Ask Jonathots … February 4th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I grew up in Buffalo, New York, and am considering going to Auburn for college because of a great scholarship offer in my field, which is art. I’m concerned about the cultural difference. I know you travel the country all the time–what are the differences between the different areas of the country–especially the North and the South–if any? Am I making a mistake?

One of the odd coincidences that occurs when you’re traveling on the road with people is that because you’re eating a similar diet, your bathroom habits become almost identical. (I know this is a strange way to begin my answer, but please bear with me as I try to make a point.)

If four people are consuming the same food, it’s reasonable to assume, with slight variations, that their daily routine will parallel.

So even though the media in this country, in pursuit of developing story lines, insists that various areas have differing views and approaches, the truth of the matter is, we’re all subject to the same diet of television, news and movies.

For instance, there wasn’t a Star Wars made for the South and another one for the North. There are not sitcoms viewed in Dixie and others favored in Brooklyn.

When you travel into the South, you will find minor cultural preferences, but overall, the people are citizens of the United States, and therefore, indulge in the same philosophies, laws and approaches of everyone else.

So I think it’s safe to say that if you’ve been blessed with a scholarship to Auburn, you should not only go, but travel there with the confidence that you’re going to run across outstanding American citizens who may have some attributes that are slightly unique, but possess a full awareness of what’s going on in the world around them.

Church attendance differs from one area of our nation to another, and to a certain degree, appreciation for lifestyles and culinary dishes may vary slightly.

But overall America is exactly what it advertises–a great melting pot.

The prejudice, bigotry and ill-founded conclusions which are drawn are put together by those who need to make a deadline for the news and stir up tales that create conflict so people will tune in.

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G-Pop’s Coming — Part 2 … November 25, 2013

angy with familyJonathots Daily Blog

(2078)

Learning is what happens when we stop complaining and start believing that what has come our way is usable.

I guess the best way to describe my life is that I have gradually learned how to learn.

In so doing, I have become less critical of others because I understand the aching process involved in transition–but I have also become more motivated to escape the sidelines, nursing my injuries.

When I meet with my family this week and they ask the golden question, “What have you learned?” I’m going to tell them the following six things (of course, one at a time over a space of time, so as not to bore them):

1. People want experience without wrinkles.

Everywhere I go, audiences desire insight, excellence and maturity but because of our culture, they would like to receive it from someone who is young, handsome or pretty. Unfortunately, beauty and youth don’t always coincide well with wisdom and moxie. You have to make up your mind–do you want a beautiful billboard? Or a slightly beat-up but very functional moving truck?

2. The second mile is the new GPS destination.

Sometimes I wonder why people think they can get by doing what everybody else does and still distinguish themselves from the mob. You have to have an edge. You have to have a little extra oom-pah if you’re going to perform in the best polka band.

3. Sophistication is everywhere–and it’s annoying.

Somewhere along the line America has become more demanding than giving. We expect other people to jump through hoops as we feel only the necessity to hold them. We need an innocence in order to create revival–a belief that we haven’t seen everything yet, and what we’re looking for is not necessarily dazzling, just heart-warming and meaningful.

4. Good cheer is the new money.

People are so morose, despondent and out-of-whack that simply coming across with a willingness, a smile and a desire to pursue betterment pushes you to the front of the horde. Good cheer is when you purposely put on the mask of a face you deeply desire to be your own.

5. Indecision is killing us.

I don’t know when we started defining maturity as the act of holding meetings, discussing and deciding nothing. Sooner or later we will need to risk being flawed in order to actually move forward and discover improvement.

6. And the final thing I will tell my family that I learned this year in my journey across this United States is freedom isn’t always right–but it’s never wrong.

Unless you have some sort of belief that the U.S. should be ruled by Christian Sharia law, you have to understand that democracy grants freedom at all costs. This doesn’t mean that the things people select to do are always right, or even moral. It’s just that they’re never wrong–because the freedom exists in this country to do what you deem necessary, as long as you don’t infringe on the rights of others.

I see absolutely nothing in error in a church establishing in its doctrine that certain attitudes or behaviors are appropriate for the message they espouse. But if that same church lobbies for other American citizens to be forbidden to conduct themselves however they deem best, then that church has gone from a personal choice of worship to a position of robbing civil rights from their brothers and sisters.

So there you go. If I were to sum up all six of them, I would say this:

Find yourself, be happy, love people–but leave ’em alone.

That is what G-Pop learned this year as he traveled across this country. I’m in my van, driving to meet those who are willing to be called my kin.

It should be exciting.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

There’s room in the front… October 16, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2038)

I pick my battles.church attendance

After all, it’s a free country.

I do believe these two statements are doing more to deter progress and the growth of human beings than any I’ve ever encountered. They are so frequently spoken that I wonder if those piping the notions might want to just have it tattooed on their chests.

Recently, it was shared with me by a pastor at a church, who was explaining why his congregation sat in the rear instead of moving up to the front of the church. In the most gentle way possible, I told him that I found this annoying.

He replied, “Well, what’cha gonna do? I pick my battles, and after all, it’s a free country.”

But here’s the problem: faith is not a worship service. It is not a eulogy of a once-great idea. It is about burgeoning relationships among human beings which need to be nurtured, fostered and even corrected, to assure that it moves forward instead of sliding back into tradition.

Case in point: at the first sign of a member of our family becoming ill, we step into the situation to get them treatment, right? Likewise, it is really sick to go to a church and see people gathered in the rear, spread all over the place, separated from each other, and to pawn that off as a “rightful choice of American citizens.” For when you isolate the reasons for such dispersion, the conclusions are a bit telling:

1. “I sit in the rear because I don’t want to be close.”

Fellowship is not defined as “friendly disconnection” or “surface amiability.” The Good Book says, “draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you.” So what do you get when you sit in the back? Less God.

2. “I sit in the back because I have always sat here.”

The back seats of a church should be reserved for those who timidly arrive in need, looking for a home, or the infirm. It is not for those souls who supposedly have been redeemed, set free and are there to celebrate abundant life.

3. “I sit in the back because I don’t want to be forced into participation.”

I’m sure they continue to pursue this practice when going to the stadium to watch the football team or huddling at the local amusement park on fifty percent off day.

4. “I sit in the back because I want to watch.”

With our society immersed in technology, we feel we have the privilege of standing at a distance and gazing at the horror of the lives of others without feeling any empathy whatsoever. But that’s not church.

A relationship with God is not a spectator sport. It cannot be downloaded. It must be infused.

5. “I sit in the back because I want to leave quickly. I’m willing to be here but anxious to get out the door.”

Wham-bam, thank you, God. This is not a very good advertisement for a contented lover of spirituality.

One minister recently told me that he “didn’t want to be a dictator.” I feel sorry for a generation of potentially good stewards who do not know the difference between being a dictator and a leader. A dictator makes everything a battle–true.

But if you take too long to pick your battles, the war will be over, and one thing will be certain:

You lost.

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

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

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