Jesonian … December 23rd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A baby being born in a sheep stall in Bethlehem of poor Palestinian parents is not difficult to believe. After all, poverty extracts much of the comfort of good cheer.

Maybe the angels seem a little far-fetched to you (but you know how it is with stories about your young’uns.)

Believing that a year-and-a-half later, a troop of astrologers made their way into town to proclaim this child the hope of the world and the King of the Jews does seem highly unlikely–yet there are always people who have their eccentric ways and live them out because they have enough money to fund them.

Comprehending that there could be a leader of a nation who was so insecure that he was frightened of any competition, and scared a young family away, fearing for their lives, does not seem improbable. Matter of fact, it could be ripped from the headlines. One more refugee family ending up in a foreign land where they have neither kin nor kind is certainly well within the grasp of reality.

Having that young boy return to his alleged home town at age seven, carrying all the trappings and mannerisms of the heathen, would certainly make growing up difficult, not to mention the colliding wills of an every-growing collection of siblings.

Thinking that this boy would have no interest in carpentry, but instead, a precocious passion for humanity and the things of Spirit, is not implausible. After all, he’s the ugly duckling, whom we assume might one day become a swan. He grew in wisdom and stature, and even though he was a foreigner, gradually gained the favor of his neighbors.

It’s not difficult to believe that he lost his Papa, his only real connection with the village of Nazareth, and like many young men, launched out to find some purpose, ending up at the Jordan River, interacting with a wild and wooly cousin named John.

You can certainly believe he got baptized, and probably went out into the wilderness for a while, just to find himself, coming back with claims of interfacing with the devil. You might even forgive his youthful explanation, knowing that to some degree, we all wrestle with our demons.

But the story stalls.

He is rejected by his home town, moves to Capernaum next to the Sea of Galilee, encompassed by a sea of apathy, picks up some friends and followers, and starts traveling the countryside. It is hit-and-miss at best.

It is at this point that many folks who consider themselves to be intelligent and reasonable become cynical about a miracle-worker who calms the waves and casts out demons. But to a certain degree, even those sardonic souls might be able to explain away this and that, but still maintain their interest in the story–especially since he begins to hammer away at religion, loses the favor of the crowd and opens the door of the hierarchy to plot against him, find a betrayer, try him, beat him, nail him to a cross and kill him.

If the story ended there, the baby born in Bethlehem had a life that was a complete failure. His friends are scattered in every direction, his movement was about to become a joke–a piece of farcical history.

So this is where faith comes in. That’s right–you don’t really have to use much to this point. You can just glide along with the story, picking and choosing at will.

But the tale that unfolds, spoken of by those who claimed to be eyewitnesses, is that this baby of Bethlehem rose from the dead.

Now … faith is in full function and also full demand.

Did Jesus of Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth, Jordan River, wilderness, Capernaum and Mesopotamia end his life as a failure, beaten down by his critics?

Or did God, the power of the Ethos and the Spirit of the Universe, choose to resurrect him to give the message one more chance?

It’s a very important decision.

It changes this story from a baby shower to a heaven-ordained miracle.

For as we know, several weeks later, a hundred and twenty people in an Upper Room believed it was true. Twelve disciples gave their lives as martyrs, insisting they had witnessed a resurrection.

And at last count, 2.2 billion humans still living two thousand years later have taken their faith beyond the crib, past the crypt … and placed it in the Christ.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… May 27th, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

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Pohymn May 27

Allow Me a Chance

I know the world is full of guile

But please allow me a chance to smile

I am fully aware of the anguish and pain

Yet reflect I will on remaining sane

To continue to believe in the common good

I must pursue what I think I should

For joining the shouting of the angry mob

Makes me nasty, failing at my job

Yes, I have a life that I must live

Solitary to me, my soul to give

A breath of peace to the exhausted clan

Remaining faithful to the glorious plan

For love is the only essence divine

Understanding one another the heavenly sign

So please, some room, a little space

To share my gift with the human race

By refusing to hurl that initial stone

Let people live, yea, leave them alone

Unless they cry out for a bit of relief

Perchance they desire some fresh belief

Then humbly I share the little I know

Gently support them as they grow

Step away, you cynics, and jaded fearful

Placing sweet hope in visions more cheerful. 

