G8: Sink or Swim … January 24, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2130)

current ripI discovered that the correct term is “rip current.” In my innocence and ignorance I’ve always referred to it as “undertow.”

I only experienced it personally one time, while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean near Jacksonville Beach. It had taken me a couple of days to get up the courage to get into the water, because I had heard all the rumors about sharks and all sorts of foreign life forms swimming around you while you decided to play in the tide.

So gradually I inched my way deeper into the sea, when all at once I was propelled–not viciously, but certainly purposefully. I’d heard of the rip current, so I knew not to fight it, but I could not remember what to do to overcome it.

In just a matter of a few moments I found myself about two hundred and fifty yards from the shore, deposited in a shallow patch of water about six-and-a-half feet deep, where I was comfortable treading, but not standing.

My heart was racing. I was frightened. Land seemed so far away.

Yet the water around me was calm–actually rather peaceful. I experienced a strange sensation–I just wanted to stay there. Since I didn’t know how to get to shore anyway, and the surroundings were not threatening, my heart’s desire was to leave well enough alone and just float and stroke.

I don’t know how long I stayed in that position. What was really odd was that for a brief moment, I wished I could become a fish so I wouldn’t have to make any more decisions about saving myself. Just swim away to my new destiny.

I was at peace.

Yet it was an insecure sense of well-being, because obviously, I was not a fish, did not belong in the ocean and needed to swim away from my circumstance to evolve back into my real life.

I didn’t want to. Matter of fact, nobody even knew where I was. Nobody knew I was missing yet, and there was something comforting about the waves splashing against my shoulders as I moved my arms back and forth and bicycled with my legs to stay afloat.

I don’t know how much longer I would have remained in my indecision, but suddenly another human being swam up and asked if I was all right. I nodded, but in truth, I wasn’t.

I was afraid to change my situation, even though my position was detrimental and would eventually cost me my life. After all, there was nothing to eat, no drink and assuredly, exhaustion would overtake me and I would drown in six-and-a-half feet of water.

I listened as my rescuer explained how to swim through the undertow. I think he realized I was dazed, so he joined me on the journey to my real home. I was reluctant the whole way.

That is, until I got onto the sand, looked out at the billowing waves and realized how foolish I was to think that I belonged there.

Creation is necessary. To believe that everything around us appeared from nowhere would actually be the greatest step of faith that anyone, anywhere could ever muster.

Somebody created the foundations of the world. Likewise, evolution is obvious. No master designer would create a prototype and then not improve upon it with detail and subtleties.

We have one unique job in life–and that is to recognize that just because we’ve been deposited into a foreign environment and it feels welcoming, does not mean that we are to remain there.

We must evolve to where we can grow. I had no life in the haven of liquid. I just had temporary reassurance.

  • My purpose was on land.
  • I could only grow on land.
  • I could only succeed on land.
  • I could only be happy on land.

To achieve my next place of expansion, I had to swim–because without swimming, I would eventually sink.

What feels secure is rarely the answer. There’s a certain amount of swimming against the tide that is necessary in order for us to land … where we belong.

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Enough to Live, but … January 23, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2129)

buffet Chinese …not enough to enjoy.

I’ve gone through a serious transition over the past month, discovering that a rudimentary concept in my mind has been faulty since I was a child.

The realization crept into my consciousness about three months ago when I was eating at a Chinese buffet and I looked around the room and saw that all the patrons, just like me, were egg-shaped–and I don’t mean Foo Yung.

It was a location where people had come to eat–to have fun. For after all, isn’t that the message? “All you can eat.” In other words, tap the greatest desire for your appetite for food, envision how much that might be, and then go for it.

I also discovered an interesting thing about myself at this  feeding trough. I started off by going to the buffet bar on my own, until I got so stuffed that I was too gorged to get up from my chair. So then I sent someone else to acquire additional “fun” to eat–all the while convinced that I was having the time of my life. Until, that is, I had to get up from my chair and waddle to my car, nearly breathless from the excursion, having ravaged my digestive system with over-abundance.

At this point I did not incriminate myself. I realized it was quite simple. Food, which was meant to be fuel, I had turned into fun. Just for the record, food is not supposed to be fun. It is intended to be fuel. And then, once we understand that it is offered to us as “enough to live but not enough to enjoy,” we can find our good cheer in the planning instead of through overeating.

Food was never meant to be spontaneous–and if we make it a split-second decision we will get busy and start looking for fast food.

So as I realized that food is not meant to be fun, but instead, fuel, I found that planning my food, making really neat choices when I go to the store, is the true fun.

Yes, I am allowed to have fun at the store so that when I sit down to eat my portion, I am partaking of fuel.

We wonder why America is becoming obese. Let’s consider this: sex, which was meant for enjoyment, is now viewed as life. And food, which was meant to be life, is our source of entertainment. Yes, many people would rather eat than have romance.

The same thing is true with spirituality and education. We’ve flipped it. Spirituality is meant to be a rejoicing in our soul, permeating our entire being, while education is the knowledge that allows us to function better.

We’ve done a switcheroo. Spirituality has become austere, a learning process, while we are trying to make education more fun for the kids and ourselves.

I am not saying that what was meant to keep us alive cannot become a source of contentment. But this state is derived by gaining control through selection, purpose and discovery.

And I’m not saying that which is fun in our lives does not have intrinsic value. But this is tapped when we understand that feeling energized does not need to eliminate the possibility of learning.

Today is my twenty-eighth day of my food regimen. It revolves around the realization that eating is intended to be enough to live–not enough to enjoy.

My radical pleasure in the experience comes from planning, considering nutrition and from amazing myself with the types of food that are available to satisfy me without killing me.

So the next time you start a project, ask yourself, “Is this to live, or enjoy?”

If it’s meant to be enjoyed, suck the experience dry and then take the passion from that endeavor into your next venture.

If it’s meant to give life, then allow it to do so, and find your good cheer from pursuing the angles, choices and revelation that make you feel really smart and powerful.

Will I succeed in my latest adventure?

As long as I can keep life and enjoyment in perspective, I’ve got a fighting chance.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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But Not Now … January 22, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2128)

jigsaw puzzle

On Monday our nation commemorated the life, mission and times of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while continuing to be racially, culturally and emotionally disconnected, scattered like a 1001-piece jigsaw puzzle.

The reason? We avoid solutions by replacing them with discussions.

I wish I could tell you that merely conversing on a given subject brings about change but actually, it’s a way to dodge the impact of transforming ourselves into truth by merely debating the particulars.

colored water fountainsIn 1959 in the United States, the average white person would tell you that equality for the black man was inevitable. Most did not contend that segregation was ideal–merely practical. And the reason they found it to be so useful was that the alternatives that came to the forefront were so frightening that it seemed better to cling to something that was incomplete and unfulfilling. In other words, “black Americans should be equal. But not now.”

It continues today.executive woman

Women should be equal and have a pay scale identical to that of a man, but not now. “We need more studies by learned experts before we take such a drastic step.”

It is obvious that the minimum wage is not sufficient for a human to be able to live, eat and prosper, and something will have to be done. But not now. It could wreck the economy by forcing small business to incur expenses they are not prepared to undertake.

homelessSomething should be done for the homeless and disenfranchised in this country–to put them to work or offer alternatives to their present condition. But not now. It is much easier to have an argument over whether their condition is caused by lack of opportunity or by laziness.

It is historically demonstrated that the gays in our society will be required to have complete equivalence with everyone else if we want to maintain the integrity of our concept of liberty and justice for all. But not now. What we want them to do is acquire moral acceptance before they are granted civil rights.

Obviously, the political gridlock in our country initiated a two-party system that gains power by maintaining power, and that we would be better off if this two-faced monster were beheaded, and many more candidates were offered to the electorate. But not now. Too disruptive to consider many alternatives for leadership from different parties.two-party system

Likewise, the electoral college is antiquated and needs to be replaced with the popular vote which determines elections. But not now. What would we do with all the people who have been assigned positions and the folks who make their livelihood by honoring its cumbersome inner workings?

You understand, it is not that we lack the intelligence, or even the integrity to know what to do. Instead, we are stalled in a lethargic fear of change when it comes in any of its forms.

You will know that you have become a mature human being when what is truthful is more important to you than what is convenient.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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Quatrain of MLK … January 21, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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mlk

Bullet piercing the throat

Quelling the wilderness Voice

I HAVE A DREAM

Haunted by our Nightmare

.

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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Two That Make One … January 20, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2126)

Angy and ClintWhen I found out he died, it was the first thing that came to my mind.

I suppose if I were a more traditional fellow, I would have taken a moment or two to conjure images of his face, life and interactions with him. But honestly, the best thing this fellow ever did with his life was to marry a woman–whom he eventually divorced–and have a daughter, who now continues to overcome her culture, becoming a dynamic force within her own family, with personal aspirations.

Often, two people make one. Matter of fact, it is a biological imperative. But even though historically, the two that made the one may leave behind no other heritage or footprint, the one who was birthed can still honor the memory by living a life that has joy over precious memories, but also an eye toward exceeding the training.

It was a startling fact. A young woman I know quite well, who is doing her best to bless the world, has recently lost both of her parents–and the determination of society and history on their lives will be evaluated by how this dear woman conducts her journey.

My parents, too, made five. I place no judgment on their lives, but I will tell you that their legacy is held in scrutiny by those around them who view their offspring.

It is a solemn affair.

If we don’t create art, share a great idea, chase windmills or speak against injustice, our lineage becomes our sole eulogy.

It made me very happy for this gentleman that passed away. Although in a critical moment, I might suggest that some of his choices were terribly introspective, he does have the advantage of giving life to a missionary who is doing a much better job at propelling beauty to the earth.

