Cracked 5 …April 28, 2015

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Some Alternative Punishments for the Boston Bomber Tsarnaev


A. Force him to run a marathon every day until nature takes its course.


B. Drop him off at ISIS headquarters wearing a “Gay and Proud” t-shirt.


C. Take him to a field filled with pressure cookers and tell him that “some don’t contain bombs,” so “choose wisely.”


D. Four years of study on the “Mysteries of the Trinity” at Liberty University, rooming with a guy named Todd.


E. Extradite him to Texas.


gay and proud

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Sixty-Eight Days… December 16, 2012


Jon Signing

In search of a miracle.

Which one of these better defines a miracle? A left-legless man grows a new limb, or a left-legless man grows the will and intelligence to still find a way to get around and be valuable. Probably some of you may try to be cute by saying, “Both would be miracles. One’s just bigger.”

There IS only one miracle–it is called life.

But don’t take my word for it. Just drive to Connecticut and ask any of the young parents who lost children this week through the injustice of the murdering rage of an infidel in Newtown. They will tell you. The miracle is life. They would love to have back every annoying question posed to them at inopportune times by their over-curious young’uns.

Yet short days earlier they would have told you that a miracle would be an improvement on their finance or maybe getting that second mortgage on their house–or picking up a couple extra thousand dollars for Christmas.

Sixty-eight days ago I realized that I could not walk anymore. I mean, I could still kind of creep along, but it was painful, ugly and too slow for even Joe. And my balance was gone. I prayed. Yes–unashamedly, I besought God for a miracle.

Sitting here this morning, I can tell you that I have received it. The miracle is that I’m alive. A second miracle is that I’m healthy and still doing what I’ve always done, with just as much panache and style.

The ability to define “miracle” may be the most important step any one of us takes. It leads us to the doorstep of another important revelation: understanding responsibility.

I have been 175 pounds overweight for my entire adult life. If you multiply that 175 pounds times even twenty years, you come up with 3500 extra pounds of pressure that has been placed on my knees in just two decades. That would be similar to walking outside and putting a car on my back and trying to take two steps. You see what I mean?

I have a responsibility in my own need for a miracle. It is the fruit of repentance that I must bring to confirm to myself, the world around me, and ultimately, to God–that I am serious about receiving newness of life.

For sixty-eight days I have stayed faithful to a plan of eating that has now benefitted me with weight loss and less pain. This ushers me into a ballroom of blessing, where I may celebrate progress. I may never tap dance again, (which is fine–because I never did before.) But I am finding it easier to do everything in my life than I did sixty-nine days ago. I am sleeping better, I am thinking better, I am creating better, I even have a better disposition. I am landing exactly where I need to be: in reality.

For after all, an optimist is someone who just hasn’t yet tried out his or her ideas. And a pessimist is someone who has tried out his or her ideas, but is unwilling to evolve them. I am a realist. I do not have functioning knees. I have remarkably strong thighs, calves and feet. Three-quarters of my walking mechanism are intact and ready to pick up some of the load. Amazing. But the reality is that right now, I am able to get around much more fluidly by occasionally perching myself in a wheel chair to get from Point A to Point B so that I can do Activity C.

I learned a long time ago that life is not a marathon–it is a sprint. I am prepared for the sprint. Please don’t sign me up for 26.2 miles.

After sixty-eight days, my sweet friends:

  • I have learned to define a miracle. It is called life.
  • I understand responsibility. Do what you can and don’t complain about the rest.
  • I celebrate progress: feeling better certainly does seem to be an answer to prayer.
  • And I stay real. I am neither a pessimist or an optimist, but rather, find great joy in what is afforded me by the privilege of still breathing.

Just an update from the front lines of my life. No bullets are flying … I’ve just dug into the trenches for the siege.

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Thanks for the Turkeys … November 22, 2012


It was the first thing that came to my mind.

I don’t really like to admit this, because we all like to rewrite the history of what we did, presenting it as a bit more noble than it actually was when it squirted out of our innards. But somewhere along the line, a certain amount of honesty is necessary–otherwise, you end up being bruised and confused by your own lies.

When I discovered that I was having trouble with my legs, the notion of being inhibited in walking was not nearly as uncomfortable to me as the realization that a certain amount of virility, powerfulness and masculinity would be robbed from my profile. For let us be candid–a man sitting in a chair with wheels might be considered one of the classic turn-offs. If it weren’t, someone would certainly have considered using it to pick up chicks at the bar.

  • I didn’t want to be that short.
  • I didn’t want to be that vulnerable.
  • I didn’t want to be that annoying guy sitting around with a ready explanation.

I wasn’t really upset about rolling along instead of walking. It’s just that the stigma attached seemed fairly costly to my manliness and was going to permanently, I guess, rob me of the necessary sexuality to keep me from going bonkers. Do you know what came to my mind at that point?


Maybe it was because we were coming up on the season–or that my brain just seems to fluctuate between periods of lucidity and inanity–but I realized that the turkey has a really bad public relations problem. You know you’re in trouble with the mass appeal of society when your name conjures images of being a loser.

“You’re a turkey.”

Or the even more pointed example, “You are a REAL turkey.”

It’s hard to hold your beak high when you realize that even if you have smoothed all your feathers and you’re looking your best, people are privately thinking to themselves, “Thanksgiving dinner!”

It must be especially difficult for the turkey because he or she realizes that they came so close to becoming the symbol of American prowess, power and patriotism. Benjamin Franklin, a notable forefather, pushed the bird forward as the candidate to be the nation’s favorite feathered friend. He was outvoted. I’m not sure what the count was, but the bald eagle won. It may be the only occasion when a bald creature won a contest over one with better plumage.

I don’t know what was in the minds of those who voted against the turkey. Was there hidden prejudice? Were they privately thinking to themselves, “That bird can’t fly!” After all, no one is ever going to use the phrase, “Soar like a turkey,” just as no one will ever be able to say, “Run that marathon like Jonathan Cring!”

And the final indignity, do you have to be killed, beheaded, plucked and baked, but for some reason, people step back with a scrunched face, dissatisfied, and think, “It’s not enough. We should stuff him with oysters, bread and seasonings.” And then, on top of THAT, when you’ve made the supreme sacrifice of your carcass–to become tasty–you’re usually smothered in gravy because you’re dry.

Yet, my dear friends, this is not the last indignity. Yes–after people have gorged themselves on your flesh, they have the audacity to insist that it’s your fault that they fall asleep during the football game, because you contain some sort of “hidden drug” which knocked them for a loop.

Do you see the point?

I was greatly encouraged by the plight of the turkey, realizing that I was still able to have a brain and be equated with intelligent conversation instead of relegated to “gobble-gobble.” (Oh, my dear God, is that the source of “gobbledygook?” I’ll have to have Jan look that one up.)

It is also important in this bad public relations swing, to portray the turkey as belligerent, habitually  pecking at things, in order to advertise and promote turkey shoots.

It seems that sometimes in life we all find ourselves in the position of being a turkey instead of an eagle. So on this Thanksgiving morning, and throughout the day, I will commiserate with my fellow-persecuted-old-bird, as I realize that I may have been weakened in some way by my affliction this year, but I’m still not ready to end up face-down on the platter.

I have much to share. I have much to say. And I’m thankful for anyone who has an ear to hear.

By the way … do turkeys have ears? That would be the final insult–or maybe blessing–to be deaf so you wouldn’t have to hear what a turkey you are.

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She’s Running Today — October 2, 2011


I read about it in a book, which curiously claims to possess a face.  She has entered a race and will be running today.  When I saw the words I couldn’t help but smile.  How remarkable life is–yet how few times we remark.  Curious. 

Because when I met her, she wasn’t walking. Actually, she was barely crawling. She had been beaten down by a man who was supposed to lift her spirit up and praise her for her beauty and uniqueness.  He didn’t. Absent a soul of satisfaction, he continued to ransack her self-confidence and joy to feed his insatiable need for approval. 

She didn’t hate him. That was the profile she selected in a moment of weakness, trying to be loyal to somebody who had already abandoned her. It left her destitute of options and emotionally raped.  For emotion? She had none. She wasn’t allowed to have any–because her feelings might have sprouted a bit of dissatisfaction which would have been completely unacceptable to her aggressor. 

How do you free a prisoner who is chained to her captor?  You can’t. She has to find the key and she is the only one who can relieve her imprisonment. Yet you can encourage her to use the key.

So I did.  I just asked her to feel again. I listened. 

Nothing of any quality happens in the human experience without the freedom to feel without being ashamed.

Once she tapped a well of emotion, trapped in a cave-in deep in her soul, she realized that her unhappiness would not only prevent her from joy but eventually would also be her undoing. She got free. She left her abductor and became a soul who was no longer a hostage to aggravation.

She was so grateful that she wanted to come along with me and join my efforts. I denied her. She was confused and felt I was rejecting her as a person, when actually, I was merely passing on an opportunity to become her new master. She didn’t need a master.  She didn’t even need anyone who resembled a master.  She certainly didn’t require another human being to be her source once again.  Reluctantly, I moved on, having accomplished my portion in her redemption.

She stumbled for a time. We must always remember–it is not our job to keep people from falling on their faces. For after all, there is no way to learn how to get up without first falling down. I always encouraged her–but I never manipulated her. I always respected her–but I never demanded that she return in kind.  Step by step, she grew older and wiser, until finally she found her feet and began to walk. At first she stayed in contact out of a sense of loyalty, but soon her ability to move took her away from me.

And now I hear she’s running in a race.  Today. She has gotten herself in shape, she has exercised, she has mobilized and she is ready to compete.

I am thrilled.

Because most people want to sit around and sing “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound.” It is a wonderful sentiment–but I think when God sings, His song is a bit different. I think that as a good father, benefactor, savior and kind heart, He looks down and sings:  “Amazing people! Who have accepted My grace.”

She’s running today.  Did I mention that?



Jonathan Sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”


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