Good News and Better News … October 3rd, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-frankenmuthUnderrated:

The cheese on a pizza.

Sliding on a pair of socks which just came out of the dryer.

A plate of nachos when you’re really, really hungry.

An evening of television without politics.

The Frankenmuth United Methodist Church.

Yes, to the outside observer, the congregation meeting in Frankenmuth seems to be a small, middle-America United Methodist Church. As a society, we’ve nearly given up on such institutions.

I totally disagree.

From the minute I stepped in the door and met Pastor Scott, with his warm, inviting, gentle ways, to when I walked out to climb in my van, I was awarded the opportunity to be in the presence of untapped miracles.

By no means am I trying to tell you that the emotional environment of the Frankenmuth United Methodist Church is suited to the taste of the common person. To him or her it would still reek of religion and provincial thinking.good-news-frankdnmuth-sign

But the potential is there to do great things for mankind. What is missing?

Joy.

Joy is the unity of confidence and gratitude: A confidence based on the fact that we feel valuable, and a gratitude because we know a bit about our own unworthiness.

  • Too much confidence appears to be arrogance.
  • Too much gratitude creates a timid soul.

How do we generate joy?

Joy is when our “face shows our place.”

In other words, it bubbles out. Peter, in the Epistle, declared it “a joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

The folks in Frankenmuth still believe that their “Father, which art in Heaven” is a hard-ass. It’s just difficult to look at Him as “Daddy” when you find His demands unrelenting.

It causes them to be cautious–more fearful than appreciative–and it makes them reluctant to invite others to church because they’re pretty sure their friends would be unimpressed.

The good news is, if the Frankenmuth United Methodist Church would allow for more emotion in their worship experience, they would begin to realize why they meet together.

The better news is: when they are more certain of the reasons for their gathering, others will want to gather around their reasons.

 

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Ask Jonathots … May 19th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I heard an Olympic official on a national television news show say, “People will always cheat. It’s human nature.” Do you think this is true?

“To err is human and to forgive is divine.”

This is the classic axiom.

Unfortunately, the proverb has a missing piece. Actually, it should state: “To err is human, but to repent is human also.”

There are two little devils that chase the human heart, trying to turn us into scoundrels.

Ignorance and arrogance.

We only become hapless when we try to combine these two and justify one with the other.

For instance, I may say something stupid, which is completely forgivable unless I try to convince you that it wasn’t stupid at all–you either misunderstood me or you’re not hip to my particular perception of life.

Ignorance is forgivable.

But when it links up with arrogance, not even divinity can salvage such a stubborn creature.

So my problem with the statement provided in your question is that as long as we view cheating as a normal side road taken by humans which needs to be avoided and confessed, we are fine. But when we begin to believe it’s part of our character–an arrogant segment of us that cannot be removed–we not only lose our redemption, but we lose any portion of us to redeem.

So what is the correct profile?

  • Ignorance happens.
  • Ignorance is exposed.
  • Ignorance is confessed.
  • Forgiveness is granted.
  • Knowledge expands.

This is the process that makes a solid human being.

But if we express ignorance, have it exposed and we defend it with our arrogance or insist that what we have done is “no worse than anyone else,” then forgiveness is impossible and knowledge is stalled.

Repentance is not a noble action, but rather, a necessary position that all humans take to make sure that we progress in wisdom and understanding instead of finding ourselves falling back on the failing positions of former times.

So in conclusion, I would say that ignorance happens, and as long as arrogance doesn’t show up, repentance can open the door to forgiveness, which allows knowledge to rule the day.

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G-Poppers … May 6th, 2016

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The situation is that our solution has actually become our problem.

G-Pop is trying to explain this to his son.

Even though there is a strong contingency of the American public which contends we are a “Christian nation,” when it comes to dealing with others, our prejudices and our policies, we completely abandon the teachings of Jesus in favor of the message of Mesopotamia.

Therefore we tout “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” and “our country, right or wrong.”

So we end up with two candidates for President who both have unfavorable ratings and seem baffled by their unpopularity. But it’s really quite simple. Even though there may be a rag-tag group of citizens who cheer arrogance and self-reliance, all of us know in our hearts what is necessary to be a human being:

  1. “From what I know…”
  2.  “I was wrong.”

Any time those two statements are ignored or even pushed to the rear in favor of barnstorming stubbornness, you have a credibility problem.

Since none of us are sure of anything, taking the precaution of being candid about our knowledge is only wise.

In like manner, keeping in our back pocket the ability to be wrong without feeling that we’re diminishing our career is equally as valuable, so that people can trust us.

So it is ironic that we campaign for our two candidates while simultaneously voicing that we don’t trust them.

