Our Father of Earth … June 16, 2013

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Father's Day pic

Our father which is of the earth

Harrowing is your game

You came to a kingdom

And have done the will

To bring heaven to our space

Your daily bread you share with us

And forgive our missteps because your missteps are forgiven

Temptations are avoided by your leading

And evil scared away in the night through your deliverance

For yours is a glorious power

To establish a kingdom here

For our now

And toward our forever

So it is

So we say,

A man.

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 Jonathots, Jr.!

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

First Night … June 6, 2013

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Primrose UMCWe spend entirely too much time debating the flavor, freshness and texture of our bread instead of being energized by the fact that it is shipped daily, as a gift.

When I arrived last night at Primrose United Methodist Church, there were not a lot of people there. Perhaps to the outside cynical viewer, it might even have appeared that there were SO few individuals present that NO possibilities existed.

That’s because we live in a society that bounces between religious fervor and “live in the moment” agnosticism. Sometimes people get all worked up about their journey, their need or their family, and for a brief season “praise God from whom all blessings flow.” Then some trial or tribulation comes in from an unexpected angle which attacks the house of cards of that belief system, and they tumble down in bewilderment, not sure why God has forsaken them.

The confusing, back and forth representation of spirituality makes people overly dependent when they need to be energized, and vibrate with worry when they should be relaxing in their accomplishments.

If you want to find out how things work, you need to go back to how it began instead of looking at all the patches on the well-worn tires over the history of religious practice.

That’s where we tried to go last night. A handful of us got together and decided to talk about returning to Eden with our faith instead of hanging around the cross, discussing the blood and salvation, the tomb, shouting and hollering about the resurrection or staring into the Eastern skies, pleading for the second coming.

Eden was where God came up with the idea for human beings to be created in His image. Once you place yourself firmly within the Garden philosophy, you realize that God walked in and said:

“Look. I made all the trees. They bear fruit. There’s food everywhere. The ground is fertile. I’ve given you gorgeous bodies–not because they’re physically attractive, but because they work so well. You see the little parts that give you pleasure and also make other human beings. You’ve got work to keep you busy. You’ve got fruitfulness IN that work to make you overjoyed–AND you’ve got each other. Have a great day. I’ll see you tonight.”

That’s right–God didn’t show up for breakfast meetings. God didn’t have lunch with Adam and Eve. God didn’t come in the late afternoon to save the day because they couldn’t figure out how to pick the grapefruit.

God showed up in the cool of the evening–to talk, fellowship and celebrate the victories of the day. God was confident in what He had provided. God believed in His own daily bread.

Somewhere along the line, we have to teach people who believe in God that God believes in them.

We aren’t the screw-ups that religion insists we have become. We aren’t without potential. We aren’t rotten to the core. We are just lazy, always looking for a shortcut by eating the “fruit of the knowledge of good and evil” so that we don’t have to actually work anymore. Once we get over that we become excited about our lives again, living within the twenty-four hour period, and we become powerful instead of weak.

So I’m going to tell them tonight, as I close out my time at Primrose, that your faith can be hanging around a cross all day, lamenting the death of Jesus or you can look for the signs of the times that point towards the end of the world.Primrose sign

But I would recommend that you come to Eden. Get your daily bread. Work with it. And meet God at closing time–to laugh about your follies and rejoice over your advances.

First night is done. Now it’s time for a new day–an exciting day.

This is a day that the Lord has made.

 

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

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Jonathan’s thinking–every day–in a sentence or two …

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below

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

Tomorrow’s Today… May 11, 2013

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North RichlandI never think too much about tomorrow. I try to stay on my daily bread and focus on the activities set before me in this particular twenty-four-hour period. Yet sometimes tomorrow’s activities are part of today’s thoughts.

For instance, I know that I am going to be at Smithfield United Methodist Church tomorrow morning. I really don’t have any worries about it–after nearly forty years of interacting with folks and sharing my heart, I have discovered that the real secret is to keep it simple and never try to make things appear either bigger or smaller than they actually are.

But I have also learned that there are a few goals which can be pursued when pressing flesh with mankind–and womankind, for that matter–which universally set in motion a pattern for success instead of fostering a climate for dissent.

