Not Long Tales … December 24th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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20.

The Wysies

On July 19th, the project received the green light for filming—seven days commencing on the 2nd of December—to be aired for five straight nights, beginning December 19th through December 24th, Christmas Eve.

Expectations were high.

The network was always thrilled when any new angle on the holiday season could be unearthed in an attempt to capture a large market share during the December festivities.

This year was particularly exciting, because along with the entertaining new concept was the introduction of Zandy Carlisle to direct. She was an Asian gay woman with a disability—carpel tunnel syndrome. A promotional trifecta.

The premise of the show was simple. A twist and turn on the phrase “Wise Men” had become “Wysies.”

This was not the original title. At first it was spelled W-I-S-S-I-E-S. But after conducting a survey of potential audience, it was determined that the name was too close to “Wussies,” which made everybody laugh—but for the wrong reason.

So it was quickly changed to W-I-Z-Z-I-E-S. But this tested worse, since the inclusion of the prefix “wiz” brought forth images of urination as far as the eye could see. It was Zandy who suggested that using a Y took care of the pronunciation, and striking the extra S eliminated the “Wussie” or the “Wizzie.”

Actually, choosing the name was much more difficult than coming up with the blueprint of the show.

Basically it was a broadcast about five couples, all in their twenties, sent on a mission. Each couple would begin in Temecula, California, dressed in shorts and a shirt, barefoot and with fifty dollars. They would be instructed to walk all the way to the Burbank, California studios as their final destination.

The ninety-four miles between Temecula and Burbank were almost identical to the ninety-seven point six miles that the first Christmas couple, M & J, trekked from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

The rules were easy to understand. There were four things that needed to be accomplished:

  1. Each couple was to stay on foot with no motorized transportation, be it public or private.
  2. They must garner all food and drink from the kindness of strangers.
  3. They would also have to perform one huge, provable good deed.
  4. And finally, to keep everything lively, they should arrive at the finish line in Burbank with a donkey.

Each journey would be filmed, and on the final night, there would be a vote cast by the audience to proclaim the winner.

A rather extensive search took place for the right participants. Of course, in respect to the times, one needed to be gay, one was interracial—black and Asian. An additional couple was a prison romance which blossomed into freedom, with a great backstory. One selected pair was a very religious married team. And finally, there was one couple that was white bread enough to make peanut butter sandwiches for all of summer camp. Their names were Curtis and Morena—a pair of actors who had come to Southern California seeking fame and fortune, but willing to settle for either.

Curtis had been in the hunt for notoriety for about a year-and-a-half, and so far, had only procured a job as a stand-in for a talking jalapeno in a Mr. Mexico taco commercial. Morena had a bit more success—playing the notorious “Queen of Dirt” in a kitchen cleanser TV ad.

Long before the time for filming arrived, sessions were planned to discuss what was expected, beneficial, preferred and helpful for each couple. It was made clear that it was absolutely fine to mention God—but no more than once per episode, so as not to scare away the “uncertain” crowd or the “God is dead” demographic. At no time was Jesus to be included. There were just too many Jews, Muslims and Buddhists for the show to present itself as a billboard for Christianity.

Every couple needed to have a story, so questions were asked, and the search began for what approach would draw the public into the private lives of the contestants.

But first, it was made clear that the name “Wysies” was chosen because it gave a quaint, holiday sniff to what was actually a reality game show (“Wysies” being the Wise Men). That was coupled with the length of the journey being tied into the story of Mary and Joseph. It seemed to be just enough to provide a flavor of inspiration.

The back-stories were chosen.

The gay couple was to play out the persecution they had suffered in pursuit of gaining the right to be married in an America which was “the home of the free and the land of the brave.” Or maybe the other way around.

The black man and Asian woman had lived in Mississippi after he had completed a military tour of duty in Iraq. Their feelings had been greatly injured by the citizens of Dixie, who found their joining to be unnatural under God’s Law.

The two prisoners who had found love after jail had a natural set-up. He was in for trafficking drugs, and she had killed her former husband in a fit of rage when she found him sleeping with her younger sister.

The difficulty came when it was time to derive an appealing presentation for Curtis and Morena. After much questioning, it was decided to emphasize that Curtis was an orphan—since his father had died when he was ten, though his mother was still alive and dwelling in Columbia, Missouri. And Morena had been plagued by disease because she had terrible allergies to both hay and ragweed. (It was agreed that as long as they didn’t get too specific, a general mentioning of their circumstances could still stir the sympathies of the viewership.)

Director Zandy made it abundantly clear that a show of this intensity—this rich with human conflict—would have to emphasize forced feeling, forced fighting, forced exposure, and when necessary, forced story lines.

After the first four planning sessions, Curtis and Morena became disillusioned. It was especially disheartening when the religious couple stomped off the set after being informed that any testimony of their salvation or personal relationship with God had to be abandoned in favor of punctuating their own love story—with a strong dose highlighting their sex life.

That left four couples.

Director Zandy said she was thrilled when it came down to four because five stories were more difficult to squeeze into the time constraints. Even though Curtis and Morena became upset about the job, the first-place prize money of fifty thousand dollars would keep them working and striving toward their goal of becoming full-fledged actors—and was certainly worth putting up with some bleeding of the conscience.

After the planning sessions, and with a general understanding of the expectations, the cast members were sent back to their lives to fend for themselves until the filming began. Each week, Zandy sent off an email with little hints and encouragements on how to better access their greatest potential for winning the show.

Especially significant were the ideas on how to do a good deed. Matter of fact, Zandy referred to this as a “sloppy, sappy service.” In other words, something so obviously kind, generous and merciful that the audience at home would be brought to tears, convinced of the overwhelming goodness of the contestant.

Each week, Curtis and Morena read the directive from Zandy, feeling more and more unsure of their footing. Also, Curtis received alarming news about his mother, Catherine McDermott, who was showing the first stages of dementia—or perhaps warning signs of cardiovascular disease and the danger of a stroke. In other words, she was “ailing.” That’s how family and friends in Missouri expressed their fears for the worst.

Curtis didn’t know what to do. The main problems were his financial situation, fear of failure and his lack of passion about his aspiration for acting. He was frightened that if he went home to Missouri, he would never make it back to Hollywood. He was reluctant to share his feelings with Morena, who found his silence about his mother to be disconcerting, and soon was considering leaving him. She probably would have done so if it had not been for the commitment to “Wysies,” plus a nagging, heartfelt affection for the boy.

The next directive arrived the following week. Both Curtis and Morena were shocked.

Now, neither one of them were religious. But when they read Zandy’s message, the little, tiny piece of faith that still abided in them was stunned. The directive read:

“Good morning to you outstanding human beings and contestants for “Wysies!” I wanted to give you a heads up. During one of our planning sessions, it was discovered that some initial press reports have leaked—portraying the show as a religious broadcast about the journey of Mary and Joseph to the manger. The critics are already attacking it as being just another righteous ruse’ to punctuate the differences among the populace, aggravating the debate about the separation of church and normal life.”

“Of course, nothing could be more untrue. But once a rumor like this gets started, it must be stomped out quickly, or pretty soon a forest fire of misunderstanding will be set ablaze. So I am asking each of you to do a couple of interviews on a press junket in order to (a) advertise yourself; (b) be cute and humorous, bringing intrigue about the show; and (c) strongly establish that ‘Wysies’ is not a God thing.”

“I will contact you soon with times, dates and some possible lines you can use to sever this contest from Sunday School lingo.”

The email was signed:

“Your fearless friend and leader, Zandy”

This stimulated a discussion between Curtis and Morena. Neither one of them felt comfortable defending the faith. They were not like the religious couple, who yearned to preach the Gospel, but they also found no contentment in being included among unbelievers and those who were apathetic about a possible Creator in Heaven.

What began as a discussion about the show ended as an argument about their relationship. Morena was just as discouraged about their progress in the cattle calls of the entertainment industry thus far. Playing the “Queen of Dirt” had not garnered much business, and unfortunately, had not become a repetitive character for future commercials. (Matter of fact, those reviewed about the commercial were thrilled when she was sucked down the drain in the last scene.)

But Morena did not want to be the one to give up. If Curtis were going to leave, he needed to make it clear that he was the quitter—and if he wanted her around, he needed to offer a greater commitment than a tender pat on her bare butt after sex.

On the other hand, Curtis did not want to be the villain in the great tale of their lives. So ensued two or three days of continual fighting with perpetual finger-pointing.

“You’re the reason we’re failing!”

“If you just cared more, we might do better!”

In the midst of this, more calls came in from Missouri, expressing, in a quiet way, desperation over Mother Catherine’s well-being.

Curtis began to wonder if he could just abandon his dream and blame it on his mother’s condition. His problem with that plan was that Morena would always know about the little piece of chicken-shit mixed in with his nobility.

He could leave her, but then he would be arriving back in Missouri alone, into an atmosphere of dreary demise.

One night as they sat, heads spinning from the latest bewildering exchange of ideas, Curtis posed a very interesting question.

“Morena, do you think we can win ‘Wysies?’”

Morena was offended, and then surprised that she felt so insulted by a legitimate question. After all, there were three other couples. The gay lovers were certainly cute and flamboyant. The two prisoners had enough tattoos for three people. And the black and Asian couple—well, on top of military service, they had the applause of everyone who hated Mississippi.

Curtis asked again. “Do you think we can win this thing?”

Morena surprised herself. “No.” That was all she said.

Curtis turned to her, alarmed. “Then why are we doing it?”

Morena replied emphatically. “You know why we’re doing it! Exposure! Showing enough of ourselves that this time, you get to play the jalapeno instead of getting coffee for him!”

Even though the comment stung Curtis’ ego, it was still rather funny. He laughed. “And,” he retorted, “you might get the part of Princess of Clean in the next commercial—who gets to survive to sell yet another day.”

“So,” she said, “we’re hanging around here to participate in a contest where we have no chance of winning, and we’re hoping that our failure will draw enough attention to us that someone will want us in some sort of part because we were such dynamic also-rans.”

Curtis smiled. “You left out something,” he said. “All this is true—plus we have to find a donkey and get it to Burbank, California.”

Then something strange happened—odd indeed. Morena did something she had not done since she was a young girl. Matter of fact, she had been nine years old, and her dog was hit by a car and was lying in the middle of the street, twitching.

On that day, she had bowed her head and prayed. “God, heal my dog.”

Her puppy died. And so did her faith.

But now, in this moment of craziness mingled with humor and pathos, she prayed again. “God, would you get us out of here to someplace where we can breathe without being afraid?”

Curtis was shocked. The two of them had never even mentioned the word “God,” or thought about an Everlasting Presence, but without even thinking, when Morena finished her prayer, he said, “Amen.”

There were no phone calls. The sky did not open. There was no chill going down the spine.

They simply looked at each other and they both knew their next trek would not be to Burbank, but instead, across the country as best they could—to the bedside of a hurting woman in Missouri.

When Curtis called Director Zandy and quit, she was infuriated. She briefly tried to get him to change his mind, but when he wouldn’t, she explained that due to the nature of their contract, they would be required to sign a termination agreement, guaranteeing that they would never sue the show or the network. After this, Zandy curtly stated that the show would be “better with three couples anyway.”

When Curtis and Morena showed up in Burbank to sign their termination agreement, to their surprise they were both issued checks for five hundred dollars. They promised to never say a bad word about the show or do any negative promotion.

Shocked, bewildered, and dare we say, blessed, the two climbed into Morena’s old car—held together with rust and hopes—and headed toward Missouri.

They were in no hurry. It was a five-day journey, and they arrived on the exact day they originally had planned to begin filming “Wysies.”

Mother Catherine was still living in the old homestead. When they got there, she was sitting in the living room, staring out the front window. At first Curtis thought she was anticipating their homecoming—because he had called ahead to let the family know of their intentions. But when they came in, she continued to stare out the window to the undetermined outside.

He made his way to his mother’s side and touched her hand. Barely acknowledging his presence, she reached over and clasped his arm. Unexpectedly, Morena made her way up the stairs to the attic, where, as Curtis had explained, they kept all the Christmas decorations.

She emerged carrying a big box, shut the attic, came downstairs and opened it, beginning to remove the seasonal family treasures. This gained Catherine’s attention. She got up, walked across the room, and began to help Morena.

About five minutes into the experience, Catherine took Morena’s hands, and though she had never met her, she said, “We have done this before, haven’t we?”

Morena saw no reason to argue, so she nodded her head. Immediately, Catherine stood up, walked into the kitchen and took a stance next to the stove, as if considering warming water for tea or beginning a pot of coffee. She stared at the oven intently, as if seeking inspiration.

