G-Poppers … November 13th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2751)

Jon close up

Thoughtful is not the opposite of thoughtless.

G-Pop wants his children to understand that.

There is an in-between world. It is lodged somewhere between being absent thought and being filled to the brim. Shall we refer to it as thought-parts?

It’s the quicksand human beings often find themselves in when deliberating the best way to be generous without really giving up anything. It revolves around two questions:

1. Why don’t they…?

2. And why isn’t it…?

For some reason, we get stymied by the fact that life is not working out exactly the way we envisioned it. Even when we pretend to be flexible and resilient, there is a hidden animosity lurking within us, causing us to be grouchy or overly careful.

On our way to thoughtful, to escape thoughtless, we get bogged down in thought-parts.

Because we certainly want to avoid thoughtless, characterized by staring down at the phone with buds in the ears and a grimace on the face, as a pair of texts arrive, ruining the day by reporting that the tickets desired for the concert were not available and the favorite department store no longer sells skinny-leg jeans.

People don’t want to be thoughtless, where they throw up a wall of insecurity and frustration which basically makes them believe that life sucks and they deserve better.

They attempt to avoid pessimism, but still find themselves unwilling reach the status of “thoughtful,” sliding down into thought-parts.

They don’t want to make decisions, therefore they become a target of every pesky hassle that comes along.

So how do you get from thought-parts to thoughtful? Thoughtful is pretty simple–or shall we say, simply stated?

Thoughtful is two realizations:

They don’t have to.

And I can use it.

This pair brings about the holy realization that no human owes us anything, and rather than complaining about what we have, we find a trail in the direction of success.

Since one of the more common questions in life is, “What do you think?” we probably should develop an astute answer.

  • Thoughtless is always cynical.
  • Thoughtful is always prepared.
  • And thought-parts wants to do something positive, but finds it hard to get over being offended.

 

 

Donate Button

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

***************************

Don’t let another Christmas go by without purchasing Jonathan’s bestselling Christmas book!

Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

 

“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

Buy today.

"Buy

 

 

Untotaled: Stepping 32 (January 14th, 1967) Mr. Bayonne … September 20, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2357)

(Transcript)

Two or three days of snow, then a brief warming period, followed by a frigid arctic blast, leaving the countryside glistening with ice, rendering everything precarious.

This was the winter of 1967.

It left all of us in grouchy moods, even though we insisted we were hearty “Ohioans,” accustomed to such frosty conditions. We basically just muddled through it, quietly complaining about “the winter of our discontent.”

Arriving back in my classroom after the Christmas holidays, I discovered that our female math teacher was gone. The initial explanation was that she was battling a severe bout of the flu.

But it took little time for the sour grapevine of the gossip mill to unearth the details. She had actually left town due to a pregnancy out-of-wedlock, making her the subject of great local scandal. My coach joked that considering she was a math teacher, she certainly didn’t do a very good job “counting her days.”

The whole locker room laughed, and I joined in–even though I didn’t get it.

Replacing her was a tall, lanky, clumsy olive-skinned fellow with thin brown greasy hair and a beak for a nose which would have been more suitable for the Family Ostrich. He was a tentative sort. Honestly, it appeared this was his first excursion as an educator.

Yes, he was an oddity. An Ichabod who resembled a crane. And in our community of conformity, he became a necessary target and needful diversion for our present boredom.

Especially when we found out that he was inept at discipline. We tormented him with our ridicule and teasing.

He wore the same brown suit every day with a white shirt and a brown tie with a gold design which could just as easily have been a speck of dried-on scrambled egg.

He had a hilarious tendency to point at the blackboard using his middle finger (which by the way, appeared to have three knuckles) and we always burst into laughter. He would whirl around and screech in a scratchy voice, “Silence!” We laughed harder.

One day a cheerleader inched her way to his desk, supposedly to ask him a question. He was so delighted for the kind attention that he failed to notice that she was taking blackboard erasers from their perch behind his back and softly laying them against his coat with her hand, creating an amazing chalk-dust design. After she returned to her seat and he turned around, we all once again erupted in great guffaws. He had no idea. Matter of fact, the same marks of chalk were on his suit four days later.

He persisted. So did we.

Matter of fact, it became more nasty when one student thought it would be funny to place an anonymous note in the suggestion box in the principal’s office, complaining about Mr. Bayonne’s teaching style.

Long story short, when we returned after our Easter vacation of resurrecting our Lord and chomping on Easter bunny candy, he was gone. We had successfully driven a stranger away–simply because we deemed him strange.

I often think about Mr. Bayonne. He may not have been suited to instruct the rabble of high school hoodlums, but he certainly deserved better treatment. But in our tiny world of thinking, this math teacher just didn’t add up.

  • Because he was different, he was wrong.
  • Because he was clumsy, he was mocked.
  • Because he wasn’t Nordic, Germanic or Scandinavian, he stirred our prejudice.

I have spent much of my life trying to make sure that I never “Bayonned” anyone again, and in so doing I have discovered a magnificent reality:

It takes different people to make me different. And if I don’t become different, I’m stuck … going no further than where I am.

 

Donate Button

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

 

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

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

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

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Populie: You’ve Got to Play the Game … August 20, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2328)

 

monoplyThere is a popular assertion by the masses that “life is a game.” It is usually accompanied by the rallying cry–which is also a lie–that “you’ve got to play the game.”

Thus a populie.

Now, religion, politics and entertainment don’t always have to agree on a premise for it to gain popularity. Sometimes they disagree, which generates great tension, and therefore, press coverage.

So religion loves to believe that the world is kind of a bad place and the poor sheep must be careful not to be consumed by the evil lurking in every direction, thus giving their congregations the benefit of both being morally superior while also potentially victims.

Entertainment loves to bounce between promoting the game and criticizing the game of life, placing itself into the position of being the arbiter.

And of course, politicians love to portray their opponents as gamesmen, and themselves as “the straight arrows of truth.”

Oh, forgive me. I failed to mention what the game is. Here it is in a nutshell:

  1. Get mine
  2. Get it fast
  3. Get going.

We are convinced that life is much more exciting when we acquire what we need–perhaps to the detriment of others. It turns us into a vicious, nasty, grouchy, backbiting lot, always paranoid about the intentions of the folks around us, and never quite satisfied when we do achieve our goals because we’re afraid they’ll be stolen from us by those who want to “get theirs, get it fast and get going.”

So once you believe in this game you never have a moment of rest, because you are either involved in the pursuit or else cladding yourself in armor, to protect your valuables.

You can imagine–I disagree.

I will refrain from calling my idea a game. Rather, it is a lifestyle. It is as follows:

  1. Get mine.
  2. Get yours
  3. Get moving

There’s nothing wrong with me pursuing mine first, as long as I am willing to give the same passion, doorway and opportunity to you, to acquire yours. As a result, I make an ally instead of an enemy. I’m acquiring a comrade instead of competition.

So perhaps when we go on our next adventure we can do it together. We can get it for both of us, and get moving much more effectively.

The cynical American would insist that I’m opening my life up, to be decimated by the greedy. But I would point out that the greedy individuals in life don’t need me to open up in order to eliminate me.

I would rather make the choice.

As long as you believe that the game is about garnering your portion and being gleeful that someone else failed, you are just waiting for a bigger bus to come along and strike you down.

I don’t believe in the game.

I will not play the game.

I will get mine, and through that process have the confidence to help you get yours, so we can get moving … together.

Donate Button

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

 

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

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

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

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Make Me … July 7, 2014

 

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2284)

Viewing violence makes me grouchy

Religious ritual makes me fussy

Politics makes me intolerant

Laziness makes me fat and cynical

Reading books makes me book-smart

Laughing, believe it or not, makes me sleep

Sleeping makes me pleasant

Pleasant makes me friendly

Friendly makes me friends

Friends make me confident

Confident makes me hopeful

Hopeful makes me creative

Creative makes …

Creativity

At the end of my sharing yesterday in Janesville, Wisconsin, a young fellow came to my table and gave me a picture he had drawn. His name was Garrhett.

He told me that he had created the image during my show, and his mother said he should give it to me.

I told him I would use it in one of my jonathots. He looked at me with great disbelief, as if to say, “Sure you will.”

So here you go, Garrhett. Here’s your picture, as promised.

And by the way, you made me do it.

drawing

 

Donate Button

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

Arizona morning

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

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

What’s So Funny? … May 9, 2013

(1,876)

laugh maskI made one of those classic mistakes.

Spurred on by some friends and supporters, for a season I decided to advertise myself as a comedian or a humorist. It seemed like a good idea. After all, most people like light-hearted material over crusty pages with darkened corners.

But here’s what I discovered: arriving at my first engagement, fully promoted, a gentleman ambled up to me and said, “So I hear you’re a comedian.” (I would describe his tone as a mingling of spit and vinegar, accentuated with a sneer.)

I was in trouble.

For honestly, the best way to make sure that people will NOT find joviality in your material is to suggest to them that it is meant to be giggly. We are a highly independent species, bound and determined to push forward our own opinions, even if they’re wrong.

It took about two weeks, but I caught on. I dropped the foolish title from my advertising and decided to just go in front of the audience and let the chips fall where they may. Guess what? I was suddenly funny again.

So here’s what I learned from that experience. You might find it beneficial if you are in the pursuit of offering levity to the planet.

1. Don’t TRY to be funny.

2. BE funny–by sharing your “tries.” People love to laugh at our failures. You can call it sick, or just dub it predictable.

3. Don’t make fun of people. It’s cheap and eventually there is someone out there who will get a bead on your oddities–and decimate your character.

4. Make people believe in fun. In the midst of a world of turmoil, discussing the layers of conflict rarely brings about the energy to do anything about it. We have to believe that life is fun or we’ll stop showing up.

5. Don’t lose the humor of God. I was at a church service one time and we were all laughing, having a good time before the service, when the pastor said, “Let’s all calm down and get ready for worship.” I had to object. I replied, “What are you trying to do? Scare God away?” If God does not promote joy, then He’s probably pretty grouchy. I don’t think it does us any good to believe in a grouchy God.

6. And we promote the humor of God because God saves the lost THROUGH humor. The parables of Jesus are riddled by one-liners, set-ups and little stabs of comedy. If you can’t get people to look at their lives through the prism of jubilation and with a bit of jocular nature, the pain involved in changing is just too great.

So to answer the question “what’s so funny?” — it would be me, when I don’t TRY to be funny. And it would be you AND me when we realize that “be of good cheer” is the only way to overcome the world’s tribulation.

 

 

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

*****

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

A New Trinity… March 22, 2013

(1,828)

Trinity First UMC

The three men I admire the most

The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost

Lyrics from American Pie, written by Don McLean. I doubt if too many people remember it, but every time I hear the tune I get tickled by that passage.

The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit have been really good to me–mainly because I have escaped the futility of looking at them as religious icons and instead, have taken them into my heart.

My Father created me, was there at my conception and promises to stay with me until the end.

Jesus, the Son, is my elder brother, who’s gone before me and knows where all the pitfalls may be, and graciously has taught me how to avoid them and live successfully.

And the Holy Spirit, as promised, is a comfort to my soul, and gently nudges me, reminding me of the beauty of the message which gives me hope.

But as I said, there are those who have taken this Holy Trinity and used it for their own agenda or made it just some sort of repetition of worship that is visited once a week at the great museum of spirituality. Too bad.

You see, I find myself headed this weekend to Trinity, Texas, population 2,712 delightful souls, whose main industry is attempting to stay industrious in this tepid economy. I’ll be sharing over there Sunday morning, at the First United Methodist Church, with Pastor Russ and all the good souls.

I’m sure they believe in the Trinity–but I will be gently informing them that the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost needs to be translated more simply to our generation, which is quite reliant on visual aids to understand great concepts.

Truthfully, placed gently somewhere between Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore is the conscience and spirit of the United States of America. Most folks are not hyper-liberal OR conservative. Honestly, most of us are not righteous Republicans or determined Democrats. We are people, trying to do our best. And if we’re not trying to do our best, we at least are trying to remember what the best looked like when people were actually doing it.

So along with teaching the doctrines of the Bible and the beauty of the original Trinity, we should be aware that the average person is in need of a new Trinity.

Yes, the Father they need to see is a church in the middle of town that is a welcoming center for the children of earth. All of us know there are different types of fathers. There are grumpy fathers, who scream if the children run too loudly through the house. There are cheap fathers, who turn off every light when they walk through the home, frowning at everybody for using too much electricity. And then there are those young fathers, who like to giggle, run and play–and make their children feel loved while they push them in the swing or play a game of tag in the yard. Dare I say, I believe we might err in presenting too grouchy of a God?

So I will tell those good folks in Trinity this weekend that the house they’ve built to welcome the spirit of God should be a friendly place, where the people of the community can come and see their Daddy instead of being on a weekend visitation with their estranged Father who has divorced Mother Earth and reluctantly pays child support. Yes, the church at 131 North Elm Street in Trinity, Texas, needs to be a beautiful home for Daddy, where all of His children are welcome.

And when they get there and they feel comfortable in the presence of the Father, in His house, they should be able to see the Son. Not just hear about him through the parables and tales of the Bible, but they should see Jesus in the eyes of the congregation. It is why Jesus said that “greater things would we do” because he goes to the Father. He said we are “the light of the world”–and we are supposed to grow to “the fullness of the measure of his stature.”

No matter how good you teach the New Testament, people will believe that the Jesus you share is the Jesus you live.

And then, the Holy Spirit, which should fill that house of the Father, should be a warm blanket of mercy. Mercy is easy for me–it’s when I remember how much I am in need of grace before I ever start doling out judgment. The Holy Spirit, to our generation, is mercy. It’s what our people need. They are being bombarded with ideas and emotions from all sides, when what they require is a moment of peace and sanity, so they can hear the still small voice within them talk some sense.

So as I head off to be with Pastor Russ and all the gang in Trinity, I will tell them that they have the opportunity to present a new Trinity:

  • a Father who lives in the house they’ve built on Elm Street, who is more of a Daddy than a detached bread-winner;
  • a Son who is well-represented by a gathering of believers, who still think it’s important to live out the Golden Rule instead of just storing the gold in a safe somewhere;
  • and a Holy Spirit that leads with mercy, because each and every one of us sitting in the pews know that we need mercy ourselves.

If you add onto that a simple message–for instance, I recommend “NoOne is better than anyone else”–you would be surprised at how many folks will be drawn to such a sanctuary of hope.

The Father is God’s house located, in this case, on Elm Street.

The Son is Pastor Russ and all the good members of the church.

The Holy Spirit is the mercy we feel for those around us.

And the message is NoOne is better than anyone else.

We’ll be there on Sunday. We’ll be honoring the original Trinity of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, while also presenting our new “visual aid”–us.

I‘m looking forward to it.

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

I’m Looking For… A Content God February 4, 2013

(1,781)

handsGrouchy, grumpy and growling–three attributes we associate with being cantankerous and therefore, usually equated with getting old. Actually, teenagers can be just as grouchy, grumpy and growling as the retirement set, but apparently the younger generation has a better public relations agent.

I believe in God. I belive in God for three reasons:

  1. The world is too magnificent, too intricate and too well-devised to be an accident of a “Big Bang” idea.
  2. I need someone to love me as I find ways, through trial and error, to be more loveable.
  3. I am arrogant enough to desire immortality.

Now, you will notice that I don’t choose to believe in God simply because the Bible tells me so, that I am fearful of the power of His nature, or even because I’m frightened of a devil’s hell. No–I’m looking for a God who’s content–because I know that I’m better when I allow myself to be.

Unfortunately, that book called the Holy Bible presents at least three different Gods, if not more:

  • There’s the God who created the world, walking around like a proud papa, calling everything good and placing gold stars on daily assignments.
  • Then you’ve got the God who had some sort of faith crisis own and began demanding the foreskin from male children, the deaths of the Amorites and Philistines, the forbidding of shrimp scampi and the killing off of folks in Sodom and Gomorrah because…well, because they weren’t right in the head. We go through a season of this God, who seems to be enamored of blood, requesting that small animals be killed as confirmation of forgiveness, and relegating women to the status of cattle.
  • All of a sudden, some of the prophets from the minor leagues started sharing about a God who didn’t like killing animals and preferred mercy over sacrifice, and this carried through until we were given a live and in-person interview through the deeds and ideas of this fellow named Jesus. We were told that he was God. Suddenly back in our presence was a God who cared about people, told stories, condemned hypocrisy and welcomed repentance.

Recently I told a theologian that I was in search of a “content God” who was thrilled with the invention of fish in the ocean. He frowned and replied, “All the gods of the Bible blend into one God, who was all things and whose ways are mysterious. We will not understand until all things are revealed.” I looked into his dissatisfied face (which was grouchy, grumpy and growling) smiled and walked away.

You can feel free to boil down the entire Bible in an attempt to come up with a God who was able to kill children because they mocked a prophet but also heal the lepers because they cried out in praise. Not for me.

My God is a content one–because I know that I’m better when I am content. My God is the one who sat down on Friday afternoon, during his “week” of creation, and looked at man and woman, which He had just formed, and smiled in joy–with a tear in His eye.

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

%d bloggers like this: