Good News and Better News… November 13th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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In the midst of a furor of a nightmare of screams, it is nearly implausible to discern the whispers: the soft, gentle pleadings of the Spirit within us, to find ourselves and pursue a precious path.

We become the victims–the auditory slaves of foolish men and women who have succeeded in providing us decibels without hope.

It’s loud.

It’s brash.

It’s bloody.

It’s irreverent.

It’s irrelevant.

And it’s often meaningless.

But the sheer brute blast of this storm of stupidity seems to be the cultural forecast, threatening to blow us all away.

Into such a climate Jesus of Nazareth also came.

Just like us, he was surrounded by mayhem–a nasty empire, brutal religion, vendettas, bigotry, prejudice, gender bias and ignorance that rebuffed knowledge.

He chose not to yell.

He found a space and made his place.

If you’re determined to be recognized, wealthy or even famous, you will be worthless to this time–because the natural flow of human degradation will determine whether you will be ushered in for consideration, and unless you are willing to be as crazy as the world around you, you will probably be considered unnecessary.

But…

You can find your space and make your place.

  • Jesus was profoundly simple.
  • Jesus was deemed uneducated because he chose this path.
  • Jesus was mocked as unaware because he would not join into the political fiasco and the religious ramblings.
  • He was simple.

He offered three ideas to humanity which still trigger our best efforts and initiate the only march to beauty that we have ever marshalled:

1. Consider.

Stop being sure. Don’t recite all the things you learned as a young’un. Don’t repeat the bigotry of your benefactors. Consider. Consider your life, consider an intelligent approach–even consider a lily.

2. Watch.

Sometimes he said to go ahead and while you’re doing that, pray. But always watch. Don’t be so quick to pull the trigger on your support. Listen for the buzz words that talk of healing, forgiveness, reconciliation and creativity.

Watch what is before your eyes carefully instead of merely lining up for the next I-Phone.

3. Cheerful.

“Be of good cheer” is the match. It lights a fire that warms instead of burns. For after all, joy is the best treatment for insanity.

These were the three messages of a simple man. They will never be outdated but unfortunately, they will also never be regaled as “trending.”

It will take you and me to close our ears to the screams, and listen to the whisper of “consider, watch and be of good cheer.”

The good news is that living such a life is far less exhausting.

The better news is, only this simple life is truly fulfilling.

 

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Good News and Better News… November 6th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Some years back, I finished writing my novel, “I’m…the legend of the son of man”–Jesus telling his own story.

To a large degree, in the publishing world, it’s “have book, pack bags.” In other words, “hit the road, Brother Jack”–and share with people what your volume has to say.

Fortunately for me, Janet Clazzy had recently moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and for some inexplicable reason, was interested in collaborating in music and a business partnership. She had only one request. Having been raised in the mainline denominational church, she thought it was time for someone to go to the United Methodists, the Lutherans, the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians and such, and share a candid message of invigorating hope.

My reply was, “We can be like evangelists to those denominations.”

She grimaced a bit as her eyes glossed over in disbelief. I understood her quandary. The word “evangelist” hardly has a powerful interpretation in the mind of the American people. There have been too many fakes, too much greed, not to mention scandal and immorality, for anyone to take the term seriously.

But I was referring to the position as outlined by the Apostle Paul to Timothy so many centuries ago. You see, Paul explained to the young minister that the day would come when there would be so many misinterpretations, confusions and false teaching that congregations would be sick of hearing all the mess–therefore it would be difficult for anyone to endure, or even recognize, sound doctrine.

After this, Paul makes an interesting insight. He tells Timothy to keep his head, be willing to endure some hardship and to do the work of an evangelist–because the evangelist is the bearer of glad tidings. He is a giver of peace and hope. He is an exhorter to higher standards. And because of his journeys, he offers the children of God an insight on what is going on in the world around them.

So we launched on our journey–that was 22 years ago.

Since then, Ms. Clazzy and I have crisscrossed the country ten times, ministering in thousands of churches and in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

Yet we have never been able to claim our title as “evangelists to the Methodist, Lutherans”–or any other array of denominations. Honestly, the word scares most of the pastors.

