Good News and Better News… October 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The world curses

We praise

The world complains

We sing

The world divides

United we stand

The world judges

We forgive

The world’s mean

We are kind

Yet for some reason, because there is a screaming dialogue constantly going on, promoting “might makes right,” we become tempted to curse, complain, divide, judge and be mean.


When we don’t, we feel like limp, leftover losers.

Please observe the picture inserted.

This is a bowl of some leftover something-or-other that we had several days ago, and enjoyed thoroughly–so much so that we thought we might reheat it and have a second go at it. We didn’t. So because it sat around, it got old and eventually became unidentifiable. Once I got the picture, I threw the leftovers away.

The Jesonian–the lifestyle of Jesus–is not a practice of being defensive. We’re not supposed to wait until the world curses to praise, nor should we wait until the whole world is erupting in meanness to express kindness. If we do, we appear to be leftovers.

It may not sound very practical to approach North Korea with diplomacy. It may seem unrealistic. So we are ready to enter a third conflict, already entangled in two unwinnable wars. It’s the thrill of the kill, which is always much more intriguing to those who are not going to be killed or have to do the killing.

The church has lost its heart–and the heart of the church is Jesus. The soul of the church is God, the mind of the church is the Holy Spirit, and the strength of the church is the Body of Christ, working together.

We’ve lost our heart.

No longer do we thoroughly believe in the Golden Rule. We think it might be a great idea, but has no application–just a doctrine for limp leftover losers.

We piously believe we’re better than those who are cloying and clawing their way to the top–but then we buy magazines to read all about who they dissed, who they hurt and who they’re sexually involved with.

Being in love with Jesus is more than dipping your head in reverence to the cross. It’s lifting your head in respect to a message–and it’s holding that head high, knowing that evil cannot win. It’s just too greedy. It eventually chews off its own leg.

There will never be a replacement for praise, singing, standing, forgiving, and kindness. It is what the victors do after the vanquished have failed.

The good news is that we have a message.

The better news is, the message always ultimately wins.Donate Button

 

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Good News and Better News… July 10th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3363)

There’s only one rule.

Everything else is suggestions based upon respect to that principle.

The one rule is simple: love your neighbor as yourself. It also has a valuable addendum: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, while you’re loving yourself and your neighbor, you’ll probably end up doing something, so start learning to:

Do for two.

Me and you.

So powerful is this rule that it has intelligently been dubbed “Golden.” It is not a thought. It is not a point of discussion. And it is not debatable based on our particular definition of “neighbor.” Matter of fact, it affords us the expansive notion that these others we are to “do unto” include dogs, cats, trees, the sky and the entire cosmos. (He that has an ear, let him hear.)

But this Golden Rule cannot be replaced, displaced or even considered equal with other practices.

For instance, I believe in prayer. Sometimes it’s very helpful in assisting me to love my neighbor as myself. But it is not a substitute.

I like to read the Good Book. It gives me insights on better ways to communicate with my neighbors. But reading is not living.

Going to church offers fellowship and encouragement to pursue the goal–yet attendance to such a worship experience does not guarantee adherence to the ultimate truth.

Jesus did not die for the sins of the world–he died for the Golden Rule. Because without it, the world is beset by sin.

I just thought I should mention this to you today, just in case you were getting caught up in recent spiritual fads and Biblical chicken tracks.

The good news is, there is a rule.

The better news is, when applied, the gold makes us all rich.Donate Button

 

 

 

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Good News and Better News… March 13th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Pictured is the trash can in my weekend motel, which has absolutely no significance except for the fact that I got so involved enjoying the folks at the Roseland United Methodist Church that I failed to take a snapshot of my surroundings to commemorate the event. There’s no hidden message or reference to trash or garbage. Matter of fact, the folks were absolutely delightful, led by an old friend from South Miami, Pastor Cathy.

She is a delightful mingling of the spirit of Mary Poppins with the compassion and tenderness to human beings of Mother Teresa. Simultaneously, she carries a humility that would cause her to rebuke me for comparisons to a jovial Disney character and a Catholic saint.

But what made the people of Roseland so powerful is that they’re still maintaining their humanity. Religion often wishes to drain us of all semblance of ambition and desire in a pious maneuver to transform us into submissive half-angels.

I’ve never been quite sure why we take one of the more endearing parts of the human being–that being the energy to succeed–and baptize it in false humility and solemnity.

Why do we all have to be so bad before God calls us good? Because here’s the truth:

Every human being needs to feel that he or she is important.

If that’s a sin, then may we all be damned. Trying to make God the only important creature in the universe, while insisting that we selflessly give to others while rejecting our own personal desires, is not only fruitless, but anti-Jesus.

Jesus told us “we are the salt of the Earth. We are the light of the world.”

