Untotaled: Stepping 3 (February 9th, 1964) … February 22, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

“She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah …”

God, I desperately needed that.

At twelve years of age, going through puberty, it would have been wonderful to have a “she” that loved me. Yeah.

But when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show February 9th, 1964,  my parents refused to let me watch. They didn’t know anything about the Beatles, they had just seen a picture, and from that had determined that the young gentlemen from Liverpool were freaks, queers, girls, Communists and immoral.

So instead, they sent me to church, where I got to listen to our preacher expound upon Peter and the lame man at the Gate Beautiful.

Lame.

I returned home, realizing that the Ed Sullivan Show was not over yet, hoping that I could still negotiate permission to watch the last part and hear the Beatles’ final selections. My father, even more irritated, refused. He turned the channel to Bonanza–an episode called The Cheating Game.

Yes, I felt cheated.

Even though I liked the Ponderosa, I did not want the Cartwrights on this night. I needed the Beatles.

Yet the next day, when I went to school, out of some sense of fierce loyalty, I explained to my friends, who were ablaze with excitement over the performance by Paul, John, Ringo and George, that these guys were freaks, queers, girls, Communists and immoral. (Honestly, I didn’t even know what most of the words meant.)

What happened next was chilling to my bone. Rather than arguing with me, my friends looked at me with a combination of horror and pity. They couldn’t even imagine how miserable I must be … Beatle-less.

So over the next few months I broke out of my shell, slipped over to my friend’s house and listened to the Beatles. This eventually led me to Herman’s Hermits, the Monkees, and even a little taste of the Animals and Jimi Hendrix. To that revolving play list I added the Oak Ridge Boys, Beethoven, Strauss and Sousa.

As the diversity of my musical taste increased, so did my openness and willingness to accept others and absorb new ideas.

Music saved my young soul from turning into a lame man, which certainly would not have been the gate to anything beautiful.

I never got to hear the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. But on the long and winding road … they rocked my world.

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The White Album … December 21, 2011

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Jonathan in Miami

It was the Christmas of my seventeenth year and I wanted to buy a special gift for three of my friends. After fourteen minutes of painful deliberation, I opted to purchase the BeatlesWhite Album for all.

This was a bold move–because each one of the three was distinctly different. One of them was into gospel music, convinced that rock and roll was of the devil. The second friend fastidiously held that classical music was the only true artistic form and contended that Beethoven hung the moon (and not just the Moonlight Sonata). The final acquaintance played in the band in our high school,was an ardent trombonist and loved the music during football season. He even had a sticker on his trombone case that read: “I Marched With Sousa.” So as you can see, it was a pretty risky decision to buy one album for all three of these unique personages.

About two weeks after the New Year, I caught up with them again and asked them what they thought about the Beatles’ White Album. The gospel music advocate said that it was interesting, but he found that the more he listened to it, the more confused he became, and on one occasion, even nauseous. He attributed this to the notion that there might be evil spirits pulsating at him from the grooves. My Beethoven buff was convinced that most of it was just crap, but the Beatles did occasionally rip off certain licks from the great masters, thus making them copiers of genius instead of originators. And of course,  my trombonist found the one place, on cut three, where there was a trombone in the background and played that song over and over again to reinforce his personal theory that life begins and ends with a slide.

Move ahead ten years. I gave three New Testaments to three of my friends because someone told me it was a good thing to do. One of them was an atheist because he couldn’t understand how God could allow suffering in the world. The next one was a hippie who enjoyed a little bit of Puff the Magic Dragon, if you know what I mean. And the third one was raised as a Jehovah‘s Witness and claimed to be a searcher.

Over the course of time, I encountered all three. The atheist told me he had to stop reading the book because he was so infuriated by Jesus talking about hell and damnation. (He apparently missed the numerous passages about loving your neighbor as yourself.) My hippie friend was ecstatic because he was convinced that Jesus would not only approve of legalizing marijuana, but since he lived in the Middle East and opium products were everywhere, probably was smoking it the day he told his disciples, “Take no thought for what you shall eat and drink, man…” (He, too probably missed a few pertinent concepts.) And my Jehovah’s Witness was too nervous to read the New Testament because he was taught that God was Jehovah and having a little book that had no Jehovah in it made him frantic, even though he was not sure he believed anything his family said.

Giving is a good thing. But when you believe that art–or Bibles–are going to change the world, all you end up doing is imparting new ammunition to prove their present theory.  For people are like diapers–they will not change until they get tired of the stink. This is why Jesus said “you must be born again.” It is why God set the precedent for that principle by allowing Himself to be born again … in the manger in Bethlehem.

That’s right. Jehovah passed away and rebirthed Himself … as Jesus.

Something to think about while you wrap your presents.

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Merry Christmas! Listen to Jangled, below — the snazziest mix of Jingle Bells, Carol of the Bells and Silver Bells you’ll ever hear!

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