Catchy (Sitting 8) Cleanly Rich … July 30th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3384)

Paul didn’t waste any time.

Before blankets could be spread, cushions situated and all snacks and drinks divvied among the three, he had already begun to drone out his story. It could have been a very interesting tale, but Paul seemed unimpressed with his own reputation.

He had married three years after college–only the fourth lass he had ever seen naked. They had two children who apparently were soldiering on to do their best with the process of growing up to join the ranks of those in file. Paul did not have many hobbies–actually, Paul had no hobbies that he shared. But as he sipped on a bit of diet root beer, he popped off a question.

“Don’t you think there are better ways to spend two hundred and fifty million dollars than propagating the myths of Bedouins who seem to have nothing better to do than kill one another in the name of their mythical gods?”

Matthew chose not to answer. After all, it wasn’t a question. It was a statement of disbelief. Somewhere along the line, Paul Padwick had consumed a sour communion wafer and was still wincing from the experience. Realizing that he was the killjoy of the little airport soiree, Paul rolled over on his Cornhusker cushion and went soundly to sleep.

That left Jo-Jay and God-guy–otherwise known as Joanna and Matthew. The two of them had briefly been a number back in college–a three-week period when neither of them was sexually ravaging or being ravaged–so they cast a glance each other’s way. They made it all the way to the bedroom and even to breakfast the morning after, but then, without any treaty, discussion or negotiation, the accidental collision was never spoken of again by either party.

So Matthew was curious about what would initiate their chatting and was relieved to discover that Joanna had planned all the dialogue, with most of the lines written for herself. She launched into her story.

Two years after college, she met a young fellow who showed great promise–except when it came to keeping promises to her. He had been a rather quiet student in college, but once he got married and realized there were many vaginas in the world, like Columbus of old, he launched his ship to discover new worlds.

Jo-Jay put up with it for a while and then asked for a divorce. She was a little disheartened that he immediately agreed. Because of his unfaithful status, she was granted alimony.

So she tripped along and cavorted for a couple of years, even considering trying to transform herself into a lesbian–but found the experience rather distasteful.

Four years ago she met The Duke. Duke was not his nickname, but rather, his title. He was a Duke of Something-or-other that she could not remember–but it came with much bearing and money. He was thirty-two years her senior. She said that she didn’t really marry her father, but rather, his father.

But he was gentle. He was kind. Generous to a fault, if such a thing is possible. And just about the time Jo-Jay’s hormones were beginning to itch for a scratch outside the mansion, he just up and died, leaving all of his earthly goods to a very earthly Joanna Lawrence. She was actually very surprised at how much she missed him.

She decided to play a game with herself. Every time she withdrew a stack of one-hundred dollar bills from the bank, she pretended it was his face instead of Benjamin Franklin’s.

“So you’re filthy rich,” said Matthew with a tinge of sarcasm.

Jo-Jay smiled. “Actually, I’m clean rich. The difference is, when you’re clean rich, you enjoy the money but you’re constantly trying to do penance by giving much of it away, to apologize for being financially over-nourished.”

All the time that Jo-Jay was sharing, it appeared that she was becoming more intoxicated (though she was gulping nothing more than club soda and orange juice). She was an exciting person. She had the quality of a young girl–the kind of little miss you know isn’t very attractive right now, but someday would be a hellcat.

Finally, Jo-Jay wound down. Or at least, Matthew assumed she did–because he passed out on his cushion in exhaustion.

The next afternoon, the Lincoln airport was opened. Matthew looked for Paul, who apparently had already departed.

So he reached over to hug Jo-Jay and asked, “Where are you off to?”

“San Francisco,” she replied.

Matthew crinkled his brow. “Well, that’s where I’m going.”

Jo-Jay jumped up and down like a little girl and said, “I know, I know. I bought the seat next to you.”

“Don’t you have somewhere to go?” asked Matthew.

“Now I do,” said Jo-Jay. “You see, one of the things about my Duke is that he had a fascination about the Galilean.”

“Galilean?” asked Matthew.

“Jesus,” replied Jo-Jay. “He never called him Jesus. He referred to him as the Galilean because most of his life was spent near the Sea of Galilee. The Duke believed that this Galilean had the solution to mankind’s problems because he refused to let us escape the philosophical juggernaut statement, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Matthew peered at her. “So you’re coming with me to. . .?”

“To. . .” Jo-Jay paused also. “To see where it goes.”

Matthew gave her a quick hug, then pulled back, admiring her like she was a kid sister. “So here’s to wherever the hell it goes.”

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Catchy (Sitting Two)This Young Man … June 18th, 2017

Matthew Ransley was an advertising agent but fancied himself an executive. He was a founding partner in a company called S.E.E.D.S.–an annoying, elongated acronym: “Selling Everything Everywhere, Delivering Success.”

Matthew was very good at what he did. He worked at being congenial but if sufficiently aggravated, could launch into a rampage to defend one of his well-guarded opinions.

It was Tuesday when the phone rang and Mariel, his secretary (though she preferred “executive assistant”) was not yet at work to answer, so Matthew found himself taking the call. It was from Marcus Tomlinson, an attorney—an attorney for the estate of Arthur Harts.

Matthew knew who Arthur Harts was, and had even heard that the old man had died. He listened carefully as Mr. Tomlinson explained about the recent reading of the will and the revelation of the “Make Jesus Popular” addition.

It did cross Matthew’s mind that it might be a crank call. But the attorney established credibility because he seemed to know what he was talking about, including an abundance of information about Matthew and his agency.

“The reason we called you is that we thought that your agency’s name, S.E.E.D.S., sounded a little religious, and in doing a background check on you, we also discovered that you had some interest in matters of faith and such when you were a student back in college.”

Matthew smiled. He remembered. College–a chance to plan your future while simultaneously ruining your life. After graduation he had included every piece of resume-worthy material possible on his application to gain employment.

He had begun a club during his college years, launching a fledgling organization initially called the “Son of One” (he being the only member at the time.) His vision was to create a para-religious/party-motivated/pseudo-intellectual club, which would attract both thinkers and drinkers.

Before too long he achieved a member and they became the “Crew of Two.” Then came another and they became the “Tree of Three.” When a fourth joined, they dubbed themselves the “Core of Four.” A fifth inductee created the “Hive of Five,” and a sixth, the “Mix of Six.” When a seventh young lady cast her lot with the organization, they became the “Leaven of Seven,” where they remained throughout their university years, garnering no new converts.

Matthew assumed this was what the attorney was referring to when he mentioned “some interest in matters of faith.” Honestly, the seven young folk liked to talk about God and politics until the wee hours of the morning while indulging in “the beer and bong.” It was hardly a consecrated conclave, but rather, dedicated to the proposition that all men–and women–are created equally arrogant.

“What is it you want?” Matthew asked. It was too early to chat–or reminisce.

Mr. Tomlinson proceeded to explain that one of Arthur Harts’ dying wishes was to give two hundred fifty million dollars towards increasing the popularity of Jesus.

“How popular does he need to be?” asked Matthew. “I mean, they named a religion after him, and, if I’m not mistaken, doesn’t our entire calendar run by the date of his birth?”

There was a moment of silence. Then Lawyer Tomlinson spoke in metered tones. “Let me just say that I don’t know much about religion, or God for that matter. I am merely performing the literal last request of a very wealthy man.”

“So what do you want me to do?” inquired Matthew.

“What do I want you to do? I guess I want you to tell me that your agency will take two hundred and fifty million dollars and at least try to make Jesus more popular.”

“We could start a rumor that he and Elvis are going to get together and cut an album.”

A pause. “Sounds fine with me,” replied Tomlinson.

Matthew chuckled. It was becoming quite evident that this lawyer was merely going through the motions of fulfilling a contractual oddity. On the other hand, as unusual as the request sounded, the two hundred and fifty million dollars did offer a bit of sparkle. As a founding partner in his business, did he have the right to reject such a lucrative offer simply because it was weird?

The lawyer piped up, uncomfortable with the delay. “Perhaps you could suggest someone else.”

Matthew laughed nervously. “No, I don’t really think I could suggest anyone else. I’m not familiar with any All Saints Agency or God Almighty, Inc.”

“It is two hundred and fifty million dollars. I mean, can’t you do something?”

“Yes,” said Matthew. (He figured it was always better to say yes to two hundred and fifty million dollars. You can revise your answer later, but in the meantime, well, it’s two hundred and fifty million dollars.)

Matthew punctuated his acceptance by adding, “Maybe we could get Jesus to date a supermodel.”

“I think he’s dead,” said Tomlinson, without inflection.

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G-Poppers … March 31st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3263)

Jon close up

G-Pop realizes that it could be considered irrational, ill-founded or even un-American to speak against the common phrase, “Be careful.”

The statement has become a staple of our society.

It is synonymous with “I’ll pray for you” or “you’re in my thoughts.”

It’s a tribal exchange of an acceptable spirit of worry between human beings, as we admit that life is dangerous and often out to harm us.

The difficulty with the sentiment is that if everyone on Earth is careful, then we stop having a free flow of interaction, which deteriorates to suspicion. Suspicion is a monster with a huge appetite. It feeds on prejudice–and once prejudice is in place, we find ourselves at war with each other without exactly remembering how it all began.

G-Pop wants his children to be safe. He just believes that the best way to achieve that is to be kind instead of being careful. Careful is misinterpreted. It’s misunderstood. It’s often received as bigotry.

And once people believe that you do not trust them, like them or consider them your equal, you actually increase the possibility of being harangued.

Certainly kindness is threatened by a world of knives and intimidation. This is true. But a kind thought, a kind countenance and a kind word removes any concept of superiority. Most people hurt one another because they feel they are forced to be inferior.

“Be careful” may be something a mother says to her son or daughter as they launch off to college–but college is not a station for being careful. It’s a place to learn, experience, try new things and uncover the talent that may end up providing wage and purpose.

“Be careful” is going to push us to the brink of global alienation.

So as frightening as it may seem, or as unsure as it appears, being kind is the best way to create the neutrality that will lead to either friendship or a quick discovery of who our foes truly may be.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … July 9th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2997)

Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: She was born in the middle of America, in the middle of the century, in the middle of a great struggle of human advancement.

 

Dear Woman: His roots were more Southern, in a climate of quaint settings and reverence to Good Book passages.

 

Dear Man: She was a simple young lady with farm-girl beauty, possessing a great curiosity for knowledge.

 

Dear Woman: He was a lad with charisma who found schooling too easy, opening the door for plotting mischief.

 

Dear Man: Though conservative at first, she gradually realized how expansive the world was around her, and set out, in her own simple way, to try to find a means of understanding it.

 

Dear Woman: He, on the other hand, felt destined for greatness, even though his beginnings foretold of poverty and a life too common.

 

Dear Man: She met him at college. She was immediately struck by his ability to communicate, seemingly without ever needing to coordinate his ideas or organize his approach. She was drawn to him. She was not the only one–but she was drawn to him.

 

Dear Woman: He found college to be the perfect atmosphere to spread his wings and launch his self-belief into a dynasty of friends, arrangements, love affairs and universal embracing.

 

Dear Man: Her path was not so obvious. So she studied, she worked, she succeeded, she failed–trying to gain her visibility through academic achievement.

 

Dear Woman: When he met her, he knew he needed her. He required her. She was the common sense for his wild notions. She was the appearance of respectability to his more erratic demeanor.

 

Dear Man: She was in awe of the fact that he was interested. The world stopped. She was being pursued by one of the more popular, dynamic young men, who had been selected by many for greatness. Within a few dates, she became devoted. He, on the other hand, understood that she was coming from a place of invisibility, and what she yearned for was approval–mostly his approval.

 

Dear Woman: They went on a journey together. She remained devoted and he continued to provide her approval, even though his lust for power and for the affirmation of his masculinity, through the appreciation of other women, was a source of conflict and aggravation.

 

Dear Man: She objected. But she persevered. She saw a bigger picture instead of the snapshot of the present moment’s annoyance. She stayed with him.

 

Dear Woman: And he stayed with her, because he needed her. To some degree, he wanted her. So he continued to provide her the necessary blood-flow of approval that pumped her full of life.

 

Dear Man: They went to great places and did great things. And then it was her time–her chance to step out of obscurity and have a say in her own life, very possibly positively affecting the lives of millions. She devotedly asked for his approval.

 

Dear Woman: He seemed excited. Yet because the warmth of the spotlight was too prevalent to his skin, he was somewhat disheartened by the backstage. So even though he promised to approve her, a lingering stupidity deep within his heart caused him to sabotage her efforts.

