Sit Down Comedy … April 3rd, 2020

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

Eunice Buell was a Sunday School teacher for the junior high class at my church. Somewhere deep in her heart, I think Mrs. Buell liked me very much—maybe even found me entertaining.

But every once in a while, I sent her into a near-saintly tirade over some of my comments. She called them crude, unwarranted, hurtful, offending—and once even went so far as to say “vulgar.”

When I said something she did not approve of, she often turned to me (while simultaneously gesturing to the whole class) and said:

“Think before you speak. That’s what separates us from the animals.”

I didn’t have the heart to correct her and say, “Animals don’t speak.”

She expected us all to understand.

We did.

And we still do. There is no place you can go where “think before you speak” would not be considered a holy axiom, possibly even found somewhere in the Bible.

Because of this, we now have politicians who polish their lingo, scrubbing it of all possibility of controversy, while inserting enough lying to make sure the proclamation has some heft.

Our religionists require blind devotion from all followers, lest someone stand up and suggest that there are contradictions, or at least confusions, dwelling in the Holy of Holies.

Our corporations and businesses hire lawyers to develop statements placed at the bottom of the product in small print to protect the stockholders and investors against all liability.

And relationships—oh, dear God—relationships are riddled with a series of phrases used to manipulate one party into performing “your will”–without ever noticing that they’re sacrificing their individuality.

It spawns from the notion that humans are capable of perfecting themselves.

We aren’t.

The theory is permitted to exist so we can maintain our arrogance. But it is the emotions in our lives that need to be spoken, even though they are often raw and uneducated.

They are the real we feel.

Certainly, these thoughts fester with frustration and can frequently be proven wrong.  But when we are the only ones correcting the language in our brains, we close the door to greater revelation being afforded us through discussion.

So without trying to cast myself in the role of renegade, I challenge each and every one of us to:

Speak before we think.

And since we know it comes out as raw ore—not gold—after we speak, we should be quiet.

Listen. Register the reactions. Ponder the possible contradictions.

Then we must do something that makes the human race truly unique:

Change our minds.

As a species, we are worthless to one another and an enemy of the Earth when we are incapable of recanting our initial feelings and replacing them with common sense.

Because once we change our minds, we can speak again.

And those who know us realize that we are not only sharing the truth with them as we feel it in the moment, but we have also alerted ourselves to gain new insight—and then verbalize our fresh discovery.

Thinking before you speak turns you into a self-editor.

No good writer should ever trust himself to be the sole editor.

Speaking before you think presents the emotion and heart which very well may be overwrought or even wrong.

Yet it provides the opportunity to inform those around you that you are fully aware of your imperfection—and prepared to be a student of the planet we share.

 

Sit Down Comedy … November 9th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Instagrammar for Instagram

It seems appropriate to catch up the American lingo with the times instead of having it linger in the past with moldy ideas. So instead of referring to things like “Self Worth” may I give you the new Instagrammar:

1. Selfie Worth:  Taking a picture while traveling through Fort Worth

2. Selfie Motivation:  Developing a plot line to energize the shot

3. Selfie Awareness: Picking an angle where your nose doesn’t look so big

4. Selfie Destruction:  Delete, delete and again I say, DELETE

5. Selfie Less:  Not so much smiling

6. Selfie Fish:  Shooting the perfect pic near the beach

7. Selfie Deception:  Convinced you have lost weight because the snapshot only has half of your face

8. Selfie Denial:  Patiently waiting until after your grandma’s funeral before posing again

9. Selfie Realization:  Fewer pics in congested traffic around grouchy cops

10. Selfie Centered:  Finding the perfect headroom

 

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Catchy (Sitting 24) For So They … November 26th, 2017

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Many frat pranks and moon-doggies ago, Michael Hinston carried a double major in college. History and political science.

Michael’s reasoning was that the history would tell him the mistakes to avoid, and the political science would open doors to teach him to become the kind of civic leader to change the world.

Now, as a congressman, he spent most of his time raising money. Because he had to be elected every two years, at least one of those years was a perpetual fund-raising bash. The rest of his time was divvied among family, uncomfortable parties and meetings with people who were desperately trying to get his vote.

Lobbyists.

It might be fine if they would actually work in the lobby–but they invaded the hearth, home and even mind of every congressman. Michael had once pledged to himself that he would never be involved in scandal. He hated the word. It sounded rotten and smelly. But he found, as a congressman, that he was already at the mercy of organizations, corporations and causes which seemed to be inexplicably linked together into one gigantic chain around his neck.

The latest was a visit from the Christian Liberty Operation (C LO). They met with him to discuss the Jubal Carlos situation in Las Vegas, and shortly after the meeting, Mr. Carlos was arrested, which set in motion a whole series of events which were very displeasing to the C LO

They made it clear. They were upset.

Even though Michael was not in charge of arranging Jubal Carlos’ arrest, he was blamed for the mischief that had been perpetrated because of the flawed plan. The CLO wanted this “popular Jesus idea” thwarted, and now it was gaining national attention.

