The Unthinkable Dream
Jonathan Goode has a dream. His dream is for everyone to love God and love people just the way Jesus did. His present and sole mission is to tell the country about his dream. So on a cold, rainy January morning, Jonathan and his good friend, Wes Peters, packed most of their worldly belongings in Goode's 2004 gold Nissan Sentra and took to the highways with their GPS in hand to take their message of love for all to the rest of the country as they tour the biggest and the not so biggest cities in the nation.
You may know Jonathan from the days when he worked at the local Chick‑fi‑la. You may also remember him from the original Blackbird's Coffee shop in downtown Dublin. Goode was Blackbird's first manger and helped to influence his good friend Jack Walker to open the popular gathering place. In fact, Jonathan's father Mike just purchased Blackbird's from Walker. Jonathan wants you to remind his mom, Sherry Starley, that God will be with him during his travels.
Jack Walker believes in what Jonathan is doing. "When most people have a great idea, they push it for a short time until they get tired and move on," Jack remarked. Commenting on Jonathan's persistence and his future Walker said, "He's the guy who sticks to it and makes it happen. It's just a matter of time before he's speaking at Catalyst Conference (one of the country's largest gathering of young leaders)‑ you watch."
While on their country‑wide tour, Jonathan and Wes will be showing their film, My Concrete Mattress. "The plight of the homeless in America was an easy choice," said Goode, who believes that the churches of America are helping, but would like to see the three‑quarters of the people in this country who profess themselves to be Christians do more, a lot more. "What we need is a massive God‑like movement," Goode contends.
Wes Peters, a Florida native, who met Jonathan when he enrolled in Dublin High School, discovered a new found faith in Christ as a student at the University of Georgia. Peters believes the movement is contagious and is excited to see the love blossom.
In the film My Concrete Mattress, Jonathan, with the invaluable aid of Jesse Lavender and Mark Mitchell, examines the tumultuous lives of four homeless residents of Atlanta. It wasn't long before Jonathan discovered that he was forced to reevaluate his preconceived ideas of who these people are. "The first thing I had to learn was that they were people, individual people with individual stories and individual names," Goode declared. Jonathan soon realized that the homeless were not the kind of people he thought he could easily avoid while he was living in a big city.
"Homelessness is not only in big cities," Goode points out. "It is in small communities where people don't see the problem, and don't think there is a problem, so they don't do anything about it," Jonathan declared. He also points out that there is homelessness right here in Dublin, Georgia. Jonathan makes it clear that it his goal and his organization’s goal to help not only the homeless but all kinds of people. "Rich people learn to love and be loved," Goode explains as to why he started with the poorest people.
As for the future, Jonathan has no plans. "If I am a good steward of what I have now, I don't worry," remarked Jonathan. He takes one day at a time as he is determined to fully concentrate on his mission to spread the love of Christ. Jonathan is not ruling out going to a seminary in the future. "It has always been a part of me that wants to take this view of Christ and to make it ever present here in Laurens County," Goode wishes.
Goode hopes that everyone will be a part of the solution to the problems of the homeless and the grander goal of eradicating homelessness. He has done the math and figures that those with homes outnumber those without by a factor of at least 100 to 1. "Do something. Donate your time, food or money to a food bank," Jonathan proclaims!