Ask Jonathots… October 20th, 2016

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The Presidential election has raised my awareness about gender bias in America. What can I do as a woman to raise the level of respect for women?

Stop trying to raise the level of respect and equality for women. That’s a good start.

As long as you are talking about yourself as a woman, men have been trained to act overly sensitive, or worse, condescending.

The struggle is–and always will be–for human rights.

It was Jesus who used the inclusive word “neighbor” instead of focusing on a pronoun such as “he” or “she” when proclaiming who we should love.

If you treat yourself like a special case, people will never include you as part of the general population. This is why terms like “African American” do not increase fairness for the black race, but instead, qualify them as visitors to the country instead of primally intricate.

Anything you put before the word “human” is useless and ends up relegating you to a status of something different. When we stop talking about difference, we will finally get down to having an Earth-saving conversation about commonality.

You will astound the men and women around you when you start referring to yourself as a human being, a person or a fellow-traveler instead of a gender-bound individual whose feelings have to be isolated and studied for understanding.

For instance:

If a man who thinks he is being extremely equitable says to you, “What is a woman’s thinking on this?” you should respond, “I don’t know, but as a human being, my thinking is…”

If someone asks, “What’s it like being a woman?” you should respond, “It’s very human, just like being a man–except we’re able to birth duplicates.”

Keeping a sense of humor, along with an awareness of our similarities, is the path to equity.

To do this you will have to shed some of the fantasies, silliness and cultural trap doors that have been created by our society to make sure that men stay in their boxes and women remain in their dollhouses.

You can do this. It’s a simple formula:

  • Reinvent the language, you change your attitude.
  • Change your attitude, you revise your approach.
  • Revise your approach, you begin to be perceived differently.

 

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Ask Jonathots… September 8th, 2016

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I had to do a short talk in speech class and wanted to chat about my church experience, but I felt I had to offer a disclaimer about Christianity: “I’m a Christian, but I don’t hate you.” I would love to stop having to do that. How?

Every single week, Americans go and spend money at Wal-Mart, even though it is pretty well known that their products are manufactured through cheap labor, often with the mistreatment of the employees. Should we stop shopping at Wal-Mart because the company has chosen practices that disregard the workers in other countries?

You can feel free to do so, but Wal-Mart is not going to be affected by your decision.

Or you can come to the conclusion that the only responsibility you have is to make sure that your life, your aspirations and your interactions with other human beings are free of intimidation and unfairness.

You’re not responsible for Wal-Mart.

You are responsible for you.

It’s very important that each believer in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth understand that the religious system that represents him is guilty of excess, greed, indifference and at times the subjugation of the poor. The system has drug its feet on issues of human rights and racial and gender equality.

Yet to stop attending a church, turning it over to the indifferent, is failing to capture an opportunity to quietly change the atmosphere.

If enough people show up at the religious system and refuse to merely act in ritual and repetition, then eventually, because the religious system likes to collect offerings, it will have to change in order to accommodate the new spirit.

For instance, I only buy groceries at Wal-Mart. Why? Because most of the products that come into the grocery department are not grown in sweat shops. It is a small consideration but still a difference.

And I don’t refuse to go to the church because it is filled with hypocrisy and vanity, but instead, I go to encourage my brothers and sisters and fellow-humans to be of good cheer, lighten their load and give a damn.

So I suppose if I were standing in front of your speech class, I would say:

“I’m a follower of Jesus. He thinks we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus was fine until the committee showed up–just like the United States was a great idea until politics corrupted it. But I neither give up on Jesus nor the United States just because those who scream the loudest are ignorant. I am a follower of Jesus. I don’t make a very good Christian, because I’m just not religious.”

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Populie: America Is Exceptional … April 9, 2014

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American flag colorsTricky business.

How can you maintain a conviction without attacking or denigrating others if they disagree?

It is a huge problem, personified, I believe, in the popular belief that “America’s great,” intermingled with the lie, “we are better than others.”

It generates the populie, “America is exceptional.”

And by the way–good luck objecting to that in a room full of people.

  • For after all, politics loves it because the cheers come easily.
  • Religion observes it to welcome a patriotic element in the congregation, willing to attend.
  • Entertainment is always aware that butts in seats are more easily placed if asses are kissed.

But what is the truth? Let’s look at it using the element of common sense. Exceptional is a status. Case in point: if someone said you were an exceptional parent, you would suddenly feel the responsibility of the title, and need to continue your status through effort, fully aware that greater scrutiny will certainly be coming your way.

So therefore if we declare our nation to be exceptional, the proclamation comes with responsibilities. We must:

1. Lead the world in freedom and human rights.

2. Challenge mediocrity and reward the pursuit of excellence.

3. Reject self-satisfaction in favor of true self-awareness.

4. Follow through on all men and women being created equal.

5. Constantly be on the cutting edge of science and technology.

6. Speak out against injustice.

7. Take care of our own people and teach them to have a heart for others.

8. Lead by example.

Which leads me to an interesting conclusion–if we did the eight things listed above, there would be no need to claim the title of exceptional.

For after all, the world would know us by our fruits.

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