The Q Word … May 28th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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THE

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WORD


The Q Word that should never be written or spoken again is:

Quiet

To ask for it carries the arrogance of the librarian who insists that knowledge is better acquired in silence.

To expect it is the foolishness of the parent who has birthed a noise maker.

And to pout because it doesn’t come makes you appear prematurely ancient and dusty.

And just for the record, peace does not travel with quiet.

There is no such thing as “peace and quiet.”

Peace must be made—forged, crafted and bent into position. Therefore, it is a construction zone, complete with traffic jams, hammering out matters and pouring concrete solutions.

Quiet is what tells the younger generation that the older generation has no right to be heard.

Quiet is what turns a church into a funeral home, even when it insists to be a cathedral of worship.

Quiet is what makes school so annoying for the students that refusing to learn appears to be the best rebellion.

There are three definite things that make quiet an unfriendly, unnatural and unworthy word:

1. Life is noisy

We did not get here with the “big whisper” theory. We got here with a “big bang,” and it continues through today.

2. People are clunky

Even though you can put all the pieces into the right place, when they start to move, function, breathe and execute their missions, they stumble over one another, and even when alone, find a way to trip themselves up.

3. All change creates squeaks, hisses and some sound you must use your falsetto to describe.

It is time for us to stop acting like our mother, attending her first hip-hop concert.

Earplugs are not available.

Frowns of disapproval over volume can never be turned into smiles of ecstasy.

There is no quiet—just softer gasps for air.


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We’re Open… October 9, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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openThe restaurant was determined to communicate its message.

Since it found itself tucked away behind a barrage of construction, orange cones, dump trucks and road workers, it was important to communicate to the public that they were still there, making food–open for business.

As I head off tonight to Grace Lutheran in Pittsburgh, I wonder if they’re as smart as this restaurant. Do they understand that the true message of love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness is nearly hidden by a busy religious machine which has committed so many atrocities against human beings that it hardly seems likely that anything behind the curtain of theology has much to offer?

Yes, right out in front of your church there are blockades, orange cones, dump trucks and people with signs, squeezing the traffic of life down to one lane, headed away from you.

If you have any intention of helping the brothers and sisters around you, you’d better get a big sign and put it out in front of your establishment that says, “We’re Open.”

  • We’re open to feeling. Yes, we don’t just recite things in our building. We let people feel the presence of God in the heart. Likewise, we don’t walk in ashamed because we have sinned. We come in looking for ways to do things better, so that next week we don’t have to be so embarrassed.
  • We also apply. That’s right–spiritual ideas are not merely noted or read in a deep voice from the lectern. We actually take ancient ideas and make them current, and if we can’t, we move on to the next passage, probing for the new wine.
  • We think.You will not need to leave your brain at the door and pick it up when you leave the service. We are willing to listen to great ideas, because after all, if we really believe in God, such noble overtures are completely within the spectrum of His will. And when we leave to head out to the parking lot to push past the construction:
  • We smile. We know nothing in life can be achieved if we do not decide to “be of good cheer.”

Lo, we need to put up a sign in front of the fellowship house of God that says “We’re Open.” We need to hope that pilgrims trapped in traffic, aggravated by the construction and torn up roads in front of our location, will risk coming in, and when they get there, they will find people who feel, apply, think and smile.

Or I guess we can just hope they assume that “supper’s cookin’.”

As I said, the church tonight is called Grace. But true grace is extended to those who are confused by the screaming yells of religion and would love to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd.

We’re open.

Advertise it–but also be prepared to back it up … if somebody can survive all the detours.

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Permanent… March 21, 2013

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hairShe seemed to be a little upset. I think she felt it was too soon to have to pursue another adventure.

I’m talking about my traveling companion, Jan. She had just reluctantly informed me that the perm in her hair was no longer … available. I think she thought that the word “perm” was short for “permanent,” and even though it has been a full six months since she had the procedure performed, she still believed that she should have gotten a little bit more life out of the initial undertaking.

I reassured her that it was quite all right and there was nothing wrong with getting another one done and that she should understand that “perm” does NOT stand for “permanent,” and that if it does, like many other things in life, it falls under the category of false advertising.

Quite honestly, I feel that most of our society is harried and tense because people are buying into concepts that just aren’t true. Simply watching one night of television, I encountered a repetitious, fictitious philosophy:

  1. Set your goals high.
  2. Don’t give up.
  3. Follow your dreams.

Every time these words were spoken, it was almost like there should be soft music–strings playing in the background–some Muzak version of Climb Every Mountain.

In this country, we foolishly believe that if you “stick to your goals” and continue to “pursue your dreams,” anything is possible. We also contend that if you DON’T believe in that, more than likely you will fall along the wayside, in some sort of muddy puddle of disappointment.

