Catchy (Sitting 40) 101 Days… March 18th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3615)

Wedding bells.

Landy Loren, one of the original members of Matthew’s marketing team, fell in love with McKendree Davis, who was the drummer in Jubal Carlos’ band.  Most folks knew him as “Michelob” because of his fondness for beer. He wasn’t a “bowling alley drinker”–more a connoisseur of fine beers from all over the world. He always talked about how he drank his beer like wine-sipping, never chugging.

Landy and McKendree were married on the jet plane en route to a rally in Washington, D.C., where Cassidy Templeton was scheduled to speak in front of a crowd predicted to be 500,000.

After his national exposure, his phrase, “check if you’re dead,” became a slogan all across the country, selling two million t-shirts with the saying in just eight days. The nation had suddenly gone from being engorged in its own self-involvement to being given a new set of eyes–and those peepers were all on Cassidy.

Cassidy was astounding on all fronts. He was strikingly handsome, muscular, devoted to his family, but drenched in good old-fashioned humility. His speeches were blessedly short, his sense of humor was keen and his energy seemed boundless.

Three days earlier he had appeared on international television with Merklin Shineer–probably the most well-known atheist walking the planet. Even though Shineer was in his early seventies and considered intolerably grouchy, young people from all over the world were drawn to him because of his plain-speaking manner and his no-nonsense approach to what he deemed “the monster of religion.”

Even though Jubal Carlos warned Cassidy to avoid this “cattle show,” as he called it, Cassidy just smiled and said, “It never hurts to tell the truth.”

So when they got together for the debate, a coin was tossed, and Merklin was given first crack at the audience. He talked for a solid forty minutes about the indignities of life, the unfairness to the poor, the wretched treatment of women and children and the absence of any divinity to curtail the efforts of what seemed to be rampant evil. Merklin occasionally glanced back at Cassidy, who sat thoughtfully, listening.

At the end of his time, Merklin turned to Cassidy and posed a challenge: “If you can give me one reason why I should believe in a God who doesn’t give a damn about people, then I’ll walk out of here today accepting your Jesus and repenting of my sins.”

The audience hooted and howled their approval. Merklin strolled over to his chair, sat down and smugly crossed his legs. He motioned to Cassidy to take the platform. The crowd continued to hiss and sneer as Cassidy got to his feet.

He walked over and shook Merklin’s hand, and then took the microphone and said to the crowd, “That was amazing. What was truly astounding to me was that as I sat there listening to Merklin speak, I realized how much I agree with him. I became fully aware that I share pretty much all of his doubts. I, too, am pained by the power that evil seems to carry in our world. I am deeply saddened that women and children are the targets of that sinister plot. I often sit in a corner by myself and say, ‘Cassidy, how could there be a God?'”

He paused, looking at the people with tears in his eyes. “I do, you know.”

There was a stillness in the room. Even the babies knew it was no time to cry for their mothers.

After a long moment, Cassidy continued. “But I found, Merklin, that you left out one doubt that I have. I thought you would cover it since you’re such a beautiful and intelligent man. But you didn’t. So let me state the one doubt I have more than you.”

All at once Cassidy slipped to his knees and reached out his right hand to the audience. “I doubt,” he began. Then he stopped. “I doubt,” he started again, his voice cracking, “I doubt if I can love you all as much as I need to without God’s help.”

He bowed his head and let the microphone drop to the stage, sending an echo of reverb throughout the building. And then he just wept. He cried like a widow who had just lost her long-loved husband. This went on for a solid two minutes.

Then there was a sniff or two from the audience, some gasping, and then sobbing. In no time at all, most of the people in attendance joined Cassidy in what seemed to be a needful moment of mourning.

Merklin himself bowed his head, squeezed his nose between his thumb and finger, stood up and strolled off the stage.

America seemed to be coming to a long overdue introspection:

The Catholic Church had decided to try a “test parish,” assigning a female priest in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. They asked Sister Rolinda if she would become “Mother Rolinda” to the congregation and lead them.

After much controversy and many debates, the Mormon Church offered an apology for allowing years of indoctrination against the black man to be included in their books.

The Baptists came out against Confederate flags.

The United Methodist church became more energized, with a sense of hope and revival.

Everywhere there was the essence of awakening, without the religious trappings.

Yet as the jet made its way to Washington, D.C., and the marriage ceremony was completed, Matthew found himself enjoying the night life of Las Vegas and the benefits of Nevada’s legal prostitution. He never jumped on the plane to join the “caravan of the concerned” anymore. He wrote checks, he took care of the books and made sure that all legal questions were fielded by the proper attorneys.

Jo-Jay was busy tracking down Prophet Morgan’s murderer, so every attempt he made to contact her was met with her familiar answering machine: “Hi, this is Jo-Jay. Like the Blue Jay but I’m not a bird. Leave a message.”

Matthew was a man who knew he was ill but preferred the pain to the cure.

Meanwhile, the rally in Washington exceeded expectations. Nearly 700.000 people showed up, many sporting the black t-shirts with hot pink lettering which read, Check if you’re dead. Cassidy spoke only ten minutes in front of the crowd, which had traveled from all over the world for the moment.

Jubal Carlos, who had been taking less and less of a role of late, filled in with music and a fifteen-minutes retrospective on where they had come from and where they prayed to go.

After the meeting, the 700,000 people dispersed with hugs, smiles and tears, as Cassidy was whisked away to the White House to meet the President. He was to be honored with a special Public Servant Award. When he arrived, it was not just the President but his whole family, plus the Vice President and many members of Congress, who had gathered in the East Room to see “the Lazman.”

Cassidy, when asked to say a few words, stood to his feet and quipped, “You know, I used to work with power. But looking around this room–this is ridiculous.”

A great burst of laughter. So he continued. “And as I learned, power can energize you, or it can…well, it can kill you. I hope all of us in this room realize that. I pray for each and every one of you every day. I wouldn’t want your jobs. My job is easy. I take the life God has given me–now in my 101st day of resurrection–and try to just love as many people as I can. It may sound silly, or even weak, but it’s what I got.”

He nodded to the dignitaries, who burst into applause and stood up to give him honor.

Cassidy went to sit on a lovely divan and lay his head back for moment, resting. The President and First Lady walked over to meet him. He took their hands and thanked them for their courtesy in inviting him.

All at once, he raised his eyebrows as if he was looking deeply into their souls. He gave a small chuckle, took a deep breath, and quietly said, “I guess that’s it.”

He laid his head back against the divan, and the President and First Lady, thinking he must be exhausted from the rally, left him to rest. Everybody gave him space. Actually, people thought it was cute that he had fallen asleep at the White House during a tribute to his life and success. Some people even started to leave.

Then one of the butlers noticed that Cassidy had not moved for some time, and it appeared that he wasn’t breathing. The butler slowly stepped over, lifted a hand and felt for a pulse. He lurched back in alarm, speaking to the surrounding guests, “He’s dead.”

A doctor who was present for the occasion ran forward and discovered the same. He placed Cassidy on the ground, trying to revive him. An ambulance was called, but by the time it arrived, it was much too late.

Cassidy Templeton was dead. He had passed away in the White House, on the 101st day after his miracle resurrection.

The nation was stunned.

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Catchy (Sitting 37) Wishes… February 25th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3594)

Turns out the Iowa State Fair is held in Iowa–Des Moines, to be exact.

Matthew was anxious to connect with Soos and find out what was going on with all of the articles sprouting up about movements and changes in the church.

He discovered the team was heading to Iowa, and decided to fly out and catch up with her. She suggested they make a day of it and walk around the Iowa State Fair, enjoying the visual treats and “all the yummy eats.”

Soos said she would meet Matthew at the food truck that advertised red, white and blue cotton candy. This made him grumpy–it wasn’t exactly GPS.

But upon arrival he quickly recognized that this particular truck was right in the middle of everything and very easy to spot. He looked around for a moment and then saw her, walking toward him with a huge funnel of something-or-other.

Like a twelve-year-old girl, she ran up, hugged him and handed over the concoction.

“It’s called a cheesy-fried-enchilada funnel cake,” she explained. She thrust it into his face, and Matthew found himself eyeballing instant cullinary death, but bit into it anyway.  As with most foods geared to kill the human race, it was absolutely scrumptious.

Soos had found a picnic table nearby where they could sit and talk–a stone’s throw from the hog pens. They sat down, and by the twelfth bite of the funnel cake, Matthew felt a bit queasy at the mixture of Mexicali and pig stink.

Begging off the rest of the treat, he said, “I traced all of these reports and stories about the churches back to you.”

She looked up, a little surprised but with a twinkle in her eye.

He continued. “I just had to come here and find out what’s going on.”

Soos stuck a huge bite of red, white and blue cotton candy in her mouth, and told her story.

It turned out that right after Morgan’s death, Jubal decided it was time to step out–be bold and not just repetitive. He explained that “good things stop being good if they don’t get better.” So one day after a rally, the team, which had now grown to eighteen travelers, was asked a question. “What do you think a Jesus wish list would be?”

Soos continued to explain that this stimulated a five-hour discussion. About halfway through, somebody started typing up the ideas, and the gathered accumulated twenty possibilities. After much discussion, they honed it down to a holy seven, which they called “The Seven Wishes.”

  1. Jesus would wish to bless children.
  2. Equality for women.
  3. Expose what’s fake.
  4. Heal the sick.
  5. Bring good news.
  6. Reward the truth.
  7. No one is better than anyone else.

Matthew sat and listened quietly as Soos shared her story.

“After they finished the list,” Soos explained, “Jubal said that if we want to address this effort, we need a little army, not just their soul patrol. I thought it was time for me to speak up, so I suggested that ‘good news stories’ should be planted on the Internet and other publications, discussing eye-opening, ground-breaking ideas that reinforce these seven wishes.

“Here was my thought. If people believed the churches were thinking about Jesus’ wishes, maybe the masses would be more likely to consider the churches.”

Matthew interrupted. “Well, how many did you do?”

“Let me see,” said Soos. “A story was released that the Catholic Church, along with considering women for the priesthood, would announce all the names of the priests who were pedophiles, promising to remove them from the ministry, and set in motion a deep healing for the victims.”

She went on. “Another story was that the Mormons, who for years quietly maintained a doctrine of the inferiority of the black race, were now developing a new slogan for the Latter Day Saints: ‘no one is better than anyone else.'”

Soos clapped her hands. “Here was one of my favorites. The Southern Baptist Church of America was offering an apology to the descendants of the slaves.”

“And,” she added, “the Unitarians, who historically did not believe in miracles, were commencing a new program for laying hands on the sick, to see them healed.”

Unfreakingbelievable,” said Matthew, shaking his head.

Soos continued. “Each story was carefully worded, cushioned with an opening statement such as, ‘rumor has it…’ or ‘sources say…’ or ‘notables within the denomination report…’ while never actually claiming that the information was solidly grounded in fact. The stories were so filled with goodness…”

Matthew jumped in. “You can’t tell me that Jubal went for this.”

Soos shook her head. “No, he didn’t like it at first. Matter of fact, he was standing strongly against it. Then I explained that as long as we were presenting the purity of what these churches say they believe, challenging them to follow their own doctrines, we were merely beckoning them to their own spirit.”

Matthew roared. “What bullshit double-talk.”

Soos was offended. “I don’t need your cynicism. I would like you to consider what’s happened. These churches found themselves in a position to deny the reports, but if they did, they were forced to explain why they were against the concepts. Or they had to make a claim that such movements were under advisement–and in so doing, open the door for their congregants to discuss freely.”

She reached over and touched his hand. “Do you get it, Matthew? People are discussing. People are questioning now because they care. Nobody cared before. Now it’s actually a topic–able to be discussed instead of the forbidden religion which should never be brought up during table talk.”

Matthew listened, unconvinced. What was the possibility of law suits? What if the plan were exposed, called them out for being the charlatans they supposedly were fighting?

Then all at once, Soos changed the subject. “I want you to try something before you leave the fair. It’s just around the corner, over next to the pig barn.”

Matthew was a little taken aback with the transition but played along. “Okay. What’s this special thing next to the oinkers?”

“It’s a huge roast pig leg on a stick,” said Soos.

Matthew winced. “Let me get this straight. So while I’m sitting, staring at living pigs, you want me to munch on a roast pig leg that’s been cooked?”

“Barbecued,” corrected Soos.

“Oh–barbecued,” said Matthew. “That’s different. I’m just curious, Soos. Would you be comfortable sitting in front of a daycare filled with children, chewing on a barbecued leg from a little girl?”

“How good does it taste?” she said, smirking.

Even though Matthew never partook of the pig leg, they talked on for another couple of hours, just catching up.

Soos had changed. She had probably hoped Matthew had changed also.

He hadn’t. The whole project was just a gig to him. He wasn’t ashamed. Somebody had to keep his feet on the ground while the others floated to heaven. That was his job–to be the grownup in La-La Land.

But there was something contagious about Soos’ spirit. As she told stories of city after city, where human beings joined together to escape the dusty sameness, she grew more and more excited.

It was nearly erotic. Of course, Matthew viewed everything through the sunglasses of sexuality.

He realized how much he had missed her. He had never found her especially romantically attractive, but on this day, the gleam of her skin, the sweet smell of her sweat, and the mustiness of her breath left him curious.

After the lengthy conversation, filled with laughs and thoughtfulness, Soos excused herself to leave. Matthew was waiting. He knew that if there was a connection with her–if she was interested in him, or if there was a possibility for a sweet fling–she would inquire as to when she would see him again.

It’s just what women do. At least, that’s what Matthew assumed.

Soos hugged him, kissed him on the cheek, whispered a verse of scripture in his ear, grabbed the rest of her huge Slurpee and jogged down the Midway, in a hurry to get back to what was her real love.

He watched her run away as the growing distance between them fostered a deep sense of loneliness. He had never considered Soos to be beautiful, but all at once, he could easily envision himself ravaging her in bed.

There was no doubt about it–she was going to make some man a wonderful companion, and one hell of a lover.

 

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