Rabble and Rubble… March 31, 2013

(1,837)

church inside biggerSome were killers. Others watched. The rest ran away in terror, except for a tiny handful, which stuck around to stow the mutilated corpse in a tomb.

I didn’t know what to do. I was no killer, didn’t have the stomach to watch, couldn’t run as fast as the cowards and wouldn’t wrap my mind around a “grave” conclusion for my best friend.

So I just walked.

Actually, I’ve been walking for twenty-four hours, now. Of course, I exaggerate, but it sure seems like an endless odyssey of meaningless meandering. I walk and I look.

I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for–I guess some sort of sign of shock, revulsion or horror over the atrocity just committed on that hill so far away. But truthfully, life seems to be going on. Nothing is canceled. No one discusses postponing local events to consider the murder of an innocent man. I even came across a wedding in progress, with the sound of jubilation and music. The Passover is in full swing. The Romans are in control and religion has dressed up for the day.

I feel like I’m about to go insane over the calmness that’s settled in on a world gone mad. Jesus loved the rabble. He embraced those souls the world deemed riff-raff. He met them in their hour of need, saved them, healed them and even raised them from the dead. Yet when he reached his critical moment–when he required the support of these who were benefitted by his mercy–they accepted the wisdom of a Council which they normally mocked, and they screamed in unison for a murderer and robber to be released to their fellowship. They chose the allure of darkness because it was closer to the coloration fo their own souls.

Mostly I’m disgusted with myself. Because the absence of knowing what to do is not the presence of an excuse for not doing anything. It may seem that way in the moment, but it is a lie.

I don’t know where to go. Some of my friends went fishing to take their minds off the dilemma. There are a few hiding out in an upper room–simulating prayer, but really shaking in their sandals over every rustling outside the door, wondering if it is the Romans coming to slice them into pieces.

I just can’t be with any of them. The rabble disgusts me because they denied their own best solution. And the rubble of a once-great “kingdom movement” is so insipid and vacant of ideas that I can’t tolerate sitting in their presence, commiserating.

I feel so alone that I’m taunted by the specter of suicide. Yet I won’t do that. That would require a certain amount of courage which I lack, and an insanity which I refuse entrance.

I walk on.

Has it really come down to the simplicity of the rabble and the rubble? My friend Jesus dedicated his life to protecting the lost and innocent, only to have them choose cowardice in his hour of need. Likewise, he spent hours and hours instructing people like me–his followers–but when he was confronted with evil, he only found frightened little Jewish boys and girls, who had learned much but acquired little.

Now hours have passed. I must have dozed off, although I would have sworn I was incapable of sleep. The Sabbath is over and the first fruits of the light of dawn are creeping into the velvety haze of darkness. It will soon be morning. What will I do?

Even though I used to enjoy the beginning of each day, now the sun mocks me because it shines its light on my indecision. Do I go and resume my life among the rabble–pretending that the little piece of misfortune that happened on Calvary was a thing of the past?

I can’t do that. Too many miracles. Too many blessings. Too many hugs. Too many roads. And too many reasons to remember.

I guess I will head to the tomb. In the long run, it is better to be with the rubble–the remains of a great idea–than with the rabble, lacking any inclination toward solution.

Sunday morning. I will go to the tomb.

After all … it is the last place I saw Jesus.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Egging Me On… March 30, 2013

(1,836)

eggsI was eleven years of age, living in a household where my four-and-a-half-year-old younger brother was sucking all the life, appreciation, attention and love from the room, as I wandered about like some sort of unexplained pudgy blob, bumping into furniture and constantly being reminded by my meticulous mother that my hands were filthy. Meanwhile, my younger brother smelled like a diaper pail and had dried oatmeal on his face leftover from two days previously, and he was adorable. Go figure.

It was Easter time and I knew that my mother and father were probably going to purchase me an Easter basket, along with the one they would select for the divine child of promise. So I stepped in early on and told them that I was too old for plastic grass and funny stuffed animals, and that I would prefer to have two dozen chocolatemarshmallow eggs. I loved them. Of course, what’s not to love? But I seriously had an abiding, deep, everlasting affection for these treats.

To my great surprise, on Easter morning, my little brother received his Easter basket, which more resembled the Horn of Plenty, and I got a box with two dozen chocolate-marshmallow eggs, carefully placed in the slots, looking not only well-organized, but ready for consumption. I immediately was informed, though, that I was allowed to have three of these wonder units right now, and that the box would be kept in the bottom of my dad’s closet, so that I wouldn’t overeat on the sweets. I would have to ask permission to have one.

I’m sorry–this was unacceptable.

I knew better than to argue with them, so instead, fell back on my preferred profile–plotting. I came up with an ingenious plan. For you see, in our little town was an establishment called Hills Drug Store (that was back in the time before places like that went to college and became pharmacies). Mr. Hill was what my parents referred to as a “goof.” He was so nice that people thought he might be crazy. I think parents in this day and age might actually be suspicious of him, fearing he might be a pedophile because of his gentleness toward children.

Mr. Hill had a practice of buying a ton of Easter candy, which no one in town ever purchased, because they were partial to driving over to the big city of Westerville to procure their holiday treats. So every year, the day after Easter, he would take this abundance of confections and put them on sale–huge mark-downs. So I knew that I would be able to acquire many of these chocolate-marshmallow eggs, which I could use as a means of re-stocking the box in my dad’s closet as I diminished the number of little ovals by overeating them. That way my parents would never know how many I was absorbing, and I could stuff my face with chocolate-marshmallow and still once a day, ask them for my portion, without fear.

It was brilliant.

And fortunately for me, that year Mr. Hill outdid himself, offering a box of twelve chocolate-marshmallow eggs for a dime.

Now you must realize, I had only two sources of income. The first one was a chair in our home, where my dad would sit at night, and if he was wearing his loose-fitting corduroys, the change in his pocket would fall out and go into the cushions, and I could come back later and procure treasure. My second source of money was to go down to the local telephone booth near the library and to cross my toes and stick my finger in the change return slot, hoping that someone had forgotten to retrieve their returning money. Also, occasionally near the phone booth, an absent-minded grown-up might just drop the dime they had retrieved on the ground while attempting to put it into a pocket. It was a chancy thing, but about one time out of every five, I was able to acquire the magical coin. Between those two sources, I was funded for this particular project.

It worked beautifully for the first week. I ate so many chocolate-marshmallow eggs that I nearly became sick of them. (I said NEARLY.) I then replenished them with the eggs I bought at Hill’s Drug Store, and my parents were never the wiser.

One day I came home, a bit perturbed because Mr. Hill had just informed me that the last of the chocolate-marshmallow eggs had been purchased by Mrs. Smithers, who for some reason or another thought the kids at the orphanage might “enjoy them.” I was already a little depressed from this slight when I slipped to the closet and discovered that the box was gone. Yes–the entire box.

I panicked. I broke out in a sweat. I was addicted and the only thing I viewed in my future was withdrawal.

I pulled myself together and went out to ask my mother what happened to the box of chocolate-marshmallow eggs. She explained that she had discovered it that morning, saw that it was full, and figured that I had just stopped liking chocolate-marshmallow eggs, so she gave them away to little Jimmy, the boy next door, who had just broken his leg tripping over his cat while taking out the trash.

I was horrified. I wanted to rebuke her for such nonsense, but then I would have to reveal the details of my devious plan. I slipped away in silence, sitting in a corner, moping and dreaming of my old friends, who now lived with Jimmy.

What I learned that day was…

Well, I really didn’t learn anything. I just really missed my eggs.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Troublemaker… March 29, 2013

(1,835)

jesus at UN

Love your enemies.

What is he talking about? There are dangerous people in the world who have to be monitored and even confronted in order to maintain a civil society. You cannot initiate a diplomacy of “love” to countries like North Korea and Iran. They will view it as weakness and use it as leverage against you in the next confrontation. You certainly cannot tolerate someone tooling around, asking us to love our enemies. The trouble he will end up making could cost us our freedom and our way of life.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Impractical. If we actually treated other nations and people with the same integrity we bestow upon our own citizens, we would be affording them undue respect, since they don’t have the same morals and guidelines that we offer to our people. It would lead to a demise in nationalism and a lack of pride. What we need to do is continue our practice of giving “most favored nation” status to the cultures that agree with us and are willing to be like us in most ways.

Don’t judge or you will be judged.

Another portion of idealism. If there is no way for us to feel superior in some aspect of our lives, how are we to gain the confidence to be leaders instead of just an elongated trail of followers? A certain amount of pride is necessary to maintain purpose, right? If people are not better than other people, how can we enforce integrity and morality, granting us a universal sense of well-being? It’s not so much that we’re judging people in order to alienate them, but instead, enlightening them to the error of their ways.

You are the salt of the earth.

Once again, it may be nice to present the concept of an even playing field, and even to insist that “all men are created equal,” but when you give too much power to the weaker members of our population, they will use it for an occasion to welcome anarchy. Encouragement is one thing–but to unleash the idea that everyone can become equally spiritual or equally human is to produce a chaotic environment, where “lessers” mingle with “greaters” and we are never able to determine true excellence. It is possible to understand that people are ignorant–without hating them.

The kingdom of God is within you.

If we’re going to teach people that true spirituality spawns from their own inner faith, inner soul and inner emotions, then we are weakening the foundations of organized religion, granting us the civilization of understanding God. After all, statistics show that people prefer a worship experience that is full of liturgy and pre-fabricated messages, which can be spoken by the entire assembly to instill faith and unity. If we allow people to have their own experience with God within themselves, we are eliminating the demand for religion and replacing it with abstract searching. Where would this leave our churches?

As you can see, the basic teachings of Jesus, which he intoned two thousand years ago, still cause the hierarchy of society to tremble–or laugh–depending on their particular mood. Conventional wisdom trembles at the notion of human beings being blessed with the individuality of discovery, without being constrained by ritual and commandments. And it laughs at the respect given to folks by the Nazarene–to be able to find the face of God and righteousness on their own.

Perhaps the progression of years would keep us from publicly humiliating, mutilating and executing Jesus for such actions taken in our American culture. We are beyond such barbarism.

We would just let the 24-hour-news cycle assassinate his character.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Finding Freedom… March 28, 2013

(1,834)

freedom sign“The truth will make you free.”

No one believes that.

To most of us, in our more candid moments, we will admit that the truth is a frightening proposal which seems to lead to a path where we will no longer feel special and might be in danger of losing acceptance. All you have to do to destroy human beings is convince them that if they open their hearts and reveal who they truly are, they would be rejected. From that lack of candor comes all lies, deceits, cheating, unfaithfulness, larceny and even murder.

Why does the truth make us free? Because for the first time in our lives we can stop juggling–bouncing back and forth between the life we want to portray to others and the life we actually live.

How do we find freedom? It is such a cheap word, thrown around in our world as a philosophy of government rather than the liberation of the human soul. How can we avoid the ridiculous notion of thinking, “I am special, I am unique and I deserve to be accepted?”

It starts with true humility. May I give you a new definition?

Humility is when we stop being ashamed of who we really are.

There you go. Humility is not acting as if we’re nothing and it is not pretending we are something we aren’t, which will make us more blendable. Here are the three steps to freedom:

1. I am not special, but …

2. I am part of a special creation and…

3. My Creator loves me as much as I love others.

That little trio of ideas enacted in our everyday lives grants us the energy to pursue our talents to excellence without pretending we are already talented enough. It gives us license to appreciate others because we don’t feel that we’re competing with them all the time. And it lets us know that our foolish interpretation of “unconditional love” needs to include an awareness that sometimes love makes a stand, requiring that we respect ourselves and others.

I am not special. There is no power in me proclaiming my superiority if all my efforts are inferior. It just makes me look like an arrogant jerk.

I am part of a special creation. No, I do not believe that the lions in the jungle or the sparrows flying in the air are equivalent to the mastery that was chiseled into the human experiment.

And because I believe my Creator loves everyone equally, I honor His premise by loving others more and more every day.

Walking around believing you’re special puts you at odds with everyone else, who believe they are special too when we discover that we’re vying for positions. Insisting that you’re unique, like a snowflake, is denying the obvious fact that you are snow. And believing that God loves you even when you act like an absolute uncaring human being may be the most egregious example of stupidity known to man.

Find your freedom–and in the process, gain inclusion and a wonderful embrace of self-worth.

I am not special, but I am part of a special creation and my Creator loves me as much as I love others.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Assumed Supremacy… March 26, 2013

(1,832)

classroomThirty excited children in a classroom–wiggling, squirming, trying not to talk out loud for fear of correction, waiting for the school day to begin.

The teacher stands, calms down the hum of thrill and says, “Repeat after me: I am special.”

Thirty young voices respond in unison.

The teacher continues. “I am unique.”

Again, a chorus of youngsters faithfully parrot the phrase.

The teacher concludes, “People need to accept me.”

As the classroom finishes the last phrase, they cheer and clap their hands. Thus begins the school day.

There is an assumed supremacy being passed on in our time under the guise of establishing good self-esteem.

It began in the Garden of Eden when Eve was tempted, convinced that eating some magical fruit would make her smarter. It continued with her sons battling for supremacy, ending in a notorious murder.

Moving along in history, you had Pharoah, who needed to oppress the Jewish nation in order to confirm his own dominance. Alexander proclaimed himself Great to get license to conquer and oppress the world.

Even though we are an honorable nation, our history is speckled with an inclination to be superior, whether it was the Native Americans, the blacks from Africa, the Chinese–well, each and every country arriving here had to take its turn at being presumed inferior.

It was the byline of a man named Adolph, who rose to power in Germany by telling the populace that they were “special, unique and people needed to accept them.” In the process of establishing this assumed supremacy, other folks needed to be shoved into gas chambers to confirm the concept.

You can see, it is a dangerous philosophy. It is a mindset that causes people to settle in, accepting their own eccentric behavior instead of soul-searching for better choices. It is a universal drug of words poured into the mainstream of entertainment and education, which dopes up the public to believe that since “we were born” some certain way, there really is no need to be “born again.

Any sensation of supremacy will eventually need to reinforce its point with violence. Any challenge to our supremacy will require that we defend ourselves and commit acts of treachery. We will end up surprising ourselves with how bigoted, angry and frustrated we are if we persist in pursuing the false premise that “we are fine as we are.”

A certain amount of dissatisfaction is necessary to find lasting satisfaction. So since this pseudo self-esteem has come in the front door of our culture, what can we do to address it kindly, but usher it out the back door?

That sounds like a great topic for tomorrow.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

After Sunset… March 25, 2013

(1,831)

A good plan. It is important. Not because it always comes off without a hitch, but a good plan is necessary simply for the reason that nothing in life comes off without a hitch. It’s just too overwhelming to come up with stuff on the spot, while being bombarded with new surprises. That’s why most exasperated people find themselves sighin’ and cryin’. Nothing is going to work out the way we planned it.

I think the majority of the human beings on this planet have come to that realization but some of them have made an incorrect decision concerning that revelation. Why plan in the first place since everything is going to go topsy-turvy now and again?

So this has brought about an atmosphere of demanding “guarantees.” Can you guarantee me this? Will you put a guarantee on that–just in case? Do you promise it’s going to work out that way? And if it doesn’t can we blame you?

I think the healthiest moment of my life was when I realized there ARE no guarantees, and that the pursuit of such a venture is not only presumptuous, but dangerous.

I had a good plan for Sunday, March 24th. And to my surprise, nearly ninety per cent of it came off with no hiccups. It was really quite astounding.

I began my day in Trinity, Texas, with two presentations in front of some of the kindest and loveliest people you’d ever want to meet. Russ and  Carol had apparently sat down at some time or another and realized that the Golden Rule begins by figuring out how you’d like to be treated yourself, and then just Xerox that and present it to your neighbor.

I found a motel room that permitted me a late check-out on Sunday so that I could go back after my morning engagements, eat a bite and rest before driving the two hours down to Houston for my evening encounter. (Of course, this courtesy did come at the price of fifteen extra dollars for my motelier. But I’d already prepared for the fact that favors often demand cash.)

I got to put my feet up–and all the other parts attached–for about an hour before driving down to Sunset United Methodist Church in Houston, with Winston and his blessed cohorts. It was a beautiful journey. I had allotted time for traffic in the big city, because Houston, like any typical American metropolis, will suddenly back up traffic just to intrigue the tourist trade. But there was none on this particular Sunday and I cruised in with time to spare, set up and had an absolutely magnificent visitation with the good folks at Sunset.

It was done, I was done and all that remained was to drive out of Houston, find a motel room, and settle in for the night in a lovely “ker-plop” of exhaustion.

It worked.

But if it hadn’t worked that well yesterday, I was prepared to make some revisions. I think if we’re going to be intelligent, we need to realize that anything short of our murder grants us the brain and will to evolve–because all we want at the end of the day, is to be able to collapse in a chair and speak to the room around us, “It was good to be alive today.”

So remember two important things:

1. Make a plan because you WILL need to change it.

2. There are no guarantees.

If you follow those two simple principles, then after sunset, as the night is falling, peace will settle on your soul.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: