Catchy (Sitting 33) Too Many Meetings … January 28th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Prophet Morgan was dead.

But he was not a victim of his own hand by suicide. He was killed.

While the medical examiner was studying the body during the autopsy, she discovered a pinprick under his right armpit. A needle mark. It prompted her to investigate further. She found evidence of potassium chloride. Somebody wanted Morgan dead, and used a lethal cocktail to stop his heart.

It also became obvious that the suicide note, though written by Morgan’s hand, did not contain his thoughts. Checking his groin, they found that electrodes had been attached to his body to generate severe pain, causing him to submit to his assailant’s will.

For Morgan, character that he was, had purposely misspelled some words and used bad punctuation to let all of his friends know that the note did not come from him. Everyone in the organization knew that even though Prophet talked like a hillbilly, he was actually a grammar Nazi, and went off into fits of rage over a misplaced comma.

Matthew sat quietly during the Inquest as four or five dozen people listened to the medical examiner explain how a beautiful young man had landed in an untimely grave. It was too much.

In the midst of the Q & A with reporters, Matthew rose, left the building, climbed into his car and drove to the Sahara Casino, punching the elevator button for the ninth floor, where a suite of offices had been provided by the owners as a courtesy to Jubal Carlos and the movement.

Matthew was alone. He was quiet. He had some time to think. But it was one of those nasty occasions when having an opportunity to contemplate was a punishment, not a relief. There was just too much shit in the stall to appreciate the horse.

Matthew knew good things were going on–that the rallies were meeting great emotional and spiritual needs in the populace. Matter of fact, his partner in business, Landy, had recently attended a session in Las Vegas and had accepted Jesus as her personal savior. At least that’s how she phrased it.

She was a different person. She now hopped the plane, going from city to city to be part of the Gospel caravan. She sat for hours talking to the prostitutes who were new members of the staff, interviewing them about what it was like to be whores–and how the change in their lives had saved them from eradication.

Matthew envied her. It couldn’t be that easy. Mumbling a few words and a prayer, and promising allegiance to a two-thousand-year-old creed did not seem to have the energy for explaining away the hell that went on in the world, nor the power to curb the appetites in his own being, which often left him vanquished instead of victor.

As he sat in his office listening to the hum of the flourescent lights, sorting through the everyday process of his existence, he was suddenly interrupted by Soos, who raced through the door, shutting it quickly behind her.

She didn’t waste a moment. “Listen, Matthew, I don’t have much time. Here’s what I need you to know…” She glanced at her arm for a watch, but there was none there. “In a few minutes a man is going to come here. I want you to be cool. I want you to ignore me. I’m going to go over and hide in this closet. For God’s sake, don’t tell him I am here. Just carry on your conversation, listen to what he has to say, and please… be cool.” She paused. “Oh, I already said that.”

She didn’t wait for a reply, but opened the closet door, slithered in and shut it quietly behind her.

As soon as the closet door closed, the buzzer on Matthew’s desk sounded. Since there was no secretary, some visitor had discovered the large, red button on the reception wall and was asking entrance. Matthew strolled to the door and opened it.

Standing there was a man in his mid-thirties, about six-feet seven-inches tall, broad shoulders, long blond hair which fluttered down his back, a deep brown tan, and with the physique of a defensive lineman from the National Football League. Matthew was startled at his appearance. He was looking at a Viking in a suit.

The guest, aware of the reaction, stepped forward and held out his hand, which more resembled a southern smoked ham. “You must be Matthew. My name is Jackson Priestly, but my friends call me Joshua.”

A chill went down Matthew’s spine. The name Joshua had some special significance. He tried to remember. What was it? Yes–it was Jo-Jay’s warning. “Beware Joshua…”

Matthew placed his small hand inside the monster mitt, shook it and said, “Well, what can I do for you, Jackson?”

Jackson motioned to the office, inquiring, “Could we go in and sit down?”

Matthew nervously held his hand out, gesturing toward the door. “Sure. I can sit down.”

It was only a few steps from the reception area to the office, but it was awkward, with Matthew not knowing whether to let the giant go first, or whether he should precede him. He stalled at the doorway, deciding to go in first, so they both ended up trying to enter at the same time, bumping into one another.

Matthew made his way to his desk, glancing at the closet door, knowing that Soos was listening, and therefore, if there was going to be a murder, she would be a witness. Horrible thought. But keep in mind, he had just come from an inquest.

“So what can I do for you, Jackson?” Matthew repeated, trying to upload some of his business decorum.

“I’m a spokesman,” Jackson began, “for the CLO. Our organization is very simple. Our slogan is ‘Maintaining the faith, faithfully.'”

Matthew nodded without responding.

“I’m going to be honest with you, Matthew,” Jackson continued. “We’re concerned.”

Matthew didn’t even blink an eye.

Realizing he was being given space, Jackson explained, “We’re concerned about this campaign you’re conducting about Jesus Christ.”

He paused. Again, no response. He pushed on.

“What has us bothered is the trivializing of an age-old message with eternal values being marginalized to become a street-vendor philosophy. Yes, complete with hot dogs and hamburgers, pennants and hats.”

Matthew said nothing.

“It’s a mistake,” declared Jackson. “I know you may consider this a bit of short-sightedness–for us to critique any contribution that would bring focus to the Christ. But the Master needs more than focus. He needs honor. He needs glory. He needs respect. He needs position. And even though you may not agree, he needs to be showcased as ‘Lord of Lords and King of Kings.'”

Matthew took the moment to insert some shock value. “Well, then, you’ve got a helluva fuckin’ problem, don’t you?”

Jackson was visibly startled at the profanity. Matthew smiled internally, overjoyed that he had struck a blow against the armor of this pious knight of religion.

“What do you mean?” challenged Jackson.

“Well, Jackson, my man,” Matthew said, “all your attempts to elevate the resume of Jesus of Nazareth have only succeeded in making him inaccessible to the masses, and gradually turning him into a religious icon, which I think even you might agree, is contrary to his druthers.”

Jackson shook his head. “I would not presume to know the druthers of the only begotten Son of God…”

Matthew interrupted. “Honestly, big fellow, I’m just working off of his material. You see, people who talk like you were frightened by Jesus, so they ended up killing him. Isn’t that amazing? People who are spiritual think they do service to God by killing someone…”

Matthew probed into Jackson’s eyes, looking for a flit of weakness, but he stared straight ahead.

“Let me give you a little lesson,” Jackson said. “I will keep it brief because I know this school of thought is not necessarily to your liking. It’s about the Feast of Tabernacles.”

Matthew squinted.

Jackson chuckled. “It was a turning point in the ministry of Jesus. He was working in Galilee, he was blessing the people, he was healing. He spent an afternoon with his family, and they began to chide him, asking him why he didn’t go to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, where the market would be larger for his message and he would have a chance to be more popular. Now let me explain this–we’re not sure what the family’s motivation was. Some theologians think there was a plot to kill Jesus, which was going to be executed on the road to Jerusalem, with his brothers being privy to the plan. But that’s neither here nor there. Jesus sees right through their pressure and decides not to go to the Feast of Tabernacles–but then later changes his mind. Arriving at the feast, he realizes it was not Galilee. It was not sitting around Peter’s house waiting for someone sick to arrive to get help. Even though Jesus was the Son of God, he found himself like a little ant, running around a huge Temple.”

Jackson went on. “He stood in the middle of the square and screamed, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink!’ He got attention. He created a stir. He became popular. But that popularity ended up jeopardizing his freedom to speak his mind and to save souls. It actually put him at the mercy of the Romans, who had no toleration for variety. So you see, a little trip to Jerusalem to gain popularity hastened his demise.”

Jackson paused.

Matthew sat, leery of him. This was a well-educated, intelligent, intuitive, well-rehearsed creature of knowledge. He was scary. He was dangerous. Matthew chose to play innocent.

“Honestly, Jackson,” he said, “I don’t know anything about the Bible. I wouldn’t even know how to spell it if it weren’t for that little Sunday School song about the B-I-B-L-E.”

Matthew laughed alone at his joke. “So let me ask you to take thirty seconds and sum up what you’re trying to communicate to me.”

Jackson stood to his feet, ready to exit after his closing comment. “You have lost a dynamic young man–Prophet Morgan. Now is an excellent time to reflect. How about ten days of mourning? Shut down the rallies, and take that time to realize the heat of the fire you’re trying to handle. You look smart enough. Use your brain to discover a better way.”

Jackson nodded, turned, walked to the door, and disappeared.

Matthew, in his chair, was shaking. He felt handled, out of his league and threatened.

Suddenly Soos burst out of the closet door, nearly scaring Matthew to death.

“Who was that? Who was that?” she questioned breathlessly.

Matthew sat, trying to gather his thoughts. “I don’t know, Soos. You heard the same thing I did.”

“I heard it,” said Soos, “but I didn’t really see him. What was he like? Was he a monster? Jo-Jay says he’s dangerous. He is Joshua, right?”

Matthew shook his head.

There had just been too many meetings.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … January 18th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Easy Peasy

Easy peasy

Cakes and pies

Japanesey

Tell no lies

Raise the sun

Say a prayer

Night is done

Prove you care

Then one morn

I awoke

Dreams stillborn

Plans a joke

Doctoring fear

And nursing pain

Nothing’s clear

Shrill, insane

Where’s the promise

Of the Most High

Do I mingle praise

With the tears I cry

I like it quaint

Like any good saint

Follow the verse

Remove the curse

But now I feel all alone

A nasty storm has me blown

Where’s the favor

I once received

From my savior

In whom I believe

Easy peasy

Has flown away

Leaving me queasy

To stomach the day

 

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Good News and Better News… December 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3518)

Pictured are my wife, my granddaughter and my son, standing in a bandshell, Weston Park, Florida.

Jerrod, my son, produced an outdoor concert with the cooperation of three churches and invited two of their praise bands, while putting together a dramatic reenactment of the Nativity tradition.

It was cold.

Usually in Florida, when it’s cold, people escape into their homes and pull out blankets they purchased twenty years ago, which are still in plastic wrappers. But for some reason, a respectable, decent and nearly surprising gathering braved the chill to come, sit in a park and listen to music that was jubilant, if not pitch-perfect.

They perched patiently as the story of Christmas unfolded before their eyes with deliberation, dodging a few technical gaffes. I was among them, along with my comrade-in-tunefulness, Janet Clazzy.

I was struck with the beauty of the evening.

It was not all drenched in serendipity. The audience was tribal, and much too linked to their own concerns to homogenize into a spiritual sweet butter, but setting that aside, it was proof positive that the Christmas story still has wheels.

Honestly, as they told the tale in front of me, I giggled a little bit. If I were hearing this fantabulous explanation for the first time, I wondered if I would shake my head in disbelief.

But you see, it’s not about what happened in a manger two thousand years ago. It’s about what transpired in a park last night in Weston, Florida.

If an idea that appeared two thousand years ago can put a chill down your spine, (and not just because the thermometer dipped) and still has real human emotion, then you’ve discovered magic.

Christians are not better people. We have our share of sinners, assholes, pedophiles and fruitcakes. But we have a great back-story.

Our Savior doesn’t kill people.

Our Savior doesn’t want to hurt women and children.

Our Savior is humble.

Our Savior sets people free instead of locking them up in bondage.

Our Savior isn’t religious.

Our Savior was one of us.

I left warmed. (Well, at least warm enough to get to my car and turn on the heater.)

Congratulations to my son, my daughter-in-law, my granddaughter and my wife for having the courage to test the message of the angels one more time.

The good news is, when “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” get together, the better news is, it brings “Joy to the World.”

 

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Cracked 5 … December 5th, 2017


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Some people are offended by the religious implications of saying “Merry Christmas.” Here are five renditions they might find even more unsettling:

A. Happy B-Day, Baby J!

 

B. A baby shower for Mary and Joseph (bring a gift)

 

C. Save 50% at the Savior Birth Extravaganza!

 

D. Merry Manger Moments

 

E. Happy Jesus-mas

 

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Jesonian … October 14th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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“God so loved the world that He gave His son.”

That’s what the Good Book says.

Theologians, churches and interested parties have their own focus about why this gift came from God. Of course, we have a hint–if you believe, you don’t have to perish.

But what do we mean by “perish?”

Many thousands of churches of the faith who are of a Judeo-Christian swing, contend with great certainty, that Jesus came to be a Messiah. In doing so, he was fulfilling the Old Testament. They rejoice that they can use Jesus as a conduit between the Old and New Testaments, therefore joining in covenant with the Jewish faith, often to the detriment of the Muslims.

Unfortunately, Jesus does not fulfill the role as a champion of the Hebrews very well. He was critical of their approach to God and ended up declaring their rendition of theology as “desolate.”

The second group, which often refers to itself as “Pauline,” placing great value on the Epistles of Paul, believe that Jesus is a Savior. In other words, he came to fulfill the New Testament covenant through his blood. But the actions, motivations, mission, verbiage and deeds of Jesus often contradict the assumption that he was merely to be a human sacrifice for sin.

Offering a Messiah and a Savior to a human populace which is battling insanity is just not sufficient.

It is Jesus who best explains his mission.

He made the essence of his Earth journey clear in the Good Book in John 10:15-16. Jesus proclaims that “he knows the Father and the Father knows him,” and that he’s willing to “lay down his life for the sheep.” But then he goes on to say, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them in as well, and they will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd.”

Jesus is the Shepherd.

Being a shepherd, he laid down his life for the sheep.

He also made it clear that those who would be part of the fold were not just Jews, but that the end result is one fold and one shepherd–all over the world.

In a day and age when we extol the differences among us by celebrating culture, the Shepherd is looking for the commonality that will make us one fold, dispelling any notion that Jesus welcomes a little of Mohammed, a twinge of Buddha and a fortune cookie of Confucius.

Even though many believe he came to fulfill the Old Testament or the New Testament, he actually came to fulfill humanity.

He offers simple truths with simple applications to simple people who are living simple lives.

So if you go to a church that insists that “Jesus is the Messiah,” they will probably load you down with Old Testament traditions and outdated spiritual practices.

And if you attend a congregation that promotes “Jesus is only the Savior,” be prepared to endure sermon after sermon on the sacrifice of the Christ, and how we must repent and be baptized, so we all can go to heaven.

Jesus’ main mission is to be the Shepherd.

Matter of fact, he joyfully called himself “the Good Shepherd.” And the night he spoke these words to the disciples, he envisioned a message that would include sheep from the Native Americans, the Chinese, the Mongolian horde, the Anglo-Saxons and the Afrikaans, to name just a few.

He saw one fold–not many cultures.

And one Shepherd–not many interpretations.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 26th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Lippy

For Christ’s sake, do what you can!

OMG, would you bring a plan?

What the hell is heaven for?

Jesus H. Christ, don’t shut the door!

Ye gads, they’re everywhere!

Guard your nads–a national scare.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph moved into town.

WTF, let’s shut it down.

For heaven’s sake, attack the hell.

Gee whiz, ain’t America swell?

Freakin’ A, I want my way.

Holy Moses with halitosis.

Cuss on the bus if you must.

Few in the pew to ever review.

Crucify is a dirty bird.

Declared sacred, a holy word

It stinks to high heaven

Come on, Mama, roll me a seven

Talk is cheap, lies are deep

Arguing a word is so absurd

Is the Pope Catholic? I wouldn’t know

Give a damn–nice to grow

You can watch your tongue

I will look for need

For when the hymn is sung

The Savior does still bleed

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Jesonian… March 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Caiaphas immediately objected to the use of the word “Lord.”

He said, “Jesus is a seditionist, an enemy of the people who caught the masses at a vulnerable time when they desperately needed hope, advertised some well-paid shills with proclaimed miracles, and robbed the children of Israel of their personal identity in favor of what he referred to as the ‘Kingdom of God.’ He did not honor our traditions, he did not recognize the birthright we possess through Abraham, to be the chosen Children of God. He was rude, contemptuous, bawdy, loud and hung around with a bunch of sinners, welcoming iniquity.

“It was necessary to evaluate him by our laws, judge him and therefore condemn him, to make sure we keep the House of David first and foremost. We must go on.”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Pontius smiled and then snickered. “Jesus was a peasant, and deluded on top of that. Certainly harmless. I never made any doubt in that conclusion. Truth is, I saw him as a bargaining chip. I was constantly at war with the Council of the Jews over tiny matters which should have been insignificant, but they claimed had heavenly proportions. I needed one over on them. I needed to grant them a favor which would grant me a host of favors from them. I am not an animal. I am not a barbarian. I do not slaughter people just to behold the mayhem. But when the dignity of Rome–my only Lord–is put in jeopardy, then Rome must come first. Rome is greater than any man–even Caesar. Just one Galilean was lost, opening the door to a plethora of negotiations, where the Jews would be at a disadvantage.”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Peter wasn’t. He was scared. Outnumbered, without any weapons, he ran. And when confronted with his involvement with Jesus of Nazareth, he denied him three times. Quickly. For Jesus had jokingly said that Peter would do so before the cock crowed three times. But as anybody knows, the cock crows quickly. Ashamed, broken, but also defensive, Peter stalked away into the night, cussing up a storm, insisting that it was merely human for him to put himself first.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

No, Deborah was asleep. She was exhausted. Since “that day,” she had found the need to take on numerous chores and occupations to earn a decent living for herself and her son. It was difficult to imagine what she would have had to do to stop the insanity that led the mob to Golgotha. But maybe if she had just seen him one more time.

She remembered the first occasion. Financially devastated, with no food in her house, she decided to sell her body to get money for food. Obviously possessing the luck of a witch, her would-be lover ended up being a member of the Pharisees who was conducting a “sting operation” to capture a prostitute who was ready to commit adultery, then drag her off and throw her down in front of the crowd at Jesus’ feet. They wanted to stone her. She just wanted a loaf of bread. But Jesus, using his compassion, his wit and his style, saved her life. He told her to go and sin no more. She heeded his advice. Unfortunately, “sinless” takes more work. Exhausted, she fell into bed every night, setting aside a crust of bread for her little boy in the morning. So when they were crucifying Jesus, she was asleep, trying to build up the energy to honor her promise to never be so foolish again.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Who, me? No. I wasn’t born. I honor his life everyday by trying to understand what he was communicating to us.

Caiaphas thought he was a phony.

Pilate thought he was a pigeon.

Peter thought he was a great distraction.

And the woman caught in adultery knew him only as a Savior.

He’s my friend.

What would I have done if I knew they would crucify him? How would I have tried to stop it? Would I have written a nasty editorial to the Jerusalem Times? Would I have stood there as one voice among so many, demanding his release?

Or would I have rolled over and gone back to sleep?

 

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