Will It Play in (east) Peoria?… June 23, 2013

(1921)

play in PeoriaIt’s the question the old vaudeville troops used to ask whenever they were breaking in a new act: Will it play in Peoria?

In other words, does it have enough appeal to mainstream America to immediately make an impact and cause ’em to want to come back for more?

Well, vaudeville has come and gone. We live in the age of the reality show, the Internet, Twitter and instant gratification. So as I get ready to go to East Peoria First United Methodist Church this morning, I realize that the minds of the congregation are scattered over any number of issues and pursuits.

  • I could probably get a good laugh if I walked onstage and talked about Miss Paula Deen using derogatory names for her kitchen crew of Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima.
  • Somebody might think it was interesting if I talked about Exodus, International, agreeing to remove the pray and welcome back the gay.
  • How about this for a headline? World War Z is panned by movie critics as F.
  • Or we just experienced the first day of summer, which officially allows us to complain for a season about the heat we prayed for in January.

Yes, I suppose any one of those would raise an eyebrow, produce a chuckle or evoke some chatter. But that’s just not the way of the gospel. The gospel is good news.

So to give it, the first thing you have to do is have a story. I learned a long time ago that you’ve got to do some living before you start giving. People get tired of hearing you talk about Moses and the Apostle Paul. They’d really like to see somebody stand in front of them who’s alive and well–who can give a story about how it works today.

So that’s the second thing I’ll do. I’ll share my story. And you know how I’ll do it? I’ll talk “people,” not “steeple.” I’m not going to try to impress folks with a demonstration of pronouncing all the cities in Asia Minor on Paul’s second missionary journey. I’m going to speak the words that are common to my life and enriching to the ears of my audience.

And then I’m going to make a story. I’ll reach out into the lives of those folks I meet, who might think we’re strangers, and turn the whole event into an experience. I’m going to have a hope that our faith will sprout some love.

Because without that, church is not only repetitious, it’s cruel to people who need an answer for their lives that is understandable, and not just some scripture verses that are meant to be comforting.

So I don’t know what the folks in East Peoria expect, but I have a story, I’m going to share a story, and I’m going to hug them around the neck and we’re going to make a story.

And I can guarantee you–it won’t just play in Peoria. It will resound all the way from earth … up to heaven.

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

******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below for a quick daily thought from Jonathan

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

******

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Smuggling Trifles … December 10, 2012

(1,725)

Jon Signing

Did you know that three out of four people believe that 75% of what they hear is true, but that one-quarter of the information is lies?

Stop. I just made that up to be funny. So don’t go off and repeat it.

I have to offer that warning because in no time at all, a little piece of misinformation can be transferred across the country, considered common knowledge, without anybody questioning it, challenging its veracity or even considering the source.

We had a whole political campaign this year based on a series of trifles with little evidence, but because they were reported as facts, characters were assassinated and reputations tainted.

In an age of information, it is important for each of us to take responsibility for what we hear and make sure it bears witness with our own experience.

For instance: “I pledge allegiance to the flag.” Really? Have you ever looked at the definitions of “pledge?” And “allegiance?” And what if the flag begins to represent a republic that is NOT indivisible, but still infested with the same conflicts we had during the Civil War? What if that nation we are pledging to is no longer “under God” and doesn’t offer liberty and justice for all?

How about liturgy in a church? Can we continue to recite words which are not only out of our present vernacular, but also beyond our comprehension?

Can you really go on the Internet and retrieve information which is at best dubious and at worst, malicious?

Can we have a generation out there which is beginning to speak to each other using snippets from movie lines and abbreviations from Twitter?

We are smuggling trifles–little pieces of nothing born in the imaginations of promotional-minded sales people–into our everyday lives and calling them “truth.”

So before you go off and say that I have attacked the Pledge of Allegiance, placed a curse on liturgy, or am an old codger who is against the Internet, realize that I am speaking of a blind faith which embraces any misconception simply because it has a little bit of thrill or controversy.

I have chosen a different path. Everything that comes through my personal doorway has to pass the test of my own experience and my own sense of well-being. So what do I know for sure?

  1. I feel better when I share my feelings.
  2. I find that God is much more possible and plausible when I’m out there helping others.
  3. My brain seems smarter when I chip away at my own cemented ignorance.
  4. I eat better, I live better, I look better and I am better.

There you go. My core. It is from that base that I begin to circulate into the vat of humanity, absorbing new ideas, new information and new opinions. Being open-minded does not connote that we have no ideals or goals. It just means that we’re seeking confirmation for the truth that’s already made us free.

We will continue to be confused as long as we believe that political parties, religion, corporations or even our culture is out for our good. It’s not that we need to reject these forces, but rather, we need to channel the trifles that come our way through the filter of a thoughtful heart, a discerning spirit, a reflective mind and a strong body.

If we do this, we can keep from being duped.

If we don’t? Duping is inevitable.

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

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: