Sit Down Comedy … December 28th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3908)

This is not a present.

This is a box which has been carefully wrapped in gorgeous paper, surrounded with an immaculate bow. Christmas present

We have no idea what’s inside.

We are led to believe that because it was wrapped so fastidiously that the contents are valuable.

But we don’t know. We can’t even guess. It could be a box of dog poop. It could hold nothing at all–or worse, it could be a juicer.

We have grown accustomed to calling things that are wrapped tightly and made to look attractive…

Well, we call them presents. Or gifts.

They are not. They are actually worthless until we tear them apart and find out what’s inside.

This, pictured below, is a real present:


As you can see, the paper is not impressive. The wrapping job is passable. But inside is value. Obvious value.

It might not even have been the first present you opened on Christmas morning, figuring because it was so bland or ugly, that it came from a long-lost aunt who picked it up at a convenience store on Christmas Eve to cover her butt.

So while you’re opening all the pretty presents bound up with bows, this one sits in the corner–containing the greatest quality.

Our society wraps us up, having no idea of the value of the people we meet.

We judge on appearance.

We evaluate on how concisely people have put their lives together.

We look at the things that surround them to determine their value.

We are often wrong. I will go so far as to say that more often than not we are wrong.

Then…

Every once in a while, we find that plainly wrapped gift, bound with twine. When we break our prejudice and decide to open it, we are astounded at the content.

So, I am no longer participating in the fashion show of human boxes we are required to climb into in order to be acceptable for a society that doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing.

I will do you a favor. I will not hide my soul. I will not disguise my talents. And also, I will not flaunt my humility.

But I will come… unwrapped.

 

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Good News and Better News… July 24th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sunday morning, bright and early, I headed off with my buddy, Janet, to St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Melbourne (even though the words “bright and early” should never appear in the same sentence.)

Over the years, Ms. Clazzy and I have learned a very important lesson: those who have gathered in a church are not there to see us, no matter how much we’ve been advertised. And they’re not necessarily there to learn about God, either.

They are accustomed to gathering. It is a tradition. Each one has his or her reasons for being there–ranging from preparing the coffee to loving the organ music, to appreciating communion, to getting stuck with usher duty.

So it is ridiculous for the two of us to think that we will come in and move mountains, or even rearrange dirt piles. Our job is simple–and made easier by the kindness of those who assisted us with our equipment and by the tender spirit of Pastor Blaine Johnson.

We are to be grateful for those who’ve attended, encourage what we see that’s positive, and gently address what’s missing.

Without the initial burst of gratitude for what is available, you immediately becomes the eternal brat who is never satisfied unless you get your own way.

Do I wish there were more people at St. Timothy Lutheran Church? I don’t give it a second thought, since there aren’t.

Do I wish I was going to larger churches than St. Timothy Lutheran Church? I don’t give it a second thought, because I’m not.

I am grateful for all the souls before me.

Then there are things that come out which are delightful and positive. There are people who greet you even though they have never seen you before. There is a sense of organization that lends itself to progress instead of chaos. Opportunities.

Yet in the midst of Jan and myself being grateful and reveling in the positives set before us, some missing spaces are obvious. Shall we refer to these as an absence of the presence?

  • An absence of the presence of jubilation.
  • An absence of the presence of radiant joy.
  • An absence of the presence of personalizing the message of Jesus to our own endeavors.
  • An absence of the presence of giggling.
  • An absence of the presence of the hand clapping which symbolizes confirmation of inner glee.

Just quietly ask the question, what’s missing?–and then allow the Spirit of God to offer suggestions.

So while grateful for the congregated and my celebration of the positives, I talked to them about passion–the ability for the heart to stimulate praise instead of relying on the memory.

Did we make progress? Will next Sunday’s service at St. Timothy reflect any of the energy of the visitation?

It’s a foolish question; irrelevant.

Because the good news is that Pastor Blaine and the fine folks of St. Timothy found it in their hearts to invite us to come and share our talents.

And the better news is that God, in His infinite wisdom, leaves it up to each individual soul to determine what he or she will do with what has been seen and heard.Donate Button

 

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G-Poppers … March 4th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop got a message. His son was worried about the present political climate in our country.

G-Pop shares some of his concerns.

Yet, the whole situation reminds G-Pop of a teacher he had in high school–Coach Dunne.

The coach was young, charismatic, energetic and loved by all the students. So obviously, he had a great influence on the attitudes on campus.

Coach Dunne was also the guidance counselor–and all of the 118 people in G-Pop’s class made their way into Coach Dunne’s office to discuss with him their dreams and aspirations–even G-Pop.

He remembers it like it was yesterday. For you see, Coach Dunne had an approach:

He sized you up, and then he almost prophetically shared where he thought you should go with your talents, appearance, abilities and inclinations.

He had three favorite phrases:

1. You seem to be…

2. You look like…

3. You would be happy doing…

His words were cushioned with mostly praise, but also tarted with exhortation. He was convinced he knew your destiny.

So to G-Pop he said, “You seem to be a nice young man who’s interested in God. You look like you might want to pursue music, but I’m just not so sure you have the right stuff to make it.”

And then Coach Dunne concluded by saying, “You would be happy doing the work of a minister.”

G-Pop didn’t want to be a minister.

So he told Coach Dunne that he planned on pursuing music and creative arts. The guidance counselor shook his head, expressing great doubt.

Dunne thought he was doing a good thing by guiding students with his wisdom. G-Pop called it “Dunning.” It’s the belief that we can judge what’s right for other people based on their appearance, IQ and general demeanor.

This is directly reflected in the atmosphere of our political parties:

The Republicans contend it is their mission to bring all cultures and all ideologies under submission to the Constitution and Judeo-Christian principles.

The Democrats, on the other hand, believe that the poor, the indigent and the disenfranchised are being subjected by billionaires and a cruel society into an existence of poverty and degradation.

Both of these organizations are obsessed with the idea that human beings can be evaluated by the “Dunning” process. Both parties want to keep people in their culture, in their families, and bound to existing limitations.

It is utter foolishness.

And until we have leadership that tells the truth and does not try to force a reality on the populace based upon race, creed, gender or orientation, we will have a society that is splintered, separating the citizens by culture.

This should have been the message of Coach Dunne:

A. Be human.

In other words, find reasons to have commonality with everyone around you.

B. Do something of your own choice.

In other words, take a risk that what you think you can accomplish can actually be achieved.

C. Live with it.

Don’t get defensive if you fail. Don’t get prideful if you succeed.

Because the truth is, not one of us can live off our ancestors–and we sure as hell can’t control our children.

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Ask Jonathots … September 24th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

It seems to me that you only win in life if you’re aggressive. For instance, Donald Trump, who is extremely defensive and cutting, leads in the Republican polls. I’m not asking you to talk about politics, just answer this question: how can Jesus suggest that we get anywhere by “turning the other cheek?” Or is he just talking about the afterlife?

I think the problem in most people’s thinking is that they like to characterize certain words as positive or negative. Putting it in simpler terms, most folks would consider passive to be the opposite of aggressive.

But the issue is not whether we should be aggressive. The issue is, to whom?

You are absolutely correct–aggression expressed to others as a means of domination or for generating payback is not only non-spiritual, but also generally considered, in the long run, to be a lame choice.

Yet we are certainly supposed to be aggressive to ourselves. Intertwined in the teachings of Jesus is a strong motivational message to go the second mile, be perfect even as the Father in Heaven is perfect, and take care of the beam in your own eye instead of worrying about the mote in your brother’s eye.

The foible in humans is that we would much rather be aggressive toward other people’s weaknesses than our own.

Donald Trump is characterized as aggressive, but he isn’t alone. There is a general consensus in our society that we can achieve success by–pardon the expression–“trumping” others. Nothing could be further from the truth.

After all, insult may be the only word that never requires a period. As long as an insult is hanging in the air, it’s just awaiting the arrival of the next insult.

So what does it mean–to be aggressive to yourself?

1. Take an inventory.

Consider what you actually can do instead of what you want to do, and then work on those talents.

2. Practice what you want to achieve until you reach the point that you don’t have to make excuses for your shortcomings.

There will still be failures but you want to make sure they are not caused by your lack of perseverance.

3. Don’t compare your work to the work of others.

Compare it to your own vision and what you desire to achieve.

The Jesonian life–a life following Jesus–is an aggressive one–but not in relationship to our judgment and critique of others.

Rather, in our own passion to perfect our ways … and learn how to go the second mile.

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Yappy Your Year… January 1, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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angry duckToo much yapping. At least, I think so.

I like talking, but do you really think we need shows filled with it?

Talk shows. Dozens and dozens of them, which eventually denigrate to prejudicial statements made by people filling time, pretending they aren’t gossiping.

I’m a little tired of pundits, too. (Except I do like the rhyme, “redundant pundit…”)

Yes, the repetition of stolen ideas is not only a thievery of material, but also steals creativity from the heart of the American people.

Would you allow me to point out that another intolerable portion of yappiness is TV preachers? At a time in my life when I am seeking greater and greater humanity, they bestow either the drivel of psycho-babble or the onslaught of unexplained divinity.

And equally as frustrating is the new wave of agnosticism and atheism being promoted as an evolution in intelligence of an emerging “people consciousness.” Listen folks, it takes no energy to be an unbeliever. I suppose that’s why this lazy generation selects it so voraciously.

Oh, my dear God … I am weary beyond words of “Ducks” who seek a “Dynasty” by quacking out Bible verses, while simultaneously I have to listen to all that the gay have to say.

Am I odd? Am I so self-possessed that I must scream aloud that I don’t really care who’s zooming who, but rather, whether we are progressing in our talents while learning to drench them in humility?

I hate polls. The reason I hate polls is because the questions asked by the pollster can be twisted to bring desired results for his or her organization. And honestly, most people don’t have the common sense to listen to a question and admit, “What in the hell do I know?”

That goes for Tweets, too. We used to believe in this country that some forethought, emotion, concern, courtesy and gentleness should precede the next thing spoken. But when you have a I-Phone in front of you and you can pour out your vile reaction immediately, why take time for reflection?

It’s 2014, so it’s the Democrat’s turn to whine about how “things aren’t fair,” and the Republican’s hour to criticize everything that’s going on. Just ten years ago, the circumstances were flipped. The Republicans were the whiners and the Democrats were the attackers.

Is anyone bored yet? To me it’s similar to going to see The Sixth Sense movie for the second go-round. It was interesting the first time, but after you’ve viewed it, you know the guy’s dead from the beginning.

And when we’re talking about our “Yappy Your Year,” may I request that we discourage, ignore and possibly eliminate alarmed folks?

Case in point: would you just tell me that it’s going to rain and there will be thunder, instead of describing all the atrocities that Mother Nature could be perpetrating on my house this evening?

Would you instruct me to eat more vegetables without warning me how my present physical condition flirts with disaster and death?

And could you put a bill through Congress without having to promote that you are the savior of the world for coming up with the idea?

Which brings me to the final piece of yappiness–the only one I can really do anything about:

Me.

Yes, I need to shut up more.

  • Even in my blogs, I’m pursuing brevity, dreaming of achieving wit.
  • On stage, more concise.
  • And unless I’m asked for it, I vow this year to not offer advice to anyone.

I’m too yappy–and words that do not edify eventually find a way to destroy.

So Happy New Year to you, my friends! And remember–talk is never cheap.

It is costly … often leaving our character bankrupt.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Scratchy… December 30, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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bridge to Tx

It had been nearly four years since I had been visited by the common curse of a cold. Even though I am around thousands of people who tote germs like little six-year-olds carrying backpacks to the first day of school, I am blessed with an immune system which bunkers me in safely to health.

That is, until I spent four days living in the same house with my children and grandchildren over Christmas. I followed this toxic exposure with a 900-mile drive to Houston, Texas.

