Confessing… July 18th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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XI.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

She was my friend, benefactor and producer of my first national album release.

After we finished the record, she bought me a copy of the Urantia book.

She loved the book.

She loved me.

I assume her goal was to join her loves together in a connection.

The book didn’t work for me. I read some of it and found most of the parts distasteful to both my spiritual side and my human understanding.

I didn’t tell her.

Perhaps I did not want to hurt her feelings, seem ungrateful or lose my meal ticket and helper. It was probably all of the above.

She decided to start having readings of the book at her house on Thursday nights. I, of course, was invited and felt compelled to go.

There were about 25 people there from the music industry–professors from the Vanderbilt University and all sorts of Nashville, Tennessee entrepreneurs.

I joined in to the discussions, keeping my sentiments beneath the surface.

Then one week, friends of ours from Indiana came into town. I thought it would be a great boost to their experience to go meet my mentor and all these talented folks who gathered for the Thursday night Urantia reading.

I didn’t think it through.

My Hoosier buddies were fundamentalist Christians, and as soon as they heard some of the ideas from the book, they felt compelled to object–aloud.

My dear lady friend who had been so generous to me was greatly offended by their interruption.

I was trapped.

Was I going to disavow my friends from Indiana, continuing to be dishonest about my own feelings? Or was I going to make a stand in this lovely lady’s house against her beloved book?

I made the stand. It created a rift.

I left early. My objecting companions patted me on the back for my courage.

Things were never the same again with my Urantia friend.

I felt self-righteous–but it did not take too long for me to realize what an ass I had been.

If I had been forthcoming with her when she gave me the book and I reviewed it, telling her then that it was unnecessary for my journey, things would have been fine.

But because I waited for an unfortunate moment to make my feelings known, shocking her completely…well, the damage was permanent.

I ended up wrong, saying something I believed was right.

She has since passed on, but today I wanted her and you to know that I was erred.

Because spiritual revelation is useless if it doesn’t increase human interaction and compassion.

I have learned to be forthcoming.

At times it may seem blunt but it is better than misleading those who love you … under the guise of trying to keep peace.

 

 Marijohn

 

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The Reason for Rules … December 8, 2012

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Jon Signing

“Don’t do that.”

I’ve always hated those three words. Maybe it’s because I have a snotty seven-year-old brat living inside my big, fat body. It could be my rebellious nature. It might be that I don’t like to remember a bunch of stuff that doesn’t seem necessary if I don’t already know it. But I think the reason I hate the words, “Don’t do that” is because when you pose the natural question, “Why not?” you are often met with indignation or even ostracized from the club that has instituted the regulation.Please do not walk on the grass

I do understand the importance of rules. I just want you to comprehend that sometimes they are arbitrary, other times rules become unnecessary because of development and too often they are just a way to keep people from achievement so that everyone can remain dull and mediocre.

As far as I can tell, here are the four reasons for rules:

1. To prevent people from doing something that will ultimately kill them.

2. To prevent people from doing something contrary to your government, your God or your preference.

3. To prevent people from doing something that won’t kill them.

4. To prevent people from doing.

I’m sure you can find different angles on this, but you might be surprised to discover that three of the four reasons for rules are less than noble.

I certainly am in favor of outlawing anything that endangers the life of human beings, animals or any part of God’s creation that has the right to live instead of being decimated. That’s why I’m against abortion. It’s why I am opposed to the right to bear arms without adequate restriction to guarantee the safety of the innocent. It’s why I think obesity should be against the law. Even though I’m a fat guy, I have to admit, nothing kills people more than blubber. It’s why I think restrictions on cigarettes, alcohol and mind-altering drugs are essential–they all a hook they jab into human flesh, dragging people into desecration and disintegration.

But not all rules are so valuable. For instance, I think it’s good that the Ten Commandments tell us not to commit adultery, but I don’t think it’s beneficial when the Catholics, Mormons, Muslims and fundamentalist Christians use that precept to cast aspersions on the joys and pleasures of sex. Sex was not created by God to make children. Children, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your point of view) are a by-product of a really good orgasm.

I do not think we can market a God who has more rules to His philosophy than jewels. I don’t think a government can sustain itself trying to keep its citizens from the liberty that God says we enjoy as evidence of His spirit. And I don’t think you have the right to establish disfavor for other people because just you find their particular habits distasteful.

I think we have to take a good look at the reason for rules. I think we have to be candid and say that the introduction of incurable viruses into our society through various types of lifestyles is reason enough to re-evaluate those choices. Why? Because the result is dead human beings.

“It is not God’s will that any should perish.” God does not hate sin, God hates death.

Learn it. Otherwise, you’re going to start looking for evidence that the people who are supposed to be your brothers and sisters are an abomination to your snooty God, because they ate shrimp from the nearby Mediterranean Sea. (You know that WAS the case at one time. Shellfish were forbidden for the Jews because for that season they were contaminated. In other words–they killed. Now they don’t. Enjoy your shrimp with your cocktail sauce.)

Likewise, if we come up with a cigarette that doesn’t produce lung cancer, more power to us. If we can prove that carrying around fifty extra pounds of lard on one’s body does not fry the circulatory system, then eat away. If we can produce guns with bullets that are better targeted towards evil than good people, then please start the manufacturing tomorrow. And if you can establish that aborting a fetus is not terminating life, then go ahead and open your clinic.

Other than that, realize that death is not admissible to a God who loves all of his children. But also be aware that making rules so as to make your fanciful cult more exclusive is just as distasteful to a God who honors free will above all else.

Be careful. Three out of four reasons for rules are at least erroneous, if not destructive. But by the same token, if a particular action ends in death, understand that our loving Father has only one desire–to protect His children.

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Dr. Foul–November 2, 2011

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Telling people that life is easy is misleading them into believing that nothing they are or that they possess will need to change.

Utterly ridiculous. 

Informing people that life is hard makes them reticent, a bit reclusive and frightened that change will be thrust upon them and they will be insufficient to the task. 

Equally harmful.

And telling people that you have the answers and that if they would just listen to your counsel they would be better is not only turning yourself into a false Messiah, but making them subservient to such a fictitious character.

Damnable.

There is a gentleman on TV who postures as a renowned psychologist and pops off advice in a homespun way, having very little understanding of the history of the people he’s talking to, while sharing some personal anecdotes about how he has overcome the same problem with a “tell it like it is” attitude, leaving people helpless to disagree with him, and therefore cowering in the corner, just waiting for the onslaught of his opinion to stop. They call him Dr. Phil. But to me, he’s Dr. Foul.

I know what you’re thinking. “Jonathan, you don’t usually come out with such blatant statements about individuals.” This is true–and I apologize for my lapse in procedure, but I’ve grown weary of television gurus who feather the nest of their reputation by using wounded human beings who are caught in a web of difficulty and deception to make themselves look like they are smarter than the average person and that they can fly high over the masses. Here’s the problem with Dr. Foul:

1.Change is a necessity and relationship is necessary to human beings, so the need for change within a relationship has to be worked out by the individuals who are involved in that covenant and cannot be simply handled in two quick stories and three platitudes. Dr. Foul likes to find the person who appears to be victimized and portray him or her as someone who needs self-esteem and is being torn down by the mean aggressor. It isn’t always that easy. There are people in this life who have declared war on the concept of change. Their “changeless” attitudes causes conflict, financial difficulties, problems and even illness. To tell them that they are “fine the way they are” is to lock them in a box of their own insufficiency and throw away the key.

2. He believes that conventional wisdom always works. It doesn’t. It’s why the Bible says that we “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” It is why the Bible also teaches that we “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” Bluntly, that premise contends that if we need space for our pointy corners, then we must grant that same opportunity to our fellow humans. Knocking off the corners on people’s lives does not make them fit better into Godly containers. It just bruises them.

3. Not everything is a story about you. I realize that Dr. Foul is an entertainer who has neither the patience nor the time anymore to actually involve himself in   human contact with those in need. But presenting how YOU did something so well is not a motivation to make others do the same. It just makes them feel more helpless.

4. He doesn’t allow for an argument. It doesn’t matter how smart you get–people still on occasion are smarter than you. If you cannot listen to what they’re saying and give in to common sense, but rather, feel that you must maintain a position, then you have become useless to them. Dr. Foul is never wrong and becomes quite heatedly angry if you suggest otherwise.

5.  And finally, mixing philosophies together to form a hodge-podge of psychological babble is not conducive to establishing a good pattern for life. In the process of one show, Dr. Foul will bounce between Zen Buddhism, pop psychology, fundamentalist Christianity, Cracker Box chatter, hipster lingo and just man-on-woman chauvinistic superiority. Make up your mind.

For instance, when I run across fundamentalist Christians who only believes in the King James version of the Bible and they are ardent in their belief, I can have a conversation with them because I understand their hearts.  This is why I admire people who are against abortion, but also against capital punishment and war. It’s consistent. On the other hand, if you were to actually follow the advice of Dr. Foul, you would find yourself so uncommitted to any particular path of righteousness that your wishy-washy approach would render you insipid to the point of being comical.

Case in point: it is impossible to instruct people that women are the weaker sex or that women are the emotional arm of the species and that men are sexually driven, dominant and more powerful and think that you are going to establish any kind of relationship based on equality. Yet Dr. Foul persists in offering an Old Testament version of relationships between men and women while at the same time insisting that he is the modern Renaissance man who views both sexes as equals.

I do not share this with you today because I want to be mean-spirited to this gentleman. I just want to make it clear that you should not listen to anything anyone says, including this writer, without trying and testing it through your spirit, your experience and your willingness–your spirit because God speaks to you if you’re willing to listen; your experience because that which you’ve seen and heard is what you should declare to others; and your willingness–just because something NEEDS to be done does not mean that after you have counted the cost, you are going to be able to undertake it.

Dr. Foul does not allow enough time for these people to do this wonderful three-step process.  He tells them what their problem is, makes them accept it and sends them off somewhere for therapy as he closes the show with a smirk, to the roar of applause. When you are truly helping people it is no laughing matter and there rarely is ever a standing ovation.

As I said, feel free to disregard this humble author’s insights in this matter. But also please examine the counsel of anyone–no matter how many degrees they may possess–and ask God to show you what part of it has meat and what part of it is just dry bones.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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