Jesonian … August 4th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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“No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.”

The word “master” is such a nasty, archaic term. But basically, the message is that there is something that compels us. We fancy ourselves to be the compellers, but we actually spend most of our lives compelled. And when you take the word “compel” and look at the synonyms–constrain, enforce, urge, bulldoze, coerce and squeeze–you come up with a vision in your mind which gives you a sense of claustrophobia concerning being manipulated.

Perhaps that’s why people have trouble coming to terms with human life. They continue to pursue the fallacy that they call all their own shots and that everything is perfect if it is at their beckon command.

Unfortunately, Jesus was correct. From the time of our birth to the time of our death, we are obsessed with some compulsion. It is that compulsion that dictates our moods, our actions, our frustrations, our bigotry and to a large degree, our finance.

The reason I bring up finance is that the rest of the verse is a cold, hard statement from the Nazarene, telling us, “You cannot serve God and Mammon.”

Like master, Mammon is one of those words which is barely comprehensible to most of the population. Mammon is just a total obsession with things. Once we are obsessed with things, we are compelled to get them. Whatever stands in our way becomes the enemy.

I sat down before I wrote this essay and asked myself, “What is it that compels me?”

Much to the chagrin of my lineage, who may be waiting for an inheritance, profit and gain has never intrigued me in the least. I’ve had lots of money and I’ve had no money, and have found the two experiences to have little impact on my soul satisfaction.

So I would like to simplify this phrase down to one that may be easier to understand: You will be compelled, and the choice you are given is whether you are going to serve good, or goods.

Pause.

Your immediate instinct may be to say, “I’m not materialistic. I don’t want more than I need.” But there are three questions you can ask that will tell you if you’re being mastered by the good, or by goods:

1. Do you worry about money?

Since you know worrying about money doesn’t achieve anything, what is the purpose of worrying about it unless you’re compelled to do so?

2. Do you feel you would be happier and better off if you had more money?

Candidly, even though we don’t think money can buy happiness, we’re pretty sure it can rent it.

3. Do you have a wish list of things you hope to attain financially before the end of your life?

A large portion of the world will go to bed hungry tonight. In such an environment, having dinner makes you a rich person.

When you look at these three questions, you can ascertain whether you are being mastered by good or by goods.

What was the master of Abraham Lincoln? Saving the Union. To do so he realized he had to abolish with slavery. A double blessing.

What was the master of Napoleon? Conquering the world and proving that the French were superior. In attempting to do this, he ended up dying alone on an island.

What is the master of former President Jimmy Carter? This man just seems to enjoy helping other folks. He is well into his nineties and still keeps picking up a hammer.

You will be compelled, constrained, urged and coerced to do something from some thing which has gained the full attention of your passion.

Just keep in mind, it is impossible to serve the pursuit of good and the quest for goods.

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G-Poppers … March 2nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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They were bombed. Yes, completely bombed out of their minds.

G-Pop is talking about Nikita Khrushchev and Mao Zedong, the first secretary of the Communist Party in Russia and the Chairman of the Communist Party in China, respectively.

They were bombed in the sense that they were intoxicated on the power they felt by possessing an arsenal of nuclear weapons. So inebriated were they on their own power that they frequently threatened the world with destruction.

Fortunately, the world was granted a country called the United States, which possessed a President who refused to take the bait and openly, or at least quietly, lobbied against nuclear proliferation.

Beginning with Eisenhower, then Kennedy, Johnson and even Richard Nixon–all were convinced it was essential that the world be disarmed from the threat of atomic annihilation. It continued with Jimmy Carter and even Ronald Reagan, who tried to negotiate treaties while simultaneously being an usher at the falling of the House of Lenin.

Vladimir Putin of Russia and Kim Jung Un of North Korea are also bombed. They have picked up on the infection of egotistical, maniacal manipulation through the news cycle by threatening humanity with demise.

Here is where G-Pop is concerned: we seem to have lost the American president who stands in the way of these bombed individuals. Unfortunately, some chest-thumping and threats are now coming from the red, white and blue.

We have three leaders in the world who are bombed. At no time in our history has such a precarious imbalance loomed over the precious lives of our children.

It does not do any good to claim to be a Christian nation if we continue to politically and diplomatically live under the pretext of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Sanity must prevail, and we can’t wait for a redemption story to come from the Kremlin or North Korea. It is up to our President to follow the examples of his predecessors and control the danger which might accidentally be unleashed just to prove a point.

G-Pop wants his children to know that much of this Earth is negotiated by balancing. It’s not an issue of compromise, but rather, a deterrent to insanity through seeking the counsel of better “angles.”

We are in trouble.

It’s not because Putin is in Russia or Kim Jung Un is in North Korea. It’s because we’ve lost our perspective as a nation on how foolish it is to intimidate–and how such maneuvers can create alarming predicaments which might force us to back up our claims.

Where is the voice of reason?

Where is the realization that military might is best used in exercises instead of filling body bags?

G-Pop is praying for restraint.

G-Pop, who had a grandson born just today, is attempting to encourage “turn the other cheek,” which allows us to keep our good face alive and well.

 

 

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … October 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Woman: November, 1976. Forty years ago.

 

Man: That’s before you and I were born.

 

Woman: I know, but they do have history books. You might want to check one out sometime.

 

Man: Why? It’s just a bunch of older people doing the same dumb things we do with less cool clothes.

 

Woman: I assume you’re trying to be funny. Anyway, it was the November issue of Playboy Magazine in 1976, when Jimmy Carter, running for President, made a statement. Everybody was very upset that he did an interview with Playboy. But the admission he made rang out all across the country, reverberating with everything from respect to ridicule.

 

Man: Wait a second–I think I remember this. Something about his heart, and lust.

 

Woman: Yes. When he was asked if he had ever cheated on Rosalynn, he said no, but he had “lusted in his heart.”

 

Man: Where did he get that?

 

Woman: It’s something Jesus said. The quote is, “He that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery in his heart.”

 

Man: That sounds a little “prudey.”

 

Woman: That’s the way you might take it, but it’s not like that–especially with what’s happened in the last 24 hours, with Donald Trump’s comments about women.

 

Man: Absolutely ugly and distasteful.

 

Woman: That’s not what I’m talking about. The real problem is that equality between the sexes cannot be achieved as long as men see a woman and think “lust” and women are grateful for that, or even proud to be show horses.

 

Man: But there has to be an attraction between the sexes.

 

Woman: Yes, but a man can’t look on a woman just to lust after her and think we’re going to progress the race. It is a setup for inconsideration, abuse, violence, rape and even murder.

 

Man: I see. Because if his intentions are rejected, then he feels that she’s failed to fulfill her part of the bargain by being available.

 

Woman: Exactly. So you see, the problem is not what Donald Trump says, but the way we try to isolate it off and pretend he’s the only one who feels this way, by insisting that men have only one thing on their minds.

 

Man: And therefore, women have one thing on their minds–to try to fulfill that mental image of “sexy” so as to gain importance and worth.

 

Woman: So the key here is, how can we look on each other as people, knowing that in the process, every once in a while some passion and lust will rise up, but it will be based on a mutual understanding.

 

Man: It’s funny–most people would listen to what Jesus said and think he was a tight-assed religionist. But really, he was a humanist trying to get the male and female to honor one another without demanding the initiation of physical intimacy.

 

Woman: You hit it right on the head. So my prayer is that through this discussion about Donald Trump, we’ll get to the real root cause of inequality.

 

Man: Let me guess–until men know that the greatest way to welcome a woman is to include her emotionally, spiritually and mentally, we will continue to have flagrant outbursts from jerks who misuse women to prove their virility.

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I beg NOT to differ … August 21, 2012

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I had no idea.Well, that’s not exactly true. You always have ideas. They kind of war in your brain–the overly pessimistic crowding sensation and the optimism floating around in your cranium like puffy white clouds. But when I say I had no idea, what I mean is that all my speculation was really useless, because I had no point of reference.

When I left in January to go out and share and I was inspired to name this particular journey “the Six Word Tour,” in reference to “NoOne is better than anyone else,” I wasn’t really sure what response I would receive to the assertion. Of course, I knew there would be some grammarians in the audience who would insist it was seven words, because “no one” is actually two words instead of one. But I checked it out in English handbooks, and actually, no one can be hyphenated (no-one), two words (no one) or used as a compound word (noone). So I was prepared for the handful of souls who pursue such logic.

But what I was NOT prepared for was presenting the concept of “NoOne is better than anyone else” to a rather quiet and perhaps tepid response. Actually, the first time I share it with an audience, they tend to just stare at me. Over the months I think I have discovered the reason why. For the past thirty-two years–really, since the 1980 election between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan–we have divided into two very angry camps: conservatives and liberals.

Now, I understand these two have been around since the beginning of time, but never before had they blended such social, political and spiritual energy in attacking one another. What I have discovered this year is that those who are conservative do not like the concept of “NoOne is better than anyone else” because maintaining the theme of their mission statement requires that they believe in possessing a certain moral superiority. Those of a more liberal leaning don’t care for “NoOne is better than anyone else,” because to foster their creed, they insist on portraying a certain intellectual superiority.

So while the conservatives believe they’re superior morally, and the liberals contend that their rendition of truth makes them intellectually superior, we seem to have no leaders who are capable of loving their neighbor as themselves or of absorbing the attitude of “NoOne is better than anyone else.” It is why I have never been able to join either camp, though both have tried to suck me into their little conclaves.

I do not feel I am morally superior to anyone. Can I tell you the truth? Neither did Jesus. He makes it clear when he tells the rich young ruler, who calls him “good,” that there is “none good except God.” He challenges the crowd who wants to stone the woman caught in adultery by reminding them of their own failings and sins. And he warns in the Sermon on the Mount that judging other people leaves us vulnerable to equal portions of judgment.

I also have never been one to believe that I am intellectually superior to anyone else. Once again, I refer to Jesus, for he said during a particularly vulnerable prayer that he was grateful to God that the words of truth had been “hidden from the wise and prudent and delivered unto babes,” and on another occasion, “except we become as little children, we shall not enter the Kingdom of God.” And Jesus made it quite clear that there is a danger in thinking that with our much speaking, somehow or another the heavenly Father hears us more.

I do not know how we have strayed so far from both the gospel of Jesus and from plain old commonsense. Simple rational thinking tells you that the minute you express supremacy over another person, you have set in motion the seedlings of creating an enemy. If God is no respecter of persons, how do we think our particular breaking down of mankind into social orders is going to be received from the divine perspective?

If you want to do something magnificent in this generation and for the world around you, cease to be part of either the conservative or the liberal cliques. They are constantly arguing, plotting their revenge and plugging their causes. They feel they are ordained to rule–one group because of its moral superiority, and the other insisting on intellectual dominance. One will tell you that we need to return to God and the other will inform you that knowledge and education is the key to our progress.

Well, we’ve had God around for a long time and things aren’t better. And honestly, we’ve been teaching science, technology and history for hundreds and hundreds of years and we keep repeating the same script. So there has to be something else.

I know it is difficult for each and every one of us to fathom the concept of “NoOne is better than anyone else.” I was raised to believe I was better than other people. It has never helped me. When I was in the Church of Christ, I was told that those more liberal churches didn’t believe in Jesus and didn’t have salvation. When I began to interact with people of the mainline denominations, I was informed that those red-neck fundamentalists were just too ignorant to really understand the mind of God.

No one found a reason to stop differing. And that’s what I want. I beg NOT to differ.

I don’t want you to compromise; I don’t want them to compromise. I don’t want me to compromise. I want us ALL to start out our discussion with “NoOne is better than anyone else.”  It means that our arguments can not be given weight simply because we have quoted from a book or we’ve brought a twisted stack of statistics. We’re going to have to respect one another. You may call it idealism, but it is really not naive when it is a necessity.

Once again, we face an election where the conservatives and liberals are trying to get the high ground. The conservative Republicans want to tout their moral superiority and the liberal Democrats blow their trumpet about education and intellectualism. We are getting nowhere. In the meantime, the world teeters on the brink of unnecessary disaster simply because we look across the waters at other nations and find them inferior because they’re not American.

I am coming to your town looking for reasons to “love the God outta ya.” I know it’s in there–He created you in His image, and no matter how much moral or intellectual superiority you use to try to cover up the picture of His beauty, it can still be unearthed if we’ll just relax and stop trying so hard to be Daddy’s favorite kid.

I am not superior to you. I wouldn’t know what to do if I were. What I would like to be is equal with you as we pull together to find ways to agree on goals which will bring us closer to understanding.

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