So sometime on Thursday, right after I ate my Subway sandwich, the left side of my throat began to itch and tickle, radiating up to my ear.

I knew what this meant. I attempted denial, but when the right side of my throat joined the party, I knew I was in the first throes of incubating a common one.

Here’s the problem: I needed to share on Sunday morning at Bay Harbour United Methodist Church in League City, Texas.

I wanted to do a good job. I know everybody says that, but I like to use my talents at full speed, full throttle and full passion. They are my arsenal–to apologize for a mug that couldn’t win a beauty contest versus a coffee cup.

I was about seventy per cent. So what was I going to do?

Obviously, play to my strengths. For instance, talking is easier than singing.

Also, address the three demons that attempt to invade our foxhole in the midst of battle:

  1. Excuses
  2. Fear
  3. Disappointment

Excuses are the pavement on the road to failure. Fear is the rope that strangles the life out of hope. And disappointment is the drug that puts our effort to sleep.

  • I didn’t make excuses. The audience never knew.
  • I wasn’t afraid. For after all, the worst thing that could happen was that I talked and played the piano, without singing. That’s just not that bad.
  • And I wasn’t disappointed because I got sick. Remembering how mortal we are is what helps us assist other humans.

As it turns out, I had a little more than I thought–maybe 78%.  It was a glorious morning.

I don’t like getting sick. I fight it. But if I’m going to lose my faith, energy and direction every time I sniffle, I will probably not be worth very much and will snuffle out my possibilities.

Excuses, fear and disappointment–they arrive like a scratchy throat, making you believe that they’re here to stay.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Sniff and Whiff … December 2, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2082)

scratch and sniff“That stinks.”

Two words normally thrust together when we are in a mood to express our displeasure over some event or individual.

Matter of fact, often we talk about the “smell of success,” so it’s safe to assume that failure has its own distinctive odor. If you think about it, being a human being, you can certainly sniff the whiff of doom, compromise and defeat on another person.

So how do we keep that unpleasant aroma from permeating every pore of our being? There are many schools of thought. The normal diagnosis for such weakness is to express confidence in ourselves and let that exude from our beings as evidence of our pending victory.

But over the years I have learned that confidence leaks and flat-out dumps its load of joy whenever confronted with unexpected difficulty. So some of the more boisterous and bold individuals I have known turned into real chickens–cluckers–in the heat of the frying pan.

Equally as useless is false humility, where we pretend to be modest while secretly storing up a ton of self-assurance to allegedly release at just the right moment when surrounded by trial and tribulation. It’s just another disguise.

There is a path that does remove the stench of inadequacy while also realistically assessing our abilities without either diminishing our capacity or over-reporting our statistics.

“I can’t, yet I do, so I will.”

These are the three ingredients that make us appealing to fellow-travelers, while also keeping balance in our own lives.

1. “I can’t.”

Some folks consider this to be negative, but actually, it’s humility. The gift of knowing your true talents while also being aware of your weaknesses through trial and error is the greatest gift you can give to a comrade–and an endearing one, at that.

Candidly, a truthful person always has the potential of doing more. A liar is stuck with his or her promises.

2. “Yet I do.”

“Even though I have discovered areas of lack, I have taken the time to acquire expertise and am consistently bearing fruit.”

Merely saying “you can’t” without producing something you can do is to be a loser. But knowing what you can’t do while pointing to obvious successes that you’re presently pursuing is balanced human thinking.

3. “So I will.”

I will what? “I will continue to do what I do well, while expressing my energy to humbly try something new.”

This is the trio of emotions that make us appealing to one another–because we say right out loud, “I have a weakness, I have a passion and I have a willingness.”

There is nobody who can counteract, contradict or criticize such candor.

So as you go about your business, especially during this holiday season, don’t be afraid to report your can’t quotient as you give a tally on what you are doing, and also express a desire to pursue more.

This is the sniff of a whiff that lets other human beings know they can draw close … instead of pulling away, repulsed.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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