G-Poppers … November 17th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It certainly seemed to be a concerted effort.

At the close of the twentieth century, the social malaise gelled into a common theme. Whether it was the educational system, the government, the corporate world, the entertainment industry or the religious community, for one prolonged season they converged on a universal axiom: “Everybody’s different.”

Matter of fact, you could pretty well guarantee applause in front of any audience by saying, “I’m different, you’re different, we’re all different–but it’s okay.”

G-Pop calls it “the snowflake philosophy.” You know what he means. “There are no two snowflakes exactly alike–and that’s the way people are, too.”

And it seems that nobody had the temerity to come along and say, “How do you know that no two snowflakes are alike?”

The sentiment sounded sweet, kind and cuddly, so it was embraced as a truth. Matter of fact, if anyone had come along to suggest that the human race is pretty much the same group of people, just in different locales, it would have been considered out of step, and even, to a certain degree, bigoted–in the sense that if for some reason you could not accept eight billion different cultures colliding with each other on the same landscape, then you were downright intolerant.

After about fifty years of this propaganda, the common patter has begun to bear the fruit of its contention. In other words, “since we’re all so different, how is it possible to procure common ground?” And therefore, we only feel comfortable around those who share our genetic markers, are part of our own household–and we’re mistrustful of anyone sporting “different genes.”

Where has this philosophy gotten us? Where is it going to take us?

G-Pop wants his children to understand that establishing uniqueness is not based upon genetics or proclamations, but rather, the use of our consecration and talent.

The first step is understanding that human beings are at least 95% the same–similar bodies, similar faces, and even similar attitudes.

God had the wisdom to explain our interwoven relationship with the simple statement, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

G-Pop says that perhaps we may view our sin as “special” or not nearly as nasty as the ones around us, but the ultimate Judge has clumped them all together.

It is time for sane people with quality minds to set out on a new vision.

We have much in common, we’re more alike than different, and what we refer to as culture is merely personal preference.

There are things that work with everyone in every land:

  • A smile
  • Offering a kindness
  • Working hard instead of complaining
  • Tidying up your space
  • And refraining from complaining

In every culture, these are exchanged as gold.

G-Pop believes it is time for his children, once and for all, to tear down the myth of uniqueness.

It is time to enjoy the idea of being common. 

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G-Poppers … July 14th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop is fully aware that he’s reached an age when there is a fine line between being colorful and being crazy. Yet there are some things that need to be said, because the integrity of character and moral soul of America are in jeopardy.

It has nothing to do with political parties or whether one group of pundits is more favorable than another. Rather, it has to do with an overriding attitude–that as long as the goal is kept in sight, the means by which we achieve it are somewhat irrelevant.

It came to a head yesterday when G-Pop listened to one of our national leaders proclaim, “I think everybody would do the same thing.”

It hearkened back to a playground perception we used as children, attempting to explain to the adults around us why we chose a particular behavior. You remember:

  1. Everybody was doing it.
  2. I didn’t want to be weird.
  3. It seemed all right–matter of fact, it seemed natural.
  4. There was no real reason not to.
  5. Since everybody was doing it, I didn’t think anyone would get in trouble.

Just as our elders corrected us on such errant thinking, we need to stop, take a deep breath and cease being a nation of children who move on whim and justify it by saying, “What else could I do?”

There is only one advantage to being an adult: you get to make your own decisions.

When you were a child, you were surrounded by pressure, intimidation, and obvious manipulation.

That is supposed to change.

G-Pop wants his children to know that there is a day and time when the only purpose for continuing to live on Earth is to get better–not to rationalize obtuse, repetitive and useless actions.

If you’re not getter better you’re getting “badder.”

And the end result of getting “badder” is that you’re going to be exposed and trumped by those who have a brighter idea.

I don’t care if everybody else is doing something stupid. I don’t care if it seems natural in the moment, if the end result is unnatural.

G-Pop wants his children to stop watching the actions of our leaders and government, and begin to find the inner voice that says, “Let me pause for a minute and find out what’s right.”

G-Pop places no judgment on those who are trying to take us into the depths of uncertainty.

But G-Pop wants his children to realize that just because “everybody would do it” actually makes it suspect, instead of righteous.

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Good News and Better News… June 19th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dislike–deciding to “diss” liking.

In the pursuit of what we call love, and even unconditional love, we’ve reached a point where we just don’t like each other anymore. We have the appearance of Atlas carrying the world on our shoulders because we feel compelled by our civilized natures to be as calm as possible.

We “diss” liking. We claim great affection for souls around us while privately rolling our eyes, communicating that they are annoying.

So when I arrived yesterday morning at the Ruskin United Methodist Church, I was looking for people who like each other. Because here’s the truth–a paraphrase of John the Apostle: I don’t think you can love God if you don’t like people.

It seems that God is really proud of His creation.

I know we portray an anxious deity, constantly perturbed over our sins, but since He gave us the ability and even the permission, I seriously doubt that He will be terribly upset when we occasionally go errant.

The greatest arrogance, the most self-righteousness, and perhaps the sin of all sins, is to believe that human beings are not worth liking.

  • It’s in our government.
  • It’s in our religious system.
  • It’s in our movies.

We are training ourselves to be suspicious, and failing to acquire great moments of human fellowship that just demand a little bit of mercy and grace.

I’m not one to advocate looking in the rear view mirror and assuming that the past was better than the present, but I will tell you, if there was any era when people were given the chance to excel without being pre-judged, then we might want to reach back into that span of time and regain some of that tenderness.

For the good news is, God likes people.

And the better news is, He loves those who like them, too.

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G-Poppers … June 9th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop wants to speak to his children–for it is time for a radical return to reason. Let us say that again: A RADICAL RETURN TO REASON.

The faith placed by innocent souls in government, religion, commerce and education has been devastated because these organizations have ceased to honor their own systems. People are making it up as they go along–even people entrusted with power, position and purpose.

Since there is nothing that is going to come from government or religion, it is the duty of those who still possess a desire for goodness and prosperity to step in and begin a gallant revolution. It will need to be a radical return to reason.

1. Being kind heals the mind.

Each one of us has a natural tendency to lose our way. It is the inkling of the human soul. We change that direction by purposefully expressing kindness to those around us, which gives us the chance to heal from negativity and delusions.

2. Probe for similarities instead of differences.

We are not in the midst of celebrating unique cultures. Rather, we’re eyeing them for their oddities, so we can feel superior. It’s why, after all these years, we’re still talking about black and white, straight and gay, and male and female. We relish being different, which fragments us instead of generating understanding.

3. Truth is the key to sanity.

Once we begin to convince ourselves that lying is more “human” than telling the truth, we set in motion an avalanche of self-gratification, which permits us to cheat–but makes us very angry when we see others do it. Since it is impossible to accept lying in others, we need to realize that it is equally as implausible to nurture it in ourselves.

4. Humility prevents humiliation.

If for some reason you are insecure about some aspect of your being, it is much better to be forthcoming instead of finding yourself coming forth in the arena, to be mocked by all the bystanders.

The truth will come out. It’s just better if it comes from your humble lips instead of the bitter tongue of an accusing stranger.

5. Stop critiquing. Make something.

We become much less critical when actually taking the time to create an idea or product of our own conception. We will need mercy for our efforts, which is more likely to be received if we have given mercy to others.

It is time for vibrantly intelligent and vigorous human beings to consecrate themselves to simple principles.

G-Pop has offered five. He believes that if you take on a little more kindness, find more similarities, begin to honor the truth, humble yourself, and create something, that you will have a richer outlook on life.

Or you can sit back and watch the world dissolve in front of you.

G-Pop challenges his children.

The choice is yours.

He just contends it’s time for a radical return to reason.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … November 12th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: Checks and balances.

 

Woman: What about them?

 

Man: They’re crap.

 

Woman: What an un-American thing to say.

 

Man: It’s not un-American to find a flaw in the system. You can still honor the traditions of our republic.

 

Woman: OK. I’ll buy into it. What makes them crap?

 

Man: Too many checks to create balance. We base this whole political organization of our government on the mindset of men who were frightened to death of kings and courts, and highly suspicious of each other.

 

Woman: Why were they suspicious?

 

Man: Because each colony was an entity unto itself. The idea of being united was tenuous, if not comical. So they put so many provisions into the Constitution to protect themselves that the government struggles to make any progress for the common good.

 

Woman: We have made a lot of progress in America.

 

Man: Have we? It took one hundred years after the Declaration of Independence to free the slaves. It took another hundred years to give those same people voting rights. And it appears like it’s going to take a hundred MORE years to start treating them like they’re white.

 

Woman: Oh, you’re just mad because Hillary lost.

 

Man: Speaking of that, how could a woman of your intelligence vote for Donald Trump?

 

Woman: Because I didn’t want the Clintons in the White House again, and even though I know there’s some chauvinism involved with President Trump, I’ve dealt with chauvinism all my life. I was just not certain that Hillary would be President instead of Bill.

 

Man: Well, I’m not gonna argue with you. I’m just explaining to you that this process of checks and balances in this country–where the President can only do certain things because Congress interferes and the Supreme Court comes along and overrules everything–well, the idea is overly cautious and clumsy. Let me give you another example. It took a hundred and forty years for our country to give the right to vote to women, and another hundred years before a female was even considered for President. God knows how long it will take for a lady to hold the position.

 

Woman: So what are you suggesting?

 

Man: I’m suggesting we choose our leadership more carefully instead of making it like a high school popularity contest, so that they are evaluated and hired similarly to the way people get jobs in the private sector–because they are qualified and experienced, not based stubbornness and how pretty they are.

 

Woman: But you do want to give people the right to vote, right?

 

Man: Absolutely. But let’s understand. The two candidates who ran for President this year should have been evaluated on their resumés instead of their stamina and determination.

 

Woman: And what would have happened?

 

Man: I don’t know. It’s just that the President of the United States should be the CEO of this great corporation instead of being at the mercy of the partisan inclinations of a Congress which is working harder to get elected than they are at passing laws to benefit the citizens.

 

Woman: How about the Supreme Court?

 

Man: I would like to know what nine people we know of who have the wisdom to overturn the Congress and the President.

 

Woman: So what do you suggest?

 

Man: Less checks will bring more balance. People have to have jobs. You can’t tell the President that he or she is the leader of the country and undercut him or her right and left with the priorities of some junior congressman from North Dakota.

 

Woman: But it’s worked for all these years.

 

Man: Has it? Some of the best programs in our country came through the inclinations of a single person who we chose to be our leader. The Emancipation Proclamation was Lincoln’s baby. Social Security was spawned by FDR. The United Nations was originally conceived by Woodrow Wilson. And much of the War on Poverty was the hope child of LBJ.

Woman: I see your point. So how will this work?

 

Man: Well, honestly, I’m curious about the Presidency of Donald Trump. Will we accidentally stumble into some more realistic ways to open the door to good legislation because we have disrupted the normal passing of the torch from one old politician to another old politician?

 

Woman: Interesting. What you’re saying is, there was a need for this particular interruption because we have stymied the country with gridlock with the two parties. We’ve actually endangered the well-being of the people the government was meant to serve.

 

Man: I think so. There are three major problems that need to be changed. We’ve got too much culture. We have to decide if we really are “one nation under God.” Number two, the gender bias is killing us. Having an ongoing conflict between men and women never gives us a moment’s peace. And third, we certainly need to cease the class warfare–the poor against the rich and the rich against the poor.

 

Woman: That’s a tall order.

 

Man: Yes, but if we don’t take on the tall order, we’re going to greatly suffer under the short-comings.

 

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Good News and Better News … September 5th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Adrian

There is a quiet revolution bubbling in our land. You must silence the busyness of your mind to hear the rumbling.

But it’s there.

It’s a weariness over the lack of authenticity. For instance:

The music industry, which has marginalized itself to harmonics and beat, is once again yearning for melody and emotion.

Movies, once satisfied with merely selling tickets, have a rebirth of interest in entertainment that inspires.

The government, intended to be of the people, by the people and for the people, is struggling to move out of the madness of political disarray.

The medical field is pondering healing instead of stealing.

Education is focusing on teaching.

And the church…

Well, the church is in need of ministering to humanity instead of preaching a form of godliness.

Yesterday morning I found myself in Adrian, Michigan. It was a beautiful sanctuary. It was filled with people–mostly of retirement years–who listened to my Jesonian message with anxious hearts, but with brains retired to quieter thoughts. I could see it written on their faces: “You should have caught us thirty years ago. Now we’re too old.”

But it will be the repentance of the older saints which will convict younger believers to transform their lives.

In pursuit of worshipping the Christ, we have lost Jesus.

We need to find him.

With all my heart and soul, I enjoyed, loved and appreciated the people of Adrian. But early in the morning, when Jan took a picture of the church before the service began–when it was empty–I realized that this is the crux of our dilemma.

The church will continue to empty if we don’t empty ourselves of the emptiness of religion.

God never intended us to come and praise Him only with our lips. Jesus said the church is defined by our “love one for another.”

That is the good news.

The better news is that it will truly be much easier to attend a church that embraces human need and human desire than one that audaciously contends it can speculate on the whim of the Divine.

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Ask Jonathots … March 24th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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What type of government would Jesus have preferred? Wasn’t the early church basically a communist organization? Is there one form of government that represents Christian principles more than another?

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

He continued by saying that if his kingdom were of this world, then his disciples would need to fight.

Government, politics and nationalism always establish a foundation with a flag flying–which then needs to be preserved and protected. This creates natural allies, and of course, enemies.

Jesus’ premise was simple: Wherever you place your devotion is where you will be devoted.

Makes sense, right?

So if the teachings of Jesus only worked in a democracy, with a capitalistic style of commerce, then nearly 70% of the world would be left out.

On the other hand, if Jesus had favored socialism and an even-handed distribution of funds to the masses, then the initiative to excel and do better for oneself would have been discouraged.

So Jesus promoted a lifestyle which excels under every form of government, because it does not need a particular climate.

Christianity has survived everything–from revolution, to renovation, to renaissance, to reformation–even to the threat of annihilation. Why?

Because Jesus said the kingdom of God is within us.

Each believer is a self-motivating, self-governing and self-aware “nation.” So we make our own decisions without having to express loyalty to politics or society.

To pull this off, there are three laws by which we maintain the “congress” inside ourselves:

1. No one is better than anyone else.

We don’t need a government to tell us what is acceptable or forbidden. It can be lived out through our actions.

2. Don’t worry.

The elimination of the fear of the future gives us the energy to shape our tomorrow.

3. Go the second mile.

The worst enemy of any culture is mediocrity. It’s when we begin to believe that our lesser efforts are sufficient.

You can take these three principles and live them out in any culture.

So Jesus is not a Republican, a Democrat, a socialist or a capitalist.

He is of the belief that meekness (adaptability) enables us to inherit the Earth.

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