Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4098)

Sitting Twenty-Seven

Karin caught wind of it and told her editor about the planned rally. He didn’t respond—just sprouted a tiny smile.

She was not comforted. She didn’t know what to do. She wanted to press her editor to gain more involvement from him, but it seemed he was more cynical than she was—and she knew that her negativity was beyond salvation.

So Karin decided to go see the boys. She sat down and shared a hamburger with them, asking a few idle questions. When she felt relaxed enough to broach the subject, she inquired, “What are you guys gonna do?”

“About what?” asked Pal.

Karin was perturbed. She was fully aware that they knew much more than they let on. “Do you really think this can go on?” she challenged.

Iz responded. “You mean us staying here in the desert?” He had that pesky little smile on his face, warning of his cunning.

“Yes,” said Karin in exasperation.

Pal spoke up. “We’ve talked about it.” He glanced over at Iz, carefully.

Karin leaned forward. “Well, I figured you had. I mean, you must be aware that people will not allow you to continue to do this.”

Iz objected. “Not allow us?”

Karin tossed her hamburger to the side. “Yes, Iz. To most people this is just foolishness.  You know—silliness? Boys at play?”

Iz stood, throwing his hamburger on the ground. “I see,” he began. “We’re silly. They have fought wars for thousands of years and we’re silly. They hate each other, and we’re silly. They blow up buses—and we’re silly. They try to keep us apart from each other, and we’re silly. They kill over oil and little tiny pieces of desert—and we’re silly.”

Pal leaped to his feet. “I don’t think we’re silly, lady. We may not have a plan, but who does? Are you trying to tell me that the Israelis or the Palestinians or even Americans have some sort of plan? Haven’t they just all run away, and found their own space to pout? Just like us—they’re over there in a corner, playing, hoping everything works out. How, tell me, are they any different from us? We’re just boys. We do boy things. Okay—we do them in a boy way. But they’re supposed to be men, and some of them women. You want us to take the blame for their stupid.”

Iz interrupted. “Yeah, lady newspaper. How are they different from us?”

 

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Jesonian … July 14th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3733)

In Luke the 7th Chapter, a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to dinner.

Why?

As the story rolls out, it becomes obvious that it wasn’t a “special” invitation. Jesus arrived to a very generic, all-male environment, believing that he was a special guest, but was ushered in to be seated as if he’s one of hundreds at a Golden Corral Buffet.

You see, Simon wanted to be “the guy.” He wanted to be that fellow who was open-minded enough to extend an invitation to Jesus. But at the same time, he was sure to portray that he was not getting on board with the Carpenter’s crowd.

Nasty politics. Insincere feelings.

So Jesus plopped down to have dinner, thoroughly ignored.

Except for one woman. She was a whore.  Luke makes it clear that she was not an out of work prostitute, nor one who had decided to forsake her profession.

Matter of fact, we are led to believe that she had just come from the job site to see Jesus. She probably still had the smell of a man on her. She certainly had the look of evil to those religious men who had presumably gathered to consider the turn of some phrase uttered by a prophet a thousand years ago.

She brought a gift–ointment. She brought her tears, and she used her hair to dry those tears as they drizzled on his feet.

It was a sensual experience.

It was so intimate that the Pharisees, especially Simon, became infuriated that Jesus did not stop the awkwardness of the moment.

They whispered. “If he were truly a prophet, he would know what kind of woman she is…”

When Jesus realized they were critiquing the woman’s gentleness and mocking her right to be considered, he spoke up.

First, he asks Simon’s permission to speak to him. He doesn’t yell. He doesn’t offer counsel where it is not wanted. He asks for the grace to share.

And then he explains the three essentials to reaching people–whether it’s for God or for business.

He tells Simon, “When I came here you offered me no water, you gave me no kiss and you provided no oil. Yet this woman has given me the water of her tears, has kissed my feet with her warmth and anointed me with oil she brought in her alabaster box.”

Water. Kiss. Oil.

All humans need all three of these.

We need water to be cleansed. We need water to drink. We need water to be refreshed, instead of having things withheld, leaving us thirsty.

