Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sitting Nineteen

Karin was perturbed at herself—“perturbed” being the most civilized word she could come up with after rejecting some more colorful choices.

It seemed she had totally lost perspective. No, that diagnosis was much too clinical. She had just downright screwed up. Plainly, she had let sentiment take over her better judgment.

There was nothing wrong with being sentimental—as long as the work you set out to do gets done, the children are safe in their beds, the fire is lit and all the cows are in the barn. (She had no idea whatsoever why she had chosen such a rural metaphor. She was trying to be completely practical, and nothing seemed more “earthy” than a farm.)

After all the excruciating activity of the day, it turned out that she had not improved the situation whatsoever. Arrogantly, she had tried to solve all the world’s problems. She was aware that this was not her job—her actual job was two-fold: to keep from being a problem to the planet and try to keep all the crazies around her from doing outrageous things.

She considered—if each person with a lick of sense would just try to stay out of trouble and take a few moments to care for friends who couldn’t make things work, well, to quote the old song, “what a lovely world this would be.”

But she had not helped two boys stop their insanity. She had made it worse. After all, before she came on the scene, they were two young dudes out in the desert, chomping on food and giggling. Sure, they had a hand grenade—but they didn’t know how to use it. No, she was the one who provided that information to them. She brought the soldier. She caused the conflict. And she got those two friends spitting mad at each other.

Karin realized that she could work a lifetime and not tally such a disaster again. Yet she had done it in a single afternoon—not to mention losing the respect of her editor.

What perturbed her most of all was that she could not figure out why she had acted so “girlie.” She had been trained better and had certainly learned better. Frankly, she had never bought into the lingo of the day, which claimed that men and women were hopelessly non-communicating misanthropes. If men were from Mars and women were from Venus, why couldn’t they just build spaceships and travel to this good ole’ Earth and live together as humans?

The whole thing was rather ridiculous. But—and a very important “but” it was—she needed to do something. Her soul and conscience refused to stay out of the affair. It was frightening, considering this was how she got into trouble in the first place. Yet Karin Koulyea had a heart to be part of the solution instead of remaining a jagged edge of the problem.

So she pondered—a rather exhausting task after completing such introspection.

Then she remembered what the editor said. He was going to make some calls. Well, she knew how to use a phone. And God knows she would be safer in her apartment contacting people instead of in the desert, threatening to blow up little boys.

She opened up a book she had never used before:

The local Yellow Pages.

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Catchy (Sitting 41) Paradise Tossed… March 25th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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There was a noble effort made by the staff of the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to keep the autopsy of Cassidy Templeton private.

Noble but futile.

A mere ten minutes after it was posted in the hospital records, the system was hacked, and the conclusions of the autopsy were spread abroad across the world in the matter of an hour.

In the report, was decided that Cassidy Templeton’s death was from natural causes–even though there was nothing natural about the discoveries. In the report, one doctor commented that it appeared that his internal organs had been burned–worn out like an old tire. There were systems that were non-funcitoning, and others that should have been connecting up to create life, which were dangling without purpose. So at the end of a very lengthy probe, the conclusion was that Cassidy Templeton died because there were no real systems keeping him alive. Of course, this further added to the mystery of the awakening.

When Matthew was asked by a reporter what he thought about the findings of the autopsy, he quipped, “I don’t give a shit about any of this shit.”

He was drunk at the time and probably shouldn’t have answered the question, but he had grown weary in his mediocre doings. This idea had begun so simply–some music, some food, some gentle words. Now it was growing into an international phenomenon, with many promoters seeing the potential for profit and struggling to get their piece before the pie was gone. Also, because there was a softening of the hearts of the American public, a desperate attempt was being made by those who preferred the darker portions of human existence to intrude.

Mother Rolinda’s church in Baltimore was fire-bombed by an organization called “Catholics for Christ’s Church.” Taking responsibility for the incursion, their statement explained that since Jesus was a man, God expected all of his preachers to be male.

About sixty of Prophet Morgan’s friends and followers began an organization called “The Morganians,” who immediately accused Merrill Handerling and the B.I.F. (Believers International Fellowship) of foul play in the murder of the prophet. At first it was just nasty letters and law suits, but finally ended up in violence when five “Morganians” were ambushed by ten members of B.I.F., resulting in a street brawl, leaving two dead by stabbing.

What once was a jet stream of spiritual love across the world via Jubal Carlos and the band had now splintered into different representations, traveling groups who sprang off the original concept to develop their own rendition, complete with erroneous theology.

Everyone was claiming to have the “true Jesus.”

A year earlier, nobody gave a damn about Jesus, and now everyone was trying to market their favored clone.

Matthew continued to dwell in Las Vegas and find more and more perverse ways to separate himself from anything that resembled religion. To him, it seemed like the paradise they had envisioned had been tossed aside in favor of a return to man-made, ecclesiastical mayhem.

But Jubal continued to travel–matter of fact, Matthew made one journey with him, deep into the south, to Jackson, Mississippi. It was a piece of curiosity for the cynical marketer. He had never been to Mississippi before and was curious what the response would be.

Yet the town square and the park nearby was jammed with people, and it seemed like just another wonderful day on a heavenly Earth.

Except for one thing. There was something different.

Matthew picked up on it immediately. It was Jubal. Although he retained the presence of his faith, the energy was gone. He was surrounded by adoring and rejoicing disciples, but he, himself, had taken a portion of his being and removed it for his own private thoughts.

Matthew asked him about it and Jubal just smiled and mouthed the classic, “I’m just fine.”

That afternoon, when it was time to return to Las Vegas for the evening rally, Jubal was late for takeoff. He texted Matthew, saying he would catch another flight and be there for the evening, but revival time arrived, and Jubal was nowhere to be found.

He wasn’t there the next morning or the morning after that. Many of the members of the staff feared there was some sort of foul play–after all, death threats had come in from people who were less than thrilled at a second resurrection of a once-dead carpenter. After seventy-two hours of absence, the FBI was called in to investigate.

There was a squabble among the troupe as to whether to continue the nation-wide schedule without Jubal buzzing along with them. It actually wasn’t very problematic–Jubal had gradually reduced his activities in the journey, opening the door to new people, new acts, and new possibilities, so replacing him onstage was not as much of a problem as trying to imagine the work and mission going forward without his soul.

After much discussion, Matthew insisted that the tour should resume, and within a few days, the cast of characters was so involved that they had to remind one another nightly to pray for their old friend.

It was two weeks to the day the disappearance that a telegram–yes, a telegram, of all things–arrived at Matthew’s office. It was from Jubal. It read:

“Sorry for the mixup. Got an invite from the Dali, to come and enjoy a sabbatical. Seemed right. Love, Jubal Carlos”

It took Matthew a second to realize that the Dalai, in this case, was the Dalai Lama. It was a strange time. It actually comforted Matthew to remain in his iniquity.

After all, those who seemed to be righteous sure looked screwed up.

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Murdering Conversation… December 19, 2012

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jon-in-red-hat

“How was your birthday?”

I know I’m going to hear that. It’s why I should be prepared.

I often watch with fascination as we meticulously and ardently murder basic human conversation. We have come up with these new responses to questions which could lead to communication but instead we quickly slam the door on that option.

For example, how was my birthday?

“It was all right.” (There’s a dagger…)

“It was okay.” (Pure conversational poison…)

“Oh, I don’t like birthdays.” (A bullet in the brain…)

We think acting uncaring, unfeeling and unattached to excitement is a way of expressing that we’re just “muddling through somehow” and therefore are brave adults. It’s horrible. I think it masks an avoidance of reality or an ongoing objection about how events are playing out.

In other words, we want to demand of life that it give us many more thrilling options before we will give up our praise for the outcome. So we have the classic Mexican stand-off. Life stubbornly proclaims that we have gotten all we’re going to get, so deal with it, we screaming back that “unless you cough up more lottery winnings, we have no intention of being engaged, let alone enthralled.”

It makes people boring. We should not really be boring. After all, we have five senses. One sense should be enough to make us explode with anticipation. Five should make us delirious with happiness. Bur we medicate our emotions, murder conversation and put a lid on zeal, cautioning people that we require a certain amount of miraculous evidence about the goodness of life before we will apply our seal of approval on the activity.

This is why most churches would like to talk about worship instead of praise. Worship can be done with a forlorn countenance, mumbling some words, acting very somber and reserved. Praise demands that we alert all five of our senses and emit adulation.

If you want to cease being accused of first-degree murder of conversation, there are three things you should pepper into your dialogue every day which encourages further discourse amongst the brethren:

1. “I screwed up.” If you want to get someone’s attention–and respect–tell them how you messed something up. It doesn’t make you look stupid, it makes you look powerful that you know the difference between mediocre and better.

2. “I learned something.” Once again, you will astound the masses by using your brain to acquire knowledge rather than merely pouting over the dismal nature of your affairs.

3. “I did good.” Not okay. Not all right. Not even so-so. I attempted something, it became difficult, I saw it through, completed it and now feel fulfilled.

These statements bring conversation back from the dead. They make people want to talk to you. They include the balance of humility and victory. Don’t become a human drone, silently on your way to explode on the next enemy who dares to cross your path and disagree with you.

Stop murdering conversation. The punishment for such a crime is to be thrown into prison–a jail cell where you’re stuck with only yourself to talk to.

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The Book of Us … March 18, 2012

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“The word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.”

It is part of a verse from the Gospel of John, describing the mission, purpose and life of Jesus. But I must tell you, as dynamic as Jesus’ life was and as valuable as it is for us to study it and appreciate his deeds and desires, it has been a long time since he was human.

We often hear the phrase, “birds of a feather flock together”–usually used as a pretense for keeping the races separate. But if you apply it to the fact that human beings crave human contact, then I think we might be onto something. Candidly–Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Moses or any human being who used to walk on this planet, gain credibility when we are transported into their time and visualize them as living beings who had contemporary problems requiring practical solutions. Even though we sometimes object, people need people, and require “people stories” about “people solutions,” handled in a “people way.”

It is the weakness of religion that it requires of its adherents that they pursue God without finding that divinity in themselves or the lives of those around them. Incarnateto place something in the flesh to give it proof of existence.

I guess you can feel free to study the life of Joshua or the deeds of Elijah or the predilections of John the Baptist one more time if you are so inclined, but human beings are much more likely to be moved by the stories of those who are still living and breathing than they are by the tales of those who have already passed on to their reward. How can we make spirituality emotional enough that we actually think about it and when we do contemplate its workings, apply some facets of that experience to our everyday lives?

Rather than offering another series on the end of the world, the tabernacle of Moses or a deep, introspective look at prayer, the church would do better to publish The Book of Us. Every six months, merely put together a small booklet of stories from people in the congregation who have discovered that the word is still living. Simple. Easy to understand. Vulnerable. Human.

The stories should be three-act vignettes.

  •  Act I–this is who I am.
  • Act II–this is how I screwed up.
  • Act III–this is how God helped me find a way out of my mess.

This type of story reaches humanity. It is when the Bible becomes of use to the congregant–on those rare occasions when we actually allow Jesus or one of those fellows or gals who walk the pages, to emerge from the holy of holies to display their spots and blemishes, but also to proclaim the victory they received through their faith in God. But don’t you think it would be so much easier if the person who told the story was still alive to confirm it–an ongoing example of transformation?

It wouldn’t be hard to do. Why do all the heroes of belief have to be in the Bible? Why can’t they be our next-door neighbor, who like us, has frailties, but also like us, can be uplifted through love and understanding? If we do not find ways to make truth incarnate–in other words, evident in flesh and blood–all the greatest concepts of true Godliness and righteousness could be lost to the ages.

Yes, if every church in America would put out a small booklet every six months called The Book of Us, with a handful of wonderful stories telling the immediate evidence of God’s presence, then people would have a reason to believe that the mercy of the Almighty is not merely extended to the prophets.

Each one of us profits from the experience.

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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