Catchy (Sitting 35) Feel the Steel … February 11th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3580)

Tremaine Wilkerson was black…to this day.

He and Matthew had become friends in high school, mainly because Tremaine was the only black student within three counties and also, Matthew wanted to place on his college entrance application that he had a black friend.

Their closeness was cemented when the two of them were elected to attend a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and they were driving around at night, in a car which they had boosted from one of the sponsors to go joy-riding, when they were stopped by an Atlanta police officer.

It was two o’clock in the morning and neither Tremaine nor Matthew appeared a drizzle over sixteen years of age. Matthew was at the wheel so the officer asked for a license and registration. (Matthew was impressed that he was able to come up with half of the request.) The policeman was not appeased.

The cop was greatly interested in Tremaine. For you see, Tremaine was a very large boy–the kind you think should play football or basketball, although he had given no attention to either sport. He had also allowed his hair to go natural–so he had a huge Afro, which would only have seemed appropriate for a dancer on Soul Train. The Atlanta constable did not find it particularly appealing.

He had Tremaine get out, pushed him up against the car, had him spread his legs and searched him for anything that might seem the least little bit controversial.

Matthew realized he needed to do something, so he interrupted the cop and said, “Listen, I have to admit I’m a bratty kid–wealthy–and this young fellow is my butler. He didn’t want to go out on this drive, but it was his job to keep an eye on me. I foolishly borrowed this car, and now I see how ridiculous it was. So if you will just forgive me, I’ll drive us back and we’ll never do anything so stupid again.”

Matthew knew the speech was very flimsy, but the policeman seemed relieved that the black fellow was not an equivalent, but rather, a servant. He gave a stern warning to Matthew and sent them on their way.

Tremaine never forgot it.

So when Matthew was trying to draft a plan to get information about what was really going on with Jo-Jay, Carlos and the mysterious death of Prophet Morgan, he decided to contact Tremaine, who was now married, living in Kalamazoo, Michigan, working as a chemist, writing poetry on the weekends.

Matthew outlined the following plan:

He wanted to use Tremaine’s ethnic appearance to scare the shit out of Michael Hinston. So Matthew hired four good-natured buddies who were “goon-like” to assist Tremaine in kidnapping Michael Hinston following one of his handball game at the local Y, and take the distinguished Congressman to the back unit of a storage facility in Alexandria, Virginia.

Tremaine listened carefully, trying not to interrupt, but about three-quarters of the way through the unfolding of the plot, he felt compelled to interject.

“Matthew, you do know I’m a chemist?”

“I do,” said Matthew, “but can I say that I’m interested in some of the other aspects of your chemistry?”

Tremaine frowned. “You mean the fact that I’m black and have a ‘fro?”

“Yes,” said Matthew, “and pretty muscular.”

“I work out,” said Tremaine.

“It shows,” cited Matthew.

Now Matthew knew that Tremaine was an altruistic soul. Matter of fact, Tremaine had a soft spot in his heart for the black kids on the south side of Chicago, and volunteered every summer for two weeks to assist with the young folks, and gave money based upon his budget.

Matthew offered, “If you’ll do this for me, I will donate $25,000 to the dudes from South Chicago.”

Tremaine shook his head. “You do know kidnapping is against the law, right?”

Matthew feigned surprise. “No…I wish you hadn’t told me.”

Matthew laughed but Tremaine didn’t. Yet for some reason the passive black man from the Wolverine State agreed to participate.

It was not terribly complicated. Michael Hinston popped out of the YMCA whistling a happy tune and was immediately nabbed by the four hired goons, had a bag thrown over his head, and was tossed into a nearby beat-up Ford van.

Realizing that Tremaine was not going to be prepared for such an encounter, Matthew had written a script for him.

“Lay there quietly and don’t say a word or I’ll slit your throat,” warned Tremaine, with too many delays for the speech to sound natural.

Congressman Michael kept objecting while offering money, favors and possible other Congressmen who would be better to kidnap because of their more powerful positions.

Cued by the script, Tremaine continued. “Shut up! Shut up, honky bastard! Shut up, Congressman Whitewash!” and finally, “Shut up or I’ll kilt you!”

There was one other line, which was, “Stop axing too many questions!”

Arriving at the storage unit, Matthew met the van with a finger on his lips, warning Tremaine and the goons to remain silent so the Congressman wouldn’t know he was present.

The script continued with stage direction: “Tremaine, you do the lines, and I, Matthew, will do all the motions.”

They carried Hinston into the storage unit, pulling down the door for privacy, sat him in a wooden chair, tying him to the slats and legs. Michael was obviously distressed. Matthew motioned for Tremaine to read his next line.

Tremaine looked down, reading ahead, and then back up at Matthew, perplexed. Matthew nodded, encouraging him to go ahead, so Tremaine uttered, “I be knowing that yous be a killer. You kilts the Prophet and took the young woman and spit her out in the jungle.”

Tremaine turned to Matthew, looking like he had just bitten into a lemon. Matthew again encouraged him to continue.

“I be’s tellin’ you this one time. You talk or I’m gonna cuts your tongue out and stick it in your hand.”

Tremaine stepped back and admired himself for this particular performance. When Tremaine mentioned “cut your tongue out,” Matthew lifted the bag, stuck a knife underneath and rubbed the cold steel against Michael’s cheek. Matthew then pointed at Tremaine.

Tremaine glanced at the script, and using his best inner-city voice, growled, “Feel the steel.”

Michael peed his pants.

It was unpleasant to experience, but made the goons standing in the background giggle uncontrollably. Matthew tried to silence them but he, himself was quite amused.

There was no need for further intimidation. Michael began to expound on the story of his life. He shared everything he knew–which ended up being very little.

He explained that he had been coerced by the CLO to have Jubal Carlos arrested in Vegas, and to suggest that there should be an investigation into Jubal and the movement over the mysterious murder of Morgan.

He knew nothing about Jo-Jay.

He knew nothing about further plans.

And he closed off with a whimpering sigh, whining, “I’m nobody. Just ask anybody.”

Matthew believed him. He walked over and quietly loosened the ropes on Michael’s wrists and legs. Tremaine had one final line:

“You stay here for an hour, you white bastard, and then you can loosen yourself and leave. But don’t you be makin’ trouble for my people. Life began in Africa, and your life could end there.”

When Tremaine finished the line he gave a huge grin and a thumbs-up to Matthew, approving the script.

Matthew, Tremaine and the four goons departed.

Matthew made good on his $25,000 donation and gave a thousand to each goon.

So for under thirty thousand dollars he found out nothing, except as always, the easy explanation was never the correct one.

 

 

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Jesonian … January 6th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3544)

Sitting my eleven-year-old self down right in the middle of the Junior High Sunday School class, my attention was riveted on the astounding, emerging breasts of Terry and Linda.

All at once I was startled by some words that came out of the mouth of our schoolmarm-deacon’s-wife teacher. She was reading the names of the twelves disciples when she stated, without flinching, “James, the Less.”

It just piqued my curiosity–so much so that I raised my hand to ask a question. She was so flabbergasted at seeing a student express interest that she paused for a second, and then finally acknowledged me.

I asked, “James the Less? Who made him ‘Less?’ And who has the right to call him that?”

She was stymied. My particular question was not covered in lesson book under “potential points of discussion.”

I waited for her response. At length, she replied, “Well, I don’t know for sure, but maybe it’s because he wasn’t as important as the other James.”

This infuriated me. A God in Heaven who thinks some people are more important than others? How can He be “no respecter of persons” when He’s keeping a private list of “Faves?”

I objected, and all at once some of the other students (who had been deep in Sunday-morning comas) began to listen, and agreed with my concerns. What right did we have to call this James “the Less” and give the other James more value?

Even though this was many years ago, I had been trained in a spiritual communism. Amazingly, we still tout these concept even today.

Everyone is the same, as far as their worth.

Everything that everyone does is just as precious as what another person does.

Of course, this is total foolishness.

I do expect my airline pilot to have more expertise than the city bus driver. I’m not taking anything away from the bus driver, but I am asking the airline pilot to take his job very seriously, and to show up with integrity and deeper knowledge.

We must understand that James the Less was given that name on Jesus’ watch. Jesus had three disciples he favored over the other nine. Favored in what way? Whenever he went into critical situations or needed men of great faith, Peter, James and John were ushered to the front.

Yet we never feel as if the others are slighted–until one day they decided to get fussy. They sat around and discussed who would be the greatest. To stimulate the conversation, they had to begin with the premise that each one of them was just as essential as the other.

Jesus rebuked them. He said, “These are concerns that the world has. It won’t be that way with you. For you, he that would be master must be a servant.”

Jesus offered a Jesonian philosophy. It still works today. When Jesus found people, he did three things:

1. This is who you are.

When a man with many demons cast out of him wanted to join Jesus’ troup, he sent the man back to his own town, to spread the word.

“This is who you are.”

Much of our life span is wasted denying who we are. Maybe we find it insufficient. Maybe we think we should be given more focus. But in the process of arguing over who we are, we fail to reach the second point.

2. This is why it is good.

The greatest gift we can give anyone is to help them understand why who they are is so good. James the Less was not offended because James the Less knew who he was and why that was a great contribution to the cause.

James, who was considered greater, was balanced out by realizing that in order to maintain his place in the front lines, he needed to be “servant of all,” even to James the Less.

3. The Gospel will show you how you can peak.

Yes, once you find out who you are and realize that it’s good, Jesus has a style to grant you relevance.

I always have to giggle when I hear someone advertise “The Great Smoky Mountains.” Actually, when you place a Smoky Mountain next to Mount Everest, it might look like flat land. But because the Smoky Mountains are strategically placed–where there are no other mountains around to compete–they are not only beautiful and entertaining, but considering their location, can be called “great.”

Find your location and peak. Don’t situate yourself next to people who have a different mission and try to pull them down, criticizing them to make yourself look better.

The Gospel of Jesus teaches you how to peak in your own arena.

Unfortunately, my schoolmarm at the church that day could not give me an answer to my question. She was just like me. She was taught that calling someone “less” was an insult.

Actually, when you’re James the Less, you just use wisdom to make sure you don’t hang around the other James too much–but instead, find out who you are and why that’s good.

And then let the Gospel show you how to peak.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 12) Obsession… July 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3005)

Reverend Meningsbee

A damnable itch, festering in the brain, simpering to be scratched.

Meningsbee was enraged.

He was wounded.

He couldn’t decide if he was more angry or hurt.

But on the drive home, grasping a moment of maturity, he decided to keep the events of the failed Bible study to himself. Yes, when asked about it, he would play dumb and refer all questions to the other parties involved.

And there would be questions. The congregation had great faith that Meningsbee would be able to come into the living room setting of Sammy Collins’ home and use his spirit and charm to initiate healing.

Maybe that’s what bothered him the most–a complete sense of failure; a rage over being out-foxed by this common possum, Swanson. How did he ever let himself be in such a vulnerable position that this upstart could make him look foolish and insignificant?

Even though he decided that the mature–or as he called it, the Jesonian–way of handling the event was to remain silent, his brain was inflamed with an inferno of retaliation.

And the more he considered his noble choice, to turn the other cheek and pretend it never happened, the more a self-righteous slime made him feel pious–superior to his adversary. Then an aching anger chased that religiosity, leaving him bound in a week-long fit of overwhelming obsession.

Fortunately, he succeeded in dodging all the phone calls from church members by proclaiming that he would share his findings on Sunday. This seemed reasonable to all of them. Why tell the story fifty times when you could tell it once, and have it done?

But what would he tell?

Even though Patrick Swanson did not ask him to keep their conversation in confidence, he knew that anything he would relate about the plans of this worship leader would come across petty–and of course, be easily denied.

He’d had such great hopes.

Meningsbee had come to Garsonville with the spirit of a servant, but now he was realizing that he still had a mind to be king.

Yes, in his more enlightened moments he was willing to be patient and wait for good things to come his way, but that damnable itch insisted on being recognized.

He got so worked up that he ended up with some sleepless nights that invited a common cold to further aggravate him. Sneezing, blowing his nose and sipping some tea and honey for a scratchy throat, he wondered if he could skip the Sunday service due to illness.

Implausible.

Things had to be handled, and unfortunately, it was his hands.

He didn’t pray enough, he didn’t study anything, he over-ate, over-thought and over-reacted.

He reluctantly dressed for Sunday morning and headed out the door. He had no message.

He had never come to spend time with the Heavenly Father so ill-prepared. All he had inside him was poison. But he drove to the church and stepped to the door.

A few people tried to hug him and he was able to maneuver away by explaining his contagious condition. Fortunately, the congregation easily handled prayers, offering, testimonies and even a song.

Then everybody grew quiet, the building completely still, waiting for Pastor Meningsbee to speak.

He stood to his feet, vacant of inspiration.

He walked slowly, as a man treading to an execution. He turned and looked into the hopeful faces of those who yearned for peace with their neighbors.

Suddenly tears filled his eyes. He feigned a sneeze and grabbed a Kleenex to draw attention away from his sudden emotional outburst.

Catching his breath, he picked up a Bible nearby and held it in the air. He stood there for a long moment, waiting for the Holy Spirit to give him utterance. There was none.

Yet the congregation was waiting.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … February 3rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2833)

PoHymn February 3

Servant of All

I saw my Master serving

And I felt quite undeserving

Because I want to rule

Instead of play the fool

I grasp the tarnished crown.

 

For he took the water fine

And changed it into wine

Gave for all to share

To express his heartfelt care

Rejoicing in their pleasure.

 

While offering his words so wise

He touched the blind man’s eyes

Disturbing his time and space

To commune with the human race

I blare my horn in traffic.

 

When arrested in the garden green

At the mercy of the mob obscene

He healed the ear of his accuser

Wounded by a nearby abuser

As I wipe the blood from my sword.

 

Hanging, bleeding, black and blue

Father, forgive them for what they do

Weary and worn in his demise

He welcomed a thief to Paradise

While I abhor inconvenience.

 

For I wait at the table demanding to be served

Impatient as always, often unnerved

While he kneels down to wash my feet

I am embarrassed, seeking a hasty retreat

He smiles and continues his labor.

 

I am not a worthy soul

Less than half of what is whole

But if I can slow down from moving faster

I can become the servant worthy to be master.

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Jesonian: Mike, Carol, Alan, Suzanne, Bill, Alicia, Dan, Becky and All of Us… November 30, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2429)

guns in dumpster

He said he “did not come to be served,” but to be a servant to all.”

Yet we turn Jesus of Nazareth into a religious icon instead of a person of purpose who was out for the best of mankind.

Mike wants to know if you really meant what you said, Jesus. You told us to be “poor in spirit.” So would you do us a favor? Tell those preachers to stop pushing your perfection. It’s not impressive–it’s intimidating. We don’t need you to be perfect–just aware and understanding.

Carol is curious if you really do “mourn.” You told us to do it. But it’s really important to Carol that you’re touched by her difficulties, even if, from your lofty perspective, they seem silly. After all, silly is something we have to discover for ourselves.

Alan asked me to inquire of you if you think “being meek” is an actual power position, or just some pious platitude. Can you show us, in your life and teachings, and in your dealings on earth, how your gentleness actually wins the day?

Suzanne contacted me and wondered whether you still “hunger and thirst” for truth and knowledge. It sure seems like some of your followers have frozen themselves in time, refusing to thaw out and learn much of anything. Can you take your words and spirit and prove to us that God is still growing in His experience of being “Our Father” every day?

Then there’s Bill. Bill’s going through a rough time. He wanted me to ask you if you really are merciful. Are you giving out second chances? Would you consider granting a third opportunity? And Bill knows that in some areas of his life, he requires a fourth go-round.

Do you know Alicia? She wishes to find out what you mean by “pure in heart.” You asked us to be pure in heart–yet can you share in some detail how you continue to be honest with us and grow with us?

Dan wants to be a “peace-maker.” Yet he hears the rumble and rumors of war everywhere. What does it mean to you? That’s what Dan wants to know. Are you still backing nations and cultures? Or are you pursuing any human being who has a desire to bring peace instead of murder and destruction? Is “whosoever will may come” your plan of action? Or just a campaign slogan?

And Becky. Oh, my dear Lord. Becky has had a hard time with people gossiping about her and criticizing her. She reads over and over again that you say, “Blessed are those who suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake.” She just wants to understand how to let it roll off her back without stuffing the pain down in her gut, to resurface at a later time.

And I guess all of us want to know how you expect us to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad” when we’re hurt and shunned. It seems to be a bit more of your divine nature than your human one. Did you really have a divine nature? Or were you a human being who discovered the secret of “being of good cheer,” jumped on board and rode it all the way to resurrection?

I guess it’s pretty simple. Mike, Carol, Alan, Suzanne, Bill, Alicia, Dan, Becky and all of us really need you to be more like Jesus, instead of so much like God.

If we understood God, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus.

Can you tell us how you did it?

Would you relate what it was like to be human–just like us–and still find a way to be blessed?

 

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“Ifing” Way: Part 3… November 3, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2401)

If bigger

What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

He called a family meeting.

Such gatherings are essential–otherwise misunderstandings will turn into squabbles which eventually spill out into the community as a whole. The dilemmas we now consider to be international were once mere unresolved conflicts between brothers and sisters.

Sitting before him was his wife and the surrogate mother of his other son. He had two boys.

For when his wife decided that she was too old to bear children, she offered her servant as a stand-in for the opportunity of procuring a lineage for her beloved husband. The young man was born, and everything seemed fine for about thirteen years–until the Mama of the house got pregnant.

After she birthed her son, she felt threatened by the presence of another male offspring, and also by the female who deemed herself important because she had contributed in such a personal way.

The two women fought.

At first it was what you would call “quibbling”–a nasty glance followed by exiting the room in a huff.

But eventually the wife made it an issue with her husband, that the other woman and her child must go. He was tempted. In a moment of weakness, he considered sending the surrogate away with a bit of cash and a heartfelt apology.

Then he stopped to think–one of the more powerful things that human beings do.

He made a decision–one he was about to share with the two dear ladies.

“We are having a problem,” he stated clearly. The two women looked at each other, feigning a bit of surprise. It was so phony he had to giggle.

“Oh, don’t try that with me. You both know what I’m talking about, and frankly, I am in no mood to discuss the specifics of your feelings or misgivings. Let me explain my position. I have two sons. I love them both. I also am deeply appreciative of the two women who bore these sons. I don’t care if anyone understands our relationship. And I am certainly not going to try to please one of you to destroy the other. Here’s what I know: if my two sons cannot grow up together and be at peace because their mothers are being silly, then what would make us believe that their children will get along with each other any better?

He paused, gazing into their eyes.

“In no time at all, a couple of generations pass, and the story of your little tiff with each other is completely blown out of proportion, and rather than being a family foible, it becomes a national offense, leading to war. For my dear ladies, all wars begin in the kitchen. They spread to the dining room, and are further inflamed in the bedroom before they head out the door and hurt the innocent.”

“So it would be unfair of me to call this a discussion. I am telling you that my name is Abraham, and for me and my house, we will have two sons, and we will serve the Lord together.”

Sarah and Hagar looked at each other, knowing the resolute will of the man before them. He would certainly follow through on his words.

They were not happy … but they knew they needed to learn how to be so.

 

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Jesonian: Say, Do, Become … April 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

(2196)

big I'm picWhen I heard him say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” honestly, I rolled my eyes.

It sounded like one of those statements made by someone who feels he is spiritually or intellectually superior, but tempers it with a short burst of manipulated humility.

But then, when the Centurion told him that he didn’t need to come to his house to heal his servant–just speak the word–and instead of becoming defensive or flexing his religious muscle, he praised the gentleman for the enlightenment, I realized that this one had the capacity to become a friend to the faithful.

Likewise, when he touted the importance of mourning, my cynicism came to the forefront. It’s so easy to elevate distress to a status of soulful discovery when you aren’t actually going through it.

But later, when he wept with his friends at the grave of Lazarus and shed tears for Jerusalem because of its hard-heartedness, I grasped that he had the capacity to become the savior to the ignorant.

“Blessed are the meek.”

Time after time he put that into practice as he was rejected by his family, the religious leaders, and even close friends. Yes, a respecter of the choices of others.

He told us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” He backed it up by fasting in the wilderness for forty days. A source to the seeker.

Being merciful is often a politically safe phrase to mouth in front of the masses but not so easy to enact–especially when they bring to you a woman caught in adultery, and the socially correct position is to condemn her.

He didn’t.

A champion of the lost.

I was a little surprised when he spoke about being “pure in heart.” And then, when I stood at his side, looking down at the very cold, pale and still body of a twelve-year-old girl who was obviously deceased, and he turned to the room with an almost foolish glee and told us not to doubt, “she’s just asleep,” my eyes filled with tears over such genuine simplicity. He became a child of the children.

A peacemaker? In our day and age? When it’s considered to be noble and righteous to stand up for your turf and proclaim your worth? I watched him carefully. When he was obviously snubbed one day by a Samaritan village which had formerly welcomed him, and now had decided to renege on the invitation, and those around him wanted to declare war on the inhabitants, he stopped them, and said that his was a spirit of reconciliation. God knows we needed it. Behold, a repairer of the breach.

I winced a bit when he suggested to the masses that they should be happy when they’re persecuted. But when his entourage grew into the thousands, only to shrink to a tiny handful every time a new rumor or misrepresentation of his words filtered through the crowd, he still pursued his calling.

In so doing, for all time, he shall be deemed the voice of reason.

I, myself, was startled by the notion of trying to find tenderness for those who speak evil against us. And then, at his trial, when the false accusers literally stumbled over one another to incriminate him, he remained still, and became the calm in the storm.

  • I listened to what he had to say.
  • I watched carefully what he chose to do.
  • And I was there when the friend of the faithful, the savior of the ignorant, the respecter of others, the source of the seeker, the champion of the lost, the child of the children, the repairer of the breach, the voice of reason and the calm in the storm–yes, I was there when he rose from the dead and became the Son of God.

I learned from him. Choose what you say, because you will have to back it up with what you do.

Only then do you become what you believe.

 

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