Catchy (Sitting 30) Visiting Hours…January 7th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3545)

Jo-Jay’s memory of her past two weeks was like a jigsaw puzzle dumped out in a dark room. There were moments when she was almost able to connect thoughts, but then, as she described it, a dark cloud would come over her consciousness, stealing the information.

She was certain of three things: she woke up in the middle of the Amazon jungle, she was rescued by missionaries, and somebody named Joshua was a son-of-a-bitch.

Jubal and Matthew listened patiently, but were unable to garner enough story line to pursue any solution. Jo-Jay was still weak from her bout with disease, and agitated over being abducted, abused and thrust to the point of death.

There was a fourth thought which she shared with Matthew and Jubal. She believed Michael Hinston was involved in some sort of conspiracy against the “Carlos Revival”–that’s what the press was beginning to call the movement which was quietly sweeping the nation. Some had referred to it as “Jubal-ation” but Jubal was careful to play down the silliness, while trying to bring to the forefront what could be accomplished simply by believing instead of cursing.

“So what do you think Michael’s got to do with this?” Matthew asked with a furrowed brown.

“You don’t believe me,” squealed Jo-Jay. “I can see it written all over your face. Do you think I’m crazy?”

Matthew reached for her hands but she pulled away. “I don’t think you’re crazy,” he said. “I just think you’ve been somewhere you never intended to be which led to you getting a disease nobody knows anything about, which took you to the brink of death. So yeah. I guess you’re allowed to be a little eccentric.”

Jubal stepped in to soften the conversation. “I think we should listen to her. I think she’s got a story in her mind and if we hang around long enough, we’re gonna get all of it.”

Matthew was pissed. “Oh, you do. So you think we should sit here and listen to a person who’s just come back from the dead explain to us in a common-sense way the logic we should pursue.”

“You’re such a little shit,” said Jo-Jay.

“I’ll have you know I’m a big shit,” Matthew retorted.

Jubal laughed–not because it was particularly funny, but he thought laughter might tenderize the moment.

Jo-Jay swung her legs over to the edge of the bed. “I’m telling you. There’s something about Mikey, Joshua and something else called the CLO that’s just not right.”

Jubal leaned forward and asked, “Why would these people care? What difference does it make to them? Why would anyone try to hurt you simply because we’re off here goofing around with the Gospel?”

Matthew chuckled. “Now there’s our title. Forget about this Carlos Revival thing. ‘Goofin’ Around with the Gospel.’ We should go with that.”

Jo-Jay would not be deterred. “You guys can joke all you want to. You didn’t wake up with a snake kissing your cheek.”

Matthew frowned. “Do snakes kiss?”

“With lots of tongue,” said Jubal, laughing at his own joke.

Jo-Jay reached for a glass of water and nearly drank it dry. “I don’t know what to tell you fellas. I think we’re all in trouble. After all, if we knew what trouble was, we would avoid it. It’s trouble because we never know what it is, right?”

Matthew smiled. “You know, I came close to understanding that. Listen, Jo-Jay, I never particularly liked Mickey. Or Michael. But I don’t believe he would do anything to hurt you.”

Suddenly from the doorway came the voice of a new visitor. Standing there, in a three-piece suit, with a bright red tie, hair slicked back, holding a bouquet of roses, was Congressman Michael Hinston. “So why don’t you like me, Matthew?”

Matthew was stunned. Jubal, anticipating a violent reaction from Jo-Jay, moved closer to her bedside.

“Speak of a son-of-a-bitch, and there he is,” she said breathlessly.

“Well, this is awkward,” said Michael. “Actually, I was just coming to pay my respects and see how you were doing. But I sense that I am not welcome.”

“Who is the CLO? Who is Joshua? Why are these people trying to stop us? What’s wrong with what we’re doing? How did I end up in the Amazon jungle? And why, for the love of God, are you standing here in my room?”

Jo-Jay spouted her array of questions. Michael turned to walk away, but Matthew stood quickly and grabbed his arm. “I guess this is how she wants you to pay your respects,” he said.

Michael turned, and with great sincerity, responded, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have my own opinions on what you guys are doing. I think it’s foolishness. I think it’s going to upset the wrong people.”

Jubal stepped forward. “And who are the wrong people, Congressman?”

“You are very young,” said Michael. “To you, everything is black and white. It’s not really that way, you know. I thought when I came to Washington I would be involved in compromising. Most of my time is spent attempting to thaw out frozen thinking, so that maybe a single drop of inspiration can be achieved.”

“What a crock,” said Matthew. “And what an attempt to avoid this issue. Jo-Jay thinks you’re dirty. Are you dirty, Congressman? Michael? Have you hooked up with some really bad dudes? Did they pay you well to betray your sister?”

“My sister?” asked Michael.

“Yes,” Jo-Jay said. “That’s what you used to call me in college. We were all brothers and sisters.”

“We were also constantly drunk,” Michael inserted. “So I can’t really be certain what I felt one way or another. But I’m here–something tugged at my heart to come and see you, wish you well.”

Matthew walked over to the window and stared out into the night. “This is just crazy. Think about it. The guy who Jo-Jay thinks might have put her in a jungle prison which nearly took her life is now standing in front of us–and we’re trying to discuss whether we got too drunk in college. Yes, Michael–you are a politician. You have learned to avoid the truth at all costs.”

Michael turned and looked at Jubal. “You know, you do look a little like Jesus. Not the Jesus people would be comfortable with, but probably the way he might have looked when he was here on Earth. If he was here on Earth. There are many schools of thought.”

Jubal patted Michael on the shoulder and said, “Many schools of thought. But faith demands that we all graduate to some sort of belief.”

Michael stepped back. “I don’t like where this is going,” he said. “My common sense tells me it’s time to go. If I may leave the flowers–by the way, they’re not poisoned–and just wish you…Well, wish you all well.”

Jo-Jay stood to her feet for the first time, wobbling to the side and falling into Jubal’s arms. She regained her footing, stepped forward and pointed her finger at Michael’s chest. “I know who you are. And as soon as I figure it out…”

She paused. Michael was waiting for a conclusion, and when it didn’t come, he looked at Matthew, then at Jubal, hoping for further explanation. He shook his head, then patted Jo-Jay’s shoulder. “Get well. Sickness is a crazy thing. I remember when I had kidney stones. I thought the devil was in the room, whispering in my ear.”

Jo-Jay leaned forward, nearly fell again, held up by Jubal. She whispered, “Maybe that devil is still talking to you.”

In the midst of a very tense moment filled with uncertainty and the unpleasant smells of a hospital surrounding, a bright-spirited nurse’s aide entered the room, announcing, “I’m sorry. Visiting hours are over.”

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … May 31st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3323)

 

A Stinky Job

I am not God

You are not God

Who would want to be God?

It’s a stinky job

You have to tell the truth.

Even though it eventually sets people free

In the meantime it makes them pissy

So those who worship you are also constantly a little angry

Because you are God but won’t be just their God

And their God alone

When you are God, you say,

“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of me.”

“There is none righteous–no, not one.”

“Except you repent, you will perish.”

“Your righteousness is like filthy rags.”

Filthy rags??

Please lighten up

How about just a dirty t-shirt?

So God says He loves people

Then we sing, “You are an awesome God!”

Yet we privately wonder why He doesn’t kill some people to help us out

Couldn’t God be nicer–just to us?

We come to church

We’re in the praise band

We once memorized two whole chapters of the Gospel of John

What does He want?

Maybe if He just phrased things more gently

Changed “sinners” to “winners in training”

Instead of “damnation,” call it “escaping the oops zone”

God, why don’t you just say “mistakes?”

And since we all make them, let’s call these little flubs “journey-markers”

Listen, God, I could love you so much more if you wouldn’t lord it over me

I need encouragement

I’m a kitten that requires exaggerated petting

But since you won’t do your God job

With some tenderness

Then I look for tenderness to become my God

Are you feeling lonely?

And you wonder why you have grumpy praisers

Even though I am not God

I could give you some pointers

Would you listen?

Or–because you are all-knowing–do you have to be a know-it-all?

But where can I go?

Movies don’t move me

Drinking makes me drunk

Weed creates need

Which will only feed my greed

And poli-ticks me off

I got nowhere to roost

Of course, you know that

STOP SMIRKING AT ME

Go ahead

Tell me the truth

But stay a little while–sweetly

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*******

To our friends at Roseland: click the piano for information on Cring & Clazzy

 


 

Cracked 5 … April 25th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Startling Revelations About the Bluebird of Happiness

A. Recently humiliated during a “60 Minutes” interview because he couldn’t define happiness.

 

B. Changing gender, hoping to become the Pink Bird of Happiness

 

C. No one under 50 knows who he is

 

D. Turns out he’s not blue, just hasn’t bathed for a while

 

E. Not happy–just drunk

 

 

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Cracked 5 … February 16th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Worst Things to Say to a Policeman During a Traffic Stop

A. I’m sorry I was speeding. I just love to see your pretty, flashing lights.

 

B. Drunk?? I’ve been drunk, and believe you me–this ain’t it.

 

C. Hey, bub. Let me borrow your gun and two bullets.

 

D. It’s like my Grandpappy always said. Ain’t no problem that can’t be worked out offerin’ a shot of bourbon and a fifty dollar bill.

 

E. Tail light’s out?? I must have jiggled something loadin’ my wife’s body into the trunk.

 

cracked 5 cop car

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Stepping Away… October 19, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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church popscicleElder Ralph was working on a crossword puzzle he had hidden in his Bible.

Deacon Dan was dozing on the third row.

Martha, the church piano player, was thumbing through a Life magazine.

The teenagers sitting around me were passing notes, giggling and trying to time their levity with the jokes infrequently being offered from the pulpit, as Pastor Norm continued to preach on a subject matter which no one seemed to care about.

Suddenly in the midst of this ongoing Sunday night antipathy, it struck me. It was so phony, so contrived and so meaningless to my sixteen-year-old mind.

