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Spirit of The Age

In 1986 Michael Card released an album that included the song Spirit of the Age. Based on the text from The Gospel according to Matthew about the slaying of the innocents, where King Herod kills all the babies in Bethlehem trying to slay his rival to the throne Jesus, Card uses the text to compare Herod’s act to the many acts down through the centuries where people sacrificed children in an attempt to make their own lives better.

In 1986 the issue of abortion was a big political hot button, and this song resonated well with that. But to simply focus on that issue, I think, misses the point. Every age has heard the spirit of the age, and I think ours is calling it’s serpent-song to us through the fear of Covid.  Social Distancing is not a Christian response. Jesus didn’t say “suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not  – but keep them  6 feet away”. By adopting it as the Church’s response we are condoning the slaying of children – by distance.

Christianity is a contact religion. We get down in the mud, we get face to face, we touch, we go toe to toe. This standoffish social distancing is an offense to Christ. Sure we take all the proper hygiene precautions with an epidemic, but social distancing isn’t hygiene, it is fear; fear of the masses by their betters.  It is the Spirit of the Age.

That is not the gospel we preach. “there is no fear in love but perfect love drives out fear for God has not given us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power a spirit of love and of self-discipline.”

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Accident Prone

I went 20 plus years free of car accidents, but the past couple of years I have become an accident magnet. This morning was only the most recent of three accidents for our new car from last November, and that was a replacement for our car of 20 years that had three major accidents in its final year.

Today’s accident occurred after midnight, while parked on Warwick just above Emmanual Cleaver . My one friend was waiting in the car while I visited another one inside the building. While I was up in the building and he was waiting in the passenger seat, a dark SUV came around the corner and hit the rear driver’s panel, before turning the corner onto Emanual Cleaver and disappearing.

So hit and run, and our repairs based on that unknown insurance company paying. We were just getting things back on keel after the losses of jobs and the current crisis and such, but the car keeps on pulling things back.

So what to do now?

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Father’s Day Depression

I have had some great ups and downs recently. My Birthday is May 1, and before it I got inklings that my best friend was contemplating a special birthday present. I told him not to over do it, that just being there was the most important thing for me, to have him as a friend.

Yet he got me a used Pixel 2XL, and I loved that phone as the expression of thought and generosity that it was — and managed to fracture the glass within the first week when it jumped out of my shirt pocket on the one time I had to place it there instead of the pants. I was heartbroken, and plans were made to get it repaired when cash came along, plans derailed by later events.

I cant remember whether it was before or after Mother’s day that that happened. My best friend, who was living with us at the time, went all out to pamper and fee Betsy and us to make her Mother’s day special.

But by Father’s Day, the whole world has changed. That same best friend has moved out, and he, along with others I once counted true, are branding me with terrible names, while justifying the mean things they do to me by the evil things I have allegedly done to them.

It has been 11 days since everything erupted.

In that time things have devolved to my being told:

Taylor Louchart:

I’d really like to avoid small claims court or making me your enemy Johnathan. That’s not a threat. I’m just letting you know that I won’t let you bully me around. You’re not a good person and I will let any one who ask me know how deplorable your character really is. I’ll give you time to think about things but I will be expecting at least a partial payment with in a week. In the mean time, do us all a favor and go look in the mirror. Take a good hard look at the monster you’ve become and figure out how to make yourself a decent human being again.

Jennifer Harris:

Take a look in the mirror before you go casting stones into unknown waters in efforts to mask your shortcomings. Maybe when you accept responsibility for your actions and realize how inappropriate they have been, you and Jordan can begin to repair the damage and work to rebuild your friendship.

Jordan Hatch:

Oh keep telling yourself that Jonathan keep fucking telling yourself that… all this is excuses to fucking take any responsibility for your own fucking actions you’re grown man to take fucking responsibility for your actions you were fucking crazy you’re acting like a crazy person you are still acting crazy. And I am done. I’m blocking you. Goodbye.

I have continually emphasized my commitment to the friendship, with every challenge to his behavior, and every expression of apology to him. Jordan, on the other hand, has only once expressed his commitment to the relationship, and never once any regret for anything he has done, nor any acceptance of my apologies for anything I have done. As you can see, he isn’t doing anything but casting aspersions on me. And this after I had just said, I over reacted, I apologize, but I was reacting to this (listing events), and I would really appreciate understanding why you did these.

I am the monster, yet I am always the one talking about apologies, forgiveness, mercy, reconciliation. They are the ones talking about my being a monster. I have been doing a lot of mirror gazing, but to suggest that they could also check the mirror is apparently an insult worthy of more castigation of me. I am always the one looking for a way around things. They don’t express this.

I guess I must be one of the monsters from Monster’s Inc. Am I more like Sully or Mike Wazowski? (discussion in the background) I guess the decision here is somewhat unanimous: I am the guy who keeps getting the sock stuck to him. I do seem to be having his type of luck.

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Waterbed Etude

I am working on a deep thought, self introspective post, that I didn’t expect to get up for a day or two. But it could be even more than that. The time I had saved today to meditate on the subject, I now have to clean up the mess of water from a leaking water bed on the main floor going though the floor to contaminate a basement room.

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Bullying, Hot Rages and Cold Logic

In May 2019, when Bob MacPhearson, while engaging in a fisticuffs with me in my basement, and to which I was merely attempting to grapple him to a neutral hold, picked up a crow bar he had stashed amongst the piles of his things (we later found a half dozen of them stashed around within reach), I knew that the game had changed, and that the fight had become lethal.

Now, just the sight of a crowbar might legitimately categorize the fight as lethal, but I had an additional reason for thinking so. In a conversation amongst a group sometime within the month before, Bob had raised the question about everyone’s favorite weapon. Since I didn’t have a favorite weapon, I didn’t respond, but when Bob got to listing his, it was the crowbar, along with a description of its capacity for maiming and killing. So when Bob pulled a crow bar, I not only had the cold hard fact of the crow bar itself, I also had the mental knowledge of the role it played in Bob’s psychology.

My best friend, whose betrayal I had mentioned in yesterday’s blog, had similarly backstoried his own lethality, with multiple tellings of how he has removed himself from certain situations to let himself cool down lest he do something and say something he might regret, with the obvious connotation of physical violence against other people (people that he deeply cared for) being a part of what he might regret.

I have experienced him in these rising rages 3 or 4 times, and have previously heeded his warnings to let him have time to cool down. The result, of course, being that when calm rational discussion of the issue might have occured following the calming, instead discussion was detoured into him getting his way and my issues being deemed not worth discussion. His rages were justified.

He used one of those rages during the previously mentioned betrayal sequence to bully himself into the house with my fears of being physically harmed, with him being able to say he hadn’t threatened such things to me at the time. Of course he hadn’t, he had backstoried himself into a reaction from me that he could count on while at the same time giving himself current plausible deniability.

In contrast to that I chose to take physical action to say, see, I can use physical force too, express rage, but the more rage I express the more cold and calculating logic and control I have as well. I use my force against things, against physical objects, my own, instead of people, and I take and will pay for the damages to replace my own things, and not threaten the things of others. But maybe for once something will break you out of your cycle of rage in yourself to actually pay attention to someone else instead of attempting to tantrum through your rage to get your own way.

But because he is unable to use self control in his rages, he was unable to believe that I had control in mine, and convinced my wife against her own better judgment not to trust me. She trusted him because of the great trust I had had in him and thus trusted his judgment, instead of hers and mine.

So I got his attention, but not attention to me, but attention to what I was doing, which he again interpreted without listening to or believing me, the same sort of action that were a part of his first betrayal, led him to betray me again, and convince others to betray me.

I have always hated bullying, and that I tolerated it in my best friend for so long is a statement to how much I value him and what a great person he otherwise is. If he will ever choose to actually see me as I am, instead of being sure he knows me so well, and thus ignores what he is seeing in front of him, I am sure it will come some day, but I may have to exercise more patience than I ever have before in my life to see it.

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Sinking sand … to Scribbling in the Sand

I sit here this evening, my life a shambles. Everything has been torn up and shredded. Betrayal by those closest to me, best intentions of mine treated like I had used nuclear weapons, my invocation to “trust me” falling on deaf ears.

Some of you think I use hyperbole. I only wish I did. I had intended to start my new season of blogging by being totally frank, even with the naming of names as appropriate, but this story cuts so close that I don’t think I could name names even as dark and frank as I intended to be. So more of my old self still exists than I had expected (one score for you, Jordan, you are right and I was wrong, or at least you are partially right).

But when one’s best friend chooses to believe the worst of you, taking the words of another person, instead of taking your own assurances that the other person had totally misunderstood your intentions, which leads to the same best friend convincing your spouse to call the police on you — because she trusts the best friend because you trusted the best friend, life has taken a topsy turvy that is way beyond Alice Through the Looking Glass.

When all this forces you to extremes that are then further misunderstood, those who best loved me tore my life and fabric apart in their attempt to save it, in fear I might otherwise tear apart the bones and sinews of others.

I had counseled that best friend, who had confided in me of a time in his life where he had contemplated ending it all if nothing came to rescue him within a certain dayspan. That something did, a friend of mine who introduced me to my best friend. When I learned that story, I told him the one about a relative of mine who had tried to end it all, feeling useless and that others would be better off without him. My relative fortunately did not succeed, nor did he give himself crippling injury. But I shared to my friend that it is NEVER better for those left behind, no matter what you might think, and to NEVER contemplate that move as a serious thing again.

But I did contemplate it, on my most fateful day. Oh, I spoke of the potentials, and hypotheticals, to realize how easy such things are to talk and say, and how such words can become powerful. But they were said only to form my totally repudiation of such ideas and tactics. And once again people did not hear, nor understand, nor trust.

And so because people let their fears fuel them, and I let my intensity to impart the truth escalate the volume of the dialogue to be heard above the yelling and fury of others, They broke with me into the echo chamber of their own fears, instead of the clarity of Holmsian Logic. My attempts to bring it back to physical reality drove them to fully break with me, and I almost ended up two states away in exile, or a police holding cell.

Now I am back home, the events of the previous day enforcing a certain prison, a certain straight jacket of movements, the metaphorical shambles of my life all around me. All the plans I had for progress, all the motivation for success, have been robbed from my psyche. I find myself seemingly aimless and alone, surrounded by those who care most for me, yet for the moment who seem to understand me the least.

And yet I turn to Scribbling in the Sand …

Amidst a mob of madmen
She stood frightened and alone
As hate filled voices hissed at him
That she should now be stoned

But in the air around him
Hung a vast and wordless love
Who knows what luminous lesson
He was in the middle of

At first he faced the fury
Of their self righteous scorn
But then he stooped and at once became
The calm eye of the storm

It was his wordless answer
To their dark and cruel demand
The lifetime in a moment
As he scribbled in the sand

It was silence it was music
It was art it was absurd
He stooped and shouted volumes
Without saying a single word

The same finger
Of the strong hand
That had written ten commands
For now was simply scribbling in the sand

Within the space of space and time
He scribbled in the sand
They cam e to hear and see as much
As they could understand
Now bound by cords of kindness
They couldn’t cast a single stone
And Jesus and the women found that they were all alone

It was silence it was music
It was art it was absurd
He stooped and shouted volumes
Without saying a single word

The same finger
Of the strong hand
That had written ten commands
For now was simply scribbling in the sand

Could that same finger come
And trace my souls sacred sand
And make some unexpected space
Where I could understand
That my own condemnation pierced
And broke that gentle hand
That scratched the words I’ll never know
Written in the sand

It was silence it was music
It was art it was absurd
He stooped and shouted volumes
Without saying a single word

The same finger
Of the strong hand
That had written ten commands
For now was simply scribbling in the sand

The same finger
Of the strong hand
That had written ten commands
For now was simply scribbling in the sand

I was attempting to shout volumes, and I had failed, but in the silence, I am finding the art and beauty and creation of life anew. Hope never dies when one is with the one who Scribbles in the Sand. Hubris unending not in me but in the absurd Word.

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Unjust Imprisonment

I meant to mention some of the below as part of a very organized series of blog posts about some of my recent experiences. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, my life has not been anything one could call organized recently, and thus my blog posts aren’t going to have any truly organized topical focus for awhile. Yet some of the same subjects I wanted to write about are going to get burbled about in a less cohesive fashion.

When I posted my first in a long while blogs this year I made an allusion to being incarcerated. The word choice was perhaps a little inaccurate, but the heart of the meaning was spot on. At the beginning of March, upon advice of the practical licensed counselor I was seeing for the mental anguish caused by the HR department of my then work place, which had lied, deceived, and coerced me into a situation where they fabricated multiple false claims against my actions at work to get me “terminated for cause”, the first of them directly related to a real hospitalization for an actual life-threatening infection I had contracted while working there, the counselor referred me to an advanced psychological assessment at Signature Psychiatric Hospital, the one located on the North Kansas City Hospital campus.

The person doing the assessment chose to take one word, written on a paper, not even by me, totally out of context, without even asking me to explain what it meant, even though the note was meant to remind me of something, and not meant for her to read at all, to decide to involuntarily admit me to the hospital as a potential threat to myself or others within the next 24 hours. Without explanation. After I had agreed to be admitted if they would just tell me the reason for their diagnosis, and the proposed benefit of the course of treatment. But they wouldn’t tell me anything. Instead they lied, deceived and coerced me into going into the hospital, bringing over police officers who lied to me and claimed to have an affidavit signed by a judge, which they wouldn’t let me see.

I realized there was nothing I could do. I challenged the police officers, who wouldn’t show me the paperwork, despite my right to see it. Yet if I exercised my right to leave, the police officers would simply have arrested me and committed me for resisting a police officer. There was no way I could get out. Resisting a police officer who was violating my rights would still be resisting a police officer and thus give them grounds for taking me in. If a police officer wants to arrest you, there is no right in the world you have that can stop them from doing whatever they choose for whatever reason, probable cause or not, that they have.

And 24 hours later when I saw the psych doctor he admitted the error and let me discharge myself. Since my putting the letters of my name to the admission documents, at what was effectively gunpoint, was still my self admitting myself, and not coercion, so I could discharge myself. I could have discharged myself the night before if I had know, no doubt. And thus went 24 hours of my life.

The thing that incensed me at the time was not what happened to me, but was realizing how someone could have done that even more easily to my wife, my son, or especially my daughter. How vulnerable they all are to such gross and careless cases of injustice.

And yet in the past few days I have found myself even more incensed. I always supported our boys in blue, not to mention fire men, etc., but the things I have heard recently make me realize exactly how many ways the innocent get snagged by their own good intentions into becoming criminals, even felons. One example told me is one that could very easily have been used against me within the past few months. Who knows, I might have warrants out for my arrest right now because I played the good Samaritan the same way the person who told me the following story did.

The narrator of this story to me was about 20 years old at the time when his deed of good neighborliness turned him into a felon. A neighbor he had known for a few months in a next door apartment had a prescription she couldn’t fill because she didn’t have the money. The kind young man agreed, at her request, to go down to the pharmacy and pick it up and pay the $15 for her, which he did, and brought the prescription and gave it to her. She have him her birth date to validate that he had the right to pick up the prescription for her.

She moved away a couple of weeks later, and after about a month police pulled him aside while walking on the sidewalk. They were looking for a young man in a red shirt with a hat. He had on a white shirt and no hat. But they still demanded his ID and ran his name without cause. He had 6 warrants out for his arrest with a bail amount of over half a million dollars. From the woman claiming he had stolen the prescription and that she had not authorized him to pick it up.

He spent 6 and a half months waiting for his trial, in jail, unable to for he or his family to make that bail, certain that the woman would never show up for the trial or lie about what he had done for her. Instead he got sentenced to 7 months, of which he had served all but two weeks, and became a felon for life. For doing a good deed.

And now, as he approaches 40 years old, he still has trouble getting jobs because of his felony background. From an attempt to do something nice to someone who decided that a life as a criminal for him was worth it for her to get one more refill on her opiod prescription.

The thing is, within the past 12 months, I had a friend I helped similarly, picking up a prescription for him after having let him stay with us while recovering from a 2-week stint in the VA Hospital here in KCMO for a total sepsis in his feet that almost killed him. After we insisted that he go in to get it treated in the first place. We did certain things for that friend while he stayed with us for which he agreed to pay us $600 for our care and alterations to make things livable for him while he was here, and he ran off without paying. It would be just the thing to have a police office pull me over while driving and run my name to find out I had warrants for picking up his prescriptions illegally for him. My face is on the pharmacy camera showing me picking those up for him. It would be just my word against him. Hopefully I have more social credit and connections to get out of such a perjury if he chose to do it, more credit than the once 20-year old now almost 40-year-old that I head tell of. But at one point I never thought someone would illegally imprison me in a psychiatric hospital either.

There but for the Grace of God go I has never been so real to me before. As it should be to you. As a warning what can happen no matter how innocent you think you are. Ponder and prepare.

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Why you need to proofread headlines

I was having trouble filing an unemployment claim because of my last three weeks of invalid and hospitalization that hit right after I tried to file for unemployment, so I tried to have Google research how hospitalization affects unemployment. Google was no good for that, but did bring up a very interesting news headline from a couple weeks back.

MISSOURI SWAMPED BY UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS AS CASES EXCEED 500

Really’ US News and World Report? it only takes 500 people filing for unemployment to swamp the state of Missouri for unemployment claims? That is what the headline says.

You have to read three paragraphs in to learn that the 500 cases has nothing to do with insurance claims, but Coronavirus cases. This is the worst case of headline mangling and mismanagement that I have seen in awhile. Way to Go! US News and World Misreport.

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Tears

In recent days I have found myself unable to sing because of tears. Not because I was sad, but because my attempts to sing would break into moments of such intense Joy that only tears could express the power and the glory and the beauty of the Joy that I felt.

Sometimes I couldn’t even start singing. Just the thought of the songs brought the tears up before my voice could even sound. This intensity of Joy is almost too wonderful for us. Heaven alone can experience this sensation, as C.S Lewis called it, “getting down to the serious business of Joy”.

And yet I have had a few times for the other tears as well. When I see the American people working and cooperating and sharing together. My heart sometimes wants to break, especially when I see how many are using this current crisis not for the health and safety of the body, but to aggrandize their own power and their own agendas. People who hate and would destroy the freedom of the American people.

We are willing to give of our freedom to help others, and we have given much, both in the security theatre of 9/11 and the health theatre of Covid 19. And in both our enemies have gotten us way too willing for certain yokes by our common sense attitude to not inconvenience the person ahead or behind us in a line to make a point of our personal rights.

But already I have seen people direct me to break rules that have no use to make it right and reasonable for me to get around as the invalid I currently am. I pray This continues, and we see through the ruses of the ones who complain about preferring money over lives, while they neglect the lives of those who will die without that money to survive, and shouldn’t have to become wards of the state and relinquish their freedoms thereby.

There are enemies of the public weal out there, posing as angels of light. I pray the American people prove sensible enough to recognize these wolves is sheeps’ clothing before it is too late.v

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Choong-ho Kwon

You were the perfect pastor at just the right time for Avondale United Methodist Church, and an undeserved blessing from God when we needed it most. We have probably been a trial to you on occasion, but sometimes you are dense beyond the denseness of the matter in a black hole.

When I said that I really felt a need to talk to Jonathan Ray, but that with my current health condition, and the fact that my phone had been stolen, that technology was not working for me, and I could not get my e-mail to do what I wanted, suggesting that I reply to the email he sends to the choir, which I already explained trying to do unsuccessfully, is not really an option. When something isn’t working it isn’t working. That is why I went the old school phone call to you instead of an e-mail and asked you to have him give me a call back instead of try and e-mail. Yes, I have a replacement phone, but so far all it is doing for certain is traditional phone calls.

Don’t be dense.