1 Thing That Makes Sense All the Time

 

REPENTANCE

“Don’t you just hate change!” he said with a huge bobby-bubbalicious smirk, looking across the room at what he knew to be adoring fans to his wit and humor.

Although an older gent, he was confident in his attractiveness and the sway he held with the little conclave. He paused, allowing time for the “amens, attaboys,” and “you-said-a-mouthfuls” to pour through the room, and then turned to me, awaiting my appreciation for what he considered to be an obvious observation about the nastiness of change.

I probably should have kept my mouth shut.

I certainly would have been more popular. But instead, I replied, “Mark my word, dear friends, death and taxes are not certain, but change is—and those who try to stall its purpose will find the wheels of progress rolling over their sensitive toes.”

I received no support for my position. After all, if the human race did not have an explainable ignorance, we would have to conclude it was pernicious.

Repentance should always be at the ready, or you may very well find yourself doing a “perish in your parish.” Therefore, as each new day begins, and you realize that neither you nor I created the universe—rather, we are permitted to remain on a very tentative lease—try to follow the spirit of common sense wherever it goes. That spirit will tell you:

  1. Change is necessary.
  2. You are necessary.
  3. Therefore, you will change.

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1 Thing You Can Do This Week to Make a Practical Step Forward


Save Critique for Yourself (and Yourself Only, May I Add)

Even though there’s a theory blowing in the wind that constructive criticism actually exists, most critique that leaves one’s lips and floats in the direction of another soul generally manifests some sort of destruction.

There’s only one person who can handle your critique—you

Why?

Because you know when to give it, how to present it and when to drop it before you start crying.

It is not a courtesy you can promise to someone else, who might fall victim to your burst of opinions.

Critique has value when it is offered in the mind of one human, heard in the heart of the same being and set in motion within the soul of the identical person.

After all, three things are for sure:

  1. You can hear it.
  2. You will recover from the experience.
  3. You can change.

Now, this makes for great critique.

All other attempts are hidden forms of malice, jealousy, confusion, ignorance and selfishness.


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Sit Down Comedy …February 8th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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The Alphabet of Weight Loss

A  need for change

B  uy it

C  ry it

D  iet

E  Gads, this sucks

F  ry it

G  ain it

H  ate it

I   am looking pregnant

J   esus, take the spoon and fork!

K  ale fail

L  ose, then cruise

M unch

N  estles

O  no, here we go

P  oints

Q  ueasy

R  unning

S  lipping

T  urnover (apple)

U  are not the biggest loser

V  itamins

W eird, it is

X  tra weight hiding

Y   is my scale lying?

Zzz I need a napDonate Button

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3 Things… February 8th, 2018

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That Will Help You Get Better

1. Be honest about who you are

 

2. Measure who you are in comparison to those who are successful and happy

 

3. Change (without shame) one thing at a time 

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Good News and Better News … May 2nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Konnoak Hills UMC Good News

Our clothes get dirty.

When this happens, we check our GPS and head off toward a local laundromat.

It is always an adventure–we certainly encounter some intriguing human beings.

Jan met a woman who was frail, lying on a bench, who told her that she had spent the night in a hospital ward, taking chemotherapy. She explained that she needed to eat something but was not really hungry.

Jan pressed the point and offered to buy her a meal. The lady described in detail a certain entrée just down the road at Bojangles that she might be able to choke down–mentioning that she would want the selection with extra hot sauce.

So Jan and I trekked to Bojangles to procure the treat.

Why? Did we do it because we thought the woman was in need of nourishment? Were we convinced that this little action of mercy was a way to convey love and affection to this frail child of God?

Absolutely not. We did it for us. For after all, to do anything else makes you feel like crap.

Let’s understand something–people who are lost are horrible.

That’s why they’re lost. They’re not “partly good and partly bad.” They aren’t following five of the Ten Commandments. They are often selfish, liars and wiling to do almost anything to get their way.

The truth is, you have a choice in life: you can work or you can con. If you don’t want to work, you’ll probably end up conning.

Anyway, back to the story: we brought the chicken, gave it to the lady and left her alone to enjoy her delicacy. A few minutes later she was gone. (I asked Jan to do a sketch of her just so we would have the memory. See below.)

We have to remember what the purpose is for hope, faith and love.

We’re not hoping the world becomes a better place, that our faith will produce miracles, or love will change the planet.

Hope, faith and love abide. That’s what the Good Book says. They abide because they really don’t solve problems–they just prevent us from becoming part of the mess.

Hope gives me the confidence to get up every morning thinking I can actually accomplish my mission.

Faith embraces me with the belief that I am not alone–what I do and say matters.

And love is my doorway to escape hate because hate sucks.

When I went to the church on Sunday morning–Konnoak Hills United Methodist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina–this was fresh on my mind.

Such beautiful people with wonderful stories, who are constantly being bombarded with the concept that the world is changing at a breakneck pace, so they’d better grab onto the caboose or be left at the station.

Hogwash.

Right now in our country, “crazy” thinks it is the boss. It’s time for us to rise up and share the good news:

  • Shouting is loud, not smart.
  • Popular is advertised, not quality.
  • Anger is mean, not strong.
  • Cynical is frustrated, not clever.
  • And atheism is the absence of hope, not evidence of intellect.

I gave my faith, hope and love to the folks yesterday morning at Konnoak Hills. That’s the good news.

The better news is that I hope they’re smart enough to realize that the lost we are trying to reach can never be virtuous enough to please us.

It’s up to us to bring the heart, soul and patience to the matter.

 

Good News Winston Salem

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Good News and Better News… September 28th, 2015

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map of Sheboygan

Many years ago, I sensed a voice within me, encouraging me to go out and share my heart and abilities with the world. Some people would say it was the voice of God, while others would probably insist that it was just me, declaring my own bidding.

I don’t care.

I heeded the call, and that decision has taken me on an exotic adventure.

Kindness. I deeply love that word. It saddens me that it has been equated with weakness. There is actually nothing that takes more human strength than to be kind. It threatens to attack us if we dare consider it.

I spent the weekend in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I felt kindness–whether it was the surprise bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup given to me with the meal I purchased at the restaurant or the warm-hearted folks strolling across the green at the Farmer’s Market, sniffing the tomatoes and pondering a pumpkin.

Then we arrived at the church, with half a dozen folks, ready and able to help us carry in our equipment and assist us in any way possible. They are shepherded by a man named Rick who has a gentleness which oozes the aforementioned kindness.They received the strength of my teaching while being sensitive to the weakness that presently inhabits my body.

I am moved at their interpretation of the soul of Jesus. I am so in love with this particular congregation that I will tell you, they are on the precipice of discovering a greater understanding. And what is that greater understanding?

True spirituality is a three-step process:

1. Listen.

That’s right. Shut up. Talking is exhausting and it’s also boring. Try to listen to what people are saying. Try to listen to the pain and the joy of the world around you. Try to be a hearer of the Word before becoming a doer.

2. Change.

Because I can tell you, as you listen to the patter of your brothers and sisters, you will feel the need to change.

When they brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, they explained to him that the law of God said that she should die by stoning. He didn’t argue the theology with them–he questioned the practicality. What chance is there for righteousness to grow if we kill off all the sinners?

Jesus changed, right there on the spot. Jesus altered religious fervor in deference to God’s favor. He forgave the woman.

If you’re not ready to change, don’t expect anything of quality to happen.

3. Respond.

Once you’ve listened carefully and altered your philosophy to be sensitive to humans instead of critical of them, you are prepared to respond, and that normally will be kindness.

Thank you, Sheboygan, for being kind.

Please do not grow weary in your well-doing. Donate Button

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WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

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Three Ways to Know a Change is Needed … March 26, 2015

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John Mayer with guitar

Many people are afraid of change because it risks their dollars.

They’ve grown so accustomed to a procedure which gives them a minimal satisfaction that they’re frightened to move from an unfulfilling position to a new possibility.

The first thing you have to remember is to get rid of the guilt when you find yourself stuck in the mud. Guilt tends to lead us to one of the most unfruitful human profiles: defensive.

Once we’re defensive we put up our walls and become impenetrable. There’s no shame in being stuck in a rut as long as you don’t spin your wheels.

Here is a clue–a change is needed when we either believe that no God is necessary to aid our human development, or that there is no human effort required to aid and assist God.

Either way, you’ve created an extreme which leaves us unfulfilled and basically looking for a way to be nasty to one another.

There are three simple questions to ask when determining whether a change is needed:

1. Have people stopped thinking?

Yes, it is possible to be in an environment where thinking is discouraged or is thought to be sacrilegious because it challenges some holy principle that must be honored without question.

If we don’t allow ourselves the ability to reason together, we start reacting. And when we react, we fall prey to our own moods, instead of the moving of spiritual renewal.

It was one of Jesus’s favorite phrases: “What do you think?”

Without thinking we react–from ideals which may or may not be part of our true conviction.

2. Have people stopped believing?

Our rendition of believing in the religious system, and even our secular corridors, is repeating. We have somehow convinced ourselves that the more we repeat traditional attitudes or platitudes the better off we are and the more we are expressing true faith.

Remember: “Faith without works is dead, being alone.”

In other words, merely repeating what we think should work without seeing the fruit born through our belief is not only futile, but ends up being the true definition of fatalism.

3. Have people stopped feeling?

When we forbid ourselves the ability to let our hearts be involved in our spirituality and let feeling enter into what we believe, we end up with a lifestyle that is just reacting to the stimulus sent our way. That’s not what we’re meant to do.

  • We’re meant to be doers.
  • We’re meant to be people who joyously exhaust ourselves in the adventure of our own pursuit.
  • We are meant to feel.

It is the joy of our faith that gives us strength. Not repetition. Not even love. We require joy–a feeling–to propel us as human beings.

When you live a life that is merely reacting, repeating and reciting, you close the door on true thinking, believing and feeling.

There is a change needed in our lives when we become defensive about our faith. For truly, faith without works is dead, being alone. We need something to point to which is a byproduct of our own spiritual energy to confirm to ourselves that belief in God is viable.

There are no words written by prophets that have the power of a single paragraph of personal testimony. 

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