Hands On … November 24, 2012

(1,709)

I can’t make up my  mind.

Yes, I can’t decide if I enjoy the warmth of the palms or the gentleness of the fingertips, one more than another. Hands are remarkable. Unless they close up and become a fist of rage,  transforming into a club to victimize, they are always more than welcome, at least in my world.

She came into my motel room. She was a stranger to me. She tagged along with a friend who had arrived for an annual visit during my stay in Music City for Thanksgiving. I knew nothing of her. During the introduction I discovered that she was a missionary from Nigeria, interested in music, and had come along with my old haunt to see if any of the nice things he pronounced about me actually had validity in the flesh.

I liked her. She was a bit cautious, being raised in a religious environment, with a danger of demons and deceivers being more advertised than the possibility of angels and truth bearers. I didn’t care. I stopped trying to impress people a long time ago, mainly because trying to figure out what would actually make their clock tick seemed a poor use of time. It was a lovely visit.

We didn’t agree on much. Coming from a theology where the Bible Belt is the only way to keep your pants up, she probably found some of my ideas a bit too progressive or inclusive. But here’s what I know. Disagreements don’t have to be disagreeable if our goal is to find reasons to love each other instead of paths to part the ways. I don’t care who I’m talking with–I can always find common ground, and from that earth I can discover a place to make a foothold and establish some things that are important to me without offending their turf too seriously.

We ate some chicken, sipped some Coke and shared some ideas. Once she realized that I was not intent on merely reciting a bunch of repetitious verses to establish my Godly profile, she relaxed and allowed herself the great blessing and courtesy of being present in the moment. As we neared the end of our visit, it because obvious to me that my friend had shared with her some of my ongoing plight with my legs, knees and immobility. She asked if she could pray for me. It was really quite beautiful. She began by serenading me with a soft, sweet lullaby and then moved towards me, kneeling next to me, placing her hands inside mine and began to pray, beckoning the heavens.

I stared down at her beautiful fingertips. They were the color of cocoa–or maybe like coffee that has just enough cream with a couple of Sweet and Lows.

Honestly, I didn’t listen to much of what she had to say–her words. Much of that was her religious training coming out in her vernacular, filled with ideas that are not foreign in my experience, but now ancient in my practice. I just kept looking at her hands.

I squeezed them occasionally to feel the warmth and tenderness. Combined with the sincerity and earnestness of her voice, they touched me in a place in my heart that did require reinforcement. Although not weary in well-doing in attempting to walk with unwilling legs, I was tired. Her hands on mine gave me the emotional energy to press on.

I know she probably wished for a miracle–maybe that I would rise up from my bed and walk. But life is not always as simplistic as the wishes of our childish hearts. Sometimes it’s just the heat, concern and immense energy derived from hands on hands. It doesn’t make things completely better, but it does make things better … completely.

She rose from her position of prayer and removed her hands, with tears in her eyes. I immediately missed her hands. I wish they could have stayed with me for another hour, day … or maybe a week.

But as I write this to you today, I can still feel them. We must never underestimate the power of becoming hands-on with the world around us. We just never know when God will use that touch to set in motion something truly beautiful.

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

May I introduce to you … November 23, 2012

(1,708)

I hate my job … in a loving way.

I love my job, although sometimes it aggravates the hell out of me.

You can probably tell from these two statements that I’m a bit conflicted. But the conflict is very necessary in order for me to be successful, fruitful and relevant to my times.

This morning, I would like to introduce you to Jesus. Now, this is a name that evokes  everything from a collective yawn to a congregational cheer. But in a season in our world when we need direction and wisdom grounded in common sense and an eye on history, to most hearers, the name “Jesus” conjures images of crosses, wooden pews and starched, white collars.

Thus my aggravation.

On the other hand, I open up the life and times of this exciting adventurer, and I uncover not merely the spiritual energy of my Creator, but also the flesh, bone and true essence of what human life was abundantly intended to be.

