G-Poppers … August 25th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

 

 

 

They were called “Tories”–colonists who remained loyal to King George III during the American Revolution. They were honorable folks. They wanted to respect authority. They saw no reason to change the status quo. They were following what seemed to be common sense.

They were unfortunately mistaken.

There were other folks known as the “Moral Majority.” The moniker certainly tells of their assumptions. They were convinced that homosexuality was a blight on the American scenery–even that HIV and AIDs were punishments on the homosexual community–the “gay plague.”

Their ranks were filled with Bible-loving, dear-hearted people who were completely misinformed.

It was called “separate but equal”–later to be tagged “Jim Crow.” It was the notion that since color separated human beings, and culture seemed to follow along, it was in line to complete the separation in public restrooms and schools. Great people adhered to the philosophy. Dynamic human beings were involved in promoting it.

It was flawed.

It’s very important to know the difference between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance is when actions are taken without the benefit of adequate knowledge. Stupidity is when knowledge has arrived and we choose to remain ignorant.

No matter how honorable, self-sacrificing or righteous the Antebellum South felt it was on the issues of states’ rights, tarriffs and slavery, time has marched on and brought us an infantry of reasons to conclude that the assertions were faulty.

Just as the Tories are not allowed to build statues to Benedict Arnold, the Moral Majority isn’t in a position to extol Jerry Falwell, and Jim Crow is not recognized in the public square of Birmingham, for its historic quality, we can no longer accept the “good intentions” of the Confederacy.

They, like the Tories, the Moral Majority and the Jim Crow crowd, must find their absolution with the words of Jesus from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 3) UnJudging … December 20th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

Into a world filled with religious intolerance, promoted by souls who deemed themselves exceptional, Jesus arrived as a contrarian.

The Jews disrespected women, hated the Samaritans and despised the Romans. Not only did Jesus refuse to participate in this national pastime, but he actually propagated the notion that women were to be treated as equals, Samaritans deserved a revival and that Caesar was to be honored for what Caesar accomplished.

For this piece of insight, the Jews gave him a cross response.

Meanwhile, in the midst of our determining whether we have the impetus to stop judging other folks, a more serious situation has settled in on the children of the Kingdom.

At times we find ourselves uncomfortably linked with religious extremists who seem to share some of our batch of prejudice. After all, ISIS does not like women, ISIS has great fear and condemnation for sexual expression of almost any kind.

So until we wake up and realize that we not only need to cease judging the world, but also need to set in motion a path to “unjudge” what has already been done, we just may find ourselves irrelevant to the next generation of searchers.

I have never owned a slave but my ancestors did.

I do not treat women as weaker vessels, but I grew up in a church and a society where females were relegated to lesser positions.

I have never personally lobbied against homosexuals and their rights as American citizens, but I lived through a time when the Moral Majority was insulting and even threatening to these brothers and sisters.

So it falls my lot, mission and joy to repent for the stupidity of the past.

Yes–I get to unjudge the world.

  • I get to apologize for 400 years of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, racial profiling and alienation.
  • I get to act out acceptance and equality, to atone for the sins of mistreating women by refusing them rights and place.
  • And I get a chance to preach the Gospel and let the Holy Spirit do its work instead of deciding what is wheat and what is weeds.

It is a reasonable thing–the necessary step to becoming Jesonian.

Not only do we stop judging those around us, but we allow ourselves a season of sackcloth and ashes, to admit the evil that has occurred in our history, which has forbidden racial inclusion, female equivalency with males and social liberty for all Americans.

So I apologize for my brother Paul, who one day made some sideways comments about women which ended up in a holy book, producing hurtful results.

I’m sorry for Jerry Falwell and Anita Bryant, who used the Gospel to isolate people instead of including them in the fold.

And I’m sorry that we seem to be so afraid of the world around us that we cannot allow the mercy in our souls to realize that evil does have life, but a very short span.

It is time to unjudge the world.

If we do so, we have a message for the next generation, filled with promise.

If we don’t, our religion is the dinosaur that must die so people can walk in peace on the earth.

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Jesonian: Good Christian Folk … February 9, 2014

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better Conestoga WagonIt became very obvious to me that I needed a new word–a different term to express the faith I hold dear and the devotion I feel as a disciple of Jesus.

The signature title, “Christian,” had lost its impetus, credibility and definition. Too many people had attached themselves to it like leeches, sucking the blood of Christ out of the experience and leaving behind all the powerful notions of brotherhood and human excellence.

There was a time when “Christian” was a magnificent proclamation, producing clarity in the minds of those who heard it. When the American pioneers were making their way West across the mountains in their Conestoga wagons, the phrase, “good Christian folk” was an oasis of hope and a promise of tenderness.

Matter of fact, when informed that people were “good Christian folk” you knew four things:

  1. These were people who would give you a chance and not judge you.
  2. If you were hungry they would feed you. Thirsty, they would give you drink, and if you didn’t have a place to sleep, they would provide a bed.
  3. They would always turn the other cheek instead of getting pissed off and allowing their emotions to overrule their devotion.
  4. They were determined to work hard without bitching.

Somewhere along the line, each of these principles has been abandoned, a generation at a time, until the term “Christian” has transformed itself into a safe word, to be interpreted as either “a patriotic American” or an individual who goes to church.

  • For instance, we have exchanged the lack of judgment of others for a moral majority.
  • We’ve made feeding the hungry and helping the homeless a “bleeding-heart liberal” sentiment.
  • “Turning the other cheek” has been rejected in favor of standing up for yourself, whether you’re right or wrong.

And hard work has been displaced by seeking ways to gain finance by keeping money away from those trying to ascend

We need a new word.

So one day I just decided to invent one. I didn’t do it to be revolutionary. Nor was I trying to be merely clever. I wasn’t attempting to attack the religious convictions of others.

I just could no longer call myself a generic Christian, and allow you to quietly fill in the blanks based upon your observations or prejudices.

The word I came up with was “Jesonian.” It is taking into consideration the sentiments, the heart, the mission and the ministry of Jesus instead of trying to balance the entire Bible as a unit for mutual appreciation.

It was my way of saying that what Jesus did is more powerful than the Book of Deuteronomy.

It was my way of proclaiming that I was not a Jew nor a Muslim, but rather, an individual who follows Jesus because he respects the pursuit of information without embarrassment, and gives freedom to others, even when he was denied it by their bigotries.

I would love to go back to a time when the phrase “good Christian folk” was not only significant, but also let everybody know the true extent of your passion.

But until that becomes true again, I am Jesonian. And Jesonian means to be a follower of Jesus, while honoring knowledge and giving place to the liberty of others.

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Apologies All the Way Around … October 20, 2013

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I need one fromFalwell Jerry Falwell, Liberty University and all those people who participated in the Moral Majority, who inundated our society with vicious insults and threats.Bill Clinton

I would certainly like one from Bill Clinton for his part in making politics scandalous, phony and treacherous through his affair with the little girl.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get one from Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggart for taking the precious gospel of Jesus and turning it into a beach ball, which they batted around through greed, sexual exploitation?

I burning crosswould love to hear a bit of repentance from the American church, which remained silent while segregation raged for decades.

I also would welcome some reflection from the Tea Party, which thinks it has the right to stifle any ideas contrary to what they deem to be their common good.obama

And I certainly think we are due a bit of contrition from President Obama for biting off more than he could actually chew, and so anemically launching a campaign intended to relieve the suffering of the poor, only to further confound them.

Without an apology, we have a series of assumptions:

1. “You know that I know I’m a little bit wrong, so why do we need to talk about it?”

2. “It’s not as bad as it’s made out to be, and if I admit too much, I open myself up for my critics to disembowel me.”

3. “Get over it. Let’s move on. What benefit is there in focusing on our mistakes?”

4. “Nobody’s perfect. So why should we waste time examining our imperfections?”

These excuses have prevented us from being a nation that purges itself from stupidity but instead, keeps souveniers which we later display to our children–for them to pick up and resell.

We need apologies all around, if for no other reason than to make sure that the cursed attitudes that kept us repeating the same ridiculous processes can finally be buried in a grave with a tombstone warning us of the deadly results.

Since I don’t know if these individuals will ever come forward with contrition, let me start:

  • I want to apologize to all the people I spoke against in my past because I was ignorant of the freedom God gives to human beings to find their own path, without interruption from my scrutiny.
  • I apologize to my children for being overwrought, too lenient or just not available.
  • I apologize to my wife for being a less-than-adequate husband while trying to become a consummate artist.
  • And I apologize to myself for being a morbidly obese man my whole life, and so far never being able to find a way to unlock my fleshly prison.

You see? It’s not that hard.

And even after the apology is given, it’s a good thing, every once in a while, to remind people that those errors not only disrupted the natural order, but must never be repeated again.

How ’bout it, my friends?

Apologies all around?

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Them There Those … September 18, 2012

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A startling realization–yet quite simple, as flashes of truth often are.

I awoke this morning fully comprehending that I was still retaining pieces of cultural prejudice which had been infused into me, not only by my upbringing but also by a social pressure which has been cooking in our country for the past thirty years.

Yes–circa 1980, an organization called the Moral Majority came along attempting to restore dignity, spirituality and of course, morality, to our nation. In the process of pursuing this agenda, this “majority” infected our country with a separatism that has made us aliens to each other within the borders of a common nation.

They should have realized that naming their particular outreach the Moral Majority was in itself an affrontation to anyone who didn’t hold fast to their concepts. Please understand, I do not accuse them personally of being notorious or evil. It’s just that in the pursuit of what we consider to be righteousness, we need to be careful not to thrust ourselves to the forefront as the primal example as opposed to the principles themselves.

The by-product is what I refer to as the Them There Those campaign. We no longer perceive ourselves to be part of a common humanity, chasing a dream breathed into us at creation. Now we are like forts of settlers fighting off the renegades outside our walls who just might have a different opinion from our own and therefore might taint the flavor of our particular recipe.

Them there those:

  • Them Jews — over there in the Holy Land, thinking that those like them are chosen people.
  • Them Arabs, there in the desert, with those terrorists.
  • Them Republicans, there in their mansions, with those rich corporate fat-cats.
  • Them Democrats, there at their abortion clinics, with those welfare masses.
  • Them Yankees, up there in the north, with those factories and high-falutin’ ideas.
  • Them Rebels, down there in Dixie, marryin’ those cousins.
  • Them men, there watchin’ football, with those friends with their brains in their pants.
  • Them women, out there at the shopping mall, with those other gossiping women.
  • Them young people, there in the streets, with those drugs and rock and roll.
  • Them old folks, there in Florida and Arizona, with those social security checks.
  • Them liberals, there in the Ivy League schools, with those anti-God, anti-gun curriculums.
  • Them conservatives, there in the Bible Belt, with those ideas that the world was actually created in six days.

Them. There. Those.

It’s showing up this year in the election. Somehow or another we feel the need to address our personal differences instead of attacking our common problems. It seems prudent to a generation of leadership that should be wiser in the ways of the world than to conduct the weighty matters of government and business from a playground perspective: “Give me the ball or I’ll hit you!”

I realized this morning, and startling it was, that I still had bits and pieces of this virus coursing through my bloodstream. I still was looking for an enemy instead of a reason to love those around me. I still am suspicious of being rejected instead of preparing what I will do upon receiving acceptance. I have pre-conditioned myself to believe that a certain amount of warfare is necessary in order to achieve peace.

I am perplexed by my own insanity. I am bewildered by my own misconduct. I am truly repentant of an attitude that separates me from those fellow-travelers who have just as much right to the road as I do.

But I am not alone. Even though we continue to postulate about how open-minded, free-spirited and generous we are with each other, we have all fallen victim to a need to be in the majority of everything, in order to secure our sense of belonging.

The Moral Majority believed that AIDS was the gay plague. The Moral Majority thought that apartheid in South Africa was acceptable due to the fact that the locals did not know how to govern themselves. Here is a sure thing: anyone who pursues the philosophy of Them There and Those will,n in some way, shape or form, be proven wrong.

What can we do about the plague?

1. Identify it in ourselves. We don’t have to do it publicly, but privately we should purge ourselves of all notions of Them, There and Those.

2. Stop preaching and start reaching. Don’t take the information you have read here or discovered in your own heart and use it to try to convict others. Just cease to participate in the disintegration of our country into tinier and tinier pieces of false individuality.

3. Develop a new philosophy. We shall call it We Here Us:We are together, here in this place at this time, trying to make the best ‘us’ possible.”

This is the tagline that will push us forward instead of thrusting us into Neanderthal thinking, causing us to believe that we must kill our neighbor in the cave next to us to guarantee that our family has enough mastodon for supper.

We. Here. Us.

Will you join me in abandoning the foolishness of believing that any one of us is a majority? 99.76% of the people of this country will never know my name, never meet me, never agree with me and never even know that I lived. It doesn’t make them less. It doesn’t make me suspicious of them. It doesn’t make me wonder why they even live. It makes me realize that the tiny percentage that I will meet must understand that I love them, I am trying to learn their ways and that when I don’t agree, I will get out of the way and allow them to do their best before their own conscience and God.

My dear friends, we are human and here together for this season, trying to become our best “us.”  And please don’t forget, it is all propelled by the necessary notion and powerful precept:

NoOne is better than anyone else.

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Come Out … May 1, 2012

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You are living in Paris, France, in 1942.

You have just finished your morning croissant and tea, and you step out of your house into a world filled with huge red flags sporting swastikas.The Nazis are in control. The Nazis are everywhere. The Nazis seem powerful–hell, invincible. The Nazis insist they make sense, so you are gradually lured into accepting the perceived sensibility. The Nazis … well, the Nazis are Nazis.

What should you do?

Move ahead in time. Conservative, liberals, Puritans, Epicureans, religious, atheist, Republican, Democrat, “innies” and “outies.” The world is determined to start a gang, get as many members as are willing to submit to the rules, and reign with power and intimidation as necessary, in order to achieve the agenda.

It never makes it right.

How about 1958 in Birmingham, Alabama? It was not only improper, but illegal for a black person to partake of a white person’s drinking fountain. The rule of the day was wrong–but that didn’t make any difference, because it was not only the law but also the custom, which was also the preference–which ended up being the acceptable. But it wasn’t really acceptable.

There is no way to be part of this world and ever find a path of righteousness. Simultaneously, you can’t hate the world around you and think that you are enacting the love of God. What is right? What can you do if you are living in Nazi-occupied France in 1942? How about Jim-Crow-Alabama in 1958? Vietnam War era 1969? Watergate, 1972? Moral majority–1985? Clinton and Monica, 1998? Weapons of mass destruction, 2003? Banks, finance corporations and lending institutions–2008?

Don’t you think these are good questions? Because it doesn’t make any difference whether the goal of your organization is to reestablish purity or if the aspiration or your particular clique is to push forward some more liberal agenda. In both cases a standard is being established which alienates human beings, and therefore will historically be foolish.

I have friends who hate the world. I have friends in the world who hate the church. I know churches who hate sinners. I know sinners who think they despise God. All of these friends make their cases, scream their arguments and at the end of the rant, are all wrong. Because here’s the truth: NoOne is better than anyone else.

Any movement, doctrine, philosophy or disposition that mocks and contradicts that concept is in itself going to be the source of ridicule within a generation. In other words, stupidity seems powerful until truth sheds light on its weaknesses and leaves it naked and barren of purpose.The only principle that remains steadfast–since the beginning of time– is NoOne is better than anyone else.

So if you’re sitting in some religious conclave, deciding that some individuals are inferior in God’s eyes because you have discovered the essence of doctrinal supremacy, you are wrong and will be left desolate. The only truth that has lasted since Adam started his gardening is that we’re all in this together and separating ourselves off into ANY kind of difference only creates conflict, which when resolved, makes the combatants look like imbeciles.

I love the church. I love the world. I love Republicans. I love Democrats. I love Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims and anyone else that has human skin and a soul. And what do I mean by love?

  1. I will leave you alone to the evaluation of our heavenly Father.
  2. If you insist on being detrimental to humanity, I will defeat you by continuing to enact that “NoOne is better than anyone else.”
  3. I will use the greatest weapon available to achieve those purposes by instituting good cheer in my own life and allowing Jesus to overcome the world.
  4. I will come out and be separate, refusing to participate in any endeavor which targets human beings for scrutiny instead of embracing them as brothers and sisters.
  5. I will honor only one tradition–my space is sacred as long as your space is, too.
  6. I will undermine efforts to create any kind of super-race, super-cult, super-party or super-god which is determined to alienate instead of rejuvenate.
  7. I will outlast you.

I have friends, members of my family, acquaintances and notables in our society who all believe the best path is to give in to the present insanity. They are Frenchmen, devouring their croissants, and reluctantly–but still faithfully–saluting Hitler. They are trying to get by through giving in. They see a world that has gone crazy, and are assuming that some form of lunacy is necessary in order to maintain integrity. They are surrounded by tanks, flags and despots who really have no idea what to do next–yet they believe they are in the hands of the powerful.

The United States of America is one major disaster away from bankruptcy, yet we still continue to listen to our economists, politicians, intellectuals and pundits offer their predictable opinions with little revision. As Jesus said about the Pharisees, you should give them respect for their position, but for God’s sakes, don’t listen to anything they say.

Hear, hear. We desperately need some intelligent people of fortitude who will cease to argue with the world, but at the same time, will come out from among the confused horde and be separate. Is this a popular message? No. Quite the contrary. “Popular” is what gets us in trouble. This is a voice crying in the wilderness, saying, “Prepare the way of the Lord and make His path straight.” It is a voice that refuses to give into the voice of repetition simply because it’s so loud.

It is a voice that holds ONE truth to be self-evident: NoOne is better than anyone else.

 

  

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Oops, there it is … March 2, 2012

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It seems to be back with a vengeance–and a considerable amount of attitude, obviously upset over being set aside in the great discussion of America over the past fifteen or twenty years. Dusted off, brushed up, polished a bit, with weathered pamphlets removed from storage, morality has once again resurfaced as a great club with which to use on our opponents and those who would dare to vary from our particular philosophy or theology.
 
I thought we had put “morality” to bed (pardon the pun)–not in the sense of dismissing the importance of possessing a code of behavior, but rather, insisting on transferring our own personal choices into the marketplace of conversation and presenting our conclusion as an edict from God which needs to be followed precisely in order to avoid fiery damnation. When those moral people of the 1980’s decided to proclaim themselves a “majority,” I was immediately shocked by the audacity of thinking that one human being could actually maintain a conversation on the issue of conduct without expecting other human beings to begin to pour over the aggressor’s activities with a fine-tooth comb.
 
I am a great believer in morality. I have morality as a fulcrum–lifting some of the heavier burdens of responsibility and ethics. But I would never presume to infuse my particular interpretation of morality–or especially, my application of this tenuous human feat–onto the conscience and lifestyle of others. People may ask, “What’s the harm?” Let me address that with an example.
 
During the season of the Moral Majority, we were suddenly confronted with a disease–AIDS. It was a terrifying prospect to have a rampant virus on the loose which was able to kill off those of all ages, but especially the tender blooms of our youth. Rather than tackling the issue of tracing the source of the virus and beginning  treatment and care for its victims, the debate initially turned towards finding someone to blame for bringing this “bubonic” condition upon our society. Yes, I think we wasted time trying to confirm our message of morality by calling this horrible disease “the gay plague” instead of mobilizing a national effort to overcome the infestation.
 
Can you imagine a leper coming to Jesus, and before the Master heals the unfortunate one, he first asks him if he contracted the disease by sexual contact or merely through a blood transfusion? Would it ever have occurred to Jesus to ask the prostitutes who came to hear his words and find newness of life to be tested to make sure they were appropriate for travel with the righteous horde? It’s ridiculous. Matter of fact, when his disciples suggested that a blind man might have found himself in that limited plight by being sinful, Jesus sternly corrected them and told them that his blindness, when resolved, existed only to bring glory to God.
 
Yes, we spent too much time discussing the origin of AIDS before mobilizing our scientific community to warfare. There was a gloat in the air from those in the majority who called themselves moral, over a seeming-heavenly-cleansing of the earth of the iniquity of homosexuality. It was a sham and a shame–and those who said they possessed a spiritual nature and wanted to see other human beings redeemed actually became the judge and jury to sentence hundreds and thousands to death. For the more you delay, the more you pay. So let’s try to learn from our historically dubious profile.
 
Let’s deal with three questions.
1. Is morality important?
Answer: Yes–so important that each individual needs to contemplate his or her choice and realize the implications.
2. Would our world be better if everybody shared the same morality?
Answer: Actually, our world would be better if everybody shared a common respect for one another, which is the true beginning of morality.
3. If we believe morality is important, isn’t it essential to preach–or even enforce–an excellent code of behavior on the world around us?
Answer: The Bible has only one criterion for spiritual choices–fruitfulness. Jesus words: “by their fruit you shall know them.” In other words, if trying to intimidate people to be as moral as we are is a fruitful endeavor, then let’s pursue it. But if  such action has proven to be fallacious and fruitless, then perhaps we should abandon it. What do you think? Has all of our preaching against sin eliminated the varmint? I think not.
 
Here are four words I would like to introduce, with a little simple formula, if you will, on how they link to really bring light to our world instead of shining it in the eyes of startled travelers.
  • Spirited–a simple definition: everything spiritual needs to become visual. If you don’t plan to make a prototype of what you believe through your life, letting it speak for itself, you are not only an annoyance to the kingdom of God, but also an enemy of progress.
  • Edifyingeverything visual needs to stand the test of actually improving life.
  • Healthyimproving life is requesting we confirm that our choices are truly lengthening and enriching our journey.
  • ExhortingAnd enriching our journey is allowing ourselves to demonstrate a joyous, spirited profile in our walk.
So be careful. There are things that sound like great ideas, but end up possessing personal benefit not transferable to others through mere sermonizing. We must not insert the morality of our forefathers into the situation of our everyday life without a spirited understanding that edifies human beings to healthy choices which end up exhorting them to a spirited life. Without this, we begin to have a form of godliness while really denying the power of it. And the power of godliness is in making people more accepting, loving and forgiving.
 
Yes, perhaps the old adage was wrong when applied to children, but it seems perfect for morality.
 
For truly, morality should be seen and not heard.
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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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