G-Poppers … November 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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She was cursing the air like it was refusing to let her breathe–stomping, throwing things, shaking her fist–the personification of frustration.

As G-Pop returned from a grocery shopping trip, he slowly parked his van in a space next to a young woman who was in a hurry to go nowhere. She had obviously hit her wall and was determined to hit it again and again, to prove the depth of her anguish.

It was a little frightening.

It was like a scene you watch in a movie and take in stride, but when you feel the vehemence ricocheting through the air, it is much different.

So out of respect to her eruption–and a little afraid to step into the emotional lava surrounding her–G-Pop sat quietly in his car, giving her space.

At length she disappeared back into her motel room to procure more of her personal effects. G-Pop took that moment to go into his own room.

Then it occurred to him–a prompting. The real reason to have the Spirit speaking within. After all, there are always two choices:

  • You can shut the door to your room and pretend there’s no pain.
  • Or you can open the door and risk becoming part of the pain of another human being.

G-Pop asked Jan to go out and find out what was wrong–if there was anything the girl needed.

Jan was back in a brief moment, explaining that our friend had her money stolen and they were kicking her out of the motel because she didn’t have finance.

I suppose G-Pop could have spent five or ten minutes trying to figure out if she was lying, or he could have offered a prayer on her behalf. But the best feeling in the world is to know that you did something, even if the critics around you insist it means nothing.

G-Pop looked into his wallet. He had an abundance of one dollar bills left over from the week’s endeavors. He didn’t count them–just grabbed them and gave them to Jan to take out to the damsel in distress.

After a brief delay Jan reappeared, grinning ear to ear, saying that the young woman was moved to tears and they had hugged it out.

Did it make a difference?

Much more than whether G-Pop voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

Much more than an aggravated post on Facebook.

Much more than a silent request during prayer time the following Sunday at church.

We are living in uncertain times so it is important to make sure what is certain:

  1. Love your neighbor.
  2. Take responsibility for your life
  3. Be of good cheer.

And G-Pop would note: when you see something that needs to be done, do the part that is within your means.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 6) Back in the Old Days … June 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

Meningsbee found a note taped to his front door when he returned from a Tuesday morning grocery excursion.

His desire to purchase food stuff had lessened in the two years since his wife, Doris, had died of a heart attack. Throughout their marriage, they had done all of their shopping together, and had even found great fulfillment in meal planning.

Yet a meal for one is not much fun.

So every couple of days the good Reverend pried himself away from duties and went out to consider the quality of a tomato.

Carrying his small bag of groceries to the door, he found the note. It was hand-written and contained a very simple message:

We are too old to change. Why don’t you leave us alone?

Meningsbee removed the note from his door, came into his home and sat down at the kitchen table. He wasn’t sure why this particular message impacted him, but he felt sad.

Was he doing too much?

Is there such a thing as being too old to change?

Was the note from someone who had left the church, or from a parishioner who remained but was frightened to share it with him face-to-face?

The contemplation hung over him all week long. Even as he drove to the church on Sunday morning, he was still wondering about the prudence of his efforts.

As in the previous week, he arrived and things were already buzzing. People had placed the chairs in the front, and were praying for each other, and about eight new souls were visiting.

The atmosphere was completely different from an average church. It more resembled a well-run clinic, or perhaps students in a high school getting ready to head off to home room to begin the day’s activities.

Yet as Meningsbee watched and listened, his uncertainty persisted. Was it possible that he was trying to change something holy into something too common?

He made his way to the front of the church as the congregation gradually fell silent. For a long, almost uncomfortable moment, he stood facing the altar with his back to his friends.

He turned around very slowly and spoke.

“I hope you folks understand that I’m not coming to destroy what you’ve built here at this church, but instead, as Jesus said, trying to bring us life and it more abundantly, and find a way for our joy to be full.”

Meningsbee was surprised because a huge “Amen” was chorused across the room.

He smiled and continued. “It’s really not complicated. It’s what Jesus said in Matthew 5, verse 21. He told us there are things said by ‘men of old,’ but they just don’t work anymore. Maybe they were good once upon a time, when they were fresh, and brought life and joy, but now they are tainted by repetition and squabblings. Our job is to find out what is old, but really gold, instead of what is old and just mold.”

There was an inspiring giggle. He chuckled a little himself as he continued.

“There are many things that have been done in this church for hundreds of years that may still be good. They bring life, they bring joy. We should keep them. They are gold. And then there are things that are just old and covered with an unhealthy mold that are making us sick and bored. They need to go.

So my assignment for next week is to come in here and tell me the things you remember about this church. What is old and gold, and what is old and mold?”

The congregation clapped its hands in agreement. It seemed to be a concept quickly grasped and eagerly accepted. Even the visitors began to chat among themselves about possible choices.

Young and old alike were stirred to rumination. Were the things being done in the Garsonville church uplifting or life-taking?

Meningsbee was rejuvenated.

He realized, you never get too old to change.

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Common “Since” … December 31, 2012

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Layovers.

For several years I toured the country by air–right before flying the skies began to resemble a prison transfer bus, complete with cramped quarters, armed guards and frisking. Like everyone else, I always found layovers to be unpleasant. After all, getting into that big, long tube once to fly non-stop to your destination is the ideal, but is occasionally impossible because your destination may be a smaller city or you may need a more reasonable ticket.airplane on the tarmac

So rather than complaining about layovers, I tried to start using them as a vehicle to attempt a productive project. Sometimes I tried to hook up with the people I knew in the town where I was going to spend a couple of hours and have conversations, or purposely plan a writing pursuit to fill the time. I became very aware of a phenomenon in human life which we shall refer to as the “since-then” syndrome.

“Since I’m stuck in an airport, then I choose to do the following…”

“Since my tire is flat and I’m going to be late, then I will change my plans and do this different thing…”

“Since I didn’t get the original amount of money I intended to receive, then I will adjust my budget to make it appear that I’m solvent…”

It is probably one of the most powerful principles you can teach to yourself and others in order to maintain the decorum which allows you the dignity to survive adversity and await the next opportunity that sprouts the unplanned-for blessing.

I ran across this same philosophy yesterday in Boynton Beach, Florida, at my gig. The pastor of the church told a story about a woman with a brain tumor, who developed the further complication of bleeding on the brain. The family, rather than looking on it as a setback, was grateful–because the bleeding was treatable, and in the process of taking care of that particular difficulty, they were praying that in some way the brain tumor itself would be addressed or perhaps even eliminated.

Now, the normal reaction from the average person to this kind of idea would range from admiration to mocking. But really, neither of those takes on the situation are on point with the value of their thinking. What I heard was that this family understood the “since-then” concept. We all have things happen to us that we have little control over–except to meter our reaction in the direction of the continuation of life rather than complaining about our lot.

I thought it was brilliant. It is actually a perfect example of faith. For after all, faith is not a foolish whim spoken into the wind in a dreamy sort of psychotic haze. Faith is accepting what has come our way, yet believing that God is looking for a path to increase our possibilities instead of limiting us.

I went Christmas shopping three times this year. I haven’t done that in five years. I gleefully go grocery shopping every week now. I found that very painful to accomplish over the past couple of years. All of these things are made possible because when I discovered my knees were failing, rather than giving up on my potential, I merely sat down in a wheelchair, and in so doing, increased my range. Since I am presently mobile only by using wheels on a chair, then I will take that new mobility and use it as proficiently–and frequently–as possible. I could even fly again if I want to.

See how it works? Since I am here, then I will do this. Since I write a daily column, instead of fretting over whether anybody reads it, then I will do my best, knowing that at least I have a strong readership in the heavens.

Of course, the supreme example of this is Jesus, who was given a cross–and since he was, then he turned it into salvation.

Layovers–you can either take the time to look at your watch … or use the time to watch and look.

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