PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … March 7th, 2018


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3604)

Toward the Second Mile

Winter cling

Depress the spring

Delay the flower

To a later hour

Selfish soul

Takes its toll

A message to send

Curse a friend

Frightened child

Meek and mild

Hides away

Avoids the day

Untrue lover

Seeks another

Breaks the rule

Leaves a fool

Nasty mother

Hurts my brother

Hates her Mister

Taints my sister

Greedy politick

A nation sick

Feelings raw

Broke the law

It’d be a sin

If we gave in

To unruly mob

A common slob

So can I see

It’s up to me

To walk a while

Toward the second mile

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G-Poppers … October 21st, 2016


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop’s thought for the day:

Stop explaining.

Don’t do it yourself and certainly quit demanding it of others.

Explaining leads to lying, lying ends up in mistrust and mistrust is the seed that sprouts hate.

It is very important to understand human beings:

  1. Human beings make mistakes.
  2. Human beings are selfish.
  3. Human beings insist they don’t make mistakes and are not selfish.

So if you ask one of your fellow-travelers about a mistake that was made or a piece of selfishness you encountered, they will definitely explain how you misunderstand.

The best way to live this Earthly life is to answer yes and no.

“Who ate the last doughnut?”

I did.

Truthfully, most people won’t leave it at that. They will ask why or sometimes even how it happened. If you give in to the temptation to produce a storyline about your clumsiness or lack of attention, you will probably find yourself, like Brother Adam and Sister Eve, making really lame excuses and eventually pointing fingers at each other.

Because of that profile, Adam and Eve went from being prosperous gardeners to “Paradise Lost.”

The more explaining you do, the more you try to convince yourself that you’re a victim of unusual circumstances.

No one buys it, no one believes it and everyone is quietly thinking to themselves, “Please shut the hell up.”

One of the greatest ways to contribute to the peace and harmony of Earth is to stop explaining and certainly refuse to make others go through the agony of the process.

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Ask Jonathots… August 25th, 2016


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I want my kids to have a spiritual upbringing but I don’t feel comfortable with a lot of the churches available to us. How do I ensure that I am instilling spirituality in their lives?

Your question is really in two parts.

First, what should I do about the church, and second, how do I instill spirituality in my kids?

Let me start with the second question. There are three steps to true spirituality:

1. What do I truly believe?

I will tell you something shocking. The less you believe in, the better the chance will be that you will follow it.

This is why, in the Good Book, the entire sixty-six units boil down to a single phrase: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The truth is, when you love your neighbor as yourself, you’re already putting into practice at least fifty principles. But if you focus on loving your neighbor as yourself, you will be honoring a thousand ideas.

2. How does what I believe affect me?

The absence of an abundant life is the presence of a crappy belief system. It was Jesus who said that fruit would be borne in our lives through what we believe. If you are miserable, irritable, grouchy, complaining, bigoted, self-centered, short-sighted and selfish, you probably need to go shopping for a new belief.

3. How does my belief affect others?

Our belief was never intended to be a preachy condemnation of the lifestyle of our brother or sister. It is a light that shines in place, available for those who wish to emerge from their darkness.

In other words, if you’re teaching your children to love their neighbors as themselves, use their beliefs to progress them emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically, and allot mercy and tolerance to others while affording a helping hand, then you have spirituality.

Now, when it comes to the church, the spiritual representation of that idea has been lost in the implementation of the organization. But here’s the truth of the matter: if you have a good heart, a willing spirit, an open mind and an active desire, you can go into any church and affect the theology simply by being a worker instead of a critic.

There is no way that people with true spiritual insight can be ignored in a religious system that stumbles over its own clumsy rules.

So once you get your children in an attitude of understanding what true spirituality is, then go to church and let your light shine–because that beam of confidence will soon put you in a position to change the mediocre surroundings.

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G-Poppers … June 24th, 2016


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All of G-Pop’s children want to be successful.

They like the sound of it.

They like the feel of it.

And certainly, they enjoy the benefits that come from being considered one of the “top dogs.”

Yet even though the willingness of each generation changes, the path to success remains the same. Matter of fact, no success can ever be acquired without understanding three undeniable realities:

1. The effort you are willing to give will always be insufficient.

2. The passion you bring will continually fall short.

3. The plan you have conceived will be found wanting.

It isn’t mean-spirited. It’s just a system that makes sure that the lazy, gluttonous, selfish cheaters don’t soak up all the treasures of the Earth.

So what is necessary to be successful? A two-word philosophy:

One more.

That’s it. It always takes one more. Whenever you think you have sufficiently addressed a situation, take the precaution of doing one more.

If someone asks you for two bottles of water, bring three. When you arrive, there will always be somebody who changed his or her mind and now wants one. You will look like a genius.

If you check your GPS, and it says a trip is going to take three hours and forty-five minutes, allot four hours and thirty minutes, just in case life throws you that normal curve in the road.

You never find success in the first mile.

  • It’s too crowded.
  • It’s too competitive.
  • It’s jammed up with people who think they have some sort of new angle on the present angle.

But along about the first mile mark, the competition lessens as the travelers lose heart or begin to pout because things were not as easy as they anticipated.

Anyone who is willing to go the second mile will find the journey simpler, less congested and a private pathway to their heart’s desire.

It always takes one more.

Sometimes it’s one more prayer.

Oftentimes it’s one additional follow-up instead of walking away and throwing in the towel.

Life is not out to get you–but life is also not out to help you,

G-Pop wants his children to know that the only way you aid your cause is to look at what you can bring–and then find one more to offer.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … May 7th, 2016


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Woman: Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Dear Man: Well I’m not a mother…

 

Dear Woman: I know. But maybe someday you will be. I think ahead.

 

Dear Man: I suppose.

 

Dear Woman: You seem miffed. Does Mother’s Day bother you?

 

Dear Man: Yeah, but not for the reason you think. I’m not jealous because I don’t have children. Mother’s Day is just an example of another title…without entitlement. What I mean is that men hide their chauvinism and their dislike for women behind granting them certain space while forbidding them total equality. If you’re a woman you can be a mother. You can be in charge of the women’s ministry at the church. You make a great secretary. How about fund-raising? Can you take care of the food bank? “You’re so pretty.” All of these are titles but they fail to grant the entitlement of being treated as an equal and dealt with in justice.

 

Dear Woman: Wow. Am I ever sorry I said “Happy Mother’s Day.” But just to play devil’s advocate, is it possible that some of these stereotypes–titles, as you call them–exist because there’s truth to them?

 

Dear Man: Do you really want to start a fight?

 

Dear Woman: No. As I said, I’m playing devil’s advocate.

 

Dear Man: No. It’s the loaf of bread syndrome. Once we realize there’s one loaf of bread, we start thinking about how we can get the whole loaf instead of giving a needful half to someone else. To do this we have to rationalize and make sure it seems like we’re not being selfish, just practical. Men and women share so much in common that it’s ridiculous to separate them using the jargon of ignorance and the culture of male supremacy. So we pretend. We pretend women are smarter, even as we refuse to promote them. We pretend women are more thrifty, but we never make her the Secretary of Treasury. And of course, we insist that women are better with the children so men have a way of playing with the kids when they want to, and walking away when something else diverts their attention.

 

Dear Woman: I see your point. But are there enough differences that some sort of division of duties is warranted?

 

Dear Man: Let me give you an example. You’re a Christian, right?

 

Dear Woman: Yes. Right. What’s that got to do with anything?

 

Dear Man: Relax. I wasn’t trying to throw you to the lions. There’s a story about Jesus which is not talked about very often, because it separates him from all other philosophers, religious leaders and cultural icons of all time. Sitting at the house of Mary and Martha, two of his friends and the sisters of Lazarus, who rose from the dead, Martha interrupts Jesus’ teaching to complain about her sister, Mary. Martha’s complaint seemed very legitimate to her–and probably to most people in the room. Mary was sitting in, listening to Jesus teach instead of helping put the food together, which would be served after the lesson. First of all, realize that it was against Jewish law for men and women to be taught together. So Jesus was already making a statement, which he did throughout his ministry. Men and women traveled Co-ed–same space, same responsibilities. So when Martha brings up Mary helping her in the kitchen, there was no disciple who thought Martha was wrong. After all, Mary was a woman. She was supposed to be involved in the kitchen, the children, the day-to-day household activities and the general welfare of the home. Martha thought she was on safe ground. Damn, she thought she was quoting the Word of God. But Jesus rebuffs her. He tells Martha that she worries about too many things, and that Mary had picked the better part by sitting and listening to the teaching. So you see, this story contradicts the practices, doctrines and limitations that most Christian denominations place on women. That’s why you don’t hear it taught very often. But the truth is, after they got done with the teaching, the men and the women could have gone into the kitchen, put together the snacks, and had great fun doing it. Here’s a powerful thought–if you don’t break stupidity you never find wisdom. So I think it’s ridiculous to think that only women are mothers. Every man has to mother children, too. If a little boy falls down and skins his knee, the dad doesn’t wait for the wife to get home to take care of it. If he’s a good parent, he suddenly becomes the healer–the mother.

 

Dear Woman: That’s amazing. Why don’t they talk about that more?

 

Dear Man: Because they would have to give women their entitlement instead of just a title.

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Good News and Better News … May 2nd, 2016


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Konnoak Hills UMC Good News

Our clothes get dirty.

