Catchy (Sitting 17) Come and See … October 8th, 2017

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Matthew stared at his computer screen which had a heading of “International Federated Mercantile Institution”–a fancy name for “bank.” He had been peering at the same page for nearly a half an hour. Actually, the same number. It read, “Balance: $248,798,565.38.

It was hard to fathom. He had mixed feelings. There was joy over having that much capital to play with, but also a responsibility to turn it into somewhat of a completed vision for what Old Man Harts had desired.

What was originally 250 million had been eaten away by legal fees, surveys, transportation and just the transactions that happen when legal and business minds collide. It was still a hell of a lot of money. A hell of a lot of money for a heavenly purpose.

Matthew remained uncertain about why he had decided to take on the project. Even a week ago his inclinations had been negative. But something happened in Vegas that didn’t stay in Vegas.

He’d had an awakening. Not so much a religious eruption, but rather, a clarity of thought. When he met Jubal Carlos, who was working frantically to assist the homeless, Matthew asked himself what was he doing to make the world just a little less crazy?

He didn’t want to be overly analytical. He was certainly basically a good person. He tried not to purposely do harm to anyone and on occasion his generosity was worthy of note.

But was it possible to do more? Especially if you were granted hundreds of millions of dollars to try?

So after the awkwardness with Jo-Jay and Soos in the suite at the casino, he decided to meet with Tomlinson, and see if he could change the attorney’s mood into a positive direction instead of the grumpiness that had ensued.

He stopped off at headquarters and picked up Sister Rolinda and Prophet Morgan, realizing that the uptight attorney with the bow tie, Tomlinson, would have no counter for such creatures.

Sure enough, when Prophet began to preach salvation to Tomlinson and Sister Rolinda recited promises and possibilities for inner healing, the barrister couldn’t wait to transfer the money and get the crazies out of the room.

It seemed strange to Matthew that in a world of emotional agnosticism, Prophet Morgan and Sister Rolinda carried the day with their passion.

But what finally sealed the deal, causing Tomlinson to loose the purse strings, was the plan. Matthew was going to get Jubal Carlos to travel the country, playing the part of Jesus–in character, in appearance, in wisdom, in knowledge and in pungency.

Jubal already had the look. He had the intensity. And he certainly had the inclination to be a helper of mankind. Keeping him out of churches and just in public arenas–colleges and even rock festivals–would create the adequate controversy that could simulate the upheaval which occurred two thousand years before in Israel, when the real guy walked the earth.

It was a plan that needed tuning, clever applications, great press releases, You Tubes and even maybe a short movie. But once again people could come and see Jesus–even though it wasn’t the actual one, but another human being, carefully crafting an image that was sensitive and faithful to the original.

The slogan for the campaign would be “Come and See.”

Prophet Morgan was ecstatic.

Sister Rolinda thought it had potential, but she wanted to meet Jubal to see if he had the goods.

All systems seemed an outrageously wonderful “go.” There was only one problem:

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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 34) Old Men Will Dream Dreams… December 18th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3159)

Reverend Meningsbee

“Preacher! Preacher!! PREACHER!”

The volume rose to such a point that it awakened Meningsbee with a start.

He laid on his bed, confused, trying to place himself in a context with time and location. He was still in his miniscule motel confines, but outside there was someone screaming for a preacher.

He decided to try to ignore it.

But the pleading continued, coming closer and closer.

Meningsbee eased to his feet and peeked out the window. There was an old codger with a gray, unkempt beard and long hair, and an army coat–probably circa Vietnam War–shouting for all he was worth.

“Preacher! Preacher!! PREACHER!”

Fearing that the desperate soul would be arrested for disturbing the peace, Meningsbee opened his door a crack and peered out. The screamer saw him and ran forward.

Meningsbee was afraid and slammed the door, peeking out the peephole. The fellow arrived breathlessly.

“What do you want?” asked Meningsbee through the door.

“Are you a preacher?” demanded the stranger.

Meningsbee paused. He wasn’t sure what to answer, so he opted for the truth. “Sometimes.”

“I need to talk to you. I’ve had a dream and I need someone to interpret it.”

“I don’t interpret dreams,” confessed Meningsbee.

“Then just listen to me,” the old man insisted. “Maybe we can figure it out together.”

Meningsbee peered out one more time through the hole in the door and decided the fellow looked weak enough that he could take him if necessary. He opened up and allowed the very confused gentleman to enter his room. The man found a seat on one of the tiny chairs and launched.

“Preacher, I had a dream and I need you to interpret it for me. It’s driving me crazy. I need an answer. I need to know.”

Meningsbee interrupted. “Well, I need to know how you know I’m a preacher.”

“Oh. That would be Jackie Bee down at the front desk. He said you signed in as ‘Reverend Something or Other.'”

Meningsbee nodded. “Just call me Richard.”

The old fellow reached out and shook his hand but objected, saying, “If you don’t mind, I’d like to call you Preacher. That keeps my mind right.”

Meningsbee shrugged. “What’s your name?”

“They call me Nico because I’m always trying to get enough money together to buy a nicotine patch so I’ll stop smoking.”

“Okay, Nico,” Meningsbee smiled. “What can I do for you?”

Nico leaned forward, folding his hands as if preparing for prayer. “Here it is, Preacher. This is my dream. You see, it’s Christmas morning and I’m sittin’ in front of this beautiful tree with sparkling lights. It’s so chilly in the room that I cozy up to the fire to stay warm, and there’s this one big box–a present–right in front of me. So I unwrap the present, and inside is another box, all wrapped up in the same paper, but a little smaller. Well, I open that one up and there’s another box, wrapped, smaller still. This goes on five, six, seven times. Finally I get down to this itsy-bitsy box. I reach out and I shake it to see if there’s anything inside, and sure enough–I can feel something move. I’m just about ready to get my prize when suddenly–my arms dissolve. That’s right–they just disappear. I have no way of opening up the final box. I know there’s something inside, but I can’t get to it. It’s driving me crazy. It’s like my brain is itching but I can’t scratch it. And then suddenly, there’s the sound of many people laughing. And then I woke up in a cold sweat.”

“Do you live here, Nico?” asked Meningsbee.

“I do, Preacher. I’m on disability. Have been for almost thirty years. Some folks think I’m a little crazy but I think there’s still some good left inside of me, because I wonder if I’m nuts, too.”

Meningsbee laughed in spite of himself.

Nico continued. “So what do you think it means, Preacher? Tell me about my dream. Tell me what God’s trying to say.”

Meningsbee liked Nico. Although still a little alarmed, he felt a shepherd’s heart toward the lost soul.

“Nico, I could tell you a thing or two, or speculate, but I really don’t know what it means. You see, even though I’m a preacher, I’m a little bit lost right now, and I’ve come here hoping I could get an interpretation for my own life.”

Nico squinted his eyes, listening carefully, and then nodded his head. “So what you’re saying, Preacher, is that we’re both screwed up.”

“I guess so.”

Nico stood to his feet. “Well, I didn’t mean to bother you, and I apologize for my screamin’ and hollerin.’ I hope you find your way back to your dream.”

Meningsbee shook his hand and said, “Nico, I hope you find that your dream shows you a way.”

As quickly as the visitor had arrived he was gone. Meningsbee shut the door.

Just a couple of moments passed and there was a knock. The preacher opened the door and there was Nico again.

“Listen… I have a request.”

Meningsbee jumped in. “You’d like some money, wouldn’t you?”

Nico smirked. “For breakfast. My check is not due until Tuesday. I’m on disability. Oh, I already said that, didn’t I?”

Meningsbee shook his head, chuckled and pulled out three one-dollar bills. “This I can interpret. Enjoy.”

He handed the money to the eager receiver. Nico gave him a quick hug and ran down the sidewalk.

Meningsbee stood staring at the departing figure and thought about the dream. How many packages had he opened up in his life, only to find them empty? Or were they just promises, leading to other gifts?

It was much too deep to think about.

Especially without coffee.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … November 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3130)

Dear Man Dear Woman

Woman: I’m pregnant.

 

Man: What do you mean?

 

Woman: You don’t know what pregnant is?

 

Man: Yes, I know what pregnant is, I just don’t know why you would think you’re pregnant.

 

Woman: I was told I was.

 

Man: It’s not possible.

 

Woman: What do you mean, it’s not possible?

 

Man: I mean, I’m engaged to you and I know that I haven’t had sex with you, so the possibility of you being pregnant is zilch.

 

Woman: Listen, and listen carefully. I would like you to listen even if you don’t believe what I’m saying. And listen with the mind that the last thing in the world I would want to do is lie to you.

 

Man: You’re creeping me out. What are you trying to say?

 

Woman: I’m trying to say that I have been visited.

 

Man: You’ve had another man?

 

Woman: No, of course not. We’re going to be married. I… Well, I don’t know. Do you believe in angels?

 

Man: Are you asking me if I believe in angels or if I think there really are angels? Because it’s a different answer.

 

Woman: Are you saying you believe in things you don’t think are real?

 

Man: Hell, yes. There are two kinds of belief. There’s the belief that if I put seed in the ground, it will grow and I’ve got a good chance of a harvest. Then there’s belief in angels, which I’ve never seen, have no evidence of and just decide to go along with because the God who makes the seed grow insists they are real.

 

Woman: That’s interesting. Because the God who makes that seed grow has placed a seed in me that’s growing.

 

Man: Woman, you’ve lost me.

 

Woman: I hope not. I hope you can just listen a little bit more and understand. Because even if I’m crazy and this is all in my brain and I am stark raving nuts, I’m going to need you to hang around and take care of me. But if what I’m telling you turns out to be real, I’m going to need you to hang around to be part of it.

 

Man: Cut to the chase. What are we talking about?

 

Woman: An angel has told me that God is placing a baby inside me who is going to be the Messiah.

 

Man: What? Why you?

 

Woman: Thank you very much for that vote of confidence. I don’t know why me. Maybe it’s because everybody else turned Him down. Or maybe He knew that I was willing to at least consider it was possible.

 

Man: Let me go over what I’m hearing. You’re telling me that an actual angel spoke to you, telling you that God was going to give you a baby even though you haven’t been with a man…

 

Woman: Apparently that’s important–the fact that it isn’t coming from one fellow. The baby isn’t coming from one nation, or this baby isn’t the actual “seed of David,” but instead is a child of all the Earth…

 

Man: But you see, that’s where you’re wrong. The prophecies say that the baby will come through the loins of the seed of David, birthed from a Jew. Why would God have all these men in the Old Testament and then suddenly turn to a woman to deliver His messenger?

 

Woman: Actually, he’s supposed to be called Jesus.

 

Man: I am so freaking disappointed in you. If you made a mistake and slept with someone…I don’t know. Maybe I could forgive you. But at least I would not feel insulted that you thought you could deceive me with this tale of angels.

 

Woman: I completely understand your point. I knew when I came to tell you the story, I had to be prepared for the fact that it’s so unbelievable that you would not be able to comprehend it. I don’t know why the angel didn’t tell us together… but I think God just got tired of men dominating women, and He decided to do something with a woman, minus the man.

 

Man: There’s no history of it.

 

Woman: There’s never been a Messiah before.

 

Man: So what am I supposed to do?

 

Woman: You’re supposed to listen to me–which you’ve done–and decide for yourself if I’m a cheater, a deceiver, crazy, or blessed.

 

Man: No man could do that. No man could sort through this mess.

