We’re Open… October 9, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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openThe restaurant was determined to communicate its message.

Since it found itself tucked away behind a barrage of construction, orange cones, dump trucks and road workers, it was important to communicate to the public that they were still there, making food–open for business.

As I head off tonight to Grace Lutheran in Pittsburgh, I wonder if they’re as smart as this restaurant. Do they understand that the true message of love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness is nearly hidden by a busy religious machine which has committed so many atrocities against human beings that it hardly seems likely that anything behind the curtain of theology has much to offer?

Yes, right out in front of your church there are blockades, orange cones, dump trucks and people with signs, squeezing the traffic of life down to one lane, headed away from you.

If you have any intention of helping the brothers and sisters around you, you’d better get a big sign and put it out in front of your establishment that says, “We’re Open.”

  • We’re open to feeling. Yes, we don’t just recite things in our building. We let people feel the presence of God in the heart. Likewise, we don’t walk in ashamed because we have sinned. We come in looking for ways to do things better, so that next week we don’t have to be so embarrassed.
  • We also apply. That’s right–spiritual ideas are not merely noted or read in a deep voice from the lectern. We actually take ancient ideas and make them current, and if we can’t, we move on to the next passage, probing for the new wine.
  • We think.You will not need to leave your brain at the door and pick it up when you leave the service. We are willing to listen to great ideas, because after all, if we really believe in God, such noble overtures are completely within the spectrum of His will. And when we leave to head out to the parking lot to push past the construction:
  • We smile. We know nothing in life can be achieved if we do not decide to “be of good cheer.”

Lo, we need to put up a sign in front of the fellowship house of God that says “We’re Open.” We need to hope that pilgrims trapped in traffic, aggravated by the construction and torn up roads in front of our location, will risk coming in, and when they get there, they will find people who feel, apply, think and smile.

Or I guess we can just hope they assume that “supper’s cookin’.”

As I said, the church tonight is called Grace. But true grace is extended to those who are confused by the screaming yells of religion and would love to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd.

We’re open.

Advertise it–but also be prepared to back it up … if somebody can survive all the detours.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Crazy Larry… February 24, 2013

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Living a Legendary LifeI think it was about eight years ago. I had begun to write screenplays for independent movies, was composing some symphonic works for a regional orchestra, was working on a couple of novels and traveling across the country doing my presentation in churches.

It was an excitingly varied life, which brought one piece of information to the forefront of my mind: everyone is basically looking for a central mission in their journey, but are often reluctant to name that yearning by using one of the conventional terms for God or spirituality.

I found that both intriguing and comical. The thought in my mind is, once you find out where faith has its nexus, the name you come up with for this precious sense of peace of mind is not nearly as important as remaining passionate and fervent.

So I wrote a book called Living a Legendary Life, and in a very tongue-in-cheek style I proposed that rather than fighting over religious vernacular, we should just go ahead and call God–Larry.

I thought it was quite funny. I wasn’t actually suggesting that we start the First Church of Larry or the Holy Order of Larry. What I failed to realize was that I was trying to be humorous, off-the-cuff and clever in a world that does not particularly favor those presentations.

I immediately ran into the conservatives and the liberals. The conservatives were upset because I suggested that the name of the Divine God of the Universe was one of the Three Stooges. The liberals, on the other hand, were dismayed because I portrayed a God named Larry (which they didn’t have much problem with) but that this Deity expected people to be involved in their own lives and not cop out on their responsibilities.

Little did I know that I had placed myself directly in the center between these two houses of philosophy, and was in danger of being shot by both sides.

It made me think of the words of Larry’s son, Jesus, who once noted that he was very happy that truth is “hidden from the wise and prudent.” The wise consist of those more liberal individuals, who contend that they’re more intellectual and scientific than their backwoods brethren. And the prudent are the conservatives, who think the only way to be acceptable is to retreat into former times, when everything was supposedly just hunky-dory, and you could actually say “hunky-dory.”

This experience has not deterred my effort to maintain an autonomy from both camps. The wise are too smart to learn and the prudent are too careful to be blessed.

So both of them thought my idea was a rather “crazy Larry” concept–and my satire escaped them. But for those who are not bound by the restrictions of either world, who still believe that God loves us all, and keep good cheer in their lives because it is their favorite survival tool, my writings are still appreciated–and even occasionally comprehended.

After all, faith needs two very important parts: (1) it needs function. It’s got to be practical enough to be of some earthly good. (2) And it requires fervor. If it doesn’t energize you, it is a faith without works … which is dead on arrival..

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

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