When this happens, we check our GPS and head off toward a local laundromat.

It is always an adventure–we certainly encounter some intriguing human beings.

Jan met a woman who was frail, lying on a bench, who told her that she had spent the night in a hospital ward, taking chemotherapy. She explained that she needed to eat something but was not really hungry.

Jan pressed the point and offered to buy her a meal. The lady described in detail a certain entrée just down the road at Bojangles that she might be able to choke down–mentioning that she would want the selection with extra hot sauce.

So Jan and I trekked to Bojangles to procure the treat.

Why? Did we do it because we thought the woman was in need of nourishment? Were we convinced that this little action of mercy was a way to convey love and affection to this frail child of God?

Absolutely not. We did it for us. For after all, to do anything else makes you feel like crap.

Let’s understand something–people who are lost are horrible.

That’s why they’re lost. They’re not “partly good and partly bad.” They aren’t following five of the Ten Commandments. They are often selfish, liars and wiling to do almost anything to get their way.

The truth is, you have a choice in life: you can work or you can con. If you don’t want to work, you’ll probably end up conning.

Anyway, back to the story: we brought the chicken, gave it to the lady and left her alone to enjoy her delicacy. A few minutes later she was gone. (I asked Jan to do a sketch of her just so we would have the memory. See below.)

We have to remember what the purpose is for hope, faith and love.

We’re not hoping the world becomes a better place, that our faith will produce miracles, or love will change the planet.

Hope, faith and love abide. That’s what the Good Book says. They abide because they really don’t solve problems–they just prevent us from becoming part of the mess.

Hope gives me the confidence to get up every morning thinking I can actually accomplish my mission.

Faith embraces me with the belief that I am not alone–what I do and say matters.

And love is my doorway to escape hate because hate sucks.

When I went to the church on Sunday morning–Konnoak Hills United Methodist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina–this was fresh on my mind.

Such beautiful people with wonderful stories, who are constantly being bombarded with the concept that the world is changing at a breakneck pace, so they’d better grab onto the caboose or be left at the station.

Hogwash.

Right now in our country, “crazy” thinks it is the boss. It’s time for us to rise up and share the good news:

  • Shouting is loud, not smart.
  • Popular is advertised, not quality.
  • Anger is mean, not strong.
  • Cynical is frustrated, not clever.
  • And atheism is the absence of hope, not evidence of intellect.

I gave my faith, hope and love to the folks yesterday morning at Konnoak Hills. That’s the good news.

The better news is that I hope they’re smart enough to realize that the lost we are trying to reach can never be virtuous enough to please us.

It’s up to us to bring the heart, soul and patience to the matter.

 

Good News Winston Salem

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Good News and Better News… December 14th, 2015


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good news Dec 14

The road.

On the road again.

A travelin’ man.

Hit the bricks.

(Well, I guess that last one doesn’t apply as well.)

Ms. Clazzy and I sat down and had a conversation about Tour 2015. We discussed the thousands of new friends we made, the condition of people, and the work that still needs to be done.

Here’s a reality you may have never thought of before: there is a hole right in the center of America.

Truthfully, most people are not conservative. The vast majority are not liberal. So as the media continues to advertise these two points of view, a deep valley of humanity is stuck between the two mountains of conflict.

Sometimes I wonder why we criticize Donald Trump–because all Mr. Trump did was locate that hole and fill it. You may not like what he filled it with, but your criticism is of little value unless you acknowledge there is a hole that exists, and bring some better filler.

I guess that’s what Ms. Clazzy and I do.

We have found that hole. We choose to fill it with good cheer.

The people who find themselves caught between the conflicting opinions are not overly religious, overly moral, overly selfish, or overly anything, for that matter. They are people who have found a way of life which seems to work for them, and they would just like a few ideas and encouraging words to make things better.

They don’t want to be bombarded by opinions which turn them into zealots; they would just like to believe that the little possibility just beyond their present grasp could actually be achieved instead of just being discussed.

It’s the same group of people Jesus found himself ministering to 2000 years ago.

They were not wise and they were not prudent.

They were babes in the woods who were looking for a way to be happy, and hopefully in the process, grant others the same opportunity.

This conversation led us to a decision. Are we going to do it again in 2016?

The question that is posed most often in my direction is, “Don’t you get tired of all the traveling?”

I suppose if you want to, you could get tired of almost anything, including eating hot fudge sundaes.

Or you can count the cost and realize what’s important, then convince yourself to make that enjoyable.

There is a hole in America.

The good news is, as for Ms. Clazzy and myself, we plan on going out again to try to fill it with something good.

The better news is that in the process of doing that, we receive three amazing benefits. We learn that:

  1. Our family is not everybody.
  2. Our town is not the whole world.
  3. We can survive on our talent and wits.

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