G-Poppers … March 31st, 2017


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G-Pop realizes that it could be considered irrational, ill-founded or even un-American to speak against the common phrase, “Be careful.”

The statement has become a staple of our society.

It is synonymous with “I’ll pray for you” or “you’re in my thoughts.”

It’s a tribal exchange of an acceptable spirit of worry between human beings, as we admit that life is dangerous and often out to harm us.

The difficulty with the sentiment is that if everyone on Earth is careful, then we stop having a free flow of interaction, which deteriorates to suspicion. Suspicion is a monster with a huge appetite. It feeds on prejudice–and once prejudice is in place, we find ourselves at war with each other without exactly remembering how it all began.

G-Pop wants his children to be safe. He just believes that the best way to achieve that is to be kind instead of being careful. Careful is misinterpreted. It’s misunderstood. It’s often received as bigotry.

And once people believe that you do not trust them, like them or consider them your equal, you actually increase the possibility of being harangued.

Certainly kindness is threatened by a world of knives and intimidation. This is true. But a kind thought, a kind countenance and a kind word removes any concept of superiority. Most people hurt one another because they feel they are forced to be inferior.

“Be careful” may be something a mother says to her son or daughter as they launch off to college–but college is not a station for being careful. It’s a place to learn, experience, try new things and uncover the talent that may end up providing wage and purpose.

“Be careful” is going to push us to the brink of global alienation.

So as frightening as it may seem, or as unsure as it appears, being kind is the best way to create the neutrality that will lead to either friendship or a quick discovery of who our foes truly may be.

 

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Cracked 5 … February 14th, 2017


 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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New Names for the Attitudes Settling into Our Society

 

A. Obstipissed: “I am stubborn and angry.”

 

B. Femiknows: A woman who still believes in equal rights but has given up on it actually happening

 

C. Lietrust: The confidence you have in someone because you know they will always fib

 

D. Christican: A churchgoer who worships God in the image of Ronald Reagan

 

E. Demojeez: A politician who thinks Jesus wears Crocs and gives out toothpaste, condoms and soup at the homeless shelter

 

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Good News and Better News… November 14th, 2016


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-belmont-sunflowerJesus offered a tender warning to each of us: Mother Nature does not favor us more than a tree branch full of sparrows.

Therefore we will be greatly disappointed if we do not access our willingness to repent and our endearing quality of good cheer. Without repentance and cheer, we become exhausted in our futility.

What is it that exhausts us?

This was fresh on my mind when I drove to the Belmont United Methodist Church in suburban Dayton, and encountered some excellent new friends. Pastor Randy, Mike, Janet, Terry, Larry and a whole bunch of other sparkling souls made us feel at home (once they realized we had arrived with no intention of robbing the joint.)

And as I had the blessing of standing in front of the congregation on Sunday morning to share my vision, it occurred to me that the actions and craziness of our society had worn out the people sitting in front of me.

But there were some surprises. There was one lady who came all the way from Mansfield, Ohio, after seeing us last week, and brought along one of her friends, who lives in Dayton. There was a great sense of anticipation in the air–that the spirit of innovation might just visit us with a baptism of rejuvenation.

Being exhausted is debilitating. It makes us believe we can’t do what we once did, and if we could, we’d rather not. So to get rid of that exhaustion that causes us to falter in the midst of our journey, we need to declare war on two nasty little faith drainers:

The first one is judging.

It will nearly wear you down to a nub of nothing if you think it’s your job to evaluate the lives of other people. It’s hard enough to breathe on your own. It’s even worse when you try to take the breath out of the life of someone else.

We are grouchy when we judge, we are ill-tempered, we are picky, we are fussy and we end up taking our eyes off of our own ability.

The second exhausting activity is complaining.

Every time we convince ourselves that we don’t have enough, we always end up failing to use what we have. Complaining happens when the brain overrides the spirit and creates an unholy alliance with aggravated emotion. We have an exaggerated sense of importance which causes us to think that we’re worthy of more than our daily bread.good-news-belmont-sign

So the first thing we did in Belmont yesterday was judge judging and complain about complaining.

Suddenly energy began to fill the room. We were no longer feeling the need to criticize other people or critique God and Nature because they failed to give us the quality we think we deserve.

The good news is that when you stop judging others and complaining about your life, exhaustion gets tired and leaves.

The better news is that when exhaustion stumbles away, we actually want to do things instead of feeling like we have to.

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G-Poppers … July 1st, 2016


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G-Pop’s granddaughter called, very sad because she had just finished reading the story of the sinking of the Titanic.

Since she was fresh from the pages of the book and deeply touched by the loss of over fifteen hundred human lives, G-Pop comforted her. On another day, he decided, he would share with her the “Titanic Thinking” that brought about much of the calamity.

Matter of fact, most of that Titanic Thinking exists in our society today, as we thumb our noses at common sense, deeming ourselves invincible.

