My Little Improv… January 5, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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masksSome rules are good.

They help people understand better ways to do things to welcome success and happiness.

On the other hand, some rules are bad. They’re put in place–sometimes in stone–to control folks, eliminating the creative passion that allows us mere mortals to touch the face of God.

I’ve tried to figure out which one is which for most of my life.

When I was a kid, they had a rule in our church that young students in junior high school couldn’t be on the Bible League competition team until they got into the ninth grade. I suppose somebody who originally came up with the idea imagined it was a good thing–to make being on the team a reward, and also that probably most youngsters in seventh and eighth grade were not mature enough for such an endeavor.

It was a bad rule. I objected, complained, lobbied, got it changed and was the first thirteen-year-old on the team.

It doesn’t matter where you go. There are people who enjoy their work so they try to make it more accessible to themselves and others, and then there are those who are a bit miserable, who feel it is their duty to pass on the sullen attitude.

Music, religion, politics, corporations, clubs, schools–all of them have their share of “grumpy grumpers” who really hate their lives and want to make sure that everybody hates equally.

So when I sat down to plan what I wanted to do in my sharing this year–and also how I wanted to expand–I came up with three very important criteria:

  1. I need more time at every stop-off to spend with the audience, to make a greater connection.
  2. I need to work on defining the message instead of allowing the confusion of present philosophy and theology to leave people devoid of feeling.
  3. I need to purposefully break some bad rules.

So yesterday, as I thought about what I’m going to be doing Sunday night–a drama entitled Front Porch U.S.A.–I realized that I was truly blessed with a piece of great improv.

I call it a “three-active play.” By that term I mean that each and every time I perform it, the message, the pursuit and even much of the plot will remain the same. But the words, stories, conflict and resolution will be different each and every time.

There is no script.

I’m going to allow myself to be led of the Spirit, to share what’s on my heart in the moment, as will my fellow-thespian, Janet.

It’s breaking the rules. In theater, you’re not supposed to be too improvisational. You’re not supposed to interact with the audience too much. Blocking, staging and scenery are to remain the same.

I plan on breaking all these rules. Why?

Because I think the three greatest things we possess as human beings are often buried under form and tradition.

  • We have a story.
  • We have a spirit.
  • And we have an imagination.

So every Sunday night, I’m going to trust my journey, my faith and my heart to give an audience, at the conclusion of my weekend, a fresh piece of myself that no other gathered congregation has ever heard.

I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to follow good rules that help people discover their humanity and the breath of God inside them. But don’t be timid in using your improv, and challenge rules that were put in place to stifle and foster “fussy fussers.”

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Do-cision … August 19, 2012

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“It is appointed unto a man once to die, and then the judgment…”

On this the atheist and the believer agree. Someday, in some way, we all will have a final evaluation based upon what we do. So perhaps we should take another look at the process by which we, as human beings, decide to do things.

If you will allow me a bit of simplicity, I think the approach to achievement falls under two different categories: do-cision and diss-cision. In other words, there are those who do and others who have developed a complicated process of determining the best way to “diss,” or say no, to opportunity.

Here is an interesting little piece of insight: there is plenty of money, plenty of business, plenty of jobs and plenty of commerce available at this time in our country to pull us out of this economic decline. The truth of the matter is, those individuals who have the most power to contribute and assist in a recovery are frightened, nervous and basically refuse to do anything but “wait out” the circumstances and hoard what they’ve got. It is a regressive attitude in the realm of business, which has changed us from being a country of do-cision to diss-cision.

Somehow or another, we’ve convinced ourselves that turning down possibility makes us appear to be more mature, studious and grown-up. We don’t want to come across as careless and fly-by-night, so it’s just safer, generally speaking, to diss every idea that comes our way and when it ends up failing due to lack of support, pointing to the evidence that we chose well by being one of the contributors to snuffing out what could have been a great inspiration.

Here is my blatant statement: You’ve got to end up saying yes to more things in your life than no.

If you don’t, you will end up with a personality which is possessed with caution, riddled with insecurity and devoid of the excitement which allows for joy to find a home. The power in life is not in making correct decisions. The real energy in living a human existence is in knowing that correct decisions can only be made while we’re doing something with a little bit of faith and evolving with what we are learning as we go.

So for me it’s become quite elementary. I ask myself seven questions when I realize that some sort of fresh innovation has been offered to me. I thought you might find them interesting. Because for certain, when I pass away, I want my family and friends to be able to say that Jonathan Richard Cring was involved in do-cision instead of spending all of his time shaking his head with diss-cision. So here are my seven:

1.  Will what I’m about to do hurt anyone or anything? (Of course, sometimes we don’t know. Our best guess is often all we have.)

2.  Am I willing to adjust to the changes necessary to make an idea work without being stubborn?

3.  Does it resemble something that I believe in?

4.  Can I fail at this particular adventure without sprouting some shame?

5.  Does it appear to be pretty good timing?

6.  Would I back it if I weren’t fronting it?

7.  And finally, will I be proud to have been a part?

There you go. Now, some of the answers may be yes and some no, and you may have to split the difference. But we do need to avoid two nasty axioms which are presently smothering our society: “Better safe than sorry” and “I think I will err on the side of caution.” That particular duet of shivering emotional jello is keeping many people from trying the things that will at least take them down the right road towards success.

We have to do-cide if we’re going to mess with it or if we’re going to leave the mess alone. Historically, leaving messes alone only makes the messes stinkier and draw flies. It is a time for do-cision–to crawl out of the cardboard box where we are hiding in diss-cision.

The Bible makes it clear–to have it in your power to do good and refuse to do it is sin. So while we debate various sins of the flesh and what we might deem to be obvious evil, the greatest dangers are those Godsent miracles that come our way, which we ignore and refuse to pursue. Yes, I will tell you bluntly–your Judgment Day and my Judgment Day will be much more centered around what we fail to do instead of what we actually launched out into the deep and tried.

Do-cision–an attitude that is predisposed to chase a dream instead of sitting around with aged hands, sipping tea … wishing we had.

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

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