Untotaled: Stepping 45 (November ?, 1968) Cobalt … December 13, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2442)

(Transcript)

I don’t remember the exact day.

I recall it was cold and November, which is standard fare in Ohio.

My parents had taken a trip to Columbus and my mother returned late that evening, without my father in tow. I didn’t think much about it. I was nearly seventeen years old and preoccupied with the status of my burgeoning sideburns.

She was sullen–my mother, that is. This was not unusual. She was given to fits of extremes, and I was fully aware that when she was in this condition, to stay clear–for everything about me was a potential object for attack.

I hid out in my room, and then heard a knock on my door. It was her.

She came in and sat down with tears in her eyes. She told me that “Daddy” was in Columbus in the hospital, diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. I never called him “Daddy.”

It was a strange sensation. I knew I was supposed to feel something. i really wanted to, and was aware that she expected me to, so I mustered some emotion.

I told her I wanted to be alone, and she complied.

When the door was closed I turned off the light, laid down on my bed and thought about the man who was my father.

We had never been close.

He was forty-eight years old when I was born so I am sure it was a little awkward for him to have a toddler, and finally a teen, jostling about the house.

He was a stoic man, not free with his feelings, leaving you wondering half the time if he had fondness in your direction whatsoever.

But now he was sick. That makes a difference, you know.

Two days later he returned from the hospital.

We were told he would begin cobalt radiation treatments the next week. He tried to smile and muster a brave profile but I could tell he was terrified, and once the treatments began it was even worse.

At that point in medical research, therapy was more or less an attempt to scorch the cancer, thus literally burning up the flesh around it. Cobalt.

He was red and swollen, but still desperately tried to connect with me to make amends for years of uncomfortable silence.

I was a jerk. I repelled him.

I was a teenager, and it was required of me to have a bit of aversion toward my father figure, but he really needed me to be more forgiving. I did not possess the capacity.

Christmas was sparse that year.

The nutcracker was down.

It was difficult to get our minds on “Joy to the World” when Dad was suffering and dying.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 35 (May 8th, 1967) The Sanbobs … October 11, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2377)

(Transcript)

They were called the Sanbobs.

They were one of three rock and roll bands in our school, although I use the term “band” loosely, to cover a multitude of whims.

They were headed by a guy named Chip Sanford. He worked with a fellow named Bob Wigglesworth. Thus, the Sanbobs.

Now, Chip did not like me, which caused Bob to follow suit in loyalty. I think the reason Chip didn’t like me very well was that he was chubby, wore glasses, and people were constantly saying that we “could be brothers,” which is a certain way to make sure that people won’t have an affinity for each other. I think another reason was that Chip played piano and so did I. I used my gifts in the gospel field, while he was drawn to the Troggs, the Beatles and the Kinks.

The Sanbobs had four members. As I already told you–Chip was on piano, Bob Wigglesworth on guitar (knowing an amazing five chords), Mark Jackson on drums, who was highly recommended for his loud playing, and Larry Mankins on bass–even though he couldn’t afford an electric one, so instead thumped on a stand-up, which left him appearing to be very vigorous, but unheard.

The biggest happening in the spring of 1967 in our school was that Chip got a new electric organ. It was so cool. So it was decided that the Sanbobs would be scheduled to play for the spring dance, and the diligent members of the quartet went out and learned six songs.

The only problem was that one of the songs they selected was Louie, Louie–which had already been banned by the state of Indiana for having obscene lyrics. Now, we lived in Ohio, but certainly did not want to seem immoral by advocating such a “loose tune.” When word got out to the principal’s office that the Sanbobs were planning to play the piece, a meeting was held and it was forbidden.

The FBI had investigated the lyrics, and had come to the conclusion that they were basically unintelligible. (The Kingsmen had made sure of that.) But just to play it safe, the song was still considered to be nefarious.

On the night of the dance, after they had played each of their five songs three times over, the Sanbobs decided to rebel against authority, and began to play Louie, Louie. The girls screamed in delight and the young men clapped their hands, peering at each other lasciviously.

It took a few minutes for the adults to figure out what was going on, but when they did, they proceeded to the stage to stop the performance. To my surprise, about twenty-five of the kids rushed the platform, locked their arms, and forbade the teachers from getting near the band, as the Sanbobs continued to croon the bewildering poetry.

(I was one of the participants who scattered to a corner of the gym in horror, like a mouse being chased by the handmaiden’s broom.)

When the teachers were unable to get through the “Red Rover, Red Rover” line-up, they decided to kill the electricity, which left the gymnasium encompassed in darkness.

At first there were some “oohs” and “aahs” and screams, which gradually became whispers and culminated in silence. The teachers, not sure what was going on in the dark, restored the juice and discovered that the students were making out with each other.

So it became a choice–which vice did you want to promote? Louie, Louie, with its garbled goodies, or a make-out session in the high school gym?

So the Sanbobs were allowed to finish their song, but an early termination of the dance was proclaimed.

Of course, as the years have gone by, it is obvious that nobody was really defiled by a single rock and roll song. It was prejudice, fear, apprehension and narrow-mindedness which did that to us.

 

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Quatrain of Weird State Names … July 8, 2014

 

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 a state sale

Wishing-a-ton

O-hell-o

Wash-con-sin

Tax-us

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Arizona morning

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Published in: on July 8, 2014 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bink … September 15, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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harleyHe came rolling up on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, dressed all in leather, with a black curly beard that lay on his chest as if it was resting from priestly duties. He climbed off, walked over, shook my hand and told me his name was Bink.

I was a little intimidated, so awkwardly, I asked him if Bink was short for anything. He explained it was the nickname his little nephew had given him because the tyke didn’t know how to say “bike” and instead, called him “Bink.” It was so cute and silly that I normally would have made fun of it, but looking at the motorcycle and the intimidating tattoos, I passed.

I began to wonder how I ended up with my two female cohorts at this particular gig. it was 1973 and I was only a couple of years out of high school. The dampness behind my ears was still drying. I had driven all the way to Detroit in my beat-up van, inserting a quart of oil every 100 miles ritualistically–just so the engine wouldn’t blow up.

The two girls with me didn’t know what to wear, so they each brought a prom dress for the occasion. Seeing Bink, I realized we were a bit overdressed. Matter of fact, some of the teenagers who were arriving for the evening bare-footed and in blue jeans began to peer at us and laugh.

Bink put an arm around me and led us inside, helping us set up our equipment. So when it came time for him to introduce us to his rather Bohemian brotherhood, he said the following:

“Listen, you scoundrels, I don’t want you laughing at these folks. They’ve come a long way to talk to us about Jesus. Maybe you don’t think they’re cool, but maybe you don’t know what God thinks is cool. So maybe you oughta just shut your mouths up, sit back and let your minds be blown. Because you know me–I’m Bink. And I’m tellin’ you … they’re beautiful dudes.”

With this, he held out his hand and welcomed us to come and do our thing. The gathering of young humans burst into applause, welcoming us. It was an amazing night–our girls in their prom dresses, hugging young women in the audience in hemp blouses, sporting long greasy hair.

I thought about that tonight as I made my way to Mount Clemens to set up for tomorrow’s gig. I thought about how civilized we think we have all become by finding compartments for every little piece of our lives, alienating off anything that doesn’t quite fit into the box.

I don’t know if a guy like Bink could exist today. Maybe he would be too specialized in his work and ministry to ever accept some fresh-faced novices from Ohio. But if that is the case, we’ve lost something.

And until we find it, we’re just a bunch of cynics on a fruitless search …  for an open-minded God.

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Just One More… November 17, 2012

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Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia.

All of these places have been my home this year. I have established a temporary address in each one in an attempt to achieve some permanent results. It has been Tour 2012–and it finishes off tomorrow morning in New Albany, Indiana. You will probably never visit New Albany, Indiana. You don’t have to go … because I’ll take you with me.

At one of my stop-offs in Grand Junction, Colorado, a man asked me what my favorite scripture was. I thought he was just trying to make conversation, so I turned the tables on him and asked him to tell me his favorite passage. He said it was a toss-up between for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son” and “nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

I told him I thought those were excellent choices. He pursued. “But what’s your favorite one?”

“My favorite one is found in the gospels,where it reads, ‘and Jesus went to another village.’

He looked at me, perplexed. I didn’t expect him to totally understand. For you see, the power of the gospel does not lie in the establishment of a church–the organization of religion into practices and rituals. The power of the gospel is that it travels well and is best expressed when it’s moving. It’s why Jesus said, “Foxes have holes but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

My traveling enables me to come into a town and love people, bring some incentives, make a few suggestions and exhort the areas where they are pursuing better paths–and then leave, allowing them, as mature people, to assimilate the message into their lives as they deem powerful. The danger of remaining in one community and believing that you can make a difference is that we all have a tendency to settle…and meddle. We “settle” into a series of repetitive actions determined to be normal, and then, when other people don’t follow our structure, we have a tendency to “meddle” in their affairs, taking away their freedom to be who God has made them to be.

Sometimes we use politics, sometimes we use corporations, but usually we use religious conviction as a club, attempting to hammer people into submission to the will of our local village.

It is most unfortunate.

Traveling as I do, I don’t have to “settle” for anything. I can live my life as I choose and share my discoveries with others without feeling the need for them to either condemn or affirm my purposes. Therefore, I don’t hang around long enough to meddle in their affairs or critique their concerns when those particular selections are not to my favor.

So you might ask me how you can do the same thing–to escape “settling and meddling”–and still maintain the integrity of a local post office box. That’s really easy. God gives every one of us a “tour schedule.” The beauty for most of you is that you don’t ever have to leave your own home. That tour schedule is called Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Yes, all of you can be on a tour–as long as everything that happens on Monday is not carried over to your next stop, on Tuesday. So you have your Monday tour and then you climb into your wonderful tour bus of sleep to journey onto your next gig, which is called Tuesday. Now, if you take along the problems of Monday or celebrate too many of the victories, without being fully aware that the next tour stop will have its own conflicts, then you make a huge mistake. But as long as you live within the day, not worrying about tomorrow, and you don’t fuss over the affairs of the last performance from the day before, you can find yourself in the same position I do–touring.

For after all, we’re all just visiting this place anyway. And those who put down their roots too deeply become very dissatisfied, disillusioned and discontented at the brevity of the visitation.

So I have one more stop tomorrow–but actually, I never stop. Because even as I go on to Nashville, Tennessee, to eat Thanksgiving with my family, and then climb back into my van to tour for ten days with a Christmas presentation, to finally, arrive in Miami to spend the holidays with all my kin, I am always moving on. Sometimes it’s just from Monday to Tuesday; sometimes it’s from New Albany, Indiana to Knoxville, Tennessee. The gospel works best when you don’t try to make your location concrete, but instead, understand that we’re all just passing through–one day at a time.

“And Jesus went to another village…”

A lady recently told Janet that she had come to the conclusion that we were homeless. I guess in some people’s minds it might appear that way. Of course, for fifty years now, I have been a follower of a homeless man who ended up traveling around–and in so doing, changed the whole world. I guess I rather admire his choices, and pattern some of mine after them.

So you will find me, for the rest of my life, going to another village. You may follow suit by keeping your favorite pillow but permitting yourself the blessing of traveling from Monday to Tuesday without feeling the need to worry about the former day or be too concerned about the next one.

Just remember one of the great rules of the road: it’s not polite to steal towels from your last lodging.

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Shuffled … October 28, 2012

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Human beings love to be wanted.

I am a human being. I am not exempt from the desire.

Yet about two or maybe three times a year, a church will cancel us because some big-wig from their district office, or a presbyter, or just a guy or gal in charge, steps in and invites themselves to the church on the particular Sunday when we were supposed to be there, and we end up dumped in the weeds.

It happened this Sunday.

Fortunately, the quality pastor of the church in Columbus, Ohio, who found herself double-booked and needing to get rid of us, was kind enough point the direction towards some other possibilities, and were were able to find a lovely lady to schedule us into a replacement engagement.

I am grateful for that. I don’t like to miss an opportunity to be in a position to share my heart every chance I get. But I am also a human being and not particularly fond of being shuffled around. You do have to fight off the instinct to feel that you were unwanted by one place and only being taken by another as a favor.

This is why years ago I had to deal with the primary ego question involved in trying to do something different. That question is simple: Can I understand that people don’t want you until you make it clear that they require you?

It’s true. Even in marriage, the affection seems to die out if the passion for being together dissipates–because we just don’t make ourselves valuable enough to each other. Love is not a promise of faithfulness; love is a reaction to faithfulness and the glory of an exciting journey. We may not always like that, but it’s true.

As I thought about being “shuffled around” by two Ohio churches, I was reminded of the story of Jesus going to a Samaritan village, and due to the good testimony of a woman at a well, who had an exciting encounter with him, he was able to have quite a revival in that particular community. Yet when he came back to Samaria later on–to the very same region where he had been so beneficial and successful–the story tells us that the town fathers came out and asked him to leave.

You see, the beauty of my story is that the church in Columbus that cancelled me has never experienced my particular message and gifts, so I don’t have to take it personally. It isn’t like the story with Jesus, where the people had already been blessed by him, but on a second go-around, decided to pass.

Ouch.

Here’s what I know about being shuffled around. If you keep your cool, don’t get offended, work on your talent and what you have to share, more often than not, the place you end up seems to be better than where you were originally intending to go. I don’t know why it works out that way–maybe it’s just the way God rewards those who don’t get fussy about being stood up. But in a way, life is a lot like a game of poker. Between every hand, the deck is shuffled. Otherwise, you just keep dealing the same cards.

The question I ask myself tonight before I go and spend a wonderful morning with these new friends is: can I allow myself to be shuffled and dealt out in a new direction without feeling that I am a second-class citizen?

I really do think so.

I think the most intelligent thing we can do is realize that we become valuable to people when we bring something of value to them, and until then, we are just strangers.

So here I go, to Somerset, Ohio, being shuffled.

I guess what I’m hoping for … is a full house.

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Ohio, Oh-My-Oh… September 29, 2012

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I was born in a small village in Central Ohio.

I should know from my adequate education in the state that it is actually redundant to say “small” and “village” together. But I did it so that I could correct myself, to demonstrate the style of thinking I was introduced to, being a resident of this fine state.

For in our town, although quite tiny, we had a nudist and a family whose members were in good standing with the John Birch Society. We had Democrats and Republicans living right next to each other and rarely complaining about their neighbor’s crab grass. Ohio was an unusual state to me because on any street corner you could have had John Lennon and Yoko Ono living in one house while just down the road you might find the home of Rush Limbaugh.

So I was curious about what was going to happen when I came into Ohio with my declaration of “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

Oh-My One: At my first stop, I was surprised when a man came to my table and said, “Jonathan, aren’t men better than women? Isn’t that what the Bible says?”

In earshot was a lady who immediately stepped up and piped in. “No, my friends. It is a scientific fact that women are superior to men.”

So you can see, whatever I said next was going to displease someone. Whenever I get into that position, I think it is just best to displease everybody.

I suppose there are those who would contend that the battle between the sexes has existed since ever Adam and Eve had a quarrel over splitting an apple. But the truth of the matter is that the differences between the sexes is mostly made up to maintain a split marketing plan for the public so as to offer products for one gender and others for the opposite.

Here’s the truth–“in the Kingdom of God, there is neither male nor female.” That’s what it says in the Bible. Now, I know you can find scriptures that contradict that concept, but they all come from a place where someone was trying to appease the existing squabble instead of speaking the truth.

So let’s take a quick look at this: if the Kingdom of God is within us (also from the Bible) and in the Kingdom of God there is neither male nor female, it is safe to assume that within us is a universal commonality, whether we be male or female.

Obviously, there are physical differences which create great possibilities for pleasure.  Glory be to God. But truly intelligent people are always in the pursuit of similarity instead of advocating difference.

I have worked with men and I have traveled with women, and I will tell you that the best ones have forsaken their boundaries of gender and have just become human. I have been told that women are more emotional than men, but the truth of the matter is that it’s quite the contrary. Having played sports and indulged in outdoor activities with men, they are just as emotional, if not more so, when their particular team or hunt has been benefitted through victory.

Separating ourselves into a gender battle in this country is one of the worst errors being propagated across the board. You hear it in church, you see it on television, you read it in books. Men are not better than women and women are not better than men.

If you don’t believe me, please make note of the “affirmative action program” Jesus conducted during his ministry on earth. Arriving ina completely male-dominated society, Jesus chose to thrust women and children into the forefront of his ministry. If you remove all the women from the life of Jesus, he not only loses funding, he also loses friends to be with him during his hour of torture AND anyone to recognize that he had risen from his the dead.

When the disciples wanted to get rid of the children, Jesus rebuked them and told them that children were what all humans should become if they wanted to enter the kingdom of heaven.

If you want to be Jewish or Muslim, you can continue to promote the differences between men and women. But you can’t do it if you’re a Christian. NoOne is better than anyone else–and it begins with Adam and Eve.

Oh-My Two: “Jonathan, maybe I just want to be better. It’s a free country.”

This one surprised me a little bit. Even though it appears to possess a bit of honesty, the odor that rises from this heap of misrepresentation stings your eyes and makes you pull away. I, for one, am disgusted with the notion that we are unique “because of our freedom.” Matter of fact, “freedom” may the most over-rated, overused and least understood word in all the world. Now, this is not because our forefathers didn’t explain that freedom only works when extended in equality to others, but over the years, we have decided that freedom is a torch, passed from one dominant race, party or religion to another, based upon the popularity of an idea. The truth of the matter is, no one is free to rob someone else of equality.

The Bible makes it clear that “where the spirit of God is, there is liberty”–and liberty is freedom which has graduated from high school and has taken at least a couple of courses in college. Whereas freedom merely demands “our own way,” liberty understands that when you seek to have your own preferences honored, it is only valid when you’re willing to honor the preferences of others.

As far as I know, there are only three ways to live on this planet:

  • by law, where whatever is permissible in this present hour is enforced, regulated and even prosecuted.
  • by grace, where you continue to do dumb things, and believe that you’re just so pretty and good-looking that everything should work out fine.
  • or by liberty, which means you consider your own desires and pursue them, fuilly aware that you will have to extend the same mercy and possibility to others.

When you arrive at that liberty, you find God, a heavenly Father who desired to send a messenger, His son, but was forced to stand back and accept the rejection of the ignorant masses as they put his boy to death. Now, that’s liberty.

He then turns it around and changes that vicious assassination into salvation for the hapless murderers. That’s grace.

So you can continue to insist that you have the right to be mean because someone bled and died on a beach in Normandy, but eventually, if you’re going to live in this country and abide under the true spirit of God, you will have to afford that liberty to everyone else–thus, once again, establishing that NoOne is better than anyone else.

So in Ohio I found those who thought they were unique by gender–both male and female. And they thought they were unique in their freedom and had the right to be errant and inconsiderate if they so desired. But stupidity only survives until smart has time to put on its shoes–and then stupidity is not just a mistake, it becomes the enemy of mankind.

In this country, only one generation back in our history, we contended that segregation of the races was permissible because … well, we preferred it. But whether we like it or not, every choice of freedom has to pass the test of submitting to the eternal concept of NoOne is better than anyone else.

I send my thanks to Ohio for giving me a place to lay my head until I was ready to use it. But I warn them that uniqueness born of gender or merely screamed out in freedom must honor the fact that liberty is where God builds His house.

So we’ve been to California, Alabama, Missouri, Texas and Ohio, fielding the questions from these “pitchers of culture.” Tomorrow we will sum up what we have learned on our nationwide quest–because … The Caper Continues.

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