Ask Jonathots … March 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I’m twelve, and have had the same group of girlfriends since first grade. Nowadays all they want to do is talk about boys, flirt and hate other girls. Do all girls have to become boy crazy, and is there anything I can do to get my friends back??

No.

There’s nothing you can do to get them back–simply because you must remember that we are a species.

As a species, we are men and women. And what you refer to as “boy crazy” is what keeps us going, alive, functioning and moving forward.

But there is no reason to copy what other people are doing if you aren’t prepared for it or if it isn’t something you desire.

There are only two stupid things to do in life:

  1.  Something someone else thinks you should do.
  2.  Doing it a second time because you’ve convinced yourself “it’s really your idea.”

There will be plenty of people your age who are not boy crazy or girl crazy, who are developing at your pace. Every once in a while, you need to find those people and spend a little of your free moments around them.

It doesn’t mean you reject your old friends–it just means that right now you need to include some other folks in your life who share your passions, your ideas, your hobbies and your pursuits.

In the process of doing this, you’ll probably end up blessing some younger folk and also discover a couple of new people you would never have known because we tend to hang out in our own circle of acquaintances.

But make sure of one thing: don’t be ashamed of your emotional make-up.

Beware of people who insist that you become their definition of “normal.”

Normal is how God leads you when you have a conversation with Him in your heart.

 

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Resource and Remedy … January 13, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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argue new testamentEach of us considers “normal” to be whatever we view as acceptable behavior, and has become our fallback position. So if you grew up around worriers, it seems natural to worry. If you were surrounded by gruff, unemotional human beings, you will think it is bizarre to be gregarious. If your background is in Judeo-Christian values, then you will be caught in the paradox between “do I love my neighbor as myself?” or is it “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?”

Even though we all believe we’re on a quest to find a remedy for our everyday problems and even our nagging addictions, we might want to stop and realize that the resources we tap will certainly determine the quality of the treatment.

Yesterday as I met the delightful and hungry souls at Cypress Trails United Methodist Church, I realized that each of them was  joining into a body of believers while secretly pursuing a private belief system of their own, which had been infused into them from the time they were tiny children, and is now “normal,” even if unfulfilling.

For we are much more likely to accept an unfulfilling life than we are to question our “normal.”

To challenge our upbringing means we put ourselves on the outside, looking in–and that sense of abandonment can be terrifying.

But every remedy I have found in my life has demanded that I question my resources, values and even faith to set in motion a new miracle for myself.

After all, in my case, it is difficult to get over obesity because I was taught that food is love. It’s like trying to remove affection from existence. It seems unnatural. It seems ungodly.

Take a moment every day and ask a simple question: am I doing this because I have chosen to do so and it has proven to make me a better human being, or am I repeating behavior that I learned, which has trapped me in the person I am instead of the person I desire to become?

In the realm of spirituality, ten commandments that we dangle over the collective head of humanity does not always jive with “judge not, lest ye be judged.”

You have to make a choice.

And when you’re choosing, just make sure that what you follow breeds life … instead of stifling it.

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

The Peep Show… September 1, 2012

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She was about to begin her comedy routine. She lifted her arms, extended them toward the audience and declared with great jubilance, “I am so glad to be here in front of all my peeps!” This was followed by a cheer from the congregated horde.

It reminded me of a note I received in my email yesterday. It was from a fellow in the Buckeye State who had been deliberating whether to have me come in to share with his congregation. He had come to a decision. He felt that it was best to “pass” on the opportunity. Even though he found my material to be intelligent, powerful and poignant to our times, he believed that my outreach was a poor match for his particular gathering.

We have become a nation obsessed with the religion of our own individuality.

Even though we don’t want to establish this uniqueness by pursuing new efforts and goals, we find our value in being set apart by our preferences. It’s why the Republicans and Democrats scramble around trying to hit the right buttons to bring the favor of various portions of the electorate. For after all, the theory is that Hispanic voters want different things from black voters and senior citizens have special requests which are quite divergent from those of young people. We keep trying to play to an audience of our peeps.

It creates a three-point philosophy that continues to separate us off into tinier and tinier segments instead of coagulating our nation into a force for good. The minute you believe that different people have different needs which must be handled differently, you create the following climate:

1. “I believe I am normal.” Even though you may try to please other people and reach out to meet their desires, no one is of a mindset to think that these other people actually have a better way of doing things. Otherwise we would adopt some of their practices for our own. The minute you believe you have “peeps,” you will start to reluctantly try to find a way to reach everyone else, while privately wondering why they aren’t more “normal”–like you.

2. “Because you have preferences which are different from mine, try as I might to be magnanimous, I view these variations as weaknesses which I must adapt to in an attempt to gain your favor.” If we believe that people have great chasms of difference from us, we will have a tendency, human as we are, to perceive them as underlings. I know there are those who will disagree with these observations, contending that they have the toleration to experience diversity without drawing conclusions, but honestly, that would only be true if some of the discoveries being made ended up being part of their personal philosophy.

3. “Because I believe that I am normal, and that your preferences, though permissible, are somewhat weaker, my attempts to reach you may come off as condescending.” It would be similar to playing hip-hop music in front of a black audience and hiring a mariachi band for an Hispanic gathering. Yet that’s exactly what we do. Just like high school–juniors feel they are superior to sophomores. It isn’t true, but it gives a sense of exhilaration to lord it over an underclassman. The minute you assume that any group of people will react uniformly in a particular way when given certain stimulus, you are not only condescending, you are certainly guilty of prejudice.

So do you see the problem? Once we believe that each one of us has a particular “bird of a feather” that we are “flocking together” with we are in danger of awkwardness and even bigotry towards people who are different from us. Here’s what I would like to say to that comedian who felt she had found her “peeps,” to the Republicans and Democrats who are constantly trying to plump up their message to reach a variety of clumps, and to that fellow in Ohio who felt he had a pulse on his group of people, and understood their boundaries:

It is the job of every person born of woman to find a way to be a human being instead of just following the example of their culture.

We are all heart, soul, mind and strength.

Since I know that, I gear my message and life to the knowledge that our emotions are touched by commonality. In other words, everybody hurts. Everybody gets older. Everybody needs to learn to laugh at himself. Everybody would gain greater power by ceasing to worry.

Since I know we all have a soul, our spirits are enriched by a loving God who anticipates that we can do better. It doesn’t do any good to preach just a loving God, or certainly to present a disapproving one. Since God is your Father, whether you’re black, white, red or yellow, you want Him to love you and you’re glad He thinks you’ve got more to come.

We all have a brain, and our minds are renewed by seeing what works–not merely by education, conversation or job training. We’re human beings. We need to see what works to allow it to find root in our consciousness.

And finally, we all have a body–and that particular physical unit is enlivened by finding simpler ways to achieve good health. Don’t complicate it. Make it easy.

I don’t care what audience I’m in front of. I don’t care if they’re young, old, black, white or from another planet. As long as I don’t believe in this foolish, short-sighted pursuit of categorizing off our race into little ant hills, I have a chance of reaching them.

Because quite bluntly, folks, I don’t believe I am normal. In some ways I fear normalcy because it has a tendency to settle for mediocrity. I don’t think your preferences are weaknesses. Matter of fact, I am curious if many of them might be better than mine. And I will never be condescending to you because I have too many foibles of my own that can easily be pointed out as evidence of my inadequacy.

But I will address your heart. We will find common ground.

I will speak to your soul. I will tell that soul about a loving God who really believes His children can do better.

I will infiltrate your mind by allowing you to see things that are working instead of just advancing theories of politics and theology.

And I will be vulnerable to you by telling you that my body is in need of improvement and I am on a quest to ascertain simpler ways to discover good health.

Finally, I have no peeps. Just people. And all of them are my family … if I make myself available.

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