Good News and Better News … February 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Composite with borders

Jesus never answered a question the way the asker hoped he would respond.

“Who is my neighbor?”

“It’s that guy laying on the side of the road wounded, that everybody’s ignoring.”

“Is it right for us to pay tribute to Caesar?”

“Sure–if it’s Caesar’s gig.”

“How many times should we forgive people?”

“490 seems fair.”

“What must I do to be saved?”

“Go give your money away to the poor.”

If you’re waiting for truth to emerge from the mass of human opinion, you will spend your life following foolishness.

Thus, the layout of the four pictures in today’s array.

Picture 1, with Jan on set. We arrived in Christ Lutheran Church on Hilton Head Island and set up our equipment. It was the first and best thing we could accomplish.

Because of the nature of the promotional beast in America, Janet and myself maintain obscurity. No one cared that we set up our equipment, but we knew it was important to do it well, and to be ready.

The next picture shows the ceiling of the beautiful church we were in. They are lovely people, but they are religious. It is my job to take that religious fervor and try to turn it into a common sense faith.

Then you see a picture of my wheelchair, sitting by itself in the parking lot. That’s to remind me that showing my weakness only lends itself to creating strength. No one is self-sufficient. We have weaknesses, and if we’re willing to admit them to others, we open the door to a mutual humanity.

And finally, there’s a picture of a rear view mirror. Honestly, I cannot go forward without understanding where I’ve come from, and learning from those experiences to benefit myself, and therefore enhance the life of others.

Humility is not an option we select when we are in a particularly good mood or have sung a moving hymn. Humility is survival–allowing ourselves wiggle room just in case our frailties show up instead of our strengths.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the people at Christ Lutheran yesterday. They were sparkling, delightful and intriguing.

And it was my joy, since I knew they were aware of the Christ, to reacquaint them with Jesus. Long before he got the promotion to be the Christ, he walked among us as Jesus, changing lives, challenging stereotypes and transforming the world.

That’s the good news.

The better news lies in a comment that the dear pastor made to me right before I was departing on Sunday. He said one lady had commented that the service was “the closest thing to a tent revival she had ever seen in the Lutheran church.”

I don’t know if she meant that as a compliment, but I do know this–I am moving ahead in my mission, looking forward to the day when we will be so hungry for revival that we won’t care whether it’s in a steeped-ceiling cathedral or a stained-canvas tent.

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Good News and Better News … February 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2852)

Composite with borders

Jesus never answered a question the way the asker hoped he would respond.

“Who is my neighbor?”

“It’s that guy laying on the side of the road wounded, that everybody’s ignoring.”

“Is it right for us to pay tribute to Caesar?”

“Sure–if it’s Caesar’s gig.”

“How many times should we forgive people?”

“490 seems fair.”

“What must I do to be saved?”

“Go give your money away to the poor.”

If you’re waiting for truth to emerge from the mass of human opinion, you will spend your life following foolishness.

Thus, the layout of the four pictures in today’s array.

Picture 1, with Jan on set. We arrived in Christ Lutheran Church on Hilton Head Island and set up our equipment. It was the first and best thing we could accomplish.

Because of the nature of the promotional beast in America, Janet and myself maintain obscurity. No one cared that we set up our equipment, but we knew it was important to do it well, and to be ready.

The next picture shows the ceiling of the beautiful church we were in. They are lovely people, but they are religious. It is my job to take that religious fervor and try to turn it into a common sense faith.

Then you see a picture of my wheelchair, sitting by itself in the parking lot. That’s to remind me that showing my weakness only lends itself to creating strength. No one is self-sufficient. We have weaknesses, and if we’re willing to admit them to others, we open the door to a mutual humanity.

And finally, there’s a picture of a rear view mirror. Honestly, I cannot go forward without understanding where I’ve come from, and learning from those experiences to benefit myself, and therefore enhance the life of others.

Humility is not an option we select when we are in a particularly good mood or have sung a moving hymn. Humility is survival–allowing ourselves wiggle room just in case our frailties show up instead of our strengths.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the people at Christ Lutheran yesterday. They were sparkling, delightful and intriguing.

And it was my joy, since I knew they were aware of the Christ, to reacquaint them with Jesus. Long before he got the promotion to be the Christ, he walked among us as Jesus, changing lives, challenging stereotypes and transforming the world.

That’s the good news.

The better news lies in a comment that the dear pastor made to me right before I was departing on Sunday. He said one lady had commented that the service was “the closest thing to a tent revival she had ever seen in the Lutheran church.”

I don’t know if she meant that as a compliment, but I do know this–I am moving ahead in my mission, looking forward to the day when we will be so hungry for revival that we won’t care whether it’s in a steeped-ceiling cathedral or a stained-canvas tent.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 12) Repairing … February 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

Jews hated Samaritans. And by the way, the Samaritans were very willing to do their part to uphold the grudge.

Pharisees despised Romans. The Romans basically ignored them–until they occasionally got a murderous urge.

Zealots fought the Legionnaires. It was an unfair battle–Rome had too many weapons.

Lepers were separated from healthy people–and not nicely, may I add.

Men hated women. Women were in bondage to men.

Merchants killed thieves. Thieves stole from merchants.

This is the scene that was in full force when Jesus of Nazareth stepped into the melee to express his voice.

What pressure was put upon him? “Pick a side.”

  • The Jews got mad because he wasn’t Jewish enough.
  • The Romans were unimpressed because he was raised Jewish.
  • Even the Judeans and the Galileans–who were both Jewish–looked down upon one another, always pushing and shoving for predominant favor.

What did he do?

He set out repairing.

Rather than picking the Jewish side or the Samaritan side, grabbing a placard and protesting, he went to the Samaritans and to the Jews with the same message.

Rather than grabbing a sword and becoming a Zealot, his communication was that it was more important to give to the Romans what belonged to the Romans and to give to God what belonged to God.

He upset the Judeans by inviting Galileans to be his disciples.

And he really pissed off the boys from Galilee by appointing the Judean to be treasurer.

He touched lepers to heal them, which scared the hell out of his hypochondriac-followers.

And rather than submitting to a teaching arena, which was segregated for men, he blended men and women into a common camp of discovery.

You can’t repair if you’re going to insist that one side is better than another.

For instance, you will never be able to solve the problems in the Middle East if you favor the Jews over the Muslims or the Muslims over the Jews.

It is a reasonable process to go about the business of repairing. But to do it, you have to keep three things in mind:

1. Find the breach.

In other words, where has this group over here decided to hate that group over there, and how willing are you to stand between the two?

Since the black community feels persecuted by the police, and the cops feel targeted by that community, it is important for someone to stand in the middle, clean up the corruption in the police force, and teach the black community how to represent itself clearly and well in our society.

If you’re always going to try to find the victim, you’ll spend all of your time bandaging wounds instead of healing conflicts.

2. Situate yourself in the middle.

Black lives matter. Absolutely. No doubt about it.

Policemen have to make too many split-second decisions while holding life-threatening weapons. Absolutely.

Both camps need to realize the weakness and the strength of the other.

You can’t minister to Republicans if you’re a Democrat. And you sure can’t reach Democrats if you’re pounding them with the politics of Ronald Reagan.

Situate yourself in the middle where repair is needed and the breach is obvious.

3. Reach out in both directions.

Jesus found himself on the cross, nailed between two thieves, one hand reaching to the right and the other to the left. From that position, he was trying to salvage two lives which would soon be extinguished.

You can not repair if you choose to believe that one side is better than the other.

It is reasonable to go about the business of repairing.

You will have to free yourself of the unnecessary need of having an opinion on everything … and instead have a yearning to bridge the gap.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … February 20th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

 

 

Dear Man: Do you think a woman could be President?

 

Dear Woman: Do you think a man could be sensitive without coming across as gay?

 

Dear Man: Do you think a woman is able to teach men?

 

Dear Woman: Do you think a man is able to carry on an intelligent conversation with a woman?

 

Dear Man: Do you think a man and a woman can be friends without any romance?

 

Dear Woman: Sounds like we’ve got all the questions down.

 

Dear Man: But I don’t hear you answering any of them.

 

Dear Woman: I’m not gonna be the first one to jump into that puddle.

 

Dear Man: Chicken.

 

Dear Woman: Cluck, cluck.

 

Dear Man: Well, answer this. Why do you think the questions exist in the first place? After all, we don’t ask if women can be friends with each other or if men can be friends.

 

Dear Woman: That’s easy. Breasts and balls.

 

Dear Man: What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: From the time you and I were little kids, we were told that women have breasts and men have balls, and that those two dangling pieces of human skin symbolize unique roles.

 

Dear Man: I see what you mean. So because I have breasts, I am viewed as a sexual object, even though breasts have much more to do with feeding a child than they do with luring a man.

 

Dear Woman: Not from my perspective! I am taught that the only way I can get your attention is by demonstrating my masculinity and kind of letting my balls hang out there.

 

Dear Man: Kind of, you mean…

 

Dear Woman: Yeah. It’s the only thing that the secular world and the religious world agree on. Men are strong–balls. Women are weak–breasts.

 

Dear Man: So even though the Miss America Pageant has a talent competition, and they ask them a question, everybody tunes in for the swimsuits.

 

Dear Woman: Hell, yeah. We run our society on sexuality while simultaneously, in our art, we insist that the sexes are so malfunctioning that sexual relations are rarely fulfilling.

 

Dear Man: So if you chase what we’re taught, you’re dissatisfied. And if you don’t chase it, people clump you in as a feminist.

 

Dear Woman: Don’t you think a man could be a feminist?

 

Dear Man: Not really. I think a man who’s smart and understands equality could call himself a realist. After all, we’re not going to do this separately. It’s gonna have to be together.

 

Dear Woman: So I guess in this society we’re stuck with breasts and balls.

 

Dear Man: There is another choice. It’s called brains.

 

Dear Woman: That’s easy to say. It sounds good. But how do you ever convince people that brains come to play in the conflict between the sexes?

 

Dear Man: I think that’s easy. Ultimately, nobody wants to be stuck with a stupid lover. Nobody wants to spend their life with an uncaring buffoon who is completely unaware of what’s going on.

 

Dear Woman: So do you think if brains were brought to the forefront in a relationship between a man and woman, that breasts and balls could be put into perspective?

 

Dear Man: Now there’s a question you don’t often hear. Here’s what I think. People become more attractive when they are pursuing an intelligent path toward solving the problems in their lives instead of trying to be seductive with their breasts or overpowering with their balls.

 

Dear Woman: So how can we use our brains without having the breasts and balls try to take authority?

 

Dear Man: Stop believing what people tell you about yourself unless your experience agrees with it. I don’t feel stupid. I don’t feel weak. I don’t feel like a sex object. I don’t feel I should be forbidden to teach men. I don’t think it’s impossible for a man and a woman to have a friendship.

 

Dear Woman: Me either.

 

Dear Man: That’s two of us. And two people agreeing together, using their brains, can make some pretty wonderful things happen.

 

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G-Poppers … February 19th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop wonders if the current crop of ears listening to the corny dialogue from the field of candidates is totally aware of the dangers.

Would they even consider the insights of a young preacher from 2000 years ago, who warned that his generation was like a bunch of “children sitting in the marketplace”–the message being that since they’re children, they aren’t ready for the marketplace, but instead, better suited for the playground?

So the danger in politics and religion is that we end up with a clump of childish scoundrels. It’s difficult to look at them as criminals because they are so inexperienced, but impossible to consider them viable, since they are so bratty.

The definition of childish is anyone who thinks their feelings are more important than the truth.

So when you look at Marco, Hillary, Ted, Ben, Jeb, Bernie, Donald and John, you realize that each one has some endearing qualities which are certainly tainted by a fussy need to come across superior.

We must understand that superior is only achieved when inferior is confronted and corrected.

So what should be the profile of those who desire to rule over us and reign in the “land of the free and the home of the brave?”

A simple phrase:

“I am capable.”

  • I am capable of good things, which my campaign manager will now recite to you in detail.
  • I am capable of bad things, which my opponents will soon find, so to free them from that exhausting task, I will confess myself.
  • And I am capable of learning by listening to the wisdom of others and their counsel, and adjusting myself to the reality of the present predicament.

These candidates want to express their readiness–yet no one is ready to be President of the United States. The job description changes daily, with the focus landing squarely on varied skills at a moment’s notice. You cannot prepare for such a mission. What you need to do is learn to submit to each situation as it arises.

I am capable.

“I am capable of good things, bad things and learning better things.”

G-Pop does not have any desire to endorse a candidate, but he’s happy to tell you that the wisdom expressed by that itinerant teacher 2000 years ago still holds true.

Children in the marketplace will turn childish when confronted by difficulty.

Escaping childishness requires that we humble ourselves by celebrating the good, acknowledging the bad … and arriving, every day, with a willing attitude.

 

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Ask Jonathots … February 18th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

Parenting question: What is the best way to discipline young children? Do you believe in time-outs? How about spanking?

If you arrived on a new job and your boss walked in the room and said, “Don’t touch the water cooler, the copy machine and don’t drink more than three cups of coffee,” and then strolled out of the room, what would you think?

Well, since it was a new job, you wouldn’t know exactly what you were supposed to do–only informed of what was forbidden.

That’s the mistake we make with parenting.

A child, who is full of energy, hopes, dreams and wants to have a good time, is instructed in all the things that are unacceptable, without being channeled in a direction to use all of the creative explosion bursting within.

Although you may want to discuss discipline, I think the most important thing for any parent to consider are ways to avoid needing discipline.

By the time you get to the point of discipline, the issue is usually too much or too little, no matter how hard you try. So how can we avoid disciplining our children so much, and still have them grow up to be fantastic human beings?

It’s a two-step process:

  1. Decide what you want them to do.
  2. Shrink the situation and give them a chance to practice.

In other words, if you want your kids to play with a puzzle for an hour, find an area where you want them to play, provide a snack, and do puzzles with them until you ignite their interest.

Put a time limit on it, and then come and retrieve them for the next project.

You cannot expect to leave a child in a room with no guidance, no floor plan for activities, only telling them what’s bad, and think you won’t have a mess.

Find what you want them to do and then shrink the room to that activity.

Remember: life is based on a reward system, not a punishment.

So just as you are given a paycheck because you followed the rules of the company, which includes doing your job, your kids should likewise be rewarded for good behavior and contributing to the cause.

So the answer to your question?

Try to eliminate discipline, but when you do find a need to do so, make sure you have created a reward system.

Tell your children, “If you will play with this puzzle for thirty minutes and then pick up your toys in the corner and throw away this trash by the time I get back, I will let you watch your favorite show.” Then follow up on it.

  • You control the food.
  • You control the entertainment.
  • You even control the water.

Use it to your advantage.

But don’t expect children to follow rules without having a plan of action to fill their time and exhaust their energy.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … February 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Pohymn the rose

Eureka

I am not afraid to doubt

Doubting purifies my belief

Belief links my spirit with willingness

Willingness is the giddy notion that there might be more

More is what God offers to my labored thinking

Thinking is cleansed by honoring feeling

Feeling lets me know I am human

Human is the merger of the monkey and the angel

Angels wish they were me

Me is the space I have been granted to experiment

I experiment because I am not afraid.

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