Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … May 14th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: If I remember correctly, I was eleven years old, in middle school, during gym class, and Miss Pontier shared with us girls. It was a rainy day and we were supposed to be playing softball. We were forced inside, and for some reason, our teacher decided to wax poetic about men.

 

Dear Woman: Really? What did she say?

 

Dear Man: As I look back on it, I realize that she was probably going through a hard time in a relationship, but she quickly–and kind of comically–explained to us the three things that men don’t do.

 

Dear Woman: This is interesting. What were her findings?

 

Dear Man: She said men don’t emotionally care about much of anything. Secondly, men find it difficult to carry on a meaningful conversation, and third–men don’t remember anything if it’s more than a week away and doesn’t involve food and beer.

 

Dear Woman: Wow. That’s pretty jaded. So what did you think at the time?

 

Dear Man: I thought she was the goddess of wisdom. Who was I to question her?

 

Dear Woman: I had a similar thing happen when I was playing junior high football. We were on the bus on the way to a game and the coach talked to us about girls. We were not just a captive audience, but captivated by the subject. He said that girls don’t like sports, they don’t like to be ignored, and they don’t ever want to be wrong.

 

Dear Man: I would assume you agreed.

 

Dear Woman: Well, from my lack of experience I decided to accept his insight.

 

Dear Man: You see–that’s the problem in our society. People think it’s funny to portray the other gender as ridiculous, stubborn or stupid. But once we think that they don’t do something, it colors our efforts, and pretty soon we translate it to “they won’t.

 

Dear Woman: In other words, we take it personally.

 

Dear Man: Absolutely. So even though we feel the need to pair off and mate, we establish our main relationships within our gender, insisting that it’s impossible for a man and woman to get along completely.

 

Dear Woman: So let me get this straight. Because somebody tells us, for instance, that “women don’t do something,” we go out and confirm through our experiences, which are now prejudiced, that they won’t.

 

Dear Man: And it doesn’t stop there. Once we’re convinced they don’t and they won’t, we start believing they can’t. Despair sets in, disappointment, and a nagging resignation to having a relationship that is less than fulfilling.

 

Dear Woman: So we do a disservice to our children by telling them that the opposite sex doesn’t do things–because they will begin to believe they won’t, which makes them conclude that they can’t.

 

Dear Man: Yes. That’s why we have so much prejudice. Because if I believe you don’t do something, and I conclude you won’t, I disrespect you by thinking you can’t.

 

Dear Woman: So what can we do?

 

Dear Man: I think we can stop generalizing that men and women react as genders instead of individuals. It will block that deadly process that ends up with us thinking that the opposite sex is incapable of addressing our feelings.

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WDJD… May 20, 2012

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I said yes. I like to say yes, mainly because “no” demands too much of an explanation and makes you sound like you are hem-hawing around instead of being forthright and honest.

A lady at a church, a teacher at the local high school, asked me if I would be willing to come and speak for an assembly of the student body the following morning after my concert. She had taken the initiative to arrange it, so I had no reason to say no.

I do not consider myself to be a great spokesman to young humans–but by the same token, I don’t despise them or find it difficult to communicate once  I get over my own fears and preconceptions. Long story shortened (to allow for you to maintain your attention)  I arrived at the school and was greeted by a young lady who was to be my hostess. She carried that timidity common to the adolescent of our species. I noticed that she was wearing a WWJD bracelet. So I commented.

“Oh, I see you have a WWJD bracelet. Are you a Christian?”

“Well, kinda,” she replied sheepishly. “Actually, my grandma gave it to me along with a little booklet about what it means. Honestly, I haven’t read it yet.”

I decided not to pursue the conversation any further. The WWJD fad really didn’t last too long–mainly because it did become more of a jewelry accessory rather than a spiritual odyssey, and secondly, because most people don’t know what Jesus would do because they are so ingrained in their own personal cultures that they color the purity of that spiritual quest with their own upbringing. So I waited for my instructions concerning the assembly.

Well, things began to fall apart, as they often do whenever you enter the realm of public education. The principal came out and apologized, saying that a full assembly would be impossible because there was testing going on. I listened quietly. He said he had arranged for the drama, speech and music departments to gather in the auditorium to hear me share about the power of inspiration in entertainment. I thanked him for his courtesy and awaited the opportunity. About ten minutes later the principal reappeared and said that regrettably, the choir, music and drama departments would be unable to attend the lecture because they were preparing for an upcoming concert–BUT the speech classes were still very interested in hearing my inspiring talk.

I nodded my head. About three minutes later, the secretary arrived (the principal apparently too embarrassed to attend further) and she said the speech department was going to be unable to hear me, because they needed to rehearse for a debate to be held at a rival school. By this time I was giggling inside, wondering exactly who I would end up speaking to, or if I was just starting my day early to make me appreciate my afternoon nap.

About a half an hour later, I was escorted into the gymnasium, where, in a far corner of the bleachers, about six young women sat–students from a physical education class. They didn’t dress out that particular morning, because they were either sick or had forgotten their exercise clothes. They sat peering at me as the secretary gave me an overly elaborate introduction and unleashed me on these uninterested souls.

I realized at this point that I did not need to know what Jesus WOULD do, but instead, required an understanding of what Jesus DID do. What DID Jesus do when he was placed in a position where he was given lesser and lesser importance, ending up with an audience he did not anticipate or prepare for? You see, I had taken some time to study the school–understood their mascots and had even checked out their website for their sports schedules, to know the team records. At this point, in front of these six non-dressing gym students, this all seemed quite irrelevant.

What was NOT going to work was a typical human reaction based on ego–because every time we feel slighted, cheated, angry, frustrated, misunderstood or fussy, we are viewed as the villain, no matter how justified our reasoning may be. This was my audience, which had deteriorated from fifteen hundred promised students to six students–who didn’t seem to have much promise at all.

What did Jesus do when slapped in the face by reality? There’s a four-step process to understanding how Jesus communicated his message of love and faith to the world. It’s not hard to understand; it’s not difficult to grasp. The problem with religion and Christian theology is that it has a goal rather than a search. Every denomination is determined to promote its particular spin on godliness instead of  just studying the mind and personality of Jesus. Sitting in front of those six young ladies who were bored to death, I applied the Jesonian philosophy on human interaction.

1. Open the heart. You will never reach people spiritually, mentally and physically if you haven’t touched them emotionally. It is futile to reach for the brain or the soul if you haven’t first passed through the heart. Jesus was a heart teacher. If you have no emotion in your spiritual experience, you will have no soul to it, no renewing of the mind and therefore no physical evidence.

2. Tell a story. Anybody who believes they can communicate God by reading the Bible has lost all sense of reason. The communication of God has always been, and always will be, the sharing of a personal testimony from our own experience.  Everything else sounds like jumbled words from a former time written by Shakespeare.

3. Use the earth. We are earthlings–and I don’t mean that in a science fiction sense. I mean that we are all inhabitants of earth. Therefore we understand earth and earth is our best source for communication. When you talk about heaven, the wrong people listen. People who are self-righteous. People who are trying to escape responsibility. People who are ethereal. People who want to condemn other people to hell by first talking about heaven. When you use the earth, every son and daughter of Adam who has ears can hear.

4. And finally, make God human. When Jesus told stories, God was portrayed as a Father, an owner of a vineyard, a king, a fisherman, and even a sower of seed. The true failure of religion is that it is obsessed with the notion of making humans godly–impossible–instead of taking the more logical path of making God more human.

I don’t have to wear a bracelet that says, “What would Jesus do?” I have isolated off the gospels and understand his modus operandi. So when I sat down in front of those six girls, instead of being upset, I opened my heart by telling them the funny story of how my day was going so far. I related about how that happened to great people everywhere–for example, that Abraham Lincoln was deemed to be a complete failure before history called him a success. I used the earth to connect with them about how it felt to be sitting there, not dressing out for gym class, and how when I write something like a movie, I look for anything that is common in order to connect with people. And then I made God human. I told them that I believed if God came to earth today and was looking for work, He would enter the entertainment field. I joked with them that He probably wouldn’t be an accountant–too many numbers. Certainly not a politician–they all laughed. God would make a horrible lawyer because he would always want to forgive the criminals. They especially liked that.

My morning finished triumphantly–although only in front of a half-dozen folk. I left the school with most people not knowing I was ever there, but I got a chance to make friends and impact six young ladies simply because I kept my cool instead of becoming prideful. And I used the magical power of what Jesus DID do–opening the heart, telling a story, using the earth and making God human.

   

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