Three Ways to Avoid War… May 28th, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

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“War is hell.”

Actually, tracking down the origin of that quote is not very easy. Some people attribute it to General Sherman, from the Civil War. I think the people of Georgia would certainly agree that he brought the hell of war to their doorstep.

We have been programmed in this country to believe that to some extent, war is inevitable. We now have two holidays during the year when we commemorate those who have fallen in conflicts, and give them due honor.

Yet a voice of reason, insisting that war is to be avoided, is needed at this time in our history. It is not only patriotic, it is life-saving.

I will tell you–war is hell–whether fought in your living room, your work place, your church, your town, or nation against nation.

And there are three very strong profiles that can be taken to avoid war:

1. Don’t push your freedom.

If you have found something meaningful and beneficial to your life, don’t assume it’s your mission to evangelize it to the entire world–or even to insist that others are “lacking” because they don’t share your vision.

America does the world a disservice by contending that the seeds of democracy can be planted anywhere and grow a similar crop. It makes us come off as self-righteous.

In your own personal life, don’t insist that your principles are meant for general consumption. If people are interested in your philosophy or your freedom, they will let you know.

When you push your freedom, you incite war.

2. Don’t interfere in family arguments.

If you have two friends going through marital difficulties, don’t take sides. Matter of fact, refuse to–even if it initially makes them angry with you.

If you take sides and they reconcile, you will be the villain.

If they don’t reconcile, you have the opportunity to maintain relationship with both parties.

When will we finally understand that the situation in the Middle East is a family squabble? By taking sides, we deepen the conflict and increase the violence. We should stand prepared to support both sides–especially if they are working toward immediate reconciliation.

Taking sides increases the ferocity of the warfare.

3. Don’t let corporations dictate policy.

Corporations have one goal–to make money.

If corporations are deciding our foreign policy, then we are at the mercy of their bottom line instead of respecting the power of peace and keeping our free-standing army standing instead of falling.

The same thing is true in a family. Moms and Dads end up fighting with each other because they fall mercy to their bills, responsibilities and mortgages.

These are things you pay; they are not meant to prey on your sense of stability.

Corporations start wars to make money.

If you keep an eye on these three things you can avoid war.

So don’t force your freedom, take sides or let business decide policy. If you do this, you have a great chance to become a peace-maker.

Word has it…they are called the children of God.

 

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Stop and Start Traffic … November 21, 2012

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“No thanks.”

Those two words don’t really seem to go together, do they? “No”–which works very hard not to be negative but always ends up part of the nay-saying family; and “thanks”–an expression of gratitude, which always carries some semblance of appreciation. So what is negative appreciation?

Negative appreciation is the infection eating at the soul of our society. (Boy, does that sound strong.) Even though the statement may be a bit overwrought, it’s still true. And as we come into this Thanksgiving season, I am overwhelmed with a sense of awareness that for the average American, going through the gestures of being truly grateful is riddled with many insecurities, misgivings and dare I say, objections. Yet we still feel, at our root, we need to express our awe and wonder. Basically, it becomes nearly impossible to do so when we allow one ugly monster to live inside of us and control our disposition.

Complaining.

As long as we allow an attitude, a spirit or a willingness to complain into our existence, we will never be truly thankful. Because complaining is always the “but” hanging off of the “body” of praise.

  • I am happy, but …
  • I appreciate what you did for me, but…
  • It truly is a beautiful day, but…
  • I love to cook a turkey on Thanksgiving, but…
  • It’s always great to get the family together for the holidays, but…
  • I even enjoy driving in traffic, but…

Somewhere along the line, we have convinced ourselves that we are allowed a disparaging remark to follow our proclamation of joy. Let me give you a definition of complaining:

Complaining is ANY objection to circumstances.

That’s an annoying definition, isn’t it? Some objections are necessary, right? If it’s 1843 and you’re a slave on a plantation in Georgia, objecting–or if you will, complaining about being beaten–would only be logical. But no matter how much basis there may be for your lamentation, it would still be useless, and therefore … just complaining. Because the truth is, you are twenty years away from being set free, and in that twenty years you need to do something with your life other than objecting to your circumstances. Verily, verily, I say unto you, life does not have a suggestion box.

We have given ourselves permission to complain about everything, therefore setting ourselves up to be ignored because often our opinions don’t matter.

I realized in my travels this year that there was still a seed of that disgruntled American spirit in me, which is unfulfilled even in the presence of bounty. I now am walking proof–or maybe limping proof–that bounty can be lessened. Then we have to find a way to survive with our portion.

Complaining is ANY objection to circumstances. It is a waste of time.

It is the fifteen minutes you take setting your GPS when you’re driving five minutes down the road. It’s the extra paragraph you add onto an email sent to your children which you know more than likely will not be read. It is insisting on asking for thirty extra minutes to get dressed for an evening out when the fact is, you’re getting older and becoming prettier is less likely.

Somewhere along the line we have to deal with our circumstances without objecting to them and mollify the world around us by being more intelligent than we are complaining. If we don’t, we never actually feel thankful or grateful–just go through the motions, waiting for an opportunity to point out why something wasn’t exactly “perfect.”

If you want to have a good Thanksgiving this year, stop complaining. Otherwise, you will surface the holiday with platitudes of being conscious of your physical world without ever allowing the true depth of appreciation to reach your heart.

And once you stop complaining, the greatest aid in making that decision stick is to start moving. If something is objectionable, come up with an ingenious plan to move yourself away from it at the earliest possible convenience. Don’t stand in the middle of the fire and wonder why your pants are burning. Don’t sit in the council of the ungodly and lament feeling uninspired. And don’t think you’re going to get around family members who have abandoned many of your ideals and generate a sense of fulfillment and fellowship.

You not only can’t get blood out of a turnip, it is also very difficult to get taste out of one. So stop expecting negative issues to change because of your attitude and instead, start moving away from that which is a deterrent to your peace of mind and cruising in on solutions that satisfy your soul.

I think it’s virtually impossible to be thankful if you don’t stop complaining and start moving. How do we start moving?

1. Decide what you really like.

2 Stop apologizing for liking what you decided.

3. Don’t judge other people’s choices, enjoy your own.

4. Let your happiness be your testimony instead of your complaining becoming your epitaph.

It’s really that simple.

I raised a family. I let them know what I like. Some of them do not share my likes. I love them dearly. I pursue my likes. They can judge for themselves what they feel about it by noting the ecstacy I feel over my pursuits.

Stop objecting to your circumstances and start moving towards environments that make you want to be thankful to the point of gushing to God about His glories. Anything short of that is life with a side order of misery, which only makes you grumpy and unpleasant to be around to those you insist you love the most.

So on Thanksgiving Day, give yourself a wonderful gift. Stop complaining. Don’t object to your circumstances, but instead, start moving toward the things you like without apology, without comment, without fanfare and even without explanation. If you do so, you will end up with a heart that is full of immense appreciation for the goodness of life and the gentleness of your Father, which art in heaven.

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

A Way That Seems Right… October 4, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

Simply put, I liked it–speckled with pickles and pimento, with a sweet-tasting lunch-meat flavor.I was twelve years old and madly in love with pickle-pimento loaf.

We did not purchase it very often, for two reasons. My mother thought it was a little too expensive at 79 cents a pound, when bologna was 58 cents a pound. The second reason it was rarely purchased in our household was that I was fully capable of eating a pound of it in one sitting without blinking an eye (even though I am not sure what eye-blinking has to do with consumption…)

But you see, there is one little sidebar to my story. My mother and father also liked pickle pimento loaf, so from time to time they bought it and hid it–never fully aware of my skills of investigation.

Yes, I always found it.

I knew they didn’t want me to have it; I knew it had been set aside for adults only. So I carefully stole a couple of pieces from the package and then supplanted some Saran wrap underneath the remaining lunch-meat to make it appear to still be a full unit. I thought I was extraordinarily inventive–that is, until my appetite caused me to go back for more and more of the delicious treat–until eventually my saran wrap facade was unable to disguise the depleting pile.

I always got caught.

I didn’t care. I was twelve years old and working under a singular philosophy: I want what I want. It was a way that seemed right to me.

Time presses on–and fortunately for my moral character, my fervor for this particular outlook matured and evolved. If it hadn’t, I probably would have become a drug dealer, a criminal, or worse yet… a politician.

Move ahead in time to when I was twenty-one years old. I started a music group. We were desperately trying to do three things at the same time, which as you know, is the definition of juggling. We wanted to be great entertainers. We wanted to make enough money so that we could continue to travel around and share our talents. And we also needed to make enough moolah to pay bills in our stationary life, so we would not be regarded as dead-beats. It’s an awful lot of pressure when you’re twenty-one.

So when I arrived at a motel one night in Smyrna, Georgia, I told the innkeeper that I wanted a room for one person when actually there were four of us. The difference between purchasing a room for one person and four was seven dollars. I wanted the seven dollars and didn’t see any reason why the innkeeper should have my money–when whether I had one person or four in the room, the room was still occupied. It made sense to me. It was a way that seemed right. After all, I was only trying to save money.

I was living under a new precept, having tempered my original “I want what I want.” I now honored “I need what I need.”

Unfortunately, one of the members of our troupe was not a very good sleuth, so we got caught with four people in the room and were asked to leave the premises because of our lie. Amazingly, I was infuriated at the proprietor and spent the next twenty minutes driving down the road, cursing him for being a greedy and selfish loser.

It would be many years before I realized that I was the culprit of mediocrity that evening. Yes, it would be some time before I abandoned the idea of I need what I need, and gained a functioning mindset for a mature adult. I did, however, eventually vacate the useless idea. If not, I would have become a small-minded, provincial individual, trapped in a little world of my own, with no perspective on the needs and feelings of those around me.

When I was twenty-five years old, a new spiritual rave was sweeping the nation. It was the belief that as long as “God was on our side, He would pay all the bills.” Yes–we didn’t need to worry about stepping out in faith and spending money, as long as our mission was ordained by the Most High. I read in a book that a famous evangelist wrote a check on a Friday afternoon with no money in the bank, trusting God to provide the funds by the following Monday, when the check would arrive for cashing. In the story, God not only provided, but gave abundance above the original written amount.

I was so impressed. I was so overtaken by the concept that I wrote my own check with no funds to back it up. All the giddiness mentioned in the story–stepping out and believing–flooded my soul. After all, I was doing what was considered to be spiritual work. I was saying to the world around me, “I believe what I believe.”

When Monday morning rolled around, unlike the testimony shared in the book, I did not receive financial manna from heaven. I had to scamper around to figure out how to cover the check and in the process, ended up setting in motion a series of very bad choices, which ultimately ended up with me deeply in debt to an individual who had trusted me, and now was stuck holding the bag of my foolishness.

I was devastated. I didn’t understand why God forsook me. After all, “I believed what I believed.” There was not a smidgen of doubt inside me. Truthfully, it would be many years before I realized that the promise for daily bread is actually a promise for daily bread. It’s not even a promise for weekend bread. I would have to shed the fantasy that believing something was like building a concrete wall and recognize that the Word of God is actually more like water–yes, the water of the word–moving along towards actual solutions instead of insisting on its own way.

When I was twelve years old I lived under the concept of “I want what I want.” It was a way that seemed right to me. The problem? It forced me to steal, lie and deceive.

When I was twenty-one, I pursued a path that proclaimed, “I need what I need.” It caused me to be self-righteous and arrogantly angry at people who insisted I follow the rules.

When I was twenty-five, I jumped on a bandwagon in a false parade of Godliness, and decided I would force the hand of my heavenly Father by writing a check in His name. I thought that if “I believed what I believed,” then God was bound by his Word, and His love for me, to perform tasks.

It has been a journey. Now I only have one moving part to my faith, philosophy and interaction with others. I pursue what is true. And you know something? It changes on me every day. It requires that I revise my thinking and shed stubborn little pieces of “I want what I want,” “I need what I need,” and “I believe what I believe,” which still try to cling to the inner lining of my soul.

  • It leaves me saying “I’m sorry” more often than ever shouting “I’m right.”
  • It makes me vulnerable, but valuable.
  • It causes me to pause instead of leap.
  • It thrusts me forward towards revelation instead of merely talking about consecration.
  • It permits me to listen to people I never thought I would agree with, and discover that they hold a piece to my puzzle.
  • It allows me to go to bed at night with a bit of uncertainty over the quality of my efforts, but rejoicing in that precious insecurity.

If I had stopped at twelve years of age and made it my lifestyle to want what I want, I could never have expanded beyond my limited appetites.

If I had insisted that I need what I need, I would have justified decisions that would have kept me from meeting the quality folks who have assisted me in discovering a better path.

And if I had locked myself into I believe what I believe, I would be defending my religion instead of living it out in joy.

I now pursue what is true. I often fail, but the failure is merely confirmation of the veracity of the mission.

“There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end of it is destruction.” That’s what Solomon said in the Book of Proverbs.

I wonder how he knew that. Do you suppose they had pickle pimento loaf back then?

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

Super Wednesday … March 7, 2012

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The economy. Gas prices. Iran. Abortion. Israel. Illegal immigration. Gay marriage. Afghanistan. Oil and energy. And apparently, for some reason … female contraception.

These are the issues that are touted, screamed and proclaimed from the podiums by candidates–both Republican and Democrat–in preparation for choosing a President in this country. It perpetuated last night in what they call Super Tuesday, which is actually just a clump of states deciding to hold their primaries on the same date, thus dangling an array of delegates in front of the candidates.

Honestly, my dear sweet friends, you can spend all of your time trying to make decisions on the issues of the day, and it becomes useless if you don’t first have an understanding of those folks who will be implementing the plans. In other words, as a father I can perch in my home and have a wonderful idea on how to remodel the house–even lay out the plans and buy all the supplies, and come to the dinner table with my family, only to discover that my three children at the table who are available to me to assist in the labor are five, three and two years old.

Yes, as Jesus so pertinently phrased it, to have a marketplace that is populated by children is the formula for the absence of productivity and the possibility of disaster. Where most folks think that the problems that face us are the real difficulty in our nation and the Republicans and Democrats stomp and stump against each other for bargaining position, none of them have stepped forward to understand that our country has gradually lost its vision, and therefore may be in danger of vacating its purpose.

I think motivation demands two definitive steps: (1) addressing; (2) blessing. If we are not able to address the heart, soul, mind and strength of the citizens of this great country, offering both encouragement and needed correction, we will not be able to execute a unified plan that will generate the blessing we desire.

We need leaders who understand that America has a heart–an emotional thrust, if you will. That heart has been clouded by nearly two generations of pounding with the acceptability of deceit, meanness and lies. Yes–from our political leaders to our spiritual ones to our reality television stars, we cajole the American people into believing that some amount of lying is necessary, and that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is the human rate of exchange. Therefore, the American people, fearing being involved in ill-founded deals and having their eyes gouged out, have retreated to their families, shut their doors and are hiding away. If anyone would be a leader, let him share from his or her own heart, transparency. It’s really not that painful, especially when you realize that in this super-age of information, all of your sins will find you out anyway. Let me give you a clue, Republicans and Democrats. Just as you don’t show up to a gun battle with a knife, you also don’t step into the public arena unless you’ve plugged up your holes of insecurity. We desperately need leaders who will set an example by telling the truth as much as possible, rejecting meanness and refusing to be involved in retaliation. Without this, the heart of the people will be darkened and therefore their decisions will be based upon fear instead of love.

Next, we need leaders who will comprehend that spirituality is not gloating over our religion nor the maintenance of traditions, but rather, the discovery of the image of God. You may feel free to seek out saints, angels, demons or ghosts, but the supernatural will not solve our natural world’s difficulties. This is why God intelligently placed His image in human beings–so that we would have something to study, love, appreciate and accept during our earthly journey. Spirituality is NOT seeking God–spirituality is finding His image in each other. Leaders who will teach us to do so–making everything heavenly have an earthly application–will actually march us to the throne of God Himself. A nation that protects religion leaves its people in darkness. A nation which believes that true religion is dealing kindly with each other–with vulnerability–will find God.

If you will allow me to continue, any great leader must also stimulate the intelligence of his or her people. And intelligence is a very simple concept. It is not merely learning–learning is memorization which can be easily forgotten. Intelligence is learning and then coming to the knowledge of the truth by finding an immediate, practical way to apply what we’ve been taught. We need individuals to step forward who do not believe that science, God, medicine, intellect, art and knowledge are at war with one another.

God is a scientist–look at creation. God is a philosopher–study the words of Jesus and how they apply to our lives. God is a poet–listen to the rhyme and reason of the universe–rejuvenating, challenging and restoring itself.

And speaking of restoring ourselves, it might be nice to have someone in a high office in this land who promotes health. And health is a well-sharpened, two-edged sword: spending equal time treating those who are ill while energizing the rest to prevent illness. It is taking the knowledge of the truth we have discovered in our intelligence and transfusing that wisdom into our physical lives.

Today is Super Wednesday. It is time to shed the gamesmanship and folly of Super Tuesday and a system that fails to give us the impetus to move forward.

  • It is time to address the heart of our nation. We must become transparent in order to teach transparency. Truth begets truth as lying begets lies. If we address that heart, the by-product will be the blessing of trusting each other’s word again.
  • We must address the spirituality of our country, which has regressed to a mere form of godliness, wrapped in a tattered cloak of religion, instead of appreciating the image of God personified in human beings. If we actually show mercy to each other, we will receive the blessing of obtaining mercy.
  • The season has arrived to address the intelligence of the United States, asking people to do more than read and study, but also to garner valuable truth from their perusing–truth that can lead them to greater understanding. The blessing will be that we can finally abandon intellect that lacks humanity.
  • And finally, it’s time to address the health given as a blessing to all of us. Rather than arguing over insurance premiums, let us find ways to understand the human body that God has so meticulously created–and end up with the blessing of being free from conflict and disease instead of being frightened by every pain.

Welcome to Super Wednesday, where we believe, pursue and pray for leadership that ceases to focus on the problems, but instead, addresses in the populace the waning motivation of gaining the blessing of a work force which arrives early to address these difficulties that beset us–but with a fresh heart that is transparent, a spirituality that is sensitive to human beings, intelligence that wants to apply knowledge and a healthiness that is seeking prevention over just treatment.

We can do this. All we have to do is stop pretending that the old ways actually work, and allow ourselves the opportunity to address our confusion, which will open the door to the potential of blessing.

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Got a question for Jonathan? Or would you like to receive a personal weekly email? Just click my email address below and let me know what’s on your mind! jonathancring@gmail.com

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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.

The Devastation of Diversity … March 6, 2012

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I can always tell.

Some efficient sort hands me an application and asks me to fill in all the blanks with my information. Usually, around question #4 or #5 on the given form, there is a clue as to where everything is heading. Yes–the application telegraphs to me (or in this case, photocopies) the intention of the person who put together the list of questions.

At a bank, it might be: How many stocks, bonds and properties do you own? Honestly, I know if I don’t possess ANY of those particular signs of affluence, I should quietly rise from my chair and depart.

If it’s a religious organization, the question might be: When were you baptized and what form of baptism was used? I get it. It is very important to them that I spent some time in the water–and also if I went all the way under or not.

You understand my point, right? We live in a nation that touts a doctrine of diversity while really–very quietly–putting together questionnaires to find out if people are actually different from us so that we can secretly alienate them. After nearly forty years of preaching this particular gospel of “uniqueness,” it is time for us to abandon the ridiculous notion that human beings are going to accept one another and each other’s idiosyncrasies without maintaining their own opinion.

This came to my mind as I arrived in the state of Arizona. It is the land of the cactus. But if you’ve ever been around cacti, you realize that none of them have the same pokers coming out of their trunks. Now, by “pokers” I mean those branches, or whatever they’re called, that protrude from what I assume is the trunk of the cactus plant. There literally are no two of these cacti alike. Some of them have their pokers coming out of the side, the bottom, the middle. Some have little pokers, some have larger pokers. Some appear pornographic. But here’s the interesting thing–nobody drives by a cactus and says, “Look! That’s not a cactus! It’s pokers are weird.”

Each one of them is called a cactus, even though, as cacti, they poke out differently. (Please realize that I am not a botanist, and cut me some slack.)

So I will tell you that the best way to achieve diversity and the acceptance of other people’s “pokers” is to teach the philosophy of commonality.

After all, it’s how we began this country. The Declaration of Independence does not begin with, “Even though the people in Georgia believe in slavery and the folks in Massachusetts disagree, and those individuals living in Virginia grow tobacco, while the Pennsylvania Quakers find it abhorrent, we still have gotten together and decided that in spite of our differences, we’re going to start a country.”

Not only would such an introduction to the Declaration have been overly wordy, but it would have established the futility of our cause because we failed to achieve commonality. Instead, Thomas Jefferson penned: “WE hold THESE TRUTHS to be SELF-EVIDENT.”

  • WE: “All of us got together and found common ground.”
  • THESE TRUTHS: There simply are principles of practice that have been proven by history, working in the present and are yearned for by the future.
  • SELF-EVIDENT: “Duh.”  That’s right. Right there in the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson throws in a “duh.” In other words, self-evident. “Of course, dummies.”

I will say it plainly to you. We are destroying our society by insisting that diversity be forced on people who acquiesce to the concept by nodding their heads and inwardly maintain their prejudices. The only way to overcome this is to foster an environment where we reject the need to be separated and instead, find reasons, motivations and tendencies for commonality.

Jesus said it so well: “Whosoever will may come.” I believe that includes everybody. But to include everybody, you have to encourage them to love their neighbor as themselves–commonality. Loving your neighbor as yourself is creating commonality.

This year as we have traveled, we have broken the message down to a simple sound bite of six words: NoOne is better than anyone else. Because quite bluntly, you can believe in diversity and still think you’re better than the people down the street because you don’t participate in their less-than-productive endeavors. We move forward as a race when we slow down to enjoy what we share in common.

There has been a devastation of diversity in our country which has left us with a public policy of openness while maintaining private meetings being held in darkened offices to try to figure out how to still promote our particular brand of bigotry. So even though we fought a Civil War and had a Civil rights movement in this country, color distinction remains in play. Even though we have had the suffrage movement and women’s rights have been thrust forward, stereotypes of the female of our species still keep us many times in the dark ages. Why? Because discussions of diversity minus agreement on commonality lead us to assent without action.

What’s our job? To find common feelings and interests with you.

Without this, we extol the virtue of diversity while privately excluding people … based upon how they have filled out our application.

************** 

Got a question for Jonathan? Or would you like to receive a personal weekly email? Just click my email address below and let me know what’s on your mind! jonathancring@gmail.com

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

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.

Light at the End of the Tunnel (Hill)… November 29, 2011

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Charlotte, North Carolina

I do not wish to aggravate people but I am certainly willing to do so if it’s going to generate the kind of dialogue that will create betterment and change. I greatly prefer exhortation to aggravation. (Candidly, the only difference between aggravation and exhortation is in how well it’s received.)

Arriving in Tunnel HIll, Georgia, last night for the second date of my Christmas tour, I was rather dubious about the results. I was struggling with a bit of a 24-hour stomach virus, which was giving me an entirely too descriptive tour of my intestinal system. Four inches of rain had fallen during the day and it was also damp and cold. People had lots of reasons NOT to come out to Tunnel Hill United Methodist Church to see our little dog-and-pony show (which, since it’s Christmas time, might be better presented as Reindeer and Donkey Show.)

But to my delight, a whole bunch of folks decided to brave the weather and perch themselves in a small auditorium to peruse the wares these gypsies had brought out for the evening’s delight. And truly, it was an exhilarating experience.

For after all, there are really only four things necessary to create transformation, or what we shall call revival. Fortunately for me, last night all four of these attributes showed up in the hearts and lives of the good folks of Tunnel Hill (thus my title:  Light at the End of the Tunnel (Hill)). Let me relate them to you and give you a bit of commentary which will show why we are in the middle of a stall in our nation instead of a thrust forward.

If you want to see things get better and improve your lifestyle, you must:

1. Show up. Life is not a download. Experience cannot be uploaded nor can it be texted to you–even though some people think that would be “tweet.” You have to actually be there in the flesh to experience the sensation. Without that, you are simulating an encounter which will end up being not quite as fulfilling and therefore will leave you jaded and fussy about the whole process.  Show up. My sponsors often lament that more people don’t come out to events they schedule. I think that’s ridiculous. I’m always shocked when there’s ANYBODY there, considering the temperament of our nation. We just persist in believing that we can push a button and will be inundated with entertainment or inspiration. Life is just like banking–if you’re not going to invest, don’t expect a return. So hat’s off to you, Tunnel Hill.  You showed up.

2. Listen. And I don’t mean listen critically. If you’re going to take the trouble to show up, give yourself the thrill of believing that you’re going to hear, see or feel something completely wonderful or different. There are many people in this country who are still hearing but they don’t really have an ear.  Or is it that they have an ear and they aren’t hearing? One way or another, the information is being assimilated through their own opinions and being decimated in their touchiness instead of allowing for deeper understanding.  You’ve got a heart, you’ve got a soul and you’ve got a mind. That’s assuming that you’ve showed up so your strength is already present.  So at least bring one of those to receive nourishment.  In other words, receive emotionally, receive spiritually or receive mentally.  Tunnel HIll, I am astounded to the depths of my soul at how you listened for an hour to my little stories.

3. Learn. Of course, to admit you learn something means that you have to give into the notion that there may be knowledge that you don’t already possess. It does demand a bit of humility. But without humility, the human being naturally defaults to pride. And pride sucks because it’s a bull butting heads with the rest of the world. Learn. What IS learning? It’s listening and finding something ON PURPOSE that is unique to your ears. If you spend your whole life nodding your head–acting as if everything you hear is merely a reflection of your previous thoughts–you will not only battle arrogance, you will drive away people who could be of great benefit to your journey.

4. And finally, share. Once you’ve actually listened and learned something, walk up to the person who happened to be your teacher on that occasion, and tell him or her how much it meant to you. Once again, that means we have to hurdle a whole bunch of pride and acquiesce to the realization that we are in need of input. But it means the world to other people to know that they’ve impacted your life and it is the only way to guarantee that you will remember what has transpired instead of letting it slip from your grasp, becoming part of your past instead of incorporating it into your future. Share. Tell somebody how they’ve enriched your life–or don’t be angry when no one tells you how enriching YOU’VE been. Once again, the delightful gathered at Tunnel Hill United Methodist Church learned and shared with me how much moments from the evening meant to them. One beautiful lady explained that she had not been out to a Christmas program for some time because her daughter had died at Thanksgiving two years earlier and she hadn’t had the heart to celebrate. But she showed up. She listened. She learned. And she shared that she was so glad she had come.

There is light at the end of the Tunnel (Hill) because if people soaked by four inches of rain, chilled to the bone, in a small town in Georgia, can enact the kind of attitude that affords exhortation, then just maybe we have hope to escape aggravation and become new creatures.

So my day begins. I plan on showing up. I’m listening. I certainly will learn something. And I will continue daily to share my findings with you in the most vulnerable way possible. Don’t be surprised if America continues to suffer from amnesia about its true value–because we must understand that an I-phone is a really nice invention–but no replacement for “I show up.”

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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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