PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … January 6th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn January 6

Unboxing

Here’s the box I built for me

So I control what you can see

Fortifying the cardboard walls

Checking my phone to see who calls

Deciding what may enter.

Cramped I am within the space

Nervous about exposing my face

Careful to show only my choice

Selecting the words to form my voice

Suspicious while trying to smile.

I am not an evil soul

Or a frowning, grumpy, cranky troll

I just want to reach my goal

Therefore you might be a problem.

I believe in the Golden Rule

Infused during Sunday School

But does it ever make me a fool

To pursue being so trusting?

The battle rages within my heart

When to cease or commence to start

Can I be smart while pure of heart?

Maturity is so confusing.

So I will seek to be the one

Who tries to make the journey fun

Rejoicing as the work is done

Unboxing myself, freely.

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Pockets… March 27, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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cave

Safe places to hide

Perhaps an escape

Surround yourself with fellow-agreers

Discourage strife through eliminating discussion

A consensus of repetitive ideas

A unity in smallness

A feeling of blocking difference is divinely inspired

A request for hope to depart from your village

A surrender to adequacy

A jarring alarm over being challenged

A corner where enemies can be easily detected

A decision to remain uncertain

A selected night without fear of the bump

A purposeful retreat with no battle in sight

An exclusion of simplicity to extol the glory of complexity

A requirement of a unanimous vote

Squeezing a dollar bill, pleading it will not leap from your grasp

Laughing at transition

Criticizing creativity

Believing that belief has no responsibility to become more believable

Grasping at straws but never drinking

Imitating emotion in favor of true encounter

Praising darkness for fear of the light

Praying to gain silence

Silent to acquire peace

Peaceful to run from questions

Pockets, not resistance

Reservation

Avoiding the exposure to ideas

Which just might revive the dead.

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Starting Position… November 10, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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leechesNo young woman interns in a hospital, training to be a doctor, struggling with leeches, a mustard poultice and liquid opium to make sure that she fully comprehends the history and journey of the medical field.leather helmet

Likewise, no young rookie in the National Football League is given a leather helmet and sawdust to stuff in his pants to protect him from the numerous collisions on the field.

Wouldn’t it be silly to give a young man completing basic training a revolutionary war musket as he heads off to battle, to honor and salute the forefathers who founded this country?

flyingAnd I don’t think a person who is training to be a pilot needs to attach wings to his arms and jump off a cliff, trying to fly, just to have an appreciation for the trial and error that transpired in the pursuit of aviation.

So let me be blunt–I am not a follower of Moses. More power to Jonah, Job, David, Goliath and all the other characters in the stories, but they are experiments on a quest to find the real heart and spirit of God.

I am not a Muslim. I don’t need to know all the dictates of Sharia Law, which to me are superseded by the liberty given by our heavenly Father to all humanity.

I signed up to be a Christian because I believed in Jesus and found the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” to be the only logical axiom to energize our planet to maintain human life. I want to take the Golden Rule and dig for MORE gold.

Christianity suffers under a foolish need to teach history rather than encourage research. When we finally tire of defending a book that is evolutionary in its message, and is fulfilled in the life of Jesus, we will actually be able to offer something to mankind that meets the need instead of accentuating our differences.

“For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

I am working for that day.

I won’t settle for less.

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

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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.

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The Other Half of the Battle … April 25, 2013

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GI JoeBecause I had seven sons come through my household, I ended up becoming a regular watcher of the cartoon show, GI Joe. Although the program had the drawback of presenting testosterone-driven solutions via muscling your way to often-violent conclusions, in the commercial breaks, they offered practical little scenarios, where children could learn the value of good manners, eating vegetables or helping little old ladies across the street. At the end of the lesson, one of the steroid-juiced characters would intone in a deep voice, “And now you know. And knowing is half the battle.”

So if knowing is half the battle, what’s the other half? If we go ahead and concede the notion that knowledge takes us halfway towards maturity, success and progress, what is needed to complete the journey?

Truthfully, I was unable to ascertain the answer by watching any additional episodes of GI Joe, but I offer to you that the other half of the battle, after we have admitted the power of knowing and learning, is allowing ourselves the  opportunity for trying.

Yes, I will say it aloud: most people fail because they discuss and acquire information, but then freeze up, frightened to attempt a new idea because they are greatly terrified by the prospects of failure.

Failure is our friend. Failure confirms two wonderful facts: (1) we are trying; and (2) our latest attempt did not work.

As long as something exists in theory or is stuck in committee or is being overly debated, we never have the satisfaction of sensing that we are trying and we are never given the reassurance in our souls of discovering that something does or does not work.

Our government, our churches, our corporations and our entertainment in this country are presently frozen–in a state of limbo–because we continue to accumulate knowledge without ever trying anything.

Trying is the other half of the equation, which is initiated by knowing.

  • “I know things are changing. I will try to adjust to the change.”
  • “I know that all human beings are valuable. I will try to treat others like I do myself.”
  • “I know that hard work is required. I will try to learn to have fun with my labor.”
  • “I know that God is love. I will try to be move loving.”

When we pursue spirituality or even intelligence without adding the dimension of experimenting–trying the principles we believe in–we end up with a form of Godliness that denies the power that is available. And what is the power?

“Try it–you’ll like it.”

That is when we all learn. That is how we grow.

I know there is a God because when I apply who He is, what He is, and what I’ve learned about Him, and try it works.

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The Battle or the War… November 29, 2012

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Ego drain–locate brain.

It’s a little two-phrase process I go through every time I get ready to go to a new location to set up for my presentation. For after all, the last thing the world needs is a dose of my ego. People are not created by God to make me feel good about myself. They are exactly what Jesus said they are–interested in themselves and if they can muster enough spirituality, they may learn to be able to extend that courtesy to others, including me.

One of the standard processes I face as I journey from city to city is learning to comprehend that the American people have been taught to have an agenda for everything under the guise of protecting their self-esteem. If you want to know why we have gridlock in Congress, it’s because we have allowed a false doctrine of self-esteem to rule the mind and heart of our nation for nearly two generations. Here’s what we have been taught over the past thirty years about self-esteem:

I matter because I was born. I have an opinion. And I am great because “God don’t make no junk.”

You can say those three statements in any arena–be it secular or religious–and get thunderous applause. Unfortunately, that is NOT self-esteem. That is a formula for a struggle between people, which perpetuates a battle without ever winning a war.

If two people arrive in a room and both of them think they’re important, that their opinions matter and God believes they are great, there will be no meeting of the minds and very little potential for finding the best solution.

That’s why I begin with ego drain. Three points that drive my life:

  1. The people I’m about to meet don’t owe me anything.
  2. The people I’m about to meet don’t really know me, and therefore their reaction is knee-jerk rather than intelligent.
  3. The people I’m about to meet will only be blessed if I have some way to assist them where they are instead of demanding that they come to where I am.

There you go. That’s self-esteem. Self-esteem is when I realize that God has given me gifts–so if I use them humbly, I become of value. I am not valuable just because I breathe–I am valuable if I can breathe life into things that were presumed dead.

Everybody is fighting the battle and nobody’s winning the war. Hamas and Israel are involved in an ego struggle. The United States and Iran are entangled in a similar futile punching contest. No one has the integrity to discern the common good and promote the general welfare.

Last night a beautiful woman in a church was nervous about her upcoming Christmas program and felt a great responsibility to make sure her choir was ready to perform. She didn’t want to be bumped out of doing a good job by our program digging into her rehearsal time. I understand. It doesn’t matter whether I agree–my job is to put on that woman’s skin and don her brain for a few moments so that I can get the insight to know how I can help instead of hinder. I chose to set up my show in the smaller fellowship hall so this dear woman could have her rehearsal without trauma, fear or interruption. There are people in the American culture who would say I lost. They believe in the false definition of self-esteem. But self-esteem is providing for the common good and promoting the general welfare. We had a wham-bang time last night, and I hope my dear friend had a good rehearsal. For you see, I don’t need a building. I don’t need pre-eminence. I don’t even need respect.

I need a door of opportunity and a chance to make things better.

Stop fighting the battle and start winning the war. The battle is between egos of people who have bought into false self-esteem. The war will be won by those who realize “we ain’t nothin’ until we bring somethin’.”

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