Populie: In Our Best Interest … July 23, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog


earth on fireThe young congressman sat in his chair, completely confident in his pre-prepared answers and the stump speech that had provided him both election and platform to be the pundit of honor on the broadcast.

The question posed was simple. “Is it in our best interest to…?”

Then the interviewer offered a series of global flare-ups, hot spots and dangers in the world.

No specifics or ideas were offered by the politician, but a resounding repetition of a theme.

“We are America. We must think about America. We must take care of America. And we must be careful not to have our greatness diminished or tarnished by these difficulties. Yes, it’s popular. “America is great.”

But in the pursuit of that idea we have inserted a lie–America is better than other countries.

Religion loves this populie because it enables us to preach a gospel from a position of certainty and piety and send missionaries to the rest of the world because of their heathen status.

Entertainment has always adored “in our best interest” because it enables us to portray our great nation as the savior of all humankind.

And of course, politics adores the notion by bloating the voting block with over-wrought notions of superiority, causing them to “gloat on their way to the vote.”

Here’s the truth: 25,000 miles. That’s the entire circumference of our globe. It’s not much, when you consider that 3,000 of that is the continental United States.

With the addition of Internet, air travel and all sorts of technological surprises, we’re nearly sitting on top of each other.

Our smog floats to China, as does theirs to us.

We need to engage a simpler philosophy about our responsibility to one another other than looking at the bottom line or our cultural imperialism to determine when we’re going to be involved.

I have arrived at a rudimentary three-step process in ascertaining who I am, why I’m here, and what is expected of me if I’m going to continue to consider myself human instead of just a creature fighting for survival.

These are the three questions and my answers:

1. Who is God?

He is my Father. Any other answer to that question either diminishes the love of our Creator, eliminates His existence or generates such mystery that we’re involved in a theological paradox.

2. Who am I?

I am a child of God. I select to be a child, but not because I’m immature or untested. I select to be a child because in so proclaiming myself to be one, I admit that I am still a student of the planet and in the classroom of understanding myself and others.

3. Who is everybody else?

They are my brothers and sisters. When I start putting too many names on the human beings that surround me in this world, I become convinced that our relationships are complicated with twists and turns of culture and preference. The humans on this planet are my brothers and sisters. If we’re not linked by family genetics, we are linked to the genetics of our Creator.

Now, you might find this little trio of ideas to be very elementary in a world where we constantly hound one another with more questions than answers.

But if you begin your life by knowing that God is your Father, that you are a child of His desire and that everybody around you is brothers and sisters, the decision-making process of what is in your best interest clears up very quickly.

If I were involved in the present situations, I would realize that as a child of God, with brothers and sisters all over the world, my job is to assist and avoid killing.

Any chance we have to assist in a creative way eliminates some of the death toll.

Every gun we send over to a foreign power passes on the impression that we’ve picked sides. That means that a gun will eventually be pointed back in our direction.

I am not a pacifist unless by that term you are referring to someone who seeks peace. I am a realist.

And no man or woman that I kill in the pursuit of our best interest is going to go unnoticed by the children that he or she has left behind.

Answer the three questions.

If you’re an agnostic or atheist, you don’t believe there is a God, so you can’t be a child of God, and the human beings on the planet often tend to be your competitors.

If you’re overly religious, you don’t believe that God is your Father, but instead, a Force–often of punishment–so you feel that you’re a depraved sinner, and therefore you project that inadequacy on everyone around you.

God is my Father.

I am a child of God.

You are my brother or my sister.

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Miss A Walk-up … September 9, 2012


I always try to make friends with the maintenance people at the motels where I stay. I find them to be nice folk, and honestly, it’s always good to be friends with someone who’s “nuts about bolts.” So when I was leaving my lodging in Detroit, the fellow in charge of taking care of the property ran up to me and said good-bye and asked me where I was heading.

“Mishawaka,” I responded.

His brow furrowed as he squinted, questioning, “Miss a walk-up?”

I chuckled. Apparently combining his lack of geographical knowledge of Indiana with my lazy morning tongue, I had failed to communicate the name. “Mishawaka,” I enunciated, sounding out each syllable.

He paused. I think he was trying to gauge exactly what the word was and also whether I was having one of those “senior brain clogs,” where yesterday was merging with today to form a mental mush. Suddenly he launched into conversation. He talked about how when he was a kid, his father called certain apartments “walk-ups.” He explained that he was certain that his father also missed those old walk-ups and pined for the days when things were simpler and more concise.

I realized that my maintenance buddy was convinced that he had understood me, and that I was a little bit wacky, and I knew that I was going to Mishawaka, and he had misunderstood.

He kept talking. Pretty soon he was discussing how the problems in our country seemed insurmountable because we had lost our values. I had a choice. I could stop him and explain that Mishawaka was a little city in the Hoosier state, and probably embarrass him, making him feel ridiculous, or I could give up on the notion of reality and simply leap into the stream of thought and try to swim my way to shore.

You see what I mean? The reason most of us never get along with other people is that we have so much agenda crammed into our confines that there is no room whatsoever for our friends and new acquaintances to squeeze in a notion. So I decided to forget about Indiana and Mishawaka and simply participate in the present flow of conversation. We talked about walk-ups. We talked about missing things. We talked about life.

It lasted probably no more than seven or eight minutes, but by the time we finished, he was convinced that he had used his young, fertile mind to communicate with an aging gent who had temporarily gone into a nostalgic burst of reminiscing. And I was aware that we had fortunately escaped a moment of embarrassment which would have stuck with him for some time.

Somewhere along the line, we have to stop being defensive, or we’re destined to be offensive. I wish I could spend fifteen minutes with every minister and politician and communicate that principle into their sermons and stump speeches. When I am dealing with human beings, I honor a five-step process when yakking with folks:

1. Don’t argue. Just follow through with what’s on their minds. Don’t try to change the subject to your particular liking or evangelize them to your cause. Get where you want to go by letting them do the driving.

2. Find reasons for agreement and pose ONE question. You’d be surprised at how many things we all share in common. If you have a mind to plant a new seed inside people, just save it for later on in your interchange with them, and pose that one question that will get them to think.

3. Listen for people’s hearts instead of focusing on their ideas. America is overloaded with politics, religion and gossip. The poor, hapless masses are at the mercy of a sea of doctrines and statistics. Please forgive them if they end up piping some of those back to you because they just heard them on TV and want to show off. It doesn’t mean it’s their heart–it’s just topical.

4. Believe in something. I have trouble with conservatives AND liberals. Conservatives can tell you what they’ve been taught and liberals are willing to abandon their ideals so as to maintain some sense of being intellectual or contemporary. Believe in something–not a whole bunch of stuff–but find a few things that have proven to be true in your life, and have a story about them.

5. Always leave every conversation loving. Leave loving. Now, there’s a bumper sticker. We have some folks that show up loving and leave fussy. I would much rather show up fussy and leave loving.

My dear repairer of motels in Detroit never did understand that I was heading for Mishawaka, Indiana. Who cares? It wasn’t worth humiliating him to make the point that he was wrong. Until we reach the conclusion that fellowship is more valuable than always being right, we are a missile unguided, shot off into the air to land somewhere on an innocent bystander. So in closing:

May opinions be damned

Yes, a curse on my will

Settle the angry sea

Proclaiming, “Peace, be still.”

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