G-Poppers … March 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The advantage of getting older is that you have been out-smarted so many times that you just might have stumbled upon some “in-smarts.”

At least, that’s what G-Pop thinks.

In a day and age when ragged ideas are being touted as well-sewn pieces of truth, it is important to remember how ignorance is born.

Ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, it is the carefully planned de-bunking of truth.

Ignorance begins with a critical nature.

Although G-Pop would love for his children to be able to discern what is real from false, he also would warn them not to develop a critical heart in performing this mission.

Critical people have one phrase which falls off their lips too easily: “I don’t like it.”

And the more they say it, the more they become accustomed to the intoxicating sensation of power they feel when they reject ideas that come their way.

The beginning of all ignorance is to be critical.

For after all, from “I don’t like it,” it is a simple few steps to, “I don’t like you.”

Once we express our disdain over the flavor of eggplant, it is just too easy to start looking at other human beings as if they were eggplant.

This is the first fruits of prejudice.

All prejudice comes via the misuse of a critical nature. If you’re not looking for reasons to dislike people, you have a much better chance of learning to live with them. But if you’ve convinced yourself that you should be allowed to have preferences, you will soon turn those inclinations into prejudices.

And G-Pop will tell his children that once we don’t like someone, it becomes easier and easier to generalize into, “I don’t like them.”

Bigotryturning one face into condemning a race.

To see change in our country, we must stop believing that “critical” has anything to do with intelligence. We should be looking for reasons to praise instead of criticize–because once critical, it’s easy to become prejudiced.

And once prejudiced, it is a “trip and fall” to bigotry.

There are stereotypes in life. If you spend time with any culture, you will find that many of the claims made about the group do have some foundation.

Those who are born of spirit and wisdom ignore the stereotypes. Once we start pointing out the stereotypes, it is a brief season until we begin promoting them and making up new stereotypes, producing hate.

G-Pop would love to see his children learn the dangers leading to the path of ignorance.

Stop being so quick to criticize: it is the gateway drug to bigotry.

 

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Ask Jonathots … January 7th, 2016

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Does wisdom come with age? Even today, kids are taught to “respect their elders,” but sometimes I’m not sure why. What are your thoughts on the notion that years add value?

I suppose the reason that “wisdom comes with age” has been promoted and generally believed by the populace is that the passage of years does grant more opportunity to screw up and survive.

But the truth of the matter is that wisdom is an understanding of the limitations of knowledge. Plainly, merely accumulating information which is deemed “correct” does not mean that the discovery of additional data in the future will not contradict or even eliminate your former comprehension.

People who become stubborn about their present knowledge will not only fail to become wise, but eventually will be considered ignorant.

So at any age you can learn the key to wisdom.

Wisdom has three basic parts that never change, and if you learn them, you can transfer your present ideas into a workable format for real life. The three parts are:

  1. Nothing is ever exactly what you think.

Aren’t you glad? It means you don’t have to be arrogant, therefore you don’t have to come across so foolish when you’re proven to be incorrect.

  1. Nothing will remain the same.

Even our faith evolves as we comprehend more about the true nature of life and God.

  1. Nothing is exclusive.

More simply phrased, anything you hear that leaves out one group of people in favor of another will eventually be exposed as errant.

So if you approach the knowledge that comes your way by filtering it through these three classic principles, you can become wise at any age.

If you don’t, you can end up looking like an 80-year-old dim-wit. 

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Ask Jonathots …December 10th, 2015

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I am the mother of a fourteen-year-old boy who is playing football on his junior high school team. I am concerned about him continuing because of the new information about concussions. He’s playing wide receiver and he’s very fast and talented, and my husband totally disagrees and thinks I’m just worrying about nothing. I don’t. What do you think?

  • Worry is useless.
  • Worry must take a journey.
  • Worry must become concern, which pursues knowledge and ends up with action.

Your husband, lacking worry, probably feels he is doing a good thing by being open-minded and willing, but it is only a good thing if it’s based on truth, and not merely wishing.

Here are the things you need to know about a young man playing football:

1. The position is everything.

If he is undersized for his position, playing against boys who are larger, stronger and hit harder, then it is not good. If he’s playing against boys his own size, then he has a much better chance of escaping injury.

2. Training.

To play football, you must condition your body to accept punishment for a given time. It also demands that you be smart. At fourteen years of age, he needs to understand that as a receiver, if he’s running across the middle of the field and the pass thrown to him is way over his head, there is no need to leap in the air, leaving himself vulnerable to a hit. Some coaches would disagree with me on this, but most receivers are injured because their quarterbacks threw them a bad pass, which they tried to heroically catch.

