Jesonian … January 6th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3544)

Sitting my eleven-year-old self down right in the middle of the Junior High Sunday School class, my attention was riveted on the astounding, emerging breasts of Terry and Linda.

All at once I was startled by some words that came out of the mouth of our schoolmarm-deacon’s-wife teacher. She was reading the names of the twelves disciples when she stated, without flinching, “James, the Less.”

It just piqued my curiosity–so much so that I raised my hand to ask a question. She was so flabbergasted at seeing a student express interest that she paused for a second, and then finally acknowledged me.

I asked, “James the Less? Who made him ‘Less?’ And who has the right to call him that?”

She was stymied. My particular question was not covered in lesson book under “potential points of discussion.”

I waited for her response. At length, she replied, “Well, I don’t know for sure, but maybe it’s because he wasn’t as important as the other James.”

This infuriated me. A God in Heaven who thinks some people are more important than others? How can He be “no respecter of persons” when He’s keeping a private list of “Faves?”

I objected, and all at once some of the other students (who had been deep in Sunday-morning comas) began to listen, and agreed with my concerns. What right did we have to call this James “the Less” and give the other James more value?

Even though this was many years ago, I had been trained in a spiritual communism. Amazingly, we still tout these concept even today.

Everyone is the same, as far as their worth.

Everything that everyone does is just as precious as what another person does.

Of course, this is total foolishness.

I do expect my airline pilot to have more expertise than the city bus driver. I’m not taking anything away from the bus driver, but I am asking the airline pilot to take his job very seriously, and to show up with integrity and deeper knowledge.

We must understand that James the Less was given that name on Jesus’ watch. Jesus had three disciples he favored over the other nine. Favored in what way? Whenever he went into critical situations or needed men of great faith, Peter, James and John were ushered to the front.

Yet we never feel as if the others are slighted–until one day they decided to get fussy. They sat around and discussed who would be the greatest. To stimulate the conversation, they had to begin with the premise that each one of them was just as essential as the other.

Jesus rebuked them. He said, “These are concerns that the world has. It won’t be that way with you. For you, he that would be master must be a servant.”

Jesus offered a Jesonian philosophy. It still works today. When Jesus found people, he did three things:

1. This is who you are.

When a man with many demons cast out of him wanted to join Jesus’ troup, he sent the man back to his own town, to spread the word.

“This is who you are.”

Much of our life span is wasted denying who we are. Maybe we find it insufficient. Maybe we think we should be given more focus. But in the process of arguing over who we are, we fail to reach the second point.

2. This is why it is good.

The greatest gift we can give anyone is to help them understand why who they are is so good. James the Less was not offended because James the Less knew who he was and why that was a great contribution to the cause.

James, who was considered greater, was balanced out by realizing that in order to maintain his place in the front lines, he needed to be “servant of all,” even to James the Less.

3. The Gospel will show you how you can peak.

Yes, once you find out who you are and realize that it’s good, Jesus has a style to grant you relevance.

I always have to giggle when I hear someone advertise “The Great Smoky Mountains.” Actually, when you place a Smoky Mountain next to Mount Everest, it might look like flat land. But because the Smoky Mountains are strategically placed–where there are no other mountains around to compete–they are not only beautiful and entertaining, but considering their location, can be called “great.”

Find your location and peak. Don’t situate yourself next to people who have a different mission and try to pull them down, criticizing them to make yourself look better.

The Gospel of Jesus teaches you how to peak in your own arena.

Unfortunately, my schoolmarm at the church that day could not give me an answer to my question. She was just like me. She was taught that calling someone “less” was an insult.

Actually, when you’re James the Less, you just use wisdom to make sure you don’t hang around the other James too much–but instead, find out who you are and why that’s good.

And then let the Gospel show you how to peak.

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Confessing … October 17th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2725)

XXIV.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

I could.

I should have.

I would … next time?

Guilt is often just acceptable self-pity.

It is a decision to appear responsible without ever really taking responsibility.

I shall refrain.

The night my son was hit and run by a car, I kept waiting for the hero in me to show up. I expected “Super Dad” or the cunning of Spirit to steer me in the right direction. I was waiting for my paternal instincts to engulf me in an adrenalin which would bark out commands, take control and become the victor.

Instead, I found myself embarrassingly self-conscious.

I felt as if everybody was watching my actions, like a movie, and they were curious about how I would escape the tragedy.

I felt insufficient and was completely convinced that everybody knew it.

So I blabbered on, bouncing between conjuring memories of better days with my wounded child, or pronouncing epithets of faith, which now fell off my lips insipid and meaningless in the darkness of my surroundings.

When they finally finished operating on my boy and told me the severe state of his injuries, and moved him to a room in Intensive Care, I noticed that there was a chair right next to the hospital bed.

It was empty.

Even though I was confused and frustrated, I knew in my heart it was supposed to be my chair. It was intended to be my place of residence for the next few days or weeks, while I waited for my son to come out of his coma.

Yet I was frightened.

Or maybe I was lazy.

But mostly, I think I was just unsure that I was suited to fill the chair.

So when the doctors and nurses told me there was nothing else I could do that night, and I should go home and get rest, I put up some passive resistance, and then left the hospital, greatly relieved.

When I arrived the next day, the morning nurse told me that Joshua had cried out in pain all during the night, and she wondered where I was. I explained to her that I was instructed to leave.

She just looked at me like she knew it was a lame excuse, given the situation.

I walked into his room, and there was the chair.

I occupied it during the day, but at night I left him.

I wasn’t up to the challenge.

And because I wasn’t, some very bad things happened to him that ended up robbing him of the possibility of new life.

I was afraid of the empty chair.

For you see, there’s always an empty chair. It is rarely filled because it demands such a level of commitment that it frightens away all sitters.

My son needed me and I was not prepared to be the man I needed to be.

I am very sorry.

But I have spent the rest of my life … looking for the empty chair.

 

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The Alphabet of Us: Q is for Quality … March 30, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2547)

Building block Q big

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

“Quality of life.”

It is a phrase that is usually introduced when a catastrophic accident has left a victim comatose, with very little brain activity and response. We then ask the powerful question: are more heroic measures necessary and will they guarantee a quality of life?

Yet I must tell you that in any gathering of human souls, the most common subject that can stimulate conversation is to ask the simple question: How many people here have had a disaster in your life?

All of us are on the other side of a fiasco.

Unfortunately, many folks remain in a coma–not a physical repose, but rather, a startled, unresponsive condition.

The quality of life suffers.

So in considering our journey on this “alphabet of human essentials,” the word quality must be included, because it is necessary periodically for us all to take inventory of our faculties and realize what is paralyzed and needs to be revived. We require:

1. A quality of heart.

To achieve this, we must decide to tell the truth. What stalls our emotions is dodging a maze of lies.

We shut down. It’s too painful to continue and too revealing to admit.

The quality of the heart is always cleansed by deciding to tell the truth.

2. The quality of the soul.

Although there are religionists who tout the power of worship, praise, meditation, fasting and sacraments, the human soul maintains its quality by learning to love people.

Candidly, it’s impossible to carry on a gentle, mature relationship with ourselves when we despise another human being who mirrors our features.

To gain quality of the soul, you must always be in a learning profile to love people.

3. The quality of the mind.

Since the brain is a storage area, it often needs to be cleaned out to make room for our new stuff. We never really acquire a quality in our minds until we’re confident that we’re thinking for ourselves.

To be assured of this, we must abandon teachings, indoctrination and prejudices which were thrust deep into our gray matter as truth–and confirm they are wrong. You achieve quality of the mind when you begin to think for yourself.

4. And finally, there’s the quality of our strength.

Our bodies. The body only demands one thing of us: apply what works.

For instance, yesterday I ate some delicious food. It wasn’t particularly high in calories, nor was it filled with starches and fats. But my particular physicality has grown accustomed to a certain diet and is in no mood to suddenly transform to new recipes.

I had a minor reaction. I learned.

All my body requires of me is that I apply what works to keep a well-oiled, humming machine.

It is possible to survive the accident and end up in a coma. Therefore, it is only natural that we, as human beings, encounter personal tragedy and likewise become suspended in a state of confusion.

Get a quality in your heart, soul, mind and strength by deciding, learning, thinking and applying.

 

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