Sit Down Comedy … October 18th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

“Love your enemies.” A peculiar idea.

First, how does that happen? If you’re really a lover, how do you make enemies? Do some people just hate to be loved—therefore they have to hate you because you’re the one who loved them?

Or is it that you fail to love your neighbors, and in the meantime, they turn into enemies, so now you’ve got a real problem.

How can you love your enemies? Doesn’t the word “enemy” connote some sort of conflict?

Does Jesus love Satan? They’re enemies.

Does Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi love Donald Trump? They’re enemies.

There seems to be a prerequisite of a certain amount of disfavor, if not hate, in levying the word “enemy” onto someone else.

So what’s the purpose of the love? Are we speaking figuratively, as in, “compared to the amount of dislike we could muster, we sure seem loving in our discretion?”

Or is it that condescending “love your enemy,” like they do with gay people?

“I love the sinner, but I hate the sin.” How does one do that?

For this to work, the sinner would have to believe he or she is sinning, rather than following a sexual orientation. Any way you look at it, it’s hatred.

So how do you love your enemies? Doesn’t it express a weakness that leaves you vulnerable? Someone gets ready to punch you in the face, and you say, “Listen—I love you.”

Do we think it’s a deterrent?

Does “turn the other cheek” spare a cheek from being hit? Or just make you defenseless?

God knows, pessimism is a destructive virus. But likewise, optimism leaves us all gooey and doughy—half-baked.

I don’t know about you—I don’t want platitudes.

I don’t want someone to say, “Love your enemies,” and then if I try it, they chuckle and say, “No—not that way.”

Or, “Come on, kid. You’ve gotta stand up for yourself.” But we’ve been standing up for ourselves for a long time.

Israel stands up for itself in the Middle East. So do the Arabs.

Standing up for oneself is really the formula for a stand-off, isn’t it?

Yet what good does it do to introduce love into a volatile situation?

It seems so ridiculous to people, even those who claim to believe in the Gospel, that they try to ignore it and think of all sorts of ways to hurt one another.

How did I ever get goddamn enemies? Did I think I was loving, but ended up being an asshole? Or did I insist I imitate a loving person while being an asshole? Come on.

Words are useless unless you know what they mean.

When the words “love” and “enemy” occur in the same sentence, I, for one, need more information.

I’d rather not have enemies. Will being a loving person help with that? Now, there’s an idea.

I don’t want to pick a fight. Picking a fight is such a futile process. There’s a chance you’ll win. There’s a chance you’ll lose. But if you win, you still must have some sort of concern toward the person you beat the crap out of. Otherwise, people will think you’re wicked. I guess it’s alright to be hateful as long as you aren’t wicked.

When people say they’ll pray for you, do they? Or is the statement the prayer?

I think maybe the human race could do much better if high-sounding ideas like “love your enemy” were better explained, and really shitty attitudes, like, “every man for himself,” were exposed.

My thought is, if somebody is your enemy and you aren’t able to whoop him, you’d better find a way to get along with him.

And if you think you can whoop everybody, it’s safe to say that you’ll eventually get whooped.

I’m not in the mood for a good whooping—either to give one or to take one.

So I guess the thought is:

Once you find out that someone is pissed at you, control the vibe.

Nurture the energy that flows his or her way, and make sure they have no reason to turn the feud into a vendetta and the vendetta into a war.

 

 

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Salient … May 14th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3673)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

“With great regard.”

It is a phrase that was often used to describe the honor given to truth. “With great regard for the truth.”

Gradually, painfully, and almost silently, we have taken the truth and set it aside, believing it to be impractical. Lying seems to be a “second nature” condition of human beings. Folks feel more comfortable viewing it that way. Assuming people are lying takes away the responsibility to hear the truth.

Yet no lie survives history. In other words:

  • Alexander wasn’t so great.
  • The Third Reich did not last for a thousand years.
  • And the Crusades achieved nothing except the deaths of innocents.

All lies are eventually exposed.

So what is truth? Is the Bible truth? Unfortunately, the Good Book has been used for a lot of bad. There are doctrines which were promoted years ago, which have proven to be too stringent.

After all, there were no witches in Salem, there is no way to prohibit human couples from divorcing, and gay people can’t live their entire lives closeted.

So truth is not about laws or regulations from government or religion. Truth, very simply, is: “Based upon what we know, this is the way things appear to be.”

But we need a way to get there. Yes–we need a way to speak the truth that will give us life. Truth can never be achieved unless it’s greased by the motivation of love.

Truth told without love is vengeance.

Truth told without love reeks of lies.

And truth told without love takes life instead of giving it.

If we use love to humbly speak the best of our knowledge, we will gain life.

And what do we mean by life? Permission to continue our freedom as long as we grant it to others.

When we disregard truth and we begin to use pride, vengeance and selfishness to generate the lies that hurt others, we eventually will have our own lives snatched from us.

There is a way that leads to truth, which brings us life. If we use love to speak the truth we presently know, then we’ll be given a life we can live freely.

So here is your salient moment: Just because the inclination is lying, it does not mean that lying can ever settle in and find peace.

After all, it is the truth that makes us free.

 

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G-Poppers … January 15th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

Every now and then, one of the older sons asks G-Pop what he thinks about the present political fray.

G-Pop smiles to himself, wondering if Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and Madison are giggling somewhere in their heavenly mansions (even though the quartet may not have actually believed in such a lofty destination.)

The truth is, our forefathers devised a system grounded in idealism and absent needful guidelines on implementation.

“All men are created equal.” A great idea–until you try to dole out the equality.

“A government of the people, by the people and for the people.” A moving notion–except for the fact that many of our founding patriarchs thought the electorate were ignorant and incapable of ruling themselves.

And of course, the precept of “liberty and justice for all.” How can you give liberty to everyone and still manifest justice? And isn’t the application of justice often the tempering of liberty?

Let’s look at some simple facts:

  • Freedom without common sense is anarchy.
  • Common sense minus freedom is tyranny.

It is only with the blending of freedom and common sense that “liberty and justice for all” is achieved.

So how do we balance it?

We don’t.

We have to go no further than the mind of God to see that freedom preempts justice.

For instance, the will of the Jewish San Hedrin–to crucify Jesus–supplanted the prevention of such a heinous act.

How about Abraham Lincoln? He decided to participate in a war with the South, because granting freedom to the slaves was cosmically essential.

So in choosing leaders, we must select those who honor freedom, and then gently and tenderly temper it with the common sense that brings justice.

Without this, we hamper the process of a democracy by introducing laws, restrictions and even morals that don’t necessarily fit all the participants.

Even in the case of raising children, inhibiting their freedom is a dangerous thing to do because it invites rebellion. Yet granting freedom with no respect for the history of humankind is an invitation to disaster.

So G-Pop feels that the best place for us to begin to grant freedom is to remove adjectives from in front of the word “people.”

There are not “black people, gay people or disabled people.” Just people.

There are not even women and men. Just people.

When we even the playing field to “people,” then we can address the common sense of what we all need.

We, the people. That’s what makes our system work.

Whenever we change it, segmenting ourselves into little groups, we start restricting freedom and destroy the process.

So G-Pop says to his son: “Vote for candidates who believe we’re all people on a journey together … to find common sense.”

 

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Ascension Attention… September 27, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2019)

Peter PanSome things certainly “captain my hook” while others never “tinker my bell.”

Thus is life in these United States.

So this morning when I looked at my calendar and realized I would be performing tonight at Ascension Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio, I got to thinking about the word “ascension.”

Obviously, it means “to ascend.” But in reference to the Good Book, it specifically puts a spotlight on a day when Jesus “lifted off” from the earth and headed back to heaven–right in front of the peepers of his best friends.

Now you see, the ascension doesn’t turn me on nearly as much as the resurrection–not because I believe giving new life to a broken, crucified body is more POSSIBLE than levitating into the ethos. It’s more that … I don’t really care.

At the risk of incurring the wrath of those who maintain their spirituality without question, I will tell you there are stories in the Good Book I really like and others I kind of ignore.

I am not alone here.

After all, the folks who get upset about abortion and gay people have certainly failed to peruse the rest of the texts that tell us “not to judge” and to “do unto others.”

But there is one part of that ascension story that I do find inspiring and entertaining. Shall I refer to it as “an angel with an attitude?”

Generally, when angels appear on earth to do the beckoning of the Father in heaven, they often show up with a bit of chip on the shoulder and some sardonic wit. These angelic visitors have been known to strike people blind and deaf due to human disbelief, satirically ask women who have come to a grave to add their spice to the burial “why they seek the living among the dead,” and at the ascension of Jesus into heaven, it is recorded that an angel, a bit peeved, asked the gawking disciples, “Men of Galilee, why are you staring at the heavens?”

The logical answer was that this was their first time to see somebody float skyward. Rather impressive. A guarantee of first place on America’s Got Talent (unless there was a country singer who lost his leg in Afghanistan and saved his dog’s life from a burning shack while supporting his mother by digging out horse crap from a stable…)

But it is a good question–one I suspect I will pose to the audience at Ascension tonight.

“Why are we staring at the heavens?”

After all, the other alternative–which most people select–is to stare at the ground.

But there is a lifestyle somewhere between the ethereal and depression. It’s the ability to live an honest and truthful existence, enabling you to look straight ahead, preferably right in the eyes of your brothers and sisters.

I have no intention of being downcast. But I also do not want to be upcast when there are people who need help, love, encouragement and challenge.

So why are we staring at the heavens? It’s because, deep in our hearts, we’ve given up on Earth and we think the solution must come from divine intervention.

Too bad.

So call me Peter Pan–but I still believe that we can do better…and fly higher.

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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