Populie: Life is Dark … February 19, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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  • It is popular to complain.better true detective
  • And an ongoing lie is the assertion that “everything is getting worse.”
  • Put them together and you have the Populie, “Life is dark.”

Matter of fact, one way to receive ridicule and to present yourself as a novice is to say things are not as bad as they are made out to be. Be prepared to be called sentimental, maudlin or schmaltzy. If you find something to be praiseworthy, you risk losing the audience that is prepared to bitch.

  • Politicians revels in this climate because they can rail against the party in control, portraying that these renegades in power are hauling us “to hell in a handbasket.”
  • Religion picks up the banner and carries it proudly because it loves the idea that mankind is depraved and is desperately in need of an always-forgiving God.
  • And of course, entertainment is delighted with the notion, promoting projects like Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Dexter and True Detective as examples of “real life” projected onto the screen, knowing the market that exists thinks blood is cool–as long as we aren’t the ones bleeding.

So sometimes it becomes difficult to step out of this shadowy kingdom of “populie” reasoning and offer alternatives that are not nearly as debilitating.

1. Life continues through birth.

What do I mean by that? We stop believing in the power of living when we’re always trying to kill things off. There has to be a sense of regeneration, reclamation, salvation and solution or human beings despair. If you’re not going to birth something in hope, you will add to the darkness by dousing your light.

2. Caring for others is the only way to secure your own space.

Yes, we are selfish. We are concerned about our own needs. But if you’re going to stomp on the face of the person just below you, be prepared to get a foot in your own face from the one who has ascended higher than yourself.

I love other people because I need love–and the only way I could ever hope that this love will be there when I need it is to make sure I continue to put love seedlings in the soil.

3. Promoting “bad” advertises mediocrity and discourages the pursuit of excellence.

Honestly, if all I have to do in life is be better than the characters on television, I really am just fine. We aren’t given real heroes; we don’t have those who have struggled and overcome, and we are absent enough examples of people who stand up against the system to prove their point.

Everywhere I go now, even in the religious system, there is an abiding sensation that “life is dark.” I plead with my own family and children to stop peppering their minds with incessant violence, perversion and bleak dreariness that’s offered in our present politics, religion and entertainment.

I plead with you.

Because remember: the loss of empathy is the death of humanity.

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The Presence of Absence… August 23, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I am annoyed with the void.void

  • “I don’t believe”
  • “I don’t care”
  • “I don’t forgive”
  • “I don’t change”
  • “I don’t take crap”

I hear these statements screamed–a sociological rattletrap which is puttering down the highway towards a conversion to nothingness.

In the pursuit of personal freedom and individuality, we are completely abandoning the commonality and joy of being part of the human tribe.

It is the presence of absence.

It is the extolling of a vacuum, portraying that we are intelligent by having stumbled upon this emptiness.

God seems to be gone. Compassion is optional. Mercy is conditional–usually limited to those of our own household. Repentance is a joke because it requires that we consider our own lacking. And humility sucks–especially when we can blare our own horns to scare away the critics.

What I want to ask, very simply, is: do you really WANT to live in a world that is Godless, lacks compassion, is unmerciful, never-changing and arrogant?

I understand there are flaws in every system existing that is man-infested. But at least in the realm of spirituality, we will allow weakness to wheel its way through the front door of the sanctuary and sit in our midst without demanding that the person involved completely conform to some sort of mantra created by the intellectual elite.

I am tired of watching television or movies and being told that life sucks.

There you go. I should put that on a bumper sticker and slap it on the back of my van.

  • I am frustrated up to my gills with the ocean of ideas that look on the dark side of life, contending that we’re being innovative.
  • I don’t want True Blood. Matter of fact, I don’t want any blood.
  • I don’t want Breaking Bad. I would like to hear about people who have the guts to do something good in the midst of insanity.
  • I don’t want to hear about a Boardwalk Empire, where murder was the way to advance commerce instead of coming up with innovation and letting it play out.

I am weary of ill-doing.

Call it out–don’t critique society around you because you think it would make Jesus cry. Jesus is pretty resilient. But he does demand that we keep our hope for life instead of giving up and insisting that absence is our presence.

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Moratorium… December 18, 2012

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Jon Signing

It worked with littering.

There was a time in our society when it was commonplace to dump your trash exactly where you were, even if it was on the street. It sounds bizarre today, but it’s true. Our country was becoming overridden with all sorts of teeming refuse. So what did we do?

