Catchy (Epilogue) Stuck Moving… September 30th, 2018

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Sitting on the edge of the king-size bed in the master bedroom of her comfortable condominium in Alexandria, Virginia, Jo-Jay was adorned only in a matching tie-dye bra and panty set. It was her tribute to a foregone era.

Perched right next to her was Matthew, in what appeared to be an over-exerted pair of white boxer briefs, which was his tribute to a fear of buying new underwear.

If a stranger walked in on the scene, it would be assumed that torrid love-making was either completing, or soon to commence. But instead, Jo-Jay and Matthew, (once again, barely clothed), were sitting and discussing their relationship.

“Here’s what I’d like to know,” said Jo-Jay. “Do you even get an erection when you see me sitting here like this? I mean, I’m curious.”

Matthew lifted his leg so as to turn and look at her and replied with a bit of disgust, “Of course I do. Do you want to see it?’

She held up her hand to cease the reveal and replied, “Good. Because I’m a little wet.”

The conversation stopped at that point. They both nodded their heads, a bit relieved that each was sufficiently aroused.

“Are you still in love with Leonora?” asked Jo-Jay flatly.

Matthew lay back on the bed. “Oh, Jo-Jay… I was never in love with Leonora. Leonora was an idea. She was like thinking about going out to get blueberry pancakes at three o’clock in the morning. She was the unreachable star and I was the Man of La Mancha.”

Jo-Jay lay down next to him. “So would that make me buttered toast? Or am I being too generous to myself–adding butter?”

He leaned over and kissed her, and she kissed him back. It was very satisfying.

They had times when they had explosive make-out sessions–often on the plane, as they flew around the world, trying to bring the Gospel in the forms of water, food, medicine and opportunity. It had been seventy-seven days since they had departed together from the Haven on the Mount on the jet . There had been no contact whatsoever with that Shangri-la, but instead had cast their lot with Jubal, Jasper, Sister Rolinda and Soos, attempting to coordinate the efforts, which had spread so quickly that it was impossible to keep control of the movement–even with a GPS.

Jubal put it this way. “I think people always wanted to do something better, but all the television commercials told them they were too much in need to be generous.”

Matthew and Jo-Jay could not have been any happier as a couple, but still had not found the proper ignition for coupling. Both were tired of talking about it. Both of them knew there was a great fear that they would be so clumsy in bed that they would have to walk away from the possibility of mating for life.

It was comical, pathetic, nerve-wracking and adorable, all at the same time.

Jo-Jay turned her head toward Matthew and asked, “What is it that works for you?”

Matthew likewise turned his face to her, the two of them nearly nose-to-nose. “What do you mean?”

“Oh, come on,” said Jo-Jay. “Don’t make me say stuff. You know what I mean. What should I do to get your fire started, so we’re burned up in sexual pleasure before we ever realize we’re in danger?”

Matthew frowned. “Uh…I don’t know…”

“Work with me,” said Jo-Jay. “I’ll tell you mine. I like to be licked. Not immediately, though. I like it when a man teases me, like he might do it…he might not…it’s kind of a moody thing. It drives me crazy.”

“So,” posed Matthew, “you want me to lick you?”

“Not now, you idiot! I have to be surprised. Titillated.” Jo-Jay sighed.

“So you want to know mine?” he asked.

“Only if you’re comfortable releasing such a deep, hidden secret,” she responded sarcastically.

“Well, it’s gonna sound weird, so don’t laugh,” said Matthew. “It’s not that I’m a girl, or gay or anything. But I like it when a woman…”

He stopped in mid-sentence.

Jo-Jay leaned up on her elbow and came closer. “Whan a woman what?”

“Do you promise not to laugh?” asked Matthew.

“No,” said Jo-Jay. “I can’t promise that. We laugh at each other all the time.”

“Good point,” acknowledged Matthew. “Just promise not to laugh more than…say…five seconds.”

Jo-Jay nodded. “I think I can do that.”

Matthew cleared his throat, closed his eyes tightly, opened them again and said very quickly, “I like to have a woman suck my nipples.”

Jo-Jay burst out laughing. She couldn’t stop.

“It’s been more than five seconds,”said Matthew.

“I’m sorry,” Jo-Jay said. “You didn’t tell me that you were a nipple boy.”

