So now what?

This morning as I was carrying Paul into daycare, he asked me to put him down.
He said he wanted to smell the flowers.
He literally wanted to STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES.

And so we spent the next few minutes smelling the beautiful flowers that grace the walkway into the daycare.
After a while, I told Paul, “Time to go to school, son.” He replied, “Okay.”

This morning, my friends, I want to tell you it is time.
Time to stop and smell the flowers.
Time to go back to everyday life.
Time to work together in order that my son, my daughter, all our children, will always have flowers to smell.

Time to focus on how WE can make our world better.
Because it is up to us, the people.
We cannot put our faith and trust that a politician or a political party will make all things better.
Because they can’t.
Only GOD can, and God does it through us.

You want to talk about an election.
Well, here is a Newsflash for you:

God has elected US to be his people.

There is no run off.
There is no question.
God has cast the one vote that counts.

That means God has called us to work together.
To love one another.
To build and comfort, and in some cases rebuild and reconcile.

It’s time to smell the flowers, my friends.

And it’s time to get back to work.

So this morning I pray for:
President Barak Obama
President-Elect Donald Trump
Hilary Clinton
Gary Johnson
Jill Stein

For all the candidates, those who won and those who lost.

For all our elected officials.

For a renewed sense of understanding between all people.

For a renewed sense of love for our neighbor.

And for the flowers that they may always be there.

The Prayer for Kabul (The Road)

Tonight let us open our hearts and minds to God and pray for:
The people killed and wounded in Kabul, Afghanistan.
For the families they leave behind.
For the suicide bombers’ families.
For the repentance of those who follow ISIS and the Taliban.
For the Shiite Hazaras who are branded “outsiders” in their own countried and face violent persection.
For those who hate on “Outsiders” and that they may be led to a changing of hearts and minds.
For those who work for peace
There. Is. Another. Way.
The Violent Road only leads to more violence and death.
The Peace Road leads to life. For everyone.
Which road will you take?
– Amen.

The Munich Prayer

Tonight let us pray for the victims of the shootings in Munich.
Let us pray that we re-learn the value of all people.
Let us pray for the brave men and women who run INTO the chaos and not away.
Let us pray for the family of the gunman, who are dealing with loss and confusion.

And tonight, think of someone you do not like. Someone you can’t stand. And pray for their wellbeing. Pray that they have a good night and a good weekend.
Because it’s easy to pray for loved ones.
And yet we are called to pray for all.


A New “Covenant”

Tonight, let us pray:
For the families of the officers who were killed today in Baton Rouge: Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald and Brad Garafola.
For the families of the offcers who were wounded.
For the family of the shooter: Gavin Long.
But let us do more than pray.
Let us act.
For those of us who are members of predominantly white faith communities, reach out to the local African-American congregations and your local police forces.
Compose a “Mission Covenant” that will be based on love, respect, confession, open-mindedness, and peace.
Hold one another accountable,
but also LOVE one another more than you have ever before.
Keep in mind: this Covenant will NOT be about which side is right, because ALL sides have seen unnecessary death and violence and hatred.
And while you are at it, invite the local Latino & Asian congregations to be a part of this Covenant.
Again: this is just a suggestion, but it is one I will be working on starting this week.
It is not the best idea, but that is not the point.
The point is I need to be a part of the Solution.
We all do.

The “T” Word

Today let us pray TOGETHER.

That’s a word I don’t hear often these days.
We so desperately want “our side” to be the victors and “the good guys.”
We want to prove “their side” wrong, or make “them” into the bad guys.

By trying to be the “winners” we have all lost.

And in losing we have lost something very precious: the idea, the concept, of unity.

We want to compare whose hurt or tragedy is more tragic.
We want to compare whose cause is more important.

We have stopped listening to one another.
So maybe it’s time we all just…Shut Up.

Take a breath.

And pray.

Let US pray for:

The officers shot and killed in Dallas and their families.
The protestors who were hurt in the melee.
The family of the sniper left with unanswered questions and grief.
And let us re-discover the gift of Unity.

Somewhere the Devil is laughing at all of us

This morning I pray for:
The family and friends of Philando Castile
The officers involved in the shooting.
My African-American brothers and sisters who are scared that they might be next.
My police officers brothers and sisters who also are scared that they might be next
Calm in the middle of the Storm
I do not seek explanations.
I do not seek excuses.
I seek and implore us HUMAN BEINGS to work out our problems together.
And when we don’t work together, the Devil is laughing at all of us.
I urge all of us to unite and shut the Devil up for good.
But the only way we can do that is to come together, not fall apart.

The Both/And Prayer

This morning, I pray for:
The family and friends of Alton Sterling.
Police officers (because I have friends, church members, community leaders who are officers and risk their lives every day).
People who are persecuted/bullied/killed because of the the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, or their religious affiliation.
The racists and the bigots and that God opens their hearts and minds.
The 1%
The 99%
The changing of minds
Persecuted Christians around the world
Christians who are the persecutors around the world
Persecuted Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics around the word.
The defeat of ISIS
The repentance of those who embrace ISIS
The lost
The found
President Obama AND Governor McCrory AND Mayor York
And this is just a partial list…
Because ALL lives matter to God.
And if they matter to God, then they should matter to us.
It’s not an either/or problem.
It’s a BOTH/AND solution.
You can pray for all.
And I pray you do.
Thanks for reading.- Jonathan

PJ’s Top Ten for April 2016

I know it’s late but here are PJ’s Top Ten for April 2016.

  1. “An Otherwise Disappointing Life”- Frightened Rabbit. THE best song I have heard in a long time. If you don’t like this song there is something seriously wrong with you and I will pray for you.
  2. “California Bride”- Rogue Wave. Very happy to hear these guys back with a new album.
  3. “I Wish I Was Sober”- Frightened Rabbit. The new album is THAT good.
  4. “Home”- Blue October. Great song to play for my wife and child as we drive around town.
  5. “Used”- Strangers You Know
  6. “Soundcheck”- Catfish and the Bottleman
  7. “Endless Bummer”- Weezer. The new album is very hit and miss. This is a hit.
  8. “Get Out”- Frightened Rabbit. Have I mentioned how good the new album is?
  9. “G O A T”- The Cult. Oh yes. The boys are back. And smacking people around!
  10. “Ocean”- Rogue Wave. Welcome back, Wave!



PJ’s Top Ten for March 2016

March 2016 was a VERY good month of new songs for me.

  1. “ILYSB” by LANY- WOW! What a great track! Came out a few months ago, so I am late to the Lany-Train, but what an awesome jam.
  2. “River” by Bishop- There are some outstanding singers out in the world today, and the way Bishop belts out this tune makes her one of the best in my opinion.
  3. “I Need Never Get Old”- Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats- the voice, the tune, the quiet and the loud equal a great formula.
  4. “Unsteady”- X Ambassadors- Just when you think the song is going to kick into another gear, the Xers show restraint and thus we have a beaut of a record.
  5. “The Sound”- The 1975- Just a great dance, slap your steering wheel song.
  6. “Mary Go Round”- The Struts- I am a fool for the Struts. And this song is a great “ballad” with some smart lyrics.
  7. “Ride”- Twenty One Pilots- “Blurry Face” could be this band’s “Joshua Tree” as every song I have heard is a gem.
  8. “Genghis Khan”- Miike Snow- Hey! See how many rhymes you can get out of “Khan”!
  9. “My Heart Went Cold”- The Thermals- Great rock song. Period.
  10. “The Names”- Baio- The bassist for Vampire Weekend has crafted a wonderful solo record.

My Top 10 for February 2016

Here are the songs that caught my ear in February. Some songs have “language” so be ready.
And let me give a special shout-out to Cicada, who makes beautiful neo-classical music which is perfect for a meditative mood.

1) “Woman Woman” by AWOLNATION
2) “The Love Within” by Bloc Party
3) “Figure Me Out” by The Summer Set
4) “Cold Cold Cold” by Cage the Elephant
5) “Let Her Go” by Passenger
6) “Under The Sun” by DIIV
7) “Off The Ground” by The Record Company
8) “Over the Sea/Under the Water” by Cicada
9) “On My Heart” by School of Seven Bells
10) “Depreston” by Courtney Barrett