Confessing … July 11th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2630)

X.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Her name was Sherry.

She lived ten miles from my home town. She liked me.

I knew this–the way an eighteen-year-old boy is aware that a girl is attracted to him because she’s awkward and nervous, while still persisting in hanging around.

I met her from Bible League. Bible League is a little hard to explain, but just envision Jeopardy! on scriptural steroids. I competed against her church and we struck up a conversation a time or two, and she made it clear that she was very interested in me by listening to my stories long after they possessed any intrigue.

I got my girlfriend pregnant my senior year in high school. Being good Ohio boys and girls, we decided to get married. She went off to Europe on a summer vacation and never wrote me.

This was not the plan. Of course, I was convinced she was carousing with every young French boy who knew where the back stairs were to the Eiffel Tower. I was upset.

I was moping around the house one day when my brother suggested I invite another girl on a date just to get my mind off of it. It seemed unfaithful, but when he offered his car and twenty dollars for the excursion, all my defenses broke down.

So I thought of Sherry. I was not in the mood to ask a girl out and get a no, and I was fully aware that she would say yes. She did. Matter of fact, it was an enthusiastic affirmative.

I got directions to her house–a long driveway leading back to a beat-up mobile home surrounded by trash and enough dogs for a junk yard.

We got in the car, went on the date, and she tried so hard to be perfect. Matter of fact, we ended up parking somewhere and necking for a while.

But it was romance by default and affection by revenge. I knew I was never going to be interested in Sherry.

She seemed oblivious to my indifference and shared her life story with me. She was poor, mistreated and even abused by her alcoholic father.

Damn. I should have cared.

I didn’t. I was smarting from my own little crisis.

About halfway through the date she made it clear that she wanted to see me again, and also sent out a signal that she was prepared to go further romantically on this date if I was interested.

I wasn’t interested, and fortunately, didn’t take advantage of her.

As I dropped her off, I kissed her goodnight, knowing that I would never see her again.

One week later I received a letter from her in the mail, sharing how much she had enjoyed our time and hoping that her vulnerability and living situation had not been a turnoff to me.

I didn’t respond.

Sherry deserved so much more than my selfish leaping into a fling. She was wounded and I accidentally dribbled some salt water into it.

I wasn’t vicious. I wasn’t unloving. But I was one of the worst possible additions to her life. In her mind’s eye I was a nice boy who took her out on a date and never called again, proving to her that she was just white trash.

I don’t know what became of Sherry, but I learned very clearly that night, that a temporary need or a piercing yearning does not give us permission to use another person to comfort our woes.

confessing trailer home

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Untotaled: Stepping 20 (March 18th, 1965) Bible League … June 28, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2277)

(Transcript)

In the midst of puberty, football, family problems, unbearable school work, insecurities and an unwillingness to walk the dog, I managed to wiggle in time to attend church.

I didn’t go there because I loved God or was fond of listening to sermons. Matter of fact, I couldn’t recall one single point from one of these elongated discourses. No, I went to the Steeple House to see church friends and because I had an abiding love for gospel music.

So when it was announced by our pastor that a competition would begin in the style of College Bowl, using the Bible for questions and answers, and that we would be competing with eleven other churches in our district, to win a trophy, I was immediately on board. It would give me a chance to be with my friends, carpool to new locations, and actively participate in a way to prove that I was better than others.

The first category for our pursuits was Acts of the Apostles, which had intelligently been shortened to the Book of Acts. We studied the material for three weeks. The teams were divided into Junior Bible League and Senior Bible League.

I was at an annoying age–the oldest in the Junior League, but youngest in the Senior League. So they stuck me in the younger group. We went out for the first competition and won handily against Milford.

Having a disconcerting mixture of ability and ego, I quickly decided that the Junior Bible League was beneath me, so I immediately began to lobby to be in the Seniors. This stimulated many discussions, church board meetings, and phone calls among pastors, all trying to decide if it was righteous for me to be with the older participants.

I think they wanted me to give it up. Yes, they figured that eventually I would stop asking.

But I didn’t.

So by the third contest, studying the Book of John, I wore them out and was placed on the Senior Team. Within two weeks, I was one of the starting members and on the third week was voted Captain.

Can I tell you the problem with progress? The reason life has steps to it is so we can enjoy the graduations–because even though I got my way and was on the Senior Team, I was stuck there for four years, with no further encouragement for ascension–just an expectation of ongoing winning.

For the first three years we won the trophy for the best Bible League Team in our district. But by the fourth year, quite honestly, I just wore out.

My jot was exhausted and my tittle lay dangling.

So the lasting memory of this experience is that we lost, in my final year, because of my indifference, and I shall forever be remembered as the guy who almost pulled it off.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to stand up against unreasonable rules and regulations. But often they are there to ease us into a joyous journey, where we have the pleasure of growing instead of the aggravating expectation of doing well … again.Donate Button

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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

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Mount Vernon … September 21, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2013)

Mount VernonI suppose, to the average person, the mention of Mount Vernon might conjure a hazy memory of an American history class, where the name was mentioned as the location of the home of General George Washington. Even though I, too, have that realization, to me, it was a community twenty-three miles north of my boyhood home town.

As I rolled in to Mount Vernon today, I was astounded at how much living, doing and feeling I had birthed in that space:

When I was twelve years old, we had a Bible League contest in the town, with teams from all over the Central Ohio area gathered to push buttons and light up bulbs, answering questions about Holy Scripture. We had studied every jot and tittle, and split the information apart like atoms to compete with one another for points, prizes or just the privilege of partaking of some overly sweet church punch and dried-out cake. All in all, it was a great way to consider the musings of ancient patriarchs without dozing off in the process.

Mount Vernon was also one of the first places that I promoted my own gospel sing, consisting of my group along with some others, in the Memorial Auditorium. I actually saw people arrive in cars, park them and gather to hear us all squawk and wail.

Just outside of town, in the early seventies, I got the chance to perform for the first time with a fellow named Andre Crouch, who had a group called the Disciples at the Bible College, in front of a good-sized crowd of local folks who certainly didn’t come out to see us, but tolerated what was supposed to be our fifteen-minute fronting of the main event. As I discovered that night, and also from working with Andre Crouch in the future, he was never on time, so our mini-concert turned into a forty-five-minute show, which was certainly a problem, especially considering that fact that we only knew six songs.

Mount Vernon was also the location where in my early years, when I was destitute financially, some of the local quartets gave me a dribble of money to arrange music for them, to try to make them sound a little better in front of the small congregations they were able to schedule to hear their efforts.

And last but not least, my third son, Jerrod Micah, was born in Mount Vernon–about two minutes after I walked in the door of the hospital, rushing to get there to see his arrival. (My wife never seemed to have much trouble with labor. I guess some women would insist she never went through it–more like calisthenics.)

I was nearly in awe of all the memories that just splashed in my face as I drove down the main street of the metropolis. And to think, blessed man that I am, now in my sixth decade, I get to go to Mulberry Street United Methodist Church and make another memory, tomorrow morning and night, adding a new page to my dusty catalogue of memorabilia.

Life is wonderful if you don’t get fussy.

And if you do get fussy, life is still willing to be wonderful … if you just don’t give up on a good idea.

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

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