We made it unpopular to litter.crying Indian

In like manner, there was a season in our history when being prejudiced against people with color in their skin was not only deemed normal, but rational. We mock that kind of bigotry in this day and age. But how did we change it? We made hating people of different color stupid.

Take the case of abortion. There are not nearly as many abortions as there were at one time. I attribute that drop in the number of terminated pregnancies to a very simple statement that was uttered about two decades ago. It was a slogan which stated that “abortion should be legal, but rare.”

We are a people of great intuition when we actually decide to call out our foolishness instead of hiding behind civil liberties, individual choices, state’s rights and fear of admitting our wrongs. Here are some easy statements:

  • Littering isn’t good because it makes a mess.
  • Bigotry is a negative force because it alienates people who could be productive.
  • Abortion needs to be guided in such a manner that human life is given the greatest respect possible.

Likewise, guns and violence need to be showcased for what they truly are and not what they are glamorized to be in order to generate the next blockbuster or promote an arcane freedom that is no longer useful to the common man.

I am declaring a moratorium.

For those of you who do not know what a moratorium is, it is a cease and desist order from my soul to the world around me, to proclaim that I will no longer indulge in a certain activity.

And what is that activity? Viewing, playing around with or musing over violence against human beings.

For instance, if we treated the car the same way as the gun, we would raise our children to believe that when they received their driver’s license, they should go out and drive as fast as they could, hit as many people as possible and dramatically crash into the side of a wall, leaping from the vehicle, giggling over surviving the ordeal.

After all, we don’t show guns being used to hunt deer. Nobody’s making a movie about the great fun one has at a target range. There are no documentaries presently being filmed about the various ways to clean a gun to make it look more presentable or work better. Every depiction of the gun in entertainment, news reports, warfare and even literature shows it as an implement to destroy, mutilate and murder human flesh.

Even within my own circle of friends and family, there are people who enjoy shows like Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, True Blood, Dexter, CSI and other programming for which sole purpose is to show the decapitation, destruction and decimation of the human body. I know people who would insist they are peace-loving individuals who sit for hours with a video game, becoming mass murderers via a push of the button.

It’s time for a moratorium How would you enact that? I plan on fasting violence. I have no intentions of watching  shows that are geared to expelling blood from the body of human beings to kill them off for the purpose of entertainment. I am declaring it disgusting. I am tired of having our society littered with the belief that human beings are cattle which can be slaughtered and turned into hamburger Mine will be a three-step process:

  1.  Fast violence. Stop watching death and destruction.
  2. Cease to accept violence as legitimate entertainment, but rather, proclaim it to be what it is: genocide pornography.
  3. Confront those who continue to watch it and ask them for their motivation.

I challenge my own children to join me in this endeavor. We cannot sit around and pretend we are appalled by what happend in our country as our children were gunned down in their school, and then pop in video games and movies that duplicate the same insane butchery.

I am not connoting that limiting violence in entertainment will eliminate these heinous acts. I am just saying that as sane people, when it is in our power to address a portion of the problem simply by dispelling the barbarian actions and irresponsible presentation of bloodshed, that we have a duty to stop littering our own minds and cease to encourage others who are weaker in spirit and character, to be tempted by the visions.

Violence is wrong. If you’ve ever been in a room when somebody cut their finger while dicing onions and you saw the horror on their face over a simple one-inch nick, you will grasp exactly how unnatural it truly feels for blood to leave our bodies.

So how can you watch the foul play as blood is sprayed everywhere across the screen, and think you’re doing anything but promoting a piece of insanity which will certainly eventually have to be tempered–or will be duplicated by the weak-minded.

I am declaring a moratorium. Today is my birthday and I am taking the license as a human being of maturity and experience to declare that I, for one, am going to fast violence. You want a place to begin? There you go.

And I will tell you that if enough people do this, entertainment will change, society will shift and gun use will be legal, but rare.

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WEakness and EXcuses … July 23, 2012

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Revelations at 4:43 A.M. are so sweet because they are simple-minded and catch us in a vulnerable emotional state between sleep and awakening, making us much more pliable to gentle nudging. I had such an experience this very day.

I stirred to an awareness that the word WEakness begins with WE.

WE. Yes, we are all in this together. If we get off of our high horse of politics, religion and regionalism, and relax with one another, we will understand that our commonality creates a delicious recipe of fellowship mingled with empathy, punctuated by a little bit of comedy. We get in trouble when we try to escape the “we” in weakness and pretend that we are incapable of error.

This made me realize that the word EXcuses begins with EX. Excuses happen when we resign from the “we” part of the human race and start believing that we are an entity unto ourselves, floating somewhere between the rest of the family of man and God, Himself. It makes us look stupid, ugly and keeps us guilty and nervous. So the more we try to be better than other people, the less we become.

Unfortunately, our educational system, churches and culture do little to alleviate this paradox. After all, you’re just as likely to learn deception in your church as in your local bar. There doesn’t seem to be anyplace in our society where the WE in WEakness is celebrated for its universality. Because of this, all sorts of evil springs up through cover-up. For after all, sin is not an action, but rather, our cunning reaction in our attempt to portray that nothing really bad has happened. So we have:

1. The beauty of “we are human.”  It should be a celebration. Just look at us. We have the emotional heart that would absolutely befuddle a baboon. We have a soul created in the image of God, a mind untapped of its vast potentials and a body that just may be the hit parade of all the best features of God’s creatures. Yet instead of immortalizing the fact that we are human, we come up with the insipid response, “Excuse me, I’m only human.” What was meant to be a compliment–being called a human being–is now degraded by our culture and art into an animalistic metaphor, turning human beings into vampires and werewolves, insisting that we’re all Breaking Bad instead of seeking good and the assumption that left to ourselves, at heart we’re vicious. It’s an awful lot of bad publicity we create–just so we can have the opportunity to use it the next time we’re late for an appointment.

2. The second powerful part of the WE in WEakness is “We don’t know.” That’s why they call it faith. We don’t know.

  • We don’t know if there’s a heaven.
  • We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
  • We don’t know if our abilities will be enough to pull off the next project.

We don’t know. It makes us delightfully vulnerable, especially when we get around other folks who join us and admit that together, we don’t know. We don’t know how we’re going to solve our economic situation. We don’t know what’s waiting around the corner. We don’t know if it’s safe to go to a movie theater anymore. It will not strike terror in our hearts if we merge with each other, admit this family secret, and therefore watch out for each other.

But instead, we seem to be obsessed with the mantra, “EXcuse my ignorance.” We want to be able to hide behind the fact that we’re extremely intelligent–except in this one case. We want to be able to use ignorance as a bargaining chip, to be absolved of all responsibility for our participation. Ignorance is not only a horrible excuse in an age of information, it’s nearly unexplainable. “We don’t know” is actually a stimulation to learn. “Excuse my ignorance” is a demand that you accept me in my ongoing incompleteness.

3. And the final WE in WEakness is “We make mistakes.” Just the other day, I was telling my dear friend, Janet that I’ve reached the point in my life when I enjoy my mistakes as much as I do those occasions when I’m correct. I know I learn more. And if I’m willing to step into my mistakes and own them, I not only open the door to new possibilities, but I communicate to the friends and acquaintances around me that I can be trusted. For I will tell you of a certainty–anyone who is willing to admit their mistakes probably has most of their other demons on the run. When you’re not willing to say, “We make mistakes” what you end up whispering to the world around you is, “Excuse my lying.”

Matter of fact, as I watch television, I realize that the decay in our society has occurred not because we are in a global atmosphere of evil empires or financial breakdown, but rather, that somewhere along the line, we have decided that lying is inevitable. We have ceased to believe that it is a choice and instead, have adopted it as a human trait.

It is the destruction of our society. There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. If we didn’t make mistakes and acknowledge them, we would probably still be trying to figure out how to move large objects without using a wheel and think that owning slaves was supported by adequate protocol. But we must realize that lying is not in the human DNA, but rather, is a virus that infects the human soul.

So if we’re willing to live in a world of WEakness, punctuated and begun with WE, we come up with these three blessed conclusions:

  • We are human.
  • We don’t know
  • We make mistakes.

Any society with citizens who would agree on those statements would also lay the goundwork for prosperity, purity and peace. But instead, we have allowed in the EX factor:

  • Excuse me, I’m only human.
  • Excuse my ignorance.
  • Excuse my lying.

This huge door of mediocrity opens the way to everything from cheating on an exam to mass murder.

I return to the enthusiasm I felt upon realizing this morning that WEakness begins with WE. Nothing good will happen until we accept this fact and open our hearts to each other in brother and sisterhood.

WE can do this–unless we decide to make EXcuses. This is why the Bible makes it clear that when we are weak, we are strong.

Because the WE in WEakness gives us a world full of allies instead of running from the world around us, hoping they don’t discover our lack.

   

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