Catchy (Sitting 20) Jail Jargon … October 29th, 2017

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Matthew was arrested.

The charge was obstruction of justice/interfering with the duties of a peace officer. He didn’t really care.

They finger-printed him, took his mug shot and he was escorted through two green, metallic doors into a holding area with a large L-shaped cell, occupied by about twenty or so people.

Matthew immediately noticed that all the detainees were sitting on one side of the cell and Jubal Carlos was on the other. He was a bit confused about the separation–until he was placed inside and came close to Jubal. Mr. Carlos explained that since his incarceration, he had refused to eat or bathe. He smelled like a rotten tomato at a manure factory. All the inmates had decided to leave him alone to literally stew in his own juices.

Jubal looked horrible–already gaunt, ashen, with a bit of sweat dripping from his brow. He was happy to see Matthew, though perplexed as to why he was gaining a partner.

“What happened?” Matthew asked.

Jubal drew a deep breath, looked around to make sure no one was listening and replied, “I don’t exactly know. I was down in the homeless area, passing out bologna and American cheese sandwiches, when I was suddenly surrounded by what looked like a battalion of policemen–clad in armor! I protested, so they added the charge of “resisting arrest” onto my indictment. They explained that a complaint has been levied against me by a woman from New York City, who was visiting in Vegas, and she said I accosted her, demanding donations for the street folk, and she felt threatened.”

Matthew squinted. He hadn’t known Jubal very long, but the chance that this pacifist had stirred up a sea of violence seemed highly unlikely. Something was obviously going on. He paused, trying to figure out whether he should assimilate into the scene along with Jubal, or share the vision he had for taking Jesus to the streets.

Instead, Matthew opted to ask for his phone call. He chose to dial up Jo-Jay. She was once again right on top of matters, and had a lot more information than Matthew.

She explained that Prophet Morgan had gone off to the blackjack tables for his yearly fund-raising campaign for an orphanage he funded in Honduras. Sister Rolinda was in the streets of Las Vegas, passing out condoms to the prostitutes, Soos was already on her way to the Clark County Jail, having picked up through the grapevine that Jubal was in there and assuming that Matthew would not be far behind.

Matthew gave Jo-Jay one instruction. “Find out the source of the arrest of Jubal Carlos.”

She jumped on the opportunity. No question or doubt. What a dynamic lady she was. It would have been so easy to whine–discontent over such an ill-defined mission. Instead, she decided to learn as she went and hope for the best.

As soon as he hung up the phone, one of his jailers told him he had a visitor. It was Soos. Matthew was confused by Soos’s appearance–she was limping and had what appeared to be a colostomy bag hanging from her side.

“What the…?” Matthew wasn’t able to finish his thought before Soos grabbed his arm and guided him back toward the clink. Being placed safe inside again, the keeper of the crooks brought Soos a chair so she could be comfortable during her visit with Matthew.

Matthew continued to stare at Soos in disbelief. “What the hell is going on?”

Soos motioned for him to be quiet, whispering, “I found out they wouldn’t let anybody see you or Jubal, here, unless it was a relative or an emergency, so I told them I was your sister and I was on my way to have an operation to be further disemboweled for my cancer treatment.”

Matthew gasped. “You what?”

Soos continued. “Figuring they would need to see some evidence of my condition, I went to the medical supply house, picked up this colostomy bag and some other contraptions that made me look real endangered.”

Matthew shook his head and Jubal chuckled.

“Don’t encourage her,” Matthew said to Jubal.

Jubal reached through the bars, took her hand and shook it. “Brilliant, my dear.”

Soos looked Jubal in the eye. “Thank you. Do you know how bad you smell?”

Jubal laughed. “No…but thank you for making me aware.”

Matthew began to explain the situation to Soos, but she stopped him. “I only have ten minutes. That gives you five minutes to tell Jubal what we’re trying to do with this campaign, and five minutes for me to take the I-Phone I snuck past the guards in my colostomy bag, so I can make a video of Jubal and put it on the Internet, and see if we can’t get him out of here.”

Matthew was speechless, dazzled.

Soos went on. “Oh, you’re such a man. I don’t have time to explain the details to you. Just trust me. Let me tell Jubal. Here’s the way it is, Mr. Carlos. We’re trying to get Jesus popular again, and we thought the best way to do that was to get you to travel around the country, in character, playing the part and the heart of Jesus, so that once again there would be a visual for the young people, and in so doing, the same controversy, presence, and maybe power, would be generated.”

Matthew tried to interject but Jubal touched his arm and silenced him.
“You explained that so well,” he said to Soos. “It would have taken my brother here two hours to do that. I don’t know if I want to be Jesus or not, but I would like to get out of here, eat a nice steak and take a shower.”

Soos, tipping her head back to avoid the odor, agreed. “We think that would be a good thing, too.”

“So what do you want me to do?” asked Jubal.

Matthew started to give stage direction. Soos interrupted. “Listen, Mattie Boy, I’m on a roll, so let me handle this.”

Matthew felt it was a poor time to have a business argument in the Clark County Jail. He submitted.

Soos paused, thinking, then looked at Jubal and said, “I want you to be Jesus, and I want you to tell people what Jesus would feel about being in the Clark County Jail, accused of a crime he did not commit.”

Jubal crinkled his brow, then bowed his head. After about fifteen seconds, he lifted it up and spoke to Soos. “I think I’m ready.”

She cautiously removed her phone from the bag and pointed it in his direction. “Action.”

Jubal began. “I was in prison, and you visited me. I am in prison, and I’m so lonely. I do not know what I’ve done wrong. I have tried to love people–and they told me these folks were not lovable. I passed out a bologna sandwich, and was informed I was disturbing the peace. I’ve tried to bring my music to the world. I have brought the rhythm of joy, and now I find myself quite alone–without anyone to be my champion. I’m not afraid. I’m not sad. I haven’t given up on anything I believe. And if I’m supposed to stay in here until my sentence is completed, then praise God. But if I could get out, I would do even more. I would climb a housetop and shout. I would find an injustice and expose it. And I would find ways to sprinkle hope and faith on everything I see. My name is Jubal Carlos. There’s nothing special about me except whatever I can do special to bless others.”

He bowed his head again.

Matthew was in tears.

Soos smiled. “That’s a wrap,” she said. “Now let me get to work.”Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

 

New Names… April 8, 2013

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Not that anyone will particularly care, nor will the 24-hour news cycle lift an eyebrow in my direction, but I have decided to rename the political parties in this country based upon their impervious natures and status of performance. So in my world, henceforth now and forever, the Republicans will be known as the REDOlicans and the Democrats shall be refered to as the DUNNOcrats.
Perhaps an explanation is in order. I shall be brief.
Since the Republicans seem to pine for a time in the past when things were better, and they yearn to restore a former way of living, I have selected to acknowledge them as the party of REDO. I’m not certain whether they want Eisenhower back in office, or Ronald Reagan, but most of them certainly would not favor Richard Nixon.  In their minds, they have captured from their childhoods memories of a previous era when things were simpler, the government was less complicated, taxes were lower and men were men and women made really delicious noodle dishes. They are Redolicans. They are convinced that a journey back in time will actually thrust us forward in the holy pursuit of our morality.
On the other hand, the Democrats, who always want to espouse high-sounding ideals and concerns for the less fortunate, when given the opportunity to come up with an idea or manifest a program which might lend itself to some practical assistance for the causes they trumpet, seem to always end up with, “Dunno. I don’t know what to do.” It is much easier for them to blame those ignorant, backwoods Redolicans for insisting on nostalgia instead of dealing with the signs of our times and the nature of our culture.
So when you get a Redolican and a Dunnocrat in the same room, discussing the future of the American people, you have a climate of piety over self-righteous causes mingled with a sense of intellectual superiority, with no real ideas on how to balance the pursuit of the common good and happiness.
No wonder our country is in a stalemate and the American people constantly feel violated by leaders with fumbling hands and lustful desires.
So you can feel free to tout either of these political parties as better than the other, but I must remind you that being better requires a fruitful conclusion. Yes, “by their fruits you will know them.”

For the Redolicans, it often is the inclusion of a certain magical percentage of the population to the ignoring of  others, and for the Dunnocrats, it’s a theory of inclusion with absolutely no absorption.

On the other hand, for me–I met some real people yesterday. There were so many wonderful folks at Friedens with delightful stories that it would take many jonathots to tote their tales.

Let me sum it up by describing the woman in her eighties, who went on a missionary trip to Honduras on her own, to seek some adventure and help people.

And then there was the twenty-four-year young gent who was so concerned about his generation becoming cynical and unfeeling that he shared his heart with me openly, with a budding faith still in his spirit that things could become better.

Neither one of them were Redolicans or Dunnocrats. Instead, they just looked at what they had in their hands and tried to do something with it.

That is what I call being a patriot.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

The Garden of Gethsame (Lutheran) … July 2nd, 2012

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Right there in the middle.

Yes–stuck directly in the center of the word “tradition” is “it.”

I don’t mind people who honor tradition. Matter of fact, yesterday morning I was honored and privileged to be granted an audience in front of a traditional Lutheran congregation. Such confinements and constrictions don’t concern me at all–that is, as long as they get “it.”

Yes, if people will admit that their preferences in style, music and procedure have very little to do with truth and they are still able to unearth the true mission of the heart of Jesus, I couldn’t care less if they do it with a tambourine or a pipe organ.

But you have to get “it.” First of all, you have to understand that if you name your church Gethsemane Lutheran, you are acknowledging that your particular work is built on the concept of one of the greatest conflicts between mankind’s ignorance and God’s mercy. The Garden of Gethsemane was where tradition that DIDN’T get “it” decided to arrest, try and kill the messenger of the ultimate expression of love. It is also the location where miraculously and most wonderfully, a human being stepped away from convenience and humbly prayed, “Not my will, Lord. Yours be done.”

So the name itself–Gethsemane Lutheran–carries with it a tremendous responsibility. We need to understand that we must not crucify Christ again, like the stubborn religious leaders of the past, and instead learn from him the simplicity of seeking out an ultimate good in the midst of present chaos.

I saw great hope for that yesterday–people coming out of the service having the wisdom and intuitive power to distinguish between liturgical practice and down-to-earth, Godly commonsense.

For instance, I love the man who walked up to me and said that he wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper, citing that in America there is no absence of jobs, it’s just that people often don’t want to take the employment because the positions available have not been given value, and therefore they know that they, themselves, will be disrespected for faithfully working. It was an inspired notion. It caused me to think about the motel maids, the waiters and waitresses and the maintenance men that I meet every week. What would I do without them? What tremendous service they offer to us! Yet they are often relegated to the status of secondary citizens and taken for granted as being merely “common laborers.” How brilliant, my brother. Yes, we need to learn to value what people do–and in that action, create and continue an ongoing value for one another.

I listened as men and women came to my table and shared their stories–one having a background in theater, desiring to bring that creative essence into the worship experience; another, a transplant from the Eastern seaboard, who possessed a wealth of history, knowledge and humor in his pursuit of the Christ walk; a leader of the worship service, who came with an open heart instead of feeling the need to sprout some suspicion over the newly arrived strangers; a musician who gave us place and honor to present our own tunefulness with her support; a wonderful, caring woman who presented us with delicious fruit to refresh us between the programs; teenagers, sparked with enthusiasm, picking up our pieces of equipment and carryuing them to our van, lightening our load; and a lady whose heart had been broken many times, but still brought the pieces to Janet, with the aspiration of receiving restoration.

I had no problem with the tradition of Gethsemane, because they get “it.” And what IS “it?”

1. You can’t follow Jesus without occasionally offending some Pharisees. If every stiff-necked, religious fanatic bound by church stuffiness is pleased with you, you probably aren’t doing enough. Truth offends liars. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can be gentle; you can be caring and you can be open, but if you’re going to share Jesus, you will offend some Pharisees.

2. If you’re going to follow Jesus and get “it,” you’re going to believe that NoOne is better than anyone else. “Whosoever will may come” does not allow for secondary prejudice. Even in our cynical world, which would deem such innocent doctrine impractical, we must continue to believe that “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

3. The only thing sacred in churches are the people. As Jesus so eloquently stated it,Man was not made for the Sabbath; the Sabbath was made for man.” We’re not having church if everyone is going through the motions and no one’s being touched in the emotions.

4. To follow Jesus is to understand that the spirit blows where it wants to blow, and nothing will be identical from week to week. You may feel free to have a favorite hymn, but you also must be prepared, if you’re going to walk in the Kingdom of God, to hear a new song.

5. Jesus is not here to please the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance. By the way, that’s HIS quote. If we find ourselves trying to appease those who are already in the rank and file, we will also find ourselves displeasing to the one who was interested in seeking the lost.

6. Nothing is done without good cheer and the pursuit of happiness. Jesus gave us one mission–to be of good cheer. He also told us that our goal is happiness. If your belief is that your faith is going to produce more pain than joy, then you probably should shift teams. It is our job to find good cheer in everything we do, and always be on the lookout for reasons to inspire happiness in ourselves and others. It’s just part of getting “it.”

7. And finally, if you’re going to follow Jesus, you’ll understand that the Kingdom of God is within people, not institutions, ideas, dogmas or rituals. In other words, if what we’re doing is actually making people more cheerful, happy and enriching their lives, then continue. If it isn’t, revise the plan until some “joy comes in the morning.”

After having the delectable experience of being with my Gethsemane brothers and sisters, who were traditional but still got “it,”, I ended my day back at my motel, taking a dip in the swimming pool. I was surrounded by other folks who were trying to escape the St. Louis heat wave. There was a family from Iowa and two young men from Honduras. The young men were a little suspicious of Janet and myself when we got into the pool, because, I guess, we look a little older–and very white. But I flashed them a smile, and moments later they leapt into the pool and struck up a conversation with us. After finishing my first encounter with these two fine, young gents, I then talked to the family from Iowa. Lo and behold, when I finished that conversation, I was once again engaged by my two Honduran brothers, who explained how overjoyed they were that Janet and I were so friendly, because they had been working construction in town and had been “cussed out” by some of the locals because of their Hispanic roots. They worked very hard to understand my accent, as I did due diligence for theirs–but the end result was giddy communication, tenderness and the knowledge that “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

My family from Iowa peered over at us curiously as we conversed with Carlo and Jose. I often think that the problem is not that people are prejudiced–just that they’re afraid. I noticed moments later that the Iowa daddy made an attempt to talk to one of the Honduran workers. It was beautiful. It was what Jesus would want.

Shoot, forget Jesus for a minute. It’s what I wanted. I don’t want to be someone stuck in my “white bread tradition,” unable to carry on a conversation with two hardworking Honduran boys. I also want to be able to communicate with the good friends from Iowa. I want it all. And the only person who gives me the ability to do that is my mentor.

His name is Jesus. And he was the first one to get “it.”

   

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