Things I Learned from R. B. (March 29th, 2020)


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Episode 9

Bequeathed upon the teller of a tale is a sacred trust to be accurate and truthful.

The two are not the same.

Accuracy requires dates, times, locations—yet spins the story by using the bias of the narrator.

Truth, on the other hand, is unflinching, insisting that what was everlasting be presented without coloration or commentary.

For this reason, I will not tell you the whole odyssey of our brief, five-month stay in Mobile by the Bay. I might be tempted to use accuracy to place the pieces of the occurrences in the exact position which might make you feel sorry for me – or pronounce me innocent.

I was not innocent.

I was young, arrogant, unaccustomed to being told what to do and I had too much talent to be placed in such a small vessel of possibility. The result was outbreaks of jealousy, anger, resentment and vicious rumor.

The worst part of the journey came when my middle son was hit and run by a car, and after a three-month stay in the hospital, ended up in a vegetative state, demanding constant care-giving.

Now, when we were able to bring Joshua home from the hospital, I was sitting in my living room one chilly October morning, having negotiated a severance deal with the church which allowed us to stay and be paid through the end of November, perched deep in thought when the phone rang.

To my astonishment, it was R. B.

Accurately, he, too, had suffered some setbacks on his quest in Minnesota for his new job. The truth I never really knew.

We told him of our predicament and he asked if he could join us, and travel with us to the next location—wherever that might be—and continue our lives in a much different framework than the optimism that permeated us upon arriving at the small church in Alabama.

I was lonely.

I was disturbed.

I was anxious for someone to hear my representation of the accuracy of our experience—without ever seeking for the truth.

I welcomed R. B.

He, too, was in need of a sounding board.

That’s what we did. For about a solid month, while I was auditioning for other positions, taking care of my son and trying to line up the dollars in my bank account like good soldiers, we commiserated and dreamed of more to come.

R. B. and I found each other over despair.

Yet how far can two crippled men travel together before they resent one another?

The B. S. M. G. Report


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Looking for a way to bless

But stymied in the mess

Bad

For one hundred and ninety-six years, the United States stumbled and fumbled, but also struggled its way through discovering its own definition of a “Democratic Republic,” with only one occasion when the President of the United States was impeached.

Now, in the past forty-seven years, we have had three Presidents impeached. Also George W. Bush was repeatedly threatened with it, and even Ronald Reagan was nearly brought down by the Iran-Contra affair.

It’s time to realize that we have lost sight of what it means to be Americans and also have failed to follow through on the vision of what we set out to do so many years ago with the Declaration of Independence.

The figures speak for themselves.

We either cannot find good leadership, or we do not know how to pick a good leader.

SAD

When the vote was taken for the impeachment inquiry for President Donald Trump, not one single Republican cast an affirmative to proceed with the investigation.

The sadness I feel is not because I think the President is guilty, nor that I deem him innocent. I am saddened because this has become a partisan event, since it is most assuredly Democrats against Republicans.

Meanwhile, the pundits bicker and snicker.

MAD

We’re supposed to be the good guys.

We’re supposed to be the U.S.A. which travels the globe to help people out when there are disasters.

We’re supposed to be the nation that challenges other nations to be more honest, more democratic and more willing to pursue human rights.

It is truly maddening that we have lost our way, and gradually are becoming the laughingstock of a world which is intimidated, not just by our atomic warheads, but also by our desire to make things right no matter how wrong they may seem to be.

GLAD

It is like a tiny bugle in the distance. I can barely hear it. Shall we call it a “frugal bugle”—one that would love to blow a retreat from selfishness, politics and jealousy, allowing us to regroup into a nation indivisible?

For after all, it doesn’t do much good for us to be “under God” if we’re split apart by ethnicity, bigotry, political parties and religion.

I hear a faint bugle blowing.

It is a call by those who are weary of Republicans and disappointed in Democrats and would like to go back to the simplicity of a land where people are given equal opportunity and equal respect.

Listen for the bugle.

When you hear it, join the retreat from insanity and the gathering of those who will not move one more foot—until common sense is placed in charge.

 

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Jesonian … October 2nd, 2018

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Christine and Brett.

You may not immediately recognize the names. They have been referred to as “Doctor” and “Judge.”

Doctor: a person with a diagnosis and a treatment for illness.

Judge: an individual who sifts through facts and pronounces sentences.

They have also been categorized as Democrat and Republican.

Woman and man.

Victim and abuser.

Innocent and guilty.

But in the Mind and Spirit of God, they are Christine and Brett–two human beings on a planet of eight billion others, who have a conflict with one another.

The way our government and our society have decided to resolve this difficulty is to separate them, bring them into a room, have each one tell their story and let the public decide. Since this approach has ended in a fiasco, it might be interesting to consider the Jesonian technique–the way Jesus would assess Christine and Brett, separate from Doctor and Judge or woman and man. How might he suggest they come to reconciliation?

THE WILL OF THE FATHER

Jesus, in the 18th Chapter of Matthew made it clear (just in case nobody was certain or was questioning): it is not the will of the Father in Heaven that anyone should perish.

We mere mortals have a tendency to choose sides, kiss our favored and hurl rocks at the cursed. Not the Father.

Here’s the process Jesus suggested should happen:

PERSONAL CONTACT

When Christine realized that she had an unresolved conflict with Brett, and he was about to take a very, very important job, she should have contacted him personally. It would not have to be on the phone–it could be a letter or an email. She could have sat down with her husband, the members of her family and even some attorneys, and drafted a note with the following three elements:

1. Brett, what you did to me many years ago is still troubling.

2. I would like to know that this is not part of your behavior going forward, so that I can be supportive of your selection to the high court.

3. I would appreciate it if you would contact me, let me know of your memories of this event and what you feel about it looking back.

Yes, Jesus said that every human deserves to first be confronted privately. Christine was not emotionally healed to such a degree that she was able to do such a thing but the truth is, her own restoration should have already begun and be completed with Brett’s apology and her forgiveness.

BRING WITNESSES

If Brett decided to ignore her, say he didn’t know what she was talking about, or even deny her story, then she should have called in her witnesses. These are the people who were either there or they knew Brett’s situation very well. With this testimony standing strongly behind her, she should once again contact him and give him the chance to recant and admit his involvement in the situation.

Unfortunately, Christine did not bring witnesses, and all the hoopla we heard through the grapevine about these bystanders favored Brett. It may not be true. It just means things were mishandled, and no witnesses were produced to back up the original story.

This travesty of emotional mayhem played out on television last Thursday.

BRING TO THE PUBLIC

In the plan of Jesus, if Brett decided not to be agreeable to Christine and the testimony of the witnesses, at this time she should go to members of Congress and place him in front of the nation for review.

Arriving in that Senate chamber, she would have evidence that she had contacted him personally and she would have witnesses to the incident.

Christine should also have insisted that they both be in the Chamber at the same time, so it would not be an oration of two spurned adolescents, but rather, a human drama playing out in real time for all to discern.

If this path that Jesus suggested had been followed, it would not have been a case of “he said and she said.” Rather, “it has been said, confirmed by witnesses, presented to the accused, and he has refused to respond.”

If there had been an attack and Brett knew he was wrong, admitting his fault after thirty-six years would have only increased his stock.

As you can see, it would be a completely different scenario.

So for those individuals who think that Jesus is a religious icon with “holey hands and holey feet,” continuing to bleed for the sins of mankind, may I offer the possibility that he is a victor who lived a human life and presented the very best ways to do so.

*****

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Jesonian: Lukey 13 … February 17th, 2018

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I gave this essay a title.

I don’t very often–but since I planned to refer to the Good Book in Luke the 13th Chapter, I decided to get cute: “Lukey 13.”

Very simply, this is where Jesus explains how the planet functions, progresses and purifies.

The explanation was required because the folks who surrounded Jesus of Nazareth were caught up in politics and blamed the government for all the ills that came their way. This spilled over into their conversation with the “carpenter-turned-preacher.”

They wanted to get his opinion on an event. Pontius Pilate, the governor, had killed a group of people who came to a religious service to offer sacrifice, and were brutally attacked by the Roman Legions–murdered during their ceremony.

The people dramatically cited to Jesus that “the blood of the victims was mingled with the sacrifices.”

They failed to say that the Romans knew these folks to be Zealots, viewing them as terrorists who raided the army and killed infantrymen.

(There are always two sides to a story, usually with neither one being the truth.)

The people wanted Jesus to be enraged. They wanted Jesus to be a nationalist. They wanted Jesus to be a Zionist. He astounds them.

He replies, If you won’t change, you’re next. (The actual wording was, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”)

He asked them if they thought the Galileans who were killed were bad people because it happened to them. He asked if a tower which had recently fallen on innocent folks was punishment for their sins, once again closing with, if you don’t change, you’re next.

What is his message? First, it is impossible to comprehend the ministry of Jesus without realizing that he came to bring understanding to the Natural Order instead of having people believe in mysterious protections from a Supernatural Border.

The Jews thought as long as they were Jews, God should take care of them. They felt no responsibility to the world around them, referring to people who were not Sons of Abraham as “heathens.” They became targets for cultures which were stronger in military might, and in no mood to be called “dogs.”

In a parable, Jesus explains the nature of Nature. He also outlines the nurture of the Father:

You cannot get God’s grace if you do not honor Nature’s place.

Jesus tells a story about a tree. It had leaves, bark and roots. No fruit. This tree was deemed by those in charge to be worthless, and was marked to be cut down.

Consider: although God loves me, He wants me to understand that since I live on Planet Earth, I have to follow the rules of the trees. I am not allowed to take up space, suck out nutrients and just sprout leaves. I am expected to bear fruit.

What is fruit? What defines fruit? “I am trying to improve my life, therefore understand why you are attempting to do the same.”

That’s fruit.

Nature wants to get rid of anything that is not fruitful. Some people might even say that Nature is prepared to get rid of Earth, because its inhabitants are no longer respectful of the system.

Yet let’s talk about you and me. There is a Natural Order and a Supernatural Border. It is impossible to come under the grace of God if you’re not submissive to Earth. And on those occasions when you find yourself erring, and in danger of being eliminated because of your mistake, you will need the Supernatural Border.

There is only one way to get under the protection of God’s mercy: humility.

Yes. Be the first one on your block to know you’ve done something stupid. Repent of it before anyone else even knows you did it, and dip your head in respect to Mother Nature as a way of honoring Father God. When God sees this, He comes to Mother Nature and He says, “Dig and dung.” In other words, let’s not eliminate this person yet. Let’s give him or her a chance. Fertilize with dung.

To put this process in a lexicon we better understand: to gain God’s help, you must humbly admit your weakness and allow Him to send some shit your way so you can grow.

If you’re convinced it’s not your fault, and you reject the shit, get ready for the buzzsaw.

If you’re going to be oblivious, be prepared to be the next one eliminated. But if you honor Nature and the order of things and realize that it’s not the government’s fault–there is no massive plan against spirituality, but rather, misdirection on your own part, which needs to be humbly corrected–then God has the ability to extend His grace, to help you establish your change.

It is a powerful passage. It is our “Lukey 13.”

And if we comprehend its meaning, we have an earthly advantage over the religious fanatics who believe God owes them something, and also the secular world, which contends it can out-muscle the competition.

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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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