Jesonian … January 27th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Considering what a contrarian Jesus of Nazareth was to structure, practices, piety and legalism, it is sometimes difficult to understand how he ended up bleeding out a religion.

It’s not just his own words, which abhor the strict nature of religiosity, but also the reaction of those who were the faithful partakers–how they deemed him ignorant, a drunkard, a glutton, an evil man who was demon possessed, and a friend of sinners.

Not a rousing recommendation.

Let us start on the basis that all religions have one similar goal–to promote the notion that there is some sort of Supreme Being(s) or enlightenment which prompts us to worship.

Also, when you put the religions of the world in the order of their inception, you gain an interesting insight.

Buddhism and Hinduism preceded Christ, as did Judaism. Then came Jesus. But the only religion that had the benefit of eyeballing the fallacies of following faith without rhyme and reason was Mohammed. Yet the Muslim faith is riddled with the misleading trap doors that open up to fanaticism.

What is the difference between Jesus and Mohammed?

Mohammed wanted to start a cliqué.  Jesus was avoiding one.

Let’s look at specifics.

When it comes to the basics of spiritual expression–prayer–Jesus constantly warned his followers to make their overtures to God as practical and personal as possible. He said that prayer was necessary but should never be done in public to be seen by others, using vain repetition, or at a wailing wall or on a rug, but instead initiated behind a closed closet door.

When the subject of fasting came up, Jesus said there was nothing wrong with it as long as nobody knew you were doing it. In other words, put on a happy face, wash up and look energized by the experience instead of depleted.

How about worship? When he talked to the woman at the well, she was worried about where to do it and the style of doing it. Just like today–should it be contemporary or traditional? Jesus pointedly informed her that location and style were irrelevant. Worship was to be unfolded “in spirit and in truth.”

Seems like we’re on a roll. How about giving? Jesus claimed that giving was the key to getting. He once again wanted to make sure that generosity was not expressed to impress others, but instead, to instill in our hearts the knowledge that every little bit helps, and someday those we assist might come back our way and be our angels of blessing.

And then there’s the Law. Judaism and the Muslims are intent on maintaining a code of ethics, conduct and social interaction that was conceived more than two thousand years ago, with no respect for the power of freedom and the necessity of evolution.

For you see, Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of the Law. And what is that fulfillment? Two fold: “He has come to give us life and it more abundantly, and also come that our joy might be full.”

By no means should we condemn or even critique those of the Muslim faith for adhering to their rendition of God. But we must question whether the faith that is promoted has sufficient warnings to scare away all the rascals, fanatics and self-righteous rabble which can try to hurt others by using the words of the Prophets.

  • Jesus told his disciples to worship God by being as normal as possible.
  • He told them to blend in.
  • He told them to honor Caesar instead of hating Caesar.
  • He told them they were the light of the world, not the scourge of the Earth.
  • And most of all, he told them that they had no right to judge. (He even sealed this point by saying that he–Jesus–could judge and it would be righteous and fair, but he refused to do so.)

Christianity works because we know how to isolate our idiots and make sure it’s clear that they are not really part of the faith.

The Muslims talk a big game, but after decades and decades of terrorism, they are still represented by those who kill women and children.

 

 

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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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Jesonian… May 27th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3319)

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While half of the organization of Christian saints clamor to preach a message of the fulfillment of Judaism, with the human sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the other fifty percent portray the Nazarene as soft on sin and heavy on compassion, it occasionally might be a good idea to take the available reference material we possess to get a more thorough picture of how Jesus thought, felt and lived.

There were many broken people in his life–no doubt about it. Also, it’s irrefutable that he did die on the cross, and it has become our salvation.

But for the purpose of progressing the Christian message, we must claim the mind of Christ, not just the theology. It begins with understanding his approach: blind men, prostitutes, demon-possessed souls, lepers and probably a lot of manic-depressives came to Jesus and received a touch of healing.

Yet none of them ended up in his traveling troupe. Jesus did not turn his kingdom of God on Earth into a nursing home, mental hospital or rehab center. Although he brought great benefit to the lives of many souls, his practice was to send them back to their home towns–to assimilate and offer up the story of their transformation as evidence of the goodness of God.

Even though a demon-possessed man who had just been set free came to his boat and begged him to join the band, Jesus sent him away.

It sends a message to the church today. We spend too much time adjusting our programs, the temperature in the sanctuary and our vision to those who are needy, hurt and emotionally challenged, instead of encouraging working folks, entrepreneurs, artists and inventors to come into the body to leaven the lump.

A quick look at the twelve disciples will tell you that you had four working fishermen, one tax collector, two followers that came over from the ministry of John the Baptist, one zealot, a pair of brothers who were tradesmen, a Judean and Thomas, who most people believe bounced between the ministry of John and a little fishing himself.

But anyone who believes that Jesus was just a human sacrifice is errant. And anyone who contends that Jesus was all-forgiving, looking for the next loser to turn into a winner, would also be completely out of line with the narrative.

If you want to build a work, you teach healthy people how to help the unhealthy, not harbor unhealthy people, hoping they will draw in the healthy.

The Christian church today is possessed by either an overabundance of zeal towards charity, or a greed towards prosperity. So we minister to the fringes instead the heart of mankind.

To minister to the heart of mankind, you have to understand what a fisherman is really looking for.

 

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Wicked Imaginations … September 12, 2012

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She had heard it was a cut-throat business. It didn’t matter. Sandra Collier was determined to be a writer.

She’d possessed the aspiration ever since she was a small child and read her first Dr. Seuss book. She gained impetus pouring through the pages of Black Beauty, Red Badge of Courage, Moby Dick and even to some extent, the works of Faulkner. She loved to put pen to paper and ideas to stories.

She had one. A story, that is. She’d even taken it further than that–she had turned it into a manuscript, perhaps a novella. It was the tale of a young girl seeking love, who gave up on her hometown possibilities and flew to Paris to find romance and adventure, falling in love with a man who ended up being from her home town and grew up just two blocks away.

She let all of her friends and family read the story and everyone raved about the beauty, tenderness and joy of the unfoldings. There was one professor at a local community college who told her that the idea and concept seemed “generic.” Or maybe he said “derivative.” But she chalked his comments up to the disgruntled mumblings of a frustrated artist who ended up in academia.

Sandra Collier was determined to be a famous writer. So she sent her manuscript off to five different publishers, and approximately six weeks later received five rejection slips, only two containing personal notes, which cited that her offering was naive, childish and non-marketable. She was discouraged. Even though she didn’t expect immediate acceptance, she required it.

In one note, the publisher suggested that she pursue finding an agent to help her proliferate her talent in the New York publishing field, so she decided to take the advice, and in the process came across an agent who expressed some interest in her story. He invited her to come to his cabin in the woods in the upper peninsula of Michigan, to discuss possibilities on presenting her “prose to the pros.”

She was a bit hesitant. Her mother warned her of “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Not certain what that meant in the modern-day world of business, Sandra decided she was old enough to handle herself and set off to meet with her new comrade in arms.

Things went well. He made suggestions and they punched the story up a little bit while having great conversations about angles, advertising and even photo shoots. She was enamored. She began to feel like the heroine in her own story, who had gone off seeking romance–and found it.

So after a couple of days, when the agent made a slight advance her way, she put up no resistance. A love affair ensued.

Even though Sandra was not inexperienced, she was certainly ill-prepared. She fell head over heels, deep with infatuation for this knight in shining armor who was going to help her become the fair maiden of the book selling world. They left each other with a tender kiss and a promise that soon he would contact her with the first fruits of his labors in seeking out publication.

Two months passed. She placed calls. At first he cautioned her to be patient, but eventually he stopped returning her overtures. It was on the third Tuesday of the third month that she received a note in the mail. It was from him.  She was so excited. She opened up and read the words:

“Good-bye. Now that you’re disappointed, go write something true.”

Sandra couldn’t believe it. Literally, she felt that somebody was playing a joke on her, so she tried to call him. The number was changed and unlisted.

Sandra stopped pursuing writing. She decided that it was a childish dream of such unrealistic proportions that she was embarrassed to even admit she had ever pursued it. She met a man, she got married, she had two children. She took a job. Every once in a while, people would bring up a movie or book they had seen or read. She made a practice of leaving the room, refusing to participate in such creative nonsense.

She felt she was healed from her previous novice error. She felt mature. She felt wise. She thought the true essence of gaining knowledge was admitting that dreams were best kept in our nighttime beds. She was an advocate of realism. She was a person who refused to take risks and embrace any new idea that might offer the option of disappointment. She took the profile of a human being who had swallowed up life as it is, while rejecting happiness. After all, she mused, happiness is what we decide it should be.

Sandra Collier never became a writer. The world will survive. The problem is that Sandra never became happy.

In our time there is much talk about good and evil–a back and forth, see-saw discussion, rife with contradictions, accusations and half-truths. But identifying evil is not as difficult as it is made out to be in the movies, with priests chasing the demon-possessed through the darkened halls of castles. Evil is much simpler. Evil has only one goal–to convince disbelievers of its importance and equality, because it is much more realistic. Once the populace has nodded and assented, evil triumphs.

It is the essence of the fourth thing that God hates–a heart that devises wicked imaginations. When we feel that life has only having dismal possibilities, dark corners ormorose conclusions, we become useless to ourselves and a stumbling block to anyone who would love to progress a great idea.

