Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 25) Go Help Someone Else … October 16th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

Meningsbee had always found it much easier to memorize the Beatitudes than to adhere to them.

Along with his “wayward wishings on the Web,” he seemed to have an inability to express consideration to other Earthlings. He didn’t feel animosity, just found that fellowshipping was better performed, in his mind, by reading a fine book.

When he woke up on Wednesday, it struck him that he had not interacted with Matrisse and little Hapsy for some time.

Guilt settled in.

Like many mortals, Meningsbee pretended to despise guilt, but often welcomed it as a warm comforter for a chilled thought. So the first thing he did was incriminate himself for failing to be in contact, and treating Matrisse like she was a drop-off center for abandoned children.

He fussed over that for a season, nearly sprouting a tear, and then was able to don appropriate pastoral garb and head off to her house. The activity did lift his spirits, and he began to feel like a preacher again. After all, when you stand behind the holy desk and thunder everlasting truths, it is good to give a damn about souls.

He arrived at the house, took a deep breath, and exited his car. As he walked up the steps to offer solace and comfort to Matrisse, the door flung open in front of him and there she was–squared off, staring at him as if some monster had invaded her porch.

“What do you want?” she challenged.

Stunned, he tried to respond. “I just came over…”

She interrupted. “You came over here because you’re a parson–and think you should interfere in people’s lives when they haven’t asked for your help.”

He paused, surprised, because she had pretty much nailed the situation. That’s exactly what he thought.

She continued. “Listen, Reverend, I’m not like other people. It’s not as if I despise them for being weak, but my thought is, I go to church to take the Word, to answer my questions, to create the sentences for me to go out and make a statement. I don’t cry a lot, but I also don’t bitch. I don’t fuss with other people, especially if they decide to learn their lesson and not fuss with me. And I don’t judge a young girl who had a baby because she forgot how to close her legs, who right now would rather be just a lost child herself. Hapsy seems happy. I feed her. I love her. She laughs. She thinks I have a big belly. So I pretend my stomach can talk, using my belly button as a mouth. She thinks that’s hilarious. I am not looking for help and most certainly–dear God–I’m not looking for pity or the wise words of some seminarian who spent too much time at the library. Let me take the message you preach on Sunday and act it out–so this little girl has a chance to be something other than a stripper, or a nervous sermon-maker.”

She took time out to breathe, glaring at Meningsbee, content she had made her point. He thought about explaining his motivations or trying to convey to her the need to let the community of believers share in her struggle, or just allowing him fifteen minutes to come inside and have a cup of her most delicious tea.

But he waited too long, because Matrisse punctuated her soliloquy with one final thought. This one was a little more tender.

“Listen, Richard. Why don’t you…”

She paused, leaning forward, changing over to a whisper.

“Go…find…someone…else…to help.”

Richard–Reverend Meningsbee–the Shepherd of the Garsonville Church–agreed.

He smiled, turned on his heel and walked back to his car.

As he climbed in, he thought, if the world had been filled with folks like Matrisse, Jesus could have retired instead of being buried by his critics.

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Good News and Better News … June 27th, 2016

Good News Kochenderfer 2 

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2985)

My visitation yesterday was to the Kochenderfer United Methodist Church in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, not far from Harrisburg, the capital. A smile comes to my lips as I imagine you reading this, trying to mentally pronounce the word. For the sake of brevity and clarity, from now on I will refer to it as “KC.”

They were in the midst of a VBS explosion, hoping for 150 kids from the community to come out and enjoy some inspiring activities, complete with nutritious snacks.

So I slid in to address the humanity. After all, there are two aspects to our everyday challenge: there is the goal, and there is the humanity.

We love to talk about goals, so when the humanity arrives and robs us of some of our aspirations, we lament how it would have been “so much better if it had worked out according to plan.”

This has created a generation of people who struggle, promoting two central principles:

  1. Life is hard.
  2. Hard is good.

And why do we think hard is good? Because it makes us feel grown-up and causes us to believe we’re mature, like our parents. Unfortunately, it also makes us grumpy, grouchy, overly sensitive, depressed, despaired and I suppose even constipated.

But it’s the price we pay for being Earthlings, right?

Hogwash.

Such foolishness only makes disgruntled disciples of a Gospel that was meant to set us free.

So I don’t know if people agree with my simple approach to matters or not, but I have found it to be very liberating to my own soul.

Jesus really had only two things he wanted to get across to the human race. Matter of fact, he makes it clear that this is why he came to be among us:

A. “I have come to give you life and it more abundantly.”

B. “I have come that your joy might be full.”

We think he’s talking about heaven. But since Jesus said that he wanted his will to be “done on Earth as it is in heaven,” we should probably get busy practicing.

I let the people at KC know that if something comes along and robs you of your sense of abundant living and jubilance, you should be suspicious. Matter of fact, I guarantee you that if church was a place that produced abundant life and full joy, there might be more people showing up.

So by the time we got done chatting, fellowshipping, celebrating, laughing and crying at KC, I think the congregation was pretty well convinced that I was sold out on the concept of living abundantly with a jovial glee.

Did I have any converts? Did anyone buy into the concept that life is not meant to be hard and that hard is not a good thing?

I can’t be sure. But I know this–pain never produces gain.

That’s the good news–the arrival of pain is always a warning to cease the stress which produces the ache.

For you see, the better news is that “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

Good News Kochenderfer 1

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Jesonian: Horizontal … October 4th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus with starsWhen disciples start thinking about Heaven, they soon lose interest in the Earth.

It’s the weakness of religion.

It is the erroneous, and perhaps devious, perception that pleasing God is the only thing necessary, even if we have to hurt people to do it.

It was Dr. Luke, in the 9th Chapter of his story about Jesus, who highlights this unfortunate practice.

In the process of just a few verses, the disciples make it clear to Jesus that they are no longer interested in humanity or any improvement in their own personal growth.

  • They want to chase their destiny.
  • They want to point out division.
  • And ultimately, they want to dominate.

Let’s be precise: Jesus was interested in horizontal relationships between human beings instead of a vertical connection with God.

He explained it this way: “By this they shall know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another.”

But this didn’t stop the disciples from coming to Jesus, wondering who was going to be the greatest.

They also were very upset about some individual they ran across who was doing miracles in Jesus’ name, but would not submit to the common curriculum.

And it culminated with wanting to rain fire down from heaven because a Samaritan village failed to recognize them.

But drawing from a deep well of patience, Jesus answers them. “Who is the greatest among you? It will be the one who receives a child in my name and the one who contends they are the least that truly shall be the greatest.”

What should you do with someone who believes the same way you do but won’t join your club?

“Those who are not against us are for us.”

And concerning fire from heaven, he told the disciples they did not understand what Spirit they were serving, because “the Son of Man came to save lives, not destroy them.”

The Gospel of Jesus is about horizontal relationships among Earthlings.

So even if we insist that some particular scripture is true and it is being broken by brothers and sisters around us, our only responsibility is to love them.

The disciples were baffled because the disciples were religious. They never totally understood Jesus. Why?

Jesus was not religious.

He came to show us how the Kingdom can work, how Father God and Mother Nature are in unity, and how we–the children of Earth–can get along together.

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