PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … May 17th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3309)

Saint Who Will Not Faint

Watch me, God

See if I can

Follow a plan

Become a better man

I seek your face

Treasure your grace

Don’t let me slide

Or I will hide

And run a crooked race

I need a heart

A place to start

A bit of soul

To form the whole

And then to find

A Jesus mind

A reasonable need

To plant good seed

Don’t let me wait

For a heavenly fate

But dare to give

My life to live

It’s certainly not too late

We will survive

The day will arrive

When we stand before the King

No need to explain

All about the pain

Just joy will we bring

So will you refuse

To make the excuse

And escape your complaint

For heaven is ready

Keep it nice and steady

Be a saint

Who will not faint

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 8) Fruity Labors … June 19th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2977)

Reverend Meningsbee

Meningsbee sat in his car panting, with sweat dribbling down his face.

What just happened?

His mind raced to retrieve some sanity.

He had gone to the grocery store to pick up some fruit, and was standing in the produce section, trying to decide between blueberries or blackberries, when he was tapped on the shoulder. He turned around to discover that he was surrounded by three irate women in their seventies.

There was no escape.

Woman One piped up. “What gives you the right to come to our town, break apart families and remove our sense of community?”

Without affording Meningsbee a chance to respond, Woman Two inserted her piece. “What was so wrong with our little Garsonville church? I think we were a loving sort until you showed up.”

Likewise, Woman Three intoned her complaint. “We dedicated that organ in the church to my grandmother, and now I’m not even able to go.”

Meningsbee tried to figure out a way to respond without becoming defensive, but the women continued to bombard him with their frustrations, refusing to allow him to leave. It caused such a commotion that the store manager called the local police, who uncharacteristically arrived within three minutes.

The constable felt it was his job to get to the bottom of the story, so he listened patiently as the women outlined their grievances.

When Meningsbee was asked to describe his take on the situation, he chose to remain silent, realizing that he was not only outnumbered, but also that his rendition might seem anemic compared to their enraged profile.

Unfortunately, a local reporter for the newspaper was in the store at the time, and she felt it was her responsibility to interview the participants, with Meningsbee politely declining.

He just quickly grabbed some fruit, went through the checkout and exited the store. Now he sat alone, bruised and a bit infuriated at being ambushed.

Yet the situation did not go away.

Two days later when the newspaper came out, there was an article about the incident and a background about the ongoing struggle between the Garsonville Church and the new Garsonville Christian Church, meeting at the Holiday Inn Express.

The closing line of the piece was provided by one of the women, who shared, “If the people who are still at the Garsonville Church really love us and respect us as neighbors, they will at least come out to our new gathering and give it a chance.”

Even as Reverend Meningsbee was in the midst of reading the article, the phone rang. It was the first of thirty-five or forty calls he received from parishioners, saying that they were torn and conflicted, and felt it would maybe be good for them to show their respect by going to the Garsonville Christian Church this week.

Meningsbee didn’t know what to say. Honestly, he wanted to cry. He never intended to split up families nor bring conflict–just share Jesus.

Upon arriving at the church on Sunday morning, Meningsbee discovered there were only twelve in attendance–and eight of them were the visitors who had come over the past several weeks.

Because he didn’t want to deal with unresolved hurt, he shared his heart with those who were present, and explained what he believed to be his mission and desire.

He dismissed the service and headed for his car. All the other attendees left the parking lot and he sat alone. He couldn’t help but feel cheated–and maybe even, in a strange sense, jealous.

After all, his congregation was somewhere else, listening to someone else–being torn between their new discovery of faith and their loyalty to tradition.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … December 19th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2787)

Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Man,

I’m tired of being afraid.

I hate fear. It is so uncontrollably fearful.

I’m afraid of being weak and I’m also afraid of not being weak enough to fit in.

Or maybe it’s that I’m tired. Yes, I’m tired of being the weaker sex. How can you call someone the weaker anything and contend it’s not an insult? In what sense is weakness ever a positive? It is one thing and one thing only: weak.

It enables you to relegate me to positions for easy manipulation. I despise it. And then if manipulation doesn’t work, you can become abusive. And since I’m weak, I’m supposed to fall under the spell of your aggression.

I’m supposed to believe that if I have an opinion, it’s a complaint. If I have a complaint, it’s a bitch.

