Good News and Better News … February 19th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog


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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Catchy (Sitting 36) An Audience with No Audience … February 18th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog


The highway leading to Heathrow Airport was completely jammed. Gridlock. For twelve kilometers, cars were lined up, unable to move, creating the worst traffic backup London had seen in years.

This fiasco was brought about by a rumor that the Pope was flying in from Rome to meet with the Queen, to discuss the uniting of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church again.

The rumor was false–but that didn’t keep people from chasing it, causing a frustrating day of travel through the Old City.

This was just the latest of a series of stories being reported about the Pope and the Catholic Church, put out by a new website: “”

It was started a few weeks earlier with an article in the Sun Newspaper from the United Kingdom, touting an exclusive on an alleged meeting between the Pope and Jubal Carlos.

Supposedly, after his noontime rally in the blistering heat of Rome, a black town car from the Vatican rolled up, and representatives of His Holiness asked Mr. Carlos if he was willing to come and have an audience with the Holy Father.

Dressed in jogging shorts, a tank top, with tennis shoes and a baseball cap, Jubal climbed into the vehicle and headed off for this strange new opportunity. According to insiders, upon arriving at the Vatican, he was asked by the public relations liaison if he would be willing to have the interview videotaped, so it could be shown to a congress of Cardinals due in Rome soon.

Jubal refused. He explained that it was common knowledge that he did no interviews–and certainly none which could be edited.

The audience with the Pope was granted anyway, and the two met face-to-face. There was only one other person in the room–a young man studying for the priesthood, who was chosen to serve refreshments. (Therefore it was assumed that all the information leaked must have come from this newbie.)

In the Sun article, detail after detail was reported about the conclave of the two unlikely men, both preachers. The Pope arrived in a simple gray tunic, wearing sandals. He wasted no time posing a question to Jubal:

“Where do you find disfavor with the Catholic Church?”

Jubal took the moment to share his heart. “When something is stuck, the instinct is to make an effort to move it–whether it’s mud, ice or snow, people join together, put their shoulders and backs into it to escape the rut. The Catholic Church today looks like the Catholic Church of the sixth century. Right there you can see there’s something wrong. Life has evolved. Generosity is growing. Tolerance is expanding. Yet the Catholic Church allows androgynous men to parade around with incense, believing in magical potions. If the Gospel is not about people, then at least it should be about ideas. If not ideas, then generosity. If not generosity, then hope. The Gospel cannot be about maintaining a religious practice which was not even begun by its founder.

“For Your Holiness, I will tell you–if there was a First Pope, his name was Jesus, not Peter. And as the First Pope, his lifestyle, goals, wishes, humor and direction would preclude him from ever wearing a crown and glorifying himself.”

At this point, the writer of the article stated that the Pope remained completely silent. At length, the Holy Father asked Jubal to come forward, laid hands on him, blessed him and gave him a hug. He left Carlos with one closing thought.

“I don’t know,” he said. “If I were younger and foolish, I might be you.”

When this piece was published in The Sun, the English people were ablaze with conversation about true spirituality, a living God and the possibility of purpose coming from heaven. It had been decades since the British had made room in their daily thoughts for the Divine.

After that, story after story after story popped up everywhere. One announcement from suggested that the Pope was on his way to America to ordain some women to be priests. The next pronouncement alleged the Pope would stop off in San Francisco to hold mass for the gay community. Of course, all the stories ended up being erroneous but nevertheless, a door had opened for great conversation.

Instead of people looking at the Church with sleepy eyes, challenges were hurled through the air.

“Why don’t we join together?”

“Why aren’t women priests?”

“What is the function of the Church?”

“Why do we have all this ceremony?”

When Jubal Carlos was asked if such an audience with the Pope had actually occurred, he responded, “You know I don’t take interviews. Why are you asking me for an interview?”

This further fanned the flames, as each news organization interpreted the answer to their favored direction.

But there was one sure thing–people were not antagonistic against God. People were not bored with God. People were just very weary of being given the same answers over and over again.

Matthew watched all the bewildering unfoldings and thought to himself, “What a damn good idea. Take the news media and use it as a counter-culture, or maybe even a counter-irritant to existing religious practices, to get people stirred up. Would a comprehensive look at the life of Jesus favor the Catholic Church, or introduce fresher insights?”

