Jesonian (The Politics of Jesus) … June 2nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3691)

PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS

Name: Jesus

Birthdate: 0

Race: Human

Hometown:

  • Born in Bethlehem, Judea.
  • Grew up in Alexandria, Egypt.
  • Resided in Nazareth, Galilee until they tried to kill me

Occupation: Former carpenter turned storyteller

Marital Status: I respect everyone

Your voting block: The original millennial

Conservative? With human feelings

Liberal? With human compassion

Favorite Quote: Love your neighbor as yourself

Feelings about current leadership:

  • Herod–the fox who killed my cousin.
  • Caiaphas–head snake of the brood
  • Pilate–doesn’t know what truth is
  • Caesar–“I tend to render”

Salary: Daily bread

Major issue: Self-righteousness

Pet peeve: Hypocrisy

Goals: To do my part so you can do your part so God can do His part

Dream job: Son of Man

 

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G-Poppers … March 30th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3627)

He was anxiously looking forward to spending the weekend alone with his beautiful wife, Claudia, near the sea. The responsibilities of his position were unyielding, leaving him negotiating all sorts of foolish squabbles, bringing him home at night still reeling from the grumpy day.

Unfortunately, Claudia had been the victim of many of his temper tantrums, as he ranted and raged about the inflexibility of the people who dubbed themselves “the children of Abraham.” He just needed to get away.

Caesarea was perfect.

It had been built by the Roman occupiers as a little piece of home–and freedom–in the midst of this inflexible, dim-witted region. For a few days, he could pretend he was civilized again instead of trying to govern a pack of wolves who refused to accept the fact that they were caged.

Resting in his bed, he was awakened early on Friday morning with a request to meet with Caiaphas, the high priest of the Jewish people, to adjudicate a particularly difficult matter. Worse was that Caiaphas and his entourage refused to come into the Great Hall to see him because they were in the midst of their Passover celebration, and to be in the presence of him, a Gentile, made them unclean.

He shook his head, baffled by how foolish they were to make these contentions, for some reason thinking they were not offensive.

Arriving in the outer hall, he was surrounded by bearded, austere theologians, who ushered in a weary, wobbly man obviously suffering from punishment.

Within seconds, he realized that their request for his intervention was not needed. It was one of their pieces of fussiness–something about their God. A reference to a Messiah.

Realizing that the young, abused gentleman in front of him was from Galilee, he decided to pawn the situation off on Herod, whom he hated. As he went back to his chambers to tell his wife of his great solution, she appeared before him with terror in her eyes.

She’d had a dream. It was a dream about a man who would be brought to him, who was accused of great indignities, but was truly innocent.

He listened carefully to Claudia. She was not normally given to such outbursts. He trusted her. She advised him that he must avoid bringing any judgment on this man.

They had barely finished their conversation when Caiaphas and his entourage returned. Apparently Herod had passed the case back over to him.

A little spooked by Claudia’s dream, but even more, aggravated by being disturbed on the morning of his departure, he strolled onto the porch of the outer hallway to interview the young Galilean.

He was a little embarrassed. The religious leaders of the Jews seemed very intent on harming this man, while the fellow stood quietly by, offering no defense. Normally a man in this position, surrounded by accusers, would become defensive, agitated and sometimes even violent. But not this chap.

It was unnerving.

Accusation after witness after lie after deception were presented, with nothing congealing into an airtight complaint against the young man from Nazareth.

Then Caiaphas brought up Caesar. It was a name that terrified him. He considered the fact that he had been made governor of Judea to keep peace, and try to bring civilization to this backward nation. It was a formidable task. Of course, Caesar wouldn’t know that. He would only gauge results.

The religious leaders wanted the young man dead.

On this Friday morning, Governor Pontius Pilate was anxious to get away for the weekend. Who was he to challenge the contents of their oral law and practices?

So…he relented.

Symbolically washing his hands clean of the whole affair, he sentenced the quiet Nazarene to death. It was the quickest, simplest and seemingly most intelligent course of action.

In less than an hour, he had packed his things and by nightfall he was in Caesarea. He had a brief flashback about the morning’s activities, but it was quickly forgotten when Claudia cuddled up to him and they sipped delicious wine from the vineyards of Italy.

He had no idea that his Friday morning, seemingly insignificant encounter with Jesus of Nazareth would be the only remembrance that history would provide of him.

He was the one who gave permission to kill the Christ. He was in too big a hurry to consider any other possibility than ease.

G-Pop is thinking about that on this Good Friday.

What might he be ignoring?

 

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Jesonian… March 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3249)

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Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Caiaphas immediately objected to the use of the word “Lord.”

He said, “Jesus is a seditionist, an enemy of the people who caught the masses at a vulnerable time when they desperately needed hope, advertised some well-paid shills with proclaimed miracles, and robbed the children of Israel of their personal identity in favor of what he referred to as the ‘Kingdom of God.’ He did not honor our traditions, he did not recognize the birthright we possess through Abraham, to be the chosen Children of God. He was rude, contemptuous, bawdy, loud and hung around with a bunch of sinners, welcoming iniquity.

“It was necessary to evaluate him by our laws, judge him and therefore condemn him, to make sure we keep the House of David first and foremost. We must go on.”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Pontius smiled and then snickered. “Jesus was a peasant, and deluded on top of that. Certainly harmless. I never made any doubt in that conclusion. Truth is, I saw him as a bargaining chip. I was constantly at war with the Council of the Jews over tiny matters which should have been insignificant, but they claimed had heavenly proportions. I needed one over on them. I needed to grant them a favor which would grant me a host of favors from them. I am not an animal. I am not a barbarian. I do not slaughter people just to behold the mayhem. But when the dignity of Rome–my only Lord–is put in jeopardy, then Rome must come first. Rome is greater than any man–even Caesar. Just one Galilean was lost, opening the door to a plethora of negotiations, where the Jews would be at a disadvantage.”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Peter wasn’t. He was scared. Outnumbered, without any weapons, he ran. And when confronted with his involvement with Jesus of Nazareth, he denied him three times. Quickly. For Jesus had jokingly said that Peter would do so before the cock crowed three times. But as anybody knows, the cock crows quickly. Ashamed, broken, but also defensive, Peter stalked away into the night, cussing up a storm, insisting that it was merely human for him to put himself first.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

No, Deborah was asleep. She was exhausted. Since “that day,” she had found the need to take on numerous chores and occupations to earn a decent living for herself and her son. It was difficult to imagine what she would have had to do to stop the insanity that led the mob to Golgotha. But maybe if she had just seen him one more time.

She remembered the first occasion. Financially devastated, with no food in her house, she decided to sell her body to get money for food. Obviously possessing the luck of a witch, her would-be lover ended up being a member of the Pharisees who was conducting a “sting operation” to capture a prostitute who was ready to commit adultery, then drag her off and throw her down in front of the crowd at Jesus’ feet. They wanted to stone her. She just wanted a loaf of bread. But Jesus, using his compassion, his wit and his style, saved her life. He told her to go and sin no more. She heeded his advice. Unfortunately, “sinless” takes more work. Exhausted, she fell into bed every night, setting aside a crust of bread for her little boy in the morning. So when they were crucifying Jesus, she was asleep, trying to build up the energy to honor her promise to never be so foolish again.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Who, me? No. I wasn’t born. I honor his life everyday by trying to understand what he was communicating to us.

Caiaphas thought he was a phony.

Pilate thought he was a pigeon.

Peter thought he was a great distraction.

And the woman caught in adultery knew him only as a Savior.

He’s my friend.

What would I have done if I knew they would crucify him? How would I have tried to stop it? Would I have written a nasty editorial to the Jerusalem Times? Would I have stood there as one voice among so many, demanding his release?

Or would I have rolled over and gone back to sleep?

 

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Iffing Way (Part 7) Nic at Night … December 1, 2014

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2430)

If bigger

What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

He was summoned, forcibly invited.

He felt like a schoolboy under the control of the master, with no will of his own. But he knew what it was about.

The head chair on a committee where he sat had a vendetta. Now, the distinguished leader would choose to call it something else. Perhaps “a needful intrusion.” “A holy mission.” Or even, “a matter of course.”

He knew better.

He wasn’t sure if it was jealousy on the part of the chair person, ignorance, or even something as simple as an ongoing tiff with his wife which had left him grumpy.

It wasn’t the first time there had been a summons. No, many times the subject had been discussed and debated, but finally tabled, with everyone leaving in a huff, unfulfilled.

But this time was different. Apparently the boss now felt he had the votes to pull off his will.

It was all so bizarre.

In the midst of a decline of popularity of the national faith, a young man from Nazareth had arrived on the scene and re-energized the populace. Now, an intelligent conclave of distinguished fellows might have seen this as an opportunity to bring in fresh blood and move people to spiritual awareness. But this particular gathering of theologians and pseudo-politicians lacked vision.

He was preplexed. What was even more confusing to him was that he had made a journey by night to visit this young man who was stirring up the religious system. He clearly remembered two words from their discourse:

“Born again.”

The carpenter-turned-preacher had told him that he needed to be “reborn” to be in step with what was going on. He was offended. So because he considered himself to be a dynamic debater, he tried to make the young Galilean feel stupid or awkward by challenging the meaning of the term. Facts are, he knew what this young Jesus meant by “born again.”

Everything around him reeked of old–ancient ideas and meaningless practices.

Yet that night, he’d found himself walking away–trying to include the message of the Nazarene instead of being born again into it.

But this was different.

He knew that Caiaphas was in charge of the board, and was seeking to levy punishment against this innocent unaware.

What was he going to do?

He prided himself on the fact that he was smarter than Caiaphas because the officious leader was so headstrong that he frequently left himself wide open for counter-point.

Yet he had grown weary of argument and become known as a sympathizer, which was now rendering him ineffective among his peers. After all, it was not only improper, but illegal to be a follower of Jesus.

Arriving at the meeting, it quickly became obvious that Caiaphas had a death warrant for Jesus.

What was he going to do? Should he remain silent, and still curry the favor of his fellows? Or was it time to be born again and use the wisdom and style that he had developed over years of practice, to help save the life of the freshest idea to come around in decades?

It was nighttime again. But this time he would not walk away and pretend he didn’t understand.

He made a case against Caiaphas–quietly, reverently, but also with a conniving purpose. In no time at all, the stubborn Pharisee was speaking double-talk and the committee dismissed itself to go back to their homes, unresolved.

Jesus was saved for another night.

Jesus would be able to continue to teach.

And Nicodemus would be able to hold his head high and just maybe start the process in his life…of being born again.

 

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G-45: Dark Pages … October 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2376)

What made you think I would tolerate your religion?

What caused you to believe that you were given permission to rustle up rules and regulations and herd spirituality into some stinky-hole corral of repetition?

Did you forget how I mocked the traditions of men when I walked among the Jews? I ridiculed their ceremony and chided them for their elaborate clothing, flaunting their position.

Therefore, will I accept your garb of garbled expression, touting sacrifice, or worse, supremacy?

  • Wash your hands? No, thank you
  • Fast? I am a glutton.
  • Pray? Only in my closet of privacy.
  • Stone that harlot? I do not condemn her.
  • Worship the temple? I shall tear it down.

I am nauseated by your praise without heart. They are words of explanation without meaning, droned in somber tones to establish solemnity.

Blind from your eyes plucked by bouts with vengeance.

Toothless, pleading for your mother’s milk.

Calling one another Master, Reverend, Bishop, Cardinal, Pope.

Yes, Pope.

Did you forget it was the Jewish Pope, Caiaphas, who condemned me to death, using the Roman puppet to act out the violent, fool-hardy charade?

It is as if the Pharisees have hijacked my work instead of the mission being heralded by cleansed lepers, freed whores and liberated Gentiles, dancing for joy.

You have taken the pages of my words and turned off the light, to revere the book and ignore the context.

When you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you are cannibals because you ignore my mind and reject my heart.

There are no kings.

There are no serfs.

You are drunk on your own swill of piety.

As I told the daughters of Jerusalem, your house is left desolate. It is a tomb, displaying silence as the evidence of a slaughtered hope.

I was here.

Did you fail to learn of my actions?

I despise those who feel they are better than others, even if they can recite a litany of their righteous deeds.

I never knew you.

I don’t want to know you.

You cannot imprison my healing virtue in the torture chamber of your tiny vision and narrow mind.

I am the wind. I will blow where I desire.

I will find liberty and immerse my efforts in the waters of freedom.

You have found the heaviest burdens and laid them on the shoulders of broken travelers.

You have made my name weary when it was meant to produce rest.

I hate your religion.

I shall create again, calling new souls … and bring your efforts to nought. 

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Joe-Pa … July 13, 2012

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1998.

I remember it well. It was a much different time in our nation. There was no 9/11. A war in Iraq was not viewed as an extended conflict costing billions of dollars and countless lives, but rather, a skirmish which we won, driving Hussein back to Baghdad.

There was more playfulness in the air–a devil-may-care, if you will. Howard Stern was considered to be a little bit risqué, but was also lauded with praises for his artistic feats.

And in the White House there was a scandal. It was discovered and exposed that the President of the United States was having sexual relations with a twenty-one-year-old intern named Monica Lewinsky. This particular indiscretion was not confessed by President Clinton, but uncovered by a series of news reports, which provided more and more additional, irrefutable details. Many people in the nation felt that the President had defiled the country–especially since the trysts occurred in the Oval Office–and these outraged individuals contended that he had disgraced the office, similar to the caretaker of the orphanage urinating in the daily porridge served to the children who were dying of cancer and had just found out that their surprise trip to Disney World was cancelled.

Still, with all that outcry and a lack of forthcoming information from the President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton not only survived the scandal, but finished out his term and is now generally regarded as an excellent pundit and arguably an example of American leadership.

At the same time, in 1998, Coach Joe Paterno faced a dilemma. He was America’s straight arrow. He was the symbol of “no-nonsense,” “taking care of business” and “you’d better not mess with me OR the rules.” He looked on his football team as a unit without stars, even insisting that their uniforms be as plain as possible, with no names ever appearing on the jerseys. He was America’s father, who coached a football team, and from behind his thick-lensed, black, horn-rimmed glasses, he demanded purity and devotion.

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Patern...

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno on the sideline during warmups prior to the 2006 Homecoming game versus the University of Illinois on Friday, October 20, 2006. Taken by me. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One day a report came into his office that Jerry Sandusky had been caught fondling a young boy in the shower room. Now, you must understand–the coach, fondly referred to as Joe-Pa, knew that his friend, Jerry Sandusky, was a goofball.We all have one. We all know one. Sometimes it’s a family member. Often it’s a friend we met along the way who attached himself to us, and even though we believe him to be less than perfect, we allow him to hang around because we don’t have the heart to send him away.

Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky was less than sound. But Joe Paterno also believed in his own reputation. He believed that he was the symbol of integrity and morality in the NCAA. He had no reason to doubt that his decisions, which up to this point had been resoundingly praised, would be equally as appreciated by what he attempted to achieve by maintaining his friendship with his goofball, Jerry.

Joe Paterno took three separate thoughts, which individually might have value, but collectively, ended up being a devastating lie.

1. I am in a position to decide what’s best. Actually, my friends, no one is in that position. Here’s the truth–the best has already been decided and if you don’t know what it is, pick up a history book or any volume containing the rules and regulations of basic human decency. Your amendments, additions and opinions don’t really matter much. The best has been decided. You either honor it or attempt to change it at your own peril.

2. People can’t handle the truth. There is a great fear in all of us that if who we are were revealed, we would not only lose our status, but would be relegated to caves and treated as lepers. Not so. Most of us would be astounded at how little other people care about our internal workings, especially when we are willing to admit our foibles aloud and face the music. Joe-Pa thought he knew Penn State. Joe-Pa thought he knew Pennsylvania. Joe-Pa thought he knew ESPN. Joe-Pa thought he knew America. What Joe-Pa didn’t stop to realize was that the horror and anguish to a young, emerging male being of raped in a locker room continues to scream out at the world all around us for years to come. He didn’t place himself in that shower stall and become that little fellow. Instead, he decided for everyone what they could handle and what they could not.

3. He followed an American tradition–a false one, mind you–that it’s better that a few suffer than many lose out. It’s the same philosophy that a high priest named Caiaphas presented when describing how he thought the death of Jesus of Nazareth would keep the Jewish race from being attacked by the Romans. He was wrong. And Joe-Pa was wrong to think that trying to quietly muffle the cries of the victims of goofball Jerry Sandusky’s insane mental disease was going to be acceptable because it kept the university from being embarrassed and the program he had forged with his own hands from becoming tarnished.

What I want you to understand today is that individually, each and every one of us might come to the same conclusions that Joe Paterno did.

  • We might think that we have the right to decide what’s best.
  • We might assume that the people around us can’t handle the truth.
  • And we might believe it’s more magnanimous to save the rights and privileges of many students by ignoring the pain of the afflicted few.

It might even sound noble to us. It certainly would make us feel that we were being generous of spirit, forward thinking and broad-minded.

Of course, we would be wrong.

There’s only one thing to do when you discover that hell has entered your sanctuary–stop the singing and prayers, and point to the evil. It may ruin the worship service; it may cause the love offering to diminish. You might have to actually take off the holy robes and cease to be the high priest of the occasion. But hell has no business pursuing heavenly ideals.

And even though I believe that very few individuals would have the fortitude to make a stand against the atrocity of child abuse that was perpetuated at the hands of Jerry Sandusky, I do expect a man who received such laud and praise for being ethical and moral to perform such a task.

Joe Paterno will always be known as the great coach … who was a lousy human being.

Even though William Jefferson Clinton never actually came forward to unveil his sin, because the scandal was exposed and popped like a pimple, his life continues today. What Joe-Pa didn’t realize was that the truth will make you free. It may take a year; you may suffer some sanctions. Perhaps your hopes for a national championship will be dashed in 1999. But sooner or later the American public would rise up and say, “Joe Paterno did the right thing–even though it cost him.”

And he would be remembered as the coach who made the tough decision, and as the example of a true American who stood up for what is right.

   

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