G-Poppers … October 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Futility is the soul-gobbling bacteria that carves out the insides of human hope, leaving emptiness.

Yesterday, G-Pop took a little trip over to Bronner’s Christmas Store in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Such a festive time.

Still, it was fraught with inconvenience. Checking out at Customer Service ended up being a rather arduous task, as some mistakes were made by staff. Yet it is difficult to be fussy when Nat King Cole is singing about roasted chestnuts.

Leaving the fantasy world, lunch was procured at a Chinese restaurant. Upon departure, G-Pop discovered that the old black van refused to start. Either the battery was dead or the starter was gone. G-Pop found this distressing because the previous day he’d had repair done on some belts.

He began to feel that odd tingle of futility. Even though he knew that things always work out eventually, being left in the lurch certainly appeared to be unrighteous.

G-Pop forgot the cardinal lesson of Earth journey: No matter what I do, I will do more, so I better enjoy doing it.

Forgetting this abiding notion led to two dastardly conclusions:

1. It’s not fair

2. It’s not possible

So what was G-Pop supposed to do?

Fortunately, there are dual ways of escape from the fracture of futility:

A. If you’re being slowed down, then stop.

In other words, if for some reason you find yourself on the bad end of a deal, it does not help to double down. Go ahead and stop.

G-Pop just sat in his van for about two minutes, considering options. Fortunately for him, he was in the middle of a commercial region, and there was a car dealership across the street. So on to Step 2.

B. While you are stopped, take inventory.

What did G-Pop have?

He had two friends with him–one who was more than willing to go across the street and procure help. Apparently it was a very slow day in Frankenmuth car land, because in no time at all, there were four agents from the dealership gathered around the van, trying to figure out how to fix it.

It was determined that a starter was needed, so one was procured, and fortunately, was so easy to put on that the vehicle didn’t even need to leave the parking lot.

In less than an hour, G-Pop and friends were on their way.

Now granted–it was too expensive, and the dealership people were grinning the whole time because they were making a killing. Sometimes that’s just the price for peace of mind.

For after all, futility is the little piece of arrogance we save back for those occasions when we believe that God is not doing His job.

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Ask Jonathots… July 7th, 2016

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Will God give a doctor or medical researcher ideas on how to cure a disease or sickness if they merely ask Him?

Most people favor the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”

Although I do extol the beauty of that passage, I prefer Psalm 24:1: “The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”

It’s a strong message. The Earth is complete within itself. Even though we have bacteria and viruses, there are also–growing and prospering right next to them–the cures.

If I were a doctor, I would keep this in mind.

If I were researching remedies for diseases, I would understand that the Earth is a complete creation, stocked full of ready solutions, waiting to be discovered.

I would suggest a three-fold process to gain the wisdom of God’s creative mind, to tap these unknown resources:

1. Study holistic medicine.

I’m not talking about superstitions, but instead, the use of herbs and chemicals that are common to Earth, and have been utilized for centuries by cultures to treat ailments.

Don’t rule out anything.

We should not allow the pharmaceutical companies to determine the destiny of the health of humanity simply based upon margins of profit.

Study what has been used by those in the past, and weed out the possibilities that fail to deliver results.

2. Pay special attention to plants, organisms and compounds that seem to have little purpose–or have been used only for excess and vice.

After all, what would the medical field be without alcohol?

Look at what we’re discovering about the medical use of marijuana.

So what does the tobacco plant hold in secret that we have not yet tapped?

Yes, I think special interest should be given to things that seem to be cast aside as vices, with seemingly little virtue.

3. And finally, I think it’s important for us to shorten the time between the discovery of a possible cure and the trial study done on humans.

There are thousands of people dying of cancer who would be more than willing to sign a release of responsibility in order to participate in a study which just might lead to extending their lives. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

It is currently taking too long to get good ideas into the hands of people who need them–and we are still ending up with drugs that have dangerous side-effects anyway. So let’s shorten the process and give terminal patients a chance to either be healed or at least contribute to the common good by participating in research.

If you are a doctor and you understand that “the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,” then you can completely comprehend that through prayer and seeking wisdom, you are out to discover the miracle that already exists.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Hunt for the Peck … August 2, 2013

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kisspeckI was sitting here trying to figure out whether it would be characterized as a disease, a fungus, a bacteria, a condition or a rash. I do know that it lasts about six months and seems to have no cure.

“It” is this handsy, saccharine preoccupation that a man and a woman have with each other when they first discover that they are romantically intrigued. For them, it is akin to reaching the peak of Mt. Everest, and for others it is an insufferable tumble from Humpty Dumpty’s wall.

The two individuals appear to be physically connected by a gooey glue, which prevents them from being apart from one another without exchanging an insipidly-placed and performed kiss. One of them could be going across the room to retrieve the gravy bowl, but it would require a moment–meaningless as it is–of connecting their lips to communicate their affection and intention to return.

I have seen it with all of my sons, when in first combat with their lovers. (I use the word “combat” because it feels more as if they are entangled in a hand-to-=hand struggle than in the expression of deep and lasting emotion.)

On top of this particular proliferation of public display of affection is a self-righteousness–“we are the only two people who have ever been in love.” To them, Romeo and Juliet were just bunk mates.

The only thing a mere mortal can do in an attempt to avoid the gagging reflex is look away.

But I think what bothers me the most about this span of illness is that the kissing done is not really kissing, but instead, this insidious peck on the lips, which is not really satisfying nor is it any smooching worthy of discussion.

Kissing demands that the lips be intricately involved, lingering and intertwined. Actually, pecking seems to be a really good name for it–it resembles two chickens attempting to remove grain from each other’s beaks. There doesn’t seem to be pleasure in it. It is symbolic, leaving both parties either yearning for more or wondering if the other person “got his teeth bumped, too.”

I think romance would have a better chance in our species if it was more honest from the onset instead of insisting that it is a red-hot meteor, which falls into a frigid cave, insisting that it plans to melt the surroundings.

Yet I am fully aware that I am speaking to the wind. There is no chance that any kind of maturity can be registered during the onslaught of this infestation. But still, there is beauty after the passage of time has allowed for recuperation, in using kissing for its real purpose, which is deep pleasure and great passion, instead of grazing the lips against another’s face, to make sure they know you wish you could do more.

So in my ongoing search–hunting for the purpose of the peck–I must say that mature love is best expressed by a twinkling eye, a squeezed hand, or fingers gently running across the back, than it is by the often-dangerous drive-by peck.

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Sackcloth and Ashes … February 13, 2013

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ashesLong ago, when fire-breathing dragons stomped across the earth and a gallon of gasoline cost less than milk, prophets would occasionally ramble into town, condemning the deeds of the wicked, speaking forth the chilling but effective sound bite, “Repent or die.” Even more disconcerting was how little the prophet actually cared about whether his message was received in a positive light, and often actually would have preferred it if death was the result of his invitation. I suppose there were those cities which would resist the opportunity to save their lives–we wouldn’t be that familiar with them because they are no longer on the landscape. But often the ruler of the nation would comprehend the seriousness of the situation and repent, ordering all of his subjects to do so, demonstrating their regret by adorning themselves in sackcloth and smearing ashes all over their bodies.

Time marches on. (Or does it creep? I’m not sure.)

We now have advanced in our self-esteem to the extent that we would never consider lowering ourselves to wear sackcloth and display bacteria-ridden ashes on our faces. Yet it doesn’t change the fact that we are still doing many of the same ridiculous practices that should require a bit of reflection, if not repentance brought on by the threat of doom.

I’m not a prophet. (I guess that would make me a non-prophet organization. But I digress.) Yet, to me there are three obvious things that need focus in this country as primal objectives, allowing for a discussion about the implementation of how to achieve them, but not whether they are righteous and necessary.

1. Let’s stop killing. There you go.  I’m not picky. Let’s stop killing babies so much. Let’s stop killing people with capital punishment. And let’s stop starting wars because we have a big military and they get out of practice if they hang around the base too much with no real combat experience. I think it’s a good start. Every time you stop something in life, two things happen: you cease a few things and you start up other things. Stopping killing would probably take away some of our rights in this country. But it would give us a sense that we were trying to address a murderous history of rampage that seems to be threatening to infest our national DNA. Yes–stop killing. Then have the debate about how to actually make it a practical or legal application.

2. Stop stealing. Let’s not ask people to do jobs that we don’t want to do and then continue to insist that they live in squalor and poverty in order to serve us. Let’s stop taking away from people their praise-worthy actions and pretending they’re lesser fellows. Let’s greatly discourage corporations from becoming so greedy to feather their nest that they kill off all competing birds. Let’s stop stealing. That would be good, right? We could decide that refusing to steal is a good thing and then have a healthy debate on ways to initiate integrity.

