Untotaled: Stepping 52 (October 17th, 1969) Kentucky Woman… January 31, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

Even though I know that going to church is not a sign of spirituality, if you have lived a life of attending the sanctuary, to suddenly cease and desist can certainly be a sign of some emotional, or even spiritual, regression.

From the age of twelve through seventeen, I attended church three times a week. That sounds a little odd in our world today, but it seemed normal at the time.

In the fall of 1969, I lost interest in the venture. I went only once a week, and then only if there was going to be a youth group meeting to discuss the Saturday night coffee-house.

I fancied myself the leader of that project, even though I think I placed the crown on my own head. I was always there for the coffee-house. It gave me a chance to share, sing and perform.

Then one Saturday night I showed up and there were strangers present. They were from Lexington, Kentucky, and had come to conduct a youth revival, to instruct us in some of the fresh changes going on in the church world.

They were led by a girl named Bree. She had long, blond hair, wore hippie clothes, talked so softly that you had to be completely silent to hear her, strummed a guitar now and then, and loved to lift her hands up and “worship,” as she called it.

All the young people in our church loved her.

I hated her.

She was stealing my spotlight. And I use the word “hate” because I had not yet reached an age when I was able to dislike something. I either loved it or hated it. She got my hate vote.

She challenged my authority by daring to take attention away from me. She pissed me off because when I questioned her, she answered me sweetly. And the other kids were drawn to her because unlike me, she seemed to love them for who they were instead of bullying them into being something else.

The animosity was so great that even though they only stayed for a week, it became necessary for Bree, the pastor, a couple of elders and myself to have a “sit-down.”

I was looking forward to it because I was prepared to show these religious leaders how this “strange woman from Babylon” was coming in to teach the “young’uns” peculiar ways.

The meeting was a disaster–at least for me. Bree was so self-effacing and gentle that she won over the room.

Three days later, Bree and her friends climbed into a van and headed back to Kentucky. Before she left, she found an opportunity to have a private moment with me. I thought to myself, Oh, here it comes. Now we’re going to get her real personality.

She walked up, gave me a quick hug, looked into my eyes and said, “I love you, Jonathan. The Lord has revealed to me that you’re going to be a great man in the Kingdom.”

I couldn’t breathe.

I still find myself … breathless.

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G-Poppers… January 30, 2015

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G-Popper

G-Pop remembered when his youngest son asked him, at a very early age, “Pops, what do you think I should be when I grow up?”

G-Pop smiled and said, “The 3-H.”

The little fella frowned.

G-Pop continued. “You know. Like 4-H, but you get an H outta there.” (G-Pop laughed–alone. He had definitely overshot his tiny audience with a fizzled rocket of cleverness.)

He cleared his throat and inserted, “Three H’s. First, happy. Find out what makes you happy when you do it, and also glad to come back to it later on. How about Number Two? Helpful. Try to find something to make ‘bucks’ that people can hold ‘deer.'”

G-Pop paused for a moment to allow for a giggle. There was none. (Obviously still shooting overhead.)

He plunged forward. “Be a blessing and you will never lack friends. And Number Three–humble. Make sure you are so happy and helpful that you don’t require tons of praise to lift your soul. Keep it simple.”

G-Pop finished his word, patted his son on the head and looked into the little boy’s eyes, which by this time, had totally glazed over.

He gave him permission to leave, hoping that the lad’s internal tape recorder was on for future play-back.

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Three Ways to Acquire Patience… January 29, 2015

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Not everything in life has a purpose, but everything in life can be assigned a purpose.

This is where patience comes to play.

Patience is the tool we pull out of our shed when we run across events which appear to be purposeless, and rather than floundering or losing faith, we hammer down value into the situation.

For after all, every wait becomes a weight unless we change it to a way-to.

So what is patience?

1. Pay attention.

While I am here, I will notice what has brought me to this point, what appears to be available to me to improve my situation and the best ways to set a good idea in motion.

It reminds me of the old Twilight Zone episode, when the man’s truck breaks down in the desert and after several days he dies of thirst and when the rescuers arrive, the bizarre revelation is that all the time, his truck was hauling water.

More often than not if we’re paying attention, our solution–or at least elements of it–are in the surroundings where we find ourselves, stalled.

2. Pay your dues.

If we’re going to be placed in a dilemma when for a certain length of time we will be immobile, we might as well practice.

When I was much younger, I had an upcoming musical performance in which I had a piano piece that was well beyond my ability. I was sitting in a room with a friend talking about how I was uncertain of this particular composition.

He jokingly said, “Do you know what you’re sitting on?”

I looked down. It was a piano bench. And where there’s a piano bench, somewhere there’s a piano. Sure enough, stuck in a side room I found a piano. I took my bench, went in and paid my dues–I rehearsed.

The amount of time it takes to worry is an equivalent to the amount of time it would take us to practice our way to victory.

3. Pay respect.

It seems to me that when we are in the fit of impatience one of the first things to depart is civility.

Remember that old saying–“biting the hand that feeds you?”

After all, you only have three friends: you, God and other people.

If you are frustrated, you’re probably not very friendly.

If God knows there are people around to help you, He will probably leave it up to them.

So in the midst of trying to be patient, cordiality must be maintained and respect for the feelings of others, because you just never know who has the rope to throw your way, to pull you out of your ditch.

Patience is looking for hope in a meager possibility. It is a length of time that comes our way before we find resolution.

You might as well put it to use.

The old saying is, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But the truth of the matter is, lemons only make lemon juice.

It’s necessary, through our patience, for us to bring the sweetness.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… January 28, 2015

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PoHymn Jan. 28

A Dumb Poem

When I was a child

I did dumb things

When I was a teenager

I did dumber things

When I was a parent

I dumbly corrected dumbness

When I was a businessman

I learned from my dumb mistakes

When I became a grandfather

I giggled at my children’s dumb parenting.

