The E Word … March 5th, 2019

THE

WORD

 

There are words that are so vile with violence and bedeviled by bigotry that they should never be written or spoken again. But there are also words, shrouded with sinister self-righteousness, which are equally poisoned.

Such is the case with our E word this week:

EXCEPTIONAL

From the Greeks feeling philosophically elevated to the Romans commanding allegiance through their powerful armies, to the Jews believing they were “the Chosen Ones,” to the touting of a Holy Roman Empire, there have always been cultures, races and faiths that have attempted to establish their dominance over fellow-humans.

I must be candid. My skin crawls whenever I hear my American brothers and sisters bolstering our national ego by referring to the United States as “exceptional.” It is the kind of blatant arrogance that made us pursue “manifest destiny,” stealing land from a native people, while simultaneously shipping in souls from Africa to become our slaves.

It is evil—not just because it is pompous and misrepresents reality, but because it works hand in hand with two other failing thoughts.

For you see, people who think they are exceptional eventually believe they are superior. And those who proclaim they are superior eventually insist they are supreme.

After World War I, the German people were devastated in morale and financially destitute. A little man came with a huge idea. He told the German people they didn’t need to be the doormat of the world. He raised the consciousness of their Germanic roots. He told them they were exceptional.

In doing so, he stirred the pride of the nation. They began to rebuild.

Once they contended that they were exceptional, the evil little fellow then told them that they were superior.

He gave them a common enemy. By the end of the 1930’s, nearly every German, in some capacity, believed that he or she was superior to a Jew.

But to go to war, the small man, who in the meantime had become their dictator, needed to convince them they were supreme—a Super Race. This became something worth dying for—at least tens of thousands of them believed so. Unfortunately, it was not a suicide mission, but also took the lives of hundreds of thousands of other people who had to break the hypnotic spell.

Yet I will tell you, preaching “exceptionalism” is not different just because it is hatched in America. The notion is already beginning to make us contend that certain individuals are superior to others, and if we’re not careful, we will start reacting as if we are supreme.

Exceptional is a word that not even God will use. The Good Book makes it clear that He is no “respecter of persons.” If God makes no distinctions among His creation, why in the hell do we think we can?

“Exceptional” is our E word—a misguided attempt to build patriotism or national pride by ignoring the beauty of commonality and the glory of “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”


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Jonathots … January 29th, 2019

 


Jonathots Daily Blog

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handbook for touching

It’s touching.

I’m touched.

Touch me.

From the minute we plop out of the womb, we scream—not for food, not sight, or to hear comforting words—and not to smell chocolate chip cookies.

We scream for connection.

Goddamn it—put me back against my mother’s skin. Let me feel some touch.

Then society, our educational system, religious training and our entertainment industry attempt to make us overly dependent on what we merely see and hear.

Touch is removed except for obvious situations, when we require intimacy.

We are told that touch is dangerous. You can contract diseases. You can over-commit your emotions.

Therefore, we reserve touch and withhold it. Matter of fact, when we even hear the word touch, we associate it with sexuality instead of humanity.

Some ideas persist:

Shaking hands, for instance. But we’re changing that to a fast fist-bump.

Holding hands. Isn’t a high-five enough?

A pat on the back. “Come on! You know I support you.”

There’s a national pastime to make things that draw us closer together seem unnatural. As a result, we cloister into smaller and smaller units, only allowing for fellowship in the catacombs of our own understanding.

I see you. I see what you’re doing. I want to let you know I appreciate it. I touch you.

I hear you. I love the sound. It makes me what to touch you.

I smell your human odor—your fragrance. Yes, I wouldn’t mind being close.

And certainly, I taste you. We are intimate. It makes me yearn to caress you.

It is impossible to foster human progress without touch.

Even as we argue about people coming to our country from other nations, is it not possible for us to honor those who emigrate while still being careful about their immigration? Can’t we be touched by their journey, and still ask them to stand in line and fill out an application? Why must we portray them as evil, nasty, rotten and devious?

When you remove touch, you hamper the hands, and when the hands retreat, the ability to assist evaporates.

Being touched is not a feminine thing, nor is it a masculine no-no. It is the only way that we’re sure we’re alive…and it means something.

 

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Jonathots … January 22nd, 2019

 


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handbook for touching

Thinking that something which is not real is going to happen is called crazy.

Believing that something that is not real is going to happen is called faith.

Faith and crazy have a lot in common.

This is why, over the centuries, many who thought they were moving in faith ended up looking crazy—and there were those deemed crazy who historically are proclaimed people of faith.

The difference between faith and crazy is what energizes them.

Crazy is energized by fear—fear of rejection, fear of the future, fear of other human beings, or fear of responsibility.

Faith works by love—an appreciation for opportunity, a deep respect for other humans, and a desire to take what is given and work with it.

So how do I know I have the hands of faith instead of the mitts of crazy?

It’s the energy that comes off me, which will tell you whether I’m being controlled by fear or motivated by love.

There’s a story in the Good Book which says a woman touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed because “virtue came forth from him.” There was so much energy of love, hope and faith that it literally radiated from him into her body.

Sounds a little weird, doesn’t it? But we actually refer to it all the time:

  • “I pick up a good vibe from you.”
  • “You have a great aura.”
  • “When you’re in the room, I feel like everything is possible.”
  • “You make things pleasant.”
  • “You make things work.”
  • “You help me believe.”

The power of touch includes the ability to generate the energy of love, which is able to be transferred from one person to another.

Yes—we can infuse our authority and power into another human being.

Yes—faith and love can be passed along, just as we know that craziness and fear can ricochet through mob, turning them into killers.

I’m on a journey to make sure that my faith is not crazy by confirming every day that it is fed by love instead of fear.

 

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1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Become a Better Communicator)

Don’t Quote From the Bible

Or Shakespeare, for that matter.

You might want to avoid constantly popping off with lines from old movies.

And nobody’s that interested in what your grandmother once said.

Human beings are just adverse to verse.

Along with coming across pious, self-righteous and intimidating, it leaves the listeners feeling ignorant if they’re not aware of the reference or fail to measure up to the content.

The Good Book even warns that “the letter kills.” In other words, quoting the Bible without allowing for the spirit of the idea to be included does nothing but condemn people.

HOW DO HUMANS LEARN?

Human folks do not learn by hearing lessons or even reading intelligent reports.

We imitate.

We see things we like or we view actions which have proven to be successful, and we come up with our own rendition.

Whenever you quote from the Bible, you’re not only telling people that “God has spoken,” but you’re also interpreting what God means. And the Good Book itself makes it clear that there is no private interpretation. In other words, you and I have not cornered the market on summarizing the heart of God.

This is why Jesus suggested that we “let our light shine before men, that they see our good works”–and then, from that positive experience, they can glorify the Father in Heaven.

The Bible does not encourage people to become faithful followers. You do that through the “word of your testimony.” Learn how to interact without needing to reinforce your experience with an “amen” from Almighty God.

It will turn you into a much better communicator.

 

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Sit Down Comedy … September 7th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Weeds

Weeds weeds

Still grow from seeds

Grass and reeds

Don’t meet no needs

 

Look quite green

Is what I mean

Strongest bean

I ever seen

 

Pull them, son

Come on, it’s fun

But they are plenty

Much too many.

Most folks ain’t bad

More often just sad

Stop being mad

Make someone glad

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Jesonian … July 28th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Today I’m doing something a little different. I’m sitting here with the Good Book open, peering down at John the 7th Chapter.

I have no intention of trying to impress you with my Bible knowledge nor attempt to turn some passage into a magical expression of salvation.

What I want to share with you is a pattern.

I would like to find an adjective to describe this pattern. Foolish comes to mind. Perhaps dangerous. But certainly repetitive.

The pattern is the ongoing belief in every generation that you can evaluate something by the numbers–“the bottom line.”

Ironically, it was verbalized perfectly over two thousand years ago by the brothers and sisters of Jesus of Nazareth when they critiqued him on his approach to promoting the message he had chosen to share.

Their insights are frightening to read because they are so current to today’s ignorance. They spoke the following to Jesus:

“For there is no man that does anything in secret but instead, wants to be known.”

Have you ever heard that philosophy?

“Promote yourself.”

“Get it out there.”

“Showcase it.”

“Use your tools.”

“Adjust your intensity to the present flow of thinking.”

Amazingly, through the whole 7th Chapter of John, this repeats over and over again. For later on in that same passage, the audiences that come to Jesus muse whether he could be the Messiah, because they’re concerned about where he was born.

Added pressure.

Not only do you need to promote yourself well, but you need a certain look–maybe even a color. How about a culture to back you up?

We have the mistaken idea that Jesus always had great multitudes following him. There were times that people hung around for a while–after all, if you turn water into wine and can take a Happy Meal and make a buffet, you will gain some attention.

But the truth of the matter is, as soon as Jesus started teaching, the crowd thinned, and on one occasion totally disappeared.

For after all, what concerned the average Jew was whether God would send a military man to destroy the Romans and establish the Kingdom of Israel.

On the other hand, Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God, which was within us, and would enable us to get along with everyone, including the Romans.

Conflict.

Yet it is best capsulized in that same chapter in a meeting among the Jewish leaders.

When they sat discussing the phenomenon of Jesus of Nazareth, what finally made them decide he was a joke, a hoax or at least a light-weight was the fact that none of the hierarchy of their religion–those considered intelligent, educated and astute–believed in him.

The premise was, “If you really are somebody, all the “somebodies” will recognize and promote you.”

“If you really are talented, you will be discovered.”

“If you really are bringing a possibility of hope and salvation, eventually you’ll be offered a platform instead of a cross.”

It didn’t work out that way.

Nowadays, I often sit around with my children, explaining to them that success is meaningless. In my lifetime, notorious people, who appeared to be powerful and everlasting, bit the dust and became cautionary tales of stupidity.

You can’t look at the numbers.

If you had lived in 1st century Palestine and looked at the numbers, the popularity, the acceptance, the blending and the support of the people in the know, you would never have found Jesus.

If you want to find out what is going to last, be helpful, truthful and carry the touch of God, do one thing–simply watch and learn.

How resourcefully does he, she or they use the resources?

*****

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Jesonian … April 14th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3642)

If you are in search of the ultimate right, all you will discover is the ultimate wrong.

Trying to purify humanity into a collected horde, responsive to a single code of behavior, is not only futile, but Jesus declares it fatal.

“Judge not lest ye be judged.”

And Jesus did not leave that statement open for interpretation. He went on to explain that the way we judge–the approach, the intensity, the verbiage, the facial expressions and the incrimination–will be identically applied to how we are evaluated by people and spirits.

This is why Jesus said that he, himself, does not judge. He insisted that he could, and would work very hard to make it just, but it’s absolutely useless.

Here’s why: God does not give the same amount of grace to everybody.

It’s one of the foolish teachings being propagated in the Christian church today. God does not pour out 14.2 ounces of grace for every convert and call it a day.

Some people get more grace.

Some people can do shit that you and I cannot get by with, and receive no judgment from their heavenly Father whatsoever, while there are those who had better not misquote a scripture, or they might be in danger of great tribulation.

For you see, grace is not a gift. It is a heartfelt consideration from a Creator who loves us, who only seeks one fruit from the human race: humility.

You may possess great Bible knowledge, and have never, ever looked at a piece of pornography in your life, but if you try to enforce that conduct on other people, you will be judged harshly merely for missing Sunday School. Grace will only be trickled your way and you will discover that the forces that be, including Mother Nature, resist you.

The deal that Jesus was making with his disciples in Matthew the 7th Chapter, when he told them not to judge, was not a “liberal, devil-may-care, who-has-the-right-to-throw-the-first-stone” proposal.

Rather, it remains the realization that as humans, we are required to exude a humble spirit, or else those around us will plot our destruction.

The Good Book says clearly, “God gives grace to the humble.”

The more we judge, the more we drain our humility.

The more we critique, the less able we are to bow our heads in comprehension of our own weaknesses.

You and I do not have the same amount of grace.

But since in our life span, gracious mercy is needed, our goal should be to stay simple instead of aggravating the journey of those around us.

Our mission?

To discover the many ways that we can remain humble.

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