Taking a Decision … February 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

Palm of the Hand… March 24, 2013

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Breathlessly, the young tyke ran up to me, thrusting a palm branch in my face, screeching, “Come on! Join us!”

I took it from his hands as he quickly ran away and I watched his retreating form, wondering what it was like to be so young, energetic and completely overtaken by joy.

I was curious, which is the best I could do at my age. I had heard a lot about the young Nazarene preacher and even had a cousin who knew a friend who was acquainted with  a fellow who claimed to have been healed of leprosy by the mob-proclaimed miracle worker. My cousin was rather dubious about whether such a transformation had actually occurred, thinking perhaps it was merely one of those remissions common to the disease. Or perhaps a hysteria that had merely been exposed. But still … I was curious.

I was not one to become quickly duped or overtaken by fits of emotion or passing fancies. As I stared at the palm branch in my hand, I was suddenly surrounded by a horde of adoring folk, mostly women and young children, making their way down the road toward the gates of the city.

I decided to follow at a distance, to learn more. For after all, I had enough dissatisfaction in my soul to wander from the common, acceptable procedures, to peruse the thinkings and aspirations beyond the normal scope. I wasn’t normally a participant, but rather, a student. So on this day, I was out on a studious hike, to learn the ways of a crowd in the midst of an exciting journey into the big city.

Yet I was careful. Trooping along with them, I noticed that the religious leaders were standing at a distance, expressing their disapproval, some even scoffing. The Roman soldiers were less offended, but treated it as a lark, or, if you will, a bit of comic farce. It was a bit humorous. Peasants marching along with palm branches instead of swords, following a vagabond minister who was bouncing on a small donkey, unarmed, with a pleasant smile spread across his face. He was innocent, inane and dangerous, all at the same time.

I suddenly discovered myself lagging behind, careful not to appear as if I were part of the reverent masses. I gingerly fingered the palm branch so as to appear to be an observer rather than a worshipper.

I caught a glimpse of the young boy who had given me the present and had encouraged me to join the flock. He motioned for me to move forward and become part of the procession. I smiled at him–so beautifully youthful and idealistic. Yet my feet, which had begun to delay further motion, now completely stalled.

It seems I had decided. Let them parade without me.

I was curious–but just not enticed. And most definitely not prepared for the condemnation that might be awaiting these creatures of adoration when they reached the gates of the city.

Unsettling times–and certainly no season to take undue risk.

I turned on my heel and headed home. I stared down at the palm in my hand. I lifted it to my nose and smelled the pungent fragrance. And then … I let it fall to the ground.

The further I walked away the less I could hear, and the less I heard, the more distant it became in my consciousness. I made a decision.

Not today.

I would salve my curiosity in some other fashion. Maybe listen in on one of the young man’s talks. Maybe question some of his disciples on his stance on issues. Maybe wait for the religious leaders to draw their determinations and glean wisdom from their experience.

Or maybe just wait for the next time. Yes.  The next time.

I was nearly home when I concluded that the next time I saw the Galilean in the street, in the midst of such a jubilant march, I would join in.

I would be bold. I would grab my palm branch and in my own way, celebrate the moment.

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