G-Poppers … November 24th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The world is not going to get better. It just isn’t.

This is not a negative statement–it’s not walking around in sackcloth and ashes, proclaiming doomsday. The world has, is and will continue to be filled with tribulation–wars, rumors of wars, nation rising against nation and so forth and so on.

There are only two futilities in life:

1. Waiting on the world to change.

2. Giving up on the idea of change.

Even though the world is not going to change, you are. If you don’t, you’ll fall into the same patterns as your parents, except with higher taxes, fewer advantages and more expensive prices on turkey and dressing.

You are supposed to get better. The question immediately comes to mind–how does one do that?

First by realizing that “better” is not an abstract concept. It is not a case of waking up in the morning and trying to improve all of your actions in order to please Mother Nature or Father God. Rather, it is one simple statement:

I am going to become a better bettor.

I am going to learn what to bet on, what to believe in, what to pursue, what is valuable, what is precious, what is current, what is in need of being handled immediately and what can be put off for later.

I am going to instruct myself on how to wager my time and energy. Otherwise I will be tempted to follow the gray cloud of the news cycle from one storm to another. I will discover the most miserable member of my family and think they demand the most attention. I will become a horrible bettor instead of a better bettor.

Valuable point: knowing what to bet on gives you the chance to discover opportunity to change something.

Nothing you change in your life will be more than two feet from your fingertips. Get used to it. Just think what would happen if we got one billion people to understand this.

So what is worthy of a risk? Where can I invest my precious time?

Find things that are true.

This means at least the folks involved are trying not to lie.

This lends itself to backing projects that are honest.

And what does honest entail? Occasionally admitting that you screwed up.

How about some justice?

In other words, if you are allowed to have freedom of speech, so do the many other tongues flapping around you.

Could it be possible to find something pure?

Pure does not mean that it’s free of dirt–it connotes that the people involved are trying to clean it up.

Get ready to bet on things that are lovely and of good report.

Stop being titillated by vile descriptions and sexual masochism.

Do we still believe in virtue?

What is that anyway? It’s realizing there are things that are universal, and that when they’re enacted, miracles happen.

And doggone it, go out and find things that are praise-worthy.

Our entire society is set for subjects that are bitch-worthy. Find something that demands that you stop, shake your head in amazement and speak out, “Isn’t God good?”

You will not change the world. G-Pop wants you to know that it is your duty to become a better bettor.

 

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G-Poppers … March 25th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop awoke with a whirl of conflicting ideas swirling in his mind, trying to find a landing space in understanding.

Good Friday.

What a joke.

Especially when you consider that the religious fanaticism which killed the Prince of Peace 2,000 years ago is still alive and insane, bombarding the innocent in Brussels.

Why do we kill?

Some people blame firearms. Yet we succeeded very ably in snuffing out human life long before there was gun powder.

Maybe it’s due to intolerance for other cultures and religions. But even in countries where there is no religion and very little culture, they kill off what they consider to be abnormal.

G-Pop decided that the next time he got together with his children, he would tell them that the reason we kill is because we are on a foolish journey to find the “best.”

It’s why Americans murder at a higher rate than Canadians. Canadian children are not taught that they always have to be supreme. American offspring are informed that they must always come off as the best.

There are only three things that can make you the best:

  • Work hard and have some luck
  • Cheat
  • Lie

As you can see, two of the three are quite unacceptable–because after we get tired of working, we decide that deceiving people about our prowess is equally as effective as long as we don’t get caught. Or we may choose to lie about our competitors and cast them into darkness, portraying them as sinister.

It is a screwed up system.

G-Pop wants his children to know that it is a beautiful thing to chase “good” and “better,” but to always leave “best” alone.

So what is good?

Make things and bless things

Not just people–but your car, your job, your garage, and Mother Earth. Make things and bless things. You could stop right there and have a fulfilling life. Making things keeps you busy and blessing things keeps you happy.

If you still have extra time you’d like to fill, consider “better.”

Better is working within yourself. Cease comparing your efforts to others. Stop trying to advertise your fruit. Live your talent within yourself–you being your most intelligent encourager and critic.

To be happy, continue on that path and ignore the best. After all, the best is not decided by you–it is a fickle passing of the torch by fans who think they have found the next fabulous thing.

To ignore the best is to be grateful and content. What is considered the best is beyond our control, and certainly subject to the blowing winds of opinion.

2,000 years ago, people climbed a hill–not so they could see better or take in the view. They did so because something good had come their way–something that brought better ideas–a human being who insisted that those who would follow would do greater things than him.

This made them lethal because they were being threatened … by losing their status as the best.

 

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G-Poppers … February 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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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… January 2, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Popper

As the New Year rolled around, G-Pop’s youngest son (who is fully grown) asked him, “So what do you think about the New Year?”

G-Pop: Son, it all depends on if you think things will be better, or grow worse. I happen to believe in better because somehow or another the human race always musters an instinct for avoiding extinct.

The young man smiled and pursued, “All right. Do you have any predictions?”

G-Pop: More heart. Real emotion instead of over-stated, staged reality shows. How can we achieve more heart? I think we just need to stop being afraid of the beauty of goodness.

More soul–transforming our theology and mythology into real human action. We are actually going to explore the spiritual axiom, “By their fruits you will know them.”

More mind–starting with being mindful of each other. Inventing and creating things that inspire people to excel instead of relinquishing all of our independence and genuine thoughtfulness to technology.

More strength. You know, son, I think it’s time for us to study a “hand-to-mouth” existence, realizing that what we hand off in food to our lips is affecting our power, personality and happiness. Not only is it true that you are what you eat, but that consumption eventually eats up what you are.

More heart, soul, mind and strength.

And then we will realize that we will only see more if we dare to become more.

 

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The Alphabet of Us: C is for Cunning… December 22, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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Baby block C bigger

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

Three pushy forces bully us to conform to the pattern of what is now considered, in this short-sighted season, to be normal.

  • “I must be better”
  • “I must be popular”
  • “I must be smarter”

Human beings were never meant to be consistent. It is within the spectrum of our unpredictability that we create our learning curve and our charm. When we deny this vulnerability, we place ourselves in a position where we must defend our “better,” our “popular” and our “smarter.”

Unfortunately, this leads to lying. And even worse than lying is the misconception that we can actually pull it off. This is cunning.

Cunning is the contention that “because I am better, very popular and smarter, I can trick you into believing whatever I desire.” It is ugly, selfish–and worst of all, it is doomed.

To escape cunning you have to counteract the three pushy bullies and speak the truth about your own inconsistent journey.

1. I am not better. I need to fail. I need to admit I fail. Failure is my only hope for escaping the disaster at the end of repeated stupidity.

2. Although I love human beings, I don’t need to be popular if such notoriety comes along with sacrificing my character and my soul.

3. The only way to become smarter is to learn from people who know more. This requires that I admit that I am less intelligent.

At the root of every drama which ends in defeat is a character who contends that he or she is better than others, popular for a time and smarter, which enables them to use cunning to produce the backdrop for their demise.

You will never be destroyed by being weak.

You will be destroyed by acting strong and ending up weak.

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4% … May 30, 2012

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Just about 4% of the population of our world is American–living and dwelling within the boundaries of the United States. That means that in a room of a hundred people from all over the world, only four of them would have any interest whatsoever in Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

It is an issue of perspective. We have made a dangerous decision in our country, to make the world view of other nations–their cultures and their governments–an object of disdain or unrealistic admiration. Yes, as we always do, we have turned the necessity for having an understanding of our fellow-man all over the globe into a political juggernaut.

It is the responsibility of those who have spirituality to instruct our political leaders and our society into acquiring a comprehension of a wider scope of vision and a more accepting attitude towards others.

Instead, we choose up sides. The more evangelical Christians in this country have a zealous patriotism, often to the detriment of other parts of the human race across the earth. The more liberal or mainline denominational Christians take the position that the rest of the world is “just as good as everybody else,” and that in some ways the United States is actually inferior.

It creates conflict. Conflict does not lead to resolution. Our twenty-four-hour news cycle generates controversy under the illusion that such heated debate will lend itself to better appreciation. Nothing could be further from the truth. What does lead to resolution is the ability to ask the right question. Until you ask the right question, the inquiries you come up with are bent in the direction of confirming your own philosophy rather than discovering the truth that will make you free.

Those who claim to be very patriotic and believe that America has a destiny to rule the world–politically if not militarily–look at the other countries on the earth and their practices and turn up their noses and ask, “Isn’t that strange?” It’s very difficult to believe that reconciliation can be achieved when you start on the basis of thinking that something is “strange.” Even when we make lame attempts to address the cultures of other worlds at Christmas time with our children in school, we portray them as having “odd practices” while our decorating of an evergreen tree is completely normal.

Yes, conservatives tend to address the rest of the world as if they’re strange. Here’s a clue. Most human beings do not like to be considered “strange.” They even find it offensive. And since their particular form of spirituality does not prevent them from hurting people who offend them, we create a natural jeopardy for ourselves by insisting that the rest of the world is hampered by virtue locale.

On the other hand, the more liberal parts of our framework peer at the rest of the world and say, “Isn’t that better?” In the pursuit of what they would call justice, they become hyper-critical of our own society, our own culture and our own process, while lifting up often-obscure parts of other nations’ practices and extolling them as superior. This, of course, infuriates the conservatives, who feel that it’s anti-American, which further cements the liberals in their position that conservatives were basically born with half a brain.

So we play this dangerous game of–shall we call it–American roulette?–where we put five bullets in the chamber, hoping that when we whirl it around, we’ll be lucky enough to hold the gun to our head and be blessed with an empty slot.

It is dangerous to live in a world of diversity and fail to acknowledge that diversity–or at least try to understand how it came to be. It is also absolute foolishness to look at the record of mercy of a country such as the United States, which has attempted to help the world in so many ways, and purposely criticize it because we may be presently struggling in certain areas.

