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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Ask Jonathots… August 11th, 2016

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There’s a lot of terrible things going on in the world lately and I don’t want fear to have control over my decisions. How do I make sure I am moving forward in freedom instead of fear?

Life is a tug of war between action and thinking.

We spend much of our early training fine-tuning our brains to make quality decisions based on knowledge, and therefore, hopefully low-risk adventures.

The difficulty with this approach is that thinking your way out of situations is unlikely. Normally we work our way out.

Human beings become afraid when we convince ourselves there’s nothing we can do and our minds become dumbfounded with anger and helplessness.

One of the things a person of faith is supposed to possess is an understanding that “going the second mile” gives us an activity to perform while we’re waiting for better options.

For after all, none of us are very good at sitting patiently by and waiting for the next bus of opportunity to come our way.

This is why Jesus said to “take no thought.”

If it turns out you can’t change the circumstances around you, thinking about it won’t improve things in the least, but instead, will drain the remaining hope and ability you might possess.

So whenever you run across a situation, you should ask one simple question: What can I do about this?

If the answer is “nothing,” make sure you distance yourself from the quandary and stop musing. But if you get a clear revelation about what you could contribute, insert it quickly and get the good vibrations that come from being involved.

How about an example or two?

Poverty.

You cannot make poor people comfortable all over the world, but you can be generous within your circle. That generosity not only radiates out, encouraging others to be more open-minded, but gives you a sense of completion.

Violence.

There’s probably nothing you can do about gun control in this country, but you certainly can control the amount of animosity and intimidation that you allow to be around you. Once again, you set in motion the possibility of trickling down to others while satisfying your soul’s need to improve matters instead of being afraid of the monsters.

Take action, not thought.

It is the best way in the world to chase away your fears and plant the seeds of solution.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … July 9th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: She was born in the middle of America, in the middle of the century, in the middle of a great struggle of human advancement.

 

Dear Woman: His roots were more Southern, in a climate of quaint settings and reverence to Good Book passages.

 

Dear Man: She was a simple young lady with farm-girl beauty, possessing a great curiosity for knowledge.

 

Dear Woman: He was a lad with charisma who found schooling too easy, opening the door for plotting mischief.

 

Dear Man: Though conservative at first, she gradually realized how expansive the world was around her, and set out, in her own simple way, to try to find a means of understanding it.

 

Dear Woman: He, on the other hand, felt destined for greatness, even though his beginnings foretold of poverty and a life too common.

 

Dear Man: She met him at college. She was immediately struck by his ability to communicate, seemingly without ever needing to coordinate his ideas or organize his approach. She was drawn to him. She was not the only one–but she was drawn to him.

 

Dear Woman: He found college to be the perfect atmosphere to spread his wings and launch his self-belief into a dynasty of friends, arrangements, love affairs and universal embracing.

 

Dear Man: Her path was not so obvious. So she studied, she worked, she succeeded, she failed–trying to gain her visibility through academic achievement.

 

Dear Woman: When he met her, he knew he needed her. He required her. She was the common sense for his wild notions. She was the appearance of respectability to his more erratic demeanor.

 

Dear Man: She was in awe of the fact that he was interested. The world stopped. She was being pursued by one of the more popular, dynamic young men, who had been selected by many for greatness. Within a few dates, she became devoted. He, on the other hand, understood that she was coming from a place of invisibility, and what she yearned for was approval–mostly his approval.

 

Dear Woman: They went on a journey together. She remained devoted and he continued to provide her approval, even though his lust for power and for the affirmation of his masculinity, through the appreciation of other women, was a source of conflict and aggravation.

 

Dear Man: She objected. But she persevered. She saw a bigger picture instead of the snapshot of the present moment’s annoyance. She stayed with him.

 

Dear Woman: And he stayed with her, because he needed her. To some degree, he wanted her. So he continued to provide her the necessary blood-flow of approval that pumped her full of life.

 

Dear Man: They went to great places and did great things. And then it was her time–her chance to step out of obscurity and have a say in her own life, very possibly positively affecting the lives of millions. She devotedly asked for his approval.

 

Dear Woman: He seemed excited. Yet because the warmth of the spotlight was too prevalent to his skin, he was somewhat disheartened by the backstage. So even though he promised to approve her, a lingering stupidity deep within his heart caused him to sabotage her efforts.

 

Dear Man: She had been devoted through the affairs, the winks, the rumors, and the issues. Now she needed his devotion, and was failing to get his approval. She was hurt, but she was still loyal.

 

Dear Woman: He was approving, but so preoccupied with his own concerns that he left very little air for her to breathe.

 

Dear Man: For you see, love is more than devotion.

 

Dear Woman: And certainly more than mere approval.

 

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G-Poppers … June 10th, 2016

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G-Pop wants his children to understand the true plight of the poor.

For you see, progressive liberals contend that poverty is caused by lack. They think the top 1 % hoard finance from the 99%. They also have a deep conviction that the funds should be distributed more evenly, and that in doing so, the problem would be solved.

On the other hand, conservative traditionalists coyly assert that those who live in destitution hold a major responsibility due to an infestation of laziness. They would say there are plenty of jobs, but those who live in the “ghetto” are not willing to do them.

So while these two camps hurl rocks at one another, those who are struggling continue to suffer without ever being consulted.

G-Pop has taken the time to talk to people who are in need. The response is pretty universal.

Poverty is about location.

Even though lack and laziness come to play as byproducts of the circumstances, poverty begins with proximity.

In America certain areas are targeted as insufficient, dangerous and destitute of hope, and then we take our brothers and sisters, place them in that atmosphere and insist they thrive.

Their communities don’t have fresh produce, reasonable grocery stores, health clubs, libraries or safe parks for play. Instead, they are dotted with convenience stores, dark alleys, poorly lit streets, loan sharks, pawn shops and prostitution.

The reason? Racism–and the fallacious notion that “birds of a feather flock together.”

Once we’re safe in suburbia, we just don’t give a damn about “the bad side of town.”

We could hire the young people from the poor sections to paint, clean up, construct and organize their communities for brighter possibilities. Then we would be offering jobs–and the money paid to these young folks would be recouped through less crime and rehabilitation.

Progressives are limited because they only recognize the lack.

Conservatives are weakened by their penchant to characterize citizens as lazy. When people lack, they do lose hope–which can make them lazy. This is true.

But it begins with the old axiom: the key to all real estate is location, location, location.

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Ask Jonathots … April 14th, 2016

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My son, a sophomore in high school, has a part-time job at a fast food restaurant. He came home talking about making fifteen dollars an hour when the minimum wage is raised. I’m not against raising the minimum wage, but at the same time, I don’t really think my high schooler really needs that wage. What do you think?

Paying people based on what they require is un-American.

It may sound good–it may seem generous. It may even temporarily appease the aching need of some folks who are living on the cliff of poverty. But it is un-American.

I will go as far as to tell you that it is also un-Christian.

At no time in the ministry of Jesus did he suggest that the best way to handle the poor was to drop everything you were doing, sell everything you had, change all your policies, reject your own desire for financial prosperity, and divvy up the money more evenly, so that “those who have a frown can turn it upside down.”

The most important thing any government program should encourage is initiative.

If you’re going to do the same work you did before, but make twice the amount of money doing it, you’re not stimulating productivity.

No, you have just purchased yourself a baby alligator. At first the little amphibian sitting in his bowl appears harmless and kind of cute. But it will not remain a small alligator. It will grow until it eats you.

Likewise, giving people more money for what they’re already doing without demanding additional increase in effort is the formula for disaster. It is not an issue of being a conservative or a liberal, but rather, taking a more intelligent political stance: practical.

If I allow myself to be concerned about the wages my employees are receiving based on their monthly needs, I will soon lose sight of the goal of my company, which is to make money and thrive so I can hire more people.

What we need is a compromise with a caveat.

  • The compromise is a dollar amount which is more representative of the work and the financial climate.
  • And the caveat is that this extra money will require additional training and pursuit of excellence.

Hand-outs take people off their feet.

And our economy runs on foot power, not charity.

So even though it may seem noble and may get the vote of tens of thousands of hourly wage Americans, to suggest that they should double their intake for the same amount of output…well, it is completely unnecessary and certainly un-human.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … January 13th, 2016

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PoHymn Jan 13 Make Me

Make Me

Sunshine makes me glad

Rain makes me sad

Cold can make me shiver

Insults make me quiver

Work makes me tired

Especially if I’m fired

Love can make me grin

Jealousy makes me sin

Laughter makes me glow

Tribulation makes me grow

Generosity makes me a friend

But poverty has no end

Prayer grants great assurance

But mission promotes endurance

Confidence makes me believe

Humility helps me receive

Truth makes me bold

Yet mercy makes me unfold

Teaching helps me learn

Repentance helps me turn

Renewal makes me feel

While revival makes it real

The old ways are often true

But blessing must be new

So Father of All Serene

Come and make me clean.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 4) Good Cheer … December 27th, 2015

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In all of my numerous dealings with people inflicted by poverty, I have never met a single one who ever told me that they weren’t a “morning person.”

Matter of fact, most of them push through the terror of lack and manage a grin or two, perhaps for no other reason than to avoid a grimace.

No, I will truthfully tell you, complaining or selecting to be less than hospitable is an attribute which plagues those having enough, who pretend they are afflicted.

It causes the world to be a nasty place.

So I will tell you–it is the reasonable expectation of every human being to at least attempt to appreciate what is available and make the best of it.

I believe that with all my heart.

Therefore, to be reasonable is to have good cheer.

So I have a simple three-step process to remind me how things work, and how I might want to adjust my behavior if I want to work with things:

1. The Earth is full of situations.

Most of them are neutral. We love to tag “good” and “bad” on them based upon our mood swings.

2. I am full of ability.

This is not a conceited statement. There’s an awful lot you can do with over 200 bones–and that doesn’t even count your muscles, miles of intestine and countless clumps of blood vessels. Shall we even simply discuss the capacity of the brain? Then on top of all of these natural fortifications, we add experience. How about some inspiration? My dear God, dare I even say intuition?

It is rather doubtful that any of us are ever without means.

3. The Spirit is full of ideas.

And, by the way, if we think we’ve run out of ability and we don’t favor Earth situations, there is always the ingenious internal thought process of the Creator, available to us through the wisdom of time, history, and as some of us believe, even prayer.

Therefore, to select worry, which quickly turns most “pusses” into “sours,” is to totally ignore the provisions that have been granted to all mortal children.

Good cheer is not a choice we make because we want to come across as positive in our thinking.

Good cheer is the only choice to make to have a chance for any thinking to produce positive.

 

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