Cracked 5 … May 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Other Names Considered for Jesus (and also the ones who proposed the “handle”)

 

A. Temple Tumbler–presented by the sarcastic Pharisees after Jesus “turned the tables” on them.

 

B. Winey Boy–a quickly devised name by some very drunken souls in Cana who suddenly found themselves slurping a burgundy made out of water

 

C. Jim Bay Luben–a proposal by the Southern Galilean Baptists, who were hoping it might promote Jesus to be more like his cousin, John

 

D. Carpo the Carpenter–a business-package idea by the Nazareth Chamber of Commerce

 

E. Bastard–a never-dying rumor by old, disgruntled Nazarenes who were “month-counters” for Mother Mary.

 

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … February 8th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-salva

Plantation Salva

A damning God

Seems quite odd

Why the fuss

Since He made us

Didn’t He know

How it would go

A fruitless problem

Closed the Garden

Making the nomad

Always a little sad

Chasing a dream

A meaningless scheme

Killing, making war

Settling an endless score

God sent preachers

Hideous, pious creatures

Listening to what they tell

Made us further rebel

Hate the wait

Fate is late

Will, for me

But it ain’t free

Sow and reap

Fail and weep

What a bore

Craving more

The color of skin

The depth of sin

Chosen people

Erect steeple

While we are here

Twisted in fear

God is over there

Cursed, so unfair

Settle the wild

Birth the child

He’s the Word

Judged absurd

A Master disaster

Kill the Bastard

Where can we hide

No place to abide

Then a voice

Offers a choice

His life, your Eden

Everything you’ve been needin’,

Your Plantation Salva

Is assembling

For you to discern

With a holy trembling

 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 18) Wounded … April 3rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

He asked me if he could have a moment of my time.

We went into his office, shut the door and he sat down in his over-stuffed leather chair behind his huge mahogany desk. With a gentle, understanding tone, he said, “I’m just concerned that you’re ministering from a wounded place.”

I gathered from his approach and facial expression that he thought doing so was a mistake.

I replied, “Yes, I am. I wouldn’t trust any ministry that wasn’t.”

Jesus was the greatest minister of all time.

He was also very wounded.

Long before they hammered nails into his hands and feet, he was born of a virgin, considered a bastard, chased out of Bethlehem, exiled in Egypt, rejected by his home town, denied by his family, criticized, mocked, marginalized, cast out, called a sinner, a drunkard, a glutton and even proclaimed to be Satan.

These things hurt.

The truth of the matter is, none of us are worth a damn to be healers until we’ve survived the wounds.

For lacking the experience of transformation, we have a tendency to be impatient with those who have difficulty getting over the pain.

Life is not about whether you’ll be wounded or not.

You will be.

It’s about what you do next.

And the first thing you should do after being wounded is bleed.

Not a lot. You don’t want to pour out all of your life flow and confidence–just enough to dispel infection. Then stop the bleeding, cease the self-pity and clean the wound.

Take what you know to be true–memories of how you’ve been blessed–and tenderly use all of these affirmations to expel the dangerous rot that would attempt to infest you.

Bandage it.

Your healing process is nobody else’s business. It could be ugly. Other folks do not need to see your scabs. Take a private moment to heal–and then, when you’re all done, remove the bandages and proudly display your scar.

A scar tells everybody that you’ve been through the battle but you’ve endured the wounds and are coming out on the other side, healed.

No human being can escape the wounds.

Jesus didn’t.

But we become reasonable to one another when we allow the healing process to move forward, while simultaneously offering to others exactly what Jesus said to Thomas:

“Come see my scars.”

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Jesonian: The Name Game … August 30th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesus and woman caught in adultery

2000 years later, Jesus is called the Son of God.

When he was a man sporting sandals, they often drew different conclusions:

1. He’s a bastard.

As difficult as it may be to believe, Mary’s little story about being impregnated at the beckoning of an angel did not fly with all the residents of Nazareth. So to those who festered in disbelief, he was born illegitimately.

Jesus is proof positive that there’s no such thing as an illegitimate child. How we get here is not as important as what we do upon arrival.

2. He’s an illegal.

The fussy Jews on the issue of immigration found the arrival of the little boy and his family from Egypt to be disturbing.

Yet there’s no such thing as an alien, just people who need to learn how to get here with an ingenious way to help.

3. He’s a devil.

It is so easy to characterize anything that is foreign to our little box as being “born from the pits of hell.” The truth of the matter is, if you want to determine the origins of my purpose, you should watch what I do–and then watch who I praise.

4. He forgives sexual immorality.

Even though we insist that Jesus was perfect and free of any encumbering notions of lust, when asked to condemn a woman caught in adultery, he challenged those around him to consider their own impurity. And since he didn’t stone the woman himself, that would include his own introspection.

5. He’s crazy.

This assertion was not made by competitors or critics, but rather, levied against him by his own family.

We must always remember that family is great for holidays, birthdays and special occasions, but rarely do they ever comprehend our mission.

Jesus embraced his life by being willing to take on the brunt of human critique. Although he was saddled with great difficulty, he turned his life into a tableau of colorful and creative emotion and forgiveness.

We will be called many things.

But history will only recall what we accomplish to include humanity instead of deterring or destroying it.

 

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Jesonian: What do you know about him? … October 12, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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He was called a bastard because his mother got pregnant before she was married.

He was born in poverty in a stable reeking with animal manure.

Even when his family tried to establish a life in the little town of Bethlehem, they were visited by astrologers from the East who brought gifts, but also brought down calamity on their lives because they accidentally passed on information to a jealous king who put out a contract of death on the little boy’s life. So they were forced to go into exile, into the land of Egypt, where they were strangers, and for about six years tried to subsist and carve out a life, as additional brothers and sisters were added.

His father, a man who believed in guiding his life by dreams, returned them to Judea, only to find out there was still danger, so they settled back into the community where the original gossip about his conception had brought them such pain.

He struggled to learn how to become a carpenter, even though deep in his heart, there was a strong calling toward other missions and goals.

He was made fun of by many of the local children because his customs seemed foreign, his demeanor was simple and he had not learned the letters of the Jewish law in their time-table.

He spent years in a small-town life without ever taking a wife of his own.

When he embraced the aching wishes of his heart and began to share a message of love and hope, which included not only Jew but Gentile, the local townsfolk pushed him to the edge of a cliff and threatened to murder him.

He escaped to a nearby fishing village, where he began to teach and discovered there was often healing, and miracles which followed when the people brought their faith to the situation.

His brothers and sisters thought he was crazy and came to retrieve him, so he was forced to alienate himself from them. He would not see them again for two years.

Even though his message did nothing to hinder the well-being of the Roman Empire, all the factions of the religion of his countrymen turned against him as one, plotting his demise.

Yet he persisted.

The advancements he presented in his teachings are still a stumbling block to many fundamentalists today:

  • Women are as good as men.
  • “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is foolish.
  • It is what we do to the least of our fellow-humans that matters most.
  • There is neither Jew nor Greek.
  • We are not to judge.
  • There are people who are born to be eunuchs and born by the will of God to be a certain way.

Eventually he was betrayed by one of his closest friends, accused on trumped-up charges and killed for a crime of sedition, which was the furthest thing from his doctrine–for he believed it was important to render unto Caesar the things that were Caesar’s and unto God the things that were God’s.

He was abandoned by his friends and tucked away quickly in a borrowed tomb so that the surrounding faithful could honor the traditions of their religiosity.

It was in that tiny enclosure that he was finally able to manifest the true essence of his power, by being allowed to rise from the dead.

But after nearly two thousand years, a name that was reviled, persecuted, rejected and cast aside from his brethren is now the central figure in the history of the world.

Because when war has finished tallying all of its victims, there will always be a need for the voice of peace. And the voice of peace was found in his throat and resounded through his message.

Do you know him?

How much do you know about him?

Because the more you know, the lighter your load.

 

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Tame the Shame… November 7, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I come to you today as a reluctant writer.

I rarely have apprehension about expressing my feelings, but there are two nagging pieces of silliness that have garnered great acceptance within the American public which I feel compelled to address. As always, I would like to do so by pointing the spotlight at my own inadequacies instead of others.

One of the reasons I hate to be referred to as a “blogger” is that the reputation of such a creature is that of an attack dog rather than a contented puppy. While recently reading an article on the Internet by an individual decrying the action of “shame,” I became conscious that our society is trying to expel all introspection in deference to self-acceptance, which unfortunately, neither helps us find self nor is accepted. Let me explain:

Last night I was trying to make a point. Thinking that my intentions were being repelled by those in the room, I kicked into a gear of vehemence. I felt justified. After all, what I was saying was grounded in truth and relatively important. But my words were crude, my attack vicious and the result was an acquiescence by those who heard me–due to fear of my temperament rather than understanding of the principles.

So when I laid my head down last night to go to sleep, I felt shame.

If I followed the psychology of today, I would reject that sensation as counter-productive to my self-confidence. I would have rationalized my deeds as being correct because they brought about the proclamation of candor. But I would be wrong.

I felt shame. And instead of rejecting that shame, I tamed it–embraced it, if you will.

For I will tell you, my dear friends, there is a difference between shame and ashamed.

  • Shame is thrust upon me because of my conceited, unbowed head, which forbids any notion of lacking on my part.
  • But ashamed is when I take the time to evaluate my own actions and realize that I was “weighed in the balances and found wanting.”

If I have to become angry to relate the beauty of love and truth, I am a bastard in the human family. The end does not justify the means. Hell, the present doesn’t even justify the means.

Without allowing ourselves to be ashamed, we fail to recognize the repentance which is necessary to create the change that we insist is the goal of a progressive society.

So how do I know if I’m experiencing the brunt of shame, or if a necessary amount of “being ashamed” is graciously applied to my life? If I am ashamed:

  1. It’s my idea because I have taken truly holy time to look at my actions instead of justifying them.
  2. If I’m ashamed and it’s to my benefit, it brings about the amazing mixture of good cheer and tears.
  3. I want to do it better next time. If I’m ashamed and it is born of a spiritual instinct, my desire will be to have another opportunity to show more excellent results.
  4. And finally, if I’m ashamed, I won’t be afraid to speak it out and admit it to others–because it was MY idea, and necessary to expel from my body.

Shame is when somebody else forces conclusions on you. In that case, pop culture is right–the scenario is useless.

But ashamed is opening the door to a repentance that allows us to become a person that we don’t mind lying down with and going to sleep.

So that’s Number One–shame.

Tomorrow we will take on bullying.

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Poison Pal … July 15, 2012

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Foolish man that I am, I had convinced myself that I was immune. I believed that I had built up a toleration against the venom that often spews from your soul in response to my obviously insufficient endeavors.

You want to hear something even more comical? Uniting my faith, hope and charity, I actually contended that I had discovered an antidote to such poison. Yet there is always a new way to be attacked and a surprise ambush available to suppress any claim of innocence.

Why have you chosen to be my enemy? Why have you selected to side with those who are against me–and even though their numbers may dwindle, you try to prop up their meager attempts at revenge by adding greater significance to their misgivings?

After hundreds of letters and notes, we seem incapable of creating any kind of treaty between the two of us. Part of me wants to be absolutely devastated and enraged by what I view to be irrational and unjust accusations.

I feel prosecuted, convicted and executed without ever understanding my crime. I have grown weary in the well-doing of justifying your behavior as frustration that is cast upon me because you have scared away all other possible victims. You are bitter–and there is never a passage from “bitter” to “better.” Bitterness demands that we find the root and destroy it so as never to allow the evil sprout to protrude from our beings again.

Yet I don’t understand such an anemic statement because it carries the double punishment of being inflicted and ignorant. Why is there such a desire, even a gnawing passion within my soul, to strike back at you because you leave yourself so vulnerable with your ineptness, jealousy and failed projects?

You are the walking contradiction to your own philosophy. You are the evidence that drives people away from ever wanting to be created in your image. Yet even as I write these words, regurgitated from exasperation, I feel shame. Or maybe it’s just that I feel trivial and predictable–to be involved in such a miniscule battle over absolutely no available turf.

You are supposed to be important to me. Yet I grow absolutely exhausted trying to expend energy to cause our relationship to have significance when you have relegated me to such a worthless state. I am not accustomed to being treated so. I am not one who automatically is able to produce graciousness from my soul with a demure smile and a silent prayer.

For after all, it’s virtually impossible to initiate activities of a positive nature if you have allowed yourself to believe that your humble talents are meaningless. Yes, I will admit it: I believe in myself. And I resent the hell out of you for trying to make me extinguish the flame of joy and confidence that God has permitted me to have–to be the light of the world.

You never had yours–so you want to destroy mine.

You never loved–so you dream of rendering me loveless.

You never possessed victory–so you want to rewrite the history of my success.

I can’t let you do this, even though I have no will to stand against you, nor heart to be your adversary. You are poison. It is not a poison that has been manufactured in some factory in a faraway land, but rather, squeezed from your own reticent and recalcitrant spirit, and dribbled out on anyone who would suggest that life is good.

  • You are Booth–a shot in the dark for my rear.
  • You are Brutus–a stabbing pain in my heart.
  • And Iscariot–a garden-variety traitor.

But hatred is difficult to me. I don’t know whether it’s because I find it to be surrender, distasteful or just a one-way street that leads to a dead end. For after all, where do you go from hate? With love, you have the options of mercy, grace, tenderness, discovery, growth and generosity. Hate just seems to stop and sit in a corner by itself and gnaw on its own leg.

I can’t do that.

When I listened to you speak yesterday–or wait–was it the lack of words? I forget. But what seemed to envelop my entire being was a sense of your indifference to all my overtures of creating concert between us.

I don’t understand. I despise the sensation of being without remedy or comprehension. Do you really hate me? Or just don’t know what to do with me and have selected to erupt like a volcano in your frustration and indecision?

You are my poison pal. For after all, there is a cross we all bear, but somewhere along the line we have to be intelligent enough not to climb up on it and be nailed down. Crucifixion belonged to a Savior, not to a mere mortal like me, who is baffled by the responsibility.

You are poison. Dare I drink the dregs of this cup and think that I will not damage my own internal parts? What should I do? What can I do? What is permissible to do?

Oh, forget that. I am so tired of trying to be upright that I am downright angry with the notion. You are poison.

Yet … for some inexplicable reason, I still feel compelled to love you.

Love.

Love is often the tenacious bastard, abandoned to foster care, absent the milk of human kindness.

   

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