Catchy (Sitting 51) A Woman at the Well (Doing)… June 3rd, 2018

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Matthew stepped out of the shower and dried himself with the $300 fluffy towel provided by the casino as a part of his luxurious accommodations. He stared into the huge mirror, surrounded by the finest lighting available, to accentuate and showcase the beauty provided.

After peering into his face for a moment, making sure the wrinkles were not opening up tributaries, he stepped back to eyeball his penis. It was respectable–at least, he thought so. And the women he was with last night seemed impressed. Matter of fact, she was out in the other room, waiting for the two of them to have breakfast before she took her money and scooted.

Taking a second look at his friend from “south of the border,” it did appear a bit bedraggled and weary. But what would a penis know?

His brain was stumped over a decision–talc or no talc? He liked talcum powder. It felt good–cool, with just a bit of a sting–but it never disappeared. For the entire day, you walked around like some sort of ghostly apparition, leaving white clouds of dust behind as you shimmied through the room. So he took some lotion and put it on his private area, which felt equally as good, but was more sticky than spooky.

He had absent mindedly been listening through the door, hearing nothing, when suddenly there appeared to be a conversation going on in the adjacent room. He turned off the bathroom fan so he could hear better. There were two women talking.

Who could it be? Who was talking to…? Uh…

He couldn’t remember her name. It was Russian. The name. She wasn’t Russian–she was almost San Fernando Valley. He could not remember. God, he hated it when he didn’t know the escort’s names. Because “sweetie, honey, dear” and “precious” would only take you so far before you started sounding like discarded dialogue from “Wuthering Heights.”

Maybe if he listened through the door he could catch her name from the person she was talking to. Who in the hell could it be?

Well, there was only one way to find out. He combed back his hair (which was still hanging in there, though threats of evacuation continued). He donned one of the thick, white, terry cloth, Penthouse robes and stepped out the door. As he did, his guest from the previous night was speaking.

“…and I especially like the story of the woman at the well…”

“Me, too.”

The “me, too” voice came from Soos, who looked up at Matthew, smiled and continued her dialogue with the unknown Russian.

“What I like about that story, Borish…”

Matthew blinked and nodded, mentally repeating the name three times in a row, hoping it would permeate his skull.

Soos continued. “Jesus knows everything about this woman–knows all her problems and failings, that she’d had five marriages, and she’s living with a man now, but he offers absolutely no condemnation.”

Borish sat for a moment. “I never thought about it that way,” she said. “Matter of fact, he commends her for telling the truth in her own non-truthful way, when she said she wasn’t married.”

Soos laughed.

Matthew couldn’t stand it any longer. “Soos–what’s going on? What are you doing here?”

Soos leaped to her feet and ran over to Matthew, giving him a hug. “I was worried about you. I hadn’t heard from you in some time, so I decided to take advantage of the fact that we have a jet, and fly here to see you.”

Matthew walked over and sat down in a large, expensive chair, crossing his legs modestly.

“Well, you knew I wasn’t dead,” he said with a bit of snip.

Borish looked at him with disgust. “Is that any way to talk to an old friend?”

Matthew looked over at Borish. “Just imagine how I might treat new friends,” he snarled.

This did not sit well with the young woman.

“Are you going to insult me?” she asked.

Soos stepped in. “What a great question! Do you plan to come out of the bathroom–your freshly showered self–and insult the whole room until everyone is convinced of your superiority and dominance?”

Matthew sat still, a bitter taste in his mouth. He hated to get bettered–especially by a woman.

Soos continued. “I was talking to Borish about Jesus.”

“Yeah, I gathered that,” said Matthew. He stood up and walked toward the door. “Where in the hell is our breakfast?”

“What did you order?” asked Soos.

Borish smiled, perching up on her knees like a young girl. “I’m starved!”

Matthew whirled around. “Well, don’t act like I didn’t feed you! We had steaks…you know. Before.”

Soos couldn’t resist. “Before what?”

Borish looked at Soos with big, wide eyes and said, “Mr. Matthew here hired me for the night. You see, I’m a prostitute.”

