Cracked 5 … October 3rd, 2017


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Signs That Our Country Is In Need of a Refreshing Change

A. People are dead in the street

 

B. Souls are murdered

 

C. Americans are killing Americans

 

D. Indifference is not different enough

 

E. A new sin in Sin City

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Jesonian–Troubling (Part 3)… July 15th, 2017

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I must apologize. I’m still a bit troubled.

It’s the whole “Abraham” thing.

There are supposedly three religions–Judaism, Muslim and Christianity–that are knit together in a quilt based on a person named Abraham. If such a weaving is true, it is sewn with a dynamite fuse, ready to be lit at the least provocation.

A very simple study of the Gospels about Jesus will tell you that he was neither a practicing Jew nor did those around him deem him to be. If he felt he was Jewish, he certainly failed to convince anyone, and if they believed him to be their brother, they probably should not have crucified him.

On one occasion the Jews called Jesus a “Samaritan and a demon” while proclaiming themselves to be “children of Abraham.”

He alarmed them by stating that before Abraham existed, he was around. They did not muse his statement nor ask for evidence, but instead, picked up rocks to kill him, and he barely escaped with his life.

Christianity has many benefits but one of the main missions is to gently untangle itself from the Abrahamic family tree, so as to be able to make peace between these two feuding brothers–the followers of Abraham’s son, Isaac, and those of Abraham’s son, Ishmael.

Where would we begin?

We can commence this very worthwhile journey by understanding that Judaism is a culture, Muslim is a culture, but Christianity is a lifestyle.

So whether you’re from China, the Netherlands, Russia or Argentina, the ideas and message of Jesus will fit into your surroundings. Judaism basically works around Jews, and the Muslim faith has the greatest appeal to those who are Arab. That’s because they are cultures, not lifestyles.

As American Christians, we favor the Jews, not because they have any affinity for Jesus. Actually the Quran contains more respect for Jesus than the Old Testament. No, we favor the Jews because they were dispersed into Europe and they seem more American. Yes, it is another one of our racial bigotries–and when Jews look like Arabs, we are much less likely to be tender in their direction.

So let’s get over the foolishness and back to our theme:

If Jesus is God, then Jehovah and Allah are not.

If God is Jesus, then maybe there might be a little bit of Jehovah and Allah lounging around His man cave.

Christianity has the opportunity to heal one of the greatest family squabbles of all time. We cannot do so by saying we are “children of Abraham.”

In the Gospel of John, he clearly states that we are not born of flesh and blood, but of the Spirit. As followers of Jesus, we are not part of a lineage, but instead, linked by a salvation into what truly can be called the greatest opportunity for peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.

 

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G-Poppers … November 25th, 2016

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G-Pop would like to take this morning just to establish that human beings are human.

Although the concept may seem to be a given, religion turns us into sinners who are transformed to saints; politics insist we are a “movement,” and entertainment proclaims that we are of value simply because we are born.

Life on Earth is much easier when you realize how to deal with its major inhabitants–at least those who have brain power beyond raiding a picnic or grazing in a pasture.

There are two things to learn about people, and if you choose to educate yourself, you become much better at loving others and happier on your path:

1. Human beings are always spontaneously selfish.

If the moment’s whim intrigues them, they will chase it like a puppy dog trailing a sausage. Even if they’re working on something else or committed to achieving a goal, an immediate opportunity will rob their attention span and take them off on a chicken track of “clucking things up.”

Don’t be critical.

Just realize the same attitude dwells in you. Then you can assist others by limiting distractions and understanding that they will be slowed down by the ones you were unable to prohibit.

2. Human beings are only obliquely aware.

When we report a tragedy in a foreign land, the tendency is to only tally the deaths of the Americans. We want to be better than this; we want to pretend we give a damn, but the more the degrees of separation diverge from our own household of concern, the less chance we have of focusing compassion.

Therefore it is important to make it clear to everyone you wish to motivate that the available situation does improve their personal space.

Now, before pouncing on G-Pop and saying that he is overly simplistic or cynical, realize that God, Himself, feels the need to offer eternal life to keep us interested in our present one.

God also teases us with the possibility of being “given to” as a by-product of giving.

And God certainly offers rewards for good behavior.

We are human.

We are spontaneously selfish and obliquely aware.

So even when we’re altruistic, we still need a payoff. Stop asking humans to be either devils or angels. Those jobs are filled.

G-Pop wants you to know that God is madly in love with the unpredictable nature of the human heart, because He is fully cognizant that when we actually create, generate and innovate, it is definitely an action of masterful purpose.

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Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

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G-Poppers … November 4th, 2016

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G-Pop is insulted.

After six months of playground buffoonery passing itself off as a Presidential election, he finds himself feeling violated by the very same people who would solicit his support.

One of the candidates insults G-Pop’s intelligence and the other one insults his faith.

As Secretary Clinton touts her qualifications for the job of being the leader of the free world, listing numerous occupations which have prepared her for the position, she simultaneously pulls up lame, pretending that the technology of an email server is beyond her grasp.

She also has a litany of profiles to explain how four Americans in Libya–a very hostile environment–were lost on her watch.

On top of that, she continues to make excuses for a husband who certainly did his best to denigrate the gravitas of the job as Commander-in-Chief.

It seems that Hillary is incapable of comprehending that credentials need to be backed up with actions.

On the other hand, G-Pop’s faith is insulted by the lifestyle and urges of Donald J. Trump. Donald has taken one of the primary concepts of the Declaration of Independence–“all men are created equal”–and has whittled away, redefining the meaning of these words by placing special significance of one group over another.

He simultaneously has taken the respect, honor and equality that Jesus saw for women, attempting to turn our country back into a 1950’s philosophy, where it is assumed that men will step in to cover the inadequacies of the “ditzy female.”

But worst of all, Mr.Trump pretends to take on the mantle of faith in Jesus Christ, when three of the greatest principles in the teachings of the Nazarene are repentance, tolerance and forgiveness. By his own admission, he does not apologize, he does not view all humans as equals, and he would much rather attack those who cross his path and challenge him.

These two people are insulting.

If you have intelligence and a measure of faith, you will find their applications disheartening.

So what should we do?

Is it worse to have someone who insults your intelligence, or an individual who insults your faith?

Or is it more important for us to realize that as expected, no true transformation, revival or inspiration will ever come out of Washington, D. C.?

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Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

Good News and Better News … September 26th, 2016

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It is a medium-sized green table with retractable legs which we purchased at Wal-Mart about four years ago for $49.95.

tape-repairWe use it as a dining table in our motel room and it has faithfully served us many a meal, and even been put into service as a desk top for studious planning sessions. After all these years, it is a little beaten up, scarred and certainly worse the wear.

I could buy another table. I’m not cheap–it’s just that this table has not yet refused to stand up to its responsibilities. It continues to completely open itself up, offering its potential, although a bit bedraggled.

When I arrived at the Belleville United Methodist Church in Belleville, Michigan, and met so many intriguing individuals–including Pastor Jim–I was struck by the fact that most of us human beings are like my green table. We’ve been through some spills. We’ve been spread out, damaged and find ourselves in need of attention.

You can see in the picture where I have taken some duck tape to cover a multitude of errors.

Now here’s my thought–if we’re going to be a good church and reach people, the first thing we need to do is admit that we’ve been repaired. Yes, we’ve got the duck tape of salvation to prove it. We’re not pretty, but we’re still able to stand up.little-mirror-2

We also need to look in the mirror, not just for the purpose of good grooming, but to make note of our flaws before they become so obvious that we’re dubbed “ugly.”

So I carry a little mirror. I don’t like big mirrors–they display too much of me. But a little mirror lets me know that my face is still worth showing to the onlooker.

And I guess I want those people in Belleville to know that like a used Kleenex, I have already been put to the task, but well-used-3I’m still not ready to be thrown away.

Sometimes we look at older congregational members, and because they retired from their companies, we assume they’ve retired from life. Not so. None of us gets off that easy. Until we crawl into some sort of box and jettison off to heaven, we need to keep growing.

Yes, I’ve been used, but not abused, and I’m still worthy to be used some more.

And as you can see in the fourth picture, my table has some fresh tears. I haven’t gotten around to putting duck tape on them yet, but I’ll have to do so soon to keep them from spreading.

In other words, just like my table, I still have wounds. Sometimes I’m too touchy, so I keep coming back to church with my brothers and sisters because I need fixin’.

Many Americans don’t like to admit weakness. But the most powerful statement in life is, “I’m not good enough to be called good yet.” fresh-tear-4

In other words, don’t give up on me, don’t tell me I’m used up, but please remind me to look in my mirror and view my flaws.

The good news is, if visitors came to church and found human beings instead of folks trying to imitate what they think is righteous, they might just want to come back again.

The better news is, it’s much easier to live out life as a human instead of pretending you’re an angel.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Ask Jonathots… September 8th, 2016

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I had to do a short talk in speech class and wanted to chat about my church experience, but I felt I had to offer a disclaimer about Christianity: “I’m a Christian, but I don’t hate you.” I would love to stop having to do that. How?

Every single week, Americans go and spend money at Wal-Mart, even though it is pretty well known that their products are manufactured through cheap labor, often with the mistreatment of the employees. Should we stop shopping at Wal-Mart because the company has chosen practices that disregard the workers in other countries?

You can feel free to do so, but Wal-Mart is not going to be affected by your decision.

Or you can come to the conclusion that the only responsibility you have is to make sure that your life, your aspirations and your interactions with other human beings are free of intimidation and unfairness.

You’re not responsible for Wal-Mart.

You are responsible for you.

It’s very important that each believer in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth understand that the religious system that represents him is guilty of excess, greed, indifference and at times the subjugation of the poor. The system has drug its feet on issues of human rights and racial and gender equality.

Yet to stop attending a church, turning it over to the indifferent, is failing to capture an opportunity to quietly change the atmosphere.

If enough people show up at the religious system and refuse to merely act in ritual and repetition, then eventually, because the religious system likes to collect offerings, it will have to change in order to accommodate the new spirit.

For instance, I only buy groceries at Wal-Mart. Why? Because most of the products that come into the grocery department are not grown in sweat shops. It is a small consideration but still a difference.

And I don’t refuse to go to the church because it is filled with hypocrisy and vanity, but instead, I go to encourage my brothers and sisters and fellow-humans to be of good cheer, lighten their load and give a damn.

So I suppose if I were standing in front of your speech class, I would say:

“I’m a follower of Jesus. He thinks we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus was fine until the committee showed up–just like the United States was a great idea until politics corrupted it. But I neither give up on Jesus nor the United States just because those who scream the loudest are ignorant. I am a follower of Jesus. I don’t make a very good Christian, because I’m just not religious.”

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Ask Jonathots … June 2nd, 2016

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I keep hearing from pundits that “Americans are angry.” Do you think this is true? If so, what do you think is the source of this frustration?

Every coin has two sides. The problem with America today is a two-sided coin.

This is the source of what most people are referring to as “anger,” which really is nothing more than a tantrum.

Here’s the two-sided coin:

  1. “It’s not my fault.”
  2. “God will take care of it.”

Both of these statements are inherently flawed, and therefore often lead to unsatisfactory conclusions, which can cause people to develop a childish rant.

Let’s start with the first one.

The problems in our lives to some degree always involve our own lacking, procrastination, indifference, laziness or bigotry. If you can convince someone that “it’s not their fault,” then they can start looking for an enemy.

On the other hand, the second assertion–that God will take care of everything–has generated false hope. God did not create anything that does not have to participate in life. Humans are no different.

So it’s not so much that people are angry, but rather, that they’re experiencing the symptoms of seven-year-old tantrums, brought on by the fear of being held responsible or the errant promise of God taking care of everything. When these fail, frustration sets in.

So what can be done about this?

First, we have to stop legitimizing childish behavior. We have to take authority over our lives by admitting our part in the problem.

Then I think we need to teach those who seek a spiritual aspect that God is always prepared to give us wisdom, but rarely offers free checks in the mail.

Just enacting these two simple ideas would remove most of the attitude in this country which we have dubbed “anger,” and would replace it with a new feeling of good cheer, because we would be empowered to negotiate in our own lives instead of always looking for someone to blame or some heavenly being to take over our mess.

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