Jesonian: Say, Do, Become … April 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  


big I'm picWhen I heard him say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” honestly, I rolled my eyes.

It sounded like one of those statements made by someone who feels he is spiritually or intellectually superior, but tempers it with a short burst of manipulated humility.

But then, when the Centurion told him that he didn’t need to come to his house to heal his servant–just speak the word–and instead of becoming defensive or flexing his religious muscle, he praised the gentleman for the enlightenment, I realized that this one had the capacity to become a friend to the faithful.

Likewise, when he touted the importance of mourning, my cynicism came to the forefront. It’s so easy to elevate distress to a status of soulful discovery when you aren’t actually going through it.

But later, when he wept with his friends at the grave of Lazarus and shed tears for Jerusalem because of its hard-heartedness, I grasped that he had the capacity to become the savior to the ignorant.

“Blessed are the meek.”

Time after time he put that into practice as he was rejected by his family, the religious leaders, and even close friends. Yes, a respecter of the choices of others.

He told us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” He backed it up by fasting in the wilderness for forty days. A source to the seeker.

Being merciful is often a politically safe phrase to mouth in front of the masses but not so easy to enact–especially when they bring to you a woman caught in adultery, and the socially correct position is to condemn her.

He didn’t.

A champion of the lost.

I was a little surprised when he spoke about being “pure in heart.” And then, when I stood at his side, looking down at the very cold, pale and still body of a twelve-year-old girl who was obviously deceased, and he turned to the room with an almost foolish glee and told us not to doubt, “she’s just asleep,” my eyes filled with tears over such genuine simplicity. He became a child of the children.

A peacemaker? In our day and age? When it’s considered to be noble and righteous to stand up for your turf and proclaim your worth? I watched him carefully. When he was obviously snubbed one day by a Samaritan village which had formerly welcomed him, and now had decided to renege on the invitation, and those around him wanted to declare war on the inhabitants, he stopped them, and said that his was a spirit of reconciliation. God knows we needed it. Behold, a repairer of the breach.

I winced a bit when he suggested to the masses that they should be happy when they’re persecuted. But when his entourage grew into the thousands, only to shrink to a tiny handful every time a new rumor or misrepresentation of his words filtered through the crowd, he still pursued his calling.

In so doing, for all time, he shall be deemed the voice of reason.

I, myself, was startled by the notion of trying to find tenderness for those who speak evil against us. And then, at his trial, when the false accusers literally stumbled over one another to incriminate him, he remained still, and became the calm in the storm.

  • I listened to what he had to say.
  • I watched carefully what he chose to do.
  • And I was there when the friend of the faithful, the savior of the ignorant, the respecter of others, the source of the seeker, the champion of the lost, the child of the children, the repairer of the breach, the voice of reason and the calm in the storm–yes, I was there when he rose from the dead and became the Son of God.

I learned from him. Choose what you say, because you will have to back it up with what you do.

Only then do you become what you believe.


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How Does It Feel? … October 6, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog


  • college playerWhat do you think?
  • What do you believe?
  • What do you do?

These seem to be the three questions constantly bandied about in our society as a way of expressing our maturity, growth and aspirations.

I disagree.

I contend that anyone who believes that human beings are really focused, controlled and guided by what they think, believe and do is probably working from very old information or following an inept social model.

We are creatures of feeling.

I know I talk about this a lot. I do it because our culture has moved into some sort of Zen idea that if we repress our feelings and focus on what we think, believe and do, we can overcome immaturity and silliness, thereby maintaining an enlightened path.

We just don’t work that way. We are creatures of heart.

Case in point: watching a football game last night, I realized that our entire national sports organization somehow thinks that boys between the ages of nineteen and twenty-two are able to think, believe and work their way to victory. It’s comical.

They are kids and they are humans. So what do I know? They will perform at the level of what they feel. If they feel defeated, all the talent they have amassed will dissipate in tiny piles of frailty. If they feel overwhelmed, they will misplace their helmets, their brains will shut down and they will forget what they’re supposed to do on the next play.

So if you’re a good coach, you have to learn how to keep the emotions and feelings of your team generated in a direction of clean expression and follow-through.

Also, you can’t tell me that in the midst of this government shut-down, that we are running our political arena by what we think, believe and know to do. We have sixty-five-year-old men and women who do not like each other and are willing to rob the purses of innocent Americans to make their point.

That said, how can we transform our beings into more efficient and intelligent units, who address our feelings instead of pretending they’re not there?

1. Listen to yourself. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Is there a harshness to your tone? Is there desperation in your words? Has judging others entered into your profile? Your mouth will not lie because it will express the abundance of your heart–a great barometer of your emotions, and therefore, your productivity.

2. When is the last time you aired your feelings? Have you recently told someone of your frustrations, misgivings or confusion? Or are you keeping it to yourself?

Here’s the truth: human emotions have no storage area.

