Catchy (Sitting 27) Loose Ends … December 17th, 2017

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Matthew felt like he was dragging his own corpse behind him across the Arctic Tundra, in search of a fire.

He was disgusted with himself. Wonderful, marvelous events were transpiring, but he felt abandoned. He had become such dead weight that Jubal and the band decided not to have him come along on the daily trips across the country.

He didn’t argue. He felt so damn out of place.

Everyone was so energized, so jubilant, so jazzed by the whole idea–but he sat around counting the hours until the drum stopped beating and he could get back on the plane and go home to a nice cappuccino.

Even Soos had become enamored with the revival–filled with the same spirit that inhabited Mr. Carlos.

So this morning, when Jubal took off on the plane without telling Matthew where he was going, discovering by watching “Good Morning, U.S.A.” that the troop had landed in Haiti and was performing an impromptu concert in front of thousands of citizens, while handing out bread and cheese, Matthew was not upset. He just sat back and shook his head. Everything was so screwed up.

The business he had begun with Randall and Landy–S.E.E.D.S.–was turning to weeds. Some of the clients were disgusted with the whole idea of “God-speak,” and the ones who weren’t were too wacky for his taste.

Last week he had lunch with Randall and Landy, who sat across from him munching on salads and sipping Chablis like two jilted lovers. He had no idea how to explain where he was coming from or what he was going to do. Matter of fact, his life was just a series of loose ends, untied from all reality.

Jo-Jay had been out of pocket for weeks, pursuing some conspiracy against Jubal.

Sister Rolinda got herself in trouble with the Catholics by referring to the Pope as a “chauvinist,” suggesting that his head was beginning to fit into his pointed hat.

Worst of all was Prophet Morgan, who was jittery and upset about being ignored, and had broken the pact of secrecy with the press, doing two interviews, which, according to backstage sources, paid him three thousand for one and two thousand for the other. So two weeks ago, Prophet had appeared on “Tell All” with Bart Champion, and three days earlier, he was on “Rasur’s Edge with Carlita Rasur.” Ms. Rasur was so capable at her craft that she got Prophet all worked up into tears, as he apologized over the air for his relatives, who had once owned slaves.

Morgan looked ridiculous on television–an anachronism–pompadour hairdo, gray gabardine suit with a large, wide tie. Both Bart and Carlita tried to get secrets out of him, but since Prophet knew very little, they were quite disappointed with the information about scrambled instead of fried eggs, and Jubal’s insane appetite for black licorice.

The whole world seemed crazy to Matthew.

Michael Hinston wouldn’t take his phone calls anymore. Matthew tried not to be offended, but the last time he telephoned, he could hear Michael in the background, whispering instructions to his secretary. “Tell him I’m not here!”

Matthew just didn’t fit in.

On one hand, there was the burgeoning awakening of a Jesus movement going on in his midst, while at the same time old friendships, dreams and goals were sliding away into a pit of meaninglessness.

Rising from his chair, he picked up his cell phone and called the airport. “I need a one-way ticket to Washington, D.C.”

Matthew had decided to try to find Jo-Jay, and maybe surprise and corral Michael. The last time he had seem either of them, they were in the nation’s capitol.

 

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Jesonian … December 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A day in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Although most theologians would like to focus on the 24-hour period leading up to his crucifixion, the Gospels do offer us other examples. One of the primal outlines is found in Matthew, Chapters 12 and 13. You may feel free to read it–I will not tax your spirit or patience by parsing it verse by verse–but there are six things that become clear from perusing the story line.

1. Jesus was not a theologian.

His disciples walked through a field of corn, and even though it was forbidden by religious edict to eat it–especially on the Sabbath–they partook. Jesus defended them to the Pharisees, who were ready to leap upon the activity to prove the unworthiness of Jesus’ Kingdom movement. During this exchange, Jesus makes a profound statement: “The Sabbath is for man.”

It is geared for us, in order to replenish, rejuvenate and renovate our thinking.

2. Jesus was not a rabbi.

He strolls into a synagogue and disrupts the service by healing a man with a withered hand. He is accosted for this untimely interruption, and replies, “Each one of you will save a donkey from a trench, but you won’t do anything to help this fellow.”

Yes, Jesus was guilty of interrupting the flow of worship.

And contrary to the common patter:

3. Jesus was not a Jew.

Not only did he break the Jewish laws, taunting them in doing so, but we are informed that he was a voice, a spirit and a teacher in whom the “Gentiles could trust.”

Even though his proximity to Jerusalem might generate the assumption that he was a Son of Abraham, he made it clear that he was around “before Abraham.”

Shall we press on?

4. He was certainly not a traditionalist.

The religious leaders believed he was satanic. They swore he was casting out demons by the power of Satan. Of course, none of them could cast out a demon, but Jesus made it clear that he had come to destroy the works of the devil and that they needed to be careful not to mock the moving of the Holy Spirit just because it was inconvenient to their case.

So Jesus is not a theologian, a rabbi, a Jew or a traditionalist. And by the way:

5. Jesus was not a family man.

When interrupted by his mother, brothers and sisters during a time of ministry (because they wanted to take him home, thinking he was crazy) Jesus turned to the crowd and claimed them as his new family.

Yes, Jesus might find it difficult to be in a church service, welling up over allegiance with people simply because of shared DNA.

So as Matthew describes a day in the life of Jesus, when he defies theologians, upsets a rabbi, walks away from Judaism, breaks traditions and sidesteps family involvement, he ends the discourse by establishing who the Nazarene really was.

For the Master sat down and told a story: “The sower went forth to sow seed.”

6. Jesus is a sower.

He’s not concerned about isolating off perfect soil, but merely casting the seed in the direction of any possibility.

A day in the life of Jesus will let you know that his message was human, geared for humans, addressed to humans, human-friendly and human-saving.

He discarded religion in favor of the reality of those souls God sent his way.

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G-Poppers … December 15th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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  • G-Pop mused the statement.

    “A moral victory.”

    The phrase was uttered by a news commentator who was characterizing the nature of the defeat of Judge Roy Moore in the Alabama Senatorial race.

    “A moral victory” is what Judge Moore normally would have applauded, touting it as a shout of glory for the conservative Christian movement. But in this case he found himself in the middle of Pharisees who were bound and determined to stone the sinner.

    G-Pop wants to make something very clear. If all men aged 32 were to be considered pedophiles by ogling a teenage girl, we would have to turn the state of Alaska into a prison farm. Sins of the flesh are something we humans certainly understand, though we cannot condone.

    What is difficult to comprehend are sins of the heart–those iniquities that come off our tongues as we try to defend ourselves instead of facing the music.

    Yes, Judge Roy Moore followed what a myriad of politicians have done, going all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt: When confronted about the nature of your business, deny.

    Of course, Judge Moore would have to admit this is not a Christian concept–rather, a secular one that seems to work because people become exhausted with all the tawdry details. Eventually the public walks away in disgust.

    Judge Moore is a great advocate for the Ten Commandments. But like a lot of us, he may have forgotten that Jesus broke the ten down to two:

    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.”

    Jesus prefaced the second commandment by saying it was “like unto the first.” In other words, it’s impossible to love God without loving people, or to love people without tipping your hat to the Creator.

    When dealing with the stories coming from his accusers, Judge Moore became vehement, claimed he did not remember and insisted they were lying.

    Now, G-Pop is not about to say he knows what Judge Moore should have done in this situation. G-Pop is just explaining that what Judge Moore did had nothing to do with being a Christian. He became a cornered animal, growling at his surroundings, hoping to scare the intruders away.

    Nobody got scared.

    But what happened to our dear friend in Alabama can happen to us also if we allow our ignorance to mingle with our arrogance in an attempt to create dominance.

    Every sinner saved by grace needs to remember the grace–or they soon forget they were ever sinners.

