Good News and Better News… February 27th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The whir, whistle, hum, song and even roundness of the Earth is totally dependent upon the serene application of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Without such a magnificent axiom, it literally becomes “every man for himself,” with women and children often left out in the cold. It is a principle that tells us how to treat bears, bugs, spiders, cats and Mother Earth.

  • Unfortunately, the business world has no respect for the concept.
  • The entertainment industry ponders darker applications.
  • And the political world courts “church,” while ignoring virtue.

It is literally left up to those who attend services of worship to keep this precious Golden Rule in the mix. Simultaneously, the church as we know it is shrinking as people depart, disappointed.

The church is failing because it’s trying to be religious instead of the voice of our generation. It is awash in theology instead of considering the best angles for dealing with other human beings.

There are two reasons people go to church–two reasons and two reasons only. It is not for the worship of God and the praise of the saints.

  1. They’re afraid they’ll miss something.
  2. They’re afraid they’ll miss someone.

The human race is tribal and basically gregarious.Therefore, we want to gather and enjoy ourselves.

Why do we think people should get into their cars, drive across town and sit for an hour, leaving baffled about their own personal lives, while merely logging heavenly frequent flyer miles?

Until we understand that the church has to be a place of excitement, discovery, intrigue and most definitely creativity–where people are not certain whether they will hear a new opera sung or see magnificent healings–we must understand that our meager offering of a few songs, a sermon and a communion “happy meal” will probably not continue to draw them.

It’s about being together, strengthening one another. We must get rid of the notion that there has to be suffering to attain spiritual grace.

The good news is that people want to be excited and God is prepared to provide the opportunity.

The better news is that people would love to learn, in a consecrated place, how to make “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” the hip philosophy of our time.

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Leotarded … May 30, 2013

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fairgroundsWe called it “Artist’s Haven.”

It was a gathering of local people in the Shreveport, Louisiana, area who deeply believed they had a creative itch to scratch and wanted to get together, if for no other reason, to have someone else listen to their poem, song–or just general speak-easy.

We met in a museum which had a small art gallery in it (see above picture). We were surrounded by lovely oil paintings and sat around a huge wooden table with large red-velvet chairs, which tried to insist they were still elegant, although age had taken its toll.

The weekly event lasted about an hour and consisted of me sharing some thoughts, followed by an open air to the entire room, allowing anyone to take three minutes to present an offering of inspiration. Considering how unorganized it was and how many of the community’s misfits found their way through the doors, it was really a magnificent melee.

Amazingly, we had only been meeting for about two months when I received a phone call from a young woman from the Arts Council telling me about a ballet troupe which had traveled to Shreveport from New York City. She took a moment to promo them to me –with their resume and accomplishments. I wasn’t sure why she was selling them so hard. Then came the closer.

The ballet troupe had received a grant to travel around the US to about thirty cities. It was required that they perform three times in each town in order to fulfill their obligation. Bottom line was that the agent had been unsuccessful in finding three different places in Shreveport willing to let people come in and “toe dance.” They had located one high school and a retirement center, which reluctantly allowed them thirty minutes of cavorting between tapioca and bingo.

The agent had gotten word that we were meeting at the art gallery and wondered if we would be willing to let the troupe come in and share during our meeting.

I couldn’t help myself. I giggled. I was trying to envision our group of human specimens being invaded by an avant-garde troupe from New York City. But on the other hand, it seemed rude to say no to such talent–AND I have enough of an ornery nature that I decided it would be wonderful to shake things up.

So I told her I would try to get at least forty people there–up from our usual twenty–and immediately launched on a phone campaign. It was rather successful. A couple of our young girls knew some fellows from the university who were involved in dance, and leaped at the opportunity to see these professionals.

All in all, we ended up with forty-two people gathered around six gorgeous. professional vessels of movement, watching them perform things that none of us understood. For me, it was just fun to look around the room–especially at the young girls who had never seen that much leotard live in concert. Also, the young men were quite enamored with the female form and balance.

Our Artist’s Haven was a rowdy group, so the dancers were overjoyed to be regaled with applause and hoots on every single maneuver. Just imagine if you blended an opera with a cock-fight–you pretty much have the atmosphere. The artists answered questions, accepted hugs, had conversation and a little refreshment followed.

I will never forget that night. It showed me that people do not have to be sophisticated to be willing. People do not have to be well-versed to be present. And people do not have to be liberal to avoid being conservative.

What you have to do is just love people–even if they’re leaping in the air in front of you and you don’t quite get it.

It was a wonderful time in my life. And from the Artist’s Haven, I learned that the reason we need art is that it reminds us that we are not yet whole.

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