Jesonian … June 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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“When are we going to stop all this stuff you’re teaching and go back to who we really are?”

This statement seems to ooze from the twelve disciples throughout Jesus’ entire three-and-a-half year ministry.

They didn’t mind being taught, just as long as they didn’t have to learn.

And they didn’t mind learning sometimes, as long as they didn’t have to apply.

And applying was alright every once in a while, as long as it was a one-time thing that didn’t need to be repeated.

You can look at the disciples as either some of the whiniest men that ever walked the face of the Earth, or be candid and admit that they were typical.

Typical of us all.

Every one of us arrives at the Gospel with too many pre-conceived ideas. No wonder Jesus referred to the experience as being “born again.” Otherwise, we try to join a club that pursues all the traditions we have contrived since our birth.

Why are we going to Samaria?

Why was this man born blind?

Why do you talk so tough to the Pharisees?

Why can’t we divorce women?

Why are we supposed to love our enemies?

Why don’t we kill the Romans and start over again?

Why can’t I be scared in a boat when there’s a storm?

Why are we inviting tax collectors into our really neat band of brothers?

Why can’t we bring down lightning and thunder on the Samaritans?

You see, the Gospel is not just a plan of salvation, it’s also salvation from our plan.

Because without the Gospel, everyone would run hither, thither and yon, starting their own renditions of what Jesus said, coming up with funny-sounding names, and focus on one doctrine over another.

Wait. We’re already doing that.

The greatest gift you can give to yourself is to know that Christianity is a lifestyle, not a religion.

It is not a revolving door, where we enter to worship, and leave to catch the beginning of the football game on Sirius Radio on the way home.

The Gospel is the essence of eternity, functioning on Earth. No other philosophy, no other interaction and no other manifesto ever came along which included God, Nature and people.

Instead, each of these other religions focus on one of these factors. In some religions, God is over-emphasized. Other approaches place too much importance on Nature. And of course, there are philosophies which contend it’s a human situation–i.e., every man for himself.

The Gospel is not going away. It is not going to be replaced or even mingled with provincialism. It took the disciples a long time to understand this.

But if we all join together with good hearts and good cheer, we might be able to shorten the process and get people rejoicing again, with exceeding gladness.

 

*****

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3 Things… April 12th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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That Are Powerful to Learn Before You Draw Your Next Breath

1. Nature always invites a portion of chaos

 

2. You can survive if you can adapt

 

3. Evolution is more successful when undertaken with good cheer

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Published in: on April 12, 2018 at 1:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Good News and Better News … January 1st, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3539)

“When life gives you lemons…”

Hold out for some nice oranges. See if you can’t pick up some fresh strawberries. Even some marked-down bananas would be better. Lemons need too much sugar to be drinkable–and often still end up tart.

It was my deep, abiding pleasure and joy to begin our 2018 tour across this great nation by sharing my heart at Saint Andrews United Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

It is ably and gently pastored by an open-faced and friendly brother named Brad. He sent along Jim, Chris and David to help us set up on Saturday, and they all treated us like kings instead of the vagabonds we be.

As I sat behind my keyboard before the service began and watched the congregation gathering, my heart was ablaze with the blessing of contentment. Even though I have lived for a decent season on Earth, I am still jubilant and optimistic over the possibilities of seeing humanity achieve its better potential by negating the available lemons and shopping for more fruitful possibilities.

And the lemons are available.

So my message to all I will encounter this year will be very simple:

  • Stop believing that lying is acceptable.
  • Mean is not and never will be good.
  • And prejudice is not common–just prevalent.

Once we accept these lemons, attempting to sweeten them, we can find ourselves frustrated and stuck with a drink that is still sour. Why? Because it’s got lemons in it.

So stop accepting the social lemons that make us believe we are trapped in our humanity instead of blessed by God to revel in it.

The command for this year is monumental: We will be kind to those of our own kind.

Of course, I’m talking about people. You may feel free to enjoy your pets, you can admire the wonders of nature, you can insist that you have the loveliest home in town, but we will be evaluated on how kind we are to our own kind.

The good news is, Saint Andrews has got the message.

The better news is, they don’t have to make lemonade.

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G-Poppers … March 17th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop has a message for his children.

Please keep in mind, G-Pop isn’t always right–it’s more like G-Pop has an eye for noticing what’s wrong. It doesn’t mean everything he says is going to work perfectly. It just means that everything that’s being said right now is working horribly.

Today G-Pop wants to talk about the “Art of Smart.”

Life on Planet Earth is not complicated if you understand that it does come with instructions. Now, whether you believe those instructions come from Nature, from God or from your own enlightened spirit is up to you. But there are three obvious parts to the “Art of Smart:”

1. Don’t join with the world.

Truthfully, the world is usually wrong. Fads fade. Trends phase out. And we eventually come back to universal principles that grant us purpose. You don’t need to be a brat about it, but you need to be leery of people who think you’re out of step simply because you refuse to chase the bandwagon.

2. Don’t give up on people.

Human beings are not going away. They’re also not going to change because you desire it. The best exercise for the human spirit is to learn how to get along with other people–especially when it’s not easy. You will never get the respect of the true God of the Universe by criticizing His favorite creation.

3. Don’t be afraid to be wrong.

Don’t delay admitting it. Don’t regret it happened. Be ecstatically overjoyed that you caught the wrong before it killed you. Every human being is wrong at least half the time.

If G-Pop told you that your car would only start on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and maybe on Sunday, you would know your vehicle is not trustworthy.

Likewise, your instincts will not carry you through to happy conclusions all the time. So develop a profile, a style, an attitude, a sense of humor and a repentance over those frequent occasions when you discover you’re wrong, and realize that the sooner you change, the quicker you will get back to being successful.

This is the “Art of Smart.”

  • You will not hear it on CNN tonight.
  • Fox News has decided not to carry it.
  • It will not be touted by the President, Congress or any of the members of the Cabinet.

G-Pop is giving you an advantage of being on the cutting edge by avoiding the world, working with people and admitting you’re wrong.

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Good News and Better News… January 16th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-glasses

If you don’t have the right outlook, you better “look out,” because trouble’s coming.

Everybody knows that.

But sometimes we think we can maintain a bad attitude and still expect good results.

Or we believe it’s not necessary for us to do any more than we’ve already done. God, Nature and people should just be happy we showed up.

Jesus doesn’t mingle well with other religions.

For instance, there’s no such thing as a Christian Buddhist. Jesus taught us to feel; Buddha suggested it was completely unnecessary. Never the twain shall meet.

There is no such thing as Judeo-Christian. Moses espoused an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” and Jesus required that we creatively find ways to love our enemies.

And there is certainly no spiritual common ground between Christianity and the Muslim faith. Whereas the Muslims are the children of Abraham and the followers of Mohammed, Jesus was quite insistent that He existed long before either of them.

Christianity is not a temperamental faith, but it is a faith that addresses our temperament. And if you’re going to assist human beings in achieving their goals and becoming better citizens, you must first and foremost teach them to open their hearts.

Yes. We are all emotional people.

It doesn’t matter what culture you come from–any attempt to disguise or dampen the emotions will leave the individual imbalanced.

So if we try to have church without giving everybody an emotional experience, what we’re really advertising is a study group with hymn singing.

No wonder we’re having some trouble with attendance.

  • People need to connect.
  • They need to feel.
  • They need to realize that someone else in the room cares about them.

The Bible needs a face. Yours will do.

But right now, we spend too much time spiritualizing, meditating and promoting Zumba classes. All these things can be wonderful, if they undergird an emotional experience.

Our outlook comes from our feelings, maturing in our spirit, renewing our mind and affecting our life choices.

The good news is that Jesus said “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

The better news is that when we plump up the abundance of our heart with feelings of goodness, we just talk better.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … March 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: Cooperate.

Dear Woman: Is that an order?

Dear Man: No, I was just thinking about the word. Co, meaning the two of us, and operate … well, I guess that implies working together.

Dear Woman: The two of us working together. That’s cool.

Dear Man: Well, the trouble is, it’s not cool. We are taught to be independent. Self-sufficient. We’re working on our own biographies instead of a human story. Somehow we feel diminished if all the praise doesn’t come our way but instead is given to a cooperative effort.

Dear Woman: I see what you mean. Yet that’s always been my problem with collaboration. Rather than everybody standing back and rejoicing over the end result, each person has a tendency to point out his or her part in the process.

Dear Man: We can’t help it. Society tells us if we don’t toot our own horn it won’t get tooted.

Dear Woman: It is possible for somebody to blow your horn. After all, it is a horn.

Dear Man: That’s funny. And oh, so true. I guess we need to remember that we were created to be in a garden. It’s a co-op. No person is sufficient unto themselves without a common humanity and a common good.

Dear Woman: I have to be honest. I’m resistant to that concept. I mean, I understand it but it’s like I feel I need to have autonomy. Otherwise I don’t have my own thing.

Dear Man: I’m the same way. I would like to include you, but I really don’t want you to feel like you’re necessary.

Dear Woman: But it’s all over nature. If you don’t mind me bringing it up, even sexuality is kind of comical. The male and female parts are not competely compatible with each other unless the man and the woman talk, discuss and share.

Dear Man: So true. Yet at the same time, we feel like we should be complete within ourselves. It’s important to acknowledge what we have, otherwise we don’t know what we require.

Dear Woman: And it’s not stereotypes. Not all men are strong and all women emotional.

Dear Man: Absolutely not! Sometimes the female is the strong one and the man brings the emotion. It’s knowing how to co-op. In farming, one person plants, another waters and God and Nature give the increase.

Dear Woman: So why are we so damn afraid of this?

Dear Man: We’re taught to look at each other sexually, not practically.

Dear Woman: I can see that. Sometimes I’m just nervous talking to a woman because I’m afraid…I don’t know…that she doesn’t find me attractive.

Dear Man: What can be more attractive than an intelligent exchange? Or the realization that somebody has brought some information to you that completes one of your goals?

Dear Woman: So what can we do to initiate this co-op?

Dear Man: I think what stumps people is that in order to become strong, you have to know where you’re weak. And to use your weakness is to learn to recognize what you need before it’s pointed out to you.

Dear Woman: I think I could actually do that, especially if I had a friend to remind me when I was stumping around advertising my ego instead of being honest about my limitations.

Dear Man: Men and women were meant to cooperate–joining together to operate a plan that is only enhanced by their dual efforts.

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G-Poppers … March 18th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop sat quietly, listening to two family members talk about politics. Even though they are loving companions in every way, the political scene does divide them–right down the middle of their concerns.

Their conversation was interesting, but filled with assumptions which have cropped up in this present field of candidates.

Assumption 1: Politics is a different game and doesn’t have to follow the same rules. In other words, we expect them to lie.

Assumption 2: We’re in the process of choosing the best from the worst instead of merely attempting to extract the worst from the best.

Assumption 3: It’s not going to get any better.

G-Pop thought to himself that the true mistake lies in thinking that we are picking a leader instead of allowing the definition of leadership to do the selection for us.

Leadership has four components which end up with a determination.

1. Kindness: “I don’t want to start the fight.”

Anyone who thinks that politics and leadership is about fighting is promoting survival of the meanest.

2. Honesty: “I don’t want to initiate the lie. If lying is going to go on, I would rather watch it happening instead of being the founder of the deceit.”

3. Respect: “I don’t grow with your failure. I don’t need to honor iniquity, but I do need to ensure that the mistakes of others are corrected by nature instead of my rage.”

4. Resolve: “I don’t want to be the first to give up. I also don’t want to be the last to give up once it becomes obvious that change is necessary. I would like to give the plans available a chance to survive a bump or two instead of assuming that we’re heading off a cliff.”

When a good leader puts kindness, honesty, respect and resolve together, he or she ends up in strength, which is: “I don’t want to abandon goodness.”

For as G-Pop listened to his family members discuss politics, he realized there is no difference between being angry at the rich or angry at the poor. You’re still too damn angry.

Somewhere along the line, we have to put our faith into goodness winning the day, and not retreat from that purity … simply because evil does a lot of growling.

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