Sit Down Comedy …February 1st, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Over the Christmas holiday, my grandson, Wyeth, from China, asked me, “G-Pop, what Super Power do you wish you had?”

Before I could answer, he explained that flying through the air and having the strength to knock over buildings were his choices, although he thought being invisible was pretty cool and also being able to explode things with your eyes.

I nodded my head, but deep in my heart I knew exactly what Super Power I would request.

I have discovered the foolishness of trying to overpower people, and I certainly know that if you try to be overwhelming, eventually somebody will prove how underwhelming you truly are. So any Super Power I would request would place me in the position of overcoming.

The greatest thing I have to overcome—and maybe you, too—is dealing with the private thoughts of people, especially as it pertains to me.

Therefore, I probably would want the Super Power of seeing myself as others see me. In other words, when I was in their presence, I would have both a visual and a mental awareness of their true assessment of my value and person.

Just think how great that would be:

1.     I could understand their prejudice without either condemning them or being paranoid.

2.     I could make some adjustments if I wanted to—and find more common ground and calm their fears.

3.     And finally, I could simply come up with a plan of how to address their insecurities without offending them.

Yes, I think that’s what I would desire.

I don’t want to go through life thinking that everybody is supposed to like me—nor do I want to be so timid that I can’t imagine why they would.

I suppose I should tell Wyeth that being a Superhero doesn’t require unbelievable extra-human powers. If you want to be a Superhero, just find out what a hero does, and do it a super-number of times.


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Good News and Better News… June 5th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Last night at the Renaissance Fellowship, I was privileged to be part of a holy collision. It wasn’t the “moon in the seventh house and Jupiter aligning with Mars.” Much more practical than that.

It was a blessed event, in which “willing” brushed up against “working” and satisfied “waiting”–the human trinity of possibility.

Without people being willing, it is useless to share things that are working. And if workable concepts are not being instituted, the sense of waiting in our souls lingers, rendering us frustrated. But when willing meets working, it satisfies waiting.

Foolishly, we’re all waiting for something.

How in the world waiting ever became a virtue baffles me–because waiting can be done by the foolhardy or the wise. There’s nothing particularly noble about it–matter of fact, it can degrade into first-class laziness. After all, what is the difference between waiting and stalled?

That’s where willing has to step in and become the big brother. In other words, we’re not only waiting for something to happen, we’re also willing to accept applications. They don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to be what we’re praying for. Just able to be used to get us to our next place where we can stand in our faith.

You can tell you’ve grown spiritually when you know that complaining in any form can’t be justified.

Matter of fact, many of our prayers are glossed-over complaints. We lament to God instead of petitioning Him. We plead angst in His direction under the guise of just being worried and concerned.

Somewhere along the line, those that are “waiting upon the Lord” must renew their strength by being willing.

Willing to run and not be weary.

Willing to walk and not faint.

Suddenly–when willing shows up–working ideas seem to leap from the cosmos into the field of our vision. Hope does not spring eternal, it becomes an earthly possibility.

And when human beings who are waiting for some specific answer allow themselves to be willing to adapt to possibilities, then a Gospel full of working ideas can be preached and change the world.

Last night, people who quite obviously are waiting on promises suddenly became willing to enjoy themselves in the moment, and consider a temporary blessing, taking a rain check on their future hopes–and because of that, they were infused with working mercy, tenderness, excitement and insight.

It was magnificent.

But unless people become willing, nothing works. And when things don’t work, our waiting is absolutely futile.

So the good news is, it turns out that waiting is made much more tolerable by being willing.

And the better news is that willing people are ready to get to work.

P.S. Pictured is me with my grandson, Jonathan. (I’m the one in red.)

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G-Poppers … March 10th, 2017

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“An ear ain’t an eye.”

That’s what G-Pop told his grandson.

A thousand warnings, lectures or sermons are no match for one vision. The eye projects a cinematic view across the entire brain. It is deeply implanted and can last a lifetime.

I’ve heard hundreds and hundreds of speakers over the years and could not recite one thing they said, but honestly, I still have the experience in my mind of the first naked woman I ever saw.

So the eye can be used for good and it can be used for, let’s say, less good. Even evil.

But we spend all of our time thinking that we can instruct our children, when the only things being infused in their brains is what they see us doing–the craziness of the adult world around them.

We listen to what is said but we mimic what we see. After all, the saying is, “Monkey see, monkey do.”

Monkey hear? Well, monkey ignore.

Yes, hearing is probably our weakest sense. After all, we smell shit and call it what it is, but we don’t always hear bullcrap and identify it.

We taste sour and we pull away. But when we’re confronted with bitter words, we sometimes allow them in.

Especially if the words offered us are too challenging, too condemning or too overwhelming, we will always prefer what pops in front of our eyeballs.

So what are we seeing? Because we may be hearing hopeful phrases and promises, but we’re seeing a twisted manipulation of circumstances, supposedly in the name of righteousness or nationalism.

These snapshots make us jaded.

G-Pop wants his children to know that they need to be careful about what they see. If it’s an unpleasant sight, talk about it, object to it, and stand against the portrayals that don’t represent the values we preach and the virtues we have heard.

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G-Poppers … December 16th, 2016

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G-Pop sat quietly, listening intently as his grandson related a story about one of the young students at the school.

The little fellow had turned into quite a “preacher,” sharing his feelings about the best way to handle things and get along. He told G-Pop’s grandson that “you have to be a little mean to get what you want.”

The grandson was obviously bewildered by the comment, considering how contrary it was to the thoughts of his family–but impressed enough that G-Pop felt the need to input.

So after the grandson finished his tale, G-Pop shared.

“It comes down to a pair of words: toy and two. Actually, it comes down to what each of those letters represent. See, your young friend thinks the most important thing in life is to get what you want. But what if you don’t know what you want? Or what if you’re wrong? We don’t want to live in a world where the meanest and strongest control everything. So there has to be a better way.

So take the word toy. T-O-Y. It stands for ‘Tough On Yourself.’ And T-W-O represents ‘Tender With Others.’

By what you say, this young man believes that he should be tough on other people and tender with himself. It might sound good, but you see, if everybody did that, there would always have to be a big batch of losers for there to be a whole bunch of winners.

So what happens if the losers are upset? What if they want to get even? What if you’re in the middle of a ‘win’ and suddenly you’re attacked? Or what happens if you’re afraid?

Your job is to be tough on yourself. Not unforgiving. Not mean to your own feelings. Just putting more of a challenge on yourself than other people, because you are the only person you can affect.

And then be tender with others. Surprise them. Forgive them. Cut them slack. Be prepared to have a little extra in case they need it. Because you have to decide if you want to win once or twice, or if you want to live with a winning spirit.

You can conquer people, but you can’t make them like it. But if you conquer your own fears while showing mercy to others for theirs, you will always be loved and valuable.

Stay tough on yourself. Be tender with others. Without this, you’re just waiting for the next fight.”

The grandson looked at G-Pop and nodded his head. It wasn’t clear whether he understood everything.

But it appeared he understood enough.

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G-Poppers … April 15th, 2016

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G-Pop’s grandson was a bit spooked by the notion of evil coming from the hearts of humans, so G-Pop continued his discussion with a little more sensitivity toward a little boy’s tender consciousness.

“Let’s put it this way,” said G-Pop. “If evil is out of our control, then who’s to say that goodness is available for us to choose?

The power in life is in having power in your life.

If the devil can defeat you and the angels have to rescue you, you kind of become the classic damsel, constantly in distress. So here’s where evil comes in:

  • Our appetites. We’re just too hungry.

We keep looking for adventure. And the more advertised forms usually involve risk or deceit.

Our true adventure is life. And when we screw it up the first time, fortunately for us, we usually have another chance to revisit the location with a better travel plan.

Our appetites drive us to do stupid things. It’s good to be hungry, but just as we adjust our physical diet to include nourishing portions, we should do the same with our emotional, spiritual and mental buffet.

  • Our second problem is ego. It’s when we are too selfish.

There is certainly nothing wrong with loving yourself if you make sure to leave enough time to grant your neighbor the same courtesy. But if you believe you must destroy, out-flank, cheat or curse your brothers and sisters to get your portion, you will eventually hatch some form of evil.

  • And finally, there’s delusion.I’m too important.’

Finding our true worth is our greatest achievement. Otherwise we start thinking we’re more valuable than we really are, making us pompous, or less valuable, which causes us to become defensive over our deteriorating worth.

This allows delusion to come to the forefront. We convince ourselves that we have a greater capacity than we can prove, and become quite infuriated when anyone challenges our assessment.

When our appetites make us too hungry and our egos cause us to become selfish, then our delusion makes us insist that we are primarily important.

There you have the formula for evil.

Goodness is when we let our appetites lure us to righteousness, our egos make us generous to the needs of others and our delusion is eliminated because we know exactly who we are and who we aren’t.”

G-Pop finished explaining this to his grandson. Amazingly, the little fella appeared to understand.

He turned and said, “I think I’ve got it, G-Pop. Don’t eat too much of anything.”

G-Pop smiled.

A pretty good analysis.

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G-Poppers … April 8th, 2016

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G-Pop’s grandson peered at him quizzically.

The idea posed by G-Pop had left the boy perplexed.

“Let’s go find a tornado.”

The little grandson was not sure where to begin, so he ran to a nearby set of books, found a picture of a tornado and presented it to G-Pop, hoping he had fulfilled the mission.

“No, not a picture,” said G-Pop. “I want a real tornado.”

Now, G-Pop’s grandson is pretty sharp, so after contemplating for a few seconds, he replied, “You can’t find a tornado without storms.”

Exactly.

Throughout the annals of human history, mankind has desperately tried to personify wickedness in the form of an incarnate evil.

  • Mephistopheles.
  • Satan.
  • Old Nick.
  • Beelzebub.

All these names, and many others, were created to strike terror in the hearts of humans, to warn us that apparently we are part of some sort of cosmic chess game, in which God and Lucifer move us around from place to place at their whim, to establish prowess.

Matter of fact, you can be alienated from the Christian community simply by failing to adequately believe in Satan.

But the devil, just like a tornado, fails to be around when there isn’t a storm created by the winds of uncertainty, anger and lust.

That’s how you make a tornado, you know–cold winds meet hot winds and swirl until there’s a physical manifestation of the conflict, which we call a twister. But without the cold and the hot, tornadoes do not exist.

It is amazing how evil the world seems when the cold indifference of people runs headlong into the hot anger of fools. All at once, it seems as if we have an uninvited Hell Being.

But is it true?

Is there an actual Evil One who stalks us? Or is he only made manifest when we arrive at the Garden of Life looking for trouble?

It’s a great question, and one that should be discussed. But I will tell you, if such a creature actually does exist, its efforts are greatly deterred if we remove the frigid apathy and the searing rage which build up because we have ceased to believe in the power of goodness.

G-Pop’s grandson asked, “What can I do to stop evil?”

G-Pop paused and replied, “Well, you see…”

(to be continued)

 

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G-Poppers … January 29th, 2016

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G-Pop had a rare moment.

He asked his grandson, “What do you think about your classmates at school?”

“Most of them don’t like me,” said the young man, dipping his head in disappointment.

“How many kids are there?” asked G-Pop.

“About twenty-five,” said the grandson.

G-Pop continued. “So is it thirteen? Sixteen? Or all twenty-five who don’t like you?”

The young boy squinted at G-Pop. “I don’t know how many,” he replied, a little aggravated.

“So how do you know it’s most?” G-Pop posed.

In a country that runs its programs by polls, the word “most” becomes overly important and eliminates the discovery of truth.

  • Most women are…
  • Most blacks do…
  • Most Mexicans come to our country for…
  • Most men think…
  • Most Christians believe…
  • Most Muslims pursue…
  • Most Wall Street executives are…
  • Most politicians…
  • Most girls…
  • Most boys…
  • Most countries…
  • Most vegetables…
  • Most meat…

Most of the most.

The word “most” is used as a safe way of being prejudiced, while falling back on data which is often tampered with by bigots who want to prove their point.

“Most” is probably the most dangerous word that has come into our society, even though calling it the most dangerous might be part of the problem.

Here is a fact:

Human beings don’t do anything predictable. They are basically content to leave well enough alone, even if they find that status to be unsatisfying.

Yes, stagnancy is always preferable to both goodness and evil.

So the reason we introduce the word “most” into our dialogue is to convince the crowd around us that we are part of the plurality, not tied into a minority, which is obviously wrong as seen by their weak numbers.

G-Pop points out that this presidential election is more concerned with polls than ever before. And the polls never agree because the polls never ask the right question of the right people at the right time.

If we are going to be people of vision, faith and creativity, we have to eliminate the word “most” from our daily conversation, or we will terminate the flexibility of races, religions and personal effort.

Most gay people aren’t anything.

Most Christians are not locked up in a box.

And most Muslims don’t blow up buildings, as most Mexicans don’t rape.

But if you can convince people that “most” of the subject at hand is a threat, then you can also mob them together to attack all.

G-Pop waited for his grandson to produce the number of kids in his class who did not like the little fella. He could never come up with an actual count, because it was just easier to assume that most of them were against him.

The only way to live as a human being and be successful is to admit to yourself that the next encounter and the next experience is mercurial–because it’s controlled by human beings, who are “mostly” individuals.

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