3. Don’t give in to pressure.

In other words, if your son experiences a hit that leaves him bleary or with a headache, he should get himself off the field and not try to be macho.

4. Realize that the better you play the game–the harder you hit–the less likely it is that you will be hurt.

5. Check out the equipment.

What is the quality of his helmet? Does it fit correctly? All of these things are important in protecting the brain.

6. Find out what your coach and your local league feel about the concussion issue.

Are they calling penalties for targeting? Are they making fun of the notion of concussions, or are they taking it seriously?

7. Check with your doctor.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your son checked before he plays football, to make sure that he’s sound and ready, with an exam that’s a bit more comprehensive than the normal athletic physical.

Football is a wonderful sport because it teaches teamwork. It also imparts the value of personal effort.

But make sure your worry becomes concern and pursues knowledge, for the more you know about it, the better off you will be.

Don’t teach your son to be afraid.

Frightened people get hurt.

Teach him to be smart and respectful of others who share the field with him.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … September 30th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn 9 30

A Well, Defined

Precious must confirm some value

Faith is better with substance

Love requires a commitment

Hope is energized by a vision

Kindness is empty without action

Belief, annoying minus fruit

Equality should prepare for the challenge

And peace must outsmart all war.

God is mean without mercy

Church comes alive through heart

Music is tuneless when heartless

Money mocks without a companion

Salvation begins in the here and now

Heaven, the sequel to a well-written Earth

Hell is always denying there is more

Romance, the culmination of great conversation

Failure is the chance to humbly succeed

Success, the spotlight on our remaining need

Parenting is God’s therapy for wounded children

Childhood, the time to question blind tradition

Freedom is what allows the truth to be told

Truth is what grants us the freedom to be bold

Knowledge is the book, but understanding, the eyes

Patience is the learning that makes fools wise

Time is our friend if we don’t surrender

Surrender, our savior when it’s time to remember.

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The Alphabet of Us: W is for Wisdom … May 11th, 2015

 

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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Building block W

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

Wisdom does not come with years. Otherwise all the older folks would be fruitful, faithful and forgiving.

Wisdom is also not knowledge, although information does come in handy.

Wisdom is not opportunity, though an open door is appreciated.

Wisdom is not common sense–yet good answers do apply in many situations.

Wisdom is not patience. We do, however, need to wait on occasion.

Wisdom is the decision to expand your willingness and apply your repentance.

Wisdom is what we do after we make a mistake:

  • Are we defensive?
  • Are we worried?
  • Are we going to lie?
  • Are we cheaters?
  • Are we prone to pretend nothing’s wrong?

Because one thing is certain–the amount of willingness I bring to any endeavor will always be challenged by Mother Nature, to see if I’m ready to give more.

If not, I will fail just as much as the ones who never tried at all.

And also, mistakes will occur to see how eager I am to repent. Making excuses, trying to share responsibility and acting as if there’s “no problem at all” only aggravates my situation and keeps me from applying wisdom.

Wisdom comes my way when I realize that I will need to expand my willingness and apply my repentance many times over.

If you are unable to achieve this status, you will always end up looking like a childish brat.

As you can see, this has nothing to do with age. It has nothing to do with gender.

It is simply being able to stare life in the face and say, “I am willing to do more…and I am prepared to repent quickly.”

 

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The Alphabet of Us: I is for Intelligent… February 2, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Building block I big

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

  • Information
  • Knowledge
  • Smart
  • Intelligent
  • Insight
  • And wisdom.

Normally these words are used synonymously with each other. Would you please allow me to assign different meanings to these words, and in the process of doing so, inflame them with purpose?

Let’s begin with a little piece of prose:

We gather information

To study knowledge

Then learn what’s smart

So we can experiment by being intelligent

To acquire insight

Which promotes wisdom.

Stuck right there in the middle of the verses, is the word “intelligent.” Intelligent is the status we achieve when after gathering information, gaining knowledge and discerning what is really smart, we decide to experiment with these ideas to improve our quality.

As you can imagine, it is possible to stop off at any stage along the way and declare yourself to be intellectual.

For instance, someone can just go on the Internet, dig up the latest gossip, and tout themselves “informed.”

Other folks go to the university and cram for exams, to repeat back knowledge which has been determined as acceptable for acquiring a diploma. (Some of those brave souls actually go out, put their knowledge into application in the business world and get smart.

But intelligent is when we personally experiment, challenging what has come our way and what has been taught to us, in order to unearth validity.

I call it the “Rit dye test.”

I’m probably dating myself a bit by talking about Rit dye. When I was a teenager I had a lovely shirt, but it was white. I wanted it to be gold.

So I bought a box of Rit dye, which was labeled “yellow.” Fortunately for me, on that day I was in an astute mode, so I read the directions. They cautioned me to take a small spot on the bottom of the shirt and dye it first, to make sure I had the color I desired.

I did that, and lo and behold, it was anemic.

It took me about eight boxes of Rit dye, blending yellow, red, some blue–well, I forget all the combinations I tried–to end up with the perfect gold for my shirt.

Having run all the tests, I dunked my shirt into the concocted dye and pulled out a magnificent masterpiece.

That’s what it means to be intelligent.

Just because its been said, proclaimed, preached, called holy or scientific, take a moment and test it in your own life.

It is the only way we get to the point where we gain the insight which leads to wisdom.

If you’re not willing to challenge the status quo and test it, be prepared to land in the discarded pile of all those who trusted conventional thinking and fell short.

It’s the Rit dye philosophy: if you know what color you’re looking for, be intelligent enough to seek it out until you get just the right hue.

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Untotaled: Stepping 42 (August 27th, 1967) Driven… November 29, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2428)

(Transcript)

I woke up in one of those adolescent grumpy moods, staring at the ceiling, disgusted with my life.

It was nearly time for school to start again and I felt like I had squandered my entire summer, worrying about how little summer I had left.

Even the things I had done which seemed enjoyable had passed too quickly, and now it was time to go back to school–to pretend to be a student and memorize a bunch of information which would give me a good grade on a test, knowing in my heart that I would soon forget the knowledge, yet knowing that somewhere in the future, I would be expected to remember it.

I had acquired three dollars yesterday by finally mowing the lawn, which had grown so high that one of the neighbors had complained to my parents, fearing that varmaints or snakes might dwell within. I reluctantly did the job and was rewarded with the remuneration.

So I woke up with a scratch I needed to itch. That’s the way it is when you’re a teenager–it’s not really an itch you need to scratch, but rather, an ongoing scratching sensation and needing an itch to justify it.

I got in my car and headed over to Katie’s house. She was the highlight of my summer. We had come together to search for pop bottles we could turn in for deposit to get gas money so we could drive around, talk and be silly.

There was nothing romantic involved, though candidly, I would have jumped her at the slightest invitation. She just thought I was funny.

When I picked her up that day, she had two dollars she had earned by picking blackberries on her grandma’s farm. Between us we had five dollars, three candy bars and some leftover tuna sandwiches her mother had foisted on her as she departed.

Katie explained that she needed to be home by three o’clock in the afternoon, and since it was already ten-thirty, our time would be shortened.

I told her that since we had enough money to buy fifteen gallons of gasoline, that we should drive three hours somewhere, talk, laugh and turn around to drive three hours back.

She was cool with it so we took off for Columbus.

Driving on I-71, we reached the south end of Columbus. Then that scratch that needed an itch suddenly raised its head. So I said, “Let’s keep going.”

She was nervous but agreed–and before too long we passed through Washington Court House, Wilmington and suddenly found ourselves on the outskirts of Cincinnati. It was deliciously naughty, filled with wild abandon and irresponsibility.

A sign read that the Ohio River was four miles ahead. I had never seen the Ohio River, and Katie had only passed over it in a car with her parents while being sound asleep in the back seat. So I said, let’s do it.

We crossed the river into Kentucky.

We felt like fugitives. It was similar to trying to make our way into the Soviet Union through the Iron Curtain (they had that back then).

Everything on the other side of the river, including a town named Covington, looked so different. We felt like Christopher Columbus eyeballing the New World.

Suddenly, Katie looked down at her watch and it was two o’clock in the afternoon, and she realized there was no way she would be able to get back in time. There also were no cell phones or texting, and pay phones were out of the question because we had used all of our money for petrol.

So knowing we were going to get in trouble, we turned the car around and headed back the way we came. It was the strangest combination of fear, jubilance, independence, anxiety and nervous bowel twinges that I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Strangely enough, when we arrived home, people really didn’t say much about us being late–just that we should never do it again.

Katie and I knew that was impossible.

Something changed that day.

I no longer felt bound to a small home on a tiny street in a little village. I realized there was a big world out there–and the only way I would ever get to it and be myself was to survive a couple more years of provincial schooling … to finally be able to point my life in my own direction.

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