Matthew grabbed a magazine nearby and threw it down on the table. “Why did you have to say that?”

Borish giggled. “I was just practicing being honest–like the woman at the well.”

Soos laughed. “Well done!”

“Is it Sunday?” asked Matthew, striding over to his desk. “No, here’s my calendar. It’s not Sunday. So why are we talking about him?”

“Because he’s good seven days a week,” said Borish.

Soos applauded and the two women hugged.

Matthew moved over with the stealth of a roaring lion, sat back down in his chair and said, “I didn’t hire you to be glib.”

Borish looked up at Matthew. “I don’t know exactly what glib means, and I know that probably thrills you. But I have a life. It’s not a life people would approve of–and certainly the Sunday people who talk about Jesus would not believe that I could be a believer. But I do my best. But I have always wanted to try to do better.”

Soos looked at Borish, tears in her eyes, then over at Matthew, who was doing his best impersonation of a slab of granite.

Soos erupted. “Matthew, you’re just a goddamn son-of-a-bitch. If you want to have your faith crisis or your penis introspection or your drunken binges or your spending insanity, go right ahead. But there are some people who realize they’ve been given two nickels and are trying with all their strength and might to make it spend like a dime.”

Matthew frowned at her. “You see, that’s the trouble with you Christians. You talk in circles, expecting people to follow you. Just because your leader spoke in parables doesn’t mean they make sense today.”

He took a breath. “What are you trying to say? That I need to be nicer to the young whore? Doesn’t that come with the tip? Isn’t that me ordering strawberries and cream with Belgian waffles? Why do I have to believe that everybody who comes into my life is just as good as the last person who came into my life, who seemed, by the way, to possess more dignity? I don’t mind that she’s a prosptitute. Matter of fact, she’s damn good at what she does. Truthfully, she made me see God last night between the sheets more than she’s doing this morning. But I’m not going to pretend that she’s something she’s not.”

He stopped abruptly. He obviously had much nastiness to spew but he resisted.

Borish rose, walked over to Matthew and knelt beside his legs. “You don’t need to explain to me who I am. I got that. Not every morning of my life ends up in a beautiful casino penthouse with a kind gentleman who has ordered me breakfast. I spend just as many mornings looking in the mirror, trying to figure out what kind of make-up to use to cover the bruises. I know I’m a fool. I know I’m crazy. I know that every time a door opens in front of me there could be a monster waiting. I don’t know what else to do. I have needs. I have a child. It sounds like an excuse–even to me. But until I can get over making that excuse and be willing to live a little simpler, and maybe rely for a time on the kindness of family, or some strangers, I will be doing this.”

Matthew stood to his feet and walked away. Soos came over, knelt beside Borish and hugged her.

“My dear,” said Soos, “you don’t have to do this even one more day. What that gentleman over there has failed to tell you is that we have lots of money. And we have lots of Jesus. And if you’re willing to learn, we’ll give you a job–so you can take care of your daughter, but you can become a woman at the well of doing, instead of a woman who’s afraid of what’s gonna happen next.”

Borish looked at her in disbelief. They embraced. They cried. They stood up and started to make plans.

Matthew turned to them, enraged. “Would the two of you please get the hell out of here? I don’t want to lose my cool. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I just want you to get the hell out of here–and by the way, get the heaven out of here, too. I am sick to death of it. I shall eat my breakfast alone.”

Soos looked over at Matthew, confused, with a squinted face. She chose not to speak. She put her arm around Borish and said, “Why don’t you and I take in one of these breakfast buffets at the casino? We can make some plans.”

Soos and Borish walked by Matthew–Soos careful to place herself between the raging bull and the hapless lass. When they reached the door, Matthew spoke.

“Listen, I’m just trying to tell you…”

Soos interrupted. “Please do yourself a favor. Shut the hell up. Understand–there are people who love you, who still love you, even though you’re an asshole. There are some beautiful things going on in this country. Most of them are not at the bottom of a bottle or happening in this room. We’re waiting for you. Whenever you’re ready.”

