Bank On It… August 25, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1986)

bankOne of the rituals we actively and faithfully follow in our travels across these United States is to arrive about twenty minutes early to our gigs. The reason for this is quite simple–actually numerous.

First, we get away from that “heated rush” so that our demeanor can be cool, calm and collected.

We also allow for the unexpected, like traffic, or in some of the more rural locations, a reluctant cow or horse crossing the road.

It also gives us a great opportunity to trim down our egos and low-ball our expectations about the evening’s event–whether we will be inundated with audience, awash, sprinkled or barely drizzled.

Normally we find a park, an abandoned building or some out-of-the-way little space to pull in, roll down the windows and chat for those few minutes.

But Wednesday night in Portage I spotted a mailbox in the parking lot of a bank. I was delighted because I had a couple of pieces of correspondence I wanted to drop in. Well, since I was there, I decided to go ahead and park underneath the shade tree in the back of this well-known lending institution.

We were just talking away as Jan took out her oboe case, made sure all the pieces were in the right location and began to soaking her reeds for the evening’s performance.

It was finally time to leave, and I backed our big, black van out and turned toward the exit, only to discover that an orange cone had been placed in the road, with a policeman standing there, peering at me quizzically. I didn’t think much about it and attempted to pass on by, when he ordered me to halt.

I rolled down my window and asked him what I could do to help. He was curious why we had been sitting in the back lot of the bank for so long. It had stirred interest among the employees, who were trying to figure out why a bunch of folks were sitting in this dark vehicle with out-of-state plates, perched in the rear of their establishment just at closing time.

I explained to the policeman about our habit prior to heading off to a performance. He grinned, now realizing there would be no need for a SWAT team or helicopter coverage from above. Actually, he became inquisitive about the nature of our journey and asked for one of our pamphlets so he could check out our websites. He waved us on and we headed off to our destination.

As I pulled out, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a whole collection of nervous, twenty-something, bank-teller-type individuals, who had obviously been wondering if there was going to be a shoot-out between our gang and the local Portage police.

I don’t know if they were disappointed or not, but I did promise the police officer that in the future, I would certainly avoid using a bank for my peaceful repose.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Blame the Name … December 15, 2011

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Live from Palm Coast, Florida, in A Spirited Christmas

 
Yesterday I received an email from a lady. She forwarded correspondence which had been sent to her by a minister in her church, expressing some misgivings about her actions. She was an employee of the congregation and he shared with her that unless she changed some of her business approaches, she would need to resign. Honestly, I did not know all the details nor did I have a desire to wade into the conflict between two private individuals. Maybe he was right; maybe she was right. I don’t know.
 
She was seeking comfort, wanted support–and candidly, I lacked the information to contribute much of anything. But one thing did disturb me about the letter sent by the minister. It was a personal note of rebuke about a business performance which ended with the salutation, “In Christ.” Then he added his name.
 
It put me in a bad mood. I do not see anything wrong with an employer rebuking an employee; nor am I choosing the side of the victim over the victor. What disgusted me was that such a piece of trivial business–an inter-office conflict–was reinforced as if it were “in the name of Jesus.” 
 
I am tired of politicians, religionists and business people blaming the name of God for their own opinions, prejudices or decisions. Can we do this? Let’s leave Jesus out of our squabbles–especially when we insist on using his title, “Christ,” instead of the name he so proudly wore when he was adorned in human skin.
 
“In Christ” at the close of a fussy note infuriates me. So you don’t like the woman. Maybe you think she’s incompetent. Perhaps it is even necessary for her to leave your organization. Don’t do it in Christ’s name. The fact that you would close a correspondence with the name of the Prince of Peace makes me suspicious of the quality of your intellect or the integrity of your soul.
 
We must stop using the name of Jesus to give heft to our personal choices.
 
  • I have many opinions. I am not certain that any of them would be shared by Jesus.
  • I have prejudices. A quick glance through the book tells me that he does not agree with some of my choices.
  • I have doctrines. Of all the people who ever lived, Jesus was certainly a teacher who avoided legalism in favor of liberty of spirit.
  • I have preferences. Hat’s off to me–as long as I don’t put the hat of MY predilection on the head of Christ.
 Someone must stop this madness. The fact that this minister closed his note with “In Christ” nearly convinced me that he was in the wrong and that she was the innocent party. Obviously, that’s erroneous. But if we do not stop blaming the name of Jesus for every little quirk in our personalities, we soon will have “cried wolf” one too many times, and the name will lose its power. Right now Jesus still carries the reputation of an empathetic human savior who loved people and cared for their needs. But if politics, religion and corporations have their way, we will soon taint his name and stain his reputation with our temporary whims and uncertain solutions.
 
Let me be the first one to say it:  I don’t know God’s will.  Folks tell me you can find it in the Bible–but having read the book several times, I will tell you that what they read into it often is not there. What I know to be true is that I have many ideas which are changing, based upon my ever-growing experience of journeying through life–and the only thing I do know for sure about Jesus is that he wants me to “love my neighbor as myself” and that “what I measure out to others will be measured back to me.”
 
Do you hear what I’m saying? That minister who closed his memo with “In Christ” to that woman has just guaranteed himself an equally nasty note in the future from a dominant individual, threatening him with expulsion in the name of a deity.
 
Not for me, folks.
 
Honestly, I will tell you that my jonathots are filled with my opinions. They are probably laced with my prejudices. And they are certainly limited by my intellect. But I will NEVER lead you to believe that they are direct messages from Jesus, the Christ or the Eternal God.  Be smart. Qualify what you believe and what you say by using your own name–and not the signature of someone who came to seek and save those who were lost.
 
It’s really quite simple. If my minister friend had closed his letter with, “Yours,” “Sincerely yours,” or even “I’m pissed off”… it would be just fine. Signing off “In Christ” brings too much weight to bear–without the authority to lift the load.
 
Stop blaming the name. Take responsibility for what you think–and if it’s any good at all, let God endorse it through the fruit that’s born.
 
 At least … that’s my understanding.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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