Jesonian… April 8th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3270)

jesonian-cover-amazon

The Disagreeable Disciple

Disciple: I love you, my Lord.

Master: Well, thank you. So let’s get to work.

Disciple: I’m all ears.

Master: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Disciple: I pick up that the key word there is “neighbor,” which connotes they’re neighborly. If you mean being kind to neighborly people, then I get it.

Master: Your neighbor is everybody.

Disciple: I understand your heart, but that seems a little unrealistic.

Master: Judge not lest you be judged.

Disciple: I hear you. Gossip is a horrible thing. But there are things that need to be spoken against. Things that you, yourself, certainly don’t condone. So I believe there’s a difference between speaking up against evil and judging people.

Master: What if I told you that I don’t make that distinction?

Disciple: Interesting.

Master: When you pray, enter your closet, and when you shut the door, pray to your Father in secret.

Disciple: At our latest prayer seminar, we were discussing the power of thousands and thousands of people praying together over a common theme. Sometimes my personal prayers seem so anemic–lonely, if you will.

Master: And the Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.

Disciple: Once again, interesting.

Master: In the Kingdom of God there is neither male nor female.

Disciple: Yet you want is to keep our social roles, am I correct? Women as mothers, men as fathers. Also good to study the different personality traits and emotional leanings. Is this true?

Master: Kingdom of God. Neither male nor female.

Disciple: Much to think about.

Master: And whenever you’ve done it unto the least of these, you’ve done it unto me.

Disciple: Now I know we’re on page! We have a food pantry at the church and we take care of hungry kids in after-school programs. We’re tracking this one down.

Master: By least, I don’t mean social order or poverty. I mean the ones you personally consider the least among humanity. The prisoners, the terminally ill, the outcasts, the individuals who don’t necessarily conform to your moral code.

Disciple: Sounds like you’re suggesting we condone sin.

Master: No, I’m telling you that you’ll be judged by how you treat the people you have deemed to be least.

Disciple: Wow, you’re sure giving me a lot to ponder. But you have to be pleased when you see your people gather to worship you every week in church.

Master: In vain do they worship me, because they teach their traditions as if they are commandments of God instead of mere preferences of this generation.

Disciple: But you do like praise and worship?

Master: Worship should be in spirit and truth–a mingling of our hopes with the impact of reality.

Disciple: You know, I haven’t thought about these things from this perspective for a long time.

Master: I’ve never thought about them from any other perspective.

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Jesonian: The Jesus Con… July 5th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2624)

pharisee and publican

Condemn, condone, console, consider.

These are the four basic approaches available to us when dealing with our fellow-humans.

Jesus had his angle. The Jews, the Romans and the culture did not agree.

Just this week, one of my sons asked me what I thought about marriage equality. I smiled. Because honestly, you cannot approach individuals as a group and develop an opinion of “them” and think you’re doing anything that resembles righteousness.

In other words:

  • Not all Baptists are Southern.
  • Not all Catholics are Pope worshippers.
  • And not all homosexuals are hapless victims of a bigoted society.

So Jesus had his criteria for evaluating life.

Jesus did condemn. It is ridiculous to assume that he was “liquid love” seeping into every hidden crevice of human existence. It’s just that he didn’t condemn what most people condemned. It’s popular to condemn things that are different from us and try to make them look weird.

Jesus condemned hypocrisy.

It would be easy to get along with Jesus of Nazareth as long as you didn’t go into your bull-crap mode. You could make mistakes, fall short, have inconsistencies or even sin, and his profile would basically be, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

Likewise, Jesus always condoned those who insisted on finding a way to love. When James and John became infuriated with the Samaritans because the disciples were forbidden entrance into the city, Jesus cautioned them that when we fail to give a loving response, we lose control of the end result.

Jesus did console. Yet when they asked him to express his empathy and pity for those killed by a tower falling on them, he surprised them all by saying, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

But Jesus always consoled those who repented. Repentance is the first journey we must take on our way to receive our gift of grace.

