G-Poppers … September 15th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Even though from time to time G-Pop has been known to offer social commentary on the world we habitate–sometimes biting–he is fully aware that the only truly effective criticism is that which he offers to his own deeds.

You can’t change the world if you can’t change yourself.

With that in mind, G-Pop would like to reflect back one day. Yesterday he presented a Dudley cartoon about the hurricane. It was pithy, cute–and a little dark. Although he doesn’t think there was anything particularly wrong with the approach, it did lack edification.

What is edification?

Edification is saying or doing what you feel needs to be said and done, never forgetting that the goal is to improve matters.

Comedy is funny if at the heart of the humor there is a desire to expose foolishness and welcome freshness.

G-Pop will never be politically correct, but if he has a passion to correct the political, he must make sure it comes from an abiding sense of hope and charity instead of dismal dismay.

So with that in mind, trying to be an example to his children, as of this morning, G-Pop is taking down yesterday’s Dudley cartoon.

No one complained. No one reacted unfavorably. But the comic was not worthy of the message G-Pop envisions imparting to the world around him at this time.

The lesson here is simple:

Is what you’re saying, thinking and doing coming from a place of vision for mankind?

Or are you jumping ship because you no longer believe in the voyage?

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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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Good News and Better News… November 23rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Lawrence composite

There is a church in Lawrence.

I know this to be true because I was there just yesterday.

It is filled with beautifully flawed people–the kind God really loves. For after all, when we insist we’re beautiful, but without flaw, we become obnoxious to everyone we encounter. And when we spend too much time bowing our heads, feeling we are flawed without beauty, we make our Creator look like a failure.

Yes, coming to the end of another year of traveling across the country, I will tell you: humanity is a holy mess.

We are butterflies, still trying to tote our cocoons. It keeps us from flying high in the sky where our colors can be seen.

The people of Lawrence, like all the folks I’ve met this year, are absolutely outstanding, industrious, faithful and willing–but still unfortunately held in check by the burden and the beast of religion. They are so close to being free. Really, they’re just two steps away.

I spent the morning trying to convince them that those two steps were well worth the effort. It’s the same message Jesus had for religious people in his day, who were frightened of the terrorism of the zealots and angry with the Roman government.

Jesus told the people they were the “salt of the earth” and not to worry so much about the world around them, but instead, to focus on the emerging talent and ability within them. Most of them were unable to make the transition.

Yes, may I say to my dear friends in Lawrence: you are merely two steps away from the message of Jesus, to cut the cord of your cocoon so you can soar like butterflies.

All you have to do is get rid of superstition and bondage to the Old Testament.

For superstition makes us believe that God is angry with mankind, when Jesus told us he loves the world; and the Old Testament is filled with the same type of Sharia Law that insists women are inferior and that stealing and adultery are mistakes punishable by death.

The reason Jesus is powerful is because he does not expect human beings to become righteous. He challenges us to respect one another, and therefore become human beings.

Lawrence, I tell you that I love you dearly, as I adore all of the congregations I encountered this year across America.

But butterflies were meant to stream across the sky, not to stay earthbound …  fearful of climbing.

 

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Jesonian: The Kingdom of God Is … November 9, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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mustard seed tree

Gospel means “good news.”

The Kingdom of God is within me.

So the good news is that I am meant to be involved in the process of loving mankind … and being happy doing it.

With that in mind, consider that the good news needs my passion to be real.

The good news is a reflection of my heart.

The good news is made more powerful when I express joy.

The good news becomes real to others because they see me open my life to change.

So therefore the good news becomes what I love and also what I avoid.

Likewise, the good news is living because I am living.

And the gospel is Jesus in me–the hope of glory.

And me on Earth–the hope of peace.

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Galvanized … June 27, 2013

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GalvaLife is not about always being right. If it were, we would be doomed to constant condemnation with ongoing reminders of our inefficiency.

Life is about getting simple.

Even though they are tempted to complicate their existence, intelligent and spiritual people always break down every piece of valuable information to its smallest part. And then …

Well, that’s the key. Once you find out the simple way to live, then the entire journey becomes about being faithful.

When I stood in front of the folks in Galva, Illinois, last night, I realized that they were encountering the same kind of confusing rhetoric in their everyday lives that I experienced myself. For instance, I am told that to be a complete, whole person I must purchase, believe, sign on the dotted line or rally behind some sort of cause which is presently in vogue. In the process of trying to chase down these dangling morsels offered to me, I lose sight of my own mission and sense of mercy.

So what is the goal in being with these gentle human beings in Galva, Illinois?

To galvanize. To literally shake up and excite one another with precious ideas that we hold dear–and to refuse to be sucked in with transient experiences which don’t offer any promise of improving human beings.

I pity those who are trying to be political in a world where politics has proven to be enigmatic, if not dangerous. I feel sorry for those who pursue religion, with all of its fussy doctrines, when spirituality is simple and has one moving part: NoOne is better than anyone else.

Galvanizing–uniting behind ideas that we know are historically human-friendly, are filled with God’s grace and are easy to remember.

Because the second part of being galvanized is to take a piece of steel and put a coating of zinc on the outside to protect it. What is our coating of zinc for our steel of faith?

I think it’s very compact and easy: I will live a life of good cheer, but I also will not be led astray by whim, fancy, fad, and intimidation.

Galvanize-to excite one another with good things and to use that sensation of goodness to protect us from the ridiculous onslaught of movements that are contrary to the advancement of mankind. I will finish up in Galva tonight. And yes, we will galvanize ourselves:

  • We will become excited about good things and use those good things as a protection against lunacy.
  • We will avoid all attempts to seek out enemies in order to prove that OUR cause is better.
  • We will rejoice in goodness instead of making fun of it because we deem it “too wholesome.”
  • We will uncomplicate our lives and be thankful that we have the ability to do so.
  • We will believe in a God of love and extract from our faith any images that deny His existence.
  • We will value fellowship over worship and tenderness above attempts to turn people into what we want them to be.

The problem is not that some people are better than other people and education is not a solution that will make us superior. Some folks just learn to learn the right things–and then stay strong in them.

It is the difference between addressing your problem and your problem residing at your address.

 

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Tomorrow’s Today… May 11, 2013

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North RichlandI never think too much about tomorrow. I try to stay on my daily bread and focus on the activities set before me in this particular twenty-four-hour period. Yet sometimes tomorrow’s activities are part of today’s thoughts.

For instance, I know that I am going to be at Smithfield United Methodist Church tomorrow morning. I really don’t have any worries about it–after nearly forty years of interacting with folks and sharing my heart, I have discovered that the real secret is to keep it simple and never try to make things appear either bigger or smaller than they actually are.

But I have also learned that there are a few goals which can be pursued when pressing flesh with mankind–and womankind, for that matter–which universally set in motion a pattern for success instead of fostering a climate for dissent.

Communication. It’s the main thing on my mind. I believe it’s very important that people understand what I’m trying to say and comprehend who I am. I don’t hide behind books, philosophies, religious attitudes or my history of experience. What I try to do is share a very simple message in a simple way, tapping as much excellence in my talent as I am able to do in the moment.

I do not think that we will ever achieve fellowship or stimulate an atmosphere for renewal when we’re presenting things to each other that we don’t understand.

Case in point: I don’t talk about heaven very much. It’s not that I don’t believe in it–it’s just that for most of us it’s not the next stop on the bus line. You’ll rarely hear me mention the devil, simply because there is a dark nature in each of us which already wants to believe there are evil reasons why we don’t achieve righteous conclusions.

I chat about human things and how to do them better. In the process of that communication I hope to make connection. That link-up is a simple question: “Can I help?”

I just don’t think we do much to assist our brothers and sisters by giving them more problems, more commandments and more reasons to despair. If you can’t edify folks, then exhort them. If you can’t exhort them, encourage them. If you can’t do any of those three, you might just want to leave ’em alone.

After I’ve made a connection, I am joyously looking forward to a sense of contentment. What is contentment? “I discovered my best and I gave it to you.”

Candidly, without knowing that this is true, we either become grumpy or obnoxiously make excuses for our failure.

And the final part of the process is continue. Yes, I want to continue to do what I’m doing for as long as I’m able to pursue it, while garnering a new idea from every encounter.

I’ve been criticized by friends and family because I listen to every concern or criticism and weigh it in relationship to what I know–even if the words spoken were an attempt to hurt. I don’t think there’s as much danger in our being overly analytical as there is in repelling critique that might just give us a better path.

So when I come to Smithfield tomorrow, I want to communicate. I want to make sure they understand me.

I want to make a connection–to see if I can lighten their load instead of piling up their wagons with useless trash.

Because when I leave, I want to have the contentment that I’ve given my very best to these fine children of God.

And I also would like to know that because I was with them, I can improve the quality of my own presentation.

That’s what I call tomorrow’s today. It’s a quick review in my heart and soul to renew my mind, looking for better ways to use my strength. And because of the beauty of the process, I am often granted the blessing of leaving a town having edified both my audience … and myself.

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