G-36: Present … August 8, 2014

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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bloody babyShame is what stalls us into believing that matters of the heart are not fair, and therefore, we check out of life instead of trying to understand how to overcome the malady.

So it was with the Creator.

He found Himself under the illusion that being one who creates, granting life, was sufficient to motivate the created being into pursuing excellence. It didn’t happen–and when it didn’t, the Creator felt shame, which turned to anger, and with it, a season of destruction.

Realizing that His creation was much more vulnerable than He had originally intended, He decided to learn to be a Father, a provider and then a protector–one who proffered prophecy and advice–and finally, to reflect on the magnitude of Fatherhood and discover purpose.

All of these revelations initiated highs and their lows, but ended with a chasm still affixed between the Creator and the created.

After four hundred years of waiting for the global climate to offer the possibility of total earthly understanding, the Creator made a decision to become one of the created.

  • For after all, in the human realm, how can you be a good father unless you first understand what it was like to be a son or a daughter?
  • How can you have compassion if you’ve never been the object of the discipline, but only the enactor?
  • How can you comprehend the instinct to rebel if you’ve always found yourself in the hierarchy?

The Creator decided to become part of the created.

Without asking for any favor or preference, He entered into the body of a woman as the seed of the promise of a child. He was born of blood and water. For the first time, when He looked to the heavens, He did so as a mere mortal instead of the King of Glory.

He went from being a Father to placing Himself into the role of a Son. He learned firsthand what it was like to be fathered. There were four immediate surprises:

1. Life is emotional, not ethereal.

2. Fear steals love from the heart of the hopeful.

3. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

4. Guilt makes human beings bastards.

Some of the lessons were painful; other discoveries were mind-blowing and earth-shaking.

He found Himself as a created being, sitting on the top of a mountain, talking to His fellow humans one-on-one about how to do it better. 

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G-33: Propheting… July 18, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2295)

  • Billowing smoke at the crest of a mountain leaves things a bit hazy.mad as hell
  • Tablets of stone are pretty concrete.
  • The heads of Amorites posted on sticks are not terribly inspiring, but actually, gross.
  • Butchered animals burnt on an altar of worship end up quite smelly.

The Creator needed a more creative idea to reach His creation.

For symbolism may have its charm, but after all, it demands that the person being attracted to the concept have both an interest and some intelligence. And here’s the rub: interest and intelligence are unusual commodities in the human race. We are people who require a more straightforward, human solution.

The Creator, the Father of al, decided to send prophets–human beings themselves and therefore capable of error and misstep, but also valuable because their mortal lips could convey an eternal message.

At first it seemed to be a workable idea. The people were alerted, impressed and even impacted.

But unfortunately, all prophets eventually have to speak unpopular ideas to cantankerous hearers.

So the life expectancy of a prophet dropped suddenly, leaving the job unpursued and frequently unfilled.

Still, it was a better way than killing turtle doves and terminating enemies in the path of the Ark of the Covenant.

“I will have mercy, not sacrifice,” said one of the prophets. Yet the people insisted on killing off livestock.

“I desire to repair the breach.” But people continued to fight instead of searching out reasons for peaceful coexistence.

“Be kind to strangers.” Unfortunately, strangers had little chance for acceptance among a people who deemed themselves chosen.

No matter what the prophets said, the people found fault and eventually realized that not listening to them levied no toll.

We were back once again to Creator and creature, standing at a distance, peering at one another suspiciously.

It was time to make a decision.

 

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Arizona morning

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

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Hurt, Heal, Praise … June 29, 2013

(1927)

dancersThe most difficult road to take to achieve humility is the highway of humiliation. Yet for some reason, it’s the most popular.

Many years ago, I wrote a musical called Mountain. Humbly I offer to you that the composition was really quite good. I had some friends in Columbus, Ohio, who let me use their studio very reasonably and we put together the music for the production. In the process of doing so, we stirred up a lot of interest in the community. So when it was announced that a two night premiere would be held,  tickets sold quickly and we realized we were going to have a hit.

Our job? To come up with a cast who could perform the piece and portray the material adequately. We selected our individual members but failed to consider that most of the young folk we had placed in the roles had grown up believing that dancing was “of the devil,” and the rest of them were just hellish dancers.

The musical required some choreography. Even though the music itself came off very well, and the acting was sufficient, the instructors we selected to teach our entourage how to do live stage movement were far too advanced and left our fledgling foot-flyers completely confounded.

So on opening night, the portion of the show that required choreography was an absolute disaster, leading one observer to refer to it as “collisionography.”

