Good News and Better News… February 6th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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tom-brady

I thought I was going to watch a game–America’s annual gala event, the Super Bowl.

There were banners, bands, stars, announcers, hoopla, hot dogs, beer and two teams dressed up real special for the occasion.

At first, it appeared I was correct. The whole thing was playing out like a normal football game. Touchdowns. Turnovers. Terrible plays. Terrific catches.

And then, all at once, it changed.

Suddenly displayed before my eyes was the difference of participating and competing–and also the chasm between competing and striving.

First of all, every player on both teams showed up to participate. They knew their places. They were familiar with their assignments. They were in a position to perform very well, as long as nothing went horribly wrong.

A goodly portion of them were also pre-conditioned to compete. That means a fumbled ball would not send them into a depression, and they were ready to cash in on the trends of the game so as to gain an advantage.

But by the time the third quarter rolled around, it was obvious that there was only one player who showed up to strive.

He was not satisfied to have merely participated in seven Superbowls unless he could win the present one.

Although he initially had joined his team in having an “off day,” he removed the indignity of being the runner-up.

Yes, it is difficult to explain the difference between Tom Brady and everybody else on that football field. Quietly and with determination, he raised his game, increased his stats, and those around him who showed up to compete, joined him and defeated the participants.

I’m sorry–it made me think about the church.

We have exactly the same situation brewing in every sanctuary in America.

  • We have those who participate: “I believe in God.”
  • We have those who compete: “I believe in Jesus.”
  • And we’re looking for souls who will strive: “I am a follower of Jesus.”

Many people consider all three to be spiritual profiles, but there’s only one mindset that transforms humans from being participants and competitors into individuals who strive for excellence because they know the purity, the joy and the domination of such a maneuver.

Tom Brady is a follower of the mechanics, the psychology and the mission of football. He will not be overcome by mere participants and competitors.

In this day and age, believing in God and even trusting in Jesus does not position us to be more than conquerors.

The good news is that Jesus of Nazareth came to set an example–in word, deed and sacrifice–of what it means to win.

The better news is, if you’ll do more than participate and compete, you can strive and overcome.

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Accumulation … February 10, 2012

 
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It occured to me last week as I was driving along from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Silsbee, Texas, and the rain began to fall. Almost simultaneously, the announcer on the radio was forecasting showers, punctuating his prediction with a statement: “We sure do need the rain.”
 
I kept driving–and so did the rain. After about an hour of persistent precipitation, the farm land along the road began to “pond up,” with huge puddles where fields used to be–and eventually the water seeped its way across the roadway. It was amazing. The rain suddenly ceased to be “needful.” It had gone from a mist to a sprinkle to a shower to a downpour, ending up with the first fruits of flooding.
 
You see, it’s all about accumulation–and this is where I get fooled sometimes. I’m just like the next guy. I have finally accepted that a diet high in fat content from the fast food industry lends itself to cholesterol which builds up in the arteries, encouraging heart disease.
 
On a lighter note, I have completely bought into the concept that if we teach our children to read, this action alone may succeed in stamping out ignorance in our lifetime.
 
I certainly wouldn’t want to be the person to speak against prayer. Because in many ways it has become our symbol of piety, the thought being: “The more its done, the better the results.”
 
It would be un-American to suggest that casting one’s vote could be anything other than a necessary exercise in the gymnasium of democracy.
 
Far be it from me to challenge the concept of “family is everything” as the symbol of love, tenderness and openness in our everyday lives.
 
There is a great promotion machine in America that seems to make one list of virtues and another of vices, and alternate promoting and attacking, respectively. What is curious to me are those things that kept ambiguous, or even left off of either list.  For instance:
 
Apparently, violence isn’t supposed to affect us. Eating a Big Mac will give me a stroke, but having Big Mac kill somebody on a television show is still considered to be a stroke of artistic genius. According to this theory, seeing numerous murders, rapes, disembowelments, amputations and grisly grinding of all sorts does not have the same effect on our mental circulation as French fries do on our physical one. Isn’t that amazing? It just shows you how ignorant I am because I would think that since we are basically a human unit, that some of the same procedures that apply to physical realm would correspond to the mental, emotional and spiritual worlds. But apparently not.
 
Obviously, it’s all right to make drugs illegal and to encourage our children to avoid them–except when they go to the movies or see videos of rock stars or even watch a Superbowl commercial demonstrating how absolutely adorable and cool it is to guzzle a beer with the game. I guess there are people smarter than me who realize that mixed messages do not confuse young minds (or confound older ones). Because I certainly need to sit in a classroom where someone could explain to me how the targeting against cigarettes–to finally the abolition from them being advertised on television–would not also apply to the alcohol industry, which certainly does its best to compete in the death toll.
 
I must be an absolute imbecile–because it just seems to me that  teaching young minds that romance and true human sexuality is best represented by vampires and werewolves is creating a fallacious world of fantasy, if not inviting virulent behavior. For I have this ridiculous notion that adding a bit of violence to sex is what was once believed to be the source of abuse. But apparently I have either missed the boat or, as they say, “that boat just don’t float.”
 
