Catchy (Sitting 12) A Collision of Colossal … August 27th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Susannah Lacey, known as “Soos” during her infamous days of cavorting around the campus with the “Leaven of Seven,” was waiting at the headquarters when Matthew arrived on Wednesday morning. She looked exactly the same, except age had etched a little worry and miles onto the terrain of her frame.

She gave a big smile as Matthew came into the door, raced up and gave him a hug. taking his breath away.

They had never been terribly close. It was an awkward situation. Matthew always suspected that Soos had a crush on him, and she believed it was the other way around. So not so certain that any crush existed, no romance ever came to fruition.

But Matthew had a great respect for Soos. She was a “reasoner.” When it seemed like all problems were surrounding the “Leaven of Seven,” threatening to destroy their idealism, she came through like Joan of Arc, rescuing their innocence. (Usually it consisted of buying a pizza or finding some marijuana, which made them all feel nasty-cool.)

She explained to Matthew that she had gotten his message and was heeding the call as if he were Commissioner Gordon turning on the Batman beam to summon the crusader. Matthew was not terribly familiar with the reference but giggled anyway.

While the greeting was still in full swing, in walked Prophet Morgan. He hadn’t left the offices since his arrival. Prophet was a pleasant enough sort, though he had the sniff of the brimstone which accompanied the fire of his faith. Matthew thought he seemed sneaky. Having heard his full story, Matthew thought it was a miracle that Prophet Morgan wasn’t in either an insane asylum or jail upstate.

At age five, his drunken father, who was an evangelist with a tent revival, decided to bring his little boy up onstage to pray for people, and lo and behold, the tiny Prophet Morgan laid his hands on a woman and spoke in an unknown language. The next morning she awoke completely healed.

No one took the time to wonder if she would have been healed anyway, or if she was really that sick in the first place. The word spread like a grease fire–a five-year-old prophet with the gift of healing, sent by God to the backwoods of Arkansas to transform His people.

In no time at all, huge crowds were showing up at the tent revival meetings and Prophet’s father was getting rich on the proceeds of his sprout.

About a year into the process, at age six, Prophet had a nervous breakdown. Matthew guessed that’s what you’d call it. The six-year-old started running around the room, only stopping to bang his head against the wall. He was placed in a mental institution, where he stayed until he was twelve.

Prophet explained that no one ever told him why he was there or how he would ever get out. One bright, sunny day, someone left the back door open to the asylum while spray-washing some chairs. The twelve-year-old detainee simply strolled out, started running, and never stopped.

That was the story thus far. Obviously there were many more tales to be told. But Prophet Morgan was a young man burdened by old demons.

He took an immediate liking to Soos, who found Prophet to be a bit bizarre in appearance but just ethereal enough to grease her wheels.

While the two of them were making friends, the phone rang. It was a call from Michael Hinston, from Washington, D. C. Matthew was surprised to discover that Michael had a change of heart and was now interested in the “make Jesus popular” project.

Matthew hung up the phone scratching his head, trying to figure out why, all of a sudden, all these elements were falling together. Well, if not together–at least colliding with one another.

Another phone call came in. It was Marcus Tomlinson, who had originally asked Matthew to consider the 250 million dollar project. He explained that he would be flying in the next day to talk about the future of the idea.

As Matthew hung up the phone, he felt there was a gloominess emanating from Tomlinson–coming with some bad news. Or maybe it was good news.

Maybe the burden of making the decision about this bizarre errand would be taken off Matthew’s shoulders.

He wasn’t sure.

Prophet Morgan stepped over and slapped him on the back, awakening him from his thoughts of deep escape.

“Quite a day, huh?” said the prophet.

“Yes. A lot going on,” Matthew answered, preoccupied.

Prophet looked off in the distance. “I remember an old Creole woman in Louisiana I once met, who said about this kind of day–the one we’re living in right now–she called it a ‘collision of the colossal.’ Lots of things happening, but no way to be sure if any of them smell of God.”

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Untotaled: Stepping 25 (March 12th, 1966) She Kissed Me … August 2, 2014

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(Transcript)

The romantic sex drive arrives before the license to drive.

At least it did for me.

This created a very uncomfortable situation–three times, I think–where my mother was the chauffeur for my date. It came down to the simple choice of whether to stifle my instincts, as an emerging young man, to be with a female, or to tolerate the primary female in my life–my mother–intervening with her prevalent personality.

On the first occasion of this collision of wills, I invited a young girl named Krissie out to a movie and a hamburger. Unfortunately, the drop-off was some twelve miles away, so we had to endure my mother’s attempts to be relevant to the younger generation. I did not realize there were so many derivations of the word “kids,” but in the process of the thirty-minute drive, Krissie and I were referred to as children, youngsters, teenies, child, students, kiddos and cuties.

Even though I was extraordinarily embarrassed, I was determined to endure the ordeal for the privilege of spending time with this young lady, who had decided I was worth at least one evening’s consideration.

