Catchy (Sitting 9) A Given Inventory … August 6th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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It was good to have Jo-Jay along on the trip back to headquarters. She was energetic, funny and very generous. She wanted to buy Matthew a whole new wardrobe, but he settled for a black leather fedora, which made him look dangerous–in a goofy kind of way. Arriving in town, Jo-Jay took her leave so she could acquire lodging for what was more and more appearing to be a protracted stay.

When Matthew came into the office, he was greeted by Randall, Landy and a stranger. It was obvious that the stranger was a lawyer. (Matthew contended that barristers had a certain “sniff” about them.)

Randall and Landy asked Matthew to sit down, and then explained that they had no interest whatsoever in being a part of the project that Arthur Harts had proposed, to popularize Jesus. But they did want to sign an agreement that any money that came into the business or profits incurred would be equally shared among the partners.

“So let me get this straight,” said Matthew. “You don’t want to work on this promotion. But if the promotion does well, you want to be able to acquire your share of the profits. Is that about right?”

Comically, both of them turned to the attorney for approval before answering. He nodded his head, and they mimicked. Matthew laughed.

“Randall, Landy…” said Matthew. “It is a bit amazing to me that we have this great thing going together until we find out there may be some money. It’s like my old Grandpappy used to say. ‘Poverty has many friends because you have to huddle by the fire. But being wealthy allows you to purchase an island hut with central heat.'”

Randall and Landy stared at Matthew, bewildered.

I’ll tell you what,” said Matthew, picking up the document they had given him. “I’ll look this over.” He thumbed through it. “Fifty-seven pages long. And I’ll get back to you.”

“Don’t take too long,” said the attorney, minus expression but with a threatening air.

Matthew went into his office and pulled up his emails. There was an expected one from Paul Padwick, wishing him well but wanting no part of the endeavor. There was also a second contact from Michael Hintson, continuing to apologize for missing his airplane. Michael had only one question: was the Catholic Church backing the idea? Because he could certainly use the support from those in his district who favored a Pope.

Susanna–Soos–was thinking it over. Mary Rogers Kent (Mother) was now a Buddhist. Lydia Lars, otherwise known as Layla, said she would contact him the following week, after the woman who did her astrology chart weighed in on the possibility.

Matthew was suddenly overcome by an uncontrollable giggle.

He had been given an inventory. Now he had to decide what he could do with it.

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Jesonian: The Original Millennials… October 11th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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millennials

Using information provided and having a general understanding of the longevity of their lives, we can pretty well assume that Peter, Andrew, James and John were somewhere between the ages of 15 and 25 when they met Jesus of Nazareth.

And since they ended up living in the 1st Century A.D., they are “the original millennials.”

So it’s very intriguing to consider how Jesus handled these young men, who obviously had little interest in religious matters, God, traditions or anything but fishing.

Yes, they were typical young folk:

  • They were fishing for purpose.
  • They were fishing for compliments.
  • They were fishing for ways to avoid responsibility.
  • And in their case, they were literally fishing for fish.

They would never have encountered the Nazarene if he had held meetings at the local synagogue or started a store-front in Capernaum. So how did Jesus handle his millennials?

We find that answer in the Good Book, in Luke the 5th Chapter.

1. He went where they were.

They lived by the sea, so he went to the sea.

2. He worked with what they knew.

Since their business was fishing and they were accustomed to boats, he asked to borrow their boat so he could teach from it, which in turn created a climate for:

3. A captive audience.

Yes, to a certain degree they were trapped in the boat, doing him a favor, but at the same time, hearing the message. Yet Jesus did not stop there and make it a theological encounter. Instead:

4. He profited them in a way they could understand.

After the sermon he told them to take their nets and cast them into the water for a great haul of fish. Thus he proved that the best parts of believing in God are the benefits that come through practical application. Which ended up with:

5. Jesus joining them as they joined him.

And instead of holding a revival at the synagogue or storefront, Peter’s home became their headquarters. It’s much easier to minister to people in an environment where they feel comfortable taking off their shoes.

