Jesonian: It’s An Adjective … September 6th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian.

I coined the word.

Originally I came up with it because I felt that the term “Christian” had lost some of its pungency and impact, having been diluted by indifference and hypocrisy.

But mainly, I use the word as an adjective. For after all, we have made the error of turning “Christian” into a noun.

It’s supposed to stand alone, to singularly represent an ideology which has already been divided into at least 362 different denominational compartments. No wonder it suffers from overuse, misuse and abuse.

Jesus never intended his philosophy and approach to life to become a religion. It was meant to be the impetus which fuels the lifestyle and career of our choice.

So there should be Christian businessmen and women, Christian musicians, Christian plumbers, Christian athletes. But because we changed Christian into a noun, it is supposed to mean something in itself, while we continue to fuss and argue about its significance.

Jesonian is an adjective.

It’s a way of telling those around us that we actively pursue the activities of our lives and professions while fueling those efforts with concepts and beliefs born from the mindset of Jesus.

It is the hope that we can have Jesonian Baptists, Jesonian Lutherans, Jesonian Methodists, Jesonian Catholics and Jesonian Charismatics who freely admit that they may have a preference for their style of consecration and worship, but no difference in the application of their thinking.

It was the Apostle Paul who said, “Now abide faith, hope and love…” But the Jesonian comes along to help us define those three words with much more cohesion.

  • Faith is not what we believe. In the Jesonian lifestyle, faith is what we live out.
  • Hope is not what we dream. It is what we visually and actively pursue.
  • And love is not what we feel. It is confirmed by what we do.

The Jesonian: living out, pursuing, doing–and leaving all the rest to the grace of God.

 

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A Third Option … May 29, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Maple Avenue UMCThe summer is nearly upon us so it is time once again for conclaves, church camps, seminars and conferences, where the more religious of our populace will gather to consider the questions of the day which plague the faithful.

There is an “unsettling” in the religious system.

Yes, we have baffled Baptists, muddled Methodists, petrified Presbyterians, confused Catholics, puzzled Pentecostals, mystified mega-churches and leery Lutherans.

All of them are trying to separate the sheep from the goats, but are finding out that the real problem is separating the sheep from the sheep. For within our congregations we have those who are literal and those who are lateral.

The literal souls believe that even if the Good Book speaks only on a few occasions on a certain morality, that it is important to enforce it as church doctrine and apply it across the board, to all individuals.

The lateral believers contend that the most important parts of the Good Book need to be honored over obscure passages which hinder the execution of love and forgiveness.

So the literal people turn to the lateral people and say:

If you accept that the Good Book does not accept you as you are, I can accept, as you repent and gain acceptability.

The lateral contingency comes right back and replies:

Accept me as I am, even though your beliefs don’t accept what I do. Then I believe that because you accept me, that you are acceptable.

Most church leaders have found that this problem is insurmountable. They think their denomination will have to go one way or another, and that a schism is nearly inevitable.

So let me pose the question: is it righteous to speak against something we find morally wrong, or is it more righteous to support people as they are?

If you will allow me, I choose to ignore that question, and offer a third option to both literal and lateral. It’s quite simple.

1. Read the Gospel.

Preferably the Sermon on the Mount.

2. Let it settle.

Let’s be honest–none of us are immediately smart. We need time to absorb.

3. Talk about it.

As you chat, realize that for every point you make, the Good Book has an annoying way of offering a counter-opinion, just to keep things lively.

4. Leave people alone.

Yes, this is a Jesonian idea.Let the wheat and the tares grow together, because we aren’t good at separating the truth from fiction.

5. Love and live.

If you find yourself leading with a desire to love people instead of instructing, you will find that living is much easier for you in the long run.

6. Let the Spirit do the work.

That’s why we call it Holy.

So this is an option to avoid exploding the Kingdom of God because one group is literal and the other is lateral. It is not your decision.

Let the Spirit do the correcting and leading.

 

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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 Reason for Rules … December 8, 2012

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Jon Signing

“Don’t do that.”

I’ve always hated those three words. Maybe it’s because I have a snotty seven-year-old brat living inside my big, fat body. It could be my rebellious nature. It might be that I don’t like to remember a bunch of stuff that doesn’t seem necessary if I don’t already know it. But I think the reason I hate the words, “Don’t do that” is because when you pose the natural question, “Why not?” you are often met with indignation or even ostracized from the club that has instituted the regulation.Please do not walk on the grass

I do understand the importance of rules. I just want you to comprehend that sometimes they are arbitrary, other times rules become unnecessary because of development and too often they are just a way to keep people from achievement so that everyone can remain dull and mediocre.

As far as I can tell, here are the four reasons for rules:

1. To prevent people from doing something that will ultimately kill them.

2. To prevent people from doing something contrary to your government, your God or your preference.

3. To prevent people from doing something that won’t kill them.

4. To prevent people from doing.

I’m sure you can find different angles on this, but you might be surprised to discover that three of the four reasons for rules are less than noble.

I certainly am in favor of outlawing anything that endangers the life of human beings, animals or any part of God’s creation that has the right to live instead of being decimated. That’s why I’m against abortion. It’s why I am opposed to the right to bear arms without adequate restriction to guarantee the safety of the innocent. It’s why I think obesity should be against the law. Even though I’m a fat guy, I have to admit, nothing kills people more than blubber. It’s why I think restrictions on cigarettes, alcohol and mind-altering drugs are essential–they all a hook they jab into human flesh, dragging people into desecration and disintegration.

But not all rules are so valuable. For instance, I think it’s good that the Ten Commandments tell us not to commit adultery, but I don’t think it’s beneficial when the Catholics, Mormons, Muslims and fundamentalist Christians use that precept to cast aspersions on the joys and pleasures of sex. Sex was not created by God to make children. Children, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your point of view) are a by-product of a really good orgasm.

I do not think we can market a God who has more rules to His philosophy than jewels. I don’t think a government can sustain itself trying to keep its citizens from the liberty that God says we enjoy as evidence of His spirit. And I don’t think you have the right to establish disfavor for other people because just you find their particular habits distasteful.

I think we have to take a good look at the reason for rules. I think we have to be candid and say that the introduction of incurable viruses into our society through various types of lifestyles is reason enough to re-evaluate those choices. Why? Because the result is dead human beings.

“It is not God’s will that any should perish.” God does not hate sin, God hates death.

Learn it. Otherwise, you’re going to start looking for evidence that the people who are supposed to be your brothers and sisters are an abomination to your snooty God, because they ate shrimp from the nearby Mediterranean Sea. (You know that WAS the case at one time. Shellfish were forbidden for the Jews because for that season they were contaminated. In other words–they killed. Now they don’t. Enjoy your shrimp with your cocktail sauce.)

Likewise, if we come up with a cigarette that doesn’t produce lung cancer, more power to us. If we can prove that carrying around fifty extra pounds of lard on one’s body does not fry the circulatory system, then eat away. If we can produce guns with bullets that are better targeted towards evil than good people, then please start the manufacturing tomorrow. And if you can establish that aborting a fetus is not terminating life, then go ahead and open your clinic.

Other than that, realize that death is not admissible to a God who loves all of his children. But also be aware that making rules so as to make your fanciful cult more exclusive is just as distasteful to a God who honors free will above all else.

Be careful. Three out of four reasons for rules are at least erroneous, if not destructive. But by the same token, if a particular action ends in death, understand that our loving Father has only one desire–to protect His children.

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Man-Goes Well… March 14, 2012

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James was black.

His mother noticed shortly after his birth and the trend continued throughout his childhood, into adolescence and was still in full swing when I met him in 1980 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

We became friends. This was frowned on in our community, where it was highly recommended that “coloreds and whites” not be mixed–and I’m not talking about doing the laundry. We didn’t care.

Matter of fact, we planned on taking a missionary trip together to Haiti. Honestly, it was more the desire for adventure than evangelism, but both motivations still welcome the presence of God.

Haiti. It is a land infested with poverty, which welcomes the supernatural, primarily in mysticism and voodoo, but also embraced the Catholic Church when it arrived, possibly because she brought in statues, saints and a bit of her magic–and even smiled a little when the Baptists came in offering redemption through dunking; and certainly the Haitians were intrigued when the Pentecostals arrived, blabbing away in tongues. I even ran across a lady who had built an altar out of cardboard boxes which contained a statue of Mary alongside a goat’s head. (I would assume this would be Holy Mary, mother of goat…”)

James and I created a lot of interest in the city of Port-au-Prince. After all, a black man and a white man strolling along laughing was an unusual sight–especially when the black man was tall and skinny and the white man was not as tall and was “skinny-free.” Walking down the street we looked like a bat and a baseball striding side by side.

Invitations to come and speak in churches in the local communities began to pour in. There were so many that we eventually had to split up–James going to one possibility and I, to another. How disappointed the young, single ladies of the church were when I arrived instead of James! They were yearning for Billy Dee Williams, and they got Billygoat Gruff.

But in one particular hamlet, we ended up together, and in the midst of our presentation, an older lady burst into the church. There was a collective gasp from the gathered. She kind of stomped up to where we were, shook some sort of rattle in our faces and danced around us four or five times before coming to a halt and pointing her finger into my face. James and I, being the rubes we were, applauded her dance, deeming that appropriate. Offended, she plodded out of the room and we were warned by our interpreter that we had just been cursed by a sorceress who was deeply involved in voodoo–and that we should be careful because she had great power.He explained to us that she had wooed a young sixteen-year-old boy away from his home and family, to live with her and be her slave. Honestly, James and I were a bit amused by the whole tale, having dispelled most of our trepidation over fairy tales years earlier.

Now, we decided to stay overnight in the little town, and when we rose in the morning from our pallets, we discovered, outside of our little enclosure, a basket filled with mangos–I think about ten in all. Both of us were hungry, because being not very adept and aware of traveling expenses, we had run out of money and were at the mercy of grazing off the local fare. So we cut into those mangos and began to enjoy a delicious fruit-filled breakfast. When we were about halfway through eating our basket of plenty, our interpreter showed up, absolutely horrified at the sight before him. He explained to us that the mangos had been cursed by our local witch doctress–the lady who had attended the service the night before and that we were eating death and destruction.

Who would know? They tasted like mangos.

Soon a small crowd of the townsfolk gathered around, more or less on a death vigil, to see when we would fall over, foam at the mouth and croak. Hours passed and we continued to giggle, clap our hands and talk with surrounding friends about the goodness of life and God. When it became obvious that the spell must have been somehow “mis-spelled,” the people began to rejoice.Matter of fact, the mother of the young boy who had been taken prisoner gathered a couple of her matronly allies and headed over to the witch doctress’s hut and reclaimed her son, bringing him home.

The woman of alleged magic did nothing. She was powerless.

You see, as it turns out, the boy wasn’t under any spell but lust, and didn’t need any deliverance except to come home and return to sanity. It also turns out that the mangos refused to be infused with anything but good taste.

We stayed on that evening and practically the whole little village came out to hear our message. Superstition was exposed. All it takes is turning on a light, because when you turn on a light, fear scurries away … and faith remains, smiling.

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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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