3 Things… September 6th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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That Will Get You Noticed

1. Don’t honk your horn in traffic

 

2. Arrive at a meeting with an idea

 

3. Send a note the same time each week to a friend

 

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Salient … April 9th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A couple of months ago I began a weekly podcast and decided to name it “Good News and Better News.” Of course, I was already using that title for my Monday segment of the Jonathots Daily Blog, but I knew it was time to find a different emphasis for my Monday endeavor–and therefore, a new name.

So the podcast remains goodnewsandbetternews.com, and today I am introducing my fresh Monday format, entitled “Salient.”

Please don’t feel I’m shooting over your heads with an unusual word. I didn’t know what it meant myself. For you see, this weekend, as I slept, having flashes of dreams and insights in my nighttime hours, this word–“salient”–popped up in one of those visions.

So I got up from my bed, pulled out my I-pad and looked it up. I discovered that “salient” is defined as “something notable and important.”

Then a simple bolt of wisdom from the heavens cracked across my brain. I realized that this is the problem in our country.

So much unimportant, non-valuable, meaningless, uncaring, vicious and selfish data is thrown at us daily that we begin to believe that things that don’t matter actually have some significance because they are over-touted.

We have forgotten what it important.

We have grown fearful of the practical because the arrogant have told us that pursuing such goals is the essence of ignorance.

Our survival is at risk. I don’t mean that we’re teetering on Armageddon–rather, I’m declaring that what makes our human survival special is often left at the curb as we dash into the street dodging traffic.

Therefore I would like to take each Monday and garner the experience of my weekend, explaining in gentle, common-sense terms a single piece of great humanity which has been sacrificed for the blare of over-production.

Perhaps in doing this, you and I can consider “salient.” We can once again become people who are energized by the goodness of the journey, the twists and turns of discovery and the overwhelming blessing of time and chance that happens to us all.

Salient: to pursue what is notable and important.

Please join me each and every week.

And be at peace, knowing that “Good News and Better News” has not gone away–just found a new, green pasture.

 

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3 Things… November 16th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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To Remember When You Are Driving

1. The speed limit is not faster because you are late

2. There is no such thing as “nice honking”

3. Even though the light is green, look right and left as you proceed

 

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G-Poppers … July 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop watches.

He observes.

He listens to the cacophony of opinions colliding in levels of frustration and disagreement.

Meanwhile, the world continues to careen toward calamity.

There are two abiding misconceptions which hold us prisoner to our own understanding:

  1. “More is always better”
  2. “There has to be a little bit of what I believe in everything I do”

While we seek for a destiny, the world itself actually evolves, discounting the notion that there is some sort of pre-determined path. Evolution was meant to be our friend. It grants us the opportunity to see change coming and preface that transformation by writing our own rendition of the future. But we have to escape the fallacy of thinking that doing more of “our thing” will make situations better.

For instance, there is an abiding foolishness that proclaims the answer to “mean” is to be “more mean.”

That the solution for violence is more violence.

That the best way to handle the quandary of gun control is to sell more guns.

Lying is overcome by developing our own sophisticated lies.

We also contend that religion just needs more religion.

Prayer is faulted by not having a hefty enough amount of supplication.

We also believe that bigotry can be quelled by more bigotry.

War with more war.

Fear with more fear.

Selfishness by touting our own nationalistic chest-thumping.

And stubbornness–yes, stubbornness.

Stubbornness is the abiding notion that “there must be something of what I presently believe in what will happen next.”

It doesn’t work that way.

It is not only the “survival of the fittest,” but also the survival of the wittiest. Get your wits about you.

As we sit in the ashes of forty-eight hours of tragedy, we must understand that all the parties involved, including the victims, had guns. It didn’t help the two victims who were murdered because…

Because someone did not question his lingering training.

If you’re a policeman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or Minneapolis, Minnesota, you are on your way to a call or you’ve picked up somebody for a busted tail light. and you realize that they are of a different color, before you climb out of your car to approach them, you need to take a half a second to ask this question:

“What prejudice is there in me that might make this situation difficult?”

And if you’re a black person in this country who is fully aware of the abiding racism, you must ask yourself:

“What can I do to remove the apprehension of the white police officer who’s about to confront me?”

It is not an issue of being fair, but instead, gaining the wisdom of the serpent. Because the serpent is quite capable of biting–but also is extremely vulnerable to being stepped on and killed. So the serpent slithers away from trouble.

G-Pop realizes that we will not get anywhere in this country until we question what we do, instead of assuming that doing more of it will solve the problem.

It begins in a small way–when we acknowledge that the person who refuses to let us into the flow of traffic is not really a “goddamn-son-of-a-bitch.”

Just doing more of what he or she was trained to be.

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Confessing … November 14th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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XXVIII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

His name was Conley and he had a bad influence on me.

Aw, hogwash. Actually, Conley was successful in finding the bad influence in me.

Ironically, we sang gospel music together–and discovered that when Amazing Grace stopped having such a “sweet sound,” we were quick to rediscover the “wretch” in each of us.

Conley was not an evil person; he was mischievous, comical and deceitful.

So one day when I was driving my old van and entering a thoroughfare, we were joking around–me in the driver’s seat and him lying on a beat-up couch we had inserted into the vehicle. Suddenly there was a huge bump.

Apparently in my oblivion, I ran into a car which was driving in the first lane, which I was trying to enter. I pulled over and so did the car.

Conley grabbed me by the shoulder and said, “Let me do all the talking.”

Seemed good to me.

So Conley got out and began to complain to the driver, whose car we had struck, saying that the poor hapless fellow had changed lanes into us, striking us, and therefore, it was his fault.

I had no idea how Conley could possibly know this, considering that he was lying down in the back of the van, which had no windows on the driver’s side. It did not even occur to me that Conley was making up the story line as he went along.

The police arrived and issued me a citation for changing lanes without safety. I was prepared to pay my ticket and let that be the end of it.

But Conley got a twinkle in his eye, said we should go to court, that he would testify on my behalf and that we would beat the ticket.

So we did.

I didn’t go along with the plan because Conley overwhelmed me with his personality. I was just as much a jerk as he was. I was just wrapped up in a thicker covering of self-righteousness.

So we went to court and Conley testified that he saw the gentleman change lanes into us, therefore creating the accident. Even though the other driver had given a report to the contrary, the judge believed Conley.

My citation was dismissed and we both left the courtroom feeling we beat the system.

So because I was not convicted of the citation, the driver was not able to retrieve his repairs from my insurance company.

I didn’t even feel bad about it.

At that point in my life I had this idea that if you were ingenious enough to lie, then it was the system’s fault for being so stupid.

I wish I could tell you that Conley saw the light and became a more industrious person. Actually, the last time I saw him, he split town, leaving behind a trail of seven bad checks he had written in my community.

I do not blame Conley for my actions.

As I sit here today, I wonder how much “horrible Houdini” is still left in me–prompting me to escape my responsibility, congratulating myself.

I pray that’s dead.

But I want to thank you for allowing me another chance to confess it … and drive a stake through the heart of that demon.

 

Confessing collision

 

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

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G-14: Jungle or Garden?… March 7, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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jungleI think most people have found themselves in the embarrassing situation of arriving late to an appointment, being held up by traffic, and requiring an ice-breaker to share when entering the room of awaiting friends.

One of the favorites quips is the gasping exclamation, “It’s a jungle out there!”

It usually evokes some laughter–partly due to its corniness–but mostly because we have all become a bit convinced by society, entertainment and even religion that human beings are depraved animals.

So rather than looking at life and our potentials with optimism, we find ourselves desperately trying to avoid the human representations of silly monkeys, ravenous lions and venomous snakes.

Somewhere along the line we have forgotten the beautiful explanation that man and woman were spawned in a garden. Maybe it’s too idealistic. Perhaps the world around us will not permit us to believe that such beauty is attainable and such blessing within our grasp.

I just don’t know what we ever gain by allowing the underbrush of weeds and human mediocrity to surround us, causing us to retreat to our caves in fear. Yes, I think there’s a choice. Am I going to continue to live in a jungle or am I going to do my best, before I leave here, to turn the earth–or at least my portion of it–into a garden?

cultivated gardenTwo things are necessary to transform a jungle into a garden:

1. You’ve got to cool things down.

Jungles are steamy and hot, breeding all sorts of creeping, crawling vermin which welcome such a searing climate. Sometimes the greatest thing we can do in any situation is to refuse to participate in frenetic energy and heated debate, find a quiet place, sit down and wait for things to cool off. I do think it’s what Jesus meant when he suggested that the “meek inherit the earth.” As long as you’re struggling, punching and fighting with everyone for the dead carcass in the middle of the Serengeti, you are exhausting yourself–not to mention casting your lot with the more unseemly actions of the beasts.

Cool things down.

Occasionally I find myself in an argument and realize that the flame is rising and the intelligence is leaving. The situation requires that somebody shut up. When I actually am wise enough to do so, things cool down.

2. Clear things out.

I have been focusing this year on eliminating the scrub brush that suffocates my life, making me feel paranoid and claustrophobic. There are things I just don’t need, require or even desire anymore. Maybe they were once status symbols or security blankets, but now they’ve just become all-encompassing. If you’re going to grow something, you often have to remove what is occupying space but is useless.

Clear things out.

When you cool things down, all the hot-headed animals and the plant life that is tropical disappear. When you clear things out, you find soil underneath the tangled mess of weeds. Then you’re prepared to plant a garden.

And what is a garden? A glorious three-step process. A garden give me the chance to:

A. Seed what I need.

Yes, to actually get specific instead of hoping for the best or praying for miracles because I failed to do my job.

B.  Grow what I know.

I realized last week that I don’t lack wisdom. I lack frequent flyer miles using it. There is so much I can do, say, share, perform and be that I squander in pursuit of things unknown or beyond my capability.

C. And finally, receive what I believe.

Having come to peace with myself and my own gifts in the garden I have cleared off, and knowing that things have cooled down, I can be a good farmer. Yes:

  • Seed what you need.
  • Grow what you know.
  • Receive what you believe.

You can think whatever you want–I believe we were born in a garden … and have settled for a jungle.

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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

Tanks of Thanks … November 21, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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tanksBefore we gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing, performing our hastening and chastening–yes, just prior to going through the normal list of fundamentals of gratitude with family, friends, finance, faith and freedom–and certainly just short of chomping down on that first bite of turkey and taking a crescent roll to sop up the gravy, may I suggest that we quickly consider and review some lesser-known blessings that often escape inclusion in the quick prayer uttered for Thanksgiving dinner?

1. Of the 12,420 diseases known to man, I have successfully negotiated myself through another year of avoiding most of them. (It appears I am somewhat immune).

2. I am happy to report that I squeaked by from 76 near-collisions in traffic, making it possible for me to not have a “bender in my fender.”

3. Interestingly enough, I almost tripped 54 times without falling on my face–or any other body part, for that matter.

4. Are you ready for this? I successfully found my keys 243 times without cussing.

5. I rejoice in the fact that I have had more good night’s sleep than not.

6. I am not too much fatter than last year.

7. How about this one? I didn’t get audited.

8. I was not caught sleeping during Sunday sermon.

9. My family is mostly healthy.

10. Much to my glee, I didn’t have the job of explaining the government to anybody.

11. I ate some delicious fish, poultry, beef, pork and seafood without feeling too guilty around my granddaughter, who now insists she’s a vegetarian.

12. Laughed more than I cried.

13. More “car running” than “car repair.”

14. Said hello more to new friends than good-bye to old ones.

15. I am delighted to note that I prayed more than I cursed.

16. I learned more than I forgot.

17. Praised more than I complained.

18, Believed more than I doubted.

19. More sunshine than rain.

20. And finally, even though I sometimes acted like a turkey, I still kept my head on this Thanksgiving.

My dear brothers and sisters, I have tanks of thanks.

All I can say is: Dear God, come and fill ‘er up.

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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