Good News and Better News… October 9th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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This weekend was the Fall Festival at the Emmaus Lutheran Church in Orange City, Florida. Also appearing, on the under card, were Cring & Clazzy.

Please understand, I am not lamenting having second billing. After all, the church does use the occasion to raise funds for a very worthy cause.

It’s just that in this season of mediocrity colliding with confusion, the church can no longer take an approach of “business as usual,” as it prepares for the Pumpkin Patch sale, while the huge hand basket arrives to take everybody to hell.

What are the needed adjustments?

What is the responsibility of the fellowship of the followers of Jesus in this season of turmoil and tribulation?

The first and foremost principle that we as Christians and churchgoers need to understand is the power we possess, instead of complaining over our inability to affect circumstances.

One of my sons contacted me this weekend in frustration and said, “Pop, what can we do?”

From his message I sensed that he had a real heart to make a difference, but all he sees are gray walls of discontentment closing in on him. Perhaps the answer is so simple that it escapes those who are trying to participate in complex study. Here’s the path:

Stop trying to do what you can’t do.

In the pursuit of equality, we believe that everybody, everywhere, has equal ability for everything. What could be more ridiculous?

About fifteen years ago, I was traveling with my family band. During a performance, I turned to the audience in speaking about my oldest son’s bass guitar playing, and shared that Jesus was impressed, because “my boy plays bass guitar better than Jesus.” It was a jocular toss-off, based upon Jesus himself saying that “greater things would we do because he goes to the Father.” But it offended the pastor, who insisted that if Jesus wanted to play bass guitar, he’d be the “best bass guitar player in the world.”

We have become defensive. Desiring to do everything, we’ve ended up doing nothing. Keep in mind that perseverance is a virtue–but “stubborn” is a vice.

God the Father has given Mother Nature to us to clarify what we are good at and what we aren’t. If you have tried to do something five or six times and failed on each occasion, number seven is not going to work either. Although you may find testimonials of people insisting it was on the 28th occasion of launching their idea when it finally worked, God is pretty merciful. He lets us know when something is growing and when something is dying.

So that’s my message to the people of Emmaus and also to the folks who faithfully read this blog.

Stop trying to do things you can’t do.

It opens the door for others to perform their talent and magic, while you watch. And then they can step back and allow you the platform for your gifts.

We will continue to flounder in a series of projects, proposals and even prayers–unless we begin to assess what we do that actually works, and what we continue to chase, hoping it will catch fire.

The good news is that each one of you has gifts that have market quality and human ministry.

The better news is, if you will stop trying to do what you can’t do, you’ll have so much more time for what you do well.

 

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G-Poppers … October 6th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop wants his children to understand about the sliding scale.

Although the human tribe insists on believing that goals are set and achieved, most of the time, we all fall short of the original aspiration, and end up settling for something a little bit different, if not lesser.

At that point, it is our nature to explain that what we attained is “just as good,” and if we’re smart, turn it into something of value.

So when Jesus told his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount to be merciful because it was the only way to guarantee mercy coming back in their direction, he was pointing out that if we do not set our minds to be merciful, we will never offer kindness.

Yes, kindness is about the best human beings can muster in dealing with one another. But to generate kindness, you’ve got to try for mercy–and mercy is that sense that it’s really none of our business, and we step away without judging whatsoever.

Kindness is the empathy that comes into our souls when we see someone fail and we recall our own sensations in failure.

Yet if you set your goal to be kind, you’ll probably end up with considerate. That means if someone is right in front of you and in need, you more than likely will put yourself out a little bit and lend a helping hand.

There are those who think that mercy and kindness are much too tender. So they try for considerate, and on the sliding scale, end up with tolerance. Yes, they patiently “put up” with foibles and attributes of other human beings while internally they harbor some hidden resentment.

Those who try for toleration eventually end up with indifference. Why? Because as you can imagine, toleration requires quite an effort, and sometimes it’s just better to stand at a distance and not get involved.

