Populie: It’s a Free Country … May 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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it's a free country

POPULIE: an idea that is so popular that we feel there’s room to stuff in a lie or two to plump up the concept.

Freedom is a wonderful expression but the notion that we’re all free to do whatever we want, based on our whim or citizenship, takes a precept and turns it into a populie. America is not a land of freedom–it is a community of diversity, grounded in liberty.

First and foremost, we have to understand that religion, politics and entertainment, once again, love the populie.

Politics extols the virtue of “it’s a free country” to promote planks in its platform which may historically be proven to be erred, but for the time being, gain applause from the crowd and votes on election day. Remember, politics doesn’t care about posterity–just the temporary tally.

Entertainment, of course, wants to advertise the notion of abstract freedom because then really trashy ideas or short-sighted philosophies can be inserted into movies, music and television and presented as reality, under the guise of free expression.

And religion screams of the glories of the First Amendment when insisting that there is a need to alienate some faction or movement from their ranks due to its absence of reverence.

But actually, the word “freedom” needs to be replaced with “liberty”–and there is a great phrase in the Good Book, which states, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

In other words, if you’re going to do anything in the name of God, make sure you grant the human race liberty.

What is liberty?

Liberty does not require that I give permission, or even approval, of what is done. It is the offering of choice–as long as that decision doesn’t rob choice from another.

When you place that definition on our current social environment, much clarity comes to the forefront. I am not trying to tell you that I’ve discovered the Rosetta Stone for Earth’s peace and harmony. There are many complicated discussions which will ensue on a myriad of topics, but in a nation that allows for diversity, but also still pursues righteousness, you can account for both by opening the door to liberty.

For instance, I don’t believe in abortion. But I do believe in choice.

The pro-life people would find that wishy-washy. My response? If you really think it’s wrong to kill babies, then help advertise birth control, personal control and open up more adoption centers. You do not have the right to steal the liberty of choice from your fellow-citizens.

To those who are pro-choice, who would be angry with me because I disapprove of the procedure and therefore cast a dim light on ladies who pursue it, I would say, “You can’t have it both ways.” Most people don’t advertise their abortion on Facebook. There is a stigma to it. It is a needful hesitation, giving respect to life. If a woman chooses that path, she should be granted the liberty, but it does not require my rubber-stamp.

I feel the same thing about marijuana. I don’t like it. It doesn’t meet my specifications for quality or even inclusion, but if marijuana wants to come in as a choice for people in our country, and fall under the same scrutiny as all other smoke products–in other words, being forbidden in public places, never sold to children and studied continuously for its health difficulties–then so be it.

I feel our country becomes much simpler when we allow for debate, we arrive at liberty, we provide choice, but we guide the results in the direction of a common good instead of cheering on the noisy rabble.

It is not a free country–it is a country of liberty.

And liberty requires that we offer one another choice … while allowing others to have an equal amount of choosing.

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After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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Crazy Larry… February 24, 2013

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Living a Legendary LifeI think it was about eight years ago. I had begun to write screenplays for independent movies, was composing some symphonic works for a regional orchestra, was working on a couple of novels and traveling across the country doing my presentation in churches.

It was an excitingly varied life, which brought one piece of information to the forefront of my mind: everyone is basically looking for a central mission in their journey, but are often reluctant to name that yearning by using one of the conventional terms for God or spirituality.

I found that both intriguing and comical. The thought in my mind is, once you find out where faith has its nexus, the name you come up with for this precious sense of peace of mind is not nearly as important as remaining passionate and fervent.

So I wrote a book called Living a Legendary Life, and in a very tongue-in-cheek style I proposed that rather than fighting over religious vernacular, we should just go ahead and call God–Larry.

I thought it was quite funny. I wasn’t actually suggesting that we start the First Church of Larry or the Holy Order of Larry. What I failed to realize was that I was trying to be humorous, off-the-cuff and clever in a world that does not particularly favor those presentations.

I immediately ran into the conservatives and the liberals. The conservatives were upset because I suggested that the name of the Divine God of the Universe was one of the Three Stooges. The liberals, on the other hand, were dismayed because I portrayed a God named Larry (which they didn’t have much problem with) but that this Deity expected people to be involved in their own lives and not cop out on their responsibilities.

Little did I know that I had placed myself directly in the center between these two houses of philosophy, and was in danger of being shot by both sides.

It made me think of the words of Larry’s son, Jesus, who once noted that he was very happy that truth is “hidden from the wise and prudent.” The wise consist of those more liberal individuals, who contend that they’re more intellectual and scientific than their backwoods brethren. And the prudent are the conservatives, who think the only way to be acceptable is to retreat into former times, when everything was supposedly just hunky-dory, and you could actually say “hunky-dory.”

This experience has not deterred my effort to maintain an autonomy from both camps. The wise are too smart to learn and the prudent are too careful to be blessed.

So both of them thought my idea was a rather “crazy Larry” concept–and my satire escaped them. But for those who are not bound by the restrictions of either world, who still believe that God loves us all, and keep good cheer in their lives because it is their favorite survival tool, my writings are still appreciated–and even occasionally comprehended.

After all, faith needs two very important parts: (1) it needs function. It’s got to be practical enough to be of some earthly good. (2) And it requires fervor. If it doesn’t energize you, it is a faith without works … which is dead on arrival..

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