Salient … April 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3644)

Let’s say you want to destroy human beings.

You could kill them. That’s called murder. Of course, there’s always the danger of prosecution, being convicted and jailed, losing your own freedom and being trapped forever, recognized only as a criminal.

Nah.

But let’s say you’re bound and determined. Why? Because so many nasty things have happened in your life that you want to make sure no one sprouts a smirk. You need to assure yourself that given unwelcome circumstances, all human beings will turn into creatures of vengeance and darkness.

Where should you start?

Homo Sapiens have three parts to them: what was, what is, what could be. So your attack would have to be levied against this trio of components.

Therefore you assault the “what was” by making people guilty about their past while simultaneously yearning and wishing that “the good ole days” were still here.They end up feeling guilty, but with foolish pride. Nice start.

Remember, the key is to introduce darkness without alarming the victim about the loss of light. So now you have them thinking about their past–partially in terror, but somewhat nostalgically.

Next comes “what is.” Quite simple. Inundate them with so much unnecessary information that they begin to stress over what they perceive to be a mess. If they take all of their waking hours to nervously contemplate how badly things are going, there’s no time left to improve them.

Stress over the mess.

Get your victims to complain until it drives them insane.

This leaves you with “what could be.” If you want to quickly dispose of your humans, just persuade them to embrace the notion that it really is “what will be.” In other words, their lives are out of their hands, mystically steered by destiny. They are merely pawns in a cosmic game between good and evil.

Yes, people really love that one. They do not like the idea of being personally responsible for their own success and failure.

Once they begin to think about what could or will be, they sprout the worry that brings fear and robs them of good cheer.

Let’s review:

If you are a disturbed personality who wants to prove that darkness resides perpetually in the soul of every Earthly human, you should focus on what was and make them feel guilty and prideful. This also makes them appear to be out of step with what’s going on with the present generation. (Just a bonus.)

Then take what is and establish it as a mess that demands their stress. Don’t tell them that they’ve already overcome similar problems in the past. Don’t suggest that they could achieve emotional health by speaking their feelings and misgivings aloud. Trap them in their brains.

And finally, turn them into creatures of destiny, with what will be. But if that doesn’t work, present a dismal view of the future–make movies, write books and have scientists explain how fearful things are coming our way, and therefore, any sense of good cheer is downright irresponsible.

That’s how you destroy a human being without ending up on death row yourself. Bring just enough darkness that they stop desiring the light.

Salient–what is truly significant and important. Today’s salient moment is this:

Human despair is always accomplished by dimming the light without any warning.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 48 (May 15th, 1969) Mr. Lester’s Work Force… January 3, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2462)

 

(Transcript)

By the time I walked out of school, I was a different person.

Less than a month earlier, my father had passed, and a growling discontentment, which had started in the previous September, had now turned into a barking dog of frustration.

I was tired of school.

I was tired of my little town.

I was tired of being a student.

I was tired of having urges and desires that were ignored by my local church and replaced with a series of childish activities.

I was nearly a man, forced to wear boyish attire.

My mother decided I should get a job. She thought it would keep all of the sadness off my mind.

That year, the local Youth Corps was offering employment to students to assist local businessmen in their pursuits, at $1.10 an hour. I signed up. They placed me in the role of helping out the local groundskeeper at the cemetery.

Not exactly the perfect job for a young man who had just lost his dad.

There was no grave-digging involved. My responsibility was to mow around the tombstones in a fourteen-day pattern. By the time I finished the fourteenth sector of the cemetery, it was time to go back to the first section and start all over again.

I could not imagine anything that personified the futility of my soul like this particular ritual.

I hated it–especially when it came time for sector four–which included my father’s grave. Actually it was just a pile of dirt. It was too soon for grass to have grown. And I felt compelled, by some sense of nostalgia, to stop and pay my respects.

Yet it was odd and obtuse.

As I mowed–especially on the very hot days–there was this strange smell in the air. It reeked of concentrated vitamins, similar to what you experience when you open up a new bottle. It gave me the creeps.

Since my supervisor rarely showed up at the cemetery, I decided to sign the worksheet with my hours and not actually appear. Amazingly, I pulled this off for two weeks before I got caught.

Mr. Lester, my representative, was very disappointed in me. I was fired.

I was mostly relieved, for two reasons: I didn’t have to keep lying, but mostly … I didn’t have to keep working.

 

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Populie: The Longer You Live, the Better… November 19, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2418)

nursing home

Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody’s in a hurry to get there. Even the more bitter and pessimistic souls around us are not anxious to exchange “streets of crime” for “streets of gold.”

It is an open contradiction.

So what do we desire? A superficial form of immortality called longevity.

People work the first forty years of their lives to save up money, so they don’t have to work the last thirty-plus. Very few people ask the big question: how important is the quality of life?

So we create the populie. We applaud people who reach their ninety-fifth birthday without ever asking what is propping them up and whether they are dreading the daily pains of life.

Entertainment works both spectrums on this issue–sometimes portraying that “old is mold” and other times insisting that “old is gold.”

Religion extols the promise of long life because therein lies their piggy banks. Yes, it’s true–young people don’t give as much to the church as old folks.

Politics tries to garner a huge block of graying voters by playing to the fear of these souls, while reflecting back on the nostalgia of what they consider to be “better times.”

But if we’re looking for good life and all we get is time spent, then there’s the danger of ending up in a prison of disappointment.

For instance, if I drove over to a retirement home today at lunch hour, would I hear laughter, conversation, gaiety and feel energy in the room? Or would I encounter disgruntled human beings, who thought they were going to enjoy their “golden years,” and now find the whole experience sullied by too much concern, too much worry and too much pain.

There is a very simple three-part mission given to human beings, which, as long as we are actively and joyously pursuing, makes any age in life feel like twenty-two. You don’t have to go much further than the beginning of the Good Book to find it:

“Be fruitful, multiply and replenish the Earth.”

Can we all agree that when we stop being fruitful, what we feel is rotten?

The lack of multiplying subtracts purpose, and doesn’t add up in our thinking.

I, too, am getting older. So every single morning I get up and ask myself a question: am I still fruitful?

In other words, can I do what I’ve always done to some degree, and still do it well? Maybe there will be a drop-off due to age, but I still should be peddling towards the second mile.

Secondly, am I multiplying? Am I taking the energy I have for living, and helping others do what they do well?

One of the things you will discover as you get older is that your greatest value is not self-obsession, but rather, self-awareness in blessing those around you.

And finally, am I replenishing? This one is simple. Am I still giving more than I’m taking?

Each one of us has seasons of vulnerability, where we must draw from our account instead of making deposits. But if that season continues, the will to live slowly dies in our being.

It’s not about living long. It’s about living well.

Candidly, if I were told tomorrow that the next fifteen years of my life would be spent breathing, but my talents, joy, good attitude and spirituality would be dimmed in the process, I would choose to go.

I might be reluctant, but I would be fully aware that to be truly human requires fruitfulness, multiplication and replenishing the earth.

 

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Three Ways to Use Your Doubt… October 23, 2014

 

Jonathots Daily Blog

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cliff

 

In the traditional story of Easter, three interesting characters are brought to the stage.

  • Judas, who betrays
  • Peter, who denies
  • And Thomas, who doubts

Unfortunately, the audience viewing the drama is encouraged to believe that all three of these individuals are equally culpable.

Please understand–there is a huge chasm between betrayal and denial, and likewise one existing between denial and doubt.

Betrayal is doubt which has already given up on the idea and is looking for a reason to rationalize its treachery.

Denial is doubt that has never been voiced, but when put under the pressure of persecution, exposes its weakness.

But on the other hand, doubt is what human beings do to flush out the trash and make room for new stuff.

It is a good thing.

There is not a day that goes by when I do not doubt the existence of God. No hour goes by when I do not question my own ability. And no minute ticks away when uncertainty does not stall me for a second or two concerning my resolution.

Trying to dispel these uncertainties through a chatty spirit of positive thinking is not only hypocritical, but futile.

Doubt is the powerful tool that transforms us from nostalgia to action. Use your doubt to:

1. Dispel fake faith.

What is fake faith? Any belief you hold which has not been personally tested. It is the accumulation of knowledge with no experience. It is the fear that if your faith was brought into the heat of the day, it would shrivel up and die.

Probably fifty percent of what we all believe is not only impractical and implausible, but actually inhibits us from living with lighter hearts.

2. Use your doubt to understand others.

Too often we become frustrated with human beings because they dare to speak the confusion that we try to hide behind our fake faith. I have much more compassion for people when I’m willing to admit my own doubts.

3. And finally, use your doubt to learn to be more honest.

  • Doubt is your spirit crying for a moment of truthfulness.
  • Doubt is when your heart desires to remove the clog of unanswered questions.

Thomas was not a denier nor a betrayer. He was a man who was dealing with some pain and rather than drinking it away …  he posed the question.

 

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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I’m Dying to Find Out… January 9, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2116)

What kind of life follows this earthly excursion?heavenly journey

I’m dying to find out:

  • If God is as nice as I hope–or as mean as some claim.
  • If heaven is an amplification of what joys I have found.

I’m dying to find out:

  • If God believes in the whole Bible, or sometimes winces over particular passages.
  • How creative punishment and reward might end up being.
  • If God had any plan, or just kept waiting for us to make a move.

I’m dying to find out:

  • If He might just be a She, or maybe a Whatever.
  • If we actually will know each other.
  • If the ongoing clash between plaids and stripes had any merit.

I’m dying to find out:

  • If my music, writing and art survives in the heavens.
  • If God has a better idea for eternity other than an elongated, perpetual church service.

I’m dying to find out:

  • If He, She or Whatever actually looked on the heart of humans instead of the outward appearance.

I’m dying to find out:

  • How much mercy is contained in the action of being merciful.
  • Does our Father have a sense of humor?

I’m dying to find out what’s next.

Yet honestly …  no hurry.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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My New Life… January 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2115)

closetThe reason most people don’t like to clean out a cluttered closet is that it demands that they throw things away–or even the frightening possibility of finding spiders crawling in the papers and pictures.

As a human race, we often remind me of an old vaudeville troop, which has rented a theater for nearly fifty years but no longer has the talent, but faithfully dons bedraggled costumes, to perform in front of smaller and smaller, unappreciative audiences.

Thirteen days ago I determined to start losing weight again. I think I do this periodically just to keep people from asking me why I don’t.

Yet this time was a little different. Apparently a level of conviction has accompanied the decision, which not only has sustained me through this fortnight, but has also frightened my inner being, alarming my selfishness and ego into action.

This manifests itself in my dreams. During this past thirteen days, my dreams have been a collage of nostalgia over food, reminders of my inadequacies, and bizarre comedies and dramas about my numerous trespasses from the past.

I do believe my psyche is trying to shock me into stopping this foolishness of shedding pounds.

There is a sadness hidden in my dreams somewhere–apparently my bruised feelings about being rejected early on, as a fat boy–trying to make me go back to a sense of physical instability.

What surprises me is that I do feel a tug. The dreams are successful in impacting me with some sort of silly self-pity or tremendous feeling of incompletion, making me want to abandon the sensible path I have chosen.

Isn’t it funny?

We learn to trust ourselves, and in so doing we end up making the greatest mistake. My heart, soul, mind and strength have no desire to work together unless I lock them in a small room, throw away the key and make them deal with each other.

I keep hearing three questions in my dream life from my whimpering wimpiness:

  • Where are you going?
  • What’s the hurry?
  • Can’t we stay?

Truthfully, we are all addicted to mediocrity–and mediocrity is best defined as “what I want to do right now, which you and I both agree to proclaim as excellent.”

Awakening this morning from one of these journeys into the absurd, I just laughed.

I am not at the mercy of my inability. As long as I keep my eyes on the prize (which is nothing more than the next thing in front of me) I will continue to frustrate my dreams while satisfying my soul.

There is an old life, which is comfortable, content and has even found an easy chair in the center of my room.

My only job, if I desire new life, is to do more than rearrange the furniture, but instead, remove it–which brings about the need for redecorating.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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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

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New Names… April 8, 2013

(1,845)

Not that anyone will particularly care, nor will the 24-hour news cycle lift an eyebrow in my direction, but I have decided to rename the political parties in this country based upon their impervious natures and status of performance. So in my world, henceforth now and forever, the Republicans will be known as the REDOlicans and the Democrats shall be refered to as the DUNNOcrats.
Perhaps an explanation is in order. I shall be brief.
Since the Republicans seem to pine for a time in the past when things were better, and they yearn to restore a former way of living, I have selected to acknowledge them as the party of REDO. I’m not certain whether they want Eisenhower back in office, or Ronald Reagan, but most of them certainly would not favor Richard Nixon.  In their minds, they have captured from their childhoods memories of a previous era when things were simpler, the government was less complicated, taxes were lower and men were men and women made really delicious noodle dishes. They are Redolicans. They are convinced that a journey back in time will actually thrust us forward in the holy pursuit of our morality.
On the other hand, the Democrats, who always want to espouse high-sounding ideals and concerns for the less fortunate, when given the opportunity to come up with an idea or manifest a program which might lend itself to some practical assistance for the causes they trumpet, seem to always end up with, “Dunno. I don’t know what to do.” It is much easier for them to blame those ignorant, backwoods Redolicans for insisting on nostalgia instead of dealing with the signs of our times and the nature of our culture.
So when you get a Redolican and a Dunnocrat in the same room, discussing the future of the American people, you have a climate of piety over self-righteous causes mingled with a sense of intellectual superiority, with no real ideas on how to balance the pursuit of the common good and happiness.
No wonder our country is in a stalemate and the American people constantly feel violated by leaders with fumbling hands and lustful desires.
So you can feel free to tout either of these political parties as better than the other, but I must remind you that being better requires a fruitful conclusion. Yes, “by their fruits you will know them.”

For the Redolicans, it often is the inclusion of a certain magical percentage of the population to the ignoring of  others, and for the Dunnocrats, it’s a theory of inclusion with absolutely no absorption.

On the other hand, for me–I met some real people yesterday. There were so many wonderful folks at Friedens with delightful stories that it would take many jonathots to tote their tales.

Let me sum it up by describing the woman in her eighties, who went on a missionary trip to Honduras on her own, to seek some adventure and help people.

And then there was the twenty-four-year young gent who was so concerned about his generation becoming cynical and unfeeling that he shared his heart with me openly, with a budding faith still in his spirit that things could become better.

Neither one of them were Redolicans or Dunnocrats. Instead, they just looked at what they had in their hands and tried to do something with it.

That is what I call being a patriot.

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