If I have a bitch, it’s an insult to your manhood. And if I insult your manhood, I’m a lousy woman.

How can you define being a woman by how well men think you act your role?

 

Dear Woman:

Don’t you think I’m afraid, too? I’m afraid of failing to be strong.

Who in the hell would I be if I’m not strong? I would risk being a pussy, right? Which simultaneously, by the way, insults you because it attributes weakness to being female.

So I’m supposed to figure out on my own what it means to be strong. Forgive me for assuming that would entail getting rid of anything that resembles weakness–feelings, tears, sensitivity, attention span…should I go on?

So to be a man, in a way I’m told to be a jerk to a woman. And from what you’re telling me, I further complicate your life by treating you as weak so I will appear stronger.

 

Dear Man,

You don’t understand. I don’t want you to work this out for me. I don’t want you to adapt to my fear and my fatigue.

I want to find a way to discover why we share so much in common, yet are taught that we’re so different.

 

Dear Woman:

Aren’t we different? Isn’t that supposed to be the allure of our attraction?

 

Dear Man:

I hope not, because quite honestly, it’s driving me nuts.

The things you think make you strong actually repel me, and then I resent the fact that I’m supposed to be attracted to what I find repulsive.

 

Dear Woman:

Repulsive, huh? Am I supposed to hear that without thinking you’re a bitch?

 

Dear Man:

Am I supposed to feel it without saying it?

 

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 18–(January 14th, 1966) On My Sleeve … June 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2263)

(Transcript)

Two doors down from our home were some neighbors who were quite friendly, but we only saw about six times a year and talked to maybe twice.

So imagine our surprise when they showed up at the door the day before Christmas and brought gifts. My mother was frantic, trying to figure out how to reciprocate with some sort of generosity to this surprise burst of holiday cheer.

But the most amazing thing was when I opened my present on Christmas morning from these little-known neighbors and it was a sweater.

It was beautiful for two reasons. First of all, it was a swirl of blue in a cardigan style and had brown leather buttons that looked like chocolate covered cherries.

But the greatest blessing was that it fit. I was a big fat boy, and in that era, no one made provision for such creatures. I don’t know where our neighbors found it, but it was made of Angora–that material that looks like it should be on a goat or a really pretty rabbit.

I loved it. I wore it every day. I pretended it was my winter coat. Maybe because of that, I picked up a cold.

I hate colds.

I guess everybody does, but the main reason I despise getting the common flu bug is that I had no intention in my young teen years of doing anything about it except enduring it with much complaint.

So I was sitting in the study hall while wearing my beautiful blue Angora sweater with the chocolate buttons. It was a very cold day and they had turned up the heat, and the mixture of the other students in the room with the air of the furnace blowing started my nose running.

Now, I was a young man who had little care for anything that looked frilly, so I certainly did not carry Kleenex. (I don’t know what kind of fellow you would have to be in 1966 to have a Kleenex on you.) And I was also too macho to ask a nearby girl if I could use one of her tissues. That was forbidden territory.

So at first I just tried to sniff it back into my nose. Of course, this was loud, sounded gross and caused a cheerleader next to me to crinkle her nose and turn away.

I did not know what to do. I had already used up all my bathroom privileges with the study hall monitor, and was quite sure I would not be allowed to leave the premises. And sure enough, when I raised my hand, he just looked at me and shook his head.

Meanwhile, my nose was reaching avalanche proportions. I don’t know what it looked like, but it felt like Niagara Falls was running down my lip. It had to be gross. I tried to duck my head down, but that made the gravity of the situation worse.

I thought about running my hand under my nose, but then I would have it on my hand.

Suddenly, without thinking, fearing that I was about to embarrass myself in front of the entire class with my river of snot, I reached up with the sleeve of my sweater and ran it across my face two or three times.

Fortunately, at that point my nose loosened up and I was able to have one huge sniff and the running went away.

But my beautiful Angora sweater had been slimed by my drippy nose dropping.

I took off the sweater, folded it up, and when I got home that night tried to wipe the goop out of the fur–but it wouldn’t go away.

I wore the sweater a couple more times, but people kept asking me why the sleeve was matted.

I loved that sweater so much.

But about four days later, I quietly went out into the back yard, dug a hole, and buried it.

I realized there would be no way to ever fix it. My family knew nothing about dry cleaning, and I was in no mood to try to explain why it was rumpled and stiff.

I know it sounds strange, but I cried. Actually, I cried more at the grave of my sweater than I did for a couple of aunts who passed away.

Of course, they never looked nearly as good or kept me nearly as warm.

 

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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

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

What I Owe … May 12, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2229)

I Owe YouThings sure seem to be getting noisier.

Of course, there’s always been some racket raised from the human race, with the clamor of complaint and the lament of lacking. But it sure feels like what is important is shoved to the back of the news in favor of gossip.

I don’t offer this as a criticism. Let people do what they want to do.

But it does make me wonder what I owe to my fellow-travelers. Here’s what I came up with–I owe my brothers and sisters:

  • a pure heart
  • a seeking soul
  • a renewed mind
  • a willing strength.

Now I’m tempted, like everybody else, to advance a deceitful heart, a religious soul, a made-up mind and an overwhelming burst of strength.

But simply because things are promoted does not make them right, and running a country on the basis of the majority rule only puts off the inevitable need to recognize the truth, which often hangs back with the minority.

So the questions I ask myself are:

How can I have a pure heart?

That’s simple. Tell the truth as much as possible and if a lie comes from my lips, make sure I’m the first one to catch it and correct it.

To have a seeking soul:

I have to admit to myself that my faith must grow instead of just remaining stubborn. After all true spirituality is about building a road instead of a fort.

How does one renew one’s mind?

I call it “learning-thinking.” After all, there is thinking which has stopped learning, and there’s learning that doesn’t think that much. This is even simpler. Knowledge is better than opinion, and truth trumps them both.

And finally, since I owe a willing strength:

I can pay that debt by bringing what I’ve got to every situation without trying to control, manipulate or make excuses.

Yes, it really is that simple. Because if I tell the truth, let my faith grow, drop my opinion in favor of what’s everlasting and I bring what I’ve got to every situation, I suddenly become valuable.

That’s what I owe you.

And by the way … it’s all you owe me.

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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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

In Secret … December 9, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1089)

desk clerkIt happens every once in a while.

As we tour across the country, it becomes necessary to have a single overnight stay in some town for the sole purpose of resting, relaxing and getting ready for the next day’s drive. We refer to it as a “sleep stop.” There are three goals:

  1. Find a comfortable motel
  2. Carry in as little as necessary, since you’re not setting up for an entire week.
  3. Make it as reasonable a location as feasible so as not to bust the piggy bank.

So when we arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee, at our sleep stop, Jan was confronted by the innkeeper, who explained that the room would be more expensive than originally stated. Jan, being an excellent business woman, lodged a complaint and asked the lady at the front desk to honor her original quote.

It wasn’t a big deal–no large argument. But a negotiation ensued, and as with most compromises, both parties were dissatisfied.

So as we were unloading into our room, I handed Jan the money to cover the extra price our host felt was needed for our occupancy. It wasn’t necessary. The room was already ours, legitimately.

But it wasn’t ours righteously.

Let me tell you, my friends, there are three ways to believe.

There is the belief we proclaim to others. This is what we call “church”–quoting the Good Book and tried and true hymns, to inform our neighbors that we are good folk and excellent Americans.

Secondly, there’s the belief we apply. This is a convoluted mixture of what God says, what we think, what Mom and Dad taught us, and the pressure put on us by society to conform to the present norm.

But last, there is the belief we allow to reach into our “secret place.” This is the room within the house of our faith, where we spend most of our time, closet our fears, and determine our future–based upon our own thoughts and feelings, many of which we would never be able to share with others.

I have learned over the years that Christianity does not work unless it reaches into this private compartment.

For some of the rudest and meanest people I have ever met have just come from church, proclaiming the goodness of God.

Likewise, many of the more confused, frustrated and mentally unstable individuals I’ve encountered over the years seem to have a terrific testimony about their relationship with the Almighty.

But I’ve never met anyone who allows their philosophy to reach their “secret place” who isn’t humbly satisfied with the experience.

I didn’t need to give that lady at the front desk any more money to satisfy her requirements.

I needed to give her the money to satisfy the yearning … in my secret soul.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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