Salient…July 2nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Bring your own joy or bring your own bitching.

It’s really that simple.

There are a chosen few who have discovered the secret to life in knowing that it is essential to show up with your own joy if you expect to have joy for lunch and dinner.

It is not provided.

The American freeway system will not roll out joy for you on your way to work. Your job is not necessarily geared to your happiness. Certainly your children and family have so many pursuits that they don’t have time to plan a special dish of “giddy” for you.

And the entertainment industry in this country…Well, let’s just say they seem to enjoy themselves.

If you don’t bring your own joy you will fall prey to succumbing to the overpowering nastiness of those who bring bitching.

Just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll give you some examples of those who show up bitching. Here are a handful of the statements they make:

1. “I’m not a morning person.”

2. “I didn’t sleep well (again).”

3. “I don’t talk until I’ve had my coffee…”

4. “Those drivers are crazy.”

5. “My kids are good…just presently screwed up.”

6. “What’s with Trump?”

7. “America is getting great again.”

8. “I’m not prejudiced, but…”

9. “I think I have cancer.”

10. “The world is so evil…”

11. “The polar ice caps are melting.”

12. “I love my dog more than people.”

Brace yourself.

This onslaught of negativity will come at you without remedy. There is no cure. These people have already decided that bitching IS their joy. Therefore, they are only comfortable around fellow-bitchers.

They even want you to change the term from “bitching” to “complaining.” (It just sounds a little better. And of course, we all know that life is all about how it sounds. NOT.)

So here is your salient moment:

BYOJ (Bring Your Own Joy) or BYOB (Bring Your Own Bitching)

It is a daily conflict which faces each and every one of us, and determines the quality of our souls and often reflects the healthiness of our bodies.

 

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Good News and Better News … August 15th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Bauchman name tags

Name tags hanging from a peg board

 

 

Bauchman treat table

Coffee awaiting the faithful

 

 

 

 

Bauchman door windows

 

Beautiful mahogany walls with colored glass

 

 

An old-fashioned radiator, Bauchman radiatorreminding us how long the church has been established

 

 

 

 

Bauchman stained glass window

 

A skylight, welcoming the sunshine from the heavens

 

 

 

 

Another Sunday morning in America.

This time, it is Baughman United Methodist Church in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

Busy folks.

The morning announcements took ten minutes–just to cover the expanse of activity and planned events.

Matter of fact, if I were evaluating the church in America as a whole, I would conclude that it is an extremely proficient organization.

Here’s the problem: the church that Jesus came to “build on the rock” through his words and the essence of his life was never meant to be an organization. He punctuated this by saying, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

The Jesonian church is meant to be an organism.

Here’s the difference:

  • An organization needs plans.
  • An organism needs food.

And although we are meticulous in the religious system to organize, put in place and promote a series of determinations, these plans themselves offer no nourishment to the starving souls trying to find their best-seated positions in the back of the sanctuary.

The church is an organism because it’s filled with people, and people need:

1. Emotional food

Yes, we require a diet of “love one another”–and all the awkward situations that produces.

2. Spiritual food

Living our lives out, finding what is real and then discovering where Jesus dealt with it in his earthly time, and studying his insights on the matter

3. Mental food

Challenging all the opinions of our youth and renewing our file with ideas that are edifying to the people around us instead of alienating them.

4. Physical food

Honest to God, we need to eat together. Jesus said “as oft as you do eat together, remember me.”

We’re better people when we’re eating. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of having a restaurant on site at every church, so on Sunday we could file out of the service to a dinner table, where we could discuss what had warmed our hearts as we fill our tummies.

The good news is that the Baughman church was filled with delightful, enterprising and searching human beings.

The better news is that if we stop approaching Christianity as an organization, we might be able to feed the organism of faith … and change the world.

 

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If Jesus Were in Charge… January 4, 2015

pastor Jesus big

  • Religion wants to worship God.
  • Hope wants to find God.
  • Faith wants to see God.
  • Love wants to share God.

Church is becoming an exercise in futility because man was not created to worship. Worship was created so man could revel with the joy, love, faith and hope that pulsate within. It is a chance to express the hope to find God, the faith to see God and the love to share God.

But how do we do it? What would a church service be with Pastor Jesus?

If you read the Gospels closely, the answers are pretty clear, at least to this pilgrim. Every time Jesus got together with people, there was some sort of transformation, victory or healing which occurred. People felt they could come with their illnesses, insufficiencies, questions and frustrations and not have to wait through an entire service to have them addressed.

Yes, I believe church should begin with prayer, hugs, words of encouragement or even just a good cup of coffee. We begin with a season of healing–heart, soul, mind and strength.

I think if Jesus were pastor of a church, next would come testifying. Those who have been blessed, healed or rejuvenated get a chance to share their hearts. Others who have had dynamic weeks can express gratitude for intervention.

So once people have been healed and given a chance to speak out as part of the family of God, then it’s time to teach. Instruction is motivated at this point. Healing and testifying have been accomplished, so we have the opportunity to explain the mind of our heavenly Father, and offer better ways for us to get along with each other.

Healed, testified and taught, we are anxious to celebrate. Let the music begin. I don’t know why we expect people to sing their way into a good mood. Music was meant to produce emotion and praise–which normally follows an experience.

And finally, after celebration, we give. We close out the service providing finance–as each one has prospered throughout the week.

It was the style of Jesus to heal, open the door to testifying, teach the masses, celebrate the message and then allow them to give of their substance so the work could continue in the next village.

Church has become a commemoration, when it was meant to be a combustion–stoking the fire of belief so it can burn brilliantly.

If Jesus were in charge, church would be about people instead of causes, concerns, committees or even communion. Will we ever see such an opportunity come our way?

I guess when we finally grow weary of being pious and become wary of being godless.

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Sunday Mourning … October 27, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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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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The Cracked Pot … August 15, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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What should you do about a friend that has been with you for four years, who you find out is officially dying?

That is my dilemma this morning, as I rise to begin my day–realizing that my automatic coffee pot, which has been  traveling with me for the past forty-eight months, is beginning to leak.

coffee potHe, she or it, depending on your sensibility, has been warning of demise for several days–a little puddle of H2O blood here–another over there. When am I going to be willing to take my Old Faithful and quietly entomb it in the local trash receptacle, go out and purchase another?

Ideas float to my mind: maybe I could FIND the leak. Maybe there’s still hope. Maybe the “laying on of hands” by faith would bring about a technological miracle. Maybe I could just get used to the leak. Perhaps I could fill it in the mornings and make coffee, hoping to avoid major water dispersal.

You see, this is what happens to all of us.

Whether we like it or not, we become emotionally involved with everything in our lives. And if we insist we are “detached,” we foolishly deceive ourselves, because we are forever creatures of habit, who want to cling to those parts most familiar.

So I ask myself three clarifying questions:

1. Is it broken? Yes. Coffee pots are supposed to make coffee, not leak out other opinions. There is no doubt. The telltale signs of failure have to be sopped up every morning. It’s broken. Now, we can use a different synonym–we can call it damaged, dented, dinged, or “in disrepair.” But since it only has a couple of movable parts, it is safe to assume that the cost of fixing it would be much more than the price of replacing it. Which leads to:

2. Can it be fixed? No. Some things are too important to leave to chance. Having a morning cup of coffee that’s nice, hot and ready to go is too valuable to the common good to be left in the gears of a hampered implement. If we continue to work with things that are broken, we will either frustrate ourselves or become cynical. It’s really just that simple. Since I can’t fix it, I don’t know anybody who can fix it, and anybody who would try to fix it would charge more than acquiring a new product, the situation demands that I declare a time of death. Which leads to the final question:

3. Am I ready? Am I ready to establish a new relationship with a pot that’s NOT cracked? Am I ready to get to know its ways? Am I ready to accept the conditions of its warranty? Am I ready to learn how to plug it in, and patiently read the instructions (even though I’m sure I am a veteran at its ways)? And of course,  answer is always “no.” I am not ready for anything that isn’t already established.

But sometimes, to acquire what we need means that we have to purchase and learn to use the right tools.

There you go.

I am in possession of a cracked pot. (And I’m not just speaking of my two traveling companions.) In this case I am specifically referring to my coffee maker. It is broken. It cannot be fixed. So I am ready to find a new one.

I guess as I write these ideas down, this would apply to other things in my life as well. Perhaps it’s something I can point out to the good folks of Carlisle tonight.

Our faith has been good to us, but now it’s breaking down with the burden of too much tradition. It cannot be fixed, but needs to be renovated and rejuvenated by the original passion of the Nazarene who left behind the hope. The only question remaining: are we ready to percolate?

Yes–are we ready for a new cup of life?

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Pro-Grow… November 18, 2012

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“That which we have seen and that which we have heard, now we declare it unto you.”

Don’t you think that’s the way it should be? I see so many people talking without having any experience and on the other hand, people who have experience really speaking against their own better interests.

I have a friend who claims he’s “pro choice,” even though as a baby in the womb, he was nearly selected for abortion. That just doesn’t seem to be on point with his experience, do you think?

I have other friends who insist that they’re pro-life–until they found out they had a young daughter who was pregnant, and then found themselves conflicted and pursuing a path that was quite hypocritical to their own beliefs and contentions. Your beliefs should reflect your experience.

I am pro-choice, if by pro-choice you mean a woman’s right to select contraception, partners and the correct timing to have a child or not have one.

I am pro-life if you’re referring to the respect for all living organisms and all living things–granting them the dignity of their space without trying to pretend that the word “terminate” does not mean “kill.”

That’s why I find myself to be pro-grow. I see two teachings of Jesus which blend together beautifully in my mind to form an excellent pattern for evaluating such matters.

For Jesus said, “I have come to give you life and it more abundantly.” And he also said, “He that the son set free is free indeed.”

So I believe in a move towards life–and that every such movement has to be permitted through freedom. I think it’s a mistake in a country like ours to take away the rights and privileges of individuals to make their own decisions. I neither think we can legislate morality, nor do I think that we can propagate spirituality by insisting on a code of behavior.

But by the same token, I believe that the true essence of being spiritual is to promote life and give it a fair chance to have freedom. I am pro-grow. I am in favor of anything that helps us grow–to a better understanding of each other, the respect of the life that God has given us, and the granting of freedom to each other, to pursue happiness.

For you see, it is quite possible to be against abortion and not rob other American citizens of the right to use that option. If I believe my life is light and that I am the salt of the earth, then the choices I make will reverberate and create a stir and a testimony to those around me. I don’t have to become a clanging cymbal or a critical spirit to others to promote righteous choices.

So as a pro-grow person, I believe in the right of every American to make his or her own investigation–and also my right to promote life drenched in freedom instead of seeing it squelched.

Yes, it is possible to disagree with someone without condemning him. It is plausible to give people freedom without believing the decisions they make are identical to your heart’s desire. For after all, the best way to promote any cause is to make that cause as irresistible as possible. Otherwise, broccoli stands would be open next to coffee machines instead of boxes of doughnuts.

I believe my pro-grow stand, which believes in life, but also contends that it must be conducted with total freedom, is not a contradiction, but rather, a way for me to be of value to the world around me, by sharing what I’ve seen and heard, and demonstrating that it is more appealing than the alternatives.

I could never abort a child–because I once thought about doing it, and in horror, I retreated, only to celebrate to this day that this human life is present among us.

I could never support abortion because I have a daughter-in-law who bravely birthed a child out of wedlock–a young boy who is now my grandson and the love of my heart.

I refuse to be a fool or a hypocrite by being afforded experience in life which enables me to speak plainly and truthfully about better choices. Yet at the same time, I give all my brothers and sisters the freedom to find their own way without my incrimination.

I am pro-grow. I am for everything that moves towards life without robbing anyone of freedom.

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I Am Afraid… October 20, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

Fear is when being afraid insists on spending the night and remains in the morning for coffee, toast and jam.

I have no fear.

But I am afraid.

I am afraid that I will fail to fulfill my mission because of my weakness.

I am afraid the truth will be made so complicated by greedy technicians that beautiful souls will grow weary of seeking the prize.

I am afraid I will always be fat.

I am afraid my foibles are a detriment to my message.

I am afraid of America selling freedom to gain security.

I am afraid of religion.

I am afraid of politics.

I am especially afraid when the two of them intercourse.

I am afraid of unbelief being touted to the masses as intelligence.

I am afraid of my legs.

I am afraid of being forgotten.

I am afraid that my voice is too tiny to be heard above the clamor.

I am afraid of ring bologna.

I am afraid of my body.

I am afraid of drooling dogs.

I am afraid of stairs.

I am afraid of stares.

I am afraid of being there two minutes before I die.

I am afraid of conservatives and liberals–equally.

I am afraid of fear.

Fear hates love. May my love cast out my fear.

Yet … I am afraid.

May I use that moment of being afraid as an energy drink for my soul.

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