Catchy (Sitting 32) The Prophet Has No Honor…January 21st, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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It was a starry night in Las Vegas. The weather was perfect–just warm enough that you wanted to be out and about, but not so hot that you would avoid getting close to someone you loved.

It had been such a refreshing day that Jubal decided to take the evening’s meeting and put it out in an abandoned Little League ball field, offering hot dogs, corn on the cob and great rock and roll.

The word spread like creamy peanut butter. By 6:30 P.M., for a 7:30 starting time, there were nearly three thousand people gathered. Jubal had expected a good crowd, but nothing of that magnitude.

Hot dogs were soon gone, and there were only “cornless” cobs. People didn’t care. Those who brought food shared, and those who didn’t were careful not to over-stuff themselves. About halfway through the musical portion of the show, Jubal ceased in mid-drumming and walked to the microphone.

After about ten seconds, as the band stopped and the audience grew silent, Jubal spoke.

“I just have never understood it,” he said. “If you go to the church down the road, they’ll hand you some bread and wine and tell you it’s what Jesus did at the Last Supper and what he wants us to do to remember him. They seem to completely forget that he did something else that fateful night. He took off all of his clothes, wrapped a towel around his waist, and got down on his hands and knees and washed the feet of his disciples.

“It blew their small-town minds. They viewed him as the Messiah.They thought he was better than them. They believed he was God–and it was beyond their comprehension that God could kneel down and do such a menial task.

“Jesus told his disciples to do it in the future. Wash feet, that is. And in so doing, communicate our commonality as people, and the gentleness of our spirit.

“But don’t get freaked out. I’m not going to take my clothes off…”

A boo and then a groan went through the crowd.

“Oh, stop it,” said Jubal, looking officially red-faced. “I brought along water, I’ve got these basins and wash cloths, and I’m also gonna wear my swimsuit.”

He held it up, displaying it for the audience. “I don’t swim much, so I just picked this up at Dollar General on the way over. How’s it look?”

There were some whistles and catcalls.

Jubal giggled. “Again–stop it!”

Everyone laughed.

“As I’ve told you before many times, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just feeling my way. And I feel like taking this water and washing some feet. If you want to, help yourself.”

Jubal jumped off the stage to the ground, filled a basin with water and headed out into the crowd. People backed away like the wind had blown them to the side.There was a deep respect for Jubal’s words, but apprehension over such intimacy.

Finally a little girl came up, plopped down and sat cross-legged on the ground. Jubal pulled out her feet and started washing them as the people stared in amazement.Then he did another, and another.

Having waited for one of the policemen who had been sent to watch over the gathering to remove his shoes and socks, Jubal sponged his feet, and many in the audience burst into tears. Nowhere on earth was there a more beautiful sight.

A few people here and there began picking up basins, filling them with water and heading out into the crowd. Soon there was a new practice–one soul would wash the feet of another, and they, in turn, washed the feet of the person who had blessed them.

It was very quiet in a noisy sort of way.There was a sweet hum and mumble of conversation, and the sound of weeping, and some laughter. It went on for thirty minutes. Forty minutes. Then an hour. No one was growing weary. No one was looking at a clock. No one was concerned about a lack of hot dogs and corn.

Everyone seemed to realize they would never in their lives be any closer to other human beings than they were in this moment. The most amazing part of the whole experience was that most people completely lost sight of Jubal–they didn’t even pursue having him wash their feet. They became intensely focused on one another.

Jubal found himself standing next to Matthew, who was watching, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Did you get your feet washed, Matt?” asked Jubal.

“Had two offers,” said Matthew. “But I’m holding out for the free manicure.”

Jubal laughed. He didn’t push it. He knew very well that the scene was beyond Matthew’s comprehension. He just allowed his buddy to receive it in the moment.

In the midst of this explosion of human contact, there was a sudden interruption. Standing on the stage was Prophet Morgan.

He grabbed the microphone and screamed, “Matthew 23! 23! Matthew 23–23!”

He kept repeating it over and over again.

Matthew turned to Jubal and asked, “Is he talking about me?”

“No,” said Jubal. “It’s the scripture where Jesus said if they tell you the Christ is over here, don’t go.”

“Well, that’s kind of shitty advertisement,” said Matthew. “What are you gonna do?”

Jubal walked over to the sound man and whispered in his ear. Suddenly it appeared that Prophet Morgan was still screaming but no one could hear him.

“What’s going on?” Matthew asked.

“I didn’t want to hurt his feelings,” explained Jubal. “So I kept the monitors on so he could hear himself, but turned the house speakers off so the people could still enjoy their experience.”

Matthew didn’t know exactly what that meant, but the problem was solved. Prophet continued to rant from the stage, but nobody else was able to make out his words. After about two minutes of hate and rage, Morgan left the stage, climbed into his sports car and took off.

Matthew turned to Jubal. “What are you gonna do about that, my brother?”

“I don’t know,” said Jubal. “I want to give him space, but not enough to destroy himself.”

“He hasn’t been the same since he did those interviews,” Matthew noted.

Jubal shook his head. “Nope. He feels like a traitor. I keep telling him that nobody’s upset–but he sees disapproval where there is none.

“Well he really went crazy,” Matthew inserted, “and they started calling him Profit Margin.”

“That was screwed up,” Jubal replied.

Matthew nodded in agreement. “You know–he’s just a young fellow but he’s had a helluva life.”

“Yeah,” Jubal acknowledged. “But we all have. You see, here’s the key, Matt. When you get a free tour of hell, it’s a good idea to come out of the experience, find heaven somewhere and make sure you never return to the fire.”

Matthew smiled, looking around the ball field. “How do you plan on stopping this foot thing?”

Jubal laughed. “I don’t know–but I’m thinkin’ if we had some more hot dogs and corn on the cob, we could certainly steer their interest.”

**************

The next morning, a Nevada highway patrolman found a sports car sitting by a huge rock near the edge of a cliff. The ignition was still engaged, but the car had run out of gas.

Inside was one man, his body leaning against the steering wheel–quite dead.

It was Prophet Morgan.

The preliminary diagnosis by the Nevada crime scene investigator was death by carbon monoxide poisoning. Apparently, Prophet sat in his car, unaware that he was being killed.

Yet taped to his windshield was a note. It read:

“I’m sick of being sorry. Or is it that I’m sorry I’m sick? Sometimes I want to be dead. Sometimes I am dead. Since I was a child, I’ve been abused by religious fanatics who said they loved God–but really hated people. I am a mess. It’s a mess I don’t want to deal with anymore. Father, into your hands I commit my mess.”

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … May 24th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3316)

If It Does What It Should

Starting out to complain

I decided to refrain

Somewhere between line one and two

I adjusted my personal view

For I thought about you

And what you need to hear

Something brighter and much less blue

Might soothe your aching fear

Much can be said for living

It is the cosmic giving

A chance to sweeten the pot

And improve the Earthly lot

Yet do I end up lying

With all my scripted trying?

Or merely steer my attitude

With a well-placed platitude

Whatever the reason I discover

Searching yet for still another

So you can smile with me

Instead of fret and plea

For pretending is truly good

If it does what it should

Turn my aggravating mess

Into a well-constructed bless

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Except What? … September 18, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2009)

cartoon melting potThere is no such thing as a “pure-blooded American.” America was accumulated, not ordained.

We are a mish-mash mess of a miraculous mixture, a mysterious mutation majestically merging into a magnificent mob.

Our ancestors left monarchy, anarchy, oligarchy, patriarchs and matriarchs to come and experiment with the outlandish assertion that all men–and women, for that matter–are created equal.

So what causes us to jut out our multicultural jaws and claim that “we are exceptional?”

Do we really become more valuable to the human race by expressing superiority? Does God in heaven smile down on us as the new “Chosen People,” having abandoned the Jewish race for the job?

I guess what bothers me is the word “exceptional.” The root of it is “except.” In other words:  to make exempt from consideration.

Even though all of my training, understanding and basic common sense tells me that whoever has much, of that person is required more, we have taken on some sort of “Holy-Roman-Empire-mentality,” believing that since we are born and reared within a three-thousand-mile radius of one another on this continent, then we somehow have a free pass to make mistakes without critique.
When I was a kid I did childish things. Some slack was cut. Thank God.
When I had kids of my own, the slack was removed and was replaced with the “r word”–responsibility.
When those kids grew up and needed me to be a wise sage to them for guidance–and to transform myself into a grandfather–it was my purpose to make that journey without grumping or complaining and certainly minus useless immaturity.

So looking at our country, I see that we went through our toddler phase during the Revolution, through adolescence by continuing slavery in a rebellious way, which led to Civil War. But now, as we father the notion of freedom and become grandfathers to the concept of democracy, we should put away childish things. We should not compare ourselves to other countries when we talk about human rights. Most of THEM never claimed that expression of equality in their forms of government.

We shouldn’t even look at our Olympic athletes and extol them as higher and better when they win medals, for we live in the lap of luxurious training as a lifestyle instead of having to work it in around the planting and harvesting seasons.

The word should not be exceptional, but instead, should be “expect-tional.” Since we’ve been blessed with freedom, ingenuity, prosperity and spirituality, we should expect more from our country than those around us.

When I finally see us use a different measuring stick to our own morality than we do to the world at large, I will understand that we finally have comprehended what it means to be American, settling our souls on the fact that to be exceptional means you must live by the credo: to he who much is given, much is expected.

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Messiah Comes … June 26, 2013

(1924)

I’ll bet it didn’t even cross their minds.

The average Jew walking around prior to the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth probably never considered that the Messiah they were looking for, to solve all their problems–well, that the word “Messiah” begins with m-e-s-s.

Yes. A mess.

If they had stopped for a moment to realize that God was not going to jump through religious hoops to confirm their wishes, they might have been more prepared to hear the message, consider the toleration and move forward in their enlightenment.

After all, they thought the Messiah would be born of the seed of David. That meant that Jesus needed to be the son of Joseph. As it turns out, he was the son of Mary, with a contribution from an overshadowing Holy Spirit.

They deeply contended that the Messiah would come and preach the Law of Moses and install it as the edict of the land. Instead, Jesus brought a mess. He challenged the Law of Moses, referred to it as old-fashioned, and explained that he came to fulfill the law by offering common sense applications.

Likewise, they were totally convinced of the supremacy of their Jewish race–how they were children of Abraham. Jesus certainly messed that up, by telling them God could take stones and turn them into “Abe’s children.”

  • They wanted a conqueror. He came to explain that it was the peacemakers who were blessed.
  • They wanted a fighting king like David. He flatly announced that “those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.”
  • They thought their Messiah would live on and reign forever. Instead, he died at thirty-three-and-a-half years of age, on a cross outside of Jerusalem.
  • He promised them he would come again, so they thought they could predict such a time and place. Then he robbed them of that game, by saying that his return would be in such an hour as they could not conceive.

Their Messiah was a mess to them–rather disappointing. Instead of conquering the Romans, he welcomed them into the fold of God’s pasture. Refusing to condemn the Samaritans, he held a revival with them. And rejecting the practice of cursing the sinners, prostitutes and tax-collectors, he ate and drank with them.

I am heading off tonight to Messiah Lutheran in Galva, Illinois. For the handful of folks who will gather to see this simple man that I am, let me explain one thing, and one thing only: it won’t be what you expect.

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******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

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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.

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