Jonathots … December 11th, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

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handbook for touching

The light of the body is the eye

If the eye is evil, then the whole body is filled with darkness. But if the eye is clear, then the whole being can be illuminated.

Honestly, these words can sound like a bunch of gibberish if they’re not understood. This is the trouble with a lot of deep philosophy and passages that insist they are “spiritual.”

Let me phrase it this way:

Your eyes belong to you, but what you see was programmed by others.

Even though you may insist that you are the master of your own thinking and the manipulator of your vision, there is so much programming that’s gone into you–from childhood, schooling, experiences, defeats, failures and pain–which clouds your vision and only presents the images that memory will offer.

We are very critical of prejudice, but the fact of the matter is, nearly all of our preconceived ideas are deeply ingrained within our consciousness long before we have a chance to vote on whether to accept them or not.

This affects our touch.

If we don’t like what we see, we don’t want to get near it. If we don’t want to get near it, we avoid it and fear it. And once we’ve decided that someone or some group is foreign, then it becomes necessary for us to rationalize our choice by attempting to prove that the forbidden topic, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation is hampered by evil.

Thus, white people who grow up in a bigoted environment really do think the black race looks a bit like monkeys. That’s how they were taught to see them. Therefore, that’s how they view them. The end result is, they decide not to be around them and the unity brought on by touch is forsaken.

Likewise, black parents who teach their children that Latinos are lazy and not to be trusted raise children that purposely avoid anyone with light brown skin, unless there’s enough pigment to welcome them as black brothers and sisters.

Also, the Latinos do it with the Asians, and within their own culture, assuming that Cubans are better than Dominicans, and Asians assuming that Chinese are superior to Japanese.

Once our eyes have been fitted with a pair of glasses by our upbringing, making us see the world in a certain way, then our bigotry becomes a spectacle.

Because once we’re afraid–once our “eyeballing” of other human beings promotes darkness in our minds, we are certainly not going to want to be near them, to shop with them, to go to church with them or to ever risk touching them.

Without touch there is no fellowship. Without fellowship there is no commonality, and without commonality, there is alienation.

Take some time during this Christmas season to consider the vision you have of life–the way you see those around you.

Are you controlling your own perception? Or do you have people you were taught were “untouchables?”

Because if you’re not willing to touch people with the tenderness of your hands, you will certainly end up fighting them with your fists.

 

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Jesonian … September 11th, 2018

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I think you’re right, Johann.

Turning the other cheek can be scary on many levels. Some people think it’s ridiculous–they contend that if you don’t fight back, you’ll be destroyed.

But here’s the problem with fighting: nobody fights to lose.

Did you hear that? That means if a discussion becomes an argument and ends up being a fight, the individual who is trained the most to be violent and has the greater stamina will win the day.

Do we really want that?

Some years ago I stumbled on a fist fight in an alley in a large city. A little crowd had gathered because two men who were obviously over-soaked in alcohol had decided to square off.

The whole affair lasted less than thirty seconds, because within fifteen seconds of swinging at each other–and mostly missing–they were so out of breath that they had to crumple to their knees just to gain air.

God forgive me–I laughed.

We want to come across so tough, yet are we actually willing to fight? And if we decide to fight, are we going to get ourselves in shape at a level of anger to win?

There are three things for certain:

If you’re going to destroy an eye in someone else, you have to be willing to lose one yourself.

If you’re going to kill the enemy, you must be prepared to die.

And if you’re going to get physical with your retaliation, you must have the skill to overcome the person that is coming at you.

Johann, Jesus said this was unrealistic. Who has the time, in the middle of trying to live a joyous, giddy and peaceful life, to go into the gym and train to be a killer?

So sometimes, instead of punching back, you lay back, and see if conversation can return instead of taking something to blows.

It is scary.

It’s scary for the person who has to do it, and it’s very scary for the person who is facing such courage.

Turning the other cheek is not an option. It is the only doorway available for most of us humans who don’t want to spend our lives lifting weights and punching bags.

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Good News and Better News … April 4th, 2016

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Good News and Better News Woodmont

It’s 9:53 A. M. and time for me to go into the sanctuary at Woodmont United Methodist Church in Reidsville, North Carolina, and share the little bit I know. (Fortunately, it’s only an hour, or I would quickly run out of smart stuff.)

There’s nothing terribly impressive about me, so as I get out of my wheelchair to hobble and creak my way over to the piano bench, the gathered host of God probably feel more pity than enthusiasm.

It doesn’t matter.

They have spent the whole week being overwhelmed by politicians, pundits and individuals of all shapes and forms who believe in establishing their prowess through dominance.

So as I look out at my soon-to-be friends, I feel compassion–because they’re man-handled.

They are continually manipulated, coerced and even criticized into believing that “might makes right,” and “the loudest always gets to be the proudest.”

They are peppered with the message that it is an “I” against an “I”–and teeth are made for biting.

Yet with all the promotion of this philosophy, the world still falters–with terrorists now telling us that God thinks we should be blown up, or at least shot multiple times with bullets.

So in that sacred moment, I realize that the House of Jesus needs to be a safe haven from the stupidity of prideful demolition.

Man-handling. What is it?

1. “You gotta fight. Stand up for yourself! Speak your mind. It’s a free country. If you don’t defend yourself, people will walk on you.”

But even in a room filled with just a hundred voices, if everybody speaks up for him or herself, nobody gets heard.

So my message?

Stop fighting and wait for an ingenious idea from the Holy Spirit, to handle the next situation.

Also, the man-handlers want you to know:

2. “Life is complicated.”

If they don’t convince you of that, how can they sell you the improved product, the new book, the fresh idea or the present political candidate?

So I decided to tell the folks at Woodmont to simplify.

After all, I never saw anybody get anything done in a better way because they complicated it. Even if I were an ant, my job would be to find the shortest distance to get the crumbs to my nest.

And finally, all the man-handlers want to make it clear that:

3. “We’re all different.”

Since nowadays it’s basically considered to be ignorant to be a bigot, we hide behind the disguise of “cultural choices” to promote our prejudice.

In other words, since “blacks like things done a certain way,” that’s why they hang out together, and “Chinese people prefer chopsticks instead of forks.” But rather than this teaching tolerance, we’re just promoting isolation.

My answer to the man-handlers is to find commonality among us all.

The forefathers said there is such a thing as the common good.

Here, here.

So as I got ready to strike my first note and begin the service, what crossed my mind was that these people really need to be “God-handled.”

Since I possess no divine qualities whatsoever, I chose to imitate the heavenly Father’s personality profile.

I brought mercy. Mercy-handling.

That’s the good news.

And the better news is that being merciful gets much easier when you realize that you don’t necessarily know what you’re doing.

Therefore you have a desire … to be generous to others.

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