Ask Jonathots … April 21st, 2016

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My three grown children were raised in the church, but not a single one of them goes to church now, although they all claim they are believers in God. Sometimes it bothers me and sometimes I think it doesn’t matter. What do you think?

I think the first question we have to determine is–what is church?

There was a major shift in our society in the 1980’s, when the church house changed from being a center of fellowship, awareness, social interaction, self-improvement and community concern to being an organization focused on the worship and discovery of God.

The whole concept of this transition seems so noble to theologians and ardent zealots of our time that we have failed to return to church being a center for emotional, cultural and spiritual expansion.

Like any functioning business or social awakening, when the purpose of that institution is defunct, it ends up dying.

So the church of your memory no longer exists.

It has been hollowed out of its message and purpose in favor of traditions, hyper-spirituality and seminars on self-worth and prosperity.

So the question you have to ask yourself is this:

Are my children better off by joining in to the efforts of a religious system that has abandoned its calling, or are they better off without it?

Now, your summary would be that the church, even though weakened by its introspection, is better than nothing.

Their conclusion would probably be that “no church” gives them a free Sunday to enjoy their friends and family.

So here’s the question: can we all begin to go to church–not with the idea of swallowing the provided pill–but instead, transforming it back to the vibrant, living organism that Jesus intended it to be?

After all, Christianity is not a religion–it is a lifestyle. And if the church is not promoting the lifestyle of Jesus, it is watering down the message to include pop psychology and Judaism, which are not fulfilling to a New Testament life.

So if I were you, I would sit down with my children and tell them of the regrets, misgivings and frustration you have with the present religious system, but also inform them of the hope you have to see it transform itself back into the heart of Jesus.

Because here’s the truth–even if the church remained as anemic as it is today, it is still necessary to be a buffer against the insanity of selfishness and rage.

Challenge your children to become the church by changing the church.

After all, they want to change the politics.

They want to get rid of Wall Street’s greed.

Why not step into a situation where they really could affect a lasting change … and turn the American church back into a place where Jesus would be proud to be a member?Donate Button

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Ask Jonathots … April 7th, 2016

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There are many new weight loss supplements, procedures and surgeries. In your opinion, are they all scams? Is there any real help coming out of the medical and health field for weight loss, and what do you foresee in the future?

I have been overweight since birth–well certainly, since middle school.

So I am fully aware of the perils and purposes of weight loss.

It is similar to any endeavor of self-improvement. There is a certain order of events which must click into place to make the process work correctly.

As to your question about supplements, surgeries and procedures, we will get to that in a minute. First we have to understand the three-step process involved in self-improvement:

1. Without hating myself or making excuses, I have become dissatisfied with my situation.

In other words, occasional fits of guilt do not stimulate us to pursue wisdom, and having an excuse for why we are the way we are only makes us look anemic and stupid. When I am successful at weight loss, it is initiated because I am dissatisfied with my present situation yet feel no need for hating nor explaining myself.

2. I am prepared to honestly assess what I am willing to do and what I am not willing to do.

Even though doctors, friends and fellow-fatties may try to convict us of our need to lose weight, all of this is nothing but guilt until we have decided exactly what we’re open to.

What I’ve come up with is this: I am willing to change eating patterns that are unhealthy, eat a little bit less and not eat anything after dinner.

Right now, that’s my level of openness. I will not increase that through intimidation or self-incrimination. It’s what is available to me.

3. Establish a reward.

Human beings do not do well pursuing discipline without praise.

Reward yourself.

If you’re going to buy low-calorie food, make sure you get the kind of low-calorie food that may be a little more expensive, but is to your liking. I feel one key is to remove everything from your house that is high in calories, so if you do accidentally splurge, you’re falling off a shorter cliff.

These are the three things that have to be in place before you consider anything else. Once established, and once there is good cheer and satisfaction in your emotions about them, then you’re ready to consider other options.

Now, the ridiculous part about surgery is that you still end up having to be on a diet and eating less. It may take some immediate weight off, but that wieght is quite willing to come back quickly.

Supplements are comical because unless they are absorbed into the blood stream, most of them are eliminated through bowel movements or urine.

Honestly, the best procedure is to stick to whatever simple plan you come up with and make sure you honor it in joy.

For instance, the elimination of extra sugars from your diet will subtract about three pounds a month.

Cutting your carbs in half will cut five pounds a month from your waistline.

And, as in my case, not eating after dinner will generally shed somewhere between two to four pounds a month in itself.

If you’re in a hurry, your weight loss plan will fail.

The goal should be shedding about three or four pounds a month. It doesn’t sound like much, but at the end of a year, you’ve taken off fifty pounds–and fifty pounds is normally enough to alleviate much of your sadness and medical conditions.

I’m not a great fan of supplements, procedures and surgeries. It’s not that they’re scams–just that they are bandages which are eventually ripped away, taking with them the scab that was protecting your healing.

Look at the list of three things.

  • Are you ready to deal with them?
  • Are you ready to be honest about them instead of making promises which are unresponsive to your needs?

Remember this fact: if weight loss is based on what anybody else wants you to do, including God or your doctor, it will crumble.

So you have to decide what you want to do … and your level of commitment to achieve it.

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The Alphabet of Us: I is for Intelligent… February 2, 2015

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All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

  • Information
  • Knowledge
  • Smart
  • Intelligent
  • Insight
  • And wisdom.

Normally these words are used synonymously with each other. Would you please allow me to assign different meanings to these words, and in the process of doing so, inflame them with purpose?

Let’s begin with a little piece of prose:

We gather information

To study knowledge

Then learn what’s smart

So we can experiment by being intelligent

To acquire insight

Which promotes wisdom.

Stuck right there in the middle of the verses, is the word “intelligent.” Intelligent is the status we achieve when after gathering information, gaining knowledge and discerning what is really smart, we decide to experiment with these ideas to improve our quality.

As you can imagine, it is possible to stop off at any stage along the way and declare yourself to be intellectual.

For instance, someone can just go on the Internet, dig up the latest gossip, and tout themselves “informed.”

Other folks go to the university and cram for exams, to repeat back knowledge which has been determined as acceptable for acquiring a diploma. (Some of those brave souls actually go out, put their knowledge into application in the business world and get smart.

But intelligent is when we personally experiment, challenging what has come our way and what has been taught to us, in order to unearth validity.

I call it the “Rit dye test.”

I’m probably dating myself a bit by talking about Rit dye. When I was a teenager I had a lovely shirt, but it was white. I wanted it to be gold.

So I bought a box of Rit dye, which was labeled “yellow.” Fortunately for me, on that day I was in an astute mode, so I read the directions. They cautioned me to take a small spot on the bottom of the shirt and dye it first, to make sure I had the color I desired.

I did that, and lo and behold, it was anemic.

It took me about eight boxes of Rit dye, blending yellow, red, some blue–well, I forget all the combinations I tried–to end up with the perfect gold for my shirt.

Having run all the tests, I dunked my shirt into the concocted dye and pulled out a magnificent masterpiece.

That’s what it means to be intelligent.

Just because its been said, proclaimed, preached, called holy or scientific, take a moment and test it in your own life.

It is the only way we get to the point where we gain the insight which leads to wisdom.

If you’re not willing to challenge the status quo and test it, be prepared to land in the discarded pile of all those who trusted conventional thinking and fell short.

It’s the Rit dye philosophy: if you know what color you’re looking for, be intelligent enough to seek it out until you get just the right hue.

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