PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Orlando

To He Who Robbed Our Pulse

(Dedicated to the Souls in Orlando)

How easy it is to kill

To end the dreams of Jack and Jill

Who went to fetch some fun

‘Til confronted by your gun

Removing all their will

 

You claim faith in God

But then prove you’re a fraud

By destroying His greatest desire

You make the message a liar

Placing the young in a tomb.

 

Did anyone see your hate?

Could they stop the fate?

That crushed the hopes of so many

And produced the graves aplenty

Making the children helpless

 

It is time for a simple path

To expunge the bloody math

And let us look for a friend

Instead of promoting the end

Of God’s great human embrace

 

So as we contemplate the morrow

Let us rise from festering sorrow

And push to find something brighter

Lifting burdens, making things lighter

Listening instead of yelling

Laughing instead of cursing

And talking instead of shooting.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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G-Poppers … March 25th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop awoke with a whirl of conflicting ideas swirling in his mind, trying to find a landing space in understanding.

Good Friday.

What a joke.

Especially when you consider that the religious fanaticism which killed the Prince of Peace 2,000 years ago is still alive and insane, bombarding the innocent in Brussels.

Why do we kill?

Some people blame firearms. Yet we succeeded very ably in snuffing out human life long before there was gun powder.

Maybe it’s due to intolerance for other cultures and religions. But even in countries where there is no religion and very little culture, they kill off what they consider to be abnormal.

G-Pop decided that the next time he got together with his children, he would tell them that the reason we kill is because we are on a foolish journey to find the “best.”

It’s why Americans murder at a higher rate than Canadians. Canadian children are not taught that they always have to be supreme. American offspring are informed that they must always come off as the best.

There are only three things that can make you the best:

  • Work hard and have some luck
  • Cheat
  • Lie

As you can see, two of the three are quite unacceptable–because after we get tired of working, we decide that deceiving people about our prowess is equally as effective as long as we don’t get caught. Or we may choose to lie about our competitors and cast them into darkness, portraying them as sinister.

It is a screwed up system.

G-Pop wants his children to know that it is a beautiful thing to chase “good” and “better,” but to always leave “best” alone.

So what is good?

Make things and bless things

Not just people–but your car, your job, your garage, and Mother Earth. Make things and bless things. You could stop right there and have a fulfilling life. Making things keeps you busy and blessing things keeps you happy.

If you still have extra time you’d like to fill, consider “better.”

Better is working within yourself. Cease comparing your efforts to others. Stop trying to advertise your fruit. Live your talent within yourself–you being your most intelligent encourager and critic.

To be happy, continue on that path and ignore the best. After all, the best is not decided by you–it is a fickle passing of the torch by fans who think they have found the next fabulous thing.

To ignore the best is to be grateful and content. What is considered the best is beyond our control, and certainly subject to the blowing winds of opinion.

2,000 years ago, people climbed a hill–not so they could see better or take in the view. They did so because something good had come their way–something that brought better ideas–a human being who insisted that those who would follow would do greater things than him.

This made them lethal because they were being threatened … by losing their status as the best.

 

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Three Ways to Be Thankful… November 27, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Thanks bigger

The ice has already been placed in glasses and is beginning to melt. Very soon the meticulous preparation–hours and hours of harvested treats–will be consumed in mere minutes.

They have asked me to lead in a moment of grace, thankfulness and prayer. I agreed.

I must be brief. Concise but precise.

I must be able to articulate, in a few seconds, the sentiment of gratitude for an entire year. Though a formidable task, a most necessary one.

So let me begin by saying:

“Dear God, I didn’t want to come this year.”

Nothing can be achieved in life without first being honest. I was feeling sorry for myself. The family I spawned, nurtured and raised from my passion is now spread out and far away. Worse than feeling disconnected from them, I have begun to feel useless.

I was once the “King Bee”–the center of attention and the source of the buzzing in a bustling nest. But now, due to the necessity of time and purpose, they have moved on to have their own families, dreams and aspirations.

I didn’t want to come because I was feeling vacant of value. For after all, a pity party is not only poorly attended, but also never gets much return business.

But here’s what I’m grateful for:

I didn’t miss it.

I’m here with as many bells as I could fasten on with short notice.

I’m here to play my role.

I’m here to be the aging patriarch who refuses to crawl into the mountains to die.

I didn’t miss it.

Thank you, God.

My second gratitude is that I won’t abandon principle.

Although the world around me persists in pursuing courses which have historically proven to be foolhardy, I will hold fast to a few pearls of great price and sell all I have to possess them.

This I know: the difference between an opinion and a principle is that an opinion only benefits me, and a principle provides for you.

So I will not kill, I will not steal and I will not destroy.

Although the world around me is feverishly involved in these practices, I won’t.

Thank you, God.

And finally (as I peek over to make sure the ice has not melted into water) I say, “I can’t.”

I can’t stop.

It’s important for me to accept the progress of these loved ones, as they continue at their own pace and rate of understanding. But because I want my grandchildren to live in a world that still honors truth, values justice without being cynical about it and has a desire to pursue excellence, I will continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness, saying, ‘Prepare ye the way’… well, prepare the way for You.

  • I didn’t miss it.
  • I won’t abandon principle.
  • I can’t stop.

So therefore, for the hands that have prepared the meal, much thanks.

For those who have gathered, how generous of them to provide their energy and time.

And for me–I am here for those I love until they finally carry me away.

Thanksgiving.

Thanks for giving.

We appreciate it.

Amen.

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Click on Santa to browse “Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories Til Christmas”

G-24: To Kill or Not to Kill… May 16, 2014

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Cain killed his brother.

What to do with Cain?

It seems that dead men can’t repent.

Vengeance tends to communicate that we don’t believe in salvation.

It’s just too easy to kill.

After all, you can’t be God if you can’t salvage people.

Punishment has little value if the punished can’t make amends.

Will Cain kill again?

Is living a better punishment than execution?

Who is hopeless?

Can a curse be turned into a blessing?

Can the knowledge of evil transform people to appreciate the knowledge of good?

No one really knows what God thought.

I guess that’s why we call Him God.

He has a bigger brain.

But we do know this:

Cain killed Abel.

But God didn’t kill Cain.

 

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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!

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The Reason for Rules … December 8, 2012

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Jon Signing

“Don’t do that.”

I’ve always hated those three words. Maybe it’s because I have a snotty seven-year-old brat living inside my big, fat body. It could be my rebellious nature. It might be that I don’t like to remember a bunch of stuff that doesn’t seem necessary if I don’t already know it. But I think the reason I hate the words, “Don’t do that” is because when you pose the natural question, “Why not?” you are often met with indignation or even ostracized from the club that has instituted the regulation.Please do not walk on the grass

I do understand the importance of rules. I just want you to comprehend that sometimes they are arbitrary, other times rules become unnecessary because of development and too often they are just a way to keep people from achievement so that everyone can remain dull and mediocre.

As far as I can tell, here are the four reasons for rules:

1. To prevent people from doing something that will ultimately kill them.

2. To prevent people from doing something contrary to your government, your God or your preference.

3. To prevent people from doing something that won’t kill them.

4. To prevent people from doing.

I’m sure you can find different angles on this, but you might be surprised to discover that three of the four reasons for rules are less than noble.

I certainly am in favor of outlawing anything that endangers the life of human beings, animals or any part of God’s creation that has the right to live instead of being decimated. That’s why I’m against abortion. It’s why I am opposed to the right to bear arms without adequate restriction to guarantee the safety of the innocent. It’s why I think obesity should be against the law. Even though I’m a fat guy, I have to admit, nothing kills people more than blubber. It’s why I think restrictions on cigarettes, alcohol and mind-altering drugs are essential–they all a hook they jab into human flesh, dragging people into desecration and disintegration.

But not all rules are so valuable. For instance, I think it’s good that the Ten Commandments tell us not to commit adultery, but I don’t think it’s beneficial when the Catholics, Mormons, Muslims and fundamentalist Christians use that precept to cast aspersions on the joys and pleasures of sex. Sex was not created by God to make children. Children, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your point of view) are a by-product of a really good orgasm.

I do not think we can market a God who has more rules to His philosophy than jewels. I don’t think a government can sustain itself trying to keep its citizens from the liberty that God says we enjoy as evidence of His spirit. And I don’t think you have the right to establish disfavor for other people because just you find their particular habits distasteful.

I think we have to take a good look at the reason for rules. I think we have to be candid and say that the introduction of incurable viruses into our society through various types of lifestyles is reason enough to re-evaluate those choices. Why? Because the result is dead human beings.

“It is not God’s will that any should perish.” God does not hate sin, God hates death.

Learn it. Otherwise, you’re going to start looking for evidence that the people who are supposed to be your brothers and sisters are an abomination to your snooty God, because they ate shrimp from the nearby Mediterranean Sea. (You know that WAS the case at one time. Shellfish were forbidden for the Jews because for that season they were contaminated. In other words–they killed. Now they don’t. Enjoy your shrimp with your cocktail sauce.)

Likewise, if we come up with a cigarette that doesn’t produce lung cancer, more power to us. If we can prove that carrying around fifty extra pounds of lard on one’s body does not fry the circulatory system, then eat away. If we can produce guns with bullets that are better targeted towards evil than good people, then please start the manufacturing tomorrow. And if you can establish that aborting a fetus is not terminating life, then go ahead and open your clinic.

Other than that, realize that death is not admissible to a God who loves all of his children. But also be aware that making rules so as to make your fanciful cult more exclusive is just as distasteful to a God who honors free will above all else.

Be careful. Three out of four reasons for rules are at least erroneous, if not destructive. But by the same token, if a particular action ends in death, understand that our loving Father has only one desire–to protect His children.

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TJ, JT, VL, Gurgle, Gurgle, Gobble, Gobble, Z-Z-Z … November 23, 2011

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In Washington, D.C.

I had the audacity to presumptuously plan to take four days off for a Thanksgiving vacation to spend with my family in the Nashville, Tennessee, area, renting a home so that we might all gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.

I don’t know what I was thinking.

I learned a long time ago that days planned off or vacation possibilities are one of Mother Nature’s favorite targets.  She seems to have a personal giggle-fest over our notions of rest and relaxation or any form of escapism and saves us little pieces of tedium to interrupt our purported bliss. Maybe it’s because I still plan to do things while taking the time off that causes the difficulty.

I had to get a piece of our equipment fixed, so I placed an ad on Craig’s list, and promptly received a phone call from TJ. He seemed like a really nice fellow, knew his stuff, and was in need enough of the employment that I felt good about engaging him, if you know what I mean. So I handed my very important instrument over to him for repair.

He brought it back to me yesterday. Broken.

Understand, he had worked on it but had failed to achieve the task–making it even worse than it was before. Some form of remuneration was in order–just to be polite and to cover his expenses. So I ended up paying sixty dollars for someone to break my equipment. (I think I could have given it to a three-year-old with a candy cane and come out on the better end.)

Then an old friend of mine came over–JT–a veteran of a thirty-year acquaintance, and we had a delightful time talking about family, dreams, the past and hopes for the future.  He is a wonderful soul with a lot of talent, whose works may never be heard by the masses because America is not really in search of talent, but rather, in admiring and uplifting the greatest yield on ego. So as he left, I was invigorated but also a bit saddened that some of the things he may desire to do will lie in the planning stages on a table in a corner room.

Back to my piece of equipment that needed to be repaired (which is called a VL70-m box). Once we discovered that it had been sabotaged by the minions of inefficiency, Jan immediately got on the phone to track down other possibilities, revealing a myriad of potential, none of which were particularly attractive to either my vacation plans OR my wallet.

Thinking I had acquired enough activity for one day, the house we had rented for the four days suddenly sprouted a demonic presence in the form of a gurgling toilet.  Now normally, I don’t like my appliances to have personality–call it my quirk–and when I place toilet tissue into a receptacle, I do not expect it to be gurgled back up to me. This toilet seems to be offended by the mere suggestion of doing its job–so anything deposited within its porcelain sanctuary may eventually come back to you later on. For the time being, I have decided to leave it alone in its solitude, shutting the door to the bathroom, gagging the gurgle.

On a brighter note, I did begin cooking my turkeys for the Thanksgiving festivities.  If I must say so myself, I do a pretty good job preparing my bird. Most people over-cook their turkeys or cook them much too hot in an attempt to get that famous browned-skin look on the outside, which means the innards has surrendered and dried up.

Here’s what I do: I thaw the bird to a point that I can remove all the inner workings and leftover parts that are basically unidentifiable by even a poultry forensics expert. Then I take a couple of apples, a couple of oranges, a couple of onions and a few stalks of celery and stuff them inside. I take one bottle of zesty fat-free Italian dressing and pour it over the top of the bird and I cover the creature with aluminum foil and put it into the oven at 250 degrees for about eight hours. In the last hour I remove the aluminum foil from the top and turn the oven up to 300 degrees, basting every twenty minutes. This is for about a twenty-pound fowl package. If it’s smaller, of course, you can cook less. I then take it from the oven–and I choose to de-bone it for ease of serving. I cover it with some of its juices and put it in the refrigerator, and upon re-heating the next day, it is moist, tender and sweet beyond words. The turkey was the last event of my day–and a successful one it was, to counteract the attack of the repair man, the visit from a friend with unrequited talent and the grumblings of a spotty potty.

I was tired. Z-Z-Z.

I realized I had two more days of this alleged vacation–and honest to God, I began to think about how anxious I was to get back to work so I could really rest up. I admire all of you who pursue a life of domestication. It has never been particularly kind to me because houses always need repair, families always need counsel (or money), friends are looking for hope when what is available is reality and repairmen … well, they often don’t.

So believe you me, I will enjoy the rest of my time with my kind kin. But when the hour of departure does come, I will provide adequate tears for the appearance of separation, but inwardly I will smile, knowing that I’m escaping the gurgle-gurgle … and even the gobble-gobble.

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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!

It’s the Whole List Thing … November 22, 2011

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In Washington, D.C.

Nearing Christmas again, here come the songs–and some composer decided to write a lyric about Santa having a list which he checks twice to find out who’s naughty and nice.   What’s with all these lists? Here’s a list over here that says you can’t borrow money. Here’s a list that says you’re not qualified to join some club. Still another list we make — of things to do today —  ends up frustrating us because the one thing we forget to add mars the whole experience. Politics has come down to composing lists of candidates who fall into the category of acceptability. And I guess it began with that list of the Ten Commandments. 

First of all, may I state that most of the things on that particular compilation are pretty obvious?  “Thou shall not kill.”  Gotcha.  But I just wonder if that counts the number of times I wished somebody was dead, though I didn’t have the energy to perform the murder myself…
 
“Thou shall not steal.”  Stuff is stuff.  Mine over here, yours over there.  Got it.
 
And of course, the list begins with the one that always baffles me.  “There is only one God.” But it turns out, He’s jealous.  So if He knows there’s only one God, who’s He jealous of?  I don’t get it.  Or is it that He’s trying to promote the idea that He’s the only God, and privately He fears competition?
 
“Honor your father and mother.” I understand that. Must have been exhausting for them to conceive me. But this is a tough one for many folks out there who have been abandoned by mothers and molested by fathers.  Exactly how are they supposed to honor these creatures of intrusion?
 
“Thou shall not commit adultery.” A big plus for this particular step of moral excellence is being granted the grace of unattractiveness. Does that mean that ugly people are more spiritual because they find it easier to put a cork in it?
 
“Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Wow. Forbidding lying and gossip? Could you field a choir in a church? Or have a congregation gathered to hear them, let alone a preacher to lead the singing?
 
Seems like every religion has a list. Most religions even believe there’s a final list–some sort of Book of Life where our name has to be written or we end up with what would resemble a forty-five minute wait at Red Lobster, or discover that the heavenly destination has been closed down by the health department. At least for us.
 
What is it with lists? Do I really feel closer to God, knowing that other people are going to be unceremoniously thrown out the back door? Do I really sense the presence of an eternal love by waving Ten Commandments in front of the faces of bewildered fellow-travelers? If serving God and being moral is really such a good thing, why don’t we enjoy it so much that we don’t have to talk about lists that exclude other members?
 
I’m having so much fun in my life that I’d like to go around and invite people to the party instead of thinking up reasons why they shouldn’t come because they’re boring, smelly or lack the intelligence to carry on decent dinner conversation. What’s the reason for all these lists? And where does Santa get off–deciding who’s naughty and nice? Listen, North Pole Boy, from what I hear, gluttony is a sin and wearing red with fur on it … well, talk about gender abiguity… So get off your high horse–or is it reindeer? 
 
 Here’s what I think. If you’ve found something that makes you happy, be happy and don’t make other people miserable because they don’t share your happiness.  If you’re not happy and feel the need to make other people miserable because they don’t share in your complication, you might want to go out and find something to make you happy so you don’t end up being the grumpiest guy on the block.
 
You go ahead and make your lists. You go ahead and exclude people because they don’t qualify and you go ahead and believe that God is going to boil everything down to some tight-knit group of compliant and bored adherents.  Not me. I’m looking for reasons to include you in my life and hope that you do the same.
 
What’s with all the lists? What’s with all the restrictions on membership? Does it really make any difference how we’re baptized, or is baptism really about coming to the conclusion that it might be nice to symbolically wash away the past? Do these things really matter? And if they do to you, I hope you will enjoy compiling your list, following your list and checking off those who do not give homage to your list. As for me, I think I will just take it as it comes, laugh about what I don’t understand, weep a bit about what I can’t change, and enjoy all the rest. 
 
What is it with all these lists? Maybe it’s because we think there’s limited parking in heaven–so it’s a good idea to discourage shoppers.

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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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