Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … November 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

The following conversation is a bit of stagecraft conceived in the mind and heart of this author. It was not an actual event, but rather, a speculation on a possibility based upon existing information, tendencies and personalities.

Man: I was surprised you took my call.

 

Woman: Why would you be surprised?

 

Man: I thought you might be a little afraid to talk with me.

 

Woman: Why would that be?

 

Man: Well, since we’ve been at each other’s throats for the past six months, I figured you might be a little terrified to have this private conversation.

 

Woman: You see, that’s your problem. You think I’m a woman and therefore incapable of mustering the courage to handle the everyday situations that come to all of us no matter what our gender may be.

 

Man: No, I don’t feel that. I just see weaknesses in your character, which I plan to exploit to get what I want.

 

Woman: Well, I guess I can say at least you’re honest about your dishonesty.

 

Man: Where am I dishonest?

 

Woman: I wouldn’t know where to start. Your portrayal other humans, your disrespect for women, your bombastic and arrogant approach and your loose handling of the facts.

 

Man: I just believe in winning. Because until you win, you don’t control anything. Losers don’t even get a vote. I see you as a danger to our country. I see the administration you had with your husband as bringing disgrace to the Presidency, and I’m fully aware that most people don’t like you and by the way–no one has hired me to be your public relations agent.

 

Woman: That’s fascinating. Because I see you as dangerous. I see you as having a mouth minus the intuition to know how dangerous words can become–especially when you’re crossing international borders and dealing with grouchy cultures. I have made my mistakes, but at least I’ve been somewhere–where I was able to make the mistakes and learn from them.

 

Man: I don’t like mistakes. I don’t like making them and I certainly don’t like admitting them. But it’s not because I’m prideful–it’s because in the business world–or let us say, the real world–showing weakness is opening the door to disaster. I believe you to be weak. I believe your ideas weaken our nation. And I’m not so certain that you can stand on your own and separate yourself from the crowd, and make quality decisions without being influenced by people who have already proven themselves to be anemic.

 

Woman: Why do you hate women?

 

Man: I don’t hate women. I love women. I just don’t think they’re magical. I don’t want to lift them up, but instead, would love to see them fight back. If they’re equal, then they should have to prove they are. It shouldn’t be a gift. We shouldn’t try to bring down the standards just so women can pretend they can compete. So what I do is I make things strong enough for a man. Then if a woman can measure up, great. If she can’t, she–or in this case, you–need to be exposed for having willingness with no power.

 

Woman: But there is a danger of having the assumption of power without having the willingness to be merciful, kind and tender.

 

Man: We’ve got preachers and nuns to do that. It’s not up to the President of the United States to become a missionary. Your desire to reach out to people may be interesting but if there isn’t a climate of peace, prosperity and strength, it will never be accomplished, because all the bad guys will be whipping your ass.

 

Woman: We just don’t agree on this.

 

Man: No, you just don’t want to accept the way things are. You see, you’ve lied. I lie, too. But what I lie about doesn’t matter that much. When you lied, because you had a position of authority, people got hurt. People got frustrated. And now they’re mad as hell and they’re just not going to take it anymore.

 

Woman: So you think you’re going to win this?

 

Man: No. I think you’re going to lose it. I think you’re going to cling to all your loyalties, to your husband and the President and be swept away because you don’t have one goddamn fresh idea of your own.

 

Woman: You see, ideas are meaningless if they don’t make things better. And those ideas take us back to a time when the status of your bank account and the color of your skin thrust you to the front of the line.

 

Man: There wouldn’t be a front of the line unless we needed a front of the line. Somebody has to lead. If you think there’s racism in this country, you won’t solve the problem simply by putting black people in charge of things. People need to get used to things instead of having them forced on them. Maybe gay people should marry, but you didn’t leave that up to the folks. You would never let them vote on it. You just decided for them. And they will get even with you.

 

Woman: There you go. Threatening. You don’t have a campaign. You have a series of ultimatums and doomsday proclamations. Even if I didn’t want to be President, I’d have to run just to stop you.

 

Man: You can’t stop me because the people don’t want you. They don’t want four more years of the same stuff–where they have no say and are made to feel ignorant because they disagree with a bunch of liberals hanging out in country clubs.

 

Woman: So was this the purpose for your call? Are you trying to get me to give up?

 

Man: No. This is my way of apologizing. It isn’t standard. I’m apologizing because I have to destroy you to do what’s right for this country.

 

Woman: And I suppose that means you expect me to destroy you to win the title.

 

Man: You saw Rocky, didn’t you? That’s the way it’s done.

 

Woman: You see, Donald, that’s your problem. You think all of this is a Hollywood movie instead of the life and death of our future.

 

Man: And you, Hillary, think anyone would really care about any of this stuff if it isn’t entertainment.

 

Woman: Shall I say thanks for the call?

 

Man: You’re welcome. And may the best man win.

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Good News and Better News … October 24th, 2016

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good-news-plainwell-stage

Yesterday when I arrived at the First United Methodist Church of Plainwell, Michigan, a gentleman asked me, “So, what do you think about the 2016 Presidential election?”

I replied, “It’s like going to the grocery store to get some steak and finding out they’ve only got baloney.”

Yes. The campaign is just “cold cuts.”

So it’s very important that when we come to church, we give those who have chosen to attend a “people experience”–full of emotion, joy, humor and inspiration–because they certainly are not going to get it on MSNBC, CNN or Fox News. Likewise, neither Donald nor Hillary are motivated to edify people.

My Plainwell experience began the day before when I arrived for setup, and was delighted to meet Pastor Kathy and Sue, who generously afforded us their efforts, hospitality and gentleness. They were absolutely inspiring human beings who just happened to be women.

Therefore, when Sunday rolled around, my heart was full, and I wanted to ensure that everyone I met was aware that even though the world is full of tribulation, this is our season to “be of good cheer.”

good-news-plainwell-cup-and-spoonHowever, serving up good cheer demands that you portion things off in the right units. Otherwise, the recipe doesn’t taste quite right.

For instance, I do think we need a tablespoon of Bible–as long as it’s mingled with a cup of mercy.

How about a tablespoon of prayer, with a cup of helping out?

You can have a handful of church if you throw in a bunch of kindness.

I would welcome a teaspoon of preaching mingled with a quart of living.

I think you can have a cup of worship if you stir in a gallon of joy.

I suppose I could stand a pinch of study, if it will motivate a dash of discovery.

And certainly feel free to throw in a tablespoon of faith–as long as you realize it functions best with a cup full of effort.

The Gospel works because it is suited to people.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us to find the gaps in the world, and instead of being angry about them, fill them:

  • Life is rather tasteless, so bring your salt.
  • Things get pretty dark, so make sure you light it up.
  • Most people demand–learn to ask.
  • Lots of folks blame. Jesus suggests that we seek.
  • And of course, it’s very common to stand on the outside and feel cheated, but Jesus insists that it’s more fulfilling to knock on the door.

We had a fabulous time yesterday in Plainwell.

We laughed, cried, snickered, snorted, watched, listened and embraced. It was a human event–which means it gave God glory, since He was the One who came up with the idea of humanity in the first place.

So the good news is, church is a great remedy for politics.

And the better news is, the more people-friendly church becomes, the more people will be drawn to it.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … October 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3102)

Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I was thinking about Donald Trump.

 

Woman: What a coincidence. Because I was thinking about Hillary. What brought Donald to your mind?

 

Man: There’s such an uproar about him and the things he says. I was just wondering…well, I guess, wishing I would have had the chance to know him when he was young.

 

Woman: That’s so weird. I was thinking the same about Hillary. Yes, I would love to have had a chance to know her before there was a Bill Clinton, or all this political barbed wire that tries to cage her up as a villain.

 

Man: What I was thinking about is that when we’re young, there are three things that happen to all of us, in some form, that shape us. Three things that expose us to everyone around us, and we develop our sense of security or frustration.

 

Woman: That’s interesting. What are the three things?

 

Man: Well, you can probably think of your own, but I find the three things to be the locker room, camp and dating. That’s when we are suddenly taken out of the comfort of our zone, and we fall under the scrutiny of other people’s judgment.

 

Woman: Wow. That’s heavy. So I guess what I’m saying is that I would like to have met Hillary in the locker room.

 

Man: Now, that does sound a little bit odd.

 

Woman: No more odd than you wanting to meet Donald in the locker room.

 

Man: So what would you have said to Hillary?

 

Woman: “Relax. Some people look more endowed, more blessed, more athletic, but in the long run, it all comes to the surface and they are less advantaged in other areas. Don’t try to be the prettiest and the best or feel cheated because you aren’t.”

 

Man: Exactly. “Donald, stop worrying about your hands, or anything else that protrudes from your body. Just realize that you have gifts and they will come to the forefront when it’s time.”

 

Woman: Do you think he learned to be a bully in the locker room?

 

Man: Do you think she acquired some of her insecurity there?

 

Woman: Camp–the first time the lights are turned off in the cabin, and you’re with a group of girls and you can talk about what scares you, why you think your hips are too big and who you really like…

 

Man: Yes, I wonder if Donald ever actually sat in a log cabin somewhere in the woods with a bunch of guys who were at ease, and truth started slipping out because the room was just dark enough that you’re not afraid about how you sound.

 

Woman: You can tell by the fact that these two people choose lying lying that they were horribly misinformed about life.

 

Man: It is the truth that makes us free. But to allow for that freedom, we need to at least be around someone who allows the truth to come forth without criticizing us.

 

Woman: And then there’s dating. Isn’t that the third thing you mentioned?

 

Man: Absolutely. It’s terrifying.

 

Woman: Why do you think it’s so terrifying? Let me answer my own question. For me, it brought every fear and inadequacy to the forefront–like I was certain the person I was going out with was completely aware of all the stubble hair in my armpits.

 

Man: Could you ever eat enough Tic-Tacs to be confident about your breath? So what would you tell Hillary about that?

 

Woman: I would say, “Hillary, you’re going to meet a lot of men you’re going to love and who would be willing to love you. But you won’t meet many who give you a love that you can trust in.”

 

Man: I would say to Donald, “Even though you grew up in a neighborhood with a family which felt that bullying, being forceful and mean was viable, the best way to prove your strength is to not use it all the time. It’s all right to lose as long as you learn from it, and it’s certainly necessary to apologize if you want to be forgiven.”

 

Woman: I would love to have known Hillary when she was young. I would love to have caught her before she ended up with a cheater, believing it was the best she could get.

 

Man: And I would love to have known Donald when he still had a chance to believe in the power of kindness mingled with ingenuity instead of trying to control through domination.

 

Woman: Too bad we weren’t there.

 

Man: Actually, I’m grateful there was someone there for me so I don’t have to constantly prove my masculinity by pushing my way through.

 

Woman: And I’m glad that I feel confident in myself, and just include others for the joy of it instead of the need.

 

Man: Do you think we really could have made a difference?

 

Woman: Probably not. We were just learning the stuff ourselves.

 

Man: Maybe we can just help the young Donalds and Hillarys around us, who have not yet decided to give up and use deceit instead of talent.

 

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G-Poppers … October 14th, 2016

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Jon close up

Seduced by a warming sun, G-Pop drifts into the arms of a gentle sleep. He dreams–a vision of a scantily clad, ragged man, racing from a burning woodlands–frantic, screaming as he nears.

Follow the angry man

He seems to have a plan

“Who is he?” demanded G-Pop.

Like a burning star

He’ll take you very far

“What’s the plan?”

The frenetic announcer arrives, stopping short of overtaking G-Pop. He nervously bounces from one foot to another, continuing his proclamation.

Listen to his voice

Make the raging choice

She is a liar

Send her to the fire

“Who is she?” inquired G-Pop.

Trust his common way

Listen to what they say

What the hell

He lets us yell

Oh heavenly elation

He can save our nation

But boys need toys

To get their joys

“Who are the boys?”

The man grows weaker, slumping to his knees, but continues his speech.

He isn’t the son of meek

He is what you seek

“Where does he come from?” pleaded G-Pop.

He laughs at the truth

Offering no lasting proof

“I need truth.”

You are his child

Needy and so mild

“I am not a child,” objected G-Pop.

Counting your vote

Not the sheep, choose the goat

The stranger collapsed into a heap of exhaustion. G-Pop knelt by his side and said, “I am so confused.”

Breathlessly the depleted soul answered.

He is more exciting

He is ready for fighting

“I hate war.”

You need his power

For such an hour

Come join him in his tower

Suddenly the intruder melted into a puddle of oily slime. G-Pop lurched back in horror and said:

“I have to go.

This scares me.

I want to feel good.

I want to do good.

I want to love again.”

All at once, G-Pop was released from his dream … to awaken to the nightmare.

 

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Ask Jonathots… September 13th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

I have some very intelligent conservative friends, but they seem like they will give up all logic concerning this election. Why will they give up their logic just to see their candidate prevail?

During a very brief period of deprivation, I ended up living on a farm with a fine gentleman who generously afforded me a chance to regain my feet.

I was grateful for the mercy. I wanted to help.

One day I asked him if there was anything I could do, and he led me over to some firewood. He requested that I stack it up against the side of the house. I agreed.

I had never done this before. So when I came to the side of the house, I saw two wooden planks on the ground, and thinking they were castaways, I removed them so I could place the wood in neat piles. Try as I might, I could never get the wood to stack correctly, and every time I thought I had figured out the right angles, it would slide down and fall to the side. I worked on it for three hours but made little progress.

