Jesonian … September 11th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I think you’re right, Johann.

Turning the other cheek can be scary on many levels. Some people think it’s ridiculous–they contend that if you don’t fight back, you’ll be destroyed.

But here’s the problem with fighting: nobody fights to lose.

Did you hear that? That means if a discussion becomes an argument and ends up being a fight, the individual who is trained the most to be violent and has the greater stamina will win the day.

Do we really want that?

Some years ago I stumbled on a fist fight in an alley in a large city. A little crowd had gathered because two men who were obviously over-soaked in alcohol had decided to square off.

The whole affair lasted less than thirty seconds, because within fifteen seconds of swinging at each other–and mostly missing–they were so out of breath that they had to crumple to their knees just to gain air.

God forgive me–I laughed.

We want to come across so tough, yet are we actually willing to fight? And if we decide to fight, are we going to get ourselves in shape at a level of anger to win?

There are three things for certain:

If you’re going to destroy an eye in someone else, you have to be willing to lose one yourself.

If you’re going to kill the enemy, you must be prepared to die.

And if you’re going to get physical with your retaliation, you must have the skill to overcome the person that is coming at you.

Johann, Jesus said this was unrealistic. Who has the time, in the middle of trying to live a joyous, giddy and peaceful life, to go into the gym and train to be a killer?

So sometimes, instead of punching back, you lay back, and see if conversation can return instead of taking something to blows.

It is scary.

It’s scary for the person who has to do it, and it’s very scary for the person who is facing such courage.

Turning the other cheek is not an option. It is the only doorway available for most of us humans who don’t want to spend our lives lifting weights and punching bags.

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G-10: Surrender or Defender … February 7, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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dad and johannPictured is my son, Jasson, mercifully and tenderly holding his ailing boy, Johann.

When the photograph arrived, I was not only moved because of the closeness of family connection, but also in the fact that I realized that it was a snapshot of humanity.

For to become a complete person, you must understand that you will play both roles at one time or another. You will need to be the comforting father, concerned for a struggling friend, holding him close to infuse strength. Yet you also need to be prepared to become the tired, limp, struggling child, who collapses into the arms of a heavenly Father, or an earthly surrogate.

I believe the reason that many people fail in their human journey is because they become reticent, determined not to move freely between these stations. It is a truth that I will find myself needing to be a defender of others–protecting them from the onslaught of the angry horde, but it is equally as powerful to understand that at times, through my own weaknesses, I need to be protected, sheltered and isolated from the avenging crowd.

The world tells me to be strong and never show weakness. In doing so, I am unable to overcome my demons, but merely discuss wrestling with them until they pin me to the ground and destroy me.

Religion promotes the doctrine of weakness, hoping to magnify the strength of God by displaying the useless efforts of our human talent.

Damn them both.

Damn them to the hell they have created for our species. Because sometimes I am a defender; other times I must surrender.

I consider three ideas:

  1. Do I have anything to contribute or offer, other than my opinion or ego? If not, then please, let me sheath my sword and step back, allowing others to lead the charge.
  2. Can the acknowledgment of my weakness end up making me stronger? Yes, do I gain credibility in the earth family by being honest, and therefore worthy of being considered a defender of the truth?
  3. Can I move freely between surrender and defender without feeling lessened or overly self-important?

As life moves, so must I.

At times the blowing of the wind will fill my sails and push me forward. At other times, the same wind will just be a storm.

What a beautiful picture of us as people, as my son tears up over his fragile offspring and the little boy, equally as intelligent, gives over all need for resistance to protective arms.

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Don’t Get Confused … July 17, 2012

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Driving along on Interstate 40 towards Knoxville, Tennessee, I was confronted with a billboard which read, “Where will you spend eternity?”

I had an immediate answer. “I don’t know.”

