G-Poppers … December 8th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop is a bit alarmed that his children have become obsessed with reality:

Reality TV

Reality supposedly showcased in movies.

Reality in politics.

And reality even in relationships among human beings

These darkened perceptions, focusing on the more base and sinister aspects of humanity, have allowed for a quiet cynicism to emerge, coaxing us to resign ourselves to a bit of doom mingled with gloom.

It revolves around a false premise: what is, is.

Once we become thoroughly convinced that the present climate is the norm, we cease to pursue standards which historically have proven themselves essential to the human race.

There was certainly a point in antebellum American when slavery seemed to be entrenched in the culture, never able to be removed. Realism would perhaps have been to accept a North and South United States–one slave and one free.

For those living in Germany in the 1930’s, it absolutely appeared that Nazism was the trend of the future, since they were touting that the dynasty would be around for a thousand years. It would have been easy to say a quiet “Heil Hitler” because you’d given up on the notion of something better.

Yet reality is actually what sane people decide it’s going to be.

When the insane members of our society are promoting virulent and extreme lifestyles as “cutting-edge trends” of natural social evolution, we bog down in apathy and eventually are overtaken by our foolish appetites.

Quite bluntly, I think it’s fine if the Kardashians want to have a television show, as long as they don’t lead people to believe it’s reality.

If you want to watch a bunch of Netflix programs that paint the condition of your fellow humans with blacks, dark grays and navy blues, feel free–as long as you don’t insist it’s “trending.”

We presently are in danger of sacrificing three essential pieces of truth, which hold our species together. Under the “what is, is” philosophy, we now contend:

1. Lying is inevitable

2. Prejudice is a part of our make-up

3. And “mean” is the best way to protect ourselves from being overtaken.

Matter of fact, if you were to talk to anyone under the age of thirty in this country, they would say it is pure idealism to seek truth, overcome prejudice or make a lifestyle of kindness. Any character in a drama who chose such a path would be executed by the writer in the first act.

G-Pop wants his children to know that evil is temporary. It always has been. It blows through town, creates a storm, and when it’s unable to sustain growth, love and talent, it is exposed for the fallacious piece of shit it is.

Read a history book. You’ll find out this is true.

It’s time for G-Pop’s children to rise up and say, “What is, isn’t.

  • It isn’t alright to lie.
  • It isn’t natural to be prejudiced.
  • And it isn’t of any benefit whatsoever to be mean.

Reality is when we take what’s good–and find a way to make it popular.

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Good News and Better News… July 17th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3371)

Church attendance is dropping.

The statement is so widely accepted that no one is objecting, nor considering the ramifications.

We are absolutely terrified if the ocelot become an endangered species, but barely flick an eyebrow over losing an intricate part of our society–the church.

Those who hate the church smile in a bit of wistful glee, and those who still attend look around at the empty room, shrug their shoulders and quietly head to the altar for communion.

If the American church dissipates to nothing, what are we losing?

We are forfeiting a place where once a week we can come and admit that we’re sinners. The humility does us good.

Also, it’s a location where we can rejoice over being forgiven.

Where else in America do you sit in a room and sing with other people?

How about the message? A lesson on the power of good.

It gives us the chance to be quiet. Everything roars around us–and we have a tendency to roar back.

When I was growing up, I was suddenly around kids from other school districts, who became my “church friends.”

It gives me a chance to think about possibilities other than myself.

While I’m trying to stay awake, I have the realization that I’m part of something.

I have to look for a shirt that matches my socks.

I find myself giving.

I also am put in the position to receive.

I’m actually leaving my home for something other than shopping, games, movies and dinner.

I am in a room full of people who will pray for me.

When church is done right, I can question. I can doubt. I can shout.

I can see, hear, feel and touch the gospel.

We certainly should be concerned about baby seals–they are a part of creation.

But if we allow the church to go the way of the dodo bird, we should stop wondering why things are not flying high and straight.

The good news is, there is still a church out there.

The better news is, that church is waiting for our unique input.

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Good News and Better News… June 19th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3342)

Dislike–deciding to “diss” liking.

In the pursuit of what we call love, and even unconditional love, we’ve reached a point where we just don’t like each other anymore. We have the appearance of Atlas carrying the world on our shoulders because we feel compelled by our civilized natures to be as calm as possible.

We “diss” liking. We claim great affection for souls around us while privately rolling our eyes, communicating that they are annoying.

So when I arrived yesterday morning at the Ruskin United Methodist Church, I was looking for people who like each other. Because here’s the truth–a paraphrase of John the Apostle: I don’t think you can love God if you don’t like people.

It seems that God is really proud of His creation.

I know we portray an anxious deity, constantly perturbed over our sins, but since He gave us the ability and even the permission, I seriously doubt that He will be terribly upset when we occasionally go errant.

The greatest arrogance, the most self-righteousness, and perhaps the sin of all sins, is to believe that human beings are not worth liking.

  • It’s in our government.
  • It’s in our religious system.
  • It’s in our movies.

We are training ourselves to be suspicious, and failing to acquire great moments of human fellowship that just demand a little bit of mercy and grace.

I’m not one to advocate looking in the rear view mirror and assuming that the past was better than the present, but I will tell you, if there was any era when people were given the chance to excel without being pre-judged, then we might want to reach back into that span of time and regain some of that tenderness.

For the good news is, God likes people.

And the better news is, He loves those who like them, too.

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Dudley … March 9th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3241)

DUDLEY

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Published in: on March 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 42) Rest Stop … February 19th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3223)

Reverend Meningsbee

2.3 miles east of Garsonville, on an old country road, was an abandoned roadside rest–long forgotten and unattended, with a broken picnic table, a dry pump and an eroded sign which had once explained the origins.

Over the past two months, every single week, Reverend Meningsbee made his way to that spot before attending church, to take ten or fifteen minutes, just to “get decent.”

Getting decent meant freeing himself of all the hardships, prejudice, bruised ego, disappointments and frustrations of the week, lest he arrive in front of the congregation and pour out his misgivings instead of sharing a parcel of hope.

It had been a strange week.

On top of languishing in memories of his beloved Doris, he also discovered that Jesse, Marty and Hector McDougal were moving from town. They had become the touchstone–the stopping off place–for all the publicity and turmoil that had risen up because of the little boy’s amazing healing.

The family had received notice from a mega church in Idaho which had been spreading its spiritual wings into making movies, and the three were invited to come and live free of charge for a year while the screenwriters, actors and production team shot a film entitled, “Hector’s Baptism.”

They were so excited.

They even had a copy of the screenplay, which Meningsbee perused, quickly realizing that the writers had taken some creative license.

Meningsbee felt sad.

He wasn’t sure it was the right thing for the family–but it’s hard to argue with a year’s worth of free room and board. So he kissed them all on the cheek, prayed for them and two days later they were gone.

That departure was followed by the information that Patrick Swanson, whose congregation had been involved in some sort of wife-swapping scandal, was also leaving and stopped off at Meningsbee’s house to say goodbye.

He and his wife were off to Utah, to a marriage clinic, to restore their vows and commitments.

Patrick had become a Mormon. He looked much different–fresh haircut, crisp white shirt and a sweater vest instead of jeans, shaggy locks and a t-shirt. He was, shall we say, very appropriate.

When Meningsbee reached to give him a hug, Patrick instead took his hand and offered a warning. “Beware the sins of the flesh, my friend. I think you teeter on too much secular input in your ministry, and therefore are robbing your congregation of the full impact of the whole Bible for the whole man.”

Meningsbee felt a flame of anger ignite in his gut but he realized that Patrick would soon be gone, and his advice with him.

Meningsbee was in the midst of these thoughts and many others when a car rolled up next to him.

It was Sammy Collins.

He got out of his car and tapped on the passenger window of Meningsbee’s vehicle, requesting permission to enter. Meningsbee popped his locks and Sammy scooted in, shut the door and took a deep breath.

“Let me get right to it. I’ve been doing a lot of praying. I know we haven’t always agreed, but I believe I’m supposed to come and be your assistant minister.”

He paused. Meningsbee was speechless.

Sammy jumped in. “Well, that’s it. What do you think?”

“How did you know I would be here?” asked Meningsbee.

“I followed you,” said Sammy with a smile. “You didn’t even know, did you?”

“Nope,” said Meningsbee quietly.

Sammy turned sideways in his seat, filled with energy. “So what do you think, Pastor? You sure could use the help.”

“You see, Sammy, the kind of help I need wouldn’t work because it’s inside me. I couldn’t get you in there. Or maybe I wouldn’t want you in there. Or maybe, it just seems to me, that if I needed an assistant minister, God would tell me before he told the assistant minister.”

“God works in mysterious ways,” said Sammy with a twinkle.

“Yeah, but usually not hyper-weird,” replied Meningsbee.

Sammy, undaunted by the rebuke and rejection, opened the car door and said, “Think it over. You’re never gonna find anyone quite like me.”

Meningsbee just nodded, holding his tongue over a variety of responses that immediatly popped into his brain.

Sammy jogged to his car, got in and took off. Meningsbee, fully disturbed and interrupted, decided to head off to church.

He wondered what he would find there. He had to admit to himself that his message last week about the rich young ruler and how the congregation needed to decide if they were going to keep the revival alive or go back to their old ways, was pretty strong. Matter of fact, he had even used the word “damn” right in the middle of the pews, flowers and pulpit furniture.

Arriving at the church, there was a hum in the room. No–a real hum. The organist was playing the prelude and the congregation, uncharacteristically, was humming along with the familiar tune.

There were two apple pies sitting on the fellowship table which were normally not present for coffee time.

Deacon Smitters shook Meningsbee’s hand and held it a little longer than normal.

The song service was more boisterous, the testimonies enlightened and the “amens” aplenty.

No one said a word about the previous week’s service nor whether they were offended, challenged or informed. They just did what people in Garsonville do. They took it all in, let it rattle around for a couple of days, and decided what their best path might be.

There’s a lot to be said for that.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … December 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I do enjoy talking with you.

 

Woman: Me, too…except I would love to start seeing some things change instead of just lamenting how they are.

 

Man: Where would you start?

 

Woman: I think I would start by exposing the dangers of the “religion of romance.”

 

Man: What an interesting phrase. The religion of romance. What is that exactly?

 

Woman: It’s over-emphasizing the pleasure of sexuality between men and women, leaving out the greater benefits we have for each other.

 

Man: Which would be…?

 

Woman: Men and women are both controlling and conniving. It’s the weakness of the human race. We don’t learn to address these two vices when we’re children, living in a house with Mom and Dad, or even when we hang around people of our same sex. Because there is so much controlling and conniving put into romance, it is an excellent opportunity to expose that troublesome two, and in the process, become better human beings.

 

Man: I see. So you think that because we focus so much on sexual intercourse, we never allow our relationship to mature, to be the give-and-take of discovery.

 

Woman: Not only that–because we characterize romance as “sexiness,” when that begins to die down, we feel we have lost something. Then we go out and find other lovers to ignite the memories.

 

Man: Meanwhile, we have a mortgage and children through our initial flame, which have to be distributed as “goods” when we decide we’re not right for each other anymore.

 

Woman: It’s one of the few things that the religious and secular communities agree on–they feel romance should be hot, scintillating and so strong that we can’t keep our hands off each other.

 

Man: It’s so foolish when you think about it. Sex obviously won’t stay at level ten, so there needs to be a transition to something deeper. But since romance centers on our genitals instead of our brain, we lose faith in each other and start looking for that “necking session in the back seat of the car” from high school.

 

Woman: It isn’t like maturing a relationship is not absolutely dazzling. Having someone who challenges you on your controlling nature, or who doesn’t put up with the shit of your lies, is a gift from God. But if you’re afraid you’ll lose your bedroom magic, you may play the game and end up losing.

 

Man: So what would you suggest to get this thing started?

 

Woman: I think we should make fun of the overwrought plots in movies and television that focus on the physical aspects of love instead of the complete package. I would be so thrilled to see two mature human beings of the opposite sex talking about this issue in candor as a plot for a movie.

 

Man: So to overcome the “religion of romance,” we have to really prove that sex is not a god.

 

Woman: Very good. Because we worship sex. We sacrifice at the altar of carnal relationships. And we end up mistreating each other when the fire turns into a cozy sensation of security instead of a torrid affair.

 

Man: This is really interesting.

 

Woman: I know. It’s great to talk about. But here’s the truth. As a human, I will be controlling and conniving unless I have a long-standing relationship with someone who refuses to let me be ridiculous.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … August 20th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3039)

Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: It really perturbed me.

 

Dear Woman: “Perturbed?” What an odd word.

 

Dear Man: Well, I didn’t want to use “mad” or “angry.” I was looking for a softer term and I came up with perturbed.

 

Dear Woman: So, what perturbed you?

 

Dear Man: I was listening to some pundit on television talk about sexual politics.

 

Dear Woman: Sexual politics… I don’t hear that much anymore.

 

Dear Man: No. because we’ve taken it for granted. Now we call it gender wars, battle of the sexes…

 

Dear Woman: And the reason it upset you?

 

Dear Man: Not everything is politics. Not everything is a struggle for power and money. There are so many lies, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

 

Dear Woman: And if you did begin, you wouldn’t be able to finish because sexual politics is big business. Billions of dollars are made every year in television, movies, books and seminars, keeping the conflict going, so there is a lot at stake to keep men and women at odds.

 

Dear Man: So you’re saying that in a battle for power and money, we pretend that there’s a battle for power and money.

 

Dear Woman: Basically. Here’s how I know. The truth is, women don’t get along any better with women than they do men, and men don’t get along better with men than they do women. Women vie for place and men kill each other in war.

 

Dear Man: Wow. I hadn’t thought of that. Actually, the human beings that get along best are men and women, because they do succeed in procreating and raising families.

 

Dear Woman: Sometimes. But when you add the dimension of politics, then it’s kind of like men become the Republicans and women are the Democrats.

 

Dear Man: I see what you mean. In other words, men are the level-headed pragmatists and women are the “feely-good” liberals.

 

Dear Woman: Exactly. So what I think needs to be done…

 

Dear Man: Let me step in here and tell you what I think. I believe we need to call it out every time we see it. Every time that smirk comes across the face of a man, or a woman takes on the profile of bitching and complaining about a male problem, we should step in and say that if men and women can’t get along, the human race is doomed.

 

Dear Woman: Well, of course it is. If 50% of the people are fighting 50% of the people, you have a 0% chance of survival. But keep in mind, this applies to civil rights, too.

 

Dear Man: What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: There’s money to be made in civil rights. Keeping black people agitated and white people pumped up with a sense of superiority generates huge donations to causes and eliminates the common sense of finding things we share.

 

Dear Man: So do you think it’s sinister?

 

Dear Woman: No, I think it’s greedy. If you’re a comedian making millions of dollars off of sexual politics, why would you repent and try to find another way to make millions of dollars?

 

Dear Man: So without a quiet revolution which gradually makes prejudice taboo, we will live in an ignited atmosphere of sexual politics, which feathers the nest of those odd birds who want to make a living off of the struggle for more power and more money.

 

Dear Woman: Exactly. That’s why the most important thing to remember is that we have a human problem, not a gender problem. We have a human problem, not a race problem. We have a human problem, not a cultural problem. And we have a human problem, not battles between nations.

 

Dear Man: Sounds impossible.

 

Dear Woman: It does, doesn’t it? Of course, we could take the first step. You and I can agree.

 

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