There has to be an understanding. The world is neither strange, nor is it better. It consists of people. Jesus came to give us a message that has world-wide appeal and application, not simply suited for white Europeans.

It is time to reevaluate. If we are only 4% there is no way we will ever be a majority. There is no way we will ever be the loudest voice. And honestly, there is no way we will be the predominant force–unless we find a way to understand the needs and desires of the other peoples around us.

Would you allow me a chance to take the next few days to discuss what we shall call The Path? I do believe there is a road that will take us towards better understanding without rejecting the love of our own country, but I contend that at this point it is just a tiny, winding path through a quagmire of misunderstanding. But if we can identify the path, then we can possibly clarify how we can remain loyal Americans, but gain a world view. I don’t want to just have a world view by criticizing my country, and I certainly do not want to extol my country to the exclusion of billions of people who do not possess our citizenship.

Would you join me? Can we take our 4% and use it more effectively in the world community? I think we can.

Let’s see if we can find The Path.

 

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Turn Offs–September 17, 2011

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September 17, 2011

Jason was a friend of mine who died. (Now there was a horrible opening sentence…)

He was a few months younger than me but he insisted on getting old as soon as he saw the age of fifty looming in the near distance. He got some gray in his hair, and rather than dying it, he wore it as a badge of honor, but also carried it as evidence of being decrepit. My teenage sons hated Jason because he spoke slowly and paused frequently—doing his best impersonation of impending dementia, and became infuriated if one of the boys interrupted him because they wanted to fill the space.

He explained to them that they needed to respect him. They, being ardent adherents of adolescence, said: “Why?”

“Because I’m older,” growled Jason.

It is one of the classic turn-offs in the human family. The notion that we are improved because we’re older or somewhat fresher because we’re younger is nether true nor holds any water in the great bucket of life.

Older people haven’t done anything but age. I will agree—with age there is the potential for learning, but certainly not a requirement. Matter of fact, aging can make you become resistant to receiving knowledge and cause you to believe that you’ve retained enough data to make decisions on almost anything. “I am older than you” is one of the most useless phrases uttered from the mouth of a human being.

I live in an ageless mindset. I listen just as intently to my six-year-old granddaughter as I do to a sixty-year-old pastor with a doctorate that’s been at a church for twenty-two years. Because not only out of the mouths of babes come words of wisdom, but also often questions which need to be asked but are shuffled to the side by those who have had too many birthdays—but not enough parties.

Now, I never went to college. Even though I have performed in them and instructed in them, I never took a class in a university. I share that with you neither as a badge of honor nor as a cloak of shame. It’s the way my life went. I was married when I was eighteen, had my first son by age nineteen, and now, forty-one years later, have raised seven children—four of my own making and three I adopted. I have been rich and I have been poor, but I have always been creative and I certainly know that the smartest thing you can do in life is laugh more than you cry.

I, like you, run across people who feel it is their job to communicate to me that they are smarter. I was always uncomfortable with the phrase “I am smarter” because it usually requires a follow-up of proof. And if the proof is in the pudding, then the pudding is in the stirring. And when you stir your ideas all together and they pop out of the bowl, they’d better be both palatable AND usable.

This is one of the problems going on in our country today. Our leadership does not know the difference between paper ideas and people ideas—because there are often things that look good on paper that do not serve the needs and feelings of humanity. It is why I enjoy the gospel of Jesus—it’s heavy on spirit and light on law. It takes into consideration the fragility of mankind, yet without treating us like we’re stupid.

“I am smarter” is the second great turn-off to those around you.

So what is the best way to convey intelligence in a society of touchy, insecure fellow-travelers? Just shut up, do it—and let’em watch. Wait for the question. Never give advice to anyone unless you hear a question mark at the end of their phrase. Here’s a clue—when people see something is working, they believe. You can criticize that all you want to, but you’ll end up expressing your frustrations to an empty room.

And finally, and unfortunately, those who feel they are older and smarter often come up with some philosophy, religious jargon or perhaps even political persuasion that expresses: “I am better.”

“I am better” is why the planet suffers slings and arrows.

Until we dispel the notion of chosen people, manifest destiny, special anointing, preferred races and genetically enhanced beings, we will eventually take our aged hand and in a moment of what we consider to be smartness, push the big red button to destroy ourselves.

Write it down somewhere so you can see it every day: NO ONE IS BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE. The reason you need to write it down is because every, single person on this planet has been brought up to believe that they’re better than someone else. You may object to that statement and cite that your parents and even your grandparents were free of that contention, but somewhere along the line, they infused into you the notion that you were better than someone in some way. And it has robbed you of relationships that would have been rich with emotion, and has crippled you with a cross you cannot bear.

“I am better.” It is the final turn off that turns on all the hatred in the world.

I thought you might be interested in this today because these three statements—“I am older;” “I am smarter,” and “I am better”—are what cause us to believe that we are persecuted.

But NOT for righteousness’ sake. Nope. It’s just for a big, fat batch … of dumbness.

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