Sit Down Comedy … September 13th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

The government the forefathers envisioned–being of the people, for the people and by the people—has devolved into a puzzle of political pandering.

Perhaps the worst part of the scenario is that those people the government was supposed to serve have accepted the bastard that’s been birthed and deemed America.

This has primarily been brought about by the assertion that the more complicated a thing is, the greater the chance that it will succeed.

So imitating the worst parts of former kingdoms which had emperors, senators, dignitaries and conquering, we have accumulated a history of pursuing a dream which has gradually left us sleepless.

America has boiled down to three P’s

  1. Party

The political party you identify with, which means you concede to accept the universal platform

  1. Plans

How can we make it seem that we’re addressing the difficulties in our nation and the world around us, without ever explaining step-by-step, how it will be initiated day by day?

  1. Personality

We are obsessed with rooting for our candidate-tainted-with-scandal while condemning your candidate-tainted-with-scandal.

Our leaders should be selected on the following:

A. Could we work side-by-side with them on a job?

B.  Could we work for them if they were our boss?

C.  When problems arise, what demeanor do they take on?

There’s the word: demeanor

The Presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives should be voted in based on the demeanor of the candidates who will need to mull great quandaries yet find ways to simplify them for immediate attention.

So what is meant by demeanor? It begins with one simple principle:

Don’t attack

If you feel the need to bring down your adversary in order to make yourself look strong, then you do not possess the demeanor to be part of the leadership of this great country. Therefore, the people with the correct demeanor also:

Refuse to retaliate

For such defensiveness is a sign of avoiding looking foolish instead of persevering with great ideals.

Case in point: Does anyone think we are doing good in the Middle East?

The argument presented is that “bad things will happen if we leave.” We should pose a question: Since we know what we’re doing is foul and we don’t know that leaving will make it worse, why do we continue to stubbornly pursue the inefficient?

We are led by people who first attack and then retaliate.

You should not vote for anyone based on their policies or their political party. Ask yourself if you could work with them, if you could work for them and if he or she carries a pleasant disposition, seeking ways to solve problems instead of losing perspective and exacerbating the situation.

A leader of the United States of America must possess the wisdom and wit to have good cheer.

It was not Thomas Jefferson, John Adams or George Washington that launched our country in the correct direction. What held everything together in the beginning was what we need now:

The congenial cleverness of Benjamin Franklin

Franklin never saw a problem where he didn’t create an invention. He couldn’t even stand to watch lightning without inviting it down to explain itself. This is what we need.

Our candidates are pugnacious.

It is exactly the opposite of what makes good leadership for democracy.

So when I watch the debates or I look at Washington, D. C., I ask myself, could I work side by side with this person? If he or she were promoted, could I enjoy them as my boss? And, are they looking for a simple answer to begin the journey to completion, while maintaining a sense of “all is well” with good cheer?

 

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Sit Down Comedy … July 5th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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It is not so much what as it is how.

Knowing what needs to be done may be insightful but discovering how to do it is the essence of wisdom.

In our time, the argument over what our problems are is quickly overthrown by a ferocious debate over how to address them.

I put this to the test.

While working on my latest novel, I came across a scene where two of my characters are embroiled in a disagreement. I sat down and wrote the entire passage with back-and-forth dialogue which was laced with animosity. At no time did I introduce foul language.

So the reader, after finishing this particular interchange, might well be alarmed by the severity of the debate—but certainly not frightened that the two souls involved were going to launch into anything other than aggravation.

Then I sat down and rewrote the scene, except in the midst of the fiery comments I inserted expletives, like “damn, shit, fuck and hell.”  As I moved along from line to line, I realized that the discussion had changed, and was now on the verge of violence. In other words, it would have been very easy to end with a murder.

The what was the same. The standoff was identical.

But how it was implemented changed it from a fussy situation to a dangerous dilemma.

In the pursuit of trying to get attention, gain influence and bring fame and fortune in our direction, we may be guilty of taking situations which could be handled more simply, and complicating them merely for the purpose of making ourselves look righteous.

Consider this:

Is it possible that an aging, well-seasoned politician who earned his stripes decades ago might not know to keep his hands to himself, and that instead of sexual assault, it just might be innocent ignorance?

Could it be that in trying to establish reasonable relationships with notorious dictators we could represent our willingness to sit down and prattle over the issues without jokingly referring to the two parties as being “in love?”

Might we possibly consider the myriad of problems that create gun violence rather than cursing all guns or insisting that the situation is just “the criminal mind?”

It may be admirable to know what a situation is, but it is divinely inspired to find the best way how to manage it.

I think this even goes into our relationships with government and faith.

Is it possible that what John Adams and George Washington considered to be of primary concern in 1790 might be better thought through by more educated souls in 2019?

And suffice it to say that a book that was written before Christ and some that were written after his birth might certainly do well to be mulled over and discussed in more detail before we decide on how to conduct our spirited decisions today.

Knowing what is good. But choosing how to solve it is better.

And of course, the best is knowing that the what and the how always have to be tempered by the why.


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Good News and Better News… December 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus is a lifestyle.

