Cracked 5 … August 21st, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reasons Given for Not Attending Church

 

A. Too much gluten in the communion wafer

 

B. Don’t like heaven, nor favor hell

 

C. PEW-trification

 

D. Allergic to sermons

 

E. The choir is white–REALLY white.

 

 

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Catchy (Sitting 25) I’ll Fly Away (Old Glory) … December 3rd, 2017

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Turns out a new Lear jet cost twenty million dollars.

Matthew discovered this alarming fact because Jubal wanted to purchase one.

Amazingly, a Las Vegas businessman, Bob O’Connell, who was totally intrigued with the notion of popularizing Jesus, offered his used Lear jet with only 1,020 landings, for a reasonable twelve million.

Jubal insisted that Matthew snatch it up. Mr. Carlos had an idea. He decided the key was to take the same message to the same people if you wanted the same results. For after all, Jesus made the point that his campaign hid the contents of the mission from the wise and prudent souls of the time and delivered it unto the common man and woman.

So Jubal wanted to rise every morning at 5:30 A. M. and fly the Lear jet into small towns all over America, to hold lunch-time rallies in the biggest park close to the landing spot, giving away free hamburgers and cokes, playing great music, and delivering an inspiring piece of Gospel.

After these rallies, which were to be completely spontaneous with no one knowing where the next one would be from day-to-day, Jubal and his entourage would get back on the jet and fly back to Vegas for a nighttime meeting in Clark County.

They located an abandoned warehouse, which they purchased for $120,000, and were able to suit it up as a decent, but rustic, auditorium for another hundred grand. It was called “The We House”–and it was a place for souls to gather to find simplicity and abundant joy.

Town after town was selected for the daytime rallies:

  • Bismark, North Dakota.
  • Butte, Montana
  • Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Traverse City, Michigan
  • Bangor, Maine
  • Waco, Texas

Jubal, Matthew and the band, along with a couple of extra wives and friends, used the plane trips to sleep and rest coming and going, and used the energy from the towns to rejuvenate their spirits.

Whenever they landed in a community, the local hamburger establishments jockeyed for the right to offer their burgers to the populace.

Jubal Carlos had a phrase which he passed onto all these budding entrepreneurs who were trying to get in on the ground floor of a good idea and promote their product at the same time. His response was always the same: “Thank you for your products, but no thank you. We shall not promote you.”

Amazingly, this didn’t seem to make any difference. Hamburger and coke people begged to be part of the unfolding.

Posted on the Lear jet was a series of “NOs”:

NO sponsors

NO bitching

NO divas

NO give-up

NO drugs

And NO interviews

Yes, this was an intricate part of Jubal’s plan. Under no circumstances were any people to talk to the press, conduct any interviews or answer a question from those with journalistic intentions. Although there was a feeding frenzy for data, Jubal and the gang remained mum.

It didn’t take long. People began speculating on the location of the next day’s noontime meeting. When a rumor sprouted that Jubal was spontaneously showing up at some church in America once a week on Sunday morning, church attendance suddenly spiked, with many hoping they would accidentally stumble on the musician/prophet.

And the evening sessions at “The We House”–often conducted in candlelight–were rich with emotion, tuneful and carried a mingling of melancholy and joy which nearly struck one down with its gentleness upon entering the room.

Four weeks into the promotion, news reports started to circulate about the past history of band members or how some girl had infiltrated the troop as a groupie to gain a sexual rendezvous with the nation’s now most famous drummer.

This worried Matthew–but Jubal’s answer was easy. “We’ll put out daily press releases about our weaknesses. Each member of the band, each person in the entourage, will confess one of their faults or sins and release it over social media long before the press can pounce on it.”

At first people were interested in the flaws of the Lear Jet Revival membership. After that, they thought it was silly, and eventually everyone got bored with finding out the sins of the travelers, which were not that dissimilar from their own.

Church attendance continued to climb.

News organizations were offering hundreds of thousands of dollars for any interview with staff from the movement.

And people were becoming sensitized to the relaxation, simplicity and immersion in joy.

Matthew marveled. Jubal was breaking every rule of Madison Avenue, but was promoting better than any organization or corporation he had ever seen.

If anything became complicated, they just stopped, thought and prayed until it got easier. If anybody attacked them, they agreed with the truthful parts and ignored the foul.

Two months in, the country was stirred and stalled by this mixture of rallies and evening meetings. People began to hop into their motor homes, cross the country and camp out on the grounds of the warehouse and nearby RV parks.

Soon the warehouse was too small–but a bigger warehouse would make things less intimate. They had a pleasant problem.

What can you do to keep something beautiful going once it starts getting popular?

 

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Catchy (Sitting 10) The Three Muster Tears … August 13th, 2017

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Randall changed his mind.

He came into the office on Monday morning, apologized for the legal maneuvering and explained that he was interested in being part of the project.

Matthew was suspicious. Perhaps Randall was just trying slip into the inner workings to find out if there was any money in play–to gain further ammunition for the court battle.

Matthew always hated himself for being cynical, regretting it even more when he was right.

Randall apparently sensed Matthew’s skepticism. “I suppose you wonder if I was visited by three ghosts, who spooked me into joining the club.”

Matthew said, “Well, I wouldn’t call you Ebenezer Scrooge, but you certainly might have attended one of his seminars.”

Randall laughed. “I was trying to explain it to Landy last night. She was pissed off at me. But you see, I’ve spent my life watching opportunities come my way, and analyzing them so much that they seem to run away from me in terror and leap into the lap of friendlier faces.”

Matthew got quiet, allowing Randall some space.

Randall continued, “I thought about it. Here’s an old man who dies who wants to give 250 million dollars to take an old religious icon who is known for loving and giving, and make the dude popular again. I thought to myself, what in the hell is wrong with that? Sure, I wish it wasn’t religious, or tied to some church, but when you need a cure, you don’t ask where the medicine comes from, right?”

Matthew just nodded his head.

About that time, Jo-Jay walked into the room and said, “I feel the same way. At least, I think so. I don’t want to miss out on something. I feel like I missed drugs and rock and roll. I never protested against anything. I missed civil rights. Gay rights. All rights. And by the way–what is heavy metal anyway?”

“It’s when you stack up a lot of light metal,” Matthew answered, chuckling at his own joke.

Randall added, “It was worse for me. I even missed Barry Manilow. My parents were very strict. It wasn’t all religion–part of it was our culture. But I wasn’t allowed to do much but study, go to school and attend church.”

Matthew sighed. “So you’re a church boy…”

Randall shook his head. “No–I went to church but I was never a church boy. I used the hour in church to quietly express my hatred for the Divine. While others sang praises, in my mind I asked God questions and then laughed at Him when He failed to come up with an answer.”

Jo-Jay stared in disbelief.

“So you want to do this because…?”Matthew posed.

Randall shook his head. “I don’t know. I know there are no answers in politics. Most of the law is mumbo-jumbo. Education just makes people smart-asses. There’s gotta be something else. I really don’t think it’s Jesus, but maybe we could at least get people to think.”

“Or maybe,” said Jo-Jay, “we just advertise the church and they end up ripping off more money from poor folks and spreading the message of doom and gloom.”

Matthew shook his head. “You know how sometimes the more you think about something, the better it sounds? I gotta tell you–the more I think about this the more it seems like a gigantic turd factory.”

“So you’re quitting?” Randall asked, surprised.

“Well, actually, I never started,” responded Matthew. “I just said I would check it out.”

“And here I came along to go on the magic carpet ride and Aladdin’s folding up shop.” said Jo-Jay.

Matthew squinted his face. “I would be Aladdin?”
Randall inquired, “And the magic carpet ride would be what?”

Jo-Jay laughed. “You guys are definitely over-educated, under-informed and without any natural feeling.”

“Part of me thinks I should say thank you,” Randall said.

There was a knock at the door. Matthew opened it to find a large man dressed in bib overalls and a plaid shirt, with a huge head of hair combed straight back. He reached out a big paw for greeting. Matthew placed his little hand into the acreage, shook it, and asked, “May I help you?”

The big, burly country boy responded. “Yes. My name is Prophet Morgan. I’m here to help you make my man Jesus, popular.”

All at once, Jo-Jay broke out in tears, which for some reason stimulated Randall to do the same, causing the recently arrived Prophet Morgan to sprout his own waterworks.

Matthew stared at the three of them in disbelief. “What in the hell is going on?”

Jo-Jay cleared her throat and managed a little smile. “I don’t know. But it’s neat shit.”
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Good News and Better News… July 17th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Church attendance is dropping.

The statement is so widely accepted that no one is objecting, nor considering the ramifications.

We are absolutely terrified if the ocelot become an endangered species, but barely flick an eyebrow over losing an intricate part of our society–the church.

Those who hate the church smile in a bit of wistful glee, and those who still attend look around at the empty room, shrug their shoulders and quietly head to the altar for communion.

If the American church dissipates to nothing, what are we losing?

We are forfeiting a place where once a week we can come and admit that we’re sinners. The humility does us good.

Also, it’s a location where we can rejoice over being forgiven.

Where else in America do you sit in a room and sing with other people?

How about the message? A lesson on the power of good.

It gives us the chance to be quiet. Everything roars around us–and we have a tendency to roar back.

