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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Ask Jonathots … January 7th, 2016

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Does wisdom come with age? Even today, kids are taught to “respect their elders,” but sometimes I’m not sure why. What are your thoughts on the notion that years add value?

I suppose the reason that “wisdom comes with age” has been promoted and generally believed by the populace is that the passage of years does grant more opportunity to screw up and survive.

But the truth of the matter is that wisdom is an understanding of the limitations of knowledge. Plainly, merely accumulating information which is deemed “correct” does not mean that the discovery of additional data in the future will not contradict or even eliminate your former comprehension.

People who become stubborn about their present knowledge will not only fail to become wise, but eventually will be considered ignorant.

So at any age you can learn the key to wisdom.

Wisdom has three basic parts that never change, and if you learn them, you can transfer your present ideas into a workable format for real life. The three parts are:

  1. Nothing is ever exactly what you think.

Aren’t you glad? It means you don’t have to be arrogant, therefore you don’t have to come across so foolish when you’re proven to be incorrect.

  1. Nothing will remain the same.

Even our faith evolves as we comprehend more about the true nature of life and God.

  1. Nothing is exclusive.

More simply phrased, anything you hear that leaves out one group of people in favor of another will eventually be exposed as errant.

So if you approach the knowledge that comes your way by filtering it through these three classic principles, you can become wise at any age.

If you don’t, you can end up looking like an 80-year-old dim-wit. 

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Jesonian: F. A. A. E. … October 18th, 2015

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Jesonian hands

In an age when Facebook has attempted to simplify relationships down to “friend” and “unfriend,” it might be of social significance to each one of us to look at the Jesonian approach to human interaction.

Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus did not love everybody with the same intensity. There were measures, concerns, confinements and meters to his affection and devotion.

Understanding that those judgments were not based upon prejudice, but rather, practicality, is the beginning of forming a way of dealing with humanity, preventing you from becoming jaded.

Jesus put human relationships into four categories:

1. Friend.

His definition of “friend” was very specific. He traveled with twelve disciples for more than three years before he referred to them as friends–and then he said he felt he could do so because he could “share his life with them.”

A true friend is a rarity because you must be willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly without fear of incrimination.

2. Acquaintances.

These are people Jesus interacted with who shared a common purpose, but not necessarily a transparency. They were the many individuals who believed on him because they encountered a miracle. But generally speaking, these acquaintances did not end up following him, but departed on their own to start a new life, or were instructed by Jesus to go back to their homes and spread the good news.

3. Adversary.

It will probably astound you when I say that most of the interaction you have with your fellow-travelers will be adversarial.

An adversary is someone you really want to grow to appreciate and love, so you’re learning to cooperate with each other, while also being fully aware of your differences. This is why Jesus told us to “reason with our adversary.” Don’t criticize them; don’t kill them. Find the areas where you concur, and interact in those ventures without forcing agreement in others.

4. Enemies.

And finally, an enemy is simply defined as someone who does not wish you good will. Enemies are not happy when you succeed.

They may not plot against you nor gossip but they do not rejoice when you rejoice, nor mourn when you mourn.

This is where the variety and intensity of Jesonian affection is put into place. So:

We love our friends because we can be completely open with them.

We honor our acquaintances because we share so much in common that it establishes a deep sense of human-hood.

We commit to our adversaries because they keep us thinking and challenge us to have a good reason for what we believe instead of stumping and stomping around about our contentions.

And we respect our enemies because that is the only way we can assure ourselves that their animosity will not easily be turned into action against us.

  • Friends are rare.
  • Acquaintances are growing.
  • Adversaries are plentiful.
  • And enemies are few.

Fortunately, the treatment for all of them is easy to remember:

A multi-faceted love.  

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Ask Jonathots … July 9th, 2015

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I am the mother of two boys, age 5 and 7. I got divorced four years ago. I am trying to bring my boys up to be Christian young men, but my ex-husband is not a Christian and lets them watch movies I don’t approve of and play all kinds of video games. But the court says he has visitation rights. What should I do?

You cannot approach a childish situation by trying to come up with an adult solution. Somehow or another, you have to transfer a childish situation into a child-like format. Otherwise, your children will start picking sides based upon the perks they get with visitation.

If Dad gives them more freedom to do what they want, then Dad will be the cool parent–until they get in trouble, and then you’ll be stuck with the bail ticket.

There are some key words in your question that bother me. The first one is “ex-husband.” You should probably cleanse your soul right now by ceasing to call this gentleman that you were married to at one time your “ex-husband.”

He was never a good husband or you would still be married to him. So you can call him the man you were married to at one time, the children’s father, or whatever respectful name you can come up with, which will prevent you from feeling that you still have a bond with him personally.

When your children are sure that you have moved on with your life, they will be less likely to play you guys against each other. (And yes, kids are much smarter about that kind of stuff than you would think.)

The second word that bothers me is “Christian.” Because of the perversions, misrepresentations and fanaticism that exists in our religious community, the word itself has become almost meaningless.

What you want to teach your young men is how to be honorable. Fortunately for you, that kind of insight is found in the teachings of Jesus.

So don’t make a stand about movies or video games, but instead, teach your sons how a woman should be treated, how they should respect other people’s rights, and mostly, they need to understand that the blessing of money comes from work.

When they value these three concepts, they will begin to make better decisions–even at this early age.

So don’t be so concerned about what’s going on during their visitation times, but rather, about the values held dear in your home.

Don’t take them to a church that preaches instead of provides. If the church in the United States is going to survive for another generation, it will have to stop preaching its doctrines and begin to provide an atmosphere where human beings can prosper and get along with each other, developing the kind of tolerance that teaches us to cease being judgmental.

Whether you like it or not, your children are part of two households. Yet it is virtually impossible for people who are divorced to come up with a parenting plan on which both agree.

Just make sure that when your sons are home with you they see principles that are not only taught, but are also honored by their mother. And keep in mind, since children think life is a game, maintain the joy and fun in the experience.

So in conclusion, you don’t have an ex-husband, you have a man you used to be married to.

And you’re not trying to raise “American Christians,” you’re bringing up two sons who need to respect their own bodies and the rights of others.

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“Ifing” Way: Part 2… October 27, 2014

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What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

Dad arrived just in time.

His youngest son was already primed and ready to run out the door to go see his older brother to try to reconcile hurt feelings. The siblings had never really been close, yet the bond of family had always meshed them with a sense of loyalty. But recent events had exacerbated the tenuous feelings, generating a volatile situation. A simple misunderstanding had turned into a sense of rejection, culminating in a looming burst of rage.

When the incident happened, Dad stepped between them to prevent violence, but the younger son, having a more optimistic nature, believed all that was needed was a good conversation. So he had privately decided to go off on his own, without any counsel, to see his brother at the work site so they could “rummage through their feelings” and arrive at resolution.

Fortunately, Dad came on the scene–just in time.

“Where are you going?” Dad asked.

The young man paused for a second, wondering if he could possibly deceive his father and achieve his own purposes, but then realized that was contrary to his heart.

“You know where I’m going. I’m going to make peace with my brother.”

The father smiled. “I know that seems like a good idea to you, and far be it from me to be against peace, but your brother is a complicated man and his emotions and thoughts are not privy to you, and therefore not available.”

The young man frowned.

Sensing his son’s disagreement, the father continued. “We could talk about this all day and we wouldn’t agree. What I would like you to do is trust me. If I end up being wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it. But I would like you to leave your brother alone for a while, until you and I agree on a better time. Because if you go and see him now, all you’re going to do is remind him of the pain of the conflict, and perhaps incense him over the idea that you appear to be the better brother because you’re trying to make things right. I want you to promise me–based upon our friendship and bond–that you will stay away from him until things are better.”

The young man objected. “But how can things get better if we don’t make them better?”

The father patted him on the shoulder and said, “Son, sometimes things don’t get better. But if we interfere, we can make them worse.”

He gave his younger son a hug. The boy agreed to stay away from his older brother until such time as was deemed appropriate.

As it turned out, the conversation never actually happened. The two brothers, who had never been particularly close, maintained a distance throughout their lives. They learned how to be appropriate during family gatherings, and gave each other proper respect and space.

Cain and Abel never became close friends.

But because Adam took his position as a father and intervened in a dangerous situation … no one had to die.

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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

Three Ways to Gain Respect Without Bragging … August 7, 2014

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Aretha

“R-e-s-p-e-c-t

Find out what it means to me…”

Aretha Franklin vibrantly and tunefully punctuated the Otis Redding lyric.

Almost every human being desires to gain respect, and therefore, placement in the pecking order of the human family.

Yet for some reason or another, we’ve begun to believe that this can be achieved by boasting, bragging or screeching our requests to the world around us, bolstering our demand with the threat of bad attitude or vengeance.

It’s just not the way things work.

Although we tolerate people making claims without backing them up, we eventually require that they prove their point or we will find a way to set them aside.

So I’d like to tell you three ways to gain respect without bragging:

1. Show up on time.

Let us make it clear once and for all: there is no such thing as “fashionably late.” People who arrive late communicate that they think they’re more important than everybody else in the room. It is only excusable if humility is at the heart of an apology, and then only if it’s done once or twice.

If you want to establish a reputation for being powerful, show up on time and make sure everyone knows it is part of your conviction.

2. Show up with your mood.

Honestly, it doesn’t have to be a good mood. But people who fluctuate, constantly bouncing among emotional profiles, are considered to be unstable, gossip-worthy and basically negated by their friends and family.

Being positive is good–if you’re always positive. Being neutral is fine as long as you bring that at all times. Even being in a sour disposition has its charm as long as you don’t occasionally build up hopes that you’ve made some sort of transformation to positive thinking.

Consistent moods are powerful. We may act like we will put up with people gyrating from one mood to another, but secretly we don’t.

3. Show up with the work done.

Here’s the problem with procrastinating and failing to achieve your quota: you have to explain why, which lends itself to excuses, too much story-telling and an over-abundance of drama.

The greatest gift you can give to yourself and everyone else is to make sure that today’s calendar is free from yesterday’s “things to do” list. If it isn’t, just say so, without explanation.

So these are three things that will gain you respect without you having to plant your foot, put your hand on your hip and posture for it.

After a while, if people know you’re going to show up on time, that you have a consistent mood and you get the work done … you become the champion you desire to be.

 

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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

 

 

Seven Days Later … July 27, 2012

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One spoiled rotten boy

In a desperate attempt to annoy

Took his dastardly grown-up toy

And acted out his lethal ploy

Intent to kill off all our joy.

Seven days after Theater Nine. People trying to understand why.

Yet if our frustrated little boy from Colorado had come to us with a paint brush, we might have told him that “art is for pussies.”

If he had shown up with a hammer, we would have suggested that he go build something, and that we would decide if he was worthy of future constructions.

What if he had shown up with a song? The suggestion would have been made for him to audition for American Idol and hope for the best.

What if the little boy had arrived with just an idea? We more adult types would have smiled, patted him on the shoulder and offered a dubious “good luck.”

He could have completed his education. We would have handed him an application and told him to get in line.

And if our young, confused lad had brought along his dream, we would have felt the need to provide him with a big dose of reality.

But because he showed up with a gun, we have given him the entire twenty-four hour news cycle. What is the message?

  • “Be a dreamer or pursue something good … and be relegated to obscurity.”
  • “Devastate and decimate the body of humanity … and receive acclaim.”

It is because the infernal battle between conservatives and liberalsin this country squares us off into camps that possess jargon and slogans, but no real, practical way to make the American dream

English: Percent of self-identified conservati...

English: Percent of self-identified conservatives in the United States, broken down by state, according to Gallup, August 2010. http://www.gallup.com/poll/141677/Wyoming-Mississippi-Utah-Rank-Conservative-States.aspx#2. 49% and above 45%-48% 41%-44% 37%-40% 33%-36% 32% and under (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

wake up to personal success. The conservatives will tell you that all you need is a job, a family, a home and a faith. The liberals will postulate that human beings require opportunity, respect, equality and freedom. Here’s the truth: when our principles of purpose cease to produce better and happier human beings, they need to be revised, no matter how many times our forefathers may have endorsed them.

How about a true insight into our country? And it isn’t found by becoming a conservative or a liberal, but rather, by amalgamating all the better choices and forging them into the steel of a great American.

Here’s what somebody should have told the brat from Colorado:

“Welcome to America. You have the opportunity to get a job as long as you’re willing to use your ingenuity to work your way up. If you respect people and grant them equality, you might just get the blessing of having your own family. If you keep using your integrity, after a while you can buy a home–even though truthfully, you actually can make a home anywhere you decide to settle. You have the freedom to express your faith and convictions as long as you allow others unbridled liberty to live out their choices. There is no lifetime guarantee. There is just the guarantee that you have this lifetime. Please join us.”

That’s what someone should have told him. Instead, he was cast on a sea of division between conservatives and liberals that eventually caused him to decide that violence was the better way to gain notice instead of patiently being creative.

Seven days later, what have we learned? What do we know?

I will tell you what I perceive. Until the conservatives and liberals get off their high horse and we join together as people, to discourage violence and give great honor and place to creativity, we will continue to bury victims–many of them our children.

   

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