Sit Down Comedy … December 28th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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This is not a present.

This is a box which has been carefully wrapped in gorgeous paper, surrounded with an immaculate bow. Christmas present

We have no idea what’s inside.

We are led to believe that because it was wrapped so fastidiously that the contents are valuable.

But we don’t know. We can’t even guess. It could be a box of dog poop. It could hold nothing at all–or worse, it could be a juicer.

We have grown accustomed to calling things that are wrapped tightly and made to look attractive…

Well, we call them presents. Or gifts.

They are not. They are actually worthless until we tear them apart and find out what’s inside.

This, pictured below, is a real present:


As you can see, the paper is not impressive. The wrapping job is passable. But inside is value. Obvious value.

It might not even have been the first present you opened on Christmas morning, figuring because it was so bland or ugly, that it came from a long-lost aunt who picked it up at a convenience store on Christmas Eve to cover her butt.

So while you’re opening all the pretty presents bound up with bows, this one sits in the corner–containing the greatest quality.

Our society wraps us up, having no idea of the value of the people we meet.

We judge on appearance.

We evaluate on how concisely people have put their lives together.

We look at the things that surround them to determine their value.

We are often wrong. I will go so far as to say that more often than not we are wrong.

Then…

Every once in a while, we find that plainly wrapped gift, bound with twine. When we break our prejudice and decide to open it, we are astounded at the content.

So, I am no longer participating in the fashion show of human boxes we are required to climb into in order to be acceptable for a society that doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing.

I will do you a favor. I will not hide my soul. I will not disguise my talents. And also, I will not flaunt my humility.

But I will come… unwrapped.

 

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Good News and Better News… September 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Optimism is completely useless in sharing the Good News. It always hopes for positive results which are only determined by the audience and the moving of the Holy Spirit.

Likewise, pessimism is a meaningless, funky choice. After all, what value is there in preaching the end of the world while the doggone thing is still revolving?

I think Paul Simon summed it up best in his song, “The Boxer” when he wrote: Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

So if you want to be a bearer of good tidings, you must keep two essentials in mind. These were in play when I went to Tampa Bay to do two concerts, one at the Sun City Center United Methodist Church and the other at Atonement Lutheran in Wesley Chapel. I was hosted by two fine gentlemen–Kevin and Scott–both of whom desire to see something good happen in our time.

But over the years, you learn that passion, deliberation and organization are not enough. Talent falls short, and patience is a virtue which often fails to impress the meandering mob.

Two things to keep in mind if you want to make a difference: make it clear and make it good.

Honestly, if you don’t come with quality, don’t expect to get any kind of ear turned in your direction. So stop trying to do things that are difficult, believing they’ll be impressive in the long run. Find things you can accomplish well in almost any circumstance, and perfect them.

I am not the best anything. I never will be the best anything. But I can always get better at my best.

That’s our job. Make it good. It’s time for us to stop apologizing for what we present under the guise that “since God is in charge, and He loves us all, He’ll forgive a few sour patches.”
Tain’t so, my brothers and sisters. We’ve got to make it good. And then, you’ve got to make it clear.

To do this requires simplifying your message so that everybody in the room, from six to ninety-six years old, knows exactly what you’re trying to say. Some folks will still try to twist your words to their advantage, but there’s not much you can do about that, so don’t worry.

If you want people to believe that “love your neighbor as yourself” works, you need to say it five times and provide three good
examples.

And then do everybody in the room a favor: Don’t try to make another point. Three-point sermons leave two points forgotten and one point confusing.

So my time in Tampa Bay was lavished with lovely, inspiring people who benefitted from my presence because I determined to not be either optimistic or pessimistic, but instead, made it clear and made it good.

So therefore, the good news is that life is not hopeless, filled with ungrateful human beings who are beyond redemption.

The better news is, as Paul Simon said, we need to give them things they can hear and don’t disregard.

 

 

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God Needs a Job … September 6, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1998)

now hiringHe has an impressive list of abilities and accomplishments.

After all, He created the universe, and even if you only want to give Him credit for portions of that process, it’s still pretty magnificent–if He only came up with the idea of evolution.

I think every child of earth should be appreciative of His ingenious proposal of sexual pleasure leading to procreation.

Sunrises and sunsets would be very difficult to duplicate.

Needless to say, the Fellow (or Lady, depending on your sentiment) is predisposed to creative bursts of energy and rejuvenation. So it’s fascinating to me that we take this well-qualified candidate and limit His job description to “bless” and “damn.”

Truthfully, the only time we ever invoke His name, other than the Facebook “OMG,” is when we’re asking Him to bless something or we get in a fussy mood and require His damnation skills.

How odd.

But I’ve always believed that if you want to understand the nature and future of a society, you should study both it’s prayers and it’s comics.

When the prayers are insipid–lacking mercy, justice and practicality–you can tell that the spiritual systems that exist will not have the energy to lift the burdens they’ve levied upon the people.

When the comics are more preoccupied with silliness, foolishness or just a general spirit of grumpiness instead of leading us to do something rather than damn one another, then you pretty well know there is no common enlightenment of the people in store.

Thus, OUR time. We choose to bless things, and if we don’t feel we can do that, we damn them. So we take the greatest intellect imaginable–and relegate Him to ceremonial acts of bestowing mystical fairy dust on certain projects, only to bring down the thunder of Thor on those who would dare to disagree with us.

To say it is childish would be an insult to children. It is worse than that.

It is short-sighted.

And people who possess that lack of vision always perish by falling off a nearby cliff.

I’d like to give God a job. I am hiring Him, as of today, to do four chores for me:

  1. Show me where I’m stupid before everybody sees I’m stupid, which makes me feel really, really stupid.
  2. Lead me to one person in this twenty-four hour period who needs help, so I can feel good about myself and he or she can have a meal in their belly.
  3. Let me stay current with world events without becoming cynical or escaping into fantasy.
  4. Let me notice the natural order already exists and has lasted a long time. The more I learn it, the smarter I appear.

The wage I will pay for this magnificent list of accomplishments?

  • My devotion.
  • My “thank yous.”
  • And my reasonable conviction that You not only exist … but You would love to do something other than bless and damn.

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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