Good Lord… August 21, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1982)

church lord of lifeOf the two choices provided I do not like either.

It happens to me sometimes.

I’ll go to a dinner and they’ll offer me baked chicken or chef salad, and I run pictures through my mind of the two entrees, and realize that I’m not particularly in the mood for either one.

Yet we live in a society emphatic that we follow a pre-packaged thinking which has been stuffed in a box just for us, rather than allowing individual tastes and ideas to come to the forefront–to see how they would actually fly.

I bring this up because tonight I head off to Lord of Life Lutheran in Portage, Michigan.

I like the name, even though I’ve never been comfortable with the word “lord.” It harkens images of King Arthur and the knights or very religious inclinations towards servitude rather than companionship. But that’s just me being picky.

I am greatly blessed by the fact that it’s Lord of LIFE and not the other two options which are more prevalent in our society: Lord of the Bored and Lord of the Horde.

Sometimes it feels like I’m being pressured to be either religious or to be an atheist. I can join the ranks of those who file in and perch themselves in a pew and snooze through a worship service or I can accept the agenda of a mob that has no sense of history or personal responsibility, but careens down a superhighway at 90 miles per hour, unable to see through the fog.

What makes matters worse is that the bored and the horde are at war, accusing each other of alienation and crimping freedom of expression.

Here’s what I think:

  • Don’t talk to me about rights until you’ve dealt with some wrongs.
  • And don’t preach against the wrongs when you’re not prepared to give your fellow-humans equal rights.

As you can see, this often causes me to be stuck in the middle between the Lord of the Bored and the Lord of the Horde.

So imagine my delight–tonight I get to go to Lord of Life–what Jesus described as abundant, non-condemning, willing to be creative and having a great sense of good cheer.

Is that what I will find tonight? I’m not sure. But since they’ve encased themselves within this delightful name, I will exhort them to live up to their own standard.

Sometimes the choices are not sufficient to the needs of my heart.

I have no intention of being bored–and I will not join the horde of stupidity simply because they offer an open bar.

Lord of Life — yes, my dear friends, that’s for me.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Unconditional Growth… July 18, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1946)

couchI remember it vividly.

A mother came to me for counsel with her nineteen-year-old daughter, She explained that her parenting principle had always been “unconditional love.” All at once, in the middle of the mother’s speech, the girl interrupted, screeching, “Yes, mom! You gave met unconditional love, but you didn’t teach me how to make myself lovable!”

Perhaps that’s why we need two–a pair of parents, that is–one to maintain the standard while the other assures the child that there is no condemnation.

The Good Book tells us that God “disciplines those He loves”–and the truth of the matter is, a heaven with no hell is an invitation to mediocrity. And a hell with no benefit of a heaven is a plunge into dark despair.

In our generation, unconditional love has just become another “feel good” lie. We have several of them:

  • Everyone is unique.
  • Everyone deserves an equal chance
  • There is no prejudice in our society.
  •  And unconditional love is what we should offer one another.

But this is not the way human beings work. Certainly we need the reassurance that our inadequacies will not result in exclusion, but each one of us also needs to know that there IS a point of excellence which is required of us in order to be included in the circle of the celebration.

After God created man and woman, He told them to be fruitful–to multiply and replenish the earth. You can either believe that this was a message of mere exhortation, or realize that it was the yardstick set by the Divine for human development.

Be fruitful: don’t settle for what you’re doing if there’s a possibility of pursuing just a little further.

Multiply: take what you have and use it instead of hiding it, deriding it or explaining away your indecision through fear.

Replenish: stop being a taker. Give something back before you demand your next shipment.

When we finally arrive at the concept that unconditional love is really a belief in unconditional growth–a balance between maintaining a standard and making sure that those around us feel free of condemnation–yes, if we don’t start instituting that practice, we will have an ambiguous mission for our generation, which will leave people crying “foul” simply because they are challenged to do their jobs.

So if God isn’t always patting us on the head, telling us how cute we are, but instead, demanding that we repent and revise our deeds, why would we think that child-rearing should be any different?

Unconditional growth–the amazing mixture of maintaining the standard while providing the gentle reassurance of no condemnation.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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