G-Poppers … May 25th, 2018

G-Pop would like to take today to talk to his children about anger and lust. No human being can live without ​them. Some folks may try to quell their desires, but this stifling often leads to repression. Therefore it would seem that every ​soul​ needs anger and lust.​ ​In our country we have become obsessed with tracking down lust, and not nearly as concerned with channeling anger.

There is a very wise adage which states, “The imaginations of a man’s heart are evil continually from his youth.”

With that in mind, it may be completely ridiculous, if not mean-spirited, to think that any one of us is ever going to be free of rage or minus indiscretion. Yet we ​choose to ​isolate off harassment, chauvinism and improper sexual behavior as if these are worse than the nastiness and evil spewed from the mouths of people to support their ca​se​ in the name of ​their cause.

​Consider this: are we actually going to be able to find a man living on Planet Earth who has not had a slip of the tongue and ​stumbled into a bone-headed moment? Is it​ realistic to believe that, in search of romance, flirtation ​might become abusive and hurtful?

Granted, we need to teach our young men and women, from an early age, how to conduct themselves ​in addressing their sexuality, and ultimately pursuing the time​-​old tradition of mating.

But G-Pop believes it must start with anger, for sexual harassment and rape ​are​ merely lust which has traveled from ​unwanted ​interest to ​violence​.​ ​And much of the anger that ​evolves into mayhem and murder is uncontrolled lust for the possessions, life and goods of another person.

Our churches, our schools and especially our homes need to be training grounds, to turn anger into questioning and a desire to find answers, and channel our lusts toward respectfully a​pproaching the space, person and dignity of th​e​ individual we might be considering for a relationship.

What all of the accused men have in common is that they have blurred the lines between anger and lust.​ ​They don’t know how to flirt without being intimidating and they don’t know how to confront​ ​a​bsent a​ condescending attitude.

There is nothing wrong with the “Me, Too” movement. It is enlightening and it is opening up a conversation which is well overdue. But simultaneously, there needs to be an “All of Us” movement–which confesses that when our anger and lust are not balanced and in check, we can become dangerous to anyone who crosses our path.

G-Pop wants his children to know that anger and lust are the motivators that God has given us​ to achieve our wishes. Yet with this, as with all freedoms, comes the responsibility to balance ​matters with kindness, gentleness, equality and mercy.​

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … October 29th, 2016

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I just saw this guy that was really pissed off.

 

Woman: What was the problem?

 

Man: Well, he held the door open for this lady and she waltzed through without smiling or saying thank you, so he called her the “b word.”

 

Woman: You mean “bitch?”

 

Man: I don’t like to say that word.

 

Woman: Unless you get angry enough, right?

 

Man: That’s not fair.

 

Woman: You know what’s not fair? When men or women do kindness to one another and attach onto it the notion that they are performing this graciousness because the other party is inferior.

 

Man: I don’t know what you mean.

 

Woman: It’s the difference between being considerate and condescending.

 

Man: Give me an example.

 

Woman: It’s like that guy you saw. He held the door open because he looks at women as weaker vessels who need to be treated carefully and given space.

 

Man: What’s wrong with that?

 

Woman: It’s coming from his head. It shows that he thinks females are not as capable as he is. The same thing’s true if he buys his girlfriend flowers. She may not like flowers. But she’s supposed to like flowers because it’s built into our system that men can manipulate women with flowers. Or guys who buy women drinks at a bar. They figure by putting ten or fifteen dollars into an investment, they can purchase her time and affection.

 

Man: I don’t get it. So what should a guy do to show that he’s honoring women?

 

Woman: Stop honoring us and start accepting us. For instance, it’s all right for a woman to hold a door for a man.

 

Man: Maybe. But it feels weird.

 

Woman: Why? Because women can’t open a door?

 

Man: No, that’s not what I’m saying. Tension exists between men and women, so any piece of courtesy should be revered as helpful.

 

Woman: Wow. That sounds weird. The truth of the matter is, it’s not considerate if you think you’re going to get something off of it by doing it. Then it becomes condescending. It’s like giving two dollars to a homeless person and then chatting with your friend about how you didn’t think he or she appreciated it enough. What are homeless people supposed to do? Jump up and down? Quote scriptures? Hug you around the neck? Speak in tongues?

 

Man: No, just be grateful.

 

Woman: So how grateful should they be for two dollars? What are you expecting? What do you need to happen when you hold the door open for a woman? Must she admire you and think you’re a knight in shining armor? Or is it just a door? There’s nothing wrong with being mannerly if it is your manner. But if you’re being mannerly to try to control other people it’s condescending. And that goes for women, too–women who think men are incapable of sharing their feelings, so they check out their emails to find out what they’re thinking. Equally as despicable.

 

Man: So what do you think we should do?

 

Woman: I would rather you be rude to me and have it be natural than have you think you’re my superior simply because you opened a door for me. That’s not considerate. It’s condescending.

 

Man: Give me another example.

 

Woman: Chick movies. I’ve heard you say that one. There’s no such thing as a chick movie. There are good movies and bad movies. For instance, girls went to see Star Wars and Silence of the Lambs. And boys like to watch date movies like Love Actually when they allow themselves to escape their silliness of fear.

 

Man: You have to admit, there are things that women like and things that men like.

 

Woman: I will not admit that. Just like I won’t say that all black people like watermelon, all Mexicans make tortillas and all Chinese people like to sit around and do math problems. It’s condescending under the guise of considerate.

 

Man: So what do you think men and women should do when interacting?

 

Woman: Practice being natural until it’s natural, and until then, keep practicing. Alternate who opens doors for each other. Let me buy you a drink. How about this time I carry the extra bag of groceries instead of you. It won’t kill me, believe me. And for the record, it would be all right if you came to me and said, “We need to talk.” I don’t have to be the initiator every time. We’re all so afraid of breaking our stereotypes that we’ve stopped dancing to the same tune.

 

Man: So let me get this straight. It’s considerate if it’s in the flow and I don’t feel superior to you or magnanimous by doing it.

 

Woman: Yes–and once we get into the flow, we’re going to stop worrying about manipulating one another, relax in our own skin and find out exactly how much we have in common.

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Ask Jonathots… October 20th, 2016

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The Presidential election has raised my awareness about gender bias in America. What can I do as a woman to raise the level of respect for women?

Stop trying to raise the level of respect and equality for women. That’s a good start.

As long as you are talking about yourself as a woman, men have been trained to act overly sensitive, or worse, condescending.

The struggle is–and always will be–for human rights.

It was Jesus who used the inclusive word “neighbor” instead of focusing on a pronoun such as “he” or “she” when proclaiming who we should love.

If you treat yourself like a special case, people will never include you as part of the general population. This is why terms like “African American” do not increase fairness for the black race, but instead, qualify them as visitors to the country instead of primally intricate.

Anything you put before the word “human” is useless and ends up relegating you to a status of something different. When we stop talking about difference, we will finally get down to having an Earth-saving conversation about commonality.

You will astound the men and women around you when you start referring to yourself as a human being, a person or a fellow-traveler instead of a gender-bound individual whose feelings have to be isolated and studied for understanding.

For instance:

If a man who thinks he is being extremely equitable says to you, “What is a woman’s thinking on this?” you should respond, “I don’t know, but as a human being, my thinking is…”

If someone asks, “What’s it like being a woman?” you should respond, “It’s very human, just like being a man–except we’re able to birth duplicates.”

Keeping a sense of humor, along with an awareness of our similarities, is the path to equity.

To do this you will have to shed some of the fantasies, silliness and cultural trap doors that have been created by our society to make sure that men stay in their boxes and women remain in their dollhouses.

You can do this. It’s a simple formula:

  • Reinvent the language, you change your attitude.
  • Change your attitude, you revise your approach.
  • Revise your approach, you begin to be perceived differently.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … May 28th, 2016

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: I know you don’t exactly believe in God…

 

Dear Man: No, wait. God sounds like a great idea. It’s the “believe” part that throws me.

 

Dear Woman: What do you mean?

 

Dear Man: Let me see if I can explain. I believed in Santa Claus. I believed in Prince Charming. I believed in the American dream. I believed in the house with the white picket fence. It took a lot of energy to believe in those things, and the payoff was … well, shall we say, disappointing.

 

Dear Woman: Well, maybe I shouldn’t bring this up.

 

Dear Man: No–my heart isn’t set in stone. Let me hear what you have to say.

 

Dear Woman: It’s the story of Adam and Eve.

 

Dear Man: Oh, you mean with the talking snake?

 

Dear Woman: Yeah–let’s just put the talking snake to the side right now. I’m referring to the story line.

 

Dear Man: Okay. The story. Gotcha.

 

Dear Woman: Do you realize that the Good Book says that God considered the man and the woman together as a unit, in cooperation, to be Adam?

 

Dear Man: No, I didn’t. Really?

 

Dear Woman: Yes–they were not only created as equals, but also as what I might call “mutuals.”

 

Dear Man: Mutuals. I kind of like that. What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: Mutually independent. Mutually valuable to each other. And mutually capable.

 

Dear Man: Do you really believe that?

 

Dear Woman: Yes. So I believe the true evil in the world is when we “split the Adam.”

 

Dear Man: You mean the atomic bomb?

 

Dear Woman: No, not a-t-o-m. A-d-a-m. Whenever we insist that men and women are so drastically different from one another that peaceful coexistence can only be considered as the premise for a farce. So evil is when the Adam–the mutual man and woman, living peaceably together–is split by fear, religion, tradition or domination.

 

Dear Man: So how did this happen in Eden?

 

Dear Woman: Well, I don’t exactly know the moment it happened, but somewhere along the line, the man and the woman stopped talking together–to the extent that Eve felt that her questions would be rejected and not understood by Adam. So she goes off to investigate the unknown without her “mutual.” She does this because apparently she feels cheated, and I think she feels cheated because even though God viewed them as mutuals, Adam was beginning to desire domination.

 

Dear Man: How do you think he did that?

 

Dear Woman: My opinion? By trying to act smarter. Always putting himself in the role of the instructor. I’m sure he did it politely or even with some chivalry. But it was passed along to Eve that she was the lesser of the pair.

 

Dear Man: Keep going. This is fascinating.

 

Dear Woman: And in the process, I think Adam gave Eve the impression that he found her sexually interesting, so to a certain degree, she was afraid of becoming unattractive, or nervous about getting older.

 

Dear Man: Of course, this is all your conjecture.

 

Dear Woman: Hell, yeah. I mean, my plotline does fit with the story, and makes sense with the battle going on with the genders today. But here’s the truth–what constituted evil in Eden is the same thing that stirs it up today. Splitting the Adam. There would not have been any temptation for Adam and Eve if they had maintained their mutual beauty. But because Eve felt misunderstood and cheated, like she wasn’t as smart, and that she needed to avoid growing old, she went to the source of knowledge and got the evil with the good.

 

Dear Man: Very interesting. Of course, you’d have to believe in the story to follow your theory.

 

Dear Woman: I suppose.

 

Dear Man: So let me ask you this. What do you get out of that?

 

Dear Woman: All domination is insecurity trying to hide behind the plot to control. If you’re afraid to be a mutual, you will always try to be the most important.

 

Dear Man: Splitting the Adam, huh?

 

Dear Woman: Yes. It created an explosion of insincerity, inequality and insufferable condescending attitudes that still radiate in our world today.

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Five Rules of Fools… October 3, 2013

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1. Be yourself.fool

Please don’t. Just imagine what would happen if eight billion ants went off in different directions to express themselves instead of contributing to the common  hill. In no time at all, ants would be extinct. The real truth is, find your talent, multiply it in a direction that assists the needs of humanity and you will always have work, friends, prosperity and opportunity.

2. We are exceptional.

Spitting defiantly into the wind is one of the best ways to end up with your efforts thrown back into your face. Some of the first words ever spoken by God in the Good Book to a human being were offered to a future murderer named Cain. God’s counsel was simple: “If you do well, won’t you be accepted?”

Claiming that we are exceptional does not make us excellent. It astounds me that those who insist they are spiritual do not believe in evolution, and those who adhere to evolution often negate the spiritual. Evolution and spirituality are the same. The “survival of the fittest,” presented by Darwin, is an identical concept to “what you sow is what you reap.”

So you can continue to insist that “God loves you no matter what,” or you can take the scientific approach and believe that everything in the universe is biochemical, or you can blend the two and realize that we are not exceptional until we do exceptional things.

3. Stand up for yourself.

You can do that, but be prepared to be knocked down. If we live in a world where everybody stands up for themselves, the entire planet will square off twenty-four hours a day, with the potential for “wars and rumors of wars” causing our hearts to fail for fear. Somebody has to stand down, to buy precious time for insight to arrive with a fresh shipment.

4. Pornography is art.

We used to believe that pornography was the exploitation of women, and often men. But somewhere along the line, about twenty years ago, when the young actors on the TV Show, Friends, began joking around about “porn,” it became an acceptable practice and is now viewed by some as an art form. Pornography is not art. It takes women and puts them in the most demeaning positions of false submission so as to get off a bunch of misfits who are incapable of maintaining real relationships which require faithfulness and sexual commitment.

5. Men and women are adversaries.

There’s an old saying, which is still true: “You shouldn’t crap where you eat.”  If your primary relationship with another person is a source of giggling love, romantic pleasure, financial security and family warmth, it might be a good idea to avoid stirring the pot by making that other person feel less than you. It is rather doubtful that we can continue as a race if fifty percent of us are fighting the other fifty percent in a condescending way.

I do not know if there are unique emotional differences between men and women. Much of it is certainly cultural. But I do know that if we spotlight those differences, we will eventually find the process of mating and settling into a lifestyle together extraordinarily unpleasant, nasty and maybe eventually even avoidable.

There you go–five rules of fools, which cause everything from divorce to government shut-down.

You can pursue them, but be prepared to end up in the camp of those who demand attention instead of those who command it.

 

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The Peep Show… September 1, 2012

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She was about to begin her comedy routine. She lifted her arms, extended them toward the audience and declared with great jubilance, “I am so glad to be here in front of all my peeps!” This was followed by a cheer from the congregated horde.

It reminded me of a note I received in my email yesterday. It was from a fellow in the Buckeye State who had been deliberating whether to have me come in to share with his congregation. He had come to a decision. He felt that it was best to “pass” on the opportunity. Even though he found my material to be intelligent, powerful and poignant to our times, he believed that my outreach was a poor match for his particular gathering.

We have become a nation obsessed with the religion of our own individuality.

Even though we don’t want to establish this uniqueness by pursuing new efforts and goals, we find our value in being set apart by our preferences. It’s why the Republicans and Democrats scramble around trying to hit the right buttons to bring the favor of various portions of the electorate. For after all, the theory is that Hispanic voters want different things from black voters and senior citizens have special requests which are quite divergent from those of young people. We keep trying to play to an audience of our peeps.

It creates a three-point philosophy that continues to separate us off into tinier and tinier segments instead of coagulating our nation into a force for good. The minute you believe that different people have different needs which must be handled differently, you create the following climate:

1. “I believe I am normal.” Even though you may try to please other people and reach out to meet their desires, no one is of a mindset to think that these other people actually have a better way of doing things. Otherwise we would adopt some of their practices for our own. The minute you believe you have “peeps,” you will start to reluctantly try to find a way to reach everyone else, while privately wondering why they aren’t more “normal”–like you.

2. “Because you have preferences which are different from mine, try as I might to be magnanimous, I view these variations as weaknesses which I must adapt to in an attempt to gain your favor.” If we believe that people have great chasms of difference from us, we will have a tendency, human as we are, to perceive them as underlings. I know there are those who will disagree with these observations, contending that they have the toleration to experience diversity without drawing conclusions, but honestly, that would only be true if some of the discoveries being made ended up being part of their personal philosophy.

3. “Because I believe that I am normal, and that your preferences, though permissible, are somewhat weaker, my attempts to reach you may come off as condescending.” It would be similar to playing hip-hop music in front of a black audience and hiring a mariachi band for an Hispanic gathering. Yet that’s exactly what we do. Just like high school–juniors feel they are superior to sophomores. It isn’t true, but it gives a sense of exhilaration to lord it over an underclassman. The minute you assume that any group of people will react uniformly in a particular way when given certain stimulus, you are not only condescending, you are certainly guilty of prejudice.

So do you see the problem? Once we believe that each one of us has a particular “bird of a feather” that we are “flocking together” with we are in danger of awkwardness and even bigotry towards people who are different from us. Here’s what I would like to say to that comedian who felt she had found her “peeps,” to the Republicans and Democrats who are constantly trying to plump up their message to reach a variety of clumps, and to that fellow in Ohio who felt he had a pulse on his group of people, and understood their boundaries:

It is the job of every person born of woman to find a way to be a human being instead of just following the example of their culture.

We are all heart, soul, mind and strength.

Since I know that, I gear my message and life to the knowledge that our emotions are touched by commonality. In other words, everybody hurts. Everybody gets older. Everybody needs to learn to laugh at himself. Everybody would gain greater power by ceasing to worry.

Since I know we all have a soul, our spirits are enriched by a loving God who anticipates that we can do better. It doesn’t do any good to preach just a loving God, or certainly to present a disapproving one. Since God is your Father, whether you’re black, white, red or yellow, you want Him to love you and you’re glad He thinks you’ve got more to come.

We all have a brain, and our minds are renewed by seeing what works–not merely by education, conversation or job training. We’re human beings. We need to see what works to allow it to find root in our consciousness.

And finally, we all have a body–and that particular physical unit is enlivened by finding simpler ways to achieve good health. Don’t complicate it. Make it easy.

I don’t care what audience I’m in front of. I don’t care if they’re young, old, black, white or from another planet. As long as I don’t believe in this foolish, short-sighted pursuit of categorizing off our race into little ant hills, I have a chance of reaching them.

Because quite bluntly, folks, I don’t believe I am normal. In some ways I fear normalcy because it has a tendency to settle for mediocrity. I don’t think your preferences are weaknesses. Matter of fact, I am curious if many of them might be better than mine. And I will never be condescending to you because I have too many foibles of my own that can easily be pointed out as evidence of my inadequacy.

But I will address your heart. We will find common ground.

I will speak to your soul. I will tell that soul about a loving God who really believes His children can do better.

I will infiltrate your mind by allowing you to see things that are working instead of just advancing theories of politics and theology.

And I will be vulnerable to you by telling you that my body is in need of improvement and I am on a quest to ascertain simpler ways to discover good health.

Finally, I have no peeps. Just people. And all of them are my family … if I make myself available.

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