The Alphabet of Us: N is for Nice… March 9, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Building block N big

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

Nearly seventy years ago, a grumpy baseball manager snarled to a nearby reporter, “Nice guys finish last.”

That should have been the end of it.

But he is still quoted by human beings who have given up on the idea of creatively finding ways to achieve their goals while still maintaining civility. Yes, we tend to extol the virtue of meanness while making fun of the childishness of being nice.

There are two problems with this.

Number one, the people who want to be mean to me expect me to be nice to them. They are not prepared for my rebound of meanness.

And secondly, for four thousand years the Jews and Arabs have pursued the “doctrine of meanness,” and may I say, the project is a complete failure.

Nice is not an abstract willingness to submit to the will of others. Rather, nice is the desire to get along with other people, and the determination to use our talents and intelligence to possess it.

So let us honor the beauty of nice. I shall teach you the “Head to Toe Show”–the anatomy of how we can use our entire being to actuate our goals:

1. I have a brain so I will use it to think of ways to succeed without hurting other people.

2. Having eyes, I see you as my equal, not my victim.

3. With my ears, I choose to hear your voice instead of just mine.

4. With my mouth, I speak good–or choose silence.

5. Using my neck, I turn toward hope and away from cynicism.

6. I shoulder my own personal responsibility.

7. I lend a hand … or maybe even two.

8. I don’t waste my waist, but I bend to change my actions toward acceptance instead of judgment.

9. I use my legs to walk toward helping people instead of away from them.

10. I kneel before something and someone larger than myself.

11. And I always put feet to my faith.

Nice is a decision to take our elements, from head to toe, and employ them toward solution instead of wallowing in aggravation.

It is when we reject the premise that survival means to kill instead of survival being a way to construct a much-needed network of fellowship.

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Populie: It Doesn’t Matter What You Believe… August 13, 2014

 

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2321)

Canyon edge

“It doesn’t matter what you believe, just as long as you believe.”

I grew up with that statement. What I mean is, that sentiment was the poster child for tolerance. Of course, the idea has become less popular as unbelief has taken its position of power in the great struggle of human philosophy.

Religion, politics and entertainment thrive in this environment of “give that takes” and “taking that rarely gives” because it offers conflict which gets people to the voting booth, plot lines which are often dreary and glum and religious conflicts which make both warring parties puff up with their own supremacy.

The trouble with the whole concept of toleration is that it means to tolerate–and candidly, my dear friends, there are some things that cannot be tolerated. Sooner or later, we have to conclude that you are entitled to believe what you want only as long as it does not hurt other people or as long as it’s sensitive to the principles which cause Planet Earth to prosper.

  • For instance, I do not know why we continue to tolerate anyone who contends that “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is a viable precept.
  • I do not know why we insist on promoting the idea of culture, which is often just a disguise for prejudice.
  • I am baffled why we allow political candidates to plunder the character of their opponent all within the framework of “good politics.”

It does matter what we believe. It is life and death.

It determines whether we have ruling classes and serfs, rejected races and preferential ones and bigotry based upon race, color, creed or sex.

I will tell you bluntly, what you believe must:

1. Bolster your creativity.

Any philosophy, idea, religion or government that stifles the human ability to use their gifts freely has to be identified for its short-sighted, insane propagation of stupidity.

2. Help you avoid cynicism.

If what you believe causes you to become more cynical about human beings, life on earth, science, nature or God, then it is a road block to progress.

3. Endure to the end.

I, for one, am tired of belief systems that vaporize whenever difficulty comes on the scene, escaping to the corners of the room like cockroaches to avoid the truth of the moment.

Without a sense of endurance, we are at the mercy of circumstance, which is meant to change based upon our ongoing input.

4. Create a judgment-free zone.

If your belief makes you so proud of your own personal excellence that you begin to look down on fellow travelers with a nagging spirit of disapproval, then quite candidly, your belief has lost its privilege.

And finally, what you believe must:

5. Be of good cheer.

Good cheer is not always being happy, but it is the acknowledgment that happiness is still the goal, even though we may have hit a rough patch.

When we become agnostic to the idea of finding peace of mind and joy in our lives, we also become belligerent to those around us who are content.

I will say it boldly: I am not tolerant of any belief system that does not foster these five holy principles. And what makes them holy is that they make whole people, who continue to pursue promise instead of spitting on the grave of faith to express their intellectual superiority.

It does matter.

And until we have enough spunk to realize that tolerating intolerable ideas is the certain way to destroy our planet, we will be walking on the edge of the Grand Canyon thinking we’re safe … because no breeze will ever blow.

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Populie: Stand Up for Yourself … June 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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 fightingTo gain any understanding of human relationships, we must learn the difference between bullying and physical abuse.

There is no doubt that if a we are physically attacked, a certain amount of defense is necessary to protect ourselves. Yet to channel that aggression into our everyday lives simply because we are dealing with critics, bullies and self-centered opponents is to open the door to cynicism and allow ourselves to become defensive and jaded.

There is a popular belief that we are required to defend ourselves against personal assault. The populie is that we should stand up for ourselves in all circumstances and never allow anyone to put us down.

Religion loves this simply because it allows them to drain creaky energy from the Old Testament, which permits a much more vindictive attitude towards those who are their enemies. (Allow me to warn you–every time you use the Old Testament to support your spiritual and emotional choices, you are denying the purpose for the lifestyle of Jesus.)

Politics loves “stand up for yourself” because it opens the door to deniability. In other words, even though you’ve done stupid or careless things, as long as you can deny them and act offended by the assertion, you can outlast your critics. This is the way politics works.

And of course, entertainment wants to put the hero in the corner with his or her back against the wall, and then have them fight their way to acceptance or freedom, to the applause and cheers of those who bought a ticket and a bucket of popcorn.

But if everybody in the world retaliates when challenged, then we will spend all of our time putting out brush fires of arguments instead of discovering the truth about ourselves and better ways to live.

Candidly, I almost didn’t write this essay because I knew my approach on this issue would be unpopular and even considered unnatural. But the greatest thing you can do when accused, verbally attacked, questioned or placed in a corner is to refuse to participate in the exercise because it only leads to a back-and-forth, meaningless futility. I attack you, you attack me, we attack each other, and then everyone around us is forced to take sides.

Writing a daily column on the Internet constantly puts me at risk of being questioned or even ambushed by people who choose to be critical of the work of others instead of venturing an effort of their own. I have developed a three-step process for everything I do in my life:

1. I said it.

In other words, as long as you’re quoting me correctly, I don’t have any problem with your disagreement and I refuse to question how you approach your comment. You are entitled to be upset with my words, my life and my choices. The power I have is in standing behind my words, my lifestyle and my choices.

I am not sure I know the value of an apology that begins with, “If I offended you … ”

When I offend you, I will apologize dearly, but if my mere beliefs and presence is a source of annoyance to you, I will continue my life and pray that you get over it.

2. I did it.

I am hungry and thirsty to see and hear human beings admit what they’ve done without clarification, excuse or defensiveness. I will tell you right now, if Richard Nixon had admitted what he knew about the Watergate break-in, been honest about his involvement and shared it immediately, he would never have been forced to resign.

I don’t know when we started thinking that diversion, lying, cheating and misrepresentation can ever win the day. Not only will the truth make you free, but if you reject the freedom, your sins will find you out.

3. This is who I am.

It doesn’t mean I’m not working on getting better; it doesn’t mean I’m always right. Certainly there are things I could learn from you. Yet I got over the need to pretend when I stopped being a child.

This is who I am.

I know there is such a thing as bullying, but if our children had more confidence about what they say, do and who they are, the silence they offer to the aggressive individuals around them would soon rob the varmints of the pleasure of riling them up.

Yes, we empower our enemies when we take their insults seriously.

So when we turn the other cheek, we are not being noble; rather, it is a sophisticated form of stubbornness … refusing to be curtailed by the whim and wishes of others.

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After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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G-28: Once Was Lost … June 13, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2262)

Jack climbingGrace is so much more amazing when it is saving wretches.

Without acknowledging our wretchedness, grace merely funds and fosters a nest of pious arrogance.

The Creator learned this about His own creation.

For when the human race is encouraged without being challenged, we become smug, self-reliant and callous to the feelings of others.

As time passed on, people developed a definition for spirituality which favored their own profiles and vices.

They began to refer to themselves as the “sons of God,” which meant that eventually they no longer needed a Divine presence, since they, themselves could fulfill the mission. Yes–they believed they were gods. (Actually, the best we can hope for by having a common Father which is in heaven, is the delightful knowledge that we’re all brothers and sisters. )

But in the pursuit of self-esteem, we lost the humility that makes us desirable and attractive to one another.

As a race, we began to believe we were giants–immensely talented, obviously good-looking and supernaturally empowered. Any notion that came along to contradict this evaluation was considered a “downer” or a personal attack.

Once again, our species failed to understand that the power of discovering our worth is having the intelligence to know that we are actually poor in spirit and require the mercy of God and therefore should extend mercy to one another.

Of course, when giants mate with other giants, they create children who are mighty and renowned.

People believed that their offspring were better than other offspring, and therefore deserved special consideration.

  • It was the beginning of racism.
  • It was the maintenance of sexism.
  • It was the authorization of preferential treatment.
  • It was the idea that “family” was the most important thing in the world and that our particular unit was supremely endowed with favor.

Yet the most intelligent approach to child-rearing is the realization that our kids are no better than anybody else’s kids, and that all the children of Earth are painstakingly learning to become citizens of a common planet.

Of course, once you convince yourself that you’re a god, a giant, and your chldren are supernatural, your imaginations all become acceptable–even when they’re laced with evil.

Remember, evil always occurs when human beings feel they do not require editing.

So instead of thinking better about each other or hopeful about the possibility of goodness, a cynicism and suspicion descended on mankind, causing us to think evil when we were intended to take the beauty of thought to ponder good things.

And of course, once evil was allowed into the mix, violent behavior became not only acceptable, but encouraged in order to protect our children, our self-worth and our status as sons of God.

Rather than despising the shedding of blood–a sensation which is innately in our being–we began to pursue what we viewed to be “necessary killing” to honor our family, our province or our belief.

You can tell that violence is contrary to human beings because the minute we look down and see our own blood leaking from our bodies, we shrivel back in horror and demand immediate medical attention. Yet in our arrogance, we can watch others bleed without flinching.

People began to contended they were the sons of god, giants, raising children who were better than other sprouts, and opened the door to imaginations becoming evil, and violence gained acceptability.

The Creator was bewildered.

The Creator felt compelled to make a painful decision.

 

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After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

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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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Keep … April 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

(2200)

Delta pic 1Many years ago, packing up and getting ready to leave a small Upper Room venue, where a couple dozen bare-footed and jean-clad souls had gathered to listen to music while sipping tea and eating day-old doughnuts graciously provided by the local baker, I received warm hugs and two abiding sentiments: keep truckin’ and keep the faith.

Tears filled the eyes of the exhorter, only partially clouding the great emotion of hope, belief and abiding knowledge that God isn’t done with any of us yet.

Alas, a new wave of pessimism, cynicism and agnosticism is sweeping our country and is even permeating the pores of the righteous, and makes such declarations–“keep truckin'” and “keep the faith”–seem misplaced, nostalgic and even absurd.

I have no desire to return to former times that were plagued with their own viral stupidities, but there is a thread of gentleness that has to be passed from one generation to another. Otherwise, this experiment of humanity comes unraveled.

So with humility in my heart and an abundance of confidence in my soul, I share with you the five phases necessary to change the world. Please take them on one at a time, and when you feel the nudge and permission from your spirit, move on and allow yourself the joy of embracing the next possibility.

Delta pic 2

PHASE ONE

Change my heart

Awake my soul

Renew my mind

Give me strength

PHASE TWO

(As Boldness Allows)

Anoint my touch

Expand my reach

Let me stand

Enliven my moves

PHASE THREE

(After Spiritual Muscle Has Grown)

Bless my walk

Guide my steps

Give me people

Let me be gentle

Share, don’t preach

Feel, don’t teach

 

PHASE FOUR

(Enlivened, Moving On)

Learn instead of know

Watch myself grow

Establish trust

Relate good news

Avoid the darkness

Light a candle

Do good works

PHASE FIVE

(Glorified, I Continue)

Reject my fear

Welcome new love

Point joyously to progress

Call progress God.

 

Keep truckin’. Keep the faith.

delta pic 3

(pictures of journey from Gallup, New Mexico to Paonia, Colorado)

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Jesonian: Say, Do, Become … April 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

(2196)

big I'm picWhen I heard him say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” honestly, I rolled my eyes.

It sounded like one of those statements made by someone who feels he is spiritually or intellectually superior, but tempers it with a short burst of manipulated humility.

But then, when the Centurion told him that he didn’t need to come to his house to heal his servant–just speak the word–and instead of becoming defensive or flexing his religious muscle, he praised the gentleman for the enlightenment, I realized that this one had the capacity to become a friend to the faithful.

Likewise, when he touted the importance of mourning, my cynicism came to the forefront. It’s so easy to elevate distress to a status of soulful discovery when you aren’t actually going through it.

But later, when he wept with his friends at the grave of Lazarus and shed tears for Jerusalem because of its hard-heartedness, I grasped that he had the capacity to become the savior to the ignorant.

“Blessed are the meek.”

Time after time he put that into practice as he was rejected by his family, the religious leaders, and even close friends. Yes, a respecter of the choices of others.

He told us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” He backed it up by fasting in the wilderness for forty days. A source to the seeker.

Being merciful is often a politically safe phrase to mouth in front of the masses but not so easy to enact–especially when they bring to you a woman caught in adultery, and the socially correct position is to condemn her.

He didn’t.

A champion of the lost.

I was a little surprised when he spoke about being “pure in heart.” And then, when I stood at his side, looking down at the very cold, pale and still body of a twelve-year-old girl who was obviously deceased, and he turned to the room with an almost foolish glee and told us not to doubt, “she’s just asleep,” my eyes filled with tears over such genuine simplicity. He became a child of the children.

A peacemaker? In our day and age? When it’s considered to be noble and righteous to stand up for your turf and proclaim your worth? I watched him carefully. When he was obviously snubbed one day by a Samaritan village which had formerly welcomed him, and now had decided to renege on the invitation, and those around him wanted to declare war on the inhabitants, he stopped them, and said that his was a spirit of reconciliation. God knows we needed it. Behold, a repairer of the breach.

I winced a bit when he suggested to the masses that they should be happy when they’re persecuted. But when his entourage grew into the thousands, only to shrink to a tiny handful every time a new rumor or misrepresentation of his words filtered through the crowd, he still pursued his calling.

In so doing, for all time, he shall be deemed the voice of reason.

I, myself, was startled by the notion of trying to find tenderness for those who speak evil against us. And then, at his trial, when the false accusers literally stumbled over one another to incriminate him, he remained still, and became the calm in the storm.

  • I listened to what he had to say.
  • I watched carefully what he chose to do.
  • And I was there when the friend of the faithful, the savior of the ignorant, the respecter of others, the source of the seeker, the champion of the lost, the child of the children, the repairer of the breach, the voice of reason and the calm in the storm–yes, I was there when he rose from the dead and became the Son of God.

I learned from him. Choose what you say, because you will have to back it up with what you do.

Only then do you become what you believe.

 

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1946… March 13, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

(2175)

Nixon resigningYour mommy is pregnant.

Well, actually, because it’s 1946, one is not allowed to say “pregnant.” Preferable is with child, in the family way or on the nest.

You are about to be born. While you are still in your mother’s gentle jail, two atomic bombs are exploded, with tens of thousands of casualties.

You, too, are going to be part of a “boom”–yes, an explosion of births due to men returning from war, seeking the comfort of family and the pleasure of their wives’ company. By the time you are three years old, China has joined the Soviet Union, becoming Communist.

By age four, the world is back at war, in Korea.

When you are six years old, the Supreme Court makes a decision on Brown vs. Board of Education, decrying segregation in the South. It would take thirteen years of bloody confirmation.

When you’re eight years old, you suddenly are confronted with a Cold War, which threatens to heat up periodically, causing your local village to build a bomb shelter near the school.

In like manner, when you’re sixteen, you feel the anxiety of global annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

And then comes the roller coaster:

  • At seventeen years of age John Kennedy is shot.
  • At eighteen the Beatles arrive, disrupting the social consciousness of a society already reeling from the death of a President.
  • At twenty-two, you stand by and watch as both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy are gunned down by no-name nothings.
  • Also in the same year you watch the Vietnam war escalate as thousands of young men your age are dying in the jungle.
  • At twenty-three they put a man on the moon.
  • And when you’re twenty-four, National Guardsmen gun down four students at Kent State.
  • On your twenty-eighth birthday, Richard Nixon resigns as President of the United States, acknowledging a conspiracy to defraud the American people.

The fear of your youth and the anger of your adolescence culminates into an adult cynicism.

Yes, the Baby Boomers became the adult Gloomers–and they passed onto their offspring a sense of mistrust, causing their children to constantly seek ways to escape reality.

It is rather doubtful if we can get out of the bland and bizarre depression that the country is experiencing without understanding how we got here.

We’re all too cynical.

We are too engrossed in ways to escape our lives instead of embracing them. And it is causing us to selfishly close up possibilities which just might make us better people.

Now you know how you got here.

Why don’t you go out today and do your best to reject the cynicism … and inhale some sort of new breath of life?

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