Every time we try to focus on the “Christ” of his Earth journey and turn him into a religion, it seems clunky, fabricated, forced, unreal and nearly irrational.

It’s similar to when we try to make George Washington appear to be a statesman. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were rebels. They were revolutionaries. They actually found it difficult to stop their struggle and create a government.

The early disciples had the same problem when it came to Jesus.

Jesus taught them how to have abundant life, good cheer, tolerance, an expansive talent base and generosity. He did not instruct them to maintain the integrity of Judaism with the purpose of including the Old Testament.

So every time we try to present a Judeo-Christian image, we lose the lifestyle of Jesus–which is the essence of the Gospel.

Our church services today have more of Catholicism in them than Nazareth.

So let’s look at it from the aspect of definitions:

Religion: an attempt to find God in ancient scrolls, mysticism and tradition, feeling that these sacraments are the divine path to reach the Creator.

Church: a system we have set up within this religious thinking, to define our style of worship, welcoming a contingency of people who are comfortable within the format.

Christian: a doctrine that has been established which includes the teachings of Jesus, but focuses equally on the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, to formulate a plan of salvation based upon the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah.

Then we have Jesonian.

Jesonian is a return to the simplicity of the lifestyle of Jesus, who told us that his “ways were easy and his burden was light,” and that the purpose for pursuing his values was to “find rest for your soul.”

So the religious system permeating our society today is a core belief in the atonement of Christ on the cross, the folklore of Judaism, mingled with Catholicism, punctuated with Anglo-Saxon traditions and peppered with American patriotism.

It is not the lifestyle of Jesus.

It lacks the personal responsibility, the joy, the freedom and the experimentation that he promoted as he walked among humanity.

The good news is that Jesus wants to keep things simple and easy.

The better news is that human beings are much more productive and happy when things are simple and easy.

 

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Cracked 5 … July 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Feelings Hanging in the Air the Morning After the Signing of the Declaration of Independence

A. John Hancock changed his mind and wanted to shrink his signature.

 

B. Ben Franklin suggested adding clip art to the document.

 

C. George Washington said it should be called “Declaration of Eat Me”

 

D. South Carolina wanted to add phrase, ‘cept coloreds after “all men are created equal.”

 

E. Chad, from Connecticut, wanted to take it home and discuss it with his wife, Julie, before inking the deal.

 

Cracked 5 Quaker Goats

 

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Cracked 5 … February 9th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Since There Is Great Scrutiny on the “25-Second Explanation” of Senator Marco Rubio, Below Are the 25-Second Presentations of Other Candidates from the Past, Who Became President

A. I did not cross-dress in Delaware. I crossed the Delaware to address the enemy–a battle which I won, by the way. And furthermore, my teeth are not made of wood. I get cavities, not termites. (G. Washington)

 

B. I really didn’t split rails. I wasn’t always honest. My wife drove me crazy. I have smoked opium. I don’t really personally know any black people. (A. Lincoln)

 

C. I did Marilyn Monroe but she liked my brother better. I used a lot of double entendres about the “Cuban missiles.” And by the way, don’t drive in topless cars. (J. Kennedy)

 

D. By the mob definition, I am not a crook. By some definitions, I might be a crook. But let’s not be picky. I basically hated people, but still wanted their votes. I opened up China, so thank me the next time you get Takee-Outee. (R. Nixon)

 

E. I did not have sex with that woman. I did let her have sex with me. How can you say no to the dreams of young people? (B. Clinton)

 

Cracked 5 Presidents

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Mount Vernon … September 21, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Mount VernonI suppose, to the average person, the mention of Mount Vernon might conjure a hazy memory of an American history class, where the name was mentioned as the location of the home of General George Washington. Even though I, too, have that realization, to me, it was a community twenty-three miles north of my boyhood home town.

As I rolled in to Mount Vernon today, I was astounded at how much living, doing and feeling I had birthed in that space:

When I was twelve years old, we had a Bible League contest in the town, with teams from all over the Central Ohio area gathered to push buttons and light up bulbs, answering questions about Holy Scripture. We had studied every jot and tittle, and split the information apart like atoms to compete with one another for points, prizes or just the privilege of partaking of some overly sweet church punch and dried-out cake. All in all, it was a great way to consider the musings of ancient patriarchs without dozing off in the process.

Mount Vernon was also one of the first places that I promoted my own gospel sing, consisting of my group along with some others, in the Memorial Auditorium. I actually saw people arrive in cars, park them and gather to hear us all squawk and wail.

Just outside of town, in the early seventies, I got the chance to perform for the first time with a fellow named Andre Crouch, who had a group called the Disciples at the Bible College, in front of a good-sized crowd of local folks who certainly didn’t come out to see us, but tolerated what was supposed to be our fifteen-minute fronting of the main event. As I discovered that night, and also from working with Andre Crouch in the future, he was never on time, so our mini-concert turned into a forty-five-minute show, which was certainly a problem, especially considering that fact that we only knew six songs.

Mount Vernon was also the location where in my early years, when I was destitute financially, some of the local quartets gave me a dribble of money to arrange music for them, to try to make them sound a little better in front of the small congregations they were able to schedule to hear their efforts.

And last but not least, my third son, Jerrod Micah, was born in Mount Vernon–about two minutes after I walked in the door of the hospital, rushing to get there to see his arrival. (My wife never seemed to have much trouble with labor. I guess some women would insist she never went through it–more like calisthenics.)

I was nearly in awe of all the memories that just splashed in my face as I drove down the main street of the metropolis. And to think, blessed man that I am, now in my sixth decade, I get to go to Mulberry Street United Methodist Church and make another memory, tomorrow morning and night, adding a new page to my dusty catalogue of memorabilia.

Life is wonderful if you don’t get fussy.

And if you do get fussy, life is still willing to be wonderful … if you just don’t give up on a good idea.

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Creedless … August 6, 2012

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I have never been very enthusiastic about reciting things in unison. I will participate from time to time, but it always kind of reminds me of the scene in the movie, The Omen, when the followers of the anti-Christ mime his words back to him through what sounds like a really spooky echo chamber.

But a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a church where they were reciting the Apostle’s Creed. “I believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten son, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried …”

At this point I stopped speaking with the rest of the sheep. It just seemed strange to me that in this particular discourse, we leap from Jesus being born straight to suffering under Pontius Pilate.  Wasn’t there a life in there somewhere? Weren’t there thirty-three years of dynamic existence, with the establishment of the Kingdom of God, healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching us to love our enemies? Where is that in the creed? Is the high point of the life of Jesus of Nazareth best expressed in explaining to all future generations that he died? What if we taught history that way?

“George Washington was born in Virginia and many years later he contracted pneumonia, was treated with leeches, was weakened and passed away.”

“Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky in a log cabin and through the passage of time was shot in the head during a theater performance.”

“Adolf Hitler was born in Germany and one day was found dead in a bunker in Berlin.”

Not only would we have a dearth of material to offer for our history classes, but our children would have no comprehension of the struggle, discovery and journeys of these figures who peppered our landscape with both greatness and evil deeds. The National Education Association would be up in arms.

It makes me wonder why the ministers and congregations are not equally as distressed when Jesus is presented only as a redemptive pin cushion to buffer the punishment for our sins.

No wonder our young humans are choosing to walk away from the religious system in favor of Sunday morning outings at the park with the family. Why go to church? If someone is dead, as a courtesy you put flowers on their grave once a year–which is why people show up for Easter. It’s only polite, you know.

Let me dispel some myths:

First of all, concerning this creed–Jesus did not suffer under Pontius Pilate. When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, he absolved Governor Pilate of all responsibility, and laid the cause and blame for the atrocity of the death of Jesus at the feet of that day’s present Jewish religious leaders. If you will pardon my phrasing, I know it’s not kosher to blame the Jews for judging Jesus Christ. They had a bad day. Of a truth, they represented us all, who probably would have been equally as intolerant of someone insisting on tolerance. But it was their watch and they were asleep at the wheel.

Next: Jesus came to earth to show us the Father. For those of you who have been taught that he came to earth to die for our sins, you might want to take another pass at reading his own representation of his mission–because hours before they put nails in his hands, he announced, in the Garden of Gethsemane, to his Father through prayer that he had completed his work.

So what is the cross? It is the greatest act of sacrificial bravery in the history of mankind. It is the final proclamation of love from someone who knew that it was unacceptable to take away the free will-choice of those who wished to kill him. It was an action meant for treachery, which God, as always, brought around to our good.

So the act should be revered and respected for bringing about the salvation which we so frantically attempted to avoid, but it should never be put in predominance over the life, work, heart and mind of Jesus.

Perhaps I mis-titled this article. I called it “Creedless.” I’m not “creedless.” I believe everything in the Apostle’s Creed. It’s just that there is so much more I hold dear, and it is these assertions that make my Christian life meaningful–not the bloody, untimely death of my dearest friend.

Of course, all of this is going to play out. Every one of us will die and find out once and for all what is truly going on beyond our beatless heart. Here are the two possibilities: we will either meet God, our Creator, who certainly can’t be a God of love and also contend that we are so foul that He needed to grab His nearby son to expunge our blackened spot with his miracle blood. No, if there is a God up there, He is, as the Good Book says, Someone who desires mercy instead of sacrifice. So spending all of our time commemorating the death of his son ranges in quality from futile to annoying. As God said to Peter, James and John at the Mount of Transfiguration, “This is my beloved son. Hear ye him.”

There you go. It is just very difficult to hear the words from someone who has been relegated to being a prop for propitiation.

On the other hand, if we pass on and discover that there is nothing beyond the great pale, just paler circumstances, to have spent our lives rallying around the tomb of an executed savior will certainly seem useless when available to us was the spirit and message of a man who wanted to teach people to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

So you see, I have chosen what I consider to be a better path. If there is a heaven, God will have love and mercy as He promised. If there is no eternity, if you don’t mind, I will use the example of the life of Jesus, take that love and mercy, wrap it up and deliver it to the world around me.

 

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