Of course we don’t.

  • Both of them plot instead of letting the truth play out.
  • They both maneuver instead of managing the circumstances provided.

And they defend themselves instead of allowing the new revelation to push them to the forefront as leaders.

You have to make up your mind. CNN, Fox News and MSNBC may love a fight among the candidates. They say it makes good news. Actually, it makes bad news, which they spin into good revenue through advertising.

But if you’re going to edify people, you will have to be forthcoming about what you presently know and also be prepared to be wrong.

G-Pop realizes there are those reading this who would say, “Politics doesn’t work that way.”

But he would retort, “Therefore, politics doesn’t work.”

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Good News and Better News … March 28th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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All the holy books

It would only take me a few moments to point out the verses from the Good Book that are often used in solitary context to promote gender bias, prejudice, ignorance, arrogance and selfishness–and truthfully, those who stump these verses outnumber my simple faith.

So I am a bit confused when Muslims pretend they are bewildered by what causes the zealots within their ranks to interpret the teachings of Mohammed in a way that fosters terrorism.

Yes, it really is a source of aggravation to me that a Muslim woman will sit on television with her head covering, sharing that the Muslim faith has nothing whatsoever to do with anything but peace and love.

I will tell you–most Christians are not concerned about peace and love. Many of them only want to go to heaven while keeping the club as exclusive as possible.

So let’s stop all the bull crap.

Muslims know what their book says, just like I know what my book says. And some of the things in my book make me nervous–especially when they are isolated by mean-spirited people who are determined to hurt others.

Likewise, the Koran has passages that welcome the decimation of the infidel.

So it’s time for us, as intelligent, evolving, loving and giving people, to realize that religion needs some restrictions.

After all, we have already done this. Even as we insist that religious freedom is holy in this country, we certainly do not tolerate human sacrifice in a religious service, nor have we granted tax exempt status to the Ku Klux Klan, even though they insist they’re the white Christian church.

We cannot live on a planet that allows people to worship a God who is anti-human.

I will give you three examples. This trio of holy principles must be honored in every religion–otherwise, it is not a true expression of faith, but rather, a secret plot against mankind.

When you tell me you have a religion, I have three questions:

1. What does your God think about women?

Since women are at least half the planet, if they aren’t given equality in your religion, then your belief must be ignored.

2. What does your God say about free will?

If your religious observance contends that we are all bound by destiny, God’s will and God’s law instead of choosing our decisions for ourselves, then you will eventually start hearing voices telling you to kill off the competition.

3. What does your God think about judging the lives of others?

For if you’re following a deity that is more concerned about the “jot and the tittle” instead of the “tot and those who have little,” then I will tell you that you will gradually try to eliminate the sinners, thinking that you’re pleasing the saints.

If religion does not provide equality for all, free will for each one of us and the righteous position of being able to make our mistakes without being judged by others, then it is really not a belief in a Creator, but rather, pursuing an avenger.

That’s the good news.

Please don’t tell me you are baffled by how religion hurts people. Instead, follow some better news:

Start encouraging belief in a heavenly Father who honors men and women, offers free will and refuses to allow us to judge.

 

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G-Poppers … February 5th, 2016

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On any given Sunday, G-Pop has the honor of sitting and sharing in front of an audience that mingles Republicans and Democrats indiscriminately.

Matter of fact, the Sunday morning church service may be the last location in our great country where conservatives and liberals have to sit side-by-side and crack open a common hymn book and sing harmoniously.

One of G-Pop’s sons suggested that such an environment demands too much compromise to be of use in the “kingdom of truth.”

Not so.

In the realm of reconciliation and the pursuit of being a peacemaker, there are only two enemies, and only one true danger.

Separating these two enemies is the job of every good-thinking man and woman. The two enemies are arrogance and ignorance:

  • Arrogance contends, “I am smarter than you.”
  • And ignorance insists, “I am better than you.

Every tragedy which has befallen our species has occurred when the statesmen and spiritual leaders of our time became too busy with politics and religion, allowing arrogance and ignorance to coalesce.

As long as we keep them separated, we can address the insecurities they possess individually.

Case in point:

Racism is the merging of arrogance and ignorance–people who think they’re smarter than other people, who also have decreed that they’re better.

It happened with the Nazis–the arrogance of Germanic tribes who thought they were smarter led to the conclusion that they were better–a Super Race.

It is what festers in the Middle East.

And it is what causes us–a supposedly enlightened people–to still be struggling over issues of color, sexuality and gender, far beyond the time of reasonability.

G-Pop teaches a simple message.

He tells people clearly, “If I am smarter than you in some areas, you are certainly smarter than me in others.”

And … no one is better than anyone else.

 

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G-Poppers… October 9th, 2015

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The mystery of history.

G-Pop wanted to tell all of his children about the theme of the human journey which never changes, even though we may feel overwhelmed by present circumstances.

History has a song.

It has been sung since the beginning of time and will continue to be performed until people are no more. If you understand this, then you will not be so prone to join the detractors and the fearful souls who select a dreary path of doom and gloom.

Kingdoms will rise, idiots will rule but life has a way of dispelling the stupid.

Sometimes it takes a year.

Occasionally it may take a generation.

But eventually, all bad ideas are toted away to the garbage dump, where they rot with their ridiculous predecessors.

So to understand the mystery of history, you must recognize what causes ideas to be faulty, falling by the wayside. If you don’t, you will listen to the newscast and be convinced that the present dictator, the threatening illness or the terrorist with a bomb will soon be at your doorstep to take away your life.

There are four warning signs for those who are ignorant of history and think they will be able to contradict it by being assholes:

1. Arrogance.

When you see it, run. Any group of people who believes they are better than other people will eventually be proven to be inferior. They may stomp; they may shout. They may fire cannons into the air. But arrogance is always punished, because the accompanying ignorance prohibits it from learning a better way.

2. Stealing freedom.

Yes, any individual or government that believes it can limit the freewill choice of human beings in order to promote righteousness or some other purpose ends up being overthrown because of its overgrown sense of importance.

3. Controlling.

There is no such thing as you having the keys to my life. You may think you do, but eventually the need to control overwhelms the dictator with too much responsibility, and he or she falls in disgrace.

If God is not going to control our lives, what makes you think that He would allow anyone else to do it?

There is no doubt about the fate of those who manipulate others. The only question is, how quickly will it happen?

4. Apathy.

The pseudo-intellectuals who believe they establish their intelligence by pooh-poohing simple ideas as being childish and meaningless, as they sit by and do nothing are eventually knocked off their pedestals by the blowing of a new spiritual wind.

You don’t get anywhere in life by being cynical. If you’re against the possibility of humans improving and growing just because you want to appear worldly and jaded, then you will be replaced by those who possess childlike faith.

  • Napoleon was gone in 18 years.
  • Hitler lasted 13.
  • The Soviet Union survived about 70 years, and that’s only because World War II gave us a worse demon to chase.
  • Al Qaeda can become ISIS, or destroy under the name of the Taliban, but all monsters end up chewing off their own legs and bleeding out.
  • And China, in its present state, is struggling with oppression and the effects of attempting to squeeze people.

Do I need to mention all the people in history who believed in their misguided causes, and for a season, strutted across the stage, only to end up discarded after intermission?

The mystery of history is this:

Arrogant, freedom-stealing, controlling and apathetic people seem powerful … until the Spirit of Hope blows them away.

 

 

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Jesonian: Horizontal … October 4th, 2015

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Jesus with starsWhen disciples start thinking about Heaven, they soon lose interest in the Earth.

It’s the weakness of religion.

It is the erroneous, and perhaps devious, perception that pleasing God is the only thing necessary, even if we have to hurt people to do it.

It was Dr. Luke, in the 9th Chapter of his story about Jesus, who highlights this unfortunate practice.

In the process of just a few verses, the disciples make it clear to Jesus that they are no longer interested in humanity or any improvement in their own personal growth.

  • They want to chase their destiny.
  • They want to point out division.
  • And ultimately, they want to dominate.

Let’s be precise: Jesus was interested in horizontal relationships between human beings instead of a vertical connection with God.

He explained it this way: “By this they shall know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another.”

But this didn’t stop the disciples from coming to Jesus, wondering who was going to be the greatest.

They also were very upset about some individual they ran across who was doing miracles in Jesus’ name, but would not submit to the common curriculum.

And it culminated with wanting to rain fire down from heaven because a Samaritan village failed to recognize them.

But drawing from a deep well of patience, Jesus answers them. “Who is the greatest among you? It will be the one who receives a child in my name and the one who contends they are the least that truly shall be the greatest.”

What should you do with someone who believes the same way you do but won’t join your club?

“Those who are not against us are for us.”

And concerning fire from heaven, he told the disciples they did not understand what Spirit they were serving, because “the Son of Man came to save lives, not destroy them.”

The Gospel of Jesus is about horizontal relationships among Earthlings.

So even if we insist that some particular scripture is true and it is being broken by brothers and sisters around us, our only responsibility is to love them.

The disciples were baffled because the disciples were religious. They never totally understood Jesus. Why?

Jesus was not religious.

He came to show us how the Kingdom can work, how Father God and Mother Nature are in unity, and how we–the children of Earth–can get along together.

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