Jesonian … September 30th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3445)

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It had been a day of storytelling.

Launching out into a boat so that the audience on the seashore could hear more clearly, the young teacher, formerly from Nazareth, had shared great yarns about faith–three in particular.

Taking an ethereal subject, he translated it into the human and earthly. It was what he did best. He had no intention of having followers with heaven on their minds–not when there was still so much to do here on earth.

The first story was about a sower. The lesson was really simple. The seeds of hope, love, contentment, joy and even confrontation have to be sown–whether the inhabitants of Earth received them or not. You just never know what patch of soil might sprout promise.

Another story was about how to showcase faith. It really is not a private matter–it is something that needs to be shown forth, demonstrated, put on a candlestick so the light can fill the room.

And then there was that closing story that finished out the day. An inspiring one. “Faith is like a mustard seed…” In other words, it may be small, but its original girth does not foretell what it will eventually be. Don’t despise small beginnings.

At the end of the day this young teacher, Jesus, decided he wanted to go on a late-night sail across the sea to the other shore. It was a family aatmosphere, and so other folks who had been moved by the message decided to join him on the journey. Jesus had a big boat but those who followed him were in little ships. Exhausted, Jesus grabbed a pillow and headed to the back of the boat to get a snooze on the way across.

Then the atmosphere changed. (It nearly always does.) Into a quiet, peaceful night, a storm arose–a big one. The waves began to splash into the boat.The disciples were frightened. All the stories of faith dissipated in the presence of this threat. They screamed at Jesus, asking him why he didn’t do something. Why didn’t he care that they were dying?

Every teacher in the world will understand his feelings at that point. What is the purpose of sharing a lesson if no one applies it?

But Jesus had other concerns. This was no time to put the disciples to the test to see if they could survive their anxieties. Because, you see, there were other little ships. And if the big boat was in trouble then the little ships were in desperate straits.

So Jesus calmed the storm–not because he wanted to appease twelve frightened men in a big boat, but because he was concerned about the little ships.

Jesus was always sensitive to the little ships. Matter of fact, he made it clear that if we don’t take care of the “least,” we’re really not in fellowship with him at all.

We’ve lost our hearts for the little ships.

Storms come to our country and ravage the land and we scream to the government to help us rebuild our houses. Meanwhile, the least of these–the little ships–aren’t even getting water and food to survive.

I spent three days this year locked up in a hot house, sweating, my brain fried because I had none of the conveniences of which I was accustomed. I was fit to be tied.

In Puerto Rico, it’s been many,many days without food, water, cooling and relief.

Can we care about what’s happening to the little ships, or are we only concerned for our own losses and perishing?

That night, terrified disciples were saved because Jesus took care of the little ships.

I suggest that if we find the little ships in our lives, in the process of doing so, all the boats will be brought safely to the shore.

 

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Jesonian… May 13th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3305)

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 Their minds and hearts drift back so readily to Galilee–to friends, family, loved ones and labors of love.

For the traveling is exhausting and drains the passion of purpose. Going from town to town, the folks they encounter are able to treat them as strangers, leaping to establish tribal superiority and regional domination. So there’s always a little bit of loneliness creeping into the corners of swelling doubt.

It threatens to extinguish the desire to speak peace to the perishing.

Each night they gather by the fire at the end of the day. Yes, devoted. But devoid of energetic will, not wanting to be too close to me.

After all, I am the teacher.

I am the messenger.

I am the reason, beckoning them from their safe memories of normalcy.

So in deference to their need for privacy, I excuse myself from the common fellowship. They require an opportunity to reminisce together, question their calling without condemnation, and whisper wishes across the embers.

I have a place I go.

After all, I have my own memories of childhood.

I, too, have a family that misunderstands my meaning. In that private space, I speak to God. He’s a good listener. Honestly, He doesn’t often contribute or elaborate, but in His own way, He helps me to clear my thoughts.

By the time I return, my brethren are asleep. I try to do so myself. Morning will soon be here.

Another day of wandering.

Another chance to fail.

And oh, yes–another opportunity to see the world born again.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … April 12th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3275)

A Goddam Hill

I’ll bring the nails

You get the wood

The plan never fails

Who thinks it should?

He plays the hurt one

Toying with fire

Claimed he was God’s son

What a fuckin’ liar

I’ll find the place

You smack his face

Plenty of blood to drink

Never the time to think

Man lives by bread alone

We are merely flesh and bone

Shut the hell up about your heaven

First there’s four, five, six and seven

Give me that spear

I’ll stab the queer

Your putrid love

Is cursed by fear

Die today

For all the sin

Then on Sunday

Pronounce your win

Bring the whip

I’ll do the beating

Losing my grip

Passion is fleeting

Why won’t he leave me

In my misery?

Die, you feckless teacher

Alone, sucking for air

Be silent, ragged preacher

The world does not care

We are filth, a moral flirt

Squeezed together from the dirt

We are nothing but skin and trash

Shut your mouth, take the lash

We just won’t, can’t you see?

We just can’t, leave us be

Yet the stranger of Galilee

Continues to smile at me

Though wracked with pain

He will never refrain

So we murdered a King

On a goddam hill

Let his praises ring

For he trusts us still.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … December 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Next in Line

Little fella on the stage

Didn’t memorize, read the page

Frightened, nervous of the crowd

Teacher says to speak real loud

There’s a giggle from behind

Someone’s laughing, so unkind

Lost in space, in this place

Grandma praying to save face

Something Christmas, maybe love

Or a description of a dove?

He looks for words, mouth all dry

Honest to God, he wants to cry

Time is frozen, they all await

What will be his tongue-tied fate?

“Great job, kid!” or “At least you tried”

Either way, someone has lied

He glances at his teacher for assistance

She mouths some words, at a distance

He prays to God to kill him dead

Shoot an arrow right through his head

Then all at once he’s nearly done

He recalls the rest–so much fun

Finishing up his little speech

A little bow, quite the reach

Mama and Papa begin the applause

Pretty damn great, with all its flaws

It’s Christmas pageant time of year

Where young’uns are forced to live in fear

Mom and Dad want to Facebook and tell

But when you’re eight, it’s more like hell

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 21) Tied … September 18th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3068)

Reverend Meningsbee

Really weird dreams.

Ever since Sunday, Meningsbee had been plagued by bizarre nighttime visions, each one nearly sensible and then suddenly making a left turn into Wackyville.

In one of these nightmares, he saw young Hapsy, trapped in a glass ball, rolling down the hill toward six-foot-tall bugs with hammers in their claws.

In another one, he dreamed that Patrick Swanson was water skiing on the Sea of Galilee, throwing fish at nearby peasants.

He also had one with Sammy Collins passing out candy bars shaped like Jesus for what he assumed was communion.

But the strangest one of all was seeing himself crawling on the dirty floors of the big city mall searching for pennies, which he then gingerly picked up and ran over and dropped into the tin cup of a blind man who greatly resembled Stevie Wonder.

Meningsbee recognized the problem. It had happened to him many times. Surrounded by people in need, he began to absorb their pain, feeling it was christ-like to express compassion. He was not only losing sleep, but also the hope and optimism necessary to share the power of faith with the living souls around him.

Opening up the Good Book, he happened upon the story of Jesus casting the demons out of a man who claimed the name “Legion.” On this particular reading, his focus was riveted on the closing exchange between Jesus and the man. The one who was once named Legion begged Jesus for permission to come along on the journey.

Meningsbee understood. You couldn’t blame him. The most exciting thing that had ever happened to this exorcised soul had come, and was now about to be gone. All he had left around him were people who thought of him as a crazy man, who certainly would not be quick to forget his gruntings, growlings and groanings.

The logical thing was to go with Jesus. Sit by the fire. Remember the miracle and attempt to resume his life in the midst of his benefactor.

But Jesus said no.

That’s right–Jesus turned him down. Jesus told him to go back to his own people and friends and tell them what good things God had done for him.

A noble answer for a noble cause. But there was something Jesus didn’t share–if you’re going to help people and continue to be a touchstone of gentle comfort to the world around you, learn how to be tied in without being tied up.

Truth was, Meningsbee knew he could spend his whole life just working with Hapsy, Matrisse and Kitty. He could cordon off the next six months to try to make peace with Sammy Collins and Patrick Swanson.

Yes, he could pick up pennies and try to enrich the prospects of the blind beggars around him, or he could take a tip from Jesus and be tied in but not tied up–allow himself to be human with the people but not swallow all their fears.

There is a point when a teacher needs to assume that the lesson has been taught, and open the door to new students.

Otherwise, he is no longer a teacher.

He is merely a caretaker for a handful of misfits he refuses to let graduate.

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G-Poppers … May 20th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2940)

Jon close up

G-Pop has certainly made a religion out of avoiding being religious or political.

It’s not that he lacks faith or devotion to America–just that he is leery of any club that insists on making all the rules.

So when G-Pop was waiting for his son to join him for dinner at a restaurant, as he sipped some water and tried to avoid the breadsticks they had brought to the table, he listened in to a nearby conversation among two men and a woman.

Remarkably, the trio was split among the three remaining candidates who have a chance to be the President of the United States.

