Salient … May 7th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3666)

I’ve never been involved in politics. (I did have a passing interest in the candidate, Abraham Lincoln, but it turns out I was WAY too young to vote.)

I now stand back quietly and watch as the Republicans jab the Democrats, and they, the Democrats, wrestle with their more conservative opponents.

Honestly, it bores me.

Since I don’t believe political solutions bring about lasting change, it’s rather doubtful that I’d want to invest my limited lifespan into band aids for gaping wounds.

Yet today I must be honest and share a salient concept that has absolutely nothing to do with politics–although it may refer to those who are politically involved.

There seems to be some sort of bumbling campaign to make the American public accept more and more bizarre circumstances, and deem them “normal.”

For instance, a man who allegedly has a romantic tryst with a porn star actress during the time when his wife is preparing to give birth to their son, and once again, allegedly arranges for a financial payoff to this woman, using his lawyer to be the “bag man,” granting her finance so she will remain quiet about the circumstances.

These are the facts as evenly distributed as I can present them.

Now, here’s what I did today: I took that story and I considered what I would feel and think if it were alleged about five members of my community: my plumber, my banker, my minister, my son’s teacher and the local handyman.

What would I think if there were rumblings that my plumber had sexual intercourse with a porn actress and paid her off to secure her silence? Well, I suppose I would still keep him as my plumber as long as he didn’t come in the house and talk about the details or flaunt it in front of the community.

But if it were my banker, I would have to consider that anyone involved in a financial institution who would put together gag money might be a little suspect in other monetary matters. I might have to change banks.

My minister? Well, candidly, I do think there’s a difference between judging someone and condoning unsuitable behavior. No, I don’t have a problem with a minister saving the lost, but I am a little squeamish on him screwing the lost.

How about my son’s teacher? That’s a toughy. Can a person be a good teacher and still be accused of immorality and cover-up? Is it just an issue of whether the teacher shares with his class? Or is it tainted too much by the fact that the students become cognizant of the discrepancy?

And then there’s the handyman. That’s the guy who comes to your house to do the chores that you might be able to do yourself, but not without swearing at the heavens. Does he have to maintain a certain moral code and integrity for me to allow him to trim the hedges?

As you can see, it differs with the distinctions among jobs. Where trust, honesty and fiscal responsibility come into play, considering the allegations becomes more pertinent.

So of the five people I mentioned, in order for me to maintain peace of mind, I would probably have to find a new banker, a fresh minister and request that my son have a different teacher.

It’s not because I am judgmental or inflexible–it’s just that certain occupations require quality or they diminish in value.

What, if instead of plumber or banker, I insert President of the United States?

So here is your salient moment:

Don’t accept what is unacceptable simply because everybody around you decides to accept it, so what they do will be considered more acceptable.

 

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G-Poppers … December 15th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3522)

  • G-Pop mused the statement.

    “A moral victory.”

    The phrase was uttered by a news commentator who was characterizing the nature of the defeat of Judge Roy Moore in the Alabama Senatorial race.

    “A moral victory” is what Judge Moore normally would have applauded, touting it as a shout of glory for the conservative Christian movement. But in this case he found himself in the middle of Pharisees who were bound and determined to stone the sinner.

    G-Pop wants to make something very clear. If all men aged 32 were to be considered pedophiles by ogling a teenage girl, we would have to turn the state of Alaska into a prison farm. Sins of the flesh are something we humans certainly understand, though we cannot condone.

    What is difficult to comprehend are sins of the heart–those iniquities that come off our tongues as we try to defend ourselves instead of facing the music.

    Yes, Judge Roy Moore followed what a myriad of politicians have done, going all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt: When confronted about the nature of your business, deny.

    Of course, Judge Moore would have to admit this is not a Christian concept–rather, a secular one that seems to work because people become exhausted with all the tawdry details. Eventually the public walks away in disgust.

    Judge Moore is a great advocate for the Ten Commandments. But like a lot of us, he may have forgotten that Jesus broke the ten down to two:

    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.”

    Jesus prefaced the second commandment by saying it was “like unto the first.” In other words, it’s impossible to love God without loving people, or to love people without tipping your hat to the Creator.

    When dealing with the stories coming from his accusers, Judge Moore became vehement, claimed he did not remember and insisted they were lying.

    Now, G-Pop is not about to say he knows what Judge Moore should have done in this situation. G-Pop is just explaining that what Judge Moore did had nothing to do with being a Christian. He became a cornered animal, growling at his surroundings, hoping to scare the intruders away.

    Nobody got scared.

    But what happened to our dear friend in Alabama can happen to us also if we allow our ignorance to mingle with our arrogance in an attempt to create dominance.

    Every sinner saved by grace needs to remember the grace–or they soon forget they were ever sinners.

    That’s what G-Pop thinks happened in this particular case.

    G-Pop’s suggestion for Judge Roy Moore? Wisdom would declare that we have less of “Moore,” and that he refrain in totality from “judging.”

    Maybe just work on being Roy.

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G-Poppers … April 14th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3277)

Jon close up

Jesus.

What does the name evoke?

G-Pop remembers a time when the mention of Jesus would flood one’s mind with images of mercy, kindness, forgiveness, tolerance and most certainly, love.

But the years have pressed on, and the insanity of religious fanaticism has begun to lump Jesus in with all his errant practitioners and sour-faced sheep.

It may be the greatest tragedy of Good Friday. Not only was he crucified by ignorant rabble, who had memorized scripture but had no Word in their hearts, but he is now re-wounded by those who fail to comprehend that they are imitating the primer of his murderers instead of the mindset of the Master.

G-Pop recalls a phrase Jesus once used: “Except your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Exceed.

Exceed what?

Prayer? No–it can’t be that. Jesus warned his disciples not to advertise their prayer life, but instead, find a closet, shut the door and create intimacy.

Study? Highly unlikely. Jesus accused the Pharisees of parsing every jot and tittle as they “strained at the gnat and swallowed the camel” forgetting the “weightier matters” of God’s message–that being justice and mercy.

Fasting? Once again, both he and his disciples were accused of never fasting, and Jesus told them that if they did, to make sure they literally put on a happy face.

So how did he want his disciples to exceed the religious people around them?

In the humanities.

  • Training themselves to give a damn instead of insisting that they just couldn’t muster the energy.
  • Refusing to judge other people, even though it temporarily makes us feel ooey and goooey with superiority.
  • Realizing that the folks who are considered the least on Earth have the heavenly Father’s eyeball–to see who will come and gently tend to them.

G-Pop points out that as we consider the crucifixion of Christ, we have to ask ourselves, why such a drastic measure? Why kill him?

And the answer is simple. There was a danger that if Jesus lived, or his disciples were still filled with his power and spunk, that religion would not be able to manipulate people into enough guilt to trap them in ceremony–as it robbed their pockets.

“This Jesus, this Jesus, this Jesus must die.”

G-Pop thinks the best tribute we can give to Jesus on this dark day in history is to exceed the Pharisees that walk the Earth today–by using the humor, kindness, gentleness, cleverness and mercy that he taught us to possess.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … November 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3134)

pohymn-nuttin

Nuttin’

Nuttin’ else do I need

Got the soil and my seed

Lots of kin at my side

Full of joy, absent pride

 

Blessed we are, one and all

Little Bobby has grown so tall

God seems pleased with our whole

Winter was cold, took its toll

 

But healthy we remain to this day

Survived the tricks of the darkened way

Laughed enough to make us try

Hard enough to bring the cry

 

Wished for better but enjoyed the good

Harvested on time like good folks should

Minded our words and actions, too

Forsook the lie, pursued the true

 

No new shirt could Papa buy

Mama, stay simple–don’t ask why

The kids giggle to forget the lack

The work is tough, ‘twon’t break your back

 

Some say we ignorant, absent thought

Judging by what be sold and bought

But nuttin’ else do we require

A quiet place with a warm fire

 

‘Cause happy never treks to town

Just pleased to be still around

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Good News and Better News… November 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3132)

good-news-summit-heights

Fifteen friends and family joined us yesterday at the Summit Heights United Methodist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, to celebrate and fellowship over our final gig of the year.

What a year.

Twelve states, thousands of people and memories to last a lifetime.

The Summit Heights congregation was a beautiful human concoction of simplicity and joy, with a great sense of humor–guided by a bright, hopeful and forward-thinking young man named Todd.

So when I took the stage to begin the morning with our prelude, there was an eagerness and energy in the air. I thought to myself, This is what God wants. He wants His children showing up to His house ready for cookies and milk instead of thinking they’re going to have to stomach the medicine.

As I continued in the service, an abiding notion suddenly permeated my mind.

God is not going to do anything without us.

We can pray, we can study, we can hope, we can criticize the world, we can judge others–and God will ignore our feeble, religious efforts. For God is not going to do anything without us.

When Jesus wanted to feed the five thousand, he required the five loaves and two fishes from the disciples.

When it was time to preach the good news, he sent them out two by two.

When desiring to make wine, he requested water.

When people came for healing, he told them that their faith made them whole–and when their faith was absent, it says he was not able to heal many.

And certainly when God wanted to save humanity, He found a willing woman to bring the Savior into the world.

I don’t know why we’re so afraid to become involved in our own life, ministry, outreach and salvation–but it will take our spirit, our countenance and our heart to transform America from its angry position of self-absorption, back into one nation that truly is under God’s guidance.

What kind of spirit?

It’s a spirit of repentance. “I could be wrong and because that’s possible, I am prepared to change.”

What is the countenance?

It is a full-faced expression of joy, which shows that we’re aware of life’s pain, but we realize it can only be conquered through good cheer.

What is the heart?

It is a heart of compassion–letting everyone know that because we have weaknesses, we feel a tender kindness to those like ourselves, who find themselves weak.

It is my prayer that Summit Heights will take on the power of the Gospel, which is: “Christ in me, the hope of glory.”

 

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Good News and Better News… November 14th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3125)

good-news-belmont-sunflowerJesus offered a tender warning to each of us: Mother Nature does not favor us more than a tree branch full of sparrows.

Therefore we will be greatly disappointed if we do not access our willingness to repent and our endearing quality of good cheer. Without repentance and cheer, we become exhausted in our futility.

What is it that exhausts us?

This was fresh on my mind when I drove to the Belmont United Methodist Church in suburban Dayton, and encountered some excellent new friends. Pastor Randy, Mike, Janet, Terry, Larry and a whole bunch of other sparkling souls made us feel at home (once they realized we had arrived with no intention of robbing the joint.)

And as I had the blessing of standing in front of the congregation on Sunday morning to share my vision, it occurred to me that the actions and craziness of our society had worn out the people sitting in front of me.

But there were some surprises. There was one lady who came all the way from Mansfield, Ohio, after seeing us last week, and brought along one of her friends, who lives in Dayton. There was a great sense of anticipation in the air–that the spirit of innovation might just visit us with a baptism of rejuvenation.

Being exhausted is debilitating. It makes us believe we can’t do what we once did, and if we could, we’d rather not. So to get rid of that exhaustion that causes us to falter in the midst of our journey, we need to declare war on two nasty little faith drainers:

The first one is judging.

It will nearly wear you down to a nub of nothing if you think it’s your job to evaluate the lives of other people. It’s hard enough to breathe on your own. It’s even worse when you try to take the breath out of the life of someone else.

We are grouchy when we judge, we are ill-tempered, we are picky, we are fussy and we end up taking our eyes off of our own ability.

The second exhausting activity is complaining.

Every time we convince ourselves that we don’t have enough, we always end up failing to use what we have. Complaining happens when the brain overrides the spirit and creates an unholy alliance with aggravated emotion. We have an exaggerated sense of importance which causes us to think that we’re worthy of more than our daily bread.good-news-belmont-sign

So the first thing we did in Belmont yesterday was judge judging and complain about complaining.

Suddenly energy began to fill the room. We were no longer feeling the need to criticize other people or critique God and Nature because they failed to give us the quality we think we deserve.

The good news is that when you stop judging others and complaining about your life, exhaustion gets tired and leaves.

The better news is that when exhaustion stumbles away, we actually want to do things instead of feeling like we have to.

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Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

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“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … September 28th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3078)

string

A Sort Meant

Today is sufficiently constructed to handle the problems provided.

Worry is the drain on time that steals the energy to try.

Childish people lure you to their playground, where they can bully you with ease.

If we refrain from judging one another we might uncover our common core,

You will never find God if you’ve lost your humanity.

Out of the abundance of God’s heart, He speaks.

But religion is using God’s name in vain.

Love is the correct pronunciation.

Caving into pressure forces you to dig your way to freedom.

Every time you kill a jesus, you get a christ

And every moment you respect the Christ, you resurrect some Jesus.

The profit margin of gaining the world ignores the deduction of losing your soul.

For when words are organized into ideas, and ideas are granted heart, then the human race can breathe again.

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