Poison Pal … July 15, 2012

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Foolish man that I am, I had convinced myself that I was immune. I believed that I had built up a toleration against the venom that often spews from your soul in response to my obviously insufficient endeavors.

You want to hear something even more comical? Uniting my faith, hope and charity, I actually contended that I had discovered an antidote to such poison. Yet there is always a new way to be attacked and a surprise ambush available to suppress any claim of innocence.

Why have you chosen to be my enemy? Why have you selected to side with those who are against me–and even though their numbers may dwindle, you try to prop up their meager attempts at revenge by adding greater significance to their misgivings?

After hundreds of letters and notes, we seem incapable of creating any kind of treaty between the two of us. Part of me wants to be absolutely devastated and enraged by what I view to be irrational and unjust accusations.

I feel prosecuted, convicted and executed without ever understanding my crime. I have grown weary in the well-doing of justifying your behavior as frustration that is cast upon me because you have scared away all other possible victims. You are bitter–and there is never a passage from “bitter” to “better.” Bitterness demands that we find the root and destroy it so as never to allow the evil sprout to protrude from our beings again.

Yet I don’t understand such an anemic statement because it carries the double punishment of being inflicted and ignorant. Why is there such a desire, even a gnawing passion within my soul, to strike back at you because you leave yourself so vulnerable with your ineptness, jealousy and failed projects?

You are the walking contradiction to your own philosophy. You are the evidence that drives people away from ever wanting to be created in your image. Yet even as I write these words, regurgitated from exasperation, I feel shame. Or maybe it’s just that I feel trivial and predictable–to be involved in such a miniscule battle over absolutely no available turf.

You are supposed to be important to me. Yet I grow absolutely exhausted trying to expend energy to cause our relationship to have significance when you have relegated me to such a worthless state. I am not accustomed to being treated so. I am not one who automatically is able to produce graciousness from my soul with a demure smile and a silent prayer.

For after all, it’s virtually impossible to initiate activities of a positive nature if you have allowed yourself to believe that your humble talents are meaningless. Yes, I will admit it: I believe in myself. And I resent the hell out of you for trying to make me extinguish the flame of joy and confidence that God has permitted me to have–to be the light of the world.

You never had yours–so you want to destroy mine.

You never loved–so you dream of rendering me loveless.

You never possessed victory–so you want to rewrite the history of my success.

I can’t let you do this, even though I have no will to stand against you, nor heart to be your adversary. You are poison. It is not a poison that has been manufactured in some factory in a faraway land, but rather, squeezed from your own reticent and recalcitrant spirit, and dribbled out on anyone who would suggest that life is good.

  • You are Booth–a shot in the dark for my rear.
  • You are Brutus–a stabbing pain in my heart.
  • And Iscariot–a garden-variety traitor.

But hatred is difficult to me. I don’t know whether it’s because I find it to be surrender, distasteful or just a one-way street that leads to a dead end. For after all, where do you go from hate? With love, you have the options of mercy, grace, tenderness, discovery, growth and generosity. Hate just seems to stop and sit in a corner by itself and gnaw on its own leg.

I can’t do that.

When I listened to you speak yesterday–or wait–was it the lack of words? I forget. But what seemed to envelop my entire being was a sense of your indifference to all my overtures of creating concert between us.

I don’t understand. I despise the sensation of being without remedy or comprehension. Do you really hate me? Or just don’t know what to do with me and have selected to erupt like a volcano in your frustration and indecision?

You are my poison pal. For after all, there is a cross we all bear, but somewhere along the line we have to be intelligent enough not to climb up on it and be nailed down. Crucifixion belonged to a Savior, not to a mere mortal like me, who is baffled by the responsibility.

You are poison. Dare I drink the dregs of this cup and think that I will not damage my own internal parts? What should I do? What can I do? What is permissible to do?

Oh, forget that. I am so tired of trying to be upright that I am downright angry with the notion. You are poison.

Yet … for some inexplicable reason, I still feel compelled to love you.

Love.

Love is often the tenacious bastard, abandoned to foster care, absent the milk of human kindness.

   

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

An American Tale … December 12, 2011

In Melbourne, Florida

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Muriel was sixteen years old–and she was pregnant. She was engaged to Jeremy, who had been off to State College for three months, beginning his studies to become an architect. The problem was that Muriel was only two months pregnant. The other problem was that she had never had sex with Jeremy–because he was nineteen years old and she was, as they call it, jail bait. They were in love–but desperately avoiding lust.

There was a third problem–Muriel also insisted that she’d never had sex before–with ANYONE. Some people laughed; others became infuriated. Why didn’t she just admit that she and Jeremy had lost control and the end result was a baby?

Now, Jeremy got a call from a friend about the conflict arising in the town over the issue. He left college and hurried home. He was greeted at the door by Muriel’s father … and the county sheriff. He was arrested on the spot for statutory rape. After all, there was no other explanation. A nineteen-year-old had gotten a sixteen-year-old pregnant and it was illegal.

Muriel pleaded her case, but to no avail. Some of Jeremy’s friends bailed him out of jail and he met secretly with Muriel. Jeremy was hurt. Muriel insisted that she had not had sex but that she was nonetheless pregnant. She further complicated the relationship by telling Jeremy that she’d had a dream and that she believed the baby was a gift from God. Jeremy cautioned her to not share this story with anyone lest she be considered “tetched” and sent to the booby-hatch.

But those professionals did show up, some of them suggesting that Muriel put the baby up for adoption after the birth. Matter of fact, arrangements could be made now for such a maneuver. One of the counselors from a local women’s organization recommended that she consider abortion because of her youth and inexperience. Muriel explained to them about her dream and that she had not been with anyone sexually, but of course, no one believed her.

Six agonizing months passed–of interference, critique, delayed court dates, morning sickness and public ridicule. Jeremy became concerned because Muriel was losing it. He decided to skip town–to run out on his bail money and take her to a cousin of his in a small town several states away. As they journeyed, a terrible blizzard hit and their car slid off the road. They were forced to seek refuge in a nearby bed and breakfast. It was full–and even if it hadn’t been, much too expensive for their meager substance. Jeremy asked the proprietor if there was anywhere they could stay. She replied no.  He explained to her that Muriel was pregnant and was about ready to give birth. The owner of the bed and breakfast became quite distraught and ordered them both off the property. Jeremy had to do something. On the land of the bed and breakfast there was a barn. He took Muriel and they went inside the barn to seek shelter for the evening.

Meanwhile, things were happening in the world. A bright, shining light had sprung up in the sky. Most people thought it was a new comet or perhaps even an asteroid heading towards earth, causing a great fear amongst the populace. But three astrologers from Iran suddenly appeared at an airport in New York City, explaining that they wanted to investigate the light and trace its source. They believed it was a foretelling of the arrival of a great leader. The three Iranians were stopped by customs and arrested, put into jail and interrogated for fear that they were terrorists.  After two weeks, it was decided to deport them back to Iran.

Meanwhile, back at the barn, Muriel went into labor and gave birth. Jeremy was frightened out of his mind. There seemed to be no escape for them. Suddenly, there was a soft knock on the barn door. Jeremy nervously and awkwardly called, “Come in.” He figured it would be the proprietor and that the jig was up. Instead, in walked four guys who had been out working on transformers and lighting poles in the middle of the storm to try to restore power to the neighborhood. They sheepishly explained that they had seen a vision in the sky, telling them to come to this specific barn–to see a baby that was going to become a king. Jeremy was suspicious.

As all this was going on, suddenly the barn door flung open and in walked the proprietor with the local sheriff. They were both shocked to discover that the young girl had given birth, so an ambulance was called to rush her to the hospital in the midst of the storm, where the two of them, Muriel and Jeremy, were separated into different rooms until a decision could be made about the future of their relationship and the child.

The four workmen were arrested for trespassing, but later released, as the proprietor chose not to press charges.

In the hospital, Jeremy desperately tried to see Muriel, but was unsuccessful. After several days of deliberation, it was determined that the newborn baby would be put into foster care and that Muriel, who persisted in her story of a dream and a non-sexual pregnancy, was placed into a twenty-eight-day program for rehabilitation and analysis. Jeremy was sent back to college with the threat that if he ever saw Muriel again, he would be arrested and the charges for statutory rape would be enforced. The Iranians, who had come to follow the light in the sky, tried to escape custody to continue their study. Two of them were shot and killed and the other returned to his homeland.

In a matter of three weeks, the whole event was over. Medals were given to Homeland Security for preventing what might surely have been an attack on the nation. The sheriff and the proprietor of the bed and breakfast were praised by the community for level-headed action and for protecting an infant from what most certainly was his disturbed mother.

And the little boy grew up and became an American “everybody.”

You see, there is an importance to timing. And there’s a value to those who have a courage in their conviction. Because in our American Tale, everything was done correctly.

Unfortunately, political correctness rarely has any touch of the grace of God.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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