Cring & Clazzy … November 6th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It appears that somewhere between the heart and the spirit, there is a desert. So dry is this place that people convince themselves it is impossible to cross the expanse from what we feel to what we believe. Some folks just feel, and others are convinced that believing is enough.

No sermon will ever make the journey.

No education is capable of spanning the region.

And no amount of prayer will ever take our feelings to what we believe.

There is only one passageway, and one alone.

It is the electricity and energy that transforms our feelings into a union with our beliefs.

It is called music.

And there is nothing to compare.


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The Gospel According to Common Sense (A Remake) … March 20, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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I have a heart cluttered with emotion.

I possess a soul yearning to believe.

I am caretaker to a brain which can think, but prefers to react.

I live in a body filled with appetites and desires.

Sure looks like I’m a mess.

But it’s my mess.

“You break it, you own it.”

Remember that one?

So I need something to get these parts to work together.

Theater focuses on emotions.

The church, on the soul.

Education, on the brain

And the world, on the body.

I need more.

Common sense.

It isn’t so common–or we might stumble on it more often.

So here’s a clue to common sense–a passage, if you will:

I will clean my heart by being more honest about what I feel.

Pleasant and not so pleasant.

I will reawaken my soul by looking for God in people

Instead of begging the heavens.

I will think about good things more than bad.

It’s like a breath mint for the mind.

Then I will use my clean heart, loving soul and fresh brain to teach my body to exercise healthier appetites.

Finally, I will do the world a favor:

I won’t call them crazy, but I won’t go crazy with them.

Common sense.

When our common need with one another calls us to sit down and talk sense.

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

In Secret … December 9, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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desk clerkIt happens every once in a while.

As we tour across the country, it becomes necessary to have a single overnight stay in some town for the sole purpose of resting, relaxing and getting ready for the next day’s drive. We refer to it as a “sleep stop.” There are three goals:

  1. Find a comfortable motel
  2. Carry in as little as necessary, since you’re not setting up for an entire week.
  3. Make it as reasonable a location as feasible so as not to bust the piggy bank.

So when we arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee, at our sleep stop, Jan was confronted by the innkeeper, who explained that the room would be more expensive than originally stated. Jan, being an excellent business woman, lodged a complaint and asked the lady at the front desk to honor her original quote.

It wasn’t a big deal–no large argument. But a negotiation ensued, and as with most compromises, both parties were dissatisfied.

So as we were unloading into our room, I handed Jan the money to cover the extra price our host felt was needed for our occupancy. It wasn’t necessary. The room was already ours, legitimately.

But it wasn’t ours righteously.

Let me tell you, my friends, there are three ways to believe.

There is the belief we proclaim to others. This is what we call “church”–quoting the Good Book and tried and true hymns, to inform our neighbors that we are good folk and excellent Americans.

Secondly, there’s the belief we apply. This is a convoluted mixture of what God says, what we think, what Mom and Dad taught us, and the pressure put on us by society to conform to the present norm.

But last, there is the belief we allow to reach into our “secret place.” This is the room within the house of our faith, where we spend most of our time, closet our fears, and determine our future–based upon our own thoughts and feelings, many of which we would never be able to share with others.

I have learned over the years that Christianity does not work unless it reaches into this private compartment.

For some of the rudest and meanest people I have ever met have just come from church, proclaiming the goodness of God.

Likewise, many of the more confused, frustrated and mentally unstable individuals I’ve encountered over the years seem to have a terrific testimony about their relationship with the Almighty.

But I’ve never met anyone who allows their philosophy to reach their “secret place” who isn’t humbly satisfied with the experience.

I didn’t need to give that lady at the front desk any more money to satisfy her requirements.

I needed to give her the money to satisfy the yearning … in my secret soul.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

How Does It Feel? … October 6, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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  • college playerWhat do you think?
  • What do you believe?
  • What do you do?

These seem to be the three questions constantly bandied about in our society as a way of expressing our maturity, growth and aspirations.

I disagree.

I contend that anyone who believes that human beings are really focused, controlled and guided by what they think, believe and do is probably working from very old information or following an inept social model.

We are creatures of feeling.

I know I talk about this a lot. I do it because our culture has moved into some sort of Zen idea that if we repress our feelings and focus on what we think, believe and do, we can overcome immaturity and silliness, thereby maintaining an enlightened path.

We just don’t work that way. We are creatures of heart.

Case in point: watching a football game last night, I realized that our entire national sports organization somehow thinks that boys between the ages of nineteen and twenty-two are able to think, believe and work their way to victory. It’s comical.

They are kids and they are humans. So what do I know? They will perform at the level of what they feel. If they feel defeated, all the talent they have amassed will dissipate in tiny piles of frailty. If they feel overwhelmed, they will misplace their helmets, their brains will shut down and they will forget what they’re supposed to do on the next play.

So if you’re a good coach, you have to learn how to keep the emotions and feelings of your team generated in a direction of clean expression and follow-through.

Also, you can’t tell me that in the midst of this government shut-down, that we are running our political arena by what we think, believe and know to do. We have sixty-five-year-old men and women who do not like each other and are willing to rob the purses of innocent Americans to make their point.

That said, how can we transform our beings into more efficient and intelligent units, who address our feelings instead of pretending they’re not there?

1. Listen to yourself. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Is there a harshness to your tone? Is there desperation in your words? Has judging others entered into your profile? Your mouth will not lie because it will express the abundance of your heart–a great barometer of your emotions, and therefore, your productivity.

2. When is the last time you aired your feelings? Have you recently told someone of your frustrations, misgivings or confusion? Or are you keeping it to yourself?

Here’s the truth: human emotions have no storage area.

If you don’t release them in a fruitful way, they will dribble into your spirit, your mind and your work.

3. Do you feel that silence is a sign of maturity? Or can you be honest and admit you just don’t think you’re being heard by anyone? If you go to bed at night wondering why something isn’t working without ever verbalizing your concern, you are confusing your brain, causing it to forget; a self-righteous spirit which judges others with a hammer, and a body that has more aches than you can imagine.

How does it feel?

I’m going to church this morning. It doesn’t matter what I think about church; it doesn’t matter what I believe about church. It doesn’t even matter what I do at church.

It matters what I feel about thinking, believing and doing church.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Quatrain of a Gig … August 6, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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big equipment

Come prepared to shine

Shine believing in people

People rejoice with hope

Hope is our preparation

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Triumphant … May 4, 2013

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lutheran church

Triumphant.

Let us all rejoice.

Triumphant.

Make a righteous choice.

Triumphant.

Speak with one strong voice.

Triumphant.

Share the hopeful Word.

Triumphant.

Let our praise be heard.

Triumphant.

Love one another.

Triumphant.

Sister and brother.

Triumphant.

The kingdom is near.

Triumphant.

Reject the death of fear.

Triumphant.

Gather–be as one.

Triumphant.

Father, Spirit, Son.

Triumphant.

Practice what we preach.

Triumphant.

Apply what we teach.

Triumphant.

Ready to receive.

Triumphant.

Desire to believe.

Triumphant.

More than just a place.

Triumphant.

Comfort the human race.

Triumphant.

Now is the season.

Triumphant.

Love is the reason.

Triumphant.

Using what we know.

Triumphant.

Come and watch us grow.

Yes, triumphant.

NoOne is better than anyone else.

Truly, triumphant.

The door is open for you to find yourself.

(This weekend I will be at Triumphant Lutheran in San Antonio, Texas. May we gently add to the verse.)

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

*****

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Somer-salt … October 29, 2012

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Today‘s story is in two parts, so please grant me the courtesy of staying around for both tellings.

Yesterday morning I was introduced, and our dear sponsor invited the congregation to make us welcome. What followed was silence. Now, I don’t consider myself an authority on human customs across the globe, but I am pretty sure that silence, as a form of greeting and welcome, is universally considered to be hostile. I paused for a moment before striking the keys of my piano to begin my opening song. Was I going to say something? Was I going to request that they give me the basic courtesy of the gentle acceptance normally given to any stranger? Or would such a demand come across as crass and pushy? I opted to go ahead and just share my song.

The reason I made that choice? This was NOT a normal situation.

I was in a church.

And for some inexplicable reason, we have convinced ourselves that God expects us to act anti-human when praying in His presence. I don’t know how this got started. It would seem to me logically, that since God is our Creator, He would not only anticipate our need for enthusiasm, but encourage it. Yet I am often led to believe that applause in a church is not only optional, but often inappropriate. This belief has flourished even though the Bible screams at us, “Clap your hands all ye people! Shout unto God with a voice of triumph!”

What cranky grandmas got together with a bunch of malevolent old widowers to conjure the rule that being in the presence of God demands silence, reverence and apparently, giving tribute to eighteenth-century classical music? I don’t know. But it does not make better people–and if it doesn’t make better people, it can’t be God.

For instance, that’s why I stay out of politics. I have never seen anyone become more generous and creative by running for office. But I have also never had the experience of observing human souls who have been cleansed of their sins by baptism free themselves of being introverted and frightened of being successful.

Here’s the way I read it: we are to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. I looked out at those faces who refused to welcome me with even a tiny round of applause and saw beautiful, gorgeous, delightful fellow-travelers who, for some reason or another, got “stuck in neutral” through perching in a pew.

This leads me to the second part of my story. The problem is not the people. The problem is what we ask the people to be.

Human beings were never meant to be dry,  somber and withholding. If you don’t believe me, just go to a football stadium. They don’t sit there and sip coffee, staring at the field, barely acknowledging the activity before their eyes. We LIKE to clap. We LIKE to cheer. We LIKE to be happy. It’s our nature.

Here is the formula for having a successful venture when it comes to dealing with human beings. I don’t know–maybe your organization is trying to gear its approach to melancholy, intergalactic aliens. I would have no idea what these creatures from outer space would require to make them tick. But human beings are heart, soul, mind and strength. Therefore may I present a list? We need:

  1. To feel more.
  2. To believe something.
  3. To think deeper
  4. To live bigger.

If we do these things, we can escape the limitations of the culture of our upbringing, and at the same time, enhance it–by feeling more, believing something, thinking deeper and living bigger.

I have grown weary of hearing people say that “certain parts of the country have certain personalities” and will not adjust to any unfamiliar offering. It just ain’t so.

I was in Somerset, Ohio, a village of fifteen hundred people. Yes, I am sure they have ways of doing things. Undoubtedly, they pride themselves on NOT being part of the big city down the road. But church is not about duplicating the mindset of the community around you, while ignoring your own personal needs to excel and be joyous.

Jesus says we are the salt of the earth. Could anything be any simpler than that? Try to cook a meal without salt. You may have just discovered the menu of the cafeteria from hell. Salt is flavor; we are salt. We are the good taste to those around us. So we are supposed to teach people who love God to be salt. It doesn’t mean they walk away from their loved ones or even some of their choices. It means they feel more, they believe something, they think deeper and they live bigger. They choose Jesus over their culture. They always select love over fear and they produce joy as a remedy for disappointment.

Can I give you the good news? I did my little “dog and pony show,” opened up my heart to these beautiful brothers and sisters, and guess what? They greeted me with their own personal victory, humanity and sense of well-being. They were lovely. They escaped religion to find God.

This is what we all have to do. You have to escape politics to find justice. You have to run away from big corporations to generate quality products. You have to refuse to succumb to committees to promote progress. And you have to ignore religion if you want to be close to Jesus.

I love Somerset. I just want to see them become Somer-salt–to live in their town but be just enough flavor to make people thirsty to drink at the waters of life. One fine gentleman came up to my table and said, “We had church today.”

We certainly did. I will never forget you folks, because you stepped out of your predictable approach and allowed yourselves to be human in the presence of God. You learned the power of true worship:

  • Feel more
  • Believe something
  • Think deeper
  • Live bigger

And if you do this, you will become the salt of Somerset. Your vision for your new community center will be more than a building, but also a great big hug for your neighbors, telling them how much you love them. And you won’t EVER sit in silence again, pretending that’s a way to welcome strangers.

I take great comfort in the fact that God made humans. And since He did, I don’t have to spend all of my time apologizing for being one.

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