Good News and Better News… June 5th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It was my distinct honor to join forces with Ms. Clazzy to share at the Village United Methodist Church. The congregation is pastored by a firebrand voice of our generation named Andrea.

As she prayed, spoke and exuded, there was a spirit of anticipation mingled with anxiety, letting me know that she was of a mind to see our world experience a true revival of sanity.

Yet, as is often the case, we human beings tend to get tripped up in the trappings. We stumble.

We become convinced that something which has lasted no more than a couple of decades was imparted by God Himself, and that we have the responsibility to follow it with divine accuracy.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I think Pastor Andrea fully understands that church is a decision to lose fear to choose cheer.

It’s what Jesus instructed people to do. When they came to him, trembling, frightened and glum, he repeatedly told them, “Be not afraid. Be of good cheer.”

Nothing of any quality happens in the human experience as long as we’re fearful and it deters our cheerful.

So how do we lose our fear?

How do we lose anything? We lose things because we accidentally forget them or we decide to forget them.

The same thing is true with fear. Although we’ve acquired it, it has proven to be ineffective for daily use. We can get sentimental about it, we can accidentally forget it, or we can decide to forget it.

To accidentally forget it, just get yourself involved in something that is earnestly interesting and proves itself to be enriching to your feelings.

To decide to forget it, find a good burial place. Have a ceremony. Invite others to be there when you walk away from what terrifies you.

There is so much maintenance required by fear that it smothers our love. Once our love is destroyed, we become timid animals living in the jungle.

Once you lose your fear, then you can choose cheer. And the best way to do that is liven up the efforts that you enjoy, and when given opportunities, pick the happy one.

Even if for a season you put issues on the back burner that other people think are very important, you should pick the happy ones. You’re trying to train your heart to rejoice again. To do that you have to rid yourself of unnecessary causes.

I can truthfully tell you, I was thoroughly impressed and blessed by being in the presence of such delightful saints on Sunday, and I can also honestly tell you that I hope Pastor Andrea will teach these people to lose fear and choose cheer.

The good news is that the loss of fear is a doorway to love.

The better news is, a life of good cheer allows us to share our love without any fear.

 

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Without a Net … February 4, 2012

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I met Imogene and Anton on New Year’s Eve in Sarasota, Florida, many years ago after sharing in a local church with my group, Soul Purpose.  We had stopped in at the International House of Pancakes to break a few eggs and eat an omelet to welcome in the New Year. It had been a great year, so I was feeling particularly festive, and was even in such a silly mood that I decided to mingle all the syrups on the table onto my pancakes to determine what flavor would emerge.

Now, the reason I noticed Imogene and Anton was that they were such small-boned individuals. I mean, I knew they were adults—he had a beard and she had all the girl things.  But they were so tiny that I could probably put one in my right pocket and one in my left pocket and not increase the girth of my silhouette. I was fascinated by them because they ate quietly together and chatted, and with my big ears I overheard them talking about the circus.

Sarasotawas the winter headquarters for the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus—where they tested out their new acts. As I said, I was feeling gregarious, so I engaged them in conversation. They decided to come over to our table to join us. We quickly discovered that they were not only talking about the circus, but they were members in good standing. Their field of expertise was the trapeze and walking the high-wire. (Suddenly it occurred to me why the slightness of their frames would be of great advantage. Putting me, for instance, on a wire in the sky would create quite a bend in the universe.)

We were going along fine with our conversation until I asked them about their new act and they told me it was a death-defying routine which demanded much of their attention and at this point, was quite nerve-wracking.

I said, “Thank God you’ve got that safety net down there, just in case you slip.”

At that moment, all at once, Imogene blanched, dropped her fork onto her plate, rose from the table and scooted her way towards the restroom. The members of my group turned to look at me like I had stabbed Imogene in the heart. I was baffled by her reaction. Fortunately, Anton stepped in with an explanation.

“Relax,” he said. “She’ll be fine. It’s just that we never mention the net. I mean, we kind of know it’s down there, but you can’t be walking on the high wire and have one single thought about the net. Matter of fact, Imogene and I have sworn to never bring it up or speak it aloud—because the minute you believe you have a safety net, you will unconsciously lose your concentration, become dependent upon it and end up falling. Eventually, you will need to perform without the net—and if your mind is relying on it, the results … well, the results could be deadly.”

As he finished his explanation, Imogene reappeared at the table and began to apologize. I interrupted her. “I am so sorry, my dear,” I said. “I had no idea.”

“How could you?” she replied. “You don’t walk our high wire. You don’t live our life. You don’t sense our need. Therefore, you don’t understand our dilemma.”

She was right. I was very careful the rest of the night not to bring up the word “net” in any way, shape or form. We had a lovely conversation and stayed at our table until the New Year rang through.

I will never forget that experience. It came to my mind again this week when I heard someone bring up the term “safety net” in relation to poor people in this country. I personally have suffered poverty. Poverty is infectious. It doesn’t just make you hungry. It doesn’t just remove your finance. It makes you frightened, dependent, defensive, and angry. And of course, if you express any of these emotions, possessors of money will be critical of you because you’re not appreciative of the services available.

But let me tell you, if you’re poor and you begin to trust that safety net—that government assistance—that intervention of kindness from others—your personal journey of discovery and self-reliance is over. Imogene was right to run away from anyone who would talk about the net. Because if you’re walking the high wire—be it in the circus OR one of poverty—you need to keep your attention on improving your plight instead of wondering what’s going to happen if you make a mistake.

I learned something that night which I’ve tried to apply in the rest of my experiences in working with others. Unless I am going through the identical situation that you are, I don’t understand what it takes for you to make it work. Merely telling you that you should be all right because there’s a net underneath you could be the worst thing in the world for you. Because if you want to get good at walking a tight rope, you have to stay focused on your next move—and not trust the net.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

It May Not be Heaven, but … February 3, 2012

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Waking up in the morning is a daily reenactment of resurrection, minus the needful suffocation.  Blink, blink, achy, achy, please let me roll over–can’t do it, sit up, feet on the floor … life commences. Again.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure is heavenly.
 
Twenty ounces of water. It is astounding what this liquid treasure can do for our bodies–for truthfully, we don’t arise in the morning hungry, but rather, thirsty. We are nearly depleted of all fluids, or at least down a quart or two, and just pouring that refreshment into our vessel does more to wake us up than any television show or music on the radio ever could.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure goes down heavenly.
 
Hot water pelting my skin, trying to stimulate me to grab the bar of soap and join in the party, sudsing myself while water pours from the wall, cleansing every nook and cranny.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure showers heavenly.
 
Food–what a glorious notion. Some days it’s a bowl of cereal with bananas and strawberries; every once in a while, an egg white omelet. I also eat these bran crisp crackers with fat-free cream cheese and sugar-free jelly, which literally tickle my innards and provide a moving experience. Add yourself a half of a grapefruit and…
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure tastes heavenly.
 
An incomprehensible blessing–being able to sit down every morning and write an essay read by thousands of people, and also personal emails sent to friends and family, which you hope will at least be adequately perused. Pithy is not nearly as important as real.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure feels heavenly.
 
Getting up on my feet, limping a bit through the creaks of sixty years on well-traveled hooves, I head out the door to run errands. Isn’t it magnificent that as long as you have a dab of money in your pocket and a notion of what you want, and neither of those exceed or underestimate one another, you can purchase things that make your day a little bit better? And of course–don’t forget to mail that letter.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure runs heavenly.
 
Time to get an oil change in that big, black van. In the process I meet two young, giggling gents who are excited about the upcoming big game on Sunday. They have their favorites, so I tease them by pretending that their choices are crazed or foolish. We laugh. It’s over very quickly … and to punctuate the enjoyment, I give my new buddies a little extra money to bless themselves. They are so appreciative that the blessing returns to me.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure embraces heavenly.
 
I make a stop in the park to read the Gospel of Mark, never actually knowing that it would rhyme. I’m reading it to afford myself fresh eyes to capture the emotion, passion and message of this first gospel to see what young John Mark was trying to tell us about his friend. Sweet journey.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure reads heavenly.
 
With all the mystery of  a fairy tale and the magic of a Nazarene miracle, suddenly appearing at the window of my van is a passerby who tells me of his plight–a flat tire with no funds. He pleads for finance, informing me that he’s already been rejected by four people, one apparently doing so by referring to him as a “nigger.” He says that everybody seems scared of him. Fresh from my bathing in the waters of Mark, I look him in the eye and say, “I’m not scared.” It was fascinating. My lack of fear seemed to frighten him a bit. I did not attempt to determine the veracity of his story–I did not care. Giving is not about the integrity of the receiver, but rather, the heart of the provider. I submitted the funds for his need and he began to make promises to me on how he would repay. I stopped him. “Don’t,” I said. “Just find a way to give to someone else.”  He shook my hand and disappeared.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure is “angels unaware” heavenly.
 
A stop off at the Sonic Drive-In to get a corn dog and onion rings before returning to my traveling companion for luncheon. Wow.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure drives in heavenly.
 
I watched an episode about the Ponderosa as I munched on my onion rings. For a moment I was a little boy sitting in front of our Zenith black and white set, six inches away from the screen, constantly being hounded by my mother for my proximity to the potentially dangerous box. Hoss, Little Joe, Pa and Adam … still work.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure is a “Bonanza” of the heavenly.
 
I steal myself a nap, even though it’s completely my choice, and I arise to do some exercise, which I pretend is of my own volition. I eat some chicken with vegetables and half a sweet potato as I settle into the evening, allowing the satisfaction of the day to produce giddiness, which eventually, amazingly, lends itself to sleepiness. The day is over.
 
It may not be heaven, but it sure has become heavenly.
 
I have studied things of God and life for my entire journey. Having done so, I am no more assured of eternity than I was the first day someone mentioned the word “heaven.” But my years of travel have taught me one important lesson–if there is a heaven, then there’s no reason to wait for it, when we’re completely capable of duplicating some of its beauty right here on earth. And if there isn’t a heaven, then we desperately need one, so we should make certain that every step on our journey has a supernal quality.
 
For verily I say unto you: religion is waiting for God.
 
Heaven is enjoying Him now.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Mush-mellow … February 2, 2012

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It startled me.  Yesterday someone suggested that I was becoming more “mellow.”
 
God forbid. Mellow is like grits without gravy, mush without maple syrup and an apple you purchase on Tuesday afternoon, knowing you’d better eat it quickly because by morning it’ll be rotten. No, I don’t really like mellow.
 
Neither would I want to be considered confrontational. Confrontational is the equivalent of someone who orders their Mexican food with extra hot sauce and then, to prove the point, squeezes the juice of three jalapenos over the top.
 
What I would like to do is matter enough that what I am impacts the world around me. That’s tricky. Candidly, most people do not like to be taught. We just don’t. That’s why within months of leaving school, our brains immediately begin to download knowledge from our minds like it’s on a sinking ship. It’s the whole teacher-student relationship that really troubles us. Because even when we’re little toddlers–two or three years old–and someone is trying to explain how to tie our shoes, we become impatient, saying, “I know. I know. I know.” Of course, we DON’T know, but that doesn’t make taking further instruction any easier.
 
We just reach a point where we think we should know things–and to be further taught on the subject is not only annoying, but somewhat emotionally debilitating. Yet change is needed. So how can you create the necessary renewal, revival or even renaissance in our society without becoming the schoolmarm, trying to take everybody back to the classroom to rehash old subjects? Well, let me first list the things people will NOT tolerate. I gave you one already.
 
1. Being taught. I know some of you will insist that you ARE teachable, and I appreciate the idea that in some areas you may be, but we all possess a bit of “know it all” that prevents us from acquiring all the information that would benefit our lives. Part of that is because:
2. No one wants to feel inferior. That’s really not a bad thing. In some ways, feeling inferior is much more dangerous than feeling superior. Sensations of being better than other people are usually quickly alleviated in the general commerce of humanity. But inferiority can hide out as shyness, being introverted or just having a bad day. So sometimes it’s difficult for people to receive new information without feeling they’re inferior in the process.
3. And the third obstacle to enriching the lives of human beings on this planet is family. Most people will find that when truth is unveiled, parts of it will be contrary to things that were taught by their families. They are immediately put in a Catch-22. We all want to grow but we don’t want to abandon our traditions. Jesus phrased it well. He said “if you let people taste new wine, they will quickly turn to you and say the old wine is better.” It’s not. We’re just terribly frightened of stepping on the graves of our ancestors on our way to building new roads to the future.
 
So you have those three things in the way of trying to create good change. I used to believe that God had called me to change people’s minds. I got over that pretty quickly. People do not change their minds because you ask, suggest or even because it’s the right thing to do. Worse yet, you have what we might call the twenty-four-hour change–where folks will adopt a new idea, but be much more critical about its value than they are towards their old opinions, so at the first sign of difficulty, they will abandon the fresh concept as unworkable.
 
So it’s not so much that I’ve gotten mellow. It’s just that I think I’ve discovered the best approach to being a contributor to humanity without coming across as “boss man.” And here it is: I will change my own mind thoroughly and then go ahead and do it.  And I will do it well enough to make you jealous.
 
That’s right. Human beings change because they’re jealous of what other people have. Now, you can reject that assertion because it doesn’t sound pretty or nice, but nonetheless, I think you will find that if you follow it through, it’s true. If you want everybody to wear red socks, the best thing to do is convince yourself that red socks are important and start wearing them all the time with a confident heart. Pretty soon you will notice there are other folks around you buying red socks. They will be quick to let you know that it had nothing to do with YOU wearing red socks; no, it was a personal choice they made because they suddenly remembered that their favorite color was red.
 
It doesn’t matter. You can’t matter in life if folks aren’t jealous of you, and of course, if they are jealous of you, there is a chance they can become your enemies. This is why Jesus was so insistent on us loving our enemies. Because just in the process of changing your own mind, doing something and deciding to perform it well, you will make tons of friends–but also some enemies. They are not your enemies because you are wicked, evil or hard to get along with. They are just jealous and have decided to channel their jealousy into impatience instead of impersonation. It’s the risk you take.
 
If you try to blend in with everybody around you, they will spend one hour appreciating your presence and then you will disappear into the background. If you come in and try to take over and tell people they’re wrong, they will righteously resist you because you are robbing them of their free will. But if you focus on yourself, change your own mind, do what you know you’re supposed to do and do it well, the end result will be the energy that really does generate revolution.
 
Jealousy.
 
For instance, the Soviet Union did not fall because we threatened them with missiles from every corner of the world. They just threatened us back with the same number. The Soviet Union fell because they ran out of bread, were jealous because of our many brands, and because, for the life of them, they couldn’t hatch a rock band as good as the Beatles. They were jealous.
 
If we would just take the time to focus on what our minds should be and what duties will come out of that thinking, and then practice that to the point of excellence, we will produce a jealousy which will promote duplication–or give us a handful of enemies to love. Either way, the world is quivering in the presence of our footsteps and journey.
 
It’s not so much about being mellow as it is about being smart. Don’t chase a dog that’s running away from you. Be careful buying tomatoes if the room smells too much like tomatoes. They’re on their way out the door. Feel a little uneasy if your used car salesman is smiling during the signing of the papers. And don’t ever believe that you have the convincing power to change anyone’s mind. People change when they are jealous of what you have.
 
Now that can make you mellow. And if that’s what they mean by mellow, bring it on. But that particular style of mellow does create some adversaries.
 
And as long as we understand that not everybody is going to love us, it makes it a lot easier for us to love everybody.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

This … February 1, 2012

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This threatened to be more than she could bear. Her husband was killed–struck down in the street on his motorcycle, leaving her stricken. This was life without a companion. This was life devoid of repair. This was life minus a second chance. And now she had found out, this was also life deprived of justice–for the perpetrator of the accident was granted leniency instead of responsibility. This was painful. Not that she wanted revenge, or even an accounting of deeds. This just seemed to demand a sense of direction or purpose–or at least, meaning.
 
This generated some anger in her. She was ashamed of her anger. Being a good, Christian woman, she felt the need to forgive, even though the seeds of that emotion had not found any rich soil in her heart. This left her wounded.
 
She shared with those around her, and we, as people, did what we often do in these kind of situation. We comforted. We suggested. We offered an ear. We presented the possibility of our prayers. And we even pointed to some scriptural concepts of comfort. But even as these overtures were put forth, everyone knew how lame they were in comparison to her pain.
 
Actually, how inconsiderate it can be to bring up a God who was present at the accident, and even though He is bound by His doctrine of free will, still–He stood by and allowed her loving man to die. Yes, there is a time when even God wishes to shrink back into the shadows and not be a source of further anguish to us. For after all, prayers seem vacant of possibility in the stark reality of loneliness. Scriptures are similar to giving a box of powdered milk to a man dying of thirst. Without water, the powder can’t make fluid, and if you had water, why would you need the powdered milk?
 
This is not what she needed. This was not the answer.
 
In the midst of tragedy, three steps have to be achieved, and each one of them seems more impossible than the other:
 
1. Find yourself. Life will, unfortunately, go on–and the most valuable thing you can do is find out who you are and where you are in accordance with what you’ve done, and place yourself on the map of the landscape of life. This is hard. It demands that we envision ourselves without someone we love.
2. Find people who will let you grieve and who will listen without commenting. Grief was never meant to be alleviated by spiritual counseling or prayer. It is a process by which we replace our anger, frustration and disbelief–first with reality and then with a willingness to move on.
3. And finally, don’t stop doing what keeps you sane. The worst mistake in the world is to “take time off” to try to find yourself. The only way you truly find yourself is to use your time to make your gifts work for you.
 
This is often the “this” we have in life. We do not choose it. We would certainly select to escape it. But being forbidden any choice and finding no way of escape, we must take our emotions and let them run their course and find ourselves in the end.
 
She was a lovely woman with years of service to mankind. She wept as she told her story. At first I wanted to be a savior –a comforter to her soul. But as the moments passed, I realized I was needed only to listen and to remain still. Like watching a deer in the forest, this dear creature of God needed her moment to run wild. I will pray for her–privately. I will think of her for many days to come. But the best I can do for her personally is give her room to be human.
 
This … is my mission.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Location, location, and, oh, yes… location … January 31, 2012

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I have had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce where inspiring speeches were given on the glories of capitalism and business, as people dismissed to pass out their cards and inform others of a booming possibility with their rendition of the American Dream.
 
I have sat at the fireside of a gathering of homeless individuals, sharing a platter of beans with two pieces of day-old white bread purchased from the Dolly Madison Store, as all those surrounding the warmth discussed their day’s activities.
 
I have been at a rock concert with screaming fans leaping to their feet, hoping the next tune would be their favorite one.
 
I have attended a family reunion where aunts and uncles barely of my acquaintance have insisted that I knew some old relative who had since passed on, as we conversed about names unfamiliar, while munching on delectable potato salad.
 
Out of curiosity, I have actually gone to political party meetings of both sides and been inundated with pamphlets, propaganda and platforms, encouraging me to make a good American stands against the opposing party’s irrelevant views.
 
Being a father of children, I have also sat through a PTA meeting, often out-numbered, lacking members of my particular gender, as speaker after speaker lamented the lack of something or other in the educational system.
 
Stupidly, I was lured into an investment party because it promised something free and ended up being a ploy to get me to take the little money I had and drop it into a hole, hoping that the crevice would spew back profits.
 
I have been in many a counseling session–mainly as the counselor–listening patiently as each party made his or her case against the other, well-organized, well-rehearsed and well-entrenched.
 
I have done these things and many others in the pursuit of discovering the best of my human family, only to realize that when we herd together, we normally want to make sure that we’re with cattle of our own kind.
 
It limits us. It retards us (if I may use the word in its correct form without being politically incorrect). It inhibits us from using the two greatest possessions we have–a mirror and a brain. Because in all those conclaves I listed, at no time at all was I asked to examine myself, nor was it necessary for me to think–because the mental agenda was provided.
 
Which brings me to last night in Clinton, Louisiana, where forty-six people emerged from the community–from different paths, walks, theologies and political persuasions. They huddled into one building to consider a message and how they measured up to its intensity. It’s called a church. And even though I will rail against a religious system which tries to turn the true church into something that blends the Chamber of Commerce with a political party meeting with overtones of a counseling session, I am a firm believer that the church is the only place where the possibility of looking in the mirror at oneself and actually tapping the brain that God has given you is plausible.
 
Oh, yes–I am not naive.  I realize that the present religious system would love to mimic the Chamber of Commerce.  Poorer congregations would like to react like the homeless, making fun of the rich. There are those “hip” congregations, which think the church is just a rock concert, cheering on Jesus and the Spirit of God. Smaller groups of church folks actually become nothing more than a family reunion, discussing the week’s activities, dead parishioners and the weather. Too many religious institutions have become the harlot for political parties, pushing a social agenda more than salvation.
 
But when it’s done right, there is nothing in our society like the church–because it asks us to look in the mirror and to use our brains.
 
How do you know if you’re in a real church or just a religious system trying to parrot the world around it? The real church has seven important ingredients:
 
1. Be prepared for the unpredictable. For after all, repetition has always been the agenda of hell.
2. Stop complaining. No one ever learns in the midst of a lament.
3. Love somebody new. If we aren’t expanding the family of man around us to include more and more people, we are shrinking the vision of God.
4. Cry until you laugh. There are people in churches still in pain after many years of suffering, who should have had a nighttime of weeping and allowed joy to come in their morning.
5. Think for yourself about yourself to improve yourself. Don’t use God’s house as a way to confirm your inadequacy.
6. Be thankful. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But thankfulness is missing from our society. It has been bumped out of the way by expectation. We need some place to go where we actually express gratitude.
7. And finally, leave changed. The Chamber of Commerce didn’t ask me to do that; nor did the homeless, the rock singer, Aunt Mabel, the Republicans and Democrats, the teacher’s conference, the investment firm or even those attending the counseling session. We all basically came into those events with one mind-set and left with a little bit more cement added. The true church is a place where we leave changed every time we are there, or we must question  the gospel which is supposed to give us the truth that makes us free.
 
Yes, it’s all about location, location, location. And if you’re looking for a place to go that will renew you and allow you to look in the mirror without fear and think instead of merely react, I recommend a good church which understands the seven things I just stated.
 
I was at one last night. It was a good time … although I did miss my beans and day-old bread.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

**************

To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

The Theory of Revolution… January 30, 2012

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Ignorance is the belief that anything can truly become better without us changing our approach or behavior.
 
We have now had two American generations over the past thirty years which have set in motion a pattern of action which has led us to our present state of confusion. For the first fifteen years, we were pummeled with the notion of our differences, uniqueness and individuality. We were told that everybody has a solitary personality and that each of us has our own little space in the great warehouse of life. Then for the past fifteen years, we have been inundated with the gospel of self-esteem, which insists that people cannot  find value in their journey unless they completely believe in themselves and avoid the danger of too much critique of their person.
 
Let’s blend the two approaches: we’re all individuals and we should take our differences into a corner and protect them as sacred against the onslaughts of other people who might want to force us to adapt. It is a formula for class warfare. It is a set-up for alienation. It is a devious plan to separate us off from one another, creating mistrust, which lends itself to suspicion, which welcomes antagonism, ending in war.
 
We have sat idly by like sheep on our way to the slaughter, looking at the tail of the creature ahead of us, marching in step to the drumming of repetition. Now we lament our economic situation. We are suddenly concerned about the needs of the poor and the excesses of the rich. No one stopped thirty years ago to question the antics of a society that was trying to differentiate personality types and box us all up into units for storage. No one objected to the doctrine of self-esteem, which placed each one of us as lord and master of our own perception.
 
So what do we have? We have a generation of people thoroughly convinced that they are so unique that they must fight and argue to maintain their self-worth because others are certainly out to nab their value. It’s pathetic. It will take Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic and atheist getting together on one principle, although they may disagree on many others, to shake us out of this lethargy of self-indulgence. Yes, we need to make a call to the whole world to submit to a singular purpose: NoOne is better than anyone else.
 
Let the cynics find the contradictions in the concept. Let the jaded mock such simplicity. And let the religionists attempt to segregate us into camps of “saved” and “unsaved.” NoOne is better than anyone else.
 
It requires the embracing of three precepts:
 
1. God is no respecter of persons. I didn’t make that up. It’s in the Bible. It means that whatever used to be the foundational philosophy of the universe, or if there was a time when there notion of “chosen people” was acceptable, that era has gone the way of the dodo bird. It’s over. God does not prefer anyone over anyone else. Which means:
2. I can love my neighbor as myself without looking like a jackass. At a recent rally, a public speaker, who brought up the concept of the golden rule, was booed by the crowd. Why? Because we have taught that love is weakness. It is not. I am not out of the loop when I keep my feelings on the highway of compassion. If I like to be free, it only seems right that others enjoy the same. If I like to escape the judgment of others, certainly they might desire the same treatment. If God is no respecter of persons, I can go ahead and love my neighbor as myself and know that I have the Creator anointing my efforts. Therefore:
3. My family is the entire human family. It doesn’t detract from my immediate loved ones that I expand my vision to include all Homo Sapiens. This is not an attempt to reject the animal kingdom–but it is much easier to love a bear when you can bear loving a human. Until the religions, non-religions, organizations, politicians, preachers and business people of our world accept these three principles–if only in theory–then we will languish in this mediocrity of self-deception.
 
I am not different. I am so similar to the people I meet that it’s frightening. I do not gain self-esteem by making a stand, but rather, define my created being by standing up for others.
 
This is the theory of revolution.
 
I could not vote for anyone who did not believe in it–not because I hate him or her. It is because the lack of a philosophy of inclusion makes them “haters in training.” Humans do not becomes more loving by thinking they are different and by insisting on their own self-worth. That is the formula for paranoia and frustration.
 
So I am thirty days into my Six Words Tour: NoOne is Better Than Anyone Else.
 
What have I learned so far? I have discovered that when you speak the words out loud, people at first embrace the sentiment–until it sinks into them that they lose their bubble of difference and their sword of self-esteem. It scares them. So I will tell you–it will take brave people to relinquish the stupidity of two generations and inhale the freedom of not needing to be superior or unique.
 
Because God is no respecter of persons, I can love my neighbor as myself, opening the door to all of humanity being my family.
 
I welcome your input–but make sure that what you think and feel is universal rather than just fits of discouragement. Nothing becomes easy until we accept that it’s needed. This is needed.
 
Welcome to the revolution … right now, only a theory.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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