Good News and Better News… October 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The world curses

We praise

The world complains

We sing

The world divides

United we stand

The world judges

We forgive

The world’s mean

We are kind

Yet for some reason, because there is a screaming dialogue constantly going on, promoting “might makes right,” we become tempted to curse, complain, divide, judge and be mean.


When we don’t, we feel like limp, leftover losers.

Please observe the picture inserted.

This is a bowl of some leftover something-or-other that we had several days ago, and enjoyed thoroughly–so much so that we thought we might reheat it and have a second go at it. We didn’t. So because it sat around, it got old and eventually became unidentifiable. Once I got the picture, I threw the leftovers away.

The Jesonian–the lifestyle of Jesus–is not a practice of being defensive. We’re not supposed to wait until the world curses to praise, nor should we wait until the whole world is erupting in meanness to express kindness. If we do, we appear to be leftovers.

It may not sound very practical to approach North Korea with diplomacy. It may seem unrealistic. So we are ready to enter a third conflict, already entangled in two unwinnable wars. It’s the thrill of the kill, which is always much more intriguing to those who are not going to be killed or have to do the killing.

The church has lost its heart–and the heart of the church is Jesus. The soul of the church is God, the mind of the church is the Holy Spirit, and the strength of the church is the Body of Christ, working together.

We’ve lost our heart.

No longer do we thoroughly believe in the Golden Rule. We think it might be a great idea, but has no application–just a doctrine for limp leftover losers.

We piously believe we’re better than those who are cloying and clawing their way to the top–but then we buy magazines to read all about who they dissed, who they hurt and who they’re sexually involved with.

Being in love with Jesus is more than dipping your head in reverence to the cross. It’s lifting your head in respect to a message–and it’s holding that head high, knowing that evil cannot win. It’s just too greedy. It eventually chews off its own leg.

There will never be a replacement for praise, singing, standing, forgiving, and kindness. It is what the victors do after the vanquished have failed.

The good news is that we have a message.

The better news is, the message always ultimately wins.Donate Button

 

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G-Poppers … January 27th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

18 years of age.

G-Pop’s granddaughter is celebrating today.

She is so excited. She has waited a lifetime for it–at least, her lifetime.

She is ready to be a person instead of a passenger.

A participant rather than a daughter.

A mover and not just a child.

G-Pop could share many superlatives about this young woman and bore you to tears.

She is intelligent to the point of being sharp.

She is clever and creative.

She is tender-hearted and allows tears to flow without shame.

Even though her life has been peppered with missteps, she went back, corrected them and took responsibility for the stumbles.

She is talented, she can sing, and dear Lord, she even plays the ukulele.

The canvas set before her is prepared for the beautiful colorations of her dreams.

But she is still plagued by one concern:

She doesn’t want to miss anything.

She doesn’t want to be considered an “also ran.”

She does not want people to believe she’s just a preacher’s daughter who cushioned herself from the realities of human life.

She wants to do it all.

She is frightened of becoming a “goody-two-shoes.”

It is a sensation that jolts the heart of every person who dares to pursue goodness. Can you chase the star of purity and still enjoy the cosmic journey?

But here’s the reality: nothing bad ever made anything good.

No vice ever actually promoted a versa.

No inhalation stimulated respiration.

No liquid spirit ever conjured a Holy Spirit.

Side-tracks. That’s what all those are–little temptations to distraction that we’ve convinced ourselves are necessary to add to our diary to make our lives seem plausible instead of merely a fairy tale.

What G-Pop would like to tell his granddaughter on this glorious day is that good is the only thing worth living for.

But you must never preach it.

Preaching good always leads to self-righteousness, selfishness and anger over missing out over some sort of sinful delicacy.

The more the reverend reverberates against iniquity, the more he is drawn to it. It is a historical fact.

God never gave us permission to preach good–thus the warning, “Don’t judge other people.”

G-Pop would also tell his granddaughter that being good is the curse of a thousand yearnings.

None of us are good. No, not one.

So every time we try to be good, we punish ourselves, incriminate our hearts and tear down our confidence. It’s why the phrase, “I’m sorry” needs to be at our tongue-tip, prepared to be uttered at any moment.

We’re just not good.

And those who try to be good often end up either lying or preaching. (I’m not sure if there’s a difference there.)

What G-Pop wants to wish to his beautiful, creative, gentle, comical granddaughter is the mission of doing good.

Good becomes very obvious because it’s always the thing that includes somebody besides yourself. It’s not hard to find–and even though you’re not going to preach against evil nor claim to be pure, the least you can do for a battered, bewildered and betrayed mankind is grant them the touch of grace brought by a moment of goodness.

I’m always enamored by the story that comes out of the 1969 music festival, Woodstock. Even though all the parents were critical of their young ones who went off to this “den of iniquity”–and perhaps there was a farm-load of sin being perpetuated in every field–when it was discovered that the purple acid was hurting people, they interrupted the concert and got on the microphone to warn their brothers and sisters to stay away from it.

They did good.

I suppose some pious parents might suggest that if the children were not taking acid in the first place, there would be no reason to avoid the purple.

But you see, that’s not life.

Life is realizing that wherever you are, whoever you’re working with, and whatever the rules for that environment, there is still a way to do good.

It does not make you a goody-two-shoes.

It means that you walk with feet of blessing.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … January 27th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Isabella

Sixteen Plus One

Looking for just the right fella

Is my dear friend, Isabella

Constrained within the narrow alley

Betwixt the mountain and the valley

She refuses to merely resort

Desiring a better report

Keeping the wolf from the door

 

Considered sweet and light

Her brain can be a fright

Ablaze with choices to make

Trying to escape the fake

Lurking in the beanstalk climb

 

Then a nasty wisp of fate

At a mall with a greedy mate

Leaves her hands caught quite red

Her soul cold and feeling dead

Wishing to give it back

 

But God gave a voice

To the sparrow, a choice

Sing to find your mind

Laugh to release the kind

And soar above the damage.

 

So after memories sixteen

She faces another fresh scene

Is she child or woman born?

Closer to one, the other torn

She bleeds to know the ending.

 

But life is much less eager

The answers are quite meager

Just slow down, Burning Star

Tuck your dreams in a jar

Where you can view them before fading.

 

So happy journey, princess dear

Relax in the warmth of your good cheer

God has given you everything

He’s just waiting to hear you sing.

 

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Cracked 5 … January 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Things You Should Not Do During a Blizzard

A. Leave your front door open to measure the depth of snow drifts in your hallway.

 

B. Let the chihuahua out to play in the snow.

 

C. Invite neighborhood gangs over to your backyard for a snowball fight.

 

D. Ski to the closed Ace Hardware to break in to steal a snow blower.

 

E. Robustly sing “Let It Snow.”

cracked 5 blizzard

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… December 31, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn 12 31

I v. You

I want more

Less is available

I am beautiful

Others, insist plain

I can sing

Where’s the audience?

I can love

Find the loveable

I am happy

Keep sadness away

I am lonely

Are you home?

I am valuable

See my worth

I am white

You have color

I am believing

You question me

I am laughing

Stop your mourning

I am crying

Cease the show

I am hungry

Fed, see more

I am earthly

You are heavenly

I am religious

You are irreverent

I am prejudiced

You are sensitive

I am weary

You are well-doing

I am here

You are there

I am absent

You are available

I am tired

You look exhausted

I am ready

How about you?

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Sing, Sang, Sung… April 11, 2012

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in Safford, Arizona

Who knows? Maybe it shouldn’t have happened.

Yet when I was twelve years old, one evening I burst out in song in front of a bunch of friends and family and they all commended me on my deep voice and great sound. I don’t know what their motives were. Sometimes those of our own “kin and kind” feel it’s their duty to encourage some young fat boy by pointing out some false positives– to encourage self-esteem. Whatever the reasons were, I grabbed onto that praise like the church treasurer nabbing the offering plates on Sunday morning.

I started singing. I even gathered a little group of friends to sing with me. We thought we were good. We had already spent our first million from record sales before we ever performed our first song. The truth of the matter is, I was a “family-shower” singer. To my family I sounded just fine—worthy to be heard in small doses. My rehearsal for such musical performances always occurred in the shower, where I sounded absolutely astounding.

“Family-shower” singers. They’re everywhere. Nobody talks to them about pitch, tone, phrasing, breathing and faithfulness to the human instrument because that takes away a lot of the fun of just piping off. Television is full of “family-shower” singers, who make it to auditions or game shows, fully confident they are the next American phenomenon–because their families told them so and their sessions in the shower confirmed their prowess.

I know we want to be an encouraging type of folk instead of negative, but can we agree that it is never nasty to help people discover the best way to count the cost of their own ability? Because what happens with “family-shower” singers, if they are not interrupted by wisdom in the craft, is that they turn into “church-townsangers. They start singing special music in their churches, and a few organizations in the town get wind of it and invite them to sing the national anthem or some favorite love song of the wife of the president of the club. They are always applauded—and unfortunately given unnecessary standing ovations—and further encouraged to spread their good word in music.

Just by the simple action of performing, some of the “family-shower” singers, who become “church-town” sangers, actually do get a little better. But here’s a clue—people will tolerate mediocrity as long as they don’t have to pay for it. Very few “church-town” sangers get a single dime for crooning, even though they have invitations coming from everywhere because most planned events would love to have some special music or entertainment, even if it is a little sub-par.

The thing that makes my heart break for “church-town” sangers is that they all believe they are one break away from greatness. Many of them sit in pews in churches and criticize other people who are professionals because their jealousy will not allow them to “give it up” for people who have paid their dues and therefore achieved a greater level of excellence. They are normally envious, prideful—and broke.

It happened to me. Because after I became a “family-shower” singer, boosted in my ego by the compliments from my relatives, I soon became a “church-town” sanger, considered one of the better vocalists in my school. The choir teacher practically recruited me to come and join the chorus. And speaking of chorus, when we did that Halleluia one, written by Handel, I was the only male who could sing both the bass and the tenor parts. It made me prideful.

So when I got out of high school, I took my music group and we decided to audition for Pat Boone’s agent. Pat was pretty popular at the time (because white bucks had not yet gone out of style). Pat’s agent asked us to make a tape–reel-to-reel was fine—and send it to him so he and Pat could listen to our sound and determine how they could help us. We were ecstatic. So we found a guy in Columbus, Ohio, who had a reel-to-reel tape recorder and was willing to record us for free. We set up a date and went over to his house. We sang three songs and then he played them back.

It was most unfortunate. I didn’t know exactly how to tell him that there must be something wrong with his machine, because his recording didn’t sound a thing like us. It was flat, sharp, out of tune and everything else that’s fussy about music. I was so insistent that the machine was warbling or something that the gentleman finally apologized, handed me the tape and suggested maybe I could go someplace else to get a better recording. I decided against that, thinking that it was just the playback on his system that was distorting our sound, and sent the tape on to Pat Boone’s agent, assuming he would surely have better equipment.

This is going to shock you. I never heard from him again and he refused to return my calls.

After I got over my immature tizzy-fit, I realized that I was NOT a good singer. I also understood that no one was going to tell me that except the tape recorder, whose integrity I had viciously attacked. I started working. I started taping myself. I stopped making excuses common to “family-shower” singers and “church-town” sangers—things like: “I have a cold;” “it’s too early in the morning to sing;” “the acoustics are weird;” “that alto next to me is a problem—she sings like my mother;” “that’s too high;” “that’s too low;” “I forgot my lemon juice;” and “my dog ate my pitch-pipe.”

I worked. I performed. I listened to critique. I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the line I walked away from being a “family-shower” singer and a “church-town” sanger and became a sunger–someone who had sung–anytime, anyplace.

Because until you can do it anytime and anyplace, you are not worthy of the title.

So if you’re a “family-shower” singer or pursuing some other occupation similarly challenging, just remember—all God asks you to do is be willing to hear the criticism that will make you who you want to be instead of who you think you are. If you’re a “church-town” sanger, all your heavenly Father wants you to accept is work. Practice, perform, perfect. You can’t beat that trinity. It’s almost as good as the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.

And then, one day, after you’vefinished that last concert, you’ll become a “sunger”anytime and anyplace–and suddenly you will be worthy of what you do and completely humbled by the accolade.

It took me too long, because family and my shower, church and my town—were afraid to tell me. Isn’t it interesting that my best friend ended up being a reel-to-reel tape recorder? Maybe that’s just the way life is supposed to be.

Spend a little more time listening to the playback instead of just playing.

**************

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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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