G-Poppers … September 22nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3437)

She wanted to make sure G-Pop knew the story.

Even though she had messed up her life to the extent that most of her friends had abandoned her, leaving her to her own explanations and tales of woe, she still needed confirmation from G-Pop that he found some good in her bad.

Always looking for a way to find some good in our bad.

It’s why we come up with a story, a rendition, a plot line, and worst of all, an explanation.

When she started to offer excuses about what happened, G-Pop stopped her. She was a bit surprised and thought he was being judgmental. She immediately became defensive and challenged his Christianity and his charity. He explained that he had no judgment for her whatsoever–just some sage advice:

A story is useless.

When ignorance, stupidity or carelessness invade our lives with some form of mishap, what we need to give is a report. Not a story. A simple report.

It’s not that different from what we did in high school, when we stood in front of the class to cite our discoveries upon reading a book. We weren’t allowed to elaborate on the tale, or make up things the author might have chosen to do. Rather, we were told to showcase the actual events and offer some feelings on what they meant to us.

Here is a powerful thought–our story will not take away our responsibility, even if we enhance it into a Hollywood production with props and special effects. What garners the attention of our fellow-humans is when we have the audacity and tenacity to give a factual report. Here’s how it should go:

  1. This is what I did.
  2. This is why it was wrong.
  3. This is what I could have done.
  4. This is what I would like to do to make things better.
  5. What do you think? I value your opinion.

This five-step process places us within the ranks of human beings trying to move forward through change, instead of merely sporting a nasty attitude.

Give a report.

It’s a little piece of wisdom G-Pop offers to his children on this Friday.

 

 

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 9th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3394)

Come To My Door

I am so much more than you see

Yet far from where I want to be

There is a magnificent story

Laced with pain and glory

Waiting to be told

Chiseled from the cold

Warming the hearts of the frigid

Loosening the bonds of the rigid

I declare the angel of simplicity

I am bound to the tenement

A victim of the sentiment

Advanced as a theory

Muddled, confused and weary

I know where I am going

Careful with what I’m sowing

But trapped by time and chance

Barely given a flitting glance

By a horde perniciously bored

I am not discouraged by the lack

Yearning for the faith, standing at the back

I press toward a mark

A pinlight in the dark

Yes, there is no failing when all are blind

Does every seek garner a find?

Preparing my ask to make it kind

Come to my door and give a knock

Roll with me as I learn to rock.

 

 

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 2nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3387)

And The Word Became Music

And the word became music

And dwelt among us

We beheld the glory of the story

Harmony came our way

We received it not

But as many as received melody, God gave the power to sing

And the song went forth

We heard the joy of heaven

And the tears of hell

We lifted our voice

With expressive choice

The hum of our hope

The accord of the chord

The rhythm of joy

We may never agree

On all that we see

But the ballad of life

Cuts through all the strife

And for a glorious measure

We blend a musical treasure

For the Word became music

And when it did

We had a shot

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 4) Needful … May 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2942)

Reverend Meningsbee

The fourth Sunday at the Garsonville Church was marked by the return of Deacon Smitters, who entered the building with very little ceremony, but much pomp over renewing his efforts as Chief Usher.

He immediately became distressed because there was no bulletin to hand out–just a chalk board in the narthex with these words scrawled upon it:

Welcome to Church

1. Our thought will come from Luke the 18th Chapter, Verse 31 through Luke the 19th Chapter, Verse 1

2. Take a moment to think about what you need

In an environment which was experiencing tremendous upheaval, the absence of a reassuring piece of paper to guide the congregants through the minefield of spirituality seemed cruel and unusual.

But everyone made their way into the sanctuary and sat in the first five pews, with Deacon Smitters making sure he was as far back on row five as humanly possible.

Promptly at service time, Reverend Meningsbee walked in and addressed the congregation.

“If we do not know why we gather in this building, we will very soon ask ourselves, why are we gathering? Makes sense, don’t you think?

You don’t have to look very long into the ministry of Jesus to realize that he never preached. He taught his disciples, but when he was in front of the masses, he only offered two possibilities: he was always ready with a healing touch or a great story.

More often than not, it began with a healing.

Even though I look out today and we have a few less than we did last week, what we should be focusing on is what the few of us here really need in our lives.

I just don’t think you need a retelling of the story of Jonah and the whale.

So let’s look at what happened over in Luke the 18th Chapter, verse 35, through Luke 19:1.

Jesus was on his way to Jericho when he was interrupted. He was stalled by a blind man who refused to shut up and observe how the service was supposed to progress. The man kept screaming for mercy.

Jesus asked him what he wanted and he flat-out demanded healing.

So Jesus did.

Then, from the excitement of that encounter, Jesus took his entourage, including the blind man, through Jericho, where he caught the attention of a non-spiritual, cheating, lying tax collector named Zacchaeus.

Do you folks really think Zacchaeus would ever have listened to Jesus if he had not heard the excitement of the crowd, celebrating the healing of the blind man?

Of course not.

It is why the people of Garsonville would much rather stay in their homes, eat waffles and watch television than come here. They don’t feel any excitement coming out of the building when we dismiss.

So from now on, in this church, we will begin our services by listening, praying and believing for those who have a specific need. So it’s the blessing of people that will set the direction for our service.

You can see, there are two chairs up here. Does anybody want to come up and begin the service by sitting down for prayer, to have their needs met, like the blind man, instead of waiting for comfort?”

Reverend Meningsbee took a long moment, pausing to allow someone to make the brave step.

Nobody did.

At length he spoke.

“That’s fine. It’s new to all of us. But understand that every Sunday we will begin this way and flip the service by having our singing at the end, as praise, before our departure.”

Suddenly a hand was raised in the congregation, and a woman, Betty Landers, sheepishly stood to her feet and said, “I don’t really have a need, but I’d like to report on what happened when I left the church last Sunday and went out to be reconciled with my cousin, who I have not spoken to in eight years.”

The pastor nodded, smiling.

Betty continued. “She only lives two miles from me, but we had a fight, and we have succeeded in avoiding each other through all family gatherings and piano recitals for the children.”

The congregation chuckled.

“Well, I went to see her, just like you said, and she wouldn’t let me into the house. It was weird. I just stood at the door and spoke, hoping she was there. I apologized. I told her how crazy it was for the two of us to be angry at each other. I even told her why I had come, based on what my minister had challenged us to do.”

Suddenly, in the midst of Betty’s story, a woman appeared in the rear of the sanctuary, and interrupted.

“I apologize for disturbing your service. I feel real silly. But what Betty is saying is true. My name is Clarice. Betty really did come to my door and talk to it like a crazy woman.”

A big roar of laughter.

Clarice continued. “I’ve spent the week with my heart pricked by her actions. I woke up this morning feeling the need to come here, find her and tell her that I am equally sorry for our silly argument.”

Betty scooted past a couple of people, ran to the back of the auditorium and embraced her cousin, as they wept.

The congregation sat very still, afraid to move. After a few moments of tears, the two women turned awkwardly to the pastor and said, “Now what do we do?”

Reverend Meningsbee said, “Go out and have lunch together. We’re done here.”

The two women left, hugging each other, and Reverend Meningsbee led the congregation in an a cappella version of “We Are One in the Spirit.”

The service was over.

The attendance was dropping.

But the spirits were soaring.

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G-Poppers … December 25th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2793)

Jon close up

G-Pop smiles, with a deep sense of satisfaction and a warm sensation of knowing.

The story would have to be told.

Had Levi Matthew and Dr. Luke failed to pass along the tale, some intelligent soul with an ability to craft words would have needfully granted our race a sharing of such an unfolding, so as to keep us from falling off the cliff of our own sanity, to splatter on the rocks of our despair.

After all, we need a Virgin Birth.

There must be a confirmation that women have struck out on their own, using the power of their own contents to birth a saving force for the world, free of manly intervention or boasting.

The same story certainly must contain wise folks from the East, who are heretics and enemies of acceptable religious inclinations. They appear–awed and in wonder over the miracle that was seen through their eyes and their perspective.

The plot thickens with the introduction of drunken shepherds who insist they’ve been visited by angels. They bring a working man’s energy to a project which might be in danger of becoming too “frilly.”

Add on the fact that as always, there is no room for a good idea in the local establishment, but instead, it must be relegated to the confines of a sheepish environment.

And of course, we need some sort of leader, ruler or in this case, king, who is so prejudiced and afraid of immigration bringing in riff-raff to take his job that he decides to close the borders and punish the children.

So we end up with refugees who have no place to go, no visa, no invitation, and land in Egypt, where they are nobody, possibly suspected of being terrorists.

The story would have to be told.

Whether it’s true or not can be debated by those who certainly have too much time on their hands, or the details can be gnawed on as food for thought.

But if a woman didn’t birth a child on her own, without the approval of a man, and if that child was not accepted by weirdos and drunkards while being rejected by kings and princes, and chased on down the road to feel like a refugee … what in the hell good would it be to us?

 

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Ask Jonathots …December 3rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2771)

ask jonathots bigger

I’m a high school creative writing teacher. At the start of every year I identify a few really talented students, and more often than not, they end the year under-achieving–or even tanking–while students with average abilities work hard and rise to the top. I’m beginning to question my definition of talent. What’s yours? And how can I inspire these so-called stars to reach their potential?

Talent is a capacity for success.

Nothing more, nothing less.

We make two major mistakes when we discuss talent.

  1. It is God-given or we’re born with it.
  2. Talent, by itself, contains an engine to propel it forward.

Neither is true.

The major talent that all human beings are given is life.

The deterrent to talent is always perspective.

For example, if your mom and dad gave you life and also refrained from teaching you that life sucks, you have a chance to take that life, discover ability and then turn it into prosperity.

I do not want to evaluate your choices as a teacher. You certainly have a fine education and your own way of doing things.

Yet writers are not hatched nor are they coddled into production.

A writer is someone who has a story and is always looking for better and more concise ways to tell it.

Simply because someone has sentence structure or a comprehension of syntax does not make him or her a writer. As with every occupation or calling, the impetus comes from passion, not from the accumulation of knowledge.

If I found myself in your position, I suppose I would pick out the assignments that stimulate that inner anxiety to express, and then let those missions isolate the writers from those who merely have a grasp of grammar.

Yes, it is the work that defines the talent, not the talent that dictates the work.

Just as there are many athletes in the world but very few who actually can be counted on for performances on demand, the same is true with everything–including writing.

I don’t write unless I have something to share that burns so deeply inside me that I have no choice but to try to translate it into words.

I guess my definition of a good teacher is someone who allows people to find their own talent … without suggesting where it might be hiding.

 

 

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Jesonian: Pillow and Little Ships … October 25th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2733)

Three faces

The Bible is not meant to be a story, but rather, a script.

When we approach the Good Book as a story, we end up isolating off a few verses without considering what comes before or after.

When you look at it as a script, you can study what motivates the scene of our story, and also what the outcome ends up being.

In Mark the 4th Chapter, Jesus spends all day teaching on three distinct subjects. It’s important to know this in understanding the story that follows. It helps us to comprehend the mindset of our protagonist, Jesus, as he encountered the elements of the unfolding of our script.

Here are the three points Jesus made to his disciples all day long:

  1. “If you don’t sow seeds, nothing happens.”
  2. “Since you’re going to be sowing seeds, learn the process by which things grow.”
  3. “Understand that what you’ve been given is a responsibility to prepare you to use it well, to be given more.”

So when nightfall comes, Jesus is tired and heads for the boat to go to the other side. The disciples follow him and other folks also decide to make the journey, but their ships are not quite as big. Matter of fact, they are referred to as “little ships.”

Jesus doesn’t stop them. Instead, Jesus grabs a pillow and heads for the stern to take a nap.

Although I think it’s important to consider “what would Jesus do?” in our everyday lives, it is much more effective to notice what Jesus is already doing.

Any astute disciple should have registered that Jesus had taught all day about taking responsibility for your life and that he was heading into the ship to take a nap, while lodging no objection about other tinier vessels traveling alongside.

Did Jesus know there was going to be a storm? Possibly so, since the sky usually foretells of such things.

What was Jesus communicating to his disciples? It’s clear to me.

Sometimes God would like to take a nap.

And since we’ve been well-trained, well-taught, and by the way, several of us are fishermen, we should be able to handle a storm.

We should also notice that Jesus is sleeping without any fear for the smaller ships which would be in much more danger from the upheaval.

I believe Jesonian faith is doing what we can, knowing that God is responsible for the rest.

But the storm rages and the disciples do what ungrateful souls always do. They wake Jesus up and accuse him of not caring. “Don’t you care that we’re perishing?”

Please understand this–if the big ship is in trouble, the little ships must be in jeopardy also, but the disciples don’t have much concern about them.

Jesus is pissed off. Even though he calms the waves, he rebukes the disciples for having no faith.

Where did their faith fail?

  • They didn’t take responsibility for what they had just heard and learned.
  • They didn’t notice that Jesus was communicating complete confidence by taking a nap on a pillow.
  • They didn’t understand that Jesus would not let the other littler ships suffer.

They thought they were being faithful by being overly dependent. And Jesus told them it was actually the opposite.

They had little faith.

What do I learn from this?

After Jesus teaches me and trains me to be a born-again human being, he just might grab a pillow and expect me to guide us through a storm … and take care of the little ships.

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Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

 

“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

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"Buy

 

 

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