Catchy (Sitting 67) Just When You Realized the Donkey’s Ears Were Not As Long As You Originally Thought… September 23rd, 2018

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The name of the restaurant was Vous L’Appelez, which was French for “You Name It.”

It was one of nine restaurants at the Haven on the Mount which offered all sorts of fine cuisine at very reasonable prices since money was not an issue.

The frustration of cash had been removed from the compound by using credits and bartering as a way of distributing goods and services instead of passing around American currency, which really had no relevance. Each family maintained their own personal accounts in other parts of the world, depending on whether they wanted to be “missing in action,” or “presumed dead.”

But Vous L’Appelez had a wonderful advertising scheme of offering anything you wanted to eat–as long as you phoned ahead. Matthew had rented the entire facility for the evening, for what he hoped would be a very special night.

It was the six-month anniversary of his arrival in the mountains, and he felt it was time to sit down with Leonora, offer a ring and a proposal he hoped she would not refuse. Their relationship was sweet. It was well-thought-out. It was without contention–for after all, everything in the region was minus strife and the pursuit of vanity. Their romance was clean, free of obstruction.

But there were moments when Matthew felt that the energetic young woman, who had a tendency to lose interest very quickly, was absent and that her mind was floating to other concerns, even during their times of intimacy.

He had no way of proving it. Every time he brought up some problem with their connection, she cited a hundred examples of bliss and joy. So pushing past his own foolish insecurity and overbearing need to throw a wrench into all great works, he set up this dinner–this meeting, this moment–to once and for all enter a relationship with a woman that would last for more than a night.

It had been an amazing six months. Although he had seen Michael Hinston for some meetings and luncheons, and made sure to connect with Jo-Jay, and even had a coffee a time or two with the billionaire king himself, most of his daytime hours were spent being mentored and emotionally healed by Joshua Jackson.

Joshua was a large man–formidable. Almost frightening. Had it not been for his gentle eyes and warm embraces, Matthew would have been intimidated.

Joshua knew everything.

He knew all the stories of what led up to Matthew’s arrival at the Haven on the Mount and he seemed to have a unique way of taking the cumbersome Bible scriptures and bringing them down to common sense and simplicity for the often-cynical former marketer.

They developed such a deep friendship that several of the residents mistook Joshua and Matthew for lovers. So Matthew was careful to spend his days with Joshua and his nights with Leonora. He wanted to at least appear bi-sexual.

Joshua filled in many of the blanks. He explained a phenomenon that Matthew had never considered–that in every organization there always existed a subversive core of individuals who wanted to use the power of their authority to gain wealth, even if they had to hurt other people.

It made no difference if the organization was a library, a country or a bank–tucked deep into the underbelly of every business or corporation were the radicals who desired to manipulate.

Joshua had been hired to find those under-bellies. It was his job to join them, fellowship with them, drink their favorite booze and learn how to prevent their nasty plans from destroying the movement.

Therefore he often appeared to be the enemy, when he was actually the stopgap who kept tragedy from befalling the lives of those who were trying to bring a little peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.

Joshua had planned the abduction of Jo-Jay, rescuing her through that kidnapping from being murdered by a car bomb. He had carefully placed her in the Amazon forest, knowing full well that another member of the team, Reverend Paulson, would be nearby for the recovery when the time was right.

(Matter of fact, the Paulson family, with both children, were currently dwelling in the Haven on the Mount–a blessed retirement for years of bringing the Gospel to the ignored.)

Joshua had also quietly saved Jubal’s life several times, and had even set in motion a plan to foil the plot in Salisbury, North Carolina, killing believers, by joining up with the three assassins. Joshua’s plan was to murder the trio right before the attack. Unfortunately, his fellow-assassins got nervous and antsy, and decided to instigate the job before Joshua arrived.

When Joshua came to Salisbury and saw the death and destruction around him, he was overcome with grief and took his pistol and aimed it at his head to take his own life, feeling he had failed.

It was Carlin Canaby who stopped him; otherwise he would have been marked by all eternity as one of the deceased murderers.

This was before Carlin became known by the group, standing on the sidelines to make sure “the edges didn’t curl up.”

Joshua told story after story of his work among the more sinister, rebellious elements around the country–how each secret counter-culture had manufactured an America in their minds that was run either by Satan or greed.

Time and time again he stepped in to fill the need–a space which was fortunately unknown to most people because of his effectiveness.

Notably, the Christian Liberty Operation (the CLO) used him as an operative and because of his work there, he was able to expose an errant terrorist group within their own ranks, preventing disaster–thereby legitimizing what turned out to be a worthwhile organization.

