Good News and Better News … March 5th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A Jesus mask: Putting the face of Jesus on things we have decided are nice, easy, positive or comfortable.

In doing this, we attempt to transform the Gospel into a social message which is palatable for our chosen lifestyle, never really asking ourselves if it has a universal flavor.

Honestly, I almost didn’t write about this today–there are so many examples that I didn’t know how to isolate them off to the number of paragraphs you would be willing to read–but I trust that you might be willing to do some investigation on your own. So let’s look at three of the masks:

1. If you work real hard, you can get whatever you want.

You hear this on every talk show. During the Olympics it became a mantra. The variations, like “dream big, get big” pepper the common dialogue of the average day.

We put Jesus’ face on it. We decide it sounds like Jesus. But Jesus spoke a startling phrase: “To those who have, more shall be given, and to those who have not, even the little they have will be taken away from them.”

2. Giving to the poor is the highest form of charity.

It makes for a great nightly news story–some individual or organization passing sandwiches out to the homeless, complete with a hygiene kit of toothbrush, toothpaste and a small washcloth.

We’re moved to tears. We put a Jesus mask on it.

But Jesus said “the poor you have with you always.” They’re not going to go away. “Do for them what you can” but don’t make it an all-encompassing mission.

Poverty is more than a lack of things. It is often a lack of understanding.

3. God has a wonderful plan for your life.

Now we’re really crying, because even though we’re going through these huge problems, in the long run God will pluck us out of our pain and place us on higher ground. Unfortunately, although we put the Jesus mask onto this concept, his message was quite different.

Jesus said, “Except ye repent, you will perish.” In other words, ladies and gentlemen, you are in the middle of an evolving situation and an evolving planet, so you’d better evolve or you will dissolve.

Jesus is not against positive thinking. Jesus just wants us to understand that thinking good thoughts and clinging to them by faith is not the same as “letting your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify the Father in heaven.”

The good news is that the Gospel is meant for humans.

The better news is, the Gospel makes us better, not things better.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … December 31st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Woman: Alluring. Yes, I think that’s what she said.

 

Man: What are you talking about?

 

Woman: I was listening to this girl on a talk show say that she felt it was very important to her, as a female, to be alluring.

 

Man: What’s wrong with that? Everyone wants to be attractive.

 

Woman: You see, it’s not the same word. She said “alluring.” You said “attractive.”

 

Man: Aren’t they the same thing?

 

Woman: Not at all. You can be attractive in your own mind’s eye without ever being appealing to anyone else. Alluring is when you visually seduce someone–to want you.

 

Man: That’s a stretch. I want to be considered handsome.

 

Woman: But you see, I need to be pretty. Handsome has a thousand definitions. But pretty has two or three representations.

 

Man: OK. I’ll bite. What are you getting at?

 

Woman: There are different words used to describe the attributes of a woman than those of a man. For instance, men are considered intelligent. But a woman is smart. Intelligence connotes that you’ve studied, worked on something and have used your ability to become well versed on a subject. Smart is more like a fluke. In other words, most women are not very intelligent–but this particular one–she’s smart.

 

Man: I think you’re just being over-sensitive.

 

Woman: How about this? A woman is strong but a man is brave. In other words, here’s a lady who by some miracle has great strength, but this man over here has used his moxy to do some outstanding deed.

 

Man: I suppose you have others?

 

Woman: Yeah. Women are faithful but men are loyal. In other words, is it even possible for a man to be faithful? Or can all a woman expect is a certain degree of loyalty? Let me give you another one. Women are hopeful. Men are positive. Hopeful, maybe. because we have less opportunity? Positive because the ball’s always in your court–it’s just a matter of you keeping the right mindset?

 

Man: Much as I hate to admit it, I do kind of understand what you’re saying. Can I do one? Men are virile. Women are sexy. In other words, as a man, I have a natural animal appeal, whereas a woman has to work really hard to make herself pleasing to the male of the species.

 

Woman: Even the terms “masculine” and “feminine.” Just by the feel of the words, we’re led to believe that masculine portrays great energy and feminine is a position of being more submissive.

 

Man: So what is your point?

 

Woman: My point is that the language works against us. It stacks the deck–making women believe that unless we are alluring we can’t be attractive. In other words, our self-esteem is wrapped up in whether a man has visions of having sex with us. If a woman said that about a man, we’d call her a slut. But men have no problem portraying that a woman needs to be ready to be a lover to be considered viable.

 

Man: Well, how would you change that?

 

Woman: I don’t know, but I think we made a giant step here. You’ve listened to my statements about it without becoming infuriated. That’s pretty special.

 

Man: I understand that. I comprehend the expectations that are placed on me as a male, and also those that are thrust on you as a female.

 

Woman: It’s just that our male-dominated society needs to realize that until things stop being thrust on women, the world will be a little akilter.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … February 13th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: I was reading something on the Internet…

 

Dear Woman: Uh-oh. That can be a real bear trap.

 

Dear Man: No kidding. Because there’s no way to “vet” articles on the Internet, I don’t know whether to believe them or ignore them–simply because they’re on that medium. But anyway, it was written by this guy who said it was just natural, in the evolution of our species, that men are meant to be the head of the house and women are supposed to be submissive.

 

Dear Woman: I hate that word.

 

Dear Man: Submissive?

 

Dear Woman: Yeah. It’s got all sorts of negative implications to me.

 

Dear Man: I agree. But submitting to wisdom, goodness, kindness, knowledge and progress is a good thing.

 

Dear Woman: Yeah, but that’s not what they mean by submission. Their definition of submission is that if someone has a penis, he’s in charge.

 

Dear Man: And the vagina is supposed to give in to the wishes of the ruling penis.

 

Dear Woman: This conversation’s getting weird.

 

Dear Man: It is, isn’t it? Is it because of the words we’re using, or because the idea of submission is basically inhuman?

 

Dear Woman: I don’t think it’s inhuman. There are times I need to submit. There are times I need to submit to women.

 

Dear Man: But the word is so ugly.

 

Dear Woman: Yeah, it’s half of the problem in my opinion.

 

Dear Man: What’s the other half?

 

Dear Woman: Oh, the way they say, in this snarky voice, “Women are smarter than men.”

 

Dear Man: Maybe we’ve found the problem. You’ve got two sides of the same coin. You’ve got some men who want women to submit to them no matter what, and some women who want to be dominant by insisting they’re smarter.

 

Dear Woman: I think that is the problem. I hate both of those thoughts. Why can’t we be just be logical about it?

 

Dear Man: Logical in what way?

 

Dear Woman: Try this on. Sometimes you know more than I do and it’s okay. It’s okay that you know more, and it’s not the end of the world that in this particular instance, I know less.

 

Dear Man: Sometimes you know more, and it’s still okay. I don’t have to fall into a giant vat of gooey glue with all the females of the species, and appear to be weak simply because in one situation, I don’t know as much.

 

Dear Woman: Let me go on. Then there’s you and me. Sometimes together we know nothing, and that’s okay if we admit it.

 

Dear Man: That means we are looking for something to be submissive to.

 

Dear Woman: I never thought of it that way, but it is true. Knowing nothing is a positive position if you’re aware of it and you’re looking for input.

 

Dear Man: Can I conclude with this? That means that every single day of our lives, we know that there are people who are smarter than we are, and that ends up being the best okay–because we can tap their wisdom and get the benefit.

 

Dear Woman: So sometimes you have the edge and I submit to you.

 

Dear Man: Likewise, sometimes you are ahead of the game and I submit your way.

 

Dear Woman: And it’s possible for both of us to be ignorant and we’re searching for a place to submit.

 

Dear Man: Which means we have to be willing to acknowledge that there are smarter people.

 

Dear Woman: And it doesn’t matter if they’re male or female–just that in this given situation, they have what’s needed.

 

Dear Man: Do you think we could sell that?

 

Dear Woman: Well, let’s be honest. Somebody had to come along and sell people on the idea that men were intended to be the head of the household…

 

Dear Man: …and that women are smarter than men.

 

Dear Woman: Neither idea is true.

 

Dear Man: So I think we’ve got a shot at convincing people that we submit to each other … based upon who has the best insight. 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … December 19th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Man,

I’m tired of being afraid.

I hate fear. It is so uncontrollably fearful.

I’m afraid of being weak and I’m also afraid of not being weak enough to fit in.

Or maybe it’s that I’m tired. Yes, I’m tired of being the weaker sex. How can you call someone the weaker anything and contend it’s not an insult? In what sense is weakness ever a positive? It is one thing and one thing only: weak.

It enables you to relegate me to positions for easy manipulation. I despise it. And then if manipulation doesn’t work, you can become abusive. And since I’m weak, I’m supposed to fall under the spell of your aggression.

I’m supposed to believe that if I have an opinion, it’s a complaint. If I have a complaint, it’s a bitch.

If I have a bitch, it’s an insult to your manhood. And if I insult your manhood, I’m a lousy woman.

How can you define being a woman by how well men think you act your role?

 

Dear Woman:

Don’t you think I’m afraid, too? I’m afraid of failing to be strong.

Who in the hell would I be if I’m not strong? I would risk being a pussy, right? Which simultaneously, by the way, insults you because it attributes weakness to being female.

So I’m supposed to figure out on my own what it means to be strong. Forgive me for assuming that would entail getting rid of anything that resembles weakness–feelings, tears, sensitivity, attention span…should I go on?

So to be a man, in a way I’m told to be a jerk to a woman. And from what you’re telling me, I further complicate your life by treating you as weak so I will appear stronger.

 

Dear Man,

You don’t understand. I don’t want you to work this out for me. I don’t want you to adapt to my fear and my fatigue.

I want to find a way to discover why we share so much in common, yet are taught that we’re so different.

 

Dear Woman:

Aren’t we different? Isn’t that supposed to be the allure of our attraction?

 

Dear Man:

I hope not, because quite honestly, it’s driving me nuts.

The things you think make you strong actually repel me, and then I resent the fact that I’m supposed to be attracted to what I find repulsive.

 

Dear Woman:

Repulsive, huh? Am I supposed to hear that without thinking you’re a bitch?

 

Dear Man:

Am I supposed to feel it without saying it?

 

 

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Jesonian: Belly-Aching … May 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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belly acheHe said, “Everybody understands the problems. There’s no need to keep talking about them. We should stop belly-aching.”

He is a minister of the Gospel.

Over the years he has convinced himself that he prefers the “more positive” teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and wishes to focus on them in order to build a congregation of believers who think good thoughts and don’t generate any negative energy toward the world around them.

Here’s the problem: injustice will never leave as long as it’s making a profit. So it’s up to the prophets to chase injustice away through pointing out its hypocrisy and deceit.

Even though Jesus is portrayed by many churches as a combination of Gandhi and a hippie attending Woodstock, the young Nazarene actually has quite an edge.

Especially as he reached the end of his Earth journey, he began to spout off profusely against the excesses of religion, the selfishness of systems and the indifference of leadership.

There are three chapters in a row–Matthew 23, 24 and 25–where he exhibits his own form of belly-aching. Because you see, belly-aching occurs when you consume something that doesn’t agree with you, and is only relieved when you dispel the thing with which you do not agree.

Understanding that most of you may not want to read the three chapters, if you will allow me, I’ll summarize:

In Matthew 23, Jesus viciously attacks the scribes, Pharisees and lawyers who used their position to extort wealth while doing nothing to relieve the burdens of the people around them. He claims that they cared more for their traditions than they did for the human beings placed in their charge.

So because of their iniquity, in Matthew 24 he informs them that the Romans would come and dismantle their entire hierarchy and destroy their city.

To further reiterate the necessity for repentance, he tells a series of parables in Matthew 25 about a Judgement Day in which God, our Father and Creator, will expect us to deliver evidence of our faith and victory during our human escapade.

The three chapters are full of complaint, warnings, admonitions and some downright insults.

We forgive this belly-aching because the prophesy came true and we understand that the message Jesus preached survives today. To determine whether we are just purveyors of doom and gloom or messengers of hope, we have to keep three things in mind:

1. Never do anything to hurt people, but also do not permit anything to happen that is hurting people.

2. Never offer a warning without giving an olive branch of hope. Nothing is over until God says it is.

3. Always note progress–even if it’s a little–and appreciate it when you see movement toward sanity.

So am I a belly-acher?

If I run across ideas which historically have been proven to be foolish, and I see injustice which is cheating people out of the value of their human lives, or if I come across greed which is suffocating the life out of the needy, I will speak out, using every bit of cleverness, comedy and even cunning that I can muster.

