With All Your Getting … September 17, 2012

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Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the news media’s overly simplistic, goofy representation of life in these United States. Travel with CNN, MSNBC and Fox News as they journey us around the country to break us apart into little bits and pieces of quirks, which they then amplify to represent the majority popular opinion.

First stop for our tour bus?

  • Alabama. Guns, God and grits.
  • Then we journey down to Florida. Medication, Middle East and Medicare.
  • Cruising on, we arrive in Texas, with faith, football and fried…everything.
  • In no time at all, we enter the state of California, with television, tarot cards and tofu.
  • I think we have time for a bathroom break in Minnesota. Stoic, Scandinavian, and St. Lutheran.
  • Our tour bus now takes us to the state of Indiana, where …

Hold on a second. Please allow me to interrupt this cavalcade of comedic conclusions. I just spent the weekend in Indiana. What I found there was the same thing I uncovered in Alabama, Florida, Texas, California and even Minnesota. They’re called folks. And by the way, some get it and some don’t.

It’s really that simple. Some people burst out of the borders of their training and provincial surroundings and realize more universal truths of human behavior and how to get along with other individuals. Others cling to the bad habits of their ancestors, getting the same results of inadequacy, poverty and prejudice.

It all boils down to three be’s. If you learn these, you can go anywhere in the world and co-exist with any culture, religion and even form of government. If you don’t, you make yourself cranky, and therefore, a target for criticism by neurotic folks around you, who are looking for a reason to be offended.

1. Be friendly. Really, it won’t kill you. Suspicious, careful, backward, frowning, reserved, reticent and distant leave to the public their opinion on who you are and what you are. Friendliness is required to create the image of who we wish to be and how we wish to be viewed. I do not know when people decided it was their God-given right to be unfriendly, but all it does is make them look arrogant and causes other humans to want to hurt them.

2. Be there. Please do not come to a meeting talking about the your next meeting. Don’t have a conversation with me about how busy you are and how lucky I am that you’re even taking the time to speak with me. We owe one thing to everyone we meet–give them the time they deserve and our attention, or just don’t show up. The most aggravating attitude you can present to another person is to lead them to believe that your mind is on something else other than being with them. Great people do great things by focusing on small details. Be there.

3. Be changing. My brain is not presently manufacturing enough truth to sustain me for the rest of my life. I need more information. In the process of receiving that input, I will also have to deal with challenges to things that I already hold dear. If I am prepared to change my mind, I am a candidate for prosperity.

Let us realize that not everything can be voted on. America is presently obsessed with the notion of popular opinion. If popular opinion had been allowed, slavery would never have been abolished. Segregation would still be in place. Rock and roll would have been banned. The right for women to vote would have been a joke. And even smallpox, by this time, would be bigpox. Sometime the people DON’T know best. It requires us to have the kind of leaders who are willing to change their minds–in a  direction that will benefit the common good.

And if you are willing to be friendly, be there and be changing, you will be on the cutting edge of the three things that make life on earth prosper, and therefore, fulfill the will of God.

People need liberty. And here is my definition of liberty: Liberty is when health, happiness and honesty are thrust to the forefront.

People have a right to be healthy. They certainly have the right to pursue happiness as long as it doesn’t exclude others, and the presence of honesty allows us to keep a pureness of heart that makes the viewing of God so much easier.

Please do not fall victim to the news media, which tries to divide this nation into smaller and smaller units of conflict. What I saw in Indiana yesterday was very simple. I met some absolutely inspiring human beings, who had decided to be friendly, be there and be changing. What remained were those lost sheep, who think that by avoiding others, avoiding their surroundings and avoiding change, they can actually keep life the way it is. They can’t.

So with all your “getting,” get understanding–and the greatest understanding is that where the spirit of God is, there is liberty–the pursuit of health, happiness and honesty.

Happy Monday to you. Be friendly, be there and be changing.

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

Mush-mellow … February 2, 2012

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It startled me.  Yesterday someone suggested that I was becoming more “mellow.”
 
God forbid. Mellow is like grits without gravy, mush without maple syrup and an apple you purchase on Tuesday afternoon, knowing you’d better eat it quickly because by morning it’ll be rotten. No, I don’t really like mellow.
 
Neither would I want to be considered confrontational. Confrontational is the equivalent of someone who orders their Mexican food with extra hot sauce and then, to prove the point, squeezes the juice of three jalapenos over the top.
 
What I would like to do is matter enough that what I am impacts the world around me. That’s tricky. Candidly, most people do not like to be taught. We just don’t. That’s why within months of leaving school, our brains immediately begin to download knowledge from our minds like it’s on a sinking ship. It’s the whole teacher-student relationship that really troubles us. Because even when we’re little toddlers–two or three years old–and someone is trying to explain how to tie our shoes, we become impatient, saying, “I know. I know. I know.” Of course, we DON’T know, but that doesn’t make taking further instruction any easier.
 
We just reach a point where we think we should know things–and to be further taught on the subject is not only annoying, but somewhat emotionally debilitating. Yet change is needed. So how can you create the necessary renewal, revival or even renaissance in our society without becoming the schoolmarm, trying to take everybody back to the classroom to rehash old subjects? Well, let me first list the things people will NOT tolerate. I gave you one already.
 
1. Being taught. I know some of you will insist that you ARE teachable, and I appreciate the idea that in some areas you may be, but we all possess a bit of “know it all” that prevents us from acquiring all the information that would benefit our lives. Part of that is because:
2. No one wants to feel inferior. That’s really not a bad thing. In some ways, feeling inferior is much more dangerous than feeling superior. Sensations of being better than other people are usually quickly alleviated in the general commerce of humanity. But inferiority can hide out as shyness, being introverted or just having a bad day. So sometimes it’s difficult for people to receive new information without feeling they’re inferior in the process.
3. And the third obstacle to enriching the lives of human beings on this planet is family. Most people will find that when truth is unveiled, parts of it will be contrary to things that were taught by their families. They are immediately put in a Catch-22. We all want to grow but we don’t want to abandon our traditions. Jesus phrased it well. He said “if you let people taste new wine, they will quickly turn to you and say the old wine is better.” It’s not. We’re just terribly frightened of stepping on the graves of our ancestors on our way to building new roads to the future.
 
So you have those three things in the way of trying to create good change. I used to believe that God had called me to change people’s minds. I got over that pretty quickly. People do not change their minds because you ask, suggest or even because it’s the right thing to do. Worse yet, you have what we might call the twenty-four-hour change–where folks will adopt a new idea, but be much more critical about its value than they are towards their old opinions, so at the first sign of difficulty, they will abandon the fresh concept as unworkable.
 
So it’s not so much that I’ve gotten mellow. It’s just that I think I’ve discovered the best approach to being a contributor to humanity without coming across as “boss man.” And here it is: I will change my own mind thoroughly and then go ahead and do it.  And I will do it well enough to make you jealous.
 
That’s right. Human beings change because they’re jealous of what other people have. Now, you can reject that assertion because it doesn’t sound pretty or nice, but nonetheless, I think you will find that if you follow it through, it’s true. If you want everybody to wear red socks, the best thing to do is convince yourself that red socks are important and start wearing them all the time with a confident heart. Pretty soon you will notice there are other folks around you buying red socks. They will be quick to let you know that it had nothing to do with YOU wearing red socks; no, it was a personal choice they made because they suddenly remembered that their favorite color was red.
 
It doesn’t matter. You can’t matter in life if folks aren’t jealous of you, and of course, if they are jealous of you, there is a chance they can become your enemies. This is why Jesus was so insistent on us loving our enemies. Because just in the process of changing your own mind, doing something and deciding to perform it well, you will make tons of friends–but also some enemies. They are not your enemies because you are wicked, evil or hard to get along with. They are just jealous and have decided to channel their jealousy into impatience instead of impersonation. It’s the risk you take.
 
If you try to blend in with everybody around you, they will spend one hour appreciating your presence and then you will disappear into the background. If you come in and try to take over and tell people they’re wrong, they will righteously resist you because you are robbing them of their free will. But if you focus on yourself, change your own mind, do what you know you’re supposed to do and do it well, the end result will be the energy that really does generate revolution.
 
Jealousy.
 
For instance, the Soviet Union did not fall because we threatened them with missiles from every corner of the world. They just threatened us back with the same number. The Soviet Union fell because they ran out of bread, were jealous because of our many brands, and because, for the life of them, they couldn’t hatch a rock band as good as the Beatles. They were jealous.
 
If we would just take the time to focus on what our minds should be and what duties will come out of that thinking, and then practice that to the point of excellence, we will produce a jealousy which will promote duplication–or give us a handful of enemies to love. Either way, the world is quivering in the presence of our footsteps and journey.
 
It’s not so much about being mellow as it is about being smart. Don’t chase a dog that’s running away from you. Be careful buying tomatoes if the room smells too much like tomatoes. They’re on their way out the door. Feel a little uneasy if your used car salesman is smiling during the signing of the papers. And don’t ever believe that you have the convincing power to change anyone’s mind. People change when they are jealous of what you have.
 
Now that can make you mellow. And if that’s what they mean by mellow, bring it on. But that particular style of mellow does create some adversaries.
 
And as long as we understand that not everybody is going to love us, it makes it a lot easier for us to love everybody.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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