Catchy (Sitting 65) Just As I Am… September 9th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Matthew sat quietly in the rental car he had selected at the airport, having arrived early for a meeting with Milton Crenshaw–one he promised Jubal he would cover.

As he sat on the narrow thoroughfare winding through the trailer park leading to Crenshaw’s mobile home, he watched with great curiosity as a mama duck led her four babies across the road. She was so damn organized.

He suddenly felt very stupid because he envied her. She was just a duck–but she had a family. Matthew had no “honey” and no “sonny.” Just himself and a nice rental car. Oh–and of course, there was that little thing of being saved by his old friend, Michael Hinston and being given a second chance via a liver transplant.

Matthew knew he was an ungrateful son-of-a-bitch, but that didn’t make him any more thankful. When Soos called him that morning and told him it had been a hundred days since anyone had heard from Jo-Jay, he was concerned–but not engaged.

Likewise, it had been seven days since anyone had heard from Carlin Canaby. Matthew investigated, and discovered that Carlin had turned in all his rental properties and checked out of his suite at the Las Vegas casino. He was nowhere to be found.

Jubal felt that he should take over some of Carlin’s duties, so he asked Matthew to take the weekly meeting with Milton.

Matthew had been very reluctant. There was no real reason for it. Well, he didn’t like trailer parks. Or old men. And he wasn’t particularly fond of fat people–especially if they were “preachers of the Gospel.”

Overall, he just felt ill-suited for the task. However, the ducks completed their journey across the road, so Matthew decided it was time to go meet Mr. Crenshaw. Like a boy called to the dinner table on broccoli night, he took his time, dragging his feet. He trudged to the door, knocked, and a voice from inside bellowed, “Come on in. It’s open.”

Matthew stepped through the door. Sitting in a wheelchair was a big fat man with a grin. The fellow reached out a hand and Matthew took it. He then offered Matthew a seat. Matthew sat down and declined coffee, breakfast and water–he wasn’t staying long.

Milton waited for a moment and then realized that Matthew had no intention of starting the conversation. So he launched. “You’re a talkative one, aren’t you?”

“No disrespect, sir,” answered Matthew, “but you’re a stranger to me and I’ve never been particularly fond of strangers…”

Milton interrupted. “Especially big fat ones that preach the Gospel, right?”

Matthew was taken aback by the bluntness, but managed to reply, “Oh, no. Nothing like that…”

“So are you tired?” asked Milton.

“My flight wasn’t that long,” began Matthew.

Milton interrupted again. “I’m not talkin’ about your damn flight. I’m just wondering if you’re tired of dodging and trying to escape the obvious.”

“What is obvious?” asked Matthew.

“What is obvious?” mulled Milton. “Well, how about this? We’ve tried for several hundred years to live in a world where everyone is allowed to believe anything they want to, do anything they want to, and even form governments around that thinking, without any objection.”

“That’s what they call freedom,” inserted Matthew.

Milton laughed. “‘Freedom’s just another word, for nothin’ left to lose.’ That’s from Bobby McGee.” He peered at Matthew and added, “I’m sure thqt was before your time.”

Matthew sat up in his chair and stated, “Well, if it’s conversation you want, and you want it to be honest, I would just love to receive this report I’m supposed to collect and get the hell out of here.”

Milton smiled. “Well, I see you have some backbone. That’s good. So you want my report? Here’s my report. I’m sitting in a room with a man who has been blessed–who is so ignorant that he feels he has the God-given right to question the logic of the universe. How’s that for a report?”

“I don’t like you, Mr. Crenshaw,” said Matthew. “And it’s not because you preach the Gospel or because you are heavy-set.”

“You mean fat?” Milton interrupted.

“Your word,” countered Matthew. “It’s not because of that. It’s because you’ve eye-balled me ever since I walked in, as a potential conquest for your ego-stroking evangelical need to save the world, one damnable sinner at a time.”

Milton lurched back in fake horror. “Oh, my God! I don’t want you to get saved! Then you’d be my brother in Jesus and we might have to work together! I’m just pointing out that you find yourself to be so intelligent and erudite–yet the obvious continues to escape you.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. What is the obvious?” asked Matthew.

“I didn’t say I’d tell you,” replied Milton. “I don’t usually waste my time sharing valuable information with those who are determined to be ignorant.”

Matthew stood to his feet. “And I’m not accustomed to hanging around to be insulted. I’ve had enough of this. I’ll just tell Jubal that it was great and you were super-fine. How’s that?”

“Sit down,” demanded Milton. Matthew didn’t move.

“Please,” added Milton with some tenderness. Against his better judgment, Matthew sat back down.

Milton paused. His demeanor changed.

“My dear friend,” he began gently, “if the human race does not find a common cause, a common kindness and a common appreciation, we’re just gonna fuckin’ kill each other. I hope you don’t mind me using that word. I don’t very often, but sometimes it’s the only one that grants correct emphasis on the desperation and futility of a situation.”

Matthew jumped in. “My problem with you is not that you say ‘fuck.’ My problem with you is that you’re a big, fat fuck.”

Milton laughed. He roared. He slapped his chubby thigh and he rolled his wheelchair closer to Matthew.

“That I am,” he said. “Do you know why?”

Matthew shook his head.

“It’s because while you deliberate two inches of rope to determine its strength, the world is hanging itself by the remaining length. Please understand–I don’t follow Jesus because I’m a religious man. Hell, I had a porn addiction at one time in my life. I had to fight it off like crazy. I’m not a good man; I’m not a pure man. Morality is not my primary concern. It’s common sense. You see, the reason they killed Jesus of Nazareth is because he was sensible. And the reason the church today does not preach Jesus is because it’s afraid their people will not tolerate the simplicity of ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ It’s much easier to play the organ, the guitar, preach the sermon and feign worshipping the heavens with candles and eucharist. But meanwhile, the world keeps dividing into smaller and smaller groups. And the smaller the groups are, the more dangerous they become. Organization becomes easier. You see, it would take China months–maybe years–to get agreement to destroy the world from all its various leaders. But sixteen fanatics in a garage in Syria, with a dirty bomb, could pull off tragedy before the weekend.”

“If we don’t come up with a common message–a common goal, a common sense–we will kill each other. And you see, Moses won’t do it–he believed in killing. As did Mohammed, Buddha and all the religionists throughout history. Jesus never killed anyone. He never recommended it. He said God is your Father, nature is your Mother, I am your brother, and the whole world are your cousins.”

“If that message doesn’t permeate our society in the next twenty years, we will have diminishing results, which will end up in a foolish decision to prove some asinine point.”

Matthew was stunned, but didn’t want to act like it. “What gives you the right, Mr. Crenshaw, to make decisions for everyone in the world?”

Milton leaned forward and said, “What gives you the right, young man, to deny that the decision has already been made, the price has already been paid–and all that remains is for each one of us is just to walk into the wisdom of loving one another and being kind and tender-hearted?”

Matthew laughed. “And you think you’re kind and tender-hearted? You think the way you treated me this morning is the spirit of love? If your attitude is Jesus, then you can stick the motherfucker right back up on the cross as far as I’m concerned.”

“Very dramatic,” said Milton. “I can see why they asked you to take on this mission. You have the power of your convictions even when they’re wrong. You started out your life–you wanted to be funny. You are funny. You wanted to have your own business. You do. You wanted to be successful. You are. You wanted money. God knows you got that. You wanted people to look up to you. Accomplished. Yet you sat in your casino suite and nearly drank yourself to death. How gentle do you think I should be with such arrogance?”

All at once Matthew broke. It really wasn’t anything Milton had said. It wasn’t a conviction from the challenge. But tears filled Matthew’s eyes. Not the usual weeping, where he conjured self-pity over some perceived injustice to his character. These tears were coming from another place, out of his control, streaming down his face, though he willed them to cease.

Matthew wept. Then he sobbed. And then he cried out, “Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”

Milton backed up his wheelchair and turned away to give Matthew a private moment.

Matthew was moved–but angry at the same time. He didn’t want to be some common, everyday sinner, repenting and weeping over evil actions. He hated himself for being weak.

But none of that stopped the tears.

Quietly, Milton spoke–nearly under his breath. “Just as I am, and waiting not, to rid my soul of one dark blot. Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me.”

Through a gushing of tears, Matthew squalled, “Why did they kill him?”

Milton paused and turned slowly to Matthew. “Because they foolishly thought it would stop him.”

This brought an even greater torrent of mourning. Milton eased his wheelchair over and put his arms around Matthew, who laid his head on the old man’s chest and cried like he had lost everything.

No one hurried the moment. No one spoke again. Neither Milton nor Matthew knew exactly what it all meant.

Yet something was different.

 

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Good News and Better News … March 26th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3623)

I was honored to spend a week high in the mountains of Colorado with friends. It was many years ago, when I was traveling all over the country, pretending I was significant and well-known.

Although I was grateful for the invitation, within the first 48 hours I realized that the altitude was making me uneasy. It was a weird sensation.

I was breathing but it seemed I wasn’t getting enough oxygen. It made my backbone tingle with apprehension. I couldn’t sleep because I was a bit frightened that I was breathless, even though there was no evidence of that fact.

The air was too thin–at least, for me.

When I finished the visit and descended, I immediately lost all my symptoms and felt like I was actually getting air into my body. It was markedly different.

Emotionally and spiritually, I feel much the same way in our country today. I am still getting some respiration to my heart and spirit but it is not a sensation of breathing. It’s more like suffocating. The climate is too thin with substance to sustain any of us.

Human beings are not complicated–if you think they are, you should go back to the drawing board and view their inception.

Humans require two distinct pieces of input:

1. To be inspired

That means the things that come into our lives should enrich us. Even if we find them challenging, we should be fully aware that our experiences are lifting us up on the shoulders of new possibilities. There is no replacement for this.

What we are given in our culture is a warped representation of reality, which we are supposed to accept as inevitable evidence that human beings are nothing more than animals. It is demeaning. It leaves us gasping for hope.

2. To be entertained.

By entertainment I am referring to finding joy in what we do instead of trudging along in an “adult life” which is predetermined to be problematic.

It is the joy of the Lord that’s our strength. Even though weeping may come into our lives, it should not endure. There should be an awakening every morning, to fresh ideas.

We are not allowed to be entertained anymore, but instead, overwhelmed. The powers that be tout that we are in the “information age,” but the data provided is rarely uplifting, but instead, debilitates us with the wickedness of the world around us.

Just as I had to escape the thin air to be able to breathe again, it is the responsibility of sane men and women everywhere to refuse the inadequate sniff of experience being proffered as truth.

The good news is that we are human beings, and therefore we need to be inspired and entertained.

The better news is, the God who created us sent His son to tell us to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad.”

 

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G-Poppers … September 9th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sometimes G-Pop forgets.

He is suddenly overwhelmed by the nasty, cantankerous, mostly-cloudy conclusions, and then drenched in the negativity.

Weathering the storm.

What G-Pop forgets is that there are two worlds: the world around him and the world of his undertaking.

It is so easy to get trapped into believing that significant change can be accomplished by arguing, fussing, preaching or evaluating the lives and actions of eight billion other people.

But we’re all human. We want everything, everywhere, to be just fine. And by “just fine,” we mean “to our liking.”

There is only one world. It is the world where we live and have some sense of contribution.

But to keep on that straight and narrow of wisdom, G-Pop realizes that certain ideas need to be honored on a daily basis:

1. No one is better than anyone else.

Even if you have information to the contrary or discover evidence which contradicts such a noble notion, be intelligent enough to ignore it.

2. Don’t judge anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Even if you feel you have the backing of eternity or a stack of holy books, laugh at your inclination to be superior.

3. Stop thinking big.

It sets your mind to enormous expectation which causes the smaller opportunities to escape your vision. Life is not about a magic wand which causes dreams to appear, but rather, a pile of bricks, which we put in place one at a time.

4. Laugh.

It’s better than crying, and even if weeping comes for a season, be prepared for it to turn into giggling. Taking things seriously only puts you in serious trouble.

5. Don’t stop believing, but don’t rely on it.

Believing has an unrighteous tendency to wait too long before determining to do something. If you want God to know that you believe, start working with what you already have.

You see, sometimes G-Pop forgets these things. The bickering causes him to become cynical, or worse, proud.

When G-Pop lives in his own world, change actually seems possible.

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Why-ny… March 19, 2013

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  • Why did this happen?
  • Why didn’t God do something?
  • Why me?

Common questions. Yes, common and permissible to ask–ONE time. If you persist in dribbling off these particular inquiries over and over again, you will soon be faced with a fourth “why”: why am I so alone?

Because even though we human beings are sympathetic about the above questions, after a very short time, our toleration disappears, and we look at people who continue to foster such aggravation as being “why-ny”–too many why’s.

It is a law of human nature–but I believe it is also a spiritual law. For a brief season we are allowed to reflect on our dilemmas IF at the end of that reflection we achieve a resolution. “Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” It is how we are hard-wired–and we are certainly not aided by anemic psychologists and theologians who insist that the above questions have no answers.

I am a very simple man with limited education, but I can assuredly tell you  the answer to each of the questions:

1.Why did this happen? It happened because we missed a warning sign. Maybe we ignored one. Maybe we were asleep at the wheel when the scenery told us that things were changing. But the true beauty of life is that things are evolving. And the true danger in life is that things are evolving. If you pay attention to the world around you, you usually end up escaping about seventy per cent of your difficulties.

2. Why didn’t God do something? This question only exists because we teach the ridiculous notion that “God has a plan for everybody’s life.” The Bible and all that’s sensible lets us know that human beings are free-will creatures. What God offers is a system called the natural order, which can be studied, learned and even manipulated, by the way, to our benefit. If you don’t want to study and you don’t want to learn, you will find yourself at the mercy of some aspect of these processes, lifting your hands to heaven, asking God to save you from your own lack of involvement. Once you understand that we are free-will creatures and that God has set in motion a magnificent universe of possibilities, then you will become a student instead of a victim and realize that God blesses by giving us wisdom.

3. Why me? It was your turn. I don’t know if you want to call it “luck” or refer to it as “time and chance,” but sometimes we are at the wrong place at the wrong time, which needs to happen to balance out the numerous occasions we celebrate being at the right place at the right time. Everybody takes their turn at the wheel. Sometimes that wheel is success and sometimes it’s adversity.

So how can we keep from being why-ny–constantly reliving our lamentations about the conditions in which we find ourselves? Here is a simple three-step process I recommend:

A. Love what is true. Don’t be afraid of the truth, even when it’s not favorable. It will swing around and STILL make you free.

B. Hope for something new. Never convince yourself that you’re stuck where you are–as long as you have enough talent to be multiplied by taking on fresh experiences.

C. Have faith in what you do. Trusting God is a good thing as long as you trust the part of God that’s in you, which is called your talent. God is unable to help anyone who thinks they are without resource. Keep doing what you do, even while you’re seeking for something new and loving what is true.

If you do this, you won’t find yourself “why-ny.”

If you don’t, be prepared to have lots of time on your hands to further commiserate … because no one will want to be around you.

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