When my benefactor returned, he asked me where the boards were that were supposed to be lying on the ground near the house. I explained I had removed them because I thought they were unnecessary. He laughed.

He said, “You need the two boards down on the ground. Otherwise the wood won’t stack right. The ground is too uncertain to keep things straight.”

Such is the case in this election year.

In an attempt to stack up ideas, goals, agendas and proposals, we have removed the planks that make everything work.

Very good people have ignored their basic truths in an attempt to elect their candidate. But you see, when you remove the boards–the principles and abiding notions of humanity–the ideas just don’t stack up.

I do not know what your planks of principle may be. I only have two:

  • No one is better than anyone else.
  • Don’t judge.

When I lay those down as the foundation for my thinking, my ideas and opportunities begin to stack up better. If I remove them, I find myself becoming too partisan, selfish, self-righteous and unfortunately ignorant.

Your conservative friends, just like your liberal ones, have decided to ignore the fallacies of both candidates. Why? Because they foolishly believe that the end justifies the means.

In an attempt to appoint Supreme Court justices, secure the borders or even promote the overuse of entitlement, they have abandoned the planks.

So my best advice in handling these last days leading up to the election is for each and every one of us to find our planks of purpose again, and then stack up these candidates in relationship to them.

For me, I would have to ask which candidate is the least offensive to “no one is better than anyone else” and “don’t judge.”

Based upon that decision, I would make my selection.

So when you talk to your friends–be they conservative or liberal–start the discussion by asking them what are the two greatest planks of their principles.

Then stack the wood accordingly.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … October 12th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-wordpecker

 Wordy Wordpecker

Word nerd absurd

Mystify clarify justify

Offend defend pretend

Verse curse worse

Must lust loss of trust

Slam damn thank you ma’am

Queer fear cheer

Almighty righty flighty

Lie lying liar

Spin sin win

Be male email female

Tote vote goat

Smile style wile

Mad sad bad

Bloke joke folk

Cheat elite feat

Try why cry

Fling ching sting

Hate trait fate

Old sold mold

Breach leech preach

Hair flair scare

Frown clown down

Smirk lurk jerk

Take make fake

Annoy employ destroy

Hill Bill chill

Don Juan con

Alphabet soup with crackers

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Good News and Better News … October 10th, 2016

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good-news-holly-sign-facesWhether you’re promoting the idea that Mexicans are rapists or insisting that your political opponents should be stuffed in a basket labeled “deplorables,” you have basically failed to recognize the central meteoric truth of life on Planet Earth:

Our human journey is about getting along with humans.

The ministry of Jesus is capsulized in how we treat others. Also, our relationship with God is determined by how well we welcome those who have been deemed worthless.

When I arrived at the Holly Calvary Church to meet the energetic and engaged Pastor Cliff and his congregation, I was fully aware that nothing I have to share has any value if I am a grump.

Yes.

  • I am my Gospel.
  • I am my message.
  • My facial expression is what I think God feels about people.

And my attitude is certainly my theology.

During one of the prayers, a word came to my mind: exceedingly.

good-news-holly-sign-namesLooking back on the past week in America, there have been people who are exceedingly mad. They want to get even. They want to hurt somebody. Their energy is fueled by fury.

There are people who are exceedingly sad. They’ve given up. They’ve decided to settle. Despair has become their cry for retreat.

What we desperately need–and what I shared with the good folks in Holly–is the message of Jesus: rejoice and be exceedingly glad.

What does that mean? Why isn’t “glad” enough? Why does it need to be “exceedingly?”

Because mad and sad people try to cover up their true motivations with missions which seem to be legitimate. So if our gladness doesn’t spill out of us like cold water from melted mountain snow, then it will be difficult to set ourselves apart from those who snarl and sigh.

Pastor Cliff is encouraging his church to get back to the Word of God. I agree. That “Word” is personified in the lifestyle of Jesus. He is the Word. And he wants us to be glad.

How do we know when we’re being glad?

  1. We decide to love everybody even if it seems ridiculous.
  2. We refuse to judge anybody even if it appears necessary.
  3. We determine to help everybody find their abundant life.

I truly believe if the absolutely amazing individuals I met yesterday in Holly will generate love, stop judging and aid their brothers and sisters in finding life, which is grounded in the Word, they can also be free of religious chains.

That’s the good news.

The better news is that “exceedingly glad” does come with the additional benefit of personal smiles and inner joy.

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