Matthew gazed at Soos in complete disgust. He didn’t know what to say. So like men often do when they’re devoid of thought, he said something nasty.

“I hate you.”Donate Button

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … September 27th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3442)

Harmless

At the end of my arm

Is a helping hand

Here’s my leg

With a foot ready to go

At the tip of my nose

Your business begins

My eyes are clear

I want to see

My ears are open

I’m listening

My tongue is tamed

To speak forth praise

My mind is free

To be renewed

Create in me

A clean heart, O God

I have made room

For a right spirit

I have breath for words

Which justify, not condemn

I need to be harmless

I want to be harmless

So you can trust me

And I can trust me, too.

 

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Jesonian… June 10th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesonian-cover-amazon

Sex, money and family.

These are the three topics that encompass the majority of conversation for the average American.

Sex, discussed in the context of portraying ourselves as studly and virile while simultaneously pointing out the sinfulness in others.

Money, a perpetual complaint because we all feel we should have much more than we do.

And family because somewhere along the line we’ve convinced ourselves that our particular brood of offspring has a special place in the universe because we spawned them.

Matter of fact, I can pretty well guarantee you that if you wade into the horde of humanity, you’d better be prepared to talk about one of these subjects–probably all three.

I offer this preface because Jesus avoided these three subjects like a religion.

When they tried to get him to gossip about a woman caught in the act of adultery, he turned away, stooped down and fiddled in the dirt like he didn’t even hear them.

He certainly made the point to a bunch of pious Pharisees that because prostitutes were coming into knowledge of the Kingdom of God, they were going to enter heaven much sooner than the religious leaders. (This wasn’t very popular.)

When it came to money, he was confronted by a gentleman who wanted Jesus to be an arbiter in an inheritance squabble with a brother. Jesus curtly replies that “no one has made me a judge over such matters” and then proceeds to tell a parable about the dangers of greed. Probably not what the young fellow was looking for when he advanced his question.

And as pertains to family, Jesus made it totally clear to those around him that when his kin came to see him with the intent of returning him to Nazareth because they thought he was crazy, Jesus explained that his family was “anyone who did the will of my Father.”

So if you remove the subject of sex–which is often judgmental condemnations about the preferences of others; and money–which seems to be a perpetual lamentation over not having enough; and family–the extolling of our particular procreation due to sexual prowess–you really don’t have much to talk about, even in the lobby of a church.

Jesus had other topics that interested him:

Mercy.

Justice.

Compassion.

Faith that was ready to move mountains and those individuals who broke out of the pattern of the “sex, money and family fixation” to find a way to get along with everybody on the planet.

If you’re going to progress as a Jesonian individual–someone who pursues the heart of Jesus and not just his sacrifice–you need to realize that Jesus is not worried about your sex organs, your financial status nor how cute you think your grand-baby is.

This would probably cause him to receive some very critical glances from the Mens Fellowship and the Ladies Auxiliary. He did not care.

If you can’t get your mind out of the gutter, your brain free of feeling financially cheated, and your heart devoted to something other than those living under your own roof, you probably will back your way into a tragedy.

At that point you will have a choice.

Will you take responsibility for it due to your short-sightedness, or will you wonder why God didn’t do something to stop it?

 

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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 36) A Rebuking Hour… January 8th, 2017

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Reverend Meningsbee

About twenty-five miles outside Garsonville, Meningsbee pulled his vehicle onto the side of the road because the tears in his eyes had become so overwhelming that he couldn’t see to drive anymore.

He didn’t know why he was crying.

Certainly there was a lot of incrimination and anguish behind the tears–but something else was emptying his well of discontent. He didn’t know what it was and he didn’t want to think about it–he just wanted to get back to Garsonville.

Home.

Was it home?

Or was it really just a place he had inserted himself to make some theological point? It certainly seemed to have grown beyond that. He had a very tender heart for the people he served.

After a few minutes, some good old-fashioned thinking dried up the gushers in his eyes and he headed toward the parsonage.

He arrived there on Saturday evening, about nine o’clock. There was just enough time to put together some notes for the next day, crawl into bed and collapse from exhaustion.

The next morning, he purposely arrived a little later so he wouldn’t have to field a series of “narthex questions,” leading to stymied silences.

The congregation was already seated and singing “Sweet Hour of Prayer” as he made his way down the aisle to the front, turned and waited for them to finish the beautiful hymn.

He took a pause, not trying to be dramatic, but staring at the people, searching for words. He began.

“Jesus once preached a sermon that was so pungent, pointed, relevant and convicting that the Bible says everybody left. At least five thousand people.

Jesus was saddened. He turned to his disciples and said, ‘Are you going to go away, too?'”

All at once, Meningsbee was interrupted by a woman in her forties, standing to her feet.

“Reverend, my name is Sarah–Sarah Rothchild. I don’t go to this church. I don’t go to any church. But I came here today because this church found a way, through its message and love, to permeate through the doors and windows of my home and reach me–even without my attendance. We haven ‘t left you, sir. There aren’t five thousand disciples marching away, grumbling about your ministry. You keep leaving us. You keep running away. You came here to do something magnificent–different–personal–and dare I say, human. And then because some critics have come along to challenge you, you scurry away like a little spider to quietly spin your web of self-pity. We need you. But most of all, we need you not to run away. I don’t know if I’ll join this church, but I do know this town is better since you came here. And I decided to dress up and join you folks today so I could rebuke you. Isn’t that a Bible word? If it isn’t, it should be. I’m here to rebuke you for being a coward.”

One of the ushers stepped forward with the intention of leading Sarah out of the church. Meningsbee held up a hand, motioning for him sit back down. The pastor turned back to Sarah to listen. Sensing that she was finding disfavor, Sarah became defensive.

“I didn’t come to make trouble. I just believe that the only way you can prove what you say is to stick around after people disagree with you. I think it’s time for you to either pack your bags, leave Garsonville and admit this was just a game to you. Or else hang in here with us and see if we can’t make it through these problems–especially getting out of the condemnation from these horrible shows on TV.”

Sarah looked around the room for some sign of support. Everybody was afraid to move. So she reached down, grabbed her purse, turned around and was ready to dash out of the sanctuary.

Meningsbee stepped forward, stopping her.

“By the way, Sarah, that is officially called a rebuke. And you helped me discover what I was crying about last night as I drove into town. I am a coward. Not something you’re really able to say about yourself, until you hear somebody else accuse you of it. I’m scared. I’m not scared of being wrong. I’m scared of being right…and all alone. So if you’ll forgive me and give me another chance, I would like to try to do better. I would like to try…”

Meningsbee stopped.

He didn’t know what to say and had probably already said too much. He bowed his head.

One after another, the congregation members rose, walked up and gave Meningsbee their rendition of Christian greeting, love and hugs.

The last one to come to him was Sarah, his rebuker. She started to say she was sorry, but before she could speak, Meningsbee erupted with a revival of tears.

He fell on her shoulder and cried like a little boy who had just skinned his knee. She patted his back, weeping along with him. The Garsonville elect stood back and watched, like little children seeing a deer in the forest for the first time.

At length, everybody headed out of the church.

But as the first congregant opened the door, standing there was Kitty, Hapsy’s mom.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … October 26th, 2016

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pohymn-foxes-have-holes

Foxes Have Holes

Tweedle-dee

He ain’t dumb

Perched by the road

Considered a bum

‘Tis not funny

He needs money

I, in turn

Express concern

He does not require

My hearth or home fire

Simple he is, you see

Frantic to remain free

He trails into the night

With only the stars for light

And nibbles a tiny snack

Lying flat on his back

Staring at the changing moon

Humming an unknown tune

Some say he is a drinker

But perhaps a different thinker

An inner city blight

Or tired of the fight

Possessed by mental disease

Or doing as he may please

We are so very sure

Our path is just and pure

We cling to tried tradition

And rebuke his odd rendition

Unsure of what he may feel

We are certain he will steal

Making the beggar beg some more

Having the means but slamming the door

We decide for him what is best

A family, friends, a feathered nest

He’s a sparrow, needing to fly

Weary of the struggle, the perpetual lie

All he needs is a little cash

A tiny piece of my stash

So will I offer condemnation?

Or allow my heart consideration

Foxes have holes, said the carpenter’s son

But I sleep alone … when the day is done

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Jesonian: Three in One … June 28th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2617)

Jane Fonda in Klute

The exact phrasing is, “He needed to go to Samaria.”

Jesus made a decision to pass through Samaria instead of being a good little Jewish boy and going around that province which was known for its heresy and wickedness.

I think I now realize why he did it.

He had a meeting at a well in Sychar. In that one encounter, he succeeded in passing on, for all time and to all generations, his heart on gender equality, judging morality and racial bigotry.

Let’s look at the story.

Having sent his disciples away to get food, he strikes up a conversation with a woman from Samaria. This means very little to us in our day and age, but in the season that Jesus of Nazareth lived on the earth, men and women did not talk. They just copulated.

She was surprised.

She was suspicious.

Honestly, considering her background, she probably thought he was trying to make a pass at her.

He wasn’t.

He talked to her. His conversation with this woman in Sychar was no different in its intensity and intelligence from the conversation he had with Nicodemus, a learned male Pharisee.

Jesus was telling us the following:

Men and women are equals and the more they act like humans, the better they’ll get along with each other.

Secondly, in the midst of the conversation, he asked the woman to go get her husband. She replied, “I have no husband.”

Jesus replied, “You have spoken well, for you’ve had five husbands and the man you’re living with now is not your husband.”

Though she was not totally forthcoming with Jesus about her status, she didn’t lie. He thanked her for telling him as much of the truth as she was able to put forth.

He made no moral judgment on her.

He did not condemn her for having multiple marriages nor insist that she was living in sin.

He established for all time, “I will welcome anyone who’s honest about their sexuality and their situation without offering condemnation.”

And finally, when the disciples showed up and saw him talking to a woman who was of a different belief and race, they were upset–in that “religious folk way.”

You know what I mean? They started whispering among themselves.

Jesus got the disciples out of there so he could establish what he really felt about bigotry, that being:

“I will ignore and fight against racism even if it makes people uncomfortable or my friends disagree.”

In one meeting, Jesus handled three of the largest issues of our time:

  • Gender equality
  • Human sexuality
  • And racism.

And I think if you read it very carefully in the Good Book in John the 4th Chapter, you will understand that to Jesus, women are humans, people shouldn’t be judged by their moral choices and racism is evil.

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Three Ways to Confront a Friend … January 15, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2474)

two girls talking bigger

It is never wise to express your opinion and wishes to someone who is not a close friend. If you choose to do this, it will normally fall into the category of interference or condemnation.

But on those occasions when dear friends or family members are struggling, it may become necessary to confront them.

The question is, how do you do it?

  • Self-righteousness is sickening.
  • Preaching is pushy.
  • And instructing is boring.

Here are the three ways I recommend for confronting friends or loved ones:

1. Ask them, “Are you satisfied with where you are?”

One of the best things you can do for others is to get them to think again. For after all, when we are hassled, we have a tendency to shut down our brains and live off of our emotions. Just asking them if they’re satisfied can open up the floodgates to conversation.

2. Ask them, “Can I do anything to help?”

I’ve never seen a word of advice lift a burden. If you arrive with a heart to assist instead of insist, you allow humility to open the door to understanding.

Truthfully, people don’t need us to take over their lives–just help them for a little while.

3. And finally, once the conversation gets going, say, “Here’s what I hope for you.”

Criticizing bad behavior does not stimulate repentance. Believing in people is the best way to get their attention. Tell your friend what you hope for him.

Of course, people can become so overly sensitive that even these three approaches can be misinterpreted as judging.

But normally, if you ask them if they’re satisfied, if there’s anything you can do to help, and then paint a picture of what you hope they can achieve, their heart will be softened, the spirit engaged, the mind renewed and the passion to do something… rejuvenated.

 

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