Getting in Character…July 13th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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heart

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.”

“Not believable.”

It is the two-word epitaph for every actor’s performance which seems dead-on-arrival. It is pronounced by critic and audience alike when the scene set before them lacks sincerity, legitimacy and heart.

Sometimes it is caused by the script being underplayed; often it’s a result of overacting. But somewhere along the line, the actor has failed to take the words that he or she has committed to memory and equally commit them to heart.

  • The emotion is phony.
  • The emotion is lacking.
  • The emotion is pre-determined and therefore sits on the shelf too long, arriving stale.

There is a certain amount of emotional purity necessary to convey who we are to the world around us. When this is lacking, the jungle sense inside every mortal comes to the forefront, screaming “this is not real.”

So since the world is a stage and we are actors, what can we do to guarantee that our contribution is believable? Because long before we are valuable, we need to establish that we are as we say we are.

To gain this pure heart, you must:

1. Be the first person around you who is not afraid of sharing your feelings.

You can be selective. You can release it slowly–just as long as you’re forthcoming and not being “caught”–trapped in a web of lies.

2. Realize that your feelings are inescapable, yet they only gain the possibility of change when shared well.

No one is suggesting that there has to be an outpouring from the heart of every single sensation that happens from moment to moment, but when a reality exists, to deny it, mask it or reject it is to set yourself up for being exposed instead of controlling the update on your own situation.

3. Know that people can trust you because they are fully aware that you’re willing to be honest.

Without this kind of emotional purity, human beings spiral down. They end up in the basement of consideration, relegated to a position of worthlessness because they were unable to deliver what they advertised themselves to be.

Fear makes us doubt.

Doubt makes us defensive.

Defensiveness turns us into liars.

And all liars end up looking like fools.

 

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The Coloma Passion… August 24, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Coloma ChurchFaith without passion is dead on arrival, struck down in the street by a big yellow bus of reality.

Fact is, if you can’t get people emotionally involved with their faith, mental assent, physical presence and spiritual study are very poor substitutes. After all, our heart holds our treasure, and our treasure occupies our heart.

As I journey this weekend to Coloma, Michigan, this is fresh on my mind.

I want to place the fire of desire inside my life. Now, that is merely a clever phrase unless it is defined by saying that my journey needs to include a “dare to care” attitude. Caring is not natural. It is something we have to turn on like a switch and purpose to accomplish, otherwise we lull ourselves into a sleepiness of believing that we’re really compassionate.

Shake the earth. The best way for me to shake the earth is by actually following a simple concept: be the person you admire. Instead of sitting around commenting on virtuous behavior, turn into the biggest copycat that ever stole a good idea.

Also, I would like to start speaking the word of justice. That means I need to learn to talk about rights, because they change wrongs. No one has ever successfully preached against wrongs to make things right. I need to believe that goodness has appeal instead of contending that I’m on the losing team until I get to heaven.

And finally, I want to tell the folks in Coloma this weekend to try to become part of the “sane that remain.” Life is an expedition, so don’t think you’re going to come without provisions, water and patience and survive the safari. There will be a need to outlast your critics. And why do people criticize? Because right now it isn’t popular. That’s not to say it wasn’t popular in the past, or that a great breath of common sense will not bring it into vogue again. It’s just important to realize that if you’re going to have passionate faith, you will have to endure to the end.

So here we come, Coloma: faith with passion.

  • The fire of desiredare to care.
  • Shake the earthbe the person you admire.
  • The word of justiceit takes rights to change wrongs.
  • And the sane that remainbe prepared to outlast your critics.

For in a world of dimness, a single candle can illuminate the path.

Hebrews 12:18-29

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Crazy Larry… February 24, 2013

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Living a Legendary LifeI think it was about eight years ago. I had begun to write screenplays for independent movies, was composing some symphonic works for a regional orchestra, was working on a couple of novels and traveling across the country doing my presentation in churches.

It was an excitingly varied life, which brought one piece of information to the forefront of my mind: everyone is basically looking for a central mission in their journey, but are often reluctant to name that yearning by using one of the conventional terms for God or spirituality.

I found that both intriguing and comical. The thought in my mind is, once you find out where faith has its nexus, the name you come up with for this precious sense of peace of mind is not nearly as important as remaining passionate and fervent.

So I wrote a book called Living a Legendary Life, and in a very tongue-in-cheek style I proposed that rather than fighting over religious vernacular, we should just go ahead and call God–Larry.

I thought it was quite funny. I wasn’t actually suggesting that we start the First Church of Larry or the Holy Order of Larry. What I failed to realize was that I was trying to be humorous, off-the-cuff and clever in a world that does not particularly favor those presentations.

I immediately ran into the conservatives and the liberals. The conservatives were upset because I suggested that the name of the Divine God of the Universe was one of the Three Stooges. The liberals, on the other hand, were dismayed because I portrayed a God named Larry (which they didn’t have much problem with) but that this Deity expected people to be involved in their own lives and not cop out on their responsibilities.

Little did I know that I had placed myself directly in the center between these two houses of philosophy, and was in danger of being shot by both sides.

It made me think of the words of Larry’s son, Jesus, who once noted that he was very happy that truth is “hidden from the wise and prudent.” The wise consist of those more liberal individuals, who contend that they’re more intellectual and scientific than their backwoods brethren. And the prudent are the conservatives, who think the only way to be acceptable is to retreat into former times, when everything was supposedly just hunky-dory, and you could actually say “hunky-dory.”

This experience has not deterred my effort to maintain an autonomy from both camps. The wise are too smart to learn and the prudent are too careful to be blessed.

So both of them thought my idea was a rather “crazy Larry” concept–and my satire escaped them. But for those who are not bound by the restrictions of either world, who still believe that God loves us all, and keep good cheer in their lives because it is their favorite survival tool, my writings are still appreciated–and even occasionally comprehended.

After all, faith needs two very important parts: (1) it needs function. It’s got to be practical enough to be of some earthly good. (2) And it requires fervor. If it doesn’t energize you, it is a faith without works … which is dead on arrival..

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