G-Poppers … April 28th, 2017

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G-Pop took a few moments last night to talk to his godson.

The young man is personable, with potential dangling from him, similar to a bunch of electrical cords that need to be plugged in somewhere. Like so many of us, he just doesn’t know which cord goes into which socket.

It begins with a simple understanding: 80% of what we think is born in our fear.

G-Pop wishes he could proclaim that our thoughts are grounded in our faith or our devotion, but it’s not true. Faith, hope and charity have no chance until fear is confronted, tracked down and put in its place. So our thoughts scream from this fear.

Now, 90% of what we fear comes from what we see and hear.

If we surround ourselves with fearful people saying fearful things about a fearful world, we should not expect a great fountain of creativity to spring forth from our souls.

For instance, here’s a simple point about gun control in America: the problem is not the gun. The difficulty lies in the fact that what we see and hear about guns always has them with the barrel pointed at a human. If you go to Canada, you’ll see lots of guns. But they’re pointed at deer and moose. The Canadians don’t have a constant programming of seeing and hearing about guns pointed at other human beings.

In America, we would frown on a gun being pointed at an animal, but our guns are constantly pointed at human beings. Therefore, what we see and hear becomes our fear and our fear becomes what we think. And we think that guns are for killing people, not rabbits.

And the final statistic that G-Pop presents is that 100% of what we see and hear should be our choice.

So you will think from your fear.

Your fear comes from what you see and hear.

And if you sacrifice what you see and hear to what the pundits want to thrust down your throat or what your friends insist will make you cool, you will be at the mercy of the fear that is produced by these visions.

G-Pop’s godson is just like all of us.

He needs to learn that our thinking is controlled by our fear; our fear is manipulated by what we see and hear, so if we take authority over what comes into our eyes and ears, we begin to change our fear to faith and our faith can work to produce love.

Three final points set this in motion:

1. Run from strife.

Whenever you see people fighting for the hell of it, get yourself away.

2. Walk away from gossip.

Gossip is just violence in training.

3. Sit with good cheer.

When you find people who are looking for hope, who are smiling through the difficulties and trying to create unity and joy, sit your butt down.

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G-Poppers … April 7th, 2017

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G-Pop listened very carefully as the commentator attempted to explain that the “culture of the Syrian government” is what brought about the use of poison gas on the people.

G-Pop frowned.

Evil is not a culture. Also not a preference. It’s not a religious institution nor a political profile.

Yet we have taken the past fifty years to qualify the choices of folks who live in different countries by attributing questionable actions to their culture.

It’s time for a bold statement. There is only one culture, and that is love your neighbor as yourself.

Within that culture, there are people who have different traditions, cuisine, mannerisms, guidelines and even morals. But there is no way to continue human life on Earth without consenting to a mutual consideration to each other’s feelings. G-Pop thinks we should carry it even further:

  • Love your Earth as you love yourself.
  • Love the animals as you love yourself.
  • Love the atmosphere as you love yourself.

It’s not a bunch of liberal hogwash just to make things prissy. Here’s the truth G-Pop wishes to share: if we do not have an awareness of other people that’s equivalent to the awareness we have of ourselves, we begin to believe they are not flesh and blood like we are, but instead are surrounded by tissue which feels no pain–therefore we can inflict at will.

There is no room for gender bias.

There is no acceptable occasion for prejudice against gays, lesbians and different races. Why? Because that breaks the cultural rule.

Whether you’re from China, Canada, Zimbabwe or Albuquerque, New Mexico, you are sharing a planet that requires respectful give and take.

If you happen to like your beans with jalapenos or if your rendition of Christmas is called “Kwanzaa” or “Hanukkah” that is absolutely fine.

But when your definition of culture differs from the toleration necessary for us to get along with each other in equity, then you’re no longer expressing a regional phenomenon, but instead, a cover-up for iniquity.

 

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Cracked 5 … March 7th, 2017

 

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Other Countries Presenting Challenges Which President Trump May Wish to Ban

A.  Britain: Suspicious nooks and crannies in English muffins

 

B.  Luxembourg: A spelling threat

 

C.  Canada: Not sure what they mean by “eh”

 

D.  Switzerland: Neutral?? My ass!

 

E.  Saudi Arabia: Since most of the 9/11 terrorists were citizens of it

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Untotaled: Stepping 17–(November 25th, 1965) Too Late to Understand … June 7, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

Angry. Sweet.

Gentle. Mean.

Vindictive. Giving.

These words seem to be opposites of one another but they were all part of the personality of my mother.

All through my childhood, I had endured a see-saw of emotion which was not only painful, but unpredictable.

November 25th was Thanksgiving Day. I was excited. I walked into the kitchen rubbing my hands together with enthusiasm and asked my mother “when the feast was going to be ready.”

She turned to me with a bit of fire and spit and said, “Why don’t you cook it? It’s hard work.”

It was cold, ferocious and beyond my understanding. I just went to my room, cussing her name.

For after all, this was a woman I had seen empty her cupboards of canned goods to help a neighbor in need and then, the next day, turn around and curse that same neighbor for dereliction and laziness. She would often come into my room and give me a hug, only to scream at me an hour later for watching cartoons–“being in her way” during vacuuming.

In my youth I heard her speak of brotherhood while referring to some individuals as “worthless niggers.”

If I’d had a lick of sense–which I didn’t–I would have realized that a human being who is angry, sweet, gentle, mean, vindictive and giving–well, when you combine them, what you end up with is confused.

In my later years, I understood.

She was seventeen years old when she married a man who was eighteen years her senior. she never got to travel, she didn’t get to go to college, was unable to flirt with either disaster or blessing and birthed five children, which from time to time seemed more of an inconvenience than a heritage.

She lived in confined quarters with limited funds, with a very stoic husband who often went on trips to Canada without providing a definite return date.

I wish I could sit down with her and tell her that I’m sorry I did not understand her plight. In today’s world, she probably would be diagnosed with some sort of neurotic condition which would be tempered by medication. Such remedies were unheard of in her day and age.

The greatest reprieve to my soul is that on the day she passed from this world, I was the last one to see her in the nursing home. We had a wonderful trip to the mall and on the way back, together sang her favorite hymn, The Old Rugged Cross.

She taught me a lot without realizing that she was instructing.

It was neither the fits of anger nor her acts of generosity that remain with me, but rather, a desire to be universally merciful to people when I don’t know their whole story.

So nowadays I would only ask three questions of anyone I encounter:

  1.  Can you admit you’re not happy?
  2. Are you willing to be happy?
  3. Will you stay with it until happiness arrives?

That’s all my mother needed–someone to give a damn.

It’s hard for me to remember her as a mom or a mother, and I certainly don’t want to look on her as a monster.

She was a woman named Mary who was given limited possibilities … and did the best she could.

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Arizona morning

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

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

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

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Marching to Zion … April 19, 2013

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Jiffy LubeCan I tell you that I learn much more sitting in a waiting room at Jiffy Lube than I ever do running around doing stuff or kneeling in prayer?

I have nothing against work or piety. It’s just that we occupy this space and time with other human beings, so every once in a while, it’s a good idea to listen to them, enjoy them and fellowship with them instead of merely viewing them as friends or competition. Because in the process of procuring friends, we eliminate other people who don’t make the cut. And if you take too much time eyeballing other people as “competition,” you will soon lose sight of your own abilities and become paranoid about their intentions.

What happened in that Jiffy Lube was that I listened to three people, strangers to one another, having a conversation as they waited for their oil to be revived. It was remarkable. Nearly everything they said, talked about, referred to and mentioned I was familiar with and basically was in agreement. It made me wonder how we ever got to the point that we believe we are all so unique and different from one another–separated on islands by ourselves or entrenched in camps. Apparently there are some nastier individuals in this world who take pleasure and make profit by keeping brothers and sisters, men and women, Republicans and Democrats and religious and non-religious people at odds with each other.

I am going to make a bold statement: I would say that everyone on earth–whether in China, Canada, Argentina, England or Wyoming–share about 85% of common values and likes. How about that? That means that more than eight out of ten things in the human family would be agreeable to us all. So why do we spend time focusing on the two things that might cause conflict? It’s mainly because we insist on establishing our value based upon our uniqueness.

Not me. I was so blessed by the experience of realizing that I am part of a much larger clan of Homo sapiens than I thought, that I walked out of that Jiffy Lube whistling (even though they charged me too much for an air filter).

And as I climb into my van today and head over to Fredericksburg, Texas, to a place called Zion Lutheran, my mind drifts to the idea that the word “Zion,” although usually referring to Israel or Jerusalem, is also defined as “a harmonious community.”

We really DO live in Zion. If 85% of what we feel and think is common to us all, then we have much more reason to march towards Zion–a place of unity–than we ever do to trudge off into the desert alone.

In that spirit, I will go to this community tonight and celebrate that 85%. After all, the 15% of disagreement always has something to do with religion, politics or our particular taste and preference in entertainment and food products.

I guess if I just stay away from those topics, I can “march to Zion” … and have a truly harmonious experience.

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Downtown … December 5, 2012

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Jon Signing

I am a defensive driver–defensive in the sense that there are moments when I greatly desire, in the midst of the marauding barbarians of metal-clad warriors, to roll down my window and plead into traffic, “You’d like me if I weren’t changing lanes!”
You see? Defensive.
It’s one of the reasons that I don’t like to go into the business districts of big cities. There are just too many things to hit and that are prepared to hit me. With the introduction of buildings, buses, taxis, and even horse-drawn carriages initiating elements of the old Wild West, I become jittery and resemble a teetering old man on the verge of mental collapse, having discovered that the daily shipment of tapioca pudding to the nursing home has been delayed by–what else?–traffic.

Imagine my horror yesterday when I turned the page on my calendar and discovered that I had entered the quadrangle of hell. Yes. A four-sided box, trapping me within a quartet of my fears. For my next engagement was in Historic Old Downtown Savannah (count with me–that’s # 1), with parking across the street (that’s #2), for a noontime basically unadvertised concert (horror #3) with what was sure to be a transient crowd, stopping in for curiosity’s sake during lunch hour (there’s #4).

Savannah River

Savannah River (Photo credit: DoNotLick)

I prepared myself for failure. Let me discuss that procedure, since we are all occasionally suiting up for our latest nosedive. My preparation for failure works this way:
A. A loss of enthusiasm. (I wish that came with a loss of appetite, but it usually increases my desire for food)
B. A sense of dread (usually accompanied by a nasty dose of grouchiness).
C. Proclamations of doom and gloom (so as to look as if I was at least intelligently expecting my termination).
D. Reluctance (a literal dragging of the feet on the way to the gallows).

As you can see, this particular collection of emotions is not conducive to energizing an already-faltering project. But I decided to see it through.
Are you ready for this? It worked.

People actually came in from off the street (not many), sat down and spent thirty-seven minutes listening to us do our Christmas show, gave money, bought materials and walked out overjoyed. This collage of humans ranged from homeless people who had come in order to be insiders instead of outsiders for a while, to even a couple who were tourists from Canada, sporting that infectious north-of-the-border grin.

It actually came off–which created a new dilemma. Because often, when something works which should never have worked, we make the mistake of analyzing it for future possibilities.
For instance, if I were suddenly healed of terminal cancer, it would not be a good idea to go out and start chain-smoking because I felt confident that if the disease returned, I could once again lick it–maybe even quicker. Sometimes God, who is very merciful, grants us a reprieve from our own stupidity by allowing us to slip through a crack that is really too narrow for us, with the hopes that we will not be so stupid as to try to wiggle through it again.

As I left my noontime gig in downtown Savannah, departing from a transient crowd to roll across the street to the parking lot, I breathed a sigh of relief rather than sucking in a deep breath of hope. I shan’t do this again–and certainly will NOT do it more often. If God would request a command performance or if circumstances required me to pursue another downtown, across the street, noontime concert in front of a transient crowd, I would humbly agree, sporting once again all of my predilections of anxiety. But I have no intention of moving upon the success of this unique event, to become known  for my lunchtime concert series.

Sometimes a blessing is a blessing. Yes, sometimes it is not a call to new mission. Count your fingers and toes, slide out through the traffic, laced with horsies and blaring horns, and be grateful that God is as good as advertised.

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Take a Chance… November 11, 2012

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My failures don’t languish and decay in the garbage dump of effort, but rather, putrefy and stink up the joint in the residue of my own indecision.

In other words, eagles fly, chickens get plucked.

I have a diagnoses for our country. After traveling this great land of ours for decades and putting a stethoscope on the heart of America, I can tell you with a great amount of certainty where we ail. For you see, Republicans think that people are too dependent on government. The Democrats feel that the populace is waiting for God to solve everything. Actually, they are both right–our nation is infected with the disease of “destiny-itis.”

All good souls are waiting for something to come along, clarifying needs to be done. It’s in our art, it’s in our politics, it’s in our theology and it’s in our educational system, which is keen on math and English but often fails to intone the warnings of history.

A great king once said, “Time and chance happens to all,”but we spend most of our hours trying to extend our time on earth and miss the chances that do come our way.  therefore our aging process makes us more grumpy and dissatisfied instead of ecstatic and fulfilled.

How did destiny and the belief in life being out of our hands ever gain such a stranglehold? It’s a great question. The answer will determine whether you’re a victim or a victor.

To escape the trap of destiny, you have to reject two widely accepted ideas, which are blatantly flawed.

1. Everyone was born to do something.

2. God has a wonderful plan for your life.

Let me give you a quick example.

Although the liberals in the United States would insist that America is gun crazy and that placing some sort of control on firearms is the best way to stop the violence that surrounds us, you only have to go north of our border to Canada to discover that the fine folks in the provinces have a record for the least violence in the world, but own more guns per capita than the United States. Were they “born” with an ability to possess weapons without killing each other? Is it God’s will that they be a peaceful sort of nation, and His determination that the American culture be vicious and mean-spirited? Of course not. Canadians grow up around guns and learn from birth not to point them at people. Americans desire guns and are not given the same instruction concerning where to aim their calibre. It’s that simple.

In the great debate over “nature” and “nurture,” we should just stop the conversation, because it’s all about nurture. We all have been nurtured to be in our present condition–so if you are raised to believe that you are “born to do something” or that God is pulling the strings, you will more than likely pass over chances to be fruitful because you’re confused over whether they have come from your birthright or from your divine Creator.

I think in the religious world, this belief is propagated because we contend that Jesus of Nazareth, the son of God, was “born” to do the will of his Father by dying on a cross for the sins of mankind even though, before his death, he proclaimed in the Garden of Gethsemane, that he had completed his work.

In the secular world, the inclination is to pursue “destiny” because we have so many unexplained predispositions in the general population that it seems to us that these inklings must have been ingrained in the DNA.

I’m sorry–it’s just not true. We are either given a life to live or we have been given a life which can be snatched away from us when we fail to follow the unknown rules that hatched us.

I often tell people in churches that God has a wonderful life for your plan. My heavenly Father does not tell me what to do. The Bible says He’s a good Father. A good father does not force his child into a plan of his making and then withhold blessing when the offspring fails to fulfill. Why would we think God would do that? By the same token, why would we believe that God, who is the founder of the concept of free will, would birth us in a certain direction without us being able to choose a detour?

  • I was not born to write.
  • I was not born to sing.
  • I was not born to be fat.
  • I was not born to be funny.

The chance to do these things came my way and I leapt on board and have survived the bumpy ride. I do not know why we think that something is more plausible if we are “born” to do it and therefore it’s out of our control. Do we think that frees us of responsibility? Is it our way of apologizing for our choice? Do we really want to worship a God who has pre-booked our flight and will punish us or at least levy a penalty for any changes on the itinerary? So foolish.

But it is why the American people are always two steps through the doorway of pissed off. For the truth is, if you have forfeited your rights, liberty and choice on where your life is headed, no matter whether you’ve done it in a secular way–by believing you are pre-determined at birth to do a particular thing–or if you’ve done it in a religious way–by pretending that God is pulling the strings–the helplessness that follows the decision does not inspire effort, but rather, welcomes anger and apathy.

Take a chance. Time is passing. Chances are racing by. Grab one.

The worst thing that can happen is you fail. But the truth of the matter is, failure is guaranteed if you do nothing–because your birthright will not make you free, and God has no intention of rallying an army of robots.

Watch out for destiny. It is contagious. It is deep in the bloodstream of all the rebirth of interest in fairy tales, mysticism, fantasy, soul mates and even musings over the end of the world. Keep three important things in mind:

1. The future is not decided until you decide it.

2. You were not “born” to do anything, but were given an opportunity to be born again–to do everything.

3. If you wait on the Lord with no plans on running a race of your own, you will end your life at the starting gate.

Take a chance. Free yourself of “detiny-itis” and soar with the eagles instead of remaining earth-bound with all the chickens. It is the law of the sky.

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