1 Thing That Will Teach You the Power of Not Knowing

Understand what is considered normal good behavior.

1. “I don’t know.”

2. “Let’s find out.”

3. “Gee, that’s interesting.”

Human beings are attracted to each other when ignorance is in pursuit of deeper understanding.

Unfortunately, sometimes when we arrive ignorant, we decide to hold a barn dance to celebrate our deficiency. Worse, we call our ignorance “greater understanding that has not yet been fathomed by the masses.”

But when we get together as people and share a common “I don’t know,” it opens the door to “let’s find out.”

Then, in the midst of finding out, we form deep, meaningful relationships. Therefore, when we do uncover some mystery, we can hug each other and say, “Gee, that’s interesting.”

Otherwise, we get stuck in a logjam of personality quirks which make us desirable to only a few.

Understand the “Know Flow”

A. “I know it all.” (Good luck.)

B. “I know lots of things.” (Be prepared to be challenged.)

C. “I know certain things.” (Your information needs to be spot-on.)

D. “I know this.” (Please be humble if you find out you’re wrong.)

E. “I don’t know.” (The freakin’ door to wisdom.)

 

Melvyn’s Clock … February 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Melvyn's CloskI would characterize an adventure as being a disaster that swerves to safety just short of crashing into the brick wall, where all occupants walk away, relieved.

Such was the decision on my part, to take three of my sons, my daughter-in-law, my partner, Janet and myself to Phoenix, Arizona, back in 2008, to make a movie called Melvyn’s Clock.

What can I tell you about Melvyn’s Clock? It was a screenplay I wrote: Hitchcock collides with M. Knight Shyamalan, who surprises Stephen King on a dark road to pitch Death of a Salesman, culminating with some “blades” from Saw. More easily explained, it was an exhilarating mystery.

What was equally as mysterious was the concept of renting a three-bedroom condo for the amazingly low price of $1000 a month, and sticking my adult children in an enclosed area with their former father, caretaker and disciplinarian.

I thought it was amazing.

What made it amazing was that we arrived in town not knowing anybody, needing to make connections using only our talent, art, amiability and generosity. At the end of two months, we not only had a movie, but also held a premiere in Tempe that was packed. And even though the gentleman who played the part of Melvyn–the old man who walked through his town each day, interacting with people–yes, even though our actor regularly explained to folks that he was not really old enough to play the part, because he was still young and virile–the results were quite dazzling. Press coverage, television interviews, and after the premiere, there were even a couple of parodies made and released on the Internet–one called Melvyn’s Mock and an X-rated version called Melvyn’s Cock. (You’re not really successful until somebody makes fun of you…)

So when I arrived back in Phoenix just a couple of days ago, I thought about that adventure. I wondered if the same connection could be made through creativity. Is it possible, in a society which has become more jaded, to arrive in a community and generate the kind of empathy and faith among people which causes magnificent things to be produced?

I don’t know. But I think to merely have the debate–to discourage oneself without trying–is even worse than failing at the attempt.

So I’m back in Phoenix, to see what spark can be made to light a fire of possibility. This time I don’t have Melvyn’s Clock; nor do I have my sons and daughter-in-law with me.

But I do believe if we start attempting what others insist is impossible, we will open the door once again to the idea that faith with works is very much alive.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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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

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god-awful … January 4, 2013

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jon holding up Bible

Sticking ones head into a book brings a very limited scope of possibility, even if it happens to be the Good Book.

I need to realize this on my 2013 quest to become more childlike in my faith. One of the worst ways to believe is to have a screwed-up concept of God. You would actually be better off having no God at all than having a god-awful one.

A childlike faith tells me that above all else, if I’m going to continue to believe in God, I need to understand the importance of disregarding anybody who wants to make Him awful–and that’s by either definition–awful in the sense of “filled with mystery and wonder,” and also awful in the aspect of having a really bad attitude and not liking anyone.

Here are the three things I know about children in relation to belief. Children require comprehension. You can tell them stories, but you’d better be prepared to answer questions about your little tales. The minute you tell a child that there’s a God, he or she will ask you three quick questions. (1) Where is God? (2) Who made God? and (3) Why doesn’t God do more to make things better?

Even a six-year-old knows that you are confused and avoiding the issue if you answer each of those questions with, “We don’t exactly understand–and that’s why they call it faith.”

So in my childlike mind for 2013, I answered those questions–really simply.

1. Where is God? Everywhere, especially in and around those who are ready to meet needs and have needs.

2. Who made God? God is a Spirit, and therefore, He blows toward the next point of need, so probably somewhere along the line, God made God because there was a need to do so.

3. Why doesn’t God do more? We return to our premise–God is a Spirit. He has a heart and a soul, seeking out people with minds and bodies who are willing to become God to the people around them.

The second thing I need as a childlike believer is to know the difference between Jack and Jonah. Jack and the Beanstalk and Jonah in the whale sound very similar to an eight-year-old mind. I do not try to explain to myself why Jack climbed the beanstalk and destroyed the giant. I also do not try to explain to anyone whether Jonah actually spent three days in the belly of a whale. The message I got from Jack and the beanstalk is that magic beans just bring more trouble. And the message I get from Jonah and the whale is that running away from the needs of your fellow-human beings does not eliminate the pain.

The reason we’re losing young people to agnosticism is because we want them to laugh off Jack and the Beanstalk, and revere Jonah in the whale. Good luck with that.

And finally, children need to be told that faith in God is the pursuit of an earthly heaven. Keeping a child’s mind in the clouds is an invitation to making him or her lazy, indifferent and non-productive. My childlike faith demands that I understand and apply that I am here to see God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven.

So to review my three notions:

  • God is a Spirit.
  • I don’t plan on debating whether Jonah lived in a whale, but rather, intend on retrieving the powerful message of the tale.
  • And finally, I will not wait for heaven to see heavenly things done. I will use my life here on earth to simulate my own desire.

There you go.

It begins with rejecting all religion and theology that is god-awful. Get your head out of the book, start looking for the Spirit of God, don’t argue about the Bible, and bring a little bit of heaven down to earth.

You will become a child–ready to romp and play in the Kingdom of God.

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