We thought about freshening up the term by using the word “messengers,” but thought it was too common.

Enthusiasts: We knew it was too weird.

Proclaimers: Of course, then everyone wants to know what you’re proclaiming.

Jubilators: That was the most bizarre of all, though I later used it as a title for one of my novels.

We realized it was our job, mission and goal–as one book turned into others and music compiled–to bring “times of refreshing” to the church.

So that we have done.

If you are brave, you can call us evangelists. If not, you can fall back on the hyper-safe “special guests.”

But our slogan is concise and has not changed over the years:

Travel light, bring the light.

Here’s the good news: it has worked beautifully, gloriously and fluidly for over two decades.

And the better news is, we’ll see you soon.

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Ask Jonathots … December 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

Do you think there’s a need for saying “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas?”

Mary and Russell were my parents, and when they birthed me they named me Jonathan Richard Cring.

I had an uncle who immediately dubbed me “Johnny.”

One of my older brothers called me “Rock.”

Aunt Mary thought I was better suited to “Little Jon.”

I had one friend, Mack, who always enjoyed referring to me as “J.”

Many, many friends rejoiced over proclaiming me “Big Jon.”

One business associate in Nashville, Tennessee, recognized me as “J. R.”

And of course, countless folks have shortened my Jonathan to just Jon.

At no time during all these transitions did I lose my identity, nor fail to respond to a beckoning.

Likewise, Christmas does not lose any of its impetus by being referred to as “Happy Holidays”–especially when you consider that the word “holiday” is an Old English version of “Holy Day.”

Jesus is not diminished by “Season’s Greetings,” since he is the “reason for the season.”

And even the tiny handful who might call the occasion “Winter Solstice” are still surrounded by innumerable manger scenes dusted by snow.

Yes–the critics are outnumbered.

Sixteen million Jews worldwide may celebrate Hanukkah and twenty million African-Americans may honor Kwanza, but two-and-a-half billion people over the Earth worship the Baby of Bethlehem.

It’s not even close.

And when we become defensive over the terminology of Christmas, we miss the whole point of the message of “Peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

We fail to recognize that Jesus, himself, said “those who are not against us are for us.”

So a Jewish family which lights a candle, and a family in the inner city of Chicago which dresses in African garb and jubilantly trumpets the celebration are certainly not against the Christ child.

Jesus was not defensive.

Jesus did not insist on silencing those who had different opinions, but rather, welcomed questioning.

So I will tell you, it doesn’t matter what people say to me–what I hear is “Merry Christmas.”

And may I point out–it is impossible to hide, disguise, obliterate or even marginalize the effects of that one solitary life which changed the dynamics of the planet–whose birth even set time in motion.

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Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

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Confessing… July 18th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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XI.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

She was my friend, benefactor and producer of my first national album release.

After we finished the record, she bought me a copy of the Urantia book.

She loved the book.

She loved me.

I assume her goal was to join her loves together in a connection.

The book didn’t work for me. I read some of it and found most of the parts distasteful to both my spiritual side and my human understanding.

I didn’t tell her.

Perhaps I did not want to hurt her feelings, seem ungrateful or lose my meal ticket and helper. It was probably all of the above.

She decided to start having readings of the book at her house on Thursday nights. I, of course, was invited and felt compelled to go.

There were about 25 people there from the music industry–professors from the Vanderbilt University and all sorts of Nashville, Tennessee entrepreneurs.

I joined in to the discussions, keeping my sentiments beneath the surface.

Then one week, friends of ours from Indiana came into town. I thought it would be a great boost to their experience to go meet my mentor and all these talented folks who gathered for the Thursday night Urantia reading.

I didn’t think it through.

My Hoosier buddies were fundamentalist Christians, and as soon as they heard some of the ideas from the book, they felt compelled to object–aloud.

My dear lady friend who had been so generous to me was greatly offended by their interruption.

I was trapped.

Was I going to disavow my friends from Indiana, continuing to be dishonest about my own feelings? Or was I going to make a stand in this lovely lady’s house against her beloved book?

I made the stand. It created a rift.

I left early. My objecting companions patted me on the back for my courage.

Things were never the same again with my Urantia friend.

I felt self-righteous–but it did not take too long for me to realize what an ass I had been.

If I had been forthcoming with her when she gave me the book and I reviewed it, telling her then that it was unnecessary for my journey, things would have been fine.

But because I waited for an unfortunate moment to make my feelings known, shocking her completely…well, the damage was permanent.

I ended up wrong, saying something I believed was right.

She has since passed on, but today I wanted her and you to know that I was erred.

Because spiritual revelation is useless if it doesn’t increase human interaction and compassion.

I have learned to be forthcoming.

At times it may seem blunt but it is better than misleading those who love you … under the guise of trying to keep peace.

 

 Marijohn

 

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

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

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Untotaled: Stepping 59 (September 9th, 1970) Welcome Home–NOT… March 21, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2538)

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(Transcript)

Troubled souls require a soft pillow on which to fall when their great plans bring them crashing to the earth.

There was no such cushion awaiting my girlfriend and myself when we landed in Columbus, Ohio, having hatched a plan to be together–to the chagrin or disapproval of all outsiders.

  • Her parents disowned her.
  • Our high school friends stopped calling.
  • And our church stood at an adequate, Biblical distance, careful not to pass along any semblance of support, while also insisting they were not “negative.”

We had obviously failed. We had broken the protocol.

For some, it was an issue of right and wrong. For others, it fell into the realm of proper or improper. But really, in the long run, the greatest fear of any small town is that actions are not “normal,” forcing them to be declared “weird.”

Once we received such a cool reception from our community, we found it impossible to share that a baby was on the way, especially since such a revelation, in 1970, was just short of abomination and well within the realm of unforgivable sin.

We were scared. We were two people desperately in need of counsel. We found no consolation, only affixed stares.

So we decided to drive down to Nashville, Tennessee, using some of my girlfriend’s college money, to see what life was like outside our burg. Because we were gone for the entire weekend, people assumed we got married, and when we returned unhitched, the persecution increased.

I was informed that I was no longer welcome to be in charge of the coffee house, which had been my great affection all through my high school years.

I don’t want you to misunderstand me–I am not saying that the path we chose was conventional or even worthy of any type of praise.

We were just young.

We needed consideration instead of condemnation–and it was just easier for them to set us to the side than to take us aside and set us straight.

So because of all of this scrutiny, we decided that we needed to go somewhere in the deep South and find a state where we could get married as quickly as possible.

We were thrilled.

Everyone else pretended they didn’t notice.

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Cring & Clazzy present concert in Ocala on March 24th!

Cring & Clazzy present concert in Ocala on March 24th!

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Taking a Decision … February 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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decisionThere is no such thing as making a decision.

By the time committees, opinions, selfishness and reluctance are factored in, progress is brought to a grinding halt in order to maintain some silly notion of “consensus.”

Some things are just too important to leave to the mass hysteria of voting.

It’s all about taking a decision.

In 1970, I took a decision to fly out to Arizona to pick up my girlfriend, who was pregnant, even though the counsel from all my friends, family and certainly her family was for us to be apart. Forty-four years later, there are a lot of exciting human beings walking around because I took that decision.

In 1972, I wrote two songs and decided to go into a recording studio to make a 45-RPM record. Young boys from Sunbury, Ohio, were not allowed to do such things–at least that was the opinion of those I asked for help. Forty-two years later I am still making music all across America. Matter of fact, I sang one of those two songs on Saturday night.

In 1975, everybody had a bad mood about me leaving Centerburg, Ohio, to move to Nashville, Tennessee, to seek a greater platform for my writing. I took the decision and ended up getting my song signed and making the gospel charts.

In 1980, I took a decision to hire nine actors and book a 25-city tour of the country with my musical rendition of the Sermon on the Mount, called Mountain. I was told that the market would not allow for a “religious” piece, which sported dance and peppy music. I ignored them.

In 1984, society was shocked when I took my children and wife on the road as a family band, traveling across the country, especially since one of my sons was disabled and had to be carried around from place to place. Six years later, when we finished the journey, tens of thousands of folks were appreciative that we took the decision.

In 1991, in the midst of great financial solvency and success, I took a decision to leave the road with my family, so that my sons, who were getting older, could have lives of their own instead of mirroring their father’s pursuits. It didn’t add up on paper. But it was the right way for us to multiply.

Again, in 1996, the propriety of the community in which I lived frowned on the concept of me taking on a female musical partner and including her three children in my family. Such things were simply not done in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Eighteen years later and at least twelve tours across the country, the heavens rejoice and America is a little bit different.

In 2001, it was against all sense to start a symphony orchestra in the middle of “Country Music USA.” Once again, I “passed” on policy. Because I did, the Sumner Pops Orchestra existed for eight years and provided funding, opportunity, entertainment and inspiration for an entire county.

In 2006, the cynics chuckled when I joined with my son and daughter-in-law to make independent films. Those involved in the film industry mocked us for attempting to make twelve feature-length films in a year. But taking this decision put us on the map–and they are still benefitting from that journey today.

In 2010, the dictates of my budget, housing and lifestyle forbade the possibility of continuing to use my talents to make a living. So I walked away from my house, climbed into my van and became a vagabond, sharing a message of hope for this generation, in front of what is now hundreds of thousands of people.

It isn’t that I reject input from others. But remember, counsel is only good in your life if it is given in faith.

It is a horrible disappointment when it is offered to promote fear.

Happy birthday to Jon Russell!

Join us tomorrow for: Quatrain of the Circus.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

My Body is in Temple… January 19, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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First Lutheran Temple

It’s been forty years since my body has been in Temple.

Temple, Texas, that is.

I have passed by this fair town several times on my journeys, but never actually plopped down for a few minutes of food for thought, by breaking bread.

Four decades ago when I landed in Temple, it was during a brief tour when I was invited to come to Waco, Texas, to Word Records, to share my music, with the aspirations of having this fledgling company record my musical ensemble and make us famous. (Well, at least as famous as one would get by being the first fruits of a fledgling.)

I remember that visitation vividly. Being raised in Central Ohio, I was told horror stories about the depravity of the South and the backwards nature of unseemly locations like Texas. So up to that point in my life I had never gone any further south than Nashville, Tennessee, or further west than Chicago.jesus rally

I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was a different time. Even though Temple was a rural community, ingrained with the traditions of its heritage, a new breeze had blown through, initiated by the winds of Spirit.

Young hippies, fresh from California, had just arrived in the region to sing a new song. So it was really amazing–you had long hairs and butch haircuts side by side, finding common ground with guitars and Jesus. They were tolerant of each other and seemed fairly oblivious to the differences that might build up over hair follicle preferences.

Many of the engineers in the recording studios were good ole’ boys, and the performers were fresh off the street, many of them ex-drug addicts who had been thrust into salvation, with a movement through Jesus.

Shoulder to shoulder, they worked on beautiful tunes, laughed, shared pictures of their families with each other, and acted like they had known one another for a lifetime.

I shared in several of the area’s religious establishments and was greeted with warmth and tenderness by folks who had just come out of the field with mud on their boots, curious about whether what they had just planted would ever reach harvest.

Even though I was a very young snap-off-the-whipper, I realized that what made this thing work was finding something in common with each other and sealing it by believing in the same message of love.

So as I come back to Temple, Texas, in a much different time–when it is considered to be righteous and upstanding to be at odds with one another over miniscule issues–I want to bring that same breeze with me.

I would love to allow the Spirit to permit commonality and faith to blend together again, to make us one.

It is a piece of idealism I permit myself without apology. For I know this: the world will never be a decent place to live until we find reasons to be alike.

And I also know that we will never find reasons to be alike …  when we work so darned tootin’ hard on trying to be different.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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