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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G-Poppers … October 13th, 2017

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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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G-Poppers … July 29th, 2016

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G-Pop has to be careful.

There are things he wants to share, but he desperately wants to avoid the possibility of thinking that his ideas are sparkling diamonds, when the younger generation views them as cubic zirconia.

Sometimes though, things are too important to avoid uttering.

After watching the conventions by both American political parties, one abiding realization came to the forefront:

  • Hypocrisy is never attractive.
  • Hypocrisy is never viable.
  • And hypocrisy is eventually exposed and tormented for its stupidity.

If we’re going to move forward as a nation, we have to understand, there is one enduring truth that runs like a golden strain throughout the human experience:

Don’t do what you don’t like.

If you’ve discovered that something is distasteful, don’t think that adopting the same indiscretion into your own actions suddenly purifies it. Even though the Golden Rule is powerful, this “Platinum Rule”–don’t do what you don’t like–procures a needful humility and allows your voice to be heard above the crowd.

Both the Democrats and the Republicans stumble in double-talk. They criticize one another for variations on the same things they, themselves, do.

G-Pop wants his children to know that mistakes are forgivable, but hypocrisy is unpardonable.

So G-Pop says:

1. Always be prepared to fail and change.

Failure is inevitable. Change, on the other hand, is the only thing that you personally control. You can’t stop failure, but you can initiate change, making yourself look ingenious.

2. Have compassion for all people.

The lack of consideration for one group of people immediately opens the door for you to be rejected by those who deem themselves superior.

3. Have a sense of humor about yourself.

Laughing at yourself a lot before you laugh with others a little.

4. Listen to people, especially if they’re smarter than you.

Of course, you would have to admit there are people who are smarter. But before you humiliate yourself and insist that you alone possess all wisdom, be prepared to notice those who’ve accumulated information which you require to do better.

Even though all four of these fall into the realm of common sense, until you make them common practice, you will not be able to achieve the common good.

 

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G-Poppers … April 29th, 2016

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G-Pop has a healthy and energetic disagreement with those who say they’re “sick and tired.”

Matter of fact, this phrase has become one of the favorite patters of the pundits.

“America is angry…”

Of course they’re angry. They live in a democracy where most of the time they won’t get their way. It’s the law of averages.

How often will your particular preference be in the majority? And if it isn’t, you are culturally and politically pushed to the side in favor of the plurality.

As I said, it’s called democracy–and democracy is like broccoli. No one particularly favors it, but everyone knows it’s good for them.

For example, if you want guns, be prepared to accept gays.

If you want to choose how you worship, make sure you understand that you must give every woman the right to choose what she does with her own body.

And if you love to celebrate the heritage of your genealogy, be fully aware there are those who are trying to come into our country who would also love to begin their own experience of generations.

If you are intent on pursuing your path and agenda exclusively, you will have to find a leader–a king, a queen, a shah, a dictator, an ayatollah–who agrees with your ideas, and place this person in power, being aware that eventually this absolute ruler will come along and take away something you really enjoy.

Otherwise, you should stay with a system called America, which is horribly flawed, but equally punishing to all of its citizens. And what is this punishment?

  • You’re not going to get what you want.
  • You will be part of an experiment of discovering the common good.

So for those who think America is angry, let me say: Get over it.

You are free.

But so is he.

And so is she.

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Good News and Better News … April 4th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News and Better News Woodmont

It’s 9:53 A. M. and time for me to go into the sanctuary at Woodmont United Methodist Church in Reidsville, North Carolina, and share the little bit I know. (Fortunately, it’s only an hour, or I would quickly run out of smart stuff.)

There’s nothing terribly impressive about me, so as I get out of my wheelchair to hobble and creak my way over to the piano bench, the gathered host of God probably feel more pity than enthusiasm.

It doesn’t matter.

They have spent the whole week being overwhelmed by politicians, pundits and individuals of all shapes and forms who believe in establishing their prowess through dominance.

So as I look out at my soon-to-be friends, I feel compassion–because they’re man-handled.

They are continually manipulated, coerced and even criticized into believing that “might makes right,” and “the loudest always gets to be the proudest.”

They are peppered with the message that it is an “I” against an “I”–and teeth are made for biting.

Yet with all the promotion of this philosophy, the world still falters–with terrorists now telling us that God thinks we should be blown up, or at least shot multiple times with bullets.

So in that sacred moment, I realize that the House of Jesus needs to be a safe haven from the stupidity of prideful demolition.

Man-handling. What is it?

1. “You gotta fight. Stand up for yourself! Speak your mind. It’s a free country. If you don’t defend yourself, people will walk on you.”

But even in a room filled with just a hundred voices, if everybody speaks up for him or herself, nobody gets heard.

So my message?

Stop fighting and wait for an ingenious idea from the Holy Spirit, to handle the next situation.

Also, the man-handlers want you to know:

2. “Life is complicated.”

If they don’t convince you of that, how can they sell you the improved product, the new book, the fresh idea or the present political candidate?

So I decided to tell the folks at Woodmont to simplify.

After all, I never saw anybody get anything done in a better way because they complicated it. Even if I were an ant, my job would be to find the shortest distance to get the crumbs to my nest.

And finally, all the man-handlers want to make it clear that:

3. “We’re all different.”

Since nowadays it’s basically considered to be ignorant to be a bigot, we hide behind the disguise of “cultural choices” to promote our prejudice.

In other words, since “blacks like things done a certain way,” that’s why they hang out together, and “Chinese people prefer chopsticks instead of forks.” But rather than this teaching tolerance, we’re just promoting isolation.

My answer to the man-handlers is to find commonality among us all.

The forefathers said there is such a thing as the common good.

Here, here.

So as I got ready to strike my first note and begin the service, what crossed my mind was that these people really need to be “God-handled.”

Since I possess no divine qualities whatsoever, I chose to imitate the heavenly Father’s personality profile.

I brought mercy. Mercy-handling.

That’s the good news.

And the better news is that being merciful gets much easier when you realize that you don’t necessarily know what you’re doing.

Therefore you have a desire … to be generous to others.

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G-Poppers… October 2nd, 2015

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No one is better than anyone else.

G-Pop teaches all of his children this universal principle.

It creates the even playing field, where we can start finding the better parts of our humanity.

Unfortunately, there is an imitator out there in the social media which tempts G-Pop’s kids with a falsehood:

Everyone is different.

It seems to be an open-minded, gentle, accepting and tolerant approach. The fact is. every war, conflict and dissension in the history of mankind has been fueled by this idea that everyone is different.

After a while, we get tired of being willing and we retreat to our high-minded sense of superiority.

We get weary of being restrained and we start cursing others.

And then, we give up, go out and try to kill them.

This approach has other disguised phrases:

  • Everyone has a culture.
  • Everyone deserves a chance.
  • Everyone should have what they need.
  • Everyone matters.

Even though these sound sweet to the ear, they are sour to the tastefulness required to create justice.

We don’t need a culture, especially when it alienates us from others. Feel free to have customs and preferences, but don’t use them as an excuse to separate you off from the rest of the world.

Secondly, we’re not guaranteed a chance unless we’re willing to grant the same blessing to others. Those who refuse will ultimately be refused.

Also, aiding the needy has a noble edge, but no one deserves to have their daily bread without offering their daily willingness.

And finally, the truth is, we don’t matter unless we are willing to let others matter equally. Segregating a segregationist is necessary to eliminate segregation.

So what is the answer?

Let’s start with common sense.

Common sense says that God is no respecter of persons. In other words, America is not exceptional and the rest of the world trailing behind.

This affords us the opportunity for common ground.

God loves the whole world. As a human being, I have one job: to express His mercy to the world around me. His judgment belongs to Him and Him alone. I am not supposed to separate the wheat from the weeds–He will do that when the last trumpet sounds.

And ultimately, common good.

Jesus made it clear that if we love our family and friends more than other people, we are heathens. It’s pretty direct, isn’t it? It is my responsibility to extend the same grace, compassion and humor to strangers that I afford my children.

Everyone is not different. We share much in common, including sin.

And because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we have a “humanhood” of inadequacy which should give us the tenderness to express generosity to those around us. 

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G-Poppers… August 28th, 2015

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G-Pop is aware that it is virtually impossible to tell his grandchildren to be wary of what is popular, when the very essence of their contentment is tied up in becoming part of “the popular crowd.” Taking a stand on an issue for a teenager is certainly the equivalent of social suicide, if not a temptation to completely whack oneself.

But by the same token, that which is popular is rarely proportional. It is some extreme which has been selected to create the dangerous blend of rebellion and pleasure or it’s just popular because it seems easier because we have not yet traveled it all the way down the road.

Yet looking at today’s thinking, G-Pop felt compelled to share with his teen and pre-teen three popular ideas which have practically become absorbed into the fabric of our society, creating a stain.

1. This is what you are and this is what I am.

We believe that squaring off with each other over minor issues, or what we even call “culture differences,” entitles us to be disrespectful of others and selfish with our own motives.

  • Where is the notion of common ground?
  • Where is the pursuit of the common good?
  • And where is the reverence for common sense?

Although it’s popular to dig in, place your hands on your hips, jut your jaw out, and pridefully declare your independence, nothing is ever achieved with this profile.

2. We’re only human.

Somewhere along the line, we have simultaneously lifted human foibles up on our shoulders as free-will choice, while at the same time, projecting the idea that all humans are stupid and worthless.

Here’s the truth about humans: God was so proud when He created us that He invested His breath of life in us. No other creature on Earth was given that distinction.

We’ll become better as a populous when we understand that being a human is an honor, and requires that we rise to the occasion instead of sink in the mire.

3. Everyone lies.

I watched four or five television shows last night and the consensus was that human beings lie, it’s not a problem and we just need to learn to live with it.

If a situation is intolerable then it must be changed–and we all find that when others lie to us, it is completely unacceptable, so pretending that it is cleansed by the fact that “we do it, too” is not going to benefit the harmony of human interaction.

Even those these three ideas are popular–you’re you and I’m me, we’re only human and everyone lies–nothing good has ever come from them.

What needs to become popular is that we have more in common than different, being human is the greatest gift from God and lying is the sure way to crucify a relationship.

 

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