G-Poppers … February 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop looked on with a bit of sadness as social media lit up with posts about evangelist Billy Graham.

Many of them were cruel. Matter of fact, an inordinate number were laced with vindictive language and resentment against the deceased Reverend.

He lived for ninety-nine years, so trying to abridge his life into one space of time is completely impossible. So the last generation only has insights on the occasional press release which came from his home in North Carolina and the actions of his son, Franklin Graham.

G-Pop feels the same way about Billy Graham as he does about Michael Jackson. G-Pop is not sure either one of them would appreciate the comparison, but every person’s life, including Michael and Billy, comes down to two questions.

What did he or she do?

What did he or she miss?

Can it be as simple as the good doings outweighing the bad, which means someone ends up righteous?

Yes. Any other standard would be prejudicial.

What did Billy Graham do? He preached the Gospel to the whole world. Granted, it was a particular gospel–focused mainly on repenting of sin, accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior and being baptized. Therefore he missed the greater glories of the Gospel of Jesus:

  • Abundant life
  • Mercy to others in order to obtain mercy
  • Refusing to judge fellow humans
  • Wise to stay away from politics.

Michael Jackson arguably wrote the most unique blend of R & B and pop music ever penned. The tunes were filled with humanity, generosity, giving, joy and tolerance. We also have to note that he missed the opportunity to learn to love himself or accept who he was, and in the process may have accidentally damaged the lives of some young people because he was abused as a child.

Billy Graham stayed married to the same woman and was never involved in a sexual scandal throughout his entire ministry.

Yet he missed the opportunity to link arms with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and failed to encourage the South to join the North, East and West to accept civil rights in this country.

He missed the moment when the gay community sought equality as citizens, and instead evaluated them by his moral code and traditions, dating back thousands of years.

Michael Jackson was generous, childlike and desperately tried to address world hunger while simultaneously destroying himself through drug abuse.

It would be terrible if Dr. Billy Graham were to be known as “Billy Graham Cracker.”

Just as horrible would be “Michael Jackson, child molester.”

G-Pop thinks both of these men established that they had hearts to do more good than bad. The weakness of each one showed up at poor times in their personal histories, but with confidence, G-Pop will continue to respect their journeys.

So every time G-Pop hears the old hymn, “Just as I am without one plea,” he will think of the love, efforts and mission of Billy Graham of North Carolina.

And when G-Pop hears Beat It, Billy Jean and Man in the Mirror, his eyes will tear up over the memory of one of the greatest talents that ever inhabited the Earth.

If G-Pop expects this same quarter when he dies–to be evaluated by what he’s done, minus what he missed, hoping for a positive total–then he must first extend that grace to others.

We must first extend that grace to others.

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G-Poppers … October 6th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop wants his children to understand about the sliding scale.

Although the human tribe insists on believing that goals are set and achieved, most of the time, we all fall short of the original aspiration, and end up settling for something a little bit different, if not lesser.

At that point, it is our nature to explain that what we attained is “just as good,” and if we’re smart, turn it into something of value.

So when Jesus told his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount to be merciful because it was the only way to guarantee mercy coming back in their direction, he was pointing out that if we do not set our minds to be merciful, we will never offer kindness.

Yes, kindness is about the best human beings can muster in dealing with one another. But to generate kindness, you’ve got to try for mercy–and mercy is that sense that it’s really none of our business, and we step away without judging whatsoever.

Kindness is the empathy that comes into our souls when we see someone fail and we recall our own sensations in failure.

Yet if you set your goal to be kind, you’ll probably end up with considerate. That means if someone is right in front of you and in need, you more than likely will put yourself out a little bit and lend a helping hand.

There are those who think that mercy and kindness are much too tender. So they try for considerate, and on the sliding scale, end up with tolerance. Yes, they patiently “put up” with foibles and attributes of other human beings while internally they harbor some hidden resentment.

Those who try for toleration eventually end up with indifference. Why? Because as you can imagine, toleration requires quite an effort, and sometimes it’s just better to stand at a distance and not get involved.

There are travelers who live a life of indifference, and suddenly find themselves plagued by complaining. Because even though we distance ourselves from other people, they don’t go away, and because they hang around with notable nagging nonsense, we are left complaining about them to other people.

Dare I say there are even human beings who start their day as complainers, and by the end of their morning and afternoon, as evening settles, they simmer in anger. Since no one really listens to their complaining, and what they complain about has not changed, they feel justified in being completely angry with the situation.

Would you believe there are people who live in anger, and as they look at the world around them, confirming their dark visions, they are suddenly engorged in a spirit of rage. They are the ticking time bombs–too sensitive to touch and ready to go off when least expected. And unfortunately, those souls who awaken in rage, on the sliding scale, eventually find themselves murderous.

There is a sliding scale.

So as we contemplate what causes a brother to fire thousands of bullets into a crowd, we must realize that maybe at one time, he wanted to be considerate, but the scale slid, and as it did, he did nothing to correct his course.

 

 

 

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G-Poppers … April 14th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus.

What does the name evoke?

G-Pop remembers a time when the mention of Jesus would flood one’s mind with images of mercy, kindness, forgiveness, tolerance and most certainly, love.

But the years have pressed on, and the insanity of religious fanaticism has begun to lump Jesus in with all his errant practitioners and sour-faced sheep.

It may be the greatest tragedy of Good Friday. Not only was he crucified by ignorant rabble, who had memorized scripture but had no Word in their hearts, but he is now re-wounded by those who fail to comprehend that they are imitating the primer of his murderers instead of the mindset of the Master.

G-Pop recalls a phrase Jesus once used: “Except your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Exceed.

Exceed what?

Prayer? No–it can’t be that. Jesus warned his disciples not to advertise their prayer life, but instead, find a closet, shut the door and create intimacy.

Study? Highly unlikely. Jesus accused the Pharisees of parsing every jot and tittle as they “strained at the gnat and swallowed the camel” forgetting the “weightier matters” of God’s message–that being justice and mercy.

Fasting? Once again, both he and his disciples were accused of never fasting, and Jesus told them that if they did, to make sure they literally put on a happy face.

So how did he want his disciples to exceed the religious people around them?

In the humanities.

  • Training themselves to give a damn instead of insisting that they just couldn’t muster the energy.
  • Refusing to judge other people, even though it temporarily makes us feel ooey and goooey with superiority.
  • Realizing that the folks who are considered the least on Earth have the heavenly Father’s eyeball–to see who will come and gently tend to them.

G-Pop points out that as we consider the crucifixion of Christ, we have to ask ourselves, why such a drastic measure? Why kill him?

And the answer is simple. There was a danger that if Jesus lived, or his disciples were still filled with his power and spunk, that religion would not be able to manipulate people into enough guilt to trap them in ceremony–as it robbed their pockets.

“This Jesus, this Jesus, this Jesus must die.”

G-Pop thinks the best tribute we can give to Jesus on this dark day in history is to exceed the Pharisees that walk the Earth today–by using the humor, kindness, gentleness, cleverness and mercy that he taught us to possess.

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G-Poppers … November 4th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop is insulted.

After six months of playground buffoonery passing itself off as a Presidential election, he finds himself feeling violated by the very same people who would solicit his support.

One of the candidates insults G-Pop’s intelligence and the other one insults his faith.

As Secretary Clinton touts her qualifications for the job of being the leader of the free world, listing numerous occupations which have prepared her for the position, she simultaneously pulls up lame, pretending that the technology of an email server is beyond her grasp.

She also has a litany of profiles to explain how four Americans in Libya–a very hostile environment–were lost on her watch.

On top of that, she continues to make excuses for a husband who certainly did his best to denigrate the gravitas of the job as Commander-in-Chief.

It seems that Hillary is incapable of comprehending that credentials need to be backed up with actions.

On the other hand, G-Pop’s faith is insulted by the lifestyle and urges of Donald J. Trump. Donald has taken one of the primary concepts of the Declaration of Independence–“all men are created equal”–and has whittled away, redefining the meaning of these words by placing special significance of one group over another.

He simultaneously has taken the respect, honor and equality that Jesus saw for women, attempting to turn our country back into a 1950’s philosophy, where it is assumed that men will step in to cover the inadequacies of the “ditzy female.”

But worst of all, Mr.Trump pretends to take on the mantle of faith in Jesus Christ, when three of the greatest principles in the teachings of the Nazarene are repentance, tolerance and forgiveness. By his own admission, he does not apologize, he does not view all humans as equals, and he would much rather attack those who cross his path and challenge him.

