Sit Down Comedy … October 18th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

“Love your enemies.” A peculiar idea.

First, how does that happen? If you’re really a lover, how do you make enemies? Do some people just hate to be loved—therefore they have to hate you because you’re the one who loved them?

Or is it that you fail to love your neighbors, and in the meantime, they turn into enemies, so now you’ve got a real problem.

How can you love your enemies? Doesn’t the word “enemy” connote some sort of conflict?

Does Jesus love Satan? They’re enemies.

Does Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi love Donald Trump? They’re enemies.

There seems to be a prerequisite of a certain amount of disfavor, if not hate, in levying the word “enemy” onto someone else.

So what’s the purpose of the love? Are we speaking figuratively, as in, “compared to the amount of dislike we could muster, we sure seem loving in our discretion?”

Or is it that condescending “love your enemy,” like they do with gay people?

“I love the sinner, but I hate the sin.” How does one do that?

For this to work, the sinner would have to believe he or she is sinning, rather than following a sexual orientation. Any way you look at it, it’s hatred.

So how do you love your enemies? Doesn’t it express a weakness that leaves you vulnerable? Someone gets ready to punch you in the face, and you say, “Listen—I love you.”

Do we think it’s a deterrent?

Does “turn the other cheek” spare a cheek from being hit? Or just make you defenseless?

God knows, pessimism is a destructive virus. But likewise, optimism leaves us all gooey and doughy—half-baked.

I don’t know about you—I don’t want platitudes.

I don’t want someone to say, “Love your enemies,” and then if I try it, they chuckle and say, “No—not that way.”

Or, “Come on, kid. You’ve gotta stand up for yourself.” But we’ve been standing up for ourselves for a long time.

Israel stands up for itself in the Middle East. So do the Arabs.

Standing up for oneself is really the formula for a stand-off, isn’t it?

Yet what good does it do to introduce love into a volatile situation?

It seems so ridiculous to people, even those who claim to believe in the Gospel, that they try to ignore it and think of all sorts of ways to hurt one another.

How did I ever get goddamn enemies? Did I think I was loving, but ended up being an asshole? Or did I insist I imitate a loving person while being an asshole? Come on.

Words are useless unless you know what they mean.

When the words “love” and “enemy” occur in the same sentence, I, for one, need more information.

I’d rather not have enemies. Will being a loving person help with that? Now, there’s an idea.

I don’t want to pick a fight. Picking a fight is such a futile process. There’s a chance you’ll win. There’s a chance you’ll lose. But if you win, you still must have some sort of concern toward the person you beat the crap out of. Otherwise, people will think you’re wicked. I guess it’s alright to be hateful as long as you aren’t wicked.

When people say they’ll pray for you, do they? Or is the statement the prayer?

I think maybe the human race could do much better if high-sounding ideas like “love your enemy” were better explained, and really shitty attitudes, like, “every man for himself,” were exposed.

My thought is, if somebody is your enemy and you aren’t able to whoop him, you’d better find a way to get along with him.

And if you think you can whoop everybody, it’s safe to say that you’ll eventually get whooped.

I’m not in the mood for a good whooping—either to give one or to take one.

So I guess the thought is:

Once you find out that someone is pissed at you, control the vibe.

Nurture the energy that flows his or her way, and make sure they have no reason to turn the feud into a vendetta and the vendetta into a war.

 

 

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Three Ways to Know a Change is Needed … March 26, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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John Mayer with guitar

Many people are afraid of change because it risks their dollars.

They’ve grown so accustomed to a procedure which gives them a minimal satisfaction that they’re frightened to move from an unfulfilling position to a new possibility.

The first thing you have to remember is to get rid of the guilt when you find yourself stuck in the mud. Guilt tends to lead us to one of the most unfruitful human profiles: defensive.

Once we’re defensive we put up our walls and become impenetrable. There’s no shame in being stuck in a rut as long as you don’t spin your wheels.

Here is a clue–a change is needed when we either believe that no God is necessary to aid our human development, or that there is no human effort required to aid and assist God.

Either way, you’ve created an extreme which leaves us unfulfilled and basically looking for a way to be nasty to one another.

There are three simple questions to ask when determining whether a change is needed:

1. Have people stopped thinking?

Yes, it is possible to be in an environment where thinking is discouraged or is thought to be sacrilegious because it challenges some holy principle that must be honored without question.

If we don’t allow ourselves the ability to reason together, we start reacting. And when we react, we fall prey to our own moods, instead of the moving of spiritual renewal.

It was one of Jesus’s favorite phrases: “What do you think?”

Without thinking we react–from ideals which may or may not be part of our true conviction.

2. Have people stopped believing?

Our rendition of believing in the religious system, and even our secular corridors, is repeating. We have somehow convinced ourselves that the more we repeat traditional attitudes or platitudes the better off we are and the more we are expressing true faith.

Remember: “Faith without works is dead, being alone.”

In other words, merely repeating what we think should work without seeing the fruit born through our belief is not only futile, but ends up being the true definition of fatalism.

3. Have people stopped feeling?

When we forbid ourselves the ability to let our hearts be involved in our spirituality and let feeling enter into what we believe, we end up with a lifestyle that is just reacting to the stimulus sent our way. That’s not what we’re meant to do.

  • We’re meant to be doers.
  • We’re meant to be people who joyously exhaust ourselves in the adventure of our own pursuit.
  • We are meant to feel.

It is the joy of our faith that gives us strength. Not repetition. Not even love. We require joy–a feeling–to propel us as human beings.

When you live a life that is merely reacting, repeating and reciting, you close the door on true thinking, believing and feeling.

There is a change needed in our lives when we become defensive about our faith. For truly, faith without works is dead, being alone. We need something to point to which is a byproduct of our own spiritual energy to confirm to ourselves that belief in God is viable.

There are no words written by prophets that have the power of a single paragraph of personal testimony. 

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G-2: Big and Small … December 13, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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ballsIn the midst of my great jubilation over the findings in my pursuit of who I am and what I can do, I still feel compelled to stop and ask myself, when does conceit begin and gratitude end?

What opinion rules? Is it mine, or the misgivings of others?

Am I trapped in a game of guessing God‘s will, or placing upon the Divine Father attitudes that are comfortable to me, but not necessarily in the spectrum of His vision?

Is is possible that my “big” is really “small?”

Or maybe that I’ve underestimated my “small” and it’s truly “big?”

Am I stuck in a quicksand that has me sinking with indecision instead of escaping to walk on firm ground?

Can I salve my ego with platitudes or rationalization?

Oh, please God, let me avoid the obvious pitfall of comparing my efforts to those around me, for that is truly planting the rose-colored glasses upon my blinded eyes.

Yet somehow there has to be a standard. Isn’t there girth in accomplishment which should be obvious?

Is the fact that someone else would be overjoyed with my accumulation evidence of my prowess?

What power is there in just being alive? Is a tree that bears no fruit really a tree? Or just a huge stick in the mud?

Who do I compare myself to without becoming lazy or crazy?

May I present three thoughts:

  1. Big is always small without the inclusion of faith.
  2. Small is big if the feelings, dreams and needs of others are honored.
  3. Yet it doesn’t really matter if I am using up what is available instead of saving it for a rainy day.

I will create … even if it’s not perfect.

 

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Stop and Start Traffic … November 21, 2012

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“No thanks.”

Those two words don’t really seem to go together, do they? “No”–which works very hard not to be negative but always ends up part of the nay-saying family; and “thanks”–an expression of gratitude, which always carries some semblance of appreciation. So what is negative appreciation?

Negative appreciation is the infection eating at the soul of our society. (Boy, does that sound strong.) Even though the statement may be a bit overwrought, it’s still true. And as we come into this Thanksgiving season, I am overwhelmed with a sense of awareness that for the average American, going through the gestures of being truly grateful is riddled with many insecurities, misgivings and dare I say, objections. Yet we still feel, at our root, we need to express our awe and wonder. Basically, it becomes nearly impossible to do so when we allow one ugly monster to live inside of us and control our disposition.

Complaining.

As long as we allow an attitude, a spirit or a willingness to complain into our existence, we will never be truly thankful. Because complaining is always the “but” hanging off of the “body” of praise.

  • I am happy, but …
  • I appreciate what you did for me, but…
  • It truly is a beautiful day, but…
  • I love to cook a turkey on Thanksgiving, but…
  • It’s always great to get the family together for the holidays, but…
  • I even enjoy driving in traffic, but…

Somewhere along the line, we have convinced ourselves that we are allowed a disparaging remark to follow our proclamation of joy. Let me give you a definition of complaining:

Complaining is ANY objection to circumstances.

That’s an annoying definition, isn’t it? Some objections are necessary, right? If it’s 1843 and you’re a slave on a plantation in Georgia, objecting–or if you will, complaining about being beaten–would only be logical. But no matter how much basis there may be for your lamentation, it would still be useless, and therefore … just complaining. Because the truth is, you are twenty years away from being set free, and in that twenty years you need to do something with your life other than objecting to your circumstances. Verily, verily, I say unto you, life does not have a suggestion box.

We have given ourselves permission to complain about everything, therefore setting ourselves up to be ignored because often our opinions don’t matter.

I realized in my travels this year that there was still a seed of that disgruntled American spirit in me, which is unfulfilled even in the presence of bounty. I now am walking proof–or maybe limping proof–that bounty can be lessened. Then we have to find a way to survive with our portion.

Complaining is ANY objection to circumstances. It is a waste of time.

It is the fifteen minutes you take setting your GPS when you’re driving five minutes down the road. It’s the extra paragraph you add onto an email sent to your children which you know more than likely will not be read. It is insisting on asking for thirty extra minutes to get dressed for an evening out when the fact is, you’re getting older and becoming prettier is less likely.

Somewhere along the line we have to deal with our circumstances without objecting to them and mollify the world around us by being more intelligent than we are complaining. If we don’t, we never actually feel thankful or grateful–just go through the motions, waiting for an opportunity to point out why something wasn’t exactly “perfect.”

If you want to have a good Thanksgiving this year, stop complaining. Otherwise, you will surface the holiday with platitudes of being conscious of your physical world without ever allowing the true depth of appreciation to reach your heart.

And once you stop complaining, the greatest aid in making that decision stick is to start moving. If something is objectionable, come up with an ingenious plan to move yourself away from it at the earliest possible convenience. Don’t stand in the middle of the fire and wonder why your pants are burning. Don’t sit in the council of the ungodly and lament feeling uninspired. And don’t think you’re going to get around family members who have abandoned many of your ideals and generate a sense of fulfillment and fellowship.

You not only can’t get blood out of a turnip, it is also very difficult to get taste out of one. So stop expecting negative issues to change because of your attitude and instead, start moving away from that which is a deterrent to your peace of mind and cruising in on solutions that satisfy your soul.

I think it’s virtually impossible to be thankful if you don’t stop complaining and start moving. How do we start moving?

1. Decide what you really like.

2 Stop apologizing for liking what you decided.

3. Don’t judge other people’s choices, enjoy your own.

4. Let your happiness be your testimony instead of your complaining becoming your epitaph.

It’s really that simple.

I raised a family. I let them know what I like. Some of them do not share my likes. I love them dearly. I pursue my likes. They can judge for themselves what they feel about it by noting the ecstacy I feel over my pursuits.

Stop objecting to your circumstances and start moving towards environments that make you want to be thankful to the point of gushing to God about His glories. Anything short of that is life with a side order of misery, which only makes you grumpy and unpleasant to be around to those you insist you love the most.

So on Thanksgiving Day, give yourself a wonderful gift. Stop complaining. Don’t object to your circumstances, but instead, start moving toward the things you like without apology, without comment, without fanfare and even without explanation. If you do so, you will end up with a heart that is full of immense appreciation for the goodness of life and the gentleness of your Father, which art in heaven.

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