Cracked 5 … May 9th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reasons You Should Be Kind To Your Mom On This Upcoming Mother’s Day

A. She knows all your humiliating stories–and is eager to share them with your friends.

 

B. She was willing to give you life even though it meant sleeping with your dad, who wears open-toed sandals with black socks.

 

C. She not only saved your umbilical cord, but SHE FROZE IT!

 

D. She knows where you keep your “junk” and has seen it.

 

E. She is the only person who patted you on the back after you threw up on her.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 13) The Back Door… July 24th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

“I know what you want to hear, and honest to God, I’d love to give it to you. Matter of fact, I must have picked up the phone half a dozen times this week, to call one of you and share my heart and feel comforted by your listening ears and what I’m sure would have been your kind words.

But I can’t.”

(A universal frown emerged on the collective countenance of the congregation.)

Meningsbee continued.

“I want to, but do you understand? There are things more important than what I want. Things more important than what you want. I can tell you that I went to Sammy Collins’ house on Monday night–made my famous beans and weenies–and prepared for whatever God would set before me. Patrick was there but no one else. I mean, Sammy and his wife were there, but that was it.”

(A deeper frown)

“You’re going to want to know why, or maybe you already know and I’m just being stupid here. Maybe you heard a lot more than I think. But I can’t share without betraying what I believe, what I hold dear and what makes me who I am.

I don’t think I’ve ever explained to you about my faith. I mean, I’ve shared it with you, but probably never explained it. Since none of us know what really happens when we die, everything we talk about in this sanctuary is theory. There are Christians who believe they’re right no matter what, but since no one has gone beyond death and come back with a completely unbiased report, we’re really doing this whole thing grasping at the air.

Can I be honest? It’s why lots of people give up.Their desire to be something or do something suddenly exceeds their comprehension of belief, so they split the scene.

Listen, I made my peace with God a long time ago by making sure that if He doesn’t exist, it doesn’t make any difference to me.

You might think I’m getting off the subject. Maybe I am. But really, it’s all the same point. I can’t tell you what happened at Sammy Collins’ house because it goes against who I am–who I’ve decided to be. Who I think I need to be to make sense to me.

You see, I sat down one day and decided what I would need to be if there were no God or heaven. I would still need to make a case for myself. After all, I’m here. Whether it was a miracle of creation or a process of evolution–TA-DA! Behold, I have arrived.

Even if I found out that God was all made up, I would have to include people. They’re around, you know. Except on Monday night at Sammy’s house.”

(A refreshing, hearty laugh.)

“You can’t live without running into folks. So you should make sure the cushion you keep between you and them prevents bruising.

And also, daggone it, while I’m here I might as well be creative. If you’re going to do everything the same all the time, you’re going to start hoping for heaven, which… Well, you know. We’re not sure.

And I’ve always believed in respecting life. If it’s alive, it deserves a chance.

See, I call this my back door. When I get discouraged or you guys piss me off, I go there–to that back door–and I open it up and I imagine a world without God and realize that it still would require His spirit. Does that make sense to you?

Well anyway, much as I would like to tell you my story and share my disappointment, I can’t. Because the God that’s in my heart is certainly real, whether the God of the Universe is or not.

You know, it’s funny. I’ve never told this to anyone before. I’ve never spoken it out loud–mainly because I thought it made me look like a freakin’ atheist. I’m not, though. I believe it all. I’m just ready, in case it’s not exactly what’s been advertised. I’m prepared to make sure that the things I would have done get done. And one of the things is to keep what happened Monday night to myself.

If it’s any comfort, if I was going to tell anybody, it sure would be you cool dudes.”

Everybody laughed.

But then something strange happened. Two or three, and then five or ten people rose to their feet, came up and hugged Meningsbee with tears in their eyes.

The emotion he had been holding back all week long suddenly burst, and the good reverend fell to his knees, weeping.

The rest of the congregation joined the others around him, sprouting their own tears. Even four or five visitors stood on the perimeter with misty eyes.

Reverend Richard Meningsbee didn’t ponder what was happening.

He just let it happen.

 

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Turning Kids into Humans (Part 4) 3-6–Garden … September 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Humanating

Let’s settle one major misconception–children are not born desiring video games, I-phones, Sesame Street, toys, candy and the latest fad or trend. They are coerced through advertising and peer pressure to pursue these products and attitudes by big-budget corporations which use their advertising dollars as efficiently as possible.

Don’t be paranoid but by the same token, be careful what media outlets you allow your children to watch or otherwise, you will suffer the backlash of cultural greed.

