3 Things… April 19th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3647)

 That Make Freedom Work

1. I am responsible for my own life.

2. Unless you are crazy or hurtful, I will leave you alone.

3. Everything done is tempered with kindness.

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3 Things… February 1st, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3570)

That Seem to Need Each Other

1. Freedom and responsibility

2. Love and truth

3. Lobster and butter (no lemon, please)

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G-Poppers … August 4th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3388)

Jon close up

During a recent appearance on a talk show, the host asked G-Pop, “If you had one minute of air time to speak to the whole world, what would you say?”

G-Pop took a deep breath and replied:

“Take responsibility for your life. There is no shame in making mistakes. There is great disgrace in lying.

Repent to live. Then you are free to be trusted.

Be a giver, not a receiver. Some receiving is necessary to have something to give. Don’t get used to it. Share what comes your way.

Feel strong because you breathe.

Feel wealthy because you eat.

Don’t judge anyone at any time. Stop listening to gossip.

Find a place to create–then create.

Don’t answer a question that wasn’t asked.

Never give an opinion, even when it’s requested.

Your life is your voice.

In other words, love your neighbor as yourself.”Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Reverend Meningsbee (Part 35) A Finer Diner… January 1st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3173)

Reverend Meningsbee

Meningsbee was spooked.

He wasn’t exactly sure why–maybe it was being awakened by a stranger pounding on his door. Or it could be the haunting dream that Nico shared about empty boxes at Christmas time. Or maybe he was just baffled by why he was traveling through Texas, spending money to pretend he was a vagrant.

Whatever the reason, he gathered up his blankets, pillows and the few items he had brought into the motel room, threw them into the back seat of his car and headed out on the road.

He didn’t know where he was going, but he knew one thing for sure: it wasn’t Garsonville.

He wasn’t ready.

So he puttered around from little village to tiny burg for a couple of days, realizing he was going to have to call the church and have someone stand in for him on Sunday. It wouldn’t be a big deal–the congregation was practically on auto-pilot anyway. All the changes he had suggested had brought about a freedom and liberty which gave the people a delightful blending of humility and confidence.

So when he called the office to tell them he would be delayed, the secretary didn’t even question him.

He wasn’t going to Garsonville–but he did feel compelled to at least head in that direction.

So two days later, he found himself sitting in a small diner in Amarillo, Texas, when he looked up from his breakfast of two eggs, turkey sausage and toast, and saw Mercer.

At first his brain didn’t register. But after a second glance, he realized it really was Mercer, walking in the door of the diner.

Mercer was a member of the Garsonville congregation–a quiet, sturdy fellow who was so invisible that Meningsbee had never even learned his last name. He was also a little afraid of Mercer, because the fellow sometimes showed up wearing a camouflage tie.

But then, all of a sudden, in the middle of Amarillo, Texas, Mercer had appeared, with a little smile on his face.

Meningsbee could not disguise his shock, and as Mercer made his way to the table and sat down, he said, “Are you surprised, Reverend?”

“More than surprised,” said Meningsbee. “How did you find me?”

Mercer leaned back in his chair, peered at the Reverend and replied, “Well, I don’t know if I ever told you this, but I worked in Army Intelligence, and it didn’t take me long to follow the paper trail you left with your credit cards.”

Meningsbee frowned. Mercer continued, “Oh, don’t be upset. You can find anybody anytime you want as long as they’re willing to sign on the dotted line.”

“What are you doing here?” whispered Meningsbee.

“Well, I came to find you,” said Mercer. “Seems like I did a pretty good job.”

“Okay…” Meningsbee was not sure what else to say.

There was a slight pause and then Mercer filled in the silence. “What seems to be the problem, Pastor? Are you addicted to pills?”

Startled, Meningsbee replied, “Pills? No. Why would you think that?’

“Oh, it’s just that sometimes you have that pasty-white face of a heroin user.”

Meningsbee shook his head. “No, I’m not addicted to pills. Just pasty white.”

“Hookers?” asked Mercer.

“Again–no,” punctuated Meningsbee.

“Then it must be gambling.”

“Listen, Mercer. I don’t gamble.” Meningsbee realized if he didn’t speak up, Mercer would continue his probing. “If you must know, I’m very upset about what’s happening in our town with the broadcast, and also the intrusion they’ve made into my personal life.”

“You mean how they stole your computer?” asked Mercer.

“How’d you know that?”

“Once again–I was in Army Intelligence. If I want to know it, I can pretty well find out. What was on your computer?”

Meningsbee sat quietly. He didn’t know what to share with Mercer. He didn’t know anything about him. So he decided to be evasive.

“Personal things,” Meningsbee said flatly.

“Like pornography, you mean?” asked Mercer, leaning forward and lowering his voice.

“Maybe like that,” said Meningsbee, relenting.

Mercer chuckled. “Listen, Reverend. Nobody thinks you’re perfect. Lots of people don’t even think you’re good. There are even some folks who think you’re pretty bad. So here’s how it works–the people who know you aren’t perfect will forgive you. The people who think you’re kind of good will be alarmed that you made a mistake but they’ll get over it. And the people who think you’re bad will just think worse about you. You can’t win people. God’s been working on their hearts for thousands and thousands of years. Isn’t that what you preach? But you also can’t run. That’s somewhere in the Bible, isn’t it? So I came out here on my own to find you and let you know that our little town needs you. We’ve made some stupid mistakes trusting these big-town phonies. Now we look pretty ridiculous. We could sure use someone to help us get out of this. What do you say?”

“Are you gonna tell anybody about our conversation?”

“Well, I’ll tell you this, Parson. You got no business lookin’ at that trash. But it really ain’t my affair. Do I disrespect you for doing it? A little. But I’ll get over it. The point is–will you? Because pictures on the Internet will never replace the wife you lost.”

Maybe it was the tenderness of the statement.

Maybe it was too many days on the road in Texas.

Or maybe it was just dissatisfaction with his turkey sausage.

But Meningsbee broke down in tears.

Mercer stood to his feet and patted him on the shoulder. “Do you need me to follow you home, or do you know the way?”

Meningsbee chuckled. “I got my GPS set.” He looked up. “Thank you, Mercer.”

Mercer sprouted a big smile. “You don’t know my last name, do you?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t.”

“Well, good. That’ll make it harder for you to track me down.”

Mercer turned and walked out of the diner as Meningsbee stared straight ahead.

It was time to go back.

It was time to take on his responsibility.

And it was time to stop being afraid.

 

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G-Poppers … November 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3122)

Jon close up

She was cursing the air like it was refusing to let her breathe–stomping, throwing things, shaking her fist–the personification of frustration.

As G-Pop returned from a grocery shopping trip, he slowly parked his van in a space next to a young woman who was in a hurry to go nowhere. She had obviously hit her wall and was determined to hit it again and again, to prove the depth of her anguish.

It was a little frightening.

It was like a scene you watch in a movie and take in stride, but when you feel the vehemence ricocheting through the air, it is much different.

So out of respect to her eruption–and a little afraid to step into the emotional lava surrounding her–G-Pop sat quietly in his car, giving her space.

At length she disappeared back into her motel room to procure more of her personal effects. G-Pop took that moment to go into his own room.

Then it occurred to him–a prompting. The real reason to have the Spirit speaking within. After all, there are always two choices:

  • You can shut the door to your room and pretend there’s no pain.
  • Or you can open the door and risk becoming part of the pain of another human being.

G-Pop asked Jan to go out and find out what was wrong–if there was anything the girl needed.

Jan was back in a brief moment, explaining that our friend had her money stolen and they were kicking her out of the motel because she didn’t have finance.

I suppose G-Pop could have spent five or ten minutes trying to figure out if she was lying, or he could have offered a prayer on her behalf. But the best feeling in the world is to know that you did something, even if the critics around you insist it means nothing.

G-Pop looked into his wallet. He had an abundance of one dollar bills left over from the week’s endeavors. He didn’t count them–just grabbed them and gave them to Jan to take out to the damsel in distress.

After a brief delay Jan reappeared, grinning ear to ear, saying that the young woman was moved to tears and they had hugged it out.

Did it make a difference?

Much more than whether G-Pop voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

Much more than an aggravated post on Facebook.

Much more than a silent request during prayer time the following Sunday at church.

We are living in uncertain times so it is important to make sure what is certain:

  1. Love your neighbor.
  2. Take responsibility for your life
  3. Be of good cheer.

And G-Pop would note: when you see something that needs to be done, do the part that is within your means.

 

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“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

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G-Poppers … June 3rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2954)

Jon close up

“It is the mingle that produces the mangle.”

G-Pop will freely admit that the phrase may sound a little too cute, but nevertheless, bears repeating.

How we mingle our thinking determines whether virtue, progress and intelligence will become mangled.

It all revolves around two insidious but often blended ideas:

  1. It’s not my fault
  2. God will take care of it

Yes, in an attempt to free ourselves of any responsibility for failure, we seek villains to blame for the destruction in our society.

Or we stand back, feigning helplessness, reciting our prayers, waiting for a divine being to intervene and make the world a better place.

And then, there is the ridiculous mingling of the two:

“Since God will take care of everything, why should I force myself to do things that are unnatural to my present thinking?”

It is the mingle that invites the mangle.

Because once you convince a generation of human beings that they are without fault and that God has a plan for everything, you scrawl a permission slip for people to continue their ignorance and prejudice.

Even though we contend “the truth makes us free,” we fail to realize that this freedom is only achieved if we’re willing to know the truth.

And here’s the truth:

G-Pop tells all of his children that if any one of us is within three feet of a problem, we probably have some responsibility for the situation.

And if we’re not within three feet, we still have the potential–within that yard of our jurisdiction–to improve the world.

  • There is no progress without repentance.
  • But there is no repentance minus confession.

“If we confess our faults, we will be healed.” If we don’t, we remain sick.

The more we insist that we are guiltless, the more intensely others look for our guilt.

And the idea that a God who created the universe and made human beings with a brain attached to their hands and feet without expecting them to use the connection, is just pure farce.

If you want to stop the mangling of truth, justice and mercy, you will have to attack the credibility of “it’s not my fault” and “God will take care of it.”

Unless we repent, we will perish.

And not even a God of mercy will stand in the way of our disappearance.

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Confessing … October 17th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2725)

XXIV.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

I could.

I should have.

I would … next time?

Guilt is often just acceptable self-pity.

It is a decision to appear responsible without ever really taking responsibility.

I shall refrain.

The night my son was hit and run by a car, I kept waiting for the hero in me to show up. I expected “Super Dad” or the cunning of Spirit to steer me in the right direction. I was waiting for my paternal instincts to engulf me in an adrenalin which would bark out commands, take control and become the victor.

Instead, I found myself embarrassingly self-conscious.

I felt as if everybody was watching my actions, like a movie, and they were curious about how I would escape the tragedy.

I felt insufficient and was completely convinced that everybody knew it.

So I blabbered on, bouncing between conjuring memories of better days with my wounded child, or pronouncing epithets of faith, which now fell off my lips insipid and meaningless in the darkness of my surroundings.

When they finally finished operating on my boy and told me the severe state of his injuries, and moved him to a room in Intensive Care, I noticed that there was a chair right next to the hospital bed.

It was empty.

Even though I was confused and frustrated, I knew in my heart it was supposed to be my chair. It was intended to be my place of residence for the next few days or weeks, while I waited for my son to come out of his coma.

Yet I was frightened.

Or maybe I was lazy.

But mostly, I think I was just unsure that I was suited to fill the chair.

So when the doctors and nurses told me there was nothing else I could do that night, and I should go home and get rest, I put up some passive resistance, and then left the hospital, greatly relieved.

When I arrived the next day, the morning nurse told me that Joshua had cried out in pain all during the night, and she wondered where I was. I explained to her that I was instructed to leave.

She just looked at me like she knew it was a lame excuse, given the situation.

I walked into his room, and there was the chair.

I occupied it during the day, but at night I left him.

I wasn’t up to the challenge.

And because I wasn’t, some very bad things happened to him that ended up robbing him of the possibility of new life.

I was afraid of the empty chair.

For you see, there’s always an empty chair. It is rarely filled because it demands such a level of commitment that it frightens away all sitters.

My son needed me and I was not prepared to be the man I needed to be.

I am very sorry.

But I have spent the rest of my life … looking for the empty chair.

 

confessing chair

  

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