G-Poppers… December 5, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2434)

G-Popper

Discovering that he was heading for Florida to spend Christmas with family, one of his sons asked G-Pop if he was going to miss the snow.

G-Pop: Snow is most beautiful when viewed from the window of a 72-degree, well-insulated house.

Having the full attention of G-Pop, the son continued by asking him what he felt about Santa Claus after all these years.

G-Pop: Santa Claus is the only fat man never laughed at by children. The message? The obese should always arrive with a bag of toys.

“How about winter, G-Pop?”

G-Pop: For old people, it’s the threat of a broken hip. For the middle-aged, the possibility of a heart attack while shoveling snow, for younger adults, it’s sliding off the road in your car because you have bald tires, ending up in a ditch and discovering that your AAA has lapsed. The only payoff is for kids … snow days.

Finally, the son inquired of G-Pop about his feelings concerning Christmas.

G-Pop: Christmas is our next, best chance to birth a great idea, shepherd it to newness and end up looking like wise men.

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Untotaled: Stepping 32 (January 14th, 1967) Mr. Bayonne … September 20, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2357)

(Transcript)

Two or three days of snow, then a brief warming period, followed by a frigid arctic blast, leaving the countryside glistening with ice, rendering everything precarious.

This was the winter of 1967.

It left all of us in grouchy moods, even though we insisted we were hearty “Ohioans,” accustomed to such frosty conditions. We basically just muddled through it, quietly complaining about “the winter of our discontent.”

Arriving back in my classroom after the Christmas holidays, I discovered that our female math teacher was gone. The initial explanation was that she was battling a severe bout of the flu.

But it took little time for the sour grapevine of the gossip mill to unearth the details. She had actually left town due to a pregnancy out-of-wedlock, making her the subject of great local scandal. My coach joked that considering she was a math teacher, she certainly didn’t do a very good job “counting her days.”

The whole locker room laughed, and I joined in–even though I didn’t get it.

Replacing her was a tall, lanky, clumsy olive-skinned fellow with thin brown greasy hair and a beak for a nose which would have been more suitable for the Family Ostrich. He was a tentative sort. Honestly, it appeared this was his first excursion as an educator.

Yes, he was an oddity. An Ichabod who resembled a crane. And in our community of conformity, he became a necessary target and needful diversion for our present boredom.

Especially when we found out that he was inept at discipline. We tormented him with our ridicule and teasing.

He wore the same brown suit every day with a white shirt and a brown tie with a gold design which could just as easily have been a speck of dried-on scrambled egg.

He had a hilarious tendency to point at the blackboard using his middle finger (which by the way, appeared to have three knuckles) and we always burst into laughter. He would whirl around and screech in a scratchy voice, “Silence!” We laughed harder.

One day a cheerleader inched her way to his desk, supposedly to ask him a question. He was so delighted for the kind attention that he failed to notice that she was taking blackboard erasers from their perch behind his back and softly laying them against his coat with her hand, creating an amazing chalk-dust design. After she returned to her seat and he turned around, we all once again erupted in great guffaws. He had no idea. Matter of fact, the same marks of chalk were on his suit four days later.

He persisted. So did we.

Matter of fact, it became more nasty when one student thought it would be funny to place an anonymous note in the suggestion box in the principal’s office, complaining about Mr. Bayonne’s teaching style.

Long story short, when we returned after our Easter vacation of resurrecting our Lord and chomping on Easter bunny candy, he was gone. We had successfully driven a stranger away–simply because we deemed him strange.

I often think about Mr. Bayonne. He may not have been suited to instruct the rabble of high school hoodlums, but he certainly deserved better treatment. But in our tiny world of thinking, this math teacher just didn’t add up.

  • Because he was different, he was wrong.
  • Because he was clumsy, he was mocked.
  • Because he wasn’t Nordic, Germanic or Scandinavian, he stirred our prejudice.

I have spent much of my life trying to make sure that I never “Bayonned” anyone again, and in so doing I have discovered a magnificent reality:

It takes different people to make me different. And if I don’t become different, I’m stuck … going no further than where I am.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 31 (December 18th, 1966) One Last Time … September 13, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2351)

(Transcript)

My home was just two blocks from school, so when the bell rang, dismissing classes for the holidays, I hung around. I was in no hurry to make the trek to my house.

It was my birthday and I was vexed by a bit of melancholy.

Maybe it was the reality of turning fifteen and still not loved by any girl, and kind of shoveled to the side by a family that had more pressing concerns.

I borrowed a basketball from the boys locker room and shot some hoops. I was temporarily invigorated by the fact that I set a new personal record for free throws–eight in a row.

When the janitor came into the gymnasium, he frowned. I realized he was going to ask me to leave, so I redeposited the ball back into the slot where it belonged, grabbed my books and headed towards my abode.

Darkness was already beginning to fall on the little central Ohio community. Clouds were clumped in the sky like folded dirty towels, haphazardly stacked on the shelf, precariously threatening to tumble on the floor in the linen closet.

It was gonna snow.

It didn’t take me long to get home, although I shuffled my feet most of the way. I had never seen that little stretch of road so vacant. Everyone had settled inside, lit their fires and were preparing to endure the forecasted six inches of the white stuff.

Strangely enough, when I got home there was no one there. The house was warm, dark and certainly well-suited to my threatening depression. I left the lights off and turned on our old television set.

There was Clara Jo’s Toy Shop. I never watched it–too “baby,” too silly, too girly, too stupid. But today I was in no mood to rise from my chair, turn the dial and find something else.

All at once, she introduced Santa Claus, to come out and talk to the kids. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head, and I realized, “Oh, yeah. It’s Christmas time.”

I cried.

I don’t know exactly why–but as I watched the man on TV pretending to be the saint from the North Pole, I suddenly wanted to believe again.

After all these years of growing up, knowing that the tales spoken of the northern elf were probably not true, I desired him in my life.

I was so lonely. I tried to play the piano, but each song just made me weep. Then I fell silent–so still that I could hear the howling wind foretelling the coming storm. The window panes in the dining room were already fogging over, promising frost.

With some tears in my eyes, I spoke out loud to the television set. “Santa Claus, all I want for Christmas is to still believe in Santa Claus.”

I cried again.

For a minute, it looked like I was going to be inconsolable. Then suddenly, it just stopped. I sniffed and peered at the television set.

I thought to myself that the family would soon be here. I was frightened that they had all forgotten it was my birthday. I didn’t think I had the heart to endure it.

Suddenly Clara Jo began to sing, in her off-key alto pitch, “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus…”

I allowed my mind to wander to Christmases years before. It was December 18th, 1966 and I was fifteen.

And as a chill went down my spine, I thought to myself, “There goes Santa Claus.”

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Flakies … July 12, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1941)

big snowflakesA snowflake only exists in heaven. When it falls to the earth, it is simply SNOW.

The same is true for human beings.

Our Father in heaven recognizes us and knows the number of hairs on our heads. But on earth, we’re just another “harried participant.”

Failing to realize this and insisting on specialized, individual treatment for each one of our quirks and anomalies is what creates dissension among people instead of the universal proposed utopia of self-esteem.

There are three statements which have seeped into mainstream thinking of all people in the United States of America. It doesn’t matter if you go to the First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, or if you attend a meeting of the ACLU in Hollywood, these statements are simultaneously adapted and dangerously executed.

1. “There’s nobody like me.” Actually, my friend, there are eight billion and counting. Separating yourself from the herd does not make you any less a cow. The beauty of our race is in our similarities, predilections, inadequacies, intelligence and fellowship. The power is NOT in isolating our whims as curiosities.

2. “I was born this way.” You may want to go ga-ga over that statement, but you must realize that you cannot maintain the sanctity of free will and also believe you are under the influence of the elixir of your DNA. As a Christian, I must realize that the person who gave me my philosophy told me that I need to be born again.  In other words, our race does not progress if the children are enslaved to their own genetic codes instead of breaking out, by their own freewill choice, to discover personal freedom.

3. “Think the best about yourself.” I do not know why an audience applauds when someone makes an unrealisitic statement about his or her ability. Truthfully, in mere moments, the proclaimer will have to back up the statement. Humility is not a virtue, nor is it a way of lessening our potential, but rather, a means of survival. Large statements demand even larger proof. That’s right–we must EXCEED the expectation in order to convince people that we have actually met it.

On top of that, always thinking the best about yourself pretty much closes the door to repentance. And back to my friend, whose teachings I follow–he said that unless we repent, we perish–not in the sense of dissolving into thin air, but rather, by imploding–because we put a thick candy shell on the outside, when inside is nothing but hot air.

It will not be popular to change these irrational mantras even though they are constantly disproven by how our system works. After all, the race is run by many, with only one winner. But everybody gets in shape.

Snowflakes may be individualized if you can get them under a microscope. But only God has a microscope which can discern such intricacies about human beings. Basically, to each other, we are a “fellowship of snow,” trying to learn to drift in the right direction.

Rejoice.

There are many people like yourself. You are not alone. It doesn’t make you less valuable. It gives you the opportunity to set yourself apart by the fruit you bear. Even though you were born of flesh and have a particular ribbon of DNA flowing through you, spirituality sets you apart from the other animals on the earth, enabling you to be born again by your own free-will choice.

And thinking the best about yourself does not make it so, but maintaining a necessary humility which allows for repentance will keep you from perishing on the earth.

I am proud to be human. I’m not ashamed of my similarities with my brothers and sisters. And I am ready to do my part to make this world a sweeter place in which to live.

Would you like to join me?

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Never Worship Where You Vote… January 5, 2013

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sock snowmanYes, the snowman always votes for more snow–just as the surfer casts his ballot for bigger waves. Politics is the selfish game of pursuing our own ends while insisting it’s for the good of the country and relegating our dissenters as unpatriotic opponents.

It is not suited for children like you and me.

Now a worse thing has happened: political parties are being worshipped. Indeed, it seems to be a godly mission to advance the platform of your party while invoking the name of the Most High as your major contributor. So we’ve moved from the necessary to the ridiculous to the nasty, ending up in abominable. It is time to hide the children from such mayhem.

Here’s why: children need to learn to tell the truth. We insist on it. There is no greater punishment for a youngster than lying and covering up an iniquity that is usually easily exposed. If the truth “makes us free,” it is simply because we are relieved of the burden of maintaining an ever-expanding, ongoing fable about misdeeds. It is exhausting to be politically correct instead of forthcoming.

Yes, all parents want their children to be considered top-notch, but to achieve that status it is also necessary that each child of the household learn that there are seasons for setbacks and disappointments in order for us to grow more fully into completeness.

Children can’t be involved in politics because they need to tell the truth, and obviously, veracity is optional “amongst them who seek votes.” By the time we get done spinning, expanding, promoting, advertising and sowing disinformation about reality, it is often difficult to attain a clarity of thought.

Children should also stay away from politics because children must hear the truth before they can tell the truth. There you go. Lying parents bring forth lying offspring:

Parents who keep alcohol in their refrigerator should not be surprised when their fifteen-year-old comes home drunk from a party that was supposed to feature pizza and root beer.

Parents who fib on the phone to creditors should not feign shock when their dear little ones lie about their grades.

To tell the truth you have to hear the truth. There is a very intelligent word that says “faith comes by hearing.” We build up the confidence to say our individual situation aloud because we’ve heard other people do it without fear.

What is the worst atrocity about our political system? The lies of the Republicans and the Democrats will come down and crash on us for two or three generations to come. We have made it acceptable to be misleading. It is not suitable for children. It is the R-rated movie of government.

And finally, concerning those who desire a childlike faith, we must comprehend that to hear the truth, one must be willing to be wrong. Politicians are never wrong. If you don’t believe me, just listen to them. They are often misquoted, misunderstood, caught on a bad day, taken out of context, targeted by the other party’s kill committee, or they are just victims of a vicious news cycle.

It is rather doubtful in our present political climate if we will ever hear anything that resembles the truth.

Such a gift demands that someone be wrong. Until you are willing to say you are wrong, you can’t hear the truth. If you can’t hear the truth, you can’t tell the truth. And if you can’t tell the truth, you can’t be made free.

The combination of self-righteousness, combined with an unwillingness to negotiate, culminating in a worship of political ideals, has rendered our society crippled of the change which only occurs by the real truth convincing us of the error of our ways … and making us free.

I will not participate.  I have never participated, but in 2013, with my desire to have a childlike faith, I must avoid the bad boys and girls of the political system, who require that I worship where I vote–but won’t give me the freedom of truth.

