G-Poppers … August 3rd, 2018

One of G-Pop’s children suggested that it be referred to as a “Pop-cast” since it was G-Pop doing it. Although terribly cute, endearing concepts like that often do not fare very well in the present marketplace.

But let us say that G-Pop’s children were thrilled when he started a podcast to share his humor and ideas all over the Internet.

Now, here’s the problem: The first question that comes out of anyone’s mouth when they discover you have a podcast–whether they’re interested or just polite–is, “What’s it about?”

Well, G-Pop’s podcast is on the most interesting subject on the entire planet.

People.

When dealing with people you have two choices. You can tell them what they want to hear, which opens the door to some popularity, or you can tell them what they need to hear, which has been known to empty many a room.

So when G-Pop started his podcast, “Good News and Better News,” he decided the key was to talk about the most practical things possible in the simplest, and hopefully, most humorous way, and perhaps, in so doing, Mary Poppins may be proven true–that a “spoonful of sugar” does “help the medicine go down.”

Because no human being ever begins their journey until he or she learns that there is the person you are, and there’s the person you want to be. If for some reason you decide to skip to the person you want to be, you have to lie an awful lot about the person you are.

And everyone knows what the problem is with lying: you get caught.

The minute any of us decides that we are not ashamed of the person we are, and do not walk away from the reality of our present situation, then we find ourselves in the position to negotiate–to seek and find ways to gradually become the person we want to be.

Because bluntly, you can’t save your soul until you find your soul.

So “Good News and Better News,” which is broadcast on Tuesday every week and available on all the major outlets, helps you to find your soul so you won’t be so frightened about the person you are and can keep a good sense of humor on the journey to the person you want to be.

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Salient … April 9th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A couple of months ago I began a weekly podcast and decided to name it “Good News and Better News.” Of course, I was already using that title for my Monday segment of the Jonathots Daily Blog, but I knew it was time to find a different emphasis for my Monday endeavor–and therefore, a new name.

So the podcast remains goodnewsandbetternews.com, and today I am introducing my fresh Monday format, entitled “Salient.”

Please don’t feel I’m shooting over your heads with an unusual word. I didn’t know what it meant myself. For you see, this weekend, as I slept, having flashes of dreams and insights in my nighttime hours, this word–“salient”–popped up in one of those visions.

So I got up from my bed, pulled out my I-pad and looked it up. I discovered that “salient” is defined as “something notable and important.”

Then a simple bolt of wisdom from the heavens cracked across my brain. I realized that this is the problem in our country.

So much unimportant, non-valuable, meaningless, uncaring, vicious and selfish data is thrown at us daily that we begin to believe that things that don’t matter actually have some significance because they are over-touted.

We have forgotten what it important.

We have grown fearful of the practical because the arrogant have told us that pursuing such goals is the essence of ignorance.

Our survival is at risk. I don’t mean that we’re teetering on Armageddon–rather, I’m declaring that what makes our human survival special is often left at the curb as we dash into the street dodging traffic.

Therefore I would like to take each Monday and garner the experience of my weekend, explaining in gentle, common-sense terms a single piece of great humanity which has been sacrificed for the blare of over-production.

Perhaps in doing this, you and I can consider “salient.” We can once again become people who are energized by the goodness of the journey, the twists and turns of discovery and the overwhelming blessing of time and chance that happens to us all.

Salient: to pursue what is notable and important.

Please join me each and every week.

And be at peace, knowing that “Good News and Better News” has not gone away–just found a new, green pasture.

 

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Good News and Better News … April 2nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Little Jonathan, Jonny, Precious, Jon, Big Jon, Rock, singer, artist, Jonathan Richard, lover, boyfriend, daddy, Papa, father, traveler, performer, controversial, G-Pop, blogger, songwriter, friend.

These are all names associated with me over the years. What a list.

I am not that significant. But I also must tell you that Alexander the Great was not that great, and Ming the Merciful was often fussy.

Names are bandied about to explain what we feel rather than to clarify what someone or something is. This came to my mind last night when I watched the NBC version of “Jesus Christ, Superstar.”

Not only did he need to be “Jesus,” but someone required him to take on the name “Christ.” And not only “Christ” but now, by reputation, he has become a “Superstar.”

A list of such names and adjectives is accumulated in Isaiah from the Good Book.

  • Wonderful
  • Counselor
  • Mighty God
  • Everlasting Father
  • Prince of Peace

I suppose most people would proclaim that Jesus was all of those. But I’m sorry. “Wonderful” just does not do it for me. Sitting around and praising a deity for his goodness does very little to enhance my life.

Some folks would find it essential to establish that he is a “Mighty God,” but I think mastering the rising of the sun and the setting of the same makes that pretty clear.

“Everlasting Father?” I actually need a father here. I don’t know if I need one for eternity.

“Prince of Peace?” That’s cool, but the Prince of Peace also required that I be a peace-maker.

As I look at all the superlatives used to describe the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the one that stands out to me from the list is “Counselor.”

Jesus is my counselor. He has kept me out of jail. He has assisted me in maintaining my fibers of sanity. He has led me in understanding how to become more valuable to the human beings around me. He has informed me on discovering when a door is closed and when it is open.

He taught me to ask and seek and knock instead of complaining about the menu that life has thrust at me.

Because I have accepted him as my counselor, wonderful things have happened. I have been able, through my testimony, to confirm that he is a “Mighty God” and an “Everlasting Father.” And peace? He has been a Prince.

But more importantly, he is my counselor because he is my confidante, and for those who pursue the path of atheism, he is my invisible friend, whom I frequently talk to. And if he doesn’t exist, he’s still a great therapy session. After all, not everyone can afford two hundred dollars an hour for a professional.

I do believe that what you call Jesus does determine the level of religiosity which plagues your soul–because every drop of traditional religion that inhabits us also inhibits us.

So the good news is that Jesus, being versatile, has many names, and just like you and me, has taken on a variety of personas.

And the better news is, you can feel free to call him anything you want.

 

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Good News and Better News … March 12th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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“There’s blues in the pews.”

A quiet resignation to what is deemed to be an acceptable despondency: “Just a few more weary days and I’ll fly away.”

Motivated to only share a Gospel that gets us to heaven while maintaining a cultural grouchiness on Earth, the church is not ready to tear down the gates of hell.

Instead, the American church spends too much time tearing down one another. Congregations often act like they’re in the middle of a mine cave-in, where there’s a shortage of oxygen and those around them seem to have too many nostrils.

Abundant life and an existence filled with joy seem to be Biblical promises of a coming kingdom instead of the Kingdom of God, which is declared to be within us.

There’s blues in the pews.

It won’t do any good for us to ignore it. There’s no reclamation by refusing to discuss the problem out of political correctness. After all, there are some subjects we are not supposed to broach. For instance, it’s not proper to complain that a funeral is too long nor that Grandma’s Thanksgiving turkey is too dry. And it’s completely unacceptable to insist that for some reason, this year Santa Claus was too cheap.

But if we are willing to quietly consider the situation, we could come up with three realities which create some of the blues in the pews:

1. This is what we do.

Even though the Bible says “the Lord’s blessings are fresh daily,” we continue to warm up leftovers and pass them off as new recipes.

2. This is who we do it with.

We get to know each other too well. It invites criticism. And because no fresh blood is being infused, we “clot up” in disrespect and confusion.

3. Simultaneously, we are defensive about how it is done.

It may not make us happy, but “God bless America, we’re gonna keep on doing it because we’ve always done it this way.”

There will be blues in the pews until we realize that church is not meant for God–it’s meant for His people. It’s a place intended for fellowship–where folks can mourn, consider and embrace.

The good news is, Jesus left us a beautiful example of what church should be–for those around him said, “We have never seen it in this fashion before.”

The better news is, it stands to reason that if we follow the example of Jesus, we just might start getting “Jesus results.”

 

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Good News and Better News … March 5th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A Jesus mask: Putting the face of Jesus on things we have decided are nice, easy, positive or comfortable.

In doing this, we attempt to transform the Gospel into a social message which is palatable for our chosen lifestyle, never really asking ourselves if it has a universal flavor.

Honestly, I almost didn’t write about this today–there are so many examples that I didn’t know how to isolate them off to the number of paragraphs you would be willing to read–but I trust that you might be willing to do some investigation on your own. So let’s look at three of the masks:

1. If you work real hard, you can get whatever you want.

You hear this on every talk show. During the Olympics it became a mantra. The variations, like “dream big, get big” pepper the common dialogue of the average day.

We put Jesus’ face on it. We decide it sounds like Jesus. But Jesus spoke a startling phrase: “To those who have, more shall be given, and to those who have not, even the little they have will be taken away from them.”

2. Giving to the poor is the highest form of charity.

It makes for a great nightly news story–some individual or organization passing sandwiches out to the homeless, complete with a hygiene kit of toothbrush, toothpaste and a small washcloth.

We’re moved to tears. We put a Jesus mask on it.

But Jesus said “the poor you have with you always.” They’re not going to go away. “Do for them what you can” but don’t make it an all-encompassing mission.

Poverty is more than a lack of things. It is often a lack of understanding.

3. God has a wonderful plan for your life.

Now we’re really crying, because even though we’re going through these huge problems, in the long run God will pluck us out of our pain and place us on higher ground. Unfortunately, although we put the Jesus mask onto this concept, his message was quite different.

Jesus said, “Except ye repent, you will perish.” In other words, ladies and gentlemen, you are in the middle of an evolving situation and an evolving planet, so you’d better evolve or you will dissolve.

Jesus is not against positive thinking. Jesus just wants us to understand that thinking good thoughts and clinging to them by faith is not the same as “letting your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify the Father in heaven.”

The good news is that the Gospel is meant for humans.

The better news is, the Gospel makes us better, not things better.

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Good News and Better News … February 26th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I dig faith.

It’s what I claim to believe. My belief, though, is constantly challenged by problems and fatigue. Truthfully, faith does not sustain me. Rather, it is there to energize my hope. It causes me to reach for more.

I live off perspective. I do not see faith. Perspective is what I do see, and how I process it.

It begins with tinglings and inklings in my being, whenever I hear the word “Earth.”

What is the Earth to me? Is it an accident? Is it a punishment? How about a planet that is damned?

The Garden of Eden–a hopeless experiment? An orb floating through space, in rebellion to the Force, waiting to be disintegrated if it doesn’t comply?

My perspective of Earth is also my passion for life. If I think that I’m stumbling–trembling my way through 70-plus years of sorrow, to finally be rewarded with a heavenly utopia, then I will claim to be a person of faith, while acting like a miserable son-of-a-bitch.

On the other hand, if I try to make the Earth the center of the Universe, the Great Mama to be worshipped and honored, I will soon become angry with all the Homo sapiens who infest my surroundings as they gradually destroy our Mother.

Now, this could make me nasty.

People often wonder why there is so much belligerence on Earth–why folks seem so cranked and ready to fight.

It’s because their faith is greater than their perspective.

It’s an easy thing to believe in God. It’s not so easy to find God in what surrounds us. To achieve this, we must gain the correct perspective:

  • We must realize that the Natural Order is geared to rain on the just and the unjust without apology.
  • We must understand that whatever we sow we will certainly reap, even if we just came back from a seminar on grace, informing us that we are free from responsibility for our actions.

What is your perspective?

To be a Jesonian person is to understand the heart of Jesus. Jesus was thoroughly committed to the notion that the Father’s will could be done on Earth as it is in heaven. He put it right in the middle of his favorite prayer.

If the Earth is cursed, then aren’t the inhabitants equally doomed?

Will there be only 144,000 people salvaged?

Is everything meaningless?

Are we just here to confirm our salvation, awaiting the gates of heaven?

The good news is, I have faith. It bolsters my hope.

The better news is, my perspective tells me to value this planet, with the understanding that my passion for my life and work here will be infused into Eternity.

 

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Good News and Better News … February 19th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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During a particularly glorious pee-pee break during the night, I turned on the TV to light my path, muting the sound (as I didn’t require any audio commentary while urinating.)

Upon returning to my bed, I reached for the selector to turn off the TV–my normal practice–so I could roll over and hook Sleep One up with Sleep Two, when I looked up and saw Joel Osteen on the screen.

I have no strong sentiment about Pastor Osteen. There are some people who think he is handsome, with his million-dollar smile and house to match, and others who call him everything from a charlatan to a heretic. (The worst thing I probably have done is finding myself holding the coats of those who were stoning the Houstonian.)

But I also do not favor his instruction. Oh, that’s stupid. I just really have never listened to him. After all, I find myself so fascinating there’s little time for others. (I hope you know I’m kidding…)

But on a whim, I unmuted the messenger and let him speak. Amazingly, for the next three-and-a-half minutes, this young gentleman spoke directly to my heart. His message was so specifically designed to my circumstance that I was startled. If I were the superstitious sort, I might even believe the actual show did not exist, but was manufactured in the heavens to be aired on my screen and mine alone.

For three-and-a-half minutes there was nothing but Joel talking to me. After that it got a little clunky, but I treasured my three-and-a-half minutes.

Clarity. It is one of the greatest things God can give us. We all pray for healing, finance and retribution, and He offers us wisdom and strength, knowing that these two powerhouses usually set everything else in motion. I was struck by the simplicity of it all.

You see, I’m tapped.

I’m not angry, I’m not frustrated, I’m not disillusioned. I’m just tapped.

I am drained of any further toleration for a religious system that spends time bickering instead of beckoning.

Drained of a political collision in Washington which is no merely longer involved in gridlock, but has transformed our country into bumper cars.

And a business world which decides to charge more for a candy bar while simultaneously shrinking its size.

So in a sense, I have great empathy for the WWE (another show I’ve never watched). I am tapped out.

I don’t want to wrestle any more. I’m tired of the struggle. I’m weary of watching people pretend they’re passionate, only to resume their mediocre lives once the cameras are turned off.

I don’t want to hear any more about school shootings–not because I’m indifferent to brothers and sisters who were slain, but rather, enraged by those who use the event to become overly religious, maudlin, improve ratings or posture for votes.

God came into my room last night with the aid of Joel’s words, calmed me down and gave me another gallon of hope for truckin’ on.

I am no longer tapped. I am open for business, to be gentle, kind, humble and therefore, powerful.

The good news is, God spoke to me through Joel Osteen.

The better news is, I didn’t act like a jerk, but instead, listened.

 

 

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