Jesonian–Troubling (Part 1)… July 1st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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“Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.”

These are the words of Jesus.

But you see, there’s my problem. Believing in Jesus is simpler for me. It’s believing in God that itches my brain.

You see, God has a lot of history–thirty-nine books of Old Testament, filled with murder, mayhem, racism and contradictions–before we arrive at the doorstep of the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth, where Jesus emerges and begins to speak to the world.

Every once in a while, I’m sitting in a room by myself and a sudden gust of realization sweeps in and blows my mind.

God?? What in the hell am I thinking? How could there be a God?

And this isn’t because there are bad things happening–it’s just that the stories told about this god are similar to the Greek mythology concerning Zeus. All at once, I am inundated with feelings of foolishness and slowly, bitterness jumps into my heart, mocking me for following such ancient tales.

Sometimes the Holy Bible reads like a Grimm fairy tale, full of witches, warlocks and little boys and girls threatened because they’re on their way to grandma’s house.

But then I pause. Why? It’s the chimpanzee.

Although I believe that science is the favorite hobby of the Father in Heaven, the order in the Universe, even in the midst of chaos, and the fact that human beings exist, hearkens to the presence of a Universal Creator. Feel free to try to deteriorate the human spirit, soul and intellect, and place it side-by-side with the animals–but if any one of us spent a week trying to reason, infiltrate and dine with chimpanzees (supposedly our closest relative) we would quickly return to the human race with newfound appreciation.

I’m sorry–animals are animals and people are people. There’s a huge gap. Somebody–did you hear me?–somebody put that gap there.

On the other hand, upon spending several weeks with the chimpanzees of theology, I am equally as baffled by the fact that for some inexplicable reason, they want to blur the God of Judaism with the person of Jesus.

So if the proclamation is, God is Jesus–I’m there, and the spiritual evolution from God and the devil playing poker with Job’s soul, to “love your neighbor as yourself” was needed and makes complete sense.

But if Jesus is God, I really have to include stories from the old volume, which are absolutely implausible, without merit and of no benefit to any creature on heaven or Earth.

It is troubling.

Without being accusatory, may I suggest that all of us, to some degree, are turmoiled by this mish-mash and collision of meaningless facts being thrown together into one book called the Bible and then dubbed “Holy.”

If you will allow me, over the next couple of weeks, I would like to deal with this troubling situation–because to a certain degree, all an atheist has to say to any Christian is, “Really???” and we are immediately defensive.

Because we possess our own doubts.

So doubts be damned and discussion begun, I will see you next week.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 14) His Eye Is On the Sparrow… July 31st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

It was a merciful Monday.

The phone didn’t ring, no one visited and Meningsbee had a chance to sit alone in the parsonage and muse the happenings in his life.

He kept thinking about that scripture: “God sees the sparrow and we are worth many sparrows.”

He roamed the house talking to himself, allowing the ideas stuck in his head to gain air instead of suffocating in his brain or struggling for dominance.

He sorted through things. He opened the door for some healing.

After the cleansing Monday, he was ready for a terrific Tuesday.

Phone calls came from congregation members, saying how much the service had meant to them and how freeing it was to realize that it’s all right to have doubts–as long as you don’t lie about them or assume they are true.

But then came worrisome Wednesday. It began with a knock on the door. Patrick Swanson was there, accusing Meningsbee of sharing their private conversation about the finances of the church with his new congregation out at the Holiday Inn Express.

Meningsbee was so glad that he had remained faithful to his mute position. He could honestly say that he had said nothing to anyone.

Patrick did not believe him. He explained that he had a mess on his hands, because somehow or another, the church folk had discovered his feelings about the old church and were not very appreciative of his plans.

Meningsbee listened quietly but didn’t respond. It wasn’t his business.

At length, Patrick gave up and turned to walk away, only pausing to say, “Word has it that you don’t even believe in God. Is that right?”

It seemed that this dear brother wanted a fight. But thanks to merciful Monday and terrific Tuesday, Meningsbee was more prepared for worrisome Wednesday.

He replied, “My dear friend, my beliefs are a matter of public record.”

With this, Meningsbee quietly shut the door and resumed his life.

The rest of the week was blessed with happenings and intervals of joyous nothingness. That is, until Sunday morning arrived.

Meningsbee was excited–because last Sunday, he had handed out little notes to twenty-two members of the congregation. When they peered at him, wondering what it was all about, he had replied, “Read the note. It’ll tell you what to do.”

So he quickly dressed, ate a light breakfast and headed out the door, pausing as he gazed at the porch swing.

And there she was–the young girl he had met at the motel in South Dakota, cuddled up on the swing with her little daughter, sound asleep.

“Kitty?” he said quietly, hoping he had remembered her name correctly. She woke up, rubbed the sleep from her eyes, eased her feet to the ground, and launched into her story.

She had lost her job and therefore could not afford the motel anymore. She got his address from the front desk clerk, and since he was the only person who had been nice to her, she grabbed her daughter, Hapsy, and hitch-hiked to Garsonville.

She didn’t know what to do, so she chased the last place that she felt love.

Likewise, Meningsbee didn’t know what to do.

He explained that he was on his way to church and invited her. She replied, “If they don’t mind my old, stinky jeans…”

Meningsbee laughed. “I think they’re just old.”

They headed off to his car. Meningsbee held the door and welcomed the two of them inside. He picked up a couple of treats at the Donut Barn on the way.

As they munched, he wondered to himself whether this was a gift from God … or a mis-delivered package.

 

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Three Ways to Use Your Doubt… October 23, 2014

 

Jonathots Daily Blog

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In the traditional story of Easter, three interesting characters are brought to the stage.

  • Judas, who betrays
  • Peter, who denies
  • And Thomas, who doubts

Unfortunately, the audience viewing the drama is encouraged to believe that all three of these individuals are equally culpable.

Please understand–there is a huge chasm between betrayal and denial, and likewise one existing between denial and doubt.

Betrayal is doubt which has already given up on the idea and is looking for a reason to rationalize its treachery.

Denial is doubt that has never been voiced, but when put under the pressure of persecution, exposes its weakness.

But on the other hand, doubt is what human beings do to flush out the trash and make room for new stuff.

It is a good thing.

There is not a day that goes by when I do not doubt the existence of God. No hour goes by when I do not question my own ability. And no minute ticks away when uncertainty does not stall me for a second or two concerning my resolution.

Trying to dispel these uncertainties through a chatty spirit of positive thinking is not only hypocritical, but futile.

Doubt is the powerful tool that transforms us from nostalgia to action. Use your doubt to:

1. Dispel fake faith.

What is fake faith? Any belief you hold which has not been personally tested. It is the accumulation of knowledge with no experience. It is the fear that if your faith was brought into the heat of the day, it would shrivel up and die.

Probably fifty percent of what we all believe is not only impractical and implausible, but actually inhibits us from living with lighter hearts.

2. Use your doubt to understand others.

Too often we become frustrated with human beings because they dare to speak the confusion that we try to hide behind our fake faith. I have much more compassion for people when I’m willing to admit my own doubts.

3. And finally, use your doubt to learn to be more honest.

  • Doubt is your spirit crying for a moment of truthfulness.
  • Doubt is when your heart desires to remove the clog of unanswered questions.

Thomas was not a denier nor a betrayer. He was a man who was dealing with some pain and rather than drinking it away …  he posed the question.

 

 

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