Practical … October 24, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2044)

Nuts-and-Bolts1Meanwhile, back at our dilemma:

The problem we face here on the road at the end of our yearly odyssey will not disappear just because we throw some cynical attitude its way. Trials and tribulations are not impressed with our disgust. And also, you must understand that heavenly conclusions cannot be achieved without pursuing some sort of earthly application.

To put it bluntly, prayer becomes useless if we haven’t tuned our senses to the world around us and find ourselves ready to move out on the opportunities that come our way.

Therefore it is just as possible to pursue a darkened path by saying we have faith in God, but not taking the cues from the world around us, and instead, insisting that our particular miracle must float down from the heavens.

This lends a second possibility in approaching our human quagmires: practical.

Amazingly enough, the Good Book, which is often portrayed as ethereal, is actually better presented as a handbook for planet living. Practical divides into three parts:

  • Count
  • Contend
  • Control

First of all, we should count what we actually have. Don’t expect any progress to be made if you’re not willing to invest what you already possess. Much of the cynicism and darkened conclusions will depart when we realize we have resources.

Case in point: when you’re trying to feed five thousand people, five loaves and two fishes don’t seem like very much, but they aren’t nothing–and at least it affords the opportunity for in-depth conversation.

Secondly, after we know what we have, we need to contend. What does that mean? It means, “Where are we?” Knowing our resources will not always stimulate faith, but sometimes will weaken our resolve. There will be some human effort involved in achieving divine conclusions, so it is necessary for us to understand our emotional state, our spiritual belief, our mental awareness and our physical strength. If we are going to be an army, we need to be well-fed, well-trained and well-armed.

And finally–control. Sometimes the whole problem cannot be whipped in one whack, so we should work on our negotiation skills, to buy time to take on our difficulties one piece at a time.

For instance, here on the road, it is ridiculous for me to worry about what we’re going to do at the end of next month. Instead, I should focus on what happens today and at the end of this week. Won’t that get me closer to my goal?

Count: what do we have?

Contend: where am I emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically?

Control: can I divide this up into smaller pieces?

Pursuing this path removes the specter of darkened cynicism, which opens the door to our Creator being willing to link with His creation. Once that relationship is initiated, our third possibility comes to play.

See you tomorrow.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Darkened … October 23, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2044)

dark room oneAs much as I enjoy traveling across the United States, meeting the fabulous collage of human beings afforded to me, one of the more difficult aspects of the journey is finding a way to end the year’s activities and partake of Thanksgiving and Christmas without depleting my coffers in the process.

And you must add onto that the fact that most of the venues which normally open their arms are particularly busy themselves, at the close of the season, with projects pre-determined.

This year we ran head-on into this dilemma. Like every other American, it appeared we were going to end up with more things in our “required” pile than we had in our “possess” pile. It was a problem. Or shall I say, it IS a problem?

It made me realize there are really three ways to handle the everyday blow-ups that happen to our well-conceived plans. The first way is what we shall refer to as “darkened.”

We fall back on our upbringing, whether conservative OR liberal, and believe that by becoming either constrictive or free-wheeling, that we will overcome our circumstance. This philosophy is prevalent in our society, characterized by conservatives who allow too little and liberals, who allow too much. They both insist they are making their stands on the basis of protecting liberty, but merely shutting the door does not keep the cold out and opening the door and turning up the heat does not seem to make it any more toasty either.

It is darkened–a pursuit of resolution with an inclination toward cynicism. It is traditionalism honored over common sense. And since the conservatives allow too little and the liberals allow too much, they are immediately at war with each other, resorting to insult and defamation of character instead of rhyme and reason.

We must be careful that when we’re talking about the realm of the emotions and spirit that we don’t emulate the political scene in our country, which has driven us into a gridlock of name-calling and stonewalling.

  • I am not conservative. Sometimes the answer to a problem is to open up possibilities beyond what we have accepted as normal in the past.
  • I am not a liberal. Just because people desire or campaign for some particular right, that it should be granted to them if it’s contrary to the common good.

But because this stalemate persists, the conscience of our country has become darkened, and cynicism has replaced the willingness to try new ideas and to evolve old ideas to fresher conclusions. How do you know that cynicism has entered your life?

1. You have an idea of how things are going to play out before you even try them.

This isn’t the fruit of experience. This is a careless disregard for the possibility of the grace of God and human effort to bring about miracles.

2. You think that restricting people or giving abstract freedom is the way to control natural events.

Free will IS intact–that’s why the dialogue on what is best for everyone needs to be in place.

3. You have gradually bought into the mantra that people are “no damn good.”

You certainly cannot preach a message that “God so loved the world” and also be a little pissed off all the time.

Our society has become darkened by a cynicism that promotes either a conservative or a liberal agenda instead of what is nurturing for human beings. We can’t allow too little and we can’t allow too much.

So what is viable?

See you tomorrow.

 

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Quatrain of the Second Coming … October 22, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2044)

Jesus sky

Did you like us?

Will you come back?

Please give us time

We are still learning

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Published in: on October 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Parallel Universe … October 21, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2042)

oxen“What are the cool kids doing?”

I thought that question would be a phenomenon of high school and would disappear, or at least dissipate, in importance when I entered the unknown realm of “Grown-ups-ville.” Now that I’ve occupied that territory as a resident for several decades, I will tell you that we are still oppressed, possessed and obsessed by “what the cool kids do.”

Perhaps the most annoying factor in this scenario is the process by which we determine who the cool kids ARE. Normally three ingredients:

  1. Popularity
  2. Money
  3. What they get by with

So much to my chagrin, as I travel across the country, I see perfectly wonderful, kind people under the spell of a temporary haze of confusion by a political arena that is back-biting and ferocious and a spirituality which only offers flavors in bubblegum and castor oil.

It is most unfortunate.

It is rather doubtful if we will be able to deter people from chasing the ways of the cool kids. Our only hope would be to change the roster of that particular group of people.

Yes, to a certain degree we are all victims of this quandary, in which we have a tendency to imitate the people in our society who have power, money and who get away with things, performing it in our own little homespun three-act play.

So churches, organizations and even families are plagued with much more bickering, fussiness and dogmatic attitudes because we are told by our media pundits that this is the “way of the world” and is the best avenue for getting what you want.

It will take some awfully brave people to counteract this misery. Therefore I woke up this morning and asked myself: who do I want to be?

I guess I would like to have the strength of an ox.

I chose the ox NOT because of the age-old reputation, but because the creature is deliberate, mighty and uncomplaining. For I’m sure that an ox has aches and pains, but nothing will deter it from its labor.

For me, I want the mind of Jesus.

Why? It blends wit and tenderness, which will win the day if given the opportunity to perform.

I guess I would like to have the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.

For as you study his life, you realize he was a gentle soul with an iron will, a sense of humor and more questions than answers about his faith. There’s a healthiness to that which keeps your spirituality moving forward instead of settling into your favorite pew.

And emotionally, I would like to be the perfect merger of a child and a soldier:

The simplicity of a child’s curiosity and honest about my own needs, and the bravery of a soldier, who realizes that sometimes my wants are negated by reality, and I need to march on.

Where I see these attributes in my society, I will praise them. Where I don’t, I will avoid them.

  • I want to be a strong ox
  • with the mind of the son of God
  • and the spirit of an emancipator
  • while sporting the simplicity of a child and the courage of a soldier.

This creates my parallel universe to our present earth-bound logic.

If you’re looking, that is where you’ll find me.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Apologies All the Way Around … October 20, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2042)

I need one fromFalwell Jerry Falwell, Liberty University and all those people who participated in the Moral Majority, who inundated our society with vicious insults and threats.Bill Clinton

I would certainly like one from Bill Clinton for his part in making politics scandalous, phony and treacherous through his affair with the little girl.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get one from Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggart for taking the precious gospel of Jesus and turning it into a beach ball, which they batted around through greed, sexual exploitation?

I burning crosswould love to hear a bit of repentance from the American church, which remained silent while segregation raged for decades.

I also would welcome some reflection from the Tea Party, which thinks it has the right to stifle any ideas contrary to what they deem to be their common good.obama

And I certainly think we are due a bit of contrition from President Obama for biting off more than he could actually chew, and so anemically launching a campaign intended to relieve the suffering of the poor, only to further confound them.

Without an apology, we have a series of assumptions:

1. “You know that I know I’m a little bit wrong, so why do we need to talk about it?”

2. “It’s not as bad as it’s made out to be, and if I admit too much, I open myself up for my critics to disembowel me.”

3. “Get over it. Let’s move on. What benefit is there in focusing on our mistakes?”

4. “Nobody’s perfect. So why should we waste time examining our imperfections?”

These excuses have prevented us from being a nation that purges itself from stupidity but instead, keeps souveniers which we later display to our children–for them to pick up and resell.

We need apologies all around, if for no other reason than to make sure that the cursed attitudes that kept us repeating the same ridiculous processes can finally be buried in a grave with a tombstone warning us of the deadly results.

