Why Jesus? … March 9, 2012

(1,448) 

Last week I received an email from a dear, longtime friend. He respectfully and cautiously shared some of his misgivings with me–perhaps better stated, a few of his questions and concerns. This is the substance of his message.

“You know, Jonathan, you’ve always been a great friend and source of spiritual comfort and wisdom to me. I admire you greatly. I guess I’m a bit perplexed that with all the good example and love you gave to your sons–the three that were born with your genetics and the three others that you adopted–that it seems that most of them have not latched onto the faith that you taught so faithfully. They seem to range from agnosticism to a bit of spiritual confusion to merely adapting the philosophy of Jesus without embracing the power. I do not say this critically. I just wonder whether you could enlighten me on how such a thing occurs when there was such a vast array of possibility provided.”

He closed his message with further apologies and even in the end, regretted that he had broached the subject in the first place. I totally understood both his hesitancy and his misgivings. Let me make something clear:  the human beings who came thorough my home are not my children. I do not own them. I do not try to possess either their souls or determine their futures. I try to give them a living example of a flawed human being, flailing a bit in the matters of humanity and faith, who attempts to be vulnerable and honest about inadequacies and also to jubilantly celebrate victories.

But you see, they grow up. And unfortunately, I have to share a Jesus Christ with others who wish to use him to promote either their liberal or their conservative agendas. So the crucifixion and mutilation of Jesus of Nazareth continues to occur every single week, as those who desire fame and gain manipulate his image to achieve their often less-than-noble purposes.

My children look at me and my simple efforts and feel that I am the underdog to the religious tycoons around me who seem to wield the most power, rendering my ideas discarded or anemic. In other words, they think I have some good insights, but Christianity really belongs to the religious system.

They are wrong.

Anyone who thinks that the temporary situation of any given moment actually has anything to do with the reality of truth or even the conclusion of passing time is not only short-sighted, but will end up on the losing team. So on behalf of my friend who wrote me, as a further confirmation to my six sons, whom I was blessed to have come through my life, and also to you lovely readers–let me tell you why I, a very common, simple, nonreligious man, still hold fast to the heart and message of Jesus.

Yes. Why Jesus?

1. The Golden Rule. Although I have scoured many different ideologies and religions, there is no one who is as intent as Jesus on pushing forward the primary notion that we need to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” There are inkles here and there, but Jesus was adamant that the human condition was completely dependent on this principle being enacted. He’s right. Retaliation begets war. Revenge is a trap. Frustration is a cave, wherein our emotions suffocate from lack of fresh air. If we do not find a way to impart to others the same courtesy we grant to ourselves, we join in complicating the human race into a constant threat of a spontaneous fist fight. Jesus insisted on the Golden Rule–and it is the primary reason I insist on Jesus.

2. Jesus likes people. I realized a long time ago that “liking” demands two functions: (a) “I see who you are and I appreciate it.” (b) “I see who you are and I don’t appreciate it but I will cut you slack to determine if your path is smarter than I think it is.” A Messiah who is always certain of the conclusion is not only self-righteous, but obnoxious. This is the reason that even though Jesus was certainly aware of the weaknesses of Judas, he still allowed him room to act out his own decisions. The reason I despise religion is because it produces commandments without adequate suggestions on how to achieve them. Jesus likes people. That means he has many ideas and precepts he would love to share with us, but when we vary from the purity of his path, he still says, “Leave them alone. Those who are not against us are for us.” This enables me to embrace my more conservative friends who follow the Master as well as the more liberal ones, without feeling the need to manipulate either one of them to my point of view. After all, my approach only has value when it bears fruit and includes others.

3. The third thing that draws me to be an adherent and disciple of Jesus is his “ask, seek and knock” philosophy. Most religion falls into two unsatisfying categories, the first being that we are to find peace in our hearts in the passivity of prayer, fasting or meditation. When these fail to give us the confidence we desire in our human lives, we are to dispel our doubts and chase away the demons that are trying to perplex us and tempt us from being faithful to our practices. The second approach of other religions is the notion that human beings possess within themselves the ways and means to overcome their difficulties through will power or the enlightenment of the mind. Supposedly, we are set ablaze from within and need no further external torch to inflame us with potential. I find both approaches to not only be lacking but often deadly in how misleading they are to the human family. Here’s the truth: if we don’t ask and keep on asking, we won’t receive. This demands two attributes: I need to know what I want, clarifying it in my own being, and then actually have faith that it can be achieved because God has no reason whatsoever to deny me access.

We also need to seek and keep on seeking until we find. The removal of human effort and involvement from the plan of salvation is similar to placing someone on a life support system and insisting they are aware because their heart is beating. Many people have spiritual dependence but no passion to seek out the better answers and solutions for their lives. They’re waiting for God to move them into a new home and they haven’t even packed up their boxes.

And finally Jesus makes it clear that we are to knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened. The absence of perseverance from the average religious individual renders him or her a candidate for despondency instead of training to be a victor. There are times that tenacity demands an evolution in our thinking, causing us to come up with better ideas, more intense approaches, and certainly a repetition of faithful pursuit to gain our prize. If Jesus had told me that all things could be accomplished by prayer without me asking, seeking and knocking, I would say that he was not present at creation–to understand humanity–and that he had lived a human life without being honest with his followers about how it truly works.

4. And finally, I want to follow Jesus because he believes that God is the Father of all living things. God is our Father. He is not just the God of Abraham or the God of Mohammed; He is not just one of the thousand gods of the Hindu religion. He is a Father to all living souls, deeply involved,while simultaneously maintaining the profile of being no respecter of persons. If I really believed that God favored Jews, Arabs, Americans, Russians, Scandinavians or Africans more than others, I would have to conclude that His existence was prejudicial to the human family. Jesus was determined to establish one fact: God is a Father, and he, Jesus, came for one sole purpose–to show us the Father.

I will grant you that the mainstream of religious thinking would disagree with many of my contentions, and my children certainly hear religion shouting louder on television than they do the whisper of their dad’s musings and stories. But eventually, to be spiritual, you must come out and be separate from the world. And that includes the sphere of religion.

Do I believe my children will do so? I have given them the freedom that was given to me by my friend, Jesus, to make their choices on their own. But in the process of making those choices, I hope they will turn down the entertainment, the news broadcasts and the general din of our society and consider my humble four-fold presentation.

  • Jesus believe in the golden rule.
  • Jesus likes people
  • Jesus taught us that we would be involved in our own salvation by asking, seeking and knocking.
  • And Jesus believes that God is our Father.

Honestly, my friends, that should be sufficient. And in the case of faith …  the less you carry, the more you possess.

************** 

Got a question for Jonathan? Or would you like to receive a personal weekly email? Just click my email address below and let me know what’s on your mind! jonathancring@gmail.com

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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.

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://jonathots.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/why-jesus-march-9-2012/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: