Cracked 5 … August 21st, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reasons Given for Not Attending Church

 

A. Too much gluten in the communion wafer

 

B. Don’t like heaven, nor favor hell

 

C. PEW-trification

 

D. Allergic to sermons

 

E. The choir is white–REALLY white.

 

 

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G-Poppers … February 10th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop is fully aware that most people do not realize that their ultimate self-worth is gauged by how valuable they are to others.

Self-confidence may have its charm, but if it doesn’t manifest into some sort of contribution to the human tribe, then it comes across more as boasting than boosting.

With that in mind, it might be good to have a pulse on the heartbeat of people’s needs. So here’s how it breaks down:

50% of the time, the only thing people want from us is our ears.

They just want us to listen. Are they offended when we contribute thoughts? Yes. They have planned a soliloquy and we try to turn it into a dialogue.

20 % of the time they want our hands.

“Can you help me lift this?”

“I need some assistance.”

“Somebody finked out on me and I was wondering if you could be there to fill the gap.”

15% of the time, they yearn to have our feet.

Folks are always advertising something, are tied up, and require others to support the cause and put feet to the faith.

10% of the time, they want our eyes.

They would like us to be observant.

For instance, notice when they have broccoli in their teeth.

Maybe that new outfit we think is so adorable actually makes us look like a stuffed sausage.

And 5% of the time they tolerate our words.

It’s why sermons don’t work well.

Seminars are for those who like stale Danish and anemic coffee.

And prayer meetings and Bible studies have diminishing audiences.

Too much talk.

G-Pop wants his children to learn what makes them worthwhile:

  • People want your ears
  • Then your hands
  • Your feet
  • Your eyes

And on strange occasions when they’re in a particularly cheery mood … they will put up with a little bit of your yammering.

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Good News and Better News… November 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-trinity-mansfield-sign-pic-1Autumn reminds me of getting older. It occasionally offers memories of the warmth of earlier days, but things start falling off your limbs.

As I woke up and drove to Trinity United Methodist Church in Mansfield, Ohio, it was a beautiful, sunshine-blessed fall morning–invigorating to the body and soul. I think other people felt that as well, because Pastor Bob and the congregation shared a gentle and kind greeting.good-news-trinity-mansfield-clouds-pic-2

I was also blessed to have my nephew and sister-in-law show up for the gig, and we had a few minutes in my green room to catch up and rediscover why we like each other (even though we’re related).

Then it was time for the service. I’m always intrigued by the fact that we pursue the traditions of religion without considering whether they are adequate for the needs of humans. What is the purpose of God putting together a ceremony which does nothing to enrich the lives of the participants?

What do we need from church?

First and foremost–good cheer.

Fortunately for us, Jesus said “he came that our joy might be full.” For after all, we cannot survive another experience that leaves us contemplating without rejoicing.

The second thing church should give us is fellowship.

Once again, God looked ahead and saw our need. Jesus proclaimed, “By this you shall know my followers–that they have love for one another.”

After good cheer and fellowship, we all desperately need forgiveness.

Jesus warned us that “except we repent, we shall perish. But if we do repent, “God is faithful and just to forgive us.” This pardon makes us a little bit more willing to consider being gracious to others.

So you can see, what we need out of church is also what God expects out of church.

Passing off the traditions of men and calling them the commandments of God is what really pissed off Jesus.

So the good news is that if we offer hope and cheer, fellowship and forgiveness, we will not only be doing God’s will, but we will be presenting an atmosphere which is conducive to the growth of human beings.

The better news is that it is a lot more pleasant to do this than arguing over hymns, trying to stay awake during sermons, and bickering over the color of the carpet in the vestibule.

good-news-trinity-mansfield-jon-pic-3

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The Story Goes On… July 14, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Daniel in the lion's denI was having trouble dealing with the stories: Jonah and the whale, Daniel in the lion’s den–even Jesus walking on the water.Three little pigs

So when I was fifteen years old, for a season I embraced agnosticism.

It was pretty easy. For after all, I never believed in religion. Church was tolerable. I had a curiosity about God.

But overall, the religious system asked me to swallow things without question, never realizing how they might affect me.

It was just too much.

Now I know there are those who would like to believe that departing from the church leads to all sorts of depravity. But I did not become a drug addict. I did not start mistreating my dog. I didn’t develop a pornography addiction.

Moses and the Red SeaActually, I rather enjoyed sleeping in on Sunday mornings, and took the extra time to audition for a play, and won the lead role.Little Red Riding Hood

I was happy.

I made new friends, since my Christian ones turned their backs on me. I joined with these acquaintances to discuss intellectual matters and expound on the problems in our society. I felt like a budding genius. It was like I was on a Mt. Olympus of knowledge, looking down on the world around me, trying to find a way I could assist the mere mortals below.

It was intoxicating.

In a strange sense of speaking, it was a religious experience. Yes, there is a religiosity to atheism. It was the comforting sense that I was self-contained. I needed nothing else.

Everything seemed really positive except for one factor. As time went on, the conversations I had with my new comrades became more bitter and nasty. After a while, we judged those who were not part of our confluence to be inferior–ignorant, if you will.

So one day it occurred to me that this new “religion” I had taken on had the same viciousness and prejudice as the one I had walked away from. There was still a plan of salvation, in the sense that you had to reject anything that might even hint toward the supernatural. There were sermons, as we disemboweled the character of those individuals who dared to disagree with us.

So finally, one night lying on my bed, I realized that the true story was not confined to the sixty-six books of the holy scripture. The story is actually compacted into the message that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

For even though I hated religion, had grown weary of church and felt like I could do without God, I had no idea, in my agnosticism, what to do with people. They seemed cumbersome. They were in the way.

Because as noble as it may sound to give freedom to everyone, when you have eight billion freedom-headers crashing into one another, it’s quite a headache.

My new-found lack of faith caused me to be irritated with the very creatures with whom I shared a species.

We need the story.

Maybe we don’t need all the stories that have been collected and called divine within the volume, but we do need The story:

  • Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Give and it shall be given unto you.
  • Go the second mile.
  • You are the salt of the earth
  • Love your enemies

Without this narrative, we learn to hate religion, disdain the church, ignore God, and unfortunately, also end up disliking one another.

I went back to church.

I don’t agree with everything that happens there, and when I don’t, I question it. I rail against religion because it is a man-made infestation, formed to cripple the creativity of humankind.

I maintain a curiosity about God, though none of us know what happens a hundred and twenty seconds after we die.

But I believe in people.

I consider it to be the sign of spiritual energy–when the love we have for one another becomes the symbol of our devotion to God.

The story goes on. The story needs to be told.

Because without the story… we become discouraged in our own lack of appreciation for one another.

 

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Arizona morning

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Untotaled: Stepping 20 (March 18th, 1965) Bible League … June 28, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2277)

(Transcript)

In the midst of puberty, football, family problems, unbearable school work, insecurities and an unwillingness to walk the dog, I managed to wiggle in time to attend church.

I didn’t go there because I loved God or was fond of listening to sermons. Matter of fact, I couldn’t recall one single point from one of these elongated discourses. No, I went to the Steeple House to see church friends and because I had an abiding love for gospel music.

So when it was announced by our pastor that a competition would begin in the style of College Bowl, using the Bible for questions and answers, and that we would be competing with eleven other churches in our district, to win a trophy, I was immediately on board. It would give me a chance to be with my friends, carpool to new locations, and actively participate in a way to prove that I was better than others.

The first category for our pursuits was Acts of the Apostles, which had intelligently been shortened to the Book of Acts. We studied the material for three weeks. The teams were divided into Junior Bible League and Senior Bible League.

I was at an annoying age–the oldest in the Junior League, but youngest in the Senior League. So they stuck me in the younger group. We went out for the first competition and won handily against Milford.

Having a disconcerting mixture of ability and ego, I quickly decided that the Junior Bible League was beneath me, so I immediately began to lobby to be in the Seniors. This stimulated many discussions, church board meetings, and phone calls among pastors, all trying to decide if it was righteous for me to be with the older participants.

I think they wanted me to give it up. Yes, they figured that eventually I would stop asking.

But I didn’t.

So by the third contest, studying the Book of John, I wore them out and was placed on the Senior Team. Within two weeks, I was one of the starting members and on the third week was voted Captain.

Can I tell you the problem with progress? The reason life has steps to it is so we can enjoy the graduations–because even though I got my way and was on the Senior Team, I was stuck there for four years, with no further encouragement for ascension–just an expectation of ongoing winning.

For the first three years we won the trophy for the best Bible League Team in our district. But by the fourth year, quite honestly, I just wore out.

My jot was exhausted and my tittle lay dangling.

So the lasting memory of this experience is that we lost, in my final year, because of my indifference, and I shall forever be remembered as the guy who almost pulled it off.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to stand up against unreasonable rules and regulations. But often they are there to ease us into a joyous journey, where we have the pleasure of growing instead of the aggravating expectation of doing well … again.Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Jesonian: Order of Importance… June 1, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2251)

jesus in a fieldThere is the smell of “stale God” in the air.

It stinks.

The odious cloud has risen from a thousand misunderstood scriptures, ten thousand meaningless sermons and a million converts sitting around thinking that saying a prayer or munching on Holy Eucharist does anything of lasting quality.

Maybe it’s just this American attitude that everything is important, which makes us end up giving undue attention to the least effective path to progress.

I will tell you this–I’ve read the Gospels many times, and it doesn’t take much perusing to discover that Jesus had an order of importance when it came to human living. It may astound some of the faithful to discover that he doesn’t give prominence to prayer, fasting, church attendance or Bible reading. He assumed that we should just do those things on our own time, without any pomp and circumstance, to help us energize the things that are important.

From my discovery, these are the five that keep us alive:

1. No one is better than anyone else.

I remember when I was ten years old, I sat down and picked out my favorite army men. After that I never played with the others. I lost out on some great toys. The same thing happens when we pick our favorite people.

2. Don’t judge people.

Drawing conclusions makes ugly pictures and jumping to conclusions always lands you in a mud puddle.

3. “Give and it shall be given unto you.”

If you happen to be going through some lean times, you might want to fatten up your generosity. Human beings are led by example.

4. Don’t be a hypocrite.

Nobody expects anybody else to be perfect. But we do require honesty about faults.

5. Go the second mile.

Life is not meant to be easy; otherwise, lazy people would soon be in charge. It’s in the second mile of effort that we discover the treasures of our own perseverance and the mysteries of human life.

I can guarantee you that whatever afterlife awaits us will have little to do with piety or sanctimonious practices. But if you pursue these important things, you will find that whatever is awaiting us is merely a continuation of the joy we have found in our magical five.

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The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Untotaled: Stepping Four (April 28th, 1964) … March 1, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2165)

(Transcript)

The Gospel Tones.

They were a singing group that visited our church on April 28th, 1964–actually, three friends of our pastor, who used to sing together back in college.

The southern gospel quartet–bass, baritone, lead, high tenor–an interesting blending of a musical circus atmosphere mingled with the sanctity and sobriety of the Gregorian chant.

I remember that night well. I had never seen our preacher so alive. He usually had a somberness which accompanied his sermons, granting him the authority to be holy.

But on that night he was moving around and singing low bass notes on the RCA Victor microphone which had been placed in the middle of the platform.

I got excited. Honestly, it was a little corny, but still had enough fun in it that I participated.

After the show everybody processed to the fellowship hall for cookies and punch. I grabbed three of my friends and we headed off  to a Sunday School classroom which had an off-key Wurlitzer piano, and started pounding out some songs of our own. We didn’t sound very good but we were totally enthusiastic.

Right in the middle of an exhilarating screech, one of the church elders stuck his head in, rebuked us and said we were bad children because we weren’t joining in with the rest of the church. My friends were intimidated by the austere condemnation and left to go eat their cookies, but I stayed in the room. I played and played; I sang and sang.

That night changed me. I realized I liked music. I liked entertaining.

I regathered my three friends shortly after that evening and we began to sing everywhere–nursing homes, school talent shows, street rallies, coffee houses–and later, when my buddies paired off and got married, I kept it up.

In the process I worked with the Blackwood Brothers, the Rambos, the Happy Goodmans, the Imperials and the Oak Ridge Boys.

I became an egg. Whether I was scrambled, fried, poached or put in an omelet, I was an egg. You could use me to make a cake, a souffle, or even to hold your meatloaf together.

I was not a ham and certainly not a crab.

On April 28th, 1964, listening to the Gospel Tones, I chose to become an egg. Over the years many people have tried to get me to fit into their box, but I’m an egg.

I was built for a carton. 

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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