Unfortunately, the theater was nearly packed. I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. I was young, impetuous and unfortunately, too quick to want to give up.

But from somewhere down deep in the bottom of my socks, I found the faith to get up the next morning, realize we had another premiere to do, and instead of being angry or frustrated, took the cast and worked on simplifying the dance portion of the show.

We were all hurt.

Life is not a journey of avoiding hurt, but rather, a continual odyssey to be healed.

The only way my cast was going to be healed was by believing they could actually find something to do onstage that was within their grasp, and that they could have another opportunity to prove their ability.

The second night was fantastic–night and day difference. Unfortunately, the crowd had shrunk due to the bad reports about the faltering footwork. We didn’t care. We had been hurt the night before and it was time to heal. And heal we did.

Our confidence soared and we went out on a tour to twenty-five cities, getting better and better each night–because our healing turned into praise.

I will never forget that experience. It is a constant reminder that being hurt has absolutely zilch nobility or value unless you immediately set a process in motion to be healed. All healing is then confirmed by the presence of praise.

We have to learn this in our society:

  • Hurt people are determined to hurt. They don’t mean to–they just duplicate what’s inside themselves out to others.
  • Healed people seek healing.
  • And people of praise are always looking for reasons to praise.

So the next time you get in a  mood and think there’s nothing that’s any good anymore, take a moment and trace back in your life to find that unhealed hurt. You will be surprised at how much brighter the world looks when you have shed some light … on your own pain.

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******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

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7

Mountain to Mahomet … June 19, 2013

(1917)

A B C

I am the mountain.

I am the obstacle in my own way.

I am the big, fat pile of dirt, poking up, protruding on my own path, forbidding passage.

I am the mole-hill which has become so overblown that my tiny mustard seed of faith needs to move it every single day.

We do a disservice to everything true and holy when we believe that our problems lie outside ourselves. Government is not my problem. Religion is not my dilemma. Family is not my stumbling block. My problem is me and I am my own mountain.

So as I head off to Mahomet, Illinois, tonight,  bringing my mountain, I am going to take three things into consideration. I refer to them as the basic ABC’s of human decency:

1. Act right. In other words, DON’T “be yourself.” When we bring our moods, we muddy the situation instead of finding a mode to mold our possibilities toward success. We all know how to act right–we just get bratty and refuse to participate. If you’ve forgotten how to act right, let me give you some quick suggestions:
A. Be nice. It won’t kill you.
B. Listen more than you talk.
C. Be prepared to be wrong
D. Go slow–speed kills.
There you go. And if you don’t feel it–then pretend you do. No one cares if you’re faking it, as long as you’re making it easier. Believe me–everyone prefers your better nature.

2. Be honest. Honesty is not only the best policy, but really, the only “insurance” of being taken seriously. Once you’re caught in a lie, people assume you’re a liar. It could take years to change that perception. I will be in Mahomet, Illinois, for about four hours. As you can see, I don’t have years. Tell the truth and then you don’t have to struggle to remember your fabrication. It is not a gift to the human race, it is a demand.

3. Caresome. It should be a word–caresome. Since we have “careful,” which is annoying, and “careless,” which is lazy, there SHOULD be a term to represent the value of human interaction. Caresome. You don’t have to be phony, pretending that everything is special, but you don’t want to doze through people’s conversations, waiting for the opportunity to share YOUR story. Care some. Stay involved. Listen for a question before you give an answer–and when you have finally exhausted your interest level, do people a favor. Excuse yourself and walk away.

I guarantee you fine pilgrims that if you pursue this A, B, C philosophy you will find yourself more relaxed, more valuable and more productive than if you try to “be yourself,” ultimately finding out that “yourself” does not apply.
     Act right.
     Be honest.
     Caresome.

It is the mustard seed of faith which moves the massive mountain of our huge ego.

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******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

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******

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Forty-two Months… May 24, 2013

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ShreveportIt was a hot, humid, May evening in an area of the country that only knows how to be hot and humid in May.

It was the night that I first met my partner, Janet Clazzy. She was the principal oboist in the Shreveport Symphony and came out to a press conference I had put together to publicize my musical, Mountain, the Sermon on the Mount set to music. I was twenty-nine years old–energetic and just stupid enough to believe that great things could be done with little effort.

This initial meeting came to my mind last night as we drove into Shreveport to do a gig.

The first time I arrived in that town, I was a refugee from a year of my life which had been crowded with too much activity and laced with disaster.

1980.

I moved from Nashville, Tennessee, traveling the country with my Broadway-style show, Mountain, to twenty-five cities. After that I took a position at a church in Alabama. My second-oldest son, Joshua, was in a hit-and-run accident with a car and suffered a massive brain trauma. I left Alabama and moved to Shreveport to take a position at a small Bible college, which appeared to be getting smaller all the time.

I was damaged goods.

I did not know the extent of the buffeting that had occurred in my soul, but I was fully aware of the residue of the bruises. I stayed in Shreveport, Louisiana for forty-two months–in what I would call a complete human overhaul. It was more than healing–it was a rediscovery of my self, my talents, my faith, my potential and certainly–my limitations.

Nearly all the people I met when I was in Shreveport during those forty-two months are still in my life in some capacity. Some of them are close to me, a few have abandoned our former relationship, and most have moved on, taking bits and pieces of what they learned in that season and salting their lives with the experience.

When I finished up last night, walked out to my van and looked at the skyline of the city, I was grateful. It was in Shreveport that I remembered I could write again. I composed songs, penned dramas that were aired on the radio and was called “pastor” by a handful of loving souls.

I learned to fight for what I believed in without becoming aggressive. I became a producer of videos for public access TV and argued with the zoning commission of the town to permit us to have a location for our tiny fellowship. I found myself going down to the county jail in the middle of the night to help people who had fallen through the cracks, and practically begged companies to give food, bread and blankets for us to distribute to the hungry and needy.

I grew a soul.

A soul is like anything else that grows–it requires seeds. Some of those sprouts are unconventional–things like tears, pain, heartache, disappointment and anguish. Yet they all produce beautiful fruit when they are allowed time to mature. But the laughter, joy, cleverness, creativity and the unexpected blessings also were sown into my spirit, “bringing in the sheaves,” rejoicing.

I would not be the man I am today if it were not for that forty-two months I spent in Shreveport–in “spiritual rehab.”

Even though my son eventually passed away and the little work I began there as an outreach is no longer intact, the manifestations of that effort are still evident every day in the lives of my friends and colleagues.

So I am grateful.  I am grateful to Shreveport.

I am overjoyed that instead of giving up on the idea of God, I decided to reinvent faith … inside my tattered being.

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******

Jonathan’s thinking–every day–in a sentence or two …

 Jonathots, Jr.!

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

My Favorite Jim… May 17, 2012

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In the late winter and early spring of 1980, I found myself in a recording studio, spending one hundred hours laying down the tracks for a Broadway-style musical I had written called Mountain. It was the Sermon on the Mount, set to music. Even though the tunefulness of it gained much appreciation and buzz, my expertise in putting together such a monumental project was based more on presumption than actual knowledge.

So I was quite grateful when two friends came to join me in the process, to enlightened me where I was in darkness and give energy to my bulb of inspiration. It happened that both of them were named Jim. One of them was a pastor of a church who looked like a male model and had a burning passion to share the gospel, but also a secondary agenda of trying to remove all pornography from our community. The other Jim was an entertainment promoter with a delightful sense of humor, an interest in the gospel’s ability to enhance the brotherhood of man, with a very private lifestyle which he rarely shared with anyone. (To avoid confusion, let me call the minister “P. Jim”–for either Preacher or Pastor.)

P. Jim was an interesting blend of rock and roll with rock of ages. We don’t have many people like him around nowadays–because the sixties and the Jesus movement made him desirous of being open-minded, even though his theology sometimes wanted to “corral” that horse sense. Jim, on the other hand, grew up in a very religious home and was doing his very best to distance himself from such godly frugality.

Both of them came to planning sessions for the work on Mountain.  P. Jim would usually steer the conversations towards evangelism and the potential the musical had to “reach the lost.” And Jim nodded his head as he sat with a pencil, adding up how much this proposed evangelism was going to cost. The combination was perfect. I got to play the part of the artist who was not concerned with mere Bible verses nor touched by the insensitivity of money matters. The project was finished, the results were amazing, the casting was completed and two debut performances were scheduled–when a problem arose.

P. Jim called me out to a local restaurant for a cup of coffee. He was nearly in tears. He had found out through the spiritual sour-grape line that our other Jim was a homosexual. (If I may take a moment, this was a time in our country when there was no such thing as “gay.” Those of the more generous inclination in the heterosexual community referred to the “others”  outside their righteous world as homosexuals. If they were NOT generous, the words “queer” and “faggot” fell off their lips.)

P. Jim was a generous soul–but he was certain that he would not be able to continue his support for the Mountain project if Jim was going to be involved. He finished his speech, dried his eyes with a napkin and looked at me, waiting for my response.

I said, “Is that it?” He nodded.

“Okay,” I replied. I got up and started to walk out of the restaurant. Shocked, he grabbed my arm and pulled me back into the booth. He wanted to know what I was going to do.

I said, “Well, I guess I’m going to figure out how to do this project without your support.”

P. Jim was bewildered. No–beyond bewilderment. Actually, he was doubly baffled–first, that I was ignoring the potential judgment of God on our endeavor by allowing this sodomist to continue to participate. And secondly, he was bruised that I felt that he could so easily be cast away without it making any difference.

I explained my feelings. I wanted to have both of them. I wanted to have P. Jim, with his passion for God and love for humanity, and Jim, with his knowledge of the business and ability to raise funds so that the idea could get off the drawing board and into construction. But if P. Jim was going to make an issue over something that was really none of my business in the first place, I would go find the spiritual passion elsewhere and stay with what was working.

To say that P. Jim was flabbergasted would be the classic understatement. He began to throw scriptures at me–and I had a parcel of my own. Scripturally, we came to a dead-even draw. He tried to intimidate me with what would happen when people found out there was a homosexual involved in the planning. I told him it was America. There was no such thing as bad publicity, just ways to further entice people to come out to appease their curiosity. P. Jim wondered how I could do a mission on the Sermon on the Mount while still promoting evil.

I said, “Jim whether it’s evil is for God to decide when He finally closes the door on this little pawn shop of earth He’s put together. I know two things–I don’t have the right to judge and God looks on the heart and not the outward appearance. And Reverend Jim, our mutual friend, Jim, has more heart for this project that maybe the both of us put together.”

P. Jim frowned. He told me he would go think about it. Honestly, I never expected to hear from him again. And if you moved ahead thirty years in time, that WOULD have been the end of P. Jim’s involvement in my life. But you see, P. Jim grew up during the Civil Rights era, Viet Nam, Watergate, Woodstock and disco. His brain was not buried in cement, but rather, sloshing around in the quagmire of a Biblical swamp.

About five hours later, my phone rang and it was P. Jim. (I had already told Jim that we were going to lose the pastor and his church. Jim was devastated by the news and offered to resign. I explained to him that I wouldn’t have made a stand just so I could lose BOTH of them.) But anyway, back to my phone call, as I said, it was P. Jim. He was once again in tears. He apologized for interfering in the progress of what was truly an inspirational notion to bicker over the finer parts of religious law. He told me that if I had a belief in Jim, then he had the faith to stand behind my belief.

We had an amazing premiere, with P. Jim and gay Jim standing backstage together, applauding and hugging.

I lost contact with these two fellows shortly after that. I heard that P. Jim’s church eventually shut down and the porn stores he had been trying to get rid of in the community not only didn’t fold, but multiplied. Jim left the entertainment field and returned to a more normal life, becoming an accountant and a man discovering more about his identity.

But I will never forget that season, when the preference of two individuals–one for and one against–was set aside to pursue common passion.

Well, I entitled this particular essay My Favorite Jim, so you might ask, which one IS my favorite Jim? To answer that, I think I’ll fall back on the wisdom of Jesus. “Anyone who does the will of my Father …”

 

   

 

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The First Time… March 22, 2012

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The first time I saw the ocean, I cried–a bit of marveling mingled with the saltiness of the air.

The first time I saw a bee, I giggled–bouncing from flower to flower, suspended yet animated.

The first time I kissed a girl, my heart stopped; then every sense accelerated into high gear, yearning to race to the finish line.

The first time I got sick, I wanted to die, but was later thankful for the prudent delay.

The first time I heard applause for my work, I smiled all over, refreshed by the wave of appreciation.

The first time I made love, my body briefly left my soul, to revel in its moment of acceptance.

The first time I was baptized, I opened my eyes under the water to view the cloudiness that was my heart.

The first time I heard a choir, I rejoiced in knowing that harmony in the masses was not only beautiful, but possible.

The first time I saw a mountain, I wanted to perch at its peak, minus the climb.

The first time I made people laugh, I felt like God–right after He created the sun.

The first time I was granted a miracle, my soul gazed at the heavens in wonder, as my head remained bowed.

The first time I held my son, I was in Eden, dancing around the Tree of Life.

The first time I failed, I was in awe that the rising dawn was unaware of my inadequacy.

The first time I drove a car–honestly, I favored the brake.

The first time I ate Chinese food, I resisted thinking about our family cat.

The first time I sang, I felt as if I were whispering into God’s ear.

And every first time I have a first time, I am grateful for this time … to discover The First.

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

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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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