It was especially disconcerting to Michael when Jo-Jay showed up at his door, a bit surprised herself. For she had been given a tip about where the original order had come from–to hassle Jubal Carlos. The tip she received led to an address, which placed her on the front doorstep of Michael’s home.

So it was an extraordinarily fretful exchange between the two old university friends. Michael did his best to convince Jo-Jay that her contact was completely mistaken–that he knew nothing about any Jubal Carlos or organizations trying to bring him down.

Jo-Jay was nice–but Michael knew, deep in his heart, that she did not believe him. Jo-Jay was a bullshit sniffer. For years he had admired her ability to detect lies and deception, but now he just wished she would keep her nose to herself.

Jo-Jay apologized for the inconvenience, made a lame attempt to suggest they “connect later,” and headed down the sidewalk, seemingly out of his life.

But something was wrong. She was onto him. She knew that he knew more than he claimed.

Michael didn’t know what to do. The honest truth was, he was scared to death of the people he was working with and the lobbyists who were tramping into his life. They were much too energetic, much too determined and much too violent in their mannerisms.

Yet he knew if he failed to report the visit from Jo-Jay, there would be punishments. He didn’t even know what that meant, but was positive he didn’t want to find out. So he called the Christian Liberty Operation and updated them on the visit.

Less than half an hour later, there was another knock on his door. He opened up, and standing before him was a tall, broad-shouldered man, about six-foot-four, with black eyes.

Michael was startled.

The gentleman at the door asked if he could come in. He introduced himself simply as “Joshua,” and for the next ten minutes he questioned Michael about Jo-Jay.

Who was she?

What were her political leanings?

Was she a religious woman?

What was her relationship with Jubal Carlos?

Was she part of the scheme to popularize Jesus?

Where did she hang out?

But what chilled Michael’s soul was when Joshua asked one final question. Do you know anything about her allergies?

Michael didn’t. Michael was suspicious. Michael should have asked this “building of a man” why Jo-Jay’s allergies were of any interest to him. He stayed silent.

Michael was afraid for his old friend.

But Michael did what he had learned to do over his months of living in Washington. He answered the questions, nodded his head and offered no objection.

The next day, a letter arrived on stationery from the CLO. The stationery read, “Christian Liberty Operation,” and the by-line was, “For so they persecuted the prophets before you.”

It was unlike any professional letterhead Michael had ever seen. It seemed sinister. Even though the words “Christian” and “Liberty” were displayed in the title, there was something about the operation that chilled him to the bone.

Who was Joshua, and why did he want to know so much about Jo-Jay?

More importantly, who was Michael Hinston, and was he going to warn his old friend?

 

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G-Poppers … September 30, 2016

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Jon close up

It is not in the course of human events, a particularly rugged political campaign, or a social environment that has begun to ignore the importance of human interaction that creates our present quandary.

G-Pop believes we have begun to dilute the human glue that allows us to stick together: an adherence to values and a respect which prefers kindness to judgment, mercy to critique and truth to deception.

G-Pop contends that if we don’t respect this glue, we will begin to fly off in all directions.

Here is the human glue:

  1. I will try to tell the truth.
  2. When I fail, I will step forward and admit I’m wrong and tell you I’m sorry.
  3. Since I am often wrong, I need to both forgive and be forgiven.
  4. I will determine to do better.

The absence of this wonderful mucilage of human emotion causes us to attack one another, often with violent conclusions.

We can no longer sit by and act as if this present situation is typical. It is not. It is a deteriorated state of consciousness which fails to recognize the need for grace.

Without human glue, we collapse.

Yes.

We become unglued.

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Ask Jonathots… October 8th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

I’m in a group of co-workers who play sports together–a great bunch of guys. Here’s the problem: one of the guys in the group lies to our boss at work all the time. He lies about being sick. He lies about relatives being sick. He lies to take unwarranted credit for work. He thinks that because we have this “sports connection” that no one would ever turn him in. So far no one has. I’m going to confront him about this. Suggestions on the best way to do it?

Here’s my suggestion on the best way to do it: don’t.

Any form of self-righteousness is actually doomed to failure, and truthfully, will prolong the evil you are trying to expose.

Built into the natural order is a system which protects us from destruction by unveiling the stupidity and mistakes of those who dare to ignore honest relationship.

In other words, it’s against the laws of nature to be a jerk.

Sometimes it takes a week for these individuals to be caught in their error, sometimes a year. But you will never successfully turn in a traitor or an offender and be considered anything less than a pious baby.

Here’s what I would suggest you do:

1. Make it clear to everyone, including him, that you are not party to deception.

2. Tell your friend that you will not judge him for his actions, but you will also not cover his butt if he gets caught.

3. Make sure that you are never at the scene of the crime.

In other words, proximity to his lies may actually convict you as a participant. When you know he is starting something ridiculous, step away.

4. Quietly leave a trail of sincerity and honesty at the feet of your boss so that if push comes to shove there will be no doubt as to your veracity.

Human beings make two major mistakes: they either give in to temptation and absorb the iniquity around them, or they foolishly think it’s their job to clean up the planet by pointing out all the sinfulness.

Don’t do either.

Believe me when I say that arrogance, indifference and deceit always get caught … and always get punished.

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Confessing… May 16th, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

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II.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

832 miles.

It was the entire round trip from our home to a tiny village in Tennessee, which had opened a coffee-house and kindly invited our fledgling music group to come and share.

They promised to give us dinner and to pass the hat for whatever audience might make its way to the 500-square-foot enclosure.

We jumped at the chance.

We were tired of rehearsing, and considered ourselves quite prepared for public consumption. We scraped together the money to get gasoline, a bag full of snacks and we took off.

It was exhausting, exhilarating, haphazard, crazy, silly, inspiring and probably dangerous.

We didn’t care about the peril. I was just 20 years old and had not yet received my shipment of good sense.

The drive down wore us out and after we finished our little show, the 18 souls who had gathered to hear us collected an offering of $31.22. We thought we had discovered Solomon’s gold.

So when we hopped back in the car to head toward home–with no plan whatsoever on how to actually get there–the first 100 miles zoomed by, as we buzzed with tales of our escapade.

But then, as if struck by a “sleep angel,” we all grew suddenly weary and were in grave danger of running off the road. So we decided to do something none of us had ever done before.

We stopped and took out a motel.

The young lady from our troupe who purchased the accommodations came out and explained that she bought the room for just one person, because if she had included all four of us, there wouldn’t have been enough money.

I had the opportunity at that point to object–or at least feign a concern–but I didn’t.

I felt if we got by with it, it must have been “God’s will.”

So half an hour later, when we were lounging around, getting ready to doze off, there was a sharp knock at the door. It was the innkeeper.

Three of us leaped up and hid in the shower stall behind the curtain while our single, legal member answered the door.

The innkeeper pushed his way in, walked into the bathroom, pulled back the disguise and there we were. He was infuriated.

He demanded that we immediately leave, refunding a fair portion of our money, pushing us out the door and into our car–where we departed, cursing him for what we considered to be his evil spirit.

Somehow or another we made it home.

Candidly, it never occurred to any of us that we were wrong. And if there was a bit of guilty conscience, it was swept away by what we considered to be the owner’s volatile personality.

I thought about that incident today.

I wondered if there was any of that 20-year-old boy still left in me, who thought that “the ends justified the means.”

I do know this–whenever we look for an easier or cheaper way, we open the door to a cheater’s path.

Is there any of that in me?

Is there any part of the grown man I am who would trust my own deceptive tongue instead of risking doing it the right way?

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Populie: Lying is Human … September 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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two faces

I have had a cold where my nose ran incessantly.

Also, a toothache which persisted until I went to the dentist.

In addition, I have had a bout with diarrhea which perched me on the porcelain all day long.

In each of these cases, I found myself at the mercy of a situation beyond my control. I would characterize that experience as unpleasant. Yet for some reason, in the pursuit of avoiding personal introspection and repentance, we keep unnecessary, nasty vices inside us and rationalize them as part of being a human being.

Lying is one of them.

Even though religion tells us that we’re all basically evil and therefore prone to tell untruths and to deceive, and entertainment finds lying cute–especially between men and women–and politicians revel in the notion that a certain amount of lying is required to push forth the truth, we must comprehend that lying is a conscious decision made by each of us, even though we know the truth is readily available.

Lying is not spontaneous.

Lying is not something that overcomes us.

It is a choice we make–a fork in the road–and each and every time we do it, it is obvious and a spark of conscience flies off inside us, reminding us that what we just said is completely inaccurate.

But you see, here’s the kicker: even though we portray in all of our religion, entertainment and politics that lying is human, none of us will accept it when others lie to us.

We become enraged, self-righteous and swear to never trust them again.

Such hypocrisy.

And if you’re looking for a warning sign to foretell your failure and the demise of your character, hypocrisy is always the chief demon.

So let me tell you three things to help you understand why lying is not human, but rather, one of the more inhuman things we do to one another:

1. Doing what you hate is hating what you’re doing.

I have never known a liar who, in moments of reflection, does not suffer from self-loathing. Because we hate lying, we eventually have to hate ourselves. So all conversations about self-esteem are useless until we cleanse ourselves from the unrighteousness of lying.

2. If words permit lies, people just stop talking.

It’s why married couples stop yapping to each other. Because lies, cheating and missteps have been tolerated in order to maintain an unsettled peace, people stop talking.

3. When we finally accept that lying is a hypocritical option, then we discover that the three statements that slay the dragon of the forked tongue are:

A. “I was wrong.”

B. “I will do this.”

C. “I don’t know.”

When you’re willing to be honest about your mistakes, forthcoming about what you will and won’t do, and completely candid about what you know and what is beyond your comprehension, you become invaluable because people can trust what you say.

Human beings were created in Eden. Liars were kicked out.

While we are concerned about sins of the flesh, the real downfall in the human family is deception in the heart.

Lying is not human. It is a decision by people who could do better to do worse … and be mean to one another.

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