Ask Jonathots … January 14th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I’m fifteen years old and want to be an actress. I watched the Golden Globes and it looked like everyone was intoxicated. Some of my friends think that drinking is no big deal–after all, it’s not “doing drugs.” Their parents drink, after all. Their older brothers and sisters drink. Everyone drinks. What do you think about it?

I personally am not a big fan of camping.

Matter of fact, I only have one clear memory of going on such an excursion. What I do remember about the experience is that you do a lot of walking and while doing this peddling along, you are also carrying everything you need on your back, so that when you arrive at the campsite for the evening, you can open it up and have your “stuff” to make the journey tolerable.

You know what I discovered on the first night? Half of the things I brought were useless, making me tired carrying it around.

I found a nearby trash can and threw these items away, which someone had told me were necessary to have a woods event.

My second day was so much more pleasurable, and when I arrived for the evening’s rest, I had everything I needed–and if I didn’t, I was still happy that I had a lighter load.

  • Thus drinking.
  • Thus smoking.
  • Thus obesity.
  • Thus nervous energy.

Anything we decide to tuck into our lifestyle which we have to carry only makes the journey a bit more difficult, will slow our pace, and in the long run, when we arrive at our destination, will probably have to be abandoned in favor of more freedom.

I’ll tell you what I feel when I watch the Golden Globes and see people drinking. Since they are actors, directors and producers, I would like to follow the story line of their alcoholic curve. Are they really able to hold it to a couple of glasses of wine and an occasional beer, or does the liquor begin to control the dialogue, the circumstances, the party or even the friends?

I would say if you’re able to drink a glass of wine at a meal or have a beer with a bratwurst without feeling the need to carry alcohol into your life for inconvenient times, then you should be just fine. But to look at alcohol as a social statement, a way of relaxation, a means to unwind or a must so that you can garner the right people for your party, is to set yourself up for arriving at your goal toting a burden rather than a benefit.

How many people sitting at the Golden Globes have already been through rehab and countless attempts to stop drinking, or are short months away from a DUI which will place them in the public eye with a frown?

Alcohol is a substance. It warns us of its potency and danger by its flavor and after-effects. If you can incorporate that taste and responsibility in your life without losing control or feeling compelled to imbibe, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

But many have insisted they can, and crashed.

Yes, many have lost their way.

Keep this in mind.

Alcohol never helped anybody get to their dream. 

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Forty-two Months… May 24, 2013

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ShreveportIt was a hot, humid, May evening in an area of the country that only knows how to be hot and humid in May.

It was the night that I first met my partner, Janet Clazzy. She was the principal oboist in the Shreveport Symphony and came out to a press conference I had put together to publicize my musical, Mountain, the Sermon on the Mount set to music. I was twenty-nine years old–energetic and just stupid enough to believe that great things could be done with little effort.

This initial meeting came to my mind last night as we drove into Shreveport to do a gig.

The first time I arrived in that town, I was a refugee from a year of my life which had been crowded with too much activity and laced with disaster.

1980.

I moved from Nashville, Tennessee, traveling the country with my Broadway-style show, Mountain, to twenty-five cities. After that I took a position at a church in Alabama. My second-oldest son, Joshua, was in a hit-and-run accident with a car and suffered a massive brain trauma. I left Alabama and moved to Shreveport to take a position at a small Bible college, which appeared to be getting smaller all the time.

I was damaged goods.

I did not know the extent of the buffeting that had occurred in my soul, but I was fully aware of the residue of the bruises. I stayed in Shreveport, Louisiana for forty-two months–in what I would call a complete human overhaul. It was more than healing–it was a rediscovery of my self, my talents, my faith, my potential and certainly–my limitations.

Nearly all the people I met when I was in Shreveport during those forty-two months are still in my life in some capacity. Some of them are close to me, a few have abandoned our former relationship, and most have moved on, taking bits and pieces of what they learned in that season and salting their lives with the experience.

When I finished up last night, walked out to my van and looked at the skyline of the city, I was grateful. It was in Shreveport that I remembered I could write again. I composed songs, penned dramas that were aired on the radio and was called “pastor” by a handful of loving souls.

I learned to fight for what I believed in without becoming aggressive. I became a producer of videos for public access TV and argued with the zoning commission of the town to permit us to have a location for our tiny fellowship. I found myself going down to the county jail in the middle of the night to help people who had fallen through the cracks, and practically begged companies to give food, bread and blankets for us to distribute to the hungry and needy.

I grew a soul.

A soul is like anything else that grows–it requires seeds. Some of those sprouts are unconventional–things like tears, pain, heartache, disappointment and anguish. Yet they all produce beautiful fruit when they are allowed time to mature. But the laughter, joy, cleverness, creativity and the unexpected blessings also were sown into my spirit, “bringing in the sheaves,” rejoicing.

I would not be the man I am today if it were not for that forty-two months I spent in Shreveport–in “spiritual rehab.”

Even though my son eventually passed away and the little work I began there as an outreach is no longer intact, the manifestations of that effort are still evident every day in the lives of my friends and colleagues.

So I am grateful.  I am grateful to Shreveport.

I am overjoyed that instead of giving up on the idea of God, I decided to reinvent faith … inside my tattered being.

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

 Jonathots, Jr.!

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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

D.I.A.–Dissing in Action… April 2, 2012

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Cold turkey–a street slang term for the process by which someone who is addicted to drugs escapes the imprisonment by removing the chemical completely and letting a series of painful reactions remind him or her of poor choices and the consequences. There are many symptoms, but among them are (1) irritability; (2) shaky health; (3) a sense of emptiness; (4) frustration; (5) and of course, a nagging temptation to return to the addiction.

Somewhere between the ages of forty-nine and sixty, Mother Nature gradually begins to snatch away estrogen from women and testosterone from men. The former feelings of supremacy and dependency begin to vanish, hinting towards a return to a more chilled-hood of similarity.

But here’s the problem: by this time, women have become unsure of themselves in a society that has relegated them to a subordinate position. Men have taken it for granted that they’re strong and dominant within the species. It is a game changer—and because it does alter the environment, men and women who are interacting in this era of forty-nine to sixty can get mighty cranky with each other because they see old age peeking its wrinkly face from around the corner. So they take it out on each other. A series of what I would refer to as “public-appropriate dissing” ensues. In other words, if anyone suggested to this couple that they were fighting, they would vehemently disagree, explaining that it was just their way of joking around and getting along with each other. And here’s another problem–unless you’re looking in the mirror, aging is something happening to your partner and not you. So when he comes close for that peck on the cheek, every single wrinkle is prevalent to her eyes. And when she walks across the room with a bit of a limp instead of a girlish bounce, memories of former lust seem to fade away.

Just as in the case of withdrawal from hard drugs, these D.I.A.’s (Dissing in Action) become irritable with one another. All at once, things that don’t really matter can become earth-shattering in importance. Simultaneously, some shaky health sets in, which makes them wonder if their partner is going to bring both sadness and financial ruin to the household. Also, the aging process produces a form of emptiness because merely reminiscing about exploits is not like packing your car and going camping. This lends itself to frustration. Discovering you are out of coffee can initiate a cranky rant which can last all morning long, indirectly targeting your roommate. And of course, temptation. Temptation can be one of three little monsters: (A) Why don’t I feel as good as I used to?  Maybe I need a jolt. (B) Let me go spend too much money on something I really don’t need to make me feel young again; and (C) He or she is too old for me. I need a younger model.

I don’t have all the stats, but I think you will find that many marriages that have survived the twenty-plus mark dissolve in this age group, because the disappointment of losing the chemical of choice causes the two parties to begin to blame each other and to diss and fuss. Compounding the problem is the fact that in their addled essence, they were not taught the ongoing equality of the sexes, and in the process of “kidding,” they became overly concerned about things that nature has pretty well in hand. And during the phase of Re-Spend-Ability, they were so shell-shocked by financial concerns and pending doom from attacks of the dollar sign that confidence in one another was eroded.

So when you remove estrogen and testosterone, what you have left is a confused man and a terrified woman, jumbled and jittery about becoming old.

So what should these former “drug addicts” do to counteract this change in their circumstances?

1. Share their feelings. Since men are becoming a bit more vulnerable and women a trifle aggressive, the balance should create an equal playing field for conversation. I understand that it’s hard to start becoming transparent with someone you love at the age of fifty, but what is more difficult is walking around all the time on the verge of a tizzy fit. Create a treaty. And the terms of that treaty are simple: I will allow you and you must allow me to share my present feelings without believing that they are either real or lasting.

2. Share your dreams. By the time one reaches the middle of the century mark , there are things one desired that need to be replaced by realistic alternatives. So you’re not going to get your Corvette, but you could save up your money, rent one for a weekend and go on a trip. You’re not going to actually write that novel about your life, but you could start a journal about what’s going on and what you think about it, so your children will later understand a little piece of your spirit. Dreams don’t have to die just because they failed to end up being complete. If you share your dreams, you can find ways to imitate them that will bring satisfaction because you did it together. Here’s a clue–go ahead and evolve–lest you just end up monkeying around.

3. Share work. You are actually becoming more alike. Use that energy to learn how to do things at the same time for the same purpose. Don’t garden alone. It makes you think too much about what you don’t have. Don’t work on cleaning out the garage without the other person being there. It’s much easier to work out your problems while moving boxes than it is in your own head, staring across the room at your lover, who is unfortunately becoming merely your roomie. Share work. It is a powerful cohesion and perhaps one of the greatest aphrodisiacs.

4. And finally, share wisdom. The only way I know to stay young is to be aware of what’s going on in your world so you can be compassionate to younger folks, on-point when you talk to them and not just some cantankerous, graying individual who pines for the old days. Share wisdom with those who are younger—and that wisdom must be the beautiful mingling of tenderness, humor and ideas.

“Dissing in Action” is something that happens because men and women who failed to learn to co-exist suddenly find themselves sharing rehab together due to their loss of “drugs.” What do you do then? How do you move to the next phase? How can you take the later years of your life and make them the productive celebration of achievement instead of a lamentation over one disappointment after another?

Because shortly after the age of sixty, human beings enter a final phase—one that is certainly misinterpreted in our society, and if they haven’t discovered how to stop “dissing” each other, this next stage will be an agonizing cruise ship trip through hell.

Because sixty-one until we’re no longer here is a return to our chilled-hood status—a phase which I call Eco-Quality.

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

 

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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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