Things I Learned from R. B. (July 5th, 2020)

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4454)

Episode 22

And then we got rich.

My wife’s mother passed away, leaving behind a sizeable inheritance that mingled with Grandma’s money—protected through years of a widow’s frugal living.

The number hung high in the six figures.

Now, before this bonanza, we didn’t feel poor. We were solvent, with plenty left over for charitable adventures. But after all the assets were counted, the sudden influx of finance was dazzling.

I quickly learned that money will not hang around unless it’s treated well. It doesn’t want you to continue to rent a small house in Old Hickory but thinks that you—and it—should have a house of your own, suitable to your status.

I spent too much time sitting around with my family and friends, thinking about items we might want to purchase. But first, we made donations to a whole cavalcade of travelers we knew.

One of them was R. B.

I was inclined to give him a thousand dollars. Since he was jobless, living off unemployment insurance, a thousand dollars was a lot of money. Hell—a thousand dollars is a lot of money.

R. B. was probably my most enthused onlooker. He patted me on the back a lot, smiled whenever he was in my presence and desperately wanted to ask me questions about the extent of my good fortune, but was prohibited by his New England upbringing.

Everything went along pretty well until we moved into our five-bedroom house on top of the hill near the lake. We built a pool, placed a gazebo in the front yard, and made all sorts of nifty little additions that landowners often do when they are convinced their money will last forever.

Then R. B. stopped coming around. His visits hadn’t been frequent to begin with, but now he “planned” to attend dinners and events and called at the last moment to cancel.

I thought I knew what the problem was. Matter of fact, I called my entire family together and told them that I believed R. B. needed a wife. Since he seemed unwilling to pursue such a relationship, I told my family that I was considering buying him one.

A wife, that is.

I had no basis whatsoever for knowing anything about such an endeavor—or whether it was even legal—but I had read a pamphlet about women in Eastern Europe and Russia who wanted to come to the United States, and were willing, on a temporary visa, to meet up with a man to see if they could make an “international connection.”

I went deep into the process, but gradually I began to feel like I was in an episode of “Law and Order”—and I was the one breaking the law and creating disorder.

A bit terrified, I backed out of the idea and instead came up with the possibility of sending R. B. on a cruise. (This was back when cruises were cool and didn’t kill people.)

I was trying to figure out how to approach him on the matter when my daughter-in-law piped up during an evening meal when he was in attendance and spurted out the possibility right in front of him. To my surprise, he lit up, smiling, and started asking questions.

The next day I bought him a seven-day cruise in the Bahamas, complete with air fare and extra money to buy clothes that weren’t made out of wool.

I kept waiting for him to back out.

But he didn’t.

On the day he was supposed to leave, he went to the airport, boarded the plane, landed in Miami, Florida and got on the ship.

He stayed for the entire cruise and when he returned, he was different.

He did not consummate a romance on the excursion, but there were two women on the boat with whom he enjoyed talking, sharing supper, and even listening to music.

He came back with both of their telephone numbers.

He was so transformed from the reticent fellow we put on the plane that I was moved to tears. To this day I will tell you—it was some of the best money I ever spent.

But it didn’t last long.

He tried to call the women a couple of times, but of course, they lived far away, and soon it was impossible to recapture the memories.

Painfully and slowly, he dismantled the happier soul he had temporarily become.

It made me realize three things:

1. Men do a lot of boasting, but deep in their hearts don’t believe themselves.

2. Men need a companion to confirm the boasts that are valid and boost the areas where they’re not.

3. Without this, men just feel like undiscovered liars.

Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4078)

Sitting Twenty-Four

Pada was surprised at how easy it was to acquire the address of the gentile boy’s father. He drove to the home, walked up and knocked on the door.

When it opened, a man stood there in front of him, not that different from himself, both in appearance and in countenance—not a mirror image, but still—more alike than different.

Pada spoke deliberately. “Are you the father of Amir?”

“Who are you?” the man responded.

“I am the father of Jubal.”

“And who is Jubal?” he countered.

Pada drew a deep breath. “He is the boy with your son, in the desert.”

The man in the doorway vigorously shook his head. “You mean the boy who has tricked my son into disobeying his father, and who is living like an animal in the sand?”

Pada was up to the fight. “That’s strange. I thought it was your boy who deceived my son.”

The two men eyed each other.

There was no semblance of friendliness—no indication that an invitation would be extended to enter the home. This conversation certainly would be conducted standing in the doorway.

Pada continued. “I didn’t come here to argue with you, but I guess, to ask you, overall, what do you think we should do?”

The man smirked. “You want my opinion?”

Pada pursued with more vehemence. “Actually, I want an answer. Your opinion will suffice.”

The man leaned in a little closer and responded coldly, “I think until my people are given their freedom and the land they deserve, such atrocities by the children will be rampant.”

Pada sighed. “Ah. Politics. Must it always be politics? I am here to talk about our children, not the condition of our people.”

Amir’s father raised his finger and pointed at Pada’s face. “But it is about our people. It’s about thousands of years of you Jews arrogantly believing that you are the only sons granted inheritance in this land. I am a son of Abraham.”

“I am, too,” insisted Pada. “But that can’t be possible, because there’s no way that the two of us could actually be brothers.”

Amir’s father stiffened. “I do not want to be your brother. I just want my father’s inheritance.”

