Make Me … July 7, 2014

 

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Viewing violence makes me grouchy

Religious ritual makes me fussy

Politics makes me intolerant

Laziness makes me fat and cynical

Reading books makes me book-smart

Laughing, believe it or not, makes me sleep

Sleeping makes me pleasant

Pleasant makes me friendly

Friendly makes me friends

Friends make me confident

Confident makes me hopeful

Hopeful makes me creative

Creative makes …

Creativity

At the end of my sharing yesterday in Janesville, Wisconsin, a young fellow came to my table and gave me a picture he had drawn. His name was Garrhett.

He told me that he had created the image during my show, and his mother said he should give it to me.

I told him I would use it in one of my jonathots. He looked at me with great disbelief, as if to say, “Sure you will.”

So here you go, Garrhett. Here’s your picture, as promised.

And by the way, you made me do it.

drawing

 

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Arizona morning

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Untotaled: Stepping 17–(November 25th, 1965) Too Late to Understand … June 7, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

Angry. Sweet.

Gentle. Mean.

Vindictive. Giving.

These words seem to be opposites of one another but they were all part of the personality of my mother.

All through my childhood, I had endured a see-saw of emotion which was not only painful, but unpredictable.

November 25th was Thanksgiving Day. I was excited. I walked into the kitchen rubbing my hands together with enthusiasm and asked my mother “when the feast was going to be ready.”

She turned to me with a bit of fire and spit and said, “Why don’t you cook it? It’s hard work.”

It was cold, ferocious and beyond my understanding. I just went to my room, cussing her name.

For after all, this was a woman I had seen empty her cupboards of canned goods to help a neighbor in need and then, the next day, turn around and curse that same neighbor for dereliction and laziness. She would often come into my room and give me a hug, only to scream at me an hour later for watching cartoons–“being in her way” during vacuuming.

In my youth I heard her speak of brotherhood while referring to some individuals as “worthless niggers.”

If I’d had a lick of sense–which I didn’t–I would have realized that a human being who is angry, sweet, gentle, mean, vindictive and giving–well, when you combine them, what you end up with is confused.

In my later years, I understood.

She was seventeen years old when she married a man who was eighteen years her senior. she never got to travel, she didn’t get to go to college, was unable to flirt with either disaster or blessing and birthed five children, which from time to time seemed more of an inconvenience than a heritage.

She lived in confined quarters with limited funds, with a very stoic husband who often went on trips to Canada without providing a definite return date.

I wish I could sit down with her and tell her that I’m sorry I did not understand her plight. In today’s world, she probably would be diagnosed with some sort of neurotic condition which would be tempered by medication. Such remedies were unheard of in her day and age.

The greatest reprieve to my soul is that on the day she passed from this world, I was the last one to see her in the nursing home. We had a wonderful trip to the mall and on the way back, together sang her favorite hymn, The Old Rugged Cross.

She taught me a lot without realizing that she was instructing.

It was neither the fits of anger nor her acts of generosity that remain with me, but rather, a desire to be universally merciful to people when I don’t know their whole story.

So nowadays I would only ask three questions of anyone I encounter:

  1.  Can you admit you’re not happy?
  2. Are you willing to be happy?
  3. Will you stay with it until happiness arrives?

That’s all my mother needed–someone to give a damn.

It’s hard for me to remember her as a mom or a mother, and I certainly don’t want to look on her as a monster.

She was a woman named Mary who was given limited possibilities … and did the best she could.

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

Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

UNTOTALED: Stepping 7–Tackling Laziness (September 4th, 1965) … March 22, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

(2184)

(Transcript)

Starting the seventh grade scared the crap out of me.

Actually, that particular cliché doesn’t fit very well because when you’re entering junior high school in a new building, the idea of any sound or bodily fluid coming out of your being is completely terrifying.

You want to simultaneously be invisible and also appreciated, which of course, is not only socially impossible, but scientifically implausible.

I had spent the week before school began begging my mother to allow me to go out for the football team. She was afraid I would get injured. This was a maternal prophetic sensation, long before the recent onslaught of concussions and head injuries. What was comical, though, about this assertion on her part was that I was nearly six feet tall and weighed three hundred pounds. The coach joked with her, when trying to solicit her support, that it would be more likely that I would hurt other children.

I whined, cajoled, pleaded, promised, praised, complimented and cleaned my room up enough to get her to agree to allow me to try out for the team.

So September 4th, 1965, was not just the first day of horror in the new junior high school. It was also my first day to go out after school and practice with the football team.

The trials continued when they were unable to find a pair of football pants to fit me.  (This was the era when men’s sizes stopped at extra-large, and anyone who needed anything bigger must order it from the sheep herders of Tibet.) So I wore a pair of tennis shoes and blue Dickey work pants to work out with the other guys, who were in suitable apparel. (They did find a helmet that fit my head, since the term fat-head is merely an urban legend.)

It became obvious to me immediately, on that small practice field, what I liked and what I didn’t.

  • I loved the game.
  • I loved tackling.
  • I loved thinking about what was going to happen next.

On the other hand, I hated exercise in all of its contorted, convoluted and fastidiously constructed forms. After all, every exercise program is really geared to skinny people–even the ones which insist they are trying to appeal to the obese. Their speculations always exceed our limitations.

I hated sprints, calisthenics, too much running of any type, and all the drills which they insisted were essential for becoming a great football player.

I endured the sport for three years, but finally my laziness regarding exercise overtook my love of the gridiron.

Maybe if I’d had the right kick in the pants from an authority figure, or perhaps mercy at the right moments and toughness at others, I might have continued playing the game. I don’t know.

But because I didn’t tackle laziness on the football field, it took me too many years to overcome that gooey, drippy vice that drags one down, draining off potential.

So the next time you run across a kid who has ability, but not much drive, please don’t assume that you should leave him alone.

I was left alone. And fascinatingly enough–it was just lonely.

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

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

The problem is not the problem … February 7, 2012

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Once you give it a name, you start the game.

That’s right. At least 80% of our success is determined by our perception of what is set before us. So if you decide to name your child “Hitler,” you have pre-conditioned the public to receive your offspring as something that he may not be, but is stuck with because of the name. And if you call every situation that comes your way a problem, you have warned yourself, others, God and the universe that you are anticipating a struggle instead of prepared for a solution.

Some people might be offended by this concept or even think it’s a little silly. After all, what is the actual difference between using one word over another in any given circumstance? Well, it’s the difference between your loved one receiving a “thank you” from you and only getting a grunt. Jesus was right–by our words we are justified and by our words we are condemned. Until we grow up enough to cease and desist from viewing every cumbersome obstacle in our lives as a problem instead of just our daily bread of crustiness, we will send out a beacon of desperation and frustration which not only lends itself to wasting time instead of working on solutions, but also is one of the most unattractive vibes you can communicate to your fellow-humans.

Of the great turn-ons in life, exasperation lies somewhere near the bottom. Yet for some reason or another, we languish in the luxury of worry, we fester in our own fussiness and we question whether there is going to be enough of something-or-another to get us through to the next way-station of possibility.

The problem is not the problem. The problem with society is me–and dare I include you? We are spoiled rotten by the notion that fun is to be free of entanglements. We are overly cared for by a God who perhaps has provided TOO much for our comfort and not enough for our ongoing discovery. It makes us brats. So we come out of daily events calling them problems, wringing our hands, sighing and communicating our desperation.

I think somewhere deep in our hearts, we believe we can scare trials and tribulations into avoiding us by displaying enough bad attitude. Unfortunately, these vices are tricksters; they LOVE to attack people who are grouchy. You can imagine if you were a trial, how frustrating it would be to come up with a really big package of aggravation, and then to have your hopes for turning someone into a grump doused by their sense of good cheer. It would be enough to make you want to go down the road and bother someone else.

Exactly.

Am I saying that people who complain actually end up having more problems than people who don’t? Absolutely. And how does that happen, you may ask? It’s really quite simple. When the next set of opportunities comes on the scene, the complainer is still fretting over the last batch of bullies. So not only is there a new dilemma, but also an old dilemma that has not been adequately dealt with. Double-trouble.

So why ARE there situations which some people call problems? Because God in His mercy would love to see our planet running smoothly by the use of intelligence and effort instead of bad attitudes and laziness. To bring this to the forefront demands that each one of us join in a common lottery of activities which we either view as our daily situation or as our overwhelming problem.

This is the quandary in our country. We seem to think we will scare away our economic trials with bad attitude and lazy, over-done solutions. Meanwhile, the recession just sits there and laughs at us. It will take intelligence and effort for us to come out of this situation. Until we push forward some intelligent people and actually get behind those bright bulbs with some energy of our own, we will continue to linger in bad attitudes and laziness.

What is intelligence? It has two parts: (1) “I will not freak out.” (2) “God has never deserted me–why should now be different?”

What is effort? (1)  “What do I have?” (2) “How can I get more with what I have?”

Therein lies the secret, my friends. This twenty-four-hour period will afford you many situations. If you refuse to freak out, and believe that God has been faithful in the past and has not changed His occupation, while taking an inventory of what you have and finding a way to use that to get more– honestly, you’re ten feet tall and bullet-proof. But if you have a bad attitude (“why do things have to be so difficult?”) and you’re lazy (“I’m still tired from yesterday’s stuff!”) you will compile a series of box-cars of unresolved conflict, which will link up to become an insurmountable train, furiously careening its way down the tracks towards you.

The problem is not the problem. Life consists of situations which, if addressed with intelligence and effort, more or less just vanish in the wind. But if I choose to have a bad attitude and sprout laziness, those “problems” are given over to the care of my worry and frustration.  Is it possible to relearn this? It is not only possible, it is the only way to truly be passable.

So what is today’s situation? Stop calling it a problem and bring some intelligence and effort–and then see if the stain of adversity isn’t wiped clean.

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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

Part II: He Is the Same… December 1, 2011

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Charlotte, North Carolina

Jesus knows the hearts of people. It would be ridiculous to have a friend–especially if he insisted on being your savior–if he possessed no human inclinations or understanding of the feelings and emotions of being a person. Would you agree? It would be like dating a robot. All the right moves would be made with no real comprehension of the passion.

Jesus knows the hearts of people.

What did that knowledge give him? It told him when to be compassionate and when to avoid contact with folks. Both actions are merciful. There are times when people need compassion and tenderness towards the immediate concern—and then there are occasions when the best thing we can do for another person is leave them alone and not allow ourselves to become frustrated by their arrogance, indecision or just confusion.

The perfect example is the feeding of the five thousand, when Jesus had compassion on the multitudes because they were starving. But just short days later, when they were following him, pretending to be disciples when all they really wanted was another miracle of bread and fish, he challenged them and when he did, they pouted and departed.

This is why he tells us that every word out of our mouths comes from the abundance of our hearts. Shall we call it the “exchange system?”

For instance, there is a lot of concern in our society that violence and sex are causing our nation to become a vicious society with a preoccupation with the lurid. Honestly, that’s not the way it works. Watching a violent movie does not make people want to go out and kill each other. There is a switch in the human heart. When we see violence, we develop an emotional tendency towards impatience. We drive more aggressively; we complain more about businesses that keep us waiting and we certainly are not willing to sit for an hour to allow God to enlighten and bless us. When violence comes into the human field of vision–into the eyes–what the heart changes it into is impatience.

The same exchange happens when we see an overabundance of sexuality or pornography. It does not cause people to rape and fornicate. In the “exchange system” of the heart, it becomes frustration. Frustrated people are capable of doing all sorts of stupid activities because they feel they have been cheated.

Likewise, I put forth the same contention about excessive sarcasm in comedy nowadays. It makes the human heart feel that “if life is just a joke, then what’s the big deal?” So it promotes laziness in us.

And finally, all the sadness on the news which is funneled into us daily is translated by the human heart and exchanged out as fear. “If this tragedy happened to them, then what’s going to happen to me?”

Do you see what I mean? Jesus knows the hearts of people.

Compassion given to a starving person is mercy. Mercy given to an arrogant person rubber stamps self-satisfaction and nastiness. So as we understand the exchange system, we comprehend that out of the abundance of our heart we will speak, and if our emotions have been inundated with violence, the abundance we share will be translated into impatience. If we are titillated with sexuality, we will put forth frustration. Too much cynicism and sarcasm in our humor jades us and causes us to lose our motivation and begets laziness. And a constant barrage of melancholy, sad tales produces fear about our next decisions.

If we’re going to understand HOW Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, we must begin by realizing that he took the time to know the hearts of people. And since everything comes from the emotions and the abundance of those expressions, we have to be careful about what we allow to rule our roost.

Jesus knows the hearts of people:

  • Give them violence and they’ll become impatient.
  • Over-sex them, and they are frustrated.
  • Tell them life’s a joke and they’ll turn lazy.
  • Repeat one sad tale after another and the abundance that will pour from their hearts is fear.

He took the time to be human so that in understanding humans he could help humans emotionally give a better abundance of human quality.

And that leads me to my next point: what is the most inhuman part about being human? Let’s talk about that tomorrow.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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