 

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Bink … September 15, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2007)

harleyHe came rolling up on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, dressed all in leather, with a black curly beard that lay on his chest as if it was resting from priestly duties. He climbed off, walked over, shook my hand and told me his name was Bink.

I was a little intimidated, so awkwardly, I asked him if Bink was short for anything. He explained it was the nickname his little nephew had given him because the tyke didn’t know how to say “bike” and instead, called him “Bink.” It was so cute and silly that I normally would have made fun of it, but looking at the motorcycle and the intimidating tattoos, I passed.

I began to wonder how I ended up with my two female cohorts at this particular gig. it was 1973 and I was only a couple of years out of high school. The dampness behind my ears was still drying. I had driven all the way to Detroit in my beat-up van, inserting a quart of oil every 100 miles ritualistically–just so the engine wouldn’t blow up.

The two girls with me didn’t know what to wear, so they each brought a prom dress for the occasion. Seeing Bink, I realized we were a bit overdressed. Matter of fact, some of the teenagers who were arriving for the evening bare-footed and in blue jeans began to peer at us and laugh.

Bink put an arm around me and led us inside, helping us set up our equipment. So when it came time for him to introduce us to his rather Bohemian brotherhood, he said the following:

“Listen, you scoundrels, I don’t want you laughing at these folks. They’ve come a long way to talk to us about Jesus. Maybe you don’t think they’re cool, but maybe you don’t know what God thinks is cool. So maybe you oughta just shut your mouths up, sit back and let your minds be blown. Because you know me–I’m Bink. And I’m tellin’ you … they’re beautiful dudes.”

With this, he held out his hand and welcomed us to come and do our thing. The gathering of young humans burst into applause, welcoming us. It was an amazing night–our girls in their prom dresses, hugging young women in the audience in hemp blouses, sporting long greasy hair.

I thought about that tonight as I made my way to Mount Clemens to set up for tomorrow’s gig. I thought about how civilized we think we have all become by finding compartments for every little piece of our lives, alienating off anything that doesn’t quite fit into the box.

I don’t know if a guy like Bink could exist today. Maybe he would be too specialized in his work and ministry to ever accept some fresh-faced novices from Ohio. But if that is the case, we’ve lost something.

And until we find it, we’re just a bunch of cynics on a fruitless search …  for an open-minded God.

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Chasing Hippos … February 21, 2012

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There are five things I just don’t like. (Actually, there are probably more, but it’s only Tuesday. No need to get over-eager.)
 
1. Honking horns. I don’t like it when I pull out into traffic, finally finding a slot that seems acceptable, only to be honked at by someone who apparently feels that under no circumstances whatsoever should I be in front of them.
2. Bratty attitudes. Here’s a clue–just because you spent twenty dollars at a restaurant does not mean you have purchased the waitress. He or she is a busy person doing a difficult job and could certainly use a bit of your patience and a lot of your appreciation. Honestly, if you were born a king or a queen, someone certainly would have let you know by now.
3. Suspicious minds. Sometimes I actually giggle when I see the facial expressions on people when they meet me for the first time. Maybe it’s because they’ve seen one too many shows with serial killers, watched too many programs about terrorism or they really have gas and it’s being released through their facial features. I’m not sure. But I will guarantee you this–no mugger or murderer is deterred by your sour expression.
4. Bible quoters. That would also go for people who choose to borrow the inspiration from Shakespeare, Bob Dylan or even recite to you their favorite Doonesbury cartoon. It’s just important to know that you don’t become smarter because you can quote smart people. You aren’t more clever because you know two or three sentences uttered by a clever individual. And you don’t gain depth of spirituality by memorizing Bible verses.
5. Cynics. You know why I don’t like cynics? It’s too easy. There’s nothing simpler in life than to be cynical about everything. After all, it takes a few minutes to start a fire but only a second to douse it. There are people who feel it is their mission to discourage any attempt at progress, happiness, intuition, gentleness or even success. They are cynics and they are not limited to those who are unbelievers. No–many who claim to have a devotion towards God are convinced that He must be on some sort of permanent vacation.
 
But as aggravating as these five things may be to my soul, there is one devilish doodler worse than all five put together: complaining. Specifically, ME complaining. I realize that there is nothing that is more of a sexual, psychological, emotional or spiritual turnoff than citing all of the things that I find unfavorable. So instead of becoming angry at those who honk, are bratty, suspicious, quoting quotables and cynical, I spend most of my time … chasing hippos.
 
Now, I spelled  the word h-i-p-p-o-s for ease of recognition, but actually it should be  h-y-p-o-s–because it is the abbreviation for hypocrisy.
 
Of all the creatures who walk the face of the earth, the hypocrite is ultimately the only one that is never allowed a moment’s peace. Those who know him or her are aware of the hypocrisy, and unfortunately, when he or she is left in their private moments, a guilty conscience allows no rest for the weary. Hypocrisy is what we do when what we really want to accomplish is complaining and we feel no energy towards self-inspection at all.
 
So BECAUSE I don’t like honking horns, I will often sit at a light behind a car driven by a daydreamer in front of me who fails to notice that we have arrived at “green.” Out of principle, I refuse to honk. (I really don’t need to worry about it, because there is always someone behind me that bypasses my discretion and lays on the horn. But I, myself, will not do it.) I honk my horn only to let people know I love Jesus if I happen to see that bumper sticker–“Honk if you love Jesus”–or if I think somebody has gone to sleep at the wheel and requires a quick awakening.
 
I also chase my hippos–or hypo–by refusing to be a brat. Even though I have reached a certain age that perhaps gives me a bit of clout, and have a background to reinforce it, I will not demand ANYTHING. If people do not want to provide me general hospitality, I will settle into the atmosphere and cuisine available and make it work. Am I resentful? No. Because inconvenience doesn’t last very long.  Sometimes it just seems longer because we fuss and fret about it. And for every person who is inconsiderate to me, there are ten who will step into the gap and replenish my experience.
 
I also will not be suspicious. Yes, I lead with a smile. Does it make people think that I am a pigeon, or a mark for their devious scheme? I think that’s foolish. I believe if folks are out to hurt me, they actually might be less likely to do it if they think I have an open heart than if I look like their frowning uncle who molested them.
 
I also don’t quote–especially the Bible. The Bible should be consumed, enjoyed and then regurgitated in your own words. You do not impress anyone by adding King James language to your thoughts. And it might be nice to give people your rendition of the truth–what the Bible refers to as a testimony. It is what has saved us and it is really what is of interest to others.
 
And finally, God forbid that I ever allow a cynical bone in my body. In many ways I view myself as a walking miracle, although occasionally at the end of a long day, it may look like a hobbling mishap. Either way, I am still going forward. I’m not so sure there are many of people my size who have journeyed as much as I have who are still kickin’ and living. So if you don’t mind, I am not going to be cynical even if part of me believes that the things being done might be a bit redundant, if not ridiculous.
 
There is nothing we can do about what other people do. Such a simple statement. But we forget. So then we turn around and perform a worse atrocity than what we’ve just seen by complaining about it.
 
I can recommend to you dear friends that ones great mission in life is chasing your hypos. Find what you don’t like, don’t complain, but instead, extract all versions of your aversions from your human practice. It’s fun. It keeps things interesting. And you don’t have to bend someone’s ear with your nastiness.
 
Chasing hippos (hypos)–finding little pieces in myself of the big problems that make life really stink.
   
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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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