Catchy (Sitting 44) A Very Slow Fast … April 15th, 2018

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It was meant to be a very quiet arrival at Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, D. C. Over the weekend, Jubal had contacted Matthew, explaining that he planned on returning on Wednesday afternoon at 2:15, and would appreciate a pickup, so he could get right back into the hunt of things. He had briefly updated Matthew on his journey.

Jubal had only spent four days with the Dalai Lama before traveling on to Japan, China, India, and ending up at a conference of rabbis and mullahs in Jerusalem. He had many stories and much adventure but he wanted to come home.

Matthew agreed to meet him in Washington, and contacted Soos to put together the “on-the-ground-plan.” Perhaps that was his mistake–because Soos decided that the return of Brother Carlos was good reason to have a national festival.

First she put the word out on social media, so there were five thousand screaming fans at the airport when he taxied down the runway. She also got hold of Mother Rolinda, who was still pastoring up in Baltimore, even though her burned-out church was being repaired and the local congregation was meeting in the park. Rolinda suggested they hire “The Angels”–fifty motor-cycle-riding dudes and lasses for God, who used to be part of the Hell’s Angels. Soos loved the idea and also thought a local high school marching band would be wonderful once they arrived in the middle of Washington, D. C.

As Matthew arrived at the airport, he became aware that he was once again part of an event. The past few weeks had changed him from a mere curmudgeon to a full-blown people-hater. He had “jailed himself” in Las Vegas for nearly a month. He drank, he slept, he gambled a bit, and he discussed with several prostitute friends whether lemon was necessary to add to the butter for a “good lobster-eatin’.”

So when Matthew drove up and saw all the people with banners and damnably sweet faces, he was tempted to turn around and pretend he had been waylaid in Nebraska due to a storm. (You could always count on Nebraska to provide you such a cover.) But he figured there was some member of the press who would identify him and foil his deception.

A beleaguered Matthew greeted a surprised Jubal Carlos, as they both headed to the parking lot and Jubal was offered a Harley Davidson to ride into Washington. (Matthew opted for the chauffeured Lincoln Town Car.)

Fifty motor-cycle disciples with shiny helmets were escorted into town by the police department as the fans roared and Jubal Carlos waved his fist in the air as if leading a charge at Gettysburg. The five miles into town were quickly covered, since there was such a smooth passage. As soon as the high school band saw Jubal, they burst into what sounded like a John Phillips Sousa march dipped in salsa. Jubal rolled up with his cohorts, jumped off his motorcycle and danced his way to a set of congas which were waiting for him and joined the band in sweet revelry.

Soos estimated there were probably ten thousand waiting for them in the Capitol Square. She had set up a microphone so Jubal could address the crowd and share about his journey.

After about ten minutes of music and everybody getting their fill of Nathan’s hot dogs, Jubal stepped onto the stage and walked up to the microphone. Matthew pushed closer–he wanted to both see and hear. He was curious. He had missed Jubal Carlos. Even though Matthew had no intention of bowing to a divinity, he still had deep admiration for Jubal’s convictions.

Jubal stood quietly for a minute, letting the crowd have its will. All at once, everyone fell silent. Jubal took the moment, added his own pause, and then spoke.

“I have been with the Dalai Lama, to Japan, China, the Ganges River in India, and Jerusalem, where Jesus was glorified.”

The crowd cheered. Jubal looked across the mass as if gazing upon a beautiful horizon. Then he started to laugh, pretended to wipe some sweat from his brow, leaned into the microphone and shouted: “But it sure is damn fine to be home!”

What followed was a scream that could have awakened all the stone monuments in the fair city. Matthew laughed. Jubal was very corny, somewhat predictable, fairly ordinary, and loved by all. Deep in his heart Matthew believed that he was much more clever than Mr. Carlos. Yet it was difficult for Matthew to get any affection, even from the bell-boy if he gave a particularly good tip. Jubal continued.

“I’m not gonna hold you here long, but I am going to tell you what’s next. I’m going to leave this stage, and I’m going to head to that building–”

He turned and pointed to the Capitol.

“Here’s what I’m going to do. Yesterday morning I began a fast. Actually, it’s rather simple. I’m drinking water, some electrolytes, and bottled fruit and vegetable juices. I just wanted you to know the truth before the press calls me a liar because they smell asparagus on my breath.”

