Salient…July 30th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3750)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Anita Bryant.

I would guess, to my average reader, the name neither rings a bell nor stimulates any particular memory.

But back in 1977 (when a few determined dinosaurs still roamed the Earth), Anita Bryant was voted “The Most Trusted Woman in America.”

She was a former Miss America contestant who had a singing career and was well-known as the pitch person for Florida orange juice.

She was vibrant.

She was youthful.

And she was, as we gradually discovered, quite political.

For you see, when the Fort Lauderdale City Council passed an ordinance removing all limitations on lodging and civil considerations for the homosexual community, Anita objected.

And we’re not talking about an op-ed letter to the newspaper. She hit the streets, held rallies, and turned a local situation into a national debate over the issue of whether people who pursued a homosexual lifestyle should be granted all of their civil liberties.

She was in demand. Her performances were packed. She did interviews on all the Christian talk shows, and even one for Playboy Magazine. She was America’s sweetheart.

For you see, at that time in our country, the jury was not only out on the gay community, but was leaning toward the “rejection penalty.”

It was popular to be anti-gay.

It was considered patriotic to be against them.

As we arrived in the 1980s, and the horrific AIDS epidemic spread across the land, those who believed homosexuality to be an abomination to God also whispered that perhaps this new virus was the Almighty’s punishment.

Things changed.

Suddenly a little boy in Indiana got AIDS from a blood transfusion–and it was no longer merely an infection of the flaming queens. Ryan White, with his generous spirit, refused to believe that his particular AIDS was any different from the AIDS contracted by those in San Francisco.

He was humble, he was non-judgmental, and he was strong until the day he died.

He made those who condemned their brothers and sisters look foolish–especially Anita Bryant.

She is still alive, but unfortunately, her name is equated with intolerance instead of righteousness–or orange juice, for that matter.

An interesting fact that you may want to tuck away in your memory: lepers are remembered more favorably than Pharisees.

So here is your salient moment:

You can’t defend God or morality by attacking behavior and hurting people.

 

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Salient…June 18th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3707)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

I have never been quite certain what the purpose is for a disclaimer. If you’re going to disavow a claim, why make it in the first place? Yet since I have the tendency to pursue hypocrisy, I shall make the following disclaimer:

I am fully aware that the toys I am about to mention are archaic, old-fashioned and certainly not in the lexicon of anyone under the age of thirty-five. Yet attempting to substitute modern toys would remove much of the charm, and still make me irrelevant within five years.

So let me say that when Eddie came to my house for a play date, I was fully expecting him to show up with marbles.

(Marbles are little circular glass toys of all sorts of colors. You pinched them with your fingers, rolling them across the floor and striking your friend’s marble, and in so doing, you won control of his prize. It was very popular back when you were able to play outside because the dinosaurs had gone to their watering hole.)

But when Eddie arrived, he did not have his marble sack. Instead he was carrying four brand new cans of Play-Doh. For those unacquainted with Play-Doh, it is best explained as a molding clay in various colors with which you could use to form objects and declare yourself artistic.

Eddie’s parents had just purchased the Play-Doh and he was obsessed with the stuff. I was offended because he had not warned me, and I was prepared to play marbles.

We struck a bargain: he would work with his Play-Doh and I would pursue marbles. This lasted half an hour.

We were miserable.

I kept looking over at his Play-Doh and he kept peering at my marbles, each of us insisting that we were happy–while secretly aggravated because we weren’t playing with each other.

Finally I interrupted the process and suggested we take the Play-Doh, roll it into tiny circles resembling marbles and mingle the games, instituting a new format called “Play-Doh Marbles.”

It seemed ingenious, but the Play-Doh would not roll, so we tried throwing the little clay circles at the actual marbles, and it came off as stupid.

It was a play day from hell–so frustrating that we cut it short, growled at each other a bit and separated to our households of security.

Now, as I rose and listened to the news this morning, I realized that we have much the same situation in our world.

Everybody is showing up with their favorite toys. Because we insist that nothing matches, nothing is the same, nothing is culturally equivalent, we are playing side-by-side with our own rendition of fun, privately pissed off.

No one seems to have the sense to look for common toys, mutual ground or general excitement. We have become convinced that “marble people” are better than “Play-Doh people,” and because of that “Play-Dough people” should not be allowed near “marble people.” We even make up rumors about “Play-Doh people” and diminish their character. Sometimes we even say that “Play-Doh people” smell. Or is it the “marble people?”