When I was growing up, I was suddenly around kids from other school districts, who became my “church friends.”

It gives me a chance to think about possibilities other than myself.

While I’m trying to stay awake, I have the realization that I’m part of something.

I have to look for a shirt that matches my socks.

I find myself giving.

I also am put in the position to receive.

I’m actually leaving my home for something other than shopping, games, movies and dinner.

I am in a room full of people who will pray for me.

When church is done right, I can question. I can doubt. I can shout.

I can see, hear, feel and touch the gospel.

We certainly should be concerned about baby seals–they are a part of creation.

But if we allow the church to go the way of the dodo bird, we should stop wondering why things are not flying high and straight.

The good news is, there is still a church out there.

The better news is, that church is waiting for our unique input.

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G-Poppers … May 26th, 2017

 

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Jon close up

It was time for G-Pop to check out at Wal-Mart.

He found himself in line with a cashier he had seen a couple of times before–a gregarious woman in her mid-fifties who loved to chat. G-Pop loves to listen.

The previous time he’d had interchange with her, she had explained about her faith, her church and she even reached across the counter to touch his hand and say that she was praying for his knees.

Sweet.

On this day, she was equally as engaging, but with a different focus. She shared with G-Pop that she had gone through a season of studying the Bible, and also was deeply involved with her church.

But this past Sunday, she skipped the gathering to go to a fitness center. She cited that she had been given a trial membership, and said that spending the morning working out and sweating had energized her like nothing else had in a long time. She was thinking about going back.

G-Pop smiled.

He realized that most church-going people would frown at her, asking why she was leaving the church in order to utilize a treadmill. Why? Because there is an abiding sensibility that going to church is something we do for God, to prove our love and devotion–that we owe him at least that hour for granting us the courtesy of life and hopefully some divine protection from the elements.

Truthfully, in our world, religion is beginning to blend into a malaise of what G-Pop calls Judeo-Buddhism–a bizarre combination of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” with “don’t worry about your eyes and your teeth.”

As Buddhism is an attempt to alleviate the tensions of our passions and feelings, Christianity, on the other hand, is meant to enhance them. That’s why Jesus talked about the “abundance of the heart.”

G-Pop was not critical of this woman, simply because she is absolutely correct: we should all pursue the APPEAL OF WHAT WE FEEL.

If God did not want human beings to be creatures of emotion, He should have created us differently. If He wanted us to merely go to some stone building and worship Him in silence, reverence or even jubilant choruses like a pack of Druids, then He should never have included desire, passion, giddiness and endorphins into the mix. The fact is, human beings, if sane, will ultimately gyrate to an opportunity which has the most feelings.

This woman was not wrong. She was just honest.

Ask fifty percent of people, and they would tell you that they fight to stay awake in church. G-Pop wonders if that’s really a sign of reverence. Snoozing is usually associated with losing.

And what we’ve lost is the Jesus sense of worship. He described worship as a heart-felt expression that pours from every fiber of our beings, leaving us with full joy.

Yes, G-Pop is saying that if we cannot offer the thrill, the energy and the excellence of a morning of aerobic exercise, then we will lose people to their God-given emotions.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 4) Needful … May 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

The fourth Sunday at the Garsonville Church was marked by the return of Deacon Smitters, who entered the building with very little ceremony, but much pomp over renewing his efforts as Chief Usher.

He immediately became distressed because there was no bulletin to hand out–just a chalk board in the narthex with these words scrawled upon it:

Welcome to Church

1. Our thought will come from Luke the 18th Chapter, Verse 31 through Luke the 19th Chapter, Verse 1

2. Take a moment to think about what you need

In an environment which was experiencing tremendous upheaval, the absence of a reassuring piece of paper to guide the congregants through the minefield of spirituality seemed cruel and unusual.

But everyone made their way into the sanctuary and sat in the first five pews, with Deacon Smitters making sure he was as far back on row five as humanly possible.

Promptly at service time, Reverend Meningsbee walked in and addressed the congregation.

“If we do not know why we gather in this building, we will very soon ask ourselves, why are we gathering? Makes sense, don’t you think?

You don’t have to look very long into the ministry of Jesus to realize that he never preached. He taught his disciples, but when he was in front of the masses, he only offered two possibilities: he was always ready with a healing touch or a great story.

More often than not, it began with a healing.

Even though I look out today and we have a few less than we did last week, what we should be focusing on is what the few of us here really need in our lives.

I just don’t think you need a retelling of the story of Jonah and the whale.

So let’s look at what happened over in Luke the 18th Chapter, verse 35, through Luke 19:1.

Jesus was on his way to Jericho when he was interrupted. He was stalled by a blind man who refused to shut up and observe how the service was supposed to progress. The man kept screaming for mercy.

