Darkened … October 23, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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dark room oneAs much as I enjoy traveling across the United States, meeting the fabulous collage of human beings afforded to me, one of the more difficult aspects of the journey is finding a way to end the year’s activities and partake of Thanksgiving and Christmas without depleting my coffers in the process.

And you must add onto that the fact that most of the venues which normally open their arms are particularly busy themselves, at the close of the season, with projects pre-determined.

This year we ran head-on into this dilemma. Like every other American, it appeared we were going to end up with more things in our “required” pile than we had in our “possess” pile. It was a problem. Or shall I say, it IS a problem?

It made me realize there are really three ways to handle the everyday blow-ups that happen to our well-conceived plans. The first way is what we shall refer to as “darkened.”

We fall back on our upbringing, whether conservative OR liberal, and believe that by becoming either constrictive or free-wheeling, that we will overcome our circumstance. This philosophy is prevalent in our society, characterized by conservatives who allow too little and liberals, who allow too much. They both insist they are making their stands on the basis of protecting liberty, but merely shutting the door does not keep the cold out and opening the door and turning up the heat does not seem to make it any more toasty either.

It is darkened–a pursuit of resolution with an inclination toward cynicism. It is traditionalism honored over common sense. And since the conservatives allow too little and the liberals allow too much, they are immediately at war with each other, resorting to insult and defamation of character instead of rhyme and reason.

We must be careful that when we’re talking about the realm of the emotions and spirit that we don’t emulate the political scene in our country, which has driven us into a gridlock of name-calling and stonewalling.

  • I am not conservative. Sometimes the answer to a problem is to open up possibilities beyond what we have accepted as normal in the past.
  • I am not a liberal. Just because people desire or campaign for some particular right, that it should be granted to them if it’s contrary to the common good.

But because this stalemate persists, the conscience of our country has become darkened, and cynicism has replaced the willingness to try new ideas and to evolve old ideas to fresher conclusions. How do you know that cynicism has entered your life?

1. You have an idea of how things are going to play out before you even try them.

This isn’t the fruit of experience. This is a careless disregard for the possibility of the grace of God and human effort to bring about miracles.

2. You think that restricting people or giving abstract freedom is the way to control natural events.

Free will IS intact–that’s why the dialogue on what is best for everyone needs to be in place.

3. You have gradually bought into the mantra that people are “no damn good.”

You certainly cannot preach a message that “God so loved the world” and also be a little pissed off all the time.

Our society has become darkened by a cynicism that promotes either a conservative or a liberal agenda instead of what is nurturing for human beings. We can’t allow too little and we can’t allow too much.

So what is viable?

See you tomorrow.

 

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Factory … April 29, 2013

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factory“The kingdom of God is within you.”

It’s too bad that statement is so doggone religious. It contains all the language that we associate with church, godliness and piety.

Actually, if you separate off its true meaning, it is so explanatory of life on earth that it puts a chill down my spine. Here’s the truth of the matter: as long as I believe that my destiny, my circumstances and my fruitfulness are determined by factors beyond myself–be they traffic, failure, weather, man, demons, angels or even God–I will become incapacitated from time to time by the perspective of what seems to be pending doom. If I’m reaching out to the world around me to explain who I am, where I am and why I am, I find myself at the mercy of the system, instead of taking control of my life and making a difference, as God intended.

If I could rework that phrase–“the kingdom of God is within you”–to update it to our time, I would probably construct it to say the following: You are a factory. Work on your wheels and keep turning.

For after all, the choices we are given in this day and age in considering a philosophy of life are frustrating and meaningless.

Choice 1: I stink, you stink, we stink, God is good.

Choice 2: I’m ok, you’re ok, we’re ok, who needs God?

Choice 3: Life is tough, I’ll be tough, you be tough, because the tough survive.

As you can see, Choice 1 leads you to believe that you are worthless–that no good can come out of yourself. Choice 2 causes you to think that you’re fine the way you are; it’s just that you’re waiting for the correct opportunity to cash in your chips. Choice 3 puts you on the defensive, around defensive people, constantly defending your defenses. These are the reasons that human interaction comes to a stalemate in our society.

Here’s what I think the correct philosophy of life should be: I’m human, you’re human, we’re human, God became human.

Nowadays we use the phrase “I’m only human” as an excuse for everything from being late for a dinner party to being the justification for a serial killer. Here’s the truth about being a human:

1. We are given talent, and if we use it, multiply it and balance our lives between critique and praise, we will have room to establish ourselves in prosperity.

2. NoOne is better than anyones else, so as long as you’re not trying to be superior, you are not a threat to your fellow-humans, and therefore, can get some breathing room to do what you want to do.

3. If I believe that both the solution and the problem lie within me, I have the control and authority to promote the good parts and to gradually address the weaker ones.

4. The key to being appreciated is to learn to be a person who appreciates.

There you go.

When I finished up with the beautiful people yesterday at St. Andrew‘s, I viewed absolutely delightful human beings who just need to understand that the kingdom of God is within them.

Each one of them is a factory. If they will stop waiting for their “gospel ship” to come in, cease blaming other people for their problems, and simply and quietly address their own vision and circumstances, they can be productive human beings filled with joy.

Praise God, I’m a factory. I am not an abandoned building. I am not living in the penthouse of a high-rise apartment.I am not a church with a steeple. God made me to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth.

Blow the whistle, start your shift, and let’s begin.

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Interloper… November 9, 2012

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Interloper (n)–one who interferes or meddles in the affairs of others, often for selfish reasons, while intruding into a trade, usually without a proper license.

I am an interloper.

I’m quite proud of it. I have come along at a point in history when the battle lines have been drawn among my fellow-travelers and we’ve been encouraged to pick sides, much like we did as little children at the playground, determining our companions merely based upon our likes and dislikes, and therefore choosing up a team that resembles us but isn’t necessarily qualified for victory.

I am an interloper.

Last night I came to Jeffersonville, Ohio, and interrupted a community which I am certain was pretty content in pursuing its present level of activity and the energy of its ongoing belief system. I interfered. I asked a minister in that town to open up his church to a program offering music, humor, dialogue and ideas which might be just a little bit foreign to the community chest. And you know what? I did it for selfish reasons.

I am weary of living in a country whose people square off against one another, continuing a Hatfield and McCoy style of interaction based on generations of misconceptions and often-disproven theories. I want to be happy. I find a way to do so without the help of others, but would certainly welcome additional friends on the journey.

I interrupted the local newspaper, which I’m sure doesn’t normally advertise such an event, especially one coming from a religious institution, out of fear of showing favoritism for one congregation over another. They broke out of their mold, interviewed us and put their findings on the front page.

Also, I refused to accept the findings of the region, expanded the definition of inspirational music and ideas–and yes, I did it without a proper license. No one has given me permission. No political or religious institution has offered me credentials, and no one has summoned me to the occasion. I choose to do it, I continue to promote it–and I am determined to be the last man standing.

I am an interloper.

I am exhausted from listening to people characterize all conservatives as brash brothers and sisters of Rush Limbaugh and all liberals as baby-killing whale-lovers. I have traveled this country back and forth many times. I have dined with conservatives who only want to make sure the progress we make is not to the detriment of their families, offspring and even the heart of God. I have supped with liberals, who have sat in tears only because they desire to see the needs of the poor and less fortunate met, while we attempt to lift the bottom line. There are good people out there on both sides, who really would like each other if they were not forced into despising the other camp.

I am an interloper.

I have no written authorization to do what I am doing–not even a note from my mother, who I am sure would also disapprove.

I spent an hour with strangers last night. We talked.  We reasoned. We laughed. We cried. They kept looking for ways to confirm that I was either a liberal or a conservative and at the end of the encounter, had to surmise that I really was trying to access the Spirit and the truth that would make us free.

I don’t always succeed, but I can identify failure, even when it’s mine. I have given myself permission to correct my own stupidities without feeling diminished. I stand ready to interfere in the present climate of a country which is bound and determined to stubbornly destroy itself with the doctrine of opinion. I have few opinions but I have tremendous aspirations.

I am an interloper.

I will be coming soon to your community to interfere in the affairs of your region, while redefining the trade of ministry–without any papers or vetting coming from a political party. If we do not rise as a nation and object to the existing stalemate of staleness, we will gradually just slip away from significance and be viewed by history as an ignorant people who only honored arrogance.  We can do better.

I am an interloper.

I welcome you to become an interloper, too. To do so you, will have to realize that conservative people have something to offer, as do those with a more liberal twinge. The balance of this condition is found at the end of the Pledge of Allegiance:

” …one nation under God…”

Truthfully, that’s all true conservatives want. They would just like to have the assurance that the Creator would be included in the affairs of His creation.

“…with liberty and justice for all…”

That is at the core of the honest liberal–just a request that we grant people the freedom to be themselves even if we don’t completely agree–as long as it is not detrimental to the pursuit of the common good.

And when you allow these two forces to exist together in a great debate of discovery, you end up with a word that makes this country immutable:

“…indivisible.”

You can’t divide us, because we refuse to be disconnected from one another over some silly issue.

I am an interloper.

I will not join the confusion. I will not participate in the foolishness. I am here … to meddle and interfere.

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

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