Therefore my joy and love.

How am I supposed to communicate to a world determined to separate everything into boxes labeled A and B?  Yet the power and pungency of a human life lived two thousand years ago does bear consideration in our twitter world.

Let me make three things clear to you as I introduce you to the real Jesus. You may be able to find exceptions to what I share because you’re desperate to maintain your theology or your atheism, but the general consensus of the information provided will contradict your meager holdings. In other words, it’s pretty obvious that Abraham Lincoln had a beard, even though I’m sure you could find someone who would promote the idea that he glued it on every morning.

There are three things that are not only obvious about Jesus, but also important because they are human-friendly and therefore, God-ordained.

1. Jesus hated religion. Just to keep all things fair, religion hated him right back. It was not the Romans, the constables, the tax collectors or the whores who nailed him to the cross. It was the First United Methodist Church in cooperation with the Southern Baptists, who for the first time, had a joint resolution to do something in correlation with one another by ridding themselves of a teaching and infestation that would eventually rob their ranks of parishioners and also steal money from their coffers. Got it?

You may ask what Jesus hated about religion. The answer to that is simple: religion always makes faith about reaching God instead of about God reaching people. There you go. If you’re presently in some sort of doctrinal quagmire, constantly trying to figure out what is pleasing to God, you are in religion, you will live in confusion and you will die in ambiguity. The purpose of faith is to make everything heavenly earthly so that while we are here, we have a working plan, and when we finally are NOT here anymore, God can “surprise the heaven into us.”

2. Jesus taught that humans are heart, soul, mind and strength. If you are attending a church which insists that we are body, soul and spirit, you are pursuing a line of thinking that has no line. Because placing the emotions and the brain in the same container and believing they are able to work together without having a buffer between them consisting of some sort of conciliatory force is absolutely ridiculous. Here’s the truth: I FEEL and I THINK. Those two things normally HATE each other. If there were not a spirit between them negotiating deals, we would live in a world of total confusion, war, political upheaval, financial disaster, anger and inequality. Wait a second…! We do. Could something as simple as a misunderstanding over our nature bring about such devastation?? Absolutely. Jesus came to teach us that out of our heart we speak. So if we don’t keep our hearts pure and understand our motives, recognizing our emotions, we are still going to jabber off things we don’t want to say at the wrong moment, and end up pissing off everyone in the room. That’s why we receive in the heart and we take it to our spirit. And what is our spirit? Our spirit is the place where what we’ve experienced and what we believe sit down and negotiate peace with one another. It is only the spirit that can renew the mind and teach the brain something new–which then gives our body an opportunity to become excited about living again.

3. NoOne is better than anyone else. Jesus lived in a time when the Romans thought they were gods, the Greeks were so confident in their intellectualism that they believed that molesting children was permissible, and the Jews were absolutely convinced that they were the “chosen dudes of God.” This is not exactly the formula for the possibility for a great “mixer.” Jesus broke the curse. Jesus told us that Hamas is not better than Israel. Jesus told us that Japan is not superior to China. And Jesus told us that the United States is not the God beacon and favorite over Russia.

So you can see that I am not a religious man because I really love God and I like the heft of a good hymn book in my hand. I have become a follower of Jesus because I am a true environmentalist, I am a true patriot, I am a true believer, I am a true humanist, I am a true internationalist, I am a true man, I am a true woman–and most of all, I am a true human. This is the only philosophy ever offered that affords me the ability to be all of these without trying to eliminate the competition.

So let me introduce you to Jesus. If you don’t mind, I’ll have to pull him down from the cross where you have placed him in storage. If it doesn’t offend you too much, I will have to tear up his papers of being “only a Jew.” And if you will not crucify me, I will have to let you know that he doesn’t think Americans are “the best.”

If you’re interested in him, you might want to continue to read my column from time to time because I will speak to you of his escapades. If you found something in this essay to be distasteful, disrespectful or unrighteous, I recommend the pabulum from any one of a number of denominations which also offer blogs on their take on the notorious Nazarene.

