Salient…June 25th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3714)

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

Shall we take a look at a fascinating window of time that occurs in all human beings, from birth to about five years of age? Each one of us is so vulnerable, so needy, so inquisitive and so desperate that we are prepared to be taught to be Earth-dwellers by our parents. Sometimes this extends all the way up to age ten.

Three very intricate systems are introduced: manners, morals and motivation.

This is the period when we develop our ethics–perhaps a work ethic or a social one, but certainly a mental gear we adopt to deal with life and with others.

Most generally this instruction is completed by age eleven, because here comes puberty. For the average parent puberty can be best defined as this: “My children have lost their hearing in favor of their genitals.”

It is difficult to provide additional instruction during this period. Sometimes after a serious error, there will be a brief season of curiosity from the adolescent, but then the trio of temptation, taunting and teasing pulls them right back into the melee of mayhem.

This lasts until about age twenty-five. (Of course, it could be twenty-two, or thirty, depending on the person. But for the sake of this brief essay, I shall characterize it as twenty-five.)

At twenty-five young folks wake up–sometimes after a hangover or after getting their first threatening letter from a bill collector for their student loans, or perhaps realizing they might be in love.

A realization strikes: “Maybe me, an individual, could become us, a family.”

So three new friends show up to invigorate manners, morals and motivation. They are concern, confidence and clever.

We, as humans, develop a legitimate concern for others while building confidence and finding clever ways to use what we have more expansively.

It is a massive transition–a needful one. Without it, many young persons never become actual adults at all, but linger around their families, particularly their parents, coming back for another schooling in morals, manners and motivation.

This concern, confidence and clever births some children, buys a house, acquires job promotions and takes us, as people, to about the age of fifty. (Once again, this could be younger or a little older.)

At fifty, having tapped the fruit of concern, confidence and clever, people want more. There is a wrinkle in the spirit of human beings which causes them to wistfully wish to make a difference and leave behind a legacy.

It is at this point that we pursue wit, words and wisdom. It carries us through to our dying breath.

Yet we certainly know individuals in their seventies who have never escaped concern, confidence and clever–or maybe never even learned morals, manners and motivation.

This is a passage. All human passages are entered only through the power of repentance.

So here is your salient moment:

Gather up all your manners, morals and motivation, and stir in your concern, confidence and cleverness. And if you have reached the age, add on your wit, words and wisdom.

Finish the job.

Of course, if you’re led of the Spirit and you’re a creature who knows how to use faith, you don’t have to wait for birthdays to dictate your future.

As the Good Book says, “today is the day of salvation.”

 

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Salient … May 7th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3666)

I’ve never been involved in politics. (I did have a passing interest in the candidate, Abraham Lincoln, but it turns out I was WAY too young to vote.)

I now stand back quietly and watch as the Republicans jab the Democrats, and they, the Democrats, wrestle with their more conservative opponents.

Honestly, it bores me.

Since I don’t believe political solutions bring about lasting change, it’s rather doubtful that I’d want to invest my limited lifespan into band aids for gaping wounds.

Yet today I must be honest and share a salient concept that has absolutely nothing to do with politics–although it may refer to those who are politically involved.

There seems to be some sort of bumbling campaign to make the American public accept more and more bizarre circumstances, and deem them “normal.”

For instance, a man who allegedly has a romantic tryst with a porn star actress during the time when his wife is preparing to give birth to their son, and once again, allegedly arranges for a financial payoff to this woman, using his lawyer to be the “bag man,” granting her finance so she will remain quiet about the circumstances.

These are the facts as evenly distributed as I can present them.

Now, here’s what I did today: I took that story and I considered what I would feel and think if it were alleged about five members of my community: my plumber, my banker, my minister, my son’s teacher and the local handyman.

What would I think if there were rumblings that my plumber had sexual intercourse with a porn actress and paid her off to secure her silence? Well, I suppose I would still keep him as my plumber as long as he didn’t come in the house and talk about the details or flaunt it in front of the community.

But if it were my banker, I would have to consider that anyone involved in a financial institution who would put together gag money might be a little suspect in other monetary matters. I might have to change banks.

My minister? Well, candidly, I do think there’s a difference between judging someone and condoning unsuitable behavior. No, I don’t have a problem with a minister saving the lost, but I am a little squeamish on him screwing the lost.

How about my son’s teacher? That’s a toughy. Can a person be a good teacher and still be accused of immorality and cover-up? Is it just an issue of whether the teacher shares with his class? Or is it tainted too much by the fact that the students become cognizant of the discrepancy?

And then there’s the handyman. That’s the guy who comes to your house to do the chores that you might be able to do yourself, but not without swearing at the heavens. Does he have to maintain a certain moral code and integrity for me to allow him to trim the hedges?

As you can see, it differs with the distinctions among jobs. Where trust, honesty and fiscal responsibility come into play, considering the allegations becomes more pertinent.

So of the five people I mentioned, in order for me to maintain peace of mind, I would probably have to find a new banker, a fresh minister and request that my son have a different teacher.

It’s not because I am judgmental or inflexible–it’s just that certain occupations require quality or they diminish in value.

What, if instead of plumber or banker, I insert President of the United States?

So here is your salient moment:

Don’t accept what is unacceptable simply because everybody around you decides to accept it, so what they do will be considered more acceptable.

 

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G-Poppers … April 7th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3270)

Jon close up

G-Pop listened very carefully as the commentator attempted to explain that the “culture of the Syrian government” is what brought about the use of poison gas on the people.

G-Pop frowned.

Evil is not a culture. Also not a preference. It’s not a religious institution nor a political profile.

Yet we have taken the past fifty years to qualify the choices of folks who live in different countries by attributing questionable actions to their culture.

It’s time for a bold statement. There is only one culture, and that is love your neighbor as yourself.

Within that culture, there are people who have different traditions, cuisine, mannerisms, guidelines and even morals. But there is no way to continue human life on Earth without consenting to a mutual consideration to each other’s feelings. G-Pop thinks we should carry it even further:

  • Love your Earth as you love yourself.
  • Love the animals as you love yourself.
  • Love the atmosphere as you love yourself.

It’s not a bunch of liberal hogwash just to make things prissy. Here’s the truth G-Pop wishes to share: if we do not have an awareness of other people that’s equivalent to the awareness we have of ourselves, we begin to believe they are not flesh and blood like we are, but instead are surrounded by tissue which feels no pain–therefore we can inflict at will.

There is no room for gender bias.

There is no acceptable occasion for prejudice against gays, lesbians and different races. Why? Because that breaks the cultural rule.

Whether you’re from China, Canada, Zimbabwe or Albuquerque, New Mexico, you are sharing a planet that requires respectful give and take.

If you happen to like your beans with jalapenos or if your rendition of Christmas is called “Kwanzaa” or “Hanukkah” that is absolutely fine.

But when your definition of culture differs from the toleration necessary for us to get along with each other in equity, then you’re no longer expressing a regional phenomenon, but instead, a cover-up for iniquity.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 46 (February 14th, 1969) The Pain in Pleasure… December 20, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2449)

(Transcript)

Her name was Belinda.

She was about two rungs down the ladder of popularity from me, promoted by the horrendous high school caste system.

She liked me a lot.

I liked her, but of course, I would never go against the feudal structure of High School U. S. A., to ask her out on a date. I would never survive the ridicule and humiliation.

But I got lonely around Valentine’s Day.

My dad was sick and dying. One of the guys in our music group quit because his girlfriend thought he was taking too much time with us, and I had no idea whatsoever on what geometry was all about.

So I quietly asked Belinda out on a date, hoping that because she was so devoted in my direction, there might be some necking involved. She was one of those farm girls, raised on Bible principles, but was willing to renegotiate some of the terms on a Saturday night.

I wanted to neck.

