Sit Down Comedy … February 28th, 2020

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

A wake-up call.

When I traveled on the road, I frequently requested one from the front desk clerk at the motel. He or she punched a few buttons, and sure enough, the next morning at the specified time, my phone rang.

It was startling—so loud that I decided to purchase a small traveler’s alarm clock, which could still awaken me but without a heart attack.

The only problem with this new apparatus was that it was gentle and had a snooze button, which permitted me to rob ten more minutes of sleep. Sometimes I just didn’t get out of bed on the right schedule.

A wake-up call should be alarming.

It should sound the cry: “WAKE UP!”

So what happens when you don’t permit a wake-up call, or you’ve deafened your ears to such an extent that you no longer find the sound alarming?

I don’t know which one has happened. But there are certainly things going on in this great country—things we all share—which would have alarmed us at one time, and now have been relegated to the status of background noise or surrounding scenery.

I, for one, think we once thought it alarming for people to treat one another without civility. We were cordial, even to people we didn’t like. We chose our words carefully.

Perhaps there was more gossip because true feelings were being uttered behind the backs of our enemies, but “a hospitality of congeniality” kept us from being openly hostile, on the verge of rage.

I am alarmed that we’ve lost our civility.

Likewise, it stands to reason that a faulted people should be served by a faulted leader. So what happens when the leader of the nation no longer believes that he or she has any faults? Won’t all the citizens want to imitate such an arrogant profile?

“If it’s good enough for the top dog, why don’t the little puppies get to bark at will?”

It is alarming to me that we seem to have lost the awareness of our own fragility and consciousness concerning our weaknesses.

Killing used to bother us. It really did.

Many years ago, when four students were murdered at Kent State University during a Viet Nam War protest, the country was stunned. Now I’m not so sure that four victims destroyed during a shooting would even make it into the second news cycle before disappearing into the past.

Once killing gains acceptability, it no longer matters who, and unfortunately may someday not matter how many.

I am extremely alarmed that the term “socialism” is being bandied around like a cultural volleyball by those with little awareness of the horrors suffered by souls in the Eastern Bloc of the European continent, or the stunted status thrust upon the good folk of Cuba.

Especially alarming is tying the word “socialist” to the adjective “democratic,” or harkening back to FDR and the New Deal.

Socialism has no place in our country’s governing.

And concerning programs to help the aging and poor, we must realize that as a nation, we have historically been able to come up with such plans and opportunities without ever having to wave the banner of socialism.

Then finally, I am alarmed with bias.

Whether it’s the religious right continuing to hold women in subjection to men or the liberals celebrating culture, only to further focus on our differences instead of our similarities, or just trying to keep all colors, mindsets and religions seemingly revered, but banished to a distance—it is alarming.

We’ve lost our way.

Our nation is sleepy.

We’re waking up intoxicated by our own foolishness, yearning to snooze, ignoring the need to rise up and make a difference.

How loud would the alarms have to be to awaken us from:

  • following a leader who thinks he makes no mistakes
  • supporting a Presidential candidate who dubs himself a socialist
  • joining into a general national nastiness that puts us at continual odds with each other
  • permitting a bloodbath of treachery and murder that leaves us baffled but unmoved
  • or supporting an ongoing bias against gender, race and religion?

It is time to wake up.

It is time to sound the alarm, hear the alarm and be alarmed.

Reverend Meningsbee (Part 53) Surprise Party … May 7th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

Constable Bill was able to convince Carla that she needed to stay with someone else for a couple of days while the investigation was going on, and also to make sure she was safe and sound from her notorious ex-husband.

Pastor Meningsbee suggested she stay with Mary and Martha, the two sisters from the church, who would love the companionship. They had an old Cape Cod home with three extra bedrooms, so there was plenty of room.

So Tuesday and Wednesday night, Carla tucked herself away in the loving hospitality of the congenial–and talkative–sisters.

On Thursday morning, Meningsbee stopped over, telling Carla that the police thought it was safe for her to go back home, and try to return to her schedule. Meningsbee decided to accompany her, as did Mary.

When they arrived at the stairs leading up to Carla’s apartment, they were surprised to discover Bill was already there. He had been driving by, and thought he would check and see what the status was on the property, and peering to the top, discovered that the door was open.

He had gotten into his squad car, circled the neighborhood, and lo and behold, came upon the faded red-rusted pickup truck that had been sitting out in front of the diner just two days earlier. Opening it up, he found a bloody seat, maps, Gus’s driver’s license and an empty box of bullets.

So he hurried back to the apartment to secure it before allowing Carla to settle in.

Seeing that the group had arrived, he told them to stand back, pulled out his gun and headed up the stairs. He was about halfway along when Carla broke rank, ran up the stairs, pushed past him, opened the screen door, kicked the inside door with her foot and bolted in.

Everyone was screaming at her to stop. The constable recovered first and scurried up behind her, followed by Meningsbee and Mary. Each one reached the top and peered in like little birds peeking over the top of the nest.

Carla was standing completely still, staring down at the body of Gus, who was perched in a chair, apparently having bled to death from his wound.

Bill walked over, checked for a pulse and shook his head. Carla asked him, “Is he dead?”

“Dead as they get,” he said.

She stepped up, reached into Gus’s pocket, pulled out the gun and aimed it at him. She shot once, twice, three times.

Meningsbee shouted at Bill, “Aren’t you gonna stop her?”

He shook his head. “No. He’s already dead. It’s not against the law to kill a dead man. She’s got a lot of pain to work through, and if I’m countin’ right, she’s only got three more shots.”

Carla stopped at four and handed the gun over to the officer. She fell to the ground in a heap as Mary came over to hold her.

Meningsbee said to the constable, “What do you think happened?”

Bill replied, “Well, I’m no professional with autopsies, but I’d say he died.”

Meningsbee sighed. “I know that. I mean, why here?”

“Well, my guess is, if you look at where he’s sittin’, he’s got a direct shot at the front door. I don’t think he planned on giving her another chance to stab him.”

“Damn,” said Meningsbee.

Bill laughed. “That’s kind of funny. My mother used to have an old saying she’d pop off with when she ran across something unusual. She’d say, ‘That’s like hearing a preacher cuss.’ And here we are. And I just did.”

No family could be found for Gus, whose real name was Gerald Blevins. Suggestions were made to send him to a pauper’s grave in the big city, but Meningsbee felt it would be good to have the funeral right there in town, at the church, so that a very damaged and distraught Carla could be surrounded by loved ones.

On Saturday morning at 10:00 A. M., a funeral was held for Gerald Blevins, who no one had known one week earlier. Since there was no family, there was no eulogy, and since there was no eulogy, there was no need to “praise Caesar.”

Meningsbee felt he had one purpose–to let Carla know that the 128 souls who showed up for the funeral were there for her, not a murderous stranger.

He took his place in the pulpit rather than his usual position on the floor to add more gravitas to the situation. He began.

“I knew Gerald Blevins for about twenty-three minutes. I can’t tell you much about him. He claimed to be a Christian, although we know he did many un-Christ-like things. Of course, we all do.

“Now, I’m not saying this to compare each and every one of you to this dangerous fellow. I’m just saying that none of us know the height breadth and depth of our loving and merciful God. For if we found out there was some limitation, all of us might need to shiver in our boots because we exceeded His grace.

“But this gathering is not about Gerald. Gerald will have to make peace with God and settle his own score. This is about Carla. This is about a woman who has struggled all her life. She’s worked harder than any lady should have to, and raised two wonderful children, only to be invaded–yes, that’s the word–invaded by this foul presence.

“Gus said he wanted money. I suppose he did. I have no idea what he was going to use it for. He never told me. I offered to give him a couple thousand dollars of my own money that I have squirreled away from my book royalties. I actually told him I won it in Las Vegas. First, I would never go to Las Vegas. Second, I would never win.”

A nervous chuckle.

“But in that moment of his life, money was more important than his soul, his future, and the feelings of another human being.

“Carla, all of us gathered here today want you to remember, this is your home. There’s no other town in America that’s going to love you any more than we do. And we want you to stay. We want you to try to find happiness. We want you to continue to be part of us. And we want to watch as the love of God settles into your heart and creates healing.

“Would some of you folks come up here and give Carla a hug?”

Carla embraced everyone who came her way in a dutiful manner. She thanked Richard for his kind words. She checked with the constable to make sure no expenses had been incurred by the county for the burial.

Then she went up to her apartment, packed her bags, got in her car and left without saying another word.

Meningsbee was heartbroken. But he understood.

When you live in a small town, once a major tragedy happens in your life, you’re almost always remembered as “that lady who had the crazy husband, who died in her living room.”

Sometimes it’s hard to heal when other people keep probing for a sign of an open wound. Somewhere out there in America, nobody knew anything–and that was the next place Carla needed to call home.

Meningsbee prayed for her. Meningsbee thought about her.

And being a man, Meningsbee always wondered what could have been.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Orlando

To He Who Robbed Our Pulse

(Dedicated to the Souls in Orlando)

How easy it is to kill

To end the dreams of Jack and Jill

Who went to fetch some fun

‘Til confronted by your gun

Removing all their will

 

You claim faith in God

But then prove you’re a fraud

By destroying His greatest desire

You make the message a liar

Placing the young in a tomb.

 

Did anyone see your hate?

Could they stop the fate?

That crushed the hopes of so many

And produced the graves aplenty

Making the children helpless

 

It is time for a simple path

To expunge the bloody math

And let us look for a friend

Instead of promoting the end

Of God’s great human embrace

 

So as we contemplate the morrow

Let us rise from festering sorrow

And push to find something brighter

Lifting burdens, making things lighter

Listening instead of yelling

Laughing instead of cursing

And talking instead of shooting.

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Confessing… June 20th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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VII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

I was eleven years old, sitting in the back seat of a car, thrilled out of my mind, leaving the state of Ohio for the first time.

I was so excited that I was jabbering like a drunken parrot–so much so that the adults in the front seat finally had to tell me to hush up and take a nap.

I was heading off for four days in the mountains of Oklahoma to enjoy a camp. When we arrived, I was surrounded by men of all ages expressing goodwill to one another, hugging and laughing with freedom and delight.

It felt like heaven–at least my eleven-year-old perception.

We gathered for meetings, discussions, speeches and songs. A theme soon creeped to the forefront:

“America is in trouble because of its sin, liberal ideas and the races beginning to mingle.”

Around the fire, the men who had been so generous in their love for one another told jokes about black people looking like monkeys and how stupid “the coloreds” were.

One word kept coming to the forefront–“nigger.”

I had heard it before in Ohio, but here it was commonspeak, and was usually accentuated with some “Amens,” giggles and grunts of approval.

I was surrounded.

I was outnumbered.

I looked to the men who had brought me on this journey for guidance. They, too, found themselves in the minority so they joined the mob.

Who was I to object?

So I laughed, I criticized, I mocked and for those four days, I became a racist. Hating black people made complete sense to me.

As we made our way home, the men who were driving the car dissipated their foul language and horrible attitudes. They were trying to go back to who they were without acknowledging who they had become.

I was troubled.

Even though I didn’t know any black people, I saw no reason to judge them from a distance.

As I aged I became more and more infuriated with the racism thrust upon me by men of seeming goodwill, surrounding me with their verbal piss and swill.

I was reminded of the Psalm that says, “Do not dwell in the council of the ungodly.”

I thought about that for a long time.

I realized that to be against racism, bigotry and alienation of my fellow-man, I would have to be willing to be outnumbered and still heard.

I would have to escape those who thought it was funny to devastate others as a joke.

I would have to be different.

When I received the news this week that nine of my brothers and sisters were slain in Charleston, I looked at the young boy who was the perpetrator.

He was me.

If I had continued to hang around the vile bigotry that was spoken to me during those four days, and persisted in coexisting with supremacists, perhaps a logical conclusion to my warped mind would be to strike my own blow.

For you see, if I had dwelt with the “council of the ungodly” I could have just as easily tried to make my point with a gun.

Charleston is not about what a confused, debilitated and ignorant boy did in a church. It’s about how each one of us is occasionally outnumbered by stupidity–and we need to learn to find it within ourselves…to speak out.

 

Confessing boy on bench

 

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Childproof… January 8, 2013

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jonlittleboyThere are six wheels which roll our culture down the road. A couple of them are flat, others have too much air in them, and one or two are just so well-worn they’re ready to pop. I will no longer follow society on these six issues: violence, sex, God, money, politics and work.

The mob mentality claims that “guns don’t kill people–people kill people.” I have to step away from that thinking. I have a more childlike perception. Anger wants to kills people, which lends itself to shooting if a gun is available. So what am I going to work on? Releasing my anger in positive spurts of revelation instead of waiting until it boils over.

The mass of society believes that sex is an instrument of pleasure, pain and manipulation. I find that distasteful. I’m not against pleasure, but I think any effort to continue a battle between the sexes, using that pleasure as a weapon, is emotional suicide. My childproof answer is to continue to learn, understand and honor the awesome beauty of human sexuality.

The religious community screams out its doctrines about God, preaching that we feeble human beings need to learn His will and enact His commandments. I am a child. God is my Daddy. He created a home for us called earth and if I will listen carefully, I can acquire the best ways to use the household appliances, so I can be successful and do good works that will glorify my Father.

Meanwhile, Wall Street, in the economic hubbub, talk about money. We are suddenly thrust into a materialistic whirlwind, where we prove our true value by the things we possess. It is time for the children to rise up and shout that we have enough stuff, but we don’t have enough opportunity to use our stuff to help others.

Politics may be the only way that those who deem themselves righteous can overcome their adversary in the name of God by using less-than-pure methods. Let the process go on. I am a child. I don’t need to vote. I don’t need to worship where I vote. I’ve already decided what’s important and I’m pursuing it. I need no President or representative as my surrogate in order to do what’s right.

And finally, the hounding, complaining voices of the past have convinced the populace that work is weary and difficult, and the more miserable we can make it, the better chance we have of appearing to be mature. The child in me rebels. The little boy that you see in the picture at the top of this page has no problem with expending energy–as long as it’s laced with a bit of fun.

I am a child:

  • I do not kill.
  • I do not use sex as a weapon.
  • I do not believe in God because a book tells me to.
  • I need as much money as is required to meet my basic daily bread.
  • I am not interested in politicians, nor any of their manipulations.
  • And if you want me to work, you should make it clear why we’re doing it and how we can find a really interesting way to make it playful.

In 2013, I am becoming a child. I have no intentions of being childish–but I don’t see that my society is rolling us towards solutions, but instead, is choosing the hill to roll down towards destruction.

I shall not participate. I shall not be grown-up when I see aging souls finding ways to degrade joy, barely able to tolerate breath.

I will be a child–and maybe in doing so, I can become worthy of the Kingdom of God

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