Cracked 5 … September 21st, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Cracked 5

Amazing Memories of September 21st

 

A. Making out with a cheerleader after the game

 

B. Wiping the first frost off your car window without cussing

 

C.  First “pumpkin thing” you put in your mouth for the season

 

D.  Cider and the smell of fallen leaves you refuse to rake

 

E.  Surviving that hellish September 20th

 

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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 41) There’s Always a Space … February 12th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

When Meningsbee’s wife, Doris, died, a minister friend counseled him to take some time and give himself the luxury of grieving.

So for six months, Richard permitted his heart, soul and mind to reminisce and dream delightful thoughts about his dear friend, Doris.

There seemed to be a healing. It got a little easier to consider her gone, though there was never any real “ease” in the notion.

After the six-month grieving period, Meningsbee decided to reenter his life of writing and pastoring, only to discover that the emotional stitching he had done on his internals busted loose, and he was flooded with a deluge of remorse.

He thought he was crazy. He even thought he heard Doris moving about the kitchen.

Sitting at breakfast, his mind wandered. He saw her perched in the chair across from him, with her feet tucked up under her butt, with her long, graceful fingers caressing a coffee cup–closing them around the handle, bringing it to her lips, sipping slowly and then giving a seductive little contented shiver. It was so beautiful.

Her peace of mind made him feel like a man.

Even one Sunday at church, during a communion service, his eyes filled with tears. The congregation thought he was moved by the experience with the Holy Meal, but actually it was the scent of the communion wine that brought a memory of a green lotion Doris once applied to her feet–to heal her corns. He giggled inside, remembering her smearing the fluid on her feet and quipping, “I was a girl. Now apparently I’m going to become a grandma with corny feet, and completely skip woman.”

Then, three weeks ago Matrisse’s sister from Chicago came to town, and a blind date of sorts was planned. She was an extraordinarily attractive woman–intelligent and the general manager of a corporation in the Windy City. But because she was just coming off a divorce, she ended up discussing her misgivings and in no time Meningsbee found himself counseling and consoling her instead of considering her. The movie was cancelled and she expressed her gratitude for his words of wisdom with a peck on the cheek.

Meningsbee realized there’s no such thing as “getting over” someone you loved.

There’s always a space–always something they did that was so unique that it couldn’t be duplicated by the actions of another.

Exactly three days before she passed away, Doris rose in the morning after they’d had a fussy tiff with each other the night before, bounced into the room, hugged his neck and said, “Reverend Richard Meningsbee, you are my favorite annoyance.”

How can you forget that?

Somewhere along the line, the preacher just decided to stop fighting the urges to love her.

People are not replaceable–we just learn to appreciate what other people have to offer.

There’s always a space–a space forever occupied with visions of Doris.

 

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Good News and Better News… November 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-trinity-mansfield-sign-pic-1Autumn reminds me of getting older. It occasionally offers memories of the warmth of earlier days, but things start falling off your limbs.

As I woke up and drove to Trinity United Methodist Church in Mansfield, Ohio, it was a beautiful, sunshine-blessed fall morning–invigorating to the body and soul. I think other people felt that as well, because Pastor Bob and the congregation shared a gentle and kind greeting.good-news-trinity-mansfield-clouds-pic-2

I was also blessed to have my nephew and sister-in-law show up for the gig, and we had a few minutes in my green room to catch up and rediscover why we like each other (even though we’re related).

Then it was time for the service. I’m always intrigued by the fact that we pursue the traditions of religion without considering whether they are adequate for the needs of humans. What is the purpose of God putting together a ceremony which does nothing to enrich the lives of the participants?

What do we need from church?

First and foremost–good cheer.

Fortunately for us, Jesus said “he came that our joy might be full.” For after all, we cannot survive another experience that leaves us contemplating without rejoicing.

The second thing church should give us is fellowship.

Once again, God looked ahead and saw our need. Jesus proclaimed, “By this you shall know my followers–that they have love for one another.”

After good cheer and fellowship, we all desperately need forgiveness.

Jesus warned us that “except we repent, we shall perish. But if we do repent, “God is faithful and just to forgive us.” This pardon makes us a little bit more willing to consider being gracious to others.

So you can see, what we need out of church is also what God expects out of church.

Passing off the traditions of men and calling them the commandments of God is what really pissed off Jesus.

So the good news is that if we offer hope and cheer, fellowship and forgiveness, we will not only be doing God’s will, but we will be presenting an atmosphere which is conducive to the growth of human beings.

The better news is that it is a lot more pleasant to do this than arguing over hymns, trying to stay awake during sermons, and bickering over the color of the carpet in the vestibule.

good-news-trinity-mansfield-jon-pic-3

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 23) A Full House … October 2nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

The church was full–invaded by human beings of all ages. Two of the older deacons had to remember where the ancient folding chairs had been stocked to be retrieved for sitting possibilities.

The Bachman family had requested that Reverend Meningsbee offer the closing thoughts.

The memorial service began with Alex’s father offering some memories about his son. It was painful. Over and over again, Mr. Bachman had to stop and fight back tears before he could continue sharing about a fishing trip, a crazy journey to Disney World and popcorn-and-movie night with Alex.

The Girls’ Ensemble from the high school sang, “Let There Be Peace On Earth,” careful to change the lyrics when God was mentioned.

There were a couple of poems and a projection on a screen–a collage of visual memories of the young fellow.

Then, when the audience exhausted itself of possibilities, the service was left in the hands of the local parson, to culminate the event and terminate the misery with some sort of inspiration–minus divine content.

Reverend Meningsbee rose to his feet just as a gentleman on the back row suddenly launched into a coughing fit. It was so severe that people had to turn around to make sure he was all right. After his well-being was assured, Meningsbee strolled to the middle of the room, turned and began:

I didn’t know Alex. I wish I had–not just because I can always use another friend, but because I would have something to say about him today. So because I was at a loss for words, two days ago I decided to drive to the school and go down into the furnace room where Alex completed his journey.

I was surprised. First, I was surprised that there were two very long flights of stairs. I thought it was a little odd that they were made of metal. But that’s neither here nor there.

When I finally got into the furnace room, or what I guess you might call the area, I noticed how warm it was. Not hot. Just toasty–makes you want to sit down in the corner with a pillow and go to sleep.

I looked around for a few minutes. You know what I was looking for? I was looking for that pipe where he took his rope, threw it over, put it in a noose, tied it off and ended his life.

It was so peaceful down there. I suppose I could tell you that I felt Alex’s presence in the room, but I didn’t. I didn’t feel anything but machinery at work. It made me think about the note our friend left behind.

“They said it would get better.”

Who’s “they?” Alex didn’t write, “YOU said it would get better.” He wasn’t blaming friends and family. He was talking about “they–them.” Those individuals over there. People who sometimes fail to realize that what may seem to be temporary pain to one person is unbearable agony to another.

“They said things would get better.”

What is better? Gee whiz, I wish we could ask Alex that. Let me do that.

“Alex! What would you consider better? Would better be pressure taken off of you? Bullies leaving you alone? A sense of hope? Maybe just a girl smiling at you. Or maybe girls weren’t the problem. I don’t know.

But better never showed up. How do I know? Alex told me. He said, “They promised it would get better. BUT IT DIDN’T.”

I guess I have to ask myself–and ask you–if Alex was going to be in this room today, sharing a piano piece he had written (by the way, that’s one of the things I learned. He loved to play the piano.) Yes, if he had invited us all to a private concert, would we have packed the joint? Who would have showed up?

Apparently, to get our attention, Alex felt he had to die. That makes me sad. That makes me want to go out and break something. That makes me…well, that makes me want to make sure it never happens again.

I know I was instructed not to mention anything about religion, God or heaven. So I won’t.

But I will close with this thought–it’s a sensation.

Alex might concur.

Because as I climbed back up those metal stairs from the tomb of our loss, I thought to myself, “If there is no God, then we sure as hell need one.”

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Turning Kids Into Humans–Part 6: (9-12) Family Treasure … September 22, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Humanating

 

Born again.

It is an enlightening concept which has been greatly damaged by cotton candy theology and judgmental junkies. But in its original context, it was an encouragement for realizing that in order for each of us to possess our lives, we must create some distance from the upbringing–and even the genetics–which brought us through our childish years.

I think the system is divinely inspired.

Parenting is a great winnowing process in which we not only impart to our children the values which have proven to be universal, but also prune away the things we were taught that are erroneous or flat-out wrong.

Do you see what I mean?

This gives the human race a chance to get better, just simply by recognizing what has failed to be effective.

The trouble comes when we’re not willing to be born again, and don’t allow ourselves to transform our training through adult discovery. When that happens, we rob ourselves of the maturity which could be acquired from training a kid who’s learning to become a human.

This especially shows up between the ages of nine to twelve. It is at this point that your little bundle of joy stops thinking of you as Super Man or Wonder Woman and begins to look for tattered places in your magical cape.

Most parents get defensive.

Some parents dismiss their children as being bratty or incorrigible simply because they are trying to reconcile what they are being taught with what they see.

This is why I suggest you construct a box and put it in the middle of the house, where everyone can access it. When you see your child do something good, immediately write it down on a piece of paper and place it in the box. When you see something and you’re not quite sure of your child’s intentions, also write that down in the form of a question, inquiring as to what the motivation was, and place that note in the box, too.

Once a week after dinner, sit down as a family, open up the box and read the notes.

Now, here’s the part you may not like: the child must be afforded the same opportunity.

But remember, the notes of praise should be statements and the inquiries must be formed as questions.

For example:

“I saw Brian fold the clothes in the laundry room without being asked. Thank you very much.”

Or, if it’s an inquiry:

“There were clothes to be folded in the laundry room, and I wanted to ask Brian why he grabbed his shirt and didn’t fold the other clothing?”

The dual purpose of this exercise is to make it clear that the entire house is being reborn into better ways to handle human relationships. It also teaches your child (and maybe yourself) how to handle a little bit of critique without pouting.

Even though your child is headed toward adolescence, he or she makes a brief stop-off between years of nine and twelve, when questioning begins. If this season is honored with answers and encouragement, then the lines of communication have a much better chance of staying open during the teenage years.

It is a family treasure box, where memories of good deeds are retained for celebration, and questions are discussed for everyone in the house to find an intelligent way to be born again.

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Remembering Why (Clears Up How) … August 11, 2014

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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bird feedingRemembering why sleep resembles death and waking up to a daily resurrection tells me how I should grant myself the blessing of a fresh start with every sunrise

Recalling that a good idea awakens my faith shows me how to have faith for the next good idea

Conjuring memories of a generous friend motivates me how I should be generous to a friend

Looking at the children that blessed my life encourages me on how I should honor their mother

Encountering a refreshing burst of laughter tickles my fancy to pursue a path of good cheer

Blessed, enriched, and enlightened by the freedom given to me by my country challenges how I should respect the leaders that have been selected, in spite of their party affiliation

And revived by the love of my Creator and Father, I now know how my life should possess a pure heart, a hopeful spirit, the renewed mind and a flourishing strength

Donate Button

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

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Rear-view Mire … December 26, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Christmas clan

I spent seventeen days with friends and family in the Nashville, Tennessee, area–the location of one clump of our clan. Everyone else not living in the Volunteer State flew or drove in for the occasion.

It was full of mercy, grace, enlightenment, joy, silliness, overeating and memories.

This morning as I drive down the road toward Houston, Texas, sitting in my van, I look at my rear-view mirror, which grants some reflection. What I mean is, often when we return to gatherings of our kin, there’s a lot of looking in the rear-view mirror, and if we’re not careful, it can become the rear-view mire, bogging us down in too many stories from the past and not enough freshness from the present.

For instance, an old friend showed up last night, who was a close acquaintance back in the early 1990’s, and although we had a great visit, I felt we were struggling to change the frozen past into the warmer and realistic present.

Some people would just say that’s the way life is. I’m not so sure I agree.

So I took those seventeen days to reestablish moments that exist in real-time instead of rehashing details from former occasions. The end result was an emotional, spiritual, mental and physical revelation of one another–mostly good, but a few things demonstrating our differences.

Fortunately, I am not afraid of people having opinions which vary from mine. But I did discover a three-step process I want to apply in all of my situations with human beings:

1. Thaw out the frozen memories.

Give people a chance every day to reestablish a newness of life instead of making them live in a box you’ve constructed for their character.

2. Live in the moment and suck it dry.

I am astounded at how much time we spend complaining about out lot, wasting valuable units of time which could fill us with new spirit. If you regret the past, complain about the present and worry about the future, you leave no space for God to be God and you to be talented.

3. Finally, don’t think about tomorrow.

I’m so happy to report that the future is not yet forged, but is waiting for our free-will choice to set in motion our miracle.

Constantly looking at the rear view of our lives can create a mire of confusion, anger and resentment–not to mention just feeling cheated. Or it can be a time where we spend too much energy celebrating past victories without planning for future escapades.

I love my family so much that I wrap them in elastic, so as they expand, there is plenty of room for them in my life.

  • Thaw out
  • Live in the moment
  • Don’t fret

It’s the way to avoid the rear-view mire: defrost your windshield and keep your eyes on the road.

 

 

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

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