Confessing … June 13th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2611)

VI.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Rick and Larry had a meeting.

It actually was a conversation that turned into a discussion about me.

Larry was my boss. I hated to admit that. I was still young enough–in my twenties–that I was unwilling to concede that I was bossed by anyone.

When Rick expressed his appreciation for my efforts and inspiration, Larry filled him up with negative notions concerning my true value, mainly citing that I had no college degree.

Rick listened carefully, being the older of the two and having acquired some patience. At the end of Larry’s tirade, he deadpanned, “No, he doesn’t have a degree–he has a message.”

Since at that time, I was not privy to their discussion nor to Rick’s defense of me, when I did catch wind of the fact that the meeting of minds had occurred, I went to see Rick and asked for his side of it.

Exhibiting great restraint, he was unwilling to share many details. All he told me was that Larry had explained to him that I did not have a college education.

At that point I had an option.

I could have just sat quietly, nodded my head and left it alone, because I knew I already had Rick’s friendship and respect. But I was arrogant. And arrogance is the fertile soil for every rotten weed.

So I acted shocked, and explained to Rick that Larry’s assertion about my lack of schooling was incorrect. I told him I had gone to college at Cincinnati Xavier, and graduated with honors. (To this day I don’t know why I picked Cincinnati Xavier.)

I was offended because someone told the truth about me.

So I kept blabbing on, making up college experiences, gradually noticing that Rick became quiet and even a bit sullen. He knew I was lying. Yet he allowed me to propagate my myth without objection.

I walked away from that experience feeling like discarded chemical waste. Yet I was so immature that I never went back and apologized to Rick, telling him the truth.

I thought about that incident today.

It was a good ten years later when a lady came to my book table and asked me, “Where did you go to college?”

I paused, and then replied, “I didn’t.”

It was the first time I had ever told the truth on that subject. I had to grip the table and grit my teeth in order to dispel all remnants of the fictitious kingdom I had constructed in my brain.

Yet I wonder–what is left of that overwrought, lying and willful instinct to lift myself up?

I don’t know.

But rather than accepting it as part of my human foible, I am trying to hunt it down and kill it … before it renders my reputation meaningless.

 

 Jon Fake diploma

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Three Ways to Win an Argument… October 30, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2397)

arguing woman

Arguments are like hamburgers in the sense that most people agree that they’re not very good for us, but on the other hand, few are able to resist them. Unlike hamburgers, they end up being a part of our diet whether we like it or not, so we should learn how to ingest and digest them better.

First of all, we need to stop mingling the words “discussion,” “debate” and “argument,” as if they are the same species.

A discussion is when people come together, admitting they do not have enough knowledge on a subject and engage in an exchange of information for enlightenment.

A debate is when two people of differing opinions share their ideas with the aspiration that one of the presentations will come to the forefront as having more common sense.

An argument occurs when folks are certain they have discovered a truth which they believe has been tested, and they are unwilling to give in to any other insight because they feel they have found the correct path.

So an argument seems doomed to elicit frayed feelings and even digress to some violence if we do not know how to conduct ourselves and become the winners.

And by winning an argument, I do not mean usurping authority over other people, to bend them to our will. Winning an argument is to control the atmosphere and make sure that rage does not enter in.

So what should we do?

1. Ask lots of questions.

Arguments always turn volatile when people literally spit their opinions at one another, rather than challenging the source of the other person’s position. It’s difficult to become overwrought when someone is asking you a question and you’re having to provide evidence instead of just passion.

Some time ago I was arguing with a friend about a project he was working on and I stopped in the middle of the back-and-forth and asked, “Do you feel this project is up to the calibre and integrity of what you’ve done in the past?”

It brought him to a complete halt. In the midst of that stall, he calmed down, thinking more deeply.

To win an argument, always have more questions than comments.

2. Somewhere early on in the argument, concede a point or two which will not alter the quality of your conviction.

Anytime you argue with folks, they will make a good point, and usually pride will prevent you from admitting it. If you stop to acknowledge the truth, you disarm your competitor and also create a more gentle environment for the ongoing experience.

If it’s true, it’s true. And if it’s true, say so quickly. You don’t lose points and in the end you will actually gain respect.

3. Summarize as you go.

Every few seconds, repeat these words: “So what you’re saying is…”

It gives the person a chance to hear back what you heard, and confirm whether it’s true, or if some mis-speaking occurred. It also slows the progression of arrogance, permitting simplicity to have its day.

I guarantee you that if you do these three things, you will win every argument, because the true goal is to arrive at a way for both of you to continue to work together and be friends, even though this rift has occurred.

The key to life is realizing that you can give up some turf and still have enough room to stand.

arguing man

 

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Pockets… March 27, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

(2187)

cave

Safe places to hide

Perhaps an escape

Surround yourself with fellow-agreers

Discourage strife through eliminating discussion

A consensus of repetitive ideas

A unity in smallness

A feeling of blocking difference is divinely inspired

A request for hope to depart from your village

A surrender to adequacy

A jarring alarm over being challenged

A corner where enemies can be easily detected

A decision to remain uncertain

A selected night without fear of the bump

A purposeful retreat with no battle in sight

An exclusion of simplicity to extol the glory of complexity

A requirement of a unanimous vote

Squeezing a dollar bill, pleading it will not leap from your grasp

Laughing at transition

Criticizing creativity

Believing that belief has no responsibility to become more believable

Grasping at straws but never drinking

Imitating emotion in favor of true encounter

Praising darkness for fear of the light

Praying to gain silence

Silent to acquire peace

Peaceful to run from questions

Pockets, not resistance

Reservation

Avoiding the exposure to ideas

Which just might revive the dead.

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Entertaining … November 22, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2075)

Let-Me-Entertain-YouI joined in the discussion.

Well, actually, I more or less monitored it by reading what people were writing back and forth as they discussed the value of entertainment on Facebook. It really fell into three categories:

One group thought entertainment was supreme, and that a message of inspiration could be added as long as it didn’t push an agenda or wasn’t too obvious.

Yet another contingency insisted that all entertainment had value because it was escapism from the rigors of adult life and the difficulties of our society.

Then there were those who believed that entertainment was in the eye or ear of the receiver and therefore was difficult to define because it was so individualized.

To some degree, at various stages of my life, I have held fast to each one of these ideas. But honestly, none of the three define entertainment.

Entertainment is the blending of entering and attaining.

One of the weaknesses in our society is that we’re losing “sweet” fellowship for “tweet” fellowship. We no longer press human flesh by arriving at a location where we sit with other human beings and enter into an experience that lets everyone know that “we showed up.”

Then I believe that it’s the responsibility of the artist, the teacher, the preacher or any communicator–to find a way to use the common sense and good cheer of life to help us all attain greater understanding of one another.

Entertainment and inspiration are not at odds with each other nor mutually exclusive. They are fraternal twins.

For after all, you will never inspire people if you are not prepared to entertain their fancy, and you never truly entertain folks if they leave uninspired, merely comparing your offering to others they’ve sampled.

  • I will enter.
  • I will attain.
  • I will show.
  • And I will grow.

And when you mingle these two together, you get the essence of God, who was both a show-off in the way He exploded the universe, and a practical philosopher in the procedure of how it operates.

Tonight I head to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to perform after a banquet. They want it to be entertaining. This might cause some people to pause, wondering if they had the material and the inclination to solely entertain.

I don’t worry about such things. Because I believe if you truly entertain, you inspire. And no inspiration ever happens without the audience being entertained.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Great Combos … August 8, 2012

(1,601)

sunshine, shade tree, cool breeze, frosty glass of drink

good friends, no place to go, conversation, peace of mind

warm tortilla chips, chunky salsa, a dribble of guacamole, a funny movie

a quick prayer, chill down the spine, a possibility, hope

a homeless friend, two bucks, stop for a moment, honked at from the rear

an idea, a better thought, recalling, avoiding stupidity

a favorite song, singing loud, hitting the high note, rock star

a kiss, warm and tender, sweet breath, lingering

watching a kid, see him play, giggle inside, time travel

bad television, change channels, no luck, grab a book

church, humming hymns, candles won’t light, laughter and God

driving, country roads, take me home, to a place I belong

me, you, honesty, clean

steak, charred, medium rare, a little salty

tight pants, two weeks, try again, a passable fit

love, misunderstanding, discussion, greater love

birth, life, children, immortality

sleepy, silly, dozy, passed out

Johann, Wyeth, Justice, Lily, Isabella, GRAND KIDS

morning, twenty ounces of water, breakfast, jonathots

an idea, an opening, a flurry of words, a screenplay

GREAT COMBOS

like …

Father, Son, Holy One … and little ole’ me

 

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Yellin’ … February 11, 2012

 
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Yellin’ is what we do when mere shouting proves insufficient to propel the magnitude and importance of our necessary opinion. It is an exercise which seems brutally–yet reverently–valuable in the moment while rendering us rather embarrassed upon later reflection. So humiliated are we at times that we choose to “re-write”  the tale of the event, using much softer tones. 
 
For instance:  “We weren’t yellin’–we were having a discussion.” (That is one often used to explain to the children when Mom and Dad have increased the decibels so much that the young ones hear. Unfortunately, there isn’t a child born since Cain to Adam and Eve who actually buys that particular excuse.)
 
The new one in our society to describe yelling that really isn’t yellin’ is “we were involved in a heated debate.” Of course, the difference between yellin’ and heated debate is that in any form of proper exchange, space for breathing air and allowing the hearing of your opponent is provided.
 
Then there is the more spiritual approach, which is calling it a “disagreement” or the famous “we just agree to disagree.” Of course, none of us ever do agree to disagree–we just take our complaint to someone else and talk about you behind your back.
 
I bring this up because I was involved in one of those “yellin’ sessions” yesterday. Now, it’s always been my intention with jonathots to be as forthcoming with you as possible, so as to keep our lines of communication pure in heart. So even though I’m not proud of the fact that I was involved in a heated debate fostered by a disagreement further nurtured by an avid discussion, giving me a sore throat–I must be truthful that such outbursts in the human expression are real and part of our lives. The only true danger is when we are so ashamed of our own part in the childish rant that we try to disguise the event or even pretend that nothing really happened.
 
Yellin’ is important. The reason it’s important is that we know it occurred because talking had stopped, thinking was on vacation and respect had taken a holiday. When we have respect for ourselves and others and we think about what we feel and what they must feel, the normal response is to talk. But when respect has gone into the wind and thinking is clouded by fear and ego, talking seems quite inept–especially when our newly-found opponent has already ramped up the volume.
 
Here are the main reasons we yell at each other:
 
1. We don’t understand, and rather than asking, we have already developed a scenario that suits our fancy.
2. We are offended and haven’t taken the time to express our pain but would rather live it out in vivid description to the offender.
3. We are jealous but find that childish, so we opt for some moral, spiritual or mental high ground to justify our nastiness.
4. We are drawn to this other person, but feel they do not care about us and therefore our affection is unrequited.
5. We have some half-baked notion that God is angry at our adversary and will really be happy if we “go get ’em.”
6. We need a nap or a good dinner and we opt for a riot.
7. And finally, we have convinced ourselves that the best way we are heard is by screaming.
 
Now, when you look at those seven motivations for verbal mutilation, you begin to humbly understand how yellin’ comes to be. It’s going to happen, my dear friends.
 
And the best thing we can do is avoid the shame, check over that list and find ourselves, and then, as Jesus suggested–heal the inner parts of our heart and purify our own motives before we next hop on any train of thought towards our brother or sister.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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