Ask Jonathots… June 16th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Three times last week, I heard national news spokespeople say, “People don’t change.” How did this philosophy become commonplace in America?

Just a quick note to begin this answer–whenever you seek counsel, you will normally get one of three approaches:

1. The cynical approach. “Based on the data provided, we can tell you that it is unlikely…”

2. The hopeful approach. “With God all things are possible…”

3. The practical approach. “Present trends do not bode well, but certain actions could change the outcome.”

So I would like to answer this question by explaining that normally people are cynical about human beings changing because they, themselves, are no longer hopeful of much transformation in their own lives, and when presented with alternatives, they reject them.

I think it is a problem for older people to change simply because they embrace three erroneous profiles:

A. “The best things in my life have already happened.”

In other words, if you contend that the most exciting parts of your journey are already over, it will certainly cause you to be less-than-motivated to make transitions.

B. “It’s worked pretty good so far.”

There is an abiding notion that the philosophy which has taken us to this point in our experience should be sufficient to carry us on through the times ahead. There is no basis for this conclusion, but it prohibits aging people from taking an hour to learn how to work a computer.

C. No one’s listening to me anyway.

As you get older, there is a tendency to believe that your influence has greatly lessened because the children are grown, the job is in the past, your appearance is more fragile and you’re cast into the role of a soul on the way out the door.

These three ideas can cause a human being to dig in and refuse evolution. Matter of fact, when we talk about individuals who have great repentant leaps, like Ebenezer Scrooge or George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” these changes usually revolve around interventions from angels or spirits.

So to guarantee that a certain amount of enlightenment continues, consider three principles of power:

1. The best has not already happened or I would not still be here.

2. What worked yesterday will need some tuning for today.

And finally:

3. The best way to make sure people listen to me is to say things that are relevant to the moment instead of nostalgic about the past.

People can change. They just don’t naturally do it.

It takes a desire to live our lives all the way to very end instead of walking around in a misty haze of the past.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 7) Considering … January 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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He didn’t suggest the fig tree, even though they were plentiful in his environment.

For you see, Jesus was quite aware that even though the fig tree grew in the arid, sandy soil of Mesopotamia, it often would sprout leaves to protect itself from the sun, but “cursedly” refuse to offer any fruit to anyone else.

In discussing our lifestyle, Jesus said, “Consider the lily.”

The lily has three aspects to its persona that are much more suited for Planet Earth:

  1. The lily knows it is supposed to grow
  2. It doesn’t work hard (toil).
  3. It isn’t convinced it might need to cheat to get its way (spin).

We are supposed to be lilies.

In being this beautiful flower, we expect growth, we stop struggling and we refuse to lie. This opens the door to just enough optimism that we can work with the available realism.

And the enemy to “lily life?” Those who proclaim that “people don’t change.”

It fascinates me that those who call themselves liberal–who deeply embrace evolution–think that such a transition ceases to apply when it comes to their own lives.

And those who do not believe in evolution, but prefer creation, still contend that God created them to be at least partially miserable.

We are lilies.

This means we need to learn how to consider. And considering is a decision to pursue a better solution instead of suffering in our tradition.

So how can you be reasonable?

A. Find your soil.

You won’t grow lilies in the desert. Even though Jesus was surrounded by desert, he suggested that his disciples find a place where lilies can grow.

B. Sink roots.

Don’t keep changing your mind and following every wind of doctrine. Find principles that have proven to be of lasting quality, creativity, invention, peacefulness and good cheer.

C. Suck in the light.

It is very difficult to grow lilies in a cave of misunderstanding. We are not mushrooms, which sprout in darkness. If you are surrounded by darkness, you will not pursue considering. Therefore you will fall short of considerate.

  • We are not fig trees, trying to just “get by” in the desert.
  • We are not mushrooms, tolerating the darkness.
  • We are a lily.

Therefore we grow as we stop working so hard and refuse to join the cheaters.

 

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Jesonian: The Rule of the School … November 15th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The latest piece of pseudo-intellectual drivel seems to be the jaded proclamation, “People don’t change.”

It’s especially disheartening when coming from the mouth of a prison warden, a psychiatrist or a minister.

I suppose we could take this entire essay to discuss the validity or over-simplification of such a decree. Matter of fact, as Christians we could cite that even though the disciples spent at least 38 months with Jesus of Nazareth, the amount of personality and ethical change inside each one of them was questionable.

Peter may have confessed his faith, but he was still prone to over-exaggeration and eventually, denial.

James and John may have ceased to be fishermen, but maintained much of their prejudice, wanting to kill a group of Samaritans.

Thomas certainly had a conversion experience, which he often chose to doubt.

And Judas was elected treasurer, only to betray his position… and his friend.

So it is obvious to me that Jesus was the Christ, but not necessarily able to completely change goats into sheep. No, it seems that we get lost in that process and end up basically being asses.

Yet I must tell you, if I thought that change was impossible, I would not be able to tolerate the mediocrity of the world around me.

So what is the truth?

Actually the truth is a coagulation of two principles. Whatever you are, whatever you were, whatever your inklings or whatever your genetics, you can be transformed by a pair of unchanging and necessary conclusions.

We call the first one the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Yet I must tell you, that single concept becomes merely idealistic if you don’t take the “rule to school.”

In other words, if you do not allow the truth of the Golden Rule to enter your daily activities, you will worship the premise as you simultaneously defile it.

There has to be an application for the cleansing power of “love your neighbor.” This is found in John the 8th Chapter, verse 15. Jesus makes a simple statement.

He says, “You judge according to the flesh. I judge no man.”

We do become different people when we realize that “loving our neighbor as ourself” is the survival mode for human interaction, and that the only way to apply it is to never judge anyone.

You may feel an inclination towards a lifestyle, a genetic predisposition, or have just developed habits which seem to cling to you like feathers in the wind, but you can still be completely reborn by realizing that loving your neighbor is refusing to participate in any judgment about him or her.

Are you ready for some truth?

  • Jesus did not believe in adultery, but he forgave an adulterous woman.
  • At no point in the Gospels will you find a situation when Jesus supported gay marriage, yet I guarantee you–he would never condemn a homosexual.
  • It would be difficult to make a case for Jesus being pro-choice, but it would be equally as difficult to think that he would forbid a woman the right to choose.

I am often confused why we think it is necessary to hold a conviction and then force others to comply.

For instance, I do not like alcohol and never have. Yet I would be completely against Prohibition.

I think smoking marijuana is granting yourself a license to be inept in the name of recreational drugs, but by the same nature, I think it’s wrong to condemn and incarcerate those who want to puff.

An obvious way we can all change is to admit that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the essential chemical compound of life, but the only way to take that rule to school is to refuse to judge anyone.

It is never all right, and certainly is never God-ordained.

Even though the Apostle Paul had his experience on the road to Damascus, by the time he got on the road to Corinth, he had somewhat turned back into an officious, overly opinionated Pharisee.

But there is one thing he never lost: the realization that we are to love one another … which means expressing mercy instead of judgment.

 

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