Jesonian: The Rule of the School … November 15th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The latest piece of pseudo-intellectual drivel seems to be the jaded proclamation, “People don’t change.”

It’s especially disheartening when coming from the mouth of a prison warden, a psychiatrist or a minister.

I suppose we could take this entire essay to discuss the validity or over-simplification of such a decree. Matter of fact, as Christians we could cite that even though the disciples spent at least 38 months with Jesus of Nazareth, the amount of personality and ethical change inside each one of them was questionable.

Peter may have confessed his faith, but he was still prone to over-exaggeration and eventually, denial.

James and John may have ceased to be fishermen, but maintained much of their prejudice, wanting to kill a group of Samaritans.

Thomas certainly had a conversion experience, which he often chose to doubt.

And Judas was elected treasurer, only to betray his position… and his friend.

So it is obvious to me that Jesus was the Christ, but not necessarily able to completely change goats into sheep. No, it seems that we get lost in that process and end up basically being asses.

Yet I must tell you, if I thought that change was impossible, I would not be able to tolerate the mediocrity of the world around me.

So what is the truth?

Actually the truth is a coagulation of two principles. Whatever you are, whatever you were, whatever your inklings or whatever your genetics, you can be transformed by a pair of unchanging and necessary conclusions.

We call the first one the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Yet I must tell you, that single concept becomes merely idealistic if you don’t take the “rule to school.”

In other words, if you do not allow the truth of the Golden Rule to enter your daily activities, you will worship the premise as you simultaneously defile it.

There has to be an application for the cleansing power of “love your neighbor.” This is found in John the 8th Chapter, verse 15. Jesus makes a simple statement.

He says, “You judge according to the flesh. I judge no man.”

We do become different people when we realize that “loving our neighbor as ourself” is the survival mode for human interaction, and that the only way to apply it is to never judge anyone.

You may feel an inclination towards a lifestyle, a genetic predisposition, or have just developed habits which seem to cling to you like feathers in the wind, but you can still be completely reborn by realizing that loving your neighbor is refusing to participate in any judgment about him or her.

Are you ready for some truth?

  • Jesus did not believe in adultery, but he forgave an adulterous woman.
  • At no point in the Gospels will you find a situation when Jesus supported gay marriage, yet I guarantee you–he would never condemn a homosexual.
  • It would be difficult to make a case for Jesus being pro-choice, but it would be equally as difficult to think that he would forbid a woman the right to choose.

I am often confused why we think it is necessary to hold a conviction and then force others to comply.

For instance, I do not like alcohol and never have. Yet I would be completely against Prohibition.

I think smoking marijuana is granting yourself a license to be inept in the name of recreational drugs, but by the same nature, I think it’s wrong to condemn and incarcerate those who want to puff.

An obvious way we can all change is to admit that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the essential chemical compound of life, but the only way to take that rule to school is to refuse to judge anyone.

It is never all right, and certainly is never God-ordained.

Even though the Apostle Paul had his experience on the road to Damascus, by the time he got on the road to Corinth, he had somewhat turned back into an officious, overly opinionated Pharisee.

But there is one thing he never lost: the realization that we are to love one another … which means expressing mercy instead of judgment.

 

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An Agenda… November 13, 2012

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Everybody has an agenda. That particular statement is considered to be truthful, but also negative.

Yet–don’t we all need an agenda? Is it possible to live an entirely spontaneous existence without having some foundational goals and purposes?

The problem may not be the agenda. The difficulty is often the premise on which the agenda is built. For instance, if you’re trying to communicate to the world that God is love, you must have some sort of explanation for the scriptures in the Bible that darned tootin’ seem to be hateful. If your precept is that God is wrathful, you’d better be prepared to explain away the mercy, gentleness and inclusive spirit of Jesus.

People seemed determined in this day and age to divide into two camps–conservatives and liberals. Would you allow me to sum up the agenda of a conservative? This is what they believe:

“I am trying to remember the very best things of my childhood and then return to them as an adult by making sure that progress does not eliminate the quality of my remembrance.”

How about a liberal?

“I am trying to get what I desire and I feel the best way to do that is by giving everything to everybody so as not to shut out anyone. But to do this, I have to make sure that I don’t scrutinize the end result.”

So you can see, of the two philosophies, it is obvious that the liberal agenda will always win out. It doesn’t make it better or more righteous, it’s just a wider tent which will hold more people. After all, with the conservative agenda, what you and I may have thought were the better parts of our childhood may have been the worst recollections of others. White Americans certainly enjoyed the 1950’s, but if you were black, you might not remember the Eisenhower years quite so favorably.

