Not Long Tales … November 26th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4234)

16.

Falling Leaves

Clouds are just water vapor. They have no lining—certainly not a silver one.

This is probably the first thing any villager from Blanchport, Pennsylvania learns growing up near the West Virginia border, where eking out a surviving wage without hating your work is considered heaven.

Murtrand Gillogly was only seventeen years old when she met Benson. He was tall, muscular and worked in the coal mines, so had a little extra money—more than the average boy walking the streets or plowing the fields.

She fell in love. Well, at least enough to give herself over to him in the cab of his Ford pickup truck. They had only consummated their confirmation on three occasions when Murtrand found out that she had missed her time.

Not knowing what to do, she finally decided to go to the town doctor. “Murty,” he said. (That’s what all the locals called her.) “Murty, I want to tell you something real simple. You’re pregnant.” He peered at her. “I imagine that’s not good news for you, so I will grant you the privacy of keeping my mouth shut until you want to yap about it.”

The young girl was terrified but had enough sense to confess to her parents, her preacher and a few close friends. They all did the wrong thing—what often happens in small towns with small minds.

They condemned her.

It became especially problematic when after three-and-a-half months, the hospital, twenty-five miles away, confirmed that she was carrying twins. Benson, her boyfriend and baby-maker, had decided to hang around—until he received this latest news. There was something about two babies popping out that scared the living shit out of him.

He explained that because there was so much expense that needed to be covered, he was going on a “miracle journey.” That’s what he called it–a “miracle journey” to Las Vegas–to win enough money to take care of the family, for now and all time. Murty was suspicious—but still moved that he had the desire to be a breadwinner, even if the crumbs came from the gambling tables. She sweetly kissed him on the lips and promised to remain true.

That was the last time she ever saw him.

Six months later, by the ordination of nature and sheer will and purpose of the human body, Murty gave birth to two boys. Feeling particularly traditional and proud of herself, she decided to name one Clarence and one Cameron.

Concerning the community, no support and no real sense of acceptance came her way throughout the first part of the twins’ growing up time. For in Blanchport, Pennsylvania, once you sin, it’s not forgiven unless God shows up and does it Himself.

And He doesn’t come around very often.

So Murty did a little waitressing, telemarketing and even pumped gas down at the local convenience store, to keep shoes on four small feet and grits in three bellies.

She loved her boys.

She was really proud of Clarence. When he was only seven years old, he walked by the town bank and noticed that somebody had dropped a hundred-dollar bill. His first instinct was a good one. He took it inside and presented it to the bank president (or some fellow wearing a tie) and explained that he had found it just outside the door, so figured it might belong to somebody inside.

The banker patted him on the head, told him he was a good little gent, and said they would advertise, letting people know the money had been discovered.  But he added that if it wasn’t retrieved in the next thirty days, little Clarence could keep it.

He had a terrible time sleeping. He even picked himself up a giveaway calendar from down at the drug store and started marking off the days. The whole town was rooting for him. Matter of fact, he acquired a nickname. Instead of Clarence, they started calling him “C-note.” He liked it, even though he didn’t know what it meant. But when they explained that a hundred-dollar bill was called a C-note, he was flattered and overjoyed.

It was the twenty-ninth day of waiting to find out about the prize money when the banker called Clarence to his office. The little boy sat down, anticipating his hundred dollars—ready to scream just as loud as he could.

The banker smiled, cleared his throat and said, “Young man, I want to tell you how admirable it is that you brought the money in when you found it. Some boys would have run off to the candy store or hid it in a jar in the back yard. Unfortunately, I’m sorry to report that as it turns out, after the books have been budgeted and calculated, that hundred dollars belongs to the bank.”

Clarence cried. He tried not to do so. He tried to keep what the preacher always called a “stiff upper lip,” but even though his lips seemed quite all right, his eyes were pouring.

The banker came from behind his desk, put an arm around the boy and said, “Now, now. Don’t you cry. Because we at the bank have decided to give you five dollars as a finders fee.”

Now, it wasn’t much money. Certainly not a hundred. But it seemed to be enough encouragement to turn off the water faucets in his eyes.

