I’m Looking For… A Pleasant Planner February 1, 2013

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listWedged somewhere between the pesky pusher and the lazy loser is the delightful individual who purposely discovers ways and means to be a pleasant planner.

Although many individuals hate to admit it,we all do realize that some sort of organization is necessary in order to avoid … well, to avoid disorganization. Life is way too short to have to constantly peer at the rear end of people who have passed you by because they had an idea on how to follow through. Here’s what to avoid in the pursuit of a goal:

1. Don’t be too serious. If joy is our strength, then nagging is our death. Being somber in an aspiration communicates dissatisfaction and certainly does nothing to recruit followers.

2. Don’t be too involved. If you have your fingers in EVERY pie, no one wants to eat your pastries. Sooner or later you have to trust people to do something even if you believe it may amount to nothing.

3. Don’t take too long. Anything that takes over an hour needs to have a reprieve. I have heard directors tout the importance of three-hour rehearsals, but I will tell you–they only got sixty minutes of productivity out of it. Every human being needs a break after the hour hand goes around once.

4. Don’t be too boring. Some propagators insist that a certain level of tedium is necessary to prove sincerity and that we’re grown up about the vision. Good luck with that.

And finally …

5. Don’t be too strict. I know the old saying is “close enough for Hoyle,” but since nobody knows what that means, could we change it to “close enough for human?” Be prepared for people to fall short. In the movies, strictness is always portrayed as wrong, annoying and punishable. You might want to take a more cinematic approach.

Here’s what I think goes into becoming a pleasant planner:

1. Keep it simple. Just about the time you think it’s too childlike, you need to knock off a couple more steps from the directions. We are human beings. We like to celebrate. Establish benchmarks along the way where partying is possible.

2. Be ready to change. Even the Ten Commandments had to be amended. God knew that we human beings would never be able to follow anything past Number 1. That’s why, at the end of the Good Book it says “love your neighbor as yourself.” If you pull that off, you have done your part.

3. Laugh at your lack. There is one certainty in every project–it will run out of both energy AND money. If you’re not prepared for that you shouldn’t begin. A good sense of humor about falling short of the glory of your aspirations is the beginning of energizing future accomplishment.

4. Have fun getting it done. When you remove the excitement from life, you take the blood out of the body. For a little while it still looks like it’s human, but gradually, without blood flow, it starts to decay and stink. If you take the pleasure out of progress, everything around you will die and develop a stench.

5. Learn and burn. Learn what works and burn away everything that doesn’t. That means that a lot of things on your original list will have to be dumped along the roadside. You only look stupid if you become sentimental about things that are no longer valuable. You look like a genius when you follow through on the plans that do bear fruit.

Yes, I am looking for a pleasant planner.

I am looking to follow someone who tells me that my burden is easy and the weight is light.

To tell people anything else is to scare them away from following and chase them down the road … into obscurity.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Squeaky Wheel … September 21, 2012

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Complaining is when we take the precious time to stop off and write the “Book of Lamentations” when we know we should be finishing up the “Book of Acts.” It is the proverbial squeaky wheel which Benjamin Franklin insisted always gets the grease. But candidly, for every dollar’s worth of attention a complainer receives from the world around him, he spends two dollars in lost respect from others.

Human beings are often hypocritical, and one of our main hypocrisies is that we simultaneously despise complaining when it trips off the lips of others, but find it logical and necessary when its origin is in our mouths. Still, all in all, we actually judge the true depth of character in the human family by whether those around us are able to endure, or if they give in to sharing their opinions about their plight. Those who persevere are dubbed spiritual. Those who don’t are viewed as devilish.

The true problem with complaining is that it shuts down the learning process. It is quite impossible to be sharing misgivings and frustrations while still keeping an open mind about new possibilities. It’s just one of those things that makes us too predictable to be valuable.

My friend Caddie had a hard time learning this one. I met Caddie in jail. I was visiting and she was a temporary resident. She had acquired my number off of the wall next to the pay phone in the county jail, placed there by a young man I had assisted through some difficulty a month or so before, who obviously felt compelled to spread the good word about my generosity.

Caddie was a shop lifter. Within twenty seconds of meeting her, she explained that even though she’d had the twenty dollars in her wallet to pay for the scarf, make-up, hair brush and tooth polish, that she couldn’t purchase those items and still have enough money set aside for some groceries and bus fare. Her reasoning was flawless in her own mind. Even though she was surrounded by prison bars, she felt she was the victim of an unjust society which failed to understand that “Caddie needed to do what Caddie needed to do when Caddie needed to do it.”

I helped her get bailed out of jail and offered her a place to stay at my home, and for the next two weeks, as we awaited trial, I attempted to assist this young lady in finding some answers to what I believed were her burning questions.

As time passed, I realized that Caddie didn’t have any burning questions–just complaints. She started off leading me to believe she was asking for my counsel in some matter, but before she ever got to the end of the sentence to form a question mark, we took a detour–four or five details recounting how unfair the situation was in the first place.

She didn’t like the bed we gave her–it was too soft. She was allergic to almost everything we had to eat. She only drank Japanese tea, which I learned was quite different from Chinese tea, or the offerings of Mr. Lipton. She didn’t like television, only appreciated certain types of music on the radio (none of which we were able to provide, by the way) and for some reason, immediately tried to start a war with my young sons, who “returned in unkind” with their own nasty remarks. It didn’t take long for Caddie to set our entire household on edge. People began to root against her. I think one of my boys even hoped that when she walked across the floor she would slip and fall. Caddie seemed oblivious to the disapproval because she was already deeply embroiled in all sorts of disapproval of her own.

When the trial date finally came and we went to court, I found it difficult to be a character witness for her, even though that’s what she desperately needed. So this is what I said to the judge (maybe much to her chagrin):

Your honor, I am not related to this woman, but she has come my way and I have been doing my best to help her find a better path. I cannot tell you that she will never steal again, but I can tell you that she knows she shouldn’t. I also can enlighten you to the fact that Caddie’s main problem is not thievery, but complaining. But… for the past two weeks, she stayed in my home and learned that the squeaky wheel does NOT get the grease. What we do with squeaky wheels is … replace them.”

The judge chuckled and gave Caddie a very light sentence. She stuck around for a week or so more after that, and then took off. About five years later I received a phone call from Indianapolis, Indiana. It was Caddie. She told me she’d had a devil of a time tracking me down, because I had moved and was the traveling sort. She wanted me to know that she had landed somewhere and realized what a pain in all areas of the body she was, had gotten married and started a new life.

With a bit of boldness I stepped up to the plate and asked the most important question. “Have you stopped complaining?”

She laughed. “How do you think I got a husband?”

I laughed, too.

I will tell all ministers, politicians, school teachers and parents this very valuable point. Continuing to leap to your feet to respond to the complaints of a malcontent is to do nothing but build up a thunder cloud of stormy weather in your own soul which will eventually dump rain on them at the wrong moment. Instead:

Don’t give grease to the squeaky wheel. Change the tire.

Ask other human beings to do what you, yourself, have to do to continue to be a learner instead of just a burner of time.

Stop complaining.

And the best way to stop complaining is to understand that difficulty is pre-packaged in life to keep the human race moving forward and discovering instead of just settling into dangerous repetition, boredom and stagnancy.

So the next time you run across something you really don’t like, take an extra moment and find out why it’s really there instead of trying to spit it away with your complaints. Then maybe, like Caddie, you can escape the selfishness that steals time from others and yourself, and instead, find new life.

Maybe … in Indianapolis.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Fearfully and Wonderfully… April 4, 2012

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The Psalmist declared that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”–fearfully in the sense that the same energy that can empower us can also blow up in our faces, scattering our dreams into oblivion; and wonderfully made because even though we continue to gain great insight on the human condition, we still remain the final frontier for discovery.

Over the past several days I have presented human life in six twelve-year packages. Let’s take this morning to sum it all up and also conclude what might be better choices in applying these precious dispensations of time.

From birth to twelve we have the chilled-hood–a time when boys and girls are so similar that it is often difficult to tell them apart–both visually and certainly in ability. But it’s also a dangerous time, when the prejudice can be planted in the young, fertile soil, promoting a lifetime of  begrudging appreciation. For understand this–prejudice is not an idea. It is a disease. And once you allow children to be infected by this germ by alienating members of the opposite sex, then the disease of bigotry continues in their lives and they will find it difficult not to apply the same principle to people of color and people who vary in size. What’s the best thing you can do for your children? Teach your boys to rejoice over being equal with girls and your girls to enjoy equality with boys–AND that this could be the norm for our species, not the temporary. Yes, the message of chilled-hood is that we don’t require antagonism between boys and girls, which can lead in the future to the disease of prejudice, turning us into bigots. Let me be bold–there is no one who thinks that men and women are different who does not also have the inkling that black people and white people are from separate worlds and that the size of a human being determines their value and intelligence.

And when thirteen years of age comes along, in that phase I dubbed addled essence, an introduction of the drugs of testosterone and estrogen permeating the bloodstreams of emerging adults, it is a great occasion to draw a line in the sand and insist that these “addled essence” individuals tolerate tolerance. I love that phrase. What do teenagers hate to do? Enjoy things they didn’t come up with. So the greatest thing we can do for those between the ages of thirteen and twenty-four is place them in situations where they need to tolerate tolerance. In other words, they need to understand that their future primal relationship will be with someone different from themselves, and the more they learn to understand, the greater the compatibility will be. To the addled essence, we require that you tolerate tolerance.

And when twenty-five years of age rolls around and the human being moves into the phase of “you’re kidding,” where procreation seems more important than being creative, we should remember that birthing your own life, and THEN another, is the key to being an excellent parent. Nobody can help anybody else be happy if they are discontented. So before you bring another human being onto the face of the earth, make sure of your own joy about being here yourself.

We move on to years of  thirty-seven to forty-eight. I dubbed this Re-Spend-Ability. The solution here is really quite simple. Love and money don’t mix. Do you want to talk about your love, your romance and your relationship? Terrific. But no signs of the dollar should ever come into the discussion or you will taint the beauty and sanctity of love. And honestly, when it’s time to talk about money, a pencil, paper and a calculator is sufficient rather than memories of your honeymoon and misgivings about whether you are appreciated and heard. The best way to sustain a long, living love affair is to make sure that love and money are never in the same room together.

Just around the age of forty-nine, estrogen in a woman and testosterone in a man begin to wane, hinting towards a loss of the feminine mystique and the macho persona. People get scared so they start picking at each other and blaming each other for their condition–dissing in action. What is the goal? To get older but not old–because even though as a man you are losing some of the ability to run races and lift boxes, and as a woman you are not going to be giving birth to children anymore, what you have gained is experience and wisdom, which enables you to keep a cool head in times of crisis. Can I repeat the by-line for this group? “Get older, not old.” And the best way to stay young is to be current and funny.

Which leads us to our last twelve-year period, which for many people extends even into their nineties. Eco-quality–where nature and human creation were meant to come into peaceful unity, returning us back to our chilled-hood spirit of cooperation. It has a simple and delightful slogan: learn and play. Unfortunately, most people who find themselves in the post-retirement era become grumpy and unwilling to learn, and think playfulness is immature. But if you can escape the urge to be cranky, you can realize there is still much to learn because a whole world of possibility is being invented right in front of you. And there is more time to play because you aren’t lifting boxes and don’t have to wipe the runny noses of your offspring.

There you have it. Now let’s put all the by-lines together and see what we come up with:

We don’t need the seed of prejudice but instead should learn to tolerate tolerance, birthing our own life to joy before we welcome another into our fold. Separating love from money while getting older but never old, we finally arrive at the true wisdom of the human journey, which is to learn and play.

It is a great system that first removes the antagonism that exists between the sexes, which relieves the pressure to be superior and frees us to live a life of true spirituality, which is:  “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

Eco-Quality… April 3, 2012

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A gift.  For a gift to have true value it has to possess two attributes–it has to truly be “mine” and I have to understand it. I have received presents that were not gifts, because the instructions came in German or Chinese and I was unable to access the true worth of the intention.

Likewise, around the age of sixty-one through seventy-two and beyond, we receive a gift. Unfortunately, most people of that age do not believe there IS a blessing imparted their way. Maybe it’s because the instructions are in the language of logic and we’re looking for something deeper or more mature. Maybe it’s because we focus too much on the difficulty of implementing the gift and fail to recognize the benefits. I’m not sure. But the ecosystem of Planet Earth is perfectly balanced within the human species by having us begin as children and basically end the same way.

Estrogen and testosterone removed as chemicals of dependence, we arrive in our later years once again on an even playing field, able to communicate if we so desire.

It is an eco-system that proffers quality, which I have blended to form a new word: eco-quality.

We are children again. As children, we can either choose to be child-like or childish. Verily, verily I say unto you–the greatest natural resource unused in this country is not natural gas trapped beneath the surface, but rather, our retired, aging, experienced, elderly population, which is set aside to vegetate and die. Maybe it’s because they never got over their addled essence and have decided to live a life that is adversarial rather than friendly. Maybe it’s because they wish they were still “kidding” and become overly involved in the lives of their grandchildren–ending up  interfering more than enlightening. Perhaps it’s because they think they’re still in their forties, struggling to make ends meet and haggling over the price of toilet paper at Costco. But more often than not, they get stuck dissing in action, and continue to pick at one another, finding fault and resenting each another because everything didn’t turn out quite as perfectly as planned.

So instead of having a flourishing, mature population, full of experience and wisdom, we have bratty old folk who need to have their diapers changed, bitching about eating their strained prunes and broccoli. I cannot disagree with those young humans who find this both annoying and pathetic. If you reach sixty-one years of age and the things you wanted to do with your life have still not happened, do yourself a favor and get up off of your rocker and imitate some of your aspirations with the energy you still have remaining. If we can teach our graying citizenry–many attending Woodstock, who were part of the disco revolution and survived all sorts of financial meltdowns–yes, if we can teach them to take on the better parts of chilled-hood and put that into practice in their everyday, senior citizen existence, we can unleash an intelligence for our youth and probably save a lot of money on medical care.

When children are happy they do two things–they learn and they play. If you reach sixty-one years of age and you think there is nothing for you to learn, you might just want to go to meet your Maker, who will be more than happy to explain to you the error of your conclusion. There is nothing more exciting, amazing and enthralling than an older person who is still willing to learn. We insist that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, but since we are not of the canine species, we might want to rise a little above our “dogged” determination.

Learn. What’s necessary in order to learn? Two things: (1) “I don’t know,” and (2) “please teach me.” Since testosterone has ceased making men sexually obsessive, and estrogen isn’t cloying at women’s souls to keep them domesticated, we can actually enjoy things together and learn simultaneously.

And of course, play. There is no joy in longevity if we can’t find a way to pleasurably do everything. If life is a chore, please bring sundown so we can go home. But if we can find a way to make grocery shopping interesting, going to church a new vista of experience, or even a doctor’s visit to be a time of learning and information-gathering, then every day seems to have purpose and potential.

Yes, the greatest resource that is lost in our society is not the oil from old fossils, but getting our old fossils who are still alive to squeeze out some oil of gladness.

God gives us the tools:

1. We are not living in the pressure cooker of addled essence, where our hormones are screaming demands, making our bodies twitch with indecision.

2. We no longer have the pressure of “kidding.” I will be honest with you and hopefully others will join me–I enjoyed being a parent, I find grandparenting interesting, but I am glad I am back to my life being my own, thank you.

3. We have the intelligence to dodge the futility of Re-Spend-ability–causing us to fret over money–and  instead can take our experience and patience–to use it more wisely.

4. Hopefully, we will cease from dissing in action,  generating an atmosphere of tension, which has digressed to an ongoing silence of dissatisfaction.

Learn and play. Everybody gets older, but no one needs to get old.

The years from sixty-one to seventy-two and beyond should be conducted with two mantras:  (a) “I really know a lot, which makes me want to know more.” and (b) “if it ain’t fun, it ain’t done.”

A simple submission to these two precepts would change our society from a youth-crazed, fad-driven mania to a more balanced situation of looking at things through the eyes of experience instead of need and greed.

Let’s not kill off our old people, but let’s create eco-quality,  joyously returning to our chilled-hood, when male and female were much the same and we we had great fun bouncing a ball … and learning our biology.

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Listen to Jonathan sing his gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, accompanied by Janet Clazzy on the WX-5 Wind Machine

 

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

Day One, Part Three — Lighten Up … February 17, 2012

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Jubal hated his name.
 