Likewise, even though the liberals tout the stupidity of Prohibition, they fail to mention the free love, drug culture and excesses of the 1960’s and ’70’s, which left many of our creative artists and young aspiring Americans dead from overdose.

So what is an agenda? Should we have one? Should we join one of these two camps, so we’re not out of the flow?

I guess I have to go back and find God’s agenda. It’s not so difficult to acquire.Here’s what I think: It is not His will that any should perish.

Almost sounds like He’s a liberal, doesn’t it? Matter of fact, if you’re a liberal you might raise a cheer at this point because you’re imagining this expansive force in nature which is all-accepting, all-loving, all-kind and all-receiving.

But there is a closing phrase to that this agenda of God’s: Truly it’s not God’s will that any should perish, but He also wants everyone to come to repentance. Repentance? That almost sounds conservative, doesn’t it?

So let’s put it together: It’s not God’s will that anyone should perish, but He wants everybody to come to repentance.

If I step into a room of conservatives, they want me to be against abortion, against drugs, against gay marriage, against immigration, but for war, for focusing on the family, for traditional values, and completely for capitalism.

If I walk into a meeting of liberals, they want me to be for abortion choice, for the legalization of marijuana, for gay marriage, for animal rights, and against creationism, against religion in the marketplace and against any questioning of scientific research whatsoever.

Can I be truthful? I would be uncomfortable in both settings. I don’t want to see people perish. I love people. But I do not believe that human beings are capable of redemptive thinking without repentance and transformation. I don’t think we plop out of the womb with an understanding of what is best for ourselves, let alone the world. There has to be some sort of salvaging of our souls–otherwise, our more basic animal nature will make us bungle in the jungle.

Here’s the truth–neither the conservatives or the liberals are able to create an agenda that is satisfying, fulfilling and sensitive to humanity. The conservatives close too many doors and the liberals open too many.

So what can we do? There are three things necessary to make sure that the philosophy you select in life does not cause you to run into walls or contradict yourself.

1. Does what I believe generate salvation or perishing? Anything that shuts people out, failing to leave the possibility for rebirth can therefore not be God. Conservatives fail because they see men, women, black, white, moral and immoral instead of giving God the right to judge His own children and simply focusing on their own pursuit of happiness.

2. Anything that kills is anti-human. Drugs kill. Legalizing them will not bring down the death toll. The assumption that human beings have the capability of using anything in temperance is utterly ridiculous. Part of our appeal is our passion–and certainly an attribute of our passion is the danger of excess. By the same token, to be against abortion and allow guns to flow freely into our society is a contradiction in spirit.

3. Change makes us happy. As long as you have the mindset that change is the enemy, and the more we keep things the same, trying to make everybody comfortable in their present skin, the less effective you will actually end up being in helping others. Everybody has a need to repent. I will grant you that it is their journey and their requirement to find that problem, but to act as if we’re all fine the way we are is to rob human beings of the capacity to get better.

If you enact these three principles, you can come up with an agenda that is close to the heart of God.

But you will NOT find yourself being either a conservative or a liberal.

Each group will believe, from time to time, that you are part of them–because one of their ideas falls into agreement with one of the three statements above. But each group, from time to time, will consider you an enemy, because you have to disagree with something cherished by  them.

Agenda–it can be a good thing if it is based on the facts of human beings instead of the nostalgia of our youth and the wishy washiness of our own desires.

Now, I understand that this essay may not be one of your favorites as far as having humor, stories and clever twists and turns. But every once in a while, you have to buy tires for your car or it becomes very insignificant that you have an engine. And every once in a while, it is essential in jonathots that we find a way to roll in our live so what we mobilize will actually find God’s favor … instead of His opposition.

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The Bleeping Game… April 13, 2012

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I decided to count.

I wasn’t trying to be priggy or self-righteous; I was just curious. While watching a very popular reality show, I began to count the number of times the performers on this particular episode were “bleeped.” You know what I mean, right? When they insert some sort of sound to replace what is considered to be a “bad word.”

It is the new way of handling foul language in our society–to cleanse our programming of nastiness for the general audience. Anyway, back to my counting…nineteen times in a one-hour show the Bleeping Game was inserted. I am sure this was an extraordinary situation and usually it wouldn’t be that many. But on this night, the repetition of the same phrase of controversial language kept coming up over and over again. I became agitated, which soon turned into aggravation–not because the language was used (I find foul communication to be more boring than actually evil). No, it was because the way of handling the situation is nothing but a game, inserted by some corporation to give the appearance propriety without actually achieving proper.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the Bleeping Game is self-defeating. At least when I watch HBO I see the people on the screen speaking of their own volition and therefore responsible for the content. I can then choose to continue to watch or change the channel. But the addition of the bleep is an attempt to cover up the language, and the speaker is not responsible for the words. Instead, I become the culprit.

