The P Word … May 21st, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Today I have two words. Each one individually could fit our category, but together, they become a negative fiasco. So the P word—or words, in this case:

Political Pundit

I hope you can see my point.

Politics, as a whole, rather than being a launching pad for the discovery of truth, has become a rocket jettisoned into the landscape of reasonability.

And a pundit is someone who already has decided, and makes the circumstances fit the philosophy, and the questions conform to stump answers.

Let me further unpeel the onion of nonsense by stating that a conservative approach to life is incapable of providing all the answers.

Likewise, as we take off the rose-colored glasses, let us admit that being liberal doesn’t always honor the kind of hindsight essential to balancing power.

So since both suffer from inadequacy, a little humility might be in order with the body politic—and certainly, the absence of anyone who becomes a champion for one thinking.

Alas, we don’t do it that way. Instead, once we decide on our political position, we become pundits of the party line. This has degraded our national dialogue down to hurling grenades of insults.

We are crazed.

Until we stop accepting politics and funding pundits, we will be a nation under the control of whoever can fund the most outlandish plans and suit up the prettiest announcers.

Political pundits: two words that need to be removed from our lingo.

We don’t need politics.

Just get the facts and make decisions based upon our Constitution and the convictions of our national soul.

We don’t need pundits.

Because once we discover what direction we’re going—whether conservative or liberal—what we are looking to achieve is unity, not dissent.


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1 Thing You Can Do This Week (If You Want to Be Noticed)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

(If You Want to Be Noticed)

Be unpredictable.

That doesn’t mean being more annoying, more religious, more political or more obtuse. It means do the things that prove that your introspection is beginning to show in your outer world.

For instance:

1. Observe good stuff and report it.

2. Help someone you usually criticize.

3. Don’t talk Jesus, be Jesus.

The world will welcome the unpredictable if it sets in motion predicting better things.

 

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Salient…July 30th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Anita Bryant.

I would guess, to my average reader, the name neither rings a bell nor stimulates any particular memory.

But back in 1977 (when a few determined dinosaurs still roamed the Earth), Anita Bryant was voted “The Most Trusted Woman in America.”

She was a former Miss America contestant who had a singing career and was well-known as the pitch person for Florida orange juice.

She was vibrant.

She was youthful.

And she was, as we gradually discovered, quite political.

For you see, when the Fort Lauderdale City Council passed an ordinance removing all limitations on lodging and civil considerations for the homosexual community, Anita objected.

And we’re not talking about an op-ed letter to the newspaper. She hit the streets, held rallies, and turned a local situation into a national debate over the issue of whether people who pursued a homosexual lifestyle should be granted all of their civil liberties.

She was in demand. Her performances were packed. She did interviews on all the Christian talk shows, and even one for Playboy Magazine. She was America’s sweetheart.

For you see, at that time in our country, the jury was not only out on the gay community, but was leaning toward the “rejection penalty.”

It was popular to be anti-gay.

It was considered patriotic to be against them.

As we arrived in the 1980s, and the horrific AIDS epidemic spread across the land, those who believed homosexuality to be an abomination to God also whispered that perhaps this new virus was the Almighty’s punishment.

Things changed.

Suddenly a little boy in Indiana got AIDS from a blood transfusion–and it was no longer merely an infection of the flaming queens. Ryan White, with his generous spirit, refused to believe that his particular AIDS was any different from the AIDS contracted by those in San Francisco.

He was humble, he was non-judgmental, and he was strong until the day he died.

He made those who condemned their brothers and sisters look foolish–especially Anita Bryant.

She is still alive, but unfortunately, her name is equated with intolerance instead of righteousness–or orange juice, for that matter.

An interesting fact that you may want to tuck away in your memory: lepers are remembered more favorably than Pharisees.

So here is your salient moment:

You can’t defend God or morality by attacking behavior and hurting people.

 

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G-Poppers … May 11th, 2018

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G-Pop wants his children to know that there’s nothing terribly mysterious about the mystery of human relationships.

Basically, if you’re willing to show up without arrogance, some awareness of what’s going on, minus a personal agenda, then those who are like you–the human sort–will normally give you a chance to co-mingle.

Yes, it’s really that easy.

But we continue to stumble around acting like we’re a complicated traffic jam of cultures with deep-rooted traditions, making it difficult for us to include anyone else.

But if any of G-Pop’s children are curious, here’s a simple way of understanding how to get along with other people:

1. Find what is of interest.

Yes, topics come and topics go. There are times that subject matters are very important, and other occasions when they aren’t.

For instance, if you’re religious, no one is going to be interested in the story of a 3,000-year-old dead person. Faith must be for today.

If you’re political, what your candidate may decide to do with an endangered species in the Yukon probably won’t be as pertinent as tax reform.

It is necessary to stay current with what is of interest. Case in point: if there are seventeen people killed at a school, it is not the time to discuss gun rights. Likewise, if the Second Amendment is being threatened, it is not a good time to pander pictures of dead children.

Find what is of interest.

2. Be interested.

That means you might need to yank your gaze away from your iPhone. It may be necessary to listen and learn before leaping in to recite something you read on the Internet. You certainly should make eye contact with the speaker and turn your body in the direction of the conversation. Be interested.

3. And then suddenly, you are interesting.

No one will find you interesting if you do not know what is of interest, and have established that you’re interested. Conceit is locking in on your own devotion.

Truthfully, spirituality, which should be pushing us forward in our generosity of spirit, often clings to pillars in the past, unwilling to move and therefore ends up perceived ignorant.

And politics, which should be looking toward the daily bread of problems, is of little use if it is only rallying behind ancient, half-baked causes.

G-Pop wants his children to know that if they want to be successful with others, they should find what is of general interest, be interested and in doing so, become interesting souls themselves.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … November 12th, 2016

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: Checks and balances.

 

Woman: What about them?

 

Man: They’re crap.

 

Woman: What an un-American thing to say.

 

Man: It’s not un-American to find a flaw in the system. You can still honor the traditions of our republic.

 

Woman: OK. I’ll buy into it. What makes them crap?

 

Man: Too many checks to create balance. We base this whole political organization of our government on the mindset of men who were frightened to death of kings and courts, and highly suspicious of each other.

 

Woman: Why were they suspicious?

 

Man: Because each colony was an entity unto itself. The idea of being united was tenuous, if not comical. So they put so many provisions into the Constitution to protect themselves that the government struggles to make any progress for the common good.

 

Woman: We have made a lot of progress in America.

 

Man: Have we? It took one hundred years after the Declaration of Independence to free the slaves. It took another hundred years to give those same people voting rights. And it appears like it’s going to take a hundred MORE years to start treating them like they’re white.

 

Woman: Oh, you’re just mad because Hillary lost.

 

Man: Speaking of that, how could a woman of your intelligence vote for Donald Trump?

 

Woman: Because I didn’t want the Clintons in the White House again, and even though I know there’s some chauvinism involved with President Trump, I’ve dealt with chauvinism all my life. I was just not certain that Hillary would be President instead of Bill.

 

Man: Well, I’m not gonna argue with you. I’m just explaining to you that this process of checks and balances in this country–where the President can only do certain things because Congress interferes and the Supreme Court comes along and overrules everything–well, the idea is overly cautious and clumsy. Let me give you another example. It took a hundred and forty years for our country to give the right to vote to women, and another hundred years before a female was even considered for President. God knows how long it will take for a lady to hold the position.

 

Woman: So what are you suggesting?

 

Man: I’m suggesting we choose our leadership more carefully instead of making it like a high school popularity contest, so that they are evaluated and hired similarly to the way people get jobs in the private sector–because they are qualified and experienced, not based stubbornness and how pretty they are.

 

Woman: But you do want to give people the right to vote, right?

 

Man: Absolutely. But let’s understand. The two candidates who ran for President this year should have been evaluated on their resumés instead of their stamina and determination.

 

Woman: And what would have happened?

 

Man: I don’t know. It’s just that the President of the United States should be the CEO of this great corporation instead of being at the mercy of the partisan inclinations of a Congress which is working harder to get elected than they are at passing laws to benefit the citizens.

 

Woman: How about the Supreme Court?

 

Man: I would like to know what nine people we know of who have the wisdom to overturn the Congress and the President.

 

Woman: So what do you suggest?

 

Man: Less checks will bring more balance. People have to have jobs. You can’t tell the President that he or she is the leader of the country and undercut him or her right and left with the priorities of some junior congressman from North Dakota.

 

Woman: But it’s worked for all these years.

 

Man: Has it? Some of the best programs in our country came through the inclinations of a single person who we chose to be our leader. The Emancipation Proclamation was Lincoln’s baby. Social Security was spawned by FDR. The United Nations was originally conceived by Woodrow Wilson. And much of the War on Poverty was the hope child of LBJ.

Woman: I see your point. So how will this work?

 

Man: Well, honestly, I’m curious about the Presidency of Donald Trump. Will we accidentally stumble into some more realistic ways to open the door to good legislation because we have disrupted the normal passing of the torch from one old politician to another old politician?

 

Woman: Interesting. What you’re saying is, there was a need for this particular interruption because we have stymied the country with gridlock with the two parties. We’ve actually endangered the well-being of the people the government was meant to serve.

 

Man: I think so. There are three major problems that need to be changed. We’ve got too much culture. We have to decide if we really are “one nation under God.” Number two, the gender bias is killing us. Having an ongoing conflict between men and women never gives us a moment’s peace. And third, we certainly need to cease the class warfare–the poor against the rich and the rich against the poor.

 

Woman: That’s a tall order.

 

Man: Yes, but if we don’t take on the tall order, we’re going to greatly suffer under the short-comings.

 

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Ask Jonathots… June 23rd, 2016

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In this political season, I find myself thinking about the issue of lying. We point fingers–but at the same time, accept the notion that “all politicians lie.” And I must admit, I’ve told my share of whoppers. So what is the truth about lying? Is it possible to live life without doing it?

Telling the truth is not a virtue.

It’s not like giving to the poor, sacrificing one’s life for your country or even rescuing baby seals from the Canadians.

Telling the truth is an issue of survival. It is essential to accomplishing our goals.

So is the truth built into the natural order?

Yes. Because when the truth is not told, there is no way to adequately proceed with our lives–the premise we’re basing everything on is sand instead of rock.

In other words, someone might turn to me and say, “Do you think you can drive to Albuquerque by next Thursday?”

If my immediate response is yes, without checking the mileage, then I easily make myself a liar when Thursday rolls around and I have not arrived in Albuquerque.

It may sound noble to ask people to tell the truth. But every human being wants to look like he or she is at the top of their game–always putting their best foot forward. This nurtures lying.

The best way to escape lying is to learn the majesty of three responses:

1. I don’t know.

You can avoid about 50% of your lying by being willing to admit that you don’t know. With the availability of the Internet, “I don’t know” does not mean you will remain ignorant. It just means you are not going to lie.

2. I’ve never done it before.

A good portion of our lying is in the arena of the false promotion of our efforts and background. If you’ve never done it before, that does not mean you don’t get to do it now–it just means that those who are asking you to participate should be aware that they are dealing with a novice.

3. I’m not so sure this is something I like.

Politeness contributes to a huge portion of the lying that goes on. If something doesn’t ring your bell, you need to let people know before your bell is “ringless.” This kind of candor will free you of many ridiculous commitments, which you will end up pursuing begrudgingly.

So the first fruits of the truth is to acquire these three intelligent answers.

In doing so, you buy yourself time to learn, consider and be motivated toward enthusiasm.

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Good News and Better News … June 6th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Cassius and Martinsburg composite

On February 25th, 1964, I was twelve years old when Cassius Clay totally surprised the boxing world by destroying Sonny Liston in Miami Beach.

It had been an interesting ninety days. Within three months, John Kennedy had been assassinated, the Beatles appeared multiple times on the Ed Sullivan Show, and now a 22-year-old black fellow was ranting and raving about his greatness.

My home town hated all three.

I was told that John Kennedy was a philanderer, the Beatles were communists and Cassius was an uppity colored man.

It got worse when Mr. Clay chose to change his name to Muhammad Ali, becoming a foreign, dangerous infidel.

I was in my twenties before I felt the freedom to think for myself and develop new opinions about JFK, the Fab Four and Ali.

I was thinking about this very thing in my green room yesterday at the Otterbein United Methodist Church in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Muhammad Ali was cursed, threatened with prison and had his title removed because he refused to fight in the Viet Nam War. Why? Because at the time it seemed important to do so.

But we were wrong. We were wrong about him, we were wrong about Viet Nam, we were confused about the Beatles, and Kennedy certainly had some moments of brilliance.

You see, it’s not a political issue and it’s not a spiritual issue. It all comes down to deciding whether to live a life where you complain or an existence where you create.

Because complaining people don’t create, and creative people don’t complain.

My heart’s desire yesterday, as I sat in front of the audience and shared my journey, music and insights, was to communicate that simple thought–complain or create?

Because even though Muhammad Ali was condemned by society, his consecration to his causes has endured the test of time. Matter of fact, the southern city of Louisville, Kentucky has tributes to him all over the metroplex. Isn’t that amazing?

You see, it’s simple.

The good news is that if you stop complaining, you start to learn. And the first thing you learn is that the more you create, the less you need to complain.

The better news is that there were a handful of folks in Martinsburg who got the message.

Others will be driven down the streets named after the men they once condemned–on their way to the graveyard.

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