Catchy (Sitting 44) A Very Slow Fast … April 15th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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It was meant to be a very quiet arrival at Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, D. C. Over the weekend, Jubal had contacted Matthew, explaining that he planned on returning on Wednesday afternoon at 2:15, and would appreciate a pickup, so he could get right back into the hunt of things. He had briefly updated Matthew on his journey.

Jubal had only spent four days with the Dalai Lama before traveling on to Japan, China, India, and ending up at a conference of rabbis and mullahs in Jerusalem. He had many stories and much adventure but he wanted to come home.

Matthew agreed to meet him in Washington, and contacted Soos to put together the “on-the-ground-plan.” Perhaps that was his mistake–because Soos decided that the return of Brother Carlos was good reason to have a national festival.

First she put the word out on social media, so there were five thousand screaming fans at the airport when he taxied down the runway. She also got hold of Mother Rolinda, who was still pastoring up in Baltimore, even though her burned-out church was being repaired and the local congregation was meeting in the park. Rolinda suggested they hire “The Angels”–fifty motor-cycle-riding dudes and lasses for God, who used to be part of the Hell’s Angels. Soos loved the idea and also thought a local high school marching band would be wonderful once they arrived in the middle of Washington, D. C.

As Matthew arrived at the airport, he became aware that he was once again part of an event. The past few weeks had changed him from a mere curmudgeon to a full-blown people-hater. He had “jailed himself” in Las Vegas for nearly a month. He drank, he slept, he gambled a bit, and he discussed with several prostitute friends whether lemon was necessary to add to the butter for a “good lobster-eatin’.”

So when Matthew drove up and saw all the people with banners and damnably sweet faces, he was tempted to turn around and pretend he had been waylaid in Nebraska due to a storm. (You could always count on Nebraska to provide you such a cover.) But he figured there was some member of the press who would identify him and foil his deception.

A beleaguered Matthew greeted a surprised Jubal Carlos, as they both headed to the parking lot and Jubal was offered a Harley Davidson to ride into Washington. (Matthew opted for the chauffeured Lincoln Town Car.)

Fifty motor-cycle disciples with shiny helmets were escorted into town by the police department as the fans roared and Jubal Carlos waved his fist in the air as if leading a charge at Gettysburg. The five miles into town were quickly covered, since there was such a smooth passage. As soon as the high school band saw Jubal, they burst into what sounded like a John Phillips Sousa march dipped in salsa. Jubal rolled up with his cohorts, jumped off his motorcycle and danced his way to a set of congas which were waiting for him and joined the band in sweet revelry.

Soos estimated there were probably ten thousand waiting for them in the Capitol Square. She had set up a microphone so Jubal could address the crowd and share about his journey.

After about ten minutes of music and everybody getting their fill of Nathan’s hot dogs, Jubal stepped onto the stage and walked up to the microphone. Matthew pushed closer–he wanted to both see and hear. He was curious. He had missed Jubal Carlos. Even though Matthew had no intention of bowing to a divinity, he still had deep admiration for Jubal’s convictions.

Jubal stood quietly for a minute, letting the crowd have its will. All at once, everyone fell silent. Jubal took the moment, added his own pause, and then spoke.

“I have been with the Dalai Lama, to Japan, China, the Ganges River in India, and Jerusalem, where Jesus was glorified.”

The crowd cheered. Jubal looked across the mass as if gazing upon a beautiful horizon. Then he started to laugh, pretended to wipe some sweat from his brow, leaned into the microphone and shouted: “But it sure is damn fine to be home!”

What followed was a scream that could have awakened all the stone monuments in the fair city. Matthew laughed. Jubal was very corny, somewhat predictable, fairly ordinary, and loved by all. Deep in his heart Matthew believed that he was much more clever than Mr. Carlos. Yet it was difficult for Matthew to get any affection, even from the bell-boy if he gave a particularly good tip. Jubal continued.

“I’m not gonna hold you here long, but I am going to tell you what’s next. I’m going to leave this stage, and I’m going to head to that building–”

He turned and pointed to the Capitol.

“Here’s what I’m going to do. Yesterday morning I began a fast. Actually, it’s rather simple. I’m drinking water, some electrolytes, and bottled fruit and vegetable juices. I just wanted you to know the truth before the press calls me a liar because they smell asparagus on my breath.”

More uproarious laughter, leaving Matthew shaking his head. Jubal waited for the giggles to die down, and went on.

“I’m going to sit in the rotunda of that Capitol and stay there, fasting, until this country passes a bill. I think we should call it ‘The National Action of Kindness.’ I know people will say it’s meaningless, but it is time for the United States to lead the world forward by using kindness–before we bury each other in a grave of nuclear ash.”

A chorus of “amens” and a few “hallelujahs” skirted across the gathered. Jubal spoke on.

“I do not know if I will be allowed to stay in the Capitol, and I certainly don’t plan on being any trouble. In other words, I will find my own corner and brighten it. But until we Americans realize that everything we do–every law we pass, every decision we make–has to be run through the concept of kindness, we will continue to hurt one another, destroy our young people and fail to be the shining light to the world. I’m not asking you to join me in the fast. I’m not doing it because I feel like I’m special. No one likes to eat like your Brother Carlos. So pray with me that those fat-cat-politicians will hurry up and do something, so I can get back to continuing my burrito addiction.”

And yes…more laughter.

Jubal stepped away. He didn’t even stop to talk to Soos, Rolinda or Matthew. He slow-jogged his way toward the Capitol, where in a very few minutes, he came to the door and was refused entrance.

By this time, many from the crowd had followed, including all the staffers. They stood on the steps and shouted at the Capitol above them. “Let him in! Let him in!”

Jubal did not say anything at all, but stepped back four paces, crossed his arms and stood his ground. All at once the doors opened, and the guards moved to the side.

Ninety-year-old Medero Fairchild, the oldest sitting Senator, slowly stepped out and embraced Jubal. He put his arm around him and walked toward the guards. They stepped forward to prevent Jubal from entering the Capitol Building. The old man lifted his hand and spoke to them.

“This is my friend. He’s here at my request. You young gentlemen do a fine job guarding us, but now Mr. Jubal and I need to get inside and catch up on things.”

The austere protectors looked at one another and realized that it was foolishness for them to argue with the “Old Eagle of Liberty” (one of Fairchild’s nicknames).

Jubal Carlos stepped inside the Congress with his arm around a ninety-year-old senator from the state of Tennessee. The crowd went wild, and the guards broke form and style and waved at them.

Matthew shook his head. He raced to the car, hurried to the airport, and flew back as quickly as he could to his cave of protection.

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Cracked 5 … February 13th, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

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What People Under 20 Years of Age Think You Mean When You Mention Historical Events

A. Valley Forge

A mall??

 

B. Woodstock

The name for the non-metal parts of a rifle

 

C. Gettysburg

The new triple-decker vegetarian patty at Panera Bread

 

D. Watergate

A bridge of some sort?

 

E. Vietnam

The food you have to get when the Thai restaurant is too busy

 

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G-49: June 30th, 1863… November 7, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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            Gettysburg          June 30th, 1863

Gettysburg
June 30th, 1863

Three prayers float their way up to the heavenly realm.

They are distinctly different, uniquely crafted by the speaker to adequately accentuate the piety of their position while simultaneously offering sufficient humility for the auspicious occasion.

Prayer 1

Our most sovereign God, we have just taken over this command of troops and are headed off into the Pennsylvania countryside. We are certainly without experience. We are vacant a master plan. So we come to You, seeking both wisdom and protection–wisdom for our frailty of mind, which causes us to dance between fear and an over-exaggerated sense of importance; and protection because the enemies set before us are much more adept at their craft and perhaps even more dedicated to their cause.

Our purposes for marching through these fields are diverse and perhaps for some of us, unknown. It is everything from duty, to mission, avoiding disobeying the common law, and even for some, seething anger.

We do not ask that you give us the day in battle, but please give us our daily bread, and may we be able to chew it, swallow it and accept it as our portion.

“We feel we are in the right, but as is often the case, we may learn the error of our ways. Amen.

Prayer 2

Eternal God who is Almighty in the Heavens, we come to you as the Army of Virginia, set out to right what is wrong and to preserve the glorious blessing of our heritage and beliefs. As cheated brothers, for a season we feel the need to pick up arms and right the injustice and regain the freedom to live among our constituency with integrity and with respect to that which we consider to be holy.

We know you have been with us as we have prevailed in battle, and we know you will be with us throughout this day as we once again set a path towards quickly ending the bloodshed and resume our lives with family and kin.

Here in Gettysburg, make our cannons accurate, our swords swift and our bullets straight. Even in our hearts, we have no animosity towards these individuals. They just stand in the way of our liberty.

Yet as you said in your Holy Book, there is a time to kill, and we respect that season by doing it to the best of our ability. Amen.

Prayer 3

Derz Jesus: Dey have plans to kills Marcus today. Lawd, he don’t do nothin’ but pick cotton slow. I’z wishin that Yous listen to me eben though I’m not worth more than the dirt I came from. Maybe, Lawd, if Iz talk to the Massa, he’s let me pick extra cotton to make up for Marcus. Gives me words. May the work that I done here speak, gon ahead of me, so when I ax for Marcus’s life, theys not be hangin him, but instead, he be comin home to his wife and three.

Iz so weak. I needs Youz, Lord. I needs to save my brother. Helps me before my mind goes to breakin apart. Helps me to keep from bein angry. Helps me to be a man, even though dose I talk to don’t believe I be one. Amen.”

Three prayers presented to God.

But only one was answered.