None of us is stupid. Everybody over six years of age can tell you exactly what word is being said underneath the bleep, and therefore WE mentally fill in the word. So rather than detaching the listener from the impropriety of the language, the Bleeping Game actually involves the listener, forcing him or her to complete the sentences. It’s impossible to stop doing it–your brain just fills things in.

It’s the typical scenario of malfeasance brought about by a corporation–inadequate, ineffective and insincere. It is inadequate because the human brain still fills in the words; ineffective due to fact that the nastiness and anger surrounding such communication is still hot, heavy and present; and insincere because it is a band-aid placed on a gaping wound of ignorance and a lack of sophistication.

This is probably one of the worst schemes we’ve ever come up with in the history of the US–and when you consider slavery, internment camps for Japanese citizens during WW II and New Coke, that’s a bold proclamation.

What do we think we’re doing? Now, I am not a prude. In my day I’ve used a variety of language in a multitude of situations to produce specific results. If I write a screenplay, I allow my characters to determine their vernacular instead of trying to purify it, using a King James-version-dehumidifier. But this new outburst of language is beyond the pale. It is the phrasing used in our society when we are unable to communicate our ideas in a clever manner or if we’re trying to impress people with how “tough” and “street” we are. And it is exemplified by the Bleeping Game.

The thing that I appreciate about HBO is that it is consistently bizarre. Once they allowed the language to come into their programming, free of bleeping, the producers, directors and actors have become more and more unusual and out-of-the-box. Sometimes I giggle because HBO is determined to do a program about every type of lifestyle and business that exists in the underbelly of our society. They seem to enjoy vampires, werewolves, midgets (or are they dwarves?), down-and-out anybodies, and folks who are in various stages of degradation through alcohol and drugs. It may not be your cup of tea, but it is honest. What is dishonest is to place programming for the general public littered with trash, which merely has to be deciphered by translating the bleeps.

It is beneath us as a country. It is total foolishness and shows me how poorly our general leadership has sunk in its mission to enrich us instead of merely enthrall us.

Considering the Bleeping Game, I would like you to keep three things in mind:

1. Lying can never become the truth, no matter how loudly you say it or how frequently it’s espoused. Simply trying to avoid the problem of a language barrier in this country by bleeping out what are considered to be “foul words,” simultaneously allowing the anger and frustration to remain, is one of the worst resolutions of a problem since I put duct tape on one of the water hoses in my car engine, thinking I had stopped my leak. We continue to lie to ourselves and think that after a certain length of time, deception becomes acceptable and therefore, honorable.

2. Prohibition causes promotion. The minute we make bad language, foul talk or questionable dialogue forbidden, it is exactly what everybody will want to do. You do not keep children from swearing by putting a sound over the top of swear words. It encourages it. So most young people spout off these words during their private times–feeling very adult–never realizing that the language is not suitable for public consumption. I learned this when I was sitting in a restaurant having a lovely dinner and heard someone a couple of tables away say the “f word.” Once again, I am not a prude. I have heard the word many times–matter of fact, I’ve even used it. But when I heard it in a public setting, it was shocking–and made me wonder if the person speaking it had lost control and was on the verge of becoming violent. As it turns out, it was just a casual conversation coming from someone with a loose tongue. But it alerted me to the fact that the language that seems acceptable on film or video tape, when placed in actual public situations, is quite volatile. But we will not generate a good dialogue about good dialogue by pretending that we are prohibiting such bad speech, while instead privately promoting it.

3. And finally, teach communication and language improves. I know this about myself–when I get the urge to swear, use foul language or pop off a nasty colloquialism, it is simply because cleverness has escaped me. I have become insecure or I’m trying to scare people away so I don’t have to talk to them. Just as we have to cease making men and women enemies with each other if we’re going to see our planet move towards reconciliation, we also need to understand that off-color language is a white flag of surrender in a world of ideas.

This is not an issue of salvation, spirituality or even puritanical values. Foul language is just dumb.

It’s time for us to stop the Bleeping Game. The language is either all right or it’s not. If it’s not, we should begin to encourage people to find better ways to use our English dialect to foster clever turns of phrase instead of blatant verbal spittle.

It’s time to do better. It’s time to tell those people who have resorted to unexplainable outbursts of nastiness during their violent fits of behavior that we would welcome more creative ways of expression. Feel free to keep HBO for those folks who like to walk on the wild side, but somewhere along the line we need to stop using the language of frustration unless we’re making it clear that the people who are using it are frustrated … and have lost their advantage.

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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