G-Poppers … August 17th, 2018

Today G-Pop wants to talk to his children about slippage.

In olden times they referred to it as “backsliding”–allowing oneself to retreat from principles once held dear–because the temptation of the times changes the atmosphere and weakens the faith.

In the past ten years, because we’ve allowed a streak of meanness to become acceptable behavior, there has been a slippage in the attitudes of the populace toward one another and in the passion for life.

It’s really quite simple.

Those who were once merciful have slipped into being merely open-minded, leaving mercy practically abandoned.

The open-minded people have slipped to being generous–and that normally only to people they know well or who are related to them.

The generous folks have backslidden to kind–hoping that flashing a smile and expressing a willingness to be helpful will be enough without having to commit to action.

And kind people, who used to think up ways to be contributors, have slipped to nice. If at all possible they will offer a pleasant countenance to the world around them–that is, unless something odd happens. At that point, nice people become careful. They will swear that the reason they become careful is because the world is screwed up and “you can’t trust anybody.”

And of course, careful people drop down a degree into suspicious. This is where you start to hear about folks loving their dogs more than people.

And those who were naturally suspicious before degrade to downright grouchy. They don’t even pretend to lead with a sweetness of spirit. It’s too risky.

Of course, there were people who were grouchy to begin with. They have become edgy–ready for a fight, and the edgy people usually find that fight, and end up being bullies.

Bullies have become fighters; fighters are more violent. Much of the violence has led to murder, and now murder has deteriorated to mass killing.

The political parties will blame each other for the problem, but long before there was a President Donald Trump, there was a President Obama, with all of the fussing, arguing and struggling that occurred during his two terms of administration.

G-Pop realizes that you may consider it a “conservative” problem, or perhaps an outgrowth of the liberal media. Since you can’t do anything to change either one of those organizations, G-Pop thinks it might be a good idea for his children to just work on themselves.

Where have you slipped to?

Where have you fallen?

If even 10% of the population would raise their human effort up one notch, to the position they occupied before 2008, there would be such an improvement in the climate of this country that the other 90% would have to take note.

G-Pop wants to tell his children that it’s time to stop backsliding.

There are no signs that the leadership in government, business, education or the church is going to lead a resurgence in civil behavior.

No–it’ll be up to us.

It’ll be up to G-Pop…and all his children.

 

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Jesonian … June 9th, 2018

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It wasn’t a “God-storm.”

The disciples were wrong. They were wacked-out–frantic over a poor use of faith.

They were probably reflecting back to several weeks earlier, when they were in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, got swatted by a cloud burst with huge waves, thunder and lightning, were surrounded by other little boats, and Jesus walked on the water to save them.

Now, that was a “God-storm.” In other words, a storm that required the hand of God. But the little squall that blew up on this night was not a “God-storm.”

The disciples should have known–for Jesus was sound asleep on a pillow in the boat.

Let’s keep in mind–you’ve got four fishermen on this craft–at least that many. This isn’t their first raft trip. It’s not the first time they saw the waters well up around them.

But back before they were disciples–when they were men–they handled it. If they didn’t, they died.

But now, you see, they had faith.

And their faith, instead of making them whole, had made them lazy.

They didn’t need to wake up Jesus. They had just grown accustomed to the Master handling all the difficulties, and they were in no mood to put themselves in jeopardy by practicing what they had been taught.

They didn’t want to “take no thought” about the storm.

They didn’t want to be the “salt of the Earth and the light of the world.”

They were completely content being followers–while Jesus was trying to make leaders.

They were lazy.

This is the same problem we have in the Christian church today. The faith we espouse is making us lazy instead of whole.

For I will tell you–I cannot attest to the fact that the Christians I know are the nicest people I know.

I cannot testify that these same Christians are the smartest, most generous, most open-minded and most forgiving people I have encountered.

They are simply too damn lazy from living off grace to use their faith.

Somehow or another, Jesus had called men to be on his team, and they had all turned into little children: “Daddy! We’re gonna drown! Don’t you care?”

Even two ounces of faith would tell you that if Jesus is asleep on the pillow, this must be a livable situation.

Maybe it’s a “Me-storm.” That’s one that only requires “me” involved to produce a safe conclusion.

Maybe it’s an “Us-storm.” That would include my partner and myself, working together to provide energy, brains and faith.

Perhaps it’s a “We-storm.” We might have to beckon the whole family, maybe the congregation, the town, or who knows? The nation.

But when it’s not a “God-storm,” don’t expect God to take care of it.

Jesus wanted his disciples to trust him. But he wanted to trust them, too.

So if you want to have a Christian walk and you want to be Jesonian, you’ll have to learn the difference between a “God-storm” and a “Me-storm.”

After all, it’s not that God fails to answer your prayers. He just wonders why you’re so lazy, and don’t answer your own.

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Ask Jonathots… August 11th, 2016

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There’s a lot of terrible things going on in the world lately and I don’t want fear to have control over my decisions. How do I make sure I am moving forward in freedom instead of fear?

Life is a tug of war between action and thinking.

We spend much of our early training fine-tuning our brains to make quality decisions based on knowledge, and therefore, hopefully low-risk adventures.

The difficulty with this approach is that thinking your way out of situations is unlikely. Normally we work our way out.

Human beings become afraid when we convince ourselves there’s nothing we can do and our minds become dumbfounded with anger and helplessness.

One of the things a person of faith is supposed to possess is an understanding that “going the second mile” gives us an activity to perform while we’re waiting for better options.

For after all, none of us are very good at sitting patiently by and waiting for the next bus of opportunity to come our way.

This is why Jesus said to “take no thought.”

If it turns out you can’t change the circumstances around you, thinking about it won’t improve things in the least, but instead, will drain the remaining hope and ability you might possess.

So whenever you run across a situation, you should ask one simple question: What can I do about this?

If the answer is “nothing,” make sure you distance yourself from the quandary and stop musing. But if you get a clear revelation about what you could contribute, insert it quickly and get the good vibrations that come from being involved.

How about an example or two?

Poverty.

You cannot make poor people comfortable all over the world, but you can be generous within your circle. That generosity not only radiates out, encouraging others to be more open-minded, but gives you a sense of completion.

Violence.

There’s probably nothing you can do about gun control in this country, but you certainly can control the amount of animosity and intimidation that you allow to be around you. Once again, you set in motion the possibility of trickling down to others while satisfying your soul’s need to improve matters instead of being afraid of the monsters.

Take action, not thought.

It is the best way in the world to chase away your fears and plant the seeds of solution.

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Ask Jonathots… August 4th, 2016

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Realizing you probably won’t answer me, what are your opinions on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?

They both lie.

Now, there was a time when such an accusation would have been considered mean-spirited. But the media has done a thorough job of convincing us that lying is inevitable. Once we decide it is inevitable, lying gains a certain amount of acceptability.

And because it’s acceptable, no one is particularly shocked anymore that it has ceased to be a vice and instead is considered to just be part of human nature.

Of course, the hypocrisy of such a trend is that none of us want to personally be lied to, and if we are lied to, we become very indignant.

But the reason I began this answer with the statement “both candidates lie” is that once we have grown to accept lying as being protocol, it opens the door to deception. Deception is when lies are manufactured to improve the status of an individual or to attack the opponent. And of course, these do not need to be true, but even worse, they don’t even need to be on point–just malicious.

So Donald says he wants to make America great again. Huge. So great that we’ll get tired of being great. He has no idea how he’s going to achieve this or what obstacles might come forth to block progress.

Hillary claims that she “campaigns in poetry but will govern in prose.” In other words, we’re not exactly sure what we’re going to get, because what she’s telling us will needfully change due to the circumstances of the events.

So my opinion of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is that they’ve both decided to find shade under the media’s coverage of acceptable lying.

So what should you do?

Find something true. Yes, acquire a North Star to your deliberations.

As far as I’m concerned, there are four things that are good about human beings:

1. We learn.

2. We repent.

3. We are generous.

4. We’re happy.

Feel free to disagree, but from my standards, these are the endearing qualities of our species.

I guess in 2016, the best you can do is find which candidate more closely embodies these delightful traits.

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Ask Jonathots… July 28th, 2016

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Why did Jesus say it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom? Is there something evil about having money?

With all due respect, I think you’ve asked the wrong question.

For a discussion about evil–its sources and implications–is the best way to leave yourself paranoid and frightened to do anything.

The real question: Is there anything good about money?

1. It can allow us to be free of the tension of sustaining ourselves, and cause us to begin to “consider the lily.”

2. If we can convince ourselves that we actually have enough of this money stuff, it is possible to stimulate a wave of generosity in our actions which will be a blessing to those around us.

3. If we find ourselves in the black instead of the red, we grant our spirit an energy to generate creativity and come up with inventive ideas.

4. Having money gives us a chance to give opportunity to those who have talent but just lack funding.

5. If we’re able to convince ourselves that we are accomplished, and therefore do not have to fear losing our finance, we can expand our vision and become less critical.

When Jesus said “it is more difficult for a rich man to make it into heaven than a camel to go through the eye of a needle,” what he was referring to was not the presence of money, but rather, the failure to exorcise the demon of insufficiency.

Just because you have money does not mean you cease to believe you’re poor.

For it is the love of money that is the root of all evil–the yearning, the despair, the nervousness, the feeling of inadequacy–that launches all sorts of vile actions.

If you’re going to have money, you must reach a point where you’re convinced that you have money.

That frees you up to become generous, turning money into a gift of the spirit, which grants you angelic potential to be a Good Samaritan to the world around you.

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Good News and Better News … April 4th, 2016

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Good News and Better News Woodmont

It’s 9:53 A. M. and time for me to go into the sanctuary at Woodmont United Methodist Church in Reidsville, North Carolina, and share the little bit I know. (Fortunately, it’s only an hour, or I would quickly run out of smart stuff.)

There’s nothing terribly impressive about me, so as I get out of my wheelchair to hobble and creak my way over to the piano bench, the gathered host of God probably feel more pity than enthusiasm.

It doesn’t matter.

They have spent the whole week being overwhelmed by politicians, pundits and individuals of all shapes and forms who believe in establishing their prowess through dominance.

So as I look out at my soon-to-be friends, I feel compassion–because they’re man-handled.

They are continually manipulated, coerced and even criticized into believing that “might makes right,” and “the loudest always gets to be the proudest.”

They are peppered with the message that it is an “I” against an “I”–and teeth are made for biting.

Yet with all the promotion of this philosophy, the world still falters–with terrorists now telling us that God thinks we should be blown up, or at least shot multiple times with bullets.

So in that sacred moment, I realize that the House of Jesus needs to be a safe haven from the stupidity of prideful demolition.

Man-handling. What is it?

1. “You gotta fight. Stand up for yourself! Speak your mind. It’s a free country. If you don’t defend yourself, people will walk on you.”

But even in a room filled with just a hundred voices, if everybody speaks up for him or herself, nobody gets heard.

So my message?

Stop fighting and wait for an ingenious idea from the Holy Spirit, to handle the next situation.

Also, the man-handlers want you to know:

2. “Life is complicated.”

If they don’t convince you of that, how can they sell you the improved product, the new book, the fresh idea or the present political candidate?

So I decided to tell the folks at Woodmont to simplify.

After all, I never saw anybody get anything done in a better way because they complicated it. Even if I were an ant, my job would be to find the shortest distance to get the crumbs to my nest.

And finally, all the man-handlers want to make it clear that:

3. “We’re all different.”

Since nowadays it’s basically considered to be ignorant to be a bigot, we hide behind the disguise of “cultural choices” to promote our prejudice.

In other words, since “blacks like things done a certain way,” that’s why they hang out together, and “Chinese people prefer chopsticks instead of forks.” But rather than this teaching tolerance, we’re just promoting isolation.

My answer to the man-handlers is to find commonality among us all.

The forefathers said there is such a thing as the common good.

Here, here.

So as I got ready to strike my first note and begin the service, what crossed my mind was that these people really need to be “God-handled.”

Since I possess no divine qualities whatsoever, I chose to imitate the heavenly Father’s personality profile.

I brought mercy. Mercy-handling.

That’s the good news.

And the better news is that being merciful gets much easier when you realize that you don’t necessarily know what you’re doing.

Therefore you have a desire … to be generous to others.

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G-Poppers … November 13th, 2015

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Thoughtful is not the opposite of thoughtless.

G-Pop wants his children to understand that.

There is an in-between world. It is lodged somewhere between being absent thought and being filled to the brim. Shall we refer to it as thought-parts?

It’s the quicksand human beings often find themselves in when deliberating the best way to be generous without really giving up anything. It revolves around two questions:

1. Why don’t they…?

2. And why isn’t it…?

For some reason, we get stymied by the fact that life is not working out exactly the way we envisioned it. Even when we pretend to be flexible and resilient, there is a hidden animosity lurking within us, causing us to be grouchy or overly careful.

On our way to thoughtful, to escape thoughtless, we get bogged down in thought-parts.

Because we certainly want to avoid thoughtless, characterized by staring down at the phone with buds in the ears and a grimace on the face, as a pair of texts arrive, ruining the day by reporting that the tickets desired for the concert were not available and the favorite department store no longer sells skinny-leg jeans.

People don’t want to be thoughtless, where they throw up a wall of insecurity and frustration which basically makes them believe that life sucks and they deserve better.

They attempt to avoid pessimism, but still find themselves unwilling reach the status of “thoughtful,” sliding down into thought-parts.

They don’t want to make decisions, therefore they become a target of every pesky hassle that comes along.

So how do you get from thought-parts to thoughtful? Thoughtful is pretty simple–or shall we say, simply stated?

Thoughtful is two realizations:

They don’t have to.

And I can use it.

This pair brings about the holy realization that no human owes us anything, and rather than complaining about what we have, we find a trail in the direction of success.

Since one of the more common questions in life is, “What do you think?” we probably should develop an astute answer.

  • Thoughtless is always cynical.
  • Thoughtful is always prepared.
  • And thought-parts wants to do something positive, but finds it hard to get over being offended.

 

 

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