Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 29) The Crowd of the Press … November 13th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

On Thursday, shortly before dawn, a crack team of seventeen go-getters–including technicians, make-up artists, investigators, reporters and what they call the “camera darlings” who actually speak on the air–arrived from the USBN, the United States Broadcasting Network.

One of their representatives had come into town two days earlier and spoken to the elders, pastors, school administrators and parents who were chosen to be part of the series proposed about the Garsonville community. Meningsbee was invited, but only stayed long enough at the meeting to lodge his objection, suggesting that a measure of privacy was warranted for the experiences that the town had endured over the past few months.

He was ignored.

The townsfolk could not wait to be inspected by the lenses of the intruding horde from the West Coast. Although Meningsbee refused to be interviewed, Patrick Swanson, who still had his church out at the Holiday Inn Express, was scheduled, as was Sammy Collins, the Bachman family, numerous teenagers from the high school and David’s mother. (She had asked Meningsbee what he thought about the offer to share her story, and even though he discouraged her, she still felt it would be good for some other parent to know the warning signs of a depressed child who was contemplating suicide.)

Patrick Swanson planned on taking full advantage of this publicity, and touted that his congregation was known as Swanson’s Sweethearts.

Sammy Collins got wind of it, and during his interview, shared about their vision of being Collins’ Crusaders.

As the promos began to be aired on the station, the congregation at Meningsbee’s church wondered if it might be a good idea to develop a nickname. Trying to keep from laughing, the Reverend donned a serious expression and replied, “Maybe you folks could be called Mening’s Bee Stingers…”

No one found it humorous. (Often the wit of the pastor escaped the understanding of his faithful.)

Meningsbee stayed out of it, figuring it would only last a few days.  Then a rumor spread through town that the USBN had decided to do a full six weeks worth of broadcasts about burg, based upon the information they had uncovered.

Meningsbee was suspicious.

For you see, there was a time in history when journalism was the reporting of a story, but now, having to fill twenty-four hours of space, journalists were attempting to make things into stories. What were they up to?

A small hint was given when the advertisement for the series was released on air, entitled, “GarSINville … what is happening amidst the corn?”

This obvious slight escaped most of the townspeople.

They were grateful for the attention and hungry to be heard.

They were desperate to feel important.

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Good News and Better News … August 22nd, 2016

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Sue and Bill

“Things are bad.”

I’m told this continually.

And if I’m tempted to forget, then the powers that be re-tweet, broadcast, discuss and reiterate it in my direction 24 hours a day.

Sometimes I grow weary of nagging doubt and negative notions and want to refresh my brain with a baptism of hope.

I am quickly scolded and told to “grow up and be realistic.” They define realistic to be a declining world filled with oblivious people.

Then I end up spending the weekend in Orefield, Pennsylvania at Jordan Lutheran.

Many months ago while performing in Hilton Head, South Carolina, I met a couple at my concert who were wintering in the vicinity. They handed me their business card and said, “If you’re ever in Pennsylvania, please contact us because we would love to have you into our church.”

This happens to me frequently. I always tuck these cards away in my wallet and never give them another thought. Suffice it to say, I don’t usually pursue such invitations.

But for some reason when I realized we were heading to Pennsylvania, I broke my pattern, pulled out the card, gave it to our agent and said, “You might want to check these folks out.”

Sue and Bill were not only delighted that we called, but made all the arrangements for us to appear at Jordan Lutheran and became the “busy bees of benevolence,” advertising the event to all their friends.

So when we arrived on Saturday, even though we had never met the people who were sent to greet us and help us with our equipment, in the one hour that we were together, the common work joined with common sense and common humor to make us common friends.

Then, on Saturday night we went out to dinner with Bill and Sue. Can I tell you that the spiritual concept of breaking bread is even better when you get to eat it? Stuffing one’s face does seem to expand the brain.

When we arrived Sunday morning to do our shows, there was an energy in the church–a sense of expectation that together we were going to try to hatch a magnificent day.

My dear friends, we are just healthier when we try. Despair not only leaves us sad, but annoyingly boring.

The day finished with a flourish of warmth, tenderness, hugs, awe and wonder.

As I drove down the road I felt good. That’s the good news. It feels good to feel good because you did something good in a good way.

But here’s the better news: I now find myself searching for the next card dealt to me.

 

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Populie: In Our Best Interest … July 23, 2014

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earth on fireThe young congressman sat in his chair, completely confident in his pre-prepared answers and the stump speech that had provided him both election and platform to be the pundit of honor on the broadcast.

The question posed was simple. “Is it in our best interest to…?”

Then the interviewer offered a series of global flare-ups, hot spots and dangers in the world.

No specifics or ideas were offered by the politician, but a resounding repetition of a theme.

“We are America. We must think about America. We must take care of America. And we must be careful not to have our greatness diminished or tarnished by these difficulties. Yes, it’s popular. “America is great.”

But in the pursuit of that idea we have inserted a lie–America is better than other countries.

Religion loves this populie because it enables us to preach a gospel from a position of certainty and piety and send missionaries to the rest of the world because of their heathen status.

Entertainment has always adored “in our best interest” because it enables us to portray our great nation as the savior of all humankind.

And of course, politics adores the notion by bloating the voting block with over-wrought notions of superiority, causing them to “gloat on their way to the vote.”

Here’s the truth: 25,000 miles. That’s the entire circumference of our globe. It’s not much, when you consider that 3,000 of that is the continental United States.

With the addition of Internet, air travel and all sorts of technological surprises, we’re nearly sitting on top of each other.

Our smog floats to China, as does theirs to us.

We need to engage a simpler philosophy about our responsibility to one another other than looking at the bottom line or our cultural imperialism to determine when we’re going to be involved.

I have arrived at a rudimentary three-step process in ascertaining who I am, why I’m here, and what is expected of me if I’m going to continue to consider myself human instead of just a creature fighting for survival.

These are the three questions and my answers:

1. Who is God?

He is my Father. Any other answer to that question either diminishes the love of our Creator, eliminates His existence or generates such mystery that we’re involved in a theological paradox.

2. Who am I?

I am a child of God. I select to be a child, but not because I’m immature or untested. I select to be a child because in so proclaiming myself to be one, I admit that I am still a student of the planet and in the classroom of understanding myself and others.

3. Who is everybody else?

They are my brothers and sisters. When I start putting too many names on the human beings that surround me in this world, I become convinced that our relationships are complicated with twists and turns of culture and preference. The humans on this planet are my brothers and sisters. If we’re not linked by family genetics, we are linked to the genetics of our Creator.

Now, you might find this little trio of ideas to be very elementary in a world where we constantly hound one another with more questions than answers.

But if you begin your life by knowing that God is your Father, that you are a child of His desire and that everybody around you is brothers and sisters, the decision-making process of what is in your best interest clears up very quickly.

If I were involved in the present situations, I would realize that as a child of God, with brothers and sisters all over the world, my job is to assist and avoid killing.

Any chance we have to assist in a creative way eliminates some of the death toll.

Every gun we send over to a foreign power passes on the impression that we’ve picked sides. That means that a gun will eventually be pointed back in our direction.

I am not a pacifist unless by that term you are referring to someone who seeks peace. I am a realist.

And no man or woman that I kill in the pursuit of our best interest is going to go unnoticed by the children that he or she has left behind.

Answer the three questions.

If you’re an agnostic or atheist, you don’t believe there is a God, so you can’t be a child of God, and the human beings on the planet often tend to be your competitors.

If you’re overly religious, you don’t believe that God is your Father, but instead, a Force–often of punishment–so you feel that you’re a depraved sinner, and therefore you project that inadequacy on everyone around you.

God is my Father.

I am a child of God.

You are my brother or my sister.

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