3. Why don’t we stop destroying? If there is any chance at all that we are party to affecting the climate on this earth, why don’t we just grin and bear it? Why don’t we find out what we can do and instead of arguing about whether it is pleasant or within our wheelhouse of understanding, and just stop the destruction. Why don’t we become the nation that makes it “uncool” to be unfeeling? Why don’t we stop destroying our own psyche by peppering our young people with violence and encouraging them to use technology incessantly–which is gradually fostering an epidemic of indifference?

Why don’t we stop destroying our bodies? Why can’t we encourage farmers to raise more vegetables so you can get a tomato at the grocery store for less money than a greasy eight-hundred-calorie hamburger at McDonald’s?

Certainly it would demand that we abandon hypocrisy. It would require that we forfeit some of our abstract definitions of freedom to provide for the common good. The same people who extol the beauty of marriage–which is the setting aside of sexual freedom, the possibility of many partners to cling to one–feel grieved over the notion of making it more difficult to get a gun for themselves in order to possibly save the lives of those on the perimeter of their understanding.

I don’t think we’ll ever get our nation to sport sackcloth and ashes. But I do think we could sit down and agree that killing, stealing and destroying are really bad things, and even though we may have varying definitions, in the long run, we could come up with a FEW ideas limiting death, thievery and destruction.

Ash Wednesday–a religious holiday when people commiserate for an hour or so about whether they treat those friends around them with enough respect and if they should eat less chocolate.

Maybe it’s time for some real repentance. In the absence of a prophet who isn’t afraid of the king, queen and parliament, let me proclaim, stop killing, stop stealing, stop destroying.

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A Gospel Moment … April 24, 2012

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A single drop of reason can sweeten a bucket of misunder-standing.

It is the gospel. For when you remove the underpinnings of religiosity from that word, “gospel” literally means “good news.” And the good news is that human beings are fine–when they’re human. And gratefully, there are those who are sent to every generation to remind us of the power of our gift–humanity.

It doesn’t matter what their backgrounds are or what nationality or bloodline pumps through their veins–the message is always similar. It is a moment when the spark of revelation triggers the human spirit to enlighten the brain with the notion that we are all human. We need each other. And if we just realize it, we can do better.

  • For Hippocrates, the father of medicine, the message was summarized as: “First, do no harm.”
  • King Arthur had his round table for all the gathered souls, who were encircled in a fellowship of equality.
  • Gutenberg came along and told us that the Word could become Print.
  • Michelangelo walked into a chapel and said, “Look up. Make beauty.”
  • In the midst of ages assumed to be dark, men and women rose up and remembered the value of their own lives and attributed that currency to the generation around them, as Thomas Jefferson intoned, “All men are created equal.”
  • It was Louis Pasteur who granted us the great revelation that bacteria kills people, and because of that, milk, which before had poisonous possibilities, was purified and smallpox, which killed more people than AIDS and cancer combined, was eradicated.
  • It was a man named Lincoln who proclaimed, “…with malice toward none and charity toward all.”
  • A simple fellow named Woodrow Wilson had a vision of a League of Nations, where all the people of the world could discuss their disagreements until unity could be found.
  • Let us not forget Helen Keller, who demonstrated that we could love without all of our senses.
  • And Mother Teresa, who stood firm in proclaiming that there were no untouchables.
  • And a preacher named Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “I have a dream…”, and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with a young woman, Rosa Parks, who had tired feet and refused to go to the back of the bus. Yes, Martin took his people to the Promise Land, but was not able to go in himself.

These were gospel moments, when good news was allowed to fill the air to cover the cacophony of unreasonableness and bigotry. They are all derivations, reincarnations, interpretations and anointing of the words of Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

It is the only message. It is the good news.

It caused a young inventor to try thousands of different techniques to finally say to the world, “Let there be light.” Yes, it is the spirit of Thomas Edison that we desperately require in this day and age of bleakness. Gospel moments demand that you cease to believe in the bad news around you, that you stop up your ears from hearing the futility, and instead, you allow a sweet melody to sing in your heart, telling you: “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

How can we do it? How can we avoid being trapped in the incessant repetition that demands we stand in line to wait for our next cup of unchanging gruel? What will produce a “gospel moment” for us? Better phrased, how can WE become a gospel moment for others?

Because truth does not come merely from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hindu or any other variety of religious expressions. Truth is one person who refuses to believe that life is a jungle, but instead, clears a path towards understanding.

Is it too much to ask? Or have we used up all the angels of our better nature, and now we’re left with the lingering demons?

Ridiculous. For it is no easier OR more difficult to be “gospel” today than it was for Dr. Hippocrates. Matter of fact, it is merely understanding this simple couplet:

The world’s gone nuts;

Don’t join.

**************

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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