Populie: Lying is Human … September 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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two faces

I have had a cold where my nose ran incessantly.

Also, a toothache which persisted until I went to the dentist.

In addition, I have had a bout with diarrhea which perched me on the porcelain all day long.

In each of these cases, I found myself at the mercy of a situation beyond my control. I would characterize that experience as unpleasant. Yet for some reason, in the pursuit of avoiding personal introspection and repentance, we keep unnecessary, nasty vices inside us and rationalize them as part of being a human being.

Lying is one of them.

Even though religion tells us that we’re all basically evil and therefore prone to tell untruths and to deceive, and entertainment finds lying cute–especially between men and women–and politicians revel in the notion that a certain amount of lying is required to push forth the truth, we must comprehend that lying is a conscious decision made by each of us, even though we know the truth is readily available.

Lying is not spontaneous.

Lying is not something that overcomes us.

It is a choice we make–a fork in the road–and each and every time we do it, it is obvious and a spark of conscience flies off inside us, reminding us that what we just said is completely inaccurate.

But you see, here’s the kicker: even though we portray in all of our religion, entertainment and politics that lying is human, none of us will accept it when others lie to us.

We become enraged, self-righteous and swear to never trust them again.

Such hypocrisy.

And if you’re looking for a warning sign to foretell your failure and the demise of your character, hypocrisy is always the chief demon.

So let me tell you three things to help you understand why lying is not human, but rather, one of the more inhuman things we do to one another:

1. Doing what you hate is hating what you’re doing.

I have never known a liar who, in moments of reflection, does not suffer from self-loathing. Because we hate lying, we eventually have to hate ourselves. So all conversations about self-esteem are useless until we cleanse ourselves from the unrighteousness of lying.

2. If words permit lies, people just stop talking.

It’s why married couples stop yapping to each other. Because lies, cheating and missteps have been tolerated in order to maintain an unsettled peace, people stop talking.

3. When we finally accept that lying is a hypocritical option, then we discover that the three statements that slay the dragon of the forked tongue are:

A. “I was wrong.”

B. “I will do this.”

C. “I don’t know.”

When you’re willing to be honest about your mistakes, forthcoming about what you will and won’t do, and completely candid about what you know and what is beyond your comprehension, you become invaluable because people can trust what you say.

Human beings were created in Eden. Liars were kicked out.

While we are concerned about sins of the flesh, the real downfall in the human family is deception in the heart.

Lying is not human. It is a decision by people who could do better to do worse … and be mean to one another.

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Fault Line … May 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2225)

fault lineA fault line is what triggers earthquakes.

Living on a fault line is accepting the possibility of a disruption.

The same thing is true in human beings with the issue of fault. A majority of the upheavals which occur between human beings is based upon fierce disagreements over the fault involved. So because of this, people establish their opinions along a fault line, which best represents their willingness to interact.

1. Everything is my fault.

This is way too vulnerable. It often puts us in the position of being considered the underdog and the dumping ground for other people’s deception.

2. Most things are my fault.

Once again, this is much too difficult to define, still leaving us over-exposed to those folks who refuse to consider their own part in any failure.

3. Some things are my fault.

Always too much to explain. By the time we finish clarifying our part in the fiasco, we’ve bored the listener.

4. Nothing is my fault.

This certainly reeks of arrogance and eventually drives away all of our cohorts from working with us because they have to carry the burden of our lack.

5. I don’t believe in fault.

It may be a noble gesture, but you are surrounded by a world which points fingers–and has plenty of digits available.

Personal success is wrapped up in our level of personal responsibility.

This is the truth that Jesus says will make us free–free because we are no longer dependent on other people’s participation.

We look for our part in the project and continue to pursue it with diligence and joy instead of probing for someone to blame or the nearest scapegoat.

Let me give you an example.

Seven years ago a friend of mine died. He was a victim of cancer.

He smoked, drank a little bit, was angry much of the time, single and frustrated with the status, and full of animosity toward those around him because his life had not worked out the way he had hoped.

When he passed away, rather than pointing at him in his coffin and proclaiming that “he had made his own bed” and would now sleep eternally in it, I instead took a look at what responsibility I had in his demise.

It was a beautiful, healing journey. Candidly, most of my discoveries were positive. I had been generous; I had been kind. I had influenced without becoming an interloper.

But in the process of reviewing the case concerning this friend, I did discover some truth. I could have stepped in earlier and encouraged–or even insisted–that he go to the doctor, which could have made a difference in his prognosis.

I didn’t feel guilt about it. I didn’t assume that it was my fault–but I realized that if I ever had the opportunity again with another human being, I would step into the gap a bit sooner and offer positive solutions.

It was so cleansing.

I didn’t have to take on fault, nor did I have to absolve myself of guilt.

I found personal responsibility.

In a generation which is trying to escape our part in the disaster, we are also running away from the truth that can make us free.

Not everything is my fault–but it is also not the case that nothing is my fault.

The fault line, which spurs our hearts to personal discovery, is there to bring the “truth which can make us free.”

Personal responsibility is the only doorway that allows us the dignity of finishing our day with a smile instead of a nervous apprehension about tomorrow.

 

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Arizona morning

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.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

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POPULIE: It’s Just the Way It Is … April 30, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2218)

Don and girl“It’s just the culture. You can’t change it.”

This is a quotation from Don Sterling during one of his recent conversations with his girlfriend about his beliefs and contentions concerning racial and ethnic issues. And even though his words and ideas were so egregious that they raised a national “stir over Sterling,” the heart of his principles exists as a cancer in our society and permeates the thinking of most Americans.

Because we have been raised with the foolish notion that “popular” means “right,” we are constantly sucked in by lies and deception, drawing us away from our better nature into seasons of temporary insanity and regression.

  • Not everything in life is up for votes.
  • Not everything in life is debatable.
  • Not everything in life can be a button on Facebook, which you punch if you “like” and when you realize you’ve accumulated enough of these approvals, you can proceed with confidence.

It is a POPULIE: “It’s just the way it is.”

Yet sometimes, we have to say, “It’s the culture, and not only is it wrong, but we’re going to change it.”

Politics discourages this, because to maintain a platform on which to base political leanings, you often find yourself defending arcane ideas and ridiculous notions.

Religion enjoys this prospect of not being able to change matters because it takes the responsibility for “storming the gates of hell” away from the local congregation and also allows for the anemic proclamation of the “soon return of Christ” because the world is in such a mess.

And entertainment loves to hide behind the populist notion that society has moved into some sort of new acceptance of an obtuse idea which has been rejected by time so they can flaunt it and call it “reality.”

Here’s something I want you to remember:

It isn’t a way if it doesn’t tell the truth that brings life.

And every true way believes that we are together.

Truth holds us together and life brings us together.

If you’re not arguing for these points, you’re jumping on a band wagon that’s playing so loudly that you may not notice that you’re heading for the edge of a cliff.

I do not care if social, spiritual, moral or even political issues have gained a following. I only care if they are a way that tells the truth that brings life.

If they aren’t, I will refuse to believe “it’s just the culture and the way it is.”

As people line up to give a gut punch to Don Sterling for his outlandish remarks, we need to realize that we all are in danger of falling victim to the quotation that fell from his lips. “It’s just the culture. You can’t change it.”

Well, I will tell you this: if we can’t change it, it will change us–and that particular transformation will not be life-giving, but rather, suck the possibility of true humanity and joy from our lives.

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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.

Laughing or Lying … June 15, 2013

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smiling sonsI do wish I would have learned it sooner.

It would have been advantageous to apply this priceless principle to all seven of my sons in the process of training them to be human beings, instead of just sporadically stumbling upon the idea.

It’s really quite simple: people are much more likely to tell the truth in an atmosphere of levity, laughter and good cheer than they are in a climate of challenge, seriousness and intimidation.

It’s a mistake every parent has made. We scare our children away from telling the truth because we walk into the room with a stern face and ask them to sit down as we explain in vivid detail how important it is to share the real story, brows furrowed.

It scares the truth right out of them.

They will do anything in the world to change that disconsolate face in front of them back into an understanding, gentle parent-visage. They want to say the right thing, so in the process they end up saying the wrong thing: a lie.

You even see it in the Garden of Eden. God made the mistake of walking in and saying, “Why are you hiding from me?” instead of joking with them about how their fig-leaf aprons were not very attractive.

People tell the truth more quickly if they’re surrounded by the reassurance that nothing is going to be taken too seriously, and redemption is possible because joy is already present.

When I was in high school, a bunch of my friends would get together to laugh, and in no time at all, we were telling deep secrets to each other. But if anyone had walked in and in an austere voice demanded that we tell our stories and become transparent about our feelings, we would have returned to the Kingdom of Lying, telling tales we believed to be pleasing to our intruder.

Can I make it this simple? When it comes to human beings, it’s a choice between laughing or lying. If you can’t get people to relax through good cheer and laughter, realizing that nothing is the end of the world, they will always resort to some sort of misrepresentation of the facts, just to try to get things back to normal and hopefully, restore the comedy.

As I said, I wish I had learned this sooner–as a parent. There were times that I actually WAS tickled by how stupid my children’s actions were, so I mocked them, getting them to laugh over their misdeeds, and in no time at all they were confessing other wrong things they had done.

But every time I walked in with that growly face of disapproval, I scared them away from being open to me. No wonder people who believe in an angry God spend their whole lives in deception. It is not surprising that folks involved in a threatening relationship are constantly lying to one another.

Laughter or lying–it’s why I always try to get my audiences to “lighten up” and chuckle at the world around them, and even the world inside them. Then a release valve permits them to unload their real feelings instead of manufacturing safe choices.

So on the eve of this Father’s Day, keep in mind that you can try to be the big boss of your household and scare your family into submission, but what you’ll end up with are words thrown your way to please you … which usually have nothing to do with the real heart of the matter.

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 Jonathots, Jr.!

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Leaky… September 3, 2012

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I don’t like to be vulnerable. I understand the importance of it; I appreciate that we best express our humanity one to another by admitting our foibles and allowing others to get a quick peek into the cellar of our disappointment. It doesn’t make it any more pleasant, though. Especially when you’re traveling on the road and touring, you need to be careful not to come across desperate, needy or cloying. I don’t ever want anyone to contribute to my work on the road because they’re afraid that my bald tires will blow out on the freeway as I leave town.

That’s why it was difficult yesterday in South Lyon, Michigan, when I was sitting in my green room preparing for the morning’s activities, and a spry, bright-eyed gentleman walked in and told me that my van was leaking from the radiator. I wasn’t upset with the news. I wasn’t nervous or concerned about the repair. After all, if you drive a vehicle around the country, you will have a certain amount of expense to maintain it. I just don’t like the sensation of coming across as a vagabond with no means of caring for my own needs.

Let me make something clear–at no time did this fine gentleman ever cause me to feel diminished. It was all in my head. So I put it out of my mind, went into the morning service and had a grand time with these outrageously inspired individuals. During the service, the gentleman who had discovered our radiator leak asked for help after the conclusion of the morning’s program, to assist us in putting our van in good enough shape to send us on our way. So while I had the blessing of interfacing with the audience, three or four of the men from the church went out and ministered to my Ford. They were astute, aware and qualified.

So by the time I finished trying to give a collective hug to the entire congregation and made my way out to my transportation, these gentlemen already had everything under control. They had filled it up with “Stop Leak,” told me of some needful repair, and I was on my way.

As I drove towards my lodging, I still had those misgivings–about being too open and available. But then I came to the realization that if I hadn’t been “leaky,” those fine folks would have had no way of expressing their affection, mercy and graciousness to me.

  • I want to be powerful. (Sometimes God needs me to appear less.)
  • I want to be large and in charge. (God often recommends the lower seat.)
  • I want to appear manly and full of promise. (As I’m aging, a limp is being added to my walk, to temper my stride.)
  • I want to have the privilege of making my own decisions in my own way. (I find strength in a multitude of counselors.
  • I want to believe I can handle all of my own mishaps without intervention. (God sends angels to me and I must learn to recognize them–otherwise, I miss my piece of heaven.)
  • I want to be free of leaks. (I’m often just a big drip.)

I realized that I was asking this congregation yesterday morning to expose themselves, open their hearts, show their fears and discuss possibilities on how to plug up the holes in their lives. I was expecting them to do this without I, myself, ever presenting my own lacking. Oh, I am very willing to be self-deprecating or even forthcoming, but in some areas I like to maintain control.

Areas like my radiator.

But “he that would gain his life will lose it, and he that will lose his life shall gain it.” Temporarily yesterday, I lost control of my van. It was put into the capable hands of intelligent, caring brothers. I closed down my ego and I opened up the potential for receiving generosity. Because of that, it was a better day.

Here’s the truth: Mitt Romney is leaky. Barack Obama is leaky.  My dear God, Jesus was leaky. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleading for a better solution, while God watched his blood to drip onto the ground. We’re not looking for people who aren’t leaky. We’re looking for folks who will allow others to help them.

I had a blessing in South Lyon which actually enabled me to become more of a blessing to them. I am leaky.

When I try to plug those on my own, I lose the benefit of showing a part of myself that is more relevant to those who are searching for greater humanity … and less deception.

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