Strife As Life… November 6, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog


arguing housewivesI remain optimistic.

Perhaps it would be better to say that I remain. “Optimistic” because I think it is a much more pleasant profile.

But there are times when I look at the entertainment in our society and I become bedraggled in my spirit. You see, there is a strong misconception that the inspiration of our lives comes either from our philosophy OR our theology. Since both of these entities are passed along to us through a combination of our upbringing and our experiences, they are a little too etched in stone to be inspiring in the moment.

Factually, most of our inspiration is derived from our entertainment.

So when that which is meant to entertain us begins to eat away at the foundation of our positive sensations about life, we are tempted to crumble or become cynical. I am a little nervous about how life is being presented as an ongoing struggle in strife on television and in the movies.

I am surprised that the way people used to speak to each other in anger, and then felt the need to repent and make up with each other, is now considered normal, merely “standing up for yourself,” to “keep from being walked on.”

The reality shows are a glimpse into the underbelly of human existence, dividing humanity into two categories: people and person.

Unfortunately, we believe that we are the only “person” and everybody else is just “people.”  We do not grant personhood to anyone else. So if anyone crosses us, disagrees with us, challenges us or questions us, we give ourselves permission to treat that individual as a creature outside the human species.

  • So in our music, women can become “sluts” and “bitches” simply because they don’t do the will of a man, and men are portrayed as dogs and whores because they “treat their women bad.”
  • On reality shows, the more selfish, introspective, sullen and fierce a competitor is, the better chance he or she has for gaining an audience, fame and boosting ratings.

Now, I know I will be accused of being an old fogey, but it is difficult for me to believe that this kind of aberrant behavior has anything to do with what age you are.

For instance, I know when I’m acting like a jerk. Here are three tell-tale signs:

  1. I stop listening and start talking over the top of other people.
  2. I’m sure I’m right.
  3. I dredge up things from the past and use them as ammunition as I try to “slay” the spirit of the person with whom I am fighting.

There you go.

As long as we believe that strife is the energy of life, we will accept a kind of interaction which sniffs of the jungle of struggle instead of the Eden of creativity.

My voice is small, my readership diverse–but tiny. There are millions who applaud strife. I want my family, my friends and everyone from my generation to know that I am one who does not believe that strife is reality.

Rather, it is actually when we forget how beautifully and wonderfully we are made.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

I’m Proud … December 30, 2012



I’m proud of my country. I haven’t seen folks handle so much crap since Ben from the fertilizer store moved his family, complete with inventory, from Sunbury to Galena.

It’s been a tough year. I guess we aren’t supposed to say that. If you’re a Democrat, they’ll tell you that you don’t believe in the President. The Republicans will snipe at you and suggest you should have voted for their paraded puppet. The optimistic sort believes we should always look on the bright side of life. The pessimist will leap in, explaining that you “don’t know the half of it…”

Just like any other year–too many dead people, not enough explanations. Too much debate, not enough progress. Too much self-esteem and not enough true esteem over self.

It was a horrible election year. Maybe I should use a different word than “horrible.” How about “yucky-puckey?” No, that’s too cute.

We’re very good in America at assessing blame and being satisfied with discovering who is responsible for the crime, without ever making attempts to satisfy the victims or assure ourselves that it needn’t happen again.

But you see, I was out there all year in the midst of what we refer to as “everyday people,” who are really the people who make sure that one way or another, we have an every day.

They are a brave lot. You would barely be able to tell that they were in a hailstorm of adversity–if you didn’t look closely and see the dents in their armor.

We don’t smile enough. We clap instead of laugh. We need to be entertained to relax. Conversation is limited to tiny bites of half-words, quickly typed on miniscule machines in an attempt to eliminate the need for either confrontation or communication.

But I’m still proud of us. We’ve reached the end of another year and have not imploded with the sheer lunacy of intoxication from reality shows. We have actually listened to the best of Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and a host of others–and have mercifully not run en mass and burned down their stations.

We were given a choice of two men, neither of whom knew what they were doing, and we intelligently selected the one still living in the house–so as to avoid paying moving expenses. We didn’t like either one. We didn’t favor their views and we certainly didn’t approve of their lifestyle–that being a politician.

I’m proud of this country. I’m proud to be an American because after we get over our fits of arrogance, we do actually settle down, look at our history and realize that we’ve got a long way to go on our way to celebrate how far we’ve come.

There were a couple of times this year when I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it. After all, movie theaters and elementary schools were never meant to be shooting galleries. But we will keep our guns because no one has the ability to make amends. We will stubbornly continue to believe it’s someone else’s fault because catching a glimpse of our true selves in the mirror is much too frightening.

But there will always be the folks I met on my journey. They start off cranky, fussy and unwilling–but after a few brief moments of levity, silliness and honesty, they begin to unpack the soul they’ve kept hidden behind false memories.

I was proud to be in front of them. Doggone it, I’d be proud to be behind them. I’m proud of this country and I’m hoping that in the coming year, we can do something we’re really proud of… something more eternal than survival.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Sixty-Eight Days… December 16, 2012


Jon Signing

In search of a miracle.

Which one of these better defines a miracle? A left-legless man grows a new limb, or a left-legless man grows the will and intelligence to still find a way to get around and be valuable. Probably some of you may try to be cute by saying, “Both would be miracles. One’s just bigger.”

There IS only one miracle–it is called life.

But don’t take my word for it. Just drive to Connecticut and ask any of the young parents who lost children this week through the injustice of the murdering rage of an infidel in Newtown. They will tell you. The miracle is life. They would love to have back every annoying question posed to them at inopportune times by their over-curious young’uns.

Yet short days earlier they would have told you that a miracle would be an improvement on their finance or maybe getting that second mortgage on their house–or picking up a couple extra thousand dollars for Christmas.

Sixty-eight days ago I realized that I could not walk anymore. I mean, I could still kind of creep along, but it was painful, ugly and too slow for even Joe. And my balance was gone. I prayed. Yes–unashamedly, I besought God for a miracle.

Sitting here this morning, I can tell you that I have received it. The miracle is that I’m alive. A second miracle is that I’m healthy and still doing what I’ve always done, with just as much panache and style.

The ability to define “miracle” may be the most important step any one of us takes. It leads us to the doorstep of another important revelation: understanding responsibility.

I have been 175 pounds overweight for my entire adult life. If you multiply that 175 pounds times even twenty years, you come up with 3500 extra pounds of pressure that has been placed on my knees in just two decades. That would be similar to walking outside and putting a car on my back and trying to take two steps. You see what I mean?

I have a responsibility in my own need for a miracle. It is the fruit of repentance that I must bring to confirm to myself, the world around me, and ultimately, to God–that I am serious about receiving newness of life.

For sixty-eight days I have stayed faithful to a plan of eating that has now benefitted me with weight loss and less pain. This ushers me into a ballroom of blessing, where I may celebrate progress. I may never tap dance again, (which is fine–because I never did before.) But I am finding it easier to do everything in my life than I did sixty-nine days ago. I am sleeping better, I am thinking better, I am creating better, I even have a better disposition. I am landing exactly where I need to be: in reality.

For after all, an optimist is someone who just hasn’t yet tried out his or her ideas. And a pessimist is someone who has tried out his or her ideas, but is unwilling to evolve them. I am a realist. I do not have functioning knees. I have remarkably strong thighs, calves and feet. Three-quarters of my walking mechanism are intact and ready to pick up some of the load. Amazing. But the reality is that right now, I am able to get around much more fluidly by occasionally perching myself in a wheel chair to get from Point A to Point B so that I can do Activity C.

I learned a long time ago that life is not a marathon–it is a sprint. I am prepared for the sprint. Please don’t sign me up for 26.2 miles.

After sixty-eight days, my sweet friends:

  • I have learned to define a miracle. It is called life.
  • I understand responsibility. Do what you can and don’t complain about the rest.
  • I celebrate progress: feeling better certainly does seem to be an answer to prayer.
  • And I stay real. I am neither a pessimist or an optimist, but rather, find great joy in what is afforded me by the privilege of still breathing.

Just an update from the front lines of my life. No bullets are flying … I’ve just dug into the trenches for the siege.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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