The Presence of Absence… August 23, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1984)

I am annoyed with the void.void

  • “I don’t believe”
  • “I don’t care”
  • “I don’t forgive”
  • “I don’t change”
  • “I don’t take crap”

I hear these statements screamed–a sociological rattletrap which is puttering down the highway towards a conversion to nothingness.

In the pursuit of personal freedom and individuality, we are completely abandoning the commonality and joy of being part of the human tribe.

It is the presence of absence.

It is the extolling of a vacuum, portraying that we are intelligent by having stumbled upon this emptiness.

God seems to be gone. Compassion is optional. Mercy is conditional–usually limited to those of our own household. Repentance is a joke because it requires that we consider our own lacking. And humility sucks–especially when we can blare our own horns to scare away the critics.

What I want to ask, very simply, is: do you really WANT to live in a world that is Godless, lacks compassion, is unmerciful, never-changing and arrogant?

I understand there are flaws in every system existing that is man-infested. But at least in the realm of spirituality, we will allow weakness to wheel its way through the front door of the sanctuary and sit in our midst without demanding that the person involved completely conform to some sort of mantra created by the intellectual elite.

I am tired of watching television or movies and being told that life sucks.

There you go. I should put that on a bumper sticker and slap it on the back of my van.

  • I am frustrated up to my gills with the ocean of ideas that look on the dark side of life, contending that we’re being innovative.
  • I don’t want True Blood. Matter of fact, I don’t want any blood.
  • I don’t want Breaking Bad. I would like to hear about people who have the guts to do something good in the midst of insanity.
  • I don’t want to hear about a Boardwalk Empire, where murder was the way to advance commerce instead of coming up with innovation and letting it play out.

I am weary of ill-doing.

Call it out–don’t critique society around you because you think it would make Jesus cry. Jesus is pretty resilient. But he does demand that we keep our hope for life instead of giving up and insisting that absence is our presence.

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Friday, It Better Be Good… April 6, 2012

(1,476) 

6:41 A.M. I wake up and realize it’s time to take a shower–and in the midst of my thick-headedness, I step into the enclosure and immediately drop the bar of soap, having to bend down and pick it up, which is followed by two identical droppings. Three times–bending down in the shower to pick up my bar of soap. Why can’t I hold on to the slippery little booger?

Meanwhile, Jesus is carted off and then ridiculed in front of King Herod and his court because he refuses to do miracles as parlor tricks for their amusement.

7:21 A.M. I find it difficult to enjoy my breakfast because I only have two strips of turkey bacon. Even though it’s a decision of my own making, I’m a bit aggravated because several days ago I allowed myself four strips. Honestly, four strips would not kill me. It’s just that in the pursuit of trying to lose some weight, I felt it was a simple area to cut back on. It doesn’t feel simple today. It feels like someone stripped me of my bacon.

Simultaneously, Jesus is unceremoniously returned to Pontius Pilate because he failed to gain the approval of King Herod. The religious leaders, lacking footing for their charges, decide to accuse him of sedition against the Roman government in order to gain the attention of the single-minded governor. There is no truth to their statement, but as is often the case with those who have a “political mind,” the mere whiff of impropriety frightens him.

8:30 A.M.  My right knee is sore. It’s sore because I’ve been exercising to try to achieve a status in which my right knee will cease to be sore. So what is the purpose of exercising to make your knee stronger, if in the short run it makes it more sore, which makes you want to exercise less? It may be the true definition of a defeated purpose.

Baffled as to what to do, Pontius Pilate makes a decision to whip Jesus thirty-nine times with a cat-o-nine tails to satisfy the blood-thirsty nature of his enemies, without completely draining the life from his body.

9:51 A.M. I open up my Outlook Express to discover that I have no emails from friends and family today. I do not understand why they forsake me, considering that I am faithful to write them each and every week. Would it kill them to put down a few words or send along some niceties? Or just type in my email address and claim they forgot to include a message? I do not understand why people are the way they are. It doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I don’t think it’s mean to lack understanding. I think it’s kind of mean to not send an email to somebody as cool as me.

Following typical human logic (which lacks any true merit) the decision on the fate of a young man from Nazareth who preached love and healed the sick is left in the hands of a howling mob which has been paid off to yell the correct phrase: “Crucify him!”

11:32 A.M. I just realized I left two things in the van that I need–and it’s also laundry day. These are in two different directions. It’s not that I’m lazy. It’s just that I’ve reached an age where I like to economize my efforts. Also, I’ve been exercising and my knee is sore. And more walking will just make it sorer, right? So I’m going to take a few moments to figure out how I can lessen my activity without coming across as perniciously unmotivated–and still get the two things out of the car I need and also help out with the laundry. Maybe if I think long enough Janet will get tired of the delay and do it for me.

A night without food. A night without water. A severe beating and numerous verbal and physical attacks. A beam is placed on the back of Jesus of Nazareth as he is commanded to climb up the Via Dolorosa to his position of death. It’s too much. He falls under the weight of the cross. He feels humiliated that he’s unable to man up to the moment. Another is called to bear his load as he stumbles his way to his execution.

12:21 P.M. I open up my cupboard. Lunchtime. And I realize that several days ago I purchased the wrong soup for lunch. I was looking for some sort of chicken soup, but ended up with an anemic chicken noodle that tastes like you hosed down a hen in the coop. Suck.

Jesus is nailed to the cross and in the midst of the initial burst of agonizing pain, he speaks to those who will hear and says, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

1:41 P.M.  Jan drank all the diet Coke and all that’s left is diet Sprite. Do you think I’m being picky to be upset about this? There’s plenty of diet Sprite. Of course–because it’s NOT diet Coke. I don’t want diet Sprite, but I don’t want to fight with her about it. That would make me seem small. So I pour myself a cup of water, which I really don’t want, so I don’t have to drink diet Sprite, which would make me mad because she drank all the diet Coke.

At this point, nailed to the cross, having lost nearly a third of his blood, he is plagued by a nagging thirst. With a dry, parched throat, he rasps out to the surrounding guards, “I am thirsty.”

2:22 P.M.  Taking a few moments to check out the television shows available, nothing looks good. There is a Law and Order episode available but I’ve seen it too many times. Daytime talk shows and HBO has its crappiest movies on. So many television shows, so little potential. And all I want is a bit of entertainment to pass the time.

In the midst of the agony of dying, a companion on a cross nearby asks for grace in the upcoming realm of the afterlife. Jesus takes a moment from his own concerns and tells the young fellow that “this day you will be with me in Paradise.”

2:59 P.M.  Television is a bust. It’s not time to do my next project. I’ve already completed my other work. I can’t eat any more because I’ve used up all my calories for mid-day, so I allow myself the grace of becoming bored, which soon leads to believing I’m tired, as I settle down on my pillow and give in to a delicious nap.

Back on the cross, Jesus has lost all energy to lift himself up to gather a breath. His chest is heaving; his muscles are cramping. Right before his heart explodes from all the pressure, he says, “It is finished.” And into the Father’s hands he commends his spirit. He is dead. He is alone.

Epilogue

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Why? So I can be petty, trivialize important things and search for reasons to be dissatisfied? Maybe someday, because you died with such dignity, I will finally live long enough to learn how to take my cushy, relaxed and privileged life … and make a difference.

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

Getting and Giving — October 23, 2011

(1,308)

It probably really IS that simple–we get so we can give.

Some of what we get is for ourselves; some of what we give out is also for ourselves–to take care of our basic needs. We hope that our “get” will be large enough that we can increase our “give.” But those two words have an interesting prefix to them which affords a greater spiritual understanding. It’s the prefix “for.”  FORgetting and FORgiving–even though we would insist that forgetting has nothing to do with acquiring something and we might be hard-pressed to prove that forgiving has anything to do with imparting a tangible substance. But when you put it in context, getting DOES need a “for” and giving could use the same. 

The only way I can really get anything in my life is by abandoning that which has proven to be extremely unsuccessful  and reaching out for something that has greater capabilities to match my talents. Most people are unable to forget because they’ve stopped getting–and they’ve stopped getting because they’ve continued the same dissatisfying practices that have garnered no productivity. The first time I hit my head against a wall and the wall doesn’t fall over, it should be safe to assume that the tenth time will not be any more workable. But stubbornness is considered to be a virtue when actually it’s just a way of making repetition seem noble.

In addition, very few of us learn to be forgiving souls unless we learn what giving is for.  Giving is to get rid of the excess we really don’t need. If we feel like we’re in a constant state of need, perpetually frightened that we’re going to lose what we have, then giving will be out of the question. The same thing is true with “forgiving.” There are really three things necessary to find out what giving is for–or to generate forgiving.

1. It is highly likely that someone is going to offend me. We need to stop acting surprised when human beings bump up against each other and some bruising occurs. There are just too many different styles for us all to end up viewing “stylish” the same way.

2. People have a right to offend me. Probably the most useless phrase in the human realm of speech is, “How dare you?” The fact of the matter is, you not only dare, but often are absolutely delighted to do so.

3. The only way to guarantee that I will have a chance to survive in my everyday life is to release you from your responsibility to meet my needs. People are not here for me. People are not encompassing the planet for my pleasure. People are selfish–and as soon as I understand that, I can stop trying to hide my own selfishness and set aside some time to make sure they have adequate opportunity to meet their own requirements.

Forgiveness is not a holier-than-thou attitude, piously looking over at someone and saying that although they have wronged you, you are ready to move on, beyond the pain. Forgiveness starts long before any wrong occurs. It is a philosophy that knows that interaction with other human beings will inevitably lead to a combination of pain as well as pleasure. Therefore, prepare for both.

Likewise, forgetting is not attempting to ignore unpleasant matters in your mind, but instead “getting” by reaching forward to new things, knowing that we have a small attention span and as along as we divert it to other activities, it soon will not recall the previous misadventure. No one remembers anything as long as they’re replacing it with something else.

So there is really only one bad way to live in this world, and unfortunately, lots of people find it. They stop “getting” because they forget what creativity is for. It is a distraction–to take us away from activity that has proven to be non-beneficial and into worlds where we can excel. So the absence of teaching excellence is the presence of regret, resentment and frustration.

To achieve “giving,” we must find out what it’s for–because FORgiving is budgeting in human frailty and disappointment instead of constantly being shocked when your fellow-man falls short of the glory of God.

It’s all about getting and giving–but you have to know what they both are for.  Forgetting is always knowing that the best way to get a bad taste out of your mouth is to quickly insert something sweet. Giving is being intelligent enough to know what it’s for–because the only thing I want to have in the realm of giving is control. In order to have control, I must plan for the fact that human beings are going to be in need and are capable of hurting me, but as long as I am aware of that I can deflect the pain and offer absolution.

It’s all about getting and giving–but you can’t forget without reaching.  And you can’t forgive without planning.

***************

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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