These two people are insulting.

If you have intelligence and a measure of faith, you will find their applications disheartening.

So what should we do?

Is it worse to have someone who insults your intelligence, or an individual who insults your faith?

Or is it more important for us to realize that as expected, no true transformation, revival or inspiration will ever come out of Washington, D. C.?

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G-Poppers … September 2nd, 2016

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G-Pop considered a beautiful thought: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Suddenly a fresh breeze of wisdom blew across his mind. If we’re supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves, it certainly is much easier to love them if we believe they’re a lot like us. Actually, it becomes nearly impossible to express affection and respect if we find they differ too much.

So any attempt to make human beings culturally diverse is feeding the racial retardation. We first must become common, and then manifest our traditions and preferences.

But without discovering the common good, the common nature and the common cause of the human race, we open the door to giant chasms of misunderstanding.

Perhaps the most overrated and ill-founded notion is, “There’s no one in the world quite like you.”

Prepare yourself for a truth–there are millions of people in the world like you. You cannot establish uniqueness by your molecules or quirks.

You are part of a species.

As part of that species, the thought of loving your neighbor as yourself is the oil and grease that allows you to move among others without friction.

So the ignorant may express bigotry through racial slurs and feelings of superiority, but those who deem themselves intellectually astute also promote prejudice by trying to box the human race into little containers of culture.

G-Pop wants his children to understand that they will never be able to love their fellow travelers until they see these humans inside themselves, and see themselves inside their brothers and sisters.

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G-Poppers … May 13th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop wonders if his children comprehend the origin of evil.

After escaping the notion that we are plagued by demons from hell or caught up in a Luciferian revenge plot, we are left with the reality that evil is simply human beings gone amuck.

But is it all the lust of the flesh? The lust of the eyes? The truth is, most carnal sins do little to hurt anyone but the offending party.

G-Pop is curious if his children can recall an old-fashioned word which seems to have fallen out of favor: cunning.

Yes, it is a cunning spirit inside a conniving human heart which plans the offense, and even death, of other souls.

G-Pop’s not quite sure where it started–maybe it was thousands of years ago, when the human race lived in tribes and one tiny village thought it was clever to withhold the location of a good hunting ground from another nearby clump of people, so as to gain superiority.

In doing so, the selfish clan established a wicked premise: “We are better than you.”

Once that idea is invited into the minds of people, they will always be looking for ways to express their dominance, to the detriment of others.

For after all, in the 1950’s, in the southern part of our nation, no white family would discourage black people from singing Negro spirituals, clapping their hands, eating neck bones with collard greens or acting quiet and humble. Matter of fact, any Caucasian person would insist it was “just the black culture.”

They felt magnanimous by being aware of the preferences of their darker-shaded neighbors, allowing them to practice their desires.

It was cunning–a way of saying, “You’re not as good as me because you don’t do the same things I do. I pretend to bid you well, but reject your choices.”

This is why, in our present environment, politicians are able to convince us that Mexicans are rapists, all Muslims are potential terrorists, and billionaires are out to strangle the poor so they can fill their coffers.

We once believed that America was “the great melting pot.” It’s been replaced by the insistence that “we are the great grocery cart.”

We lay inside this country–separate, culturally bound, no longer searching for commonality, but instead, faking a reverence for each other’s cultural inclinations, while privately looking down on each other for having them.

It is a cunning spirit that gradually welcomes segregation and eventually invites violence.

Will G-Pop’s children become aware of this, or buy into the ridiculous notion that we’re actually involved in culture conflicts, which can be alleviated by more education and understanding of our differences?

Going back those many thousands of years, if the selfish tribe which found the excellent source of food had simply said to themselves, “This other tribe is also hungry and there’s plenty for everyone,” then how many wars, executions and genocides could have been avoided?

The source of evil is the cunning notion that if I can convince you that you’re not quite as good as me, I can relegate you to a position where I can move you anywhere I want.

Until we become the great melting pot again, we will struggle in alienation which ironically seems to be feeding tolerance, but actually is just a cunning way to starve people of equality.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … January 30th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: A couple of days ago I read an article in a magazine…

 

Dear Man: You’re just trying to impress me with the fact that you can read.

