The H Word … March 26th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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THE

Image result for gif letter h

WORD


“Go to Hell”

Even folks who are very particular about using profanity will often favor this pronouncement. Matter of fact, they believe it to be their Christian duty to warn lost sinners, deviants and the depraved that there is a “devil’s hell.” And if these unfortunate and misguided souls do not decide to comply to the common appeal of salvation, they will certainly spend all of eternity suffering within the confines of this dungeon of torture and despair.

Hell is a hell of an idea. What’s even more surprising is who ended up being one of the greater promoters of the location.

Yes—Jesus probably talked about hell more than any other religious teacher who ever walked the face of the Earth.

The Old Testament doesn’t have many references to such a place, and really relegates it to one single word: Sheol—meaning “grave.”

It was Jesus who came up with the lake of fire, outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the bizarre inclusion of this city ablaze being eternal.

Even if you are able to affix your mind on the possibility of there being an afterlife where those who are evil are sent to receive their retribution, it hardly seems likely that someone—even if they spent one hundred years on the planet, killing, maiming and leaving their puppy out in the cold in the winter—well, it just seems a bit bizarre to think that person, for a hundred years of evil, should receive an eternity of fire and brimstone.

Yet we kind of like the idea.

It’s not so much the notion that there is a hell, or that some people end up there, but rather, the advantage we gain in our self-righteousness, by imagining who we think should be there and how painfully they should be slapped around for mistreating us.

So I will tell you that even though hell is a promo that came from Jesus—and I am very fond of his work—I do choose to believe that this isolated concept was conjured during his “blue period,” and I do not favor it.

Is it not punishment aplenty for each one of us if we go through life without living?

Is it not agony to take this gift of time and sleepwalk through it without giving?

For that lack of tenderness, foresight and rebellion, there certainly will be a grave conclusion.

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Sit Down Comedy …March 15th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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There were a few citizens of Springfield, Illinois, who were surprised when the city council did not nominate Maggie and Carl Johnson for consideration as “Parents of the Decade.” There were four nominations in all, but Maggie and Carl were not included.

The long arm of their charitable deeds had stretched across the entire townscape. Their oldest son was a banker, a daughter was a doctor, another daughter a lawyer, and a son was a Captain in the Marines. They seemed perfectly poised to take the prize.

But for many in the capital city, they were disqualified because their youngest son had raped and murdered nine women.

Even though it was common knowledge that he was inflamed by chemical addiction and haunted by mental illness, it still seemed inappropriate to the town fathers to grant Maggie and Carl consideration.

Likewise, two nights ago, I walked into my kitchen and smelled something. I followed my nose on a merry chase, and finally ended up standing over the garbage can, which obviously had something in it that was rotten and wanted the whole house to know. Even though the garbage bag was only a quarter filled, I yanked it out, tied it up and took it and threw it in the trash. It might have seemed rash and the waste of a still-productive garbage bag, but the odor made me do it.

The Christian faith must be prepared, along with its gospel of grace and kindly parables of Jesus, to understand that when humanity assesses the faith, the nasty deeds of the faltering fingertips of offending Catholic priests and the racial bigotry and violence of white supremacists who will swear on a stack of Bibles that “they did it all in Jesus’ name” will certainly need to be stirred in.

When we march around on July 4th, remembering the founding of our country, no truthful telling of the United States can be made without strolling through the back alley of our treatment of the Native Americans, the African-Americans and also a look into the rancid nature of our politics.

Dare I say that I will gladly join you on a quest to find the “good Muslims” if you will freely admit to me that the “bad Muslims” seem to have grabbed the microphone and are doing most of the talking for Mohamed’s children.

There are leaders, missions, governments, and faiths. They are led by human beings who make mistakes. This is not terminal. It’s not even deadly. But when those errors are hidden beneath a campaign to extol only the goodness of the endeavor, then Jesus warns us that it’s like splatting a coat of white paint on the outside of a grave.

We must all understand that the truth about us is what we believe minus what we do, with who we really are being the sum that remains.

 

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Jesonian: 10 Interpretations … August 16th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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English judge 2

Matthew 7:1–“Judge not lest ye be judged.” (KJV)

Over the years, cultures/humanity/theologians have viewed this simple statement and decided to offer translations and interpretations to clarify the meaning:

1. Judge cautiously, making sure you are around friends of like prejudice.

2. Judge morally, knowing how much God hates immorality.

3. Judge infrequently, using it only for obvious situations and blatant evil.

4. Judge lessers, and grant them no voice to object.

5. Judge righteously, applying a scripture to back up your verdict.

6. Judge by age, fully aware that the passage of years has made you wiser.

7. Judge privately, keeping your strong feelings to yourself.

8. Judge culturally, saying you honor the customs of others while inwardly repulsed.

9. Judge meticulously, coming up with a very specific objection, thus being helpful.

10. Judge sexually, communicating both yours and God’s anger over aberrant lifestyles.

May I, simple traveler I be, offer an 11th possibility?

  • Don’t judge.
  • Never.
  • Make it extinct.
  • Bury it in a grave.
  • Refuse to discuss the word.

Or end up banished yourself from all that is truly good, and perhaps discovering that your eternal reservation has been canceled… without notifying you.

 

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Untotaled–Stepping 15 (August 17th, 1965): Mr. O … May 24, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

I called him Mr. O because he had a Norwegian name with five syllables that I could neither remember nor pronounce.

He was older than death.

What I mean is, his flesh was so gray and his movements were so slow that he appeared to be a creature coming from the grave instead of one inching towards the tombstone.

I didn’t like him. He didn’t like me.

I think our mutual displeasure began one day when I was mowing the lawn and the grass clippings blew onto his beautiful, graveled driveway. He came out of his house screaming at me, explaining that all I had to do was turn the mower around and pull it towards me, so that the clippings would go into my own yard.

Honestly, it sounded tedious, meaningless and frustrating.

So when I went inside and explained it to my mother and father, they had the opportunity to do something inspirational. They could have explained that since it was Mr. O’s driveway, he had the right to decide how it would be decorated.

But I guess they had problems with him, too. Because they rolled their eyes, called him a few choice names and walked away, leaving me to believe it was my family duty to continue to aggravate him.

So I did. I refused to mow in the direction he requested, blowing my grass across his well-kempt drive.

In retaliation, every time one of my balls rolled into his yard, he retrieved it and refused to give it back.

It was a feud.

It was ridiculous and could have been so easily handled if I had been instructed to give place to the feelings of another human being. But instead my childish sensations were justified instead of rectified.

I think my parents thought they were trying to be cool and side with their son. But I needed more than that.

I needed to learn how to live in a world that demands sharing.

Before I could grow up and become a decent human being, Mr. O passed away. So many things I would like to tell him.

  • For after all, Mr. O had the right to determine what came into his own yard.
  • Mr. O even had the right not to like me.
  • And I must realize that Mr. O had the God-given right to be cranky.

For after all, if I am going to be mean to everybody I don’t like or who doesn’t like me, I’m going to be too busy pursuing vendettas … to ever enjoy myself.

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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The Absence of Presence… August 22, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1983)

jonlolAs for me, I like my fireworks to be explosive, lighting up the night sky with beautiful colors. I am not interested in any kind of firework that has been diffused of explosion and can only muster muted tones of brown.

In our attempt to make everything safe, common, accessible and equal, we gradually have taken all the “presence” from the institutions and outreaches that make human life rich with experience.

Chief among them, to me, is the church.janlol

An organism that should exude life, energy, jubilance and spiritual unpredictability has been disemboweled by caution, tradition, suspicion and  judmentalism. It has become a Petrie dish for the study of prejudice or, at times, a sure cure for insomnia.

It is disappointing to hear those who have chosen a path of disbelief to win the day simply because the individuals who were meant to prosper and live abundantly under spiritual energy have decided to entomb their faith in the grave of repetition.

It is equally as disheartening to see a government that is “for the people, by the people and of the people” brought to a screeching halt, or maybe better phrased, a grinding cessation, by political stubbornness and arrogant posturing.

There are things that are meant to have a presence.

The word “church” should bring a smile to our faces and evoke memories of joy. And the utterance of the United States of America should put a chill of hope down our spines–for a world that struggles in tyranny and poverty.

Instead, we have surgically removed all the aspiration from our faith and our country, to whittle ourselves to a futile fussiness which we interpret as “adult debate.”

Jesus warned the Pharisees that they were concerned about the money and the organization of their religion, but had forgotten the weightier matters of judgment, mercy and faith.

Judgment: a decision to honor what is truly valuable instead of coins that can be counted.

Mercy: packaging what we evangelize to be appealing to human beings–our market.

Faith: being prepared to evolve toward greater understanding of God instead of diverse interpretations of scripture.

Until we put the presence back into our spirituality and our government, the absence will leave behind the anarchy of loneliness.

I am hopeful.

I refuse to be defeated.

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Rabble and Rubble… March 31, 2013

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church inside biggerSome were killers. Others watched. The rest ran away in terror, except for a tiny handful, which stuck around to stow the mutilated corpse in a tomb.

I didn’t know what to do. I was no killer, didn’t have the stomach to watch, couldn’t run as fast as the cowards and wouldn’t wrap my mind around a “grave” conclusion for my best friend.

So I just walked.

Actually, I’ve been walking for twenty-four hours, now. Of course, I exaggerate, but it sure seems like an endless odyssey of meaningless meandering. I walk and I look.

I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for–I guess some sort of sign of shock, revulsion or horror over the atrocity just committed on that hill so far away. But truthfully, life seems to be going on. Nothing is canceled. No one discusses postponing local events to consider the murder of an innocent man. I even came across a wedding in progress, with the sound of jubilation and music. The Passover is in full swing. The Romans are in control and religion has dressed up for the day.

I feel like I’m about to go insane over the calmness that’s settled in on a world gone mad. Jesus loved the rabble. He embraced those souls the world deemed riff-raff. He met them in their hour of need, saved them, healed them and even raised them from the dead. Yet when he reached his critical moment–when he required the support of these who were benefitted by his mercy–they accepted the wisdom of a Council which they normally mocked, and they screamed in unison for a murderer and robber to be released to their fellowship. They chose the allure of darkness because it was closer to the coloration fo their own souls.

Mostly I’m disgusted with myself. Because the absence of knowing what to do is not the presence of an excuse for not doing anything. It may seem that way in the moment, but it is a lie.

I don’t know where to go. Some of my friends went fishing to take their minds off the dilemma. There are a few hiding out in an upper room–simulating prayer, but really shaking in their sandals over every rustling outside the door, wondering if it is the Romans coming to slice them into pieces.

I just can’t be with any of them. The rabble disgusts me because they denied their own best solution. And the rubble of a once-great “kingdom movement” is so insipid and vacant of ideas that I can’t tolerate sitting in their presence, commiserating.

I feel so alone that I’m taunted by the specter of suicide. Yet I won’t do that. That would require a certain amount of courage which I lack, and an insanity which I refuse entrance.

I walk on.

Has it really come down to the simplicity of the rabble and the rubble? My friend Jesus dedicated his life to protecting the lost and innocent, only to have them choose cowardice in his hour of need. Likewise, he spent hours and hours instructing people like me–his followers–but when he was confronted with evil, he only found frightened little Jewish boys and girls, who had learned much but acquired little.

Now hours have passed. I must have dozed off, although I would have sworn I was incapable of sleep. The Sabbath is over and the first fruits of the light of dawn are creeping into the velvety haze of darkness. It will soon be morning. What will I do?

Even though I used to enjoy the beginning of each day, now the sun mocks me because it shines its light on my indecision. Do I go and resume my life among the rabble–pretending that the little piece of misfortune that happened on Calvary was a thing of the past?

I can’t do that. Too many miracles. Too many blessings. Too many hugs. Too many roads. And too many reasons to remember.

I guess I will head to the tomb. In the long run, it is better to be with the rubble–the remains of a great idea–than with the rabble, lacking any inclination toward solution.

Sunday morning. I will go to the tomb.

After all … it is the last place I saw Jesus.

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Stay on the Boat… March 13, 2012

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Jack and Rose–the two protagonists from the movie, Titanic. They find themselves in a bewildering dilemma–in the midst of a rising romance on a sinking ship. Running from deck to deck to escape ever-increasing calamaties, Jack stops momentarily and turns to a breathless Rose and says, “We need to stay on the boat as long as we can.”

It is a great line, filled with emotion and enormous sensibility. For after all, there is no escape for the two of them in the cold water. Rescue boats have not arrived, offering a “plank” of possibility for salvation, and understanding human nature, those who are already afloat in tenuous safety in the lifeboats were most certainly not going to be generously inclined to “scoot over.”

Stay on the boat.

It struck me last night when I heard somebody mention the name Kurt Cobain. It followed Whitney Houston being referred to several times. One newsman even made a reference to Tim Russert. All three are dead. All three achieved  notoriety, but now only exist as memories for their families and an occasional hint of appreciation by those who view their work or have benefitted from their craft.

It made me think about my friend, Rick. He passed away nearly five years ago. When he was alive he was a cranky sort, but had a few moments of endearing humor that made him passable. But now–nobody ever mentions him. In an odd sense, it’s as if Rick never lived.

Even though people glamorize death as a doorway to eternal life or they trivialize the more spiritual implications, presenting human life as little more than a jungle journey, those who are wise put on their thinking caps, clean out their hearts and come to some very mature realizations. When we are gone, we’re gone. And it’s good we’re gone, so that those who are here can go on. What will remain of us is what we have created, expressed, the love we’ve shared and pictures and videos that hauntingly remind those who still maintain earth space that we were once present among them.

So my best advice is to stay on the boat as long as you can.The waters of death are cold. Rescue and salvation may be on its way but is still secured only in the beckoning of our faith. I am appalled at a religious system that places little significance on our human life and its value, in deference to a heavenly one, which as far as I know, is neither guaranteed nor have we ever had anyone come back to confirm.

On the other hand, those humanists–or even agnostics and atheists–who reason that we are just flesh and blood and do not survive our own earthly casing, usually end up with a sense of cynicism and futility that makes them cease to be of much use to those around them and causes them to begrudgingly see the journey through to an end.

It is not for me, my friend. I am not going to be so supernaturally charged that I fail to enjoy the electricity of my present earthly connection.  But I also am not going to be so short-sighted as to contend that this mere passing of my lifespan needs to end the recognition of my efforts and terminate me in an urn or a grave.

It’s really simple. (1) Live strong, humorously and ever-changing. (2) Write notes, messages and have yourself videotaped as often as possible–to leave behind a documentary of your passage. (3) Believe with all your heart that no one is better than anyone else. (4) Keep the memory of another person alive who did things worthy of consideration–and therefore establish a needed precedent.

Suck in a great moment of clarity. Life is not short; it is not long. It is just available.

And those who have the sensibility to stay on the boat and dodge the calamities will gain the most immortality … both here and in the hereafter.

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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.

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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.

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