G-Poppers … March 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop knows that nearly everybody is acquainted with the process–going out to dinner.

First, arriving at the restaurant, having the greeter seat you. And then the server comes by and sets the whole evening in motion by asking the question, “Can I get your order?”

Of course, if you are a veteran of the cuisine, you know there is an order. First comes the drink, then the salad, entree, dessert, concluding with the check and tip. Candidly, the management doesn’t like it when you get it out of order. Matter of fact, you could be corrected.

Likewise, G-Pop has realized there is an order to this journey. Perhaps we should have learned it by now but there’s so much confusion–and there are too many people who want to get dessert before their salad. So we get confused.

Just as a restaurant visit is “drink, salad, entrée, dessert and then check,” in our time on Earth, we have to discover the correct order for: me, God, people, science and animals.

Simply placing one of these pieces in the wrong position can send us awry. And by awry, G-Pop means a bewilderment which settles into our souls because something doesn’t seem right.

What should come first? There are dangers.

If you start off with God you become too religious. That soon makes you intolerant of people and sometimes even grumpy about including science in the family at all.

Those who begin the order with science often find it necessary to negate a Creator, and over the years may grow weary with people, ending up giving the bulk of their charity to animal rights organizations.

Should we begin with people? That can be a real mouse trap–especially when people act like rats.

How about if we just negate the whole mess and dedicate our lives to animals? They may be cute but they are still beasts, because they bite–sometimes when you least expect it.

So just as a journey to your local bistro is an adventure requiring some basic understanding, being a quality human being certainly means you need to be able to answer the question, “Can I take your order?”

What is your order? G-Pop is curious.

When considering “me” (yourself), God, people, science (Mother Nature) and animals, what sequence works for you?

The choices you make and the order they’re in determine the abundance of your heart–and therefore control your speech and interaction with others.

G-Pop would love to hear from some of his children on this subject. Rather than rattling on about it this week, he’ll wait and see what people have to say.

So in closing, from G-Pop: Can I take your order, please?

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G-Poppers … February 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There’s no upside to horror.

After seventeen bodies lay in a schoolyard, riddled with bullets, any attempt to assign valor, purpose or mission to such a scene of mayhem is sacrilegious.

G-Pop insists that three things should never be stated:

A. “They’re in a better place.”

No mortal can say such a thing for certain. Since we have not navigated the oceans of eternity, we should be careful touting our knowledge from our port of bewilderment.

B. “There were heroes.”

There are no heroes in a murder spree. There are people who die, people who intelligently run and people who feel compelled in the moment to step in and try to stop the craziness. All of them are victims.

C. “No one saw it coming.”

Liars.

Rather than getting worked up into a froth over gun control, sit down and understand the process of what causes someone to reach a point where they unleash bullets into the bodies of their brothers and sisters.

There is a fourteen-step process. Yes, at any point in the fourteen steps, these killers can be stopped.

1. “I’m disturbed.”

You know the crazies in your family. Take care of them.

2. “I’m disturbing others.”

Disturbed people are not satisfied with a solitude of pain. They want notice, attention and to inflict heartache on others.

3. “I insist on being the victim.”

Disturbed people who are disturbing others will accuse them of bullying and mistreatment.

4. “I threaten.”

This is the first sign that the soul of the human in front of you is beginning to disintegrate.

5. “I am drenched in self-pity.”

Look for lack of hygiene, wearing dark clothes, smelling bad on purpose, grimacing and hiding away.

6. “I plot.”

Not the final plot–just ways to communicate that everyone is crazy and he is misunderstood.

7. “I intimidate.”

Sometimes it’s animals. Sometimes a next-door little boy, but they always go through this phase of domination.

8. “I write warnings.”

Read their Facebook. See the journal they scribble in. It will be filled with rancor and hate.

9. “I purchase a weapon.”

10. “I practice.”

11. “I am arrogant and brag about my gun.”

12. “I wait for the right moment, which will seem logical to me for committing my insane action.”

13. “I warn.”

There’s always someone who’s told.

14. “I kill.”

Pursuing gun control is a piece of liberal propaganda to pass the responsibility for the poor mental health of many of our young people on to the National Rifle Association.

You can’t tell grown-ups in America what they can’t have or do.

But you realize that disturbed people go through a definitive process before they kill. The children in Parkland knew who the shooter was long before anyone told them. Why weren’t the grown-ups listening?

Every young person in America, along with his or her SAT scores, should have to pass a basic mental health exam before going to high school and then college. Maybe before high school.

It is not an intrusion–it is an inclusion which will protect them and those around them from the screaming demons that want to release hell.

 

 

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Jesonian–Troubling (Part 1)… July 1st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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“Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.”

These are the words of Jesus.

But you see, there’s my problem. Believing in Jesus is simpler for me. It’s believing in God that itches my brain.

You see, God has a lot of history–thirty-nine books of Old Testament, filled with murder, mayhem, racism and contradictions–before we arrive at the doorstep of the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth, where Jesus emerges and begins to speak to the world.

Every once in a while, I’m sitting in a room by myself and a sudden gust of realization sweeps in and blows my mind.

God?? What in the hell am I thinking? How could there be a God?

And this isn’t because there are bad things happening–it’s just that the stories told about this god are similar to the Greek mythology concerning Zeus. All at once, I am inundated with feelings of foolishness and slowly, bitterness jumps into my heart, mocking me for following such ancient tales.

Sometimes the Holy Bible reads like a Grimm fairy tale, full of witches, warlocks and little boys and girls threatened because they’re on their way to grandma’s house.

But then I pause. Why? It’s the chimpanzee.

Although I believe that science is the favorite hobby of the Father in Heaven, the order in the Universe, even in the midst of chaos, and the fact that human beings exist, hearkens to the presence of a Universal Creator. Feel free to try to deteriorate the human spirit, soul and intellect, and place it side-by-side with the animals–but if any one of us spent a week trying to reason, infiltrate and dine with chimpanzees (supposedly our closest relative) we would quickly return to the human race with newfound appreciation.

I’m sorry–animals are animals and people are people. There’s a huge gap. Somebody–did you hear me?–somebody put that gap there.

On the other hand, upon spending several weeks with the chimpanzees of theology, I am equally as baffled by the fact that for some inexplicable reason, they want to blur the God of Judaism with the person of Jesus.

So if the proclamation is, God is Jesus–I’m there, and the spiritual evolution from God and the devil playing poker with Job’s soul, to “love your neighbor as yourself” was needed and makes complete sense.

But if Jesus is God, I really have to include stories from the old volume, which are absolutely implausible, without merit and of no benefit to any creature on heaven or Earth.

It is troubling.

Without being accusatory, may I suggest that all of us, to some degree, are turmoiled by this mish-mash and collision of meaningless facts being thrown together into one book called the Bible and then dubbed “Holy.”

If you will allow me, over the next couple of weeks, I would like to deal with this troubling situation–because to a certain degree, all an atheist has to say to any Christian is, “Really???” and we are immediately defensive.

Because we possess our own doubts.

So doubts be damned and discussion begun, I will see you next week.

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Good News and Better News… January 9th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It is reported that animals can smell fear.

I do not know if this particular “sniffology” is passed along in the human family, but I am fully aware as I travel and interact with my brothers and sisters, that there’s a strong apprehension in the air.

It’s not so much an odor as it is a loss of confidence and a disconcerting sense that doom looms too close to the home fires.

So in a season when the church should be rallying from its stagnancy because of the yearning of the human spirit to relieve tension, our ranks still seem to be filing out the back door.

There are those in theology who conclude that it’s due to a lack of serious religious reflection, and others who believe that we’ve not yet struck the right chord with the younger generation concerning traditions and the teaching offered for their children.

If you will allow me, I will tell you:

  • We have too much God and not enough Father.
  • Too much Christ and not enough Jesus.

It’s similar to a chemistry teacher who constantly gives tests on formulas while never having the students do lab work.

Church is boring because the idea of God is stifling.

Church seems insipid because a Christ who offers eternal salvation doesn’t give us a Jesus who offers us Earth solutions.

We are stymied.

For fear of losing our “worship credentials,” we have sacrificed our human appeal.

The heavenly Father is a Creator, not a manufacturer. Not everything can be taught in a six-week series from the pulpit as we expound upon every reference in the Bible about love, and hope that folks will draw a pious conclusion.

Jesus was our brother–tempted as we are in every way and touched by our infirmities long before he became salvation through the cross. Thirty-three years of life can not be ignored because of three hours at Golgotha.

Until we have more of the Father and an abundance of Jesus, our churches will be full of dead men’s bones and promises that seem to have been “rain checked” until after death.

The good news is that God is our Father, Jesus is our brother and the Holy Spirit is not a ghost.

The better news is that the Holy Spirit has come to remind us about the goodness of our Father and the genius of Jesus.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 20th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Message

A Message

A message to religion:

Only friendly gods are welcome

A message to women and men:

How about just be human?

A message to politicians:

You don’t build my confidence by tearing down others

A message to business:

Make a good product

A message to Hollywood:

Every once in a while, give us what we need

A message to teachers:

Hone your ideas, trust your skill

A message to lovers:

Linger

A message to bigots:

History is cruel

A message to terrorists:

You can’t kill enough to win

A message to arrogance:

There is always someone more accomplished

A message to the suicidal:

Death may not take away the pain

A message to parents:

Your kids aren’t human until you make them human

A message to kids:

Learn how to repent quickly

A message to animals:

Thank you

A message to Earth:

We will treat you like we want to get our deposit back

A message for all time:

No one is better than anyone else

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Good News and Better News… November 9th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Osceola 2

I did not sit there and count, but I do believe it was about seven of the good brothers and sisters from Osceola, Indiana, who came up to me and in varying ways, exhorted me to “keep doing what I’m doing” and “please don’t stop.”

