A Carnal Man … June 3, 2013

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He was scrawny to my fatso, black to my white, smoker to my smokeless and Southern to my Mid-West. Yet he made his way to the window of my van to ask about the conversion aspect of my vehicle and to inquire whether it came “with a bed.”

Always glad to attempt the art of small talk, even when it seems to have microscopic possibilities, I explained all about my vehicle, including the fact that I purchased it with a bed, but I removed it so I could store equipment.

After a few questions about gas mileage, engine size and ride on the road, he finally arrived at his primary concern. “Do most of these conversion vans have beds in the back?”

I told him I believed they did–and he smiled. (When he smiled, I discovered that he was minus a few teeth.)

He then launched into a discourse on the beauty, the power, the glory and the availability of “pepper pots.” (Now, it really wasn’t pepper pots, but for the sake of keeping my jonathots free of questionable language, I will insert this euphemism.)

It very quickly became clear that my new conversation friend loved pepper pots. Matter of fact, he wanted to buy a van so he could climb into the back, onto the bed and discover all the intricacies and inner workings of pepper pots.

Honestly, I was a bit startled with the transition–from talking about front disc brakes to pepper pots–but I decided to hang in there so as not to appear judgmental, naive or discourteous. Little did I know that pepper pots was one of his favorite topics of conversation.

Also somewhere along the line, in elaborating about pepper pots, he decided to start talking about “salt mounds” (once again, a euphemism.)

He yammered and yammered and yammered about the subject. I think I saw a tear come to his eye when he discussed the gorgeous nature of pepper pots and salt mounds joining together to perform the action that God intended.

All at once, he mentioned the fact that his wife had died six years earlier. I seized that moment to change the subject to his dearly departed, to find out a little more about her. He softened as he explained that he had been married to her for twenty-three years, had stayed faithful and had never visited another pepper pot as long as she lived. It was a sweet moment.

But then he noticed my I-pad sitting in my lap and wondered if I had been watching X-rated movies. Reassuring him that I hadn’t, he went on to explain that if I WAS looking for such entertainment, there was a wonderful video store just down the street that had some of the finest flicks available–and also some side rooms where you could improv with the scenes you had just beheld.

I was certainly out of my element–but honestly did not want to come across like a prude or some sort of evangelist out to save his soul or … well, I really just didn’t know how to get out of the entanglement.

He stayed and he stayed and he stayed. Several times I reached out to shake his hand, to bring finality to our excursion, which he gladly shook–and then continued on with his tales.

I believe he took every angle on the pepper pots and salt mounds that was humanly possible.

I listened. Why?  Because I knew this stranger was lonely.

Sometimes we’re very critical of people and refer to them as “carnal” because they only pursue matters of the flesh. We never stop to realize that this kind of odyssey ends up your day with skin and goo. Nothing much ever gets inside.

But here I was–a fella sittin’ in front of him, about his age–and I was listening.

We must have talked for forty minutes–so much so that any additional dialogue about pepper pots and salt mounds would not be necessary for me for at least a couple of years.

At length, I realized I could not get rid of the fellow unless I told him I had to go. Fortunately for me, it happened to be the truth. I excused myself and he asked me where I was heading.

I said, “I have to go pick up my friends.”

“Pepper pots?” he asked.

“And much more,” I replied.

I squeezed his hand and looked into his eyes. There was a living soul there. There was a lot of passion there. There was a lot of belief in life that would not necessarily be acceptable in normal liturgy on a Sunday morning.

This man worshiped one part of creation–honestly, a very small part. Yet getting him to believe in the true nature Creator would be much easier to do than some hardened Bible thumper who was convinced that he was already redeemed.

I think this is why Jesus said that God is very willing to leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness to go after the one that’s lost. Sometimes you get tired of tending the sheep and you want to chase down a wild one. You know–folks who talk about pepper pots and salt mounds.

I told him I’d be thinking about him … and “God bless you.”

He was sad to see me go.

I read somewhere that a carnal mind is the enemy of God. It’s not because God is prissy. It’s because when all you can think about is fleshy things, you often end up alone.

And I also read: “It’s just not good for a man to be alone.”

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

******

Jonathan’s thinking–every day–in a sentence or two …

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Faith and Such … May 31, 2013

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Faith Bible College

Faith without faith is faithless

Love without love is loveless–and lonely, by the way.

Hope without hope is a hopeless pile of meaningless, constantly demanding tending.

Fellowship without fellow ships is a dry dock.

God without God is unfortunately religion aplenty, minus divine results.

Family without family is a family circus, with clowns crawling out of your car.

Life without life is lifeless, still insisting on breathing.

Creativity without creative ideas is a non-creative loop to nothing.

Jesus without Jesus’ heart is an obnoxious Jewish prophet who keeps dying–when I require a chance to live.

For a brief season I entered a world where a man decided for everyone else the definition of purpose. I gently resisted the tide of opinion. I was honored for a time as a genius, later to be branded a renegade. Being young and impetuous, I fought back with toothy nails. But struggling in quicksand only hastens the demise. I was fortunate to escape. I was truly amazed that others followed–yet I was heart-broken that many suffered emotionally and spiritually–and died.

Faith is not a Bible, a college, a church–and certainly not the essence of one individual person’s opinions. Faith is the work that prevents our death, allowing for joy.

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

******

Jonathan’s thinking–every day–in a sentence or two …

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

******

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Just Talk… March 9, 2013

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allAt 9:15 A.M. yesterday, I found myself tooling through the grocery store in search of those final ingredients that escaped my initial purchasing from earlier in the week. One of the things I was looking for was an inexpensive package of shrimp which I could add to a can of New England Clam Chowder, transforming it from a poor bowl of soup to go along with a tuna sandwich, into a meal fit for a Gloucester fisherman.

So I eyeballed the frozen foods and headed in that direction, discovering an older woman unpacking boxes nearby. She seemed a bit bedraggled by her task.

This is where I am probably weird. Maybe it’s that I’m arrogant–but I just don’t believe there’s any power in seeing someone under the weather or depressed and leaving them alone, hoping they’ll work it out by having an inspiring evening of prime time television. So I ventured a bit of conversation.

“How are you?” I asked

“Fine,” she replied, making her one-syllable answer sound even shorter.

You see, that in itself was a noble effort. But I didn’t leave it alone. “Are you sure you’re fine?” I chuckled.

She looked up from her mountain of boxes and gave me a small smile. She launched. Yes–she started to talk. In the two-and-a-half-minute conversation, I learned her entire financial situation, her frustrations with Medicare, her worries over the President and Congress, and the fact that her husband’s pension doesn’t cover much of anything.

Now, I will admit to you that there IS difficulty in finding a way to extricate yourself from the flood of words that proceed from people once the “dammit” is broken. But it’s worth it.

Because when I came around about five minutes, I paused to take a look her way.  Her pace had quickened and she was humming a bit to herself.

You see, it’s not that I am such a good Joe for talking with people. The point I’m trying to make is that we have become a nation instructed to listen and watch as OTHER people talk, giving us no outlet for our feelings, frustrations and especially, our ideas.

So when you see folks trudging along, there are three dark clouds that encircle them:

  1. “Nothing matters”
  2. “No one cares”
  3. “Never mind”

You may think this is no big deal, and often it isn’t–until you accidentally cross one of these storm clouds with all of this negative energy bottled up inside.

When we are not allowed to talk, we become creatures of silent defeat–and depending on the mental health status of the defeated one, it can lead to anything from reclusion to stepping into the marketplace with a semiautomatic rifle and opening up fire.

Just talk.

It has to be more than a tweet. Our new social media forces us to be brief and clever, instead of forthcoming and honest. Matter of fact, I would suggest that the church become a forerunner fo this great idea. Instead of projecting images on the wall that people sing and recite, cueing them on when to stand and clap, let’s have an hour sometime during the week when human beings can talk and share their hearts.

As the old verse says, we certainly ARE “saved by the word of our testimony.”

My words may encourage you, but it is your own words that motivate you.

The Bible may offer a great sense of comfort, but it is your interpretation and re-speaking of truth that makes it a reality.

There may be nothing greater that we can do for each other than overcoming the silent defeat that settles into the human soul because we don’t get the chance to talk about our feelings, and we begin to insist that nothing matters, no one cares and never mind.

I left a woman singing a song. That’s pretty good for this fat boy. And until we realize that watching and listening is no any replacement for feeling and sharing, we will have a country that is saturated with a sense of desperation–exhausted before it even begins to work.

Just talk. Just share. And make sure that any sensations of sadness have a chance to escape before you become convinced that we were meant to be lonely.

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

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