 

Dear Man: She had been devoted through the affairs, the winks, the rumors, and the issues. Now she needed his devotion, and was failing to get his approval. She was hurt, but she was still loyal.

 

Dear Woman: He was approving, but so preoccupied with his own concerns that he left very little air for her to breathe.

 

Dear Man: For you see, love is more than devotion.

 

Dear Woman: And certainly more than mere approval.

 

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Turning Kids Into Humans (Age 15-18) Apprentice… October 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2372)

Humanating

Assumptions are dangerous because they can cause us to become lax in a season when our attention is most warranted.

This is certainly true when it comes to dealing with the adolescent mind–between the age of 15 and 18. There isn’t a parent alive who doesn’t experience buyer’s remorse, personal disappointment, aggravation and a sense of futility while dealing with a teenager on an everyday basis.

The media and educational system do little to assist. Their goals are either to entertain or maintain order. So because of this acquiescence to the unchanging nature of the rebellious teenager, we actually end up extending those frustrating years into their twenties, when it should be dealt with and ministered to by the age of eighteen.

Here’s your basic difficulty: a young human between the years of 15 and 18 doesn’t want to do anything unless it’s in the moment’s whim.

This is why they are so susceptible to temptation. At their very core, vices are exaggerations of potential without ever warning of future difficulties.

So rather than throwing our hands in the air, giving up on our teenagers and waiting for them to emerge from the dark cave of futility, we should instead aggressively pursue a path to apprentice them in a direction that parallels their heart’s desire.

There are very few old-fashioned concepts that should be kept alive, but certainly the practice of apprenticing an adolescent is one of them. You can do it after school, you can make it a summer project, or perhaps a weekend endeavor. But every teenager needs the opportunity to:

  1. Work and be taught on a subject or occupation which seems to presently suit their mission.
  2. In the process of doing this, gain an appreciation of the adjustments necessary to be able to function with other fellow-workers.
  3. Earn money so they learn to meet their needs, save a bit, but most importantly, give to others from their own resource.
  4. Do something they’ve committed to do, even when they don’t feel like doing it.

Without this experience, everything is a theory which is put into practice when they are in college and need to make the grade, or worse, have begun a life filled with financial responsibility, and are required to pick up a paycheck.

The apprentice approach creates a beautiful buffer zone between childhood and adulthood, where teenagers can still maintain a novice profile without shame, before they reach an adult path which requires greater acumen.

They will learn empathy by working with others and gratitude by sharing with souls less fortunate.

If you allow your teenager to sleep in, maintain a bad attitude and refuse to participate in any organized endeavor, you are cursing him or her to putting off their adult life until age thirty.

This is your last gift to that little bundle of joy you brought into the world. While they still have choice, give them a chance to learn without being destroyed, to discover without pressure and to change their minds about their occupation without losing tens of thousands of dollars at the local university.

To be a human being, a teenager must learn how to express that empathy and gratitude which sets us apart–and gives us the righteous authority to have dominion on the earth.

 

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

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Untotaled: Stepping 17–(November 25th, 1965) Too Late to Understand … June 7, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2257)

(Transcript)

Angry. Sweet.

Gentle. Mean.

Vindictive. Giving.

These words seem to be opposites of one another but they were all part of the personality of my mother.

All through my childhood, I had endured a see-saw of emotion which was not only painful, but unpredictable.

November 25th was Thanksgiving Day. I was excited. I walked into the kitchen rubbing my hands together with enthusiasm and asked my mother “when the feast was going to be ready.”

She turned to me with a bit of fire and spit and said, “Why don’t you cook it? It’s hard work.”

It was cold, ferocious and beyond my understanding. I just went to my room, cussing her name.

For after all, this was a woman I had seen empty her cupboards of canned goods to help a neighbor in need and then, the next day, turn around and curse that same neighbor for dereliction and laziness. She would often come into my room and give me a hug, only to scream at me an hour later for watching cartoons–“being in her way” during vacuuming.

In my youth I heard her speak of brotherhood while referring to some individuals as “worthless niggers.”

If I’d had a lick of sense–which I didn’t–I would have realized that a human being who is angry, sweet, gentle, mean, vindictive and giving–well, when you combine them, what you end up with is confused.

In my later years, I understood.

She was seventeen years old when she married a man who was eighteen years her senior. she never got to travel, she didn’t get to go to college, was unable to flirt with either disaster or blessing and birthed five children, which from time to time seemed more of an inconvenience than a heritage.

She lived in confined quarters with limited funds, with a very stoic husband who often went on trips to Canada without providing a definite return date.

I wish I could sit down with her and tell her that I’m sorry I did not understand her plight. In today’s world, she probably would be diagnosed with some sort of neurotic condition which would be tempered by medication. Such remedies were unheard of in her day and age.

The greatest reprieve to my soul is that on the day she passed from this world, I was the last one to see her in the nursing home. We had a wonderful trip to the mall and on the way back, together sang her favorite hymn, The Old Rugged Cross.

She taught me a lot without realizing that she was instructing.

It was neither the fits of anger nor her acts of generosity that remain with me, but rather, a desire to be universally merciful to people when I don’t know their whole story.

So nowadays I would only ask three questions of anyone I encounter:

  1.  Can you admit you’re not happy?
  2. Are you willing to be happy?
  3. Will you stay with it until happiness arrives?

That’s all my mother needed–someone to give a damn.

It’s hard for me to remember her as a mom or a mother, and I certainly don’t want to look on her as a monster.

She was a woman named Mary who was given limited possibilities … and did the best she could.

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

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

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Populie: Is There a God? … May 7, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2224)

worldIt is very popular to question the existence of God.

It is usually accompanied with the lie that in doing so, we, as humans, become more powerful and intelligent. Thus the POPULIE, delivered with a quizzical, doubtful tone: Is there really a God?

Politics favors this quandary because it promotes the notion of “us against them.” We can talk about culture wars. One party can be on the side of faith and the other on the side of knowledge. We can even present it in a dramatic form as “the saved against the damned.” What a great way to get people to the voting booth.

Entertainment pushes the concept by showing us through movies and television shows, that truly intuitive and mature people are always at least perplexed by the question of the presence of God, and usually in choosing disbelief, are proven to be more intellectual.

Ironically, even religion desires this discussion be thrust to the forefront because it provides the sense of being “persecuted for righteousness sake,” proving our devotion by defending the Almighty against His foes.

Yet the foolishness of the process leaves us stymied as human beings, without the ability to make quality decisions in our lives based on the truth that surrounds us instead of chasing dreams–whether they be in Bible learning or college classrooms.

Let me tell you what I feel. I do not have enough faith to accept the idea of a spontaneously spawned universe. When I watch a show like Cosmos, to follow through on the precepts presented by scientists about how all this began is much more of a fairy tale to me than accepting the potential of a creative force.

Yes, I doubt too much to be ignited by the Big Bang Theory.

There are three factors that scream at me that there is a divine reasoning in the universe:

1. An order in the chaos.

Even though the world is filled with tribulation, upheaval and ongoing evolution, there is always an order, sensibility and common agreement that steps forward to greet the next possibility.

If everything was chaos we would have to believe that luck was in charge, which is no different from believing that God is.

2. A respect for nature.

Since I believe God to be the Creator, He has put a team in charge of the maintenance of His creation. It’s called the natural order. And when you respect the rules of the system which flourishes around you, you set in motion the possibility of prospering. When you deny them, you are at the mercy of an evolutionary chopping block, which is not afraid to bring the hammer down.

3. A faith in progress.

The whole panorama of the law of physics points in the direction and favor of those who step out, try new things and acquire the instinct to go forward.

  • After all, the single cell had faith to become two cells.
  • The first fish emerged from the water to dry land, becoming the grandfather of the amphibians.
  • And dinosaurs, who learned to accept their surroundings, eventually became crocodiles.

There is a faith involved in what we do.

I guess I could be sympathetic to the agnostic or atheist if it weren’t for the fact that there are laws in nature which are immutable. We call it science.

It is just impossible for me to believe that laws can be instituted without a legislator. And to me, that legislator is God.

So even though it may be the populie of our day and age, to try to be cool by questioning the reality of a Creator, I cannot muster enough trust to believe that all of this around me … spontaneously came from the dust of nothing.

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

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