PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … December 20th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Tabletop

Sitting quietly at the table

Surrounded by those I love

I hear what they think of me

I listen to the story they speak

What do I mean to these pilgrims

Who journey with me, yet separate

How do they view my soul

As it sweetly creeps into their space?

Am I a blessing

An insertion of purpose

Or an intrusion of clumsy repetition?

Arriving, I stumble into each human place

Endangering the human race

Did I speak into their silence

Or bring solitude from their terror

Am I humor for the sadness

Clarity in the madness

Goodness through the badness

What do they think?

Converse to me of being free

And the wishes of each heart

I will listen patiently

And pray to learn what’s smart

Whisper your desires before I scream

Shout and I will be still

I am yours as you are mine

From vacant to full may we truly refine

The secret words that unleash the power

The minutes that truly grant the hour

Your hour, my hour,

Joined magnificently

In power

 

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Cracked 5 … April 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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History As Remembered in the Mind of a Millennial

A. Abraham Lincoln won World War II and freed the slaves from the Eiffel Tower, where they were held hostage by Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan.

 

B. The Beatles came with the British Invasion, causing Benjamin Franklin to write the Declaration of Independence, which ushered in the Grammy Awards.

 

C. When the Viets attacked, Richard Nixon opened the Watergate to drown the Nams and save Woodstock.

 

D. The Pilgrims brought turkeys from their boat to feed the starving Indians at the Plymouth Rock Festival.

 

E. Two guys built an airplane and they did it so well that people called them the “Right Brothers.”

Plymouth Rock Festival

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Mountain to Mahomet … June 19, 2013

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A B C

I am the mountain.

I am the obstacle in my own way.

I am the big, fat pile of dirt, poking up, protruding on my own path, forbidding passage.

I am the mole-hill which has become so overblown that my tiny mustard seed of faith needs to move it every single day.

We do a disservice to everything true and holy when we believe that our problems lie outside ourselves. Government is not my problem. Religion is not my dilemma. Family is not my stumbling block. My problem is me and I am my own mountain.

So as I head off to Mahomet, Illinois, tonight,  bringing my mountain, I am going to take three things into consideration. I refer to them as the basic ABC’s of human decency:

1. Act right. In other words, DON’T “be yourself.” When we bring our moods, we muddy the situation instead of finding a mode to mold our possibilities toward success. We all know how to act right–we just get bratty and refuse to participate. If you’ve forgotten how to act right, let me give you some quick suggestions:
A. Be nice. It won’t kill you.
B. Listen more than you talk.
C. Be prepared to be wrong
D. Go slow–speed kills.
There you go. And if you don’t feel it–then pretend you do. No one cares if you’re faking it, as long as you’re making it easier. Believe me–everyone prefers your better nature.

2. Be honest. Honesty is not only the best policy, but really, the only “insurance” of being taken seriously. Once you’re caught in a lie, people assume you’re a liar. It could take years to change that perception. I will be in Mahomet, Illinois, for about four hours. As you can see, I don’t have years. Tell the truth and then you don’t have to struggle to remember your fabrication. It is not a gift to the human race, it is a demand.

3. Caresome. It should be a word–caresome. Since we have “careful,” which is annoying, and “careless,” which is lazy, there SHOULD be a term to represent the value of human interaction. Caresome. You don’t have to be phony, pretending that everything is special, but you don’t want to doze through people’s conversations, waiting for the opportunity to share YOUR story. Care some. Stay involved. Listen for a question before you give an answer–and when you have finally exhausted your interest level, do people a favor. Excuse yourself and walk away.

I guarantee you fine pilgrims that if you pursue this A, B, C philosophy you will find yourself more relaxed, more valuable and more productive than if you try to “be yourself,” ultimately finding out that “yourself” does not apply.
     Act right.
     Be honest.
     Caresome.

It is the mustard seed of faith which moves the massive mountain of our huge ego.

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 Jonathots, Jr.!

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Last Stop in the Lone Star … June 2, 2013

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HoustonTex Mex. I love it.

I’m not just speaking of the cuisine offered in this great state of Texas, which is a blending of Mexican food and Southern cooking. I’m speaking more specifically of the fact that the folks of Texas were smart enough to realize that there were Mexicans already living there when they arrived and also Native Americans, and rather than fighting them, they joined with them, starting in the kitchen and including the living room.

Texas always feels like what you might call America, Part II. When the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, they began the arduous process of assimilating with other cultures and people to form a great union of many nations, merging behind a central idea–freedom.

We had to repeat the process in Texas. People from all over the continent came there seeking a new way of life, but discovered there were already natives and folks from other countries, and rather than killing ’em off or segregating them, they married, interacted and created a cultural Tex-Mex.

