G-Poppers … July 20th, 2018


G-Pop was nine years old when Bobby moved into the village and started attending the little elementary school.

At first the parents thought he might be a Negro, since he had skin a couple of shades darker, and curly hair. But on careful inspection and tracking down some details, it was confirmed that he was Italian. This allowed him to be suitable for playtime and interaction.

But Bobby was different.

He wasn’t like all the scared children from our burg who were frightened to death to displease the grownups who held the key to play-time and candy. Bobby didn’t care.

When the teacher came into the room, the rest of the students fell silent–like attending a funeral. But Bobby just kept chattering, glancing up at the teacher and smiling back at all the other terrified third-graders.

He was the same way during recess. He played hard, rough and mean. But at the same time, he was sweet-talking to the girls, so they liked him. In no time at all, he developed a reputation among the teachers, staff and some of the parents of being a brat.

Yes. Bobby the Brat.

What concerned them most of all was that there seemed to be a breakdown of discipline across the board–because other students began to feel the liberty to be curt, selfish and overly aggressive.

There was so much pressure on Bobby that when the time to begin fourth grade rolled around, he was gone. His parents left town.

Bobby the Brat had departed, so things went back to being orderly. Even though we all denounce the blandness of being orderly, disorderly comes with a nastiness which spews out poison which has been deposited in our “mad hole.”

Yes. All God’s children got a mad hole.

It’s a space deep inside where we stuff all of our frustration, misgiving and prejudice, thinking it’s a garbage can–but really, it’s just a container where our bigotries decay.

And then one day, we reach a point of rage when this poison is vomited out of our mouths.

It’s a mad hole.

It’s never cleaned out–ignored.

People try to freshen it–try to put a lid on it, so to speak, but as long as it exists, it will eventually erupt.

G-Pop wants his children to know that the truth is, you can’t get provoked unless you’re already pissed.

Nobody pissed you off. They just provoked you until you finally spilled all the putrid contents of your mad hole.

Often all it takes is for Bobby the Brat to come along and tease us with the notion that we aren’t crazy and we should speak out our stupidities loud and clear, for everyone to hear.

So we do.

Civility dies, kindness is mocked, being nice is deemed weak and the only distinction we have seems to be in the horror of our mad hole.

Mad hole

In my soul

Take it in

Make it sin

First the hate

Of your fate

Rots your brain

With things insane

It’s begun

Load your gun

Me against you

Us against them

Don’t wonder if it’s true

Repeat it again

Mad hole

Leaves a space

For me to despise

The human race

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G-Poppers … July 13th, 2018


G-Pop loves his children.

Of course, most folks claim they do. Even that lady in the courtroom who “offed her young’uns” insisted she adored the little tykes.

Love is the delicate balance between affection and correction. And who has ever found the balance? Some people are too affectionate–other people are just hard-asses.

How can you tell the truth in love?

G-Pop wants you to know that the world is segregating itself into clumps of misunderstanding.

For instance, over here on the right you’ve got the “He” crowd–“He” meaning God:

God is everything.

God is good.

Yet … God seems indifferent about the plight of children killed in war. (But that’s because we don’t understand His will.)

God, who is supposed to make us happy often leaves us sad, failing to return our messages.

So escaping “He,” we become…

Well, “you.”

I find myself having to contend with–you. After all, you have such great potential. If you would just listen to me, you would become amazingly fruitful, but you persist in your own ideas when you know that mine are proven better.

So you, who could be a companion to me, suddenly become a problem.

Conversations with you. I become convinced things are going to be better, and then you just end up being you.

Worse than that, many “yous” become “them” which is closely associated with “they.”

This is not an issue of prejudice or racism. These “yous,” who have clustered together in regions, have generated a serious predicament.

Maybe it’s skin color–but not exclusively.

Maybe it’s their customs.

But certainly, at the heart of it, they just aren’t quite as good and certainly not as adequate.

They need to be set apart.

Let’s not get mean about it. (Matter of fact, if we can get them to think it’s their idea to promote their own flag, their own skin tone or their own religion…)

Just keep them away.

I guess the only true way this can be achieved is for us to become a “we.”

We’re just so damn cute. We’re clever, we’re creative, we’re concerned about the world. We hold meetings and share ideas, relating with one another.

We are not animals.

We are not part of the ignorant masses who support foolishness.

We have culture.

We even have a mission statement.

Shoot–all we need is a song. Yes, a rallying tune to make it clear where “they” end and “we” begin.

So as the world drags on with devotion to “He,” criticism of “you,” bigotry about “them” and the self-righteousness of “we”, G-Pop notes that something needs to emerge that speaks the truth with love.

It is “I.”

But it is “i” in the lower case. It is an “i” that has not yet arrived.

And the tiny “i” is a way to signify that we understand that we’re empowered, but have not yet capitalized on all of our possibilities.

“i” am the beginning and the end of the significance of my life.

When “i” look to “we, them, you or He,” “i” drain energy from my existence–leaving a huge hole in my soul.

What do “i” need to do?

A. “i” need to repent of my fear of being wrong.

B. “i” need to make that repentance as joyous and as full of good cheer as possible, so “i” won’t resent doing it.

C. “i” need to focus on my work instead of trying to live off the efforts of others.

D. And “i” need to be humble.

G-Pop loves his children–enough to tell them the truth with affection.

G-Pop is an “i.”

He is an “i” who’s working everyday on trying to dot himself.

 

 

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G-Poppers … July 6th, 2018


G-Pop just spent a week with family members–some coming in all the way from China.

It put him in both a joyous and a reflective mood–joyous to see all the cubs from the Bear Clan returning to their cave, but reflective because he did some deep wondering about what this whole process of living is all about.

It comes down to two words: influence or affluence.

In other words, are we on a journey to influence the planet and people around us in a positive way, or is it all about accumulating wealth, houses, status and family members, thus showcasing our affluence?

You certainly can be affluent without having influence on anything, and as we well know, you can express your influence and not have two quarters to rub together.

Influence: doing stuff.

Affluence: getting stuff.

Amazingly, there is no award for our children when they are spiritual, but we give them money if they make us look like amazing parents by scoring that goal, thus passing on the impression that the best way to gain affluence is to minimize influencing, but just “learn the rules and win.”

As G-Pop sat and stared at his children, he wondered how many were out to influence the world and how many had already decided that the journey is about becoming affluent.

Of course, you must have enough goods and money that you don’t appear to be a deadbeat and a burden on others. But can that be a stopping point? When you finally discover how to cover your budget, eat well and have some extra cash to help others, can you stay ashore and not launch out into the sea with all the cutthroat pirates?

G-Pop decided a long time ago that he wanted to influence the Earth instead of merely being affluent. It’s amazing how good a plate of beans tastes, and how little buttered lobster is required in that moment.

It just depends how hungry you are when you show up.

 

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G-Poppers … June 29th, 2018


When G-Pop was growing up, the mayor of his small town had a young daughter named Jeannie.

Jeannie was smart.

Nobody liked Jeannie. The reason the students did not like Jeannie was that their parents did not like the mayor. So over supper conversation, it was made clear to the children that Jeannie was a problem.

Not much could be done by us young’uns during school session, but at recess, everyone got together and ridiculed, attacked, criticized and ostracized Jeannie. Matter of fact, one day it got so bad that our whole class had her cornered, trying to push her off the playground.

We didn’t plan on hurting her. We just wanted to make it clear that because of her father and the politics that made our parents angry, we were going to get her out of there. Three teachers came running up, and when they understood what was being attempted, the whole class was punished and we were not allowed to have recess for two weeks.

Jeannie was permitted to go home and be comforted by her parents. They were so shocked they put her in a private school and we never saw her again.

This came to G-Pop’s mind when the Little Red Hen–just as in the old tale–became fussy again. People took a thirty-five-year-old woman who was on “recess,” simply trying to enjoy dinner, and asked her to leave a restaurant simply because they did not agree with her politics, and did not appreciate her being the press secretary for President Donald Trump.

Unfortunately, the end result of this tale, unlike the story of Jeannie, is that Sarah Sanders was punished, and the “students” were made to believe they were merely exercising their First Amendment rights by getting rid of something unpleasant.

G-Pop has a question: If it’s wrong on the playground, why isn’t it wrong in the restaurant?

If we expect our children to be tolerant enough to share a space of land and get into their games, why is it ridiculous to think that grown people can’t sit at the table and enjoy a meal with someone in the room who doesn’t meet their favor?

Kicking Sarah out was not a symbol of the resistance.

It’s not a stand against tyranny.

It is an attack on a young woman who’s trying to do her job. What G-Pop thinks about her job can be penned in an editorial to the newspaper–not with a snarling contempt, demanding she be removed because her presence is intolerable.

She left.

She did not stand and fight. And when she left, all the liberals got together and decided it was a good thing to remove her from the restaurant. Matter of fact, one black Congresswoman suggested it should be done more.

Because G-Pop loves his country, he is choosing to believe this was a temporary lapse of judgment.

Just as the kids in his small town had no right to push Jeannie off the playground, no one has the authority to ask Sarah to leave the restaurant.

G-Pop will not return to an America where signs are posted everywhere that say: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

We all knew what that meant. We all knew who was not going to get served.

Let us not return to such insanity.

 

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G-Poppers … June 22nd, 2018


One of G-Pop’s children came to him with great concern.

She was troubled about two gentlemen she knew who were in the midst of a contentious and vicious argument over politics. They were both good men, good fathers and they were both Christian.

But the climate of division had overcome both of them, and they began to take it out on each other, leveling nasty insults in the direction of the other person, once a dear friend.

One man was a Republican and one man was a Democrat. But they both were Christian–shall we say Jesonian?–followers of the heart of Jesus.

Like many people in the lifetime of Jesus, they were looking for political solutions rather than personal revivals in their own hearts.

These two gentlemen had taken their eyes off the personal prize of discovery and placed their faith into the knowledge and politics of the day.

They were arguing about President Trump.

The Republican brother found himself in the defensive profile, trying to explain what was happening in our country the best he could, while the Democrat brother was using insults, derogatory statements and anger to attack the leader of our country.

It is affecting their friendship.

It is taking what was meant to be unified and breaking it apart.

Each one of them is convinced that the other couldn’t be a Christian and maintain the feelings he has about President Trump. They fail to understand that there are three principles set forth by Jesus of Nazareth.

If the Republicans ignore any of the three, then for a season we must walk away from the Republicans. Likewise, if the Democrats set any one of the three to the side, that party has to be negated in favor of greater words.

The three principles are:

1. No one is better than anyone else.

2. Judge not or you’ll be judged.

3. Love your neighbor as yourself.

These can’t be compromised just because we want to promote a candidate, and they certainly can’t be ignored to maintain affiliation with a political party.

Two good men are fighting because both of them are sacrificing their Jesonian beliefs to support an earthly power structure.

So G-Pop says to his children, don’t speak evil of the President of the United States. Keep your hand on the plow and follow the three principles listed above. And where you see problems come in, don’t resort to cheap insult and vulgar retort. Hang on.

The words of Jesus have lasted much longer than any ideas from any politician, and they certainly will be around long past the next election.

 

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G-Poppers … June 8th, 2018


G-Pop wants his children to know that if you’re going to follow what is right and do what is consistent with sanity, you will sometimes find yourself looking not cool, and even being considered not very smart.

It is the whole instability of a fad.

A fad is a decision to depart from the norm, if for no other reason than to escape what is perceived to be a restrictive situation.

Because fads have no future, they don’t really consider all of the ramifications of their practices. You can follow such trends, but when they fall apart–and they do–you will be counted among those who got duped.

There’s no need to be picky in life and try to be a stick in the mud, but certainly there are truths that cannot be altered, and should not be set aside simply because we want to experiment with a novel approach.

Here’s a simple way to view it:

1. Is it something that needs to be done?

2. Is it something that Abraham Lincoln had to do?

3. Is it something you want to teach your children to do?

Then do it.

It might sound a little silly–and I used Abraham Lincoln because he stood against some very strong, convincing fads, but stayed on the game plan that “all men are created equal.” It was not so popular to believe that. He was the kind of fellow who didn’t care. (You notice I did not say to use Richard Nixon as an example.) Abraham Lincoln did unpopular things because they were lasting and true.

So there’s your three-part process. If you really know what needs to be done, and you know Abraham Lincoln did it, and you know that as a parent you would teach your children the right way, then do it.

Don’t get tempted to follow a fad that fades.

For…they always do.

 

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G-Poppers … May 25th, 2018


G-Pop would like to take today to talk to his children about anger and lust. No human being can live without ​them. Some folks may try to quell their desires, but this stifling often leads to repression. Therefore it would seem that every ​soul​ needs anger and lust.​ ​In our country we have become obsessed with tracking down lust, and not nearly as concerned with channeling anger.

There is a very wise adage which states, “The imaginations of a man’s heart are evil continually from his youth.”

With that in mind, it may be completely ridiculous, if not mean-spirited, to think that any one of us is ever going to be free of rage or minus indiscretion. Yet we ​choose to ​isolate off harassment, chauvinism and improper sexual behavior as if these are worse than the nastiness and evil spewed from the mouths of people to support their ca​se​ in the name of ​their cause.

​Consider this: are we actually going to be able to find a man living on Planet Earth who has not had a slip of the tongue and ​stumbled into a bone-headed moment? Is it​ realistic to believe that, in search of romance, flirtation ​might become abusive and hurtful?

Granted, we need to teach our young men and women, from an early age, how to conduct themselves ​in addressing their sexuality, and ultimately pursuing the time​-​old tradition of mating.

But G-Pop believes it must start with anger, for sexual harassment and rape ​are​ merely lust which has traveled from ​unwanted ​interest to ​violence​.​ ​And much of the anger that ​evolves into mayhem and murder is uncontrolled lust for the possessions, life and goods of another person.

Our churches, our schools and especially our homes need to be training grounds, to turn anger into questioning and a desire to find answers, and channel our lusts toward respectfully a​pproaching the space, person and dignity of th​e​ individual we might be considering for a relationship.

What all of the accused men have in common is that they have blurred the lines between anger and lust.​ ​They don’t know how to flirt without being intimidating and they don’t know how to confront​ ​a​bsent a​ condescending attitude.

There is nothing wrong with the “Me, Too” movement. It is enlightening and it is opening up a conversation which is well overdue. But simultaneously, there needs to be an “All of Us” movement–which confesses that when our anger and lust are not balanced and in check, we can become dangerous to anyone who crosses our path.

G-Pop wants his children to know that anger and lust are the motivators that God has given us​ to achieve our wishes. Yet with this, as with all freedoms, comes the responsibility to balance ​matters with kindness, gentleness, equality and mercy.​

 

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