G-Poppers … January 5th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop has a heart to share something with his children.

There is a certain hint of sadness that settles into a life filled with goodness–goodness, in this case, being defined as a willingness to learn and adapt to the ways of Earth instead of ignoring, rejecting or refuting them.

Once we make our peace with the planet of our birth, and cease to turn our backs on its beautiful, natural ways, some goodness makes its home in our hearts. This is not always permanent, but it visits enough that we should always keep the guest room ready.

But finding the goodness of life does introduce brief periods of melancholy.

After all, if you do decide to “love your neighbor as yourself,” you might actually begin to have empathy for people, even though they don’t love you the same way.

If you pursue becoming “the salt of the Earth,” you might shed a tear over a tasteless society.

Discovering ways to be “the light of the world” just punctuates the darkness.

Contentment sweeps through your soul when you cease to judge others, but realize that their paths will contain sadness and struggle, and find joy in living instead of acting like the whole journey is about making heaven, and speculating with too much revelry about who occupies hell.

There is a certain sadness that accompanies goodness; a mourning that follows being blessed, which requires comforting.

It does not leave us inconsolable–we are not without remedy. God will need to dry our tears.

Rather, it is the sense of yearning to continue to find the grace of God by simply complying with the flow of Earth, and feeling pain for those who continue to rebel.

The Twenty-Third Psalm phrases it best:

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…”

Yes, when the sweet blanket of forgiving goodness covers our wounded souls, it is our mandate to feel deep, heartfelt mercy for those who are chilled by reality.

 

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Turning Kids Into Humans–Part 7 (Age 12-15) “Show” Business … September 29, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Humanating

It itches.

Even though no hives or rash sprout on the skin, adolescence produces an aggravation in the emotions, spirit and mind that makes you want to scratch. It is frustrating and without remedy.

Stop being teachers and instead, become shining examples and show what you desire instead of incessantly explaining it.

Children are not teachable between the ages of twelve and fifteen. Their ears have grown dull through years of public education, inundated by often-meaningless media, and are so accustomed to your voice that they hear a “Peanuts-cartoon honking” instead of actual words.

A quiet rebellion has begun. It will sprout external symptoms if you do not address that festering within.

Your children are questioning three things:

  1. Authority. Who are you to tell me what to do?
  2. Spirituality. Where is this person you call God?
  3. Individuality. Why should I be different from anybody else?

No seminar or book will address this brewing storm. They need you to show them something.

First, show them empathy and gratitude. Avoid becoming defensive. They are questioning authority–therefore, show them how the power of the human voice and the good will of hard work can overcome stupidity and laziness.

The purpose of authority is to get things done. It is not to establish a power base. Once you show them that, it will begin to resound in their beings.

Secondly, please don’t tell your children to go to church because “God requires their worship.” Show them that God is a Father, interested in everything they do.

If you do not teach your children that God is their Father, they will turn Him into a banker. In other words, when they need something, they will ask for a loan, but most of the time they’ll avoid Him because they’re behind on their payments.

And finally, instill in them the power of individuality. Show them how empathy and gratitude are easier than trying to solve impossible problems because we failed to recognize human need or we have denied the opportunity to be grateful for the kindness bestowed upon us.

Warning: you will have the inclination to lecture or have “sit-downs” with your child at this age.

It is a horrible mistake. Don’t be authoritative. Show them the value of good planning.

Don’t be religious. Give them a God who is their Father.

And let them know the contentment that comes from being an individual in a world of sheep. Demonstrate in your own life how to express empathy and gratitude for the opportunities provided.

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Resource and Remedy … January 13, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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argue new testamentEach of us considers “normal” to be whatever we view as acceptable behavior, and has become our fallback position. So if you grew up around worriers, it seems natural to worry. If you were surrounded by gruff, unemotional human beings, you will think it is bizarre to be gregarious. If your background is in Judeo-Christian values, then you will be caught in the paradox between “do I love my neighbor as myself?” or is it “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?”

Even though we all believe we’re on a quest to find a remedy for our everyday problems and even our nagging addictions, we might want to stop and realize that the resources we tap will certainly determine the quality of the treatment.

Yesterday as I met the delightful and hungry souls at Cypress Trails United Methodist Church, I realized that each of them was  joining into a body of believers while secretly pursuing a private belief system of their own, which had been infused into them from the time they were tiny children, and is now “normal,” even if unfulfilling.

For we are much more likely to accept an unfulfilling life than we are to question our “normal.”

To challenge our upbringing means we put ourselves on the outside, looking in–and that sense of abandonment can be terrifying.

But every remedy I have found in my life has demanded that I question my resources, values and even faith to set in motion a new miracle for myself.

After all, in my case, it is difficult to get over obesity because I was taught that food is love. It’s like trying to remove affection from existence. It seems unnatural. It seems ungodly.

Take a moment every day and ask a simple question: am I doing this because I have chosen to do so and it has proven to make me a better human being, or am I repeating behavior that I learned, which has trapped me in the person I am instead of the person I desire to become?

In the realm of spirituality, ten commandments that we dangle over the collective head of humanity does not always jive with “judge not, lest ye be judged.”

You have to make a choice.

And when you’re choosing, just make sure that what you follow breeds life … instead of stifling it.

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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

Remedy … September 16, 2012

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Iron-poor, tired blood.

I remember hearing that phrase as a kid. It was used to introduce Geritol commercials. Being young, I had no idea what they were talking about, but supposedly you could drink this fluid and your blood would be less fatigued and suddenly gain some sort of iron will. I didn’t care. I figured people who was old enough to be interested in the iron content of their blood probably should prepare to die instead of drinking Geritol.

But as I travel around the country, I now realize that our entire nation is experiencing some tiredness. Let’s refer to it as weary.

The politicians think they have a handle on it by insisting that the country has become exhausted by trying to keep up with the rigors of a failing economy. I don’t think so. I just don’t believe that people deteriorate emotionally because they lack money.

Religious people think the drop in enthusiasm and passion is due to secularism infiltrating our society with anti-Christian values and the removal of God from our dialogue. First of all, it’s hard to remove God from our consciousness when He opens every day with a brilliant display of sunrise. Also it’s difficult to make a case that this country is lacking in spiritual possibilities when there are churches everywhere, religious programming proliferating both the airwaves and the Internet, and faith being touted at the forefront of nearly every political debate.

I think we’re tired because we don’t know how sneaky sarcasm is. We deceive ourselves by insisting that we are not sarcastic, have not become cynical and have somehow avoided all temptations to do so, without realizing that sarcasm and cynicism do not ask our permission for entrance, and once introduced, are never far away.

We are continually bombarded with the fatigue of wondering when things will actually pan out the way they are supposed to, or when promises made to us by friends and family will come to fruition instead fo being followed by, “I’m sorry. I forgot.”

We deceive ourselves because we think that merely by avoiding an eruption of anger we have eliminated the problem and moved on. But often the absence of anger is the infusion of cynicism. The act of  avoiding a fit of rage can leave behind a residue of despair that makes us less capable of being fresh and willing the next time around.

Some people call this maturity; other people refer to it as realism. God calls it weary. And when we grow weary in well-doing, we give up right before blessing has a chance to be delivered to our doorstep for our benefit.

Every time we are disappointed or failure comes our way, we must realize that there is more to receiving self-healing than just deciding to not be upset. Sarcasm and cynicism hang around long after we seemingly have gotten over the frustration of not getting what we desired. Once sarcasm and cynicism enter our beings, we just feel tired.

I saw this as I traveled the country this year–good-hearted, loving, gentle people who just didn’t have the will to take one more step toward possibility because sarcasm and cynicism had taken hold of their lives and drained the last little bit of youthful optimism from their hearts.

You cannot ignore your disappointments. You must produce a remedy. Otherwise the secret killer of true faith will overtake you and leave you sarcastic and cynical.

Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that must of the humor produced in our television programs is sarcasm, and cynical in nature. Most of the commentary by the pundits on the news programs reeks of sarcasm and cynicism. Dare I say that nearly all of the advertisements in the political campaigns are actions of pummeling the opponent with sarcasm and cynicism.

Jesus had one of those days. The movers and shakers in his society had unmercifully hassled him, bringing up ridiculous charges and asking him to follow minute little tasks to prove his value to the religious community. They wanted “signs from heaven.” They demanded “evidence.” They wanted to be convinced. They had iron-poor, tired blood. They were cynical and sarcastic and had no idea that this disease had permeated their souls.

Jesus needed a remedy. He was in danger of becoming just as cynical and sarcastic about these opponents as they were about their own lives. He took a three-step cure.

1. He thanked God. He thanked God for his present location; he was grateful.

The notion that we would be better off in different circumstances is, after all, a mere theory. All we ever know is our present status.

2. He acknowledged the importance of where he had landed. It seemed that his message was not going to be well received by the wise and prudent, so rather than fighting and kicking against his dilemma, he welcomed the audience that God gave him and accepted his market.

We spend too much time wishing that we had a better outlet for our ideas and talents, and lose the opportunity set before us, which actually is our field.

3. And finally, he placed himself among those who were simple–babes.

Nowadays, everyone is trying to be too sophisticated. We think there’s a power in being all-knowing and filled with information. Sometimes it’s just better to believe in what you’ve got and work with it, instead of waiting for the next bus to come along and take you to the promised land.

The weariness in our country is due to the sarcasm and cynicism that permeates our politics, our religion, our arts, our entertainment and even our family life. (Is it not a dangerous cynicism that causes us to believe that men and women cannot find a way to communicate, while strangely enough, we still insist that “it’s all about the family?”)

I go to sleep tonight in Logansport, Indiana, not desiring to be anywhere else. I do not feel that I would be more successful performing at Wembley Stadium in front of forty thousand people. I do not need my latest book to be on the best-sellers list of the New York Times. I do not contend that my present status is inferior because it’s not world-renowned. I know that in every season a message comes forth that must spend time in solitude and obscurity before it ever has a chance to be heard and received.

I will work on me. I will employ the remedy, and I will keep my life from becoming weary–inundated by sarcasm and cynicism.

Do you feel tired? Have you watched yourself get more weary? Understand that sarcasm and cynicism don’t leave until you show them the door.

To do so, you have to locate yourself and be happy that you’re there.

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