Sit Down Comedy … April 10th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

My doubt has a gooey center and my faith is a bit crusty.

There are times I feel more like a sympathizer than a believer.

All the Bible-reading and ministerial chats still leave a festering in my curious soul.

For you see, I have been all alone in the wilderness or driving a car late at night when an inspirational silliness caused me to speak to the quiet stillness, “God, are you there? Do you have a word for me?”

It happened again this morning.

My friends left to get groceries and I was all alone in the house. The street was quiet and there were no whistles and buzzes coming from my Internet connection.

A chill went down my spine. I felt so close to something.

So I spoke again. “God, are you there?”

There was no answer—just as there wasn’t in the forest primeval or my motor vehicle.

Immediately, I felt foolish and cheated. Both emotions vied for the authority over my heart.

Suddenly there was this tiny notion that became an idea and evolved into a full-fledged sensation.

“Does my faith have to come from God?”

Are you telling me that if there were no God, we couldn’t figure out, “Love your neighbor?” After all, it lessens the murder rate.

Do we require tablets of stone? What is the purpose of that high mountain?

Could I discover the truth of this planet, and eventually the universe, without a Sunday School teacher? Or is it necessary for me to suffer rebuke, endure reading boring holy passages or shiver at the threat of eternal damnation?

Or is it just obvious that you should leave your neighbor’s wife alone?

Do we really need a commandment to inform us not to kill, to be generous or help the helpless?

Is it really profitable to be scared witless in an attempt to understand the mind of God?

Doesn’t “created in His image” come with an accompanying conscience?

Here is the entire essence of belief:

You can’t do your own thing if your thing messes up someone else’s thing.

Killing sucks.

Selfish leaves you alone.

Oh, and by the way, the Creator loves you enough not to speak. Because if He spoke to one, every human would want a private audience. Then we would start counting words. How many did he speak to Edith? More than Harry? Was his tone sweeter with Joe than with Donald?

Great people don’t need to talk. Great people do.

And if you’re talking about the greatest Being in the universe, speaking could be an immense disadvantage.

***

A friend of mine sat in a garden, pleading for his life. The answer came when the authorities arrived, arrested him, put him on trial and executed him.

How lonely he must have felt during his death.

How forsaken.

He was buried because he was confirmed dead.

But thirty-six hours later, he rose from that body and stepped out of his own grave.

It was an uncomfortable delay, but still … impressive.

Jesonian … October 21st, 2017

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Even though I am an admirer, believer and follower of Jesus, there are things that bother me.

Yes, some attributes of Jesus give me the creeps.

Let’s start with the fact that he claimed to be “one with God.” Normally when folks make such an assertion, we give them a free trip to a mental hospital instead of building churches in their name. “I am God”–the classic statement made by megalomaniacs throughout history.

Secondly, he seemed to have a strong death wish. About halfway through his work, he became obsessed with his own execution. Needless to say, this is repeated throughout history by leaders who ended up being nefarious.

Can I give you a third one? How about this–he invited his disciples to drink his blood. That’s creepy. Although you can point out that it was a symbolic act, I don’t like to think about even symbolically taking in hemoglobin.

And there is the fact that he is traditionally reported to have stayed away from sex. Although surrounded by women and a plethora of men, it is alleged that he was as pure as the driven snow. We can certainly attest to the fact that those who pursue that lifestyle often end up being perverted, using their abstinence to injure the lives of others.

I’m sorry, these are some creepy things.

If I walked into your house and said, “Hey, did you hear about that guy down in Texas who thinks he’s God, hangs around with a bunch of women but says he abstains from sex, prophesies that the government is going to come and kill him, and it is reported that he makes his followers drink his blood…”

Come on. This is going to freak you out.

So why, since I know all these creepy things, do I still follow Jesus? It’s because of what he taught and how he followed up with it in his own life.

His teachings were non-violent. Most people who claim to be God want to kill you to prove the point.

Jesus didn’t care if you didn’t believe. He just went to another village.

His teachings were forgiving. Even though his disciples were a bunch of hotheads who wanted to kill their enemies, he rebuked them, told them to put their swords away and taught them that no one is better than anyone else.

His teachings were inclusive. Even though the average Jew of his day had a hit list of cultures which needed to be destroyed, Jesus walked freely with the Romans, the Greeks, the Samaritans, the Jews and the Afrikaans. He gave the same respect to everyone, whether a Pharisee or a man possessed with a thousand demons.

He also loved human beings. Even those who hated him.

He refused to take his claims of supremacy and force other people to submit to them. His philosophy was, “Whosoever will may come.”

So here’s an amazing fact: Jesus’ claims become viable because of his actions. It’s not that his actions are worth studying because of his claims.

I can accept some oddities in his choices, phrasing and mannerisms because his life was drenched in love.

Love is not creepy.

 

 

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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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Cracked 5… January 20, 2015

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Worst Ideas for Presidential Campaign Slogans:

A. “I hate everybody, so you’re all equal in my eyes.”

B. “Let’s keep spending and let the kids figure it out.”

C. “Vote for me so I don’t have to go bankrupt.”

D. “I am a functioning heterosexual, homosexual-accepting, bi-sexual believer.”

E. “My mom thinks I would be a great President. So there.”

cracked politician

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Jesonian: Baby Talk… December 21, 2014

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Goo-goo.

Da-da.

Ma-ma.

La-la.

Baby talk.

Jesus was a baby.

He didn’t come out of Mary’s womb espousing great parables with immaculate diction. Being human and very tiny in his understanding, he pointed to things and tried to express his inner feelings.

So “goo-goo” was goodness.

“Da-da” was Father God.

“Ma-ma” was Mother Earth.

And “la-la” was love your neighbor.

The magic of the Christmas season is that Jesus was a baby, pooping his pants, urping up mother’s milk and using baby talk.

I am one believer who feels we would be better off if the entire gospel of life was expressed in baby talk, so that we all could become children and therefore inherit the Kingdom of God.

So on this day, I say to you: “Goo-goo,” which means that goodness is achieved when we confront the mediocre before it slides into the pits of evil.

I mouth to you: “Da-da.” God is my Father, and in that position, He is not my Creator, but rather, my parent.

With a bit of drool around the corners of my mouth, I say: “Ma-ma.” Learn Mother Earth. Discern the signs of your times. The Earth is the Lord’s so respect it. Don’t be ignorant of what is current.

And finally, “La-la.” We should love our neighbor as ourselves. Without this, we become dangerously self-involved, precariously at the mercy of others who possess too much self-love and ignore us in our time of need.

Baby talk.

For after all, out of the mouth of a Babe we received great words of wisdom. 

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Double A’s and an F … February 17, 2014

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Bill MaherYou can’t be a good believer unless you first discover what kind of atheist you would be. And while you’re at it, it’s a good idea to figure out how you would choose to live if you were an agnostic. Two A’s and an F — atheist, agnostic and faith.face of Ricky Gervais

Since none of us know for sure what’s going to happen after we suck our last, it’s a good idea to put greater value on your human life than you do your eternal life.

I know this statement would upset about ninety percent of the Christian community, but it doesn’t make it any less important to share.

Billy GrahamI am a person of faith–not because I’m afraid of what might happen if I weren’t.

I don’t pursue devotion to God because I’m superstitious or want to cover all of my bases.

No, it’s because I have decided what life I would choose to honor if I were an atheist. So if there were no God, what would my three essentials be, determining my essence? I would have to:

  1. Learn to love people.
  2. Learn to respect my life and the value it has, both in limited time and in the distribution of the wealth of my gifts.
  3. Be merciful.

Likewise, if I believe there is some sort of God, but think He or She has taken a permanent vacation, rendering me an agnostic, what kind of journey would I choose?