Actually, he hated people’s reaction to his name. Everybody wanted to misspell it, mispronounce it and certainly, misinterpret it. He often wondered why his parents had made the choice, considering all the “John, Paul, Sam and Tom” possibilities available. When he asked them about it, their only response was, “Special people need special names.”
 
Jubal didn’t feel very special. Aside from the fact that every time he was introduced, some folks would crinkle their brow, trying to fathom the origin of his particular calling card, he felt completely normal, and really, without any outstanding uniqueness.
 
Well, he did have one talent. He enjoyed writing. Not scribbling and scrawling–just poetry and prose. He had even submitted some of his material to some publishers, and was unceremoniously informed that “there was no market for rhyme and verse.” He just smiled. So much like his whole life–there’s just no room in the world for a Jubal.
 
One day, in the midst of deep thought accompanied with a side of self-pity, he decided to stop complaining and create something. He took some of his poems, Xeroxed them and put them into a little booklet and entitled it Jubal’s Nation.  The volume wasn’t very attractive. It certainly lacked Madison Avenue appeal. But he decided it was his “meaningful mess.” It was a conglomeration of what he had learned, felt and discovered during his journey thus far. For Jubal had selected to allow his emotions to be honest, his spirit to seek and his brain to learn, while keeping his body as healthy as possible.
 
The process generated a product–him–and there was a natural light that beamed from that completed package that he felt was worth sharing. So he “published” his little work and passed it out to friends. He passed it out to enemies. He passed it out to everybody who was willing to hold out a hand and receive it. He had just enough funds to print two hundred copies of his little tome, and within three weeks he had dispersed all of them.
 
He sat back and waited. He realized that everything he could do was now complete. He had taken his time to discover the light within him and then had meticulously, through his pen and heart, released that light onto paper. He realized that none of us can offer any more than what we really are. It reminded him of a scripture in the Bible, where God looked on a world He had created and said, “‘Let there be light.’ And there was light.” There wasn’t light because God spoke it into existence. There was light because God WAS light. He might as well have said, “Let there be Me.” Jubal recognized, and even reveled in the fact that when you work on your internal light, you have the right and authority to speak that light into existence. Otherwise, your time on earth is a series of wishes and hopes instead of beams of enlightenment.
 
It took a while. Some time passed before people responded to Jubal about his new little book. He was itching to ask them, but intelligently passed, figuring that it was much too pushy and much too predictable. After a few weeks he received some emails. One lady said that the words arrived in her life right after the death of her husband and took away some of the sense of desperation. Another young gentleman said that he was actually contemplating suicide but had giggled at Jubal’s self-deprecating poems and realized that nothing was quite as bad as it seemed. Some folks actually wanted additional copies, although they suggested an improvement in the printing and the appearance of the work.
 
Jubal was ecstatic. He wasn’t going to be famous–but he never really wanted that. He just wanted to make a meaningful mess, while sharing the honesty of his heart, the seeking of his spirit, the learning of his brain, propelled by the health of his body. He wanted to bring the light that he was into being. He knew, deep in his soul, that no one can shed illumination if they do not already possess the spark. He knew that, just  like God, he was allowed to say, “Let there be light” if he had actually produced some light inside himself.
 
He still wasn’t sure he was thrilled with his name, but Jubal was an excellent name for a poet, if not for a dude. He printed off some more of his stories and circulated them. And that pretty well culminated the lifespan of Jubal’s Nation. But it produced enough light to brighten up his future.
 
Jubal would be more than just an unusual name for an unusual guy. He would always be a poet who was trying to create a meaningful mess through the honesty of his emotions, the seeking of his soul and the discoveries of his brain. From that point forward, he would be that poet who happened to have the really cool name: Jubal.
 
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Got a question for Jonathan? Or would you like to receive a personal weekly email? Just click my email address below and let me know what’s on your mind! jonathancring@gmail.com
 
  **************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

Day One, Part Two — Add Water … February 16, 2012

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Water is necessary for the creation and the sustenance of life. This is a scientific fact. It is why we study other planets to discover if there is any H2O in assessing the possibility of past or present life forms. It is also why, when we have made our “meaningful mess,” that we need to add water to it.
 
What is the water? What is necessary to pour into every endeavor, to guarantee the ongoing fostering of life?
 
Let’s go back to who we are. We are heart, soul, mind and strength. So each one of those parts needs to be watered. Each one requires fluid to prevent us from drying out.
 
What is the water for our heart–i.e., our emotions? You may have your own ideas, but I feel that what is needed to prevent us from becoming an emotional desert is an outlet for honesty. We certainly dry up inside when we are not allowed to express our real feelings, even if they end up being erroneous or false. The key to emotional good health is not always being right. If you want a pure heart, it is only purified by being granted voice–to express “where you are” at any given moment without fear of being condemned for having the sensation or being trapped into a box where you must remain because you dared to establish your position. In other words, if we really believed we were capable of being wrong, we would be more emotionally honest, causing us to discover what works and doesn’t work, flushing us out. But most people live an emotional life that is as dry as a bone–cracking because of dehydration–overly sensitive, primed and ready to be offended at a moment’s notice. The water we add to our emotions initiates our outlet to be honest.
 
Which brings us to the water we add to our soul. This one may surprise you a little bit. The spirit actually dies when it tries to follow the letter of the law instead of being stimulated by the permission to seek. It is the difference between spirituality and religion. Religion wants us to worship what is determined to be the “acceptable God.” Spirituality acknowledges God while we seek to understand more about Him and therefore ourselves. You can always forecast the death of the human spirit by the presence of three dark, cloudy statements: (1) “This is the way we’ve always done it;” (2).”We believe this is God’s will;” (3) We have no intentions of changing it.” You can understand why the church must escape religion to find the true spirituality that gives each of us permission to seek and therefore waters our souls with the showers of blessing from heaven and the wellsprings from the earth.
 
Likewise, we water our minds with a desire to learn. Learning is not listening to information–learning is not even studying available data. Learning is an admission that we are absent the necessary input to satisfy our mental needs and we are on a journey to acquire it. Anything that you close the book on in your mind causes your brain to dry out, inviting stubbornness, stupidity and honestly, maybe even dementia. An active brain is a learning brain and a learning brain is a mind not totally made up–but still willing to admit the need for fresh ideas.
 
And finally, the water for our body is … just that. Water. You can exercise all you want. You can be a vegetarian. But unless you flush your body with a gallon or more of water each day, you can’t be healthy. It’s more or less an internal baptism, because water runs through our system and literally flushes out all the impurities hiding in the nooks and crannies and pushes them out of our bodies through the exits provided
 
You see, after you decide to make a “meaningful mess,” you have created life. But life needs you to add water daily.
  • For your emotions, that means you need an outlet for honesty.
  • For your spirit, it is permission to seek instead of blindly following the rules and regulations provided.
  • For your brain, it’s a desire to learn instead of just perusing available words and pretending to listen.
  • And for your body, it’s guzzling that gallon of water every day, giving you a baptism of your innards to match the one you received for salvation.
You have to add water. Our society is a desert of mind-numbing repetition. It makes us old before our time so we try to decorate our bodies with young things, to hide the aging that is going on inside our heart, spirit, mind and strength.
 
Make a meaningful mess. Don’t be ashamed of a small beginning. But nurture that creation by adding water. It’s what God did–He created the heavens and the earth and then He moved across the face of the waters. He let water do its miracle of making life.
 
Don’t dry out. Don’t become crusty, cranky and dehydrated. Add water. And once you do that, it makes Part Three possible in exploring the instigation of new life.
 
See you tomorrow.
 
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Got a question for Jonathan? Or would you like to receive a personal weekly email? Just click my email address below and let me know what’s on your mind! jonathancring@gmail.com
 
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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

Light at the End of the Tunnel (Hill)… November 29, 2011

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Charlotte, North Carolina

I do not wish to aggravate people but I am certainly willing to do so if it’s going to generate the kind of dialogue that will create betterment and change. I greatly prefer exhortation to aggravation. (Candidly, the only difference between aggravation and exhortation is in how well it’s received.)

