G-Poppers … July 6th, 2018

G-Pop just spent a week with family members–some coming in all the way from China.

It put him in both a joyous and a reflective mood–joyous to see all the cubs from the Bear Clan returning to their cave, but reflective because he did some deep wondering about what this whole process of living is all about.

It comes down to two words: influence or affluence.

In other words, are we on a journey to influence the planet and people around us in a positive way, or is it all about accumulating wealth, houses, status and family members, thus showcasing our affluence?

You certainly can be affluent without having influence on anything, and as we well know, you can express your influence and not have two quarters to rub together.

Influence: doing stuff.

Affluence: getting stuff.

Amazingly, there is no award for our children when they are spiritual, but we give them money if they make us look like amazing parents by scoring that goal, thus passing on the impression that the best way to gain affluence is to minimize influencing, but just “learn the rules and win.”

As G-Pop sat and stared at his children, he wondered how many were out to influence the world and how many had already decided that the journey is about becoming affluent.

Of course, you must have enough goods and money that you don’t appear to be a deadbeat and a burden on others. But can that be a stopping point? When you finally discover how to cover your budget, eat well and have some extra cash to help others, can you stay ashore and not launch out into the sea with all the cutthroat pirates?

G-Pop decided a long time ago that he wanted to influence the Earth instead of merely being affluent. It’s amazing how good a plate of beans tastes, and how little buttered lobster is required in that moment.

It just depends how hungry you are when you show up.

 

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Good News and Better News … May 2nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2922)

Konnoak Hills UMC Good News

Our clothes get dirty.

When this happens, we check our GPS and head off toward a local laundromat.

It is always an adventure–we certainly encounter some intriguing human beings.

Jan met a woman who was frail, lying on a bench, who told her that she had spent the night in a hospital ward, taking chemotherapy. She explained that she needed to eat something but was not really hungry.

Jan pressed the point and offered to buy her a meal. The lady described in detail a certain entrée just down the road at Bojangles that she might be able to choke down–mentioning that she would want the selection with extra hot sauce.

So Jan and I trekked to Bojangles to procure the treat.

Why? Did we do it because we thought the woman was in need of nourishment? Were we convinced that this little action of mercy was a way to convey love and affection to this frail child of God?

Absolutely not. We did it for us. For after all, to do anything else makes you feel like crap.

Let’s understand something–people who are lost are horrible.

That’s why they’re lost. They’re not “partly good and partly bad.” They aren’t following five of the Ten Commandments. They are often selfish, liars and wiling to do almost anything to get their way.

The truth is, you have a choice in life: you can work or you can con. If you don’t want to work, you’ll probably end up conning.

Anyway, back to the story: we brought the chicken, gave it to the lady and left her alone to enjoy her delicacy. A few minutes later she was gone. (I asked Jan to do a sketch of her just so we would have the memory. See below.)

We have to remember what the purpose is for hope, faith and love.

We’re not hoping the world becomes a better place, that our faith will produce miracles, or love will change the planet.

Hope, faith and love abide. That’s what the Good Book says. They abide because they really don’t solve problems–they just prevent us from becoming part of the mess.

Hope gives me the confidence to get up every morning thinking I can actually accomplish my mission.

Faith embraces me with the belief that I am not alone–what I do and say matters.

And love is my doorway to escape hate because hate sucks.

When I went to the church on Sunday morning–Konnoak Hills United Methodist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina–this was fresh on my mind.

Such beautiful people with wonderful stories, who are constantly being bombarded with the concept that the world is changing at a breakneck pace, so they’d better grab onto the caboose or be left at the station.

Hogwash.

Right now in our country, “crazy” thinks it is the boss. It’s time for us to rise up and share the good news:

  • Shouting is loud, not smart.
  • Popular is advertised, not quality.
  • Anger is mean, not strong.
  • Cynical is frustrated, not clever.
  • And atheism is the absence of hope, not evidence of intellect.

I gave my faith, hope and love to the folks yesterday morning at Konnoak Hills. That’s the good news.

The better news is that I hope they’re smart enough to realize that the lost we are trying to reach can never be virtuous enough to please us.

It’s up to us to bring the heart, soul and patience to the matter.

 

Good News Winston Salem

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G-Poppers … April 15th, 2016

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Jon close up

G-Pop’s grandson was a bit spooked by the notion of evil coming from the hearts of humans, so G-Pop continued his discussion with a little more sensitivity toward a little boy’s tender consciousness.

“Let’s put it this way,” said G-Pop. “If evil is out of our control, then who’s to say that goodness is available for us to choose?

The power in life is in having power in your life.

If the devil can defeat you and the angels have to rescue you, you kind of become the classic damsel, constantly in distress. So here’s where evil comes in:

  • Our appetites. We’re just too hungry.

We keep looking for adventure. And the more advertised forms usually involve risk or deceit.

Our true adventure is life. And when we screw it up the first time, fortunately for us, we usually have another chance to revisit the location with a better travel plan.

Our appetites drive us to do stupid things. It’s good to be hungry, but just as we adjust our physical diet to include nourishing portions, we should do the same with our emotional, spiritual and mental buffet.

  • Our second problem is ego. It’s when we are too selfish.

There is certainly nothing wrong with loving yourself if you make sure to leave enough time to grant your neighbor the same courtesy. But if you believe you must destroy, out-flank, cheat or curse your brothers and sisters to get your portion, you will eventually hatch some form of evil.

  • And finally, there’s delusion.I’m too important.’

Finding our true worth is our greatest achievement. Otherwise we start thinking we’re more valuable than we really are, making us pompous, or less valuable, which causes us to become defensive over our deteriorating worth.

This allows delusion to come to the forefront. We convince ourselves that we have a greater capacity than we can prove, and become quite infuriated when anyone challenges our assessment.

When our appetites make us too hungry and our egos cause us to become selfish, then our delusion makes us insist that we are primarily important.

There you have the formula for evil.

Goodness is when we let our appetites lure us to righteousness, our egos make us generous to the needs of others and our delusion is eliminated because we know exactly who we are and who we aren’t.”

G-Pop finished explaining this to his grandson. Amazingly, the little fella appeared to understand.

He turned and said, “I think I’ve got it, G-Pop. Don’t eat too much of anything.”

G-Pop smiled.

A pretty good analysis.

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Ask Jonathots … July 23rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2641)

ask jonathots bigger

I’m a 24-year-old girl, engaged to be married this October. My fiancé and I are both ambitious career people–he’s a lawyer and I’m in graphics and advertising. Here’s my question: how do we keep the intimacy in the relationship when we have to spend so much time apart? Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? It makes me feel anxious.

You should feel anxious. You’re sitting on a powder keg.

I know I probably should answer your question a bit more diplomatically, but I think it is probably one of the more serious mistakes people make when assessing how their relationship with another human being is going to pan out.

Let’s put it this way: if sharing expenses, bank accounts, room space, refrigerator, shower and television privileges–if all of these were a turn-on, roommates would be ravaging each other right and left.

Relationship has to be more than finance and having children. What brings two people together is a common passion which is expressed in a common goal.

This is why grown adults who are committed to deep-rooted marriages can go on a movie set together and end up having an affair. The intimacy created by working on the same project is almost overwhelming.

With that in mind, rather than giving up on your relationship or going off and trying to start a rock and roll band together and starve in the street, just develop a side business, a common hobby or some activity which you repeatedly do together and demands the involvement of both of you, and to some degree places you in a bit of jeopardy.

You don’t have to do it more than once a week.

  • But you can make every Saturday your day to pursue your garage sale business.
  • Sunday afternoon could be the pursuit of arts and crafts, which you both try to market in some capacity.
  • Start a blog together.
  • Do a podcast about relationships.

Anything you can commit to together which forces you into a mutual sensation of being creative will keep the bark in your spark.

Without that, you can quickly become roomies who discuss bills and occasionally fall into bed with each other if you get horny enough.

When God made man and woman, he placed them in a Garden, and the first thing he gave them was a common occupation.

It makes us hot for each other.

If you have trouble finding something you want to do together, you might consider that to be tell-tale. If your only interest in one another is sex and marriage, it’s a horrible way to begin a life. It has to be sex, marriage plus something else.

And the something else will keep you involved with each other and help you to understand why the sex and marriage are there in the first place.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 22nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn July 22

At Least (A Saga)

He said he was hungry

I thought he might be lazy

But I can’t make him work

I can help him eat

I can

The little boy was dripping with sweat

His tongue hanging out as he panted

Hot day–he should hydrate

He knows that

Not my problem

I could give him one of my cold bottles of water

But if he’s thirsty, why doesn’t he drink?

Maybe too tired

I can offer

I can

 

The family looks lost

I don’t know them

Don’t want to be pushy

God forbid I should interfere

But seems they could use a friendly word

I’m embarrassed, a chicken

A timid hen

They appear rejected

I might say something

Awkward

Still, I can be nice

I can

 

How did I end up here?

The guys from work wanted to go to a strip joint

Pardon–Gentlemen’s Club

Look at her

She is so naked

I mean, disrobed of her identity

Men poking, leering and groping

Let me outta here

Buy her a drink?

Offer her my coat and a chance to talk?

Too weird

Too naked

I can be a man instead of a boy

I can

 

Sick people make me sick

I get sick looking at them

Germs

Got to stay healthy

But being sick is so sickly

Feeling bad makes you think bad

I can visit

I can

 

Law breakers

Get what they deserve

Jail birds, but we clip their wings

Maybe they want more

A second chance

How lonely is prison?

I could come to see someone

Especially since my nephew is in there

What would I say?

Maybe nothing

I can sit and listen

I can

 

I can do much more

Than stand outside the door

And wonder what’s within

Hope, joy, faith or sin

Will I risk being odd

To find the touch of God?

Yes, my soul deserves a feast

So I can go…

At least.

 

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WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… December 31, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn 12 31

I v. You

I want more

Less is available

I am beautiful

Others, insist plain

I can sing

Where’s the audience?

I can love

Find the loveable

I am happy

Keep sadness away

I am lonely

Are you home?

I am valuable

See my worth

I am white

You have color

I am believing

You question me

I am laughing

Stop your mourning

I am crying

Cease the show

I am hungry

Fed, see more

I am earthly

You are heavenly

I am religious

You are irreverent

I am prejudiced

You are sensitive

I am weary

You are well-doing

I am here

You are there

I am absent

You are available

I am tired

You look exhausted

I am ready

How about you?

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Jesonian: Ten Ways to Be Human, Humanely … March 2, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  (2165)

hao hao

1. I’m not very spiritual, but I want to be.

2. I want to shed tears for something other than my disappointments.

3. I need to get what I want without hurting anyone else.

4. I desire to be hungry for life and thirsty for God all at the same time.

5. I yearn to be merciful because I need mercy.

Cousins6.  I will work to have an honest heart filled with the hope of the divine.

7. I am looking for reasons to get along with people.

8. I am no longer afraid of being criticized for standing up for what I believe is right.

9. I know some people will love me, and some won’t.

10. I will rejoice because there is nothing that can rob me of my soul.

(From Matthew 5: 1-12)

Isabella Christmas

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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.

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