G-Poppers … December 2nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop was wondering what it would have been like if Facebook had been around for the birth of Jesus.

What would have grabbed the attention of the average Facebook reader in Judea?

Let’s look at the classic elements of the story:

  • Rejoice
  • Glad tidings of great joy
  • A Savior is born
  • Prince of Peace
  • Listen to the angels
  • Can you see the star?

These would more than likely have been deemed boring, averaging seven likes, zero comments and no reposts.

Even if someone had inserted the statement, “a baby was born in a manger,” the single repeating comment would have been, “Come on, Joseph. Get a job.”

Facebook demands drama.

Facebook seeks attention.

Facebook feeds off frenzy.

Facebook is selfish.

No, for the Christmas story to have worked on Facebook, one would need to hand-select the elements, and twist them a bit to make them of interest to the market:

“Pregnant teen and her boyfriend snub traditional marriage”

“Bonnie-and-Clyde-style crazy kids hold shepherds hostage in stable”

“Foreigners, astrologers, wanted for questioning by authorities for smuggling in unknown drugs”

“Lights in the sky! Could it be aliens?”

“And here is a picture of my ‘fur son,’ Jehoshaphat, the cat, as he rubs up against a little immigrant boy in the barn. Isn’t he cute? I mean the cat.”

G-Pop contends that we have become a society of “I’s” who include a few “we’s” if they agree with “us.”

To get likes, shares and comments, the entry has to be insipid enough to have universal appeal to those who find most of the universe unappealing.

But there will be a persistent few who insist on planting the notion of salvation, joy, humanity, brotherly love and peace on Earth.

And who knows?

Maybe in two thousand years, if that is done, they might call us Wise Men.

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G-Poppers … November 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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She was cursing the air like it was refusing to let her breathe–stomping, throwing things, shaking her fist–the personification of frustration.

As G-Pop returned from a grocery shopping trip, he slowly parked his van in a space next to a young woman who was in a hurry to go nowhere. She had obviously hit her wall and was determined to hit it again and again, to prove the depth of her anguish.

It was a little frightening.

It was like a scene you watch in a movie and take in stride, but when you feel the vehemence ricocheting through the air, it is much different.

So out of respect to her eruption–and a little afraid to step into the emotional lava surrounding her–G-Pop sat quietly in his car, giving her space.

At length she disappeared back into her motel room to procure more of her personal effects. G-Pop took that moment to go into his own room.

Then it occurred to him–a prompting. The real reason to have the Spirit speaking within. After all, there are always two choices:

  • You can shut the door to your room and pretend there’s no pain.
  • Or you can open the door and risk becoming part of the pain of another human being.

G-Pop asked Jan to go out and find out what was wrong–if there was anything the girl needed.

Jan was back in a brief moment, explaining that our friend had her money stolen and they were kicking her out of the motel because she didn’t have finance.

I suppose G-Pop could have spent five or ten minutes trying to figure out if she was lying, or he could have offered a prayer on her behalf. But the best feeling in the world is to know that you did something, even if the critics around you insist it means nothing.

G-Pop looked into his wallet. He had an abundance of one dollar bills left over from the week’s endeavors. He didn’t count them–just grabbed them and gave them to Jan to take out to the damsel in distress.

After a brief delay Jan reappeared, grinning ear to ear, saying that the young woman was moved to tears and they had hugged it out.

Did it make a difference?

Much more than whether G-Pop voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

Much more than an aggravated post on Facebook.

Much more than a silent request during prayer time the following Sunday at church.

We are living in uncertain times so it is important to make sure what is certain:

  1. Love your neighbor.
  2. Take responsibility for your life
  3. Be of good cheer.

And G-Pop would note: when you see something that needs to be done, do the part that is within your means.

 

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“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

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Ask Jonathots … February 25th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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My parents and I got into a fierce argument in which they claimed that the Baby Boomers were the best generation–the most politically aware, socially progressive, and creative. I said they were sell-outs who only protested because they didn’t want to get drafted. What do you think?

And on the other hand, the Baby Boomers were greatly pissed off that their parents believed that winning World War II made them a superior generation.

I think there’s only one criterion for determining the quality of any group of people.

How well did they avoid distractions?

Distraction is what causes us to believe that the temporary situation will become permanent.

Saying that, I will tell you that technology and pseudo-intellectualism has distracted us more and more into believing that we are smart and non-prejudiced.

There has never been a greater amount of bigotry, racism, clamoring for war and intolerance than there is today. Yet the Baby Boomers had an opportunity to free our culture of much of this foolishness, but instead, mimicked their parents’ materialism just as soon as the threat of blood and mayhem in Vietnam had passed.

So the question is, can our generation–the new generation–avoid distraction?

Can we refuse to allow Facebook to be the well of our understanding?

Can we rightly judge within ourselves what still remains of selfishness and superiority?

Because if we can’t, the distractions will take this generation and cause it to sell out just as much as the Baby Boomers and the WWII heroes.

So how do we avoid distraction? Everything in our lives needs to be run through the prism of two ideas. If it is run through this prism and comes out with flying colors, then it is worthy of our consideration. If not, it’s a distraction.

  1. Does this new thing, new idea or new approach cause us to love people more?
  2. Does this possibility make us want to do better with our lives?

If the answer to these two questions is yes, then it is not a distraction. It is a pathway to progress.

If the answer ends up being no, then it is a dangerous detour which will only take us further away from understanding and peaceful coexistence.

  • The WWII generation thought owning a house and having a family was the most powerful thing in the world.
  • The Baby Boomers were convinced that a blending of social consciousness and financial prosperity was the key.

Today’s question is this:

Can we find our hearts, to touch our own souls, to renew our minds to grant us legitimate strength?

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Jesonian: F. A. A. E. … October 18th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

In an age when Facebook has attempted to simplify relationships down to “friend” and “unfriend,” it might be of social significance to each one of us to look at the Jesonian approach to human interaction.

Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus did not love everybody with the same intensity. There were measures, concerns, confinements and meters to his affection and devotion.

Understanding that those judgments were not based upon prejudice, but rather, practicality, is the beginning of forming a way of dealing with humanity, preventing you from becoming jaded.

Jesus put human relationships into four categories:

1. Friend.

His definition of “friend” was very specific. He traveled with twelve disciples for more than three years before he referred to them as friends–and then he said he felt he could do so because he could “share his life with them.”

A true friend is a rarity because you must be willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly without fear of incrimination.

2. Acquaintances.

These are people Jesus interacted with who shared a common purpose, but not necessarily a transparency. They were the many individuals who believed on him because they encountered a miracle. But generally speaking, these acquaintances did not end up following him, but departed on their own to start a new life, or were instructed by Jesus to go back to their homes and spread the good news.

3. Adversary.

It will probably astound you when I say that most of the interaction you have with your fellow-travelers will be adversarial.

An adversary is someone you really want to grow to appreciate and love, so you’re learning to cooperate with each other, while also being fully aware of your differences. This is why Jesus told us to “reason with our adversary.” Don’t criticize them; don’t kill them. Find the areas where you concur, and interact in those ventures without forcing agreement in others.

4. Enemies.

And finally, an enemy is simply defined as someone who does not wish you good will. Enemies are not happy when you succeed.

They may not plot against you nor gossip but they do not rejoice when you rejoice, nor mourn when you mourn.

This is where the variety and intensity of Jesonian affection is put into place. So:

We love our friends because we can be completely open with them.

We honor our acquaintances because we share so much in common that it establishes a deep sense of human-hood.

We commit to our adversaries because they keep us thinking and challenge us to have a good reason for what we believe instead of stumping and stomping around about our contentions.

And we respect our enemies because that is the only way we can assure ourselves that their animosity will not easily be turned into action against us.

  • Friends are rare.
  • Acquaintances are growing.
  • Adversaries are plentiful.
  • And enemies are few.

Fortunately, the treatment for all of them is easy to remember:

A multi-faceted love.  

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Cracked 5 … September 22nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Things We Want to Ask the Pope to Do While He’s in America

 

A. Give us permission to sell “Pope is the Dope” t-shirts.

 

B. Offer better refreshments for Holy Communion.

 

C. Request he begin all his speeches with, “Let me be Frank.”

 

D. Update Mother Mary’s Facebook status to “Single and Available.”

 

E. Remove all calories from barbecue ribs and caramel crunch ice cream.

 

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Three Ways to Remain Calm… January 8, 2015

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For all of you who are waiting for things to get better, let me tell you, I will be here to give you a quick hug when they don’t.

Things are not going to get better. We can get better with things.

I had a phone call last night from a gentleman complaining to me about being mistreated. Basically, he explained his situation in the first two minutes, but then went on for another twenty, reinforcing his points on how upset he was and how much revenge he wanted to heap on those who had offended him.

  • At no time did he ask my opinion.
  • He was not pursuing counsel.
  • He wanted to vent.

At the end of the twenty minutes, he thanked me for listening and told me it really helped. I said, “No, it didn’t. You just took the past twenty minutes to convince yourself that you are right and everybody else is wrong. You’re not calm. You’re a loaded gun with the safety on.”

Most of us are fully prepared to explode into a fit of rage if someone cuts us off in traffic. So what should we do when we find ourselves feeling attacked, and our instincts to hurt others come to the forefront and create a billowing sea of turmoil?

1. Pull out the photo album.

I guess nowadays, it may be opening up your computer and checking the wall of your Facebook.

Look at pictures. Don’t react. Don’t fester. Don’t think about what you want to do. Look at pictures of your living history. Remember feeling devastated? Then take a minute to realize that you weren’t. You survived.

Look at the wonderful tapestry of a life you have woven, and consider that there is no reason to destroy it just because you’re having a bad day.

The reason we lose our cool is because we don’t appreciate the hundreds of photographs which have brought us to who we are today.

2. Clean out a closet.

Anger is an energy. It triggers all sorts of chemicals in our bodies, causing us to become feisty and vindictive. Literally, go into your closet and start folding things up. Put your hands to work in a constructive way. Otherwise they will itch to strike out.

You can cuss in your closet. You can slam things around. You will be breaking no laws of either nature or God. And after you’re done and you’ve burned off some of that unnecessary froth, you will also have a clean closet.

3. Write a letter.

People don’t do it anymore. The lack of penning our thoughts to another person is turning us into a bunch of emotional cripples. Actually take a piece of paper and a pen and write a letter to a friend who has stood by you and knows you are not a loser.

You may never send the letter, or you may choose to find an envelope and a stamp. Either way your feelings are on paper, and when they are in ink and you read them back you will be astonished at how clear your thinking will be.

So consider your history. Life has been pretty good.

Use your energy to be constructive. Hang up your clothes.

And find a creative way to communicate your disappointment by using pen and paper.

It is arrogant to believe that what we feel is really all that important. If it were important, we would continue to feel it.

But because it comes and goes, we should find a way for it to go when it comes.

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Jesonian: Content or Context … September 7, 2014

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Osteen

Once again, the religious community has blown up over the wording shared by a lady in Houston, Texas, as she attempted to explain how she believed that God “wants us to be happy.”

Was it simplistic? Perhaps.

Was it completely unbiblical? Of course not.

Was it unbalanced? Indeed.

The thing we have to remember about the Bible is that it offers us six thousand years of spiritual evolution, as human beings have come to grips with the heart of our Creator.

We start out in the book unwilling to speak His name, and by the time the volume is finished, we’re calling Him “Daddy.”

So it’s important that we learn the difference between content and context. Fortunately, if we’re willing to accept scriptural inclination, that direction is provided by giving special emphasis and recognition to the words of Jesus.

When we do this, we have an arbiter who literally does fulfill the law and the prophets, as he also teaches us to “render unto Caesar.”

But if you happen to be of a denomination which favors a specific doctrine and searches the Good Book to confirm that contention, then you probably will find yourself at odds with others on occasion and a bit zealous about proving your point.

So in my awkward way, allow me to take a series of the social issues of our day, and rather than addressing them by content, offer you the context I have found based on the inklings, words, personality and mission of Jesus.

1. Abortion.

“Don’t send them away.” Children are the closest thing to heaven that we have on earth.

2. The Internet.

“The light of the body is the eye.” Therefore if you fill your eyes with darkness, you will dicover darkness within.

3. Conflict between men and women.

“In the kingdom of God there is neither male nor female.”

4. Marijuana.

I think Jesus would say he wished we could get high on our own light.

5. Capital punishment.

“Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

6. Poor people.

They aren’t going away. “Do what you can for them.”

7. Culture clash.

God doesn’t have favorites.

8. Facebook.

“Don’t do your deeds to be seen of men.”

9. Homosexuality.

Why are you leading with your sexuality?

10. Guns.

“They that live by them shall die by them.”

11. Pornography.

Lust is emotional adultery.

12. Racism.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

13. Family.

“If you only love those who love you, you’re no better than the heathen.”

There’s my offering.

And when it comes to the issue of happiness, Jesus made it clear that it is primal in God’s mind. The Sermon on the Mount begins with “blessed,” and then it takes the rest of the time to explain our responsibility to ourselves, others and God in a quest to maintain that bliss.

So if we are going to live in a society filled with confusion, we must stop contributing to the baffling conflict and begin to simplify things down to a context which will clarify situations instead of further complicating them with more stipulation, legalism or “popcorn philosophy.”

This is why I use the word “Jesonian.”

It’s an attempt to find abundant life … through discovering the heart of Jesus. 

 

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