Unconditional Growth… July 18, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1946)

couchI remember it vividly.

A mother came to me for counsel with her nineteen-year-old daughter, She explained that her parenting principle had always been “unconditional love.” All at once, in the middle of the mother’s speech, the girl interrupted, screeching, “Yes, mom! You gave met unconditional love, but you didn’t teach me how to make myself lovable!”

Perhaps that’s why we need two–a pair of parents, that is–one to maintain the standard while the other assures the child that there is no condemnation.

The Good Book tells us that God “disciplines those He loves”–and the truth of the matter is, a heaven with no hell is an invitation to mediocrity. And a hell with no benefit of a heaven is a plunge into dark despair.

In our generation, unconditional love has just become another “feel good” lie. We have several of them:

  • Everyone is unique.
  • Everyone deserves an equal chance
  • There is no prejudice in our society.
  •  And unconditional love is what we should offer one another.

But this is not the way human beings work. Certainly we need the reassurance that our inadequacies will not result in exclusion, but each one of us also needs to know that there IS a point of excellence which is required of us in order to be included in the circle of the celebration.

After God created man and woman, He told them to be fruitful–to multiply and replenish the earth. You can either believe that this was a message of mere exhortation, or realize that it was the yardstick set by the Divine for human development.

Be fruitful: don’t settle for what you’re doing if there’s a possibility of pursuing just a little further.

Multiply: take what you have and use it instead of hiding it, deriding it or explaining away your indecision through fear.

Replenish: stop being a taker. Give something back before you demand your next shipment.

When we finally arrive at the concept that unconditional love is really a belief in unconditional growth–a balance between maintaining a standard and making sure that those around us feel free of condemnation–yes, if we don’t start instituting that practice, we will have an ambiguous mission for our generation, which will leave people crying “foul” simply because they are challenged to do their jobs.

So if God isn’t always patting us on the head, telling us how cute we are, but instead, demanding that we repent and revise our deeds, why would we think that child-rearing should be any different?

Unconditional growth–the amazing mixture of maintaining the standard while providing the gentle reassurance of no condemnation.

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

You’re Kidding… March 30, 2012

(1,469) 

“As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be …”

So begins Jesus’ description of life on Planet Earth just prior to the end of the world. He lays out a visual example of a culture that has become preoccupied with “being married and given in marriage.” Does he really believe that the sign of the Apocalypse is matrimony?

No. There is nothing immoral, unspiritual or unnatural about falling in love and getting married. But when that experience encompasses your whole being, taking over your will, your sense of discovery and your vision for life, then it becomes a numbing sensation and a killing field.

Yes, along about the age of twenty-five or twenty-six years, the addled essence, who has failed to learn about peaceful co-existence between the sexes, starts getting the itch to couple, settle down and “start kidding”– in other words, having children. Maybe college didn’t turn out the way they had planned. Those first attempts at business didn’t bring in the million dollars. The trip to Hollywood to become famous just ended up becoming expensive. The parents failed to die and leave the life insurance. So as it turns out, these people in their mid-twenties suddenly discover they are going to have to live out this thing called life in full color.

But because they weren’t allowed to be part of a chilled-hood, which taught them to enjoy equality with the opposite sex; and were then ushered into an addled essence, where they became adversarial with the other half of the species, they arrive at this position in life poorly prepared for communication, lacking spiritual depth and too emotionally vulnerable to link up and be a contributor in a relationship.

So they find a mate, they convince themselves they’re hot for them, they get married and soon a child follows. They start “kidding.” And since they know nothing about  a chilled-hood from experiencing it themselves, they become overly protective of their children—worrying about health issues and frightened of finance.

I see them every week in my church programs. The woman carries the baby, hoping everyone will notice how lovely her genetic contribution turned out to be, as the man trails two steps behind, lugging stuffed animals and the diaper bag, with glazed eyes, as if he had been struck by unseen lightning. Where they should be coming out of a worship experience discussing the beauty of living waters, they stand in the vestibule in protracted discussions about baby formula and zwieback.

They feel noble to have continued the tradition of child-rearing, complete with all of its sighs and despair—and unfortunately, also a sense of vacating all original aspirations. It is a lost generation; a missing link of humanity–age twenty-five through thirty-six. They have lost their identity, their belief in what is righteous, and how it affects their daily lives, which has caused them to lose their perspective–and their ability to keep their cool and relax in what they’ve accomplished.

This causes them to lose respect—first for themselves, for abandoning their talent, and then for their mate, for hastening their retreat. Unfortunately, this leads to them losing their love. Because we all know when respect departs, love begins to pack its bags.

As the child gets older and realizes that he or she is able to manipulate the household through tantrums because the parents have lost all will to resist, we continue the dastardly process into addled essence, culminating with parents holding on with prayers and hopes for things being better tomorrow. Teenagers rule the world–a planet that needs more mature insight.

We lose the You’re Kiddings during this season of procreation. We have no contact with them outside of complimenting their children, discussing daycare, or the best places to buy rounded-tip scissors for pre-school. The weightier matters of justice, love, mercy, understanding and compassion are set aside, to spend most of the time festering over work schedules and who’s going to get up in the middle of the night to change diapers.

Yes, the time in their lives when they should have the most energy, optimism and generosity of spirit is completely encompassed by the idea of being married, given in marriage and “kidding around.”

What is the process of birthing children supposed to do for us? Well, our forefathers and mothers had children because it was cheaper than hiring farm hands. They expected these little ones to start working immediately—as soon as they finished nursing. Now, we might find this to be uncaring or even mean-spirited, but somehow or another we need to land between being completely overwhelmed by the action of making other human beings, and merely thinking of them as ranch hands. See what I mean?

Here are the four steps I think are necessary for this particular age group—IF they’ve had a chilled-hood, enjoying equality with the opposite sex, and have escaped an addled essence, where their future life partner is viewed as adversarial:

1.  (And I do mean number one) Honor your children by honoring your dreams. You do not do anything for your off-spring by returning to your home exhausted because you’re working a job that has no resemblance whatsoever to what you really want to do. One of the transitions we need to make in this country is to understand that local representations of our culture are much more effective than nationally promoted ones. What I mean by that is, maybe you planned on being a great business tycoon and flying off to New York to work with Donald Trump. But now two babies have arrived and trumped your plans. There is still no reason why you cannot stay in your home town of 75,000 people and entrepreneur an idea that is regionally successful, granting you satisfaction over the yearnings of your heart. You may not end up being everything you thought you were going to be, but you will certainly be a snapshot of what you always wanted. You will turn your children on with your enthusiasm.

2. We should be spontaneous in love, but solid in principle. That means sometimes our little geniuses, who came out of our birthing cycle, need to be disciplined. It doesn’t matter how cute they are. It doesn’t matter how good the excuse is. We express love best in our homes when we have principles by which we live that are followed through with–even in the difficult times. Most members of the You’re Kidding generation think their main function is to make their children happy. Actually, their job is to create a stable sense of ethics and provide a direction that will ultimately bring forth happiness.

3. Stop worrying. And that goes for all the impersonators of the process, including over-discussing, looking at the Internet too much, having conversations with other young parents who are equally as baffled as you are, or listening to experts who are more concerned with selling a book than they are with making your child a dynamic human being. How do you know when you’re worrying? When you have learned all you can on a subject, applied the better parts of it and still continue to think, talk and fret over it, you are worrying. The best you can do as a parent is learn, do–and trust God for the rest.

4. And finally, these youthful birthers of a new generation need to teach their offspring that lying is the only sin. I believe this with all my heart. As long as we make mistakes and own them, grace covers a multitude of sins. Yes, grace covers every sin but lying. Lying is avoiding the grace of God to pretend like no mistakes have happened. If you punish lying and reward truth, the truth will eventually make your children free. It doesn’t mean they won’t go through difficulty, but it does mean they won’t be afraid to come to you and admit their frailty. If we can take this generation of shell-shocked human beings who have stumbled into marriage and child-bearing, and free them to still be wide-eyed with wonder over their own pursuits, as they include their children in their lives instead of making those little ones their only focus, then the energy from these individuals can once again revitalize our country.

Because if we can’t take the You’re Kidding generation and allow them to escape the preoccupation of babies, birthing and bundling, then in no time at all, they reach thirty-seven years of age and enter the next twelve-year phase, when the new enemy becomes …  money.

I shall call this group Re-spend-ability.

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Listen to Jonathan sing his gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, accompanied by Janet Clazzy on the WX-5 Wind Machine

 

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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