If you don’t release them in a fruitful way, they will dribble into your spirit, your mind and your work.

3. Do you feel that silence is a sign of maturity? Or can you be honest and admit you just don’t think you’re being heard by anyone? If you go to bed at night wondering why something isn’t working without ever verbalizing your concern, you are confusing your brain, causing it to forget; a self-righteous spirit which judges others with a hammer, and a body that has more aches than you can imagine.

How does it feel?

I’m going to church this morning. It doesn’t matter what I think about church; it doesn’t matter what I believe about church. It doesn’t even matter what I do at church.

It matters what I feel about thinking, believing and doing church.

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Frontwards and Backwards… October 22, 2012


Live from October 1st filming

It appears to be the new definition of “cool.”

Especially among the younger generation, the profile of maintaining a certain level of agnosticism seems to be their choice in order to communicate an intellectual bent  social tolerance. Belief in God has been characterized as blackened teeth, having a southern accent and spending time down at the fishin’ hole, digging for frogs. So if you want to communicate that you’re current and living in the twenty-first century, you feel you need to distance yourself from the arcane concepts of religion and instead, embrace the supremacy of science and technology.

It is everywhere. Even those who insist they are still believers have abandoned the emotion, heart and depth of involvement in favor of practice, relics and dogma.

We just really need to get back to God. Now, I don’t mean this in the sense of a backwoods revival in a tent with screaming, hollering and rolling in the aisles. I mean, literally get back to the word: God.

Take a good look at the construction of the word. If you approach it from the front, it begins with G-O–go. If you decide to view it from the back end, it spells D-O–do.

Yes, even in the letters, we have go in the front and do in the back. Any message about a creative Father, who art in heaven, that does not lead with “go” and “do” is not only misrepresenting the essence of the supernal nature of the Almighty, but is lying to the hearers about the best way to curry His favor.

Religion goes nowhere and does nothing. It goes nowhere in the sense that so much emphasis is put on the afterlife and the insufficiency of the human experience that anyone who truly wants to be prosperous or find some fulfillment in their lifespan must walk away from the conclave of the waiters.

Religion does nothing mostly because it’s frightened of accidentally stepping out of the “will of God” and becoming carnal. The result is indecision or immobility. So any talented individual with a burning curiosity to discover the very best that earth has to offer is immediately repulsed by a “go-nowhere, do-nothing” campaign to spirituality.

I am sympathetic. I am often angered when I sit in churches and the messages of grace, mercy and unconditional love are used as flimsy excuses for remaining lazy and indifferent. I just don’t see any particular storyline in the gospels where Jesus encountered people and left them exactly the way he found them, whispering in their ear, “It’s all right. Just relax and trust God.”

It also doesn’t take you many chapters in the gospel to discover that Jesus was a “go” guy and a “do” dude. How we have succeeded in emulsifying the real meat of the truth of the gospel down to the pabulum of salvation and the insufficiency of man I will never know.

If I arrive at the Judgment Day and it turns out that God really desired a people who were shy, nervous, tentative, suspicious, overly-careful and always in the losing position, I just don’t believe that He will be dissatisfied with me because I selected to use my talents and aggressively multiply them. But if I arrive at the Judgment Day and God expected me to take what was given to me and put it into practice, improving my life situation, blessing the world around me, becoming as expansive as possible, and I, instead, have buried my abilities in the tomb of grace, mercy and unconditional love, I think I just might literally be in a helluva lot of trouble.

God: His name says it all–frontwards and backwards. Go and do.

But go and do what?

A young lady told me that she wanted to go to Africa to be a missionary. I replied, “Great. What are you doing here in your community?”

She paused. “Well, not much. You see, I’ve been going to college to train to be a missionary.”

I inserted, “Don’t you think the best way to become a missionary to Africa is by already being a successful missionary right here?”

We can’t always be in training. We can’t always be learning but never coming to the complete knowledge of the truth.

We need to go where we go. I know that may sound over-simplistic. But I don’t need to be telling God that I’m ready to go into all the world if I didn’t treat the maid at my motel with respect and generosity as I checked out of my room this morning in Indianapolis. I may have great ideas of where I want to go, but today I am on I-70, heading towards Lancaster, Ohio.

This IS my go. I plan on doing it so well that God will have confidence that the next “go” He sends my way will be equally as beneficial.

Go where you go.

I say to my good friends, Steve and Sharon: “You clean houses. Be the best house-cleaners in Davidson County.”

I say to my son, Jon, who is premiering his movie today: “Be the best host, director and artisan you can in Albany, New York.”

To Angy–beautify everyone you meet.

Maxine:  Bring cheer to all those shut-ins.

And I say to the delightful pastor I met yesterday in Brownsburg: “Brighten the corner where you are.”

I declare to all you beautiful people: “Go where you go and make the whole world glad you came.”

And then do what you do. I often have people tell me that they wish they had my talent. Perhaps they are a little confused when I laugh. Honestly, friends, I was not born talented. I just got tired of sitting around waiting for something to happen, and decided to use what I could do, and in the process learned enough that every once in a while it looks like I’m talented.

When my legs became weak about fourteen days ago, I realized that my life is not about my legs. My life is about my heart, soul and mind. Whatever I need to do to get my strength to a location where the other three parts of me can do their thing will be just fine. Do what you can do.

I speak to my dear friend, Jean, who writes me and encourages me with her comments from time to time: “Thank you for doing what you do. Mine is often a mission without much appreciation–stating plainly what might be possible. You encourage my soul.”

I would love to bolster the potential of this new generation by letting them know that just because the religious system has let them down does not mean that God has stopped being in the business of going and doing.

When you remove “go” and “do” from “God,” all you end up with is a big zero.

And too often, our churches, denominations and religious institutions have absolutely nothing to offer but the burden of more financial responsibility and additional insecurity.

So here’s to God. If you catch Him in the front, you’ve got GO. And even if you come in the back door, you end up with DO. I love Him because He has simplified this passage of time down to realistic, commonsense elements.

So here I go–maybe a little weaker than I was a couple of months ago. Perhaps for the time being, some of my physical strength has been “chaired.” But my desire to go and do has not diminished.

And because of that, I feel God in my life.

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Do-cision … August 19, 2012

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“It is appointed unto a man once to die, and then the judgment…”

On this the atheist and the believer agree. Someday, in some way, we all will have a final evaluation based upon what we do. So perhaps we should take another look at the process by which we, as human beings, decide to do things.

If you will allow me a bit of simplicity, I think the approach to achievement falls under two different categories: do-cision and diss-cision. In other words, there are those who do and others who have developed a complicated process of determining the best way to “diss,” or say no, to opportunity.

Here is an interesting little piece of insight: there is plenty of money, plenty of business, plenty of jobs and plenty of commerce available at this time in our country to pull us out of this economic decline. The truth of the matter is, those individuals who have the most power to contribute and assist in a recovery are frightened, nervous and basically refuse to do anything but “wait out” the circumstances and hoard what they’ve got. It is a regressive attitude in the realm of business, which has changed us from being a country of do-cision to diss-cision.

Somehow or another, we’ve convinced ourselves that turning down possibility makes us appear to be more mature, studious and grown-up. We don’t want to come across as careless and fly-by-night, so it’s just safer, generally speaking, to diss every idea that comes our way and when it ends up failing due to lack of support, pointing to the evidence that we chose well by being one of the contributors to snuffing out what could have been a great inspiration.

Here is my blatant statement: You’ve got to end up saying yes to more things in your life than no.

If you don’t, you will end up with a personality which is possessed with caution, riddled with insecurity and devoid of the excitement which allows for joy to find a home. The power in life is not in making correct decisions. The real energy in living a human existence is in knowing that correct decisions can only be made while we’re doing something with a little bit of faith and evolving with what we are learning as we go.

So for me it’s become quite elementary. I ask myself seven questions when I realize that some sort of fresh innovation has been offered to me. I thought you might find them interesting. Because for certain, when I pass away, I want my family and friends to be able to say that Jonathan Richard Cring was involved in do-cision instead of spending all of his time shaking his head with diss-cision. So here are my seven:

1.  Will what I’m about to do hurt anyone or anything? (Of course, sometimes we don’t know. Our best guess is often all we have.)

2.  Am I willing to adjust to the changes necessary to make an idea work without being stubborn?

3.  Does it resemble something that I believe in?

4.  Can I fail at this particular adventure without sprouting some shame?

5.  Does it appear to be pretty good timing?

6.  Would I back it if I weren’t fronting it?

7.  And finally, will I be proud to have been a part?

There you go. Now, some of the answers may be yes and some no, and you may have to split the difference. But we do need to avoid two nasty axioms which are presently smothering our society: “Better safe than sorry” and “I think I will err on the side of caution.” That particular duet of shivering emotional jello is keeping many people from trying the things that will at least take them down the right road towards success.

We have to do-cide if we’re going to mess with it or if we’re going to leave the mess alone. Historically, leaving messes alone only makes the messes stinkier and draw flies. It is a time for do-cision–to crawl out of the cardboard box where we are hiding in diss-cision.

The Bible makes it clear–to have it in your power to do good and refuse to do it is sin. So while we debate various sins of the flesh and what we might deem to be obvious evil, the greatest dangers are those Godsent miracles that come our way, which we ignore and refuse to pursue. Yes, I will tell you bluntly–your Judgment Day and my Judgment Day will be much more centered around what we fail to do instead of what we actually launched out into the deep and tried.

Do-cision–an attitude that is predisposed to chase a dream instead of sitting around with aged hands, sipping tea … wishing we had.

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