G-Poppers … January 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

 

G-Pop tried to explain it to a family friend.

Basically, the elements of successful human interaction do not change, but the order of importance we place them in alters, thus affecting the results.

There are five pillars involved in getting along with other people:

  • Creativity
  • Intelligence
  • Quality
  • Talent
  • Honesty

Sometimes we decide to bring focus to one of the elements, thus mutating the conclusions. But if the list is shaken up, turned upside down or even perverted, then we end up with a disrespect for one another, even contempt.

For instance, the power of intelligence does procure some turf–but there is a danger that you will be perceived as acting superior and come across as a pseudo-intellectual.

How about talent? If talent takes the lead position, it has a tendency to demand attention and undo honor.

Where do we start?

A businessman might tell you to lead off with quality. But then you create the danger of trying to control all circumstances in order to maintain reputation.

G-Pop thinks this is the order of our present culture:

  1. Talent
  2. Intelligence
  3. Creativity
  4. Quality
  5. Honesty

This order produces human travelers who are convinced of their abilities, inflexible to change, and who place quality and honesty in a retreated profile.

It makes for bratty people.

Bratty people are offensive and offended people become more bratty in an attempt to justify themselves.

What is your order? asks G-Pop.

Let him know.

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Populie: The Holy Land … October 29, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Isis, Jew and Crusader

Land: a retreating of the waters, leaving behind soil which is available for living and planting.

Holy: promoting, initiating and welcoming a sense of wholeness.

These are truths.

So what is the populie? Calling some region in Mesopotamia “The Holy Land.”

It is neither conducive to growing much of anything or welcoming wholeness. Even though it’s only the size of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, it has fostered more death, destruction, bigotry, selfishness, greed and lunacy than any other location on the face of the earth.

Yet the entertainment industry loves to make movies about the Crusades and supposedly deep insightful, flicks focusing on the conflicts between the Jews and the Arabs.

Politics certainly enjoys spouting the term “Holy Land” because it welcomes certain constituencies into the mix for large donations.

And religion adores the idea that this space of property has magical powers or is ordained by God to be the prophetic source of spiritual renewal.

The Holy Land is not. I have never had a desire to go there, nor will I ever, of my own volition.

It is occupied by inflexible souls who mysteriously continue to fight a battle among each other to honor their traditions instead of dealing with the realities of our time.

It is evil in the sense that it pulls down the rest of our brothers and sisters living with us on this planet, because supposedly Abraham said something thousands of years ago, which Moses confirmed and Mohammed contradicted.

They are quarreling brothers who bang on our door in the middle of the night because they’re fighting again, and somebody punched somebody in the nose, and we’re supposed to decide if we’re going to call the cops or just make a big pot of coffee.

I must tell you:

  • Jesus found nothing holy about that land.
  • Matter of fact, he prophesied that it would be left desolate.
  • He told them that even though they believed they were the “children of Abraham,” that he existed before Abraham, and therefore trumped the patriarch.
  • He warned them that their holy temple would be torn down.
  • He told his disciples to begin their work in Jerusalem but to get out of there as quickly as possible and take the mission to the more receptive parts of the world.
  • He explained that true worship of God would not be in Jerusalem, but would be achieved through spirit and truth.
  • And even though we try to make Jesus Jewish and connect him to the Holy Land, he made it clear that he wasn’t called to those who thought they were righteous, but instead, to those whom the righteous considered to be sinners.

We must begin to call this desolate, angry, self-righteous location the dark place it truly is, and stop trying to revere it as a special piece of turf. If not, we will perpetuate the myth that if we just send one more army in there on a crusade, we can finally win back God’s holy land.

For if Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut suddenly decided to start squabbling over land and spiritual heritage, we would go in there and tell them to shut the hell up, get it right or we would close off all supplies and sanction them from our country.

But even though we contend that God is no respecter of persons, we in the United States continue to treat Israel preferentially and look at the Arabs with a jaundiced eye. They probably won’t be ignored, but we need to stop giving them so much of the human stage.

It is not a Holy Land. Stop planning trips there, thinking you’re going to “walk where Jesus walked.”

Because true holiness is where God is.

And the Spirit of God always dwells where there is liberty. There is no liberty in the Holy Land. Even Israel, which claims to be democratic, has restrictions on spiritual expression and prejudice against their neighbors.

Go where there’s liberty, and there you’ll find the Spirit of God. Forgive me for a little bit of flag waving–but that’s why I’m glad to be an American.

And for me, today, as I travel, the Holy Land … is Roanoke, Virginia.

 

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Old Dogs … January 17, 2013

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polkaThe old dog scampered, skittered and slid her way to the door to greet me, depositing a dribble of pee on the ground as a symbol of her devotion. Then she stood at my feet, blocking my entrance, until I was able to shuffle away with her trailing behind, wheezing, panting, trying to keep up with her favorite person–the one who’s the filler of the bowl, the patter of the head and the distributor of treats.

She perched herself in front of me for review and also for affirmation of stroking and petting. Honestly, she offers little in the way of reciprocal affection, other than the unfailing stare of adoration.

Suddenly, as if on cue, the old dog turned and ran towards the glass door, seeing her reflection and being haunted by a mythical competitor. As dinner is served, she made her way to my side, offering me her undivided attention as I consumed my evening repast while she begged for morsels from my portion.

