G-Poppers… October 9th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2717)

Jon close up

The mystery of history.

G-Pop wanted to tell all of his children about the theme of the human journey which never changes, even though we may feel overwhelmed by present circumstances.

History has a song.

It has been sung since the beginning of time and will continue to be performed until people are no more. If you understand this, then you will not be so prone to join the detractors and the fearful souls who select a dreary path of doom and gloom.

Kingdoms will rise, idiots will rule but life has a way of dispelling the stupid.

Sometimes it takes a year.

Occasionally it may take a generation.

But eventually, all bad ideas are toted away to the garbage dump, where they rot with their ridiculous predecessors.

So to understand the mystery of history, you must recognize what causes ideas to be faulty, falling by the wayside. If you don’t, you will listen to the newscast and be convinced that the present dictator, the threatening illness or the terrorist with a bomb will soon be at your doorstep to take away your life.

There are four warning signs for those who are ignorant of history and think they will be able to contradict it by being assholes:

1. Arrogance.

When you see it, run. Any group of people who believes they are better than other people will eventually be proven to be inferior. They may stomp; they may shout. They may fire cannons into the air. But arrogance is always punished, because the accompanying ignorance prohibits it from learning a better way.

2. Stealing freedom.

Yes, any individual or government that believes it can limit the freewill choice of human beings in order to promote righteousness or some other purpose ends up being overthrown because of its overgrown sense of importance.

3. Controlling.

There is no such thing as you having the keys to my life. You may think you do, but eventually the need to control overwhelms the dictator with too much responsibility, and he or she falls in disgrace.

If God is not going to control our lives, what makes you think that He would allow anyone else to do it?

There is no doubt about the fate of those who manipulate others. The only question is, how quickly will it happen?

4. Apathy.

The pseudo-intellectuals who believe they establish their intelligence by pooh-poohing simple ideas as being childish and meaningless, as they sit by and do nothing are eventually knocked off their pedestals by the blowing of a new spiritual wind.

You don’t get anywhere in life by being cynical. If you’re against the possibility of humans improving and growing just because you want to appear worldly and jaded, then you will be replaced by those who possess childlike faith.

  • Napoleon was gone in 18 years.
  • Hitler lasted 13.
  • The Soviet Union survived about 70 years, and that’s only because World War II gave us a worse demon to chase.
  • Al Qaeda can become ISIS, or destroy under the name of the Taliban, but all monsters end up chewing off their own legs and bleeding out.
  • And China, in its present state, is struggling with oppression and the effects of attempting to squeeze people.

Do I need to mention all the people in history who believed in their misguided causes, and for a season, strutted across the stage, only to end up discarded after intermission?

The mystery of history is this:

Arrogant, freedom-stealing, controlling and apathetic people seem powerful … until the Spirit of Hope blows them away.

 

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 42 (August 27th, 1967) Driven… November 29, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2428)

(Transcript)

I woke up in one of those adolescent grumpy moods, staring at the ceiling, disgusted with my life.

It was nearly time for school to start again and I felt like I had squandered my entire summer, worrying about how little summer I had left.

Even the things I had done which seemed enjoyable had passed too quickly, and now it was time to go back to school–to pretend to be a student and memorize a bunch of information which would give me a good grade on a test, knowing in my heart that I would soon forget the knowledge, yet knowing that somewhere in the future, I would be expected to remember it.

I had acquired three dollars yesterday by finally mowing the lawn, which had grown so high that one of the neighbors had complained to my parents, fearing that varmaints or snakes might dwell within. I reluctantly did the job and was rewarded with the remuneration.

So I woke up with a scratch I needed to itch. That’s the way it is when you’re a teenager–it’s not really an itch you need to scratch, but rather, an ongoing scratching sensation and needing an itch to justify it.

I got in my car and headed over to Katie’s house. She was the highlight of my summer. We had come together to search for pop bottles we could turn in for deposit to get gas money so we could drive around, talk and be silly.

There was nothing romantic involved, though candidly, I would have jumped her at the slightest invitation. She just thought I was funny.

When I picked her up that day, she had two dollars she had earned by picking blackberries on her grandma’s farm. Between us we had five dollars, three candy bars and some leftover tuna sandwiches her mother had foisted on her as she departed.

Katie explained that she needed to be home by three o’clock in the afternoon, and since it was already ten-thirty, our time would be shortened.

I told her that since we had enough money to buy fifteen gallons of gasoline, that we should drive three hours somewhere, talk, laugh and turn around to drive three hours back.

She was cool with it so we took off for Columbus.

Driving on I-71, we reached the south end of Columbus. Then that scratch that needed an itch suddenly raised its head. So I said, “Let’s keep going.”

She was nervous but agreed–and before too long we passed through Washington Court House, Wilmington and suddenly found ourselves on the outskirts of Cincinnati. It was deliciously naughty, filled with wild abandon and irresponsibility.

A sign read that the Ohio River was four miles ahead. I had never seen the Ohio River, and Katie had only passed over it in a car with her parents while being sound asleep in the back seat. So I said, let’s do it.

We crossed the river into Kentucky.

We felt like fugitives. It was similar to trying to make our way into the Soviet Union through the Iron Curtain (they had that back then).

Everything on the other side of the river, including a town named Covington, looked so different. We felt like Christopher Columbus eyeballing the New World.

Suddenly, Katie looked down at her watch and it was two o’clock in the afternoon, and she realized there was no way she would be able to get back in time. There also were no cell phones or texting, and pay phones were out of the question because we had used all of our money for petrol.

So knowing we were going to get in trouble, we turned the car around and headed back the way we came. It was the strangest combination of fear, jubilance, independence, anxiety and nervous bowel twinges that I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Strangely enough, when we arrived home, people really didn’t say much about us being late–just that we should never do it again.

Katie and I knew that was impossible.

Something changed that day.

I no longer felt bound to a small home on a tiny street in a little village. I realized there was a big world out there–and the only way I would ever get to it and be myself was to survive a couple more years of provincial schooling … to finally be able to point my life in my own direction.

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Populie: The Battle Between Good and Evil … October 22, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus and the devil

Sometimes I believe that the promotion of “good” is merely permission to be pious and the elevation of “evil” is just a bunch of geeks from high school, who think it’s neat to scare people with their darker side.

It ends up promoting this popular lie–populie–of “the battle between good and evil.”

Religion is enthralled with the concept because it allows for an all-powerful God to flex His muscle against a strong Luciferian army which is doomed to failure, but in the meantime frightens the world with all sorts of dastardly deeds.

Amazingly, entertainment is obsessed with the notion because it welcomes witches, demons, flying dragons and all sorts of apocalyptic paraphernalia, to keep the audience on the edge of its seat, wondering if any glimmer of goodness can survive.

Politics learned a long time ago that it’s a lot easier to motivate people by getting them to hate something than to love something.

So if we hate evil and those who perform the nefarious deeds, we can don the cloak of righteousness and represent purity to the world around us.

So the original Soviet Union was not deemed to be a dumb government complexity, but rather, must be referred to as “the evil empire” in order to create a devilish enemy.

I am weary of it all.

I am especially weary of those who tell me that I can’t believe in God unless I believe in Satan. They insist that because the Bible proclaims that this fallen angel exists as a real creature of festering fussiness, that I must embrace the ideology that surrounds him or else deny the validity of the Holy Book.

Yet when the storyline plays out in the Good Book, the saner writers tell me frankly that every temptation comes from my own lust.

I am told that God doesn’t tempt me, nor does He desire for me to be tempted.

Matter of fact, Jesus said, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

So what is evil?

Evil occurs when the good that humans could have accomplished is delayed or tabled in committee.

Good transpires when evil is stopped by humans who are thinking ahead.

To me it’s just that simple.

Every evil that has happened on the planet earth since the beginning of time has human fingerprints. There are no claw marks left behind, nor cloven hoofprints. It always has something to do with someone who just failed, in some way or another, to love his or her neighbor as themselves.

We are drawn away by our own lusts.

Love is available to us but it does not allow us to dominate or destroy, so instead, we pursue lust.

  • It is the source of all iniquity.
  • It is the source of all evil.

As long as we believe that we are the pawns in a gigantic chess game between God and Beelzebub, we will fail to take responsibility for our own deeds and instead, act helpless when we’ve been given the power of a sound mind instead of a spirit of fear.

I know there will be many people who disagree with me, and since I do not hold the golden key to universal truth in my hand, these detractors may be right.

But I don’t think we become better people by blaming an outside force for our own damned laziness.

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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!

 

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

Somebody Should Do Something…. May 19, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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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.”

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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

 

 

1946… March 13, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

(2175)

Nixon resigningYour mommy is pregnant.

Well, actually, because it’s 1946, one is not allowed to say “pregnant.” Preferable is with child, in the family way or on the nest.

You are about to be born. While you are still in your mother’s gentle jail, two atomic bombs are exploded, with tens of thousands of casualties.

You, too, are going to be part of a “boom”–yes, an explosion of births due to men returning from war, seeking the comfort of family and the pleasure of their wives’ company. By the time you are three years old, China has joined the Soviet Union, becoming Communist.

By age four, the world is back at war, in Korea.

When you are six years old, the Supreme Court makes a decision on Brown vs. Board of Education, decrying segregation in the South. It would take thirteen years of bloody confirmation.

When you’re eight years old, you suddenly are confronted with a Cold War, which threatens to heat up periodically, causing your local village to build a bomb shelter near the school.

In like manner, when you’re sixteen, you feel the anxiety of global annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

And then comes the roller coaster:

  • At seventeen years of age John Kennedy is shot.
  • At eighteen the Beatles arrive, disrupting the social consciousness of a society already reeling from the death of a President.
  • At twenty-two, you stand by and watch as both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy are gunned down by no-name nothings.
  • Also in the same year you watch the Vietnam war escalate as thousands of young men your age are dying in the jungle.
  • At twenty-three they put a man on the moon.
  • And when you’re twenty-four, National Guardsmen gun down four students at Kent State.
  • On your twenty-eighth birthday, Richard Nixon resigns as President of the United States, acknowledging a conspiracy to defraud the American people.

The fear of your youth and the anger of your adolescence culminates into an adult cynicism.

Yes, the Baby Boomers became the adult Gloomers–and they passed onto their offspring a sense of mistrust, causing their children to constantly seek ways to escape reality.

It is rather doubtful if we can get out of the bland and bizarre depression that the country is experiencing without understanding how we got here.

We’re all too cynical.

We are too engrossed in ways to escape our lives instead of embracing them. And it is causing us to selfishly close up possibilities which just might make us better people.

Now you know how you got here.

Why don’t you go out today and do your best to reject the cynicism … and inhale some sort of new breath of life?

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Slyly … August 27, 2012

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Stepping into my motel room a little weary and delirious from an exciting weekend of being around precious humans from Riverdale and New Hudson, I decided to unwind a few minutes before collapsing in totality by watching some television. Does anybody else notice that the accumulation of channels seems to be proportional with the diminishing of possibilities? But I eventually landed on some special about the Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960’s–all the rock stars that appeared on his program. I didn’t watch very long, but I did view an appearance, from back in 1969, of Sly and the Family Stone.

Promotional photo of Sly & the Family Stone fo...

Promotional photo of Sly & the Family Stone for Rolling Stone, 1970 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I always enjoyed that band. Their songs–Everyday People, Dance to the Music, and Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself, were not only joyous, uniting us, but extraordinarily musical. As I watched, Sly jumped up from his organ and ran into the audience at the Ed Sullivan Theater and tried to get the stodgy white folks dressed up for a night of “going to town” to dance with him. There were no takers. Their faces mingled shock with attempts to curl their lips up into grins, to appear at least a little hip. Sly didn’t care. He kept dancing. He kept rocking. And he ended up thanking the audience for “letting him be himself” while taking a bow.It struck me as funny and alarming at the same time–because the people in the Ed Sullivan show watching the performers believed that they were America and these rockers were a cultural transition–an anomaly which would soon pass, and that we would return to a corporate sanity.

Are you ready for this? They were wrong.

It got me thinking. There are three things I avoid doing. When I was younger I did them because I felt I was some sort of crusader for a cause–against the “wooly bear monsters” of the world. I now realize that you can’t have a sword fight with the wind.

1. I don’t try to satisfy the dissatisfied. There are people who arrive with faces already in place and they have no intention of ever altering that countenance. They have already “decided.” Of what they have decided I am not sure, but when you tell them to “be of good cheer,” what they do is sneer. Any time spent chipping away at such stone will only break your chisel … or create a very ugly sculpture.

2. I learned that you can’t change the arrogant. Once folks decide they’re better than anyone else, they will fight you, argue with you and actually be willing to die for their own form of prejudice. We keep wanting to have dialogues in this country about things like racism, poverty and spirituality. That would require that the people indulging in the conversations would be willing to forfeit their present cemented views for more fluid possibilities. Can I give you a clue? It’s not going to happen. What happens is that the people sitting in the Ed Sullivan Theater, who think it’s foolish to dance to the music, just die. If you’re smart, you’ve been having conversations with their children, with the aspiration of creating a better generation. In other words, “Grandma and Grandpa, you are welcome to come along with us. Just don’t bring your bigotry.”

3. I get away from folks who hope things get worse. I occasionally go to churches where they are having Sunday School classes on Revelation, the Book of Daniel and the end of the world. This is a hopeless situation. There is no way you can offer a savior to the world if you’re secretly hoping that they don’t accept him so he can ride in on a white horse and chop off their heads. People who believe that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket spend all their days and nights weaving handbaskets. It’s fruitless.

You might cynically say, “Then who is left?” Well, let me borrow from Sly and the Family Stone. There ARE people who have not given up on the idea of human beings. Here is some fresh information. At the top of that list is God. I like to have my name put on a list where God is at the peak of the signatures.

As Sly said in the song, Dance to the Music, “You gotta find the rhythm.” If you want to make a difference, you’ve got to understand that no matter what you see, no matter what you hear and no matter what you think, people will be free. You can lock them up for years in the Soviet Union, you can try to use religion to prohibit liberty, you can blow up all the heathen nations in the name of Allah–you will end up being the fool. The rhythm of earth demands that people will be free.

Also as Sly and the Family Stone said in Everyday People, you gotta join the harmony. “NoOne is better than anyone else.” I don’t care if you agree; I don’t care if you have found some clever exception to the principle. Your particular cunning is not going to outfox the spirit of God which is no respecter of persons.

And finally, borrowing from Sly and the Family Stone’s song, Thank You for Letting Me Be Myself, each one of us should go out and write our own melody. Since we know that people will be free and that NoOne is better than anyone else, go out and find a reason every day to believe. I am sick to death of the religionists who tout a mere Ten Commandments and the atheists who contend they are geniuses by removing faith from their everyday walks. It is my job to find a reason to believe–and in so doing, write my melody line to go with the harmony of life and the rhythm of the universe.

So to quickly review, do yourself a big favor and stop trying to satisfy the dissatisfied, change the arrogant or hang around folks who are waiting for the end of the world. Instead:

  • Find the rhythm. People will be free.
  • Learn the harmony. NoOne is better than anyone else.
  • And write your melody. Everyday find a new reason to believe.

This is the kind of idealism in the heart of a human being that makes God smile.

Ed Sullivan will always be known for being a kind of stuffy guy who let rock and roll have its day. He won’t be remembered for booking the guy with the spinning plates. So … stop spinning plates.

Get out there and rock your world.

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Mush-mellow … February 2, 2012

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It startled me.  Yesterday someone suggested that I was becoming more “mellow.”
 
God forbid. Mellow is like grits without gravy, mush without maple syrup and an apple you purchase on Tuesday afternoon, knowing you’d better eat it quickly because by morning it’ll be rotten. No, I don’t really like mellow.
 
Neither would I want to be considered confrontational. Confrontational is the equivalent of someone who orders their Mexican food with extra hot sauce and then, to prove the point, squeezes the juice of three jalapenos over the top.
 
What I would like to do is matter enough that what I am impacts the world around me. That’s tricky. Candidly, most people do not like to be taught. We just don’t. That’s why within months of leaving school, our brains immediately begin to download knowledge from our minds like it’s on a sinking ship. It’s the whole teacher-student relationship that really troubles us. Because even when we’re little toddlers–two or three years old–and someone is trying to explain how to tie our shoes, we become impatient, saying, “I know. I know. I know.” Of course, we DON’T know, but that doesn’t make taking further instruction any easier.
 
We just reach a point where we think we should know things–and to be further taught on the subject is not only annoying, but somewhat emotionally debilitating. Yet change is needed. So how can you create the necessary renewal, revival or even renaissance in our society without becoming the schoolmarm, trying to take everybody back to the classroom to rehash old subjects? Well, let me first list the things people will NOT tolerate. I gave you one already.
 
1. Being taught. I know some of you will insist that you ARE teachable, and I appreciate the idea that in some areas you may be, but we all possess a bit of “know it all” that prevents us from acquiring all the information that would benefit our lives. Part of that is because:
2. No one wants to feel inferior. That’s really not a bad thing. In some ways, feeling inferior is much more dangerous than feeling superior. Sensations of being better than other people are usually quickly alleviated in the general commerce of humanity. But inferiority can hide out as shyness, being introverted or just having a bad day. So sometimes it’s difficult for people to receive new information without feeling they’re inferior in the process.
3. And the third obstacle to enriching the lives of human beings on this planet is family. Most people will find that when truth is unveiled, parts of it will be contrary to things that were taught by their families. They are immediately put in a Catch-22. We all want to grow but we don’t want to abandon our traditions. Jesus phrased it well. He said “if you let people taste new wine, they will quickly turn to you and say the old wine is better.” It’s not. We’re just terribly frightened of stepping on the graves of our ancestors on our way to building new roads to the future.
 
So you have those three things in the way of trying to create good change. I used to believe that God had called me to change people’s minds. I got over that pretty quickly. People do not change their minds because you ask, suggest or even because it’s the right thing to do. Worse yet, you have what we might call the twenty-four-hour change–where folks will adopt a new idea, but be much more critical about its value than they are towards their old opinions, so at the first sign of difficulty, they will abandon the fresh concept as unworkable.
 
So it’s not so much that I’ve gotten mellow. It’s just that I think I’ve discovered the best approach to being a contributor to humanity without coming across as “boss man.” And here it is: I will change my own mind thoroughly and then go ahead and do it.  And I will do it well enough to make you jealous.
 
That’s right. Human beings change because they’re jealous of what other people have. Now, you can reject that assertion because it doesn’t sound pretty or nice, but nonetheless, I think you will find that if you follow it through, it’s true. If you want everybody to wear red socks, the best thing to do is convince yourself that red socks are important and start wearing them all the time with a confident heart. Pretty soon you will notice there are other folks around you buying red socks. They will be quick to let you know that it had nothing to do with YOU wearing red socks; no, it was a personal choice they made because they suddenly remembered that their favorite color was red.
 
It doesn’t matter. You can’t matter in life if folks aren’t jealous of you, and of course, if they are jealous of you, there is a chance they can become your enemies. This is why Jesus was so insistent on us loving our enemies. Because just in the process of changing your own mind, doing something and deciding to perform it well, you will make tons of friends–but also some enemies. They are not your enemies because you are wicked, evil or hard to get along with. They are just jealous and have decided to channel their jealousy into impatience instead of impersonation. It’s the risk you take.
 
If you try to blend in with everybody around you, they will spend one hour appreciating your presence and then you will disappear into the background. If you come in and try to take over and tell people they’re wrong, they will righteously resist you because you are robbing them of their free will. But if you focus on yourself, change your own mind, do what you know you’re supposed to do and do it well, the end result will be the energy that really does generate revolution.
 
Jealousy.
 
For instance, the Soviet Union did not fall because we threatened them with missiles from every corner of the world. They just threatened us back with the same number. The Soviet Union fell because they ran out of bread, were jealous because of our many brands, and because, for the life of them, they couldn’t hatch a rock band as good as the Beatles. They were jealous.
 
If we would just take the time to focus on what our minds should be and what duties will come out of that thinking, and then practice that to the point of excellence, we will produce a jealousy which will promote duplication–or give us a handful of enemies to love. Either way, the world is quivering in the presence of our footsteps and journey.
 
It’s not so much about being mellow as it is about being smart. Don’t chase a dog that’s running away from you. Be careful buying tomatoes if the room smells too much like tomatoes. They’re on their way out the door. Feel a little uneasy if your used car salesman is smiling during the signing of the papers. And don’t ever believe that you have the convincing power to change anyone’s mind. People change when they are jealous of what you have.
 
Now that can make you mellow. And if that’s what they mean by mellow, bring it on. But that particular style of mellow does create some adversaries.
 
And as long as we understand that not everybody is going to love us, it makes it a lot easier for us to love everybody.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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