Jesonian: Three in One … June 28th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jane Fonda in Klute

The exact phrasing is, “He needed to go to Samaria.”

Jesus made a decision to pass through Samaria instead of being a good little Jewish boy and going around that province which was known for its heresy and wickedness.

I think I now realize why he did it.

He had a meeting at a well in Sychar. In that one encounter, he succeeded in passing on, for all time and to all generations, his heart on gender equality, judging morality and racial bigotry.

Let’s look at the story.

Having sent his disciples away to get food, he strikes up a conversation with a woman from Samaria. This means very little to us in our day and age, but in the season that Jesus of Nazareth lived on the earth, men and women did not talk. They just copulated.

She was surprised.

She was suspicious.

Honestly, considering her background, she probably thought he was trying to make a pass at her.

He wasn’t.

He talked to her. His conversation with this woman in Sychar was no different in its intensity and intelligence from the conversation he had with Nicodemus, a learned male Pharisee.

Jesus was telling us the following:

Men and women are equals and the more they act like humans, the better they’ll get along with each other.

Secondly, in the midst of the conversation, he asked the woman to go get her husband. She replied, “I have no husband.”

Jesus replied, “You have spoken well, for you’ve had five husbands and the man you’re living with now is not your husband.”

Though she was not totally forthcoming with Jesus about her status, she didn’t lie. He thanked her for telling him as much of the truth as she was able to put forth.

He made no moral judgment on her.

He did not condemn her for having multiple marriages nor insist that she was living in sin.

He established for all time, “I will welcome anyone who’s honest about their sexuality and their situation without offering condemnation.”

And finally, when the disciples showed up and saw him talking to a woman who was of a different belief and race, they were upset–in that “religious folk way.”

You know what I mean? They started whispering among themselves.

Jesus got the disciples out of there so he could establish what he really felt about bigotry, that being:

“I will ignore and fight against racism even if it makes people uncomfortable or my friends disagree.”

In one meeting, Jesus handled three of the largest issues of our time:

  • Gender equality
  • Human sexuality
  • And racism.

And I think if you read it very carefully in the Good Book in John the 4th Chapter, you will understand that to Jesus, women are humans, people shouldn’t be judged by their moral choices and racism is evil.

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Three Ways to Confront a Friend … January 15, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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two girls talking bigger

It is never wise to express your opinion and wishes to someone who is not a close friend. If you choose to do this, it will normally fall into the category of interference or condemnation.

But on those occasions when dear friends or family members are struggling, it may become necessary to confront them.

The question is, how do you do it?

  • Self-righteousness is sickening.
  • Preaching is pushy.
  • And instructing is boring.

Here are the three ways I recommend for confronting friends or loved ones:

1. Ask them, “Are you satisfied with where you are?”

One of the best things you can do for others is to get them to think again. For after all, when we are hassled, we have a tendency to shut down our brains and live off of our emotions. Just asking them if they’re satisfied can open up the floodgates to conversation.

2. Ask them, “Can I do anything to help?”

I’ve never seen a word of advice lift a burden. If you arrive with a heart to assist instead of insist, you allow humility to open the door to understanding.

Truthfully, people don’t need us to take over their lives–just help them for a little while.

3. And finally, once the conversation gets going, say, “Here’s what I hope for you.”

Criticizing bad behavior does not stimulate repentance. Believing in people is the best way to get their attention. Tell your friend what you hope for him.

Of course, people can become so overly sensitive that even these three approaches can be misinterpreted as judging.

But normally, if you ask them if they’re satisfied, if there’s anything you can do to help, and then paint a picture of what you hope they can achieve, their heart will be softened, the spirit engaged, the mind renewed and the passion to do something… rejuvenated.

 

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Three Things You Can Do Today to Change Your Life… June 12, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jan lipsIn a great push for unconditional love and accepting people “just as they are,” we have closed the door on the benefit and blessing of self-improvement.

Here’s my take: I don’t want your unconditional love.

I want you to let me know how I can do things better, and then grant me your unconditional mercy as I move forward and try.

I don’t want you to accept me just the way I am if it’s going to make me obnoxious, shorten my life or pull me away from my potential success.

Minus condemnation, please clue me in on an idea which will enhance my possibilities.

Here is a truthful statement–it is much easier to repent of silly foibles than it is to constantly offend other people and try to cover one’s mistakes.

Candidly, the process is not complicated. Matter of fact, I would like to suggest three things you can do today which could change your life. If you pursue them for a twenty-four hour period, they will produce such obvious blessing that you may choose to continue.

1. Tell the truth.

Every one of us has found shortcuts and side streets from the path of honesty. I don’t know if we think it’s clever, intelligent or just fun to pull the wool over people’s eyes, but you will be astounded at how freeing it is to answer yes or no, or give an accurate account of your present situation.

Just try it for one day.Jan eyes

Now, I am not talking about going into your past and confessing all of your sins. I am merely speaking of taking today’s situations and baptizing them in the truth.

2. Don’t make promises.

If you don’t want to do something, try to tell people your real feelings. If you can’t do that without hurting them, don’t promise to participate, but instead, tell them you will think about it or attempt to participate.

People are quick to jump on our words and turn them into promises, so you must make sure you are clear that you’re either unwilling to join, or undecided.

3. Avoid excuses.

Jan earThe most annoying attribute in the human personality is explaining our motivations, hoping it will replace positive action. What a bunch of hogwash.

Stand behind what you did or apologize for it–but never try to persuade people who have been affronted by your actions to understand why you slighted them.

These are the three things you can change today which will not only make you a better human, but will immediately increase the trust people have in you, and therefore open the door to more acceptance.

Somewhere along the line, our culture needs to realize that accepting one another as we are is negating the power for human beings to evolve.

Isn’t it interesting that a generation which touts the importance of evolution wants to emotionally and spiritually stay the same?

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

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Populie: Be Careful What You Say… June 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2254)

sticks and stones“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.”

Many generations have used that little adage as a philosophy to handle the bullying, accusations and lies that fly around when our race attempts to jockey for position.

In times past, a man or woman were judged by what they did instead of what they said. (Honestly, a slip of the tongue is very common on the icy roads of daily fumbling.)

But the choices we make in how we interact with one another and the deeds we choose to perform are in our power.

Yet nowadays, we are obsessed with “right speak.” And “right speak,” by the way, is determined by the mood of the moment.

So very little is being accomplished because the whole world is self-conscious–to make sure and say the appropriate thing.

Religion loves this populie because it sets up a scenario for what we shall call a false persecution complex. If we can convince God that the heathen are attacking us verbally, perhaps some of our indifference and spiritual awkwardness will be forgiven, considering how bullied we are.

Politics uses this “be careful what you say” trend to attack opponents and also to pull up lame, hoping to gain the sympathy of the electorate over false reports.

And of course, entertainment finds this populie profitable because it allows them to test the boundaries of free speech and sell tickets based on alleged controversy.

Yet the most recent bizarre example is that of Donald Sterling and the tape that surfaced with his paramour, discussing racial issues.

First and foremost, that particular conversation he had with the young lady was private. I, for one, would not want things I share in my business meetings with friends and comrades to be trumpeted and played out on CNN.

Secondly, Donald Sterling has done many deeds of prejudice over the years, which should have been called out instead of using the back door of illegal intrusion to alienate and defile him.

Bluntly, I don’t want to judge anyone on his or her words. I will leave that to Almighty God. My job is to look at the fruit people bear in their lives, to determine the soul of their human matter.

Even though we’re not allowed to judge, we are entitled to view the efforts and deeds of our fellow human beings to ascertain their mission and goals.

Not only are we becoming too sensitive to words, believing they actually do break bones, but we are also creating a generation of false apologizers, who have turned repentance into a political maneuver and social evasion.

“I’m sorry” needs to mean “I’m sorry” again. Otherwise, it’s just a gentler way of proclaiming, “Leave me alone.”

Case in point: the chances of me saying something wrong in a daily column are innumerable. But I will not allow you to judge me by a term, a paragraph, or even one entire essay. My life is available for review and is played out on any Google search. Click away.

With that in mind, let me tell you how I believe things should be reviewed:

1. Hear.

Yes, listen for something you agree with and then take the leap to believe in it. Stop trying to be safe with your language so you can please everybody. Commit to something.

2. Do.

Don’t preach at people. Don’t quote scriptures, the Constitution or the latest popular book. Take that belief you have claimed and put it to a challenge, to grant it credibility.

3. Share.

And then, once you’ve gained a testimony–a piece of evidence–don’t decide for others that they should walk in your moccasins. Just tell your story.

I am not going to be careful about what I say. Because of that, I will make errors that are sometimes contrary to my actual heart, life and doings. Instead:

I will hear things that I believe and follow them.

I will do those things faithfully to see if they stand the test of time.

And then I will share my story with no condemnation or criticism in your direction.

In a world where we decry bullying, we are all eventually cast into the role of bully. Then what do you do?

I think we are best served by going back to defending ourselves against sticks and stones … and regain our sense of humor about mere words.

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The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Unconditional Growth… July 18, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1946)

couchI remember it vividly.

A mother came to me for counsel with her nineteen-year-old daughter, She explained that her parenting principle had always been “unconditional love.” All at once, in the middle of the mother’s speech, the girl interrupted, screeching, “Yes, mom! You gave met unconditional love, but you didn’t teach me how to make myself lovable!”

Perhaps that’s why we need two–a pair of parents, that is–one to maintain the standard while the other assures the child that there is no condemnation.

The Good Book tells us that God “disciplines those He loves”–and the truth of the matter is, a heaven with no hell is an invitation to mediocrity. And a hell with no benefit of a heaven is a plunge into dark despair.

In our generation, unconditional love has just become another “feel good” lie. We have several of them:

  • Everyone is unique.
  • Everyone deserves an equal chance
  • There is no prejudice in our society.
  •  And unconditional love is what we should offer one another.

But this is not the way human beings work. Certainly we need the reassurance that our inadequacies will not result in exclusion, but each one of us also needs to know that there IS a point of excellence which is required of us in order to be included in the circle of the celebration.

After God created man and woman, He told them to be fruitful–to multiply and replenish the earth. You can either believe that this was a message of mere exhortation, or realize that it was the yardstick set by the Divine for human development.

Be fruitful: don’t settle for what you’re doing if there’s a possibility of pursuing just a little further.

Multiply: take what you have and use it instead of hiding it, deriding it or explaining away your indecision through fear.

Replenish: stop being a taker. Give something back before you demand your next shipment.

When we finally arrive at the concept that unconditional love is really a belief in unconditional growth–a balance between maintaining a standard and making sure that those around us feel free of condemnation–yes, if we don’t start instituting that practice, we will have an ambiguous mission for our generation, which will leave people crying “foul” simply because they are challenged to do their jobs.

So if God isn’t always patting us on the head, telling us how cute we are, but instead, demanding that we repent and revise our deeds, why would we think that child-rearing should be any different?

Unconditional growth–the amazing mixture of maintaining the standard while providing the gentle reassurance of no condemnation.

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Beautiful … August 16, 2012

  • Loser — Part 3
    (1,609)

I am not beautiful.

I have known this for some time. Ever since I realized that the mirror before me was a reflecting piece of glass instead of a gateway to find Alice, I have been fairly aware of my status. What astounds me is the evolution that has occurred in the reaction I receive from people when making that simple statement. When I was a kid, if I said, “I am not beautiful,” the response from those around me would be, “Well, who is?” But now there’s a severe emotional handicap that causes people to literally rebuke me if I happen to be candid about my obvious condition. To say “I’m not beautiful” is considered poor self-worth, a blemish on self-esteem.

So nowadays, human beings,rather than finding a way to be truthful about their own feelings in situations, have to hide them behind a mask of verbal propriety, which literally requires that we always put their best foot forward and never become critical of their situations. Now, I might be impressed with this if it actually made better people. But instead, it creates haughtiness, a defensive nature and a whole lot of cover-up about what we know to be true.

I arrived early for my gig last night, so I found a secluded section of the parking lot and sat, enjoying the beauty of the day. Directly in front of my eyes was a patch of weeds which the landscaper had obviously ignored or had not yet put on his daily list of activities. I thought to myself, how do I know these are weeds? They’re perfectly green–just like other plants. They’re growing like …well… like a weed. Some of them even had little flowers on them, to increase the possibility for approval. But I knew they were weeds, and because I had this knowledge, I judged them harshly. It made me laugh. Basically, I am a weed.

Here I was, sitting in the parking lot of this strange church, ready to go in to set up my equipment and do my presentation–and I can tell you of a certainty, after forty years of performing, I am still not confident of my own ability. I am never sure I have enough. Truthfully, I do not know why anyone would want to listen. I am aware of the many distractions that leap before the human eye, to draw people away to other pursuits. Lots of folks would think it’s ridiculous for me to be so insecure about what I do, which they would tell me is done quite well.

But the answer is simple:

  • I have lost
  • I can lose
  • And therefore I am acquainted with being a loser.

That particular three-pronged passage would cause many people to be critical of me, telling me that I need to have more confidence and be more assertive. But it’s just not true. If I wrote in this jonathots that I’m a winner, that I can’t lose and that I have never been a loser, you might nod your head because society tells you that such proclamations have become appropriate.

But honestly, part of you would despise me. None of us like arrogant people, even when their conceit has some basis in reality. We want our geniuses to admit to moments of stupidity. We want our beauty queens to share a story about their battle with pimples. We want our politicians to admit they made a mistake, and therefore they are flip-flopping towards a more enlightened conclusion. I think we’re all grateful for a God who destroyed the world with a flood, but then turned around and admitted He was sorry He did it.

There is no power in being beautiful. There is no warmth in proclaiming your superiority. Anyone who would get in a van and travel across this country meeting strangers every single week, should be a little uncertain of the conclusions. If he or she isn’t, they are just self-deluded and overwrought about their own talents.

I believe I am valuable to God and other people because I know I’m not beautiful. I cannot stand in front of an audience with a straight face and tell them that all of my choices, ideas and ventures have been successful. They haven’t.

But until we understand that weakness, losing and even being a loser is a part of this experience on our cruise of earth, we will be in danger of either becoming obnoxious or just outright liars.

Because I am not beautiful and I am a loser, here’s what I do:

1. I work on my heart–my emotions. I want them pure.  I try the best I can to make sure that what I tell people is the closest thing to the truth as I see it now.

2. I also put my soul on notice that it is not allowed to be pompous or religious. My soul has two jobs–to be grateful to God and free of condemnation of others.

3. Because I know I’m a loser, I renew my mind by keeping it young, contemporary and evolving it towards discovering things that I don’t presently know.

4. And when it comes to my body, what I can do–my best choice–is to perform as well as I can without looking ridiculous. That’s it.

Trying to keep from being a loser is forsaking your humanity and attempting to make yourself a God among your peers. But when you’re able to admit you’re a loser and you work on your heart to keep it pure, your soul to be grateful and free of condemnation, your mind to be young and evolving and your body, to do the best it can without “jumping the shark,” you will have fellowship with many people and be of value to the world around you.

I am not beautiful–and by the way … I am so glad.

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