Good News and Better News… July 31st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I was sitting in the nursery of the Nativity Lutheran Church in Weeki Wachee, Florida, between services, snacking on some fruit which had graciously been provided by Pastor Giuseppe and glorious souls who have a knack for putting together such compotes, when I was struck–or perhaps just “pwanged”–by a simple revelation.

The world is always moving. It is our job to note the direction.

Just because the pace seems harried, leaving us all in the flurry of busyness, does not mean that we’re trudging forward. Sometimes we go backwards, often it’s just side-stepping right or left. We even become distracted by hitting a wall and continuing to push instead of stopping long enough to find a way around it.

Church is still a beautiful thing–it’s just that in the present march of humanity it seems irrelevant.

For we classify information that comes our way into three categories:

1. Philosophical.

This ranges from our educational system, to reading books, to listening to someone explain the value of a gluten-free diet.

2. Religious.

Once again, this could be anything from a Bible conference to a yoga class to hearing a testimony about someone’s ordeal or joining with others in prayer over some nasty bit of business that’s come along.

3. Necessary.

Every single day of our lives, we alter the gauge on what we feel is necessary for our existence. This explains the tremendous success of Amazon and Wal-mart. These companies have made it friendly to come and buy things we want at reasonable rates, and in the case of Amazon, have them delivered to our door without even needing to leave the comforts of the breakfast nook.

Candidly, if a piece of information is not necessary, we deem it useless. Once something becomes useless, it only receives attention if it can prove–even temporarily–that it has the value of Wal-mart or Amazon.

So something beautiful, like church, which at one time was considered necessary because it initiated relationships, faith, music, cooperation and a sense of community, has now been completely shoved to the rear by the collision of social media and the rising tide of agnosticism.

When I went into the second service I took the realization with me. I discovered that being philosophical or religious bored even those individuals who still remained in the holy sanctuary.

Give them what’s necessary.

When Jesus came to Earth, the common people were slaves to the Romans and subjected to criticism from the religious system.

Jesus told the people they were “the salt of the Earth, the light of the world,” but that they needed to take responsibility for their lives and not wait for either the Romans or Judaism to save them.

He made the message of God necessary. He referred to it as “daily bread.” He told people to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” and to “take no thought for tomorrow” but to live for today.

You will never meet a more promising group of people than I encountered at Nativity. But I will tell them that until the message they share is necessary in people’s lives, a philosophical or religious content will leave folks cold–staying at home and watching television.

The good news is that Christianity can still be about Jesus.

The better news is that he came to give us life–necessary life–and it more abundantly.

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Catchy (Sitting 8) Cleanly Rich … July 30th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Paul didn’t waste any time.

Before blankets could be spread, cushions situated and all snacks and drinks divvied among the three, he had already begun to drone out his story. It could have been a very interesting tale, but Paul seemed unimpressed with his own reputation.

He had married three years after college–only the fourth lass he had ever seen naked. They had two children who apparently were soldiering on to do their best with the process of growing up to join the ranks of those in file. Paul did not have many hobbies–actually, Paul had no hobbies that he shared. But as he sipped on a bit of diet root beer, he popped off a question.

“Don’t you think there are better ways to spend two hundred and fifty million dollars than propagating the myths of Bedouins who seem to have nothing better to do than kill one another in the name of their mythical gods?”

Matthew chose not to answer. After all, it wasn’t a question. It was a statement of disbelief. Somewhere along the line, Paul Padwick had consumed a sour communion wafer and was still wincing from the experience. Realizing that he was the killjoy of the little airport soiree, Paul rolled over on his Cornhusker cushion and went soundly to sleep.

That left Jo-Jay and God-guy–otherwise known as Joanna and Matthew. The two of them had briefly been a number back in college–a three-week period when neither of them was sexually ravaging or being ravaged–so they cast a glance each other’s way. They made it all the way to the bedroom and even to breakfast the morning after, but then, without any treaty, discussion or negotiation, the accidental collision was never spoken of again by either party.

So Matthew was curious about what would initiate their chatting and was relieved to discover that Joanna had planned all the dialogue, with most of the lines written for herself. She launched into her story.

Two years after college, she met a young fellow who showed great promise–except when it came to keeping promises to her. He had been a rather quiet student in college, but once he got married and realized there were many vaginas in the world, like Columbus of old, he launched his ship to discover new worlds.

Jo-Jay put up with it for a while and then asked for a divorce. She was a little disheartened that he immediately agreed. Because of his unfaithful status, she was granted alimony.

So she tripped along and cavorted for a couple of years, even considering trying to transform herself into a lesbian–but found the experience rather distasteful.

Four years ago she met The Duke. Duke was not his nickname, but rather, his title. He was a Duke of Something-or-other that she could not remember–but it came with much bearing and money. He was thirty-two years her senior. She said that she didn’t really marry her father, but rather, his father.

But he was gentle. He was kind. Generous to a fault, if such a thing is possible. And just about the time Jo-Jay’s hormones were beginning to itch for a scratch outside the mansion, he just up and died, leaving all of his earthly goods to a very earthly Joanna Lawrence. She was actually very surprised at how much she missed him.

She decided to play a game with herself. Every time she withdrew a stack of one-hundred dollar bills from the bank, she pretended it was his face instead of Benjamin Franklin’s.

“So you’re filthy rich,” said Matthew with a tinge of sarcasm.

Jo-Jay smiled. “Actually, I’m clean rich. The difference is, when you’re clean rich, you enjoy the money but you’re constantly trying to do penance by giving much of it away, to apologize for being financially over-nourished.”

All the time that Jo-Jay was sharing, it appeared that she was becoming more intoxicated (though she was gulping nothing more than club soda and orange juice). She was an exciting person. She had the quality of a young girl–the kind of little miss you know isn’t very attractive right now, but someday would be a hellcat.

Finally, Jo-Jay wound down. Or at least, Matthew assumed she did–because he passed out on his cushion in exhaustion.

The next afternoon, the Lincoln airport was opened. Matthew looked for Paul, who apparently had already departed.

So he reached over to hug Jo-Jay and asked, “Where are you off to?”

“San Francisco,” she replied.

Matthew crinkled his brow. “Well, that’s where I’m going.”

Jo-Jay jumped up and down like a little girl and said, “I know, I know. I bought the seat next to you.”

“Don’t you have somewhere to go?” asked Matthew.

“Now I do,” said Jo-Jay. “You see, one of the things about my Duke is that he had a fascination about the Galilean.”

“Galilean?” asked Matthew.

“Jesus,” replied Jo-Jay. “He never called him Jesus. He referred to him as the Galilean because most of his life was spent near the Sea of Galilee. The Duke believed that this Galilean had the solution to mankind’s problems because he refused to let us escape the philosophical juggernaut statement, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Matthew peered at her. “So you’re coming with me to. . .?”

“To. . .” Jo-Jay paused also. “To see where it goes.”

Matthew gave her a quick hug, then pulled back, admiring her like she was a kid sister. “So here’s to wherever the hell it goes.”

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Jesonian–Troubling (Part 5)… July 29th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesonian-cover-amazon

It is troubling.

“Family is everything.”

This philosophy is so widely accepted in our society that any attempt to question its veracity would be similar to suggesting the public execution of puppies in the town square.

Let’s first make something clear–Jesus was not an advocate for the genetic family. For instance:

–His clan was certainly dysfunctional.

–He was nearly killed by the hometown folk because they did not appreciate his message.

–And his family members went to Capernaum to bring him home because they thought he was crazy. He had to sidestep them, and informed them clearly that his family was anyone who did the will of his Father.

–When telling parables, he often criticized those who used family obligations as an excuse for not doing more for the world.

–He said our worst enemies would be those of our own household.

–And certainly he made the point that if you don’t “hate your mother and father, “you aren’t worthy of the kingdom.”

Jesus was concerned that we would love those who were connected with us through family ties, and not extend the same courtesy to our brothers and sisters throughout the planet. Why did this bother him? It’s really quite simple.

Please understand that evil never permanently leaves the spotlight, but merely goes backstage, dons a different costume, changes make-up and reappears as a new character. I believe this is what has happened in America. We are obsessed with the holiness of family. Yet it has suspiciously grown in popularity following the disintegration of segregation, Jim Crow and newfound civil rights for immigrants and the gay community.

Prejudice needed somewhere to hide. Bigotry was looking for a disguise. What could be better than family? It is literally “Mom and apple pie.”

So the same tenets which were promoted through segregation–that being “staying with your own kind”–have simply resurfaced as a maudlin proclamation of “loving your own.”

If everybody prefers their own family, we will isolate ourselves, making us vulnerable to evil tyrants who come and use our fears of one another to bring about mayhem and death.

I am troubled by the “family is everything” brigade. It is a way of hiding bigotry, which is no longer allowed to express itself through cross-burning, so instead is using cross-lifting.

My children know I love them–but they know I love them as I also love all of God’s children.

Remember, the last words of Jesus in the Great Commission were not, “Go back to your families and be happy.”

Rather, “Go into all the world.”Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

 

 

 

G-Poppers … July 28th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop was pretty sure what he wanted to share with his children this morning. As he climbed in his van to begin a ten-day tour to Tampa, which would include five presentations, G-Pop had pretty well sketched out what he saw as an aching need in our present human interactions: a return to concern. He was pretty pleased with what he was going to pen.

But he got about twelve miles down the road and his front passenger tire blew out. There was no personal injury or damage to the van other than one exploded tire.

Now, G-Pop and his traveling companion don’t carry a jack or spare with them, simply because neither one of them is capable of taking care of such a feat. So it was a hot, Southern-Florida morning, and he was stuck by the side of the road, waiting for a tow-truck and a willing technician to help out.

Things never work that way. Once your plans are edited by Mother Nature’s intervention, things never get easier–they just get different.

The blow-out happened at 9:00 A.M. and G-Pop was not on his way again until 1:10 P.M.

A lot of waiting.

A lot of heat.

A lot of chances to be discouraged, frustrated or to do that dastardly human thing of trying to find someone to blame.

Then it struck G-Pop. The article he had planned to write, though well-intentioned, was a discussion of human generosity in the abstract. In other words, “we could” or “we should.”

But it is one of those subjects that is easy to “Amen” but not so easy to amend. So instead, G-Pop is going to talk about concern, compassion and tenderness in the practical rather than the abstract.

Would you believe that four people stopped to see if they could help?

Would you believe a young man who has his own towing company had his car overheat on the way, but still made it there to change the tire?

Would you believe that G-Pop’s daughter-in-law brought out some drinks and a sandwich, asking if there was any other way she could help?

Would youi believe that G-Pop’s wife scurried around town, suddenly becoming a tire purchaser, for the good of the cause?

When it was all over, G-Pop realized there were so many people he got to meet that he never would have met had he not been stalled.

Maybe the whole problem in life is that we think we’re going to teach each other to be better humans. Actually, life just comes along and messes with us, giving us the chance to practice making gentler decisions from a position of deeper concern.

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Dudley … July 27th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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DUDLEY

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 26th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Lippy

For Christ’s sake, do what you can!

OMG, would you bring a plan?

What the hell is heaven for?

Jesus H. Christ, don’t shut the door!

Ye gads, they’re everywhere!

Guard your nads–a national scare.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph moved into town.

WTF, let’s shut it down.

For heaven’s sake, attack the hell.

Gee whiz, ain’t America swell?

Freakin’ A, I want my way.

Holy Moses with halitosis.

Cuss on the bus if you must.

Few in the pew to ever review.

Crucify is a dirty bird.

Declared sacred, a holy word

It stinks to high heaven

Come on, Mama, roll me a seven

Talk is cheap, lies are deep

Arguing a word is so absurd

Is the Pope Catholic? I wouldn’t know

Give a damn–nice to grow

You can watch your tongue

I will look for need

For when the hymn is sung

The Savior does still bleed

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Cracked 5 … July 25th, 2017


Jonathots Daily Blog

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

 Reasons That Some People Escape a Tornado

A. Lightning rods, garlic wreaths and the fact that no rotating winds came in their direction

 

B. They don’t live in a mobile home park

 

C. Deep intercessory prayer and also that no rotating winds came in their direction

 

D. They got struck by a cyclone because they live south of the equator

 

E. It just flat-out missed them

 

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