Catchy (Sitting 30) Visiting Hours…January 7th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jo-Jay’s memory of her past two weeks was like a jigsaw puzzle dumped out in a dark room. There were moments when she was almost able to connect thoughts, but then, as she described it, a dark cloud would come over her consciousness, stealing the information.

She was certain of three things: she woke up in the middle of the Amazon jungle, she was rescued by missionaries, and somebody named Joshua was a son-of-a-bitch.

Jubal and Matthew listened patiently, but were unable to garner enough story line to pursue any solution. Jo-Jay was still weak from her bout with disease, and agitated over being abducted, abused and thrust to the point of death.

There was a fourth thought which she shared with Matthew and Jubal. She believed Michael Hinston was involved in some sort of conspiracy against the “Carlos Revival”–that’s what the press was beginning to call the movement which was quietly sweeping the nation. Some had referred to it as “Jubal-ation” but Jubal was careful to play down the silliness, while trying to bring to the forefront what could be accomplished simply by believing instead of cursing.

“So what do you think Michael’s got to do with this?” Matthew asked with a furrowed brown.

“You don’t believe me,” squealed Jo-Jay. “I can see it written all over your face. Do you think I’m crazy?”

Matthew reached for her hands but she pulled away. “I don’t think you’re crazy,” he said. “I just think you’ve been somewhere you never intended to be which led to you getting a disease nobody knows anything about, which took you to the brink of death. So yeah. I guess you’re allowed to be a little eccentric.”

Jubal stepped in to soften the conversation. “I think we should listen to her. I think she’s got a story in her mind and if we hang around long enough, we’re gonna get all of it.”

Matthew was pissed. “Oh, you do. So you think we should sit here and listen to a person who’s just come back from the dead explain to us in a common-sense way the logic we should pursue.”

“You’re such a little shit,” said Jo-Jay.

“I’ll have you know I’m a big shit,” Matthew retorted.

Jubal laughed–not because it was particularly funny, but he thought laughter might tenderize the moment.

Jo-Jay swung her legs over to the edge of the bed. “I’m telling you. There’s something about Mikey, Joshua and something else called the CLO that’s just not right.”

Jubal leaned forward and asked, “Why would these people care? What difference does it make to them? Why would anyone try to hurt you simply because we’re off here goofing around with the Gospel?”

Matthew chuckled. “Now there’s our title. Forget about this Carlos Revival thing. ‘Goofin’ Around with the Gospel.’ We should go with that.”

Jo-Jay would not be deterred. “You guys can joke all you want to. You didn’t wake up with a snake kissing your cheek.”

Matthew frowned. “Do snakes kiss?”

“With lots of tongue,” said Jubal, laughing at his own joke.

Jo-Jay reached for a glass of water and nearly drank it dry. “I don’t know what to tell you fellas. I think we’re all in trouble. After all, if we knew what trouble was, we would avoid it. It’s trouble because we never know what it is, right?”

Matthew smiled. “You know, I came close to understanding that. Listen, Jo-Jay, I never particularly liked Mickey. Or Michael. But I don’t believe he would do anything to hurt you.”

Suddenly from the doorway came the voice of a new visitor. Standing there, in a three-piece suit, with a bright red tie, hair slicked back, holding a bouquet of roses, was Congressman Michael Hinston. “So why don’t you like me, Matthew?”

Matthew was stunned. Jubal, anticipating a violent reaction from Jo-Jay, moved closer to her bedside.

“Speak of a son-of-a-bitch, and there he is,” she said breathlessly.

“Well, this is awkward,” said Michael. “Actually, I was just coming to pay my respects and see how you were doing. But I sense that I am not welcome.”

“Who is the CLO? Who is Joshua? Why are these people trying to stop us? What’s wrong with what we’re doing? How did I end up in the Amazon jungle? And why, for the love of God, are you standing here in my room?”

Jo-Jay spouted her array of questions. Michael turned to walk away, but Matthew stood quickly and grabbed his arm. “I guess this is how she wants you to pay your respects,” he said.

Michael turned, and with great sincerity, responded, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have my own opinions on what you guys are doing. I think it’s foolishness. I think it’s going to upset the wrong people.”

Jubal stepped forward. “And who are the wrong people, Congressman?”

“You are very young,” said Michael. “To you, everything is black and white. It’s not really that way, you know. I thought when I came to Washington I would be involved in compromising. Most of my time is spent attempting to thaw out frozen thinking, so that maybe a single drop of inspiration can be achieved.”

“What a crock,” said Matthew. “And what an attempt to avoid this issue. Jo-Jay thinks you’re dirty. Are you dirty, Congressman? Michael? Have you hooked up with some really bad dudes? Did they pay you well to betray your sister?”

“My sister?” asked Michael.

“Yes,” Jo-Jay said. “That’s what you used to call me in college. We were all brothers and sisters.”

“We were also constantly drunk,” Michael inserted. “So I can’t really be certain what I felt one way or another. But I’m here–something tugged at my heart to come and see you, wish you well.”

Matthew walked over to the window and stared out into the night. “This is just crazy. Think about it. The guy who Jo-Jay thinks might have put her in a jungle prison which nearly took her life is now standing in front of us–and we’re trying to discuss whether we got too drunk in college. Yes, Michael–you are a politician. You have learned to avoid the truth at all costs.”

Michael turned and looked at Jubal. “You know, you do look a little like Jesus. Not the Jesus people would be comfortable with, but probably the way he might have looked when he was here on Earth. If he was here on Earth. There are many schools of thought.”

Jubal patted Michael on the shoulder and said, “Many schools of thought. But faith demands that we all graduate to some sort of belief.”

Michael stepped back. “I don’t like where this is going,” he said. “My common sense tells me it’s time to go. If I may leave the flowers–by the way, they’re not poisoned–and just wish you…Well, wish you all well.”

Jo-Jay stood to her feet for the first time, wobbling to the side and falling into Jubal’s arms. She regained her footing, stepped forward and pointed her finger at Michael’s chest. “I know who you are. And as soon as I figure it out…”

She paused. Michael was waiting for a conclusion, and when it didn’t come, he looked at Matthew, then at Jubal, hoping for further explanation. He shook his head, then patted Jo-Jay’s shoulder. “Get well. Sickness is a crazy thing. I remember when I had kidney stones. I thought the devil was in the room, whispering in my ear.”

Jo-Jay leaned forward, nearly fell again, held up by Jubal. She whispered, “Maybe that devil is still talking to you.”

In the midst of a very tense moment filled with uncertainty and the unpleasant smells of a hospital surrounding, a bright-spirited nurse’s aide entered the room, announcing, “I’m sorry. Visiting hours are over.”

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G-Poppers … November 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3122)

Jon close up

She was cursing the air like it was refusing to let her breathe–stomping, throwing things, shaking her fist–the personification of frustration.

As G-Pop returned from a grocery shopping trip, he slowly parked his van in a space next to a young woman who was in a hurry to go nowhere. She had obviously hit her wall and was determined to hit it again and again, to prove the depth of her anguish.

It was a little frightening.

It was like a scene you watch in a movie and take in stride, but when you feel the vehemence ricocheting through the air, it is much different.

So out of respect to her eruption–and a little afraid to step into the emotional lava surrounding her–G-Pop sat quietly in his car, giving her space.

At length she disappeared back into her motel room to procure more of her personal effects. G-Pop took that moment to go into his own room.

Then it occurred to him–a prompting. The real reason to have the Spirit speaking within. After all, there are always two choices:

  • You can shut the door to your room and pretend there’s no pain.
  • Or you can open the door and risk becoming part of the pain of another human being.

G-Pop asked Jan to go out and find out what was wrong–if there was anything the girl needed.

Jan was back in a brief moment, explaining that our friend had her money stolen and they were kicking her out of the motel because she didn’t have finance.

I suppose G-Pop could have spent five or ten minutes trying to figure out if she was lying, or he could have offered a prayer on her behalf. But the best feeling in the world is to know that you did something, even if the critics around you insist it means nothing.

G-Pop looked into his wallet. He had an abundance of one dollar bills left over from the week’s endeavors. He didn’t count them–just grabbed them and gave them to Jan to take out to the damsel in distress.

After a brief delay Jan reappeared, grinning ear to ear, saying that the young woman was moved to tears and they had hugged it out.

Did it make a difference?

Much more than whether G-Pop voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

Much more than an aggravated post on Facebook.

Much more than a silent request during prayer time the following Sunday at church.

We are living in uncertain times so it is important to make sure what is certain:

  1. Love your neighbor.
  2. Take responsibility for your life
  3. Be of good cheer.

And G-Pop would note: when you see something that needs to be done, do the part that is within your means.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2980)

PoHymn Orlando

To He Who Robbed Our Pulse

(Dedicated to the Souls in Orlando)

How easy it is to kill

To end the dreams of Jack and Jill

Who went to fetch some fun

‘Til confronted by your gun

Removing all their will

 

You claim faith in God

But then prove you’re a fraud

By destroying His greatest desire

You make the message a liar

Placing the young in a tomb.

 

Did anyone see your hate?

Could they stop the fate?

That crushed the hopes of so many

And produced the graves aplenty

Making the children helpless

 

It is time for a simple path

To expunge the bloody math

And let us look for a friend

Instead of promoting the end

Of God’s great human embrace

 

So as we contemplate the morrow

Let us rise from festering sorrow

And push to find something brighter

Lifting burdens, making things lighter

Listening instead of yelling

Laughing instead of cursing

And talking instead of shooting.

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G-Poppers… October 2nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2710)

Jon close up

No one is better than anyone else.

G-Pop teaches all of his children this universal principle.

It creates the even playing field, where we can start finding the better parts of our humanity.

Unfortunately, there is an imitator out there in the social media which tempts G-Pop’s kids with a falsehood:

Everyone is different.

It seems to be an open-minded, gentle, accepting and tolerant approach. The fact is. every war, conflict and dissension in the history of mankind has been fueled by this idea that everyone is different.

After a while, we get tired of being willing and we retreat to our high-minded sense of superiority.

We get weary of being restrained and we start cursing others.

And then, we give up, go out and try to kill them.

This approach has other disguised phrases:

  • Everyone has a culture.
  • Everyone deserves a chance.
  • Everyone should have what they need.
  • Everyone matters.

Even though these sound sweet to the ear, they are sour to the tastefulness required to create justice.

We don’t need a culture, especially when it alienates us from others. Feel free to have customs and preferences, but don’t use them as an excuse to separate you off from the rest of the world.

Secondly, we’re not guaranteed a chance unless we’re willing to grant the same blessing to others. Those who refuse will ultimately be refused.

Also, aiding the needy has a noble edge, but no one deserves to have their daily bread without offering their daily willingness.

And finally, the truth is, we don’t matter unless we are willing to let others matter equally. Segregating a segregationist is necessary to eliminate segregation.

So what is the answer?

Let’s start with common sense.

Common sense says that God is no respecter of persons. In other words, America is not exceptional and the rest of the world trailing behind.

This affords us the opportunity for common ground.

God loves the whole world. As a human being, I have one job: to express His mercy to the world around me. His judgment belongs to Him and Him alone. I am not supposed to separate the wheat from the weeds–He will do that when the last trumpet sounds.

And ultimately, common good.

Jesus made it clear that if we love our family and friends more than other people, we are heathens. It’s pretty direct, isn’t it? It is my responsibility to extend the same grace, compassion and humor to strangers that I afford my children.

Everyone is not different. We share much in common, including sin.

And because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we have a “humanhood” of inadequacy which should give us the tenderness to express generosity to those around us. 

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The Trouble With Trouble … January 15, 2013

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boat in high windThe same breeze that fills our sails also blows down our fences. Is it an angelic blessing or a demonic curse? Actually, the wind is just rapid air movement, which we can either harness to use for power or has the seeming ability to place us in the harness.

Here’s what I know: everything that has happened in my life has brought me to where I am, which generally speaking is good. And the only thing that will ever be totally detrimental is whatever kills me.

So how can we remember that in the midst of facing the hassles and nastiness that come our way–to somehow retain the objectivity that all things work together to the good?

I have a four-step process that I follow whenever the storm starts blowing my way and I am not sure whether it’s just trouble, or an opportunity to correct my direction:

1. I grab five minutes. I don’t care if people are hurrying me to make a decision. I am not interested in being pressured. If I don’t have five minutes to set aside to calm down my blood pressure, allowing my heart, spirit and mind to create a working team of solution, then I have already admitted failure and have given into the worst possible scenario coming my way. You would be amazed at how much better you feel after five minutes of non-reaction. After all, the brain shuts down from seeking new solutions because the spirit is not seeking new ideas. And the spirit is not sending new ideas because the emotions are not seeking counsel, but are rather trying to take over the show. Five minutes.

2. I start looking for God‘s sense of humor. I think we fail to realize what a card and a comic our heavenly Father is. It’s not that He’s laughing AT us, it’s just that He knows we are better people when we laugh with Him and consider chuckling about ourselves. If you’re looking to buy a new car and you can’t make the decision, what better way for God to point you in the right direction than to let your old car break down? That’s just a giggle fest. But it takes five minutes of clear thinking to find God’s sense of humor.

3. After that, I always find–at least ninety per cent of the time–that it is better to adjust to the wind than it is to push into it. Some people call this compromise and consider it distasteful. They are also the folks who appear determined–as they crash their boat on the  rocks. Human life is much more about evolution than creation. Don’t forget that. The times I have pushed on ahead, I have found myself in a desert place, very alone, absent wisdom, devoid answers and seemingly without God. Adjust, don’t push.

4. And finally, celebrate the breather. Some of us never get the chance to enjoy our lives, consider the lily or hug our families if something doesn’t stop us–which appears to be troublesome but actually is just a command to enjoy. I have had a broken down vehicle alongside the road and turned it into a family picnic, a conversation about life or a great card game with my children, and was actually sad when the repairman told me we were ready to go.

You see, the trouble with trouble is that it’s not always trouble. Blessing and cursing look the same until you take five minutes to trace their source.

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