Matthew fell in love with Joshua–a brotherly love he had never experienced before. He had never known anyone like Joshua. Joshua was candid. Joshua was self-effacing, without being frightened or imbalanced.

Joshua loved people.

After he was convinced that Matthew could be trusted, Joshua shared the story of Prophet Morgan. He did so quietly but defiantly. Joshua still questioned what happened to the young preacher. He believed that Arthur Harts had made a hasty decision because of his dislike of the Southern boy.

Joshua explained that there was no doubt that Morgan was a drug addict. He had started as a boy–to try to keep up with his father’s tent revivals, to stay alert and energetic, but then he was never able to get out from under the monkey on his back, which gradually turned into a gorilla, smashing him into the ground.

Joshua worked with him. Because Prophet Morgan did not know who Joshua was or why he was there, Joshua was able to take him on like a little brother. But the Prophet was determined to fulfill his own dark self-prophesy.

When it became obvious to Joshua that the boy needed help and rehabilitation–perhaps to be brought to the Haven on the Mount to heal–Harts refused.

He explained to Joshua, “To everything there’s a season. This is not a season for the young Prophet.”

Three days later, Morgan took his car out into the middle of the desert and found a way to kill himself. Even though many people in Vegas thought it was a murder, it was, in fact, a horrible suicide.

Joshua closed the story by saying to Matthew, “I do understand. And I do appreciate the importance of the decision. I just don’t agree.”

Matthew had six months of rich conversations and revelations in his mind as he sat down to dinner with Leonora.

He had requested all forms of baked and broiled seafood along with tropical fruits. She loved that mixture and so did he. They dined, they giggled a bit, and they both chilled with joy over being together in such a safe utopia.

Dinner came to an end and Leonora was growing a bit impatient from hanging around the restaurant. Matthew knew he needed to make his move.

What was stopping him? Why didn’t he just reach into his pocket and pull out the ring–a family heirloom provided by Billionaire Harts for the occasion–and place it on her finger?

There was one question–an unanswered, festering notion–that he needed her to explain. It was so awkward, perhaps petty. But still–he wanted to know.

Matthew geared up his courage, guzzled some mineral water, took her hands, looked into her eyes, and said, “I have a question.”

She nodded her head, maintaining her eye contact.

“When I was so sick,” he began, “and it was obvious I needed a liver transplant–but more importantly, I needed you–why did you choose that moment to go away?”

She surprised him. She bristled, stiffened and pulled her hands back.

“Why are we going into this now?” she asked. “I thought…”

Then she stopped.

“You thought what?” asked Matthew.

She shook her head. He leaned forward, drawing closer to her face.

“No, Leonora. Tell me. You thought what?”

Leonora stood to her feet, stepped behind her chair, pivoted and spoke. “I thought you were going to propose to me tonight.”

Matthew leaned back. “What gave you that idea?”

Leonora stepped a couple of feet away, and then turned and replied. “You know what gave me that idea. My grandfather said he gave you the family heirloom ring, and also permission to ask. I thought that’s what this dinner was about. Why are we talking about old silliness when we have our lives ahead of us?”

Matthew craned his neck to stare up at her.

“So which part of this is silly? Me being sick? Me being weak? Me needing you? Or you disappearing?”

“It’s all silly,” she said, moving back into her chair. She took his hands again. “Come on. The past is the past. Why are we ruining this moment, worrying about what’s already happened?”

Matthew took a deep breath and spoke words he had only whispered in his heart in the middle of the night.

“Because, Leonora…I don’t think you love me.”

He shocked himself when he heard the words. They were so lonesome as they hung in the air, without any support; abandoned, needing a place to find rest, but orphaned in the silence.

“You don’t think I love you?” Leonora said. “Haven’t I shown you I love you? I’ve never loved a man the way I love you.”

Matthew interrupted. “I believe that. I do. I just don’t know…Well, I just don’t know if that’s enough for me.”

Leonora stood to her feet again, repeating her pivot around her chair.

“Matthew Ransley, what is it you want? What do you want from me? Am I to be your devotee? Am I supposed to cheer your every move? Should I lessen myself so you feel better?”

Matthew jumped in. “So you think you have to lessen yourself to be my equal? Is that what you’re saying?”

Leonora walked across the room with all the appearances of departing, but stopped a few paces from the exit.

“What I’m saying,” she spit, “is that I don’t like complications. You see what I have to offer. You see who I am. You see how I function. You know my height, you know my depth–and if it isn’t enough, then fine. But don’t ask me to pretend to be your dream girl. I’m nobody’s girl. I am Leonora. I don’t plan on changing that. I am just like my instrument–the oboe. Yes. I’m just like the oboe. You put the right reed in me and you finger me correctly, and add the breath, and I will play you a beautiful tune. It may sound like a silly analogy and it probably is. But not nearly as ridiculous as this conversation. So do you love me? Are you going to give me the ring? Or are we going to sit and talk about this all night?”

Matthew sat and stared at the self-aware but also self-serving lady before him. She was perfect. That’s why he couldn’t be with her.

“Yes,” he said. “I will give you the ring so you can return it to your grandfather. You deserve better than me. Privately you know that. It’s just that sometimes your private thoughts get in my head.”

Leonora walked back to the table, took the ring, thought about speaking, but decided to just walk away.

Matthew sat and stared for a long time at the space once occupied by the woman he desired. He realized that desire is just not enough.

He took his phone out of his pocket, dialed a number and spoke.

“Plan Z.”

The owner of the restaurant, realizing that things had not turned out the way Matthew had anticipated, came over and gave him a tender, Christian hug, and said the meal was free. Matthew patted him on the shoulder, stepped out into the night air, climbed onto the golf cart which had been provided for his needs, and drove the one mile to the airport.

His jet was waiting for him.

Matthew realized that he could stand to live in the Haven if he and Leonora could have had a life together. But a sanctuary of safety was never what Matthew wanted in his life. He would much rather be in the chaos, and try to find a way to tie two ends together, to create some wholeness.

He did not belong at the Haven in the Mount. He was more of a Jubal, a Jasper, a Rolinda. He was going home.

But he was going home with a change in his heart–a belief that Jesus was not only popular, but brought a message and a lifestyle which was essential for Planet Earth.

Matthew was returning to his life–but this time as a believer.

Arriving at the airport, the pilot loaded his bags into the plane, and as he was about to climb up the steps and leave Paradise forever, he heard a voice.

“What’s your hurry?”

He turned around. It was Jo-Jay.

“You didn’t think you were gonna leave without me, did you? I want to tell you, Matthew. This place is so good it makes me feel bad.”

Matthew laughed and gave her a big hug.

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Am I sure what?” inquired Jo-Jay.

“Are you sure about going back?”

“Well,” said Jo-Jay, “when I was coming here to the airport, thinking I was going to leave by myself, I felt pretty good about it. But now that I know I’m leaving with you–well–I still feel pretty good about it.”

She burst into laughter. He joined her.

They climbed into the airplane, and taxied down the runway, taking one final look at the Eden of the Hills.

“Maybe we’ll visit sometime,” said Matthew, looking over at Jo-Jay.

Jo-Jay chuckled. “Hell, Matthew. There’s no maybes in our world.”

The two leaned their heads back, feeling completely at peace.

It was time for them to go into the world and live the Gospel.

THE END

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G-Poppers … June 22nd, 2018

One of G-Pop’s children came to him with great concern.

She was troubled about two gentlemen she knew who were in the midst of a contentious and vicious argument over politics. They were both good men, good fathers and they were both Christian.

But the climate of division had overcome both of them, and they began to take it out on each other, leveling nasty insults in the direction of the other person, once a dear friend.

One man was a Republican and one man was a Democrat. But they both were Christian–shall we say Jesonian?–followers of the heart of Jesus.

Like many people in the lifetime of Jesus, they were looking for political solutions rather than personal revivals in their own hearts.

These two gentlemen had taken their eyes off the personal prize of discovery and placed their faith into the knowledge and politics of the day.

They were arguing about President Trump.

The Republican brother found himself in the defensive profile, trying to explain what was happening in our country the best he could, while the Democrat brother was using insults, derogatory statements and anger to attack the leader of our country.

It is affecting their friendship.

It is taking what was meant to be unified and breaking it apart.

Each one of them is convinced that the other couldn’t be a Christian and maintain the feelings he has about President Trump. They fail to understand that there are three principles set forth by Jesus of Nazareth.

If the Republicans ignore any of the three, then for a season we must walk away from the Republicans. Likewise, if the Democrats set any one of the three to the side, that party has to be negated in favor of greater words.

The three principles are:

1. No one is better than anyone else.

2. Judge not or you’ll be judged.

3. Love your neighbor as yourself.

These can’t be compromised just because we want to promote a candidate, and they certainly can’t be ignored to maintain affiliation with a political party.

Two good men are fighting because both of them are sacrificing their Jesonian beliefs to support an earthly power structure.

So G-Pop says to his children, don’t speak evil of the President of the United States. Keep your hand on the plow and follow the three principles listed above. And where you see problems come in, don’t resort to cheap insult and vulgar retort. Hang on.

The words of Jesus have lasted much longer than any ideas from any politician, and they certainly will be around long past the next election.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 43) Unorthodox… April 8th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jo-Jay hearkened back to a little piece of wisdom her late husband, “The Duke,” had once imparted to her. He was a kind, wealthy man, but was also notorious for being shrewd, and sometimes considered unscrupulous.

He told Jo-Jay that when you run out of legal means to achieve your goals, “just make up new laws.” Therefore, when Jo-Jay discovered she had depleted options in the American legal system, to prosecute Michael Hinston, Thomas Underwood and Bishop Merrill Handerling for the wrongful death of Prophet Morgan and her kidnapping, she decided to start her own jurisprudence.

Years before she had taken the bar exam but had never courted the profession. So Jo-Jay, with the help of a few friends, put together an elaborate ruse. They crafted, paragraphed and printed off legal documents that would pass muster at the Supreme Court, and sent them off to the three suspects, compelling their presence at a deposition.

She found an abandoned office complex, located between Dover and Felton in Delaware near the Bay. It had been built several decades back by the Meteoric Insurance Company when they were speculating on becoming highly successful, and needed a top-notch facility. But shortly thereafter, the company went bankrupt and left the property to the courts, which found no interested purchaser. There were two reasons: number one, it was too far for the general flow of commerce, and number two, there was a rumor that it was haunted by the spirit of a 41-year-old woman who mysteriously died in the ladies bathroom from an onslaught of dysentery. The property had gone to seed. Grass was growing up through the sidewalks, and there seemed to be a huge gourd blocking the front glass doors.

It was perfect for Jo-Jay’s purposes.

She rented it for four hours, to the bewilderment of the bank. She offered them so much money that they just didn’t have any desire to question her. Her plan was simple–she would set up her team in the front lobby (having “de-gourded” the door) and question the three people she felt were responsible for her tribulations in the Amazon, and also the death of the young prophet.

When the day arrived for the deposition, Jo-Jay and her cohorts arrived early. To keep the opposition bewildered, they had opted to dress up in costumes. They had wanted to use the style of the old Broadway hit, “My Fair Lady,” but the only costumes available were varieties of characters from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Jo-Jay laughed and grabbed a leather jumper, as rest of the members selected their favorites.

So when Hinston, Underwood and Handerling arrived, each with an attorney in tow, their looks of bewilderment were well worth the price of the staging.

They sat down carefully on chairs which had been arranged in a small circle, so that all parties faced one another. They had barely settled in when Jo-Jay began.

“I’m going to do this deposition a little differently than what you may be used to,” she commenced. “Rather than boring everyone in the room, or forcing some of you to leave while others are questioned, I’m going to fire the questions, and if any of you have answers that are suitable to my desires, I will give you fifty points. The first one of you to reach five hundred points will be able to leave.”

Jo-Jay paused and looked around the room. Good. Baffled as far as the eye could see.

She quelled a wry smile and continued. “So basically what we have here is the need for cooperation, and the sooner you become agreeable, the sooner you’ll be able to get out of here.”

At this point, as if on cue, all three attorneys raised their hands. Jo-Jay chuckled, unable to hold back her glee. “I thought you barristers would have some questions. But here’s the good news–I’m not going to answer them. You see this fellow here?”

She pointed to a very large man covered in tattoos. He was about six-foot-six and weighed at least 350 pounds. His face looked like someone had replaced his countenance with sandpaper and his arms were the size of Vermont maple saplings.

Jo-Jay continued. “This is Helio Reece. There are two things you need to know about Helio. Number one, he knows more about this case than anyone else so he will know when you’re lying. And the second thing is that Helio becomes very violent when people lie to him.”

Once again, the attorneys moved to object. Helio took one step forward and the raised arms retired.

Michael Hinston couldn’t help himself. “What’s with the costumes?” he asked as he gazed on frills, leather boots and boas.

Jo-Jay looked down at herself and replied, “What costumes?”

She then pointed to the stenographer, who prepared to take notes. There were two other people in the room. They were not wearing costumes, but instead, were dressed in the military garb of the Green Berets. They, too, were large, intimidating, and stood to the right and left of Jo-Jay as if guarding Fort Knox.

Jo-Jay looked down at her papers as if scanning them, and said, “Well, I think that does it for the preliminaries. Let me begin. Question one–for anyone who wants to gain the points. Do you personally know anything about the death of Prophet Morgan in the deserts of Nevada?”

She leaned back and put a pencil to her mouth, as if waiting for a confession. Michael Hinston, Thomas Underwood and Bishop Handerling looked at one another. No one answered, so Underwood decided to speak up.

“I hope you know that I am the director and founder of the CLO–the Christian Liberty Operation. It is not our position nor our history to be acquainted with crimes, or for that matter, threatened with punishment.”

Jo-Jay leaned forward. “So I’m taking from your response that you’re either saying you know nothing, or that killing Prophet Morgan was a new enterprise for your organization.”

Michael Hinston jumped in. “What he’s saying is that none of us–at least I don’t think so–know anything about the unfortunate demise of this young fellow.”

“How about you, Bishop?” asked Jo-Jay, swirling in her chair and pointing at him.

The Bishop craned his neck, looked around the room and replied, “I never liked the young man. He was a false prophet. A false teacher. There was nothing but false about him. But I learned a long time ago not to take my personal opinions and turn them into action. I have found God to be the best avenger against those I consider to be evil.”

Jo-Jay frowned. “Bishop, don’t you ever get impatient? For you see, the problem with waiting for God to hurt people is that He has developed a reputation for love and mercy, and He just might overlook some damnable sort that you felt needed to be obliterated.”

“This is ridiculous,” said the Bishop. “I don’t see how this could be legal.”

He turned to his attorney, who glanced over at Helio and just quietly shook his head with a nervous twitch.

Jo-Jay pointed at Michael. “How about you, Michael?” She glanced around the group. “I should make it clear to all present that Michael and I had a previous history. Matter of fact, I think when we were back in college we got drunk one night and he fingered me. Or was it that I jerked you off? I forget. Could you answer that question?”

Michael stared straight ahead, refusing to speak.

“Ouch,” said Jo-Jay. “I guess he forgot. But Michael, could you tell me if you know anything about the death of Prophet Morgan?”

Michael stared at her and replied, “I’ve already answered that question.”

Jo-Jay lifed her pen with a flourish and scribbled on her tablet. “Well, I would say there are no points for that one. Seems like it could be a long day.”

One of the attorneys gained speech. “May I see the pending indictment, and also the document demanding that we come for this deposition?”

“I sent it to all of you,” said Jo-Jay, offended.

“I know,” he replied. “But…well, it’s been a while since I looked at it, and this is highly unorthodox.”

Jo-Jay leaped to her feet and pointed at the attorney. “Yes. Let’s talk about unorthodox. Let’s talk about a young man named Jubal Carlos, who was arrested in Las Vegas for no reason whatsoever except to silence his voice and keep him from sharing a message. May I insert myself, and say that I was abducted and dumped in the middle of the Amazon jungle because I was getting too close to discovering the identity of an operative named Joshua, who at least one of you probably knows intimately. And then we can certainly all agree that the tragic death of Prophet Morgan was at the hands of someone who wanted to stop his efforts–and also discredit the new “Jesus Awakening.” I call that unorthodox. I call it unorthodox when people feel the need to hurt other people just because they don’t like the way they believe.”

The Bishop rose to his feet. “I will answer your question, Madam, but you won’t like it. In my job, my position, there is more than preaching, teaching and loving little children. That’s a luxury Jesus had when he was on Earth because he was not trying to sustain a kingdom. Each one of us here has a kingdom. You are threatening them. Not only are you personally attacking us, but you’re asking us to use whatever means we can find to defend our faith. Yes–we are defenders of the faith. Like the Knights of the Round Table, who found the need to pick up the sword to protect King Arthur and the glory of the Church. We not only preach a Gospel, but we keep it from being destroyed by secularists and heretics. I don’t expect you to understand this. Apparently you summarize life down into tiny teacups that fit your thinking, but there are barrels and barrels of problems in this world which sometimes require drastic action.”

Jo-Jay replied with her own fire. “So are you saying, Bishop, that you took some drastic action?”

Thomas Underwood also stood to his feet and countered back at Jo-Jay. “No, ma’am. He is saying that even though the death of a human being is a nasty bit of news for the family, for the good of mankind and the cause of righteousness, it can be a blessing–a gift, if you will–ordained from the heavens.”

Jo-Jay sat back in her chair, aghast at such arrogance.

Michael Hinston spoke up again. “I’m not saying I agree with these two, but I will say that people who step too far out of the box often find that there’s only oblivion beneath their feet.”

Helio looked over at Jo-Jay and asked, “Do you want me to hurt them?”

Jo-Jay waved her hand, dismissing the notion. “No. Much as I hate to admit it, these three ignorant and arrogant sacks of shit really don’t know anything.”

“So are we free to go?” demanded the Bishop.

Jo-Jay replied. “Yes, but I will leave first, with Helio and my staff. The two armed guards will then take you to your limousine, where you may depart at your leisure.”

As quickly as it had begun, it ended. Jo-Jay slipped out the door and climbed into a large black van, and they zoomed away. After about five minutes, the guards received notification from Jo-Jay that they could release the suspects.

Michael Hinston, Bishop Handerling and Thomas Underwood stomped out of the lobby in anger and frustration, followed by their helpless attorneys. As they departed, they noticed there were construction workers everywhere, and police cars. It was alarming.They quickly made their way to their vehicle.

“What time is it?” Handerling asked his attorney.

“11:58,” said his mouthpiece.

They got into their car and started down the long lane toward the road. They were just about to turn onto the county road taking them to the highway when they heard a rumble that shook the earth around them. Looking out their back window, they viewed the office building imploding in a huge cloud of dust which gradually made its way across the meadow and surrounded their car. Coughing a bit from the intrusion, one of the attorneys spoke.
“They blew up the goddamn building.”

Hinston corrected. “No. I think they imploded it.”

Bishop cited, “It’s 12:02. Well, whatever–it’s gone.”

Thomas Underwood rubbed his chin and said, “Gentlemen, I think we’ve been hoodwinked. I don’t think anything legal went on back there whatsoever.”

The third attorney chuckled and said, “You could be right. But we’ll never know. They destroyed the evidence.”

 

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Catchy (Sitting 24) For So They … November 26th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3503)

Many frat pranks and moon-doggies ago, Michael Hinston carried a double major in college. History and political science.

Michael’s reasoning was that the history would tell him the mistakes to avoid, and the political science would open doors to teach him to become the kind of civic leader to change the world.

Now, as a congressman, he spent most of his time raising money. Because he had to be elected every two years, at least one of those years was a perpetual fund-raising bash. The rest of his time was divvied among family, uncomfortable parties and meetings with people who were desperately trying to get his vote.

Lobbyists.

It might be fine if they would actually work in the lobby–but they invaded the hearth, home and even mind of every congressman. Michael had once pledged to himself that he would never be involved in scandal. He hated the word. It sounded rotten and smelly. But he found, as a congressman, that he was already at the mercy of organizations, corporations and causes which seemed to be inexplicably linked together into one gigantic chain around his neck.

The latest was a visit from the Christian Liberty Operation (C LO). They met with him to discuss the Jubal Carlos situation in Las Vegas, and shortly after the meeting, Mr. Carlos was arrested, which set in motion a whole series of events which were very displeasing to the C LO

They made it clear. They were upset.

Even though Michael was not in charge of arranging Jubal Carlos’ arrest, he was blamed for the mischief that had been perpetrated because of the flawed plan. The CLO wanted this “popular Jesus idea” thwarted, and now it was gaining national attention.

It was especially disconcerting to Michael when Jo-Jay showed up at his door, a bit surprised herself. For she had been given a tip about where the original order had come from–to hassle Jubal Carlos. The tip she received led to an address, which placed her on the front doorstep of Michael’s home.

So it was an extraordinarily fretful exchange between the two old university friends. Michael did his best to convince Jo-Jay that her contact was completely mistaken–that he knew nothing about any Jubal Carlos or organizations trying to bring him down.

Jo-Jay was nice–but Michael knew, deep in his heart, that she did not believe him. Jo-Jay was a bullshit sniffer. For years he had admired her ability to detect lies and deception, but now he just wished she would keep her nose to herself.

Jo-Jay apologized for the inconvenience, made a lame attempt to suggest they “connect later,” and headed down the sidewalk, seemingly out of his life.

But something was wrong. She was onto him. She knew that he knew more than he claimed.

Michael didn’t know what to do. The honest truth was, he was scared to death of the people he was working with and the lobbyists who were tramping into his life. They were much too energetic, much too determined and much too violent in their mannerisms.

Yet he knew if he failed to report the visit from Jo-Jay, there would be punishments. He didn’t even know what that meant, but was positive he didn’t want to find out. So he called the Christian Liberty Operation and updated them on the visit.

Less than half an hour later, there was another knock on his door. He opened up, and standing before him was a tall, broad-shouldered man, about six-foot-four, with black eyes.

Michael was startled.

The gentleman at the door asked if he could come in. He introduced himself simply as “Joshua,” and for the next ten minutes he questioned Michael about Jo-Jay.

Who was she?

What were her political leanings?

Was she a religious woman?

What was her relationship with Jubal Carlos?

Was she part of the scheme to popularize Jesus?

Where did she hang out?

But what chilled Michael’s soul was when Joshua asked one final question. Do you know anything about her allergies?

Michael didn’t. Michael was suspicious. Michael should have asked this “building of a man” why Jo-Jay’s allergies were of any interest to him. He stayed silent.

Michael was afraid for his old friend.

But Michael did what he had learned to do over his months of living in Washington. He answered the questions, nodded his head and offered no objection.

The next day, a letter arrived on stationery from the CLO. The stationery read, “Christian Liberty Operation,” and the by-line was, “For so they persecuted the prophets before you.”

It was unlike any professional letterhead Michael had ever seen. It seemed sinister. Even though the words “Christian” and “Liberty” were displayed in the title, there was something about the operation that chilled him to the bone.

Who was Joshua, and why did he want to know so much about Jo-Jay?

More importantly, who was Michael Hinston, and was he going to warn his old friend?

 

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G-Poppers … October 27th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Today G-Pop would like to talk to his children about the Precedence of the United States.

We’re not talking about the President.

No–we’re not referring to any occupant of the Oval Office, past, present or future.

It’s the precedence which has crept into the American consciousness, causing us to be so drunk on our own pride that we’re in danger of teetering the world into an international fiasco.

It is a three-part deception:

1. We are exceptional.

2. We are really never wrong.

3. And our mistakes are more virtuous than most countries’ insights.

It culminates in a little piece of nastiness: when you run across “mean,” just be meaner.

And this is not just in our politics. It is being manifested through ruthless business practices, religious intolerance, and the stirring up of social and cultural bigotry.

We’ve become picky, frustrated, cantankerous and dangerous because of the power we wield. Matter of fact, G-Pop’s children are often tempted to get on board the “eye-for-an-eye-bandwagon” and start poking with their sticks.

Somehow or another we’ve convinced ourselves that the peace treaties, negotiations, prayer, foreign aid and the collaborations we’ve had with other peoples have weakened us instead of defined us as a great nation.

Where could G-Pop’s children begin?

Since his offspring do not hold public office, his children must quietly begin within their own lives–setting the example that sounds the tone which composes the music for the revival.

A. “I am often wrong.”

B. “I will apologize for how this inconveniences you or others.”

C. “I will make obvious strides to do better.”

This is not merely a “christian” attitude, nor a loving and giving sappiness.

It is survival.

For after all, nations–or people–don’t have to be stronger than us to hurt us dearly. It only takes one maniac to devastate the lives of seven hundred people.

It is a good thing to have a heart for repentance which welcomes the possibility for transformation.

We have a precedence in the United States. It is an infatuation with meanness under the guise of “staying tough.” We want our slogans, our politics and the chip on our shoulder to be backed up with a gun in our hand.

G-Pop prays that his children will realize that the Wild West is no longer wild–all the bad guys killed all the good guys until finally someone said “enough.”

Yes, enough.

Enough of the precedence of the United States being meanness. We don’t have to become weak. We need to be aware.

Address foolishness when it is foolish and give assistance when we see need.

 

 

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Good News and Better News… August 21st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3406)

I had the night off from my gigs.

I decided to take in a church service at a small pioneer work where I’m staying. It is called Renaissance Fellowship. It touts the uniqueness of being a Christian church focused on the arts. Since I’ve been known to have a brain cell or two tuned in that direction, I was titillated.

The church is held at a community center and has about twenty-five folks who attend. The people are typical “church.” About 35% of them are excited, involved, busy scurrying around, and the rest of them have the appearance of folks arriving for a seminar on an unknown subject, with the promise that they might get free passes to a restaurant at the end.

Renaissance suffers from what every church suffers from. In trying to find God, they accidentally kill passion.

The pastor, a young man in his early forties, has a delightful desire and talent for sharing his thoughts. You can tell he is still deeply involved in the pursuit of God and the salvation of human souls, but growing a bit worn around the edges in all the well-doing. It happens to all of us.

But I heard something I liked. I heard rumblings that sounded like possibility.

Even though his message was plagued with too much preaching to the soul and teaching to the brain, I sensed that he’s beginning to reach for the heart.

