Taking a Decision … February 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog


decisionThere is no such thing as making a decision.

By the time committees, opinions, selfishness and reluctance are factored in, progress is brought to a grinding halt in order to maintain some silly notion of “consensus.”

Some things are just too important to leave to the mass hysteria of voting.

It’s all about taking a decision.

In 1970, I took a decision to fly out to Arizona to pick up my girlfriend, who was pregnant, even though the counsel from all my friends, family and certainly her family was for us to be apart. Forty-four years later, there are a lot of exciting human beings walking around because I took that decision.

In 1972, I wrote two songs and decided to go into a recording studio to make a 45-RPM record. Young boys from Sunbury, Ohio, were not allowed to do such things–at least that was the opinion of those I asked for help. Forty-two years later I am still making music all across America. Matter of fact, I sang one of those two songs on Saturday night.

In 1975, everybody had a bad mood about me leaving Centerburg, Ohio, to move to Nashville, Tennessee, to seek a greater platform for my writing. I took the decision and ended up getting my song signed and making the gospel charts.

In 1980, I took a decision to hire nine actors and book a 25-city tour of the country with my musical rendition of the Sermon on the Mount, called Mountain. I was told that the market would not allow for a “religious” piece, which sported dance and peppy music. I ignored them.

In 1984, society was shocked when I took my children and wife on the road as a family band, traveling across the country, especially since one of my sons was disabled and had to be carried around from place to place. Six years later, when we finished the journey, tens of thousands of folks were appreciative that we took the decision.

In 1991, in the midst of great financial solvency and success, I took a decision to leave the road with my family, so that my sons, who were getting older, could have lives of their own instead of mirroring their father’s pursuits. It didn’t add up on paper. But it was the right way for us to multiply.

Again, in 1996, the propriety of the community in which I lived frowned on the concept of me taking on a female musical partner and including her three children in my family. Such things were simply not done in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Eighteen years later and at least twelve tours across the country, the heavens rejoice and America is a little bit different.

In 2001, it was against all sense to start a symphony orchestra in the middle of “Country Music USA.” Once again, I “passed” on policy. Because I did, the Sumner Pops Orchestra existed for eight years and provided funding, opportunity, entertainment and inspiration for an entire county.

In 2006, the cynics chuckled when I joined with my son and daughter-in-law to make independent films. Those involved in the film industry mocked us for attempting to make twelve feature-length films in a year. But taking this decision put us on the map–and they are still benefitting from that journey today.

In 2010, the dictates of my budget, housing and lifestyle forbade the possibility of continuing to use my talents to make a living. So I walked away from my house, climbed into my van and became a vagabond, sharing a message of hope for this generation, in front of what is now hundreds of thousands of people.

It isn’t that I reject input from others. But remember, counsel is only good in your life if it is given in faith.

It is a horrible disappointment when it is offered to promote fear.

Happy birthday to Jon Russell!

Join us tomorrow for: Quatrain of the Circus.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Resurrectional Vehicle … April 17, 2013


Delighted man I was when I awoke this morning, looked at my calendar and realized I was going to be traveling to the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in San Antonio tonight to meet some inspiring folks.

It thrilled my soul because I love the word “resurrection”–and not simply because I am a believer in the emergence of Jesus of Nazareth from a tomb. It is also because resurrection sets in motion a manner of thinking that is necessary to maintain human health and well-being.

Candidly, to be successful on this planet we call “earth,” one must be able to distinguish between what is dead and what is living. It also helps if you don’t despair over the demise of certain things to the point of becoming immoveable. And it is beneficial as well if you don’t bury good things alive, suffocating them under your fear, tradition and culture.

So as I go tonight to experience the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, I will certainly and willingly impart to them my teaspoon of understanding about life and the power of coming back from the dead.

It is a four-step process–because sometimes you come across things in your life that are ailing and failing, and with a quick step and some good cheer, you:

1. Let it die. Here’s a little saying you might want to adopt for yourself: if it ain’t growin’, it’s dyin’. When I owned a house in Hendersonville, I had two projects I took on to train myself to be a domesticated land owner. First, I filled my walk-in closet with clothing so I would have choices on what to wear from day to day. Secondly, I went out into my front yard and decided to try out my green thumb by planting flowers and such.

First the closet. In no time at all, through the generosity of gifts from others and my own purchases, I had garments aplenty. One day I noticed that I was only wearing about five different outfits each week. The rest of my clothes hung in the closet, gathering dust and occasionally growling at me when I passed them by for my more preferred choices.

Now to the flower bed. I think it could be stated that my flower bed was dead. I don’t know what goes into pursuing botanical projects, but that gift seems to have eluded me. Soon I had quite an array of brown flowers.

So I went out, dug up my flowers and planted bushes (more durable) and I took all the clothes from my closet that I was not wearing and gave them to someone who might put them to work. It wasn’t growing; it was dying. So I let it die.

2. Bury it deep. We forget to make our changes obvious. For instance, I let everybody KNOW that I was abandoning becoming a clothes horse, and that I was no longer pursuing gardening. It’s important. Otherwise for the next several months, people will continue to give you seeds for your garden and clothes for your closet. Make it obvious by burying it deep.

3. Wait a spell. Jesus was in the grave for three days. Why? Because sometimes the trauma of letting something die and burying it needs to be separated from the exaltation of starting over again. I did not immediately leap into a new project to replace my closet and my flowers. I simply began to enjoy my life. Folks spend too much time on the clock and not enough time enjoying themselves, giving air to their lives to prepare for the next task.

4. And finally, roll the stone. That’s right. When it’s time to reappear with a new project after having waited a spell to recover from your last “killer event,” come out victorious. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every Sunday morning, the doors of the church burst open and people emerged with smiles on their faces, clapping their hands and hugging one another? A resurrection SHOULD look like we enjoyed it. Coming back from the “grave” circumstances we are in should put a smile on our faces.

So–being a great lover of resurrection and understanding the four steps of the “resurrectional vehicle,” I go to visit these dear hearts tonight. I will tell them not to be afraid to let some things die, bury them deep, wait a spell and then … roll the stone.

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Korny, Part II … March 24, 2012


I wasn’t a dork.

I mean, I had survived ninth grade health class and perused numerous dictionaries and Bible commentaries seeking definitions and explanations. So I knew what “fornication” was. But in that moment, confronted by this pious parson, I experienced a temporary “icing over” of the cerebellum. Maybe it was because I was exhausted, hungry, confused, embarrassed–or just generally surprised that this stranger would ask me about my sex life. But I stalled long enough that the minister thought he’d better elaborate a bit on his original question.

“What I mean by ‘fornicating’ is, we just don’t want any hanky-panky.”

God forgive me, but my young thought waves immediately went to Tommy James and the Shondells, and I nearly burst out into a chorus of “My Baby Does the Hanky Panky.” Fortunately I resisted that impulse, took a deep breath and responded.

“You see, pastor, it’s not that we don’t know that they’re girls and I’m a guy. Matter of fact, when we first met we flirted a lot. But you can’t travel with someone, work closely together and even think about something resembling ministry and have in the back of your mind thoughts of ‘jumping their bones.’ Let me put it to you this way. It’s not very smart to steam up the shower because then it’s hard to see yourself in the mirror.”

I thought it was a pretty cool answer. He just gazed at me, a bit confused–similar to the look my dog gave me when I first purchased a frisbee and suggested we play.

“Okay,” he said. “Just be good.” He turned on his heel and left.

The girls gave a cheer. I silenced them because I knew there was a chance he might return in the next ten minutes, to try to catch us in the first fruits of “hanky” or the throes of “panky.” When he didn’t return, we immediately addressed our hunger. We were starved and all we had left were eight Zesta saltines and three-quarters of a can of Tab. We hunted through the basement for any provisions. At length we found a large can of pork and beans and half a loaf of Wonder bread with six slices not yet sprouting any “green.” We also found a single burner with a frayed cord, which we carefully plugged in the wall so we could heat our beans. We warmed the beans, found a spoon, spread them over our bread, crumbled up crackers on top and had beans-and-cracker sandwiches. They were delicious. (Sometimes I think it’s important to actually reach the point of starvation so you can remember how good food really tastes.)

Dinner was over, and even though we tried to talk and giggle, we quickly grew sleepy. I let the girls have the only couch available. They nestled up, foot to head on either end, and I threw some old coats on the floor and prepared for a night’s sleep.

I couldn’t. Sleep, that is.

The girls were gone in moments, so I quietly rose to my feet, kind of inched my way through the dark to the staircase leading to the sanctuary. It was so quiet. It’s kind of half-spooky and half-heavenly to be in a church late at night. Reaching the sanctuary, I went to the piano and sat down. It was a little chilly so I shivered, placed my hands on the keys and gently played. I felt inspired; I felt empowered. Here I was, sitting in Nebraska in the middle of the night at a piano, doing what I wanted to do, free as a bird, literally full of beans.

I continued to play until a particular series of chords stirred a melody in my mind. I just sang the word, “Jesus,” over and over again, as the chords changed beneath me and the melody submitted to the revisions. I don’t know how long it took me, but soon I had written a new song. I was a little embarrassed because this new composition really only had two words–“Jesus” and “everything.” But it was so pretty. I wondered if I just thought it was pretty because the night was so dark, lonely and peaceful.

So since my eyes had adjusted, I ran down the stairs and woke the girls up, telling them I had a new song. To their credit, they were such troupers for the cause that they were overjoyed, climbed the stairs with me, and we sat in the dark that night, learning a new song together, all of us overwhelmed by the tranquility of the moment and nearly in tears over the simplicity of the melody.

Amazingly, six months later, with many blessings and hard knocks along the way, we found ourselves in a recording session in Hendersonville, Tennessee, at the House of Cash. It was time to record that song that had been written a half a year ago in that small church in Nebraska.

I turned to the girls and said, “What do you say we do it the way it really happened?”

They were a little confused until I reached over and turned off the light in our booth, and with the soundtrack playing in our ears, we joined hands together in the dark and sang that song we had written that night: Jesus Everything. It was so simple; so free of pretense, so completely out of the box from the normal fare of the day. It went on to be one of the most popular songs on our album, receiving air play all across the country.

But to me it will always be that moment of freedom when I climbed the stairs in an old, clapboard country church in Nebraska and let the words and music pour from my heart. Jesus. Everything.

The pastor would be happy to know that there was no fornicating in his church that evening. But we did have a threesome around his piano at his altar that produced some equally exciting results. We were young, we were free, we were creative … and we believed we had the ear of God.


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.


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.


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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