Populie: It’s Your Destiny … February 26, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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dragon slayerAnother popular assertion that is grounded in a lie is, “It’s your destiny.”

It is a POPULIE that is once again promoted by politics, religion and entertainment.

Politics loves it because it makes the voters feel that some leader is “destined” to become the savior of a project or movement.

Religion promotes the idea simply because it keeps the faithful in submission to the illusive will of God.

And entertainment advertises this populie mainly because there is an ongoing accepted premise that people “just love fantasy” and therefore want to escape their real lives to conjure big dreams of slaying dragons.

Yet in our private moments, when we are alone with ourselves and we’re not in a bad mood, blaming the world or some divine force, we realize that it is our own choices that create our situations. And we still persist in using words like:

  • destiny
  • soul-mate
  • being born a certain way
  • having talent sent from God
  • and feeling superstitious about “roads converging in our lives through cosmic energy”

Well, let’s look at the cosmic energy. What does this cosmic energy–in other words, God–have to say on this subject?

1. What we sow we will reap.

If I understand this statement, it means that I am in control of the harvest that comes my way by the planting I personally do. I am not under a family curse, demon possession, angelic fairy dust or the turn of a card.

2.  If you do well, you will be accepted.

Interesting. When God spoke these words, He wasn’t relating the information to someone who was particularly spiritual. He shared it with Cain, who ended up being the first murderer. But He told him that the system is geared toward those who do and not those who wish.

3. Let every man prove his own work, that he has rejoicing in himself alone and not another.

So if God is in charge of my life, why would I need to prove the work? And if God is the one who’s manipulating everything, what gives me the right to rejoice in myself for achieving my goals?

4. Everyone will give an account of their deeds at the Day of Judgment.

If I am at the mercy of destiny–or even at its bequest–why should I be responsible for everything that happens?

When you remove the superstition, fear, tradition and anger from religion, you come up with one simple principle: no one is better than anyone else.

So if I work hard I will succeed. If I don’t, I will fail.

And it fascinates me that those who believe in the populie, “It’s your destiny,” would also become infuriated at the notion of someone removing choice from their lives.

It is your choice.

And today, you are about the business of determining what your life will truly be.

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Destiny’s Childish… July 21, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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destiny signThose who are not religious by nature call it “destiny.” The more religious among us refer to it as Calvinism.

It is the contention that there is some sort of “master plan” for every human being–that we find our purpose, value and joy in discovering this mystical path and following it fervently.

It is one of those strange areas where those who believe in God and those who don’t converge in a common mission of discovering an individual odyssey that was pre-determined for each and every soul.

There are many problems with the belief in destiny:

  • Often it removes the motivation to excel in our pursuits or experiment with new ideas.
  • It can make us bitter when misfortune strikes our journey and we are dumbfounded because our Benefactor has taken us down a darkened thoroughfare.
  • It can cause people to walk away from legitimately good relationships under the guise of pursuing the perfect soul mate.
  • And it can render us completely incapacitated as we wait for guidance that just never seems to come.

There are really three choices:

1. God has a wonderful plan for our lives, which we must follow if we want to be pleasing to Him and truly happy.

2.  God has a plan for our lives but we can take detours and even change it up a little bit, as long as we still get to the point He wills us to be.

3. We have free will choice and a Father who stays with us and will never leave nor forsake us.

Now I’m sure there are derivations, blendings and even differentiations but generally speaking, anything you would come up with probably falls within the scope of one of these three ideas.

My problem with #1 is that Jesus compares God to an earthly father. There is NO earthly father who would ever think about controlling the lives of his children–even if he felt it was to their betterment. In doing so he would weaken their wills and perhaps make them resentful of his interference.

When it comes to Choice #2, I become confused because random acts and accidental discoveries are frequently at the root of the progression of the human cause. People were searching for different cures when magnificent elixirs were stumbled upon. The Bible makes it clear that time and chance happens to all–and if we’re under some belief that God’s will is a straight line or even an arc, heading for a specific apex in the future, then we rule out the glorious possibility that our lives can be enriched and changed for the better. And even generational curses, which seem placed on some families by genetics and environment, can be breached and overcome.

The only sensible understanding of humans on earth is free will. That means there is a past, by the grace of God there is a present, but the future is undeclared. Why?

Because the future is in our hands.

Perhaps you would feel more comfortable to think that God was controlling everything, but in doing so He would be taking away any significance of worship–because we would not be selecting to follow Him, but instead, toeing the line out of fear.

I love God because He gives me free will. I love free will because I can choose God.

There you go.

I can choose God in my dealings with human beings, I can choose my Father in heaven through the tenderness I express through my art–and I can even choose a divine sense of earthly understanding when I consider my calories and food intake.

I believe that the devotion to the notion of destiny has stymied our creativity, expansion, love and spirit of adventure.

It makes us childish–childish in the sense that we are afraid to displease an angry parent, while insisting that we love him dearly.

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WE are the US of OUR Lives… May 27, 2013

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 America is not a population–it is a collision.

Yes, it is a fender-bender, accidental conglomeration of people who have ended up in the same place, searching for similar freedoms.

Our churches are not congregations. They are configurations–the makeshift, last-minute gathering of a collage of human beings who often disagree with each other but are bound by what we hope and pray is a common purpose. Our disunity and differences are what challenge us to stay together and keep working, to ferret out similarities.

We spend way too much time trying to find perfect circumstances. We even arrogantly proclaim that we’re on a quest to find a “soul mate.” Life is not a Disney cartoon. It’s not the story of a chambermaid who is secretly a princess who finds herself “slippering” her way into marrying Prince Charming.

It usually consists of two folks who hang around each other long enough that the spark of lust ignites passion one evening. Then they spend time figuring out how to take that initial encounter and turn it into domestication.

What’s wrong with that? Why does everything have to be so antiseptic? Let us be honest. One of the most obnoxious thing about human beings is when they believe they have found God’s will or they have knowledge that exceeds others.

What I saw yesterday in Mabank, Texas, was a mish-mash of humanity which decided to stay together with each other instead of becoming picky and bratty–praying for better converts. Now THAT just might be the definition of God’s will.

We ARE the “us” of our lives.

  • I don’t always agree with my children, but they are my children.
  • I don’t always get along with my friends, but they are my friends.
  • I don’t always concur with strangers, but there’s really nothing strange about them at all, is there?
  • And the United States of America is always at its best when we include all the “we’s” and embrace them as “us” to create “our.” In the process, we collect some weirdos, freaks and people who think they’re extraordinarily normal, who end up being more odd than they thought.

But we do not express the love of God by giving up on anyone. We do not become a better organization by shunning members. And we never, ever discover the beauty of heaven by finding weakness in our fellow humans and displaying it for mockery.

I give great tribute to the people of Mabank. Even though they live in a small town and might be tempted to be snooty and fussy, they’ve decided to pursue the greatest depths of true spirituality, which is: don’t give up on folks just because right now you think they’re ugly.

So on this Memorial Day, as we celebrate our nation and the sacrifice of those who have gone before, let us not forget the power of this idea: the energy of our faith is that we constantly challenge our own prejudices.

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Take a Chance… November 11, 2012

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My failures don’t languish and decay in the garbage dump of effort, but rather, putrefy and stink up the joint in the residue of my own indecision.

In other words, eagles fly, chickens get plucked.

I have a diagnoses for our country. After traveling this great land of ours for decades and putting a stethoscope on the heart of America, I can tell you with a great amount of certainty where we ail. For you see, Republicans think that people are too dependent on government. The Democrats feel that the populace is waiting for God to solve everything. Actually, they are both right–our nation is infected with the disease of “destiny-itis.”

All good souls are waiting for something to come along, clarifying needs to be done. It’s in our art, it’s in our politics, it’s in our theology and it’s in our educational system, which is keen on math and English but often fails to intone the warnings of history.

A great king once said, “Time and chance happens to all,”but we spend most of our hours trying to extend our time on earth and miss the chances that do come our way.  therefore our aging process makes us more grumpy and dissatisfied instead of ecstatic and fulfilled.

How did destiny and the belief in life being out of our hands ever gain such a stranglehold? It’s a great question. The answer will determine whether you’re a victim or a victor.

To escape the trap of destiny, you have to reject two widely accepted ideas, which are blatantly flawed.

1. Everyone was born to do something.

2. God has a wonderful plan for your life.

Let me give you a quick example.

Although the liberals in the United States would insist that America is gun crazy and that placing some sort of control on firearms is the best way to stop the violence that surrounds us, you only have to go north of our border to Canada to discover that the fine folks in the provinces have a record for the least violence in the world, but own more guns per capita than the United States. Were they “born” with an ability to possess weapons without killing each other? Is it God’s will that they be a peaceful sort of nation, and His determination that the American culture be vicious and mean-spirited? Of course not. Canadians grow up around guns and learn from birth not to point them at people. Americans desire guns and are not given the same instruction concerning where to aim their calibre. It’s that simple.

In the great debate over “nature” and “nurture,” we should just stop the conversation, because it’s all about nurture. We all have been nurtured to be in our present condition–so if you are raised to believe that you are “born to do something” or that God is pulling the strings, you will more than likely pass over chances to be fruitful because you’re confused over whether they have come from your birthright or from your divine Creator.

I think in the religious world, this belief is propagated because we contend that Jesus of Nazareth, the son of God, was “born” to do the will of his Father by dying on a cross for the sins of mankind even though, before his death, he proclaimed in the Garden of Gethsemane, that he had completed his work.

In the secular world, the inclination is to pursue “destiny” because we have so many unexplained predispositions in the general population that it seems to us that these inklings must have been ingrained in the DNA.

I’m sorry–it’s just not true. We are either given a life to live or we have been given a life which can be snatched away from us when we fail to follow the unknown rules that hatched us.

I often tell people in churches that God has a wonderful life for your plan. My heavenly Father does not tell me what to do. The Bible says He’s a good Father. A good father does not force his child into a plan of his making and then withhold blessing when the offspring fails to fulfill. Why would we think God would do that? By the same token, why would we believe that God, who is the founder of the concept of free will, would birth us in a certain direction without us being able to choose a detour?

  • I was not born to write.
  • I was not born to sing.
  • I was not born to be fat.
  • I was not born to be funny.

The chance to do these things came my way and I leapt on board and have survived the bumpy ride. I do not know why we think that something is more plausible if we are “born” to do it and therefore it’s out of our control. Do we think that frees us of responsibility? Is it our way of apologizing for our choice? Do we really want to worship a God who has pre-booked our flight and will punish us or at least levy a penalty for any changes on the itinerary? So foolish.

But it is why the American people are always two steps through the doorway of pissed off. For the truth is, if you have forfeited your rights, liberty and choice on where your life is headed, no matter whether you’ve done it in a secular way–by believing you are pre-determined at birth to do a particular thing–or if you’ve done it in a religious way–by pretending that God is pulling the strings–the helplessness that follows the decision does not inspire effort, but rather, welcomes anger and apathy.

Take a chance. Time is passing. Chances are racing by. Grab one.

The worst thing that can happen is you fail. But the truth of the matter is, failure is guaranteed if you do nothing–because your birthright will not make you free, and God has no intention of rallying an army of robots.

Watch out for destiny. It is contagious. It is deep in the bloodstream of all the rebirth of interest in fairy tales, mysticism, fantasy, soul mates and even musings over the end of the world. Keep three important things in mind:

1. The future is not decided until you decide it.

2. You were not “born” to do anything, but were given an opportunity to be born again–to do everything.

3. If you wait on the Lord with no plans on running a race of your own, you will end your life at the starting gate.

Take a chance. Free yourself of “detiny-itis” and soar with the eagles instead of remaining earth-bound with all the chickens. It is the law of the sky.

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