G-Poppers … June 8th, 2018

G-Pop wants his children to know that if you’re going to follow what is right and do what is consistent with sanity, you will sometimes find yourself looking not cool, and even being considered not very smart.

It is the whole instability of a fad.

A fad is a decision to depart from the norm, if for no other reason than to escape what is perceived to be a restrictive situation.

Because fads have no future, they don’t really consider all of the ramifications of their practices. You can follow such trends, but when they fall apart–and they do–you will be counted among those who got duped.

There’s no need to be picky in life and try to be a stick in the mud, but certainly there are truths that cannot be altered, and should not be set aside simply because we want to experiment with a novel approach.

Here’s a simple way to view it:

1. Is it something that needs to be done?

2. Is it something that Abraham Lincoln had to do?

3. Is it something you want to teach your children to do?

Then do it.

It might sound a little silly–and I used Abraham Lincoln because he stood against some very strong, convincing fads, but stayed on the game plan that “all men are created equal.” It was not so popular to believe that. He was the kind of fellow who didn’t care. (You notice I did not say to use Richard Nixon as an example.) Abraham Lincoln did unpopular things because they were lasting and true.

So there’s your three-part process. If you really know what needs to be done, and you know Abraham Lincoln did it, and you know that as a parent you would teach your children the right way, then do it.

Don’t get tempted to follow a fad that fades.

For…they always do.

 

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Salient…June 4th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

You can “go crazy” or you can “stay sane.” One requires you go and another suggests you stay.

If you intend on spending your life chasing what is popular, convinced that the numbers, profit margin and adulation is proof of its value, then you will end up constantly finding yourself splashing down into a pool of disappointment.

After all, consider the word popular–it “pops up,” and then, when it’s proven to be insufficient for human growth, it pops again, like a balloon, and goes away.

Here is a statement: virtue, love, tenderness, creativity, gentleness and honesty will never be popular.

You will never get the majority of the people to agree at any single moment to swing their weight in the direction of faith, hope and charity. These attributes are enduring.

Those who stay and follow them, when the “crazy” goes away, will find themselves positioned to be of help for friends and family who were wounded by the latest failed fad.

You might ask, what’s the difference between crazy and sane?

Crazy is any movement that suggests that the absence of mercy will achieve progress.

Sane is understanding that the greatest progress we can make is to apply mercy to every situation.

It’s all about mercy. There is no kindness without mercy. There is no love without mercy. Mercy is realizing that even if things don’t get better, we can work with what we have to find some good.

This will never be popular.

There will be more screams for revenge, vindication and violence as the years go by.

You can “go” after these causes, but you’ll end up crazy. Or you can “stay” with the power of mercy and remain sane.

So here is your salient moment:

There will be many voices in the wilderness. If you follow them you will go crazy.

There will always be an opportunity for mercy. If you embrace it, sanity will be your prize.

 

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Salient … April 30th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Kim Jong-un is the dictator from North Korea. He is thirty-three years old–at least, we think so. (Birthdays are not nearly as important in the little country, since there’s a shortage on cakes and balloons.)

I suppose we could spend some time discussing his erratic behavior, threats, totalitarian attitude and despotism. That seems to be the favored profile of most commentators and politicians in the United States.

But while our government was slinging threats at this young man as he feverishly plotted to blow the world up with his missiles, there was another plan in the hatching.

Kim took the Olympics to offer an olive branch to his South Korean brethren. He sent a family member down to represent him, and all sorts of athletes and cheerleaders to add a festive coloration to the proceedings. Most recently, he sat down for talks in China, and also with his nemesis, the President of South Korea.

He has made it clear that he’s willing to consider doing away with nuclear proliferation, and is willing to discuss it in a pow-wow with President Trump.

As we posture on being “the greatest nation on Earth,” this young dictator has outfoxed us. If he hasn’t done it on purpose, he has certainly performed a supreme job of lining up a series of accidental brilliant moves:

He has the United States appearing heavy-handed.

He has the full attention of the whole world, simply by appearing to have changed his mind.

And yes–he’s doing his best impression of sanity.

We can claim it’s not real, but he continues to baffle the critics with his compliance. Those who choose to vilify him are beginning to look ridiculous.

It is all part of a very simple axiom, which needs to be learned by every grade-school student in America, and perhaps throughout the face of the Earth:

The first one to stop acting stupid is proclaimed smart.

It works every time.

Two bullies standing nose-to-nose win no friends. Why? Because they’re both bullies. But if one bully decides to back away and cease the brawl, then the entire playground sides with him or her, leaving the other bully the villain.

Will our country be intelligent enough to take even the higher ground than Kim Jong-un?

I don’t know.

But here’s your salient moment:

Strong only projects strength. Weakness always looks stronger–if it has a smarter plan.

 

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Good News and Better News … April 2nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Little Jonathan, Jonny, Precious, Jon, Big Jon, Rock, singer, artist, Jonathan Richard, lover, boyfriend, daddy, Papa, father, traveler, performer, controversial, G-Pop, blogger, songwriter, friend.

These are all names associated with me over the years. What a list.

I am not that significant. But I also must tell you that Alexander the Great was not that great, and Ming the Merciful was often fussy.

Names are bandied about to explain what we feel rather than to clarify what someone or something is. This came to my mind last night when I watched the NBC version of “Jesus Christ, Superstar.”

Not only did he need to be “Jesus,” but someone required him to take on the name “Christ.” And not only “Christ” but now, by reputation, he has become a “Superstar.”

A list of such names and adjectives is accumulated in Isaiah from the Good Book.

  • Wonderful
  • Counselor
  • Mighty God
  • Everlasting Father
  • Prince of Peace

I suppose most people would proclaim that Jesus was all of those. But I’m sorry. “Wonderful” just does not do it for me. Sitting around and praising a deity for his goodness does very little to enhance my life.

Some folks would find it essential to establish that he is a “Mighty God,” but I think mastering the rising of the sun and the setting of the same makes that pretty clear.

“Everlasting Father?” I actually need a father here. I don’t know if I need one for eternity.

“Prince of Peace?” That’s cool, but the Prince of Peace also required that I be a peace-maker.

As I look at all the superlatives used to describe the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the one that stands out to me from the list is “Counselor.”

Jesus is my counselor. He has kept me out of jail. He has assisted me in maintaining my fibers of sanity. He has led me in understanding how to become more valuable to the human beings around me. He has informed me on discovering when a door is closed and when it is open.

He taught me to ask and seek and knock instead of complaining about the menu that life has thrust at me.

Because I have accepted him as my counselor, wonderful things have happened. I have been able, through my testimony, to confirm that he is a “Mighty God” and an “Everlasting Father.” And peace? He has been a Prince.

But more importantly, he is my counselor because he is my confidante, and for those who pursue the path of atheism, he is my invisible friend, whom I frequently talk to. And if he doesn’t exist, he’s still a great therapy session. After all, not everyone can afford two hundred dollars an hour for a professional.

I do believe that what you call Jesus does determine the level of religiosity which plagues your soul–because every drop of traditional religion that inhabits us also inhibits us.

So the good news is that Jesus, being versatile, has many names, and just like you and me, has taken on a variety of personas.

And the better news is, you can feel free to call him anything you want.

 

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G-Poppers … February 2nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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President Trump is not a moron. He is also not a genius.

Although there are proponents who would suggest that he falls into one or the other of these categories, the truth of the matter is that Donald Trump is President of the United States. He achieved this by campaigning and receiving the lion’s share of the electoral votes.

G-Pop wants to make this clear.

G-Pop is the veteran of many presidents and can tell you that most of them were accused of moral indiscretion, the majority considered crazy, and all of them touted to be dictators who over-extended their power.

It is important to understand the nature, the function and the mission of the job.

Most of the time the President of the United States is not negotiating with foreign powers nor plotting global wars.

He is the closest thing to a daddy that 320 million immigrants have.

As our daddy, it is his job to provide a sense of security and a voice of kindness. That’s it.

G-Pop’s not even sure if it’s a political position. Approaching it from that angle only seems to render the job mean-spirited, stalling action and legislation.

He is our father, who art in Washington–and maybe someday, our mother who art at the White House.

Questioning the morality, sanity, motives, hidden meetings or deceptions of our President is just political maneuvering to gain control of our country.

What the position really requires is kindness.

No one understood that better than Abraham Lincoln. Although President Lincoln had good reason to be furious over the attitudes of the Southern states, his second inaugural speech characterized his tenderness toward his children in Dixie by saying, “With malice toward none, with charity for all…”

Yet every President G-Pop knows has selected to be vindictive against his enemies, contending that if you don’t punch back, they’ll just punch harder. But Abraham Lincoln, in four short years, saved the Union, freed the slaves and was able to end a horrible conflict.

Did he do it by being mean?

Did he do it by being angry and sending out nasty notes to his enemies?

Did he do it by sleeping with his interns?

Did he do it by torturing the prisoners of the Confederate Army?

No, he did it as kindly as a man can do when waging a war against insanity.

Kindness is when we look in the mirror and practice the words we’re going to say to another to get a sense of how it might feel.

You don’t have to be a moron or a genius to be President.

But G-Pop wants you to know that it’s the mission of our President to allow kindness to flow to the north, south and east…from the West Wing.

 

 

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G-Poppers … June 9th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop wants to speak to his children–for it is time for a radical return to reason. Let us say that again: A RADICAL RETURN TO REASON.

The faith placed by innocent souls in government, religion, commerce and education has been devastated because these organizations have ceased to honor their own systems. People are making it up as they go along–even people entrusted with power, position and purpose.

Since there is nothing that is going to come from government or religion, it is the duty of those who still possess a desire for goodness and prosperity to step in and begin a gallant revolution. It will need to be a radical return to reason.

1. Being kind heals the mind.

Each one of us has a natural tendency to lose our way. It is the inkling of the human soul. We change that direction by purposefully expressing kindness to those around us, which gives us the chance to heal from negativity and delusions.

2. Probe for similarities instead of differences.

We are not in the midst of celebrating unique cultures. Rather, we’re eyeing them for their oddities, so we can feel superior. It’s why, after all these years, we’re still talking about black and white, straight and gay, and male and female. We relish being different, which fragments us instead of generating understanding.

3. Truth is the key to sanity.

Once we begin to convince ourselves that lying is more “human” than telling the truth, we set in motion an avalanche of self-gratification, which permits us to cheat–but makes us very angry when we see others do it. Since it is impossible to accept lying in others, we need to realize that it is equally as implausible to nurture it in ourselves.

4. Humility prevents humiliation.

If for some reason you are insecure about some aspect of your being, it is much better to be forthcoming instead of finding yourself coming forth in the arena, to be mocked by all the bystanders.

The truth will come out. It’s just better if it comes from your humble lips instead of the bitter tongue of an accusing stranger.

5. Stop critiquing. Make something.

We become much less critical when actually taking the time to create an idea or product of our own conception. We will need mercy for our efforts, which is more likely to be received if we have given mercy to others.

It is time for vibrantly intelligent and vigorous human beings to consecrate themselves to simple principles.

G-Pop has offered five. He believes that if you take on a little more kindness, find more similarities, begin to honor the truth, humble yourself, and create something, that you will have a richer outlook on life.

Or you can sit back and watch the world dissolve in front of you.

G-Pop challenges his children.

The choice is yours.

He just contends it’s time for a radical return to reason.

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Good News and Better News … July 4th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Effort 1He was Saul of Tarsus, who after a dramatic Damascan conversion, began to travel the ancient empire under the stage name, Paul the Apostle.

He once said, “By grace you are saved through faith.”

Little did he know that this quote would become one of his greatest hits. Matter of fact, the doctrine of grace, which emerged from this statement, is preached every Sunday.

The validity of the statement is powerful. The salvation of our souls is a free gift from God through the love, mercy and sacrifice of Jesus. It blooms the potential of eternal life. But it doesn’t tell us what we’re supposed to do with our emotions, brains and bodies through this process called human life.

Because those who live on grace, hoping it will cover a multitude of their annoying practices, do very little to promote the expanse of the Christian message.

This came to me yesterday when I arrived at the Effort United Methodist Church near the Poconos in Pennsylvania.Good News Effort 2

Effort.

What a great word.

It is ridiculous to think that Jesus took the time to preach the Sermon on the Mount about character, bearing fruit, loving your neighbor, avoiding hypocrisy, channeling your lust and respecting the planet if he wanted us to merely lounge on the cushion of grace.

Belief in Jesus does give you salvation, but to live on Planet Earth, we require sanity. Sanity is achieved by accepting the Gospel of Jesus to free us from fret, worry, pride, prejudice, anger and fear. It simplifies our emotions so that our minds can be renewed and we can gain strength.

Religion does not grant us this peace.

Religion wants to give comfort to the convert and condemnation to the world.

It’s when we take grace and blend it with effort that we meld the alloy of faith–certainly trust in God, but also reliance on “Christ in me, the hope of glory.”

In the long run, there are two salvations–there is the salvation that is a free gift of God through acceptance of Jesus.

Good News Effort 3And there is a salvation which each one of us, individually, “works out with fear and trembling” as we journey, simplifying our lives with joy and understanding.

I had a monumental time yesterday with the folks in Effort.

They did put up an effort.

They showed up on July 4th weekend, when they could have gotten by with “pew hookey.”

They listened to this stranger expose new ideas about abundant life.

And they allowed themselves to be impacted rather than insisting that grace eliminates any need to learn.

The good news is that we are saved by grace through faith.

But the better news is that we save our sanity by taking the beautiful Gospel of Jesus and putting some Effort into it.

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