It is our works that people will see, and then glorify God. He said if we’re given much, much is expected of us. He even told us we were his friends because he shared his life with us.

One day, he jokingly explained that we were worth “many sparrows,” and that we would do greater things because he went to the Father, to cheer us on.

The mistake we make in the church is trying to convince everybody how unimportant they are in an attempt to get them to focus on God.

A Jesonian church nurtures such a vision, but in the process, teaches people what really is important:

  • I become more important when I include others.
  • I become more important when I tolerate and appreciate the lives of others.
  • I become more important when I’m not afraid to give.
  • I become more important when I take my talent and multiply it instead of sitting on it.
  • I become more important when I lead with good cheer.
  • I become more important when I realize that I’m allowed to be important, but so is everybody else.

The good news is, once we discover our sinful nature and repent of it, salvation comes into our hearts.

The better news is, Jesus rejoices when we take the message of salvation, go out and become important by doing important things.

 

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G-Poppers … February 3rd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop loves math.

He hates mathematics.

When he discovered that things could be added together, arriving at a sum, he found the experience to be practical.

Even subtraction had its appeal because after all, things come and things go.

Multiplication opened the door to expansion–blessing.

But then, division. Even as a young boy, G-Pop wondered what the power was of being divisive.

Thus began the journey, or dare we say head trip–into mathematics.

After division came algebra, where letters were substituted for numbers. Go figure.

Then geometry–everything analyzed from the position of points. Unfortunately, it seemed rather pointless to G-Pop.

Trigonometry was an angle on triangles, and calculus–well, G-Pop couldn’t even understand the definition.

Somewhere along the line, the educational system went from providing useful tidbits to compiling data, only applicable if you happened to be building your own rocket to the moon.

It is an obsession in our country–a religion, if you will–to worship knowledge.

Deep in our souls we understand that the purpose of knowing is to do and not just posture. But we still insist on touting egregious amounts of theorems and addendums to convince those around us that we have reached a higher level of comprehension.

I feel we do the same thing in the entertainment field. Rather than telling a story to enlighten, inspire or even mystify, we choose to pull out some extraordinary circumstance and present it, through theater, as if it’s the pending doom threatening the planet.

How about politics? We decide we want to build a bridge so we put together a 2,000-word report, which becomes a 4,000-word bill with amendments.

Sometimes it just seems we’re trying to justify the purpose for college degrees and give printers a way to pay their mortgage.

Certainly in religion, we’ve completely lost sight of what adds to us, what subtracts from us, and how we multiply. So the end result is, we’re completely divided.

We’ve lost the ability to understand that once you depart from the Golden Rule, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you’re basically interpreting dreams. For the Golden Rule is the total union of love of God, love of self, and love of other humans.

Instead, we want to talk about the Trinity, the seed of David, the order of angels, the make-up of heaven, the interpretation of the Book of Revelation, the Tabernacle of David, and exactly which sins are unacceptable, forbidding someone from entering the Kingdom, and which ones get a wink.

G-Pop is not against knowledge, but just as you have to get a degree to prove you have education, knowledge must prove that it has a degree of value to the human cause to continue to be revered.

If your belief in God goes any further than “love your neighbor as yourself,” you’ve crawled down the rabbit hole with Alice–to Wonderland.

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G-Poppers … January 20th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop loves the Gospel.

Not because it’s religious, but because it’s good news. And good news always has a market, an audience and a possibility.

Many religious people think the Gospel is Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the world. This is the invitation to salvation, not the solution to human conflict. After all, you can have seven billion baptised believers in the crucifixion who still want to kill each other.

The power of the Gospel is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

For years, it has been honored as a sacred oracle, and even though tarnished, attacked and ridiculed, it stood the test of time–the only hope for us getting along with each other.

Then came 2016.

Under the masquerade of a Presidential election, the Republicans, Democrats, press, pundits and lobbyists worked together to dismantle the integrity and power of the Golden Rule. Through countless proclamations, we were told that “loving your neighbor as yourself” was too weak a position to defeat ISIS, negotiate Syria, overcome racism or eliminate terrorism.

You and I were there for it. It was televised nightly–a four-step process:

  1. People are different.
  2. Difference makes conflict
  3. Because there’s conflict we need to be strong
  4. Because we’re strong, we will make enemies

It was a macho, self-righteous belief that the “exceptionalism of America” means that we have a duty to view ourselves as superior to the rest of the world.

Both political parties utilized the platform, abandoning the Golden Rule in favor of alleged “brass balls.”

What is G-Pop telling his children?

What is our mission in 2017?

Get out there and renegotiate the Golden Rule.

  • Stop advertising violence and the aggressive idea that another drone strike will take care of our problems.
  • Stop focusing on our differences.
  • Stop colorizing people with blue, black, red, yellow or orange.
  • Find common ground and build a hope there.

