Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … September 24th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: I want to see people healed–not make them sick of me.

 

Dear Woman: I want to learn, not just repeat what I think I know.

 

Dear Man: I want to give a dollar to a poor man–not wonder what he’s going to do with it.

 

Dear Woman: I want to pray with people, not at them.

 

Dear Man: I want to look in people’s eyes instead of thinking about who they are sleeping with.

 

Dear Woman: I want to be remembered for laughing instead of remembering the past.

 

Dear Man: I want to love my country instead of hoping the President or Congress fail.

 

Dear Woman: I want to have God come out of my actions instead of my mouth.

 

Dear Man: I want to crap in the toilet instead of on people.

 

Dear Woman: I want to enjoy a colorful person instead of noticing colorful skin.

 

Dear Man: I want to shut up rather than being a know-it-all.

 

Dear Woman: I want to enjoy the money I’ve got instead of bitching about money.

 

Dear Man: I want to find a better me instead of constantly explaining myself.

 

Dear Woman: I want to be sorry instead of proud.

 

Dear Man: I want to see need instead of creating it.

 

Dear Woman: I want to be a human instead of a phony god.

 

Dear Man: Sir, we have much in common.

 

Dear Woman: My lady, we certainly do.

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The Final Pollster… October 17, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

Having survived last night’s Presidential debate, not to mention the incessant racket of pounding pundits that followed the encounter, I awaken this morning a bit befuddled, somewhat disappointed and slightly alarmed.

I have never considered myself to be one of the more intelligent people in the world. Even though God has given me talent, I feel that my greatest asset is in how well I have multiplied those gifts to foster fresh possibilities.

But when I listened to the message of the two men that America has decided are the cream of our crop for potential leadership, I was greatly dismayed–mainly because all of the processes, approaches and procedures that go into this fiasco called the American election system are completely contrary to the desires of my heart and the tenets of my lifestyle.

I have shared with you over the past several weeks the seven things that God hates. And last night, I suddenly realized that the entire collage of Divine dislikes were being acted out right before my eyes.

A proud look–yes, it seems that both the Republicans and the Democrats feel that “acting tough,” being overly confident and aggressive is the best way to convey dominating leadership.

I disagree. I serve a principle which says that to become master, you must go through the schooling of servanthood. I am looking to work with people who believe that NoOne is better than anyone else, and discard the jutted jaw, the stiff neck and the prideful glance of the arrogant.

How about a lying tongue? Yes, God hates that one. It seems that our friends who strutted across the stage last night in manly magnificence have no particular predilection to be honest or honor veracity. The lies flew like water balloons at a fraternity party.

I yearn for human beings who will admit their weakness but also acknowledge that NoOne is better than the truth.

The writer of Proverbs tells us that God hates those who shed innocent blood. Yet our two candidates running for the President of the United States feel that they prove their testosterone level by saber-rattling, discussing more destruction, additional war, ongoing conflict and careless loss of life. The only problem with saber-rattling is that somebody eventually screams, “Engarde!”

NoOne is better than life–whether it’s a poverty-stricken child, helpless animals in the forest, human beings in the Middle East or the unborn child. Until we learn to respect the value of the breath inside the vessel that God has placed on this planet, we are not worthy to be caretakers of it.

Did I see and hear any wicked imaginations? It seemed to me that the only goal pursued was attempting to prove that the world was going to hell in a handbasket and that each one of these men supposedly has the remedy for removing us from being toted away. When the only thing available to you is the desperation of ignoring beauty and goodness in order to frighten people with devastation, you have become a hateful thing to God.

NoOne is better than happiness. When you see unhappiness, the answer is not to finger-point and blame others for the unsettling condition. Find your own portion and change things for the better.

Feet swift to mischief. I kept thinking that Governor Romney and President Obama were playing to a very small audience while pretending to vie for the position of the leader of the free world. For after all, the voters and the human beings in that amphitheater were pawns in a chess game to establish dominance. Their concern was with their own little collection of cronies who had trained them for the evening’s joust and would be joining them for dinner afterwards, to discuss in glee particular points of mastery. That’s not leadership. I don’t think either man understands his mission, and when you don’t understand your mission, your feet will tend to run in the direction of favorability and mob mania. God hates that.

If you don’t know why you are doing what you’re doing, then stop doing it until you can find out why you did it in the first place. Once you establish your mission, then you have the means to know that everything else is secondary to it. The mission of being President of the United States is simple–liberty and justice for all. Anything that impinges on those two holy ideals must be deemed unnecessary or even evil. Likewise, the mission of God is to bless people, yet give them free will. When you stop blessing people or insinuate that you intend to remove their free will, you lose the heart of God. Our political parties are ALWAYS running towards mischief because they have forgotten why they have been honored with the privilege to serve America.

I had to think about #6–a false witness. Time and time again, I listened to Mitt and Barack twist the facts, turn the tables and knock over reality to allow for their particular rendition of understanding to be presented as supreme.

NoOne is better than good news, and if you don’t have good news, do yourself a favor and help those around you by being forthcoming and admitting the lack. Here’s the truth: we have gotten ourselves into an economic pickle which is now worldwide and does not seem to have an easy solution. So unless we go back to hard work, generosity and personal responsibility, we will never be able to get out of this mess. But neither one of these gentlemen is willing to tell the American people that there is hard work ahead, that we will need to be more generous with each other, and that the buck does not stop in Washington or with tax cuts, but rather, at our own doorsteps.

A false witness is someone who purposely tries to hide the bad news by pretending like there was never supposed to be any good news.

And finally, as I finished up watching the debate last night, I felt empty inside. I am overjoyed to be an American, but in that moment I felt raped of my patriotism and deprived of a national treasure. I sensed that our entire nation was being robbed of its dignity as these two men sowed discord among the brethren in an attempt to win an office which, if done successfully, requires unity, not division.

Don’t talk to me about gridlock. Don’t criticize the attack ads of the other party as you continue attack ads of your own. Don’t sow discord among the brethren of this country and think you’re going to reap anything that resembles cooperation. NoOne is better than peace.

I realized that before my eyes–acted out in some sort of sophomoric play–were the seven things that God hates. Here is what is required for our country to gain back its spirit and receive the favorable nod of the real Final Pollster–Almighty God:

1. NoOne is better than anyone else.

2. NoOne is better than the truth.

3. NoOne is better than life in all of its forms.

4. NoOne is better than happiness.

5. NoOne is better than our mission of liberty and justice for all.

6. NoOne is better than the need for good news.

7. And finally, NoOne is better than peace.

Maybe the vote we need to hold on November 6 is to decide once and for all if we really believe in each other anymore–or have we just become a permanent house divided, pretending to enjoy one another at holiday get-togethers.

God hates seven things. I take that seriously. I take that to heart.

And I, for one, am going to try to distance myself from His displeasure.

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A Lying Tongue… August 29, 2012

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So I decided to count.

I took yesterday morning and focused on the number of times that I told fibs in the course of a three-hour period. Even though I was alerted to the scrutiny, at the end of my little session, I had to admit that I actually told three untruths. Isn’t that amazing? Even when I was aware that a spotlight was being put on my language, I still ended up producing a bit of dishonesty.

Why?

After all, it is one of those seven thing that God hates. It says right there in Proverbs that He just really despises “a lying tongue.” And the reason He does is because a lying tongue is always located just beneath “a proud look.” Every little piece of pride that we manufacture to justify our present form of behavior has to be backed up by a series of lies to keep it going and real. And even though pride displays arrogance, it is a symptom of insecurity–and insecurity is why we all lie.

I’m sure there are people who stretch the truth because they just enjoy deceiving others, but most occasions for a lack of candor have something to do with the fact that we are ashamed of our truth and at least want to embellish it and make it look prettier.

It was a great exercise for me. I am one to extol the value of “telling it like it is,” yet when it’s time for me to do that into the mirror or into the face of adversity, I am just as prone to escape to the “little white something-or-other.”

God hates a proud look. We talked about that last week. And because of the necessity of reinforcing that over-blown image, it becomes necessary to lie.

Politicians lie all the time–not because they are immoral by birth. It’s because they find themselves needing to make promises when such proclamations are ridiculous and impossible. Thus, lies.

So a proud look breeds a lying tongue and a lying tongue exists because we have selected pride instead of simply standing behind the evidence of our fruitfulness. If you are going to be able to escape the pride that is born of ego, which leads to a lying tongue, you will need to come to three very specific personal conclusions:

1. It’s okay to be less than what people want me to be. Most of us become mentally imbalanced because we’re trying to live up to an expectation from other people which they, themselves, neither live nor pursue. If every person who was moral was truly moral, then morality might seem to be a good banner for a campaign for a better society. But the people who claim to be moral are always exposed for some of the greatest immorality. We should not rejoice over their failures, but we should be forewarned that arrogance leads to deception and lying, which always culminates in exposure.

I know that my family and friends hoped that I would be famous and rich. That was never meant to be. I have a message, not a product. If I had merely a product, I could hone in on it and make sure it was perfectly adjusted and fine-tuned to the tastes of the society around me. But having a message, I must be sensitive to history, reality and truth, and therefore, I do not gain immediate acclaim. I decided early in life that I would rather share a message that actually transforms human thought than produce a product that merely panders to it. So to me, it’s okay to be less than what the people around me want me to be. I don’t have to lie about the fact that I don’t have a college education–I can be honest that what I am is the by-product of what I have experienced, the sweat of my struggle and the blessing that God has given me by His grace.

2. Stop thinking about the right thing to say and test-drive honesty. The reason I use the phrase “test-drive” is that at first, you may only be able to say it in a room by yourself, then maybe to one other person who loves you. But eventually you have to be candid. It takes practice. It took me a long time to admit I was fat and not terribly attractive without either having a tear come to my voice or looking around the room for someone to contradict me.

Test-drive honesty. Start today. If you don’t, you’ll get behind the wheel of your life and steer yourself right into the ditch–and the ditch always involves some form of lying.

3. And finally, don’t wait to be attacked. Beat your critics to the punch. In the pursuit of self-esteem, we seem to have lost the power of self-deprecation.  If I notice my weaknesses before my adversaries are able to turn them into a slide-show, I retain the power. If my weaknesses are ignored by me and divulged by those who have less concern for my well-being, I am at the mercy of public opinion. If you want to know who I am and you haven’t figured it out by reading my jonathots, just ask me. Or for that matter, spend twenty minutes around me, and in that length of time you will know my weaknesses and my strengths.

The reason we lie is that we are protecting our pride. The reason we’re proud is because we are somewhat insecure that what we believe is really going to win the day. That’s as simple as it gets. So every politician who lies is really attempting to protect his or her pride, which means they are insecure about what they are telling us they are capable of achieving. See what I mean?

I am going to tell you the four things I can do. This is the truth, as far as I know.

1. I can fail. Even when my feet are set in the direction of prosperity and an inclination towards good, the luck of the draw or time and chance can withhold my reward.

2. I am not what you want me to be. I know that will disappoint you at some point or another. I apologize. Yet I need you to know that my job is not to please you, but to find a way to please myself enough that the love sprouting from my innards can be expressed to the world around me.

3. I am not satisfied with my talent. No–it is not enough for me to do what I am doing. Rather, I gain a sense of passion by multiplying my gifts, and in so doing, define what it really means to be a human being.

4. I am not better than anyone else. If you have seen people do stupid things, please understand that I am equally capable of the achievement. If you’ve seen folks excel, please allow me to opportunity. NoOne is better than anyone else. We have built a nation on that principle. Yet we manifest our American hypocrisy by departing from it whenever we want to extol our conservative nature or uplift our liberalism.

There you go–God hates a lying tongue. He hates it because it comes out of a proud look. God is not mean, He just doesn’t want His people to be so insecure that they have to be prideful and end up lying about it.

Are you ready to be vulnerable, so that you don’t have to be caught with your pants down? Let’s be honest–when you’re caught with your pants down, lying just won’t help.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Heartlips … August 26, 2012

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Abundance. A ten-year-old boy once defined the word as “having much of much.” It’s a pretty good description. It’s when the amount possessed exceeds the room provided and the contents begin to spill out. It’s why Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Do yourself a big favor. Replace the word “heart” with the word “emotions” every time you read it in the Bible, or even in literature. Because it’s what we are. It is the drastic uniqueness of our species above all other living organisms on Planet Earth. (A case can be made that your domesticated pet has an emotional connection with you but it would be speculation rather than being grounded in biological fact.)

But human beings are emotional. Not much is achieved in dealing with us until that understanding is brought to the forefront and is fully comprehended. Those who think we’re spiritual find themselves in a crying heap of despair, wondering why God has deserted them. Those who insist that we’re mental creatures are equally disappointed by a failing grade, occurring on a day when tension controls the atmosphere rather than the remembrance of study. And those who work so intently on preserving their physical well-being are left crippled by the anguish of pending events, forbidding movement.

We are emotional. Once that is fully placed inside of us as truth, we can begin to move forward and energize our spirits, renew our minds and allow our bodies to prosper.

Jesus also had another insight on “heart.” He said there was a danger that people could praise him with their lips but have their real emotions far from him. It explains why we often do things that we don’t want to do and perform them with insincerity.

Let us take this essay to distinguish the two types of abundance. Since we’re going to jabber, drawing off the multitude of content in our emotions, it might be nice to be aware of what is available, and maybe how to better determine that it is words of our choice instead of seepage from a dark place.

The two kinds of abundance are overflow and overwhelm. Overflow is a gushing of our own making and overwhelm is a flood that surprises us beyond our preparation. Let me give you an example.

A young woman came to me several weeks ago and said she had been raised in a household where her mother and father were always nervous, upset and frightened about calamity, especially finances. So every time she sat down to pay the bills, even though there was money in the account to do so, she was terrified and expressed belligerence to her family. She was overwhelmed. The idea of money had been taught to her as a negative rather than a blessing. So even when she had it and possessed the means to care for herself, what came out of her emotions, and even out of her speech, was anger and frustration.

Here is a truth: all of us, when we’re overwhelmed, live, act and speak what we were trained to do by our culture, family and schooling when we were too young to resist the tutelage. Now that we have the choice, we’re often unaware of the need to avoid the reaction. If you allow yourself to be overwhelmed, you will act just like your parents. Even though some of that may be good, none of it is your choice.

The greatest gift we can give to ourselves is to walk through our heart every morning and take an inventory of what is ours and what is fear. Because when fear has its way, we will become overwhelmed, and what will spill forth from us is a pre-determined, pre-programmed and pre-arranged decision to a perceived problem.

What we want is overflow. It is why the Bible tells us that it is important to find things that are good, praise-worthy and a blessing, and to think on those things–to allow ourselves to be saturated with inclinations of our own choosing rather than being overwhelmed and ending up overwrought.

We have mouths which eventually will speak, but we also have lips, which articulate much more clearly. It is the heartlips that we must focus on if we want to establish our individuality and become a person who is truly born again and righteously separated from our culture–a new creature.

I was driving down the freeway one day and missed my exit. Instinctively, I yelled, “Shoot!” and pounded the steering wheel once before going down a quarter of a mile and turning around to exit correctly. I realized that this particular outburst had absolutely nothing to do with me. Oh, of course, I was responsible for it; I was the one who actually uttered the words and struck the helpless wheel. But because I believed I was in a hurry and I was tired, I was suddenly overwhelmed by my mistake–angry–and gave the same reaction my father, brothers and numerous friends had showed me as a child growing up. I was overwhelmed–and when I was overwhelmed, I became the someone else’s vision of life instead of my own. It was ugly.

This I can guarantee you–if you allow your frustrations, misgivings and disappointments to build up, you will become overwhelmed, and what will pour forth from you is some of the poison you learned before you were able to deflect bad choices.

So how can you guarantee that the abundance of your heart will be an overflow instead of an overwhelm?

1. In the morning, don’t immediately leap out of your bed. Ask yourself one question before you put your feet on the ground. How do I feel about how I feel? You’ll be surprised. The first thing that will come to your mind is fear and frustration. That tells you that you’re about to be overwhelmed instead of giving forth from the reservoir of your own overflow.

2. Never interact as long as you know that fear is present. Fear is a cheap replacement for love. It is why our family members will often say they’re “worried” about us instead of hugging us, wishing us well and telling us they love us. We know that worry is not love, yet people often offer it as a replacement. It is not. Never pass on fear. Wait for love to come to the surface and then impart that gift to them.

3. Read your own lips. Since your heart HAS lips, learn to notice what your emotions are trying to speak to you. I realize that some of my over-eating is emotional. It is a replacement. But for what? You see, that’s the fun of our journey–discovering what we’re doing to replace what we really want. Read your own lips. When I grab for that extra snack at night, isn’t it just a proclamation that I’m bored and a little dissatisfied that I don’t have enough to do? Could be. It’s worth considering.

4. And finally, when you do become overwhelmed, identify it immediately and confess to yourself and someone else that you just allowed something to be expressed that really wasn’t what you wanted. Fear demands a unique treatment. It must be identified, confessed and then taunted by good cheer.

We all have heartlips. Because we’re emotional, we express our abundance, which is either an overflow–a stockpile of our own choices–or an overwhelm, an instinct to parrot what has been placed within us by our upbringing.

For I will tell you this–I love my parents, I love my family, I love my faith and I love America. But none of them are entitled to define my emotions.

My heart is my own, and I will determine my overflow.

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A Proud Look … August 22, 2012

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Did you know that there are seven things that God hates? Of course you did. You’re just as smart or smarter than me.

But do you remember–at the top of that list is “a proud look?” You would certainly think that God’s primal distaste would be for poor church attendance or a lack of tithing; perhaps misguided prayer or ignoring the Bible. But no–it’s a proud look.

When I read that yesterday it gave me great pause. The word “pride” is an established premise in our society for psychological well-being. Simultaneously, it’s also an accusation we make at others when we want to attack their over-wrought sense of importance.

How can it be both?

Is there a certain amount of pride necessary in order to maintain any human presence? And if you exceed that magical level, does it suddenly become detrimental,  even intolerable? And while you’re answer that one, since when would human beings be able to distinguish and maintain that kind of balance?

Pride, it would seem, is similar to handing a vial of nitroglycerin to a child and calling after him, as he heads to the playground, “Play safe!”

It doesn’t seem to come with instructions. We do know this–the seven things that God hates are actually very human and are also the things that we, as people, despise. So God’s preferences are not nearly as religious as one might think–and we know that at the top of His list, in the catacombs of the despicable, is a proud look.

If I’m emotionally proud, I come across condescending, as if I have solved all the secrets of the universe and have arrived here to aid my ailing brothers and sisters. If I’m spiritually proud, there is a piety that causes people to want to hurt me because I have transformed everything practical into the realm of the supernatural, leaving me arrogantly annoying. If I’m mentally proud, it means I think I’m smarter than everybody else, which is usually reason enough to plot my death. And of course, if I’m physically proud–preening all of my outward members–I just cause those around me to try to think of ways to make me stumble, or at least sprout a pimple.

Sometimes we say, “I’m proud to be an American.” That worries me, too. Nationalistic pride is good–as long as it’s inclusive of others and doesn’t begin to believe in the supremacy of our particular type of people.

Pride is like having a knife with no handle–just two blades. The more you use it, the more you cut yourself. So here’s what I came up with–I think it is a complete package and when enacted correctly, allows us to culminate with a sense of confidence and pride.

Emotionally, I am learning me. I need to stop rationalizing who I am or comparing myself to people with lesser conviction and focus on my own emotions and learn what I can about myself without fear and shame.

Spiritually, I am learning God–not from a Biblical sense, from what others have written down in a book, but from the perspective of Him being my Creator and Father, and comprehending what His love and also His mission entails.

Mentally, I am learning earth. Right? That’s where I live. And until I am evicted or given a bus transfer, the best place for me to learn is earth–how it functions, how I can be a good caretaker and how I can submit to the wisdom of Mother Nature without appearing to be a mama’s boy.

And physically I am learning to work with what I have. In our bodies, there is a danger of being too satisfied with our present condition and certainly equally a precarious cliff we can hang from if we’re constantly disgusted with our appearance. In my case, as a large, aging, bald white man, it’s a good idea to try to play up my better parts and disguise areas that may be ready for retirement.

When you put all that together–when you are emotionally learning yourself, spiritually learning of God’s love and His desires, mentally learning the earth of His creation, and you have taken a few moments to eyeball yourself in the mirror and learn to work with what you have, you do reach a point when you can be proud. It is not a look in your eyes that exudes domination, but instead, a simple statement: I am proud of my pursuit.

It doesn’t show up in your facial expression or countenance. Instead, it is manifested in the fruit you bear, in your tasks and your dealings with others.

A proud look is when we allow one part of our being to jut out from our face while we have ignored the other portions that are ragged and rusty. But a true pride is in rejoicing over the pursuit of learning yourself, learning God, learning earth and learning to work with what you are.

It is still a delicate adventure, but to me, it makes more sense than playing with dynamite … while holding a match.

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