Since I don’t know if these individuals will ever come forward with contrition, let me start:

  • I want to apologize to all the people I spoke against in my past because I was ignorant of the freedom God gives to human beings to find their own path, without interruption from my scrutiny.
  • I apologize to my children for being overwrought, too lenient or just not available.
  • I apologize to my wife for being a less-than-adequate husband while trying to become a consummate artist.
  • And I apologize to myself for being a morbidly obese man my whole life, and so far never being able to find a way to unlock my fleshly prison.

You see? It’s not that hard.

And even after the apology is given, it’s a good thing, every once in a while, to remind people that those errors not only disrupted the natural order, but must never be repeated again.

How ’bout it, my friends?

Apologies all around?

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Stepping Away… October 19, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2041)

church popscicleElder Ralph was working on a crossword puzzle he had hidden in his Bible.

Deacon Dan was dozing on the third row.

Martha, the church piano player, was thumbing through a Life magazine.

The teenagers sitting around me were passing notes, giggling and trying to time their levity with the jokes infrequently being offered from the pulpit, as Pastor Norm continued to preach on a subject matter which no one seemed to care about.

Suddenly in the midst of this ongoing Sunday night antipathy, it struck me. It was so phony, so contrived and so meaningless to my sixteen-year-old mind.

I quietly rose to my feet, moved past a few of my friends and headed toward the back of the church. Everyone thought I was going to the bathroom. Some people probably thought I was headed to the fellowship hall to see if there were any treats to eat after the service. But actually, I passed on both of those opportunities, headed out the door and walked home. Even though I still believed in God, I had lost confidence in the system that was arranged to represent Him.

For three months, I stepped away.

  • I didn’t go to church.
  • I didn’t stay in contact with the people.
  • I also didn’t go out, get drunk, smoke grass and curse the heavens because of my disillusioned condition.

Various emissaries from the conclave of the righteous were sent to me during the ninety days to tell me how I was missed or what I was missing or how it was absolutely necessary for me to be there–otherwise I would fall into iniquity.

I joyously ignored them.Up the Down Staircase

Instead I took my stepping away hiatus to accept a role in a play at the high school, as Joe Ferrone in Up the Down Staircase. I also worked on my piano playing, which had become as rusty as my Grandpa Ford’s barn door latches, and I practiced singing. (I had convinced myself I was a bass, but actually had enough range to be a tenor. Why not both?)

During my stepping away period I discovered I could do things–yet realized they were more fun when I was tapping the mind and spirit of God to achieve them.

Eventually one of my friends from the youth group came to see me and said, “Jonathan, you may not need us, but we need you.”

Those were the magic words.

It wasn’t an issue of ego–it was the fact that I could no longer attend church because I was afraid not to. I couldn’t go to church because it “made me a better person.” And I didn’t want to go to church to fake it, in order to get heavenly tickets.

I took my newfound drama talent, my expanded singing and my better piano playing back to the “house of people”–to simply enjoy my heavenly Father.

I stopped looking around the room to see what Elder Ralph, Deacon Dan, pianist Martha and all the other kids were doing.

When I disagreed, I chose to simply live differently. And if it got boring, I challenged the ideas.

That three months of stepping away sowed the seed of the man I have become. It was a season of time when I realized that I don’t need to be in church to find God.

But the church needs me ,,, to make sure we don’t lose Him.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

New Hope… October 18, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2040)

New HopeI paused.

When Janet handed me the file on our sponsor for this weekend in Freedom, Pennsylvania, I noted that the venue was New Hope Lutheran Church.

The reason for my brief consideration was that I was trying to figure out if “new hope” was redundant–repetitious, as it were. After all, isn’t all hope new? Or we wouldn’t wish for it in the first place. And aren’t most things that are new still in the hopeful phase on the drawing board?

But then I realized that there are old hopes which need to be rejuvenated rather than buried as dead and meaningless. fouding fathers

For instance, while people argue about the Constitution of the United States, I look at it as a hope that was expressed over two hundred and twenty years ago, by a bunch of fellows in powdered wigs, who didn’t even know about trains, let alone rockets to the moon, and who certainly were anticipating that as things progressed, other folks would come along and “juice up” the original hope.

Likewise, when I read the Good Book, I am fully aware that the hope expressed by Moses thousands of years ago about God was given a reprieve by countless prophets, teachers and wise men and women over the years, culminating with Jesus, who fulfilled the vision and pushed the hope forward to us.

Hope needs newness. Matter off fact, if hope doesn’t receive an infusion of new ideas, it becomes tradition, which generally speaking, stalls the human race with trying to address the problems of our present world with tools from the past. Not very handy, man.

So I’m excited about going to New Hope. Matter of fact, I’ve already come up with a message to share with the beautiful people. It may be the definition of new hope:

Don’t give up on an idea just because things aren’t ideal.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

%d bloggers like this: