G-Poppers … June 8th, 2018

G-Pop wants his children to know that if you’re going to follow what is right and do what is consistent with sanity, you will sometimes find yourself looking not cool, and even being considered not very smart.

It is the whole instability of a fad.

A fad is a decision to depart from the norm, if for no other reason than to escape what is perceived to be a restrictive situation.

Because fads have no future, they don’t really consider all of the ramifications of their practices. You can follow such trends, but when they fall apart–and they do–you will be counted among those who got duped.

There’s no need to be picky in life and try to be a stick in the mud, but certainly there are truths that cannot be altered, and should not be set aside simply because we want to experiment with a novel approach.

Here’s a simple way to view it:

1. Is it something that needs to be done?

2. Is it something that Abraham Lincoln had to do?

3. Is it something you want to teach your children to do?

Then do it.

It might sound a little silly–and I used Abraham Lincoln because he stood against some very strong, convincing fads, but stayed on the game plan that “all men are created equal.” It was not so popular to believe that. He was the kind of fellow who didn’t care. (You notice I did not say to use Richard Nixon as an example.) Abraham Lincoln did unpopular things because they were lasting and true.

So there’s your three-part process. If you really know what needs to be done, and you know Abraham Lincoln did it, and you know that as a parent you would teach your children the right way, then do it.

Don’t get tempted to follow a fad that fades.

For…they always do.

 

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Cracked 5 … August 1st, 2017


Jonathots Daily Blog

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Creepy Things Your Mom and Dad Say When They Walk Up, Trying to Be Cool, and You’re Hanging Out With Your Friends

A. “Had a bowel dissected last week. Went well, though.”

 

B. “They said the clog in the tube was the largest one they’d ever seen–dark and gritty.”

 

C. “Funny thing–the nurse had the same operation last year, but they had to pump her for an hour.”

 

D. “I watched so much television I finally caught an interview with Kim Kardashian. She really does have a big butt. Smart–but a whopper backside.”

 

E. “Listen, kids–eat more fiber. My doctor said it will save you from walkin’ around with a bag hangin’ off your belt.”

 

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G-Poppers… January 9, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Popper

Granddaughter, trying to be funny, asked, “G-Pop, what’s it like being old?”

G-Pop: Old? I’ve just had enough birthdays that I know what kind of cake and frosting I prefer.

I’m old enough that people don’t ever say, “You aren’t old enough.”

I look twice as cool when I know what’s going on and I’ve kept up with the times and the news.

Would you believe, I’ve made a family?

I may walk slower, but it just enables me to enjoy more scenery.

I have learned that arguing only delays pleasure.

I think people start looking better because I’ve seen worse.

Here’s a kicker–my clothes are suddenly back in style.

I want to fuss less, laugh more, work little, enjoy the moment and deeply appreciate finding my keys.

And by the way–I’m finally the older version of the child who always wanted to be older.

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He Said It Right Out Loud… November 27, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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children listeningChildren’s Sermon.

Honestly, I think the two words contradict each other. No child actually wants to hear a sermon, and no sermon is normally conducive to those under three feet tall. But there are gallant souls who make a valiant effort to communicate very important principles to little ones.

I was sitting in a church listening to one of these brave attempts by a delightful lady as she shared what Thanksgiving meant to her, proffering her ten points of gratitude. She started out by mentioning her home, followed by a house full of food and a warm furnace to keep things toasty. She shared with the kids that there are people in the world–mainly the homeless–who don’t have such blessings. She was about ready to go on to her next point when a young man piped up in a voice as clear as a bell, and obviously, a mind to match.

“Why don’t we let those people who don’t have homes come to our homes and eat our food and stay warm?”

It must have been that all the angels of God silenced the birds, because the room was still–almost afraid to move.

To her credit, she responded, “That’s what we should do.”

She then continued on with her list. Honestly, I don’t remember a single other installment on her array of goodies. My mind was frozen, transfixed on the question from the little boy.

Why don’t we?

I had to ask myself, what would I have answered this young man in the same circumstances. Please understand, I am not being critical of the woman or the job she was doing with these little folk. It’s just that sometimes a truly eternal question enters the room, demanding our attention and requiring that we drop previous plans and veer in the direction of the Spirit instead of clinging to tradition.

Why don’t we invite the homeless into our warm houses with lots of food in the refrigerator?

1. We don’t do that because it’s scary.

We’ve watched episodes of Law and Order in which homeless people are portrayed as possessing deviant behavior and all sorts of mental illnesses, not to mention infectious diseases. It’s that old American philosophy that “the danger outweighs the benefit.” I guess as long as we’re scared of people who are cold and hungry, they should keep their reservation for the park bench.

2. We don’t do that because no one said we could or should.

Most of us don’t have memories of our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles protecting the less fortunate or providing them a night of greater comfort. We never asked; they never told us. It was just understood that some people work, make money and get the fruits of the endeavor … and others don’t.

3. We don’t do that because cool people haven’t made it cool yet.

Our cool people are too busy promoting their own causes, nefarious attitudes and latest projects to take the time to consider something more universal, like brotherly love. Our cool people argue with each other about what’s cool. Our cool folks are overloaded in their schedules, making fashion statements. Our cool people must bring government to a standstill to prove how really cool they are. Like it or not, as humans we have a tendency to mimic the style of those who have more, know more and do more. Our cool people just don’t think it’s cool to bring others in out of the cold.

I suppose no one else ever gave the little boy’s question another thought, but it haunts me to this day. Can I overcome the scary parts of life to do more than I was told to do and make myself cool enough that I could start a new trend?

I don’t know.

But it sure gives me a lot to think about.

 

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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.

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James, More or Less… November 9, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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There were two of them.james the less

At least that’s what the Good Book shares.

Out of twelve disciples, two of them ended up being named James. Over the passage of time, to distinguish between the fellows, one gained the title of James the Greater and the other, James the Less. It’s something we just accept–that is, unless you were the James named the Less.

I suppose it would be a little frustrating to pass the muster of graduating from being one of the five thousand that Jesus fed to being one of the seventy he sent out, to finally be honored by receiving the accolade of achieving the top twelve, only to be referred to as “James the Less.”

Such is life. Sometimes you get to be more and most of the time, you get to be less. The trick is finding out how to be the same person with the same values and the same passion no matter which title is temporarily bestowed upon you.

Something we rarely consider is that Jesus, the ultimate, cool “fair” guy, did bestow more significance on three of his disciples, more than the other nine. Whenever he went on a secret mission, he took Peter, James and John, leaving James the Less and his other eight buddies behind. What was that like? (Matter of fact, it’s a little surprising that only one of the disciples decided to betray him, considering human nature…)

I’m sure there was grumbling. We know they were especially upset when the two “fishing brothers,” James and John, campaigned to become the favored two: “Let us sit on your right and left hand when you come into your kingdom…”

That was their request.

So how DOES it work? What can I learn from this as a human being filled with my own concerns, desperately trying to discover a noble thought within? Because I know this–sometimes I get to be James the Greater and sometimes I’m James the Less. Here’s the odd thing–what I do when I’m James the Less is more valuable and important than what I do when I’m James the More.

Truthfully, the popular people in our country, whose names are splashed across the television screen twenty-four hours a day, are completely unable to solve our problems. So what’s the advantage of being famous if you’re a gunky-flunky? On the other hand, although my operation is small, and I’m not nationally known, I’m pretty pleased with the fruit of my labors.

The power of being James the Less is that nobody really wants your position, so you can call your shots with more freedom, and therefore determine your destiny.

When you’re James the Greater, the spotlight’s on you, everybody has an opinion and you are granted less privacy to choose your path. Oh … and did I mention? James the Greater was so popular that Herod Agrippa decided to behead him to gain kudos from the Jews. (Now THERE is a distinct disadvantage to being promoted.)

church of st jamesSo as I go off tomorrow morning to St. James United Methodist Church in Miamisburg, Ohio–a small congregation–I wonder if they can take advantage of being “the Less” without pining to be “the Greater.”

I am curious if they can maneuver themselves into a position of revival instead of following the mediocre philosophy of our generation. I am desirous to uncover their heart–because James the Less lived out a life as one of the twelve without needing to make the “top three.”

That’s me.

And because I have learned to be Jonathan the Less and do the best I can, making my own decisions through my faith, I have been granted great opportunities, and by the way … haven’t lost my head.

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For Bidding… October 7, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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jonathotsThe Good Book tain’t good unless it makes good things happen when people are thrown together.

A few days ago, after one of my shows, I was getting ready to pack up my books when a teenage boy inched his way to my side. Apparently he had stood around for a good half-hour while people talked to me, looking for a chance to have a private moment.

He wasted no time.

“There’s a girl I like. How can I ask her out on a date?”

I paused for a moment, trying to make sure I didn’t come across surprised, alarmed OR amused. I guess he chose to ask me the question because he knew I wouldn’t be around tomorrow to tease him about it. Or he thought I might be one of those “cool adults” who would give him a real answer instead of one that’s canned, sealed and labeled “for grown-up consumption.”

My answer was simple. I told the young man to figure out what he liked,  take the things that came to his mind and start doing them for the girl he was interested in.

He thought that was really nifty. (Forgive me. I guess “nifty” is no longer used. Let us just say he was impressed.)

His last words were: “I can do that. Because it’s about me.”

As he raced away, I had to chuckle. You see, all I had given him in the way of advice was a remake on the Golden Rule“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

But you see, it worked, was valuable and was understandable to him because it’s true.

We spend entirely too much time talking about the Good Book as if it’s suspended in mid-air, on gossamer wings, with the supernatural breath of the divine Creator.

Shoot. If it doesn’t work on earth, it sucks.

You see, it’s easy to go from something that is “for bidding” to something that can become “forbidding.”

The gospel that was put together as a means of inviting all of humanity to discover its better side and therefore generate salvation in our souls can just as easily be turned into a message of hatred, prejudice, incrimination and selfishness.

So let me give you a clue:

  • I don’t recommend agnosticism. It turns you into a jaded grouch, critical of human life while devoid of any eternal possibility.
  • I don’t recommend religion. It keeps you panting for heaven while simultaneously missing buckets of opportunity on earth.

Here’s what I’ve discovered: if you find something that works in everyday life, it won’t take you too long to discover that this same idea is in the Good Book.

Don’t try to go to the Good Book to explain everything you see in life. Get rid of your fear of living and in so doing, discover the three or four things that universally work. Then go read your Good Book and be delighted when you find out that God thought it up millions of years ago.

No wonder that book itself tells us that everything written within its pages can be boiled down to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

It is “for bidding” others, welcoming them to your life, removing the anger of “forbidding” personal contact.

And when all the chickens come to roost, you find out, like this young man will certainly discover, that the Golden Rule even works with dating.

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

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

Killing is a Dead Issue … January 2, 2013

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jon with gun to head

I want to have a mature understanding–with a childlike application.

There you go. That is the power of faith–to possess wisdom but not use it against yourself and others, but instead, apply it in such a way that you are as harmless as a dove.

That’s also what I feel about violence. Let’s get several things straight–children don’t play with guns. Children are taught that guns are not cool. And children are instructed that life has value in all its forms.

A quick story. When I was eleven years old I went to church camp and the grown-up in our cabin who was watching over us brought a hand gun.  He pretended to hide it, but brandished it once or twice–enough so that we were horribly curious, being of that age and immaturity. When one of the boys asked him why he brought the gun, he said is was just in case we run into snakes or bears. Here’s the problem with that–there are no snakes or bears in Central Ohio, and secondly, he left the gun under his pillow when we went out to where there might be snakes or bears, and a quick run back to the cabin would have been impractical.

People who own guns in America are not using them to protect themselves. They would have to be packing heat everyday when they walked down the street–which in most communities is illegal. So if you found yourself in a bank robbery, it would not do you much good to have a gun locked in your safe at home. Even if you had a burglar break into your home in the middle of the night, by the time you got your safe open and your gun out, most of the damage would be done and you would possibly be the only armed person in your home, since most burglars don’t carry weapons because if they get caught, it levies a much higher sentence.

So what is the purpose of all this gun craze? It isn’t the Old West. We don’t have holsters hanging from our waist dangling a Smith and Wesson. The only reason to own a gun is to impress or intimidate.

Smith & Wesson

Smith & Wesson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My camp counselor brought his gun to camp to make the kids think he was cool. Actually, it scared me–especially when he would yell at us for not making up our beds. I always wondered if he was going to grab the gun and take care of the problem once and for all.It was intimidating. That’s why we came up with the statement, “If somebody put a gun to my head…” This is not a pleasant greeting. It is intimidation. It’s trying to impress. It’s what we tell our children NOT to do.

For instance, we do not suggest that the solution to bullying in our public schools is to make sure that everybody bullies. We attack the bullies for bullying instead of giving everybody mean things to say to each other to even the score on bullying.

The answer to gun violence in this country, and to crime, is not to arm the populace. The answer is to teach people to disarm situations without killing someone.

I do not think that guns should be illegal. I just believe they need to stop being cool. Just as cigarettes had their heyday, were revealed as being dangerous and relegated to a lesser position in our society, so it should be with the necessary evil of firearms.

A young minister told me he bought a snub-nosed revolver. He was so proud. I bit my lip. His revelation concerning his purchase brought great interest from congregation members–perhaps more focus than he gets from preaching the Golden Rule. He puffed up. He was impressing people.

I shook my head and walked away. I have no judgment for my brother, but I am on a quest this year to be more childlike in my faith, and as I told you–children don’t play with guns. Children shouldn’t think guns are cool. And children should value life … in all its forms.

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