Good News and Better News … October 31st, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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coldwater-back-wall-1From everything I hear in the news media, our country is “angry.”

People are mad.

I’m not really sure what they are so upset about, but I guess that’s why pundits get to dress up and over-explain.

Yesterday when I arrived at the Coldwater United Methodist Church, I met people who are trying really hard to be kind and gentle in an atmosphere of crudeness and despair. Even the pastor of the church is beginning a new phase of her life, expanding the horizons of her ministry–completely and totally by faith.coldwater-set-2

Even though we accept the veracity of the reports about the frustration in our country, the constant repetition of complaint does nothing to alleviate the pain.

But it really revolves around a three-step process:

1. Stop being mad at me.

Yes, I need to stop being mad at myself. Most of the antagonism I feel toward other people is centered in my own dissatisfaction with my choices–especially when it comes to lying. For after all, once we start deceiving ourselves and others, we’re grouchy and fussy because we fear there’s the chance we’ll be challenged or get caught. So the best way for me to stop being mad at myself is to set in motion no lying–and that goes for exaggeration, too.

2. Stop being mad at others.

No grudges.

The grudge is always a piece of pride we fester because we’re not willing to discuss our feelings, fearing that we just might have to compromise. When we no longer insist that other people are “just so stupid that we couldn’t possibly reason with them,” we begin to address the animosity we have with mankind as a whole.

3. Stop being mad at God.

Most Christians would insist they feel nothing but love for their heavenly Father. But since He is our Dad and we are His children, there’s a good chance that occasionally we’ll be pissed off over the household rules–especially since religion comes along and puts the doctrines in stone. You can’t have a relationship with God through religion.

So–no religion.

Religion will not make you closer to God. It makes people prejudiced, self-righteous and nasty.

So I contend that a good portion of what I am called to do is remove the arrogance of anger so that the congregation can manage to forgive themselves, others and God.

That’s the good news.

The better news is: when you have no lying, no grudges and no religion, you find it much easier to relax and enjoy your relationships.

coldwater-jesus-note-3

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G-11: Mad, Sad, Glad … February 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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  • We feel safe.Titanic
  • We made it.
  • The thunder rolled, the winds blew by and the rain ceased.

We’re standing on dry land, having escaped another near-disaster, feeling no repercussions whatsoever from the disruption–just grateful to be alive.

Little do we know that this is the most dangerous juncture in life. It is when we accidentally carry the anxiety of the previous encounter into the future, without realizing that the residue is hanging from us.

Yes, we are still mad: “It ain’t right.”

Or maybe sad: “It ain’t fair.”

But the once-confident spirit that propelled us into deeper and deeper adventures of faith is now making us cautious. We accept this new profile under the guise of being “well-seasoned,” But actually, we are not the same.

We have lost a bit of the joy that makes us the people we are, and when we realize it, we become defensive, insisting that nothing has changed.

What is the countenance of the average person you see on the street, when they don’t realize they’re being observed? A mad frown? A sad droop? Or maybe a blending of the two?

If maturity depresses us, then what is the purpose of growing older?

How can we overcome the extra destruction done by the storms of life which inflict unseen damage to our foundation? We gotta be honest: just because we’re standing on dry land does not mean we have escaped being drenched in worry.

We want to reach glad. We want to escape the sensation of “it ain’t right” and “it ain’t fair,” to arrive at a jubilant feeling of good cheer: “It ain’t gonna kill me.”

Sometimes we think projecting a brave front is a sign of our willingness to avoid doubt. But actually, acknowledging that the trials and tribulations that came our way did impact us but were unable to destroy us is the best way to escape the madness and the sadness.

For after all, mad people are cocked and ready to strike out at others, who unwittingly trigger aggravating memories.

And sad people are ill-prepared to enter into new relationships which certainly will require a bit of adjustment and forgiveness.

It isn’t just about surviving–it’s about surviving and candidly admitting how amazing and miraculous it was to be rescued. And then, to have the sense of humor to progress, keeping an eye on our motives, and healing our wounds instead of hiding them.

I am glad. This does not mean that everything is all right. It does not mean that I was saved from all the ravages of my temptations without any casualties. It means I lived. And in living, I am open to the dual process of inner healing and outer expressions of creativity.

Beware–being placed in the lifeboat is miraculous.

But it does not mean you will avoid horrible memories of the sinking vessel and fleeting trepidations to sail again.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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