Ask Jonathots … May 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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What causes some siblings to grow up to be friends and others not? I’m forty and I’m not close to my sister at all. I have two teenage daughters, and I’m wondering what I could do to help them grow up to be friends. Your thoughts?

Perhaps one of the more egregious errors in our culture is the notion that the nuclear family is meant to remain intact.

It causes more stress, misgivings, grudges, insecurity, mishap and even murder than any other predicament facing our species.

If I were a coal miner in West Virginia, was unfortunately involved in a cave-in and spent nine days under the earth with eight other people, we would become very close. Matter of fact, we would share dreams, aspirations, prayers and any food and water available to sustain one another.

Yet to think that after I left that cave of impending death I should continue those relationships with my fellow-prisoners outside the mishap would be ridiculous, forced and disappointing.

For a season we share common goals and aspirations with our family. That experience can range from survival to ecstasy.

But humans are meant to come out of this cocoon and bloom in our individual lives, to start our own families, sustaining our species with new possibilities.

Some sisters have memories of the time when they grew up in the same house, but their journey takes them in completely different directions, with new friends, causing the old encounters to bring fond memories but not needful continuation.

Other sisters stay in the same communities, and it’s like their new families are extensions of the older rendition.

One thing is certain–it evolves naturally and cannot be manipulated through false emotion or guilt.

We must understand that for some people, the memory of their birthing family is pleasant but irrelevant, pleasant but valuable, pleasant but in the past.

For others such recollections are unpleasant and degrading, unpleasant and unnecessary, and unpleasant and harmful.

It is always better to look at the family of our youth as the ship that brought us to the New World. Sometimes that ship can sit out in the harbor of our environment as a memory of great times. And sometimes the ship is so full of holes that it needs to be sunk.

You can’t help people to be friends. Friendship is always based upon mutual concerns.

But what you can do is maintain the better parts of every experience as you launch out into newness of life.

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Three Ways of Becoming What You Want to Become by Realizing What You Became… September 25, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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yelling

Three huge bombs land on each and every one of us, exploding across our consciousness, leaving the fallout hanging in the air as we try to piece together the substance of what we call our “adult life.”

Peers, parents and puberty.

Long before we have the intensity, intelligence and ingenuity to separate right from wrong, smart from dumb, spiritual from ridiculous and cool from uncool, we are inundated and pressured by these three weapons, to submit to the “common norm.”

With our peers, our emotions are tangled, frustrated and jumbled by insecure fellow-travelers, who are groping for superiority, often by trying to make us feel less. In the process we develop deep-rooted insecurities, which bring bag and baggage to travel a lifetime.

Then there’s our parents. Although they do their best, their best is contingent on what has been done to them. Obviously, that falls into various degrees of miscommunication. Yet when these people hold the keys to your clothing, your housing, your food and your self-confidence, you tend to listen to them very intently.

And to top it off, here comes puberty. For a wonderful eleven years of life, men and women exist as equals–playing, laughing and working side-by-side–when suddenly they are grabbed by the pimp of nature, thrown to the ground and given an overdose estrogen or testosterone, placing them in a stupor with one another, often creating volatile conclusions.

The greatest thing you can do for yourself is admit you are being held hostage by this trio of conspirators.

So what is your next step?

1. I am prejudiced.

If you cannot admit this, you will never be able to understand that none of us possess a world view until we pursue it on our own. It is not taught in the classroom, it is not passed along in Sunday school and it certainly isn’t required in the locker room.

Learn the difference among these three words: prejudice, bigotry, racism.

  • Prejudice: “I was taught that people are different.”
  • Bigotry: “I believe people are different.”
  • Racism: “I am so confident that people are different that I will teach others.”

If we focus on the difference in people, we quietly assume our own superiority. Once that is propagated, war is inevitable.

2. You are prejudiced.

Yes, I need to cut you some slack. You had a blitzkrieg of the same bombings that hit me. I need to give you a chance to discover your prejudice even if it happens to be against me.

The definition of mercy is the realization that the person standing before me is just as confused as I am, and should be given as much time for growth as I would request.

3. Let’s do a rewrite on the script.

Yes, your life has been scripted. From the time you were a tiny tot, people were telling you what you should be, how you should do it and when you should do it. Being able to reject all of these “voices in the wilderness” is virtually impossible.

Rewrite the script.

And the only way to do that is to purposefully turn away from the crowd, tune your ears from the shouting and listen to your own heart and the Spirit of God.

You cannot become anything until you discover what you already became.

This is the true essence of maturity: putting away peers, parents, puberty … and all the other childish things.

 

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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

G-25: Insulate or Isolate? … May 23, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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handsSo you found yourself in the middle of a raging feud with your brother and a festering jealousy exploded into a violent rage, ending up with you murdering your sibling.

When confronted with the facts, you lied and then got caught–and instead of being executed for your crime, you’ve been exiled to the Land of Nod, East of Eden.

Now what?

The truth of the matter is, life doesn’t stop with the latest happy event, nor does it cease at the conclusion of a tragedy, but goes on.

How? The immediate temptation is to insulate yourself:

  • Why did this happen and how can I avoid it ever happening again?
  • How can I improve my image as quickly as possible?
  • Going forward, how can I play it safe?

This is what happens when people are bruised, offended, battered or just intimidated by the sheer, brute force of responsibility.

They begin to seek protection instead of opportunity. They request a reprieve from interaction instead of gaining strength through fellowship.They lessen their workload, insisting that being overwhelmed was what caused the problem–only to discover that being underwhelmed leaves them bored.

It’s a tough decision, but the most crucial moment in our lives–when we realize that the next thing we do needs to be important –and also better.

There is another path.

Isolate.

1. What did I do?

Sometimes we don’t totally realize the magnitude or the insignificance of our deeds and either overblow them or downplay them, never having an actual assessment of the event. Without this, it’s difficult to repent.

Yes, repent–the magnificent blending of “I’m sorry” and “this is how I’m going to change.”

2. What can I do?

Even though a certain desperation and futility can follow a defeat, the sooner we start convincing ourselves that we can be fruitful and contribute to our own efforts and the common good, the better off we will be.

Yes, as we’ve isolated off our deed, now we need to isolate off the abilities that remain.

3. Where do I start?

I hope it’s not an overstatement to say that the greatest danger in life is to either try to do too much or too little. Too much puts us right back at being overwhelmed–which may be the cause of our deviation in the first place. Taking on too little causes us to feel inadequate and weakened.

Where do I start? Isolate off a beginning point–and get busy.

It is a true statement that there is no sin or action that cannot be forgiven, but even little mistakes can stall us forever if we insulate ourselves from the truth instead of isolate the mishap…and discover a reason to commence.

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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

 

 

Corn on the Cob… April 12, 2013

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cornOn Sunday morning, I will journey to Helotes Hills United Methodist Church in Helotes, Texas. Please understand how delighted I was to discover that the word “helotes” translates as corn on the cob.”

How perfect for me.

Because bluntly, by today’s standards–I’m corny. I don’t pursue macho things in order to be a man, nor do I favor feminine things, to make my sexuality ambiguous. I like things that are real and touch human beings as a whole, instead of segmenting us off into color, size, sexuality or gender.

I’m corny.

Unashamedly, I cry when I run across something that is moving to my soul. I like to love my country, even though there are those who overdo it and those who under-do it. I am not ashamed of my faith in God, although I don’t wear it as a badge to make myself a policeman over other people’s morality, or as a means of establishing my supremacy in traveling first class on the Good Ship Lollipop to heaven.

I’m corny. But what exactly does that mean?

1. I lead with my heart. I will not arrive in Helotes Hills desiring to maintain a healthy distance from these dear folks so as to qualify myself as an artist or a theologian. I want to shake their hands. I want to hug their necks if they’ll let me. I want to laugh with them and I want to cry. Nothing any good happens in the human family if we’re not ready to feel.

2. Once I feel, it opens my spirit. That’s right–faith is when we allow God to speak to us through the feelings of our hearts. Nothing registers in us as people simply because it’s read from the Bible. It has to come with some emotion: a story or some way to stimulate our innards. Then we open up our spirits and faith happens.

3. Once my spirit opens, my mind can be renewed. Yes, that means I can get a little fervor in my thinking. My brain actually lays there like a big pile of mush if I don’t give it some shocking new revelation that gets me thinking again. I want to have fervor. I want my reasoning to grow to the fullness of the measure of the stature of Jesus. I know that sounds corny. So be it.

4. And finally, I want my strength to be empowered. I want to give my body some focus about the best things to do instead of floating from one mishap to another, trying to pretend that things aren’t as bad as they seem.

I want feeling, faith, fervor and focus–so I am going to involve my heart, soul, mind and strength in the experience I will enjoy with the good folks at Helotes Hills.

After all, this is the corn–and I guess that would make me … the cob.

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Defined … December 7, 2012

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Jon Signing

I woke up confused.

No, that’s too weird. I guess the correct word would be “befuddled,” but that’s such an old-fashioned term that I hate to use it for fear of making myself look like a twenty-first century Charles Dickens. So let me describe the emotion. I knew WHERE I was, but I didn’t know WHY I was. For you see, yesterday afternoon I arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a three-week layover, for Christmas near family members, and also a chance to recuperate, record a new album and prepare for the coming year.

I mean, it sounded like a great idea–and I’m sure it will end up being pleasant and even satisfying. But honestly, my friends, I wasn’t here more than three hours before I realized that I felt separated from my work and abandoned to my own personality, which, as it turns out, is rather similar to canned spam.

I realized that I am defined by my talents, abilities and vision. I know in this present age of psycho-babble, people would roll their eyes and tell me I need to be more inclusive, expansive and varied in my approach. I’m sure for somebody else, that’s fine.

But I’m me. I have been me now for almost sixty-one years. I like me. Me is a mixture of giggles, gags, gifts, gyrations and an ongoing desire to see the gospel of peace settle into the souls of humankind.

I don’t feel noble–but I also don’t feel bizarre. For instance, I like to go shopping because you can get things, come back, have them near to where your fingertips can reach them and create convenience. But the idea of shopping in itself is not appealing to me.

I also love my family, but I’ve never built a life around them–nor have I asked them to make me the center of their universe.

I love doing things that other people do–but I guess I find them a bit more of a chore than a pleasure. You must forgive me for using the word “chore”–I’m sure there’s a better term to communicate my sensations. I do feel enjoyment, but not tremendous motivation.

I love being busy–doing what I can. I love the exhaustion that follows time well spent. I love sharing my heart and allowing others a landing strip near my ears to share theirs. I love my life.

I’m just not very good at being domesticated. Case in point: Gardening is something that I would watch for two minutes on some cable channel and be awe-struck by how someone could actually be interested in it.

I love being a grandparent, but I want my grandchildren to know that I’m still alive and as long as I am, I will pursue my dreams, not make their lives a replacement.

I recognized this morning that I am very defined. Maybe I lack a little helium in my balloon. Maybe I’m unwilling to stray too far from my calling–lest I forget the voice I heard from the burning bush.

I don’t know. But I’m going to do my best. I plan on thoroughly enjoying this mishap of arriving in a world unfamiliar to me and learning to partake of the surroundings–alien that I am.

I guess at heart I am a vagabond, itinerant messenger who is scurrying around to find the next wilderness to cry out into.

Yeah. That’s me.

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

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