Jesonian … March 10th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Not every morning supplies a miracle. Weeks can go by without walking on water–or water turning into wine, for that matter.

Truthfully, life is more like dry cereal looking for milk–not much to be excited about unless you brought along your own thrills.

This was true in the life of Jesus, too.

Fortunately, the Gospel writers tell us about the good moments and also the bad ones. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John share that sometimes Jesus just hung out, to “tarry” with his friends. And just like us, often his activities were dictated by the whim, intensity and preoccupation of his audience or critics.

In the Good Book, Matthew 19, there is such a situation. Jesus is minding his own business when he is confronted by the Pharisees, who seem to spend a lot of time worrying about things that don’t matter to anyone else. They were especially distressed over the issue of divorce–not because they were against it. The Law of Moses and also the Oral Law, which had been constructed by religious leaders over many centuries, allowed men to divorce their wives simply by leaving a note on the pillow.

The Pharisees felt that Jesus had a different outlook on the subject, so they confronted him about the dilemma.

Jesus made it clear that he believed divorce to be chauvinism. He explained that marriage is meant to be an experience between people of equality, who decide to leave their families to form their own union.

They were very upset.

Yet escaping their probing, Jesus arrives back in camp to discover that his disciples, who had been cut from the same homespun philosophies and bigotry as the Pharisees, were chasing away the women and children. After all, they thought, Jesus was too important to have time for women, who were lesser, and children, who were insignificant.

The feminist in Jesus comes to the forefront. He rebukes his disciples. He tells them to bring the children–which meant the women, also–to him, and he lays hands on the tykes, blesses and enjoys them.

Often we wonder how miracles occur. Miracles happen because people who know how to treat women and children humbly ask for them.

It isn’t about extended periods of prayer, nor ministers on Sabbatical studying the original Greek. Rather, miracles are about people who know how to play with children–people who are aware that a woman is not a “weaker vessel.” When these people pray, God listens.

Jesus treated women as humans. On this week, with “International Women’s Day,” we need to consider what this entails.

Jesus gave women empathy, but not sympathy: You are as good as men, but don’t pull up lame and fall back on femininity when you think it’s to your advantage.

So even though Jesus showed compassion on the woman caught in adultery, he looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Go and sin no more.”

He relished a conversation with the woman at the well in Samaria, but when she said she “had no husband,” he reminded her that she had married five husbands, and was now living with another man.

When his mother tried to interfere with his work, he spoke to her as an equal, not as a son, and said, Back off. It’s not my time.

And when busy Martha was doing all the housework, using the “gift of helps” to feed the disciples and Jesus, he stopped her and said, Your sister Mary has decided to listen to the teaching instead of playing “Harriet Homemaker. Follow suit.”

Life is not about what we do when we’re trying to be spiritual or contemplative. Life is lived in the cracks–those moments that seem insignificant when the world around us has cast a negative vibe and it is our job to bring the light.

Jesus believes that spirit begins with how women and children are treated.

I, for one, think he’s right.



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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 48) Damaged … April 2nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Reverend Meningsbee

Meningsbee didn’t recognize the name. Carl had left a note: Please call Cam Collier.”

Then there were three or four different numbers. The end of the note read, “Very important.” The two words were underlined.

When Meningsbee dialed the number he was still trying to retrieve who Cam Collier was. Even when Mr. Collier answered the phone, it still took Meningsbee a moment to recall that this gentleman was Kitty’s husband–the successful millionaire with all the silos.

He simply asked if Meningsbee would be in the office tomorrow morning at ten o’clock, and if he would mind a visit. Meningsbee agreed and then spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what it could possibly be about.

Could Cam need spiritual counsel? Were there problems in the marriage?

So the next day at ten o’clock, when Cam walked in the door and sat down in Meningsbee’s little office, his curiosity was about ready to burst.

Since they had no history with one another, there was no real need to catch up. Cam just launched into his purpose.

“This is hard for me,” he began. “Matter of fact, I would deeply appreciate if everything I share with you is kept private between the two of us.”

Meningsbee reassured him that confidence was secure.

“You may remember that I married Kitty and we came back here and picked up Hapsy to start our life together.”

Meningsbee inserted. “Is there a problem with Hapsy?”

“No, no,” said Cam. “She’s a sweet little girl.”

Meningsbee questioned, “Then are you alright?”

“No, no, it’s not me. So you probably can figure–it has to do with Kitty. I don’t really know how well you know Kitty–she always talked like you two were old friends.”

Meningsbee nodded, not wanting to blow Kitty’s cover.

“And since you probably were friends,” continued Cam, “I apologize for not getting ahold of you sooner.”

Meningsbee inquired, “Is there a problem in the marriage?”

Cam paused. “Well, not exactly. There’s a problem with Kitty.”

Meningsbee leaned forward. “Is she sick?”

“No, Pastor. It’s beyond that. She’s…well, I guess you’d have to say she’s permanently damaged.”

“I don’t understand,” said Meningsbee.

“Of course you wouldn’t,” replied Cam. “How could you? Let me put it as gently as I possibly can. Even though I did love Kitty–though I must admit to you, man to man, most of it was lust. But it did have an element of love in it. I always knew she didn’t love me. She needed me. Sometimes she even liked me. I suppose I might even have amused her from time to time. But it didn’t take long after we were married for her to start flirtin’ and eventually cattin’ around. You know what I mean, right?”

“I do,” said Meningsbee quietly.

“I didn’t think much about it,” said Cam. “I suppose I’m not a prideful man. I do know I’m not handsome or a great prize. Hell, my money barely makes me passable. But I did not expect it to happen.”

“Has she left you?” asked Meningsbee.

“No. Not physically. I mean, she’s still around.”

Cam took a breath. “About two months ago we were vacationing in Florida, and Kitty got a hankering to go water skiing. Well, I don’t even like boats that well, let alone gettin’ on two sticks and skippin’ across the stream. So she found a guide and several young folks who were going out to ski and spend the day in the sun. I knew she was attracted to one of the young men. I think she knew I knew. Well, anyway, he brought along some… what do they call’em? Recreational drugs? So they were partying really hard.

“One of the young men had never driven a boat before, so while Kitty was on her water skiis, he got behind the wheel, took off, and zoomed as fast as he could, with the boat pulling her.

“Well, they were all laughing and screaming. But right when she was about to come up on one of those–I don’t know what you call ’em–where you go up on your skis in the air?”

Meningsbee inserted. “A ramp?”

“Yeah. That’s it. Well, like I said, the boy was inexperienced and he thought since they were coming up on a ramp, he should slow the boat down. When he did, it caused her to hit the ramp at an odd angle, and she went flying into the air, straight into the ramp, head first.

“They thought she was dead at the scene. But they got her to the hospital, put her on life support. They weren’t sure what would happen next. After two weeks, she regained consciousness, but she wasn’t right.”

Cam broke down in tears as he finished the last thought. Meningsbee pushed a box of Kleenex in his direction. He took a tissue, wiped his eyes and wadded it up in his hand.

“She’s… I don’t know what’s the right word. She’s retarded. She can’t think or do for herself totally. I’ve asked the doctors, and they believe she’s stuck right where she is.”

“Now, Reverend, I know that my wedding vows say ‘in sickness and in health,’ but I’ve got to be truthful with you. I lied.

“I could tolerate that girl as long as she was healthy. But I can’t live with what’s left. I didn’t sign on to be a care-giver to a woman who was determined to cheat on me.

“She doesn’t look anything like what I wanted, and I think I would do her a horrible injustice by having her around me and despising her…well, at least despising the situation…every minute of the day.

“So you see, what I’ve got is money.”

He looked up. “I didn’t come and talk to you first. I know you preachers.”

Meningsbee interrupted. “Well, you don’t know me.”

Cam continued. “So you’re saying you wouldn’t have told me to be patient, hang in there for a while and see how it works?”

Meningsbee smiled. “Well, I might have.”

“Sir, I can’t hang in there. I’m a doer. I want things and I want ’em now. I’m not saying that makes me a good man. I’m not saying that makes me a bad man. I took on a young girl to be a lover, not a patient.

“So before I came to see you, I went to see Matreese.”

“You went to see Matreese?” asked Meningsbee, surprised.

“Yes. I didn’t meet her for very long, but I liked her. There’s a toughness and a tenderness in her that’s rare. I told her what happened to Kitty. You know, she never blinked an eye. She just listened.

“When I got all done, she interrupted me. Now listen–here’s what she said to me. She said, ‘So you want to get rid of her but you don’t want to feel bad about it, so you came here to see if I would take care of Kitty and Hapsy.’ Pastor, she blew my mind. She was right on the button.