In the midst of his musings, he made a few phone calls to friends who were in the know and were able to check out Internet matters which would normally be forbidden due to privacy laws. He was able to discover the founder of

A single user with a one-word name: Susannah.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 19) Apolitical … April 10th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Jesonian hands

It is impossible to pursue the dictates of a political party and stay faithful to the Jesonian.

There. I said it.

Anyone who follows a political persuasion is bound by that party to defend the stances presently being taken in the moment instead of embracing a more historical and eternal view.

Politics are for those who have given up on the power of the Gospel.

It is a way of trying to convince Caesar to accept your principles, or a way of forcing your principles into becoming “the new Caesar.”

Let us realize–they were constantly hounding Jesus to become political. They wanted him to fly the flag of Judaism and reject the Samaritans, or criticize the Greek woman who came for healing, attack the tax collectors, who were considered betrayers to the seed of Abraham, and most certainly, deny Rome the authority to rule and reign.

He disappointed all of these factions by living off of two simple concepts:

  1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  2. Go the second mile.

There is no political party in the United States of America that fully lines up in agreement with either of these concepts.

For “do unto others” is a decision to include all of humanity into your circle instead of rejecting some. So as the Republicans are infuriated with immigrants and the Democrats despise the South, the Jesonian individual must remain apolitical–loving the new visitors to our country and honoring the brothers and sisters in the Southeast.

No political party in this country believes in going the second mile. Going the second mile is finding out what energizes us instead of exhausts us.

The constant debate, attacks, and gridlock caused by political maneuvering becomes a national fatigue which removes the initiative to do just a little better than we did the last time.

  • “Do unto others” is spiritual.
  • “Go the second mile” is practical.

But you will find that when you do unto others, it has a practical edge, making you a friend of all tribes.

And you will discover that when you go the second mile, you gain spiritual credibility, as bystanders view your endeavors.

It is not reasonable to be political.

What is reasonable is to maintain a profile that is apolitical, while doing unto others and going the second mile–allowing the future to be determined by the wisdom of inclusion and the impetus of excellence.

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Mediocre … July 11, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog


I must be candid–the main problem in our society is not that we are continually embroiled in disagreements, but rather, that the things we have chosen to agree upon are the breeding ground for mediocrity.

I suppose that’s why we selected to compromise in the first place–it’s easy to find human weakness and identify it as normal, and then glorify it as individual. In other words, the more we promote that each one of us is an individual with particular tastes, styles, emotions and beliefs, the simpler it is to tolerate inadequacy.

For example, I may become frustrated with your lack of productivity, but all you have to do is claim that you are a TYPE of person who works “at a different speed” and has varying goals from mine. Once you remove a common standard for humanity which each one of us has to consider in evaluating ourselves, you silently produce anarchy, making us too self-sufficient and overly tolerant of incompleteness.

  • Once we’re convinced that we’re “fine the way we are,” what is the need for excellence?
  • What is the need for introspection?
  • Why should we require ourselves to consider our previous attempts with regret, and determine to repent and do better?

This is the only place where Republicans and Democrats, atheists and believers, and conservatives and liberals agree. It’s the statement: “We are not the same, but rather, individual islands of “special” creation, who must be viewed as independent of general human behavior.”

If this philosophy had wings, we should let it fly. But since the only fruit of this ideology is the generation of loud-mouth critics rationalizing their own inconsistencies, we might want to reconsider what has gotten us to a place where we’re stuck in the mud with no desire to go forward.

Case in point–what you have in Washington, D. C. is not gridlock–it is the application of a selfish society which has finally elected leadership reflecting its own ridiculous formula for life. Our President, Senators and Congressmen are all convinced there are MANY ways to solve problems, and they must fight for their own personal utopia. Since we contend there are a multitude of salvation available for the human race, we therefore believe that each person should “work it out” in his or her own way.

Not only does this eliminate cooperation, but it also institutes an airport with many landing strips and no air traffic controller. It welcomes disaster. It is a certainty that the planes will collide.

So what can we do?  Well, the best way to alleviate pain is to trace it back to its source. Would you allow me to do that? Over the next week or so, I will share where we have derailed our train of thought. Yes–where we have allowed ourselves to extol the mediocre, so as not to impinge on the rights of others to be less than they could be.

It should be very interesting.

You may agree with some of my thoughts and disagree with others. I welcome your disagreement as long as it’s not grounded in the silliness of declaring it “unfair” or “out of the flow of present thinking.”

The first thing I will contend is that life did not begin with the founding of the United States of America. Life didn’t commence at YOUR birth, either. And it was not instituted in the latest revelation of favored Google searches.

Life had a beginning and life has taught us much about ourselves.

On the morrow we shall go to class.

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Sometimes… March 6, 2013


Sometimes it doesn’t matter.

Sometimes a little piece of insignificance can float through the air and blow away into the distance.

Sometimes a duck can quack and the pond remains serene.

Sometimes a hip-hop rock star, can appear on a late-night talk show and giggle about smoking the “herb” and a young human listening, who is confused about choices, will not end up crushed by the burden of drug abuse.

Sometimes a climate of “prayer and scare religion” can preach its message of doom, with the glory of heaven to follow, and no one gets hurt, no one is lost and no one is perplexed to the point of agnosticism.

Sometimes careless conversations of overwrought self-esteem can be voiced in our culture without human beings feeling entitled to gifts and opportunities beyond their scope.

Sometimes the gridlock of Washington, D.C. is just fodder for the 24-hour news cycle and doesn’t affect the single mother or father desperately trying to put food on the table for their young’uns.

Sometimes a mother can drink her glass of wine or a father his mug of beer and the children of the household will grow up without any dependence on alcohol.

Sometimes a religious system that preaches more of heaven than God’s will being done on earth can hide behind its ritual without feeling the responsibility for the vacancy left in the hearts of those who have heard the empty message.

Sometimes young girls can go to movies and see women exploited, raped, beaten, cursed and marginalized and still grow up to be dynamic forces of nature.

Sometimes a young woman who is addicted, frustrated, lonely and drained of hope turns out to be just fine and survives her turmoil and presses on.

Sometimes fairy tales come true. At least that’s what we’re told.

But not today.

Today a young child of God has died because of too much and too little:

  • Too much religion and too little reality.
  • Too much laughter about drugs and too little knowledge of what they can do to the paper-thin persona of a human being.
  • Too much hypocrisy and too little truthful repentance.
  • Too much of a notion that women are sex objects and too little value of their worth as humans.
  • Too much of everything that deceives and too little of the nuggets of truth that enlighten.

She’s dead.

I knew her as a small child and helped out her family the best I could from my wallet. But not from my time. For you see, sometimes it’s all right to free ourselves from any responsibility or guilt, but most of the time, it’s just a cop-out.

So sometimes it’s important that we rededicate ourselves to the notion that there is nothing wrong with beleiving we should do more, even if sometimes it points out the fact that in this particular case, we didn’t do enough.

Sometimes we need more than just what is available.

She did. She deserved more.

So to a religion and culture that loves to expound on all sorts of irrelevant information, let me tell you that there are casualties to your casual approach.

She died today. She died of too much and too little.

By the grace of God, may she be the last.

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An Aethist’s Prayer… May 16, 2012


I was in a dark corner by myself when he entered. Not recognizing me–or noticing me, for that matter–he lifted his head and began to speak.

“I am embarrassed. Maybe better phrased … humiliated. I am a person in good standing and on record as not believing in You. God is not a Person that I worship, nor do I choose to use Him as the implement for damning anything. I think what angers me the most about this moment is that I am suddenly being transported from the purity of my glorious atheism to the lesser nobility of agnosticism–simply by conversing with what should be perceived as a vacancy. I want You to understand–my antipathy is stronger than that. I don’t believe in You. So I suppose it begs the question: why, then, am I standing here with my head lifted up like a baby bird seeking its daily worm, chatting with the air, the walls and the ceiling? Do You understand? It is not faith that has brought me here. Rather, desperation.

There are times I just get tired of hearing my own thoughts bouncing around and echoing in my head, trying to find a landing-place in reason. I try to include other people’s opinions and feelings, but they are not me. They do not understand me. And the more forceful they become–trying to subject their will upon me–the more they resemble You–with your edicts, commandments and holy writ–keeping men baffled rather than benefitted.

Yes. I am confused. Why do You choose to be so absent? People insist that You’re not–and they cite examples of the sun, the moon and the stars. My thought is, why don’t we just go back to being ancient Romans, worshipping the elements instead of the Elementer? Would it kill You to make Yourself more obvious? Every once in a while, the ideas You hold so dear should win the day in such a positive manner that the whole world would be shaken to an awareness of the wisdom of Your path. It confuses me. I do understand why You have chosen not to be a self-promoter, but really, is the profile of a hermit sufficient for You to fulfill giving us our daily bread? So You’re probably thinking–if I have so many complaints, why am I here, chattering about this nonsense? It is this yearning inside of me that seems to be the only thing greater than my doubt. I want a reason to continue my humanity instead of becoming the grouchy old troll who perches under the bridge of happiness, growling at anyone who would dare to cross.

The thing I hate about being an atheist is that the absence of God, though simplifying, is rarely comforting. It’s wonderful to believe in a world where You don’t exist, because then it comes down to equations, numbers, inventory and implementation. But these are so sterile when left to themselves, without the motivation of something. I just find it difficult to believe that this SOMETHING is a Universal King who reigns over the entire cosmos, yet somehow or another has the capability of being concerned over the texture of my fried rice.

And the more I think about it, the more angry I become. Here’s what really pisses me off: why do You have such crappy followers? Looking at Your entourage, one would have to believe that You despise intelligence, abhor diversity and reject all attempts to accept questioning. Why do you call them “sheep” and then basically make fun of their sheepishness? Is it a gag? Is it a challenge? Are You trying to increase the difficulty of saving the world by using the most inept people You can find? Is it an issue of trying to achieve Your purposes with one arm tied behind Your back and the other hand fiddling a banjo? Do You hate the brain? It is the new Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, stuck into the garden of our lives? Yet You scream at us if we partake of the fruit of thoughtfulness?

If You dare to call Yourself ‘God,’ don’t You think You should do better? Honestly, I could lobby for a suit against you for false advertising. You often remind me of a deadbeat dad who has to be drug into court to finally pay child support. Of course, all of this is based upon the paper-thin pretext that I believe in You–which I don’t. I would not describe what I feel as belief, but rather, wishing. It’s not the same thing. If You do exist and have some sort of eternal home for Your faithful, I couldn’t get there by wishing, could I? No, it seems I would have to buy the whole sticky ball of wax. If I want heaven, I’ve got to believe in hell. To hell with that! If I’m going to believe in God, somehow or another I have to concede that there’s a devil. What a copout!

What do I wish? I wish You had an ear so You could hear; eyes so You could see me as I am; fingers so you could touch the parts of my life that I’m proud of. I wish you had a smell that could trigger an awareness of true beauty. I wish you had good taste–and judging from the music and literature of Your followers, I think it’s safe to say–You don’t. I wish you had senses. Why did You give them to me and refuse them for Yourself?

So even though I’m talking to myself and pretending that my imaginary friend might actually be here, I guess what I’ve come to say is that I’ve decided. Let me rephrase that to–‘I’m deciding.

I’m deciding to use mine. If You actually exist in any form or shape, I just can’t believe You’re going to punish me because I use my ears to hear beauty, my eyes to see possibilities, my hands to touch people in need. I can’t believe that You’re going to be angry if I make the world more fragrant and tasteful. I don’t know whether I like You or not–which makes atheism my better choice. Because if You existed, I’d have to tell You how disillusioned you’ve made me. Not believing in You makes me seem less vindictive.

Thank You for Your time–if You have any. I guess I just wanted You, myself and I to know that I’m deciding to do my best as a human … without a God. If it’s not possible, I certainly will die trying.”

He suddenly was finished. He left, never aware of my presence. I remained in the dark corner, contemplating his words. Embarrassed, confused, yearning, angry, wishing, deciding.

I realized that faith is often better understood when you catch it on a bad day.


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Adolph’s… May 15, 2012


Doing a cursory piece of research right before I began writing this essay, I was somewhat surprised to discover that it was still in existence.

Adolph’s meat tenderizer.

When I was introduced to this product several decades ago, I was immediately amused at the name selection. I couldn’t decide if it was gutsy or absolutely foolish to call your product “Adolph’s,” using the first name of the world’s most infamous dictator. Wouldn’t you love to have been at that meeting? Certainly somebody must have raised the question: “Do you think that anyone will buy a meat tenderizer called Adolph’s?”

Even the fact that it’s a meat tenderizer has a bit of a macabre overtone, don’t you think? How did that ever get past a board meeting? And how did it ever survive the scrutiny of the advertising department? And how good would the product have to be for the public to request it from their local grocer? “Do you carry Adolph’s?”

Somewhere in the story, there is a gentleman named Adolph who decided that he was not going to allow Hitler to monopolize the name. He concluded that he had invented a great product and he wasn’t going to let it sit on the shelf without bearing the proud banner of his signature. He survived all the debate, conquered all the critics and ended up with a product called Adoph’s Meat Tenderizer, which still exists today—although you certainly do not hear it advertised over the airwaves of our overly sensitive marketplace.

Can you imagine—if such a notion was flung into the ring for consideration during our time? Every anti-defamation league and any group that wanted to make some publicity hay would be on television, objecting to the impropriety and bringing back memories of the holocaust.

But when you remove “gutsy” and “foolish” from life, all the geniuses are shipped away to concentration camps. That’s the danger. Everything that is a gift to humanity was once viewed as gutsy or foolish.

So I must warn you about the five questions that lead to nothing. They permeate our society. They have turned us into frightened little chicks, scurrying around the barnyard looking for a way to hide under our mama’s backside. If you’re ready, here they come:

1. “What about God?” We are the most non-religious society that discusses religion in the history of mankind. We don’t really have any desire to become more virtuous with our faith—just louder. The question “what about God?” is similar to you grabbing your ten favorite Bible verses and me grabbing my favorite ten, and heading out into the wilderness of oblivion, where we play futile games of spiritual tic-tac-toe until we’re ready to blow our brains out. I will tell you of a certainty, my friend, that often the pursuit of God is the leap into insanity.

So what should we do about God? Learn the two things He likes and know that when they exist, He is not far away. Yes—honor what He holds dear and He will always be near. And those two things are free will and mercy. If you grant your fellow-humans free will to make their own choices and extend mercy to those who require that gift in the moment of their need, God will always be standing behind you with His hand on your shoulder.

2. “What will people think?” Be careful there. We might have an oxymoron in “people think.” Are you sure? Or do people just react? I am convinced that people flit their eyes about the room, looking for the opinions of others and then suddenly adopt them as their own. If you’re going to judge your efforts on what people think, you will not only fail to accomplish anything, you will be kicking yourself in the butt because someone else will ignore the masses and beat you to the punch. If I considered what people think in what I share, I would spend most of my time editing instead of writing. They are not the same, you know.

3. “What if I’m wrong?” Count on it. There is no such thing as a pure idea—only a pure motive. It takes us too long to get our motivations pure to ever expect us to come up with a revelation that is pure within itself. The three stages of success are: (a) suggestion, (b) idea, and (c) evolution. A suggestion is when we begin to wonder whether something could be better. An idea is the means by which we decide to make it better. And an evolution is what is left after life has shown us some of the stupidity of our idea.

4. “Is there a way to escape making a decision?” Yes. It’s called politics. But keep in mind that politicians may be the only group of people that the masses hate more than lawyers. And if you happen to be a politician who’s also a lawyer, God help you. What is necessary in the process of making a decision is a good old-fashioned dose of humility. Humility is not walking around prepared to be a failure. Humility is knowing that you’ve been successful in the past, but failure is always an option. So you keep in mind that there may be a need for adaptation.

The problem with the political system in this country is that we don’t have enough parties. Since we only have two, it means that we can have a fifty-fifty split in our Congress, which creates gridlock. If we were a country that had eight parties with eight different platforms, well-defined for public purview, then no particular party could gain the ability to completely block progress. It’s a simple principle and we are a big enough country that we should have more choices instead of limited possibilities.

5. And finally, “Can I please everyone?” After traveling for nearly forty years, I can tell you for sure that there is a certain portion of the population that takes pride in the fact that they refuse to be pleased. It is their badge of honor. You can bring the most delicious meal, offer the greatest prize and perform the most beautiful oratorio and they will tell you it is tasteless, not enough or too loud, respectively. You need another measuring stick for your accomplishments other than the applause of the masses. Jesus referred to it as “the second mile.” Once you discover the level of acceptability in your particular adventure, then set your own standard a little bit higher than that, and continue to pursue your own concept of excellence. If you are rejected at that point, it’s out of stubbornness, and not because of your lack of quality.

So those are the five questions that lead to nothing, which seem to be dictating the agenda of our present social calendar. I think we need more “Adolphs” in the world, who rather than lamenting their parents naming them so poorly, decide to change the historical meaning of the word to, in this case, referring to really, really tender steaks.

Thank you, Adolph. I never thought I would write those words, but you see, I never thought I would run across someone who was brave enough to stand up for himself in a world filled with critics.


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