PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 15th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2973)

PoHymn June 15

Unclean

He said it would be easy

Not difficult at all

Just to do a somersault

Pretend you took a fall

But I found it hard

Failed to make the team

And heard a snicker or two

I was odd, it would seem

 

She wanted a kiss

Her friends pressed her to try

Yet I was terrified

Not really knowing why

But I agreed to lock my lips

With this fine, willing lass

We bumped our teeth together

I felt like such an ass

 

My first day on the job

My boss explained the routine

He seemed such a gentle soul

No signs of being mean

But when I blew the deal

And ruined the daily plan

He yelled at me with vigor

And called me a clumsy man

 

Odd, ass and clumsy

Seemed to be my lot

So the preacher patted my shoulder

Said, “Be thankful for what you got.”

Finding his advice not so nice

I asked for God’s dominion

A brief delay, then a response

He gave me His opinion.

 

“Don’t worry so much and be uptight

In the quest for what is right

For there is nothing you have seen

Which I have made that is unclean.”

 

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Jesonian: The Author (Part I) … June 14th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2612)

manuscript editing

When I finished writing my first novel, I had 780 pages of typed story, dialogue and background.

Even though this was too much for a book, each part of it was essential, so that when I got to the editing process, I could sift through and find the gold rather than trying to come up with shiny stuff on the spot.

When I was done with that process, I ended up with a novel of about 360 pages.

God was an author, too. As an author, He was writing to a market. Who was that market?

They were human beings, barely stepping out of the jungle of Darwinian theory and just beginning the first fruits in the journey of human evolution.

Still living in caves, they needed a revelation in order to move to tents. Once tents had been achieved, it was a lightning bolt of intellect that brought about mud huts.

It was a long and painful discovery.

Simply telling human beings that they were “very much alike” did not seem to work in an atmosphere where “beheading your enemy” was the true sign of virility.

So first came the Pentateuch–the five books of Moses, which are referred to as the Torah.

Then there were hundreds and hundreds of scrolls, explaining how these laws were to be enforced and interpreted. This was referred to as the “Oral Law,” or the Talmud.

I’m not so certain that the human race could have survived without such a restrictive set of rules guiding towards intelligence instead of allowing the inner barbarian free rule and reign.

Yet it was a clumsy, cluttered, inefficient system that still had “chosen people” thinking that the lightning and thunder in the sky was caused by an angry god.

There was more belief in mysticism than attempts to understand the mystery of the world around them, and superiority was expressed by the sheer brute number of gods worshipped instead of the wisdom acquired from Mount Sinai.

You can’t really call it ignorance if everybody possessed the lacking. It was the status quo–to be vacuous, superstitious and vindictive.

To avoid the elimination of our species, for a season it took a Torah and it demanded a Talmud. God felt the need to use the jot to form the tittle that kept us from being “totaled.”

Yet, like any good author, having completed his 780 pages of overwritten document, as knowledge began to grow, it was time to edit the rules and regulations.

Into such a world entered Jesus of Nazareth. It fell his lot to progress human beings past acceptable depravity, into growing congeniality.

Where should he begin?

(To be continued)

 

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Jesonian: Jesus of Parkersburg … October 25, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2393)

bearded man in headlamp big

Cara is hard at work, desperately trying to finish up an extra half-shift she has taken on to earn some extra money for her two children at home, who want to go on a field trip to Charleston with their class.

Things have been tough since her husband left early last year, without any explanation.

She’s working double shifts for single-digit dollars, trying to singlehandedly be a mother, provider, disciplinarian, and if there’s any time left over, companion to her fledglings.

She doesn’t need much.

Some encouragement would be nice.

Maybe just to not have people look down on her because her clothes are a bit bedraggled.

Maybe one night off, to laugh instead of budget.

She needs Jesus of Parkersburg.

She needs him not to be religious, but rather, helpful.

Maybe to just listen.

She needs him to tell her that she’s still only thirty-three years old, that her life isn’t over, and she’s not just a paycheck trying to fund her little tykes into an uncertain adulthood.

****

Matt has the afternoon off to go to Wal-mart to buy some incidentals–clothing and shoes–for his family. He tries to plan this trip to the Superstore once a month, taking a good bite out of his paycheck, hoping that they can make all the macaroni last as long as the cheese.

He doesn’t mind the hard work at the coal mines. He doesn’t care that often his safety may not be the primal concern of those who run the company. He has enough faith in God to get him in and out of the tunnels everyday without fear.

But it sure would be nice if Jesus of Parkersburg would lighten the load just a little bit. Not much.

Maybe give him a few extra dollars so he could buy some insulation for the house so that the winter months wouldn’t be so brutally cold and expensive.

Maybe Jesus could help him get a break on that medication that one of his young’uns needs, which the doctor insists will help with the repeated seizures.

Matt’s not a demanding sort, but he sure would appreciate a break.

*****

Calvin hangs out down next to the railroad tracks on the east side of town. He’s officially homeless, in the sense that he neither has an address nor a pillow on which to lay his head.

He begs next to the railroad tracks because when somebody does give him a quarter or a dollar, he jokingly runs across the tracks and says, “Thank you. Now, you just helped me get on the right side of the tracks.”

Ever since his wife was killed by a drunk driver, he has lost much of the will to pursue or succeed. It was just the two of them, and now that’s it just one of them, he feels no compulsion to over-produce.

But he sure could use Jesus of Parkersburg.

Maybe somebody could just come along and pop him a twenty-dollar bill so he could remember what the taste of a good hamburger is in his mouth.

Yes, that would be nice.

Maybe Jesus of Parkersburg could help him find a way to get back into life, and feel important to someone again, like he was to his loving mate.

For you see, Calvin’s not miserable. Just underused.

*****

And then there’s Tim–a young man who’s hanging out at the Dairy Barn, even though it’s set to soon close for the winter months.

He’s not sure where to go. A junior in high school, he’s not adept in sports, can’t sing in the choir, couldn’t afford a band instrument even if the school still had a band.

So he finds himself with a lot of time on his hands, with a bunch of mischief trying to tease and tempt him into some unnecessary choices.

Tim sure could use Jesus of Parkersburg.

Just someone to come along, put an arm around his shoulder and say, “Listen kid. Let’s go out, find what you can do really well, and then get you to doing it.”

He might rebel against such interference, but considering that Jesus is so compassionate and full of good cheer, he just might listen.

For after all, when the Dairy Barn closes, where is he going to go?

*****

You see, the problem is, there is no Jesus of Parkersburg.

There’s no Messiah walking around healing the sick and raising the dead.

For the next twenty-four hours, there’s me. Makes me feel sorry for the good folk of this town. They deserve so much better.

But since there is no Jesus of Parkersburg, I’m going to think, pray, laugh and try really hard, in my own clumsy way, to be Jesus… in Parkersburg.

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Jesonian: I Can But I Won’t… September 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I can but I won’t.

I could but I shouldn’t.

It is an imaginative and ingenious philosophy put forth by Jesus to explain how to escape the lunacy of chasing every single possibility and problem that pops up in your face.

It happened one day while he was sharing with his disciples and friends about the true essence of their mission, and some of the obstacles they would face in the future as they tried to progress a message that most certainly would suffer some persecution.

As he’s closing out this admonishment, he renders these powerful words: “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you should say.”

Amazingly enough, his own sharings are about to be put to the test–because he is interrupted in a clumsy, if not rude, way, by a gentleman who feels he has a much more urgent need than that of training disciples to preach the good news to the world.

The intruder inserts, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Talk about being off point.

Talk about misconstruing the meaning of offering power and wisdom. This man felt that since Jesus had the attention of the room, that Jesus should use that platform to resolve his personal conflict. This is where our opening couplet comes to play.

I can but I won’t.

I could but I shouldn’t.

The answer that Jesus gives this man is filled with insight and prophetic underpinning:

Who has made me a judge over you? I am not here to arbitrate. And by the way, beware covetousness.

Amazing.

  • I thought Jesus was God and he was ordained to judge.
  • I thought he was supposed to be the advocate for getting us forgiven our punishments when we’re ridiculously misaligned.
  • I thought it was alright to go get your fair share when it was owed to you.

I discovered a parallel: it made me realize that even though we, as a nation, may find things that we can do, we should say we won’t.

And even though we could contribute to bringing a tentative peace in areas of the world where brothers are arguing over their inheritance, we shouldn’t.

Among the many reasons for sitting out the present conflict brewing in Mesopotamia is that it is grounded in covetousness. Covetousness is when selfishness punches jealousy in the nose and then wants recompense by stealing everything its enemy

Let me tell you–I am a follower of Jesus because he had a unique and God-given ability to know where his battles were and when he was to simply walk away.

No matter how much we may think that the conflicts in the Middle East are deadly, fierce or even genocidal, they are not our affair. And if we jump in there, we are failing to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to us as Jesus promised He would.

I can but I won’t.

I could but I shouldn’t.

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

The Night Visitor… October 2, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2024)

shadow manHe comes very late at night, although I think he would insist it is actually early in the morning.

You see, that’s the problem. He not only has his own opinions, but definitions for terms that are separate from mine.

The creepy part is that he insists he IS me–and in my weakened state of sleepiness, I find it difficult to resist his will.

  • He has the same memories I do.
  • He has many similar beliefs.
  • He has encountered the emotional conflicts and victories which are part of my history.

But physically, he is smaller. Yes, he takes up less room. And he lets me know it.

He shares ideas with me which certainly make sense in the dim light of the evening, which don’t come to mind when I’m in the shining light of the day. He has four repetitive, nagging subjects:

  1. Why didn’t you act kinder?
  2. Do you really think you’re achieving your goal?
  3. Why do you think you can continue to be so fat and survive?
  4. Wouldn’t it be easy to change these things?

You see what I mean?

It’s an annoying mixture of reality, self-righteousness, valid points and impossibilities.

But when I’m lying there on my bed, it does make sense. I do feel the inadequacy and the conviction to improve my situation. But somehow or another, this vigorous being who visits by night is completely vanished by the morning light, leaving me with the emotions of upheaval without the step-by-step solutions to victory.

Yes, I am abandoned.

It doesn’t make me angry. It doesn’t make me sad. It just baffles me enough that I want to eat something. It triggers the worst part of my appetites, which are devouring my future birthdays.

I want to figure out how to turn the conversations with my night visitor into a true motivation, to trim up the areas of my life that have caused me to become lumbering and clumsy.

But how can I retain the impact of the midnight confession into breakfast time  and the construction of a realistic “things to do today” list?

The truthful answer is I don’t know.

I’m not sure if my visitor is an incriminator to demean me or an angelic presence trying to spur me on to more noble causes. I’m not positive that the encounters I have with him are beneficial or just aggravating enough to cause me to slip a little further down the rock-slide of bad habits.

But I guess it’s just like everything else–if we view it as good, we can somehow carve it into a position to strengthen us. If we view it as bad, it can be used to discourage us and leave us wanting.

There are parts of the philosophy of my night visitor that I desire to possess. Honestly, I can’t be as hard on myself at ten o’clock in the morning as he is at two o’clock in the morning.

But if I can take bits and pieces, maybe I can launch a great idea which could eventually cause the man that I am during the day to make peace with the visitor who comes by night.

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