Because without doing this, we become part of a third clump … the ones who stood by and watched the oppressor oppress the helpless.

 

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G-9: Easy or Ease… January 31, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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atlas bigMay we take a moment to sum up the human condition?

The gravity of our situation adds weight and pressure to our lives, creating burden. Feeling this added weight, we tend to gyrate to situations where we can float along and be buoyant. Unfortunately, because this climate is not where we really desire to be or in correlation with our calling, we stagnate, which lends itself to feelings of disappointment.

So even though the added gravity of an environment that questions us may occasionally make us feel defeated, trying to stay in an “easy” climate that does not cause us to grow produces disappointment, which degrades itself to depression.

Sooner or later we must understand that we are not meant to be buoyant. We are not intended to be creatures who merely bob up and down, moving with the flow of the world around us.

  • We have legs.
  • We have a backbone.
  • We are not fish.

We are supposed to endure the gravity of life, but somehow find a way to ease the tribulation and be of good cheer.

Yes, there is a difference between easy and ease, and in finding that distinction, you discover one of the key secrets of human life.

The main thing that has to be conquered is despair. Easy does not defeat it, nor does throwing a fit over your inadequacy scare the dark clouds away. We must find a way to ease the gravity of our situation.

Where do we start?

  1. Being too positive makes you ill-prepared for the realities that will come your way.  1a. Think yes, prepare for no.
  2. Being too negative encompasses your time, which could be better spent in planning and learning. 2a.Consider no; prepare for yes.
  3. Being practical is the art of balancing what you have with what might happen. 3a. Ignore yes and no; focus on the details.
  4. Knowing that surprises are inevitable, it’s a good idea not to take too much time acting surprised. 4a. Difficulty is common to all human beings.
  5. Set small goals so achievement is possible daily. 5a. The blessings and trials of life are delivered with each morning’s portion.

To choose an easy path is to quickly make yourself extinct in your own evolution. To ease the path, you have to consider the factors–every movement is countered by a movement from another direction.

Being aware of that grants you the advantage of not needing to fall into a pit of despair, but rather, pulling up short of the edge, gaining your footing … and living to think and work another day.

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Tulip Tip-Toeing… January 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Adam tulipsGod, sex, food and money: the four subjects which intersect every human life nearly every day.

Since they are so prevalent, it might be a good idea to determine our approach instead of trying to tip-toe around the issues so as not to bruise the “flowery statements.”

The reason I mention this is that most people try to apply some form of worship to this quartet of adventures. They, of course, feel it is necessary to worship God, who they believe tells them to revere sex and offer great gratitude for bounty over food, and they believe that all finance is divinely distributed.

The trouble is, if you worship these four hallmarks of tradition, you never grasp their value or acquire the skill to maneuver your way among the many possibilities and drawbacks.

It’s why, in the Good Book, Jesus said that all worship should be “in spirit and truth”–spirit in the sense that “I believe there is something greater than me,” and truth in that it is my responsibility to find a practical way to apply what I discover in my daily life.

So worship is looking skyward and walking earthly.

  • So the worship of God is that I honor my Creator by recognizing the systems, ideas and goals He has presented, to make this whole process work.
  • When it comes to sex, I find spirit by understanding how amazing and magnificent it is, but then, instead of boasting or pretending, I find where this gift fits into my life in the most positive sense.
  • Likewise with food–I don’t understand how wheat grows, but it is my job to ascertain if I need to be “gluten-free.”
  • And money, one of the more elusive aspects of most people’s lives, is available to the souls who cease lusting for it, but instead find a way to romance it their way.

We’re doing too much tulip tip-toeing because we’re afraid of messing up the garden.

As a result, God has become religious, sex has become dirty, food has become dangerous and money has become greed.

We can do better than this.

Start today:

  1. I worship God by believing He’s my Creator, but finding a way to be creative myself.
  2. I worship sex by realizing how truly amazing it is and finding someone I love to share it with in the greatest format of intimacy.
  3. I worship food by finding those nutrients that make my body feel outstanding.
  4. And I worship money by determining that it is a by-product of effort and good budgeting, and by having respect for the power of giving.

I, for one, would like to stop tip-toeing through the tulips, but instead, like Adam and Eve, walk boldly through the Garden … knowing that I am meant to be there.

 

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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