Drawing Attention … April 24th, 2019

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Repubmocrat

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art by smarrttie pants

Music performed by Elizabeth Cring


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Jesonian … December 16th, 2017

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A day in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Although most theologians would like to focus on the 24-hour period leading up to his crucifixion, the Gospels do offer us other examples. One of the primal outlines is found in Matthew, Chapters 12 and 13. You may feel free to read it–I will not tax your spirit or patience by parsing it verse by verse–but there are six things that become clear from perusing the story line.

1. Jesus was not a theologian.

His disciples walked through a field of corn, and even though it was forbidden by religious edict to eat it–especially on the Sabbath–they partook. Jesus defended them to the Pharisees, who were ready to leap upon the activity to prove the unworthiness of Jesus’ Kingdom movement. During this exchange, Jesus makes a profound statement: “The Sabbath is for man.”

It is geared for us, in order to replenish, rejuvenate and renovate our thinking.

2. Jesus was not a rabbi.

He strolls into a synagogue and disrupts the service by healing a man with a withered hand. He is accosted for this untimely interruption, and replies, “Each one of you will save a donkey from a trench, but you won’t do anything to help this fellow.”

Yes, Jesus was guilty of interrupting the flow of worship.

And contrary to the common patter:

3. Jesus was not a Jew.

Not only did he break the Jewish laws, taunting them in doing so, but we are informed that he was a voice, a spirit and a teacher in whom the “Gentiles could trust.”

Even though his proximity to Jerusalem might generate the assumption that he was a Son of Abraham, he made it clear that he was around “before Abraham.”

Shall we press on?

4. He was certainly not a traditionalist.

The religious leaders believed he was satanic. They swore he was casting out demons by the power of Satan. Of course, none of them could cast out a demon, but Jesus made it clear that he had come to destroy the works of the devil and that they needed to be careful not to mock the moving of the Holy Spirit just because it was inconvenient to their case.

So Jesus is not a theologian, a rabbi, a Jew or a traditionalist. And by the way:

5. Jesus was not a family man.

When interrupted by his mother, brothers and sisters during a time of ministry (because they wanted to take him home, thinking he was crazy) Jesus turned to the crowd and claimed them as his new family.

Yes, Jesus might find it difficult to be in a church service, welling up over allegiance with people simply because of shared DNA.

So as Matthew describes a day in the life of Jesus, when he defies theologians, upsets a rabbi, walks away from Judaism, breaks traditions and sidesteps family involvement, he ends the discourse by establishing who the Nazarene really was.

For the Master sat down and told a story: “The sower went forth to sow seed.”

6. Jesus is a sower.

He’s not concerned about isolating off perfect soil, but merely casting the seed in the direction of any possibility.

A day in the life of Jesus will let you know that his message was human, geared for humans, addressed to humans, human-friendly and human-saving.

He discarded religion in favor of the reality of those souls God sent his way.

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Come To Think Of It … Sunday, December 25th, 2016

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Come To Think Of It

I am not Santa Claus. Ho, ho, NO.

I am not Jesus. I can turn water into ice.

I am not an elf. Closer to Santa Claus there.

I am not snow. I find it impossible to melt–especially pounds.

I am not a Christmas tree. I would find it difficult to be evergreen.

I am not a manger. HAY!!

I am not Joseph. I have mistrusted women.

I am not Mary. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a virgin.

I am not a donkey, though I can act like…you got it. An ass.

I am not a star, but I’ve been a good warm-up act.

I am not a promise. I fail too often.

I am not salvation. But… where do we stand in line?

I am not the Prince of Peace. Too often I find myself in pieces.

I am not a shepherd. I can be impatient with sheep.

I am not an angel. I have a list of people who will confirm this.

I am not the King of Kings. I’m learning to be crowned with humility.

Of course, not the Lord of Lords. Though some of you may think I lord it over you.

I am not the Little Drummer Boy. Simple: not little, can’t drum, not really a boy.

I’m not Rudolph, though my nose gets red when I have high blood pressure.

I’m not tinsel, although I’m working on being the light in the world.

I am not Christmas. Just trying to be merry.

But today I looked out at a crazy world which pleaded to me with sad, distraught eyes. Help! So…

I must be Santa Claus. Time to pull on my boots.

I must be Jesus. Where is that neighbor to love?

I must be an elf. I’m practicing my “giddy.”

I must be snow. If you get my drift. (No flakes allowed.)

I must become a Christmas tree–standing tall for those who want to decorate me with great possibilities.

I will become the manger–a humble home for the Master.

I can become Joseph–believe in the people I love.

Mary? All I have left is a virgin heart.

I will be a donkey, making an ass of myself for a good cause.

Star light, star bright–I shall be the first star you see tonight.

I make this promise: no promises–just the truth.

I will become salvation in the sense that I will show you how powerful that gift can truly be.

I will be the Prince of Peacemakers, so I can be a child of God.

I will shepherd myself and as many souls as possible, to safety from the wolf.

I will become an angel by visiting those who haven’t seen angels for a long time.

Can I be a King of Kings? If by Kings, you mean helping those who need to find their personal place. Then, yes.

Lord of Lords? Certainly not. But I can show people that to be master is to serve.

Forget about the Little Drummer Boy. I’ll leave that to the marching band.

I certainly am Rudolph. I have strange things about me that I’m trying to use to get through the fog.

And like tinsel, I will find a place to hang in there and shed some light.

I am Christmas.

I am the only Christmas that some people will see.

I am Christmas, and without me, Christmas could become just another day of the week.

****

Meningsbee will return next week with the ongoing saga.

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Ask Jonathots … November 24th, 2016

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How do you keep politics and religion from ruining a family gathering?

Life is truly about giving–but not merely in the sense of being generous. Rather, it’s about learning early and permanently when to give effort and when to give up.

Giving up can actually be one of the more noble steps of submission to overwhelming evidence. And giving effort is essential to achieve progress.

I bring this up in relationship to your question, because in order to have a good family gathering, you must know when to give effort and when to give up.

First of all, give up on changing people. You can’t, you won’t and you shouldn’t.

If Uncle Fred is a Republican, he will probably leave Thanksgiving evening equally as convinced. If Aunt Margaret is a Democrat, she will likewise ride her donkey out the door. And if any of your relatives claim to be atheists or insist that “all baptism must be by immersion or you’re not saved,” it is always a Godless pursuit to change those who are “all wet.”

So what can you do during a family gathering to be productive, but faithful to your own ideals? There is one simple, easy step:

Never speak in the abstract.

  • Don’t talk about doctrine.
  • Don’t talk about beliefs.
  • Don’t talk about Vladimir Putin.

Talk about your own life–your own goals, your own anecdotes–and in so doing, you gently confirm your beliefs.

In other words, if someone says “the homeless are a blight on the conscience of America,” wait until the conversation changes, and then double back and say, “I was waiting at a light at Wal-Mart, and a fellow was there with a sign, looking for money, so I rolled down my window with two dollars and I gave it to him, and he was so appreciative that it nearly made me cry.”

Then leave it alone.

When it comes to religion, humor is always your best vehicle:

“Well, I was driving down the road and I was nearly out of gas in a country setting and I wasn’t sure I would find a station. So I kept my eyes open, checked my GPS, but also–call me crazy–I said a little prayer. I’m not sure which one worked, or whether they worked together, but three minutes later I was at a gas station getting fueled up.”

Since you can’t change people, give up on that and instead, give effort into what you can change: your attitude toward people.

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One Per Customer … September 11, 2012

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It’s Superman’s fault.

I mean, if we have to blame somebody (which we surely must), he, after all, was a great promoter of the dual existence. Feeling that his Superman persona would not fit into every social situation, he created Clark Kent. And likewise understanding that Clark Kent was incapable of outrunning a bullet, he kept Superman around.

It taught us, even as little children, that we would need many characters to function in a complex society, which often demands more than we can provide with our singular, puny personality.

So we bought into it. No one talks about it very much. It’s a general understanding– similar to the unwritten law that underwear shouldn’t be worn for more than one day.

So we pick a profile to use when we’re with our families, another one on the job; some people even select an identity to don while driving their car. Don’t forget the pious face we keep in the jar to use for more spiritual occasions. And then, when it’s time to vote, we pull out our donkey or elephant costumes and try to stay within party lines. At the end of the day, ready to go to sleep, we’re not quite sure who is in bed with us.

After all, who are we? We wonder why we’re a little sad, preoccupied, uncertain of the future and unwilling to be as generous as we once thought we were going to be. Superman should have made up his mind–be Superman or be Clark Kent, who just had some really neat abilities, like helping his friends lift boxes on moving day.

The only true pressure in life is trying to be more than one person. You have to find your philosophy. It’s one per customer.

A philosophy is easy to recognize: it has one moving part, one concept, one function, one energy, one idea, one piece of holiness. Universally, it extends this particular motion throughout all the facets of our lives. Ten commandments are nine too many. The seven virtues of a successful person is a half a dozen over. Whenever we try to multiply our approaches, we divide our effectiveness. You have to find your philosophy and its one moving part, and remain faithful to it. Therein you find the key to fulfilling human life.

The average person has five philosophies at work at all times. No wonder we are busy, exhausted and cantankerous. Here are the five:

  1. It’s all about family.
  2. It’s all about financial security.
  3. It’s all about health.
  4. It’s all about God.
  5. It’s all about freedom.

You can see–these five are not going to peacefully co-exist within the skin of our human kin. They battle. When you think about family, security becomes upset because everything is too expensive. When you think about God, you feel that your freedom has been impinged by religious imprisoning. When you think about your health, you worry about your family, insurance, God–AND a loss of freedom. So these colliding ideas become the “five stooges” within us–running into each other, knocking each other over and popping to their feet, ready to fight. It’s just too much.

You have to develop a singular philosophy of life that covers family, finances, health, God, and freedom. Otherwise, you’ll get up in the morning, look in the mirror and wonder why that growth has suddenly appeared on your neck as you stumble down the stairs to breakfast to be bombarded by some family member who has also found a growth on her neck and wants to talk about it. Over breakfast, you’ll read the newspaper about the financial collapse, making you wonder if you should withdraw all your money, stick it in a sock and bury it underneath the dog house. Lying on a table nearby is the morning devotional you promised your church you would read everyday before work, which on this particular morning, has lost out to a second helping of bacon, which worries you because of its high cholesterol. Part of you enjoys the morning activity with your family, while another portion of you is eager to get off to work, to have that twenty-three-minute drive, with complete freedom of the use of the radio before you arrive at your cubicle, to be told what to do by someone else who is also worried about his family, security, health, God and freedom.

I discovered this dilemma in stages, but I finally came to the conclusion that if I was going to change hats every time a new situation came up, it was only going to make me look ridiculous, with constantly messed-up hair.

I have a philosophy. It has one moving part. It used to be “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But I found a weakness in that statement, dubbed The Golden Rule.  When I felt bad about myself, or was angry with the world, I would project that anger onto others and justify it by saying, “All humans are angry.” By no means am I criticizing the Golden Rule, but I am saying that everything spiritual matures and grows.

This year I have taken a step of faith and innocence, to make the only moving part of my singular philosophy to be, “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

It is liberating. I don’t have to try to be top dog, nor do I have to look to find out if there IS one. I don’t have to wait to be saluted, nor is it necessary for me to provide the salute. We are all the same in the mind of our Creator, and from that status of equality, we either improve or deteriorate our possibilities. If you run across people who have improved, you should leave them alone or give them applause. Don’t deter them. If you run across people who have deteriorated their equality to become the “poor lost pups” of our kennel, look for an opportunity to scratch them in the right places and give them a bone. They will usually let you know they’re interested in getting off of their leashes by wagging their tails.

During this election year, my heart is heavy as I watch normally intelligent and even caring people turn into political maniacs, trying to prove their point about issues that no one completely understands.

So do I love my family? I sure do, but NoOne is better than anyone else. I also believe in the family of man.

Do I need financial security? Absolutely–but NoOne is better than anyone else. I will need to work for what I get, just like my neighbor.

