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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G-Poppers … December 4th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

 

Come listen, my children, and you will hear

How we’ve learned to hate and live in fear.

G-Pop wonders.

Will his children fall victim to the negative pundits who spin every news story into a situation which cannot be resolved, lending itself to despair?

Does G-Pop have the fortitude to step in and say that our problem is not as complicated as presented by those who seemingly make a living out of baffling us?

There are three approaches to people. If you use the wrong one, you can end up with disastrous results. Finding the correct attitude is the doorway to the possibility of peaceful coexistence.

Even though this week, two people took guns and killed their neighbors, hundreds and thousands did not. That seems to be lost in the discussion.

Do we really believe that the millions of us who would not harm anyone cannot effectively address the tiny handful who are determined to be destructive?

It all revolves around our approach. Here’s the first school of thought:

1. People are good.

For you see, if people are good, all they really require is praise and encouragement. Yet I will tell you, people are not innately good. Every thing born with an appetite over-consumes. Human beings have too many lusts, apprehensions and greedy moments to ever be classified as good.

Therefore praise bolsters the insane while often being insufficient for the saint.

2. People are bad.

If this is true, they should be punished. They should be degraded. They should be viewed as expendable.

Religion and politics certainly cannot survive without maintaining the philosophy that human beings suck. Once we believe that “bad” can wear a human face, killing it off can almost seem heavenly.

3. People are people.

They’re not just good, they’re not just bad. Having consumed the knowledge of good and evil, they are constantly torn and teased with the options–without ever arriving at a true conviction. So praising them will be fairly unsuccessful, and punishing them will limit their scope for angelic deeds.

Because people are people, they need to be motivated.

You can’t simply make new commandments, new laws, new restrictions and think you’re going to stop the bad part of people.

Likewise, you can’t assume that every mortal is filled with demonic proportions, and should be locked away and disconnected from their passions.

We need to be motivated.

  • Why should I love my neighbor?
  • Why should we encourage the Jew and the Palestinian to get along?
  • Why should we take care of our children?

Give me reasons that have benefits and I will listen. Give me demands with no obvious personal value, and I will rebel.

G-Pop hopes his children understand. People are not just good or bad. This thinking leads to a dead-end of discouragement.

People are people.

So be prepared to motivate them–or stand back and watch as they choose good or bad, solely based upon convenience.

 

 

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The Alphabet of Us: D is for Despair… December 29, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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Building Block D bigger

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

DESolate. “I got nothing.”

PARalyzed. “I can’t move.”

Despair is when these two come together and we are convinced that our situation is unchangeable.

It is also a miscalculation–allowing the emotions and the brain to wage war with one another instead of consulting the wisdom of the soul and using the body to do something to improve our surroundings.

I believe it occurs in the human family because we get three things out of whack:

  • God scares us
  • Mother Nature confuses us
  • And people piss us off

When this occurs, the only reaction that seems logical to us is to relive our defeats.

So first, let’s get these three things straight:

  • God is our Father. In other words, He’s stuck with us. Nothing can separate us from His love.
  • Mother Nature is a system that can be learned. Yet she has no favorites.
  • And people are inconsistent and must be handled with a good sense of humor.

Without this, we quickly lose sight of any goal motivation and resolutely determine to lick our wounds in some corner of our mind or cave of our emotions.

Here are two very important precepts that just happen to be true–at least from the perspective of my journey:

1. Nothing is personal.

The rain that falls from the sky wasn’t sent from some dark place in hell to taint your picnic. If you had checked the weather forecast two days earlier, or even the sky, you might have had an inkling of what was coming down.

2. When it is personal, it is nothing.

You should rejoice. Why? Because anyone who takes out a vendetta against you will soon lose interest. The only way to keep anyone intrigued in bullying you is to give them focus by being angry or upset. With the 24-hour news cycle, the attention span of our country has gone down to about twenty-four hours.

So as long as you understand that nothing is personal, and on those rare occasions that it is personal, it is nothing, you can allow your soul to give you patience and wisdom to survive some disappointment–which gives your brain the chance to come up with a plan on what to do next.

Despair is not merely self-pity–it is a self-pity cemented by a lack of understanding of how life really works. 

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Three Ways to Conquer Despair… December 11, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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big sad little boy

Despair comes into our lives when the pile of what we need seems to be bigger than the pile of what we have.

It’s an issue of perception.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small child in India or the Son of God, struggling in the Garden of Gethsemane, suddenly overwhelmed by the task ahead. You still want to screech, “Take this away from me!”

Despair is hard to escape. The classic remedies of prayer, counseling, positive thinking or even medication are all limited in their scope, based on faithfulness to the process.

Let’s be honest. It is very difficult to be faithful when you’re scared.

If you’ll allow me, here are three ways to set in motion a process to conquer despair by not allowing it to wash over you in the first place:

1. Don’t ignore your moods.

You are an emotional person and merely quoting scripture, uttering your mantra, finding your yoga position or trying to ignore the problem is not going to make it go away. Our moods are powerful to us because they project the symptoms of a condition existing in our soul, which requires our attention.

Stop perceiving yourself as “moody,” and realize that you are actually symptomatic. There is a tendency in our society to try to douse the emotions and limit their value. This is the worst thing we can do.

Deal with your emotions–they are telling you something important coming from deep within your soul.

2. Find a human mirror.

You will consider yourself irreparable until you realize there are other people in your same situation, and you can see your problem or apprehension in the face of another human being. This is why rehab surrounds you with addicts instead of people who have never taken drugs sharing their insights on self-control.

We all need a mirror.

I can’t change my life if I’m looking at people who have never had a life-changing experience. Look in the eyes of someone who suffers from the same despair that you do and draw strength from his or her struggle.

If you surround yourself with people who appear not only to be stronger than you, but also let you know how much stronger they are, you will only deepen your anguish.

3. Find a friend to note your progress.

Yes, you will need to be honest with someone. For a moment you will have to stop trying to be Superman or Superwoman, and admit you’re Clark Kent or Diana.

You will make progress. You’ll have a tendency not to ignore it because your expectations are too high. Get someone who understands your pursuit and can tell you how many steps you’ve made from where you started.

There are those who want to make depression and despair an illness, and perhaps in a handful of souls, it is.

But most of us become trapped in a cave of misunderstanding and worry, and soon find ourselves nearly immobilized–unable to function.

At that point, if you will simply give place to your moods, find other human beings who reflect your need, and get a friend to encourage you in your steps of progress, you can actually win the day and bring despair under your control instead of allowing it to make you an inmate to its prison.

 

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Quatrains of Suicide … August 19, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I feel so bad

Bad is happening everywhere

Everywhere is closing in

In desperation, I exit

cave with light

Sometimes green with envy

Sometimes yellow with cowardice

Oftentimes red with anger

Always black with despair

 

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Published in: on August 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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