Concerned, Curtis followed her in. Seeing her stymied at the stove, he came up behind her, placed his hands on her shoulders, and then his arms around her neck, embracing her. Suddenly, from behind, he felt Morena’s tender arms squeezing his waist. The three stood there, connected, tightly holding one another, trying to draw strength from within.

That year, when “Wysies” aired, the ratings were so bad that they never actually finished the five days of production, pronouncing a winner.

Curtis and Morena spent the holiday season with Mother Catherine. Although they feared for her health, each day she actually grew stronger, more present and cognizant of the world around her.

By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, she was reciting memories, singing carols, and fixing the delicious chocolate chip cookies for which she was acclaimed.

Curtis and Morena fell in love—first, with Mother Catherine. Then, with the sweetness and nostalgia of the home. Next, with each other, as they sealed the covenant between them. And finally—and more slowly—they fell in love with God. Even though He had not done much to help Morena’s puppy, this time, on this occasion, and in this Christmas season, He had shown up…and answered their prayers.

The B. S. M. G. Report


Jonathots Daily Blog

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When God is touted by the fool

We quickly lose the Golden Rule

BAD

Yellin’ grandmas and spittin’ grandpas.

This week I stood back in awe over people my age and much older who have relinquished their gravitas and dignity in pursuit of appearing to be common street brawlers.

Yes, elected humans who would never think of being volatile in front of their grandkids for fear of passing on a horrible impression decided to throw fits on national television under the guise of being “tough.”

It is fascinating to me that at no time in my growing up years did any teacher, principal, minister or counselor suggest that the solution for dealing with a bully was to imitate his or her practices.

We need grandmas and grandpas out there who can calm the seas instead of stirring the waters.

Shame on our politicians and national leaders for thinking they convey strength by being abusive or rude.

I am looking for individuals who will stop yelling, take the power of good cheer, and in a clever way make their biting points … without using teeth.

SAD

When you move the stopping place, we no longer know where to cease.

In every argument there is a juncture where words are no longer communicating. Instead, insults and even fists offer their forceful alternative.

In a civilized society, we are responsible to stop and walk away before our physical bodies try to solve emotional problems. Over the past twenty years, we have lost the ability to identify the stopping place.

Do we continue to discuss? Or has the discussion become a prideful rant?

Do we object? Or might we depart until another day?

Do we impeach the President? Or do we simply replace him?

We’ve lost our stopping place.

It is sad that we refuse to comprehend that in losing our stopping place, we also have lost our power.

MAD

This is what makes me mad. It isn’t reality. I can handle the truth, even when it’s not to my liking.

Let me make this clear:

There is no such thing as an innocent “Islam” or a merely zealous “Zionist.”

There isn’t a “concerned” condemning Christian.

Or a well-meaning bumbling Buddhist.

And it isn’t open-minded to tolerate a hapless Hindi.

Any religion which has a leader who promotes his own tribe is worthless.

This is true of both Islam and Judaism.

Any religion that allows for segregation, gossip and Crusades cannot be given a free pass, as we have granted Christianity.

Buddhists who insist that the path to Nirvana is through quelling one’s emotions certainly don’t know humanity.

And for the record, considering Hinduism—nobody’s coming back as a cow.

As long as we allow religions to propagate myths, foolishness, prejudice, anger, segregation and anti-human philosophies, we will be at the mercy of their superstition.

Ragtag religion is hurting us. It’s time for us to look at all religions and make one simple demand:

Come back when you have something to help the human race. Stop complicating the hell out of our lives.

GLAD

I am glad, joyful, impressed and overwhelmed with Charles Wesley.

You might not know who he is.

He didn’t kill, steal and destroy, so the history books don’t contain a lot about his life.

He is a man who, along with his brother, John, led a revival of great social and spiritual significance in England.

He wrote 6,500 hymns.

Now, I consider myself to be a composer. I have quite a catalogue. But even in my more “braggart modes,” I would claim three or four hundred musical compositions.

6,500 is not only super-dedicated, but supernatural.

This week I was glad for Charles Wesley. Because as I sat in my living room, staring at my beautiful Christmas tree, from my radio, a choir sang, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

The music is by Felix Mendelssohn, but the lyrics are from Charles Wesley.

When I heard the last verse, the words swept over my soul and nearly took my breath away, leaving me like the saved, lost man I truly am.

Hail the son of righteousness

Light and life to all he brings

Risen with healing in his wings

Mild he lays his glory by

Born that man no more may die

Born to raise the sons of Earth

Born to give them second birth.

Yes, I cried.

I wept over the concept of having a Savior come to me, a son of Earth.

And I especially thanked Charles Wesley for confirming that Jesus came to give me second birth.

Catchy (Sitting 9) A Given Inventory … August 6th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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It was good to have Jo-Jay along on the trip back to headquarters. She was energetic, funny and very generous. She wanted to buy Matthew a whole new wardrobe, but he settled for a black leather fedora, which made him look dangerous–in a goofy kind of way. Arriving in town, Jo-Jay took her leave so she could acquire lodging for what was more and more appearing to be a protracted stay.

When Matthew came into the office, he was greeted by Randall, Landy and a stranger. It was obvious that the stranger was a lawyer. (Matthew contended that barristers had a certain “sniff” about them.)

Randall and Landy asked Matthew to sit down, and then explained that they had no interest whatsoever in being a part of the project that Arthur Harts had proposed, to popularize Jesus. But they did want to sign an agreement that any money that came into the business or profits incurred would be equally shared among the partners.

“So let me get this straight,” said Matthew. “You don’t want to work on this promotion. But if the promotion does well, you want to be able to acquire your share of the profits. Is that about right?”

Comically, both of them turned to the attorney for approval before answering. He nodded his head, and they mimicked. Matthew laughed.

“Randall, Landy…” said Matthew. “It is a bit amazing to me that we have this great thing going together until we find out there may be some money. It’s like my old Grandpappy used to say. ‘Poverty has many friends because you have to huddle by the fire. But being wealthy allows you to purchase an island hut with central heat.'”

Randall and Landy stared at Matthew, bewildered.

I’ll tell you what,” said Matthew, picking up the document they had given him. “I’ll look this over.” He thumbed through it. “Fifty-seven pages long. And I’ll get back to you.”

“Don’t take too long,” said the attorney, minus expression but with a threatening air.

Matthew went into his office and pulled up his emails. There was an expected one from Paul Padwick, wishing him well but wanting no part of the endeavor. There was also a second contact from Michael Hintson, continuing to apologize for missing his airplane. Michael had only one question: was the Catholic Church backing the idea? Because he could certainly use the support from those in his district who favored a Pope.

Susanna–Soos–was thinking it over. Mary Rogers Kent (Mother) was now a Buddhist. Lydia Lars, otherwise known as Layla, said she would contact him the following week, after the woman who did her astrology chart weighed in on the possibility.

Matthew was suddenly overcome by an uncontrollable giggle.

He had been given an inventory. Now he had to decide what he could do with it.

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Good News and Better News… January 16th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-glasses

If you don’t have the right outlook, you better “look out,” because trouble’s coming.

Everybody knows that.

But sometimes we think we can maintain a bad attitude and still expect good results.

Or we believe it’s not necessary for us to do any more than we’ve already done. God, Nature and people should just be happy we showed up.

Jesus doesn’t mingle well with other religions.

For instance, there’s no such thing as a Christian Buddhist. Jesus taught us to feel; Buddha suggested it was completely unnecessary. Never the twain shall meet.

There is no such thing as Judeo-Christian. Moses espoused an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” and Jesus required that we creatively find ways to love our enemies.

And there is certainly no spiritual common ground between Christianity and the Muslim faith. Whereas the Muslims are the children of Abraham and the followers of Mohammed, Jesus was quite insistent that He existed long before either of them.

Christianity is not a temperamental faith, but it is a faith that addresses our temperament. And if you’re going to assist human beings in achieving their goals and becoming better citizens, you must first and foremost teach them to open their hearts.

Yes. We are all emotional people.

It doesn’t matter what culture you come from–any attempt to disguise or dampen the emotions will leave the individual imbalanced.

So if we try to have church without giving everybody an emotional experience, what we’re really advertising is a study group with hymn singing.

No wonder we’re having some trouble with attendance.

  • People need to connect.
  • They need to feel.
  • They need to realize that someone else in the room cares about them.

The Bible needs a face. Yours will do.

But right now, we spend too much time spiritualizing, meditating and promoting Zumba classes. All these things can be wonderful, if they undergird an emotional experience.

Our outlook comes from our feelings, maturing in our spirit, renewing our mind and affecting our life choices.

The good news is that Jesus said “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

The better news is that when we plump up the abundance of our heart with feelings of goodness, we just talk better.

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Location, location, and, oh, yes… location … January 31, 2012

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I have had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce where inspiring speeches were given on the glories of capitalism and business, as people dismissed to pass out their cards and inform others of a booming possibility with their rendition of the American Dream.
 
I have sat at the fireside of a gathering of homeless individuals, sharing a platter of beans with two pieces of day-old white bread purchased from the Dolly Madison Store, as all those surrounding the warmth discussed their day’s activities.
 
I have been at a rock concert with screaming fans leaping to their feet, hoping the next tune would be their favorite one.
 
I have attended a family reunion where aunts and uncles barely of my acquaintance have insisted that I knew some old relative who had since passed on, as we conversed about names unfamiliar, while munching on delectable potato salad.
 
Out of curiosity, I have actually gone to political party meetings of both sides and been inundated with pamphlets, propaganda and platforms, encouraging me to make a good American stands against the opposing party’s irrelevant views.
 
Being a father of children, I have also sat through a PTA meeting, often out-numbered, lacking members of my particular gender, as speaker after speaker lamented the lack of something or other in the educational system.
 
Stupidly, I was lured into an investment party because it promised something free and ended up being a ploy to get me to take the little money I had and drop it into a hole, hoping that the crevice would spew back profits.
 
I have been in many a counseling session–mainly as the counselor–listening patiently as each party made his or her case against the other, well-organized, well-rehearsed and well-entrenched.
 
I have done these things and many others in the pursuit of discovering the best of my human family, only to realize that when we herd together, we normally want to make sure that we’re with cattle of our own kind.
 
It limits us. It retards us (if I may use the word in its correct form without being politically incorrect). It inhibits us from using the two greatest possessions we have–a mirror and a brain. Because in all those conclaves I listed, at no time at all was I asked to examine myself, nor was it necessary for me to think–because the mental agenda was provided.
 
Which brings me to last night in Clinton, Louisiana, where forty-six people emerged from the community–from different paths, walks, theologies and political persuasions. They huddled into one building to consider a message and how they measured up to its intensity. It’s called a church. And even though I will rail against a religious system which tries to turn the true church into something that blends the Chamber of Commerce with a political party meeting with overtones of a counseling session, I am a firm believer that the church is the only place where the possibility of looking in the mirror at oneself and actually tapping the brain that God has given you is plausible.
 
Oh, yes–I am not naive.  I realize that the present religious system would love to mimic the Chamber of Commerce.  Poorer congregations would like to react like the homeless, making fun of the rich. There are those “hip” congregations, which think the church is just a rock concert, cheering on Jesus and the Spirit of God. Smaller groups of church folks actually become nothing more than a family reunion, discussing the week’s activities, dead parishioners and the weather. Too many religious institutions have become the harlot for political parties, pushing a social agenda more than salvation.
 
But when it’s done right, there is nothing in our society like the church–because it asks us to look in the mirror and to use our brains.
 
How do you know if you’re in a real church or just a religious system trying to parrot the world around it? The real church has seven important ingredients:
 
1. Be prepared for the unpredictable. For after all, repetition has always been the agenda of hell.
2. Stop complaining. No one ever learns in the midst of a lament.
3. Love somebody new. If we aren’t expanding the family of man around us to include more and more people, we are shrinking the vision of God.
4. Cry until you laugh. There are people in churches still in pain after many years of suffering, who should have had a nighttime of weeping and allowed joy to come in their morning.
5. Think for yourself about yourself to improve yourself. Don’t use God’s house as a way to confirm your inadequacy.
6. Be thankful. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But thankfulness is missing from our society. It has been bumped out of the way by expectation. We need some place to go where we actually express gratitude.
7. And finally, leave changed. The Chamber of Commerce didn’t ask me to do that; nor did the homeless, the rock singer, Aunt Mabel, the Republicans and Democrats, the teacher’s conference, the investment firm or even those attending the counseling session. We all basically came into those events with one mind-set and left with a little bit more cement added. The true church is a place where we leave changed every time we are there, or we must question  the gospel which is supposed to give us the truth that makes us free.
 
Yes, it’s all about location, location, location. And if you’re looking for a place to go that will renew you and allow you to look in the mirror without fear and think instead of merely react, I recommend a good church which understands the seven things I just stated.
 
I was at one last night. It was a good time … although I did miss my beans and day-old bread.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

The Theory of Revolution… January 30, 2012

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Ignorance is the belief that anything can truly become better without us changing our approach or behavior.
 
We have now had two American generations over the past thirty years which have set in motion a pattern of action which has led us to our present state of confusion. For the first fifteen years, we were pummeled with the notion of our differences, uniqueness and individuality. We were told that everybody has a solitary personality and that each of us has our own little space in the great warehouse of life. Then for the past fifteen years, we have been inundated with the gospel of self-esteem, which insists that people cannot  find value in their journey unless they completely believe in themselves and avoid the danger of too much critique of their person.
 
Let’s blend the two approaches: we’re all individuals and we should take our differences into a corner and protect them as sacred against the onslaughts of other people who might want to force us to adapt. It is a formula for class warfare. It is a set-up for alienation. It is a devious plan to separate us off from one another, creating mistrust, which lends itself to suspicion, which welcomes antagonism, ending in war.
 
We have sat idly by like sheep on our way to the slaughter, looking at the tail of the creature ahead of us, marching in step to the drumming of repetition. Now we lament our economic situation. We are suddenly concerned about the needs of the poor and the excesses of the rich. No one stopped thirty years ago to question the antics of a society that was trying to differentiate personality types and box us all up into units for storage. No one objected to the doctrine of self-esteem, which placed each one of us as lord and master of our own perception.
 
So what do we have? We have a generation of people thoroughly convinced that they are so unique that they must fight and argue to maintain their self-worth because others are certainly out to nab their value. It’s pathetic. It will take Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic and atheist getting together on one principle, although they may disagree on many others, to shake us out of this lethargy of self-indulgence. Yes, we need to make a call to the whole world to submit to a singular purpose: NoOne is better than anyone else.
 
Let the cynics find the contradictions in the concept. Let the jaded mock such simplicity. And let the religionists attempt to segregate us into camps of “saved” and “unsaved.” NoOne is better than anyone else.
 
It requires the embracing of three precepts:
 
1. God is no respecter of persons. I didn’t make that up. It’s in the Bible. It means that whatever used to be the foundational philosophy of the universe, or if there was a time when there notion of “chosen people” was acceptable, that era has gone the way of the dodo bird. It’s over. God does not prefer anyone over anyone else. Which means:
2. I can love my neighbor as myself without looking like a jackass. At a recent rally, a public speaker, who brought up the concept of the golden rule, was booed by the crowd. Why? Because we have taught that love is weakness. It is not. I am not out of the loop when I keep my feelings on the highway of compassion. If I like to be free, it only seems right that others enjoy the same. If I like to escape the judgment of others, certainly they might desire the same treatment. If God is no respecter of persons, I can go ahead and love my neighbor as myself and know that I have the Creator anointing my efforts. Therefore:
3. My family is the entire human family. It doesn’t detract from my immediate loved ones that I expand my vision to include all Homo Sapiens. This is not an attempt to reject the animal kingdom–but it is much easier to love a bear when you can bear loving a human. Until the religions, non-religions, organizations, politicians, preachers and business people of our world accept these three principles–if only in theory–then we will languish in this mediocrity of self-deception.
 
I am not different. I am so similar to the people I meet that it’s frightening. I do not gain self-esteem by making a stand, but rather, define my created being by standing up for others.
 
This is the theory of revolution.
 
I could not vote for anyone who did not believe in it–not because I hate him or her. It is because the lack of a philosophy of inclusion makes them “haters in training.” Humans do not becomes more loving by thinking they are different and by insisting on their own self-worth. That is the formula for paranoia and frustration.
 
So I am thirty days into my Six Words Tour: NoOne is Better Than Anyone Else.
 
What have I learned so far? I have discovered that when you speak the words out loud, people at first embrace the sentiment–until it sinks into them that they lose their bubble of difference and their sword of self-esteem. It scares them. So I will tell you–it will take brave people to relinquish the stupidity of two generations and inhale the freedom of not needing to be superior or unique.
 
Because God is no respecter of persons, I can love my neighbor as myself, opening the door to all of humanity being my family.
 
I welcome your input–but make sure that what you think and feel is universal rather than just fits of discouragement. Nothing becomes easy until we accept that it’s needed. This is needed.
 
Welcome to the revolution … right now, only a theory.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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