Part VI: And Finally … December 5, 2011

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Live from Fernandina Beach

I always try to give you a good report about my travels and journeys across these United States. Generally speaking, this narrative is positive because most of my experiences are either extremely joyful or at least I find a way to coax some jubilation out of them. But there are times that I go into places and see the effects of religion, politics and desperation on the faces of the people sitting in front of me. It is a strange cocktail of hapless, helpless and hopeless.

Because quite bluntly, my dear friends, if you tell people there is nothing they can do about their situations–that it’s either beyond their pay grade or completely in the hands of God–you will make them feel hapless.  It’s a quiet desperation that eeks out of the eyeballs with a pending sorrow which could, at any moment, produce a bit of rage.

And if you tell people they are hapless for too long, they will begin to abandon all of their talents and walk around in a coma like the living dead, feeling totally helpless. Helpless people resent the notion of solution. Helpless people are angry with those who appear to be doing well. Helpless people find testimonies of God’s grace to be annoying rather than uplifting. Helpless people like to discourage any attempt at transformation and revival in favor of maintaining a unsatisfying status quo.
 
And if you keep helpless people in an environment that is always in a state of flux, like our world is, they will most assuredly become hopeless. And hopeless folks are self-destructive and don’t mind spreading their mayhem out to others.
 
So if we’re going to change this, we have to empower people with a message that tells them they are not without resource or absent ability; and not only do they possess these gifts but it is actually anticipated that they use them and multiply them. They can no longer hide behind a sense of inadequacy, pretending that their particular brand of depression gives them a pass from participation. They need to be encouraged.
 
This is exactly why I believe that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
 
1. Jesus knows the hearts of people. We are a baffling, befuddling, bewildering and bewitching blend of ego and power. But you do not separate ego from power in the onset. You must allow them to coincide until accomplishment proves that skill is available and then it will be time to teach humility. I just don’t see the power of instructing people in humility when they haven’t yet established that they can do anything. Humility is the virtue of those who are accomplished, not those who are inept. Jesus allowed people to experiment with their abilities and then he challenged them that ego was unnecessary because the fruit of their labors screamed their prowess much louder than any stump speech ever could.
 
2. Jesus despises religion. Why? Because religion keeps people hapless–overly dependent–which makes them feel helpless and at the mercy of the world around them, which then renders them hopeless and angry at the world, taking it out on its inhabitants. Religion waits for a heavenly pay-off without any earthly investment. Religion weakens the human spirit instead of manifesting it. I use the word “despise” because Jesus didn’t hate religion, as if it were some powerful force to be reckoned with, but rather, just found it despicable. In other words, religion is unable to deliver any of its promises, but insists on being worshipped.
 
3. Jesus marvels at faith.  And faith is when we teach people to take the mustard seed they have and instead of pocketing it, plant it in the nearest soil and then do everything possible to use effort towards the second mile. No one ever became exhausted from pursuing excellence. There is just too much energy infused into us through that quest for us ever to sense weariness. On the other hand, we do become exhausted, waiting for something to happen that never comes our way, because we didn’t plant our mustard seed, nor did we pursue the second mile.
 
4. Jesus believes in the Father. Matter of fact, he made a very bold statement. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but by me.” I suppose you can pursue other paths to God–or gods–or even religious fervency, but the only path to the Father is Jesus. And the only way to truly understand the divine nature of a creator who inserted his own image into his offspring is to realize that He truly is a Daddy. I don’t know if there are other paths to heaven and I don’t care, because quite bluntly, if I can’t find a way to enjoy my journey here on earth and live in a household of a Father who loves me, why would I want to spend eternity with this being? I know this–Jesus came to show us the Father, to reveal the Father, to talk about the Father and culminated his ministry by saying that he was one with the Father.
 
So who is God? The closest representation we have is Jesus–and we know that he knew the hearts of people, despised religion, marveled at faith and taught us of the Father. Can you imagine what would happen if ONE church in a single community decided to abandon the futility of religious practice and simply taught these four principles to those who would dare gather and have an ear to hear? We would remove hapless, replacing it with intelligence. People would no longer feel helpless, but instead, empowered by the gifts God has given them. And hopelessness would be out of the question because enthusiasm would spring out of our souls over the successes we would be experiencing through communion with our Father.
 
intelligent, empowered and enthusiastic. Do you really believe that these three emotional energy boosts would be against God’s will? Of course not.
 
So Jesus IS the same. It’s just that we’ve changed … to become religious instead of like him.
 
***************

Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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