Now that you have a child who has gained speech, feet and knows where to poop, it’s a good idea to approach this young creature as a garden.

You’ve got to plant some corn and carrots.

I call it corn because most people in our time consider it to be “corny” to feel for others. Yet without this introspection, we are worse than animals gnawing on each other in the jungle, because we actually do have a brain with the capacity for empathy.

So rather than assuming that every child born in America is destined to want to play computer games, intervene and create a garden, where you plant corniness and generosity, allowing for healthier attitudes.

A suggestion: teach your children to share the sad and the happy. Put them in environments so they can understand that someone is sad and they should feel something about it. Likewise, when they run a race and lose, encourage them to do better next time, while you also insist that they rejoice with the winner.

They are not going to want to do this.

That is irrelevant. You made this person, and you have the keys to their soul until you turn them over at age eighteen and they become responsible for their own destiny.

Perhaps it is corny, but teach your children to cry for something other than the fact that they didn’t get a candy bar in the checkout line at Wal-Mart.

Alert them to the importance of being happy for others. There is no way to continually be happy if you only celebrate your own victories.

And finally, you should plant some carrots. Yes–teach them to “care about it.” Shall we put it under the banner of “share the wealth?”

Since it’s virtually impossible to bounce two balls at the same time, gently nudge or purposefully demand that your child share one with a friend, even if he or she does not immediately produce joy in their heart over the experience.

We’re planting a garden. From age 3-6 the soil is very fertile–and therefore also susceptible to weeds. And in our society, a weed is any belief that we must grab and run instead of nurture and share.

  • Share the happy.
  • Share the sad.
  • Share the wealth.

Remember–they’re kids, not humans. You are in charge of their journey to discovering Eden by planting a garden within them.

 

 

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Healing … February 11, 2013

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There is only one limitation in life–one, and one alone.

We are only limited by the boundaries of “normal” which we establish, prohibiting us from receiving inspiration beyond our permission. That’s it.

The more commandments, rules, doctrines, political parties and philosophies you adhere to in order to corral your spirit and willingness to change, the less likely you are to ever be enlightened.

When folks tell me they’re a Republican, what they are trying to say is that I need to stay within the parameters of their thinking–otherwise they will be forced to repel both me and my ideas. If they tell me they’re Democrats, likewise–it is a warning that I need to maintain a total and complete respect for the dominance of that particular profile.

It does not anger me; it does not frustrate me. It just makes me sad that we think any one given collection of ideas has the capacity for handling the intricate need of the human heart.

The world needs a healing, undoubtedly. But merely being cognizant of a cure or trying to establish a prescription for treatment is not what is required to get to the root of the problem and soothe the aching need.

After my presentation yesterday, a dear woman came to my table and told me a bit of her history–how she had been filled with the Holy Spirit and was working with the elderly. She said she found herself wanting to pray for them. In the process of pursuing these supplications to God, she deeply believed that the Lord had placed a touch on her life, to grant her the gift of healing.

I listened. I didn’t listen as a cynic. I didn’t listen. wondering if I agreed with everything she said. I didn’t listen, considering whether it totally lined up with my theology or intellectual profile. I just listened.

She asked me if she could pray for my knees. There was only one answer. Yes. Why would I want to deter someone from granting me a piece of tenderness, perhaps insight and gentle relief to my faltering joints?

  • Yes. Pray for me.
  • Yes. Meditate over me.
  • Yes. Summon the reincarnated spirit of your grandmother from the Brahma bull for me.

Why do we think we have to be so suspicious–when it’s obvious that we all are needy? I look for three things, and when I see them in a human being, I embrace them:

1. “I care.” No one has anything to offer mankind if they haven’t developed a brokenness in spirit that causes them to really care. You can’t teach it in seminary. You can’t earn a degree from a college which transfuses that feeling into your soul.

2. “I’m aware.” Yes, for a moment, I’ve stepped out of myself and I’m noticing that you exist. I see you–not just in relationship to myself. I see you as you are.

3. “I share.” Even though I don’t have silver and gold, what I do have I give to you. I don’t have all the answers, so instead, receive my love.

Those are the three things that bring healing. And whether you believe in the gift of healing or not, would you agree with me that this gift would certainly be accompanied by I care, I’m aware and I share?

So you can continue to be “normal,” squelching all attempts by God and the universe to enter your back door with some unexpected delivery. Not for me.

I’ve let down the guard of many of my pre-conceptions–so the heavens have a chance to conceive something … inside me.

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Light at the End of the Tunnel (Hill)… November 29, 2011

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Charlotte, North Carolina

I do not wish to aggravate people but I am certainly willing to do so if it’s going to generate the kind of dialogue that will create betterment and change. I greatly prefer exhortation to aggravation. (Candidly, the only difference between aggravation and exhortation is in how well it’s received.)

Arriving in Tunnel HIll, Georgia, last night for the second date of my Christmas tour, I was rather dubious about the results. I was struggling with a bit of a 24-hour stomach virus, which was giving me an entirely too descriptive tour of my intestinal system. Four inches of rain had fallen during the day and it was also damp and cold. People had lots of reasons NOT to come out to Tunnel Hill United Methodist Church to see our little dog-and-pony show (which, since it’s Christmas time, might be better presented as Reindeer and Donkey Show.)

But to my delight, a whole bunch of folks decided to brave the weather and perch themselves in a small auditorium to peruse the wares these gypsies had brought out for the evening’s delight. And truly, it was an exhilarating experience.

For after all, there are really only four things necessary to create transformation, or what we shall call revival. Fortunately for me, last night all four of these attributes showed up in the hearts and lives of the good folks of Tunnel Hill (thus my title:  Light at the End of the Tunnel (Hill)). Let me relate them to you and give you a bit of commentary which will show why we are in the middle of a stall in our nation instead of a thrust forward.

If you want to see things get better and improve your lifestyle, you must:

1. Show up. Life is not a download. Experience cannot be uploaded nor can it be texted to you–even though some people think that would be “tweet.” You have to actually be there in the flesh to experience the sensation. Without that, you are simulating an encounter which will end up being not quite as fulfilling and therefore will leave you jaded and fussy about the whole process.  Show up. My sponsors often lament that more people don’t come out to events they schedule. I think that’s ridiculous. I’m always shocked when there’s ANYBODY there, considering the temperament of our nation. We just persist in believing that we can push a button and will be inundated with entertainment or inspiration. Life is just like banking–if you’re not going to invest, don’t expect a return. So hat’s off to you, Tunnel Hill.  You showed up.

2. Listen. And I don’t mean listen critically. If you’re going to take the trouble to show up, give yourself the thrill of believing that you’re going to hear, see or feel something completely wonderful or different. There are many people in this country who are still hearing but they don’t really have an ear.  Or is it that they have an ear and they aren’t hearing? One way or another, the information is being assimilated through their own opinions and being decimated in their touchiness instead of allowing for deeper understanding.  You’ve got a heart, you’ve got a soul and you’ve got a mind. That’s assuming that you’ve showed up so your strength is already present.  So at least bring one of those to receive nourishment.  In other words, receive emotionally, receive spiritually or receive mentally.  Tunnel HIll, I am astounded to the depths of my soul at how you listened for an hour to my little stories.

3. Learn. Of course, to admit you learn something means that you have to give into the notion that there may be knowledge that you don’t already possess. It does demand a bit of humility. But without humility, the human being naturally defaults to pride. And pride sucks because it’s a bull butting heads with the rest of the world. Learn. What IS learning? It’s listening and finding something ON PURPOSE that is unique to your ears. If you spend your whole life nodding your head–acting as if everything you hear is merely a reflection of your previous thoughts–you will not only battle arrogance, you will drive away people who could be of great benefit to your journey.

4. And finally, share. Once you’ve actually listened and learned something, walk up to the person who happened to be your teacher on that occasion, and tell him or her how much it meant to you. Once again, that means we have to hurdle a whole bunch of pride and acquiesce to the realization that we are in need of input. But it means the world to other people to know that they’ve impacted your life and it is the only way to guarantee that you will remember what has transpired instead of letting it slip from your grasp, becoming part of your past instead of incorporating it into your future. Share. Tell somebody how they’ve enriched your life–or don’t be angry when no one tells you how enriching YOU’VE been. Once again, the delightful gathered at Tunnel Hill United Methodist Church learned and shared with me how much moments from the evening meant to them. One beautiful lady explained that she had not been out to a Christmas program for some time because her daughter had died at Thanksgiving two years earlier and she hadn’t had the heart to celebrate. But she showed up. She listened. She learned. And she shared that she was so glad she had come.

There is light at the end of the Tunnel (Hill) because if people soaked by four inches of rain, chilled to the bone, in a small town in Georgia, can enact the kind of attitude that affords exhortation, then just maybe we have hope to escape aggravation and become new creatures.

So my day begins. I plan on showing up. I’m listening. I certainly will learn something. And I will continue daily to share my findings with you in the most vulnerable way possible. Don’t be surprised if America continues to suffer from amnesia about its true value–because we must understand that an I-phone is a really nice invention–but no replacement for “I show up.”

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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