The D Word … February 26th, 2019

THE

WORD


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3959)

The D word—the word that is so obtuse, unusable and meaningless that it should stop being in everyday use. For me this one was easy:

Devil

Devil is the word evil with a D.

Whenever I hear people mention the devil, I immediately fight off the instinct to consider them superstitious, ignorant, backwoods, prejudiced and, to some extent, angry with the world around them.

The theological approach to the subject is that we “can’t believe in God” if we don’t “believe in the devil,” because the devil is the counterpunch to the Almighty.

I find that ignorance gets started because people are too nervous to ask the obvious question before the stupidity gets spread around.

God is the only Spirit

Even if you follow the story of Adam and Eve, the serpent mentioned in the tale ends up being cast down to Earth. It is an earth-bound misery.

Human beings produce all the evil that is necessary to make the world shitty. They need no assistance. And personifying darkness in a creature called “the Devil” is the best way to allow human evil to continue without being challenged.

  • The Devil did not make anybody do anything.
  • The Devil did not possess little girls or little boys.
  • The Devil did not command a whole brood of witches.

Perhaps the reason the word “devil” makes me conjure images of incest is that poor people, unlearned individuals and those who feel superior because of their color or religion often use the word “devil” to describe all the forces they find to be unacceptable.

“The devil is rock and roll.”

“The devil is Hollywood.”

“The devil is a political party.”

“The devil is some race.”

“The devil is a woman seeking equality.”

And once they place the D word onto you, all of your actions will have the sniff of fire and brimstone.

Why don’t we consider a world where there is no Devil and human beings are responsible for their actions?

We are not tempted by God and we are not tempted by the Devil.

We are drawn away by our own lusts to do foolish things.

I don’t care if you’re conservative or liberal—as long as you don’t blame the Devil for your objections to the world around you. It is a sign of immaturity, irrelevance, and a lack of understanding of how evil human beings can be…without ever adding the D onto the word.

 

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1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Become a Better Person)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Become a Better Person)

 

JUST ADMIT YOU ARE PREJUDICED

Being prejudiced just means that we see things in color, shape, size, style, gender and even finance.

But when it comes to matters of the heart, seeing is not believing. All of us believe things which our eyeballs tell us are different.

The importance of admitting prejudice is to prevent ourselves from becoming bigots, and end up racists.

HIDDEN PREJUDICE IS THE PROBLEM

Just because I see a man who is a different color than myself does not mean I feel that I am better than him, and I certainly do not want to act superior, because then, I will try to find a way to hurt him, which will make me a racist.

America will become free of its racial, cultural, spiritual and gender bias just as soon as we realize that our eyes still see what is set before us.

However, we don’t need to believe what we see, or hold what we see to be sacred.

I am prejudiced.

I still see fat, I still see youth, I still see old, I still see color–but because I admit it, I can confront myself and realize it doesn’t make any difference–and certainly doesn’t make me superior to anyone else on the planet.

Therefore I feel no need to hurt them to make myself look powerful.

So there’s your one thing–if every human being in America would admit they are still haunted by prejudice, we would do away with bigotry in a generation, and racism even quicker.

 

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Jesonian … July 28th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Today I’m doing something a little different. I’m sitting here with the Good Book open, peering down at John the 7th Chapter.

I have no intention of trying to impress you with my Bible knowledge nor attempt to turn some passage into a magical expression of salvation.

What I want to share with you is a pattern.

I would like to find an adjective to describe this pattern. Foolish comes to mind. Perhaps dangerous. But certainly repetitive.

The pattern is the ongoing belief in every generation that you can evaluate something by the numbers–“the bottom line.”

Ironically, it was verbalized perfectly over two thousand years ago by the brothers and sisters of Jesus of Nazareth when they critiqued him on his approach to promoting the message he had chosen to share.

Their insights are frightening to read because they are so current to today’s ignorance. They spoke the following to Jesus:

“For there is no man that does anything in secret but instead, wants to be known.”

Have you ever heard that philosophy?

“Promote yourself.”

“Get it out there.”

“Showcase it.”

“Use your tools.”

“Adjust your intensity to the present flow of thinking.”

Amazingly, through the whole 7th Chapter of John, this repeats over and over again. For later on in that same passage, the audiences that come to Jesus muse whether he could be the Messiah, because they’re concerned about where he was born.

Added pressure.

Not only do you need to promote yourself well, but you need a certain look–maybe even a color. How about a culture to back you up?

We have the mistaken idea that Jesus always had great multitudes following him. There were times that people hung around for a while–after all, if you turn water into wine and can take a Happy Meal and make a buffet, you will gain some attention.

But the truth of the matter is, as soon as Jesus started teaching, the crowd thinned, and on one occasion totally disappeared.

For after all, what concerned the average Jew was whether God would send a military man to destroy the Romans and establish the Kingdom of Israel.

On the other hand, Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God, which was within us, and would enable us to get along with everyone, including the Romans.

Conflict.

Yet it is best capsulized in that same chapter in a meeting among the Jewish leaders.

When they sat discussing the phenomenon of Jesus of Nazareth, what finally made them decide he was a joke, a hoax or at least a light-weight was the fact that none of the hierarchy of their religion–those considered intelligent, educated and astute–believed in him.

The premise was, “If you really are somebody, all the “somebodies” will recognize and promote you.”

“If you really are talented, you will be discovered.”

“If you really are bringing a possibility of hope and salvation, eventually you’ll be offered a platform instead of a cross.”

It didn’t work out that way.

Nowadays, I often sit around with my children, explaining to them that success is meaningless. In my lifetime, notorious people, who appeared to be powerful and everlasting, bit the dust and became cautionary tales of stupidity.

You can’t look at the numbers.

If you had lived in 1st century Palestine and looked at the numbers, the popularity, the acceptance, the blending and the support of the people in the know, you would never have found Jesus.

If you want to find out what is going to last, be helpful, truthful and carry the touch of God, do one thing–simply watch and learn.

How resourcefully does he, she or they use the resources?

*****

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                $7.99 plus S&H

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… December 31, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn 12 31

I v. You

I want more

Less is available

I am beautiful

Others, insist plain

I can sing

Where’s the audience?

I can love

Find the loveable

I am happy

Keep sadness away

I am lonely

Are you home?

I am valuable

See my worth

I am white

You have color

I am believing

You question me

I am laughing

Stop your mourning

I am crying

Cease the show

I am hungry

Fed, see more

I am earthly

You are heavenly

I am religious

You are irreverent

I am prejudiced

You are sensitive

I am weary

You are well-doing

I am here

You are there

I am absent

You are available

I am tired

You look exhausted

I am ready

How about you?

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The Cheat Sheet… November 4, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2055)

big WyethI thought it would be handy to have the conclusions of the past three days of jonathots placed in one essay for you to access quickly when you find yourself dealing with ProbOne, ProbTwo or ProbThree.

So what happens in a moment of weakness when you find yourself grumbling, “It’s not fair!”?

Just ask yourself:

  1. Who am I working with?
  2. What needs to be done?
  3. Where will we need to work?
  4. When is the deadline?
  5. Why is it being done?

How about when ProbTwo raises its ugly head and screams in frustration, “It’s not enough!”

Just go back to kindergarten:

  1. Cut.  Are there things we can do without, and still feel that we have enough?
  2. Paste. Sometimes it’s a good idea to delay one thing in order to take care of another.
  3. Color. Make yourself more attractive and viable by thinking, working and discussing instead of complaining.
  4. Play. Get around other folks and collaborate. The Good Book never says that God will take care of your financial needs. It says that MEN will give to you.

That’s how you handle ProbTwo.

And finally, ProbThree: “It’s not my fault!”

Look at your fingers. Where are you pointing?

  1. Are you pointing up? That means you expect God to do everything, putting Him under the gun when you’ve messed things up. It makes you feel inferior.
  2. Are you pointing down? Do you really believe the devil is to blame for all of your difficulties–or even some of them? Do you actually plan on doing battle with the fallen creature? This promotes superstition, which is never a good thing to have around when you require knowledge.
  3. Are you pointing out? Blaming other people for your situation? Remember, the best way to handle your life is to point inward, letting yourself know the magic formula for responsibility:  I have ability; I have problems. And responsibility allows me to point to myself without feeling the need for guilt. How?

I use my ability to help my problems and I use my problems to enhance my abilities.

You may want to believe that your tribulations are unique, but really, pretty much all of them fall into these three categories.

I thought you might like to have them on one reference page.

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ProbTwo… November 2, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2054)

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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Corn on the Cob… April 12, 2013

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cornOn Sunday morning, I will journey to Helotes Hills United Methodist Church in Helotes, Texas. Please understand how delighted I was to discover that the word “helotes” translates as corn on the cob.”

How perfect for me.

Because bluntly, by today’s standards–I’m corny. I don’t pursue macho things in order to be a man, nor do I favor feminine things, to make my sexuality ambiguous. I like things that are real and touch human beings as a whole, instead of segmenting us off into color, size, sexuality or gender.

I’m corny.

Unashamedly, I cry when I run across something that is moving to my soul. I like to love my country, even though there are those who overdo it and those who under-do it. I am not ashamed of my faith in God, although I don’t wear it as a badge to make myself a policeman over other people’s morality, or as a means of establishing my supremacy in traveling first class on the Good Ship Lollipop to heaven.

I’m corny. But what exactly does that mean?

1. I lead with my heart. I will not arrive in Helotes Hills desiring to maintain a healthy distance from these dear folks so as to qualify myself as an artist or a theologian. I want to shake their hands. I want to hug their necks if they’ll let me. I want to laugh with them and I want to cry. Nothing any good happens in the human family if we’re not ready to feel.

2. Once I feel, it opens my spirit. That’s right–faith is when we allow God to speak to us through the feelings of our hearts. Nothing registers in us as people simply because it’s read from the Bible. It has to come with some emotion: a story or some way to stimulate our innards. Then we open up our spirits and faith happens.

3. Once my spirit opens, my mind can be renewed. Yes, that means I can get a little fervor in my thinking. My brain actually lays there like a big pile of mush if I don’t give it some shocking new revelation that gets me thinking again. I want to have fervor. I want my reasoning to grow to the fullness of the measure of the stature of Jesus. I know that sounds corny. So be it.

4. And finally, I want my strength to be empowered. I want to give my body some focus about the best things to do instead of floating from one mishap to another, trying to pretend that things aren’t as bad as they seem.

I want feeling, faith, fervor and focus–so I am going to involve my heart, soul, mind and strength in the experience I will enjoy with the good folks at Helotes Hills.

After all, this is the corn–and I guess that would make me … the cob.

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