G-Poppers … September 29th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3444)

G-Pop is encouraged.

While other folks are sorely distressed over the fussy argument about the correct posture to take in honoring the National Anthem, G-Pop feels the discussion is not only warranted, but well overdue.

Somewhere along the line, we’ve defined peace as being a lack of conflict. Actually, peace is the creative resolution of conflict.

Therefore, it is misplaced idealism to contend that human beings will agree, or even follow a code of ethics or morals from a single source. It’s never going to happen–not in the United States, where we tout justice for all.

The reason G-Pop is encouraged is because the balance in patriotism has been askew for many years.

There was a time when those who disagreed with the war in Vietnam were considered traitors. Now they’re regaled as prophets.

In the early part of this century, we were convinced that supporting the troops meant rubber-stamping the campaign in the Middle East, which now lumbers along, tripping over its own red tape.

May I offer a definition for patriotism? Patriotism is loving my country so much that I will disagree with the stupidities that rise up to tempt her.

Candidly, there is much that the black athletes in the NFL can learn from those who take a rigid salute to the Star Spangled Banner. Equally, those who think they have cornered the market on nationalism should certainly stop off and take a look at the neighborhoods that these talented athletes grew up in, and the brothers and sisters who concern their hearts.

It’s a simple process. You can do it for the nation, you can do it for your marriage, and you can do it in your personal life:

1. What are we doing right?

There are many things that are honorable and even eternal about this country. Criticism can take a temporary back seat to celebration. Let’s find what rings all of our bells before we get too specific about our “favorite chime.”

2. What are we doing wrong?

Anyone who insists that a nation is incapable of error simply by its name or birthright needs to read the Good Book and comprehend that God doesn’t call only people to repentance, but also countries and ideologies. There is much wrong with this country. It won’t kill us to know this. It won’t destroy us to admit it. And we do not need to be at each other’s throats in order to generate dynamic plans.

Which leads to:

3. How can we do more right without doing wrong to each other?

I have absolutely no authority to make fun of someone who stands at attention and salutes the flag when Francis Scott Key’s song is played to honor our country. Likewise, I have no purpose for condemning those who sit or take a knee to express that they are not abandoning this nation in despair, but are demanding that certain ailments be treated.

When the flag becomes more important than the freedom and the integrity of people, we are too engrossed in the flag.

When our cause seems more relevant and valuable than respecting those who take a more traditional profile to loving this country, then we are equally as ignorant in our understanding of liberty.

So I honor my country as I tinker with her.

I stand with those who stand, and I kneel with those who kneel–as we pursue improving the true expanse of freedom.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 21) Five Months … April 24th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2914)

Jesonian hands

Five months ago I began this series on “Reasonable.”

I initiated the idea that it is completely useless to follow Jesus–being Jesonian–without offering to our planet a reasonable nature.

Let’s look at our consensus:

1. Free will

Human beings have the right to make their own choices.

2. Liberty

The more we promote freedom, the better off we are in the eyes of God.

3. Unjudging

Take a moment, go back and find the people you’ve criticized and tell them what a jerk you were.

4. Good cheer

We need to begin to believe in the joy of our own testimony and life.

5. Mercy

The only time that grace terminates is when we become ungracious to others.

6. Humility

There is a built-in reward for pursuing our dreams with excellence.

7. Considering

Demanding more is the best way to make sure you will get nothing. Find what you have and delight yourself in it.

8. Priority

Just uncover the best ways to bless other human beings.

9. Leavening

Silently, but persistently, insert good into the mix.

10. Resilience

Survive the critics. Avoid criticizing.

11. Peaceful

Always arrive prepared to listen, and chat up if you must.

12. Repairing

Find reasons for commonality.

13. Logic

Consider science in understanding faith.

14. Living

Don’t be in a hurry to call something dead.

15. Doubt

To question is to care.

16. Purity

Just keep it simple.

17. Quietly

At least half the time, try not to be noticed.

18. Wounded

Use your wounds for healing others, while being proud of your scars.

19. Apolitical

If the government is of the people, then work on the people, not the government.

20. Silence

It seems that wisdom always arrives an hour later than opinion. Wait for it.

The beauty of these twenty axioms is that you could pursue one and change your own life and enhance the lives of those around you.

You could try one each week and literally create a radical revival.

Being reasonable is not a noble task taken on by saintly believers–it actually is the only reason that we are able.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 3) UnJudging … December 20th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

Into a world filled with religious intolerance, promoted by souls who deemed themselves exceptional, Jesus arrived as a contrarian.

The Jews disrespected women, hated the Samaritans and despised the Romans. Not only did Jesus refuse to participate in this national pastime, but he actually propagated the notion that women were to be treated as equals, Samaritans deserved a revival and that Caesar was to be honored for what Caesar accomplished.

For this piece of insight, the Jews gave him a cross response.

Meanwhile, in the midst of our determining whether we have the impetus to stop judging other folks, a more serious situation has settled in on the children of the Kingdom.

At times we find ourselves uncomfortably linked with religious extremists who seem to share some of our batch of prejudice. After all, ISIS does not like women, ISIS has great fear and condemnation for sexual expression of almost any kind.

So until we wake up and realize that we not only need to cease judging the world, but also need to set in motion a path to “unjudge” what has already been done, we just may find ourselves irrelevant to the next generation of searchers.

I have never owned a slave but my ancestors did.

I do not treat women as weaker vessels, but I grew up in a church and a society where females were relegated to lesser positions.

I have never personally lobbied against homosexuals and their rights as American citizens, but I lived through a time when the Moral Majority was insulting and even threatening to these brothers and sisters.

So it falls my lot, mission and joy to repent for the stupidity of the past.

Yes–I get to unjudge the world.

  • I get to apologize for 400 years of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, racial profiling and alienation.
  • I get to act out acceptance and equality, to atone for the sins of mistreating women by refusing them rights and place.
  • And I get a chance to preach the Gospel and let the Holy Spirit do its work instead of deciding what is wheat and what is weeds.

It is a reasonable thing–the necessary step to becoming Jesonian.

Not only do we stop judging those around us, but we allow ourselves a season of sackcloth and ashes, to admit the evil that has occurred in our history, which has forbidden racial inclusion, female equivalency with males and social liberty for all Americans.

So I apologize for my brother Paul, who one day made some sideways comments about women which ended up in a holy book, producing hurtful results.

I’m sorry for Jerry Falwell and Anita Bryant, who used the Gospel to isolate people instead of including them in the fold.

And I’m sorry that we seem to be so afraid of the world around us that we cannot allow the mercy in our souls to realize that evil does have life, but a very short span.

It is time to unjudge the world.

If we do so, we have a message for the next generation, filled with promise.

If we don’t, our religion is the dinosaur that must die so people can walk in peace on the earth.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 2) … December 13th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

Liberty.

Find God, discover liberty.

Stumble upon liberty, see God.

It was something that the Apostle Paul said. He equated God and liberty–an inseparable pair.

He also went on to intelligently point out that human beings initially use their liberty to generate sins of the flesh.

Yes, they do.

It does not matter. Just as free will is more important than love and law, liberty is the evidence that free will is in motion.

So what is reasonable? We deal with two dangers:

  • Being so meticulous in trying to control people’s choices that we suppress human passion deep inside, where it becomes perverted;
  • Or there is the danger of having an “anything goes” philosophy, which makes people think they have a free pass, creating equal peril.

Being reasonable is understanding what your job is, doing it well, and not assigning yourself the mission of quality control for others.

As human beings, we have two areas where we can interact with each other without fear or intimidation: the heart and the spirit.

At any time, I can cross paths with each and every one of you, and as long as I am trying to help you feel deeply about life or encouraging you to increase your faith, I am on solid turf, free of being a condemning force.

Yet I will tell you that your mind and your morals are your business and your business alone. I have no authority to control your thinking nor judge your choices.

The church should take this position.

We need to trust that exploding good emotion with spiritual renaissance is enough to allow human beings to renew their own minds and define their morality.

I have no intention of taking these daily essays which flow from my heart and do anything but stir your emotions and touch your spirit. It is up to you to use them to replace ideas in your brain and to reference your own behavior.

As long as we think we control the minds and morals of those around us, we are not only annoying to our brothers and sisters … but completely out of the will of God.

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Good News and Better News… December 7th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2775)

Good News December 6

47.

Of the 52 Sunday mornings made available each year, I am blessed and honored to be able to share my vision and message with congregations all over this country in all but 5.

Easter Sunday, All Saint’s Day, and the three Sabbaths leading up to Christmas normally are already pre-packaged.

Yesterday was one of those 5.

I suppose I could say something noble, like the fact that I went to another church, or even found a hollowed-out tree in the forest in which to pray, but honestly, I just enjoyed being with myself and my traveling musical partner.

But one particular reflection came to my mind.

Although there is a contingency of human souls who believe in waiting for things to happen, I have found such a delay to be not only useless and pretentious, but also unproductive and foolish.

I have come to a conclusion: I only matter if I take my matter and address things that matter.

I am not naturally loved or appreciated by anyone.

I know that may sound a little cynical, but each of us must realize that ultimately, we are gauged by our value to the human tribe–whether we offer an opportunity to make things easier, more intelligent or prosperous.

  • I want to matter.
  • I want to have a life filled with purpose.
  • I don’t need to be personally important–just to know that what I’m doing has a level of importance.

So yesterday morning I asked myself a question. Since mattering is the matter at hand, what really matters?

1. Promoting liberty.

Without it, the Spirit of God is absent.

2. Promoting equality.

Without this particular understanding, we start buying in to the concept that we are exceptional.

3. Promoting mercy.

I desperately need mercy, and the only way for me to obtain it is to act it out in my adventures with others.

4. Promoting good cheer.

People who laugh are not better people, they just last longer, waiting for the solution to come.

5. Promoting peace.

Not just the absence of war but also the presence of ideas that find commonality.

That’s the good news.

And the better news is that great ideas are often considered nearly criminal when they are first suggested. Yet if you want to be found among the chosen few who are regarded as forward thinking, make sure you leave your fingerprints on these innovations.

So when they are investigated by future generations, it will be obvious to one and all that you were in on the ground work of an enlightened moment.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… October 14th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2722)

Is Not

Is Not

Screaming is not talking

Believing is not living

Quoting is not accepting

Hoping is not doing

Laughing is not joy

Praying is not hugging

Learning is not applying

Thinking is not feeling

Liberty is not freedom

Apathy is not consent

Working is not creating

Money is not wealth

Failings, not mistaken

Looking is not seeing

Having is not listening

As a kiss is not a caress

Following is not loyalty

Humility is not timidity

Patriotism is not nationalism

Knowledge is not wisdom

Yet God is love.

 

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Populie: The Holy Land … October 29, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2396)

Isis, Jew and Crusader

Land: a retreating of the waters, leaving behind soil which is available for living and planting.

Holy: promoting, initiating and welcoming a sense of wholeness.

These are truths.

So what is the populie? Calling some region in Mesopotamia “The Holy Land.”

It is neither conducive to growing much of anything or welcoming wholeness. Even though it’s only the size of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, it has fostered more death, destruction, bigotry, selfishness, greed and lunacy than any other location on the face of the earth.

Yet the entertainment industry loves to make movies about the Crusades and supposedly deep insightful, flicks focusing on the conflicts between the Jews and the Arabs.

Politics certainly enjoys spouting the term “Holy Land” because it welcomes certain constituencies into the mix for large donations.

And religion adores the idea that this space of property has magical powers or is ordained by God to be the prophetic source of spiritual renewal.

The Holy Land is not. I have never had a desire to go there, nor will I ever, of my own volition.

It is occupied by inflexible souls who mysteriously continue to fight a battle among each other to honor their traditions instead of dealing with the realities of our time.

It is evil in the sense that it pulls down the rest of our brothers and sisters living with us on this planet, because supposedly Abraham said something thousands of years ago, which Moses confirmed and Mohammed contradicted.

They are quarreling brothers who bang on our door in the middle of the night because they’re fighting again, and somebody punched somebody in the nose, and we’re supposed to decide if we’re going to call the cops or just make a big pot of coffee.

I must tell you:

  • Jesus found nothing holy about that land.
  • Matter of fact, he prophesied that it would be left desolate.
  • He told them that even though they believed they were the “children of Abraham,” that he existed before Abraham, and therefore trumped the patriarch.
  • He warned them that their holy temple would be torn down.
  • He told his disciples to begin their work in Jerusalem but to get out of there as quickly as possible and take the mission to the more receptive parts of the world.
  • He explained that true worship of God would not be in Jerusalem, but would be achieved through spirit and truth.
  • And even though we try to make Jesus Jewish and connect him to the Holy Land, he made it clear that he wasn’t called to those who thought they were righteous, but instead, to those whom the righteous considered to be sinners.

We must begin to call this desolate, angry, self-righteous location the dark place it truly is, and stop trying to revere it as a special piece of turf. If not, we will perpetuate the myth that if we just send one more army in there on a crusade, we can finally win back God’s holy land.

For if Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut suddenly decided to start squabbling over land and spiritual heritage, we would go in there and tell them to shut the hell up, get it right or we would close off all supplies and sanction them from our country.

But even though we contend that God is no respecter of persons, we in the United States continue to treat Israel preferentially and look at the Arabs with a jaundiced eye. They probably won’t be ignored, but we need to stop giving them so much of the human stage.

It is not a Holy Land. Stop planning trips there, thinking you’re going to “walk where Jesus walked.”

Because true holiness is where God is.

And the Spirit of God always dwells where there is liberty. There is no liberty in the Holy Land. Even Israel, which claims to be democratic, has restrictions on spiritual expression and prejudice against their neighbors.

Go where there’s liberty, and there you’ll find the Spirit of God. Forgive me for a little bit of flag waving–but that’s why I’m glad to be an American.

And for me, today, as I travel, the Holy Land … is Roanoke, Virginia.

 

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