These lovely folks are pastored by a fine fellow named Bob. Yes, there’s something truly endearing about being associated with a “Pastor Bob.”

He was a kind, considerate fellow, and along with his wife, (who, by the way, has an infectious laugh) has taken on the responsibility of bringing joy and inspiration to dear folk living in Northern Indiana.

I was so greatly encouraged by all the individuals I met at this church.

Some were aspiring ministers.

Others were hard-working Hoosiers looking for a little piece of hope to both lift up their souls and challenge them to excellence.

There was even one young dude who had a heavy metal band.

It was a mixture of American humanity.

And out of that stirred-up bowl rose a voice challenging me to continue what I am doing, and never stop.

So I asked myself, “What is it these people want me to truck on, sharing across the United States?”

Well, first, I guess they want me to continue to speak to the weakness of power.

Yes, we have leaders who are in control in this country who often pull up lame because their goals are inhuman. In the secular community, it’s the notion that “the meaner you are the more powerful you become.” And in the religious community it’s the proclamation that “we need to get people to come to God.”

The truth of the matter is that it takes more guts to find a way to get along with people instead of fighting, and God never intended people to come to Him. That’s why He sent Jesus–to go to them.

A second reason folks might want me to keep on doing my little work is that I believe it’s important to bring true possibilities to humans instead of insisting that our race consists of either animals or angels.

We aren’t. We are human.

And unlike the animals, we require inspiration; and quite different from the angels, we desperately need to be entertained while receiving it.

When you arrive at that blending, you become a friend to the human race instead of putting them in the monkey cage, or thinking we can ascend to the heavens.

And even though I’m theorizing, I would assume that the Osceolians might want me to continue to broker a deal between “works” and “grace.”

I don’t know why we feel we always have to choose between these two. I, for one, am so blessed by the grace of God that I would like to go out and share some good works. It’s not that I think good works replace the grace of God. But I also do not believe that grace has provided me free admission to anything without tapping my involvement.

The marriage of works and grace is the definition of the life of Jesus: God graced him with being a son, and he returned the favor by making many become sons of God.

Osceola, I enjoyed myself so much, and send my love your way. You have the good news.

And in closing, I offer you one beautiful piece of better news:

There is the life we are given, and there is the life we return. Our only job on this journey is to make sure the life we return … is a bit better.

 

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Ask Jonathots … September 3rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I like animals more than people. I own four dogs and volunteer at the animal shelter once a month, and regularly canvas my co-workers to donate to the shelter and also to other animal charities. I dress my doggies for the weather and buy them special cakes for holidays and their birthdays. Two of my co-workers referred to me as “unbalanced” because I treat my dogs like they’re my children. I told them that I think animals are more trustworthy than humans. What do you think?

I am curious about the way you have framed your paragraph and question. In other words, if you had begun your statement by telling me about your delightful four dogs, your work with charities and the fact that you treat these animals as your children, I would have said,”Absolutely fabulous.”

But the fact that you chose to begin your feelings by saying that you like animals more than people does warn me that you are dealing with a neurosis.

I would feel the same about someone who led off by saying they liked people more than animals. My question would be why?

If you truly contend that animals are part of God’s creation and therefore deserve our respect, tenderness and appreciation, that is one thing. But to isolate them off as superior to people–another part of God’s creation–is no different from someone telling me they like gay better than straight, white better than black and female better than male.

The unbalanced part of your personality lies in your need to prefer instead of just honoring.

Honestly, animals are not more trustworthy than humans. I have very few friends–or even enemies–who would eat my dead body if they were locked in a room with me for three days without food.

But animals not only have a purpose, they are symbolistic of what Jesus called “the least of these, my brethren.” They need our care, they need our attention, they deserve our respect, and they also anticipate that we will have the insight to place them in the correct position in our lives.

It’s not that people are better than animals or animals are better than people. It’s just that when you set apart some segment of creation as superior to another segment, you are on the slippery slope of bigotry which lends itself to tyranny.

  • I love animals. I love animals to let them be animals.
  • I love people. I love people enough to let them be people.
  • And I love God. I love God enough to let Him be God.

Because in your hour of need, you can certainly believe that God cares about your situation and will help. There is also the potential that people will come along and assist, based upon their compassion.

But if you’re broken down along the side of the road, your dog will just sit there and bark, waiting for a treat.

 

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