There are travelers who live a life of indifference, and suddenly find themselves plagued by complaining. Because even though we distance ourselves from other people, they don’t go away, and because they hang around with notable nagging nonsense, we are left complaining about them to other people.

Dare I say there are even human beings who start their day as complainers, and by the end of their morning and afternoon, as evening settles, they simmer in anger. Since no one really listens to their complaining, and what they complain about has not changed, they feel justified in being completely angry with the situation.

Would you believe there are people who live in anger, and as they look at the world around them, confirming their dark visions, they are suddenly engorged in a spirit of rage. They are the ticking time bombs–too sensitive to touch and ready to go off when least expected. And unfortunately, those souls who awaken in rage, on the sliding scale, eventually find themselves murderous.

There is a sliding scale.

So as we contemplate what causes a brother to fire thousands of bullets into a crowd, we must realize that maybe at one time, he wanted to be considerate, but the scale slid, and as it did, he did nothing to correct his course.

 

 

 

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Jesonian–Troubling (Part 7)… August 12th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesonian-cover-amazon

Troubling.

To see disciples of Jesus line up like sheep, with astrologers and superstitious, ignorant practitioners of religion, to pray their way to a blessing, is truly troublesome.

It is the byproduct of a gigantic misconception: God is in control.Nothing could be further from the truth.

We are told that Jesus came to Earth to give us the power to become the sons of God. He envisioned a church that was fired up to tear down the gates of hell:

  • More than conquerors
  • Salt of the Earth
  • Light of the world
  • Doing greater things
  • Pursuing the perfection they see in their Father

He never dreamed that those who chose to take up his cross would end up helpless, fearful, bigoted and hog-tied to tradition.

It is pitiful to see churches worshipping a God they believe has power, but selfishly refuses to impart any of that gift to His children.

When will we start teaching the truth?

Our lives do not spring from the soul. We are not mentally ignited. Nor will stimulation of our flesh make us content.

We are heart creatures. Out of the abundance of our heart we will speak. Out heart is our passion, our feelings, our sentiment.

Here’s the way Jesus intended it to be:

We start with the heart. This is simply what we feel. It does not need to be right–it just needs to be truthful. Having found the confidence to share our heart gives us the boldness to believe.

This leads to our soul. Our soul benefits us by teaching us how things work–both the tenderness of the Father and the practices of Mother Nature.

Once we’ve allowed ourselves to be students of the planet and the love of God, we’re ready to take our brain and see what we can do. Not what we wish we could do, but the ability within us. So we learn to be contributors instead of complainers.

And then we take this magnificent body–our strength–and go out and do it well. For as we run the first mile, we anticipate the second. We come prepared.

This is the teaching of Jesus.

The barbaric notion that God plays with human lives as the devil taunts them may be the foundation for other religions, but it is spiritually and intellectually unacceptable in the Jesonian.

The Jesonian is when we realize that our heart–what we feel–gives credence to our soul, where we learn how things work. This renews our minds, to find out what we can do, and then we take our energy to do it well.

Such a unity creates healthy human beings–instead of faltering followers.

 

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G-Poppers … March 3rd 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop wants to share a pair of principles with his children. Even though they are very simple, he wants to take a minute to review them, along with some of the attacks that have risen.

1. Do good work.

Seems rather logical, doesn’t it? But we’ve replaced this sentiment with other thoughts we think are the same:

  • “He has talent.”
  • “He’s on a learning curve.”
  • “She had a bad day.”
  • “He was overwhelmed.”
  • “She misunderstood the assignment.”

Do you see? Good work consists of:

A. “This is what needs to be done. ”

B. “This is how I’m going to do it.”

C. “This is the finished product, just as promised.”

America is sacrificing quality in the pursuit of making everybody feel good about themselves. It is important that sometimes we feel bad about ourselves, so some ultimate improvement can come of it.

2. Make your work look easy.

We pride ourselves in expressing exasperation, anger and exhaustion over our jobs. Work plus complaining is not only ineffective labor, but it’s unacceptable because it taints the environment.

Just think how productivity in America could jump simply by declaring war on too many opinions and too much bitching.

It all revolves around the fact that we think we’re too important. So when we fail, we want everybody to agree that given the circumstances, they wouldn’t have done any better.

So G-Pop thinks we should return to this pair of principles:

Do your work well

Make it look easy.

If a plumber is charging me $40 an hour, I do not want him to return in three hours with sweat on his brow, explaining what a difficult job it was. I will never hire him again.

He needs to return in forty minutes–with a smile on his face, listening to my gratitude and saying, “No big deal. It’s my job.”

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G-Poppers … December 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

Christmas is one of those rare occasions when we actually get to lead with our heart, lighting up our soul, renewing our mind, to energize our strength.

Too often we become “soulish,” espousing doctrines dusty with meaningless detail, or “mindful,” relying on the existing training in our brain.

Perhaps worst of all, we surrender to the notion that our “body of work” is really just our body.

Christmas is different.

Christmas breaks all the rules of conventional wisdom by asking us to be emotional instead of prescribing medication to inhibit it.

Christmas is when we have a choice to become the best child of our possibility instead of languishing in adult complaining.

Christmas is when we insist that there has to be joy instead of yielding to the nonsense of “nothingness.”

Yes–Christmas is a state of “somethingness.”

It is a dream which becomes a plan and is implemented by a spirit of giving and surprised by receiving.

Without Christmas, we would imitate our “sick-in-bed” face 365 days a year–a frown that leaves us pale, with a sense of hopelessness.

Christmas is beautiful–if for no other reason than the fact that it pisses off arrogant, self-righteous, intellectually elite and bigoted souls.

It exposes the Scrooge while pointing at the Grinch and making us consider the power of the Little Drummer Boy.

It is “somethingness.”

It is daring to conceive a dream, and then being willing to chase it through the snow “on a one-horse open sleigh.”

We need Christmas much more than Christmas needs us.

We need a Baby Savior. Otherwise, we are drawn into the pit of the pernicious boredom of theologians.

To break our chauvinism, we require that the Prince of Peace was born of a woman–without the assistance of a penis.

It shatters our images of dreary sameness.

And when it arrives we guzzle from its trough like dying men plucked from the desert.

So here’s to the state of “somethingness.”

Here’s to your joy.

Here’s to our hope.

And from G-Pop to you, Merry Christmas.

 

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Good News and Better News… November 14th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-belmont-sunflowerJesus offered a tender warning to each of us: Mother Nature does not favor us more than a tree branch full of sparrows.

Therefore we will be greatly disappointed if we do not access our willingness to repent and our endearing quality of good cheer. Without repentance and cheer, we become exhausted in our futility.

What is it that exhausts us?

This was fresh on my mind when I drove to the Belmont United Methodist Church in suburban Dayton, and encountered some excellent new friends. Pastor Randy, Mike, Janet, Terry, Larry and a whole bunch of other sparkling souls made us feel at home (once they realized we had arrived with no intention of robbing the joint.)

And as I had the blessing of standing in front of the congregation on Sunday morning to share my vision, it occurred to me that the actions and craziness of our society had worn out the people sitting in front of me.

But there were some surprises. There was one lady who came all the way from Mansfield, Ohio, after seeing us last week, and brought along one of her friends, who lives in Dayton. There was a great sense of anticipation in the air–that the spirit of innovation might just visit us with a baptism of rejuvenation.

Being exhausted is debilitating. It makes us believe we can’t do what we once did, and if we could, we’d rather not. So to get rid of that exhaustion that causes us to falter in the midst of our journey, we need to declare war on two nasty little faith drainers:

The first one is judging.

It will nearly wear you down to a nub of nothing if you think it’s your job to evaluate the lives of other people. It’s hard enough to breathe on your own. It’s even worse when you try to take the breath out of the life of someone else.

We are grouchy when we judge, we are ill-tempered, we are picky, we are fussy and we end up taking our eyes off of our own ability.

The second exhausting activity is complaining.

Every time we convince ourselves that we don’t have enough, we always end up failing to use what we have. Complaining happens when the brain overrides the spirit and creates an unholy alliance with aggravated emotion. We have an exaggerated sense of importance which causes us to think that we’re worthy of more than our daily bread.good-news-belmont-sign

So the first thing we did in Belmont yesterday was judge judging and complain about complaining.

Suddenly energy began to fill the room. We were no longer feeling the need to criticize other people or critique God and Nature because they failed to give us the quality we think we deserve.

The good news is that when you stop judging others and complaining about your life, exhaustion gets tired and leaves.

The better news is that when exhaustion stumbles away, we actually want to do things instead of feeling like we have to.

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Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

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An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … August 20th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: It really perturbed me.

 

Dear Woman: “Perturbed?” What an odd word.

 

Dear Man: Well, I didn’t want to use “mad” or “angry.” I was looking for a softer term and I came up with perturbed.

 

Dear Woman: So, what perturbed you?

 

Dear Man: I was listening to some pundit on television talk about sexual politics.

 

Dear Woman: Sexual politics… I don’t hear that much anymore.

 

Dear Man: No. because we’ve taken it for granted. Now we call it gender wars, battle of the sexes…

 

Dear Woman: And the reason it upset you?

 

Dear Man: Not everything is politics. Not everything is a struggle for power and money. There are so many lies, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

 

Dear Woman: And if you did begin, you wouldn’t be able to finish because sexual politics is big business. Billions of dollars are made every year in television, movies, books and seminars, keeping the conflict going, so there is a lot at stake to keep men and women at odds.

 

Dear Man: So you’re saying that in a battle for power and money, we pretend that there’s a battle for power and money.

 

Dear Woman: Basically. Here’s how I know. The truth is, women don’t get along any better with women than they do men, and men don’t get along better with men than they do women. Women vie for place and men kill each other in war.

 

Dear Man: Wow. I hadn’t thought of that. Actually, the human beings that get along best are men and women, because they do succeed in procreating and raising families.

 

Dear Woman: Sometimes. But when you add the dimension of politics, then it’s kind of like men become the Republicans and women are the Democrats.

 

Dear Man: I see what you mean. In other words, men are the level-headed pragmatists and women are the “feely-good” liberals.

 

Dear Woman: Exactly. So what I think needs to be done…

 

Dear Man: Let me step in here and tell you what I think. I believe we need to call it out every time we see it. Every time that smirk comes across the face of a man, or a woman takes on the profile of bitching and complaining about a male problem, we should step in and say that if men and women can’t get along, the human race is doomed.

 

Dear Woman: Well, of course it is. If 50% of the people are fighting 50% of the people, you have a 0% chance of survival. But keep in mind, this applies to civil rights, too.

 

Dear Man: What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: There’s money to be made in civil rights. Keeping black people agitated and white people pumped up with a sense of superiority generates huge donations to causes and eliminates the common sense of finding things we share.

 

Dear Man: So do you think it’s sinister?

 

Dear Woman: No, I think it’s greedy. If you’re a comedian making millions of dollars off of sexual politics, why would you repent and try to find another way to make millions of dollars?

 

Dear Man: So without a quiet revolution which gradually makes prejudice taboo, we will live in an ignited atmosphere of sexual politics, which feathers the nest of those odd birds who want to make a living off of the struggle for more power and more money.

 

Dear Woman: Exactly. That’s why the most important thing to remember is that we have a human problem, not a gender problem. We have a human problem, not a race problem. We have a human problem, not a cultural problem. And we have a human problem, not battles between nations.

 

Dear Man: Sounds impossible.

 

Dear Woman: It does, doesn’t it? Of course, we could take the first step. You and I can agree.

 

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