G-Poppers… August 28th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2676)

Jon close up

G-Pop is aware that it is virtually impossible to tell his grandchildren to be wary of what is popular, when the very essence of their contentment is tied up in becoming part of “the popular crowd.” Taking a stand on an issue for a teenager is certainly the equivalent of social suicide, if not a temptation to completely whack oneself.

But by the same token, that which is popular is rarely proportional. It is some extreme which has been selected to create the dangerous blend of rebellion and pleasure or it’s just popular because it seems easier because we have not yet traveled it all the way down the road.

Yet looking at today’s thinking, G-Pop felt compelled to share with his teen and pre-teen three popular ideas which have practically become absorbed into the fabric of our society, creating a stain.

1. This is what you are and this is what I am.

We believe that squaring off with each other over minor issues, or what we even call “culture differences,” entitles us to be disrespectful of others and selfish with our own motives.

  • Where is the notion of common ground?
  • Where is the pursuit of the common good?
  • And where is the reverence for common sense?

Although it’s popular to dig in, place your hands on your hips, jut your jaw out, and pridefully declare your independence, nothing is ever achieved with this profile.

2. We’re only human.

Somewhere along the line, we have simultaneously lifted human foibles up on our shoulders as free-will choice, while at the same time, projecting the idea that all humans are stupid and worthless.

Here’s the truth about humans: God was so proud when He created us that He invested His breath of life in us. No other creature on Earth was given that distinction.

We’ll become better as a populous when we understand that being a human is an honor, and requires that we rise to the occasion instead of sink in the mire.

3. Everyone lies.

I watched four or five television shows last night and the consensus was that human beings lie, it’s not a problem and we just need to learn to live with it.

If a situation is intolerable then it must be changed–and we all find that when others lie to us, it is completely unacceptable, so pretending that it is cleansed by the fact that “we do it, too” is not going to benefit the harmony of human interaction.

Even those these three ideas are popular–you’re you and I’m me, we’re only human and everyone lies–nothing good has ever come from them.

What needs to become popular is that we have more in common than different, being human is the greatest gift from God and lying is the sure way to crucify a relationship.

 

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G-Poppers … August 14th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2663)

Jon close up

G-Pop watched the Republican Candidates Presidential Debate, not because he’s political, but because the world around him insists on being.

After all, you’re not allowed to check out of human life and what your fellow-travelers are pursuing just simply because you find it fallacious.

But as he watched, G-Pop was concerned that his grandchildren might actually believe that what they heard coming from these grown people was the best of human behavior.

Here’s the truth: some people don’t “get it.”

And because they don’t understand the rules, they don’t play the game very well. So they end up acting like they’re still on the playground, instead of finding solid ground on which to play out their lives. G-Pop wants his grandkids to know that sometimes you stop arguing with the obvious, and instead, learn to work with it.

Here are four existing conditions on the journey called life which require our attention:

1. Nothing works out the way you plan.

If you said that aloud in a room full of strangers, everybody would basically agree while quietly lamenting the situation, which always opens the door for some sort of foolish rebellion when they find themselves in the midst of disappointment.

Our plans rarely come to total fruition. It’s because we are not the only people on earth, and where our paths cross others, there must be adjustments; otherwise we are trying to develop a culture where we rule and others serve.

2. People don’t do what you want them to do.

Matter of fact, sometimes this is so obvious that you can use reverse psychology. If you want to paint the room blue, just insist it should be green. Others will more than likely come up with blue.

It’s not that we’re in rebellion to each other, or even God. It’s just that we’re afraid we’re losing control, so we tend to get picky over small things, and leave the larger, more precious concerns dangling in the wind.

3. Getting mad makes you look like a baby.

Even if you’ve got good reason to be angry, bursting forth with rage always makes all bystanders feel that you’re overwrought.

The victory does always ultimately go to the peacemaker, so tone down and tune in.

4. The human race is always won by a human.

Anyone who feels superior will be attacked.

Anyone who insists that they are hearing the voice of God will be set to the side and mocked.

Even though we claim to favor those who have some sort of “divine gift” or inspiration, we usually lift up on our shoulders a fellow-human who admits his or her weaknesses.

No success story was ever written which didn’t take a plot twist through failure.

What was absent from the statesmen who want to be President:?

An understanding of these four basic principles.

  • They think their plans can actually be carried out.
  • They believe they can make foreign leaders do what they want them to.
  • They get furious when they’re attacked.
  • And to a large degree, they are unwilling to admit their human error.

Can G-Pop teach his children to ignore this craziness? He hopes so.

Because this generation certainly needs to be birthing a hope in the next one.

 

 

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WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

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G-Poppers… July 3rd, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2622)

Jon close up

It’s both.

Reality is realizing that human beings are capable of both good and bad.

G-Pop wants to communicate this to all of his children and grandchildren.

Those who envision a world where the only excitement is going to church and bingeing on episodes of “Little House on the Prairie” are imbalanced to the point of insanity.

Likewise, those more jaded individuals who have decided to transform the human race into vicious animals barely out of the jungle, possessing the brain power to destroy the earth, are equally as deluded.

Reality is admitting that human beings possess the knowledge of good and evil. We ate it up in the Garden, which thrust us into the jungle, where we must plot to get back to the Garden.

G-Pop wants to tell his children that he’s never actually been acquainted with a serial killer, although television and the movies would insist that every community probably has one. Likewise, much to the surprise of the movie industry, most folks don’t cuss and swear nearly as much as the average script demands.

G-Pop also wants his children to know that the forefathers of our country were neither saints nor sinners, but men who were trying to figure out a way to create a democracy lasting for more than a hundred years.

Men and women skirmish, it is true–but it is not actually an all-out war.

And there are millions of people in the world who believe without hating anybody.

Reality is a beautiful thing when it’s presented realistically.

For instance, terrorists are like everyone else. They are often too lazy or too broke to make terror.

G-Pop wants all of his family to know that even though there are many diseases floating about the cosmos, the human body possesses an amazing immune system to protect us.

How about this? Guns are not going to go away, so we should spend our time working on the people who own them, reminding them to refrain from killing each other.

Children are in more danger of being abducted by too much television than by crazy strangers.

It’s all about finding the reality–and any reality that is absent hope is evil, and any reality that fails to recognize evil destroys our hope.

Consider this: politicians are more inept than corrupt. But we’re stuck with them unless we decide we want to crown a king.

And even though many people enjoy escaping into fantasy, we don’t need too much magic. We need more mercy.

So looking at the world around him, G-Pop has come to the conclusion that to find good we must recognize the evil that attempts to block the path.

And in portraying evil, we must always truthfully admit that it is overcome by good.

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Three Ways to Be Thankful… November 27, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Thanks bigger

The ice has already been placed in glasses and is beginning to melt. Very soon the meticulous preparation–hours and hours of harvested treats–will be consumed in mere minutes.

They have asked me to lead in a moment of grace, thankfulness and prayer. I agreed.

I must be brief. Concise but precise.

I must be able to articulate, in a few seconds, the sentiment of gratitude for an entire year. Though a formidable task, a most necessary one.

So let me begin by saying:

“Dear God, I didn’t want to come this year.”

Nothing can be achieved in life without first being honest. I was feeling sorry for myself. The family I spawned, nurtured and raised from my passion is now spread out and far away. Worse than feeling disconnected from them, I have begun to feel useless.

I was once the “King Bee”–the center of attention and the source of the buzzing in a bustling nest. But now, due to the necessity of time and purpose, they have moved on to have their own families, dreams and aspirations.

I didn’t want to come because I was feeling vacant of value. For after all, a pity party is not only poorly attended, but also never gets much return business.

But here’s what I’m grateful for:

I didn’t miss it.

I’m here with as many bells as I could fasten on with short notice.

I’m here to play my role.

I’m here to be the aging patriarch who refuses to crawl into the mountains to die.

I didn’t miss it.

Thank you, God.

My second gratitude is that I won’t abandon principle.

Although the world around me persists in pursuing courses which have historically proven to be foolhardy, I will hold fast to a few pearls of great price and sell all I have to possess them.

This I know: the difference between an opinion and a principle is that an opinion only benefits me, and a principle provides for you.

So I will not kill, I will not steal and I will not destroy.

Although the world around me is feverishly involved in these practices, I won’t.

Thank you, God.

And finally (as I peek over to make sure the ice has not melted into water) I say, “I can’t.”

I can’t stop.

It’s important for me to accept the progress of these loved ones, as they continue at their own pace and rate of understanding. But because I want my grandchildren to live in a world that still honors truth, values justice without being cynical about it and has a desire to pursue excellence, I will continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness, saying, ‘Prepare ye the way’… well, prepare the way for You.

  • I didn’t miss it.
  • I won’t abandon principle.
  • I can’t stop.

So therefore, for the hands that have prepared the meal, much thanks.

For those who have gathered, how generous of them to provide their energy and time.

And for me–I am here for those I love until they finally carry me away.

Thanksgiving.

Thanks for giving.

We appreciate it.

Amen.

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The Rule of Croak … March 31, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

(2191)

bullfrogIf you want to be effective, start affecting what you can affect–or become a freak by freaking out about what you consider freaky.

The rule of croak–it’s very simple:

If it goes on after I die, I will stop worrying about it while I live.

I have sons with wives and I have grandchildren. They have lives of their own and will do just fine after I escape this mortal portal. All that will be left of me is a memory, so I should be about the business of making memories.

I know it is popular to believe that life is hard. I suppose if you decide to complicate it by involving yourself in matters that do not directly pertain to your field of activity and scope of influence…well, perhaps it becomes twisted.

But it is elementary when you school yourself on your field of expertise and you know exactly what makes you unique to life as we know it.

  • My family will go on without me.
  • The Dow Jones will not lose a point upon hearing of my death.
  • CNN and FOX News will have no controversy concerning my demise.

What will be affected are my writings, my music, my traveling, my heart, my humor, my ideas, my wit, my whimsy, and probably my business partner, who’s been working with me for eighteen years and may notice for a season that the “oom-pah” of her life has lost some “oom.”

So since this is directly in my field of play, it is what I will pursue.

It reminds me of the time when someone asked me if I wanted to play hardball or softball. When I examined the two balls, I saw that both would be rather hard if they hit you. What makes softball more pleasing is that it is pitched your way underhanded, it’s slower and it’s bigger, and therefore easier to hit.

There you go.

The rule of croak is like the game of softball–finding the pitches that come your way, keeping your eye on that big ball and doing your best to hit it out of the park.

True pride and vanity is any notion that we have power, influence or even consideration in any matters other than those directly linked to us.

I reject that vanity.

So to my children, friends, the US government and the rest of Planet Earth, let me tell you that I will give you a blessing–and myself one as well:

I will stay out of your business unless I know I have something that will help, and I will focus on what I can do and keep doing it better and better … until I’m no longer allowed to hop around.

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Messin’ With My Mess… January 2, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2109)

Christmas fam pic

  • Two filmmakers.
  • One aspiring dental hygienist.
  • Two people who own their own housecleaning business.
  • A great cinematographer.
  • Three sound technicians.
  • A drum-line instructor.
  • An ordained minister.
  • A guitar maker.
  • Five grandchildren.
  • An extraordinary musician.
  • A gamesman and blogger.
  • Food service.
  • National director of a beauty company.
  • An entrepreneur businesswoman.
  • An English teacher.
  • Two bass guitar players.
  • A studio producer.
  • A pair of young singers and actresses.
  • A retired administrative assistant.

Behold–a list of the doings of the family and friends pictured above, which happens to be the group of individuals with whom I shared Christmas cheer.

I was “Daddy” to some, “Pop” to others, “G-Pop” to a few, longtime friend, confidante, and now I am the aging patriarch who travels the country, cropping up every once in a while to remind them of their heritage.

As I sat in the midst of the photo session for the picture  you see today, I was thinking to myself, “What do I hope for these people?”

Is it realistic to dream that they might share my faith? Part of me wishes they would, because my substance of hope certainly conjures delightful, unseen evidence.

How about my politics? Well, since I feverishly and fervently avoid such foolishness, it might be difficult for them to pinpoint my leanings.

No, family is the great testing ground for us to realize that it is important to love people without ever thinking you’re going to control them. I really only hope that they maintain three cardinal principles:

  1. Love people.
  2. Like your work.
  3. Hate injustice.

Because without loving people, you have absolutely no chance of ever seeing God. And if you don’t like your work, it makes most of your day feel tedious. And if you don’t have the foresight to stand up against injustice, you will feel very silly and be proven wrong more often than not.

So take the picture. Preserve it for all time.

But hopefully when we stroll out of the room to our varied pursuits, we can remember that great trinity of responsibility.

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Scratchy… December 30, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2106)

bridge to Tx

It had been nearly four years since I had been visited by the common curse of a cold. Even though I am around thousands of people who tote germs like little six-year-olds carrying backpacks to the first day of school, I am blessed with an immune system which bunkers me in safely to health.

That is, until I spent four days living in the same house with my children and grandchildren over Christmas. I followed this toxic exposure with a 900-mile drive to Houston, Texas.

So sometime on Thursday, right after I ate my Subway sandwich, the left side of my throat began to itch and tickle, radiating up to my ear.

I knew what this meant. I attempted denial, but when the right side of my throat joined the party, I knew I was in the first throes of incubating a common one.

Here’s the problem: I needed to share on Sunday morning at Bay Harbour United Methodist Church in League City, Texas.

I wanted to do a good job. I know everybody says that, but I like to use my talents at full speed, full throttle and full passion. They are my arsenal–to apologize for a mug that couldn’t win a beauty contest versus a coffee cup.

I was about seventy per cent. So what was I going to do?

Obviously, play to my strengths. For instance, talking is easier than singing.

Also, address the three demons that attempt to invade our foxhole in the midst of battle:

  1. Excuses
  2. Fear
  3. Disappointment

Excuses are the pavement on the road to failure. Fear is the rope that strangles the life out of hope. And disappointment is the drug that puts our effort to sleep.

  • I didn’t make excuses. The audience never knew.
  • I wasn’t afraid. For after all, the worst thing that could happen was that I talked and played the piano, without singing. That’s just not that bad.
  • And I wasn’t disappointed because I got sick. Remembering how mortal we are is what helps us assist other humans.

As it turns out, I had a little more than I thought–maybe 78%.  It was a glorious morning.

I don’t like getting sick. I fight it. But if I’m going to lose my faith, energy and direction every time I sniffle, I will probably not be worth very much and will snuffle out my possibilities.

Excuses, fear and disappointment–they arrive like a scratchy throat, making you believe that they’re here to stay.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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