Assumed Supremacy… March 26, 2013

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classroomThirty excited children in a classroom–wiggling, squirming, trying not to talk out loud for fear of correction, waiting for the school day to begin.

The teacher stands, calms down the hum of thrill and says, “Repeat after me: I am special.”

Thirty young voices respond in unison.

The teacher continues. “I am unique.”

Again, a chorus of youngsters faithfully parrot the phrase.

The teacher concludes, “People need to accept me.”

As the classroom finishes the last phrase, they cheer and clap their hands. Thus begins the school day.

There is an assumed supremacy being passed on in our time under the guise of establishing good self-esteem.

It began in the Garden of Eden when Eve was tempted, convinced that eating some magical fruit would make her smarter. It continued with her sons battling for supremacy, ending in a notorious murder.

Moving along in history, you had Pharoah, who needed to oppress the Jewish nation in order to confirm his own dominance. Alexander proclaimed himself Great to get license to conquer and oppress the world.

Even though we are an honorable nation, our history is speckled with an inclination to be superior, whether it was the Native Americans, the blacks from Africa, the Chinese–well, each and every country arriving here had to take its turn at being presumed inferior.

It was the byline of a man named Adolph, who rose to power in Germany by telling the populace that they were “special, unique and people needed to accept them.” In the process of establishing this assumed supremacy, other folks needed to be shoved into gas chambers to confirm the concept.

You can see, it is a dangerous philosophy. It is a mindset that causes people to settle in, accepting their own eccentric behavior instead of soul-searching for better choices. It is a universal drug of words poured into the mainstream of entertainment and education, which dopes up the public to believe that since “we were born” some certain way, there really is no need to be “born again.

Any sensation of supremacy will eventually need to reinforce its point with violence. Any challenge to our supremacy will require that we defend ourselves and commit acts of treachery. We will end up surprising ourselves with how bigoted, angry and frustrated we are if we persist in pursuing the false premise that “we are fine as we are.”

A certain amount of dissatisfaction is necessary to find lasting satisfaction. So since this pseudo self-esteem has come in the front door of our culture, what can we do to address it kindly, but usher it out the back door?

That sounds like a great topic for tomorrow.

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

Bologna with a Ring … August 24, 2012

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Bologna with a ring.

It is not a marriage ceremony for piglets. It is a delightful application of a delectable American treat propagated and promoted in the Great Lake States.

I am in Michigan. They know their bologna. First, they recognize that it is spelled b-o-l-o-g-n-a rather than b-a-l-o-n-e-y. Of course, one of my friends back in high school thought it was” ball-only,” so named for the part of the bull extracted to make the stuff. He was greatly relieved when I told him that bologna was just an accumulation of hooves, belly fat and ear wax, forcibly removed from Missouri male cows.

Michigan is a land of bologna. (I mean that well.) Fried, seared, “jalapeno’d,” grilled, barbecued and of course, breaded. But for me, the most flavorful incarnation is bologna in a ring. Ring bologna–stuffed into a tube and folded over into the shape of a horseshoe and then tied at the bottom to create a psychedelic “O.” Ring bologna. The original YouTube–sometimes in flavors, but best left alone: sweet, firm, a little garlic, squeezed into a casing, plump and ready for slicing. (Sounds like my junior prom date…)

It is right that ring bologna is a regional product of these Nordic Northmen. For we are Vikings. We eat slabs of meat without apology. And when necessary, we can use our large ring bologna as a weapon against our tofu-eating enemies.

Anyway, I like the taste.

I have one dilemma–how can you eat as much of the ring of the bologna as you want and still keep it around for a respectable length of time so that you aren’t viewed by spectators as a glutton? This is important. Fat people like me have to think about such things. For instance, I can’t sit in a restaurant and enjoy a piece of pie. Everyone around me is thinking, “Oh, that’s how he got so fat.” I am not alone. It is the same situation for the black man. He cannot eat watermelon in public at the Mississippi State Fair. Likewise, a Japanese person can’t cut you off in traffic or wear a camera around his neck. Chinese people can’t shop at Wal-mart without hearing a drone of complaints about the products. Those of a Middle-Eastern descent find it difficult to stop off and pick up a couple bags of fertilizer at Ace Hardware. Native Americans don’t hang around outside the cigar store, and Mexicans stay away from 7-11’s, unless they’re looking for work. It’s just the way things played out.

A fat guy with a ring of bologna needs to make it last long enough that those who are watching determine it to be a normal consumption rate for the delicacy. It’s tough.

So I bought my ring bologna on Monday at 11:00 A.M. and finished the last piece on Wednesday at 10:12 A.M. Nearly forty-eight hours. Such control. Unbelievable discipline. I am humbled and proud. I wish I could tell you it was easy. It wasn’t. I even dreamed about my ring. One of my visions was a little sexy, so I won’t get into it here.

Soon I will leave Michigan and return to the world where bologna is sliced, stuffed into a package, stacked neatly and forced to be Oscar Meyer. I weep for my trapped comrades. How they wish to be in a ring, hanging out in Michigan, waiting for some Spartan or Wolverine to purchase them for game day. Alas!

So here’s to ring bologna–the Super Bowl Ring of high fat, enormous calories, immense cholesterol luncheon food products. If it is a sin, I pray for God’s grace–or hope the Creator Himself has had a fling with the ring.

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

symPATHy … June 2, 2012

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Manifest destiny.

It was a contention by the Democratic Party in the mid-nineteenth century that the entire continent of North America was not only available but the God-given right of the American people to possess for their own. It turned our nation into a bunch of settlers. The word “settlers” is very interesting, don’t you think? It unveils two meanings: to settle in and also to settle for.  It is the third part of the cultural DNA that permeates the history of our country.

(Please understand that as I share these, I do not do so to be critical of our nation’s heritage. Recognizing the lineage of our existence and the way things came about, is by no means a condemnation of who we are, but rather, a challenge for us to consider in determining where we want to go.)

There was one main problem with “manifest destiny.” We landed on the shore of a world that already had inhabitants. They are called “Native Americans,” or by many people, just “Indians.” They were organized into tribes, and being human, they were having conflicts with each other.  In fact, they had established some territories, boundaries and areas which they considered to be their possession and home.

We disagreed. The history of the relationship between the arriving immigrants from Europe and the Native Americans is tainted with many atrocities and many sad tales. Some would say it’s a blight on the conscience of our country. But I think a blight only exists if we fail to recognize the lessons we have learned and apply them into our next situation.

Here’s what settlers never do: they never have sympathy for the world around them. The definition of sympathy is “sharing the feelings or interests of another.” Is it possible that we could have found a way to settle this country without stealing land, creating enemies with the local inhabitants and generating a series of wars which cost the lives of many innocent folk? Of course it is, but it would have demanded that we have sympathy instead of believing we had a manifest destiny.

The only sure way to guarantee the God is NOT with you is to insist that God is ALWAYS with you.

On the other hand, the greatest piece of intelligence that any human being can have is to believe that the will of God is not contingent on our feelings or on our need, but rather, on the best for all of His children. It demands a mindset, a heart and a spirit of sympathy.

Jesus characterized this in his statement, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Yes–it is definitely a trade-off. Showing a lack of mercy guarantees you no mercy in your time of need. Showing mercy places a deposit of mercy for you in a bank, to withdraw at a later time, when you are overcome by your circumstances.

Instead, we settled, as settlers often do.  We Americans perched on land that was not our own while robbing other human beings of their feelings and concerns in favor of our pursuits.

It is in the cultural DNA of our nation. We are the children of the settlers. We have a tendency to want to settle in ourselves–to our homes, believing that our families are the most important units in the world, and acquiring jobs and lifestyles that may be less than what we desire. This causes us to be a little bit on edge, which makes us lack sympathy for others. And when we lack sympathy for others, honestly, they lack sympathy for us. It sets in motion a chain reaction of indifference, which aggravates us, makes us defensive and causes us to settle for less.

What could have been different in the foundation of our country that would have included the Native Americans as part of us, instead of going on a campaign to promote them as “savages” to the public? I am just a humble writer, but may I offer three suggestions that might have enabled us to avoid manifest destiny, and instead, could have established the third path to true spirituality and a world view in expressing our sympathy?

1. Make your intentions clear. One thing that infuriates people is when we try to disguise our true motives with lies. If you want the whole land, then go in negotiating for the whole land. Don’t steal it county-by-county, acting like there’s nothing you can do about it.

2. I would have insisted that the Native Americans organize their tribes so that I could speak to one voice instead of trying to negotiate with hundreds. This would have been good for them. This would have aided them in stopping some of the squabbling that had gone on  amongst them for generations.

3. I would have gotten an accurate count, a census, of how many Native Americans there were and determined how they could have been included in the mix of the American dream. The greatest enemy of negotiation is a lack of information. If you do not know your adversary, you are destined to create an offense that will lead to war.

Is it possible to have established the United States of America and still have given sympathy to the Native Americans who inhabited the land before our arrival? Of course–but it would have demanded that we reject two little tin gods that settlers always revere. And those two false deities are arrogance and ignorance. We would have needed to stop believing that white people were supreme and have learned the value of our Native American brothers and sisters.

As in the case of slavery, even though the wars have ended, the conflict between the white man and the Indian still exist. It is an unhealed wound. So if we’re going to go onto the path of true spirituality, giving us the necessary world view to be inhabitants of earth instead of infestations, we must use sympathy. We must have a capacity for understanding the feelings and concerns of others. We must be merciful so we can obtain mercy.

Without this, we become settlers. We settle into a place where we can settle for the next piece of foolishness that floats our way.

Sympathy–it is more than expressing a sentiment, but rather, a decision to foster and promote legitimate concern for the needs of others.

So we have three steps to the path so far: apathy, empathy and sympathy. These are universal, spiritual, holy altars needed in the human being to avoid being Puritans, participating in slavery and becoming settlers. Where will it take us? What do we really acquire as a gift when we finally allow ourselves to have correct apathy, excellent empathy and the sanity of sympathy?

I’ll join you tomorrow and we’ll close this off.

 

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

The Lambs–Lying with the Lions… April 9, 2012

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There was a time in our country when lying was expected from little children and politicians who got their hands caught in the cookie jar. It was simple–there was the truth and there was the avoidance of the truth, which we boldly called “lying.” It doesn’t mean that lying had not occurred since the beginning of time. After all, the very first sin, from a Biblical perspective,was lying, not disobedience. Adam and Eve could have survived the trauma of a poor choice had they not lied to the Judge on court day.

Somewhere along the line, the lambs of life–average human beings who used to be ashamed of deceit–are now actively “lying with the lions”–those man-eating, corporate giants and political sharks who have always found it easier to reject reality. It has been a process.

When I was born, lying was “bad.” There was no caveat to that. If you lied, you were “bad” and that was the end of it. Even when Lucy lied to Ricky on the television show back in the fifties, she eventually got caught, suffered some consequences and had to learn a lesson.

A little time marches on and there is a subtle transition–away from “lying is bad.”  The new byline was, “lying is out there–so be careful.” It echoed the paranoid mind-set of the 1960’s, a belief that big government and big everything was out to get us, so we’d better be on our toes.

But then there was a drastic turn. We can speculate on what caused it, but I believe one of the greatest contributors to the loss of veracity in our country was Watergate. Even though the populace denounced what Richard Nixon did, the definition of lying changed from being “bad” or “out there” to “lying is a weakness.”

Once lying becomes a “weakness,” we all can hide behind the frailty of our character and still come out of the experience fairly unscathed, which took us into the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, where another transition happened. We began to believe that sensitivity was primary for communication, and therefore, lying became “merciful.” Don’t tell people the truth–it could hurt their feelings. Don’t share the extent of the problem with folks–they can’t handle it.

Which brought us into a time of one of the greatest misconceptions, which is: “lying is human.” You see, once we establish that something is human, we can do it on the sly and if caught, blame our genetics. It’s a slippery slope. Why? Because the philosophy of “I’m only human” negates the special significance that God gave to the creation of our species, placing within us His own image. So I don’t think you’re going to find much mercy in the Creator by saying that you’re “only human.”

But once it became accepted that “lying is human,” we arrived at President Bill Clinton.  Just as Richard Nixon and Watergate deteriorated the American conscience about the subject to merely referring to it as a weakness, when President Clinton repeatedly misled us, it gave license for a new translation of the situation. It was the arrival of the notion that “everyone lies sometimes”–which immediately led to another step: “lying is a part of life.” Now, you can see, anyone who would stand against lying or even suggest that we as people could tell the truth would come across as unrealistic, or even worse, self-righteous. If” everyone lies sometimes,” you just might not have control over when it’s your turn.

Yes, we began to forfeit authority over our own selections. So lying became “a part of life.” And since it’s a part of life, lying became fodder and fuel for the comedic mind. Soon, in our movies and our television shows, lying was portrayed as something very funny. Unlike the Lucy show, liars in our new art form often do NOT get caught. There is no recompense for their deeds. They are even portrayed as the heroes, who did whatever was necessary to achieve the goal.

It has become almost like “lying is a different way of telling the truth.” Lying is the cushion we lay down on the ground, to ease the fall. In a strange sense, with the introduction of reality shows, lying has become admirable–a shortcut through the park to get to the market. It is a way to achieve your purposes without having to explain your motives.

Which brings us to where we are now–a situation where the lambs–those who once held fast to integrity–have now mated with the lions–predators who have never honored the rules of the jungle–and birthed an offspring of sheep with claws and teeth.

Truthfully, most people believe that lying is “American.” If we’re “doing it for America,” and if we’re Americans and as long as our motives are “good at heart,” then whatever we say to get what is “God ordained.”

There you have it. We have gone from “lying is bad” to “lying is American.”

We have gone from Thanksgiving dinner with the Pilgrims and Indians, where there was a mutual respect because there was a general need–to avoid starvation–to calling those Native Americans “savages” and thrusting them onto reservations. We have taken the spirit of Watergate and mingled it with the events of Monica Lewinsky to generate a resignation of ultimate deception.

It all happened because we grew up believing that (1) inconvenience is nasty; and (2) that truth, more often than not, is inconvenient.

I must be honest with you and tell you that I dreaded writing an article about lying. I have grown up in the same climate and am susceptible to the little splotches of darkness that have stained all of our souls. But here’s what I’ve come up with:

I avoid telling lies at all cost. When I do tell one, I inform myself that I must own up to this as soon as possible because it’s the only way for me to maintain dignity. And finally, if I am so foolish that I allow myself to get caught, I will never piggyback one lie upon another, but will immediately admit that I am the culprit.

It is a formula I call avoid, own and admit. You may not be able to completely escape the inclination force-fed by our society, to distribute what is now called “misinformation.” But you can learn that lying is really the only sin. Everything else is just a mistake, awaiting our repentance.

Some of our lions–those we elected to be the leaders of our country–have set an example that now is being absorbed by the lambs. Candidly, our lambs will have to “trickle up” truthfulness to our lions. It won’t come from the other direction. If we want greatness, we must be willing to do great things.

And the greatest thing a human being can do … is stop lying.

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

Like … March 4, 2012

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Love is over-rated.

It is a panacea of promises often deteriorating into a garbage can stuffed with disappointment.Although it is pure in its intentions, it is tainted by the greedy and the needy, who unwittingly pervert its purposes. For after all, the Southern plantation owner loved his family and his state, whistling Dixie while simultaneously abusing a race of people. Adolph Hitler proclaimed his love for Germany while murdering its inhabitants. The early American settlers loved their freedom and the prospects of new land, as they rolled their wagons over the dreams of the Native Americans. Then we have the concept that it is possible–supposedly–to love the sinner while hating the sin. And finally, is there any adult who has abused a child who doesn’t perpetuate the myth of undying love for his or her offspring? Love is a tattered emotional blanket that we throw across a frigid humanity, self-satisfied that everyone is now warm.

Yet we know the Bible says that God is love, so why is our love so different from God‘s? What does God possess in His implementation of love that is so separate from our meager efforts?

God likes people. We don’t. Simple.

Yes, God likes people. What a magnificent word–like..  Mainly because it has two immediate applications: like–as in having affection, and like–as in perceiving a connection.

  • “I like you.” In other words, I have taken the time to find reasons to be favorable to your continued existence as a person.
  • “I am like you.” I have taken an equal space of my attention span to discover ways that you and I are similar instead of focusing on our differences.

There are also two reasons our love is tainted.

1. We believe that everybody is different. If everybody is different, we can’t find enough in each other that is like us to cause us to like one another. God rejected this concept. Matter of fact, the Bible makes two things clear–“God is no respecter of persons” and “God so loved the world.” Do you see it? He thinks we’re so much alike that He refers to us as “the world.”

2. Our love is ineffective because of our ongoing contention that we were “born” some way. It is the universal copout that keeps us from dealing with who we are and allowing ourselves the possibility of being born again.

So if I’m different from you, I can love you in the abstract and not like you in the present. And if I was born this way, all of my actions can be excused by my genetic fallibility. Somewhere along the line, we need to learn how to like one another. Like is the kindness and gentleness that props up the concept of love. Like is the willingness to adapt to the needs of others, even when our present thinking may be contrary to theirs. Like is considering the value of another person instead of contemplating how easy it would to function without them. Like is when we abandon the importance of our cause for the primary mission of respecting and honoring the human race.

We heard a talk show host this week call a young woman he had never met a “slut” and a “prostitute.” He did it because he loves America. He did it because he loves the tenets of his movement. He did it because he loves truth enough to call an ace an ace, a spade a spade and obviously, a whore a whore. What he said was, in his own mind, rooted in the concept of love. But because his statement lacked tenderness, humanity, concern, awareness or even vulnerability, it left his rendition of love empty of virtue.

I will tell you this–Jesus would not appear to be loving if he had just quoted scriptures or taught on the subject. I am a follower of Jesus because he had compassion, he was moved by people’s faith and he put children on his knee and embraced them, defending them against overly zealous grown-ups.

Jesus liked people. If Jesus hadn’t like people, not only would he be useless to us, but honestly, he wouldn’t be Jesus. So neither am I a Christian–a follower of Jesus–when I superficially place love in a position of predominance and deny my fellow human beings the opportunity to be liked by me.

My principle is very simple: it’s “like or hike.”

Plainly, if I can’t like someone, I’m going to give them the great gift of getting out of their way and allow them the freedom to pursue their dreams without my allegedly loving intervention.I am not going to sit around and question whether I agree with people, but rather, whether I can be of any use to them, encouragement to them, or edification to them. Can I offer them a good bathing in my likability?

Love will become a powerful word again and a universal energy when we insert “like” back into our vocabulary and actions. Like is when I have affection that admits I have a connection.

  • I am not black, but I know what it’s like for people to have prejudice against me.
  • I am not Hispanic, but I know what it’s like to be treated like an alien instead of welcomed like a new settler.
  • I am not gay, but I know what it’s like to be spied on and viewed unfavorably.
  • I am not a woman but I certainly know what it’s like to be treated with inequality.

If you’re not going to like someone, get the hell out of the way, because you can bring no heaven to them.

Let’s give love a chance. Let’s start by liking one another.

**************

Got a question for Jonathan? Or would you like to receive a personal weekly email? Just click my email address below and let me know what’s on your mind! jonathancring@gmail.com

   **************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

John, Tom, Pat and Ben … February 8, 2012

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Just four guys, rebels at heart.

They shared a common anger, expressed individually and tuned to their personal interests. Their primary cause was that all four of them–John Adams, Tom Jefferson, Pat Henry and Ben Franklin–despised King George.

They were radical insurrectionists who were under suspicion for treason, desiring to separate themselves from the existing government. The only reason we know their names at all is because they were successful. Had they failed to unplug themselves from merry old England, they would have gone down in history as a footnote for fools and a parenthetical remark of attempted revolution that failed.

We admire them. We call them the “founders of our country.” But as you study them, you find they are four distinctly different gentlemen. Their only mutual thrust is a desire for independence. Unfortunately, they make one major mistake: they free themselves without freeing everybody.

They do exactly what every government proposes, which eventually pronounces its doom. They focus on one group or another–with the intention that when they get in power, they will aid those who have been forgotten.

For John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were anti-slave. Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson were from the Commonwealth of Virginia, where slavery was permitted. The four did not discuss the issue because any debate would have blocked the progress of their cause to gain freedom from the British. And hypocrisy entered the procedure–because Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves, insisted that “all men were created equal” when he penned his purpose and declaration. Any idea, no matter how noble, that allows the introduction of hypocrisy will eventually come apart at the seams. How much longer would it have taken them, in their Continental Congress, to resolve the issue of slavery once and for all, and begin their new nation as free men and women across the board?

I don’t know.

I certainly will not argue with anyone who would claim that such a goal would have thrown an irreparable wrench into the works. But we delayed the discussion–and the war over it–by a mere eighty-five years. And we changed it from a deliberation of men of high ideals into a future time, when less motivated individuals struggled over the issue with guns and cannon–and bloodied our soil.

Can we learn anything from John, Tom, Pat and Ben? I think we can.

If you are a Republican, you cannot say, “We’re going to take care of the rich so they can give to the poor and provide jobs, and then, once we’re elected we’ll come in and sew up the safety net as required to provide for the needy.” We’re smarter than that. If rich people gave to poor people, then OPEC would drop the prices on oil because the American family is struggling.

The Democrats, on the other hand, say they will take care of the poor by forcibly inflicting taxation without sufficient representation on the rich, and then try later to get them to join in the motivation of increasing jobs in the economy. Of course, one problem with that is that the reason that people are poor is not always as simple as mere financial lack, and once you start dumping America’s wealth down a hole called poverty, you may very well find that the pit is bottomless.

No, we have to be a little smarter than John, Tom, Pat and Ben. They should have resolved the issue of slavery as the nation was founded, but instead, wrote into the Constitution that the value of a black man/woman/child was a fraction of what the Lord intended. There was never a breath of peace from that moment on about that particular issue–honestly, even to this day. For a nation founded on slavery still finds it difficult to abandon all of its bigotry.

This is why I’m touring this country with a very simple message. “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

When people first hear it, they give a nod of assent, as if it is a concept already in place, not needing punctuation. But then, as they think about it and realize that each one of us has negotiated our deal for personal independence on the backs and detriment of others, they often become resistant. Because when Jesus told us to “love our neighbor as ourselves,” he presented an answer–but in the form of a puzzle. How much do I love myself? Should I love myself more? Do I love myself first and then love others? Is it a simultaneous action?

The six words, “NoOne is better than anyone else,” becomes the key that unlocks that paradox: we just don’t go forward on anything unless it includes  everybody. That means, in this present political climate, we cannot solve the nation’s problems by taking the side of rich OR poor, but must package ourselves together as total equals. It’s how this country was conceived–and even though occasionally it may be to our distaste, displeasure or contrary to our personal choices and beliefs, it is the only way to maintain the integrity of the United States of America.

John, Tom, Pat and Ben were so anxious to become successful revolutionists that they left out freedom for some people. We paid a horrible price for that mistake. Let’s not do it again. Whether the issue is immigration, abortion, taxes, states’ rights, the economy, jobs or international treaty negotiations, let us correct the mistake of our forefathers by living out the true message of liberty: NoOne is better than anyone else.

Is it possible that if the black race had been freed along with the thirteen colonies, we would have built an even greater country than we have today? Is it possible that in freeing the slaves, our conscience towards the Native Americans would have been more tenderized? No one knows for sure. But we do know that freedom provided for the few offers those remaining souls only the option of war to achieve their own. Most unfortunate.

2012. Let us, as spiritual people, rise up and begin to believe that “NoOne is better than anyone else.”  For I do contend that John, Tom, Pat and Ben would look back at our history and realize that morning in July, 1776, there was one more line that should have been added to the document before signing:

NoOne is better than anyone else.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

The Precedent of the United States … December 19, 2011

(1,366)
 
 
 
It’s happening again.
 
I’m not talking about the Christmas season, with the corncob pipe in Frosty’s mouth and Jesus lying in a hay-strewn manger. No, this is a much different straw poll. Politics is back with all its fury–and by fury, I mean infuriating tendencies. Same two candidates we always get. It just never changes. And they both want to be the Precedent of the United States.
 
Each of them is determined to form the policy for the next four years–or maybe even eight–based upon their particular died-in-the-wool, repetitive diatribe. What we have is Candidate WE ARE  and his opponent, Candidate WE WERE.
 
When you get down to their basic principles, the candidates have so much in common that they might actually be related, or get this, from the same country. Where they differ is that WE ARE insists that the nation is just as powerful, just as strong, just as entitled and just as destined to rule the world as we ever were. Contrarily, WE WERE  believes that life is evolving, the world is changing and the United States must find its place in the global community–not as a patriarch or even matriarch, but rather, a brother in the household.
 
The two sides hate each other. Each believes that every program proposed by the other side is detrimental to the well-being of the common good and will render us destitute, if not bankrupt, and did I mention–naked?
 
Let’s do some comparisons:
 
WE ARE believes in our nation’s ultimate “rightness.” Even though he seems to have a working knowledge of history, he feels guiltless about slavery (just a very temporary misunderstanding in personal relationships), our treatment of the Native Americans (what’s the problem? We gave them land and taught them how to deal Black Jack in casinos) the Civil War (which is normally referred to as the War Between the States and had nothing to do with slavery, but was just an aggressive disagreement over states’ rights) and the ongoing economic issues of our day (easily explained away as the ignorance and false moves of the WE WERE party.)  For WE ARE, everything is simple. “America is right, you should love it or leave it and to suggest anything contrary to that is to be unpatriotic, not supportive of the troops and makes Martha Washington cry.”
 
On the other hand, WE WERE loves to point out all the fallacies in the American capitalistic society while extolling virtues of the other systems of the world (which are equally flawed and much more inhumane and destitute of integrity). WE WERE tries to solve all problems by taxing the wealthiest citizens to provide sustenance for those who have no jobs or money, insisting that this is the only merciful and gracious thing to do, while painting all circumstances of our national treasures in history with the grayest hue and advocating for the weaknesses that exist in people as being the absence of self-esteem and lack of opportunity to succeed. WE WERE bleeds from the heart … and the treasury.
 
WE ARE thinks WE WERE does not love America. WE WERE thinks WE ARE is going to destroy the country by bringing the wrath of the world down on our arrogance.
They share one common miscue–they think there is no alternative but the two of them. WE ARE will become absolutely enraged if you insist that some of his doctrines and precepts have aged and grown yellow with time and might need updating. He still contends there is a common morality that can be adopted by every American citizen, like a little puppy from a pound that you take home,learn to nourish and housebreak. Likewise, WE WERE will sit in a corner and pout if you insinuate that people need to be motivated and require a bit of stimulus from their own souls instead of government interference to make any assistance that would come from the national mindset actually work in the private sector. WE WERE believes in throwing money at problems, as WE ARE believes in throwing problems at money.
 
WE ARE never met a rich person he didn’t coddle. WE WERE never encountered an underprivileged person who wasn’t misunderstood.
 
They have taken our country to the brink of futility simply to maintain traditions which they honor like washing dishes and putting them away carefully in scrubbed cupboards, thinking that’s what a good housekeeper does.
 
Obviously–we need a third choice.  We shall not get it because the power and might of WE ARE and WE WERE will encompass the air waves, and the Precedent of the United States will be purchased–every single time.
 
So its obvious what the Precedent of the United states will be if the WE ARE candidate wins. “We’re fine. We just need to dig, drill, scrape, encourage the rich to produce jobs and wait for the ball to bounce our way.”
 
It is also without question that if WE WERE wins the Precedent, it will be: “Something has to be done. We’re not quite sure what to do so let’s pursue the following ten expenditures, hoping that one of them will miraculously sprout some growth.”
 
We need a WE CAN candidate.
 
WE CAN would acknowledge that we are a people who have a history of innovation, but unfortunately much of that energy has been lost in a sea of self-righteousness and the doldrums of despair. WE CAN would encourage us to find “the better angels of ourselves” as Lincoln suggested, connoting strongly that there are bad angels who produce devilish results. WE CAN dares to admit there is a problem without insisting that it’s all our fault and that we must shoulder all the blame in order to participate. We require a WE CAN candidate. Yet such an innovator will  never emerge from the masses because he will be called unpatriotic by the WE ARE candidate and unsympathetic to the poor by the WE WERE proponent.
 
Yes, it’s that season again. Rudolph has a red nose, but nobody cares–because once again, we’re going to go through the facade of picking between two candidates to select the Precedent of the United States, who will once again, when elected, make us all look a little red-faced.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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