Dudley … August 31st, 2017

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DUDLEY

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 30th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Come, Poet

Come, Poet, express to me

The beauty of the world you see

Speak of noble notions

Releasing great emotions

 

Make me believe in good life

Free of anguish, absent strife

Wish me well every day

With each passage and word you say

 

Chat of beauty, pure and clean

Free me from the discourse obscene

Proclaim the God of holy grace

Kissing the face of the human race

 

Wish me “Godspeed” for my endeavor

Phrase it gently, make it clever

Be the bright spot of my day

Boost my desire to believe and pray

 

You are the clarion in a world so bleak

Choose your patter, mild and meek

To an agonized mind, please be kind

For the turmoiled soul, faith can make whole

 

You, old timer, a holy rhymer

Extol the birds, uplifting words

Chant for thee and then to me

And perhaps you reach all you see

 

And I–yes, me–the person I be

Will simply ignore you.

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Cracked 5 … August 29th, 2017


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Ironic Things Overheard on the Deck of the Titanic Shortly Before It Left on Its Final Journey

A. “Reginald, do we need more life boats?”

 

B. “No, Horatio, I just finally got the number even on both sides.”

 

C. “God, I hope I get to see an iceberg–a big’un!”

 

D. “I wonder if they’ll ever make a movie about this boat?”

 

E. “Tell the stewards to save the best wines and caviar for when we get closer to New York.”

 

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Good News and Better News… August 28th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther marched to the Catholic Church in Wittenburg, Germany, and nailed his 95 theses of grievances and complaints onto the door. Thus began the Reformation Movement.

So, could I be any more blessed than to be at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Lakeland, Florida, during the commemoration of the Reformation? And I didn’t even plan it. I just went with it.

That’s been the great joy of my life–to stop struggling so hard to achieve my will, and to find my needs accomplished in the unfolding of the opportunities that come my way.

Pastor Robert is a fine, congenial gentleman who shepherds this church, filled with delightful Lutherans who would make Brother Martin smile with pride. We just had a hum-dinger of a time (if you are allowed in this day and age to say “hum-dinger.”)

Because Pastor Robert and his assistant, Doug, have a gentleman’s style about them, the congregation came through the front door a bit excited over the prospect of having a unique “spiritual entrée” to accompany their usual “tater tots.”

It makes a difference. People who believe breed faith, and faith is able to manifest miracles.

Martin Luther had one major premise, summing up his 95 theses: “We are saved by grace.”

Dr. Luther was very concerned that we would lose our sense of awe and wonder over God’s salvation and begin to think we could “work our way to heaven” or, “what’s the sense of even trying?”

But the new message for the Lutheran Church–and all churches who have joined into this Reformation–is that we have been saved by grace to be gracious.

A church without gracious people is like a door without a knob. You might comprehend that there should be a way to get in and out, but nobody has given you a handle.

People complain that the church is getting older, but when you’re talking about graciousness, age is insignificant. Matter of fact, could there be anything more appealing than a genial, loving and giving 78-year-old man or woman who has an open heart to the human beings around him or her, and is ready to be accepting?

You can’t build a church without old people.

As the Prophet Joel proclaimed, it is those of elder years who provide the dream for the vision that the younger folks bring–the dream being that mystical mixture of what might be, while confirming that it is possible by sharing what has already happened.

People of grace need to be gracious. If not, then all the objections lodged by Martin Luther are empty and cold.

The good news is that five hundred years ago, the church went through a Reformation which opened the door to salvation by grace for everyone.

The better news is that we are due for another Reformation.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 12) A Collision of Colossal … August 27th, 2017

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Susannah Lacey, known as “Soos” during her infamous days of cavorting around the campus with the “Leaven of Seven,” was waiting at the headquarters when Matthew arrived on Wednesday morning. She looked exactly the same, except age had etched a little worry and miles onto the terrain of her frame.

She gave a big smile as Matthew came into the door, raced up and gave him a hug. taking his breath away.

They had never been terribly close. It was an awkward situation. Matthew always suspected that Soos had a crush on him, and she believed it was the other way around. So not so certain that any crush existed, no romance ever came to fruition.

But Matthew had a great respect for Soos. She was a “reasoner.” When it seemed like all problems were surrounding the “Leaven of Seven,” threatening to destroy their idealism, she came through like Joan of Arc, rescuing their innocence. (Usually it consisted of buying a pizza or finding some marijuana, which made them all feel nasty-cool.)

She explained to Matthew that she had gotten his message and was heeding the call as if he were Commissioner Gordon turning on the Batman beam to summon the crusader. Matthew was not terribly familiar with the reference but giggled anyway.

While the greeting was still in full swing, in walked Prophet Morgan. He hadn’t left the offices since his arrival. Prophet was a pleasant enough sort, though he had the sniff of the brimstone which accompanied the fire of his faith. Matthew thought he seemed sneaky. Having heard his full story, Matthew thought it was a miracle that Prophet Morgan wasn’t in either an insane asylum or jail upstate.

At age five, his drunken father, who was an evangelist with a tent revival, decided to bring his little boy up onstage to pray for people, and lo and behold, the tiny Prophet Morgan laid his hands on a woman and spoke in an unknown language. The next morning she awoke completely healed.

No one took the time to wonder if she would have been healed anyway, or if she was really that sick in the first place. The word spread like a grease fire–a five-year-old prophet with the gift of healing, sent by God to the backwoods of Arkansas to transform His people.

In no time at all, huge crowds were showing up at the tent revival meetings and Prophet’s father was getting rich on the proceeds of his sprout.

About a year into the process, at age six, Prophet had a nervous breakdown. Matthew guessed that’s what you’d call it. The six-year-old started running around the room, only stopping to bang his head against the wall. He was placed in a mental institution, where he stayed until he was twelve.

Prophet explained that no one ever told him why he was there or how he would ever get out. One bright, sunny day, someone left the back door open to the asylum while spray-washing some chairs. The twelve-year-old detainee simply strolled out, started running, and never stopped.

That was the story thus far. Obviously there were many more tales to be told. But Prophet Morgan was a young man burdened by old demons.

He took an immediate liking to Soos, who found Prophet to be a bit bizarre in appearance but just ethereal enough to grease her wheels.

While the two of them were making friends, the phone rang. It was a call from Michael Hinston, from Washington, D. C. Matthew was surprised to discover that Michael had a change of heart and was now interested in the “make Jesus popular” project.

Matthew hung up the phone scratching his head, trying to figure out why, all of a sudden, all these elements were falling together. Well, if not together–at least colliding with one another.

Another phone call came in. It was Marcus Tomlinson, who had originally asked Matthew to consider the 250 million dollar project. He explained that he would be flying in the next day to talk about the future of the idea.

As Matthew hung up the phone, he felt there was a gloominess emanating from Tomlinson–coming with some bad news. Or maybe it was good news.

Maybe the burden of making the decision about this bizarre errand would be taken off Matthew’s shoulders.

He wasn’t sure.

Prophet Morgan stepped over and slapped him on the back, awakening him from his thoughts of deep escape.

“Quite a day, huh?” said the prophet.

“Yes. A lot going on,” Matthew answered, preoccupied.

Prophet looked off in the distance. “I remember an old Creole woman in Louisiana I once met, who said about this kind of day–the one we’re living in right now–she called it a ‘collision of the colossal.’ Lots of things happening, but no way to be sure if any of them smell of God.”

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Jesonian–Troubling (Part 9)… August 26th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Troubling.

Yes, it’s troubling to me that the American and the European church feel they can do what Jesus said was impossible to achieve.

When Jesus was confronted by a man with a complaint concerning a brother of his, who would not share the inheritance, the Nazarene refused to weigh in. He replied, “Who has made me a judge over such matters?”

He then offered a discourse on the dangers of greed.

So it is troubling that the present Christian movement believes it can negotiate the problems between the Jews and the Muslims–brothers–instead of declaring the feud to be exactly what it is.

Greed:

  • Greed over dominance.
  • Greed over money.
  • Greed over Jerusalem.
  • Greed over favor with Father Abraham.

Nothing can ever be accomplished unless we understand that Judaism and Islam are not religions–they are two different tellings of a mutual history. The feast days, rituals and story lines that are thrown in are established to add credence to a family squabble.

Christianity was never intended to be a religion either, but rather, a lifestyle.

The Jesonian–the life of Jesus, the teachings of Jesus and the heart of Jesus–is a lifestyle. It is an abundant life that was offered to counteract a historical squabble. When Christians side one way or another on this dispute, they err, failing to honor the mission of Jesus, who said that he was not a judge over such things–because the conflict was and is grounded in greed.

The Jews are my brothers and sisters by creation, but they are not my relatives in faith. The Muslims, likewise, are my brothers and sisters by genesis, but not my fellow-laborers in the matters of spirit and truth.

It is my job as a Christian to love these two factions into understanding that there are things more important in life than trying to possess control.

God favors neither Jew nor Muslim. The message of Jesus is “whosoever will may come.”

But they do need to come–instead of standing at a distance, screaming at one another.

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G-Poppers … August 25th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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They were called “Tories”–colonists who remained loyal to King George III during the American Revolution. They were honorable folks. They wanted to respect authority. They saw no reason to change the status quo. They were following what seemed to be common sense.

They were unfortunately mistaken.

There were other folks known as the “Moral Majority.” The moniker certainly tells of their assumptions. They were convinced that homosexuality was a blight on the American scenery–even that HIV and AIDs were punishments on the homosexual community–the “gay plague.”

Their ranks were filled with Bible-loving, dear-hearted people who were completely misinformed.

It was called “separate but equal”–later to be tagged “Jim Crow.” It was the notion that since color separated human beings, and culture seemed to follow along, it was in line to complete the separation in public restrooms and schools. Great people adhered to the philosophy. Dynamic human beings were involved in promoting it.

It was flawed.

It’s very important to know the difference between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance is when actions are taken without the benefit of adequate knowledge. Stupidity is when knowledge has arrived and we choose to remain ignorant.

No matter how honorable, self-sacrificing or righteous the Antebellum South felt it was on the issues of states’ rights, tarriffs and slavery, time has marched on and brought us an infantry of reasons to conclude that the assertions were faulty.

Just as the Tories are not allowed to build statues to Benedict Arnold, the Moral Majority isn’t in a position to extol Jerry Falwell, and Jim Crow is not recognized in the public square of Birmingham, for its historic quality, we can no longer accept the “good intentions” of the Confederacy.

They, like the Tories, the Moral Majority and the Jim Crow crowd, must find their absolution with the words of Jesus from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

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