More uproarious laughter, leaving Matthew shaking his head. Jubal waited for the giggles to die down, and went on.

“I’m going to sit in the rotunda of that Capitol and stay there, fasting, until this country passes a bill. I think we should call it ‘The National Action of Kindness.’ I know people will say it’s meaningless, but it is time for the United States to lead the world forward by using kindness–before we bury each other in a grave of nuclear ash.”

A chorus of “amens” and a few “hallelujahs” skirted across the gathered. Jubal spoke on.

“I do not know if I will be allowed to stay in the Capitol, and I certainly don’t plan on being any trouble. In other words, I will find my own corner and brighten it. But until we Americans realize that everything we do–every law we pass, every decision we make–has to be run through the concept of kindness, we will continue to hurt one another, destroy our young people and fail to be the shining light to the world. I’m not asking you to join me in the fast. I’m not doing it because I feel like I’m special. No one likes to eat like your Brother Carlos. So pray with me that those fat-cat-politicians will hurry up and do something, so I can get back to continuing my burrito addiction.”

And yes…more laughter.

Jubal stepped away. He didn’t even stop to talk to Soos, Rolinda or Matthew. He slow-jogged his way toward the Capitol, where in a very few minutes, he came to the door and was refused entrance.

By this time, many from the crowd had followed, including all the staffers. They stood on the steps and shouted at the Capitol above them. “Let him in! Let him in!”

Jubal did not say anything at all, but stepped back four paces, crossed his arms and stood his ground. All at once the doors opened, and the guards moved to the side.

Ninety-year-old Medero Fairchild, the oldest sitting Senator, slowly stepped out and embraced Jubal. He put his arm around him and walked toward the guards. They stepped forward to prevent Jubal from entering the Capitol Building. The old man lifted his hand and spoke to them.

“This is my friend. He’s here at my request. You young gentlemen do a fine job guarding us, but now Mr. Jubal and I need to get inside and catch up on things.”

The austere protectors looked at one another and realized that it was foolishness for them to argue with the “Old Eagle of Liberty” (one of Fairchild’s nicknames).

Jubal Carlos stepped inside the Congress with his arm around a ninety-year-old senator from the state of Tennessee. The crowd went wild, and the guards broke form and style and waved at them.

Matthew shook his head. He raced to the car, hurried to the airport, and flew back as quickly as he could to his cave of protection.

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3 Things… February 1st, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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That Seem to Need Each Other

1. Freedom and responsibility

2. Love and truth

3. Lobster and butter (no lemon, please)

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Catchy (Sitting 23) Dorbe and Candy … November 19th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Matthew was elated.

Not only did the great hamburger give-away get coverage from all the major networks, but McDonald’s chose to throw in 5,000 free hot apple pies in appreciation for the large order. Every newspaper carried the same picture–a little four-year-old boy sitting on a curb eating a hot apple pie, Coke next to him, with a huge smile on his face.

It was epic–the fresh burst of optimism which had been absent in the media for years. There had been attempts to create positive stories, but rarely did one seem to fall from the heavens, right into the laps of weary journalists.

Matthew wanted to do something special for Jubal, so while Carlos finished up at the rally, Matthew raced back to the complimentary suite that had been provided and made a few phone calls. The last contact was to the GG Escort Service.

So when Jubal Carlos arrived at the suite a couple of hours later, Matthew greeted him at the door, giggling from the effects of two slurped-down martinis.

“I’ve got a surprise for you, my friend,” said Matthew.

Jubal smiled. “I don’t know whether I can take any more surprises.”

Matthew chuckled. “I think you can take this one,” he said, with a slight slur in his speech. “You see, what I did was I called the GG Escort Service. Do you know what GG stands for?”

Jubal was surprised, but played along. “No. What does it stand for?”

Matthew patted Jubal on the back. “It stands for ‘Good Girls.’ You see, they promise that all their ladies are good girls. And I thought a good fella like you and a good fella like me deserved a couple of good girls.”

Jubal crossed the room and sat down on the plush couch. “I don’t understand. Why did you do that?”

Matthew, still standing at the door, responded, “I thought you might like to relax. Sit back. Have some fun.”

“Didn’t we have fun today?” asked Jubal.

“I meant you have fun,” said Matthew.

“I did,” replied Jubal.

“Are you gay?” asked Matthew.

Jubal stood to his feet, angry. “No, I’m not gay. I just don’t know why we’d want to end this day with women that you’ve purchased.”

“Sorry,” said Matthew. “I’ve already paid for them. They’re in the other room, waiting for us.”

“They’re here?” inquired Jubal, panic in his voice.

“Yes,” Matthew answered. “And calm down. You’ve had sex before, haven’t you?”

Jubal stepped across the room. “Yes, I’ve had sex before. I’m a Las Vegas musician. Are you an idiot?”

Matthew tried to lighten up the moment. “Yes, matter of fact, I am an idiot. I thought you might like to have some female companionship.”

Jubal stepped closer to Matthew. “You don’t get it, do you? This is just a game to you. It’s like you’re playing with Mommy and Daddy’s money. Or worse, it’s Monopoly money, so what difference does it make? So you think you can go out and buy whatever you need.”

Matthew was pissed. “Hey, back off, fella. You don’t know anything about me.”

“I know you think you can buy love,” spit Jubal.

“I’m not buying love, and we’re not little boys in grammar school,” said Matthew. “It’s just sex–and a chance to have it without having to apologize, explain or woo.”

Jubal returned to the couch, sat down and turned away from Matthew. “This is not my life. This is not what I would do. I thought we would come here, order some steaks, celebrate our independence and maybe even be grateful for what happened. Do you get it? People came together today. It wasn’t a mass shooting. It wasn’t a hateful demonstration. It was people eating hamburgers, listening to music, believing.”

Matthew shook his head. “You worry me, buddy. I thought you were a professional. You know–someone who had been around the block a few times. But you’re acting like you buy into this.”

“I’m not acting,” said Jubal.

As he finished his thought, the door of the bedroom opened and in walked two lovely women in their early twenties.

“What’s the holdup?” said one of the girls.

Matthew spoke up. “I’m sorry. My friend is just a little tired.”

The second girl walked over to Jubal, rubbed his shoulders and said, “That’s okay. I’ll do all the work.”

Jubal slowly turned around and looked her in the eyes, and asked, “What’s your name?”

Matthew interrupted. “I named this one ‘Yes’ and this other one ‘O-h-h-h, yes.'”

Matthew laughed uncontrollably, apparently having consumed more than two martinis. Jubal ignored him and took the young lady by the hands, and asked again, “No, what’s your name?”

She squinted, and then cautiously replied, “My name is Dorothy Beth, but my friends call me Dorbe.”

“Where are you from, Dorbe?” asked Jubal.

“Yankton County, South Dakota.”

Jubal motioned for her to sit down and she eased her way onto the cushion. “I’ve never been to South Dakota,” said Jubal. “What’s it like?”

Dorbe thought for a second. “Well, it’s like North Dakota. Just a little further south.”

Jubal laughed. “You are very funny, Dorbe.”

He stood up, walked over to the other young lady, took her hands, and said, “What’s your name?”

She glanced at Matthew, who just shook his head, so she replied flatly, “My name is Candy Cane.”

Matthew rolled his eyes. “No, your real name.”

She placed her hand on her hip and blurted, “It is my real name. My mother loved Christmas.”

Jubal thought that was funny, too. “My friend, Matthew, tells me you’re good girls.”

“No, that’s our escort service,” said Dorbe. Candy Cane threw her a darting glance.

Dorbe stared back, and said, “He’s a nice guy. I thought I could say ‘escort service.’ I don’t think he’s a cop.”

Jubal motioned for Candy Cane to sit down, too. She complied.

“No, I’m not a cop,” said Jubal. “But I do try to be a good guy. And so does my buddy, here. He’s just like all of us–he gets some things mixed up. You see, he’s the guy that’s thinking about starting a campaign to make Jesus popular again.”

“I read about that in the newspaper,” said Dorbe.

“When did Jesus get unpopular?” inserted Candy Cane.

Jubal stepped toward Matthew. “You see, my man? These ladies don’t think Jesus is unpopular. You know why?”

Matthew shook his head, like he was caught in a bad dream. “No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.”

“It’s because they’re working people,” replied Jubal. “They’re the kind of people who not only know Jesus, but they want to be friends with him.”

“You do know what we do for a living?” interrupted Dorbe.

“Hush, bitch,” said Candy Cane in the nicest way possible.

“Yes,” answered Jubal. “I know what occupies your time. But not tonight. You see, my friend and I were about to order some steaks. Or was it lobster? How about both? And we were wondering if you lovely ladies would join us?”

“You know we’re already paid for, right?” asked Dorbe.

“I suppose,” said Jubal. “But I want to give you a choice. You can keep your money and leave, or you can stay here and eat a delicious dinner with us and join in conversation.”

Just conversation?” Candy Cane asked, suspicious.

“Just conversation?” Matthew repeated.

“Yes,” said Jubal. “There is so much to talk about, so much to celebrate, so much to be thankful for that we don’t have to go weird to have our fun.”

Dorbe shook her head. “You are an odd man. Are you a preacher? Don’t get me wrong–I’ve been with a lot of preachers.”

“No, Dorbe, actually I’m a drummer. Congas.”

Candy Cane stood to her feet and clapped her hands. “Oh, I love congas! They’re just so … drummy.”

“I couldn’t have said that better myself,” said Jubal.

“Yes, you could,” said Matthew.

“So what do you say, Matthew? Shall we order in some dinner for our ‘Good Girls?'” asked Jubal.

Matthew stood quietly in the doorway, where he had been stuck the entire time. He was still waiting for an exciting evening of pleasure, and was being offered dinner and talk.

He didn’t understand Jubal. He was aware of people who were self-righteous, or just hated sex–but Mr. Carlos didn’t seem to fit into either of those categories. There was something mysterious about the story of this man that he knew he would have to uncover so as to protect himself–and the money.

But not tonight. Tonight belonged to Carlos. Tonight was a time to submit to the common good.

Tonight was a celebration with two good guys and two good girls.

 

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Last Night … June 7, 2013

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Arriving back at my motel room after an exciting evening with the dear souls of Primrose United Methodist Church, along with the visitors who gathered for the occasion, I received a phone call from a friend. She asked me what I had done that evening, and I told her I was finishing up a two-night revival at a church.

She giggled a bit and said, “Boy, that sounds old-fashioned

It got me thinking. For after all, to produce the pucker of the kiss of death on ANY idea, all you have to proclaim is that it’s “old-fashioned.”

So it made me wonder if the two nights I spent in Little Rock, Arkansas, really WERE old fashioned.

  • Is it old-fashioned to gather with people you don’t know, with the aspiration of coming out of the experience a little better?
  • Is it old-fashioned to tap your foot to music and release a tear when a lyric to a song lands with truth on your heart?
  • Is it old-fashioned to share a piece of pizza with a new-found friend, content with the simplicity and never wishing it was lobster in drawn butter?
  • Is it old-fashioned to laugh out loud, without fear of being considered boisterous?
  • Is it old-fashioned to clap your hands in appreciation, and also in praise to a God who has decided to be your Father?
  • Is it old-fashioned to contend and come to agreement that “NoOne is better than anyone else?”
  •  Is it old-fashioned to listen to music you’ve never heard before, and instead of rejecting it because it isn’t in the normal rotation of your tunes, you listen and receive a blessing?
  • Is it old-fashioned to welcome strangers in and work real hard to make sure that when they depart they know how much they are loved and welcomed back?
  • Is it old-fashioned to offer a tank of gas to a traveling group of troubadours so they can make their way up to Illinois?
  • Is it old-fashioned that even though you are the pastor of a church, to get out of your car to wash the windshield of their van, as a symbol of your appreciation?
  • Is it old-fashioned to come to the front of a church and sit in a chair to receive prayer because you’re not quite sure that there ISN’T room for improvement?
  • Is it old-fashioned to believe–and experience–more people coming out the second night of a meeting than were there the first?

You see? You can feel free to call me weird, and you can try to keep up with each trend that comes and goes in our society, but whenever I run across anything that claims to be “new and improved” I ask myself two important questions:

  1. Does it help people?
  2. Does it make us better?

I don’t believe there ARE things that are old-fashioned and others that are up to date. I just believe there are things that bless–and the more you pursue them, the fresher they become … every day.

P.S.: Thank you, Primrose United Methodist Church.

P.S.S. Happy thirty-seventh birthday to my son, Jerrod.

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The “When” Win … September 13, 2012

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He insisted that he didn’t believe in miracles. I think he thought he was going to rile up some ire in me on the subject. He didn’t.

It actually reminded me of a time when I attended a very expensive banquet where lobster was served. I found myself seated next to a gentleman who did not like lobster and proceeded to tell me that he found it distasteful, not only in flavor but also in the cruelty involved in acquiring them. I listened intently and then asked him if he would like me to remove the nasty presence from his plate. He agreed–and I ended up eating a double portion.

I was very grateful to be seated next to a non-believer.

I do believe in miracles. But my particular form of faith about them may be a bit disconcerting to some of you. I don’t think that miracles are the direct intervention of the spirit of God in our lives, but rather, that miracles happen when we finally awaken our own spirits to provide benefit, insight, guidance and treasure to ourselves.

Truthfully, human beings are not as complicated as we make them out to be. We are a collision of three forces, melting into a fourth: they are what we feel, what we know, and what we want that actually congeal into what we believe.

I know religionists would hope that what we believe would actually change what we feel, know and want, but honestly, I don’t think our Creator made us that way. This is why so many people have so many different beliefs about varying things. Their particular rendition of feeling, knowing and wanting generates a somewhat unique belief system.

So it is important to realize that the end result of our process of feeling, knowing and wanting is a spiritual force–or else a weak, dormant, empty cave. In other worsds, if we don’t feel much, refuse to learn and lose our desire, it’s rather doubtful that some sort of spiritual renaissance is going on inside us.

I believe that miracles happen when we have purified our emotions by speaking them aloud instead of hiding them; we have included science, technology and wisdom in learning what is available for our time, and we have challenged our wants and whittled them down to our real desires instead of our passing infatuations.

What this reveals is a spirit that we can trust. That spirit will begin to come to life within us and produce gentle nudgings to pursue certain activities, projects and ideas.

Trust the gentle nudgings.

Yes, when I purify my emotions by sharing them, I learn instead of assuming that I know everything, and in the process I come up with real needs in my life instead of copying what everybody else is doing, I can begin to believe that those inclinations that come to me are my spirit leading me to miraculous horizons.

Some people call it “following your gut.” Others refer to it as “divine inspiration.” There are those who contend it is actually “hearing the voice of God.” But it is rarely as dramatic as all that. It is truly a still, small voice inside us, whispering a possibility that we may wish to pursue. I have learned to listen to those gentle nudgings.

This is what I call the “when” of being spiritual. We spend too much time discussing “why.” It is ridiculous to have great debates on the “what” of spirituality, when none of us have ever been beyond the grave. “How” is even more comical.

But “when?” Now there is spirituality.

  • When I feel the need to give to a stranger … just do it.
  • When friends comes to mind … pick up the phone and call them.
  • When I’m trying to remember a song … the words must be important.
  • When I nearly have an accident … it could be a heads up, a warning about my lack of attention.
  • When I find an extra ten dollars in my pants pocket … be prepared to bless someone.
  • When I have a dream that touches my heart … share it, use it or make contact with someone who was included.
  • When I hear a great idea … write it down.
  • When I see someone do something magnificent … tell somebody else about it so it doesn’t die,
  • When I realize I’m watching something on television that’s boring or drawing energy from my being … turn it off.
  • When I feel compelled to give someone a hug … embrace him.
  • When I feel like laughing … don’t restrain.
  • When I feel like crying … let it flow.
  • When I see that someone is left in a corner by himself … find him.
  • When I wonder if something could be done … find something to do.
  • When I am nudged … move forward.

These are the miracles of life. Desiring God to heal a cancerous tumor is well worth using our faith, and a great reason for prayer. But four years earlier, following the gentle nudgings of the spirit to quit smoking cut down on eating or exercise more is the true miracle.

I do not believe that God’s grace has limits, but I think I should conduct my spiritual life as if it does. He wants His children to become spirited–without constantly needing to be bailed out of jail for failure to enact the principles.

The gentle nudgings are those opportunities that come our way because we have learned to take what we feel, what we know and what we want–and create a belief that is believable to us. It is the “when” that causes us to win.

You might righteously ask me how often my gentle nudgings turn into actual, obvious spiritual miracles. After an ongoing life of trial and error, I can report that about fifty per cent of the time I see evidence of intervention. And that means that this simple concept has provided me twice the blessing I would have in comparison to sitting around in a prayer room waiting for God to do my work for me.

“And God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul…”

Exactly. And that soul comes to life when we follow the gentle nudgings that have come to us from our spirit because we have cleansed our hearts, opened our minds and purified our desires–to create a spirit we can trust.

It is the when win. When you feel it, trust what you have created to lead you to beautiful, gentle nudgings of miracles.

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