PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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See me

See me stand

Just as I planned

Or should I sit

To display my wit

What shall I wear

Will anyone care

And what shall I speak

Aggressive or meek?

When I share

Will others stare

Should I wear a dress

My hair is a tossled mess

Explaining my plea

Please listen to me

For the tale I tell

Must go well

I’ve invested my feelings

Jeopardized my dealings

To gain your ear

Then escape my fear

I’m more than a daughter

Or a human container of water

Not just a wife

Please notice my life

Being a mother

Sons I bore

But look at me

I’m so much more

A sinner saved by grace, tis true

A friend, acquaintance, to many of you

A queen who awakens from foolish dreams

To rule her kingdom without schemes

My heart is thumping

My soul is screaming

This brain is jumping

As my face is gleaming

See me

See clear

See clean

Then I can help you

To be seen

 

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G-Poppers … December 30th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop was considering unusual circumstances.

What would he do if he found himself in a parking lot and a gentleman with a gun ran up, demanded the keys to his van, pushed G-Pop inside, started the vehicle and took off down the road, G-Pop in the passenger seat?

A strange situation–yet it demands more calm than action.

  • Who is the man that’s taking his van?
  • Could he be a policeman commandeering the vehicle?
  • Is he motivated?
  • Is he desperate?
  • Is he of sound mind?

All good questions that need answers before G-Pop would try to struggle with him to take control.

First, there’s a gun involved. Secondly, since the fellow is now in charge of the van and driving, it could be dangerous or lethal to interrupt his process.

People always admire heroics, but the truth of the matter is, lots of heroes die.

G-Pop doesn’t want to die.

G-Pop doesn’t want to be foolish.

G-Pop doesn’t want to make a point just so he can claim bravery.

You see, much of the same situation is facing our nation:

Some think President-elect Donald Trump is crazy.

Some folks believe he’s an economic genius.

There are those who insist he’s a lewd, vulgar predator.

Then you have his supporters, who claim he’s a family man with nothing but good intentions.

All of this debate is useless.

President-elect Trump has the keys. He has the guns at his disposal. He’s in charge.

So what should G-Pop’s approach be?

What should an intelligent American do, given the information we have of an authorized election which established the will of the people?

The same thing you would do if you were in the van being driven down the road.

1. Find your seat.

It is not wise to be stupid.

2. Buckle up.

Just in case this ends up in an accident, it would be a good idea to be protected.

3. Get as comfortable as possible.

The human brain does not work well when it’s festered by confusion.

4. Talk common sense.

Yes, talk to the person who’s driving. Hell, pray for the person who’s driving your van. Let him know who you are, what you feel and why you feel that way.

5. Help if you can.

The last thing in the world you want to do is disrupt someone who may feel intimidated.

6. See if he knows what he’s doing.

If he is a policeman and just needed your van, then everything will probably be alright.

The foolishness of trying to fight against what has transpired instead of finding a way to live our lives in decency and order is not only self-defeating, but contrary to the philosophy of this country.

Every four years we elect a leader. Our leader is Donald John Trump.

Before we become frantic, we should at least see where this is going to take us.

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G-Poppers … August 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It throws tantrums like a frustrated toddler being refused candy in the grocery check-out line.

Foolish, aggravating and unrelenting.

Selfishness.

After several decades of misguided belief in the healing powers of self-worth, our culture is now stewing in the broth of excess self-importance.

  • I must be included.
  • I must be accepted.
  • I must be honored.

G-Pop is afraid that people no longer consider what they have to give, but only promote an inventory of the things they demand. And when a demanding voice encounters a self-reliant spirit, a dangerous impasse is generated, which can certainly foster violence.

G-Pop hopes his children will learn to show up on the playing field with their fellow-humans, prepared to offer a viable contribution to the cause instead of a yearning for self-esteem.

Matter of fact, sit down and write a note to yourself:

Dear Me,

I hope I wake up this morning realizing that the only way I’m going to be happy is to discover what I might be able to be and do that brings benefit. Then it’s just an issue of how I can step in without being overbearing, and use my ability. At that point I will gain value and appreciation.

Have you written your letter?

G-Pop will do his own. 

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Ask Jonathots … January 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Does wisdom come with age? Even today, kids are taught to “respect their elders,” but sometimes I’m not sure why. What are your thoughts on the notion that years add value?

I suppose the reason that “wisdom comes with age” has been promoted and generally believed by the populace is that the passage of years does grant more opportunity to screw up and survive.

But the truth of the matter is that wisdom is an understanding of the limitations of knowledge. Plainly, merely accumulating information which is deemed “correct” does not mean that the discovery of additional data in the future will not contradict or even eliminate your former comprehension.

People who become stubborn about their present knowledge will not only fail to become wise, but eventually will be considered ignorant.

So at any age you can learn the key to wisdom.

Wisdom has three basic parts that never change, and if you learn them, you can transfer your present ideas into a workable format for real life. The three parts are:

  1. Nothing is ever exactly what you think.

Aren’t you glad? It means you don’t have to be arrogant, therefore you don’t have to come across so foolish when you’re proven to be incorrect.

  1. Nothing will remain the same.

Even our faith evolves as we comprehend more about the true nature of life and God.

  1. Nothing is exclusive.

More simply phrased, anything you hear that leaves out one group of people in favor of another will eventually be exposed as errant.

So if you approach the knowledge that comes your way by filtering it through these three classic principles, you can become wise at any age.

If you don’t, you can end up looking like an 80-year-old dim-wit. 

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Good News and Better News… December 7th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News December 6

47.

Of the 52 Sunday mornings made available each year, I am blessed and honored to be able to share my vision and message with congregations all over this country in all but 5.

Easter Sunday, All Saint’s Day, and the three Sabbaths leading up to Christmas normally are already pre-packaged.

Yesterday was one of those 5.

I suppose I could say something noble, like the fact that I went to another church, or even found a hollowed-out tree in the forest in which to pray, but honestly, I just enjoyed being with myself and my traveling musical partner.

But one particular reflection came to my mind.

Although there is a contingency of human souls who believe in waiting for things to happen, I have found such a delay to be not only useless and pretentious, but also unproductive and foolish.

I have come to a conclusion: I only matter if I take my matter and address things that matter.

I am not naturally loved or appreciated by anyone.

I know that may sound a little cynical, but each of us must realize that ultimately, we are gauged by our value to the human tribe–whether we offer an opportunity to make things easier, more intelligent or prosperous.

  • I want to matter.
  • I want to have a life filled with purpose.
  • I don’t need to be personally important–just to know that what I’m doing has a level of importance.

So yesterday morning I asked myself a question. Since mattering is the matter at hand, what really matters?

1. Promoting liberty.

Without it, the Spirit of God is absent.

2. Promoting equality.

Without this particular understanding, we start buying in to the concept that we are exceptional.

3. Promoting mercy.

I desperately need mercy, and the only way for me to obtain it is to act it out in my adventures with others.

4. Promoting good cheer.

People who laugh are not better people, they just last longer, waiting for the solution to come.

5. Promoting peace.

Not just the absence of war but also the presence of ideas that find commonality.

That’s the good news.

And the better news is that great ideas are often considered nearly criminal when they are first suggested. Yet if you want to be found among the chosen few who are regarded as forward thinking, make sure you leave your fingerprints on these innovations.

So when they are investigated by future generations, it will be obvious to one and all that you were in on the ground work of an enlightened moment.

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Three Ways to Avoid a Squandered Life… August 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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kleenexI sat very still in my chair, staring at the scrap of paper in front of me, bewildered, if not a trifle bewitched.

It was a note from an aging friend which appeared to be spilled ink on paper, dabbled with a human finger in an attempt to form words.

“Pray for me. Hitting my head. Brain disease.”

I thought about the many hundreds of letters I had written to this individual and the hours I had spent loving, reasoning and perhaps even arguing with him about the ebb and flow of life. And now I was looking at this ripped sheet of paper, wondering what had brought him to this conclusion.

For I will tell you, it is too easy to blame people for their own path, and also much too simple to portray them as victims of clinical diseases which take the power of choice away from them. There are occasions in life which threaten to steer our carnal vessels in directions which prove to be disastrous.

Are there warning signs? Are there ways to avoid a squandered life?

1. Don’t allow yourself to feel entitled.

The minute we expect, we stop being able to accept. Lack of acceptance leaves us vulnerable to disappointment, which lends itself to despair.

2. Don’t give up on good work because of critics.

I wish I could tell you that every brilliant concept is embraced by even a single convert. It is not so. Often the greater the gift, the less it is received.

You must learn to be content with your own belief and purpose.

3. Don’t lose your faith in people.

If people don’t understand what you’re saying or doing, then don’t attack them for their ignorance. Use your creative genius to make what you do and feel more understandable.

Squandered: Wasted in a reckless or foolish manner.

I will pray for my friend. But prayer by itself is not what he needs.

What he requires is to be baptized in a fount of good cheer and faithful pursuit.

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The “Ish” Family … October 12, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

The movie wrapped up, completed with a beautiful spirit and great energy. It was a little script I had written called $6 Man–about a homeless fellow who was trying to maintain the custody of his daughter while also assisting other fellow-street-dwellers, instructing them in converting abandoned dumpsters into shelter. When I first wrote the screenplay and passed it around, everybody was thrilled, but once the movie was shot, some nay-sayers arrived who suggested that the whole project was going to fail because the ending of the story was a bit distasteful and didn’t present a Hollywood-style conclusion. Matter of fact, even people who were in the film, participated in the production and backed the project were completely overtaken by the criticism and were totally convinced that the ending should be revised.Why? Because we have this notion that good things should bring about great results. There’s no foundation in it. If goodness always resulted in earthly reward, then rich people would be some of the most virtuous individuals walking on the planet. But if God were to suddenly shine a spotlight on the most righteous human being, it would probably not beam down on Wall Street.

Goodness has a reward because it gives us the confidence to not be afraid to tell the truth.

I thought I was doing a good thing by rising from my discomfort, getting a wheel chair and heading off to do my gig in Sycamore, Ohio. Matter of fact, the process of renting the chair, learning how to use it and loading it in the van all went extremely smoothly.

And then … here came the “Ish” family. The Ish family consists of a threesome who always show up whenever you have the audacity to pursue something which is considered to be abnormal. May I introduce you to this trio?

  • First there is Foolish.
  • Please welcome to the party … Childish.
  • And then, a little less verbal and very nervous, is Skittish.

When I left yesterday afternoon, my journey of faith–to overcome my physical limitations with my legs and continue my work–was immediately greeted by obstacles from this trinity of fussiness.

First of all, the road to our journey decided to just end, taking us on a detour which may not have completely encircled the globe, but surely was only one turn short of that. (Thank you, Foolishness.)

We arrived at the church to be assisted by some wonderful human beings, but we were still completely inept in using the wheelchair and getting in and out of the doors of the church. (A big shout-out to Childish.)

In addition, the sanctuary only had two aisles to get to the front of the church–neither of which were exactly wheelchair accessible. (Enter, stage right: Skittish.)

And then, to completely discourage our odyssey of faith, only eleven people showed up for the gig, making us feel ridiculous for going through the exertion of pursuing it–for only such a small number. (There’s another “ish” in there somewhere, but I can’t identify it.)

On top of all that, I had not truly factored in how humiliating it would be as a man, to be rolled into the room in a wheelchair to do what I have done for forty years? (I guess that’s the threesome, collaborating.)

So when the program was over and I was awaiting Jan, who was loading equipment with some of our new, kind friends, I happened to look in a pane of glass to see a reflection of myself. God, I looked pathetic. If possible, in that seated position, I looked fatter than ever.

I was discouraged.

Foolish came over and spoke in my ear. “Do you see how ridiculous this is? You’re getting older, you’re fat, you have diabetes. Give it up. It’s not worth it.”

Without missing a beat, Childish jumped in. “Aren’t you tired of hurting? You need to go someplace and play. This isn’t fun anymore. Maybe it seemed like a good idea, but now the other kids on the playground are laughing at you.”

Before I could take a deep breath of faith, Skittish was in my other ear. “Isn’t this scary? What if there’s something SERIOUSLY wrong with you? I know you’re getting around, but there’s always the possibility that you have something like Legionnaire’s Disease,–an unknown virus from the deep jungles of Africa, and it’s attacking the back of your thighs and will eat your whole body away…”

They are quite a tag team. They take faith and try to make it look stupid. They are worshippers of conventional wisdom, which only works if you’re at a convention and everybody there is willing to call it wisdom.

I took another glance at my image in the glass before me, laughed, and instead of waiting to be pushed to the van, I rolled myself to the door to make my own escape in my own way. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I have no expertise with the wheelchair, I got one of the metal pieces caught on the door frame and couldn’t go forward or backward. So now, I was not only stuck in a wheelchair, but I was hooked to the framework of the church like a helpless marlin.

Needless to say, Foolish, Childish and Skittish laughed in glee, having their points well-established through my efforts.

But I welcomed a spirit of relaxation into my soul, took a look at my dilemma, and in no time at all, through pursuing calm instead of frantic, I dislodged myself, rolled out into the parking lot on my own, opened up the back doors of the van from my seated position, turned myself around the corner and over to my van door, locked the wheels of the chair like a true professional, and climbed up into my seat.

I did it.

It was a beautiful fall night, life was going on and I succeeded in surviving the trepidation of a wheelchair in front of eleven people in Sycamore, Ohio.

I did not get a Hollywood ending last night. The exertion felt exhilarating at the time, but I paid the price upon returning, with a sense of exhaustion. I wake up this morning grateful to those in Sycamore who helped me so dearly and showed up to see my present leap (or perhaps better stated, crawl) of faith.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. What am I hoping for? That’s simple. Two things:

1. I am hoping that I will learn through this painful experience that I am addicted to food and must put myself on guard for the rest of my life, to make sure that my weight is always heading downwards instead of climbing for the stars.

2. I am hoping that this process will not kill me.

I am not denying reality. As you can see, I am hoping for something substantial.

So on Day Two of my little journey, I cannot report to you that I have a Hollywood ending which would please all of the spectators milling around. But as in the case of my movie, $6 Man, there is a way that life works–and a procedure–and the more you learn to honor the truth of the matter instead of trying to make everything easy and acceptable, the greater the chance you have of being present when a miracle actually happens.

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