Catchy (Sitting 65) Just As I Am… September 9th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3790)

Matthew sat quietly in the rental car he had selected at the airport, having arrived early for a meeting with Milton Crenshaw–one he promised Jubal he would cover.

As he sat on the narrow thoroughfare winding through the trailer park leading to Crenshaw’s mobile home, he watched with great curiosity as a mama duck led her four babies across the road. She was so damn organized.

He suddenly felt very stupid because he envied her. She was just a duck–but she had a family. Matthew had no “honey” and no “sonny.” Just himself and a nice rental car. Oh–and of course, there was that little thing of being saved by his old friend, Michael Hinston and being given a second chance via a liver transplant.

Matthew knew he was an ungrateful son-of-a-bitch, but that didn’t make him any more thankful. When Soos called him that morning and told him it had been a hundred days since anyone had heard from Jo-Jay, he was concerned–but not engaged.

Likewise, it had been seven days since anyone had heard from Carlin Canaby. Matthew investigated, and discovered that Carlin had turned in all his rental properties and checked out of his suite at the Las Vegas casino. He was nowhere to be found.

Jubal felt that he should take over some of Carlin’s duties, so he asked Matthew to take the weekly meeting with Milton.

Matthew had been very reluctant. There was no real reason for it. Well, he didn’t like trailer parks. Or old men. And he wasn’t particularly fond of fat people–especially if they were “preachers of the Gospel.”

Overall, he just felt ill-suited for the task. However, the ducks completed their journey across the road, so Matthew decided it was time to go meet Mr. Crenshaw. Like a boy called to the dinner table on broccoli night, he took his time, dragging his feet. He trudged to the door, knocked, and a voice from inside bellowed, “Come on in. It’s open.”

Matthew stepped through the door. Sitting in a wheelchair was a big fat man with a grin. The fellow reached out a hand and Matthew took it. He then offered Matthew a seat. Matthew sat down and declined coffee, breakfast and water–he wasn’t staying long.

Milton waited for a moment and then realized that Matthew had no intention of starting the conversation. So he launched. “You’re a talkative one, aren’t you?”

“No disrespect, sir,” answered Matthew, “but you’re a stranger to me and I’ve never been particularly fond of strangers…”

Milton interrupted. “Especially big fat ones that preach the Gospel, right?”

Matthew was taken aback by the bluntness, but managed to reply, “Oh, no. Nothing like that…”

“So are you tired?” asked Milton.

“My flight wasn’t that long,” began Matthew.

Milton interrupted again. “I’m not talkin’ about your damn flight. I’m just wondering if you’re tired of dodging and trying to escape the obvious.”

“What is obvious?” asked Matthew.

“What is obvious?” mulled Milton. “Well, how about this? We’ve tried for several hundred years to live in a world where everyone is allowed to believe anything they want to, do anything they want to, and even form governments around that thinking, without any objection.”

“That’s what they call freedom,” inserted Matthew.

Milton laughed. “‘Freedom’s just another word, for nothin’ left to lose.’ That’s from Bobby McGee.” He peered at Matthew and added, “I’m sure thqt was before your time.”

Matthew sat up in his chair and stated, “Well, if it’s conversation you want, and you want it to be honest, I would just love to receive this report I’m supposed to collect and get the hell out of here.”

Milton smiled. “Well, I see you have some backbone. That’s good. So you want my report? Here’s my report. I’m sitting in a room with a man who has been blessed–who is so ignorant that he feels he has the God-given right to question the logic of the universe. How’s that for a report?”

“I don’t like you, Mr. Crenshaw,” said Matthew. “And it’s not because you preach the Gospel or because you are heavy-set.”

“You mean fat?” Milton interrupted.

“Your word,” countered Matthew. “It’s not because of that. It’s because you’ve eye-balled me ever since I walked in, as a potential conquest for your ego-stroking evangelical need to save the world, one damnable sinner at a time.”

Milton lurched back in fake horror. “Oh, my God! I don’t want you to get saved! Then you’d be my brother in Jesus and we might have to work together! I’m just pointing out that you find yourself to be so intelligent and erudite–yet the obvious continues to escape you.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. What is the obvious?” asked Matthew.

“I didn’t say I’d tell you,” replied Milton. “I don’t usually waste my time sharing valuable information with those who are determined to be ignorant.”

Matthew stood to his feet. “And I’m not accustomed to hanging around to be insulted. I’ve had enough of this. I’ll just tell Jubal that it was great and you were super-fine. How’s that?”