For you see, because the plantation owner was busy trying to gather provisions for the Rebel Army, it slipped his mind to kill Marcus.

The prayers that came from the two armies gathered to do battle were ignored. The combatants were left to their own devices, to slaughter one another at will.

God had stopped honoring nations, peoples, cultures and ideals.

He was looking for someone with great ideas, a heart for his fellow-man and a willingness to do something noble in a time of utter chaos.

 

 

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Just Shy of Success… May 14, 2012

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I was at the funeral of my brother Dan, standing out in the lobby of the mortuary with my younger brother, Alan. We began to swap stories about Dan’s life—his discoveries and struggles. In no time at all, we got tickled and started to giggle, only to be interrupted by a young man—the assistant director of the funeral home. He popped his head from around the corner and said, “Shhhh!”

Honestly, my dear friends, I have never been a great fan of overly officious, schoolmarm mentality. It was disturbing to be scolded at my own brother’s funeral. But I took a breath, went inside and in a few moments was introduced to speak on Dan’s behalf.

I just continued the conversation I was having with Alan in the hallway. The gathered souls who had come to tribute my dear brother laughed and cried, and there was a great sense of relief and joy in the room.

Yet I continued to get frowns from my rebuker. But I didn’t care.

Human beings were never meant to be subdued.

Likewise, a few days ago, a gentleman came to my book table after one of my church performances. He disagreed with my contention that there was too much somberness in religious services. He said there were times when we needed to be quiet and acknowledge the solemnity of the moment. He cited his visit of the USS Arizona inHawaiiand the battlefield inGettysburg. He explained that on those occasions, applause, laughter or any other emotion other than silence would be completely inappropriate.

I was very kind to him. But you see, the problem with his logic is that the locations he cited were …cemeteries. Memorials.

The church was never meant to be a gathering of those who are commemorating a death. Matter of fact, two thousand years ago, when some women showed up in tears at a tomb to memorialize their dead friend, they were greeted by jubilant angels, who, in an off-the-cuff way, chided them by saying, “Why do you seek the living amongst the dead? Jesus is not here. He is risen.”

Exactly. Why DO we seek something living amongst the dying embers of a once-roaring fire of faith? Where does this come from? Why have we unearthed a grave that causes us to retreat from life instead of vivaciously attacking it?

There is a contingency in our country that believes that some people are “just shy.”  I suppose this theory might hold some water if those individuals maintained the same backward attitude all the time—but most shy people are just waiting for the right moment to find something that really interests them, so they can cut loose and be enthusiastic. So the man who refuses to speak to his wife and practically ignores his kids will all at once turn into a chatterbox on the fishing trip with his buddies. The woman who pulls away from interaction with others, insisting that she’s too “bashful” to participate in the church choir, will metamorphosis into a flitting butterfly as she gossips over needlepoint with her cronies.

Shy is a lie.

More often than not, it’s a way for us to hide our antipathy for what’s going on behind the presumption that we’re “just not very outgoing.” It’s also a lie because no one who is shy is ever able to achieve his or her full potential. It’s just too painful to encourage people to come out of their shells and do their best all the time. There are people who get nervous—but they learn how to overcome those nerves in order to grant themselves enough gregarious personality to express their talents. There are folks who prefer being alone—but the knowledge that they both require and desire fellowship causes them to overcome that hermit mentality to find the sweet fellowship that enriches their souls.

In an era when we seem to be obsessed with the notion that we are “born” a certain way, we have forgotten the importance of what Jesus said—the option of being “born again.”

I, for instance, have a strongly backward nature, which often prefers to retreat from gatherings instead of jumping in with both feet. But my calling, my life, my human need and my intelligence have all taught me to counteract those instincts by placing myself in a little bit of jeopardy—and allowing for blessing to seep in, dodging my inadequacy.

If you allow people to be shy, you remove money from their lives. If you believe that “shy” is a condition of birth, you trap people in a loneliness that is completely unnecessary. And if you think for one moment that a God who celebrated His own gift of creation by calling everything “good,” and requested that we praise him with high-sounding cymbals and the blare of trumpets, is going to favor anyone who hides his light under a bushel, you are sadly mistaken.

Verily, verily, I say unto you: burying your talent in the earth will still get you booted into outer darkness. There is no room for timidity in the lifestyle of Jesus of Nazareth.

Truly, we should be merciful to those who are learning to replace their emotional lethargy with a sense of new discovery. We shouldn’t be critical. We shouldn’t mock them. But we should never trap them in a way of thinking, feeling and living that leaves them alone instead of embraced.

Two weeks ago I leaned down to a young boy who was standing next to his mother and asked him what his name was. He stuck his thumb in his mouth and hid behind her skirt. She looked at me, a little embarrassed, and said, “Oh, he’s just shy. He’s been that way since birth.”

I lifted myself up, looked her in the eye and said, “I sure hope he gets over it—before he starts believing that what you say is true.”

  

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