Arriving in Tunnel HIll, Georgia, last night for the second date of my Christmas tour, I was rather dubious about the results. I was struggling with a bit of a 24-hour stomach virus, which was giving me an entirely too descriptive tour of my intestinal system. Four inches of rain had fallen during the day and it was also damp and cold. People had lots of reasons NOT to come out to Tunnel Hill United Methodist Church to see our little dog-and-pony show (which, since it’s Christmas time, might be better presented as Reindeer and Donkey Show.)

But to my delight, a whole bunch of folks decided to brave the weather and perch themselves in a small auditorium to peruse the wares these gypsies had brought out for the evening’s delight. And truly, it was an exhilarating experience.

For after all, there are really only four things necessary to create transformation, or what we shall call revival. Fortunately for me, last night all four of these attributes showed up in the hearts and lives of the good folks of Tunnel Hill (thus my title:  Light at the End of the Tunnel (Hill)). Let me relate them to you and give you a bit of commentary which will show why we are in the middle of a stall in our nation instead of a thrust forward.

If you want to see things get better and improve your lifestyle, you must:

1. Show up. Life is not a download. Experience cannot be uploaded nor can it be texted to you–even though some people think that would be “tweet.” You have to actually be there in the flesh to experience the sensation. Without that, you are simulating an encounter which will end up being not quite as fulfilling and therefore will leave you jaded and fussy about the whole process.  Show up. My sponsors often lament that more people don’t come out to events they schedule. I think that’s ridiculous. I’m always shocked when there’s ANYBODY there, considering the temperament of our nation. We just persist in believing that we can push a button and will be inundated with entertainment or inspiration. Life is just like banking–if you’re not going to invest, don’t expect a return. So hat’s off to you, Tunnel Hill.  You showed up.

2. Listen. And I don’t mean listen critically. If you’re going to take the trouble to show up, give yourself the thrill of believing that you’re going to hear, see or feel something completely wonderful or different. There are many people in this country who are still hearing but they don’t really have an ear.  Or is it that they have an ear and they aren’t hearing? One way or another, the information is being assimilated through their own opinions and being decimated in their touchiness instead of allowing for deeper understanding.  You’ve got a heart, you’ve got a soul and you’ve got a mind. That’s assuming that you’ve showed up so your strength is already present.  So at least bring one of those to receive nourishment.  In other words, receive emotionally, receive spiritually or receive mentally.  Tunnel HIll, I am astounded to the depths of my soul at how you listened for an hour to my little stories.

3. Learn. Of course, to admit you learn something means that you have to give into the notion that there may be knowledge that you don’t already possess. It does demand a bit of humility. But without humility, the human being naturally defaults to pride. And pride sucks because it’s a bull butting heads with the rest of the world. Learn. What IS learning? It’s listening and finding something ON PURPOSE that is unique to your ears. If you spend your whole life nodding your head–acting as if everything you hear is merely a reflection of your previous thoughts–you will not only battle arrogance, you will drive away people who could be of great benefit to your journey.

4. And finally, share. Once you’ve actually listened and learned something, walk up to the person who happened to be your teacher on that occasion, and tell him or her how much it meant to you. Once again, that means we have to hurdle a whole bunch of pride and acquiesce to the realization that we are in need of input. But it means the world to other people to know that they’ve impacted your life and it is the only way to guarantee that you will remember what has transpired instead of letting it slip from your grasp, becoming part of your past instead of incorporating it into your future. Share. Tell somebody how they’ve enriched your life–or don’t be angry when no one tells you how enriching YOU’VE been. Once again, the delightful gathered at Tunnel Hill United Methodist Church learned and shared with me how much moments from the evening meant to them. One beautiful lady explained that she had not been out to a Christmas program for some time because her daughter had died at Thanksgiving two years earlier and she hadn’t had the heart to celebrate. But she showed up. She listened. She learned. And she shared that she was so glad she had come.

There is light at the end of the Tunnel (Hill) because if people soaked by four inches of rain, chilled to the bone, in a small town in Georgia, can enact the kind of attitude that affords exhortation, then just maybe we have hope to escape aggravation and become new creatures.

So my day begins. I plan on showing up. I’m listening. I certainly will learn something. And I will continue daily to share my findings with you in the most vulnerable way possible. Don’t be surprised if America continues to suffer from amnesia about its true value–because we must understand that an I-phone is a really nice invention–but no replacement for “I show up.”

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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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