1 Thing You Can Do to Maintain the Power of Your Own Reasoning

 

Don’t Hold Town Meetings

I don’t know how the practice got started.

I suppose someone thought it was really civic minded for a candidate to sit in front of a bunch of townsfolk and take questions about his or her choices made while governing.

But here is the break-down of what happens when you try to appeal to the masses.

It is a three-step process:

1. Masses

2. Misses

3. Messes

There you go. That’s the way it works.

When you talk to the masses in America, you are not speaking to individual people who formulated their own thinking on a particular subject. You end up addressing the multi-media machines—the ones with the most money—which target those Masses to try to implant the ideas of their Misses, which they want to push forward—creating Messes.

If I were to sum up our present climate, I would call it A. I. U.

Yes, America is A. I. U.—which stands for An Internet Understanding.

On innumerable subjects, Americans can give you their take, which they have derived by being peppered, through the Internet, with Tweets, posts and memes. There’s not enough time to participate in reading or viewing these opinions and also finding out if they’re correct. Therefore, what you think about America is solely based upon what Internet cites you choose for gathering your information.

Now, if you slam all those people together in a Town Meeting, what they will shout at you is what they are positive is the truth—because they read it on the Internet.

In A. I. U. environments, it is absolutely impossible, if not dangerous, to open up the room to questions.

Likewise, nowadays, I’m even careful about asking people’s opinion on the latest shirt I bought. Because what I often get back is A. I. U.

Or, “What do you think I should do about selling my house?” More A. I. U.

My son is thinking about going to college. A. I. U. begins to speak.

Once you get in a Town Meeting, you can’t stop listening or run out the door in horror.

If you planned a Town Meeting, you can’t cancel it without looking like you have something to hide.

So our 1 Thing for today is simple:

Don’t you dare hold a Town Meeting. 

 

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1 Thing You Can Do to Make Your Life Much More Simple

 

Listen So You Don’t Have to be Told Again

No one likes to be preached at.

We all hate “lecture mode.”

And certainly, no human being is going to tolerate receiving a “yelling.”

Since this is true, we must be careful to put ourselves in a position where we don’t have to hear preaching, can avoid the lecture and can escape being scolded.

I was standing in line at a customer service department—a long one.

There were at least fifteen people in front of me. As I got closer, I noticed that the interactions between the customers and the representative behind the desk were very tempestuous. Everyone was arriving pissed, and the young gentleman who had the job of hearing the complaints was losing his cool and becoming obnoxious. When there were four people in front of me, I started listening carefully to the exchanges. I wanted to know what was making this young man so cantankerous. It didn’t take long.

There were three things he wanted, which no one seemed able to provide, and he was explaining that because they didn’t have this information, he would be incapable of assisting them.

1. Do you have a receipt?

2. What is your reason for returning the item?

3. Since we can’t take it off your debit card, will you accept store credit for your purchase?

As I got closer and closer to my opportunity to interact with this human, I learned the appropriate answers:

Yes, I have a receipt.

Secondly, it was a gift and I don’t really want it.

And third, I would be willing to accept store credit—unless I can have cash.

By the time it was my turn to face the inquisition, he looked at me with wary eyes and asked his questions. I answered all three, already knowing what to say, what tone to use, and how it was best not to overexplain.

I was out of there in less than two minutes—and he even made an exception by refunding cash to me instead of store credit. As I walked away, the person behind me remarked:

“Well, that sure went smoothly for you. Are you related to him?”

I looked at the gentleman and replied, “No, he’s my teacher, and he taught me everything I needed to know.”


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Good News and Better News … April 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Grays Chapel

Yesterday I was at Grays Chapel United Methodist Church.

It is located in a place called Grays Chapel, North Carolina, which has been granted the blessing of a name despite its size.

I liked them.

I’m not so sure they liked me at first because after all, I was a stranger. Because I was a stranger, I was therefore suspect.

Isn’t it interesting that most of the problems that come to us in life are hatched by friends and family? Rarely are we inundated by a predicament brought about by someone we don’t know.

That said, I had to make a decision on what I wanted to say to these fine folk. I mingled my words with songs, music and a bit of humor.

Yet, it is important to have a core message.

My core is so simple that it probably leaves some people attending my events a little disappointed–because I fail to attack the right people or praise those usually deemed worthy. So my success rate is very good, but is also plagued by the lack of having an adequate enemy we can all hate. Matter of fact, you can boil down what I have to say to the following:

1. The Gospel is good news.

I know people can find bad news in the Good Book, but I’ve never been one to try to turn it into the “Bad Book.” Maybe that makes my mission seem a little too simple or fluffy.

I don’t care.

People get enough bad news without having me set up my equipment and blare it from the PA system.

2. Jesus lived a human life.

Every attempt we make to turn Jesus of Nazareth into Apollo– who was purported to be half god and half man–makes him none of either.

The power of the life of Jesus is that even though he was driven by a calling and anointed by Spirit, he was bound by flesh.

It makes what he has to say much more pertinent to our lives, instead of him coming across as some professor from heaven, wonkishly trying to explain how things work to a bunch of dumb students.

3. Run from what’s complicated.

I do it all the time.

I meet individuals who think it takes a committee meeting to turn on a light switch. They spend more time discussing the Rules of Order than ordering someone to step in and rule.

Jesus said his way was simple and easy. My thought is, whenever things are is no longer falling under that gentle approach, they are probably also no longer Jesus.

So that’s the good news I had to share with the people of Grays Chapel. I don’t know whether it impressed them. Perhaps they wished I would attack the Republican, curse a Democrat, or whisper a stance I hold on what people should do in their bedrooms.

I don’t care.

The good news is:

  • The Gospel is good news.
  • Jesus came to be human.
  • And life is not meant to be complicated.

Oh, by the way–there’s one piece of better news:

Don’t leave love.

No matter how much you get tempted to redefine your commitment to the human race with some other emotion than love, abandon it. Even when you disagree or you think something is evil, don’t leave love.

May God find each one of us in a loving state of mind … when He, and He alone, decides to judge the world.

 

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Jesonian: Mike, Carol, Alan, Suzanne, Bill, Alicia, Dan, Becky and All of Us… November 30, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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guns in dumpster

He said he “did not come to be served,” but to be a servant to all.”

Yet we turn Jesus of Nazareth into a religious icon instead of a person of purpose who was out for the best of mankind.

Mike wants to know if you really meant what you said, Jesus. You told us to be “poor in spirit.” So would you do us a favor? Tell those preachers to stop pushing your perfection. It’s not impressive–it’s intimidating. We don’t need you to be perfect–just aware and understanding.

Carol is curious if you really do “mourn.” You told us to do it. But it’s really important to Carol that you’re touched by her difficulties, even if, from your lofty perspective, they seem silly. After all, silly is something we have to discover for ourselves.

Alan asked me to inquire of you if you think “being meek” is an actual power position, or just some pious platitude. Can you show us, in your life and teachings, and in your dealings on earth, how your gentleness actually wins the day?

Suzanne contacted me and wondered whether you still “hunger and thirst” for truth and knowledge. It sure seems like some of your followers have frozen themselves in time, refusing to thaw out and learn much of anything. Can you take your words and spirit and prove to us that God is still growing in His experience of being “Our Father” every day?

Then there’s Bill. Bill’s going through a rough time. He wanted me to ask you if you really are merciful. Are you giving out second chances? Would you consider granting a third opportunity? And Bill knows that in some areas of his life, he requires a fourth go-round.

Do you know Alicia? She wishes to find out what you mean by “pure in heart.” You asked us to be pure in heart–yet can you share in some detail how you continue to be honest with us and grow with us?

Dan wants to be a “peace-maker.” Yet he hears the rumble and rumors of war everywhere. What does it mean to you? That’s what Dan wants to know. Are you still backing nations and cultures? Or are you pursuing any human being who has a desire to bring peace instead of murder and destruction? Is “whosoever will may come” your plan of action? Or just a campaign slogan?

And Becky. Oh, my dear Lord. Becky has had a hard time with people gossiping about her and criticizing her. She reads over and over again that you say, “Blessed are those who suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake.” She just wants to understand how to let it roll off her back without stuffing the pain down in her gut, to resurface at a later time.

And I guess all of us want to know how you expect us to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad” when we’re hurt and shunned. It seems to be a bit more of your divine nature than your human one. Did you really have a divine nature? Or were you a human being who discovered the secret of “being of good cheer,” jumped on board and rode it all the way to resurrection?

I guess it’s pretty simple. Mike, Carol, Alan, Suzanne, Bill, Alicia, Dan, Becky and all of us really need you to be more like Jesus, instead of so much like God.

If we understood God, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus.

Can you tell us how you did it?

Would you relate what it was like to be human–just like us–and still find a way to be blessed?

 

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The Rule of Croak … March 31, 2014

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bullfrogIf you want to be effective, start affecting what you can affect–or become a freak by freaking out about what you consider freaky.

The rule of croak–it’s very simple:

If it goes on after I die, I will stop worrying about it while I live.

I have sons with wives and I have grandchildren. They have lives of their own and will do just fine after I escape this mortal portal. All that will be left of me is a memory, so I should be about the business of making memories.

I know it is popular to believe that life is hard. I suppose if you decide to complicate it by involving yourself in matters that do not directly pertain to your field of activity and scope of influence…well, perhaps it becomes twisted.

But it is elementary when you school yourself on your field of expertise and you know exactly what makes you unique to life as we know it.

  • My family will go on without me.
  • The Dow Jones will not lose a point upon hearing of my death.
  • CNN and FOX News will have no controversy concerning my demise.

What will be affected are my writings, my music, my traveling, my heart, my humor, my ideas, my wit, my whimsy, and probably my business partner, who’s been working with me for eighteen years and may notice for a season that the “oom-pah” of her life has lost some “oom.”

So since this is directly in my field of play, it is what I will pursue.

It reminds me of the time when someone asked me if I wanted to play hardball or softball. When I examined the two balls, I saw that both would be rather hard if they hit you. What makes softball more pleasing is that it is pitched your way underhanded, it’s slower and it’s bigger, and therefore easier to hit.

There you go.

The rule of croak is like the game of softball–finding the pitches that come your way, keeping your eye on that big ball and doing your best to hit it out of the park.

True pride and vanity is any notion that we have power, influence or even consideration in any matters other than those directly linked to us.

I reject that vanity.

So to my children, friends, the US government and the rest of Planet Earth, let me tell you that I will give you a blessing–and myself one as well:

I will stay out of your business unless I know I have something that will help, and I will focus on what I can do and keep doing it better and better … until I’m no longer allowed to hop around.

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Galvanized … June 27, 2013

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GalvaLife is not about always being right. If it were, we would be doomed to constant condemnation with ongoing reminders of our inefficiency.

Life is about getting simple.

Even though they are tempted to complicate their existence, intelligent and spiritual people always break down every piece of valuable information to its smallest part. And then …

Well, that’s the key. Once you find out the simple way to live, then the entire journey becomes about being faithful.

When I stood in front of the folks in Galva, Illinois, last night, I realized that they were encountering the same kind of confusing rhetoric in their everyday lives that I experienced myself. For instance, I am told that to be a complete, whole person I must purchase, believe, sign on the dotted line or rally behind some sort of cause which is presently in vogue. In the process of trying to chase down these dangling morsels offered to me, I lose sight of my own mission and sense of mercy.

So what is the goal in being with these gentle human beings in Galva, Illinois?

To galvanize. To literally shake up and excite one another with precious ideas that we hold dear–and to refuse to be sucked in with transient experiences which don’t offer any promise of improving human beings.

I pity those who are trying to be political in a world where politics has proven to be enigmatic, if not dangerous. I feel sorry for those who pursue religion, with all of its fussy doctrines, when spirituality is simple and has one moving part: NoOne is better than anyone else.

Galvanizing–uniting behind ideas that we know are historically human-friendly, are filled with God’s grace and are easy to remember.

Because the second part of being galvanized is to take a piece of steel and put a coating of zinc on the outside to protect it. What is our coating of zinc for our steel of faith?

I think it’s very compact and easy: I will live a life of good cheer, but I also will not be led astray by whim, fancy, fad, and intimidation.

Galvanize-to excite one another with good things and to use that sensation of goodness to protect us from the ridiculous onslaught of movements that are contrary to the advancement of mankind. I will finish up in Galva tonight. And yes, we will galvanize ourselves:

  • We will become excited about good things and use those good things as a protection against lunacy.
  • We will avoid all attempts to seek out enemies in order to prove that OUR cause is better.
  • We will rejoice in goodness instead of making fun of it because we deem it “too wholesome.”
  • We will uncomplicate our lives and be thankful that we have the ability to do so.
  • We will believe in a God of love and extract from our faith any images that deny His existence.
  • We will value fellowship over worship and tenderness above attempts to turn people into what we want them to be.

The problem is not that some people are better than other people and education is not a solution that will make us superior. Some folks just learn to learn the right things–and then stay strong in them.

It is the difference between addressing your problem and your problem residing at your address.

 

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 Jonathots, Jr.!

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Tomorrow’s Today… May 11, 2013

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North RichlandI never think too much about tomorrow. I try to stay on my daily bread and focus on the activities set before me in this particular twenty-four-hour period. Yet sometimes tomorrow’s activities are part of today’s thoughts.

For instance, I know that I am going to be at Smithfield United Methodist Church tomorrow morning. I really don’t have any worries about it–after nearly forty years of interacting with folks and sharing my heart, I have discovered that the real secret is to keep it simple and never try to make things appear either bigger or smaller than they actually are.

But I have also learned that there are a few goals which can be pursued when pressing flesh with mankind–and womankind, for that matter–which universally set in motion a pattern for success instead of fostering a climate for dissent.

Communication. It’s the main thing on my mind. I believe it’s very important that people understand what I’m trying to say and comprehend who I am. I don’t hide behind books, philosophies, religious attitudes or my history of experience. What I try to do is share a very simple message in a simple way, tapping as much excellence in my talent as I am able to do in the moment.

I do not think that we will ever achieve fellowship or stimulate an atmosphere for renewal when we’re presenting things to each other that we don’t understand.

Case in point: I don’t talk about heaven very much. It’s not that I don’t believe in it–it’s just that for most of us it’s not the next stop on the bus line. You’ll rarely hear me mention the devil, simply because there is a dark nature in each of us which already wants to believe there are evil reasons why we don’t achieve righteous conclusions.

I chat about human things and how to do them better. In the process of that communication I hope to make connection. That link-up is a simple question: “Can I help?”

I just don’t think we do much to assist our brothers and sisters by giving them more problems, more commandments and more reasons to despair. If you can’t edify folks, then exhort them. If you can’t exhort them, encourage them. If you can’t do any of those three, you might just want to leave ’em alone.

After I’ve made a connection, I am joyously looking forward to a sense of contentment. What is contentment? “I discovered my best and I gave it to you.”

Candidly, without knowing that this is true, we either become grumpy or obnoxiously make excuses for our failure.

And the final part of the process is continue. Yes, I want to continue to do what I’m doing for as long as I’m able to pursue it, while garnering a new idea from every encounter.

I’ve been criticized by friends and family because I listen to every concern or criticism and weigh it in relationship to what I know–even if the words spoken were an attempt to hurt. I don’t think there’s as much danger in our being overly analytical as there is in repelling critique that might just give us a better path.

So when I come to Smithfield tomorrow, I want to communicate. I want to make sure they understand me.

I want to make a connection–to see if I can lighten their load instead of piling up their wagons with useless trash.

Because when I leave, I want to have the contentment that I’ve given my very best to these fine children of God.

And I also would like to know that because I was with them, I can improve the quality of my own presentation.

That’s what I call tomorrow’s today. It’s a quick review in my heart and soul to renew my mind, looking for better ways to use my strength. And because of the beauty of the process, I am often granted the blessing of leaving a town having edified both my audience … and myself.

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