Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sitting Five

Iz and Pal huddled and cried for a solid hour, shivering, sobbing, trying to speak, but diminishing to painful sighs and groans.

Bruised.

No father ever knows how deeply the rejection goes into the soul of a son who wishes to disagree but is cast into the role of the delinquent prodigal.

Night was falling—a desert night, black and chilly, clear and cold—the human blood still boiling from the day’s heat, but the skin releasing its warmth, beginning to freeze body and then, soul.

There had been no time to build a fire, so the two boys entwined inside the tent for heat and comfort. They whimpered and shuddered.

At length, Iz spoke. “Pada isn’t always that bad.”

Pal was speechless, unwilling to agree, yet not wanting to begin a useless discussion. Iz continued. “No, I mean it. He is a good man. He just has never understood my ways.”

Pal inserted, “Our ways.”

The boys soon discovered that having no fire allowed the creeping, squeaking, squawking and wiggling living organisms all around them to remain unseen, but certainly lively. The desert at night was terrifying. Some conversation was needed to keep them from thinking about the legendary, man-eating sand worm.

“Why do our people hate each other?” Iz asked.

“I don’t know,” said Pal, because he didn’t.

Iz objected. “‘I don’t know’ will not keep the conversation going and keep our minds off the bugs and slime.”

Pal growled, “I think your father thinks I’m bugs and slime.”

Iz attempted to soften his tone. “And what would your father think of me?” he asked.

Pal did not hesitate. “Probably just slime. Jew-boy slime.” Pal peered at his friend in the darkness. “Our skin is not different.”

Iz moved closer, agreeing. “No. In color, we could be brothers.”

Pal continued. “We eat, drink and live in the same places.”

“That’s right,” said Iz. “You don’t get pork, either, do you?”

“Nope,” said Pal matter-of-factly.

In the brief moment of silence between them, there were more buzzes and cackles in the surrounding bleakness. Iz inched even closer to Pal.

“I could never hate you,” he said.

“Why would you want to?” asked Pal.

“They want me to,” replied Iz, aggravated. “Because your God has a funny name.”

Without missing a beat, Pal replied, “And your God has a common name.”

Iz found this funny. “Maybe we could solve the whole thing by coming up with a new name for God that would please both of us,” he suggested.

Pal laughed. “One day in the desert and you’re ready to rename God.”

“How about Frank?” offered Iz.

Pal nodded. “The Americans would love it—and it sounds honest.”

Two friends giggling. The best sound ever.

Iz paused. “I need to tell you,” he said, “we’re almost out of water.”

Pal slowly shook his head. “Not a good thing in the desert.”

“What are we going to do?” inquired Iz with a slight creak in his voice.

Pal sat up on an elbow and said, “I think we should take this tiny tent down, and wrap ourselves in it for warmth, to keep all bugs and snakes far, far away.”

Iz eagerly agreed and the two friends turned themselves into a living, human cocoon. They tried to continue their conversation, but words began to fade into dreams. Dreams were displaced by moments of recollection—only to be interrupted by the sounds of the night creatures.

Iz dozed off, thinking about water.

Pal fell asleep, wondering where his family was.


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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … May 3rd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Tell You What

I know Jesus

You know Jesus

They know Jesus

We know Jesus

Seize us

Please us

Tease us

Do you need us?

What’s the fuss?

Is he one of us?

Hop the bus

Please don’t cuss

Put your trust

Where you must

Dust to dust

Kill the lust

Become a nerd

Read the Word

What’s absurd?

Use Jesus

Abuse Jesus

Jews for Jesus

Cruise with Jesus

Who is the man?

Tell me if you can

Holy Spirit fire

Or just a simple “tryer”

Make him my own

Me and me alone

Stop working so hard

Use your human card

He loves you as you are

Truth will take you far

You can make it

Just don’t fake it

I’m strong when I’m weak

I inherit with the meek

Me and Jesus

Jesus and me

We’re born human

We’re both free.

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Jesonian: Fire, Wind and Water … July 13, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PentecostFire, wind and water–the three ingredients of the Day of Pentecost.

It was the appointed time in the history of human kind when God once and for all infused His spirit inside our spirit, to create what He hoped would be a spirit of revival.

  • The fire–the spoken word through our tongue.
  • The rushing mighty wind, displaying the power of God.
  • And the water of baptism, to wash away the enormity of sin.

But you see, this all just sounds like a sermon–the kind of clever parallels that ministers and theologians put together in the privacy of their “den of simplicity,” to try to impress congregations with a bit of insight to mingle with their devotion to God.

Honestly, it’s just too religious. Truthfully, it bores.

Because if you get fire, wind and water out of order, nothing is effective.

To lead with fire–or talking–burns everybody up.

Too much wind of religious practice blows out the fire, leaving just a hint of smoke.

And water can just drown us, dousing everything so that it’s impossible to ignite the flame.

What I would like to do is take the religion and holiness out of all this speak and instead, make it clear exactly what it means to be Jesonian, a follower of Jesus, instead of a generic Christian–one who reveres Christ.

HandBecause if the ideas of Jesus of Nazareth did not set us free by offering truth, but were just another path of righteousness, then perhaps the notion that one well-beaten path is as good as another would be well-founded.

But Jesus didn’t come to start another religion. He came to generate a reasonable and transferable lifestyle.

