G-Poppers … July 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3010)

Jon close up

G-Pop watches and listen intensely.

While confident of his intelligence, he still realizes that rich wisdom can be attained through great observation.

Once again the political parties meet to do battle, contending that the one left standing is superior simply because he or she has not been vanquished. Promises are made in the midst of an avalanche of accusations, tossed back and forth with a disregard that foretells ignorance of the beauty of consolation.

How many different things can we insist we’re going to accomplish, so as to make our opponent’s list seem puny? But once elected, every President of any party immediately discovers that life takes over–and the stumbling blocks that have been permanently established in the lethargy of legislation forbid much progress to pass through the gates. After all, in regards to Congress, any organization that operates by Parliamentary Procedure is in no hurry to achieve its aspirations.

So how should G-Pop’s children evaluate who to place in the position of prominence for our land?

They must look for the candidate–whether male or female–who:

1. Handles disappointment with grace.

Since we live in a democracy, nothing of original purity will ever pass muster without being manipulated. There will be disappointment. How that is handled will determine meaningful outcomes, especially if a split second of frustration causes our leader to take his or her eyes off the prize.

2. Discovers the better way to navigate reoccurring surprises.

After all, some of us fare pretty well if one blip comes on our radar screen, but when they start popping up all over, a disgruntled spirit can cause us to forsake our more clever and intuitive parts, and succumb to our more Neanderthal attitudes.

3. Has a great sense of humor.

What we “take personal” becomes personal–even if only in our minds. Once we feel we have been targeted, we tend to seek revenge. The President of the United States cannot have vendettas.

So even though a promotion of ideas is constantly flooding through stump speeches, once the election is completed, these wishes will have to take a back seat to the daily tribulation that the world threatens to afford.

Every once in a while, things calm down long enough that you might be able to fix a highway, start an after school program, or keep the country a little safer.

But most of the time, if you are President of the United States, you’re trying to maintain the purpose of our nation and the dignity of our freedom–in a world gone crazed.

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Getting in Character … August 31st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2678)

hand taking an oath

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

  • I promise.
  • Cross my heart and hope to die.
  • I swear by my mother’s grave.
  • And some bizarre confirmation of truthfulness by “sticking a needle in one’s eye.”

These are the pledges and contortions that people seem to be willing to put themselves through to get others to comprehend the level of their faithfulness.

But unfortunately, even though “promise” seems promising, it is now often accompanied by a forlorn adjective: “broken.”

  • Broken promises.
  • Broken marital vows.
  • Broken dreams.

So as an actor on the stage of life, what is our responsibility to those around us, to prove the intensity of our veracity? For you see, the problem with a promise is that it fails to recognize that the person sharing it is human, not divine. Every time we try to take on the job description of our Creator, we create nothing but fiasco.

Only God can promise. Only God has the ability to perform His beckoning without ever needing to swear or vow.

As a human being, you have three available, realistic responses:

1. Yes.

“Yes” should only be used when we actually plan on doing it because it is in the spectrum of our own will and concerns. It may seem noble to say yes because we’ve been pressured into it, but then what you have is a promise, which may be difficult to keep.

2. No.

No, I’m not interested.

No, I won’t.

No, I can’t.

No, I shouldn’t.

“No” is one of the more powerful words in the English language because it eliminates 90% of our hypocrisy. If we had said no to that thing we really didn’t intend to do in the first place, people would not be able to hang anything over our heads in judgment.

3. I don’t know.

Ignorance is not bliss unless you admit it. If you’re caught, it’s in the neighborhood of sin.

There is a great authority given to us by admitting that we just don’t have enough information to make an intelligent decision. We will sit, learn and wait for the power to be intelligent instead of impetuous.

Since we do not control all the factors that surround us, it is better to forego the foolishness of promises … and therefore escape that nasty needle in the eye.

 

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Getting in Character… August 24th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2672)

diane lane unfaithful

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

To thine own self be true. More words from Bill the Bard.

Without being emotionally truthful to ourselves, we set in motion the seeds of infidelity.

Unfaithful. Promising and then failing to deliver.

And the truth of the matter is, if we’re unfaithful to ourselves, we are certainly determined to be equally as unfair to others.

Even though we criticize this kind of cheating as reckless and uncaring, it seems to permeate the human race like a fungus–or maybe better described as a mold that grows voraciously in a damp environment.

If we’re going to be good actors on the stage of life we have to be able to isolate what makes us unfaithful. The lust to be untrue is not born in our flesh, but in our heart. People who feel cheated, cheat:

  1. I am better than what I have.
  2. I am being ignored
  3. I will force my next opportunity.

When you put these three statements together, or isolate even one of them into a great pool of self-pity, the end result is a disregard for promises and leads to the pursuit of whatever is available on the premises.

Once unfaithful, each one of us is deemed a risk.

As a risk, we tolerate a certain amount of scrutiny but then rebel against the incrimination. This only creates more heart sadness, which leads to greater unfaithfulness.

How can we human beings, who are drawn away by our own lusts, ever learn to gain the predictability that makes us trustworthy to others?

A. Do well.

By the way, that’s your well-doing, not something someone else dug for you. In your present status, what is your “well?”

B. Get better.

You have to be willing to admit that there’s always need for improvement, and such adjustments are made much easier if they happen to be your idea.

C. Stay aware.

Aware of what?

  • Aware of being disgruntled.
  • Aware of being disappointed.
  • Aware of feeling left out.

These are the beginnings of the sorrows of infidelity.

If I am true to myself, I have a chance to be true to you.

But to be true to myself, I have to remove all of the ego props that tell me I should be receiving much more attention.

 

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Three Ways to Begin to Tell the Truth… July 31, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2308)

pinnochioThere is no life if it is a lie. It is just a wish or demand which eventually will be revealed as a hoax.

Life begins with the truth. The truth makes us free because it gives us our lives back.

So how do we commence to allow the facts to speak for themselves?

1. Stop lying.

Don’t make promises, pledges or swear by your mother’s liver. Just start today to choose to relate the information, minus your story-telling. Yet, don’t go backwards to try to clear up past mistruths. There will be time for that later. What you want to do is start a tradition. Honor yourself by sharing what you know.

By the way, the best way to begin such an endeavor is to catch things early instead of later. The longer you wait to speak your heart, the more difficult it becomes to do so without embellishing.

2. Start realizing.

The main reason we lie is that we have convinced ourselves that we should be something that we aren’t. Just accept that you are what you are because of what you’ve experienced. Also realize that people don’t care nearly as much about who and what you are as they do about being deceived. Finally, grasp that every relationship–be it with God or people–hinges on honesty.

When you stop lying you can start realizing what caused you to lie in the first place, and how most of those demons that plague your thinking are only frightening to you.

3. Find a buddy.

Starting alone is lonely–so find one other person you can share your heart with in an open way and practice on them. Let them practice on you.

Lying is not an issue of being innately evil. Rather, it’s based on a habit. We have many habits, yet we’re able to change them. The same is true with lying. Most people who lie are not devoid of character. They just don’t know the difference because they’re well-practiced in the habit.

Find a buddy who will remind you as you remind him or her.

It is well worth the effort, and the three-step process will set in motion a solution to the syndrome of “liar-liar,” which always seems to set your pants on fire.

 

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Do You …?… July 28, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2305)

eyes

Do you care?

Do you have a way to help?

Or do you feel the need to push your agenda?

I woke up this morning with these three questions percolating in my mind.

Emotionally:

Can I be more honest about the extent of my real commitment instead of making too many promises which cause people to glow with enthusiasm at first, and then, when I fail to deliver, just burn out?

Spiritually:

Do I believe in a caring and helpful God who lifts burdens instead of loading the heavens down onto frail, earthly shoulders?

Mentally:

Do I realize that my training and experience are a beginning of understanding instead of the summit of knowledge? Degrees from universities eventually must translate into some degree of common sense.

Physically:

Can I package and present myself well without competing in an ongoing beauty contest or centering in on the differences in others?

Being valuable means possessing value.

It involves care and help with a minimal agenda.

  • Does my God care?
  • Does He help?
  • Is He locked into an agenda that sounds righteous in a heavenly board meeting that isn’t very practical on the assembly line?

Three questions.

Great questions.

To question is to care.

 

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Don’t Get Confused … July 17, 2012

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Driving along on Interstate 40 towards Knoxville, Tennessee, I was confronted with a billboard which read, “Where will you spend eternity?”

I had an immediate answer. “I don’t know.”

Now, before you start trying to evangelize me to grant me eternal security and awareness of my heavenly destination, let me explain that I do have aspirations, desires and even requests on where I would like to spend the afterlife. But since Jesus, himself, told us to”make sure our hearts were not troubled on the issue, and we only have stories, promises and opinions, I think it could be considered a classic waste of time to deliberate such a question. Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say it is the festering sore on the backside of humankind–our preoccupation with the future, life after death and what’s going to happen next. I have written on this issue many times, but I continue to be surrounded by those who feel it is all right for them to be inconsiderate in the moment as long as they are pursuing a path to consider what is best in the future.

It’s annoying.

I would like to set this to rest. I think to be halted between two opinions–one being that humans have complete free will and the other contention that there is a perfect will of God in which we all should try to center our lives–is what makes us totally inept, if not comical. I guess I don’t care which side you choose, but I would request that you cease to believe that humans have free will and then continue to worry about what God may have in store for the future.

If I have free will, there IS no future. It has yet to be determined by my next action. Even if you want to believe that God is all-knowing about what I will do next, you must admit that if He is going to honor His system, He somehow or another has to at least pretend that He is experiencing my choice for the first time.

But I’m not concerned about God’s part in this process, but rather, my involvement. We should be suspicious of destiny–a philosophy that really found its origin in fairy tales and is now being introduced into the realm of basic human logic and interaction. Perhaps Snow White was always meant to be a Queen–or was that Cinderella?  Perhaps they were pre-destined and merely went through some obstacles to be rescued in the end and reinstated to their purposes. But that’s why they call it a fairy tale–because it’s not true.

I am not destined to be anything. Even though I’ve lived a life of being a father, a writer, a composer and traveling troubadour, if I want to, I can go out and take a rifle and kill twelve people tomorrow–and become known as a serial killer. I can choose that. I can select to change my image at my own will–and it isn’t because I was destined to eventually become a serial killer. It’s because my gift of free will allows me to be spiritually motivated instead of manipulated. Yes, I choose to love God instead of loving God because He chooses me to do so.

So I just wanted to take a few moments today to see if I can help you to get through this nasty piece of confusion that continues to insult humanity by introducing falsehoods and fairy tales into what could be a really exciting life.

1. There is no destiny. There’s just opportunity. Once you comprehend that life is about asking, seeking and knocking instead of sitting, watching and waiting, you not only begin to fathom the power of the gospel of Jesus, but you actually tap into the natural energy and karma in our world. What happens next is how effectively I use what I have to my advantage.

2. There are no thoughts–just thoughtful. This is why Jesus told his disciples to “take no thought for the morrow.” How do I get myself in trouble? When when I have down time, begin to analyze my situation and how it relates to my perceived future. I become frantic, I worry, I may even tear up because I think there’s a futility to my pursuits. In my ridiculous nature, I might consider these times to be rich with ideas and introspection, but really, it’s a complete waste of time, because unless I use this particular moment effectively, my thoughts will take me nowhere but despair. I will tell you of a certainty that no one ever thinks himself into repentance. Nobody ever thinks himself into rejuvenation. We just normally think ourselves into a tizzy. That’s why the beautiful brain you’ve been given is supposed to conjure ideas about how to be thoughtful–right now. How can I express, in a physical way, my feelings of joy to the world around me–in this second? That’s what the brain is for. If you hire your mind to do anything else other than act in the moment’s possibility, it begins to think it has more power than it was intended to possess. No thoughts, my friend. Just thoughtful.

3. And finally, no future. Just now. There is no future. What is going to happen tomorrow is being determined right now by my choices. God comes along for the ride. It is similar to the game we used to play with our children when we told them that they could make all the decisions for the day–where we were going to go, what we were going to eat and what we were going to do. For this particular exercise in fun to succeed, we had to get rid of all of our adult preconceptions, become childlike and go for it. This is exactly what God does. Our Father, who has given us life, does not suddenly snatch it back from us when we begin to make choices that are different from what He might consider to be fruitful.

There is either free will or we are creatures of pre-destination. The in-between state that we try to propagate in our pop culture not only is erroneous, but causes us to run into walls in the dark. I am deciding the future by my choices in the present. It’s as simple as that.

I had a new grandson born last week. What will he become? Well, some folks get that far-off look in their eyes and say, “It’s in God’s hands.”  It isn’t. It’s in his mama’s and papa’s, family’s, friends’–and mostly, it’s in his own hands. What little Johann is going to turn out to be is eventually going to be up to emerging Johann.

And hopefully, if we learn to respect our humanity and the power of our lives, in that process we will often stumble into the whims of God. There is no future–just now.

So I don’t want you to get confused. And even though there are those who will argue with this position, in the midst of their discourse about my error in theology or reasoning, they will collide into so many contradictions that they will eventually end their report by saying, “Well, much of it is a mystery.”

Feel free to pursue life as a mystery–but please allow me and others like myself to pursue it as an adventure. In the long run, you will understand that an adventure is much preferable to a mystery.

Don’t get confused. There is no destiny, just opportunity; no thoughts, just being thoughtful, and no future–just now.

So go and enjoy your day, knowing that it is truly your day, and it is one that God has made available for you–to revel in your free will.

   

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