G-Poppers … February 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop looked on with a bit of sadness as social media lit up with posts about evangelist Billy Graham.

Many of them were cruel. Matter of fact, an inordinate number were laced with vindictive language and resentment against the deceased Reverend.

He lived for ninety-nine years, so trying to abridge his life into one space of time is completely impossible. So the last generation only has insights on the occasional press release which came from his home in North Carolina and the actions of his son, Franklin Graham.

G-Pop feels the same way about Billy Graham as he does about Michael Jackson. G-Pop is not sure either one of them would appreciate the comparison, but every person’s life, including Michael and Billy, comes down to two questions.

What did he or she do?

What did he or she miss?

Can it be as simple as the good doings outweighing the bad, which means someone ends up righteous?

Yes. Any other standard would be prejudicial.

What did Billy Graham do? He preached the Gospel to the whole world. Granted, it was a particular gospel–focused mainly on repenting of sin, accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior and being baptized. Therefore he missed the greater glories of the Gospel of Jesus:

  • Abundant life
  • Mercy to others in order to obtain mercy
  • Refusing to judge fellow humans
  • Wise to stay away from politics.

Michael Jackson arguably wrote the most unique blend of R & B and pop music ever penned. The tunes were filled with humanity, generosity, giving, joy and tolerance. We also have to note that he missed the opportunity to learn to love himself or accept who he was, and in the process may have accidentally damaged the lives of some young people because he was abused as a child.

Billy Graham stayed married to the same woman and was never involved in a sexual scandal throughout his entire ministry.

Yet he missed the opportunity to link arms with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and failed to encourage the South to join the North, East and West to accept civil rights in this country.

He missed the moment when the gay community sought equality as citizens, and instead evaluated them by his moral code and traditions, dating back thousands of years.

Michael Jackson was generous, childlike and desperately tried to address world hunger while simultaneously destroying himself through drug abuse.

It would be terrible if Dr. Billy Graham were to be known as “Billy Graham Cracker.”

Just as horrible would be “Michael Jackson, child molester.”

G-Pop thinks both of these men established that they had hearts to do more good than bad. The weakness of each one showed up at poor times in their personal histories, but with confidence, G-Pop will continue to respect their journeys.

So every time G-Pop hears the old hymn, “Just as I am without one plea,” he will think of the love, efforts and mission of Billy Graham of North Carolina.

And when G-Pop hears Beat It, Billy Jean and Man in the Mirror, his eyes will tear up over the memory of one of the greatest talents that ever inhabited the Earth.

If G-Pop expects this same quarter when he dies–to be evaluated by what he’s done, minus what he missed, hoping for a positive total–then he must first extend that grace to others.

We must first extend that grace to others.

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A Nice Price for Mice … November 16, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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dead miceIt was a rather odd dream–not really spooky, just bizarre.

I found myself in a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant, chomping on a chicken sandwich, chatting with friends, when a young tyke about seven years old came walking up to me. He had chubby cheeks and wore a winter hat, similar to the ones you would see in the 1950s on kids who were forced to don them by their parents. In his hand he was holding an old-fashioned bird cage, and as I peeked inside, I discovered it was filled with little dead white mice.

I was taken aback. Then the youngster pointed to a sign pinned to his coat. It read, “A nice price for mice.”

I realized the kid was trying to sell these deceased little rodents–peddling from table to table.

Before I could express my horror, he ambled over to another patron, where a lovely older lady purchased one of the mice from the determined seller. He made his way all around the restaurant, with each person buying one of the dead boogers and patting the young man on the head.

I observed that none of the customers knew what to do with their purchase. As I mentioned, this was not a spooky dream. No one ate one or put it between their sesame seed buns. One lady wrapped the dead mouse delicately in a napkin and placed it in her purse; another man stuffed it in his pocket.

Why was the little boy selling dead mice? And why were people purchasing them?

Suddenly I awoke.

So you see, my friends, I don’t like to ignore my dreams. It may actually be one of the few occasions when my harried soul is still enough for God and my conscience to speak to me. In the process of analyzing the dream, I realized it was a parable of our American culture.

If Madison Avenue is able to find the right “little boy” to send our way to appeal to us, we are more than willing, at a nice price, to buy mice.

We really don’t know what we’re going to do with them. We don’t particularly favor them. But we find it difficult to say no to the attractive offer–especially when those around us are purchasing.

So we end up stuck with something we may not even believe in, and certainly do not treasure, as we pretend that it is our choice. Here’s the truth: mice aren’t nice–at any price.

Especially dead ones.

So I will tell you–there are some mice which have entered our society, promoted by Madison Avenue and large corporations. I would like to point them out and call them nasty, instead of wrapping them up in a napkin and tucking them away.

Here are three that immediately come to my mind:

1. Killing.

I am against it. I don’t like war. I don’t agree with capital punishment. I don’t like abortion. I don’t particularly like it when a guy shoots a woman through a screen door. It’s a dirty little mouse being peddled to the public as realistic and entertaining.

2. Drug abuse.

I don’t understand why we need them. What I mean is, I don’t understand why we would want to take drugs for recreational purposes when we’re reluctant to use them for treatment. I think we should be in the business of becoming a drug-free society because we’re working on being happier people. I will not purchase that little wall-dweller and call it a pet.

3.  Pornography.

It isn’t cute. It isn’t pretty. It doesn’t create equality between the sexes. It is another form of slavery for women. It is notorious. It is a dead “stinky” being sold by pretty people who want to portray themselves as open-minded–unless you are talking about the rights and dignity of the female of our species.

There you go.

I realize we live in a society that wants to peddle a nice price for mice, but I will tell you, things like killing, drug abuse and pornography are dirty rats.

And they are not a deal for me … at any price.

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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

Sometimes… March 6, 2013

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Sometimes it doesn’t matter.

Sometimes a little piece of insignificance can float through the air and blow away into the distance.

Sometimes a duck can quack and the pond remains serene.

Sometimes a hip-hop rock star, can appear on a late-night talk show and giggle about smoking the “herb” and a young human listening, who is confused about choices, will not end up crushed by the burden of drug abuse.

Sometimes a climate of “prayer and scare religion” can preach its message of doom, with the glory of heaven to follow, and no one gets hurt, no one is lost and no one is perplexed to the point of agnosticism.

Sometimes careless conversations of overwrought self-esteem can be voiced in our culture without human beings feeling entitled to gifts and opportunities beyond their scope.

Sometimes the gridlock of Washington, D.C. is just fodder for the 24-hour news cycle and doesn’t affect the single mother or father desperately trying to put food on the table for their young’uns.

Sometimes a mother can drink her glass of wine or a father his mug of beer and the children of the household will grow up without any dependence on alcohol.

Sometimes a religious system that preaches more of heaven than God’s will being done on earth can hide behind its ritual without feeling the responsibility for the vacancy left in the hearts of those who have heard the empty message.

Sometimes young girls can go to movies and see women exploited, raped, beaten, cursed and marginalized and still grow up to be dynamic forces of nature.

Sometimes a young woman who is addicted, frustrated, lonely and drained of hope turns out to be just fine and survives her turmoil and presses on.

Sometimes fairy tales come true. At least that’s what we’re told.

But not today.

Today a young child of God has died because of too much and too little:

  • Too much religion and too little reality.
  • Too much laughter about drugs and too little knowledge of what they can do to the paper-thin persona of a human being.
  • Too much hypocrisy and too little truthful repentance.
  • Too much of a notion that women are sex objects and too little value of their worth as humans.
  • Too much of everything that deceives and too little of the nuggets of truth that enlighten.

She’s dead.

I knew her as a small child and helped out her family the best I could from my wallet. But not from my time. For you see, sometimes it’s all right to free ourselves from any responsibility or guilt, but most of the time, it’s just a cop-out.

So sometimes it’s important that we rededicate ourselves to the notion that there is nothing wrong with beleiving we should do more, even if sometimes it points out the fact that in this particular case, we didn’t do enough.

Sometimes we need more than just what is available.

She did. She deserved more.

So to a religion and culture that loves to expound on all sorts of irrelevant information, let me tell you that there are casualties to your casual approach.

She died today. She died of too much and too little.

By the grace of God, may she be the last.

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