“Ifing” Way: Part 2… October 27, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2394)

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 …

Dad arrived just in time.

His youngest son was already primed and ready to run out the door to go see his older brother to try to reconcile hurt feelings. The siblings had never really been close, yet the bond of family had always meshed them with a sense of loyalty. But recent events had exacerbated the tenuous feelings, generating a volatile situation. A simple misunderstanding had turned into a sense of rejection, culminating in a looming burst of rage.

When the incident happened, Dad stepped between them to prevent violence, but the younger son, having a more optimistic nature, believed all that was needed was a good conversation. So he had privately decided to go off on his own, without any counsel, to see his brother at the work site so they could “rummage through their feelings” and arrive at resolution.

Fortunately, Dad came on the scene–just in time.

“Where are you going?” Dad asked.

The young man paused for a second, wondering if he could possibly deceive his father and achieve his own purposes, but then realized that was contrary to his heart.

“You know where I’m going. I’m going to make peace with my brother.”

The father smiled. “I know that seems like a good idea to you, and far be it from me to be against peace, but your brother is a complicated man and his emotions and thoughts are not privy to you, and therefore not available.”

The young man frowned.

Sensing his son’s disagreement, the father continued. “We could talk about this all day and we wouldn’t agree. What I would like you to do is trust me. If I end up being wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it. But I would like you to leave your brother alone for a while, until you and I agree on a better time. Because if you go and see him now, all you’re going to do is remind him of the pain of the conflict, and perhaps incense him over the idea that you appear to be the better brother because you’re trying to make things right. I want you to promise me–based upon our friendship and bond–that you will stay away from him until things are better.”

The young man objected. “But how can things get better if we don’t make them better?”

The father patted him on the shoulder and said, “Son, sometimes things don’t get better. But if we interfere, we can make them worse.”

He gave his younger son a hug. The boy agreed to stay away from his older brother until such time as was deemed appropriate.

As it turned out, the conversation never actually happened. The two brothers, who had never been particularly close, maintained a distance throughout their lives. They learned how to be appropriate during family gatherings, and gave each other proper respect and space.

Cain and Abel never became close friends.

But because Adam took his position as a father and intervened in a dangerous situation … no one had to die.

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G-22: Complain or Comply… May 2, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2220)

baby and parentsWhen a man loves a woman and she returns in kind, often the by-product of such an encounter is a kid.

It is procreation. It is the little surprise offered to us which pops up nine months later at the end of a seven-second orgasm.

First, let’s establish some ground rules: No human being is born to be a parent. We were born to be children who hopefully learn to function in an adult world.

Much to the chagrin of those around me, I must state that the notion of a maternal or a paternal instinct is at least elusive, if not mythical. Matter of fact, those who tout that they can offer seminars on parenting are perhaps some of the more dangerous individuals in our society.

Here are two basic principles about the process of bringing human beings into a world based on our own desires:

1. Ideas and actions transfer well from parent to child.

In other words, kids are more likely to pick up on your prejudices and your vices than anything else.

2. On the other hand, feelings and beliefs are often lost in the translation of growing up.

So even though you may insist that you taught your children to feel a certain way and believe in God, they will either deny such training or rebel against it. This is why ideas get overblown from one generation to another and actions are exaggerated.

For instance, a father who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day will probably end up with a son who smokes two. A mother who is prejudiced against a certain race will raise a child who is much more demonstrative in his or her hatred.

So all feelings and faith have to be born again in each and every human. There is no transfusion of God from one individual to another. Yet at the same time, hate passes freely and bad deeds, fluidly.

So what can a parent do?

This was the problem for man and woman when they ended up with two sons. Even though both children came through the same birth canal, the tide and flow of their lives was quite different. One ended up being a complainer and the other, a complier.

I cannot truthfully tell you that one of these choices is better than the other. It seems more righteous, certainly, to comply–but at the same time, on some occasions it is essential to question.

And even though complaining is normally a whiny vice, it does afford time for reflection instead of just blind faith.

But in actual time–in other words, real life experience–complaining has a tendency to close down the door to learning, while complying at least puts us on the field of play for possible growth.

Two brothers, raised in the same household, with different philosophies, who are destined to collide.

What can mom and dad do? When could they have done it? And how effective would it have been?

This is the trio of questions all parents end up asking themselves–especially after some contentious, or even disastrous, results.

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

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Why Homing… August 31, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1992)

church signI ain’t no pigeon.

My understanding is that the pigeon can be trained to fly back to its nest carrying messages, to be cast to the winds again, returning faithfully.

In the pursuit of establishing loyalty to “the great American family,” I think we fail to realize the limitations of that organization.

After all, is our journey here on earth about doing what we were trained to be or training ourselves to be what we need to do?

When I look back at my own family and the family I was blessed to father, I see some distinct differences.

My birth family was seven people–four brothers, mother, father and myself. My parents were wonderful people–well suited to the era they lived in–but they had little awareness of how to guide children to a place of self-discovery, self-realization and ultimately, self-improvement.

I grew up in a generation stuck between Dr. Spock and Mr. Spock–so the instruction I received was an unusual mingling of coddling and science fiction. Because of that, my brothers and myself did not know how to glean the knowledge from one another which would have made us more balanced human beings. We were launched to be competitive toward one another, and at times, even critical.church wesley park

The power of having a home and flying back to it is in discovering the gifts your family members have, and siphoning off valuable pieces of their process, to bolster your own pursuits.

I boil it down to four areas:

In every family, one of the children–or perhaps one of the parents–probably possesses a predisposition toward a single element. This was true of my brothers and me. I was more or less the soul of the family, with my sights set on spiritual matters. A couple of my brothers deemed themselves to be thinkers. One was certainly a hard worker. And I think we could have become artists, if our parents had thought such a journey was respectable.

Unfortunately, a family CAN be a trap, because if one of these aspects is pushed more than another, we start to believe there’s a black sheep–one lamb won’t stay with the flock. In other words, if a family thinks that “working hard” is the most essential part of being a good human being, they may criticize one of their children away from being an artist because they don’t see any way to make a decent wage.

A family of artists may teach their children that the only important thing is to be creative, failing to communicate the importance of thinking and hard work.

Our homes should give us our first glimpse into the diversity of human attributes, and instead of criticizing the ideas of our siblings, we should incorporate parts of them into our own lives, generating a balanced existence.

If my brothers had acquired some of my soulfulness and I had latched onto their thinking and working, I certainly would have had an easier path, with fewer bumps and bruises. The purpose of a home is to introduce us to our first world, and realize that not everybody needs to be the same in their heart and dreams in order to be of value.

I tried to pass this along to my offspring when I became a father. Incorporating the beauty of heartfelt artistry with the spirituality of the soul, the renewal of the mind in thinking, while introducing the practical aspects of a work ethic creates a human being who’s ready to take on the next project.

So I think the family is good if it lets the artist, soul, thinker and worker be manifested and gives all four the chance to find home in the children.

On the other hand, I think family can be one of the worst things in the world when it quietly but determinedly demands that we conform to eat our turkey and dressing in peace.

It doesn’t end in our “homing.” There is another step. So if you were not taught to be flexible–yearning to adapt to positive notions outside yourself–then your next journey into the world can be quite harrowing.

 

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The Family Way… July 19, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1947)

angy kitchenAt first consideration, one would not think that Jerry Springer, the PTL Club, MSNBC and Fox News have much of anything in common.

But having great fun in the middle of the night, awakening from sleep, and doing a little channel surfing on the old TV, I found that all four of them, in the process of a few moments, espoused an identical declaration:

“It’s all about family.”

Even though the words came out of the mouth of a former crack-addicted mother, a black preacher, a liberal lesbian newscaster and a blond bimbo, they were still exactly the same wording and rhetoric.

Matter of fact, I would say that those words are what you would call a “safe haven” for anyone to speak if they wanted to evoke applause.

But doing a little figuring, assuming that there are eight billion people in the world and growing, if each little family consists of about four to eight individuals, then we would have one billion non-connecting units on planet earth, who are mainly concerned about their clump of four to eight people.

Does that frighten you? Does the notion of one billion renegade troupes of human souls, focused only on their own well-being, put a chill down your spine?family studio

But once again, ironically, we refuse to reference Jesus’ feelings and attitudes on this issue, even though we claim to be a Christian nation. So let me refresh you:

  • When Jesus was informed that his family had arrived “to see him,” he turned, pointed to the crowd and said, “These are my family. Anyone who does the will of my Father is my mother, sister and brother.”
  • During his Sermon on the Mount, he warned us that if you only love those who love you, you are no better than the heathen.
  • He gave another stern admonition to his disciples, warning that often our worst enemies are those of our own households.
  • He selected twelve disciples with not a brother, sister or cousin among them, mainly because his family members had rejected him.
  • And he closed out his philosophical insights on this subject by saying, “If you don’t hate your mother and father, you are not worthy of the Kingdom.”

Now I do understand that these are all subject to interpretation. Some folks would even say I am taking them out of context. But the sheer glut of evidence lets us know that Jesus wanted us to expand our vision of family to include the entire brotherhood and sisterhood of humankind.

I have an absolutely fabulous family. I would not use the word “proud” in describing my sentiments about them–their lives are their own and I should not garner kudos for their accomplishments. Christmas jassBut I will tell you this–I have often upset those immediate kin of mine by including more people into my circle as family than they deemed necessary.

I have three sons who were born of my seed and three others that I took into my home and adopted.

I have young people all over the country I have supported with prayer and encouragement, who I feel close to because I include them in my family.

The notion that we can continue to shrink our vision of fellowship and treat the rest of human beings as either peripheral OR superfluous will cause us to become a more closed society, wracked with indifference.

Here are my three suggestions:

1. Love your family by finding other people who remind you of your family and love them equally.

2. Don’t cut more slack to your family than you do to other people; otherwise, you are on a dangerous road to hypocrisy.

3. Teach your children to love people because they are God’s creation instead of the fact that they’re “your creation.”

The “family way” of doing things in this country is a sly trick, designed to keep us insulated from feeling the pain of others.

If we don’t increase our vision, don’t be surprised if we become blind to the need.

 

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Friedens… April 5, 2013

(1,842)

friedens colorFriedens. The word is German for “peace.” Yet when I first eyeballed it, it looked like it might be the word for “friends.”

Maybe those Germans have come up with something. After all, the best doorway to peace is to establish a gentle life with friends–and likewise, an excellent avenue to friends is to arrive with a bit of peace. Put the two together and you come up with the essence of faith.

Peace, friends, faith.

Peace: Dear God, I will find my life in You. It’s a promise. If I’m willing to lose the confusing mass of mixed signals that I call my will, I will gain my life.

Friends: I will let you into my life. There’s a certain vulnerability to the process of interacting with other human beings which is simultaneously frightening and invigorating. If I am not willing to let you into my life, it’s difficult to make a case for true friendship.

Faith: We have life abundant. Once I discovered my peace by finding my life in God, and I’ve humbled myself to let you into my life, the miracle of fellowship allows us to share life abundantly. friedens brick

Sunday morning I will be with the Friedens United Church of Christ. We will share a peace that will lead to friendship and culminate in faith.

 

 

Friedens

There is a place of peace

Where human fears release

Holding our trembling soul

Worry taking its toll

For then our mind will ease

Turmoil finally cease

And rest warm with others

Our sisters and our brothers

Breathe the scent Divine

Allow our light to shine

Sense what we dream to be

The truth that makes us free.

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