Jesonian–Troubling (Part 11)… September 9th, 2017

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Most troubling.

I was a very naive, impressionable fifteen-year-old boy with a volatile battle between carnality and spirituality raging in my soul. I was very enamored with the pastor of my local church.

He had baptized me. In many ways, he had befriended me. And he had welcomed me into the small-town church, which was now growing because young people were bumping up against each other, carrying the fellowship they felt at school into a second Sunday morning experience.

I had also made another friend. He was a young minister from a different denomination–a forbidden one–who was cool, cared about me and loved rock and roll music.

So when I was talking to the pastor of my “every week church” about this young fellow, he suddenly frowned and warned, “Stay away from him. He preaches a social gospel.

I did not know what that meant, nor did I ask. But it sounded really bad. And the delivery was enough to nearly make my heart stop. “Social” could be “socialist,” which was communist. Don’t want any of that. So I cut off all ties with the young minister, much to his chagrin.

For you see, my pastor taught redemption. “The blood of Christ cleanses from all sins.”

And later on in my life, as a young man, I ran across those who preached “the full Gospel.” They believed that the gifts of the Holy Spirit and miracles were just as available to believers today as they were in the time of Peter, Paul and Mother Mary.

The bizarre fact is that these three renditions of the Gospel of Jesus–social, redemption, and full–don’t generally get along very well.

It is troubling.

It’s what makes the evangelical church anemic–because it lacks social passion along with personal motivation.

It makes the “social Gospel people” appear to read from a book that in many ways they no longer believe in.

And often the “full Gospel people” contend that without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you don’t have the presence of God working in your life.

It’s really quite befuddling.

  • Because you can’t start a fire with just a match.
  • Nor can you ignite a flame with kindling.
  • And no fire is possible minus oxygen.

It is the joining of all these forces that makes fire ablaze.

Therefore, to follow Jesus, you must have a social consciousness that shares a redemptive message, believing that God is still in the business of healing and moving by the Spirit.

Why would we want anything less than that? Why would we want to focus on one of these factors of fire, yet end up flameless?

Troubling.

I deeply believe in the social Gospel of Jesus. I believe there’s no need for me to bring my gift to the altar if I am not reconciled with my brothers and sisters. I believe I am to be the salt of the Earth and the light of the world.

But I also believe that when I have obvious, evident weakness, it is the redemption of God’s grace, through the life-saving blood of Jesus, that pulls me through. But once I am redeemed, I am compelled, challenged and exhorted to trust that the same spirit that dwelt in Christ also dwells in me.

My gospel should be full.

And when it is full, redemptive and socially aware, I become of value to myself, mankind and the heavens.

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Ask Jonathots… September 1st, 2016

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I have a friend who is not a believer. He loves people, is kind-hearted and generous. In other words he acts like a believer who follows Jesus. How can I convince him that Jesus is the way? P.S. I have done my best to “shine my light” before him, but he doesn’t seem to budge.

I assume you’re talking about the standard Plan of Salvation:

God sent His son in the body of Jesus of Nazareth to come to Earth to give himself as a human sacrifice for the sin of mankind, so that if anyone accepts him as Savior, they can be redeemed and guaranteed a home in heaven.

I will tell you that if your aspiration is to see your friend follow this step-by-step procedure to attain eternal security, you probably will be greatly disappointed. The amount of anger, disaster or devastation that comes into one’s life before reaching the “end of the rope” that is required to comply with this particular enacting of salvation is not very common–and not something you would actually wish on your worst enemy.

So let me offer you a different insight.

Your friend has the power of knowing where the switch is, to turn on the lights. That’s pretty special. What he doesn’t have is the awareness of how that light works or what to do if the switch is broken.

Once we understand that God is not only our Father, but is the Creator of Earth, and therefore the Initiator of science, technology, atmosphere and logic, we have a much better comprehension of the mission of Jesus.

Jesus basically grants human beings two things they do not have without him:

  1. Don’t worry about life.
  2. Don’t worry about eternity.

He made it clear that we should not sit around “taking thought” about what we shall eat, drink and wear because it is all built into God’s system if we keep our eyes open and pursue opportunities.

And Jesus made it equally understandable that eternity was prepared for us, and that he would be there to meet us.

The rest of the Gospel is merely explaining how the juice gets to the lightbulb–so just in case our light switch stops working, we can ask the “Master Electrician” to join us in reconnecting.

Is there truth to the Plan of Salvation about a human sacrifice?

When mankind was given the freewill choice of accepting the teachings of Jesus, and rejected, murdering him, God chose to use it as a means of forgiving us for our shortcomings.

Pretty powerful.

So what should your profile be? Make sure that your friend is fully aware that the Creator is also the scientist, philosopher, musician, technologist and free thinker that he requires in his everyday life.

Remember, Jesus wanted to be known for his words.

