Salient…August 6th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

The stall.

The pause.

The stammer.

Tentative moments that rob us of the opportunity to see a goal achieved–a dream accomplished.

We have foolishly portrayed inaction as humility.

The stall is when there’s something to be.

Fear sets in. How will I be perceived? Will I be left out there all alone? Maybe I should wait.

The pause is when there’s something to do.

Opportunity knocks but never promises to wait around until we get our robe on, to answer the door. That extra few moments of carefulness often costs us the great blessing of participating.

The stammer.

Yes, there are moments in life when there’s something to say.

It needs to be uttered. It should be shouted from the housetops, but at least whispered in the ear.

But instead of being, doing and saying, the human race trembles with a stall, a pause and a stammer.

This might not even be a problem–except each of us expects more out of life than we’re willing to give. As a result, three nasty spirits inhabit the human heart:

1. “I feel cheated.”

2. “I’m angry.”

3. “No one understands.”

From that defeated position, we attempt to wage a campaign for our common good. It is doomed.

And then, when we realize that the little we have is insufficient, we suddenly discover that even our tiny portion is taken away.

Most people don’t understand life because they only believe in either God or science. But there is a science to God, and there is a Godliness in science. This balance tells us that when you remove the motivation and energy from a creature, it recluses and dies.

Beware the stall, the pause and the stammer. They will make you feel cheated, angry and misunderstood.

So here is your salient moment:

When there is something to be, step into it.

When there is something to do, perform to the best of your ability.

And when there’s something to say, speak up.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … October 23rd, 2016

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I was thinking about Donald Trump.

 

Woman: What a coincidence. Because I was thinking about Hillary. What brought Donald to your mind?

 

Man: There’s such an uproar about him and the things he says. I was just wondering…well, I guess, wishing I would have had the chance to know him when he was young.

 

Woman: That’s so weird. I was thinking the same about Hillary. Yes, I would love to have had a chance to know her before there was a Bill Clinton, or all this political barbed wire that tries to cage her up as a villain.

 

Man: What I was thinking about is that when we’re young, there are three things that happen to all of us, in some form, that shape us. Three things that expose us to everyone around us, and we develop our sense of security or frustration.

 

Woman: That’s interesting. What are the three things?

 

Man: Well, you can probably think of your own, but I find the three things to be the locker room, camp and dating. That’s when we are suddenly taken out of the comfort of our zone, and we fall under the scrutiny of other people’s judgment.

 

Woman: Wow. That’s heavy. So I guess what I’m saying is that I would like to have met Hillary in the locker room.

 

Man: Now, that does sound a little bit odd.

 

Woman: No more odd than you wanting to meet Donald in the locker room.

 

Man: So what would you have said to Hillary?

 

Woman: “Relax. Some people look more endowed, more blessed, more athletic, but in the long run, it all comes to the surface and they are less advantaged in other areas. Don’t try to be the prettiest and the best or feel cheated because you aren’t.”

 

Man: Exactly. “Donald, stop worrying about your hands, or anything else that protrudes from your body. Just realize that you have gifts and they will come to the forefront when it’s time.”

 

Woman: Do you think he learned to be a bully in the locker room?

 

Man: Do you think she acquired some of her insecurity there?

 

Woman: Camp–the first time the lights are turned off in the cabin, and you’re with a group of girls and you can talk about what scares you, why you think your hips are too big and who you really like…

 

Man: Yes, I wonder if Donald ever actually sat in a log cabin somewhere in the woods with a bunch of guys who were at ease, and truth started slipping out because the room was just dark enough that you’re not afraid about how you sound.

 

Woman: You can tell by the fact that these two people choose lying lying that they were horribly misinformed about life.

 

Man: It is the truth that makes us free. But to allow for that freedom, we need to at least be around someone who allows the truth to come forth without criticizing us.

 

Woman: And then there’s dating. Isn’t that the third thing you mentioned?

 

Man: Absolutely. It’s terrifying.

 

Woman: Why do you think it’s so terrifying? Let me answer my own question. For me, it brought every fear and inadequacy to the forefront–like I was certain the person I was going out with was completely aware of all the stubble hair in my armpits.

 

Man: Could you ever eat enough Tic-Tacs to be confident about your breath? So what would you tell Hillary about that?

 

Woman: I would say, “Hillary, you’re going to meet a lot of men you’re going to love and who would be willing to love you. But you won’t meet many who give you a love that you can trust in.”

 

Man: I would say to Donald, “Even though you grew up in a neighborhood with a family which felt that bullying, being forceful and mean was viable, the best way to prove your strength is to not use it all the time. It’s all right to lose as long as you learn from it, and it’s certainly necessary to apologize if you want to be forgiven.”

 

Woman: I would love to have known Hillary when she was young. I would love to have caught her before she ended up with a cheater, believing it was the best she could get.

 

Man: And I would love to have known Donald when he still had a chance to believe in the power of kindness mingled with ingenuity instead of trying to control through domination.

 

Woman: Too bad we weren’t there.

 

Man: Actually, I’m grateful there was someone there for me so I don’t have to constantly prove my masculinity by pushing my way through.

 

Woman: And I’m glad that I feel confident in myself, and just include others for the joy of it instead of the need.

 

Man: Do you think we really could have made a difference?

 

Woman: Probably not. We were just learning the stuff ourselves.

 

Man: Maybe we can just help the young Donalds and Hillarys around us, who have not yet decided to give up and use deceit instead of talent.

 

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Ask Jonathots… July 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

 

Last year my friend’s fiancé drowned in a flood. He is very bitter and blames God. What can I say to him?

Before we discuss what you can say to him, let me ask you a question: is it possible that this fiance would have drowned in a flood if there were no God?

In other words, are there floods on Earth? Does water rise? Do people find themselves caught in odd circumstances? And does water filling the lungs kill a person?

The question that’s actually being posed is, “Should God intervene in every situation to eliminate death and destruction?”

And if He were to do that, how would He determine when it was time for someone to actually pass on? In other words, if there were no bad things that happened in life, would there be good things that happen, or just sameness?

We appreciate blessing because we’re fully aware of the possibility of difficulty.

We appreciate our loved ones because we know we’re mortal and susceptible to termination.

So if there were no God, how could one get rid of humans from Earth to make room for more humans? Would we be satisfied with that system, or decry it for its unfairness?

God had an important decision: How could He create a Natural Order which could be studied, but also does its best to keep things even so that the rain and the sunshine “fall on the just and the unjust?”

And after developing this system, was God willing to take the criticism from those who presently feel cheated, and receive too much praise from the ones who are overly confident?

  • Equity.
  • Fairness.
  • Justice.

The best thing God could offer was a clear statement to humanity–study the face of the sky and learn the ways of Nature.

Case in point: I was heading out on tour this year to California when I realized that the weather patterns were forbidding such a maneuver. I changed my itinerary. I based that decision on what I knew about El Nino, and how I have seen it work in the past. I ended up not being caught up in floods and blizzards, but instead, continuing my work unabated.

I used the greatest blessing–it’s called knowledge.

So what do you say to your friend?

I don’t know.

I don’t know what he can hear.

Sometimes it’s just better to hug people until they get their wits about them again.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 8) Fruity Labors … June 19th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

Meningsbee sat in his car panting, with sweat dribbling down his face.

What just happened?

His mind raced to retrieve some sanity.

He had gone to the grocery store to pick up some fruit, and was standing in the produce section, trying to decide between blueberries or blackberries, when he was tapped on the shoulder. He turned around to discover that he was surrounded by three irate women in their seventies.

There was no escape.

Woman One piped up. “What gives you the right to come to our town, break apart families and remove our sense of community?”

Without affording Meningsbee a chance to respond, Woman Two inserted her piece. “What was so wrong with our little Garsonville church? I think we were a loving sort until you showed up.”

Likewise, Woman Three intoned her complaint. “We dedicated that organ in the church to my grandmother, and now I’m not even able to go.”

Meningsbee tried to figure out a way to respond without becoming defensive, but the women continued to bombard him with their frustrations, refusing to allow him to leave. It caused such a commotion that the store manager called the local police, who uncharacteristically arrived within three minutes.

The constable felt it was his job to get to the bottom of the story, so he listened patiently as the women outlined their grievances.

When Meningsbee was asked to describe his take on the situation, he chose to remain silent, realizing that he was not only outnumbered, but also that his rendition might seem anemic compared to their enraged profile.

Unfortunately, a local reporter for the newspaper was in the store at the time, and she felt it was her responsibility to interview the participants, with Meningsbee politely declining.

He just quickly grabbed some fruit, went through the checkout and exited the store. Now he sat alone, bruised and a bit infuriated at being ambushed.

Yet the situation did not go away.

Two days later when the newspaper came out, there was an article about the incident and a background about the ongoing struggle between the Garsonville Church and the new Garsonville Christian Church, meeting at the Holiday Inn Express.

The closing line of the piece was provided by one of the women, who shared, “If the people who are still at the Garsonville Church really love us and respect us as neighbors, they will at least come out to our new gathering and give it a chance.”

Even as Reverend Meningsbee was in the midst of reading the article, the phone rang. It was the first of thirty-five or forty calls he received from parishioners, saying that they were torn and conflicted, and felt it would maybe be good for them to show their respect by going to the Garsonville Christian Church this week.

Meningsbee didn’t know what to say. Honestly, he wanted to cry. He never intended to split up families nor bring conflict–just share Jesus.

Upon arriving at the church on Sunday morning, Meningsbee discovered there were only twelve in attendance–and eight of them were the visitors who had come over the past several weeks.

Because he didn’t want to deal with unresolved hurt, he shared his heart with those who were present, and explained what he believed to be his mission and desire.

He dismissed the service and headed for his car. All the other attendees left the parking lot and he sat alone. He couldn’t help but feel cheated–and maybe even, in a strange sense, jealous.

After all, his congregation was somewhere else, listening to someone else–being torn between their new discovery of faith and their loyalty to tradition.

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G-15: Compete or Compare?… March 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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arm boys

Yours worked.

Mine didn’t.

Now what?

Give me yours.

You take mine.

Why not??

Okay, yours is over-rated.

Mine is misunderstood.

What do you mean, sour grapes?

You cheated.

I followed the rules.

I don’t know how, but you must have cheated.

Try this: you had an advantage.

I don’t know–maybe you’re an outstanding cheater.

I went against the grain.

You went for blood.

Everybody likes you.

I am an artist and therefore adequately ignored.

You had more money.

I had a low budget.

Really? That little??

What do you want me to do?

Imitate your plan?

I was trained to compete.

You want me to compare.

It’s not fair.

What do you mean, the famous last words of a drowning loser?

Okay, smarty. What do you suggest?

Do well? And be accepted?

What about my personal flair, unique perspective, opinions, attitudes, sense of self?

(pause)

 You don’t care, do you?

All right. So how do you pull this thing off?

Go ahead and teach me. I’m listening, but you better hurry. I can be a moody son of a gun.

(Longer pause)

Huh, sounds easier than my ideas.

I guess I can do that.

Of course, I’ll need to add my personality.

(Short pause)

Not so much?

All right. Here I am.

By the way…

Thanks.

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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

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ProbTwo… November 2, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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kindergartenHer name was Mrs. Talley.

She was my kindergarten teacher. Because our school district did not offer the class to the public, I enrolled in her private kindergarten, which was held in her home.

I learned so much from her. This delightful woman taught me how to take round-tipped scissors, cut, and then paste, color and even how to play.

Now, the second problem that is common to all of us is the overwhelming sensation that “it’s not enough.”

Once human beings insist that they’re deprived, it doesn’t take long for them to become depraved. If we’re convinced we’ve been cheated, left out or short-changed, we are willing to throw all ten commandments to the wind in order to get our fair share.

This is why you must stop yourself once you have the predilection to believe it’s not enough, and set a plan in motion which is different from “getting your due at all cost.”

To find this “good plan,” we must go back to kindergarten.

1. Cut.

In other words, if there’s not enough, is there any way we can cut our budget, diminish our need, or reassess our valuables to change our circumstances to the better? I realize this concept is foreign to both business and government, but sometimes it is possible to solve your problem by simply tightening your belt a little bit.

2. Paste.

Yes, intelligent people learn how to apologize to Peter for robbing from him because they can make a good case for helping Paul. New direction can often be found by simply putting off one piece of effort in favor of a greater necessity.

3. Color.

We are unattractive when we sit around and complain. I don’t think I would donate to a homeless person who approached me asking for funds by making the case on how he or she had been cheated.

Case in point: I once met such a person on the street who wanted to sell me a watch. He pulled it out of his dirty jacket and asked me if I would like to buy it. I admired his industrious nature and willingness to use commerce to improve his financial status, but the watch didn’t look terribly attractive displayed against his dingy coat. I told him I would give a donation if he would use part of it as an investment.

I said, “You need some color. Go to the fabric store and buy a foot of purple velvet, and when you show your watch the next time, lay it out on the purple velvet. The color will improve your possibilities.”

I don’t know if he did this or not, but I will tell you this–no one blesses someone who’s cursing.

Put a little color in your cheeks, and if you find yourself “without enough,” comb your hair, brush your teeth and put on a clean shirt if you want to improve your situation.

4. Play.

It is highly unlikely that you will be able to solve your problems by using your present resources. Even though we tend to hide out whenever we feel a lacking, the best thing to do is get around other people and open the doors to collaboration and cooperation.

I choose to become generous when I’m poor. Being generous when you’re rich is not really giving, just trimming. Reaching in your pocket and donating when you feel a little pinched yourself is allowing for men and women who see your generosity to “give back to you, good measure, pressed down and running over.”

So the next time you’re tempted to say “it’s not enough:”

  • see what you can cut
  • paste together resources from other places
  • color your life with positive ideas
  • play with others who might have an answer to your problem.

Mrs. Talley taught me a lot. I not only ended up learning how to make an elbow macaroni picture with Elmer’s glue, but also learned the basic ideas for overcoming my self-pity.

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