Good News and Better News… August 28th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther marched to the Catholic Church in Wittenburg, Germany, and nailed his 95 theses of grievances and complaints onto the door. Thus began the Reformation Movement.

So, could I be any more blessed than to be at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Lakeland, Florida, during the commemoration of the Reformation? And I didn’t even plan it. I just went with it.

That’s been the great joy of my life–to stop struggling so hard to achieve my will, and to find my needs accomplished in the unfolding of the opportunities that come my way.

Pastor Robert is a fine, congenial gentleman who shepherds this church, filled with delightful Lutherans who would make Brother Martin smile with pride. We just had a hum-dinger of a time (if you are allowed in this day and age to say “hum-dinger.”)

Because Pastor Robert and his assistant, Doug, have a gentleman’s style about them, the congregation came through the front door a bit excited over the prospect of having a unique “spiritual entrée” to accompany their usual “tater tots.”

It makes a difference. People who believe breed faith, and faith is able to manifest miracles.

Martin Luther had one major premise, summing up his 95 theses: “We are saved by grace.”

Dr. Luther was very concerned that we would lose our sense of awe and wonder over God’s salvation and begin to think we could “work our way to heaven” or, “what’s the sense of even trying?”

But the new message for the Lutheran Church–and all churches who have joined into this Reformation–is that we have been saved by grace to be gracious.

A church without gracious people is like a door without a knob. You might comprehend that there should be a way to get in and out, but nobody has given you a handle.

People complain that the church is getting older, but when you’re talking about graciousness, age is insignificant. Matter of fact, could there be anything more appealing than a genial, loving and giving 78-year-old man or woman who has an open heart to the human beings around him or her, and is ready to be accepting?

You can’t build a church without old people.

As the Prophet Joel proclaimed, it is those of elder years who provide the dream for the vision that the younger folks bring–the dream being that mystical mixture of what might be, while confirming that it is possible by sharing what has already happened.

People of grace need to be gracious. If not, then all the objections lodged by Martin Luther are empty and cold.

The good news is that five hundred years ago, the church went through a Reformation which opened the door to salvation by grace for everyone.

The better news is that we are due for another Reformation.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … August 13th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: Hey, I got the message you wanted to see me.

 

Dear Man: Yeah, I have a job interview coming up and I wanted your insight.

 

Dear Woman: Okay…

 

Dear Man: You seem reluctant. What’s the problem?

 

Dear Woman: I’m not reluctant. It’s just that you’re really smart, you know what you’re doing and you’ve gotten jobs before…

 

Dear Man: I know, but this interview is with a man, and I thought you could give me some tips on how to approach it.

 

Dear Woman: (chuckling) You do understand, it’s not like there’s a real “Hair Club for Men” and we get together once a week to discuss our plans.

 

Dear Man: I know that. I just want to get an edge so I can get off on the right foot.

 

Dear Woman: Well, the wrong foot is thinking there’s a context for dealing with other people.

 

Dear Man: What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: Once we start boxing people up by sex, race or any way at all, we’re showing both our disrespect for them and our insecurity about ourselves.

 

Dear Man: Gee, whiz, I just wanted some advantage…

 

Dear Woman: OK. Here’s an advantage. Work on your content. And here’s your content: “This is who I am, this is what I want and this is what I can offer.” In that order.

 

Dear Man: Isn’t that pushy?

 

Dear Woman: No, pushy is when you think you can look some magical way or produce some mystical dialogue that suddenly makes you appealing to a male boss.

 

Dear Man: There are prejudices.

 

Dear Woman: Yes, there are, but you won’t overcome them by giving into them. Find your content. Don’t try to outsmart. Instead, out-start them. Anticipate the questions and provide the information you know he will need. Then gently guide him to the questions you want him to ask you.

 

Dear Man: How do you do that?

 

Dear Woman: Balance. If you hear something you don’t agree with, say right out loud, “That hasn’t been my finding.” It will surprise him. It’ll make him ask questions about why you differ. Nodding your head and smiling is the best way to make sure that you don’t get a job. Stop worrying about the context. In other words, “I’m talking to a man so I should do this.” Focus on the content: “This is who I am, what I want and what I can offer.” Then if he is not in the same place you are…well, you wouldn’t want to work there anyway, right?

 

Dear Man: I hear what you’re saying but I don’t know whether I can do that or not. I’ve spent my life trying to please.

 

Dear Woman: I understand. But it’s time to take steps toward clarifying your content instead of groping around, trying to find the context and submitting to it.

 

Dear Man: I’m so glad I called you.

 

Dear Woman: Oh, you would have figured it out. But in the process you might have missed out on a good job or two.

 

Dear Man: So, content, not context. Out-start them instead of trying to outsmart them.

 

Dear Woman: That’s it. Good luck.

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