“Sit down,” demanded Milton. Matthew didn’t move.

“Please,” added Milton with some tenderness. Against his better judgment, Matthew sat back down.

Milton paused. His demeanor changed.

“My dear friend,” he began gently, “if the human race does not find a common cause, a common kindness and a common appreciation, we’re just gonna fuckin’ kill each other. I hope you don’t mind me using that word. I don’t very often, but sometimes it’s the only one that grants correct emphasis on the desperation and futility of a situation.”

Matthew jumped in. “My problem with you is not that you say ‘fuck.’ My problem with you is that you’re a big, fat fuck.”

Milton laughed. He roared. He slapped his chubby thigh and he rolled his wheelchair closer to Matthew.

“That I am,” he said. “Do you know why?”

Matthew shook his head.

“It’s because while you deliberate two inches of rope to determine its strength, the world is hanging itself by the remaining length. Please understand–I don’t follow Jesus because I’m a religious man. Hell, I had a porn addiction at one time in my life. I had to fight it off like crazy. I’m not a good man; I’m not a pure man. Morality is not my primary concern. It’s common sense. You see, the reason they killed Jesus of Nazareth is because he was sensible. And the reason the church today does not preach Jesus is because it’s afraid their people will not tolerate the simplicity of ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ It’s much easier to play the organ, the guitar, preach the sermon and feign worshipping the heavens with candles and eucharist. But meanwhile, the world keeps dividing into smaller and smaller groups. And the smaller the groups are, the more dangerous they become. Organization becomes easier. You see, it would take China months–maybe years–to get agreement to destroy the world from all its various leaders. But sixteen fanatics in a garage in Syria, with a dirty bomb, could pull off tragedy before the weekend.”

“If we don’t come up with a common message–a common goal, a common sense–we will kill each other. And you see, Moses won’t do it–he believed in killing. As did Mohammed, Buddha and all the religionists throughout history. Jesus never killed anyone. He never recommended it. He said God is your Father, nature is your Mother, I am your brother, and the whole world are your cousins.”

“If that message doesn’t permeate our society in the next twenty years, we will have diminishing results, which will end up in a foolish decision to prove some asinine point.”

Matthew was stunned, but didn’t want to act like it. “What gives you the right, Mr. Crenshaw, to make decisions for everyone in the world?”

Milton leaned forward and said, “What gives you the right, young man, to deny that the decision has already been made, the price has already been paid–and all that remains is for each one of us is just to walk into the wisdom of loving one another and being kind and tender-hearted?”

Matthew laughed. “And you think you’re kind and tender-hearted? You think the way you treated me this morning is the spirit of love? If your attitude is Jesus, then you can stick the motherfucker right back up on the cross as far as I’m concerned.”

“Very dramatic,” said Milton. “I can see why they asked you to take on this mission. You have the power of your convictions even when they’re wrong. You started out your life–you wanted to be funny. You are funny. You wanted to have your own business. You do. You wanted to be successful. You are. You wanted money. God knows you got that. You wanted people to look up to you. Accomplished. Yet you sat in your casino suite and nearly drank yourself to death. How gentle do you think I should be with such arrogance?”

All at once Matthew broke. It really wasn’t anything Milton had said. It wasn’t a conviction from the challenge. But tears filled Matthew’s eyes. Not the usual weeping, where he conjured self-pity over some perceived injustice to his character. These tears were coming from another place, out of his control, streaming down his face, though he willed them to cease.

Matthew wept. Then he sobbed. And then he cried out, “Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”

Milton backed up his wheelchair and turned away to give Matthew a private moment.

Matthew was moved–but angry at the same time. He didn’t want to be some common, everyday sinner, repenting and weeping over evil actions. He hated himself for being weak.

But none of that stopped the tears.

Quietly, Milton spoke–nearly under his breath. “Just as I am, and waiting not, to rid my soul of one dark blot. Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me.”

Through a gushing of tears, Matthew squalled, “Why did they kill him?”

Milton paused and turned slowly to Matthew. “Because they foolishly thought it would stop him.”

This brought an even greater torrent of mourning. Milton eased his wheelchair over and put his arms around Matthew, who laid his head on the old man’s chest and cried like he had lost everything.

No one hurried the moment. No one spoke again. Neither Milton nor Matthew knew exactly what it all meant.

Yet something was different.

 

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Jesonian … August 11th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3761)

Astonished.

It is the word that Saint Matthew selected, in his Gospel, to describe the reaction of the audience which heard Jesus of Nazareth share the Sermon on the Mount.

Some synonyms for astonished:

  • Shocked
  • Confounded
  • Bewildered
  • Astounded
  • Flabbergasted
  • Startled
  • Stunned
  • Dumbfounded
  • Blow your mind

Astonished is a word that combines impressed and alarmed.

It is the way Matthew perceived the mood of the hearers.

He added that they felt that Jesus had more “authority” than the scribes. As you probably know, the scribes were not the Pharisees. The scribes were the local ministers in charge of writing and reading the Law of Moses.

The style they imparted in sharing those ancient words was: read, said, dead. When the scribes read, they said what was exactly there–as dead as they possibly could, so as not to add too much flavor.

So as you can see, it was not a roaring accolade, to say that Jesus exceeded the knowledge or enthusiasm of the scribes.

The importance to the verse is that the people departing that day were “astonished.” What do people do when they’re astonished?

On the way home, as the afterglow disappears, they begin to pick at the corners of great ideas until they disassemble them, convincing themselves that these principles are implausible.

How do we know this is true?

Most of them do not follow Jesus down the hill, but instead, go to their homes, where they justify their disbelief.

Meanwhile, Jesus, who has just delivered the most radical, truthful and practical message ever heard on Earth, descends the hill, and is greeted by one leper, who asks for healing–who had probably missed the sermon.

After twenty-two years of traveling with my dear friend Janet Clazzy, to thousands of churches, I will tell you this:

It is very possible to stir up a congregation, and even their local shepherd, to the point of astonishment.

You can raise dead spirits that haven’t been alive since Grandma and Grandpa sat in the pews.

You can get people to clap, think, react, smile, and even do their best impersonation of loving one another. But you can’t go home with them.

And home is where they rationalize all their present actions–to avoid the horror of repentance.

*****

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*******

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Salient…June 25th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3714)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Shall we take a look at a fascinating window of time that occurs in all human beings, from birth to about five years of age? Each one of us is so vulnerable, so needy, so inquisitive and so desperate that we are prepared to be taught to be Earth-dwellers by our parents. Sometimes this extends all the way up to age ten.

Three very intricate systems are introduced: manners, morals and motivation.

This is the period when we develop our ethics–perhaps a work ethic or a social one, but certainly a mental gear we adopt to deal with life and with others.

Most generally this instruction is completed by age eleven, because here comes puberty. For the average parent puberty can be best defined as this: “My children have lost their hearing in favor of their genitals.”

It is difficult to provide additional instruction during this period. Sometimes after a serious error, there will be a brief season of curiosity from the adolescent, but then the trio of temptation, taunting and teasing pulls them right back into the melee of mayhem.

This lasts until about age twenty-five. (Of course, it could be twenty-two, or thirty, depending on the person. But for the sake of this brief essay, I shall characterize it as twenty-five.)

At twenty-five young folks wake up–sometimes after a hangover or after getting their first threatening letter from a bill collector for their student loans, or perhaps realizing they might be in love.

A realization strikes: “Maybe me, an individual, could become us, a family.”

So three new friends show up to invigorate manners, morals and motivation. They are concern, confidence and clever.

We, as humans, develop a legitimate concern for others while building confidence and finding clever ways to use what we have more expansively.

It is a massive transition–a needful one. Without it, many young persons never become actual adults at all, but linger around their families, particularly their parents, coming back for another schooling in morals, manners and motivation.

This concern, confidence and clever births some children, buys a house, acquires job promotions and takes us, as people, to about the age of fifty. (Once again, this could be younger or a little older.)

At fifty, having tapped the fruit of concern, confidence and clever, people want more. There is a wrinkle in the spirit of human beings which causes them to wistfully wish to make a difference and leave behind a legacy.

It is at this point that we pursue wit, words and wisdom. It carries us through to our dying breath.

Yet we certainly know individuals in their seventies who have never escaped concern, confidence and clever–or maybe never even learned morals, manners and motivation.

This is a passage. All human passages are entered only through the power of repentance.

So here is your salient moment:

Gather up all your manners, morals and motivation, and stir in your concern, confidence and cleverness. And if you have reached the age, add on your wit, words and wisdom.

Finish the job.

Of course, if you’re led of the Spirit and you’re a creature who knows how to use faith, you don’t have to wait for birthdays to dictate your future.

As the Good Book says, “today is the day of salvation.”

