Good News and Better News… December 12th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3153)

good-news-light

She spoke to me in a quiet voice, a bit creaky and worn from decades of conversation, hinting at the possibility of sage wisdom.

“I know Jesus said we shouldn’t worry, but …”

She didn’t finish. Apparently she was leaving it to my imagination to fill in the blank. What did she want me to insert in that space?

“I know Jesus said we shouldn’t worry but…”

  1. He was wrong?
  2. He didn’t live in the 21st century?
  3. He was perfect, so it doesn’t count?
  4. He was never a mother?

The greatest disservice we do to ourselves is continuing to believe that worry performs any reasonable function.

Worry is an anti-energy.

It not only fails to provide assistance but actually drains away faith and hope, leaving us stuck with images of struggle and failure.

Here’s the good news:

Since God knows we’re human, He has lit up the path before us.

Not in the sense of controlling our destiny, but rather, by making it clear what needs to be done next and how we can contribute to the cause.

It’s lit up.

Jesus told us that it’s our job to “discern the signs of our times.”

In other words, see what is available for consideration today, and put our efforts into people and circumstances that are ready for input instead of into situations and individuals which stubbornly avoid solution.

  • The wise men followed a star.
  • They didn’t make up a religion.
  • They didn’t adopt a philosophy.
  • They saw a light and they followed it.

It lit up.

The shepherds went to work, never thinking they would be talked to by angels. But once the angels spoke to them and lit up a possibility, they went with it.

And the whole salvation plan came down to a girl turning to her betrothed, Joseph, and saying, “Excuse me, I need to get down from this donkey. I’m crowning.”

Joseph didn’t question. Joseph didn’t say, “There’s no place for this to happen.” It lit up. He followed.

The good news is that life does light up in front of us with today’s possibility.

The better news is that even though the dark questions may go unanswered, there is great opportunity that soon they will brighten.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 43 (October 14th, 1968) No Joe… December 6, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2435)

(Transcript)

A coffee-house.

I’m not talking about Starbucks.

In the fall of 1968, our church decided to start a coffee-house, where young people could gather under dim light, listen to music and become as contemplative as teenagers can get.

It was very popular for a season.

Ours was held in the church fellowship hall, which required a lot of decorating but still demanded tremendous batches of imagination.

I was put in charge of the event. I wanted to do something special.

So I drove into the city, went to Radio Shack and purchased a black light bulb. It wasn’t very powerful, but in a small area, it could make everything shine with brilliance.

I decided I was going to sing the song, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” and at the end of the tune, flip on the black light, illuminating a full-sized figure of Jesus.

I went to Bennett’s Department Store in our town–really just a little hole in the wall–and asked them if they had a mannequin. They did. It was a female one, but I felt if I put a beard on this chick, I could turn her into the Christ.

I also went across the street to the rich lady who was so wealthy that she bought all of her clothing through catalogs from New York, and acquired a long, brown wig.

I sewed–yes, sewed–a robe, and then donned the mannequin in the outfit, put on the wig and the beard–and to me it looked like Jesus. Maybe a metrosexual Jesus.

I was in the middle of preparations when the pastor and his wife came in, saw the mannequin and just about lost all of the Holy in their Ghost. They explained that I could not use the mannequin–not because it was feminine–but because the Bible says “we are not to make any graven images.”

I listened, using my most subservient profile, fully aware that after all this work, I would do it anyway.

Sure enough, when I finished the song at the coffee-house I turned on the black light bulb and it beautifully lit up my graven image, as gasps filled the room.

The small group of friends and attendees burst into applause. The response was so good that Mr. and Mrs. Pastor didn’t say anything to me. But from that point on, I was supposed to clear all activities through them.

I didn’t.

Now some people consider a stubborn, willful teenager to be a “criminal in training. ”

Other folks think such behavior is a sign of “budding promise.”

Since I am neither a criminal nor particularly “budding,” I just think that teenagers have the unique benefit of sniffing out stupid rules … and challenging them.

 

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

My Little Improv… January 5, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2112)

masksSome rules are good.

They help people understand better ways to do things to welcome success and happiness.

On the other hand, some rules are bad. They’re put in place–sometimes in stone–to control folks, eliminating the creative passion that allows us mere mortals to touch the face of God.

I’ve tried to figure out which one is which for most of my life.

When I was a kid, they had a rule in our church that young students in junior high school couldn’t be on the Bible League competition team until they got into the ninth grade. I suppose somebody who originally came up with the idea imagined it was a good thing–to make being on the team a reward, and also that probably most youngsters in seventh and eighth grade were not mature enough for such an endeavor.

It was a bad rule. I objected, complained, lobbied, got it changed and was the first thirteen-year-old on the team.

It doesn’t matter where you go. There are people who enjoy their work so they try to make it more accessible to themselves and others, and then there are those who are a bit miserable, who feel it is their duty to pass on the sullen attitude.

Music, religion, politics, corporations, clubs, schools–all of them have their share of “grumpy grumpers” who really hate their lives and want to make sure that everybody hates equally.

So when I sat down to plan what I wanted to do in my sharing this year–and also how I wanted to expand–I came up with three very important criteria:

  1. I need more time at every stop-off to spend with the audience, to make a greater connection.
  2. I need to work on defining the message instead of allowing the confusion of present philosophy and theology to leave people devoid of feeling.
  3. I need to purposefully break some bad rules.

So yesterday, as I thought about what I’m going to be doing Sunday night–a drama entitled Front Porch U.S.A.–I realized that I was truly blessed with a piece of great improv.

I call it a “three-active play.” By that term I mean that each and every time I perform it, the message, the pursuit and even much of the plot will remain the same. But the words, stories, conflict and resolution will be different each and every time.

There is no script.

I’m going to allow myself to be led of the Spirit, to share what’s on my heart in the moment, as will my fellow-thespian, Janet.

It’s breaking the rules. In theater, you’re not supposed to be too improvisational. You’re not supposed to interact with the audience too much. Blocking, staging and scenery are to remain the same.

I plan on breaking all these rules. Why?

Because I think the three greatest things we possess as human beings are often buried under form and tradition.

  • We have a story.
  • We have a spirit.
  • And we have an imagination.

So every Sunday night, I’m going to trust my journey, my faith and my heart to give an audience, at the conclusion of my weekend, a fresh piece of myself that no other gathered congregation has ever heard.

I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to follow good rules that help people discover their humanity and the breath of God inside them. But don’t be timid in using your improv, and challenge rules that were put in place to stifle and foster “fussy fussers.”

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

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

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