Earth does not work unless we agree on the toys. I can think of three right away:

  1.  Kindness.
  2.  Respect
  3.  Passion

Without this trio, the Trinity look like three bums who came into town to hold a revival and nobody showed up.

It is time for your salient moment:

If you can play with your dough, you won’t mind losing your marbles.

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Good News and Better News … January 4th. 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2803)

lightsabers

“May the force be with you.”

‘Tis a current sentiment merged with a movie event.

Once again, a hope desiring to see the Heavens save the Earth–a flurry of beliefs in a blizzard of supplications producing an avalanche of conflict.

Yes, while the Jews honor tradition and the Muslims bow to Mecca, the Middle East burns–violently.

Simultaneously, the Baptists preach against, the Lutherans for and the Unitarians insist they never preach.

The Golden Rule becomes just a coined phrase.

We do not need the force to awaken; creation has already given us a Natural Order ripe with a crop of solutions, if we can find laborers to harvest them:

  • Remember, there is no destiny–just a destination.
  • Get along with each other or join the dinosaurs.
  • We are the ones who must awaken and use the force.

Yesterday, this was amazingly acted out to my ears as a young couple in the motel room next door yelled out the problem. It went something like this:

1. “We ain’t got enough and it’s your fault.” (Trying to find blame just lengthens the game.)

2. “You always…” (Humans are never consistent, even in the bad department.)

3. “If I can’t be successful, I at least want to win the argument.” (Keep in mind, all of nothing ends up being the same amount as half of nothing.)

4. “I’m leaving until you come to your senses.” (Unfortunately, reasoning is a profile better performed by at least two.)

The good news, my friends, is that the force has never slept, therefore, need not be awakened. Everything is available if we are willing to ask, seek or knock.

How about some better news?

That would be this: we actually need each other to find all these cures.

By the way, that young couple from the room next door got over their huffing and puffing, and started talking instead of blowing their house down.

May all of us little piggies do the same.

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Freedom Part 3: SPEECHERS… July 3, 2013

(1932)

protestHuman beings are defensive.

It is perhaps our worst attribute. We spend much more time trying to explain, qualify or rationalize our positions than we ever do considering whether they are valid.

So our founding fathers, thinking they were being extraordinarily intelligent, came up with the First Amendment. In that particular assertion, they concluded that the new nation of America should give everyone freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Their thought was that everybody should have the right to say whatever they want to say and believe whatever they want to believe.

Back to the original point: human beings are defensive.

In other words, once we speak something aloud, we are much more likely to kill someone in order to defend our ridiculous notion than we are to change our minds. We are also more accustomed to stomping our foot and preaching our rendition of God than we ever are to believing there’s additional revelation of the Divine available to us through the testimony of others.

So we end up with speechers and preachers.

Because we have granted people the right to have an opinion, we have also told them they are not responsible for the truthfulness of their ideas. We have allowed folks to meet in conclaves of religiosity with no responsibility for the human beings around them because their interpretation of some holy book grants them the privilege of irrational behavior.

Not even in a perfect world would freedom of speech and freedom of religion be applicable. The first thing perfect people would do is be more quiet and not try to force their convictions on others.

Even though I agree that it was a noble gesture–to give everybody the right to their opinion–it is insane to think that speechers and preachers, who have no regard for the freedoms of others, should be allowed to indiscriminately spew their venom into the air without recourse.

Not only is it stupid to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater when there is no blaze, it is equally dangerous, if you believe there is a blaze, to scream “fire!” knowing that it will create a panic.

Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are two of the weakest parts of our Constitution. They do not take into consideration that defensive people will continue to give “speeches” and “preaches” in order to justify ideas that were present for the dinosaurs’ demise.

So what can we do?

Well, we certainly can’t throw out free speech and freedom of religion. And I’m not suggesting that we develop a police state, where what people think and believe is analyzed by committees and judged for accuracy.

But I am suggesting that a generation of rejuvenated human beings, who truly have been “born again” in their emotions, spirits, minds and bodies, take some personal responsibility for their words and for their contentions about God’s will.

I would suggest three questions:

1. Is what I’m about to say or believe going to make things better?

2. Does what I’m going to say and believe have any historical value, or has it already been proven to be erred?

3. Is what I’m going to say or believe ready to be changed by me when I realize that at least part of it is wrong?

Jesus said it this way: “By your words you are justified and by your words your are condemned.”

From that, I gain the insight to use my freedom of speech and religion, BUT … to do it wisely.

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