PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … October 7th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2715)

PoHymn 10 7 gun

Our National Sin

Yet another fool

Went into the school

To break the Golden Rule

While on the run

He took a gun

And shot his chosen few

Nine are dead

Is what they said

After commercial break

Experts are sought

A lesson is taught

About the creepy fake

Mama cries

Daddy lies

And old friends have their take

I sit and stare

As if I care

Stunned by the sameness

Looking for proof

Some lasting truth

To proclaim myself blameless.

Only nine

Slaughtered this time

A little less than before

But if nine were me

It would be different, you see

Someone shout and roar

But since I live

The little I give

My sympathy

Not much more

When blood is red

Folks are dead

Never to breathe again

Is the gun to blame?

Don’t use his name

Just bury our national sin.

 

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Populie: Be Careful What You Say… June 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2254)

sticks and stones“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.”

Many generations have used that little adage as a philosophy to handle the bullying, accusations and lies that fly around when our race attempts to jockey for position.

In times past, a man or woman were judged by what they did instead of what they said. (Honestly, a slip of the tongue is very common on the icy roads of daily fumbling.)

But the choices we make in how we interact with one another and the deeds we choose to perform are in our power.

Yet nowadays, we are obsessed with “right speak.” And “right speak,” by the way, is determined by the mood of the moment.

So very little is being accomplished because the whole world is self-conscious–to make sure and say the appropriate thing.

Religion loves this populie because it sets up a scenario for what we shall call a false persecution complex. If we can convince God that the heathen are attacking us verbally, perhaps some of our indifference and spiritual awkwardness will be forgiven, considering how bullied we are.

Politics uses this “be careful what you say” trend to attack opponents and also to pull up lame, hoping to gain the sympathy of the electorate over false reports.

And of course, entertainment finds this populie profitable because it allows them to test the boundaries of free speech and sell tickets based on alleged controversy.

Yet the most recent bizarre example is that of Donald Sterling and the tape that surfaced with his paramour, discussing racial issues.

First and foremost, that particular conversation he had with the young lady was private. I, for one, would not want things I share in my business meetings with friends and comrades to be trumpeted and played out on CNN.

Secondly, Donald Sterling has done many deeds of prejudice over the years, which should have been called out instead of using the back door of illegal intrusion to alienate and defile him.

Bluntly, I don’t want to judge anyone on his or her words. I will leave that to Almighty God. My job is to look at the fruit people bear in their lives, to determine the soul of their human matter.

Even though we’re not allowed to judge, we are entitled to view the efforts and deeds of our fellow human beings to ascertain their mission and goals.

Not only are we becoming too sensitive to words, believing they actually do break bones, but we are also creating a generation of false apologizers, who have turned repentance into a political maneuver and social evasion.

“I’m sorry” needs to mean “I’m sorry” again. Otherwise, it’s just a gentler way of proclaiming, “Leave me alone.”

Case in point: the chances of me saying something wrong in a daily column are innumerable. But I will not allow you to judge me by a term, a paragraph, or even one entire essay. My life is available for review and is played out on any Google search. Click away.

With that in mind, let me tell you how I believe things should be reviewed:

1. Hear.

Yes, listen for something you agree with and then take the leap to believe in it. Stop trying to be safe with your language so you can please everybody. Commit to something.

2. Do.

Don’t preach at people. Don’t quote scriptures, the Constitution or the latest popular book. Take that belief you have claimed and put it to a challenge, to grant it credibility.

3. Share.

And then, once you’ve gained a testimony–a piece of evidence–don’t decide for others that they should walk in your moccasins. Just tell your story.

I am not going to be careful about what I say. Because of that, I will make errors that are sometimes contrary to my actual heart, life and doings. Instead:

I will hear things that I believe and follow them.

I will do those things faithfully to see if they stand the test of time.

And then I will share my story with no condemnation or criticism in your direction.

In a world where we decry bullying, we are all eventually cast into the role of bully. Then what do you do?

I think we are best served by going back to defending ourselves against sticks and stones … and regain our sense of humor about mere words.

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After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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Jesonian: Mothering Women … May 11, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2228)

Jesus with womenThe conservatives insist that they honor women by extoling the difficulty of being a housewife and a mother.

The liberals scoff at these limitations, claiming to offer choice and equality while promoting young artists who refer to their sisters as “chicks, hoes and bitches.”

We are in a perpetual cycle–which ends up being vicious, may I add–because it offers women sympathy and mothers them without ever pursuing parity.

Oprah Winfrey, who would certainly claim to be a twenty-first-century feminist, still giggles along with comedian Steve Harvey, as he segregates the sexes by their cultural predilections, maintaining that it is some sort of God-ordained division.

Meanwhile, we’re in search of humanity, since masculine and feminine restrictions are driving us off the road and into the ditch. We really don’t have to look far.

Jesus came along to set people free so they wouldn’t have to be victims. He did the same thing for the ladies.

1. Even though he lived in a male-dominated society which had created a system of divorce in which a man could abandon his partner over any whim that might cross his mind, Jesus insisted that women were not emotional ditzes, and that the only reason for breaking a marriage apart was adultery, committed by either party.

2. Jesus made it clear that there was no need to have two different gospels–one pink and one blue–but trudged through all the areas near his home with men, women and children listening to the same teachings and commandments.

3. Jesus also made it clear that women’s money was good. Matter of fact, Mary Magdalene, Susannah and Joanna, three of his more affluent followers, were listed as underwriters of his traveling outreach; no men were ever given credit for donating funds.

4. Jesus wouldn’t let women play the victim. Whether it was the woman of Samaria, who wanted to produce a little deceit about her marital status, or the woman caught in adultery, who was forgiven by Jesus but also told to “go and sin no more,” Jesus made it clear that the true path to equality is to shoulder responsibility.

5. Jesus believed that women could “carry the baggage.” It was Mary Magdalene who announced his resurrection. The Book of Acts is filled with women who befriended nomadic disciples and opened their hearths and homes to the message of the Nazarene. If you remove the women from the early church, you have a lot of sermons, but no follow-up for the converts.

Jesus never mothered women, making them feel less.

He would not permit a condescending tone in their direction.

He challenged them to achieve humanity.

As long as women are talking about glass ceilings, unfair pay, mistreatment in the workplace, and even sexual harassment, they will continue to place themselves in the back seat of the vehicle of commerce.

Jesus only made one mistake when it came to women: he ended up betrayed because he picked Judas instead of Judith.

It isn’t that women aren’t treacherous–it’s just that the Jewish Council didn’t allow females into their meetings … even if they were plotting murder.

 

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Flawed and Blessed… September 25, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2017)

doctorA rather new phenomenon. At least, I think so.

I can’t remember a time in my four-decade career when people have led so persistently with their diagnoses.

Perhaps that’s a bit unclear. Here’s what I mean: when I meet new human beings, within a very short time they tell me what ails them, the name of their condition, their treatment, and sometimes even the conclusion.

Now, this is not limited to older people. Younger folks do the same thing, although sometimes it will be proffered from their parents standing nearby.

To a certain degree I think our society has become the victim of “diagnosis-hocus-pocus.” Rather than coming to the conclusion that we’re just human beings, and therefore an amazing collage of “flawed” and “blessed,” we are beginning to establish our distinction based upon the uniqueness of conditions.

I, too, received a diagnosis–actually, several of them–about eighteen years ago. I don’t share these. Why? Because pity in no way resembles respect, and sympathy is a horrible substitute for love. But if pity and sympathy are what you want, then having a nearly unpronounceable illness might be valuable.

I know this could be misinterpreted as an attack against the medical field, or some sort of assertion on my part that “we should not be so concerned about our health.” I do believe in modern medicine and am quite aware that ailments exist, even to the point of tormenting my brothers and sisters.

But I just think that how we feel cannot be the impetus for what we are.

We are all flawed–and if we develop a sense of joy about being alive, we can persevere and achieve blessing.

I, like all my fellow-travelers, could describe my aches and pains and keep you busy for a good hour and a half. But there’s a wonderful statement in the Good Book that says, “Let everything be done to the edification of all.”

I just don’t think anyone is edified by hearing me complain. I don’t think humanity grows by realizing my weaknesses.

Somewhere along the line, each one of us has to walk away from a diagnosis and move toward a prognosis of living on with a little hurt.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t take treatment–but I am saying that when treatment overtakes your desire to excel, multiply your talents and love life and the folks around you, you’ve already put one foot in the grave.

  • Not every child who is hyperactive needs medication.
  • Not ever skin rash is a sign that we are allergic to forty-four different chemicals.
  • Not every headache is a brain tumor.
  • And not every sore knee means that you should be wheeled into surgery and turned into an android.

All of us are graciously flawed and blessed–flawed in order to truly appreciate the value of our blessing; and blessed so that we don’t spend so much time thinking about our flaws.

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telePATHy … June 3, 2012

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“A Christian nation.”

That phrase is often thrown around–especially in political seasons–as evidence of the good intentions and mission of the United States of America. Actually, it would be valuable to the world if there were a country which followed the principles and heart’s desire of Jesus of Nazareth. It would help to create a better world view and with the dialogue between nations. But in the history of the USA are Puritans, slavery and settlers. It infiltrates our thinking with concepts of judgmentalism, feeling superior to others and settling for less than our very best.

I’m not trying to connote that these three blemishes on our record comprise the spirit that inhabits our country. But they linger. In our historical photo album there are snapshots of these notorious cousins and illegitimate children.

If we want to gain true spirituality and a world view which will place us in a position of true power, granted because of wisdom, we must counteract the Puritan part of our history by initiating good apathy. “Don’t judge or you will be judged–and the measure you put on other people will be put back on you.” That’s good apathy.

And if we want to overcome the stain of slavery, it would be of great benefit to pursue empathy. “NoOne is better than anyone else.” Feeling superior is the best way to start a fight and feeling inferior is the best way to lose one.

If we want to sidestep a tendency to be merely settlers, it will be necessary for us to have sympathy. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” It is just an understanding that before we snatch something away from another person or force our will into any given situation, we must have a burst of conscience which projects our own feelings into the dilemma so that we understand how the other person will surely respond.

Can I tell you this? If you don’t judge other people, remaining apathetic to their choices, and you refuse to believe you’re better than the folks around you and you show mercy, knowing that it’s the only way to obtain it for yourself, you could live successfully in any country of the world. There are no laws against such choices. On the other hand, if you’re a Puritan who has an opinion on everything, with a history of owning slaves in your own family (which you deny) and you tend to settle for things without considering other people’s feelings, you will quickly become an enemy in any culture.

Now, there is a final gift imparted to those souls who actually develop the apathy to stop judging, the empathy to never feel superior and the sympathy to show mercy to others. Once you allow those three things into your life you are bestowed telepathy. The definition? “Communication from one mind to another.” We usually tie it to extra-sensory perception, but it really isn’t. Once you free your mind of the time-absorbing activities of judging others, establishing your superiority and figuring out how you’re going to settle in and take someone else’s portion, your brain has the capacity to feel and sense what’s needed next.

Jesus referred to it as “going the second mile.” There are some people who not only do what is required of them but have the sensibility to know that a little extra added on for excellence will guarantee that the work doesn’t have to be done again and again. When you’re not judging other people it’s so much easier to notice what they really need or want. When you’re not thinking you’re better than another race or group of human beings, you can pause to consider what next lies on their path and how you can help. And when you’ve decided not to settle for what is available but instead, produce your own, your talents are heightened and you are prepared to do more without grumbling and complaining.

Yes, it is possible to communicate from one mind to another if those minds are not clouded by Puritan ideas, notions of slavery and settling for taking what isn’t yours.

This is the PATH:

  • Apathy: “I will not judge anyone else because I don’t want to be judged. I will not participate in gossip and criticism.”
  • Empathy:NoOne is better than anyone else.” To believe any other philosophy is an edict of war against the people we contend are our lessers.
  • Sympathy: “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” Before I assume I have the right to take something, I should try those emotions on myself like a suit of clothing and see how they fit. And finally:
  • The gift of telepathy: Since our thinking is freed from the constriction of being an enemy of others, we can therefore be granted insight into their minds, which allows us to go the second mile and do more than expected instead of less.

The greatest gift you can give to your country as a patriot is to take on the true spirituality of Jesus and in the process, acquire a world view. If not, you will find yourself at the mercy of the ghosts of our past, which made us believe that women were witches, black men were monkeys and Native Americans were savages.

Find the PATH. Adhere to the PATH. Walk the PATH. Trust the PATH to take you to a sense of true spirituality and the great gift of emulating your Heavenly Father, who loved the whole world so much that He gave us the PATH.

 

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symPATHy … June 2, 2012

(1,532)

Manifest destiny.

It was a contention by the Democratic Party in the mid-nineteenth century that the entire continent of North America was not only available but the God-given right of the American people to possess for their own. It turned our nation into a bunch of settlers. The word “settlers” is very interesting, don’t you think? It unveils two meanings: to settle in and also to settle for.  It is the third part of the cultural DNA that permeates the history of our country.

(Please understand that as I share these, I do not do so to be critical of our nation’s heritage. Recognizing the lineage of our existence and the way things came about, is by no means a condemnation of who we are, but rather, a challenge for us to consider in determining where we want to go.)

There was one main problem with “manifest destiny.” We landed on the shore of a world that already had inhabitants. They are called “Native Americans,” or by many people, just “Indians.” They were organized into tribes, and being human, they were having conflicts with each other.  In fact, they had established some territories, boundaries and areas which they considered to be their possession and home.

We disagreed. The history of the relationship between the arriving immigrants from Europe and the Native Americans is tainted with many atrocities and many sad tales. Some would say it’s a blight on the conscience of our country. But I think a blight only exists if we fail to recognize the lessons we have learned and apply them into our next situation.

Here’s what settlers never do: they never have sympathy for the world around them. The definition of sympathy is “sharing the feelings or interests of another.” Is it possible that we could have found a way to settle this country without stealing land, creating enemies with the local inhabitants and generating a series of wars which cost the lives of many innocent folk? Of course it is, but it would have demanded that we have sympathy instead of believing we had a manifest destiny.

The only sure way to guarantee the God is NOT with you is to insist that God is ALWAYS with you.

On the other hand, the greatest piece of intelligence that any human being can have is to believe that the will of God is not contingent on our feelings or on our need, but rather, on the best for all of His children. It demands a mindset, a heart and a spirit of sympathy.

Jesus characterized this in his statement, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Yes–it is definitely a trade-off. Showing a lack of mercy guarantees you no mercy in your time of need. Showing mercy places a deposit of mercy for you in a bank, to withdraw at a later time, when you are overcome by your circumstances.

Instead, we settled, as settlers often do.  We Americans perched on land that was not our own while robbing other human beings of their feelings and concerns in favor of our pursuits.

It is in the cultural DNA of our nation. We are the children of the settlers. We have a tendency to want to settle in ourselves–to our homes, believing that our families are the most important units in the world, and acquiring jobs and lifestyles that may be less than what we desire. This causes us to be a little bit on edge, which makes us lack sympathy for others. And when we lack sympathy for others, honestly, they lack sympathy for us. It sets in motion a chain reaction of indifference, which aggravates us, makes us defensive and causes us to settle for less.

What could have been different in the foundation of our country that would have included the Native Americans as part of us, instead of going on a campaign to promote them as “savages” to the public? I am just a humble writer, but may I offer three suggestions that might have enabled us to avoid manifest destiny, and instead, could have established the third path to true spirituality and a world view in expressing our sympathy?

1. Make your intentions clear. One thing that infuriates people is when we try to disguise our true motives with lies. If you want the whole land, then go in negotiating for the whole land. Don’t steal it county-by-county, acting like there’s nothing you can do about it.

2. I would have insisted that the Native Americans organize their tribes so that I could speak to one voice instead of trying to negotiate with hundreds. This would have been good for them. This would have aided them in stopping some of the squabbling that had gone on  amongst them for generations.

3. I would have gotten an accurate count, a census, of how many Native Americans there were and determined how they could have been included in the mix of the American dream. The greatest enemy of negotiation is a lack of information. If you do not know your adversary, you are destined to create an offense that will lead to war.

Is it possible to have established the United States of America and still have given sympathy to the Native Americans who inhabited the land before our arrival? Of course–but it would have demanded that we reject two little tin gods that settlers always revere. And those two false deities are arrogance and ignorance. We would have needed to stop believing that white people were supreme and have learned the value of our Native American brothers and sisters.

As in the case of slavery, even though the wars have ended, the conflict between the white man and the Indian still exist. It is an unhealed wound. So if we’re going to go onto the path of true spirituality, giving us the necessary world view to be inhabitants of earth instead of infestations, we must use sympathy. We must have a capacity for understanding the feelings and concerns of others. We must be merciful so we can obtain mercy.

Without this, we become settlers. We settle into a place where we can settle for the next piece of foolishness that floats our way.

Sympathy–it is more than expressing a sentiment, but rather, a decision to foster and promote legitimate concern for the needs of others.

So we have three steps to the path so far: apathy, empathy and sympathy. These are universal, spiritual, holy altars needed in the human being to avoid being Puritans, participating in slavery and becoming settlers. Where will it take us? What do we really acquire as a gift when we finally allow ourselves to have correct apathy, excellent empathy and the sanity of sympathy?

I’ll join you tomorrow and we’ll close this off.

 

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