Do I have concerns about health? Of course, but NoOne is better than anyone else. Broccoli works in my body just like it does in yours.

How about my feelings towards God? That’s easy. He’s the One that came up with the idea that NoOne is better than anyone else, because we are told that He is no respecter of persons.

But what about my freedom? Again, NoOne is better than anyone else. If I am willing to grant freedom to other people, I can anticipate the same.

I do not know if you will take this essay seriously or not. (Perhaps it’s a bit optimistic for me to believe you’ve even gotten this far in reading it.) But you can improve your life one hundred per cent simply by abandoning your “Clark Kent costuming.” Bring your life down to one moving part–one philosophy–one idea. You can pick what it is. You don’t have to follow mine. But each one of us is granted a single unit.

Yes–one per customer.

It not only makes our lives sensible, but it frees us of the responsibility of learning a new script … every time the scene changes.

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If God Was … July 26, 2012

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If God was a child, He would play more than pray.

If God was a dancer, His steps would be well-ordered.

If God was…

  • a minister, He would practice more than preach.
  • an elephant, He would remember what’s really important.
  • a donkey, He would carry truth into town and invite praise.
  • a cat, everything would be pu-r-r-r-fect.
  • a banker, He would show interest instead of collecting it.
  • a rock star, He would make a joyful noise and party with sinners.

Yes, if God was a grammarian, He would insist that we edit this work to say, “If God WERE a grammarian.”

If God was …

  • a chef, He would proclaim, “Come and dine.”
  • a billionaire, He would know that man does not live by bread alone.
  • a weatherman, He would let us know, “To everything there is a season.”
  • an atheist, He would try the spirits, and see if there is a God.

Yes, if God was a woman, He would rule the world while birthing children.

Likewise, if He was a man, He would be a good father and son, with a Holy Spirit.

If God was a student, He would study to show Himself approved.

And if He was a football player, He would run and not be weary, and “pass” on condemnation.

If God was a conservative, He would be a good one–minus the belief that humans are naturally evil.

If God was a liberal, He would be a good one–minus the belief that humans are naturally good.

If God was a comedian, He would rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.

If He was a hippie, He would honk because He loves Jesus.

And finally, if God was a dog, He would be man’s best friend.

God is this and so much more. He is less, and still more.

If He is real, we are in for quite a ride. If it is all a figment of our imagination, then we have the same ride … alone.

   

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Marketing the Big TE… April 1, 2012

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As it turns out, Lazarus, who was recently saved from the grave, was the owner of a public relations firm in Bethany. Being so grateful for not being dead anymore and also as an act of appreciation for his friend Jesus, Lazarus made his public relations efforts available to the Nazarene for his upcoming arrival into Jerusalem. Lazarus had partnered for some fifteen years with his good friend, Hermotheus Goldstein, forming Lazarus and Goldstein.

Hermotheus’ friends knew him as “Hermie”–a quiet, unpretentious man, but quite on top of his game, with a tremendous eye for the bottom line. So Lazarus, respecting his partner’s skill, asked Hermie if he would take over the “Jesus promotional scheme.” A meeting was set for the Tuesday prior to the planned entrance into town.   The time arrived.

Hermotheus introduced himself to Jesus. “Hello, Jesus, my name is Hermotheus, and my friends call me Hermie–Hermie Goldstein.”

“Hermotheus?” repeated Jesus.

“Yes,” said Hermie. “My father was Greek and my mother was a Jew. I guess that makes me a Jeek.”

“Or a Grew…” said Jesus, with a smile peeking through his bushy mustache and beard.

“I suppose,” said Hermie. The uncomfortable silence that often accompanies the minutes after first introductions ensued. At length, Hermie filled in the gap.

“So…how long have you known Lazarus?”

Jesus smiled again. “Long enough to have seen him at his best … and worst.”

Hermie pursued. “So you’re going to be making an entrance of sorts, into Jerusalem–with your entourage?”

At this, Jesus laughed. “Entourage? You know, I never thought of these fellows and ladies as an entourage.”

“Well, you know what I mean,” said Hermie, a bit nervously. “I guess my job here is to showcase this event in the best light possible.”

Jesus nodded. Hermie continued. “Have you thought about how you’ll be set apart from the rest of the crowd surrounding you? For instance, riding a horse might make you look like a king or a great general of the legions of Rome…”

Jesus shook his head. Hermie tried again. “Okay. No horse. How about a camel? That would make you high and lifted up.”

Once again, Jesus expressed his disapproval, so Hermie asked, “What were you thinking about as far as your way of portraying yourself upon entering into our holy city?”

Without hesitation Jesus piped up. “I was thinking about a baby donkey.”

Hermie paused. “A donkey?” he asked.

“A baby one,” Jesus added.

“Aren’t you afraid your feet will scrape on the ground?” Hermie inquired.

“Actually I thought it would be rather nice for the young animal if I was able to occasionally stand up and walk for myself.”

It took a moment for Hermie to realize that Jesus was kidding. “So you have your heart set on a baby donkey…?”

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly phrase it that way. Actually, any little ass will do…”

“All right,” said Hermie. “Let’s talk about people. Your audience. The crowd. Your followers. The individuals that will propel and spread your message. I have inroads into the top dignitaries, the religious community, business men and the wealthy Who’s Who of Jerusalem. We obviously want them to be in the forefront…so that the significance of your arrival in town will be heralded by those in the know.”

“Well, Hermie,” said Jesus. “I would like to go with my standard friends and acquaintances.”

“Okay,” said Hermie. “And who would they be?”

“Let’s see,” said Jesus. “There are the poor. Quite a few former lepers. Those who were blind. Got lots of women. Tons of children. And honestly…a strong contingency from small towns and rural areas of Galilee.”

Hermie sat silently, so Jesus continued. “This isn’t going to be a problem, is it? Honestly, those dignitaries and those religious people … well, I do see them from time to time, but there’s something missing in my chemistry with them. Do you understand what I mean?”

Hermie was frustrated. Out of respect to his partner, Lazarus, he continued faithfully. “I was thinking about some banners, lots of flowers … ”

“I was thinking of palm branches freshly ripped from the trees,” interrupted Jesus.

“How about a chant?” Hermie suggested.  “Something like Israel is great’ or even Yea, Jesus’…

“How about this?” replied Jesus.Hosanna.”

Hermie peered at the backwoods preacher for a long moment. “I can see that many of our ideas are … well, let me say … divergent from each other. But I think we both can agree that it’s important–especially entering the Holy City, and also during this sacred time of Passover–that you do nothing to upset traditions, disquiet the religious leaders or to rob any sense of national pride and sanctity towards our religion.”

Jesus smiled and said softly, “Too late.”

Hermie was disquieted. He wanted to do right by Lazarus, but it seemed everything he attempted to suggest to make Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem successful was being thwarted by the young Galilean. He offered one final suggestion. “Well, I think you pretty well have decided what you want to do, but can I recommend that you at least call it something like ‘The Triumphal Entry,’ which could easily be marketed as The Big TE? And honestly, if I had been given two months notice, I have a team of ladies down in Jericho who could have woven that onto your robes in a beautiful style, to advertise the event.”

Jesus patted Hermie on the back and said, “Thank you, my friend. The Triumphal Entry it shall be. Of course, without the accompanying souvenier robes.”

Five days later, the entrance into Jerusalem happened on a baby donkey with palm branches and hosannas. It was not a Goldstein production. Hermie had tried to bring Jesus into the first century but he was stuck somewhere back with old ideas.

On the Monday following the event, Hermie, who had missed the actual entrance, caught up with his friend, Lazarus. He detailed his meeting with Jesus and asked Lazarus how things had gone. Lazarus told him it was super.

Hermie said, “Well, he didn’t listen to much I said. But at least I believe he probably took my advice and didn’t upset the religious leaders or go into the temple and create a scene and get them all upset during Holy Passover.”

Lazarus put his arm around his old friend and said, “Well, Hermie, let me tell you …”

 **************

Listen to Jonathan sing his gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, accompanied by Janet Clazzy on the WX-5 Wind Machine

 

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

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

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

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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