G-Poppers … February 2nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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President Trump is not a moron. He is also not a genius.

Although there are proponents who would suggest that he falls into one or the other of these categories, the truth of the matter is that Donald Trump is President of the United States. He achieved this by campaigning and receiving the lion’s share of the electoral votes.

G-Pop wants to make this clear.

G-Pop is the veteran of many presidents and can tell you that most of them were accused of moral indiscretion, the majority considered crazy, and all of them touted to be dictators who over-extended their power.

It is important to understand the nature, the function and the mission of the job.

Most of the time the President of the United States is not negotiating with foreign powers nor plotting global wars.

He is the closest thing to a daddy that 320 million immigrants have.

As our daddy, it is his job to provide a sense of security and a voice of kindness. That’s it.

G-Pop’s not even sure if it’s a political position. Approaching it from that angle only seems to render the job mean-spirited, stalling action and legislation.

He is our father, who art in Washington–and maybe someday, our mother who art at the White House.

Questioning the morality, sanity, motives, hidden meetings or deceptions of our President is just political maneuvering to gain control of our country.

What the position really requires is kindness.

No one understood that better than Abraham Lincoln. Although President Lincoln had good reason to be furious over the attitudes of the Southern states, his second inaugural speech characterized his tenderness toward his children in Dixie by saying, “With malice toward none, with charity for all…”

Yet every President G-Pop knows has selected to be vindictive against his enemies, contending that if you don’t punch back, they’ll just punch harder. But Abraham Lincoln, in four short years, saved the Union, freed the slaves and was able to end a horrible conflict.

Did he do it by being mean?

Did he do it by being angry and sending out nasty notes to his enemies?

Did he do it by sleeping with his interns?

Did he do it by torturing the prisoners of the Confederate Army?

No, he did it as kindly as a man can do when waging a war against insanity.

Kindness is when we look in the mirror and practice the words we’re going to say to another to get a sense of how it might feel.

You don’t have to be a moron or a genius to be President.

But G-Pop wants you to know that it’s the mission of our President to allow kindness to flow to the north, south and east…from the West Wing.

 

 

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Good News and Better News… April 10th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I grew up in a church which contended, believed and insisted that baptism was only to be performed through immersion. No “sprinklin’ on the head” for our parishioners. It had to be a full, “ear-washin’, born-again, dunkin’ hullabaloo.”

Our church also believed that communion needed to be served every Sunday, not every once in a while, leaving a congregation spiritually malnourished due to the fact that they had not sufficiently partaken of the wafer and juice.

There were also other fragments of doctrine which were enforced by numerous sermons, as the minister often mocked other ways of thinking, which he deemed heresy.

Even nowadays, every single church on every corner has some pet portion of the Good Book they feel supersedes all others, and sets them apart as the “true Chosen of God” instead of the errant rabble.

Although the mainline denominations, such as the Methodists, will smile at you and promote their flexibility, they still would never think about saying “hallelujah,” clapping their hands, or allowing for the possibility of the miracle of healing in the middle of a service. I guess we need Pentecostals for that.

Every single fragment of a once-noble, unified body of Christ is positive that they are the heartbeat of the Gospel.

Over the years it has become very simple to me–I don’t give a tinker’s damn what people believe. I watch how they act.

Some of the most intolerant, inflexible and mean-spirited people that I’ve worked with over the years seem to possess the most intense Bible knowledge. And other folks, who the righteous would consider to be damnable sinners, have taken the time to wash the shirt on their back before they gave it to me.

Of course, there are all sorts of Christians out there who will tell you that I’m promoting a Gospel of works rather than grace. Actually, all I’m saying is that I can’t thoroughly confirm that grace is at work unless the recipient is gracious.

I’m not so sure people are forgiven if they can’t forgive.

And I definitely don’t see them possessing the Spirit of God when they’re prejudiced against other people.

If you want to find out if a man, woman or child is a Christian, take one morning of your life and work on a project with him or her. Then go back and look at what the fruit of the Spirit is. Because if memory serves me, it is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

When I see those virtues at work, I begin to believe in what people say they believe that they truly do believe.

When I run across grouchy, short-tempered, fussy, back-biting, gossiping and aggravated individuals, I think they are disconnected from their beliefs, even though they seem to be very proficient at quoting scripture.

Don’t tell me what you believe. Show me how you act. And if that has too much “works” in it for you, then go cuddle up to your dead faith.

The good news is that Jesus said “by their fruits you shall know them.”

The better news is that a Gospel that can be acted out is much easier to imitate than trying to mouth holy words.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … September 3rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

(He takes the television remote, punches pause, sighs and leans back in his chair)

Dear Man: What’s wrong? I thought you wanted to watch a movie.

 

Dear Woman: I did.
Dear Man: So what’s going on? Why the pause?

 

Dear Woman: I just get tired of these flicks portraying men and women at odds, always fussing with each other–acting like “pretend fighting” is funny, and even flirtatious.

 

Dear Man: Oh, I just don’t take it seriously. It’s just entertainment.

 

Dear Woman: But isn’t entertainment supposed to entertain you instead of annoy you? And by the way, without being mean-spirited here, it does affect you.

 

Dear Man: In what way?

 

Dear Woman: Sometimes–I’m not saying all the time–both you and I play the little game we see in the movies of poking at each other, thinking it’s funny.

 

Dear Man: Oh, you’re thinking too much.

 

Dear Woman: That’s probably the first time you’ve ever said that to me. But truthfully, what comes through our eyes and ears does penetrate us. Aren’t movies supposed to do that?

 

Dear Man: I never thought of it that way. So what is it that troubles you the most?

 

Dear Woman: It’s the bickering. The “pretend fighting.” The ongoing idea that men and women can’t peacefully co-exist until they decide to get along by having make-up sex.

 

Dear Man: Wow. Is it that serious?

 

Dear Woman: Yes. I think it’s worse than that. I think there is a sensation that if men and women don’t fume, romance can’t bloom.

 

Dear Man: So how do you think it should be? Are there conflicts?

 

Dear Woman: Let’s look at it this way. Both of us eat. Both of us sleep. Both of us pee. Both of us crap. Both of us think. Both of us laugh. Both of us cry. I could go on and on. The similarities we possess are enormous, but we decide to focus on a tiny list of differences.

 

Dear Man: Such as…?

 

Dear Woman: Well, I can’t have a baby. And you probably can’t lift a hundred and fifty pounds. I can’t nurse my child. Yet you don’t have the seed to make an offspring. Those should be enhancements.

 

Dear Man: I still believe you’re over-thinking it.

 

Dear Woman: Maybe. But I have to tell you, the white people in America came out to minstrel shows and laughed their heads off over actors in black face who were fussing, arguing, doing dumb things and generating what was considered comedic pratfalls. As long as the black race was the butt of a joke, there was no chance for equality.

 

Dear Man: Isn’t humor a release?

 

Dear Woman: Maybe. But it’s also a weapon, to keep real feelings at bay so we can insert prejudices.

 

Dear Man: So what do you suggest?

 

Dear Woman: A really simple solution. If it’s important enough to feel, it’s important enough to say, instead of hiding behind some frustration by using a lame joke.

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G-Poppers … June 24th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

All of G-Pop’s children want to be successful.

They like the sound of it.

They like the feel of it.

And certainly, they enjoy the benefits that come from being considered one of the “top dogs.”

Yet even though the willingness of each generation changes, the path to success remains the same. Matter of fact, no success can ever be acquired without understanding three undeniable realities:

1. The effort you are willing to give will always be insufficient.

2. The passion you bring will continually fall short.

3. The plan you have conceived will be found wanting.

It isn’t mean-spirited. It’s just a system that makes sure that the lazy, gluttonous, selfish cheaters don’t soak up all the treasures of the Earth.

So what is necessary to be successful? A two-word philosophy:

One more.

That’s it. It always takes one more. Whenever you think you have sufficiently addressed a situation, take the precaution of doing one more.

If someone asks you for two bottles of water, bring three. When you arrive, there will always be somebody who changed his or her mind and now wants one. You will look like a genius.

If you check your GPS, and it says a trip is going to take three hours and forty-five minutes, allot four hours and thirty minutes, just in case life throws you that normal curve in the road.

You never find success in the first mile.

  • It’s too crowded.
  • It’s too competitive.
  • It’s jammed up with people who think they have some sort of new angle on the present angle.

But along about the first mile mark, the competition lessens as the travelers lose heart or begin to pout because things were not as easy as they anticipated.

Anyone who is willing to go the second mile will find the journey simpler, less congested and a private pathway to their heart’s desire.

It always takes one more.

Sometimes it’s one more prayer.

Oftentimes it’s one additional follow-up instead of walking away and throwing in the towel.

Life is not out to get you–but life is also not out to help you,

G-Pop wants his children to know that the only way you aid your cause is to look at what you can bring–and then find one more to offer.

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Good News and Better News … March 28th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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All the holy books

It would only take me a few moments to point out the verses from the Good Book that are often used in solitary context to promote gender bias, prejudice, ignorance, arrogance and selfishness–and truthfully, those who stump these verses outnumber my simple faith.

So I am a bit confused when Muslims pretend they are bewildered by what causes the zealots within their ranks to interpret the teachings of Mohammed in a way that fosters terrorism.

Yes, it really is a source of aggravation to me that a Muslim woman will sit on television with her head covering, sharing that the Muslim faith has nothing whatsoever to do with anything but peace and love.

I will tell you–most Christians are not concerned about peace and love. Many of them only want to go to heaven while keeping the club as exclusive as possible.

So let’s stop all the bull crap.

Muslims know what their book says, just like I know what my book says. And some of the things in my book make me nervous–especially when they are isolated by mean-spirited people who are determined to hurt others.

Likewise, the Koran has passages that welcome the decimation of the infidel.

So it’s time for us, as intelligent, evolving, loving and giving people, to realize that religion needs some restrictions.

After all, we have already done this. Even as we insist that religious freedom is holy in this country, we certainly do not tolerate human sacrifice in a religious service, nor have we granted tax exempt status to the Ku Klux Klan, even though they insist they’re the white Christian church.

We cannot live on a planet that allows people to worship a God who is anti-human.

I will give you three examples. This trio of holy principles must be honored in every religion–otherwise, it is not a true expression of faith, but rather, a secret plot against mankind.

When you tell me you have a religion, I have three questions:

1. What does your God think about women?

Since women are at least half the planet, if they aren’t given equality in your religion, then your belief must be ignored.

2. What does your God say about free will?

If your religious observance contends that we are all bound by destiny, God’s will and God’s law instead of choosing our decisions for ourselves, then you will eventually start hearing voices telling you to kill off the competition.

3. What does your God think about judging the lives of others?

For if you’re following a deity that is more concerned about the “jot and the tittle” instead of the “tot and those who have little,” then I will tell you that you will gradually try to eliminate the sinners, thinking that you’re pleasing the saints.

If religion does not provide equality for all, free will for each one of us and the righteous position of being able to make our mistakes without being judged by others, then it is really not a belief in a Creator, but rather, pursuing an avenger.

That’s the good news.

Please don’t tell me you are baffled by how religion hurts people. Instead, follow some better news:

Start encouraging belief in a heavenly Father who honors men and women, offers free will and refuses to allow us to judge.

 

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Three Ways to Respond to Punctuation…April 30, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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punctuation marks for jonathots

Words are the soundtrack of our relationships. They mingle melody, mood and movement to generate the music of our interaction.

And words are accentuated by punctuation. If you don’t learn the punctuation, you are destined to hit sour notes with your friends.

For instance, let’s look at three different thoughts:

  • “I am going to the concert.” (period)
  • “I am going to the concert!” (exclamation point)
  • “Should I go to the concert?” (question mark)

Each of these communicates a different sensation.

Successful communication is learning how to respond to punctuation.

When somebody ends a discourse with a period, you have permission to listen. It is not necessary to get excited, nor are you granted intervention to question the statement. A period means that you may listen.

When a friend concludes an announcement with an exclamation point, you may celebrate. It is very annoying when we find ourselves excited, to discover that our companions are unwilling to join us in our enthusiasm. Matter of fact, it might even be considered mean-spirited.

And if your partner ends the discussion with a question, you may comment. Opinions are completely unnecessary unless they are answering questions.

So if you’re going to have healthy relationships with other human beings, you must realize that your input is unwelcome unless requested.

Therefore, when a friend makes a statement, just continue to listen.

If they are excited, have the decency to celebrate with them.

And only when they finish out their explanation with a question mark can you proceed to offer an opinion or comment.

This creates harmony.

It enables you to be of value to those around you instead of cluttering up their lives with unnecessary insertions of your ideas or a failure to rejoice with them when they rejoice.

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Wrong Again … February 6, 2012

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I like being wrong.

It is comforting to know that the entire wealth of human knowledge is not kept in a safe deposit box in my brain. There is life that goes on outside of my consciousness–and even beyond my approval. Reassuring. Because I feel that way, it makes my journey so much sweeter, and free of the need to constantly prove my point and clarify my statements, cleansing them with self-righteousness. Sometimes I’m just wrong–and being raised in the Mid-West, as a Buckeye, I was taught many things about people who have ended up being erroneous and full of prejudice. Yes, I am a bigot and join all the other bigots(such as yourself) in the great bigot march towards what I hope is called discovery.

That said, let me tell you that I arrived in Texas to a community which even the Lone Star folks would call “rural.” I was scheduled to share at a local church and my mind immediately launched into scenarios of what I might see, feel and even do to compensate for the social climate surrounding me. Unfortunately, the problem with abandoning our prejudices is that there are enough street signs on the road of life that resemble our stereotypes that we often feel we are on the right path and therefore don’t take the time to complete the entire journey. In other words, if you think there are only lions at the zoo and you go to the zoo and only visit the lion cages, you leave the zoo feeling that you were right and there was nothing more to see. That used to be me. I was so in need of being correct that I would fudge the facts and only experience events that would confirm my assertions. Fortunately, I stopped that years ago. Now I take on the whole enchilada and find out what’s stuffed inside.

The little Texas town was a blessing. Oh, I saw things that certainly reinforced some of my prior conceptions, but I did experience many more things that just screamed the great expression: “People are people, so get to loving people.”

I sat in my green room and talked to two women full of vim, vigor, spirituality and hope for our lives and our nation. They were intelligent, intuitive, kind and generous. I met a pastor who had a gentleness of spirit which allowed him to take the position of a servant to us, without feeling he was diminishing his profile or tarnishing his well-earned doctorate. I shared in front of two congregations of individuals who certainly were just as cautions towards me as I was towards them, but because the Spirit blows in corners which we previously tried to hide, the barriers were quickly brought down and connection was made.

(I did view one funny incident. A young mother and her six-year-old daughter came up to talk to the pastor. The mother was explaining to him why her husband was absent–because of work duties. When she completed her apology for her husband’s absence, the daughter piped up. “No, Mommy–Daddy went hunting. I saw him leave the house with his shotgun.” The mother quickly inserted that “he took the gun just in case he saw something along the way.” The daughter continued to protest her mother’s rendition as she was quickly ushered out of the room, away from pending peril. But you see, that’s just human. Our children were born to resemble us, but never to mimic us. If you wanted someone to be like you and respond like you, you should have purchased a parrot. Kids don’t do it.)

The other day someone asked me the difference between a conservative and a liberal. That’s easy. A conservative stands ten feet away and peers at you to find out if you’re going to act, react, believe and do what he or she does. If you seem to pass muster, a conservative will inch his way to your side to learn more. Liberals, on the other hand, feel no need to peer at you and skip all those steps because they already know they are superior. Either way, folks, if you look at the world as the sum total of its philosophy, you will end up with good guys and bad guys instead of just people.

Now, even though I think I have all of this down and have become a much more expansive being, parts of my training and pre-conceptions do crop up from time to time to aggravate me. I do not know what I would do if I didn’t have a spirit in me, prodding me to stop being such a predictable jerk. I would probably spend most of my time making judgments and the rest of the time rationalizing them.

So I’m leaving this rural Texas town so much the better for having met its wonderful people.  For example, when fatigue set in yesterday and I had completed my second program and it was time for me to pack up my goods and head out of town, a wonderfully energetic young man came forward to become my arms and legs, and filled in the gaps of my lacking, enabling me to load up my van without pain and anguish. He was a treasure. He was without nationality, borders, political party, denomination or even gender. He was just a damned good human.

I like being wrong. It gives other people a chance to be right.

And if we do that often enough–that is, forfeit our need to be in supremacy–then we might actually get more of the inklings and ideas of the Supreme Being.

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

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