Cracked 5 … April 3rd, 2018


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Matters That Really Upset the Easter Bunny During This Holiday Celebration

A. The Lucky Car Dealership giving away a rabbit’s foot for good luck as a promotional benefit during “Hoppy Sales Week”

 

B. Obtuse and confusing parallels drawn by ministers and church youth leaders between the Easter Bunny and the Resurrection of Christ

 

C. Peeps voted “Best Easter Candy.” Damn those chicks.

 

D. Jokes about the Easter Bunny being a “basket case”

 

E. Politically correct individuals upset with the term “colored eggs” want to change it to “hue-enhanced eggs.”

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Good News and Better News … February 12th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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You are not a farmer.

You are not called to plow, plant, kill weeds and fuss about the weather.

You are a sower.

Your parents were wrong–life is not about “being careful” so you won’t accidentally reap some undesirable result. As long as you’re not starving to death, hurting yourself or interfering with others, get out there and sow.

Your caution only hurts you.

Your intimidation robs you of the experience for which you yearn, and if you fail to achieve, makes you grumpy, old and judgmental. “How dare other people have fun in my presence?”

The story goes, “A sower went forth to sow seed.”

The end result of the process is as follows: Once you drop, you end up with a flop or a crop.

That’s how easy it is. And according to this tale, most of the time it is a flop. Yes, we sustain enthusiasm through many a disappointment, reveling in the sweetness of pleasure.

Some seed will just miss. It won’t get anywhere near soil. Forgive yourself. Laugh it off. “Okay, it landed by the wayside.” Maybe you can aim better next time. It didn’t do anything you wanted it to do. Get over it. Keep in mind, when you refuse to partake of life, you sit in your own sediment until you stink.

Some of the “drop” lands on stony ground. Yeah, the idea started out good, but it didn’t have sustaining power. This doesn’t mean you don’t get joy out of the undertaking. It’s the power of knowing when to walk away. And here’s a clue–when it stops being fun, you should start looking for your shoes.

Some of the seed you drop lands in the middle of thistles. Now, this is soil that’ll grow anything–good and bad. The trouble is, sometimes the bad eats up the good, so it’s not the greatest climate to maintain a cherished mission. Keep sowing.

And some seed miraculously lands right in the middle of rich soil, grows and gives you a crop. This is why we celebrate. It’s why we praise. It’s why we reflect. Why we testify.

We do all of these because success doesn’t happen as often as failure, and if you refuse to try because “doom is more likely than bloom,” you will only guarantee yourself the failure of nothingness.

And if you’re surprised that things don’t work out the way you planned, you may just hang up your bag of seed and pout.

The good news is, we are not farmers–we are sowers.

The better news is, every once in a while we sow into the right soil, and the meaning of life grows right in front of our eyes.

 

 

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Jesonian … February 3rd, 2018

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Slow, stalled, passed the exit.

These are positions we find ourselves in when it comes to the progress of our lives.

Sometimes it feels like things are going too slow.

Certainly we can feel stalled.

And those who possess a pint of wisdom are fully aware that you can go so fast that you pass the exit.

The human instinct is to cover up the situation–for after all, it’s difficult to admit that you’re slow or stalled, and confessing to being oblivious and missing an opportunity is extraordinarily painful.

Jesus was human–therefore he went through this.

After all, he didn’t get started until he was thirty. Talk about a failure to launch. History is kind to him because once he got going he was rather productive. Yet had he continued to minister with the same passion he demonstrated as a carpenter, the most famous Jesus in the world would be a baseball player from the Dominican Republic.

The secret to his emergence is found in John the 2nd Chapter. It’s a seven step process–which sounds formidable, but since it is so logical, it may be fairly easy to remember.

At thirty years of age, he decided to find himself.

1. Find yourself.

Yes, don’t annoy the world around you by arriving at your dream without a map–especially absent the GPS to your own soul.

Jesus went into the wilderness, he dealt with his appetites and emerged with the correct meshing of awareness and humility. Once he discovered himself, he went out to:

2. Find some friends.

It’s usually more a mutual discovery. When you clarify your position and you’re transparent, other humans who share your convictions stumble upon you.

Sometimes we try to make relationships work. Truthfully, if they don’t, they don’t. You can have a thousand conversations and never arrive at a point of agreement.

