G-Poppers … May 26th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It was time for G-Pop to check out at Wal-Mart.

He found himself in line with a cashier he had seen a couple of times before–a gregarious woman in her mid-fifties who loved to chat. G-Pop loves to listen.

The previous time he’d had interchange with her, she had explained about her faith, her church and she even reached across the counter to touch his hand and say that she was praying for his knees.

Sweet.

On this day, she was equally as engaging, but with a different focus. She shared with G-Pop that she had gone through a season of studying the Bible, and also was deeply involved with her church.

But this past Sunday, she skipped the gathering to go to a fitness center. She cited that she had been given a trial membership, and said that spending the morning working out and sweating had energized her like nothing else had in a long time. She was thinking about going back.

G-Pop smiled.

He realized that most church-going people would frown at her, asking why she was leaving the church in order to utilize a treadmill. Why? Because there is an abiding sensibility that going to church is something we do for God, to prove our love and devotion–that we owe him at least that hour for granting us the courtesy of life and hopefully some divine protection from the elements.

Truthfully, in our world, religion is beginning to blend into a malaise of what G-Pop calls Judeo-Buddhism–a bizarre combination of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” with “don’t worry about your eyes and your teeth.”

As Buddhism is an attempt to alleviate the tensions of our passions and feelings, Christianity, on the other hand, is meant to enhance them. That’s why Jesus talked about the “abundance of the heart.”

G-Pop was not critical of this woman, simply because she is absolutely correct: we should all pursue the APPEAL OF WHAT WE FEEL.

If God did not want human beings to be creatures of emotion, He should have created us differently. If He wanted us to merely go to some stone building and worship Him in silence, reverence or even jubilant choruses like a pack of Druids, then He should never have included desire, passion, giddiness and endorphins into the mix. The fact is, human beings, if sane, will ultimately gyrate to an opportunity which has the most feelings.

This woman was not wrong. She was just honest.

Ask fifty percent of people, and they would tell you that they fight to stay awake in church. G-Pop wonders if that’s really a sign of reverence. Snoozing is usually associated with losing.

And what we’ve lost is the Jesus sense of worship. He described worship as a heart-felt expression that pours from every fiber of our beings, leaving us with full joy.

Yes, G-Pop is saying that if we cannot offer the thrill, the energy and the excellence of a morning of aerobic exercise, then we will lose people to their God-given emotions.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 5) Late … May 29th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

Sunday morning, and Meningsbee woke up late.

He wanted to blame his alarm clock, but since he was fully aware that he was the master of all of its decisions, he scurried along, skipping two of his pre-shower rituals.

He scooted into his car, started it and zoomed toward the church at what he hoped was a reasonable speed. He was thinking about what he wanted to share.

The Gospel of Mark. Most certainly.

It had been an interesting week.

After the breakthrough, with Betty and Clarice being reconciled, there was a sweet buzz of contentment among those who were present, but simultaneously, there were around twenty-five former members who had begun meeting in the banquet hall of the nearby Holiday Inn Express. They were stirring a flurry of frustration through the town.

Their contention? Meningsbee had “stolen their church.”

He understood their perspective. Yet there was a push in his spirit to continue the experiment–to find the real meaning of gathering together instead of marching in time to the drone of repetitive hymns.

Arriving, he ran to the door of the church, and then paused. He could hear the sounds of conversation. It was not the usual pre-church verbal exchanges, but instead, purposeful–what sounded like meaningful, prayerful tones.

So Meningsbee chose to enter quietly and climb the stairs to the balcony, where he could view the proceedings.

He had noticed coming in that there were a few more cars in the parking lot, and was delighted to see, when he looked down from his perch, that there were four visitors and a few of the original congregation who had returned.

But most enlightening was the fact that the three chairs he had placed in the front on Saturday night were filled with people, surrounded by other folks who were sharing and praying for one another.

On the seventh row was a young family who Deacon Smitters had befriended, and was quietly but feverishly entertaining with one of his stories.

It was a reverent scene, in the sense of the true meaning of reverence–full of humanity, compassion, tenderness and just a bit of the childlike freedom that was so often absent from the normal Sunday morning drill.

Reverend Meningsbee wanted to just hang out in the balcony and watch. He knew that as soon as he entered, the holy spell would be broken and they would turn to him to find order.

Finally he decided that it was not good for him to stay away for the whole time. He climbed down the stairs and came into the church as the gathering fell silent.

He turned slowly and addressed them.

“I overslept. But I have been here for fifteen minutes, just watching all of you. It is so beautiful for you to treat each other so beautifully. I know that’s not a good sentence, but it’s what I feel. Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for loving each other.”

All at once, a hand went up. It was Clarice, from last week’s reconciliation.

