Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4022)

Sitting Sixteen

The editor sat, staring her in the eyes. He refused to avert his gaze, so she continued hers, hoping to win the standoff.

She could hear herself breathing. The quiet between the two of them made it possible for her to feel her heart beating.

After a moment, he leaned back in his chair. “No,” he concluded. “You’re wrong. The truth is, we don’t ‘got to do’ anything. Just because you’ve lost your objectivity doesn’t mean I’m going to follow you over the cliff.” He shook his head. “Young lady, you’ve got to remember what your job is. I just hate it when people try to do other people’s jobs. Hell—I don’t want my butcher talking to me about tomatoes, and I’m not particularly pleased to have my dentist comment on my haircut.”

He continued. “Here’s the thing. I don’t want my reporters, or in this case, you, pretending that she is really privately working as a social services agent. You’re a reporter, so start acting like one.”

Karin stood tall, walked over to the chair and sat down. “A reporter’s first duty is to find the story,” she said. “Try finding a story without becoming involved in the lives of the people who are dictating to you what you must write on the page. How antiseptic do you think you can become before doing all your work wearing kid gloves? Yes. I won’t deny it. This story reaches me. I guess from your perspective, you would claim it’s dirtied me. But nevertheless, it is a story. If you think I’m too passionate, edit my copy. Or isn’t that what you do?”

He smiled. The editor was always amused at Karin’s spunk—sometimes even drew it out or exaggerate it by generating fictitious conflict. He waved his hands in the air as if surrendering and said, “Okay. What’s your angle?”

Karin paused. She didn’t want to come across too verbose, or worse, off-point. What was her angle? She had already lied and had appeared too high-strung. So where did she intend to go with a story like this one, which was begging to become an obsession?

“Let’s help them.” That’s all she said.

The editor ferociously shook his head. “There you go again, back to saving the world. Don’t you understand, girl, if the world were to blow up tomorrow, I would put out my last edition of the paper ten minutes before the explosion, and have my sales team on the street drumming up advertising—until we were all dead.” He pointed at her. “I’m a newspaper man. I don’t care about solutions. Sometimes they get in my way. I know you don’t want to hear that, and if you ever told anyone that I said that, I’d call you a disgruntled employee and a liar. But I don’t dare care about solutions because if I do, I’m gonna miss the next juicy problem that needs to be addressed. It is not my intention to give you a sermon. I’m just trying to get your head back on straight. I need my good reporter back.”

Karin felt a quick flush of pride over being dubbed “good.” The editor’s compliments were infrequent. He was as cheap with his praise as he was with his pocketbook. But she pressed on.

“Let me go back out there. How about this? Let me see who comes to them. Let me just report how it plays out without trying to affect it in any way.”

“What is it they want?” the editor asked.

“I thought you didn’t care,” chided Karin.

He snorted. “Isn’t what they want part of the story?”

Karin sucked in a deep breath. Maybe she was tired. Maybe it was her religious training. Or maybe she was just being softened by the editor calling her a good reporter. Who could say? But she was plagued by a guilty conscience. She couldn’t go on. Her presentation to her boss was built on sand—the granules of a lie. She had to tell him the truth—so Karin took a few minutes to relate the whole story—the broken-down vehicle, the angry sergeant, the boys, the hand grenade, the confrontation and the fact that the weapon ended up being a dud.

She explained that the grenade was buried in the desert, and how the one boy seemed plagued with some craziness. She finished up by describing the wrestling match and the ride back to the city.

The editor listened quietly and carefully, conscious not to appear alarmed or disapproving.

“So you see,” Karin concluded, “I feel a little responsible for the two fellas. I know there’s a story here, but God forgive me, I need to be part of how this story pans out.”

The editor eyed her for a lengthy span of time. While he mused, she offered one afterthought. “Let me take it just a little further.”

He closed his eyes and shook his head, but then changed it to a nod. He grumbled, “Let me make some calls.”

 

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1 Thing You Can Do This Week to Change Your World


You Can’t Be a Shepherd and Act Like a Sheep

If you want to shepherd your ideas, guide your plans and steer your dreams, you have to stop being a victim to your own circumstances or a prisoner to your own limited “mental barn.”

Sheep clump.

Sheep are often afraid.

Sheep don’t know how to move to greener pastures.

Sheep are vulnerable to wolves.

Sheep are not comfortable unless they’re doing what the other sheep are doing.

A sheep is an animal

As an animal, it responds to its environment instead of changing it.

A shepherd, on the other hand, is a human who understands sheep weaknesses, and is able to lead them to more prosperous and safer adventures.

A shepherd does this in two ways–sometimes a shepherd uses tenderness; sometimes, stern.

If you want to change your world, you have to stop being a sheep. Because if you are, you cannot shepherd your own passions.

So find your own humanity, develop some spunk, don’t respond to the greenness of the grass–and bring leadership and compassion to the sheep around you.


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G-Poppers … April 14th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3277)

Jon close up

Jesus.

What does the name evoke?

G-Pop remembers a time when the mention of Jesus would flood one’s mind with images of mercy, kindness, forgiveness, tolerance and most certainly, love.

But the years have pressed on, and the insanity of religious fanaticism has begun to lump Jesus in with all his errant practitioners and sour-faced sheep.

It may be the greatest tragedy of Good Friday. Not only was he crucified by ignorant rabble, who had memorized scripture but had no Word in their hearts, but he is now re-wounded by those who fail to comprehend that they are imitating the primer of his murderers instead of the mindset of the Master.

G-Pop recalls a phrase Jesus once used: “Except your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Exceed.

Exceed what?

Prayer? No–it can’t be that. Jesus warned his disciples not to advertise their prayer life, but instead, find a closet, shut the door and create intimacy.

Study? Highly unlikely. Jesus accused the Pharisees of parsing every jot and tittle as they “strained at the gnat and swallowed the camel” forgetting the “weightier matters” of God’s message–that being justice and mercy.

Fasting? Once again, both he and his disciples were accused of never fasting, and Jesus told them that if they did, to make sure they literally put on a happy face.

So how did he want his disciples to exceed the religious people around them?

In the humanities.

  • Training themselves to give a damn instead of insisting that they just couldn’t muster the energy.
  • Refusing to judge other people, even though it temporarily makes us feel ooey and goooey with superiority.
  • Realizing that the folks who are considered the least on Earth have the heavenly Father’s eyeball–to see who will come and gently tend to them.

G-Pop points out that as we consider the crucifixion of Christ, we have to ask ourselves, why such a drastic measure? Why kill him?

And the answer is simple. There was a danger that if Jesus lived, or his disciples were still filled with his power and spunk, that religion would not be able to manipulate people into enough guilt to trap them in ceremony–as it robbed their pockets.

“This Jesus, this Jesus, this Jesus must die.”

G-Pop thinks the best tribute we can give to Jesus on this dark day in history is to exceed the Pharisees that walk the Earth today–by using the humor, kindness, gentleness, cleverness and mercy that he taught us to possess.

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Good News and Better News … September 19th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3069)

good-news-marlette

It is utterly amazing how many potholes on the highway of progress can be gloriously filled in with the marvelous cement of enthusiasm and repentance.

Although many people tout the power of thinking and prayer, our thoughts are often stuck in the past, and our prayers can be pious.

When I arrived in Marlette, Michigan, to meet up with Pastor Dave and the human beings who inhabit that region, I was looking for enthusiasm and repentance. Nothing of any significance is going to happen without this pair of miracle-workers.

Enthusiasm has a simple message: “I want to be happy.”

And repentance comes along cleansing the process by offering, “And I realize I may have to change to get it.”

Without enthusiasm. we eventually regress to complaining. And absent repentance, we always become “makers of great excuse.”

I was so pleased to encounter one friend after another in this gathered array of Michiganders, who expressed enthusiasm, and with tears in their eyes, realized the necessity of repentance.

Throughout my journey I have discovered that politics does not work because it’s so afraid of failure that it lies.

Education is limited because without the spunk of perseverance, it may not survive.

And religion is nearly comical because it pursues salvation without revering personal responsibility.

But the magic of enthusiasm followed by the anointing of repentance turns the human race into a livable sort, making folks able to co-exist with one another without gossip and murder.

I think this begins with how we answer the question, “How are you?”

We can decide to hide our feelings and say “fine” with varying degrees of apathy, or we can launch into a series of woes about our present condition, hoping for sympathy.

But I have found the perfect answer to “how are you?Here it is: “At first, a little overwhelmed, but by nightfall, kind of surprised at how well things turned out.”

I shall always remember the folks in Marlette with Pastor Dave and his evolving outreach. They brought to the sanctuary enough enthusiasm to welcome repentance.

That’s the good news.

The better news?

It turns out that enthusiasm and repentance are much easier to work with than defeat and stubbornness.

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Three Ways to Make a Difference … September 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2342)

Three-Little-Pigs_-Pinnochio-Little-Red-Riding-Hood-Wolf1

Making a difference often requires that you differ from the contemporary rhetoric that passes itself off as conventional wisdom.

This takes cleverness, humor and spunk.

It takes one eye on history, another eye on yourself and if you have a third one, an eye for cracks in the door, to shine in some light.

Can I offer three concepts that might aid you in your task of making that difference?

1. Avoid big ideas.

If the mantra of our generation is “think big,” have the insight to know the error of that way.

For after all, the world is not becoming a better place because large ideas are being chased down. Truthfully, avoid anything that touts itself as “big” and instead, pursue small adventures with lovely borders, time limits and the immediate satisfaction that comes with achievement.

2. Welcome mistakes–they are your best friend.

Mistakes help you avoid two nasty deterrents to accomplishment: (a) being locked into a dead-end project, and (b) making excuses for why you’re still pursuing it.

Mistakes happen because there is a flaw in the original floor plan. Make quick changes, laugh about it and never hide your errors. Then when you have righted the course, you will receive double praise: honor for being cool-headed in the midst of difficulty, and also great regard from others for making an evolution toward excellence.

3. Know when things are done.

Don’t beat a dead horse. It’s cruel, if not stupid. Sometimes things have a season and then they’re over.

It’s important to acknowledge when the work that you have pursued has come to completion. Put out a press release, stick a fork in it and move on.

You can make a difference, but it will require that you have the gumption and passion … to differ.

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Perfectly Imperfect … November 30, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2081)

AnisaShe was born on October 1st, 1987.

She has graciously selected to refer to me as her “godfather,” minus the Marlon Brando impersonation, mob hits and Academy Awards.

She was an only child, but surrounded by a gang of boys who teased her, bordering on the verge of torment, which some people in our modern day would consider to be bullying, but ended up working out sufficiently (as far as we know).

For after all, we live in an imperfect world, which is perfectly designed for our penchant for imperfection.

Today she is getting married.

She has asked me to officiate at the ceremony. Honored, I am preparing to do my best.

She is romantically joining together with another human being at a time when such relationships are considered to be expendable, if not ridiculous. She is attempting to launch the ship of their future in a harbor infested with the pirates of indecision, infidelity and inadequacy.

I don’t wish to offer her any advice–mainly due to its imperfection–but I would counsel her to pay heed to herself and be true.

  1. Have a heart that’s pure. You should never go to sleep with feelings because they always wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
  2. Have a soul that’s satisfied–not in yourself, but in the awareness that God has simplified His position, authority and personage into the next human being you run across. Yes, people are God, and every time you forget it, you become an atheist.
  3. Renew your mind. Purposefully find one opinion each and every day that has proven to be wrong and set out to change it by challenging its location within your skull.
  4. And maintain a healthy body–at least as long as you can. Death is chasing us from the time we’re born. True joy is the combination of ignoring it and punching it in the nose.

They named her Anisa, this god-daughter of mine. She was given this name because it was one of the characters in one of my novels. In this book, the girl named Anisa is a princess, filled with spunk, beauty and intelligence.

How apropos.

Happy wedding day, my dear. Keep an eye on your heart, soul, mind and body, and rejoice that the world created for you … is perfectly imperfect.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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