Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … September 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: Do you want to have children?

 

Dear Man: No, but I’d like to have a family.

 

Dear Woman: What’s the difference?

 

Dear Man: Huge! A family is a group of people sitting around the living room, all of which have been potty trained and know the working end of a Kleenex, enjoying pizza night and watching Disney movies.

 

Dear Woman: And children would be…?

 

Dear Man: Creatures who suddenly appear, squalling and pooping everywhere, trying to control the environment.

 

Dear Woman: That’s pretty negative.

 

Dear Man: I’ve always found it better in life to work backwards from negative to find positive things, instead of leaping in with happy-go-lucky, to later retract your statements because of the abundance of weirdness.

 

Dear Woman: I would like us to have a baby.

 

Dear Man: You see, that’s the problem. Vestiges of male chauvinism and female oppression lie dead-center in the middle of this process of procreation. It’s further accentuated by the new domineering attitude–especially in black and Latino communities, which portray women as “Baby Mamas,” and these conquering studs spreading their seed across several different mothering units.

 

Dear Woman: Wow. That’s harsh. Maybe even racist.

 

Dear Man: Sexist is worse than racist. I don’t care if you’re black, brown, or whatever color you are–if you’re treating the mother of your children like she is a nanny, then you’re wrong.

 

Dear Woman: Well, I wanted to have children together.

 

Dear Man: But what does that mean? In our society, we have single moms, but single dads are kind of a joke. In other words, if a man stays home and decides to take care of his children we think he’s a lazy bum, but if a woman does it, she’s a responsible female who has made a positive choice for her youngsters.

 

Dear Woman: I can see that. But how would you rectify it? I mean, what would you do to even the playing field so men and women can be perceived as partners in this project of birthing and raising a child?

 

Dear Man: Get rid of sentimentality. Mother’s love is not stronger than father’s love–not in our species. A woman getting tears in her eyes because she’s thinking about her children does not mean she loves them more. You love them more if you work with your partner to turn them into decent human beings instead of rapists, serial killers, televangelists and politicians. And not necessarily in that order.

 

Dear Woman: I think I understand what you’re trying to say. You want me to be as invested emotionally, mentally and spiritually as you are forced to be physically.

 

Dear Man: Exactly. The same amount of effort it takes to transform my body into a birthing machine is the same kind of commitment I want both of us to have, to change ourselves into parenting units.

 

Dear Woman: So what would you change?

 

Dear Man: As I said, get rid of the sentimentality about mother’s love being superior to father’s love. Then involve the man in the process of the conception, birthing and raising of the child as an equal participant, not merely a bread-winner. And stop putting special significance on one sex over another when it comes to the care, maintenance and maturing of the child.

 

Dear Woman: I agree with all of that.

 

Dear Man: Maybe you do. But that will mean that most nights you’re not going to be able to go off with your buddies and watch the game, but instead, stay home with your child and me, watching the game on TV, laughing and doing puzzles.

 

Dear Woman: I can do that. Matter of fact, when you explain it this way, it seems like the way it should be. But because we want to maintain the superiority of the man over the woman, we manufacture this false sense of “ultimate motherhood.”

 

Dear Man: Absolutely. I don’t mind having children with you if we can change diapers, change attitudes and change directions as parents together.

 

Dear Woman: Most people will think that’s weird.

 

Dear Man: That’s why most people have children that are out of control instead of offspring they can be proud of.

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Good News and Better News … July 18th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Lady Liberty hillAll the squirrels and sparrows in the woodlands of Pennsylvania did not seem to care.

As I drove through on my way to St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Valley View, these creatures were preoccupied with the pursuit of living–actually, rather excited and vigorous about it. They seemed unaware that political conventions were about to convene or that lunatic killers roam the earth, trying to prove that their god is better or that their lives truly matter.

I realized that I could either imitate my friends in the forest or the commentators on television, who bombard me with the command to be sad or mad.

After all, it seems appropriate to be forlorn or infuriated. Killing is deadly. Worse, it’s terrifying. (That’s why we call them terrorists.)

It seems irresponsible to follow the advice of Jesus and “be of good cheer” or “be not afraid” and “rejoice and be exceedingly glad.” Matter of fact, one of the better ways to be mocked in this day and age is to suggest that things will get better instead of worse.Valley View Map

So I was delighted when I arrived at the church and discovered that the human creatures emerging from their homes had decided to imitate the squirrels and the sparrows instead of the pundits on television, who continue to repeat the same information, hoping it will create greater nervousness and rage with each pronouncement.

Why do we need to be glad? Because we become emotionally unhinged when we’re mad, and mentally depleted when we’re sad.

Gladness releases the chemicals in our bodies which make us willing to go the second mile instead of complaining about the first one.

Gladness causes us to remember times of goodness instead of being partly cloudy with evil.

Gladness is the abiding notion that we still have something to contribute instead of being at the mercy of the people with the loudest guns or the biggest truck.

For I will truly tell you that yesterday the only place of satisfying sanctuary and hope was the church.

  • It’s not because it’s perfect.
  • It’s not because every issue is handled correctly by the clergy.

It’s because we serve a Master who insists on fueling us with good cheer instead of wearing us down with negative reports.

During the service, I watched the people bloom. They brought the seed, I brought the water and God gave the increase.

I watched Pastor Duane encourage it to happen without inserting reports of doom and gloom or trying to balance it out with an overuse of concern. Yes, concern is overused if it has no intention of becoming involved.

Here’s the good news: Jesus told us that even when we’re confronted by those who are persecuting us, we should “rejoice and be exceedingly glad.” Why? Because in the hour of need, our “smarts” might be our only friend.

And the better news is that the only way to tap the full potential of what we’ve experienced in our lives is to busy ourselves living instead of worrying about dying.

Valley View book table

 

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G-48: 1619… October 31, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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cargo ship bigger

Excitement.

  • A season of reason.
  • An hour of power.
  • A college of knowledge.
  • A start for art.
  • A relief for belief.
  • A release of peace.
  • A righting of the course of fellowship.

And then … 1619.

A Dutch trader, selling his goods along the African coast, runs across a tribesman who has no money, but is willing to give a cargo of human beings, his neighbors, as exchange for his merchandise.

The wayfaring seaman pauses, thinking. He knows he doesn’t dare return without some sort of remuneration, or face losing his job–maybe worse. He looks at the half-clothed, nervous, twitching beings in front of him. They don’t look like him.

His brain sets in motion a nasty logic:

  1. These people are vulnerable.
  2. Therefore, these folks are less.
  3. These souls are our servants.
  4. These creatures are our property.
  5. These possessions are our slaves.

Much to his surprise, when he returns from his journey, expecting a rebuke for his choice, he is praised for such an inventive idea and commissioned to return and do it again.

As often is the case, there is a market. Therefore we pursue it–without wondering about its ramifications.

A painful portion of poison is perpetuated upon peoplehood. They digress.

And then one day, in a crowded, heated hall, nervous men, trying to cover their apprehension with verbal boldness, agree to a document which states clearly, directly and without apology:

“All men are created equal.”

1776.

Perhaps it is the remedy for 1619.

We shall see what price they’re willing to pay…for their own convictions.

 

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G-18: Fellowship or Companionship … April 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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Adam it's not enough

It’s not enough

I don’t know how to tell you

You have given me so much

I value your love

I treasure our relationship

I feel you inside me

I am thrilled with my work

I am enthralled by my home

I adore the creatures around me

If perfect is possible, then here it is

At my fingertips

In my pulse

Yet sadly, my friend, it is not enough

I simultaneously feel a vacancy and a sense of shame over the lack

I really tried to make a go of it

I felt as if work, fellowship and purpose should be sufficient to my need

I was wrong

I do not want to lie to you

I do not want to sneak away in a corner and pretend

I yearn for companionship

What is that?

Someone to hold in my arms

To confirm my presence

Someone to share blessing and blame

Someone for me to pleasure, and in turn, draw my pleasure from

Someone who disagrees, but remains

Someone who is like me but in a different sort of way

Someone who is sometimes stronger

Sometimes weaker

Honestly, someone who isn’t you

Someone who is, well … me

I don’t want to complain

But it is not enough

 

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

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G-9: Easy or Ease… January 31, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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atlas bigMay we take a moment to sum up the human condition?

The gravity of our situation adds weight and pressure to our lives, creating burden. Feeling this added weight, we tend to gyrate to situations where we can float along and be buoyant. Unfortunately, because this climate is not where we really desire to be or in correlation with our calling, we stagnate, which lends itself to feelings of disappointment.

So even though the added gravity of an environment that questions us may occasionally make us feel defeated, trying to stay in an “easy” climate that does not cause us to grow produces disappointment, which degrades itself to depression.

Sooner or later we must understand that we are not meant to be buoyant. We are not intended to be creatures who merely bob up and down, moving with the flow of the world around us.

  • We have legs.
  • We have a backbone.
  • We are not fish.

We are supposed to endure the gravity of life, but somehow find a way to ease the tribulation and be of good cheer.

Yes, there is a difference between easy and ease, and in finding that distinction, you discover one of the key secrets of human life.

The main thing that has to be conquered is despair. Easy does not defeat it, nor does throwing a fit over your inadequacy scare the dark clouds away. We must find a way to ease the gravity of our situation.

Where do we start?

  1. Being too positive makes you ill-prepared for the realities that will come your way.  1a. Think yes, prepare for no.
  2. Being too negative encompasses your time, which could be better spent in planning and learning. 2a.Consider no; prepare for yes.
  3. Being practical is the art of balancing what you have with what might happen. 3a. Ignore yes and no; focus on the details.
  4. Knowing that surprises are inevitable, it’s a good idea not to take too much time acting surprised. 4a. Difficulty is common to all human beings.
  5. Set small goals so achievement is possible daily. 5a. The blessings and trials of life are delivered with each morning’s portion.

To choose an easy path is to quickly make yourself extinct in your own evolution. To ease the path, you have to consider the factors–every movement is countered by a movement from another direction.

Being aware of that grants you the advantage of not needing to fall into a pit of despair, but rather, pulling up short of the edge, gaining your footing … and living to think and work another day.

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