While I’m Looking … February 5, 2013

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eyeballWhile I’m looking for a happy millionaire, a cool cat, a pleasant planner, a thoughtful thinker, a Christian Christian and a content God, I do believe it would be a good idea to pursue some of the things I’ve learned while trying to uncover these treasures.

For instance, I have discovered that the best way to be happy is to show up with your own batch of good cheer instead of assuming it will be provided upon your arrival.

The best way to be a cool cat? Be aware of the world around you, care about what people are saying–and only share when you know it’s going to edify and help someone.

Even though people exchange pleasantries all the time, I have learned that the best way to come across pleasant is to always lead with a smile–even if a frown is thrown back in your face.

And in this era of knowledge being pushed constantly, with tons of statistics backing up every point, I like to flush my brain out and become the thoughtful human being I need to be by living out a simple principle: whatsoever things are good, think on those things. There are people who may accuse me of having my head in the sand, but I think that’s preferable to tossing my mind in the gutter.

To honor the beauty of the word “Christian,” I have selected the following profile: I always imagine that Jesus has asked me to keep an eye on his house while he’s out of town. If my neighbor did that, I would be conscientious. If my neighbor asked me to watch his home, I would take care of it the way I know that HE takes care of it. And if my friend trusted me enough to watch over his abode, I would make sure that when he returns, it’s just the way he likes it. Jesus loved people, hated pretense and was not terribly interested in religious practice. He’s left us in charge of his roof and doorstep. We might want to respect his wishes.

And finally, while I’m looking for a content God, I am going to choose to believe that God most certainly must be more gracious, merciful and nicer than me. It amazes me that some people worship a divine being who is NOT as courteous and loving as they themselves. I do not know why I would want to give my devotion to a spirit which I would not want to spend ten minutes with, sharing a McDonald’s hamburger. Yes–most certainly God has to be better than me. Otherwise, I’m sorry–He doesn’t get to be God.

I figure these practices and initiatives are gonna keep me busy–and also, might prevent me from becoming cynical about my quest for finding these particular individuals. Because who knows? Maybe they don’t even exist. But if they don’t, my world does not become better by knowing that. So I will continue to look for…

  • a happy millionaire
  • a cool cat
  • a pleasant planner
  • a thoughtful thinker
  • a Christian Christian
  • and a content God.

After all, it’s not that painful to go around and investigate. Truth be told, I’m having the time of my life.

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

I’m Looking For… A Content God February 4, 2013

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handsGrouchy, grumpy and growling–three attributes we associate with being cantankerous and therefore, usually equated with getting old. Actually, teenagers can be just as grouchy, grumpy and growling as the retirement set, but apparently the younger generation has a better public relations agent.

I believe in God. I belive in God for three reasons:

  1. The world is too magnificent, too intricate and too well-devised to be an accident of a “Big Bang” idea.
  2. I need someone to love me as I find ways, through trial and error, to be more loveable.
  3. I am arrogant enough to desire immortality.

Now, you will notice that I don’t choose to believe in God simply because the Bible tells me so, that I am fearful of the power of His nature, or even because I’m frightened of a devil’s hell. No–I’m looking for a God who’s content–because I know that I’m better when I allow myself to be.

Unfortunately, that book called the Holy Bible presents at least three different Gods, if not more:

  • There’s the God who created the world, walking around like a proud papa, calling everything good and placing gold stars on daily assignments.
  • Then you’ve got the God who had some sort of faith crisis own and began demanding the foreskin from male children, the deaths of the Amorites and Philistines, the forbidding of shrimp scampi and the killing off of folks in Sodom and Gomorrah because…well, because they weren’t right in the head. We go through a season of this God, who seems to be enamored of blood, requesting that small animals be killed as confirmation of forgiveness, and relegating women to the status of cattle.
  • All of a sudden, some of the prophets from the minor leagues started sharing about a God who didn’t like killing animals and preferred mercy over sacrifice, and this carried through until we were given a live and in-person interview through the deeds and ideas of this fellow named Jesus. We were told that he was God. Suddenly back in our presence was a God who cared about people, told stories, condemned hypocrisy and welcomed repentance.

Recently I told a theologian that I was in search of a “content God” who was thrilled with the invention of fish in the ocean. He frowned and replied, “All the gods of the Bible blend into one God, who was all things and whose ways are mysterious. We will not understand until all things are revealed.” I looked into his dissatisfied face (which was grouchy, grumpy and growling) smiled and walked away.

