Jesonian… April 15th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3277)

jesonian-cover-amazon

A Saturday many, many years ago, the beaten, bruised and bloodied body of Jesus of Nazareth lay still in the darkness of a borrowed tomb, as his spirit communed with the angels and his mind reasoned over the unfoldings of a truly abundant life.

We are not privy to those thoughts.

Matter of fact, all we know of the life of Jesus comes from four major biographers who borrowed pieces from one another, and each, in his own way, had an agenda to offer insights to please his readers.

There is no autobiography.

So we aren’t sure of the emotion in the words attributed to him. Therefore theologians decipher and agnostics disembowel the remnants of the script left to us of this magnificent life.

Yet every once in a while, we get a deeper glimpse. Such is the case in Matthew the 23rd Chapter, Verse 37-38:

“Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Thou that killest the prophets and stone them which are sent unto you. How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”

The great debate over the centuries has been whether Jesus was Jewish or whether he came, in a certain sense, to abolish Judaism in favor of the New Covenant.

If you study the writings of Martin Luther, you might begin to believe that the Great Reformer was anti-Semetic. Yet in many evangelical churches, there seems to be a return to Jewish traditions, including them with their Christian rituals.

What did Jesus feel about the Jews?

What was the heart of the matter?

First and foremost, you must understand, for Jesus to include Gentiles and Samaritans in his movement immediately made him an outcast from the Jewish religious community.

Matter of fact, the Jewish Council that condemned him to death granted him none of the courtesy that was normally extended to brethren.

The reality that Jesus did not believe that the Jews were special because they were the “children of Abraham,” but rather put forth the opinion that God “could take stones” and make offspring of Abe, certainly did not put him in favor with those of the Zionist profile.

Yet John tells us that he “came to his own and his own received him not.”

When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, he did use the phrase “we Jews.” It is the only time he did, but he certainly had a kindness and favorability for those who lived in Judea and Galilee.

But Jesus was a man of vision–the Gospel would never reach China or the Native Americans if it were left in the hands of the Jews. The Jewish people had already aggravated the Romans to the point that the annihilation and dispersion of their kindred was inevitable, if not imminent. The Gospel would only survive in the hands of the Greeks and the Romans, who would take it to the rest of the world.

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that when the early church was trying to force Gentile converts to comply with Jewish practices, the former Pharisee condemned them and called them “Judaizers” for limiting the scope and power of the message.

In the two verses recited above, Jesus announces the fate of Judaism.

It is in a coma.

It is left desolate and abandoned.

It is awaiting a day when it can be awakened and all the promises given by the prophets can be fulfilled.

But for a season, it was set aside in favor of salvation and “loving your neighbor” being shared with the entire world.

Basically, if you want to sum up Jesus’ feelings on Judaism, it’s very simple: Jesus loves them.

He just does not believe they’re “chosen people.”

There are no chosen people–just people who choose well.

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Good News and Better News… March 27th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3259)

In the midst of the morning prayer at the First United Methodist Church in Port Saint John, Florida, I peeked from my bowed-head position out at the congregation. It was a small gathering.

The church as a whole has been losing folks over the past few years. We could probably do a whole article on that subject, but let’s just work on the basis that there is an “exodus of the chosen people.”

So the denominations step in–Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals and the like–and offer their remedies to try to plug the dike of leaking souls. The answers they come up with are rehashing of former traditions or speculation on how better to use social media.

What they fail to consider is that church is dying because the reason for church has been crucified.

  • Church is for people.
  • People are the church.

When the church does not relate to people, but instead, makes some arrogant attempt to reach God through vain repetition, then people run away to brighter prospects for encouragement and a chance to access their better selves.

People often ask me if I am anti-church. Quite the contrary. I think church is our last bastion of hope to retrieve community among all living creatures.

It’s just that we need to be willing, for a season, to be awkward.

We don’t know what we’re doing.

We don’t know how to reach people.

And we certainly cannot figure out a way to escape our vague practices to translate them into real “soul food” for the everyday consumption of our brothers and sisters.

And for those who have left the church–citing hypocrisy, boredom, indiscretions and scandals–I must say to them: well, it certainly doesn’t bother you that your politicians, your entertainers and your movie stars are riddled with unholiness.

We need people who feel awkward about returning to church to join with those who are awkward about being in church, to laugh and cry their way about coming to church.

Folks, it’s gonna be ugly.

But yesterday morning I watched beautiful, insightful, gentle human beings come together with two strangers and create fellowship in an inspired, clumsy way.

It made me cry–it can be done. But we need to get our heads out of religion and our eyes on the prize of finding new ways to love one another and repent of our foolishness without shame.

The good news? It’s just like when we were learning to date in high school and survived our feeble attempts, to eventually end up in a relationship.

The better news is that if we stop trying to be godly, and just start looking for the goodness that has been placed around us, we literally can become a community of faith that “comes, communes and creates unity.”

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … February 8th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-salva

Plantation Salva

A damning God

Seems quite odd

Why the fuss

Since He made us

Didn’t He know

How it would go

A fruitless problem

Closed the Garden

Making the nomad

Always a little sad

Chasing a dream

A meaningless scheme

Killing, making war

Settling an endless score

God sent preachers

Hideous, pious creatures

Listening to what they tell

Made us further rebel

Hate the wait

Fate is late

Will, for me

But it ain’t free

Sow and reap

Fail and weep

What a bore

Craving more

The color of skin

The depth of sin

Chosen people

Erect steeple

While we are here

Twisted in fear

God is over there

Cursed, so unfair

Settle the wild

Birth the child

He’s the Word

Judged absurd

A Master disaster

Kill the Bastard

Where can we hide

No place to abide

Then a voice

Offers a choice

His life, your Eden

Everything you’ve been needin’,

Your Plantation Salva

Is assembling

For you to discern

With a holy trembling

 

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Jesonian: The Author (Part I) … June 14th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2612)

manuscript editing

When I finished writing my first novel, I had 780 pages of typed story, dialogue and background.

Even though this was too much for a book, each part of it was essential, so that when I got to the editing process, I could sift through and find the gold rather than trying to come up with shiny stuff on the spot.

When I was done with that process, I ended up with a novel of about 360 pages.

God was an author, too. As an author, He was writing to a market. Who was that market?

They were human beings, barely stepping out of the jungle of Darwinian theory and just beginning the first fruits in the journey of human evolution.

Still living in caves, they needed a revelation in order to move to tents. Once tents had been achieved, it was a lightning bolt of intellect that brought about mud huts.

It was a long and painful discovery.

Simply telling human beings that they were “very much alike” did not seem to work in an atmosphere where “beheading your enemy” was the true sign of virility.

So first came the Pentateuch–the five books of Moses, which are referred to as the Torah.

Then there were hundreds and hundreds of scrolls, explaining how these laws were to be enforced and interpreted. This was referred to as the “Oral Law,” or the Talmud.

I’m not so certain that the human race could have survived without such a restrictive set of rules guiding towards intelligence instead of allowing the inner barbarian free rule and reign.

Yet it was a clumsy, cluttered, inefficient system that still had “chosen people” thinking that the lightning and thunder in the sky was caused by an angry god.

There was more belief in mysticism than attempts to understand the mystery of the world around them, and superiority was expressed by the sheer brute number of gods worshipped instead of the wisdom acquired from Mount Sinai.

You can’t really call it ignorance if everybody possessed the lacking. It was the status quo–to be vacuous, superstitious and vindictive.

To avoid the elimination of our species, for a season it took a Torah and it demanded a Talmud. God felt the need to use the jot to form the tittle that kept us from being “totaled.”

Yet, like any good author, having completed his 780 pages of overwritten document, as knowledge began to grow, it was time to edit the rules and regulations.

Into such a world entered Jesus of Nazareth. It fell his lot to progress human beings past acceptable depravity, into growing congeniality.

Where should he begin?

(To be continued)

 

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G-40: Practical … September 5, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2343)

hand of JesusCrucifixion should never be discussed casually.

Damn those who study it as a theological necessity or a part of any kind of holy plan.

For after all, the idea of capital punishment isn’t particularly “capital.”

I came to live as a human. Of course, somewhere along the line, that does entail death. I guess I was hoping this would occur as an old, old man, from a mild heart attack as I was sleeping in Rome, after finishing up a spectacular revival.

Just not to be.

If God has a plan, He must desert it because He has cast his lot with humans.

Golgotha–the place of the skull. A cranium without face or brain, for that matter.

My feelings are mixed, tossed to and fro, squeezed by reality, only prohibited from smothering me by the expansiveness of faith.

The trial they put me through came to an awkward impasse–the witnesses against me constantly contradicting each other. It became apparent that I might be cleared on a technicality–maybe exiled back to Galilee.

Yet you can’t go back, can you?

What is their concern?

They say they are worried because I call myself God.

Alexander did it.

Caesar, likewise.

It’s nothing new. Whenever men gain power, they like to claim some aspect of divinity.

But see, here’s the problem: if God really has visited mankind, then why do we need religion or priests anymore? Scared the bejesus out of them.

So I stepped in and simplified their plight.

I told them I was God. I told them that they would see me one day and know I was God.

They deemed this arrogant and blasphemous. The proclamation sealed my fate.

They are killing me.

I am a reluctant martyr, a disappointed teacher, a rejected friend and a lonely savior.

I must warn them that their deeds will reverberate back to them with future consequences.

“Your house is left to you desolate!”

How can I tell them that chosen people must be replaced by people who choose?

I know this–you can’t save the whole world if you’re trying to promote one race.

So I took a haggard breath, wincing in pain.

I am trying to die well.

It is all they have afforded me.

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

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

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

G-38: Poised… August 22, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2329)

 

spikenard

A quick checklist.

Becoming human, born of a woman, living as a man. Accomplished.

Exiled, time in Egypt. There are no chosen people, just folks who choose well.

Living. Thirty years of just being an everyday brother, friend, son, merchant and helper. Done.

Baptized. Cleansed from inadequacy, tempted as we all are.

The message. We are meant to be blessed. We are called to bless. Amen.

Challenged. Answers without anger; a philosophy put to the test.

Healing. Compassion for the ravaged, opportunity for the depressed. Their faith made them whole.

Resurrection. Lazarus brought back to life. A stir of hope in the hopeless surroundings.

Poised.

Perhaps mankind can get it right this time.

Waiting to see.

The religious rowdies are too scared to intervene, frightened of government and the crowd.

Then…

Spikenard. A gesture of reverent friendship poured out in gratitude, followed by a self-righteous, angry disciple, challenging the waste and leaving the room feeling rebuked.

Suddenly the Spirit of Cain: jealousy, lethargy, mediocrity, arrogance, despair and unresolved conflict.

Murder enters the heart of Judas Iscariot.

Free will shall be honored.

Things have changed.

It is time for Plan B.

 

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

 

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

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

Except What? … September 18, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2009)

cartoon melting potThere is no such thing as a “pure-blooded American.” America was accumulated, not ordained.

We are a mish-mash mess of a miraculous mixture, a mysterious mutation majestically merging into a magnificent mob.

Our ancestors left monarchy, anarchy, oligarchy, patriarchs and matriarchs to come and experiment with the outlandish assertion that all men–and women, for that matter–are created equal.

So what causes us to jut out our multicultural jaws and claim that “we are exceptional?”

Do we really become more valuable to the human race by expressing superiority? Does God in heaven smile down on us as the new “Chosen People,” having abandoned the Jewish race for the job?

I guess what bothers me is the word “exceptional.” The root of it is “except.” In other words:  to make exempt from consideration.

Even though all of my training, understanding and basic common sense tells me that whoever has much, of that person is required more, we have taken on some sort of “Holy-Roman-Empire-mentality,” believing that since we are born and reared within a three-thousand-mile radius of one another on this continent, then we somehow have a free pass to make mistakes without critique.
When I was a kid I did childish things. Some slack was cut. Thank God.
When I had kids of my own, the slack was removed and was replaced with the “r word”–responsibility.
When those kids grew up and needed me to be a wise sage to them for guidance–and to transform myself into a grandfather–it was my purpose to make that journey without grumping or complaining and certainly minus useless immaturity.

So looking at our country, I see that we went through our toddler phase during the Revolution, through adolescence by continuing slavery in a rebellious way, which led to Civil War. But now, as we father the notion of freedom and become grandfathers to the concept of democracy, we should put away childish things. We should not compare ourselves to other countries when we talk about human rights. Most of THEM never claimed that expression of equality in their forms of government.

We shouldn’t even look at our Olympic athletes and extol them as higher and better when they win medals, for we live in the lap of luxurious training as a lifestyle instead of having to work it in around the planting and harvesting seasons.

The word should not be exceptional, but instead, should be “expect-tional.” Since we’ve been blessed with freedom, ingenuity, prosperity and spirituality, we should expect more from our country than those around us.

When I finally see us use a different measuring stick to our own morality than we do to the world at large, I will understand that we finally have comprehended what it means to be American, settling our souls on the fact that to be exceptional means you must live by the credo: to he who much is given, much is expected.

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