We ARE in Kansas (anymore) … June 5, 2012


Terrain changes, but people don’t.

We are frighteningly alike–alike in the sense that our basic attitudes and needs are really quite run-of-the-mill–not nearly as individualized as we might portray. What am I looking in the state of Kansas? I am looking the same the same thing that I looked for in the states of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California and the many other states I have traveled through just this year. I am searching for a people–a people who will be willing to ask themselves four questions:

  1. Am I ready to feel?
  2. Do I follow what I personally believe?
  3. Can I increase my thinking?
  4. Will I do something new if it’s an improvement?

Kansas doesn’t have to look any further to understand the application of these four things than the spirit of their own favorite daughter–Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz. Although just a little girl on a farm, when she was whisked away by the wind into a magnificent, hallucinatory dream, she arrived with a heart was ready to feel. She had empathy for those around her; she was concerned. Although overwhelmed by the new world of Oz, she didn’t stand at a distance and call it odd. She jumped in to experience it.

But even though she was a “stranger in a strange land,” she continued to follow what she believed. She preached her prairie pride to the scarecrow, the lion and the tin man, trying to instill new promise for their lives. (Often the problem is not that people are following what they believe, but rather, that people do not adhere to their own beliefs, having become cynical. Yet they still promote them because they are trapped.)

Even though Dorothy had her own beliefs, when she was challenged by those around her and given new information by the wizard, she listened. She considered. Doggone it, she even mulled over it. There was no gate with a lock on the door to her brain blocking the entrance of fresh ideas. Because of that, she was able to navigate her way through this new world and return home, safe and sound.

And then, upon arriving back from her dream state, she’s a new girl. She has greater appreciation for the people around her. Her little revelation caused her to incorporate something new, because she perceived it was better.

There are really only two attributes in human beings that render us unattractive and sexless: nastiness and stubbornness. As you can see, they feed off of each other. Often people are nasty because they are stubborn, and continuing to be stubborn makes them defensive and nasty. Now, I’m not quite sure what to do when I get in front of a group of people who have decided to be nasty and stubborn. I see that they are bleeding out emotionally–and often all I can do is hand them a couple of aspirin and a cup of water.

But if they are ready to feel, follow what they believe, will consider increasing their thinking and will actually do something new–if it is improved–they are the salt of the earth.

That’s interesting. “Salt.” For I am in Salina, Kansas, and the word “salina” comes from the Latin word for “salt.” So what do I hope? I hope these fine folks will be the salt of the earth–filled with taste and flavor.

It’s all about being like Dorothy. When you find yourself in Oz, sit down for a spell … and hear what the wizard has to offer.


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

God for Dummies … March 21, 2012


There are some people who read the Bible who have never read anything else. There are those individuals who read the Bible mainly to find contradictions and pieces of nastiness to confirm their own lack of belief. There are some who peruse the volume for moments of comfort and reassurance. And there are a handful who use it as a way to express their supremacy over assumed less fortunate infidels.

May I make something clear? The Bible is not a book about God. Matter of fact, it may be one of the most inefficient places to actually find God–unless you bring a heart that really wants to dig up the truth. The Bible is a six thousand-year journey, chronicling what men and women have thought about God in their present moment, commencing with Job, warts and all, and ending with John on the Isle of Patmos, having a funky vision.

So please do not think you can hand a Bible over to someone and assume you have done a magnificent job of leading him or her to God. If you will allow me, let me present God for Dummies.

The first thing I would suggest to anyone who wants to read the Bible and truly understand it, is that every time you come across the word “God” or “Jehovah or capital H for He, just insert the word “Love.” If after doing this, you discover that the passage doesn’t make sense–that love not could actually have performed the deed–then you have uncovered a juncture of time when people were evolving towards understanding instead of dwelling there.

For instance, “For Love so loved the world that Love gave His only begotten son.” You see? That makes sense.

It all makes sense as long as we have an updated definition of love. Love has three parts:

1. Committment. I am here and I’m not leaving, even if you have an ugly day.

2. Affection. I feel a connection with you and it has tenderized my heart to reach out and love you; and all my love does come with a hug.

3. And finally, honesty. If I see you doing something that is hurting you or destroying you, I will step in and try to help you get away from this piece of insanity. You see, if you don’t add honesty in, it’s not really love.

So I believe that God is committed to me. “Nothing can separate me from the love of Love (God).”

And I believe that He has great affection for me. “And Love (God) looked on what Love (He) had created in man and woman and said that it was good.”

But I also believe that God comes along and challenges me when I’m doing something stupid that is going to destroy my human experience. “And Love (God) chastises those Love (He) loves.”

So likewise, when you run across people who try to make God ignorant because He hates knowledge, or bigoted because He favors Jews over Gentiles, or mean because Sodom and Gomorrah had too many “queens,” or strict because the Ten Commandments weren’t suggestions after all, or vengeful–returning on a big, white pony to judge the quick and the dead and cast “‘dem bad boys into outer darkness” … you might just want to stop and realize that if He possessed any of those particular attributes, we all would literally be in a helluva lot of trouble.

Yes, in our understanding of God for Dummies, we must recognize that if a Supreme Being is picky at all, our chance for any kind of acceptance is dim. And honestly, do you really want to go and spend eternity with someone who kills little children, destroys whole races of people and thinks that certain clumps of humanity are abominations to Him and on top of that–doesn’t like shell-fish?

Sounds like a drag to me.

So as much as the fundamentalists would object to the fact that God is just love, I present to you that if He’s any other derivation, He is completely beyond our grasp or embrace. And therefore–what is the point?

Because if you think you’re reading the Bible and finding God, you are similar to someone who has completed Gone with the Wind and thinks they understand the Civil War, or someone who finished the Wizard of Oz and believes he is prepared to predict tornadoes.

God for Dummies is simple. When you see His name, insert “Love” in its place. If the conclusion of what is stated about Him in that particular passage doesn’t fall under the categories of commitment, affection or honesty, then let’s be candid–the writer just had a bad day.

Is it too child-like? Absolutely. I have never seen the process of complication transform any situation to a better status. Feel free to continue to read the Bible as long as you substitute the word “Love” every time you see “God.” It is not difficult to do and it will probably cause you to understand that certain verses, although important to the transition of discovery, have become obsolete–to be replaced by others that followed later with more understanding. Is the Bible divinely inspired? Count on it–because love inspires us on to greater realization, even when we’re going through dumb phases.

God for Dummies–just put “Love” where “God” is. For after all, even atheists need love.

And remember, where it doesn’t fit into being committed, affectionate and honest … just smile and turn the page.


Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.


Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.


Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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