Ask Jonathots … October 29th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Are you supposed to like your siblings? I’m twelve and my sister is fifteen. She always acts like she’s better than me and I can’t stand her. My mom says that will change but I don’t see it happening anytime soon, if ever. How does this work? Nobody I know likes their brother or sister. I feel bad saying it, but it’s the truth.

There is an old saying which is basically true: “Familiarity breeds contempt.”

And as you probably know, the word “family” is at the root of familiarity.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that because people share certain aspects of DNA, they have natural emotional linkings to one another.

There is also historical fact that the heroes of our past had many problems dealing with their families, often having to go against those ties to achieve their purposes.

You don’t have to go any further than Jesus of Nazareth to discover squabbling among siblings. The Gospels make it clear that his family did not believe in him.

That being said, I contend that the purpose of family is to place us in a boot camp.

It’s a chance for us to find ways to get along with adversaries who live in our midst, eat at the same dinner table, share in grief and celebration, and acquire the ability to be merciful, gracious and forgiving, so that when we get in the real world, we are prepared to do so.

For this to work, we must be willing to admit that our families are not perfect, nor were they designed to be naturally connected.

In other words, if you were able to look at your sister as just another human being that you needed to deal with rather than some sacred creature born within your lineage, then you would have a much better chance to put your relationship in perspective, and maybe even understand her ways.

Brothers and sisters within a household fight with each other because we tell them they need to get along–simply because they’re related. It sets a horrible precedent, and we begin to believe that in the outside world we can avoid the people who disagree with us, and only hang around with those individuals who seem to be perfectly agreeable to our ideas.

What is your best procedure in dealing with your sister since you’re twelve years old? Do exactly what you’ll need to do when you’re 22, 32 or 72 years old: find common ground.

Don’t ever try to go beyond common ground. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself trying to change people, or worse, judge them because they don’t meet your standards.

If for some reason you cannot find common ground, then retreat to a position where peace can be achieved.

This is real life.

Forcing people to think they should love each other only leads to pent-up resentment, and worse, explosions of anger later on.

  • What do you like about your sister?
  • Is there anything you appreciate?
  • How is she valuable to you?

Try to pursue those areas, and avoid the parts that upset you.

This is called growing up.

The overemphasis on family in our culture has not created more loving people.

It is the promotion of loyalty–often without affection.

 

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Jesonian: Expressing the Light … December 14, 2014

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flashlight

“This little light of mine

I’m gonna let it shine…”

I do have a little light.

And surprisingly, it’s not as tiny as I think. But how do I let it shine?

A fellow named Paul said that the three greatest forces on earth were faith, hope and love.

My faith is in God, the Father. Not just God, who is like a boss who might fire me at the end of a particularly unfruitful work week. No, He is my Daddy and is joyfully stuck with me.

My hope is with the Kingdom of God within me. If I spend all my time evaluating my efforts, I will become depressed. If I spend too much energy trusting that God’s grace will cover everything, I become lazy. Because of an experience called being “born again,” I have been restored with the benefits and blessings of the original Garden of Eden, if I choose to put my hope in that direction. I don’t look for God to be my crutch. My hope is with the Kingdom of God within me.

And love is for everybody else who have the image of God deeply impressed within their beings. When you give your love just to family, there’s nothing unique or unusual about you. We’re all brothers and sisters. Until we realize this, we will look at our fellow humans as competing enemies.

Possessing a light is a wonderful gift as long as you know where to point it.

I do not put my faith in religion or people. It is in God the Father.

I don’t hope for the best unless I allow myself to be involved in the process, to use the gifts that have been given to me to create fresh opportunities.

And I’m learning to let my love be given freely to all of those, who just like me, were created in the image of God.

This is how I shine.

 

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“Ifing” Way: Part 3… November 3, 2014

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If bigger

What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

He called a family meeting.

Such gatherings are essential–otherwise misunderstandings will turn into squabbles which eventually spill out into the community as a whole. The dilemmas we now consider to be international were once mere unresolved conflicts between brothers and sisters.

Sitting before him was his wife and the surrogate mother of his other son. He had two boys.

For when his wife decided that she was too old to bear children, she offered her servant as a stand-in for the opportunity of procuring a lineage for her beloved husband. The young man was born, and everything seemed fine for about thirteen years–until the Mama of the house got pregnant.

After she birthed her son, she felt threatened by the presence of another male offspring, and also by the female who deemed herself important because she had contributed in such a personal way.

The two women fought.

At first it was what you would call “quibbling”–a nasty glance followed by exiting the room in a huff.

But eventually the wife made it an issue with her husband, that the other woman and her child must go. He was tempted. In a moment of weakness, he considered sending the surrogate away with a bit of cash and a heartfelt apology.

Then he stopped to think–one of the more powerful things that human beings do.

He made a decision–one he was about to share with the two dear ladies.

“We are having a problem,” he stated clearly. The two women looked at each other, feigning a bit of surprise. It was so phony he had to giggle.

“Oh, don’t try that with me. You both know what I’m talking about, and frankly, I am in no mood to discuss the specifics of your feelings or misgivings. Let me explain my position. I have two sons. I love them both. I also am deeply appreciative of the two women who bore these sons. I don’t care if anyone understands our relationship. And I am certainly not going to try to please one of you to destroy the other. Here’s what I know: if my two sons cannot grow up together and be at peace because their mothers are being silly, then what would make us believe that their children will get along with each other any better?

He paused, gazing into their eyes.

“In no time at all, a couple of generations pass, and the story of your little tiff with each other is completely blown out of proportion, and rather than being a family foible, it becomes a national offense, leading to war. For my dear ladies, all wars begin in the kitchen. They spread to the dining room, and are further inflamed in the bedroom before they head out the door and hurt the innocent.”

“So it would be unfair of me to call this a discussion. I am telling you that my name is Abraham, and for me and my house, we will have two sons, and we will serve the Lord together.”

Sarah and Hagar looked at each other, knowing the resolute will of the man before them. He would certainly follow through on his words.

They were not happy … but they knew they needed to learn how to be so.

 

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Populie: In Our Best Interest … July 23, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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earth on fireThe young congressman sat in his chair, completely confident in his pre-prepared answers and the stump speech that had provided him both election and platform to be the pundit of honor on the broadcast.

The question posed was simple. “Is it in our best interest to…?”

Then the interviewer offered a series of global flare-ups, hot spots and dangers in the world.

No specifics or ideas were offered by the politician, but a resounding repetition of a theme.

“We are America. We must think about America. We must take care of America. And we must be careful not to have our greatness diminished or tarnished by these difficulties. Yes, it’s popular. “America is great.”

But in the pursuit of that idea we have inserted a lie–America is better than other countries.

Religion loves this populie because it enables us to preach a gospel from a position of certainty and piety and send missionaries to the rest of the world because of their heathen status.

Entertainment has always adored “in our best interest” because it enables us to portray our great nation as the savior of all humankind.

And of course, politics adores the notion by bloating the voting block with over-wrought notions of superiority, causing them to “gloat on their way to the vote.”

Here’s the truth: 25,000 miles. That’s the entire circumference of our globe. It’s not much, when you consider that 3,000 of that is the continental United States.

With the addition of Internet, air travel and all sorts of technological surprises, we’re nearly sitting on top of each other.

Our smog floats to China, as does theirs to us.

We need to engage a simpler philosophy about our responsibility to one another other than looking at the bottom line or our cultural imperialism to determine when we’re going to be involved.

I have arrived at a rudimentary three-step process in ascertaining who I am, why I’m here, and what is expected of me if I’m going to continue to consider myself human instead of just a creature fighting for survival.

These are the three questions and my answers:

1. Who is God?

He is my Father. Any other answer to that question either diminishes the love of our Creator, eliminates His existence or generates such mystery that we’re involved in a theological paradox.

2. Who am I?

I am a child of God. I select to be a child, but not because I’m immature or untested. I select to be a child because in so proclaiming myself to be one, I admit that I am still a student of the planet and in the classroom of understanding myself and others.

3. Who is everybody else?

They are my brothers and sisters. When I start putting too many names on the human beings that surround me in this world, I become convinced that our relationships are complicated with twists and turns of culture and preference. The humans on this planet are my brothers and sisters. If we’re not linked by family genetics, we are linked to the genetics of our Creator.

Now, you might find this little trio of ideas to be very elementary in a world where we constantly hound one another with more questions than answers.

But if you begin your life by knowing that God is your Father, that you are a child of His desire and that everybody around you is brothers and sisters, the decision-making process of what is in your best interest clears up very quickly.

If I were involved in the present situations, I would realize that as a child of God, with brothers and sisters all over the world, my job is to assist and avoid killing.

Any chance we have to assist in a creative way eliminates some of the death toll.

Every gun we send over to a foreign power passes on the impression that we’ve picked sides. That means that a gun will eventually be pointed back in our direction.

I am not a pacifist unless by that term you are referring to someone who seeks peace. I am a realist.

And no man or woman that I kill in the pursuit of our best interest is going to go unnoticed by the children that he or she has left behind.

Answer the three questions.

If you’re an agnostic or atheist, you don’t believe there is a God, so you can’t be a child of God, and the human beings on the planet often tend to be your competitors.

If you’re overly religious, you don’t believe that God is your Father, but instead, a Force–often of punishment–so you feel that you’re a depraved sinner, and therefore you project that inadequacy on everyone around you.

God is my Father.

I am a child of God.

You are my brother or my sister.

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What I Owe … May 12, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I Owe YouThings sure seem to be getting noisier.

Of course, there’s always been some racket raised from the human race, with the clamor of complaint and the lament of lacking. But it sure feels like what is important is shoved to the back of the news in favor of gossip.

I don’t offer this as a criticism. Let people do what they want to do.

But it does make me wonder what I owe to my fellow-travelers. Here’s what I came up with–I owe my brothers and sisters:

  • a pure heart
  • a seeking soul
  • a renewed mind
  • a willing strength.

Now I’m tempted, like everybody else, to advance a deceitful heart, a religious soul, a made-up mind and an overwhelming burst of strength.

But simply because things are promoted does not make them right, and running a country on the basis of the majority rule only puts off the inevitable need to recognize the truth, which often hangs back with the minority.

So the questions I ask myself are:

How can I have a pure heart?

That’s simple. Tell the truth as much as possible and if a lie comes from my lips, make sure I’m the first one to catch it and correct it.

To have a seeking soul:

I have to admit to myself that my faith must grow instead of just remaining stubborn. After all true spirituality is about building a road instead of a fort.

How does one renew one’s mind?

I call it “learning-thinking.” After all, there is thinking which has stopped learning, and there’s learning that doesn’t think that much. This is even simpler. Knowledge is better than opinion, and truth trumps them both.

And finally, since I owe a willing strength:

I can pay that debt by bringing what I’ve got to every situation without trying to control, manipulate or make excuses.

Yes, it really is that simple. Because if I tell the truth, let my faith grow, drop my opinion in favor of what’s everlasting and I bring what I’ve got to every situation, I suddenly become valuable.

That’s what I owe you.

And by the way … it’s all you owe me.

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After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

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Money Brick Part II … January 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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hand money

I have had folks pat me on the back. Very nice.

Brothers and sisters have lifted me up in prayer. Divinely encouraging.

I have received a letter of exhortation from a stranger. Brought tears to my eyes.

I’ve gotten awards. Very rewarding.

I’ve had a hug and a kiss. No complaints.

I’ve received many standing ovations from audiences all across this country. Exhilarating.

But I can tell you that nothing is a greater pat on the back, prayer, letter, award, hug, kiss and applause than when somebody simply slips some money in my hand.

I don’t mean to sound materialistic. It’s just knowing that people are separating themselves from their own sustenance to give to me, with no strings attached, honoring me to do something beautiful with it.

I don’t know–maybe I’m just a little giddy over the first fruits of a new idea. For as I took my money brick this week, small as it is, and began to distribute off little morsels to the birds God sent my way, I felt empowered with a joy unspeakable and full of glory.

I didn’t give money to homeless folk. I have nothing against those without an address. But this week I sought out individuals who are keeping the faith, trying to maintain a great attitude, but finding themselves a dollar short of a smile.

  • A lady I met who’s trying to survive on her social security, which seems to be shrinking even as she holds it in her hands.
  • A young man who pursues what some people would consider a demeaning job, but rather than seeking other ways to procure his grits and gravy, he chooses to take on the task.
  • A young mother who is struggling with her three pre-school children, maintaining the sweetest attitude this side of heaven, who just needed a reason to stop and pick up something for herself.

Time and time again folks were brought in front of me who just needed encouragement.

I don’t know about you–sometimes I get tired of talking about the problems in the world, or honestly, just insisting that I’m going to share my thoughts and prayers. I am a firm believer in prayer, but I don’t think it’s any substitute for taking what’s in our hands and releasing it to others.

I encourage you to get your own money brick. At first you might feel a bit of embarrassment over how tiny it is, but five dollars divided into quarters is really quite impressive.

Somehow or another we have to express to one another the depth of our commitment, the desire to be connected and the willingness to endure.

Often a pat on the back is not enough.

But a dollar, given at just the right moment, is a statement that not only “in God we trust,” but that we also trust … one another.

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What I NEED for Christmas Is … December 12, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2092)

guitar jass and johann

1. To see the appetite for life reborn in my brothers and sisters of our country.

2. Humility becoming the hip choice.

3. To be a Democrat in my heart and soul and a Republican in my mind and body.

4. Forty-eight people in charge of moving and shaking who still believe we can make a difference.

5. An angry divorce between spirituality and religion, with Jesus being awarded custody of the children.

6. Fifty pounds from my body melted into the cosmos.

7. Telling the truth becoming an accepted, popular fad

8. Americans sharing America with the world.

9. Amazing energy granted to me so I can act out my dreams.

10. NoOne is better than anyone else.

Make room with the “Inn” crowd

I can see the Star

I don’t need a Santa Claus

Let me slide in … and bring my own sack of toys

 

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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