A Life-Driven Purpose… May 25, 2013

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It’s really simple and not complicated at all.  If you’re waking up this morning in Moore, Oklahoma, your life has become free of entanglements–defined.

If the tornado missed your house, then there is a deep responsibility in your soul to go outside and do something for your neighbors, who were not quite so fortunate.

If the tornado blew your house away, yet you are still alive, you feel a deep sense of gratitude–and don’t have to be concerned about remodeling anymore, but can have full confidence that you are in the middle of a building project. Be prepared to receive help from those neighbors whose houses did remain firmly on their foundations.

If you were injured, you should sit back, relax, and let the beautiful healing process take shape before you concern yourself with anything else–in order to give your very best efforts to the next endeavor.

If you lost your life, you are presently in a heavenly home with no memories whatsoever of the struggle below.

If a loved one has died, your life, for this season, will be refined by allowing grief to bring out the good memories so that when you do finally press on, joy can come in your morning.

Yes, the people of Oklahoma have experienced a tragedy. But there isn’t one person in that town who would tell you they wish they were dead. That kind of nasty attitude only comes from people who have taken their lives for granted. No one in Moore, Oklahoma, is taking his or her life for granted.

In an odd sense, it is a gift when our journeys become defined by our need. Our purpose becomes obvious: Live on–because life is precious.

I have no argument with my conservative friends until they start saying life on earth does not matter. It does.

I have no fuss with my liberal friends, as long as they don’t try to convince me that one form of life is more precious than another. It isn’t.

Jesus came to give us life. Jesus came to give us abundant life. We were never supposed to live as underdogs–biting at the ankles of the rich and prosperous, but rather, discovering the very best pattern for doing things and then creatively finding a way to enact a glorious plan.

If church isn’t about life, then it starts to be about death. If all we have to offer is heaven, then we’re asking people to endure an awful lot of earth, which usually diminishes the enthusiasm for eternity.

Tomorrow morning I will be in Mabank, Texas. We’ll talk about life. That is one of the best ways we attribute honor–and even pray for the folks in Oklahoma. By joining them in the pursuit of the appreciation of life, we tell them that we get the message: even when nature blows you away, you need to blow back–with your best heart–and live large.

It’s about life. It’s about abundant life. And it’s about abundant life that brings full joy. So is it possible to be in Moore, Oklahoma, today and be joyful?

Yes. Especially if you realize you still possess life.

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

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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

The Waxahachie Project… May 18, 2013

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WaxahachieWaxahachie, Texas.

The name “Waxahachie” comes from the Native American tongue, meaning “Buffalo Creek” or “Cow Creek.” Honestly, I have nothing to say about that. Sometimes it’s better to leave things like that alone, and certainly resist any temptation to be clever or draw deeper meaning from the context.

Here is what Waxahachie means to me: I have three-and-a-half hours to spend with a few hundred people, to communicate my heart and soul, and to leave hopefully having edified them and encouraged them in the better parts of themselves. If you didn’t know, that’s two hundred and ten minutes. It’s not very long. There certainly is no time to waste being picky, fussy, careful, suspicious or opinionated.

I have decided that there are five things I would like to accomplish during my brief stay with these delightful human examples of why God loves the world and hopes the best for it.

1. I’d like these folks to know that we have more in common than we in difference. We are killing each other with the religion of “uniqueness,” which is only giving us license to murder attempts at commonality.

2. The gospel is earth friendly because God is people loving. I guess you can feel free to focus on the parts of spirituality that have nothing to do with human beings, but rather, deal with angels, demons, heaven and hell. But considering the fact that we ARE not yet in the realm of the supernatural, it is perhaps wise to make sure that we focus more on natural pursuits.

3. Good cheer is our best offense in reaching the world. Matter of fact, if you want to act worldly, the most obvious way to achieve that goal is to establish a grumpy disposition. It is rather unlikely that we will be able to help people if we suffer from the same disease of disappointment that infests their entire beings.

4. Meanness gets meanness. I don’t know where we got the idea that we could actually “out-muscle” our competition, or find a way to be nastier than the nasty.  Once you establish the fact that you are trying to get what you want and are willing to do anything to do it, you create the kind of enemies who never forget how you attacked them and lie in the weeds, waiting for a chance to wreak their vengeance. I cannot promise you that you will always get “nice” back from being nice, but I can guarantee that you will always get “mean” back for being mean.

5. And finally, I will share with the dear folks in Waxahachie that every buffalo crosses the creek at the same place. I phrase it this way: NoOne is better than anyone else. As I travel, it amazes me how many people give a nod of assent to this idea, only to later resist the notion because it fails to grant them the supremacy they desire. It doesn’t make any difference. The minute you try to be better than somebody else, there is someone standing in the wings, ready to dash your hopes because they have evidence of presumed superiority.

Well, that’s about it for me. Oh, and by the way–one last thing I will impart to these folks: I love you. Because anything less is too hard to explain.

