G-Poppers … June 3rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

“It is the mingle that produces the mangle.”

G-Pop will freely admit that the phrase may sound a little too cute, but nevertheless, bears repeating.

How we mingle our thinking determines whether virtue, progress and intelligence will become mangled.

It all revolves around two insidious but often blended ideas:

  1. It’s not my fault
  2. God will take care of it

Yes, in an attempt to free ourselves of any responsibility for failure, we seek villains to blame for the destruction in our society.

Or we stand back, feigning helplessness, reciting our prayers, waiting for a divine being to intervene and make the world a better place.

And then, there is the ridiculous mingling of the two:

“Since God will take care of everything, why should I force myself to do things that are unnatural to my present thinking?”

It is the mingle that invites the mangle.

Because once you convince a generation of human beings that they are without fault and that God has a plan for everything, you scrawl a permission slip for people to continue their ignorance and prejudice.

Even though we contend “the truth makes us free,” we fail to realize that this freedom is only achieved if we’re willing to know the truth.

And here’s the truth:

G-Pop tells all of his children that if any one of us is within three feet of a problem, we probably have some responsibility for the situation.

And if we’re not within three feet, we still have the potential–within that yard of our jurisdiction–to improve the world.

  • There is no progress without repentance.
  • But there is no repentance minus confession.

“If we confess our faults, we will be healed.” If we don’t, we remain sick.

The more we insist that we are guiltless, the more intensely others look for our guilt.

And the idea that a God who created the universe and made human beings with a brain attached to their hands and feet without expecting them to use the connection, is just pure farce.

If you want to stop the mangling of truth, justice and mercy, you will have to attack the credibility of “it’s not my fault” and “God will take care of it.”

Unless we repent, we will perish.

And not even a God of mercy will stand in the way of our disappearance.

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Ask Jonathots … June 2nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I keep hearing from pundits that “Americans are angry.” Do you think this is true? If so, what do you think is the source of this frustration?

Every coin has two sides. The problem with America today is a two-sided coin.

This is the source of what most people are referring to as “anger,” which really is nothing more than a tantrum.

Here’s the two-sided coin:

  1. “It’s not my fault.”
  2. “God will take care of it.”

Both of these statements are inherently flawed, and therefore often lead to unsatisfactory conclusions, which can cause people to develop a childish rant.

Let’s start with the first one.

The problems in our lives to some degree always involve our own lacking, procrastination, indifference, laziness or bigotry. If you can convince someone that “it’s not their fault,” then they can start looking for an enemy.

On the other hand, the second assertion–that God will take care of everything–has generated false hope. God did not create anything that does not have to participate in life. Humans are no different.

So it’s not so much that people are angry, but rather, that they’re experiencing the symptoms of seven-year-old tantrums, brought on by the fear of being held responsible or the errant promise of God taking care of everything. When these fail, frustration sets in.

So what can be done about this?

First, we have to stop legitimizing childish behavior. We have to take authority over our lives by admitting our part in the problem.

Then I think we need to teach those who seek a spiritual aspect that God is always prepared to give us wisdom, but rarely offers free checks in the mail.

Just enacting these two simple ideas would remove most of the attitude in this country which we have dubbed “anger,” and would replace it with a new feeling of good cheer, because we would be empowered to negotiate in our own lives instead of always looking for someone to blame or some heavenly being to take over our mess.

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G-Poppers … April 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop wishes for his children to listen carefully.

Yes, during this season of great confusion, it is important to be careful how we hear.

With rivers of information flowing through the countryside with greater speed than ever before, there are also mounds of misunderstanding pouring out raw sewage of stupidity, tainting the flow.

Beware the liberal.

Also beware the conservative.

The thing to remember is that truth has no agenda–just a message to make us free; free of the obstruction of needing to stand behind an opinion.

You can always identify the words that are rotten with antagonism.

They blame.

Each political party, every religion, countless races–all point a finger at one another to create blame.

Is there blame? Perhaps. But such accusations need to take a journey through scrutiny.

It begins with the facts. It’s difficult to get them. Websites, news reports and pundits tend to obscure them behind statistics and endorsements.

Listen to all sides, and then find that sweet spot in the middle, where truth has cuddled up, waiting for the persevering soul to discover it.

Find the facts. Don’t be so sure.

Once you find the facts, then it’s important to decide who or what is responsible. Finding the responsible parties is not a decision to target blame, but rather, discovering who has the power to bring solution.

Who is responsible?

Could it be that we are responsible?

What part of the responsibility can we take onto ourselves, to make sure that something will be addressed?

Then, once responsibility is addressed, any blame that needs to be brought forth in order to clean up the nastiness can be pointed out without fear.

  • Facts.
  • Responsibility.
  • Blame.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work if you go the other direction–blaming someone and making them responsible to fit your allegation.

G-Pop must warn his children that if they pursue the facts to ascertain responsibility, to correctly place blame, that they will find themselves being neither conservative nor liberal–just real.

It is a season when goodness will be determined by those who are not so intent on advertising the badness in their adversaries.

To do this requires a set of ears tuned to history and the love of humankind … instead of listening for reasons to confirm our suspicions and alienate one another.

 

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Confessing … August 8th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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XIV.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

When I began this series on confessing, I made a private covenant with my ego to avoid revealing current events and basically stay focused on sins of the past, long ago resolved.

But unfortunately, I continue to transgress.

I travel on the road.

That’s what I do right now because it’s my way to try to speak some simplicity into the complexity of our world, and sanity into the raging din.

Arriving at my lodging on Monday, I found myself disgruntled. It is summertime, so motels and suites are more expensive, and therefore my budget does not allow me to stay in the top-of-the-line institutions, but rather, places me in Mom and Pop establishments, which are often a mixed bag.

Usually I have pretty good perspective.

For instance, I don’t call the carpet “shabby,” but rather, “quaint.”

I don’t refer to the furniture as being “outdated,” but rather, “antiques.”

But for some reason, this particular week I was fussy. I didn’t like the room. Rather than considering it spacious, I thought it was convoluted.

It put me in a mode: “I’m feeling sorry for myself.”

That sentiment is the soil for the seed of all iniquity. If you catch it early enough, you can keep it from going any further, but I was in no mood to be introspective, so I went to Phase 2: “I feel like blaming you.”

Self-pity never allows me to take any responsibility, so we grab the closest innocent victim and thrust him or her into the role of the villain and the source of all inconvenience–and that particularly dastardly profile was placed on my partner, Janet Clazzy.

So I growled at her a little bit. I expressed my superiority to the meager station of my surroundings. Since she’s the one who acquired the room, it was obviously her fault that they had not changed the paneling since the Eisenhower Administration.

We argued.

It wasn’t really an argument–just a general “blooming onion” of complaint, which had no real center to it, and therefore, no completion.

Shortly after finishing my griping, I went into the third phase: “I’m feeling stupid.”

This is the most important phase. From this point of feeling stupid we can either move to repentance–or we can simply recycle and start all over again with “I’m feeling sorry for myself.”

Matter of fact, I will tell you that a good portion of the population lives in a meaningless, constant circle of feeling sorry for themselves, blaming others, feeling stupid to return to feeling sorry for themselves.

It must have been a good day, because fortunately, rather than feeling stupid and going for another try at feeling sorry for myself, I repented.

I apologized.

And it was amazing how quickly the room went back to being a room instead of a prison cell.

I am the master of my own destiny. No one’s calling the shots but me. If the shots suck, it’s because I suck–not having the sense to avoid feeling sorry for myself … insisting that I got screwed over.

 

confessing room

 

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G-21: Blame or Bloom… April 25, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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holding hands… and then a remarkable occurrence …

Man and woman, expelled from the Garden by choosing the knowledge of evil and good over life, were thrust back out into the jungle for survival.

They were ill-suited.

Being monkey-angels, they had limited capacity for the grit of everyday sweat and pain involved in scrounging on their own. This introduced many scenarios–most of them dire.

But the remarkable part of the story is that rather than becoming extinct in an environment contrary to their natures–instead of sitting around blaming one another for misdeeds and weak character–they took the one enduring ingredient of the Garden which was formerly their home and carried it into the next part of their experience.

Love.

Man and woman loved each other.

Escaping the foolishness of finger-pointing and accusing arguments, they returned to the essence of why they came together in the first place. Realizing they knew too much and that this burst of information only made them feel despondent and worthless, they turned to one another to discover purpose.

  • They didn’t blame.
  • Instead, they sought to bloom.

Like “grandparents” of the entire human race, they acted out a living lesson of what makes our species valuable:

1. Who are we?

Not “who do we want to be?” Nor “who do we think we should be?” But instead, “who have we become?” minus shame over our nakedness.

2. What do we know?

Lacking pomposity and false bravado–just a simple inventory of the knowledge we possess that enlightens us instead of diminishing our capacity.

3. Where do we start?

First with each other. We aren’t going to make it out here in the jungle, to someday be worthy of the Garden, if we are constantly alienating ourselves from one another.

Man loved woman. He called her “the mother of all living.”

Woman loved man.

They trusted each other to be strong and were fully cognizant of each other’s weaknesses. They undergirded one another’s efforts.

And even though their bizarre selection of choosing to include evil in their thinking set the human race on a precarious journey into unnecessary failure, their love sustained us, pointing in the direction of life.

I know it is popular to glorify the Creator for His genius and generosity. Certainly He is worthy of all praise.

But let us not forget that our salvation story did require human beings to survive and prosper until such a time that the restoration of all things could be offered back to us … from another tree on a hill far away.

 

 

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G-18: Fellowship or Companionship … April 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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Adam it's not enough

It’s not enough

I don’t know how to tell you

You have given me so much

I value your love

I treasure our relationship

I feel you inside me

I am thrilled with my work

I am enthralled by my home

I adore the creatures around me

If perfect is possible, then here it is

At my fingertips

In my pulse

Yet sadly, my friend, it is not enough

I simultaneously feel a vacancy and a sense of shame over the lack

I really tried to make a go of it

I felt as if work, fellowship and purpose should be sufficient to my need

I was wrong

I do not want to lie to you

I do not want to sneak away in a corner and pretend

I yearn for companionship

What is that?

Someone to hold in my arms

To confirm my presence

Someone to share blessing and blame

Someone for me to pleasure, and in turn, draw my pleasure from

Someone who disagrees, but remains

Someone who is like me but in a different sort of way

Someone who is sometimes stronger

Sometimes weaker

Honestly, someone who isn’t you

Someone who is, well … me

I don’t want to complain

But it is not enough

 

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

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Populie: It’s Your Destiny … February 26, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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dragon slayerAnother popular assertion that is grounded in a lie is, “It’s your destiny.”

It is a POPULIE that is once again promoted by politics, religion and entertainment.

Politics loves it because it makes the voters feel that some leader is “destined” to become the savior of a project or movement.

Religion promotes the idea simply because it keeps the faithful in submission to the illusive will of God.

And entertainment advertises this populie mainly because there is an ongoing accepted premise that people “just love fantasy” and therefore want to escape their real lives to conjure big dreams of slaying dragons.

Yet in our private moments, when we are alone with ourselves and we’re not in a bad mood, blaming the world or some divine force, we realize that it is our own choices that create our situations. And we still persist in using words like:

  • destiny
  • soul-mate
  • being born a certain way
  • having talent sent from God
  • and feeling superstitious about “roads converging in our lives through cosmic energy”

Well, let’s look at the cosmic energy. What does this cosmic energy–in other words, God–have to say on this subject?

1. What we sow we will reap.

If I understand this statement, it means that I am in control of the harvest that comes my way by the planting I personally do. I am not under a family curse, demon possession, angelic fairy dust or the turn of a card.

2.  If you do well, you will be accepted.

Interesting. When God spoke these words, He wasn’t relating the information to someone who was particularly spiritual. He shared it with Cain, who ended up being the first murderer. But He told him that the system is geared toward those who do and not those who wish.

3. Let every man prove his own work, that he has rejoicing in himself alone and not another.

So if God is in charge of my life, why would I need to prove the work? And if God is the one who’s manipulating everything, what gives me the right to rejoice in myself for achieving my goals?

4. Everyone will give an account of their deeds at the Day of Judgment.

If I am at the mercy of destiny–or even at its bequest–why should I be responsible for everything that happens?

When you remove the superstition, fear, tradition and anger from religion, you come up with one simple principle: no one is better than anyone else.

So if I work hard I will succeed. If I don’t, I will fail.

And it fascinates me that those who believe in the populie, “It’s your destiny,” would also become infuriated at the notion of someone removing choice from their lives.

It is your choice.

And today, you are about the business of determining what your life will truly be.

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