Good News and Better News… December 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3167)

good-news-christmas-morning

 

My Christmas morning:

  • Four tiny little ones
  • One twelve-year-old
  • A teenager
  • Eighteen adults
  • And six dogs marauding about, sniffing at presents.

It was all held in a lovely, but somewhat square-footage-impaired house in East Nashville.

Although most people consider Christmas to be a holiday season which they either enjoy or complain about trying to get through, I contend that Christmas is a microcosm of life as it should be. It’s a collision of giving and receiving, organizing and finding yourself surprised by a slip-up, and having a crunch of humanity around you which requires you to be open-minded and willing to adapt.

For instance, in the course of our morning, well over a hundred presents were opened.

Also, one of the young men decided to use it as an occasion to propose marriage to his girlfriend–an amazing precedent.

And there were moments of silliness followed by junctures of tenderness, concluding with decisions to stay energetic enough to survive the gauntlet.

The adults made themselves flexible to appreciate toys opened by Santa believers and the subtleties of certain gifts which needed to be explained because they only had significance to the recipient.

Then, in the midst of the festivities and the brunch following, we discovered that one of the guests just lost his grandma. She had passed away in her sleep.

Quiet–and amazing it was how quickly it settled on the room, even among the children. A time to feel and consider the magnitude of such a departure.

Tears.

Gentleness.

Allowing ourselves to transition from one emotion to another without trauma or drama, to return to eating and enjoying one another as life insisted on pushing forward. I heard one person declare the day a “miracle,” but actually, it’s the way our lives are meant to be lived: in abundance.

Abundant opportunities

Abundant problems

Abundant relationships

Abundant attempts

Abundant failures

Abundant successes

And abundant gratitude

The good news is that Christmas is a time for abundance.

The better news is that the baby in the manger came to give us life, and it more abundantly.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … June 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2962)

Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Man: I was twelve years old when I came to my mother and told her I wanted to join the Jr. High football team. She looked startled and then she laughed and said, “No. You can’t. But you can be a cheerleader.” I had never thought about cheering for someone else. I was shocked. It seemed that society was training me to be a Mommy.

 

Dear Woman: So you think it’s a plot? Do you think there’s some committee somewhere that watches carefully for young girls to turn twelve, and then makes sure to transform them into cheerleaders instead of football players?

 

Dear Man: Don’t you? Maybe not a plot, but a programming chip that is slipped into society’s consciousness. So my whole training from that point on, after twelve years of age, was to be a Mommy. It consisted of “get ready to cheer, get ready to worry”, and finally, “get ready to support.”

 

Dear Woman: So you feel that our society encourages femininity as long as it cheers, worries and supports?

 

Dear Man: Yes. Look at the situation comedies on TV. Even the women who are supposed to be strong find themselves cheering, worrying incessantly and supporting the family.

 

Dear Woman: Well, when I was twelve I wanted to go out for the football team, too–mainly because I liked the uniform. I was immediately informed that I could no longer fall down and cry. I couldn’t accept comfort from my Mommy anymore. I wasn’t a little boy, but was instead commanded to be a man, which consisted of three aspects: “get ready to struggle, get ready to fight, get ready to win.” Any young guy who was unwilling to do this ended up in drama or music and was assumed to be queer.

 

Dear Man: A bit overly simplistic?

 

Dear Woman: Not any more than yours. It seems to me that our culture is frightened by the individual who might contradict the genitalia. That’s why, when a man stays home to take care of the children and the woman works, we refer to it as “role reversal.” In other words, “you can do it, but you’re weird.”

 

Dear Man: So it’s difficult for me to believe that we’re born with all these gender tendencies, when just before puberty we are suddenly snatched away and put in different camps to study for future positions. Me, a Mommy, you a Man.

 

Dear Woman: Otherwise, it wouldn’t make the news that a girl is a field goal kicker at a high school…

 

Dear Man: …or that a boy graduated at the top of his home economics class.

 

Dear Woman: So why the manipulation?

 

Dear Man: I think it’s because we feel if we don’t force children into their roles, we might not be able to maintain the species, because the natural interest we have for romance with each other might be insufficient.

 

Dear Woman: So what do you think we should do? I guess what I’m asking is, what did you do when your mother tried to turn you into a cheerleader instead of a linebacker?

 

Dear Man: I bought it. I learned to cheer, worry and support–and I’m trying now to go through rehabilitation to become just a human being and find out what I really want to do. How about you?

 

Dear Woman: Me, too. I struggled, I fought, I won–and when I didn’t win, I learned to make excuses or cheat. Now I’m trying to withdraw from the masculine drug and just become a decent person.

 

Dear Man: Why do they make it so hard?

 

Dear Woman: Because somebody made it hard on them.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 1st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2951)

PoHymn June 1st

Roamin’ Boy

The travelin’ man

Loves his home

Doing what he can

Demands he roam

 

He takes his turn

As the home fires burn

To speak to the few

Frozen in the pew

 

Stirring the Holy Breath

Of the Body’s pending death

He leads with a boyish smile

Delivered in a homespun style

 

It’s time to display The Kind

And show what our seek did find

We can’t live and merely survive

To struggle within as we strive

 

Not much able for walking

But still ready for talking

About the Great Repair

A worker born to care

 

Where does he sleep tonight?

Waiting for the morning’s light

To rise, to fall in love again

Just another son of man.

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Getting in Character … August 10th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2658)

Rules guys

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

Rules were not penned to paper nor carved into stone to cease human sin. They are put in place and enforced because humans lie about it.

Whether these stipulations are called “The Book of Order,” “Standards and Practices” or “Ten Commandments,” they loom as an angry mother with a switch, threatening us with nagging time-outs unless we comply or find a way to do it “behind Mommy’s back.”

Here’s the problem: we cannot live an abundant life, filled with character, and place a quality performance on the stage by dodging responsibility like adolescent brats.

Are rules important? When do regulations become a noose around the neck instead of a rope, pulling us toward success?

First and foremost, we must understand that there are good rules and bad rules.

A good rule is a guideline that advances the quality of human life. A bad rule is an attempt to stall human life in order to halt some feared activity. It’s similar to the office manager telling all the employees that no one is allowed into the supply room to get anything because someone is stealing paperclips.

So how do we know?

A good rule: All men are created equal.

A bad rule: We need cheap labor, so we’re going to make the black ones slaves.

A good rule: Moderation in all things.

A bad rule: Total prohibition of alcohol.

A good rule: Marry someone you love.

A bad rule: Just make sure he or she is the same color.

To be an excellent character in the great human drama, you must be prepared to respectfully decline from participating in rules that were produced in fear, which generate even more fear.

It’s the difference between the law and truth:

  • The law is when people try to control their humanity.
  • The truth is when people try to learn their humanity. 

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The Alphabet of Us: C is for Cunning… December 22, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2451)

Baby block C bigger

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

Three pushy forces bully us to conform to the pattern of what is now considered, in this short-sighted season, to be normal.

  • “I must be better”
  • “I must be popular”
  • “I must be smarter”

Human beings were never meant to be consistent. It is within the spectrum of our unpredictability that we create our learning curve and our charm. When we deny this vulnerability, we place ourselves in a position where we must defend our “better,” our “popular” and our “smarter.”

Unfortunately, this leads to lying. And even worse than lying is the misconception that we can actually pull it off. This is cunning.

Cunning is the contention that “because I am better, very popular and smarter, I can trick you into believing whatever I desire.” It is ugly, selfish–and worst of all, it is doomed.

To escape cunning you have to counteract the three pushy bullies and speak the truth about your own inconsistent journey.

1. I am not better. I need to fail. I need to admit I fail. Failure is my only hope for escaping the disaster at the end of repeated stupidity.

2. Although I love human beings, I don’t need to be popular if such notoriety comes along with sacrificing my character and my soul.

3. The only way to become smarter is to learn from people who know more. This requires that I admit that I am less intelligent.

At the root of every drama which ends in defeat is a character who contends that he or she is better than others, popular for a time and smarter, which enables them to use cunning to produce the backdrop for their demise.

You will never be destroyed by being weak.

You will be destroyed by acting strong and ending up weak.

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Three Ways to Use Your Doubt… October 23, 2014

 

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2390)

cliff

 

In the traditional story of Easter, three interesting characters are brought to the stage.

  • Judas, who betrays
  • Peter, who denies
  • And Thomas, who doubts

Unfortunately, the audience viewing the drama is encouraged to believe that all three of these individuals are equally culpable.

Please understand–there is a huge chasm between betrayal and denial, and likewise one existing between denial and doubt.

Betrayal is doubt which has already given up on the idea and is looking for a reason to rationalize its treachery.

Denial is doubt that has never been voiced, but when put under the pressure of persecution, exposes its weakness.

But on the other hand, doubt is what human beings do to flush out the trash and make room for new stuff.

It is a good thing.

There is not a day that goes by when I do not doubt the existence of God. No hour goes by when I do not question my own ability. And no minute ticks away when uncertainty does not stall me for a second or two concerning my resolution.

Trying to dispel these uncertainties through a chatty spirit of positive thinking is not only hypocritical, but futile.

Doubt is the powerful tool that transforms us from nostalgia to action. Use your doubt to:

1. Dispel fake faith.

What is fake faith? Any belief you hold which has not been personally tested. It is the accumulation of knowledge with no experience. It is the fear that if your faith was brought into the heat of the day, it would shrivel up and die.

Probably fifty percent of what we all believe is not only impractical and implausible, but actually inhibits us from living with lighter hearts.

2. Use your doubt to understand others.

Too often we become frustrated with human beings because they dare to speak the confusion that we try to hide behind our fake faith. I have much more compassion for people when I’m willing to admit my own doubts.

3. And finally, use your doubt to learn to be more honest.

  • Doubt is your spirit crying for a moment of truthfulness.
  • Doubt is when your heart desires to remove the clog of unanswered questions.

Thomas was not a denier nor a betrayer. He was a man who was dealing with some pain and rather than drinking it away …  he posed the question.

 

 

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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

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Populie: With Age Comes Wisdom… September 24, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2361)

baby and great grandma

“Old people know more.”

This is a popular assertion.

It is generally followed by the populie, “With that knowledge comes wisdom.”

Hold the presses on that one–or to make it more contemporary, don’t download.

The reason this populie is so accepted is that our country is becoming older and therefore desires a shortcut from the responsibility of productivity by stomping and stumping about birthdays.

The entertainment industry loves the populie because it creates generation gaps, where the conflict between age groups can be exaggerated to create humor or drama for the viewer.

Politics really touts it because it generates a new demographic they can pander to in order to gain votes.

It is especially comical in religion. Even though we live in an American society which has removed the basic tenets of the patriarchal system, we still continue to insist that Mom and Dad submit to Grandma and Grandpa, and the children should be in submission to all the above.

The only thing I can tell you about getting older is that you have lived more days and been exposed to more events, which gives you the chance to be of more benefit.

But the important factor is how we react to these events. There are three typical scenarios of reaction:

1. I resist.

Even though the evidence is quite available, I am still going to thumb my nose at the change I see, which seems to require expansion, while I would like to remain “status in my quo.”

Young or old, if you take this position, you will maintain an adolescent immaturity. It’s that four-year-old face on a seventy-two-year-old woman, communicating, “I don’t like broccoli.”

2. I avoid.

Once fear has taken root in your heart, you become quite good at politely refusing to try new things, indulge in new things, consider new things, accept new things or tolerate the notion that new things are even necessary.

There are many people we consider to be kind, but actually are entrenched in trepidation about moving forward. They avoid all atmospheres where such stimulation would be promoted.

3. I learn.

Now, this connotes that you are willing to attempt things that kick you in the butt from time to time. You also will need to pick yourself up, garner available data and grow.

As you can see, this concept is not bound by the accumulation of years, but rather, is a state of mind which hungers and thirsts for righteousness.

When I sit in front of an audience of people and share my feelings, I am not segmenting the folks into various demographics and age groups. I am looking for a light in their eyes which has not been doused by rejection and avoidance.

Age does not give us wisdom.

What gives us wisdom is losing our fear of knowledge, and beginning to understand that what is emotional, spiritual and mentally stimulating in our lives is in progress–not a one-time infusion.

Without desiring these fresh-bread experiences, we all eventually fall into the repetition of our upbringing, and end up imitating those who gave us birth and hearth.

So let us address the populie by saying that wisdom is not a by-product of passing years, but rather, an openness to one another and God.

If you want to gain that wisdom, you should find what you have that works, joyously learn what works that you don’t have, and then be “journey-wise” by keeping the door open.

 

Donate Button

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

 

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

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

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