Good News and Better News … January 8th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3546)

Bethel United Methodist Church in Walterboro, South Carolina.

Although I’m not privy to your traveling plans, it does seem unlikely that you will ever make your way to darken the doors of this particular sanctuary. I did–just yesterday morning.

With a day that folks from Wisconsin would call “brisk” and those from South Carolina deemed “polar ice cap,” some very faithful locals gathered in the building to see what the weather and the road had brought to them via our humble efforts.

It started the day before, when Wally, Johnny and Collin arrived to help us set up, and all of my equipment, which had been sitting in the back of the van, tried to “fuzz out,” insisting it was Floridian. Overcoming those little missteps, we got all hooked up, and by Sunday morning, the Holy Spirit, resilient fellow that He is, arrived in a parka.

These are beautiful people. They are delightful human beings that the political parties take for granted, and the more snotty members of our society deem to be “simple.”

It’s a huge mistake. They are full of integrity; they have hearts which can be moved with the notion of a loving God, and after a considerable amount of time, they are even willing to embrace odd-looking strangers like Janet and myself.

As I sat and chatted with these adorable brothers and sisters, I was struck by a usable idea. All during my childhood and even in my adult years, I have been encouraged by society to “find my voice.”

Yes, “find your voice.”

But yesterday it struck me that this notion is the misconception that’s driving our problems into the ditch. People are trying very hard to find their own voice, and when all these individual voices speak together, what we have is” Tower of Babel II.”

Life is not about finding your voice–it’s about finding the voice.

The voice is humble, encouraging, respectful, open-minded, free of prejudice and also gentle and kind, with good cheer.

I suppose if you sat down all the people of Bethel United Methodist and had a political discussion, they might be at each other’s throats in three minutes.

That’s why we should never do that. We should take all things pertaining to government–“Caesar”–and let them stew in their own juices.

What we need to think about are the things that belong to God.

I’ve stopped trying to find my voice, and I’m looking for the voice. It is a voice that:

1. Encourages others.

2. Knows when to shut up.

3. Doesn’t repeat information unless there’s a personal experience.

4. Looks for a reason to be kind.

5. Quotes things that lift people up.

6. Refuses to accept complaining as natural.

7. Notices when things get better.

This morning I feel as joyous as a new baby colt. (They are joyous, aren’t they? I would think so.)

Because the good news is, I got to spend time with Wally, Johnny, Collin and the blessed souls of Bethel.

And the better news is, I got to practice once again finding The Voice instead of insisting on promoting mine.

 

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

Advertisements

G-Poppers … July 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2996)

Jon close up

G-Pop watches.

He observes.

He listens to the cacophony of opinions colliding in levels of frustration and disagreement.

Meanwhile, the world continues to careen toward calamity.

There are two abiding misconceptions which hold us prisoner to our own understanding:

  1. “More is always better”
  2. “There has to be a little bit of what I believe in everything I do”

While we seek for a destiny, the world itself actually evolves, discounting the notion that there is some sort of pre-determined path. Evolution was meant to be our friend. It grants us the opportunity to see change coming and preface that transformation by writing our own rendition of the future. But we have to escape the fallacy of thinking that doing more of “our thing” will make situations better.

For instance, there is an abiding foolishness that proclaims the answer to “mean” is to be “more mean.”

That the solution for violence is more violence.

That the best way to handle the quandary of gun control is to sell more guns.

Lying is overcome by developing our own sophisticated lies.

We also contend that religion just needs more religion.

Prayer is faulted by not having a hefty enough amount of supplication.

We also believe that bigotry can be quelled by more bigotry.

War with more war.

Fear with more fear.

Selfishness by touting our own nationalistic chest-thumping.

And stubbornness–yes, stubbornness.

Stubbornness is the abiding notion that “there must be something of what I presently believe in what will happen next.”

It doesn’t work that way.

It is not only the “survival of the fittest,” but also the survival of the wittiest. Get your wits about you.

As we sit in the ashes of forty-eight hours of tragedy, we must understand that all the parties involved, including the victims, had guns. It didn’t help the two victims who were murdered because…

Because someone did not question his lingering training.

