Jesonian… February 25th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3223)

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Completely inundated by a traffic jam of divergent opinions, many of which are directly or indirectly attributed to the thinking of Jesus of Nazareth, I decided to sit down one afternoon this week and spend some time with my good old buddies, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John–reading all the “red stuff.”

Yes, I still have one of those Bibles where all the things Jesus said are highlighted in red, granting them the significance of being the thoughts of God.

The purpose for my quest was simple–I wanted to narrow down the three basic topics of Jesus’ mindset. Because when you finish perusing all this material, you realize that he said a lot–and you also quickly conclude that he intended his words to be honored, to the point that he measured the love of his followers by how much they held his teachings in regard.

I finally came up with three. You might have different suggestions. Honestly, there were a lot of great runner-ups.

My three statements of Jesus that punctuate his ministry are as follows:

1. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Just about a third of what Jesus talked about has to do with human relationships.

Candidly, Jesus was not terribly concerned about our relationship with God. Instead, he paralleled and intertwined it with our interactions with our fellow humans. So even though “turn the other cheek” was nearly a winner, it fell under “love your neighbor as yourself.”

And “loving the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength…” was included because Jesus closed it out by saying “… and your neighbor as yourself.”

2. Count the cost.

This is about human common sense.

Anyone who believes they can live a life to honor Father God by spitting in the eye of Mother Nature is in for a sorry conclusion. Jesus never suggested that we ignore the signs of the times or even the color of the sky, if it might give us wisdom on whether to bring an umbrella.

In other words, get saved but don’t lose your brain. You’ll need it.

3. Go the second mile.

This is human motivation.

Try as I will to find teachings of Jesus where he advocates languishing in grace or getting sleepy in our salvation, I fell short. He believed that “by our fruits” we will be known. He also said, “if somebody takes your coat, give them your cloak also.”

He contended that the power we have is our ability to continue the race when others have fallen out.

So a third of the Gospel is about human relationships. Another chunk is about human common sense, and the final piece is human motivation.

If we simply return to that glorious format laid out for us in the writings in red, the people around us who desire relationships, common sense and motivation will find the BEST FRIEND they ever had in the world.

Until Jesus is honored as a life coach instead of merely a baby born to die for our sins, we will hemorrhage people from the church.

 

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G-Poppers … February 17th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3221)

Jon close up

Feelings.

They normally travel around with a forlorn adjective: hurt. Hurt feelings.

It is the most common malady of humans–even more prevalent than the cold.

Feelings are hurt for one simple reason: each one of us feels that we are more important and valuable than what others may feel at any given moment.

99% of the conflicts between nations are based on hurt feelings. Some of those painful emotions go back generations.

And even though we try to use education and religion to tamp down our need for recognition, deep within our hearts, we want to be treasured instead of trashed.

So we fight.

We argue.

We struggle.

We promote our value in comparison to the worth of others.

So we start grasping at subtle differences like skin color, sexual orientation and even gender.

  • “You can’t be as good as me because you’re a woman.”
  • You aren’t my equal because you’re black.”
  • “I’m more important because I’m an American.”

G-Pop wonders if his readers might want to become part of the solution instead of clogging up the train station heading to confusion.

It’s really simple: walk into your heart and fire apathy–as you hire appreciation.

Everyone needs the grace of gratitude.

The amount we receive determines how much fuel we have to fire up our engines toward success–or crash down in revenge.

G-Pop thinks it boils down to a sip, a cup and a bucket.

1. A sip: “Thanks.”

That just cools the dry, complaining, achy throat of anyone who is tired of being unappreciated.

2. A cup: “Thanks, we could not have done this without you.”

Not only cooled, but a quenching of the aggravation over a history of being used.

3. A bucket: “Thanks. You are just so freakin’ awesome.”

Now you’re tying generosity into the power of their character. It drenches them in joy.

Of course, you can overdo the bucket and you can under-do the sip. But if you’re wondering why human relationships don’t work, it’s because the fluid of thankfulness that should be flowing among us has dried up in favor of the desert of distance and ignorance.

G-Pop will tell you that most of us humans need at least a cup of appreciation a day. That’s a lot of sips–but certainly can be handled with one bucket.

The next person you meet will be parched from the lack of gratitude. He or she feels they’re important.

God has not given you the job to humble others, but instead, to moisten their feelings with legitimate appreciation.

 

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Jesonian: F. A. A. E. … October 18th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2726)

Jesonian hands

In an age when Facebook has attempted to simplify relationships down to “friend” and “unfriend,” it might be of social significance to each one of us to look at the Jesonian approach to human interaction.

Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus did not love everybody with the same intensity. There were measures, concerns, confinements and meters to his affection and devotion.

Understanding that those judgments were not based upon prejudice, but rather, practicality, is the beginning of forming a way of dealing with humanity, preventing you from becoming jaded.

Jesus put human relationships into four categories:

1. Friend.

His definition of “friend” was very specific. He traveled with twelve disciples for more than three years before he referred to them as friends–and then he said he felt he could do so because he could “share his life with them.”

A true friend is a rarity because you must be willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly without fear of incrimination.

2. Acquaintances.

These are people Jesus interacted with who shared a common purpose, but not necessarily a transparency. They were the many individuals who believed on him because they encountered a miracle. But generally speaking, these acquaintances did not end up following him, but departed on their own to start a new life, or were instructed by Jesus to go back to their homes and spread the good news.

3. Adversary.

It will probably astound you when I say that most of the interaction you have with your fellow-travelers will be adversarial.

An adversary is someone you really want to grow to appreciate and love, so you’re learning to cooperate with each other, while also being fully aware of your differences. This is why Jesus told us to “reason with our adversary.” Don’t criticize them; don’t kill them. Find the areas where you concur, and interact in those ventures without forcing agreement in others.

4. Enemies.

And finally, an enemy is simply defined as someone who does not wish you good will. Enemies are not happy when you succeed.

They may not plot against you nor gossip but they do not rejoice when you rejoice, nor mourn when you mourn.

This is where the variety and intensity of Jesonian affection is put into place. So:

We love our friends because we can be completely open with them.

We honor our acquaintances because we share so much in common that it establishes a deep sense of human-hood.

We commit to our adversaries because they keep us thinking and challenge us to have a good reason for what we believe instead of stumping and stomping around about our contentions.

And we respect our enemies because that is the only way we can assure ourselves that their animosity will not easily be turned into action against us.

  • Friends are rare.
  • Acquaintances are growing.
  • Adversaries are plentiful.
  • And enemies are few.

Fortunately, the treatment for all of them is easy to remember:

A multi-faceted love.  

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G-Poppers… August 28th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2676)

Jon close up

G-Pop is aware that it is virtually impossible to tell his grandchildren to be wary of what is popular, when the very essence of their contentment is tied up in becoming part of “the popular crowd.” Taking a stand on an issue for a teenager is certainly the equivalent of social suicide, if not a temptation to completely whack oneself.

But by the same token, that which is popular is rarely proportional. It is some extreme which has been selected to create the dangerous blend of rebellion and pleasure or it’s just popular because it seems easier because we have not yet traveled it all the way down the road.

Yet looking at today’s thinking, G-Pop felt compelled to share with his teen and pre-teen three popular ideas which have practically become absorbed into the fabric of our society, creating a stain.

1. This is what you are and this is what I am.

We believe that squaring off with each other over minor issues, or what we even call “culture differences,” entitles us to be disrespectful of others and selfish with our own motives.

  • Where is the notion of common ground?
  • Where is the pursuit of the common good?
  • And where is the reverence for common sense?

Although it’s popular to dig in, place your hands on your hips, jut your jaw out, and pridefully declare your independence, nothing is ever achieved with this profile.

2. We’re only human.

Somewhere along the line, we have simultaneously lifted human foibles up on our shoulders as free-will choice, while at the same time, projecting the idea that all humans are stupid and worthless.

Here’s the truth about humans: God was so proud when He created us that He invested His breath of life in us. No other creature on Earth was given that distinction.

We’ll become better as a populous when we understand that being a human is an honor, and requires that we rise to the occasion instead of sink in the mire.

3. Everyone lies.

I watched four or five television shows last night and the consensus was that human beings lie, it’s not a problem and we just need to learn to live with it.

If a situation is intolerable then it must be changed–and we all find that when others lie to us, it is completely unacceptable, so pretending that it is cleansed by the fact that “we do it, too” is not going to benefit the harmony of human interaction.

Even those these three ideas are popular–you’re you and I’m me, we’re only human and everyone lies–nothing good has ever come from them.

What needs to become popular is that we have more in common than different, being human is the greatest gift from God and lying is the sure way to crucify a relationship.

 

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Populie: Stand Up for Yourself … June 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2267)

 fightingTo gain any understanding of human relationships, we must learn the difference between bullying and physical abuse.

There is no doubt that if a we are physically attacked, a certain amount of defense is necessary to protect ourselves. Yet to channel that aggression into our everyday lives simply because we are dealing with critics, bullies and self-centered opponents is to open the door to cynicism and allow ourselves to become defensive and jaded.

There is a popular belief that we are required to defend ourselves against personal assault. The populie is that we should stand up for ourselves in all circumstances and never allow anyone to put us down.

Religion loves this simply because it allows them to drain creaky energy from the Old Testament, which permits a much more vindictive attitude towards those who are their enemies. (Allow me to warn you–every time you use the Old Testament to support your spiritual and emotional choices, you are denying the purpose for the lifestyle of Jesus.)

Politics loves “stand up for yourself” because it opens the door to deniability. In other words, even though you’ve done stupid or careless things, as long as you can deny them and act offended by the assertion, you can outlast your critics. This is the way politics works.

And of course, entertainment wants to put the hero in the corner with his or her back against the wall, and then have them fight their way to acceptance or freedom, to the applause and cheers of those who bought a ticket and a bucket of popcorn.

But if everybody in the world retaliates when challenged, then we will spend all of our time putting out brush fires of arguments instead of discovering the truth about ourselves and better ways to live.

Candidly, I almost didn’t write this essay because I knew my approach on this issue would be unpopular and even considered unnatural. But the greatest thing you can do when accused, verbally attacked, questioned or placed in a corner is to refuse to participate in the exercise because it only leads to a back-and-forth, meaningless futility. I attack you, you attack me, we attack each other, and then everyone around us is forced to take sides.

Writing a daily column on the Internet constantly puts me at risk of being questioned or even ambushed by people who choose to be critical of the work of others instead of venturing an effort of their own. I have developed a three-step process for everything I do in my life:

1. I said it.

In other words, as long as you’re quoting me correctly, I don’t have any problem with your disagreement and I refuse to question how you approach your comment. You are entitled to be upset with my words, my life and my choices. The power I have is in standing behind my words, my lifestyle and my choices.

I am not sure I know the value of an apology that begins with, “If I offended you … ”

When I offend you, I will apologize dearly, but if my mere beliefs and presence is a source of annoyance to you, I will continue my life and pray that you get over it.

2. I did it.

I am hungry and thirsty to see and hear human beings admit what they’ve done without clarification, excuse or defensiveness. I will tell you right now, if Richard Nixon had admitted what he knew about the Watergate break-in, been honest about his involvement and shared it immediately, he would never have been forced to resign.

I don’t know when we started thinking that diversion, lying, cheating and misrepresentation can ever win the day. Not only will the truth make you free, but if you reject the freedom, your sins will find you out.

3. This is who I am.

It doesn’t mean I’m not working on getting better; it doesn’t mean I’m always right. Certainly there are things I could learn from you. Yet I got over the need to pretend when I stopped being a child.

This is who I am.

I know there is such a thing as bullying, but if our children had more confidence about what they say, do and who they are, the silence they offer to the aggressive individuals around them would soon rob the varmints of the pleasure of riling them up.

Yes, we empower our enemies when we take their insults seriously.

So when we turn the other cheek, we are not being noble; rather, it is a sophisticated form of stubbornness … refusing to be curtailed by the whim and wishes of others.

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After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

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Populie… January 30, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2136)

Archi and EdithTo find what’s right we must be willing to be wrong. If not, we start to lie.

Lying becomes easier when it is accepted by others because they, too, are trying to escape responsibility.

Some lies become popular.

Thus populie.

Once they become populie, they are picked up by the three forces at work in our society, which mold the thinking of the congregated citizenry:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Entertainment

Although I am a firm believer in unity, the ideas that bring us together must have a purity which recognizes some form of eternal truth instead of taking the temperature of the air and assessing the direction of the blowing of the present social winds. If we don’t choose to be careful about our pursuits, then gradually we can deteriorate civil rights, human relationships, personal value and “soul” significance.

America is addicted to populie. We depend on plurality to determine our acceptability. If we find ourselves in the minority, we quickly change our opinion to become acceptable, for fear of being considered ignorant and out-of-step.

But you must understand, I have an abiding mistrust of politics, religion and entertainment. Over the years, they have been agents for the types of tradition that maintain stupidity in the name of compromise and peacefulness.

Perhaps one of the greatest populie going on today is the concept that men and women are natural enemies.

Politics promotes this because it grants us a male-dominated system which can characterize women as being “too emotional for leadership.”

Religion adopts it quickly because it fosters female submission and creates a scapegoat for men by blaming Eve and all her sisterhood for original sin.

And entertainment embraces the concept because it is a cheap way to derive human slapstick for their comedies and pathos for their dramas.

Fortunately, reason, common sense and the true spirit of God reject this populie and insist that we work together in the common cause of our humanity. For after all, God did not give different jobs to Adam and to Eve. There is no gospel for women and another for men. And John 3:16 does not read, “For God so loved men that he gave his only begotten son…”

Just because it’s popular does not make a lie any more viable. So what can you do with the populie of “men and women are natural enemies?”

1. Change the language. Talk more about human beings and being human instead of being “manly” or “girlie.”

2. Ask the opposite sex to react in a more enlightened form instead of falling back on our culture’s forced role models.

3. Call out inequality between the sexes when you see it, using humor, but also diligence.

Popular lies–populie–is when religion, politics and entertainment join together in agreement to promote easy ideas instead of instigating needful change.

It is the definition of becoming too worldly.

Because our species will not survive unless men and women celebrate our similarities … and set aside our alleged differences.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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