G-Poppers … October 13th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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In the course of human humblings, it becomes the responsibility of sane souls near and far to pose the blessed question: “What is truly important?”

Without pursuing this answer, we are soon bumbling, fumbling and stumbling our way to utter dissatisfaction, leaving us…well, grumbling.

Unfortunately, the answer to “what is truly important?” can not be derived by forming a committee. Committees critically over-analyze, dismiss with no resolution, to sip bitter coffee and crunch day-old Danish.

Some brave individuals seek solution in politics–but anything that has to be voted on can be controlled by either buying off the voter or fooling the electorate.

Pious souls across the globe go to prayer, asking God to bring solutions, believing their praise is sufficient involvement. But as most of us find out, God rarely does a one-man show. He works with an unrehearsed cast on an available stage.

I guess some people believe money is the most important thing in the world because it can buy the things we want, which keeps us from feeling in need. Yes–we are scared to death of being without. But then we encounter those souls who possess it all, who end up feeling they have nothing.

What is really important?

What is the reason for us to still be here in the midst of a common struggle for a common good?

For we do find some things to be self-evident.

Since God created us all, we have a common Father. It is a good place to start.

Since science and Mother Nature are at work in our world, there is much we can learn about ways to get along just by studying the atmosphere around us.

But it is the territory within our three square feet–where we live, breathe, eat, think and wrestle with our own appetites–that determines our true sense of worth.

So what is really important?

  • Find what you can do.
  • Do it well.
  • Let other people do the same.
  • Help out where you can.

Like so many solutions, it may seem simple and inadequate to cover the variety of conflict that threatens us. But when you look it again, you will grasp its scope.

Wisdom begins with knowing what is important:

This is what I can do. I will work on doing it better. I will give you the freedom to do the same. And if something comes up within my ability, I will try to help out.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … June 11th, 2016

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Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Man: I was twelve years old when I came to my mother and told her I wanted to join the Jr. High football team. She looked startled and then she laughed and said, “No. You can’t. But you can be a cheerleader.” I had never thought about cheering for someone else. I was shocked. It seemed that society was training me to be a Mommy.

 

Dear Woman: So you think it’s a plot? Do you think there’s some committee somewhere that watches carefully for young girls to turn twelve, and then makes sure to transform them into cheerleaders instead of football players?

 

Dear Man: Don’t you? Maybe not a plot, but a programming chip that is slipped into society’s consciousness. So my whole training from that point on, after twelve years of age, was to be a Mommy. It consisted of “get ready to cheer, get ready to worry”, and finally, “get ready to support.”

 

Dear Woman: So you feel that our society encourages femininity as long as it cheers, worries and supports?

 

Dear Man: Yes. Look at the situation comedies on TV. Even the women who are supposed to be strong find themselves cheering, worrying incessantly and supporting the family.

 

Dear Woman: Well, when I was twelve I wanted to go out for the football team, too–mainly because I liked the uniform. I was immediately informed that I could no longer fall down and cry. I couldn’t accept comfort from my Mommy anymore. I wasn’t a little boy, but was instead commanded to be a man, which consisted of three aspects: “get ready to struggle, get ready to fight, get ready to win.” Any young guy who was unwilling to do this ended up in drama or music and was assumed to be queer.

 

Dear Man: A bit overly simplistic?

 

Dear Woman: Not any more than yours. It seems to me that our culture is frightened by the individual who might contradict the genitalia. That’s why, when a man stays home to take care of the children and the woman works, we refer to it as “role reversal.” In other words, “you can do it, but you’re weird.”

 

Dear Man: So it’s difficult for me to believe that we’re born with all these gender tendencies, when just before puberty we are suddenly snatched away and put in different camps to study for future positions. Me, a Mommy, you a Man.

 

Dear Woman: Otherwise, it wouldn’t make the news that a girl is a field goal kicker at a high school…

 

Dear Man: …or that a boy graduated at the top of his home economics class.

 

Dear Woman: So why the manipulation?

 

Dear Man: I think it’s because we feel if we don’t force children into their roles, we might not be able to maintain the species, because the natural interest we have for romance with each other might be insufficient.

 

Dear Woman: So what do you think we should do? I guess what I’m asking is, what did you do when your mother tried to turn you into a cheerleader instead of a linebacker?

 

Dear Man: I bought it. I learned to cheer, worry and support–and I’m trying now to go through rehabilitation to become just a human being and find out what I really want to do. How about you?

 

Dear Woman: Me, too. I struggled, I fought, I won–and when I didn’t win, I learned to make excuses or cheat. Now I’m trying to withdraw from the masculine drug and just become a decent person.

 

Dear Man: Why do they make it so hard?

 

Dear Woman: Because somebody made it hard on them.

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Good News and Better News … April 11th, 2016

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Good News Grays Chapel

Yesterday I was at Grays Chapel United Methodist Church.

It is located in a place called Grays Chapel, North Carolina, which has been granted the blessing of a name despite its size.

I liked them.

I’m not so sure they liked me at first because after all, I was a stranger. Because I was a stranger, I was therefore suspect.

Isn’t it interesting that most of the problems that come to us in life are hatched by friends and family? Rarely are we inundated by a predicament brought about by someone we don’t know.

That said, I had to make a decision on what I wanted to say to these fine folk. I mingled my words with songs, music and a bit of humor.

Yet, it is important to have a core message.

My core is so simple that it probably leaves some people attending my events a little disappointed–because I fail to attack the right people or praise those usually deemed worthy. So my success rate is very good, but is also plagued by the lack of having an adequate enemy we can all hate. Matter of fact, you can boil down what I have to say to the following:

1. The Gospel is good news.

I know people can find bad news in the Good Book, but I’ve never been one to try to turn it into the “Bad Book.” Maybe that makes my mission seem a little too simple or fluffy.

I don’t care.

People get enough bad news without having me set up my equipment and blare it from the PA system.

2. Jesus lived a human life.

Every attempt we make to turn Jesus of Nazareth into Apollo– who was purported to be half god and half man–makes him none of either.

The power of the life of Jesus is that even though he was driven by a calling and anointed by Spirit, he was bound by flesh.

It makes what he has to say much more pertinent to our lives, instead of him coming across as some professor from heaven, wonkishly trying to explain how things work to a bunch of dumb students.

3. Run from what’s complicated.

I do it all the time.

I meet individuals who think it takes a committee meeting to turn on a light switch. They spend more time discussing the Rules of Order than ordering someone to step in and rule.

Jesus said his way was simple and easy. My thought is, whenever things are is no longer falling under that gentle approach, they are probably also no longer Jesus.

So that’s the good news I had to share with the people of Grays Chapel. I don’t know whether it impressed them. Perhaps they wished I would attack the Republican, curse a Democrat, or whisper a stance I hold on what people should do in their bedrooms.

I don’t care.

The good news is:

  • The Gospel is good news.
  • Jesus came to be human.
  • And life is not meant to be complicated.

Oh, by the way–there’s one piece of better news:

Don’t leave love.

No matter how much you get tempted to redefine your commitment to the human race with some other emotion than love, abandon it. Even when you disagree or you think something is evil, don’t leave love.

May God find each one of us in a loving state of mind … when He, and He alone, decides to judge the world.

 

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Jesonian: I’ve Got a Question… September 27th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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hand

Jesus went to church.

He didn’t go there to hear the pastor preach or the praise band’s licks.

He went there because it is meant to be a bastion for souls who are in need.

At church that day was Willie with the withered hand. (I don’t know his name was Willie, but to give the story a little color, let’s call him that.)

There were also a bunch of religious people sitting around who didn’t particularly like Jesus. The reason they didn’t like Jesus was because he didn’t honor the rituals, the standards and their concepts of worship.

He came to church to help people.

I know this because Jesus asked them a question:

“Are we supposed to use church to help people, to save lives or just to convince one another that we’ve fulfilled the worship calendar?”

They didn’t answer him.

Jesus becomes angry. Do you know why? Because of the hardness of their hearts. Somewhere along the line the worship of God had become more important than the helping of people.

So even though he would receive great criticism, Jesus goes ahead and heals Willie.

And rather than coming out of the church service convicted by the power of a miracle–convinced to become more conscientious at loving the human race–the religious folks leave, get together in a committee, trying to figure out how to get rid of the renegade, Jesus.

So heads up:

When how we conduct church becomes more important than using the time to help people…we are damned by the same angry stare of a loving Jesus.

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Iffing Way (Part 7) Nic at Night … December 1, 2014

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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If bigger

What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

He was summoned, forcibly invited.

He felt like a schoolboy under the control of the master, with no will of his own. But he knew what it was about.

The head chair on a committee where he sat had a vendetta. Now, the distinguished leader would choose to call it something else. Perhaps “a needful intrusion.” “A holy mission.” Or even, “a matter of course.”

He knew better.

He wasn’t sure if it was jealousy on the part of the chair person, ignorance, or even something as simple as an ongoing tiff with his wife which had left him grumpy.

It wasn’t the first time there had been a summons. No, many times the subject had been discussed and debated, but finally tabled, with everyone leaving in a huff, unfulfilled.

But this time was different. Apparently the boss now felt he had the votes to pull off his will.

It was all so bizarre.

In the midst of a decline of popularity of the national faith, a young man from Nazareth had arrived on the scene and re-energized the populace. Now, an intelligent conclave of distinguished fellows might have seen this as an opportunity to bring in fresh blood and move people to spiritual awareness. But this particular gathering of theologians and pseudo-politicians lacked vision.

He was preplexed. What was even more confusing to him was that he had made a journey by night to visit this young man who was stirring up the religious system. He clearly remembered two words from their discourse:

“Born again.”

The carpenter-turned-preacher had told him that he needed to be “reborn” to be in step with what was going on. He was offended. So because he considered himself to be a dynamic debater, he tried to make the young Galilean feel stupid or awkward by challenging the meaning of the term. Facts are, he knew what this young Jesus meant by “born again.”

Everything around him reeked of old–ancient ideas and meaningless practices.

Yet that night, he’d found himself walking away–trying to include the message of the Nazarene instead of being born again into it.

But this was different.

He knew that Caiaphas was in charge of the board, and was seeking to levy punishment against this innocent unaware.

What was he going to do?

He prided himself on the fact that he was smarter than Caiaphas because the officious leader was so headstrong that he frequently left himself wide open for counter-point.

Yet he had grown weary of argument and become known as a sympathizer, which was now rendering him ineffective among his peers. After all, it was not only improper, but illegal to be a follower of Jesus.

Arriving at the meeting, it quickly became obvious that Caiaphas had a death warrant for Jesus.

What was he going to do? Should he remain silent, and still curry the favor of his fellows? Or was it time to be born again and use the wisdom and style that he had developed over years of practice, to help save the life of the freshest idea to come around in decades?

It was nighttime again. But this time he would not walk away and pretend he didn’t understand.

He made a case against Caiaphas–quietly, reverently, but also with a conniving purpose. In no time at all, the stubborn Pharisee was speaking double-talk and the committee dismissed itself to go back to their homes, unresolved.

Jesus was saved for another night.

Jesus would be able to continue to teach.

And Nicodemus would be able to hold his head high and just maybe start the process in his life…of being born again.

 

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Populie: The Battle Between Good and Evil … October 22, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus and the devil

Sometimes I believe that the promotion of “good” is merely permission to be pious and the elevation of “evil” is just a bunch of geeks from high school, who think it’s neat to scare people with their darker side.

It ends up promoting this popular lie–populie–of “the battle between good and evil.”

Religion is enthralled with the concept because it allows for an all-powerful God to flex His muscle against a strong Luciferian army which is doomed to failure, but in the meantime frightens the world with all sorts of dastardly deeds.

Amazingly, entertainment is obsessed with the notion because it welcomes witches, demons, flying dragons and all sorts of apocalyptic paraphernalia, to keep the audience on the edge of its seat, wondering if any glimmer of goodness can survive.

Politics learned a long time ago that it’s a lot easier to motivate people by getting them to hate something than to love something.

So if we hate evil and those who perform the nefarious deeds, we can don the cloak of righteousness and represent purity to the world around us.

So the original Soviet Union was not deemed to be a dumb government complexity, but rather, must be referred to as “the evil empire” in order to create a devilish enemy.

I am weary of it all.

I am especially weary of those who tell me that I can’t believe in God unless I believe in Satan. They insist that because the Bible proclaims that this fallen angel exists as a real creature of festering fussiness, that I must embrace the ideology that surrounds him or else deny the validity of the Holy Book.

Yet when the storyline plays out in the Good Book, the saner writers tell me frankly that every temptation comes from my own lust.

I am told that God doesn’t tempt me, nor does He desire for me to be tempted.

Matter of fact, Jesus said, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

So what is evil?

Evil occurs when the good that humans could have accomplished is delayed or tabled in committee.

Good transpires when evil is stopped by humans who are thinking ahead.

To me it’s just that simple.

Every evil that has happened on the planet earth since the beginning of time has human fingerprints. There are no claw marks left behind, nor cloven hoofprints. It always has something to do with someone who just failed, in some way or another, to love his or her neighbor as themselves.

We are drawn away by our own lusts.

Love is available to us but it does not allow us to dominate or destroy, so instead, we pursue lust.

  • It is the source of all iniquity.
  • It is the source of all evil.

As long as we believe that we are the pawns in a gigantic chess game between God and Beelzebub, we will fail to take responsibility for our own deeds and instead, act helpless when we’ve been given the power of a sound mind instead of a spirit of fear.

I know there will be many people who disagree with me, and since I do not hold the golden key to universal truth in my hand, these detractors may be right.

But I don’t think we become better people by blaming an outside force for our own damned laziness.

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Acada-not me … March 3, 2014

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Academy AwardsThomas Jefferson was a fascinating gent. Attributed with the main authorship of the Declaration of Independence, he established a precept–“all men are created equal.”

Although he did not follow this philosophy through by freeing his slaves, he did contend that elitism and segregation by the hierarchy from the average man was anti-American.

So after I finished having a wonderful evening with fine folks in Chino Valley, Arizona, I arrived home just in time to see the last hour of the Academy Awards.

I nearly gagged through the whole experience. The presumption, pomp and circumstance and “holier-than-thou” attitudes expressed by Hollywood are so contrary to the Jeffersonian approach to freedom that this institution of the Academy of Arts and Sciences is more suited for the court of King George.

Let’s look at the basic premises.

Hollywood makes movies because they are artistic. So in the first premise is the notion that most people aren’t as gifted and talented as those living on “the coast with the most.”

Secondly, Hollywood makes a certain type of movie because they are superior to the masses, who may require some inspiration with their entertainment, but those wishes must be ignored in favor of more high-minded goals.

And finally, the masses are so ignorant and unable to assess quality that those in the Academy vote on their own material within their own ranks–because certainly John Q. Public is too dense to comprehend the subtle nuances of art.

Would you explain how this is any different from our two-party political system, which nowadays only marches to platform ideals, rather than to the heart of the people, or the religious system, which proclaims that the people’s desires to be ministered to in a certain way is childish, and therefore more pious avenues must be pursued?

Candidly, anytime a committee gets together and decides what anybody else thinks–other than the people on the committee–you are dealing with an arrogance which will certainly turn around and bite you in the ass.

And even though the same Hollywood that criticizes the National Rifle Association for being backwoods in their philosophy about guns takes those same guns and put them in their movies, with violent and bloody conclusions, under the guise of “realistic entertainment.”

I, for one, am weary of such hypocrisy.

I know it is considered to be intellectual and open-minded to view the movie “Twelve Years a Slave” as an exposition of the debauchery of slavery in this country, but here’s the problem: the subject is not new and we are not any less racially divided because these movies are made. The people who are already angry over slavery become angrier and the people who are defensive over the issue just become more defensive.

Hollywood continues to make movies they like without asking me–or you, for that matter. We are supposed to sit at home in our underwear watching the show, submitting to the supposed supremacy of the tuxedo-clad crowd, knowing that we have no business challenging their predilections.

I am against elitism in all of its forms. It turns our country into arrogant, bratty children, who stand across the playground from one another behind their makeshift forts, hurling snowballs.

  • The Academy is not for me. It is a self-indulgent buffet for fat cats.
  • The religious system is not for me. It is a cloister of over-educated religionists who have lost contact with the congregation.
  • And the political system is not for me. It is a conglomeration of competitive children trying to get voted into a club that doesn’t do anything but make s’mores in the treehouse.

Can we do better?

Not until we admit to ourselves that we are not great. It is not necessary to be great. It is only wise to realize what Thomas Jefferson shared–that no one is better than anyone else.

 

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