It wasn’t always perfect. But it is certainly why Sam Houston, who was governor, refused to leave the Union when the Confederacy seceded. It was the independent nature in Mr. Houston which told him that treating other people as lessers makes for neither good neighbors nor good government. While some people may look to Washington, D.C.,  Hollywood, New York City or the state of California for inspiration in reviving the grass-roots of our national treasure, I think we need much of that birthing spirit found in the original Lone Star State of Texas, which instead of arguing and fussing with their neighbors, made a good attempt at blending.

This is why Texas is different from Alabama, and what makes Texas unique from Iowa. And it is what makes Texas distinct from California and New York. Texans can be stubborn, but after they get their cowboy hats knocked off a few times by reality, they learn pretty quickly, adapt and move toward solutions.

I have spent four months touring across this state and I’m not trying to portray myself as an expert on the state. But I will tell you–the people I met have strong virtues and ideals, but have not buried their heads in the sand or their feet in cement. They realize that time marches on. And what may have been a tradition twenty years ago is now subject to amending. It’s very simple–any idea that alienates us from our brothers and sisters in the family of humankind is useless and therefore needs to be changed.

I am optimistic. While liberals think conservatives are hilariously stupid and conservatives are sure that the liberals are headed for a devil’s hell, I am wondering if it’s possible to take a moment, look into our own hearts, and like true Texans, avoid both ignorance and Dante’s Inferno.

Tex Mex. What a great, simple idea that exemplifies the willingness to at least attempt to blend our flavors.

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

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

The Lambs–Lying with the Lions… April 9, 2012

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There was a time in our country when lying was expected from little children and politicians who got their hands caught in the cookie jar. It was simple–there was the truth and there was the avoidance of the truth, which we boldly called “lying.” It doesn’t mean that lying had not occurred since the beginning of time. After all, the very first sin, from a Biblical perspective,was lying, not disobedience. Adam and Eve could have survived the trauma of a poor choice had they not lied to the Judge on court day.

Somewhere along the line, the lambs of life–average human beings who used to be ashamed of deceit–are now actively “lying with the lions”–those man-eating, corporate giants and political sharks who have always found it easier to reject reality. It has been a process.

When I was born, lying was “bad.” There was no caveat to that. If you lied, you were “bad” and that was the end of it. Even when Lucy lied to Ricky on the television show back in the fifties, she eventually got caught, suffered some consequences and had to learn a lesson.

A little time marches on and there is a subtle transition–away from “lying is bad.”  The new byline was, “lying is out there–so be careful.” It echoed the paranoid mind-set of the 1960’s, a belief that big government and big everything was out to get us, so we’d better be on our toes.

But then there was a drastic turn. We can speculate on what caused it, but I believe one of the greatest contributors to the loss of veracity in our country was Watergate. Even though the populace denounced what Richard Nixon did, the definition of lying changed from being “bad” or “out there” to “lying is a weakness.”

Once lying becomes a “weakness,” we all can hide behind the frailty of our character and still come out of the experience fairly unscathed, which took us into the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, where another transition happened. We began to believe that sensitivity was primary for communication, and therefore, lying became “merciful.” Don’t tell people the truth–it could hurt their feelings. Don’t share the extent of the problem with folks–they can’t handle it.

Which brought us into a time of one of the greatest misconceptions, which is: “lying is human.” You see, once we establish that something is human, we can do it on the sly and if caught, blame our genetics. It’s a slippery slope. Why? Because the philosophy of “I’m only human” negates the special significance that God gave to the creation of our species, placing within us His own image. So I don’t think you’re going to find much mercy in the Creator by saying that you’re “only human.”

But once it became accepted that “lying is human,” we arrived at President Bill Clinton.  Just as Richard Nixon and Watergate deteriorated the American conscience about the subject to merely referring to it as a weakness, when President Clinton repeatedly misled us, it gave license for a new translation of the situation. It was the arrival of the notion that “everyone lies sometimes”–which immediately led to another step: “lying is a part of life.” Now, you can see, anyone who would stand against lying or even suggest that we as people could tell the truth would come across as unrealistic, or even worse, self-righteous. If” everyone lies sometimes,” you just might not have control over when it’s your turn.

Yes, we began to forfeit authority over our own selections. So lying became “a part of life.” And since it’s a part of life, lying became fodder and fuel for the comedic mind. Soon, in our movies and our television shows, lying was portrayed as something very funny. Unlike the Lucy show, liars in our new art form often do NOT get caught. There is no recompense for their deeds. They are even portrayed as the heroes, who did whatever was necessary to achieve the goal.

It has become almost like “lying is a different way of telling the truth.” Lying is the cushion we lay down on the ground, to ease the fall. In a strange sense, with the introduction of reality shows, lying has become admirable–a shortcut through the park to get to the market. It is a way to achieve your purposes without having to explain your motives.

Which brings us to where we are now–a situation where the lambs–those who once held fast to integrity–have now mated with the lions–predators who have never honored the rules of the jungle–and birthed an offspring of sheep with claws and teeth.

Truthfully, most people believe that lying is “American.” If we’re “doing it for America,” and if we’re Americans and as long as our motives are “good at heart,” then whatever we say to get what is “God ordained.”

There you have it. We have gone from “lying is bad” to “lying is American.”

We have gone from Thanksgiving dinner with the Pilgrims and Indians, where there was a mutual respect because there was a general need–to avoid starvation–to calling those Native Americans “savages” and thrusting them onto reservations. We have taken the spirit of Watergate and mingled it with the events of Monica Lewinsky to generate a resignation of ultimate deception.

It all happened because we grew up believing that (1) inconvenience is nasty; and (2) that truth, more often than not, is inconvenient.

I must be honest with you and tell you that I dreaded writing an article about lying. I have grown up in the same climate and am susceptible to the little splotches of darkness that have stained all of our souls. But here’s what I’ve come up with:

I avoid telling lies at all cost. When I do tell one, I inform myself that I must own up to this as soon as possible because it’s the only way for me to maintain dignity. And finally, if I am so foolish that I allow myself to get caught, I will never piggyback one lie upon another, but will immediately admit that I am the culprit.

It is a formula I call avoid, own and admit. You may not be able to completely escape the inclination force-fed by our society, to distribute what is now called “misinformation.” But you can learn that lying is really the only sin. Everything else is just a mistake, awaiting our repentance.

Some of our lions–those we elected to be the leaders of our country–have set an example that now is being absorbed by the lambs. Candidly, our lambs will have to “trickle up” truthfulness to our lions. It won’t come from the other direction. If we want greatness, we must be willing to do great things.

And the greatest thing a human being can do … is stop lying.

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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.

The Power of Poor … November 24, 2011

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In Washington, D.C.

Here’s a fact. Chief Running Deer and Pilgrim John Alden are never going to share a turkey together unless they first have partaken of a common poverty.

If the Pilgrims had been highly successful in the New World, they would never even have considered turning to their perceived savage neighbors–the American Indians–for assistance. The difference between red skin and white skin was made null and void by the fear in each one of them of just becoming dead skins.

The Pilgrims were starving. Sickness had set in. The harvest was not plentiful. They had not found the New World to be the vista of possibilities or the land of milk and honey, but rather, a kingdom of mean and hurt. The Native Americans had survived the weather and learned the ways of the soil, and though they themselves were still very impoverished, these industrious people had found a way to survive the climate and still have enough to share with paler brothers. Without poverty, there is no Thanksgiving.

I sometimes become amused when I hear politicians in our country dream of a day when all Americans are rich–or at least securely tucked away in the middle class.  Here’s a clue, my friend.  Rich people don’t develop a sudden tendency towards generosity.  That’s why, when a rich person actually does give a gift, it makes headlines. Wealthy folks are even MORE concerned about maintaining the inventory of their supply house than those who are pulling roots out of the ground and plucking berries off of bushes.

Of course, the introduction of the middle class into any society is the intrusion of a mindset that has everything budgeted down to the tinest farthing, so as to maintain the blessing of perceived security. No, I will tell you on this Thanksgiving Day that there would never have been a Thanksgiving without the power of poor. It is amazing how racial barriers, ethnic fussiness and religious bigotry disappear when there is only one slice of bread and two people to share it. At that point, there is a choice: are you going to kill your neighbor to procure the whole slice, or find a way to be grateful as you munch your half?

The weakness of capitalism is the notion that people will not be happy until they’re financially secure. If we really believe that no one can find contentment without remuneration, we limit the scope of the human heart to share, the human soul to generate ideas, the human mind to make plans and the human body to endure a bit of discomfort in order to achieve sustenance.

Can we really be thankful if there were no chance that we actually were in peril of being without? I just don’t think so. In my lifetime I have had much and I’ve had little, and I will candidly tell you that the times I had little I was more innovative, generous and forthcoming than I ever was when my coffers were full. I tried to be the open soul when I possessed greater wealth, but nothing compares to the power of poor.

As Pilgrim John Alden stood outside his cabin and saw Chief Running Deer walking up the path, his first puritanical instinct was probably to grab his musket and destroy the enemy. And then he noticed that the Chief was carrying corn, had a wild turkey thrown over his back and some sort of flask containing what he hoped was good drink. The instinct to kill was replaced by the desire to survive.

So as you sit down at your Thanksgiving meal today, give yourself a great gift. Envision a climate where you really would be in need–and what would be your choice and direction in handling that lacking? Then look at your table of plenty and realize how magnificently blessed you are–and unworthy of such consideration. For me, I remember one particular Thanksgiving when turkey was served only as hot dogs and desserts were certainly absent altogether, but what we had was a great sense of humor and a hope for a better future. Perhaps a bit of tenderness will enter your heart and you will realize how close we all come, from time to time, to being abandoned.

Racial barriers were eliminated at the first Thanksgiving … because hungering and thirsting drew all the parties closer to true righteousness.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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