G-Poppers … September 29th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop is encouraged.

While other folks are sorely distressed over the fussy argument about the correct posture to take in honoring the National Anthem, G-Pop feels the discussion is not only warranted, but well overdue.

Somewhere along the line, we’ve defined peace as being a lack of conflict. Actually, peace is the creative resolution of conflict.

Therefore, it is misplaced idealism to contend that human beings will agree, or even follow a code of ethics or morals from a single source. It’s never going to happen–not in the United States, where we tout justice for all.

The reason G-Pop is encouraged is because the balance in patriotism has been askew for many years.

There was a time when those who disagreed with the war in Vietnam were considered traitors. Now they’re regaled as prophets.

In the early part of this century, we were convinced that supporting the troops meant rubber-stamping the campaign in the Middle East, which now lumbers along, tripping over its own red tape.

May I offer a definition for patriotism? Patriotism is loving my country so much that I will disagree with the stupidities that rise up to tempt her.

Candidly, there is much that the black athletes in the NFL can learn from those who take a rigid salute to the Star Spangled Banner. Equally, those who think they have cornered the market on nationalism should certainly stop off and take a look at the neighborhoods that these talented athletes grew up in, and the brothers and sisters who concern their hearts.

It’s a simple process. You can do it for the nation, you can do it for your marriage, and you can do it in your personal life:

1. What are we doing right?

There are many things that are honorable and even eternal about this country. Criticism can take a temporary back seat to celebration. Let’s find what rings all of our bells before we get too specific about our “favorite chime.”

2. What are we doing wrong?

Anyone who insists that a nation is incapable of error simply by its name or birthright needs to read the Good Book and comprehend that God doesn’t call only people to repentance, but also countries and ideologies. There is much wrong with this country. It won’t kill us to know this. It won’t destroy us to admit it. And we do not need to be at each other’s throats in order to generate dynamic plans.

Which leads to:

3. How can we do more right without doing wrong to each other?

I have absolutely no authority to make fun of someone who stands at attention and salutes the flag when Francis Scott Key’s song is played to honor our country. Likewise, I have no purpose for condemning those who sit or take a knee to express that they are not abandoning this nation in despair, but are demanding that certain ailments be treated.

When the flag becomes more important than the freedom and the integrity of people, we are too engrossed in the flag.

When our cause seems more relevant and valuable than respecting those who take a more traditional profile to loving this country, then we are equally as ignorant in our understanding of liberty.

So I honor my country as I tinker with her.

I stand with those who stand, and I kneel with those who kneel–as we pursue improving the true expanse of freedom.

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G-Poppers … May 12th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop wants to talk to his children about a bit of idealism. A case could be made that it’s fantasy. But in its purist form, it is a story.

It is a tale of a Garden–a secluded, private, precious and holy place, where the very best of Earth was begun and blessed. According to the plot, this Garden contained delicious food and was cared for by a man and woman who existed in total equality, with the encouragement to pleasure one another, enjoy one another and interact with one another.

These two had a mission to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the Earth–in other words, tap their creativity. Take their talents and dreams and expand on them, while making sure they continued to respect the Garden, its contents and its creatures.

G-Pop will refrain from discussing the more common aspects of this yarn–the parts where theologians note that disobedience to the Creator caused the equal pair to be punished and placed into a world laced with chaos.

The same theologians insist that an action of mercy and grace brought humanity back into favor with the Creator through the death and sacrifice of the Son, Jesus. But what they fail to interject is the knowledge that this gift of salvation by Jesus brought us back to the Garden. Although people claim to be saved, they are not salvaged from the post-Eden sentence, imprisoning them with inequality.

Why would we want to be a people who are saved but not salvaged–going to Heaven but still cursed while on Earth?

Why would we want to settle for turmoil between men and women when the possibility of equivalence is readily available?

Why would we use the Earth as toilet tissue instead of valuing our surroundings as God’s gift to us, to maintain with caution and dignity?

Can G-Pop get his children to be idealistic enough to return to the Garden? It takes three simple steps:

  1. Respect all people as your equals.
  2. Take authority over your life by being creative.
  3. Respect Mother Earth.

Implementing these three missions will place you back at the gates of the Garden of Eden.

Entrance is only possible by becoming like a little child.

 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 6) Humility … January 10th. 2016

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Jesonian hands

A humbling experience.  Normally considered to be a negative encounter in our lives rather than an enriching one.

Why?

Because it has been the banner carried by our society over the past fifty years, touting that the more autonomous, self-reliant, confident and determined we are to maintain our opinions and identity, the better off we are.

We fail to understand that success is the inheritance given to the humble as they acquire the Earth. Thus, humility is deemed to be idealism and weakness rather than basic human understanding.

So as an influenced member of the present cultural thinking, are you prepared to do what is necessary to escape the insanity of overwrought self-esteem? Can you find the reality of your ability in the human family?

Acquiring humility is a simple three-step process:

1. Deal with what you see.

Dare to give yourself an honest report. There is a reason we have two eyes facing forward and two ears to the flank. It is to inform us of the actual possibilities we have, and to also warn us of limitations.

If you think you will be able to talk your way out of every situation or merely usurp a bad attitude to scare away critics, you are sorely mistaken.

2. Find what you can do.

This is what I call an honest effort. The last thing in the world you want to do if you desire to acquire humility is explain away your failures.

Finding what you can do always shortens the list of what you wish you can do, but guarantees you the ability to accomplish your realistic goals.

It is only when we are achievers that we have the opportunity to be humble. Humility without the evidence of fruit appears to be nothing more than sour grapes.

3. Finally, find what you believe.

This is what I call an honest vision. Don’t ever ask God to give you something that you’re not willing to follow up on. Don’t ask others to give you a chance if you can’t endure. Belief has no power if it’s theory. And the way you take belief out of theory is by deciding how dedicated you will be to the cause.

Humility is how we determine the substance of one another. It’s the only tool we have in our shed that works in every situation, because it allows those around us to be forewarned of our weakness…in order to truly praise our accomplishment.

 

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Ask Jonathots …December 24th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Do you think it would be a good thing for the United States to have a woman President? Why or why not?

With no disrespect to your question, the issue of the Presidency of the United States has nothing to do with gender or race.

It requires a leader who represents all the people in all ways possible, keeping an eye on better choices which will progress our humanity.

It shouldn’t matter if it’s a woman, a black, a gay person or any particular inclination.

There are four things I think are necessary to consider in selecting a leader of the United States–a champion for our cause and a motivator for the free world. Is he or she:

1. Idealistic enough to pursue the heart of the Declaration of Independence instead of merely discussing the mechanics of the Constitution?

Let us never forget that the Constitution originally insisted that black people were less than whole individuals. But the Declaration of Independence said that all men were created equal. Without this kind of idealism, we will begin to believe that maintaining the status quo is ultimately better in order to keep peace.

2. Able to endure suffering.

If you’re going to be the President of a diverse nation, a certain percentage of those people will be angry with you at all times. To secure the freedoms and rights of a minority does risk being attacked by the majority.

3. Living a life of good cheer.

I’m not talking about being able to tell jokes at an expensive dinner. I’m speaking of a sense of joy about one’s own life and expressing great hope that things can become better instead of always focusing on the next torpedo which just might sink our dreams.

4. Non-partisan.

Our country is neither conservative nor is it liberal. We require the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, who refused to accept dividing the country simply because the North did not understand the lifestyle of their Southern brothers and sisters.

If you show me candidates who possess these four attributes, their genitalia does not matter, but rather, their gentleness. 

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My Body is in Temple… January 19, 2014

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First Lutheran Temple

It’s been forty years since my body has been in Temple.

Temple, Texas, that is.

I have passed by this fair town several times on my journeys, but never actually plopped down for a few minutes of food for thought, by breaking bread.

Four decades ago when I landed in Temple, it was during a brief tour when I was invited to come to Waco, Texas, to Word Records, to share my music, with the aspirations of having this fledgling company record my musical ensemble and make us famous. (Well, at least as famous as one would get by being the first fruits of a fledgling.)

I remember that visitation vividly. Being raised in Central Ohio, I was told horror stories about the depravity of the South and the backwards nature of unseemly locations like Texas. So up to that point in my life I had never gone any further south than Nashville, Tennessee, or further west than Chicago.jesus rally

I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was a different time. Even though Temple was a rural community, ingrained with the traditions of its heritage, a new breeze had blown through, initiated by the winds of Spirit.

Young hippies, fresh from California, had just arrived in the region to sing a new song. So it was really amazing–you had long hairs and butch haircuts side by side, finding common ground with guitars and Jesus. They were tolerant of each other and seemed fairly oblivious to the differences that might build up over hair follicle preferences.

Many of the engineers in the recording studios were good ole’ boys, and the performers were fresh off the street, many of them ex-drug addicts who had been thrust into salvation, with a movement through Jesus.

Shoulder to shoulder, they worked on beautiful tunes, laughed, shared pictures of their families with each other, and acted like they had known one another for a lifetime.

I shared in several of the area’s religious establishments and was greeted with warmth and tenderness by folks who had just come out of the field with mud on their boots, curious about whether what they had just planted would ever reach harvest.

Even though I was a very young snap-off-the-whipper, I realized that what made this thing work was finding something in common with each other and sealing it by believing in the same message of love.

So as I come back to Temple, Texas, in a much different time–when it is considered to be righteous and upstanding to be at odds with one another over miniscule issues–I want to bring that same breeze with me.

I would love to allow the Spirit to permit commonality and faith to blend together again, to make us one.

It is a piece of idealism I permit myself without apology. For I know this: the world will never be a decent place to live until we find reasons to be alike.

And I also know that we will never find reasons to be alike …  when we work so darned tootin’ hard on trying to be different.

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Groomers… October 11, 2013

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HendrixGraying baby boomers.

Groomers.

I am, of course, talking about those individuals born between 1946 and 1960, who broke the sound barrier by exploding like an atomic bomb, witnessing the end of segregation and the voting in of the first Catholic President.

They left a footprint on history. Maybe better phrased, they stomped their boots into our consciousness. Even though many people criticize the destination of this generation, it is difficult to challenge the authenticity of their origin. Now their ages range from fifty-three to sixty-seven–just beyond being parents, and still a little young to be the grandparents of adolescents.

Many of them have left the church and politics and are looking for other distractions to fulfill the aching memories of their youthful escapades.

But we need these graying boomers to come back to the church, the political arena, the social maneuvering and the emerging etiquette of our country–to bring the passion of the 1960s into our present age.

There are three things that baby boomers believed which have vanished from our present social climate, leaving us overly concerned about our personal needs and too short-sighted in our world vision. These are the three things the graying boomers, which I call groomers, should reinstate in their children and their budding grandchildren:

1. To question is to care.

I know my parents were annoyed because I would not “leave well enough alone,” as they phrased it, always challenging the ideas around me. Why was I able to do so? Because I was not alone in doing it. I wasn’t a renegade–I was in the flow of a generation which believed that many things were questionable, so therefore, go ahead and do it–question.

2. We can change the world.

Call it idealism or dub it presumption–but the baby boomers, for a season, believed they could affect the temperature of our country and clear out the dark clouds. There was no sitting or “waiting on the world to change.”

3. We’re all brothers and sisters.

The music, the movies, the books and the romance of the time were riddled with the notion of brotherhood and a greater understanding that “it was so groovy, now, that people are finally gettin’ together.”

This trio of ideas is in the genetic makeup of the baby boomers, although it seems to have been lost through years of cynical half-hearted participation. It is ironic that a generation which criticized possessions ended up selling out to them.

But there’s still that seed.

Nowadays someone who questions is viewed as being “a troublemaker.”

We need the groomers to come along and teach the younger folks that it’s all right to peer into the soul of our society and demand better angels.

Likewise, nobody in our age believes we can change the world. So what’s the purpose of personal improvement if your voice is going to be drowned out by the din of repetition?

Groomers need to remind the younger ones of protest, creativity and the power of cooperation. And instead of shrinking our love down to our personal families, it would not hurt for the groomers to remind the world once again that we are the family of man.

Our generation needs to be groomed by those who remember when music was not just downloaded, but taken into the heart.

We could begin this in the church, since we have so many gray-hairs there already. We might as well put ’em to work.

Who knows? It might make them feel young again.

Who knows? They could be the spark of a new revolution.

 

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Unconventional… August 31, 2012

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I received contact this week from two friends. Both of them are believers in the life and times of Jesus. One is a Republican and one is a Democrat. They were each  sharing their particular rendition of what they believe to be the best profile for our nation in the upcoming four years. Each one believes himself to be a patriot of some sort; each one thinks that the other political party is detrimental, if not dangerous, to the progression of our country’s values.

Neither one believes that the philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth can be applied in purity into a real-world situation of social and political upheaval. They honor the idealism of the Master but doubt that the range of ideas that Jesus presented would practically work in real-time situations. How do I know this?

Because one’s a Republican and one’s a Democrat.

They pursue movements that utilize the name of Christ, but fail to engage his heart and will. They revere political ideas that truly praise him with their lips but keep their hearts far from him.

Here are two outstanding examples of Jesus principles that escape both approaches:

1. You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.  It seems that you can not be involved in politics and keep the sanctity of that idea. Matter of fact, it’s joked about and even given other names, like “disinformation” and “playing loose with the facts.” Here’s what I know: those who gathered in Tampa this week did so failing to recognize their most recent President, George W. Bush, and pretending as if the eight years of his administration did not exist. That’s called a lie. Maybe they didn’t like what he did. Then they should explain how the new platform and ideas will differ. Maybe they thought he got a bum rap from the press. Then they should speak to his honor and his goals. But to totally ignore eight years of a Presidency from your party during a time when you are allegedly celebrating your aspirations and victories is misleading and downright dishonoring of the truth.

And the Democrats will gather in Charlotte next week and will continue to do what they have been pursuing for the past several months–fail to take responsibility for the lackluster performance of the past four years. Honestly, there may be reasons for it. It isn’t like America exists as an island unto itself, able to produce all of its own products and provide its own resources. We are part of a global economy and there certainly are difficulties that arise because of our dependence upon other nations. But instead, the Democrats pretend. They pretend that things are a little better. They pretend that they do not have any responsibility in their Democratic party for what has transpired over the past four years. Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats do go back and invoke the name of George W. Bush–as the villain of the situation.

So Jesus says the lack of truth from both parties will cause our nation to be absent of freedom.

2.  Secondly, I become concerned with the political leanings of my two friends–one Republican and one Democrat–because Jesus told us that “the poor will be with us always and we should do what we can for them.” Unfortunately, that is not what I heard in Tampa this week with the Republicans. The Republicans hold to the concept that hard work brings prosperity, everybody wants to be better off and if we all just pull together, we can all be financially solvent and successful. We know this isn’t true. We know that no matter how hard some people work, there are limits on wages for that particular occupation, and certainly doors closed to advancement that would take them into a new tax bracket. It isn’t an issue of whether we discourage people from trying to climb up the economic ladder; it’s just that some people are given shorter ladders. To extol those who succeed with what we consider to be the obvious evidence of financial prosperity, while ignoring those who are still successful in their own way, but without the “dough to show for it,” is not only short-sighted, but could be deemed by the Master to be mean-spirited.

On the other hand, those Democrats who will gather in Charlotte contend they are on a mission to eliminate poverty by trying to make things more fair in the realm of capitalism. Let’s understand two things: (1) capitalism isn’t fair. It rewards those who have the most and then gives head starts to them in the race; (2) Jesus said “the poor you will have with you always.” We are not going to eliminate poverty. What we can do is give everybody a chance to excel and then provide an idea for what happens if they fall short.

As you can see, I’ve only mentioned two of the hallmark principles of Jesus, and both parties fail miserably to either address the ideas or set in motion a plan to honor the principles.

So as I thought about my two friends who are Christians, who have divided into separate political camps, I realized that the reason I remain apolitical is that I am not willing to sacrifice precious, powerful precepts which I know work in an attempt to compromise on lesser notions that have been historically proven to be ineffective.

We need something unconventional–but it is unlikely that this will ever come out of a political convention.

  • The Republicans need to be honest about the administration of George W. Bush, take responsibility, and offer a plan on how they might right their own wrongs.
  • The Democrats need to admit that they had no idea of the scope of the difficulties they were facing and that they spent their time spreading around idealism instead of hard-core principles to address the issues. They failed to embody the idea of hope–and the Bible says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

Heartsick. That might be a good description of the American spirit.

So for those of you who insist on pursuing a political solution, may I point out a criteria for what you should require before releasing your vote? Here are the two questions. Which party comes closest to the truth by November 6th? And which party has a realistic approach to poverty instead of idealism or placing the issue on the back burner?

One thing is for certain–our country will need a little bit of luck and an awful lot of blessing to come out of this spin. To do that we must honor something other than ourselves. We must tip our hats to history, respect one another, work together and never stain the facts by ignoring the truth.

I love both of my friends dearly. I am just sorry that they are sacrificing the power of their belief for a temporary solution. The end result could be a complete loss of respect for the truth and the ignoring of the poor.

Jesus’ response to that would be, “I never knew you.”

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