“Ifing” Way: Part 1… October 20, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2387)

If bigger

What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

It was the third night in a row she had returned home from work brooding. It wasn’t that she was always a sparkling conversationalist, but now a sadness had etched its way onto her features, making her apppear continually unhappy, which left him a little disgruntled, feeling that he was somehow at fault.

Tired of being uncertain of her feelings and attitudes, he broached the issue.

“What’s wrong — and before you tell me nothing, let me tell you that I know there is something, so let’s work with it from that angle.”

She looked surprised.

He laughed. “So now you’re gonna act surprised,” he said. “I know you’re not surprised. You probably just don’t want to talk about it.”

She took a long pause–so lengthy that he almost inserted another opinion, but restrained himself to allow her space.

“I have something to tell you,” she began, tears forming in her eyes.

He squelched an internal flinch, wondering how this could end up with anything good.

She continued. “You know that tree we were supposed to avoid?”

He thought for a second, then remembered and nodded.

She went on with her tale. “Well, I was a little confused about it. Maybe even a little frustrated. So I spent some time down there, just checking it out. I immediately discovered it wasn’t that different from any other tree on our land. Matter of fact, it was rather pleasant looking. Appealing.”

He resisted the instinct to interrupt and just nodded again.

“Well, long story short, I got tempted, maybe even urged, to eat the fruit. And ever since then, I’ve felt guilty and naked.”

“What do you mean by naked?” he inquired.

She squinted. “You know. Without being covered.”

“Covered with what?” he asked, frowning.

“I don’t know. This is why I didn’t want to tell you. I knew you wouldn’t understand. You are so much a man…”

“Now I am confused,” he inserted. “We’ve never talked like this before. It was never ‘man’ and ‘woman.’ Just us. What’s going on?”

“I ate the goddamned fruit,” she screamed. “There! You’ve got it.”

Adam took a deep breath. He knew the next thing he would say was crucial. “So that’s why you feel bad?”

“No!” she said emphatically. “I feel good! Alive! Alert. Just confused. Maybe if you ate the fruit with me and shared in the experience we could work it out together. Aren’t you self-conscious about being naked?”

“Actually,” he replied, “I’m baffled about the concept. I just thought this is the way we came.”

She sighed, frowned, hissed and grumbled all at the same time. At length she spoke.

“So are you gonna eat the fruit with me or not?”

He took her by the shoulders, pulled her close and kissed her on the forehead.

“No. What we’re going to do is take you to our Creator and explain what happened.”

She pulled back in horror. “No damn way! He’s gonna kill me. Isn’t that what He said? If you eat the fruit you’ll die?”

“Yes,” said Adam. “But I didn’t know what it meant, so I just kind of ignored it.”

“I don’t want to die,” said Eve.

“I don’t want to lose you,” said Adam. “But … I don’t want to lose Him either. Don’t make me choose.”

She burst into tears. He embraced her and held her close.

“Listen,” he said. “If He loved us enough to make us, He sure can love us enough to forgive us.”

“Us?” she questioned.

“Yes. We’re in this together. And together, let’s go talk to Him.”

 

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

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

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

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Fault Line … May 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2225)

fault lineA fault line is what triggers earthquakes.

Living on a fault line is accepting the possibility of a disruption.

The same thing is true in human beings with the issue of fault. A majority of the upheavals which occur between human beings is based upon fierce disagreements over the fault involved. So because of this, people establish their opinions along a fault line, which best represents their willingness to interact.

1. Everything is my fault.

This is way too vulnerable. It often puts us in the position of being considered the underdog and the dumping ground for other people’s deception.

2. Most things are my fault.

Once again, this is much too difficult to define, still leaving us over-exposed to those folks who refuse to consider their own part in any failure.

3. Some things are my fault.

Always too much to explain. By the time we finish clarifying our part in the fiasco, we’ve bored the listener.

4. Nothing is my fault.

This certainly reeks of arrogance and eventually drives away all of our cohorts from working with us because they have to carry the burden of our lack.

5. I don’t believe in fault.

It may be a noble gesture, but you are surrounded by a world which points fingers–and has plenty of digits available.

Personal success is wrapped up in our level of personal responsibility.

This is the truth that Jesus says will make us free–free because we are no longer dependent on other people’s participation.

We look for our part in the project and continue to pursue it with diligence and joy instead of probing for someone to blame or the nearest scapegoat.

Let me give you an example.

Seven years ago a friend of mine died. He was a victim of cancer.

He smoked, drank a little bit, was angry much of the time, single and frustrated with the status, and full of animosity toward those around him because his life had not worked out the way he had hoped.

When he passed away, rather than pointing at him in his coffin and proclaiming that “he had made his own bed” and would now sleep eternally in it, I instead took a look at what responsibility I had in his demise.

It was a beautiful, healing journey. Candidly, most of my discoveries were positive. I had been generous; I had been kind. I had influenced without becoming an interloper.

But in the process of reviewing the case concerning this friend, I did discover some truth. I could have stepped in earlier and encouraged–or even insisted–that he go to the doctor, which could have made a difference in his prognosis.

I didn’t feel guilt about it. I didn’t assume that it was my fault–but I realized that if I ever had the opportunity again with another human being, I would step into the gap a bit sooner and offer positive solutions.

It was so cleansing.

I didn’t have to take on fault, nor did I have to absolve myself of guilt.

I found personal responsibility.

In a generation which is trying to escape our part in the disaster, we are also running away from the truth that can make us free.

Not everything is my fault–but it is also not the case that nothing is my fault.

The fault line, which spurs our hearts to personal discovery, is there to bring the “truth which can make us free.”

Personal responsibility is the only doorway that allows us the dignity of finishing our day with a smile instead of a nervous apprehension about tomorrow.

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

 

 

ProbThree: “It’s not my fault” … November 3, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2054)

Uncle SamFingers.

They perform two obvious functions: touch and point.

Touching is good. It’s a way of expressing our tenderness by putting our emotion into our fingertips. Pointing is when we try to place the blame on someone or something other than ourselves. We do this in three ways:

1. Pointing up.

Sometimes we feel so inadequate, inferior, ill-prepared and ignorant that we place all of our life concerns and journey needs on God in the sky, hoping for divine intervention. We use prayer to pass the buck to our heavenly Father. So we either procure our miracle or we get to act persecuted for the lack of attention.

Belief in God should build our character, not diminish it. It should make us more willing to serve ourselves and others instead of turning us into lazy supplicaters who feel that God has a responsibility to support us–since He fathered us.

2. Pointing down.

Some people, when they discover they don’t want to blame God anymore, decide to finger Satan, Lucifer or evil, which they can point down toward as the source of their failures. It is the ultimate superstition. Not only does it unrighteously free us of our own task and involvement, but it places good and evil on an equal footing and gives darkness too much light.

3. Pointing out.

This is very popular. When in doubt, accuse someone else. When confronted with deficiency, explain your indebtedness by insisting that another person has caused you to be a debtor. It is vindictive for two reasons: (a) it takes away the joy of achieving for ourselves, and (b) it often targets people we don’t like as adversaries, when those who really ARE against us are given a free pass because we like them better.

The three approaches of fingering–up, down and out–turn human beings into inferior, superstitious, vindictive souls.

The key to ProbThree–“it’s not my fault”–is to use your finger to point IN–not to create fault, but rather, to find your own definition of responsibility.

Here is my rendition of responsibility:

A. I have ability

B. I have problems

I will never be happy if I focus on one of those more than the other. If I only tout my abilities, I look like a jerk when it becomes obvious that I’m lugging baggage around. And if I only lament my problems, I become the buzz kill that turns every party into a departure gate at an airport.

It’s the blending of the two that creates responsibility. And responsibility allows me to point at myself without feeling the need to be guilty and faulty. Here’s how it works: I use my ability to help my problems and I use my problems to enhance my abilities.

Without abilities I wouldn’t have any way of addressing the problems that come up or possess the confidence to conquer. But I have to understand that if I never have a problem, I have no need to grow and increase my talents.

So every time I put the blame on God, Satan or others, I lose the capacity to become the beneficiary of a great life lesson. I also am admitting that I’m at the mercy of whatever I’ve fingered.

So ProbThree, “it’s not my fault,” is solved by the decision to point inward, taking responsibility and using my ability to solve my problems, knowing that my problems only enhance my abilities.

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Messaging … February 6, 2013

(1,783)

jon in green hand outRelax, it’s not your fault.”

This is the universal message being propelled through the media, entertainment and even the religious community. It has rendered our society immoveable and unshakeable.

We have a sudden return of the deadened philosophy of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” as a means of discovering satisfaction and reaping retribution on those we do believe are to blame. We are ignoring the lessons of the past in order to place ourselves back in a kindergarten-type understanding of real, adult problems.

So to be honest, spirituality, which is supposed to enlighten us to both our weaknesses and our strengths, is hampered from performing these duties because by the time the average parishioner arrives at a church service, he or she has been pummeled with a false absolution. “IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.”

I would like to know how you can empower people when you remove the energy derived from repentance. I would like to know how you plan to change the world when you’re spending all your time assessing blame. And I would like to know what good it will do to allow this to continue without having some voices of reason to pipe up in and object to the insanity.

Here are the three lies which are being promoted in our society:

1. Faith is good but you don’t want to believe too much–otherwise you’ll end up looking stupid and foolish.

2. Hope is an interesting consideration–but a bird in the hand is much more valuable than two in the bush.

3. Love is sweet–but sometimes it’s much more important to watch your backside and be prepared for people to cheat you.

So faith, hope and love, considered to be the greatest virtues of all time, have been diluted to caution, pseudo-intellectualism and retribution. Where will this take us? “Every man for himself” is a thought process that leaves us isolated, paranoid and ready to attack.

So what can we do? What can I, personally, achieve this day to change the messaging in my own life and communicate that I am not part of this temporary baffling?

1. Have faith, but keep it simple. I have boiled mine down to “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

2. Express your hope, but back it up with some legitimate talent. Don’t wish for things that you’re not willing to actively pursue as you polish your abilities.

3. Love people by giving them your heart, knowing that sometimes the human heart is faulty and needs change. To hide your heart from people is to set in motion a plan to hurt them.

The messaging is off. The result? Everything we have believed for centuries is being tainted by a desire to find the culprit to the crime instead of stopping crime. Until we wake up as a country and take responsibility for our part, the problems will grow and suffocate us in our silent presumed innocence.

We will be weakened, vindictive, angry and completely bewildered why nothing is working.

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