G-Poppers … August 10th, 2018

The young woman seemed quite certain that because she had an ancient ancestor who was a queen in Africa, that somehow that energy, authority and ability had been transfused into her through DNA.

She had no basis for this conviction–just, shall we say, a hope.

But the difficulty with such thinking is that if blessings can be passed along through genetic code, then so can cursings–and G-Pop does not believe we’re all prepared to go back to a time when we insisted that certain people, families and whole cultures were condemned and alienated by the heavens.

G-Pop has noticed that even some of his own children are being swayed by the commercials for ancestry identification, somehow thinking that finding someone who lived centuries ago, who is linked by family, might grant credibility to them in this present hour.

There are only two things that affect us, and two things alone–and it is not our DNA. For after all, people overcome and work with their genes all the time.

We are actually guided by two forces:

1. What have I learned?

2. What do I fear?

And often when one is able to track down one’s fears, a path can be traced to something which was learned and is found to be errant–and can therefore be discarded, allowing for a new enlightening idea.

When a study is made on what we have learned, we can often see when and where our fears crept in, and we can highlight those things that might trigger anxiety and timidity.

All of G-Pop’s children want to be independent–until something goes wrong. Then they want to explain why their fears kept them from success, as they attempt to conjure the spirits of the past that might energize them through their “double helix.”

It is foolish–a sign of a generation that has lost sight of the joy of taking responsibility for one’s own life.

G-Pop does care what his ancestors did. They’re not here.

G-Pop looks at the world they left, ridiculous notions they tolerated, and warns his soul to function off the impetus of his own talents and faith.

G-Pop offers this piece of advice:

God gave you a life.

It is yours.

Do something with it.

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Jesonian … July 28th, 2018

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Today I’m doing something a little different. I’m sitting here with the Good Book open, peering down at John the 7th Chapter.

I have no intention of trying to impress you with my Bible knowledge nor attempt to turn some passage into a magical expression of salvation.

What I want to share with you is a pattern.

I would like to find an adjective to describe this pattern. Foolish comes to mind. Perhaps dangerous. But certainly repetitive.

The pattern is the ongoing belief in every generation that you can evaluate something by the numbers–“the bottom line.”

Ironically, it was verbalized perfectly over two thousand years ago by the brothers and sisters of Jesus of Nazareth when they critiqued him on his approach to promoting the message he had chosen to share.

Their insights are frightening to read because they are so current to today’s ignorance. They spoke the following to Jesus:

“For there is no man that does anything in secret but instead, wants to be known.”

Have you ever heard that philosophy?

“Promote yourself.”

“Get it out there.”

“Showcase it.”

“Use your tools.”

“Adjust your intensity to the present flow of thinking.”

Amazingly, through the whole 7th Chapter of John, this repeats over and over again. For later on in that same passage, the audiences that come to Jesus muse whether he could be the Messiah, because they’re concerned about where he was born.

Added pressure.

Not only do you need to promote yourself well, but you need a certain look–maybe even a color. How about a culture to back you up?

We have the mistaken idea that Jesus always had great multitudes following him. There were times that people hung around for a while–after all, if you turn water into wine and can take a Happy Meal and make a buffet, you will gain some attention.

But the truth of the matter is, as soon as Jesus started teaching, the crowd thinned, and on one occasion totally disappeared.

For after all, what concerned the average Jew was whether God would send a military man to destroy the Romans and establish the Kingdom of Israel.

On the other hand, Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God, which was within us, and would enable us to get along with everyone, including the Romans.

Conflict.

Yet it is best capsulized in that same chapter in a meeting among the Jewish leaders.

When they sat discussing the phenomenon of Jesus of Nazareth, what finally made them decide he was a joke, a hoax or at least a light-weight was the fact that none of the hierarchy of their religion–those considered intelligent, educated and astute–believed in him.

The premise was, “If you really are somebody, all the “somebodies” will recognize and promote you.”

“If you really are talented, you will be discovered.”

“If you really are bringing a possibility of hope and salvation, eventually you’ll be offered a platform instead of a cross.”

It didn’t work out that way.

Nowadays, I often sit around with my children, explaining to them that success is meaningless. In my lifetime, notorious people, who appeared to be powerful and everlasting, bit the dust and became cautionary tales of stupidity.

You can’t look at the numbers.

If you had lived in 1st century Palestine and looked at the numbers, the popularity, the acceptance, the blending and the support of the people in the know, you would never have found Jesus.

If you want to find out what is going to last, be helpful, truthful and carry the touch of God, do one thing–simply watch and learn.

How resourcefully does he, she or they use the resources?

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Catchy (Sitting 45) Preyor … April 22nd, 2018

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Matthew was pissed off, even more than his normal level of perpetual pissed.

He loved Las Vegas, but more the seedy side than the commercial side. So every once in a while, one of the large casinos would bring in some new pop star who was breaking records on the charts, out-doing the last new pop star who had outdone her predecessor.

The latest one was named “Loozeal.” She was all of seventeen years old, with more attitude than talent, but the young humans loved her–especially the girls.

Las Vegas was infested with females who had women’s bodies and child’s minds. It was annoying on so many fronts that Matthew tried to avoid the strip, hanging out in his room, drinking and experimenting with delicacies yet untried from the well-traveled room service menu.

But on Saturday night, he had a meeting at one of the casinos, so he was forced to drive into the middle of the melee known as the “Loozeal Appeal.”

Kids were everywhere.

Matthew hated children. Even though most grownups were childish, at least they occasionally made the effort to think about something other than their cell phone and own desires. He planned his meeting to get into town and out of town before the crazed hordes of little girls headed for the concert.

There was the smell of youth in the air. He despised it–a blending of cheap perfume, bubble-gum and just a hint of halitosis. Yuk. Gone was the true sniff of Las Vegas–fishy-smelling buffets with that whiff of urine and whiskey in the aroma.

He decided to take a short-cut. It was twilight, and he turned down an alley which was familiar to him–a way he escaped the strip without encountering so many tourists. He pressed on the gas pedal to zoom to safety.

About halfway down the narrow thoroughfare, he saw a huge garbage dumpster, and just as he was upon it–about to pass it–a young girl stepped out from behind it. He smacked her with his car, throwing her into the air. She landed on the hood, cracking his windshield.

Every kind of horror he’d ever experienced in his life descended on his soul as he realized what he had done. She lay bleeding, her face pressed onto his windshield.

For a brief second he thought about trying to escape. After all, that’s what he did best. When things became too difficult or uncomfortable, Matthew always became an emotional Houdini, disappearing at will.

His thoughts were brief, but long enough that he was ashamed of himself as he grabbed his phone and dialed 911. It took about four minutes for help to arrive, but it seemed like an hour. The girl was motionless. He was afraid to reach across the windshield to take her pulse, assist in any way, or even to move her. So he just stared at her face, which was gashed and bloody.

The EMT’s arrived and carefully removed her from the hood as the police began to take his statement. Matthew was so incoherent that they decided to take a breathalyzer, and even though he had taken one drink at his meeting, he was still well beneath the intoxicated number.

Matthew answered questions for what seemed like a solid hour as the girl was hurried away to the local hospital. His car was impounded as evidence, and Matthew was checked over by the EMT’s, to make sure he was sound.

The police reassured him that it seemed to be an accident, but told him to stay close in case they required additional input.

It was surreal.

All of a sudden he was standing alone in the alley, staring down at a tiny puddle of blood which had not yet congealed.

He walked back up to the strip, hailed a taxi and asked the driver what hospital was nearest to them. He asked him to take him there.

Arriving at the emergency parking lot, Matthew got out, paid the man and then stepped inside. He knew nothing at all about the girl, so he questioned the lady at the emergency room desk. She recalled the young lady coming through, but refused to give Matthew any information since he was not related to the patient.

Glancing down at her computer, Matthew saw that the young woman had been taken to surgery on the fourth floor. He made his way there–to the surgical waiting room, and charmed the nurse at the desk. He said he had witnessed the accident, and wanted to make sure the girl was going to be fine and would she keep him updated on the details?

Matthew sat for hours. Every once in a while he dozed off, then shook himself back to attention, ashamed that sleep would try to relieve his guilt.

What in the hell was she doing in that alley?

What in the hell was he doing in that alley?

Why was he driving so fast?

He realized he would never be able to say he was driving fast again, lest he be charged with reckless endangerment.

He looked at his watch and saw that three hours had elapsed. Simultaneously, a doctor came out of the operating room and whispered to the nurse. She motioned to Matthew to come over. The doctor apparently assumed that Matthew was a member of the family, and spoke to him.

“How are you related to Carrissa?”

Matthew paused for just a moment, then said, “I’m her uncle.”

The surgeon nodded his head. “So are you Mr. Jones?”

Matthew wasn’t sure if the surgeon was testing him or tricking him, but quickly responded, “Yes. Matthew Jones.”

The surgeon awkwardly shook his hand and said, “Well, Mr. Jones, here’s the situation. Carrissa has numerous broken bones, but that is secondary to the fact that being tossed in the air and landing on the windshield has given her severe brain trauma. We’ve drilled a hole in her skull to relieve the pressure, but she’s presently in a coma. And before you ask, I don’t know how long she’ll be in that state, or if she’ll ever recover. But I can tell you that the next 48 hours will speak volumes. If you have any other questions, my name is Dr. Zendquist.”

Matthew nodded his head and patted the surgeon on the shoulder. “Thank you for all you’ve done,” he said, his voice choking with tears.

Matthew got the room number for Carrissa, and headed down the hall, arriving at the door of 313. The room was still. Encircled by a curtain was a hospital bed. Matthew looked right and left, then pulled back the curtain. Lying on the bed was a damaged young girl, who looked even smaller than she had appeared sprawled on his windshield. She was covered in gauze and bandages, tubes coming out of her arms, legs and nose, and a ventilator nearby was noisily inhaling and exhaling her life. It was so ugly.

Realizing he was still alone, with no one anywhere in earshot, Matthew did something he had not done since he was a boy.

He prayed.

Not a polite prayer. Not a memorized one from a book of religious order. No.

One from his heart.

“God. The God of Jubal, Soos, Jo-Jay and Jesus. This is just screwed. I need your help. This girl needs your help. Please do something.”

Matthew left the room, stopping off at the nurses station to establish his “uncle” routine, and discovered that Carrissa Jones was from Iowa, and that her parents had been contacted, but wouldn’t be there until the next day.

Out of the clear blue sky, Matthew asked if he could stay in the room with Carrissa until they arrived.

“All night?” asked the nurse.

“If you wouldn’t mind,” Matthew replied.

She provided a small cot, blankets and a pillow. Matthew settled himself in for a vigil, waiting to see what his prayer would summon.

He stayed awake for a long time, taking the opportunity to examine life. What had brought him to this silent room, watching over a very damaged little girl?

He realized he wasn’t technically at fault. At the scene the police had surmised that Carrissa had come to the trash dumpster behind the casino where her pop idol had performed, hoping to find cups, discarded posters or anything that she could take as a souvenir of her time in Vegas, seeing Loozeal. It was a bizarre series of events ending in a tragedy.

About four o’clock in the morning, Matthew, having dozed off, was awakened by the arrival of nurses and a doctor. He was sent out of the room as these agents of mercy tried to revive Carrissa, who had gone into heart failure.

After ten or fifteen minutes, they came out of the room, a couple of them in tears. The doctor took Matthew’s hands and said, “She’s gone.”

He patted Matthew on the shoulder and said, “I know this is hard to understand, but maybe it’s better this way.”

As they walked away, he stared at the lifeless body of a little girl who just wanted a souvenir.

Maybe it’s better this way?

He turned and ran down the hallway, startling the staff, jumped into the open elevator, down to the main lobby and out the door, not stopping for a second to speak to anyone. He ran into the street and hailed a cab.

He took the cab back to his lodging, raced to his room, slammed the door, turned out the lights and whispered across the dark room, “Fucking shit. My prayer killed her.”

He turned on the light next to his bed, grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels he kept nearby, and guzzled until he passed out.

The next morning, he awoke to a knock at his door. He thought he was dreaming, still under the influence of his old friend, Jack. The knocking persisted, so he struggled to his feet, stumbled to the door and opened it.

Standing before him was a well-dressed man in his early forties, his face exuding neither joy nor displeasure. He reached out to stabilize Matthew, who was wobbling.

“You must be Matthew Ransley,” he said matter-of-factly.

Matthew suddenly was engulfed by the memories of the previous day’s horror.

“I would give anything not to be,” he replied.

The gentleman helped Matthew walk back into the room and find a seat on the bed.

“My name is Carlin Canaby,” he said. “And you are in trouble.”

“What do you mean?” asked Matthew.

Carlin sat down on the bed next to him, put his arm around his shoulder and said, “You killed a girl with your car. And even though it wasn’t your fault, your life is so screwed up that it wouldn’t take an attorney much effort at all to prove that you’re responsible.”

“I am responsible,” said Matthew.

“Hush,” said Carlin. “Don’t be talking that way. You do your confessing to God. But you and I need to work on your story.”

Matthew leaned back and took another look at the stranger, disconcerted. “Who are you again?”

“I’m Carlin Canaby. I’m head of an organization called ‘Liary.’”

Liary?” questioned Matthew.

“Yes,” said Carlin. “Let’s take it one step at a time.”

“Are you an attorney?” inquired Matthew.

“Hell, no,” said Carlin. “I’m a consultant.”

Matthew struggled to his feet and walked to the other side of the room. “A consultant? I don’t think I need a consultant. I need an attorney.”

Carlin stood up and came over to Matthew’s side. “You will require an attorney, but you need to consult with someone before you ever go to one.”

“Do I know you?” asked Matthew.

“No,” answered Carlin. “I was sent here by a friend. And before you ask, I’ll tell you about the friend later. What I want to know is what you think about the accident.”

Matthew sank to his knees and said, “I killed a young girl. Twice. Once with my car, and the second time, with my prayer.”

 

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3 Things… March 15th, 2018

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That Let You Know You Are Heading in the Right Direction

1. You stop complaining

2. You use your talents effectively

3. You are constantly simplifying your life

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G-Poppers … February 9th, 2018

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Be smooth.

G-Pop says this is the opposite of being rough. For some reason rough, tough, overbearing, pushy and unyielding have been deemed virtues in this day and age.

But keep in mind, it is the nature of our species that once vanquished, to return for a rematch with vengeance. ven though everybody knows this–from the kindergarten student to the aging soul in hospice–we still believe that if we do not carry some “punch” with our ideas, nothing will ever get accomplished.

So basically, when there are problems–a hint of difficulty–people fall into three categories of idealism:

1. “It’ll be all right.”

In other words, either God, karma, their talent or just the sheer brute power of the undertaking will push through, take over, and control the day.

2. “We can work it out as we go.”

No, we can’t. What would make us think we’d be more prepared to handle difficulty while rushed, frantic and trapped than we are sitting around sipping tea and eating chicken wings?

3. “If it’s meant to be, it will work.”

Really? G-Pop can tell you right now that most of the beautiful things in this world struggled to gain air. They were rejected simply because someone had cornered the market on a way to subjugate others, and a smooth plan needed to be devised to sidestep the insanity.

So what is the definition of being smooth?

“I will do my planning in the front–because in the middle, what is required is my patience, which is the force that helps me achieve my goal.”

Even though our society speaks of peaceful coexistence, we simultaneously divide into camps and hurl rocks at one another.

Be smooth.

It’s G-Pop’s piece of advice for today.

Don’t leave your planning room until you’re really excited that your plan can be achieved without you losing sight of your purpose.

 

 

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G-Poppers … December 8th, 2017

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G-Pop is a bit alarmed that his children have become obsessed with reality:

Reality TV

Reality supposedly showcased in movies.

Reality in politics.

And reality even in relationships among human beings

These darkened perceptions, focusing on the more base and sinister aspects of humanity, have allowed for a quiet cynicism to emerge, coaxing us to resign ourselves to a bit of doom mingled with gloom.

It revolves around a false premise: what is, is.

Once we become thoroughly convinced that the present climate is the norm, we cease to pursue standards which historically have proven themselves essential to the human race.

There was certainly a point in antebellum American when slavery seemed to be entrenched in the culture, never able to be removed. Realism would perhaps have been to accept a North and South United States–one slave and one free.

For those living in Germany in the 1930’s, it absolutely appeared that Nazism was the trend of the future, since they were touting that the dynasty would be around for a thousand years. It would have been easy to say a quiet “Heil Hitler” because you’d given up on the notion of something better.

Yet reality is actually what sane people decide it’s going to be.

When the insane members of our society are promoting virulent and extreme lifestyles as “cutting-edge trends” of natural social evolution, we bog down in apathy and eventually are overtaken by our foolish appetites.

Quite bluntly, I think it’s fine if the Kardashians want to have a television show, as long as they don’t lead people to believe it’s reality.

If you want to watch a bunch of Netflix programs that paint the condition of your fellow humans with blacks, dark grays and navy blues, feel free–as long as you don’t insist it’s “trending.”

We presently are in danger of sacrificing three essential pieces of truth, which hold our species together. Under the “what is, is” philosophy, we now contend:

1. Lying is inevitable

2. Prejudice is a part of our make-up

3. And “mean” is the best way to protect ourselves from being overtaken.

Matter of fact, if you were to talk to anyone under the age of thirty in this country, they would say it is pure idealism to seek truth, overcome prejudice or make a lifestyle of kindness. Any character in a drama who chose such a path would be executed by the writer in the first act.

G-Pop wants his children to know that evil is temporary. It always has been. It blows through town, creates a storm, and when it’s unable to sustain growth, love and talent, it is exposed for the fallacious piece of shit it is.

Read a history book. You’ll find out this is true.

It’s time for G-Pop’s children to rise up and say, “What is, isn’t.

  • It isn’t alright to lie.
  • It isn’t natural to be prejudiced.
  • And it isn’t of any benefit whatsoever to be mean.

Reality is when we take what’s good–and find a way to make it popular.

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Good News and Better News… October 9th, 2017

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This weekend was the Fall Festival at the Emmaus Lutheran Church in Orange City, Florida. Also appearing, on the under card, were Cring & Clazzy.

Please understand, I am not lamenting having second billing. After all, the church does use the occasion to raise funds for a very worthy cause.

It’s just that in this season of mediocrity colliding with confusion, the church can no longer take an approach of “business as usual,” as it prepares for the Pumpkin Patch sale, while the huge hand basket arrives to take everybody to hell.

What are the needed adjustments?

What is the responsibility of the fellowship of the followers of Jesus in this season of turmoil and tribulation?

The first and foremost principle that we as Christians and churchgoers need to understand is the power we possess, instead of complaining over our inability to affect circumstances.

One of my sons contacted me this weekend in frustration and said, “Pop, what can we do?”

From his message I sensed that he had a real heart to make a difference, but all he sees are gray walls of discontentment closing in on him. Perhaps the answer is so simple that it escapes those who are trying to participate in complex study. Here’s the path:

Stop trying to do what you can’t do.

In the pursuit of equality, we believe that everybody, everywhere, has equal ability for everything. What could be more ridiculous?

About fifteen years ago, I was traveling with my family band. During a performance, I turned to the audience in speaking about my oldest son’s bass guitar playing, and shared that Jesus was impressed, because “my boy plays bass guitar better than Jesus.” It was a jocular toss-off, based upon Jesus himself saying that “greater things would we do because he goes to the Father.” But it offended the pastor, who insisted that if Jesus wanted to play bass guitar, he’d be the “best bass guitar player in the world.”

We have become defensive. Desiring to do everything, we’ve ended up doing nothing. Keep in mind that perseverance is a virtue–but “stubborn” is a vice.

God the Father has given Mother Nature to us to clarify what we are good at and what we aren’t. If you have tried to do something five or six times and failed on each occasion, number seven is not going to work either. Although you may find testimonials of people insisting it was on the 28th occasion of launching their idea when it finally worked, God is pretty merciful. He lets us know when something is growing and when something is dying.

So that’s my message to the people of Emmaus and also to the folks who faithfully read this blog.

Stop trying to do things you can’t do.

It opens the door for others to perform their talent and magic, while you watch. And then they can step back and allow you the platform for your gifts.

We will continue to flounder in a series of projects, proposals and even prayers–unless we begin to assess what we do that actually works, and what we continue to chase, hoping it will catch fire.

The good news is that each one of you has gifts that have market quality and human ministry.

The better news is, if you will stop trying to do what you can’t do, you’ll have so much more time for what you do well.

 

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