Now, before you start trying to evangelize me to grant me eternal security and awareness of my heavenly destination, let me explain that I do have aspirations, desires and even requests on where I would like to spend the afterlife. But since Jesus, himself, told us to”make sure our hearts were not troubled on the issue, and we only have stories, promises and opinions, I think it could be considered a classic waste of time to deliberate such a question. Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say it is the festering sore on the backside of humankind–our preoccupation with the future, life after death and what’s going to happen next. I have written on this issue many times, but I continue to be surrounded by those who feel it is all right for them to be inconsiderate in the moment as long as they are pursuing a path to consider what is best in the future.

It’s annoying.

I would like to set this to rest. I think to be halted between two opinions–one being that humans have complete free will and the other contention that there is a perfect will of God in which we all should try to center our lives–is what makes us totally inept, if not comical. I guess I don’t care which side you choose, but I would request that you cease to believe that humans have free will and then continue to worry about what God may have in store for the future.

If I have free will, there IS no future. It has yet to be determined by my next action. Even if you want to believe that God is all-knowing about what I will do next, you must admit that if He is going to honor His system, He somehow or another has to at least pretend that He is experiencing my choice for the first time.

But I’m not concerned about God’s part in this process, but rather, my involvement. We should be suspicious of destiny–a philosophy that really found its origin in fairy tales and is now being introduced into the realm of basic human logic and interaction. Perhaps Snow White was always meant to be a Queen–or was that Cinderella?  Perhaps they were pre-destined and merely went through some obstacles to be rescued in the end and reinstated to their purposes. But that’s why they call it a fairy tale–because it’s not true.

I am not destined to be anything. Even though I’ve lived a life of being a father, a writer, a composer and traveling troubadour, if I want to, I can go out and take a rifle and kill twelve people tomorrow–and become known as a serial killer. I can choose that. I can select to change my image at my own will–and it isn’t because I was destined to eventually become a serial killer. It’s because my gift of free will allows me to be spiritually motivated instead of manipulated. Yes, I choose to love God instead of loving God because He chooses me to do so.

So I just wanted to take a few moments today to see if I can help you to get through this nasty piece of confusion that continues to insult humanity by introducing falsehoods and fairy tales into what could be a really exciting life.

1. There is no destiny. There’s just opportunity. Once you comprehend that life is about asking, seeking and knocking instead of sitting, watching and waiting, you not only begin to fathom the power of the gospel of Jesus, but you actually tap into the natural energy and karma in our world. What happens next is how effectively I use what I have to my advantage.

2. There are no thoughts–just thoughtful. This is why Jesus told his disciples to “take no thought for the morrow.” How do I get myself in trouble? When when I have down time, begin to analyze my situation and how it relates to my perceived future. I become frantic, I worry, I may even tear up because I think there’s a futility to my pursuits. In my ridiculous nature, I might consider these times to be rich with ideas and introspection, but really, it’s a complete waste of time, because unless I use this particular moment effectively, my thoughts will take me nowhere but despair. I will tell you of a certainty that no one ever thinks himself into repentance. Nobody ever thinks himself into rejuvenation. We just normally think ourselves into a tizzy. That’s why the beautiful brain you’ve been given is supposed to conjure ideas about how to be thoughtful–right now. How can I express, in a physical way, my feelings of joy to the world around me–in this second? That’s what the brain is for. If you hire your mind to do anything else other than act in the moment’s possibility, it begins to think it has more power than it was intended to possess. No thoughts, my friend. Just thoughtful.

3. And finally, no future. Just now. There is no future. What is going to happen tomorrow is being determined right now by my choices. God comes along for the ride. It is similar to the game we used to play with our children when we told them that they could make all the decisions for the day–where we were going to go, what we were going to eat and what we were going to do. For this particular exercise in fun to succeed, we had to get rid of all of our adult preconceptions, become childlike and go for it. This is exactly what God does. Our Father, who has given us life, does not suddenly snatch it back from us when we begin to make choices that are different from what He might consider to be fruitful.

There is either free will or we are creatures of pre-destination. The in-between state that we try to propagate in our pop culture not only is erroneous, but causes us to run into walls in the dark. I am deciding the future by my choices in the present. It’s as simple as that.

I had a new grandson born last week. What will he become? Well, some folks get that far-off look in their eyes and say, “It’s in God’s hands.”  It isn’t. It’s in his mama’s and papa’s, family’s, friends’–and mostly, it’s in his own hands. What little Johann is going to turn out to be is eventually going to be up to emerging Johann.

And hopefully, if we learn to respect our humanity and the power of our lives, in that process we will often stumble into the whims of God. There is no future–just now.

So I don’t want you to get confused. And even though there are those who will argue with this position, in the midst of their discourse about my error in theology or reasoning, they will collide into so many contradictions that they will eventually end their report by saying, “Well, much of it is a mystery.”

Feel free to pursue life as a mystery–but please allow me and others like myself to pursue it as an adventure. In the long run, you will understand that an adventure is much preferable to a mystery.

Don’t get confused. There is no destiny, just opportunity; no thoughts, just being thoughtful, and no future–just now.

So go and enjoy your day, knowing that it is truly your day, and it is one that God has made available for you–to revel in your free will.

   

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Six Pounds, Seven Ounces … July 11, 2012

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Johann Luther Cring is now part of the human family.

He arrived at 5:25 A.M. this morning–nineteen inches long. His daddy was so overcome that tears flowed down his face, making him feel simultaneously engulfed in joy and embarrassed by his outpouring.

We had dinner with them just hours earlier at Ruby Tuesday’s and they both were much more prepared than I was when it was my turn to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth. All during the meal I thought about how this scene was so much like what God envisioned for His earth–the grandparents, sitting at a table, gazing at their children who were about to give birth, knowing that their offspring were much more prepared than they had been.

The best way to describe me as a new father was muddled and befuddled–and still, I was able to squeak out a passing grade when final exams came around. So I am confident that my son and daughter-in-law are going to be able to plug into this experience much easier than I did.

So on this auspicious occasion, I would like to give four pieces of grandfatherly advice to my freshly birthed Johann:

1. Drink the water. Don’t listen to those paranoid losers out there who line up like innocent cattle for slaughter to buy bottled water at a dollar a throw. The water that’s in those bottles was taken from a tap somewhere in the US and shipped to you as “Artesian something or other” and is really just what you are drinking from your faucet. If you’re going to spend your whole life afraid to drink the water, you’re going to miss a lot of opportunities to kick butt and take names.

2. Stay hungry. Johann, I pray that you do not spend your life worried about cholesterol and calories. Develop a lifestyle where you work hard, enjoy it and come home hungry. Human beings were meant to have appetites and if you spend your entire journey trying to suppress these blessings, you not only will be grumpy, but you might end up being homicidal.

3. Love everybody. I’ve never seen anybody killed in the street for flashing a smile. You will be tempted to be prejudiced against certain individuals because it happens to be the mindset of the moment, but just go ahead and love everybody and let God figure out who the bad guys are.

4. And finally, don’t lie. Oh, you will probably run across occasions when a good lie seems necessary, but every time you lie a little piece of your soul crawls into the corner and dies. If people can’t handle your truth, they probably won’t be around to listen to your Christmas wishes either and provide adequate gifts. Don’t lie. It’s a waste of time and makes you begin to believe that no one can be trusted, which is the first step towards living in hell.

Religion, politics and business will try to get you to break these four rules, but they are wrong.

  • Drink the water.
  • Stay hungry.
  • Love everybody.
  • And don’t lie.

Any human soul who actually follows this philosophy will not only prosper, but will have enough left over to bless everyone around him.

Welcome, grandson. Don’t be afraid of the world. Walk in love and understand that the world will be intimidated by you–because you are the only force that God has created … that can truly change it.

   

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