 

Woman: Maybe you’ll need an angel, too…

 

Man: Well, until my angel shows up, let me tell you that loving someone is not something that comes quickly and goes away just as quickly. Standing here, I feel bruised, upset, cheated… but in love. I need my thoughts to myself. I don’t want to say something stupid and hurt you, but I also don’t want to say something silly and find out you’re laughing at me.

 

Woman: I understand all of that. Parts of it hurt. Parts of it are reassuring. But I know this–even if I’m crazy, it’s my crazy. And I can’t turn my back on it. I promised I would be willing to see it through.

 

Man: Maybe we should sleep on it.

 

Woman: Maybe we should.

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Ask Jonathots … May 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2946)

ask jonathots bigger

I have a buddy at work who just separated from his wife and is filing for divorce. He’s going to fight for full custody of his two daughters. He says his wife is not fit to be a mother because she’s mentally unstable. I met her once at a party, and she openly talked about how her daughters had “betrayed” her. They were five and six years old at the time. Here’s my question: how do you know when someone is just flat-out crazy? Is there anything I can do for my friend?

You are actually posing three questions:

1. How can you tell if somebody’s crazy?

2. How can you get involved in a situation without interfering?

3. What is the basic criteria for being a parent?

So I will attempt to address each inquiry individually and let you sew them together as an answer.

I don’t believe there is an actual condition called “crazy,” but when we deny reality, we certainly teeter on the brink of mental instability.

There are many ways to deny reality: you can lie about it, pretend it’s not your fault, insist it’s not your business but instead, God’s affair, you can blame the devil, or as in the case of your subject, you can believe that your children are trying to sabotage you.

Insanity is the idea that ignoring reality can change your circumstances.

Now let’s look at the second question. Unless somebody asks your opinion, giving it is interfering.

I have learned that my opinion is not really needed, wanted or valued unless there is a question pending. In other words, without someone asking me for my input, I am being obnoxious.

Now, shall we go to the third question? There is actually one criterion for being a good parent. Are your children safe?

Because as they grow, sometimes they may perceive the parent as a comforter, friend, warden, enemy, Satan, Santa Claus or boring. So you can’t evaluate good parenting on how happy the children are to actually have a parent.

Are they safe? And by safe, I mean that they have a sense that they will be taken care of, and they are not threatened by those who have authority over them.

So let’s see if we can put the three answers together.

Since children do not dictate the policies of the household, it is difficult for them to be betrayers. Therefore believing children are betrayers is certainly an imbalanced and unhealthy profile. It opens the door for the parent to retaliate instead of express affection.

But since your opinion has not been sought and you are not in a power position to change things, what you need to do is express your joy, concern and hopes by being supportive of the kids–through little notes, maybe some gifts, and a loving, open door.

You should avoid taking sides, but instead, pass on to both the mother and father that you feel the most important thing is the well-being of these children. In doing this, you will establish that you are the champion of the daughters instead of the crusader for either Mom or Dad.

This is the advice I give you–but also be fully aware that any time you leave reality (for instance, thinking you’re the savior of this other family) you can become just as “crazy” as the next person.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … April 27th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2917)

PoHymn Amazing Grace

Nexus

Crazy, loony, mixed-up clan

Tears apart the family of man

treble clef gifAmazing grace, how sweet the sound

Rape my heart, tear my soul

Leave me with an empty hole

treble clef gif

That saved a wretch like me

I will scream in belief

Send a beam of light’s relief

treble clef gif

I once was lost but now I’m found

Now I sense a welcoming nod

From the mercy of a loving God

Releasing the fear that smothers my breath

Atoning my sin of a sentence of death

treble clef gif

Was blind but now I see

Dispel the night

Hope in sight

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Good News and Better News … February 15th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2845)

Good News and Better News Windsor UMC

A carefully constructed bulletin.

Beautiful building.

Decorated altar.

Gorgeous organ.

First-class sound equipment for the praise band.

Prepared minister.

Eager ushers.

Hymns meticulously selected.

Fresh doughnuts.

Delicious coffee.

Ample parking.

Batteries in the wireless mics.

Sunday school lessons.

Nursery workers.

Handicap accessible.

Bathrooms stocked with paper products.

Children’s church.

Carpets swept.

Library open.

Prayers uttered.

Choir rehearsed.

ALL IS PREPARED.

Whosoever will may come.

But they don’t.

Never has there been so much tender-loving care put into the prospect of receiving an audience which refuses to arrive.

It was a bitter-cold Sunday morning in Columbia, South Carolina when I found my way to Windsor.

Absolutely delightful, engaging, intelligent, fresh human beings.

Just not very many of them.

And I guess it would be fine if there wasn’t a general understanding among those attending that something is missing–or rather, a bunch of “someones” absent.

Some of those who fail to attend are former advocates who have left, either through disagreement or just “growing weary in well-doing.”

But many are human beings who have been taunted into believing that there are no real answers within the stained glass windows.

The church has become the standing joke for those who want to poke fun at a group of people they truly do not understand. So there’s a tendency for those who are still warming the pew to turn cold and lose faith.

The good news is that we have the facility to receive our fellow-travelers.

The better news is that while we’re waiting for them to make up their minds, we should work on our own lives, our own joy, our own understanding and our own tolerance.

Jesus was interested in a following that had lips with heart. In other words, what is spoken comes from a place of passion. The beauty of passion is that even if you’re wrong, because you have not hidden your feelings, they can be corrected. And if you’re right, the energy can bring life to those around you.

When you remove heart from lips, you get words that sound dry, dusty and old. But when you add the personal joy and testimony of reality, then the lips can speak the desires of the heart and bring revival.

So to all the good friends I met at Windsor, let me remind you:

While we are waiting for the world to get tired of crazy, let us look to ourselves and overcome our lazy.

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Confessing … December 5th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2753)

XXXI.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Three unwise men.

I met them many years ago.

They came my way one at a time, but quickly clumped together because each one was well aware of the exploits of the others, and had gone on many missions together chasing stars.

They had mental problems. This was not my opinion–they had the certificates and hospitalizations to back it up.

Yet I found a place in my heart for each one, and likewise, they were grateful for acceptance, and nestled up close to me.

We worked on Basic Humanity 101: courtesy, respect for women, getting a job, paying your bills, eating well and not putting substances in your body making you Jekyll instead of Hyde.

There was some progress.

Matter of fact, for a few months I felt as if a transforming miracle had swept over the lives of this trio, causing them to sing a new song.

But then it stopped.

I don’t know what it was. The creeping insanity that lingered dragged each one of them down into the pit of despair. Maybe they stopped taking medication. Maybe they saw flaws in me that gave them license to challenge my credibility. I don’t know for sure. But somewhere along the way it became necessary for me to try to salvage their families, their concerns and especially their children.

Yes, eventually these three unwise fellows became my enemies. They didn’t like me anymore. They accused me of being crazy.

My heart was broken because my dream of repairing the breach in their souls was devastated by crumbling results.

I failed. At least, that’s the way I felt.

I took them to the water but they weren’t thirsty enough to drink. So then my mission was to save the children and the wives.

I guess I’m happy to report that the offspring of these three disturbed individuals are no longer under the pressure of being subjected to insanity.

It is a victory.

But I loved these three gentlemen. I still do.

And every day I work a little harder to become understanding, gracious and clear-headed enough to be of value.

But please, don’t tell me that you’re unaware when craziness sets into your friends. Don’t go on television and claim that you were “completely surprised” by the fact that your kin became unkind.

I not only saw that these three guys I worked with had turned a corner, but I was fully aware that they had rejected reasoning in favor of calamity. I had plenty of time to free their kids from danger.

I feel humbled by my lack, encouraged by what I learned, but fully cognizant of the fact that salvation is God’s business … and He is the only one who has the power to truly transform lives.

(Perhaps there is a fourth…)

Confessing The three

 

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