So here’s the real fire:

No one is better than anyone else.

These words set ablaze all the prejudice, superiority, self-righteousness and arrogance that exist in our world, and purge the forest of misunderstanding.

Here’s the wind:

Find out what you can do and do it well.

After all, just speaking, promising, blustering and preaching don’t carry any mighty effect. But the confidence you gain by realizing that you have a talent and purpose, and then multiplying that ability to the point where you believe you can do it well, creates a breeze of creativity and hope to those around you.

And the water:

Get what you need out of life and then share the balance with everyone else.

Life is neither about fasting nor is it about hoarding. It is about securing the air mask on your own face before you try to help others breathe.

It is knowing exactly what satisfies your soul and not feeling the need to have more–or less–but if you do have more, strategically getting rid of it to the souls that God sends your way.

The Jesonian lifestyle is realizing that the power of God is in the fire, the wind and the water. But rather than teaching about it figuratively, we go out and speak and live that “no one is better than anyone else” as we find out what we can do, discover opportunities to do it well, and in the process get what we want–and give away the rest.

It is why I am a follower of Jesus. Every other philosophy and religion deals in too much symbolism.

These three abide.

These three can change our world.

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Arizona morning

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Light a Candle, Set a Fire… November 10, 2012

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I thought I was in a good mood.

Matter of fact, I was pretty certain I was Mr. Mellow Yellow. Sitting in the parking lot of a Kroger

grocery store in Dayton, Ohio, I had even taken the time to jot down some lyrics for a new song and a couple of thoughts for upcoming essays for jonathots. The sun was shining, I had just enough money in my pocket to keep me from poverty, and life seemed to be heading in a direction away from the fiscal cliff.

Jan returned and informed me that the red raspberries that had been on sale were marked up and too expensive to buy. I thought I was fine with that. She had substituted strawberries, which were certainly to my liking. So I started up my van and headed out, when suddenly, to my right, a car came barreling through, moving very fast and forcing me to slam on my brakes. I honked my horn and said aloud, “What an idiot!”

It surprised me. I was alarmed by my own outburst, assuming that such a little misfortune should be taken in stride and handled with more grace. Was I more upset about the raspberries than I thought? Was my level of contentment peppered with a bit of arrogant pride? Did I feel good simply because everything was going well, and the minute an intrusion came on my path I reverted to a more carnal reaction? I don’t know. It got me thinking.

I asked myself a question: When should I light a candle and at what point is it appropriate to set a fire?

That’s pretty important.  If you don’t ever think about it, then reactions can come upon you which might seem foreign–but you feel like you have to support them, like unwanted, illegitimate children–because lighting a candle is a decision to trust your faith; setting a fire is the opportunity for you to” kick into doing.” Quite different.

I feel one of the reasons our nation is experiencing so much anger, frustration and accusation is because we have a waning of faith in the populace. When you don’t have faith in anything, it’s hard to trust–and when you don’t trust, you feel you must always defend yourself because no one else is on your side. When you get into that mindset, you protect your hunk of meat like a wild lion.

So even if there wasn’t a God, we certainly would need one in order for us to have faith in something other than circumstances, and trust in life to occasionally work out–instead of setting every situation on fire.

Yes, sometimes you need only to light a candle, so that on those other occasions, you can set a fire. It is necessary to choose moments to trust your faith so that you will know when it is time to “kick into doing.”

A car nearly hits me in a Kroger parking lot. Should I light a candle? Or set a fire? Should I shake my head and quietly say, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do?” Or should I honk my horn and chase them to the next stop sign? Should I turn to my friend and traveling companion and curse them for their stupidity?

Children are bored in church. Should I light a candle and say a prayer that things get better? Or should I set a fire and question why religion has become so irrelevant to the youth?

I can’t eat bologna and pizza and lose weight. Should I trust my faith and light a candle? Or set a fire of injustice in my soul that lends itself to further gluttony?

  • My legs hurt when I walk.
  • Syrians are dying in the street.
  • Someone took my parking space.

What do you think? Light a candle? Set a fire? Should I trust my faith? Or kick into doing? Should I be an observer of what God is about to do? Or a doer, and watch my heavenly Father observe?

  • I’m too fat, too bald, too old.
  • Atheism is on the rise.
  • I often lack money.
  • I cut myself shaving.
  • I need to drop pounds.
  • I want to use my talent.
  • I feel lonely.
  • I feel cheated.

They mount up, you know. Maybe hundreds in a day–moments when we have to decide what to do with our flame–that bit of passion within us that determines our light in the human family. If you have no faith, it’s hard to trust. If you feel without strength, it’s difficult to move.

That’s why some people burn on the inside–the fires of hell in their bellies.

What should I do? Light a candle? Set a fire?

My mate is losing interest in me. Should I reach for the candle? Or set a fire to change the direction?

I am losing my faith. If I lose it, my trust goes out the window. If my trust is gone, I have to lean to my own understanding. And if I’m devoid of understanding, I am constantly on the verge of being angry.

America has problems. I am part of America. Do I light a candle and trust my faith? Or set a fire and “kick into doing?”

This is probably the most important question you will ever ask yourself. If you ignore it, you might just discover that you’re infuriated over an indiscretion by a poor driver in a Kroger parking lot, and because you couldn’t get them, you give life the raspberries.

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