“Hello, Pastor. I just wanted to let you know that after Betty and I mended our fences, I got inspired to contact my son in Lincoln, who ran away from home a couple of years ago because he was mad at me for being such a–can I say ‘bitch’ in the church?”

Meningsbee laughed. “You just did.”

Clarice continued. “Anyway, I invited Michael home, we made peace, and I told him to come here with me today to seal the deal.”

The congregation burst into applause without being coaxed. It was spontaneous and it was electrifying.

One after another, there were testimonies about those who came and sat in the chair to receive God’s grace through the kindness of God’s people.

The good Reverend just stood back and shut up. There was a small part of him that felt useless, but most of him felt he had discovered his true use.

Lead the sheep to the green pastures, and then let them eat.

It came time for the end of the service, and Meningsbee wasn’t sure what to do.

Betty stood to her feet and said, “Did you know that Clarice’s son, Michael, plays a mean piano and can really sing?”

Michael feigned a bit of embarrassment, but also exuded a willingness to display his talent. So Meningsbee pointed to the piano, and Michael slowly rose to his feet, walked over, sat down and played and sang “Let It Be” by the Beatles.

It was an inspiring conclusion to the morning.

Meningsbee listened to the song very carefully.

“Let It Be.”

What good advice.

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G-Poppers … November 27th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

 

Though a little bizarre, G-Pop decided that Thanksgiving was fine because the grandchildren outnumbered the dogs by one.

Yes–five to four.

A little too close for the sake of sanity but still within the margin of error.

As all the family busied themselves preparing the delicacies they hoped would be the winner of the day, G-Pop just sat in his chair and thought for a moment about how absolutely amazing Thanksgiving and the season leading up to Christmas truly is.

In a way it’s about Santa Claus.

Very few personalities are as much maligned and revered as the Jolly Old Elf. But he does have a special formula for approaching humanity which is a workable format, and seems to gain traction every year.

It’s never out of style. It’s never rebuked so much by the religionists that it ends up being cast aside in favor of Biblical themes, and his presence is not so bound to the manger that those who have no reverence can still acknowledge the relevance.

It’s really a very simple plan of action:

1. Get prepared.

Think about the children and get the grownups to become more childlike.

2. Climb a little higher up on the roof.

You can see better. Ground level often leaves us grim.

3. Once you see better, slide down into people’s living rooms.

For after all, there’s no way to get folks to come to the North Pole–it’s too cold. At least, that’s the rumor. Also, human beings are not interested in becoming elves. So instead, you go to them, you go into their living rooms where they fellowship and nurture one another.

4. Next, bring gifts.

We’re all suckers for a gift. As long as we don’t have to sign on a dotted line, ending up with hidden payments, a free gift opens up the human heart.

We will never be able to intimidate the world into a submission of peace.

We will never evangelize the world into accepting a common Christ.

But we can come into their homes with a great package:

A. God loves.

B. God listens.

C. God learns.

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Untotaled: Stepping 34 (March 19th, 1967) Water Buffalo … October 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

Jack Forrest was my friend.

He was one of those adolescent chums who I was sure would always be my next-door neighbor, as we borrowed lawn and garden tools from each other and swapped spares in the neighborhood bowling league.

We played football together until I quit early in the season–and sure enough, he also abandoned the sport in reverence and defiance. So I think he was a little confused when I returned to play basketball.

It was not an easy choice for me, either. I never wore shorts and because I was so large, the little tank-top jersey they provided was too tight and made my promising pecs appear to be burgeoning breasts.

But by the same token I was athletic. I was good enough to be a starter. So one afternoon, the Olentangy freshman basketball team came over to play us and Jack attended the game.

I was hoping to do well in this particular competition because I had secured the starting forward position, and I wanted to impress the coach. When I walked onto the court in all of my chubby glory, a young student from the Olentangy campus yelled out, “Hey, look! A water buffalo!”

There were some titters from the opposing faithful.

Even though I shouldn’t have, I looked around to see who was taunting me. There was this guy with a smirk on his face sitting right behind my buddy, Jack.

The coach whispered in my ear an exhortation to put it out of my mind and the game began.

But I didn’t put it out of my mind–especially when this fellow continued to call me a water buffalo and once even generated a “M-o-o-o-o!” in my direction. Honestly, the thing that crossed my mind was that I didn’t think the buffalo species “mooed.”

But being a kid, the insults affected me. I dribbled a ball off my foot, missed an easy lay-up and fouled the opposing team a couple of times in frustration. I found myself peering over at that screamer instead of paying attention to the game.

Jack just sat there quietly in front of him without moving a muscle.

All at once, when the fellow yelled out his most recent insult, Jack stood up, turned around and punched the kid in the nose. He didn’t knock him out, but the guy did bleed. Jack didn’t care. He just turned around, sat back down and watched the game.

It was amazing.

  • No one stopped the action.
  • No teacher jumped in and sent Jack off in hand-cuffs with the police.
  • And the fellow who had done all the yelling stopped his taunts, never filing a lawsuit.
  • Matter of fact, no one ever even talked to Jack about what he did, assuming it was a rite of passage between two young, emerging studs.

I finished the game free of interference and actually scored a couple of baskets.

After it was over, I thanked Jack for his assistance, but said it wasn’t necessary.

Jack replied, “I didn’t do it for you. His squawking made my ears hurt.”

I smiled–because I knew he did do it for me.

He was loyal. And even though loyalty can be misguided, it’s a pretty powerful thing to carry around … on your way to acquiring good sense.

 

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Populie: It’s a Free Country … May 14, 2014

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it's a free country

POPULIE: an idea that is so popular that we feel there’s room to stuff in a lie or two to plump up the concept.

Freedom is a wonderful expression but the notion that we’re all free to do whatever we want, based on our whim or citizenship, takes a precept and turns it into a populie. America is not a land of freedom–it is a community of diversity, grounded in liberty.

First and foremost, we have to understand that religion, politics and entertainment, once again, love the populie.

Politics extols the virtue of “it’s a free country” to promote planks in its platform which may historically be proven to be erred, but for the time being, gain applause from the crowd and votes on election day. Remember, politics doesn’t care about posterity–just the temporary tally.

Entertainment, of course, wants to advertise the notion of abstract freedom because then really trashy ideas or short-sighted philosophies can be inserted into movies, music and television and presented as reality, under the guise of free expression.

And religion screams of the glories of the First Amendment when insisting that there is a need to alienate some faction or movement from their ranks due to its absence of reverence.

But actually, the word “freedom” needs to be replaced with “liberty”–and there is a great phrase in the Good Book, which states, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

In other words, if you’re going to do anything in the name of God, make sure you grant the human race liberty.

What is liberty?

Liberty does not require that I give permission, or even approval, of what is done. It is the offering of choice–as long as that decision doesn’t rob choice from another.

When you place that definition on our current social environment, much clarity comes to the forefront. I am not trying to tell you that I’ve discovered the Rosetta Stone for Earth’s peace and harmony. There are many complicated discussions which will ensue on a myriad of topics, but in a nation that allows for diversity, but also still pursues righteousness, you can account for both by opening the door to liberty.

For instance, I don’t believe in abortion. But I do believe in choice.

The pro-life people would find that wishy-washy. My response? If you really think it’s wrong to kill babies, then help advertise birth control, personal control and open up more adoption centers. You do not have the right to steal the liberty of choice from your fellow-citizens.

To those who are pro-choice, who would be angry with me because I disapprove of the procedure and therefore cast a dim light on ladies who pursue it, I would say, “You can’t have it both ways.” Most people don’t advertise their abortion on Facebook. There is a stigma to it. It is a needful hesitation, giving respect to life. If a woman chooses that path, she should be granted the liberty, but it does not require my rubber-stamp.

I feel the same thing about marijuana. I don’t like it. It doesn’t meet my specifications for quality or even inclusion, but if marijuana wants to come in as a choice for people in our country, and fall under the same scrutiny as all other smoke products–in other words, being forbidden in public places, never sold to children and studied continuously for its health difficulties–then so be it.

I feel our country becomes much simpler when we allow for debate, we arrive at liberty, we provide choice, but we guide the results in the direction of a common good instead of cheering on the noisy rabble.

It is not a free country–it is a country of liberty.

And liberty requires that we offer one another choice … while allowing others to have an equal amount of choosing.

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G-17: Dust, Breath, Soul… March 28, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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Take a moment.cloud of dust

Step out of the jungle.

Walk away until all the noise disappears.

What do you feel?

Free. Separate. Valuable.

For you see, there must be more than survival.

There needs to be a special purpose and energy for welcoming the new day.

I will tell you of a certainty, eating and drinking are thought-clogging.

Dominance produces a winner with no real victory.

Yes, we need to have a creature possessing a brotherhood with the jungle, but a sonship with the spiritual.

Dust. I am of Earth. It is where I came from and where I return.

Breath. I am alive. I require sustenance but I share with the earth my best, also.

Soul. I am of God. Not personally divine. A pinch of salt for the earth, a single ray of light for the world.

I am compelled to escape mere survival in reverence to holy pursuits.

Dust of the earth. Breath of life. Living soul.

Blessed, but no longer suitable for the jungle, and much too unpredictable for the heavens.

Suspended…

A miracle in contradictions.

 

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

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