3 Things… February 22nd, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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To Remember if You Find Yourself in the Midst of a School Shooting

1. Don’t worry about your books or obtaining a hall pass

2. Don’t be a hero–get the hell out of there

3. Spend the rest of your life standing against violence in any form

 

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Jesonian … November 25th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Aggressive apathy.

Seems like a contradiction–maybe even what they refer to as an oxymoron. How can apathy be aggressive, when by definition it avoids commitment, conflict or even connection?

But when apathy becomes the path to avoid deeper commitment, it will need to be defended whenever circumstances warrant greater involvement.

Jesus fell victim to aggressive apathy on two nasty occasions–when people chose to disregard and disavow the power of his calling.

Please keep in mind that miracles were a part of Jesus’ ministry. It wasn’t all Biblical text and parables. Yet even though there were certainly signs and wonders that followed him, apathy was still in the works.

The first instance was in Nazareth, when he had the audacity to announce the extent of his calling, the purpose of his message and the power of what was about to ensue to his hometown folks.

What did aggressive apathy do? Personal attacks.

  • “Who does he think he is?”
  • “He’s just the Carpenter’s son.”
  • “He doesn’t even have education.
  • “Why should we listen to him?”

When apathy becomes a communal mindset, it will feel the need to defend itself–sometimes violently. For if you remember the rest of the story, they push Jesus to the edge of a cliff, ready to throw him off and kill him–simply because he suggested that present circumstances were going to be changed.

In a second incident at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus asked a crippled man if he wanted to be healed. The fellow launched into a litany of excuses and complaints about why it was just not plausible. Jesus heals him anyway–and the man ends up turning on Jesus, and rats him out to the Pharisees, who were angry about a healing on the Sabbath.

In both cases, Jesus found himself in danger.

Once apathy has become the charter of a community or a segment of people, they will aggressively use whatever is necessary to maintain their autonomy of blandness.

Jesus said we should learn from his life–and that also includes his mistakes.

As Christians, believers and even artists, we need to understand that once we offer our gifts and our message, if they are met with lukewarm response, to further labor in the malaise of nothingness is to risk triggering aggressive apathy, leaving us ridiculed, if not wounded.

Later on in Jesus’ ministry, he learns from these mistakes.

When the Samaritan village doesn’t want to let him in to minister, he just goes to another town. And when the five thousand depart because he offered a perspective they found distasteful, he doesn’t do anything to chase them down.

Apathy by its nature is not violent. But it is alive–and any living thing will fight back if you try to kill it.

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Jesonian … September 23rd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus got angry.

There’s no doubt about that. The Gospels make it clear that he frequently spilled out his wrath to those around him.

We don’t like this. The mind of the present theological times wholly disagrees because we desperately need to keep Jesus sheepish, quiet and gentle so that he can be the “Lamb of God slain from the foundations of the world.”

What’s amazing is, for a man who was destined to die on a cross, he put up one helluva fight. Let’s take a look at it:

He was angry when they criticized him for healing a man on the Sabbath.

He was angry when he came into the Temple and saw the money-changers cheating the faithful. (Actually, he put together a pre-meditated action of violence by making a whip to use on them for their thievery.)

He was angry at the man by the pool who was healed, who decided to turn Jesus into the scribes and Pharisees.

He was angry at his family when they thought he was crazy, and came out to take him home when he had disconnected from them.

And certainly, when the people of his home town pushed him to the edge of the cliff, it says that he “passed through the midst of them.” Perhaps you were taught that he evaporated and disappeared, but that’s not what is stated. The Bible portrays a man of strength and determination who turned to a mob and pushed his way through them.

We also know that Jesus understood anger because in his Sermon on the Mount, summarizing the Ten Commandments, he explained that the basic struggle in humans is finding a way to deal with anger and lust.

In a man, it is called testosterone. Jesus had plenty. He was not an anemic personality with pale skin, trying to love a world which only understood hate.

He was virile.

He was stubborn.

And when he saw injustice, he attacked it. Sometimes he called people hypocrites. Other times he referred to them as “graves.” And of course, he was not beyond comparing them to Satan.

So we know this: a man who deals with anger also deals with lust. For anger is often what leads us to conceive our lust, and when lust is conceived, it brings forth sin.

Jesus was surrounded by women. Oh, by the way, it wasn’t a “hands off” policy either. They were close to him, they embraced him; they even kissed his feet. It was intimate. Being intimate, the door was always open to seduction.

If the Jesus you worship could never be angry, nor lust after a woman, then you completely misunderstand the purpose for God sending His son to be a human. Being human, he was able to talk to humans–to explain humanity in a human way.

Yet Jesus did not want to be so angry that he destroyed others, and he definitely did not want to use his lust to take advantage of women who had been broken and even demon possessed.

So Jesus did the following:

1. He had three burly bodyguards around him at all times.

We often wonder why Peter, James and John never left his side. They were a trio of intimidating fishermen who scared away assassins, and made sure Jesus was never alone to be tempted by women. It was brilliant.

2. He escaped.

When he became angry or tempted, he went off by himself and navigated his own wrath and lust. He made peace with himself before he made the mistakes.

3. He created equality.

Jesus made sure that he preached the same Gospel to the women and the men. He demanded the same thing from the ladies and the gents. He created equality, which prevented him from favoring the females–coddling them–which could have led to affairs.

No man who treats a woman as an equal will ever accidentally slip and have sex. It’s only when he’s expressing sympathy, or trying to be the “knight in shining armor” to save her from her problems that he gets in trouble.

Jesus dealt with anger and lust.

He did so by refusing to trust himself, but instead, closed the door on the possibility of disaster.

 

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G-Poppers … April 28th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop took a few moments last night to talk to his godson.

The young man is personable, with potential dangling from him, similar to a bunch of electrical cords that need to be plugged in somewhere. Like so many of us, he just doesn’t know which cord goes into which socket.

It begins with a simple understanding: 80% of what we think is born in our fear.

G-Pop wishes he could proclaim that our thoughts are grounded in our faith or our devotion, but it’s not true. Faith, hope and charity have no chance until fear is confronted, tracked down and put in its place. So our thoughts scream from this fear.

Now, 90% of what we fear comes from what we see and hear.

If we surround ourselves with fearful people saying fearful things about a fearful world, we should not expect a great fountain of creativity to spring forth from our souls.

For instance, here’s a simple point about gun control in America: the problem is not the gun. The difficulty lies in the fact that what we see and hear about guns always has them with the barrel pointed at a human. If you go to Canada, you’ll see lots of guns. But they’re pointed at deer and moose. The Canadians don’t have a constant programming of seeing and hearing about guns pointed at other human beings.

In America, we would frown on a gun being pointed at an animal, but our guns are constantly pointed at human beings. Therefore, what we see and hear becomes our fear and our fear becomes what we think. And we think that guns are for killing people, not rabbits.

And the final statistic that G-Pop presents is that 100% of what we see and hear should be our choice.

So you will think from your fear.

Your fear comes from what you see and hear.

And if you sacrifice what you see and hear to what the pundits want to thrust down your throat or what your friends insist will make you cool, you will be at the mercy of the fear that is produced by these visions.

G-Pop’s godson is just like all of us.

He needs to learn that our thinking is controlled by our fear; our fear is manipulated by what we see and hear, so if we take authority over what comes into our eyes and ears, we begin to change our fear to faith and our faith can work to produce love.

Three final points set this in motion:

1. Run from strife.

Whenever you see people fighting for the hell of it, get yourself away.

2. Walk away from gossip.

Gossip is just violence in training.

3. Sit with good cheer.

When you find people who are looking for hope, who are smiling through the difficulties and trying to create unity and joy, sit your butt down.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … April 5th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Crumbling Dream

Hot temper, bitter words

Flying insults, dirty birds

Pent-up snarl from the soul

Heard the half, now here’s the whole

Feelings raw from being hidden

Hell erupts as pain is bidden

To share the anguish of being slighted

Fussy memories, unrequited

Shocked to perceive and be accused

Vehemently denying, yet still refused

Layer upon layer, vicious sound

As our home burns to the ground

Can’t we cease this devastation

And abandon all retaliation?

Or must we struggle to the end

And watch the truth gradually descend

To overwrought exaggeration

White noise buzzing from every station

If no one listens, how can we hear?

Violence threatens, we tremble in fear

Stop the madness, no logic impresses

By ranting about the current messes

I need breath–just some air

You’re so mean, completely unfair

I once loved you with all my heart

So much damage–where can we start?

Yet in the midst of the emotional debris

I still desire a way to be

Your heart again, sweet and real

A tender caress, a path to feel

God forgive us as we scream

And help us save our crumbling dream. 

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Ask Jonathots … November 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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When turning the other cheek, how do you ensure you won’t be slapped twice?

A door has two functions.

If open, it provides access to another possibility.

If closed, it creates curiosity, but also can pass along the impression that what is beyond the barrier is forbidden.

The reason most people fight is because the doors are closed. It’s the main reason that “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” fails to achieve any purpose–because slamming the door in the face of another human being does not mean they won’t try to burst through or close doors in your face.

Retaliation is a never-ending process–unless somebody opens a door.

I have relationships with people who are fruitful, even though they’ve been speckled with egregious conflict and offense. They work because doors are left open.

And I have broken connections with other folks that were halted because the door was slammed on communication, leaving behind a climate of mistrust–a grudge.

When you turn the other cheek, you refuse to slam the door on the possibility of creating peace.

Will someone take advantage of your willingness and slug you again? Perhaps. But if you push back they will certainly follow up their violence with additional attacks.

For after all, there are no guarantees when it comes to interaction with human beings, yet I can promise you that if you slam doors, strike out, or try to get even, you will certainly be in danger of escalating the aggression.

It is in that moment of turning the other cheek, refusing to participate, and allowing for cooler heads to prevail, that you thrust a mirror into the face of your enemy and let him or her see themselves as the villain.

Does it always work? Does anything?

Certainly there are some folks who will continue to beat on you once you stop fighting, but it is not the norm. Usually when you refuse to seek revenge, you will stall the vitriol of others and give them pause to contemplate.

In that moment, more than likely you will avoid the second slapping–and just possibly open the door to conversation. 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … October 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Woman: November, 1976. Forty years ago.

 

Man: That’s before you and I were born.

 

Woman: I know, but they do have history books. You might want to check one out sometime.

 

Man: Why? It’s just a bunch of older people doing the same dumb things we do with less cool clothes.

 

Woman: I assume you’re trying to be funny. Anyway, it was the November issue of Playboy Magazine in 1976, when Jimmy Carter, running for President, made a statement. Everybody was very upset that he did an interview with Playboy. But the admission he made rang out all across the country, reverberating with everything from respect to ridicule.

 

Man: Wait a second–I think I remember this. Something about his heart, and lust.

 

Woman: Yes. When he was asked if he had ever cheated on Rosalynn, he said no, but he had “lusted in his heart.”

 

Man: Where did he get that?

 

Woman: It’s something Jesus said. The quote is, “He that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery in his heart.”

 

Man: That sounds a little “prudey.”

 

Woman: That’s the way you might take it, but it’s not like that–especially with what’s happened in the last 24 hours, with Donald Trump’s comments about women.

 

Man: Absolutely ugly and distasteful.

 

Woman: That’s not what I’m talking about. The real problem is that equality between the sexes cannot be achieved as long as men see a woman and think “lust” and women are grateful for that, or even proud to be show horses.

 

Man: But there has to be an attraction between the sexes.

 

Woman: Yes, but a man can’t look on a woman just to lust after her and think we’re going to progress the race. It is a setup for inconsideration, abuse, violence, rape and even murder.

 

Man: I see. Because if his intentions are rejected, then he feels that she’s failed to fulfill her part of the bargain by being available.

 

Woman: Exactly. So you see, the problem is not what Donald Trump says, but the way we try to isolate it off and pretend he’s the only one who feels this way, by insisting that men have only one thing on their minds.

 

Man: And therefore, women have one thing on their minds–to try to fulfill that mental image of “sexy” so as to gain importance and worth.

 

Woman: So the key here is, how can we look on each other as people, knowing that in the process, every once in a while some passion and lust will rise up, but it will be based on a mutual understanding.

 

Man: It’s funny–most people would listen to what Jesus said and think he was a tight-assed religionist. But really, he was a humanist trying to get the male and female to honor one another without demanding the initiation of physical intimacy.

 

Woman: You hit it right on the head. So my prayer is that through this discussion about Donald Trump, we’ll get to the real root cause of inequality.

 

Man: Let me guess–until men know that the greatest way to welcome a woman is to include her emotionally, spiritually and mentally, we will continue to have flagrant outbursts from jerks who misuse women to prove their virility.

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