He ran out of the bank with his five-dollar bill and down the street. He bought something for his brother, Cameron, something for his mother and something for himself. They had a wonderful night together, celebrating their sudden wealth and how much they loved each other.

Only one problem arose from the situation: Cameron was pissed off that he didn’t have a nickname, too. After much deliberation and even a little bit of prayer, he decided that from that point on, he wanted to be known as Camo.

It didn’t have any meaning. Yet from that moment, the twins became known as C-note and Camo.

Their eighth year looked similar to their ninth. And the tenth year was marked by a brief visit to some friends in Harrisburg.

They went to school, they wore the clothes provided, they smiled at the right adults and when those grown-ups weren’t looking, they had their fun.

One of their favorite pastimes was climbing an old mulberry tree down by the railroad tracks. It was a huge one—about eight enormous branches going up to the sky. Each boy marked his courage by how high he was willing to go on the branches leading to heaven.

C-note had made it to the third branch. Camo was still sitting on the second one, mustering up the courage to shimmy up the tree.

One day, they foolishly invited their mother out to watch them climb. She was terrified. She almost forbade them to do it anymore, but after much pleading she made a compromise. “You can climb that, but no higher than that third branch,” she said, pointing it out to them. She made them point it out, too, so there wouldn’t be any misunderstanding.

But it is truly amazing how quickly a mother’s advice evaporates in the heat and enthusiasm of a climb.

On the Monday morning before Thanksgiving, C-note decided it was time to go to Level 4. Camo was scared—shaking like a leaf.

C-note mocked him for his cowardice. “If you’re gonna be a big boy, you’ve gotta do big things,” he said.

Having never reached for the fourth branch, knowing nothing about it, C-note was unaware that the fourth branch was broken. And even though he was a young boy, his weight was still enough that when he grabbed on, a big piece of branch broke off in his hands and he fell to the Earth. The fall seemed to last forever, as he stared up into the top of the tree and the world began to spin.

All at once he landed—flat on his back.

He waited for the pain. He was surprised he was still awake. Suddenly his ears opened, and he could hear Camo screaming. And then, the sounds of one, two, five, maybe ten people running in his direction. He was so scared he pooped his pants. Now he was dying and going to stink.

Something odd, though, was that he didn’t feel damaged. He didn’t think he was dead. And when the people began to gather around him, he could make out faces, which meant his brain was still working.

It took about five minutes, but the doctor arrived, and with the assistance of a couple other men and one woman, they moved him gently, and the doctor checked him over for broken bones, cuts, bruises—and found nothing.

Camo explained that C-note had fallen from the fourth branch, which was about twenty feet up in the air. Then one of the observers looked down, pointed, and said, “Look! That’s what saved you.”

C-note, now fully conscious and aware of what was going on, turned around and saw a mashed wild turkey, which had broken his fall—but had also broken its neck. It was lying on the ground, looking like…well, looking like an eighty-five-pound twelve-year-old boy had fallen twenty feet from the sky on top of it. The bird did not fare well.

C-note was pronounced sound of body.

The turkey was dead on arrival.

Everybody laughed, then cried. And then, when it occurred to them that they had experienced a bona fide miracle of supernatural intervention, they sat down under the tree and got real quiet. Here’s what they thought.

“How did a turkey end up at exactly that place at exactly that time, when a little boy was falling from the sky, unless God Himself plucked it from the woods and placed it there, granting it final purpose? And we all know–this is one of the more noble ways a turkey can die.”

C-note was mystified and angered by the whole situation. He shouldn’t have been climbing the tree—not that fourth branch. Why did a turkey have to die because he was disobedient? And why was God going around asking turkeys to help dumb little boys?

It just didn’t make sense.

By this time the city newspaper—even though Blanchport was not a city—had sent a photographer to the scene. As they carefully removed the carcass of the sacrificial fowl, the photographer asked if C-note would be willing to kind of “re-enact” what happened.

He shook his head. “I ain’t climbin’ that dumb tree and falling again just so you can get a picture.”

The photographer patted him on the shoulder. “No, no. I just want you to sprawl out on the ground there and pretend you’ve got a turkey under your back.”

C-note squinted. Mrs. Marlins stepped in and explained what the photographer was trying to communicate in more kid-like language. So C-note spread himself out like he’d just fallen from the tree. The newsman took two shots, which appeared in the newspaper three days later.

In the meantime it was the talk of the town—no, much more than that. It was the only thing anybody could think about.

The preacher down at the Pentecostal Church was certain it was a sign from God that little Clarence was a prophet.

Some of the more sensitive folks who dressed up their dogs in costumes—that type—had a memorial service for the turkey.

And speaking of the turkey, something had to be done with it. It was suggested that it would be wonderful to pluck the bird, dress it and give it to Murty and her little family for Thanksgiving.

The grocer threw in some ‘taters, snap green beans, gravy and miscellaneous sweets to complete the deal. It was so thrilling.

The television station in Pittsburgh contacted the mayor and asked if they could bring in a camera crew to do an interview with C-note about the whole magical turkey event. (Although it never happened because some other more important news came along to delay them, the town felt important, always knowing they had been considered.)

It did nothing to calm the heart and soul-searching of Clarence.

He asked advice from his schoolteacher. Her words were, “Be grateful.”

He asked the oldest lady in the community—who everybody called Aunt Rachel—what she thought he should feel and do about the dead creature. She closed her eyes, looked like she was praying for a moment, and then said to C-note, “I just talked to the turkey in heaven…and he forgives you.”

Unimpressed with her response, C-note went to Deacon Connelly, who did a lot of hunting and had shot a turkey or two in his time. C-note wanted to discuss his feelings, but Deacon Connelly was so impressed with the fact that it was a clean kill and there was no need to remove buckshot from the carcass that he chattered away, unaware of the boy’s turmoil.

On his way home from Deacon Connelly, C-note ran across the drifter referred to as “the town drunk.” C-note was pretty sure his name was Mandrake. Mandrake was a nice enough fellow when he was sober, which was so in infrequent that nobody thought of him as a nice fellow.

But on this day, he’d only had a little bit of the juice. When C-note called to him, he answered, “Boy! I got a new name for you. They oughta call you ‘Fallin’ Leaves.’”

C-note was confused. He wanted to ignore Mandrake, but he kept going. “You see what I mean?” asked Mandrake. “You got yourself a dead turkey. You know why?”

C-note shrugged.

The drunk continued. “You have a dead turkey because that’s what your fallingleaves.”

Mandrake burst into laughter. C-note was not amused, even though he kind of understood the joke. It just seemed improper to be laughing so near the demise of his savior.

His brain popped up the word “savior” without him even thinking about it. It wasn’t like C-note thought the turkey was Jesus Christ. And even though Jesus might be saving his soul from hell, the turkey kept him from getting’ there.

It left him cold, a little frightened and humble.

When he got home and saw that his savior had been plucked, oiled and was heading for the oven, he burst into tears again.

Camo screamed at him. “Godammit, would you stop cryin’? Mama might decide not to cook it.”

His mother tried to comfort Clarence, but he just could not wrap his mind around eating his savior. He didn’t think he could even watch other people devour his protector.

About four hours later, Mama came into the room and found him in a fitful sleep. She gently woke him up, whispering, “Dinner’s ready.”

He just shook his head. He didn’t know what to say.

She hugged him real tight—the way mothers are supposed to do in those situations. He was expecting sympathy, but instead, he got the razor of her truth.

“There’s two things I want you to understand, Clarence.” (She had never gotten used to calling him C-note.) “The first thing I want you to understand is that in five minutes we’re gonna walk out of this room and gorge ourselves on turkey and fixings before it gets cold. I will not hear any more nonsense about trying to preserve a bird that’s already gobbled its way to glory.”

She paused, eyes glittering. “And the second thing is, you can honor this bird by learning from it. As you eat this meal that we did not expect to have, you can speak to the meat provided and say, ‘Thanks for catching me. I’m sorry it cost you your life. No disrespect, but may I say, you sure do taste good.’”

