G-Poppers… July 17th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

“After all–we’re all different.”

The words were spoken and the crowd gradually joined in with applause. G-Pop sat and listened carefully.

Something didn’t ring true.

The way to overcome intolerance is not to accentuate our differences. To think that human beings are capable of acknowledging differences among us without secretly holding prejudice against the person who dares to be different is absolutely ridiculous.

We are not divine. We are human. As humans, we are looking for reasons to find commonality.

This holds true in every relationship:

  • If two people are dating and discover they have nothing in common, they don’t continue dating, hoping to build up toleration for one another
  • If two kids are on the playground and one likes to play baseball and the other likes to climb the monkey bars, they quietly separate from one another, seeking out individuals whose taste in play is similar to theirs.

The path to peaceful coexistence is commonality.

How much do I have in common with you in comparison to our differences? Candidly, the word “difference” begins with “differ.”

If we do differ from one another, the process is simple: if we’re civilized, we walk away to avoid an argument. If we aren’t quite so civilized, we stand there and argue.

I do not know when the definition of “toleration” became biting one’s lip and pretending to accept things that don’t make sense. Toleration is finding places of common ground and celebrating them.

The “pendulum do swing.”

In a short period of time, we’ve gone from being a nation that was abusive to the gay community to a nation which now has a plurality which is willing to include gay marriage. But we will never have true openness with one another until we find the linking parts. We can’t fake receptivity.

For I have no intention of taking the social standing of old religion, ISIS and Vladimir Putin and joining with them against the homosexual community. But I came to this conclusion not because I looked at my brothers and sisters as obtuse and unusual, but because they use words that are common to me: freedom, brotherhood, love, relationship and tenderness.

We are not going to become better people by pretending we are tolerant. We become better people when we find common ways that we share in common, accentuating our common values.

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An Eye for a Tooth… July 17, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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eyeballGenerally speaking, I make a practice of avoiding anything that Hitler liked. Matter of fact, sometimes I’m a little uncomfortable about sporting a mustache.

Adolf despised gypsies, spirituality, homosexuals and let us not forget … Jews.

But ironically, considering his disdain for Abraham’s seed, he was a faithful follower of the Law of Moses–at least in the sense that he fervently applied the discipline of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” If a German soldier was killed in occupied lands, it was the edict in the Nazi Party to have ten locals murdered in retribution.

So even though the concept of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is included in what we refer to as “holy writ,” I know that it never came from the mind of any God who created human beings and understands our chemistry.

As a race, we are completely and totally devoid of the ability to be even. So what we always end up doing is plucking out an eye … for a tooth.

For instance, if we had actually gone in to Afghanistan after 9/11 and used specially trained troops to hunt down Osama bin Laden and twenty-eight hundred of his cult members and punished them for what they did in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., and then departed, we would have demonstrated the literal application of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

But that’s not what we did.

Infuriated, bruised, energized and over-wrought, we launched ourselves into twelve years of war, costing hundreds of thousands of lives.

Why? Because human beings can’t measure. Even though Jesus warned us that the “meter we measure out” to other people will come right back to us, we become enraged and inflict too much punishment for what has happened to us.

So are you telling me that God didn’t KNOW this about the emotional human beings He created?

  • Are you telling me He would have told Moses to unleash vengeful people on their enemies, hoping for some restraint?
  • How about this–did we really need to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, killing hundreds of thousands of people, to end the war–pay back for Pearl Harbor?

What might seem to be an unpatriotic questioning of our country’s dealings is actually just a microscope placed on human character, explaining WHY retribution never works.

If you punch me in the face, I am much too explosive to immediately respond to you because I am completely capable of losing control and taking more from you than you gave to me–even to the point of destroying your life.

The purpose of turning the other cheek is not to be a loser. It is to give yourself a chance to keep from losing control and doing something that you truly should regret, but end up rationalizing.

It is astounding to me that our heartland citizens always espouse that we are “a Christian nation,” when we continue to follow the principles of Judaism, Islam and even Adolf Hitler. Someone has to grow up.

If we really could be even and take “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” then who knows? Maybe the system would be a deterrent to evil. But historically, dastardly acts have always stirred formerly reasonable people to flirt with darkness.

So what IS the answer?

We need to admit that an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” and any attempt to initiate punishment on our own is not only going to perpetuate the problem, but will actually accelerate it.

I turn the other cheek because I don’t want my temper to control my future.

There you go.

After all, if you don’t do it that way, you find yourself defeated–with the world turned against you, stuck in a bunker, too frightened to swallow the pill and too much of a coward to put the gun to your head.

 

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Every Thirty-Three Years… March 15, 2013

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Ideas require patience and truth takes time. Yet no mere mortal is ever prepared for the longevity involved in taking a creative notion and seeing it come to fruition. It is a painstaking process full of pitfalls–and certainly rife with opposers.

In America, I think it takes about thirty-three years for a common piece of justice, kindness and goodness to make its way through the digestive system of the culture and be assimilated into the nutrients of our thinking.

The year was 1980–exactly thirty-three years ago. I was a young man who had already done a big sack-full of stuff and was energized on much of my own juices and ego. I had a good idea. I wanted to take the Sermon on the Mount, set it to music, put it in a Broadway-style format, select a cast, take it on the road into auditoriums in twenty-five cities,  and produce a fresh concept, both theatrically and spiritually.

I immediately received rave reviews on the music from those who were inclined to that sort of tinkling and tunefulness. I easily signed up five investors, who threw an amazing ten thousand dollars my way to bring the vision to reality. And then it was time to take it off the drawing boards, create a prototype and launch it into the atmosphere of America. I ran into some problems.

1980 America was not ready for my vision.

First of all, my play had dancing in it. Most religious people thought dancing was “of the devil.”

Secondly, the music ranged from a classical-style overture to rock and roll, in an era when diversity in music was considered to be a negative rather than a plus.

Some people were concerned that I had women in the cast. They didn’t understand how a musical on the Sermon on the Mount would require female characters. (Of course, if they’d ever read the Bible, they would have discovered that women were an intricate part of Jesus’ ministry, even footing the bill for many of his projects. –Luke the 8th Chapter)

Some folks became upset because they discovered that one of my investors was a homosexual. (That was in 1980, when you refered to people as “homos” instead of “gay.”)

Several of the venues in the south contacted me because they were “merely wondering” whether there were any black people in the entourage.

Universally, there was the constant question of whether my musical had a “conservative” agenda or a more “liberal” bend.

I was not even out of rehearsal camp and already I was dealing with issues of dancing, homosexuality, race relations, music prejudice, misogyny and the battle between liberals and conservatives.

On top of that, I caught two of the members of my cast smoking grass between rehearsals. They were shocked that I disapproved of their actions, since marijuana was universally known to be the “elixir of creativity.”

I was too young, unprepared, too cranked and much too ill-tempered to handle all this foolishness. I took one afternoon to get off by myself and think it through.

Was there anything wrong with dancing? It’s in the Bible. David danced before the Lord.

Does Jesus care if people are black? To the shock and horror of Southern Baptists, Jesus himself might have had a cocoa complexion.

How about music? Psalm 150 describes a musical combo organized for praise and worship that could have been describing Earth, Wind and Fire, live on stage, with a background of Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Is it wrong to have women in a cast of a play about Jesus? Actually, it would be evil to do anything else.

What would Jesus do with gay people? Well, I guess I think Jesus would take their money for an investment, let them come along for the ride, and see where the message took things.

Was Jesus conservative or liberal? In areas of personal responsibility, he was conservative. In areas of forgiving human beings, he was liberal.

I went on the road. It was a fabulous tour. I did not change America permanently. Matter of fact, it has taken thirty-three years for many of these issues to finally start blooming with common sense instead of common rage.

It reminds me of an idea that was birthed in a barn two thousand years ago. Although praised by a few wise men, it was scared away by the king in control and ended up exiled for a season. It snuck back in and grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. One day, when things were ready, it immersed itself in the work of sharing the message that the kingdom of God is very near.

This idea brought compassion.

This idea brought humanity to the concept of divinity.

This idea changed the world.

For a brief weekend, it was attacked by renegade religionists who tried to snuff it out, but by Sunday morning, at the end of thirty-three years, it raised from the dead and has never stopped.

I will not see the end of my present the thirty-three years. I am taking new tolerance, new peace of mind, new openness, new joy and new celebration into the barn and birthing it. Other wise men and women will have to come and lavish their gifts, to use this infant dream to ultimately raise the dead.

And the dead will need to be raised–because every thirty-three years, having tried to kill the truth, God has to breathe life into it one more time.

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I’m Looking For… A Thoughtful Thinker February 2, 2013

Thinker

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Laying on the table in front of me are two pictures. One is a grainy black-and-white photograph of the decaying skeletal human remains discovered in Auschwitz at the end of World War II–evidence of the genocide perpetrated by Hitler and his henchmen, to eliminate Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and other folks deemed undesirable.

The other picture is a glorious color photo of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, complete with Michelangelo’s rendition of God and man touching hands, creating an eternal link.

The two photos share very little in common–actually, only one definite similarity. Both of them were conceived in the brain of a human being. One, a dastardly mutilation of mercy and concern, often passed off as satanic intervention; the other, a glorious connection between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God, generating the miracle of creativity.

What’s the difference? After all, we are constantly talking about the power of knowledge without taking into consideration that there are two Garden of Eden varieties: the knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil.

It would be difficult to make a case that our generation is stupid. We may be the most educated race to ever walk the face of the earth. But the problem with thinking is that if it isn’t thoughtful, it can quickly become crude, self-involved and even dangerous, finding itself spewed from the darker regions.

Yes, to be a thinker is only good if you’re thoughtful. If the goal of receiving information and learning better ways is to use that tool of comprehension to enrich your own life and the lives of others, then the acquisition of knowledge transforms into wisdom. What is the turning point to change a mere human brain into an instrument of thoughtfulness?

1. I have what I need. Every nasty inclination occurs because we convince ourselves that we are cheated, short-changed or ignored. Somewhere along the line, in that glorious gray matter located in our cranium, we need to settle the score and understand that what we presently are working with is our treasure. It is when we begin to believe that we need more that we hatch plans to steal it from others.

2. I will use what I have. Even though laziness is a dangerous vice, when you team it with optimism, it becomes the breeding ground for the kind of thinking that makes us believe we deserve something without ever using our stockpile. One of the questions I ask myself monthly as I analyze my own progress is, “Am I using what I have instead of awaiting a shipment of supplies?” Nothing creates frustration any quicker than believing that opportunity is right around the corner rather than walking over and answering the door which is already being knocked upon.

3. I will daily invite God to come along on my journey. I am not going to be so ridiculous as to believe that He is in control of my life when He’s made it quite clear that He has granted me complete free will. I also will not be so stupid as to merely have a worship experience with Him in a religious sense without welcoming the wisdom of His spirit and the knowledge of the natural order into my decision-making process. Somewhere along the line, if you can stop being religious, you might actually get the chance to meet God. Likewise, if you’re an atheist, it’s going to be easier to garner information from nature–God’s workbench. I think it is impossible for human beings to be thoughtful until they stop needing more, but instead, use what they have and include God in their daily activities.

Without this, our brains become greedy, envious, lack-luster and we contend that we are the masters of our own fate, without having to give an account to anyone else of our deeds. I will go so far as to say that if Adolph Hitler had followed these three principles, it would have been impossible for him to lay a single filthy hand on any member of the Jewish community.

Too much thinking–not enough thoughtfulness.

My gift to you is to never use my brain without first connecting it to my more thoughtful nature. In so doing, I can tap the knowledge of good … and bypass the evil.

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Oops, there it is … March 2, 2012

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It seems to be back with a vengeance–and a considerable amount of attitude, obviously upset over being set aside in the great discussion of America over the past fifteen or twenty years. Dusted off, brushed up, polished a bit, with weathered pamphlets removed from storage, morality has once again resurfaced as a great club with which to use on our opponents and those who would dare to vary from our particular philosophy or theology.
 
I thought we had put “morality” to bed (pardon the pun)–not in the sense of dismissing the importance of possessing a code of behavior, but rather, insisting on transferring our own personal choices into the marketplace of conversation and presenting our conclusion as an edict from God which needs to be followed precisely in order to avoid fiery damnation. When those moral people of the 1980’s decided to proclaim themselves a “majority,” I was immediately shocked by the audacity of thinking that one human being could actually maintain a conversation on the issue of conduct without expecting other human beings to begin to pour over the aggressor’s activities with a fine-tooth comb.
 
I am a great believer in morality. I have morality as a fulcrum–lifting some of the heavier burdens of responsibility and ethics. But I would never presume to infuse my particular interpretation of morality–or especially, my application of this tenuous human feat–onto the conscience and lifestyle of others. People may ask, “What’s the harm?” Let me address that with an example.
 
During the season of the Moral Majority, we were suddenly confronted with a disease–AIDS. It was a terrifying prospect to have a rampant virus on the loose which was able to kill off those of all ages, but especially the tender blooms of our youth. Rather than tackling the issue of tracing the source of the virus and beginning  treatment and care for its victims, the debate initially turned towards finding someone to blame for bringing this “bubonic” condition upon our society. Yes, I think we wasted time trying to confirm our message of morality by calling this horrible disease “the gay plague” instead of mobilizing a national effort to overcome the infestation.
 
Can you imagine a leper coming to Jesus, and before the Master heals the unfortunate one, he first asks him if he contracted the disease by sexual contact or merely through a blood transfusion? Would it ever have occurred to Jesus to ask the prostitutes who came to hear his words and find newness of life to be tested to make sure they were appropriate for travel with the righteous horde? It’s ridiculous. Matter of fact, when his disciples suggested that a blind man might have found himself in that limited plight by being sinful, Jesus sternly corrected them and told them that his blindness, when resolved, existed only to bring glory to God.
 
Yes, we spent too much time discussing the origin of AIDS before mobilizing our scientific community to warfare. There was a gloat in the air from those in the majority who called themselves moral, over a seeming-heavenly-cleansing of the earth of the iniquity of homosexuality. It was a sham and a shame–and those who said they possessed a spiritual nature and wanted to see other human beings redeemed actually became the judge and jury to sentence hundreds and thousands to death. For the more you delay, the more you pay. So let’s try to learn from our historically dubious profile.
 
Let’s deal with three questions.
1. Is morality important?
Answer: Yes–so important that each individual needs to contemplate his or her choice and realize the implications.
2. Would our world be better if everybody shared the same morality?
Answer: Actually, our world would be better if everybody shared a common respect for one another, which is the true beginning of morality.
3. If we believe morality is important, isn’t it essential to preach–or even enforce–an excellent code of behavior on the world around us?
Answer: The Bible has only one criterion for spiritual choices–fruitfulness. Jesus words: “by their fruit you shall know them.” In other words, if trying to intimidate people to be as moral as we are is a fruitful endeavor, then let’s pursue it. But if  such action has proven to be fallacious and fruitless, then perhaps we should abandon it. What do you think? Has all of our preaching against sin eliminated the varmint? I think not.
 
Here are four words I would like to introduce, with a little simple formula, if you will, on how they link to really bring light to our world instead of shining it in the eyes of startled travelers.
  • Spirited–a simple definition: everything spiritual needs to become visual. If you don’t plan to make a prototype of what you believe through your life, letting it speak for itself, you are not only an annoyance to the kingdom of God, but also an enemy of progress.
  • Edifyingeverything visual needs to stand the test of actually improving life.
  • Healthyimproving life is requesting we confirm that our choices are truly lengthening and enriching our journey.
  • ExhortingAnd enriching our journey is allowing ourselves to demonstrate a joyous, spirited profile in our walk.
So be careful. There are things that sound like great ideas, but end up possessing personal benefit not transferable to others through mere sermonizing. We must not insert the morality of our forefathers into the situation of our everyday life without a spirited understanding that edifies human beings to healthy choices which end up exhorting them to a spirited life. Without this, we begin to have a form of godliness while really denying the power of it. And the power of godliness is in making people more accepting, loving and forgiving.
 
Yes, perhaps the old adage was wrong when applied to children, but it seems perfect for morality.
 
For truly, morality should be seen and not heard.
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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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