Jesonian … September 30th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesonian-cover-amazon

It had been a day of storytelling.

Launching out into a boat so that the audience on the seashore could hear more clearly, the young teacher, formerly from Nazareth, had shared great yarns about faith–three in particular.

Taking an ethereal subject, he translated it into the human and earthly. It was what he did best. He had no intention of having followers with heaven on their minds–not when there was still so much to do here on earth.

The first story was about a sower. The lesson was really simple. The seeds of hope, love, contentment, joy and even confrontation have to be sown–whether the inhabitants of Earth received them or not. You just never know what patch of soil might sprout promise.

Another story was about how to showcase faith. It really is not a private matter–it is something that needs to be shown forth, demonstrated, put on a candlestick so the light can fill the room.

And then there was that closing story that finished out the day. An inspiring one. “Faith is like a mustard seed…” In other words, it may be small, but its original girth does not foretell what it will eventually be. Don’t despise small beginnings.

At the end of the day this young teacher, Jesus, decided he wanted to go on a late-night sail across the sea to the other shore. It was a family aatmosphere, and so other folks who had been moved by the message decided to join him on the journey. Jesus had a big boat but those who followed him were in little ships. Exhausted, Jesus grabbed a pillow and headed to the back of the boat to get a snooze on the way across.

Then the atmosphere changed. (It nearly always does.) Into a quiet, peaceful night, a storm arose–a big one. The waves began to splash into the boat.The disciples were frightened. All the stories of faith dissipated in the presence of this threat. They screamed at Jesus, asking him why he didn’t do something. Why didn’t he care that they were dying?

Every teacher in the world will understand his feelings at that point. What is the purpose of sharing a lesson if no one applies it?

But Jesus had other concerns. This was no time to put the disciples to the test to see if they could survive their anxieties. Because, you see, there were other little ships. And if the big boat was in trouble then the little ships were in desperate straits.

So Jesus calmed the storm–not because he wanted to appease twelve frightened men in a big boat, but because he was concerned about the little ships.

Jesus was always sensitive to the little ships. Matter of fact, he made it clear that if we don’t take care of the “least,” we’re really not in fellowship with him at all.

We’ve lost our hearts for the little ships.

Storms come to our country and ravage the land and we scream to the government to help us rebuild our houses. Meanwhile, the least of these–the little ships–aren’t even getting water and food to survive.

I spent three days this year locked up in a hot house, sweating, my brain fried because I had none of the conveniences of which I was accustomed. I was fit to be tied.

In Puerto Rico, it’s been many,many days without food, water, cooling and relief.

Can we care about what’s happening to the little ships, or are we only concerned for our own losses and perishing?

That night, terrified disciples were saved because Jesus took care of the little ships.

I suggest that if we find the little ships in our lives, in the process of doing so, all the boats will be brought safely to the shore.

 

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Good News and Better News … August 15th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Bauchman name tags

Name tags hanging from a peg board

 

 

Bauchman treat table

Coffee awaiting the faithful

 

 

 

 

Bauchman door windows

 

Beautiful mahogany walls with colored glass

 

 

An old-fashioned radiator, Bauchman radiatorreminding us how long the church has been established

 

 

 

 

Bauchman stained glass window

 

A skylight, welcoming the sunshine from the heavens

 

 

 

 

Another Sunday morning in America.

This time, it is Baughman United Methodist Church in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

Busy folks.

The morning announcements took ten minutes–just to cover the expanse of activity and planned events.

Matter of fact, if I were evaluating the church in America as a whole, I would conclude that it is an extremely proficient organization.

Here’s the problem: the church that Jesus came to “build on the rock” through his words and the essence of his life was never meant to be an organization. He punctuated this by saying, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

The Jesonian church is meant to be an organism.

Here’s the difference:

  • An organization needs plans.
  • An organism needs food.

And although we are meticulous in the religious system to organize, put in place and promote a series of determinations, these plans themselves offer no nourishment to the starving souls trying to find their best-seated positions in the back of the sanctuary.

The church is an organism because it’s filled with people, and people need:

1. Emotional food

Yes, we require a diet of “love one another”–and all the awkward situations that produces.

2. Spiritual food

Living our lives out, finding what is real and then discovering where Jesus dealt with it in his earthly time, and studying his insights on the matter

3. Mental food

Challenging all the opinions of our youth and renewing our file with ideas that are edifying to the people around us instead of alienating them.

4. Physical food

Honest to God, we need to eat together. Jesus said “as oft as you do eat together, remember me.”

We’re better people when we’re eating. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of having a restaurant on site at every church, so on Sunday we could file out of the service to a dinner table, where we could discuss what had warmed our hearts as we fill our tummies.

The good news is that the Baughman church was filled with delightful, enterprising and searching human beings.

The better news is that if we stop approaching Christianity as an organization, we might be able to feed the organism of faith … and change the world.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… December 31, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn 12 31

I v. You

I want more

Less is available

I am beautiful

Others, insist plain

I can sing

Where’s the audience?

I can love

Find the loveable

I am happy

Keep sadness away

I am lonely

Are you home?

I am valuable

See my worth

I am white

You have color

I am believing

You question me

I am laughing

Stop your mourning

I am crying

Cease the show

I am hungry

Fed, see more

I am earthly

You are heavenly

I am religious

You are irreverent

I am prejudiced

You are sensitive

I am weary

You are well-doing

I am here

You are there

I am absent

You are available

I am tired

You look exhausted

I am ready

How about you?

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G-37: Pivoting … August 15, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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 Morton's saltMarching down the hillside in Galilee, bubbling with excitement, feeling wonder, hope springing “earthly,” being granted an insight into the common soul, I was overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment.

For the first time, the Creator had gained human lips to speak to human beings about human affairs.

Honestly, there was not a whole lot to say. I covered it in twenty minutes.

Three main points–a trinity of cohesive ideas to generate a sense of blessedness:

I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

  1. All of you are the salt of the earth.
  2. We are a family through faith.

I was thrilled with the message, but even more enthralled with the reaction of the gathered as they found it to be understandable and exploding with authority.

Could it be this simple?

Could it be that the human population was just waiting for a chance to hear words that could be easily translated into actions?

Yet arriving back in the mainstream of life, I soon realized there would be an attempt to thwart my optimism with need and greed.

Yes–the perpetual need of those who were sick, hurt, impoverished and disenfranchised; and the greed of those who wanted to keep them that way by using religion, politics, commerce and bigotry.

Lepers and Pharisees.

For every step forward I was able to make in communicating to the brothers and sisters around me, I found myself corralled by the ongoing frustration of the needy and the indifference of the greedy.

So here I was–human–caught up in the same emotions of jubilance and despair which permeated the lifestyle of those I had previously viewed from my position above. Now I, too, was party to their bewilderment.

Was it going to be possible to win them over through reason and thought … or would more drastic measures be required?

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Do You …?… July 28, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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eyes

Do you care?

Do you have a way to help?

Or do you feel the need to push your agenda?

I woke up this morning with these three questions percolating in my mind.

Emotionally:

Can I be more honest about the extent of my real commitment instead of making too many promises which cause people to glow with enthusiasm at first, and then, when I fail to deliver, just burn out?

Spiritually:

Do I believe in a caring and helpful God who lifts burdens instead of loading the heavens down onto frail, earthly shoulders?

Mentally:

Do I realize that my training and experience are a beginning of understanding instead of the summit of knowledge? Degrees from universities eventually must translate into some degree of common sense.

Physically:

Can I package and present myself well without competing in an ongoing beauty contest or centering in on the differences in others?

Being valuable means possessing value.

It involves care and help with a minimal agenda.

  • Does my God care?
  • Does He help?
  • Is He locked into an agenda that sounds righteous in a heavenly board meeting that isn’t very practical on the assembly line?

Three questions.

Great questions.

To question is to care.

 

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Arizona morning

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god-awful … January 4, 2013

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jon holding up Bible

Sticking ones head into a book brings a very limited scope of possibility, even if it happens to be the Good Book.

I need to realize this on my 2013 quest to become more childlike in my faith. One of the worst ways to believe is to have a screwed-up concept of God. You would actually be better off having no God at all than having a god-awful one.

A childlike faith tells me that above all else, if I’m going to continue to believe in God, I need to understand the importance of disregarding anybody who wants to make Him awful–and that’s by either definition–awful in the sense of “filled with mystery and wonder,” and also awful in the aspect of having a really bad attitude and not liking anyone.

Here are the three things I know about children in relation to belief. Children require comprehension. You can tell them stories, but you’d better be prepared to answer questions about your little tales. The minute you tell a child that there’s a God, he or she will ask you three quick questions. (1) Where is God? (2) Who made God? and (3) Why doesn’t God do more to make things better?

Even a six-year-old knows that you are confused and avoiding the issue if you answer each of those questions with, “We don’t exactly understand–and that’s why they call it faith.”

So in my childlike mind for 2013, I answered those questions–really simply.

1. Where is God? Everywhere, especially in and around those who are ready to meet needs and have needs.

2. Who made God? God is a Spirit, and therefore, He blows toward the next point of need, so probably somewhere along the line, God made God because there was a need to do so.

3. Why doesn’t God do more? We return to our premise–God is a Spirit. He has a heart and a soul, seeking out people with minds and bodies who are willing to become God to the people around them.

The second thing I need as a childlike believer is to know the difference between Jack and Jonah. Jack and the Beanstalk and Jonah in the whale sound very similar to an eight-year-old mind. I do not try to explain to myself why Jack climbed the beanstalk and destroyed the giant. I also do not try to explain to anyone whether Jonah actually spent three days in the belly of a whale. The message I got from Jack and the beanstalk is that magic beans just bring more trouble. And the message I get from Jonah and the whale is that running away from the needs of your fellow-human beings does not eliminate the pain.

The reason we’re losing young people to agnosticism is because we want them to laugh off Jack and the Beanstalk, and revere Jonah in the whale. Good luck with that.

And finally, children need to be told that faith in God is the pursuit of an earthly heaven. Keeping a child’s mind in the clouds is an invitation to making him or her lazy, indifferent and non-productive. My childlike faith demands that I understand and apply that I am here to see God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven.

So to review my three notions:

  • God is a Spirit.
  • I don’t plan on debating whether Jonah lived in a whale, but rather, intend on retrieving the powerful message of the tale.
  • And finally, I will not wait for heaven to see heavenly things done. I will use my life here on earth to simulate my own desire.

There you go.

It begins with rejecting all religion and theology that is god-awful. Get your head out of the book, start looking for the Spirit of God, don’t argue about the Bible, and bring a little bit of heaven down to earth.

You will become a child–ready to romp and play in the Kingdom of God.

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