Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 22) Thirty Days Has Remember… September 25th, 2016

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Reverend Meningsbee

One month passed.

It’s one of those phrases a writer inserts to move the story along. But they don’t really move. Stories must be evicted from the hovel where they huddle to escape progress.

Ten days after the “Old Time Religion Community Church” signed its incorporation papers in the living room of Sammy Collins’ home on a table near the fireplace, he was rushed to the hospital, red lights flashing. He had collapsed at work and everyone was certain it was a heart attack. The town was abuzz with gossip and prayer.

As it turned out, it was a ruptured gall bladder, and while he was having his personal rendition of that organ removed, it was discovered that he also had high blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

It was suggested he slow down.

Also within the month, a crumpled letter arrived in the mail at Matrisse’s house, postmarked Atlantic City, New Jersey. Inside was a note and a ten-dollar bill.

In her own words, Kitty attempted to explain to Matrisse that she was on an odyssey to find herself, which had taken her to the East Coast, and that she had found a job as a bartender at one of the casinos which had managed to escape bankruptcy.

Kitty said she was sorry and happy at the same time–because she missed her little Hapsy, but knew she was well taken care of, and until Kitty could find all her answers, she was probably better off separated from her growing daughter.

Also, about fifteen days into the “month of remember,” an article appeared in the local paper about Patrick Swanson and the church meeting at the Holiday Inn Express, entitled, “A Gathering for the Young Up-and-Coming Conservative.”

It seemed that Patrick had found his target market, as they say in the world of social media. Being interviewed by the local reporter, he explained that the congregation did not believe in gay marriage, government interference, and were certainly strongly against gender blurring. What they were interested in were young families who wanted to see the country return to its original glisten and gleam.

Then, seven days ago, a young boy named Alex Bachman arrived at school early, went into the lower portions of the building to the furnace room, threw a rope over the top of a pipe and hung himself.

He left a suicide proclamation. It read:

They said it would get better. It didn’t.

Reverend Meningsbee was called by the family and asked if he would be willing to conduct a memorial service at the church building, free of godly trappings, since the Bachman family was a non-religious group of people (what the average Nebraskan would call “avowed atheists”).

The family also wanted Meningsbee to be the moderator–yes, that’s the word they used–for the event, and to give a retrospective on the life of young Alex, ending with a positive message of humanity, and everybody departing to walk to the local park to plant three trees.

At first Meningsbee wanted to decline, offering his best wishes and regards, but then, in a moment of clarity, he realized there was no other place in town they could go for such a commemoration–and that opportunity never arrives resembling anything of what we really want.

So on a Saturday afternoon, with memories of a month full of Garsonville life racing through his mind, he drives to the church, on his way to a presentation which denies the importance of everything he believes.

What should he say?

What did he feel?

Maybe he should have studied more.

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Three Ways to Avoid Arrogance … July 24, 2014

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ThunderlipsIt’s always easy to identify the loser.

On a show like America’s Got Talent, you can always pick the ones who have absolutely no ability by how much they jabber about the quality of their gift, and also brag about winning the contest.

Yes, I will say it clearly: talent does not dissipate with age but certainly dribbles away with much-speaking.

It’s called arrogance.

Even though we live in a society which insists that a certain amount of self-confidence is necessary to get the job done, every single one of us despises another human being who touts his or her prowess.

With that in mind–fully aware that the herd of humanity will kick you out of the corral if you become too bossy–let’s look at three ways to avoid this nasty tendency for over-wrought boasting:

1. Never talk until you “do.”

Even if someone asks you about the extent of your work, always choose to demonstrate instead of becoming demonstrative in your language. Each one of us has a market value. Certainly, we have personal value to ourselves, our families and even to God. But our market value is what the other travelers on the road consider our attributes to be worth.

Let your light shine. Then you have a chance to be proven successful and rather than needing to bolster your own ego, you can be uplifted by others, and therefore choose an adequately humble response.

2. Don’t “do” without a story.

In other words, if you don’t have something to say or share, don’t jump into the race just so you can tell folks you were there for the running.

After all, is there anything more comical than a fat person saying they plan to start an exercise regimen tomorrow?

Or in my profession, I run across people who claim to be writers but have no daily output. Can you tell me a job you can do once a year and still be proficient at it?

Have a heart that can tap your experience that gives you a reason for what you do, which makes you precious to others.

3. Let the story bring the glory.

If you’ve got a good message and you’re sharing it with people who need a good message, then a better message will come out of it as proof of the value of your efforts.

It’s why Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them.”

  • Not their claims.
  • Not their degrees.
  • Not their position.
  • And not even their potential.

Does your story create another story which brings glory to the situation?

There you have it.

Anything you do to try to convince people of your quality before you do it is wasted time. Trying to do something without having experience and a goal of edifying is equally as annoying. And finishing up what you do without having an obvious experience for the common good is just aggravating.

Arrogance is where non-talented people go when they feel they can intimidate the audience into being appreciative.

 

 

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Wicked Imaginations … September 12, 2012

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She had heard it was a cut-throat business. It didn’t matter. Sandra Collier was determined to be a writer.

She’d possessed the aspiration ever since she was a small child and read her first Dr. Seuss book. She gained impetus pouring through the pages of Black Beauty, Red Badge of Courage, Moby Dick and even to some extent, the works of Faulkner. She loved to put pen to paper and ideas to stories.

She had one. A story, that is. She’d even taken it further than that–she had turned it into a manuscript, perhaps a novella. It was the tale of a young girl seeking love, who gave up on her hometown possibilities and flew to Paris to find romance and adventure, falling in love with a man who ended up being from her home town and grew up just two blocks away.

She let all of her friends and family read the story and everyone raved about the beauty, tenderness and joy of the unfoldings. There was one professor at a local community college who told her that the idea and concept seemed “generic.” Or maybe he said “derivative.” But she chalked his comments up to the disgruntled mumblings of a frustrated artist who ended up in academia.

Sandra Collier was determined to be a famous writer. So she sent her manuscript off to five different publishers, and approximately six weeks later received five rejection slips, only two containing personal notes, which cited that her offering was naive, childish and non-marketable. She was discouraged. Even though she didn’t expect immediate acceptance, she required it.

In one note, the publisher suggested that she pursue finding an agent to help her proliferate her talent in the New York publishing field, so she decided to take the advice, and in the process came across an agent who expressed some interest in her story. He invited her to come to his cabin in the woods in the upper peninsula of Michigan, to discuss possibilities on presenting her “prose to the pros.”

She was a bit hesitant. Her mother warned her of “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Not certain what that meant in the modern-day world of business, Sandra decided she was old enough to handle herself and set off to meet with her new comrade in arms.

Things went well. He made suggestions and they punched the story up a little bit while having great conversations about angles, advertising and even photo shoots. She was enamored. She began to feel like the heroine in her own story, who had gone off seeking romance–and found it.

So after a couple of days, when the agent made a slight advance her way, she put up no resistance. A love affair ensued.

Even though Sandra was not inexperienced, she was certainly ill-prepared. She fell head over heels, deep with infatuation for this knight in shining armor who was going to help her become the fair maiden of the book selling world. They left each other with a tender kiss and a promise that soon he would contact her with the first fruits of his labors in seeking out publication.

Two months passed. She placed calls. At first he cautioned her to be patient, but eventually he stopped returning her overtures. It was on the third Tuesday of the third month that she received a note in the mail. It was from him.  She was so excited. She opened up and read the words:

“Good-bye. Now that you’re disappointed, go write something true.”

Sandra couldn’t believe it. Literally, she felt that somebody was playing a joke on her, so she tried to call him. The number was changed and unlisted.

Sandra stopped pursuing writing. She decided that it was a childish dream of such unrealistic proportions that she was embarrassed to even admit she had ever pursued it. She met a man, she got married, she had two children. She took a job. Every once in a while, people would bring up a movie or book they had seen or read. She made a practice of leaving the room, refusing to participate in such creative nonsense.

She felt she was healed from her previous novice error. She felt mature. She felt wise. She thought the true essence of gaining knowledge was admitting that dreams were best kept in our nighttime beds. She was an advocate of realism. She was a person who refused to take risks and embrace any new idea that might offer the option of disappointment. She took the profile of a human being who had swallowed up life as it is, while rejecting happiness. After all, she mused, happiness is what we decide it should be.

Sandra Collier never became a writer. The world will survive. The problem is that Sandra never became happy.

In our time there is much talk about good and evil–a back and forth, see-saw discussion, rife with contradictions, accusations and half-truths. But identifying evil is not as difficult as it is made out to be in the movies, with priests chasing the demon-possessed through the darkened halls of castles. Evil is much simpler. Evil has only one goal–to convince disbelievers of its importance and equality, because it is much more realistic. Once the populace has nodded and assented, evil triumphs.

It is the essence of the fourth thing that God hates–a heart that devises wicked imaginations. When we feel that life has only having dismal possibilities, dark corners ormorose conclusions, we become useless to ourselves and a stumbling block to anyone who would love to progress a great idea.

God hates this particular surrender to the inevitability of failure, because it is a proclamation thatI am better than happy.” Evil is the proud stomping ground for the earth native who wants to pound the drum and scream that life is devoid of meaning. Evil is giving up before we even have considered whether any option might be fruitful. Evil is allowing our hearts to be filled with despair, and therefore our jaded consciousness determining our passion.

In the quest for realism, we have locked ourselves into a tomb of doom, where we nervously scratch our arms, stare off into the distance and lament the fate of humanity.

Sandra gave up. She didn’t kill herself, she didn’t become an alcoholic, she didn’t put the heroin needle in her arm, and she didn’t climb into a 1962 Chevy Impala and go around the country indiscriminately killing people. She didn’t even curse God.

She continued to be a mother, a wife, a church-goer, a worker and a member of her community–who just didn’t believe anymore. She became a victim, with a heart continually devising wicked imaginations. She believed she was better than happy. And because of that, she never found the stamina to succeed.

For it is the joy of the Lord that is our primal source of strength.

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My First San Diego… April 15, 2012

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We live our lives peering into a mirror instead of occupying a small, glass box, viewed as an experiment by a great white Father, King of the Cosmos.

What we do matters. What we decide is our own and therefore generates our own conclusions. We are not searching for God‘s will for ou lives, but rather, pursuing a plan that helps us uncover the will of God. I learned this early.

Matter of fact, arriving in California yesterday, it brought back memories of the first time I made the  journey to the Golden State. I was thirty-four years old. Even though I had crisscrossed the country many times in my twenties, I had never actually made it all the way to California, only achieving Washington and Oregon–nearby touchstones.

It was a journey with my family in a green utility van that finally brought me to San Diego, California. We didn’t know anyone, so we set out to try to establish some contacts with churches that might be interested in having in some vagabond troubadours. We found such a place. Arrangements were made and we drove out into the countryside of San Diego County, arriving at the church about an hour ahead of time so we could set up and prepare.

Traveling with me were my three sons. One of them had been in a hit-and-run car accident four years previously and was incapacitated and needed to be carried from place to place. The other two boys were fourteen and nine years old, and had recently begun playing instruments, creating our family band. It was the 1980’s, and they were kids and wanted to dress like kids instead of Jesuit priests. So at first glance, they looked like adolescent version of the Bee Gees. I saw nothing wrong with it. They wore leather pants (which were really plastic, since we couldn’t afford real leather) and glitter ties, which certainly made them look like Hollywood pimps.

I was so accustomed to seeing them dress this way that I didn’t give it a second thought. But upon arriving at the church, one of the young men–a leader in the congregation–greeted us and apparently became upset with how worldly my sons were adorned. Matter of fact, he took it upon himself to talk to the minister about asking us to leave and refusing to allow us to present our program. You see, I didn’t know this because the pastor of the church, being a man of character, decided not to cave in but to pursue his original decision to welcome us to the fold. No, it was AFTER the delightful evening of sharing in music, word and ministry, while out to dinner with the pastor, that he explained what had transpired.

We became friends. Over the next seven years, I returned to that church eight times to give my heart, soul and care to its inhabitants. Every time we came, the fellowship was richer and the experience deeper. Matter of fact, the young man who originally objected to our first appearance, nearly nixing our efforts, found himself in a time of need during one of our visits and I was granted the privilege of helping him reestablish his faith.

As I drove into California yesterday and arrived in San Diego, that story came back to my mind. For if we begin to believe that we have lost control of our lives and must merely react to propriety or the whim of loud voices around us, we sacrifice the greatest gift that human beings possess–the free will to redecorate until we get it right.

Yet caution has replaced experimentation; following the rules is more important than creativity and trying to find the elusive will of God often leaves us stagnant–in an attitude of indecision rendering us insipid at the point of contact. Yesterday I thought about what would have happened if that pastor so many years ago had given into the pressure and fear of one member of his congregation. We would never have had the friendship, the countless hours of fellowship–and we even would have lost the chance to help our critic find his peace in his hour of need.

So I don’t know what’s going to happen in San Diego, but I know this–it will be a mission of my own making and desire rather than tip-toeing through the tulips, hoping to never disappoint the distraught gardener.

It’s my life. I thank God for it. I welcome God into it.

I am prepared to surprise His Highness. 

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

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.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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.

Useless.

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.

Filmy… April 14, 2012

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I have concluded that naïve is the word we use to describe someone when our more courtly nature  restrains us from referring to them as “stupid.” So let me begin this essay today by being generous to myself and saying that I am often naïve. I make no apologies for it. Those who fear naivety often slide down the slope into the cesspool of “jaded.”

For instance, I was naïve at eighteen years of age when I thought I had the right to compose songs. I was equally as naïve when I moved to Nashville,Tennessee, assuming that the music industry would be enhanced and enriched by my presence. Can I be candid with you and tell you I was naïve to think that a man who wanted to make music could also fund the needs of four sons? I was very naïve when I went on the road with my family in 1984 to tour the country in a beat-up van that was barely suitable for utility trips to the junkyard. In 1996 I was naïve to consider writing symphonic music because I had just partnered with a dear lady who was more better acquainted with the downbeat than I was.

And in 2005, when my oldest son came to me talking about the movie industry and his desire to become more intricately involved in making independent films, I was very naïve to think I could write screenplays. Of course, I had written books; I had written stage plays. I had been involved in many video productions during my stay in Shreveport, Louisiana. I had been on the set of movies in the midst of my experience in Nashville,Tennessee. But there was a certain kind of audacious innocence that prodded me on—to embrace the notion that I was capable of writing a screenplay.

I purchased the Final Draft software, studied the format, read a few examples and then took an idea that I thought was going to become a novel, and instead, approached it as a script for a movie. It was a ferocious story—one that many of my friends of more tender conscience considered to be a bit risqué for a Christian writer.

(Before we go any further, let me make something clear. I am not a Christian writer. I am not even a writer who happens to be a Christian. The two callings are quite separate in my mind and each demands its own level of consecration. To be a Christian is to honor the lifestyle of Jesus of Nazareth, surnamed the Christ, and to hold fast to the principle that “NoOne is better than anyone else.” Being a writer is not merely an ability to put words on paper or even to form amazingly structured sentences. There are copy-editors who can always edit your work if, at the heart of the endeavor lies a great, truthful idea. Writers are not scribblers nor are they adventurers in adjectives and adverbs. They are people with a constant flow of ideas which never turns off, leaving them at the mercy of perpetual inspiration. Forgive my digression.) 

So I decided to take this story, which I entitled Lenders Morgan–named after a small fictional town in Southern Ohio–and transform it into a screen production. It was the fable of a girl corralled in this little burg, named Taylor Feazle. She was plagued by a bit of naivete of her own. When she was lured by an equally inexperienced boy from her town, who had personal demons of his own, into what started out as a playful flirt—the two lost children found themselves entangled in a web of adult mayhem.

It was an agonizing story to write, and there are those who would consider it impossible to receive. But I loved it. It was raw, real and filled with human character “gone awry,” which can potentially drop each and every one of us into the pit of the pathetic.

I finished writing the screenplay and as is often the case, it was much too short. So I jumped back in and wrote a couple more scenes that were delightfully enhancing and ended up with my first screenplay—and my first collaboration with my son and daughter-in-law. It won entrance to many film festivals.

Honestly, many of you reading my jonathots would probably not enjoy this movie. The movie industry that we are familiar with has fallen into two ridiculous syndromes: (a) Let’s write about something so extreme that people will be shocked into purchasing a ticket. Arriving at the theater, we will poach additional money off of them for candy and soft drinks.  (b) Let us write a story and then sterilize it so that it will be suitable for the entire family and won’t offend any group whatsoever. I must tell you that both of those approaches fail to deliver the kind of emotional impact that art is intended to produce.

In sharp contrast, I have four guiding lights I use when I find myself in the blessed position of constructing a story which will end up on the screen:

1. Truth on the inward parts. It’s what the Bible says God demands. It’s also what good writers must produce in order to continue their faithful journey. I can’t write trying to sensationalize my plot, nor can I write with any clarity when I attempt to spic-n-span my characters to please a Mr. Clean community. There’s truth—and truth comes from honoring your characters and letting them tell their own stories, leaving the conclusion to an unfolding provided for the viewer’s discretion.

2. Redeem whoever repents. I think it is  important in a movie to reward human evolution towards intelligence and maturity with the blessedness of redemption. I am sick of calling movies “realistic” because they focus on some obscure occurrence that might happen one time in a million, expanding its importance beyond any reasonableness. If my characters repent, they should be given redemption.

3. For those characters who do not transform, I feel it is my job as a writer to “let it play out” to a natural conclusion instead of involving angels and demons. Often the greatest curse a character can have is being forbidden to enter the “heaven on earth” that he or she desires.

4. And finally, I give all of my characters free will to determine their end and their means—just like real people. I hate it when a movie manipulates the ending to please the numbed senses of the populace. My endings are not a surprise; they’re just not predictable.

So I wish to thank God, my sense of naivety, my son and daughter-in-law, and the hundreds and thousands of people who have viewed my writing and been impacted by the message. It was a season of growth for me, when I allowed the sense of being a writer—and that is possessing an ever-flowing basket of ideas—to spill out on paper through the performances of aspiring actors and onto the silver screen.

I thought you might find it interesting. And if you didn’t, be grateful. It isn’t a continuing series.

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

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.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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.

Useless.

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.

Writer–not “Righter”–November 15, 2011

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She was so angry with me. Having purchased my book, Living a Legendary Life, she became incensed with Chapter 1, where I assert that it really doesn’t matter what we call God. We can even call him Larry as long as our deity teaches us to love people. She felt the concept I was putting forth was theologically incorrect and contained a bit of heresy.

I looked at her, bewildered–because I am not a theologian. I don’t even play one on television. Without being too critical, I don’t usually like to find myself in the company of such creatures. I am a writer–not a “righter.” It is my job to shed light upon subjects, and get people to think and feel again, instead of merely reacting within their denomination, political party or social structure’s platform of believing. Cleverness is my greatest tool, not necessarily accuracy. I am an observer of human behavior, not an explainer or controller.

It is my job as a writer, when things are not going well, to remind us of our better selves, and if necessary, chide us into believing that being human is a blessing rather than a curse.

I chose to be a writer because I never found that people who are trying to “right” all the wrongs in the world necessarily begin with a good agenda that would actually set the direction in a forward motion. It’s hard to be “right.” Not quite so difficult to write. Maybe that’s why I chose to be a writer instead of a “righter.”

Possessing a bit of laziness and unwillingness to attach a bibliography to everything I say, I have chosen a path where I can be erred and still be entertaining and enlightening. Do I occasionally discover things that are right as I write? Only God and time will prove that to be true. But as a writer, it is my job to explore all four of the human cavities of experience–the heart, the soul, the mind and the strength.

I am supposed to get people to feel again. Also, can I construct a sentence that might cause folks to consider the existence, or even the purpose, of God? Sitting behind my desk, might there be a concept that I conjure from my imagination that will cause human beings to think beyond their culture and apprehensions? And, as one of those writers, I am not afraid of the human body, sexuality and the expression of our physicality to one another. I examine the language, the tendencies, the trends and add my own little spice of humor and wit, such as it is, to make things a bit brighter.

I am not suggesting to this woman that she call God Larry. Actually, Frank would be just fine. Seriously, I would just like her and everyone else who has become intransigent in their pursuit of eternal righteousness, to consider for one moment what is really important, and if it is important, why it might be the first thing that pops to God’s mind when He meets us. I am not bound by conventional wisdom, nor am I limited to conventional morality. Yes, I can even explore the more unseemly portions of mankind’s behavior.

I have always feared those who believe they’re right. It’s just because I know how inadequate my own efforts can be and I have not yet found anyone else who supersedes my potential by enough of a margin to make me think that they have discovered the one true path to God.

So I write.

In the process, maybe occasionally I come up with something “right,” but I will guarantee you that I say enough wrong that you must not trust every word that comes from my pen and think it is an oracle of the divine.  Shoot, often it’s not even my own best work.

It will not be our prophets that will bring our country to a state of repentance. Politicians would never have enough organization to change the world through laws. Corporations are bogged down with their own profit margin and therefore don’t always seek the best for the consumer. And in my mind’s eye, religion spends too much time trying to please a God who already seems pleased.

It is our writers who will shed light on the dark corners of human selection and make us wonder if we can actually do better. If I really believed that God was angry about being called Larry, I would suggest that He take a course in sensitivity and turn His ego down a notch or two.  After all, I have taken my share of criticism and scrutiny, and have been able to survive it and grow through it. I think God, who certainly made some interesting creations that would be well worth questioning, is perfectly able to handle any mere writer’s imaginary journey.

If you gave me a choice of Allah (who supposedly is very angry at anyone who is not a Muslim) and Jehovah (who kills Amorites because they still have a foreskin) and the thousand gods of the Hindus (who certainly tend to collide with one another) or even the God of the New Testament (who often is perplexed about whether to be more like Jesus or Paul), I think I might prefer a God named Larry, who just really would like to see people get along and be happy. Because after all, you couldn’t have a name like Larry and take yourself too seriously.

So just to make it clear to you and all future critics, I am a writer, not a “righter.” I will leave such decisions of truth and accuracy in the hands of the angels. My hands are flesh and blood–and simply write of such matters.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

 

Jonathan sings “Let”

 

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

 

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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