Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 1) … December 6th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

Reasonable: being able to reason.

It seems like a noble idea until you realize it requires you to sift through your beliefs and discard the unreasonable portions.

The process of becoming a good Earth-citizen is acknowledging that there are billions of others, and the goal is to find a way to peacefully co-exist with your brothers and sisters without compromising the power of truth.

So what is the first step to being reasonable?

Free will.

We are not on Earth by God’s plan, by luck or to be guided by superstition. There is a way things work and a way they don’t, and the first step in understanding that process is comprehending that every human being has free will.

1. God died for free will.

Using the flesh-and-blood passport of Jesus of Nazareth, God came to Earth and submitted to the decisions of arrogant religionists, who gave a verdict of death because he preached love.

God did nothing to stop the process. But after it was completed, He used the bravery of Jesus as evidence of salvation.

2. You have free will.

Don’t ask God to live your life. He won’t.

You may convince yourself that certain events link together to form a plan, but actually, they happened because of your action or inaction.

Jesus characterized God as Father, and no good parent would ever try to control the life of His child.

3. Human beings have free will.

Therefore you can’t force your beliefs on others.

We have to learn the power of influence.  And how do we influence people? By making them jealous of our success–so jealous that they imitate our actions in their own way, without ever giving us credit.

4. Because free will is immutable, if we’re going to impact others, we need to make sure that we’re constantly making our choices simpler and easier.

I can always tell when I’m in the presence of someone who is a novice to the human experience.

They talk about complexity.

Becoming mature is resisting difficulty.

We make progress by using our free will to find paths to greater ease and simplicity.

You will never be reasonable until you understand that human beings have been granted free will, and therefore will quite often choose ignorance over wisdom.

Selecting to blame God for this malady is not only a waste of time, but also puts you in a world of superstition … where you nervously await the next disaster. 

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Good News and Better News… November 23rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Lawrence composite

There is a church in Lawrence.

I know this to be true because I was there just yesterday.

It is filled with beautifully flawed people–the kind God really loves. For after all, when we insist we’re beautiful, but without flaw, we become obnoxious to everyone we encounter. And when we spend too much time bowing our heads, feeling we are flawed without beauty, we make our Creator look like a failure.

Yes, coming to the end of another year of traveling across the country, I will tell you: humanity is a holy mess.

We are butterflies, still trying to tote our cocoons. It keeps us from flying high in the sky where our colors can be seen.

The people of Lawrence, like all the folks I’ve met this year, are absolutely outstanding, industrious, faithful and willing–but still unfortunately held in check by the burden and the beast of religion. They are so close to being free. Really, they’re just two steps away.

I spent the morning trying to convince them that those two steps were well worth the effort. It’s the same message Jesus had for religious people in his day, who were frightened of the terrorism of the zealots and angry with the Roman government.

Jesus told the people they were the “salt of the earth” and not to worry so much about the world around them, but instead, to focus on the emerging talent and ability within them. Most of them were unable to make the transition.

Yes, may I say to my dear friends in Lawrence: you are merely two steps away from the message of Jesus, to cut the cord of your cocoon so you can soar like butterflies.

All you have to do is get rid of superstition and bondage to the Old Testament.

For superstition makes us believe that God is angry with mankind, when Jesus told us he loves the world; and the Old Testament is filled with the same type of Sharia Law that insists women are inferior and that stealing and adultery are mistakes punishable by death.

The reason Jesus is powerful is because he does not expect human beings to become righteous. He challenges us to respect one another, and therefore become human beings.

Lawrence, I tell you that I love you dearly, as I adore all of the congregations I encountered this year across America.

But butterflies were meant to stream across the sky, not to stay earthbound …  fearful of climbing.

 

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Populie: There are many truths… June 11, 2014

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earth with stick figuresIt is very popular to seek for truth.

When you link that with the lie that there are many representations of that truth that all work equally well, you create today’s populie.

Religion loves to wallow in self-pity over the assertion that there are many truths because it not only gives the faithful a chance to be pious over their rendition, but also various outsiders to attack as cults for not agreeing with them in the first place.

Politics revels in this philosophy because it establishes a voting block that agrees on the platform of the party, and an obvious enemy to attack–one who fails to honor the planks.

Entertainment pursues this discussion because it fosters a conflict to resolve. Therefore minority opinions are touted as being as valuable as the majority–just that they are subjugated and attacked.

It seems that when it comes to our minds and bodies, we accept immutable facts, which we call science. This is why we have an educational system and physicians who treat ailments with proven remedies.

Yet when it comes to the realm of the emotional and the spiritual, we think there is a potpourri of options, subject to individual taste.

Here me carefully–if there is a science to our physiology and intellect, then believe you me, there is a science to our emotions and our soulful nature.

You can feel free to pursue philosophies and religious practices of your particular taste, but that does not make them truthful and scientific to our earth’s situation.

Everything that is emotionally and spiritually true in our world must contain three undeniable facts:

1. The Earth is our present heaven.

How we treat the earth, how we care for it, respect it, learn the ways of nature, and ultimately, how we conduct ourselves as citizens of this planet determines the true value of our belief system.

The test of your faith is not whether you believe in God, but whether you believe that if God gave you a heaven which was merely a continuation of your life on earth, would you be angry and disappointed, or joyful over the prospect of being able to continue and improve?

2. People are God’s children.

Any attempt made to harm humans, relegate them, destroy them, intimidate them, ignore them or cheat on them is contrary to the emotional and spiritual science of earth. That’s why Jesus told us that our focus should be on “the least of these” in our society, because in doing so we know we’ve covered all of God’s concerns for his offspring.

3. The kingdom of God is within you.

The true sign of passing the emotional and spiritual science test is realizing the need to take responsibility for your life and the world around you. Lying, blaming, retreating, self-pity and intimidation are all ways of escaping this simple statement: “if there is a kingdom of God, it is within me, and therefore it is up to me to manifest it.”

If your derivation of truth does not include these three ideas as supreme, I will tell you that you are following a false spirituality. You are chasing superstition and you are honoring the idea of faith without the works that keep it from being dead.

The populie is that there are many paths to truth. This notion just leaves us with a jumbled debate and accusations instead of a fluid belief in the beauty of earth, the power of people and the responsibility each one of us possesses.

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Populie: It’s Your Destiny … February 26, 2014

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dragon slayerAnother popular assertion that is grounded in a lie is, “It’s your destiny.”

It is a POPULIE that is once again promoted by politics, religion and entertainment.

Politics loves it because it makes the voters feel that some leader is “destined” to become the savior of a project or movement.

Religion promotes the idea simply because it keeps the faithful in submission to the illusive will of God.

And entertainment advertises this populie mainly because there is an ongoing accepted premise that people “just love fantasy” and therefore want to escape their real lives to conjure big dreams of slaying dragons.

Yet in our private moments, when we are alone with ourselves and we’re not in a bad mood, blaming the world or some divine force, we realize that it is our own choices that create our situations. And we still persist in using words like:

  • destiny
  • soul-mate
  • being born a certain way
  • having talent sent from God
  • and feeling superstitious about “roads converging in our lives through cosmic energy”

Well, let’s look at the cosmic energy. What does this cosmic energy–in other words, God–have to say on this subject?

1. What we sow we will reap.

If I understand this statement, it means that I am in control of the harvest that comes my way by the planting I personally do. I am not under a family curse, demon possession, angelic fairy dust or the turn of a card.

2.  If you do well, you will be accepted.

Interesting. When God spoke these words, He wasn’t relating the information to someone who was particularly spiritual. He shared it with Cain, who ended up being the first murderer. But He told him that the system is geared toward those who do and not those who wish.

3. Let every man prove his own work, that he has rejoicing in himself alone and not another.

So if God is in charge of my life, why would I need to prove the work? And if God is the one who’s manipulating everything, what gives me the right to rejoice in myself for achieving my goals?

4. Everyone will give an account of their deeds at the Day of Judgment.

If I am at the mercy of destiny–or even at its bequest–why should I be responsible for everything that happens?

When you remove the superstition, fear, tradition and anger from religion, you come up with one simple principle: no one is better than anyone else.

So if I work hard I will succeed. If I don’t, I will fail.

And it fascinates me that those who believe in the populie, “It’s your destiny,” would also become infuriated at the notion of someone removing choice from their lives.

It is your choice.

And today, you are about the business of determining what your life will truly be.

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G-3: Create or Critique… December 20, 2013

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apeI struggled with the decision.

I do believe I have ability, but apparently I possess enough insecurity that I would rather discuss my efforts than enact them. Why? Because stepping forward always generates the possibility of slipping or falling off a cliff.

Yes, it is much more pleasant to contemplate an idea than it is to perform it.

But here’s the difficulty: when we fail to create, we find ourselves tumbling into the backward, ignorant position of critiquing. Why? Because those around us who have the audacity to actually produce a product end up making us look insipid in our indecision, so we feel compelled to pick and fuss at their endeavors in order to make ourselves look viable and intelligent.

At the heart of every critic is a person who could have been creative, but balked out of fear. But I will tell you–once you begin to create things, you are much less likely to criticize the virgin efforts of others. The experience of making yourself vulnerable by presenting your gift also causes you to feel greater mercy for others who brave the terror.

Why are we so afraid?

1. We have convinced ourselves that something has to be perfect.

I don’t know why–nothing ever is.

  • But the reason most people don’t write is because they think every sentence has to be aligned with the gospel of grammar.
  • People refuse to sing, horrified that bad pitch or forgetting the lyrics will render them the fool of the day.
  • A carpenter will stop working with wood, terrified that he’ll hit his thumb with a hammer.

All creativity is brought to a halt by the superstition of perfection. There is no such thing, but we insist on its existence.

2. We are afraid to perfect.

Yes, there is a certain chill that goes down our spine over the dual prospect of admitting lack and jumping in once again to remold the idea. So because we’re plagued by this tentative energy, we choose to critique instead of create.

But after I wrestled with my own frustrations, I finally decided to become a creator instead of a criticizer. And what did I get for my noble decision? Criticism. But also–something to work with.

So I will make something today that did not exist yesterday, knowing that it will be critiqued by those who made nothing. For creativity is the only way we sense the breath of God within us.

Criticism is for monkeys … and those who ape them.

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ProbThree: “It’s not my fault” … November 3, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Uncle SamFingers.

They perform two obvious functions: touch and point.

Touching is good. It’s a way of expressing our tenderness by putting our emotion into our fingertips. Pointing is when we try to place the blame on someone or something other than ourselves. We do this in three ways:

1. Pointing up.

Sometimes we feel so inadequate, inferior, ill-prepared and ignorant that we place all of our life concerns and journey needs on God in the sky, hoping for divine intervention. We use prayer to pass the buck to our heavenly Father. So we either procure our miracle or we get to act persecuted for the lack of attention.

Belief in God should build our character, not diminish it. It should make us more willing to serve ourselves and others instead of turning us into lazy supplicaters who feel that God has a responsibility to support us–since He fathered us.

2. Pointing down.

Some people, when they discover they don’t want to blame God anymore, decide to finger Satan, Lucifer or evil, which they can point down toward as the source of their failures. It is the ultimate superstition. Not only does it unrighteously free us of our own task and involvement, but it places good and evil on an equal footing and gives darkness too much light.

3. Pointing out.

This is very popular. When in doubt, accuse someone else. When confronted with deficiency, explain your indebtedness by insisting that another person has caused you to be a debtor. It is vindictive for two reasons: (a) it takes away the joy of achieving for ourselves, and (b) it often targets people we don’t like as adversaries, when those who really ARE against us are given a free pass because we like them better.

The three approaches of fingering–up, down and out–turn human beings into inferior, superstitious, vindictive souls.

The key to ProbThree–“it’s not my fault”–is to use your finger to point IN–not to create fault, but rather, to find your own definition of responsibility.

Here is my rendition of responsibility:

A. I have ability

B. I have problems

I will never be happy if I focus on one of those more than the other. If I only tout my abilities, I look like a jerk when it becomes obvious that I’m lugging baggage around. And if I only lament my problems, I become the buzz kill that turns every party into a departure gate at an airport.

It’s the blending of the two that creates responsibility. And responsibility allows me to point at myself without feeling the need to be guilty and faulty. Here’s how it works: I use my ability to help my problems and I use my problems to enhance my abilities.

Without abilities I wouldn’t have any way of addressing the problems that come up or possess the confidence to conquer. But I have to understand that if I never have a problem, I have no need to grow and increase my talents.

So every time I put the blame on God, Satan or others, I lose the capacity to become the beneficiary of a great life lesson. I also am admitting that I’m at the mercy of whatever I’ve fingered.

So ProbThree, “it’s not my fault,” is solved by the decision to point inward, taking responsibility and using my ability to solve my problems, knowing that my problems only enhance my abilities.

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Super-ag-nuts … July 22, 2012

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I should never have accepted the invitation. Sometimes I just have trouble saying no.

