Confessing … October 3rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2711)

XXII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

One of the dangers of doing noble deeds is the human tendency to desire to be treated with some nobility for doing so.

Of course, it doesn’t work that way.

During my years of living in Tennessee, I was party to beginning an orchestra in our hometown. It went well. Matter of fact, doors were opened so that we could offer an entertaining and enlightening musical program to the local elementary schools using a small ensemble from the larger body.

This project was so successful that we were invited to present these programs at ten elementary schools in the Roanoke, Virginia, school district.

We were thrilled.

The first day we did four schools and everything went well. At the end of the second day, we were finishing up our program when a teacher in the back of the auditorium began to gather up her children like little chickadees in preparation to take them out to the bus for departure.

We were at the height of the most important part of our communication with the students, and in my pridefulness, I became incensed at her insensitivity. So as soon as we finished our last note and took our bows, I immediately stomped over to the young woman and confronted her over what I considered to be an egregious error on her part–ignoring our work merely to prepare her children.

I was not foul or mean, but very confrontational–and I did it in front of the students.

She was shocked, offended, and immediately went to her principal to “tell on me.”

So by the end of the day, the principal of the school had contacted our sponsor and informed him of my breach,. Meanwhile, I was being reinforced by my own team, who told me I was being “honest and brave, sticking up for myself,” in dealing with this lady.

So long story short, the sponsor of our event was so thrilled with what was going on that he forgave my indiscretion and we continued the school concerts without any further furor.

Matter of fact, to this day those closest to me would consider me to be justified. That young teacher probably marks it as the day she was accosted by an asshole.

What is the truth?

The truth of the matter is, true beauty does not need praise.

Excellence can continue to thrive minus applause.

And the message will get through without us over-promoting it.

I was wrong.

I was wrong to accost a young woman, no matter what her motivations were. My job is to work on my own motivations.

I was wrong to do it in front of her students, and I was wrong to take a pass simply because I have enough talent that people are afraid to confront me.

Have I ever been so overwhelmingly egotistical and defensive again?

I suppose I have.

But I have taken the time to put a hole in that tank of ego and let it gradually drain out onto the ground–where it belongs.

 

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Confessing … August 8th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2656)

XIV.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

When I began this series on confessing, I made a private covenant with my ego to avoid revealing current events and basically stay focused on sins of the past, long ago resolved.

But unfortunately, I continue to transgress.

I travel on the road.

That’s what I do right now because it’s my way to try to speak some simplicity into the complexity of our world, and sanity into the raging din.

Arriving at my lodging on Monday, I found myself disgruntled. It is summertime, so motels and suites are more expensive, and therefore my budget does not allow me to stay in the top-of-the-line institutions, but rather, places me in Mom and Pop establishments, which are often a mixed bag.

Usually I have pretty good perspective.

For instance, I don’t call the carpet “shabby,” but rather, “quaint.”

I don’t refer to the furniture as being “outdated,” but rather, “antiques.”

But for some reason, this particular week I was fussy. I didn’t like the room. Rather than considering it spacious, I thought it was convoluted.

It put me in a mode: “I’m feeling sorry for myself.”

That sentiment is the soil for the seed of all iniquity. If you catch it early enough, you can keep it from going any further, but I was in no mood to be introspective, so I went to Phase 2: “I feel like blaming you.”

Self-pity never allows me to take any responsibility, so we grab the closest innocent victim and thrust him or her into the role of the villain and the source of all inconvenience–and that particularly dastardly profile was placed on my partner, Janet Clazzy.

So I growled at her a little bit. I expressed my superiority to the meager station of my surroundings. Since she’s the one who acquired the room, it was obviously her fault that they had not changed the paneling since the Eisenhower Administration.

We argued.

It wasn’t really an argument–just a general “blooming onion” of complaint, which had no real center to it, and therefore, no completion.

Shortly after finishing my griping, I went into the third phase: “I’m feeling stupid.”

This is the most important phase. From this point of feeling stupid we can either move to repentance–or we can simply recycle and start all over again with “I’m feeling sorry for myself.”

Matter of fact, I will tell you that a good portion of the population lives in a meaningless, constant circle of feeling sorry for themselves, blaming others, feeling stupid to return to feeling sorry for themselves.

It must have been a good day, because fortunately, rather than feeling stupid and going for another try at feeling sorry for myself, I repented.

I apologized.

And it was amazing how quickly the room went back to being a room instead of a prison cell.

I am the master of my own destiny. No one’s calling the shots but me. If the shots suck, it’s because I suck–not having the sense to avoid feeling sorry for myself … insisting that I got screwed over.

 

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Populie: Deny and Defend… July 9, 2014

 

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2286) 

nixon thumbs upReligion, politics and entertainment often get together and find what is popular, mingle it with a lie, and then set out promoting the fad for the masses. After all it’s the easiest way to get along in the short-term.

Unfortunately, it wreaks havoc on the emotions and soul of the human race while declaring a truce with an existing deception.

It is a populie.

Even though we tout that we are a Christian nation, we tend to receive our marching orders from other nations and their philosophies.

  • From the Jews and Arabs, we cling to “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
  • From Buddhism, we believe that we have the power to enlighten ourselves.
  • And from the Hindu we have an inordinate worship of animals.

ClintonCase in point: we tend to prefer to deny having problems and defend our actions in covering them up.

Religion likes this because it makes human beings appear weak, and therefore God seems stronger.

Politics favors the idea because if you can survive a 72-hour news cycle about one of your failings, maybe it will go away.

And entertainment builds whole storylines around characters who either cheat or fudge on the truth, or defend themselves from dealing with difficulty.

Here’s the populie:

1. Deny. “I do not allow myself to make mistakes.”

2. Defend. “Therefore I will not tolerate critique from you or anyone else.”Obama

This populie creates a climate of lies, leading to an ongoing sense of mutual mistrust.

Since we don’t admit our fallacies, insist there’s no problem and refuse to be inputted by others, a complicated web of deceit is constructed and maintained by our spider sense.

It would be comical if it weren’t so dangerous.

And you can certainly judge your spirituality not on whether you attend church, but by whether you’re willing to deal with your problems without shame or falsehoods.

swaggartHonestly, this is what works in the human family:

A. Confess. “I will tell you myself where I’ve made mistakes.”

Confessing your faults one to another is the only way to set inner healing in motion. It is also the only way to prevent people from piling on.

B. Expand. “After I confess, I will tell you what I have learned through my mistakes and how I plan on improving my situation.”

If you want to be the victor instead of the victim, you have to be prepared to admit what is becoming obvious to all. If you get ahead of it, you’re leading the way instead of being drug with a rope by the mob.

Yet I will admit, this is probably one of the more difficult things for people to overcome. But if you don’t confess, be prepared to be confronted.

In the long run (which is often a shorter sprint than you might think) people do find out–and when they do, and they sense that you have tried to escape reality–the punishment will be more cruel.Newt

Deny and defend–a national pastime. But it is time to put it in the past.

In closing let me give you one idea on how to welcome this into your life: start very small.

If you left something on a table and someone had to move it, step over, apologize, and move it yourself. It’s only by practicing this kind of candor that you will gain the muscle to lift your own weights instead of having them dropped on your head.

“Deny and defend” may be one of the most popular of the populie–and may I add … one of the more devastating.

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Slick and Slack … December 4, 2012

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Sin or hypocrisy. Which one is worse? Or maybe those two words are too old-fashioned or medieval for you.  How about error or cover-up?

The trouble with human beings is that we are more comfortable with hypocrisy than we are with sin.

Not so with God.

Matter of fact, we are told that He does not look on the outward appearance but instead, does an inventory of the human heart. People, on the other hand, don’t hang around long enough to register our intentions or faltering, but instead, leap upon the action and focus on the dynamic.

The end result? We are taught from a very early age that it’s better to lie our way out of a situation than it is to own up to our mistakes and move forward in the learning process granted to us through the experience.

It really is the difference between cutting yourself slack and cutting yourself slick. When we cut ourselves slick, we come to the decision that we have done something that is not particularly savory to the appetite of the human family so we quickly begin to find some deceptive way to avoid being exposed. Matter of fact, I think some folks would say it’s just human nature to hide under our “fig leaves” of misconception. When we cut ourselves slack, we’re using the God-given intelligence we were provided to choose the moment to unveil our own inadequacy and confess it before someone else puts a spotlight on us and turns us into the next sideshow.

This leads to an interesting possibility–for we are told that “if we confess our faults one to another, we can be healed.” So does that mean the lack of confession produces illness? It sure appears to do so, doesn’t it–whether it’s emotional turmoil, mental distress or our actual immune system breaking down because of struggle, rendering us physically ill.

So let me be candid with you and tell you that I think I’m going to follow the heart of God in this matter instead of the teachings that were instilled into me by my culture, growing up in Central Ohio. I would much rather tell you about my foibles and stumbles, selecting the wording and staging of such a confession at my own pace and leisure instead of having you drag me into the streets and beat it out of me.

I don’t know why people want to “cut themselves slick” and end up sliding down to a hellish conclusion on their own greasy path. It’s just better to cut yourself some slack. Realize that whatever you’ve done wrong has been done before, repented of and has been redeemed–so if you are brilliant enough to get ahead of the horde, you will survive also.

I don’t know if I can convince many people to abandon the American predilection towards lying, but I will guarantee you that if you cut yourself slack, to be honest, you will not find yourself humiliated by cutting yourself slick and ending up exposed.

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