G-Poppers… June 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop received an email from one of his children.

“Dear G-Pop: Why is there so much killing going on?”

He sat for a moment, thinking. Then he sent back this note:

We are in a struggle with anti-matter.

There are human beings who have decided that nothing matters. Once they come to that conclusion, they believe life is insignificant.

You can walk around the fringe of the problem by trying to remove guns, increase background checks and ask law enforcement to be more enforcing. But until you address the heart of the “matter,” these frustrated killers will slip through the safety net.

It is up to each one of us to take care of the “crazies” who surround us and make sure we do our part to prevent the next massacre.

Learn what to listen for.

1. “I don’t matter.”

Whenever you hear anyone state these words, stop what you’re doing and get involved. Listen to them. Take them someplace positive. Give them a reason to exist. Work with them shoulder to shoulder and see if it doesn’t improve the outlook.

2. “You don’t matter.”

Yes, there are folks who will decide for you exactly what your value is and limit the scope of your power. When you run across these people, take them into your home. Let them walk through some of your journey with you. Show them how your faith has feet.

3. “God doesn’t matter.”

Even though many of these murderers use the name of God to justify their mission, they obviously have given up on a Divine Being because they contend He’s given up on all of us. For example, it’s impossible to kill a deer if you think it has a soul or if it has the capacity to talk to you. To turn into a creature of mayhem, you have to believe that human beings are just ants.

And since Jesus told us that each human life is worth “many sparrows,” those who come to the conclusion that God doesn’t matter become dangerous.

At this point, you should invite two friends in. Don’t lay this on yourself. You’re dealing with a serious issue. You have to counsel with other people about the deteriorating scenario with this troubled soul.

The three of you should gently go and share with this person, to reason with him. Perhaps you can get him or her to once again believe in a loving Father and Creator or seek professional help.

4. “Nothing matters.”

When you hear a friend, relative, acquaintance or co-worker state that nothing matters, it’s time to contact the authorities.

You will certainly be afraid that you’re jumping the gun, but in this case that may very well be true. You may be jumping ahead to avoid the destruction of a gun.

When people begin to believe that nothing matters, they are susceptible to dark and evil suggestions which can lead to lasting tragedy.

With every single vicious, gun-slinging event that happens in this country, there are always at least four people who are fully aware of the pending calamity and decide not to interfere.

  • Law enforcement will not be able to solve this problem.
  • Making guns more difficult to acquire will only have limited effectiveness.

We need human beings who are attentive to the situations that come their way–when “anti-matter” tries to turn friends into demons.

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Good News and Better News … November 2nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good news Better news Columbus

I drove to Columbus, Ohio, to assist one soul. 483 miles round trip.

It was a decision:

  • If I go, then I’ll know I went.
  • If I don’t, I leave all circumstances to time and chance.
  • If I come up with a good excuse to stay and not go, then I will need evidence I tried–some extraordinary measure that expresses my concern. More than “I’m praying for you.”
  • If I make the journey, I risk expense and exhaustion.

“If, then.”

It got me thinking.

If there is a God, then there is a heaven.

Cool. Covered. Taken care of.

If there is no God, we really still need a heaven.

What is heavenly?

That which promotes life instead of death.

That which allows for my happiness and the happiness of others.

“Love your neighbor” jumps out as an essential ingredient.

How about being “the salt of the earth and the light of the world?”

And let us not forget, “don’t judge people”–or become your neighborhood ass.

Makes sense.

If there is no government to help the poor, then my two dollars, given to the guy on the street, becomes the safety net.

If there is a safety net, I can use my two dollars to help someone who can’t find it.

If there is no solution, then we will need really good diversions to keep us happy.

If there are solutions, then perhaps our task is to make big, easy-to-read signs so people can find the possibilities more easily.

I am not a destination; I am a GPS.

“Where do you want to go?”

That’s what I ask.

“Let’s find a good route.”

If there is no eternity, then it is all happening now.

So perhaps we should just “enjoy the heaven” out of it.

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Without a Net … February 4, 2012

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I met Imogene and Anton on New Year’s Eve in Sarasota, Florida, many years ago after sharing in a local church with my group, Soul Purpose.  We had stopped in at the International House of Pancakes to break a few eggs and eat an omelet to welcome in the New Year. It had been a great year, so I was feeling particularly festive, and was even in such a silly mood that I decided to mingle all the syrups on the table onto my pancakes to determine what flavor would emerge.

Now, the reason I noticed Imogene and Anton was that they were such small-boned individuals. I mean, I knew they were adults—he had a beard and she had all the girl things.  But they were so tiny that I could probably put one in my right pocket and one in my left pocket and not increase the girth of my silhouette. I was fascinated by them because they ate quietly together and chatted, and with my big ears I overheard them talking about the circus.

Sarasotawas the winter headquarters for the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus—where they tested out their new acts. As I said, I was feeling gregarious, so I engaged them in conversation. They decided to come over to our table to join us. We quickly discovered that they were not only talking about the circus, but they were members in good standing. Their field of expertise was the trapeze and walking the high-wire. (Suddenly it occurred to me why the slightness of their frames would be of great advantage. Putting me, for instance, on a wire in the sky would create quite a bend in the universe.)

We were going along fine with our conversation until I asked them about their new act and they told me it was a death-defying routine which demanded much of their attention and at this point, was quite nerve-wracking.

I said, “Thank God you’ve got that safety net down there, just in case you slip.”

At that moment, all at once, Imogene blanched, dropped her fork onto her plate, rose from the table and scooted her way towards the restroom. The members of my group turned to look at me like I had stabbed Imogene in the heart. I was baffled by her reaction. Fortunately, Anton stepped in with an explanation.

“Relax,” he said. “She’ll be fine. It’s just that we never mention the net. I mean, we kind of know it’s down there, but you can’t be walking on the high wire and have one single thought about the net. Matter of fact, Imogene and I have sworn to never bring it up or speak it aloud—because the minute you believe you have a safety net, you will unconsciously lose your concentration, become dependent upon it and end up falling. Eventually, you will need to perform without the net—and if your mind is relying on it, the results … well, the results could be deadly.”

As he finished his explanation, Imogene reappeared at the table and began to apologize. I interrupted her. “I am so sorry, my dear,” I said. “I had no idea.”

“How could you?” she replied. “You don’t walk our high wire. You don’t live our life. You don’t sense our need. Therefore, you don’t understand our dilemma.”

She was right. I was very careful the rest of the night not to bring up the word “net” in any way, shape or form. We had a lovely conversation and stayed at our table until the New Year rang through.

I will never forget that experience. It came to my mind again this week when I heard someone bring up the term “safety net” in relation to poor people in this country. I personally have suffered poverty. Poverty is infectious. It doesn’t just make you hungry. It doesn’t just remove your finance. It makes you frightened, dependent, defensive, and angry. And of course, if you express any of these emotions, possessors of money will be critical of you because you’re not appreciative of the services available.

But let me tell you, if you’re poor and you begin to trust that safety net—that government assistance—that intervention of kindness from others—your personal journey of discovery and self-reliance is over. Imogene was right to run away from anyone who would talk about the net. Because if you’re walking the high wire—be it in the circus OR one of poverty—you need to keep your attention on improving your plight instead of wondering what’s going to happen if you make a mistake.

I learned something that night which I’ve tried to apply in the rest of my experiences in working with others. Unless I am going through the identical situation that you are, I don’t understand what it takes for you to make it work. Merely telling you that you should be all right because there’s a net underneath you could be the worst thing in the world for you. Because if you want to get good at walking a tight rope, you have to stay focused on your next move—and not trust the net.

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