Catchy (Sitting 60) Debriefing…August 5th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3755)

Unable to get his head around Jo-Jay’s tales of abduction, Matthew made the decision to fly into Washington, D.C. and meet with five very confused but elated friends.

Each of them had purportedly encountered similar imprisonments, leaving them suffering from amnesia except for a very specific name, which each was intended to retain.

Matthew did not want to fly to Washington, D.C. by himself. Shortly before he received the phone call from Jo-Jay, the latest blood count numbers had come back from the doctor. They were not good. His liver was not repairing–actually getting worse.

This was probably due to the fact that Matthew was continuing to drink. When the doctor discovered that Matthew was not pursuing a tee-totaling lifestyle, he explained that it would soon be necessary to pursue a transplant–or Matthew would no longer be able to remain cynical, but rather, would be quite dead.

With that rattling around his brain, he did not want to be alone, so he asked Leonora to accompany him to Washington, D.C. She was completely unwilling–until he set up an audition for her as second oboist with the National Symphony. Even though Leonora hated not playing first–feeling that the classical masters chose the second oboe part to lose their inspiration, she still felt it was a good career move, and a good step for her in advancing her dreams. She agreed to travel along.

Yet she adamantly refused to attend the meeting with Matthew, Carlin, Jubal, Jasper, Soos and Jo-Jay, feeling she would be out of place, and that after the fiasco in the Las Vegas hotel suite, they might hold a grudge against her atheism.

Matthew assured her that they weren’t that type of people, and said she wouldn’t need to stay if she felt uncomfortable. To ensure she had autonomy, Leonora rented her own car upon arriving at the airport in Washington, D.C.

It was clear to Matthew that there were many roads of communication that needed to be opened in the days ahead if he was ever going to have this lovely woman as his partner.

The two Vegas souls arrived in time for brunch, which was beautifully set up at Jo-Jay’s house. It was light but delicious, tasty but small, and consumed in no time at all.

After a few moments of conversation, wherein all five Washingtonians exhausted all of their knowledge about oboes and double-reed instruments, Carlin spoke up.

“Matthew, we’ve asked you to come here because of a very strange set of events. Considering how this whole project has been tinged with the bizarre, isolating one thing as ‘strange’ might seem a little redundant…”

Soos broke in. “But honest to God, this one is strange. This is Twilight Zone freaky.”

Leonora furrowed her brow. Soos turned to her and said, “Do you know The Twilight Zone? You know–Rod Serling?”

Leonora neither acknowledged nor denied awareness. There was an uncomfortable moment while six people waited for one person to emote.

Jubal jumped in to fill the spot. “Well, it was. It was creepy. Let me summarize so I don’t bore anyone. All five of us…” He motioned his hand around the room.

“Yes, all five of us…Well, I guess I’ll use the word ‘abducted,’ though it wasn’t by aliens…'”

Jasper cut in, laughing. “Well, they were alien to me.”

Everybody nodded except Leonora, who was staring into her cup of tea.

Jo-Jay spoke up. “I’m not good at explaining things, but I have listened to everybody’s story, so let me summarize the details we have in common. Each of the five of us were taken against our will and flown by airplane to another location. We were given drugs which didn’t do any harm to us, but for some unusual reason, refreshed us. We were interrogated…”

Soos interrupted. “And this is where it gets different. For instance, I was interrogated by a woman in a clown suit.”

Carlin noted, “My guy was a fat Alfred Hitchcock-looking fellow wearing a ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost’ mask.”

“I was interviewed by a football player,” said Jubal, “with an unknown uniform–at least unknown to me–with a mask over his eyes.”

“Mine was a little kid,” injected Jasper.

“And that leaves me,” said Jo-Jay. “My interrogator was dressed as an angel. A very dark one, wearing a black hood. It was scary shit.”

A silence fell over the room which Leonora filled with a heavy sigh, shaking her head. Matthew realized he was losing the attention of the woman he loved–or at least lusted after. He thought about trying to include her, but decided it might be better to just hurry the meeting along so they could get out of there.

But before he could speed the conversation toward a conclusion, Leonora stood to her feet and said, “The food was delicious. I shall not stay for the stories. I have an audition in two hours, and I am going to go practice and prepare. I’m sure you understand.”

She turned on her heel, and without saying another word, walked out the door. Matthew wanted to follow her, afraid of the separation.

At that moment, Matthew hated all five people in the room, and counting the Father, Son and Holy Ghost–make it eight. He was extremely tired of the whole project. He was sick of being sick.

Carlin sensed his desperation. “We won’t hold you long, Matthew.”

He continued. “I was given a name. Terrence Eldridge. I have Googled him, studied and tried to get as much information as I could. Turns out he’s a fellow who has started a new movement in the black community, to escape what he considers to be the racist term, ‘African American.’ He wants to give his brothers and sisters their rightful place in this country. He wants to call them ‘Amerikin.’ From what I read, he is powerful, dynamic and completely unknown.”

Soos jumped in. “Believe it or not, the name given to me was Michael Hinston. You may not know it, but he was recently exonerated of all charges. He’s been given a clean bill of health by the Congressional investigating committee. His testimony before them was speckled with spirit and humility. He’s in a good place. For some reason, he is my mission.”

“Mine,” said Jubal, “is a guy named Milton Crenshaw, who lives in South Florida. That’s not the name I was given. I was given a word. ‘Jesonian.’ When I typed that word into Google, this fellow’s name came up–with a self-published book that seemed to have gone nowhere. So I assume I’m supposed to go talk to him and find out what he’s trying to communicate with his new word.”

Jasper laughed. “Well, of course, I was given the name of a comedian. Mickey Kohlberg. He’s a Jewish fellow who has taken it upon himself to take all the material of Jesus of Nazareth and rework it into a standup comedy routine, which he has entitled ‘Dying Laughing.’ So I’m off to see what he’s all about.”

Jo-Jay looked around the room. “Well, I guess that leaves me. I was given the word careless.’ Of course, dumb girl that I am, I thought it was the normal word, “careless,” but then I discovered there’s this consultant to the rich–a young man in his early thirties named Careless. His goal is to teach these very wealthy people how to redeem their sense of worth through giving–intelligently. I’m set up to meet with him next week.”

Matthew sat for a moment. Carlin started to speak, but Matthew interrupted.

“No, I don’t need to hear any more from you guys. You do understand, this just sounds like a crock of shit. The smartest thing I could do is run out the front door of Jo-Jay’s home and throw a hand grenade behind me and save the world a lot of trouble.”

“Now, I’m not much of a church boy, but I do remember that when the Apostle Paul was talking to a king one day, the monarch got done hearing him and said to the Apostle, ‘Too much learning has made you crazy.’ Do you see my point? You guys have gotten so involved–so convinced that you’re going to change the world–that you’ve just let your minds go nuts.”

Jo-Jay stood up indignantly. “You know me better than that, Matthew. You once called me the most level-headed person you had ever met. Not woman. Person. Sometimes, though, all the answers don’t fit into a bottle of booze.”

Carlin also stood to his feet and pulled Jo-Jay toward him. “That’s enough. We’re not here to hurt our friend…”

Matthew shook his head. “You’re not my friends. I could use some friends. Did you all even know that I have liver disease? Did you know that I need a transplant? That’s what they told me right before I came here. And if you did know, how much would you let that interrupt your lives as you try to save the world for Jesus?”

“Did you see that woman who left? I love that woman. At least I think so. If she weren’t so goddamn obnoxious, I’d tell her. But the way she is right now, she’d just use it against me. You guys don’t have an answer. She hates your guts.”

He shook his head. “I know what she’s going to do. She’s gonna ask me to make a choice. Am I going to be with her, or continue to be in this ridiculous adventure?”

“And what would you say?” Soos asked meekly.

Jubal countered. “Hush, Soos. That’s none of our business.”

Matthew stood and walked toward the door. He stopped short. “Jubal, you said a mouthful. It’s not your business. Not because I don’t care. Not because I don’t love you guys. But right now I need someone to love me more than they love Jesus. Do you fucking get that?”

Carlin nodded and said, “We do.”

“We do what?” asked Matthew.

Carlin smiled. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

Matthew craned his neck from side to side, relieving tension. “Listen,” he concluded. “I’m sorry. I’m not myself. It sounds like a great punch-line, but keep in mind–my liver is dying. And I’ve got a conversation waiting for me with a very angry, talented, intelligent, sexy woman. And I’m outgunned. I would ask you to pray for me if I believed those words would go any higher than the ceiling. So let me leave it like this–I’m gonna live through the next twenty-four hours. I’ll let you know how much damage was done.”

He turned, opened the door and was gone.

Five startled, loving, confused, bewildered, exasperated, terrified and worried people peered at one another, anxiously.

 

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Jesonian … July 21st, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3740)

Jesus is not a conservative.

“He who is given much, much is expected.”

“Whenever you’ve done it unto the least of these, my brethren, you’ve done it unto me.”

Jesus is not a liberal.

“The poor you have with you always. Do what you can.”

“Every good tree brings forth good fruit.”

Jesus is also not a vegan.

Too much talk about killing the fatted calf and eating it, and of course, there was that time he devoured the grilled fish by the seashore.

Jesus is not a member of the NRA.

“They that live by the sword shall die by the sword.”

“My kingdom is not of this world; otherwise my disciples would fight.”

Jesus is not religious.

“Avoid vain repetition.”

“Thinking with their much speaking that they are pleasing God.”

Jesus is not an anarchist.

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”

“I have not come to destroy the world, but to save it.”

Jesus is a FAITHOLOGIST.

He studied faith, analyzed it, prayed for it, praised it, wondered where the hell it was when it wasn’t there, and showcased it.

He was a Faithologist.

First he taught people to have faith in themselves…

“You are the salt of the Earth.”

“Your faith has made you whole.”

…then God:

“Our Father, which art in heaven.”

“If you, being evil men, give good gifts, won’t your Father give even better?”

In his Faithology course, he taught faith in Nature:

“You can discern the face of the sky.”

“Consider the lily and how it grows.”

And he taught us to have faith in others:

“Give and men shall give to you, good measure, pressed down, running over.”

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

He came in human form to talk to human beings about human things in a human way, to encourage human excellence. He certainly was the Great Humanist.

But he taught this by extolling the power of faith–that even as a mustard seed, if we will not doubt in our hearts, we can move mountains.

*****

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Jesonian … July 14th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3733)

In Luke the 7th Chapter, a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to dinner.

Why?

As the story rolls out, it becomes obvious that it wasn’t a “special” invitation. Jesus arrived to a very generic, all-male environment, believing that he was a special guest, but was ushered in to be seated as if he’s one of hundreds at a Golden Corral Buffet.

You see, Simon wanted to be “the guy.” He wanted to be that fellow who was open-minded enough to extend an invitation to Jesus. But at the same time, he was sure to portray that he was not getting on board with the Carpenter’s crowd.

Nasty politics. Insincere feelings.

So Jesus plopped down to have dinner, thoroughly ignored.

Except for one woman. She was a whore.  Luke makes it clear that she was not an out of work prostitute, nor one who had decided to forsake her profession.

Matter of fact, we are led to believe that she had just come from the job site to see Jesus. She probably still had the smell of a man on her. She certainly had the look of evil to those religious men who had presumably gathered to consider the turn of some phrase uttered by a prophet a thousand years ago.

She brought a gift–ointment. She brought her tears, and she used her hair to dry those tears as they drizzled on his feet.

It was a sensual experience.

It was so intimate that the Pharisees, especially Simon, became infuriated that Jesus did not stop the awkwardness of the moment.

They whispered. “If he were truly a prophet, he would know what kind of woman she is…”

When Jesus realized they were critiquing the woman’s gentleness and mocking her right to be considered, he spoke up.

First, he asks Simon’s permission to speak to him. He doesn’t yell. He doesn’t offer counsel where it is not wanted. He asks for the grace to share.

And then he explains the three essentials to reaching people–whether it’s for God or for business.

He tells Simon, “When I came here you offered me no water, you gave me no kiss and you provided no oil. Yet this woman has given me the water of her tears, has kissed my feet with her warmth and anointed me with oil she brought in her alabaster box.”

Water. Kiss. Oil.

All humans need all three of these.

We need water to be cleansed. We need water to drink. We need water to be refreshed, instead of having things withheld, leaving us thirsty.

Simon thought they were going to have a great conversation over dinner about their disagreements. Jesus said, “You don’t get it, dude. It’s about water. It’s about offering a kiss.”

Intimacy.

I, for one, am sick and tired of ministry that has no connection. It takes more than three or four scriptures being read aloud for us to feel caressed.

The human race has not failed. Rather, the messengers of God have settled for meetings in dark rooms to discuss minutia.

The woman gave Jesus a kiss and he said it was good.

There is no ministry without intimacy. If you don’t plan on looking deeply into someone’s eyes, drying their tears and hugging them, then quit. Save yourself the aggravation of performing religious duties that have become meaningless.

And finally, it was the oil–the oil of gladness, the oil of healing.

It touched Jesus.

How magnificent is it to know that you are a woman who has just risen from the bed of being with a lover, and worked up the gumption to come to Jesus’ feet humbly, admitting your confusion, and know that you moved him?

Ministry is not about theology.

Ministry is not about church.

Ministry is not about praise and worship.

It’s about bringing the water for cleansing, the kiss for intimacy and the oil for healing.

Jesus did not come to Earth to explain Heaven.

Jesus came to Earth so we once and for all could make sense of Earth.

*****

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Jesonian … July 7th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3726)

Truthfully, I am very cautious when coining a word or phrase. Even though it may have its charm, it walks a fine line along the cliff of silliness, threatening to fall and be dashed on the rocks of criticism below.

That being said, I felt today’s Jesonian message required the introduction of a word–mainly because in “minting” it, the union of the parts brings to mind the purpose of the action.

So having survived my overly elongated explanation, let me talk to you about “Prayerapy.”

It is a blending of prayer and therapy, which is exactly what prayer was intended to be. Although we envision bowed heads in regal circumstances, offering well-rehearsed soliloquys of devotion and requests to God, Jesus had an entirely different perspective on prayer.

He said it should be free of “much speaking,” should never use “vain repetition,” and certainly was not to be performed “to be seen by others.”

He said it was nurtured by a few simple ingredients:

1. A private closet

2. Shut the door

3. Keep it simple

4. Say secret things to a God who hears in secret

5. Use the kingdom of God within you

6. Speak your heart

7. Leave rejuvenated

Therapists are successful because they get us to talk. We can listen to our own ideas coming out of our own mouths. And faith comes by hearing.

Therefore, healing begins when we hear our thoughts, our concerns, our wishes and our fears spoken aloud from our own lips, announced to our ears.

It is the perfect time to talk out loud, knowing that you’re being heard by your soul, your heart and your Father in heaven.

Then every prayer is answered–because the Bible makes it clear that God is willing to give wisdom and strength to anyone who asks, without questioning the beseecher.

So emerging from that closet, you will have a better understanding of what your heart sounds like, and will come forth with new wisdom and strength.

Prayerapy does not guarantee that a check will come in the mail, your rent will be paid, or that you’ll be healed of your disease. But it will certainly set in motion the awareness, the clear-headedness and the joy which makes the solutions appear more plausible.

*****

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Jesonian … June 30th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3719)

He had done an excellent job explaining his “View.” He was plugging a new book.

Over the years I had enjoyed his commentary and appearances on television, as he invites a bit of grace and “courtly” into the American thoroughfare of thought.

The segment was winding down when he was asked a question about a recent retaliation a Congresswoman had proffered toward one of her enemies. I saw his countenance change. Suddenly, he appeared beleaguered. Perhaps merely pursuing kindness had left him in despair, causing him to look for more aggressive weapons to address all the surrounding demons.

He replied, “I know we’re supposed to turn the other cheek. That’s what Jesus said. But there’s a reason there’s only one Jesus.”

I stalled. There was a grumbling of approval from the audience, but I did sense that many of them, like me, were hoping that the words “turn the other cheek” had great validity–considering the fact that the alternative offers nothing but disaster.

When has retaliation afforded any lasting effect? Certainly all despots and murderous dictators have to eventually be ousted from power, but it does not keep them from coming back.

We need a more permanent solution.

We need to know that in the midst of making progress, we are actually progressing.

It would be absolutely divine to sense that God is with us. Can we take a moment to take a look at “turn the other cheek?”

The law of that day (and also our day) was “an eye for an eye.” So “turn the other cheek” was a clever way of explaining the process of losing your eye.

It begins with a hit to your face. No one is going to extract your eye without striking you. It is unlikely that the first blow will dislodge your peeper. So it offers the quandary:

Shall I fight back and lose an eye, or maybe die, or end up doing the kill against my will?

At this moment, the reasonable nature of a survivor needs to kick in to provide the possibility for sustaining life. Without this, something will be lost.

Every time two people fight, there are casualties on both sides. No one has been able to come up with a “clean war”–or even an argument free of damage.

And the question is, how many times can we be damaged before we’re beyond repair? And long before we’re beyond repair, are we not without faith?

Turning the other cheek is not a noble concept, lived out by an itinerant Nazarene minister two thousand years ago. It is the clever, intelligent, intuitive and revelatory approach to avoid losing your eye or being forced into extracting life from another.

Whether we like it or not, once we kill, we are murderers. Once we damage, we are destroyers.

The thing my brother failed to realize is that even though turning the other cheek demands that I use much more of my intellect than I would tapping my baboon instincts, those jungle antics always leave some creature dead.

A slap on the cheek is the beginning of an attempt to squash your eye.

You can either retaliate and hope that you are stronger, or, as you bleed out on the ground from your head, wonder if it might not have been better to interrupt the process by turning the other cheek–to buy time for more reasonable negotiations to be considered.

*****

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Jesonian … June 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3712)

“He turned the water into wine.”

Let’s just stop and think about that. Jesus had a cousin named John, who took a Nazarite vow. No liquor.

A very popular religious cult of the time, the Essenes, also were teetotalers.

Even though many historians will note that wine was a common drink of the masses, it was often considered forbidden–actually uncommon among those who deemed themselves religious–especially if you were just starting a movement.

What were you trying to communicate? After all, water is the symbol of life–to such an extent that we often refer to “the water of God’s word.”

Why would Jesus care that a young married couple ran out of wine during their reception? What was that to him?

To me, the message is clear. Water is what you drink when you’re thirsty. Wine is what you select when you want to get buzzed.

A transition was in order. A New Testament was about to be unleashed on the world. What better symbolism than to make it clear that water–in other words, our lives–was meant to be wine, thus intoxicating?

No longer were we to merely survive, but celebrate.

It wasn’t an issue of sustaining our beings, but rather, imbibe by getting drunk on the Spirit.

You don’t have to go any further than the commands he gave to the servants, who were to set the miracle in motion.

1. “Fill it to the brim.”

Six water pots in all, holding at least fifteen gallons each. So we’re talking about ninety gallons of wine. This was not a gift to “finish up the party.” Rather, it was an inclination to keep the party going.

2. “Pour it out.”

Get it into people’s cups. Don’t display it. Don’t revere it. Don’t call it “holy wine.” This is drinking vino. This wine is for the purpose of people “rejoicing and being exceedingly glad.” No longer are our lives supposed to be watered down, but instead, juiced up.

3. “Make it the best.”

Jesus told the servants to take the wine to the governor of the feast, who sardonically panned, “Usually at these weddings they bring out the crappy wine at the end. But you’ve saved the best for last.”

What is crappy wine? It’s wine that is either freshly-squeezed grape juice, or so old that it’s almost turned to vinegar.

There’s a message here–we need to stop acting like we’re grape juice–pure and without sin–or that we’re turning into vinegar in our pews because we’re so soured by our life and our experiences.

Taste good.

Inebriate.

It was the message of Cana of Galilee.

You don’t start a revolution by walking away from a wedding feast, refusing to make wine over spiritual pettiness.

You create an international revival by being the one who has the sense, at the right moment, to put the “juice on the loose.”

 

*****

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G-Poppers … June 22nd, 2018

One of G-Pop’s children came to him with great concern.

She was troubled about two gentlemen she knew who were in the midst of a contentious and vicious argument over politics. They were both good men, good fathers and they were both Christian.

But the climate of division had overcome both of them, and they began to take it out on each other, leveling nasty insults in the direction of the other person, once a dear friend.

One man was a Republican and one man was a Democrat. But they both were Christian–shall we say Jesonian?–followers of the heart of Jesus.

Like many people in the lifetime of Jesus, they were looking for political solutions rather than personal revivals in their own hearts.

These two gentlemen had taken their eyes off the personal prize of discovery and placed their faith into the knowledge and politics of the day.

They were arguing about President Trump.

The Republican brother found himself in the defensive profile, trying to explain what was happening in our country the best he could, while the Democrat brother was using insults, derogatory statements and anger to attack the leader of our country.

It is affecting their friendship.

It is taking what was meant to be unified and breaking it apart.

Each one of them is convinced that the other couldn’t be a Christian and maintain the feelings he has about President Trump. They fail to understand that there are three principles set forth by Jesus of Nazareth.

If the Republicans ignore any of the three, then for a season we must walk away from the Republicans. Likewise, if the Democrats set any one of the three to the side, that party has to be negated in favor of greater words.

The three principles are:

1. No one is better than anyone else.

2. Judge not or you’ll be judged.

3. Love your neighbor as yourself.

These can’t be compromised just because we want to promote a candidate, and they certainly can’t be ignored to maintain affiliation with a political party.

Two good men are fighting because both of them are sacrificing their Jesonian beliefs to support an earthly power structure.

So G-Pop says to his children, don’t speak evil of the President of the United States. Keep your hand on the plow and follow the three principles listed above. And where you see problems come in, don’t resort to cheap insult and vulgar retort. Hang on.

The words of Jesus have lasted much longer than any ideas from any politician, and they certainly will be around long past the next election.

 

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