Ask Jonathots… July 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Last year my friend’s fiancé drowned in a flood. He is very bitter and blames God. What can I say to him?

Before we discuss what you can say to him, let me ask you a question: is it possible that this fiance would have drowned in a flood if there were no God?

In other words, are there floods on Earth? Does water rise? Do people find themselves caught in odd circumstances? And does water filling the lungs kill a person?

The question that’s actually being posed is, “Should God intervene in every situation to eliminate death and destruction?”

And if He were to do that, how would He determine when it was time for someone to actually pass on? In other words, if there were no bad things that happened in life, would there be good things that happen, or just sameness?

We appreciate blessing because we’re fully aware of the possibility of difficulty.

We appreciate our loved ones because we know we’re mortal and susceptible to termination.

So if there were no God, how could one get rid of humans from Earth to make room for more humans? Would we be satisfied with that system, or decry it for its unfairness?

God had an important decision: How could He create a Natural Order which could be studied, but also does its best to keep things even so that the rain and the sunshine “fall on the just and the unjust?”

And after developing this system, was God willing to take the criticism from those who presently feel cheated, and receive too much praise from the ones who are overly confident?

  • Equity.
  • Fairness.
  • Justice.

The best thing God could offer was a clear statement to humanity–study the face of the sky and learn the ways of Nature.

Case in point: I was heading out on tour this year to California when I realized that the weather patterns were forbidding such a maneuver. I changed my itinerary. I based that decision on what I knew about El Nino, and how I have seen it work in the past. I ended up not being caught up in floods and blizzards, but instead, continuing my work unabated.

I used the greatest blessing–it’s called knowledge.

So what do you say to your friend?

I don’t know.

I don’t know what he can hear.

Sometimes it’s just better to hug people until they get their wits about them again.

 

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

Click here to get your copy now!

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G-39: Plan B … August 29, 2014

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bigger crosses

An avid teacher. A lover of humanity. A son of man. A soul of good cheer. A practical philosopher. A lifestyle coach. A marveller of faith.

Yet a healer by demand. A reluctant debater with cynical adversaries. A frustrated cleanser of the temple.

A trusting friend, now betrayed by a companion.

And…a very beleaguered savior.

“Let this cup pass from me.”

“Please believe me for my words.”

“If not, accept me for the healings.”

“Receive me as a shepherd.”

But please, don’t murder me to sanctify your religion.

Still, of love, free will and mission, mission lands a distant third. Love will be needed to survive the free-will choice of destroying our best God-opportunity ever.

Is it payback for banishment from Eden? Revenge for the Flood? Or is it just years of stone ignorance, crushing all new possibility?

“Your will be done.” But it’s not really Your will. It is Your will to grant free will.

They are going to kill me. I must have a plan. Salvation by my life’s blood. Cross that when I get to it.

Since it is going to happen … I might as well save the world.

 

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

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

 

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

G-30: Pouting … June 27, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Izzy PoutA monkey is normally satisfied with a banana.

A monkey-angel, on the other hand, requires a banana split.

From the understanding we gain from what we have dubbed The Good Book, the Creator experienced an adjustment period in trying to comprehend the mingled mess put together with the formation of the human race.

It was a rocky start.

Even though the Book dubbed Good has 1,189 chapters, within the first eight, the Father:

  • makes humans
  • places them in a Garden of Utopia
  • gives them a rule
  • catches them breaking the rule
  • kicks them out of the Garden
  • punishes them
  • sees one of their children murdered and another exiled
  • regrets that He made them
  • kills them with a flood
  • and finally, regrets killing them.

Not a stellar beginning.

So after the waters subsided, a mistrust grew between the heavens and the earth. It was actually more like an adolescent pout, where a child of a household who was once enamored with his or her parents lives long enough to discover inconsistencies, and along with the natural rebellion churning in his or her soul, decides to become non-communicative with the elders.

A quiet war started between God and man. (And by man, of course, I mean the female part as well.)

For thousands of years, attempts were made to repair the breach by using commandments, prophets, edicts, covenants, patriarchs, escape plans, and even miracles.

Nothing seemed to work.

Human beings were caught between a distaste for the jungle and a dislike for the heavens.

We pouted.

How could we trust a Creator who made us and then decided to break us? What could be done?

Yes … what could be done?

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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

 

 

Meant Well… September 2, 2012

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The Bible.  Some people think it’s just a book. Others call it holy. It’s divided into two sections–Old Testament and New Testament.

You see, I understand that. Really, it’s not that different from me. After all, I’m always divided into two sections: Meant well. Doing better.

I don’t know why we fail to notice that the Bible makes it clear that God is learning. We seem to be obsessed with the notion of perfection instead of enjoying perfecting. I think it’s because we secretly hope we reach a point where we’re always right and never have to make corrections, so we project that image onto God.

It certainly is not what He advertised about Himself. For after all, He created man; then he was sorry He did, so He killed them off with a flood. Then He was sorry He did that. He went along with the Jewish people when they wanted a King and then everybody was sorry about that. So God sent them prophets to tell them about a better way. Some of these messengers got heard; most of them got killed.

So just to establish clearly that God was in a learning mode, He started a New Testament. He decided to become human, and when He did, He came to learn. He used the name “Jesus” and we’re told that He learned obedience through the things He suffered and He grew in wisdom and in stature.

Yes, there is an Old Testament–that’s where God meant well. And there’s a New Testament. That’s where we’re doing better.

We did it with our country, too, you know. We got together and came up with a constitution–a magnificent document. It establishes that we meant well. But immediately we realized that this particular conglomeration of words didn’t cover all the needs of a society dedicated to liberty. So we started adding amendments, trying to do better.

I remember when I was thirty years old, I took a job at a teeny, tiny Bible college, as a professor. They were trying to expand the vision of their little learning center and increase enrollment. In the first four months, I wrote and produced a play, did several fund-raisers and started a five-minute daily radio broadcast of a continuing drama series. Sure enough, it got a lot of attention and the number of students increased. But I failed to notice that I was losing the support, confidence and affection of the president of this little college. But because I was very young, I assumed it was his problem and that he was just an old fuddy-duddy. Even though I began a good work there, I was unable to finish it because this disgruntled leader asked me to leave. You see, I meant well. But from that point on, I started doing better by understanding that the wheels of progress really aren’t supposed to roll across human flesh.

There is always a step necessary to take us from what we have done to what we need to do. It’s called learning. And if Jesus had to do it, who do we think we are? Why do we think our ministers should have the right answers the first time around? Why do we think our politicians should delve into problems they’ve never experienced before and perfect solutions on the first attempt?

I think life is pretty simple–and I’m so grateful that God uses Himself as an example to show us how it works:

  • Meant well.
  • Learn.
  • Doing better.

There’s your secret, folks. It really demands only three understandings:

1. Start with your heart as pure as you can, to make sure you’re at least pointing in the right direction.

2. Be prepared for a certain amount of success and an adequate amount of failure.

3. Pursue the success and abandon the failure.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But when pride, insecurity, frustration or stubbornness come into the mix, the whole thing gets screwed up. Let’s be honest–who would we be today if God decided to stick with the Ten Commandments and we were all judged solely on how well we jump through those hoops? God was kind enough to adjust His message for the human beings who were meant to benefit by it.

The Bible is not about human beings finding God; the Bible is about God finding human beings. The constitution is not about making the people adjust to the government, but rather, finding a government suited for the people. And my job at that Bible college was not about finding a way to show off my abilities, but using my abilities to show off the college.

If God needed an Old and a New Testament to get it just right, what makes me think that my first crack at anything is going to end up getting the job done? So I work on my heart. Make sure I mean well. Then I go into it keeping my eyes open, ready for signs of what works and what doesn’t. Then I learn. I take what I learn and I go out and do better.

If we actually applied that in corporations, politics and religion, mankind would inch its way forward instead of gradually slip-sliding away. We know it’s true. Otherwise we wouldn’t put “New and Improved” on a box of cereal to communicate the product is still being worked on. We wouldn’t hoist a sign in the window of a diner that says, “Under New Management” unless we wanted to communicate that change is in the air. And God would not have an Old and New Testament unless He was trying to tell us that learning is what pushes us forward and self-righteousness and pride are what destroy us.

I meant well. Honestly, in almost every circumstance of my life, I had no axe to grind and wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. But unfortunately, I did. So I had to learn. And fron that learning, I always came up with ways of doing it better.

So as I go off this morning to be with the fine folks of South Lyon, Michigan, I want to tell them that they’re coming together to praise a God who always meant well. But He did learn, and He came up with a way of doing it better.

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Beautiful … August 16, 2012

  • Loser — Part 3
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I am not beautiful.

I have known this for some time. Ever since I realized that the mirror before me was a reflecting piece of glass instead of a gateway to find Alice, I have been fairly aware of my status. What astounds me is the evolution that has occurred in the reaction I receive from people when making that simple statement. When I was a kid, if I said, “I am not beautiful,” the response from those around me would be, “Well, who is?” But now there’s a severe emotional handicap that causes people to literally rebuke me if I happen to be candid about my obvious condition. To say “I’m not beautiful” is considered poor self-worth, a blemish on self-esteem.

So nowadays, human beings,rather than finding a way to be truthful about their own feelings in situations, have to hide them behind a mask of verbal propriety, which literally requires that we always put their best foot forward and never become critical of their situations. Now, I might be impressed with this if it actually made better people. But instead, it creates haughtiness, a defensive nature and a whole lot of cover-up about what we know to be true.

I arrived early for my gig last night, so I found a secluded section of the parking lot and sat, enjoying the beauty of the day. Directly in front of my eyes was a patch of weeds which the landscaper had obviously ignored or had not yet put on his daily list of activities. I thought to myself, how do I know these are weeds? They’re perfectly green–just like other plants. They’re growing like …well… like a weed. Some of them even had little flowers on them, to increase the possibility for approval. But I knew they were weeds, and because I had this knowledge, I judged them harshly. It made me laugh. Basically, I am a weed.

Here I was, sitting in the parking lot of this strange church, ready to go in to set up my equipment and do my presentation–and I can tell you of a certainty, after forty years of performing, I am still not confident of my own ability. I am never sure I have enough. Truthfully, I do not know why anyone would want to listen. I am aware of the many distractions that leap before the human eye, to draw people away to other pursuits. Lots of folks would think it’s ridiculous for me to be so insecure about what I do, which they would tell me is done quite well.

But the answer is simple:

  • I have lost
  • I can lose
  • And therefore I am acquainted with being a loser.

That particular three-pronged passage would cause many people to be critical of me, telling me that I need to have more confidence and be more assertive. But it’s just not true. If I wrote in this jonathots that I’m a winner, that I can’t lose and that I have never been a loser, you might nod your head because society tells you that such proclamations have become appropriate.

But honestly, part of you would despise me. None of us like arrogant people, even when their conceit has some basis in reality. We want our geniuses to admit to moments of stupidity. We want our beauty queens to share a story about their battle with pimples. We want our politicians to admit they made a mistake, and therefore they are flip-flopping towards a more enlightened conclusion. I think we’re all grateful for a God who destroyed the world with a flood, but then turned around and admitted He was sorry He did it.

There is no power in being beautiful. There is no warmth in proclaiming your superiority. Anyone who would get in a van and travel across this country meeting strangers every single week, should be a little uncertain of the conclusions. If he or she isn’t, they are just self-deluded and overwrought about their own talents.

I believe I am valuable to God and other people because I know I’m not beautiful. I cannot stand in front of an audience with a straight face and tell them that all of my choices, ideas and ventures have been successful. They haven’t.

But until we understand that weakness, losing and even being a loser is a part of this experience on our cruise of earth, we will be in danger of either becoming obnoxious or just outright liars.

Because I am not beautiful and I am a loser, here’s what I do:

1. I work on my heart–my emotions. I want them pure.  I try the best I can to make sure that what I tell people is the closest thing to the truth as I see it now.

2. I also put my soul on notice that it is not allowed to be pompous or religious. My soul has two jobs–to be grateful to God and free of condemnation of others.

3. Because I know I’m a loser, I renew my mind by keeping it young, contemporary and evolving it towards discovering things that I don’t presently know.

4. And when it comes to my body, what I can do–my best choice–is to perform as well as I can without looking ridiculous. That’s it.

Trying to keep from being a loser is forsaking your humanity and attempting to make yourself a God among your peers. But when you’re able to admit you’re a loser and you work on your heart to keep it pure, your soul to be grateful and free of condemnation, your mind to be young and evolving and your body, to do the best it can without “jumping the shark,” you will have fellowship with many people and be of value to the world around you.

I am not beautiful–and by the way … I am so glad.

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

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