PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 26th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Lippy

For Christ’s sake, do what you can!

OMG, would you bring a plan?

What the hell is heaven for?

Jesus H. Christ, don’t shut the door!

Ye gads, they’re everywhere!

Guard your nads–a national scare.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph moved into town.

WTF, let’s shut it down.

For heaven’s sake, attack the hell.

Gee whiz, ain’t America swell?

Freakin’ A, I want my way.

Holy Moses with halitosis.

Cuss on the bus if you must.

Few in the pew to ever review.

Crucify is a dirty bird.

Declared sacred, a holy word

It stinks to high heaven

Come on, Mama, roll me a seven

Talk is cheap, lies are deep

Arguing a word is so absurd

Is the Pope Catholic? I wouldn’t know

Give a damn–nice to grow

You can watch your tongue

I will look for need

For when the hymn is sung

The Savior does still bleed

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Untotaled: Stepping 46 (February 14th, 1969) The Pain in Pleasure… December 20, 2014

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(Transcript)

Her name was Belinda.

She was about two rungs down the ladder of popularity from me, promoted by the horrendous high school caste system.

She liked me a lot.

I liked her, but of course, I would never go against the feudal structure of High School U. S. A., to ask her out on a date. I would never survive the ridicule and humiliation.

But I got lonely around Valentine’s Day.

My dad was sick and dying. One of the guys in our music group quit because his girlfriend thought he was taking too much time with us, and I had no idea whatsoever on what geometry was all about.

So I quietly asked Belinda out on a date, hoping that because she was so devoted in my direction, there might be some necking involved. She was one of those farm girls, raised on Bible principles, but was willing to renegotiate some of the terms on a Saturday night.

I wanted to neck.

I had kissed girls, but had never sustained long sessions of smooching and my curiosity had overtaken me. So I selfishly decided to take advantage of poor Belinda.

She was thrilled and promised not to tell anybody about our date because I told her we “needed to see how it worked out.”

I took her to a drive-in movie, which in 1969 was code for “we’re gonna mess around.”

It took me nearly thirty minutes to work up the courage to put my arm around her, and then I was afraid to move it and therefore contracted some horrible cramps in my muscles, which continued through the entire evening.

It was easy to get her to start kissing. She had thin lips so the first couple of times I got mostly teeth. But after a minute or so we got the hang of it, and she started slipping her tongue in my mouth, which was relatively new to me.

Adapting the phrase, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” I concluded, “When in France do as the French do.”

We were about ten minutes into the session when I realized that one of us had really stale breath. It wasn’t really horrible–that dried smell of garlic baloney and over-chewed gum.

I persisted.

She really got into it–so much so that she unbuttoned her blouse, inviting me to see how “alive the hills really were.”

I thought about it. After all, I was a teenager. Morals were something to discuss at church and feverishly avoid in your everyday life.

But something stopped me.

Maybe it was the ache in my bicep. Or it could have been the halitosis.

But I backed out of the encounter, tongue first.

I took her home. She wondered what was wrong. She practically pleaded with me to see her again. And rat that I was, I went mousy and never spoke to her.

It was an odd night.

Rather than feeling fulfilled, I felt like I had used another human being, who would suffer some pangs from the experience.

It sucked.

I did learn, though, that there is some pain in pleasure.

The reason most people never pursue their goals is because along the way, there are some shards of glass strewn in the pathway which either need to be avoided or walked over.

If life was easy, dumb people would rule the world.

Well, maybe they do.

But life isn’t easy. With every pain comes some pleasure, and the pleasures that arrive our way do require that we survive a bit of discomfort.

 

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Jesonian: Fire, Wind and Water … July 13, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PentecostFire, wind and water–the three ingredients of the Day of Pentecost.

It was the appointed time in the history of human kind when God once and for all infused His spirit inside our spirit, to create what He hoped would be a spirit of revival.

  • The fire–the spoken word through our tongue.
  • The rushing mighty wind, displaying the power of God.
  • And the water of baptism, to wash away the enormity of sin.

But you see, this all just sounds like a sermon–the kind of clever parallels that ministers and theologians put together in the privacy of their “den of simplicity,” to try to impress congregations with a bit of insight to mingle with their devotion to God.

Honestly, it’s just too religious. Truthfully, it bores.

Because if you get fire, wind and water out of order, nothing is effective.

To lead with fire–or talking–burns everybody up.

Too much wind of religious practice blows out the fire, leaving just a hint of smoke.

And water can just drown us, dousing everything so that it’s impossible to ignite the flame.

What I would like to do is take the religion and holiness out of all this speak and instead, make it clear exactly what it means to be Jesonian, a follower of Jesus, instead of a generic Christian–one who reveres Christ.

HandBecause if the ideas of Jesus of Nazareth did not set us free by offering truth, but were just another path of righteousness, then perhaps the notion that one well-beaten path is as good as another would be well-founded.

But Jesus didn’t come to start another religion. He came to generate a reasonable and transferable lifestyle.

So here’s the real fire:

No one is better than anyone else.

These words set ablaze all the prejudice, superiority, self-righteousness and arrogance that exist in our world, and purge the forest of misunderstanding.

Here’s the wind:

Find out what you can do and do it well.

After all, just speaking, promising, blustering and preaching don’t carry any mighty effect. But the confidence you gain by realizing that you have a talent and purpose, and then multiplying that ability to the point where you believe you can do it well, creates a breeze of creativity and hope to those around you.

And the water:

Get what you need out of life and then share the balance with everyone else.

Life is neither about fasting nor is it about hoarding. It is about securing the air mask on your own face before you try to help others breathe.

It is knowing exactly what satisfies your soul and not feeling the need to have more–or less–but if you do have more, strategically getting rid of it to the souls that God sends your way.

The Jesonian lifestyle is realizing that the power of God is in the fire, the wind and the water. But rather than teaching about it figuratively, we go out and speak and live that “no one is better than anyone else” as we find out what we can do, discover opportunities to do it well, and in the process get what we want–and give away the rest.

It is why I am a follower of Jesus. Every other philosophy and religion deals in too much symbolism.

These three abide.

These three can change our world.

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A Lying Tongue… August 29, 2012

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So I decided to count.

I took yesterday morning and focused on the number of times that I told fibs in the course of a three-hour period. Even though I was alerted to the scrutiny, at the end of my little session, I had to admit that I actually told three untruths. Isn’t that amazing? Even when I was aware that a spotlight was being put on my language, I still ended up producing a bit of dishonesty.

Why?

After all, it is one of those seven thing that God hates. It says right there in Proverbs that He just really despises “a lying tongue.” And the reason He does is because a lying tongue is always located just beneath “a proud look.” Every little piece of pride that we manufacture to justify our present form of behavior has to be backed up by a series of lies to keep it going and real. And even though pride displays arrogance, it is a symptom of insecurity–and insecurity is why we all lie.

I’m sure there are people who stretch the truth because they just enjoy deceiving others, but most occasions for a lack of candor have something to do with the fact that we are ashamed of our truth and at least want to embellish it and make it look prettier.

It was a great exercise for me. I am one to extol the value of “telling it like it is,” yet when it’s time for me to do that into the mirror or into the face of adversity, I am just as prone to escape to the “little white something-or-other.”

God hates a proud look. We talked about that last week. And because of the necessity of reinforcing that over-blown image, it becomes necessary to lie.

Politicians lie all the time–not because they are immoral by birth. It’s because they find themselves needing to make promises when such proclamations are ridiculous and impossible. Thus, lies.

So a proud look breeds a lying tongue and a lying tongue exists because we have selected pride instead of simply standing behind the evidence of our fruitfulness. If you are going to be able to escape the pride that is born of ego, which leads to a lying tongue, you will need to come to three very specific personal conclusions:

1. It’s okay to be less than what people want me to be. Most of us become mentally imbalanced because we’re trying to live up to an expectation from other people which they, themselves, neither live nor pursue. If every person who was moral was truly moral, then morality might seem to be a good banner for a campaign for a better society. But the people who claim to be moral are always exposed for some of the greatest immorality. We should not rejoice over their failures, but we should be forewarned that arrogance leads to deception and lying, which always culminates in exposure.

I know that my family and friends hoped that I would be famous and rich. That was never meant to be. I have a message, not a product. If I had merely a product, I could hone in on it and make sure it was perfectly adjusted and fine-tuned to the tastes of the society around me. But having a message, I must be sensitive to history, reality and truth, and therefore, I do not gain immediate acclaim. I decided early in life that I would rather share a message that actually transforms human thought than produce a product that merely panders to it. So to me, it’s okay to be less than what the people around me want me to be. I don’t have to lie about the fact that I don’t have a college education–I can be honest that what I am is the by-product of what I have experienced, the sweat of my struggle and the blessing that God has given me by His grace.

2. Stop thinking about the right thing to say and test-drive honesty. The reason I use the phrase “test-drive” is that at first, you may only be able to say it in a room by yourself, then maybe to one other person who loves you. But eventually you have to be candid. It takes practice. It took me a long time to admit I was fat and not terribly attractive without either having a tear come to my voice or looking around the room for someone to contradict me.

Test-drive honesty. Start today. If you don’t, you’ll get behind the wheel of your life and steer yourself right into the ditch–and the ditch always involves some form of lying.

3. And finally, don’t wait to be attacked. Beat your critics to the punch. In the pursuit of self-esteem, we seem to have lost the power of self-deprecation.  If I notice my weaknesses before my adversaries are able to turn them into a slide-show, I retain the power. If my weaknesses are ignored by me and divulged by those who have less concern for my well-being, I am at the mercy of public opinion. If you want to know who I am and you haven’t figured it out by reading my jonathots, just ask me. Or for that matter, spend twenty minutes around me, and in that length of time you will know my weaknesses and my strengths.

The reason we lie is that we are protecting our pride. The reason we’re proud is because we are somewhat insecure that what we believe is really going to win the day. That’s as simple as it gets. So every politician who lies is really attempting to protect his or her pride, which means they are insecure about what they are telling us they are capable of achieving. See what I mean?

I am going to tell you the four things I can do. This is the truth, as far as I know.

1. I can fail. Even when my feet are set in the direction of prosperity and an inclination towards good, the luck of the draw or time and chance can withhold my reward.

2. I am not what you want me to be. I know that will disappoint you at some point or another. I apologize. Yet I need you to know that my job is not to please you, but to find a way to please myself enough that the love sprouting from my innards can be expressed to the world around me.

3. I am not satisfied with my talent. No–it is not enough for me to do what I am doing. Rather, I gain a sense of passion by multiplying my gifts, and in so doing, define what it really means to be a human being.

4. I am not better than anyone else. If you have seen people do stupid things, please understand that I am equally capable of the achievement. If you’ve seen folks excel, please allow me to opportunity. NoOne is better than anyone else. We have built a nation on that principle. Yet we manifest our American hypocrisy by departing from it whenever we want to extol our conservative nature or uplift our liberalism.

There you go–God hates a lying tongue. He hates it because it comes out of a proud look. God is not mean, He just doesn’t want His people to be so insecure that they have to be prideful and end up lying about it.

Are you ready to be vulnerable, so that you don’t have to be caught with your pants down? Let’s be honest–when you’re caught with your pants down, lying just won’t help.

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Kiss Off … May 23, 2012

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I’ve mulled it over and I’ve decided it is NOT because I’m getting old. It could be that I have an unnecessary preoccupation with evaluating things instead of just accepting them at face value. And speaking of face, what I’m talking about here is kissing.

Kissing should always be considered a positive experience–and perhaps this is why I’m so confused with the reputation that the word “kiss” seems to have acquired over its journey from Eden until now.

French Kiss

French Kiss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After all, we have the “kiss of death,” which is a way of marking someone for extinction while expressing possibly a bit of remorse over their demise.

“Kiss and tell”–for those people who enjoy showing slides of their vacation much more than actually traveling.

The title of this essay–“kiss off”–which is more or less the personification of a “Dear John” letter.

Most dastardly of them all may be “kiss my *****” … where some distasteful body part not normally associated with smooching is inserted for an angry effect.

Oh–and I almost forgot to mention KISS–a rock and roll band that religious people told us worshipped Satan (which only confirmed to us that the devil had all the good rock).

How did the word get such bad publicity?? I have some theories. Although kissing has many pleasant overtones, there are certainly some minefields in the experience which we normally don’t speak of because we nervously hope they will go away. But we at jonathots are not afraid of such minor peccadilloes. So let me name the six things about kissing that plague our minds:

  1. Bad breath. When I watch a movie and see people roll over in the morning and kiss, I have to wonder if someone had the intelligence to slip a mint into the mouth. Nothing can ruin a good kiss more quickly than bad breath. Perhaps you can rile up your passions enough to overlook it, but still–in the back of your mind, you are constantly trying to retrieve the flavor of mint.
  2. French kissing. There’s nothing wrong with it–but somewhere along the line, we have convinced a whole generation or two that real, romantic “interfacing” does not occur unless the tongue joins the party. Even Republicans, who normally don’t like anything from the French, prescribe to this particular approach as being superior. Here’s my thought. Sometimes a tongue is just a tongue, but a lip is ALWAYS a lip. (He who has an ear, let him hear.)
  3. Speaking of lips–then there’s lip size. I remember when I was thirteen years old, I was frightened to death that my lips were too big. I had no basis for this terror inciting my soul to near seclusion, and if I had possessed any understanding about the art of kissing, I would have comprehended–the bigger the lips the better the landing strip. Because thin lips can leave you placing your greatest affection on teeth–and although the sentiment remains, the stimulus, at that point, departs.
  4. Then there’s the length of the kiss (which is very similar to Number 5–who pulls away first?–so let me put them together.) Perhaps that’s why the beauty of the first kiss is always extolled by the poets. It is so terrifying that no one is concerned about longevity or has a stopwatch to confirm the barometer of passion. But after a while, when you’ve been with someone, this does become an issue. Matter of fact, it can even be a competition. I’ve even seen kisses which have lost their oom-pah continued, simply out of stubbornness over the individual parties refusing to be the first one to leave the premises. You would think a kiss would have a certain life of its own and there would be a common awareness of when to just let the thing go–but no. Matter of fact, there are many couples who have had long discussions about how “they know the other person doesn’t love them anymore” because their kiss is abbreviated or in some way less than explosive. (There was even a silly song from the sixties that said you could tell a man loved you because “it’s in his kiss.”) There’s enough insecurity in romance without feeling the pressure of the Olympic trials and needing to break some sort of record. Some kisses are long; some kisses are short. Some kisses are awkward; some kisses are memorable. Kisses should never be critiqued. They should be viewed the same way you do when you look at a picture done by your three-year-old as he explains to you that it really IS a horse and not just four brown lines on the paper.
  5. Covered above.
  6. And the final problem with kissing–the peck. Matter of fact, it can cause a peck of trouble. After people have been in a relationship for a long time, they still feel the need to kiss, but it has degraded to this brief brushing of the lips against each other, which barely allows time for puckering. It’s so dumb. People are prideful about it. “He didn’t kiss me good-bye …” “She left without kissing me …” Come on, now. Is a peck really even a kiss? And what does it communicate other than the fact that we are getting old and we might just be afraid that if we pushed any harder with our lips we might break our teeth?

So even though I’m a great advocate of kissing, I am not afraid to discuss the need for improvement. And I must warn you that to ignore the pitfalls of life assures you that you will spend some time in the ditch.

So here’s to kissing. May it ever endure–but let us not be afraid to expose our preferences and our indifferences on the issue. Because if kissing is going to survive into future generations, it will need to be given proper scrutiny. Otherwise, we will eventually think that romance is just “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am.” I don’t know about you. That would leave a bad taste in my mouth, leading to bad breath, which, as I told you earlier, may be the greatest guaranteed kiss off of all.

  

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And Then I Woke Up — October 3, 2011

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It was weird.

I had this dream and it was really quite bizarre. I normally don’t share my dreams with you; it is not my intention in jonathots to oppress you with my repressed feelings. But this was so unusual that I felt I had to include it in today’s offering–I think mainly because it seemed so real.

Anyway… in this dream I set up my equipment in a church and was getting ready to present my program when this minister walked into the room. I think he was carrying some fruit. (Anyway, I digress.) But he walked in and told me there was a lady who was upset with my book, Twenty Other Reasons to Kiss a Frog, because, in her opinion, it was full of sexual innuendo.

I remember thinking, in my dream, “Oh, he’s probably just joking with me.” But when he didn’t laugh, I realized he was serious. So I asked if he had read the book.  He told me no, but that this lady had skimmed it and decided it was inappropriate. In my dream I asked him to have her come and talk to me because I was curious about what she had found to be … well, let’s say, sexual … in my little comedy book about frogs and their feelings. (I should have remembered the advice given to me by my good friend, Jesus, who said, “Don’t tell stories or try to be funny… they’ll crucify you.” Naturally, I didn’t listen to that good counsel, so here I was with my little book, which has been all over the country, purchased by tens of thousands of people who have laughed their way to inspiration, to only now discover that it has hidden messages of a  promiscuous nature.)

Then, in the dream some time faded and the next thing I knew there was this woman standing in front of me in the room, explaining me that the chapter in the book which jokes around about the length and stickiness of a frog’s tongue, was evil and filled with language that was too sexual for children. I was immediately shocked, because I have actually sold the book to children and realized that I was possibly propagating sexual perversion amongst youngsters.

I explained to her that it was in good fun and humor, paralleling the plight of a frog with the journey of human beings, as we discover how to use the gifts God has given us more effectively instead of complaining about how we came out.  She didn’t listen, intent on making sure that everyone knew I had written a book that was peppered with all sorts of innuendo and darkness.  It was really weird–I wrote a funny book about frogs, spirituality and how we all can do a little bit better if we try.  This woman was convinced it was Hustler magazine.

I was about to make another point to her when I looked over and she had suddenly disappeared–and then all at once I woke up.  I shuddered, quickly got out of my bed, dressed and went to the morning performance at the church. We talked about loving each other, laughing at ourselves and how Jesus wants us to have good cheer in our lives.

The people were wonderful. The pastor was a sprightly, intelligent fellow with great hopes for the future.  And–no frogs were harmed during the presentation. It had all just been a bad dream.

But just to make sure, I wrote it down today for you to read–because I guess all dreams come from somewhere, as either memories or warnings. And this one got me to think. They say that in our dreams we are every character.  So maybe I was that woman in the dream. Maybe I am sometimes too critical of things I don’t totally understand. After all, none of us have to accept everything we see or like everything we hear. Yet we don’t need to be sour or mean about it.

Yes, maybe the dream was about me. Maybe I was that angry woman, growling at myself for not being more tolerant of other people’s choices. For after all, we live in a great country where we don’t have to hurt one another or scream at each other or even accuse each other to make a choice of our own.

If we don’t like something, we can just use a magical phrase–a spiritual blessing instead of a curse. Yes, the woman in my dream (who by the way, was probably me) could just have turned and said about my book, “Not for me.  But God bless you.”

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

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

 

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