Catchy (Sitting 40) 101 Days… March 18th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Wedding bells.

Landy Loren, one of the original members of Matthew’s marketing team, fell in love with McKendree Davis, who was the drummer in Jubal Carlos’ band.  Most folks knew him as “Michelob” because of his fondness for beer. He wasn’t a “bowling alley drinker”–more a connoisseur of fine beers from all over the world. He always talked about how he drank his beer like wine-sipping, never chugging.

Landy and McKendree were married on the jet plane en route to a rally in Washington, D.C., where Cassidy Templeton was scheduled to speak in front of a crowd predicted to be 500,000.

After his national exposure, his phrase, “check if you’re dead,” became a slogan all across the country, selling two million t-shirts with the saying in just eight days. The nation had suddenly gone from being engorged in its own self-involvement to being given a new set of eyes–and those peepers were all on Cassidy.

Cassidy was astounding on all fronts. He was strikingly handsome, muscular, devoted to his family, but drenched in good old-fashioned humility. His speeches were blessedly short, his sense of humor was keen and his energy seemed boundless.

Three days earlier he had appeared on international television with Merklin Shineer–probably the most well-known atheist walking the planet. Even though Shineer was in his early seventies and considered intolerably grouchy, young people from all over the world were drawn to him because of his plain-speaking manner and his no-nonsense approach to what he deemed “the monster of religion.”

Even though Jubal Carlos warned Cassidy to avoid this “cattle show,” as he called it, Cassidy just smiled and said, “It never hurts to tell the truth.”

So when they got together for the debate, a coin was tossed, and Merklin was given first crack at the audience. He talked for a solid forty minutes about the indignities of life, the unfairness to the poor, the wretched treatment of women and children and the absence of any divinity to curtail the efforts of what seemed to be rampant evil. Merklin occasionally glanced back at Cassidy, who sat thoughtfully, listening.

At the end of his time, Merklin turned to Cassidy and posed a challenge: “If you can give me one reason why I should believe in a God who doesn’t give a damn about people, then I’ll walk out of here today accepting your Jesus and repenting of my sins.”

The audience hooted and howled their approval. Merklin strolled over to his chair, sat down and smugly crossed his legs. He motioned to Cassidy to take the platform. The crowd continued to hiss and sneer as Cassidy got to his feet.

He walked over and shook Merklin’s hand, and then took the microphone and said to the crowd, “That was amazing. What was truly astounding to me was that as I sat there listening to Merklin speak, I realized how much I agree with him. I became fully aware that I share pretty much all of his doubts. I, too, am pained by the power that evil seems to carry in our world. I am deeply saddened that women and children are the targets of that sinister plot. I often sit in a corner by myself and say, ‘Cassidy, how could there be a God?'”

He paused, looking at the people with tears in his eyes. “I do, you know.”

There was a stillness in the room. Even the babies knew it was no time to cry for their mothers.

After a long moment, Cassidy continued. “But I found, Merklin, that you left out one doubt that I have. I thought you would cover it since you’re such a beautiful and intelligent man. But you didn’t. So let me state the one doubt I have more than you.”

All at once Cassidy slipped to his knees and reached out his right hand to the audience. “I doubt,” he began. Then he stopped. “I doubt,” he started again, his voice cracking, “I doubt if I can love you all as much as I need to without God’s help.”

He bowed his head and let the microphone drop to the stage, sending an echo of reverb throughout the building. And then he just wept. He cried like a widow who had just lost her long-loved husband. This went on for a solid two minutes.

Then there was a sniff or two from the audience, some gasping, and then sobbing. In no time at all, most of the people in attendance joined Cassidy in what seemed to be a needful moment of mourning.

Merklin himself bowed his head, squeezed his nose between his thumb and finger, stood up and strolled off the stage.

America seemed to be coming to a long overdue introspection:

The Catholic Church had decided to try a “test parish,” assigning a female priest in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. They asked Sister Rolinda if she would become “Mother Rolinda” to the congregation and lead them.

After much controversy and many debates, the Mormon Church offered an apology for allowing years of indoctrination against the black man to be included in their books.

The Baptists came out against Confederate flags.

The United Methodist church became more energized, with a sense of hope and revival.

Everywhere there was the essence of awakening, without the religious trappings.

Yet as the jet made its way to Washington, D.C., and the marriage ceremony was completed, Matthew found himself enjoying the night life of Las Vegas and the benefits of Nevada’s legal prostitution. He never jumped on the plane to join the “caravan of the concerned” anymore. He wrote checks, he took care of the books and made sure that all legal questions were fielded by the proper attorneys.

Jo-Jay was busy tracking down Prophet Morgan’s murderer, so every attempt he made to contact her was met with her familiar answering machine: “Hi, this is Jo-Jay. Like the Blue Jay but I’m not a bird. Leave a message.”

Matthew was a man who knew he was ill but preferred the pain to the cure.

Meanwhile, the rally in Washington exceeded expectations. Nearly 700.000 people showed up, many sporting the black t-shirts with hot pink lettering which read, Check if you’re dead. Cassidy spoke only ten minutes in front of the crowd, which had traveled from all over the world for the moment.

Jubal Carlos, who had been taking less and less of a role of late, filled in with music and a fifteen-minutes retrospective on where they had come from and where they prayed to go.

After the meeting, the 700,000 people dispersed with hugs, smiles and tears, as Cassidy was whisked away to the White House to meet the President. He was to be honored with a special Public Servant Award. When he arrived, it was not just the President but his whole family, plus the Vice President and many members of Congress, who had gathered in the East Room to see “the Lazman.”

Cassidy, when asked to say a few words, stood to his feet and quipped, “You know, I used to work with power. But looking around this room–this is ridiculous.”

A great burst of laughter. So he continued. “And as I learned, power can energize you, or it can…well, it can kill you. I hope all of us in this room realize that. I pray for each and every one of you every day. I wouldn’t want your jobs. My job is easy. I take the life God has given me–now in my 101st day of resurrection–and try to just love as many people as I can. It may sound silly, or even weak, but it’s what I got.”

He nodded to the dignitaries, who burst into applause and stood up to give him honor.

Cassidy went to sit on a lovely divan and lay his head back for moment, resting. The President and First Lady walked over to meet him. He took their hands and thanked them for their courtesy in inviting him.

All at once, he raised his eyebrows as if he was looking deeply into their souls. He gave a small chuckle, took a deep breath, and quietly said, “I guess that’s it.”

He laid his head back against the divan, and the President and First Lady, thinking he must be exhausted from the rally, left him to rest. Everybody gave him space. Actually, people thought it was cute that he had fallen asleep at the White House during a tribute to his life and success. Some people even started to leave.

Then one of the butlers noticed that Cassidy had not moved for some time, and it appeared that he wasn’t breathing. The butler slowly stepped over, lifted a hand and felt for a pulse. He lurched back in alarm, speaking to the surrounding guests, “He’s dead.”

A doctor who was present for the occasion ran forward and discovered the same. He placed Cassidy on the ground, trying to revive him. An ambulance was called, but by the time it arrived, it was much too late.

Cassidy Templeton was dead. He had passed away in the White House, on the 101st day after his miracle resurrection.

The nation was stunned.

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Cracked 5 … September 22nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Things We Want to Ask the Pope to Do While He’s in America

 

A. Give us permission to sell “Pope is the Dope” t-shirts.

 

B. Offer better refreshments for Holy Communion.

 

C. Request he begin all his speeches with, “Let me be Frank.”

 

D. Update Mother Mary’s Facebook status to “Single and Available.”

 

E. Remove all calories from barbecue ribs and caramel crunch ice cream.

 

Cracked 5 Pope Francis 2

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A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

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Mason … August 13, 2012

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I went on a journey, or perhaps better stated, an odyssey. (Only a boorish, sanctimonious wordsmith would ponder the difference). Although my odometer only registered twenty-one miles, it seemed I had traveled much further. Was it backwards, forwards or sideways (whatever that means…)? No, it was more enduring–a persevering place of purpose.

They call it Mason. There I met a family which decided to work together for my good instead of using the sanctioned beauty of the union of people to sit on their island and throw coconuts across the pond at strangers. I was in a town among people who were living with their circumstances and abiding with their possibilities instead of acting over-perplexed or disheartened. There were children singing, adequately nervous over being in front of the community, as they offered their voices, ringing out in praise to something still beyond their comprehension. There was an audience of human beings looking for a reason to applaud instead of sitting on their hands, stubbornly refusing to respond to the beauty around them. There was excitement over money collected in small tin cans by tiny tots, to buy mosquito nets to prevent malaria in other young children a world away. The proceedings were gentle, possessing some purpose, but comically infused with a sweet clumsiness. Fire hats were used to tell stories of gospel truth, to try to pass on information to children who fidgeted at the notion of paying attention. Greetings of “peace” that possessed a warmth and tenderness instead of being over-complicated by duty and presumed religious significance.

And then, a kind introduction. A welcoming. Permission for the two of us to offer our sacrifice of praise and initiate the calling of our hearts. Good cheer. Five loaves and two fishes put to good purpose. Time–the relentless master. The Rose. Concluding with the holy concept of “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

And then the overwhelming joy of being face-to-face, celebrating stories of grandchildren, admissions of revelation, courtesy–and just enough rejection to confirm that the message given was divine and not prepared to please.

People lined up to buy t-shirts identifying them as comrades-in-arms. Laughter. Children running through a hall of fellowship without fear or correction, in wild abandon. Cookies offered as nutritional snacks without apology.

Stranger in a strange land … without feeling strange.

And then–packed away, preparing to exit, when the shepherd appeared, offering his card and promise that if I ever needed anything, I was invited to return and sample similar hospitality.

I drove away, wondering. If I circled the globe and returned to this same spot, would Mason still be there? Would it remain the little burg suspended in animation, living out its own dream instead of absorbing the poison around it? I decided that such an escapade, even if it was “around the world in eighty days,” was unnecessary.

As long as I was willing to take a portion of the people and the environment with me, it might be possible to plant the seeds of such an adventure and a delight everywhere I went.

Yes, perhaps that was the significance of my odyssey–to take seedlings of the spirit of Mason … and scatter them everywhere I go.

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