Salient…August 20th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3770)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

“I need to find out for myself.”

This is a rather typical adolescent statement–an attitude that often lingers into adulthood and can even be heard off the lips of the “graying crowd.”

There seems to be an abiding notion that unless we personally experience something, we remain ignorant.

Why do we feel the compulsion to walk so close to darkness?

Why is it necessary to step to the edge of the cliff just to confirm there’s a huge fall available?

Why do we regard those who remain pure of heart and body as simpy or silly?

What causes us to believe that those who have indulged in evil behavior are somehow more suited for offering counsel to the ones going through similar struggles?

Let’s look at some of them:

1. Alcohol, smoking and drugs

Is it really required, in the human race, to try all of these things in order to give an opinion on the variables? Don’t we have enough experience with alcohol to know that it is a killer of the body and the best drink available to promote wife-beating?

How many warnings do we need from the Surgeon General before we accept that smoking turns lungs into coal?

And are there really good drugs? Even the ones we use as medications are chemical poisons. This is why we call them anti-biotics. They kill life. The drugs don’t discriminate good cells from bad cells. The list of side-effects for the drugs promoted on commercials is usually twice as long as the benefits.

Is it wise to dabble–to get a dribble of knowledge? (Maybe we should ask Eve.)

2. Lying.

Once you lie, you’re a liar, which puts you with all the other liars, who can’t hang out with anybody else but the liar’s club. People who require trust can’t interact with you anymore. It’s the nature of the Earth.

3. Pornography.

Perhaps I’m ignorant on this issue, but do men and women actually become better lovers by watching pornography? Or does it twist the brain, causing us to believe that simple romantic encounters lack the pungency to produce orgasms? Can the pictures on the screen ever imitate the patience of nurturing a relationship–smelling and touching the genitalia of the one you love?

Why does the statement, “I don’t smoke, drink, watch pornography and I greatly attempt never to lie” classify someone as a goody-two-shoes, when none of us want to be around somebody with a hacking cough, who is vomiting from being drunk and zoned out on drugs, looking at pornographic web sites, as they lie to us and tell us they aren’t pursuing evil?

So here is your salient moment:

Stay away from the edge.

The reason they call it darkness is because there’s really nothing to see.

 

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Salient…August 13th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3764)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

 

Grace is a pardon.

Mercy is a second chance.

Grace is considered “unconditional love.”

Mercy is love that helps us change our condition.

Grace covers a multitude of sins.

Mercy gives us a shot at being free of sin.

Grace is given to the humble.

Mercy tolerates us while we work on our humility.

Grace is a gift from God.

Mercy is a gift from our brothers and sisters.

Grace does not critique.

Mercy believes we can do better.

By grace we are saved through faith.

Mercy sustains us through our doubt.

 

So here’s your salient moment:

Be thankful for the grace of God, but live your life like it’s not there.

 

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Salient…August 6th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3757)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

The stall.

The pause.

The stammer.

Tentative moments that rob us of the opportunity to see a goal achieved–a dream accomplished.

We have foolishly portrayed inaction as humility.

The stall is when there’s something to be.

Fear sets in. How will I be perceived? Will I be left out there all alone? Maybe I should wait.

The pause is when there’s something to do.

Opportunity knocks but never promises to wait around until we get our robe on, to answer the door. That extra few moments of carefulness often costs us the great blessing of participating.

The stammer.

Yes, there are moments in life when there’s something to say.

It needs to be uttered. It should be shouted from the housetops, but at least whispered in the ear.

But instead of being, doing and saying, the human race trembles with a stall, a pause and a stammer.

This might not even be a problem–except each of us expects more out of life than we’re willing to give. As a result, three nasty spirits inhabit the human heart:

1. “I feel cheated.”

2. “I’m angry.”

3. “No one understands.”

From that defeated position, we attempt to wage a campaign for our common good. It is doomed.

And then, when we realize that the little we have is insufficient, we suddenly discover that even our tiny portion is taken away.

Most people don’t understand life because they only believe in either God or science. But there is a science to God, and there is a Godliness in science. This balance tells us that when you remove the motivation and energy from a creature, it recluses and dies.

Beware the stall, the pause and the stammer. They will make you feel cheated, angry and misunderstood.

So here is your salient moment:

When there is something to be, step into it.

When there is something to do, perform to the best of your ability.

And when there’s something to say, speak up.

 

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Salient…July 30th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3750)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Anita Bryant.

I would guess, to my average reader, the name neither rings a bell nor stimulates any particular memory.

But back in 1977 (when a few determined dinosaurs still roamed the Earth), Anita Bryant was voted “The Most Trusted Woman in America.”

She was a former Miss America contestant who had a singing career and was well-known as the pitch person for Florida orange juice.

She was vibrant.

She was youthful.

And she was, as we gradually discovered, quite political.

For you see, when the Fort Lauderdale City Council passed an ordinance removing all limitations on lodging and civil considerations for the homosexual community, Anita objected.

And we’re not talking about an op-ed letter to the newspaper. She hit the streets, held rallies, and turned a local situation into a national debate over the issue of whether people who pursued a homosexual lifestyle should be granted all of their civil liberties.

She was in demand. Her performances were packed. She did interviews on all the Christian talk shows, and even one for Playboy Magazine. She was America’s sweetheart.

For you see, at that time in our country, the jury was not only out on the gay community, but was leaning toward the “rejection penalty.”

It was popular to be anti-gay.

It was considered patriotic to be against them.

As we arrived in the 1980s, and the horrific AIDS epidemic spread across the land, those who believed homosexuality to be an abomination to God also whispered that perhaps this new virus was the Almighty’s punishment.

Things changed.

Suddenly a little boy in Indiana got AIDS from a blood transfusion–and it was no longer merely an infection of the flaming queens. Ryan White, with his generous spirit, refused to believe that his particular AIDS was any different from the AIDS contracted by those in San Francisco.

He was humble, he was non-judgmental, and he was strong until the day he died.

He made those who condemned their brothers and sisters look foolish–especially Anita Bryant.

She is still alive, but unfortunately, her name is equated with intolerance instead of righteousness–or orange juice, for that matter.

An interesting fact that you may want to tuck away in your memory: lepers are remembered more favorably than Pharisees.

So here is your salient moment:

You can’t defend God or morality by attacking behavior and hurting people.

 

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Salient…July 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3743)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Make a statement. Avoid questioning.

And by questioning, I mean the assumptions that other human beings draw about you based on very little information.

For some reason, we, as people, feel no need to apply facts when it comes to deciding who somebody really is, since they haven’t clearly stated their position one way or another.

This quick-to-the-punch evaluation can be based on facial expression, body language, race, gender, sexual orientation or whim.

If you don’t make a statement about things in life, you leave it to others to come with the questions, or to question for themselves and then form conclusions–which more than likely will be far from true.

Yet, because we have become so politically correct, afraid to voice an opinion for fear of being offensive, answers like “I don’t know” or “that’s a tough one,” or one I personally disfavor, “I guess it depends on the circumstances,” are prevalent.

Make a statement. Avoid questioning.

Let me give you some examples:

  • I do not believe in killing anything unless I plan on eating it.
  • I also decided not to judge anyone at any time unless I’m wearing a long, black robe and have a gavel in my hand (so far no offers).
  • Every week I evaluate my compassion, success and motivation on whether I end up giving more than taking.
  • And I freely admit that I’m a bigot. I favor one race. The human race.

So there you go.

Because I make statements, you don’t have to exhaust yourself coming up with a list of inquiries or challenging me in your private thoughts, developing your own profile about me.

So here is your salient moment:

If you’re not afraid to make a statement about what you believe, then you won’t have to field so many questions about what truly and honestly is in your heart.

 

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Salient…July 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3735)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

“I’m just human.”

This statement has been used to excuse murderous behavior. It also has been the opening refrain of a testimony offered in appreciation of God’s grace.

But if being human is a weakness, then what are eight billion people supposed to do with their lives? Are they to walk the Earth as emotional zombies, never able to connect with a good idea two days in a row?

Or must they give in to the dark human trinity?

  1. Complaining about circumstances
  2. Lessening expectations
  3. Lying if necessary

Is this really what God intended? Did He create an inferior race as worship slaves to His glory? Or, as the story goes, did He breathe into them the breath of life, give them His image and declare them living souls?

It’s time for us to decide:

Are we created in God’s image, tempted by evil?

Or are we born in sin, struggling to do even a little good?

I don’t think I’m alone in needing a reason to get up in the morning other than, “I’m going to go to heaven when I die.”

So let us turn to Jesus to see what he said about this situation. He summed it up in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”

What did he mean by perfect?

He’s talking about a perfect human life. And a perfect human life is defined thusly:

“I will continue to try to do better until it’s unnecessary anymore for me to try.”

Even though we may be captivated by sin, we still have free will. How many victories can we chalk up before we fail? How much fun can we have learning how to improve?

  • We are human.
  • We are honored to be human.
  • We have the breath of life.
  • We are created in God’s image.
  • We are living souls, which means we do have the ability to walk between two kingdoms–Earth and Heaven.

The power we possess is in choosing. The gift we’ve been given is the breath of life. And we have a personal kinship with God.

So here is your salient moment:

Start acting more like your Father or be prepared to be a monkey’s uncle.

 

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Salient…July 9th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3721)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Strolling down any thoroughfare in 1975, it was highly unlikely that you would see a person dressed in a military uniform unless it was an aging hippie who was donning the garments to protest the whole concept of war.

Soldiering just wasn’t popular. It was not contemptuous, but it was contentious.

In other words, it created so much conflict because of the Vietnam War that people tried to avoid any discussion about army men, marines or sailors.

This continued for many years. Matter of fact, may I say that for most of you reading this, if you encountered a guidance counselor in high school, you were offered many choices on college, technical institutions and even mechanic schools. Then, at the tail end of such a conversation, you might have been given the option of military service.

A last resort.

“He is so screwed up he needs to go into the army.”

“Maybe the marines will straighten him out.”

The military was never considered a fast track to success and was often riddled with guys–and maybe even a gal or two–who “just never found themselves.”

It was a volunteer army for those who volunteered because volunteering for anything else seemed pointless.

These are hard, cold, historical facts, and have nothing to do with the sentiments of this author or even the lasting emotions of the American people. It was just felt that being grateful to a warrior seemed to be promoting the war.

Then there was a change–a needful one.

At first, it was politicians who wanted to pander to their more conservative base.

Then it was ministers in churches, welcoming the fighting men home to their families and friends.

Gradually, a phrase emerged from the lips of the American populace: “Support the troops.”

Then it evolved from this generic form, it has become: “We want to thank you for your service.”

It doesn’t make any difference if it’s President Trump, a game show host, a first grade class or Bernie Sanders–it is now universally executed. Whenever a person in uniform is standing before us, we must pipe up with, “Thank you for your service.”

We have learned to do it. Sometimes it doesn’t even sound sincere. It doesn’t matter. It is the respectful piece of etiquette, which has been inserted into our common, everyday lingo, to express a positive position.

So why can’t we do the same thing over race? Why can’t we start looking at the color of people’s skin, and honor them for surviving their struggles, battles and the ups and downs in being American citizens?

It might take a while–but perhaps we could start off by making eye contact with someone of a different race, and tenderly, through that gaze, communicate that we understand that their journey is more difficult than ours.

After all, we don’t give a nod to the troops because they’re changing light bulbs in the kitchen. That’s what we do. We give appreciation to them because they do and have done what we can’t or won’t do.

They serve. They survive. They use their intellect to protect our freedom.

Why can’t we do this with the black man?

“I want to thank your ancestors for their service to America, even though it has gone unnoticed and unheralded.”

To the Hispanic population:

“Thank you for your industrious nature, which continues to work despite all the criticism you receive.”

To the Native Americans:

“Thank you for allowing us to live on this land which was originally yours–and even though we stole it, you stopped fighting and decided to coexist with us.”

And to those from Asia:

“Thank you for coming to this country and bringing your energy, heart and family values, which we have incorporated into our own lifestyle.”

So here is your salient moment:

Support the troops. Yes, let us rally around those who are prepared to fight for our country.

But perhaps we could take the next two decades, applying the same principle we did to bring necessary respect to the armed services, to learn, once and for all, how to support the groups.

 

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