G-Poppers … August 17th, 2018

Today G-Pop wants to talk to his children about slippage.

In olden times they referred to it as “backsliding”–allowing oneself to retreat from principles once held dear–because the temptation of the times changes the atmosphere and weakens the faith.

In the past ten years, because we’ve allowed a streak of meanness to become acceptable behavior, there has been a slippage in the attitudes of the populace toward one another and in the passion for life.

It’s really quite simple.

Those who were once merciful have slipped into being merely open-minded, leaving mercy practically abandoned.

The open-minded people have slipped to being generous–and that normally only to people they know well or who are related to them.

The generous folks have backslidden to kind–hoping that flashing a smile and expressing a willingness to be helpful will be enough without having to commit to action.

And kind people, who used to think up ways to be contributors, have slipped to nice. If at all possible they will offer a pleasant countenance to the world around them–that is, unless something odd happens. At that point, nice people become careful. They will swear that the reason they become careful is because the world is screwed up and “you can’t trust anybody.”

And of course, careful people drop down a degree into suspicious. This is where you start to hear about folks loving their dogs more than people.

And those who were naturally suspicious before degrade to downright grouchy. They don’t even pretend to lead with a sweetness of spirit. It’s too risky.

Of course, there were people who were grouchy to begin with. They have become edgy–ready for a fight, and the edgy people usually find that fight, and end up being bullies.

Bullies have become fighters; fighters are more violent. Much of the violence has led to murder, and now murder has deteriorated to mass killing.

The political parties will blame each other for the problem, but long before there was a President Donald Trump, there was a President Obama, with all of the fussing, arguing and struggling that occurred during his two terms of administration.

G-Pop realizes that you may consider it a “conservative” problem, or perhaps an outgrowth of the liberal media. Since you can’t do anything to change either one of those organizations, G-Pop thinks it might be a good idea for his children to just work on themselves.

Where have you slipped to?

Where have you fallen?

If even 10% of the population would raise their human effort up one notch, to the position they occupied before 2008, there would be such an improvement in the climate of this country that the other 90% would have to take note.

G-Pop wants to tell his children that it’s time to stop backsliding.

There are no signs that the leadership in government, business, education or the church is going to lead a resurgence in civil behavior.

No–it’ll be up to us.

It’ll be up to G-Pop…and all his children.

 

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Jesonian … June 9th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It wasn’t a “God-storm.”

The disciples were wrong. They were wacked-out–frantic over a poor use of faith.

They were probably reflecting back to several weeks earlier, when they were in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, got swatted by a cloud burst with huge waves, thunder and lightning, were surrounded by other little boats, and Jesus walked on the water to save them.

Now, that was a “God-storm.” In other words, a storm that required the hand of God. But the little squall that blew up on this night was not a “God-storm.”

The disciples should have known–for Jesus was sound asleep on a pillow in the boat.

Let’s keep in mind–you’ve got four fishermen on this craft–at least that many. This isn’t their first raft trip. It’s not the first time they saw the waters well up around them.

But back before they were disciples–when they were men–they handled it. If they didn’t, they died.

But now, you see, they had faith.

And their faith, instead of making them whole, had made them lazy.

They didn’t need to wake up Jesus. They had just grown accustomed to the Master handling all the difficulties, and they were in no mood to put themselves in jeopardy by practicing what they had been taught.

They didn’t want to “take no thought” about the storm.

They didn’t want to be the “salt of the Earth and the light of the world.”

They were completely content being followers–while Jesus was trying to make leaders.

They were lazy.

This is the same problem we have in the Christian church today. The faith we espouse is making us lazy instead of whole.

For I will tell you–I cannot attest to the fact that the Christians I know are the nicest people I know.

I cannot testify that these same Christians are the smartest, most generous, most open-minded and most forgiving people I have encountered.

They are simply too damn lazy from living off grace to use their faith.

Somehow or another, Jesus had called men to be on his team, and they had all turned into little children: “Daddy! We’re gonna drown! Don’t you care?”

Even two ounces of faith would tell you that if Jesus is asleep on the pillow, this must be a livable situation.

Maybe it’s a “Me-storm.” That’s one that only requires “me” involved to produce a safe conclusion.

Maybe it’s an “Us-storm.” That would include my partner and myself, working together to provide energy, brains and faith.

Perhaps it’s a “We-storm.” We might have to beckon the whole family, maybe the congregation, the town, or who knows? The nation.

But when it’s not a “God-storm,” don’t expect God to take care of it.

Jesus wanted his disciples to trust him. But he wanted to trust them, too.

So if you want to have a Christian walk and you want to be Jesonian, you’ll have to learn the difference between a “God-storm” and a “Me-storm.”

After all, it’s not that God fails to answer your prayers. He just wonders why you’re so lazy, and don’t answer your own.

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Ask Jonathots… August 11th, 2016

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There’s a lot of terrible things going on in the world lately and I don’t want fear to have control over my decisions. How do I make sure I am moving forward in freedom instead of fear?

Life is a tug of war between action and thinking.

We spend much of our early training fine-tuning our brains to make quality decisions based on knowledge, and therefore, hopefully low-risk adventures.

The difficulty with this approach is that thinking your way out of situations is unlikely. Normally we work our way out.

Human beings become afraid when we convince ourselves there’s nothing we can do and our minds become dumbfounded with anger and helplessness.

One of the things a person of faith is supposed to possess is an understanding that “going the second mile” gives us an activity to perform while we’re waiting for better options.

For after all, none of us are very good at sitting patiently by and waiting for the next bus of opportunity to come our way.

This is why Jesus said to “take no thought.”

If it turns out you can’t change the circumstances around you, thinking about it won’t improve things in the least, but instead, will drain the remaining hope and ability you might possess.

So whenever you run across a situation, you should ask one simple question: What can I do about this?

If the answer is “nothing,” make sure you distance yourself from the quandary and stop musing. But if you get a clear revelation about what you could contribute, insert it quickly and get the good vibrations that come from being involved.

How about an example or two?

Poverty.

You cannot make poor people comfortable all over the world, but you can be generous within your circle. That generosity not only radiates out, encouraging others to be more open-minded, but gives you a sense of completion.

Violence.

There’s probably nothing you can do about gun control in this country, but you certainly can control the amount of animosity and intimidation that you allow to be around you. Once again, you set in motion the possibility of trickling down to others while satisfying your soul’s need to improve matters instead of being afraid of the monsters.

Take action, not thought.

It is the best way in the world to chase away your fears and plant the seeds of solution.

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Ask Jonathots …December 10th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I am the mother of a fourteen-year-old boy who is playing football on his junior high school team. I am concerned about him continuing because of the new information about concussions. He’s playing wide receiver and he’s very fast and talented, and my husband totally disagrees and thinks I’m just worrying about nothing. I don’t. What do you think?

  • Worry is useless.
  • Worry must take a journey.
  • Worry must become concern, which pursues knowledge and ends up with action.

Your husband, lacking worry, probably feels he is doing a good thing by being open-minded and willing, but it is only a good thing if it’s based on truth, and not merely wishing.

Here are the things you need to know about a young man playing football:

1. The position is everything.

If he is undersized for his position, playing against boys who are larger, stronger and hit harder, then it is not good. If he’s playing against boys his own size, then he has a much better chance of escaping injury.

2. Training.

To play football, you must condition your body to accept punishment for a given time. It also demands that you be smart. At fourteen years of age, he needs to understand that as a receiver, if he’s running across the middle of the field and the pass thrown to him is way over his head, there is no need to leap in the air, leaving himself vulnerable to a hit. Some coaches would disagree with me on this, but most receivers are injured because their quarterbacks threw them a bad pass, which they tried to heroically catch.

3. Don’t give in to pressure.

In other words, if your son experiences a hit that leaves him bleary or with a headache, he should get himself off the field and not try to be macho.

4. Realize that the better you play the game–the harder you hit–the less likely it is that you will be hurt.

5. Check out the equipment.

What is the quality of his helmet? Does it fit correctly? All of these things are important in protecting the brain.

6. Find out what your coach and your local league feel about the concussion issue.

Are they calling penalties for targeting? Are they making fun of the notion of concussions, or are they taking it seriously?

7. Check with your doctor.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your son checked before he plays football, to make sure that he’s sound and ready, with an exam that’s a bit more comprehensive than the normal athletic physical.

Football is a wonderful sport because it teaches teamwork. It also imparts the value of personal effort.

But make sure your worry becomes concern and pursues knowledge, for the more you know about it, the better off you will be.

Don’t teach your son to be afraid.

Frightened people get hurt.

Teach him to be smart and respectful of others who share the field with him.

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A Nice Price for Mice … November 16, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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dead miceIt was a rather odd dream–not really spooky, just bizarre.

I found myself in a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant, chomping on a chicken sandwich, chatting with friends, when a young tyke about seven years old came walking up to me. He had chubby cheeks and wore a winter hat, similar to the ones you would see in the 1950s on kids who were forced to don them by their parents. In his hand he was holding an old-fashioned bird cage, and as I peeked inside, I discovered it was filled with little dead white mice.

I was taken aback. Then the youngster pointed to a sign pinned to his coat. It read, “A nice price for mice.”

I realized the kid was trying to sell these deceased little rodents–peddling from table to table.

Before I could express my horror, he ambled over to another patron, where a lovely older lady purchased one of the mice from the determined seller. He made his way all around the restaurant, with each person buying one of the dead boogers and patting the young man on the head.

I observed that none of the customers knew what to do with their purchase. As I mentioned, this was not a spooky dream. No one ate one or put it between their sesame seed buns. One lady wrapped the dead mouse delicately in a napkin and placed it in her purse; another man stuffed it in his pocket.

Why was the little boy selling dead mice? And why were people purchasing them?

Suddenly I awoke.

So you see, my friends, I don’t like to ignore my dreams. It may actually be one of the few occasions when my harried soul is still enough for God and my conscience to speak to me. In the process of analyzing the dream, I realized it was a parable of our American culture.

If Madison Avenue is able to find the right “little boy” to send our way to appeal to us, we are more than willing, at a nice price, to buy mice.

We really don’t know what we’re going to do with them. We don’t particularly favor them. But we find it difficult to say no to the attractive offer–especially when those around us are purchasing.

So we end up stuck with something we may not even believe in, and certainly do not treasure, as we pretend that it is our choice. Here’s the truth: mice aren’t nice–at any price.

Especially dead ones.

So I will tell you–there are some mice which have entered our society, promoted by Madison Avenue and large corporations. I would like to point them out and call them nasty, instead of wrapping them up in a napkin and tucking them away.

Here are three that immediately come to my mind:

1. Killing.

I am against it. I don’t like war. I don’t agree with capital punishment. I don’t like abortion. I don’t particularly like it when a guy shoots a woman through a screen door. It’s a dirty little mouse being peddled to the public as realistic and entertaining.

2. Drug abuse.

I don’t understand why we need them. What I mean is, I don’t understand why we would want to take drugs for recreational purposes when we’re reluctant to use them for treatment. I think we should be in the business of becoming a drug-free society because we’re working on being happier people. I will not purchase that little wall-dweller and call it a pet.

3.  Pornography.

It isn’t cute. It isn’t pretty. It doesn’t create equality between the sexes. It is another form of slavery for women. It is notorious. It is a dead “stinky” being sold by pretty people who want to portray themselves as open-minded–unless you are talking about the rights and dignity of the female of our species.

There you go.

I realize we live in a society that wants to peddle a nice price for mice, but I will tell you, things like killing, drug abuse and pornography are dirty rats.

And they are not a deal for me … at any price.

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Bink … September 15, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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harleyHe came rolling up on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, dressed all in leather, with a black curly beard that lay on his chest as if it was resting from priestly duties. He climbed off, walked over, shook my hand and told me his name was Bink.

I was a little intimidated, so awkwardly, I asked him if Bink was short for anything. He explained it was the nickname his little nephew had given him because the tyke didn’t know how to say “bike” and instead, called him “Bink.” It was so cute and silly that I normally would have made fun of it, but looking at the motorcycle and the intimidating tattoos, I passed.

I began to wonder how I ended up with my two female cohorts at this particular gig. it was 1973 and I was only a couple of years out of high school. The dampness behind my ears was still drying. I had driven all the way to Detroit in my beat-up van, inserting a quart of oil every 100 miles ritualistically–just so the engine wouldn’t blow up.

The two girls with me didn’t know what to wear, so they each brought a prom dress for the occasion. Seeing Bink, I realized we were a bit overdressed. Matter of fact, some of the teenagers who were arriving for the evening bare-footed and in blue jeans began to peer at us and laugh.

Bink put an arm around me and led us inside, helping us set up our equipment. So when it came time for him to introduce us to his rather Bohemian brotherhood, he said the following:

“Listen, you scoundrels, I don’t want you laughing at these folks. They’ve come a long way to talk to us about Jesus. Maybe you don’t think they’re cool, but maybe you don’t know what God thinks is cool. So maybe you oughta just shut your mouths up, sit back and let your minds be blown. Because you know me–I’m Bink. And I’m tellin’ you … they’re beautiful dudes.”

With this, he held out his hand and welcomed us to come and do our thing. The gathering of young humans burst into applause, welcoming us. It was an amazing night–our girls in their prom dresses, hugging young women in the audience in hemp blouses, sporting long greasy hair.

I thought about that tonight as I made my way to Mount Clemens to set up for tomorrow’s gig. I thought about how civilized we think we have all become by finding compartments for every little piece of our lives, alienating off anything that doesn’t quite fit into the box.

I don’t know if a guy like Bink could exist today. Maybe he would be too specialized in his work and ministry to ever accept some fresh-faced novices from Ohio. But if that is the case, we’ve lost something.

And until we find it, we’re just a bunch of cynics on a fruitless search …  for an open-minded God.

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