Jesus asked him what he wanted and he flat-out demanded healing.

So Jesus did.

Then, from the excitement of that encounter, Jesus took his entourage, including the blind man, through Jericho, where he caught the attention of a non-spiritual, cheating, lying tax collector named Zacchaeus.

Do you folks really think Zacchaeus would ever have listened to Jesus if he had not heard the excitement of the crowd, celebrating the healing of the blind man?

Of course not.

It is why the people of Garsonville would much rather stay in their homes, eat waffles and watch television than come here. They don’t feel any excitement coming out of the building when we dismiss.

So from now on, in this church, we will begin our services by listening, praying and believing for those who have a specific need. So it’s the blessing of people that will set the direction for our service.

You can see, there are two chairs up here. Does anybody want to come up and begin the service by sitting down for prayer, to have their needs met, like the blind man, instead of waiting for comfort?”

Reverend Meningsbee took a long moment, pausing to allow someone to make the brave step.

Nobody did.

At length he spoke.

“That’s fine. It’s new to all of us. But understand that every Sunday we will begin this way and flip the service by having our singing at the end, as praise, before our departure.”

Suddenly a hand was raised in the congregation, and a woman, Betty Landers, sheepishly stood to her feet and said, “I don’t really have a need, but I’d like to report on what happened when I left the church last Sunday and went out to be reconciled with my cousin, who I have not spoken to in eight years.”

The pastor nodded, smiling.

Betty continued. “She only lives two miles from me, but we had a fight, and we have succeeded in avoiding each other through all family gatherings and piano recitals for the children.”

The congregation chuckled.

“Well, I went to see her, just like you said, and she wouldn’t let me into the house. It was weird. I just stood at the door and spoke, hoping she was there. I apologized. I told her how crazy it was for the two of us to be angry at each other. I even told her why I had come, based on what my minister had challenged us to do.”

Suddenly, in the midst of Betty’s story, a woman appeared in the rear of the sanctuary, and interrupted.

“I apologize for disturbing your service. I feel real silly. But what Betty is saying is true. My name is Clarice. Betty really did come to my door and talk to it like a crazy woman.”

A big roar of laughter.

Clarice continued. “I’ve spent the week with my heart pricked by her actions. I woke up this morning feeling the need to come here, find her and tell her that I am equally sorry for our silly argument.”

Betty scooted past a couple of people, ran to the back of the auditorium and embraced her cousin, as they wept.

The congregation sat very still, afraid to move. After a few moments of tears, the two women turned awkwardly to the pastor and said, “Now what do we do?”

Reverend Meningsbee said, “Go out and have lunch together. We’re done here.”

The two women left, hugging each other, and Reverend Meningsbee led the congregation in an a cappella version of “We Are One in the Spirit.”

The service was over.

The attendance was dropping.

But the spirits were soaring.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 1) … May 1st, 2016

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Reverend Meningsbee

There had been no national spotlight on the little town of Garsonville, Nebraska, since a bumper crop brought in some news coverage to report that a local grocer was selling golden sweet corn for a penny an ear.

That was thirty-two years ago.

The little town continued to grow corn but never was able to offer it again at such a reasonable rate.

Now all of a sudden there was a new interest in the community because the author, Dr. Frederick Meningsbee, had accepted a calling to be the minister at the Garsonville Community Church. At one time the church had 175 people in attendance each Sunday, which was not too bad for a town of 1,423 souls. But a combination of inadequate pastors and growing apathy had trimmed the ranks down to a solid 83 individuals who continued to attend–some out of persistence and others because long ago, they signed the loan for the property.

No one quite knew why the good doctor from an eastern university was taking such a lowly position in Garsonville.

Meningsbee had gained some attention of late, penning a volume entitled “The Jesus Church.”

Not a single soul from the pastor-selecting-committee had read the book, but figured that because the title included the words “Jesus” and “Church,” it must be divinely acceptable.

So on Dr. Frederick’s first Sunday, 143 people showed up, along with a couple of national bloggers,who were hoping to make a name for themselves by covering the story.

After a couple of hymns were sung and prayers uttered, Meningsbee rose to his feet and said, “This shall be a very short service–basically just an opportunity for me to tell you that when you arrive next Sunday, you will be handed a bulletin, which I am sure you are accustomed to. At the top will be instructions on the procedures and approaches for that day’s service.”

After finishing this short statement, the new preacher closed in prayer and the service was over.

Everyone left the church to head home and wait for their chicken, dressing and ‘taters to finish baking.

It was an unusual beginning but no one was suspicious of what might be unfolding in the future.

For after all … only Reverend Frederick Meningsbee knew the plan.

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