Eighteen Months … June 8, 2012


There is never any need to be ashamed as long as you’re not frightened by your own reality.

Eighteen months ago I realized I was living in a home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, that I could no longer afford and didn’t need because all of my children were grown and on their way.

Let me give you a little history. When I was a twelve-year-old boy, I quietly made a decision, sitting by a bonfire at a church camp,  that I was going to spend my life using my talents to bless other people. Move ahead forty years. It now seemed ridiculous to me to tuck my dreams away in a closet to continue a domesticated lifestyle in order to merely fulfill local righteousness.

So I packed up and headed off to see America. Someone asked me how long I thought I would be on the road. My response? “How long will I live?”  I see no reason to stop being productive and settle in to some sort of safe-haven of agedness, perched upon my perceived laurels.

In eighteen months I have crisscrossed the country four times, sharing in front of tens of thousands of people. What have I learned? If you will allow me a bit of drama, I have observed that we are on the precipice of one of the most intriguing, but dangerous, junctures in our earth story. Being a bit of a history buff, I can tell you that never, to my knowledge, in the chronicling of human events, have the five forces in our natural world come together in such a negative conclusion.These five forces are religion, business, science, entertainment and politics.

Let me punctuate my point. From 1925 to 1950, our planet was actually poised for its own destruction. There were so many dictators, tyrants and people with erroneous missions roaming the worldscape, that the possibility for internal implosion and external explosion was not only looming, but seemed to be upon us. Yet cooler heads prevailed–but it’s only because those five institutions–religion, business, science, entertainment and politics–refused to give in to the haranguing hordes.

Not so today. When I step in front of an audience I feel nothing but heartfelt empathy and tenderness towards the people. If you will forgive me for lacking a bit of eloquence to gain efficiency, let me put it plainly: Our leadership sucks.

Never have we had religion, business, science, entertainment and politics coming to the same conclusion and promoting those findings like burning acid on the souls of the people. And their conclusion is clear: the end is near.

Religion has always been suspect in this particular venue, withJesus is coming soon,” the “four horsemen of the Apocalypse” being drug out of the corral, and “signs of the times” being harkened to by authors and evangelists for years and years.

But now business has joined the “non-Hallelujah Chorus.” Yes, we are constantly being told that banks are failing and all markets are ready to crash, rendering our economies dangling by a single thread over the fires of a fiscal hell.

Here comes science–with the doom of global warming, which will melt the polar ice caps and flood the earth.

The entertainment industry, which in times past has been a source of encouragement to our world, is now filled with comic book heroes fighting notorious villains, vampires, post-nuclear scenarios of devastation, werewolves and fatalism.

And of course, politics, trying to rally the vote, is always pointing out a new threat from some third-world power, which may or may not be of any substance, but grabs the public by the throat, choking the life out of us.

Yes–choking the life out of us.

We spend all of our time in religion, business, science, entertainment and politics convincing the people that the world is going to end, even including a ridiculous presentation about a Mayan calendar culminating on December 21st, 2012–actually marking our demise. In an attempt to market products via the twenty-four-hour news cycle, the entire industry, theology, commerce and philosophy of our world has turned into “the little boy who cried wolf.” Those who want to make a buck are convinced that they cannot gain the attention of the public without alarming them with often-unfounded findings. And then they deign to sit back and criticize the public they have terrified for being immobile, if not lazy. It reminds me of parents sending their children to their rooms for punishment, and then coming back an hour later and yelling at them because they didn’t clean up the area.

When you frighten people, you stymie them, and when people are stymied, they forget to believe in their own talents, and therefore, cease to believe in others. That’s what I see.

I see a society that is obsessed with its own destruction–hypochondriacs, if you will–inventing illnesses, problems, dilemmas and disasters which are not only unlikely, but certainly preventable. We need some sanity, and by sanity I mean that we need people who will purposely neglect useless information that we can do nothing about, in pursuit of activities which are in our scope of vision.

So what do I feel my mission is after eighteen months? I would like to quietly walk into a room, sit down and tell people the following five statements:

1. Jesus is probably not coming soon, so you might want to talk more about how he wanted to bless the world instead of destroying it.

2. The banks have been in worse positions before. We will not fail because we run out of money; we will only fail if we use our money short-sightedly.

3. The world will not drown from its own polar ice caps. If we learn to respect Mother Nature, we can honor Father God, and in so doing, create a happier family.

4. There are no vampires; there are no werewolves. There is no Spider Man. There is just you and me. We are not Super Heroes, but we do have ability and we need to find it and start using it.

5. Politics is a procedure to avoid solving problems. Stop looking to leaders for answers. Start looking into your heart for answers to lead you.

I am not so certain I can get anyone else on board with my little traveling show. There is just too much money to be made in petrifying people. But I will tell you this–it is the only message worth sharing. If Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito and Franco were unable to destroy the world in a twenty-five-year period, it’s rather doubtful that Iran, messing around with nuclear trash, is going to pull it off either.

Get to the business of living your life. Stop thinking that your life is out of your control, and stop finding sanctuary solely in your nuclear family as you Facebook pictures of your latest pet turtle. Take some authority over a world that is racing towards craziness–and might accidentally get there.

After eighteen months, I can tell you this:

The end is not near.

But what is near is an end to motivation–if we don’t reject the silliness of those who are looking for evil under every rock.


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It’s Time for a New Year… January 1, 2012


Jonathan in Miami


Most people over the age of 35 will know what those letters stand for. It harkens back to a time when cars had the gear shift mounted on the steering column, and there before your eyes was PRNDLpark, reverse, neutral, drive and low.

This came to my mind as I thought about the arrival of 2012. Although many people are concerned about the Mayan calendar failing to provide a 2013 and whether the Kardashians are going to find true happiness soon, my thoughts are on whether we can create a climate that will allow us to progress as human beings instead of merely acting out animal instincts or insisting we are divinely anointed and inspired.

The P stands for PARK — and the thing that has us in park right now is politics (also another “P”). As the Republicans wade through a series of candidates, almost tongue-in-cheek, knowing deep in their heart of hearts that they’re going to end up with Mitt Romney, and the Democrats prepare to defend the administration of President Obama by trying to explain how much worse it would be if Mitt Romney were President, it seems that we’ve parked our country’s future, maturity and goals in a political garage of ignorance and stubbornness.

It doesn’t take a terribly intelligent person to understand that some solutions are going to be conservative and others, liberal. No one profile ever fits the needs of the human experience. Being conservative on one issue may prove to be vital and essential but detrimental on the very next subject. Trying to be liberal on some occasions renders you almost comical, while in other circumstances it is the key to understanding the next vista of possibility. But instead we park. Yes, our country is parked in an abandoned lot somewhere, completely stalled in politics.

The only greater danger is that we will go into REVERSE due to religion. The problem is logical. If you’re going to spend all of your time telling little anecdotes about what Moses did thousands of years ago, you may find it difficult to relate to the people directly in front of you right now. Religion, by its nature, takes us in reverse, trying to regain an assumed righteousness from the past, which, as you study history, you find was not really righteous at all. Our forefathers were as much liars as the politicians today, peppered with scandals and guided by their prejudices. Religion wants to go in reverse–and of course, as you know, the problem with backing up is that you’re much more likely to run into something.

Then there’s NEUTRAL–if you will, a neutering of our society, removing our true impact as men and women. Yes, the thing I feel needs to change in the coming year is the continual onslaught of nonsense. I have never in my life seen a time when nonsense is given so much attention. At one time we had Entertainment Tonight, which supposedly explored the storylines behind the entertainment industry. Now there are twenty to twenty-five of those shows, probing into the lives of people who do very little more than nonsense. I don’t care what people do. I just have a problem with it being broadcast in a twenty-four-hour news cycle incessantly.

For instance, what we did with this Casey Anthony trial this year was one of the most abominable experiences I have ever seen in my time as an American citizen. Whatever that young girl did with her small child should not have been placed in a public forum. We are people who need to be edified, not constantly ratifying our negative natures and piss-poor outlooks on life. The young woman should have been put on trial quietly, we should have found the truth and either given her adequate punishment or mental health care, accordingly. But instead, we pursued the nonsense of continual rattle-trap conversations and stumping about her actions.

Politics has parked us. Religion wants to put us in reverse, and the nonsense of news stories has jammed us into a neutral position, where we are susceptible to being pushed in all the wrong directions.

What remains is D and L. What is the down-low? What is the answer to 2012? I would like to encourage you in joining me in avoiding being parked in politics, reversed in religion and neutralized by nonsense. Instead, why don’t we DO and LOVE?

Every day of your life this year, just do something and love somebody. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. Because most of us don’t want to do anything because we’re afraid of failure. But failure is the backbone and the true intelligence of genius. Without it we never discover what’s better; we only settle for what’s available.

And loving somebody requires two very important emotions in our being: (1) I will open up to you; and (2) I will not reject you even if I don’t agree. We have begun to make our love conditional on whether we pass the test or not.

Yes, let’s take 2012 and DO and LOVE. Every day of your life, just do something and love somebody. If at first it’s just doing your job better, then that’s great. If your love only goes out to those who are in your family, it’s a good beginning. But if we don’t get rid of the politics that’s parked us, the religion that has us in reverse and the nonsense that neutralizes us, then we won’t have any energy left to do and love.

It’s up to you and me. I will not join in the political fray. I will not pretend there’s a distinction between Mitt and Barry. I will not participate in religion that thrusts us back to former times, pretending that era was better. And I certainly am not going to jump into the nonsense of stories that show the futility of human ego.

I am going to quietly do something and love somebody.

And if at the end of 2012, I have successfully done that, it will be a good year.

What do you think?


Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:


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