You can feel free to boil down the entire Bible in an attempt to come up with a God who was able to kill children because they mocked a prophet but also heal the lepers because they cried out in praise. Not for me.

My God is a content one–because I know that I’m better when I am content. My God is the one who sat down on Friday afternoon, during his “week” of creation, and looked at man and woman, which He had just formed, and smiled in joy–with a tear in His eye.

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

I’m Looking For… A Christian Christian February 3, 2013

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Here’s a strange idea that continues to plague my mind:  for some reason, I think being a Christian should have something to do with Jesus.

There are those who would disagree with me–maybe not in principle, but certainly in application. For after all, if we really did have three or four billion people on this earth who “loved their neighbor as themselves” and “did unto others as they would have them do to themselves,” I think the ripple effect would be much more noticeable, don’t you?

So someone has slipped in, in the middle of a dispensation, and replaced the philosophical and spiritual aspects of the life of Jesus with an idol of religious rhetoric. Now, I will not speculate on guilty parties, nor will I point fingers at any particular group.

But beginning with my own mirror, I am on a quest to find a Christian Christian. They should have a desire to pursue the lifestyle of Jesus. First I’m going to tell you three things that Jesus didn’t do. When you find out what people refuse to participate in, you have a pretty good idea of the backbone of their conviction.

1. Jesus didn’t judge. Not only did he say not to judge, but he insisted that he could judge if he wanted to, and he would work on his judgment being fair and true–but still selected not to do so. Do you follow that? That would be like me saying, “Don’t jump off a cliff. Now, if I jumped off a cliff, facts are, I would bounce, but you know what? I’m still not gonna jump off a cliff.”

2. He didn’t act religious. If he had acted religious, the religious people would not have been upset with him. Matter of fact, he not only didn’t act religious himself, but generally speaking, had a habit of attacking all religious concepts that didn’t have a practical application to human life.

3. And finally, he didn’t preach. The strongest he got with an audience was to teach them, but most of the time when he was in their presence, he told them stories to draw parallels about life and how to live it better.

He didn’t judge, he didn’t act religious and he didn’t preach. Let me see: what would happen if we simply removed judging, self-righteousness and preaching from the Christian church? (Manna for thought…)

So what did he do? Jesus was a human who found a WAY to pursue the TRUTH, while living an abundant LIFE. There’s nothing wrong with having a WAY you live. There’s nothing wrong with believing that to be the TRUTH–as long as it culminates with you living out an abundant LIFE. After all, there’s nothing more obnoxious than someone who appears to be fairly miserable who invites you to come Sunday morning at 10:30 A.M. to discover his or her secret.

I’m looking for a Christian Christian. I have not given up; I am not pessimistic. When I find this individual, he or she will be a non-judgmental, non-religious, non-preaching human being who has found a way to pursue the truth, while living an abundant life.

Anything else would not be Christian because it wouldn’t resemble the life and times of Jesus.

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

I’m Looking For… A Thoughtful Thinker February 2, 2013

Thinker

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Laying on the table in front of me are two pictures. One is a grainy black-and-white photograph of the decaying skeletal human remains discovered in Auschwitz at the end of World War II–evidence of the genocide perpetrated by Hitler and his henchmen, to eliminate Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and other folks deemed undesirable.

The other picture is a glorious color photo of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, complete with Michelangelo’s rendition of God and man touching hands, creating an eternal link.

The two photos share very little in common–actually, only one definite similarity. Both of them were conceived in the brain of a human being. One, a dastardly mutilation of mercy and concern, often passed off as satanic intervention; the other, a glorious connection between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God, generating the miracle of creativity.

What’s the difference? After all, we are constantly talking about the power of knowledge without taking into consideration that there are two Garden of Eden varieties: the knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil.

It would be difficult to make a case that our generation is stupid. We may be the most educated race to ever walk the face of the earth. But the problem with thinking is that if it isn’t thoughtful, it can quickly become crude, self-involved and even dangerous, finding itself spewed from the darker regions.

Yes, to be a thinker is only good if you’re thoughtful. If the goal of receiving information and learning better ways is to use that tool of comprehension to enrich your own life and the lives of others, then the acquisition of knowledge transforms into wisdom. What is the turning point to change a mere human brain into an instrument of thoughtfulness?

1. I have what I need. Every nasty inclination occurs because we convince ourselves that we are cheated, short-changed or ignored. Somewhere along the line, in that glorious gray matter located in our cranium, we need to settle the score and understand that what we presently are working with is our treasure. It is when we begin to believe that we need more that we hatch plans to steal it from others.

2. I will use what I have. Even though laziness is a dangerous vice, when you team it with optimism, it becomes the breeding ground for the kind of thinking that makes us believe we deserve something without ever using our stockpile. One of the questions I ask myself monthly as I analyze my own progress is, “Am I using what I have instead of awaiting a shipment of supplies?” Nothing creates frustration any quicker than believing that opportunity is right around the corner rather than walking over and answering the door which is already being knocked upon.

3. I will daily invite God to come along on my journey. I am not going to be so ridiculous as to believe that He is in control of my life when He’s made it quite clear that He has granted me complete free will. I also will not be so stupid as to merely have a worship experience with Him in a religious sense without welcoming the wisdom of His spirit and the knowledge of the natural order into my decision-making process. Somewhere along the line, if you can stop being religious, you might actually get the chance to meet God. Likewise, if you’re an atheist, it’s going to be easier to garner information from nature–God’s workbench. I think it is impossible for human beings to be thoughtful until they stop needing more, but instead, use what they have and include God in their daily activities.

Without this, our brains become greedy, envious, lack-luster and we contend that we are the masters of our own fate, without having to give an account to anyone else of our deeds. I will go so far as to say that if Adolph Hitler had followed these three principles, it would have been impossible for him to lay a single filthy hand on any member of the Jewish community.

Too much thinking–not enough thoughtfulness.

My gift to you is to never use my brain without first connecting it to my more thoughtful nature. In so doing, I can tap the knowledge of good … and bypass the evil.

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

I’m Looking For… A Pleasant Planner February 1, 2013

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listWedged somewhere between the pesky pusher and the lazy loser is the delightful individual who purposely discovers ways and means to be a pleasant planner.

Although many individuals hate to admit it,we all do realize that some sort of organization is necessary in order to avoid … well, to avoid disorganization. Life is way too short to have to constantly peer at the rear end of people who have passed you by because they had an idea on how to follow through. Here’s what to avoid in the pursuit of a goal:

1. Don’t be too serious. If joy is our strength, then nagging is our death. Being somber in an aspiration communicates dissatisfaction and certainly does nothing to recruit followers.

2. Don’t be too involved. If you have your fingers in EVERY pie, no one wants to eat your pastries. Sooner or later you have to trust people to do something even if you believe it may amount to nothing.

3. Don’t take too long. Anything that takes over an hour needs to have a reprieve. I have heard directors tout the importance of three-hour rehearsals, but I will tell you–they only got sixty minutes of productivity out of it. Every human being needs a break after the hour hand goes around once.

4. Don’t be too boring. Some propagators insist that a certain level of tedium is necessary to prove sincerity and that we’re grown up about the vision. Good luck with that.

And finally …

5. Don’t be too strict. I know the old saying is “close enough for Hoyle,” but since nobody knows what that means, could we change it to “close enough for human?” Be prepared for people to fall short. In the movies, strictness is always portrayed as wrong, annoying and punishable. You might want to take a more cinematic approach.

Here’s what I think goes into becoming a pleasant planner:

1. Keep it simple. Just about the time you think it’s too childlike, you need to knock off a couple more steps from the directions. We are human beings. We like to celebrate. Establish benchmarks along the way where partying is possible.

2. Be ready to change. Even the Ten Commandments had to be amended. God knew that we human beings would never be able to follow anything past Number 1. That’s why, at the end of the Good Book it says “love your neighbor as yourself.” If you pull that off, you have done your part.

3. Laugh at your lack. There is one certainty in every project–it will run out of both energy AND money. If you’re not prepared for that you shouldn’t begin. A good sense of humor about falling short of the glory of your aspirations is the beginning of energizing future accomplishment.

4. Have fun getting it done. When you remove the excitement from life, you take the blood out of the body. For a little while it still looks like it’s human, but gradually, without blood flow, it starts to decay and stink. If you take the pleasure out of progress, everything around you will die and develop a stench.

5. Learn and burn. Learn what works and burn away everything that doesn’t. That means that a lot of things on your original list will have to be dumped along the roadside. You only look stupid if you become sentimental about things that are no longer valuable. You look like a genius when you follow through on the plans that do bear fruit.

Yes, I am looking for a pleasant planner.

I am looking to follow someone who tells me that my burden is easy and the weight is light.

To tell people anything else is to scare them away from following and chase them down the road … into obscurity.

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

I’m Looking For… A Cool Cat January 31, 2013

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cats

I don’t like cats.

I find them to be finicky, fussy–portraying great promise, with very little evidence of actual worth.

I grew up with them. My mother loved cats. There were always at least three or four hanging around our house. A case could be made that I’ve overdosed on the furballs, but the truth is I’ve just gotten to know them so well that I no longer find their peculiarities to be cute, but rather, obnoxious and arrogant.

They don’t really like people. Now, I’m sure your pet cat is the exception to the rule, but if you’ll allow me to analyze the species as a whole without feeling that I’m attacking Muffin, here are the things about cats that I don’t like:

  1. They use people when they need them and discard them at will.
  2. It is necessary to de-claw them because their jungle instincts come out only in disdain for your furniture.
  3. They never love when you need love, only when their psyche personally requires it.
  4. They leave the house and kill birds–actually, an estimated three and a half billion last year.
  5. They don’t make eye contact. They walk at a distance from you, looking askance.
  6. They don’t come when you call them. They interpret this as independence when it is actually overwrought self-worth.
  7. They will occasionally just walk out of the house to never return, leaving no note behind explaining their departure.

Please understand–I think cats have a greater potential in physiology and even attitude for FAR surpassing the dog in viability to the human family. They just don’t care. They are not interested in the propagation of our race or the whims and desires of our needs.

Cats aren’t cool.

So I am looking for a cool cat. Yes, I mean this in the sense of the feline, but also the “we-line.” Here are things I think would help make cats cooler:

  1. Stop playing so hard to get. They may refer to you as a Persian cat, but it doesn’t mean you’re royalty.
  2. Be grateful that somebody’s calling you, and walk across the room to respond to their beckoning.
  3. Never scowl or spat at those around you, even when they come up behind and surprise.
  4. Bury your crap a little deeper in the litter and stop being offended because people are not impressed with the residue of your stinky.
  5. Stop disdaining the dogs around you and realize that you’re not better just because you’re a cat.
  6. Enjoy the food set before you, even if it’s not presented in a fancy glass dish and garnished with a bit of parsley.
  7. Maintain the dignity of your claws–just don’t use them on people you love or the things they own.

There you go. Today, I feel like I have rebuilt the cat–and in the process, maybe I, myself, can learn to avoid the choice of being a lap dog … by learning how to be a cool cat.

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

I’m Looking For… A Happy Millionaire January 30, 2013

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Monopoly guyThe question is certainly rhetorical: “Who wants to be a millionaire?

It is assumed that there is a resounding chorus of “Me!’s” that follow the inquiry. Yet at the same time, in our poetry, music and theology, we insist that finance is completely incapable of making one happy. So are we to conclude from this that happiness is impossible? Or is it that misery is simply better when well-funded?

Because just as certain as we are that money cannot make you happy, we are even more intensely sure that poverty is a real road kill. So what is the answer?

I think it’s a little, simple process of self-discovery. The finance in your life should match your vision and mission.

I do not think that ministers, politicians and public servants should be wealthy. I think their means should match the surroundings of those they serve. Of course, I will not win many popularity contests espousing such controversial ideas. But I do believe there’s very little in life that’s worse than a prophet who profits too much–a politician who gets your vote AND your pocketbook, and someone who chooses to be of service to mankind but decides at the last minute to double-dip a hand into the till.

So is there ANYONE who should be allowed to be wealthy? The best wealthy people are those who don’t want to be–who work really hard to get rid of it. That’s the only time that you find millionaires who have sprouted a smile–not when they have bought their tenth vote or eighth luxury car, but instead, when they have purchased a Ford Escort for a struggling teacher in the community who has lost transportation to get to school to instruct young minds.

Happiness is the balance between solvency and emptiness.

How do we get there?

1. Understand the true value, worth and extent of your talent. The easiest path to envy and eventual insanity is to believe that you are better than you actually are.

2. To make sure that your evaluation on your talent is correct, do something every week to confirm and multiply your abilities.

3. Simplify your lifestyle and finance to the point that your talent can cover your expenses with enough to spare to make you feel that you are able to bless others.

4. Privately pursue a dream that might open doors to future possibilities but if it doesn’t happen, you’re completely content without it.

There you go.

  • Millionaires fail to achieve happiness because money is the common commodity which grows the root of all evil.
  • Poor people are equally dissatisfied because they feel cheated rather than accurately assessing their position in life and working within their means.

If I am able to grow one tomato, I should stay away from recipes that require two. It’s as simple as that.

So until I find a happy millionaire, I will think a million happy thoughts about where I am, who I am and where I’m going.

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

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