1 Thing That Needs A Memorial Today



The soldiers are worthy of deep appreciation, for they have marched off when something was afoot (usually wearing an Army boot).

It takes a lot of bravery to be shot at.

But there is a considerable amount of courage in finding a way to stop the shooting.

We wouldn’t have anyone marching on Memorial Day if everyone was in a grave.

Somewhere along the line, those who grew weary of war and knew it was hell found ways to negotiate peace or even to expose the meaningless nature of conflict.

Peacemakers are blessed because they have to go where there are wars in order to create peace.

Peace is never forged in a boardroom.

Instead, it is visualized when men and women grow tired of death and destruction and finally allow themselves to believe that the true honor lies in maneuvering to find peace.

War is not for heroes and peace for wimps.

Peace is created by the heroes of a war which needs to stop.

A quick overview of the history of wars in our American nation is not terribly uplifting. Wars have been fought for almost every reason plausible—and too often for profit and gain.

But to the soldiers—those who serve—there needfully is a special place of value and tenderness in our hearts.

But also, we stop today and erect a memorial to those who make peace.

Those wars that didn’t have to happen—like the thermonuclear one that could have been started from Cuba in 1962.

We are thankful to the peacemakers.

It is completely plausible to respect the military without always wanting to use it.

The best way to keep a strong army and defend a country is to make sure that our young men and women don’t have to lose their lives to prove that America is strong.

We give that job of consecration, diplomacy and negotiation to our peacemakers.


1 Thing You Can Do This Week to Be More Patriotic


Be A Peacemaker

It’s the best way to wrap yourself in the flag.

Because you can:

1. Really support the troops by letting them serve without dying.

2. Free up money to build roads and bridges here in America, instead of rebuilding them in countries we have bombed.

3. Send foreign aid to Kentucky, Mississippi and Idaho.

4. Sleep soundly, knowing you have the victory of negotiation instead of the gnawing aggravation of aggression.

5. Find ways to be more creative each and every time to avoid a conflict.

6. Walk in the bliss of discovering what you can affect and what needs the input of others.

And if you’re wondering if any of this will make a difference, start being a peacemaker by contacting your latest “grudge” and making peace with him or her. If thousands of folks who might read this would actually do that in a single day, there might be a shift in the cosmos which could “trickle up” to Washington, D.C., Moscow, Jerusalem and Beijing.

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In Secret … December 9, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog


desk clerkIt happens every once in a while.

As we tour across the country, it becomes necessary to have a single overnight stay in some town for the sole purpose of resting, relaxing and getting ready for the next day’s drive. We refer to it as a “sleep stop.” There are three goals:

  1. Find a comfortable motel
  2. Carry in as little as necessary, since you’re not setting up for an entire week.
  3. Make it as reasonable a location as feasible so as not to bust the piggy bank.

So when we arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee, at our sleep stop, Jan was confronted by the innkeeper, who explained that the room would be more expensive than originally stated. Jan, being an excellent business woman, lodged a complaint and asked the lady at the front desk to honor her original quote.

It wasn’t a big deal–no large argument. But a negotiation ensued, and as with most compromises, both parties were dissatisfied.

So as we were unloading into our room, I handed Jan the money to cover the extra price our host felt was needed for our occupancy. It wasn’t necessary. The room was already ours, legitimately.

But it wasn’t ours righteously.

Let me tell you, my friends, there are three ways to believe.

There is the belief we proclaim to others. This is what we call “church”–quoting the Good Book and tried and true hymns, to inform our neighbors that we are good folk and excellent Americans.

Secondly, there’s the belief we apply. This is a convoluted mixture of what God says, what we think, what Mom and Dad taught us, and the pressure put on us by society to conform to the present norm.

But last, there is the belief we allow to reach into our “secret place.” This is the room within the house of our faith, where we spend most of our time, closet our fears, and determine our future–based upon our own thoughts and feelings, many of which we would never be able to share with others.

I have learned over the years that Christianity does not work unless it reaches into this private compartment.

For some of the rudest and meanest people I have ever met have just come from church, proclaiming the goodness of God.

Likewise, many of the more confused, frustrated and mentally unstable individuals I’ve encountered over the years seem to have a terrific testimony about their relationship with the Almighty.

But I’ve never met anyone who allows their philosophy to reach their “secret place” who isn’t humbly satisfied with the experience.

I didn’t need to give that lady at the front desk any more money to satisfy her requirements.

I needed to give her the money to satisfy the yearning … in my secret soul.

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

Thorny…. June 29, 2012


It was really a sweet, precious thing to do.

Last year, a lady who attended one of my presentations went home, grabbed her calculator and figured out from the facts I had provided in the evening’s dialogue that after my forty years of travel, based upon the normal amount of mileage to achieve that odyssey, that sometime in the middle of September, 2011, I would have journeyed my one millionth mile.

That’s a lot of scenery, folks.

When I started out, I did it with more brawn than brain. I possessed much more determination than the ability to determine what was always right and wrong. I was convinced that lifting all my own burdens was much more practical than soliciting fellow-lifters. Time marches on.

Now I find myself in the position of the Apostle Paul, who candidly told his readers that he possessed a thorn in his flesh. Although I have to admit I find his phraseology a bit too elusive and eloquent for my taste, I can appreciate the sentiment and share in the need.

I have always had a thorn in my flesh. Even when I thought I was superman, leaping tall buildings with a single bound as I traveled across the country, there was the obvious visual of being an obese man, lugging my hot, sweaty body through ordeals as I panted my way to completion.

I was never ashamed of it. I continued to play tennis, exercise and take on physical feats beyond the scope of my size until about ten years ago, when my body asked for a renegotiation of the contract and a deeper discussion of terms. Somehow or another, I needed to use my brain more than my brawn, my spirit more than my muscle and my inspiration to replace my perspiration.

Now I arrive at engagements with a full heart to share, but requiring other noble souls to help me get my equipment in the doors, set up and back out into my van afterwards. Once again–I am not ashamed.

I wouldn’t have it any other way–because I will tell you of a certainty, the most devastating concept propagated in the common drivel of everyday human philosophy is the doctrine of self-sufficiency. It is contrary to everything we know. It is counter-productive to relationship. It is without meaning or merit. Yet people will still insist that they don’t need help; they don’t need assistance; they don’t need ANYBODY to achieve their goals.

Matter of fact, we think that if we just had one more apple’s worth of knowledge we wouldn’t even need God.

It makes us unattractive. It makes us childish and oblivious to reality. I will be frank with you–I am a talented man with great humor, a soul for my fellow-humans and the God who made them. I am also completely incapable of achieving my own aspirations without the aid of others.

Paul said this was a “thorn in his flesh.”  But if it is a thorn, then like Jesus, I will wear it as a crown. If it is a weakness, then I blatantly display it as evidence of the value I have found in interspersing my efforts with those of others. If it is a sign of incompletion, then may I post the notification that when you enter the highway of my life, beware of road construction.

Here is the formula that makes us powerful in our lives on this planet called earth:

1. I have an idea. Please do not show up to the party without at least a bag of chips. Have an idea; don’t view yourself as worthless. Be prepared for your idea to change, grow or even diminish, but have an idea. The greatest turnoff to the human ear is “I don’t know,” closely followed, in second place, by “I don’t care.” When I arrive to see you for the first time, I will come with an idea. We will feast on the energy of possibilities.

2. I have some talent. Humility is not insisting that you are incapable, but rather, being capable and insisting that others bring their package along, too. I have a talent. I would never bore you with these daily writings to merely promote my fantasies or preferences in life. I have a gift and I have a talent. It is not the ONLY marvelous treasure available, but it is a few coins in the fountain. I would not bore you by trying to pretend that I am without means. I would not anger you by arriving at the party without favors. I have a talent.

3. But as you can see, I need your help. I do not have the ability to show up and dazzle you with every facet of my entity. I require your involvement. I show up absent of totality. I need your help. For me, I arrive with my spirit intact, my mind electrified, my heart engorged–and my joints creaky. Thank you for helping me. I send thanks to all of those souls who have taken an extra moment to literally lift my burden and allow me to share a thought or two that might have lifted theirs.

If you want to become annoying to the human species, continue to preach your message of self-sufficiency. No one is. Self-sufficient, that is. The best we can hope is to have an idea, bring some talent and be honest about the “thorn in our flesh”–and admit we need reinforcements.

I guess it’s what the Apostle Paul meant by the “thorn in his flesh,” although he insisted that God’s grace was sufficient. I would have to disagree. Sometimes God steps back and allows human beings to take over the divine space. It is very classy of Him. It is extraordinarily intuitive of Him on our behalf–to understand that we need to be a part of what’s going on. Because attempting to be the whole makes us weary in well-doing. I am not weary because I understand my weaknesses and display them with pride.

So let me be the first one to admit that I am a man with an idea and talent who has an obvious need for help. After all, it is a great American tradition. Abraham Lincoln, who suffered with Marfan Syndrome and was probably assassinated only months prior to the condition taking his life, still humbly had the ability to take his country-lawyer ways and stop our nation from severing itself in two.

Franklin Roosevelt, stricken with polio, still lifted himself to a podium to decry the injustice of Pearl Harbor and launch our country on a mission to destroy tyranny.

Weakness is sexy. It is our way of saying that we only become complete when paired.

I have a thorn in my flesh. After a million miles, my body aches. But like the weeble, I may hobble and wobble, but I won’t fall down.


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