God hates this particular surrender to the inevitability of failure, because it is a proclamation thatI am better than happy.” Evil is the proud stomping ground for the earth native who wants to pound the drum and scream that life is devoid of meaning. Evil is giving up before we even have considered whether any option might be fruitful. Evil is allowing our hearts to be filled with despair, and therefore our jaded consciousness determining our passion.

In the quest for realism, we have locked ourselves into a tomb of doom, where we nervously scratch our arms, stare off into the distance and lament the fate of humanity.

Sandra gave up. She didn’t kill herself, she didn’t become an alcoholic, she didn’t put the heroin needle in her arm, and she didn’t climb into a 1962 Chevy Impala and go around the country indiscriminately killing people. She didn’t even curse God.

She continued to be a mother, a wife, a church-goer, a worker and a member of her community–who just didn’t believe anymore. She became a victim, with a heart continually devising wicked imaginations. She believed she was better than happy. And because of that, she never found the stamina to succeed.

For it is the joy of the Lord that is our primal source of strength.

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Jesus Chicks … August 5, 2012

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The dude was surrounded by women.

I don’t say that to try to be relevant or cool. It’s just a fact. When Jesus of Nazareth lived on earth and did his public work, a strong portion of the constituency of his following consisted of women.

It was unusual. Women were generally relegated to the position of servanthood, bound by their ovaries and breasts to motherhood. Jesus invited them into the Kingdom of God, with equality. But that in itself would not have caused women to want to be around him. He succeeded in blending the perfect batch of compassion and confrontation, to manifest the magical, chemical concoction of legitimate concern.

Too many men treat women with only compassion, which reeks of being condescending and pandering, and eventually is a major turnoff to the ladies. On the other hand, a lot of men try to be confrontational and domineering and may temporarily gain the attention of members of the opposite sex who have poor self-esteem, but ultimately, this rudeness and chauvinism is unmasked.

Jesus found women who were trapped in difficulty and he looked for perseverance that caused them to believe ina possibility instead of whining or falling into deep pits of self-pity.

There was one lady who was caught in adultery. What a bad day for her. She was thrown down in the midst of a group of men, threatened with a death sentence, and only rescued from the misadventure by the clever juxtopositioning by Jesus, who turned the tables and caused the accusers to reflect on their own weaknesses. But rather than giving her a big hug after the crowd had left and the danger dissipated, Jesus looks her right in the eye and says,”I don’t condemn you either–but go and sin no more.”

There’s that balance: compassion and confrontation.

Another woman had an issue of blood for twelve years. She was broke because she had spent all of her money on a bunch of doctors with cures that didn’t work. But once again, she didn’t feel sorry for herself. She decided on her own that simply touching the hem of Jesus’ garment would make her whole. And because she did, her faith produced a miracle, and Jesus whirled around and celebrated with her.

Another woman at a well in Samaria was divorced from five men and living with a new guy. I don’t think I am speaking out of turn to say that this lady had certainly experienced abuse, but she was still in the hunt for answers and was willing to believe that another man sitting by the well might just have the ability to help her escape her trap.

These women were everywhere. They brought to Jesus desperation accompanied by a refusal to give in, and Jesus responded with a compassion and a confrontation, determined to not allow them to view themselves as the weaker sex.

When Martha of Bethany told Jesus to command her sister to help serve food, Jesus confronted her and said that Mary, the non-domesticated sister, had chosen the better part by listening to the teaching instead of serving up grits and gravy.

Most people don’t realize that three women, Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna gave of their substance to financially underwrite the ministry of Jesus. In my study, recollection and comprehension, there has never been another spiritual leader who drew women to him, treated them as equals and blended compassion and confrontation to create a climate of transformation in the lives of these dear feminine heroes.

They were Jesus chicks. They were battered, beaten, demon possessed, had daughters who were vexed of Satan, were members of Herod’s court and prostitutes. They all refused to give up, but instead reached out one last time to someone who would give them compassion with a necessary dose of confrontation.

It is impossible to have equality with people if all you’re doing is feeling sorry for them. It is also equally as implausible to view each other as equals if all that stimulates the relationship is domination.

Jesus explained exactly the way things work. You find a woman who is not complaining, who has not given up, who is refusing to drown in her own self-pity, and you grant her compassion. Then you gently confront her–to do more.

It’s an amazing process. And because he took this profile with these dear hearts, they were drawn to him and ended up being a major thrust in the foundation of the new faith, called the Kingdom of God. It is why we can say with confidence, “In the Kingdom of God there is neither male nor female.”

There are just people who refuse to give up, won’t feel sorry for themselves, receive the compassion of the Holy Spirit and the confrontation of truth–and start over, completely born again.

Jesus chicks–women who had more to believe in than to complain about.

 

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