Jesonian… April 15th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A Saturday many, many years ago, the beaten, bruised and bloodied body of Jesus of Nazareth lay still in the darkness of a borrowed tomb, as his spirit communed with the angels and his mind reasoned over the unfoldings of a truly abundant life.

We are not privy to those thoughts.

Matter of fact, all we know of the life of Jesus comes from four major biographers who borrowed pieces from one another, and each, in his own way, had an agenda to offer insights to please his readers.

There is no autobiography.

So we aren’t sure of the emotion in the words attributed to him. Therefore theologians decipher and agnostics disembowel the remnants of the script left to us of this magnificent life.

Yet every once in a while, we get a deeper glimpse. Such is the case in Matthew the 23rd Chapter, Verse 37-38:

“Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Thou that killest the prophets and stone them which are sent unto you. How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”

The great debate over the centuries has been whether Jesus was Jewish or whether he came, in a certain sense, to abolish Judaism in favor of the New Covenant.

If you study the writings of Martin Luther, you might begin to believe that the Great Reformer was anti-Semetic. Yet in many evangelical churches, there seems to be a return to Jewish traditions, including them with their Christian rituals.

What did Jesus feel about the Jews?

What was the heart of the matter?

First and foremost, you must understand, for Jesus to include Gentiles and Samaritans in his movement immediately made him an outcast from the Jewish religious community.

Matter of fact, the Jewish Council that condemned him to death granted him none of the courtesy that was normally extended to brethren.

The reality that Jesus did not believe that the Jews were special because they were the “children of Abraham,” but rather put forth the opinion that God “could take stones” and make offspring of Abe, certainly did not put him in favor with those of the Zionist profile.

Yet John tells us that he “came to his own and his own received him not.”

When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, he did use the phrase “we Jews.” It is the only time he did, but he certainly had a kindness and favorability for those who lived in Judea and Galilee.

But Jesus was a man of vision–the Gospel would never reach China or the Native Americans if it were left in the hands of the Jews. The Jewish people had already aggravated the Romans to the point that the annihilation and dispersion of their kindred was inevitable, if not imminent. The Gospel would only survive in the hands of the Greeks and the Romans, who would take it to the rest of the world.

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that when the early church was trying to force Gentile converts to comply with Jewish practices, the former Pharisee condemned them and called them “Judaizers” for limiting the scope and power of the message.

In the two verses recited above, Jesus announces the fate of Judaism.

It is in a coma.

It is left desolate and abandoned.

It is awaiting a day when it can be awakened and all the promises given by the prophets can be fulfilled.

But for a season, it was set aside in favor of salvation and “loving your neighbor” being shared with the entire world.

Basically, if you want to sum up Jesus’ feelings on Judaism, it’s very simple: Jesus loves them.

He just does not believe they’re “chosen people.”

There are no chosen people–just people who choose well.

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Where’s Ya’ Goin’? … December 8, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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older boy with SantaAt twenty-two years of age, I was an unsettling blend of fun-loving, lazy, irresponsible and unfortunately, just talented enough to have reason to pursue a dream that was trying desperately to elude me. What happens in this type of situation is that normally you do quite well–until you run out of money.

Finance is not the most important thing in life, but it does buy you time to think about the important things.

So at Christmas time, I decided I needed to go out and make some candy-cane funding for my little family, and opted to pursue being Santa Claus. I was built for the position. Matter of fact, when I applied at the department store, they were delighted because the costume fit me perfectly and they didn’t have to add padding.

Honestly, I was pretty good at it, being Santa Claus. It involved acting, joking, caring … and could all be done from a seated position. The best of all my worlds.

Still, because cash flow was tight, I wasn’t able to afford money for lunch, so I lived on candy canes from my bag, which I gave to the children. I carefully tried to insert them into my mouth past the synthetic beard provided for me to accentuate the part. As you probably have already visualized, candy canes are sticky, and I was often unable to push the candy cane past the beard without including some hair in the process. It was yucky, but it was sweet.

Every three hours I was given a break, and would go down a freight elevator to enjoy some water and free time. One day, much to my surprise, a young boy about six years old followed me to the back of the store to the freight elevator, and surprised me when he piped up, “Where’s ya’ goin’?”

I was shocked. But wanting to maintain integrity, I continued my role.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa’s going to go feed his reindeer!” I said with abundant joviality.

“Where’s are dey?”

“Just down this elevator in the basement, waiting for me to bring them food.”

“Is dis the magic food that makes dem fly?” he inquired.

“Yes. I mean, no. Not yet. After all, don’t want ’em to fly until Christmas Eve.” I produced another ‘ho-ho-ho.’

“Which reindeer do you like best?” he continued.

(We were in the midst of a conversation which was quickly becoming an interview. I not only was losing my quiet time, but realized that in a few short moments, I would be beyond my expertise.)

“I like them all the same,” I shared with equity.

“I like Blitzen,” he said with assurety.

“Why is that, young man?”

“Such a cool name. And also, I think he helps Donner pull the sleigh, because sometimes Donner’s a little weak because he’s getting older. Just like my Grandma.”

Wow. This was getting way too deep for a department store Santa Claus.

“Well, I gotta go now,” I said, trying to inch my way to the elevator.

“Can I go with you?”

I should have known this was coming and prepared myself with a good answer. But I was twenty-two years old and punching a clock, even if it was for the North Pole.

“No, you can’t.” That’s all I came up with.

“Why?” he asked.

Once again, a predictable question. I decided to be honest.

“It’s because Santa Claus is tired right now and needs to put his boots up so he’ll be ready to talk to other boys and girls and find out what they want for Christmas.”

Much to my surprise, he accepted this and nodded his head.

“Can I ask you one more question?” he said softly.

“Sure.” He was so adorable I couldn’t turn him down.

“Are you the real Santa Claus?”

He looked up at me with a glance that any Hollywood producer would require off of a child actor, but unfortunately never get, no matter how many takes are procured. What should I say to him?

I thought about the standard fare:

  • No, I’m not really Santa Claus. I’m just one of his helpers.
  • I’m just filling in for him today because he’s busy making toys.

But momentarily inspired, I replied, “What do you think?’

He crinkled his nose, squinted at me, and said, “I think you are.”

“Then you’re probably right,” I concluded.

He hugged my leg, turned on his heel and strolled away, singing.

I thought to myself how wonderful it was to be childlike. What a disadvantage to be so old that I couldn’t believe like him anymore, and so young that my lack of belief would cost me for quite some time to come.

In all my life, I never met anybody who was better off for doubting. I have never seen atheists, agnostics or even overly zealous thinkers walk away singing.

Maybe in the vast spectrum of reality they are better off possessing knowledge, but for me, I want to be like that little boy:

Chase my dreams, talk to my ambitions and walk away … singing.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Neutral … January 16, 2013

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Jon SigningIn the often-comical pursuit of trying to create  dialogue and social interaction that does not offend anyone, we have actually ended up being one of the most offensive generations that has ever walked the face of the earth. By the time the commentators finish parsing words, studying body language and playing video tape which has been edited to reinforce their points, they are able to turn almost any conversation, speech or private moment into the abomination of desolation or an obvious affrontation to some beleaguered and misunderstood portion of our society.

So everybody is heading for the low ground.

There was a time when we actually did try to climb the mountain of wisdom in order to find the high ground where we could see better. But now it seems more prudent to those in control to find the lowest point of disagreement and camp there, hoping never to be challenged or questioned.

It happened to me yesterday. Some dear soul who had caught my show requested that I come to present my ideas, music and creativity in front of another audience of her organizing. The lady was thrilled with what she had seen, and wanted to make sure she could include all of her friends in the experience. I told her I was more than willing to go anywhere and for her to let me know how I could be of assistance.

Well, less than twenty-four-hours later she called me and said that she had talked to the “powers that be.” They were more than willing to invite me to come to their auditorium to perform–if I would comply with a few simple rules. (Honestly, friends, I don’t know how the words “simple” and “rules” ever got hooked up. It is not a good marriage–because rules are never simple and simple rarely demands many rules.)