 

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Jesonian … May 12th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3670)

It’s all about the day. Today, to be exact.

If you lead human beings to the “browner” pastures of musing over the week, the month, the year, or God forbid, the lifetime, they dispel portions of purpose and chunks of energy.

Actually, this is commonly understood. Perhaps it’s not stated enough, but one reason that religion is so anti-Christ is that it forces the adherents to ponder holidays, ceremonies, rituals, yearly timetables and of course, eternal life.

It removes the congregant from the opportunity to participate in his or her own life on a daily basis and to watch the meticulous changes that occur through just placing one’s attention span in the right timeframe.

Jesus hated the religious system.

Do you understand this? If not, you are wasting your time in a religion called Christianity instead of faith–Jesonian.

Jesus articulates this when he tells the Pharisees that they grow so tired of their own people–so bored with the individuals who come to synagogue–that they traverse land and sea to win one convert, and then transform this individual into “twice the son of hell” as they are themselves.

What makes the newbie twice the son of hell?

He is robbed of the experience of daily life, and thrust into the swirl of meaningless liturgy, peering at his human journey in multiple leaps, culminating with death and heaven.

Humans are horrible when we don’t have a vision for the 24-hour period set before us.

The difference between Jesonian and the religious system is personal acquisition. This begins with:

1. Be aware.

In other words, you have a life. Nothing will happen with it just because you live or because you pray. You must ask, seek and knock.

2. Find passion.

Living demands energy. Living requires your presence instead of your observation. You are the salt of the Earth–therefore without you, there’s no flavor. You are the light of the world. When you are absent, darkness rules.

3. Take responsibility.

The only way to guarantee failure is to look for others to blame. Even if you can prove it’s their fault, you can’t control their repentance.

Find where you are responsible in every situation. Celebrate that you’ve been given the authority to change circumstances for the better.

Religion, politics, business, family and even entertainment–all of them force us to look into the distance instead of peering down at our plate of “daily bread.”

It renders us insipid.

It forces us, by default, to become “sons of hell.”

*****

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                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

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Jesonian: Lukey 13 … February 17th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3586)

I gave this essay a title.

I don’t very often–but since I planned to refer to the Good Book in Luke the 13th Chapter, I decided to get cute: “Lukey 13.”

Very simply, this is where Jesus explains how the planet functions, progresses and purifies.

The explanation was required because the folks who surrounded Jesus of Nazareth were caught up in politics and blamed the government for all the ills that came their way. This spilled over into their conversation with the “carpenter-turned-preacher.”

They wanted to get his opinion on an event. Pontius Pilate, the governor, had killed a group of people who came to a religious service to offer sacrifice, and were brutally attacked by the Roman Legions–murdered during their ceremony.

The people dramatically cited to Jesus that “the blood of the victims was mingled with the sacrifices.”

They failed to say that the Romans knew these folks to be Zealots, viewing them as terrorists who raided the army and killed infantrymen.

(There are always two sides to a story, usually with neither one being the truth.)

The people wanted Jesus to be enraged. They wanted Jesus to be a nationalist. They wanted Jesus to be a Zionist. He astounds them.

He replies, If you won’t change, you’re next. (The actual wording was, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”)

He asked them if they thought the Galileans who were killed were bad people because it happened to them. He asked if a tower which had recently fallen on innocent folks was punishment for their sins, once again closing with, if you don’t change, you’re next.

What is his message? First, it is impossible to comprehend the ministry of Jesus without realizing that he came to bring understanding to the Natural Order instead of having people believe in mysterious protections from a Supernatural Border.

The Jews thought as long as they were Jews, God should take care of them. They felt no responsibility to the world around them, referring to people who were not Sons of Abraham as “heathens.” They became targets for cultures which were stronger in military might, and in no mood to be called “dogs.”

In a parable, Jesus explains the nature of Nature. He also outlines the nurture of the Father:

You cannot get God’s grace if you do not honor Nature’s place.

Jesus tells a story about a tree. It had leaves, bark and roots. No fruit. This tree was deemed by those in charge to be worthless, and was marked to be cut down.

Consider: although God loves me, He wants me to understand that since I live on Planet Earth, I have to follow the rules of the trees. I am not allowed to take up space, suck out nutrients and just sprout leaves. I am expected to bear fruit.

What is fruit? What defines fruit? “I am trying to improve my life, therefore understand why you are attempting to do the same.”

That’s fruit.

Nature wants to get rid of anything that is not fruitful. Some people might even say that Nature is prepared to get rid of Earth, because its inhabitants are no longer respectful of the system.

