G-Poppers … September 25th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Practicing: working on something to get it to where you want it to be.

Practicing piano, football, dance, law–each one has a process. Each has a defined path which determines quality.

So let’s look further:

  • Practicing Judaism.
  • A practicing Muslim.
  • Practicing Buddhism.
  • A practicing Republican.
  • A practicing Democrat.
  • A practicing atheist.
  • A practicing Christian.

No difference?

In each case, there is a philosophy, a platform, a journey, an insight, a doctrine or a purpose which has to be acted out faithfully in order for the practitioner to be proven worthy.

G-Pop feels that we err when we think the conclusion of all the organizations and religions listed above are moving in the same direction. As ignorant as it is to be intolerant, it is equally as ignorant to be unaware of what the end result is to the religions, politics and procedures around us.

To find out what a Muslim believes, you have to study Mohammed. He is their prophet.

To find out what a Jew believes, you must combine the Torah with the prophets, and a study of the Jewish kings.

To understand a Buddhist, one must consider Buddha.

A Republican is comprehended by looking at the climate of the Party in its present form and also perusing the platform.

Likewise with a Democrat.

An atheist seems to make it quite clear that his or her pursuits are absent any recognition of a deity.

So it may seem to be intelligent or even high-minded to throw everybody in a big pot and say we’re all the same, but as long as the people in that pot believe they are unique or even superior, then you’re not making a human stew–just a pot with stewing humans.

Even as G-Pop looks at his life as a Christian, he sees that it falls into three categories:

Is he a Judeo-Christian, believing that the Old Testament has as much anointing as the New Testament?

Is he a Catholic Christian, in the sense of finding his solace in the teachings of the Roman Church and the authority of the Pope?

Or is he a Pauline Christian, pursuing the instruction of the Apostle Paul as regards the formation of a New Testament congregation?

G-Pop offers a fourth alternative: Jesonian–basing one’s faith and practice on the heart and mind of Jesus.

So before you condemn others–or condone them–sit down and read up a little bit on what they treasure, and realize that in the eyes of God there are only two standards for a civilized and spiritual society:

1. How do we treat women?

Are they equals or subordinate in any way?

2. How do we educate our children?

Do we lock them into a narrow-minded curriculum, force them into a limited culture or give them more of a world-based view?

G-Pop passes this information along to all of his children.

“Study to show yourself approved unto God.” Don’t make so many blanket statements.

Understand who and what you’re talking about, and realize that what people practice they will not only preach … they will also act out.

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Three Ways of Becoming What You Want to Become by Realizing What You Became… September 25, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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yelling

Three huge bombs land on each and every one of us, exploding across our consciousness, leaving the fallout hanging in the air as we try to piece together the substance of what we call our “adult life.”

Peers, parents and puberty.

Long before we have the intensity, intelligence and ingenuity to separate right from wrong, smart from dumb, spiritual from ridiculous and cool from uncool, we are inundated and pressured by these three weapons, to submit to the “common norm.”

With our peers, our emotions are tangled, frustrated and jumbled by insecure fellow-travelers, who are groping for superiority, often by trying to make us feel less. In the process we develop deep-rooted insecurities, which bring bag and baggage to travel a lifetime.

Then there’s our parents. Although they do their best, their best is contingent on what has been done to them. Obviously, that falls into various degrees of miscommunication. Yet when these people hold the keys to your clothing, your housing, your food and your self-confidence, you tend to listen to them very intently.

And to top it off, here comes puberty. For a wonderful eleven years of life, men and women exist as equals–playing, laughing and working side-by-side–when suddenly they are grabbed by the pimp of nature, thrown to the ground and given an overdose estrogen or testosterone, placing them in a stupor with one another, often creating volatile conclusions.

The greatest thing you can do for yourself is admit you are being held hostage by this trio of conspirators.

So what is your next step?

1. I am prejudiced.

If you cannot admit this, you will never be able to understand that none of us possess a world view until we pursue it on our own. It is not taught in the classroom, it is not passed along in Sunday school and it certainly isn’t required in the locker room.

Learn the difference among these three words: prejudice, bigotry, racism.

  • Prejudice: “I was taught that people are different.”
  • Bigotry: “I believe people are different.”
  • Racism: “I am so confident that people are different that I will teach others.”

If we focus on the difference in people, we quietly assume our own superiority. Once that is propagated, war is inevitable.

2. You are prejudiced.

Yes, I need to cut you some slack. You had a blitzkrieg of the same bombings that hit me. I need to give you a chance to discover your prejudice even if it happens to be against me.

