Salient…July 30th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3750)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Anita Bryant.

I would guess, to my average reader, the name neither rings a bell nor stimulates any particular memory.

But back in 1977 (when a few determined dinosaurs still roamed the Earth), Anita Bryant was voted “The Most Trusted Woman in America.”

She was a former Miss America contestant who had a singing career and was well-known as the pitch person for Florida orange juice.

She was vibrant.

She was youthful.

And she was, as we gradually discovered, quite political.

For you see, when the Fort Lauderdale City Council passed an ordinance removing all limitations on lodging and civil considerations for the homosexual community, Anita objected.

And we’re not talking about an op-ed letter to the newspaper. She hit the streets, held rallies, and turned a local situation into a national debate over the issue of whether people who pursued a homosexual lifestyle should be granted all of their civil liberties.

She was in demand. Her performances were packed. She did interviews on all the Christian talk shows, and even one for Playboy Magazine. She was America’s sweetheart.

For you see, at that time in our country, the jury was not only out on the gay community, but was leaning toward the “rejection penalty.”

It was popular to be anti-gay.

It was considered patriotic to be against them.

As we arrived in the 1980s, and the horrific AIDS epidemic spread across the land, those who believed homosexuality to be an abomination to God also whispered that perhaps this new virus was the Almighty’s punishment.

Things changed.

Suddenly a little boy in Indiana got AIDS from a blood transfusion–and it was no longer merely an infection of the flaming queens. Ryan White, with his generous spirit, refused to believe that his particular AIDS was any different from the AIDS contracted by those in San Francisco.

He was humble, he was non-judgmental, and he was strong until the day he died.

He made those who condemned their brothers and sisters look foolish–especially Anita Bryant.

She is still alive, but unfortunately, her name is equated with intolerance instead of righteousness–or orange juice, for that matter.

An interesting fact that you may want to tuck away in your memory: lepers are remembered more favorably than Pharisees.

So here is your salient moment:

You can’t defend God or morality by attacking behavior and hurting people.

 

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G-Poppers … February 2nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3571)

President Trump is not a moron. He is also not a genius.

Although there are proponents who would suggest that he falls into one or the other of these categories, the truth of the matter is that Donald Trump is President of the United States. He achieved this by campaigning and receiving the lion’s share of the electoral votes.

G-Pop wants to make this clear.

G-Pop is the veteran of many presidents and can tell you that most of them were accused of moral indiscretion, the majority considered crazy, and all of them touted to be dictators who over-extended their power.

It is important to understand the nature, the function and the mission of the job.

Most of the time the President of the United States is not negotiating with foreign powers nor plotting global wars.

He is the closest thing to a daddy that 320 million immigrants have.

As our daddy, it is his job to provide a sense of security and a voice of kindness. That’s it.

G-Pop’s not even sure if it’s a political position. Approaching it from that angle only seems to render the job mean-spirited, stalling action and legislation.

He is our father, who art in Washington–and maybe someday, our mother who art at the White House.

Questioning the morality, sanity, motives, hidden meetings or deceptions of our President is just political maneuvering to gain control of our country.

What the position really requires is kindness.

No one understood that better than Abraham Lincoln. Although President Lincoln had good reason to be furious over the attitudes of the Southern states, his second inaugural speech characterized his tenderness toward his children in Dixie by saying, “With malice toward none, with charity for all…”

Yet every President G-Pop knows has selected to be vindictive against his enemies, contending that if you don’t punch back, they’ll just punch harder. But Abraham Lincoln, in four short years, saved the Union, freed the slaves and was able to end a horrible conflict.

Did he do it by being mean?

Did he do it by being angry and sending out nasty notes to his enemies?

Did he do it by sleeping with his interns?

Did he do it by torturing the prisoners of the Confederate Army?

No, he did it as kindly as a man can do when waging a war against insanity.

Kindness is when we look in the mirror and practice the words we’re going to say to another to get a sense of how it might feel.

You don’t have to be a moron or a genius to be President.

But G-Pop wants you to know that it’s the mission of our President to allow kindness to flow to the north, south and east…from the West Wing.

 

 

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Confessing … October 31st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2739)

XXVI.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Too much of a good thing.

No such creature.

However, there is a possibility of too much of my good thing. An overdose of my definition of “proper” and my code of appropriate behavior.

In my lifespan, I have seen morality change so often that I think we might want to consider writing the list in pencil. Finding what is unchangeable and humanly fulfilling is like searching for the pearl of great price in a desert of my misunderstanding.

Thus my problem with William.

We had the same Mommy and Daddy. I have been trying to confirm that we have the same Father.

I am not a religious man by any stretch of the imagination, but I see no value in traveling through this life making effort to love my neighbor as myself, comfortless from having a Friend who encourages me and believes in the same aspiration.

I really don’t care if He or She is imaginary as long as He or She is attentive.

William checked out of his life too early.

He was an excellent teacher who became despondent because he cared too much. The interesting factor is that after each one of us checks out of our lives, we no longer care about how we treated the “motel room” provided. Yes, there’s a danger of trashing one’s own existence.

About 25 years ago I decided to love William no matter what.

Hell, I was lousy at it. The reason for my failure is that even though I pursued unconditional love, I realized that humanly speaking, once that is determined to be impossible, we become obnoxious to those we intended to bless. Simply put, in the process of loving William, I had too many goddamn ideas on what William should be.

  • I thought it was helpful. It ended up being hurtful.
  • I thought it was ingenious. It was proven ridiculous.
  • I was never condemning. But I cannot truthfully say I was always consoling.

So for about nine months, I walked away from my relationship with William, giving him a chance to breathe air that wasn’t contaminated with my opinion.

The difficulty lies in the fact that William tends to alienate those souls who come his way, so after several months he recontacted me, figuring that a nosy brother was better than leading a faceless life.

So I’m off today to have lunch with him for the first time in over a year. I am scared and not ashamed to admit it.

I don’t want to be an asshole.

I don’t want to tread on his very thin ice, break through and drown us both.

So I confess to you that I am a caring person who realizes that caring is a dangerous thing. It only becomes valubale if the person receiving it has some place to tuck it away.

Confessing Bill

 

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Populie: God Bless America… July 2, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2280)

Kate Smith

God is still pretty popular.

America, too.

Yet there are many people who believe the two are synonymous–practically inseparable.

Thus the populie: “God bless America.”

Politics loves this slogan because it enables them to incorporate just enough religion to get the evangelical vote and just enough patriotism to acquire the libertarians.

Entertainment plays off the idea by producing both tear-jerking war movies and also flicks that question the authenticity and purpose of nationalism.

And of course, religion is partial to this idiom simply due to the fact that if we are convinced that we are favored by God, we might be able to get by with a few more inconsistencies before Daddy calls a time-out.

Yet as we near Independence Day, I am focused in on the power and veracity of the statement, “To he who much is given, much is expected.”

So because I love my country, respect our attempts at democracy and favor our liberty, I would like to deny the populie of “God bless America” and replace it with, “God challenge America.”

I know that God chastises those He loves–to make us sharper and more powerful. Yet we are losing our authority, presence and respectability due to the belief in our exceptionalism.

  • When it comes to women, we should be world leaders in equality, but we trail behind others.
  • We should take it seriously to stop killing. After all, when we discover a few packages of tainted ground beef in a grocery store, every package is recalled. Yet if twenty-two children are killed in a school, we continue to taint our lives with guns.
  • We should expand ourselves in equality by including others we do not agree with, honoring their right to freedom. God respects free will above all else, even purity.
  • We should be a nation that excels in productivity. For instance, I think we’re taking the wrong approach to the minimum wage. To give people more money for what they’re already doing is not only foolish, but actually a slothful business practice. But by the same token, if we can encourage productivity in our work force while passing along the dividends by increasing paychecks retroactively or offering bonuses, then we’re making our workers part of the solution instead of tying them in with the problem.
  • Why aren’t we leaders in morality?
  • How about civility?
  • Instead of arguing about the climate of the Earth, why don’t we at least see if there’s something we could do and then surprise ourselves by doing it?
  • Why don’t we take our young generation and encourage them to be respectful, industrious and creative instead of working to legalize more drugs, to dull their senses?
  • Why do we allow our older citizens to become bitter and calloused instead of demanding they use their journey to become wise and merciful?
  • If we truly do have the best medical care in the world, why aren’t we healthier?

Hiding your talent and refusing to use it is considered to be the definition of a sluggard.

Knowing what to do and not doing it is the best example of sin.

And living beneath your privilege only generates self-pity.

The populie is, “God bless America”–a way to live off the past by pretending that the present is sufficient because a Divine Presence controls our future.

My hope in this season is that we will allow God to challenge America to live up to our ideals, abilities and dreams.

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Untotaled: Stepping 14 (July 22, 1965) Getting Over the Hump… May 17, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2235)

(Transcript)

It was a summer when my raging hormones were doing constant battle against my entrenched morality.

I was a good boy with a head full of bad ideas.

So when church camp rolled around, I had lost my earlier childhood passion for scripture verses and vespers, and was more intently interested in swimming at the lake and eyeballing the fruitfulness of the blooming damsels.

This year the church had decided to draft two older teens to act as counselors for us young’uns. They were named Jack and Jill.

Really.

They were three years older, which made them both extraordinarily intimidating and elevated them to the status of Olympian gods. They were so cool. Everything they did was cool.

So one day when they went up the hill together (not kidding) I decided to follow at a distance, careful not to be seen, to ascertain what such dynamic human specimens did in their free time.

They must have walked for about fifteen minutes before finding a very private clearing in the woods. Going over to a nearby maple tree, Jack lay down and Jill climbed on top of him, fully clothed–and then he rubbed his against hers to create theirs.

I was shocked, befuddled and completely titillated.

It was like watching zoo animals, except they knew algebra.

Trying not to stumble, I exited the scene, running back to camp to ask my friend (whose father was a doctor in Columbus and who seemed to know everything about everything) what exactly my eyes had beheld.

With the calm and studious nature of a professor, he explained that Jack and Jill were “humping.” I was a little put off by the term, yet everything I came up with–for instance, “rubbing” and “entangled”–seemed no better.

He said my particular viewing of humping was of the “dry” variety.

I was enraged.

I was engorged.

I was torn between my envious nature over their pleasure and my Biblical knowledge of the perils of fornication. So blending the two together–envy and disdain–I went to the pastor in charge of the camp and squealed on them.

He promised that no one would ever find out that it was me, and a meeting was planned to dismiss the two from camp due to their immorality.

Sensing their ultimate betrayal, Jack and Jill went on the “lamb” and Splitsville.

I felt bad.

Two reasons: I realized that I hurt two people to make myself look good, and secondly, I couldn’t get the humping vision out of my mind–not because it was unpleasant, but because secretly I wished it was me.

I learned a valuable lesson that year at church camp. It had very little to do with the Law of Moses or the major doings of the minor prophets.

I learned that it is my job to pay attention to concerns that pertain to me and to try to leave other people alone.

After all, we humans are a jumbled mess of emotion, spirituality, mentality and physical urges. To sit in judgment of one another sets up the scenario for our own comical fall from the throne of self-righteousness.

Because … when Jack goes up the hill and falls down, Jill often comes tumbling after. It’s just the way we are.

It’s all because deep inside of us, we are trying to … “fetch that damn pail of water.”

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. . . knew what to do … October 26, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2048)

five thousandCommittees can be powerful as long as they are headed by a visionary person of principle who reminds the gathered of the power of truth instead of giving in to convenience.

We should never throw a good idea aside, but also never embrace one when it has fallen by the wayside and is being maintained for the sake of tradition.

If they had held a committee meeting on a hill so many years ago when five thousand hungry people, who had been listening to teaching for days, were famished and in need of nourishment, the vote taken by the thirteen members of that body of consideration would have been to “send the folks away” and hope for the best. Even though a young itinerant minister named Jesus asked the opinion of his fellow-travelers, the story tells us that he, himself “knew what he was going to do.”

And because of his sense of mission and mercy, the folks were fed, using the resources of the reluctant committee members, stimulating their faith by giving them the chance to be part of a miraculous event–even though they might have voted against it.Abraham and cabinet

In 1861, a less-than-popular Abraham Lincoln ascended to the role of President of the United States. He surrounded himself with both advocates and critics, trying to form a government that would cohesively address the issue of slavery.

Yet I will tell you, if Abraham Lincoln had left the decision up to his Cabinet and Congress, we would be two nations today–one of them probably still having some form of sophisticated slave labor.

Abraham Lincoln knew what he was going to do–and somehow or another found a way to get those around him to come along and appear as if they were part of the solution instead of being entrenched in the problem.

Over and over again, throughout history, men and women of purpose and conscience have sat in front of committees, and rather than surrendering their leadership to the temporary will and often insanity of the popular opinion of the day, they guided their constituents to better conclusions.

gay rightsRecently, even in our country, on the justification of gay Americans to have civil rights, there has been a committee of those who have focused on the morality or normalcy of the issue instead of the liberty and justice that is required for all. Even in the face of such comprehensive division, we, the people, found the impetus to begin the journey to grant our citizens their due.

Do we all agree?

Absolutely not.

Is there a right and wrong here?

Often, my dear friends, freedom dictates that we abandon the notion of purity in favor of equality.

There is much to do in this country–and since we cling to a notion of democracy, it probably will require committees for accomplishment. But we do need those who chair the conclave of “deciders” to have an understanding of history, an appreciation of freedom and a stalwart will to abandon popularity in favor of posterity.

Can we find such individuals? Will we take the time to select leadership that will spur us to discover the inspirational choices … which will make our children call us blessed?

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Too Many Gods and Not Enough… September 26, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2018)

ZeusA god: someone or something worshipped as supreme.

Yesterday as I drove in downtown Columbus, Ohio, there was a flashing arrow directing us that the lane was closing.

And then it began.

A few people got over immediately to serve the common need. But most people stayed in the lane which was closing as long as they possibly could–to get a little bit ahead of everyone else. I realized that these folks had no idea that they were screaming loud and proud their god choice.

The reason I have difficulty with religion is because it doesn’t make things better.

I do not understand why we extol the value of a worship system which allows human beings to act on their own whim.

Even if you’re an atheist, you have a god. Maybe it’s nature. Perhaps animals. Could it be morality? But each deity we consider to be supernal sets a style of behavior in motion which is often contrary to earth life.

That’s why, in the Christian faith, we pursue the presence of Christ while ignoring the essence of Jesus. After all, dangling a cross from the ceiling, drinking wine from a magic cup, baptizing and reciting prayers do not replace the Golden Rule. If you allow a convert to follow ritual without learning the “rights” of humanity, you do nothing to improve our planet, but instead, merely unleash another selfish person who is desperately trying to get to the front of the line.

So please allow me to complete the title of this essay: too many gods and not enough human beings.

For I will tell you–some of the most selfish, arrogant, uncaring, unfeeling and disconnected people I have ever met in my life have just emerged from the hallowed halls of a church house. Why? Because we give them a godhead to worship without teaching them how to get into the head of God.

There are only three standards that work. You can refer to them as spiritual, or if you seek no divinity whatsoever, you can acknowledge them as essential:

1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. No law, edict, philosophy or set of rules work if we don’t have an understanding and an empathy for the common traveler.

2. NoOne is better than anyone else. Whether you totally believe this statement to be true or not, to contend anything else is to set in motion the prejudice which leads to bigotry, which ultimately concludes with murder and war.

3. Don’t judge or you will be judged. Some people call it “karma.” Other people call it “even-steven.” Whatever you call it, how you evaluate other human beings is the way you will eventually be critiqued by others–with a little edge added on. This doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions; it means that my opinions are trumped by my realization that even people who live in stained-glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

We have too many gods and not enough human beings.

  • Laws will not work without mercy.
  • Rules are broken without understanding.

Where can we start? We can start by honoring the essence instead of just bowing down in adulation to the presence. In so doing, we might be surprised that the presence of God will not need to be conjured, but instead … will dwell within us.

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