Salient…June 18th, 2018


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3707)

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

I have never been quite certain what the purpose is for a disclaimer. If you’re going to disavow a claim, why make it in the first place? Yet since I have the tendency to pursue hypocrisy, I shall make the following disclaimer:

I am fully aware that the toys I am about to mention are archaic, old-fashioned and certainly not in the lexicon of anyone under the age of thirty-five. Yet attempting to substitute modern toys would remove much of the charm, and still make me irrelevant within five years.

So let me say that when Eddie came to my house for a play date, I was fully expecting him to show up with marbles.

(Marbles are little circular glass toys of all sorts of colors. You pinched them with your fingers, rolling them across the floor and striking your friend’s marble, and in so doing, you won control of his prize. It was very popular back when you were able to play outside because the dinosaurs had gone to their watering hole.)

But when Eddie arrived, he did not have his marble sack. Instead he was carrying four brand new cans of Play-Doh. For those unacquainted with Play-Doh, it is best explained as a molding clay in various colors with which you could use to form objects and declare yourself artistic.

Eddie’s parents had just purchased the Play-Doh and he was obsessed with the stuff. I was offended because he had not warned me, and I was prepared to play marbles.

We struck a bargain: he would work with his Play-Doh and I would pursue marbles. This lasted half an hour.

We were miserable.

I kept looking over at his Play-Doh and he kept peering at my marbles, each of us insisting that we were happy–while secretly aggravated because we weren’t playing with each other.

Finally I interrupted the process and suggested we take the Play-Doh, roll it into tiny circles resembling marbles and mingle the games, instituting a new format called “Play-Doh Marbles.”

It seemed ingenious, but the Play-Doh would not roll, so we tried throwing the little clay circles at the actual marbles, and it came off as stupid.

It was a play day from hell–so frustrating that we cut it short, growled at each other a bit and separated to our households of security.

Now, as I rose and listened to the news this morning, I realized that we have much the same situation in our world.

Everybody is showing up with their favorite toys. Because we insist that nothing matches, nothing is the same, nothing is culturally equivalent, we are playing side-by-side with our own rendition of fun, privately pissed off.

No one seems to have the sense to look for common toys, mutual ground or general excitement. We have become convinced that “marble people” are better than “Play-Doh people,” and because of that “Play-Dough people” should not be allowed near “marble people.” We even make up rumors about “Play-Doh people” and diminish their character. Sometimes we even say that “Play-Doh people” smell. Or is it the “marble people?”

Earth does not work unless we agree on the toys. I can think of three right away:

  1.  Kindness.
  2.  Respect
  3.  Passion

Without this trio, the Trinity look like three bums who came into town to hold a revival and nobody showed up.

It is time for your salient moment:

If you can play with your dough, you won’t mind losing your marbles.

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Catchy (Sitting 46) Liary… April 29th, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3658)

Carlin Canaby was the only son of Joshua and Myrtle Mensterhall, itinerant evangelists who toured the south, holding revival meetings in Southern Baptist churches.

Carlin was born in a tiny town in Mississippi and by the time he was two years old, was singing “Jesus Loves Me” to congregations to help promote his father and mother’s ministry. He was as cute as a button, but became more and more unfastened as he got older, and was privy to the hypocrisy of the whole process.

His mother and father were often cheated out of offerings, as churches insisted there was some errancy in the message which caused them to dock the payment. But more often than not, there was no explanation at all–just a paltry sum handed over after fourteen days of work.

This never seemed to hamper Joshua’s enthusiasm to “preach the Gospel to every living creature.” That is, every living creature unless they were black, Hispanic or involved in some untoward practice viewed as heinous by the religious system he revered.

Carlin’s mother, Myrtle, had the personality you would expect from someone named Myrtle. She was nervous, uptight and deathly afraid of anything that resembled a germy speck of dirt. She played just enough piano to accompany Joshua’s incompetent singing.

The pair had very little appeal, and even though revivals were scheduled to last for two weeks, they were often cut short due to lack of attendance.

Still, everything went along reasonably well, with biscuits, grits and gravy provided by the local churches, until Myrtle became involved with Reverend Rudy. Reverend Rudy was a chunk of a man, with a girlish giggle and a prancy walk. He loved to lean down into the faces of young boys and ask them what they wanted to be when they grew up–with a big whiff of tobacco bouncing from his breath.

Carlin didn’t like him. He especially found him distasteful when he walked into the room and discovered that Reverend Rudy was very interested in his mother’s groin. Rudy pretended to be dabbing off some imaginary coffee which had spilled on her lap, but it was obvious to the thirteen-year-old Carlin that there was more going on south of the border than picking cotton.

Sure enough, 24 hours later, Reverend Rudy and Myrtle announced their intentions to pursue a life together, just as soon as a quick divorce could be acquired from Joshua Mensterhall.

Carlin’s dad was devastated. He had lost a wife, a piano player and an accountant to try to keep the wheels of the Gospel somewhere in the middle of the dirt road.

And even though Joshua was not the unfaithful one, word spread that he was “a divorced man,” so the revivals lined up for the future canceled, one at a time.

Myrtle made it clear that she didn’t want the boy, so Joshua took Carlin, and for a season they were homeless, panhandling and street preaching.

One day an old black gentleman named Carlton Canaby happened by while Joshua was pontificating to passers-by on a particularly difficult passage from Jeremiah. The Negro gentleman asked him what he was trying to accomplish. Matter of fact, they decided to have coffee together, careful not to enter any restaurant, but instead, getting styrofoam cups from the local gas station, and heading for a nearby park.

Joshua poured out his heart to Canaby, who ended up being a reverend himself, with the National Baptist Church. (This was the Negro outgrowth from the Southern Baptist.) Pastor Carlton decided to invite the pale preacher in, to hold a meeting. Even though many of the parishioners at Pastor Canaby’s church objected to a white man preaching–especially one teetering in an adultery situation–the friendly pastor insisted, and Joshua and Carlin were scheduled in for a two-week revival, complete with eats.

Joshua was horrible. Being a white man raised in the south, he thought himself superior to those he was teaching. On the third night, a young man in the congregation rose to his feet, interrupting the sermon time and said, “You don’t know much about colored folks, do you?”

Those in attendance burst into laughter and Joshua stood, red-faced and defensive. Canaby came forward, easing the tension, and said, “Our brother is here to learn, to heal, to grow and to be himself without apology.”

For some reason, this touched the heart of Joshua Mensterhall. He burst into tears and fell on his knees, pleading to the heavens with an anguished cry. The congregation surrounded him and the true revival began.

It lasted for two months, until one night, after the service, Pastor Canaby was abducted by some angry white men in a pick-up truck. They did not approve of mixing races, so they took Canaby into the woods and hung him from a tree. Fortunately for Reverend Canaby, they had twisted the rope too tight around his neck. It caught on his shoulder muscle, which sustained his life until others arrived and cut him down.

But he was never the same. Perhaps it was the lack of oxygen from the hanging, or just a good old-fashioned dose of fear. He retired into his own soul, where he seemed to receive some comfort.

Shortly thereafter, Joshua died.

Carlin was made a ward of a missionary family named Richardson. They were traveling on mission to Equador. Carlin hated every minute of it. He nearly burst in anger, waiting for his eighteenth birthday so he could run away and start his own life.

When he did, he rejected the name “Richardson” and “Mensterhall,” and took on the name “Canaby,” in honor of the brave dark man who had befriended a bewildered white minister and his frustrated son.

Since that time, Carlin had made it his life work to expose hypocrites with his organization, “Liary”–which was defined as finding a way to tell the truth in the most pleasant way possible, without flirting with the lie.

Carlin had recently received a phone call from a notable businessman, asking him to intervene in the Jubal Carlos campaign, to assist by softening some of the blows of disapproval that were coming over assumed scandals.

This is what brought him to the hotel, where he found an extremely defeated Matthew Ransley.

Matthew immediately liked Carlin, but Jubal Carlos was quick to express his disfavor. Jubal didn’t like anything associated with lying–even if it was an attempt to prevent its severity.

Matthew found himself in a war: one in his heart, his soul, his mind and the excesses that were gradually eating away at his body.

He thought to himself, I wonder how Carlin would spin my life? What positive things could he find that would sweeten my tale?

It was obvious there was a transition coming. Would it take them deeper into the discovery of Jesus, or just make them another clever organization with a hint of charlatan?

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Catchy (Sitting 30) Visiting Hours…January 7th, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3545)

Jo-Jay’s memory of her past two weeks was like a jigsaw puzzle dumped out in a dark room. There were moments when she was almost able to connect thoughts, but then, as she described it, a dark cloud would come over her consciousness, stealing the information.

She was certain of three things: she woke up in the middle of the Amazon jungle, she was rescued by missionaries, and somebody named Joshua was a son-of-a-bitch.

Jubal and Matthew listened patiently, but were unable to garner enough story line to pursue any solution. Jo-Jay was still weak from her bout with disease, and agitated over being abducted, abused and thrust to the point of death.

There was a fourth thought which she shared with Matthew and Jubal. She believed Michael Hinston was involved in some sort of conspiracy against the “Carlos Revival”–that’s what the press was beginning to call the movement which was quietly sweeping the nation. Some had referred to it as “Jubal-ation” but Jubal was careful to play down the silliness, while trying to bring to the forefront what could be accomplished simply by believing instead of cursing.

“So what do you think Michael’s got to do with this?” Matthew asked with a furrowed brown.

“You don’t believe me,” squealed Jo-Jay. “I can see it written all over your face. Do you think I’m crazy?”

Matthew reached for her hands but she pulled away. “I don’t think you’re crazy,” he said. “I just think you’ve been somewhere you never intended to be which led to you getting a disease nobody knows anything about, which took you to the brink of death. So yeah. I guess you’re allowed to be a little eccentric.”

Jubal stepped in to soften the conversation. “I think we should listen to her. I think she’s got a story in her mind and if we hang around long enough, we’re gonna get all of it.”

Matthew was pissed. “Oh, you do. So you think we should sit here and listen to a person who’s just come back from the dead explain to us in a common-sense way the logic we should pursue.”

“You’re such a little shit,” said Jo-Jay.

“I’ll have you know I’m a big shit,” Matthew retorted.

Jubal laughed–not because it was particularly funny, but he thought laughter might tenderize the moment.

Jo-Jay swung her legs over to the edge of the bed. “I’m telling you. There’s something about Mikey, Joshua and something else called the CLO that’s just not right.”

Jubal leaned forward and asked, “Why would these people care? What difference does it make to them? Why would anyone try to hurt you simply because we’re off here goofing around with the Gospel?”

Matthew chuckled. “Now there’s our title. Forget about this Carlos Revival thing. ‘Goofin’ Around with the Gospel.’ We should go with that.”

Jo-Jay would not be deterred. “You guys can joke all you want to. You didn’t wake up with a snake kissing your cheek.”

Matthew frowned. “Do snakes kiss?”

“With lots of tongue,” said Jubal, laughing at his own joke.

Jo-Jay reached for a glass of water and nearly drank it dry. “I don’t know what to tell you fellas. I think we’re all in trouble. After all, if we knew what trouble was, we would avoid it. It’s trouble because we never know what it is, right?”

Matthew smiled. “You know, I came close to understanding that. Listen, Jo-Jay, I never particularly liked Mickey. Or Michael. But I don’t believe he would do anything to hurt you.”

Suddenly from the doorway came the voice of a new visitor. Standing there, in a three-piece suit, with a bright red tie, hair slicked back, holding a bouquet of roses, was Congressman Michael Hinston. “So why don’t you like me, Matthew?”

Matthew was stunned. Jubal, anticipating a violent reaction from Jo-Jay, moved closer to her bedside.

“Speak of a son-of-a-bitch, and there he is,” she said breathlessly.

“Well, this is awkward,” said Michael. “Actually, I was just coming to pay my respects and see how you were doing. But I sense that I am not welcome.”

“Who is the CLO? Who is Joshua? Why are these people trying to stop us? What’s wrong with what we’re doing? How did I end up in the Amazon jungle? And why, for the love of God, are you standing here in my room?”

Jo-Jay spouted her array of questions. Michael turned to walk away, but Matthew stood quickly and grabbed his arm. “I guess this is how she wants you to pay your respects,” he said.

Michael turned, and with great sincerity, responded, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have my own opinions on what you guys are doing. I think it’s foolishness. I think it’s going to upset the wrong people.”

Jubal stepped forward. “And who are the wrong people, Congressman?”

“You are very young,” said Michael. “To you, everything is black and white. It’s not really that way, you know. I thought when I came to Washington I would be involved in compromising. Most of my time is spent attempting to thaw out frozen thinking, so that maybe a single drop of inspiration can be achieved.”

“What a crock,” said Matthew. “And what an attempt to avoid this issue. Jo-Jay thinks you’re dirty. Are you dirty, Congressman? Michael? Have you hooked up with some really bad dudes? Did they pay you well to betray your sister?”

“My sister?” asked Michael.

“Yes,” Jo-Jay said. “That’s what you used to call me in college. We were all brothers and sisters.”

“We were also constantly drunk,” Michael inserted. “So I can’t really be certain what I felt one way or another. But I’m here–something tugged at my heart to come and see you, wish you well.”

Matthew walked over to the window and stared out into the night. “This is just crazy. Think about it. The guy who Jo-Jay thinks might have put her in a jungle prison which nearly took her life is now standing in front of us–and we’re trying to discuss whether we got too drunk in college. Yes, Michael–you are a politician. You have learned to avoid the truth at all costs.”

Michael turned and looked at Jubal. “You know, you do look a little like Jesus. Not the Jesus people would be comfortable with, but probably the way he might have looked when he was here on Earth. If he was here on Earth. There are many schools of thought.”

Jubal patted Michael on the shoulder and said, “Many schools of thought. But faith demands that we all graduate to some sort of belief.”

Michael stepped back. “I don’t like where this is going,” he said. “My common sense tells me it’s time to go. If I may leave the flowers–by the way, they’re not poisoned–and just wish you…Well, wish you all well.”

Jo-Jay stood to her feet for the first time, wobbling to the side and falling into Jubal’s arms. She regained her footing, stepped forward and pointed her finger at Michael’s chest. “I know who you are. And as soon as I figure it out…”

She paused. Michael was waiting for a conclusion, and when it didn’t come, he looked at Matthew, then at Jubal, hoping for further explanation. He shook his head, then patted Jo-Jay’s shoulder. “Get well. Sickness is a crazy thing. I remember when I had kidney stones. I thought the devil was in the room, whispering in my ear.”

Jo-Jay leaned forward, nearly fell again, held up by Jubal. She whispered, “Maybe that devil is still talking to you.”

In the midst of a very tense moment filled with uncertainty and the unpleasant smells of a hospital surrounding, a bright-spirited nurse’s aide entered the room, announcing, “I’m sorry. Visiting hours are over.”

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Catchy (Sitting 27) Loose Ends … December 17th, 2017


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3524)

Matthew felt like he was dragging his own corpse behind him across the Arctic Tundra, in search of a fire.

He was disgusted with himself. Wonderful, marvelous events were transpiring, but he felt abandoned. He had become such dead weight that Jubal and the band decided not to have him come along on the daily trips across the country.

He didn’t argue. He felt so damn out of place.

Everyone was so energized, so jubilant, so jazzed by the whole idea–but he sat around counting the hours until the drum stopped beating and he could get back on the plane and go home to a nice cappuccino.

Even Soos had become enamored with the revival–filled with the same spirit that inhabited Mr. Carlos.

So this morning, when Jubal took off on the plane without telling Matthew where he was going, discovering by watching “Good Morning, U.S.A.” that the troop had landed in Haiti and was performing an impromptu concert in front of thousands of citizens, while handing out bread and cheese, Matthew was not upset. He just sat back and shook his head. Everything was so screwed up.

The business he had begun with Randall and Landy–S.E.E.D.S.–was turning to weeds. Some of the clients were disgusted with the whole idea of “God-speak,” and the ones who weren’t were too wacky for his taste.

Last week he had lunch with Randall and Landy, who sat across from him munching on salads and sipping Chablis like two jilted lovers. He had no idea how to explain where he was coming from or what he was going to do. Matter of fact, his life was just a series of loose ends, untied from all reality.

Jo-Jay had been out of pocket for weeks, pursuing some conspiracy against Jubal.

Sister Rolinda got herself in trouble with the Catholics by referring to the Pope as a “chauvinist,” suggesting that his head was beginning to fit into his pointed hat.

Worst of all was Prophet Morgan, who was jittery and upset about being ignored, and had broken the pact of secrecy with the press, doing two interviews, which, according to backstage sources, paid him three thousand for one and two thousand for the other. So two weeks ago, Prophet had appeared on “Tell All” with Bart Champion, and three days earlier, he was on “Rasur’s Edge with Carlita Rasur.” Ms. Rasur was so capable at her craft that she got Prophet all worked up into tears, as he apologized over the air for his relatives, who had once owned slaves.

Morgan looked ridiculous on television–an anachronism–pompadour hairdo, gray gabardine suit with a large, wide tie. Both Bart and Carlita tried to get secrets out of him, but since Prophet knew very little, they were quite disappointed with the information about scrambled instead of fried eggs, and Jubal’s insane appetite for black licorice.

The whole world seemed crazy to Matthew.

Michael Hinston wouldn’t take his phone calls anymore. Matthew tried not to be offended, but the last time he telephoned, he could hear Michael in the background, whispering instructions to his secretary. “Tell him I’m not here!”

Matthew just didn’t fit in.

On one hand, there was the burgeoning awakening of a Jesus movement going on in his midst, while at the same time old friendships, dreams and goals were sliding away into a pit of meaninglessness.

Rising from his chair, he picked up his cell phone and called the airport. “I need a one-way ticket to Washington, D.C.”

Matthew had decided to try to find Jo-Jay, and maybe surprise and corral Michael. The last time he had seem either of them, they were in the nation’s capitol.

 

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Good News and Better News… December 4th, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3511)

Somewhere along the line, we have convinced ourselves that church is supposed to be a service–a program put together with songs, testimonies and a sermon, where those in attendance can worship God.

There is no Biblical basis for this kind of thrown-together event. It is a by-product of Catholicism, which borrowed many of its ideas from the Roman hierarchy or the other religions of ancient times, which were ceremonially based.

In pursuing this piety, we have removed two of the basic powerful principles that provide the righteous realization for coming together: including and using.

Yes–church is supposed to include me and you, and find ways for us to discover our usefulness. When you remove a sense of inclusion and the possibility of a person being useful, the motivation for merely gathering in order to revere is not enough to keep the pews filled.

It was the heart of the Master to include people and then make them useful–or maybe not make them useful–just find out where they were useful.

Whether a prostitute or demon-possessed man, Jesus surrounded them with a sense of inclusion and then put in place a purpose and use for their presence.

So a woman at the well became his advertising agent for a revival.

A man who had been possessed by a thousand demons became his public spokesman for a whole region.

And Mary of Magdala, who herself was possessed by seven demons, became one of his right-hand people.

We have lost the power of inclusion. Matter of fact, the church is notorious for disincluding certain groups of the community because of their wickedness or weakness.

So when you walk in the door, you’re handed a program–or not, for those churches which think they are free-wheeling and fancy-free–and you listen to an eight- or nine-piece praise band, which has over-practiced facial expressions while under performing musically, and stare at a screen to sing songs of repetition, waiting for the hour to creep by.

“Not my church!” you say.

But the reality is, just because you have grown accustomed to your surroundings and are accepted within the cave of understanding does not mean a stranger could come in and access the same gentleness.

Here is our new truth:

How big is your congregation? Eight billion and growing, because we include the whole world. But every week we have about two hundred people who attend who are so useful we couldn’t do without them.

Now, that’s church.

Until we abandon a fear of God which has us stuck at the beginning of wisdom, unable to progress, we will gradually see people trickle away because they don’t feel included, and they certainly do not sense they are useful.

The good news is, “whosoever will may come.”

The better news is, we sure hope you show up, because we could sure use you.

 

 

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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 … July 19th, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3372)

 

YOU, DO, DO, BAY BLUE

Docile, for a while, see me smile, have no guile,

What a pile, I am vile, start the trial,

Change my style, the second mile, scan the aisle, for my file

Total denial, a revival,

Hit the street, who do you meet, don’t retreat, wash some feet

Face defeat, then delete, from the elite,

Just can’t beat, it’s so neat

Kind of dead, feels like lead, time for bed, where I’m led, underfed, tools in shed,

A sparrow clan, words, man, the lily can.

 

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Published in: on July 19, 2017 at 12:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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