But the truth of the matter is, the best way to set your goals is realistic–and then do them daily. Also, giving up is sometimes the best way to avoid continuing the pursuit of a stupid path that is taking you nowhere. And finally, the dreams that you have conjured in your mind may have absolutely nothing to do with your talents and abilities.

The two greatest gifts you can give you yourself are insight and awarenessinsight on what is presently available to you in acquiring your desires and the awareness to know when things are really working and when they need to be changed to a better format.

But you won’t be able to do that if you’re looking for a permanent solution to everything in your life. After all, most things about us are quite temporary–including our life span.

So what IS permanent? The standard joke is “death and taxes.” But all of us cheat death at one time or another, and certainly loopholes ARE found in the tax code. So here’s what I think is permanent:

1. Give us this day. I woke up this morning, took a deep breath of air and realized I was alive. There’s my gift. There is my only sense of permanence, which will last twenty-four hours barring some meteor landing on the crown of my head. Every time we slide out of pursuing our lives on a daily basis, we set in motion a plan to derail our own efforts. You will be tempted to plan in advance and to think in doing so that you are far-sighted and wise. Avoid such foolishness at all cost. What is permanent is “give us this day.”

2. Our daily bread. It’s the second permanent thing I’m offered. Every single day I am given a package of energy, intellect, possibilities, problems, interaction and climate. This is what I work with–my present permanent. What I paint on that canvas will be my daily picture for my life, and will set in motion the next day’s energy and possibility. My daily bread is the reality set in front of me instead of the reality I deny in preference to my arrogant whim and stubbornness.

Yes, Janet, some days you get up and realize that your hairdo is uncurled. You can lament that your hairdo is flat, or you can choose this day to seek another perm

It’s really that simple.

So each one of you can pursue the psycho-babble–the fad of our generation–to believe that we can use “mind over matter” to change our circumstances simply through determination. Or you can intelligently take on this day with all of its elements and stir the ingredients into a beautiful twenty-four-hour recipe of deliciousness.

What is permanent? This day and my daily bread. Everything else is up for grabs.

Everything else is yet to be curled.

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

Taking Turns… March 20, 2013

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conesReligion and atheism share one aspect in common: they both end up hating people.

Religion preaches itself hoarse, explaining the depravity of man, while atheism becomes exasperated with humanistic efforts and gives up on folks due to presumed ignorance and stupidity.

Meanwhile, God loves people He doesn’t love people because they’re always good, nor does He love people because they’re perniciously evil and desperately requiring His protection. He loves people because they’re capable of both. It makes us interesting.

As I journey, I am often tempted to fall into the pit of this cynical attitude towards my fellow-humans. And then God blesses me with an insight which refreshes my soul with a bit of reality mingled with hope. Such is the case this week.

Sitting out in front of our motel room is a four-lane highway which has been reduced to two in order to perform what seems to be the ongoing tedium of construction. There are orange barrels everywhere, with yellow plastic tape flapping in the wind. It demands that travelers normally accustomed to a much wider path relent to a more narrow vision for progress. It also means there are red flashing lights to stop the traffic at certain intervals, since other roads wish to intersect.

Having journeyed down this road about eight times so far, I have been astounded that every time I come up to one of these red flashing lights, the dear hearts around me take their turn to go forward in the order of appearance. In other words, whoever was there first gets to go first and everyone else waits patiently for their opportunity.

I think religion and atheists would assume that people would push forward, cheat others or crash into each other due to this mishap of arrangement. But there are no policemen, no one to direct traffic and no yield signs. We all just drive up to the red flashing light, stop, look around, figure out who got there first, and wait our turn.

It is amazing.

I don’t think it would be different anywhere. Some people would say it’s because you’re in Texas and if you were in California, cars would be crashing into each other like a demolition derby. I beg to differ.

To some degree, I think people rise to the occasion–if you let them know it’s an occasion and you give them a chance to rise.

A difficulty in our country is that we have built up an atmosphere for cynicism. It starts with us laughing WITH people. That could be a very good thing. But then it digresses to the point that we end up laughing AT people. We begin to believe we’re superior to certain clumps of behavior which for some reason or another have been relegated in our minds to the status of barbaric. Eventually this leads us to laugh at God, who was so scatter-brained that He made people in the first place.

And then suddenly we stop laughing, develop a sour disposition and cease to believe that anything of quality can ever transpire.

It is a dangerous process.

As I watch the politics, the entertainment and the business in our country unfold, I find myself tempted to be drawn into this burning lava, spewed from the volcano of cynicism.

And then … I drive out in traffic and watch people who do not know each other grant one another the space to go forward.

I will never be a good religionist. You will never convince me that we are not capable of growing and doing better.

I could never be an atheist. You cannot make me believe that human beings are worthless–no better than the animals–and therefore not created at all by a loving God, but instead, merely evolved from the common ooze.

We take turns. Do you understand? We even take turns when no one’s watching.

It’s an exciting life. It’s a beautiful life–if you don’t become cynical.

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

Invisible … August 11, 2012

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Don’t go bad-mouthin’ the tooth fairy. If there was actually some flying creature sticking dollar bills under my pillow while I slumbered in exchange for decayed enamel, I would defend the right of that being to be revered against all comers. Matter of fact, I’d be tempted to grab a pair of pliers and increase my wealth.

The problem with the tooth fairy is that its existence is dependent upon the good will of mommies and daddies, who keep the concept alive. But remember, it is why the idea still lives. The tooth fairy would not last more than twenty-four hours if we just believed in it and no parent ever took a dollar out of his or her wallet to justify and affirm the faith.

Likewise with Santa Claus. He is not going to leave the picture of humanity very soon. It is not because he’s building extensions on his North Pole complex to guarantee his position for generations to come. It’s because those who believe in what he stands for perform his duties for him in his absence.

Tomorrow morning, all over the world, churches will meet and talk about faith, hope and love. They will scratch their heads as they count the number in attendance and realize that it is shrinking. They will wonder why the younger folks are beginning to abandon a commitment to God–those same younger folks who continue to promote the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. It’s because God is not as well promoted as these two fantasy creatures. God, who certainly has more evidence through His creation, interaction, healing and general welfare of humanity, is actually believed in less than “Toothy” and the Claus.

Why? Because faith, hope and love are being passed along as ideals and goals rather than being backed up by actions. Faith has become a belief, hope is a fantasy dream, and love is normally presented as a romantic tizzy. We have given over the three greatest forces in the universe to speculation rather than providing adequate evidence.

This is why James so brilliantly states in his epistle, “Faith without works is dead, being alone.” And the writer in Proverbs tells us that hope which continually fails makes us emotionally and even mentally ill. And love, which is only viewed as interaction between the sexes, lasts about as long as the normal American marriage.

We deserve better.

When belief in God has the same intensity of follow-up that we see during the Yuletide in reinforcing Santa’s image with giving, singing carols and decorating, then we will see a rebirth in faith. Spoiler alert: after all, God, unlike Santa, is real. What He lacks are elves. What He is absent are the jubilant followers who will propagate the joy of the season and bring about good cheer.

Here is the truth of the matter–faith works. What I mean by that is that you can show me your faith without works, but I plan on showing you my faith with works so that my belief will not just be a personal triumph in the quietness of my soul, but rather, a victory to those around me who “see my good works and glorify the Father in heaven.” We can no longer mouth the words of the sacred without delivering the fruit on our tree.

Faith works. If it doesn’t, it’s dead on arrival.

Hope pursues. Jesus used the phrase, “endures to the end.” Hope is not a dream; it is not a fantasy. It is not a slogan. It is a premise of our faith that we decide to follow through to a conclusion. We’re willing to persevere through difficulty, cynicism and even a contrary spirit. It doesn’t matter. Hope does not work as long as it’s viewed in the ethereal and not changed into a workshop application. Hope is pursued.

And love–perhaps the most misinterpreted force in all the spectrum of the universe–cannot be limited to romance, or even romantic notions. Love agrees. You can really tell you’re in love when you walk around looking for reasons to be in agreement with those who have captured your heart. I can always tell when love has left the room because pickiness, grouchiness and a disagreeable attitude slither into the door, discouraging any semblance of passion. These monsters bring fear. We’re afraid that if we give out an agreeable nature from our heart, that we will not receive from others–so we withhold. We allow apprehension and suspicion to prevent us from being an agree-er. Love agrees. For it is the prayer of agreement that brings healing. It is two people agreeing at an altar that consecrates a marriage. And it is God and man agreeing for peace on earth that sets in motion the first fruits of tranquillity.

Love agrees. There would be no romance without agreement. There would be no sex without agreement. There would be no answered prayer without agreement. There would be no building constructed without the agreement of the architect and the construction worker. Love agrees.

As long as faith is a belief, it will suffer from those who are jaded against pursuing fairy tales. Faith works. And if the works aren’t there to reinforce it, it is dead.

Hope that is merely a fantasy or a dream eventually leaves us disheartened and emotionally distraught. Hope pursues. It hangs around for the meek to inherit the earth.

And love that is touted as a romantic notion is soon rendered insipid in the climate of infidelity. Love agrees. Love looks for a reason to come to terms with even its enemies on some form of sympathetic endeavor.

  • Faith works.
  • Hope pursues.
  • Love agrees.

Try to make that your new doctrine and see if your religion doesn’t become more realistic to those around you. Because when the world can actually see proof of your assertion, it is so much easier for them to launch out into the deep and cast their nets.

Faith, hope and love are not invisible. They are just well-hidden from those who only want to believe, pursue fantasy and think that romance is the only form of love.

 

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

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