  1. Learn to deal with people knowing that they never go away.
  2. Take care of myself, but also not come across as unfeeling to the needs of others.
  3. Learn the art of forgiveness.

So in like manner, if I’m going to be a believer in an Eternal Creator, what are the three things that define my trinity of precepts?

  1. I’m told that if I don’t love people, then my love for God is built on a false premise.
  2. I’m instructed that if I give, it shall be given unto me.
  3. I get mercy, released for my inadequacies, by the amount of mercy I give to others, and I am judged in like manner.

You see, when you look at it from that perspective, whether you’re Bill Maher, an atheist, or Ricky Gervais, who considers himself to bounce between agnostic and atheist, or Billy Graham, who is the face of the faith crowd–when it comes to human life, you’re left with the same basic alternatives.

I guess as long as you can escape the ridiculous traditions of religion, it might be nice to believe in God just in case the heaven thing turns out not to be hype.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

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Enlightened … October 25, 2013

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child-prayingThere may be nothing more pitiful than a believer who has ceased to have faith in the power of prayer, yet continues to mumble the words,  fearing sacrilege.

Even though churches continue to host seminars on the precepts of prayer, thinking they will unlock some magical formula, the true essence of communicating with the Father as a child is to be forthcoming, and to make sure you arrive at the meeting with all your chores completed.

Did you follow that?

If you will allow me to continue my story concerning arriving at the end of our year in solvency, you will agree with me that being darkened, or cynical, about our problems, is not only useless, but veers toward destruction.

So being practical–counting the cost, finding out how we can contend, having all the ends meet, and controlling as many factors as we can–is ALWAYS the preamble to prayer. After all, any child in a household who shows up asking for more, having not completed the agreed-upon household activities, is certainly headed for a rebuff.

You can’t remove the practical and think you’re going to arrive at the spiritual.

You can’t be Andrew, from the Good Book, asking Jesus to feed the five thousand, without letting him know there are five loaves and two fishes available.

After we finish the practical aspects of counting, contending and controlling, we are ready to have a great one-on-one with our Father in heaven and boldly enter His presence–because we KNOW we have done all we know to do and we can stand.

Then prayer works.

About three years ago I realized that telling people I was going to pray for them without  doing something to assist, was worthless. Even if it was just an encouraging email, a few dollars sent their way, or linking up other people to help them, prayer works best when people have let God know they are invested by offering what their possessions and talents.

Why would God want to invest in a project that we’ve decided is not worth our own time and effort?

Sometimes, for me, it can be hearing about someone who has a brain tumor and putting myself back in a hospital room so many years ago, recalling the sensations of fear that flooded my soul.

It is my investment. So then, when I pray, I am merely trying to get God to follow up on my backing.

It creates a sensation of being enlightened.

I would describe that jubilant revelation as the result of a four-step process:

1. I refuse to focus on the problems and become cynical.

2. I have become practical by counting the cost, deciding how I will contend and taking control where necessary.

3. I am satisfied that my contribution is complete, yet I find there is still a need.

4. I rejoice that I can solicit God to come in to the project and cover the need that is beyond my scope.

There it is.

I feel a great confidence that our traveling team will end this year in total victory. Avoiding the darkened countenance of cynicism while applying the practical of what we have available, we can come with assurance to our heavenly Father and ask Him to contribute.

It’s a great way to live.

The best way to become an agnostic is to pray thinking that God manipulates everything. You will soon become a liar who pretends to be faithful–or you will walk away from your belief because you childishly thought that your Daddy should take care of everything while you watched.

Prayer is powerful because it asks God to believe in what we have already decided to pursue.

Make up your mind:

  • you can follow the world and be darkened and cynical.
  • Or you can apply the practical, which is necessary to fulfill the natural order in which you live.

Having completed that task, you can become enlightened by including your Father in everything you do.

I am confident–not because I’m a religious man, but because I have escaped religion and have begun to move out in everyday workable faith.

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