The definition of mercy is the realization that the person standing before me is just as confused as I am, and should be given as much time for growth as I would request.

3. Let’s do a rewrite on the script.

Yes, your life has been scripted. From the time you were a tiny tot, people were telling you what you should be, how you should do it and when you should do it. Being able to reject all of these “voices in the wilderness” is virtually impossible.

Rewrite the script.

And the only way to do that is to purposefully turn away from the crowd, tune your ears from the shouting and listen to your own heart and the Spirit of God.

You cannot become anything until you discover what you already became.

This is the true essence of maturity: putting away peers, parents, puberty … and all the other childish things.

 

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telePATHy … June 3, 2012

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“A Christian nation.”

That phrase is often thrown around–especially in political seasons–as evidence of the good intentions and mission of the United States of America. Actually, it would be valuable to the world if there were a country which followed the principles and heart’s desire of Jesus of Nazareth. It would help to create a better world view and with the dialogue between nations. But in the history of the USA are Puritans, slavery and settlers. It infiltrates our thinking with concepts of judgmentalism, feeling superior to others and settling for less than our very best.

I’m not trying to connote that these three blemishes on our record comprise the spirit that inhabits our country. But they linger. In our historical photo album there are snapshots of these notorious cousins and illegitimate children.

If we want to gain true spirituality and a world view which will place us in a position of true power, granted because of wisdom, we must counteract the Puritan part of our history by initiating good apathy. “Don’t judge or you will be judged–and the measure you put on other people will be put back on you.” That’s good apathy.

And if we want to overcome the stain of slavery, it would be of great benefit to pursue empathy. “NoOne is better than anyone else.” Feeling superior is the best way to start a fight and feeling inferior is the best way to lose one.

If we want to sidestep a tendency to be merely settlers, it will be necessary for us to have sympathy. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” It is just an understanding that before we snatch something away from another person or force our will into any given situation, we must have a burst of conscience which projects our own feelings into the dilemma so that we understand how the other person will surely respond.

Can I tell you this? If you don’t judge other people, remaining apathetic to their choices, and you refuse to believe you’re better than the folks around you and you show mercy, knowing that it’s the only way to obtain it for yourself, you could live successfully in any country of the world. There are no laws against such choices. On the other hand, if you’re a Puritan who has an opinion on everything, with a history of owning slaves in your own family (which you deny) and you tend to settle for things without considering other people’s feelings, you will quickly become an enemy in any culture.

Now, there is a final gift imparted to those souls who actually develop the apathy to stop judging, the empathy to never feel superior and the sympathy to show mercy to others. Once you allow those three things into your life you are bestowed telepathy. The definition? “Communication from one mind to another.” We usually tie it to extra-sensory perception, but it really isn’t. Once you free your mind of the time-absorbing activities of judging others, establishing your superiority and figuring out how you’re going to settle in and take someone else’s portion, your brain has the capacity to feel and sense what’s needed next.

Jesus referred to it as “going the second mile.” There are some people who not only do what is required of them but have the sensibility to know that a little extra added on for excellence will guarantee that the work doesn’t have to be done again and again. When you’re not judging other people it’s so much easier to notice what they really need or want. When you’re not thinking you’re better than another race or group of human beings, you can pause to consider what next lies on their path and how you can help. And when you’ve decided not to settle for what is available but instead, produce your own, your talents are heightened and you are prepared to do more without grumbling and complaining.

Yes, it is possible to communicate from one mind to another if those minds are not clouded by Puritan ideas, notions of slavery and settling for taking what isn’t yours.

This is the PATH:

  • Apathy: “I will not judge anyone else because I don’t want to be judged. I will not participate in gossip and criticism.”
  • Empathy:NoOne is better than anyone else.” To believe any other philosophy is an edict of war against the people we contend are our lessers.
  • Sympathy: “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” Before I assume I have the right to take something, I should try those emotions on myself like a suit of clothing and see how they fit. And finally:
  • The gift of telepathy: Since our thinking is freed from the constriction of being an enemy of others, we can therefore be granted insight into their minds, which allows us to go the second mile and do more than expected instead of less.

The greatest gift you can give to your country as a patriot is to take on the true spirituality of Jesus and in the process, acquire a world view. If not, you will find yourself at the mercy of the ghosts of our past, which made us believe that women were witches, black men were monkeys and Native Americans were savages.

Find the PATH. Adhere to the PATH. Walk the PATH. Trust the PATH to take you to a sense of true spirituality and the great gift of emulating your Heavenly Father, who loved the whole world so much that He gave us the PATH.