 

Dear Woman: Actually, I’m trying to impress you with the fact that I read something and retained enough to have a discussion. Anyway, in this article it said that men and women should appreciate their differences because it grants each of them a “unique perspective.”

 

Dear Man: A unique perspective?

 

Dear Woman: Yeah, that’s what I geared in on too. What does that mean?

 

Dear Man: That means I have a way of looking at things that’s different from you, and you would garner great insight by listening to my feelings on the issue.

 

Dear Woman: Do you think that’s true?

 

Dear Man: I was taught it was true. Matter of fact, I grew up believing that relationships were 50-50. Somewhere along the line, that got pooh-poohed, and now we believe that it’s gotta be 100% and 100%. It’s the me plus me equals us.

 

Dear Woman: We don’t believe that. It’s a war with an unsettling truce. Men pretend that women are smarter while still retaining the power.

 

Dear Man: Well, how do they do that?

 

Dear Woman: By telling you that you have a “unique perspective” which they value hearing and enjoy ignoring.

 

Dear Man: So what you’re saying is that telling someone they have a unique perspective is not a positive?

 

Dear Woman: Absolutely not. It’s never positive. Saying that someone has a unique perspective is only two argument points away from the classic, “We’ll just have to agree to disagree.”

 

Dear Man: So you believe that’s why we have so many stalemates in discussions between men and women?

 

Dear Woman: Yes. Every idea has a genesis and an exodus.

 

Dear Man: Explain.

 

Dear Woman: That wasn’t very clear, was it? What I’m saying is that the word “unique” is a genesis, but as the word “unique” goes through the human experience, it changes to other words. And by the time it evolves, our emotions interpret it in a much different way.

 

Dear Man: So you’re saying that “unique” doesn’t really mean “unique” to us?

 

Dear Woman: Exactly. “Unique” is translated in our brain as “different.” And different is not something we enjoy. It’s something we tolerate. And we always tell people they need more tolerance.

 

Dear Man: So how do you build a relationship on tolerance?

 

Dear Woman: You can’t. You kind of end up faking it.

 

Dear Man: So let me try my hand at it. After “unique” becomes “different” in our heads, “different” can quickly become “alien.” In other words, people from Mexico have different customs than we do, so therefore we view them as aliens.

 

Dear Woman: Very well said. And of course, once something is alien, we stick it in Outer Space. It’s not really allowed past our borders, is it?

 

Dear Man: So if I convince myself that your feelings are unique and therefore different, which makes them alien, it’s very easy for me to turn a deaf ear and view them as intrusive.

 

Dear Woman: Yeah. I’m an intruder on your girl power.

 

Dear Man: And I’m an intruder on your macho.

 

Dear Woman: So we end up tolerating each other to get what we want.

 

Dear Man: And when we don’t want it so much any more, we decide to get rid of the intruder.

 

Dear Woman: So as long as we look at each other as unique, instead of finding common ground, we will focus on the differences, become alien to one another and eventually, in a bit of disgust, consider each other intrusive.

 

Dear Man: It’s kind of funny. Because if either one of us found ourselves stuck in the jungle, we would quickly learn to adapt–find our inner monkey–instead of insisting that the monkeys have a “unique perspective.”

 

Dear Woman: You should never consider yourself a monkey.

 

Dear Man: You know what I’m saying. To survive, we find commonality. To fail, we focus on differences. That’s just life.

 

Dear Woman: Except when it comes to men and women, right? Then we think we’re so damn clever by highlighting the uniqueness.

 

Dear Man: So you don’t think I have any uniqueness?

 

Dear Woman: Yes, I do. But it has nothing to do with you being a woman. It has to do with your experience. Your faith. Your charity. Your hope. Your sense of humor. That’s what makes you fresh to me.

 

Dear Man: So how did it get all screwed up?

 

Dear Woman: I guess the way it always gets screwed up. One night, one member of the sexes didn’t want to listen to the other one, so he or she decided that the other gender was unique, and therefore incomprehensible.

 

Dear Man: So I am going to give you a blessing. You are not unique. You are not different. You are not alien to me. And you are not an intruder. It’s my job to figure out how the culture screwed us up … and how we can get back to the Garden.

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