PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … November 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3134)

pohymn-nuttin

Nuttin’

Nuttin’ else do I need

Got the soil and my seed

Lots of kin at my side

Full of joy, absent pride

 

Blessed we are, one and all

Little Bobby has grown so tall

God seems pleased with our whole

Winter was cold, took its toll

 

But healthy we remain to this day

Survived the tricks of the darkened way

Laughed enough to make us try

Hard enough to bring the cry

 

Wished for better but enjoyed the good

Harvested on time like good folks should

Minded our words and actions, too

Forsook the lie, pursued the true

 

No new shirt could Papa buy

Mama, stay simple–don’t ask why

The kids giggle to forget the lack

The work is tough, ‘twon’t break your back

 

Some say we ignorant, absent thought

Judging by what be sold and bought

But nuttin’ else do we require

A quiet place with a warm fire

 

‘Cause happy never treks to town

Just pleased to be still around

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 17) Parking Lotsa… August 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3040)

Reverend Meningsbee

It was apparently the Sunday that would never end.

As Meningsbee headed out the door of the church, evicted from the House of God by Sister Matrisse, standing next to his car was a smiling Sammy Collins, with all the jovial attributes of a freshly pardoned Thanksgiving turkey.

Sammy rushed toward him, vigorously shook the pastor’s hand, and gave him a huge “Day of Pentecost” bear hug–the kind that leaves you torn between appreciation and embarrassment.

Releasing his grip, Sammy blurted, “Are you prepared to take in about fifty ready-to-go souls who already know where the exits are and the location of the bathrooms?”

With this he laughed–very pleased with his joke, which he obviously had rehearsed.

Meningsbee crinkled his face. This gave Brother Collins permission to continue.

“Whoo-ee! We had a big blow-up this morning down at the church at the Holiday Inn Express–so much so that the front desk lady came and told us to tone it down. We were bothering the other guests who were still enjoying their continental breakfast.”

“What was the problem?” said Meningsbee, concerned.

“I confronted him,” said Sammy. “Yes, I confronted Patrick Swanson about what he said to you in my living room the night I invited you over to fellowship in my home.”

“You heard?” asked Meningsbee.

“Yes. I snuck in the dark room where my kids keep their toys–nearly tripped over a Tonka truck–but I was curious why Patrick wanted to talk to you. Never one to be shy, I decided that since it was my home, I had the right to know.”

“So you’re the one who told everybody in the church about our conversation.”

“Absolutely.”

“Well, he thought it was me,” cited Meningsbee.

“Sorry about that, but I had to let him think that way until I could get all the friends and neighbors organized for the revolt, and the opportunity to return to the Garsonville Church–our home church. Preacher, most of my kin is buried out there in the back section of the property. I could show you their gravestones. This is my church. This is where I want to live. This is where I want to die. So we’re comin’ back.”

Meningsbee stood quietly. The joy on Sammy’s face had disappeared quickly as he told his tale of dissension and vengeance. He was now flushed and also a bit bewildered about why the good reverend was not jumping up and down for the chance to include more sheep and coffer stuffing.

Meningsbee realized he had to say something. “Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. I love ya’. But the church is not a club, though it might seem that way since we collect weekly dues. It’s not a game. The choices we make are often life and death. You must believe me when I tell you that the church also is not a family reunion, though we are all part of the same bloodline. God knows, it’s not a political party. We’ve already chosen our leader. Sammy, well…it’s an adventure. Or maybe a competition. Yes, it’s an adventurous competition, to see who can love their neighbor as themselves the most and still remain deliriously happy.”

Sammy’s dark cloud burst. “Listen, Meningsbee, I didn’t come for a sermon.”

“Oh, you’ve gotta forgive me,” said the pastor. “I didn’t get to preach one today so I guess I felt a little cheated.”

Sammy frowned like a frowning man frowns when frowning is in order. “So you don’t want us?”

“I don’t get to choose,” said Meningsbee. “I was just explaining to you how we view the kingdom of God.”

So … Sammy Collins turned on his heel and walked back to his car sadly because he was very religious.

 

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Good News and Better News … May 30th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2950)

Mt Pisgah 3Pastor John Crawford had decided to retire.

While in the midst of considering what would be his favorite chair, he was urgently “recalled” to help out at the Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church near Verona, Virginia.

It was a temporary assignment that has lasted for twelve years.

I was fortunate to be invited to share with the delightful congregation and Pastor John this past Sunday morning.

The people are the salt of the earth, unfortunately living in a time when the masses prefer pepper.

Yes, we are a generation who has convinced ourselves that we are happiest when we portray reality as being dissension, describing politics as deception, and fostering religion that has more verse than rhyme.

So as I settled in to play music and chat with these inspiring individuals, I wanted to make sure I kept it simple–not because they were incapable of complexity, but because I am incapable of complexity.Mt Pisgah 2

If it’s necessary to make things difficult to find solutions, please do not contact me.

I’ve read the Bible through enough times that I have discovered there’s a central theme. Such a golden stream of understanding can never be achieved by focusing on a few passages here and there which seem to back your favorite prejudice.

The central theme I’ve discovered is that God will have a kind people, or no people at all.

Yes, I’m telling you–God is love until you get Him really frustrated. At that point He is described as a consuming fire. And what really sparks His blaze? Unkindness.

In our society, we now believe that the tougher you look, the meaner you act and the more aggressive you become, the better off you are in this dangerous climate.

Holy hogwash. It’s about being kind. Which, by the way, begins with the word “kin.”

Yes, to be kind you have to learn how to treat everyone you meet as kin.

This means you will continue to love them through their quirks, their preferences, their ideologies or even, God forbid, their diverse choices in baptism.

Kind.

Mt Pisgah 1For instance, I can never pray to my Heavenly Father unless I’ve already expressed kindness to His children. I even exaggerate it–especially when I’m feeling grumpy and my natural inclination is to spit at the world around me. Instead, I keep my saliva to myself, pucker up and force a kiss.

Case in point, driving to the church yesterday, a young man came behind my van, honking at me. I was a little surprised so I slowed up, thinking I must be doing something wrong. This infuriated him even more, causing him to pass me and give me the finger as he zoomed by.

Now, when I was younger I would have been aggravated at this assault to my person. But in my present mindset, I land somewhere between baffled and amused. (Because if he’s going to give me the finger over my slow driving, he should be around when my real faults show up.)

The good news is that being kind–treating all souls as your kin–is guaranteed to produce pleasure in the heart of God. There may be other things you can do to make Him happy, but they are completely negated if you are unkind.

The better news is that kind is not nearly as exhausting as mean.

Mt Pisgah 4 

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Good News and Better News … October 19th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2727)

Good News Edgerton

Many years ago, I sensed a voice within me, encouraging me to go out and share my heart and abilities with the world. Some people would say it was the voice of God, while others would probably insist that it was just me, declaring my own bidding.

I don’t care.

I heeded the call, and that decision has taken me on an exotic adventure.

  • You can usually find a pretty decent place to stay.
  • If you pursue the pep for pepperoni, pizza parlors are pretty plentiful.
  • Almost always there’s a park nearby for sitting and viewing.
  • And grocery stores prosper in all 50 states.

What you occasionally may feel you lack as a traveling troubadour, is encouragement.

I don’t offer this as a lamentation, but rather, a statement of fact–that folks who live in towns often want to promote their lifestyles to the detriment of those who travel about. After all, gypsies are still considered “tramps and thieves.”

I share this candidly with you. Even though you may feel you’re on a mission or that you have something of value you would like to share, this does not always come with appreciation.

But in the midst of every threatening pity party comes the grace of God, to bolster your ego before it collapses in on your determination.

That’s how I would describe my stay in Edgerton, Wisconsin.

Afforded the blessing of three sharings at a church, I was touched by the openness of the local newspaper–which not only advertised our appearances, but offering second-mile enthusiasm in doing so.

When I arrived at the church for setup, a fine fellow named Jim, who just happened to be the pastor, found himself in the position of being the sole carrier of our equipment, since others did not make the scene. He not only had a servant’s heart, but also a mule’s will to tackle the deed without complaint.

Before I left for the presentations that day, I opened up my email and there was a note from a gentleman I hadn’t thought of for nearly thirty years. He remembered some special words I had shared with him which continued to influence his life.

Already my heart was full.

It overflowed after the first show, when another fine fellow who had seen me four years earlier, launched into further conversation about specifics regarding my books, which had enriched his life.

But it didn’t stop there.

One after another, the fine souls who attended this Edgerton church were not only kind, generous and open, but seemed determined to make me and my dear partner feel as if we were long-time residents, or even kin.

They did something amazing. They let us in.

Even though they are warned by a 24-hour news cycle to be suspicious and even angry, they stepped away from that ridiculous counsel and allowed us to be part of them for a brief season.

Matter of fact, one dear woman scurried to my table and asked me if she could hug me.

Yes, you can hug me–if you don’t mind me taking some of the love and energy you’re offering, and sticking it in my soul for lonelier days ahead.

It was our last day in Wisconsin after spending 91 of them “badgering” the locals with our message: no one is better than anyone else.

Thank you, Wisconsin, and a special thank-you to Edgerton.

I leave you with only one word of advice. If you want to draw people to yourselves and see lives changed, let them in to your living room, to see who you really are. Because people are not turned off by your weakness … unless you insist that you’re always strong.

 

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G-49: June 30th, 1863… November 7, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2406)

            Gettysburg          June 30th, 1863

Gettysburg
June 30th, 1863

Three prayers float their way up to the heavenly realm.

They are distinctly different, uniquely crafted by the speaker to adequately accentuate the piety of their position while simultaneously offering sufficient humility for the auspicious occasion.

Prayer 1

Our most sovereign God, we have just taken over this command of troops and are headed off into the Pennsylvania countryside. We are certainly without experience. We are vacant a master plan. So we come to You, seeking both wisdom and protection–wisdom for our frailty of mind, which causes us to dance between fear and an over-exaggerated sense of importance; and protection because the enemies set before us are much more adept at their craft and perhaps even more dedicated to their cause.

Our purposes for marching through these fields are diverse and perhaps for some of us, unknown. It is everything from duty, to mission, avoiding disobeying the common law, and even for some, seething anger.

We do not ask that you give us the day in battle, but please give us our daily bread, and may we be able to chew it, swallow it and accept it as our portion.

“We feel we are in the right, but as is often the case, we may learn the error of our ways. Amen.

Prayer 2

Eternal God who is Almighty in the Heavens, we come to you as the Army of Virginia, set out to right what is wrong and to preserve the glorious blessing of our heritage and beliefs. As cheated brothers, for a season we feel the need to pick up arms and right the injustice and regain the freedom to live among our constituency with integrity and with respect to that which we consider to be holy.

We know you have been with us as we have prevailed in battle, and we know you will be with us throughout this day as we once again set a path towards quickly ending the bloodshed and resume our lives with family and kin.

Here in Gettysburg, make our cannons accurate, our swords swift and our bullets straight. Even in our hearts, we have no animosity towards these individuals. They just stand in the way of our liberty.

Yet as you said in your Holy Book, there is a time to kill, and we respect that season by doing it to the best of our ability. Amen.

Prayer 3

Derz Jesus: Dey have plans to kills Marcus today. Lawd, he don’t do nothin’ but pick cotton slow. I’z wishin that Yous listen to me eben though I’m not worth more than the dirt I came from. Maybe, Lawd, if Iz talk to the Massa, he’s let me pick extra cotton to make up for Marcus. Gives me words. May the work that I done here speak, gon ahead of me, so when I ax for Marcus’s life, theys not be hangin him, but instead, he be comin home to his wife and three.

Iz so weak. I needs Youz, Lord. I needs to save my brother. Helps me before my mind goes to breakin apart. Helps me to keep from bein angry. Helps me to be a man, even though dose I talk to don’t believe I be one. Amen.”

Three prayers presented to God.

But only one was answered.

For you see, because the plantation owner was busy trying to gather provisions for the Rebel Army, it slipped his mind to kill Marcus.

The prayers that came from the two armies gathered to do battle were ignored. The combatants were left to their own devices, to slaughter one another at will.

God had stopped honoring nations, peoples, cultures and ideals.

He was looking for someone with great ideas, a heart for his fellow-man and a willingness to do something noble in a time of utter chaos.

 

 

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Populie 3: Family is Everything … February 12, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2149)

Cring family

Things become popular because they make us feel good about ourselves without challenging us to improve.  The sensation is so intoxicating that we’re often willing to bottle lies in order to guzzle it down.

This is how we arrive at the infamous Populie, Family is everything.”

It is really an Old Testament approach to believing that our particular lineage, descendants and tribe have been granted a special anointing from on high–superior in some way to other groups in our nearby community.

Even though in the Good Book, Jesus makes it clear that if you love those who love you, you’re no better than the heathen, we are on some sort of “birthright high” right now, in pursuit of giving extra love to those who possess our DNA.

You might ask, “What’s the big deal? So what if people embrace their own personal households with greater intensity and fervor than they do the other humans around them? Isn’t that natural?

When you become too intensely involved in your own concerns, you are a clan–and I’m not talking about the Ku Klux version. A clan is just a group that gets together and says, “We are us.”

It sounds like a celebration of life, but clans quickly become clubs. Clubs: “We are different–and special.”

Once you’re a club, you may find it necessary, in order to keep your rendition pure, to become a cloister. “We are separated from everyone else so as to remain free of interferance.”

And unfortunately, cloisters quickly become cliques: “We are better.”

So the same segregation which occurs in high school, forbidding a nerd, a geek, a jock and a prom queen from interacting, is continued on in adulthood, as we establish our own form of that campus life in our family.

We are us too easily becomes we are different–and special. Since we are special, we need to be separated, so we can celebrate how much better we are.

And I must tell you, whenever any group of people are convinced that they are better than others, they soon feel compelled to hurt, or even kill, the inferiors.

What should we feel about family?

  1. We are blessed to have one.
  2. It is a great climate for learning patience, and how to treat all people.
  3. We have a fellowship in agreement with the principle that we are going to love the whole world.

The Old Testament was full of families. When Jesus came on the scene, he started talking about the whole world.

So I will tell you–I am a family man who takes the experience I have with my own kin to reach out to the kindred of the earth.

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G-Pop’s Coming — Part 2 … November 25, 2013

angy with familyJonathots Daily Blog

(2078)

Learning is what happens when we stop complaining and start believing that what has come our way is usable.

I guess the best way to describe my life is that I have gradually learned how to learn.

In so doing, I have become less critical of others because I understand the aching process involved in transition–but I have also become more motivated to escape the sidelines, nursing my injuries.

When I meet with my family this week and they ask the golden question, “What have you learned?” I’m going to tell them the following six things (of course, one at a time over a space of time, so as not to bore them):

1. People want experience without wrinkles.

Everywhere I go, audiences desire insight, excellence and maturity but because of our culture, they would like to receive it from someone who is young, handsome or pretty. Unfortunately, beauty and youth don’t always coincide well with wisdom and moxie. You have to make up your mind–do you want a beautiful billboard? Or a slightly beat-up but very functional moving truck?

2. The second mile is the new GPS destination.

Sometimes I wonder why people think they can get by doing what everybody else does and still distinguish themselves from the mob. You have to have an edge. You have to have a little extra oom-pah if you’re going to perform in the best polka band.

3. Sophistication is everywhere–and it’s annoying.

Somewhere along the line America has become more demanding than giving. We expect other people to jump through hoops as we feel only the necessity to hold them. We need an innocence in order to create revival–a belief that we haven’t seen everything yet, and what we’re looking for is not necessarily dazzling, just heart-warming and meaningful.

4. Good cheer is the new money.

People are so morose, despondent and out-of-whack that simply coming across with a willingness, a smile and a desire to pursue betterment pushes you to the front of the horde. Good cheer is when you purposely put on the mask of a face you deeply desire to be your own.

5. Indecision is killing us.

I don’t know when we started defining maturity as the act of holding meetings, discussing and deciding nothing. Sooner or later we will need to risk being flawed in order to actually move forward and discover improvement.

6. And the final thing I will tell my family that I learned this year in my journey across this United States is freedom isn’t always right–but it’s never wrong.

Unless you have some sort of belief that the U.S. should be ruled by Christian Sharia law, you have to understand that democracy grants freedom at all costs. This doesn’t mean that the things people select to do are always right, or even moral. It’s just that they’re never wrong–because the freedom exists in this country to do what you deem necessary, as long as you don’t infringe on the rights of others.

I see absolutely nothing in error in a church establishing in its doctrine that certain attitudes or behaviors are appropriate for the message they espouse. But if that same church lobbies for other American citizens to be forbidden to conduct themselves however they deem best, then that church has gone from a personal choice of worship to a position of robbing civil rights from their brothers and sisters.

So there you go. If I were to sum up all six of them, I would say this:

Find yourself, be happy, love people–but leave ’em alone.

That is what G-Pop learned this year as he traveled across this country. I’m in my van, driving to meet those who are willing to be called my kin.

It should be exciting.

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