So many people could have been salvaged from that doomed situation if there had been a willingness to admit mistakes and seek reasonable and equitable solutions.

The first problem with all Titanic Thinking is:

1. We’re too big to fail.

Having constructed the largest, the best, the fastest and the brightest, we are completely intoxicated by the power of our own might.

  • Therefore, the Titanic did not have enough life boats. After all, why would they need them?
  • They didn’t have enough spotters looking for icebergs.
  • And with a sense of devil-may-care, they scooted at full throttle through what ended up being treacherous waters.

2. Don’t alarm the people.

Considering that the Titanic took several hours to sink, and there were masterful men and women of business, finance and commerce aboard ship, not to mention hardworking folk in steerage below–if these forces could have been united in a common goal, many more lives would have been retrieved.

But the captain and crew decided not to alarm the passengers.

There were many things on the Titanic that could float. How many make-shift rafts could have been put together? How many lifeboats could have been filled to capacity and beyond?

Not even an option. The reason they weren’t?

3. Some folks are better than others.

Because the Titanic was divided into first, second and third class, there was no ability for the passengers to interact and pool their information and strength, to assist in the salvation of their own lives.

You will take a toll if you believe that people are less than you–because the law of averages seems to play out that you eventually need them.

And finally:

4. It will work out.

This abiding foolishness, which some people call faith, was ill-placed in a man-made object which was at the mercy of a God-created sea. Yet deep in the hearts of most of the crew was the belief that the “good old boat would stay afloat” until help arrived.

Somewhere between a sense of dependence and independence lies truth. And when we are honest about our concerns and fears instead of hiding them behind the false bravado that “everything will work out,” we have a much better chance to survive.

Even though these thoughts came to G-Pop’s mind, he chose not to share this vivid detail with his young granddaughter. He was just pleased that her heart was touched by the loss of so many, so long ago.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … June 4th, 2016


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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: You scare me.

 

Dear Man: What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: I mean, you frighten me. Is it natural? Was this terror taught to me or is it legitimately part of the evolution of our species–to keep a certain amount of friction between the genders?

 

Dear Man: Since we’re being honest, I’m scared too. Scared of myself. But mostly when I’m around you. Why do you think women put ten or twenty different fragrances all over our bodies everyday? We’re afraid we stink. Stink to you. I don’t know where I learned that. It’s hard for me to believe that I have a genetic code that makes me want to use lotion.

 

Dear Woman: While we’re on the subject–I’m supposed to smell like a man. What in the hell does that mean? I feel like there’s a role I need to play. Sometimes it feels natural, but other times I think you just need me to be manly so you can feel womanly.

 

Dear Man: So what does it mean to be womanly? Does it mean I feel more than I think? It’s so confusing because we say that women are more emotional, but then we turn around and say women are smarter than men. Which one is it?

 

Dear Woman: And is there any spirituality to this whole mess? Is there a Creator who sees us as equals? Or is He intent on us camping out in our genders and remaining separate?

 

Dear Man: It started when I was a kid–trying to avoid “handsy” male cousins and being quietly warned by my mother about certain uncles. I felt like an object. I was in the room but I wasn’t seen unless I was pretty, or unless someone noticed how fast I was growing. None of my relatives ever asked how I was doing on the basketball team. It was always some reference to my beauty or my training as a young woman.

 

Dear Woman: So no wonder we’re terrified of each other. But I will tell you this–I certainly think it would be worth the time to find out how much of this horror was infused by our training and if any of it is legitimate tension brought on by our differences.

 

Dear Man: And here’s the kicker. You’re supposed to be my best friend while simultaneously I am led to believe that a man can’t really be my friend at all.

 

Dear Woman: So I come back to my point. I’m nervous around you, which sometimes makes me not want to be around you, so I can avoid being nervous.

 

Dear Man: I totally understand that. When I want to be myself, I get away from men because I’m afraid if I reveal my real desires, they will either be apathetic or turned off.

 

Dear Woman: I can’t live my life wondering what a woman thinks about me. It will drive me crazy and make me hate her.

 

Dear Man: Likewise for me. There has to be a soft place to be in life–where you don’t have to try too hard, as you do try to improve what you can, without fear of being criticized.

 

Dear Woman: Shouldn’t that be with me?

 

Dear Man: It should, but not as long as I am convinced by society that you’re my enemy.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … April 23rd, 2016


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: Not all men are gay.

 

Dear Man: Of course not.

 

Dear Woman: Not all women are lesbians.

 

Dear Man: Is this some sort of homophobic rant?

 

Dear Woman: No, not at all. My point is, men get along really well with each other without sex, as do women.

 

Dear Man: That’s why society insists that men and women have differences which create incompatibility.

