Losing It … August 17, 2012

  • Loser — Part 4
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“He that would gain his life…”

Behold, my dear, sweet friends. We are a nation of control freaks. Unfortunately, we only recognize the vice in others while failing to acknowledge the behavior in ourselves. When we are accused of being manipulative, we respond by saying that we’re only trying to take control, maintain control and eliminate defeat. It has become a mantra–defending indefensible positions with the idea that he who yells the loudest and curses the most will win the day and therefore, be proven correct.

Here’s an insight: there is an actual truth that often exists outside of our willfulness. With that reality at work, we must understand that when we take control and we are erred, those around us–and we ourselves–are in danger and at the mercy of poor judgment. If we maintain control without allowing in fresh ideas, then we are trapped in the scenario of our own making, which has already been proven to be unsuccessful (just look at the economy). If on top of taking and maintaining control, we insist that the way to eliminate defeat is to prove that we are walking in a victorious life, we will find ourselves needing to deceive, embellish and lie to keep from being discovered as a failure. This philosophy, although popular, is not only fallacious, but dangerous.

” … shall lose it.”

Yes. “He that would gain his life shall lose it.”

When you try to take control and you, yourself, are not really in control, you end up losing out because you’re ill-prepared for the natural hassle that comes along to question your authority. Hassle is the great equalizer that bypasses race, ethnicity, religion and gender–and just makes us all wiggle and squirm under the same uncomfortable conditions.

If you’re trying to maintain your control, you will find yourself in the dastardly position of being unwilling to evolve with the revelation of truth. Isn’t it amazing that we have fought wars to defend concepts that were already against our better interests? Hundreds of thousands of Americans died between 1861 and 1865 over the institution of slavery, which had already been determined by many nations of the world to be immoral and arcane. But the war raged because men and women were unwilling to evolve towards inevitability.

And the final reason that “he that would gain his life shall lose it” is that rather than being challenged and enlivened by difficulty and defeat, we are taught to recoil, pull up lame and be bruised by our setbacks. I don’t know whether we get an opinion on anything–it is a luxury that ignorant people often take, delaying a better path–but I tell you this: you definitely do not get an opinion on your losses. The only thing you can do is acknowledge them, learn from them, adjust to them and grow through the experience as you try afresh.

As you can see, the greatest opportunities in life do not occur when we are winning, but rather, by the repositioning we do when confronted by inevitable failure.

“He that will lose his life …”

Now THERE’S something nobody wants to do. But we’re not speaking of totally forsaking all of our individuality, but instead, just taking a moment to count the cost of the pressing transition that is coming our way. Yes–actually thinking about what is around the corner and how it may be different instead of assuming that yesterday’s life will be Xeroxed. If we finally relinquish our pettiness to the joyful conclusion that life IS changing, we have the ability to begin to maintain our good cheer. Good cheer is just the awareness that nothing is going to be the same, but God will go with us as long as we don’t give up.

This grants us the flexibility to do one of the more intelligent maneuvers in life–adapt quickly. Everyone who stands against a reasonable premise ends up being ground under by the wheels of progress.

Count the cost of change. Maintain your good cheer and adapt quickly. It may feel like you’re losing your life, or at least your sense of domination, but it always ends up …

“…shall gain it.”

Yes, “he that will lose his life shall gain it” because he or she will avoid the delay caused by stubbornness. I’ve even seen folks who knew they would eventually have to give into new ideas continue to dig their heels in to make some sort of foolish point about their freedom to object. What a waste of time. If you’re not stubborn, you can actually join the committee and be involved in the process of the change.

I do not know what is going to happen in this country on any given issue, but there is one central theme that is universal in the United States of America: we never take liberty away from any individual without paying the price and feeling completely foolish afterwards. Every race and nationality has taken its turn at being the underdog, and those who stubbornly held that position and repelled these individuals always ended up looking like the villains in a Stephen King movie–black hats and all.

If you can be involved in the process of change, you get the privilege of surviving, to end up living better.

“He that would gain his life shall lose it, and he that will lose his life (for my sake),” Jesus said, “shall gain it.”

Losing is not painful. It is predictable. It is what we spend most of our time doing and the least amount of time training for. How ridiculous.

  • Just like the Olympic athletes who win bronze, we need to take as much out of the experience as we possibly can without insisting that we’re all equally winners.
  • Just like Jesus, who hung on a cross, sometimes the reasons for our affliction are not obvious on Day One. Often, it is on the third day that we will rise to the occasion.
  • And just like me, you don’t need to feel beautiful to do beautiful things. Apparently, only one person is the prettiest, so everybody else better get a grip, because beauty will not win the day. Wisdom always trumps comeliness.
  • And if you would gain your life, you must learn how to lose. Lose with style, grace, awareness, flexibility and good cheer.

May I close this whole series with three easy-to-remember thoughts?

1. Don’t be sure, be pure. (Be honest about what you know and what you don’t know–and be prepared to know more.)

2. Don’t resist, persist. (Keep moving towards liberty and justice for all. God is always right there somewhere in the midst.)

3. Don’t be right, capture the light. (The ability to win an argument is not a guarantee that you’ve won the day. There are principles at work that will always carry on no matter how well you argue and fuss about your own opinion.)

Losers–we share it in common. It makes us love each other. It’s what we all understand about each other. It’s what makes us all … brothers and sisters.

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

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Val’s Pals … February 14, 2012

 
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Valentine’s Day–a delivery system for chocolate, flowers, jewelry, aftershave, golf shirts and miscellaneous power tools. Yet–is it more than that? It could be–if we actually focused on relationship instead of just commemorating a once-great union of hearts.
 
In my lifetime, I have watched as the pendulum has swung from the extreme of Father Knows Best to “Mama Knows Everything.” There is a general misconception in dealing with interaction between the sexes that some sort of cushioning or compromise MUST be established–because we apparently are from different planets, arriving on spaceships fueled by diverse energy. Because of this false representation, we seek to compliment or ignore one another in the pursuit of domination. Domination is useless, especially when it comes to interfacing with someone we purport to love.
 
Yet in the times when Father was supposed to be the All Knowing, women were underpaid, not considered worthy of leadership on a national level (or even high management in corporations), a little unpredictable and ditzy and meant for the home, not the battlefield–be it war, politics or business.
 
Move ahead through years of alleged women’s liberation and cultural growth, and today we insist that women are smarter than men, as we continue to underpay them, forbid them high seats in government and the Fortune 500, think they’re very unpredictable and ditzy and keep them far from the front lines of the war–be it commercial, cultural or military.
 
So what has changed? All we have done is play a pretend game: “Women are really smarter than men, but after all, we don’t need smarter. We’ve got men!”
 
As long as the goal in any relationship is to dominate, we will never truly understand one another, no matter how many boxes of chocolates, bunches of flowers or trinkets are peddled. Somewhere along the line, we have to understand that true friendship is neither complimenting or ignoring, but rather, trying to stay on point and being as honest as we can, while dancing around trying not to offend.
 
If a woman can’t find that in her mate, she will have a best friend she converses with and a husband she tolerates.  May I immediately point out that merely tolerating another human being is not the greatest aphrodisiac to lead into the bedroom? So then we get to preach that “women don’t like sex and men do.”
 
Now, this particular Mexican standoff doesn’t vary, whether in the secular or in the religious realm. The religious community believes that men should dominate and that women should raise the children and take care of the household. In some religions they’re even willing to cut off her sexual organs to make sure she doesn’t forget her mission.
 
In the secular community, the pretense is that women are much smarter, more organized and able to direct, while simultaneously they are relegated to a submissive position where they are basically housewives, even in the office (coffee and comfort), and they’re disemboweled sexually by being forbidden true authority.
 
Here’s my suggestion–let’s do something special on this Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to reject the power of the flower or the thrill of the drill, but you might want to sit down and have a conversation with the person you say you love that begins with this statement:
 
“Honestly… Well, I am not always honest with you, but instead, compliment or ignore you because I foolishly think, because of my training, that I am supposed to dominate you. I would like to stop that and instead, maybe for the first time in our journey together, find out who you are and what you want … and ditto for me.”
 
Now, if I thought the farce of “romantic America” could continue without creating chaos, I would never even bring up the subject. After all, America believes that McDonald’s makes the best hamburger and really, no harm, no “fowl.” But when you think that complimenting or ignoring your love to create domination is the best way to interact with another human being, while internally you find them obtuse or irrelevant, there is a nasty hypocrisy going on that will eventually flare up and decimate your contentment.
 
This is why we often step back and say, “I never thought they would get a divorce.”
 
Just removing domination from a relationship allows for two people to actually begin to talk again. The reason we didn’t like dating is because we had to chat. It is exactly the reason we should return to it.
 
So if you look at Val’s Pals on this day, they are  com through gifts and the action of ignoring expressed by pretending that somehow or another we forgot that it was a special day. It is all an inglorious ploy to create domination. Neither Father nor Mother know best.
 
Actually, we never get the best until Father and Mother learn how to communicate with each other.
 
 
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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

Teaspoonology … February 13, 2012

 
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I understand and I am certainly not offended.  To the mindset of the average person in our hectic society, my little  philosophy seems frivolous, if not futile. I call it “teaspoonology.”
 
I have no grandiose notion that my contribution to life is going to come in some sort of magnanimous flood of information and wisdom. But daily I am provided a teaspoon–and I realize that I’m going to dump that portion into a vast ocean of life.
 
You might wonder how I was introduced to my particular brand of teaspoonology. Some years ago I noticed that “sour” was becoming the countenance, the taste, the thinking and reaction of those around me. A puckered face became the preferred visage.  It was like we had all decided that life was meant to be just a little bitter, so why fight it? And it was ushered in along with the assertion that presenting reality meant studying the dark side of humanity.
 
There was once a time when our literature, art, religion and politics presented our more bleak options as obscure, unnecessary and escapable. But then that changed. Goodness became the elusive; mediocrity and evil became the commonplace. It “soured up” the flavor of human life. So that’s why I decided to take my little teaspoon of contribution afforded to me every day of my life and sweeten it. So when it is added into life’s mix, for a brief time there is just a hint of a change in taste. Within moments it gets stirred in and the more discriminating soul might be able to notice the subtle difference.
 
I have discovered that I don’t have more than a teaspoon, but I do have the power to make sure that the elixir I add becomes sweeter and sweeter as I adjust its intensity. Yes–more potent with the nectar of possibility instead of adding vinegar to the already-tainted contents. For after all, what power is there in succumbing to stupidity? What joy in insisting that only sadness rules the roost? What victory in bowing one’s head in the presence of death instead of fighting to the end? It is my little concept of struggling against what most people would consider to be inevitable.
  • Yes, I am angry at religion. It makes people believe they have no hope unless they embrace a God they are told they can’t understand.
  • Yes, I am infuriated with politics.  It persists in a message of doom and gloom in order to garner a vote which grants power which is rarely used to improve anything.
  • Yes, I am baffled by an entertainment industry which tantalizes us with images of our creature instead of the possibilities of our creative.
But I will not allow my anger to overcome my mission–and that particular odyssey is quite simple: to take my teaspoon of contribution, sweeten it more each and every day and faithfully drizzle it onto the great concoction before me.
 
It is a childlike precept. May I share it with you? “Since no one is better than anyone else, let’s ease up, take our teaspoon … and sweeten the pot.”
 
Does it work? Case in point:
 
When I arrived at my present lodging location, I met a maid who services the rooms and befriended her. I gave her a few dollars for her generous work and treated her as I would want to be treated if I found myself in her station. Last night, when I went to perform my final show at Cokesbury United Methodist Church, I left a bag of money in my room accidentally–not realizing that the maid was going to come in and clean my room. When I came back and saw the room was spotless, my mind immediately went to that vulnerable clump of cash. You know what happened? Even though she had to move the money to do her cleaning, she restored it in entirety to its proper place. An honest woman, true. But might she have been tempted to be dishonest if her first encounter with me had been a jolt of sour instead of a teaspoon of sweet? I don’t know–and I don’t care.
 
I am determined to take my teaspoon and blend it into the broth of daily life, working on increasing the intensity of its potential while encouraging others to simply reject the sour and embrace the sweet. It was my message yesterday. It will be my message tomorrow.
 
I do not think we can change the world by insisting that the world is too big to change.
I do not think we can personally be happy as long as we spend most of our time in despair over the unhappiness that surrounds us.
 
Somehow or another, we need to purify our teaspoon of involvement, sweeten it up and pour it in. If enough people would do it, it might alter the taste of our society just enough that others might notice and want more of the flavor. Certainly it is a piece of idealism, but without it, we are left dumping our refuse of bitterness into the common pot.
 
And this I know: the only way to truly stop misery is to refuse to participate in its insanity.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Houston, We Have a Problem … February 12, 2012

 
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I was traveling in Houston, Texas, when I heard the report that Whitney Houston had passed on.
 
I didn’t think of that last night when the news flashed across the screen. It’s something that occurred to me this morning as I sat down to write to each and every one of you. Actually, it’s a rather irrelevent fact.
 
But here’s a piece of information that isn’t irrelevant: human beings were not made to be famous. We were created to be happy-and fame and happiness are inconsolable.
 
It is time for someone to finally speak this as the truth it is, without others trying to clarify it with exceptions or proclaim the importance of manifesting our own personal destiny. Because as I listened to them tribute this dear woman last night on television, they played in the background her recording of The Greatest Love of All. It is an anthem exalting the value of self-love, containing a rather hapless phrase: “I decided not to walk in anyone’s shadow.”  This is the kind of thing human beings revel in as we read poems like Invictus–touting that we are the masters of our own fate. Here you go–we aren’t. And the absence of that ability is not a weakness, but rather, the backbone of our true strength.
 
We require. It’s just true. The formula for ultimate success is not in teaching oneself to gain, but rather, in prospecting and mining the gold that we receive in losing. If little Whitney from Newark had continued to sing praises to God in her church, blessing as many folks as she could without seeking adoration, adulation, wealth–minus the erroneous belief that she was supreme in some way or another, more than likely she would never have ended up with the finance to attain enough of the “booty” in life to swallow her up. I don’t know where we get the idea that just because someone can sing, they are a goddess or a diva. I don’t know what mindset constructs the short list of occupations which we deem worthy of reverence, crowning those who excel in those positions the inhuman status of earthly godliness, and then when the natural pressures of undeserved divinity destroy their humanity, we muse over the remains, wondering how in the hell it happened.
 
Life was not meant to be easy–so any attempt to simplify the process through purchasing power is not only futile, but more often than not, fatal. Life is intricate–and continues to pursue that mission despite all of our attempts to growl, grumble or complain. Why, you may ask? It is that way so we can discover that happiness has nothing to do with how much we have, what has fallen us nor even whom we are with at the moment. Happiness was spoken into being as attainable for all of us in every station of life.
 
 
It is when we become dissatisfied with our financial portion in life that greed robs us of true love. It is when we look at our 24-hour plate of activities and pretend to be overwhelmed that we pursue the shortcuts that take us down the dark alleys. It is when we become malcontents with those God has sent our way, wishing for greater sophistication or a more astute entourage that we lose our equilibrium. Happiness is always found in the next thing that comes our way, relishing who we are, what we have and cleverly in the Spirit, finding a way to do it a little bit better–or at least a trifle differently.
 
Honestly, everything else is born of evil.
 
Am I saying that it’s ridiculous to pursue a wider market or try to improve one’s own status? The road to that particular goal is littered with the bodies of those who failed.
 
I wake up this morning in Houston, thinking about Whitney Houston. I am not going to be on national television this week. I shall not appear on the Grammys this evening. I will not be performing this morning in front of 20,000 breathless, wide-eyed sycophants who know the lyrics to every one of my songs.
 
Thank you, God. I couldn’t handle it.
 
Neither could Whitney. We should forgive her for being human–and we should keep in mind that it just doesn’t profit us much to gain this old world if in the process, we lose sight of our own souls.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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