charts.

In 1980, I took a decision to hire nine actors and book a 25-city tour of the country with my musical rendition of the Sermon on the Mount, called Mountain. I was told that the market would not allow for a “religious” piece, which sported dance and peppy music. I ignored them.

In 1984, society was shocked when I took my children and wife on the road as a family band, traveling across the country, especially since one of my sons was disabled and had to be carried around from place to place. Six years later, when we finished the journey, tens of thousands of folks were appreciative that we took the decision.

In 1991, in the midst of great financial solvency and success, I took a decision to leave the road with my family, so that my sons, who were getting older, could have lives of their own instead of mirroring their father’s pursuits. It didn’t add up on paper. But it was the right way for us to multiply.

Again, in 1996, the propriety of the community in which I lived frowned on the concept of me taking on a female musical partner and including her three children in my family. Such things were simply not done in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Eighteen years later and at least twelve tours across the country, the heavens rejoice and America is a little bit different.

In 2001, it was against all sense to start a symphony orchestra in the middle of “Country Music USA.” Once again, I “passed” on policy. Because I did, the Sumner Pops Orchestra existed for eight years and provided funding, opportunity, entertainment and inspiration for an entire county.

In 2006, the cynics chuckled when I joined with my son and daughter-in-law to make independent films. Those involved in the film industry mocked us for attempting to make twelve feature-length films in a year. But taking this decision put us on the map–and they are still benefitting from that journey today.

In 2010, the dictates of my budget, housing and lifestyle forbade the possibility of continuing to use my talents to make a living. So I walked away from my house, climbed into my van and became a vagabond, sharing a message of hope for this generation, in front of what is now hundreds of thousands of people.

It isn’t that I reject input from others. But remember, counsel is only good in your life if it is given in faith.

It is a horrible disappointment when it is offered to promote fear.

Happy birthday to Jon Russell!

Join us tomorrow for: Quatrain of the Circus.

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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

The Difference… July 7, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1936)

huntington pianoOften the difference between success and failure is the voice within that gains our full attention.

I was twelve years old. A traveling gospel quartet came to our church and sang, with a pot luck dinner following. Everybody went to the fellowship hall–except I grabbed three of my friends, went into a nearby Sunday School classroom which had an old Huntington upright piano, and I tried to get the four of us to sing like the quartet we had just observed.

After a while we became loud and boisterous, so one of the deacons popped his head in and rebuked us for failing to be part of the church family through enjoying an “afterglow” with the gospel singers. My three friends slunk away with the avenging deacon and I pretended to follow–but then slipped back to the room and just played the piano more quietly, so as not to be heard.

That night made a difference to me.

Several years later, a minister and counselor told me I should forget my girlfriend, who had gone away to college in Arizona. He said she obviously did not love me,  and was afraid I was going to make a fool of myself by continuing to contact her. Little did he know that I had already purchased a student/standby airplane ticket to Tucson, Arizona, He was also completely unaware that my girlfriend was pregnant with our child. That was forty-three years and four sons ago.

I chose a different path. It made all the difference.

Up until the time I was eighteen years old I had never even thought about composing a song. Matter of fact, some of my friends chided me because I was always singing the hits of my favorite groups over and over again. But one day, in the back room of a loan office, where there was a piano, I perched myself, and in less than three hours I wrote two songs of my own making.

That was many writing sessions ago, and hundreds of songs. But that day made the difference.

I borrowed twenty dollars one night to go to a contest in West Virginia with my singing group. Everybody said we wouldn’t have a chance. We went down there and won. They were wrong.

That trip made a difference.

I wiggled my way around to get my group, Soul Purpose, an appearance on a Nashville, Tennessee, television program called the Teddy Bart Show. No gospel group had ever been on, but we worked at it and worked at it until we finally got invited. Afterwards I received a phone call which led to a beautiful working relationship with Marijohn Wilkin, leading to my first national album.

The difference.

I have never achieved anything in my life by playing it safe. I honestly have never found any lasting peace or purpose by pursuing the consensus of those who always seek the higher ground for fear of a flood of creativity.

Of course, I have left out the tales of woe and pain caused by such a flamboyant philosophy. Not every escapade into the unknown was a striking of gold. But it didn’t keep me from going. It didn’t keep me from trying. And it didn’t keep me from believing that life is short–and the only way we elongate it is by playing it too safe and making it so boring that it’s interminable.

It’s the difference.

It’s the ability to hear the voice within you and the confidence to believe that somehow that messenger has been with God and has come to bring a special-delivery mission your way.

It is audacious, it is often over-bearing, it is occasionally lonely–and it is certainly bizarre to those who choose a safer path.

But it isthe difference.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Just One More… November 17, 2012

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Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia.

All of these places have been my home this year. I have established a temporary address in each one in an attempt to achieve some permanent results. It has been Tour 2012–and it finishes off tomorrow morning in New Albany, Indiana. You will probably never visit New Albany, Indiana. You don’t have to go … because I’ll take you with me.

At one of my stop-offs in Grand Junction, Colorado, a man asked me what my favorite scripture was. I thought he was just trying to make conversation, so I turned the tables on him and asked him to tell me his favorite passage. He said it was a toss-up between for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son” and “nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

I told him I thought those were excellent choices. He pursued. “But what’s your favorite one?”

“My favorite one is found in the gospels,where it reads, ‘and Jesus went to another village.’

He looked at me, perplexed. I didn’t expect him to totally understand. For you see, the power of the gospel does not lie in the establishment of a church–the organization of religion into practices and rituals. The power of the gospel is that it travels well and is best expressed when it’s moving. It’s why Jesus said, “Foxes have holes but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

My traveling enables me to come into a town and love people, bring some incentives, make a few suggestions and exhort the areas where they are pursuing better paths–and then leave, allowing them, as mature people, to assimilate the message into their lives as they deem powerful. The danger of remaining in one community and believing that you can make a difference is that we all have a tendency to settle…and meddle. We “settle” into a series of repetitive actions determined to be normal, and then, when other people don’t follow our structure, we have a tendency to “meddle” in their affairs, taking away their freedom to be who God has made them to be.

Sometimes we use politics, sometimes we use corporations, but usually we use religious conviction as a club, attempting to hammer people into submission to the will of our local village.

It is most unfortunate.

Traveling as I do, I don’t have to “settle” for anything. I can live my life as I choose and share my discoveries with others without feeling the need for them to either condemn or affirm my purposes. Therefore, I don’t hang around long enough to meddle in their affairs or critique their concerns when those particular selections are not to my favor.

So you might ask me how you can do the same thing–to escape “settling and meddling”–and still maintain the integrity of a local post office box. That’s really easy. God gives every one of us a “tour schedule.” The beauty for most of you is that you don’t ever have to leave your own home. That tour schedule is called Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Yes, all of you can be on a tour–as long as everything that happens on Monday is not carried over to your next stop, on Tuesday. So you have your Monday tour and then you climb into your wonderful tour bus of sleep to journey onto your next gig, which is called Tuesday. Now, if you take along the problems of Monday or celebrate too many of the victories, without being fully aware that the next tour stop will have its own conflicts, then you make a huge mistake. But as long as you live within the day, not worrying about tomorrow, and you don’t fuss over the affairs of the last performance from the day before, you can find yourself in the same position I do–touring.

For after all, we’re all just visiting this place anyway. And those who put down their roots too deeply become very dissatisfied, disillusioned and discontented at the brevity of the visitation.

So I have one more stop tomorrow–but actually, I never stop. Because even as I go on to Nashville, Tennessee, to eat Thanksgiving with my family, and then climb back into my van to tour for ten days with a Christmas presentation, to finally, arrive in Miami to spend the holidays with all my kin, I am always moving on. Sometimes it’s just from Monday to Tuesday; sometimes it’s from New Albany, Indiana to Knoxville, Tennessee. The gospel works best when you don’t try to make your location concrete, but instead, understand that we’re all just passing through–one day at a time.

“And Jesus went to another village…”

A lady recently told Janet that she had come to the conclusion that we were homeless. I guess in some people’s minds it might appear that way. Of course, for fifty years now, I have been a follower of a homeless man who ended up traveling around–and in so doing, changed the whole world. I guess I rather admire his choices, and pattern some of mine after them.

So you will find me, for the rest of my life, going to another village. You may follow suit by keeping your favorite pillow but permitting yourself the blessing of traveling from Monday to Tuesday without feeling the need to worry about the former day or be too concerned about the next one.

Just remember one of the great rules of the road: it’s not polite to steal towels from your last lodging.

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Them There Those … September 18, 2012

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A startling realization–yet quite simple, as flashes of truth often are.

I awoke this morning fully comprehending that I was still retaining pieces of cultural prejudice which had been infused into me, not only by my upbringing but also by a social pressure which has been cooking in our country for the past thirty years.

Yes–circa 1980, an organization called the Moral Majority came along attempting to restore dignity, spirituality and of course, morality, to our nation. In the process of pursuing this agenda, this “majority” infected our country with a separatism that has made us aliens to each other within the borders of a common nation.

They should have realized that naming their particular outreach the Moral Majority was in itself an affrontation to anyone who didn’t hold fast to their concepts. Please understand, I do not accuse them personally of being notorious or evil. It’s just that in the pursuit of what we consider to be righteousness, we need to be careful not to thrust ourselves to the forefront as the primal example as opposed to the principles themselves.

The by-product is what I refer to as the Them There Those campaign. We no longer perceive ourselves to be part of a common humanity, chasing a dream breathed into us at creation. Now we are like forts of settlers fighting off the renegades outside our walls who just might have a different opinion from our own and therefore might taint the flavor of our particular recipe.

Them there those:

  • Them Jews — over there in the Holy Land, thinking that those like them are chosen people.
  • Them Arabs, there in the desert, with those terrorists.
  • Them Republicans, there in their mansions, with those rich corporate fat-cats.
  • Them Democrats, there at their abortion clinics, with those welfare masses.
  • Them Yankees, up there in the north, with those factories and high-falutin’ ideas.
  • Them Rebels, down there in Dixie, marryin’ those cousins.
  • Them men, there watchin’ football, with those friends with their brains in their pants.
  • Them women, out there at the shopping mall, with those other gossiping women.
  • Them young people, there in the streets, with those drugs and rock and roll.
  • Them old folks, there in Florida and Arizona, with those social security checks.
  • Them liberals, there in the Ivy League schools, with those anti-God, anti-gun curriculums.
  • Them conservatives, there in the Bible Belt, with those ideas that the world was actually created in six days.

Them. There. Those.

It’s showing up this year in the election. Somehow or another we feel the need to address our personal differences instead of attacking our common problems. It seems prudent to a generation of leadership that should be wiser in the ways of the world than to conduct the weighty matters of government and business from a playground perspective: “Give me the ball or I’ll hit you!”

I realized this morning, and startling it was, that I still had bits and pieces of this virus coursing through my bloodstream. I still was looking for an enemy instead of a reason to love those around me. I still am suspicious of being rejected instead of preparing what I will do upon receiving acceptance. I have pre-conditioned myself to believe that a certain amount of warfare is necessary in order to achieve peace.

I am perplexed by my own insanity. I am bewildered by my own misconduct. I am truly repentant of an attitude that separates me from those fellow-travelers who have just as much right to the road as I do.

But I am not alone. Even though we continue to postulate about how open-minded, free-spirited and generous we are with each other, we have all fallen victim to a need to be in the majority of everything, in order to secure our sense of belonging.

The Moral Majority believed that AIDS was the gay plague. The Moral Majority thought that apartheid in South Africa was acceptable due to the fact that the locals did not know how to govern themselves. Here is a sure thing: anyone who pursues the philosophy of Them There and Those will,n in some way, shape or form, be proven wrong.

What can we do about the plague?

1. Identify it in ourselves. We don’t have to do it publicly, but privately we should purge ourselves of all notions of Them, There and Those.

2. Stop preaching and start reaching. Don’t take the information you have read here or discovered in your own heart and use it to try to convict others. Just cease to participate in the disintegration of our country into tinier and tinier pieces of false individuality.

3. Develop a new philosophy. We shall call it We Here Us:We are together, here in this place at this time, trying to make the best ‘us’ possible.”

This is the tagline that will push us forward instead of thrusting us into Neanderthal thinking, causing us to believe that we must kill our neighbor in the cave next to us to guarantee that our family has enough mastodon for supper.

We. Here. Us.

Will you join me in abandoning the foolishness of believing that any one of us is a majority? 99.76% of the people of this country will never know my name, never meet me, never agree with me and never even know that I lived. It doesn’t make them less. It doesn’t make me suspicious of them. It doesn’t make me wonder why they even live. It makes me realize that the tiny percentage that I will meet must understand that I love them, I am trying to learn their ways and that when I don’t agree, I will get out of the way and allow them to do their best before their own conscience and God.

My dear friends, we are human and here together for this season, trying to become our best “us.”  And please don’t forget, it is all propelled by the necessary notion and powerful precept:

NoOne is better than anyone else.

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Good Golly, Miss Dollie … August 25, 2012

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Two score and twenty years ago, our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be His signature, brought forth on this continent a new lady, conceived in Kansas and dedicated to the proposition that a young woman could grow up in Harlem and as long as it was a township in Central Ohio, might still end up healthy, wealthy and prized.

Her name was Elizabeth. Her papa, not so cleverly, decided to call her “Dollie” because he thought she looked like a doll. She had a swimming pool, horses, nice duds and a credit card from Lazarus, where she raised a debt.

One day she met a fat boy who dreamed of one day being a fat man, with an additional aspiration of becoming an artisan of music, notes, composition and thoughts, with a mind to whirl the change. They were attracted. Some would say it was chemistry, but in this case, it was biology class, sophomore year.

They started to date and developed a lust, which after all, is only three letters away from love. They consummated their collision on the dew-covered grass on the night of the last prom underneath the stars, with her Arabian looking on in bewildered horse-sense.

  • She went to Europe. He went to the mailbox to retrieve no letters.
  • She went to Mexico. He went to Taco Bell to purchase some Nacho Supremes.
  • She went to college in Arizona.  He crawled into a big bird and flew out to disrupt her plans.

For you see, a baby had been conceived on that night of the last prom–a child that needed some immediate attention and was basically, at this point, being ignored. You may or may not know this, but it was against all traditions in the Buckeye nation to allow children to be pre-planted before weddings. So it was difficult to determine what to do next.

They talked, fussed and argued while eating the cheapest pizza available in Tucson. She bravely made a decision to fly back, against her parents’ wishes, and join him in the quest to find out if it was possible to live on nothing and have something.

Four children, one miscarriage, thirty-nine disasters and seven hundred and fifty thousand giggles later, she is still here. Many years ago, lust got bored, packed its bags in disgust and departed. But the love has remained.

Today is her birthday. What do you say about someone who has hung around for the better and the worse–and more frighteningly, has survived the mediocre? What do you say about someone who has shared a bed with you, rolling over in the middle of the night without commenting on who’s responsible for the aroma in the room? What do you say about an individual who has hung in there through criticisms, persecutions, prosperity and perfectly awful nothingness?

I know the normal procedure is to insist that when two people have been together, then ergo, everything has been terrific and no problems of any significance have ever cropped up. Of course, that is not only a lie, but would also be extremely boring. Every relationship is full of mistakes and regrets–because without doubt we would not have faith. Without some anger, we have no reconciliation. And without fear, we never really learn to appreciate the contentment of love.

What do I know about my little Harlem Township girl? She likes to have fun. That comes in handy. A stick-in-the-mud, after all, is just a broken piece of wood positioning itself in a nasty place. She likes to laugh. Fortunately for me, I have learned how to manufacture silly. She’s scared of responsibility. That can be rather endearing if you catch it in time. She’s drawn to her family. Blessedly, she extends that same courtesy to the other human beings she meets. She’s kind of lazy, which, as long as we don’t both do it at the same time, can be a source of delightful motivation.

And she has stayed. There is a lot to be said for remaining. Although people extol the great value of contribution, such blessing is impossible if you’ve already given up on the idea. She didn’t give up on the idea. I’ve been with her for forty-two years. There is no year that has ever been the same. We have been the subject of praise; we have been the target of criticism. But even though they tell you that marriages by teenagers cannot work, especially when they begin with a baby out of wedlock, we are the exception and we ignore the rule.

So I say, “Happy birthday.” You know, maybe that’s a very bad term. Because our real birthday is when we take the morning of our present existence and believe that God’s blessings are fresh daily.

So to you, my dear, I send this greeting. Happy Earth Day. This is your day. So we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Good golly, Miss Dollie. Two score and twenty years. Who ever would’ve thunk we would get this far? Certainly not that suspicious United Methodist minister who reluctantly married us in Sparta, North Carolina.

But he was wrong.

Thank you for staying on for the entire mission–looking for more trips to the moon.

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