Save Your Village… March 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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puddle water

I like to go to public parks to work on my writings and stuff. The scenery, atmosphere and intrusive clatter–well, I find exhilarating. Yet you do have to share the space with every living creature who habitates within.

Such was the case yesterday when a guy named Bunky came into my three square feet.

He was thirty-one years old and just as slight as I am husky, and wiry as I am cumbersome. We shared very little in common, but since proximity dictated either conversation or further social distancing, I jumped in.

Once I made my preliminary inquiries about his well-being, Bunky launched into a thirty-minute discourse on his life. Here are the highlights:

He had a nineteen-year-old girlfriend who is a junkie and needed him to go to work every day to get the money for her fix, so that she would not become violent and attack him. (In alternating presentations, she was referred to by Bunky as “lover, friend, enemy and bitch.”)

He had once been in a gang–I think it was the Crips–and told me he had killed a man, although he eyeballed me carefully to see if I was questioning his credibility. I didn’t. I saw no reason to authenticate a tale in progress.

He talked to me about the use of marijuana being helpful in relieving his back pain, brought on by years of working on cars, lying flat down on the hard concrete.

I wasn’t sure how long he was going to share, or if there would be a stopping point whatsoever–until his friends showed up. And then what had been a very intimate exchange was terminated as he rose to his feet, accepting the invitation of one of his cohorts, to go to another bench where they could smoke.

As quickly as it began it was over.

Being raised in a spiritual climate, I incriminated myself that I had not more sufficiently impacted Bunky’s world. It’s what we do best, you know. As human beings, we often “strain at the gnat and swallow the camel.” We criticize ourselves for what we don’t accomplish, while simultaneously failing to achieve what is set before us as our daily bread.

Let me share with you candidly, which is always my goal:

  • You are not going to change the world.
  • Jesus Christ didn’t do that.
  • He was smart enough to leave behind an example of exactly how things work.
  • Start where you are.

For you see, Bunky is not my problem There are many more qualified people to share, care and be aware of him than me. Here’s what I’m supposed to do:

  1. Find my village.
  2. Teach my village.
  3. Save my village.
  4. Let it travel.

I raised six boys in my household. For a brief period of human time, these young men sat at my table and listened to me expound on life. They also watched carefully to see if I followed up with my own choices. They were my village.

Also within that village was a handful of friends and comrades. They, too, were exposed to my experience.

I didn’t worry about changing a whole town, state or country. I found my village, I taught my village, I saved my village and then I let it travel.

Those young men met women and now their influence spreads from Miami to China to New York to Nashville to Dallas to Los Angeles. with films, music, business, ministry, recording, procreating and acting.

While some folks encourage me to spread out my influence as far as I possibly can, I would much rather have a thick spreading of peanut butter on a cracker than a thin application on a four-foot-long piece of French bread.

It’s simple–stop trying to change the world. Stop criticizing yourself for being ineffective.

  • Find your village, teach your village, save your village–then let it travel.

And always remember–leave your image in the puddle provided.

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The California Consideration… September 25, 2012

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We are all infected.

It is a disease which does not necessarily sprout symptoms before producing its deadly results–a squeezing of the brain into a smaller and smaller area of thinking, while simultaneously convincing oneself of mental expansion.

For instance, it is the general consensus that people from California are liberal–part of the “left coast”–and that it is a land filled with “fruits and nuts.” The assumption is completely incorrect–because a quick visit to the Golden State will tell you that Bakersfield is nothing like Los Angeles, and Frisco and Fresno have less in common than just a few letters.

But there is an obsession that has gripped this country in the past seventy years, which compels us to honor a national religion. That faith is not Christianity, Judaism, Islam or any of the other more established orthodoxy. It is a religion called “unique.”

When I drove my van into the state of California in 2012 with my new message, “NoOne is better than anyone else,” I leaped headlong into the chasm of this rocky philosophy. Two objections were immediately raised. Of course, in California they prefered to refer to them as “considerations,” so we shall defer to their wishes.

