Jonathots … November 27th, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3869)

Jonathan's Handbook of Hands

Darwin didn’t know anything about hammers, nails or carpentry. He was a banker who could build a portfolio but not a cupboard.

Yet there was a simple repair which required a couple of nails in a cabinet in his garage, so he decided to take the hammer from the drawer and do the work himself. He lined up the nail, failed to pay adequate attention, and ended up slamming his hand with the hammer.

It was shocking and it hurt.

The first thing he did was drop the hammer, take his right hand, reach over, and caress his wounded hand.

It was natural.

We all do it.

We have a toothache–we put our hand up to cradle our jaw.

A sore knee means that one of our hands will reach down and touch the hurtful area and massage it.

Built within the mechanism of our humanity is a notion that we have a “healing touch.” We instinctively want to touch the area of our body that is aching, bleeding or sore.

Yet for some reason, over the years we’ve denied this innate gesture–thinking it was either too religious or too intrusive.

There is one thing for sure–pain brings physical discomfort, but it also invites great emotional distress. Simply having one, two or many friends gather around us and lay their hands on us to express their empathy and tenderness always immediately heals the “emotional distress portion” of the problem.

People say they don’t believe in miraculous healing. Fine. But even if there were no God, there is still healing in every person’s hands, to reach into the soul and heart of another traveler, and for a few minutes–or maybe forever–alleviate the anxiety and terror that accompanies a diagnosis.

If I had a friend who was living thousands of miles away and I found out he was ill, I would call all my family and acquaintances together, purchase an oversized t-shirt and have everybody wear it for twenty seconds, then pack it up and send it to my friend, with the explanation that it was filled with the touch of all his supporters. He should wear it with confidence.

When a woman believed that a carpenter from Nazareth could heal her by touching the garments which were clinging to his body–well, she was miraculously cured because of her faith.

I’m not trying to pretend that any of us are Jesus, but I’m also not trying to live my life like I’m a clumsy monkey’s uncle.

Touch has mercy.

Touch has healing.

It is a way we can intervene in the lives of those around us who are suffering. For we will never know how much virtue we have within us that can be passed along through our compassionate fingertips.

If there’s a need for healing, touch someone.

The worst thing that can happen is closeness.

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Jesonian … August 25th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus without religion--the mindset of Jesus

Temperamental.

Yes, I do believe that would be the word that the folks of our culture nowadays would attribute to Jesus if they carefully studied his actions and reactions with the human race.

He wasn’t always sweet.

He wasn’t always kind.

He wasn’t always compassionate.

But in reviewing his lifestyle and his personal moods, you get a good glimpse of what the Gospel is truly about instead of what it’s purported to be.

We take great pains to convince people that they’re sinners, but it doesn’t make any difference–God’s grace covers it all. But if the motivations of Jesus are any indication of the mind of God, I think we’re sorely mistaken. After all, Jesus did say he “came to show us the Father.”

Based on that premise, what do we know about God through Jesus?

Jesus had no mercy on incompetence.

When he told the parable of the virgins, he made it clear that they were foolish because they didn’t think ahead and provide enough oil for themselves to last until the bridegroom came.

He also stated that people laugh at anyone who builds a foundation but doesn’t have the time and money to finish it.

And of course, let’s not forget the basic teaching of “counting the cost” before leaping into a project.

Jesus had no mercy for judgmental people.

When the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, Jesus weighed the value of a human being against the sin of adultery, and determined that the soul was more important than the judgment.

He explained the same principle to James and John, who wanted to hurl fireballs from the sky down on the Samaritans. He challenged them, “You don’t know what spirit you are of.”

And Jesus certainly had no mercy on people who were self-piteous.

When the man at the pool insisted that he was too weak to get into the healing waters–that everybody beat him to it–Jesus later told him, “Be careful how you think and what you do, because something worse could befall you.”

And we must understand that Jesus never visited a leper colony. Those who felt sorry for themselves because of their disease never found the healing touch of the Master.

Christianity would prosper if we would let Jesus be Jesus instead of insisting that he fit into the mold of a Christ who salves the Old Covenant while initiating the new one.

Jesus had no mercy for the Old Covenant.

He told them their “house was left desolate,” and that they couldn’t put “new wine into old wineskins.”

Would you call that temperamental?

Maybe not–just impatient with those who make excuses and end up losing the opportunity to be fruitful.

 

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Jesonian: Jesus of Parkersburg … October 25, 2014

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bearded man in headlamp big

Cara is hard at work, desperately trying to finish up an extra half-shift she has taken on to earn some extra money for her two children at home, who want to go on a field trip to Charleston with their class.

Things have been tough since her husband left early last year, without any explanation.

She’s working double shifts for single-digit dollars, trying to singlehandedly be a mother, provider, disciplinarian, and if there’s any time left over, companion to her fledglings.

She doesn’t need much.

Some encouragement would be nice.

Maybe just to not have people look down on her because her clothes are a bit bedraggled.

Maybe one night off, to laugh instead of budget.

She needs Jesus of Parkersburg.

She needs him not to be religious, but rather, helpful.

Maybe to just listen.

She needs him to tell her that she’s still only thirty-three years old, that her life isn’t over, and she’s not just a paycheck trying to fund her little tykes into an uncertain adulthood.

****

Matt has the afternoon off to go to Wal-mart to buy some incidentals–clothing and shoes–for his family. He tries to plan this trip to the Superstore once a month, taking a good bite out of his paycheck, hoping that they can make all the macaroni last as long as the cheese.

He doesn’t mind the hard work at the coal mines. He doesn’t care that often his safety may not be the primal concern of those who run the company. He has enough faith in God to get him in and out of the tunnels everyday without fear.

But it sure would be nice if Jesus of Parkersburg would lighten the load just a little bit. Not much.

Maybe give him a few extra dollars so he could buy some insulation for the house so that the winter months wouldn’t be so brutally cold and expensive.

Maybe Jesus could help him get a break on that medication that one of his young’uns needs, which the doctor insists will help with the repeated seizures.

Matt’s not a demanding sort, but he sure would appreciate a break.

*****

Calvin hangs out down next to the railroad tracks on the east side of town. He’s officially homeless, in the sense that he neither has an address nor a pillow on which to lay his head.

He begs next to the railroad tracks because when somebody does give him a quarter or a dollar, he jokingly runs across the tracks and says, “Thank you. Now, you just helped me get on the right side of the tracks.”

Ever since his wife was killed by a drunk driver, he has lost much of the will to pursue or succeed. It was just the two of them, and now that’s it just one of them, he feels no compulsion to over-produce.

But he sure could use Jesus of Parkersburg.

Maybe somebody could just come along and pop him a twenty-dollar bill so he could remember what the taste of a good hamburger is in his mouth.

Yes, that would be nice.

Maybe Jesus of Parkersburg could help him find a way to get back into life, and feel important to someone again, like he was to his loving mate.

For you see, Calvin’s not miserable. Just underused.

*****

And then there’s Tim–a young man who’s hanging out at the Dairy Barn, even though it’s set to soon close for the winter months.

He’s not sure where to go. A junior in high school, he’s not adept in sports, can’t sing in the choir, couldn’t afford a band instrument even if the school still had a band.

So he finds himself with a lot of time on his hands, with a bunch of mischief trying to tease and tempt him into some unnecessary choices.

Tim sure could use Jesus of Parkersburg.

Just someone to come along, put an arm around his shoulder and say, “Listen kid. Let’s go out, find what you can do really well, and then get you to doing it.”

He might rebel against such interference, but considering that Jesus is so compassionate and full of good cheer, he just might listen.

For after all, when the Dairy Barn closes, where is he going to go?

*****

You see, the problem is, there is no Jesus of Parkersburg.

There’s no Messiah walking around healing the sick and raising the dead.

For the next twenty-four hours, there’s me. Makes me feel sorry for the good folk of this town. They deserve so much better.

But since there is no Jesus of Parkersburg, I’m going to think, pray, laugh and try really hard, in my own clumsy way, to be Jesus… in Parkersburg.

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Bounce … May 3, 2013

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ying yangKeeping it simple.

The purpose for such an action is not because I think I’m stupid or other people are ignorant, but rather, that complexity rarely brings about greater productivity. So let’s look at it logically:

I have a heart–emotions. I need to let them feel.

I have a soul. My soul is supposed to remind me of better things.

I have a brain. My brain is intended to be used for learning.

And I have a body, with strength, which always works better when I am in motion–doing

So my heart feels, my soul reminds me, my brain learns, and my body enacts. Pretty elementary, yet often is ignored. But what we may not realize is that each one of these parts of our being has a bounce position.

In other words, the human emotions are not meant to just feel. We all know people who feel things very strongly, who are not healthy at all, but rather, imbalanced. So the bounce position for emotions–after we’ve given them a good dose of feeling–is listening. I’m talking about empathetic, compassionate hearing of the needs, wants and desires of others. This is the relaxed position for our hearts when we’ve overindulged in feeling. We need the sensation of listening. People who do not listen and only feel end up distraught.

Likewise, even though the soul reminds us, no one actually grows spiritually without pursuing the bounce position of sharing. In other words, if God is speaking to us and we’re merely retaining the information instead of sharing it, putting it into practice or sending up a test balloon to confirm our findings, we will quickly forget the lesson and end up being obnoxiously stubborn. Yes, the bounce position from being reminded in our soul is sharing from it.

And even though the mind is pre-conditioned to learn, it requires a good bounce, when we go into our old files and replace them. Case in point: the reason prejudice continues in the US to this day is that although we have learned that it’s wrong, we have not gone inside our mental files to update what pumps out when we meet somebody of a different ethnicity or lifestyle. So in a sense, we’re nervously open to each other, and the nerves can’t go away until we replace the old information in our upbringing with new knowledge that supersedes it.

And in our bodies, although it is important to remain in motion, the “bouncer” is to be just as adept at resting as we are at working. We should learn to work efficiently but also to use our down time to recuperate instead of festering in nervous energy, which prohibits us from finding solace.

You see? Human beings are beautifully balanced between these great bounces.

  • Emotionally we feel, but we also listen.
  • In our soul, we are reminded of what is right but we find a way to share it in order to make it a part of us instead of just a theology.
  • Our brains learn, but then take the additional step of replacing old attitudes with new revelations.
  • And even though we desire to be extremely productive in what our bodies do, we require the alternative blessing of being equally as intuitive in our seasons of rest.

If you focus on any one of these things over another, you experience some sort of rebounding difficulty, which will leave you teetering on sensations of inadequacy which flare up in pride.

So just like a red rubber ball, all of this comes bouncing back to you. Find your bounce. Find your balance.

And in the process, find the beauty that God intended in His last creation … human beings.

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