Galvanized … June 27, 2013

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GalvaLife is not about always being right. If it were, we would be doomed to constant condemnation with ongoing reminders of our inefficiency.

Life is about getting simple.

Even though they are tempted to complicate their existence, intelligent and spiritual people always break down every piece of valuable information to its smallest part. And then …

Well, that’s the key. Once you find out the simple way to live, then the entire journey becomes about being faithful.

When I stood in front of the folks in Galva, Illinois, last night, I realized that they were encountering the same kind of confusing rhetoric in their everyday lives that I experienced myself. For instance, I am told that to be a complete, whole person I must purchase, believe, sign on the dotted line or rally behind some sort of cause which is presently in vogue. In the process of trying to chase down these dangling morsels offered to me, I lose sight of my own mission and sense of mercy.

So what is the goal in being with these gentle human beings in Galva, Illinois?

To galvanize. To literally shake up and excite one another with precious ideas that we hold dear–and to refuse to be sucked in with transient experiences which don’t offer any promise of improving human beings.

I pity those who are trying to be political in a world where politics has proven to be enigmatic, if not dangerous. I feel sorry for those who pursue religion, with all of its fussy doctrines, when spirituality is simple and has one moving part: NoOne is better than anyone else.

Galvanizing–uniting behind ideas that we know are historically human-friendly, are filled with God’s grace and are easy to remember.

Because the second part of being galvanized is to take a piece of steel and put a coating of zinc on the outside to protect it. What is our coating of zinc for our steel of faith?

I think it’s very compact and easy: I will live a life of good cheer, but I also will not be led astray by whim, fancy, fad, and intimidation.

Galvanize-to excite one another with good things and to use that sensation of goodness to protect us from the ridiculous onslaught of movements that are contrary to the advancement of mankind. I will finish up in Galva tonight. And yes, we will galvanize ourselves:

  • We will become excited about good things and use those good things as a protection against lunacy.
  • We will avoid all attempts to seek out enemies in order to prove that OUR cause is better.
  • We will rejoice in goodness instead of making fun of it because we deem it “too wholesome.”
  • We will uncomplicate our lives and be thankful that we have the ability to do so.
  • We will believe in a God of love and extract from our faith any images that deny His existence.
  • We will value fellowship over worship and tenderness above attempts to turn people into what we want them to be.

The problem is not that some people are better than other people and education is not a solution that will make us superior. Some folks just learn to learn the right things–and then stay strong in them.

It is the difference between addressing your problem and your problem residing at your address.

 

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 Jonathots, Jr.!

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Fulfil or Destroy… May 13, 2013

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Good requires nothing of evil. On the other hand, evil desperately needs good to give up and lose heart. It puts evil in a disadvantageous position–always sniffing around great ideals to see if anyone is despairing.

So what is evil?

I will tell you this–it has a beginning, a middle and an end. If you allow it to start, it is very difficult to stop it.

The beginning of all evil is cynicism–mainly the contention that people are just no damn good. It doesn’t matter if it’s said by a jaded comedian or a preacher trying to save the lost. Anytime we attack human beings, trying to prove how stupid they are, how immoral they are, how destitute they are, how ignorant they are or how useless they are, we are setting a master plan in motion–to degrade us to evil.

Perhaps this is the only thing that religion and secularism have shared in common throughout history. They have both concluded that mankind is perniciously flawed, incapable of progress. Even though it contradicts the gospel of Jesus, which insists that the Kingdom of God is within us, it gains a tremendous following because we get to attack others while insisting that we’re not “quite as bad” as they are.

From that beginning comes a middle and the middle of all evil is always politics. And what is politics?

Well, since people are stupid and incapable of doing what’s right, somebody must step in and control them, bringing about more orderly results. Of course, this appears to be a powerful position, so cynical men who are on their way to evil vie for it. They argue, debate and bring everything to a standstill, making it seem even more likely that we’re all doomed to be dumbfounded.

Politics is not limited to government. There’s politics in religion, politics in romance, politics in education. Any time we believe that we can control our future by carefully plotting strategy and discussing it in a committee, we are on the verge of some sort of evil plotting.

So as you see, the beginning of evil is cynicism. The middle of evil is the muddle of politics. And the end is a resignation towards terminating the world.

Yes, all of our prophets, whether they be of global warming or the second coming of Christ, are yanking us towards an emotional quagmire of hopelessness. So what’s the point of pursuing excellence?

This is not limited to Bible-thumpers. Every movie in Hollywood made about the future contains some form of anarchy or cannibalism. It is evil. It is the opposite of what God intended when He placed a garden east of Eden and told us that we could tend it and be successful.

One day Jesus told his disciples, “I have not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

Jesus was probably the greatest revolutionary that ever lived. He turned the world upside down–but not by using cynicism, politics or preaching doom and gloom. He told people they were the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He told them to be perfect, even as their Father in heaven was perfect. And he told them to love their neighbor as themselves.

So be careful as you pursue your little tirade of righteousness–that you don’t accidentally slip into the TRUE axis of evil. You can always identify it: it begins with cynicism, in the middle transforms into politics and in the end is darned tootin’ sure that the world is going to blow up.

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

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Any Given Sunday… March 4, 2013

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country churchI often find myself challenged.
Usually it’s by friends and family, who wonder why I continue to pursue an “inreach” to the church instead of expanding my activities outside the stained glass windows, to the marauding masses.
Did you ever notice that it’s always easier to view somebody else’s situation and figure out what they should do instead of messing with your own life? It’s why Jesus said we would rather take the speck of sawdust out of our brother’s eye than deal with the log protruding from our own.
But there is a miracle going on in this country. Just because it does not presently feel very miraculous does not detract from its potential. Any given Sunday, millions of Americans rise from their beds and head off to buildings, to worship the God of their choice. There’s nothing quite like it. There’s nothing that imitates it.
Even though my critics would occasionally suggest that I should go into the educational system and teach, or turn all of my products into a marketing scheme and start businesses that reach larger forums, or even that I become politically involved and change the world around me legally, I have to stand back and take a good gander at the opportunities afforded to me at this juncture in history and pursue what’s really going to work instead of what should work.
Let me tell you the problem with education. You need a diploma. What I mean is, we still evaluate the intelligence of our population based on the level of certificate they’ve received. Of course, we know this to be fictitious. We have gradually been admitting that technical schools, personal training and even apprenticeship can be preferrable methods for preparing people for the marketplace.
So how about entertainment? The problem with entertainment is that it needs applause. When you’re trying to appeal to the mass mentality, it is difficult to land on powerful ideas born through spirit or wisdom.

I suppose you could pursue corporations–but as you well know, they need a profit. They require squeezing every single dollar of savings out of your ledger of costs to always plump the bottom line.
How about politics? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that politicians need a vote–and if you’re trying to get everybody to vote for you, the only thing you’re really running from is the truth.
It’s the church.

Flawed as she may be, encumbered by tradition more than passion, she still remains the only avenue for change–where people understand that some receptivity and learning may be necessary to gain favor.

Any given Sunday, you will see them gather. They are the huddled masses of our nation, still clinging to the hope of better ideals, even if those principles are muttered instead of proclaimed.
I sat in my green room yesterday morning preparing to share my heart with a new group of people from Houston, Texas. Outside in the hallway there were a myriad of conversations that floated through my door. These interactions were not any different from what you would have heard at a barbershop, a shopping mall or outside a football stadium prior to the game. They were laced with humanity, riddled with a lot of opinion, and even frustration.

But here’s the difference–we weren’t at a barber shop, a shopping mall or getting ready to go to a football game. We were heading into a room to sit our butts down in the presence of God and try to think about something besides ourselves and our own woes.

It opens the door for a possibility for renewal. It opens the window to revival. It opens our minds to the resurrection of change.

No one left the way they came. That’s why I go to the church. That’s why I keep believing.

And that’s why, on any given Sunday, there is the magnificent mission of generating a glorious new Monday.

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

What I Want … January 11, 2013

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globeI want music that is emotionally charged and lyrically stimulating instead of relying on technology and production to acquire purpose.

I want art that can be freely expressed without banning and burning, granting it an opportunity to rise and fall on its merit and ability to reach the human heart.

I want education that has more practical application to everyday life instead of relying on testing to determine its quality.

I want to see a government that is consistent to its own platforms without constantly changing its mind based on the polls, so that the American people can make an intelligent choice on which direction to take our dreams and steer our vision.

I want to be part of a spirituality that is earth-friendly because we know that God is people loving.

I want to see real emotion accepted and extolled as being a virtue held within the human family instead of foolishly being relegated to women and negated from the existence of men except when they’re screaming and weeping over a particularly inspiring touchdown run.

Can we return to reasoning? Can we find our Creator through science and discussion instead of using religion to scare away new ideas?

I will cheer for romance that aspires to mutual satisfaction between human beings instead of extolling the probability of domination and gender segregation.

I will join anyone who understands that equality begins when we stop building our own walls as reinforcements to the walls built by our parents.

I think justice would be possible if we would simplify the law and apply it evenly to every party involved, giving grace to those who are humble while resisting the proud.

Would it be possible for money to be a pursuit, to free us of greediness, and instead, empowering us to with the blessing of giving to others?

And what I want is to live in a world where war is reluctantly pursued when it is the only way to bring peace.

I am not going to get what I want. I am not lobbying for legislation, nor am I complaining to the skies over the lack of action.  Instead, I am taking my singular life and as much as possible, duplicating my desires within the boundaries of my own experience. I am making an example of what I want, hoping that someone will see it and in his or her own way, imitate the better parts. It is certainly the best that any of us can do.

It is assuredly what we all must do.

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

Sowing Discord … October 10, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

It makes me a little uncomfortable. No, actually it makes me VERY uncomfortable.

Talking about seven things that God hates is not exactly my favorite topic. I don’t know if it’s because I lean towards appreciating the more loving aspects of the Almighty, or if some of the things he finds distasteful come a little too close to my own “skin-life.”

I’m not sure, but I will be honest with you–over these past seven weeks, as I have shared these warnings with you I have learned a lot. So when I came to the seventh one today, which states that “God hates those who sow discord amongst the brethren,” I was emotionally, spiritually and mentally lit up like a light bulb. I realized that this seventh little piece of nastiness is a culmination, or a cementing, if you will, of the previous six and that it generates a doctrine to justify the entire package.

This is how it works. We find brethren who agree with us, who tolerate our inconsistencies. We come into fellowship with them, and then because of a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, wicked imaginations, feet swift to mischief and a false witness, we are suspicious of this new alliance and begin to pick, fuss and gossip with those who are supposed to be part of our own camp. It is hateful. It is a desperate move by insecure human beings, isolating off problems instead of solving them.

The classic definition of “sowing discord among brethren” would be to tell tales, create lies or capture people in their errors and focus on the punishment instead of the redemption. But I don’t think that’s what this is talking about. I think because we know there are many faults within us that have been covered up by excuses and other forms of escapism, we become so suspicious of the world around us that we feel it is necessary to protect ourselves by destroying the competition. Yes, we think that everything is going to boil down to one winner, so we are ready to poison all those in the race.

It shows up with seven sound-byte-type ideas that creep into organizations, religion, politics and even our educational system. When we pursue these particular aggravations, we always end up critical of others and worried about where the next attack will be. Let me give you the seven bad seeds that are sown in discord:

1. “Things are bad.” It’s the only thing you can get a hearty “amen” on in any gathering. Life is tough. Life is full of problems.

2. “Evil is everywhere.” After all, how can we establish that we’re good unless we don’t point a finger at some obvious evil? When those iniquities are not quite so prevalent, we have to make up reasons for attacking a particular cause.

3. “God WILL win.”  Yes, it’s an emphasis on the end times and the ultimate victory over evil, while succumbing to the notion that in the meantime, the devil seems to be taking the day.

4. “People are dangerous.” You may think it’s important to point out that there are terrorists in the world, but dwelling on that particular concept causes us to trickle down our suspicion to everyone around us.

5. “Be careful.” It is one of those phrases that seems very innocent–a statement of wisdom–until you realize that the human life we live is filled with pitfalls and merely trying to look for the puddles of quicksand does not mean you will be less likely to get swallowed up.

6. “Cling to your own.” After all, who could object to developing an inner circle of loved ones to make more important than the other humans who live within your sphere? That’s just natural, right?

7. “Dig in.” Two words that can mean almost anything you want them to mean, but generally conclude that who we are and what we are is fine, and all the enemies of our lives are outside our little fortress of protection.

When you begin to accept any one of these seven ideas as common knowledge or common sense, you set in motion an emotional juice in the human being that causes us to reject new ideas, new people, new possibilities and even new life.

All of these show up in every facet of our interaction with each other. You can hear these seven little pieces of false counsel in churches. You certainly hear these sound-bytes television, where fussy over-anxious women chat about them on talk shows.  Nervous-Nelly men do special reports for their political parties on the pending doom. And not only are these seeds of discord producing a sense of immobility in the populace, but they also cause us to believe that the enemy of life is right outside our window–instead of staring back at us from our mirror.

It makes people self-righteous and afraid. You can see why God hates it. Is there anything worse than a self-righteous, fearful person?

So am I saying that  things AREN’T bad? No, I’m saying in everything give thanks, because none of us are intelligent enough to determine where our particular directional change is going to end up and often benefit us.

Am I denying that evil is everywhere? Yes. I’m telling you that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,” and anyone who tries to break that code of behavior will be punished by Mother Nature.

Am I suggesting that God will NOT win? No, I’m saying that God has already won. Jesus said that even though the world is filled with tribulation, that our good cheer buys wonderful time for him to prove that he’s already overcome the world.

Don’t I agree that people are dangerous? I think some people are weak. And weak things try to pretend they’re strong. Jesus refers to these people as “the least of these my brethren.” He says that basically there is no door into them through conflict, but only through accepting your own power by assisting them and setting them on a new path.

“Come on, Jonathan. Don’t you think there ARE times to be careful?” I, myself, am in the middle of a trial at this moment. Can I be honest with you? The more I think about it, the less I am able to think. It is the power of Jesus telling us to “take no thought” over the bumps in our lives. It’s not that we should whistle a happy tune and skip down the road. Rather, it’s because the brain becomes overloaded when too many difficulties are presented, absent of solution.

Do I love my family and treasure them above all else? One of the scriptures you will never hear spoken–or at least not very often–are the words of Jesus: “When you love those that love you, you’re no better than the heathen.” If I can’t step out of my circle, I will never be able to enlarge it, and eventually I will feel cramped within its circumference and start attacking my own.

And do I think it’s important to “dig in” and hold fast to what we believe? No. Forty-eight hours ago I would have told you that I had a solid philosophy which was not particularly in need of additional inclusions. I would not have said this to be pious. I would have shared it with you in contentment. But hours have passed and I now realize that merely “digging in” to what I believe is not going to be enough. I need to expand.

This is why the first thing Jesus told the disciples to do is “go into all the world.” What a contrary thought that is to the normal religious experience! After all, don’t Jews stay with Jews? Arabs with Arabs? Hindu with Hindu? But Jesus said the most positive thing you can do to keep growing and expanding is to “go into all the world” and see how your ideas work in the earth’s marketplace.

God hates those precepts which sow discord amongst the brethren because they teach us to be afraid, and once we’re afraid, we are capable of all sorts of atrocities–be it burning young women at the stake as witches, or insisting that the black race needs to drink from a different fountain.

Watch out for those seven pieces of conventional propaganda that draw us away from the kind of expansive spirit that includes others instead of locking the door to keep all the bad things outside.

Seven things that God hates.

I’ll tell you what. Next Wednesday we’ll tie them all up and finish this little series. I hope you have enjoyed it. I hope it didn’t spook you too much, like it did me for a time.

And I hope you will stop grabbing the seed of anxiety from our generation and casting it into the field of your life.

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

F plus A equals A+… October 9, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

My granddaughter asked an intelligent question.

Now, I’m not trying to connote that it’s unusual for my granddaughter to be intelligent. It’s just that at thirteen years of age, she discovered a dilemma which plagues the adult world and causes us, as alleged grown-ups, to become very irritable and unproductive.

She was recently elected treasurer of her class and is also deeply involved in musical theater with her school. Matter of fact, she is attempting to write a script for a musical, and began to collaborate with several other individuals, who somewhere along the line, lost the “good will for the hunting.”

She asked me, “What do you do when people flake out on you and don’t want to finish a project?”

Isn’t that a great question? Little did she know that she just posed an inquiry that probably has Republicans, Democrats and the entire economic world embroiled in controversy and quandary. What do you do to make people do the people things that make life more tolerable for all people?

Well, the first thing I would tell my dear granddaughter is that when you believe a lie, and you notice that everyone else believes the same lie, it takes a lot of guts to be the first one to call it a lie.

And here’s the main lie in our society: life is tough. I don’t know if we feel more mature or responsible by grunting and groaning through our activities, displaying the same disconsolate countenance that our parents had, and their parents before them; I don’t know if we consider it to be more interesting to folks if we are struggling through our endeavors. I am not sure. But somewhere along the line, the belief that some pain is necessary to receive some gain has not only been ingrained in our thinking, but has become the motto of our pursuits. It just doesn’t work.

Teachers try to make students more responsible for their grades by telling them about their “permanent record,” college possibilities or potential future earnings if they get an A instead of a C, and even though we know this is unimpressive to the adolescent mind, we still continue to talk about “stepping up to the plate” instead of focusing on the things that are of true interest to human beings.

I am about to make a bold statement. There are only two things that edify people universally–and if you subtract them from your club, your church, your political party, your school or even your home, you will creep along at an ever-increasing level of misery.

All human beings require fun and appreciation.

If you do not afford this double blessing to people at all times, be prepared for them to become disinterested, start making excuses and eventually be absent.

I can certainly see it in the religious system, where I find myself working from time to time. Some ingenious theologian came up with the idea that the best way to motivate people to godliness was to encourage study, prayer, faithful church attendance and giving. On top of that, we are also asking these people to offer their services in a volunteer capacity to the kingdom of God without ever stroking their egos and telling them what a good job they are doing, but instead, demanding that they don the false humility of being undeserved of any attention. Then we wonder why people are leaving the church by the truckloads.

It certainly wasn’t the way God put things together. Whether you believe all of the Bible or not, you can relate to the story of Eden, where God creates man and woman and gives them two potentials–fellowship with each other and being in charge of caretaking their own property.

Yes, the original plan by God for human beings was for us to indulge in sex and gardening.

Once again–fun and to be appreciated, because there you have a partner for pleasure and rich soil for seed planting, which produces not only your food, but the sense of accomplishment that you have spawned a growing thing.

He suggested they culminate this daily sex and gardening therapy by joining Him in the cool of the evening for a nice walk and talk about the day. I suppose if you’re a religious fanatic, you could say that we forfeited that privilege through sin, never to attain it again until we reach heaven. But Jesus said that “God’s will should be done on earth as it is in heaven,” so it might be a good idea to get back to that sex and gardening approach by applying, in our lives, the activities of fun and appreciation.

I will not work with human beings if fun and a mutual appreciation is not thrust to the forefront. It is a waste of time. Trying to make people guilty, fearful, angry, nervous or pious in order to extract effort does not only produce weak results, but turns them fussy and old too soon.

So here’s what I tell my granddaughter, and I also tell you. If you’re trying to do something with other people:

  1. Don’t ever plan an activity without refreshments.
  2. Never discuss future work until you have thoroughly celebrated the accomplishment of the present labor.
  3. Show them that what has been done so far is really good.
  4. As much as possible, make all planned activities into a game.
  5. Plan laughter. Yes, purposefully include intervals where something funny is going to be shared or done.
  6. Appreciate effort, acknowledge improvement and therefore, stimulate the slackers to jealousy. (Everyone wants a moment of focus.)
  7. And finally, when the fake grown-ups come in and try to turn your activity into something painful, let them have their moment and then simply step up and return to the joy of the Lord.

There you go. That’s why F (Fun) plus A (Appreciation) equals A+. And what is A+? Accomplishment.

We are suffering in America because accomplishment is considered to be unusual instead of essential. We have tried to replace fun with entertainment. Appreciation has been bumped to the side in favor of pep talks and self-help books on our ultimate goodness and worth. It’s not the same.

So if God was smart enough to devise an original plan that was filled with sex and gardening, it might be a good idea for you and I to realize that fun and appreciation are the nourishment of all human progress.

So in answering my granddaughter, I thought I would pass along the same information to you. You can either act self-righteous and consider my advice to be trivial and childish, or you can give it a whirl, and see if fun plus appreciation don’t grant you accomplishment.

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

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