Living a Legendary Life … November 22nd, 2020

Slip-Slidin’ Away

If you’re intrigued with the notion of living a legendary life, you have to be aware of (and beware) slippage.

In olden times they referred to it as “backsliding”–allowing oneself to back away from principles once held dear because the temperature of the times have changed.

In the past ten years, we’ve allowed a streak of meanness to become acceptable. I’m sure this is no surprise.

But the meanness brings about a slippage in the attitudes of people toward each other–and even in the passion for life.

It’s like the proverbial rolling stone:

Those who were once merciful have slipped into being merely open-minded, leaving mercy abandoned.

The open-minded people have slipped to being generous–but only to people they know well or who are related to them.

Generous folks have backslidden to being kind–hoping that flashing a smile will suffice without having to commit to action.

And kind people, who used to think up ways to be contributors, have slipped to nice. If at all possible they will offer a pleasant countenance to the world around them–unless something odd happens.

At that point, nice people become careful. They will swear that the reason they become careful is because the world is screwed up and “you can’t trust anybody.”

And of course, careful people drop into being suspicious. They talk about animals being more trustworthy than humans.

And those who were naturally suspicious before become downright grouchy. They don’t even pretend to lead with a sweetness of spirit. It’s too risky.

And it goes without saying, there were people who were grouchy to begin with. They have become edgy–ready for a fight. Unfortunately, edgy people usually find that fight, and end up being bullies.

Bullies have become fighters and fighters are more violent.

The Republicans blame the Democrats and vice versa–but this problem of slippage did not come along with Donald Trump. Even if he exacerbated the problem, you have to admit that during the two terms of President Obama, there was a mind-boggling amount of fussing, arguing and struggling

You may consider this a “conservative” problem, or the “liberal media.”

But here’s something we all need to face:  If we’ve done everything we can do to improve our nation, our states, our cities, and there’s nothing more we can do, then perhaps it’s time for us to just work on ourselves.

Where have you slipped to?

Where have you fallen?

If even 10% of the population would raise their human effort up one notch, to the position they occupied before 2016, there would be such an improvement in the climate of this country that the other 90% would not be able to ignore it.

Now is the time to stop backsliding.

Let us lead the leaders. After all, there are no indication that government, business, education or religion is going to lead a resurgence in civil behavior.

No–it’ll be up to us. Let’s just take a look at our own slippage, and climb up one notch toward civility.

And my friends, it’s a necessary step if we’re going to lead legendary lives.

Sit Down Comedy … February 7th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

It is so much easier to deal with humans if you treat them as if they were people instead of elevating them to the status of little gods or demeaning them as raging demons.

I can always tell when something is going to fail.

If it’s presented to mankind as too spiritual or too intellectual, it is doomed. People are not particularly spiritual and only use their more brain-oriented side when it’s absolutely necessary.

Let me explain it this way. If you’re going to tell any person about something, there are three immediate questions that come to his or her mind:

  1. Where is it?
  2. What is it like?
  3. Do you have a picture of it?

Please do not think I’m marginalizing the masses. I’m just saying that Joe Schmoe and Jane Doe are visual.

It doesn’t matter what the subject is. You could bring up unicorns.

Here come the questions.

“Where are they? “

“Well, uh, uh, ah…well, not in any particular place…”

“What are they like?”

They’re like…well, like a horse, with a horn in the middle of its head…”

“Do you have a picture?”

“By picture, do you mean photograph, or would you accept a third grader’s drawing?”

You see what I mean?

Now, it’s much simpler with some things.

Pizza, for instance.

“Where is it?”

“They make it at pizza places.”

“Ok—what is it like?”

“It’s got dough, sauce, cheese, and any topping you’d like.”

“Cool. Do you have a picture?”

“Yes. I actually do. We ordered a pizza last night, and it looked so delicious we took a picture of it and posted it on Instagram, trying to make our neighbors jealous.”

Now, if you’ve followed the premise so far, understand that if the answers to all three questions are reasonable, then what you have shared will be considered a reality.

But let’s say that two of the questions asked are answered well but one is not. In that case, most folks will consider it possible but not certain.

One question answered? Then unlikely.

Zero? We dub it stupid.

May I highlight this process with an example?

Santa Claus.

“Where is he?”

“Well…I know this is a little hard to believe but he’s at the North Pole.”

“So what is he like?”

“He’s fat, jolly and likes to give toys to all the girls and boys. He seems to rhyme all the time.”

“Okay. Do you have a picture?”

“Oh, yes. There are pictures, drawings, sketches—all over the place.”

Now you understand why Santa Claus still hangs around. To some people, he may be unlikely; to others, a great possibility—but he’s never stupid.

It’s the old principle of vaudeville:

  • See your audience
  • Know your audience.
  • Work your audience.

So whenever you’re trying to sell your ideas, please keep the three questions in mind—even if you’re talking about God. Because here comes the first question.

“Where is he?”

“Ah…umm…he’s somewhere in heaven.”

“Well, that’s not much help. What’s he like?”

“Some say mean. Others say violent. A whole bunch of people think he’s loving to most but pissed at others. And I think there’s even a religion that believes there’s a thousand gods.”

And the final question:

“Do you have a picture?”

“No, I don’t. Nobody does.”

This is why all of us sprout some doubt about the reality of God, and in moments of weakness, may think he’s unlikely, or even that the whole idea is stupid.

As with everything else on this journey, you have to decide if you’re going to be an asshole or humble.

An asshole is the person who demands that people believe things they don’t understand.

A humble person knows that he or she is also human, is fully aware of the three questions, and does his or her best to break new revelations down to simpler realizations.

 

 

Sit Down Comedy … January 24th, 2020

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

“Summarize that.”

“Make it shorter.”

“Fewer words, please.”

“No one will read anything that long.”

“How about just a tweet?”

I, for one, believe there’s a certain amount of charm in finding fewer words to express ideas. But sometimes, we just want less because we don’t want to hear more.

I smile when I hear writers begin articles with, “There’s so much to say…”

There may be much to say, but there’s a great need to scrunch it together and pitch it to the American public in a way that mingles thoughtfulness and good cheer.

You may or may not agree. But even though I realize great books have taken hundreds of chapters and billions of words to express eternal ideas, I must tell you, the appetite is gone for such mental munching.

So I need to be concise. Like:

“Take care of things and things will take care of you.”

The minute I start adding an explanation to this, I will probably lose my audience.

Another example:

“If you’re gonna to be mean, you’re gonna get mean, if you know what I mean.”

Once your head stops spinning from the overuse of the word “mean,” maybe you’ll get a good chuckle. But will it inspire you to stop being nasty to the world around you?

How about this?

“Don’t start a war if you aren’t willing to die.”

That may get a few “oohs and ahhs” from readers. But absent the recitation of the history of war’s futility, it might fall on deaf ears.

I did find one exception. It’s a premise that needs no explanation—an idea that does not require a series of verified testimonials.

Of all the things that have ever been said and all the things that have ever been written, this is the only principle that really needs to be followed.

“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.”

For the sake of our discussion today, let us transform it:

To get mercy, give mercy.

We all need mercy. It’s why we invented the phrase, “unconditional love.” But you see, love without mercy is not only conditional, but is doomed to be temporary.

Mercy is what love becomes when we find out the truth about each other.

I love the definition of mercy:

A decision to become compassionate when it is in our power to do harm.

No word sums up the basic daily, fluid need of the human race more than mercy.

Love works beautifully when mercy is honored.

But love becomes discontented, frustrated and wounded if judgment is used instead of mercy.

It disappeared for a while during the Dark Ages.

Inkles of it sprouted to the surface, welcoming in the Renaissance.

Rephrased, it showed up in a document proposing freedom: “All men are created equal.”

Another hundred years and it’s found in an inauguration speech: “With malice toward none and charity for all.”

Unfortunately, in our time, mercy is deemed weakness.

But only mercy has the power to open the world to the freedom of living a lifespan without being killed in a war.

Isn’t that amazing?

Throughout the entire history of humankind, there were always wars to interrupt the lifespan of young men who might have lived to be old and wise but perished in combat.

War is foolishness when mercy is available.

Mercy does not allow our enemies to walk over the top of us—but mercy is fully aware that in defeating them, we more than likely will have to live with them afterwards. We should act accordingly.

There is no statement that is better suited to the human race: “give mercy, get mercy.”

Give mercy to the Earth and protect Mother Nature. You will get mercy.

Give mercy to your husband or wife and you will get mercy.

Give mercy to the animal kingdom and only deplete their ranks by what you absolutely need. You will get mercy.

Give mercy to your enemies for their clumsy attempts to frighten you. You will get mercy.

This is our universal slogan: Give mercy, get mercy.

Having the ability to inflict pain and harm, we choose mercy.

And because we choose mercy, when pain and harm come our way and we are due punishment, she has permission to step in and save us.

Good News and Better News … January 1st, 2018

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“When life gives you lemons…”

Hold out for some nice oranges. See if you can’t pick up some fresh strawberries. Even some marked-down bananas would be better. Lemons need too much sugar to be drinkable–and often still end up tart.

It was my deep, abiding pleasure and joy to begin our 2018 tour across this great nation by sharing my heart at Saint Andrews United Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

It is ably and gently pastored by an open-faced and friendly brother named Brad. He sent along Jim, Chris and David to help us set up on Saturday, and they all treated us like kings instead of the vagabonds we be.

As I sat behind my keyboard before the service began and watched the congregation gathering, my heart was ablaze with the blessing of contentment. Even though I have lived for a decent season on Earth, I am still jubilant and optimistic over the possibilities of seeing humanity achieve its better potential by negating the available lemons and shopping for more fruitful possibilities.

And the lemons are available.

So my message to all I will encounter this year will be very simple:

  • Stop believing that lying is acceptable.
  • Mean is not and never will be good.
  • And prejudice is not common–just prevalent.

Once we accept these lemons, attempting to sweeten them, we can find ourselves frustrated and stuck with a drink that is still sour. Why? Because it’s got lemons in it.

So stop accepting the social lemons that make us believe we are trapped in our humanity instead of blessed by God to revel in it.

The command for this year is monumental: We will be kind to those of our own kind.

Of course, I’m talking about people. You may feel free to enjoy your pets, you can admire the wonders of nature, you can insist that you have the loveliest home in town, but we will be evaluated on how kind we are to our own kind.

The good news is, Saint Andrews has got the message.

The better news is, they don’t have to make lemonade.

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Good News and Better News… October 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The world curses

We praise

The world complains

We sing

The world divides

United we stand

The world judges

We forgive

The world’s mean

We are kind

Yet for some reason, because there is a screaming dialogue constantly going on, promoting “might makes right,” we become tempted to curse, complain, divide, judge and be mean.


When we don’t, we feel like limp, leftover losers.

Please observe the picture inserted.

This is a bowl of some leftover something-or-other that we had several days ago, and enjoyed thoroughly–so much so that we thought we might reheat it and have a second go at it. We didn’t. So because it sat around, it got old and eventually became unidentifiable. Once I got the picture, I threw the leftovers away.

The Jesonian–the lifestyle of Jesus–is not a practice of being defensive. We’re not supposed to wait until the world curses to praise, nor should we wait until the whole world is erupting in meanness to express kindness. If we do, we appear to be leftovers.

It may not sound very practical to approach North Korea with diplomacy. It may seem unrealistic. So we are ready to enter a third conflict, already entangled in two unwinnable wars. It’s the thrill of the kill, which is always much more intriguing to those who are not going to be killed or have to do the killing.

The church has lost its heart–and the heart of the church is Jesus. The soul of the church is God, the mind of the church is the Holy Spirit, and the strength of the church is the Body of Christ, working together.

We’ve lost our heart.

No longer do we thoroughly believe in the Golden Rule. We think it might be a great idea, but has no application–just a doctrine for limp leftover losers.

We piously believe we’re better than those who are cloying and clawing their way to the top–but then we buy magazines to read all about who they dissed, who they hurt and who they’re sexually involved with.

Being in love with Jesus is more than dipping your head in reverence to the cross. It’s lifting your head in respect to a message–and it’s holding that head high, knowing that evil cannot win. It’s just too greedy. It eventually chews off its own leg.

There will never be a replacement for praise, singing, standing, forgiving, and kindness. It is what the victors do after the vanquished have failed.

The good news is that we have a message.

The better news is, the message always ultimately wins.Donate Button

 

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Three Reasons to be Kind … June 26, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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hands in mirror1. Mean is a major commitment. Kind, on the other hand, allows room for adjustment.

2. You never know who you don’t knowknows.

3. Joy is not about what we do, but the feeling that remains after we do it.

I don’t have time or energy to maintain a sullen, suspicious or fearful profile. It is exhausting.

If there is no god, then the world needs my help even more. If there is a God, how I treat people is what I think of Him.

I want to be happy.

To achieve that, I must avoid regret and grudges. There are no guarantees … but being kind is safer than being mean.

 

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

In Secret … December 9, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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desk clerkIt happens every once in a while.

As we tour across the country, it becomes necessary to have a single overnight stay in some town for the sole purpose of resting, relaxing and getting ready for the next day’s drive. We refer to it as a “sleep stop.” There are three goals:

  1. Find a comfortable motel
  2. Carry in as little as necessary, since you’re not setting up for an entire week.
  3. Make it as reasonable a location as feasible so as not to bust the piggy bank.

So when we arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee, at our sleep stop, Jan was confronted by the innkeeper, who explained that the room would be more expensive than originally stated. Jan, being an excellent business woman, lodged a complaint and asked the lady at the front desk to honor her original quote.

It wasn’t a big deal–no large argument. But a negotiation ensued, and as with most compromises, both parties were dissatisfied.

So as we were unloading into our room, I handed Jan the money to cover the extra price our host felt was needed for our occupancy. It wasn’t necessary. The room was already ours, legitimately.

But it wasn’t ours righteously.

Let me tell you, my friends, there are three ways to believe.

There is the belief we proclaim to others. This is what we call “church”–quoting the Good Book and tried and true hymns, to inform our neighbors that we are good folk and excellent Americans.

Secondly, there’s the belief we apply. This is a convoluted mixture of what God says, what we think, what Mom and Dad taught us, and the pressure put on us by society to conform to the present norm.

But last, there is the belief we allow to reach into our “secret place.” This is the room within the house of our faith, where we spend most of our time, closet our fears, and determine our future–based upon our own thoughts and feelings, many of which we would never be able to share with others.

I have learned over the years that Christianity does not work unless it reaches into this private compartment.

For some of the rudest and meanest people I have ever met have just come from church, proclaiming the goodness of God.

Likewise, many of the more confused, frustrated and mentally unstable individuals I’ve encountered over the years seem to have a terrific testimony about their relationship with the Almighty.

But I’ve never met anyone who allows their philosophy to reach their “secret place” who isn’t humbly satisfied with the experience.

I didn’t need to give that lady at the front desk any more money to satisfy her requirements.

I needed to give her the money to satisfy the yearning … in my secret soul.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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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