G-Poppers … February 12th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2842)

Jon close up

 G-Pop remembers when he bought a dog for his youngest son.

A trip to the rescue shelter, a scanning of canine candidates, and a selection of the family mutt–an animal with so many donors that breed identification was laughable.

The whole process, counting food and bowl, was $45. For that sum, a family friend was acquired, absent any pedigree.

Yet buried in the genetics of this pup was a little bit of hound.

The young son discovered this one night when he imitated a dog howling, and the mixed-up barker launched a woeful moaning into the air.

The dog resisted his inclination. He tried to refrain from being “nothin’ but a hound dog, cryin’ all the time.”

But eventually, the sound of hound came forth.

He was embarrassed.

Matter of fact, after the outburst, he drug himself from the room to reflect on his folly.

Just for the record, we are all mutts, too.

All us Americans.

We have so many breeds within that it would be impossible to find purity in any of us. And we’ve certainly got some hound.

Yes–there is much that hounds us:

  • We are hounded by our selfishness.
  • We are hounded by our fears.
  • Certainly hounded by our sense of entitlement.
  • And also, by our prejudices.

So politicians, ministers and corporations try to get us to release our disconsolate, mournful bay.

They tempt us to be mean and grouchy.

They lure us to our worst place, where we wallow in dissatisfaction, “the hound of hell.”

So then we whine. I do think we’re embarrassed by it–we want to run and hide because of our weaker nature taking over.

But shame on those who draw out the parts that hound us.

Our dog was noble, loyal and loving.

But sometimes, to establish our pleasure–and dominance–we made him howl like a hound.

G-Pop thinks it’s time for us to stop barking at the moon.

Matter of fact, maybe it’s time for all of us to find our better pooch.

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Three Ways to Avoid War… May 28th, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

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explosion

“War is hell.”

Actually, tracking down the origin of that quote is not very easy. Some people attribute it to General Sherman, from the Civil War. I think the people of Georgia would certainly agree that he brought the hell of war to their doorstep.

We have been programmed in this country to believe that to some extent, war is inevitable. We now have two holidays during the year when we commemorate those who have fallen in conflicts, and give them due honor.

Yet a voice of reason, insisting that war is to be avoided, is needed at this time in our history. It is not only patriotic, it is life-saving.

I will tell you–war is hell–whether fought in your living room, your work place, your church, your town, or nation against nation.

And there are three very strong profiles that can be taken to avoid war:

1. Don’t push your freedom.

If you have found something meaningful and beneficial to your life, don’t assume it’s your mission to evangelize it to the entire world–or even to insist that others are “lacking” because they don’t share your vision.

America does the world a disservice by contending that the seeds of democracy can be planted anywhere and grow a similar crop. It makes us come off as self-righteous.

In your own personal life, don’t insist that your principles are meant for general consumption. If people are interested in your philosophy or your freedom, they will let you know.

When you push your freedom, you incite war.

2. Don’t interfere in family arguments.

If you have two friends going through marital difficulties, don’t take sides. Matter of fact, refuse to–even if it initially makes them angry with you.

If you take sides and they reconcile, you will be the villain.

If they don’t reconcile, you have the opportunity to maintain relationship with both parties.

When will we finally understand that the situation in the Middle East is a family squabble? By taking sides, we deepen the conflict and increase the violence. We should stand prepared to support both sides–especially if they are working toward immediate reconciliation.

Taking sides increases the ferocity of the warfare.

3. Don’t let corporations dictate policy.

Corporations have one goal–to make money.

If corporations are deciding our foreign policy, then we are at the mercy of their bottom line instead of respecting the power of peace and keeping our free-standing army standing instead of falling.

The same thing is true in a family. Moms and Dads end up fighting with each other because they fall mercy to their bills, responsibilities and mortgages.

These are things you pay; they are not meant to prey on your sense of stability.

Corporations start wars to make money.

If you keep an eye on these three things you can avoid war.

So don’t force your freedom, take sides or let business decide policy. If you do this, you have a great chance to become a peace-maker.

Word has it…they are called the children of God.

 

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Three Ways to Avoid Politics … October 9, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2375)

I grow very weary of politicians who discuss voting blocks, demographics and pet projects.

In like manner, ministers perturb me when they wax eloquent about liturgy, communion, baptism and the history of the church bell.

Corporations which feel they have “pulsed the market,” finding a strategy for selling their products instead of pursuing improving their quality also leave me cold.

Politics is when any institution–or even individual–attempts to execute a plan instead of planning an execution for absurdity.

Yes, politics should be avoided at all cost or it will end up robbing you of a soul, which comes in handy.

Here are three ways to avoid this political morass:

1. Evaluate issues, not causes.

For instance, I’m against all killing. Because of that, the Republicans are often angry with me when I don’t jump on the Humvee to head off to war. The Democrats frown in my direction because I’m against abortion. I don’t care. I give myself the gift of consistency, affording me the blessing of avoiding hypocrisy.

2. Don’t be afraid to be wrong.

Every great idea should be trimmed in elastic. It will need to stretch to adjust itself to the needs of humanity.

  • The Constitution is not written in stone. It has required many amendments and is not yet done breathing.
  • The Bible must spiritually keep up with the changing needs of the hearts of men.
  • And the movies should go back to moving us instead of shocking us.

I am often wrong. Matter of fact, one of my greatest joys in life is to say “I am wrong” before someone else discovers my dumbness.

3. Think about people instead of institutions.

I frustrate Republicans, Democrats, conservatives and liberals because I have just not found that any one of them has the ability to aid the cause of Earth without in some way digging in their heels and stopping a needful evolution.

You can feel free to be political, but eventually you’ll have to swallow something which is contrary to your soul, for the good of a cause that does not address the true nature of the need.

Not for me.

I am free.

My freedom was bought with a price.

And I have no intention of selling it to the highest bidder, nor joining a party which offers nothing refreshing.

 

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

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

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Turning Kids into Humans (Part 4) 3-6–Garden … September 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Humanating

Let’s settle one major misconception–children are not born desiring video games, I-phones, Sesame Street, toys, candy and the latest fad or trend. They are coerced through advertising and peer pressure to pursue these products and attitudes by big-budget corporations which use their advertising dollars as efficiently as possible.

Don’t be paranoid but by the same token, be careful what media outlets you allow your children to watch or otherwise, you will suffer the backlash of cultural greed.

Now that you have a child who has gained speech, feet and knows where to poop, it’s a good idea to approach this young creature as a garden.

You’ve got to plant some corn and carrots.

I call it corn because most people in our time consider it to be “corny” to feel for others. Yet without this introspection, we are worse than animals gnawing on each other in the jungle, because we actually do have a brain with the capacity for empathy.

So rather than assuming that every child born in America is destined to want to play computer games, intervene and create a garden, where you plant corniness and generosity, allowing for healthier attitudes.

A suggestion: teach your children to share the sad and the happy. Put them in environments so they can understand that someone is sad and they should feel something about it. Likewise, when they run a race and lose, encourage them to do better next time, while you also insist that they rejoice with the winner.

They are not going to want to do this.

That is irrelevant. You made this person, and you have the keys to their soul until you turn them over at age eighteen and they become responsible for their own destiny.

Perhaps it is corny, but teach your children to cry for something other than the fact that they didn’t get a candy bar in the checkout line at Wal-Mart.

Alert them to the importance of being happy for others. There is no way to continually be happy if you only celebrate your own victories.

And finally, you should plant some carrots. Yes–teach them to “care about it.” Shall we put it under the banner of “share the wealth?”

Since it’s virtually impossible to bounce two balls at the same time, gently nudge or purposefully demand that your child share one with a friend, even if he or she does not immediately produce joy in their heart over the experience.

We’re planting a garden. From age 3-6 the soil is very fertile–and therefore also susceptible to weeds. And in our society, a weed is any belief that we must grab and run instead of nurture and share.

  • Share the happy.
  • Share the sad.
  • Share the wealth.

Remember–they’re kids, not humans. You are in charge of their journey to discovering Eden by planting a garden within them.

 

 

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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

My Little Improv… January 5, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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masksSome rules are good.

They help people understand better ways to do things to welcome success and happiness.

On the other hand, some rules are bad. They’re put in place–sometimes in stone–to control folks, eliminating the creative passion that allows us mere mortals to touch the face of God.

I’ve tried to figure out which one is which for most of my life.

When I was a kid, they had a rule in our church that young students in junior high school couldn’t be on the Bible League competition team until they got into the ninth grade. I suppose somebody who originally came up with the idea imagined it was a good thing–to make being on the team a reward, and also that probably most youngsters in seventh and eighth grade were not mature enough for such an endeavor.

It was a bad rule. I objected, complained, lobbied, got it changed and was the first thirteen-year-old on the team.

It doesn’t matter where you go. There are people who enjoy their work so they try to make it more accessible to themselves and others, and then there are those who are a bit miserable, who feel it is their duty to pass on the sullen attitude.

Music, religion, politics, corporations, clubs, schools–all of them have their share of “grumpy grumpers” who really hate their lives and want to make sure that everybody hates equally.

So when I sat down to plan what I wanted to do in my sharing this year–and also how I wanted to expand–I came up with three very important criteria:

  1. I need more time at every stop-off to spend with the audience, to make a greater connection.
  2. I need to work on defining the message instead of allowing the confusion of present philosophy and theology to leave people devoid of feeling.
  3. I need to purposefully break some bad rules.

So yesterday, as I thought about what I’m going to be doing Sunday night–a drama entitled Front Porch U.S.A.–I realized that I was truly blessed with a piece of great improv.

I call it a “three-active play.” By that term I mean that each and every time I perform it, the message, the pursuit and even much of the plot will remain the same. But the words, stories, conflict and resolution will be different each and every time.

There is no script.

I’m going to allow myself to be led of the Spirit, to share what’s on my heart in the moment, as will my fellow-thespian, Janet.

It’s breaking the rules. In theater, you’re not supposed to be too improvisational. You’re not supposed to interact with the audience too much. Blocking, staging and scenery are to remain the same.

I plan on breaking all these rules. Why?

Because I think the three greatest things we possess as human beings are often buried under form and tradition.

  • We have a story.
  • We have a spirit.
  • And we have an imagination.

So every Sunday night, I’m going to trust my journey, my faith and my heart to give an audience, at the conclusion of my weekend, a fresh piece of myself that no other gathered congregation has ever heard.

I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to follow good rules that help people discover their humanity and the breath of God inside them. But don’t be timid in using your improv, and challenge rules that were put in place to stifle and foster “fussy fussers.”

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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

Any Given Sunday… March 4, 2013

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country churchI often find myself challenged.
Usually it’s by friends and family, who wonder why I continue to pursue an “inreach” to the church instead of expanding my activities outside the stained glass windows, to the marauding masses.
Did you ever notice that it’s always easier to view somebody else’s situation and figure out what they should do instead of messing with your own life? It’s why Jesus said we would rather take the speck of sawdust out of our brother’s eye than deal with the log protruding from our own.
But there is a miracle going on in this country. Just because it does not presently feel very miraculous does not detract from its potential. Any given Sunday, millions of Americans rise from their beds and head off to buildings, to worship the God of their choice. There’s nothing quite like it. There’s nothing that imitates it.
Even though my critics would occasionally suggest that I should go into the educational system and teach, or turn all of my products into a marketing scheme and start businesses that reach larger forums, or even that I become politically involved and change the world around me legally, I have to stand back and take a good gander at the opportunities afforded to me at this juncture in history and pursue what’s really going to work instead of what should work.
Let me tell you the problem with education. You need a diploma. What I mean is, we still evaluate the intelligence of our population based on the level of certificate they’ve received. Of course, we know this to be fictitious. We have gradually been admitting that technical schools, personal training and even apprenticeship can be preferrable methods for preparing people for the marketplace.
So how about entertainment? The problem with entertainment is that it needs applause. When you’re trying to appeal to the mass mentality, it is difficult to land on powerful ideas born through spirit or wisdom.

I suppose you could pursue corporations–but as you well know, they need a profit. They require squeezing every single dollar of savings out of your ledger of costs to always plump the bottom line.
How about politics? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that politicians need a vote–and if you’re trying to get everybody to vote for you, the only thing you’re really running from is the truth.
It’s the church.

Flawed as she may be, encumbered by tradition more than passion, she still remains the only avenue for change–where people understand that some receptivity and learning may be necessary to gain favor.

Any given Sunday, you will see them gather. They are the huddled masses of our nation, still clinging to the hope of better ideals, even if those principles are muttered instead of proclaimed.
I sat in my green room yesterday morning preparing to share my heart with a new group of people from Houston, Texas. Outside in the hallway there were a myriad of conversations that floated through my door. These interactions were not any different from what you would have heard at a barbershop, a shopping mall or outside a football stadium prior to the game. They were laced with humanity, riddled with a lot of opinion, and even frustration.

But here’s the difference–we weren’t at a barber shop, a shopping mall or getting ready to go to a football game. We were heading into a room to sit our butts down in the presence of God and try to think about something besides ourselves and our own woes.

It opens the door for a possibility for renewal. It opens the window to revival. It opens our minds to the resurrection of change.

No one left the way they came. That’s why I go to the church. That’s why I keep believing.

And that’s why, on any given Sunday, there is the magnificent mission of generating a glorious new Monday.

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Holes … February 18, 2013

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GE DIGITAL CAMERAComplicating life doesn’t make you smarter.

Coming up with intricate ways of conducting your business certainly does not make you more efficient. And merely saying you live a “simple life” doesn’t work either, if you end up ignoring what needs to be done.

What works is making a plan, fully aware that life, circumstances, people and even God will reveal holes in your goals. What you do with the holes determines whether you will be considered a problem-solver, clever and on-point, or an avoider, a liar and a cheat.

That’s really how easy it is. If this were taught in our schools and churches, within one generation we would solve at least half of our problems–because we would be able to identify them as bobbles before they became disasters.

Allow yourself one fear–a fear of a lack of repentance.

Failure is inevitable because we are all learning. Set-backs are necessary because they instruct us in better ways to accomplish our goals. And without inadequacy, none of us would ever desire to learn more precise procedures to improve our lives.

While the church is concerned about sin, politics about flip-flopping, corporations frightened of whistle-blowers and the average Joe and Jane on the street terrified of embarrassment, we have developed a society which spends most of its time “spinning” our flops into accidents–or even worse, consequences beyond our control.

Here’s the system: I make a plan. In the process of doing that, I study what is set before me, evaluate what I have, and set in motion ideas which appear to be my best selections and which also don’t seem to harm anyone else. As soon as I rev that engine on my new invention, I will discover there are holes.

If I am the first one to notice them,  am prepared to repair them and I am willing to make the adjustments to them I will always appear to be a forward-thinking genius. If I insist that my original prototype is perfect and just misunderstood, or hasn’t had a chance to work out its bugs, or should be accepted despite its lack of quality, I will end up looking like a first-class jerk.

That’s it. Life is about making plans, knowing there will be holes, but that if we’re willing to patch them without bad attitudes or denial, we will make progress.

Do you want to grow up a little today? Make a plan, look for the holes, repair them–and laugh because you didn’t have to humiliate yourself by being exposed as a fool.

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