G-28: Once Was Lost … June 13, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jack climbingGrace is so much more amazing when it is saving wretches.

Without acknowledging our wretchedness, grace merely funds and fosters a nest of pious arrogance.

The Creator learned this about His own creation.

For when the human race is encouraged without being challenged, we become smug, self-reliant and callous to the feelings of others.

As time passed on, people developed a definition for spirituality which favored their own profiles and vices.

They began to refer to themselves as the “sons of God,” which meant that eventually they no longer needed a Divine presence, since they, themselves could fulfill the mission. Yes–they believed they were gods. (Actually, the best we can hope for by having a common Father which is in heaven, is the delightful knowledge that we’re all brothers and sisters. )

But in the pursuit of self-esteem, we lost the humility that makes us desirable and attractive to one another.

As a race, we began to believe we were giants–immensely talented, obviously good-looking and supernaturally empowered. Any notion that came along to contradict this evaluation was considered a “downer” or a personal attack.

Once again, our species failed to understand that the power of discovering our worth is having the intelligence to know that we are actually poor in spirit and require the mercy of God and therefore should extend mercy to one another.

Of course, when giants mate with other giants, they create children who are mighty and renowned.

People believed that their offspring were better than other offspring, and therefore deserved special consideration.

  • It was the beginning of racism.
  • It was the maintenance of sexism.
  • It was the authorization of preferential treatment.
  • It was the idea that “family” was the most important thing in the world and that our particular unit was supremely endowed with favor.

Yet the most intelligent approach to child-rearing is the realization that our kids are no better than anybody else’s kids, and that all the children of Earth are painstakingly learning to become citizens of a common planet.

Of course, once you convince yourself that you’re a god, a giant, and your chldren are supernatural, your imaginations all become acceptable–even when they’re laced with evil.

Remember, evil always occurs when human beings feel they do not require editing.

So instead of thinking better about each other or hopeful about the possibility of goodness, a cynicism and suspicion descended on mankind, causing us to think evil when we were intended to take the beauty of thought to ponder good things.

And of course, once evil was allowed into the mix, violent behavior became not only acceptable, but encouraged in order to protect our children, our self-worth and our status as sons of God.

Rather than despising the shedding of blood–a sensation which is innately in our being–we began to pursue what we viewed to be “necessary killing” to honor our family, our province or our belief.

You can tell that violence is contrary to human beings because the minute we look down and see our own blood leaking from our bodies, we shrivel back in horror and demand immediate medical attention. Yet in our arrogance, we can watch others bleed without flinching.

People began to contended they were the sons of god, giants, raising children who were better than other sprouts, and opened the door to imaginations becoming evil, and violence gained acceptability.

The Creator was bewildered.

The Creator felt compelled to make a painful decision.

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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I’m Looking For… A Cool Cat January 31, 2013

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cats

I don’t like cats.

I find them to be finicky, fussy–portraying great promise, with very little evidence of actual worth.

I grew up with them. My mother loved cats. There were always at least three or four hanging around our house. A case could be made that I’ve overdosed on the furballs, but the truth is I’ve just gotten to know them so well that I no longer find their peculiarities to be cute, but rather, obnoxious and arrogant.

They don’t really like people. Now, I’m sure your pet cat is the exception to the rule, but if you’ll allow me to analyze the species as a whole without feeling that I’m attacking Muffin, here are the things about cats that I don’t like:

  1. They use people when they need them and discard them at will.
  2. It is necessary to de-claw them because their jungle instincts come out only in disdain for your furniture.
  3. They never love when you need love, only when their psyche personally requires it.
  4. They leave the house and kill birds–actually, an estimated three and a half billion last year.
  5. They don’t make eye contact. They walk at a distance from you, looking askance.
  6. They don’t come when you call them. They interpret this as independence when it is actually overwrought self-worth.
  7. They will occasionally just walk out of the house to never return, leaving no note behind explaining their departure.

Please understand–I think cats have a greater potential in physiology and even attitude for FAR surpassing the dog in viability to the human family. They just don’t care. They are not interested in the propagation of our race or the whims and desires of our needs.

Cats aren’t cool.

So I am looking for a cool cat. Yes, I mean this in the sense of the feline, but also the “we-line.” Here are things I think would help make cats cooler:

  1. Stop playing so hard to get. They may refer to you as a Persian cat, but it doesn’t mean you’re royalty.
  2. Be grateful that somebody’s calling you, and walk across the room to respond to their beckoning.
  3. Never scowl or spat at those around you, even when they come up behind and surprise.
  4. Bury your crap a little deeper in the litter and stop being offended because people are not impressed with the residue of your stinky.
  5. Stop disdaining the dogs around you and realize that you’re not better just because you’re a cat.
  6. Enjoy the food set before you, even if it’s not presented in a fancy glass dish and garnished with a bit of parsley.
  7. Maintain the dignity of your claws–just don’t use them on people you love or the things they own.

There you go. Today, I feel like I have rebuilt the cat–and in the process, maybe I, myself, can learn to avoid the choice of being a lap dog … by learning how to be a cool cat.

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Running out of Gas(tonia) … December 3, 2012

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Mewhat I think I can do.

Mywhat I actually can do.

Minewhere I end up doing it.

Always remember: frustration is the residue from unrealistic expectation. There are certainly human maladies that cannot be healed by a change of attitude, but frustration and despair certainly are self-induced–because we have overestimated our self-worth.

I experienced that this weekend. Even though I find myself in a wheelchair, the rest of the world is not so bound nor inclined to be terribly sympathetic. Stairs are everywhere, walking is a must and weakness is viewed with pity instead of admiration.

So when I looked at my schedule and realized that I had three shows to do from Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon, which would include three separate set-ups, tear-downs and travel from place to place through the countryside of North Carolina, it seemed feasible in my mind because my brain temporarily became confused and thought I was twenty-two again.

I am not. I am healthy and still strong but require supplements of relaxation and naps to fuel the engine. I had none of those this week-end.

So it came down to whether I would be able to fulfill my mission and do justice to the lovely people who had gathered to hear what I have to offer. Fortunately, I learned a lesson many years ago–really, a very simple formula for success. Let me lay it out for you in three steps:

  1. Trim your self-worth.
  2. Multiply your talents.
  3. Go the second mile.

One of our biggest problem as human beings is that we over-exaggerate our abilities and don’t adequately compare them to the greater talents of others. It’s a mistake. In the pursuit of having confidence, which our culture touts as an essential for possessing fruitfulness, we end up with an inventory of our particular attributes and abilities that is far beyond reality. Trim your self-worth.

It doesn’t hurt to play down what you can do, because exceeding your promised package is only pleasing to other people. For instance, I was so happy on Saturday night when our sponsor told me that she was “really anticipating a great show–but this evening exceeded my expectations.”  Aha. There you go.

Now, here’s the double punch. Once you trim your self-worth, then start working on multiplying your talents to bring some surprises to those around you, who felt that maybe you had reached your limit. When I rolled up to the church Sunday morning, there were six steps to get into the sanctuary, with no ramp for my wheelchair whatsoever. The dear-hearted pastor of the church was wondering if they were going to need to carry me up the stairs. Since I have no Caesar complex, I rose from my wheelchair and ascended the tiny mountain on my own, with the aid of the sturdy handrail. They didn’t know I could do that–but it was a talent I needed for that moment and have worked to maintain for just such an occasion.

You have to multiply your talents or you become so predictable that humanity just might find you boring and then you could be silly and become offended.

Finally, there is a place we think we should be, but it is never where we end up. Even though I worked really hard this weekend, I found myself in front of about 150 to 200 people. A case could be made that I could have encountered more folks simply by setting up my equipment at the Kannapolis bus station. But since that was neither available nor even a pleasant thought, I ended up where I ended up. I don’t resent it. I don’t wish I was somewhere else. I don’t feel slighted. I feel blessed to have anybody give an ear to my thoughts.

Because of that, I can come in and give those people a show I would be proud to put on Broadway or network television. It is my second mile. I never perform for the size of the room. I always perform for the size of my faith.

You will find yourself running out of gas even in Gastonia, North Carolina if you get your “me, my and mine” out of whack. But if you take the time to trim your self-worth as you multiply your talents, accept where life has sent you and go the second mile, you not only will be valuable to the world around you, but you will be endowed with a giddy feeling of satisfaction–such as fills my soul on this morning.

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Beautiful … August 16, 2012

  • Loser — Part 3
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I am not beautiful.

I have known this for some time. Ever since I realized that the mirror before me was a reflecting piece of glass instead of a gateway to find Alice, I have been fairly aware of my status. What astounds me is the evolution that has occurred in the reaction I receive from people when making that simple statement. When I was a kid, if I said, “I am not beautiful,” the response from those around me would be, “Well, who is?” But now there’s a severe emotional handicap that causes people to literally rebuke me if I happen to be candid about my obvious condition. To say “I’m not beautiful” is considered poor self-worth, a blemish on self-esteem.

So nowadays, human beings,rather than finding a way to be truthful about their own feelings in situations, have to hide them behind a mask of verbal propriety, which literally requires that we always put their best foot forward and never become critical of their situations. Now, I might be impressed with this if it actually made better people. But instead, it creates haughtiness, a defensive nature and a whole lot of cover-up about what we know to be true.

I arrived early for my gig last night, so I found a secluded section of the parking lot and sat, enjoying the beauty of the day. Directly in front of my eyes was a patch of weeds which the landscaper had obviously ignored or had not yet put on his daily list of activities. I thought to myself, how do I know these are weeds? They’re perfectly green–just like other plants. They’re growing like …well… like a weed. Some of them even had little flowers on them, to increase the possibility for approval. But I knew they were weeds, and because I had this knowledge, I judged them harshly. It made me laugh. Basically, I am a weed.

Here I was, sitting in the parking lot of this strange church, ready to go in to set up my equipment and do my presentation–and I can tell you of a certainty, after forty years of performing, I am still not confident of my own ability. I am never sure I have enough. Truthfully, I do not know why anyone would want to listen. I am aware of the many distractions that leap before the human eye, to draw people away to other pursuits. Lots of folks would think it’s ridiculous for me to be so insecure about what I do, which they would tell me is done quite well.

But the answer is simple:

  • I have lost
  • I can lose
  • And therefore I am acquainted with being a loser.

That particular three-pronged passage would cause many people to be critical of me, telling me that I need to have more confidence and be more assertive. But it’s just not true. If I wrote in this jonathots that I’m a winner, that I can’t lose and that I have never been a loser, you might nod your head because society tells you that such proclamations have become appropriate.

But honestly, part of you would despise me. None of us like arrogant people, even when their conceit has some basis in reality. We want our geniuses to admit to moments of stupidity. We want our beauty queens to share a story about their battle with pimples. We want our politicians to admit they made a mistake, and therefore they are flip-flopping towards a more enlightened conclusion. I think we’re all grateful for a God who destroyed the world with a flood, but then turned around and admitted He was sorry He did it.

There is no power in being beautiful. There is no warmth in proclaiming your superiority. Anyone who would get in a van and travel across this country meeting strangers every single week, should be a little uncertain of the conclusions. If he or she isn’t, they are just self-deluded and overwrought about their own talents.

I believe I am valuable to God and other people because I know I’m not beautiful. I cannot stand in front of an audience with a straight face and tell them that all of my choices, ideas and ventures have been successful. They haven’t.

But until we understand that weakness, losing and even being a loser is a part of this experience on our cruise of earth, we will be in danger of either becoming obnoxious or just outright liars.

Because I am not beautiful and I am a loser, here’s what I do:

1. I work on my heart–my emotions. I want them pure.  I try the best I can to make sure that what I tell people is the closest thing to the truth as I see it now.

2. I also put my soul on notice that it is not allowed to be pompous or religious. My soul has two jobs–to be grateful to God and free of condemnation of others.

3. Because I know I’m a loser, I renew my mind by keeping it young, contemporary and evolving it towards discovering things that I don’t presently know.

4. And when it comes to my body, what I can do–my best choice–is to perform as well as I can without looking ridiculous. That’s it.

Trying to keep from being a loser is forsaking your humanity and attempting to make yourself a God among your peers. But when you’re able to admit you’re a loser and you work on your heart to keep it pure, your soul to be grateful and free of condemnation, your mind to be young and evolving and your body, to do the best it can without “jumping the shark,” you will have fellowship with many people and be of value to the world around you.

I am not beautiful–and by the way … I am so glad.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Location, location, and, oh, yes… location … January 31, 2012

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I have had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce where inspiring speeches were given on the glories of capitalism and business, as people dismissed to pass out their cards and inform others of a booming possibility with their rendition of the American Dream.
 
I have sat at the fireside of a gathering of homeless individuals, sharing a platter of beans with two pieces of day-old white bread purchased from the Dolly Madison Store, as all those surrounding the warmth discussed their day’s activities.
 
I have been at a rock concert with screaming fans leaping to their feet, hoping the next tune would be their favorite one.
 
I have attended a family reunion where aunts and uncles barely of my acquaintance have insisted that I knew some old relative who had since passed on, as we conversed about names unfamiliar, while munching on delectable potato salad.
 
Out of curiosity, I have actually gone to political party meetings of both sides and been inundated with pamphlets, propaganda and platforms, encouraging me to make a good American stands against the opposing party’s irrelevant views.
 
Being a father of children, I have also sat through a PTA meeting, often out-numbered, lacking members of my particular gender, as speaker after speaker lamented the lack of something or other in the educational system.
 
Stupidly, I was lured into an investment party because it promised something free and ended up being a ploy to get me to take the little money I had and drop it into a hole, hoping that the crevice would spew back profits.
 
I have been in many a counseling session–mainly as the counselor–listening patiently as each party made his or her case against the other, well-organized, well-rehearsed and well-entrenched.
 
I have done these things and many others in the pursuit of discovering the best of my human family, only to realize that when we herd together, we normally want to make sure that we’re with cattle of our own kind.
 
It limits us. It retards us (if I may use the word in its correct form without being politically incorrect). It inhibits us from using the two greatest possessions we have–a mirror and a brain. Because in all those conclaves I listed, at no time at all was I asked to examine myself, nor was it necessary for me to think–because the mental agenda was provided.
 
Which brings me to last night in Clinton, Louisiana, where forty-six people emerged from the community–from different paths, walks, theologies and political persuasions. They huddled into one building to consider a message and how they measured up to its intensity. It’s called a church. And even though I will rail against a religious system which tries to turn the true church into something that blends the Chamber of Commerce with a political party meeting with overtones of a counseling session, I am a firm believer that the church is the only place where the possibility of looking in the mirror at oneself and actually tapping the brain that God has given you is plausible.
 
Oh, yes–I am not naive.  I realize that the present religious system would love to mimic the Chamber of Commerce.  Poorer congregations would like to react like the homeless, making fun of the rich. There are those “hip” congregations, which think the church is just a rock concert, cheering on Jesus and the Spirit of God. Smaller groups of church folks actually become nothing more than a family reunion, discussing the week’s activities, dead parishioners and the weather. Too many religious institutions have become the harlot for political parties, pushing a social agenda more than salvation.
 
But when it’s done right, there is nothing in our society like the church–because it asks us to look in the mirror and to use our brains.
 
How do you know if you’re in a real church or just a religious system trying to parrot the world around it? The real church has seven important ingredients:
 
1. Be prepared for the unpredictable. For after all, repetition has always been the agenda of hell.
2. Stop complaining. No one ever learns in the midst of a lament.
3. Love somebody new. If we aren’t expanding the family of man around us to include more and more people, we are shrinking the vision of God.
4. Cry until you laugh. There are people in churches still in pain after many years of suffering, who should have had a nighttime of weeping and allowed joy to come in their morning.
5. Think for yourself about yourself to improve yourself. Don’t use God’s house as a way to confirm your inadequacy.
6. Be thankful. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But thankfulness is missing from our society. It has been bumped out of the way by expectation. We need some place to go where we actually express gratitude.
7. And finally, leave changed. The Chamber of Commerce didn’t ask me to do that; nor did the homeless, the rock singer, Aunt Mabel, the Republicans and Democrats, the teacher’s conference, the investment firm or even those attending the counseling session. We all basically came into those events with one mind-set and left with a little bit more cement added. The true church is a place where we leave changed every time we are there, or we must question  the gospel which is supposed to give us the truth that makes us free.
 
Yes, it’s all about location, location, location. And if you’re looking for a place to go that will renew you and allow you to look in the mirror without fear and think instead of merely react, I recommend a good church which understands the seven things I just stated.
 
I was at one last night. It was a good time … although I did miss my beans and day-old bread.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

The Theory of Revolution… January 30, 2012

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Ignorance is the belief that anything can truly become better without us changing our approach or behavior.
 
We have now had two American generations over the past thirty years which have set in motion a pattern of action which has led us to our present state of confusion. For the first fifteen years, we were pummeled with the notion of our differences, uniqueness and individuality. We were told that everybody has a solitary personality and that each of us has our own little space in the great warehouse of life. Then for the past fifteen years, we have been inundated with the gospel of self-esteem, which insists that people cannot  find value in their journey unless they completely believe in themselves and avoid the danger of too much critique of their person.
 
Let’s blend the two approaches: we’re all individuals and we should take our differences into a corner and protect them as sacred against the onslaughts of other people who might want to force us to adapt. It is a formula for class warfare. It is a set-up for alienation. It is a devious plan to separate us off from one another, creating mistrust, which lends itself to suspicion, which welcomes antagonism, ending in war.
 
We have sat idly by like sheep on our way to the slaughter, looking at the tail of the creature ahead of us, marching in step to the drumming of repetition. Now we lament our economic situation. We are suddenly concerned about the needs of the poor and the excesses of the rich. No one stopped thirty years ago to question the antics of a society that was trying to differentiate personality types and box us all up into units for storage. No one objected to the doctrine of self-esteem, which placed each one of us as lord and master of our own perception.
 
So what do we have? We have a generation of people thoroughly convinced that they are so unique that they must fight and argue to maintain their self-worth because others are certainly out to nab their value. It’s pathetic. It will take Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic and atheist getting together on one principle, although they may disagree on many others, to shake us out of this lethargy of self-indulgence. Yes, we need to make a call to the whole world to submit to a singular purpose: NoOne is better than anyone else.
 
Let the cynics find the contradictions in the concept. Let the jaded mock such simplicity. And let the religionists attempt to segregate us into camps of “saved” and “unsaved.” NoOne is better than anyone else.
 
It requires the embracing of three precepts:
 
1. God is no respecter of persons. I didn’t make that up. It’s in the Bible. It means that whatever used to be the foundational philosophy of the universe, or if there was a time when there notion of “chosen people” was acceptable, that era has gone the way of the dodo bird. It’s over. God does not prefer anyone over anyone else. Which means:
2. I can love my neighbor as myself without looking like a jackass. At a recent rally, a public speaker, who brought up the concept of the golden rule, was booed by the crowd. Why? Because we have taught that love is weakness. It is not. I am not out of the loop when I keep my feelings on the highway of compassion. If I like to be free, it only seems right that others enjoy the same. If I like to escape the judgment of others, certainly they might desire the same treatment. If God is no respecter of persons, I can go ahead and love my neighbor as myself and know that I have the Creator anointing my efforts. Therefore:
3. My family is the entire human family. It doesn’t detract from my immediate loved ones that I expand my vision to include all Homo Sapiens. This is not an attempt to reject the animal kingdom–but it is much easier to love a bear when you can bear loving a human. Until the religions, non-religions, organizations, politicians, preachers and business people of our world accept these three principles–if only in theory–then we will languish in this mediocrity of self-deception.
 
I am not different. I am so similar to the people I meet that it’s frightening. I do not gain self-esteem by making a stand, but rather, define my created being by standing up for others.
 
This is the theory of revolution.
 
I could not vote for anyone who did not believe in it–not because I hate him or her. It is because the lack of a philosophy of inclusion makes them “haters in training.” Humans do not becomes more loving by thinking they are different and by insisting on their own self-worth. That is the formula for paranoia and frustration.
 
So I am thirty days into my Six Words Tour: NoOne is Better Than Anyone Else.
 
What have I learned so far? I have discovered that when you speak the words out loud, people at first embrace the sentiment–until it sinks into them that they lose their bubble of difference and their sword of self-esteem. It scares them. So I will tell you–it will take brave people to relinquish the stupidity of two generations and inhale the freedom of not needing to be superior or unique.
 
Because God is no respecter of persons, I can love my neighbor as myself, opening the door to all of humanity being my family.
 
I welcome your input–but make sure that what you think and feel is universal rather than just fits of discouragement. Nothing becomes easy until we accept that it’s needed. This is needed.
 
Welcome to the revolution … right now, only a theory.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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