Jesonian: God’s House … June 29, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2278)

Simon Zealotes Jesus Christ Superstar (7)Word has it that God has a house. At least, that’s the popular belief by most folks about the church building.

Even though there are a few folks who try to go cosmic and insist that “the people are the temple of God,” it is still generally considered that His Holiness’s address is somewhere on Church Street with a steeple above.

It is a building filled with individuals who have a history of attending such conclaves, and believe they should be conducted in a particular way. This proposed “God’s House” usually has organ music. Men and women usually only hear an organ three times in their lives–weddings, Sunday church and funerals.

They blur.

But what would God’s House be, and what would the sounds of His domicile consist of, if we really felt He made a visitation within four walls?

I know this–when I go to Steve and Sharon’s house, there’s the buzz of business, papers everywhere and the sound of phone calling to promote new ideas and commerce.

Arriving at Jerrod and Angy’s house, there’s the ruckus of two young women growing up in an exciting environment, with little constraint on their level of joy.

If you pop into Jon Russ and Tracy’s house at any time, you’ll hear the hum of machines and editing bays, and films being pieced together like giant jig-saw puzzles, with unfortunately, many pieces often absent.

Jasson and Deahna’s house has the sound of two young boys, who certainly believe that screeching is permitted in every room of their abode, to the delight of the young parents.

Yet what are the sounds of God’s House?

Jesus described it as an enclosure filled with the sound of music and dancing. As he told the parable of a prodigal son who returned home to the delight of his father, to be thrown the greatest party ever known, the overwhelming exuberance of the visitors and the young lad who had miraculously received a reprieve from his misdeeds, vibrated into the night air.

The only person upset with all the noise, and felt it was disrespectful, was an older brother who was accustomed to somber ambience and the sounds of silence.

He complains.

The father does not apologize. He explains that it’s necessary to have the sound of music and dancing if you’re going to adequately commemorate human beings making progress.

Here’s what I think: as soon as we realize that church is not for our ancestors, nor a gig for the chancel choir, and also not a platform for sermons, responsive readings and overblown special music, is when we actually will build a house that God is comfortable living in.

For if it’s going to be God’s House, it must be a place in which human beings are allowed to cut loose and “rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”

As the father in the story of the prodigal son said to his older, complaining offspring, “It was right to party. Your brother was lost and is now found.” (He was gracious enough not to add, “What in the hell’s wrong with you?”)

God’s House should resound with music and dancing–to the best of our ability.

Maybe that’s a little too far for you.

But subsisting on the same repertoire program that might be used at your funeral is a bit premature, don’t you think?

Donate Button

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

Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

 

 

Every Thirty-Three Years… March 15, 2013

(1,821)

Ideas require patience and truth takes time. Yet no mere mortal is ever prepared for the longevity involved in taking a creative notion and seeing it come to fruition. It is a painstaking process full of pitfalls–and certainly rife with opposers.

In America, I think it takes about thirty-three years for a common piece of justice, kindness and goodness to make its way through the digestive system of the culture and be assimilated into the nutrients of our thinking.

The year was 1980–exactly thirty-three years ago. I was a young man who had already done a big sack-full of stuff and was energized on much of my own juices and ego. I had a good idea. I wanted to take the Sermon on the Mount, set it to music, put it in a Broadway-style format, select a cast, take it on the road into auditoriums in twenty-five cities,  and produce a fresh concept, both theatrically and spiritually.

I immediately received rave reviews on the music from those who were inclined to that sort of tinkling and tunefulness. I easily signed up five investors, who threw an amazing ten thousand dollars my way to bring the vision to reality. And then it was time to take it off the drawing boards, create a prototype and launch it into the atmosphere of America. I ran into some problems.

1980 America was not ready for my vision.

First of all, my play had dancing in it. Most religious people thought dancing was “of the devil.”

Secondly, the music ranged from a classical-style overture to rock and roll, in an era when diversity in music was considered to be a negative rather than a plus.

Some people were concerned that I had women in the cast. They didn’t understand how a musical on the Sermon on the Mount would require female characters. (Of course, if they’d ever read the Bible, they would have discovered that women were an intricate part of Jesus’ ministry, even footing the bill for many of his projects. –Luke the 8th Chapter)

Some folks became upset because they discovered that one of my investors was a homosexual. (That was in 1980, when you refered to people as “homos” instead of “gay.”)

Several of the venues in the south contacted me because they were “merely wondering” whether there were any black people in the entourage.

Universally, there was the constant question of whether my musical had a “conservative” agenda or a more “liberal” bend.

I was not even out of rehearsal camp and already I was dealing with issues of dancing, homosexuality, race relations, music prejudice, misogyny and the battle between liberals and conservatives.

On top of that, I caught two of the members of my cast smoking grass between rehearsals. They were shocked that I disapproved of their actions, since marijuana was universally known to be the “elixir of creativity.”

I was too young, unprepared, too cranked and much too ill-tempered to handle all this foolishness. I took one afternoon to get off by myself and think it through.

Was there anything wrong with dancing? It’s in the Bible. David danced before the Lord.

Does Jesus care if people are black? To the shock and horror of Southern Baptists, Jesus himself might have had a cocoa complexion.

How about music? Psalm 150 describes a musical combo organized for praise and worship that could have been describing Earth, Wind and Fire, live on stage, with a background of Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Is it wrong to have women in a cast of a play about Jesus? Actually, it would be evil to do anything else.

What would Jesus do with gay people? Well, I guess I think Jesus would take their money for an investment, let them come along for the ride, and see where the message took things.

Was Jesus conservative or liberal? In areas of personal responsibility, he was conservative. In areas of forgiving human beings, he was liberal.

I went on the road. It was a fabulous tour. I did not change America permanently. Matter of fact, it has taken thirty-three years for many of these issues to finally start blooming with common sense instead of common rage.

It reminds me of an idea that was birthed in a barn two thousand years ago. Although praised by a few wise men, it was scared away by the king in control and ended up exiled for a season. It snuck back in and grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. One day, when things were ready, it immersed itself in the work of sharing the message that the kingdom of God is very near.

This idea brought compassion.

This idea brought humanity to the concept of divinity.

This idea changed the world.

For a brief weekend, it was attacked by renegade religionists who tried to snuff it out, but by Sunday morning, at the end of thirty-three years, it raised from the dead and has never stopped.

I will not see the end of my present the thirty-three years. I am taking new tolerance, new peace of mind, new openness, new joy and new celebration into the barn and birthing it. Other wise men and women will have to come and lavish their gifts, to use this infant dream to ultimately raise the dead.

And the dead will need to be raised–because every thirty-three years, having tried to kill the truth, God has to breathe life into it one more time.

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

A Bookmark … December 18, 2011

(1,365)
 
 
 
I am a child of God
The heavens reverberate with a shudder of grief when I am in tears
The angels from a million pinnacles give a shout when I find joy
For I am part of a universal plan
A determining factor in His Almighty decision
Whether I fly by night or drive by day
All of heaven is hushed and brought to action
When I am in need …
 
This is a poem I wrote on a Greyhound bus when I was twenty years old, on my way to meet up with a friend who was in need. I had a can of Vienna sausages stuck in my pocket, two containers of Zesta crackers and a can of Diet coke–with exactly $1.25 in my wallet for other incidental expenses. I didn’t care. After all, I liked Vienna sausages. I also didn’t care that I had $1.25 in my pocket.  And truthfully, I still don’t.
 
I wake up this morning sixty years of age–my birthday.
 
Sixty is significant. First of all, you’re no longer fifty, which is that in-between number, where you’re not quite an “old codger,” even though you’ve passed any possibility for male model or stud. Sixty is the gateway drug to Medicare, or perhaps that would be better phrased, the gateway Medicare to free drugs. There are sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour. Sixty is three twenties, six tens, four fifteens, twelve fives … and now I’m just getting ridiculous.
 
The reason I shared the verse with you at the beginning of this essay is that I could have written it today and it would have been just as fresh and true. I still believe it. I still believe that I am a son of God–not in the sense that I must be careful handling my water glass, lest it gain alcoholic proportions, but a son of God because I am included in the mind of my Creator and Father.
 
Everybody in our generation is concerned about “liberal” and “conservative,” right and left–but honestly, my friends, I’ve always prayed for a straight, plain path and avoided the drastic turns based on society’s pressure to conform.
 
In the 1960’s, when I was  teenager, it was posh to cast a jaundiced eye towards civil rights and social reform while rallying around the American flag about Vietnam. It just never made sense to me to go halfway around the world to kill off the people in a small country in the name of democracy when we hadn’t yet given full rights to all of our citizens.
 
In the 1970’s, it was all about partying and lavishing oneself with platitudes of perfection and dancing the night away. Since I knew I wasn’t perfect and wasn’t a very good dancer, I chose to work on my personality, principles and trying to practice what I preached.
 
In the 1980’s, while the religious community was becoming obsessed with social issues, I continued to expound upon the notion that since God does not look on the outward appearance buts looks on the heart, we should spend more time working on our own internals and not so much about our own morality falling into the majority.
 
Likewise, in the 90’s and even coming into the 2000’s, I just could never become a “signer on the dotted line” of the Contract with America–to be self-obsessed.
 
You see, it’s because I know how limited my faculties are, how fragile my talents and how weak my resolve that I find the will and determination to avoid movements that extol the great panorama of potential in the individual. What I mean is, the problem with self-esteem is that it easily loses its steam and always has to be boiled up again, leaving us totally self-involved, with no awareness of our true self or the needs of others.
 
Today I am sixty years old.
  • Starting at my feet, they feel about seventy-five.
  • My ankles are hangin’ in there at about fifty-two.
  • My knees are about ninety-one.
  • My hips maintain a really cool forty.
  • My waist … well, let’s not go there.
  • My heart is a mystery, but certainly has more creaks than it used to.
  • My face has a myriad of ages, depending on how much sleep I get.
  • My eyes are a split vote–the right one an octogenarian, and the left one, still floating around thirty-five.
 My emotions are daily cleansed so they’re like a newborn.
My soul is always attempting to be as old as God but as young as a child.
And my brain … well, my brain is still twenty years old, riding on that bus, believing that God cares …  about me.
 
Don’t be so concerned about the right and the left. Look at where you want to go–and steer your life straight ahead. Because after we’re gone, no one is going to discuss our faults, only our good points. If we don’t leave behind much of a record of righteousness, we probably won’t be mentioned at all. What I want people to remember is that I started out doing something and on the morning I passed, I was still doing it.
 
So let me call sixty a bookmark. I have fewer chapters to write than those that have already been edited. But that means I have the complete capability of going for a great twist in the end.

***************

Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

***************

To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: