Salient … May 21st, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

There is no escape.

No value in running.

Certainly no place to hide.

There are nearly a billion eyeballs staring at you and tens of millions of I-Phones trained on your every move.

Privacy is a concept but never a reality. You are being viewed, and often critically. Even individuals who do not speak to you are still noting your temperament, actions, generosity or lack of compassion.

Perhaps the greatest irony in the human experience is the notion that each one of us should carry a certain amount of overwrought self-esteem, even though simultaneously, you will not tolerate it in any other mortal.

Common sense should kick in. You and I should realize that since we are a species that respects the hell out of humility, pushing our self-worth too far guarantees a backlash from those who feel we are overbearing.

You must realize that kindness, mercy, grace and gentleness are not virtues but rather, precautions–used by intelligent people to protect them from the galling scrutiny of bystanders who draw conclusions from very little evidence.

And from those conclusions they decide how they will treat you.

Case in point:

Sometimes they don’t even know why they don’t like you, but they remember how you cut someone off in traffic, and it pissed them off.

They recall being in the room when you lied to your wife or your family.

They watch as, for the fourteenth time, you walk by a homeless person who is seeking a buck.

They burn with anger over your lack of consideration, caused by your perpetual boredom with your own life. Even though they themselves wouldn’t have done anything differently, you are not permitted indiscretion. You are not allowed to be obnoxious.

Courtesy is not an adventure of the meek, trying to keep the world civil. It is a coat of armor to protect against the slings and arrows which come from the probing public, always ready to indict, prosecute and convict.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration that there may be an Eternal Creator, also watching, who happens to know the number of “glares in your head.”

If you decide to be surly, always realize that there are people who saw it. They will take that encounter and use it against you in a time and place which you do not know.

So now for our salient moment. May I keep it simple?

Be mean, be seen.

Be kind, clear mind.

 

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Ask Jonathots … October 22nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I am a senior in high school and they want me to declare my major for planning my college career. I can’t make up my mind because there are too many things I like to do. I play piano and french horn, I’m very good with computers, and I also love to write. How do you decide “what you want to be when you grow up?”

If you don’t mind, I’d like to give you two parts to this answer.

First of all, it’s difficult to know, when you’re a senior in high school, that the reason family and adult counselors are trying to push you to discover your major for college is that they want to brag to other people about it.

It has little to do with you. The relatives want to say, “Well, Brian is going to be an attorney…a doctor…a professor…an engineer.”

It allows for the “oohs” and “aahs” which cause grown people around you to feel they have succeeded in raising you up to be a fine young person.

Yes, I’m asking you to be a little suspicious of people who are in a hurry for anything. You’re on the verge of making two major decisions which will determine your peace of mind and your sense of soul satisfaction:

  • How do I make a wage?
  • Who am I going to live with for the rest of my life while I make that wage?

Making the wrong decision on either of these proposals is the main ingredient in unhappiness.

So don’t be in a hurry. There are people who do not declare a major until they’re juniors or seniors in college, and as long as they’re willing to buck up to the course requirements, it doesn’t make any difference.

But as to the second part of your question, “What do I want to do when I grow up?”–that is a bit more intricate and a deeper issue.

It’s a good idea to peruse what you enjoy, but I believe there are three things that go into picking an occupation or answering a calling:

1. Can I do what I want to do for long periods of time without complaining, while still finding new ways to enjoy it?

Boredom is your worst enemy in life. It is the source of poorly timed accidents, and bad choices which can lead to all sorts of misfortune and sin. Make sure that what you choose to do evolves enough that it keeps you interested.

2. Is it going to help anyone else?

If you are able to make money and make blessing for other people at the same time, you will never have any trouble sleeping or have any misgivings about your choice of work.

3. Does it offer a branch?

Here’s a fact: if you go into a line of work that allows you to branch out into other aspects of your interests at the same time, it is most excellent.

So of the things you listed–music, computers and writing–use your great intelligence to find a direction for your efforts, where all three of those might come into play.

Just a thought.

But since you’re in the thought process, also remember: thinking, by its very nature, requires that you slow down and not be in any big hurry.

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The G Series: G-1 … December 6, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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G SeriesIt’s going to be very difficult to have faith that moves mountains if you attempt to maintain a positive attitude that fails to recognize the “rise” in difficulties ahead.

Likewise, if you contend that every Tennessee “smoky hill” is Mt. Everest, you probably won’t do much earth rearranging, either.

For after all, one of the great comedies-in-error is the fact that human beings require a certain amount of balance that they rarely find, or for that matter, are willing to pursue. So instead of analyzing our feelings to find shreds of quality within, we relegate certain emotions as “bad” and others as “good.”

For instance, boredom is normally considered to be a negative in the human family. When we’re bored we become grumpy and immediately try to alleviate the condition by grabbing onto the first roller coaster that zooms through the amusement park.

Yet we consider confidence to be a positive attribute which will propel our wishes and dreams to a conclusion and manifest an obvious victory.

Here’s the truth:

  • When I’m bored it’s because dissatisfaction has warned me that I’ve begun to settle for things that are less than I hoped or are inferior to my abilities.
  • The purpose of confidence is to remind me, in my dissatisfaction, that I have been successful in the past when I’ve ventured into the wilderness of possibility, without every eventuality covered.

I can’t be a complete person if I’m just dissatisfied–I settle into a muddy pit of mediocrity and complaining.

But in like manner, if I have confidence all the time, it will soon be dashed by the reality of competition, trial and tribulation, leaving me running to the corner like a little whipped pup.

It’s the balance of the two.

Every Friday in this G series, we’re going to discuss this balance, which will be one thing we consider to be negative and another we think is positive–which really need to be blended, to generate our human effort through creativity.

I’m dissatisfied, so I will consider, with confidence, what more I can do.

Without dissatisfaction, my confidence is just boasting. And without confidence, my dissatisfaction is merely cranky.

Learn the ways of your human days.

Come face to face with the nature of the race.

And understand that a dissatisfied soul who is able to tap his or her confidence notices that the mountain is small enough that the faith provided …, just might move it.

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The Carlisle Connection (a simple story)… August 14, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Nothingness cried out into the darkness, and …

God appeared.

God created man for fellowship.

Man requested woman for companionship.

Woman sought knowledge and uncovered confusion.

Confusion stumbled about, probing for intelligence.

Intelligence acquired experience.

Experience persevered and accumulated information.

Information repeated itself and became boredom.

Boredom gave up … and was left with nothingness

We begin again.

This time, let us hope that we seek wisdom instead of mere knowledge.

A better choice always saves time.

Carlisle Church

Carlisle Church

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REALvival… May 16, 2013

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revival tentI wasn’t there.

When the first producer pitched the idea for a reality show, I personally was not present. But I have been a partaker of such events often enough in my life that I can give you a pretty accurate idea of how it came down.

Some young guy in a t-shirt and jeans arrived at a board meeting in front of some  overly business-minded older gents and said the following:

“It’s really quite easy. We’re gonna call it a reality show. We know five things: First–human beings are all unique and different; secondly, these differences create conflict, which–number 3–ends up making great theater and drama for an audience watching that conflict, which produces a fourth possibility–that people will schedule their lives around viewing the pending explosion of human emotion. And finally, Number 5, to keep it really pumped up, we can give a big prize to the winner at the end, who ‘survived’ all the insanity.”

The young fellow got a green light and thus began the onslaught of reality shows.

We now believe that true reality–or what is real, if you will–is the acceptance that human beings can’t get along. Instead, what we do is tolerate one another, and when that’s impossible, we eliminate each other by voting one another out of our lives.

Do we really want this to be our legacy?

First and foremost, I don’t believe it. I don’t believe reality shows are real. I believe they are made up,  overly promoted or manipulated to keep us at odds with each other so that news stories can be reported and politicians and religionists can promote their cause by attacking “the enemy.” Here’s what I believe is real:

1. Humans are all family. No one sees an ant crawl across the sidewalk and asks himself, “I wonder if it’s German.” No, we say, “There’s an ant.” Why do we think God looks down from heaven and sees gay, straight, Australian, black, yellow, honey mustard sauce or barbecue? If God sees human beings, don’t we become more like God by doing the same?