 

Dear Woman: No, that’s wrong. That’s not the reason. The reason is that heterosexual men and women lead with sex. They try to find a passion of romance instead of a reason for conversation. So in the gay or lesbian community, they have the same problem. They fight like cats and dogs, just like heterosexuals.

 

Dear Man: Well, actually it would be cats and cats, and dogs and dogs…

 

Dear Woman: Very cute. Our culture has taught us to look at the opposite sex as a means for gratifying our physical needs. And then we wonder, when the thrill of that sexuality plays out, why people grow disinterested.

 

Dear Man: Well, how would you change that? Men are always going to look at women as potential partners in the bedroom. And women do the same thing in their own style.

 

Dear Woman: It doesn’t have to be that way. Men who aren’t gay still have passion for each other if they become involved in a common cause–like war, family, politics, sports, business…

 

Dear Man: Well, women, too.

 

Dear Woman: Exactly. But it works because the passion is always in the third position, not the primal one. If you try to get football players worked up to win a game, and they have no business or friendship with each other, nothing clicks.

 

Dear Man: I see what you mean. You’re saying that the problem is that we advertise sex so much in this country, that once the impact of the original fling is over, we have no real interest, so we terminate the overwrought passion.

 

Dear Woman; I couldn’t have said that better myself. Whether you’re religious or not, the tale of the Garden of Eden does lay it out correctly, and shows where things went astray. God gave Adam and Eve business and friendship, and He assumed that passion and family would spawn from that. But the minute Adam saw Eve, he was sexually drawn to her, and because the relationship was “bone and flesh,” as he put it, they didn’t develop the business and friendship that was necessary to keep them from falling apart.

 

Dear Man: That’s wild. And so true. So at a very early age we should have boys and girls work together, develop friendships, and then see what sparks in passion.

 

Dear Woman: It’s why when people have affairs, they usually happen with someone they work with. The work stimulates closeness which leads to a friendship with laughter and interaction, lending itself to passion. But if you start off with passion, you’ve got nowhere to go.

 

Dear Man: Or you end up trying to force a friendship and a business.

 

Dear Woman: So even though folks think it’s immoral, people living together before marriage might be a successful project, if there was no sex involved. They could prove that working their business together could grow into a deep-rooted friendship.

 

Dear Man: So if it begins with passion, it will soon lose its fashion.

 

Dear Woman: You rhymed!

 

Dear Man: I’d like to say I did it on purpose, but that would be a lie.

 

Dear Woman: We begin with business–a common goal, which leads to friendship–a common feeling, and ends up with passion–a common pleasure.

 

Dear Man: I like that. Common goal, common feeling, common pleasure. If we take that path, we are constantly feeding the excitement for one another with the new experiences of our business and friendship.

 

Dear Woman: And if we don’t, we’re depending on our bodies to keep it interesting.

 

Dear Man: That’s too much to ask of “any-body.”

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Ask Jonathots … April 21st, 2016


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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My three grown children were raised in the church, but not a single one of them goes to church now, although they all claim they are believers in God. Sometimes it bothers me and sometimes I think it doesn’t matter. What do you think?

I think the first question we have to determine is–what is church?

There was a major shift in our society in the 1980’s, when the church house changed from being a center of fellowship, awareness, social interaction, self-improvement and community concern to being an organization focused on the worship and discovery of God.

The whole concept of this transition seems so noble to theologians and ardent zealots of our time that we have failed to return to church being a center for emotional, cultural and spiritual expansion.

Like any functioning business or social awakening, when the purpose of that institution is defunct, it ends up dying.

So the church of your memory no longer exists.

It has been hollowed out of its message and purpose in favor of traditions, hyper-spirituality and seminars on self-worth and prosperity.

So the question you have to ask yourself is this:

Are my children better off by joining in to the efforts of a religious system that has abandoned its calling, or are they better off without it?

Now, your summary would be that the church, even though weakened by its introspection, is better than nothing.

Their conclusion would probably be that “no church” gives them a free Sunday to enjoy their friends and family.

So here’s the question: can we all begin to go to church–not with the idea of swallowing the provided pill–but instead, transforming it back to the vibrant, living organism that Jesus intended it to be?

After all, Christianity is not a religion–it is a lifestyle. And if the church is not promoting the lifestyle of Jesus, it is watering down the message to include pop psychology and Judaism, which are not fulfilling to a New Testament life.

So if I were you, I would sit down with my children and tell them of the regrets, misgivings and frustration you have with the present religious system, but also inform them of the hope you have to see it transform itself back into the heart of Jesus.

Because here’s the truth–even if the church remained as anemic as it is today, it is still necessary to be a buffer against the insanity of selfishness and rage.

Challenge your children to become the church by changing the church.

After all, they want to change the politics.

They want to get rid of Wall Street’s greed.

Why not step into a situation where they really could affect a lasting change … and turn the American church back into a place where Jesus would be proud to be a member?Donate Button

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