Getting in Character … July 27th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2645)

Siskell and Ebert

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

A good performance does not guarantee a good response.

Learning this may be the secret to both contentment and success.

Somewhere along the line, we have acquired the idea that good things eventually receive acclaim. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are factors at work in the marketplace of humanity that are often geared to eliminate competition by thrusting good ideas, good sensations and even good performances to the rear. Otherwise, mediocrity would have no chance of surviving–and we all know that the mediocre is often hoisted on the shoulders of the masses and proclaimed to be excellent.

So the first thing we must do is establish a standard for ourselves that is higher than present expectation.

There’s a simple reason for this:

If we do receive rave reviews, then we know that it was brought about by concerted effort rather than luck. And if we don’t, we can have confidence that any persecution or retribution that comes our way is more than likely being spawned from some pit of prejudice or jackal of jealousy.

So if we’re not going to always receive what we’re due for our performance, what is the purpose of trying to excel, or stepping out on the stage of life to display our hearts in the first place?

Every real performance which is practiced and perfected affords us four delightful conclusions:

1. We can stop lying.

That in itself should be enough to encourage us toward developing the glorious rendition of our part.

2. Every good performance exposes our insecurities.

Isn’t it fascinating that rehearsal always brings the faults to the forefront, and then we can decide whether we are secure enough to improve them?

3. Performance eliminates conceit.

There is no need to be conceited about something that is obviously good. Conceit is generally birthed in a person who privately fears that what he or she has to share is insufficient. So they try to cover it up with pomp and circumstance.

4. And finally, the pursuit of a great performance, whether regaled with honors or not, gives us a huge opportunity to overcome our fears:

  • Fear of failing
  • Fear of obscurity
  • Fear of being critiqued
  • And fear of suffering injustice while knowing deep in our hearts that we’re doing something of great quality

The truth of the matter is, great does not always rate. It doesn’t come with a guaranteed award.

But it does reward us with a true sense of confidence… that we have stepped out and found our best.

 

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Populie: We Are Blessed… November 12, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2411)

african children with bowls bigger

Three billion people in the world live on less than $2.50 a day. That is nearly half.

46.5 million people in the United States live below the poverty line. That’s 15% of adults and 21.8% of children.

Yet we still continue to persist in the popular belief that prosperity is determined by blessing and that the evidence of sin, iniquity or evil is accentuated by the curse of being impoverished.

It is the populie:

  • If all is going well, God is with me.
  • If I face my share of adversity, God has abandoned me.

This populie is spun by the entertainment industry, which places physical beauty above the bounty of spirit.

Politics wholeheartedly believes that money is the proof of value.

And religion teaches that the prophets of old suffered persecution, while publicly insisting that a gospel of God’s favor being shown through prosperity.

But the spiritual rate of exchange in the universe is good cheer. Let me relate a story.

When a Christian adoption organization went into Central America to attempt to raise funds for the children, who were ravaged by inadequacy and financial desperation, all of the pictures of the little ones were peppered with smiles. They finally had to teach them how to frown in order for the cameras to convey the desperate message to the hard-hearted Americans.

The reason the children were so delighted–aside from the fact that this was the way they had learned to live–was that one of the camera men had wrapped a large rock in duct tape, and the children were suddenly blessed with a soccer ball.

America has become both paranoid and neurotic over its own greed. Because we have made beauty and money the center of our consciousness, we are incapable of being satisfied with anything less.

Even though good cheer is the only true way to overcome all circumstances and to react to all benefits, we allow ourselves the luxury of being depressed when confronted with difficulty and produce a phony sense of joy when we win the lottery. Yet a followup on most lottery winners shows that it fails to bring contentment, but rather, conflict and destitution.

So the fact of the matter is, it is impossible to attain sanity without eliminating craziness. And if you believe that the sun coming out on your wedding day means approval for your union, and rain falling on the same occasion might be an omen from God of pending disaster, then your next stop will probably be medication for your depression or ending up in a loony bin.

The only way to truly be blessed as a human being is to receive what is provided, find a way to work with it and maintain a sense of balance and good cheer.

If I were to look in the mirror to determine my value, I might end up suicidal.

If I ascertained the presence of God in my life by my financial take-in this year, I would probably believe myself abandoned.

But this has been one of the greatest years of my life–because the trial of my faith has taught me patience, which has allowed me to learn how to have good cheer in all realms.

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Populie: People Want to be Free … October 1, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2368)

Freedom's

Freedom is great. A very popular battle cry.

People want to be free. Hold on a second. We just stepped into a populie.

Even though entertainment, politics and religion love to tout the power of a struggle in which someone or some people who are oppressed gain independence from an oppressor, the truth of the matter is, most of the world is not free nor does it desire to be.

Even though since our inception, we evangelistically have preached the gospel of 1776 all over the world, we’ve had few takers.

Cuba, the Philippines, Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq have all felt a push from us to accept our form of government, only, in varying degrees, to opt for their own choice.

I think it’s important to understand what people do want:

1. People want to be free of responsibility.

It’s a garden-variety human error–and when I say “garden,” I mean Eden. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the devil. We’re just repelled by the notion of being held accountable for deeds.

Even though many countries do grumble about the King, the Parliament, the Magistrate or even the Dictator, the structure grants them a scapegoat between reality and their need to change.

2. People want to be rich.

I did not say that people want to work. People want to satisfy the passing whim, which in their minds means having obtuse amounts of cash to throw at the latest fancy. Even if the craving is just their daily bread, they would rather believe that they don’t have to bake it.

3. People want to be free of people.

We have come to the conclusion that the greatest interference in our lives is the competition from other human beings, which tends to split a pot, prohibiting us from becoming rich and independent.

So you can see, the American rendition pontificated by Jefferson by proclaiming, “all men are created equal,” immediately runs into a wall of resistance by those who are running from responsibility, seeking riches and always somewhat angry at their neighbors.

We must be honest, in 1861, we couldn’t get the North and South in America to agree that “people want to be free.”

So is there an answer?

First of all, let me say that I believe the true definition of imperialism is thinking that the joy, peace, contentment and direction you have found in your life can be transferred to other people by forcing them, or even by teaching them.

Frankly, I’m not so sure that we all evolved directly from the monkey–but we do like to ape the success we see, rather than having it legislated for us.

America will eventually have to let the countries of the  world find their own way instead of treating them like errant children who need to be punished.

I don’t mean to burst anyone’s balloon, but people don’t want to be free. So the best thing we can do to help our fellow-men is to:

A. Make things simpler

B. Make things more reasonable

C. And make sure our country, churches and entertainment are less judgmental.

 

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

 

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

When I Grow Up … January 25, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2131)

IsabellaAs a teenager, one of the greatest horrors was having relatives visit, and feeling the need to communicate with me, they landed on one of two awkward questions:

  1. How’s school?
  2. What do you want to do when you grow up?

Concerning the first question, how’s school?–it’s similar to asking an inmate about his progress in the prison.

And the second question is a bear trap lest you answer incorrectly, with an occupation they deem unacceptable … well, you may end up becoming part of a beheading.

I finally got fed up with the inquiry and told my stuffy Presbyterian aunt that I had aspirations of becoming a Buddhist monk. Gasping, barely able to catch her breath, she turned to my parents in alarm and said, “Did you know about this?”

I quickly retracted my statement, explaining that although I had the waistline of the Buddha, I did not share his politics.

Now, I have a granddaughter who will become fifteen years old on Monday. A recent survey of fifteen-year-olds asked the question: what do you want to be when you grow up?  The top five answers: (1) Rich (2) Famous (3) Powerful (4) Beautiful (5) Sexy

So to my fifteen-year-old granddaughter, Isabella, let me say that when I grow up, I do want to be rich–possessing one more dollar than I need.

Certainly famous, in the sense of dazzling the handful sent my way.

Powerful? Yes. I fully intend to bring energy to wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, to make it more productive and joyful.

Now we come to beautiful. I guess  my definition of that would be to bring along a complete package of myself that makes people want to be with me.

And finally, sexy. Yes, it is truly sexy to find one person who continues to yearn for your touch.

I do not know whether it is possible for someone in their teen years to grasp all these concepts. Shoot, I don’t know whether I do.

  • But there are riches available–and they are more pleasurable with contentment.
  • And fame is not everybody knowing your name, but rather, in having your name bring something of integrity to those who know it.
  • Power is something we possess, not somewhere we are.
  • Beauty changes with time, but as long as it’s radiating from within, it maintains a certain consistency.
  • And I don’t know if there is anything sexier than someone who can carry on a good conversation, while inserting humor.

So there you go. That’s what I want to be when I grow up.

You can see why I decided not to be a Buddhist monk.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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Enough to Live, but … January 23, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2129)

buffet Chinese …not enough to enjoy.

I’ve gone through a serious transition over the past month, discovering that a rudimentary concept in my mind has been faulty since I was a child.

The realization crept into my consciousness about three months ago when I was eating at a Chinese buffet and I looked around the room and saw that all the patrons, just like me, were egg-shaped–and I don’t mean Foo Yung.

It was a location where people had come to eat–to have fun. For after all, isn’t that the message? “All you can eat.” In other words, tap the greatest desire for your appetite for food, envision how much that might be, and then go for it.

I also discovered an interesting thing about myself at this  feeding trough. I started off by going to the buffet bar on my own, until I got so stuffed that I was too gorged to get up from my chair. So then I sent someone else to acquire additional “fun” to eat–all the while convinced that I was having the time of my life. Until, that is, I had to get up from my chair and waddle to my car, nearly breathless from the excursion, having ravaged my digestive system with over-abundance.

At this point I did not incriminate myself. I realized it was quite simple. Food, which was meant to be fuel, I had turned into fun. Just for the record, food is not supposed to be fun. It is intended to be fuel. And then, once we understand that it is offered to us as “enough to live but not enough to enjoy,” we can find our good cheer in the planning instead of through overeating.

Food was never meant to be spontaneous–and if we make it a split-second decision we will get busy and start looking for fast food.

So as I realized that food is not meant to be fun, but instead, fuel, I found that planning my food, making really neat choices when I go to the store, is the true fun.

Yes, I am allowed to have fun at the store so that when I sit down to eat my portion, I am partaking of fuel.

We wonder why America is becoming obese. Let’s consider this: sex, which was meant for enjoyment, is now viewed as life. And food, which was meant to be life, is our source of entertainment. Yes, many people would rather eat than have romance.

The same thing is true with spirituality and education. We’ve flipped it. Spirituality is meant to be a rejoicing in our soul, permeating our entire being, while education is the knowledge that allows us to function better.

We’ve done a switcheroo. Spirituality has become austere, a learning process, while we are trying to make education more fun for the kids and ourselves.

I am not saying that what was meant to keep us alive cannot become a source of contentment. But this state is derived by gaining control through selection, purpose and discovery.

And I’m not saying that which is fun in our lives does not have intrinsic value. But this is tapped when we understand that feeling energized does not need to eliminate the possibility of learning.

Today is my twenty-eighth day of my food regimen. It revolves around the realization that eating is intended to be enough to live–not enough to enjoy.

My radical pleasure in the experience comes from planning, considering nutrition and from amazing myself with the types of food that are available to satisfy me without killing me.

So the next time you start a project, ask yourself, “Is this to live, or enjoy?”

If it’s meant to be enjoyed, suck the experience dry and then take the passion from that endeavor into your next venture.

If it’s meant to give life, then allow it to do so, and find your good cheer from pursuing the angles, choices and revelation that make you feel really smart and powerful.

Will I succeed in my latest adventure?

As long as I can keep life and enjoyment in perspective, I’ve got a fighting chance.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

New Life… January 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2111)

New Life

I picked up my calendar and noticed that tonight I’m going to be sharing at New Life Lutheran Church in Pearland, Texas. I couldn’t help but notice the two words: New Life.

I like that idea. I think everybody wants a new life to some degree, even if they’re enjoying the essence of their present journey. “New” is fun and fresh, and “life” is beautiful, if for no other reason than it’s the absence of death.

But I have never been a soul satisfied with the offerings of organized religion. I want new life, but Heaven and the promise of eternal existence is not enough to get me through Earth.

I need some heaven done here.

This is what Jesus promised in the Good Book–that it was possible for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I’ve always wondered why we thought Heaven was going to be so special if we weren’t impressed with the adventure God offers us on Earth. It’s like owning a Toyota Camry and being dissatisfied, and having the company offer you a Tercel. Still made by Toyota. No reason to believe the different name will make things better.

So I go to Jesus to find out what he thinks life is. Two things jump out immediately. He contended that life should be “abundant” and life should be “joyful.” Actually–full joy.

So what is abundance? I suppose it could be interpreted as “wealth” or accumulation. But I think in this case it means variety.

Yes, I will know that I have new life when I’m not afraid of what’s coming. If God was with me yesterday, why would I believe that overnight He’s abandoned me simply because today offers a different dilemma?

Yet, it is what plagues us. We really gain new life when we’re not afraid of what’s coming and we welcome the abundance because we know it grants us the wisdom to use our talents to gain our security.

And I need joy. Joy is the decision to be happy while you’re pursuing contentment.

If you do it the other way around, you’ll end up quite disappointed, trying to find contentment as a means of determining your happiness. This means that every disruption of your experience, actually bringing abundance, will distress you instead of bless you.

Yes, “new life” is the ingenious blending of abundance and joy.

So as I talk to these folks tonight I will share with them that Jesus did not come to try to make things comfortable. Instead, he came to comfort us as we grow able to handle our circumstance while maintaining our good cheer, eager for a chance to prove that what is in us … is up to the challenge.. 

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Not Really Evil … April 29, 2012

(1,499) 

In Los Angeles

When two dreams are separated and ignored, what lies between is a nightmare–a surrender to sleep, devoid of rest.

Such was my life for a season. About twenty years ago I stopped traveling. I ceased writing. I refrained from sharing. I removed creativity, suffocating my dreams. I settled into the San Francisco Bay area in a motel room with my wife and three children and attempted forced domestication. I worked the “dead man’s shift” at the front desk of the same motel to cover my expenses.

I was at that position late one night when he walked in the door. I had heard rumors from the maids and maintenance staff that he had checked into room 214 and was planning on staying a while, but it seemed so unlikely that I dismissed it as idle chatter. But all at once, in the night hours, he came strolling in, looking for a book of matches.

It was Evil Knievel. I didn’t know much about him. I mean, I had a cursory understanding of his fame and the bold endeavors he had undertaken by leaping over things with his motorcycle. So I was a bit starstruck and dumbfounded at the same time. I fumbled around, found him some matches and he stood there, staring at me, saying nothing. It was very intimidating.

I wanted to speak or maybe even ask a question, but each idea I formed in my mind was more stupid and comical than the previous, so I pretended to be working on some figures behind the desk–as he continued to stare. He only stayed for ten minutes. During that time he asked me three questions.

1. “Have you always been fat?” (That one was easy. I said “yes” and then began a sentence to explain, trailing off prior to verb usage.)

2. “Does the motel offer anything other than Danish for breakfast?” (Another easy answer. We didn’t. We wouldn’t. We can’t. And we shouldn’t. All the excuses I had been provided.)

3. And finally, he said, “What’s your name and what in the hell are you doing here?” (He tricked me with a two-part question. Through my flustered condition, I still was able to retain my name–Jonathan Richard Cring–but I was not sure what I was doing there, though I couldn’t confirm it was hell. But in a strange burst of boldness, I flipped it. “Let me ask you, Mr. Knievel. What in the hell are YOU doing here?”)

He gave a quick laugh which turned into a smoker’s cough, with a long clearing of the throat. “Damned good question, my man,” he said. He turned on his heel, walked out, disappeared around the corner and I never saw him again. About three weeks later he checked out of the motel and I followed his career enough to know that he had a couple of come-backs over the next few years before he took his final leap over the River Styx into eternity.

But in that brief visitation with this man, who had achieved such great fame and now was discussing breakfast choices, I realized that I had escaped down a hole simply because it appeared in front of me. I had decided that traveling around the country with my family, sharing a message of hope and love, was a bizarre thing for a father to do and that I was tired of being out of the box. I wanted to be normal. So I settled in and began to live in a motel, which in itself was extraordinarily abnormal. So here I was, trying to please an existing social system that was not of my heart or making, and even though I had forsaken all of my sense of calling and the energy which rattled my soul to excellence, I had still fallen short of the demands of my culture. What a fool. Just like Evil Knievel, I was hiding away because the hideaway was made available.

It was shortly after that visit that I packed my bags up and took my family back out on the road to reestablish our identity, such as it was. Because life does not consist of a marching army of conformed troops adorned in the same uniform. Life is a personalized journey through a wilderness, where survival is contingent on using what is available while maintaining the best attitude you possibly can.

Evil walked through my door that night–but he really wasn’t so bad. He wasn’t mean. Evil wasn’t out to get me. The main thing I will remember about Evil is that he was lonely. Loneliness is what we’re left with when we follow a voice that is not our own, which ends up not being God.

For after all, respectability is achieved when my needs are covered and you are happy over my choices. Contentment is when my needs are supplied … and I am happy with my choices.

  

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