1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Magnify Your Character)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

(To Magnify Your Character)

William Shakespeare contended that “all the world’s a stage and each one of us, merely players.”

So who are you?

In the world of theater, it is impossible to play too many characters without coming across anemic in the roles. Also, if you establish your character onstage and then drastically revise it, the audience doesn’t buy into your leap.

The one thing you should think about this week to magnify your character is:

Don’t let your problems give you stage directions

Unlike true theater, in everyday life we have a tendency to adjust to the settings, the surroundings, the spotlights, the poor audience reaction or the failure of others around us to remember their lines, and either attempt to revise our dialogue to fit the circumstance or freak out because our the revisions cause us to lose all credibility.

Here is this week’s question: who are you?

And don’t try to tell me that you are a multi-faceted individual with many different layers of being. That’s the best way to describe a liar. Who are you?

Once you find the answer to that, remaining faithful to the role, no matter how the play unfolds in front of you, is how you gain the reputation of being solid and trustworthy– well worth knowing by your peers.

An acquaintance recently asked me, “Who are you?”

I replied, “I am a character addicted to good cheer, so no matter what you hand me, I will do my best to give you back joy.”

The definition of immaturity is feeling the need to change the script simply because there’s been an unforeseen twist in the plot. But in doing so, we sully our character and make ourselves seem unreliable.

Who are you?

Answer that question–and then don’t let your problems or your mishaps give you stage directions.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 26) A Psalm of David … and Jack – October 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

David was one of the young host who invaded the Garsonville Church, sitting near the front altar on a vigil for a lost friend.

After that eventful Sunday, he and two other members of the high school started to attend.

He was what nicer Nebraskans refered to as a “soft boy.” He seemed to favor activities with less dirt and muscle. Now, the more aggressive Nebraskans, many attending his school. called him a queer–a fag.

David didn’t argue–just adopted many of the mannerisms and catch phrases of the gay community, not necessarily because he was born with that sensibility, but because he was only fifteen years old and welcomed any identity.

David immediately found a place for himself in the body of believers. He made it his mission to ensure that every Sunday morning, the holy foyer was filled with art–paintings, as it were–some masterful knockoffs and others done by the third grade class from the Wintermute Elementary School.

His displays played to mixed reviews among the congregation. Some of the pew-sitters felt it was inappropriate, and others actually joined in and brought some of their own made-up drawings.

David was faithful.

David was searching.

David was a sponge looking for a wet spot.

Jack was an adorable alcoholic. That’s what his family called him. He was one of those drinkers that got happier the more the liquor moved toward his liver.

And move it did–so much so that during one binge of whiskey and gin, he was rushed to the hospital with alcohol poisoning, and after many tests they discovered he was in the midst of liver failure and in need of a transplant.

This seemed to scare the hell out of Jack, leaving a hole ready for Jesus, so Meningsbee was called to come and witness to the once happy-go-lucky town drunk.

Meningsbee didn’t say much of anything; actually, Jack did the talking. And like many sinners who are eventually saved by grace, hearing his own story out loud, for perhaps the first time, sent him into a fit of weeping and a season of repenting.

Jack was born again in Room 315 of the Garsonville Community Hospital, with tubes poking out of almost every orifice on his body.

Jack never got strong enough to attend church. He was given the good news that there was a liver available for him, and before he knew it, was on the operating table, praying for a fresh start.

These two souls of God, David and Jack, collided one night in the same hospital at the same time, in similar conditions.

David arrived because he had been invited to a party, and in a moment of weakness, trying to make friends, overdosed on a cocktail of drugs which had been tossed into a punchbowl and dissolved, for the consumption of teenage fools.

His heart stopped three times on the way to the hospital and he was now on life support.

Jack’s operation was successful, but he fell victim to a serious and potentially lethal infection, which had him back on the table, doctors desperately trying to save his life.

Meningsbee sat in the waiting room on a hard, yellow, plastic chair, purchased during the Eisenhower Administration.

Both families, empty of words, had taken their leave and gone to the chapel to pray.

Meningsbee was alone with his thoughts. It was always on such occasions that he wondered if there really was a supernatural order directing a plan.

Was God really in the room with His angels, watching over the frail forms of David and Jack?

Had the Angel of Death arrived along with the Angel of Mercy, to take them home?

Or was it all just some sort of collage of grace, medical technology and just pure dumb luck determining the outcome?

Meningsbee found contentment that there was no answer. Just as an ant never discovers what is beyond its own hill, human beings likewise have much freedom but little insight.

The hours passed. It was touch and go.

At first they thought David still had good brain function and feared that Jack had lost too much blood to survive the repair.

The night wound on.

Five minutes after all the prayer warriors discovered that Jack had pulled through and was going to barely make it, they were told by the doctors that David had been assessed as brain-dead.

Two families stood side-by-side, digesting different news.

Jack’s family was careful not to express too much elation and relief, knowing that David’s mother and father were on the verge of collapse. Lacking words, fatigued by prayer, hampered by doubt and in the human state of confusion, they simply turned to one another and embraced.

David’s mom and dad made the agonizing decision to pull the plug and let him go home. He lived for ten minutes.

Reverend Meningsbee had one last prayer.

He hoped David would be granted a great space in the foyer of heaven…to display his art.

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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PoHymn cover jon

 

You’re Kidding… March 30, 2012

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“As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be …”

So begins Jesus’ description of life on Planet Earth just prior to the end of the world. He lays out a visual example of a culture that has become preoccupied with “being married and given in marriage.” Does he really believe that the sign of the Apocalypse is matrimony?

No. There is nothing immoral, unspiritual or unnatural about falling in love and getting married. But when that experience encompasses your whole being, taking over your will, your sense of discovery and your vision for life, then it becomes a numbing sensation and a killing field.

Yes, along about the age of twenty-five or twenty-six years, the addled essence, who has failed to learn about peaceful co-existence between the sexes, starts getting the itch to couple, settle down and “start kidding”– in other words, having children. Maybe college didn’t turn out the way they had planned. Those first attempts at business didn’t bring in the million dollars. The trip to Hollywood to become famous just ended up becoming expensive. The parents failed to die and leave the life insurance. So as it turns out, these people in their mid-twenties suddenly discover they are going to have to live out this thing called life in full color.

But because they weren’t allowed to be part of a chilled-hood, which taught them to enjoy equality with the opposite sex; and were then ushered into an addled essence, where they became adversarial with the other half of the species, they arrive at this position in life poorly prepared for communication, lacking spiritual depth and too emotionally vulnerable to link up and be a contributor in a relationship.

So they find a mate, they convince themselves they’re hot for them, they get married and soon a child follows. They start “kidding.” And since they know nothing about  a chilled-hood from experiencing it themselves, they become overly protective of their children—worrying about health issues and frightened of finance.

I see them every week in my church programs. The woman carries the baby, hoping everyone will notice how lovely her genetic contribution turned out to be, as the man trails two steps behind, lugging stuffed animals and the diaper bag, with glazed eyes, as if he had been struck by unseen lightning. Where they should be coming out of a worship experience discussing the beauty of living waters, they stand in the vestibule in protracted discussions about baby formula and zwieback.

They feel noble to have continued the tradition of child-rearing, complete with all of its sighs and despair—and unfortunately, also a sense of vacating all original aspirations. It is a lost generation; a missing link of humanity–age twenty-five through thirty-six. They have lost their identity, their belief in what is righteous, and how it affects their daily lives, which has caused them to lose their perspective–and their ability to keep their cool and relax in what they’ve accomplished.

This causes them to lose respect—first for themselves, for abandoning their talent, and then for their mate, for hastening their retreat. Unfortunately, this leads to them losing their love. Because we all know when respect departs, love begins to pack its bags.

As the child gets older and realizes that he or she is able to manipulate the household through tantrums because the parents have lost all will to resist, we continue the dastardly process into addled essence, culminating with parents holding on with prayers and hopes for things being better tomorrow. Teenagers rule the world–a planet that needs more mature insight.

We lose the You’re Kiddings during this season of procreation. We have no contact with them outside of complimenting their children, discussing daycare, or the best places to buy rounded-tip scissors for pre-school. The weightier matters of justice, love, mercy, understanding and compassion are set aside, to spend most of the time festering over work schedules and who’s going to get up in the middle of the night to change diapers.

Yes, the time in their lives when they should have the most energy, optimism and generosity of spirit is completely encompassed by the idea of being married, given in marriage and “kidding around.”

What is the process of birthing children supposed to do for us? Well, our forefathers and mothers had children because it was cheaper than hiring farm hands. They expected these little ones to start working immediately—as soon as they finished nursing. Now, we might find this to be uncaring or even mean-spirited, but somehow or another we need to land between being completely overwhelmed by the action of making other human beings, and merely thinking of them as ranch hands. See what I mean?

Here are the four steps I think are necessary for this particular age group—IF they’ve had a chilled-hood, enjoying equality with the opposite sex, and have escaped an addled essence, where their future life partner is viewed as adversarial:

1.  (And I do mean number one) Honor your children by honoring your dreams. You do not do anything for your off-spring by returning to your home exhausted because you’re working a job that has no resemblance whatsoever to what you really want to do. One of the transitions we need to make in this country is to understand that local representations of our culture are much more effective than nationally promoted ones. What I mean by that is, maybe you planned on being a great business tycoon and flying off to New York to work with Donald Trump. But now two babies have arrived and trumped your plans. There is still no reason why you cannot stay in your home town of 75,000 people and entrepreneur an idea that is regionally successful, granting you satisfaction over the yearnings of your heart. You may not end up being everything you thought you were going to be, but you will certainly be a snapshot of what you always wanted. You will turn your children on with your enthusiasm.

2. We should be spontaneous in love, but solid in principle. That means sometimes our little geniuses, who came out of our birthing cycle, need to be disciplined. It doesn’t matter how cute they are. It doesn’t matter how good the excuse is. We express love best in our homes when we have principles by which we live that are followed through with–even in the difficult times. Most members of the You’re Kidding generation think their main function is to make their children happy. Actually, their job is to create a stable sense of ethics and provide a direction that will ultimately bring forth happiness.

3. Stop worrying. And that goes for all the impersonators of the process, including over-discussing, looking at the Internet too much, having conversations with other young parents who are equally as baffled as you are, or listening to experts who are more concerned with selling a book than they are with making your child a dynamic human being. How do you know when you’re worrying? When you have learned all you can on a subject, applied the better parts of it and still continue to think, talk and fret over it, you are worrying. The best you can do as a parent is learn, do–and trust God for the rest.

4. And finally, these youthful birthers of a new generation need to teach their offspring that lying is the only sin. I believe this with all my heart. As long as we make mistakes and own them, grace covers a multitude of sins. Yes, grace covers every sin but lying. Lying is avoiding the grace of God to pretend like no mistakes have happened. If you punish lying and reward truth, the truth will eventually make your children free. It doesn’t mean they won’t go through difficulty, but it does mean they won’t be afraid to come to you and admit their frailty. If we can take this generation of shell-shocked human beings who have stumbled into marriage and child-bearing, and free them to still be wide-eyed with wonder over their own pursuits, as they include their children in their lives instead of making those little ones their only focus, then the energy from these individuals can once again revitalize our country.

Because if we can’t take the You’re Kidding generation and allow them to escape the preoccupation of babies, birthing and bundling, then in no time at all, they reach thirty-seven years of age and enter the next twelve-year phase, when the new enemy becomes …  money.

I shall call this group Re-spend-ability.

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Listen to Jonathan sing his gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, accompanied by Janet Clazzy on the WX-5 Wind Machine

 

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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.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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.

Useless.

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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