Cracked 5 … April 6th, 2019

 


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Cracked 5

Rejected Plans for Spring Break

 

A.  The “Building a Sandcastle” competition at Daytona Beach

 

B.  Starting a diet and exercise program

 

C.  Time with Mom and Dad

 

D.  A “Pirate Battle Reenactment” in Fort Lauderdale

 

E.  A urinary tract infection

 

Cracked 5 Pirate

  
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Salient…July 30th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Anita Bryant.

I would guess, to my average reader, the name neither rings a bell nor stimulates any particular memory.

But back in 1977 (when a few determined dinosaurs still roamed the Earth), Anita Bryant was voted “The Most Trusted Woman in America.”

She was a former Miss America contestant who had a singing career and was well-known as the pitch person for Florida orange juice.

She was vibrant.

She was youthful.

And she was, as we gradually discovered, quite political.

For you see, when the Fort Lauderdale City Council passed an ordinance removing all limitations on lodging and civil considerations for the homosexual community, Anita objected.

And we’re not talking about an op-ed letter to the newspaper. She hit the streets, held rallies, and turned a local situation into a national debate over the issue of whether people who pursued a homosexual lifestyle should be granted all of their civil liberties.

She was in demand. Her performances were packed. She did interviews on all the Christian talk shows, and even one for Playboy Magazine. She was America’s sweetheart.

For you see, at that time in our country, the jury was not only out on the gay community, but was leaning toward the “rejection penalty.”

It was popular to be anti-gay.

It was considered patriotic to be against them.

As we arrived in the 1980s, and the horrific AIDS epidemic spread across the land, those who believed homosexuality to be an abomination to God also whispered that perhaps this new virus was the Almighty’s punishment.

Things changed.

Suddenly a little boy in Indiana got AIDS from a blood transfusion–and it was no longer merely an infection of the flaming queens. Ryan White, with his generous spirit, refused to believe that his particular AIDS was any different from the AIDS contracted by those in San Francisco.

He was humble, he was non-judgmental, and he was strong until the day he died.

He made those who condemned their brothers and sisters look foolish–especially Anita Bryant.

She is still alive, but unfortunately, her name is equated with intolerance instead of righteousness–or orange juice, for that matter.

An interesting fact that you may want to tuck away in your memory: lepers are remembered more favorably than Pharisees.

So here is your salient moment:

You can’t defend God or morality by attacking behavior and hurting people.

 

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Fifty-Two Days … January 28, 2013

Jon Signing(1,774)

I got out my calculator and figured it out–one-seventh of a year.

I just spent one-seventh of a year situated in South Florida to spend Christmas with the family, record a new album and share in a whole bunch of Sunshine State churches before making my departure this morning.

People often talk about evaluating the success of a project or the fruitfulness of an endeavor. The only difficulty with that aspiration is that we can’t keep moving the goal post to accommodate the lack of achievement. (Actually, that may be the secret to bringing America out of its economic and spiritual doldrums–if we could just get people to admit that the present flow of finance and inspiration is lacking, we might become righteously disgruntled enough to DO something about our plight instead of rationalizing it.)

So as I drive up 27 N to take on another hunk of the Floridian countryside, I must ask myself what I thought I wanted to accomplish when I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale over seven weeks ago.  It really boiled down to four missions:

  1. I wanted to enjoy my family.
  2. I wanted to bless all the people I met.
  3. I wanted to increase my productivity by recording an album and getting my video ready for touring in 2013.
  4. And I wanted to make sure my children are growing in the faith, prospering and in good health, “even as their souls prosper.”

So even though it’s silly, I would like to take this morning to give myself a report card. Now, there is a good chance that I will grade myself too generously, but since I don’t have anybody else to come in and score my papers, we’ll just have to be satisfied with my ciphering.

Let’s look at #1–enjoying my family. I think I can give myself an A on that one. I am convinced that being a good father is the correct mixture of hands-off, hands-on and hand-outs. In other words, I want to give my children room to breathe and be themselves while simultaneously intervening when I see them racing toward the edge of a cliff–and never make them feel that if they hit a hard spot, they can’t ask for assistance. I hope they all feel that way. So thus far, so good.

Concerning blessing all the people I meet, this has become a heart’s desire and source of chilling excitement to my soul. At my lodging location during this period, I got to know the maintenance people, the maids and all of the staff–blessing them with a dollar or two from my wallet from time to time, letting them know I appreciate their contributions to my life and that I admire the work they pursue to make a living wage. I certainly could not do it.

I also tried to tenderize my heart even more towards all the congregational members, audiences and sponsors who were gracious enough to allow me a platform to air my thoughts. So I’m going to give myself a B+–mainly because we can always do better at doing better.

Now, concerning increasing my productivity, it was a smashing success, as I slid into my son’s recording studio, producing a new album, and with the assistance of my other son, put out the video of my show. Both the album and the video are now in my van, journeying with me. I really feel that I landed on a bit of inspiration and heavenly breath with both projects. It doesn’t cause me to be prideful, but certainly grateful for the spunk and initiative to bring God to life through art instead of just reading about Him in a book. So I’m going to make that grade an A+. (I’m a little embarrassed because it seems like I’m grading myself very generously. But it was a good 52 days.)

And now for the final step of assuring my own soul that those individuals who sprang from my lineage or have been introduced into it are finding power in their spiritual journey. I think I have to give myself a C- here. The world and the pressure to conform have taken some toll on my little conclave of family. Don’t misunderstand me–they’re beautiful people and I love them dearly, but they are living in a society that has convinced itself that it is cool and intellectual to deny the work of a universal Father. It doesn’t sadden me so much as it makes me realize that they’ve increased the difficulty in their lives by journeying without a map, compass or co-pilot. I think most of them still believe in God–they have just bought in a little bit to the social lethargy which feels snooty by ignoring a divine goodness.

I know they will not like hearing me say this, but I do believe it’s my duty after fifty-two days to warn my friends that the popularity of the moment is never the lasting virtue of the future. God has not gone away. He is often disguised by religion, which wishes to profit from His image more than seeing the world enriched by His wisdom. He’s been nearly mutilated by politics, which has attempted to turn the Almighty into a poster child for everything from abortion to gun advocacy. And He has been locked up in a black leather-bound book, which is so vulnerable in establishing the weaknesses in its heroes and characters that it falls prey to the cynic.

So as I drive on today with my A, B+, A+ and C-, I realize that I have once again ended up where I have often found myself in life–B.

I don’t know. Perhaps maybe I am doomed to be a B movie for eternity. But at least, God has given me the sense of humor, ability to be honest about it while simultaneously refusing to give up–continuing to pray and believe that all things work together for the good.

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Defined … December 7, 2012

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Jon Signing

I woke up confused.

No, that’s too weird. I guess the correct word would be “befuddled,” but that’s such an old-fashioned term that I hate to use it for fear of making myself look like a twenty-first century Charles Dickens. So let me describe the emotion. I knew WHERE I was, but I didn’t know WHY I was. For you see, yesterday afternoon I arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a three-week layover, for Christmas near family members, and also a chance to recuperate, record a new album and prepare for the coming year.

I mean, it sounded like a great idea–and I’m sure it will end up being pleasant and even satisfying. But honestly, my friends, I wasn’t here more than three hours before I realized that I felt separated from my work and abandoned to my own personality, which, as it turns out, is rather similar to canned spam.

I realized that I am defined by my talents, abilities and vision. I know in this present age of psycho-babble, people would roll their eyes and tell me I need to be more inclusive, expansive and varied in my approach. I’m sure for somebody else, that’s fine.

But I’m me. I have been me now for almost sixty-one years. I like me. Me is a mixture of giggles, gags, gifts, gyrations and an ongoing desire to see the gospel of peace settle into the souls of humankind.

I don’t feel noble–but I also don’t feel bizarre. For instance, I like to go shopping because you can get things, come back, have them near to where your fingertips can reach them and create convenience. But the idea of shopping in itself is not appealing to me.

I also love my family, but I’ve never built a life around them–nor have I asked them to make me the center of their universe.

I love doing things that other people do–but I guess I find them a bit more of a chore than a pleasure. You must forgive me for using the word “chore”–I’m sure there’s a better term to communicate my sensations. I do feel enjoyment, but not tremendous motivation.

I love being busy–doing what I can. I love the exhaustion that follows time well spent. I love sharing my heart and allowing others a landing strip near my ears to share theirs. I love my life.

I’m just not very good at being domesticated. Case in point: Gardening is something that I would watch for two minutes on some cable channel and be awe-struck by how someone could actually be interested in it.

I love being a grandparent, but I want my grandchildren to know that I’m still alive and as long as I am, I will pursue my dreams, not make their lives a replacement.

I recognized this morning that I am very defined. Maybe I lack a little helium in my balloon. Maybe I’m unwilling to stray too far from my calling–lest I forget the voice I heard from the burning bush.

I don’t know. But I’m going to do my best. I plan on thoroughly enjoying this mishap of arriving in a world unfamiliar to me and learning to partake of the surroundings–alien that I am.

I guess at heart I am a vagabond, itinerant messenger who is scurrying around to find the next wilderness to cry out into.

Yeah. That’s me.

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