Jesonian … October 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Jesus was right there with them and they still wanted to talk about Pontius Pilate.

Politics. It just makes fellows strange.

Obsessed with a candidate or a party, human beings try to make life fit around existing ideas and platforms. Here’s the problem–they don’t.

Every situation is different. Some human struggles demand a conservative approach–others, liberality.


Jesus warned them.

When they asked him about Pontius Pilate, he said, “You need to repent, or you’re going to perish.”

Here’s the meaning: repent of politics or you will perish along with your failing politician.

He also said “you can’t serve God and Mammon.”

What is Mammon? It is the misuse, misunderstanding and mistreatment of money. There we are–right back to politics.

The issue is not whether the Republicans are right or the Republicans are wrong.

The issue is also not whether the Democrats are in the catbird seat or if they’re fallen doves.

The issue is that the Spirit of God demands that we be led in the direction that will benefit other human beings.

It cannot be decided politically and too many Christians have turned their faith over to politics and their hearts over to their favorite candidate.


For Jesus’ campaign slogan is simple: “By this people will know who we are–that we have love one for another.”

Politics is a blood sport. Jesus has already shed all the blood needed.

Politics allows for lying. Jesus said “the truth will make you free.”

Politics favors its own. Jesus said “when you only love them who love you, you’re no better than the heathen.”

Politics wants to bolster its constituency. Jesus wants us to find the “least of these” and relate to them.


The other day on television I heard a noted politician say, “Nice guys finish last.”

Let’s look at some people who finished last:

  • Julius Caesar
  • Attila the Hun
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Adolph Hitler
  • Idi Amin

Not a nice guy amongst them.

Nice guys just have to wait until the Earth is available for them to inherit–like allowing your landlord to wash and paint your condo before you move in.

Repent of politics or you will perish with your politicians.


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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … January 25th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog



Way of the Transgressor

Good morning, Adam

How is the Garden?

Still need a pardon?

Good day, dear Eve

You got the boot

Due to forbidden fruit

Hey, Julius–stabbing pain?

From Brutus, quite insane

Iscariot hit the ground

Unable to hang around

While Cleo, snakebit on the boat

Pretty dead–watch her float

Adolph, Eva tried to hunker

Side-by-side in the bunker

Booth shot like a dog

In the barn near the hog

Jezebel took her final bow

And quickly became puppy chow

Attila, a Hun, not much fun

Spent his life on the run

The devil–cast down to Earth

To torment the children given birth

For we lament wicked deeds

Fail to notice how it bleeds

The way of the transgressor is hard

Always playing the dead soul’s card

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Opening Lines … November 20, 2011


Live, outdoors in Ambler, PA

Sitting in my motel room last night in Knoxville, Tennessee, I began to think about what I wanted to share in the three programs I’m going to be conducting at the Colonial Heights United Methodist Church. Unfortunately, every new experience in front of an audience demands an opening line. I say “unfortunately,” because there’s nothing more awkward than introducing oneself to many selves who are not always in the mood for an introduction.

Having done this for about forty years, I have learned certain phrases and ideas which I do NOT like. For instance, I despise, “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen…I can’t HEAR you.” (You see, the reason they are not responding to you is that they haven’t decided if they like you or not yet, and asking them to repeat something is not the best way to endear them to you.)
I also hate it when entertainers ask the audience to clap their hands and play some hokey, fast song to get them excited.  I mean, where do you go from there? It’s like having the honeymoon and then leaving the hotel to go on your first date. No–I really don’t like any attempt to force myself on a group of people who are reluctant at best and who at worst could very easily turn into a lynch mob.
I noticed when I set up at the church that there was a table in front of me with all sorts of Thanksgiving and autumn paraphenalia–like corn stalks and pumpkins.  I thought it might be funny if I began with, “Hey, do you agree with me here? It’s not a good idea for a fat guy to sit behind a pumpkin.” But you see–that’s HUMOR.  Humor is dangerous. It demands the intertwining of two conclusions: (a) that the people listening are intelligent enough to UNDERSTAND a clever comment; and (b) that they will actually laugh loudly enough that crickets will not be summoned to the scene.  It’s a big gamble.
My more ornery side considered that since the church is named Colonial Heights, I might begin with: “I see you call the church Colonial Heights? Speaking of colonies and being high…did you ever hear that the forefathers had opium in their snuff?” (You see, that’s what you call a joke to TASTE–and if people don’t have humorous taste buds, they might actually find it tasteLESS.)
But I do like good opening lines. There have been some famous ones.
  • Moses: “Let my people go.”
  • Pharoah: “No.” (Of course, that response ended up plaguing him … )
  • You can’t beat God’s opening line: “Let there be light!” (Of course, he probably was a little surprised when the sun blazed in his face, when all He was looking for was some subtly placed track lighting…)
  •  Then in the 1970’s, folks had opening lines for picking up girls in bars. Since I never picked up girls and really never went to bars, I was not accustomed to using the lines.  What was the common one? Oh, yes: “What is your sign?”–referring to astrology and the zodiac. I was always afraid if I said that to a girl she’d hold up a stop sign. 
  • I like funny ones, too. Abraham Lincoln: “Mary Todd, I need to see a play like I need another hole in the head.”  (Once again, that would be a particular presentation flavored to taste.)  But if you like that one, how about this one?
  •  Judas Iscarios to a local priest: “How much will you give me for a wandering Jew in a garden?”  Too dark?  Too soon?
  • And of course, the infamous one with Julius Caesar to his friend: “Brutus, you’re just a real pain in the chest.”
  • Then there is the simple approach.  “Hi. My name is Johnny Cash.” Just a little piece of trivia here for you who enjoy such matters–most people don’t know that before he became famous and started making lots of money, his original name was Johnny Credit.
  • One of the favorite opening lines that I’ve used is when arriving at the scene of a fire at a motel where I had been staying. The fire had been extinguished by local fire-fighters, but was still smoldering a bit. I strolled up to one of the brave fellows and said, “Excuse me. I’m here to install the smoke alarm.” (That one did not get much laughter, although I thought it was rich with possibility…)
So I ended my evening not really certain how I would launch my ship of conversation with the congregation–because the most effective way to initiate an encounter is to land somewhere between surprise and shock, but still within the realm of understanding. Over the years, I have found that the best for me is something like this: “Well, listen up. Here’s how I see it …”


Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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