As I grow older

Fewer opinions, less dumb.

What have I learned?

The more you deny dumb

The dumber you seem.

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Cracked 5… January 27, 2015

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border final

Better Ways for the President and Congress to Get Along

A. Tuesday night turkey burgers in the Rose Garden.

B. “Switch Your Party” Casual Fridays

C. Close Washington, D.C. for a month and see if anyone notices

D. Admit that Tea Parties are made-up gatherings for five-year-old girls.

E. Pay the President and legislators per bill passed.

CLOSED FOR REPAIRS

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The Alphabet of Us: H is for Humility… January 26, 2015

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 Building pillow H bigger

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

About every twenty years, we seem to scrounge around for the most pleasant-sounding, misguided idea to push to the forefront as the latest salvation for the human race.

The present holy commandment is “self-esteem.”

Matter of fact, if you want to get applause, all you have to do is proclaim, “I have been redeemed because now I believe in myself.”

By the way, any variation from this doctrine is viewed evil incarnate. Here’s the problem.

  • Life doesn’t care what you think about yourself.
  • Life is not impressed that you had a real good “talking to yourself” in the mirror this morning, and you’re prepared to take on the day.
  • Life is just life–rain on us all, sunshine on us all.

So if you continue to follow the cavalcade of self-esteem, you will have many occasions when your hopes are dashed and you end up in a heap of disappointment. And I will tell you–human beings are virtually incapable of pulling themselves out of disappointment.

Humility is the answer. So first, let us clarify what humility is not:

  1. It is not pretending to be inept.
  2. It is not denying your gift.
  3. It is not hiding in the shadows hoping that someone recognizes you.
  4. It is not self-sacrifice by giving the glory to other people.
  5. It is not retiring and hoping that somebody else takes the torch.

Humility is a four-step process which provides both motivation and mission, which are the ingredients that blend together to form true self-esteem:

A. Do well.

Yes, find out what is considered to be a good job, and then train yourself until you are prepared to do it. If you want to be smart, do a little more.

B. Get the prize.

May I tell you that a prize is better than praise? Praise I have to wait for. The prize is given to me because I have done well. It may be money; it may be position. It may be permission to continue to do what I like to do.

C. Deflect the praise.

Even though most human beings are secretly “praise whores,” they do dislike people who require immense amounts of praise. But since you have the prize, the praise is not really necessary.

For instance, an actor who appears in a movie and has done a great job, and the film is touching lives with its intelligence and intensity, does not need to hear what some critic in Bangor, Maine, has to say.

D. Encourage others.

Use your success, your prowess and your authority to steer other people in the discipline of abstaining from the prostitution of self-esteem and rather, embracing the power and intimacy of humility.

Our society seems to be intoxicated with the notion that merely making claims is halfway to the goal.

Beware.

Humility is a gift that we give back to life when we’re fully satisfied … and we don’t need to take anymore.

 

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Jesonian: Initially Involved… January 25, 2015

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Much to the chagrin of many religious people, Jesus was not born in America, nor does he have a palatial home in Nashville, Tennessee.

Not only does this rule him out from being voted President of the United States, it also demands that we recognize that he lived as a person two thousand years ago, among impoverished people who were cruelly dominated by an Empire and under subjugation to a religious system which believed that any variation of personality was proof of infestation of a demon.

All science was considered witchcraft and anything that was contrary to the top ten commandments and the many interpretations that had occurred since their unfolding was deemed “Gentile.”

So during the short-lived campaign of “What Would Jesus Do?”, the question, rather than stimulating debate and revelation, left most twenty-first century Christians baffled and frustrated.

What seems safer to us is to worship Jesus instead of follow him.

The difficulty with that is that mere reverence of “the Christ” leaves no footprint of the Jesonian in our own generation.

So please allow me to share the text abbreviations of the philosophy and thoughts of Jesus of Nazareth, which have survived the sands of time and continue to pop out of his teachings with prevalence. They are:

  • DJ
  • PR
  • MT
  • KOGIWM

If you can remember these four, you can pretty well apply a wonderful grid of how you want to “initially” become involved in your society while still maintaining the integrity and power of the message.

DJ: Don’t judge.

Don’t even think about judging. Don’t insert thoughts and scream that they’re “just opinions.” The minute you find yourself discussing another human being, run from the room as if you’ve just discovered that your leg is on fire.

No amount of judging is permitted in the Jesonian philosophy.

PR: Personal responsibility.

Jesus made it clear that most of our problems are caused by assuming that others have offended us, God needs more prayer from us or “the devil’s out to get us.” Just living your own life in your own space and working on your strengths and foibles is enough to keep any mortal busy for the time allotted.

MT: Multiply talent.

You have ability. Lamenting that it is not enough or pretending it doesn’t exist is what leads to the kind of resentment and jealousy that makes us spend too much time petitioning God instead of counting our blessings.

Try new things, and when those fail, try more.

KOGIWM: The kingdom of God is within me.

Every time I look outside myself to discover the purposes of the universe or the potentials for spirituality to impact my world, I have looked too far.

If it’s going to happen it needs to start with me.

If it’s going to start with me, I need to recognize that God is not only with me, but He’s entrusted the message to my care.

Here’s a simple statement to remember: In the pursuit of the obscure, we obscure the pursuit.

Anyone who tells you that prayer is the key to heaven forgets that we spend an awful lot of time on earth before our reward.

DJ, PR, MT, KOGIWM

It is a quick capsulization of how Jesus lived and also how he would continue to live … whether in Birmingham, Alabama, or Hong Kong.

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