Salient…July 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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

Make a statement. Avoid questioning.

And by questioning, I mean the assumptions that other human beings draw about you based on very little information.

For some reason, we, as people, feel no need to apply facts when it comes to deciding who somebody really is, since they haven’t clearly stated their position one way or another.

This quick-to-the-punch evaluation can be based on facial expression, body language, race, gender, sexual orientation or whim.

If you don’t make a statement about things in life, you leave it to others to come with the questions, or to question for themselves and then form conclusions–which more than likely will be far from true.

Yet, because we have become so politically correct, afraid to voice an opinion for fear of being offensive, answers like “I don’t know” or “that’s a tough one,” or one I personally disfavor, “I guess it depends on the circumstances,” are prevalent.

Make a statement. Avoid questioning.

Let me give you some examples:

  • I do not believe in killing anything unless I plan on eating it.
  • I also decided not to judge anyone at any time unless I’m wearing a long, black robe and have a gavel in my hand (so far no offers).
  • Every week I evaluate my compassion, success and motivation on whether I end up giving more than taking.
  • And I freely admit that I’m a bigot. I favor one race. The human race.

So there you go.

Because I make statements, you don’t have to exhaust yourself coming up with a list of inquiries or challenging me in your private thoughts, developing your own profile about me.

So here is your salient moment:

If you’re not afraid to make a statement about what you believe, then you won’t have to field so many questions about what truly and honestly is in your heart.

 

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Jesonian … January 27th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Considering what a contrarian Jesus of Nazareth was to structure, practices, piety and legalism, it is sometimes difficult to understand how he ended up bleeding out a religion.

It’s not just his own words, which abhor the strict nature of religiosity, but also the reaction of those who were the faithful partakers–how they deemed him ignorant, a drunkard, a glutton, an evil man who was demon possessed, and a friend of sinners.

Not a rousing recommendation.

Let us start on the basis that all religions have one similar goal–to promote the notion that there is some sort of Supreme Being(s) or enlightenment which prompts us to worship.

Also, when you put the religions of the world in the order of their inception, you gain an interesting insight.

Buddhism and Hinduism preceded Christ, as did Judaism. Then came Jesus. But the only religion that had the benefit of eyeballing the fallacies of following faith without rhyme and reason was Mohammed. Yet the Muslim faith is riddled with the misleading trap doors that open up to fanaticism.

What is the difference between Jesus and Mohammed?

Mohammed wanted to start a cliqué.  Jesus was avoiding one.

Let’s look at specifics.

When it comes to the basics of spiritual expression–prayer–Jesus constantly warned his followers to make their overtures to God as practical and personal as possible. He said that prayer was necessary but should never be done in public to be seen by others, using vain repetition, or at a wailing wall or on a rug, but instead initiated behind a closed closet door.

When the subject of fasting came up, Jesus said there was nothing wrong with it as long as nobody knew you were doing it. In other words, put on a happy face, wash up and look energized by the experience instead of depleted.

How about worship? When he talked to the woman at the well, she was worried about where to do it and the style of doing it. Just like today–should it be contemporary or traditional? Jesus pointedly informed her that location and style were irrelevant. Worship was to be unfolded “in spirit and in truth.”

Seems like we’re on a roll. How about giving? Jesus claimed that giving was the key to getting. He once again wanted to make sure that generosity was not expressed to impress others, but instead, to instill in our hearts the knowledge that every little bit helps, and someday those we assist might come back our way and be our angels of blessing.

And then there’s the Law. Judaism and the Muslims are intent on maintaining a code of ethics, conduct and social interaction that was conceived more than two thousand years ago, with no respect for the power of freedom and the necessity of evolution.

For you see, Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of the Law. And what is that fulfillment? Two fold: “He has come to give us life and it more abundantly, and also come that our joy might be full.”

By no means should we condemn or even critique those of the Muslim faith for adhering to their rendition of God. But we must question whether the faith that is promoted has sufficient warnings to scare away all the rascals, fanatics and self-righteous rabble which can try to hurt others by using the words of the Prophets.

  • Jesus told his disciples to worship God by being as normal as possible.
  • He told them to blend in.
  • He told them to honor Caesar instead of hating Caesar.
  • He told them they were the light of the world, not the scourge of the Earth.
  • And most of all, he told them that they had no right to judge. (He even sealed this point by saying that he–Jesus–could judge and it would be righteous and fair, but he refused to do so.)

Christianity works because we know how to isolate our idiots and make sure it’s clear that they are not really part of the faith.

The Muslims talk a big game, but after decades and decades of terrorism, they are still represented by those who kill women and children.

 

 

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Good News and Better News… January 2nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-jon-hat

Every January 1st, a preacher friend sends me an email with his prophecies for the new year.

His predictions are always pretty general–and also grim. I guess he thinks it’s a safe bet in a world of tribulation, to foretell disaster.

  • Yet there is no love without giving.
  • Faith dies without passion.
  • And hope disappears without dreams.

It’s just too easy to be upset.

It’s way too predictable to continue to complain about the circumstances.

Yesterday morning when I arrived at Carteret United Methodist Church, I was looking for people who were fed up with being depressed.

I think Pastor Frank was pretty surprised at the turnout. After all, it was New Year’s Day and a tremendous opportunity for folks to use it as an excuse not to come to church.

But they didn’t.

We gathered, we sang, we mused, we laughed, we cried, we fellowshipped and we left–believing that certain things must be honored, or honor will leave our world.

1. Love your neighbor is not optional.

Although we spend much time in diplomacy and negotiations with countries which are determined to hurt one another, the truth of the matter is, our greatest possibility lies in the souls who still insist on loving and believing in each other.

2. Be of good cheer.

Nothing is ever accomplished from a defeated position of gloom. If knowing the facts upset you, then choose the bliss of ignorance–because in the long run, it is not intelligence or education that saves us, but rather, the wisdom we garner from the data that gives us the power to believe.

I so enjoyed the congregation in Beaufort, South Carolina–and may I tell them:

The good news is that there’s a song of praise that needs to be written every day.

And the better news is that I, for one, want to meet my Creator with that song in my heart.

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Jesonian: G to the 3rd Power … November 1st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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offering plates

Giving is the only way to get.

That concept is so contrary to human understanding that we continue to grovel, steal, cheat and grope to acquire our portion, promising ourselves that once we become solvent we will help others.

The problem with being so self-concerned is that there are eight billion other “self-concerners.” So unfortunately, the philosophy of “taking” places those who are dominant in charge, heavy-laden with prosperity.

Guess what? When they get their power, they soon forget their promise to share.

Giving, on the other hand, is the true definition of pro-choice. It is the only thing in life that we can point towards as an expression of our free will.

Therefore, the Jesonian way of living is a “giving” profile.

But what should we give? It is “giving to the 3rd power,” starting with:

1. Give a talent.

Honestly, no one will be interested in you unless you have something to offer to the tribe. You can continue to insist that the grace of God grants you eternal life while you languish in your inadequacy, but remember–Jesus told two parables about talents. You can interpret them as you will, but the conclusion is that he who multiplied his talents was rewarded.

Matter of fact, Jesus punctuated this by saying, “Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good WORKS and glorify the Father in Heaven.”

If you do not show up prepared to give a talent in life, you should be aware that you will be refused a voice in your generation.

2. Give a mind.

We are taught to “give an opinion.”

An opinion is our experience within our mind, but there is an open space where we need to acquire the insights of others.

Giving a mind is a willingness to admit that we very well may need to flip-flop on our position because our opinion was not sufficient to meet the need. It’s why Jesus said we must “reason with our adversaries” instead of rejecting them, making fun of them, or voting them out of office.

Blessed is the man who sits down with both the conservative and the liberal and walks away with common sense.

3. And finally, give a damn.

Somewhere along the line, people are going to watch to see:

What you do when you have two,

Will it be one for me

And one for you?

Generosity is not a meeting place in the heart, where we decide what we can “afford,” but rather, a realization that we truly cannot afford to have a heart that is not generous.

If you put your own face on the face of every victim, sufferer, struggler, unwed mother and junkie, you will soon find that it is much easier to have compassion.

The Jesonian is simple to define: Jesus without religion.

And Jesus taught us G to the 3rd power:

  • Give a talent
  • Give a mind
  • Give a damn

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Three Ways to Give Without Regretting … August 21, 2014

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Without giving, there is no getting without taking. Therein lies the dilemma that causes strife, poverty and war.

But can we give without regretting?

1. Start with what you don’t want anymore.

The fact is, your junk is somebody else’s treasure or need. I have a rule that if anything has sat around my house for more than four months without being used, it is time for eviction. There are exceptions with seasonal objects, but generally speaking, 90 to 120 days is the line.

Any city in America in which the entire populace would get rid of their extra stuff would cause 85% of the need in that town to be eliminated through distribution.

2. Think ahead–make it your idea.

When you wait for people to beg you for money or try to guilt-trip you into giving, you not only will give less, but you will be reluctant to hang around in any atmosphere where there might be need. That would be very unfortunate for your soul. I personally like Saturday night at 9:00 P.M. After the weekly finances have come in and the weekly expenditures have been taken care of, I say to myself, “What do I want to give this week and where do I want to target it?”

When you have personal control, you will find that a true sense of spirituality enters your being instead of a false religion of submission.

3. Give to those who can’t give back to you.

When you give, expecting people to also reciprocate in your direction, you can become frustrated due to the amnesia that often follows when people are fulfilled.

But when you give to those who can’t give back, you have no anticipation whatsoever of receiving anything from them, but instead, have granted yourself the power of self-fulfillment.

If you will apply these three things to your giving, you will not only sense empowerment through your choices, but you will chase regret out the door, down the street … disappearing from your life.

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The Death of Hubris … July 29, 2012

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Behold the myth:

“I can nourish a relationship with another human being and still maintain my need for acceptance.”

Ridiculous.

If you show up needy, you end up greedy. Yes, if you do not have your own life worked out and your ego completely appeased, you will end up attacking any person you interact with, pursuing predominance.

It’s called hubrisan exaggerated sense of self-importance.

Under the banner of self-esteem, this country has become obsessed with the mission of making sure that everybody feels that they are valuable. Unfortunately, we forget that fat egos don’t exercise well with others. If something is exaggerated, it means it has departed from facts and has begun to deal in fantasy. So how is it exaggerated?

We have raised up a generation of people who have no idea whatsoever where the praise and appreciation for their lives and deeds is supposed to come from. They keep looking for it in approval from others or confirmation from the society around them and ending up feeling slighted because they’re always standing in line behind other people who are equally as determined to receive acclaim.

To rectify this, we have to learn the difference between unnatural praise and natural praise. Unnatural praise is manufactured by our culture to make everybody feel good for a few minutes, only to have their hope dashed later by the intensity of this competition called life. Here are the three practices of unnatural praise, which trigger frustration, anger and sometimes even violence:

1. I am valuable because I am alive. Since making a human being is not a very difficult task, we should be careful not to put too much emphasis on merely possessing flesh and blood, but much more consideration on what we do with our heart and soul.

2. I need to be loved to love. When you’re working under the premise that you require a stimulus to stimulate you, and you are living around other folks who have the same basic approach, then who is left to become the trigger to start the fire? It’s why we’ve begun to peer at each other from a distance in suspicion. We’re not sure of the next move to make. Remember this–love is not an emotion, it is a response. And if that is not birthed from another response, then often it simply vanishes.

3. I demand acceptance and respect. Even though there are thousands of cars on a busy highway, each and every one of them is driven by human beings who feels that they have the right of way. Their destination is more important; their feelings should always be taken into consideration and their particular rendition of traffic laws should be upheld.

These are the three angles that people take to gain footing, which only grant them an unnatural praise. You can imagine, as you look over them, that if all of humanity followed these concepts, we would soon be warring with each other. Facts are, we are already suffering under the burden of the inadequacy of this approach. If you watch television you will be convinced that reality is that people cannot live in the same space without fighting and attacking each other. Even though our country extols the beauty of conservative values, the word “dysfunctional” seems to have parked itself in front of the word “family.”

It is impossible to enter into a covenant with another human being if you are showing up requesting that they reinforce your ego, which leads to natural praise. Unnatural praise consists of false assertions about our divine rights, which leads, at best, to flattery and at worst, to conflict. Here are the forms of natural praise:

1. If I do well, I will be accepted. It’s from the book of Genesis–words God spoke to Cain after the young fellow killed his brother out of jealousy. It’s a rather simple concept–you just don’t do well on Planet Earth until you realize that you’re part of nature. Human beings are not a ruling class, free of responsibility. We must learn what works well, what functions, what succeeds, what fails and what is the normal procedure so we can submit to the wisdom of the Creator who made the atmosphere in which we dwell. When you’re in rebellion to the rules of the game, you can’t expect to win. Built into life is acceptance, appreciation and applause for those who will simply enact the plan without festering a gripe against the process. The earth has a manual of behavior. If you learn it, respect it and do well by it, you receive the natural praise of productivity that follows. It’s as simple as that–and there is no replacement for that affirmation. No standing ovation or kind words from others can ever be a substitute for knowing in your heart that you’ve done well and you’ve received your rightful reward.

2. To everything there is a season. If you’re going to be successful in life, receiving the natural praise cast your way, you must speak aloud to your surroundings, “I can evolve.” You may insist that because it worked last year, it still should be applicable, but guess what? It doesn’t work anymore. I know your “grandma and your grandpa used to do it,” but it just doesn’t fly in our present climate. There are seasons. Those human beings who learn the seasons, adjust to them, smile, adapt and find a way to enjoy themselves with the transition, receive natural praise for being so flexible. Those individuals who dig their heels in and insist that they are protecting and defending some universal concept that has already moved on, always end up looking stupid, perched in fellowship with the idiots. I will tell you right now–you will never be on the right side of any issue that takes freedom away from another person. No natural praise is awaiting you.

3. And finally, give and it shall be given unto you. It may be a good thing to show up to a buffet with an appetite as long as you’ve got the ten dollars in your pocket to pay for the privilege. But you will never receive anything in this life until you’ve invested something. Nothing happens until we give. So if we are reluctant or selfish, we will be targeted by the human beings around us and “stiffed” of any blessing. It takes giving to get. Not giving is the explanation for the complete lack of receiving.

If you’re going to welcome the natural praise built into this system, you must understand from a joyful heart, and say aloud, “I am the initiator. No one will love me–until I love; no one will give to me–until I give; no one will see me–until I see them, and God, Himself, will not move on my behalf–until I bring my five loaves and two fishes–my faith, my heart, my passion and my purpose.

These are the three approaches that guarantee the natural praise that feeds our ego with legitimate encouragement instead of creating a monster of hubris and exaggerated importance. It really boils down to an issue of mathematics. If two zeros show up on a piece of paper and you add them together, you get zero. If the zeros try to multiply, you still get zero. Even when they fight and divide, you end up with zero. It takes one plus one to create the agreement of two. And to become a one, able to be added into the significance of life, you must pursue natural praise and reject the foolishness of unnatural praise, and once and for all, put to death the hubris that makes us more nasty than valuable.

Being on this tour for seven months and speaking from the stage the words, “NoOne is better than anyone else,” I have realized that a shock goes through the audience. Even though the words have appeal to their hearts, they realize that in order to guarantee their own self-worth, they have decided to be superior to certain individuals around them. You don’t need that. All you need to do is seek the natural praise the God put into His universe, which says:

  • If I do well, I will be accepted
  • To everything there is a season
  • And give and it shall be given unto you.

Perhaps this will never become the working plan of our nation, but if you want to be ahead of the game–empowered instead of groveling–you will step into it, kill off your hubris and receive your praise … from more heavenly sources.

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