Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)

Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog


Sitting Seventeen

The desert has little to offer—mainly the presence of persistence.

After Karin left Iz and Pal, they were suddenly overtaken by the sleep of exhaustion—just two boys, lying flat on their backs in the ragged remains of a tent, deeply asleep, overcome by worry and woe, welcoming the needed rest, yet nervous about the pending dreams.

And there were dreams.

Iz floated, his body upheld in a liquidy glue of moisture, suspended a few meters above his family’s home. He tried to flip himself over, to look into the windows and see Pada, but he was held down, some force holding his arms, squeezing his legs, forbidding movement. Then it was as if the glue became thicker and oozed around his nostrils, threatening to suffocate the life from him. Struggling, he loosened himself and fell, landing on the roof of his home, hearing the crack of a bone in his right leg.

Voices ascended to the rooftop where he was impaled, writhing in pain. They were mentioning his name. It was “Jubal this” and “Jubal that.” Nothing he could actually discern, nor words that were perceptible. More an angry, disapproving tone.

He was in pain. Then, all the bones in his body started to break, one by one. Gradually the agony was displaced by oblivion. He melted like a piece of ice on a hot summer’s day, his body dribbling down the walls, through the window, pooling in a puddle on the floor of his home. It seemed he was all there—eyes, nose, hands, ears. But each part separated—a toe where an ear should be, a mouth replacing a knee. Gleaming, watery, flat against the ground, he was trying to see, attempting to find Pada.

Then there was a sound—a whoosh of a broom. Dust flew around his puddle of life. He choked—coughing, wheezing. The broom was sweeping him, pushing him toward the door. He splattered down the steps of his home, gushing his life away and landed on the bottom step in a splat—but somehow, once again, whole. Free of all broken bones and molten flesh.

Iz tried to stand but could not. Instead he walked backward on his hands like a crab, reconnoitering his way into the street, which was busy with cars and buses. Yet no one saw him. No one noticed the crab boy creeping along. All at once, a giant hand wearing a yellow shirt-sleeve reached down and picked him up by his right arm, yanking him into the air and placing him at the gate of what appeared to be a great shining city—an ancient site. There was carvings of gold and statues of granite and cedar. He did not know any of the figures, just that they were large, massive and overwhelming.

The gate suddenly opened, and he heard laughter. No—giggling. It was much younger. Free, absent of trouble, broken bones and gelatin flesh. Then a dog, barking at the gate, and men with beards who came and packed him up, carrying him into the city, as a beautiful woman with long, black hair stepped forward and kissed him. It was not the smooch of a sister, but rather, the caress of a friend who would be a lover or at least as much as a twelve-year-old mind could conjure.

He was giddy with the sights and sounds. He was stimulated even more by the woman’s lips. The bearded men carried him on to a huge castle, where he entered the portals and seemed to disappear forever more.

Iz awoke with a start. It was nighttime.

There was a single candle lit, and Pal sat in the shadows, staring at him. “Did you have a dream?” he asked.

Iz was not sure whether he was awake, or if this was part of the continuing saga.

Pal spoke again. “I had a dream.”

Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation for this inspirational opportunity 

Cracked 5 … September 12th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog


cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Things You Do Not Want to Do During a Hurricane Party

A. Use up all the ice and then insist you “did not know.”


B. Start a romance. (You’ll be out in a couple of days and in your right mind.)


C. Tell hurricane damage stories.


D. Win at every board game and make people hate you.


E. Actually party.



Donate Button

Three Ways to Be Thankful… November 27, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Thanks bigger

The ice has already been placed in glasses and is beginning to melt. Very soon the meticulous preparation–hours and hours of harvested treats–will be consumed in mere minutes.

They have asked me to lead in a moment of grace, thankfulness and prayer. I agreed.

I must be brief. Concise but precise.

I must be able to articulate, in a few seconds, the sentiment of gratitude for an entire year. Though a formidable task, a most necessary one.

So let me begin by saying:

“Dear God, I didn’t want to come this year.”

Nothing can be achieved in life without first being honest. I was feeling sorry for myself. The family I spawned, nurtured and raised from my passion is now spread out and far away. Worse than feeling disconnected from them, I have begun to feel useless.

I was once the “King Bee”–the center of attention and the source of the buzzing in a bustling nest. But now, due to the necessity of time and purpose, they have moved on to have their own families, dreams and aspirations.

I didn’t want to come because I was feeling vacant of value. For after all, a pity party is not only poorly attended, but also never gets much return business.

But here’s what I’m grateful for:

I didn’t miss it.

I’m here with as many bells as I could fasten on with short notice.

I’m here to play my role.

I’m here to be the aging patriarch who refuses to crawl into the mountains to die.

I didn’t miss it.

Thank you, God.

My second gratitude is that I won’t abandon principle.

Although the world around me persists in pursuing courses which have historically proven to be foolhardy, I will hold fast to a few pearls of great price and sell all I have to possess them.

This I know: the difference between an opinion and a principle is that an opinion only benefits me, and a principle provides for you.

So I will not kill, I will not steal and I will not destroy.

Although the world around me is feverishly involved in these practices, I won’t.

Thank you, God.

And finally (as I peek over to make sure the ice has not melted into water) I say, “I can’t.”

I can’t stop.

It’s important for me to accept the progress of these loved ones, as they continue at their own pace and rate of understanding. But because I want my grandchildren to live in a world that still honors truth, values justice without being cynical about it and has a desire to pursue excellence, I will continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness, saying, ‘Prepare ye the way’… well, prepare the way for You.

  • I didn’t miss it.
  • I won’t abandon principle.
  • I can’t stop.

So therefore, for the hands that have prepared the meal, much thanks.

For those who have gathered, how generous of them to provide their energy and time.

And for me–I am here for those I love until they finally carry me away.


Thanks for giving.

We appreciate it.


Donate Button

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

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


Check out Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories’Til Christmas

The Best Christmas Stories You’ll Ever Read!

Click on Santa to browse "Mr. Kringle's Tales ... 26 Stories Til Christmas"

Click on Santa to browse “Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories Til Christmas”

It’s Me… February 26, 2013


opossumI just stepped out for fifteen minutes to go get ice, chips and dip during one of those frenzied moments when you realize that you just can’t live without them.

My two sons, one twelve and one seven, were settled in, watching a TV show, so I felt fairly confident that I could leave, pick up my supplies from the local convenience store and be back before they even broke the trance, staring at the magic screen. I told my oldest boy that I was going to the store.

Upon arrival, I was not in the establishment for even two minutes, browsing, when a young man at the cashier stand called, “Is there a Mr. Cring here?”

Keep in mind–these were the days before cell phones, so it seems that my oldest son had tracked down the name of this store and called, apparently in desperation, to get hold of his dad. I picked up the phone and was assaulted with a nervous, excited and frightened jabber. Through the spurts I was able to figure out that my guy thought there was somebody at the back door, trying to get in the house.

Obviously, I was alarmed. I told him to lock the door and ran out of the convenience store (sans supplies). I drove to the house, parked the car and came around to the back door, where my son had heard the noise. There on the doorstep, banging its nose against the door for some inexplicable reason, was what seemed to be a very angry opossum, with some sort of bizarre agenda.

I could understand why my son was so frightened–it was really quite loud. Upon careful inspection, the possum, through determined smackings, had bloodied his own nose, and it was obvious to me that this was one crazed animal which I certainly did NOT want to deal with.

The possum turned, scowled and growled at me. Not knowing what to do and not having any weapon handy, I duplicated the scowl and growl, adding my own human flavor to it. To my delight and surprise, he turned on his paws and scampered across the back yard, out through the hedges and into the woods.

I was relieved. I was not an excellent possum fighter. Fortunately, I was not required to prove my prowess by disemboweling this creature. When I was sure the possum was long gone, I quietly knocked on the back door. There was a pause, followed by a wee, tiny voice barely resembling the first-born that I knew and loved.

“Wh-wh-who is it?”

“It’s me.”

That’s all I said. Suddenly the door flew open and gangly, awkward son leaped into my arms, hugging me and praising my role as his savior. I hadn’t identified myself in any way except through my voice. But because he knew he had called for my help, and I said I was on the way, he was not surprised when I arrived. He was not afraid to let me in. He was overjoyed.

It happened one night on a lake. Fishermen and good seamen, who should not have been terrified by a storm, were suddenly overtaken by uncontrollable anxiety. In the midst of that turmoil and anguish, a voice spoke through the darkness.

“It’s me.”

The very relieved and overjoyed fishermen received their friend into the boat … and the storm went away.

That night when I returned and was blessed by NOT needing to go on a possum hunt, I still was able to create an even deeper connection with my children because they recognized my voice, I came to their aid, and the danger disappeared.

I do not understand why we would think that teaching people to be afraid of God is a way of creating better humans and more devoted disciples.

Isn’t it preferable to believe, deep in your heart, that “Daddy’s home” … and all the bad things have run away?

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

Sprained… October 21, 2012


Live from October 1st filming

I was thirty-eight years old, traveling on the road with my family, staying at a Mom-and-Pop motel with mis-matched towels, decor from the Nixon Administration and parking spaces set apart with a paint job that looked like it was done by a drunken sailor from the Caribbean.

We were late to our gig. I was trying to be the mature, energetic father leading his family out the door as efficiently as possible ( and consider–I was traveling with an eighteen-year-old, a fourteen-year-old and a four-year-old. As I stepped out the door of our room, I forgot that the drop to the sidewalk to the sidewalk was a little lower than I had recalled, so I did one of those stupid things we often do by trying to address my step-down. In the attempt to adjust my step, I slipped and sprained my ankle–very severely.

I sat on the ground for a moment and finally my two sons were able to pull me to my feet. I went in and sat on the bed. It was time to make a decision. Was I going to call the church and cancel the date? Was I going to go to the doctor and find out some form of bad news? Was I going to put my foot up on a pillow, ice it down and watch television? Or was I going to get to my feet, find a way to get to that church and do the gig?

That particular scenario–in diverse forms, areas and situations–has been the story of my life. I have no criticism for anyone who decides to cancel a date, go to the doctor or ease on a pillow and watch television. It’s just not me.

I got to my feet and with the help of my children and my wife, I hobbled to my car and made it over to the church, only to discover that the sanctuary was 125 years old and was up two flights of solid oak wooden stairs. I was looking for a break and instead got broken by new challenges. It took me nearly twenty minutes to get up those stairs. My children went ahead of me, unloaded the equipment and kept passing me over and over again as they carried things up the stairs with their youthful zeal. I inched my way along like I was crawling on razor blades.

I got to the top of the stairs and sat down on the back pew, allowed my family to put together all the equipment, putting my foot up on the pew in front of me. Gradually, I was given a sense of relief. My leg actually went numb. I was completely free of pain–that is, as long as I agreed not to walk on it.

But walk I did. Matter of fact, I stood on it for two hours while I played piano, sang, taught and then, during a particularly sweet time of fellowship, prayed for about thirty-five or forty people who came up seeking wisdom, guidance and a touch from God.

As the evening wore on, my leg occasionally fell asleep, so I had to bounce it against the floor to wake it up so I wouldn’t accidentally fall over. There are two things I remember from that evening: First was the amazing grace that was imparted to me, allowing me to finish out my responsibilities and make it back to my room for a beautiful night of rest. The second thing that sticks in my mind from that night was that even though I was hobbling around, none of the congregation seemed to be aware of my affliction or terribly concerned about my limping. They were focused.

Yes–they were focused on their own needs. I know there are some people who would find that horrible or insensitive. I disagree. God gave me the ability, the tenacity and the mercy to do that show so I could help someone.

Ever since then I have used that night to remind myself that life is always a decision–and usually there are three choices: you can decide to wait, you can decide to ignore, or you can decide to do.

Some people think that waiting is smart, and it might seem that way if there was a guarantee that opportunity actually knocks more than once.

Other folks will insist that variety and possibility just don’t ever come their way, when what they have really done is establish a lifestyle which filters out anything that is foreign to their simple experience.

I have been a person who decides to do. Even though I’ve had failures and experienced set-backs, I have never regretted setting into practice what I preach instead of just printing a book or sharing a sermon about my theories.

It took me six weeks for my leg to heal from the injury that happened that evening so many years ago. I didn’t miss a date. Most of them were done in pain, but today I don’t remember the pain, only the fact that something was accomplished and adversity was overcome.

Most of our lives are sprained. Just like my leg, we have plenty of reason to call ahead and cancel our plans. Yet, life is just too short a span to be spent wondering what you missed. Yes, life is brief, so you might as well use all the space available, because there are no guarantees that you will ever get another crack.

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

%d bloggers like this: