Catchy (Sitting 22) Meanwhile … November 12th, 2017

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Soos got busy.

Having placed the shoddy-quality video she shot at the jail up on YouTube, she worked very hard with her understanding of the Internet, attempting to force traffic in its direction. She had some awareness of how to accomplish this, but it was still a rather hit-and-miss proposal. But seven hours later, there were 350,000 hits, and it was growing by 100,000 an hour. By the end of the day, the viewings were nearly two million.

Not only were people checking out the video, sharing it, reposting it and talking about it, but an organization called “The Defense of the Innocent” had decided to make the case their pet project for the week.

They started a crowd-funding campaign to get Jubal Carlos out of his bind, and within a day and a half, they had raised over a million dollars.

It became the subject of conversations on talk shows. People were discussing it at their jobs. It even crossed over the generation gap, with mothers and fathers finding something to converse about with their teenagers.

The Defense of the Innocent did not waste any time trying to get to the bottom of how a drummer for Las Vegas Casinos, who had a heart for the homeless, had ended up in the clink. Within three days they had tracked the conspiracy back to a Washington lobbyist, who then disappeared on a flight to South America. The organization continued its investigation, finding that the request for the arrest of Jubal Carlos had come from somewhere in Congress.

Calls flooded the Clark County jail. The sheriff was inundated with emails, letters and all sorts of communications, accusing him of persecuting a generous man.

But things really got poppin’ when the famous acts appearing in Las Vegas, who had enjoyed Jubal’s accompaniment on the skins, began to speak out, which generated even more press and stirred up a whirlwind of questions.

Pressured, frustrated and not certain why the whole thing had begun in the first place, the Clark County sheriff ordered Jubal released for time served.

However, Jubal had to negotiate to get Matthew out since it was a completely separate matter. But the sheriff was in no mood to make a stand, so after only six days, the new comrades, Matthew and Jubal, came strolling out of the Clark County Municipal Building–free.

They were immediately surrounded by reporters. A crowd of several hundred people had gathered on the steps to hear Jubal speak. There was only one question:

“Mr. Carlos, what do you plan to do about the false imprisonment that you’ve undergone?”

Jubal stood for about three seconds, and then responded, “Nothing.”

This brought a hurricane of inquiries hurled in his direction, all with the same theme:

“But you were mistreated…”

“Injustice was done…”

Jubal patted Matthew on the back and said, “This is my buddy, Matthew. He’s kind of like a tax collector.”

There was a smattering of laughter.

“I thought I’d take him down to the homeless section, see if I can get somebody to grab my congas, call up my band, ‘The Pebble Pushers,’ and have a celebration concert.”

“When will this happen?” one of the reporters asked.

Jubal shrugged and said, “How about three o’clock this afternoon? Everybody’s invited.”

As they walked away, Matthew furrowed his brow and whispered to Jubal, “What are you doing?”

Jubal laughed. “I don’t know, but it sure sounds like fun.”

Calls were made.

Soos was contacted to get ahold of The Pebble Pushers and rig up some sort of sound system.

Prophet Morgan, who had just come from the blackjack tables with his yearly bonanza of funds for the poor, started spreading the word all through the casinos.

Jo-Jay quickly found a courtesy suite at one of the famous hotels so Matthew and Jubal could clean up and get ready for the afternoon activities.

And a spot was found in a park near the homeless haven for the impromptu concert.

At three o’clock, Matthew and Jubal arrived to an amazing scene. There were thousands of people. There was a stage made up of old crates, boxes and palates–the perfect venue for Jubal Carlos and The Pebble Pushers. Sitting on top of the makeshift stage were Jubal’s famous double set of congas, waiting for a good beating.

Jubal took the stage, to the screams and applause of an appreciative audience, giddy on the elixir of defiance.

Jubal announced, “I know people always say this, but I truthfully, honestly, gloriously and faithfully want to thank each and every one of you for helping me gain my freedom. It is not my doing, but it is a work of God–because people came together. Do you understand what I mean? When people come together for something good, it is the presence of God. So let’s play some music, let’s dance, let’s celebrate and let’s see if they will take me in this time for actually disturbing the peace.”

The crowd cheered.

For the next hour-and-a-half, Jubal and the band played song after song, driving the audience into a state of frenzy.

All at once, in the midst of a particularly vibrant number, Jubal stopped and called Matthew to the back of the stage. Stepping aside from his drums as the band continued to play, he stepped down to speak to Matthew.

“Listen, here’s what I want you to do. How many McDonald’s do you think there are in this town?”

Matthew shook his head. “I don’t know. Fifty? A hundred?”

Jubal replied, “Good. These people are hungry. I want you to go to all those McDonald’s and buy up all the McDoubles and small fries that they have in stock and bring them out here.”

Matthew blanched, eyes widened, and said, “What??”

Jubal continued. “And while you’re at it, pick up thousands of bottles of water.”

Jubal headed back to the stage, and Matthew grabbed his arm. “How am I going to do this? I’ve only got fifty bucks on me.”

Jubal frowned. “Don’t you have millions in the bank for this promotion?”

Matthew nodded. “Yeah… but how does this fit into the promotion?”

Jubal laughed. “Well, I think we’re gonna get a lot of press if we pass out a McDouble and a small fry to everybody in this audience. What? About five or six thousand? If we give them bottles of water and we continue to rock the park, the press will stay as long as the music’s hot and the hamburgers are tasty.”

Matthew shook his head. “It’s a great idea. I just wish I had the people to do it.”

Jubal pointed to the crowd. “Grab some people from the audience. You’ll have plenty of helpers. And while you’re getting the burgers and fries together, I’ll continue the concert. And you can roll in with a bunch of vans filled with meat, cheese and potatoes.”

“This is crazy,” said Matthew.

Jubal paused.

And then, as if struck by a great notion from the heavens, replied, “No. It’s the beginning of our Good Cheer Revolution.

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Ask Jonathots… October 27th, 2016

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Is there any such thing as a good war, a necessary war or a productive war?

I am always frightened of pat answers.

I’m talking about those responses given which attempt to be clever or cover a multitude of opinions in order to please everybody. We know that life doesn’t work that way. Actually, truth is a poison ivy that leaves everyone scratching.

So when you talk about war, it’s easy to take familiar stances.

For instance, “war is fine as long as we’re protecting the innocent.” The problem, of course is, who is really innocent?

And most people who decide to go to war tout that they’re doing it to “shelter the needy,” but have ulterior motives.

There are those who say war is necessary to promote our way of life. In other words, “these people are going to do what’s right or we’ll kill them.”

And there are people who contend that war is acceptable when we, ourselves, are attacked. Then the question comes, at what level? Are we talking about a bombing of our whole country, or an aggressive move toward one of our ships?

The truth of the matter is, war is so wrong that it must be won by people who know it’s evil.

If we begin to believe that there’s a righteous war, or our cause is anointed by the heavens and we’re allowed to enact violence, then we become the latest plague on the planet.

  • War is wrong because it kills people.
  • Killing people is against life.
  • God is a promoter of life.

So what should we feel about war?

I think many wars are avoided by choosing our skirmish.

In other words, if we step in early enough and rip the bad seed out of the ground, the ugly cactus of conflict doesn’t have to pop up in the desert.

If we use diplomacy, a show of force and a line in the sand that we really do follow through on, we have a much better chance of avoiding a death toll and devastation.

Should the United States have become involved in World War II earlier? Yes–the U. S. should have stepped in when Hitler decided to annex part of Austria–long before he took over Poland, all of Europe and bombed the hell out of England.

We should have noticed the political upheaval in Viet Nam and addressed it with the tools available–a show of force and diplomacy–instead of sending human bodies to shoot at human bodies.

War is not inevitable. More often than not, it’s a refusal and a denial of existing problems, hoping they will go away, only to discover that they multiply.

For instance, in a marriage, long before there’s a divorce, there are a thousand junctures where communication and conversation could have changed the outcome.

War is caused by delay.

Delay is triggered by politics.

And politics is the notion that by pretending everything is good, we will get elected.

Choose the skirmish.

Avoid the war.

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Ask Jonathots … January 21st, 2016

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When is it right to fight–to stand up for yourself? Everyone I know and everywhere I look, people say you have to “fight back” and “defend yourself.” So what does it mean to “turn the other cheek” or even “thou shall not kill?” And how is it we are a “Christian nation” when fighting and killing and wars are constant?

Let’s begin with the concept of a “Christian nation.”

Jesus never envisioned his work as a country. He said his “kingdom is not of this world.” So the Christian message was intended to be an individual experience. Then these converts were challenged to become “the light of the world,” and affect the climate of society.

So to tout ourselves as a Christian nation, we have blended in the concepts of the Old Testament so that we can obtain a nationalistic flavor. And when you include the Old Testament, you get “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” and vendettas against enemies.

So I don’t know if it’s possible to approach this as a Christian nation without including ideas which Jesus said had been cast aside in favor of more loving and noble adventures.

If we were a Christian nation, our agenda would be simple: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

In other words, take care of those around us and develop a healthy, prejudice-free environment where people can prosper, and in so doing, gain personal peace of mind and solvency.

Then that “city on a hill” could be a testimony to the world and they could begin to measure their philosophies against our philosophy, and decide where they might want to revise their thinking.

Of course, in the process, we must realize that enemies still come along due to jealousy and revenge, but when this happens, we can stand guard without totally destroying those who attack us.

This is exemplified in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus takes eleven men into this secluded place for a time of prayer, asking them if they had the means to defend themselves, and when they said, “We have two swords,” he replied, “It is enough.”

So if we could put together a military without trying to overwhelm our enemies with our prowess, then we would be in a position to take the rest of our money and use it to improve the lives of our citizens instead of constructing an arsenal of intimidation.

You will be told by most people that this idea is childish and stupid. This is why Jesus never intended to take over countries and rule them.

The Christian message is intended to be placed in existing cultures, and through its charity, affect the climate that surrounds it.

So I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this question. Yet I will tell you that the fighting and killing that goes on in our world cannot be attributed to the message of Jesus of Nazareth, because he never intended to possess turf.

And if you ever have to add Old Testament to New Testament to justify your actions, then you are not living under the total spiritual impact of the Kingdom of God.

So I walk in a simple situation:

  • If the United States is attacked, we should defend ourselves.
  • We should also protect the innocent of the world as much as possible without entering into old grudges that are thousands of years in the making.
  • And we should take most of our financial power to build up the lives of our people so that we can offer a testimony of peace and prosperity to the world around us.

Whatever it would take to do this is what would be sufficient. Because when eleven men told Jesus they had two swords, he said it was enough.

It certainly is not enough to attack, but it did end up being enough to allow them to escape.

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“Ifing” Way: Part 3… November 3, 2014

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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 called a family meeting.

Such gatherings are essential–otherwise misunderstandings will turn into squabbles which eventually spill out into the community as a whole. The dilemmas we now consider to be international were once mere unresolved conflicts between brothers and sisters.

Sitting before him was his wife and the surrogate mother of his other son. He had two boys.

For when his wife decided that she was too old to bear children, she offered her servant as a stand-in for the opportunity of procuring a lineage for her beloved husband. The young man was born, and everything seemed fine for about thirteen years–until the Mama of the house got pregnant.

After she birthed her son, she felt threatened by the presence of another male offspring, and also by the female who deemed herself important because she had contributed in such a personal way.

The two women fought.

At first it was what you would call “quibbling”–a nasty glance followed by exiting the room in a huff.

But eventually the wife made it an issue with her husband, that the other woman and her child must go. He was tempted. In a moment of weakness, he considered sending the surrogate away with a bit of cash and a heartfelt apology.

Then he stopped to think–one of the more powerful things that human beings do.

He made a decision–one he was about to share with the two dear ladies.

“We are having a problem,” he stated clearly. The two women looked at each other, feigning a bit of surprise. It was so phony he had to giggle.

“Oh, don’t try that with me. You both know what I’m talking about, and frankly, I am in no mood to discuss the specifics of your feelings or misgivings. Let me explain my position. I have two sons. I love them both. I also am deeply appreciative of the two women who bore these sons. I don’t care if anyone understands our relationship. And I am certainly not going to try to please one of you to destroy the other. Here’s what I know: if my two sons cannot grow up together and be at peace because their mothers are being silly, then what would make us believe that their children will get along with each other any better?

He paused, gazing into their eyes.

“In no time at all, a couple of generations pass, and the story of your little tiff with each other is completely blown out of proportion, and rather than being a family foible, it becomes a national offense, leading to war. For my dear ladies, all wars begin in the kitchen. They spread to the dining room, and are further inflamed in the bedroom before they head out the door and hurt the innocent.”

“So it would be unfair of me to call this a discussion. I am telling you that my name is Abraham, and for me and my house, we will have two sons, and we will serve the Lord together.”

Sarah and Hagar looked at each other, knowing the resolute will of the man before them. He would certainly follow through on his words.

They were not happy … but they knew they needed to learn how to be so.

 

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