Untotaled–Stepping 15 (August 17th, 1965): Mr. O … May 24, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

I called him Mr. O because he had a Norwegian name with five syllables that I could neither remember nor pronounce.

He was older than death.

What I mean is, his flesh was so gray and his movements were so slow that he appeared to be a creature coming from the grave instead of one inching towards the tombstone.

I didn’t like him. He didn’t like me.

I think our mutual displeasure began one day when I was mowing the lawn and the grass clippings blew onto his beautiful, graveled driveway. He came out of his house screaming at me, explaining that all I had to do was turn the mower around and pull it towards me, so that the clippings would go into my own yard.

Honestly, it sounded tedious, meaningless and frustrating.

So when I went inside and explained it to my mother and father, they had the opportunity to do something inspirational. They could have explained that since it was Mr. O’s driveway, he had the right to decide how it would be decorated.

But I guess they had problems with him, too. Because they rolled their eyes, called him a few choice names and walked away, leaving me to believe it was my family duty to continue to aggravate him.

So I did. I refused to mow in the direction he requested, blowing my grass across his well-kempt drive.

In retaliation, every time one of my balls rolled into his yard, he retrieved it and refused to give it back.

It was a feud.

It was ridiculous and could have been so easily handled if I had been instructed to give place to the feelings of another human being. But instead my childish sensations were justified instead of rectified.

I think my parents thought they were trying to be cool and side with their son. But I needed more than that.

I needed to learn how to live in a world that demands sharing.

Before I could grow up and become a decent human being, Mr. O passed away. So many things I would like to tell him.

  • For after all, Mr. O had the right to determine what came into his own yard.
  • Mr. O even had the right not to like me.
  • And I must realize that Mr. O had the God-given right to be cranky.

For after all, if I am going to be mean to everybody I don’t like or who doesn’t like me, I’m going to be too busy pursuing vendettas … to ever enjoy myself.

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

 

 

Trion for Size … December 4, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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keysIt was Monday morning.

We hauled our instruments into our motel room, set up and prepared for a rehearsal which also was an inspirational session of putting together our Spirited Christmas Show. We would have just a couple of hours, and then the next day we would be performing in Trion, Georgia.

I always find it great fun. Matter of fact, it really boils down to a simple little formula, which is almost fool-proof because it takes into account the nature of human beings.

Sorting through the material, I look for four ingredients:

  1. Something fast.
  2. Slow it down.
  3. Bring some heart.
  4. Make ’em laugh

Any time you put together that quadrangle of attitudes and gratitudes, you’re bound to have success.

But it got me thinking. How is life in general any different?

After all, we do need something fast.

We need to be quick on the uptake, to step in and be courteous, assisting one another when it’s in our power to do so.

Isn’t it important to slow it down?

How valuable can you become when you walk into a room that’s harried, worried and frustrated and you get everybody to calm themselves and quietly consider options?

I don’t know what we’d do without bringing the heart.

The religious package we offer to mankind in our churches is often heavy-laden with spiritual theology or tipsy with mental acuity and ideas. But here’s the problem: we’re emotional people, and if you don’t touch the heart, you can’t bless your fellow-travelers. What’s the best way to bring the heart? Admit your weakness and then testify about what makes you stronger.

And finally, make ’em laugh.

Do we really think anything special in life will happen without good cheer? Have a solemn and somber generation of old-thinking human beings ever generated a revival or a renaissance? If you remove the Mayflower and the idea of having turkey at Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims are a pretty empty group. Make ’em laugh.

So Jan and I sat down and came up with a show that had something fast. Then we slowed it down to bring the heart and make ’em laugh.

Last night we took it to Trion, Georgia, and it was sized perfectly.

We can learn from what works if we’re not afraid to work with what we’ve learned.

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

Comfort Food for Thought … April 14, 2013

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envelopeIt arrived in a simple envelope with a return address from: Mike, PO Box 97, Kearney, NE, 68849. Inside were two one-dollar bills and a folded up piece of notebook paper. I unfolded it and read:

Dear Jonathan, I like your music. You seem to be real honest. So I don’t think you’ll lie to me. If you could take a moment and answer three questions for me, it would help me decide what I want to do next. Please just fill in the spaces on the letter and mail it back to me. I don’t have much money, but I gave you two dollars for your trouble.

Written on the paper were three questions with about an inch and a half of blank space  between each one.

Question 1: Is there really a God? And please don’t lie to me.

Question 2: If there is, does He care and how do you know?

Question 3: And if He cares, why does so much crap go on in the world?

I sat and stared at that piece of paper for a long time. I didn’t know what my friend, Mike, was deciding, but it sounded pretty important. And since he didn’t give me much room to elaborate, I figured I’d better make my answers really good and clear. So I began with the first one–is there a God?

“Mike, it’s more impossible for me to believe that where we have come to was achieved by accident than it is to believe that someone or some force set it in motion. I don’t like to be ignorant, but to me, it’s ignorant to think that the world became ‘accidentally’ magnificent, even if it took billions of years. So absent any rational explanation, I would rather believe in a Divine one.”

Question 2: Does He care?

“Not the way you and I want Him to. He has inserted comfort and joy into the workings of our earth. Comfort comes from other people giving a damn about each other and joy is achieved when we stop fighting against nature and the way things are and make our peace with it. So sometimes life seems cold because no one shows up to bring comfort and we fail to learn our lessons and seem abandoned of all joy. But when people do the right thing by loving each other and respecting the world around them, problems get solved.”

“Now–as to #3, why things get bad–God had one idea that you and I probably wouldn’t like very well. It’s called free will. He liked it so well that He built His whole universe around it. And even though faith, hope and love are always available, people often choose, with their own free will, to be angry, doubting and hateful. It sets in motion a slew of natural reactions that hurt a bunch of people. On top of that we disrespect nature and get in the way of progress.”

“Now I realize, Mike, that these don’t answer your questions quite the way you wanted me to, but the ‘comfort food for thought’ I give you is this: things in life are too beautiful to have been made in an ugly way. It’s up to us as people to bring the comfort. And joy comes when we learn the ways of life and stop fighting what truly works. And since free will is here to stay, we should spend our lives trying to teach one another to be more generous instead of closed up and cold.”

I read my answers over. At first I thought they were very inspirational, and then the words became more and more hollow and meaningless. So I quickly folded the note up, stuck it in an envelope, addressed it, put a stamp on it and mailed it off before I changed my mind.

Two years passed. The little note from Nebraska had completely slipped my mind.

Then one day I received a phone call from Kearney, Nebraska. The young man on the other end asked me if I would come there and share my talent. He said, “You probably don’t remember me, but my name is Mike. I’m a minister now.”

I paused and told him that I did remember. He said, “Much of what you wrote back to me didn’t make complete sense because I was ready to leave my faith and become an atheist. But then I realized that if I became an atheist, I wasn’t going to get a chance to be ‘comfort food for thought’ for anyone else. That seemed like a waste of time.”

By the way, I never got out to Kearney, Nebraska. I didn’t need to.

My little letter did all the talking … for me.

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

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