Sit Down Comedy … November 1st, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

“It’s simple.”

Remember when that was a positive statement?

Fear, anxiety or nervous energy might grip your soul, and someone would come along and reassure you that what you were about to do wasn’t terribly complex, and had certainly been done many, many times before.

Then…something changed.

I don’t know exactly what it was—you can sit around with your friends and develop all sorts of conjectures on what caused us to devolve from creatures who were grateful for simplicity to a more pompous, edgy and cranky configuration that seems to prefer difficulty and struggle.

Matter of fact, play a game.

Sit down and watch some television—the news, dramas and comedies—and count how many times you hear:

“Life is complicated.”

“It’s not gonna be easy.”

“Somebody just needs to grow up and realize there’s lots of twists and turns.”

“We need to be ready to take on the battle.”

Maybe I’m lazy, but I don’t like to work harder than I need to.

Maybe I’m stupid, but I don’t want to learn things I don’t have to learn.

And maybe I’m immature, but I believe life was bestowed upon us to find happiness, not to fester despair.

So if you’re in the mood to escape an overly tangled web, let me simplify things:

There aren’t thousands of different cultures, millions of different personalities and billions of unique individuals.

Human beings fall into two easy-to-understand categories:

1. I am looking for a world which will adjust to me.

2. I am learning to adjust to my world.

And when you meet people, you can tell immediately which of the two philosophies they favor.

Nervous energy, a tinge of anger, wringing hands over the problems in the world? This is a person who believes the world has a responsibility to adjust to him or her.

On the other hand, people who are easy-going and relaxed are travelers who realize that all the adjusting has to come from them—because the world was in business before they were born.

You can feel free to find another explanation. You can assume there is a possibility for eight billion pathways on this planet that has 27,000-mile waistline.

I would not criticize you or stand in your way. After all, it is your journey, not mine.

But for those “Simple Simons” like myself, who would like to find a more concise explanation, I offer the two-category primer.

So what will it be?

Are you going to keep seeking a world that will adjust to you? Or will you learn how to adjust to the world?

It is not an issue of good and bad. It is not an issue of righteous and evil, but rather, a simple determination on how many smiles you get to sprout in a given day.

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Salient … April 16th, 2018

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Let’s say you want to destroy human beings.

You could kill them. That’s called murder. Of course, there’s always the danger of prosecution, being convicted and jailed, losing your own freedom and being trapped forever, recognized only as a criminal.

Nah.

But let’s say you’re bound and determined. Why? Because so many nasty things have happened in your life that you want to make sure no one sprouts a smirk. You need to assure yourself that given unwelcome circumstances, all human beings will turn into creatures of vengeance and darkness.

Where should you start?

Homo Sapiens have three parts to them: what was, what is, what could be. So your attack would have to be levied against this trio of components.

Therefore you assault the “what was” by making people guilty about their past while simultaneously yearning and wishing that “the good ole days” were still here.They end up feeling guilty, but with foolish pride. Nice start.

Remember, the key is to introduce darkness without alarming the victim about the loss of light. So now you have them thinking about their past–partially in terror, but somewhat nostalgically.

Next comes “what is.” Quite simple. Inundate them with so much unnecessary information that they begin to stress over what they perceive to be a mess. If they take all of their waking hours to nervously contemplate how badly things are going, there’s no time left to improve them.

Stress over the mess.

Get your victims to complain until it drives them insane.

This leaves you with “what could be.” If you want to quickly dispose of your humans, just persuade them to embrace the notion that it really is “what will be.” In other words, their lives are out of their hands, mystically steered by destiny. They are merely pawns in a cosmic game between good and evil.

Yes, people really love that one. They do not like the idea of being personally responsible for their own success and failure.

Once they begin to think about what could or will be, they sprout the worry that brings fear and robs them of good cheer.

Let’s review:

If you are a disturbed personality who wants to prove that darkness resides perpetually in the soul of every Earthly human, you should focus on what was and make them feel guilty and prideful. This also makes them appear to be out of step with what’s going on with the present generation. (Just a bonus.)

Then take what is and establish it as a mess that demands their stress. Don’t tell them that they’ve already overcome similar problems in the past. Don’t suggest that they could achieve emotional health by speaking their feelings and misgivings aloud. Trap them in their brains.

