3 Things … April 25th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4026)


That Are Never Illegal

1.  Smiling in a grumpy world

 

2.  Telling the truth

 

3.  Giving without strings attached


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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3931)

Sitting Three

It was nearly sunset before Jubal and Amir’s fathers became concerned that there was anything extraordinary about the absence of their sons. It was not unusual for the boys to be busy at chores and play, but night is the time to be home. Except now, minus two young men. Some inquiring was done, but frantic energy came with the morning.

Meanwhile, two friends sat at the crest of a hill in the sand, talking, fiddling, playing and laughing.

“I don’t like my name,” said Jubal.

“I like yours better than mine,” Amir inserted.

“Jubal is just so old and religious.”

“Amir sucks.”

Jubal objected. “I like Amir better than Jubal.”

“That’s because it’s not your name,” Amir said, lightly punching him in the arm.

“We need new names,” decided Jubal.

Amir nodded his head. “We’re starting new lives—might as well have new names.”

Jubal giggled. “Maybe I could be Frank and you could be Bob.”

Amir clapped his hands. “Where did you get Frank and Bob?” he asked.

Jubal peered around as if wondering if someone were listening in. “My uncle has cable television,” he explained. “It’s illegal. And sometimes I watch the American shows.”

Amir sat straight up. “What are they like? I mean, our television is so…you know. Boring. Everything in Farsi.”

Jubal leaned forward, whispering. “I have seen women without coverings.”

Amir’s eyes widened. “You mean…?”

Jubal interrupted. “Yes. I mean their tops.”

Amir was impressed to the point of speechless. On and on they talked—about American television, dreams, women, parents and even hot sand.

“I have a new name for you,” Jubal said with a flair of inspiration.

“Oh. What is it?” inquired Amir.

“I think I will call you Pal.”

“Pal?” asked Amir with a squint.

“Yes, it’s short for Palestinian,” said Jubal.

Amir leaped to his feet, and with one arm extended in the air, proclaimed, “Then I shall call you Iz.”

Jubal jumped to his feet, too, asking, “What’s Iz?”

Amir danced around in a little circle and replied, “It is very short—for Israeli.”

This exchange welcomed great laughter. They giggled and danced and wiggled, which deteriorated into a fake boxing match.

Finally, Amir took a breath and spoke. “So is our new little country called Paliz? Or Izpal?”

Jubal firmly shook his head. “Let’s not get started with that. That’s how our people ended up killing each other.”

Now, the word “killing” doesn’t normally invoke laughter, but on a hot day, silly friends will find almost anything hilarious. They giggled, stopped and started again because stopping seemed so ridiculous. At length, Jubal ceased laughing and said, “I have something to show you.”

“All right.” Amir was a bit bewildered by the solemn transition. Jubal walked over to the small tent they had pitched and returned, gingerly cupping an object in his hands.

“What is it?” asked Amir.

Jubal paused. “It’s a hand grenade.”

Amir scooted away. “What do you have that for?”

Jubal rebuked him. “Don’t be foolish. Do you really think they won’t find us here? Do you think they’ll let us stay? Do you think they’re going to pat us on the back and say, ‘Great job, boys.’ They’re all crazy with hate, so they want us to be crazy, too. So I needed something to convince them we are serious—and we’ll never return to being just Arab and Jewish little boys again”

Amir was impressed. “Where did you get it?” he challenged.

“A patrol of Israeli troops came into our town, and it fell out of one of their bags,” Jubal explained. “Before I could think, I grabbed it and took it back to the soldier. He thanked me and gave me some chocolate. Then I thought about us—if we were going to be together—how we needed something. So I cautiously followed the troops, until they rested next to a well. When the young soldier went over to draw some water to drink, I stole the grenade from his pack.”

Amir was frightened. “What are you going to do with it?”

“I don’t know,” said Jubal, with a tear in his voice. “I didn’t think that through. I just don’t want to go back to any place where you cannot be my friend.”

Iz and Pal shook hands, very careful to set the grenade to the side. It was nearly midday.

They would soon be discovered.

 

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Dudley … June 8th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3331)

DUDLEY

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Published in: on June 8, 2017 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Confessing… May 30th, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

(2597)

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

It was the rage.

Many years ago in a galaxy not far away–matter of fact, right here–folks started trying to do presumptuous things in an attempt to prove they had great faith.

I was just a young man, and susceptible to suggestion, since I already had a bit of the seed of naughtiness sown in my heart.

So when I heard these people of faith proclaiming different ways to achieve success by believing that God “was going to take care of everything,” I leaped in with both feet–my wallet open.

I was particularly drawn to the story of one man who said he wrote a check on Friday from his back account where he had no funds, believing that by Monday, when the check would normally come in and bounce merrily, God would provide the money.

Of course, in his story there was a super-fabulous intervention of finance, which protected him from a bank error “not in his favor.”

So I decided to try it. Coming up short on my rent and groceries, I wrote a check for cash on Friday at the local IGA, bought my groceries and pleased my landlord, and then sat back, waiting for intervention from my “Investor which art in heaven.”

It never came.

So fearing I was going to have a check arrive in my bank with non-sufficient funds, I went out and wrote another check for cash to deposit in my account, to buy me two or three days, and to avoid embarrassment.

Needless to say, that check was not covered either, so I launched on a calamity of financial danger, which eventually led me to open up another bank account so that I could more easily cover my checks, which were now flying wildly through the air.

Of course, each time I wrote a check, I had a little bit more need, so the amount grew and grew.

Actually, I was rather self-satisfied with the solution I had arrived at to handle my personal indebtedness. But when I privately shared it with a friend, he explained that what I was doing was illegal. He told me it was called “kiting.”

I was frightened by the word “illegal,” but that didn’t stop me for another two or three weeks.

Finally, breathlessly, my conscience caught up with my ego, and I realized I needed to stop this craziness.

So I ceased, which immediately caused seven checks to bounce–all of them at the doorstep of my local, kind IGA manager.

The total was $3,453.

He was not nearly as angry as he was terrified about what he was going to do with this deficit. It was completely within his rights to call the police and have me arrested.

He didn’t.

I told him I would pay it off. It took six months of concentration, hard work and the kindness of friends to get me out of the pickle caused by my false faith.

Now that 40 years have passed, I wonder if any of that presumption is still left in my soul.  Am I still looking for God to take care of all my problems, instead of allowing Him to provide the wisdom and strength to help me through them?

I hope I learned from that lesson.

I hope I realize that the best way to prove my faith is not by exaggerating my need, but by simplifying my life, becoming more generous and using the talents God has given me… to acquire a wage.

 

 

bouncing ball

 

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Iffing Way (Part 7) Nic at Night … December 1, 2014

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2430)

If bigger

What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

He was summoned, forcibly invited.

He felt like a schoolboy under the control of the master, with no will of his own. But he knew what it was about.

The head chair on a committee where he sat had a vendetta. Now, the distinguished leader would choose to call it something else. Perhaps “a needful intrusion.” “A holy mission.” Or even, “a matter of course.”

He knew better.

He wasn’t sure if it was jealousy on the part of the chair person, ignorance, or even something as simple as an ongoing tiff with his wife which had left him grumpy.

It wasn’t the first time there had been a summons. No, many times the subject had been discussed and debated, but finally tabled, with everyone leaving in a huff, unfulfilled.

But this time was different. Apparently the boss now felt he had the votes to pull off his will.

It was all so bizarre.

In the midst of a decline of popularity of the national faith, a young man from Nazareth had arrived on the scene and re-energized the populace. Now, an intelligent conclave of distinguished fellows might have seen this as an opportunity to bring in fresh blood and move people to spiritual awareness. But this particular gathering of theologians and pseudo-politicians lacked vision.

He was preplexed. What was even more confusing to him was that he had made a journey by night to visit this young man who was stirring up the religious system. He clearly remembered two words from their discourse:

“Born again.”

The carpenter-turned-preacher had told him that he needed to be “reborn” to be in step with what was going on. He was offended. So because he considered himself to be a dynamic debater, he tried to make the young Galilean feel stupid or awkward by challenging the meaning of the term. Facts are, he knew what this young Jesus meant by “born again.”

Everything around him reeked of old–ancient ideas and meaningless practices.

Yet that night, he’d found himself walking away–trying to include the message of the Nazarene instead of being born again into it.

But this was different.

He knew that Caiaphas was in charge of the board, and was seeking to levy punishment against this innocent unaware.

What was he going to do?

He prided himself on the fact that he was smarter than Caiaphas because the officious leader was so headstrong that he frequently left himself wide open for counter-point.

Yet he had grown weary of argument and become known as a sympathizer, which was now rendering him ineffective among his peers. After all, it was not only improper, but illegal to be a follower of Jesus.

Arriving at the meeting, it quickly became obvious that Caiaphas had a death warrant for Jesus.

What was he going to do? Should he remain silent, and still curry the favor of his fellows? Or was it time to be born again and use the wisdom and style that he had developed over years of practice, to help save the life of the freshest idea to come around in decades?

It was nighttime again. But this time he would not walk away and pretend he didn’t understand.

He made a case against Caiaphas–quietly, reverently, but also with a conniving purpose. In no time at all, the stubborn Pharisee was speaking double-talk and the committee dismissed itself to go back to their homes, unresolved.

Jesus was saved for another night.

Jesus would be able to continue to teach.

And Nicodemus would be able to hold his head high and just maybe start the process in his life…of being born again.

 

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