Good News and Better News … October 31st, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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coldwater-back-wall-1From everything I hear in the news media, our country is “angry.”

People are mad.

I’m not really sure what they are so upset about, but I guess that’s why pundits get to dress up and over-explain.

Yesterday when I arrived at the Coldwater United Methodist Church, I met people who are trying really hard to be kind and gentle in an atmosphere of crudeness and despair. Even the pastor of the church is beginning a new phase of her life, expanding the horizons of her ministry–completely and totally by faith.coldwater-set-2

Even though we accept the veracity of the reports about the frustration in our country, the constant repetition of complaint does nothing to alleviate the pain.

But it really revolves around a three-step process:

1. Stop being mad at me.

Yes, I need to stop being mad at myself. Most of the antagonism I feel toward other people is centered in my own dissatisfaction with my choices–especially when it comes to lying. For after all, once we start deceiving ourselves and others, we’re grouchy and fussy because we fear there’s the chance we’ll be challenged or get caught. So the best way for me to stop being mad at myself is to set in motion no lying–and that goes for exaggeration, too.

2. Stop being mad at others.

No grudges.

The grudge is always a piece of pride we fester because we’re not willing to discuss our feelings, fearing that we just might have to compromise. When we no longer insist that other people are “just so stupid that we couldn’t possibly reason with them,” we begin to address the animosity we have with mankind as a whole.

3. Stop being mad at God.

Most Christians would insist they feel nothing but love for their heavenly Father. But since He is our Dad and we are His children, there’s a good chance that occasionally we’ll be pissed off over the household rules–especially since religion comes along and puts the doctrines in stone. You can’t have a relationship with God through religion.

So–no religion.

Religion will not make you closer to God. It makes people prejudiced, self-righteous and nasty.

So I contend that a good portion of what I am called to do is remove the arrogance of anger so that the congregation can manage to forgive themselves, others and God.

That’s the good news.

The better news is: when you have no lying, no grudges and no religion, you find it much easier to relax and enjoy your relationships.

coldwater-jesus-note-3

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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G-49: June 30th, 1863… November 7, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2406)

            Gettysburg          June 30th, 1863

Gettysburg
June 30th, 1863

Three prayers float their way up to the heavenly realm.

They are distinctly different, uniquely crafted by the speaker to adequately accentuate the piety of their position while simultaneously offering sufficient humility for the auspicious occasion.

Prayer 1

Our most sovereign God, we have just taken over this command of troops and are headed off into the Pennsylvania countryside. We are certainly without experience. We are vacant a master plan. So we come to You, seeking both wisdom and protection–wisdom for our frailty of mind, which causes us to dance between fear and an over-exaggerated sense of importance; and protection because the enemies set before us are much more adept at their craft and perhaps even more dedicated to their cause.

Our purposes for marching through these fields are diverse and perhaps for some of us, unknown. It is everything from duty, to mission, avoiding disobeying the common law, and even for some, seething anger.

We do not ask that you give us the day in battle, but please give us our daily bread, and may we be able to chew it, swallow it and accept it as our portion.

“We feel we are in the right, but as is often the case, we may learn the error of our ways. Amen.

Prayer 2

Eternal God who is Almighty in the Heavens, we come to you as the Army of Virginia, set out to right what is wrong and to preserve the glorious blessing of our heritage and beliefs. As cheated brothers, for a season we feel the need to pick up arms and right the injustice and regain the freedom to live among our constituency with integrity and with respect to that which we consider to be holy.

We know you have been with us as we have prevailed in battle, and we know you will be with us throughout this day as we once again set a path towards quickly ending the bloodshed and resume our lives with family and kin.

Here in Gettysburg, make our cannons accurate, our swords swift and our bullets straight. Even in our hearts, we have no animosity towards these individuals. They just stand in the way of our liberty.

Yet as you said in your Holy Book, there is a time to kill, and we respect that season by doing it to the best of our ability. Amen.

Prayer 3

Derz Jesus: Dey have plans to kills Marcus today. Lawd, he don’t do nothin’ but pick cotton slow. I’z wishin that Yous listen to me eben though I’m not worth more than the dirt I came from. Maybe, Lawd, if Iz talk to the Massa, he’s let me pick extra cotton to make up for Marcus. Gives me words. May the work that I done here speak, gon ahead of me, so when I ax for Marcus’s life, theys not be hangin him, but instead, he be comin home to his wife and three.

Iz so weak. I needs Youz, Lord. I needs to save my brother. Helps me before my mind goes to breakin apart. Helps me to keep from bein angry. Helps me to be a man, even though dose I talk to don’t believe I be one. Amen.”

Three prayers presented to God.

But only one was answered.

For you see, because the plantation owner was busy trying to gather provisions for the Rebel Army, it slipped his mind to kill Marcus.

The prayers that came from the two armies gathered to do battle were ignored. The combatants were left to their own devices, to slaughter one another at will.

God had stopped honoring nations, peoples, cultures and ideals.

He was looking for someone with great ideas, a heart for his fellow-man and a willingness to do something noble in a time of utter chaos.

 

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Fault Line … May 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2225)

fault lineA fault line is what triggers earthquakes.

Living on a fault line is accepting the possibility of a disruption.

The same thing is true in human beings with the issue of fault. A majority of the upheavals which occur between human beings is based upon fierce disagreements over the fault involved. So because of this, people establish their opinions along a fault line, which best represents their willingness to interact.

1. Everything is my fault.

This is way too vulnerable. It often puts us in the position of being considered the underdog and the dumping ground for other people’s deception.

2. Most things are my fault.

Once again, this is much too difficult to define, still leaving us over-exposed to those folks who refuse to consider their own part in any failure.

3. Some things are my fault.

Always too much to explain. By the time we finish clarifying our part in the fiasco, we’ve bored the listener.

4. Nothing is my fault.

This certainly reeks of arrogance and eventually drives away all of our cohorts from working with us because they have to carry the burden of our lack.

5. I don’t believe in fault.

It may be a noble gesture, but you are surrounded by a world which points fingers–and has plenty of digits available.

Personal success is wrapped up in our level of personal responsibility.

This is the truth that Jesus says will make us free–free because we are no longer dependent on other people’s participation.

We look for our part in the project and continue to pursue it with diligence and joy instead of probing for someone to blame or the nearest scapegoat.

Let me give you an example.

Seven years ago a friend of mine died. He was a victim of cancer.

He smoked, drank a little bit, was angry much of the time, single and frustrated with the status, and full of animosity toward those around him because his life had not worked out the way he had hoped.

When he passed away, rather than pointing at him in his coffin and proclaiming that “he had made his own bed” and would now sleep eternally in it, I instead took a look at what responsibility I had in his demise.

It was a beautiful, healing journey. Candidly, most of my discoveries were positive. I had been generous; I had been kind. I had influenced without becoming an interloper.

But in the process of reviewing the case concerning this friend, I did discover some truth. I could have stepped in earlier and encouraged–or even insisted–that he go to the doctor, which could have made a difference in his prognosis.

I didn’t feel guilt about it. I didn’t assume that it was my fault–but I realized that if I ever had the opportunity again with another human being, I would step into the gap a bit sooner and offer positive solutions.

It was so cleansing.

I didn’t have to take on fault, nor did I have to absolve myself of guilt.

I found personal responsibility.

In a generation which is trying to escape our part in the disaster, we are also running away from the truth that can make us free.

Not everything is my fault–but it is also not the case that nothing is my fault.

The fault line, which spurs our hearts to personal discovery, is there to bring the “truth which can make us free.”

Personal responsibility is the only doorway that allows us the dignity of finishing our day with a smile instead of a nervous apprehension about tomorrow.

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

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