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The California Consideration… September 25, 2012

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We are all infected.

It is a disease which does not necessarily sprout symptoms before producing its deadly results–a squeezing of the brain into a smaller and smaller area of thinking, while simultaneously convincing oneself of mental expansion.

For instance, it is the general consensus that people from California are liberal–part of the “left coast”–and that it is a land filled with “fruits and nuts.” The assumption is completely incorrect–because a quick visit to the Golden State will tell you that Bakersfield is nothing like Los Angeles, and Frisco and Fresno have less in common than just a few letters.

But there is an obsession that has gripped this country in the past seventy years, which compels us to honor a national religion. That faith is not Christianity, Judaism, Islam or any of the other more established orthodoxy. It is a religion called “unique.”

When I drove my van into the state of California in 2012 with my new message, “NoOne is better than anyone else,” I leaped headlong into the chasm of this rocky philosophy. Two objections were immediately raised. Of course, in California they prefered to refer to them as “considerations,” so we shall defer to their wishes.

Consideration One: “Jonathan, it’s not a case of being ‘better.’ Just ‘different.'” I have dubbed this “snowflake syndrome.” Each one of us was taught that every snowflake is different from every other, and therefore, every human being is precisely formed to the configuration of his or her own soul’s journey. Let me point out a few things:

  1. Who really knows that every snowflake is different? This is not a scientific fact. It is an assertion, since not every snowflake has been placed on the measuring table.
  2. As they fall, they all look like snow.
  3. To discover these subtle differences, one has to use a microscope. Even if we ARE drawing the parallel of snowflakes to human beings and we DO buy into the concept of complete individuality of snowflakes, human beings were never meant to be viewed under a microscope.

I do not know why we are so obsessed with being unique–thinking it makes us intrinsically more interesting. The truth is, we are fascinating because of our commonality. We are given life by a God who tells us that there is “no temptation that is not common to all men.” Yet we insist that the differences among us–which are actually quite miniscule–establish a kind of unspoken supremacy over our neighbor. Now, we wouldn’t call it supremacy. We would refer to it as preference, choice or birthright. But it is a way of separating us as humans instead of finding the more intelligent path of calling it snow instead of a bunch of flakes.

Consideration Two from California, was this: “It is true, Jonathan, that no one is innately better, but some folks have better values.” You can see, this is another tenet of the teaching of uniqueness. In other words, “I quarantine myself from the world by possessing a code of spiritual healthiness which I uniquely follow as a means of proving my difference from other people in the world around me.” We have to decide if this earth journey is about finding ways to make peace or focusing in on pieces of ourselves to make war with the friends around us.

This religion of uniqueness has become so ingrained in our society that it may be the only idea that cross-sects races, religions, politics, gender and generations. It is a certainty that if you tell a room full of people and tell them that 99% of the populace is identical to each other, you will meet resistance from those who will insist that you are intolerant, short-sighted and out of step with the times. They would fail to acknowledge that your statement, however, is basically true.

Why do we choose to focus on that one per cent that trails off onto a different path from the rest of humanity–unless it is a way to quietly express our supremacy? And supremacy is always the warpath to hurting others and breaking apart the brotherhood and sisterhood of humankind.

Even though California is considered to be a liberal state, when they were presented with the notion that “NoOne is better than anyone else,” many of those alleged “left-coasters” ran to the security of the religion of uniqueness so as to maintain a secret cult of domination. So there are those who will tell you that we are unique by difference, when the true pursuit of God is to find our commonality. Certainly there are a chosen few who will proclaim their uniqueness by their values, when merely possessing a belief system is not evidence whatsoever of quality. Jesus said that it is only by the fruit of our internal faith that our values are truly known.

So as I moved out of California into other areas of the country, I suddenly realized that I was doing battle with a great fire-breathing dragon, which appears to be the acceptable, normal way of thinking in our day and age, but really is preventing us from awakening our Sleeping Beauty. And that “Beauty” would be the commonality we all share. In other words: NoOne is better than anyone else.

So now I have identified the culprit. I have found the assailant of the peacefulness that could be administered one to another, which is being stolen from us by a hidden agenda of supremacy masked as uniqueness. What will happen next?

I moved from California later on in the year, into Alabama–and this is where I ran into The Alabama Allegations.

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