She remained totally involved until the last dish was cleared and conversation ensued. As I began to share my findings of the day, stories of my experiences and little anecdotes of blessing and hassle with the room, the old dog found her way to my feet and lay down in a great big heap, expressing her indifference for the glories of conversational interchange.

In no time at all, she was asleep–but her presence was still made known through snores, which rattled the room, farts, which aired her incessant fragrance, and snorts, exhibiting the effects of an ongoing, contentious struggle with a rival dream-beagle.

She is an old dog–not terribly interested in most of the life going on around her, but she still finds a way to wiggle in to acquire her needs and establish her worth. She is an interesting combination of companion and aggravation, depending on the situation, and even proximity.

Old dogs are everywhere. Old dogs have already established the maturity of their turf and only occasionally will gnaw on your shoe in flashbacks to puppyhood.

You see, it’s not so much that old dogs can’t learn new tricks. It’s just that old dogs are so challenged by their old tricks that they still think they’re new.

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Fifteen Hundred … April 30, 2012

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In Los Angeles

Four years and forty days ago, we brought forth to this world a new website, dedicated to the proposition that “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

Too pretentious??

Well, fifteen hundred daily columns IS an accompolishment. Just to give you perspective, fifteen hundred jonathots is the equavalent of ten novels, twenty-five screenplays, forty self-help books and six thousand personal letters informing you of the antics of your ever-expanding off-spring. I certainly did not anticipate ever hitting fifteen hundred–and I do recall that when I reached one thousand, I was convinced I had climbed Mt. Everest. (Obviously, I had not peaked.)  

What have I learned? Here it is: I need to constantly retrieve from my own being an awareness of who I am and where I’m going. Otherwise, I become predictable, socially and culturally amalgamated and devoid of fresh-bread inspiration. To escape such a dreary profile, I have developed four questions I ask myself each and every week. I would like to share them with you on this fifteen hundredth essay, for your own consideration. I will then tell you what my answers are. I would be very curious about your responses.

  1. What do I know?
  2. What do I want?
  3. What do I fear?
  4. What do I believe?

I think you will find that within that quartet of inquisitors, there is a good barometer for the atmosphere you have created for yourself. So on this fifteen hundredth jonathot, I am going to go ahead and answer those questions for myself–and hopefully, for your enlightenment (or at least, amusement).

1. What do I know? People and God are inseparable. Likewise, God and people. If you try to block them away from each other, you will find yourself gradually turning into a curmudgeon, convinced of your faith in the Almighty as you become more and more cynical about one of His favorite creations. It would be similar to going to Colonel Sanders’ house and requesting a roast beef alternative for Sunday dinner.

2. What do I want? I want to be prepared to matter in the present. The past is significant because it grants me insight on foibles. The future is completely up to me; so therefore, until I determine my own motivations, tomorrow is cloudy, to say the least. What I want to do is matter in the present. For instance, as I dictate this jonathots, I am driving on I-5 in Los Angeles, California, backed up in traffic–a condition which seems to be mandatory as a cultural experience from the Chamber of Commerce. So obviously, I want to talk to you about what’s in my heart, but I also want to pay attention to traffic–so that my heart can continue to beat. What is useless is to be frustrated that I am stalled or to wonder how long such a delay will continue. In fact, that’s why I saved my writing session for this drive–so I can stay busy with my mind so it doesn’t flip-flop on me and become my worst enemy. Yes, I want to be prepared to matter in the present. Otherwise, I will overlook my opportunity to touch your life and also rob myself of the benefits of such an experience.

3. What do I fear? I fear a piece of personal dishonesty being disclosed because I failed to be candid. It’s really our only danger, folks. If we have a pure heart and we haven’t tried to deceive ourselves or other people, we don’t have to go into the great press of humanity nervously twitching, wondering when we will be discovered for the charlatans we are. Now, the first time I said something about myself in candor, I was embarrassed, apprehensive and filled with trepidation. I thought the world was going to end because people would know how frivolous and weak I could be. Yet, rather than warranting ridicule, my confession was received with delight, understanding and a bit of reciprocation from those around me, who felt liberated to be equally as transparent. Fear is always born of a lack of love, and a lack of love is always birthed through not caring enough about yourself to be truthful.

4. And finally, what do I believe? Earth needs my attention and heaven is unknown, but by all reports seems well-staffed. Since God made BOTH heaven and earth, I just find it best to work on the turf that is beneath my feet. The only time I get in trouble in my life is when I start looking to the future, searching for destiny instead of opportunity and wondering whether eternity will afford me my due reward. What do I believe in? The joy, contentment, peace, understanding, compassion and silliness that I feel right now. If God thinks He can do better, let Him bring it on. I welcome the expansion.

So there you go.

I will continue to parade my thoughts and feelings in front of you, drenching them in veracity (as much as I know) and salting them with inspiration.I have found that trying to separate my heart from my soul makes me an emotional wreck. Divorcing my spirit from my mind causes me to become mentally dwarfed, incapacitated from achieving renewal. And disconnecting my mind from my body is like walking around in a continual human texting activity, oblivious to the world around me–about to run into a wall.

So here’s to fifteen hundred days we’ve had together. (And let me tell you–I’ve always respected you in the morning.)

And no matter how many more there may be, always realize that you can get in touch with yourself by finding out what you know, what you want, what you fear and what you truly believe. 

  

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