PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 22nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Caught Up With God

by Jonathan Richard Cring

I caught up with God last night.

It’d been a while

I had been busy with me.

His matters–more universal.

“How ya doin’ with that life I gave you?” He asked, with a twinkle in His eye.

“Livin’ loud and free,” I replied.

“Oh, my. Sounds bold,” He countered.

“Let there be light, bolder still,” I returned.

He smiled.

I loved His smile. Always warm and left me enlightened.

He looked tired, but not aging–the kind of weary you might see in a friend when you suggest a nap instead of another cup of coffee.

I searched for words.

I suddenly realized why the visits between us were less frequent.

There was a great mutual appreciation, with not much common interest.

“I thought we could catch up,” He suggested.

“Good.” I nodded but remained silent.

I don’t know why He makes me nervous.

There has been no vexation between us. No major disagreement.

There are many things I like, which I hear He thinks are sins.

And the thoughts that cross my head seem unworthy to share with such a pure soul.

Yet venturing for a night that would be memorable for its difference, I said, “Sometimes I stay away from You when I don’t need to.”

I looked deeply into His eyes to see if I had hurt His feelings.

That was not my intention, but certainly could have been the conclusion.

He maintained a stare, as if waiting for more explanation. So I decided to push on.

“Sometimes I just don’t believe in You. Sometimes I feel foolish thinking that the apparition I’ve created of your presence has any truthfulness. Or for that matter, value. Sometimes I grow weary of my own mythology.”

I stopped speaking.

Only half of what I shared was honest. Like many words spoken in a spat, the majority are stirred to hurt instead of reveal.

But why did I want to hurt God?

Why did I want Him to know that I didn’t need Him?

Why was I taking this moment of reunion and turning it into a cup of poison?

Then…

God just walked over and quietly sat down in a chair.

Though He did not motion for me to join Him, the energy compelled me to find a nearby seat of my own.

The two of us, seated.

Old friends?

Or just strangers who finally realized the extent of the disconnection?

He spoke. “What would you think or feel if I said I don’t always believe in you?”

“I would be horrified,” I responded. “Even if I have made you up in my ego, I need you to be supportive. I need you to be my permanent cheerleader. I need you to give me unconditional love.”

“And what do I get for this gift?” He asked, tilting His head and squinting His eyes.

I didn’t pause for a moment. I answered immediately–almost impetuously.

“My guaranteed doubt.”

The Most High laughed.

“Quite a good deal,” He said, rubbing His chin. “Perhaps I should jump on it right away, in case you change your mind.”

I excused myself and went into the bathroom.

I sat in my stall, realizing that I was manufacturing an event in my head that was probably more spirits-in-a-bottle than Spirit-in-my-life.

Suddenly, there He was. In the stall with me, leaning against the wall.

“Stalk’er much?” I asked.

“It’s not really stalking,” He noted. “I thought we were still having a conversation, and just changing locations.”

“It’s a perfect example,” I interjected. “I am a person. I value my privacy. There are times I don’t like to be chased by a spirit or a theology or reminded of my inadequacies by a black book with a lousy cover.”

God burst into laughter.

“How true! For them to claim it’s the Word of God, and not even have great cover art… So much like those who only believe so they can hold it against those who don’t.”

“Would you turn your head?” I demanded. “I would like to finish here.”

Before I could complete my phrase He was gone.

I wondered if it would be another season of absence, or if I would find Him sitting in the chair when I left the restroom.

I stood in front of the mirror and splashed some water on my face.

I realized I was not ugly. Maybe just a little facially displaced.

I smiled, thinking how I wanted to share that with Him. How much He would enjoy it.

We always could make each other laugh. That’s for sure.

It’s just that sometimes, He doesn’t know how to stop my tears.

Feeling I was “stalling,” and then thinking that I must share that pun with Him also, I opened the door and stepped out.

He was gone.

There was this amazing smell in the air.

What was it?

Garlic, tomato and just a hint of oregano.

Of course.

All the ingredients of Chicago deep-dish pizza.

I breathed in deeply.

I shook my head.

He knew it was my favorite.

Our guest reader is Isabella, who is a student at Florida State University.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 6) Back in the Old Days … June 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

Meningsbee found a note taped to his front door when he returned from a Tuesday morning grocery excursion.

His desire to purchase food stuff had lessened in the two years since his wife, Doris, had died of a heart attack. Throughout their marriage, they had done all of their shopping together, and had even found great fulfillment in meal planning.

Yet a meal for one is not much fun.

So every couple of days the good Reverend pried himself away from duties and went out to consider the quality of a tomato.

Carrying his small bag of groceries to the door, he found the note. It was hand-written and contained a very simple message:

We are too old to change. Why don’t you leave us alone?

Meningsbee removed the note from his door, came into his home and sat down at the kitchen table. He wasn’t sure why this particular message impacted him, but he felt sad.

Was he doing too much?

Is there such a thing as being too old to change?

Was the note from someone who had left the church, or from a parishioner who remained but was frightened to share it with him face-to-face?

The contemplation hung over him all week long. Even as he drove to the church on Sunday morning, he was still wondering about the prudence of his efforts.

As in the previous week, he arrived and things were already buzzing. People had placed the chairs in the front, and were praying for each other, and about eight new souls were visiting.

The atmosphere was completely different from an average church. It more resembled a well-run clinic, or perhaps students in a high school getting ready to head off to home room to begin the day’s activities.

Yet as Meningsbee watched and listened, his uncertainty persisted. Was it possible that he was trying to change something holy into something too common?

He made his way to the front of the church as the congregation gradually fell silent. For a long, almost uncomfortable moment, he stood facing the altar with his back to his friends.

He turned around very slowly and spoke.

“I hope you folks understand that I’m not coming to destroy what you’ve built here at this church, but instead, as Jesus said, trying to bring us life and it more abundantly, and find a way for our joy to be full.”

Meningsbee was surprised because a huge “Amen” was chorused across the room.

He smiled and continued. “It’s really not complicated. It’s what Jesus said in Matthew 5, verse 21. He told us there are things said by ‘men of old,’ but they just don’t work anymore. Maybe they were good once upon a time, when they were fresh, and brought life and joy, but now they are tainted by repetition and squabblings. Our job is to find out what is old, but really gold, instead of what is old and just mold.”

There was an inspiring giggle. He chuckled a little himself as he continued.

“There are many things that have been done in this church for hundreds of years that may still be good. They bring life, they bring joy. We should keep them. They are gold. And then there are things that are just old and covered with an unhealthy mold that are making us sick and bored. They need to go.

So my assignment for next week is to come in here and tell me the things you remember about this church. What is old and gold, and what is old and mold?”

The congregation clapped its hands in agreement. It seemed to be a concept quickly grasped and eagerly accepted. Even the visitors began to chat among themselves about possible choices.

Young and old alike were stirred to rumination. Were the things being done in the Garsonville church uplifting or life-taking?

Meningsbee was rejuvenated.

He realized, you never get too old to change.

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