1 Thing That Needs A Memorial Today

Peacemakers

 

The soldiers are worthy of deep appreciation, for they have marched off when something was afoot (usually wearing an Army boot).

It takes a lot of bravery to be shot at.

But there is a considerable amount of courage in finding a way to stop the shooting.

We wouldn’t have anyone marching on Memorial Day if everyone was in a grave.

Somewhere along the line, those who grew weary of war and knew it was hell found ways to negotiate peace or even to expose the meaningless nature of conflict.

Peacemakers are blessed because they have to go where there are wars in order to create peace.

Peace is never forged in a boardroom.

Instead, it is visualized when men and women grow tired of death and destruction and finally allow themselves to believe that the true honor lies in maneuvering to find peace.

War is not for heroes and peace for wimps.

Peace is created by the heroes of a war which needs to stop.

A quick overview of the history of wars in our American nation is not terribly uplifting. Wars have been fought for almost every reason plausible—and too often for profit and gain.

But to the soldiers—those who serve—there needfully is a special place of value and tenderness in our hearts.

But also, we stop today and erect a memorial to those who make peace.

Those wars that didn’t have to happen—like the thermonuclear one that could have been started from Cuba in 1962.

We are thankful to the peacemakers.

It is completely plausible to respect the military without always wanting to use it.

The best way to keep a strong army and defend a country is to make sure that our young men and women don’t have to lose their lives to prove that America is strong.

We give that job of consecration, diplomacy and negotiation to our peacemakers.

 

My Story … May 26, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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my storyFinishing up my time with the outstanding souls of Bluffton, Indiana, I mentioned in closing that it was very important that we try to remove our “opinions” from our daily outreach with our fellow-man.

One lady lodged a light objection by saying that she felt it’s essential that we share our story.

Oh, so true.

We must share our story–but we must learn that there’s a difference between our story and our opinion and even our story and our religion. If you’ll allow me to break it down:

1. My story.

What I’ve seen and heard. Nothing more, nothing less. If it’s in the boundary of my experience, I should feel free to share.

2. My opinion.

What I’ve heard, but not necessarily seen. There are rumors going around all the time, and we are tempted to adopt these ill-founded notions as fact. Matter of fact, we become excellent at convincing ourselves they are true. Now, there may be truth to them, but they are not part of our journal.

3. My religion.

What I’ve decided everybody should see and hear. Now, religion doesn’t have to be religious. It’s just some book, philosophy, lifestyle or practice that we have convinced ourselves is more regal than any other available ideas. Therefore, we begin to judge humanity on whether they have adopted our preferred practice.

So you can see the problem. When people mingle their story with opinion and seal it in a tomb of religion, they become less and less universal in their approach.

Yes, I will tell you–I have become and will continue to become a better person as I keep my spirituality to my own walk, my opinions to myself and allow my story to do the speaking for me.

Otherwise, opinions and religion just separate us–and such a breaking of fellowship always leads to conflict and war.

So on this Memorial Day, let me leave my wreath of peace at the doorstep of your heart, and just end by saying, “This is my story … and I’m stickin’ to it.”

 

 

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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!

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WE are the US of OUR Lives… May 27, 2013

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 America is not a population–it is a collision.

Yes, it is a fender-bender, accidental conglomeration of people who have ended up in the same place, searching for similar freedoms.

Our churches are not congregations. They are configurations–the makeshift, last-minute gathering of a collage of human beings who often disagree with each other but are bound by what we hope and pray is a common purpose. Our disunity and differences are what challenge us to stay together and keep working, to ferret out similarities.

We spend way too much time trying to find perfect circumstances. We even arrogantly proclaim that we’re on a quest to find a “soul mate.” Life is not a Disney cartoon. It’s not the story of a chambermaid who is secretly a princess who finds herself “slippering” her way into marrying Prince Charming.

It usually consists of two folks who hang around each other long enough that the spark of lust ignites passion one evening. Then they spend time figuring out how to take that initial encounter and turn it into domestication.

What’s wrong with that? Why does everything have to be so antiseptic? Let us be honest. One of the most obnoxious thing about human beings is when they believe they have found God’s will or they have knowledge that exceeds others.

What I saw yesterday in Mabank, Texas, was a mish-mash of humanity which decided to stay together with each other instead of becoming picky and bratty–praying for better converts. Now THAT just might be the definition of God’s will.

We ARE the “us” of our lives.

  • I don’t always agree with my children, but they are my children.
  • I don’t always get along with my friends, but they are my friends.
  • I don’t always concur with strangers, but there’s really nothing strange about them at all, is there?
  • And the United States of America is always at its best when we include all the “we’s” and embrace them as “us” to create “our.” In the process, we collect some weirdos, freaks and people who think they’re extraordinarily normal, who end up being more odd than they thought.

But we do not express the love of God by giving up on anyone. We do not become a better organization by shunning members. And we never, ever discover the beauty of heaven by finding weakness in our fellow humans and displaying it for mockery.

I give great tribute to the people of Mabank. Even though they live in a small town and might be tempted to be snooty and fussy, they’ve decided to pursue the greatest depths of true spirituality, which is: don’t give up on folks just because right now you think they’re ugly.

So on this Memorial Day, as we celebrate our nation and the sacrifice of those who have gone before, let us not forget the power of this idea: the energy of our faith is that we constantly challenge our own prejudices.

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Ten Things That Make Me Crazy … May 25, 2012

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1. Murder as entertainment. Would someone please explain why it’s acceptable in our society to indiscriminately splatter blood across the screen for young children to see, while romance and sex are deemed to be evil? It is so hypocritical. The Bible says that “life is in the blood,” and when we make human blood such an expendable unit, we attack the beauty of life.

2. Music without emotion. I like a good beat just like the next guy–but music has the capacity to touch the human heart, which is the doorway to the soul. Honestly, nothing does it quite as well. When we fail to use that ability of the medium to reach into the emotions of our fellow-travelers, we miss the greatest blessing available for being tuneful.

3. Dress-up religion. Here’s my thought: if you’re wearing a costume, it’s probably Halloween. Any time we feel the need to don garb or insert ritual instead of reality and truth into our worship of God, we are secretly admitting that it’s a childhood game of hide-and-seek, which really has no practical application.

4. Movies that don’t move me. A friend recently told me that he goes to movies to be entertained. That’s fine and dandy. I’m all for entertainment, but life is too short to allow ourselves to view a meaningless scene that does not enrich all the parts of our human vessel. So please, give me some heart that touches my soul while renewing my mind, while making my skin tingle with excitement. And life certainly is too short for us to be deterred from discovering our essence by portraying images on the screen that are anti-human or anti-Golden Rule.

5. Mirrors in the shower room. I don’t get it. If you think you have a great body, you certainly don’t require a mirror to tempt you to admire yourself, generating even greater arrogance. Or if your body is under construction or in transit to a better self, then viewing the present progress is nothing less than discouraging.

6. Opinions mingled with statistics. I welcome your opinion. I’m interested in what you have to say. You don’t have to agree with me. But please don’t bring along a bunch of facts and stats that you have swung in your direction to convince me that I am in the minority and that your opinion is held by the bulk of the populace. Honestly, my dear friend, I don’t mind being in the minority. It is where most miracles are spawned.

7. The made-up fight between men and women. Yes. It’s made up. It’s manufactured to accomplish two goals–to sell products which isolate one sex from the other, and to avoid spending the necessary time to understand one another instead of just bumping into each other for brief moments of pleasure. We will eventually have to grow out of our childish belief that the other sex actually does have “cooties.”

8. Brainless patriotism. It doesn’t matter how many times you chant,Support the troops!” It doesn’t make you better than the person who works for peace so that the troops don’t have to go over to foreign lands and take a bullet for us. Here’s my gift to the soldiers on this Memorial Day weekend: thank you for being willing to fight. I appreciate it so much that I’m going to work very hard to make sure you don’t have to.

9. Destiny. We occasionally go through intervals in our society when we either become too lazy or too frightened to be responsible for our own lives. So for a brief season we focus on how God, the devil or even fairies control our futures. It’s ridiculous. Right now our literature, entertainment and even our churches are filled with the notion that God–who created free will–has changed His mind and really wants to manipulate us to do His bidding. Pretty soon we will grow weary of being helpless and will accept the great gift of being allowed to use our talents to make our own lives better.

10. Fussing about God. Since none of us really understand God, to fuss about Him is not only worthless and comical, but also may be the definition of arrogant. I will tell you bluntly–no one I know (including me) believes the WHOLE Bible. We all have favorite passages which we push to the forefront to promote our particular rendition of Mr. Almighty. So since that is the case, I have no intention of fussing with you about your interpretation of divine matters. I have decided to simplify my life down to, “NoOne is better than anyone else,” and enjoy the elementary mind-set of that concept while pursuing the complexities of its application.

Those are the ten things, on this beautiful Friday, that make me crazy. Each one of them can be tempered by those moderate souls who feel that I may be a little over-wrought in my representations. But there is a time to take a stand and a season where we refuse to accept mediocrity just because it’s wearing a fashionable hat. The question is not whether things make me crazy, but whether that particular brand of lunacy drives me into an asylum where I self-medicate and hide out from the world around me–or if it pushes me into the street to protest the injustice I see to the best of my ability.

I am not a radical, but I refuse to be a pushover. So until things get better and human beings are allowed to be human without having to walk around in lies, I will lift up the banner that God loves us as we are–but he also loves the fellow next to us, the lady down the street and all those infidels in other lands who might just be planning our demise. 

  

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