G-Poppers … February 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There’s no upside to horror.

After seventeen bodies lay in a schoolyard, riddled with bullets, any attempt to assign valor, purpose or mission to such a scene of mayhem is sacrilegious.

G-Pop insists that three things should never be stated:

A. “They’re in a better place.”

No mortal can say such a thing for certain. Since we have not navigated the oceans of eternity, we should be careful touting our knowledge from our port of bewilderment.

B. “There were heroes.”

There are no heroes in a murder spree. There are people who die, people who intelligently run and people who feel compelled in the moment to step in and try to stop the craziness. All of them are victims.

C. “No one saw it coming.”

Liars.

Rather than getting worked up into a froth over gun control, sit down and understand the process of what causes someone to reach a point where they unleash bullets into the bodies of their brothers and sisters.

There is a fourteen-step process. Yes, at any point in the fourteen steps, these killers can be stopped.

1. “I’m disturbed.”

You know the crazies in your family. Take care of them.

2. “I’m disturbing others.”

Disturbed people are not satisfied with a solitude of pain. They want notice, attention and to inflict heartache on others.

3. “I insist on being the victim.”

Disturbed people who are disturbing others will accuse them of bullying and mistreatment.

4. “I threaten.”

This is the first sign that the soul of the human in front of you is beginning to disintegrate.

5. “I am drenched in self-pity.”

Look for lack of hygiene, wearing dark clothes, smelling bad on purpose, grimacing and hiding away.

6. “I plot.”

Not the final plot–just ways to communicate that everyone is crazy and he is misunderstood.

7. “I intimidate.”

Sometimes it’s animals. Sometimes a next-door little boy, but they always go through this phase of domination.

8. “I write warnings.”

Read their Facebook. See the journal they scribble in. It will be filled with rancor and hate.

9. “I purchase a weapon.”

10. “I practice.”

11. “I am arrogant and brag about my gun.”

12. “I wait for the right moment, which will seem logical to me for committing my insane action.”

13. “I warn.”

There’s always someone who’s told.

14. “I kill.”

Pursuing gun control is a piece of liberal propaganda to pass the responsibility for the poor mental health of many of our young people on to the National Rifle Association.

You can’t tell grown-ups in America what they can’t have or do.

But you realize that disturbed people go through a definitive process before they kill. The children in Parkland knew who the shooter was long before anyone told them. Why weren’t the grown-ups listening?

Every young person in America, along with his or her SAT scores, should have to pass a basic mental health exam before going to high school and then college. Maybe before high school.

It is not an intrusion–it is an inclusion which will protect them and those around them from the screaming demons that want to release hell.

 

 

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Good News and Better News … October 17th, 2016

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good-news-essexville-window

An explosion.

When an atomic bomb strikes Earth, those within a 25-mile radius are annihilated. The other folks who survive the initial blast are left behind as victims of a radioactive fallout that drifts from the skies, absorbed into the bloodstream, producing a delayed, miserable demise.

On November 9th, all the “bombing” that has been done by this Presidential election will be completed and we will have a new leader. There will be some cynical laughter from pundits about how “nasty” the campaign was and how good it will be to get back to normal

But it won’t be normal.

good-news-essexville-jon-mouthThe fallout from this mayhem will follow us and haunt us, creating tiny little tombs in our consciousness and interactions.

This was heavy on my mind yesterday–as I became the blessed soul allowed to share his heart at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Essexville, Michigan. Being the beneficiary of a warm embrace of welcome from Pastor Eric and the congregation, I realized that very soon these precious human beings will have to emerge from the bomb shelter of this contentious season of politics, and try to resume mission as followers of Jesus.

I hope they will be aware enough to notice the symptoms from the poison that remains after such a cataclysmic event. Because our country will struggle for some time–to regain gentleness, kindness, awareness and love.

All of these necessary virtues have been challenged during this back-and-forth exchange between the political parties, taunting us into believing that such tenderness is a thing of the past, insufficient for achieving modern goals.good-news-essexville-piano

So knowing that we’re going to have a couple more weeks of the bombardment, let us start protecting ourselves–making sure that the fallout does not poison our hopes.

1. Let’s be gentle.

“I think about how it feels for other people before I do it.”

2. Don’t forget kind.

“I’m always looking for a way to bless.”

3. Awareness.

“I’m not alone on this planet, so it’s a good idea to bring two of something–just in case my neighbor forgot.”

4. Loving

“I take the time, energy and intuition to rid myself of the fear that makes me ill-prepared to be a contributor to the common good.”

good-news-essexville-janMuch thanks to the folks in Essexville.

But like your namesake, Dr. Luke, you need to be prepared to be healers.

So the good news is, the strafing is nearly over.

The better news is: we will survive the fallout through gentleness, kindness, awareness and love.

 

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… June 24th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn June 24th

green divider

Welcome to Emanuel

Welcome, my son, to the Father’s place,

Sit right down and find your space

We embrace you as a brother true

And hope you receive–your faith renew

Your color is different but we don’t care

Come and join, we’ve much to share

Perhaps you have heard about our race

We see some fear etched on your face

We are you and you are us

Sit right down–no time to fuss

We’re studying the Book, a word to pray

We’re trying to find what God might say

Consider this your home, rest a spell

Don’t you leave ’til all is well

But a festering anger prompts you to stand

Pointing a gun you hold in your hand

Threatening those you’ve learned to hate

Acting out an unrighteous fate

Firing once, twice, ten … so much

Pierced and wounded by the banging touch

We fall to the earth to rise to the sky

Victors through love, yet victims of the lie

That some are better by color than others

Instead of created as sisters and brothers

So walk away from your killing spree

Yet bound to this moment you always will be

But we will soar above the pain

Sound in soul from a world insane

Welcome, my son, we shall meet again,

In a realm redeemed from the bigotry of sin.

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The Alphabet of Us: R is for Repent… April 6, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2553)

Building block R

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

“It’s not my fault.”

Those words sound so sweet to my ears whenever I suddenly find myself cramped up with guilt over some piece of stupidity which has caught up with me and now demands my full attention.

Matter of fact, the sentiment of “it’s not my fault” is so popular that both the religious and the secular communities have adapted it into their own particular mission statements.

In the secular world, it’s, “Relax. You were born that way.”

In the religious community, it becomes, “Relax. You were born again this way, and grace covers your sins.”

Humanity seemingly takes a deep breath of gratitude and resumes activities without change.

Yet a humanity appeased never finds real peace.

70+ years of daily life requires much more attention than a simple Hallmark-card-statement of “I’m OK.”

  • Successful people repent.
  • Losers make excuses.

But what is repentance? What does it mean to repent? Are we talking about crying and confessing our deep-rooted faults in front of some priest or counselor? Is repentance kneeling before God to admit your frailty and weakness?

Actually, a spiritual and historical look at repentance offers us a three-fold, interwoven process:

1. Come to myself.

Nothing happens in our lives without personally discovering the reality of our lacking on our own. Whether you’re speaking of the Prodigal Son or a criminal who decides to turn himself in to avoid the ongoing pain of running from the law, there is a moment in each case when they realize that they’re better off admitting the truth of the situation than continuing to avoid revelation.

2. Come to others.

There is an abiding principle that lingers in the truth of all time, which informs us that it is useless to try to have a relationship with God unless you have first mended your relationship with your fellow-humans.

We must always recall that we are to be reconciled with those who are angry with us before we bring our gift to any altar for spiritual redemption.

I first owe it to myself to admit my weakness; then I owe it to those I have offended, to let them know that I have made a discovery and I’m on the mend.

3. And finally, come to God.

Even after coming into synchronicity with reality, having acknowledged my error and then sharing it with those who were affected, I still need to be cleansed of my unrighteousness in order to resume a life of good cheer.

Without good cheer, self-pity will soon wrangle me to the ground for a repeat performance of my foolishness.

If you are human, you cannot live without the valuable transformation to repent.

But to repent, you have to reject all notions that you have no fault in the matter, come to yourself, come to others and then come to God … to be washed whiter than snow.

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Populie: Poor, Poor People … September 3, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2341)

bread line

The most wealthy woman I have ever known once complained to me that she was having difficulty meeting her needs.

I realized at that point that poverty is not merely a state of finance, but more often than not, a state of mind.

So it is popular to believe that there are poor people.

The populie comes when we say poor, poor people. It stimulates the sensation of pity. Unfortunately, pity is a two-edged sword.

There is pity that manifests itself as, “I feel so sorry for those homeless and impoverished souls.”

And then there is pity that proclaims, “Look at those people. I’m sure glad I’m not like them.”

They share one thing in common: they turn fellow-human beings into victims.

And once we victimize people, it is very easy to marginalize them and make them less important, or even worse, non-human.

Even though we profess to be a socially aware populace, we still subject those who are less fortunate to live in communities where there are more drugs, more liquor stores and no groceries available without paying a high price and selecting unhealthy foods.

Religion loves “poor, poor people” because it gives them a constituency. It grants them a congregation which is so dependent on mercy that they have to come to church, pray and believe in God.

Politics loves the issue because it divides people between believing we can solve the poverty issue and insisting that poverty is caused by laziness. Go to the booth and cast your vote.

Entertainment–well, entertainment loves it any time that it can box people up into categories and postulate on the extremes of the situation, to develop a dramatic or comedic outcome.

“The poor you will have with you always.”

  • Poverty is not going away.
  • We’re not going to wipe it out in our lifetime.
  • There’s no vaccine against it, nor medication to cure it.

Every chance we get, we should do what we can for others without becoming obsessed with the need. Here’s what is necessary to relieve yourself of the emotional, spiritual, mental and physical presence of poverty:

1. Change your location.

If you were a farmer planting seed in a field that bore no crops, you would certainly hunt out new ground. I have seen people improve their prosperity simply by moving. We have a tendency to surround ourselves with people in a similar plight to our own. This breeds a lack of motivation. Make a new plan, Stan, and hit the road, Jack.

2. Refuse pity.

Every time someone tries to be kind to me by feeling sorry for me, I reject it. Sometimes they’re offended, but usually they are so relieved that they don’t have to continue to be my support system that we actually become better friends.

Pity is offering to put you into a cave. Refuse it. Have an idea. And keep your faith.

3. Work your best.

Don’t wait for someone to give you something to do. You will always end up with what they don’t want to do.

Find out what you’re good at and start doing it–even if it’s in a small way–so people can find you, encourage you and use you to perform the duty for them.

Stop experimenting on things you hope for and start perfecting what you know.

“Poor, poor people” is the populie. It’s a formula for keeping people poor.

The only truly spiritual way to treat poverty is to do what you can for folks while you encourage them to go out and do what they can for themselves.

 

 

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

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Populie: You’ve Got to Play the Game … August 20, 2014

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monoplyThere is a popular assertion by the masses that “life is a game.” It is usually accompanied by the rallying cry–which is also a lie–that “you’ve got to play the game.”

Thus a populie.

Now, religion, politics and entertainment don’t always have to agree on a premise for it to gain popularity. Sometimes they disagree, which generates great tension, and therefore, press coverage.

So religion loves to believe that the world is kind of a bad place and the poor sheep must be careful not to be consumed by the evil lurking in every direction, thus giving their congregations the benefit of both being morally superior while also potentially victims.

Entertainment loves to bounce between promoting the game and criticizing the game of life, placing itself into the position of being the arbiter.

And of course, politicians love to portray their opponents as gamesmen, and themselves as “the straight arrows of truth.”

Oh, forgive me. I failed to mention what the game is. Here it is in a nutshell:

  1. Get mine
  2. Get it fast
  3. Get going.

We are convinced that life is much more exciting when we acquire what we need–perhaps to the detriment of others. It turns us into a vicious, nasty, grouchy, backbiting lot, always paranoid about the intentions of the folks around us, and never quite satisfied when we do achieve our goals because we’re afraid they’ll be stolen from us by those who want to “get theirs, get it fast and get going.”

So once you believe in this game you never have a moment of rest, because you are either involved in the pursuit or else cladding yourself in armor, to protect your valuables.

You can imagine–I disagree.

I will refrain from calling my idea a game. Rather, it is a lifestyle. It is as follows:

  1. Get mine.
  2. Get yours
  3. Get moving

There’s nothing wrong with me pursuing mine first, as long as I am willing to give the same passion, doorway and opportunity to you, to acquire yours. As a result, I make an ally instead of an enemy. I’m acquiring a comrade instead of competition.

So perhaps when we go on our next adventure we can do it together. We can get it for both of us, and get moving much more effectively.

The cynical American would insist that I’m opening my life up, to be decimated by the greedy. But I would point out that the greedy individuals in life don’t need me to open up in order to eliminate me.

I would rather make the choice.

As long as you believe that the game is about garnering your portion and being gleeful that someone else failed, you are just waiting for a bigger bus to come along and strike you down.

I don’t believe in the game.

I will not play the game.

I will get mine, and through that process have the confidence to help you get yours, so we can get moving … together.

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

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

 

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.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Three Things … June 10, 2013

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According to the present opinion of our news pundits, politicians and even those we deem to be cultural experts, Little Rock, Arkansas and Carlyle, Illinois would have very little in common.

That assertion is maintained so as to keep us separated, at odds and hopefully placed in unique demographics, making marketing more profitable to those who want us to “cherry pick” with each other and hopefully, purchase their items. Yes, they like us to be fighting–then they can play off of that aggravation to market their cause.

To hell with that.

I hope that doesn’t offend your sensibilities, and if it does, please understand that I mean it literally. There are certain things that need to be cast into the pit of hell, with the door slammed shut quickly so that the backdraft from the fire and stink won’t blow us all away. One of those is the prejudice promoted in our country in order to keep us from embracing one another as brothers and sisters.

Here’s the truth. Clayton would like Keith. Lisa would enjoy Jo Ann. Jonathan would really appreciate Michael. Rachel would have great conversations with Terry. Lucius would chatter for hours with Miguel. As long as they didn’t remind themselves that they were from different parts of the country, and maybe politically a bit variant from each other, they could have the time of their lives fellowshipping.

‘We are desperately in need of leaders who are committed to uniting us. But uniting us over what?

I think three things are necessary in order to have a spiritual, cultural and emotional revolution in this country. If we could agree over this trio of precepts, we could tackle many of our difficulties without ever producing a battle of human egos.

1. NoOne is better than anyone else. Of course, we don’t really believe that. We have all been raised to be prejudiced in some way. Most of us contend that looking down over one’s nose is just another way of saying, “Hold you head up high.” But if we can catch ourselves in those moments when we prefer one group over another or we begin to posture in our self-righteousness, we are on the road to renewal and revival

2. God is our Father. Any attempt to portray God as anything other than a parallel to a really good earthly father is a waste of time. Making God “Almighty,” or turning Him into the Infinite Spirit only creates an intimidating presence or an ill-defined personage. Jesus lived his life and even died for the purpose of showing us that God is a Father.

Matter of fact, he said, “No one comes unto the Father but by me.” I don’t know if there are other paths to the  God of the Universe. But the only way to embrace our sonship and daughterhood is to accept our Father. We waste our time when we study Old Testament theology to find a God who would really just like to be our daddy.

3. And finally, Jesus was human. Once we escape the parlor tricks of theologically attempting to make Jesus BOTH divine and human, we arrive at Jesus of Nazareth–who was filled with the holy spirit but lived a completely human life, “tempted as we are in every way.” This means that just like us, Jesus carried his cross by faith. He didn’t have an unseen advantage and God did not “false advertise” his humanity by inserting magic tricks inside him. The same spirit that dwelled in Jesus can live in us. When we try to make Jesus too hip or too old, we lose Jesus. He was our elder brother, who came to show us how to be human–not a God-replacement, trying to help us become more godly.

I saw no difference between the people I relished in Little Rock, Arkansas and those I so ferociously enjoyed in Carlyle, Illinois. When we get tired of being victims of a society determined to keep us at odds, we can decide for ourselves what we agree upon and begin to launch on those ideas. We can once and for all know that:

  • NoOne is better than anyone else
  • God is our Father
  • And Jesus was human–just like us.

It will give us the balance we need–the wonderful blending of power and humility.

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