G-Poppers … July 7th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Is it natural? G-Pop is particularly curious.

Are people naturally mean, or typically kind?

Is it normal to be self-involved, or is there a part of our inner being that yearns to escape selfishness?

Are folks naturally bigoted? In other words, is there an inclination somewhere in our DNA to cling to those who resemble us?

Are we talented?

Is the human race spiritual, or much too burdened by its carnal appetites?

Is intelligence a part of our makeup, or is a certain amount of vague, blank misunderstanding intertwined in our beings?

What is natural?

Are we naturally generous?

Is it common to be vengeful?

Forgive, or unforgiving?

What are the drastic differences between the genders that cause us to believe there’s a chasm that cannot be crossed?

What is natural?

G-Pop offers this warning: over the past ten years we’ve promoted a sarcastic, cynical and bitter interpretation of our species. It’s become easier to accept lying, cheating, immorality, greed, and hubris as natural parts of the human intellect instead of temptations that are given too much time and turf.

So the statement, “I’m only human” covers a multitude of sins–from being late to a dinner party to accidentally shooting a suspect or a police officer.

What is natural? G-Pop wants you to know one simple fact:

Babies are born beings. We teach them to be human.

Being human is simple–it is an intelligent awareness of our animal instinct, while simultaneously reaching inside ourselves to find the breath of God.

Even though we’re not spiritual, we also are not carnal. Not one of us would last fifteen minutes in a jungle with other creatures. And though our first instinct may not be gentleness, we are fully aware that the backlash which comes from sporting antagonism leaves us offensive, if not mortally wounded.

Beware–there is a movement in our society to make every human vice seem natural. It is not.

We are not animals. We are the part of the animal kingdom which has emerged through the intelligence of the Creator, to be able to think, reason, feel, empathize and invent.

This is natural.

So we may find ourselves needing to challenge our motives a bit more often.

But in the long run, we will find that we live more peaceably with other folks when we go to sleep knowing that we did more loving than gnawing.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 5) Mercy … January 3rd. 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Our greatest fear is having our weakness exposed to others. To avoid this horror, we pursue positive attitudes, lies, anger, defensiveness, deceit, prayer and self-righteousness.

Yes, the absence of candor is the open door to deception. And when we are dishonest about our true selves, we have the ugly by-product of prejudice, which robs us of our better nature.

Why do we become prejudiced? In order to keep the attention away from the beam sticking out of our own eye, we try to bring focus to the speck in our brother’s eye.

So I can tell you of a certainty, honesty has a little brother and its name is mercy.

Without honesty, we feel no need whatsoever to be merciful, but spend all of our time drafting plans to escape notice of our vice. And maybe it’s not even a vice–perhaps it’s just a piece of us that requires grace instead of criticism.

It is time to become reasonable.

If the Gospel of Jesus does not afford us the humanity to confess our faults one to another, then it merely is a temporary pain-killer, or worse, a dangerous diversion.

Here’s a beautiful process–maybe better phrased, a way of thinking that actually produces thought:

  1. I have a weakness.
  2. You have a weakness.
  3. We have weaknesses.
  4. Therefore, we choose mercy.

If I do not believe I have a weakness, I certainly will not tolerate your peccadilloes. And if I discover that you are weak and I am unwilling to admit my weakness, then I will focus on yours and attack you for having it.

Thus, mercy is avoided, ignored and cast aside.

A world without mercy is always a lie, ready to be prosecuted.

For it will only take you a few moments after you meet me to discover that I have weaknesses, whether I confess them or not. It will not take me any longer to uncover yours.

So the only advantage we have is to get in front of these revelations by admitting that we have weaknesses, encouraging others to make the same confession, and then humbly allowing mercy to do its healing work through understanding and the passage of time.

Nothing happens until we realize how weak we are.

Strength is not owned; it is given by humbly admitting weakness.

 

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Three Ways to Be Wanted … November 6, 2014

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Everybody yearns to be wanted.

Are there universal aspects of human behavior that make us more appealing to the tribe than others? Of course there are.

So it’s ridiculous to continue to preach a gospel of individuality when a certain amount of conformity is necessary for us to get along and succeed with our brothers and sisters.

So let me offer three suggestions on how to make yourself more wanted by friends, and even strangers.

1. Stop complaining.

I mean, completely. And when you do slip up and begin to grump and growl, catch it and apologize. It’s a piece of self-righteousness that we must acquire, otherwise we will find ourselves hanging around with folks who believe that complaining is an option rather than a vice.

To identify what complaining is, let me give you a definition: Complaining is when your expectation has been dashed and detoured by reality and you still feel you have the right to an opinion.

You don’t, I don’t and neither does anyone else.

One of the most appealing aspects of human character which draws people your way is a reputation for “taking one on the chin” without bruising up for a week.

2. Start listening and remembering.

Some people say they’re good listeners, but they’re horrible at remembering.

  • If people tell you they don’t like pickles, don’t keep serving them.
  • If you hear that someone is searching for a specific item and you run across it, buy it and present it to them.

We extol the virtue of listening, but it is a useless attribute if we don’t allow the information to become part of our conscious memory.

Listen–yes indeed, but more importantly, remember the preferences, deeds and desires of others.

3. Pick a mood.

You don’t have to be happy all the time. But you do have to land on a general temperament which people can trust. Even though we may not admit it, we get frustrated by folks who are high one day and “in the pit” the next. Matter of fact, we tend to become amateur psychiatrists, diagnosing what their condition might be.

Unless you have a neurological disorder or a mental illness, your moodiness is your choice.

All of us desire to be wanted. But to achieve this status, we must pack our knapsack with the kind of supplies that make us valuable on this great camp-out called life.

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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

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The Universe Sandwich… March 17, 2014

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Big BangLiving in an era when literally dozens and dozens of television channels are at the whim of my choice and the thrust of my thumb on the selector, I stumbled across two programs promoting ideas on the origin of the universe.

One was on a Christian broadcast and was making a divine appeal about the creation of the universe by God. The other, more secular, was called Cosmos, and was explaining the Big Bang theory, with very expensive graphics and computer-generated images.

They shared only one thing in common: they both ignored each other.

I thought how foolish it was for us to choose sides when it comes to discussing the origin of our species. Here’s what I think:

The universe is a sandwich: you have bread, meat and if you’re smart, a really nice condiment, like mustard.

  • I happen to believe that God is the bread of life.
  • Science is the meat, providing the protein for our meal.
  • And nature is the mustard, tying the two together and granting us flavor.

All you have to do to understand evolution, and even consider something like the survival of the fittest, is allow for the concept that there was an “Our Father who art in heaven,” who provided the “ready, set, go.” Feeling the need to eliminate “Dad” baffles me.

By the same token, believing that the earth was created in six actual days so that you can tout how powerful your Divine Being truly is, is equally as obtuse when there is ample evidence not more than seven miles down the road from me that the rock formations have been around for more than seven thousand years.

Stubbornness is the best way to remain ignorant. Whether you’re a preacher displaying that nasty vice or a scientist with a multitude of degrees, “stupid” is still pretty ugly.

I believe that God is alive and created everything.

I also believe that evolution was His choice in doing so.

I also contend that the process seems to have actual, factual basis — up until you arrive at the time of the creation of human being.

Why is it so difficult to think that a creative God could use science until He wanted to create personal caretakers in His image — a little less than the angels and a little smarter than the monkeys?

So here’s what I hold out as reality to you this morning:

A. I want a Creator

B. I need science

C. I will listen to nature.

To me, this three-step process permeates every piece of truthful knowledge that’s ever been propagated in the human race.

Without a Creator, we’re stuck with science and nature–educated but lost.

Without science, we have a Creator and nature, and we become smug in our lack of information.

And without a Creator and science, we worship nature and become overly superstitious.

So when the logos, which is the word of God, meets up with the cosmos, which is science, you have our atmosphere–which is nature.

The universe is a sandwich–bread, meat and mustard.

And you and I, just like at Subway, get to decide for ourselves what other fixins’ we want to put on it.

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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.

Accumulation … February 10, 2012

 
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It occured to me last week as I was driving along from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Silsbee, Texas, and the rain began to fall. Almost simultaneously, the announcer on the radio was forecasting showers, punctuating his prediction with a statement: “We sure do need the rain.”
 
I kept driving–and so did the rain. After about an hour of persistent precipitation, the farm land along the road began to “pond up,” with huge puddles where fields used to be–and eventually the water seeped its way across the roadway. It was amazing. The rain suddenly ceased to be “needful.” It had gone from a mist to a sprinkle to a shower to a downpour, ending up with the first fruits of flooding.
 
You see, it’s all about accumulation–and this is where I get fooled sometimes. I’m just like the next guy. I have finally accepted that a diet high in fat content from the fast food industry lends itself to cholesterol which builds up in the arteries, encouraging heart disease.
 
On a lighter note, I have completely bought into the concept that if we teach our children to read, this action alone may succeed in stamping out ignorance in our lifetime.
 
I certainly wouldn’t want to be the person to speak against prayer. Because in many ways it has become our symbol of piety, the thought being: “The more its done, the better the results.”
 
It would be un-American to suggest that casting one’s vote could be anything other than a necessary exercise in the gymnasium of democracy.
 
Far be it from me to challenge the concept of “family is everything” as the symbol of love, tenderness and openness in our everyday lives.
 
There is a great promotion machine in America that seems to make one list of virtues and another of vices, and alternate promoting and attacking, respectively. What is curious to me are those things that kept ambiguous, or even left off of either list.  For instance:
 
Apparently, violence isn’t supposed to affect us. Eating a Big Mac will give me a stroke, but having Big Mac kill somebody on a television show is still considered to be a stroke of artistic genius. According to this theory, seeing numerous murders, rapes, disembowelments, amputations and grisly grinding of all sorts does not have the same effect on our mental circulation as French fries do on our physical one. Isn’t that amazing? It just shows you how ignorant I am because I would think that since we are basically a human unit, that some of the same procedures that apply to physical realm would correspond to the mental, emotional and spiritual worlds. But apparently not.
 
Obviously, it’s all right to make drugs illegal and to encourage our children to avoid them–except when they go to the movies or see videos of rock stars or even watch a Superbowl commercial demonstrating how absolutely adorable and cool it is to guzzle a beer with the game. I guess there are people smarter than me who realize that mixed messages do not confuse young minds (or confound older ones). Because I certainly need to sit in a classroom where someone could explain to me how the targeting against cigarettes–to finally the abolition from them being advertised on television–would not also apply to the alcohol industry, which certainly does its best to compete in the death toll.
 
I must be an absolute imbecile–because it just seems to me that  teaching young minds that romance and true human sexuality is best represented by vampires and werewolves is creating a fallacious world of fantasy, if not inviting virulent behavior. For I have this ridiculous notion that adding a bit of violence to sex is what was once believed to be the source of abuse. But apparently I have either missed the boat or, as they say, “that boat just don’t float.”
 
At one time I comprehended that an accumulation of anything creates a flood. But now, as I’m getting older, I am being harkened by my society to believe that certain vices are not nearly as easily accumulated as other ones are. I must be honest, I am baffled by this conclusion. But even in my own family, my children, who were raised with the mercy and tenderness of a loving Jesus and the prayer and belief in God’s desire to intervene in our lives, have grown up with various stages of acceptance of what once we considered to be vices, which now apparently, in small doses, have become permissible, if not virtuous.
 
Let’s look at some of the transitions that have occurred: 
  • Agnosticism is equated with intelligence.
  • Alcohol is promoted in moderation, (with no understanding that there are many who are incapable of such a modulation).
  • Cigarettes continue to be presented in the film industry as a symbol of rebellion, upheaval and “cool,” which are obviously three things that no teenager desires.
  • And violence towards women, or making the female of the species submissive to an aggressor, is certainly put forth as poetic license for the telling of great tales of romantic lure.
I guess I’m just crazy. But I still contend that an accumulation of anything eventually leads to a flood. Is it possible to have a mist, sprinkle or mere shower of violence? Is it feasible to have a drizzle of addiction and vice? This is not for me to judge. But I know that accumulation IS accumulation, and all accumulation eventually floods all of the soil in our hearts, which could have received good seed.
 
I may be a dinosaur, but before I head off to the tar pits, let me say that moderation in all things is a grandiose idea–and one well worth musing. But if you find that you CANNOT be moderate, you need to “rain yourself in” before you are flooded with ideas and tendencies beyond your control.
 
Accumulation is the piling up of anything, which eventually floods our minds.  It takes wisdom to know the difference between a shower and a flood–and it will take some fearless crusaders who are not afraid of public opinion to keep us from drowning ourselves in our own personal choices and liberty.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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