Catchy (Sitting 58) Sand Building…. July 22nd, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Shifting.

A gradual erosion of confidence among the populace about the once-favored “Jesus movement.”

It was difficult to know where it started. Perhaps this loss of faith was just a trait of the human race–just no longer able to tolerate goodness.

Although folks insist they are in pursuit of “peace on Earth, goodwill toward men,” they still continue to huddle around the television set to hear of wars and brood over body counts.

A movie–a parody–was released by Hollywood, entitled “Dullsbury.” It was supposed to be a gentle poking of fun at the Soulsbury experience. The premise was that the government and the elite of New York decided to isolate all of the “stupid people” and place them in a huge camp in Upper State, telling them they had won the lottery. For some reason, it didn’t occur to the “winners” why the settlement was called “Dullsbury” and had streets named “Retard Lane” and “Brain-Dead Boulevard.” Yet attempting to maintain some sort of evenness, the Hollywood ending to the motion picture was that many of the people who deemed themselves to be intelligent packed up their belongings to go live in the simplicity of Dullsbury.

But the message was clear: good is cool, but bad is hot–and the majority of the American people like their burritos caliente.

Things were further complicated when Michael Hinston was indicted on suspicion of breaking campaign finance laws and taking a bribe.

Jasper also ran into problems on his comedy tour. In trying to explain the evils of racism, he used nasty words like “nigger, chink and wetback,” causing an uprising leading to cancellations. Liberals everywhere denounced his offensive terminology.

Not to be outdone, Jubal was recorded at a rally in Egypt saying that “it was up to the Israelis to come to the peace table in good faith, and compromise.”

He was immediately dubbed anti-Semitic. He refused to retract his statement, and so became the subject of great debate on talk shows.

It wasn’t an uprising–it was a deterioration.

Like so many things that happen in life, it simply took the steam out of a heated movement and turned it lukewarm.

The two surviving graces were Jo-Jay and Carlin. Both stayed faithful to the cause. Jo-Jay kept marching in the same direction with her boots on the right feet. And Carlin continued to counter the cynicism and scandal with humor and humility.

But pretty much single-handedly, he took on the brunt of communicating the mission with little reinforcement coming from anywhere–especially Las Vegas.

Matthew completely checked out–whatever interest or intrigue he once had for the project was gone.

He pursued a love affair with an oboist. He studied her. He played her. He leaned his feelings in her direction.

Day and night he thought of new ways to pleasure her in the bedroom, and when he wasn’t thinking of sexual techniques, he was remembering the ecstasy he felt when he was in her arms.

He was smitten.

He was old enough and smart enough to know it wasn’t love. He certainly could have called it by that name, but he knew it was actually an advanced dose of infatuation, mingled with personal affection.

But it was all about the sex.

Over the past year, Matthew had indulged in so much intercourse that he had forgotten what it was like to be sexually entwined–what it meant when someone kissed you deeply without fulfilling a checklist, racing toward orgasm.

The relationship between Matthew and Leonora would have been perfect if they never had to leave the bedroom. But even though the joy between the sheets was exhilarating, both of them struggled during their conversational times to make it seem purposeful, or perhaps, meaningful.

Interaction was awkward–especially since Jasper and Soos had dropped in, and it was obvious that Leonora possessed a hostile profile toward all things divine.

Matthew was not so inclined. He didn’t hate God–he just wished that God would move to the other side of town, and not frequent the neighborhood shops. He didn’t want a world without God, but he wanted no God in his world.

Unfortunately, he felt compelled to follow the energy of Leonora’s atheism. To compromise, he stopped taking all phone calls from his cohorts on the front lines of the Jesus campaign. It was his way of tipping his hat to Leonora’s aggression, without shaking his fist at the sky.

Carlin, realizing he needed to have contact with Matthew, flew into Las Vegas. But even though they found themselves in the same building, Matthew was careful to avoid placing them in the same room.

There was no meeting. There was no agreement.

Carlin felt that the weight of the calling shifted to his shoulders, and he was ill-prepared to play the part of “Chief.”

In despair, frustrated and angry, Carlin headed back to the airport to return to Washington, D. C., to meet up with Jo-Jay and try to find a way to still “go into all the world” and share the Gospel.

As Carlin stood in the security line at the airport, two gentlemen in black suits, white shirts and black ties approached him on his right and left sides.

Lefty whispered in his ear, “Would you please come with us?”

Carlin looked to his right and then back to his left and realized he was wedged between two mountains of male humanity. He thought it best not to make a scene. He was led down the thoroughfare, through a door. A private jet stood ready.

Safely out of the airport, Carlin began to struggle with his captors. They were too strong. He shouted, but the roar of the jet engines covered his screams. In no time at all, the two hooligans physically lifted Carlin and carried him up the air steps and into the Learjet.

They dumped him into a large, comfortable seat.

Carlin quipped, “I sure hope this flight has a meal. So far the service sucks.”

 

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Catchy (Sitting 27) Loose Ends … December 17th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Matthew felt like he was dragging his own corpse behind him across the Arctic Tundra, in search of a fire.

He was disgusted with himself. Wonderful, marvelous events were transpiring, but he felt abandoned. He had become such dead weight that Jubal and the band decided not to have him come along on the daily trips across the country.

He didn’t argue. He felt so damn out of place.

Everyone was so energized, so jubilant, so jazzed by the whole idea–but he sat around counting the hours until the drum stopped beating and he could get back on the plane and go home to a nice cappuccino.

Even Soos had become enamored with the revival–filled with the same spirit that inhabited Mr. Carlos.

So this morning, when Jubal took off on the plane without telling Matthew where he was going, discovering by watching “Good Morning, U.S.A.” that the troop had landed in Haiti and was performing an impromptu concert in front of thousands of citizens, while handing out bread and cheese, Matthew was not upset. He just sat back and shook his head. Everything was so screwed up.

The business he had begun with Randall and Landy–S.E.E.D.S.–was turning to weeds. Some of the clients were disgusted with the whole idea of “God-speak,” and the ones who weren’t were too wacky for his taste.

Last week he had lunch with Randall and Landy, who sat across from him munching on salads and sipping Chablis like two jilted lovers. He had no idea how to explain where he was coming from or what he was going to do. Matter of fact, his life was just a series of loose ends, untied from all reality.

Jo-Jay had been out of pocket for weeks, pursuing some conspiracy against Jubal.

Sister Rolinda got herself in trouble with the Catholics by referring to the Pope as a “chauvinist,” suggesting that his head was beginning to fit into his pointed hat.

Worst of all was Prophet Morgan, who was jittery and upset about being ignored, and had broken the pact of secrecy with the press, doing two interviews, which, according to backstage sources, paid him three thousand for one and two thousand for the other. So two weeks ago, Prophet had appeared on “Tell All” with Bart Champion, and three days earlier, he was on “Rasur’s Edge with Carlita Rasur.” Ms. Rasur was so capable at her craft that she got Prophet all worked up into tears, as he apologized over the air for his relatives, who had once owned slaves.

Morgan looked ridiculous on television–an anachronism–pompadour hairdo, gray gabardine suit with a large, wide tie. Both Bart and Carlita tried to get secrets out of him, but since Prophet knew very little, they were quite disappointed with the information about scrambled instead of fried eggs, and Jubal’s insane appetite for black licorice.

The whole world seemed crazy to Matthew.

Michael Hinston wouldn’t take his phone calls anymore. Matthew tried not to be offended, but the last time he telephoned, he could hear Michael in the background, whispering instructions to his secretary. “Tell him I’m not here!”

Matthew just didn’t fit in.

On one hand, there was the burgeoning awakening of a Jesus movement going on in his midst, while at the same time old friendships, dreams and goals were sliding away into a pit of meaninglessness.

Rising from his chair, he picked up his cell phone and called the airport. “I need a one-way ticket to Washington, D.C.”

Matthew had decided to try to find Jo-Jay, and maybe surprise and corral Michael. The last time he had seem either of them, they were in the nation’s capitol.

 

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My Favorite Jim… May 17, 2012

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In the late winter and early spring of 1980, I found myself in a recording studio, spending one hundred hours laying down the tracks for a Broadway-style musical I had written called Mountain. It was the Sermon on the Mount, set to music. Even though the tunefulness of it gained much appreciation and buzz, my expertise in putting together such a monumental project was based more on presumption than actual knowledge.

So I was quite grateful when two friends came to join me in the process, to enlightened me where I was in darkness and give energy to my bulb of inspiration. It happened that both of them were named Jim. One of them was a pastor of a church who looked like a male model and had a burning passion to share the gospel, but also a secondary agenda of trying to remove all pornography from our community. The other Jim was an entertainment promoter with a delightful sense of humor, an interest in the gospel’s ability to enhance the brotherhood of man, with a very private lifestyle which he rarely shared with anyone. (To avoid confusion, let me call the minister “P. Jim”–for either Preacher or Pastor.)

P. Jim was an interesting blend of rock and roll with rock of ages. We don’t have many people like him around nowadays–because the sixties and the Jesus movement made him desirous of being open-minded, even though his theology sometimes wanted to “corral” that horse sense. Jim, on the other hand, grew up in a very religious home and was doing his very best to distance himself from such godly frugality.

Both of them came to planning sessions for the work on Mountain.  P. Jim would usually steer the conversations towards evangelism and the potential the musical had to “reach the lost.” And Jim nodded his head as he sat with a pencil, adding up how much this proposed evangelism was going to cost. The combination was perfect. I got to play the part of the artist who was not concerned with mere Bible verses nor touched by the insensitivity of money matters. The project was finished, the results were amazing, the casting was completed and two debut performances were scheduled–when a problem arose.

P. Jim called me out to a local restaurant for a cup of coffee. He was nearly in tears. He had found out through the spiritual sour-grape line that our other Jim was a homosexual. (If I may take a moment, this was a time in our country when there was no such thing as “gay.” Those of the more generous inclination in the heterosexual community referred to the “others”  outside their righteous world as homosexuals. If they were NOT generous, the words “queer” and “faggot” fell off their lips.)

P. Jim was a generous soul–but he was certain that he would not be able to continue his support for the Mountain project if Jim was going to be involved. He finished his speech, dried his eyes with a napkin and looked at me, waiting for my response.

I said, “Is that it?” He nodded.

“Okay,” I replied. I got up and started to walk out of the restaurant. Shocked, he grabbed my arm and pulled me back into the booth. He wanted to know what I was going to do.

I said, “Well, I guess I’m going to figure out how to do this project without your support.”

P. Jim was bewildered. No–beyond bewilderment. Actually, he was doubly baffled–first, that I was ignoring the potential judgment of God on our endeavor by allowing this sodomist to continue to participate. And secondly, he was bruised that I felt that he could so easily be cast away without it making any difference.

I explained my feelings. I wanted to have both of them. I wanted to have P. Jim, with his passion for God and love for humanity, and Jim, with his knowledge of the business and ability to raise funds so that the idea could get off the drawing board and into construction. But if P. Jim was going to make an issue over something that was really none of my business in the first place, I would go find the spiritual passion elsewhere and stay with what was working.

To say that P. Jim was flabbergasted would be the classic understatement. He began to throw scriptures at me–and I had a parcel of my own. Scripturally, we came to a dead-even draw. He tried to intimidate me with what would happen when people found out there was a homosexual involved in the planning. I told him it was America. There was no such thing as bad publicity, just ways to further entice people to come out to appease their curiosity. P. Jim wondered how I could do a mission on the Sermon on the Mount while still promoting evil.

I said, “Jim whether it’s evil is for God to decide when He finally closes the door on this little pawn shop of earth He’s put together. I know two things–I don’t have the right to judge and God looks on the heart and not the outward appearance. And Reverend Jim, our mutual friend, Jim, has more heart for this project that maybe the both of us put together.”

P. Jim frowned. He told me he would go think about it. Honestly, I never expected to hear from him again. And if you moved ahead thirty years in time, that WOULD have been the end of P. Jim’s involvement in my life. But you see, P. Jim grew up during the Civil Rights era, Viet Nam, Watergate, Woodstock and disco. His brain was not buried in cement, but rather, sloshing around in the quagmire of a Biblical swamp.

About five hours later, my phone rang and it was P. Jim. (I had already told Jim that we were going to lose the pastor and his church. Jim was devastated by the news and offered to resign. I explained to him that I wouldn’t have made a stand just so I could lose BOTH of them.) But anyway, back to my phone call, as I said, it was P. Jim. He was once again in tears. He apologized for interfering in the progress of what was truly an inspirational notion to bicker over the finer parts of religious law. He told me that if I had a belief in Jim, then he had the faith to stand behind my belief.

We had an amazing premiere, with P. Jim and gay Jim standing backstage together, applauding and hugging.

I lost contact with these two fellows shortly after that. I heard that P. Jim’s church eventually shut down and the porn stores he had been trying to get rid of in the community not only didn’t fold, but multiplied. Jim left the entertainment field and returned to a more normal life, becoming an accountant and a man discovering more about his identity.

But I will never forget that season, when the preference of two individuals–one for and one against–was set aside to pursue common passion.

Well, I entitled this particular essay My Favorite Jim, so you might ask, which one IS my favorite Jim? To answer that, I think I’ll fall back on the wisdom of Jesus. “Anyone who does the will of my Father …”

 

   

 

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