G-Poppers … September 16th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3066)

Jon close up

Every human being has a seed.

The mission is to find it.

G-Pop discovered at an early age that he had the ability to make people laugh. He was also delighted to uncover a craft for taking words, forming sentences and compiling them into paragraphs which evolved into complete stories.

And then there was a song. Yes, a song–the blessing of making music.

Finding that seed was truly the greatest revelation in G-Pop’s life. Without it, worshipping a God of power made him feel too insignificant. Seeing the successes of others could tempt him to be envious.

After finding the seed, it was then G-Pop’s responsibility to plant it.

Sounds simple enough–yet it is essential to avoid planting seed where others suggest, or feeling that unless it is planted in a big field it is meaningless. Here’s the message:

  • Plant where you are.
  • Plant where available.
  • Plant in the vicinity of your heart–and your feet.

Then, after finding the seed and planting it, the only other responsibility G-Pop had as a human being was to make sure he didn’t hurt anyone. There is only one way to truly hurt others and it always begins with a lie.

The serpent lied to Eve, Eve lied to Adam and Adam lied to God. The end result was hurt.

It is time to stop complicating the situation. It comes down to finding a seed, planting the seed … and not hurting anyone.

 

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Good News and Better News … April 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2901)

Good News Grays Chapel

Yesterday I was at Grays Chapel United Methodist Church.

It is located in a place called Grays Chapel, North Carolina, which has been granted the blessing of a name despite its size.

I liked them.

I’m not so sure they liked me at first because after all, I was a stranger. Because I was a stranger, I was therefore suspect.

Isn’t it interesting that most of the problems that come to us in life are hatched by friends and family? Rarely are we inundated by a predicament brought about by someone we don’t know.

That said, I had to make a decision on what I wanted to say to these fine folk. I mingled my words with songs, music and a bit of humor.

Yet, it is important to have a core message.

My core is so simple that it probably leaves some people attending my events a little disappointed–because I fail to attack the right people or praise those usually deemed worthy. So my success rate is very good, but is also plagued by the lack of having an adequate enemy we can all hate. Matter of fact, you can boil down what I have to say to the following:

1. The Gospel is good news.

I know people can find bad news in the Good Book, but I’ve never been one to try to turn it into the “Bad Book.” Maybe that makes my mission seem a little too simple or fluffy.

I don’t care.

People get enough bad news without having me set up my equipment and blare it from the PA system.

2. Jesus lived a human life.

Every attempt we make to turn Jesus of Nazareth into Apollo– who was purported to be half god and half man–makes him none of either.

The power of the life of Jesus is that even though he was driven by a calling and anointed by Spirit, he was bound by flesh.

It makes what he has to say much more pertinent to our lives, instead of him coming across as some professor from heaven, wonkishly trying to explain how things work to a bunch of dumb students.

3. Run from what’s complicated.

I do it all the time.

I meet individuals who think it takes a committee meeting to turn on a light switch. They spend more time discussing the Rules of Order than ordering someone to step in and rule.

Jesus said his way was simple and easy. My thought is, whenever things are is no longer falling under that gentle approach, they are probably also no longer Jesus.

So that’s the good news I had to share with the people of Grays Chapel. I don’t know whether it impressed them. Perhaps they wished I would attack the Republican, curse a Democrat, or whisper a stance I hold on what people should do in their bedrooms.

I don’t care.

The good news is:

  • The Gospel is good news.
  • Jesus came to be human.
  • And life is not meant to be complicated.

Oh, by the way–there’s one piece of better news:

Don’t leave love.

No matter how much you get tempted to redefine your commitment to the human race with some other emotion than love, abandon it. Even when you disagree or you think something is evil, don’t leave love.

May God find each one of us in a loving state of mind … when He, and He alone, decides to judge the world.

 

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G-Poppers … April 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2898)

Jon close up

G-Pop’s grandson peered at him quizzically.

The idea posed by G-Pop had left the boy perplexed.

“Let’s go find a tornado.”

The little grandson was not sure where to begin, so he ran to a nearby set of books, found a picture of a tornado and presented it to G-Pop, hoping he had fulfilled the mission.

“No, not a picture,” said G-Pop. “I want a real tornado.”

Now, G-Pop’s grandson is pretty sharp, so after contemplating for a few seconds, he replied, “You can’t find a tornado without storms.”

Exactly.

Throughout the annals of human history, mankind has desperately tried to personify wickedness in the form of an incarnate evil.

  • Mephistopheles.
  • Satan.
  • Old Nick.
  • Beelzebub.

All these names, and many others, were created to strike terror in the hearts of humans, to warn us that apparently we are part of some sort of cosmic chess game, in which God and Lucifer move us around from place to place at their whim, to establish prowess.

Matter of fact, you can be alienated from the Christian community simply by failing to adequately believe in Satan.

But the devil, just like a tornado, fails to be around when there isn’t a storm created by the winds of uncertainty, anger and lust.

That’s how you make a tornado, you know–cold winds meet hot winds and swirl until there’s a physical manifestation of the conflict, which we call a twister. But without the cold and the hot, tornadoes do not exist.

It is amazing how evil the world seems when the cold indifference of people runs headlong into the hot anger of fools. All at once, it seems as if we have an uninvited Hell Being.

But is it true?

Is there an actual Evil One who stalks us? Or is he only made manifest when we arrive at the Garden of Life looking for trouble?

It’s a great question, and one that should be discussed. But I will tell you, if such a creature actually does exist, its efforts are greatly deterred if we remove the frigid apathy and the searing rage which build up because we have ceased to believe in the power of goodness.

G-Pop’s grandson asked, “What can I do to stop evil?”

G-Pop paused and replied, “Well, you see…”

(to be continued)

 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 2) … December 13th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2762)

Jesonian hands

Liberty.

Find God, discover liberty.

Stumble upon liberty, see God.

It was something that the Apostle Paul said. He equated God and liberty–an inseparable pair.

He also went on to intelligently point out that human beings initially use their liberty to generate sins of the flesh.

Yes, they do.

It does not matter. Just as free will is more important than love and law, liberty is the evidence that free will is in motion.

So what is reasonable? We deal with two dangers:

  • Being so meticulous in trying to control people’s choices that we suppress human passion deep inside, where it becomes perverted;
  • Or there is the danger of having an “anything goes” philosophy, which makes people think they have a free pass, creating equal peril.

Being reasonable is understanding what your job is, doing it well, and not assigning yourself the mission of quality control for others.

As human beings, we have two areas where we can interact with each other without fear or intimidation: the heart and the spirit.

At any time, I can cross paths with each and every one of you, and as long as I am trying to help you feel deeply about life or encouraging you to increase your faith, I am on solid turf, free of being a condemning force.

Yet I will tell you that your mind and your morals are your business and your business alone. I have no authority to control your thinking nor judge your choices.

The church should take this position.

We need to trust that exploding good emotion with spiritual renaissance is enough to allow human beings to renew their own minds and define their morality.

I have no intention of taking these daily essays which flow from my heart and do anything but stir your emotions and touch your spirit. It is up to you to use them to replace ideas in your brain and to reference your own behavior.

As long as we think we control the minds and morals of those around us, we are not only annoying to our brothers and sisters … but completely out of the will of God.

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Untotaled: Stepping 47 (April 20th, 1969) Demise… December 27, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2456)

(Transcript)

Even though I only lived a few blocks from the high school, I drove my car there–because I could.

I also went home for lunch even though it was basically against policy. Once again, because I could.

On April 20th, I decided to drive to my abode to raid the refrigerator, avoiding the cafeteria surprises. On my way I stopped off at my mom and dad’s little loan company and there was a note on the door. It read:

Closed. Family Emergency.

I knew what that meant.

My dad was in failing health. More accurately stated, he was dying. Forty-five years of cigarette smoking had caught up with him, riddling his body with cancer. So desperate was his situation that there was a quiet celebration among the family when it was discovered that the disease had spread to his brain and in doing so, had closed off the pain centers, making him less of the suffering soul.

I didn’t want to go to the house but I knew it was expected. I pulled up in the driveway and was climbing the steps to the porch when I first heard it: from the upstairs, through the walls, was the hideous volume of my dad gasping for air.

It was a death rattle.

I could not bring myself to go in. I turned around, headed back to school and was so angry–at my dad and at myself–that I skipped the next two classes.

I was furious at myself for being so cowardly, and a rotten person because I didn’t want to be near my father in his last moments.

And I was infuriated with him for destroying his body with smoke instead of dealing with his inadequacies.

I arrived back at school for the last hour of classes. After the session was over for the day I headed to a friend’s house and hung out for the rest of the evening.

Nobody knew where I was. I liked it that way.

I arrived home at ten o’clock. My older brother was waiting for me. He told me that our dad had passed away a couple of hours earlier.

I didn’t feel much, barely even noticing how pissed off my brother was that I hadn’t been there for the death-bed.

He was my dad–but I never knew him. And in like manner, he didn’t know that much about me.

Now he was dead. His ashes of ashes would turn to dust.

I cried.

Honestly, it was not for my lost parent. I cried, feeling sorry for myself.

He deserved a better son. But he should have been wise enough to realize that teenage sons don’t get better.

That is the duty and the mission … of a father.

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G-49: June 30th, 1863… November 7, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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            Gettysburg          June 30th, 1863

Gettysburg
June 30th, 1863

Three prayers float their way up to the heavenly realm.

They are distinctly different, uniquely crafted by the speaker to adequately accentuate the piety of their position while simultaneously offering sufficient humility for the auspicious occasion.

Prayer 1

Our most sovereign God, we have just taken over this command of troops and are headed off into the Pennsylvania countryside. We are certainly without experience. We are vacant a master plan. So we come to You, seeking both wisdom and protection–wisdom for our frailty of mind, which causes us to dance between fear and an over-exaggerated sense of importance; and protection because the enemies set before us are much more adept at their craft and perhaps even more dedicated to their cause.

Our purposes for marching through these fields are diverse and perhaps for some of us, unknown. It is everything from duty, to mission, avoiding disobeying the common law, and even for some, seething anger.

We do not ask that you give us the day in battle, but please give us our daily bread, and may we be able to chew it, swallow it and accept it as our portion.

“We feel we are in the right, but as is often the case, we may learn the error of our ways. Amen.

Prayer 2

Eternal God who is Almighty in the Heavens, we come to you as the Army of Virginia, set out to right what is wrong and to preserve the glorious blessing of our heritage and beliefs. As cheated brothers, for a season we feel the need to pick up arms and right the injustice and regain the freedom to live among our constituency with integrity and with respect to that which we consider to be holy.

We know you have been with us as we have prevailed in battle, and we know you will be with us throughout this day as we once again set a path towards quickly ending the bloodshed and resume our lives with family and kin.

Here in Gettysburg, make our cannons accurate, our swords swift and our bullets straight. Even in our hearts, we have no animosity towards these individuals. They just stand in the way of our liberty.

Yet as you said in your Holy Book, there is a time to kill, and we respect that season by doing it to the best of our ability. Amen.

Prayer 3

Derz Jesus: Dey have plans to kills Marcus today. Lawd, he don’t do nothin’ but pick cotton slow. I’z wishin that Yous listen to me eben though I’m not worth more than the dirt I came from. Maybe, Lawd, if Iz talk to the Massa, he’s let me pick extra cotton to make up for Marcus. Gives me words. May the work that I done here speak, gon ahead of me, so when I ax for Marcus’s life, theys not be hangin him, but instead, he be comin home to his wife and three.

Iz so weak. I needs Youz, Lord. I needs to save my brother. Helps me before my mind goes to breakin apart. Helps me to keep from bein angry. Helps me to be a man, even though dose I talk to don’t believe I be one. Amen.”

Three prayers presented to God.

But only one was answered.

For you see, because the plantation owner was busy trying to gather provisions for the Rebel Army, it slipped his mind to kill Marcus.

The prayers that came from the two armies gathered to do battle were ignored. The combatants were left to their own devices, to slaughter one another at will.

God had stopped honoring nations, peoples, cultures and ideals.

He was looking for someone with great ideas, a heart for his fellow-man and a willingness to do something noble in a time of utter chaos.

 

 

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Jesonian: I Can But I Won’t… September 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I can but I won’t.

I could but I shouldn’t.

It is an imaginative and ingenious philosophy put forth by Jesus to explain how to escape the lunacy of chasing every single possibility and problem that pops up in your face.

It happened one day while he was sharing with his disciples and friends about the true essence of their mission, and some of the obstacles they would face in the future as they tried to progress a message that most certainly would suffer some persecution.

As he’s closing out this admonishment, he renders these powerful words: “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you should say.”

Amazingly enough, his own sharings are about to be put to the test–because he is interrupted in a clumsy, if not rude, way, by a gentleman who feels he has a much more urgent need than that of training disciples to preach the good news to the world.

The intruder inserts, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Talk about being off point.

Talk about misconstruing the meaning of offering power and wisdom. This man felt that since Jesus had the attention of the room, that Jesus should use that platform to resolve his personal conflict. This is where our opening couplet comes to play.

I can but I won’t.

I could but I shouldn’t.

The answer that Jesus gives this man is filled with insight and prophetic underpinning:

Who has made me a judge over you? I am not here to arbitrate. And by the way, beware covetousness.

Amazing.

  • I thought Jesus was God and he was ordained to judge.
  • I thought he was supposed to be the advocate for getting us forgiven our punishments when we’re ridiculously misaligned.
  • I thought it was alright to go get your fair share when it was owed to you.

I discovered a parallel: it made me realize that even though we, as a nation, may find things that we can do, we should say we won’t.

And even though we could contribute to bringing a tentative peace in areas of the world where brothers are arguing over their inheritance, we shouldn’t.

Among the many reasons for sitting out the present conflict brewing in Mesopotamia is that it is grounded in covetousness. Covetousness is when selfishness punches jealousy in the nose and then wants recompense by stealing everything its enemy

Let me tell you–I am a follower of Jesus because he had a unique and God-given ability to know where his battles were and when he was to simply walk away.

No matter how much we may think that the conflicts in the Middle East are deadly, fierce or even genocidal, they are not our affair. And if we jump in there, we are failing to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to us as Jesus promised He would.

I can but I won’t.

I could but I shouldn’t.

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

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