Catchy (Sitting 20) Jail Jargon … October 29th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Matthew was arrested.

The charge was obstruction of justice/interfering with the duties of a peace officer. He didn’t really care.

They finger-printed him, took his mug shot and he was escorted through two green, metallic doors into a holding area with a large L-shaped cell, occupied by about twenty or so people.

Matthew immediately noticed that all the detainees were sitting on one side of the cell and Jubal Carlos was on the other. He was a bit confused about the separation–until he was placed inside and came close to Jubal. Mr. Carlos explained that since his incarceration, he had refused to eat or bathe. He smelled like a rotten tomato at a manure factory. All the inmates had decided to leave him alone to literally stew in his own juices.

Jubal looked horrible–already gaunt, ashen, with a bit of sweat dripping from his brow. He was happy to see Matthew, though perplexed as to why he was gaining a partner.

“What happened?” Matthew asked.

Jubal drew a deep breath, looked around to make sure no one was listening and replied, “I don’t exactly know. I was down in the homeless area, passing out bologna and American cheese sandwiches, when I was suddenly surrounded by what looked like a battalion of policemen–clad in armor! I protested, so they added the charge of “resisting arrest” onto my indictment. They explained that a complaint has been levied against me by a woman from New York City, who was visiting in Vegas, and she said I accosted her, demanding donations for the street folk, and she felt threatened.”

Matthew squinted. He hadn’t known Jubal very long, but the chance that this pacifist had stirred up a sea of violence seemed highly unlikely. Something was obviously going on. He paused, trying to figure out whether he should assimilate into the scene along with Jubal, or share the vision he had for taking Jesus to the streets.

Instead, Matthew opted to ask for his phone call. He chose to dial up Jo-Jay. She was once again right on top of matters, and had a lot more information than Matthew.

She explained that Prophet Morgan had gone off to the blackjack tables for his yearly fund-raising campaign for an orphanage he funded in Honduras. Sister Rolinda was in the streets of Las Vegas, passing out condoms to the prostitutes, Soos was already on her way to the Clark County Jail, having picked up through the grapevine that Jubal was in there and assuming that Matthew would not be far behind.

Matthew gave Jo-Jay one instruction. “Find out the source of the arrest of Jubal Carlos.”

She jumped on the opportunity. No question or doubt. What a dynamic lady she was. It would have been so easy to whine–discontent over such an ill-defined mission. Instead, she decided to learn as she went and hope for the best.

As soon as he hung up the phone, one of his jailers told him he had a visitor. It was Soos. Matthew was confused by Soos’s appearance–she was limping and had what appeared to be a colostomy bag hanging from her side.

“What the…?” Matthew wasn’t able to finish his thought before Soos grabbed his arm and guided him back toward the clink. Being placed safe inside again, the keeper of the crooks brought Soos a chair so she could be comfortable during her visit with Matthew.

Matthew continued to stare at Soos in disbelief. “What the hell is going on?”

Soos motioned for him to be quiet, whispering, “I found out they wouldn’t let anybody see you or Jubal, here, unless it was a relative or an emergency, so I told them I was your sister and I was on my way to have an operation to be further disemboweled for my cancer treatment.”

Matthew gasped. “You what?”

Soos continued. “Figuring they would need to see some evidence of my condition, I went to the medical supply house, picked up this colostomy bag and some other contraptions that made me look real endangered.”

Matthew shook his head and Jubal chuckled.

“Don’t encourage her,” Matthew said to Jubal.

Jubal reached through the bars, took her hand and shook it. “Brilliant, my dear.”

Soos looked Jubal in the eye. “Thank you. Do you know how bad you smell?”

Jubal laughed. “No…but thank you for making me aware.”

Matthew began to explain the situation to Soos, but she stopped him. “I only have ten minutes. That gives you five minutes to tell Jubal what we’re trying to do with this campaign, and five minutes for me to take the I-Phone I snuck past the guards in my colostomy bag, so I can make a video of Jubal and put it on the Internet, and see if we can’t get him out of here.”

Matthew was speechless, dazzled.

Soos went on. “Oh, you’re such a man. I don’t have time to explain the details to you. Just trust me. Let me tell Jubal. Here’s the way it is, Mr. Carlos. We’re trying to get Jesus popular again, and we thought the best way to do that was to get you to travel around the country, in character, playing the part and the heart of Jesus, so that once again there would be a visual for the young people, and in so doing, the same controversy, presence, and maybe power, would be generated.”

Matthew tried to interject but Jubal touched his arm and silenced him.
“You explained that so well,” he said to Soos. “It would have taken my brother here two hours to do that. I don’t know if I want to be Jesus or not, but I would like to get out of here, eat a nice steak and take a shower.”

Soos, tipping her head back to avoid the odor, agreed. “We think that would be a good thing, too.”

“So what do you want me to do?” asked Jubal.

Matthew started to give stage direction. Soos interrupted. “Listen, Mattie Boy, I’m on a roll, so let me handle this.”

Matthew felt it was a poor time to have a business argument in the Clark County Jail. He submitted.

Soos paused, thinking, then looked at Jubal and said, “I want you to be Jesus, and I want you to tell people what Jesus would feel about being in the Clark County Jail, accused of a crime he did not commit.”

Jubal crinkled his brow, then bowed his head. After about fifteen seconds, he lifted it up and spoke to Soos. “I think I’m ready.”

She cautiously removed her phone from the bag and pointed it in his direction. “Action.”

Jubal began. “I was in prison, and you visited me. I am in prison, and I’m so lonely. I do not know what I’ve done wrong. I have tried to love people–and they told me these folks were not lovable. I passed out a bologna sandwich, and was informed I was disturbing the peace. I’ve tried to bring my music to the world. I have brought the rhythm of joy, and now I find myself quite alone–without anyone to be my champion. I’m not afraid. I’m not sad. I haven’t given up on anything I believe. And if I’m supposed to stay in here until my sentence is completed, then praise God. But if I could get out, I would do even more. I would climb a housetop and shout. I would find an injustice and expose it. And I would find ways to sprinkle hope and faith on everything I see. My name is Jubal Carlos. There’s nothing special about me except whatever I can do special to bless others.”

He bowed his head again.

Matthew was in tears.

Soos smiled. “That’s a wrap,” she said. “Now let me get to work.”Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

 

Untotaled: Stepping 8–Hanging On (October 14th, 1965)… March 29, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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(Transcript)

The Fletchers were really nice folks.

They opened up their home after school for the kids to hang out and goof off. I think they did it because their son was a little bit backwards, and they tried to push him forwards with a sideways approach of encouraging kids his age to occupy his space.

The Fletchers had a piano. I played a little bit. Having mastered two years of lessons via the Thompson Book, I had enough acumen on the keyboard to pound out many a song–especially since the rock and roll of the day was usually three chords.

I had two close friends–Mike and Bob. Mike played snare drum and Bob sang (like any thirteen-year-old who lives in a town of fifteen hundred people sings.)

Mike, Bob and I had a master plan. We were interested in three girls–Renee, Dovita and Linda. We decided to invite them to the Fletcher home so that Mike could play his drum, I could play piano and Bob could sing the current radio hit–Hang On Sloopy.

The girls were adequately enticed by our invitation and joined us. I found the key of F and began to enthusiastically simulate the repetitive pattern of the hit song. Mike joined in, both sticks in hand, beating on his single snare. Bob screeched and squalled, imitating the angst of the lead singer of the McCoys, much to the glee and swooning of the young lasses.

We finished our first pass on the tune, ready to begin again, when it suddenly became obvious that all three of the young ladies were attracted to Bob, and Mike and I had been relegated to a backstage position as roadies packing up the cases.

Then I realized a very important truth:

  • Mike wore glasses and was as scrawny as a scarecrow.
  • I wore glasses and was plump as a pig.
  • Bob was perfect and cute as a button factory.

So we played the song again, but it was obvious that Mike and I were mere backups–tools to be used for Bob’s romantic adventures.

We provided the harmony and beat. He got the chicks.

Both Mike and I learned that day why the rhythm gives you the blues. 

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Subway Stop… April 2, 2013

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SubwayAshford done.

It was an evening with a couple dozen strangers. We talked, laughed, got to know each other and I believe, departed as friends. That in itself is an inspirational miracle that boggles the mind and tingles the spirit.

Packed up, ready to go–8:33 P.M. At this point we need some nourishment–something called dinner. It’s tricky business. You don’t want to get food that has so much fat, sugar and grease that you wake up the next morning with a five-pound weight gain. But you also would like to have something that is both incredible and edible. So we “went to Jared’s.” No, not the diamond store–Subway. You remember Jared–the guy who lost all the weight just eating Subway? It is a remarkable joint to frequent if you are attempting to watch your calories and consume vegetables along with your breads and meats.

I stayed in the van and Jan ran in to make our selections. I snapped a picture of her while she was in there, as you can see in today’s artwork. While I was sitting there a car pulled up, rattling my windows with its speakers, sharing a massive overdose of rap music, proliferated with lots of harmonics, rhythm, and language which would make my mother leave the room in a huff.

A young man stepped out of his car, into the Subway and stood in line behind Jan. I had to watch this. Even though she was very busy making her order and interacting with the lady who was trying to “sandwich everything in,” Jan took a moment to strike up a conversation with the young man who had just entered the store. I couldn’t hear anything and it was like watching a silent movie, but in no time at all they were laughing and he was expressing great intrigue. I just sat there for a moment and thought, “How perfect.”

There is this thing we talk about called The Great Commission. Basically, it states,  “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every living creature, teaching them to observe whatsoever I’ve commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

I had to smile. God never begins or ends at the door of the church. God is us. It’s why Jesus saidthe kingdom of God is within you.”

So on this beautiful night in Houston, we HAD “gone into the world.” We drove over to this town and broke our pattern of normalcy to try something new. “Go into the world” means that somehow or another you have to escape your confinements. If you believe that everything has to be “normal,” you will eventually become prejudiced and close somebody out. If you do this, God stops showing up for your morning meetings.

Then you’ve got to preach the gospel. We had done that. “Preaching the gospel” means finding your message, and making sure that when you share it with others, it’s GOOD NEWS. There’s a lot of stuff I could tell people which would shock them or make them angry, but that’s not the gospel. The gospel is good news. So if I can’t muster a bunch of good news to share with people, and all I can find in my soul is sadness, I probably shouldn’t preach. We shared good news.

But when it was over and we needed a place to get a bite to eat, The Great Commission continues–it’s no longer about preaching, it’s about teaching. How do you teach somebody? Are we talking about a blackboard? Or reciting information, hoping that someone is taking notes? No. Our entire teaching format is displaying to the world who we are. It is our presence. We are the “light of the world” and we are the “salt of the earth.” If we can’t be lit up and tasty, no one will care much about anything we have to preach.

When Jan returned to the van, she explained what the young man was interested in when he came into the shop. He dug her clothes and shoes. He thought she had style. So it made him curious about what brought her to town.

I guess if we can’t shine forth like a city set on a hill and have a countenance that reflects that we’ve been somewhere other than a lemon-tasting convention, we have little chance ot teaching anyone anything.

Yes–it’s our responsibility to make our lives a presence.

And finally, we need to walk with the realization that Jesus is with us. Not just us–we’re not his “favorite dudes.” But because we’ve gone into the world, escaping our “normal,” and we’ve preached the gospel by finding a message and making sure it’s good news, and we’re teaching people to observe what Jesus said by making our lives a presence, we can have the confidence that he’s with us.

Can I sum that up in two words? Stay sane.

The world wants you to go a little nuts. Don’t do it. Society would love to have you worry and become overwrought. Turn down the invitation. The television set screams of dangers. Change the channel. Stay sane.

  • Escape the norm
  • Find a message and make sure it’s good news
  • Make your life a presence
  • And stay sane.

That’s The Great Commission, folks. And my friend, Jan, acted it out last night, at a Subway stop.

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Slyly … August 27, 2012

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Stepping into my motel room a little weary and delirious from an exciting weekend of being around precious humans from Riverdale and New Hudson, I decided to unwind a few minutes before collapsing in totality by watching some television. Does anybody else notice that the accumulation of channels seems to be proportional with the diminishing of possibilities? But I eventually landed on some special about the Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960’s–all the rock stars that appeared on his program. I didn’t watch very long, but I did view an appearance, from back in 1969, of Sly and the Family Stone.

Promotional photo of Sly & the Family Stone fo...

Promotional photo of Sly & the Family Stone for Rolling Stone, 1970 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I always enjoyed that band. Their songs–Everyday People, Dance to the Music, and Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself, were not only joyous, uniting us, but extraordinarily musical. As I watched, Sly jumped up from his organ and ran into the audience at the Ed Sullivan Theater and tried to get the stodgy white folks dressed up for a night of “going to town” to dance with him. There were no takers. Their faces mingled shock with attempts to curl their lips up into grins, to appear at least a little hip. Sly didn’t care. He kept dancing. He kept rocking. And he ended up thanking the audience for “letting him be himself” while taking a bow.It struck me as funny and alarming at the same time–because the people in the Ed Sullivan show watching the performers believed that they were America and these rockers were a cultural transition–an anomaly which would soon pass, and that we would return to a corporate sanity.

Are you ready for this? They were wrong.

It got me thinking. There are three things I avoid doing. When I was younger I did them because I felt I was some sort of crusader for a cause–against the “wooly bear monsters” of the world. I now realize that you can’t have a sword fight with the wind.

1. I don’t try to satisfy the dissatisfied. There are people who arrive with faces already in place and they have no intention of ever altering that countenance. They have already “decided.” Of what they have decided I am not sure, but when you tell them to “be of good cheer,” what they do is sneer. Any time spent chipping away at such stone will only break your chisel … or create a very ugly sculpture.

2. I learned that you can’t change the arrogant. Once folks decide they’re better than anyone else, they will fight you, argue with you and actually be willing to die for their own form of prejudice. We keep wanting to have dialogues in this country about things like racism, poverty and spirituality. That would require that the people indulging in the conversations would be willing to forfeit their present cemented views for more fluid possibilities. Can I give you a clue? It’s not going to happen. What happens is that the people sitting in the Ed Sullivan Theater, who think it’s foolish to dance to the music, just die. If you’re smart, you’ve been having conversations with their children, with the aspiration of creating a better generation. In other words, “Grandma and Grandpa, you are welcome to come along with us. Just don’t bring your bigotry.”

3. I get away from folks who hope things get worse. I occasionally go to churches where they are having Sunday School classes on Revelation, the Book of Daniel and the end of the world. This is a hopeless situation. There is no way you can offer a savior to the world if you’re secretly hoping that they don’t accept him so he can ride in on a white horse and chop off their heads. People who believe that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket spend all their days and nights weaving handbaskets. It’s fruitless.

You might cynically say, “Then who is left?” Well, let me borrow from Sly and the Family Stone. There ARE people who have not given up on the idea of human beings. Here is some fresh information. At the top of that list is God. I like to have my name put on a list where God is at the peak of the signatures.

As Sly said in the song, Dance to the Music, “You gotta find the rhythm.” If you want to make a difference, you’ve got to understand that no matter what you see, no matter what you hear and no matter what you think, people will be free. You can lock them up for years in the Soviet Union, you can try to use religion to prohibit liberty, you can blow up all the heathen nations in the name of Allah–you will end up being the fool. The rhythm of earth demands that people will be free.

Also as Sly and the Family Stone said in Everyday People, you gotta join the harmony. “NoOne is better than anyone else.” I don’t care if you agree; I don’t care if you have found some clever exception to the principle. Your particular cunning is not going to outfox the spirit of God which is no respecter of persons.

And finally, borrowing from Sly and the Family Stone’s song, Thank You for Letting Me Be Myself, each one of us should go out and write our own melody. Since we know that people will be free and that NoOne is better than anyone else, go out and find a reason every day to believe. I am sick to death of the religionists who tout a mere Ten Commandments and the atheists who contend they are geniuses by removing faith from their everyday walks. It is my job to find a reason to believe–and in so doing, write my melody line to go with the harmony of life and the rhythm of the universe.

So to quickly review, do yourself a big favor and stop trying to satisfy the dissatisfied, change the arrogant or hang around folks who are waiting for the end of the world. Instead:

  • Find the rhythm. People will be free.
  • Learn the harmony. NoOne is better than anyone else.
  • And write your melody. Everyday find a new reason to believe.

This is the kind of idealism in the heart of a human being that makes God smile.

Ed Sullivan will always be known for being a kind of stuffy guy who let rock and roll have its day. He won’t be remembered for booking the guy with the spinning plates. So … stop spinning plates.

Get out there and rock your world.

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