I quietly rose to my feet, moved past a few of my friends and headed toward the back of the church. Everyone thought I was going to the bathroom. Some people probably thought I was headed to the fellowship hall to see if there were any treats to eat after the service. But actually, I passed on both of those opportunities, headed out the door and walked home. Even though I still believed in God, I had lost confidence in the system that was arranged to represent Him.

For three months, I stepped away.

  • I didn’t go to church.
  • I didn’t stay in contact with the people.
  • I also didn’t go out, get drunk, smoke grass and curse the heavens because of my disillusioned condition.

Various emissaries from the conclave of the righteous were sent to me during the ninety days to tell me how I was missed or what I was missing or how it was absolutely necessary for me to be there–otherwise I would fall into iniquity.

I joyously ignored them.Up the Down Staircase

Instead I took my stepping away hiatus to accept a role in a play at the high school, as Joe Ferrone in Up the Down Staircase. I also worked on my piano playing, which had become as rusty as my Grandpa Ford’s barn door latches, and I practiced singing. (I had convinced myself I was a bass, but actually had enough range to be a tenor. Why not both?)

During my stepping away period I discovered I could do things–yet realized they were more fun when I was tapping the mind and spirit of God to achieve them.

Eventually one of my friends from the youth group came to see me and said, “Jonathan, you may not need us, but we need you.”

Those were the magic words.

It wasn’t an issue of ego–it was the fact that I could no longer attend church because I was afraid not to. I couldn’t go to church because it “made me a better person.” And I didn’t want to go to church to fake it, in order to get heavenly tickets.

I took my newfound drama talent, my expanded singing and my better piano playing back to the “house of people”–to simply enjoy my heavenly Father.

I stopped looking around the room to see what Elder Ralph, Deacon Dan, pianist Martha and all the other kids were doing.

When I disagreed, I chose to simply live differently. And if it got boring, I challenged the ideas.

That three months of stepping away sowed the seed of the man I have become. It was a season of time when I realized that I don’t need to be in church to find God.

But the church needs me ,,, to make sure we don’t lose Him.

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Never Worship Where You Vote… January 5, 2013

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sock snowmanYes, the snowman always votes for more snow–just as the surfer casts his ballot for bigger waves. Politics is the selfish game of pursuing our own ends while insisting it’s for the good of the country and relegating our dissenters as unpatriotic opponents.

It is not suited for children like you and me.

Now a worse thing has happened: political parties are being worshipped. Indeed, it seems to be a godly mission to advance the platform of your party while invoking the name of the Most High as your major contributor. So we’ve moved from the necessary to the ridiculous to the nasty, ending up in abominable. It is time to hide the children from such mayhem.

Here’s why: children need to learn to tell the truth. We insist on it. There is no greater punishment for a youngster than lying and covering up an iniquity that is usually easily exposed. If the truth “makes us free,” it is simply because we are relieved of the burden of maintaining an ever-expanding, ongoing fable about misdeeds. It is exhausting to be politically correct instead of forthcoming.

Yes, all parents want their children to be considered top-notch, but to achieve that status it is also necessary that each child of the household learn that there are seasons for setbacks and disappointments in order for us to grow more fully into completeness.

Children can’t be involved in politics because they need to tell the truth, and obviously, veracity is optional “amongst them who seek votes.” By the time we get done spinning, expanding, promoting, advertising and sowing disinformation about reality, it is often difficult to attain a clarity of thought.

Children should also stay away from politics because children must hear the truth before they can tell the truth. There you go. Lying parents bring forth lying offspring:

Parents who keep alcohol in their refrigerator should not be surprised when their fifteen-year-old comes home drunk from a party that was supposed to feature pizza and root beer.

Parents who fib on the phone to creditors should not feign shock when their dear little ones lie about their grades.

To tell the truth you have to hear the truth. There is a very intelligent word that says “faith comes by hearing.” We build up the confidence to say our individual situation aloud because we’ve heard other people do it without fear.

What is the worst atrocity about our political system? The lies of the Republicans and the Democrats will come down and crash on us for two or three generations to come. We have made it acceptable to be misleading. It is not suitable for children. It is the R-rated movie of government.

And finally, concerning those who desire a childlike faith, we must comprehend that to hear the truth, one must be willing to be wrong. Politicians are never wrong. If you don’t believe me, just listen to them. They are often misquoted, misunderstood, caught on a bad day, taken out of context, targeted by the other party’s kill committee, or they are just victims of a vicious news cycle.

It is rather doubtful in our present political climate if we will ever hear anything that resembles the truth.

Such a gift demands that someone be wrong. Until you are willing to say you are wrong, you can’t hear the truth. If you can’t hear the truth, you can’t tell the truth. And if you can’t tell the truth, you can’t be made free.

The combination of self-righteousness, combined with an unwillingness to negotiate, culminating in a worship of political ideals, has rendered our society crippled of the change which only occurs by the real truth convincing us of the error of our ways … and making us free.

I will not participate.  I have never participated, but in 2013, with my desire to have a childlike faith, I must avoid the bad boys and girls of the political system, who require that I worship where I vote–but won’t give me the freedom of truth.

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