A very religious friend of mine invited me to come to lunch and meet his self-proclaimed agnostic brother. I know the aspiration of my ardent-zealot-religious comrade was that somehow I would be able to offer some sort of “smart” presentation of the gospel which would win over his brother, who was moving more each and every day towards complete atheism.

The luncheon started off all right, although a bit awkward, until my God-bud felt it was time to move into more supernatural topics and broached the subject of the divine with his less-than-willing family member. What ensued was a battle of wills, which had been in full swing for many years. It also became obvious to me that one of the brothers thought he was saved and the other one thought he was smart.

The one who thought he was smart equally believed that he would lose his entire brain if he was fully exposed to salvation, and the one who was saved was convinced that the introduction of too much knowledge could possibly dissolve any faith in God whatsoever.

I left that day feeling very unfulfilled and not certain where I fit in–because I am not a superstitious religious person. I don’t spend much time thinking about Jonah and the whale nor any one of the particular horsemen of the Apocalypse. I am also by no means an agnostic. There’s just too much flow of the Spirit and needfulness for God in our lives for any one of us to dismiss His creative presence merely to maintain a social strata of intellectual superiority.

The superstition of religion causes people to say, “I am afraid I am not pleasing to God,” which causes the agnostic to retort, “I think pleasing God makes me afraid.”

But a new phenomenon has now come onto the scene. People who formerly were involved in spirituality, which deteriorated into religion and eventually became mere superstition, have now been infected with a bit of agnosticism.

They are everywhere. They have just enough Bible in them to maintain a dangerous dose of superstition and a growing amount of agnosticism, which depresses them with the lack of God in their lives–similar to the temperament of a twelve-year-old kid after the first Christmas without Santa.

So just as a superstitious person believes he doesn’t please God and the agnostic thinks that pleasing God makes one afraid, this new group, which I have dubbed the super-ag-nuts, ends up trying to please everybody because they’re afraid. Do you see what I mean?

Because spirituality failed to maintain the integrity of its message, the superstition of religion took over the sanctuary and encouraged agnosticism, which has produced super-ag-nuts.

For instance, superstition says, “I want to go to heaven–because I don’t want to go to hell.”  The agnostic says, “I hate the idea of hell, so I reject heaven.” So this new super-ag-nuts philosophy blends the two and ends up with the assertion, “I am not sure if there’s a heaven or a hell, so I’m scared to die.”

It is the super-ag-nuts who are so politically motivated in our society. Like the Jews of Jesus’ day, they have lost all hope in their faith and are looking for a political solution here on earth to remedy their disappointment. The super-ag-nuts have a form of godliness but have begun to deny the power of it, creating such a boring relationship with the heavenly Father that they, themselves, yearn for an excuse to be absent from worship services.

The super-ag-nuts are the ones who have found pet Bible verses and use them as a reason to advance a cause rather than using the cause to advance reasonableness. It is the super-ag-nuts who foster prejudices using the scapegoat of Godliness, alienating  certain groups from being included, even though Jesus was intent on establishing that no one is better than anyone else.

The superstition of religion teaches that in theory we should love people, but it’s really okay not to like them. Agnostics, on the other hand, are very suspicious of people individually, but will boldly tell you of their love for humanity. It has caused this new generation of super-ag-nuts to focus on family and friends, hoping that will be enough in the eyes of God.

I’ve always hated superstition. Honestly, agnosticism kind of makes me laugh. But when you blend superstition and agnosticism together, you get a belief system without joy. And what could possibly be the reason for seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness if all these things were NOT going to be added unto us? If we weren’t going to end up more content? If we weren’t going to become more loving? If we fail to multiply our talents? If we maintain our dreary outlook on life instead of being free–because the Son has set us free?

I am very concerned that we are becoming a generation of super-ag-nuts, having just enough Holy Book in us to answer questions on Jeopardy! and enough agnosticism and doubt to steal our faith in the moment of need.

Call it out–first in yourself, then in the superstitious agnostics around you, who are too frightened to admit they don’t know and too prideful to be willing to allow knowledge to confirm the power of belief.

My luncheon with the superstitious-religious brother and the agnostic-emerging-towards-atheist sibling was a wash. But it did make me more determined to remove the superstition from my faith and allow the truth to make me free.

And mainly free of disbelieving just because I’m too lazy to experience God for myself.

   

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