Catchy (Sitting 42) Head Hunter… April 1st, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3629)

Moving stealthily across the room, Matthew eased his way into a large, brown, shiny leather chair with golden buttons. Crossing his legs, he wiggled his nose as if dispelling a fly and inquired, “You are an atheist, aren’t you?”

She replied, “I am a psychiatrist and a graduate of the University of…”

He interrupted her. “I know all about your degrees and all your studies. I’m a professional. I check things out. What struck me was that you advertised that your therapy was non-religious.”

She paused. “Yes. That particular line from my promotion is a hold-over from my days of working in Gadsden, Alabama, where they still believe that peters can walk on the water.”

Matthew laughed. “That’s very good. I just wanted to make sure that you’ll be able to listen to me with an objective mind, neither judging me critically because you’re faith-based, or over-evaluating me intellectually from some throne of godless superiority.”

She shifted in her chair and said, “Why don’t we just order in sushi and forget about the whole thing?”

Matthew liked her. Her name was Dr. Sherry Lynn Montgomery. He had carefully sought out her services because Matthew was convinced that another week of being the sole proprietor of his own brain might end him up in a sanitarium.

He needed to talk. He was tired of listening. So many opinions, so much rhetoric, so much danger, so much assurance. He just wanted to say “one, two, three” with the hope that someone would counter with “four, five.”

The doctor jumped in to fill a quiet space. “I grew up in Alabama,” she said. “My father was an evangelist for the Church of God. He was the kind of man who believed everything that came his way was true as long as it could be confirmed that a prophet, savior or apostle said it. He was not a horrible human being, but there were folks he hated. To use his colorful language, he explained to me many times that he despised ‘sinners and niggers’ and not necessarily in that order. He would jokingly tell me that ‘the niggers should be glad he made the distinction.’ I use the language for your ears, not to be flamboyant or cavalier, but to let you know that there was a cave I had to climb out of before I could reach even ground. I am familiar with that process. I have led many other religious spelunkers from their darkness to an understanding of the simplicity of this life.”

Matthew shook his head. “Damn, you talk pretty. I bet you’ve used that speech before.”

Dr. Sherry smiled. “I have. It’s a good speech–mainly because it’s true.”

“All right,” said Matthew. “Let me tell you a little bit about myself.”

This time, Dr. Sherry interrupted. “You are the young man who owns his own advertising agency, and decided to take on the task of making Jesus popular again. I also investigate my possible patients.”

Matthew scrunched up his face. “Well, not exactly. I’m not personally trying to do it. I just could not figure out how in the hell to turn down two hundred and fifty million dollars…”

“So what you’re saying,” continued the doctor, “is that you are not a religious fanatic–just willing to become one for the right price.”

Matthew stood to his feet and clapped his hands. “You got it! You really do know your stuff. Excuse me, Doctor Piety. Would you turn down two hundred and fifty million dollars if they offered it to you, to make Jesus popular again?”

“It seems to me that Jesus’ popularity has already cost the human race much more than two hundred and fifty million dollars,” she said tersely.

“Oh, I see,” said Matthew slowly. “We’re going to be serious.”

Dr. Sherry Lynn Montgomery leaned forward and pointed her finger at him. “Since you’ve taken over this little enterprise, there have been rumors of miracles, healings and even some fellow raised from the dead.”

Matthew inserted, “That one was temporary. He croaked, you know.”

She shook her head. “We don’t need more religion in this world. We need more reasonable people who will take the time to use their common sense and available knowledge to access real solutions.”

“Hell, you got no complaint from me on that one,” responded Matthew. “Except the parts of what you’re looking for don’t seem to be available. Are there such people in the world? Isn’t everybody waiting for the magic lamp they can rub so they can get the three wishes? I have to be honest–there’s a part of me that wants some sort of God, to take all the shit out of my life and leave behind promises. I don’t even care if He breaks the promises. I just can’t believe that my life is limited to what I know or even to what I can learn.”

“Why?” asked the doctor. “You’re not a stupid man.”

Matthew interrupted. “You can call me Matthew.”

“Actually, I won’t call you anything,” she said, “until I can determine if we’re going to have some sort of ongoing conversation.”

Matthew held his hand up to stop her. “What I want to know is, why do Christians always seem so sure about God and atheists always seem so mad?”

“I’m not mad,” said Dr. Montgomery. “I am just not titillated by fairy tales about eternal life, and I refuse to waste the one life I’ve got trying to measure up for the one that does not exist.”

“Are you sure it doesn’t exist?” asked Matthew. “Damn–if someone would just guarantee me that there’s nothing else but here and now, I think I could make it work. And if I couldn’t, at least I would know I was just another miserable son-of-a-bitch, waiting to expire. But I’m not sure. I’m not sure there is a God. I’m not sure there isn’t. Which means I’m not sure I know what the hell I’m doing.”

“I’m sure,” she replied. “Take my word for it. Listen to a young girl who said her prayers every night until she was eighteen years old and was able to sneak out at the end of the revival meeting, escaping into the darkness to start a new life.”

“You mean you ran away?” asked Matthew.

“Yes. And that was twenty-five years ago. And no one tried to follow me. I was told they declared it was God’s will–that my flesh had to be turned over to Satan for purification.”

Matthew just stared at her. “I know you don’t believe in any of this. At least that’s what you say. But I’ve been there for the meetings. I’ve listened to my friend, Jubal, talk about the joy of the Lord. I sat and spoke with a man who was electrocuted and was alive again. I saw my friends from college, with dismal outlooks on life, who now are coming to some kind of awareness. Pink returning to their cheeks and peace to their minds.”

“Fine,” the doctor said curtly. “Why don’t you just join them?”

“That’s easy,” said Matthew. “There’s too many of them. I’ve never been a soul who followed the mob mentality. I wore my leisure suits a full three years longer than the fashion snobs permitted. I still occasionally look in the Farmer’s Almanac for weather information. And I’ve never ordered anything but a pepperoni pizza any time in my life. I like things steady. I like the taste of my own efforts on my tongue. I don’t want a God to take control of my life. But I don’t want a devil to haunt my efforts.”

Dr. Sherry Lynn Montgomery just shook her head. “You’re very confused, Matthew. You neither have the bliss of ignorance nor the refreshment of enlightenment. What is it you think you have?”

“Jack and Coke,” Matthew said quickly. “I have Jack and Coke. It is the cocktail of rock stars. It’s what the Beatles drank, and it is what the next rock and roll band who offends some fearful mother in America will be guzzling down.”

He grinned. “Do you know why the rock bands started drinking Jack and Coke? When rock and roll began, the cities where the bands performed would not allow alcohol backstage. Many of the tours were sponsored by Coca-Cola, so there would be tons and tons of cans of Coke backstage. So the bands found it very simple to smuggle in bottles of Jack Daniels in their road cases, and even when the liquor was added to the cola, at first sight to any innocent producer, it just looked like a soft drink. Isn’t that amazing? It’s another example of humans adapting and evolving to meet the need.”

“Are you an alcoholic?” asked the doctor.

“No, no,” said Matthew. “That would be much too easy. I can go five days without drinking, and then follow it up with three days of doing nothing else. I never feel the need to drink, I usually just feel compelled to waste some time so I don’t have to think about this shit I’m talking to you about today.”

Matthew held up a finger. “Here’s what I know. If God doesn’t leave me the hell alone, He’d better be prepared to pay for my rehab. And I’m not talkin’ about some little state-sponsored place in the woods. I’m talkin’ about Malibu–with lobster for breakfast.”

“So it’s God’s fault?” questioned the doctor.

Matthew stood up and ambled toward the door. He turned the knob, opened it and was about to walk out, but then decided to conclude his speech.

“No, actually, good doc… Now it’s your fault. I occasionally like to include new people in my life so I can have someone fresh to blame.”

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 21st, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3344)

Standing There

I was just seventeen

Trying not to be mean

When I saw her standing there

Is she terrified?

I am

I brushed my teeth four times

Back and forth, side to side

Even upside down

Yet the foul is returning

My deodorant is so damn unpredictable

Was that a whiff of skunk?

I’m sweating

It’s not hot

She is

I’m not

Does she know that I’m plain?

Yes, plain

Dry toast without butter

Marshmallow minus cream

They say women are from Venus

I, supposedly, am from Mars

Could someone build a spaceship?

Maybe we could date on the moon

And gradually come down to Earth

That sounds romantic

No, wait. Corny

Corny is bad

Like my deteriorating breath

She is fidgeting

Or maybe just exercising

I am not athletic

I bounce the ball

And then watch it roll away from me in disgust

Yes, the ball had an opinion

It mocked my efforts to participate

Doesn’t she do most of the stuff I do?

Just not as noisy or smelly

Is there common ground?

Why are we on the ground?

Many magnificent wonders

I want to talk to her

No, I don’t

Talking is dangerous

It demands sentences

Verbs connecting nouns

Yet I need to communicate with her

Hand signals are out of the question.

And unfortunately, spontaneous making out is rare

Some sort of interaction is required

I wish my dog was prettier

Forget I said that

No, promise you forgot

I like girls

Even when they’re women

I just don’t want a mother

I have one

I will savor the unique experience

Why doesn’t she talk to me?

Maybe she can’t talk

A deaf mute

Why does that interest me?

Did she just check her breath?

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … April 19th, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3282)

Lyrica Americana

I started a joke

I’m a joker, a smoker

A midnight hour

When nobody else is around

Get around, get around, I get around

The world … in eighty days

No–eight days a week

I love you

Are the sunshine of my life

This is my life–go ahead with your own

Leave me alone

You’ll never walk…

Like a man

Talk like a

I am woman

The purpose of a man is to love a woman

W-O-M-A-N

When the night is young

Girl, get out of my mind

You were always on my…

Girl, talk about my…

Girls just want to have fun

We’ll have fun, fun, fun

‘Til Daddy takes the T-bird away

Far from here, my dear

Hearts, young love

All we need is…

Out of the darkness

Hello, my old friend

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Good News and Better News … June 6th, 2016


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2957)

Cassius and Martinsburg composite

On February 25th, 1964, I was twelve years old when Cassius Clay totally surprised the boxing world by destroying Sonny Liston in Miami Beach.

It had been an interesting ninety days. Within three months, John Kennedy had been assassinated, the Beatles appeared multiple times on the Ed Sullivan Show, and now a 22-year-old black fellow was ranting and raving about his greatness.

My home town hated all three.

I was told that John Kennedy was a philanderer, the Beatles were communists and Cassius was an uppity colored man.

It got worse when Mr. Clay chose to change his name to Muhammad Ali, becoming a foreign, dangerous infidel.

I was in my twenties before I felt the freedom to think for myself and develop new opinions about JFK, the Fab Four and Ali.

I was thinking about this very thing in my green room yesterday at the Otterbein United Methodist Church in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Muhammad Ali was cursed, threatened with prison and had his title removed because he refused to fight in the Viet Nam War. Why? Because at the time it seemed important to do so.

But we were wrong. We were wrong about him, we were wrong about Viet Nam, we were confused about the Beatles, and Kennedy certainly had some moments of brilliance.

You see, it’s not a political issue and it’s not a spiritual issue. It all comes down to deciding whether to live a life where you complain or an existence where you create.

Because complaining people don’t create, and creative people don’t complain.

My heart’s desire yesterday, as I sat in front of the audience and shared my journey, music and insights, was to communicate that simple thought–complain or create?

Because even though Muhammad Ali was condemned by society, his consecration to his causes has endured the test of time. Matter of fact, the southern city of Louisville, Kentucky has tributes to him all over the metroplex. Isn’t that amazing?

You see, it’s simple.

The good news is that if you stop complaining, you start to learn. And the first thing you learn is that the more you create, the less you need to complain.

The better news is that there were a handful of folks in Martinsburg who got the message.

Others will be driven down the streets named after the men they once condemned–on their way to the graveyard.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 5) Late … May 29th, 2016


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2949)

Reverend Meningsbee

Sunday morning, and Meningsbee woke up late.

He wanted to blame his alarm clock, but since he was fully aware that he was the master of all of its decisions, he scurried along, skipping two of his pre-shower rituals.

He scooted into his car, started it and zoomed toward the church at what he hoped was a reasonable speed. He was thinking about what he wanted to share.

The Gospel of Mark. Most certainly.

It had been an interesting week.

After the breakthrough, with Betty and Clarice being reconciled, there was a sweet buzz of contentment among those who were present, but simultaneously, there were around twenty-five former members who had begun meeting in the banquet hall of the nearby Holiday Inn Express. They were stirring a flurry of frustration through the town.

Their contention? Meningsbee had “stolen their church.”

He understood their perspective. Yet there was a push in his spirit to continue the experiment–to find the real meaning of gathering together instead of marching in time to the drone of repetitive hymns.

Arriving, he ran to the door of the church, and then paused. He could hear the sounds of conversation. It was not the usual pre-church verbal exchanges, but instead, purposeful–what sounded like meaningful, prayerful tones.

So Meningsbee chose to enter quietly and climb the stairs to the balcony, where he could view the proceedings.

He had noticed coming in that there were a few more cars in the parking lot, and was delighted to see, when he looked down from his perch, that there were four visitors and a few of the original congregation who had returned.

But most enlightening was the fact that the three chairs he had placed in the front on Saturday night were filled with people, surrounded by other folks who were sharing and praying for one another.

On the seventh row was a young family who Deacon Smitters had befriended, and was quietly but feverishly entertaining with one of his stories.

It was a reverent scene, in the sense of the true meaning of reverence–full of humanity, compassion, tenderness and just a bit of the childlike freedom that was so often absent from the normal Sunday morning drill.

Reverend Meningsbee wanted to just hang out in the balcony and watch. He knew that as soon as he entered, the holy spell would be broken and they would turn to him to find order.

Finally he decided that it was not good for him to stay away for the whole time. He climbed down the stairs and came into the church as the gathering fell silent.

He turned slowly and addressed them.

“I overslept. But I have been here for fifteen minutes, just watching all of you. It is so beautiful for you to treat each other so beautifully. I know that’s not a good sentence, but it’s what I feel. Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for loving each other.”

All at once, a hand went up. It was Clarice, from last week’s reconciliation.

“Hello, Pastor. I just wanted to let you know that after Betty and I mended our fences, I got inspired to contact my son in Lincoln, who ran away from home a couple of years ago because he was mad at me for being such a–can I say ‘bitch’ in the church?”

Meningsbee laughed. “You just did.”

Clarice continued. “Anyway, I invited Michael home, we made peace, and I told him to come here with me today to seal the deal.”

The congregation burst into applause without being coaxed. It was spontaneous and it was electrifying.

One after another, there were testimonies about those who came and sat in the chair to receive God’s grace through the kindness of God’s people.

The good Reverend just stood back and shut up. There was a small part of him that felt useless, but most of him felt he had discovered his true use.

Lead the sheep to the green pastures, and then let them eat.

It came time for the end of the service, and Meningsbee wasn’t sure what to do.

Betty stood to her feet and said, “Did you know that Clarice’s son, Michael, plays a mean piano and can really sing?”

Michael feigned a bit of embarrassment, but also exuded a willingness to display his talent. So Meningsbee pointed to the piano, and Michael slowly rose to his feet, walked over, sat down and played and sang “Let It Be” by the Beatles.

It was an inspiring conclusion to the morning.

Meningsbee listened to the song very carefully.

“Let It Be.”

What good advice.

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Cracked 5 … March 29th, 2016


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2888)

cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Much Less Commercial Names for the Fab Four (The Beatles) Had They Not Been John, Paul, Ringo and George

A. Humphrey, Noel, Jackal and Quincy

 

B. Neville, Winston, Franklin and Benito

 

C. Tommy, Timmy, Toby and Tarbaby

 

D. Fish, Chips, Vinegar and Suds

 

E. Figgy, Iggy, Jiggy and Bigamy

Cracked 5 Beatles

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G-Poppers… December 12, 2014


  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2441)

G-Popper

One of his granddaughters asked G-Pop about music. She was curious, thinking he might be old-fashioned in some of his views.

“What is your favorite song?”

G-Pop: The next song which is performed with so much passion that I can feel the meaning through the talent and heart of the performer.

“Well, G-Pop, do you like today’s music?”

G-Pop: I like good music, and since good music is timeless, there is no today or yesterday in it. Just the living emotion of the moment.

Amadeus, Frank, Paul and Beyonce bigger

“Do you like playing piano?”

G-Pop: It’s great fun as long as I realize I am out-numbered, 88 keys to 10 fingers. Obviously, I’m going to lose some of those battles.

“Okay, G-Pop. What do you think God thinks about music?”

G-Pop: God is a groupie, hanging around backstage, hoping the crowd is moved by the hits…and waiting to spend some personal time with the artist. 

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Click here for information on "567"--the Sermon on the Mount retold in story, song and music

Click here for information on “567”–the Sermon on the Mount retold in story, song and music

 

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