If you’re a policeman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or Minneapolis, Minnesota, you are on your way to a call or you’ve picked up somebody for a busted tail light. and you realize that they are of a different color, before you climb out of your car to approach them, you need to take a half a second to ask this question:

“What prejudice is there in me that might make this situation difficult?”

And if you’re a black person in this country who is fully aware of the abiding racism, you must ask yourself:

“What can I do to remove the apprehension of the white police officer who’s about to confront me?”

It is not an issue of being fair, but instead, gaining the wisdom of the serpent. Because the serpent is quite capable of biting–but also is extremely vulnerable to being stepped on and killed. So the serpent slithers away from trouble.

G-Pop realizes that we will not get anywhere in this country until we question what we do, instead of assuming that doing more of it will solve the problem.

It begins in a small way–when we acknowledge that the person who refuses to let us into the flow of traffic is not really a “goddamn-son-of-a-bitch.”

Just doing more of what he or she was trained to be.

Donate Button

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


Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

Click here to get your copy now!

PoHymn cover jon

 

The Alphabet of Us: C is for Cunning… December 22, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2451)

Baby block C bigger

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

Three pushy forces bully us to conform to the pattern of what is now considered, in this short-sighted season, to be normal.

  • “I must be better”
  • “I must be popular”
  • “I must be smarter”

Human beings were never meant to be consistent. It is within the spectrum of our unpredictability that we create our learning curve and our charm. When we deny this vulnerability, we place ourselves in a position where we must defend our “better,” our “popular” and our “smarter.”

Unfortunately, this leads to lying. And even worse than lying is the misconception that we can actually pull it off. This is cunning.

Cunning is the contention that “because I am better, very popular and smarter, I can trick you into believing whatever I desire.” It is ugly, selfish–and worst of all, it is doomed.

To escape cunning you have to counteract the three pushy bullies and speak the truth about your own inconsistent journey.

1. I am not better. I need to fail. I need to admit I fail. Failure is my only hope for escaping the disaster at the end of repeated stupidity.

2. Although I love human beings, I don’t need to be popular if such notoriety comes along with sacrificing my character and my soul.

3. The only way to become smarter is to learn from people who know more. This requires that I admit that I am less intelligent.

At the root of every drama which ends in defeat is a character who contends that he or she is better than others, popular for a time and smarter, which enables them to use cunning to produce the backdrop for their demise.

You will never be destroyed by being weak.

You will be destroyed by acting strong and ending up weak.

Donate Button

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

click above for information on 567!

click above for information on 567!

 

Turning Kids into Humans (Part 4) 3-6–Garden … September 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2346)

Humanating

Let’s settle one major misconception–children are not born desiring video games, I-phones, Sesame Street, toys, candy and the latest fad or trend. They are coerced through advertising and peer pressure to pursue these products and attitudes by big-budget corporations which use their advertising dollars as efficiently as possible.

Don’t be paranoid but by the same token, be careful what media outlets you allow your children to watch or otherwise, you will suffer the backlash of cultural greed.

Now that you have a child who has gained speech, feet and knows where to poop, it’s a good idea to approach this young creature as a garden.

You’ve got to plant some corn and carrots.

I call it corn because most people in our time consider it to be “corny” to feel for others. Yet without this introspection, we are worse than animals gnawing on each other in the jungle, because we actually do have a brain with the capacity for empathy.

So rather than assuming that every child born in America is destined to want to play computer games, intervene and create a garden, where you plant corniness and generosity, allowing for healthier attitudes.

A suggestion: teach your children to share the sad and the happy. Put them in environments so they can understand that someone is sad and they should feel something about it. Likewise, when they run a race and lose, encourage them to do better next time, while you also insist that they rejoice with the winner.

They are not going to want to do this.

That is irrelevant. You made this person, and you have the keys to their soul until you turn them over at age eighteen and they become responsible for their own destiny.

Perhaps it is corny, but teach your children to cry for something other than the fact that they didn’t get a candy bar in the checkout line at Wal-Mart.

Alert them to the importance of being happy for others. There is no way to continually be happy if you only celebrate your own victories.

And finally, you should plant some carrots. Yes–teach them to “care about it.” Shall we put it under the banner of “share the wealth?”

Since it’s virtually impossible to bounce two balls at the same time, gently nudge or purposefully demand that your child share one with a friend, even if he or she does not immediately produce joy in their heart over the experience.

We’re planting a garden. From age 3-6 the soil is very fertile–and therefore also susceptible to weeds. And in our society, a weed is any belief that we must grab and run instead of nurture and share.

  • Share the happy.
  • Share the sad.
  • Share the wealth.

Remember–they’re kids, not humans. You are in charge of their journey to discovering Eden by planting a garden within them.

 

 

Donate Button

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

 

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

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

Alone Again, Unnaturally–September 20, 2011

12 23 OBOE THEME

(1,275)

My son, Jerrod, and my daughter-in-law, Angy, are off cavorting in Europe for a couple of weeks.  In their absence, Dollie has flown to Miami to watch our two granddaughters for the time span. 

So yesterday, Jan and I had to motor our way to Northern Virginia in two separate cars–and I found myself driving alone.  I haven’t done that very often in my life.  It was a three-hour journey from Wilmington, Delaware, down to Manassas, Virginia, and I really didn’t enjoy it that much. I know we live in a time when people extol the value of being “alone with yourself” and thinking “deep thoughts” but honestly, dear hearts, I find that notion to be not only ridiculous but actually counterproductive to the human experience. For any emotions that I do not deal with immediately in my life are unfortunately not available to me when I do decide to get alone. The reason is that emotions sprout up, require verbal expression, followed by a time of discovery on how real or false they are, and then get cleansed from our hearts so we don’t slide into unrighteousness.

So I talk about what I feel–not as gospel or as doctrine–but rather, as the passing fancy of my own emotional make-up.  I have learned that if I don’t do this, any emotion that stays in me for twenty-four hours tries to build a farm on my back forty. I don’t want that. I don’t want the next decision I make in my life to be tainted by a disgruntled emotion that controls what I choose to do because I have failed to deal with its impact.

So it was really odd–not having anyone to talk to and not being particularly interested in satellite radio, I found myself getting sleepy while I drove instead of enlivened by the experience. I was so glad when we finally got to our destination and I was able to talk once again with my partner, Janet. I told her all about my feelings and she told me about hers. It was good.

But it made me realize that there are misconceptions in this country that are being touted as virtuous or even therapeutic which are dragging down the emotional, spiritual, mental and even physical essence of our people. (I know that sounds rather dramatic, but give me a little license to set up the story-line.)

For instance, I thought about the fact that we insist that men and women are “different,” citing emotional make-up as an example, when the Bible made it clear in the book of Genesis, that it was not good for a MAN to be alone. Understand, at this point, man had work, he had a garden, he had a life, he had animals and he had God. It still wasn’t enough. Why? No emotional release. For after all, God is not my therapist.  God is not the one who is supposed to be listening to my problems as I lay on a couch of supplication. Prayer is for rejoicing, thanksgiving, seeking wisdom and strength. God has given us each other as traveling buddies and also as sounding boards, to interact and recover ourselves when we’ve slid into fits of despair.

Bluntly–God was not enough for Adam. He needed an emotional companion because we are emotional people.

So what does all this mean? It means that as long as we contend that it’s all right to bottle up our emotions and call them private, trying to excavate them in those few moments that we actually are alone, we will begin to plant a root of bitterness in ourselves that will be a controlling factor in all of our relationships and decision-making.  

Being alone is not natural. 

No, we are a gregarious, outgoing people who have tolerated those who are more stoic but certainly do not elect them or choose them to lead us out of the wilderness.

This is the first thing that Jesus established with the masses. He called himself the “son of man,” making it clear that he was one of them. When he sensed that somebody in the room had an unspoken complaint, he always called it out and brought it to the forefront. And when he was emotionally distraught with his disciples, he poured forth his feelings instead of holding them in and building up resentment. It was an excellent example. And when he did go to be alone for prayer, it wasn’t to air his grievances to the heavens–it was to pour out his heart for lost humanity. (“Father, I pray that they be one, as You and I are one.”)

So where can we change this and begin to implement a life that is emotionally clarified instead of darkened by hidden sensations and a fear of sharing? If you don’t mind, I’d like to talk about that tomorrow. Because I am a blessed man and I am never alone because I can share my heart everyday … with you.

%d bloggers like this: