Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 9) Leavening … January 31st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

When I looked at the parable again, it just made me laugh.

Jesus often had a dry sense of humor–and in this particular story, he refers to the society in which we live as “the lump.”

Could it be personified any better? Just a big pile of dough, laying there with no prospect of becoming anything in particular, susceptible to being manipulated.

Even though we are tempted to become part of the dough, Jesus suggested we become the leaven–the yeast–the ingredient that quietly slips inside the lump, ends up affecting it by expanding it and making it into bread.

It is the reasonable expectation of all people who are followers of Jesus–thus Jesonian: to contribute to the world around them by adding their yeast into the mix to produce the bread of life.

The problem is that many Christians, instead of using emotional leavening in their outreach, end up with spiritual “littering. ”

  • They waste their witness.
  • They cast aside the power of the Gospel.
  • And they limit the scope of how they can affect their brothers and sisters by offering tracts and little bits of scripture.

This spiritual “littering” occurs in three distinct ways:

1. A generic God.

Yes, in an attempt to become all things to all men, we talk about God instead of Jesus. It seems safer. It appears to be less offensive.

But since Jesus did not come to start a religion and is not in competition with those who did, the way to gain emotional ground with others–to leaven the lump of their lives–is to share the compassion, the heart, the tolerance and the mind of Jesus.

God is an idea. Jesus is a feeling.

2. We also spiritually litter offering an invitation to come to our church.

May I give you a clue? The people who are inclined to go to church at this point are already there.

So the next step for creating a spiritual awakening in this country will not be church attendance. It may lead to that eventually, but to leaven the lump–to put your yeast of emotion into people’s lives–you have to participate in social interaction where they live.

The Internet, dinner invitations, parties, or even going to a movie with a friend is much more effective than the spiritual littering of inviting them to your congregation.

3. And the final step of spiritual littering is feeling the need to make a stand on social issues or moral questions so as to separate our “sheepishness” from those who are more “goat-like.”

We achieve nothing with this.

Whether we are vigilant or vindictive in our assertions makes no difference because we are still accused of being judgmental.

The emotional leavening that Jesus wants us to bring to life is good cheer.

Rather than looking at the tribulation of the world and having a disagreement with it, he tells us to leave the world to him and instead, pursue a life of good cheer.

It’s just a fact–people like to be around happy people.

This does not mean we are free of difficulty, but it means we come into trial in good cheer, survive it, and come out the other end also cheered by the good.

We have too much spiritual littering going on in our society today which renders the Gospel weak because it is at the mercy of people’s perception of the church.

Jesus said the world is a lump.

Put your emotional leavening into it, and let the yeast expand the experience of those around you.

Share Jesus, eat with them … and be of good cheer.

 

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Jesonian: We Are Not the Bread … September 28, 2014

bread prettier with yeastJonathots Daily Blog

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We are not the bread, we are the yeast.

We are not the world, but rather, the light.

We are not the meat. Salt, we are.

We are not the soil, but seed to be sown by the sower.

We are not the wineskin. Behold, new wine.

What does Planet Earth need?

  • Spirit: God is with us if we are with each other and sensitive to his creation.
  • Life: abundant possibilities producing the opportunity to use what we have instead of lamenting our lack.
  • Joy: be of good cheer. Nothing happens until we involve ourselves in the process.

Jesonian is not a religion, a belief, a system of worship or a moral code for judging others. It is when we add our lifestyle of effort, mercy and love to what is available.

It transforms entertainment into inspiration, business into creativity, faith into living works, politics into compassion that counts the cost, family into an every-growing inclusion of our brothers and sisters, and relationship into eternal connections.

We are not the bread.

We have not come to be served … but instead, to serve.

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Sunday Mourning … October 27, 2013

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Sunday mourning

Jesus is dead

Though he arose

As he said

Here is his body

In the bread

Drink his blood

That was shed

Gather, listen to the tune

Bow your head

And softly croon

“Rock of ages

Cleft for me”

Bass or treble

I assume it to be

Repeat after me

The magical words

Stained glass windows

With lilies and birds

Somber you came

And quiet you go

Reach the exit

End the show

A sermon of thoughts

Three in all

Very meaningful

But can you recall

The message shared

On this day

The names of those

For which we pray

A doughnut, some coffee

A word or two

A brief sense of one

And then we are through

Yes, God is our Father

On this we agree

But He works late at night

So quiet we should be

No running in the house

No whispering to your spouse

It is the way of the Lord

Though we feel quite bored

It is not for us to understand

It is not time to strike up the band

We worship a King

Our offering we bring

For we are lost

And He paid the cost

And never will we celebrate

Instead we carefully commemorate

Please, each of us redeem

From our unholy scheme

To achieve a pious conclusion

Our temporary absolution

To return again next week

Weaker and feeling meek

So we inherit the earth

In heaven at rebirth

Sunday mourning

Tears in our eyes

Is it true emotion?

Or fear of our lies?

 

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Korny … March 23, 2012

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It’s what we decided to call it since we were in our early twenties and most of our smarts were south of our head.

The actual name was Kearney … Nebraska. And I was more than halfway there, crossing the Illinois border, before it finally soaked into my post-adolescent brain that we were driving too far to perform at a church with only fifty people.

But we were desperate. Now, there is a certain amount of desperation necessary to be twenty-four years old. But we had a rock/gospel group called Soul Purpose that had become a trio–nurturing a sound, writing songs and frantically trying to find people within a one hundred mile radius of our home in Westerville, Ohio, who had not heard us, rejected us, ignored us or were not already raving fans. (We originally were a quartet but soon discovered that it is chemically impossible for people of our age and maturity to co-exist in fours.) So the three of us were bound and determined to become famous for our musical abilities, writing talents and performance attributes, come hell or high water (whatever that means).

So when we were gigging at a coffee-house in Tiffin, Ohio, a young man from Kearney, Nebraska, invited us to come out to his church to share. Normal people would ask how far or how much. But we were musicians, so our only question was … “when??” It was set up, and through some careful budgeting we discovered that we would need twenty-five dollars to buy food supplies and gasoline for the journey there, which meant we would need twenty-five dollars to get home, and hopefully, if the people were generous, we could get an additional twenty-five dollars so we could languish in a motel one evening on the way back.

As you can see the plan was flawless, without error. There was only one hitch. We didn’t have twenty-five dollars. All we possessed was a birthday present one of the girls had just received from her parents, purchased at Lazarus Department Store. So with the agreement of my generous cohort, we took her present to Lazarus, returned it, got the cash and had the front money for “Tour Korny.” We went to the store and bought food supplies–baloney, bread, chips and candy (the basic four  food groups)–filled our van up with gas and launched. We were so excited. We were an American Band.

We arrived at the church and if possible, it was even smaller than our lowest expectation. There were thirty-eight people present–Nebraska farmers who stared at us a little bit like Three Dog Night had suddenly invaded their community. We sang our songs. We had some new ones. They were really good, even though I wouldn’t consider this particular group of people to be our target market. But they listened politely, kindly and even occasionally would applaud. The pastor seemed to squirm in his seat a little bit–because my hair was too long and the girls were not exactly dressed in normal Cornhusker fashion. But it was an era of greater tolerance–or perhaps simply better manners or just abundant fear.

We finished our program to an ovation minus the standing and prerequisite clapping. It was time for the offering. We needed seventy-five dollars to make the trip complete and to guarantee ourselves a nice motel room to sleep in and shower. I carried the offering plates out to my van and quickly counted the proceeds. $64.12.

We had suddenly moved to Plan B … or was it C? We had covered the cost of re-purchasing the gift at Lazarus, the money for eats and gas to return–and probably had enough left over to purchase some souvenirs to prove to our friends that we had actually left the state of Ohio. But we didn’t have enough for a motel room. I was tired, which by my standards today, I would refer to as totally exhausted. I knew we wouldn’t make it far on the road before crashing into a corn field. I didn’t want to sleep in the van at a rest area, so even though I was embarrassed, I walked up to the pastor and asked him if he would be so kind as to allow us to bunk out in the basement of the church for the evening, telling him that we wouldn’t be any trouble and would be gone before he arrived in the morning for coffee and morning prayers following hospital visitations.

He paused, wrinkling his brow. I wondered what he was thinking. I wanted to add further information, but really had none, so I just waited. He cleared his throat and then contemplated some more. Nervously, I interjected. “I’ll tell you what. We’ll even clean up the basement before we leave.”

It was so stupid that my brain wanted to run away in total humiliation. Finally he spoke.

“It’s not that,” he said. “It’s just … well, it’s just that I would want to make sure that you and the girls would not be in the lower regions of our Holy House–fornicating.” 

(To be continued)

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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.

Clean, Baby, Clean — September 23, 2011

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Cars are lucky. Even if we become busy or too lazy to wash them, God sends the rain to help out. We, on the other hand, don’t sit in parking lots all night waiting to be cleansed. We hide away inside, both physically and  emotionally, to disguise our dusty and dirty parts. So unless we purpose to “get clean” we just shuffle our dirt around like used furniture, trying to make it seem artful instead of cluttered. It’s our problem.  And once you accumulate enough trash in your home, it’s no longer really a house, now, is it? It’s just an indoor dumpster.

Here’s the problem:  because religion, politics and corporations do not accept the fact that humans are emotional creatures, most people’s feelings are toted to the back of the basement or stuck in the attic. We assume that once we set these feelings aside, they won’t bother us anymore. But instead, they continue to call out for resolution while we pursue our spiritual journey if we’re religious, our mental journey if we aren’t, and our physical journey if we’re young enough to still believe that we can be active.

But the heart is the center of it all. It is out of the abundance of that heart that we speak; it is where we keep our treasure. It is where we evoke the passion to either do or deny the need to perform. So if it’s not clean and it gets gummed up by doubt, dismay and disgust, we start becoming nasty to those around us, eventually finding ourselves quite alone, feeling even further rejection and becoming emotionally distraught.

So what’s the answer? If we haven’t been dealing with life as “daily bread,” and instead, have been hoarding our manna–only to have it turn into “stinky worms”–what can we do now? Can I give you a simple solution? I know sometimes I may frustrate theologians and even those who believe themselves to be intellectual, by how I break things down into tiny nibbles instead of full-course meals, but I’m not so sure that life is a banquet. I think it’s more “snack and run.” You pick a little up as you go and use the energy from that experience to get you through the next endeavor. If you wait for the five-course meal before you sit down and eat, you probably will finish your soup–but end up nuts. Here’s what I suggest for those of you who really want to get back onto the daily bread of emotionally dealing with your life in a twenty-four-hour period. Are you ready?

If I can, I will.  If I can’t, I won’t.

You only have to make ONE decision.  Can I or can’t I?  Please stop participating in the foolishness of thinking that you should be trying to do things you can’t. I don’t care whether you’re afraid, intimidated or even defeated by it. If you have discovered you can’t do something, don’t frustrate yourself by continuing to attempt to pursue it out of some sense of stubbornness.  It is not only aggravating; it is debilitating to the human emotions–to always fall short of your aspirations.  If you want to live a clean life, just simply look at the situation set before you in the day and ask yourself, “Can I do this? Can I address this? Can I be part of this? Can I start this, not finish it and still feel okay about myself? Can I be proud of this when I’m done?”

If the answer to those questions is yes, then jump in. But if the answer to those questions is no, or “I’m not sure,” step away. You are not responsible to solve all of life’s problems–just the little boxful that’s handed to you. The reason that worry enters the human experience is that we start lamenting things we can’t do and try to figure out a way to overcome our lack.

People often ask me, “Do you worry about your children?”  No.  Do you know why? Because everything I could do with these young men–all seven of them–I have already accomplished.  What I can’t do is follow them around to make sure they follow my philosophy exactly as I wish they would. So what I can do, I do.  And what I can’t, I don’t. This alleviates the need to be overly involved because I’ve already assessed my responsibility in the situation.

It is the practical application of Jesus’ telling us to “count the cost.” You will not be good at it at first. Here’s why: we have been taught that worry has a function, and that the function is simple: it supposedly shows that we care. But honestly, we know that we care when we do what we can, walk away from what we can’t and put it into the hands of those who can, or if nobody is available, in the mighty mitts of God. You will not live a clean, emotional life until you are able to find what you can do and do it–and discover what you can’t do, and avoid it.

But what are you supposed to do when these unaccomplished tasks taunt you? What should you feel when worry tries to seep into the corners of your spirit and mind? This is where the doctrine of good cheer comes in.  It is just as easy to laugh at worry as it is to participate in it. For verily, verily, I say unto you, I am hilariously incompetent.  Now, not in everything; I do have gifts. But the things I can’t do are so obvious that if I were to attempt them, the hilarity that would follow should make the entire planet chuckle in joy. So for me it’s easy to be of good cheer when I feel that incompetence creeping in. I will not allow my insufficiency to taunt me into believing that I should try stupid things.

Today is sufficient. I don’t need anymore. And if you want to be clean, you must learn to find what you can do and do it.  Discover what you can’t do and avoid it. And then develop a sense of good cheer over your shortcomings. You will discover at the end of the day that problems that seemed to be insurmountable and beyond the scope of your talent can be handled by other folks–if you aren’t bungling them yourself.

One of my most effective weapons in aiding the planet earth is being able to turn to my friends and say, “I don’t have any idea on that subject.” Without this admission, they do not feel they can intervene for fear of interfering. But once they know I have laid the ball down, they feel the freedom to come and dribble.

If I can, I will. If I can’t, I won’t.

Isn’t that simple? Is it so simple that you won’t try it because it does not possess the complexity of moving parts that we normally equate with great intelligence? Or are you like me–tired of contrived answers that don’t have the quality of human ease?

  • Live in the twenty-four-hour period.
  • Use your daily emotional bread and set it aside when it’s over.
  • Don’t let the stinky worms of doubt, dismay and disgust wiggle their way in.
  • And finally, get clean, baby, clean. If you can, then you will. If you can’t, then you won’t.

Here’s to cleanness–because the only people who actually get to see God … are the pure in heart.

Stinky Worms — September 22, 2011

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People complain.  Usually two reasons–first, they complain because they don’t think they get what they deserve; and secondly, deep in their hearts, they know they don’t really deserve it, so they complain about how their unworthiness is going to leave them out in the cold.

It’s always been the same. Even back in the Old Testament, the children of Israel were freed from Egypt to go into a desert where they became hungry. So as the story goes, God sent manna from heaven. It was a little wafer that tasted like honey, landing on the grass each morning, and all they had to do was go out and gather it–an omer apiece, for each man, woman and child.  Now, I don’t know what an omer is, and the Bible tries to assist our understanding by explaining that it is one-tenth of an ephah. (Thanks a lot.) So let’s just say that it’s somewhere between the size of a McDonald’s coffee cup and the trunk of a Chevy Impala.

Here was the catch for this magic bread–it only lasted for a day. So if you tried to store it up, you would wake up the next morning and it would be full of worms and it would stink. (I assume this was God’s way of making sure that people would not horde, creating the dreaded “omer envy.” )

Yes–stinky worms. The manna was for today and if you didn’t use it, it turned into stinky worms. 

Right on point. Likewise, if we don’t use our daily bread of emotional give-and-take to heal ourselves and keep ourselves fresh for each and every moment of our lives, we, too, will wake up to a heart filled with stinky worms. There are three types, you know:  doubt, dismay and disgust.

When you don’t deal with your daily bread of emotions and address your feelings in a candid and often-times humorous way, you will find that doubt will become part of your ongoing position. You see, doubt is not something we feel towards God or others. It may manifest itself that way, but because we actually DO love our neighbors as ourselves, when we cease to comprehend that we are going to attempt to address our own difficulties, we certainly do not have any faith that others will do it, either.  So we doubt ourselves first, others second, and of course, once you doubt people, it’s hard to believe in a God who made them. Doubt cannot be resolved by telling people to study the Bible or become more spiritual. That’s why Jesus said that “if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed’ and do not doubt in your heart …”

So where does doubt come from?  The emotions. “I did not deal with today’s problems so I probably will not deal with tomorrow’s, so in seven days I will have a week’s worth of difficulty which will certainly make me feel weak.”

Now that’s a stinky worm.

The second one is dismay.

  • ” ‘Dis may be the worst I’ve felt waking up in my whole life.”
  • ” ‘Dis may be the least money I’ve had to live on since I was a baby.”
  • ” ‘Dis may be the worst group of people on any job that I’ve ever held.”

Because once you realize that you’re going to dodge your emotions instead of dealing with them, a bit of dismay comes into your life about the prospects of improving your situation and making things better. Candidly, this is where I meet most people. They’ve already given up on the notion of newness of life; they have not seen their faith in God deliver any practical goods to the table and they’re going through the motions of adulthood without any sense that improvement is on the way.

Now that is a stinky worm.

Which lends itself to the final “smelly wiggly”–disgust. It’s so easy to become disgusted. Disgust is the sensation that fills our being when a seed of anticipation we had in our youth is snatched away and we’re just left with dirt. We can’t even stare at the dirt, hoping something will grow, because we know the seed is gone. It makes us grumpy with other people, selfish over the few crumbs we have and suspicious of anything or anyone who would suggest that life has potential.

It is a stinky worm.

Once you decide that you’re going to table the discussion of your emotions and what you feel, you open the door to worms inhabiting your daily bread–because it was never meant to last more than twenty-four hours. 

Doubt, dismay and disgust.

So politics feeds on these worms by trying to make people even more disgruntled with present conditions. Religion acknowledges the worms by telling us that “someday we’ll go to a better place that isn’t infested.” Corporations attempt to advertise less wormy options. But no one addresses the real problem. When we receive our daily bread of both trial and opportunity, if we do not emotionally address what we feel and turn it into a sense of good cheer about our possibilities, we will try to bottle up our feelings and end up with stinky worms.

What can you do with a society that doubts that miracles are still possible, is dismayed over the surroundings presented to them and has a certain amount of disgust about life as a whole? The only possibility is to take our daily bread, use it in the day to address our problems and then, as evening falls, “let it go”–and prepare for the next day’s opportunities.

If you can’t get yourself into the twenty-four-hour period that is afforded you, you will either presumptuously think that tomorrow will be better, or you will give up on all the chances that could come your way.

Stinky worms: doubt, dismay and disgust.

It’s no way to live.  It certainly isn’t what God intended when he created a utopia called Eden. So what can we do to expose our infestation and set in motion a new way of thinking that allows us to deal with our feelings in the correct moment instead of allowing them to decay inside of us? Because what we all need is a sensation of being clean. 

Yes. Clean, baby, clean.

A Day Late–and Duller for Sure — September 21, 2011

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“Give us this day our daily bread and …”

Did you ever notice in The Lord’s Prayer that the daily bread part and the forgiving of others is connected?  “Give us our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

So how do food and forgiveness get linked together? Well, obviously, they don’t. So the daily bread spoken of here has nothing to do with nutrition. Let’s be honest–you and I don’t need anybody to give us our bread.  We can both make it and bake it. The daily bread mentioned in this prayer refers to the circumstances coming our way just through the living of life and our awareness for dealing with them in the moment instead of putting it off to another day.

Can I be so bold as to say that our problem as human beings is that we are emotionally dealing with yesterday’s problems when today’s shipment arrives? So we are constantly dialing in the wrong response. When today shows up sunny, we are still trying to recover from yesterday’s downpour.  Therefore we are emotionally diametrically opposed to our own better interests.  Yet we are instructed in this society to keep a cap on ourselves and be a grown up because that’s the way to live.  Yet if you pile enough days up in a row with no reaction, you start building up a storehouse of resentment that completely incapacitates you from receiving blessing when it actually does arrive. So it’s easy to settle in to a sour disposition just to protect oneself from the horror of past unresolved feelings and the apprehension over what’s around the corner.  See what I mean?

Daily bread is for today, not tomorrow.  It is what I need to consume, digest and pass out of me before a new day begins. If I don’t, I become emotionally constipated–disgruntled by the whole process of devouring anything else.

  • Most of us aren’t ready for our miracle because we’re still trying to recover from the horror of hearing about our disease.
  • Most of us are incapable of embracing a new possibility because we are lamenting the last lost horizon.
  • Most of us cannot move into fresh relationships with companions because we are still stinging from the disappointment of our previous encounter.

Daily bread is linked to forgiving others because if we do not clean our slate every twenty-four-hour period, we are not energized to receive new data. This is why it is important to be emotionally forthcoming. It’s an attribute we have tried to assign to women over men or even to one race over another. That is error.

In studying the life of Jesus, the first thing you will notice is that he lives in the moment. He may be on his way to heal a twelve-year-old girl, but when a woman touches the hem of his garment, he stops and celebrates with her because that is what the moment demands emotionally. When he is getting ready to heal a man with a withered hand, he pauses before completing the process to challenge those in the room who were objecting to the procedure because they deemed that it was performed on the wrong day.

“Give us this day our daily bread” is making sure we are ready for this portion of emotional blessing and strain that is coming our way because we have cleaned out the fear, apprehension and misgivings of the previous day. If you don’t do this, you start piling up–you begin to respond on Tuesday to what you should have said on Monday. You will find yourself reacting from last Wednesday’s pent-up anger over a statement made to you on this Wednesday in love that you misinterpret.

Emotional health is realizing that life happens in twenty-four-hour units. You cannot be an emotionally healthy person and misunderstand this concept.

“Give us this day our daily bread”…AND understand that as we forgive others we find forgiveness, which sets in motion a landing space for tomorrow to arrive.

So what happens if we do decide to ignore this concept and we start storing up our daily bread, remembering the events of previous days as we enter the next one? Well, that unfortunate procedure is detailed in another story in the Bible, which ends up with, would you believe it?

Stinky worms.

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