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

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Jonathon’s thinking in a sentence or two …

 Jonathots, Jr.

Click below

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/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

The Bleeping Game… April 13, 2012

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I decided to count.

I wasn’t trying to be priggy or self-righteous; I was just curious. While watching a very popular reality show, I began to count the number of times the performers on this particular episode were “bleeped.” You know what I mean, right? When they insert some sort of sound to replace what is considered to be a “bad word.”

It is the new way of handling foul language in our society–to cleanse our programming of nastiness for the general audience. Anyway, back to my counting…nineteen times in a one-hour show the Bleeping Game was inserted. I am sure this was an extraordinary situation and usually it wouldn’t be that many. But on this night, the repetition of the same phrase of controversial language kept coming up over and over again. I became agitated, which soon turned into aggravation–not because the language was used (I find foul communication to be more boring than actually evil). No, it was because the way of handling the situation is nothing but a game, inserted by some corporation to give the appearance propriety without actually achieving proper.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the Bleeping Game is self-defeating. At least when I watch HBO I see the people on the screen speaking of their own volition and therefore responsible for the content. I can then choose to continue to watch or change the channel. But the addition of the bleep is an attempt to cover up the language, and the speaker is not responsible for the words. Instead, I become the culprit.

None of us is stupid. Everybody over six years of age can tell you exactly what word is being said underneath the bleep, and therefore WE mentally fill in the word. So rather than detaching the listener from the impropriety of the language, the Bleeping Game actually involves the listener, forcing him or her to complete the sentences. It’s impossible to stop doing it–your brain just fills things in.

It’s the typical scenario of malfeasance brought about by a corporation–inadequate, ineffective and insincere. It is inadequate because the human brain still fills in the words; ineffective due to fact that the nastiness and anger surrounding such communication is still hot, heavy and present; and insincere because it is a band-aid placed on a gaping wound of ignorance and a lack of sophistication.

This is probably one of the worst schemes we’ve ever come up with in the history of the US–and when you consider slavery, internment camps for Japanese citizens during WW II and New Coke, that’s a bold proclamation.

What do we think we’re doing? Now, I am not a prude. In my day I’ve used a variety of language in a multitude of situations to produce specific results. If I write a screenplay, I allow my characters to determine their vernacular instead of trying to purify it, using a King James-version-dehumidifier. But this new outburst of language is beyond the pale. It is the phrasing used in our society when we are unable to communicate our ideas in a clever manner or if we’re trying to impress people with how “tough” and “street” we are. And it is exemplified by the Bleeping Game.

The thing that I appreciate about HBO is that it is consistently bizarre. Once they allowed the language to come into their programming, free of bleeping, the producers, directors and actors have become more and more unusual and out-of-the-box. Sometimes I giggle because HBO is determined to do a program about every type of lifestyle and business that exists in the underbelly of our society. They seem to enjoy vampires, werewolves, midgets (or are they dwarves?), down-and-out anybodies, and folks who are in various stages of degradation through alcohol and drugs. It may not be your cup of tea, but it is honest. What is dishonest is to place programming for the general public littered with trash, which merely has to be deciphered by translating the bleeps.

It is beneath us as a country. It is total foolishness and shows me how poorly our general leadership has sunk in its mission to enrich us instead of merely enthrall us.

Considering the Bleeping Game, I would like you to keep three things in mind:

1. Lying can never become the truth, no matter how loudly you say it or how frequently it’s espoused. Simply trying to avoid the problem of a language barrier in this country by bleeping out what are considered to be “foul words,” simultaneously allowing the anger and frustration to remain, is one of the worst resolutions of a problem since I put duct tape on one of the water hoses in my car engine, thinking I had stopped my leak. We continue to lie to ourselves and think that after a certain length of time, deception becomes acceptable and therefore, honorable.

2. Prohibition causes promotion. The minute we make bad language, foul talk or questionable dialogue forbidden, it is exactly what everybody will want to do. You do not keep children from swearing by putting a sound over the top of swear words. It encourages it. So most young people spout off these words during their private times–feeling very adult–never realizing that the language is not suitable for public consumption. I learned this when I was sitting in a restaurant having a lovely dinner and heard someone a couple of tables away say the “f word.” Once again, I am not a prude. I have heard the word many times–matter of fact, I’ve even used it. But when I heard it in a public setting, it was shocking–and made me wonder if the person speaking it had lost control and was on the verge of becoming violent. As it turns out, it was just a casual conversation coming from someone with a loose tongue. But it alerted me to the fact that the language that seems acceptable on film or video tape, when placed in actual public situations, is quite volatile. But we will not generate a good dialogue about good dialogue by pretending that we are prohibiting such bad speech, while instead privately promoting it.

3. And finally, teach communication and language improves. I know this about myself–when I get the urge to swear, use foul language or pop off a nasty colloquialism, it is simply because cleverness has escaped me. I have become insecure or I’m trying to scare people away so I don’t have to talk to them. Just as we have to cease making men and women enemies with each other if we’re going to see our planet move towards reconciliation, we also need to understand that off-color language is a white flag of surrender in a world of ideas.

This is not an issue of salvation, spirituality or even puritanical values. Foul language is just dumb.

It’s time for us to stop the Bleeping Game. The language is either all right or it’s not. If it’s not, we should begin to encourage people to find better ways to use our English dialect to foster clever turns of phrase instead of blatant verbal spittle.

It’s time to do better. It’s time to tell those people who have resorted to unexplainable outbursts of nastiness during their violent fits of behavior that we would welcome more creative ways of expression. Feel free to keep HBO for those folks who like to walk on the wild side, but somewhere along the line we need to stop using the language of frustration unless we’re making it clear that the people who are using it are frustrated … and have lost their advantage.

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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.

Make My Day… December 30, 2011

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Jonathan in Miami

It all really boils down to three hours and where you decide to plant that 180 minutes of fertile possibility. Because even though there are twenty-four hours in the day, we all know that those passing moments are not within our grasp and care. Failure to realize this causes us to procrastinate and end up frustrated and fretful.

No, it ends up being about three hours. And I find that people make one of two choices on that matter–they either choose their three hours of sanctified time late at night or early in the morning. If they choose it late at night, kind of following the pattern of a college student, they usually wake up pretty groggy and a bit wasted until mid-day. If they choose it early in the morning, they may lose some of the glittering promise of the nighttime glitz, but wake up fresher and more ready to go.

Here’s how it breaks down for me (and I must caution you that my lifestyle is not yours, nor are my particular preferences perhaps to your liking. The goal of this particular essay is to just get both of us to agree that twenty-four hours do pass by, leaving us only a small window for our own personal use.)

I usually get up about six o’clock in the morning–so six o’clock to nine o’clock becomes what I call MINE. There aren’t a whole lot of people vying for appointments or interfering. I can get up, enjoy myself, write my jonathots, send out some personal emails to friends and family, plan my day, have breakfast and pretty well do what I want to without intrusion. I always start off my day by being silly. I do it on purpose. I sing silly songs, say silly things and even think about silly matters. I believe the brain needs a chance to flush out all of yesterday’s fussiness before it starts trying to take on today’s sufficiency. You may find that childish. (Of course, my morning habits are completely irrelevant to you unless you happen to find yourself hanging around my presence at about six o’clock in the morning.)

I have breakfast–not because I believe it’s the most important meal of the day–but because it’s a chance to eat, which I have never found to be unpleasant. I know that about nine o’clock, humanity will start teeming around me and I will need to be ready to interact with folks. So I refer to the time between nine and twelve o’ clock as OURS. Emerging from MINE, I proceed into OURS. My goal is to have enjoyed myself so much during my previous three hours that I’m ready, decent and welcoming enough to deal with my fellow-human-beings.

From twelve to three o’clock every day I enter a phase I call RESTFUL. I separate myself off, have a meal, talk to a few friends on the phone and even slide in a small nap. I have had six hours of private time and interaction with people and I would like to give my heart, soul, mind and strength a chance to absorb the blessings or survive the ordeal.

From three to six o’clock I RE-ENGAGE. I like that time of day–a second burst of energy, a chance to do a trailing project that didn’t end up making my early-morning list, and just a delicious opportunity to finish the day on a high note instead of a discordant one.

From six to nine o’clock at night, I RELAX. I try not to take on anything that’s too important unless I happen to be doing a gig. And even if I am in front of an audience, I find that the relaxed profile does me–and them–well.

And then about nine o’clock, as I’m moving towards bedtime (always before twelve), I enter a precious position of power I call THANKFUL. Too many people spend the last moments of their day upset over what has happened or worried about what will happen. I become thankful. It’s interesting–thankful always makes me sleepy, because as my heart opens up in generosity to the goodness of God and life, my tension disappears and rest comes easy. And that’s usually what I do–from about twelve to about six in the morning, I rest. Since I’m getting older, that solitude is occasionally interrupted by the need to trot off to a bathroom. Or an inspiration may strike my fancy about a jonathots I could write. But usually it’s a very restful time because I have ended my day with thankfulness.

And that’s how I make my day. I recommend portions of it to you, as you’re able to apply it, because trying to grab your private time late at night can make you nasty in the morning, and trying to squeeze some self-worth into hours after work can be hectic and unfulfilling. For me, six o’clock to nine o’clock in the morning is MINE. Nine o’clock to twelve noon is OURS. Twelve noon to three o’clock P. M. is RESTFUL.  Three  to six o’clock  P. M. is ENGAGED. Six to nine at night is RELAXED. And nine until I go to sleep is THANKFUL.

Time passes quickly, my dear friends, and when you really only have three hours a day to grab for your own, it’s a good idea to invest wisely.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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