Three Ways to Avoid Politics … October 9, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I grow very weary of politicians who discuss voting blocks, demographics and pet projects.

In like manner, ministers perturb me when they wax eloquent about liturgy, communion, baptism and the history of the church bell.

Corporations which feel they have “pulsed the market,” finding a strategy for selling their products instead of pursuing improving their quality also leave me cold.

Politics is when any institution–or even individual–attempts to execute a plan instead of planning an execution for absurdity.

Yes, politics should be avoided at all cost or it will end up robbing you of a soul, which comes in handy.

Here are three ways to avoid this political morass:

1. Evaluate issues, not causes.

For instance, I’m against all killing. Because of that, the Republicans are often angry with me when I don’t jump on the Humvee to head off to war. The Democrats frown in my direction because I’m against abortion. I don’t care. I give myself the gift of consistency, affording me the blessing of avoiding hypocrisy.

2. Don’t be afraid to be wrong.

Every great idea should be trimmed in elastic. It will need to stretch to adjust itself to the needs of humanity.

  • The Constitution is not written in stone. It has required many amendments and is not yet done breathing.
  • The Bible must spiritually keep up with the changing needs of the hearts of men.
  • And the movies should go back to moving us instead of shocking us.

I am often wrong. Matter of fact, one of my greatest joys in life is to say “I am wrong” before someone else discovers my dumbness.

3. Think about people instead of institutions.

I frustrate Republicans, Democrats, conservatives and liberals because I have just not found that any one of them has the ability to aid the cause of Earth without in some way digging in their heels and stopping a needful evolution.

You can feel free to be political, but eventually you’ll have to swallow something which is contrary to your soul, for the good of a cause that does not address the true nature of the need.

Not for me.

I am free.

My freedom was bought with a price.

And I have no intention of selling it to the highest bidder, nor joining a party which offers nothing refreshing.

 

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Meant Well… September 2, 2012

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The Bible.  Some people think it’s just a book. Others call it holy. It’s divided into two sections–Old Testament and New Testament.

You see, I understand that. Really, it’s not that different from me. After all, I’m always divided into two sections: Meant well. Doing better.

I don’t know why we fail to notice that the Bible makes it clear that God is learning. We seem to be obsessed with the notion of perfection instead of enjoying perfecting. I think it’s because we secretly hope we reach a point where we’re always right and never have to make corrections, so we project that image onto God.

It certainly is not what He advertised about Himself. For after all, He created man; then he was sorry He did, so He killed them off with a flood. Then He was sorry He did that. He went along with the Jewish people when they wanted a King and then everybody was sorry about that. So God sent them prophets to tell them about a better way. Some of these messengers got heard; most of them got killed.

So just to establish clearly that God was in a learning mode, He started a New Testament. He decided to become human, and when He did, He came to learn. He used the name “Jesus” and we’re told that He learned obedience through the things He suffered and He grew in wisdom and in stature.

Yes, there is an Old Testament–that’s where God meant well. And there’s a New Testament. That’s where we’re doing better.

We did it with our country, too, you know. We got together and came up with a constitution–a magnificent document. It establishes that we meant well. But immediately we realized that this particular conglomeration of words didn’t cover all the needs of a society dedicated to liberty. So we started adding amendments, trying to do better.

I remember when I was thirty years old, I took a job at a teeny, tiny Bible college, as a professor. They were trying to expand the vision of their little learning center and increase enrollment. In the first four months, I wrote and produced a play, did several fund-raisers and started a five-minute daily radio broadcast of a continuing drama series. Sure enough, it got a lot of attention and the number of students increased. But I failed to notice that I was losing the support, confidence and affection of the president of this little college. But because I was very young, I assumed it was his problem and that he was just an old fuddy-duddy. Even though I began a good work there, I was unable to finish it because this disgruntled leader asked me to leave. You see, I meant well. But from that point on, I started doing better by understanding that the wheels of progress really aren’t supposed to roll across human flesh.

There is always a step necessary to take us from what we have done to what we need to do. It’s called learning. And if Jesus had to do it, who do we think we are? Why do we think our ministers should have the right answers the first time around? Why do we think our politicians should delve into problems they’ve never experienced before and perfect solutions on the first attempt?

I think life is pretty simple–and I’m so grateful that God uses Himself as an example to show us how it works:

  • Meant well.
  • Learn.
  • Doing better.

There’s your secret, folks. It really demands only three understandings:

1. Start with your heart as pure as you can, to make sure you’re at least pointing in the right direction.

2. Be prepared for a certain amount of success and an adequate amount of failure.

3. Pursue the success and abandon the failure.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But when pride, insecurity, frustration or stubbornness come into the mix, the whole thing gets screwed up. Let’s be honest–who would we be today if God decided to stick with the Ten Commandments and we were all judged solely on how well we jump through those hoops? God was kind enough to adjust His message for the human beings who were meant to benefit by it.

The Bible is not about human beings finding God; the Bible is about God finding human beings. The constitution is not about making the people adjust to the government, but rather, finding a government suited for the people. And my job at that Bible college was not about finding a way to show off my abilities, but using my abilities to show off the college.

If God needed an Old and a New Testament to get it just right, what makes me think that my first crack at anything is going to end up getting the job done? So I work on my heart. Make sure I mean well. Then I go into it keeping my eyes open, ready for signs of what works and what doesn’t. Then I learn. I take what I learn and I go out and do better.

If we actually applied that in corporations, politics and religion, mankind would inch its way forward instead of gradually slip-sliding away. We know it’s true. Otherwise we wouldn’t put “New and Improved” on a box of cereal to communicate the product is still being worked on. We wouldn’t hoist a sign in the window of a diner that says, “Under New Management” unless we wanted to communicate that change is in the air. And God would not have an Old and New Testament unless He was trying to tell us that learning is what pushes us forward and self-righteousness and pride are what destroy us.

I meant well. Honestly, in almost every circumstance of my life, I had no axe to grind and wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. But unfortunately, I did. So I had to learn. And fron that learning, I always came up with ways of doing it better.

So as I go off this morning to be with the fine folks of South Lyon, Michigan, I want to tell them that they’re coming together to praise a God who always meant well. But He did learn, and He came up with a way of doing it better.

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A More Perfect … May 2, 2012

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People are always itching to ask.

After getting past “where you’re from” and “how long you’ve been doing this,” there is a desire for human beings to know the bend of your political persuasion. But because such discussions can often be contentious, most folks opt to believe that you’re “one of them.” So therefore, the Republicans are convinced I’m a Republican and the Democrats likewise think I fall within their mantle. But each one will usually pat you on the back and say, “Well, at least we can all agree–we’re proud to be Americans.”

I’m glad to be an American. I am not proud. 

My understanding of our founding principles as a country prohibits the introduction of pride–because it is in the Preamble of our Constitution that “we the people” set out to form “a more perfect union.”

More perfect. That’s one of those phrases that would drive my friend, Janet, crazy. She and I once had a long discussion about how there is no such phrase as “more unique.” Unique is unique, right? And perfect exists as an ultimate goal unto itself. But, as in the case of “more unique” (which by the way, IS proper) there is also such a thing as “more perfect.” More perfect is a mindset that refuses to allow us to become complacent, even when it seems that our status is satisfactory or even superb.

Pride is un-American. It is not worthy of our geneology nor our offspring.

The Preamble of our Constitution makes it clear WHY we require a “more perfect union”–because we decided we wanted to:

  1. Establish justice. Justice does not exist as a living, breathing entity without human beings supplying constant emotional CPR. If we do not breathe into our society a sense of fair play, justice will be smothered by “majority” or purchased by the wealthy.
  2. Insure domestic tranquility. Our founding fathers knew that our greatest enemies are not beyond our borders.Our fiercest adversaries is our own apathy or the belief that we can attack each other to purify our race or cause. Yes, it’s true–the founders of our country, though they insisted on the right to bear arms, also were quite diligent to make sure that we would insure domestic tranquility, allowing the citizenry to walk around without fear of being accosted, attacked or alienated. And interestingly enough, this is followed by:
  3. Provide for the common defense. Do you see how carefully they chose the words? We are supposed to establish justice–in other words, enforce a guarantee of equality.We insure domestic tranquility–a promise to our friends and neighbors that they don’t have to live in fear. But we provide for the common defense–we decide as intelligent people how much it will cost to keep us safe under normal conditions, raise that capital, provide that opportunity and then leave it at that. It does not suggest that we make up enemies or imagine weapons of mass destruction, but instead, use some good, common sense in building our walls.
  4. Promote the general welfare. There’s a word no one likes: welfare. But it falls the responsible for those who are affluent, or even desire to pursue affluence in a capitalistic society, to also be advocates for the members of our culture who are unable to join us on that journey. It’s not so much that we will solve the problem of poverty, it’s just that we cannot address poverty by hating the poor–OR by pitying them. We need to promote those individuals and organizations that have a heart for the general welfare of our fellow Americans, and make sure they are given resources to address the need.
  5. And finally, secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Why would we need to secure it? There is a nasty part of human behavior that feels we have “more” when we take someone else’s portion. When we believe that something is limited, we either start rationing it or stealing it. Liberty should not be in question in a country that desires to become “more perfect” in its union. There will be very few things we can actually unite around as people, but one of them must be the blessings of liberty. Let me make something clear: there are things people do that I don’t like. Maybe I don’t morally approve of them. I might even have spiritual objections. But the supreme directive of our country–and even of our heavenly Father–is to grant free will and liberty to everyone. Any absence of that is the introduction of pride, which makes us believe that we’re already perfect instead of pursuing more perfect.

I love this country because it has a constitution which within the boundaries of the same document, calls black people less than human, but then amends itself later to admit that they’re equal, and finally, that they have the right to vote. The Constitution is imperfect because it is filled with amendments–an inherent admission by intelligent people that the work of both humanity and God is ongoing in the quest of becoming more perfect.

I’m glad to be an American. I am glad that I have been afforded the opportunity to read a Preamble of our Constitution that purifies our motives in the midst of political dirty tricks. But I am not “proud,” because pride tarnishes the silver of a great idea. And as we know, silver is second place–still working to become gold. 

More perfect.

Let us never give up on the pursuit of America. Our country is not a democracy, a republic or a capitalistic monarchy for the truly wealthy. It is an idea that demands evolution based upon the genuine notion of its founding, the integrity of our goals … and the ever-changing needs of our people. 

  

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