1 Thing You Need to Know This Week

There is no success without overcoming

You will not be able to overwhelm the whole world

You can’t overtake everyone in the competition

You won’t walk on water, so don’t go overboard

People are not afraid of your overwrought reaction

Overcomplicated is a real turn-off

Overlooking is flat-out annoying

Change is to come. Get over yourself.

Find your weakness, and deal with it before you find yourself over the hill.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 27) Carpet Bombing … October 30th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3110)

Reverend Meningsbee

You can’t have valleys without mountains. It’s the beauty of the landscape of life.

In the midst of the sludge of mundane activity and the alarm of tragedies, there are everyday decisions which either tickle the funny bone or leave us with a tiny ball of aggravation which tends to growl for weeks after the infestation.

Mike and Maggie had been wed for thirty-two years. They were married at the Garsonville Church. They had served on almost every committee, and faithfully performed the duties of nearly all positions. Although they loved each other dearly, they rarely agreed when it came to matters of what should be done with the sanctuary.

Ten years earlier, they had a huge conflict–long before Meningsbee arrived–about carpet.

Maggie was a traditionalist, a woman whose grandparents came to America from Ireland during the potato famine. She had fiery red hair, now streaked with gray, and possessed a Catholic passion with her Protestant faith.

Her husband, on the other hand, was a progressive–well, as progressive as you dare be in Garsonville, Nebraska. He nearly convinced a majority of the church board to sell the organ to put a down-payment on a project to build a gymnasium, so the local kids could come and play games on Saturday, with the intent that they might decide to stay over for Sunday services out of curiosity.

The measure lost by one vote. Maggie’s.

Even though the two loved each other faithfully, they rarely agreed on God’s will for Garsonville.

So when it was time to purchase carpet ten years earlier, Maggie insisted the only suitable color for the sanctuary was red. She had two reasons. Red carpet was a sign of welcoming and also a tribute to the blood of Jesus.

Mike strongly disagreed. He contended it was “just too red.” He led a group which desired cranberry carpet from Dalton, Georgia. Amazingly, this time, unlike the gymnasium, the “cranberries” won.

So the sanctuary was covered with cranberry carpet, much to the chagrin of Maggie and her crimson cohorts.

Now, recently…

There had been complaints that the cranberry carpet was looking dingy and needed to be cleaned, so it was agreed to find a contractor to remove all the pews so the carpet could be shampooed. It was quite a job.

Several local carpet cleaners bid on the job but it was the Garsonville Bubble-Uppers, a new firm in town, which underpriced the competition and was given the contract.

Arrangements were made to hold services elsewhere for two weeks so the cleaners could have full access to the church and be able to do a great job.

Everyone was elated. Maggie thought cleaning the carpet might make it more red, and Mike was convinced that such a cleansing would restore the original beauty of his cranberry vision.

But no one was prepared for what happened.

One of the young men working with the Bubble-Uppers thought it might be a good idea to add a little bleach to the concoction which was traditionally used by the company. He didn’t inform anyone of his decision–just poured it in.

So they scrubbed the carpets faithfully, only to discover when they returned the next day that the cranberry carpets had been transformed.

They were orange.

Bright orange.

The Bubble-Uppers were very apologetic, and refused to charge the church for their services, but a very shocked and bewildered congregation restored its pews on top of a carpet ablaze with bright fall-colored pumpkin.

Everyone was afraid to say too much about it–they knew there was no money in the budget to get new carpeting.

So for the first time ever, Mike and Maggie came to consolation.

Mike decided that orange was better than red and Maggie was convinced that it was closer to red than that horrible cranberry.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 17) Parking Lotsa… August 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3040)

Reverend Meningsbee

It was apparently the Sunday that would never end.

As Meningsbee headed out the door of the church, evicted from the House of God by Sister Matrisse, standing next to his car was a smiling Sammy Collins, with all the jovial attributes of a freshly pardoned Thanksgiving turkey.

Sammy rushed toward him, vigorously shook the pastor’s hand, and gave him a huge “Day of Pentecost” bear hug–the kind that leaves you torn between appreciation and embarrassment.

Releasing his grip, Sammy blurted, “Are you prepared to take in about fifty ready-to-go souls who already know where the exits are and the location of the bathrooms?”

With this he laughed–very pleased with his joke, which he obviously had rehearsed.

Meningsbee crinkled his face. This gave Brother Collins permission to continue.

“Whoo-ee! We had a big blow-up this morning down at the church at the Holiday Inn Express–so much so that the front desk lady came and told us to tone it down. We were bothering the other guests who were still enjoying their continental breakfast.”

“What was the problem?” said Meningsbee, concerned.

“I confronted him,” said Sammy. “Yes, I confronted Patrick Swanson about what he said to you in my living room the night I invited you over to fellowship in my home.”

“You heard?” asked Meningsbee.

“Yes. I snuck in the dark room where my kids keep their toys–nearly tripped over a Tonka truck–but I was curious why Patrick wanted to talk to you. Never one to be shy, I decided that since it was my home, I had the right to know.”

“So you’re the one who told everybody in the church about our conversation.”

“Absolutely.”