So I guess in a sense we get two cracks–one opportunity with our own lives, to say something, be something, feel something and do something that causes the world to be a better place. But then, when our time is finished, we have those we have brought into the world who can offer a new and improved product.

So even though I weep for this gentleman who has passed on, simultaneously a smile comes to my face because I realize that the woman he left behind, carrying his DNA, is intent on making a massive difference.

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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My Body is in Temple… January 19, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2125)

First Lutheran Temple

It’s been forty years since my body has been in Temple.

Temple, Texas, that is.

I have passed by this fair town several times on my journeys, but never actually plopped down for a few minutes of food for thought, by breaking bread.

Four decades ago when I landed in Temple, it was during a brief tour when I was invited to come to Waco, Texas, to Word Records, to share my music, with the aspirations of having this fledgling company record my musical ensemble and make us famous. (Well, at least as famous as one would get by being the first fruits of a fledgling.)

I remember that visitation vividly. Being raised in Central Ohio, I was told horror stories about the depravity of the South and the backwards nature of unseemly locations like Texas. So up to that point in my life I had never gone any further south than Nashville, Tennessee, or further west than Chicago.jesus rally

I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was a different time. Even though Temple was a rural community, ingrained with the traditions of its heritage, a new breeze had blown through, initiated by the winds of Spirit.

Young hippies, fresh from California, had just arrived in the region to sing a new song. So it was really amazing–you had long hairs and butch haircuts side by side, finding common ground with guitars and Jesus. They were tolerant of each other and seemed fairly oblivious to the differences that might build up over hair follicle preferences.

Many of the engineers in the recording studios were good ole’ boys, and the performers were fresh off the street, many of them ex-drug addicts who had been thrust into salvation, with a movement through Jesus.

Shoulder to shoulder, they worked on beautiful tunes, laughed, shared pictures of their families with each other, and acted like they had known one another for a lifetime.

I shared in several of the area’s religious establishments and was greeted with warmth and tenderness by folks who had just come out of the field with mud on their boots, curious about whether what they had just planted would ever reach harvest.

Even though I was a very young snap-off-the-whipper, I realized that what made this thing work was finding something in common with each other and sealing it by believing in the same message of love.

So as I come back to Temple, Texas, in a much different time–when it is considered to be righteous and upstanding to be at odds with one another over miniscule issues–I want to bring that same breeze with me.

I would love to allow the Spirit to permit commonality and faith to blend together again, to make us one.

It is a piece of idealism I permit myself without apology. For I know this: the world will never be a decent place to live until we find reasons to be alike.

And I also know that we will never find reasons to be alike …  when we work so darned tootin’ hard on trying to be different.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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Money Brick Part II … January 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2124)

hand money

I have had folks pat me on the back. Very nice.

Brothers and sisters have lifted me up in prayer. Divinely encouraging.

I have received a letter of exhortation from a stranger. Brought tears to my eyes.

I’ve gotten awards. Very rewarding.

I’ve had a hug and a kiss. No complaints.

I’ve received many standing ovations from audiences all across this country. Exhilarating.

But I can tell you that nothing is a greater pat on the back, prayer, letter, award, hug, kiss and applause than when somebody simply slips some money in my hand.

I don’t mean to sound materialistic. It’s just knowing that people are separating themselves from their own sustenance to give to me, with no strings attached, honoring me to do something beautiful with it.

I don’t know–maybe I’m just a little giddy over the first fruits of a new idea. For as I took my money brick this week, small as it is, and began to distribute off little morsels to the birds God sent my way, I felt empowered with a joy unspeakable and full of glory.

I didn’t give money to homeless folk. I have nothing against those without an address. But this week I sought out individuals who are keeping the faith, trying to maintain a great attitude, but finding themselves a dollar short of a smile.

  • A lady I met who’s trying to survive on her social security, which seems to be shrinking even as she holds it in her hands.
  • A young man who pursues what some people would consider a demeaning job, but rather than seeking other ways to procure his grits and gravy, he chooses to take on the task.
  • A young mother who is struggling with her three pre-school children, maintaining the sweetest attitude this side of heaven, who just needed a reason to stop and pick up something for herself.

Time and time again folks were brought in front of me who just needed encouragement.

I don’t know about you–sometimes I get tired of talking about the problems in the world, or honestly, just insisting that I’m going to share my thoughts and prayers. I am a firm believer in prayer, but I don’t think it’s any substitute for taking what’s in our hands and releasing it to others.

I encourage you to get your own money brick. At first you might feel a bit of embarrassment over how tiny it is, but five dollars divided into quarters is really quite impressive.

Somehow or another we have to express to one another the depth of our commitment, the desire to be connected and the willingness to endure.

Often a pat on the back is not enough.

But a dollar, given at just the right moment, is a statement that not only “in God we trust,” but that we also trust … one another.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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