Pada stepped back to escape the intensity. “Why can’t we speak of our children?” he pleaded.

“What children?” the man asked.

“Your son—Amir, am I right? And my son, Jubal.”

Amir’s father shook his head. “I don’t know if you have a son named Jubal, but I have no son named Amir. You see, disgrace has no name, and dishonor cannot live in my house.”

Pada shook his head. “Nor will I allow it to live in mine,” he retorted. “Jubal is a shame to me. Yet he is my shame.”

The angry man moved as if he was going to close the door but stopped short of completing the deed. He spoke through a smaller crack. “I have no shame, for I have no disgrace, for I have no son named Amir.”

He was about to finish closing the door but stalled, inserting a thought. “Do you really expect to come to my house as a Jew and talk to me of earthly things? Family and children? If we do not agree on the heavenly, how can we ever discern the earth? You are not my enemy. You are just nothing at all.”

Having completed his speech, Amir’s father slammed the door Pada’s face. He stood for a moment, wondering whether to pound on the door until the man responded, but finally turned on his heel and made his way down the steps to his car.

For a moment, he wondered if he had a part in causing the rage in Amir’s father, or bringing about the disrespect he felt from Jubal.

Then all at once he remembered his own father’s words: “The Palestinians will serve us, just as our children are born to do so.”

Pada smiled and nodded his head. So it was, so it is and so it shall be.

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

Good News and Better News … December 25th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3539)

I went to church today.

There was no choir. There were no pews. There was no sermon. There was no invocation, except the squealing delight of children. There was no real benediction, but for the promises of those who had gathered to stay more in contact.

There was no threat of damnation, nor promise of streets of gold. There was so much contentment in being together that intimidation was unnecessary, and coercion, meaningless.

You see, I’m a father.

As a father, I do not evaluate my children by how much they adore me or praise my name. I determine the health of my children by how much they love each other–because it would be easy for them to despise their siblings so as to gain my favor, and perhaps, secure a sweeter inheritance.

So praising Daddy does not mean nearly as much as honoring one another.

In the church service this morning, there was respect for humanity. There was anticipation in the eyes of those who were giving, and a nervous jubilance twitching in the fingertips of those who were preparing to receive. An electricity filled the air that could only be adequately fueled by a perpetual flow of sweets and treats.

It was a worship of the Christ child–a salute to a simple birth, which simply ushered in the possibility of “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

It was an intergenerational feast day of emotion and anticipation, culminating in the removal of all vexation, curses and grudges.

It was the kind of meeting of souls that causes the angels to sit back in awe, pricked in the heart with a bit of jealousy over not being human.

For we do everything best just as we do everything worst. We are God’s creation, who knows both the knowledge of good and the depths of evil.

Oh, but when we want to be good…we can be amazing.

We can bring tears to our Heavenly Father’s eyes when we tenderly take our human flesh and extend it from His mind and soul to reach into the hearts and lives of others.

Today I went to church. Some people would call it Christmas morning.

The good news is that Christmas morning is church.

The better news is, the more we take every church service and make it like Christmas morning, the more blessed the world would be.

 

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

Jesonian: I Can But I Won’t… September 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2352)

I can but I won’t.

I could but I shouldn’t.

It is an imaginative and ingenious philosophy put forth by Jesus to explain how to escape the lunacy of chasing every single possibility and problem that pops up in your face.

It happened one day while he was sharing with his disciples and friends about the true essence of their mission, and some of the obstacles they would face in the future as they tried to progress a message that most certainly would suffer some persecution.

As he’s closing out this admonishment, he renders these powerful words: “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you should say.”

Amazingly enough, his own sharings are about to be put to the test–because he is interrupted in a clumsy, if not rude, way, by a gentleman who feels he has a much more urgent need than that of training disciples to preach the good news to the world.

The intruder inserts, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Talk about being off point.

Talk about misconstruing the meaning of offering power and wisdom. This man felt that since Jesus had the attention of the room, that Jesus should use that platform to resolve his personal conflict. This is where our opening couplet comes to play.

I can but I won’t.

I could but I shouldn’t.

The answer that Jesus gives this man is filled with insight and prophetic underpinning:

Who has made me a judge over you? I am not here to arbitrate. And by the way, beware covetousness.

Amazing.

  • I thought Jesus was God and he was ordained to judge.
  • I thought he was supposed to be the advocate for getting us forgiven our punishments when we’re ridiculously misaligned.
  • I thought it was alright to go get your fair share when it was owed to you.

I discovered a parallel: it made me realize that even though we, as a nation, may find things that we can do, we should say we won’t.

And even though we could contribute to bringing a tentative peace in areas of the world where brothers are arguing over their inheritance, we shouldn’t.

Among the many reasons for sitting out the present conflict brewing in Mesopotamia is that it is grounded in covetousness. Covetousness is when selfishness punches jealousy in the nose and then wants recompense by stealing everything its enemy

Let me tell you–I am a follower of Jesus because he had a unique and God-given ability to know where his battles were and when he was to simply walk away.

No matter how much we may think that the conflicts in the Middle East are deadly, fierce or even genocidal, they are not our affair. And if we jump in there, we are failing to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to us as Jesus promised He would.

I can but I won’t.

I could but I shouldn’t.

Donate Button

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

 

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

%d bloggers like this: