G-Poppers … June 22nd, 2018

One of G-Pop’s children came to him with great concern.

She was troubled about two gentlemen she knew who were in the midst of a contentious and vicious argument over politics. They were both good men, good fathers and they were both Christian.

But the climate of division had overcome both of them, and they began to take it out on each other, leveling nasty insults in the direction of the other person, once a dear friend.

One man was a Republican and one man was a Democrat. But they both were Christian–shall we say Jesonian?–followers of the heart of Jesus.

Like many people in the lifetime of Jesus, they were looking for political solutions rather than personal revivals in their own hearts.

These two gentlemen had taken their eyes off the personal prize of discovery and placed their faith into the knowledge and politics of the day.

They were arguing about President Trump.

The Republican brother found himself in the defensive profile, trying to explain what was happening in our country the best he could, while the Democrat brother was using insults, derogatory statements and anger to attack the leader of our country.

It is affecting their friendship.

It is taking what was meant to be unified and breaking it apart.

Each one of them is convinced that the other couldn’t be a Christian and maintain the feelings he has about President Trump. They fail to understand that there are three principles set forth by Jesus of Nazareth.

If the Republicans ignore any of the three, then for a season we must walk away from the Republicans. Likewise, if the Democrats set any one of the three to the side, that party has to be negated in favor of greater words.

The three principles are:

1. No one is better than anyone else.

2. Judge not or you’ll be judged.

3. Love your neighbor as yourself.

These can’t be compromised just because we want to promote a candidate, and they certainly can’t be ignored to maintain affiliation with a political party.

Two good men are fighting because both of them are sacrificing their Jesonian beliefs to support an earthly power structure.

So G-Pop says to his children, don’t speak evil of the President of the United States. Keep your hand on the plow and follow the three principles listed above. And where you see problems come in, don’t resort to cheap insult and vulgar retort. Hang on.

The words of Jesus have lasted much longer than any ideas from any politician, and they certainly will be around long past the next election.

 

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Jesonian … January 13th, 2018

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Every single week.

As I journey across the country and stop off to do my presentation, I am always greeted by people who want to know my political persuasion. When I reply, “Apolitical,” they smile and begin to probe me so they might unearth my hidden beliefs, and thereby categorize me with either a big “R” or a big “D”–Republican or Democrat. How disappointed they usually end up being when I do not attack President Trump or swear my allegiance in that direction.

Many years ago, I discovered four verses from the Good Book which are so full of common sense and understanding of the human condition that I have embedded them into my own thinking, declaring this passage to be my touchstone.

When Jesus was explaining the Pharisees to the disciples, he said, “They hold Moses’ seat.”

In my lifetime, twelve men have held the position of President of the United States. Jesus’ approach on the matter? Honor the men because they’re in the position–and he goes on to say that we need to be careful to do what they say.

You see, this is where it gets tricky.

Many of my friends who are Democrats feel it’s necessary to resist President Trump, and likewise, my Republican friends demand some blind acceptance.

Jesus’ take? “Be careful.”

For instance, every time I step into my van to drive, I realize I am losing my freedom, suddenly at the mercy of the policemen in the local village who might have a speed trap. If picked up, I lose my ability to be autonomous.

“Be careful.”

Jesus says to “be careful to do what they say,” but then he adds, “But don’t do what they do.”

Not one of the twelve Presidents I’ve encountered in my lifetime would I choose to imitate in personal profile. Fortunately, since we don’t live in a dictatorship, I don’t have to do that. As long as I maintain a respectful cooperation with present laws, America gives me the right to pursue my single-minded goals while following my own philosophy.

With that in mind, I will also tell you that every week I meet a new pastor. He or she has a job. They also have a calling. What they discover is that the job often interferes with the calling, and the calling certainly complicates the job.

So they often end up pastoring a church instead of the church. They learn the mannerisms of their congregations–the quirks, limitations, aggravations and the preferences–and then try to build an institution saluting the lifestyle of Jesus inclusive of these guidelines. It often leaves them exhausted, and sometimes faithless–because believe it or not, people don’t always agree with Jesus, even while they’re praising him. People don’t always concur because they’re too busy being Republicans or Democrats.

So unfortunately, the job of the local pastor becomes that of an arbiter instead of a proclaimer.

They can even forget to give respect to the congregation, but don’t follow their ways. It is the mission of the pastor to shepherd the people to greener pastures. That begins by removing the “R’s” and the “D’s” and the denominational allegiance, and finding the simplicity of the message of Jesus, and keeping it as healthy and pure as possible.

It will take such men and women to bring about a revival.

But in Matthew 23:1-4, Jesus pronounces that it is completely plausible to respect the position of someone without following the leadership.

I do it every week. It doesn’t make me anemic. It doesn’t make me hypocritical. It simply means there are temporary solutions which are offered and can be implemented as long as the greater good is held in supremacy.

To be Jesonian is to follow the heart of Jesus. Part of the heart of Jesus is respecting those who have “gained a seat” in our society.

But most of the heart of Jesus is clinging to your autonomy so that the choices you make in your life are yours and yours alone.

 

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Ask Jonathots … November 24th, 2016

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How do you keep politics and religion from ruining a family gathering?

Life is truly about giving–but not merely in the sense of being generous. Rather, it’s about learning early and permanently when to give effort and when to give up.

Giving up can actually be one of the more noble steps of submission to overwhelming evidence. And giving effort is essential to achieve progress.

I bring this up in relationship to your question, because in order to have a good family gathering, you must know when to give effort and when to give up.

First of all, give up on changing people. You can’t, you won’t and you shouldn’t.

If Uncle Fred is a Republican, he will probably leave Thanksgiving evening equally as convinced. If Aunt Margaret is a Democrat, she will likewise ride her donkey out the door. And if any of your relatives claim to be atheists or insist that “all baptism must be by immersion or you’re not saved,” it is always a Godless pursuit to change those who are “all wet.”

So what can you do during a family gathering to be productive, but faithful to your own ideals? There is one simple, easy step:

Never speak in the abstract.

  • Don’t talk about doctrine.
  • Don’t talk about beliefs.
  • Don’t talk about Vladimir Putin.

Talk about your own life–your own goals, your own anecdotes–and in so doing, you gently confirm your beliefs.

In other words, if someone says “the homeless are a blight on the conscience of America,” wait until the conversation changes, and then double back and say, “I was waiting at a light at Wal-Mart, and a fellow was there with a sign, looking for money, so I rolled down my window with two dollars and I gave it to him, and he was so appreciative that it nearly made me cry.”

Then leave it alone.

When it comes to religion, humor is always your best vehicle:

“Well, I was driving down the road and I was nearly out of gas in a country setting and I wasn’t sure I would find a station. So I kept my eyes open, checked my GPS, but also–call me crazy–I said a little prayer. I’m not sure which one worked, or whether they worked together, but three minutes later I was at a gas station getting fueled up.”

Since you can’t change people, give up on that and instead, give effort into what you can change: your attitude toward people.

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Cracked 5 … November 8th, 2016

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Intriguing Ways To Commit Voter Fraud

A. Wear a hockey mask and kill people, stealing their voter cards

 

B. Report immediately if you see any Negroes near the polling station

 

C. Vote once in your KKK hood and once not

 

D. Tell them you are white and get two votes; tell them you’re a Republican and get a bonus third

 

E. Accuse a Mexican of voter fraud, and while they strip search him, sneak in and vote again

 

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G-Poppers … August 12th, 2016

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G-Pop is finding it a bit difficult to speak to his children.

For it seems that ideas which once had universal appeal have now been categorized as antagonistic to certain political persuasions.

Matter of fact, just the other day he told one of his sons that “being kind is smart.” The young fellow, who is a Republican, thought he was speaking against the Grand Old Party, and espousing some namby-pamby liberal propaganda.

Likewise, G-Pop told one of his daughters that there is great wisdom in “minding your own business.” She concluded that he was a Republican who wanted to keep the government out of his affairs.

And G-Pop seems to baffle everyone when he contends that one of the greater axioms of life is “don’t complain.” To the majority of his children, this sounds almost un-American.

So in the quest to gain political footing or governmental control, virtuous principles are being abandoned in favor of temporary tantrums.

G-Pop thinks we’ve totally forgotten what makes America truly exceptional:

We are a people who are poor in spirit but mourn in our meek way as we hunger and thirst for greater understanding and righteousness, extending mercy to others, while keeping an eye on the purity of our motives. We are always looking for ways to make peace, realizing that doing so will bring some persecution from those who would rather destroy. But we take heart, knowing that our forefathers suffered the slings and arrows of the insane mob which tried to promote war, as we choose to rejoice and be exceedingly glad because we know that history is on the side of the nation that honors humanity.

You see, the problem could “beatitude.”

And G-Pop is curious.

Is there a political party that believes in this?

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Good News and Better News … April 11th, 2016

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Good News Grays Chapel

Yesterday I was at Grays Chapel United Methodist Church.

It is located in a place called Grays Chapel, North Carolina, which has been granted the blessing of a name despite its size.

I liked them.

I’m not so sure they liked me at first because after all, I was a stranger. Because I was a stranger, I was therefore suspect.

Isn’t it interesting that most of the problems that come to us in life are hatched by friends and family? Rarely are we inundated by a predicament brought about by someone we don’t know.

That said, I had to make a decision on what I wanted to say to these fine folk. I mingled my words with songs, music and a bit of humor.

Yet, it is important to have a core message.

My core is so simple that it probably leaves some people attending my events a little disappointed–because I fail to attack the right people or praise those usually deemed worthy. So my success rate is very good, but is also plagued by the lack of having an adequate enemy we can all hate. Matter of fact, you can boil down what I have to say to the following:

1. The Gospel is good news.

I know people can find bad news in the Good Book, but I’ve never been one to try to turn it into the “Bad Book.” Maybe that makes my mission seem a little too simple or fluffy.

I don’t care.

People get enough bad news without having me set up my equipment and blare it from the PA system.

2. Jesus lived a human life.

Every attempt we make to turn Jesus of Nazareth into Apollo– who was purported to be half god and half man–makes him none of either.

The power of the life of Jesus is that even though he was driven by a calling and anointed by Spirit, he was bound by flesh.

It makes what he has to say much more pertinent to our lives, instead of him coming across as some professor from heaven, wonkishly trying to explain how things work to a bunch of dumb students.

3. Run from what’s complicated.

I do it all the time.

I meet individuals who think it takes a committee meeting to turn on a light switch. They spend more time discussing the Rules of Order than ordering someone to step in and rule.

Jesus said his way was simple and easy. My thought is, whenever things are is no longer falling under that gentle approach, they are probably also no longer Jesus.

So that’s the good news I had to share with the people of Grays Chapel. I don’t know whether it impressed them. Perhaps they wished I would attack the Republican, curse a Democrat, or whisper a stance I hold on what people should do in their bedrooms.

I don’t care.

The good news is:

  • The Gospel is good news.
  • Jesus came to be human.
  • And life is not meant to be complicated.

Oh, by the way–there’s one piece of better news:

Don’t leave love.

No matter how much you get tempted to redefine your commitment to the human race with some other emotion than love, abandon it. Even when you disagree or you think something is evil, don’t leave love.

May God find each one of us in a loving state of mind … when He, and He alone, decides to judge the world.

 

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G-Poppers … March 18th, 2016

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G-Pop sat quietly, listening to two family members talk about politics. Even though they are loving companions in every way, the political scene does divide them–right down the middle of their concerns.

Their conversation was interesting, but filled with assumptions which have cropped up in this present field of candidates.

Assumption 1: Politics is a different game and doesn’t have to follow the same rules. In other words, we expect them to lie.

Assumption 2: We’re in the process of choosing the best from the worst instead of merely attempting to extract the worst from the best.

Assumption 3: It’s not going to get any better.

G-Pop thought to himself that the true mistake lies in thinking that we are picking a leader instead of allowing the definition of leadership to do the selection for us.

Leadership has four components which end up with a determination.

1. Kindness: “I don’t want to start the fight.”

Anyone who thinks that politics and leadership is about fighting is promoting survival of the meanest.

2. Honesty: “I don’t want to initiate the lie. If lying is going to go on, I would rather watch it happening instead of being the founder of the deceit.”

3. Respect: “I don’t grow with your failure. I don’t need to honor iniquity, but I do need to ensure that the mistakes of others are corrected by nature instead of my rage.”

4. Resolve: “I don’t want to be the first to give up. I also don’t want to be the last to give up once it becomes obvious that change is necessary. I would like to give the plans available a chance to survive a bump or two instead of assuming that we’re heading off a cliff.”

When a good leader puts kindness, honesty, respect and resolve together, he or she ends up in strength, which is: “I don’t want to abandon goodness.”

For as G-Pop listened to his family members discuss politics, he realized there is no difference between being angry at the rich or angry at the poor. You’re still too damn angry.

Somewhere along the line, we have to put our faith into goodness winning the day, and not retreat from that purity … simply because evil does a lot of growling.

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