I cannot tell you that the situation became much better after we were dropped off at the theater. I was so nervous that I can’t even remember what movie we went to, and was unable to finish my hamburger, which normally I would have done easily, with an extra one on the side.

The whole time I was trying to figure out if I was talking enough or talking too much. I can’t explain the gauntlet of pain I endured in an attempt to hold her hand.

But soon I realized that she was just as terrified as I was, because when I reached for her dainty fingers in the theater, what I grasped was similar to a wet sponge.

Questions popped into my mind:

  • Do I kiss her?
  • What would she think?
  • Do I know how to kiss?
  • How could I make sure my mother would not see?
  • Would Krissie laugh at me?
  • Would she make fun of me with her friends?
  • What if I don’t kiss her?

Well, my mother picked us up and took us back to the house, and fortunately, Krissie decided to take a detour to the back door of the home, where we would have more privacy from my mother’s purview. My knees were buckling and there was a tiny dribble of sweat careening down my leg.

We climbed the stoop, and before I could even consider my next move, Krissie leaned over and kissed me on the lips, pulled away for a brief second, and then came in and kissed me again.

I barely even noticed the onion from her hamburger.

Without another word, she disappeared into the house.

Rarely in my life have I experienced the euphoria that followed that divine piece of lip-lock. I felt a combination of gratitude along with a notification by mail that I was officially voted in as Master of the Universe.

I was even able to enjoy the ever-flowing conversation with my mother on the way home.

Krissie kissed me.

And like so many other wonderful women who have honored me with their presence, she saw my weakness and helped me turn it into a strength.

 

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WE are the US of OUR Lives… May 27, 2013

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 America is not a population–it is a collision.

Yes, it is a fender-bender, accidental conglomeration of people who have ended up in the same place, searching for similar freedoms.

Our churches are not congregations. They are configurations–the makeshift, last-minute gathering of a collage of human beings who often disagree with each other but are bound by what we hope and pray is a common purpose. Our disunity and differences are what challenge us to stay together and keep working, to ferret out similarities.

We spend way too much time trying to find perfect circumstances. We even arrogantly proclaim that we’re on a quest to find a “soul mate.” Life is not a Disney cartoon. It’s not the story of a chambermaid who is secretly a princess who finds herself “slippering” her way into marrying Prince Charming.

It usually consists of two folks who hang around each other long enough that the spark of lust ignites passion one evening. Then they spend time figuring out how to take that initial encounter and turn it into domestication.

What’s wrong with that? Why does everything have to be so antiseptic? Let us be honest. One of the most obnoxious thing about human beings is when they believe they have found God’s will or they have knowledge that exceeds others.

What I saw yesterday in Mabank, Texas, was a mish-mash of humanity which decided to stay together with each other instead of becoming picky and bratty–praying for better converts. Now THAT just might be the definition of God’s will.

We ARE the “us” of our lives.

  • I don’t always agree with my children, but they are my children.
  • I don’t always get along with my friends, but they are my friends.
  • I don’t always concur with strangers, but there’s really nothing strange about them at all, is there?
  • And the United States of America is always at its best when we include all the “we’s” and embrace them as “us” to create “our.” In the process, we collect some weirdos, freaks and people who think they’re extraordinarily normal, who end up being more odd than they thought.

But we do not express the love of God by giving up on anyone. We do not become a better organization by shunning members. And we never, ever discover the beauty of heaven by finding weakness in our fellow humans and displaying it for mockery.

I give great tribute to the people of Mabank. Even though they live in a small town and might be tempted to be snooty and fussy, they’ve decided to pursue the greatest depths of true spirituality, which is: don’t give up on folks just because right now you think they’re ugly.

So on this Memorial Day, as we celebrate our nation and the sacrifice of those who have gone before, let us not forget the power of this idea: the energy of our faith is that we constantly challenge our own prejudices.

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There’s Got To Be a Morning After… October 2, 2012

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Three words: humble, humility, humiliation.

I think I have spent a lifetime learning the difference among that trio of offerings. For after all, I’ve met many people who have suggested that “humble” is the path to take in attempting to please God and make your life spiritually in order. Here’s the problem–acting like you’re not capable of much is quickly proven to be true when your efforts fall short of adequate, and rather than being viewed as humble, you are deemed inept.

Then there are people who take the other route. They decide to lead with their talents, accomplishments, dreams, aspirations and fleeting acclaim. They think a little piece of pride is necessary to grease the wheels of the train of success. The only problem is, there’s going to be a morning after. Eventually you have to display your wares in the marketplace of life and be evaluated by the existing forces on the qualities of who you are and what you do. If you’ve spent too much time bragging about your potential, the end result will be humiliation–and others will get the chance to tell you how rotten and unfulfilling you really are.

The third choice is humility. Humility is when you have a private counsel in your soul with all your faculties and the spirit of God, and through that meeting you decide on a course of action and quietly set it in motion without fanfare, planning it meticulously, rehearsing your portion faithfully and believing God to be able beyond measure.  When prosperity is brought about through that effort, you then have the power to receive the praise and deflect it in any direction you desire.

I am astounded, as I travel this country, at the arrogance displayed from both the conservatives and the liberals, and the phony, humble attitudes manufactured under the guise of coming across like “just one of the people.” Humility can not be faked. It is a delicious blend of effort with faith. It is a concoction where we understand the importance of excellence, while also comprehending that perfect things are often nailed to a cross.

As I sat onstage last night in Conneaut, Ohio, at New Leaf United Methodist Church, in front of some of the sweetest human beings you would ever want to meet, and the cameras were rolling, filming my show, I was temporarily overcome by the beauty of a simple word: opportunity.

Some folks spend their whole lives trying to achieve a station, a stage, or a format they deem to be worthy of their abilities instead of grabbing any soapbox available and standing in humility and delivering. As I watched my partner, Janet, display all of her years of rehearsing and excellence in front of the audience, I was moved with great admiration that this dear lady was absolutely delighted to be sharing her portion of God’s gift in this small, Ohio town.

Afterwards, I interfaced, embraced, chatted, laughed and cried with these kind folks who had come out to see me shake my reed in the wind. It was beautiful.

But as I lay down to sleep last night, I felt a burning, incendiary anger in my soul. Yes, I am furious with Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, religious, secular, fundamentalist and scientific folk who have squared off against each other and created an atmosphere of tension and inflexibility instead of building pathways to understanding.

I even saw it yesterday.There was a conservative contingency in Conneaut which collided with a liberal element, which was introduced by the presence of my film crew. They never were quite able to make connection. I am sure both would be enraged that I suggest that such an impasse exists. But the truth is, when you believe there is a distance between your belief and that of another, you will just naturally try to maintain the distance.

So I would like to introduce you to three other words: collision, congealing and cohesion.

All we have succeeded doing in this country is creating a collision of ideas, coyly referring to it as “debate.” It isn’t debate because there is never resolution–just an agonizing, gnawing needling about one group’s superiority over another. I, for one, am so tired of it that I not only refuse to participate, but fully intend to dismantle the intransigent, selfish attitudes of both sides, until they are exposed for the charlatans they truly are.

You conservatives, it doesn’t do any good to tell the world they are going to hell in a handbasket unless you also tell them that Jesus has given us the keys to the kingdom and that the gates of hell will not prevail against us.

Liberals, it doesn’t do any good to put your faith in science and technology, when the very nature that you acclaim was created, fostered and implemented by the will of God.

We are in the midst of an ongoing collision which is doing much more damage than we can imagine, even though we insist that it’s just two big tanks, hitting each other. Somewhere along the line, we have to congeal.

Here’s a start–you can’t have art in the church and think it’s going to conform to your doctrines and theology. Art by definition is expansive and is set in motion to challenge ideas rather than confirm them.

On the other hand, how can you build a mutual respect for human beings when you’re constructing your Tower of Babel based solely on personal self-worth and the aqcuisition of money and worldly goods? How can you expect to keep the earth well-rounded when you square off the corners in foolish controversy?

Congeal. Find a reason to mingle what you believe with the feelings of other human beings without compromising the depths of your spirit, but expanding the borders of your heart.

I agree with about half of what my conservative friends in Conneaut have to say and about half of what my film crew thinks. This doesn’t make me better. It makes me usable. I can work with any conservative as long as he or she tells me that God does not have a vendetta to hurt human beings. I can work with any liberal as long as he or she does not try to express their superiority by showing God the back door.

If we would begin to congeal, we could set in motion the possibility of the final phase, which is cohesion. Yes, we would begin to cling to each other in respect, love, admiration, and also a bit of wonder–because our lack of comprehension about the other party’s views would keep us on our toes, learning and growing.

When I walked off the stage last night in Conneaut, I was so grateful and felt such humility–to be part of the process moving us towards cohesion instead of destroying us in perpetual collision.

My journey has just begun. Right now I am introducing the notion of congealing. Conservatives are not my enemies. They remind me of little children who are afraid to play with the toys because the gifts are still in the boxes and they’re not sure they have the right to tear into them and launch into great joy. I love my liberal friends–because they have torn into the boxes and they are playing, but the toys are broken. And because they do not know the manufacturer very well, they do not know how to fix them.

Could I be more of a blessed man than to have interacted with the salt of the earth from Conneaut, Ohio, and delivered the only true, eternal message–NoOne is better than anyone else.

There’s got to be a morning after–and on this particular morning, I feel great humility, because I didn’t try to be humble or prideful, ending up in humiliation. I feel a giddy leap in my soul because I’m walking away from the collision and asking my brothers and sisters to congeal so that one day, in the sight of God and man, we can create a cohesion of fellowship with a bond that cannot be broken.

Would you join me? Forget about me, for I, too, will pass away. Would you do what’s right for yourself? Stop being part of the problem and at least make an attempt at the solution?.

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