At one time I comprehended that an accumulation of anything creates a flood. But now, as I’m getting older, I am being harkened by my society to believe that certain vices are not nearly as easily accumulated as other ones are. I must be honest, I am baffled by this conclusion. But even in my own family, my children, who were raised with the mercy and tenderness of a loving Jesus and the prayer and belief in God’s desire to intervene in our lives, have grown up with various stages of acceptance of what once we considered to be vices, which now apparently, in small doses, have become permissible, if not virtuous.
 
Let’s look at some of the transitions that have occurred: 
  • Agnosticism is equated with intelligence.
  • Alcohol is promoted in moderation, (with no understanding that there are many who are incapable of such a modulation).
  • Cigarettes continue to be presented in the film industry as a symbol of rebellion, upheaval and “cool,” which are obviously three things that no teenager desires.
  • And violence towards women, or making the female of the species submissive to an aggressor, is certainly put forth as poetic license for the telling of great tales of romantic lure.
I guess I’m just crazy. But I still contend that an accumulation of anything eventually leads to a flood. Is it possible to have a mist, sprinkle or mere shower of violence? Is it feasible to have a drizzle of addiction and vice? This is not for me to judge. But I know that accumulation IS accumulation, and all accumulation eventually floods all of the soil in our hearts, which could have received good seed.
 
I may be a dinosaur, but before I head off to the tar pits, let me say that moderation in all things is a grandiose idea–and one well worth musing. But if you find that you CANNOT be moderate, you need to “rain yourself in” before you are flooded with ideas and tendencies beyond your control.
 
Accumulation is the piling up of anything, which eventually floods our minds.  It takes wisdom to know the difference between a shower and a flood–and it will take some fearless crusaders who are not afraid of public opinion to keep us from drowning ourselves in our own personal choices and liberty.
 
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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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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Wrong Again … February 6, 2012

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I like being wrong.

It is comforting to know that the entire wealth of human knowledge is not kept in a safe deposit box in my brain. There is life that goes on outside of my consciousness–and even beyond my approval. Reassuring. Because I feel that way, it makes my journey so much sweeter, and free of the need to constantly prove my point and clarify my statements, cleansing them with self-righteousness. Sometimes I’m just wrong–and being raised in the Mid-West, as a Buckeye, I was taught many things about people who have ended up being erroneous and full of prejudice. Yes, I am a bigot and join all the other bigots(such as yourself) in the great bigot march towards what I hope is called discovery.

That said, let me tell you that I arrived in Texas to a community which even the Lone Star folks would call “rural.” I was scheduled to share at a local church and my mind immediately launched into scenarios of what I might see, feel and even do to compensate for the social climate surrounding me. Unfortunately, the problem with abandoning our prejudices is that there are enough street signs on the road of life that resemble our stereotypes that we often feel we are on the right path and therefore don’t take the time to complete the entire journey. In other words, if you think there are only lions at the zoo and you go to the zoo and only visit the lion cages, you leave the zoo feeling that you were right and there was nothing more to see. That used to be me. I was so in need of being correct that I would fudge the facts and only experience events that would confirm my assertions. Fortunately, I stopped that years ago. Now I take on the whole enchilada and find out what’s stuffed inside.

The little Texas town was a blessing. Oh, I saw things that certainly reinforced some of my prior conceptions, but I did experience many more things that just screamed the great expression: “People are people, so get to loving people.”

I sat in my green room and talked to two women full of vim, vigor, spirituality and hope for our lives and our nation. They were intelligent, intuitive, kind and generous. I met a pastor who had a gentleness of spirit which allowed him to take the position of a servant to us, without feeling he was diminishing his profile or tarnishing his well-earned doctorate. I shared in front of two congregations of individuals who certainly were just as cautions towards me as I was towards them, but because the Spirit blows in corners which we previously tried to hide, the barriers were quickly brought down and connection was made.

(I did view one funny incident. A young mother and her six-year-old daughter came up to talk to the pastor. The mother was explaining to him why her husband was absent–because of work duties. When she completed her apology for her husband’s absence, the daughter piped up. “No, Mommy–Daddy went hunting. I saw him leave the house with his shotgun.” The mother quickly inserted that “he took the gun just in case he saw something along the way.” The daughter continued to protest her mother’s rendition as she was quickly ushered out of the room, away from pending peril. But you see, that’s just human. Our children were born to resemble us, but never to mimic us. If you wanted someone to be like you and respond like you, you should have purchased a parrot. Kids don’t do it.)

The other day someone asked me the difference between a conservative and a liberal. That’s easy. A conservative stands ten feet away and peers at you to find out if you’re going to act, react, believe and do what he or she does. If you seem to pass muster, a conservative will inch his way to your side to learn more. Liberals, on the other hand, feel no need to peer at you and skip all those steps because they already know they are superior. Either way, folks, if you look at the world as the sum total of its philosophy, you will end up with good guys and bad guys instead of just people.

Now, even though I think I have all of this down and have become a much more expansive being, parts of my training and pre-conceptions do crop up from time to time to aggravate me. I do not know what I would do if I didn’t have a spirit in me, prodding me to stop being such a predictable jerk. I would probably spend most of my time making judgments and the rest of the time rationalizing them.

So I’m leaving this rural Texas town so much the better for having met its wonderful people.  For example, when fatigue set in yesterday and I had completed my second program and it was time for me to pack up my goods and head out of town, a wonderfully energetic young man came forward to become my arms and legs, and filled in the gaps of my lacking, enabling me to load up my van without pain and anguish. He was a treasure. He was without nationality, borders, political party, denomination or even gender. He was just a damned good human.

I like being wrong. It gives other people a chance to be right.

And if we do that often enough–that is, forfeit our need to be in supremacy–then we might actually get more of the inklings and ideas of the Supreme Being.

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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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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Giants and Patriots … February 5, 2012

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They will play today. Or is it battle? It all depends on how overwrought the particular announcer propagating the match wishes to become. It is a contest which has been not-so-cleverly dubbed “The Superbowl” by some executive who hastily wanted to promote another profitable event. I will certainly watch, doing my part for the cause by grimacing at the failures of athletes much more physically qualified than myself, while simultaneously over-eating in their honor. The actual event will not be as difficult to comprehend as people make it out in all of their pre-game gibberish. If the teams are evenly matched, it will come down to some escapade of a fumbling rookie or a flailing kicker. If the game is over-hyped and one team is superior, more often than not it becomes a rout. But the only thing I request is when Sunday is over and all the commercials have been run and highlights well high-lighted, let us stop on Monday morning with all Giants and Patriots.

We do not need giants and we certainly do not require any patriots. What would be nice is for people to start joining up in the marketplace and bring their true talents and honestly expose their vulnerabilities. Let’s take a look at the words–because at the end of every “giant” is an “ant,” and the conclusion of a raging “patriot” is a “riot.” So as long as we continue to make people believe that we’re all giants and that we need to be patriots, we will live in a world filled with ants rioting.

Now, the ant is a very industrious creature, but rather useless and unimpressive when it attempts to riot. Just as in today’s Superbowl, the announcers, the audience and the gathered hordes will be looking for supernatural feats from mere mortals. We seem to believe in our political, religious and economic climate that we are due a Lincoln, a new Messiah or a Henry Ford, respectively. The end result is that we have a bunch of ants rioting, insisting they’re really giants and patriots.

There is one way to be a good American–it is written between the lines in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Here it is: “I have an idea and please let me try my idea because part of my idea is to let you have an idea that you can try, too.”

Unlike the two football teams marching up and down the field today, the goal in our country is not to tackle, stomp and pummel one another. It is to try to find the jersey color of common acceptance and somehow or another, get on the same team. Take a few moments, disagree about the play-calling, but then come to the line, hike the ball–and work together.

Yet, two very nasty statements have become commonplace in our country in the past sixty days. They must be eliminated. Otherwise, all the ants will start insisting they’re giants, and the newly proclaimed patriots will begin to riot.

1. “You have to be mean to win an election in the United States of America.” This idea is being expounded as gospel on every 24-hour news cycle, and is gradually seeping into the fiber of our thinking. Someone needs to step in to sop it up quickly before we become saturated with the notion that strong-arming does anything but give you temporary control … until a stronger arm shows up. If our country must be led by the most conniving, fierce, defensive, jealous, frightened and mean-spirited individual available, then I am buying my ticket to Canada. Stop the foolishness. Every time you hear someone say, “Well, it’s just politics. They have to lie, cheat and be mean,”  you just respond, “No, thank you.”

2. “Everybody wants to be rich.” This statement slipped into the conversation this year and has become public pabulum for all the pundits who want to pontificate on the political parties. No. Not everyone wants to be rich. Having been both poor and fairly wealthy in my life, I will tell you that extremes in any temperature are bizarre, unnatural and not particularly pleasing. When I was poor I spent too much time thinking about money and when I was wealthy I spent too much time thinking about money. What most people want is the ability to pay their bills and come out on the other end feeling as victorious as a Superbowl champ. Most of would like to watch the Superbowl today without having to worry about overextending our checking accounts by buying that extra batch of chicken wings. That’s about it.

Trying to make being rich the epitome of the human journey is exactly the opposite of every philosophy and spiritual energy ever unleashed in the better parts of the human heart. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” According to the present thinking, plenty.

We must stop the giants, who are really ants, and all the raging patriots who just create a sense of false importance and riots. In other words, be a good American. Help out with the real Superbowl of our society. Here’s how:

“I have an idea and please let me try my idea because part of my idea is to let you have an idea that you can try, too.”

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

**************

To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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