Rabble and Rubble… March 31, 2013

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church inside biggerSome were killers. Others watched. The rest ran away in terror, except for a tiny handful, which stuck around to stow the mutilated corpse in a tomb.

I didn’t know what to do. I was no killer, didn’t have the stomach to watch, couldn’t run as fast as the cowards and wouldn’t wrap my mind around a “grave” conclusion for my best friend.

So I just walked.

Actually, I’ve been walking for twenty-four hours, now. Of course, I exaggerate, but it sure seems like an endless odyssey of meaningless meandering. I walk and I look.

I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for–I guess some sort of sign of shock, revulsion or horror over the atrocity just committed on that hill so far away. But truthfully, life seems to be going on. Nothing is canceled. No one discusses postponing local events to consider the murder of an innocent man. I even came across a wedding in progress, with the sound of jubilation and music. The Passover is in full swing. The Romans are in control and religion has dressed up for the day.

I feel like I’m about to go insane over the calmness that’s settled in on a world gone mad. Jesus loved the rabble. He embraced those souls the world deemed riff-raff. He met them in their hour of need, saved them, healed them and even raised them from the dead. Yet when he reached his critical moment–when he required the support of these who were benefitted by his mercy–they accepted the wisdom of a Council which they normally mocked, and they screamed in unison for a murderer and robber to be released to their fellowship. They chose the allure of darkness because it was closer to the coloration fo their own souls.

Mostly I’m disgusted with myself. Because the absence of knowing what to do is not the presence of an excuse for not doing anything. It may seem that way in the moment, but it is a lie.

I don’t know where to go. Some of my friends went fishing to take their minds off the dilemma. There are a few hiding out in an upper room–simulating prayer, but really shaking in their sandals over every rustling outside the door, wondering if it is the Romans coming to slice them into pieces.

I just can’t be with any of them. The rabble disgusts me because they denied their own best solution. And the rubble of a once-great “kingdom movement” is so insipid and vacant of ideas that I can’t tolerate sitting in their presence, commiserating.

I feel so alone that I’m taunted by the specter of suicide. Yet I won’t do that. That would require a certain amount of courage which I lack, and an insanity which I refuse entrance.

I walk on.

Has it really come down to the simplicity of the rabble and the rubble? My friend Jesus dedicated his life to protecting the lost and innocent, only to have them choose cowardice in his hour of need. Likewise, he spent hours and hours instructing people like me–his followers–but when he was confronted with evil, he only found frightened little Jewish boys and girls, who had learned much but acquired little.

Now hours have passed. I must have dozed off, although I would have sworn I was incapable of sleep. The Sabbath is over and the first fruits of the light of dawn are creeping into the velvety haze of darkness. It will soon be morning. What will I do?

Even though I used to enjoy the beginning of each day, now the sun mocks me because it shines its light on my indecision. Do I go and resume my life among the rabble–pretending that the little piece of misfortune that happened on Calvary was a thing of the past?

I can’t do that. Too many miracles. Too many blessings. Too many hugs. Too many roads. And too many reasons to remember.

I guess I will head to the tomb. In the long run, it is better to be with the rubble–the remains of a great idea–than with the rabble, lacking any inclination toward solution.

Sunday morning. I will go to the tomb.

After all … it is the last place I saw Jesus.

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

Dreadfully Dull… April 7, 2012

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It’s the Saturday part that always interests me. Looking at the days of Easter, from the arrest of Jesus through the crucifixion and on to the resurrection, we often leave out that twenty-four-hour period when he’s dead, beginning to stink and absent of any prospect of life.

Yes, for one day evil has won. Oh, shoot–that’s too dramatic. It would be easier if it were evil. Then we could take a gun out and shoot it, or send Navy seals over to exterminate it. But no. That Saturday between the crucifixion and the resurrection was a day when much more common, but sinister, concerns were given free rein.

It was a day of dreadful dullness. Because when you turn out the light what remains is darkness. Unacceptable. Yet time passes, your eyes adjust and it suddenly gains plausibility. Adaptation. Yet still, dreadfully dull.

It is a time when the consequence of extinguishing our possibility taunts us in our foolishness and inefficiency, leaving us to either repent in great sorrow for our short-sightedness or stubbornly insist, “It was my choice.”

Yes, it’s the Saturday that fascinates me–a Saturday when the street cleaners of Jerusalem are scraping up the bowels and remains of Judas Iscariot, who has hung himself and has fallen to the earth, gushing in all directions.

It’s a day when a disciple named Peter realizes that he has chosen his own bodily life over the spiritual life he gained from his friend. For denial, after twenty-four hours, reeks of betrayal. And unfortunately, there is no way to recreate beauty by removing truth.

It’s when a woman named Mary, from Magdala, is trying to figure out how in the hell her friend has been snuffed out by a religion she had honored all her life, and also how she was going to be able to roll away a stone to prepare his body for burial.

It is the Sabbath Day, a day of reverence in the midst of a season of redemption–Passover–a day when Caiaphas, the high priest, has symbolically given absolution to a race of people when he, himself, has blood on his hands from slaying the promise of God.

It is a day when people huddle in their houses of worship to commemorate the great deeds of the prophets of old, who were slain by their fathers and mothers–and now they, too, have followed suit, eliminating the greatest possibility.

Nicodemus has to wonder whether he said enough to defend the young man he came to visit by night, who told him to be “born again.” Perhaps he should have heeded the advice.

And Pontius Pilate has clean hands but a cluttered mind, wondering whether his latest decision might have eternal consequences.

But sanity often demands that we escape our conscience through the back door of excuse. The only recourse is to find inane activities that generate a dreadful dull–to anesthetize the guilt and leave us absent sensation.

It was a long day. It was a day when the world was without a Prince of Life and the Light of the World.

I’m not so sure we would have survived two of them–more lies and deception would have been needed to keep us from wondering if we were wrong.

  • Religion–without God.
  • Politics–removing purpose.
  • Friends–breathing, minus love.
  • And dreams–vegetating, devoid of fulfillment.

‘Twas a dreadful dullness–a warning. For resurrection loses some of its sweetness with the memory of indecision.

Only Mary Magdalene and her female companions could tout the glory of victory–having remained each step of the way, faithfully observing the unfolding of the magnificent plan. All others have the aching memory of twenty-four hours of dreadful dullness. 

Victims? Perhaps. But also culprits … in a crime against the universe.

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

Marketing the Big TE… April 1, 2012

(1,471) 

As it turns out, Lazarus, who was recently saved from the grave, was the owner of a public relations firm in Bethany. Being so grateful for not being dead anymore and also as an act of appreciation for his friend Jesus, Lazarus made his public relations efforts available to the Nazarene for his upcoming arrival into Jerusalem. Lazarus had partnered for some fifteen years with his good friend, Hermotheus Goldstein, forming Lazarus and Goldstein.

Hermotheus’ friends knew him as “Hermie”–a quiet, unpretentious man, but quite on top of his game, with a tremendous eye for the bottom line. So Lazarus, respecting his partner’s skill, asked Hermie if he would take over the “Jesus promotional scheme.” A meeting was set for the Tuesday prior to the planned entrance into town.   The time arrived.

Hermotheus introduced himself to Jesus. “Hello, Jesus, my name is Hermotheus, and my friends call me Hermie–Hermie Goldstein.”

“Hermotheus?” repeated Jesus.

“Yes,” said Hermie. “My father was Greek and my mother was a Jew. I guess that makes me a Jeek.”

“Or a Grew…” said Jesus, with a smile peeking through his bushy mustache and beard.

“I suppose,” said Hermie. The uncomfortable silence that often accompanies the minutes after first introductions ensued. At length, Hermie filled in the gap.

“So…how long have you known Lazarus?”

Jesus smiled again. “Long enough to have seen him at his best … and worst.”

Hermie pursued. “So you’re going to be making an entrance of sorts, into Jerusalem–with your entourage?”

At this, Jesus laughed. “Entourage? You know, I never thought of these fellows and ladies as an entourage.”

“Well, you know what I mean,” said Hermie, a bit nervously. “I guess my job here is to showcase this event in the best light possible.”

Jesus nodded. Hermie continued. “Have you thought about how you’ll be set apart from the rest of the crowd surrounding you? For instance, riding a horse might make you look like a king or a great general of the legions of Rome…”

Jesus shook his head. Hermie tried again. “Okay. No horse. How about a camel? That would make you high and lifted up.”

Once again, Jesus expressed his disapproval, so Hermie asked, “What were you thinking about as far as your way of portraying yourself upon entering into our holy city?”

Without hesitation Jesus piped up. “I was thinking about a baby donkey.”

Hermie paused. “A donkey?” he asked.

“A baby one,” Jesus added.

“Aren’t you afraid your feet will scrape on the ground?” Hermie inquired.

“Actually I thought it would be rather nice for the young animal if I was able to occasionally stand up and walk for myself.”

It took a moment for Hermie to realize that Jesus was kidding. “So you have your heart set on a baby donkey…?”

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly phrase it that way. Actually, any little ass will do…”

“All right,” said Hermie. “Let’s talk about people. Your audience. The crowd. Your followers. The individuals that will propel and spread your message. I have inroads into the top dignitaries, the religious community, business men and the wealthy Who’s Who of Jerusalem. We obviously want them to be in the forefront…so that the significance of your arrival in town will be heralded by those in the know.”

“Well, Hermie,” said Jesus. “I would like to go with my standard friends and acquaintances.”

“Okay,” said Hermie. “And who would they be?”

“Let’s see,” said Jesus. “There are the poor. Quite a few former lepers. Those who were blind. Got lots of women. Tons of children. And honestly…a strong contingency from small towns and rural areas of Galilee.”

Hermie sat silently, so Jesus continued. “This isn’t going to be a problem, is it? Honestly, those dignitaries and those religious people … well, I do see them from time to time, but there’s something missing in my chemistry with them. Do you understand what I mean?”

Hermie was frustrated. Out of respect to his partner, Lazarus, he continued faithfully. “I was thinking about some banners, lots of flowers … ”

“I was thinking of palm branches freshly ripped from the trees,” interrupted Jesus.

“How about a chant?” Hermie suggested.  “Something like Israel is great’ or even Yea, Jesus’…

“How about this?” replied Jesus.Hosanna.”

Hermie peered at the backwoods preacher for a long moment. “I can see that many of our ideas are … well, let me say … divergent from each other. But I think we both can agree that it’s important–especially entering the Holy City, and also during this sacred time of Passover–that you do nothing to upset traditions, disquiet the religious leaders or to rob any sense of national pride and sanctity towards our religion.”

Jesus smiled and said softly, “Too late.”

Hermie was disquieted. He wanted to do right by Lazarus, but it seemed everything he attempted to suggest to make Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem successful was being thwarted by the young Galilean. He offered one final suggestion. “Well, I think you pretty well have decided what you want to do, but can I recommend that you at least call it something like ‘The Triumphal Entry,’ which could easily be marketed as The Big TE? And honestly, if I had been given two months notice, I have a team of ladies down in Jericho who could have woven that onto your robes in a beautiful style, to advertise the event.”

Jesus patted Hermie on the back and said, “Thank you, my friend. The Triumphal Entry it shall be. Of course, without the accompanying souvenier robes.”

Five days later, the entrance into Jerusalem happened on a baby donkey with palm branches and hosannas. It was not a Goldstein production. Hermie had tried to bring Jesus into the first century but he was stuck somewhere back with old ideas.

On the Monday following the event, Hermie, who had missed the actual entrance, caught up with his friend, Lazarus. He detailed his meeting with Jesus and asked Lazarus how things had gone. Lazarus told him it was super.

Hermie said, “Well, he didn’t listen to much I said. But at least I believe he probably took my advice and didn’t upset the religious leaders or go into the temple and create a scene and get them all upset during Holy Passover.”

Lazarus put his arm around his old friend and said, “Well, Hermie, let me tell you …”

 **************

Listen to Jonathan sing his gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, accompanied by Janet Clazzy on the WX-5 Wind Machine

 

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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