Yet let’s talk about you and me. There is a Natural Order and a Supernatural Border. It is impossible to come under the grace of God if you’re not submissive to Earth. And on those occasions when you find yourself erring, and in danger of being eliminated because of your mistake, you will need the Supernatural Border.

There is only one way to get under the protection of God’s mercy: humility.

Yes. Be the first one on your block to know you’ve done something stupid. Repent of it before anyone else even knows you did it, and dip your head in respect to Mother Nature as a way of honoring Father God. When God sees this, He comes to Mother Nature and He says, “Dig and dung.” In other words, let’s not eliminate this person yet. Let’s give him or her a chance. Fertilize with dung.

To put this process in a lexicon we better understand: to gain God’s help, you must humbly admit your weakness and allow Him to send some shit your way so you can grow.

If you’re convinced it’s not your fault, and you reject the shit, get ready for the buzzsaw.

If you’re going to be oblivious, be prepared to be the next one eliminated. But if you honor Nature and the order of things and realize that it’s not the government’s fault–there is no massive plan against spirituality, but rather, misdirection on your own part, which needs to be humbly corrected–then God has the ability to extend His grace, to help you establish your change.

It is a powerful passage. It is our “Lukey 13.”

And if we comprehend its meaning, we have an earthly advantage over the religious fanatics who believe God owes them something, and also the secular world, which contends it can out-muscle the competition.

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G-Poppers … October 27th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3472)

Today G-Pop would like to talk to his children about the Precedence of the United States.

We’re not talking about the President.

No–we’re not referring to any occupant of the Oval Office, past, present or future.

It’s the precedence which has crept into the American consciousness, causing us to be so drunk on our own pride that we’re in danger of teetering the world into an international fiasco.

It is a three-part deception:

1. We are exceptional.

2. We are really never wrong.

3. And our mistakes are more virtuous than most countries’ insights.

It culminates in a little piece of nastiness: when you run across “mean,” just be meaner.

And this is not just in our politics. It is being manifested through ruthless business practices, religious intolerance, and the stirring up of social and cultural bigotry.

We’ve become picky, frustrated, cantankerous and dangerous because of the power we wield. Matter of fact, G-Pop’s children are often tempted to get on board the “eye-for-an-eye-bandwagon” and start poking with their sticks.

Somehow or another we’ve convinced ourselves that the peace treaties, negotiations, prayer, foreign aid and the collaborations we’ve had with other peoples have weakened us instead of defined us as a great nation.

Where could G-Pop’s children begin?

Since his offspring do not hold public office, his children must quietly begin within their own lives–setting the example that sounds the tone which composes the music for the revival.

A. “I am often wrong.”

B. “I will apologize for how this inconveniences you or others.”

C. “I will make obvious strides to do better.”

This is not merely a “christian” attitude, nor a loving and giving sappiness.

It is survival.

For after all, nations–or people–don’t have to be stronger than us to hurt us dearly. It only takes one maniac to devastate the lives of seven hundred people.

It is a good thing to have a heart for repentance which welcomes the possibility for transformation.

We have a precedence in the United States. It is an infatuation with meanness under the guise of “staying tough.” We want our slogans, our politics and the chip on our shoulder to be backed up with a gun in our hand.

G-Pop prays that his children will realize that the Wild West is no longer wild–all the bad guys killed all the good guys until finally someone said “enough.”

Yes, enough.

Enough of the precedence of the United States being meanness. We don’t have to become weak. We need to be aware.

Address foolishness when it is foolish and give assistance when we see need.

 

 

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

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3435)

Even Longer

Come, behold the fractured frame

A union of regal holy name

Souls bound in a love so true

One found one, translated two

Two became a mysterious single

As will and purpose gently mingle

But pain exposed the dangerous lie

While pardon, forgiveness and patience try

To have her perfect work

Faithfully pursue, never shirk

Yet trust is a stingy master

Running yon with each disaster

Abandoning the glory of former days

Demanding repentance, a changing of ways

To mesh as one the broken seal

Make the hearts regain the feel

Mending the rip in the fragile skin

Brought about by careless sin

And welcome the chance–be born again

Dissect the critics and welcome your twin

So the twain can emerge as one flesh

Baptized in their tears suddenly afresh

Ma’am to sir, he lied to her

Sir to ma’am, he gives a damn

For the new love will be stronger

Conceived to last even longer.

Dedicated to JA at OK

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