“I told her I was willing to pay. Without cracking a smile or even moving a muscle in her face, she said, ‘You better be. You’re asking a lot.’ Long story short–well, I guess that’s not possible, is it? Well, anyway, she told me what she would require to take over the care of Kitty and Hapsy.

“She said, ‘You write me a check every month for forty thousand dollars and I’ll take on your responsibility. And I’ll do a good job.’ Can you believe that? Pastor, I married the wrong woman.

“Well, I didn’t have my calculator and it took a minute, but I figured out that was almost a half million a year. But it’s worth it to me. Hell, it’s worth it. Just to know that I don’t have to do it, but the girl’s taken care of.”

Meningsbee waited for a moment, and then realizing there was a silence, he spoke up. “Where do I come in here?”

“Matreese told me I had to come and get your approval for this deal, and also that I needed to donate five thousand dollars a month to the church.”

Meningsbee desperately tried to remain still, but the thought did cross his mind how five thousand dollars a month would help in the work.

He asked, “Will you visit them?”

“No, I won’t,” said Cam. “I suppose I should tell you that I will, but then I would just end up disappointing you. It may sound like a bad joke, but it seems that Kitty and I just ended up being ships passing in the night.”

Cam stood to his feet, stuck out his hand, and the two men shook on a most unusual deal.

When Kitty arrived–delivered, as it were–three days later, Matreese brought her to the church. Her wounds had mostly healed, except for a few scars on her head. She was lovely, with what seemed to be a permanent smile affixed to her face…and the mind of a four-year-old child.

Matreese had two little girls, and would soon have a young girl who was meant to be the mother of a flourishing woman. It would be odd.

But it would be paid for.

And God had one of his best angels at work on the job. Matreese would find a way.

And God would make all things possible.


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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … March 15th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog


The Angry Happy Man

The angry happy man

Remembers oft he can

When opportunity did entice

Matters clear, extremely nice

And luck was his number one fan.


He wed his blushing bride

But the romance took a slide

She grew old and fat

He’d have none of that

So abandoned her plumpened side.


By fate he met another dame

She was certainly not the same

Young and pretty, that she be

Just right for angry happy man, you see

Therefore he asked for her name.


The lass gave a snicker

No interest–not a flicker

Yes, the angry happy fellow

Had aged, far too mellow

No looks, no money, couldn’t trick’er.


So if your love has grown tired

Her looks seem homey and uninspired

Remember, she too must stare at you

Pretending that she isn’t blue

Refraining from screaming, “You’re fired.” 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … December 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I do enjoy talking with you.


Woman: Me, too…except I would love to start seeing some things change instead of just lamenting how they are.


Man: Where would you start?


Woman: I think I would start by exposing the dangers of the “religion of romance.”


Man: What an interesting phrase. The religion of romance. What is that exactly?


Woman: It’s over-emphasizing the pleasure of sexuality between men and women, leaving out the greater benefits we have for each other.


Man: Which would be…?


Woman: Men and women are both controlling and conniving. It’s the weakness of the human race. We don’t learn to address these two vices when we’re children, living in a house with Mom and Dad, or even when we hang around people of our same sex. Because there is so much controlling and conniving put into romance, it is an excellent opportunity to expose that troublesome two, and in the process, become better human beings.


Man: I see. So you think that because we focus so much on sexual intercourse, we never allow our relationship to mature, to be the give-and-take of discovery.


Woman: Not only that–because we characterize romance as “sexiness,” when that begins to die down, we feel we have lost something. Then we go out and find other lovers to ignite the memories.


Man: Meanwhile, we have a mortgage and children through our initial flame, which have to be distributed as “goods” when we decide we’re not right for each other anymore.


Woman: It’s one of the few things that the religious and secular communities agree on–they feel romance should be hot, scintillating and so strong that we can’t keep our hands off each other.


Man: It’s so foolish when you think about it. Sex obviously won’t stay at level ten, so there needs to be a transition to something deeper. But since romance centers on our genitals instead of our brain, we lose faith in each other and start looking for that “necking session in the back seat of the car” from high school.


Woman: It isn’t like maturing a relationship is not absolutely dazzling. Having someone who challenges you on your controlling nature, or who doesn’t put up with the shit of your lies, is a gift from God. But if you’re afraid you’ll lose your bedroom magic, you may play the game and end up losing.


Man: So what would you suggest to get this thing started?


Woman: I think we should make fun of the overwrought plots in movies and television that focus on the physical aspects of love instead of the complete package. I would be so thrilled to see two mature human beings of the opposite sex talking about this issue in candor as a plot for a movie.


Man: So to overcome the “religion of romance,” we have to really prove that sex is not a god.


Woman: Very good. Because we worship sex. We sacrifice at the altar of carnal relationships. And we end up mistreating each other when the fire turns into a cozy sensation of security instead of a torrid affair.


Man: This is really interesting.


Woman: I know. It’s great to talk about. But here’s the truth. As a human, I will be controlling and conniving unless I have a long-standing relationship with someone who refuses to let me be ridiculous.


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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 27) Carpet Bombing … October 30th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Reverend Meningsbee

You can’t have valleys without mountains. It’s the beauty of the landscape of life.

In the midst of the sludge of mundane activity and the alarm of tragedies, there are everyday decisions which either tickle the funny bone or leave us with a tiny ball of aggravation which tends to growl for weeks after the infestation.

Mike and Maggie had been wed for thirty-two years. They were married at the Garsonville Church. They had served on almost every committee, and faithfully performed the duties of nearly all positions. Although they loved each other dearly, they rarely agreed when it came to matters of what should be done with the sanctuary.

Ten years earlier, they had a huge conflict–long before Meningsbee arrived–about carpet.

Maggie was a traditionalist, a woman whose grandparents came to America from Ireland during the potato famine. She had fiery red hair, now streaked with gray, and possessed a Catholic passion with her Protestant faith.

Her husband, on the other hand, was a progressive–well, as progressive as you dare be in Garsonville, Nebraska. He nearly convinced a majority of the church board to sell the organ to put a down-payment on a project to build a gymnasium, so the local kids could come and play games on Saturday, with the intent that they might decide to stay over for Sunday services out of curiosity.

The measure lost by one vote. Maggie’s.

Even though the two loved each other faithfully, they rarely agreed on God’s will for Garsonville.

So when it was time to purchase carpet ten years earlier, Maggie insisted the only suitable color for the sanctuary was red. She had two reasons. Red carpet was a sign of welcoming and also a tribute to the blood of Jesus.

Mike strongly disagreed. He contended it was “just too red.” He led a group which desired cranberry carpet from Dalton, Georgia. Amazingly, this time, unlike the gymnasium, the “cranberries” won.

So the sanctuary was covered with cranberry carpet, much to the chagrin of Maggie and her crimson cohorts.

Now, recently…

There had been complaints that the cranberry carpet was looking dingy and needed to be cleaned, so it was agreed to find a contractor to remove all the pews so the carpet could be shampooed. It was quite a job.

Several local carpet cleaners bid on the job but it was the Garsonville Bubble-Uppers, a new firm in town, which underpriced the competition and was given the contract.

Arrangements were made to hold services elsewhere for two weeks so the cleaners could have full access to the church and be able to do a great job.

Everyone was elated. Maggie thought cleaning the carpet might make it more red, and Mike was convinced that such a cleansing would restore the original beauty of his cranberry vision.

But no one was prepared for what happened.

One of the young men working with the Bubble-Uppers thought it might be a good idea to add a little bleach to the concoction which was traditionally used by the company. He didn’t inform anyone of his decision–just poured it in.

So they scrubbed the carpets faithfully, only to discover when they returned the next day that the cranberry carpets had been transformed.

They were orange.

Bright orange.

The Bubble-Uppers were very apologetic, and refused to charge the church for their services, but a very shocked and bewildered congregation restored its pews on top of a carpet ablaze with bright fall-colored pumpkin.

Everyone was afraid to say too much about it–they knew there was no money in the budget to get new carpeting.

So for the first time ever, Mike and Maggie came to consolation.

Mike decided that orange was better than red and Maggie was convinced that it was closer to red than that horrible cranberry.


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Ask Jonathots… October 27th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog


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Is there any such thing as a good war, a necessary war or a productive war?

I am always frightened of pat answers.

I’m talking about those responses given which attempt to be clever or cover a multitude of opinions in order to please everybody. We know that life doesn’t work that way. Actually, truth is a poison ivy that leaves everyone scratching.

So when you talk about war, it’s easy to take familiar stances.

For instance, “war is fine as long as we’re protecting the innocent.” The problem, of course is, who is really innocent?

And most people who decide to go to war tout that they’re doing it to “shelter the needy,” but have ulterior motives.

There are those who say war is necessary to promote our way of life. In other words, “these people are going to do what’s right or we’ll kill them.”

And there are people who contend that war is acceptable when we, ourselves, are attacked. Then the question comes, at what level? Are we talking about a bombing of our whole country, or an aggressive move toward one of our ships?

The truth of the matter is, war is so wrong that it must be won by people who know it’s evil.

If we begin to believe that there’s a righteous war, or our cause is anointed by the heavens and we’re allowed to enact violence, then we become the latest plague on the planet.

  • War is wrong because it kills people.
  • Killing people is against life.
  • God is a promoter of life.

So what should we feel about war?

I think many wars are avoided by choosing our skirmish.

In other words, if we step in early enough and rip the bad seed out of the ground, the ugly cactus of conflict doesn’t have to pop up in the desert.

If we use diplomacy, a show of force and a line in the sand that we really do follow through on, we have a much better chance of avoiding a death toll and devastation.

Should the United States have become involved in World War II earlier? Yes–the U. S. should have stepped in when Hitler decided to annex part of Austria–long before he took over Poland, all of Europe and bombed the hell out of England.

We should have noticed the political upheaval in Viet Nam and addressed it with the tools available–a show of force and diplomacy–instead of sending human bodies to shoot at human bodies.

War is not inevitable. More often than not, it’s a refusal and a denial of existing problems, hoping they will go away, only to discover that they multiply.

For instance, in a marriage, long before there’s a divorce, there are a thousand junctures where communication and conversation could have changed the outcome.

War is caused by delay.

Delay is triggered by politics.

And politics is the notion that by pretending everything is good, we will get elected.

Choose the skirmish.

Avoid the war.

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Ask Jonathots… September 15th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog


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I truly don’t understand what the big deal is about sex. I haven’t figured out why people think your sex related decisions define you. Is it just because a) you’re naked, and b) it’s how babies are created?

There is a simple problem in our country:

Those who believe in God fail to honor science, and those who revere science find it necessary to turn their backs on God.

There seem to be relatively few people who understand that a Creative Father felt the need to establish an order through Mother Nature.

With that in mind, let’s address your question.

  • When do people mature sexually? Somewhere between the age of 13 and 15.
  • When do we think people should get married? Late twenties, or some folks even think early 30’s.

So in our culture there are fifteen years of sexual viability which is supposed to be stuffed away in a closet in preparation for marriage, or stumbled into through carnal experimentation made dangerous through immaturity and disease.

We really have to make up our minds. Are we going to continue to believe that people are children until they’re thirty, or are we going to establish an earlier emotional awareness to match the sexual awakening?

Sex is a big deal because people either pretend it’s sacred or just “a physical experience.” Since human beings may be the only species in which both male and female have the capacity for pleasure outside of procreation, we should probably emphasize the pleasure side of sexuality instead of insisting that God has belabored the girl with birth and the boy with “killing the game and dragging it back to the fire.”

What is sex? It is a physical experience producing a burst of pleasure which is also used by our species for procreation.

So if you have no intention of procreating, then you should be looking for ways to tap the pleasure without becoming irresponsible.

If your intention is to procreate, then you probably need to do what all the animals on Earth do–find a way to nest with your mate to take care of your baby birds.

You have to make up your mind:

Are we just animals or is there more to us than that?

Are we just spiritual or do we possess a bit of animal?

Sexuality can never be casual because we’re not just tigers. It can also never be considered completely spiritual–it’s too easy to do and we really don’t do it any different from the monkeys.

So what’s the best answer for you?

Get a mature look at both your physical evolution and your emotional responsibility. You will never be able to have sex without having some inclination toward an emotional union.

Avoid the stupidity of the religious, who make the joining of the penis and the vagina some sort of holy oracle.

And also escape the worldly, who view it as a common crossroads of human interaction.

In the long run we will have to teach our children to mature more quickly–or else not be so concerned that they start “probing the parts.”

For after all, even the Pope knows that nobody’s going to arrive at twenty-nine years of age a virgin.

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