And Jesus certainly was a man who took time to consider. He considered the lily. Why? Because it did what it was supposed to do without demanding attention while producing great beauty.

Jesus always chose to consider those who knew there was more to believe, more to receive and more to retrieve.

What you do with condemn, condone, console and consider will determine the quality of your life, and possibly even your eternal destination.

So as a Jesonian follower I will condemn hypocrisy, condone those who pursue life with love, console the repenter and consider the individuals who comprehend, yet still know there is more.

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Straits and Narrows … August 10, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1971)

church of the straitsYou meet the nicest people at the swimming pool.

Water is just wet with possibility: it’s good for splashing, swimming, drinking and even, I hear, washing away sins.

Yesterday I encountered a dear lady during my time of pool play. We had a rather lengthy conversation which placed me in the enjoyable position of “listener” more than “speaker.” (I actually rather prefer that as long as my attention span doesn’t drag me away to drowsiness.)

At the conclusion of our little rendezvous, she said, “The problem in America is that the younger generation doesn’t have any respect for morals and goodness.”

I know that’s a popular opinion. It’s probably the same thing my parents said about me and my friends when we were mere burgeoning bumpkins. But it’s really not the dilemma. The problem is that we suffer from social amnesia, forgetting how to keep things straight and knowing when to narrow down our choices so that we don’t become so pliable that we lack common sense.

I put some thought into it. Now, I don’t consider myself a scholar, but I did come up with three things to help us humans stay on the “strait and narrow,” so we don’t become seething contradictions to those around us:

1. If I want the blessing, I’ve got to be willing to take the blame and if I’m going to take the blame–darned tootin,’ I deserve the blessing. Since people in our culture are frightened of appearing inept in any way at all, the human family seems to scatter in all directions, seeking a corner in which to hide whenever a dish is broken. In doing so, they sacrifice the ability to confess their bumbling, become well-trusted and be part of the team that gets to go out dish-shopping. As long as we extol the technique of subterfuge and hiding our weaknesses, we will never actually be able to participate in the kind of discovery that unearths miracles and blessings. Which leads to:

2. Lying sucks. I hate it when people lie to me; I would assume they feel the same way about my mistruths. Lying sucks because it puts such a cheap price on conversation that we never quite know what is important and what is just another foolish posting on Facebook. We also have no idea whether we can trust the words that come from the mouths of our friends, so we dangerously find ourselves second-guessing for fear of being duped. And how about this?

3. Leave people alone. Just yesterday, driving between my headquarters and the shopping center, a mere mile-and-a-half away, I saw at least six things that my fellow-humans did right in front of my eyes which I found at least stupid, if not unethical. Who cares? As long as we believe that stupidity has a chance of being successful, we will be grumpy about folks who take short cuts and cheat.

It sometimes takes a while, but no bad deed goes unpunished.

And it isn’t a choice between condemning and condoning–it’s really a decision to keep your eyes on the prize of your own life and leave people alone. I will not condemn you, but I’m not necessarily going to condone everything I see, either. My gift is to leave you alone and let it play out. After all, nothing is more annoying than brothers and sisters trying to correct one another instead of letting Mom and Dad do their jobs. And for me, Mother Earth and Father God can take care of it. I’m just going to show up for dinner and make sure I wash behind my ears.

There you go.

Tomorrow I will be sharing at the Church of the Straits in Mackinaw City, Michigan. bridgeEven though I know the “strait” in this case refers to a body of water, I am taking the poetic license of hoping that they also understand that the “strait and narrow” referred to in the gospel is not “strait-laced and narrow-minded,” but rather, straight-forward and narrow in focus to the truth.

I hope they will agree with me–to get the blessing:

  • You’ve gotta take the blame.
  • Lying sucks.
  • And leave people alone.

When you do all of these things, it makes pool time so much more pleasant.

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