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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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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