Basically, the main concern by her  fellow-workers was that they wanted to be assured that I would come in and offer a “neutral” program. Many of the people in their constituency are of different political persuasions, faiths, ethnic backgrounds and general dispositions. They needed some guarantee that what I would share would not be offensive, but “in the wheelhouse” of everyone’s comfort zone.

Let me tell you something about neutral. Neutral by definition is a decision not to get involved and neither go forward or backwards. It is not exactly where anyone desires to be, but rather, a profile thrust upon us by fear of being overly passionate or too advanced.

I don’t mind being neutral. I just don’t know whether I can offer the same package of potential and emotional explosion by carefully removing all the meat from my offering, only to display the remaining skeleton.

But as I said, it’s not hard to do. The United Methodist minister, for instance, is more than willing to sacrifice miracles, supernatural events and any controversial subject that might have been brought up by Jesus, in an attempt to create a faith which can be intellectually absorbed through the pores from the hymn book.

On the other hand, the Southern Baptist will gladly and almost reverently take away any of the compassion, open-mindedness and non-judgmental approach of Jesus in favor of the bleeding savior who died for the world’s sins because “we’re all so very rotten, you know.”

It seems to me that the problem with religion is that it chooses to either be weak or to be mean.

So what I told the lady I would do for her gathering is simple. I’ve already found a neutral message. It’s not, however,  neutral in its energy and impact. It’s neutral because it is the only message that cross-sects all of humanity–simultaneously making sense and also convicting the hell out of all of our souls.

That message is “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

It is not obtuse to the atheist OR the pentecostal, yet individuals within those groups may find it humorous or implausible. I am willing to work with any philosophy, political party or clump of clods who will accept that the only way we’re going to get along on this planet together is when we stop feeling either superior or inferior to each other.

It’s not so much a neutral message as it is the only message.

So if my Buddhist friends have trouble with it, I offer them the platform to give me a more concise and on-point directive.

If the agnostics think it is irrelevant, I’m all ears to their findings.

And if the Muslims, Jews, Republicans, Democrats, atheists and “whoevers” wish to banter with me about the specifics of this holy sound bite, I am prepared to be instructed and informed–just not deterred.

So there is my neutral message: NoOne is better than anyone else.

I’m sure someone on MSNBC or Fox News could find fault with it, and if they couldn’t decimate the content, they could certainly delve into my character and find reasons why I am unworthy to front the notion. I don’t care. I will not play the game.

I learned a long time ago–the only way to become a fool is by participating in foolishness.

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god-awful … January 4, 2013

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jon holding up Bible

Sticking ones head into a book brings a very limited scope of possibility, even if it happens to be the Good Book.

I need to realize this on my 2013 quest to become more childlike in my faith. One of the worst ways to believe is to have a screwed-up concept of God. You would actually be better off having no God at all than having a god-awful one.

A childlike faith tells me that above all else, if I’m going to continue to believe in God, I need to understand the importance of disregarding anybody who wants to make Him awful–and that’s by either definition–awful in the sense of “filled with mystery and wonder,” and also awful in the aspect of having a really bad attitude and not liking anyone.

Here are the three things I know about children in relation to belief. Children require comprehension. You can tell them stories, but you’d better be prepared to answer questions about your little tales. The minute you tell a child that there’s a God, he or she will ask you three quick questions. (1) Where is God? (2) Who made God? and (3) Why doesn’t God do more to make things better?

Even a six-year-old knows that you are confused and avoiding the issue if you answer each of those questions with, “We don’t exactly understand–and that’s why they call it faith.”

So in my childlike mind for 2013, I answered those questions–really simply.

1. Where is God? Everywhere, especially in and around those who are ready to meet needs and have needs.

2. Who made God? God is a Spirit, and therefore, He blows toward the next point of need, so probably somewhere along the line, God made God because there was a need to do so.

3. Why doesn’t God do more? We return to our premise–God is a Spirit. He has a heart and a soul, seeking out people with minds and bodies who are willing to become God to the people around them.

The second thing I need as a childlike believer is to know the difference between Jack and Jonah. Jack and the Beanstalk and Jonah in the whale sound very similar to an eight-year-old mind. I do not try to explain to myself why Jack climbed the beanstalk and destroyed the giant. I also do not try to explain to anyone whether Jonah actually spent three days in the belly of a whale. The message I got from Jack and the beanstalk is that magic beans just bring more trouble. And the message I get from Jonah and the whale is that running away from the needs of your fellow-human beings does not eliminate the pain.

The reason we’re losing young people to agnosticism is because we want them to laugh off Jack and the Beanstalk, and revere Jonah in the whale. Good luck with that.

And finally, children need to be told that faith in God is the pursuit of an earthly heaven. Keeping a child’s mind in the clouds is an invitation to making him or her lazy, indifferent and non-productive. My childlike faith demands that I understand and apply that I am here to see God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven.

So to review my three notions:

  • God is a Spirit.
  • I don’t plan on debating whether Jonah lived in a whale, but rather, intend on retrieving the powerful message of the tale.
  • And finally, I will not wait for heaven to see heavenly things done. I will use my life here on earth to simulate my own desire.

There you go.

It begins with rejecting all religion and theology that is god-awful. Get your head out of the book, start looking for the Spirit of God, don’t argue about the Bible, and bring a little bit of heaven down to earth.

You will become a child–ready to romp and play in the Kingdom of God.

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I Have My Own Doubt… October 16, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

“No, thank you. I have my own doubt. I appreciate you thinking of me and offering me a fresh dose of disbelief and uncertainty, but I am a human being so I already come with a lifetime supply.”

One of the most difficult things to learn is that if you run across any child of God, that encounter has been entrusted to you in order to edify him or her, and if you, for some reason, find yourself unable to accomplish that task, please leave that human alone. If the only thing you have to offer people are Bible verses, the law of God or doctrinal positions on social issues, then you might want to spend more time at home, in personal consecration and self-improvement programs.

Human beings require encouragement. Even though we’re convinced that it may be our mission to discipline others to our particular brand of Spartan programming, God will snip the bud of your little flower of evangelism the minute it stops making people reach out and grow.

It’s hard to learn. Maybe it’s because we all go through the phase in life of being parents, attempting to instruct young earthlings in how to subsist and survive on this planet. Maybe it’s because most of us go to jobs where a supervisor is looking over our shoulders, scrutinizing our efforts. It could be the residue of an educational system which gives us grades on everything we do. Or maybe it’s just because we’re all a little obnoxious due to our own insecurities and feel the need to lord it over someone else. I don’t know.

But whatever it is, the more you abandon your self-righteous, pious, schoolmarm persona, the better off you will be–the more friends you will procure and the more God’s grace can be extended in your direction.

As I am in the midst of a personal pursuit for a little piece of God’s heaven to be brought into my earthly situation, I realized yesterday, as I drove from Fremont, Ohio, to Indianapolis, that there are only three things necessary to make life work. Let me not mislead you–it does take all three. But they hang out as buddies as a unit, so it’s difficult to imagine having one without seeing the other two. What I’m saying is, you probably have all three of these or you have none. Shall we take a look at them?

A good human life consists of faith, work and humor.

Faith: “God can.”

Do not be deceived. The majority of the agnostics in this country are not professors at Ivy League schools. They are pew-sitters in the local church congregations in small towns all across the nation. They are people who have a form of godliness, but privately deny there is actually any power for their personal lives through that system.

What is faith? Faith is God can. It doesn’t mean God will, which uses presumption and rhetoric. It is not God did, referencing Old Testament stories and trying to make them relevent three thousand years later. It is not God should, which is some sort of aggravating lament because life doesn’t work the way we want it to.

God can. That’s where my faith is right now. God can give me the ability to stand upright and walk about. I am not telling you that He must. I’, also not saying it’s a deal-breaker for our relationship. My faith is that God can.

To be around people who do not hold to that conviction may be totally inevitable, but at this particular phase in my journey, should be infrequent.

Then comes work. In other words, it’s my turn.

And work is very simple:  I will.

Once again, it’s not I plan. Nor I sure would like to. It’s not if I get the money together. It’s not if I can acquire some help.

Take your faith–the belief that God can–and find one or two little things you can do without anyone else’s help, and attempt them. Today I will leave my motel room on my own in my van and four times I will try to walk a few steps to regain my strength. Why? Because I need the work–and I have found something that I will do.

And finally, every human being needs humor. And what is humor? Humor is the profile we take when it temporarily appears that God has gone on vacation and our efforts fall short–more comical than profitable. Humor, to me, is the wonderful, laughing proclamation to the world of: Whoops! Next time. In other words, “My faith is still growing, my work fell short, and rather than denying my weakness, I shall be the first one to giggle over it.”

When you combine these three things together, you get the seed for human achievement. Yes, the seed. Do you remember Jesus challenged his disciples to pursue a small piece of excellence? Their response to him was, “Increase our faith.”

He just smiled at them and said, “Folks, all you need is faith the size of a mustard seed.”

And what is my mustard seed? The same as yours.

It’s just faith. In other words, God can.

It’s work, which translates into: I will.

And when I need it, it’s humor, which is the jocular admission: Whoops! Next time.

I don’t need your doubt–I have plenty of my own.

But if you’d like to bring your faith and your work and your humor … together, we might just change the world.

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

False Witness… October 3, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

“Can I get a witness?”

I remember the first time I heard those words spoken–I was in a tiny Church of God in Christ on the south side of Chicago. I think the pastor had scheduled me in thinking that our particular music group was “colored” to his favor, only to discover upon our arrival that we possessed paler possibilities. There was only a smattering of folks in the audience that night–mostly women. I did not know what I was doing there and they certainly joined in my confusion.

When the pastor asked for a witness, there was a long delay. At length, a young woman (who was later identified to me as the pastor’s daughter) stood and rattled off a little speech.

“I just want to thank the Lord for saving my soul and giving me the strength to go from day to day, though the burdens of life are so heavy that sometimes I want to fall. His grace is sufficient for me, and therefore I will continue to serve him, no matter what the devil lays in my path.”

She spoke it quickly, without the use of inflection or punctuation. She sat back down.

I don’t think I was alone in assuming that this testimony from this young girl was less than truthful. It was a false witness.

It was something she said because at one time or another, she really did believe it, and even though events had come to rob her of her original enthusiasm, she pursued the same party line, without revision.

It is the sixth thing that God hates. The Book of Proverbs says that “God hates a false witness that leads to lies.” Now we would think that a false witness is lies, but actually a false witness is a misrepresentation of facts, in order to maintain an original premise.

  • It’s when we say we feel good when we don’t.
  • It’s when we insist that a congregation of believers recite that “God is good” without asking them if they might need a rejuvenation or a clarification of that concept.
  • It’s when we say “amen” to prayers that do not bear our personal conviction.
  • It’s when we align ourselves with some political cause or spiritual direction, which ends up adding doctrines or ideas to its dogma, and we still insist on backing the whole package.
  • It’s when we define “faithful” as refusing to question a lack of common sense.

It is a false witness. And whenever we begin to speak things that we no longer exactly believe, trying to reignite our energy, we set in motion the imminent need to lie–because the minute life comes along, or even a person, to challenge our witness, we will have to decide whether to come clean and admit we have lost our fervor, or manufacture a series of excuses and explanations about our present status. It is nasty business.

The American culture is permeated with it–to such an extent that we no longer trust each other by word only. We want to “check out” people on the Internet, to find out if what they claim about themselves is true, because the presence of “false witness” leading to lies has turned us into a nation of suispicious investigators and proven liars.

I think I have tracked down the source of much of what I would call the false witness in the United States of America. Once again, it is caused by our division into two camps. Here are the two false witnesses promoting a series of manufactured lies designed to reinforce original misinformation:

1. “God is in trouble.”

I don’t know how we have been able to convince so many people in this country that God is a loser. Maybe it’s because we have made Satan such a prevalent part of our thinking, portraying him much more powerful than even Biblical theology allots. But there are a bunch of people in this world who believe that God is in trouble. There are ministers who make millions of dollars off of innocent believers, predicting pending doom from some evil that lives in the secular world or in the demonic realm, and is coming to undo the sweetness of God.

Sometimes they proclaim that “Jesus is coming soon and the world is going to end.” Sometimes they spread false rumors about companies being owned by Satan worshippers. Often, they will produce vicious lies about intellectual pursuits in this country that are supposedly trying to eliminate the name of God from our government and society.

Once you have convinced someone through false witness, that God is in trouble, it then becomes necessary to produce a series of frightening lies to back up your assertion and keep the faithful terrified. It changes people who are called to be lovers of mankind, salt of the earth and light of the world, and turns them into a bunch of haters, tasteless infidels and dim bulbs.

I met a man the other night who was very sad and lonely. We were having a delightful conversation about his pursuit of female companionship, when out of the clear blue sky, he told me that the New World Order had just been brought to fruition, and that soon the anti-Christ would attack Israel, and Armageddon would begin. He wasn’t bad–he was sad and lonely, and fell victim to a false witness filled with lies.

I have been told since I was a little “scamperer” that Jesus was coming soon, when my dear friend Jesus made it quite clear that no one knows the day or the hour. It is a rotten false witness demanding that we produce lies to prop it up for the few who are looking for a quick way out from the responsibility of living the gospel to their neighbor.

2. The other false witness that is kicking around in our society is “God IS the trouble.”

Unlike the other misadventure, this one insists that if we could just eliminate the foolishness of believing in a divine being and open the doors to understanding between the races, then we could imagine a world where there is no religion, imagine a world where there is no God, and therefore, imagine a world where mankind is free of the restrictions that cause us to become hateful instead of loving.

There is a false witness in this country that blames conservatives, Christians, Muslims, Jews and anyone who dares to look skyward, for initiating all wars, rumors of wars and inquisitions of all types. They continue by propagating lies about how human beings are innately good, and that left to themselves they will always find a way to cohabit in peace.

Through this false witness, God becomes the enemy–because after all, God leads to religion. Religion promotes intolerance, and intolerance generates the wars which pile up the dead bodies of the innocent.

Atheism and agnosticism have become “hip.” They are equated with the presence of intelligence. Younger folks are jammed by their friends to reject the fantasy of fairies in the sky and lightning bolts from heaven in favor of more mediocre pursuits and numerous downloads on the Internet.

These two false witnesses not only square people off against each other, but force them to produce lies about the other party, which by the time they are disproven, have already assimilated into the mainstream of thinking, never to be retrieved.

If you dare call these two false witnesses out for the charlatans they truly are, you will incur wrath from both camps, because the lies are so ingrained that they are seemingly incapable of shedding their own fantasy in favor of reality and truth.

God is not in trouble.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” God has Mother Nature to give us a balance in our daily atmosphere and the presence of the Golden Rule to allow true goodness to always win over annoying evil.

God is not the trouble.

Once again, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” God is not against human beings doing their best to save the whales and address difficulties with climate. God sits in the laboratories as scientists try desperately to take the fruits of the earth and find cures for disease. God is in the recording studios as true artists look for ways to create beauty in the earth instead of just adding to the clamor. God is not merely the promoter of intellectualism–He is the source of all intelligence.

But as long as these two false witnesses walk the earth, we will be pummeled and punished by an onslaught of lies which try to prove the validity of errant ideas. God hates it.

So all you televangelists who think you are doing such a wonderful work by attacking the evil in the world in order to protect the Kingdom of God, be aware that the Creator is sending tiny tape worms to eat away at your finance, eliminate your power and expose your lies.

And for those of you who feel you have reached a mentality that is beyond faith, understand that the God of miracles will continue to evolve the earth in directions beyond your comprehension, blessing where you have already cursed, enlightening where you have already given up, and exposing the ridiculous nature of doubting when resurrection is standing right in front of you.

God hates a false witness. Why? Because it always leads to lies. And lies are what rob us of the truth that can make us free. We are not free in America. We are entangled in a web of lies brought on by leaping on the bandwagon of our favorite false witness.

May I suggest that you get off, and instead of believing that “God is in trouble” or that “God IS the trouble,” you understand that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

Get out there and study the fullness of the earth and be prepared to come and dine with your Father.

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Juvies, Brats, Brown-nosers and … April 22, 2012

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They used to call it recess.

It was a fifteen-minute period when they allowed the students to escape the classroom and roam the playground, finding ways to entertain themselves and stretch their muscles before returning to the confinement of the educational system. It was also an opportunity to learn what your classmates were really like.

For some of them turned out to be juvies (short for juvenile delinquents). These were individuals who had decided to rebel against all forms of authority and who believed that Mom and Dad basically sucked.

Others were brats. These were children who were normally a little prissy and favored one parent over another. They explained to you that “my mom’s okay but my daddy’s mean.” Or “Daddy’s really smart but my mom’s a witch.”

A third group consisted of brown-nosers. These were kids who were kind of juvies AND brats, but had found a way to manipulate Mommy and Daddy to do anything they wanted because they APPEARED to be obedient. They weren’t.

Now, the reason I bring this up to you on this beautiful Earth Day is that the playground really doesn’t stop as we graduate from the school system into the life system. Juvies grow up to be atheists, agnostics or really unbelieving church-goers who don’t have faith in God and have no respect for Mother Nature. That’s right–they decry and deny both Father and Mother. They seem to find self-sufficiency in insufficiency. The times when they enjoy themselves the most are when they’re complaining about their lot being “the least.”

Meanwhile, the brats grow up and continue their brattiness by either preferring Father God–becoming very religious and self-righteous–or Mother Earth, favoring camping, pine trees, crystal-blue lakes and listening to lengthy renditions of Thoreau‘s Walden‘s Pond.

Of course, you probably have jumped ahead to think about the brown-nosers. These are the children who reach adulthood but continue being childish, believing if they do a few basic things to please Mother Nature and Father God, that they should get everything they want. They are disappointed and disillusioned because they fail to realize that they’re disconnected.

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of folks who understand the balance. We’re not supposed to be juvies. Mother Earth and Father God don’t suck–they simply work in unison. Once you understand that, it’s easier to sing along.

We don’t get anywhere being a brat–believing in God but hating the earth, or loving Mother Nature but speaking evil of her companion, the Father in heaven.

And people who just brown-nose or give lip service–kissing from the rear to gain frontal approval–are at odds with the world around them because their shenanigans and fake feelings always play out and become obvious.

Good news. There is a fourth group. In my day and age on the playground, we refered to them as “coolios.” These were the young humans who “got it.” It isn’t that you have to agree with your mother and father all the time–it’s just that you have to trust them enough to be honest, forming your complaint into a question in order to learn how things really work instead of just rebelling, ignoring or faking it.

For instance, I will not worship any God who is not open to Q and A. I am not interested in revering nature–when nature wants me to worship God. My job as a smart child of the earth is to trust my father and mother enough to ask questions when I don’t understand, instead of assuming that I am all-knowing or that they’re really unfair.

Do you want to give a present to earth on this Earth Day? Stop being a juvie, thinking that Mother Earth and Father God suck. You might want to give up the brattiness of favoring one over the other. And don’t think you’re going to brown-nose your way into finding God’s approval or Mother’s blessing.

It’s time to turn into a coolio. Trust your Father in heaven enough to ask the questions that are on your heart and to learn how Mother Earth really works so you can stay in step with the household.

Now that would make a great Earth Day. That would create the fulfillment of the prayer that says:

“Thy will be done on earth (Mother) as it is in heaven (Father).”

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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.

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