 

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aPATHy … May 31, 2012

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Puritans.

They were some of the first souls to settle on the shores of the new America. As the story goes, they climbed into a ship and crossed waters to escape religious persecution in their homeland. I’m sure there is truth to this. But here is what I know about persecution–there is real persecution, brought on by people who are mean-spirited and want to make sure everybody is just like them. And then there is a perceived persecution of those who have their own intolerance and are eventually ostracized by others for being cranky and belligerent.

We may never know the whole story—but somewhere between those two definitions for “persecution” lies the truth about the Puritans. Because they didn’t get their name because they spent their time keeping nasty things out of their churning butter. They got their name because they deemed spirituality to be best expressed by attributes of the flesh instead of attitudes of the heart. Otherwise they would never have put people in stocks for committing small indiscretions, or, for that matter, have burned women as witches because they were somewhat different from the other lasses in town.

Puritanism is in the cultural genetics of the United States of America. It has been in-bred into our thinking, cross-sects most racial barriers and certainly is absorbed into all the states of the Union. It makes us overly conscious of the actions of others, burning them in a cauldron of gossip, while proclaiming that we’re doing so for righteousness’ sake. We have become a nation of busy-bodies who are fascinated with sin, while simultaneously wanting to publicly crucify it.

I was raised with this. My mother and father were absolutely delightful inhabitants of a small town in Ohio, frightened of any kind of newness, freshness or difference that might  creep into our community and taint our mediocrity. Therefore being a Puritan is inside me. I can never become truly spiritual and gain a world view—which Jesus wanted me to possess—until I acknowledge that my spiritual DNA has been infused with the mutation of Puritan probing, and therefore my opinions are suspect, if not downright rancid.

I can cite to you the day I became a man. I was fifteen years old, sitting in a church service, when some gentleman from the board of elders began to recite what he perceived to be the evils of a person who was not present at the gathering. I became so thoroughly disgusted that I quietly stood to my feet and walked out of the room. I lost a little bit of the gusto of my Puritan ancestors that day—and ever since then I have been working hard to dispel the remnants of the garbage.

I will tell you that the first step on the path of being truly spiritual and having a world view is apathy. I know that apathy is normally considered to be a negative attribute but when used correctly it is one of the more positive steps a human can take.

The definition of apathy is “a lack of interest or concern.Exactly. If you want to discuss sin, unrighteousness, immorality or the actions of other people—I am apathetic. I have no interest. I have devoid of concern. Even if you believe the decisions on the part of transgressors are evil, Jesus told us to avoid resisting evil. It’s useless. Nothing dies because you kill it. Things die because they lose the energy and nutrition to sustain life. Bad habits, stupid actions and immoral inclinations are best fought with apathy. If you ignore evil, you steal the only true power it possesses—which is intrigue.

“I don’t care.”

Jesus told me not to judge–or I would be judged, and that a measure would be set for ME from that point on how I would be evaluated in the cosmos. Wow. There are three reasons right there to not be caught being a Puritan, eyeballing other people’s activities.

  1. Judging is in itself nasty, boring and eventually demands that you stop talking and start being even meaner.
  2. I don’t want to be judged. I don’t even like scrutiny. Sometimes I have to take a deep breath to receive critique. So if I can promote myself not being judged by avoiding doing so to others, I am all for it.
  3. And finally, the measuring stick. I just make too many mistakes and think too many stupid things to have some judgment perpetually laid on me by my decision to be critical of others.

I love this country, but the Puritans who settled it have ingrained into us an over-zealous inclination to have an opinion on everything and to feel like we’re doing God’s will by shunning others for their choices.

If we’re going to gain spirituality and a world view, like Jesus wanted us to, we need to practice apathy. “I don’t care.”

And the best way to show that I do care is by “letting my light shine before men that they can see my good works and glorify the Father in heaven.”

America is plagued by the ghosts of our Puritan forefathers, who believed they did God’s will by peering into the lives of other people and executing judgment. It’s not true around the rest of the world, and we certainly would not be pleased by being aligned with nations which maintain that kind of strict religious and moral configuration. There are many Muslim nations which hold to legalities of the Koran who would agree with the Puritans on issues of the flesh. Just as we must be careful to love our enemies, we also must be very aware of who we suddenly find ourselves in fellowship with.

There is  a path and the first step on that path is to acknowledge that you and I have come from Puritan roots set deeply within us, causing us to believe that our convictions are more holy than others, and therefore granting us the privilege of evaluating the world around us.

“Don’t judge or you will be judged.” Jesus’ words.

Beautiful, spiritual apathy.

A man walked up to me the other day and said, “Did you hear what those people are doing?”

I interrupted him. “I don’t care,” I replied. I walked away feeling better, not judged myself and with a measuring stick put up against me that has more grace than gravel.

Apathy. The first step on the path to true spirituality and having a world view.

I am not a Puritan, mainly because I could never keep up with my own philosophy. And when I try to measure it out to other people, it swings around and always punches me in the face.

 

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4% … May 30, 2012

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Just about 4% of the population of our world is American–living and dwelling within the boundaries of the United States. That means that in a room of a hundred people from all over the world, only four of them would have any interest whatsoever in Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

It is an issue of perspective. We have made a dangerous decision in our country, to make the world view of other nations–their cultures and their governments–an object of disdain or unrealistic admiration. Yes, as we always do, we have turned the necessity for having an understanding of our fellow-man all over the globe into a political juggernaut.

It is the responsibility of those who have spirituality to instruct our political leaders and our society into acquiring a comprehension of a wider scope of vision and a more accepting attitude towards others.

Instead, we choose up sides. The more evangelical Christians in this country have a zealous patriotism, often to the detriment of other parts of the human race across the earth. The more liberal or mainline denominational Christians take the position that the rest of the world is “just as good as everybody else,” and that in some ways the United States is actually inferior.

It creates conflict. Conflict does not lead to resolution. Our twenty-four-hour news cycle generates controversy under the illusion that such heated debate will lend itself to better appreciation. Nothing could be further from the truth. What does lead to resolution is the ability to ask the right question. Until you ask the right question, the inquiries you come up with are bent in the direction of confirming your own philosophy rather than discovering the truth that will make you free.

Those who claim to be very patriotic and believe that America has a destiny to rule the world–politically if not militarily–look at the other countries on the earth and their practices and turn up their noses and ask, “Isn’t that strange?” It’s very difficult to believe that reconciliation can be achieved when you start on the basis of thinking that something is “strange.” Even when we make lame attempts to address the cultures of other worlds at Christmas time with our children in school, we portray them as having “odd practices” while our decorating of an evergreen tree is completely normal.

Yes, conservatives tend to address the rest of the world as if they’re strange. Here’s a clue. Most human beings do not like to be considered “strange.” They even find it offensive. And since their particular form of spirituality does not prevent them from hurting people who offend them, we create a natural jeopardy for ourselves by insisting that the rest of the world is hampered by virtue locale.

On the other hand, the more liberal parts of our framework peer at the rest of the world and say, “Isn’t that better?” In the pursuit of what they would call justice, they become hyper-critical of our own society, our own culture and our own process, while lifting up often-obscure parts of other nations’ practices and extolling them as superior. This, of course, infuriates the conservatives, who feel that it’s anti-American, which further cements the liberals in their position that conservatives were basically born with half a brain.

So we play this dangerous game of–shall we call it–American roulette?–where we put five bullets in the chamber, hoping that when we whirl it around, we’ll be lucky enough to hold the gun to our head and be blessed with an empty slot.

It is dangerous to live in a world of diversity and fail to acknowledge that diversity–or at least try to understand how it came to be. It is also absolute foolishness to look at the record of mercy of a country such as the United States, which has attempted to help the world in so many ways, and purposely criticize it because we may be presently struggling in certain areas.

There has to be an understanding. The world is neither strange, nor is it better. It consists of people. Jesus came to give us a message that has world-wide appeal and application, not simply suited for white Europeans.

It is time to reevaluate. If we are only 4% there is no way we will ever be a majority. There is no way we will ever be the loudest voice. And honestly, there is no way we will be the predominant force–unless we find a way to understand the needs and desires of the other peoples around us.

Would you allow me a chance to take the next few days to discuss what we shall call The Path? I do believe there is a road that will take us towards better understanding without rejecting the love of our own country, but I contend that at this point it is just a tiny, winding path through a quagmire of misunderstanding. But if we can identify the path, then we can possibly clarify how we can remain loyal Americans, but gain a world view. I don’t want to just have a world view by criticizing my country, and I certainly do not want to extol my country to the exclusion of billions of people who do not possess our citizenship.

Would you join me? Can we take our 4% and use it more effectively in the world community? I think we can.

Let’s see if we can find The Path.

 

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If I Were a Democrat… May 11, 2012

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Politics may be the quickest way to remove purity and passion from any aspiration. Once we require a majority to proceed, we oust intelligence and creativity out the door.

My opinion.

Yet– in the spirit of MSNBC and Fox News, to present all things “fair and balanced,” since I have given time to ruminate on what I would do if I were a Republican, I will now tell you what I would do as a Democrat. (Once again, as in the case of the Republicans, I am not a member of the donkey cult…)

1. If I were a Democrat, since I do have a social agenda, it would be a good idea to stop apologizing for it.  Many of the successful projects of the twentieth century were achieved by people who had a social agenda, discovering an injustice and exposing it, much to the chagrin of those who preferred the status quo. If government does not have a social conscience that produces some sort of agenda, we will constantly be burdened with a sense of inequity which has to be explained away by erroneous research. For instance, I grew up believing that black people were good in sports, Asians were the crack aces at math, American Indians knew the best way to climb rocks and Hispanics, generally speaking, should always be hired for your gardening. It seemed innocent at the time. Of course, we now know that all of that is racist. Without a social agenda, we are delinquent in arriving at good conclusions.

2. Governing should be an issue of equality or legality. When you remove preference, emotion, bigotry, religiosity and politics from governing a nation like the United States, you are left with two criteria:  (A) Is it legal? If the answer to that is yes, then  (B) it should be equally distributed amongst the populous. Otherwise we end up with inequity and prejudice. If it is deemed to be illegal, then inequality is acceptable because the particular activity has been judged by the general public  to be detrimental to the community. Do you see? In other words, if you believe that abortion is not only immoral, but should be illegal, then work to pass a law in that direction instead of trying to make it more difficult for CERTAIN groups to have this opportunity over others. That’s un-American. If it is your contention that homosexuality is both immoral and of great danger to our society, then pass a law to return sodomy to the books, making it illegal. Therefore, inequality is acceptable because the action is against the law. Case in point: we determined that cigarettes cause cancer and second-hand smoke is dangerous. So laws were passed. We levy upon smokers an atmosphere of inequality by forbidding them to smoke in public places and charging heavy taxes onto their habit. It is righteous, because of the illegalities and unnaturalness of the activity. But on the other hand, if I were a Democrat, I would point out that if you are NOT willing to make abortion and homosexuality illegal, then according to our Constitution, equality for all American citizens must be the same. If it’s illegal, it can be unequal. But if it’s legal, then equality needs to be given to everyone.

3. If I were a Democrat, I would make sure that the country understands that we need to have a world view. Isolationism is what gets us into wars. I would ask the following questions: is there a chance that by understanding more about Islam we could address terrorism more effectively? Would having some empathy for the European banking crisis help us prevent some of the same problems in our own country? Would it be beneficial for us to understand the mind-set of the Chinese people? The way we handle countries like Iran, Pakistan, China and even Russia reminds me of a man who thinks he can pet his neighbor’s pit bull because they live on the same street. The pit bull will bite you, because you do not have any familiarity with it. If I were a Democrat, I would make it clear that this is a world we live in and not just a country.

4. If I were a Democrat, I would extol the virtues of ALL energy. I think we should go ahead and use coal–as cleanly as possible–and oil, as long as we are also aware that we are going to run out of these things. It reminds me of how I handle my sugar-free popsicles. I use them as snacks, late at night. So the first couple of days after I purchase them, I lavish myself with blessing by eating many. But by the end of the week, looking in my box and realizing they are depleting, I slow up my consumption, yet without forbidding benefit completely. The same is true with coal and oil. And we should find a way to use nuclear energy–and what would be the harm of harnessing the wind? It is ridiculous to think that this country is going to go “green.” If I were a Democrat, I would just suggest light brown–a combination of green and the nearly black of coal and oil.

5. If I were a Democrat, I would talk about spirituality instead of religion. There is perhaps no other subject in the world that has as little resolution than discussing theology, God and the practice of worship. Yet–spirituality is an intricate part of every human being. It unleashes both mercy and really, the willingness to pursue new ideas. As you may know, this year I have summed up spirituality into one sentence: NoOne is better than anyone else. If I were a Democrat, I would make that my thesis for faith.

So there you go. That’s what I would do if I were a Democrat. Rather than trying to make my position sound as Republican as possible, I would take the essence of government and the practice of making laws and insert as much humanity as feasible in order to achieve equality.

That’s it. They call Democrats donkeys because supposedly the animal is quite stubborn and has a big kick. But if the Democrats really want to be stubborn about something, they should start with staying faithful to their own pursuits. And if they want to place a “big kick” into society, they should extol the virtue of Lincoln’s expression–a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.

Two days in a row I have given you what I would do–if I were a Republican and if I were a Democrat. But since I am actually apolitical, let me tell you tomorrow how I choose to approach the issues of our time.

  

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