PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … September 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-blackbird

The Crow

Here comes the crow

Flying very low

Peering for a weakness

Destroy the holy meekness

Render the nasty blow

 

Nothing of its own

Gnawing on the bone

Selfish and so vicious

Drooling with malicious

Cursed to be alone

 

Will you stand in the field

Your rigid post and never yield

Frighten away the wicked bird

Expose the taunting absurd

Until the victory is sealed?

 

The crow looms to steal

Mocking what is real

Pecking at the child’s dream

Disrupting the beauty of the rising cream

Removing the warmth to feel

 

Anger is not a way to think

Filth never a suitable drink

Pride always a bitter pill

Empty cup never refill

As the sands slowly sink

 

Scare the crow–start today

Wave your arms as you pray

Stop the menacing flying

Expose the nauseous lying

Choose the pearls to say.

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Ask Jonathots… August 4th, 2016

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Realizing you probably won’t answer me, what are your opinions on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?

They both lie.

Now, there was a time when such an accusation would have been considered mean-spirited. But the media has done a thorough job of convincing us that lying is inevitable. Once we decide it is inevitable, lying gains a certain amount of acceptability.

And because it’s acceptable, no one is particularly shocked anymore that it has ceased to be a vice and instead is considered to just be part of human nature.

Of course, the hypocrisy of such a trend is that none of us want to personally be lied to, and if we are lied to, we become very indignant.

But the reason I began this answer with the statement “both candidates lie” is that once we have grown to accept lying as being protocol, it opens the door to deception. Deception is when lies are manufactured to improve the status of an individual or to attack the opponent. And of course, these do not need to be true, but even worse, they don’t even need to be on point–just malicious.

So Donald says he wants to make America great again. Huge. So great that we’ll get tired of being great. He has no idea how he’s going to achieve this or what obstacles might come forth to block progress.

Hillary claims that she “campaigns in poetry but will govern in prose.” In other words, we’re not exactly sure what we’re going to get, because what she’s telling us will needfully change due to the circumstances of the events.

So my opinion of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is that they’ve both decided to find shade under the media’s coverage of acceptable lying.

So what should you do?

Find something true. Yes, acquire a North Star to your deliberations.

As far as I’m concerned, there are four things that are good about human beings:

1. We learn.

2. We repent.

3. We are generous.

4. We’re happy.

Feel free to disagree, but from my standards, these are the endearing qualities of our species.

I guess in 2016, the best you can do is find which candidate more closely embodies these delightful traits.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … April 13th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Band Played

The Band Plays

Being snubbed

Wrong way rubbed

Feeling mean

Thoughts obscene

Needing air

Someone care

Trapped in a box

A collection of rocks

Fighting the rage

Turning the page

Sensitive to touch

Missing it too much

Crying for fairness

Probing for awareness

Stop staring at your “me”

And see the one that’s free

Prop open the door

Stop keeping score

Melt the frigid vicious

Warm the tepid malicious

Questing for a smile

Devoid of promotional guile

Spitting on the Earth

Origin of my birth

Escaping the empty proof

Shouting from the roof

“I am here! Please draw near!”

Just give me a chance

To catch up with the dance

Before you change the tune

The band plays too soon.

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Elizabeth the First… November 15, 2012

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Ill-suited.

Similar to wearing a turtleneck and a cardigan sweater to a Metallica concert. That was me last night.

I arrived in the tiny burg of Elizabeth, Indiana, to a church that planned a concert with us, but had focused its efforts on bringing in an audience of children to view the performance. It was not a malicious act on their part–they have a rich and fulfilling ministry of reaching out to neighborhood youth on Wednesday evenings, with a meal and a time of kindness, so as to express the church’s tenderness to the kids. The pastor just wanted to afford these fine young ones a new experience.

Unfortunately, I found myself ill-suited.

I was suddenly thrust in front of fifty or sixty young humans between the ages of seven and fourteen. Understand, the last time I was their age, Lyndon Johnson was President and the Beatles had just invaded America. Neither one of those particular insights would be valuable to this present crop of offspring.

I had three immediate emotions–I was a bit frustrated with the fact that I had ended up in this dilemma, unable to share freely from my given talents and resources. Secondly, I felt a tad diminished, and perhaps even insulted, to have my abilities displayed in such a limited and specific capacity. And third, I felt like an absolute brat for feeling the previous two.

I was at war with myself. I had no idea how I was going to transform my material into the kind of vernacular and visual comprehension that would reach this particular generation of earth-dwellers. On top of that, the handful of adults who attended the event–teetering between chaperones and prison guards–were so preoccupied with their positions as instructors or overseers that they were not of any particular assistance in increasing the attention span or cultural depth of the room.

No, it seemed this was going to be a show for kids. What was I supposed to do? Of course, my worst fear was boring them. I think the reason we fail most of the time with young humans is that we have a two-fold agenda, instead of seeking out a single purpose. Especially in the church, we not only want to welcome these fledglings into our presence with entertainment and excitement, but also feel a necessity to indoctrinate them into our religious system at the same time. We must understand that religion is a hindrance to true spirituality. It doesn’t matter whether you’re six years old or sixty. You waste time by trying to get children to believe in God by teaching them the etiquette, stance and correct posture for praying. My job was NOT to convince these dear children that the church is the answer to their problems. Not only would such an endeavor be fruitless, but also not particularly honest.

In the few moments before I was introduced, I realized that the mission of the evening was not that much different for these little ones than it is for an average adult congregation.

  1.  See if you can get them to step out of themselves for a few moments and think about the beauty of life.
  2. Show them that good cheer is not an occasional option to relieve tension, but the only way to live to avoid it.
  3. Make sure they understand that Jesus came to side-step religion and offer the option of a personal relationship.

Once I clarified those thoughts, it became rather simple. Oh, I did a few extra songs that had some pep. I told more stories than commenting on cultural phenomenon or scriptural twists and turns, and I made the show a bit more interactive than you might do at the downtown First United Methodist Church in Des Moines, Iowa, on a Sunday morning. But other than that, I simply introduced them to Jesus, who already made it clear that he loves the little ones and wants to bounce them on his knee and bless them.

I was ill-suited going into the event and equally so coming out–so I simply relied on the ideas of my favorite messenger, Jesus, who told us that each and every one of us needs to become just like these little children to enter the Kingdom of God.

I shall not drop my present outreach to become a minister to children. But I am grateful that the message I share can reach all ages, all races, all denominations and all levels of faith … or doubt. It’s because I try to keep my message as simple as possible, centered around the heart of Jesus instead of the doctrine of the church.

It was a good evening. I was so glad I experienced it because it showed my weaknesses, and gave me a chance to bolster some of my previous failures into better efforts. Yes, my friend, if you’re going to become more accomplished, you have to start out being willing to do things poorly.

Elizabeth the First was God’s gift to me–to both inform me of my inadequacy and show me that His grace is sufficient to my need.

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