Embracing some friends led to the next step:

3. Find your place to start.

In the case of Jesus, since he had a message, his instinct might have been to preach or teach. He wanted to lead people to a greater understanding of themselves as children of God.

Jesus knew his goals. He aspired to share a manifesto which was simple to follow.

So Jesus went to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It was the next thing on his calendar and it was his way of expressing that those who pursued him should welcome a celebration instead of a series of seminars.

Find your place to start.

And at this point in his ministry, five disciples came along to enjoy the festivities.

Almost immediately, Jesus was in a position where, like all of us, he needed to:

4. Find your calling.

This may surprise you, but Jesus was immediately cornered by a family member. His mother.

She felt it was her obligation to steer him in the right direction. After all, she was his mama, right?

So when she heard they had run out of wine at the wedding, she came to Jesus, explained the predicament–but also prodded him to use the occasion to manifest his workings.

At this point, Jesus chose his calling over his mother. Although he loved her, probably for the first time in his life, he referred to her as “woman.” Not “mother.” Not “my dear.”

He said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?”

In that moment, he established an adult relationship, letting her know that they would now be walking the Earth as peers, not as “Mother Mary and little Jesus.”

If you can’t break away from your family obligation enough to find your calling, you will use those binding responsibilities to excuse your lack of activity.

5. Find your time.

That’s what Jesus said to Mary. I’m looking for the right time for me. Not your right time. Not my disciples’ right time. The time that’s right for me to do what I believe I’m supposed to do.

After considering this, Jesus did the bidding of his heart.

6. Do what you do.

He had the servants fill up the ceremonial clay pots with water. Hours earlier the water within those pots had been used to cleanse dirty feet, but Jesus asked that they be put to work again. Once they were filled, the contents of the vessels should be drawn off and taken to the master of ceremonies.

Speaking of that, all of this process grants us the privilege to:

7. Do it with flair.

People weren’t turning water into wine. They certainly were not using foot-washing pots to do it. The most common phrase uttered by those who had an encounter with Jesus was, “Wow. We’ve never seen it like this before.”

Don’t expect to make a difference if you aren’t different.

If you plan on following the common grid, filling in the blanks faithfully, you will also find yourself standing in line your whole life, with no distinguishing gifts.

Jesus took a wedding feast to establish the fact that he had found himself, acquired friends, had picked the place to start, and was ready to walk away from family obligations to pursue his calling. He had selected this time to do what he was able to do, and he performed it with flair.

This was not only the first public miracle of Jesus–this was his coming out party.

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Catchy (Sitting 22) Meanwhile … November 12th, 2017

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Soos got busy.

Having placed the shoddy-quality video she shot at the jail up on YouTube, she worked very hard with her understanding of the Internet, attempting to force traffic in its direction. She had some awareness of how to accomplish this, but it was still a rather hit-and-miss proposal. But seven hours later, there were 350,000 hits, and it was growing by 100,000 an hour. By the end of the day, the viewings were nearly two million.

Not only were people checking out the video, sharing it, reposting it and talking about it, but an organization called “The Defense of the Innocent” had decided to make the case their pet project for the week.

They started a crowd-funding campaign to get Jubal Carlos out of his bind, and within a day and a half, they had raised over a million dollars.

It became the subject of conversations on talk shows. People were discussing it at their jobs. It even crossed over the generation gap, with mothers and fathers finding something to converse about with their teenagers.

The Defense of the Innocent did not waste any time trying to get to the bottom of how a drummer for Las Vegas Casinos, who had a heart for the homeless, had ended up in the clink. Within three days they had tracked the conspiracy back to a Washington lobbyist, who then disappeared on a flight to South America. The organization continued its investigation, finding that the request for the arrest of Jubal Carlos had come from somewhere in Congress.

Calls flooded the Clark County jail. The sheriff was inundated with emails, letters and all sorts of communications, accusing him of persecuting a generous man.

But things really got poppin’ when the famous acts appearing in Las Vegas, who had enjoyed Jubal’s accompaniment on the skins, began to speak out, which generated even more press and stirred up a whirlwind of questions.

Pressured, frustrated and not certain why the whole thing had begun in the first place, the Clark County sheriff ordered Jubal released for time served.

However, Jubal had to negotiate to get Matthew out since it was a completely separate matter. But the sheriff was in no mood to make a stand, so after only six days, the new comrades, Matthew and Jubal, came strolling out of the Clark County Municipal Building–free.

They were immediately surrounded by reporters. A crowd of several hundred people had gathered on the steps to hear Jubal speak. There was only one question:

“Mr. Carlos, what do you plan to do about the false imprisonment that you’ve undergone?”

Jubal stood for about three seconds, and then responded, “Nothing.”

This brought a hurricane of inquiries hurled in his direction, all with the same theme:

“But you were mistreated…”

“Injustice was done…”

Jubal patted Matthew on the back and said, “This is my buddy, Matthew. He’s kind of like a tax collector.”

There was a smattering of laughter.

“I thought I’d take him down to the homeless section, see if I can get somebody to grab my congas, call up my band, ‘The Pebble Pushers,’ and have a celebration concert.”

“When will this happen?” one of the reporters asked.

Jubal shrugged and said, “How about three o’clock this afternoon? Everybody’s invited.”

As they walked away, Matthew furrowed his brow and whispered to Jubal, “What are you doing?”

Jubal laughed. “I don’t know, but it sure sounds like fun.”

Calls were made.

Soos was contacted to get ahold of The Pebble Pushers and rig up some sort of sound system.

Prophet Morgan, who had just come from the blackjack tables with his yearly bonanza of funds for the poor, started spreading the word all through the casinos.

Jo-Jay quickly found a courtesy suite at one of the famous hotels so Matthew and Jubal could clean up and get ready for the afternoon activities.

And a spot was found in a park near the homeless haven for the impromptu concert.

At three o’clock, Matthew and Jubal arrived to an amazing scene. There were thousands of people. There was a stage made up of old crates, boxes and palates–the perfect venue for Jubal Carlos and The Pebble Pushers. Sitting on top of the makeshift stage were Jubal’s famous double set of congas, waiting for a good beating.

Jubal took the stage, to the screams and applause of an appreciative audience, giddy on the elixir of defiance.

Jubal announced, “I know people always say this, but I truthfully, honestly, gloriously and faithfully want to thank each and every one of you for helping me gain my freedom. It is not my doing, but it is a work of God–because people came together. Do you understand what I mean? When people come together for something good, it is the presence of God. So let’s play some music, let’s dance, let’s celebrate and let’s see if they will take me in this time for actually disturbing the peace.”

The crowd cheered.

For the next hour-and-a-half, Jubal and the band played song after song, driving the audience into a state of frenzy.

All at once, in the midst of a particularly vibrant number, Jubal stopped and called Matthew to the back of the stage. Stepping aside from his drums as the band continued to play, he stepped down to speak to Matthew.

“Listen, here’s what I want you to do. How many McDonald’s do you think there are in this town?”

Matthew shook his head. “I don’t know. Fifty? A hundred?”

Jubal replied, “Good. These people are hungry. I want you to go to all those McDonald’s and buy up all the McDoubles and small fries that they have in stock and bring them out here.”

Matthew blanched, eyes widened, and said, “What??”

Jubal continued. “And while you’re at it, pick up thousands of bottles of water.”

Jubal headed back to the stage, and Matthew grabbed his arm. “How am I going to do this? I’ve only got fifty bucks on me.”

Jubal frowned. “Don’t you have millions in the bank for this promotion?”

Matthew nodded. “Yeah… but how does this fit into the promotion?”

Jubal laughed. “Well, I think we’re gonna get a lot of press if we pass out a McDouble and a small fry to everybody in this audience. What? About five or six thousand? If we give them bottles of water and we continue to rock the park, the press will stay as long as the music’s hot and the hamburgers are tasty.”

Matthew shook his head. “It’s a great idea. I just wish I had the people to do it.”

Jubal pointed to the crowd. “Grab some people from the audience. You’ll have plenty of helpers. And while you’re getting the burgers and fries together, I’ll continue the concert. And you can roll in with a bunch of vans filled with meat, cheese and potatoes.”

“This is crazy,” said Matthew.

Jubal paused.

And then, as if struck by a great notion from the heavens, replied, “No. It’s the beginning of our Good Cheer Revolution.

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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 47) Increase and Decrease … March 26th, 2017

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Reverend Meningsbee

June in Nebraska is a celebration. It is a festival of survival.