Yes, the Golden Rule is under siege.

For thousands of years, it has prevented us from dissolving the human race

The Golden Rule is still gold.

It just needs people who will continue to tout its value.

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G-Poppers … July 29th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop has to be careful.

There are things he wants to share, but he desperately wants to avoid the possibility of thinking that his ideas are sparkling diamonds, when the younger generation views them as cubic zirconia.

Sometimes though, things are too important to avoid uttering.

After watching the conventions by both American political parties, one abiding realization came to the forefront:

  • Hypocrisy is never attractive.
  • Hypocrisy is never viable.
  • And hypocrisy is eventually exposed and tormented for its stupidity.

If we’re going to move forward as a nation, we have to understand, there is one enduring truth that runs like a golden strain throughout the human experience:

Don’t do what you don’t like.

If you’ve discovered that something is distasteful, don’t think that adopting the same indiscretion into your own actions suddenly purifies it. Even though the Golden Rule is powerful, this “Platinum Rule”–don’t do what you don’t like–procures a needful humility and allows your voice to be heard above the crowd.

Both the Democrats and the Republicans stumble in double-talk. They criticize one another for variations on the same things they, themselves, do.

G-Pop wants his children to know that mistakes are forgivable, but hypocrisy is unpardonable.

So G-Pop says:

1. Always be prepared to fail and change.

Failure is inevitable. Change, on the other hand, is the only thing that you personally control. You can’t stop failure, but you can initiate change, making yourself look ingenious.

2. Have compassion for all people.

The lack of consideration for one group of people immediately opens the door for you to be rejected by those who deem themselves superior.

3. Have a sense of humor about yourself.

Laughing at yourself a lot before you laugh with others a little.

4. Listen to people, especially if they’re smarter than you.

Of course, you would have to admit there are people who are smarter. But before you humiliate yourself and insist that you alone possess all wisdom, be prepared to notice those who’ve accumulated information which you require to do better.

Even though all four of these fall into the realm of common sense, until you make them common practice, you will not be able to achieve the common good.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Good News and Better News … January 11th. 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good New Better News Toe

Pictured is the big toe on my right foot.

No air-brushing, make-up, special effects or plastic surgery were involved in the presentation of this shot. (I did take the precaution of slathering the big fellow with lotion to counteract some dryness.)

I was born with two big toes–one on my right foot and one on my left. In the course of the journey, I lost the one on my left foot due to an infection.

I must be candid and tell you that I’ve always taken my big toes for granted. But when I was recovering from the amputation, I discovered that the big toe performs an important function: it gives us balance. It allows us to have a swagger–a smoothness to our gait as we walk and run.

I did not need to relearn walking, but I did notice a difference, and occasionally had to catch myself from falling because I assumed that the “Great One” was still in position on my left foot.

So I realized that as the big toe functions, so follows the foot.

  • A nice foot is beneficial to an ankle.
  • A solid ankle supports a busy leg.
  • A busy leg gives purpose to a torso.
  • A torso is a great resting place for a head containing the brain, which barks orders to all of the members.

Now, popular thinking would be to give special attention to the brain because it is the more advertised authority figure. But having lost my left big toe, I will tell you–if you can get your big toe to react properly and stay healthy, since it is the furthest point from the brain, you can pretty well guarantee that everything in between is jim-dandy.

Yes, a healthy big toe bodes well for the entire human apparatus.

As you can see, looking at mine, it’s a little dry and the toenail is crusty and could use the benefits of a pedicure.

That’s the good news.

Here’s the better news: the same information transfers to our society. While we spend so much time trying to change the minds of people in the world around us or force our ideology in their direction, we would do much better to focus on the big toe of our faith, belief and lifestyle.

There’s too much religion, too much theology, too much politics, and too much knowledge with no learning going on for the good of the common man–and of course, the common woman.

So what is our emotional big toe?

What is our spiritual big toe?

What is the big toe of our mental process, which assures us that our thinking is heading in the right direction instead of being deterred by selfishness and greed?

I think any time we walk away from the Golden Rule, “love thy neighbor as thyself,” we are completely out of balance and capable of falling.

And even in the case of the Golden Rule, there are days we don’t love ourselves enough to give others adequate affection.

Yes, there are times that I stub my toe, and it hurts so much that I don’t want to walk on it, nor be around people and have to explain my limping.

Part of the Golden Rule is knowing that when we feel good about ourselves, it is the best time to bestow the same blessing on others. And when we feel like crap, we should lock ourselves away and rejuvenate before forcing our misgivings on our brothers and sisters.

I guess it’s safe to say that life is about being on your toes and getting a foothold.

There’s truth to that.

So having only one big toe, I watch it carefully because it lets me know what’s going on in the rest of my body–and also, to a certain degree, the stability of my brain.

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