C-note didn’t want to listen to his mother’s counsel, but memories of the yardstick she kept in the closet and occasionally applied to his backside made him more pliable.

For the rest of his life, he never ate a turkey dinner without thinking about the one that rescued his life. The one that kept him going. And whether it was a miracle or not, the intervention was sweet.

For every creature on Earth will eventually experience a falling…

And only time will tell what it leaves.

Good News and Better News … July 18th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3006)

Lady Liberty hillAll the squirrels and sparrows in the woodlands of Pennsylvania did not seem to care.

As I drove through on my way to St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Valley View, these creatures were preoccupied with the pursuit of living–actually, rather excited and vigorous about it. They seemed unaware that political conventions were about to convene or that lunatic killers roam the earth, trying to prove that their god is better or that their lives truly matter.

I realized that I could either imitate my friends in the forest or the commentators on television, who bombard me with the command to be sad or mad.

After all, it seems appropriate to be forlorn or infuriated. Killing is deadly. Worse, it’s terrifying. (That’s why we call them terrorists.)

It seems irresponsible to follow the advice of Jesus and “be of good cheer” or “be not afraid” and “rejoice and be exceedingly glad.” Matter of fact, one of the better ways to be mocked in this day and age is to suggest that things will get better instead of worse.Valley View Map

So I was delighted when I arrived at the church and discovered that the human creatures emerging from their homes had decided to imitate the squirrels and the sparrows instead of the pundits on television, who continue to repeat the same information, hoping it will create greater nervousness and rage with each pronouncement.

Why do we need to be glad? Because we become emotionally unhinged when we’re mad, and mentally depleted when we’re sad.

Gladness releases the chemicals in our bodies which make us willing to go the second mile instead of complaining about the first one.

Gladness causes us to remember times of goodness instead of being partly cloudy with evil.

Gladness is the abiding notion that we still have something to contribute instead of being at the mercy of the people with the loudest guns or the biggest truck.

For I will truly tell you that yesterday the only place of satisfying sanctuary and hope was the church.

  • It’s not because it’s perfect.
  • It’s not because every issue is handled correctly by the clergy.

It’s because we serve a Master who insists on fueling us with good cheer instead of wearing us down with negative reports.

During the service, I watched the people bloom. They brought the seed, I brought the water and God gave the increase.

I watched Pastor Duane encourage it to happen without inserting reports of doom and gloom or trying to balance it out with an overuse of concern. Yes, concern is overused if it has no intention of becoming involved.

Here’s the good news: Jesus told us that even when we’re confronted by those who are persecuting us, we should “rejoice and be exceedingly glad.” Why? Because in the hour of need, our “smarts” might be our only friend.

And the better news is that the only way to tap the full potential of what we’ve experienced in our lives is to busy ourselves living instead of worrying about dying.

Valley View book table

 

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G-49: June 30th, 1863… November 7, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2406)

            Gettysburg          June 30th, 1863

Gettysburg
June 30th, 1863

Three prayers float their way up to the heavenly realm.

They are distinctly different, uniquely crafted by the speaker to adequately accentuate the piety of their position while simultaneously offering sufficient humility for the auspicious occasion.

Prayer 1

Our most sovereign God, we have just taken over this command of troops and are headed off into the Pennsylvania countryside. We are certainly without experience. We are vacant a master plan. So we come to You, seeking both wisdom and protection–wisdom for our frailty of mind, which causes us to dance between fear and an over-exaggerated sense of importance; and protection because the enemies set before us are much more adept at their craft and perhaps even more dedicated to their cause.

Our purposes for marching through these fields are diverse and perhaps for some of us, unknown. It is everything from duty, to mission, avoiding disobeying the common law, and even for some, seething anger.

We do not ask that you give us the day in battle, but please give us our daily bread, and may we be able to chew it, swallow it and accept it as our portion.

“We feel we are in the right, but as is often the case, we may learn the error of our ways. Amen.

Prayer 2

Eternal God who is Almighty in the Heavens, we come to you as the Army of Virginia, set out to right what is wrong and to preserve the glorious blessing of our heritage and beliefs. As cheated brothers, for a season we feel the need to pick up arms and right the injustice and regain the freedom to live among our constituency with integrity and with respect to that which we consider to be holy.

We know you have been with us as we have prevailed in battle, and we know you will be with us throughout this day as we once again set a path towards quickly ending the bloodshed and resume our lives with family and kin.

Here in Gettysburg, make our cannons accurate, our swords swift and our bullets straight. Even in our hearts, we have no animosity towards these individuals. They just stand in the way of our liberty.

Yet as you said in your Holy Book, there is a time to kill, and we respect that season by doing it to the best of our ability. Amen.

Prayer 3

Derz Jesus: Dey have plans to kills Marcus today. Lawd, he don’t do nothin’ but pick cotton slow. I’z wishin that Yous listen to me eben though I’m not worth more than the dirt I came from. Maybe, Lawd, if Iz talk to the Massa, he’s let me pick extra cotton to make up for Marcus. Gives me words. May the work that I done here speak, gon ahead of me, so when I ax for Marcus’s life, theys not be hangin him, but instead, he be comin home to his wife and three.

Iz so weak. I needs Youz, Lord. I needs to save my brother. Helps me before my mind goes to breakin apart. Helps me to keep from bein angry. Helps me to be a man, even though dose I talk to don’t believe I be one. Amen.”

Three prayers presented to God.

But only one was answered.

For you see, because the plantation owner was busy trying to gather provisions for the Rebel Army, it slipped his mind to kill Marcus.

The prayers that came from the two armies gathered to do battle were ignored. The combatants were left to their own devices, to slaughter one another at will.

God had stopped honoring nations, peoples, cultures and ideals.

He was looking for someone with great ideas, a heart for his fellow-man and a willingness to do something noble in a time of utter chaos.

 

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 38 (Fall of 1967) Parallel Universe… November 1, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2399)

(Transcript)

1967.

Fall came. Fall fell.

It seemed to me that the autumn leaves, as they tumbled from the trees, were mocking me for my lack of purpose.

I was bored.

I was also infested by a scratchy discontentment–an itch. I wanted my driver’s license. I was so close.

Even more infuriating was that Jack, from my class, had gotten his license because he’d flunked the sixth grade and was older than the rest of us. Sporting his beat-up Chevy, he drove as a god among us. Suddenly a fellow that normally made the lasses of our class say “yuck” when he walked by was the center of attention from these fair young maidens. Everybody wanted to ride in Jack’s car.

It was aggravating to any young boy in Central Ohio with a shred of dignity and an overabundance of arrogance. That would be me.

I convinced my older brother to take me to a parking lot behind the high school on Sunday afternoons to practice driving, since we knew that the local cop was always at his church teaching the youth group during that time.

The terrifying part of the whole rehearsal was the spectre of having to pass the test on parallel parking. Some local citizen had placed two markers in the back lot by sticking a broomstick in a bucket of cement so that teenagers could put themselves through the paces of trying to place a two-and-a-half ton automobile into the tiny enclosure.

I think what frightened me the most was that I heard through the grapevine that you had to get your tires within six inches of the curb or you would fail. Who could do such a thing? This was a deed more suited for the gods of Chrysler.

But finally, since clocks do move forward, December 18th rolled around and I went to get my license.

As it turned out, I was the last prospect of the day for an instructor who was on his way home to Pennsylvania for Christmas. He was giddy, overjoyed and in a hurry.

The whole test took three-and-a-half minutes–and there was no parallel parking.

Being a stupid teenager, I asked him why we had skipped it. He looked at me, bewildered, like a man who had given a friend a thousand dollars and was wondering why his buddy was commenting on the wrinkles in the bills. He smiled, patted me on the shoulder and said, “Good luck, and drive safely. And Merry Christmas.”

I was a licensed driver. I, too, could be a god–even though it was going to be God Two in our school.

What did I learn during this experience? What lesson concerning worry and trepidation was passed on to me about how life is never what we think it’s going to be?

Well, since I have a tendency to adhere to an unnecessary parcel of negativity, what did I learn?

Not much.

 

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An Eye for a Tooth… July 17, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1946)

eyeballGenerally speaking, I make a practice of avoiding anything that Hitler liked. Matter of fact, sometimes I’m a little uncomfortable about sporting a mustache.

Adolf despised gypsies, spirituality, homosexuals and let us not forget … Jews.

But ironically, considering his disdain for Abraham’s seed, he was a faithful follower of the Law of Moses–at least in the sense that he fervently applied the discipline of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” If a German soldier was killed in occupied lands, it was the edict in the Nazi Party to have ten locals murdered in retribution.

So even though the concept of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is included in what we refer to as “holy writ,” I know that it never came from the mind of any God who created human beings and understands our chemistry.

As a race, we are completely and totally devoid of the ability to be even. So what we always end up doing is plucking out an eye … for a tooth.

For instance, if we had actually gone in to Afghanistan after 9/11 and used specially trained troops to hunt down Osama bin Laden and twenty-eight hundred of his cult members and punished them for what they did in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., and then departed, we would have demonstrated the literal application of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

But that’s not what we did.

Infuriated, bruised, energized and over-wrought, we launched ourselves into twelve years of war, costing hundreds of thousands of lives.

Why? Because human beings can’t measure. Even though Jesus warned us that the “meter we measure out” to other people will come right back to us, we become enraged and inflict too much punishment for what has happened to us.

So are you telling me that God didn’t KNOW this about the emotional human beings He created?

  • Are you telling me He would have told Moses to unleash vengeful people on their enemies, hoping for some restraint?
  • How about this–did we really need to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, killing hundreds of thousands of people, to end the war–pay back for Pearl Harbor?

What might seem to be an unpatriotic questioning of our country’s dealings is actually just a microscope placed on human character, explaining WHY retribution never works.

If you punch me in the face, I am much too explosive to immediately respond to you because I am completely capable of losing control and taking more from you than you gave to me–even to the point of destroying your life.

The purpose of turning the other cheek is not to be a loser. It is to give yourself a chance to keep from losing control and doing something that you truly should regret, but end up rationalizing.

It is astounding to me that our heartland citizens always espouse that we are “a Christian nation,” when we continue to follow the principles of Judaism, Islam and even Adolf Hitler. Someone has to grow up.

If we really could be even and take “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” then who knows? Maybe the system would be a deterrent to evil. But historically, dastardly acts have always stirred formerly reasonable people to flirt with darkness.

So what IS the answer?

We need to admit that an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” and any attempt to initiate punishment on our own is not only going to perpetuate the problem, but will actually accelerate it.

I turn the other cheek because I don’t want my temper to control my future.

There you go.

After all, if you don’t do it that way, you find yourself defeated–with the world turned against you, stuck in a bunker, too frightened to swallow the pill and too much of a coward to put the gun to your head.

 

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Jiggle or Pray… May 26, 2013

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starcraftI’m really not quite sure why he did it.

For some reason, he took a liking to me.  He owned this beautiful, 24-foot, Starcraft motor home, which was sitting around his front yard, so he offered it to me to travel in with my three friends as we began to try to become artists, forces of nature and the next creative miracle in the music field.

I was only twenty-three years old. It is doubtful that I should have been entrusted to deliver a ham sandwich to an office building, but for some reason, this guy saw something in me–or he just had the kind of attitude that made him not worry about material possessions.

There was one stipulation to our deal. He had to pay a $178 per month payment on a loan for the motor home, which included insurance. I know a mere $178 a month sounds like a real bargain–but when you consider the fact that I couldn’t afford to purchase that ham sandwich I mentioned in the previous fictitious comparison, then you will understand my plight.

I had just enough talent to gain the attention of some big names in the Christian music field, so they invited me to come to Jesus USA, a festival being held in Pennsylvania, featuring the biggest names in the industry of the day. They explained that they couldn’t promise me a slot for performing on the show, but they would guarantee me that if I didn’t show up, there would be no chance to gig.

So I hopped in my motor home, putting together all my nickels, dimes and quarters–even scrounging in my couch pillows–and drove my motor home to Pennsylvania. When we arrived, we found that you needed a backstage pass to enter, but due to the beauty of our motor home, they assumed we were part of the show and waved us on.

I parked alongside the other gospel buses and soon became a popular hangout because our air conditioning actually worked and it was a very hot August day. Yet about three hours into our little excursion into the world of fame and notoriety, we discovered that our motor home wouldn’t start. That’s not exactly accurate–the key wouldn’t even turn in the ignition.

We didn’t know what to do. But being very young, at a Jesus festival, and obsessed with religious power, we started praying. We fervently supplicated to the heavenly Father on behalf of our starter, and then tried it. We did this again and again–for over two hours. Nothing happened. The key would not turn.

Being a bit immature, I hit my hand against the steering wheel in frustration, prayed one last time, reached for the key … and it turned. I was convinced we had experienced a miracle.

Just then one of the roadies from the stage crew stepped into our motor home and asked if we needed someone to help with our vehicle. We explained our problem and how we had prayed it away. He smiled and said, “That’s great. But if it happens again, what you need to do is jerk your wheel sharply to the right. It frees up the starter so it’ll work again.”

I tried to start my motor home and again the key wouldn’t budge, so I attempted the roadie’s trick. It worked beautifully.

I know it sounds silly, but part of me was disappointed that we hadn’t conjured a miracle, but that instead, in my fit of despair, I had beat some sense into the steering wheel.

I also must report that we never got to perform on the stage at the festival, but we did make a lot of friends.

Yet I learned a very valuable lesson that weekend: there’s a time to jiggle and there’s a time to pray. And the sooner you learn the difference, the less frustrated you will be and the less confused about moving in the will of God.

Here’s a good clue–if it was made in heaven and created by God, I would suggest you pray about it. If it was made in Detroit, I would recommend you jiggle it.

If I hadn’t gone through that lesson that day, I would never have learned the trick with the steering wheel. And as it ends up, I wouldn’t have been able to help about a dozen people over the years who were experiencing the same phenomenon and were desperate for some advice.

Always remember–God is in the jiggle AND the prayer. The God of mercy and miracles is also the God of knowledge and wisdom.

Don’t be afraid to try out both aspects of His resume.

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

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Jonathan’s thinking–every day–in a sentence or two …

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

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

Super Wednesday … March 7, 2012

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The economy. Gas prices. Iran. Abortion. Israel. Illegal immigration. Gay marriage. Afghanistan. Oil and energy. And apparently, for some reason … female contraception.

These are the issues that are touted, screamed and proclaimed from the podiums by candidates–both Republican and Democrat–in preparation for choosing a President in this country. It perpetuated last night in what they call Super Tuesday, which is actually just a clump of states deciding to hold their primaries on the same date, thus dangling an array of delegates in front of the candidates.

Honestly, my dear sweet friends, you can spend all of your time trying to make decisions on the issues of the day, and it becomes useless if you don’t first have an understanding of those folks who will be implementing the plans. In other words, as a father I can perch in my home and have a wonderful idea on how to remodel the house–even lay out the plans and buy all the supplies, and come to the dinner table with my family, only to discover that my three children at the table who are available to me to assist in the labor are five, three and two years old.

Yes, as Jesus so pertinently phrased it, to have a marketplace that is populated by children is the formula for the absence of productivity and the possibility of disaster. Where most folks think that the problems that face us are the real difficulty in our nation and the Republicans and Democrats stomp and stump against each other for bargaining position, none of them have stepped forward to understand that our country has gradually lost its vision, and therefore may be in danger of vacating its purpose.

I think motivation demands two definitive steps: (1) addressing; (2) blessing. If we are not able to address the heart, soul, mind and strength of the citizens of this great country, offering both encouragement and needed correction, we will not be able to execute a unified plan that will generate the blessing we desire.

We need leaders who understand that America has a heart–an emotional thrust, if you will. That heart has been clouded by nearly two generations of pounding with the acceptability of deceit, meanness and lies. Yes–from our political leaders to our spiritual ones to our reality television stars, we cajole the American people into believing that some amount of lying is necessary, and that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is the human rate of exchange. Therefore, the American people, fearing being involved in ill-founded deals and having their eyes gouged out, have retreated to their families, shut their doors and are hiding away. If anyone would be a leader, let him share from his or her own heart, transparency. It’s really not that painful, especially when you realize that in this super-age of information, all of your sins will find you out anyway. Let me give you a clue, Republicans and Democrats. Just as you don’t show up to a gun battle with a knife, you also don’t step into the public arena unless you’ve plugged up your holes of insecurity. We desperately need leaders who will set an example by telling the truth as much as possible, rejecting meanness and refusing to be involved in retaliation. Without this, the heart of the people will be darkened and therefore their decisions will be based upon fear instead of love.

Next, we need leaders who will comprehend that spirituality is not gloating over our religion nor the maintenance of traditions, but rather, the discovery of the image of God. You may feel free to seek out saints, angels, demons or ghosts, but the supernatural will not solve our natural world’s difficulties. This is why God intelligently placed His image in human beings–so that we would have something to study, love, appreciate and accept during our earthly journey. Spirituality is NOT seeking God–spirituality is finding His image in each other. Leaders who will teach us to do so–making everything heavenly have an earthly application–will actually march us to the throne of God Himself. A nation that protects religion leaves its people in darkness. A nation which believes that true religion is dealing kindly with each other–with vulnerability–will find God.

If you will allow me to continue, any great leader must also stimulate the intelligence of his or her people. And intelligence is a very simple concept. It is not merely learning–learning is memorization which can be easily forgotten. Intelligence is learning and then coming to the knowledge of the truth by finding an immediate, practical way to apply what we’ve been taught. We need individuals to step forward who do not believe that science, God, medicine, intellect, art and knowledge are at war with one another.

God is a scientist–look at creation. God is a philosopher–study the words of Jesus and how they apply to our lives. God is a poet–listen to the rhyme and reason of the universe–rejuvenating, challenging and restoring itself.

And speaking of restoring ourselves, it might be nice to have someone in a high office in this land who promotes health. And health is a well-sharpened, two-edged sword: spending equal time treating those who are ill while energizing the rest to prevent illness. It is taking the knowledge of the truth we have discovered in our intelligence and transfusing that wisdom into our physical lives.

Today is Super Wednesday. It is time to shed the gamesmanship and folly of Super Tuesday and a system that fails to give us the impetus to move forward.

  • It is time to address the heart of our nation. We must become transparent in order to teach transparency. Truth begets truth as lying begets lies. If we address that heart, the by-product will be the blessing of trusting each other’s word again.
  • We must address the spirituality of our country, which has regressed to a mere form of godliness, wrapped in a tattered cloak of religion, instead of appreciating the image of God personified in human beings. If we actually show mercy to each other, we will receive the blessing of obtaining mercy.
  • The season has arrived to address the intelligence of the United States, asking people to do more than read and study, but also to garner valuable truth from their perusing–truth that can lead them to greater understanding. The blessing will be that we can finally abandon intellect that lacks humanity.
  • And finally, it’s time to address the health given as a blessing to all of us. Rather than arguing over insurance premiums, let us find ways to understand the human body that God has so meticulously created–and end up with the blessing of being free from conflict and disease instead of being frightened by every pain.

Welcome to Super Wednesday, where we believe, pursue and pray for leadership that ceases to focus on the problems, but instead, addresses in the populace the waning motivation of gaining the blessing of a work force which arrives early to address these difficulties that beset us–but with a fresh heart that is transparent, a spirituality that is sensitive to human beings, intelligence that wants to apply knowledge and a healthiness that is seeking prevention over just treatment.

We can do this. All we have to do is stop pretending that the old ways actually work, and allow ourselves the opportunity to address our confusion, which will open the door to the potential of blessing.

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Got a question for Jonathan? Or would you like to receive a personal weekly email? Just click my email address below and let me know what’s on your mind! jonathancring@gmail.com

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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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