Consideration One: “Jonathan, it’s not a case of being ‘better.’ Just ‘different.'” I have dubbed this “snowflake syndrome.” Each one of us was taught that every snowflake is different from every other, and therefore, every human being is precisely formed to the configuration of his or her own soul’s journey. Let me point out a few things:

  1. Who really knows that every snowflake is different? This is not a scientific fact. It is an assertion, since not every snowflake has been placed on the measuring table.
  2. As they fall, they all look like snow.
  3. To discover these subtle differences, one has to use a microscope. Even if we ARE drawing the parallel of snowflakes to human beings and we DO buy into the concept of complete individuality of snowflakes, human beings were never meant to be viewed under a microscope.

I do not know why we are so obsessed with being unique–thinking it makes us intrinsically more interesting. The truth is, we are fascinating because of our commonality. We are given life by a God who tells us that there is “no temptation that is not common to all men.” Yet we insist that the differences among us–which are actually quite miniscule–establish a kind of unspoken supremacy over our neighbor. Now, we wouldn’t call it supremacy. We would refer to it as preference, choice or birthright. But it is a way of separating us as humans instead of finding the more intelligent path of calling it snow instead of a bunch of flakes.

Consideration Two from California, was this: “It is true, Jonathan, that no one is innately better, but some folks have better values.” You can see, this is another tenet of the teaching of uniqueness. In other words, “I quarantine myself from the world by possessing a code of spiritual healthiness which I uniquely follow as a means of proving my difference from other people in the world around me.” We have to decide if this earth journey is about finding ways to make peace or focusing in on pieces of ourselves to make war with the friends around us.

This religion of uniqueness has become so ingrained in our society that it may be the only idea that cross-sects races, religions, politics, gender and generations. It is a certainty that if you tell a room full of people and tell them that 99% of the populace is identical to each other, you will meet resistance from those who will insist that you are intolerant, short-sighted and out of step with the times. They would fail to acknowledge that your statement, however, is basically true.

Why do we choose to focus on that one per cent that trails off onto a different path from the rest of humanity–unless it is a way to quietly express our supremacy? And supremacy is always the warpath to hurting others and breaking apart the brotherhood and sisterhood of humankind.

Even though California is considered to be a liberal state, when they were presented with the notion that “NoOne is better than anyone else,” many of those alleged “left-coasters” ran to the security of the religion of uniqueness so as to maintain a secret cult of domination. So there are those who will tell you that we are unique by difference, when the true pursuit of God is to find our commonality. Certainly there are a chosen few who will proclaim their uniqueness by their values, when merely possessing a belief system is not evidence whatsoever of quality. Jesus said that it is only by the fruit of our internal faith that our values are truly known.

So as I moved out of California into other areas of the country, I suddenly realized that I was doing battle with a great fire-breathing dragon, which appears to be the acceptable, normal way of thinking in our day and age, but really is preventing us from awakening our Sleeping Beauty. And that “Beauty” would be the commonality we all share. In other words: NoOne is better than anyone else.

So now I have identified the culprit. I have found the assailant of the peacefulness that could be administered one to another, which is being stolen from us by a hidden agenda of supremacy masked as uniqueness. What will happen next?

I moved from California later on in the year, into Alabama–and this is where I ran into The Alabama Allegations.

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Driving Miss Crazy … August 3, 2012

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If I had a nickel for every mile I’ve driven across this world since I was sixteen years old, well … Well, yes. I would have enough funds to actually go to the grocery store and get PINK grapefruit instead of getting stuck with those pale yellow ones. (A very long story … )

I will not be so cruel as to try to target some areas of the country as having worse drivers than others (Nashville, Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta…) but I will tell you that over the years I have learned an interesting parallel.

Driving in traffic with other vehicles is very similar to dating–at least, the way I remember dating, after all these years. (I do realize that “dating” may be an outdated concept. Young humans today have other names for everything, as well they should, but since most of them still know what a dinosaur is, I thought I would risk the term.)

Let me tell you where I see the similarities between driving a car on the road with other human beings and trying to make a connection of the loving sort:

1. It’s very important in driving. Don’t go too fast.As you can see, this also crosses over into the realm of interaction with one you are trying to impress and not scare away–because after all, the important thing to remember about not going too fast is that it’s very embarrassing to get stopped.

2. Don’t go too slow. Do you see it? If you don’t advance your intentions quickly enough in the realm of romance, you can leave the impression that you’re not interested, or worse yet, that you just want to be a friend. I’ve always found that if you’re driving along and bicycles are passing you, you might want to give it a little more gas.

3. Here’s a good one. Watch where you’re going. One of the classic turnoffs when accompanying someone on a date is to let your eyes rove and look at other cars (more stylish models), if you know what I mean. Very important. Keep your eyes on the prize.

4. Try to be sensitive to the wishes and inclinations of others around you. Here’s a clue. If someone has their turn signal on, they probably want to get into your lane. You CAN keep them out. You CAN forbid their desires, but you’re not only going to make them angry, you’re going to turn them into a sourpuss. I’ll let you draw your own parallels with dating on that one.

5. This is a very obvious one, but needs to be mentioned. Watch for the signals. Flashing lights. Hand gestures, even. Anything that lets you know the tendency and direction of those who are driving around you. It’s also a good idea to read the signs that come up along the way, warning you of danger ahead. Ahh! The great dance of romance–full of signals. Learn them all.

6. This is a very important one–don’t get sleepy. Most accidents occur because people get drowsy behind the wheel, lose their attention, doze off and fall off the road. Likewise, it’s an amazing thing that in the realm of interaction between the members of our species, that expressing boredom or weariness, followed by a yawn, normally does not take you to Kissy Lane.

7. Which leads to an all-important climax. Don’t be horny. Yes–people who use their horns all the time when they’re driving are the most obnoxious folks in the world, hands down. They would insist they’re just trying to help out or express their great yearnings and desires, but it comes across way too desperate, way too pushy and way too arrogant. I suppose I don’t need to tell you that the same thing applies when trying to get to know another person as a human being, and then all of a sudden, telegraphing that your intentions are purely biological.

No wonder we have so much trouble with driving–because it’s so much like dating, which drives a sane man crazy and takes a young debutante to the point of insanity. So it truly IS Driving Miss Crazy, and the more I understand that operating a car is very similar to maintaining the kind of hygiene, intelligence, respect, fortitude and manners that were necessary the first time I took out a pretty cheerleader, the more likely it is that I will probably be able to keep myself from crashing and burning–or from ending up in traffic court.

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Our Father, Who ART … April 28, 2012

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God worries me.

I mean, after all the years of Him fidgeting over my foibles, maybe it’s my turn to do a little worrying. What worries me about God is that in an attempt to keep free will intact and faith functioning, He puts promotion of His concepts and even His identity into some pretty pitiful hands. So what really troubles me is that I am asked to believe in some One or some Thing that is so ill-defined that the minute I try to concretely establish my devotion in a particular direction, one of these “authorities” will step in and tell me that I am erred in my assertion.

There is no doubt about it–God definitely needs a better public relations firm to represent Him.

Because some people portray His Holiness as being a business man–“business as usual.” “How’s the corporation of the universe coming along?” “Let’s take a look at the bottom line.” “We’ll be able to increase profits if we lay off a few people, send a typhoon and eliminate the competition.” Am I the only one who has trouble envisioning Our Father as Donald Trump? Do I really want to worship some CEO who’s always plotting whether it’s time to fire me?

Then there are others who would lead you to believe that God’s a politician. Matter of fact, I think they would insist that He’s opened up some branch office of heaven right outside Washington, D.C., near the Beltway. So the minute you think you know what His position is on some particular issue, it may change to gain a political advantage over His enemy, who is obviously anyone who is not conservative–or wait a minute–that could be liberal. So even though I want to be extended grace, I want it because I did fall short of a great ideal and need to repent–not because I’ve been deemed to be in an adversarial party or because some deal has been struck in the back room of a committee, changing the rules. I don’t want God to be a businessman, and I certainly don’t want Him to be a politician.

A preacher?? Do I really want to believe that Our Father is religious? I think of the religious people I’ve known in my life–and many of them have had attributes of generosity, kindness and purity, but with that has come an extremely grumpy side–prone to being judgmental. I can’t afford Our Father to be judgmental. I don’t want to live in a household that wants me to cry over spilled milk. And I don’t want to believe the Ten Commandments dictate whether I will be loved on any particular day. I really don’t appreciate my whole life being broken down to an anecdote followed by three points with a closing benediction.

But on the other hand, I don’t want Him to be a doting daddy. I don’t need to imagine Our Father walking around heaven showing the angels the latest pictures of me on my vacation in Virginia Beach. I do hope there’s no room in glory where every trophy, blue ribbon and A+ I ever received on a paper is on display. I need more than that–more than confirmation that everything I do is all right, or condemnation that everything I do is less than acceptable.

I think there are folks who think that Our Father is nothing more than a manufacturer–kind of like He had this great idea for a new universe, put it together, started to market it, lost interest and is now just looking for someone to purchase it so He can unload the problem. I do not want to believe that I don’t matter. In my more generous moments, I don’t want to believe that YOU don’t matter.

Likewise, I would not want to go along with the folks who insist that God is a great scientist. Is it really all just an experiment? Are we just specimens, brought in to test new products? In other words, is one lab rat just as good as another? Is He looking for answers at the bottom of a test tube? Or is He really interested in all of my inward parts?

I’ve gone up and down the list of possibilities of what God might be like–paralleling the avocations and occupations of our earth–and at the end of my search, I’ve only come up with one acceptable, pleasing alternative:

Our Father, who ART…

That’s it. God is ART. He’s an artist. There it was, all the time, buried in that Lord’s Prayer–and we thought it was just a transitional verb.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? What do we know about artists?

  • They’re always trying to create something. Doesn’t that sound like God?
  • They’re willing to evolve. Hell-o?? You see what I mean?
  • They’re looking for beauty in everything, including a pile of trash, which they turn into performance art. That’s me, baby!
  • They’re a little Bohemian–not stuffy and staunch, like Aunt Mabel following Sunday services.
  • They’re interested in other people’s creative ventures.
  • They always believe there’s something that could be done from scratch to make things enlightened.
  • They are struggling. Don’t you want to have a God who is still trying to find ways to improve the situation?
  • And they are neither liberal nor conservative, just … thinking. If thinking is against the law of any organization, you probably shouldn’t join.

God is an artist. That’s it! He would like to make a profit, like a businessman, but if He doesn’t, He’ll open up another can of tuna. He’s willing to enter the political world to try to get his art more recognition–but as long as a little child stops, stares and smiles, He’s pleased. He wants to proclaim the great joy of birthing a new, glorious project, but doesn’t sit around and criticize others who don’t catch the vision. He dotes a bit over His creations, but also is very well aware of the place where a little bit more blue would have been preferable to the moss green. He is a manufacturer, but resents the notion that any one of His creations could be exactly duplicated on an assembly line. And He has a process–a faithful of procuring of the energy from within His soul to produce His art–but He wouldn’t call it a formula, like a scientist does.

There you go.

I feel so much better. I don’t have to worry about God anymore. It was especially becoming distressing to me in this day and age, when atheists and agnostics are beginning to arrive in more attractive packages. When I grew up the only recognizable atheist was Madeline Murray O’Hare, who greatly resembled the witch who ate Hansel and Gretel. But now we have comedians, actors, politicians and cool people denying “Our Father.” All you have to do to get the best parts of a Creator is remove all the worst parts of promoting Him. I would tell Bill Maher that our world is better with Our Father.

I don’t need religion–which brings in the businessman, the politician, the preacher, the daddy, the manufacturer or the scientist. I do require Our Father, who ART. I want a friend who likes to make things from scratch and proudly display them as part of His own soul. I want a beatnik Creator–so that at some point, after I’ve shed this mortal frame, I can greet Him, give Him some skin and say: “Cool, Daddy-o.”

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Dwelling… April 17, 2012

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A house for comfort.

A habitat for happiness.

A resting place for relaxation.

A spot within a cubicle placed strategically in a world not our own, where we can rejuvenate, regroup and rediscover.

It’s a good thing, right? Yes, I would have to agree that under normal conditions, finding a sanctuary of sabbatical for the purpose of sanity is sumptuous. Yes, it actually brings flavor to our lives, cools the brain off from over-heating, takes the soul off simmer and the emoting from emotions. But something I discovered recently was a bit of a shock to my system, while being a great revelation to my spirit. A dwelling can also be an escape from the reality encouraging us towards excellence.

I woke up this morning after having journeyed to Los Angeles, California, on my tour. I was tired. Over the weekend, I had driven nearly 450 miles–from Tucson, Arizona, to San Diego–set up my equipment, did a show, picked up a few hours of sleep and found myself back on the road, pointing to LA.

Before me was a task. We needed to go out and purchase food supplies for the week–a simple endeavor. But my weary body was not only reluctant, but resentful over such an energetic undertaking. I almost decided to go into my “comfortable, happy and relaxed” mode, putting off this responsibility until later. It would have felt good–I mean, it would have been comfortable, made me happy and certainly promoted relaxation. It was a dwelling place where my mind wanted to go in sympathy to my body.

I almost did it. But then I realized that when inevitable things are avoided in the moment of their best application, the season we select to be involved in is rarely as fruitful. Bluntly, life comes with opportunity when it’s needed–and putting it off leaves us with the arduous pursuit but often with less reward. For example, by midday it would have been hotter, more crowded at the store, and we would have a room lacking provisions. My dwelling place of comfort, happiness and relaxation was robbing me of my potential. I realized then and there that what we are comfortable with–or even what brings us happiness and relaxes us–can often be just a cop-out from getting what we truly need and deserve. A dwelling place can be a trap if it has no way of letting in the light, windows for fresh air and doors to escape when we require further expansion.

For after all, there are three things that want to settle into each of our souls and find dwelling:

(1) Prejudice. Of course, we don’t call it prejudice. Each one of us refers to our own personal prejudice as “experience.” Nonetheless, any idea that disincludes other people from having their own liberty is prejudice.

(2) We are often happy with our own insecurity.

  •  “I don’t want to go to that party–I don’t know anyone.”
  • “I don’t want to get a new job. You have to fill out all those applications and meet all those new people.”
  • “I don’t feel well, but I sure don’t want to go to the doctor. They give me the creeps.” 

Each one of us can be happy in our own insecurities, never realizing that these fears are keeping us from our better selves.

(3) And unfortunately, we can become very relaxed with failure. Here’s a definition: Failure is settling back into a position because we’re tired of trying. Failure is an old friend who makes an agreement to not criticize us if we won’t criticize him. Attempting to do new things and improve life for ourselves can be quite exhausting but to become relaxed with our failure, assuming that it’s our lot–or even worse, God’s will–is a dwelling place which becomes a cave, absent of light.

It was a good morning. I went to the store and overcame my prejudice, insecurity and failure. To do that, for a moment I had to relinquish my comfort, jeopardize my happiness and certainly give up my relaxation. The end result was that I got what I needed, I have what I want and my new dwelling place is the confidence in my soul that when choices are given to me–to remain the same or to improve my plight–I am capable of choosing righteously.

Beware of dwelling places that keep the air stale and the confines enclosed. They may make you comfortable, happy and even relaxed, but ultimately, a dwelling place can just become a prison.

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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.

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