You can’t punch people in the nose and expect to get Christmas cards … July 15, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1944)

armyI had another delightful day with human beings in Austin, Minnesota.

Candidly, what makes it delightful is the variety of experiences which floated my way. Actually, over the years I’ve learned there are three basic types of individuals:

1. The person who has the demeanor of “I’ve been marchin’ around for some time and my feet hurt.” They’re not mean, but it would take an awful lot of helium to fill their balloon and make ’em look like they were ready for a party.

2. This group carries the attitude: “I’ve been marchin’ around and I’m mad about the march, so get out of my way.” You can see, a little bit more negative energy.

3. And then, there’s the folks who have discovered that the life they’ve been given is the only one they’re going to get, so they have decided, “I’m gonna STOP marching, and just enjoy the walk.”

This was exemplified last night in a lovely woman who came to my book table with her family and related a story about being in the process of moving into a new house. She said that opportunities and surprising benefits had come their way to furnish that house without them having to struggle or worry. It was such a delightful tale because this family has discovered a key to life: God is not out to hurt anyone. Nor is He particularly out to help anyone.

Now, I know this causes many theologians to curl up in a ball and explode, but it’s the truth. If God is no respecter of persons, He can’t choose a handful and make them His pet project. Let’s just take a quick moment to look at what God has ALREADY done:

He has created human beings, of which I am one. That’s pretty remarkable, don’t you think? If He never did anything else but just THAT, He could call Himself God. But  He didn’t stop there. He blessed us with a beautiful planet, the pleasure of procreation and a kingdom of fruitfulness which is under our dominion, especially if we use it wisely. (Goll-eee, Dad. Thanks. You not only let me get my license, but you bought me a car!)

But He still wasn’t done. He made this earth explainable through science, technology, spirituality and wisdom, so much so that we can get a handle on how it works by whether the clouds roll in or the sun peeks through.

So what do we have so far?

We are created marvelously, blessed with gifts, and are handed a detailed road map.

And is this enough? No–we want to be favored. We want to have the burden of responsibility removed from our shoulders. We want God to relieve us of the need to function by surrounding us with a bubble of grace.

No wonder some people get grumpy and want to punch everybody in the nose. But it doesn’t win friends and influence people.

Life is not a race to heaven OR a march to hell.  It is an opportunity for us to slow up and enjoy ourselves, absorb the scenery … and relish our walk.

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

Austin Without Limits … July 13, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1942)

First United Methodist Church BuildingThe population is 24,834.

Truthfully, I must apologize to the 24,684 people in Austin, Minnesota that I will not be able to communicate with tomorrow morning, simply because I have not been creative enough to find a way into their lives in a realistic form which would reach into their homes instead of asking them to come out to the first United Methodist Church to peer at me.

I do not begrudge them their privacy. I am not critical of their position of needing to be elsewhere. I think it falls my lot, as the person driving the wagon, to find a way to deliver the goods.

I have decided to be on the road, which does make it much easier to find Austin, Minnesota, instead of checking the itinerary of a major airline, thinking they might have a terminal in the burg. Yes, it’s best to motor into Austin.

And I have taken some time to learn a bit about the city. It is the home to a large Hormel plant, which specializes in making spam. I have eaten spam. I like spam. Spam is a lot like me–it’s a bunch of pork products with gristle, held together with fat. I have an affinity for the little square.spam

Candidly, I’ve heard there are those who are not sentimental about this canned delicacy, but that’s because they haven’t fried it up in the skillet with some over-easy eggs and a tiny bit of maple syrup on top.

Maybe that’s the whole key to everythinghow we serve it.

And it is my full intention to serve the good folks of Austin tomorrow instead of arriving there requiring service.

It was Jesus who made that brilliant point. I think he realized there would be an awful lot of people in life who would arrive needy and greedy instead of ready and steady.

So it’s my job to have most of my hang-ups out of the way, my expectations low enough that the folks of FUMC Austin can exceed them, and to have my ABCs in place:

A. Accept the job. These folks will not immediately embrace me as a long-lost cousin from Birmingham. They’ll probably sit at a distance on the back pews and leer at me, waiting for me to do something worthy of their consideration. That’s just part of the job. Folks don’t owe us props. But it sure is nice when they give us a chance to open up our traveling trunk and display our wares.

B. Be humble. Now, here’s what I think about humble: humble really doesn’t mean a whole lot if you end up doing a crappy job. Humble is good when most people think you might have a right to be conceited, but instead, you choose to be simpler, gentler and friendlier.

C. And finally, care as you share. After all, ministering to people is not giving a speech. It’s using as few words as you possibly can to let them know what you believe, so if they have a need, they can open up their hearts and inform you where it hurts. How do we care? I think the best way to let people know you care is to tell them what you’ve seen and heard, and freely admit you haven’t seen and heard everything.

I am looking forward to being in Austin in the morning. Matter of fact, they’ve invited me back to do something in the evening, and the audience that gathers for that particular excursion will be based upon how well I displayed my ABCs in the morning.

All I can say is, I hope they receive my message … and I don’t end up in spam.

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

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