G-Poppers … December 16th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop sat quietly, listening intently as his grandson related a story about one of the young students at the school.

The little fellow had turned into quite a “preacher,” sharing his feelings about the best way to handle things and get along. He told G-Pop’s grandson that “you have to be a little mean to get what you want.”

The grandson was obviously bewildered by the comment, considering how contrary it was to the thoughts of his family–but impressed enough that G-Pop felt the need to input.

So after the grandson finished his tale, G-Pop shared.

“It comes down to a pair of words: toy and two. Actually, it comes down to what each of those letters represent. See, your young friend thinks the most important thing in life is to get what you want. But what if you don’t know what you want? Or what if you’re wrong? We don’t want to live in a world where the meanest and strongest control everything. So there has to be a better way.

So take the word toy. T-O-Y. It stands for ‘Tough On Yourself.’ And T-W-O represents ‘Tender With Others.’

By what you say, this young man believes that he should be tough on other people and tender with himself. It might sound good, but you see, if everybody did that, there would always have to be a big batch of losers for there to be a whole bunch of winners.

So what happens if the losers are upset? What if they want to get even? What if you’re in the middle of a ‘win’ and suddenly you’re attacked? Or what happens if you’re afraid?

Your job is to be tough on yourself. Not unforgiving. Not mean to your own feelings. Just putting more of a challenge on yourself than other people, because you are the only person you can affect.

And then be tender with others. Surprise them. Forgive them. Cut them slack. Be prepared to have a little extra in case they need it. Because you have to decide if you want to win once or twice, or if you want to live with a winning spirit.

You can conquer people, but you can’t make them like it. But if you conquer your own fears while showing mercy to others for theirs, you will always be loved and valuable.

Stay tough on yourself. Be tender with others. Without this, you’re just waiting for the next fight.”

The grandson looked at G-Pop and nodded his head. It wasn’t clear whether he understood everything.

But it appeared he understood enough.

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WINona … October 5, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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lightAfter my show in Circleville, Ohio, a woman asked me where I was heading. I told her I was going to Winona. She frowned and inserted, “Winona? Are you kidding? They don’t even have a stop light.” (I was completely unaware that having a stop light was the new criterion for village viability.)

But I guess everybody has standards for what they think is normal in their surroundings. I personally like the fact that Winona has “WIN” as the first three letters of its name. I know it’s a little silly, but I believe a bit of mirth is necessary in our lives to keep us from becoming dark “doodis” or “doodats.”

And that got me thinking about the word “win.” I think we have the mistaken idea in our society that some people are born winners and the rest are innately losers. I don’t agree. I think there are easy things we can do which cause us to chalk our efforts into the win column more than in the loss. Actually, these steps are so simple that people might consider them to be trivial. But it might be a mistake to call something ridiculous until you put it into practice and find out how the wheel rolls.Winona UMC

What will I tell the good folks of Winona this weekend, encouraging them to win instead of lose?

1. Stop blaming other people. One sure way to lose control in your life is to insist that someone else holds the key to your success, which they have swallowed and you are now waiting for it to come out their back side. I am tired of finger-pointing, folks with their noses out of joint, and stiff-necked grown-ups who just don’t take personal responsibility for their own actions. Do you want to do something really exciting? Blow everybody’s mind and take the blame for something you DIDN’T do. It gives you the power to change the circumstances while feeling free from the guilt.

2. Do one thing better. Don’t try to change your whole life. Just find one thing that comes up every day and do it with a bit more flair, finesse, attention and care. It will be noticeable. Acting like you are trapped in your own haplessness with no remedy guarantees that you will stay a failure and have those around you testify to your inefficiency. How can you advertise being a loser? Act disappointed, depressed and dismal. All of your friends and enemies will fill in the blanks.

3. And finally, to chalk one up for a win: Be of good cheer. All losers have three things in common. They’re grumpy, they’re glum and they’re gloomy.

Just removing these three things from your life and replacing them with a bit of humor and perspective sets you apart from the masses, which are determined to paint all dark brown rooms black.

That’s what I will share with the good folks of Winona. I will tell them to cease to be ashamed of their lack of a stop light and instead:

  • Stop blaming other people
  • Do one thing better
  • And be of good cheer.

In that way they will be able to live up to the first three letters in their name.

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Are Human Beings Basically Bad? … February 23, 2012

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It was Trent’s fourth birthday. As excited as he was about the presents and the upcoming party at  Chuck E. Cheese, what was really revving his emotional engine was the prospect of going to the park and being allowed to go to the playground on his own. Dad would be nearby–but Trent would finally be allowed to play to his heart’s content without a parent hovering over his shoulder.
 
Independence. Trent was thrilled. Arriving at the park, he leaped from the car and ran towards the playground, with all of its contraptions and possibilities. Dad perched himself on a bench nearby, reading a newspaper and sipping some coffee. It was less than ten minutes later that a woman came running towards Papa, asking him if he had a little boy on the playground. She explained that his son, Trent, had just knocked down her little daughter for no good reason.
 
Dad immediately ran over to the location of the accosting and asked Trent what had happened. At first he would not respond. So Dad threatened to take Trent away from the playground–to punishment at home. Finally, with bitter tears drizzling down his cheeks, Trent replied, “She knew how to make all the stuff on the playground work and I didn’t! So I knocked her down.”
 
Dad suddenly realized what the problem was. Even though Trent was old enough to be on the playground, because he had never used any of the equipment on his own, he was unfamiliar with how to do it right. So instead of admitting his need or watching other kids and following suit, he decided to strike out.
 
You see, friends, that is the birthing of all “bad.” Even though there are many religious people who contend that human beings are born with original sin, Jesus disagreed. He said that little children were the citizenry of heaven.  He compared them to angels. No one is born bad. No one is flawed from birth with any permanent predisposition to anything–unless they relent to it.
 
That may not be a popular view, but the alternative philosophy renders us at the mercy of either a juggernaut of genetics or a religious doctrine of human depravity. The difference between good and bad in human beings is really quite simple. If people don’t know what they’re doing and they’re not humble enough to admit it, learn from others and appreciate those teachers, they will eventually do something to hurt the folks around them–and even themselves.
 
Here is what makes human beings bad:
1. They become angry because they don’t understand. The predominant motivation for anger in our lives is a lack of comprehension about how things really work without the pursuit of a greater insight on the issue. Just like Trent, we are thrust on the playground without adequate instruction. In other words, it’s easier to be pissed off than it is to acquire knowledge.
2. They don’t understand because they refuse to imitate. I don’t know about you–when I’m baffled about something, I just look around for anybody who’s been there before and try to copy off their paper. I don’t want to look stupid and end up angry. Yet there is a silly and sappy notion in the hearts of human beings that appearing vulnerable–in need of input–makes us look ridiculous. Just for the record, I am a man, but I always stop and ask for directions. If I need help carrying something, I will not strain my legs or break my back to do it. Bad and evil enter the human heart when we refuse to honor our need for aid.
3. And the reason we don’t imitate is that we were taught that it’s weak to do so. I cannot think of any greater reason that evil flourishes except that people are frightened of appearing less. It’s how Hitler controlled Germany. They were a country beset by difficulties after World War I and he taught them that they were a super-race that needed to rule the world, and dispelled all notions of need. It doesn’t do any good to preach a gospel that says “the meek shall inherit the earth;” “when we are weak we are strong;” and “confess your faults one to another,” when the brunt of society is screaming “self-esteem” and “self-reliance.” You can take perfectly good people and ruin their lives by convincing them they should be angry because they don’t understand, and see them continue to misunderstand because they fear imitating others–because the imitation of others would be a sign of weakness.
 
Can it really be that simple? Absolutely. All “bad people” are angry because they don’t understand; they don’t understand because they don’t want to imitate, and they were taught not to imitate because it made them look weak.  So are people naturally bad? Are they born in original sin? No. It is an outgrowth of a foolish rendition of pride in one’s work which leaves out a learning curve and garnering knowledge from others.
 
Here, on the other hand, is how you make good people. Teach them to:
 
1. Watch for winners. Look out for folks who are doing it right and get to the business of studying their procedure. It would be  wonderful if we actually would follow “what would Jesus do”–if we would first study the style of Jesus. But instead, we assume that Jesus would react like the typical American. He doesn’t. If you want to be a “good person,” you’ve got to start watching for winners and turning your back on the losers.
2. Appreciate and apply. When you come across a winner, make sure you walk up and congratulate him or her on the discovery and then honor the effort by applying it in your own life. I am not a rock–I am a sponge. When I see good things happening, I absorb them. When I read the scriptures and there’s something in there that is tender-hearted towards humanity, I own it. I appreciate and express thankfulness, and then I apply it in my own life as a tribute to the beauty. There is no goodness in life without imitating powerful ideas.
3. And finally, be grateful to your brothers and sisters. Not every meaningful experience in your life will happen in your own family or genetic lineage. You will need emotional and spiritual boosts from many travelers. So when you meet people for the first time, instead of treating them as strangers, be prepared to receive fresh spirit from their journey. Be grateful for your brothers and sisters.
 
So are people basically “bad?”  No–they have to be taught to be angry because they don’t understand, and to refuse to understand because they don’t want to imitate, and that imitation makes them feel weak.
 
But as for me and my house, we’re going to watch for winners, appreciate those champions, apply those precepts into our lives and be grateful for all of our brothers and sisters. The choice is ours–as it should be.
 
People aren’t bad; ignorance is bad–especially when it’s backed up with arrogance and cemented by reverence.
 
So that’s the first step in our I.G.P.–evaluating our society on intelligence, growth and progress. So what’s the next question? What shall we talk about on the morrow? How about this one:
 
Is God mean?
 
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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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