    That’s what G-Pop thinks happened in this particular case.

    G-Pop’s suggestion for Judge Roy Moore? Wisdom would declare that we have less of “Moore,” and that he refrain in totality from “judging.”

    Maybe just work on being Roy.

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3 Things… December 14th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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To Experience a Better Christmas Season

1. Spend half as much money on gifts and twice as much time sitting around talking with friends and family.

2. Celebrate by honoring your present mood and desire instead of chasing traditions and previous year’s activities.

3. Buy one reasonable, universal present and give it to a complete stranger.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … December 13th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I Am Christmas

I need a virgin mind

To process what I find

I need the Spirit to birth

Some peace upon our Earth

Give me a simple place

To reach the human race

The angels from on high

Descend from the sky

To inhabit my human frame

The message to proclaim

“Good will to men and women,” you see

Let the tenderness begin with me

Stars in my eyes

Reject vicious lies

Follow the dreamer’s path

Abandon the King of Wrath

Shepherd my thoughts toward grace

See God in my neighbor’s face

My heart is the gold I bring

Blessing is the song I sing

It’s Jesus, Prince of Care

The only wisdom I know to share

For the Word has become my skin

Free at last of the burden of sin

I will dwell among my likeness

To humbly share with kindness

For I am Christmas–come and see

The manger child reborn in me.

 

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Cracked 5 … December 12th, 2017


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 If Amazon Sent a “Complete Christmas Package” for You and Me from Bethlehem.gov it would include:

A. One carton of the finest virgin olive oil from the Middle East

 

B. Three shepherd pies from the ovens of Scotland

 

C. The complete video series of The Three Stooges–lots of wise-crackin’ from the “stars”

 

D. Matching lambs-wool, angel-soft sweaters from Jerusalem International Fashion Gala

 

E. The latest book: “Nighttime Meditations for the True Seeker” by Joseph Carpenter

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Good News and Better News… December 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Pictured are my wife, my granddaughter and my son, standing in a bandshell, Weston Park, Florida.

Jerrod, my son, produced an outdoor concert with the cooperation of three churches and invited two of their praise bands, while putting together a dramatic reenactment of the Nativity tradition.

It was cold.

Usually in Florida, when it’s cold, people escape into their homes and pull out blankets they purchased twenty years ago, which are still in plastic wrappers. But for some reason, a respectable, decent and nearly surprising gathering braved the chill to come, sit in a park and listen to music that was jubilant, if not pitch-perfect.

They perched patiently as the story of Christmas unfolded before their eyes with deliberation, dodging a few technical gaffes. I was among them, along with my comrade-in-tunefulness, Janet Clazzy.

I was struck with the beauty of the evening.

It was not all drenched in serendipity. The audience was tribal, and much too linked to their own concerns to homogenize into a spiritual sweet butter, but setting that aside, it was proof positive that the Christmas story still has wheels.

Honestly, as they told the tale in front of me, I giggled a little bit. If I were hearing this fantabulous explanation for the first time, I wondered if I would shake my head in disbelief.

But you see, it’s not about what happened in a manger two thousand years ago. It’s about what transpired in a park last night in Weston, Florida.

If an idea that appeared two thousand years ago can put a chill down your spine, (and not just because the thermometer dipped) and still has real human emotion, then you’ve discovered magic.

Christians are not better people. We have our share of sinners, assholes, pedophiles and fruitcakes. But we have a great back-story.

Our Savior doesn’t kill people.

Our Savior doesn’t want to hurt women and children.

Our Savior is humble.

Our Savior sets people free instead of locking them up in bondage.

Our Savior isn’t religious.

Our Savior was one of us.

I left warmed. (Well, at least warm enough to get to my car and turn on the heater.)

Congratulations to my son, my daughter-in-law, my granddaughter and my wife for having the courage to test the message of the angels one more time.

The good news is, when “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” get together, the better news is, it brings “Joy to the World.”

 

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