G-Poppers … March 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop knows that nearly everybody is acquainted with the process–going out to dinner.

First, arriving at the restaurant, having the greeter seat you. And then the server comes by and sets the whole evening in motion by asking the question, “Can I get your order?”

Of course, if you are a veteran of the cuisine, you know there is an order. First comes the drink, then the salad, entree, dessert, concluding with the check and tip. Candidly, the management doesn’t like it when you get it out of order. Matter of fact, you could be corrected.

Likewise, G-Pop has realized there is an order to this journey. Perhaps we should have learned it by now but there’s so much confusion–and there are too many people who want to get dessert before their salad. So we get confused.

Just as a restaurant visit is “drink, salad, entrée, dessert and then check,” in our time on Earth, we have to discover the correct order for: me, God, people, science and animals.

Simply placing one of these pieces in the wrong position can send us awry. And by awry, G-Pop means a bewilderment which settles into our souls because something doesn’t seem right.

What should come first? There are dangers.

If you start off with God you become too religious. That soon makes you intolerant of people and sometimes even grumpy about including science in the family at all.

Those who begin the order with science often find it necessary to negate a Creator, and over the years may grow weary with people, ending up giving the bulk of their charity to animal rights organizations.

Should we begin with people? That can be a real mouse trap–especially when people act like rats.

How about if we just negate the whole mess and dedicate our lives to animals? They may be cute but they are still beasts, because they bite–sometimes when you least expect it.

So just as a journey to your local bistro is an adventure requiring some basic understanding, being a quality human being certainly means you need to be able to answer the question, “Can I take your order?”

What is your order? G-Pop is curious.

When considering “me” (yourself), God, people, science (Mother Nature) and animals, what sequence works for you?

The choices you make and the order they’re in determine the abundance of your heart–and therefore control your speech and interaction with others.

G-Pop would love to hear from some of his children on this subject. Rather than rattling on about it this week, he’ll wait and see what people have to say.

So in closing, from G-Pop: Can I take your order, please?

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Quatrain of Hell … April 16, 2013

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I am fine

Fine is me

Me is everything

Everything is fine

 

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Published in: on April 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Running List… October 18, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

Eleven days ago, when I awakened with the startling notification that my legs had decided to become non-supportive of my endeavors, my first instinct was to become discouraged. (I personally relish discouragement. It is comforting. Discouragement is the emotion we select when we really don’t want to look much deeper into the situation, but instead, would prefer to believe that we are the offended party.) It does have its dark side, however. It only has one door. Yes, it has an entrance but provides no exit, while simultaneously dimming all the light around you. So I immediately rejected discouragement and instead leaped to my running list.

My running list has five items: God, Mother Nature, people, friends and me.

Those are the elements, really, that interact with me every day of my life, since I rarely have to have a personal interchange with a goat or an elephant.

God. Who is He? God is a spirit. What do we know about spirits? Absolutely nothing–except they’re not physical. So it’s understandable that when God thinks about me, He’s thinking about my heart and spirit instead of about how I need to shed some pounds, start an exercise program and avoid pasta and salt. He is a spirit who became creative. Even to this day, we can tell something is truly spiritual if it was birthed from a creative place. And finally, being a spirit that’s creative, He has afforded us the opportunity to receive Him as a Father if we so desire, by faith.

So what did God think about my legs? Not much.

I moved on to Mother Nature. She is the enforcer, the practicality, the earthly intelligence and the evolver of planet life. She tries to create an even playing field, which requires some rules, followed by surprises. After all, if people only learned the rules, then we would just be a bunch of obedient robots, but if life were just full of surprises, we would be ducking for the cave every time we heard thunder. It’s balanced. Mother Nature has no relationship with me at all. She sees me as she sees everyone else, and because of that she is of great value in my life. What does Mother Nature feel about my legs? Mother Nature does not like sixty-year-old fat men who occasionally splurge on their eating like they’re eighteen and carry out the schedule of a twenty-five-year-old troubadour. She has an ax to grind with me.

So let’s review. God loves me; Mother Nature thinks I’m a prick. Okay. Let’s move on to people.

I love people because they have one moving part: they think about themselves. If you’re offended by that, you will probably not find yourself to be much of a people person. If you expect high-sounding virtue and great generosity of spirit, you probably will come to the conclusion that Homo sapiens should be wiped from the face of the earth. But once you understand that people are self-involved, then you can find a way to become involved with their self. So what do people think about my legs? Once again, not very much. They might consider me weakened if they saw me in a wheelchair, until I could demonstrate that I still bring value to the tribe and therefore, blessing to their teepee.

How about friends? Remember, friends are just people who decide to make you one of the things of their self-involvement. In other words, you are ONE of the ingredients (so don’t get puffed up). What do my friends feel about my legs? Being friends, and often related to me, they want to make sure they say something intelligent and meaningful. Also, just in case I fall over dead, they want to make it clear to everyone around them that they warned me. Their involvement is most valuable, with precious junctures of tenderness and prayers that go up to my Father, who would love to see my heart and spirit live on.

So let’s catch up and keep score. God does not really focus on my bad legs, but rather, is concerned about my heart, spirit and maintaining a personal relationship with me. Mother Nature couldn’t care less about a personal relationship, but instead, wants me to follow the rules better, and then she will consider whether I get to hang around. People are busy with themselves and only consider my legs a weakness if I do, or if I refuse to be of benefit to their pursuits. Family loves me, and as they think about themselves, they include me because I have become part of them and they want to make sure they have done everything reasonable to assist me without becoming overly zealous.

Then there’s me. I, being human, am also self-involved. So I am afforded two choices when it comes to dealing with affliction: Self-awareness or self-pity. Let me not be too noble here–I occasionally indulge in self-pity when I find I have too much time on my hands and get in some sort of bleak place, where I only see the lesser possibilities for my soul.

But self-awareness is a delicious combination of hope, humor and honesty. Hope in the sense that we know that as long as there’s life, there’s always a chance for something to change. Humor because we know that change will be slow and often comical. And honesty because nothing happens until we’re dealing with real, hard-core facts instead of wishes and dreams.

I decided that it was useless for me to pray for a miracle unless I had already started one. So for eleven days I have been on a fabulous food regimen, using exercise prudently, resting, drinking lots of water, and just enjoying myself to the hilt in the process.And then I have employed the following philosophy: the best way for me to honor God is by respecting Mother Nature while simultaneously attempting to turn all the people I meet into my friends.

There’s the key.

You can’t come to God and pray for a miracle if you’re ignoring the principles, the guidelines and the system of His creation established through Mother Nature. I do not know if I’m going to get better, but I do know that the process to getting better is to honor God by following Mother Nature and turning all the people I meet into my friends.

It makes the “me” part of my running list less cranky, less self-piteous and less boring. That’s where I am right now.

Have you checked your running list lately? God is waiting, Mother Nature will teach you if you listen, people are available if you’re interested in them, and friends are valuable if you give them direction on where your heart wants to go. After all, it’s not that complicated. What complicates life is when we believe too much in God but ignore His nature, or we don’t believe in God … and are stuck with ourselves.

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Good Luck, Chuck–November 6, 2011

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I met him once about two years ago for just a brief encounter, so I was stunned when my son, Jerrod, called me and told me that he had passed away from complications due to surgery over a leg injury. He was a little younger than me–vibrant and alive–and even now it is difficult to imagine him in repose.

I meet lots of people. Candidly, I don’t remember most of them because they really don’t desire to be remembered by me. They fail to do the things human beings must do in order to be recalled.

Not so with Chuck. Chuck did do the three things necessary to impact another fellow-traveler and leave  a lasting imprint.

First, he was kind to me. Kindness may be the most underrated virtue available in the arsenal of interaction, people-to-people. What is kindness? Kindness is when we admit that we know what human beings need because we are one and instead of withholding that blessing from another individual out of suspicion or caution, we freely give that which we have freely received from God. Chuck greeted me warmly, he embraced me and he smiled. In that moment, he did not know for sure whether I was saint or sinner, blessed or defiled or of any advantage to him one way or another. He met me, realized that I liked “me,” and decided to be kind to that me. My dear friends, that is huge. Kindness is never wasted, even when it’s bestowed upon those who are less-than-worthy. But he didn’t stop there.

Secondly, he was interested in “my self.” What I mean is, he realized I was a traveler passing through his community and he wanted to make sure that my basic needs, concerns and feelings were taken into consideration. He asked me what kind of food I liked because he was going to suggest a restaurant. He asked if I was comfortable in my lodging, knowing that rest is a good portion of success. In his maturity, he realized that I had a “self,” and rather than ignoring it, he reached out to minister to it. He established that he was as interested in my “self” as I was–or at least willing to participate in my needful concerns about it.

And third, he was involved with “mine.” Even though he, himself, was a musician and worship leader in a fairly large church, he sat quietly and listened to our sound check, admiring our capabilities and commenting on the material. Every creative being wants to hear comment on both color and content. It’s just the way we are. Some people may call it flattery. Others may insist that they do not compliment effort because God should receive the glory. But it is not up to you or me to decide such matters. We are to praise the hands that have prepared the benefit–and leave it to them to give the glory to God.

He was a smart man, this Chuck. The kingdom of God is diminished by losing such fellows, because even though he was employed in the midst of more Neanderthal individuals in a field that often ignores the personal in favor of the eternal, he had discovered the magic of ministry, which is very simple: human beings need human contact to actually believe there’s a God.

Even though I only met Chuck once, I will miss him. I will miss a great human spirit who was kind to me, interested in “my self” and involved in “mine.” It is the essence of divine magic.

So on this Sunday morning, I say, “Good luck, Chuck.”

I am not trying to trivialize his journey, but rather, give a very human farewell to one who is now an eternal traveler. I will try to do him justice by taking the people I meet and with each and every one, be kind to their “me,” interested in their “my self,” and involved in all they consider to be their “mine.”

It was learned at the Master’s feet, where my friend, Chuck, now has now received the blessing of abiding.

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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!

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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