And finally, turn them into creatures of destiny, with what will be. But if that doesn’t work, present a dismal view of the future–make movies, write books and have scientists explain how fearful things are coming our way, and therefore, any sense of good cheer is downright irresponsible.

That’s how you destroy a human being without ending up on death row yourself. Bring just enough darkness that they stop desiring the light.

Salient–what is truly significant and important. Today’s salient moment is this:

Human despair is always accomplished by dimming the light without any warning.

 

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Good News and Better News… November 20th, 2017

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As we drove to our weekend gig, we crossed Tampa Bay, and Janet was able to quickly snap a fuzzy picture of a fish jumping out of the water.

A moment in time.

The truth is, in the climate of our present social insurrection, human souls everywhere are attempting to leap out of the murky waters of despair. It just isn’t very fun…being unhappy. Even when other folks around you insist that they,too, are miserable, that particular form of fellowship is quite unfulfilling.

The problem is, we think the Bible has all the answers, and if we pass it along to lost souls, they will be able to find their way to salvation.

It’s similar to being hired by a corporation and having the rule book passed to you, thinking that the regulations which have been jotted down should be able to guide you through the daily activities of your workplace.

Everybody knows the company manual has nothing to do with the success of enjoying your job. It’s all about your manager and how he or she uses the rules to generate a friendly, human, creative environment.

Here’s a simple statement: Christianity is just a bag full of beliefs until we come along and agree together on a philosophical approach and implement the
ideas.

So you see, I placed in today’s article a picture of an empty church. I think that’s where we need to start.

Our churches may not be full of people, but they are full of religion, practices, traditions, and preferred culture. Most of this has nothing to do with the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus.

We would do better to imagine our churches empty–and start from scratch to build an environment of people who are accepting, understanding, filled with good cheer and ready for both evolution and revolution.

The fish are jumpin’–but there’s no one there to catch ’em.

We’re too busy maintaining our traditions and our worship style. We want people to become “church folks”–so they have to accept the culture to fit in.

It is time for the church to ‘manage’ itself better, and create an atmosphere which I shall dub “compassionate chaos”–where mercy is revered much more than sacrifice.

The good news is that Jesus gave us a lifestyle, not a religion.

The better news is, if we will empty our church of too many pre-conceived religious practices, we can fill it with actual living human beings.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … February 15th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-ransom

To Ransom Many

Faith is worn thin from misuse

Truth is ravaged by abuse

Hope is shaky from despair

Kindness awaits a soul aware

Blessing visits the common heart

Who’s cursed, battered, afraid to start

Scary sounds, grumpy frowns,

Gunshot rounds, indifferent clowns

The circus frightens the children away

The beasts are starved, stalking their prey

Great need in the street

The angels retreat

And close the shutter

Each heart aflutter

Is danger really everywhere

Or is there still the chance to share?

When fear has reached its jaded perfection

The needy and soulless are absent affection

But will we refuse to be deterred

And bring the beauty which is preferred

Grace is the chilling sensation

We are spared from aimless damnation

Dreams flourish, visions aplenty

Love arises to ransom many

 

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Good News and Better News … October 31st, 2016

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coldwater-back-wall-1From everything I hear in the news media, our country is “angry.”

People are mad.

I’m not really sure what they are so upset about, but I guess that’s why pundits get to dress up and over-explain.

Yesterday when I arrived at the Coldwater United Methodist Church, I met people who are trying really hard to be kind and gentle in an atmosphere of crudeness and despair. Even the pastor of the church is beginning a new phase of her life, expanding the horizons of her ministry–completely and totally by faith.coldwater-set-2

Even though we accept the veracity of the reports about the frustration in our country, the constant repetition of complaint does nothing to alleviate the pain.

But it really revolves around a three-step process:

1. Stop being mad at me.

Yes, I need to stop being mad at myself. Most of the antagonism I feel toward other people is centered in my own dissatisfaction with my choices–especially when it comes to lying. For after all, once we start deceiving ourselves and others, we’re grouchy and fussy because we fear there’s the chance we’ll be challenged or get caught. So the best way for me to stop being mad at myself is to set in motion no lying–and that goes for exaggeration, too.

2. Stop being mad at others.

No grudges.

The grudge is always a piece of pride we fester because we’re not willing to discuss our feelings, fearing that we just might have to compromise. When we no longer insist that other people are “just so stupid that we couldn’t possibly reason with them,” we begin to address the animosity we have with mankind as a whole.

3. Stop being mad at God.

Most Christians would insist they feel nothing but love for their heavenly Father. But since He is our Dad and we are His children, there’s a good chance that occasionally we’ll be pissed off over the household rules–especially since religion comes along and puts the doctrines in stone. You can’t have a relationship with God through religion.

So–no religion.

Religion will not make you closer to God. It makes people prejudiced, self-righteous and nasty.

So I contend that a good portion of what I am called to do is remove the arrogance of anger so that the congregation can manage to forgive themselves, others and God.

That’s the good news.

The better news is: when you have no lying, no grudges and no religion, you find it much easier to relax and enjoy your relationships.

coldwater-jesus-note-3

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … March 30th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn See Me Standing

See Me Standing Here

Does anyone see me standing here?

All alone, please draw near

I lack the will to strongly insist

Embrace my story and bring your twist

For lonely is never just being alone

But watching your soul turn into stone

Let me hear you speak a thought

Share the things you’ve been taught

Then linger for an extra space

Don’t rush away to join the race

I’m frightened, you see, of all that’s me

And me is all I ever see

Open my eyes to what is wise

Remove my mask and ugly disguise

Yes, I fool myself into believing

There is little power in receiving

So sweet and salty leave my taste

With sour and bitter the remaining waste

So I’m in here, hidden beneath the frown

Yearning for an up to displace my down

Please glance at me before you leave

Pardon this prisoner, grant a reprieve

God cannot give me what humans impart

Your flesh touching mine

Is what heals my heart.

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Good News and Better News … February 29th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Moncks Corner

Young lions enjoy the thrill of the kill.

Old lions hunt to eat.

Young fishermen pursue the toss of the sea.

Old fishermen are satisfied with anything they can hook.

I spent an enlightening and enriching morning at Moncks Corner United Methodist Church with Pastor Mike and the eager congregation.

Pastor Mike is an old lion.

Or maybe he’s an old fisherman.

Whichever the case–and for the sake of him not being offended–let me tell you, it’s a good thing.

For in our youth, we chase dreams. As we age, we learn to accept our slice of life.

I have so much fun doing what I do because I do not try to wish for more.

  • Is there anything better than pressing the flesh of strangers and having it turn into fellowship?
  • Could a human be blessed in any greater proportion than to be able to share his heart and have it mean something?

Oh, certainly, I get a variety of responses on any given morning. There’s always a tiny handful who finds my utterances to be inappropriate for such an atmosphere of solemnity. And there are people who notice my girth and find it difficult to get past its weightiness.

But overall, the human race is not possessed with idiots and cynics, but rather, filled with the ranks of those who seem to be aware of the danger of both.

So Pastor Mike has taken his years and avoided idiocy and cynicism, to arrive at a simple path of appreciation for what is set before him.

That’s the good news.

We need such leadership in every aspect of our American culture. We don’t need political candidates who promise us more than we actually deserve. They just need to let us know that even if it gets difficult, it can remain pleasant.

That’s the better news.

For I will tell you–nothing of quality happens without joy.

So the first thing I brought to the folks of Moncks Corner was joy. They’ve had enough sadness, degredation, incrimination, bigotry and despair. If I can’t bring joy, I need to go out, find a comfortable chair and tend my tomato plants.

Once joy is in place, as human beings we are prepared to be motivated to mercy. Our particular species becomes extremely demonic when we remove mercy from the equation. Yet it is difficult to be merciful if you’re not already joyful.

And once you motivate people to mercy, you can welcome peace. Peace is when we understand that the joy in our hearts has instructed us to be merciful, and it certainly is our reasonable service.

So to Pastor Mike and all the beautiful souls of Moncks Corner, I encourage you to begin with joy, motivate mercy … and settle into a glorious peace that passes understanding.

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