Good News and Better News … June 13th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Stephens City

You might find the picture I’ve selected for this morning’s essay to be a bit odd. After all, considering the possibilities of objects and people available to me at the Stephens City United Methodist Church, to focus on a plant sitting between two chairs might certainly be considered obtuse.

Yet as I arrived in the foyer yesterday morning, this vision leaped out at me. It prompted a notion: something is growing in the midst of the furniture.

Feeling very blessed to be invited to share with the church on Pastor Bob’s final Sunday, I came with an open heart and a yearning soul.

Hearing reports of treachery in Orlando and the pernicious inhumanity that continues to speckle the globe, I was in need of a baptism of hope with a refreshing splash of good cheer. For after all, the world will not be changed through contemplation, but instead, by each one of us concentrating on what is good, pure and worthy of praise.

So I salute the Stephens City United Methodist Church because it is a plant growing in the midst of all the religious decor.

1. They stood at the door and welcomed us in without exuding the “sneer of beholding the queer.”

2. They tried to find reasons to help us. They wanted to connect. It was so refreshing to see other human beings who were prepared to link.

3. They sat close to us in the sanctuary rather than perching themselves far away.

4. They clapped their hands when we played “I’ll Fly Away” instead of acting like a bunch of music critics on America’s Got Talent.

5. They believed in belief. Most people recite belief instead of holding the conviction that it still has power.

6. They honored Pastor Bob, who had served them for 730 days, and blessed him as he headed for the new assignment procured by the United Methodist Church.

7. They sang with the gusto of passion instead of being careful not to be heard.

8. They laughed without fear. They laughed without reservation. And they laughed like they were supposed to be laughing.

9. They cried because they cared. Maybe it was the thought of so many dead fellow-Americans who were attacked by a maniac that made their hearts a little more sensitive. I don’t know, but they were willing to be touched.

10. They gave because they understood, not because it was required.

11. And they are blessed because they are blessed.

Maybe I caught Stephens City on a good day. Yet the real pulse of our country is not in the devastation of a night club in Orlando. It is when we realize that life is short and each one of us is fragile, so we decide to express our feelings freely.

The good news is that Pastor Bob labored well.

But the better news is that there is something growing in the midst of the furniture.

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Untotaled: Stepping 48 (May 15th, 1969) Mr. Lester’s Work Force… January 3, 2015

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(Transcript)

By the time I walked out of school, I was a different person.

Less than a month earlier, my father had passed, and a growling discontentment, which had started in the previous September, had now turned into a barking dog of frustration.

I was tired of school.

I was tired of my little town.

I was tired of being a student.

I was tired of having urges and desires that were ignored by my local church and replaced with a series of childish activities.

I was nearly a man, forced to wear boyish attire.

My mother decided I should get a job. She thought it would keep all of the sadness off my mind.

That year, the local Youth Corps was offering employment to students to assist local businessmen in their pursuits, at $1.10 an hour. I signed up. They placed me in the role of helping out the local groundskeeper at the cemetery.

Not exactly the perfect job for a young man who had just lost his dad.

There was no grave-digging involved. My responsibility was to mow around the tombstones in a fourteen-day pattern. By the time I finished the fourteenth sector of the cemetery, it was time to go back to the first section and start all over again.

I could not imagine anything that personified the futility of my soul like this particular ritual.

I hated it–especially when it came time for sector four–which included my father’s grave. Actually it was just a pile of dirt. It was too soon for grass to have grown. And I felt compelled, by some sense of nostalgia, to stop and pay my respects.

Yet it was odd and obtuse.

As I mowed–especially on the very hot days–there was this strange smell in the air. It reeked of concentrated vitamins, similar to what you experience when you open up a new bottle. It gave me the creeps.

Since my supervisor rarely showed up at the cemetery, I decided to sign the worksheet with my hours and not actually appear. Amazingly, I pulled this off for two weeks before I got caught.

Mr. Lester, my representative, was very disappointed in me. I was fired.

I was mostly relieved, for two reasons: I didn’t have to keep lying, but mostly … I didn’t have to keep working.

 

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Quatrain of the Lemon … February 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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lemon

I am sour, this is true

You like sweet, yes you do

Pour the sugar in my juice

Steal my soul, I’m left obtuse.

 

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Houston, We Have a Solution… December 29, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Apollo 13As I drove into League City, Texas, yesterday, which is a part of the greater Houston area, my mind predictably pumped out memories of the Apollo 13 mission and the stark statement from Jim Lovell, announcing to NASA, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

I know that’s not very deep, but it was on my mind. And even though Mr. Lovell certainly did have a legitimate concern, there are many people in this country creating problems to make themselves appear important.

So as I begin my tour this year, I am determined to be one of the people who tries to bring hope instead of just complaining about the surroundings–because here’s the fact:

In the past twelve years, we have had a Republican and a Democrat as President, and we aren’t particularly better off with either one. Why? No one is trying to solve anything, mainly due to the insecurity and fear of being wrong and looking like an idiot. And since I already start out a little idiotic already, I don’t have as much concern about being considered obtuse.

So going into this morning, I will share with the people, “Houston, we have a solution.”

Can I get these folks to believe that politics and religion are our worst enemies? Will they comprehend that our best asset is to keep trying, maintaining a good sense of humor? I don’t know.

But here’s my Houston Solution:

I’m going to love myself, others and God without becoming too selfish, too weird or too religious.

That’s it.

Just think–what would happen if a bunch of people would make this their mission statement instead of complicating theology or debating politics?

Because just like Jim Lovell and Apollo 13, you find out that life is pretty simple: you’re going to have to use what’s available to you in your tiny capsule, do your best to keep breathing and hope you don’t burn out.

So for me, I will share with these folks today my Houston Solution. May I reiterate:

I’m going to love myself, others and God without becoming too selfish, too weird or too religious.

 

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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