Jesonian: Don’t Stop Believing… March 16, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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book JesonianI hate religion.

Maybe it’s because I suck at it.

I’ve  tried to be religious. Actually, I was attempting to be spiritual but it ended up being a big dose of “holy bowling.”

I’ve gone to prayer meetings and sat with folks as we watched the time pass–contemplating, meditating, praying, mumbling…well, any number of things. I’m not proud to admit this, but I didn’t get more godly. I got sleepy.

I’ve tried to do a lot of Bible reading. I’ve read the Bible through several times. But I have to admit that often when I get involved in that process, the terminology, the locations and even the plot line can be bewildering, befuddling and leave me baffled.

I understand the plan of salvation. Golly, I’ve participated in it. I do have Jesus as a Savior. I have met thousands of people who possess him as their personal Savior, but frankly, they do not have much to show for that experience in their own lives.

Am I weird here? For after all, do you go to an amusement park and come back the same? Shouldn’t the experience change you? At least make you aware that holy roller coasters are a good thing?

Some people go a little further than salvation. They take Jesus on as their “prayer buddy.” In other words, when problems come up, they go to prayer and ask God to intervene, interact,  intersect or intertwine. That’s good, too.

But shouldn’t prayer make us better people? Because there are people all over the world who pray, and then grab guns and go out and kill innocent civilians and children.

I’m not comfortable with that. So I came up with this word, “Jesonian.” I don’t have illusions of grandeur–that it’s going to catch on and become the next popular thing in this country. Maybe I’m a little selfish. It works for me, so if other people don’t want to participate, I still benefit.

See, Jesus is not just my savior. He’s not merely my prayer buddy.

Jesus is my mentor.

He offers a philosophy, a way of thinking, a style of life, and an attitude that is conducive to success on Planet Earth.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

Just a month ago I heard a preacher say to his congregation that the gospel doesn’t make sense to the world, and that the world is destined to reject it.

I don’t get that.

Why would Jesus come to earth to teach something that was even more obscure than the Judaism that already existed, and alienate mankind just so the tiny clique which accepted him could walk around thumping their chests and pointing to the heavens, assuming approval?

No, you see, the gospel does make sense. After you get done with selfishness, depression, stupidity, arrogance and debauchery, you realize that life requires a certain amount of temperance, brilliance, creativity and mercy. Until then, you are a pestilence to those around you rather than a person of interest.

Jesonian is when we finally realize that a Savior who answers prayers would really like us to follow his words. Matter of fact, he said it:

“If you love me, keep my commandments.”

So when you hear me use the word Jesonian, what I’m talking about is going beyond the selfishness of salvation and the myopia of prayer, into discovering the lifestyle of Jesus–and then using that energy to become a better human being and a more successful force of nature.

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Childproof… January 8, 2013

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jonlittleboyThere are six wheels which roll our culture down the road. A couple of them are flat, others have too much air in them, and one or two are just so well-worn they’re ready to pop. I will no longer follow society on these six issues: violence, sex, God, money, politics and work.

The mob mentality claims that “guns don’t kill people–people kill people.” I have to step away from that thinking. I have a more childlike perception. Anger wants to kills people, which lends itself to shooting if a gun is available. So what am I going to work on? Releasing my anger in positive spurts of revelation instead of waiting until it boils over.

The mass of society believes that sex is an instrument of pleasure, pain and manipulation. I find that distasteful. I’m not against pleasure, but I think any effort to continue a battle between the sexes, using that pleasure as a weapon, is emotional suicide. My childproof answer is to continue to learn, understand and honor the awesome beauty of human sexuality.

The religious community screams out its doctrines about God, preaching that we feeble human beings need to learn His will and enact His commandments. I am a child. God is my Daddy. He created a home for us called earth and if I will listen carefully, I can acquire the best ways to use the household appliances, so I can be successful and do good works that will glorify my Father.

Meanwhile, Wall Street, in the economic hubbub, talk about money. We are suddenly thrust into a materialistic whirlwind, where we prove our true value by the things we possess. It is time for the children to rise up and shout that we have enough stuff, but we don’t have enough opportunity to use our stuff to help others.

Politics may be the only way that those who deem themselves righteous can overcome their adversary in the name of God by using less-than-pure methods. Let the process go on. I am a child. I don’t need to vote. I don’t need to worship where I vote. I’ve already decided what’s important and I’m pursuing it. I need no President or representative as my surrogate in order to do what’s right.

And finally, the hounding, complaining voices of the past have convinced the populace that work is weary and difficult, and the more miserable we can make it, the better chance we have of appearing to be mature. The child in me rebels. The little boy that you see in the picture at the top of this page has no problem with expending energy–as long as it’s laced with a bit of fun.

I am a child:

  • I do not kill.
  • I do not use sex as a weapon.
  • I do not believe in God because a book tells me to.
  • I need as much money as is required to meet my basic daily bread.
  • I am not interested in politicians, nor any of their manipulations.
  • And if you want me to work, you should make it clear why we’re doing it and how we can find a really interesting way to make it playful.

In 2013, I am becoming a child. I have no intentions of being childish–but I don’t see that my society is rolling us towards solutions, but instead, is choosing the hill to roll down towards destruction.

I shall not participate. I shall not be grown-up when I see aging souls finding ways to degrade joy, barely able to tolerate breath.

I will be a child–and maybe in doing so, I can become worthy of the Kingdom of God

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Killing is a Dead Issue … January 2, 2013

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jon with gun to head

I want to have a mature understanding–with a childlike application.

There you go. That is the power of faith–to possess wisdom but not use it against yourself and others, but instead, apply it in such a way that you are as harmless as a dove.

That’s also what I feel about violence. Let’s get several things straight–children don’t play with guns. Children are taught that guns are not cool. And children are instructed that life has value in all its forms.

A quick story. When I was eleven years old I went to church camp and the grown-up in our cabin who was watching over us brought a hand gun.  He pretended to hide it, but brandished it once or twice–enough so that we were horribly curious, being of that age and immaturity. When one of the boys asked him why he brought the gun, he said is was just in case we run into snakes or bears. Here’s the problem with that–there are no snakes or bears in Central Ohio, and secondly, he left the gun under his pillow when we went out to where there might be snakes or bears, and a quick run back to the cabin would have been impractical.

People who own guns in America are not using them to protect themselves. They would have to be packing heat everyday when they walked down the street–which in most communities is illegal. So if you found yourself in a bank robbery, it would not do you much good to have a gun locked in your safe at home. Even if you had a burglar break into your home in the middle of the night, by the time you got your safe open and your gun out, most of the damage would be done and you would possibly be the only armed person in your home, since most burglars don’t carry weapons because if they get caught, it levies a much higher sentence.

So what is the purpose of all this gun craze? It isn’t the Old West. We don’t have holsters hanging from our waist dangling a Smith and Wesson. The only reason to own a gun is to impress or intimidate.

Smith & Wesson

Smith & Wesson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My camp counselor brought his gun to camp to make the kids think he was cool. Actually, it scared me–especially when he would yell at us for not making up our beds. I always wondered if he was going to grab the gun and take care of the problem once and for all.It was intimidating. That’s why we came up with the statement, “If somebody put a gun to my head…” This is not a pleasant greeting. It is intimidation. It’s trying to impress. It’s what we tell our children NOT to do.

For instance, we do not suggest that the solution to bullying in our public schools is to make sure that everybody bullies. We attack the bullies for bullying instead of giving everybody mean things to say to each other to even the score on bullying.

The answer to gun violence in this country, and to crime, is not to arm the populace. The answer is to teach people to disarm situations without killing someone.

I do not think that guns should be illegal. I just believe they need to stop being cool. Just as cigarettes had their heyday, were revealed as being dangerous and relegated to a lesser position in our society, so it should be with the necessary evil of firearms.

A young minister told me he bought a snub-nosed revolver. He was so proud. I bit my lip. His revelation concerning his purchase brought great interest from congregation members–perhaps more focus than he gets from preaching the Golden Rule. He puffed up. He was impressing people.

I shook my head and walked away. I have no judgment for my brother, but I am on a quest this year to be more childlike in my faith, and as I told you–children don’t play with guns. Children shouldn’t think guns are cool. And children should value life … in all its forms.

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I’m Proud … December 30, 2012

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GE DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m proud of my country. I haven’t seen folks handle so much crap since Ben from the fertilizer store moved his family, complete with inventory, from Sunbury to Galena.

It’s been a tough year. I guess we aren’t supposed to say that. If you’re a Democrat, they’ll tell you that you don’t believe in the President. The Republicans will snipe at you and suggest you should have voted for their paraded puppet. The optimistic sort believes we should always look on the bright side of life. The pessimist will leap in, explaining that you “don’t know the half of it…”

Just like any other year–too many dead people, not enough explanations. Too much debate, not enough progress. Too much self-esteem and not enough true esteem over self.

It was a horrible election year. Maybe I should use a different word than “horrible.” How about “yucky-puckey?” No, that’s too cute.

We’re very good in America at assessing blame and being satisfied with discovering who is responsible for the crime, without ever making attempts to satisfy the victims or assure ourselves that it needn’t happen again.

But you see, I was out there all year in the midst of what we refer to as “everyday people,” who are really the people who make sure that one way or another, we have an every day.

They are a brave lot. You would barely be able to tell that they were in a hailstorm of adversity–if you didn’t look closely and see the dents in their armor.

We don’t smile enough. We clap instead of laugh. We need to be entertained to relax. Conversation is limited to tiny bites of half-words, quickly typed on miniscule machines in an attempt to eliminate the need for either confrontation or communication.

But I’m still proud of us. We’ve reached the end of another year and have not imploded with the sheer lunacy of intoxication from reality shows. We have actually listened to the best of Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and a host of others–and have mercifully not run en mass and burned down their stations.

We were given a choice of two men, neither of whom knew what they were doing, and we intelligently selected the one still living in the house–so as to avoid paying moving expenses. We didn’t like either one. We didn’t favor their views and we certainly didn’t approve of their lifestyle–that being a politician.

I’m proud of this country. I’m proud to be an American because after we get over our fits of arrogance, we do actually settle down, look at our history and realize that we’ve got a long way to go on our way to celebrate how far we’ve come.

There were a couple of times this year when I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it. After all, movie theaters and elementary schools were never meant to be shooting galleries. But we will keep our guns because no one has the ability to make amends. We will stubbornly continue to believe it’s someone else’s fault because catching a glimpse of our true selves in the mirror is much too frightening.

But there will always be the folks I met on my journey. They start off cranky, fussy and unwilling–but after a few brief moments of levity, silliness and honesty, they begin to unpack the soul they’ve kept hidden behind false memories.

I was proud to be in front of them. Doggone it, I’d be proud to be behind them. I’m proud of this country and I’m hoping that in the coming year, we can do something we’re really proud of… something more eternal than survival.

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Moratorium… December 18, 2012

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Jon Signing

It worked with littering.

There was a time in our society when it was commonplace to dump your trash exactly where you were, even if it was on the street. It sounds bizarre today, but it’s true. Our country was becoming overridden with all sorts of teeming refuse. So what did we do?

We made it unpopular to litter.crying Indian

In like manner, there was a season in our history when being prejudiced against people with color in their skin was not only deemed normal, but rational. We mock that kind of bigotry in this day and age. But how did we change it? We made hating people of different color stupid.

Take the case of abortion. There are not nearly as many abortions as there were at one time. I attribute that drop in the number of terminated pregnancies to a very simple statement that was uttered about two decades ago. It was a slogan which stated that “abortion should be legal, but rare.”

We are a people of great intuition when we actually decide to call out our foolishness instead of hiding behind civil liberties, individual choices, state’s rights and fear of admitting our wrongs. Here are some easy statements:

  • Littering isn’t good because it makes a mess.
  • Bigotry is a negative force because it alienates people who could be productive.
  • Abortion needs to be guided in such a manner that human life is given the greatest respect possible.

Likewise, guns and violence need to be showcased for what they truly are and not what they are glamorized to be in order to generate the next blockbuster or promote an arcane freedom that is no longer useful to the common man.

I am declaring a moratorium.

For those of you who do not know what a moratorium is, it is a cease and desist order from my soul to the world around me, to proclaim that I will no longer indulge in a certain activity.

And what is that activity? Viewing, playing around with or musing over violence against human beings.

For instance, if we treated the car the same way as the gun, we would raise our children to believe that when they received their driver’s license, they should go out and drive as fast as they could, hit as many people as possible and dramatically crash into the side of a wall, leaping from the vehicle, giggling over surviving the ordeal.

After all, we don’t show guns being used to hunt deer. Nobody’s making a movie about the great fun one has at a target range. There are no documentaries presently being filmed about the various ways to clean a gun to make it look more presentable or work better. Every depiction of the gun in entertainment, news reports, warfare and even literature shows it as an implement to destroy, mutilate and murder human flesh.

Even within my own circle of friends and family, there are people who enjoy shows like Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, True Blood, Dexter, CSI and other programming for which sole purpose is to show the decapitation, destruction and decimation of the human body. I know people who would insist they are peace-loving individuals who sit for hours with a video game, becoming mass murderers via a push of the button.

It’s time for a moratorium How would you enact that? I plan on fasting violence. I have no intentions of watching  shows that are geared to expelling blood from the body of human beings to kill them off for the purpose of entertainment. I am declaring it disgusting. I am tired of having our society littered with the belief that human beings are cattle which can be slaughtered and turned into hamburger Mine will be a three-step process:

  1.  Fast violence. Stop watching death and destruction.
  2. Cease to accept violence as legitimate entertainment, but rather, proclaim it to be what it is: genocide pornography.
  3. Confront those who continue to watch it and ask them for their motivation.

I challenge my own children to join me in this endeavor. We cannot sit around and pretend we are appalled by what happend in our country as our children were gunned down in their school, and then pop in video games and movies that duplicate the same insane butchery.

I am not connoting that limiting violence in entertainment will eliminate these heinous acts. I am just saying that as sane people, when it is in our power to address a portion of the problem simply by dispelling the barbarian actions and irresponsible presentation of bloodshed, that we have a duty to stop littering our own minds and cease to encourage others who are weaker in spirit and character, to be tempted by the visions.

Violence is wrong. If you’ve ever been in a room when somebody cut their finger while dicing onions and you saw the horror on their face over a simple one-inch nick, you will grasp exactly how unnatural it truly feels for blood to leave our bodies.

So how can you watch the foul play as blood is sprayed everywhere across the screen, and think you’re doing anything but promoting a piece of insanity which will certainly eventually have to be tempered–or will be duplicated by the weak-minded.

I am declaring a moratorium. Today is my birthday and I am taking the license as a human being of maturity and experience to declare that I, for one, am going to fast violence. You want a place to begin? There you go.

And I will tell you that if enough people do this, entertainment will change, society will shift and gun use will be legal, but rare.

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The Reason for Rules … December 8, 2012

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Jon Signing

“Don’t do that.”

I’ve always hated those three words. Maybe it’s because I have a snotty seven-year-old brat living inside my big, fat body. It could be my rebellious nature. It might be that I don’t like to remember a bunch of stuff that doesn’t seem necessary if I don’t already know it. But I think the reason I hate the words, “Don’t do that” is because when you pose the natural question, “Why not?” you are often met with indignation or even ostracized from the club that has instituted the regulation.Please do not walk on the grass

I do understand the importance of rules. I just want you to comprehend that sometimes they are arbitrary, other times rules become unnecessary because of development and too often they are just a way to keep people from achievement so that everyone can remain dull and mediocre.