For you see–human beings are not really spiritual. We aren’t thoughtful. We are emotional.

It doesn’t matter if it’s about work, play, a football stadium or church–the evidence that we are impacted is always an emotional outburst.

So I speak with great clarity to this pastor and tell him to keep reaching for the heart. Go ahead and abandon preaching to the soul and teaching to the mind. No one cares what Abraham, Moses, Joseph or any of the old patriarchs did. If the stories do not relate to family, Wal-mart and the Internet, they will not touch the hearts of American people.

Instructing the brain by pointing out clever pieces of information may once have been a path of probability, but no longer. Our brains are inundated with too much information, and of course, way too many posts on Facebook about nothing.

  • Reach the heart.
  • Touch the heart.
  • And demand a heartfelt response.

It is the only way people are healed. As Jesus said, “If you say to this mountain, be removed, and you do not doubt in your heart, it shall be done.”

The soul, the brain and the body have nothing to do with moving mountains. It is a heartfelt action.

Although I’m sure they are delightful and blessed people, many of the folks at Renaissance were doing their best imitation of being church cardboard cutouts. But becoming a church of artistry will require that the congregation that’s already there–tiny as it is–become emotionally excited with its own faith.

If it doesn’t, they will be just an average church that occasionally puts on plays.

The good news is that the Gospel is an experience of the heart.

The better news is, the pastor of Renaissance Fellowship and his congregation have a great opportunity to become heartfelt.

I have confidence in them.

For you see, the pastor is my son.Donate Button

 

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Catchy (Sitting One)This Old Man … June 11th, 2017

Preface

Welcome to the first installment of our next story, “Catchy.” I will continue to pursue it until it has finished or I run out of ideas, which I hope will be simultaneous. Enjoy.

Sitting One — This Old Man

Arthur Harts was an old man, and being an old man, he had long since forgotten a conviction he held to be true when much younger: old folks should just be ready to die at any time.

He was a billionaire oil tycoon who at one time possessed a reputation of being a playboy, but through the years, due primarily to an aging body, had transformed himself into a philanthropist, and eventually, a somewhat religious fellow.

Eight years ago he had run for President of the United States on what he dubbed the “5000 Plan”–a contention that every man and woman in America should be given $5,000 to begin a business of their own, to stimulate the economy with new products and ideas, and foster what he called “inventionism” amongst the common folk. Amazing as it may seem, those same simple sorts chose not to vote for Mr. Harts, opting to punch the time clock.

So Arthur had spent recent months funding ventures to reach those same individuals with a quasi-spiritual message–combining, as he phrased it, “an ongoing spirit of revision with a heapin’ helpin’ of self-esteem.”

But Arthur was old, and as often happens with those who persist in adding years to their time, his energy waned, his health failed, and well, one night he died in his sleep: the poetic end to a life spent in peaceful pursuit.

Now when a poor man dies, all relatives and friends tend to scatter, not wishing to acquire any of his personal indebtedness. It is much different with a rich man—especially a billionaire. There was a widespread interest in the will and testament of Arthur Harts, including friends, relatives and the collective masses he once stumped for votes and sought to redeem.

So one morning, in a large room with a large mahogany table, a large group of lawyers got together and read a very large document that explained how this man of large influence wished to distribute his large sums of money.

Item #44-A of the testament—a recent codicil–was most intriguing to everyone. It read as follows:

“I, Arthur Harts, being of sound mind (and if I weren’t, there’s not much you can do about it now) wish to leave two hundred and fifty million dollars to a well-recognized, well-selected and well-intentioned advertising company to propel and promote one great idea: find a way to make Jesus popular again. I, Arthur Harts, am not speaking of some anemic attempt to promote a church or religious institution, but rather, in some way to convey to the people of this earth the intensity and intelligence of the person who once walked with us, bearing the name Jesus of Nazareth. There were few more popular than he was when donning a loincloth. So I see no reason why, if he were promoted correctly in our multi-media society, he shouldn’t be just as popular today.”

As the team of bewildered barristers finished reading the passage, there was a hush. Perplexity. How were they supposed to fulfill this bizarre request from this eccentric billionaire?

Perhaps some attempt would have been made to interpret the passage in a different way by evenly distributing the money to the larger denominations of the Christian faith, but time and chance stepped in and the unusual request was leaked to the press. So it would be impossible to ignore Mr. Harts’ wishes, implausible as they may seem.

This is where our story begins–a quandary wrapped in a mystery drenched in an impossibility, garnished with just a little weirdness.

 

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