PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 2nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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And The Word Became Music

And the word became music

And dwelt among us

We beheld the glory of the story

Harmony came our way

We received it not

But as many as received melody, God gave the power to sing

And the song went forth

We heard the joy of heaven

And the tears of hell

We lifted our voice

With expressive choice

The hum of our hope

The accord of the chord

The rhythm of joy

We may never agree

On all that we see

But the ballad of life

Cuts through all the strife

And for a glorious measure

We blend a musical treasure

For the Word became music

And when it did

We had a shot

 

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Cracked 5 … January 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Things You Should Not Do During a Blizzard

A. Leave your front door open to measure the depth of snow drifts in your hallway.

 

B. Let the chihuahua out to play in the snow.

 

C. Invite neighborhood gangs over to your backyard for a snowball fight.

 

D. Ski to the closed Ace Hardware to break in to steal a snow blower.

 

E. Robustly sing “Let It Snow.”

cracked 5 blizzard

 

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aPATHy … May 31, 2012

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Puritans.

They were some of the first souls to settle on the shores of the new America. As the story goes, they climbed into a ship and crossed waters to escape religious persecution in their homeland. I’m sure there is truth to this. But here is what I know about persecution–there is real persecution, brought on by people who are mean-spirited and want to make sure everybody is just like them. And then there is a perceived persecution of those who have their own intolerance and are eventually ostracized by others for being cranky and belligerent.

We may never know the whole story—but somewhere between those two definitions for “persecution” lies the truth about the Puritans. Because they didn’t get their name because they spent their time keeping nasty things out of their churning butter. They got their name because they deemed spirituality to be best expressed by attributes of the flesh instead of attitudes of the heart. Otherwise they would never have put people in stocks for committing small indiscretions, or, for that matter, have burned women as witches because they were somewhat different from the other lasses in town.

Puritanism is in the cultural genetics of the United States of America. It has been in-bred into our thinking, cross-sects most racial barriers and certainly is absorbed into all the states of the Union. It makes us overly conscious of the actions of others, burning them in a cauldron of gossip, while proclaiming that we’re doing so for righteousness’ sake. We have become a nation of busy-bodies who are fascinated with sin, while simultaneously wanting to publicly crucify it.

I was raised with this. My mother and father were absolutely delightful inhabitants of a small town in Ohio, frightened of any kind of newness, freshness or difference that might  creep into our community and taint our mediocrity. Therefore being a Puritan is inside me. I can never become truly spiritual and gain a world view—which Jesus wanted me to possess—until I acknowledge that my spiritual DNA has been infused with the mutation of Puritan probing, and therefore my opinions are suspect, if not downright rancid.

I can cite to you the day I became a man. I was fifteen years old, sitting in a church service, when some gentleman from the board of elders began to recite what he perceived to be the evils of a person who was not present at the gathering. I became so thoroughly disgusted that I quietly stood to my feet and walked out of the room. I lost a little bit of the gusto of my Puritan ancestors that day—and ever since then I have been working hard to dispel the remnants of the garbage.

I will tell you that the first step on the path of being truly spiritual and having a world view is apathy. I know that apathy is normally considered to be a negative attribute but when used correctly it is one of the more positive steps a human can take.

The definition of apathy is “a lack of interest or concern.Exactly. If you want to discuss sin, unrighteousness, immorality or the actions of other people—I am apathetic. I have no interest. I have devoid of concern. Even if you believe the decisions on the part of transgressors are evil, Jesus told us to avoid resisting evil. It’s useless. Nothing dies because you kill it. Things die because they lose the energy and nutrition to sustain life. Bad habits, stupid actions and immoral inclinations are best fought with apathy. If you ignore evil, you steal the only true power it possesses—which is intrigue.

“I don’t care.”

Jesus told me not to judge–or I would be judged, and that a measure would be set for ME from that point on how I would be evaluated in the cosmos. Wow. There are three reasons right there to not be caught being a Puritan, eyeballing other people’s activities.

  1. Judging is in itself nasty, boring and eventually demands that you stop talking and start being even meaner.
  2. I don’t want to be judged. I don’t even like scrutiny. Sometimes I have to take a deep breath to receive critique. So if I can promote myself not being judged by avoiding doing so to others, I am all for it.
  3. And finally, the measuring stick. I just make too many mistakes and think too many stupid things to have some judgment perpetually laid on me by my decision to be critical of others.

I love this country, but the Puritans who settled it have ingrained into us an over-zealous inclination to have an opinion on everything and to feel like we’re doing God’s will by shunning others for their choices.

If we’re going to gain spirituality and a world view, like Jesus wanted us to, we need to practice apathy. “I don’t care.”

And the best way to show that I do care is by “letting my light shine before men that they can see my good works and glorify the Father in heaven.”

America is plagued by the ghosts of our Puritan forefathers, who believed they did God’s will by peering into the lives of other people and executing judgment. It’s not true around the rest of the world, and we certainly would not be pleased by being aligned with nations which maintain that kind of strict religious and moral configuration. There are many Muslim nations which hold to legalities of the Koran who would agree with the Puritans on issues of the flesh. Just as we must be careful to love our enemies, we also must be very aware of who we suddenly find ourselves in fellowship with.

There is  a path and the first step on that path is to acknowledge that you and I have come from Puritan roots set deeply within us, causing us to believe that our convictions are more holy than others, and therefore granting us the privilege of evaluating the world around us.

“Don’t judge or you will be judged.” Jesus’ words.

Beautiful, spiritual apathy.

A man walked up to me the other day and said, “Did you hear what those people are doing?”

I interrupted him. “I don’t care,” I replied. I walked away feeling better, not judged myself and with a measuring stick put up against me that has more grace than gravel.

Apathy. The first step on the path to true spirituality and having a world view.

I am not a Puritan, mainly because I could never keep up with my own philosophy. And when I try to measure it out to other people, it swings around and always punches me in the face.

 

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Six-Card Stud(y) … March 3, 2012

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Thinking that life is random, haphazard or even somehow targeting us for either blessing or expulsion may be the easiest path to becoming disgruntled, dissatisfied and depressed. We are human, and because we are, I think we are in need of two outstanding opportunities. We need to be both vulnerable and in control in alternating surges of power. 

That is why I contend that every human being born of woman is really dealt six cards–three cards are TO BE. And three cards are TO HAVE. Unfortunately, we are not given specific instructions on how to play our cards in this game of life. But let me start off by identifying what the cards are and then we can chat about some possible applications. 

The three TO BE cards are: TO BE LOVED, TO BE HAPPY and finally, TO BE PRODUCTIVE. The three TO HAVE cards are: TO HAVE GOD, TO HAVE PEOPLE and TO HAVE MONEY. 

Just as in any other game involving a deck of cards, how you play your cards and when you play them makes all the difference in the world. For individuals who start out trying TO BE LOVED, gauging their level of happiness based upon the receptivity of others,often shrink back in sadness over rejection and end up non-productive. Some try to lead with a desire TO BE HAPPY, promoting an optimisitc view of life, and then either try TO BE PRODUCTIVE to get someone to love them or try to be loving, hoping it will be productive. They often end up leaving themselves at the mercy of the withholding nature of the human family. 

On the other hand, those other three cards–the TO HAVE ones–can be equally as difficult to discern. For after all, people who lead with TO HAVE GOD often grow impatient with other folks and angry about money–mainly because they lack it. People who lead off with money frequently sense the need to abandon people to gain additional profits and therefore, out of a guilty conscience, deny the presence of any God. It is tricky business–and there are even those reading this essay who might find such a representation of human life, paralleling a deck of cards, to be either frivolous or even sacrilegious. Yet if we begin to believe that every human being has different needs, different desires and ways of feeling and thinking, we create an alienation from one another which literally makes us feel like we’re on different planets while occupying the same one. Honestly, what use is there for women being from Venus and men being from Mars if we all live on earth? If we’re not in the pursuit of commonality shared by all, considered by all and pursued by all, we start believing that our own particular brand of righteousness is preferable and our rendition of iniquity less sinful. 

So here’s what I think. I, too, have been dealt those six cards–TO BE LOVED, TO BE HAPPY and TO BE PRODUCTIVE.. I also received TO HAVE GOD, TO HAVE PEOPLE and TO HAVE MONEY. My selection for placing my cards on the table is:

  • I will find something I can do TO BE PRODUCTIVE that allows, and even promotes a way for me TO BE HAPPY–so I am available and visible to the world around me TO BE LOVED. That takes care of my first three cards.
  • Now let’s play the others.I will respect and not judge those around me. so as TO HAVE PEOPLE, which creates the only path TO HAVE GOD, granting me a procedure to prioritize my life and initiate ideas TO HAVE MONEY. 

There you have it. Because too much happy makes you sappy, and love without evidence of our personal value is often unrequited.We certainly know that those who are religious and intent on pleasing God often find themselves overly critical of people (who are the apple of His eye) and truthfully, it is human nature to give to those that we see are already open and giving to others–because then we feel the freedom to impart to them good measure, pressed down and running over. 

You may wish to complicate this process or may think that I’m not playing with a full deck. That’s fine. But I think you will discover, realizing that all of us are given the same opportunity by a God who is no respecter of persons, that accepting that we all have the same cards and nobody is being dealt from the bottom of the deck, makes us more willing to work with what we have and more merciful to the plight of others. 

It is a six card stud(y).

Pull up a chair, Sit down. Can we deal you in? 

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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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