Until the end of May, winter threatens to clamp down on any enthusiasm about the arrival of warmer weather. But by June, the monster of frigid temperatures and the obstruction of snow drifts have melted away, leaving behind fields blossoming with corn, sunny skies and the threat of blistering heat.

One local once conjectured that the reason most Nebraskans were so easy-going was because “everything that happens around them is so extreme.”

They wouldn’t dare over-react–to a blizzard or a heat wave.

It was on the third Sunday in June, right when people were beginning to think about the upcoming July 4th celebration, that he came walking into the back of the church.

At first Meningsbee didn’t recognize him. He certainly didn’t remember him being so tall–six foot two, as it turned out. Dark brown hair, chiseled chin, hazel eyes and weighing in at a military 183 pounds was Carl Ramenstein, the young hero who had rescued Meningsbee months earlier in Chicago, from the onslaught of some challenging questions.

As Carl had explained, he had a cousin in town and he came to spend a couple of weeks, having recently graduated from seminary.

Carl fit right in. Everybody loved him. He grew up on a farm, worked on a ranch, liked fishing, knew the working end of a plow.

All the kids adored him because he played so hard. All the old ladies straightened their buns when he walked in the room. And the men pulled out their war stories. It took only one Sunday for Carl to become part of the atmosphere, attitude and heart of the Garsonville Church.

So when two weeks passed and it was time for him to leave, the folks begged him to stay. It turned out to be tremendously beneficial, considering that on the following Wednesday, a little boy about five years old fell into an abandoned well just outside town. Carl spearheaded the rescue effort.

He was in the local newspaper and had dinner invitations enough to last the rest of the year.

But Carl was not interested in all the praise. Carl loved God. In a season when such devotion from a man of his age seemed unlikely, or maybe even suspicious, his legitimate warmth and appreciation for the heavenly Father was demonstrated in how well he treated his children.

Carl loved people.

Meningsbee stood back–astounded. You see, Meningsbee wanted to love people and every once in a while mustered the spirit to do so. But Carl possessed a streak of conviction that every human he met had been waiting for the chance to meet him so that Carl could pass on a blessing.

It was the most amazing mixture of confidence and humility that Reverend Meningsbee had ever seen.

Young women were literally following him around town, just hoping he would turn and give them a smile, and although fully aware of their attractions, he was careful not to put himself in dangerous situations where rumor could give way to scandal.

The people took a liking to Carl.

Carl took a liking to the church.

The church was taking a liking to the community, and the people, who had been sitting on the fence, trying to decide what it felt about the Garsonville Church, were now beginning to trickle in, one by one, and find a place of peace and fellowship.

Matter of fact, one older gentleman took Pastor Meningsbee aside and said, “My dear parson, you had a good idea, but you’re a rather odd little fellow. There’s nothing wrong with that–but Nebraskans are not completely familiar with odd and try not to do much that resembles little. That boy coming to town–well, he’s taken your words and turned them to life.”

Meningsbee smiled, not knowing how he should react.

Although some folks were waiting for the dark side of young Ramenstein to come creeping out, Carl took the opportunity to sit under the teaching, simplicity, honesty and common sense of Meningsbee, and grow taller and stronger.

So Carl kept delaying his departure until finally, one of the deacons of the church said to Meningsbee that he’d better “hire the boy or lose him forever,” because somebody certainly was going to grab him.

When Meningsbee said that the budget would not tolerate it, ten families stepped forward and offered to increase their pledges so that Carl could stay.

So it was on the seventh Sunday after his first visit that Carl Ramenstein was ordained as the Assistant Pastor of the Garsonville Church.

There was a party with joy all through the town.

The following Sunday there were twenty additional visitors, some of whom said they had just been “waiting around to see if they were smart enough to hire him.”

Right after the ordination, Meningsbee realized that he had never heard the young man preach. Carl never asked for the pulpit. It never came up. Carl may have been the first minister ever hired without having to offer three points.

The folks immediately dubbed him “Pas Carl,” for Pastor Carl.

He was a breath of fresh air.

He was a summer miracle.

And he was here to stay.

Now Meningsbee had to get used to sharing the attention.

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Ask Jonathots … October 29th, 2015

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Are you supposed to like your siblings? I’m twelve and my sister is fifteen. She always acts like she’s better than me and I can’t stand her. My mom says that will change but I don’t see it happening anytime soon, if ever. How does this work? Nobody I know likes their brother or sister. I feel bad saying it, but it’s the truth.

There is an old saying which is basically true: “Familiarity breeds contempt.”

And as you probably know, the word “family” is at the root of familiarity.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that because people share certain aspects of DNA, they have natural emotional linkings to one another.

There is also historical fact that the heroes of our past had many problems dealing with their families, often having to go against those ties to achieve their purposes.

You don’t have to go any further than Jesus of Nazareth to discover squabbling among siblings. The Gospels make it clear that his family did not believe in him.

That being said, I contend that the purpose of family is to place us in a boot camp.

It’s a chance for us to find ways to get along with adversaries who live in our midst, eat at the same dinner table, share in grief and celebration, and acquire the ability to be merciful, gracious and forgiving, so that when we get in the real world, we are prepared to do so.

For this to work, we must be willing to admit that our families are not perfect, nor were they designed to be naturally connected.

In other words, if you were able to look at your sister as just another human being that you needed to deal with rather than some sacred creature born within your lineage, then you would have a much better chance to put your relationship in perspective, and maybe even understand her ways.

Brothers and sisters within a household fight with each other because we tell them they need to get along–simply because they’re related. It sets a horrible precedent, and we begin to believe that in the outside world we can avoid the people who disagree with us, and only hang around with those individuals who seem to be perfectly agreeable to our ideas.

What is your best procedure in dealing with your sister since you’re twelve years old? Do exactly what you’ll need to do when you’re 22, 32 or 72 years old: find common ground.

Don’t ever try to go beyond common ground. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself trying to change people, or worse, judge them because they don’t meet your standards.

If for some reason you cannot find common ground, then retreat to a position where peace can be achieved.

This is real life.

Forcing people to think they should love each other only leads to pent-up resentment, and worse, explosions of anger later on.

  • What do you like about your sister?
  • Is there anything you appreciate?
  • How is she valuable to you?

Try to pursue those areas, and avoid the parts that upset you.

This is called growing up.

The overemphasis on family in our culture has not created more loving people.

It is the promotion of loyalty–often without affection.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 47 (April 20th, 1969) Demise… December 27, 2014

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(Transcript)

Even though I only lived a few blocks from the high school, I drove my car there–because I could.

I also went home for lunch even though it was basically against policy. Once again, because I could.

On April 20th, I decided to drive to my abode to raid the refrigerator, avoiding the cafeteria surprises. On my way I stopped off at my mom and dad’s little loan company and there was a note on the door. It read:

Closed. Family Emergency.

I knew what that meant.

My dad was in failing health. More accurately stated, he was dying. Forty-five years of cigarette smoking had caught up with him, riddling his body with cancer. So desperate was his situation that there was a quiet celebration among the family when it was discovered that the disease had spread to his brain and in doing so, had closed off the pain centers, making him less of the suffering soul.

I didn’t want to go to the house but I knew it was expected. I pulled up in the driveway and was climbing the steps to the porch when I first heard it: from the upstairs, through the walls, was the hideous volume of my dad gasping for air.

It was a death rattle.

I could not bring myself to go in. I turned around, headed back to school and was so angry–at my dad and at myself–that I skipped the next two classes.

I was furious at myself for being so cowardly, and a rotten person because I didn’t want to be near my father in his last moments.

And I was infuriated with him for destroying his body with smoke instead of dealing with his inadequacies.

I arrived back at school for the last hour of classes. After the session was over for the day I headed to a friend’s house and hung out for the rest of the evening.

Nobody knew where I was. I liked it that way.

I arrived home at ten o’clock. My older brother was waiting for me. He told me that our dad had passed away a couple of hours earlier.

I didn’t feel much, barely even noticing how pissed off my brother was that I hadn’t been there for the death-bed.

He was my dad–but I never knew him. And in like manner, he didn’t know that much about me.

Now he was dead. His ashes of ashes would turn to dust.

I cried.

Honestly, it was not for my lost parent. I cried, feeling sorry for myself.

He deserved a better son. But he should have been wise enough to realize that teenage sons don’t get better.

That is the duty and the mission … of a father.

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