Good News and Better News … June 20th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Walkersville

I have spent the last week in Maryland, “habitating” on Mason Dixon Road.

If you’re unacquainted with the significance of “Mason Dixon,” simply explained, it is the contrived boundary line which was drawn to distinguish the North from the South, and therefore, the free states from the slave states. It was another one of those man-made solutions that seemed brilliant at the time because it appeased an acceptable insanity.

As I thought about it this week, I realized that every time we try to divide one from another–be it by race, gender, culture, sexual preference, or denomination–we take a big slather of glue and try to repair a major crack in the rock.

It never works. It never holds. And eventually, the action of trying to achieve a temporary solution seems ludicrous.

If we would simply start with the principle that there are no divisions unless we’re trying to be superior, then we would be on our way to understanding human life as it was meant to be on Planet Earth.

Enjoying the fine souls at Walkersville United Methodist Church, I realized that there was no greater message to share with them than the removal of all the “Mason Dixon Lines” that keep us apart.

I don’t care if it’s some politician portraying that the one percent is battling the ninety-nine percent, or another chap who insists on constructing a wall to keep the immigrants from the “permanents”–we are merely pretending to address a situation which can only be achieved by submitting to the wisdom of four immutable axioms.

Whenever there are two people gathered, each must realize:

1. We’re both wrong.

If life were as limited as our understanding, then it could never include everyone alive. So in some way, we’re both wrong.

2. We’re both right.

Yes, there is something good at the core of almost every philosophy or religion which can be included in the ultimate solution.

3. The Spirit knows the difference.

As long as we are in our flesh or living in our minds, we will never be able to surrender to the ultimate wisdom that keeps us from constructing barriers between one another.

  • We need the spirit of history
  • We need the spirit of science
  • We need the spirit of wisdom
  • We need the spirit of creativity.

And this is all encapsulated in our Father in Heaven.

4. Stay in the Spirit.

Since it is the Spirit that will lead us to deeper acceptance, the more we laugh at our prejudices as we chase them out the door, the greater the chance that we will achieve comprehension.

So that’s the good news. Because we’re both wrong and we’re both right, and the Spirit knows the difference, we should stay in the Spirit.

And here’s the better news:

It’s fun being wrong, as long as you believe in your heart that it is possible.

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Jesonian: This Ole’ House … July 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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housePictured is a house I ran across in Janesville, Wisconsin, during my touring. It is owned by somebody, but unoccupied. There are no people on the premises because the residence is broken apart, the windows are shattered, and the general appearance is deteriorating.

A thought came to my mind. What does the owner think when he drives by the possession? Does he remember former times, when the edifice was beautiful and a source of joy to a family? Or does his mind race with ideas on how to renovate the surroundings, making them livable again and restoring the glory?

Or I suppose a third choice is that he turns their head away so as not to deal with the eye-sore.

I think this is the situation we face in the church.

We know that people are supposed to be changed. An encounter with Jesus historically, and certainly Biblically, always resulted in some sort of massive transformation.

But often, it seems the best we can offer to the congregant is the chance to give a testimony about how bad things were or how great things will be someday “when we all get to heaven.”

In the pursuit of showing compassion, we may have accidentally drained the actual passion out of the soul and faith of the believer.

For after all, we spend so much time talking about God’s grace and so little time reminding people that Jesus told folks it was their faith that made them whole.

Matter of fact, it doesn’t take a theologian’s understanding to comprehend that Jesus was in the business of making abundant life for people on earth, not just in heaven.

You can the teachings of Jesus balance beautifully on two axioms:

  1. He that endures to the end will be saved.
  2. Go the second mile.

After all, what got Jesus very excited was when people showed initiative, reached out and touched the hem of his garment, had faith for their servant to be healed, or lepers who tracked him down to gain cleansing.

He admired initiative. Dare say, he rewarded it.

Removing such initiative from our faith in an attempt to establish the supremacy of God is unfortunately the way we remove the glory from God, which He would receive from people praising our good works.

Jesus is to appreciate that he was a teacher who wanted to impart a lifestyle, not just a salvation plan.

I don’t know whether that house in Janesville will ever be restored, but for it to happen, someone will have to admit that it’s messed up, the glory days are not coming back and there’s no guarantee that the future holds promise for miraculous renovation.

It will need work.

We do need endurance. And we do require the energy and excitement to go the second mile.

So don’t rob people of the blessing of having Jesus speak to them admiringly: “Your faith has made you whole.”

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