The religious system honors him for his blood.

But the average person is not nearly as intent on finding a sacrificial lamb as in discovering someone who can understand and show compassion.

Case in point:

When Zacchaeus gave his money back to those he had cheated on taxes, Jesus said, “Salvation has come to your house.”

Zacchaeus didn’t confess, he wasn’t baptized and Jesus had not yet died. But salvation was there because Zacchaeus welcomed the wisdom of awareness and mercy for others.

Stop being in a hurry to get your friend to sign on the dotted line, and instead, give him more “lines” of appreciation to his Creator.

 

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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G-38: Poised… August 22, 2014

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A quick checklist.

Becoming human, born of a woman, living as a man. Accomplished.

Exiled, time in Egypt. There are no chosen people, just folks who choose well.

Living. Thirty years of just being an everyday brother, friend, son, merchant and helper. Done.

Baptized. Cleansed from inadequacy, tempted as we all are.

The message. We are meant to be blessed. We are called to bless. Amen.

Challenged. Answers without anger; a philosophy put to the test.

Healing. Compassion for the ravaged, opportunity for the depressed. Their faith made them whole.

Resurrection. Lazarus brought back to life. A stir of hope in the hopeless surroundings.

Poised.

Perhaps mankind can get it right this time.

Waiting to see.

The religious rowdies are too scared to intervene, frightened of government and the crowd.

Then…

Spikenard. A gesture of reverent friendship poured out in gratitude, followed by a self-righteous, angry disciple, challenging the waste and leaving the room feeling rebuked.

Suddenly the Spirit of Cain: jealousy, lethargy, mediocrity, arrogance, despair and unresolved conflict.

Murder enters the heart of Judas Iscariot.

Free will shall be honored.

Things have changed.

It is time for Plan B.

 

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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

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

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Three Ways to Avoid a Squandered Life… August 14, 2014

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kleenexI sat very still in my chair, staring at the scrap of paper in front of me, bewildered, if not a trifle bewitched.

It was a note from an aging friend which appeared to be spilled ink on paper, dabbled with a human finger in an attempt to form words.

“Pray for me. Hitting my head. Brain disease.”

I thought about the many hundreds of letters I had written to this individual and the hours I had spent loving, reasoning and perhaps even arguing with him about the ebb and flow of life. And now I was looking at this ripped sheet of paper, wondering what had brought him to this conclusion.

For I will tell you, it is too easy to blame people for their own path, and also much too simple to portray them as victims of clinical diseases which take the power of choice away from them. There are occasions in life which threaten to steer our carnal vessels in directions which prove to be disastrous.

Are there warning signs? Are there ways to avoid a squandered life?

1. Don’t allow yourself to feel entitled.

The minute we expect, we stop being able to accept. Lack of acceptance leaves us vulnerable to disappointment, which lends itself to despair.

2. Don’t give up on good work because of critics.

I wish I could tell you that every brilliant concept is embraced by even a single convert. It is not so. Often the greater the gift, the less it is received.

You must learn to be content with your own belief and purpose.

3. Don’t lose your faith in people.

If people don’t understand what you’re saying or doing, then don’t attack them for their ignorance. Use your creative genius to make what you do and feel more understandable.

Squandered: Wasted in a reckless or foolish manner.

I will pray for my friend. But prayer by itself is not what he needs.

What he requires is to be baptized in a fount of good cheer and faithful pursuit.

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

 

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

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

 

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

The First Time… March 22, 2012

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The first time I saw the ocean, I cried–a bit of marveling mingled with the saltiness of the air.

The first time I saw a bee, I giggled–bouncing from flower to flower, suspended yet animated.

The first time I kissed a girl, my heart stopped; then every sense accelerated into high gear, yearning to race to the finish line.

The first time I got sick, I wanted to die, but was later thankful for the prudent delay.

The first time I heard applause for my work, I smiled all over, refreshed by the wave of appreciation.

The first time I made love, my body briefly left my soul, to revel in its moment of acceptance.

The first time I was baptized, I opened my eyes under the water to view the cloudiness that was my heart.

The first time I heard a choir, I rejoiced in knowing that harmony in the masses was not only beautiful, but possible.

The first time I saw a mountain, I wanted to perch at its peak, minus the climb.

The first time I made people laugh, I felt like God–right after He created the sun.

The first time I was granted a miracle, my soul gazed at the heavens in wonder, as my head remained bowed.

The first time I held my son, I was in Eden, dancing around the Tree of Life.

The first time I failed, I was in awe that the rising dawn was unaware of my inadequacy.

The first time I drove a car–honestly, I favored the brake.

The first time I ate Chinese food, I resisted thinking about our family cat.

The first time I sang, I felt as if I were whispering into God’s ear.

And every first time I have a first time, I am grateful for this time … to discover The First.

**************

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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