3 Things… November 9th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3485)

That Make for a Beautiful Sunset

1. The presence of some purple and green in the color sweep

 

2. A stillness in the air–not too hot, not too cold

 

3. Stealing the time to stand on your porch to gaze at the wonder

 

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Good News and Better News… February 20th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3224)

church-lady

Scold: a nasty rebuke offered by a disciplinarian to an underling.

No one likes to receive the scold. Matter of fact, it can unearth a teenage rebellion out of an eighty-year-old.

And also cloistered within “scold” are two other words, just as fussy and frustrating:

Cold: an absence of warmth, and

Old: the passing of years, turning us into grumpy sorts.

Although a strong case can be made that repentance is at the heart of our faith, trying to initiate that with harsh words offered to a fellow-traveler is highly unlikely. But it’s exactly the approach we take in the religious system to attempt to get people into the church.

We scold.

First we scold by saying, “We just don’t understand why people don’t come to church,” instead of sitting down and coming up with the logical reasons why a human being might not want to flock to the flock.

Then we turn cold.

If they actually do pop in on Easter, Christmas or for the baptism of a little grandson, we don’t know how to treat them. To a certain degree, we are frightened of the outside world–therefore, when people show up, we’re at a loss to muster the confidence to welcome them wholeheartedly.

And of course, we are freakishly old.

We expect people to come into the church and adapt to our ancient traditions. It’s been years since we’ve questioned whether the rituals in the church actually minister to human beings, or are just symbols of what we think the Divine might like.

The good news is, if we’ll stop scolding people with our cold attitude from an old mindset, we might just free up a new idea, using our talents to embrace strangers.

The better news is, we really have no option. If we don’t evolve very soon … there will be no one left around to scold.

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Untotaled: Stepping 18–(January 14th, 1966) On My Sleeve … June 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2263)

(Transcript)

Two doors down from our home were some neighbors who were quite friendly, but we only saw about six times a year and talked to maybe twice.

So imagine our surprise when they showed up at the door the day before Christmas and brought gifts. My mother was frantic, trying to figure out how to reciprocate with some sort of generosity to this surprise burst of holiday cheer.

But the most amazing thing was when I opened my present on Christmas morning from these little-known neighbors and it was a sweater.

It was beautiful for two reasons. First of all, it was a swirl of blue in a cardigan style and had brown leather buttons that looked like chocolate covered cherries.

But the greatest blessing was that it fit. I was a big fat boy, and in that era, no one made provision for such creatures. I don’t know where our neighbors found it, but it was made of Angora–that material that looks like it should be on a goat or a really pretty rabbit.

I loved it. I wore it every day. I pretended it was my winter coat. Maybe because of that, I picked up a cold.

I hate colds.

I guess everybody does, but the main reason I despise getting the common flu bug is that I had no intention in my young teen years of doing anything about it except enduring it with much complaint.

So I was sitting in the study hall while wearing my beautiful blue Angora sweater with the chocolate buttons. It was a very cold day and they had turned up the heat, and the mixture of the other students in the room with the air of the furnace blowing started my nose running.

Now, I was a young man who had little care for anything that looked frilly, so I certainly did not carry Kleenex. (I don’t know what kind of fellow you would have to be in 1966 to have a Kleenex on you.) And I was also too macho to ask a nearby girl if I could use one of her tissues. That was forbidden territory.

So at first I just tried to sniff it back into my nose. Of course, this was loud, sounded gross and caused a cheerleader next to me to crinkle her nose and turn away.

I did not know what to do. I had already used up all my bathroom privileges with the study hall monitor, and was quite sure I would not be allowed to leave the premises. And sure enough, when I raised my hand, he just looked at me and shook his head.

Meanwhile, my nose was reaching avalanche proportions. I don’t know what it looked like, but it felt like Niagara Falls was running down my lip. It had to be gross. I tried to duck my head down, but that made the gravity of the situation worse.

I thought about running my hand under my nose, but then I would have it on my hand.

Suddenly, without thinking, fearing that I was about to embarrass myself in front of the entire class with my river of snot, I reached up with the sleeve of my sweater and ran it across my face two or three times.

Fortunately, at that point my nose loosened up and I was able to have one huge sniff and the running went away.

But my beautiful Angora sweater had been slimed by my drippy nose dropping.

I took off the sweater, folded it up, and when I got home that night tried to wipe the goop out of the fur–but it wouldn’t go away.

I wore the sweater a couple more times, but people kept asking me why the sleeve was matted.

I loved that sweater so much.

But about four days later, I quietly went out into the back yard, dug a hole, and buried it.

I realized there would be no way to ever fix it. My family knew nothing about dry cleaning, and I was in no mood to try to explain why it was rumpled and stiff.

I know it sounds strange, but I cried. Actually, I cried more at the grave of my sweater than I did for a couple of aunts who passed away.

Of course, they never looked nearly as good or kept me nearly as warm.

 

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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.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Scratchy… December 30, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2106)

bridge to Tx

It had been nearly four years since I had been visited by the common curse of a cold. Even though I am around thousands of people who tote germs like little six-year-olds carrying backpacks to the first day of school, I am blessed with an immune system which bunkers me in safely to health.

That is, until I spent four days living in the same house with my children and grandchildren over Christmas. I followed this toxic exposure with a 900-mile drive to Houston, Texas.

So sometime on Thursday, right after I ate my Subway sandwich, the left side of my throat began to itch and tickle, radiating up to my ear.

I knew what this meant. I attempted denial, but when the right side of my throat joined the party, I knew I was in the first throes of incubating a common one.

Here’s the problem: I needed to share on Sunday morning at Bay Harbour United Methodist Church in League City, Texas.

I wanted to do a good job. I know everybody says that, but I like to use my talents at full speed, full throttle and full passion. They are my arsenal–to apologize for a mug that couldn’t win a beauty contest versus a coffee cup.

I was about seventy per cent. So what was I going to do?

Obviously, play to my strengths. For instance, talking is easier than singing.

Also, address the three demons that attempt to invade our foxhole in the midst of battle:

  1. Excuses
  2. Fear
  3. Disappointment

Excuses are the pavement on the road to failure. Fear is the rope that strangles the life out of hope. And disappointment is the drug that puts our effort to sleep.

  • I didn’t make excuses. The audience never knew.
  • I wasn’t afraid. For after all, the worst thing that could happen was that I talked and played the piano, without singing. That’s just not that bad.
  • And I wasn’t disappointed because I got sick. Remembering how mortal we are is what helps us assist other humans.

As it turns out, I had a little more than I thought–maybe 78%.  It was a glorious morning.

I don’t like getting sick. I fight it. But if I’m going to lose my faith, energy and direction every time I sniffle, I will probably not be worth very much and will snuffle out my possibilities.

Excuses, fear and disappointment–they arrive like a scratchy throat, making you believe that they’re here to stay.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

How to Make a Mistake: Three Easy Steps… October 3, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2025)

cookingIf revenge is a dish best served cold, then mistakes are brats, piping hot off the grill, with a side of pickle.

I would love to believe that my mistakes are innocent fumbles caused by either a lack of information or a willingness to do what’s right which went astray.

But it isn’t true.

All mistakes are stirred up from a recipe of attitudes which should have been addressed long ago, but we have convinced ourselves if they were removed, our   arms and legs might fall off.

Here are the three easy steps that lead to all mistakes:

1. Be sure you are right. It is almost impossible to convince someone of a better way if they think all of their thoughts are heavenly. I know we extol the value of confidence, but often it is just arrogance, trying to get in the door wearing sunglasses.

2. Ignore history. Ninety percent of the mistakes we make are revisits. Somewhere along the line, we convince ourselves that THIS situation is unique, and not like the last failure whatsoever. Not only do we fail to take into consideration the ridiculous practices of our ancestors, we also do not include our own experience in creating our new possibility.

3. Refuse to change. Yes, there are human beings who believe they are better than others because they will not alter the course of their determination. I have to ask myself if there is ANYTHING I believe today that is exactly the same as twenty years ago. If you and I were truthful, the answer would most certainly be no. It is not so much that the world is changing as it is that we don’t completely understand our world. So the stubbornness that causes us to refuse to change spits in the eye of God and punches Mother Nature in the nose. You might expect some throwback.

So that’s how you make a mistake in three easy steps. But to swing this to a more positive conclusion, let us say that we can avoid many foibles by realizing that we could be wrong, counting the cost, factoring in our experience before making a decision, being ready to change our attitude, expand our knowledge, and increase our prospects.

There aren’t as many accidents in heaven and earth as the average mortal would like to portray.

We are blessed because we are given the bowls, spoons and ingredients to whip up a great dish for ourselves.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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

Well… March 17, 2013

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It was June 1995.

I got really sick. I didn’t know how to “do” sick. I had never been sick. I had the occasional colds, flu and some bad Chinese food that ran through me quicker than Genghis Khan‘s army, but I had never been check-in-the-hospital sick.

Although I never believed in macho, I certainly strove for strong. I needed to be strong. I liked to be the guy who picked up equipment and carried it in the door, sweating profusely and panting to the inspiration of surrounding admirers. I liked playing tennis on a 100-degree day in Shreveport, Louisiana, drenching my clothes with perspiration as people walked by shaking their heads in disbelief that anyone would be outside doing anything but trying to breathe.

It wasn’t an issue of pride–or maybe it WAS an issue of pride, but I was too prideful to see it. I don’t know.

Suddenly I was sick. Not only sick, but the doctor informed me I had diabetes. In the brief time I had known this gentleman–my caregiver–we had struck up a friendship. So when he came in to talk to me about the disease, he looked like he had been sucking on lemons for a week or had just attended a foreign film. He told me that diabetes was serious, that it would be with me all my life–certainly with me when I died.

It was depressing.

So on October 8th of last year, when my legs disappeared overnight, replaced by the lower limbs of a 92-year-old nursing home patient, I was torn between sensations of gratitude that it was just my legs and not a stroke or heart attack, and feeling cheated of the ability to lift heavy burdens and sweat like a pig.

It got me to thinking about the word well. I was always thrilled at the prospect of feeling well–I liked it.

And tonight when I went to the United Methodist Church in Lumberton, Texas, to set up, and I needed to climb into a wheel chair to make it into the building to do my sound check, I temporarily felt robbed of the sensation of wellness. Yes, I wanted to feel sorry for myself.

There was this wonderful gentleman, about my age, who helped us carry in the equipment. He was so strong and capable, and here I was, wheeling my way around from place to place. But as I took a moment in the lobby of the church to reflect before I went up to check out the sound in the room, I considered that there are two ways to be well: you can FEEL well and you can DO well.

And even though physically I am still pretty fit and healthy, the ability to impress with my stride, strength and the sheer sense of muscular prowess is not in my grasp. But God has still given me the blessing of DOING well.

I have not lost my mind (unless you want to include sharing so candidly in an essay openly and publicly on the Internet). I have not lost my talent, such as it is. I have not lost my anointing and the touch of God on my life.

I asked myself in that lobby tonight, can I be happy doing well without feeling well?

I wheeled myself up the ramp onto the stage to practice my latest song. I don’t need an answer–just enough life to give me opportunity.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Except… December 27, 2011

(1,375) 

Jonathan in Miami

Yesterday was the first time this year. 

 “Happy New Year!” someone called. It was jubilant, optimistic, caring and filled with good cheer. I liked it.

But it got me thinking. Forgive me for that–I spend a lot of time trying to think because when I don’t, I find myself just reacting, which drudges up memories of childhood disappointments, failures, misgivings and a few grudges I still hold against people who ended up being better than me. Yuk.

Thinking is better than reacting. And the thought that came to my head is this: the word “new,” in reference to the year, is only significant if we’ve actually dealt with our “old” things.  Here’s my contention: nothing is old as long as it still works. I, for instance, have just turned sixty years of age but I am not outdated, irrelevant or without a sense of history and an awareness of the present. So candidly, I don’t feel old, nor do those who meet me attribute any agedness to my persona.

Nothing really becomes old until it doesn’t work anymore. And honestly, calling something “new,” if it’s just warmed-over hash, is equally as useless. In that case, “new” is just the replacement for the old lightbulb in our brain that doesn’t work anymore. Because “old” is the acknowledgment that we are pursuing a way of living, a plan of action or a style of belief that just doesn’t work.

If we continue to cling to it, it becomes “cold.” I do meet some cold folks as I journey across this country! I would characterize them as looking me straight in the eye and saying, “I don’t care if it doesn’t work–I still like it!” I am not so sure what to call this particular mindset. The liberals would attribute it to the conservatives and they would certainly toss the hot potato back the other direction. But it is a chilly way to walk through our lives because we’re never enriched with the sensation of doing something that’s really successful, but rather, repeating traditions that leave us unfulfilled, while we insist that life is meant to be miserable and hard.

But I’ve even seen people change when they turn cold.  It’s all about the word “repent.” We don’t use it much because it sounds Biblical–and God knows, the less we quote the Bible and Shakespeare, the more likely we are to draw friends our way. But “repent” is when you  come across something that IS old and doesn’t work–and even though you stubbornly wish that it did, you soften your heart in a kind moment to consider a better option. Because if you don’t repent, what was old and didn’t work, which turned cold through your determination to do it anyway, can turn into “mold.”

And oh, this is where it gets really nasty. This is when old people who don’t have anything going on that’s working, become really frosty, insisting that they like it anyway, and then become aggressive and defend the failure.  Yes–mold is when you defend the failure and leave it hanging on the ceiling, even though you’ve heard it makes you sick.

It’s WHY we repent–because if we don’t, Jesus says we will perish.

I sat at breakfast yesterday morning with a spread put out by my son and daughter-in-law from Miami. Ham, Quiche, bagels–well, the list goes on. I had a half a ham sitting right in front of me, and being the weak glutton I tend to be, I peeled one slice and another off of that former porker. I have no power to restrain myself from devouring such a product. I walked out to my car–or perhaps, “rolled out” would be a better term–knowing that I had something old in my life.

Overeating. It doesn’t work. It makes my legs want to sue me for cruelty, my heart choke up with cholesterol and my sugar rise in protest.

I also had to admit that this year I had turned cold on the issue. I didn’t really care about my weight. I rather liked the process of enjoying food and hell to pay. Fortunately for me, I did stop short of mold and did not defend my failure at weight loss. So as I drove down the road toward Fort Myers, Florida, I decided to stop being cold and deal with the old year. And what made it old? As far as me getting leaner–it just didn’t work.

I’m not so sure I’m going to be a roaring success, but I do know this–I have identified the old. I am ready to repent, which will make room for the new. Because except we all do, we will begin to perish. And economic problems, bad politics and stagnant religion are merely symptoms of the disease of unwillingness to deal with our inadequacies.

Except you repent … Well, I guess that’s when you can add “Happy” to “New Year.” Because the old that didn’t work and the cold that caused us to insist we liked it, turning into the mold that enabled us to defend our failures, is suddenly exposed by turning a light on in the room. Now the question is–what do we do next?

For me, the first step is trying not to sit so close to ham.

*************

To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

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

Published in: on December 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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