Sit Down Comedy …March 1st, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I do not want to expel my innermost feelings, like some sort of nattering ninny in a room which is progressively disinterested. After all, in our society, we encourage one another to be honest, when what we really mean is honestly lie.

How are you?

Fine.

How’s the family?

Busy.

Got any plans brewin’?

Oh, just the usual.

Have you had any deep emotional or spiritual experiences which have transformed you into a new creature in your journey on Planet Earth?

What??

With this in mind, I have decided to candidly present to you my feelings about dying—that moment when I will leave this Earth, or at least contribute my dust to its topsoil.

I want people to be devastated.

I want slobbering sobs.

I want people wondering whether they can go on without me.

I want my demise to be a topic of conversation beyond a single news cycle.

I want people to remember things that are probably fictitious, but still cast me in a great light.

I want people to note the vacancy left behind by me checking out of the room.

I want loved ones to keep loving me with the same intensity they did when I was alive—except having it enhanced by the realization that I am no longer among the tax-payers.

I want to be valued.

This is probably why I do noble deeds—or at least attempt to. Of course, there is an altruistic part of me that really does give a damn and wants to help people, but I also want to be remembered as someone who lended a helping hand.

I’m not one of those Bible-thumping sorts who believe “this world is not my home” and “I’m just passing through.”

I want an empty chair at the table, so people will remember I once filled it—often gluttonous.

I want to be treasured, and if that means my loved ones lose a few hours of sleep, shed some tears and shake their heads, speaking of how unfair it was for me to be taken, then so be it.

Of course, I also realize that much of this is highly unlikely. With the several thousand people I may know, and the several hundred who have personal contact with me, and the few dozen who share intimate details, I will be very fortunate if there is one.

Yes, if there’s just one person who gets to the funeral luncheon and can’t eat because I’m not there.

If there’s just one who sits around with other people, refraining from discussing how good the honey baked ham truly is, it will be sufficient.

If there’s just one who sits in a dark room and conjures memories that are so rich and full that it seems my presence hangs in the air, it will be enough.

Because that one person could remind the others, and then the others can be stirred to good thoughts.

I know it’s silly. I don’t care.

I don’t want to be part of a genealogy. I don’t want to slip through the cracks of a gravestone.

I want one blessed, holy, sweet person to wonder what he or she is going to do since I have vacated the space.

Just one.

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The Alphabet of Us: C is for Cunning… December 22, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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Baby block C bigger

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

Three pushy forces bully us to conform to the pattern of what is now considered, in this short-sighted season, to be normal.

  • “I must be better”
  • “I must be popular”
  • “I must be smarter”

Human beings were never meant to be consistent. It is within the spectrum of our unpredictability that we create our learning curve and our charm. When we deny this vulnerability, we place ourselves in a position where we must defend our “better,” our “popular” and our “smarter.”

Unfortunately, this leads to lying. And even worse than lying is the misconception that we can actually pull it off. This is cunning.

Cunning is the contention that “because I am better, very popular and smarter, I can trick you into believing whatever I desire.” It is ugly, selfish–and worst of all, it is doomed.

To escape cunning you have to counteract the three pushy bullies and speak the truth about your own inconsistent journey.

1. I am not better. I need to fail. I need to admit I fail. Failure is my only hope for escaping the disaster at the end of repeated stupidity.

2. Although I love human beings, I don’t need to be popular if such notoriety comes along with sacrificing my character and my soul.

3. The only way to become smarter is to learn from people who know more. This requires that I admit that I am less intelligent.

At the root of every drama which ends in defeat is a character who contends that he or she is better than others, popular for a time and smarter, which enables them to use cunning to produce the backdrop for their demise.

You will never be destroyed by being weak.

You will be destroyed by acting strong and ending up weak.

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Fault Line … May 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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fault lineA fault line is what triggers earthquakes.

Living on a fault line is accepting the possibility of a disruption.

The same thing is true in human beings with the issue of fault. A majority of the upheavals which occur between human beings is based upon fierce disagreements over the fault involved. So because of this, people establish their opinions along a fault line, which best represents their willingness to interact.

1. Everything is my fault.

This is way too vulnerable. It often puts us in the position of being considered the underdog and the dumping ground for other people’s deception.

2. Most things are my fault.

Once again, this is much too difficult to define, still leaving us over-exposed to those folks who refuse to consider their own part in any failure.

3. Some things are my fault.

Always too much to explain. By the time we finish clarifying our part in the fiasco, we’ve bored the listener.

4. Nothing is my fault.

This certainly reeks of arrogance and eventually drives away all of our cohorts from working with us because they have to carry the burden of our lack.

5. I don’t believe in fault.

It may be a noble gesture, but you are surrounded by a world which points fingers–and has plenty of digits available.

Personal success is wrapped up in our level of personal responsibility.

This is the truth that Jesus says will make us free–free because we are no longer dependent on other people’s participation.

We look for our part in the project and continue to pursue it with diligence and joy instead of probing for someone to blame or the nearest scapegoat.

Let me give you an example.

Seven years ago a friend of mine died. He was a victim of cancer.

He smoked, drank a little bit, was angry much of the time, single and frustrated with the status, and full of animosity toward those around him because his life had not worked out the way he had hoped.

When he passed away, rather than pointing at him in his coffin and proclaiming that “he had made his own bed” and would now sleep eternally in it, I instead took a look at what responsibility I had in his demise.

It was a beautiful, healing journey. Candidly, most of my discoveries were positive. I had been generous; I had been kind. I had influenced without becoming an interloper.

But in the process of reviewing the case concerning this friend, I did discover some truth. I could have stepped in earlier and encouraged–or even insisted–that he go to the doctor, which could have made a difference in his prognosis.

I didn’t feel guilt about it. I didn’t assume that it was my fault–but I realized that if I ever had the opportunity again with another human being, I would step into the gap a bit sooner and offer positive solutions.

It was so cleansing.

I didn’t have to take on fault, nor did I have to absolve myself of guilt.

I found personal responsibility.

In a generation which is trying to escape our part in the disaster, we are also running away from the truth that can make us free.

Not everything is my fault–but it is also not the case that nothing is my fault.

The fault line, which spurs our hearts to personal discovery, is there to bring the “truth which can make us free.”

Personal responsibility is the only doorway that allows us the dignity of finishing our day with a smile instead of a nervous apprehension about tomorrow.

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Untotaled: Stepping 9 — Goodnight, Sweet Prince (November 12th, 1965) … April 5, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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(Transcript)

I was scared.

Normally, I was ecstatic to visit my grandpa’s house, because after a brief series of greetings and obligatory, slobbery kisses, I was allowed to go into the nearby living room where there was a large, brown horsehair couch–my favorite perch. I loved to rub my legs against the scratchy surface. It was a delicious brown–caramel, chocolate and orange soda, all “splurged” together.

But on November 12th, 1965, arriving at Grandpa’s home, it was a much different scene.

As always, I was greeted at the door by Queenie, his collie, who was overly zealous and friendly, and always smelled–well, pardon the cliché–like wet dog.

This time there was no greeting from Gramps. Instead, we found him in the living room, kneeling over Irma, whose breathing was laborious, was white as a sheet and had creamy drool dribbling out of the corners of her mouth.

Grandpa was crying.

My mother moved to his side to comfort him, and I stared at the suffering lady. I didn’t know much about Irma–she never talked. I mean literally, I had never heard her speak.

She was passed off by my Grandpa as his houseguest/friend/maid/cook. I heard relatives refer to her as “retarded, evil, a slut and a foreigner.” Absent understanding of what many of these words meant, my interpretation was to just stay away.

Irma seemed to have no problem with our distant relationship, so on this horrible day, when my beautiful, brown horsehair couch was turned into the deathbed of this strange woman, I heard my mother utter these words: “Jonathan, come over and say good-bye to Irma.”

Yes, this was a day and age when people actually died in their homes without heroic measures.

I thought to myself, “Say goodbye? I’ve never said hello.”

I eased over to her side and touched her forehead. It was clammy and cold. I jerked back and then was embarrassed by my revulsion.

“Goodbye, Irma,” I managed, and then shuffled out of the room.

Two weeks after Irma died, my mother went out to console Grandpa and spend the night, and they placed me on the brown couch to sleep. They turned off the light and I was left in the room with the memories of Irma and her demise.

I was so frightened.

Lying there on the couch, I thought I could smell her. It was horrible. Squeezing my pillow tightly, I prayed.

“God, I’m scared. Please take the scare away.”

I don’t remember anything after that. I went to sleep and woke in the morning without any signs of the previous night’s terror.

I was transformed–not just for that occasion. I can mark that night as the time when much of the childish apprehension, insecurity and trepidation departed from me, like a vapor, leaving a boiling pan of water.

I was stronger.

I would never, ever be that afraid again.

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The Rule of Croak … March 31, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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bullfrogIf you want to be effective, start affecting what you can affect–or become a freak by freaking out about what you consider freaky.

The rule of croak–it’s very simple:

If it goes on after I die, I will stop worrying about it while I live.

I have sons with wives and I have grandchildren. They have lives of their own and will do just fine after I escape this mortal portal. All that will be left of me is a memory, so I should be about the business of making memories.

I know it is popular to believe that life is hard. I suppose if you decide to complicate it by involving yourself in matters that do not directly pertain to your field of activity and scope of influence…well, perhaps it becomes twisted.

But it is elementary when you school yourself on your field of expertise and you know exactly what makes you unique to life as we know it.

  • My family will go on without me.
  • The Dow Jones will not lose a point upon hearing of my death.
  • CNN and FOX News will have no controversy concerning my demise.

What will be affected are my writings, my music, my traveling, my heart, my humor, my ideas, my wit, my whimsy, and probably my business partner, who’s been working with me for eighteen years and may notice for a season that the “oom-pah” of her life has lost some “oom.”

So since this is directly in my field of play, it is what I will pursue.

It reminds me of the time when someone asked me if I wanted to play hardball or softball. When I examined the two balls, I saw that both would be rather hard if they hit you. What makes softball more pleasing is that it is pitched your way underhanded, it’s slower and it’s bigger, and therefore easier to hit.

There you go.

The rule of croak is like the game of softball–finding the pitches that come your way, keeping your eye on that big ball and doing your best to hit it out of the park.

True pride and vanity is any notion that we have power, influence or even consideration in any matters other than those directly linked to us.

I reject that vanity.

So to my children, friends, the US government and the rest of Planet Earth, let me tell you that I will give you a blessing–and myself one as well:

I will stay out of your business unless I know I have something that will help, and I will focus on what I can do and keep doing it better and better … until I’m no longer allowed to hop around.

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Paulless… February 1, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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El Paso SanctuarySaint Paul United Methodist Church in El Paso, Texas. My latest tour date.

Saint Paul.

I guess it’s one of those titles they give to you after you’re dead, and they’re trying to apologize for how badly they treated you. Sometimes they even name a frigid city in Minnesota after you.

The reason I like Paul is because he understood both ends of the spectrum of human life. Well … I should say he exhibited them, whether he understood it or not.

It would be unfortunate for our modern world if Earth had ended up “Paulless.” Honestly, Peter and the other eleven disciples were quite content, after the resurrection, to sit in their rocking chairs on Solomon’s Porch outside the Temple, and recall former days when water turned to wine.

It was Paul who was curious about reaching the rest of the world and not just those who liked to have a little “shew” with their bread. Matter of fact, I can guarantee you that Christianity would never have reached the white, bratwurst-eating tribes had it not been for Paul of Tarsus.

But the best thing about him is that he demonstrates that being inspired by God involves a combination of mistakes and discoveries.

  • Because the same Paul who succeeded in getting the gospel message to the Gentiles also spent way too much time arguing with the Jews, who had no intention of changing and ended up sending him to his demise.
  • Yes, Paul, who welcomed women into the ministry as equals, got into a bad mood one day and equated the female of the species as being deceived “weaker vessels” who needed to submit.
  • He taught us about the grace of God instead of a mean, Old Testament grouch, but also over-emphasized a plan of salvation instead of explaining the lifestyle of Jesus.
  • He had the eloquent moment in the book of Philippians, where he proclaimed with great joy, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” while also being tagged with writing complaints about how he was mistreated and not allowed to be an apostle.
  • With great humility he bowed his head and received the welcoming acceptance of Barnabas when the rest of the Christians were afraid of him because of his vendetta against the faith, only to turn around when Barnabas wanted to be forgiving toward John Mark, who had grown road weary, and condemned the boy as unworthy of his calling.

It’s all in there. It is unedited. It is why I know the Good Book is divinely inspired–for a God who plans on saving the world doesn’t need to embellish the story to make everything seem fine.

If the world was Paulless–well, the world probably wouldn’t have Jesus.

It also wouldn’t have the obvious example of a man who was ordained with greatness … and bewitched by moments of insecurity.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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