Ask Jonathots … April 21st, 2016

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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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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … March 26th, 2016

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: Cooperate.

Dear Woman: Is that an order?

Dear Man: No, I was just thinking about the word. Co, meaning the two of us, and operate … well, I guess that implies working together.

Dear Woman: The two of us working together. That’s cool.

Dear Man: Well, the trouble is, it’s not cool. We are taught to be independent. Self-sufficient. We’re working on our own biographies instead of a human story. Somehow we feel diminished if all the praise doesn’t come our way but instead is given to a cooperative effort.

Dear Woman: I see what you mean. Yet that’s always been my problem with collaboration. Rather than everybody standing back and rejoicing over the end result, each person has a tendency to point out his or her part in the process.

Dear Man: We can’t help it. Society tells us if we don’t toot our own horn it won’t get tooted.

Dear Woman: It is possible for somebody to blow your horn. After all, it is a horn.

Dear Man: That’s funny. And oh, so true. I guess we need to remember that we were created to be in a garden. It’s a co-op. No person is sufficient unto themselves without a common humanity and a common good.

Dear Woman: I have to be honest. I’m resistant to that concept. I mean, I understand it but it’s like I feel I need to have autonomy. Otherwise I don’t have my own thing.

Dear Man: I’m the same way. I would like to include you, but I really don’t want you to feel like you’re necessary.

Dear Woman: But it’s all over nature. If you don’t mind me bringing it up, even sexuality is kind of comical. The male and female parts are not competely compatible with each other unless the man and the woman talk, discuss and share.

Dear Man: So true. Yet at the same time, we feel like we should be complete within ourselves. It’s important to acknowledge what we have, otherwise we don’t know what we require.

Dear Woman: And it’s not stereotypes. Not all men are strong and all women emotional.

Dear Man: Absolutely not! Sometimes the female is the strong one and the man brings the emotion. It’s knowing how to co-op. In farming, one person plants, another waters and God and Nature give the increase.

Dear Woman: So why are we so damn afraid of this?

Dear Man: We’re taught to look at each other sexually, not practically.

Dear Woman: I can see that. Sometimes I’m just nervous talking to a woman because I’m afraid…I don’t know…that she doesn’t find me attractive.

Dear Man: What can be more attractive than an intelligent exchange? Or the realization that somebody has brought some information to you that completes one of your goals?

Dear Woman: So what can we do to initiate this co-op?

Dear Man: I think what stumps people is that in order to become strong, you have to know where you’re weak. And to use your weakness is to learn to recognize what you need before it’s pointed out to you.

Dear Woman: I think I could actually do that, especially if I had a friend to remind me when I was stumping around advertising my ego instead of being honest about my limitations.

Dear Man: Men and women were meant to cooperate–joining together to operate a plan that is only enhanced by their dual efforts.

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Ask Jonathots … January 21st, 2016

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When is it right to fight–to stand up for yourself? Everyone I know and everywhere I look, people say you have to “fight back” and “defend yourself.” So what does it mean to “turn the other cheek” or even “thou shall not kill?” And how is it we are a “Christian nation” when fighting and killing and wars are constant?

Let’s begin with the concept of a “Christian nation.”

Jesus never envisioned his work as a country. He said his “kingdom is not of this world.” So the Christian message was intended to be an individual experience. Then these converts were challenged to become “the light of the world,” and affect the climate of society.

So to tout ourselves as a Christian nation, we have blended in the concepts of the Old Testament so that we can obtain a nationalistic flavor. And when you include the Old Testament, you get “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” and vendettas against enemies.

So I don’t know if it’s possible to approach this as a Christian nation without including ideas which Jesus said had been cast aside in favor of more loving and noble adventures.

If we were a Christian nation, our agenda would be simple: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

In other words, take care of those around us and develop a healthy, prejudice-free environment where people can prosper, and in so doing, gain personal peace of mind and solvency.

Then that “city on a hill” could be a testimony to the world and they could begin to measure their philosophies against our philosophy, and decide where they might want to revise their thinking.

Of course, in the process, we must realize that enemies still come along due to jealousy and revenge, but when this happens, we can stand guard without totally destroying those who attack us.

This is exemplified in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus takes eleven men into this secluded place for a time of prayer, asking them if they had the means to defend themselves, and when they said, “We have two swords,” he replied, “It is enough.”

So if we could put together a military without trying to overwhelm our enemies with our prowess, then we would be in a position to take the rest of our money and use it to improve the lives of our citizens instead of constructing an arsenal of intimidation.

You will be told by most people that this idea is childish and stupid. This is why Jesus never intended to take over countries and rule them.

The Christian message is intended to be placed in existing cultures, and through its charity, affect the climate that surrounds it.

So I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this question. Yet I will tell you that the fighting and killing that goes on in our world cannot be attributed to the message of Jesus of Nazareth, because he never intended to possess turf.

And if you ever have to add Old Testament to New Testament to justify your actions, then you are not living under the total spiritual impact of the Kingdom of God.

So I walk in a simple situation:

  • If the United States is attacked, we should defend ourselves.
  • We should also protect the innocent of the world as much as possible without entering into old grudges that are thousands of years in the making.
  • And we should take most of our financial power to build up the lives of our people so that we can offer a testimony of peace and prosperity to the world around us.

Whatever it would take to do this is what would be sufficient. Because when eleven men told Jesus they had two swords, he said it was enough.

It certainly is not enough to attack, but it did end up being enough to allow them to escape.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … January 16th, 2016

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: Do you like M & M’s?

 

Dear Woman: Yeah, I suppose so.

 

Dear Man: What flavor?

 

Dear Woman: I haven’t given it much thought. I guess the red ones.

 

Dear Man: Is that strawberry or cherry?

 

Dear Woman: Like I said, I don’t think about M & Ms much. It’s kind of a kid’s candy. But I guess cherry.

 

Dear Man: There’s only one flavor. Chocolate.

 

Dear Woman: What do you mean?

 

Dear Man: I mean that the candy-coated shell is just a color, not a flavor.

 

Dear Woman: Are you sure?

 

Dear Man: Positive. They were trying to sell chocolate, wanted to find a cute way to do it, so they surrounded it with a candy shell and colorized it.

 

Dear Woman: Wow. I hadn’t thought of that before.

 

Dear Man: I have. Especially recently. You see, that’s what they’ve done to us–men and women.

 

Dear Woman: Turned us into M & M’s?

 

Dear Man: Exactly. We’re really both chocolate. We’re just human beings. 99 percent of our physical makeup is identical. But society comes along and coats us in a candy shell and gives us a color.

 

Dear Woman: So what’s my color?

 

Dear Man: You know. The standard. Pink for me and blue for you. They will also let you be brown. But you’d better not choose yellow, red or even green, or you could be accused of being…well, you know.

 

Dear Woman: Shall we say effeminate? Since it would be completely politically incorrect to say gay? But on the other hand, as a woman you are allowed to be a little bit blue, but if you turned brown, then you would be too macho.

 

Dear Man: Or the politically incorrect term, butch. And even though there’s no validity to the colorations and the candy shell doesn’t produce any flavor, we still live by the colors. And did you know–there are rock and roll bands who insist on having only green M & M’s?

 

Dear Woman: Clever. But what’s your point?

 

Dear Man: I guess my point is, the more we try to designate each other by color, race, religion and gender, the less we realize that we’re all chocolate.

 

Dear Woman: But aren’t some differences a good thing? Isn’t it important for men and women to have unique aspects, to keep the mystery in our romance?

 

Dear Man: I guess if that actually did happen it would be alright. But we use our difference to prove how separate we are–therefore establishing that it’s basically impossible for us to coexist without arguing or fighting. Can I tell you something? You’re a great guy, but you’re not all blue.

 

Dear Woman: What do you mean, I’m not all blue?

 

Dear Man: Well, you’re afraid of spiders. You don’t like to get your hands too dirty. And you don’t sit around drinking beers and watching football all the time.

 

Dear Woman: What’s wrong with that?

 

Dear Man: Nothing–except it adds a little pink to your shell. At least by the standards of our society. They say you’re supposed to be the aggressor and I’m supposed to be the vanquished.

 

Dear Woman: So what color would you say I am?

 

Dear Man: Well, kind of purple. Not a raving lavender–more a mauve.

 

Dear Woman: This is so stupid. And by the way, you’re not all pink. You’re kind of purple, too–because for some reason, you like to check the oil in your own car.

 

Dear Man: You see what I mean? We’re both shades of purple. Even in the M & M world, our candy colors are more alike than different.

 

Dear Woman: So why don’t people recognize this?

 

Dear Man: Because there are billions of dollars to be made by insisting there’s a war between the sexes instead of finding our common flavor.

 

Dear Woman: You really think it’s all about money?

 

Dear Man: “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

 

Dear Woman: Do you think it can change?

 

Dear Man: I think it can, if we put away childish things…like M & M’s.

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G-Poppers … October 30th, 2015

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G-Pop wants his children to be aware:

“Don’t be overwhelmed with the underwhelming.”

There’s so much in our society that is loud and proud that sometimes it’s difficult to discern the portions of behavior that are valuable, and the truths that are worthy of being upheld.

There are two great dangers in this journey we call human life:

  1. Being convinced that what you’re hearing the most is real.
  2. Being jaded because what you’re hearing the most is insane.

In both cases you put yourself out of the game, becoming either a pawn of the craziness or too cynical to believe in better things.

So what’s the answer?

G-Pop suggests to his children that they stop listening to the noise, and instead, listen for the harmony.

There are ideas that have lasted for thousands of years and have endured the ridiculous to bring the sublime.

G-Pop has a simple test he places on every notion that tries to crowd into his mind:

A. Does it make us laugh?

It’s possible to have laughter that’s based on prejudice and sarcasm, but eventually when we laugh we do learn to chuckle at ourselves and our own inconsistencies. People change more quickly through a giggle than they ever do through a sermon.

B. Does it make us feel?

For you see, the danger is not being inundated with information and painful reports which cause us to close off our hearts so as not to feel the pain anymore, but rather, to limit what comes inside and make sure that we can feel for those around us.

Don’t listen to a report on CNN telling you that 328 people died in an earthquake in Afghanistan. Put yourself under the rubble and you’ll feel the impact.

C. Does it make us better?

Simply watching a movie about depravity is not the pathway to understanding reality. Reality is useless if it doesn’t challenge us to go the second mile and supersede our jungle instinct to find our Garden of Eden.

If you’re listening for the noise, you can’t hear the harmony–and that harmony is a three-part anthem:

  • History sings its truth
  • Present life adds its part
  • And our story chimes in to create a chorus of joy.

 

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Populie: The Majority Rules … June 25, 2014

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A show of hands“All those in favor of … ”

It’s a process we learned at an early age when trying to choose between playing Monopoly or a game of cards. If there were five people in the room and three voted for card playing, then the other two were supposed to submit freely to the will of the majority. It is how we define democracy.

It’s the pressure that politics, entertainment, and religion live beneath in pursuing policies of their actions.

“Let’s take a poll.”

Politics runs its agenda based on how certain voting goes, determining the emphasis of actions according to the numbers provided.

Religion feels no responsibility to pursue the strait and narrow, remaining the conscience of our society, but instead, institutes committees which vote up or down based on the whim of a local congregation.

And entertainment rejects the responsibility for art to be a cutting edge reminder for our society, using focus groups to determine how plots should end and characters develop.

We are completely possessed by the demon of choice. Therefore, we are tossed to and fro on the energy of the present moment instead of having a sense of what truly will benefit the common good.

It is the popular belief in democracy, lending itself to the populie that the majority rules. Actually, the majority is rarely right.

There are three things that are necessary to determine the mission of any project or any people:

1. The history.

If we’re going to run our country thinking that there’s power in numbers, we will end up destroying all the potential for innovation and enlightenment. What is the history?

  • The majority of Germans voted to follow Adolph Hitler.
  • The majority of Jews in the Council cast their lot to crucify Jesus of Nazareth.
  • The majority of Southerners at one time held fast to Jim Crow.

Therefore, the majority has to be viewed through the sense of history, and history has some strong inclinations:

A. You can’t take freedom from people.

B. You can’t continue to kill people

C. You can’t stifle creativity and invention

It doesn’t matter if the majority wants to do this or not. It will be wrong.

2. The climate.

Even though politics, religion and entertainment want to give the people what they want, the goal of leadership should be to give the people what they’re going to require.

For instance, if you let your twelve-year-old son pack for summer camp on his own, he will run out of clothes on the second day and food on the third, having consumed all of his candy bars. It is the responsibility of those who have been given the blessing of guiding us to discover from the climate of our times what is available to meet the needs of human beings instead of what temporarily satisfies the whim.

3. The end game.

Yes, how is this going to end up? If we follow through on the present thinking, where will it take us? Honestly, we can’t decide the future of our society merely based upon greed. People who have the intelligence to understand where things are headed also have the responsibility to pipe up and challenge the end game.

So we’re going into Iraq. When do we leave?

We’re legalizing marijuana. What is the outcome?

We’re limiting the use of guns. Can we project where this will take us?

The majority does not rule; the majority is just loud.

We need insight from spiritually and emotionally mature statesmen and stateswomen, who will remind us of history, take us to what we require instead of what we just want, and follow through our efforts to a conclusion, projecting the end game.

Let’s stop taking a vote. Instead, let’s take a moment and find out what’s best for the whole human race … instead of just our little circle.

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After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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Somebody Should Do Something…. May 19, 2014

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There are two simple ways to immediately improve your life.

First, get rid of all your committees.

Second, start doing some rendition of what resembles your dream and then be prepared to change.

Since our present society is completely unable or unwilling to pursue either of these options, then please settle in for a long winter’s nap of repetitive nonsense. And one of the main pieces of nonsense is the ongoing droning drivel that “somebody should do something.”

Let us understand–somebody already has.

  • We wouldn’t have cures for disease if they hadn’t.
  • Slaves would not be freed without somebody doing something.
  • Salvation for the human soul would never have been accomplished from a “do nothing” Savior.

It isn’t like we have to come up with our own idea or create a world unto itself–unique to our circumstances–to accomplish good deeds. There are many paths set before us, tremendous options and inspiring tales to thrust us forward in the direction of accomplishment.

We are reluctant–both as a species and then, as individuals.

Why?

There are two nasty principles that were ingrained in us at a young age, no matter what culture we came from.

  1. Don’t make a fool of yourself.
  2. Leave well enough alone.

For some reason, as a race, we learned these much more easily than we did long division. Maybe it’s because we’re basically insecure, and both of these concepts feed that timidity, making it easier for us to remain stagnant.

Maybe it’s because indifference burns fewer calories and allows for more naps. I don’t know.

But the end result is a disgruntled multitude, complaining about the absence of leadership while simultaneously resisting any prophetic voice that would advance a new theory.

You have to make up your mind. If you want to extol the status quo, do so, but please never complain about the blandness of your grits. Or … prepare yourself for the shock that if anything is going to be done, to look any further than your own motivation is an exercise in futility.Abe

HitlerBecause there is really only one moving part in the human experience–only one thing that separates an Abraham Lincoln from an Adolph Hitler. Both men were bigoted in their own way. Both men took office believing that a particular sect or race of human beings was inferior. Both individuals had a certain dictatorial style to their rule. (Yes, Abraham Lincoln was called a dictator.)

The difference between Abraham and Adolph is that when information was given to Mr. Lincoln to prove that slavery was wrong, dangerous and god-forbidden–he changed.

On the other hand, when the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States were perched on the outskirts of Berlin and it was obvious to everyone–including Chancellor Hitler, that the war was over, he literally dug into his bunker and permitted the slaughter of an additional quarter of a million people to justify his foolishness.

Therefore, saying that somebody needs to do something is an ugly blending of self-pity and stubbornness.

And self-pity and stubbornness are the main attributes of all the inhabitants of hell.

A footrnote: muich thanks to my dear brother from yesterday morning at Algood, who told me his pet peeve was the phrase, “somebody needs to do something.”

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Arizona morning

heAfter an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

 

 

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