It’s just that I am angry enough that I am ready to release my love without apology, to unleash the spirit once again of Jesus of Nazareth, whom I believe has earned his “stripes” to be the Son of God.

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

Thanks for the Turkeys … November 22, 2012

(1,707)

It was the first thing that came to my mind.

I don’t really like to admit this, because we all like to rewrite the history of what we did, presenting it as a bit more noble than it actually was when it squirted out of our innards. But somewhere along the line, a certain amount of honesty is necessary–otherwise, you end up being bruised and confused by your own lies.

When I discovered that I was having trouble with my legs, the notion of being inhibited in walking was not nearly as uncomfortable to me as the realization that a certain amount of virility, powerfulness and masculinity would be robbed from my profile. For let us be candid–a man sitting in a chair with wheels might be considered one of the classic turn-offs. If it weren’t, someone would certainly have considered using it to pick up chicks at the bar.

  • I didn’t want to be that short.
  • I didn’t want to be that vulnerable.
  • I didn’t want to be that annoying guy sitting around with a ready explanation.

I wasn’t really upset about rolling along instead of walking. It’s just that the stigma attached seemed fairly costly to my manliness and was going to permanently, I guess, rob me of the necessary sexuality to keep me from going bonkers. Do you know what came to my mind at that point?

Turkeys.

Maybe it was because we were coming up on the season–or that my brain just seems to fluctuate between periods of lucidity and inanity–but I realized that the turkey has a really bad public relations problem. You know you’re in trouble with the mass appeal of society when your name conjures images of being a loser.

“You’re a turkey.”

Or the even more pointed example, “You are a REAL turkey.”

It’s hard to hold your beak high when you realize that even if you have smoothed all your feathers and you’re looking your best, people are privately thinking to themselves, “Thanksgiving dinner!”

It must be especially difficult for the turkey because he or she realizes that they came so close to becoming the symbol of American prowess, power and patriotism. Benjamin Franklin, a notable forefather, pushed the bird forward as the candidate to be the nation’s favorite feathered friend. He was outvoted. I’m not sure what the count was, but the bald eagle won. It may be the only occasion when a bald creature won a contest over one with better plumage.

I don’t know what was in the minds of those who voted against the turkey. Was there hidden prejudice? Were they privately thinking to themselves, “That bird can’t fly!” After all, no one is ever going to use the phrase, “Soar like a turkey,” just as no one will ever be able to say, “Run that marathon like Jonathan Cring!”

And the final indignity, do you have to be killed, beheaded, plucked and baked, but for some reason, people step back with a scrunched face, dissatisfied, and think, “It’s not enough. We should stuff him with oysters, bread and seasonings.” And then, on top of THAT, when you’ve made the supreme sacrifice of your carcass–to become tasty–you’re usually smothered in gravy because you’re dry.

Yet, my dear friends, this is not the last indignity. Yes–after people have gorged themselves on your flesh, they have the audacity to insist that it’s your fault that they fall asleep during the football game, because you contain some sort of “hidden drug” which knocked them for a loop.

Do you see the point?

I was greatly encouraged by the plight of the turkey, realizing that I was still able to have a brain and be equated with intelligent conversation instead of relegated to “gobble-gobble.” (Oh, my dear God, is that the source of “gobbledygook?” I’ll have to have Jan look that one up.)

It is also important in this bad public relations swing, to portray the turkey as belligerent, habitually  pecking at things, in order to advertise and promote turkey shoots.

It seems that sometimes in life we all find ourselves in the position of being a turkey instead of an eagle. So on this Thanksgiving morning, and throughout the day, I will commiserate with my fellow-persecuted-old-bird, as I realize that I may have been weakened in some way by my affliction this year, but I’m still not ready to end up face-down on the platter.

I have much to share. I have much to say. And I’m thankful for anyone who has an ear to hear.

By the way … do turkeys have ears? That would be the final insult–or maybe blessing–to be deaf so you wouldn’t have to hear what a turkey you are.

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

Stop and Start Traffic … November 21, 2012

(1,706)

“No thanks.”

Those two words don’t really seem to go together, do they? “No”–which works very hard not to be negative but always ends up part of the nay-saying family; and “thanks”–an expression of gratitude, which always carries some semblance of appreciation. So what is negative appreciation?

Negative appreciation is the infection eating at the soul of our society. (Boy, does that sound strong.) Even though the statement may be a bit overwrought, it’s still true. And as we come into this Thanksgiving season, I am overwhelmed with a sense of awareness that for the average American, going through the gestures of being truly grateful is riddled with many insecurities, misgivings and dare I say, objections. Yet we still feel, at our root, we need to express our awe and wonder. Basically, it becomes nearly impossible to do so when we allow one ugly monster to live inside of us and control our disposition.

Complaining.

As long as we allow an attitude, a spirit or a willingness to complain into our existence, we will never be truly thankful. Because complaining is always the “but” hanging off of the “body” of praise.

  • I am happy, but …
  • I appreciate what you did for me, but…
  • It truly is a beautiful day, but…
  • I love to cook a turkey on Thanksgiving, but…
  • It’s always great to get the family together for the holidays, but…
  • I even enjoy driving in traffic, but…

Somewhere along the line, we have convinced ourselves that we are allowed a disparaging remark to follow our proclamation of joy. Let me give you a definition of complaining:

Complaining is ANY objection to circumstances.

That’s an annoying definition, isn’t it? Some objections are necessary, right? If it’s 1843 and you’re a slave on a plantation in Georgia, objecting–or if you will, complaining about being beaten–would only be logical. But no matter how much basis there may be for your lamentation, it would still be useless, and therefore … just complaining. Because the truth is, you are twenty years away from being set free, and in that twenty years you need to do something with your life other than objecting to your circumstances. Verily, verily, I say unto you, life does not have a suggestion box.

We have given ourselves permission to complain about everything, therefore setting ourselves up to be ignored because often our opinions don’t matter.

I realized in my travels this year that there was still a seed of that disgruntled American spirit in me, which is unfulfilled even in the presence of bounty. I now am walking proof–or maybe limping proof–that bounty can be lessened. Then we have to find a way to survive with our portion.

Complaining is ANY objection to circumstances. It is a waste of time.

It is the fifteen minutes you take setting your GPS when you’re driving five minutes down the road. It’s the extra paragraph you add onto an email sent to your children which you know more than likely will not be read. It is insisting on asking for thirty extra minutes to get dressed for an evening out when the fact is, you’re getting older and becoming prettier is less likely.

Somewhere along the line we have to deal with our circumstances without objecting to them and mollify the world around us by being more intelligent than we are complaining. If we don’t, we never actually feel thankful or grateful–just go through the motions, waiting for an opportunity to point out why something wasn’t exactly “perfect.”

If you want to have a good Thanksgiving this year, stop complaining. Otherwise, you will surface the holiday with platitudes of being conscious of your physical world without ever allowing the true depth of appreciation to reach your heart.

And once you stop complaining, the greatest aid in making that decision stick is to start moving. If something is objectionable, come up with an ingenious plan to move yourself away from it at the earliest possible convenience. Don’t stand in the middle of the fire and wonder why your pants are burning. Don’t sit in the council of the ungodly and lament feeling uninspired. And don’t think you’re going to get around family members who have abandoned many of your ideals and generate a sense of fulfillment and fellowship.

You not only can’t get blood out of a turnip, it is also very difficult to get taste out of one. So stop expecting negative issues to change because of your attitude and instead, start moving away from that which is a deterrent to your peace of mind and cruising in on solutions that satisfy your soul.

I think it’s virtually impossible to be thankful if you don’t stop complaining and start moving. How do we start moving?

1. Decide what you really like.

2 Stop apologizing for liking what you decided.

3. Don’t judge other people’s choices, enjoy your own.

4. Let your happiness be your testimony instead of your complaining becoming your epitaph.

It’s really that simple.

I raised a family. I let them know what I like. Some of them do not share my likes. I love them dearly. I pursue my likes. They can judge for themselves what they feel about it by noting the ecstacy I feel over my pursuits.

Stop objecting to your circumstances and start moving towards environments that make you want to be thankful to the point of gushing to God about His glories. Anything short of that is life with a side order of misery, which only makes you grumpy and unpleasant to be around to those you insist you love the most.

So on Thanksgiving Day, give yourself a wonderful gift. Stop complaining. Don’t object to your circumstances, but instead, start moving toward the things you like without apology, without comment, without fanfare and even without explanation. If you do so, you will end up with a heart that is full of immense appreciation for the goodness of life and the gentleness of your Father, which art in heaven.

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

Musing City USA … November 20, 2012

(1,705)

Just about a third of my life.

Driving down I-65 South yesterday heading to Nashville, I realized I had spent twenty years–in two stints–living in the country music mecca. It gave me pause–because I am not a country music artist, nor really am I what you would call a conventional gospel picker. I am just kind of my own thing, which is often the best excuse for being truly erratic. So I had to ask myself, how did I end up spending so much of my life in this Tennessee capital?

Growing up in Central Ohio, I had a predilection for gospel music, so it did seem logical to me, when I graduated from high school, to at least take a stab at where such sounds were not only permissible, but promoted.

I remember the first time I drove into Nashville and went to Dickerson Pike–to Jimmy Snow’s church. Jimmy Snow is the son of Hank Snow, a legend in the business. I was a punky, inexperienced yokel–but you see, I had this new song, called Resurrection Day, and I decided to perform it with my nervous little green combo–and received a standing ovation from the audience.

I recall the first time I drove to Hendersonville, Tennessee, to record at the House of Cash, and during the session for our album, Johnny, himself, walked in, introduced himself, and struck up more than a polite conversation with us bunch of confirmed nobodies.

I had to laugh to myself when I considered the number of times I walked up and down Music Row, from one publisher to another, sharing my songs with bored office employees, who more often than not, found a bit of glee in dashing my hopes with negative comments.

Then I remembered meeting Dottie Rambo. Dottie was that beautiful combination of earthy, spiritual and humorous which rarely comes our way in the human family and should always be treasured. She loved me–plump bundle of insecurity that I was–and even graciously recorded one of my songs on her album. It’s quite an astonishing honor to have one of the greatest gospel songwriters cover your tune.

Then there was Marijohn Wilkin, who wrote One Day at a Time. She was my mentor and friend. She recorded an album for me that enabled me to chart on the religious radio stations.

Taking another trip up to Hendersonville, my van passed by the city park, where we took a 25-piece orchestra called the Sumner Pops, of our own founding, and in the presence of five thousand folks, put on a July 4th show, melding local talent and our ability at arranging and conducting.

There isn’t a school I pass on the way in that doesn’t conjure a memory of a performance, in which we took a very special show to the young humans, encouraging them to be creative and open-hearted to their fellow-man.

I had a house on Bayshore Drive, where I built a swimming pool, a couple of additions, a circular driveway and tossed in a gazebo. Of course in the long run, it was rather ludicrous, because nomads like myself make very poor landlords. We’re just better with sheep and goats.

Yet in that city, I wrote ten books, recorded fifteen Cd’s and penned thirteen movies. It was a strange sensation to return to Music City after all my touring this year. I’m coming back to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family, which is congregating like a bunch of misguided birds to a location where we can nest and fellowship for a few days.

But as I drove into town, I thought to myself, “I lived here for one-third of my life, but it was never my home.”

The realization did not sadden me. Nashville is a place where I built a house of faith. Sometimes that’s the best we can do, folks. We may not be able to change the world or even redecorate the rooms. The best we can do is leave clear evidence of what we thought was important, what we believed and how fruit was born through our lives.

Nashville was never my home. I saw too much of the underbelly of lingering prejudice and false piety for me to ever embrace the community and kiss it square on the mouth. I saw a false sense of security over Southern hospitality, which was often dished out in sparing helpings to those who had stood in line the longest. I experienced a reluctance to change, simply because the word connoted something other than the fraternity philosophy. I always loved the people, I just didn’t always buy in to the pills that were being swallowed.

It’s good to be back, though. It festers memories, good and bad, joyous and sad, but in all cases, earth-shaking and ultimately fulfilling.

I would like to have been closer to this town where I hung my hat for so many years but I always found it a bit difficult to join into “whistling Dixie”–and maybe it’s just not in my character … to “look away.”

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

Silver Street, Golden Heart… November 19, 2012

(1,704)

I prefer the word “unusual.” “Weird” always sounds too judgmental. Actually, I would rather you refer to my particular tastes, desires and inclinations as “selective.” But whatever your choices, whether “unusual,” “selective,” or if you insist, “weird,” you may feel free to call me that. Because whenever I arrive at a church, I am immediately looking for signs of Jesus.

Other people may be impressed with the building. You may wish to “ooh and aah” over the organ pipes. For me it is a quest to acquire the heart of the Master of our faith.

Silver Street United Methodist Church was my last stop-off on this Spirited Tour in 2012. I was looking for signs of Jesus.

It started on Saturday night when I met Don and Vicky, who pastor this congregation. Because of the situation with my legs, I am presently unable to carry in my own equipment. They took on a servant’s heart. How can I characterize a servant’s heart? It’s someone who arrives at your side at just the right moment and whispers in your ear, “Let me make it easier.” That they did.

Another sign of Jesus I look for is joyousness. I will never forget the lady who came up to me after yesterday’s presentation and with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face, exclaimed, “I just want to be happy!” She may have uttered the phrase which is truly the secret of the universe. Because as any well-seasoned traveler knows, happiness never arrives. It is always chased down and tenaciously embraced.

Jesus believed in life abundant. It’s one of his signs. Several people marched out yesterday saying, “I feel alive.” You can’t really blame people for crawling inside themselves and dying a little bit every day when our society has decided that the best way to act out our freedom and maturity is to be pessimistic and angry. So what happens when you remove dark predictions, fearful apprehensions and prejudice from your spirit? You suddenly feel alive instead of like you’re crawling into your grave.

Of course, one of the signs of Jesus is finding folks who want to be the salt of the earth. There was an old man yesterday who was just about as feeble on his feet as I am, who ambled to my side when I was packing up my books and said, “What can I do?” I almost cried. You see, that’s salt of the earth.  Salt of the earth is not complaining about the lack of flavor in your world; it’s sprinkling in what you have to offer to enhance the recipe of life.

One of my favorite signs of Jesus is finding folks who really want to be the light of the world. Being a light in any situation demands a faithful balance of bringing what you’ve got and arriving with a bit of humility. A young man came to my book table when he saw it was free of other visitors and asked me a very poingnant question. “Where do I start?” He wants to be a writer–or maybe it was a singer. Or perhaps a preacher–he hadn’t decided but he wanted to know where to start.

I didn’t get too philosophical with him and I didn’t tell him he needed to know what he wants to do now. I just said,”There are a lot of things going on. Find something that has passion, throw your heart into it and see how it feels. God will show you when you’ve harbored up in the right port.”

Looking for signs of Jesus.

So I headed out the door of Silver Street, having completed my work there, and was rising from my wheel chair to walk the few steps to my van, when a dear lady standing nearby said softly, “Does it hurt?”

There you go. Another sign of Jesus. Compassion. Merely being able to feel my own pain without transferring that experience into sensing the pain of others too often just become self-pity. For a moment that woman stepped out of herself and wondered what it was like to be me. Amazing. My response to her was, “Yes. It does hurt. But not as much when you know someone cares.” We shared a smile.

I went to Silver Street looking for signs of Jesus.

  • I found a servant’s heart— “let us make it easier.”
  • I spied joy— “I want to be happy.”
  • A whole bunch of life abundant— “I want to live.”
  • Then there was the salt of the earth— “What can I do?”
  • The light of the world— “Where do I start?”
  • And that blessed compassion, which asks, “Does it hurt?”

Thank you, dear hearts, for opening up to me and allowing me to open up to you–to create an atmosphere of openness. You were the omega to my journey and an ongoing reminder that as long as we can find Jesus in the church, we do have a very important reason … to assemble together.

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

Pro-Grow… November 18, 2012

(1,703)

“That which we have seen and that which we have heard, now we declare it unto you.”

Don’t you think that’s the way it should be? I see so many people talking without having any experience and on the other hand, people who have experience really speaking against their own better interests.

I have a friend who claims he’s “pro choice,” even though as a baby in the womb, he was nearly selected for abortion. That just doesn’t seem to be on point with his experience, do you think?

I have other friends who insist that they’re pro-life–until they found out they had a young daughter who was pregnant, and then found themselves conflicted and pursuing a path that was quite hypocritical to their own beliefs and contentions. Your beliefs should reflect your experience.

I am pro-choice, if by pro-choice you mean a woman’s right to select contraception, partners and the correct timing to have a child or not have one.

I am pro-life if you’re referring to the respect for all living organisms and all living things–granting them the dignity of their space without trying to pretend that the word “terminate” does not mean “kill.”

That’s why I find myself to be pro-grow. I see two teachings of Jesus which blend together beautifully in my mind to form an excellent pattern for evaluating such matters.

For Jesus said, “I have come to give you life and it more abundantly.” And he also said, “He that the son set free is free indeed.”

So I believe in a move towards life–and that every such movement has to be permitted through freedom. I think it’s a mistake in a country like ours to take away the rights and privileges of individuals to make their own decisions. I neither think we can legislate morality, nor do I think that we can propagate spirituality by insisting on a code of behavior.

But by the same token, I believe that the true essence of being spiritual is to promote life and give it a fair chance to have freedom. I am pro-grow. I am in favor of anything that helps us grow–to a better understanding of each other, the respect of the life that God has given us, and the granting of freedom to each other, to pursue happiness.

For you see, it is quite possible to be against abortion and not rob other American citizens of the right to use that option. If I believe my life is light and that I am the salt of the earth, then the choices I make will reverberate and create a stir and a testimony to those around me. I don’t have to become a clanging cymbal or a critical spirit to others to promote righteous choices.

So as a pro-grow person, I believe in the right of every American to make his or her own investigation–and also my right to promote life drenched in freedom instead of seeing it squelched.

Yes, it is possible to disagree with someone without condemning him. It is plausible to give people freedom without believing the decisions they make are identical to your heart’s desire. For after all, the best way to promote any cause is to make that cause as irresistible as possible. Otherwise, broccoli stands would be open next to coffee machines instead of boxes of doughnuts.

I believe my pro-grow stand, which believes in life, but also contends that it must be conducted with total freedom, is not a contradiction, but rather, a way for me to be of value to the world around me, by sharing what I’ve seen and heard, and demonstrating that it is more appealing than the alternatives.

I could never abort a child–because I once thought about doing it, and in horror, I retreated, only to celebrate to this day that this human life is present among us.

I could never support abortion because I have a daughter-in-law who bravely birthed a child out of wedlock–a young boy who is now my grandson and the love of my heart.

I refuse to be a fool or a hypocrite by being afforded experience in life which enables me to speak plainly and truthfully about better choices. Yet at the same time, I give all my brothers and sisters the freedom to find their own way without my incrimination.

I am pro-grow. I am for everything that moves towards life without robbing anyone of freedom.

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

%d bloggers like this: