Reverend Meningsbee (Part 49) Troubling the Water … April 9th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3272)

Reverend Meningsbee

Professor McIntosh.

Meningsbee always remembered him fondly.

He was one of those college professors who thought it was his job to come up with the most clever way to communicate ideas, gauging his success on how dazzled his students would become or how they would squint at him, perplexed, acting as if they didn’t understand.

He was a character.

One of his primary theories was that everything in the universe was based on physics and chemistry–even people–that even though we advance the idea that loving our neighbor as ourselves is a noble pursuit, that certain chemicals, reactions and even structures of different individuals actually inhibit them from making connection–even though they try. Sometimes they even get married, attempting to work out a relationship, only to discover that they suffer from a perpetual awkwardness whenever they’re together alone.

The reason for the walk down memory lane was that recently Meningsbee had come to the conclusion that his old professor just might have stumbled upon some wisdom. Because try as he might, there was one gentleman in the Garsonville congregation who just could not tolerate the pastor.

Matter of fact, Meningsbee found himself referring to this gent as “Mr. Jackson, from the bank,” because he had never heard his first name. He thought it was “Maynard,” but considering how unusual that seemed, he was hesitant to try it out loud.

So whenever Meningsbee entered the room, Jackson stayed for a few moments, but excused himself pretty quickly. At first he thought it was a coincidence, but then some of the other church members noticed it, and began to check their watches, timing when Jackson made his exodus.

Meningsbee thought about going to talk to Jackson, but reconsidered. Honesty only works when two people agree to the terms. Otherwise, the person who chooses not to share his heart can simply terminate the peace offering by saying, “Problem? What problem?”

But recently Meningsbee had become worried.

Mr. Jackson had begun spending a lot of time with young Carl. He offered to buy the young man a new suit. Whenever Carl was doing something in the church, like a special song or maybe a sermonette, Jackson would specifically invite the other members of his family.

Meningsbee was concerned about being too paranoid. How much was he reading into the circumstances? But it just seemed that Jackson was trying to create a rift between Carl and the senior pastor.

Meningsbee was not an idiot. He knew he could be imagining everything. Yet something was amiss. Carl was not quite as gentle and free-flowing when the two of them were together. He seemed to be making stubborn stands over things that really didn’t matter that much. Meningsbee was stymied. What should he do?

Then came the petition.

It was presented as a lark. Matter of fact, it was printed off on pink paper with yellow flowers. It stated:

“We, the undersigned, demand that Pas Carl get the chance to preach at least once a month on Sunday morning. We do this by the authority granted to us by nobody, in the spirit of true bumbling.”

Even as they presented it to Pastor Meningsbee, they did so with an overstated bow and a giggle.

He took the flamboyant petition into his office, sat down and stared at it. He knew one thing: solving problems was not about having all the answers, but instead, knowing when to use the answers.

Since it was Sunday morning and he had the petition in his hand, he decided to follow up on the frivolity of their offering with some silliness of his own. He reached into a trunk of toys he kept in his office for kids who needed a distraction for when they were waiting for their parents and he pulled out a red plastic fireman’s hat, which was obviously too small for his head. But he placed it on top and fastened it down to the side of his face with scotch tape.

He walked to the door of the sanctuary and then skipped down the aisle to the front of the church, and turned around with his fireman’s hat tipping precariously.

The look on the faces of the congregation: amused, confused, not certain how to react, even though some of them couldn’t help themselves and began to giggle. Borrowing from the energy of a Broadway play, in overstated tones, he began.

“When you come to the Garsonville Community Church, what are you hoping to see? An aging minister wearing a child’s fireman’s hat? Of course not. But look! It’s still provided.”

A big laugh.

“But what do you come here for? What is inspiring you today? I’m not talking about what inspired you when you were sixteen years old and you could barely wait for Halloween so you could go on the hayride and make out with your boyfriend or girlfriend. I’m talking about what inspires you in church today.

“You know what inspires me? You know what rings my bells? You know what keeps my firehat in place?”

He reached up and touched the side of his face. “Certainly not the scotch tape. What gets me moving–what gets me excited–what makes me want to race to work every day is the opportunity to work with that young man over there…”

He pointed to Carl.

“And try to do great things for all of you out there.”

He pointed to the congregation.

“What should I say about Carl? Pas Carl. I wish I had known half of what he knows when I was his age. I would now be twice the man. I wish I was half as good-looking. I wish I could say I rescued a boy out of a well. I wish I’d had my hands in dirt more, growing crops, or milked a cow or two. That is what you do to them, right?”

He leaned forward and the congregation laughed. “Because every time I get to work with him, I know we’re doing something great for you. But the amazing thing is that even though we’re enjoying this blessing, we sometimes forget that it never happens because of one thing. It’s when all things work together to the good.

“Would you say it with me? All things work together to the good.

The congregation repeated it.

“And when you start tearing that combination apart, trying to focus on what’s the better part, or the best part, it stops working together. Now, even though I couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t do without Carl–he’s a smart fellow. He’ll tell you he’s young. He’ll tell you that he couldn’t do without me.”

Carl hung his head.

“And even though there are people in this congregation that don’t love me–heck, maybe you don’t even like me–you still receive my love and the thrill of my soul to be your shepherd.

“I had a professor in college named McIntosh. He believed that everything in life is based on chemistry. What if he’s right? What if we take one Richard Meningsbee and mingle it with a Sarah, Matreese, Bob, Sally, Darla, Daniel, Mr. Jackson–Maynard, I presume?–and Carl, and stir it up. We know what we’ve got then, don’t we? We have this beautiful eruption called church.

“What if we remove one of the ingredients? Will it be the same? Will the chemical reaction be as intense? I, for one, think not.

“I was offered a petition, requesting that this young man, who I love, be able to preach one Sunday a month in this church. I tell you–no. You’re absolutely wrong. He should preach two Sundays a month in this church. Starting next week.

“And before I finish here, I need you to seriously take a moment and let me know, by raising your hands, how many people like my hat.”

Hands went into the air, applause rattled the room and everybody left church in joy.

Everybody except Mr. Maynard Jackson.

He never returned again.

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G-Poppers … February 23rd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3228)

Jon close up

G-Pop stumbled upon another one of those YouTubes, in which a renowned atheist was railing against the wickedness of God, contending that the Almighty was heartless and uncaring, allowing pain and suffering–especially among innocent children.

G-Pop watched the whole thing.

He hates name-calling. But people do it.

The Good Book itself has some notorious passages, which are rather vicious in marginalizing the value of anyone who disagrees. Such a verse is found in Psalms 14:1, where we are told that those who do not believe in God are “fools.”

We pridefully quote that little piece of sonnet, fully believing that it is the mindset of the Universal Diety, who is so offended by His detractors that He decides to ridicule them.

G-Pop wants to ask, “Don’t you think that’s highly unlikely? If You really are God, how much more of an ego boost do you need?”

Now I would contend that the gentleman sharing his unbelief on the Internet is very consecrated in his negativity. Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that people who are atheists have a more clear idea about their disbelief than many Christians have regarding their true belief.

But I will also tell you that denying God is foolish. It doesn’t make you a fool; it’s just a foolish assessment of available information.

Because creation–the Universe–is a blending of cosmic and chemistry. And when you assume that the God of the Universe is merely dealing in a cosmic format of emotion, paralleling humans, then you fail to recognize the Great Physicist and Chemist He must truly be.

It’s called an eco-system. We talk about it all the time. Even atheists do.

Atheists don’t seem to object to the fact that the lion eats the antelope and God doesn’t intervene.

They don’t lament the hundreds and thousands of species on Earth that go extinct every day simply because they became unacceptable to the chemical environment.

Atheists don’t seem to note that the power of free will, which they freely use to express their disdain for divinity, also gives everyone else permission to praise or reject anything they want.

Atheists fail to surmise that just because a substance or creature doesn’t appear to have any other value than the one science has presently assessed it, that sometimes, through knowledge, we discover that icky-sicky bread mold can become the miracle drug, penicillin.

The Creator had a huge job. How can you make a world that is chemically challenged, balanced, engaged and even in some cases forbidding–and still insert a cosmic energy which allows for improvement, excellence and discovery and mercy?

His answer to that was to make humans.

Humans, who had a little bit of the jungle, but also a bit of the divine, were to be the caretakers, the explorers and the researchers of life, to make it more pleasant for everything.

But in maintaining free will in these creatures, He also opened the door to the possibility that greater knowledge could generate greater evil.

A balance was struck.

Sometimes a maniac will roam the streets, kill children, and we scratch our heads and wonder why God didn’t stop it, while simultaneously ignoring the corps of policemen who track down the murderer and imprison him.

Nothing can be understood in life if we view it only from a cosmic perspective.

Our journey also is not clear if we consider it only to be chemical. Much of what we used to think was good has proven to be evil. Much of what was once deemed worthless is now studied in laboratories and has become the latest treatment in fighting cancer.

God suffers under the burden of being smarter than those around Him. Because of that, He has to field their grievances, which are often based on misunderstanding or a complete lack of comprehension.

It is foolish to try to deny the existence of a cosmic God who is also a Chemist. He has done His very best to provide protection for the Earth by humans, who were created in His image.

That is, if they will just consider that they were created.

 

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G-Poppers … February 17th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3228)

Jon close up

G-Pop stumbled upon another one of those YouTubes, in which a renowned atheist was railing against the wickedness of God, contending that the Almighty was heartless and uncaring, allowing pain and suffering–especially among innocent children.

G-Pop watched the whole thing.

He hates name-calling. But people do it.

The Good Book itself has some notorious passages, which are rather vicious in marginalizing the value of anyone who disagrees. Such a verse is found in Psalms 14:1, where we are told that those who do not believe in God are “fools.”

We pridefully quote that little piece of sonnet, fully believing that it is the mindset of the Universal Diety, who is so offended by His detractors that He decides to ridicule them.

G-Pop wants to ask, “Don’t you think that’s highly unlikely? If You really are God, how much more of an ego boost do you need?”

Now I would contend that the gentleman sharing his unbelief on the Internet is very consecrated in his negativity. Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that people who are atheists have a more clear idea about their disbelief than many Christians have regarding their true belief.

But I will also tell you that denying God is foolish. It doesn’t make you a fool; it’s just a foolish assessment of available information.

Because creation–the Universe–is a blending of cosmic and chemistry. And when you assume that the God of the Universe is merely dealing in a cosmic format of emotion, paralleling humans, then you fail to recognize the Great Physicist and Chemist He must truly be.

It’s called an eco-system. We talk about it all the time. Even atheists do.

Atheists don’t seem to object to the fact that the lion eats the antelope and God doesn’t intervene.

They don’t lament the hundreds and thousands of species on Earth that go extinct every day simply because they became unacceptable to the chemical environment.

Atheists don’t seem to note that the power of free will, which they freely use to express their disdain for divinity, also gives everyone else permission to praise or reject anything they want.

Atheists fail to surmise that just because a substance or creature doesn’t appear to have any other value than the one science has presently assessed it, that sometimes, through knowledge, we discover that icky-sicky bread mold can become the miracle drug, penicillin.

The Creator had a huge job. How can you make a world that is chemically challenged, balanced, engaged and even in some cases forbidding–and still insert a cosmic energy which allows for improvement, excellence and discovery and mercy?

His answer to that was to make humans.

Humans, who had a little bit of the jungle, but also a bit of the divine, were to be the caretakers, the explorers and the researchers of life, to make it more pleasant for everything.

But in maintaining free will in these creatures, He also opened the door to the possibility that greater knowledge could generate greater evil.

A balance was struck.

Sometimes a maniac will roam the streets, kill children, and we scratch our heads and wonder why God didn’t stop it, while simultaneously ignoring the corps of policemen who track down the murderer and imprison him.

Nothing can be understood in life if we view it only from a cosmic perspective.

Our journey also is not clear if we consider it only to be chemical. Much of what we used to think was good has proven to be evil. Much of what was once deemed worthless is now studied in laboratories and has become the latest treatment in fighting cancer.

God suffers under the burden of being smarter than those around Him. Because of that, He has to field their grievances, which are often based on misunderstanding or a complete lack of comprehension.

It is foolish to try to deny the existence of a cosmic God who is also a Chemist. He has done His very best to provide protection for the Earth by humans, who were created in His image.

That is, if they will just consider that they were created.

 

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Good News and Better News… January 9th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3181)

good-news-fix-it

It is reported that animals can smell fear.

I do not know if this particular “sniffology” is passed along in the human family, but I am fully aware as I travel and interact with my brothers and sisters, that there’s a strong apprehension in the air.

It’s not so much an odor as it is a loss of confidence and a disconcerting sense that doom looms too close to the home fires.

So in a season when the church should be rallying from its stagnancy because of the yearning of the human spirit to relieve tension, our ranks still seem to be filing out the back door.

There are those in theology who conclude that it’s due to a lack of serious religious reflection, and others who believe that we’ve not yet struck the right chord with the younger generation concerning traditions and the teaching offered for their children.

If you will allow me, I will tell you:

  • We have too much God and not enough Father.
  • Too much Christ and not enough Jesus.

It’s similar to a chemistry teacher who constantly gives tests on formulas while never having the students do lab work.

Church is boring because the idea of God is stifling.

Church seems insipid because a Christ who offers eternal salvation doesn’t give us a Jesus who offers us Earth solutions.

We are stymied.

For fear of losing our “worship credentials,” we have sacrificed our human appeal.

The heavenly Father is a Creator, not a manufacturer. Not everything can be taught in a six-week series from the pulpit as we expound upon every reference in the Bible about love, and hope that folks will draw a pious conclusion.

Jesus was our brother–tempted as we are in every way and touched by our infirmities long before he became salvation through the cross. Thirty-three years of life can not be ignored because of three hours at Golgotha.

Until we have more of the Father and an abundance of Jesus, our churches will be full of dead men’s bones and promises that seem to have been “rain checked” until after death.

The good news is that God is our Father, Jesus is our brother and the Holy Spirit is not a ghost.

The better news is that the Holy Spirit has come to remind us about the goodness of our Father and the genius of Jesus.

 

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Antidote … September 22, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2014)

poisonI am a poison.

It is a rather recent discovery; may I say, somewhat disheartening?

I always viewed myself as a perpetually refreshing drink, cooling and soothing–a blessing, if you will.

I’ve worked very hard … (Oh, forgive me for that. How pretentious.) Truthfully, I’ve simply focused on a couple of principles of congeniality in an attempt to turn myself into a pleasant beverage.

So imagine my surprise the other night, when I discovered that a relationship I’ve nurtured for twenty-one years was actually needful of termination in order for the person I was trying to assist and enlighten to escape my poison.

Yes, to him, I was deadly.

It isn’t true of most folks. Most individuals I encounter take in my elixir and find it intoxicating and sweet. But I must be fully aware that the choices I’ve made, the person I’ve become and the attitudes I hold dear are poisonous to travelers whose bumps in the road have varied greatly from mine.

I wondered if there was a way for me to change my configuration just enough to cease to be venom to this journeyman–and then I came to the conclusion that some things are just not meant to be. The reason we need everybody in the whole world is because the world is big and varied in its tastes, and one dose of medicine does not necessarily heal all ailments.

Still, I felt a deep sense of loss and hurt. Was it vanity? Was it some sort of childish tantrum: “How dare this human being find ME repugnant?”

Did I really care about him? Or only have feelings about him as it related to me?

Good questions. I’m really not sure.

But you see, it doesn’t really make any difference. In this case, I am a dose of humanity which should be bypassed because my chemistry is lethal.

There is a maturity that settles into our souls when we realize that we are not someone’s cup of tea, but instead, their mug of hemlock.

Is it possible to have universal value? Yes. But that treasure always has to contain the word “love,” and the presence of love always means to seek better for others.

I am not “better” for my friend. My way of thinking, doing, walking and living is a source of aggravation.

This is why we need a savior–because quite honestly, none of us are able to save ourselves and the human representations around us are often murderous.

I learned something. I came to the blessed conclusion that we make ourselves available to others, allow them to sip and not insist that they gulp, granting them  the opportunity to determine whether our particular concoction is nutritious to their being.

We grow up as people when we realize that if they need us it is good … and if they don’t, it is even better.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

An Eye for a Tooth… July 17, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1946)

eyeballGenerally speaking, I make a practice of avoiding anything that Hitler liked. Matter of fact, sometimes I’m a little uncomfortable about sporting a mustache.

Adolf despised gypsies, spirituality, homosexuals and let us not forget … Jews.

But ironically, considering his disdain for Abraham’s seed, he was a faithful follower of the Law of Moses–at least in the sense that he fervently applied the discipline of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” If a German soldier was killed in occupied lands, it was the edict in the Nazi Party to have ten locals murdered in retribution.

So even though the concept of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is included in what we refer to as “holy writ,” I know that it never came from the mind of any God who created human beings and understands our chemistry.

As a race, we are completely and totally devoid of the ability to be even. So what we always end up doing is plucking out an eye … for a tooth.

For instance, if we had actually gone in to Afghanistan after 9/11 and used specially trained troops to hunt down Osama bin Laden and twenty-eight hundred of his cult members and punished them for what they did in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., and then departed, we would have demonstrated the literal application of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

But that’s not what we did.

Infuriated, bruised, energized and over-wrought, we launched ourselves into twelve years of war, costing hundreds of thousands of lives.

Why? Because human beings can’t measure. Even though Jesus warned us that the “meter we measure out” to other people will come right back to us, we become enraged and inflict too much punishment for what has happened to us.

So are you telling me that God didn’t KNOW this about the emotional human beings He created?

  • Are you telling me He would have told Moses to unleash vengeful people on their enemies, hoping for some restraint?
  • How about this–did we really need to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, killing hundreds of thousands of people, to end the war–pay back for Pearl Harbor?

What might seem to be an unpatriotic questioning of our country’s dealings is actually just a microscope placed on human character, explaining WHY retribution never works.

If you punch me in the face, I am much too explosive to immediately respond to you because I am completely capable of losing control and taking more from you than you gave to me–even to the point of destroying your life.

The purpose of turning the other cheek is not to be a loser. It is to give yourself a chance to keep from losing control and doing something that you truly should regret, but end up rationalizing.

It is astounding to me that our heartland citizens always espouse that we are “a Christian nation,” when we continue to follow the principles of Judaism, Islam and even Adolf Hitler. Someone has to grow up.

If we really could be even and take “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” then who knows? Maybe the system would be a deterrent to evil. But historically, dastardly acts have always stirred formerly reasonable people to flirt with darkness.

So what IS the answer?

We need to admit that an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” and any attempt to initiate punishment on our own is not only going to perpetuate the problem, but will actually accelerate it.

I turn the other cheek because I don’t want my temper to control my future.

There you go.

After all, if you don’t do it that way, you find yourself defeated–with the world turned against you, stuck in a bunker, too frightened to swallow the pill and too much of a coward to put the gun to your head.

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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