Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … September 24th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: I want to see people healed–not make them sick of me.

 

Dear Woman: I want to learn, not just repeat what I think I know.

 

Dear Man: I want to give a dollar to a poor man–not wonder what he’s going to do with it.

 

Dear Woman: I want to pray with people, not at them.

 

Dear Man: I want to look in people’s eyes instead of thinking about who they are sleeping with.

 

Dear Woman: I want to be remembered for laughing instead of remembering the past.

 

Dear Man: I want to love my country instead of hoping the President or Congress fail.

 

Dear Woman: I want to have God come out of my actions instead of my mouth.

 

Dear Man: I want to crap in the toilet instead of on people.

 

Dear Woman: I want to enjoy a colorful person instead of noticing colorful skin.

 

Dear Man: I want to shut up rather than being a know-it-all.

 

Dear Woman: I want to enjoy the money I’ve got instead of bitching about money.

 

Dear Man: I want to find a better me instead of constantly explaining myself.

 

Dear Woman: I want to be sorry instead of proud.

 

Dear Man: I want to see need instead of creating it.

 

Dear Woman: I want to be a human instead of a phony god.

 

Dear Man: Sir, we have much in common.

 

Dear Woman: My lady, we certainly do.

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 20) Twenty-One Steps … September 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

Sunday morning in Nebraska was a living and breathing confirmation of the wisdom of the Creator God–to set aside a day of rest.

With nothing to do but prepare homemade waffles, walk the dog and dress for church, the citizens of Garsonville breathed a collective sigh of relaxation and relief. For just a little while, life became slower, and the craziness of the 21st century was mollified by simplicity.

That morning, Meningsbee barely got seven steps into the door of the church before Matrisse grabbed his arm and pulled him down to whisper in his ear.

“Kitty is gone.”

He pulled back so he could look into her eyes. She just sadly shook her head.

Realizing he couldn’t stop to converse any more, he made his way toward the sanctuary, where after a few feet he was nudged to the side by Bob Harborhouse, one of the original church members on the pastor’s selection committee. He was also one of the people who left over the fearful prospect of sitting closer to the front of the church. Meningsbee remembered that during his trial sermon, Bob introduced himself as a “groomsman carpenter,” explaining that by day he took care of a stable of horses and at night, he was in the first stages of starting his own furniture company–all original designs.

Bob said to Meningsbee, “I’m back with my family and about ten other people from the old church, but I do want you to know that Sammy Collins has begun his own congregation with about fifteen individuals who are meeting this morning at his house.”

Trying very hard to disguise his disappointment, Meningsbee nodded and headed into the sanctuary. Right before entering the holy of holies, he was once again stopped, this time by Theresa, the volunteer church secretary. She explained that someone had vandalized the women’s bathroom. It appeared that the scoundrel had poured two bags of marshmallows down the toilet.

Having no immediate clever come-back, Meningsbee nodded and told her he would make the announcement.

So as he inched his way up the middle aisle to the front of the church, looking at what was really a pretty good attendance, he wondered what conversation in his first twenty-one steps into the house of God could be addressed.

But before he could get started, Mark Layton, a former member of the church and also a history teacher at the local middle school, stood to his feet, firing a challenge.

“Reverend Meningsbee, I know you think you know what you’re doing, but before you came to our town, we were just a small country church with gentle ways and hopes for better lives for our families. Since you’ve been here, we’ve had division–and now there are three congregations meeting where once there was just a single body of believers. Do you really think that division is the work of God?”

There was some hissing and booing from the other members, who had come to church for a more enlightened experience, but Meningsbee quickly silenced the naysayers.

“Mark,” Meningsbee said, “When I was a young boy, my mother bought a brand new vacuum cleaner. It was quite a contraption. It had all sorts of shiny, silver metal pipes that came with it. They were extensions, so she could do various things to sweep up corners and such. I was only six years old, so I took one of those shiny metal pipes and quickly discovered that it was the perfect size for me to take a ping-pong ball, stick it inside and place my mouth over the end of the tube, and blow out really hard, and pretend I had a dart gun.”

The congregation laughed.

“It was great fun,” Meningsbee continued. “Then one day I picked up one of my ping-pong balls and it felt a little funny in my hand, like it was bigger. You know what I mean? But I tried to put it inside that metal tube anyway. It barely fit. But the worst part of it was, I couldn’t blow it out. Now, I probably should have told my mom or dad that I messed up one of the metal pipes on the new vacuum cleaner, but I was scared. Being a kid, I just hoped it would work out. It didn’t. And later, when my mother tried to sweep the floor, the machine didn’t work because of my little ping-pong ball mistake. They took it to the repair shop and received a gloomy report. Because the metal tube I had put my ping-pong ball in happened to be attached to the engine of the sweeper–and without that tube, well, the whole mechanism was basically useless. But the repair man was able to tell them that there was a ping-pong ball in there that he couldn’t get out unless he cut the tube in half. Well it didn’t take my parents too long to figure out where the ping-pong ball might have found its origins. They took me to the side and asked me why I didn’t tell them that I had made a mistake. I looked at them with tears in my eyes and said, ‘I just wanted everything to be all right, the way it was.’ You see, Mark, it wasn’t all right. It still looked like a vacuum cleaner but it didn’t work. Something was stuffed up inside, blocking the suction. When I arrived at this church, you had all the right equipment, seating, and even pretty good doughnut choices for the after-glow service.”

More giggles.

“But it wasn’t a church. Maybe it was a club. Maybe it was a way to escape and pretend we were better than the world around us. You can make up your mind on that. But the Book of Hebrews tells us that a church is a place where we come to strengthen one another. Not just praise or worship or gather to sing or say all the right words. So here’s my opinion: if we have to disrupt the eighty-eight souls who came to this church to try to reach the thirteen hundred who never have, then so be it. In my mind’s eye, it’s a small price to pay. So Mark, you are welcome to join us in worship this morning, or please–do not feel condemned or criticized if you would like to leave now that your question has been answered.”

There was a moment of silence. The people were absolutely still. At length, a softer, more tender Mark Layton piped up.

“I’m listening.”

Church continued.

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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PoHymn cover jon

 

Cracked 5 … January 19th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

What Is A Caucus?

A. A barnyard of roosters?

 

B. The Hindi word for “Gesundheit?”

 

C. A gathering of nudist men?

 

D. A desperate request made by a leaking toilet and sink?

 

E. Chilly Iowans convene on a cold night to make a snow-blind decision about frigid politicians?

Cracked 5 roosters 

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Published in: on January 19, 2016 at 1:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Workman… December 15, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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toiletPictured is the toilet that greeted me as I arrived in my motel room this past week. It had a bolt missing, of which I was extremely sympathetic, since I, too, have a screw or two loose.

I called the front desk and requested some attention to adjustments on my throne. In about fifteen minutes, the maintenance man arrived at my door. His name was Booger (I’m sure not the given name by his mother following the exertion of birth pangs).

I noticed that this gentleman, who had come to take care of my bathroom situation, was not very happy. To confirm that fact, in less than fifteen seconds, he began to explain why the management at this motel treated him poorly, cut corners and therefore was doomed to a godless hell.

It made me think of an old saying from the Good Book: “Study to show yourself approved … a workman that does not need to be ashamed…”

Even with all of Booger’s objections to other people’s frailties, he was unable, during his visit, to repair my toilet. It does not mean he didn’t spend time attempting to accomplish the task, but most of his visitation was encompassed by complaint.

It made me consider a simple question. When do we become workmen who are shameful?

  • If we find that we’re complaining more than we’re praising.
  • If we discover that somebody has stolen our “glad”
  • If we’re overwhelmed by a feeling of being trapped.

Each of these situations are unpleasant enough by themselves, but the action of generating them also damns us to unfulfilled emotion, vacant spirituality, zero mental progress and an awareness of every physical ache and pain.

I really try to like everybody I meet, but in short moments I found myself despising Booger, wishing he would leave and find a bitching post elsewhere. I felt bad about being so uncaring, but then I realized that none of us want to be surrounded by feelings of inadequacy and sensations of dissatisfaction. We get tempted to join into the pity party, becoming part of the problem instead of a pathway to solution.

What does make a good workman? What will cause me, at the end of the day, to feel fulfilled instead of shamed?

1. I’m always glad to be here.

This does not mean that “here” is always pleasant–it just means that not being “here” means that I’ve ceased to exist.

2. I’m always “here instead of far away.

The key to life is finding joy in where you are instead of believing you have to travel somewhere to retrieve it.

3. I’m always staying away from what steals my “glad.”

Yes, life is filled with suckers and drainers–more than willing to enter your space and deprive you of any potential for glee or jubilation. To survive, you must find a way to avoid these people and situations as much as possible.

Booger and I probably will never be friends. I am not so naive as to believe that my mere presence, personality or input would be salvation to his soul. I am not a savior, I am a fellow-traveler. If you’re in the mood to travel, I can be great fun.

If you need a savior … I can offer a recommendation.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Posted … December 6, 2011

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Live from Fernandina Beach

Having just finished the setup of our sound system in a church in Georgia recently, I trekked off to our green room, where I have fifty glorious minutes to dress, relax, eat a little bit of fruit, drink some water and prepare to meet the audience du jour. The time is normally ample and without constraints…except on those occasions when nature calls.  Oh, shoot, let me not be coy.  In other words, when I’ve got to go to the bathroom.

This involves finding the restroom in a church, which normally, like salvation, can be a five-step process, still ending with a bit of uncertainty. I don’t like to use the bathroom in churches because I don’t want my first encounter with someone coming into the restroom to be my particular fragrance as I sheepishly walk out of the stall and mumble something about how I wish there was room spray.

But as I said–there was a beckoning.

So I found the enclosure, it was fortunately unoccupied and I slid into the stall and sat down and began my business. (I know it’s not good to talk about what we do in that room in those private moments, but we all know it’s very important–perhaps even essential to our emotions, spirituality, mental health and certainly our physical lucidity. So I rather enjoy the private time and–pardon the expression–cheer on the results.)

As I was sitting there, I looked to my right and there was a poster on the wall, seemingly purposefully set at eye level for those involved in the procedure. It was a beautiful poster with a scripture from Galatians inscribed upon it, emblazoned in gorgeous calligraphy. It read, “Do not grow tired in doing well, for very soon you will bear fruit if you do not give up.”

I was a bit startled. I did not know whether it was an attempt at humor (which, by the way, I found out later from meeting the people that such was probably impossible) or if somebody had discovered this poster and did not deem it worthy of either bulletin board or vestibule, but rather than throwing it away, wanted to give it some position of recognition. I found it extremely funny, because even though I had no intentions of throwing in the towel (or the toilet paper, for that matter) on this particular excursion, just knowing that God was behind me, so to speak, and was fully aware that I might lose heart helped me complete my task with much more fervor.

They say if you travel enough, you eventually see everything. Scriptural devotions in toilet rooms is new to me. But as I was finishing up, I thought that even though the Galatians passage encouraging us not to give up was very good, I think I would have opted for one from the book of Revelation. 

“Surely come quickly, Lord Jesus.”

***************

Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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