Communication. It’s the main thing on my mind. I believe it’s very important that people understand what I’m trying to say and comprehend who I am. I don’t hide behind books, philosophies, religious attitudes or my history of experience. What I try to do is share a very simple message in a simple way, tapping as much excellence in my talent as I am able to do in the moment.

I do not think that we will ever achieve fellowship or stimulate an atmosphere for renewal when we’re presenting things to each other that we don’t understand.

Case in point: I don’t talk about heaven very much. It’s not that I don’t believe in it–it’s just that for most of us it’s not the next stop on the bus line. You’ll rarely hear me mention the devil, simply because there is a dark nature in each of us which already wants to believe there are evil reasons why we don’t achieve righteous conclusions.

I chat about human things and how to do them better. In the process of that communication I hope to make connection. That link-up is a simple question: “Can I help?”

I just don’t think we do much to assist our brothers and sisters by giving them more problems, more commandments and more reasons to despair. If you can’t edify folks, then exhort them. If you can’t exhort them, encourage them. If you can’t do any of those three, you might just want to leave ’em alone.

After I’ve made a connection, I am joyously looking forward to a sense of contentment. What is contentment? “I discovered my best and I gave it to you.”

Candidly, without knowing that this is true, we either become grumpy or obnoxiously make excuses for our failure.

And the final part of the process is continue. Yes, I want to continue to do what I’m doing for as long as I’m able to pursue it, while garnering a new idea from every encounter.

I’ve been criticized by friends and family because I listen to every concern or criticism and weigh it in relationship to what I know–even if the words spoken were an attempt to hurt. I don’t think there’s as much danger in our being overly analytical as there is in repelling critique that might just give us a better path.

So when I come to Smithfield tomorrow, I want to communicate. I want to make sure they understand me.

I want to make a connection–to see if I can lighten their load instead of piling up their wagons with useless trash.

Because when I leave, I want to have the contentment that I’ve given my very best to these fine children of God.

And I also would like to know that because I was with them, I can improve the quality of my own presentation.

That’s what I call tomorrow’s today. It’s a quick review in my heart and soul to renew my mind, looking for better ways to use my strength. And because of the beauty of the process, I am often granted the blessing of leaving a town having edified both my audience … and myself.

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

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

Val’s Pals … February 14, 2012

 
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Valentine’s Day–a delivery system for chocolate, flowers, jewelry, aftershave, golf shirts and miscellaneous power tools. Yet–is it more than that? It could be–if we actually focused on relationship instead of just commemorating a once-great union of hearts.
 
In my lifetime, I have watched as the pendulum has swung from the extreme of Father Knows Best to “Mama Knows Everything.” There is a general misconception in dealing with interaction between the sexes that some sort of cushioning or compromise MUST be established–because we apparently are from different planets, arriving on spaceships fueled by diverse energy. Because of this false representation, we seek to compliment or ignore one another in the pursuit of domination. Domination is useless, especially when it comes to interfacing with someone we purport to love.
 
Yet in the times when Father was supposed to be the All Knowing, women were underpaid, not considered worthy of leadership on a national level (or even high management in corporations), a little unpredictable and ditzy and meant for the home, not the battlefield–be it war, politics or business.
 
Move ahead through years of alleged women’s liberation and cultural growth, and today we insist that women are smarter than men, as we continue to underpay them, forbid them high seats in government and the Fortune 500, think they’re very unpredictable and ditzy and keep them far from the front lines of the war–be it commercial, cultural or military.
 
So what has changed? All we have done is play a pretend game: “Women are really smarter than men, but after all, we don’t need smarter. We’ve got men!”
 
As long as the goal in any relationship is to dominate, we will never truly understand one another, no matter how many boxes of chocolates, bunches of flowers or trinkets are peddled. Somewhere along the line, we have to understand that true friendship is neither complimenting or ignoring, but rather, trying to stay on point and being as honest as we can, while dancing around trying not to offend.
 
If a woman can’t find that in her mate, she will have a best friend she converses with and a husband she tolerates.  May I immediately point out that merely tolerating another human being is not the greatest aphrodisiac to lead into the bedroom? So then we get to preach that “women don’t like sex and men do.”
 
Now, this particular Mexican standoff doesn’t vary, whether in the secular or in the religious realm. The religious community believes that men should dominate and that women should raise the children and take care of the household. In some religions they’re even willing to cut off her sexual organs to make sure she doesn’t forget her mission.
 
In the secular community, the pretense is that women are much smarter, more organized and able to direct, while simultaneously they are relegated to a submissive position where they are basically housewives, even in the office (coffee and comfort), and they’re disemboweled sexually by being forbidden true authority.
 
Here’s my suggestion–let’s do something special on this Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to reject the power of the flower or the thrill of the drill, but you might want to sit down and have a conversation with the person you say you love that begins with this statement:
 
“Honestly… Well, I am not always honest with you, but instead, compliment or ignore you because I foolishly think, because of my training, that I am supposed to dominate you. I would like to stop that and instead, maybe for the first time in our journey together, find out who you are and what you want … and ditto for me.”
 
Now, if I thought the farce of “romantic America” could continue without creating chaos, I would never even bring up the subject. After all, America believes that McDonald’s makes the best hamburger and really, no harm, no “fowl.” But when you think that complimenting or ignoring your love to create domination is the best way to interact with another human being, while internally you find them obtuse or irrelevant, there is a nasty hypocrisy going on that will eventually flare up and decimate your contentment.
 
This is why we often step back and say, “I never thought they would get a divorce.”
 
Just removing domination from a relationship allows for two people to actually begin to talk again. The reason we didn’t like dating is because we had to chat. It is exactly the reason we should return to it.
 
So if you look at Val’s Pals on this day, they are  com through gifts and the action of ignoring expressed by pretending that somehow or another we forgot that it was a special day. It is all an inglorious ploy to create domination. Neither Father nor Mother know best.
 
Actually, we never get the best until Father and Mother learn how to communicate with each other.
 
 
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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

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

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.

Teaspoonology … February 13, 2012

 
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I understand and I am certainly not offended.  To the mindset of the average person in our hectic society, my little  philosophy seems frivolous, if not futile. I call it “teaspoonology.”
 
I have no grandiose notion that my contribution to life is going to come in some sort of magnanimous flood of information and wisdom. But daily I am provided a teaspoon–and I realize that I’m going to dump that portion into a vast ocean of life.
 
You might wonder how I was introduced to my particular brand of teaspoonology. Some years ago I noticed that “sour” was becoming the countenance, the taste, the thinking and reaction of those around me. A puckered face became the preferred visage.  It was like we had all decided that life was meant to be just a little bitter, so why fight it? And it was ushered in along with the assertion that presenting reality meant studying the dark side of humanity.
 
There was once a time when our literature, art, religion and politics presented our more bleak options as obscure, unnecessary and escapable. But then that changed. Goodness became the elusive; mediocrity and evil became the commonplace. It “soured up” the flavor of human life. So that’s why I decided to take my little teaspoon of contribution afforded to me every day of my life and sweeten it. So when it is added into life’s mix, for a brief time there is just a hint of a change in taste. Within moments it gets stirred in and the more discriminating soul might be able to notice the subtle difference.
 
I have discovered that I don’t have more than a teaspoon, but I do have the power to make sure that the elixir I add becomes sweeter and sweeter as I adjust its intensity. Yes–more potent with the nectar of possibility instead of adding vinegar to the already-tainted contents. For after all, what power is there in succumbing to stupidity? What joy in insisting that only sadness rules the roost? What victory in bowing one’s head in the presence of death instead of fighting to the end? It is my little concept of struggling against what most people would consider to be inevitable.
  • Yes, I am angry at religion. It makes people believe they have no hope unless they embrace a God they are told they can’t understand.
  • Yes, I am infuriated with politics.  It persists in a message of doom and gloom in order to garner a vote which grants power which is rarely used to improve anything.
  • Yes, I am baffled by an entertainment industry which tantalizes us with images of our creature instead of the possibilities of our creative.
But I will not allow my anger to overcome my mission–and that particular odyssey is quite simple: to take my teaspoon of contribution, sweeten it more each and every day and faithfully drizzle it onto the great concoction before me.
 