I had kissed girls, but had never sustained long sessions of smooching and my curiosity had overtaken me. So I selfishly decided to take advantage of poor Belinda.

She was thrilled and promised not to tell anybody about our date because I told her we “needed to see how it worked out.”

I took her to a drive-in movie, which in 1969 was code for “we’re gonna mess around.”

It took me nearly thirty minutes to work up the courage to put my arm around her, and then I was afraid to move it and therefore contracted some horrible cramps in my muscles, which continued through the entire evening.

It was easy to get her to start kissing. She had thin lips so the first couple of times I got mostly teeth. But after a minute or so we got the hang of it, and she started slipping her tongue in my mouth, which was relatively new to me.

Adapting the phrase, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” I concluded, “When in France do as the French do.”

We were about ten minutes into the session when I realized that one of us had really stale breath. It wasn’t really horrible–that dried smell of garlic baloney and over-chewed gum.

I persisted.

She really got into it–so much so that she unbuttoned her blouse, inviting me to see how “alive the hills really were.”

I thought about it. After all, I was a teenager. Morals were something to discuss at church and feverishly avoid in your everyday life.

But something stopped me.

Maybe it was the ache in my bicep. Or it could have been the halitosis.

But I backed out of the encounter, tongue first.

I took her home. She wondered what was wrong. She practically pleaded with me to see her again. And rat that I was, I went mousy and never spoke to her.

It was an odd night.

Rather than feeling fulfilled, I felt like I had used another human being, who would suffer some pangs from the experience.

It sucked.

I did learn, though, that there is some pain in pleasure.

The reason most people never pursue their goals is because along the way, there are some shards of glass strewn in the pathway which either need to be avoided or walked over.

If life was easy, dumb people would rule the world.

Well, maybe they do.

But life isn’t easy. With every pain comes some pleasure, and the pleasures that arrive our way do require that we survive a bit of discomfort.

 

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The Faith We Earn … June 9, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2258)

ant“Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

A statement from the Good Book.

Many times, people fail to understand that it’s a two-part presentation–a faith which is the substance of things hoped for, and a faith that’s the evidence of things not seen.

It is true for each of us. There is a faith we are given.

Even if you weren’t raised in a religious home, morals, principles, ideals, precepts and conduct were infused into you and have become alloys in the steel of your soul. It is an inherited conscience, steering you, influencing you and on occasion, deterring you.

Unfortunately, most people’s faith stops right there. They cling to traditions planted into them in early years, or they reject them in some fit of rebellion, feeling that it makes them appear autonomous.

But faith doesn’t stop with what you’re given. We gain our individuality by how we earn our own faith. Somewhere along the line, we become responsible for our own dealings, our own decisions and our own soul.

It is the evidence of things not seen.

  • We don’t see them because they are not part of our past.
  • We don’t see them because they are fresh opportunities, or trials in our lives, demanding that we make personal selections.
  • And we don’t see them because often a loneliness settles into us because of the pressure of needing to make a decision.

Earned faith breaks down into three categories:

1. Here is less. What will you do?

Some human beings lose their way simply because they are frightened by the prospect of poverty and diminished by lack. We earn a faith by deciding to remain industrious and optimistic during hours when it seems that our personal needs are in jeopardy.

2. Here is more. Who will you be?

Yes, whether we’re willing to admit it or not, there are times when a bit of bounty comes our way and we have to decide whether we believe in generosity or if we’re just going to open an extra bank account which will eventually be eaten away by need.

3. Here is silence. Where will you go?

It is part of life–to find ourselves absent friends, devoid of human contact and appreciation, and even feel orphaned by a Heavenly Father, our Creator.

It’s not that we should relish the vacuum. It is a test, to see whether we continue to pursue our dreams without the applause and affirmation of the surrounding earth.

There is a faith we are given–the substance of things hoped for.

And a faith we earn–the evidence of things not seen.

And the latter is when we know what to do when we have less, we choose who to be when given more and we can still continue to go forward in the chill of silence.

 

 

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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.

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