It is unlikely we will be able to conventionally reach a younger generation that has already given up on the idea of organized religion. Perhaps it is their mission to show us the fallacy of religion without reality.

So if you’re a minister, stop inviting people to church and instead, write a blog reviewing movies, TV shows or video games.

Meet the millennials at the sea, where they’re doing their fishing.

And benefit them by showing them ways to enhance their relationships, children and families.

And then, don’t force them to come to your institution, but instead, set up a way for them to have faith … in their own homes.

 

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Painted Pigs … September 20, 2012

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One of the more intriguing chores while traveling on the road is arriving in a new community, establishing a headquarters and locating a grocer who doesn’t charge too much for basic grits and gravy. We used to eat out a lot at restaurants, but that is not only expensive, but much too high in calories and filled with so many unknowns that one feels like a culinary explorer. So we find it much more healthy and wise to eat off of plates instead of styrofoam.

In this pursuit in Marion, Indiana, I was cruising along in my van and was startled to look on one of the corners and see a pig. Now viewing myself as an individual with an open mind, I was willing to accept that in a small farming town, a pig might be allowed to wander at will. But upon careful inspection, I saw that this particular pig was purple, with stripes, and had flowers on his backside. Even though I’m not a farm boy and not very acquainted with the fashion statements of the herd, I was still pretty sure that this was unusual. With a more intense second glance, I realized that this was not a living pig, but rather, a ceramic or tin one, sitting on a street corner, decorated–painted, if you will.

It looked very authentic–so realistic that I was a bit creeped out by the whole experience; because as I turned to the right, there was another one–this particular one, plaid. Straight ahead of me was yet another, adorned in some sort of bonnet.

They were everywhere.

Even though I have lived for many decades on this planet, I suddenly realized that … I don’t like pigs. I don’t know what the source of this disdain for the creature may be. Maybe it’s because I read Animal Farm. Or was it that CSI episode, where they explained that if you threw a dead human  body into a pig pen, that within twenty-four-hours the pigs would eat everything, including the bones. (You have to admit, that’s creepy.)

I kind of think it goes back to the fact that when I was a small child, Porky Pig freaked me out. He was dumb. Or maybe not. But he stuttered. And he was always–pardon the expression–the butt of every joke.

And of course, the Bible doesn’t do anything to help the image of your basic porker. Jesus says not to “cast pearls before swine.” And we also have a gruesome image of hogs running down a hill, possessed by demons, leaping off a cliff and drowning in the water below.

So as I drove through town, I realized that what they were attempting to accomplish was a cute, quaint tipping-of-the-straw-hat to the rural culture that had formed the backbone of their community. And I do have to admit that painted cows on the corners of the street would not have been any more relaxing to this tourist. But there are swans. Ducks. Sheep might even have been better. But pigs … are best “baconed,” ribbed, barbecued, and chopped. And even then, they ultimately get their revenge by hanging around to clog up our arteries and terminate our lives.

I have since been back to the Marion community three times, and have not yet gotten used to the painted pigs. I still fail to remember that they are there and that they’re not really alive, and one time even reflexively slammed on my brakes, thinking that one of them was about to run out in front of me. So if the goal of Marion, Indiana is to present something intriguing or memorable for those individuals passing through their village, they really missed the mark with me. Pigs on the corner of the street do not bring out notions of warmth–fireplaces and farm houses with grain silos filled with provision and goodness. No. Pigs are … piggy.

So in my opinion, it would be better to select some other way to bring coloration to your community. Because honestly, if you’re not supposed to cast your pearls before swine, it probably would be true that putting pearls on swine isn’t any more effective.

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A Moving Experience… August 30, 2012

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I didn’t expect to stay this long.

When I arrived in Michigan twenty-four days ago, I had a full calendar of events taking me all over the central and eastern parts of the state. I devised a plan. I was going to move to a new headquarters every Monday, nearer to my business and engagements. But when I arrived in Lansing I found lodging so well-suited to our needs that I took a closer look at my plan and realized that I was already centrally located, and could just drive out to fulfill my obligations. So I settled into this one place for the past twenty-four days, which gave me my requirements, and I jettisoned myself around the Wolverine State via my van.

But today is moving day. It is time to move closer to Detroit where I can finish up my tour of this delightful location with these blessed people.

Moving day used to be a problem. You can imagine–if you had to lift your life out of your home every seven days, put it in a van and travel down the road to a new abode to set up camp, it could be a maneuver filled with indecision, frustration, labor and strife. Let’s look at those four things: indecision, frustration, labor and strife. Anyone over the age of ten will quickly inform you that all of those things are unpleasant, if not useless. But still we pursue them. Doggone it, sometimes we even feel grown-up, mature and sacrificial because we suffer through them.

I don’t agree. I sat down one day and looked at the things that made moving difficult, and rather than accepting them as my lot, I changed them. It really all boiled down to having just too many things to carry. So I made two important steps: I got rid of what I did not need and I incorporated the rest into fewer containers.

For instance, we were carrying around five clothes bags for our stage outfits. Clothes bags are not suitable for long-term travel. They are difficult to get into and they don’t exactly keep your clothing wrinkle-free. We got rid of the bags and substituted a lovely clothes trunk with wheels. We fold them up nicely, and when it is time to use them, we remove them and iron them as required. We also had our food and utensils spread through too many bags. I simplified that by moving into one case on wheels, also. So eventually, what used to take three or four hours to pack up can now be achieved in about forty minutes.

It removes the dread from my head. And when you take the dread from your head and instead, move towards solutions, you clean up mental pollution. You stop being afraid. It’s powerful.

So I woke up this morning looking forward to a move. Of course, something will come up that I am not expecting, but as long as it’s not mingled with my own inefficient disorganization, it probably won’t take me down.

I bring this up today not because I think you are horribly interested in my packing patterns. It is because I would like to introduce you to a simple four-step process for anything you will ever do in your life.

1. Have fun. If you think that such advice is cute and trivial, then you don’t understand anything about what makes our journey on Planet Earth successful. If you don’t find a way to make things fun, you will remove the joy from your existence–and the Bible makes it clear that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (No wonder most people look like they’re exhausted and it’s only eight-thirty in the morning…)

2. Make a plan. It doesn’t mean you’ll get to use it. It just relieves your brain of the tension of believing that everything is hanging out in the air without any resolution. Jesus said you should “count the cost.” Sit down and figure out what you can do, what you can’t do, what might come up, what has come up in the past–and blend it all together into a concise idea that you can pursue … while having fun.

3. Keep it easy. The minute you begin to complicate your life, you are mingling your arrogance about your talent with the unpredictability of Mother Nature. Jesus said that his yoke, which is basically his way of doing things, is easy–and his burden is light. The contortions that religionists put their congregations through in the pursuit of divine favor may truly be the only thing worthy of hell. Keep it easy. Don’t flatter yourself by thinking that you can handle it if it becomes hard. You can’t.

4. And finally, don’t worry. I was trying to think of a mental process or reaction that was more worthless than worry. I decided that a tie for first place might be wishing. But I still think worry would beat it out. Worry is the fussiness of simultaneously believing that life “should be easier” while trying to make it harder. Talk about double-minded! Jesus said,“Take no thought for tomorrow.” Don’t worry. And don’t come back with some cute little phrase like, “That’s easy for you to say. You don’t have my problems.” I not only have had your problems, I’ve had mine. The Bible tells us there is no temptation that is not common to all men. Worry is what we decide to do when we really don’t want to do anything about something that demands effort.

So there you go. As I move out of my Lansing location and travel to Detroit today, I am fully implementing this quartet of possibilities.

  • I will have fun.
  • Because I have made a plan.
  • And even though that plan may change, I am still going to keep it easy.
  • And I refuse to complicate the myriad of twists and turns of life by worrying.

This applies to everything. It would even apply to solving the economic problems in this country–that is, if we had Republicans and Democrats who could have fun with each other, make a plan, keep it easy and not worry.

A moving experience–it happens every time I go from Point A to Point B without becoming frightened about Point Z, looming in the distance.

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