G-Poppers … August 25th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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They were called “Tories”–colonists who remained loyal to King George III during the American Revolution. They were honorable folks. They wanted to respect authority. They saw no reason to change the status quo. They were following what seemed to be common sense.

They were unfortunately mistaken.

There were other folks known as the “Moral Majority.” The moniker certainly tells of their assumptions. They were convinced that homosexuality was a blight on the American scenery–even that HIV and AIDs were punishments on the homosexual community–the “gay plague.”

Their ranks were filled with Bible-loving, dear-hearted people who were completely misinformed.

It was called “separate but equal”–later to be tagged “Jim Crow.” It was the notion that since color separated human beings, and culture seemed to follow along, it was in line to complete the separation in public restrooms and schools. Great people adhered to the philosophy. Dynamic human beings were involved in promoting it.

It was flawed.

It’s very important to know the difference between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance is when actions are taken without the benefit of adequate knowledge. Stupidity is when knowledge has arrived and we choose to remain ignorant.

No matter how honorable, self-sacrificing or righteous the Antebellum South felt it was on the issues of states’ rights, tarriffs and slavery, time has marched on and brought us an infantry of reasons to conclude that the assertions were faulty.

Just as the Tories are not allowed to build statues to Benedict Arnold, the Moral Majority isn’t in a position to extol Jerry Falwell, and Jim Crow is not recognized in the public square of Birmingham, for its historic quality, we can no longer accept the “good intentions” of the Confederacy.

They, like the Tories, the Moral Majority and the Jim Crow crowd, must find their absolution with the words of Jesus from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 23rd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Pay Me No Mind

Many many years ago

We fought a war in “Koreo”

I’m curious, did anybody win?

Who cares–let’s do it again.

 

Perhaps you did not know

Lincoln freed the Negro

Is he really free?

Hail the Confederacy.

 

Muslims hate the Jews

Over who is the Chosen Fews

It is really very sad

Since they both have the same Dad

 

Women have been here since dust

To make a child she is a must

Is she declared an equal?

Hang around for the sequel.

 

We had a war on drugs

Arrested and jailed many thugs

But children still take the bluff

And overdose on poisonous stuff.

 

All the leaders lie to us

Pushing freedom to the back of the bus

But no one has any real sparks

We sure could use Rosa Parks.

 

If blue lives matter

And black lives shatter

Can you hear the clatter?

Wall Street’s fatter

 

Everything new is old again

Tainted by rickety sin

Or portrayed to be the common good

Considering the could, ignoring the should

 

I am just a goof, you see

A dreamer in search of integrity

So march in step with the blind

And for God’s sake, pay me no mind.

 

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Last Stop in the Lone Star … June 2, 2013

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HoustonTex Mex. I love it.

I’m not just speaking of the cuisine offered in this great state of Texas, which is a blending of Mexican food and Southern cooking. I’m speaking more specifically of the fact that the folks of Texas were smart enough to realize that there were Mexicans already living there when they arrived and also Native Americans, and rather than fighting them, they joined with them, starting in the kitchen and including the living room.

Texas always feels like what you might call America, Part II. When the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, they began the arduous process of assimilating with other cultures and people to form a great union of many nations, merging behind a central idea–freedom.

We had to repeat the process in Texas. People from all over the continent came there seeking a new way of life, but discovered there were already natives and folks from other countries, and rather than killing ’em off or segregating them, they married, interacted and created a cultural Tex-Mex.

It wasn’t always perfect. But it is certainly why Sam Houston, who was governor, refused to leave the Union when the Confederacy seceded. It was the independent nature in Mr. Houston which told him that treating other people as lessers makes for neither good neighbors nor good government. While some people may look to Washington, D.C.,  Hollywood, New York City or the state of California for inspiration in reviving the grass-roots of our national treasure, I think we need much of that birthing spirit found in the original Lone Star State of Texas, which instead of arguing and fussing with their neighbors, made a good attempt at blending.

This is why Texas is different from Alabama, and what makes Texas unique from Iowa. And it is what makes Texas distinct from California and New York. Texans can be stubborn, but after they get their cowboy hats knocked off a few times by reality, they learn pretty quickly, adapt and move toward solutions.

I have spent four months touring across this state and I’m not trying to portray myself as an expert on the state. But I will tell you–the people I met have strong virtues and ideals, but have not buried their heads in the sand or their feet in cement. They realize that time marches on. And what may have been a tradition twenty years ago is now subject to amending. It’s very simple–any idea that alienates us from our brothers and sisters in the family of humankind is useless and therefore needs to be changed.

I am optimistic. While liberals think conservatives are hilariously stupid and conservatives are sure that the liberals are headed for a devil’s hell, I am wondering if it’s possible to take a moment, look into our own hearts, and like true Texans, avoid both ignorance and Dante’s Inferno.

Tex Mex. What a great, simple idea that exemplifies the willingness to at least attempt to blend our flavors.

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Not Too Swift… October 27, 2012

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Human beings like to be right.

I am a human being.

Therefore I like to be right.

That is called a syllogism. In other words, if A=B and B=C, then therefore A=C.

I don’t share this with you to discuss principles of geometry. I put this thought into discussion because it is probably our greatest weakness. The fear of being wrong has caused people to continue errant ways long past reasonableness.

I saw this in myself last night. Having a night off from sharing my program, I turned on the television and watched a special about Taylor Swift. She is a twenty-two-year-old girl in country music who has set the world on fire with her songs, personality and diversity.

Now, I actually heard Taylor sing when she was a young girl of twelve–at a local middle school in Hendersonville, Tennessee. She was just another young lady in the school, involved in a talent show–but there was something special there.

Now for a bit of candor. When she released her first album and started her career on television, I was highly critical of her. She had some pitch problems and seemed awkward in her new position. Matter of fact, I made fun of her to my sons and family members. I pronounced a bit of doom and gloom for her career. I found her music to be trivial and her approach to be tentative and weak.

I do have a reputation for being right every once in a while, but it doesn’t mean that I’m incapable of being wrong. So as I watched the special last night about this dear young woman, I realized that she had not only superseded everyone’s expectations, but had also proven me to be a false prophet. Now she sings in tune, her songs are poignant and ripe with personal experience, and even though she’s been criticized strongly by people in the industry, she has kept a sweet spirit, hung in there and continued to excel. She is the personification of everything that old, grumpy people say young humans are incapable of achieving.

I was humbled by my stupidity. I was ashamed of the judgmental attitude which nearly eliminated a valuable voice from being considered–at least by the members of my own family. And even though I have an excellent reputation for being insightful, I missed it on this one.

So you see, I thought all of this to myself and even repented within my own heart of being so flat and without mercy. I was convinced that this was sufficient–that I had no need to inform anyone else of my past nasty behavior. But–that’s just not true.

Some things need to be repented of in public. Otherwise, our private moment of contrition is lost and unknown to those who need to hear it the most.

This is why the Republicans and Democrats need to admit their part of the responsibility in today’s problems. It is why the South needs to continually make it clear that slavery, prejudice and the old Confederacy are a part of their dark past. It is why the President of the United States needs to explain that he bit off more than he could chew, but since he’s in the middle of chewing on it, it might be ridiculous to switch mouths.

It is why the Republicans should be honest–that the Iraqi war and many of their policies brought our country to the brink of bankruptcy. (For after all, it was not Osama bin Laden‘s goal to merely kill 3000 people on 9/11. No, from his private collection of videos, it is crystal clear that what he wanted to do was paralyze the US in a series of vengeful wars.)

Contrary to public opinion, repentance is not a private matter. It is why the Bible demands that we bring forth fruit–so that it’s obvious to all comers and goers that our past actions were filled with error.

So let me say it loud and clear–I was not too swift. I failed to give a young girl a chance to be herself, discover her talent, and establish the beauty of her gift in our presence. Here are three things I need to keep in mind, and maybe you’d like to add them to your collection of procedures also:

1. Don’t be conventional. Remember, life is not a convention of fellow believers, but rather, more like a cafe, where you arrive famished and discover that the waiter doesn’t speak English.

2. Being wrong is smart if it’s your idea. Don’t wait around for the final exam, when the teacher and other students will discover how ignorant you are when your grade is posted on the bulletin board.

3. People get better. Give them space and give them time–and of course, both of these thing minus your interference and gossip.

So my apologies to Taylor Swift for judging her when she was still on the vine. My apologies to my family and friends for being a premature grumper. And my apologies to myself for being prejudiced and missing the opportunity of being on the cutting edge of a great idea instead of casting the first stone.

There are times that I’m just not too “Swift.” This one was “Taylor” made … for me.

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Mother of Invention … December 11, 2011

In Melbourne, Florida

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Truth is tricky business–because whenever you summon a statement as fact, and even provide historical evidence of its validity, that particular precept spreads across every nook and cranny, even into the corners that you may wish to hide.

Such is the case with a politician posing as a historian who shared this week that the Palestinian people are “invented.” He cited historical evidence, conjuring up images of the Ottoman Empire and other irrefutable pieces of data to affirm his assertion. Okay, let’s go with it. Let’s say that the Palestinians ARE an invented people–because during the time when their inception would have been possible, they did not exist.

But let’s also consider who else were invented people. How about a bunch of Puritans, Catholics, renegades, former prison dwellers, plantation owners, rogue explorers and frontiersmen who decided one day that they were Americans? There wasn’t really anything to justify such a claim. They were the largest mish-mash of nothing ever thrown together to form anything that resembled a central style of government. You can imagine how King George and all the Englishmen must have chuckled at the notion that these colonies who had just fought a war against the French and Indians in the name of the Crown twenty years earlier were now presuming that they were free of the English and were now Americans. And not even Native Americans. None of them were Iroquois, Cherokee or Sioux. Most of them were rejects from all over Europe who were forced to find a new angle for existence because they found disfavor with the Saxons.

I wonder how this politician posing as a historian would fare if he went to South Carolina and told them that the Confederacy was an invented people? For after all, weren’t they just Americans who were rebelling against the government and therefore possessed no separate identity whatsoever? There was no such thing as the Confederate States. It was invented in the minds of those who wanted a different life from the trends of the day.

I wonder if this political historian would also be willing to go into black America and tell them they are an invented people when they refer to themselves as “African-American.” For after all, there are no African-Americans. It’s a made-up name. There are people from Africa who were brought over here to be slaves, were intermingled in a society which for nearly four hundred years rejected them as being real people, and now, even today, often reluctantly include them into the great “melting pot.”

There are many invented people. I wonder if this astute student of history would be willing to walk up to the four billion Christians and tell them they’re an invented people. Because it’s exactly what happened in Judea so many centuries ago, when a handful of ragtag Jewish men and women decided to separate themselves off from the mainstream of the law of Moses and instead follow the teachings of an itinerant Galilean named Jesus.  Certainly every Pharisee and chief priest would have told you that these Christians were an “invented people.”

But you see, here’s the thing–the Mother of all Invention is freedom. And if people are willing to endure the inconvenience of discovery and the prejudice against their uniqueness and persevere to claim their rights as human beings, they can earn the privilege of being included. Until then, those who possess great pomposity will claim these interlopers are out of the loop–and invented.

I think a nation of people who began their lives by running from persecution and had to rebel against authority to gain autonomy should certainly be careful judging the attempts of others to be equally as free. I may not agree with everything individuals or organizations do to establish their independence, but far be it from me–a Christian (invented people), who was formerly in Germany, persecuted as a Lutheran (an invented religion), made the journey across the pond to America (an invented land of people) to settle into Central Ohio (an invented place), and is part of a nation of United States (an invented concept) to follow the dictates of a Constitution (an invented document) to live out my dreams (certainly all invented). 

Yes–far be it from me to close the door on others who just might need to find their own place. I would agree, the best way to guarantee your own place is to grant one to others. But the Mother of Invention is freedom. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 

Yes. Liberty to be inventive.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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