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

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2927)

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

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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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

(2782)

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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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … November 4th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2742)

poHymn Nov 4

The Road to War

War is hell

Hell is lonely

Lonely is fear

Fear is loveless

Loveless is defensive

Defensive is angry

Angry is selfish

Selfish is ignorant

Ignorant is proud

Proud is prejudice

Prejudice is insecurity

Insecurity is frustration

Frustration is expectation

Expectation is complaining

Complaining is withholding

Withholding is vicious

Vicious is violence

Violence is war

War is …

 

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Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

 

“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … October 21st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn October 21st

Even When

I want to be a light

But often in the dark

I yearn to win the fight

But find I’m stuck in park

I dream of changing the tide

Of shining a better way

But joining the wrong side

Absent the words to say

At times I am a witness

Evidence of good thought

Then lazy, devoid of fitness

To complete what I sought

My failure makes me cry

Weakness tempts me to lie

Faith encourages the need to try

And pride wants me to die

I refuse to understand my appeal

Possessed by selfish zeal

To some I am a solution

To others, living pollution

But to each I bring my story

Filled with pain and glory

Yes, even when I am weak

My heart has a message to speak.

 

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Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

 

“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

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Ask Jonathots … September 10th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2688)

ask jonathots bigger

I am a fourteen year old boy and have a little brother who is 8. I may sound like a whiner, but my parents act like he can do no wrong. If he breaks something, it’s my fault because I let him pick it up. If he wants more time on X-Box, I have to give it to him. When I say they’re not being fair, they say that I should be mature enough to understand that he’s just 8. But he’s turning into a brat and I’m getting mad. What can I do?

Being fourteen years old, let me clue you into a valuable lesson. You are old enough and smart enough to understand that not every problem in life can be resolved. Matter of fact, true maturity is understanding that most problems in life get handled by being avoided.

The situation with your little brother is very simple–he is secretly your fan, but could never express that without coming across as appreciative or loving. So instead, he follows you around and try to take over what you are doing or what you’re playing with so that he can be close to you but also dominate the situation.

Since your parents believe that he is the younger and therefore weaker brother and you should adjust your life to him, then you should be smart enough to adjust what you do to control his attitudes.

For instance, if you’re not interested in playing X-box, then sit down and start playing it and let him come and take it away from you. Then go do what you really wanted to do.

You may even want to explain to your mother and father what you’ll be doing, so that they can note that your little brother may have the problem of just wanting to be aggravating instead of desiring to be involved.

You can’t stop a little brother who wants to be annoying. What you can do is channel his interest in a direction that you’ve selected, and trap him in his own decision to pursue it.

Let me give you another quick example.

Let’s say you want to watch a show on TV that comes on at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Here’s what you know–if you try to watch this show and your little brother knows it’s your favorite, he may decide to be mean-spirited about it, come in and change the channel, and then hide behind your mother’s interference.

So if your goal is to watch the show, make a plan to get him involved in something else. And then explain to your mother that you plan on watching this show, so that she can see your little brother in action.

You will never solve this problem by trying to change your brother’s attitude or by disciplining him yourself.

Get him to focus on what you want him to focus on, and then maybe he’ll leave you alone. If he doesn’t, make sure your mom and dad know what your intentions are, so they can see the little fella being selfish.

Parents tend to support the weaker child in a family. Honestly, it’s not terribly intelligent. Weakness is not strengthened by being supported, but rather, by being challenged.

So help your mom and dad understand that you are dealing with a little brother who is trying to be aggravating to get attention. Do this by trapping him in a situation where he shows his true colors. Then your parents will do the rest.

Remember, the key in life is not to out-muscle problems … the key is to out-smart them.

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Jesonian: Don’t Stop Believing… March 16, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

(2178)

book JesonianI hate religion.

Maybe it’s because I suck at it.

I’ve  tried to be religious. Actually, I was attempting to be spiritual but it ended up being a big dose of “holy bowling.”

I’ve gone to prayer meetings and sat with folks as we watched the time pass–contemplating, meditating, praying, mumbling…well, any number of things. I’m not proud to admit this, but I didn’t get more godly. I got sleepy.

I’ve tried to do a lot of Bible reading. I’ve read the Bible through several times. But I have to admit that often when I get involved in that process, the terminology, the locations and even the plot line can be bewildering, befuddling and leave me baffled.

I understand the plan of salvation. Golly, I’ve participated in it. I do have Jesus as a Savior. I have met thousands of people who possess him as their personal Savior, but frankly, they do not have much to show for that experience in their own lives.

Am I weird here? For after all, do you go to an amusement park and come back the same? Shouldn’t the experience change you? At least make you aware that holy roller coasters are a good thing?

Some people go a little further than salvation. They take Jesus on as their “prayer buddy.” In other words, when problems come up, they go to prayer and ask God to intervene, interact,  intersect or intertwine. That’s good, too.

But shouldn’t prayer make us better people? Because there are people all over the world who pray, and then grab guns and go out and kill innocent civilians and children.

I’m not comfortable with that. So I came up with this word, “Jesonian.” I don’t have illusions of grandeur–that it’s going to catch on and become the next popular thing in this country. Maybe I’m a little selfish. It works for me, so if other people don’t want to participate, I still benefit.

See, Jesus is not just my savior. He’s not merely my prayer buddy.

Jesus is my mentor.

He offers a philosophy, a way of thinking, a style of life, and an attitude that is conducive to success on Planet Earth.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

Just a month ago I heard a preacher say to his congregation that the gospel doesn’t make sense to the world, and that the world is destined to reject it.

I don’t get that.

Why would Jesus come to earth to teach something that was even more obscure than the Judaism that already existed, and alienate mankind just so the tiny clique which accepted him could walk around thumping their chests and pointing to the heavens, assuming approval?

No, you see, the gospel does make sense. After you get done with selfishness, depression, stupidity, arrogance and debauchery, you realize that life requires a certain amount of temperance, brilliance, creativity and mercy. Until then, you are a pestilence to those around you rather than a person of interest.

Jesonian is when we finally realize that a Savior who answers prayers would really like us to follow his words. Matter of fact, he said it:

“If you love me, keep my commandments.”

So when you hear me use the word Jesonian, what I’m talking about is going beyond the selfishness of salvation and the myopia of prayer, into discovering the lifestyle of Jesus–and then using that energy to become a better human being and a more successful force of nature.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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