As far as I can tell, here are the four reasons for rules:

1. To prevent people from doing something that will ultimately kill them.

2. To prevent people from doing something contrary to your government, your God or your preference.

3. To prevent people from doing something that won’t kill them.

4. To prevent people from doing.

I’m sure you can find different angles on this, but you might be surprised to discover that three of the four reasons for rules are less than noble.

I certainly am in favor of outlawing anything that endangers the life of human beings, animals or any part of God’s creation that has the right to live instead of being decimated. That’s why I’m against abortion. It’s why I am opposed to the right to bear arms without adequate restriction to guarantee the safety of the innocent. It’s why I think obesity should be against the law. Even though I’m a fat guy, I have to admit, nothing kills people more than blubber. It’s why I think restrictions on cigarettes, alcohol and mind-altering drugs are essential–they all a hook they jab into human flesh, dragging people into desecration and disintegration.

But not all rules are so valuable. For instance, I think it’s good that the Ten Commandments tell us not to commit adultery, but I don’t think it’s beneficial when the Catholics, Mormons, Muslims and fundamentalist Christians use that precept to cast aspersions on the joys and pleasures of sex. Sex was not created by God to make children. Children, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your point of view) are a by-product of a really good orgasm.

I do not think we can market a God who has more rules to His philosophy than jewels. I don’t think a government can sustain itself trying to keep its citizens from the liberty that God says we enjoy as evidence of His spirit. And I don’t think you have the right to establish disfavor for other people because just you find their particular habits distasteful.

I think we have to take a good look at the reason for rules. I think we have to be candid and say that the introduction of incurable viruses into our society through various types of lifestyles is reason enough to re-evaluate those choices. Why? Because the result is dead human beings.

“It is not God’s will that any should perish.” God does not hate sin, God hates death.

Learn it. Otherwise, you’re going to start looking for evidence that the people who are supposed to be your brothers and sisters are an abomination to your snooty God, because they ate shrimp from the nearby Mediterranean Sea. (You know that WAS the case at one time. Shellfish were forbidden for the Jews because for that season they were contaminated. In other words–they killed. Now they don’t. Enjoy your shrimp with your cocktail sauce.)

Likewise, if we come up with a cigarette that doesn’t produce lung cancer, more power to us. If we can prove that carrying around fifty extra pounds of lard on one’s body does not fry the circulatory system, then eat away. If we can produce guns with bullets that are better targeted towards evil than good people, then please start the manufacturing tomorrow. And if you can establish that aborting a fetus is not terminating life, then go ahead and open your clinic.

Other than that, realize that death is not admissible to a God who loves all of his children. But also be aware that making rules so as to make your fanciful cult more exclusive is just as distasteful to a God who honors free will above all else.

Be careful. Three out of four reasons for rules are at least erroneous, if not destructive. But by the same token, if a particular action ends in death, understand that our loving Father has only one desire–to protect His children.

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An Agenda… November 13, 2012

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Everybody has an agenda. That particular statement is considered to be truthful, but also negative.

Yet–don’t we all need an agenda? Is it possible to live an entirely spontaneous existence without having some foundational goals and purposes?

The problem may not be the agenda. The difficulty is often the premise on which the agenda is built. For instance, if you’re trying to communicate to the world that God is love, you must have some sort of explanation for the scriptures in the Bible that darned tootin’ seem to be hateful. If your precept is that God is wrathful, you’d better be prepared to explain away the mercy, gentleness and inclusive spirit of Jesus.

People seemed determined in this day and age to divide into two camps–conservatives and liberals. Would you allow me to sum up the agenda of a conservative? This is what they believe:

“I am trying to remember the very best things of my childhood and then return to them as an adult by making sure that progress does not eliminate the quality of my remembrance.”

How about a liberal?

“I am trying to get what I desire and I feel the best way to do that is by giving everything to everybody so as not to shut out anyone. But to do this, I have to make sure that I don’t scrutinize the end result.”

So you can see, of the two philosophies, it is obvious that the liberal agenda will always win out. It doesn’t make it better or more righteous, it’s just a wider tent which will hold more people. After all, with the conservative agenda, what you and I may have thought were the better parts of our childhood may have been the worst recollections of others. White Americans certainly enjoyed the 1950’s, but if you were black, you might not remember the Eisenhower years quite so favorably.

Likewise, even though the liberals tout the stupidity of Prohibition, they fail to mention the free love, drug culture and excesses of the 1960’s and ’70’s, which left many of our creative artists and young aspiring Americans dead from overdose.

So what is an agenda? Should we have one? Should we join one of these two camps, so we’re not out of the flow?

I guess I have to go back and find God’s agenda. It’s not so difficult to acquire.Here’s what I think: It is not His will that any should perish.

Almost sounds like He’s a liberal, doesn’t it? Matter of fact, if you’re a liberal you might raise a cheer at this point because you’re imagining this expansive force in nature which is all-accepting, all-loving, all-kind and all-receiving.

But there is a closing phrase to that this agenda of God’s: Truly it’s not God’s will that any should perish, but He also wants everyone to come to repentance. Repentance? That almost sounds conservative, doesn’t it?

So let’s put it together: It’s not God’s will that anyone should perish, but He wants everybody to come to repentance.

If I step into a room of conservatives, they want me to be against abortion, against drugs, against gay marriage, against immigration, but for war, for focusing on the family, for traditional values, and completely for capitalism.

If I walk into a meeting of liberals, they want me to be for abortion choice, for the legalization of marijuana, for gay marriage, for animal rights, and against creationism, against religion in the marketplace and against any questioning of scientific research whatsoever.

Can I be truthful? I would be uncomfortable in both settings. I don’t want to see people perish. I love people. But I do not believe that human beings are capable of redemptive thinking without repentance and transformation. I don’t think we plop out of the womb with an understanding of what is best for ourselves, let alone the world. There has to be some sort of salvaging of our souls–otherwise, our more basic animal nature will make us bungle in the jungle.

Here’s the truth–neither the conservatives or the liberals are able to create an agenda that is satisfying, fulfilling and sensitive to humanity. The conservatives close too many doors and the liberals open too many.

So what can we do? There are three things necessary to make sure that the philosophy you select in life does not cause you to run into walls or contradict yourself.

1. Does what I believe generate salvation or perishing? Anything that shuts people out, failing to leave the possibility for rebirth can therefore not be God. Conservatives fail because they see men, women, black, white, moral and immoral instead of giving God the right to judge His own children and simply focusing on their own pursuit of happiness.

2. Anything that kills is anti-human. Drugs kill. Legalizing them will not bring down the death toll. The assumption that human beings have the capability of using anything in temperance is utterly ridiculous. Part of our appeal is our passion–and certainly an attribute of our passion is the danger of excess. By the same token, to be against abortion and allow guns to flow freely into our society is a contradiction in spirit.

3. Change makes us happy. As long as you have the mindset that change is the enemy, and the more we keep things the same, trying to make everybody comfortable in their present skin, the less effective you will actually end up being in helping others. Everybody has a need to repent. I will grant you that it is their journey and their requirement to find that problem, but to act as if we’re all fine the way we are is to rob human beings of the capacity to get better.

If you enact these three principles, you can come up with an agenda that is close to the heart of God.

But you will NOT find yourself being either a conservative or a liberal.

Each group will believe, from time to time, that you are part of them–because one of their ideas falls into agreement with one of the three statements above. But each group, from time to time, will consider you an enemy, because you have to disagree with something cherished by  them.

Agenda–it can be a good thing if it is based on the facts of human beings instead of the nostalgia of our youth and the wishy washiness of our own desires.

Now, I understand that this essay may not be one of your favorites as far as having humor, stories and clever twists and turns. But every once in a while, you have to buy tires for your car or it becomes very insignificant that you have an engine. And every once in a while, it is essential in jonathots that we find a way to roll in our live so what we mobilize will actually find God’s favor … instead of His opposition.

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