Just Say Great… May 1, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2219)

American Idol contestantThe contestants line up to offer their small-town, country-fair talent contest versions of popular songs in front of judges who have illustrious careers but still are looking for ways to create a bit more “sheen.”

And then it’s time for the critique.

We call it American Idol. But actually, it’s merely a few notches above the Rotary Club’s talent search at a local high school. And the critiques rarely offer any legitimate criticism.

Why? Because they can’t.

Between a booing audience, which thinks any offering of correction is mean-spirited, and the singers, themselves, who deflate like cheap balloons whenever anything is suggested that doesn’t end up with the affirmation, “you’re great,” the individuals who have been selected to move the show forward and find talented, excellent artists, are tied up and thrown into a corner and told to shut up.

We, as Americans, have become obsessed with our former greatness, which we insist is still intact. Every comment, suggestion, notion or even fresh idea has to be cushioned with the preface: “Of course, this isn’t any big deal. You’re already great. But maybe you might like to try something new.”

We seem to be almost comatose in the face of the reality that as of later this fall, for the first time in over 150 years, the economy of China will become the number one commerce in the world. Not since 1871 has the United States been eclipsed.

Yet if you offer this observation or even put forth the assertion that there is room for improvement, the masses will stare at you in disbelief and say, “You’re not saying we aren’t great, right?”

What I am saying is that greatness does not require praise, but rather, opportunity.

There are three cardinal principles located in the gospel I follow which launch a human being in the direction of success, enhanced by individuality:

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit.

It is the admission that I am not naturally good. Because I’m not. I want to cut corners. I would cheat if I could get away with it. I want to blame other people for my mistakes and I don’t want to hear criticism.

2. I am an unprofitable servant.

The message here is that even when I have done well, I need to realize that I am not naturally better. Better is something that comes my way when I admit my need, make adequate adjustments and receive the benefit of my repentance.

3. Go the second mile.

I am not naturally excellent, either. I have a tendency to spend my time asking an abundance of questions about what is necessary to fulfill the commitment instead of blowing past the competition and guaranteeing myself placement.

You know what the power is of going the second mile? You are a mile ahead. That means if you want to rest, slow down or push forward–getting further distance between you and the competition–you have that choice. No one is nipping at your heels and the only thing you have to compare to is the quality of your own work.

Shows like American Idol are frustrating, but also enlightening because they portray how far we’ve fallen from the pinnacle of passion.

Even though it seems to be popular to insist on being called “great” when you’ve barely shown up for the race and slid on your sneakers–please, don’t do that for me.

I will set a standard and if I find that standard is not up to the par of what is required, I will push myself joyously to escape the criticism that I know my spirit will not handle well.

Sooner or later America must understand that if we allow other nations to supersede us economically, they will gain a voice in our world which will control the spirituality and emotions of our planet–when they may not be worthy of such a calling.

We are still a nation that believes that all men are created equal.

But the purpose of that creation is to strive towards excellence, taking pride in the sweat of our brow instead of sitting around, waiting for the next affirming statement to our self-esteem.

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Jesonian: Say, Do, Become … April 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

(2196)

big I'm picWhen I heard him say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” honestly, I rolled my eyes.

It sounded like one of those statements made by someone who feels he is spiritually or intellectually superior, but tempers it with a short burst of manipulated humility.

But then, when the Centurion told him that he didn’t need to come to his house to heal his servant–just speak the word–and instead of becoming defensive or flexing his religious muscle, he praised the gentleman for the enlightenment, I realized that this one had the capacity to become a friend to the faithful.

Likewise, when he touted the importance of mourning, my cynicism came to the forefront. It’s so easy to elevate distress to a status of soulful discovery when you aren’t actually going through it.

But later, when he wept with his friends at the grave of Lazarus and shed tears for Jerusalem because of its hard-heartedness, I grasped that he had the capacity to become the savior to the ignorant.

“Blessed are the meek.”

Time after time he put that into practice as he was rejected by his family, the religious leaders, and even close friends. Yes, a respecter of the choices of others.

He told us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” He backed it up by fasting in the wilderness for forty days. A source to the seeker.

Being merciful is often a politically safe phrase to mouth in front of the masses but not so easy to enact–especially when they bring to you a woman caught in adultery, and the socially correct position is to condemn her.

He didn’t.

A champion of the lost.

I was a little surprised when he spoke about being “pure in heart.” And then, when I stood at his side, looking down at the very cold, pale and still body of a twelve-year-old girl who was obviously deceased, and he turned to the room with an almost foolish glee and told us not to doubt, “she’s just asleep,” my eyes filled with tears over such genuine simplicity. He became a child of the children.

A peacemaker? In our day and age? When it’s considered to be noble and righteous to stand up for your turf and proclaim your worth? I watched him carefully. When he was obviously snubbed one day by a Samaritan village which had formerly welcomed him, and now had decided to renege on the invitation, and those around him wanted to declare war on the inhabitants, he stopped them, and said that his was a spirit of reconciliation. God knows we needed it. Behold, a repairer of the breach.

I winced a bit when he suggested to the masses that they should be happy when they’re persecuted. But when his entourage grew into the thousands, only to shrink to a tiny handful every time a new rumor or misrepresentation of his words filtered through the crowd, he still pursued his calling.

In so doing, for all time, he shall be deemed the voice of reason.

I, myself, was startled by the notion of trying to find tenderness for those who speak evil against us. And then, at his trial, when the false accusers literally stumbled over one another to incriminate him, he remained still, and became the calm in the storm.

  • I listened to what he had to say.
  • I watched carefully what he chose to do.
  • And I was there when the friend of the faithful, the savior of the ignorant, the respecter of others, the source of the seeker, the champion of the lost, the child of the children, the repairer of the breach, the voice of reason and the calm in the storm–yes, I was there when he rose from the dead and became the Son of God.

I learned from him. Choose what you say, because you will have to back it up with what you do.

Only then do you become what you believe.

 

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

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.

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