It is a childlike precept. May I share it with you? “Since no one is better than anyone else, let’s ease up, take our teaspoon … and sweeten the pot.”
 
Does it work? Case in point:
 
When I arrived at my present lodging location, I met a maid who services the rooms and befriended her. I gave her a few dollars for her generous work and treated her as I would want to be treated if I found myself in her station. Last night, when I went to perform my final show at Cokesbury United Methodist Church, I left a bag of money in my room accidentally–not realizing that the maid was going to come in and clean my room. When I came back and saw the room was spotless, my mind immediately went to that vulnerable clump of cash. You know what happened? Even though she had to move the money to do her cleaning, she restored it in entirety to its proper place. An honest woman, true. But might she have been tempted to be dishonest if her first encounter with me had been a jolt of sour instead of a teaspoon of sweet? I don’t know–and I don’t care.
 
I am determined to take my teaspoon and blend it into the broth of daily life, working on increasing the intensity of its potential while encouraging others to simply reject the sour and embrace the sweet. It was my message yesterday. It will be my message tomorrow.
 
I do not think we can change the world by insisting that the world is too big to change.
I do not think we can personally be happy as long as we spend most of our time in despair over the unhappiness that surrounds us.
 
Somehow or another, we need to purify our teaspoon of involvement, sweeten it up and pour it in. If enough people would do it, it might alter the taste of our society just enough that others might notice and want more of the flavor. Certainly it is a piece of idealism, but without it, we are left dumping our refuse of bitterness into the common pot.
 
And this I know: the only way to truly stop misery is to refuse to participate in its insanity.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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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

Houston, We Have a Problem … February 12, 2012

 
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I was traveling in Houston, Texas, when I heard the report that Whitney Houston had passed on.
 
I didn’t think of that last night when the news flashed across the screen. It’s something that occurred to me this morning as I sat down to write to each and every one of you. Actually, it’s a rather irrelevent fact.
 
But here’s a piece of information that isn’t irrelevant: human beings were not made to be famous. We were created to be happy-and fame and happiness are inconsolable.
 
It is time for someone to finally speak this as the truth it is, without others trying to clarify it with exceptions or proclaim the importance of manifesting our own personal destiny. Because as I listened to them tribute this dear woman last night on television, they played in the background her recording of The Greatest Love of All. It is an anthem exalting the value of self-love, containing a rather hapless phrase: “I decided not to walk in anyone’s shadow.”  This is the kind of thing human beings revel in as we read poems like Invictus–touting that we are the masters of our own fate. Here you go–we aren’t. And the absence of that ability is not a weakness, but rather, the backbone of our true strength.
 
We require. It’s just true. The formula for ultimate success is not in teaching oneself to gain, but rather, in prospecting and mining the gold that we receive in losing. If little Whitney from Newark had continued to sing praises to God in her church, blessing as many folks as she could without seeking adoration, adulation, wealth–minus the erroneous belief that she was supreme in some way or another, more than likely she would never have ended up with the finance to attain enough of the “booty” in life to swallow her up. I don’t know where we get the idea that just because someone can sing, they are a goddess or a diva. I don’t know what mindset constructs the short list of occupations which we deem worthy of reverence, crowning those who excel in those positions the inhuman status of earthly godliness, and then when the natural pressures of undeserved divinity destroy their humanity, we muse over the remains, wondering how in the hell it happened.
 
Life was not meant to be easy–so any attempt to simplify the process through purchasing power is not only futile, but more often than not, fatal. Life is intricate–and continues to pursue that mission despite all of our attempts to growl, grumble or complain. Why, you may ask? It is that way so we can discover that happiness has nothing to do with how much we have, what has fallen us nor even whom we are with at the moment. Happiness was spoken into being as attainable for all of us in every station of life.
 
 
It is when we become dissatisfied with our financial portion in life that greed robs us of true love. It is when we look at our 24-hour plate of activities and pretend to be overwhelmed that we pursue the shortcuts that take us down the dark alleys. It is when we become malcontents with those God has sent our way, wishing for greater sophistication or a more astute entourage that we lose our equilibrium. Happiness is always found in the next thing that comes our way, relishing who we are, what we have and cleverly in the Spirit, finding a way to do it a little bit better–or at least a trifle differently.
 
Honestly, everything else is born of evil.
 
Am I saying that it’s ridiculous to pursue a wider market or try to improve one’s own status? The road to that particular goal is littered with the bodies of those who failed.
 
I wake up this morning in Houston, thinking about Whitney Houston. I am not going to be on national television this week. I shall not appear on the Grammys this evening. I will not be performing this morning in front of 20,000 breathless, wide-eyed sycophants who know the lyrics to every one of my songs.
 
Thank you, God. I couldn’t handle it.
 
Neither could Whitney. We should forgive her for being human–and we should keep in mind that it just doesn’t profit us much to gain this old world if in the process, we lose sight of our own souls.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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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

Part V: He Is the Same … December 4, 2011

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Charlotte, North Carolina

Jesus believes in the Father.

Yes–he abandons Jehovah. He vacates the mystery of Yahweh. He makes the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob obsolete. He really even moves past the word “God.” He calls our creator, our friend and our benefactor and instructor–Father.

Actually, he rather insists on it. For you see, for those who had a good experience with an earthly daddy, the parallel is fairly obvious and expresses the generosity of the closeness. And for those who had a bad experience with their sperm donor, the yearning in their hearts to replace that encounter is achieved with a more heavenly realization.

Mostly, Jesus lets us know that the God in Heaven doesn’t respond any differently than fathers on earth. He is a proud papa. It’s valuable insight.

Jesus tells us that this Father is in heaven. That’s rather nice–it’s good to have a friend in high places. My Father made me … but He is also the ruler of the universe. Cool.

Our Father’s name is hallowed–not holy in the sense of religious, but whole because He has been tried and tested, proven to be trustworthy.

Here’s some good news–our Father has a kingdom. That means that within the spectrum of all His creation, He has prepared a place for me and for Him to dwell and fellowship. And He’s placed that kingdom within me. How intimate.

He has a will. (There would be nothing worse than a wishy-washy daddy.) He has an idea on what he wants to accomplish and how successful He wants me to be. He edifies me when I’m heading in the right direction and exhorts me when I make some bad turns.

And this Father of mine, even though He lives in heaven, has a complete understanding of earth. It’s kind of like having a dad who spends a lot of time listening to Beethoven but is also familiar with all the deep cuts from the Led Zeppelin albums. He knows both worlds.

My Father is practical. He doesn’t only give me scripture and prayers, but also provides my daily bread. He knows I have needs–even addresses my wants. And He knows these desires come in daily portions, not just once in a while or on my birthday.

My Father is a little tough, though–tough in a good way. He does withhold his forgiveness of me based upon how well I forgive my brothers and sisters in the household. He will not allow me to become spoiled or ever think that I can manipulate Him to my desires by praying more, fasting or reading more of His books. Yes, my Father is pretty clear. If I forgive people, I will be forgiven.

And you know one of the nice things I like about my Father? He doesn’t tempt me. He doesn’t taunt me. He doesn’t ridicule me. He doesn’t send me off into areas of temptation just to prove my ability and therefore establish what a good Father He is, but instead, He purposely delivers me from the evil around me. Does it make me soft? It’s not so much that as the fact that we don’t become strong by continually being beaten down by our own weaknesses.

So because I have such a good Father, I know that He and I share a kingdom. And in that kingdom He has power and is worthy of all the glory I can give Him. And because of all of that, my life hums along with a great “amen.”

Jesus believed in the Father. He believed that it was his mission to show us the Father. And he believed that the discovery of our Father is the end of us feeling orphaned, abandoned or just cast aside in a meaningless heap.

You can continue to persist, if you wish, in the terms and names of God listed in all the books of antiquity, but Jesus believes in the Father. Jesus teaches the Father. And he tells us that if a child asks for an egg, a father will not give him a scorpion. That means that if I ask my Father for guidance and wisdom, He won’t answer with more problems and difficulties.

This brings to the forefront a word called “trust.”

Without trust, relationship is a bondage instead of a bonding.

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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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