Good News and Better News … February 15th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News and Better News Windsor UMC

A carefully constructed bulletin.

Beautiful building.

Decorated altar.

Gorgeous organ.

First-class sound equipment for the praise band.

Prepared minister.

Eager ushers.

Hymns meticulously selected.

Fresh doughnuts.

Delicious coffee.

Ample parking.

Batteries in the wireless mics.

Sunday school lessons.

Nursery workers.

Handicap accessible.

Bathrooms stocked with paper products.

Children’s church.

Carpets swept.

Library open.

Prayers uttered.

Choir rehearsed.

ALL IS PREPARED.

Whosoever will may come.

But they don’t.

Never has there been so much tender-loving care put into the prospect of receiving an audience which refuses to arrive.

It was a bitter-cold Sunday morning in Columbia, South Carolina when I found my way to Windsor.

Absolutely delightful, engaging, intelligent, fresh human beings.

Just not very many of them.

And I guess it would be fine if there wasn’t a general understanding among those attending that something is missing–or rather, a bunch of “someones” absent.

Some of those who fail to attend are former advocates who have left, either through disagreement or just “growing weary in well-doing.”

But many are human beings who have been taunted into believing that there are no real answers within the stained glass windows.

The church has become the standing joke for those who want to poke fun at a group of people they truly do not understand. So there’s a tendency for those who are still warming the pew to turn cold and lose faith.

The good news is that we have the facility to receive our fellow-travelers.

The better news is that while we’re waiting for them to make up their minds, we should work on our own lives, our own joy, our own understanding and our own tolerance.

Jesus was interested in a following that had lips with heart. In other words, what is spoken comes from a place of passion. The beauty of passion is that even if you’re wrong, because you have not hidden your feelings, they can be corrected. And if you’re right, the energy can bring life to those around you.

When you remove heart from lips, you get words that sound dry, dusty and old. But when you add the personal joy and testimony of reality, then the lips can speak the desires of the heart and bring revival.

So to all the good friends I met at Windsor, let me remind you:

While we are waiting for the world to get tired of crazy, let us look to ourselves and overcome our lazy.

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G-Poppers … September 4th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop sat quietly in his chair, checking his emails on his I-Pad, as two of his grandkids were perched nearby, surfing the channels for something to watch on the television.

For some reason, the girl, the older of the two, paused on the History Channel, which was showing a special on Hitler and the Third Reich.

The younger boy asked the girl, “Who’s that?”

“Hitler,” she replied.

“Who’s he?” he asked.

“A monster.” She then turned the channel and they were on to more entertaining possibilities.

G-Pop wondered if he should say something. Yet it really wasn’t what they refer to as a “teaching moment.” The kids were obviously seeking diversion, not instruction.

But he realized that most people do think of Hitler as a monster. After all, it’s too frightening to consider that he was just a human being who got trapped in a “monster idea.” Unfortunately, the monster idea is still trouncing around while Hitler is long in his grave. What is the “monster idea?”

It’s a 2-part conclusion which always ends up in some form of treachery: “I am better. We are the best.”

When the notion that “I am better than other people” links up with followers or advocates to form a mob mentality of dominance, somebody is going to get hurt.

Maybe it won’t be six million Jews. Maybe it’ll just be six people disincluded from our party because of their color, nationality or preferences.

But the monster still roams the hillsides, seeking to kill off the innocent.

Until this is addressed, we will insist that our form of nationalism is nothing like what was promoted by the Nazis. We will allow politicians to openly condemn entire races of people in the name of protecting our national security.

We will even extol the piety of a woman refusing to do her job because she feels that she is better than those who have come to receive their rightful privilege.

  • Right and wrong is ultimately determined in the heavens.
  • Humility or arrogance is our choice.
  • And those who choose arrogance in the name of right are always wrong.
  • And those who choose humility in the presence of wrong will historically be judged right.

It’s as simple as that.

There are no monster people…just people who are following a monster idea.

 

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. . . knew what to do … October 26, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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five thousandCommittees can be powerful as long as they are headed by a visionary person of principle who reminds the gathered of the power of truth instead of giving in to convenience.

We should never throw a good idea aside, but also never embrace one when it has fallen by the wayside and is being maintained for the sake of tradition.

If they had held a committee meeting on a hill so many years ago when five thousand hungry people, who had been listening to teaching for days, were famished and in need of nourishment, the vote taken by the thirteen members of that body of consideration would have been to “send the folks away” and hope for the best. Even though a young itinerant minister named Jesus asked the opinion of his fellow-travelers, the story tells us that he, himself “knew what he was going to do.”

And because of his sense of mission and mercy, the folks were fed, using the resources of the reluctant committee members, stimulating their faith by giving them the chance to be part of a miraculous event–even though they might have voted against it.Abraham and cabinet

In 1861, a less-than-popular Abraham Lincoln ascended to the role of President of the United States. He surrounded himself with both advocates and critics, trying to form a government that would cohesively address the issue of slavery.

Yet I will tell you, if Abraham Lincoln had left the decision up to his Cabinet and Congress, we would be two nations today–one of them probably still having some form of sophisticated slave labor.

Abraham Lincoln knew what he was going to do–and somehow or another found a way to get those around him to come along and appear as if they were part of the solution instead of being entrenched in the problem.

Over and over again, throughout history, men and women of purpose and conscience have sat in front of committees, and rather than surrendering their leadership to the temporary will and often insanity of the popular opinion of the day, they guided their constituents to better conclusions.

gay rightsRecently, even in our country, on the justification of gay Americans to have civil rights, there has been a committee of those who have focused on the morality or normalcy of the issue instead of the liberty and justice that is required for all. Even in the face of such comprehensive division, we, the people, found the impetus to begin the journey to grant our citizens their due.

Do we all agree?

Absolutely not.

Is there a right and wrong here?

Often, my dear friends, freedom dictates that we abandon the notion of purity in favor of equality.

There is much to do in this country–and since we cling to a notion of democracy, it probably will require committees for accomplishment. But we do need those who chair the conclave of “deciders” to have an understanding of history, an appreciation of freedom and a stalwart will to abandon popularity in favor of posterity.

Can we find such individuals? Will we take the time to select leadership that will spur us to discover the inspirational choices … which will make our children call us blessed?

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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