Simon thought they were going to have a great conversation over dinner about their disagreements. Jesus said, “You don’t get it, dude. It’s about water. It’s about offering a kiss.”

Intimacy.

I, for one, am sick and tired of ministry that has no connection. It takes more than three or four scriptures being read aloud for us to feel caressed.

The human race has not failed. Rather, the messengers of God have settled for meetings in dark rooms to discuss minutia.

The woman gave Jesus a kiss and he said it was good.

There is no ministry without intimacy. If you don’t plan on looking deeply into someone’s eyes, drying their tears and hugging them, then quit. Save yourself the aggravation of performing religious duties that have become meaningless.

And finally, it was the oil–the oil of gladness, the oil of healing.

It touched Jesus.

How magnificent is it to know that you are a woman who has just risen from the bed of being with a lover, and worked up the gumption to come to Jesus’ feet humbly, admitting your confusion, and know that you moved him?

Ministry is not about theology.

Ministry is not about church.

Ministry is not about praise and worship.

It’s about bringing the water for cleansing, the kiss for intimacy and the oil for healing.

Jesus did not come to Earth to explain Heaven.

Jesus came to Earth so we once and for all could make sense of Earth.

*****

If you like the mind of Jesus without religion, buy the book!

                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

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Quatrain of Popcorn… November 26, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2079)

Orville Redenbacher

Oil me up

Burner the heat

Shake it, baby

Butter than ever

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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

Bink … September 15, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2007)

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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Faith Without Woks Is Not Stir Fry… July 20, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1949)

Chinese wokThey were trying to help.

Keith and Ruth Ann thought it would be good to offer assistance to Dollie and I since we were only twenty years old, just getting started with life in general.

So they bought us a wok. It was the craze of the time.

It was a huge, stainless steel or aluminum bowl that you were supposed to cook vegetables and meat in to concoct a meal.

It came with instructions. Of course, I ignored those because I was already fully intelligent enough at age twenty to comprehend all things, both practical and cerebral.

So the first meal we attempted in the wok burned.

When I explained this to Keith and Ruth Ann, they asked if I had “treated the pan”–per the directions. I had not. It seems that you needed to smear oil on the inside over and over again, until the surface “accepted” this ointment and prepared itself for you to actually cook.

Honestly, I was not pleased to own a neurotic pan. But I smeared my oil and then cooked my second meal. It was horrible.

Why? Not because it burned, but because it was flavorless. When I shared with Keith and Ruth Ann, they laughed. (That’s what experts do when they want to make novices feel like idiots.)

They shared that an adequate amount of seasoning needs to go into the meals, since vegetables and the like don’t provide much taste on their own.

So we tried again–a third meal–adding various seasonings to complement the ingredients. It tasted better, but was not fully cooked.

I once again consulted with my experts on the Chinese cuisine. They were fully sympathetic, and presented that it was necessary to stir the food constantly while it was cooking, so as to get even distribution of the heat, to make the meal of one common texture.

So on my fourth go around, I finally cooked a meal in my wok that was edible.

The reason I share this story with you is that tomorrow I am heading off to share at Faith Lutheran Church in Dodge Center, Minnesota.

It is nothing but a stainless steel wok. But since I had that experience with Keith and Ruth Ann’s gift, I know what to do:

  1. First, I will bring the oil of gladness. Nothing in the human experience that proposes human fellowship is of any value if it doesn’t bring joy.
  2. Then I will pour in the right ingredients–healthy things that when mixed together, look like they’re fun to receive in your being.
  3. How about adding seasoning? Salty ideas and music peppered with emotion.
  4. And finally, praise God–stir it up! If you plan on leaving people the way you found them, you have no business being a spiritual chef.

So that’s my plan.Dodge Center Faith Lutheran

Faith Lutheran without woks is not stir fry. That I can tell you for sure.

So even though I was not particularly grateful for my gift from Keith and Ruth Ann, and ended up only using it a fifth time after my success on the fourth attempt, I learned that it’s not about simply having a pan … it’s knowing how to apply the heat.

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

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Marching to Zion … April 19, 2013

(1,856)

Jiffy LubeCan I tell you that I learn much more sitting in a waiting room at Jiffy Lube than I ever do running around doing stuff or kneeling in prayer?

I have nothing against work or piety. It’s just that we occupy this space and time with other human beings, so every once in a while, it’s a good idea to listen to them, enjoy them and fellowship with them instead of merely viewing them as friends or competition. Because in the process of procuring friends, we eliminate other people who don’t make the cut. And if you take too much time eyeballing other people as “competition,” you will soon lose sight of your own abilities and become paranoid about their intentions.

What happened in that Jiffy Lube was that I listened to three people, strangers to one another, having a conversation as they waited for their oil to be revived. It was remarkable. Nearly everything they said, talked about, referred to and mentioned I was familiar with and basically was in agreement. It made me wonder how we ever got to the point that we believe we are all so unique and different from one another–separated on islands by ourselves or entrenched in camps. Apparently there are some nastier individuals in this world who take pleasure and make profit by keeping brothers and sisters, men and women, Republicans and Democrats and religious and non-religious people at odds with each other.

I am going to make a bold statement: I would say that everyone on earth–whether in China, Canada, Argentina, England or Wyoming–share about 85% of common values and likes. How about that? That means that more than eight out of ten things in the human family would be agreeable to us all. So why do we spend time focusing on the two things that might cause conflict? It’s mainly because we insist on establishing our value based upon our uniqueness.

Not me. I was so blessed by the experience of realizing that I am part of a much larger clan of Homo sapiens than I thought, that I walked out of that Jiffy Lube whistling (even though they charged me too much for an air filter).

And as I climb into my van today and head over to Fredericksburg, Texas, to a place called Zion Lutheran, my mind drifts to the idea that the word “Zion,” although usually referring to Israel or Jerusalem, is also defined as “a harmonious community.”

We really DO live in Zion. If 85% of what we feel and think is common to us all, then we have much more reason to march towards Zion–a place of unity–than we ever do to trudge off into the desert alone.

In that spirit, I will go to this community tonight and celebrate that 85%. After all, the 15% of disagreement always has something to do with religion, politics or our particular taste and preference in entertainment and food products.

I guess if I just stay away from those topics, I can “march to Zion” … and have a truly harmonious experience.

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Barack Romney … July 20, 2012

(1,582)

Or is it Mitt Obama?

Either way, the two men are identical because the path available to them and accessible to their Presidential aspirations is already pre-determined.

Basically it comes down to wars and taxes. Yes, we are holding a very expensive election in this country to determine who will be in charge of the guns and bombs and how the revenue will be levied, collected and distributed.

If you are a Republican, you contend that there is evil in the world that needs to be uprooted–if necessary, by force. If you happen to be of the Democrat persuasion, you don’t see the world quite as black and white, but instead, feel compelled to use military force more sparingly and with less obvious destruction and financial loss.

Likewise, if you’re a Republican, you think taxes should be lessened, with money being given back to the people, hoping that the electorate will be inspired by their sudden burst of financial gain, to become consumers and generous towards others. On the other hand, the Democrats are not quite as optimistic about the integrity of the populace and wish to take a bit more tax from them, to ensure that the basic needs of the less fortunate will be addressed.

Wars and taxes.

But on the larger issues of the economy, diplomacy, and energy consumption, the United States finds itself somewhat at the mercy of events.

It happened in 2001 when a plan was hatched in a cave in Afghanistan to attack the United States with its own airplanes. There were three targets: the World Trade Center, to roust about the economy; the Pentagon, to make a symbolic statement against our military; and the Unites States Capitol, to disrupt our government. Even though only one-third of the plan was fulfilled, with the Pentagon being damaged but not destroyed and the Capitol spared by the heroism of common citizens on an airplane, it was enough to send us on a spin, which seven years later, led to a complete economic collapse.

It wasn’t because the World Trade Center was destroyed or even that three thousand people were killed in the atrocity. It was the fact that these devious plotters had an understanding that the American public would respond to this piece of treachery in three predictable ways:

  • First, we would become furious.
  • Second, because we are needy for foreign oil and dependent on other nations for loans, we would make ourselves vulnerable through our fury and overextend ourselves in actions of retribution which we could not pay for.
  • And finally, we would be drunk on our own sense of history and mission, insisting that we are the greatest nation in the world, even though there has been some slippage and repairs and renovation are required.

Osama bin Laden and all of his crew took it for granted that America would become furious, while still needy, and drunk on its own sense of self-importance.

We fell into the trap. We unintelligently believed that the attack was about what happened on 9/11, instead of realizing that the true monstrous deed was to get the American culture to over-react, sending us into a permanent spin. We accommodated our enemies.

The end result is that we have temporarily lost the ability to effectively remedy our situation, and instead, have begun to believe that the problems that face us are due to social immorality or over-spending for the needy.

We have lost our way.

So it doesn’t matter if it’s Barack or Mitt. As long as we continue to insist that we are something we are not, remain angry at the world around us while still needy for its goods, we will continue to plummet in both our fiscal power and our physical presence.

What would make a difference? What kind of leader would we need to choose to pull us out of this nose dive? We would need an individual who would tell us that we must stop being furious–and turn around.

Yes, to continue in the same direction we are heading, arrogantly pursuing a path of self-righteous anger about our situation, is to place us careening towards a cliff and a fall to our death. We must turn around.

Although people debate about guns in this country, the issue is not whether we have guns or not. Actually, the Canadians have more guns per capita than the people of the United States. The difference is, the Canadians aren’t furious. Logic tells us that if we were at a bar and someone was drunk and angry, we would not allow him to have a gun, even if we felt we were taking away his personal freedom.

No, the problem is not guns–it is that we have a nation that believes it has a God-given right to be angry. We require leadership that gently spanks our rump for being so frustrated and childish and tells us to get over it. What has happened in our world is not pleasant at all, but being furious about it and seeking revenge is neither spiritual nor productive.

The first message of any good leader in this situation should be, “Turn around. Stop being mad.”

The second thing this imaginary leader would have to bring forth is to ask each and every American to deal with the facts. We are under the thumb of OPEC because we use too much oil. We cannot possibly produce enough oil to satisfy our needs by digging all over our country. So we need to find other alternatives as quickly as possible, making it a national priority. Hybrid cars should be subsidized by the government and made available at less cost than gasoline cars. We should encourage people to “go green” rather than presenting the option as if it’s some sort of “hippie” fetish, like preferring tofu.

We should understand–the world’s resources and population are tilted to the east. We are a minority on our own planet, and therefore should learn how to deal with nations and cultures that are alien to our sensibilities.

A great President would demand that we deal with the facts instead of sitting around like a bunch of children on our birthday, making wishes as we blow out the candles.

And finally, this imaginary soul who would occupy the Oval Office should insist that we cease being drunk on our own self-reliance and touting of history, and instead, begin to focus on excellence in every portion of our efforts. We should start with education, move into production, spread into the arts and culminate in our own unique families. Without excellence, we will not be able to compete simply because we have George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in our lineage. We do not need anyone to retell our history. What we require are people to rise up from the mediocrity and become history makers.

As long as this country is furious, needy and drunk on its own conceit, it won’t matter who you put in Washington, D.C. The results will be the same because we will be at the mercy of the world around us and trapped in our own inefficiency.

It is time for quality management in this country, which demands we turn around from our anger, that we deal with the facts of our neediness and begin to become more self-sufficient–and finally, that we focus on excellence in the moment instead of having marching bands playing patriotic songs to remind us of better times.

Barack Romney. If he is elected, he will deal only with wars and taxes, leaving us at the mercy of a world twirling and progressing in ways that we don’t quite comprehend.

Is our country ready to recant blind rage, repent of excess and remove frustration? I’m not sure. But until we are, we will spend all of our time arguing about abortion, gay marriage, contraception … and which one of the pretty boys we’re trying to elect can eat the most apple pie.

   

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