The Story Goes On… July 14, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2291) 

Daniel in the lion's denI was having trouble dealing with the stories: Jonah and the whale, Daniel in the lion’s den–even Jesus walking on the water.Three little pigs

So when I was fifteen years old, for a season I embraced agnosticism.

It was pretty easy. For after all, I never believed in religion. Church was tolerable. I had a curiosity about God.

But overall, the religious system asked me to swallow things without question, never realizing how they might affect me.

It was just too much.

Now I know there are those who would like to believe that departing from the church leads to all sorts of depravity. But I did not become a drug addict. I did not start mistreating my dog. I didn’t develop a pornography addiction.

Moses and the Red SeaActually, I rather enjoyed sleeping in on Sunday mornings, and took the extra time to audition for a play, and won the lead role.Little Red Riding Hood

I was happy.

I made new friends, since my Christian ones turned their backs on me. I joined with these acquaintances to discuss intellectual matters and expound on the problems in our society. I felt like a budding genius. It was like I was on a Mt. Olympus of knowledge, looking down on the world around me, trying to find a way I could assist the mere mortals below.

It was intoxicating.

In a strange sense of speaking, it was a religious experience. Yes, there is a religiosity to atheism. It was the comforting sense that I was self-contained. I needed nothing else.

Everything seemed really positive except for one factor. As time went on, the conversations I had with my new comrades became more bitter and nasty. After a while, we judged those who were not part of our confluence to be inferior–ignorant, if you will.

So one day it occurred to me that this new “religion” I had taken on had the same viciousness and prejudice as the one I had walked away from. There was still a plan of salvation, in the sense that you had to reject anything that might even hint toward the supernatural. There were sermons, as we disemboweled the character of those individuals who dared to disagree with us.

So finally, one night lying on my bed, I realized that the true story was not confined to the sixty-six books of the holy scripture. The story is actually compacted into the message that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

For even though I hated religion, had grown weary of church and felt like I could do without God, I had no idea, in my agnosticism, what to do with people. They seemed cumbersome. They were in the way.

Because as noble as it may sound to give freedom to everyone, when you have eight billion freedom-headers crashing into one another, it’s quite a headache.

My new-found lack of faith caused me to be irritated with the very creatures with whom I shared a species.

We need the story.

Maybe we don’t need all the stories that have been collected and called divine within the volume, but we do need The story:

  • Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Give and it shall be given unto you.
  • Go the second mile.
  • You are the salt of the earth
  • Love your enemies

Without this narrative, we learn to hate religion, disdain the church, ignore God, and unfortunately, also end up disliking one another.

I went back to church.

I don’t agree with everything that happens there, and when I don’t, I question it. I rail against religion because it is a man-made infestation, formed to cripple the creativity of humankind.

I maintain a curiosity about God, though none of us know what happens a hundred and twenty seconds after we die.

But I believe in people.

I consider it to be the sign of spiritual energy–when the love we have for one another becomes the symbol of our devotion to God.

The story goes on. The story needs to be told.

Because without the story… we become discouraged in our own lack of appreciation for one another.

 

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Hone to Own … December 7, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2086)

  1. “I did my best.”
  2. “It must not have been in God’s plan.”
  3. “It wasn’t fair.”

You have just read the three excuses that keep mankind pursuing a mediocrity that teeters us precariously between animal and God.

These excuses are so universally accepted as “facts of life” that to question them is to be declared either cantankerous or un-American. Yet, may I address them?

First of all, I don’t know what my best is.

It is both arrogant and surrendering to make the statement. Arrogant because I am presenting that my best should be good enough, and surrendering because I portray that life should not be about the pursuit of improvement.

I have the responsibility to hone my talent. “Hone” is an unusal word. We don’t hear it much because it requires the combination of critique and passion. Actually, if I follow the Good Book, I am told to multiply my talent–which in reality, is the only way to hone it. If I am not looking for subtle ways to create differences and increase my potentials, I will gradually slide back into mediocrity.

I critique myself, and then pursue with passion additional avenues with great joy due to the possibility of getting better.

Secondly, God’s plan, put bluntly, is to give people the freewill choice to not perish.

As a matter of fact, it says that: “It is not God’s will that any should perish.” Then it adds this caveat: even though it is not His will that any should perish, He wants us to pursue repentance.

Repentance is changing your life in the direction of success.

If you actually believe that God planned for you to suffer, you might want to start checking out those Greek gods from Mt. Olympus.

And finally, “it wasn’t fair” is comical because life was never meant to be fair–but rather, balanced.

And the balance in life is found by combining events with my reaction.

In other words, if a blessing comes my way and I gloat, I set myself up for future failure by ignoring the need for reflection. If a trial comes my way and I become depressed, I am a duck sitting in the middle of a pond in front of twenty-five hunters.

It is my job to hone my abilities in order to own the privilege of determining my destiny.

Don’t cripple yourself with self-confidence. Also, don’t limit your prospects with self-pity.

  • You haven’t found your best yet.
  • God’s plan is for you to succeed and not perish by adding the miraculous ingredient of change.
  • And searching for fairness is futile when the only balance in life is giving a great reaction to whatever comes our way.

In conclusion:

Answer the question

Question the answer.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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