Things I Learned from R. B. (April 26th, 2020)


Jonathots Daily Blog

(4392)

Episode 12

Three phone calls.

This is the extent of the contact I had with R. B. over the next two years. On the first two occasions, he tracked me down through a young man who was assisting us with scheduling and knew where we were at all times.

The first call was a chatty conversation about his latest meet-up with Kristall—how it was bittersweet because she was moving to New York City. He was already making plans to follow her, believing they were entwined in a harmony of purposes.

The second dial-up was to inform me that he had lost his job in Dallas and was moving to Tacoma, Washington. He explained all the maladies of his Texas situation—how he had needed to move on and was grateful for the urging provided by the firing.

But the third phone call came from me.

I tracked him down in Tacoma—really just by using the old-fashioned telephone book. My reason was practical.

I had received notice through the mail that a woman in Missouri was interested in purchasing one hundred copies of my first book, “The Gospel According to Common Sense.” She explained how much she had enjoyed it, and wanted to pass it along to strangers, who might find it easier to understand than Brothers Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

I was so moved.

My soul was so hungry for some confirmation that what I was doing was worthwhile and who I was, meaningful.

Yet my book was out of print. I felt compelled to try to get it printed again and get those one hundred copies into this lady’s hands.

Maybe it was mission, or maybe vanity. I still don’t know.

I priced the printing and found out that all I needed was a hundred and twenty-five dollars. I had fifty.

I know it may sound ridiculous, but I had absolutely no way to lay my hands on that other seventy-five dollars except…

I called R. B. I told him I needed a loan. I explained it would be a brief period of time—because as soon as the woman sent me back the check for the books, I would be able to reimburse him.

My plea for the money was about two minutes long but the conversation lasted two hours.

R. B. stated, in a hundred different ways, how he was taught never to loan money. He asked me a half dozen times why I didn’t already have the money. He questioned whether my story was truthful. He made me grovel.

At the end of the two hours, having given me no official answer, he said he would think about it and call me next week.

As I hung up the phone, I realized he hadn’t asked for my telephone number—nor did it seem he wanted one.

I waited and I waited.

Finally, after two weeks, I contacted him again. He apologized and said he could give me the money at the end of the month—which was three weeks away. I reiterated that this was a time-sensitive affair, since the order was now four weeks old. He didn’t understand why a few more days would make a difference.

While I was waiting for R. B. to provide the final funds to order the books, a letter arrived from the lady canceling her request and scolding me for not having the integrity to respond in time.

It hurt so badly.

Not only did I fail to give my writings an opportunity to be used, but I was thrust into the role of the incompetent child.

I did place a brief fifth call. (I forgot about those last two.) It was to inform R. B. that he would no longer need to provide the funds.

He laughed and said, “Well, it’s probably for the best.”

It wasn’t—for the best, that is.

As I look back on my journey with this fellow, I have to be honest and admit that this incident might have colored many of my views and inhibited some of my compassion. I would hope not, but I am a bit suspicious of myself.

 

Things I Learned from R. B.


Jonathots Daily Blog

(4315)

Episode 2

There is definitely a reason that patrons of literature over the centuries have sincerely warned those who put pen to paper (or in our time, fingers to keys) that it is never wise to write something in the first person. Just too many I’s for the “eyes” which will read it.

Yes, it’s safer to let your tale be told by a he, a she, a they or even an it.

Then, if your character ends up being a scoundrel—even temporarily—you don’t have to personally wear the orange D on your chest—for Dumbass.

But when I talk to you about R. B., I must speak in the first person. These are lessons I had to learn which you perhaps already knew, or will decide to ignore.

I will simply have to own the good with the bad, the silly with the serious and the righteous with the sinister.

Let me begin by saying that I wrote a musical. Fifteen songs plus little interludes sprinkled among them which I referred to as “widgets.”

I was very proud.

Actually, most of the musical was written in less than three months—with a song or two trailing off to coincide with the calendar year.

I got my band together and we recorded the music on a reel-to-reel tape system, overdubbed through a cassette machine, until we had something that sounded like an entire cast performing the tunes.

I had no idea what I was going to do with this collection of lyrics, notes and melodies.

I played it for an old buddy of mine in Columbus, Ohio, who immediately fell in love with the whole idea surrounding the project—so much so that he decided to make it his pet purpose. Before I knew it, he went out and secured fifteen people to invest in this endeavor, giving us a whopping ten thousand dollars to do something with what we had.

I was young. I probably should have taken it slow. But honestly, those two words—“young and slow”—rarely appear together in Earth’s environment.

Therefore I went into a professional studio and hired musicians to record the soundtrack and decided to put together a cast of nine characters for a twenty-five-city tour of the United States of America. This would be a daunting task for someone who knew what he was doing, let alone for a sheep in the woods, unfamiliar with the ravenous wolves.

My first step was to hold auditions.

I thought people would flock to have an opportunity to travel for two months across the great American plain—to sing, dance and act in front of audiences in hometown theaters from Pennsylvania to Texas.

I was wrong.

About twenty-five people signed up for the audition, and they all came with three questions:

  1. What am I going to make?
  2. How much does it pay?
  3. What will be my remuneration?

On the night of the audition, they all came in having much less talent than ego. Also, they were more greedy than giving and critical than appreciative.

Chief among them was a fellow named R. B. He was a sweet enough guy, but his New England upbringing had led him to believe that he was one of the Sons of the American Revolution.

He had exacting demands:

He didn’t want to audition the way everyone else did. He wanted to set up his guitar amp and sing his own songs instead take a crack at mine.

Also, he was so nervous to audition in front of the rest of the contestants that he demanded a private room. He sang a hair off-key, breathless from nervous energy. Yet, he still had just enough of a voice to be considered.

I was young, too eager, and uncertain whether I would be able to fill all the positions from the handful of souls who came out for the trials.

I gave in too much to R. B.’s requests.

I just didn’t know if I would ever find other people to staff our show, so I was careful not to close a door to anyone. Through that experience, I learned that sometimes if you don’t close the door, all the flies come in.

Four days after the auditions, still having three spaces to fill, I hired R. B. to be in my musical and travel with the cast. I made the decision after about three hours of a back-and-forth conversation with myself that went like this:

“Sure, he doesn’t have…”

“But then again, maybe…”

I learned, from this first encounter with R. B., that when you base your future on maybe, you always end up with what will be—wishing for what could be.

Jesonian … October 21st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3466)

jesonian-cover-amazon

Even though I am an admirer, believer and follower of Jesus, there are things that bother me.

Yes, some attributes of Jesus give me the creeps.

Let’s start with the fact that he claimed to be “one with God.” Normally when folks make such an assertion, we give them a free trip to a mental hospital instead of building churches in their name. “I am God”–the classic statement made by megalomaniacs throughout history.

Secondly, he seemed to have a strong death wish. About halfway through his work, he became obsessed with his own execution. Needless to say, this is repeated throughout history by leaders who ended up being nefarious.

Can I give you a third one? How about this–he invited his disciples to drink his blood. That’s creepy. Although you can point out that it was a symbolic act, I don’t like to think about even symbolically taking in hemoglobin.

And there is the fact that he is traditionally reported to have stayed away from sex. Although surrounded by women and a plethora of men, it is alleged that he was as pure as the driven snow. We can certainly attest to the fact that those who pursue that lifestyle often end up being perverted, using their abstinence to injure the lives of others.

I’m sorry, these are some creepy things.

If I walked into your house and said, “Hey, did you hear about that guy down in Texas who thinks he’s God, hangs around with a bunch of women but says he abstains from sex, prophesies that the government is going to come and kill him, and it is reported that he makes his followers drink his blood…”

Come on. This is going to freak you out.

So why, since I know all these creepy things, do I still follow Jesus? It’s because of what he taught and how he followed up with it in his own life.

His teachings were non-violent. Most people who claim to be God want to kill you to prove the point.

Jesus didn’t care if you didn’t believe. He just went to another village.

His teachings were forgiving. Even though his disciples were a bunch of hotheads who wanted to kill their enemies, he rebuked them, told them to put their swords away and taught them that no one is better than anyone else.

His teachings were inclusive. Even though the average Jew of his day had a hit list of cultures which needed to be destroyed, Jesus walked freely with the Romans, the Greeks, the Samaritans, the Jews and the Afrikaans. He gave the same respect to everyone, whether a Pharisee or a man possessed with a thousand demons.

He also loved human beings. Even those who hated him.

He refused to take his claims of supremacy and force other people to submit to them. His philosophy was, “Whosoever will may come.”

So here’s an amazing fact: Jesus’ claims become viable because of his actions. It’s not that his actions are worth studying because of his claims.

I can accept some oddities in his choices, phrasing and mannerisms because his life was drenched in love.

Love is not creepy.

 

 

Donate Button

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

Reverend Meningsbee (Part 35) A Finer Diner… January 1st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3173)

Reverend Meningsbee

Meningsbee was spooked.

He wasn’t exactly sure why–maybe it was being awakened by a stranger pounding on his door. Or it could be the haunting dream that Nico shared about empty boxes at Christmas time. Or maybe he was just baffled by why he was traveling through Texas, spending money to pretend he was a vagrant.

Whatever the reason, he gathered up his blankets, pillows and the few items he had brought into the motel room, threw them into the back seat of his car and headed out on the road.

He didn’t know where he was going, but he knew one thing for sure: it wasn’t Garsonville.

He wasn’t ready.

So he puttered around from little village to tiny burg for a couple of days, realizing he was going to have to call the church and have someone stand in for him on Sunday. It wouldn’t be a big deal–the congregation was practically on auto-pilot anyway. All the changes he had suggested had brought about a freedom and liberty which gave the people a delightful blending of humility and confidence.

So when he called the office to tell them he would be delayed, the secretary didn’t even question him.

He wasn’t going to Garsonville–but he did feel compelled to at least head in that direction.

So two days later, he found himself sitting in a small diner in Amarillo, Texas, when he looked up from his breakfast of two eggs, turkey sausage and toast, and saw Mercer.

At first his brain didn’t register. But after a second glance, he realized it really was Mercer, walking in the door of the diner.

Mercer was a member of the Garsonville congregation–a quiet, sturdy fellow who was so invisible that Meningsbee had never even learned his last name. He was also a little afraid of Mercer, because the fellow sometimes showed up wearing a camouflage tie.

But then, all of a sudden, in the middle of Amarillo, Texas, Mercer had appeared, with a little smile on his face.

Meningsbee could not disguise his shock, and as Mercer made his way to the table and sat down, he said, “Are you surprised, Reverend?”

“More than surprised,” said Meningsbee. “How did you find me?”

Mercer leaned back in his chair, peered at the Reverend and replied, “Well, I don’t know if I ever told you this, but I worked in Army Intelligence, and it didn’t take me long to follow the paper trail you left with your credit cards.”

Meningsbee frowned. Mercer continued, “Oh, don’t be upset. You can find anybody anytime you want as long as they’re willing to sign on the dotted line.”

“What are you doing here?” whispered Meningsbee.

“Well, I came to find you,” said Mercer. “Seems like I did a pretty good job.”

“Okay…” Meningsbee was not sure what else to say.

There was a slight pause and then Mercer filled in the silence. “What seems to be the problem, Pastor? Are you addicted to pills?”

Startled, Meningsbee replied, “Pills? No. Why would you think that?’

“Oh, it’s just that sometimes you have that pasty-white face of a heroin user.”

Meningsbee shook his head. “No, I’m not addicted to pills. Just pasty white.”

“Hookers?” asked Mercer.

“Again–no,” punctuated Meningsbee.

“Then it must be gambling.”

“Listen, Mercer. I don’t gamble.” Meningsbee realized if he didn’t speak up, Mercer would continue his probing. “If you must know, I’m very upset about what’s happening in our town with the broadcast, and also the intrusion they’ve made into my personal life.”

“You mean how they stole your computer?” asked Mercer.

“How’d you know that?”

“Once again–I was in Army Intelligence. If I want to know it, I can pretty well find out. What was on your computer?”

Meningsbee sat quietly. He didn’t know what to share with Mercer. He didn’t know anything about him. So he decided to be evasive.

“Personal things,” Meningsbee said flatly.

“Like pornography, you mean?” asked Mercer, leaning forward and lowering his voice.

“Maybe like that,” said Meningsbee, relenting.

Mercer chuckled. “Listen, Reverend. Nobody thinks you’re perfect. Lots of people don’t even think you’re good. There are even some folks who think you’re pretty bad. So here’s how it works–the people who know you aren’t perfect will forgive you. The people who think you’re kind of good will be alarmed that you made a mistake but they’ll get over it. And the people who think you’re bad will just think worse about you. You can’t win people. God’s been working on their hearts for thousands and thousands of years. Isn’t that what you preach? But you also can’t run. That’s somewhere in the Bible, isn’t it? So I came out here on my own to find you and let you know that our little town needs you. We’ve made some stupid mistakes trusting these big-town phonies. Now we look pretty ridiculous. We could sure use someone to help us get out of this. What do you say?”

“Are you gonna tell anybody about our conversation?”

“Well, I’ll tell you this, Parson. You got no business lookin’ at that trash. But it really ain’t my affair. Do I disrespect you for doing it? A little. But I’ll get over it. The point is–will you? Because pictures on the Internet will never replace the wife you lost.”

Maybe it was the tenderness of the statement.

Maybe it was too many days on the road in Texas.

Or maybe it was just dissatisfaction with his turkey sausage.

But Meningsbee broke down in tears.

Mercer stood to his feet and patted him on the shoulder. “Do you need me to follow you home, or do you know the way?”

Meningsbee chuckled. “I got my GPS set.” He looked up. “Thank you, Mercer.”

Mercer sprouted a big smile. “You don’t know my last name, do you?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t.”

“Well, good. That’ll make it harder for you to track me down.”

Mercer turned and walked out of the diner as Meningsbee stared straight ahead.

It was time to go back.

It was time to take on his responsibility.

And it was time to stop being afraid.

 

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


Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

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

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 33) Another Tank of Gas… December 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3152)

Reverend Meningsbee

Nebraska suddenly seemed cold–frigid.

The meeting with Hector put a chill down Meningsbee’s spine, causing him to yearn for some warmth. He thought about sharing his dilemma with some folks he trusted in the congregation, but realized that there’s an assumption made in the human family–that even when a soul confesses, somehow or another he or she is withholding a portion of the story.

He felt trapped–squeezed into an ice box.

So he went to his house, grabbed a bunch of blankets, quickly packed a suitcase, stuck a variety of canned meats and beef jerky in his glove compartment, got into his car and headed out.

His choice for this particular retreat was south. He just wanted to drive until he could feel warm.

He journeyed for three days.

One night he stayed at a cheap motel in a town in Texas called Bullywok. Another night he used the blankets and slept in the back seat of his car at a rest area. And on a third evening, trying to pursue some personal discovery in his life, he checked into a YMCA to interact with other human beings and see what the experience might be like. (He found the Y rather pleasant except for being greatly unnerved by sharing a shower with other men.)

He drove and he drove until he landed somewhere in South Texas. The sun rose, and by ten o’clock in the morning, the air was warm enough for him to emerge from his car and walk around a local park in short sleeves.

He was so damn far away from Garsonville. But maybe he always had been. Maybe the idea of inserting himself into that small community was not only intrusive, but implausible.

Disheartened.

It’s when your heart stands on the outside of your body and makes fun of you for believing you could make a difference.

During his journey, the fifth episode of “Gar-SIN-ville” aired. He watched it in a diner outside of El Paso.

He was surprised at how those enjoying their “blue plate specials” basically ignored the program as he listened carefully for the revelation of his hidden sin.

It was never mentioned.

He felt deeply foolish to have run away from his home town and his congregation simply because a scary man said “boo.”

He called back to the church and asked one of the deacons to handle Sunday service as he settled into Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, at a small motel that offered everything in miniature. Tiny towels, tiny bed, tiny service.

He didn’t care.

He just laid down on the small, uncomfortable single bed and stared at the ceiling.

Who in the hell was he…and why was he running?

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


Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

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

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

Cracked 5 …April 28, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2575)

cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Some Alternative Punishments for the Boston Bomber Tsarnaev

 

A. Force him to run a marathon every day until nature takes its course.

 

B. Drop him off at ISIS headquarters wearing a “Gay and Proud” t-shirt.

 

C. Take him to a field filled with pressure cookers and tell him that “some don’t contain bombs,” so “choose wisely.”

 

D. Four years of study on the “Mysteries of the Trinity” at Liberty University, rooming with a guy named Todd.

 

E. Extradite him to Texas.

 

gay and proud

 Donate Button

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

click above for information on 567!

click above for information on 567!

Boiler plate 

Jesonian: Galilean… March 22, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2539)

Iz and Pal

His critics called him “a Galilean.”

The word means very little to us. But in the time of Jesus, it communicated volumes.

Once your enemies could establish you as “a Galilean,” any number of other insults were available and could be unleashed in your direction without fear of contradiction.

Galileans were people who lived in Palestine, separate from the greater favor of God, with those who dwelt in Jerusalem.

They were outsiders.

They were lesser.

They were cursed by birth, to be relegated to a second-place position in all aspects of life.

After all, the Pharisees made it clear that “no prophet could come from Galilee,” and since Galilee was devoid of prophets, Galilee had to submit to other, more spiritual regions for its faith and hope.

Yes, once the cynics were able to call Jesus a Galilean, soon popping from their lips was the word “ignorant.”

  • He didn’t know his letters.
  • He didn’t know how to properly clean a cup before drinking.
  • Coming from Galilee, it was well-known that he was a sinner.
  • And if he was able to free people of their oppression, it was only because he was in cahoots with the devil himself.
  • Following the reputation of all Galileans, he was “a drunkard, a glutton and a friend of the outcast.”

Shouldered upon him was the burden of generations of bigotry, which still exists to this day as the Jews and Palestinians struggle for a piece of land that is really not much bigger than the state of New Jersey.

We probably find this practice of relegating certain virtues or vices to a particular region to be beneath our intellectual standard.

Yet if someone tells us they’re from the state of Texas, we envision cowboy hats, guns, bigotry, cow-roping, rodeos and backward politics.

A Californian is burdened with the notion that he’s from the Left Coast, is a hippie, smokes marijuana in church (if he ever goes there) and advocates free love.

Florida is for old people, and New York is for crime and gangsters.

We’re often very proud of the fact that we do not follow much of the superstition of those “Biblical fellows” we read about from so many centuries ago.

But because a group of bigoted, religious people were able to oppress Jesus of Nazareth by calling him a Galilean and assigning him all the foibles attributed to such a creature, rather than them being illuminated by the light of the world, they chose to snuff it out.

Even today we have a religious system which is intent on proving that Jesus was Jewish, when the Jewish people were convinced he was Palestinian.

Amazing, don’t you think?

He was right:

“Foxes have holes, but the Son of Man truly does have no place to lay his head.”

Donate Button

Cring & Clazzy present concert in Ocala on March 24th!

Cring & Clazzy present concert in Ocala on March 24th!

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

click above for information on 567!

click above for information on 567!

Boiler plate 

Published in: on March 22, 2015 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: