Salient…June 25th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Shall we take a look at a fascinating window of time that occurs in all human beings, from birth to about five years of age? Each one of us is so vulnerable, so needy, so inquisitive and so desperate that we are prepared to be taught to be Earth-dwellers by our parents. Sometimes this extends all the way up to age ten.

Three very intricate systems are introduced: manners, morals and motivation.

This is the period when we develop our ethics–perhaps a work ethic or a social one, but certainly a mental gear we adopt to deal with life and with others.

Most generally this instruction is completed by age eleven, because here comes puberty. For the average parent puberty can be best defined as this: “My children have lost their hearing in favor of their genitals.”

It is difficult to provide additional instruction during this period. Sometimes after a serious error, there will be a brief season of curiosity from the adolescent, but then the trio of temptation, taunting and teasing pulls them right back into the melee of mayhem.

This lasts until about age twenty-five. (Of course, it could be twenty-two, or thirty, depending on the person. But for the sake of this brief essay, I shall characterize it as twenty-five.)

At twenty-five young folks wake up–sometimes after a hangover or after getting their first threatening letter from a bill collector for their student loans, or perhaps realizing they might be in love.

A realization strikes: “Maybe me, an individual, could become us, a family.”

So three new friends show up to invigorate manners, morals and motivation. They are concern, confidence and clever.

We, as humans, develop a legitimate concern for others while building confidence and finding clever ways to use what we have more expansively.

It is a massive transition–a needful one. Without it, many young persons never become actual adults at all, but linger around their families, particularly their parents, coming back for another schooling in morals, manners and motivation.

This concern, confidence and clever births some children, buys a house, acquires job promotions and takes us, as people, to about the age of fifty. (Once again, this could be younger or a little older.)

At fifty, having tapped the fruit of concern, confidence and clever, people want more. There is a wrinkle in the spirit of human beings which causes them to wistfully wish to make a difference and leave behind a legacy.

It is at this point that we pursue wit, words and wisdom. It carries us through to our dying breath.

Yet we certainly know individuals in their seventies who have never escaped concern, confidence and clever–or maybe never even learned morals, manners and motivation.

This is a passage. All human passages are entered only through the power of repentance.

So here is your salient moment:

Gather up all your manners, morals and motivation, and stir in your concern, confidence and cleverness. And if you have reached the age, add on your wit, words and wisdom.

Finish the job.

Of course, if you’re led of the Spirit and you’re a creature who knows how to use faith, you don’t have to wait for birthdays to dictate your future.

As the Good Book says, “today is the day of salvation.”

 

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Jesonian … May 26th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The key to success is a smart start.

Human beings fail because they start out on the wrong path, but determine to stick to the plan instead of changing their steps and beginning again. Sometimes it’s good to be perseverant, but often it’s like throwing marshmallows at a brick wall.

Jesonian is finding the heart of Jesus. His goal was to gain total humanity, while simultaneously using his spirit to “show us the Father.” Therefore, it is wise to tap his experiences.

You don’t have to go past the first verse of his manifesto–the Sermon on the Mount–to uncover what Jesus believed to be the key to attaining full awareness and a completed life:

“Blessed are those who know they are spiritually poor.”  Thus: Find your weakness, discover your strength.

This is completely opposite from the way we are trained. The media thrust is always, “Find your strength, deny your weakness.” In other words, play up what you can do and play down what you can’t.

Yet what happens when we fail to deliver? We feel compelled to deceive. Otherwise, it may appear that we do not have enough self-esteem to carry the day.

There are two things the human race admires: humility and competence. This is why Jesus told us to lead with an awareness of our own weakness. “He that will gain his life will lose it.”

Why? When our claims are proven false and we fail, looking incompetent, we become defensive, which removes all semblance of humility. “He that would lose his life for my sake will gain it.”

Can we establish an inventory? Can we do it humbly? And then, can we give a competent performance which grows to excellence, startling our critics and increasing our value?

In today’s “super-church” promotion, we have the ongoing premise that “we are all great–we’re just waiting for the enemies in front of us to be destroyed by God’s hand, so that our miracle can be manifested.”

This may get you a hoot and holler in Houston, but it does not give you the kind of start in your life that is sustainable. “Blessed are those who know they’re spiritually poor.”

I am not good at spiritual things. I’m just a few steps out of the jungle, granted a larger brain than the ape and a soul provided by God, which I am still trying to comprehend.

Acknowledging my status launches me into discovery of what talents, gifts, abilities and attitudes I can muster, developing them into strengths to counter my weakness.

The power is in our weakness because once established, it opens the door to progress.

If we lead with strength, then when our weakness shows up, we appear to be insipid liars.

Yes, being Jesonian is making a choice.

Will you follow the folly? Or will you pursue the wisdom of one who came to learn human life, show us God, and empower us to make this journey more and more like heaven on Earth?

*****

If you like the mind of Jesus without religion, buy the book!

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3 Things… April 5th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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To Do When a Relationship Fails

1. SPEND TIME WITH YOURSELF

Don’t be surrounded by friends who try to free you of responsibility. Work on your person. After all, it is the portion you are taking into tomorrow.

2. SPEND TIME WITH STRANGERS

Rub shoulders with people who don’t know “the story.” Let them absorb you. Allow them to evaluate who you truly are. Build your confidence back up by realizing the appeal you possess.

3. REACH FOR A NEW PROJECT

Human beings do not succeed unless they’re pressing forward. Allow yourself to be energized by the best aspects of a worthy endeavor. Then let that gentle experience give you the personal counsel you desire.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … February 22nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-kick

Practicing My Kick

I can still do something

After failure has given me astart

My gifts may be fewer

Or may be a bit tired

Yet they remain

Faithfully the same

I cannot judge myself

By the value adhered to me

I must simply rest and consider

How blessed I continue to be

For the bubbling in my soul

Is still a volcano of power

Ready to erupt and display

Many wonders in this hour

For if I am too confident

I abandon the chance to learn

Yet if I am afraid

An opportunity I will burn

Thank you, thanks and appreciation

Grant me love for every nation

Just give me a door and watch me sell

I’ll ask and seek and knock so well

A little slower but still not sick

Feeling alive, practicing my kick

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … December 3rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I want a woman who’s smart.

 

Woman: Well, I would suggest that you get smarter. Intelligent people tend to find each other. I want a man who’s confident.

 

Man: You’ll need to be careful with that one. Confidence isn’t bragging. It’s a delicate balance between accomplishment and humility. I want a woman who’s sexy.

 

Woman: Well, there are lots of women who need sex–claim to have a yearning for it. But if you’ll allow me to say so, you might look for a woman who wants to have romance solely with you. I, on the other hand, would like a man who’s talented.

 

Man: Well, there’s talent that’s perceived, and talent that has the proof of performance. It’s easy to find a guy who has a guitar and a whole bucket of songs he’s written and is convinced he might have a future. Let’s be honest. If somebody isn’t giving him money for his talent right now, they probably never will. That’s why I would like to have a woman who’s generous.

 

Woman: Now, generosity is a tricky thing. Some people are generous to those they know or to their families, or might even spread it to their friends. But the true spirit of generosity is doing something for someone who has no ability to give it back in your direction. I guess that’s why I yearn for a man who’s spiritual.

 

Man: That can be a trap. There’s a big difference between being religious and being real. True spirituality is realizing there’s nothing in heaven that can’t at least be attempted on Earth. If your man is constantly talking about heaven, faith, prayer and church, he’s letting you know that he has no intention of making God’s will done here on Earth as it is in the sky. Me–I would love to have a woman who’s funny.

 

Woman: Keep in mind, there’s a fine line between silly and humor. And the trouble is, sometimes women who are silly are also air-headed about everything. Here’s how you know a woman is funny. Is she self-deprecating about her own weaknesses without losing a bit of her self-esteem? For me, finding a man who’s kind would be the greatest thing I could achieve.

 

Man: That does sound good, doesn’t it? Except for the fact that some people are kind because they’re afraid of being honest. Kindness has to be borne from a knowledge of the truth, with the addition of mercy. Otherwise you start insisting that everybody in the world is okay, and slam the door on those who might have decided to get better. Let me guess–you’d like a strong man.

 

Woman: Strong worries me. He may be able to lift a box and carry it up to the third floor, but those same muscles could be attached to a bad temper and used against me. I think I would prefer a man who pursues being fearless and uses the strength he’s got to tackle his problems instead of attacking the people he loves.

 

Man: You know what I’m hearing?

 

Woman: What’s that?

 

Man: We’re looking for the same thing in each other.

 

Woman: I guess it’s safe to say, we’re looking for people who realize they’re human beings instead of a penis and a vagina.

 

Man: A little blunt, but I think I agree.

 

Woman: I wasn’t blunt. I was just being strong.

 

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Good News and Better News … October 3rd, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-frankenmuthUnderrated:

The cheese on a pizza.

Sliding on a pair of socks which just came out of the dryer.

A plate of nachos when you’re really, really hungry.

An evening of television without politics.

The Frankenmuth United Methodist Church.

Yes, to the outside observer, the congregation meeting in Frankenmuth seems to be a small, middle-America United Methodist Church. As a society, we’ve nearly given up on such institutions.

I totally disagree.

From the minute I stepped in the door and met Pastor Scott, with his warm, inviting, gentle ways, to when I walked out to climb in my van, I was awarded the opportunity to be in the presence of untapped miracles.

By no means am I trying to tell you that the emotional environment of the Frankenmuth United Methodist Church is suited to the taste of the common person. To him or her it would still reek of religion and provincial thinking.good-news-frankdnmuth-sign

But the potential is there to do great things for mankind. What is missing?

Joy.

Joy is the unity of confidence and gratitude: A confidence based on the fact that we feel valuable, and a gratitude because we know a bit about our own unworthiness.

  • Too much confidence appears to be arrogance.
  • Too much gratitude creates a timid soul.

How do we generate joy?

Joy is when our “face shows our place.”

In other words, it bubbles out. Peter, in the Epistle, declared it “a joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

The folks in Frankenmuth still believe that their “Father, which art in Heaven” is a hard-ass. It’s just difficult to look at Him as “Daddy” when you find His demands unrelenting.

It causes them to be cautious–more fearful than appreciative–and it makes them reluctant to invite others to church because they’re pretty sure their friends would be unimpressed.

The good news is, if the Frankenmuth United Methodist Church would allow for more emotion in their worship experience, they would begin to realize why they meet together.

The better news is: when they are more certain of the reasons for their gathering, others will want to gather around their reasons.

 

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Ask Jonathots… August 25th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

I want my kids to have a spiritual upbringing but I don’t feel comfortable with a lot of the churches available to us. How do I ensure that I am instilling spirituality in their lives?

Your question is really in two parts.

First, what should I do about the church, and second, how do I instill spirituality in my kids?

Let me start with the second question. There are three steps to true spirituality:

1. What do I truly believe?

I will tell you something shocking. The less you believe in, the better the chance will be that you will follow it.

This is why, in the Good Book, the entire sixty-six units boil down to a single phrase: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The truth is, when you love your neighbor as yourself, you’re already putting into practice at least fifty principles. But if you focus on loving your neighbor as yourself, you will be honoring a thousand ideas.

2. How does what I believe affect me?

The absence of an abundant life is the presence of a crappy belief system. It was Jesus who said that fruit would be borne in our lives through what we believe. If you are miserable, irritable, grouchy, complaining, bigoted, self-centered, short-sighted and selfish, you probably need to go shopping for a new belief.

3. How does my belief affect others?

Our belief was never intended to be a preachy condemnation of the lifestyle of our brother or sister. It is a light that shines in place, available for those who wish to emerge from their darkness.

In other words, if you’re teaching your children to love their neighbors as themselves, use their beliefs to progress them emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically, and allot mercy and tolerance to others while affording a helping hand, then you have spirituality.

Now, when it comes to the church, the spiritual representation of that idea has been lost in the implementation of the organization. But here’s the truth of the matter: if you have a good heart, a willing spirit, an open mind and an active desire, you can go into any church and affect the theology simply by being a worker instead of a critic.

There is no way that people with true spiritual insight can be ignored in a religious system that stumbles over its own clumsy rules.

So once you get your children in an attitude of understanding what true spirituality is, then go to church and let your light shine–because that beam of confidence will soon put you in a position to change the mediocre surroundings.

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