Matthew sat up, stood to his feet, turned and pointed at her. “And you wonder why we haven’t had sex.”

She glanced at his dissipating underwear. “My goodness gracious,” she commented. “You do have an erection.”

Matthew looked down and pointed, “See? I told you.”

Jo-Jay grabbed him by the front of his boxer briefs and pulled him toward her. “Now, now…just relax. Bring those little nipples to Mommy.”

“Gross,” he said. Yet carefully, intentionally and purposefully, he followed her instructions.

*****

In the deserts of North Africa a young boy, only nine years old, awoke shortly before dawn, and in the darkness, found a chunk of unleavened bread, opened up a jar of peanut butter and made himself a snack.

His name was Ramish.

It was morning, and it was his job to walk the two miles through the desert sands to the recently constructed air strip, where people he knew only as “Jesonian” flew in supplies every day to feed the villages.

Ramish knew he could wait until the trucks came by to bring the food, but his family had become accustomed to awakening to fresh water, food, medicine and even, every once in a while, some candy.

So every morning he made the trek, jubilant to do so–because even though he was only a young lad, most of his days had been spent fending off the pangs of hunger and wondering if drinking the water in the ditch would make him sick.

As he walked, his eyes filled with tears because he was so grateful for the boxes and bags he brought back on a make-shift sled he drug behind him. All of the boxes and bags had pictures of a young man with long hair and a beard, smiling.

The people at the landing strip told him that the young man was named Jesus, and that he loved Ramish and his family. Ramish felt no need to argue about it–it was obvious that this young man had taken great steps to ensure that Ramish and his family would be cared for.

The workers examined Ramish often, to make sure he was healthy and free of disease. And they closed every session by laying hands on his chest and saying, “In the name of Jesus.”

Ramish didn’t know much about Jesus, but everything he had experienced was so positive that he wanted to know more.

Arriving at the landing strip, he was overjoyed to discover that they had jelly. He had never eaten it until two weeks earlier, when one of the nurses offered it to him as she was treating a cut on his arm. It was so good–and now he could take a whole pouch of the stuff back to his family.

He felt like a king. He felt like a great king–because he was taking care of those of his own house.

Ramish had learned several words in English–words he needed to use, wanted to use and frequently applied.

“Thank you.”

“It is so good.”

“God bless you.”

He repeated the three phrases over and over again as the workers put together his supplies and he prepared to trek the two miles back to his anxiously awaiting family.

As he drug his make-shift sled across the sand, laden with supplies, he stopped and looked up at the sun that was rising before him.

“Thank you, Jesonian,” he said. It was a real feeling.

He felt the need to be grateful to the One who was providing his daily bread.

THE END

 

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Cracked 5 … May 23rd, 2017


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Reasons for the Existence of Reese’s Pieces

 

A. M & M’s not available for 100 miles

 

B. Actually, little turds from peanut butter rabbits

 

C. Weird people like and eat weird things

 

D. Poor shipping

 

E. Reese’s cups got stale

 

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Cracked 5 … August 2nd, 2016

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Motivation for Dogs to Eat Homework

A. They are saps for the sob story from teenagers who are flunking algebra

 

B. Somebody mysteriously smeared peanut butter all over it

 

C. Determined to keep the myth alive

 

D. Pages from books are glossy and have a bitter aftertaste

 

E. Hungry for knowledge

cracked 5 doggie

 

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Save Your Village… March 6, 2014

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puddle water

I like to go to public parks to work on my writings and stuff. The scenery, atmosphere and intrusive clatter–well, I find exhilarating. Yet you do have to share the space with every living creature who habitates within.

Such was the case yesterday when a guy named Bunky came into my three square feet.

He was thirty-one years old and just as slight as I am husky, and wiry as I am cumbersome. We shared very little in common, but since proximity dictated either conversation or further social distancing, I jumped in.

Once I made my preliminary inquiries about his well-being, Bunky launched into a thirty-minute discourse on his life. Here are the highlights:

He had a nineteen-year-old girlfriend who is a junkie and needed him to go to work every day to get the money for her fix, so that she would not become violent and attack him. (In alternating presentations, she was referred to by Bunky as “lover, friend, enemy and bitch.”)

He had once been in a gang–I think it was the Crips–and told me he had killed a man, although he eyeballed me carefully to see if I was questioning his credibility. I didn’t. I saw no reason to authenticate a tale in progress.

He talked to me about the use of marijuana being helpful in relieving his back pain, brought on by years of working on cars, lying flat down on the hard concrete.

I wasn’t sure how long he was going to share, or if there would be a stopping point whatsoever–until his friends showed up. And then what had been a very intimate exchange was terminated as he rose to his feet, accepting the invitation of one of his cohorts, to go to another bench where they could smoke.

As quickly as it began it was over.

Being raised in a spiritual climate, I incriminated myself that I had not more sufficiently impacted Bunky’s world. It’s what we do best, you know. As human beings, we often “strain at the gnat and swallow the camel.” We criticize ourselves for what we don’t accomplish, while simultaneously failing to achieve what is set before us as our daily bread.

Let me share with you candidly, which is always my goal:

  • You are not going to change the world.
  • Jesus Christ didn’t do that.
  • He was smart enough to leave behind an example of exactly how things work.
  • Start where you are.

For you see, Bunky is not my problem There are many more qualified people to share, care and be aware of him than me. Here’s what I’m supposed to do:

  1. Find my village.
  2. Teach my village.
  3. Save my village.
  4. Let it travel.

I raised six boys in my household. For a brief period of human time, these young men sat at my table and listened to me expound on life. They also watched carefully to see if I followed up with my own choices. They were my village.

Also within that village was a handful of friends and comrades. They, too, were exposed to my experience.

I didn’t worry about changing a whole town, state or country. I found my village, I taught my village, I saved my village and then I let it travel.

Those young men met women and now their influence spreads from Miami to China to New York to Nashville to Dallas to Los Angeles. with films, music, business, ministry, recording, procreating and acting.

While some folks encourage me to spread out my influence as far as I possibly can, I would much rather have a thick spreading of peanut butter on a cracker than a thin application on a four-foot-long piece of French bread.

It’s simple–stop trying to change the world. Stop criticizing yourself for being ineffective.

  • Find your village, teach your village, save your village–then let it travel.

And always remember–leave your image in the puddle provided.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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Our Redeemer… October 12, 2013

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handsIt was a five-pound mini-barrel of pretzel chunks, stuffed with peanut butter, given to me by a friend who was beaming with delight when I opened it on Christmas morning and eyeballed the monstrosity for the first time.

He was nearly leaping with joy, explaining how he purchased the gift thinking it was ideal for me, in my travels, to have a ready-made snack which would last for quite a while–and to make sure that every time I grabbed a handful, I should think of him and know that he was praying for me.

Having some acting chops, I was able to feign great appreciation over the humongous container of over-salted carbohydrates and even dodge his ongoing discussion of it during the day over turkey and dressing.

Here’s the truth: nothing is more useless to a traveling person than a five-bound barrel of peanut-butter-stuffed pretzels. Even if you enjoy the flavor, lugging such a burden around is not worth the occasional benefit you would receive in tastiness.

I regifted.

That’s much the way I feel about the idea of heaven. Being informed by highly theological sorts that if I accept certain beliefs and receive adequate amounts of grace, that I will someday have an eternal home with golden streets and jasper walls just doesn’t get me through the daily chores of human struggle. I can’t become a better person by thinking about the day when I will no longer BE a person.Our Redeemer Lutheran Church

So as I head off tonight and tomorrow to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in McMurray, Pennsylvania, I will tell you what I think of the word “redeemer.”

Candidly, if Jesus is no more than a sacrificial lamb for my sins, it will be difficult for me to conjure any sentimentality for him in the midst of a traffic jam in the Steel City. At that point, I will revert to my training, giving into my frustration and festering nasty notions of mythical murders of nearby motorists. Here’s the kind of redeemer I need:

First and foremost, he needs to be a friend.

  • A friend is someone who tells you the truth but you still like him enough that you want him to hang around.
  • A friend is someone who catches you on a bad day but still shows up at eight o’clock the next morning for the next round.
  • A friend is someone who sticks closer than a brother.

My redeemer also needs to be a spotter.

  • I’m referring to that person who stands nearby when you’re lifting weights in a gymnasium, just in case what you’re attempting to take on becomes too much, and he or she can walk over and help lift the danger from your head.
  • I need a spotter who knows that I’m constantly trying to lose weight, and gently nudges me towards less caloric choices.
  • I need a spotter who knows me, loves me, but also challenges me to not bathe in God’s grace, but instead, pursue excellence by multiplying my talents.

And finally, I do need a savior.

If I were to describe the journey we call human life, I would refer to it as “pulling up a little short.” There always seems to be a few feet necessary to complete the task just when exhaustion suffocates our soul. At that point, I could use someone to carry me across the finish line.

If all God has to offer is heaven, He’s going to have some awfully crappy followers on earth. But I believe there’s more to being spiritual than waiting to be “spirited away” to the angelic Holiday Inn.

I believe that our redeemer is our friend, our spotter and our savior.

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Missouri Misgivings… September 27, 2012

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Henry Clay was quite wrong. Folks from Missouri don’t favor compromise that much. They are a generous lot, but pretty straight-ahead thinkers and often quite convinced of the nobility of their notions.

So as I took my Six Word Tour“NoOne is better than anyone else”–across I-70, from KC to Saint Louie, I immediately had a few folks with crinkled noses, questioning the veracity of my concept.

Misgiving One: “Jonathan, Jesus was a human being but he was also better than everyone else. So what do you say about that, fella?”

I will tell you what I say about that–Christian theology is completely stalled in the paradox of trying to present the humanity of Christ while simultaneously doing nothing to tamper with the divinity unit. It is something that has come to pass in the past four or five hundred years, as the Catholics and the Protestants have done battle over doctrine instead of finding common ground in the message.

The early Christian church had no problem with this situation whatsoever. Matter of fact, the writer of the Book of Hebrews makes it clear: Jesus was completely human. He was “tempted like we are,” he “learned obedience through the things he suffered” and “he was touched by all of our infirmities.” Even the gospel writer tell us that as a boy “he grew in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God and man.”

We do a terrible disservice to believers when we take away the greatest gift God gave to this earth–the human life of Jesus of Nazareth–and replace it with a Christ who was always God, just wearing cool sandals. What Jesus allowed, which set him apart, was for the Spirit to be involved in his life and included in all aspects of his activities. It is why the Bible tells us that the same Spirit that dwelled in Jesus can dwell in us. When I say “NoOne is better than anyone else” I am not concluding that some folks don’t use their human lives more effectively than others. But as Jesus started out on an even playing field as a human being, so do we all. It’s up to us whether we decide to tap all our resources, or just move into one room of our human house and live there.

Misgiving Two: “Jonathan, don’t some species become extinct and others survive, which would make the surviving creatures better–right?”

It’s rather doubtful that God and nature gave function to any part of the creation just so there would be something to destroy. Dinosaurs had their chance. They just didn’t bring anything to the planet. It shortened their stay.

Everyday certain life forms go extinct. It’s because they refuse to evolve, adapt and become fruitful to the earth. It doesn’t make them better or worse. It just teaches us all a very valuable lesson–that being aware of your surroundings and the changes occurring is a very healthy outlook, and can keep you from running into walls and breaking your nose.

As Jesus said beautifully and poetically, “One sparrow does not fall without God, the Father, knowing it.” God has an investment in all His various incarnations and incantations but He does leave it to the free-will choice of even the spider–whether it will use its lifespan productively or squander it by spinning a web too near its enemy.

An extinct species is not inferior in the sight of God, only found wanting in the deliberation of nature. This holds true for all of us.

So in Missouri I found that some of the people thought there were unique humans–Jesus, for instance. I suppose they would also contend that Mozart was born to compose music, Copernicus to stare at the heavens and Guttenberg to get printing ink on his hands. It just ain’t so, Joe. We’re all born and pushed forward towards a possibility, and if we embrace it, we eventually become very good at it because God has given us the talent to be talented. So if Mozart had been born in a carpenter’s shop, we would have Mozart tables in our house instead of symphonies at the local convention hall. And if George Washington Carver had been born in the Midwest on a corn farm, we would have corn butter and jelly sandwiches instead of peanut butter. (I don’t know. It doesn’t sound that bad…)

So the people of Missouri believe there are unique humans, but they also believe there are unique species, blessed with greater capability of survival. Actually, it rains on the just and the unjust–and that goes for ants and turtles. And what creates an unjust turtle? The same thing that creates an unjust human: you spend too much time in your shell, you get replaced.

We are determined to be unique when the real uniqueness of the human creature is our commonality. And until we find that similarity in one another, we will “unique” our way into many wars, conflicts, bigotries and destruction.

From Missouri, I took a turn south–to the great state of Texas, and presented my six word phrase. What will happen in the Lone Star State?

We’ll find out tomorrow.

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Peanut Better … July 19, 2012

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I like peanut butter.

I do. If you’ll forgive me a bit of presumption, I think it’s safe to say that most folks enjoy the stuff. There are those who have allergies to it, and always some who will insist that it’s “just too something or other,” but peanut butter certainly has not survived merely because of its partnership with jelly. Especially since I’ve been cutting back on eating too much meat, peanut butter is a great source of protein. Unfortunately, like meat, it is an overwhelming storehouse of calories.

Español: Mantequilla de maní

Español: Mantequilla de maní (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I do not understand why we live in a nation that can work on several I-phones at the same time and have numerous reality shows funded, leading to no seemingly sensible conclusion while raising funds for all sorts of causes, many of which are nearly impossible to explain, yet we can’t come up with a way to make peanut butter that’s low-calorie.We have also failed at the search for really good-for-you pasta. Sugars, carbohydrates and fat seem to escape the purview and perfection of our scientists. We have come up with products that are fat-free, but normally that just means they add more sugar. We have come up with products that are sugar-free, but their textures, taste and timeliness are debatable.

Is it too much to ask to have someone seek out a government grant to make peanut butter plausible to our diet? Maybe it’s because we talk about healthiness in this society as we come up with a double-decker sausage McMuffin (since the first one certainly was not large and greasy enough). Is it really necessary to have three hamburger patties with bacon and cheese?

It comes down to the issue of healthy, wealthy and wise. That is the order that we have placed these three pursuits in while advertising our vision for a successful existence. But I don’t think it would hurt for us to begin with wisdom. If the most nutritious and healthy foods are also often those products that are least in calories, why can’t we take a hint from Mother Nature and learn how she makes delicious treats without stuffing them to the rim with calories? Isn’t there a scientist somewhere who might actually want to help humanity instead of padding the bottom line of drug companies? I guess if we worked on food that was healthy and low in calories, using wisdom in doing that, there are other companies that might suffer temporarily–until they made the transition over to better choices.

For instance, we were making plows in this country until World War II started, and then those who were making farm implements just changed over to constructing bombs and airplanes. I realize we have become dependent on oil, but there’s no reason to believe that within a decade the oil companies couldn’t turn their profit margins over to better, more practical choices. If you start talking about a healthy diet, the farmers and ranchers get very nervous because they wonder if they will be able to get rid of all their crops and cattle.

So if you decide not to lead with wisdom, it’s going to be very difficult to be healthy. And if you’re not healthy, you’re probably not going to have the initiative or the lifespan to achieve wealthy. So I would suggest that we change the old saying from “healthy, wealthy and wise” to “wise, healthy and wealthy.”

And let the first piece of wisdom be an attempt to put nutritious food in our mouths that is low in calories so that we can eat a lot of it and feel very satisfied without putting on excess pounds and loading ourselves down with obesity and health problems.

Why don’t we start with peanut butter? Yes. Let’s make it peanut better. Let’s find out if we can make a product that is absolutely filled with good taste but is lower and lower in calories. Why don’t we make pasta that is not packed with carbohydrates, which shoot up our weight and our blood sugar?

It is a worthy project for some aspiring young researcher, who would like to really help this society instead of debating health care for our populace, which is suffering under the load of food that is inevitably destined to make them too plump.

Peanut better. Yes–I will believe that our country is going forward when the citizens are the primary concern of both the government and the corporations, instead of maintaining a traditional approach to sales and commerce, leaving us unhealthy, pretty stupid and without enough time to get wealthy.

Let me know when peanut butter has much less to butter me up and is better for me. Until then, I will continue to eat it–cautiously–convincing myself that it’s better than Sloppy Joe.

   

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