“Well, he thought it was me,” cited Meningsbee.

“Sorry about that, but I had to let him think that way until I could get all the friends and neighbors organized for the revolt, and the opportunity to return to the Garsonville Church–our home church. Preacher, most of my kin is buried out there in the back section of the property. I could show you their gravestones. This is my church. This is where I want to live. This is where I want to die. So we’re comin’ back.”

Meningsbee stood quietly. The joy on Sammy’s face had disappeared quickly as he told his tale of dissension and vengeance. He was now flushed and also a bit bewildered about why the good reverend was not jumping up and down for the chance to include more sheep and coffer stuffing.

Meningsbee realized he had to say something. “Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. I love ya’. But the church is not a club, though it might seem that way since we collect weekly dues. It’s not a game. The choices we make are often life and death. You must believe me when I tell you that the church also is not a family reunion, though we are all part of the same bloodline. God knows, it’s not a political party. We’ve already chosen our leader. Sammy, well…it’s an adventure. Or maybe a competition. Yes, it’s an adventurous competition, to see who can love their neighbor as themselves the most and still remain deliriously happy.”

Sammy’s dark cloud burst. “Listen, Meningsbee, I didn’t come for a sermon.”

“Oh, you’ve gotta forgive me,” said the pastor. “I didn’t get to preach one today so I guess I felt a little cheated.”

Sammy frowned like a frowning man frowns when frowning is in order. “So you don’t want us?”

“I don’t get to choose,” said Meningsbee. “I was just explaining to you how we view the kingdom of God.”

So … Sammy Collins turned on his heel and walked back to his car sadly because he was very religious.

 

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Good News and Better News … March 28th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2887)

All the holy books

It would only take me a few moments to point out the verses from the Good Book that are often used in solitary context to promote gender bias, prejudice, ignorance, arrogance and selfishness–and truthfully, those who stump these verses outnumber my simple faith.

So I am a bit confused when Muslims pretend they are bewildered by what causes the zealots within their ranks to interpret the teachings of Mohammed in a way that fosters terrorism.

Yes, it really is a source of aggravation to me that a Muslim woman will sit on television with her head covering, sharing that the Muslim faith has nothing whatsoever to do with anything but peace and love.

I will tell you–most Christians are not concerned about peace and love. Many of them only want to go to heaven while keeping the club as exclusive as possible.

So let’s stop all the bull crap.

Muslims know what their book says, just like I know what my book says. And some of the things in my book make me nervous–especially when they are isolated by mean-spirited people who are determined to hurt others.

Likewise, the Koran has passages that welcome the decimation of the infidel.

So it’s time for us, as intelligent, evolving, loving and giving people, to realize that religion needs some restrictions.

After all, we have already done this. Even as we insist that religious freedom is holy in this country, we certainly do not tolerate human sacrifice in a religious service, nor have we granted tax exempt status to the Ku Klux Klan, even though they insist they’re the white Christian church.

We cannot live on a planet that allows people to worship a God who is anti-human.

I will give you three examples. This trio of holy principles must be honored in every religion–otherwise, it is not a true expression of faith, but rather, a secret plot against mankind.

When you tell me you have a religion, I have three questions:

1. What does your God think about women?

Since women are at least half the planet, if they aren’t given equality in your religion, then your belief must be ignored.

2. What does your God say about free will?

If your religious observance contends that we are all bound by destiny, God’s will and God’s law instead of choosing our decisions for ourselves, then you will eventually start hearing voices telling you to kill off the competition.

3. What does your God think about judging the lives of others?

For if you’re following a deity that is more concerned about the “jot and the tittle” instead of the “tot and those who have little,” then I will tell you that you will gradually try to eliminate the sinners, thinking that you’re pleasing the saints.

If religion does not provide equality for all, free will for each one of us and the righteous position of being able to make our mistakes without being judged by others, then it is really not a belief in a Creator, but rather, pursuing an avenger.

That’s the good news.

Please don’t tell me you are baffled by how religion hurts people. Instead, follow some better news:

Start encouraging belief in a heavenly Father who honors men and women, offers free will and refuses to allow us to judge.

 

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 b

Getting in Character… August 17th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2666)

choking

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

Don’t kill off the competition.

You will be tempted to do so. The world around you encourages deception–in a passionate way–to gain a footing to win the role. And in doing so, you may be taught to be a detractor of another person’s talent.

Most plays have two main roles, and a whole bunch of character opportunities. Maybe you envision yourself to be a “lead role” type of person. But the deck is stacked against you, because once someone has been given a lead role and they’ve been successful, making money for the corporation, they will be favored for the next lead role.

You may find yourself disgruntled, on the sidelines, badmouthing the stars and insisting that you could do just as well.

No one likes that person. That person is normally written into the script of life as a villain or a pathetic loser.

To avoid the anger which leads to rage and jealousy, causing us to assassinate the character of our fellow-travelers, it is very important to learn where to go to be both happy and productive.

It’s a simple, four-step process:

1. Find a hole.

Yes, there are many things that are left undone, partially because they’re not very glamorous, or they appear to be more difficult. Find one of these–not just “the road less traveled,” but the opportunity less pursued.

2. Fill the hole.

Take that talent you’ve been reserving for the spotlight and move it stage right or stage left, and allow your best performance to shine.

3. Invite friends.

That’s right. Include other people in what you’ve discovered. There is nothing more powerful than making an obscure idea popular, and then walking away from it, so that you can…

4. Find a new hole.

The minute you discover that what you have begun has gained traction, look ahead to what humankind needs and start moving towards it.

There is no such thing as being “ahead of your time.” If you’re not ahead of your time, you’re waiting in line. Actually, being ahead of your time is just having the intelligence to know what is needed, and beating others to the market.

You will have a tendency to be a killer if you don’t learn how to be a doer.

And to become a doer, your job is not to build a super-highway, but instead… find great joy in filling in the pot holes.

 

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Getting in Character … July 27th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2645)

Siskell and Ebert

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

A good performance does not guarantee a good response.

Learning this may be the secret to both contentment and success.

Somewhere along the line, we have acquired the idea that good things eventually receive acclaim. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are factors at work in the marketplace of humanity that are often geared to eliminate competition by thrusting good ideas, good sensations and even good performances to the rear. Otherwise, mediocrity would have no chance of surviving–and we all know that the mediocre is often hoisted on the shoulders of the masses and proclaimed to be excellent.

So the first thing we must do is establish a standard for ourselves that is higher than present expectation.

There’s a simple reason for this:

If we do receive rave reviews, then we know that it was brought about by concerted effort rather than luck. And if we don’t, we can have confidence that any persecution or retribution that comes our way is more than likely being spawned from some pit of prejudice or jackal of jealousy.

So if we’re not going to always receive what we’re due for our performance, what is the purpose of trying to excel, or stepping out on the stage of life to display our hearts in the first place?

Every real performance which is practiced and perfected affords us four delightful conclusions:

1. We can stop lying.

That in itself should be enough to encourage us toward developing the glorious rendition of our part.

2. Every good performance exposes our insecurities.

Isn’t it fascinating that rehearsal always brings the faults to the forefront, and then we can decide whether we are secure enough to improve them?

3. Performance eliminates conceit.

There is no need to be conceited about something that is obviously good. Conceit is generally birthed in a person who privately fears that what he or she has to share is insufficient. So they try to cover it up with pomp and circumstance.

4. And finally, the pursuit of a great performance, whether regaled with honors or not, gives us a huge opportunity to overcome our fears:

  • Fear of failing
  • Fear of obscurity
  • Fear of being critiqued
  • And fear of suffering injustice while knowing deep in our hearts that we’re doing something of great quality

The truth of the matter is, great does not always rate. It doesn’t come with a guaranteed award.

But it does reward us with a true sense of confidence… that we have stepped out and found our best.

 

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Populie: You’ve Got to Play the Game … August 20, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2328)

 

monoplyThere is a popular assertion by the masses that “life is a game.” It is usually accompanied by the rallying cry–which is also a lie–that “you’ve got to play the game.”

Thus a populie.

Now, religion, politics and entertainment don’t always have to agree on a premise for it to gain popularity. Sometimes they disagree, which generates great tension, and therefore, press coverage.

So religion loves to believe that the world is kind of a bad place and the poor sheep must be careful not to be consumed by the evil lurking in every direction, thus giving their congregations the benefit of both being morally superior while also potentially victims.

Entertainment loves to bounce between promoting the game and criticizing the game of life, placing itself into the position of being the arbiter.

And of course, politicians love to portray their opponents as gamesmen, and themselves as “the straight arrows of truth.”

Oh, forgive me. I failed to mention what the game is. Here it is in a nutshell:

  1. Get mine
  2. Get it fast
  3. Get going.

We are convinced that life is much more exciting when we acquire what we need–perhaps to the detriment of others. It turns us into a vicious, nasty, grouchy, backbiting lot, always paranoid about the intentions of the folks around us, and never quite satisfied when we do achieve our goals because we’re afraid they’ll be stolen from us by those who want to “get theirs, get it fast and get going.”

So once you believe in this game you never have a moment of rest, because you are either involved in the pursuit or else cladding yourself in armor, to protect your valuables.

You can imagine–I disagree.

I will refrain from calling my idea a game. Rather, it is a lifestyle. It is as follows:

  1. Get mine.
  2. Get yours
  3. Get moving

There’s nothing wrong with me pursuing mine first, as long as I am willing to give the same passion, doorway and opportunity to you, to acquire yours. As a result, I make an ally instead of an enemy. I’m acquiring a comrade instead of competition.

So perhaps when we go on our next adventure we can do it together. We can get it for both of us, and get moving much more effectively.

The cynical American would insist that I’m opening my life up, to be decimated by the greedy. But I would point out that the greedy individuals in life don’t need me to open up in order to eliminate me.

I would rather make the choice.

As long as you believe that the game is about garnering your portion and being gleeful that someone else failed, you are just waiting for a bigger bus to come along and strike you down.

I don’t believe in the game.

I will not play the game.

I will get mine, and through that process have the confidence to help you get yours, so we can get moving … together.

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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