  • The woman was for Donald.
  • The younger man was for Bernie.
  • And the older man was for Hillary.

G-Pop chose to quietly monitor their conversation because it was so fascinating.

The woman who was for Donald was attracted to him because he is an Alpha male, angry over all the unfairness of government and the lack of protection seemingly being offered the American people.

The younger man was also incensed by the greed of Wall Street, the unfairness of wages and income distribution, as the older man tried to make the case that Hillary was the safe choice and at least has some background in the internal workings of the executive branch of the government.

G-Pop was keeping score in his mind.

Let’s see now: Two “angrys” and a safe choice.

He tried to remember the last President of the United States who came into office angry or as the safe choice, who ended up doing much to benefit the common good.

So G-Pop took a moment to examine the basic premises of each candidate.

Donald: America is too nice, we need to get tougher and also stop trying to please the whole world. Matter of fact, he lives this out personally by sharing that he doesn’t particularly favor apologizing.

Bernie: On the other hand, he is angry because Wall Street billionaires are hoarding all the profit, leaving the working class nearly destitute.

Hillary: She thinks her greatest appeal lies in trying to get the American people to go back to the 1990’s, when her husband was President, to restore that age of alleged optimism, balanced budgets and job security.

Always remember, every temporary solution looks better than a permanent one. That’s what makes it temporary.

Donald doesn’t want to apologize, yet we have a fellow who’s been around for two thousand years who tells us that as we forgive others, we will be forgiven.

Bernie wants to equalize the finance in the world, when that great thinker from two thousand years ago told us that those who have will get more and those who haven’t may very well lose what they have. That’s why we should be sensitive to the least of our brethren. It never equalizes.

And as far as Hillary’s contention regarding going back to the 1990’s, the same teacher instructed us that you can’t put new wine into old wineskins. 2016 is not 1995. Matter of fact, there’s little similarity anywhere in the mix.

So as G-Pop waited for his son to arrive, he thought to himself, two angry people and a safe choice will not prepare our nation for the problems we will be facing, which will demand strength mingled with diplomacy, force tenderized by forgiveness and devotion tempered by an evolution toward needful change.

Obviously, the three people at the table nearby were unable to come to any conclusions.

But G-Pop wants his children to know that unless one of these three candidates steps out of his or her present format and starts forgiving, being more realistic about wealth distribution and admits that we can’t live off a Presidency that is twenty years gone, we will have more problems than just a close election.

We will end up with leftovers in a world that demands main courses.

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Confessing … October 3rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2711)

XXII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

One of the dangers of doing noble deeds is the human tendency to desire to be treated with some nobility for doing so.

Of course, it doesn’t work that way.

During my years of living in Tennessee, I was party to beginning an orchestra in our hometown. It went well. Matter of fact, doors were opened so that we could offer an entertaining and enlightening musical program to the local elementary schools using a small ensemble from the larger body.

This project was so successful that we were invited to present these programs at ten elementary schools in the Roanoke, Virginia, school district.

We were thrilled.

The first day we did four schools and everything went well. At the end of the second day, we were finishing up our program when a teacher in the back of the auditorium began to gather up her children like little chickadees in preparation to take them out to the bus for departure.

We were at the height of the most important part of our communication with the students, and in my pridefulness, I became incensed at her insensitivity. So as soon as we finished our last note and took our bows, I immediately stomped over to the young woman and confronted her over what I considered to be an egregious error on her part–ignoring our work merely to prepare her children.

I was not foul or mean, but very confrontational–and I did it in front of the students.

She was shocked, offended, and immediately went to her principal to “tell on me.”

So by the end of the day, the principal of the school had contacted our sponsor and informed him of my breach,. Meanwhile, I was being reinforced by my own team, who told me I was being “honest and brave, sticking up for myself,” in dealing with this lady.

So long story short, the sponsor of our event was so thrilled with what was going on that he forgave my indiscretion and we continued the school concerts without any further furor.

Matter of fact, to this day those closest to me would consider me to be justified. That young teacher probably marks it as the day she was accosted by an asshole.

What is the truth?

The truth of the matter is, true beauty does not need praise.

Excellence can continue to thrive minus applause.

And the message will get through without us over-promoting it.

I was wrong.

I was wrong to accost a young woman, no matter what her motivations were. My job is to work on my own motivations.

I was wrong to do it in front of her students, and I was wrong to take a pass simply because I have enough talent that people are afraid to confront me.

Have I ever been so overwhelmingly egotistical and defensive again?

I suppose I have.

But I have taken the time to put a hole in that tank of ego and let it gradually drain out onto the ground–where it belongs.

 

confessing teacher

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