2. To be real is to find similar heart in each other. Most things that move one person move another. There are a few exceptions, but they are just that–personal tastes in the moment which do not preclude general appreciation.

3. We are here to learn from each other because it more than likely will determine our survival. When we start off resistant to the inclusion of others or to hearing their insights we are limiting our possibilities to what we already know and have experienced. Talk about creating a climate for repetition and boredom!

4. Because we’re involved, no one is merely watching–everyone is participating. Life is not a spectator sport. There is no stadium to sit in and view the game. There is just a field and a ball.

5. We all win. When we work together as a species, finding similarities, learning from each other and participating, we all end up wininng, even when the prize goes to another. Why? Because they would not have gotten there without our cooperation.

So I would like to be part of a REALvival–to take what is historically proven to be true instead of living off the opinions of the past twenty years, which, may I add, in another two decades will be viewed as silly and comical.

You and I are part of a reality show–it’s called life. By the way, it demands that we work together to be true “Survivors.”

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Doorways… March 12, 2013

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doorToday my left knee hurts. I had plans for it, including a lovely walk in the park. Yet my knee is reluctant, if not rebellious to the concept, and truthfully, will  become very sore with me if I pursue present plans.

So now what?

I have outlined to you is the whole quandary of life.

We have ideas. We make plans. We probably even become enthusiastic about the prospects. Often we purchase things to enhance these desires.

Then the whole thing falls apart. We universally refer to this malady as “problems.”

For instance, I could tell you that I was planning to go for a walk in the park, but a “problem” has arisen because my knee hurts. Most of you would nod your heads in agreement, sympathetically aware that such trials and ttribulations are just a part of our existence and that we patiently need to trust talent, life, God or whatever comes to our minds, to pull us through these hassles and hindrances.

But let me ask a question. What if it isn’t that way at all? What if the only real “problem” with human life is complacency? What if God–who is much smarter than us, by the way–knows that the only way to progress the human spirit, is by digressing our tendency to settle in on one thing, determined to remain.

For if God and life were to leave us to our own devices, we would find the most comfortable corner of the room with a pillowy chair, and cozy up to the least challenging possibility surrounding us.

What’s wrong with that?

The second most dangerous condition in human beings, after complacency, is boredom. All sin is born out of some form of boredom.

So problems come along to move us through the path of life so we don’t have to deal with nearly as many disasters. They are similar to the little earthquakes that occur to release the pressure on the fault lines, inhibiting a larger, more destructive shaking.

So let’s stop calling them problems. They are doorways.

My knee hurts today because for the past forty-eight hours I have given it a real workout. Without the pain, I might overdo it and create more permanent damage instead of temporary discomfort which can be alleviated through a day of rest.

In other words, without pain, there is no healing. Without healing, there is no improvement in health. And without improvement in health, there is no sense of enthrallment with the continuation of life.

What if everything that happens to us is a doorway to get us from our bedroom and  into a more expansive living space? Is there any basis for this idea?

“All things work together to the good … ”

You ever hear those words? “All things work together to the good…”

Really? Does that mean my aggravated knee, if viewed as a doorway instead of a problem, is going to take me on a journey today, which if I do not resist, will generate a new goodness unforeseen?

My answer is yes. And if you don’t believe that, you might have a tendency to live a life of a ping-pong ball, struck by divine inspiration, only to be propelled across the table to a paddle of evil, which smacks you back down to earth.

I will not be pinged and I will not be ponged.

I will not fight my pain. My pain is necessary; my pain is revelatory. My pain is divine information that there is something good out there waiting for me if I will just refuse to become depressed by the change of plans and instead, propel myself through the doorway.

For after all, there are many adventures yet to be experienced, where we discover that life is more than just a walk through the park.

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