G-Poppers … October 6th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop wants his children to understand about the sliding scale.

Although the human tribe insists on believing that goals are set and achieved, most of the time, we all fall short of the original aspiration, and end up settling for something a little bit different, if not lesser.

At that point, it is our nature to explain that what we attained is “just as good,” and if we’re smart, turn it into something of value.

So when Jesus told his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount to be merciful because it was the only way to guarantee mercy coming back in their direction, he was pointing out that if we do not set our minds to be merciful, we will never offer kindness.

Yes, kindness is about the best human beings can muster in dealing with one another. But to generate kindness, you’ve got to try for mercy–and mercy is that sense that it’s really none of our business, and we step away without judging whatsoever.

Kindness is the empathy that comes into our souls when we see someone fail and we recall our own sensations in failure.

Yet if you set your goal to be kind, you’ll probably end up with considerate. That means if someone is right in front of you and in need, you more than likely will put yourself out a little bit and lend a helping hand.

There are those who think that mercy and kindness are much too tender. So they try for considerate, and on the sliding scale, end up with tolerance. Yes, they patiently “put up” with foibles and attributes of other human beings while internally they harbor some hidden resentment.

Those who try for toleration eventually end up with indifference. Why? Because as you can imagine, toleration requires quite an effort, and sometimes it’s just better to stand at a distance and not get involved.

There are travelers who live a life of indifference, and suddenly find themselves plagued by complaining. Because even though we distance ourselves from other people, they don’t go away, and because they hang around with notable nagging nonsense, we are left complaining about them to other people.

Dare I say there are even human beings who start their day as complainers, and by the end of their morning and afternoon, as evening settles, they simmer in anger. Since no one really listens to their complaining, and what they complain about has not changed, they feel justified in being completely angry with the situation.

Would you believe there are people who live in anger, and as they look at the world around them, confirming their dark visions, they are suddenly engorged in a spirit of rage. They are the ticking time bombs–too sensitive to touch and ready to go off when least expected. And unfortunately, those souls who awaken in rage, on the sliding scale, eventually find themselves murderous.

There is a sliding scale.

So as we contemplate what causes a brother to fire thousands of bullets into a crowd, we must realize that maybe at one time, he wanted to be considerate, but the scale slid, and as it did, he did nothing to correct his course.

 

 

 

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Good News and Better News… May 1st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I spent the weekend with the “Life of Brian”–once again reminded to “always look on the bright side of life.”

Yes, Brian is the pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Frostproof, Florida. Aside from being personable, gentle and caring, he has intelligently chosen to embrace the work that is set before him and enjoy it instead of complaining about the difficulties or lamenting its limitations.
That is remarkable. (So therefore, I did.)

Because of this spirit which radiates from him, the congregation allows itself to believe that they are not boxed in to either a social or a religious format that makes them run around in circles like gerbils looking for a wheel.

I must tell you–any church that advertises that it is presently on the path of righteous pursuits may very well be deluded. We are all intoxicated by an environment which challenges us to be rough and tumble instead of kind and merciful.

Very simply stated, that must change or nothing will happen.

If we truly go into a deeper study of the Word, we will end up as Paul did, proclaiming that the only commandment that’s necessary is “love your neighbor as yourself.”

If we pursue an existence of prayer, we will find, as Jesus taught, that our best supplications are done in the closet, without letting anyone know that we are seeking divine guidance.

It really comes down to a simple back-and-forth:

What should we slow?

What should become quick?

I use the word “slow” because none of us are without silliness and foolish iniquity, so we will occasionally slip up. Right now we are obsessed with the notion to be quick to judgment and slow to love. For some reason, we insist that this is a sign of maturity, caution or caring for our loved ones. Because of this, the people in our society sometimes look like they’re sniffing the room for nasty odors instead of including the inhabitants of the room.

We are quick to judge yet slow to love.

And no matter how much you learn about the Tabernacle of David, the death of Christ or the Apocalypse, you will make no progress in the Kingdom of God until you become quick to love and slow to judge.

Matter of fact, if I were pastoring a church, I would teach on that subject for at least six months–until everybody in the congregation, including the toddlers, was fully aware that the mantra of our mission was “quick to love and slow to judge.”

This does not mean that prayer, worship, fasting, giving and study have no merit–it just means they have no muscle. They do not bust through the cement of the walls we are building between each other. The only thing that will do that is love and a refusal on our part to judge others.

So the good news is this: if we can learn to be quick to love, even if it seems a little awkward at first, at least we will be stumbling in the right direction.

And the better news is, if we are slow to judgment, we can begin to tear down the dark image of the Christian faith, which has turned us into prudes instead of proof.

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Good News and Better News… April 24th, 2017

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I’m a sucker for kindness.

If you’re going to give me some bad news, do it with a smile. I just don’t buy into this concept that the more grumpy, frowny-faced and serious you are, the better chance you have of passing for a grown-up–or for that matter, making God think you’re truly an observant disciple.

I once wrote a gospel song which had a line about arriving in heaven, which was, “Bursting through the gates, a’laughin’…” (Now whether that will be a chuckle of relief or a belly laugh of victory, I plan on arriving to meet my Father with good cheer.)

So when I came into the doors of Wesley United Methodist Church in West Melbourne, Florida, and saw four beautiful human beings sitting there just smirking, with joy in their eyes, welcoming me–well, I felt good. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there?

Sometimes I think we believe church is a place where we need to feel bad before we feel good. I’d like to skip that step, if you don’t mind.

Now, the church building itself is wide open, like it wants to wrap its arms around you and give you a hug.

Yet it started the day before at sound check when I got to meet Pastor Doug. He’s one of those guys that when you encounter him, you immediately realize you like him simply because he doesn’t lead with a bunch of suspicion, and he actually appears to have an interest in your life. I got tickled because they were having a spaghetti supper on Saturday night and Doug was going to be imitating Elvis Presley.

Now, can you beat that? A good preacher who loves people and doesn’t mind a nice pair of blue suede shoes.

So the next morning, when it came my turn to share my little piece of myself with these darling souls of the kingdom, I just decided to be joyful and honest. My dear Lord, what we could do in this country if our leadership would be honest and joyful, and if that didn’t work real well, they became joyful and honest.

The people of Wesley UMC allowed themselves to be touched so then they were ready to reach out and touch others. I even had one lady who gave me the “Grace” of a wonderful shoulder rub. I can’t guarantee that you’ll get the same treatment–I mean as far as therapeutic muscle relaxation–but I will tell you this: Pastor Doug has these people ready to enact what the Gospel is all about: Love your neighbor as yourself with a special emphasis on making sure that those who love Jesus double-love one another.

So, for convenience, let me box up my conclusion.

Here’s the good news: you should arrive at church with a heart ready to be encouraged.

And the better news is, if we start preaching the Gospel again the way Jesus taught it–which is mingling our own humanity with mercy for others–then we’re going to have a great opportunity to leave encouraged.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … February 1st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-what-is-kind

What Is Kind

Today I viewed a kindness

Which healed me of a blindness

For the lies make me weary

My soul dark and dreary

Drowning in the carnal swill

Cynical, angry, had my fill

When there it was before my eyes

The reason for learning, the essence of wise

All it was–opening a door

An insignificant, meaningless chore

Patient he was, allowing her to pass

Grateful she seemed, this aged lass

A smile passed between the two

“As unto others” is what we do

I stood and peered at the holy place

Where new friends came, face to face

And yearned to join their heavenly band

Find my place to lend a hand

I noticed a man with a cardboard sign

“Will work for food” read the line

I pulled a five from my stash

He popped a grin–so little cash

I nodded to him and sealed my mind

The only cure for crazy

Is to discover what is kind

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … January 4th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-step-careful

Step Careful

If the bugs ever organized

We would surely be dead

Executed for war crimes

Against their fallen kinsfolk

If the sky could speak

Would we hear great remorse?

Of being ignored for beauty

Then cursed for the rain

If a door might complain

Would it question our sanity?

In and out, back and forth

Please decide, scatterbrain

Yes, a horse would demand

We get off its back

A fish would certainly quibble

“Let me off the hook!”

And a road would order,

“Just keep movin'”

It is very easy to offend

More tough to amend

So be kind as you …

Step, look, open, close, ride, fish and journey

May your living bring life.

 

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Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

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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Ask Jonathots … December 15th, 2016

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Is Jesus really the son of God?

Which must be prefaced by an initial inquiry: is there a God in the first place, who could manifest a son?

Zeus, Jehovah, Allah, Vishnu and many other deities I personally find dissatisfying, if not unnerving. They seem to be divinities who insist we humans use our earthly journey to attain a heavenly destination.

This is where Jesus steps away from the crowd and offers a possibility:

What if God, rather than being Almighty, is a creative Father, who wants us to use the intelligence of heaven to enhance our earthly journey?

All at once, we are presented with a baby born in a barn to a peasant mother and a baffled “daddy figure,” who arrives under the banner of “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

Most interesting–as a grown man, this baby never abandons the message, even when confronted by the foolishness of religion and the tyranny of Rome.

If there had been no Jesus, would we find ourselves, every December, creating a story to motivate us toward brotherhood?

For instance, in attempting to survive 2016 with all of its selfishness, would we require a one-month reprieve of genuine affection and universal acceptance?

The reason I choose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God is because he taught about a Creator who chose to be a Father, but asks us to submit to the wisdom already placed in Earth by science, and learn how to use these resources to find reasons to establish commonality with all souls.

So I will tell you, if there is a God, Jesus would make a great son.

And if Jesus is the son of God, we have the promise of a Father who is gentle-hearted but also inspires us to respect the Earth. And if we respect the Earth, we are given the promise that God’s will can be done here, even as it is in heaven.

Even one drop of religion added to Jesus turns it into poison.

But when you take away Zeus, Jehovah, Allah and Vishnu from the equation, you discover a benevolent Father who sent His son to teach us the powers of Earth, the glories of kindness and the simplicity of eternity.

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Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

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

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An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

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

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Ask Jonathots … December 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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What do you think about the idea that people get depressed during the holidays? Do you believe in “Blue Christmas?”

The diagnosis of depression is applied to everything from copouts to extreme physiological disorders. It is a shame that such a legitimate concern is rendered questionable by people who simply want to feel sorry for themselves.

So when we talk about depression, we’re referring to three different regions of human behavior:

  1. Fear of the afar
  2. Fear of our surroundings
  3. Fear borne from a chemical imbalance within

So when dear hearts come to us and say they’re in no mood to celebrate Christmas because it leaves them sad, it is important that we listen to them and decide if they’re expressing some apprehension about the world around them, some feeling of a lack of appreciation by those they interact with, or whether the recent concern about the holidays is aggravating what seems to be an ongoing thread in their lives.

Those who are involved in conspiracy theories or worry about what’s going on in our world can often be comforted with good cheer, a sense of well-being and the knowledge that someone cares for them.

Others who are disappointed by their surroundings or who have been subjected to mistreatment are often healed right before our eyes by a spirit of gentleness and kindness.

And those who have physiological roots for their depression need our encouragement to see a doctor so they can feel better.

So during this holiday season, when you run across people who are expressing misgivings, start with some good cheer and give them a listening ear, and see if that doesn’t lift their spirits.

If it does, you are like the angels on high, who declared “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

But if your attempts at healing still leave them feeling empty, you might use your holiday joy to encourage them to seek an answer and find out the source of their depression within.

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this inspirational opportunity


Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

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

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

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

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

 
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