Good News and Better News … December 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3525)

 

Christmas takes my breath away because it removes the stale air of predictable behavior and infuses the pure oxygen of the beauty of life.

It took a baby in a manger to address my childishness–because I am guilty of making the unimportant valuable, as I set aside the truly significant parts of life, praying in my soul that one day I will be able to give them their due.

Heft.

Yes, Jesus said there are “weightier matters” in life–things with girth, depth and breadth, which need to be addressed before all others, but are often ignored in favor of the pursuit of solvency.

It’s absolutely ridiculous.

The difference between religion and faith is that religion is satisfied to perform a service, and faith requires our full mustard-seed.

The weightier matters:

Mercy.

Mercy is not a lip-service devotion, but a proving ground, where those things that make us uncomfortable are forgiven so that we might retain human souls within the borders of the Earth.

Justice.

Escaping our family, clan, kin and even our country to catch a world-wide vision of equality within our race.

Faithfulness.

It is more than telling the truth and escaping the lie, but rather, making sure that the truth endures so that the lies don’t have a chance to gain root.

There is no season like Christmas.

There is no time during the year when “good will toward men” is considered a plausible possibility. There is no other occasion when redemption is viewed as a message rather than a human sacrifice.

The good news is that God weighs matters and gives them importance.

The better news is, if we place our concerns on the scale, we will know what value to give to each and every offering.

 

Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Jesonian: S.I.N. (Single Issue Nerds) … January 11, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2470)

intellectual gif

Judas thought it was all about poor people. We’re not certain that he really cared about the poor–just that he thought it was a confirmation of being religious.

The Pharisees thought we proved our worth to God by performing traditional worship services. They did a lot of straining and ended up with more gnats than camels.

The disciples of John the Baptist believed that people appear more righteous when they fast–especially if you can go without food and look miserable while doing it.

The Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife–either heaven or hell. In other words, it all happens here or nothing happens.

In each one of these cases you are dealing with “Single Issue Nerds”–they believe that the way one does things is more important than the motivation–the faithfulness to a practice more powerful than a conclusion.

Dare I say, they all became the enemy, or at least the adversary, of Jesus of Nazareth? His contention about true religion was that “the kingdom of God is within you.” In other words:

  • If you’re not happy, your faith is failing.
  • If you don’t have peace of mind, your beliefs are weakened.
  • And if you’re not pursuing a life of good cheer and acceptance of others, you might as well be without any kind of spirituality because you’re really just mimicking the heathens.

I see it everywhere I go–“Single Issue Nerds.” They have grabbed some bauble from the Bible and made it their beating bongo. They are obsessed with their discovery, convinced that those who do not pursue their particular issue lack enlightenment and possibly totally misunderstand the will of God.

Let us never forget that Jesus did not have a single issue. It didn’t matter who he talked to, what nationality they were, or even if the people around them thought they were hopeless sinners. He always looked for three things:

1. Are you ready for a change? People who are not willing to change will spend all their time trying to change you.

2. Can you humble yourself? Are you willing to deny your sensation of wholeness, to admit your lack?

3. Can you extend the same mercy to others? Grace is soon dissipated by the absence of mercy. For as Jesus said, “The measure I measure out to others will be measured back to me.”

You may think you have a great social gospel or that your liturgy is significantly deep and meaningful, or maybe that your fundamentalism will squeak you through the doors of heaven when others are rejected.

I suppose you might consider yourself to be progressive–where you only use the Gospel to explain your own mission statement.

But you will find that in your hour of need, your faith has to be able to set you free–because if you’re not free, you can’t free anyone else.

And if you’re in bondage, no matter how good your intentions, you will soon bind up all the world around you.

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

click above for information on 567!

click above for information on 567!

 

Five Rules of Fools… October 3, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2026)

1. Be yourself.fool

Please don’t. Just imagine what would happen if eight billion ants went off in different directions to express themselves instead of contributing to the common  hill. In no time at all, ants would be extinct. The real truth is, find your talent, multiply it in a direction that assists the needs of humanity and you will always have work, friends, prosperity and opportunity.

2. We are exceptional.

Spitting defiantly into the wind is one of the best ways to end up with your efforts thrown back into your face. Some of the first words ever spoken by God in the Good Book to a human being were offered to a future murderer named Cain. God’s counsel was simple: “If you do well, won’t you be accepted?”

Claiming that we are exceptional does not make us excellent. It astounds me that those who insist they are spiritual do not believe in evolution, and those who adhere to evolution often negate the spiritual. Evolution and spirituality are the same. The “survival of the fittest,” presented by Darwin, is an identical concept to “what you sow is what you reap.”

So you can continue to insist that “God loves you no matter what,” or you can take the scientific approach and believe that everything in the universe is biochemical, or you can blend the two and realize that we are not exceptional until we do exceptional things.

3. Stand up for yourself.

You can do that, but be prepared to be knocked down. If we live in a world where everybody stands up for themselves, the entire planet will square off twenty-four hours a day, with the potential for “wars and rumors of wars” causing our hearts to fail for fear. Somebody has to stand down, to buy precious time for insight to arrive with a fresh shipment.

4. Pornography is art.

We used to believe that pornography was the exploitation of women, and often men. But somewhere along the line, about twenty years ago, when the young actors on the TV Show, Friends, began joking around about “porn,” it became an acceptable practice and is now viewed by some as an art form. Pornography is not art. It takes women and puts them in the most demeaning positions of false submission so as to get off a bunch of misfits who are incapable of maintaining real relationships which require faithfulness and sexual commitment.

5. Men and women are adversaries.

There’s an old saying, which is still true: “You shouldn’t crap where you eat.”  If your primary relationship with another person is a source of giggling love, romantic pleasure, financial security and family warmth, it might be a good idea to avoid stirring the pot by making that other person feel less than you. It is rather doubtful that we can continue as a race if fifty percent of us are fighting the other fifty percent in a condescending way.

I do not know if there are unique emotional differences between men and women. Much of it is certainly cultural. But I do know that if we spotlight those differences, we will eventually find the process of mating and settling into a lifestyle together extraordinarily unpleasant, nasty and maybe eventually even avoidable.

There you go–five rules of fools, which cause everything from divorce to government shut-down.

You can pursue them, but be prepared to end up in the camp of those who demand attention instead of those who command it.

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Shuffled … October 28, 2012

(1,682)

Human beings love to be wanted.

I am a human being. I am not exempt from the desire.

Yet about two or maybe three times a year, a church will cancel us because some big-wig from their district office, or a presbyter, or just a guy or gal in charge, steps in and invites themselves to the church on the particular Sunday when we were supposed to be there, and we end up dumped in the weeds.

It happened this Sunday.

Fortunately, the quality pastor of the church in Columbus, Ohio, who found herself double-booked and needing to get rid of us, was kind enough point the direction towards some other possibilities, and were were able to find a lovely lady to schedule us into a replacement engagement.

I am grateful for that. I don’t like to miss an opportunity to be in a position to share my heart every chance I get. But I am also a human being and not particularly fond of being shuffled around. You do have to fight off the instinct to feel that you were unwanted by one place and only being taken by another as a favor.

This is why years ago I had to deal with the primary ego question involved in trying to do something different. That question is simple: Can I understand that people don’t want you until you make it clear that they require you?

It’s true. Even in marriage, the affection seems to die out if the passion for being together dissipates–because we just don’t make ourselves valuable enough to each other. Love is not a promise of faithfulness; love is a reaction to faithfulness and the glory of an exciting journey. We may not always like that, but it’s true.

As I thought about being “shuffled around” by two Ohio churches, I was reminded of the story of Jesus going to a Samaritan village, and due to the good testimony of a woman at a well, who had an exciting encounter with him, he was able to have quite a revival in that particular community. Yet when he came back to Samaria later on–to the very same region where he had been so beneficial and successful–the story tells us that the town fathers came out and asked him to leave.

You see, the beauty of my story is that the church in Columbus that cancelled me has never experienced my particular message and gifts, so I don’t have to take it personally. It isn’t like the story with Jesus, where the people had already been blessed by him, but on a second go-around, decided to pass.

Ouch.

Here’s what I know about being shuffled around. If you keep your cool, don’t get offended, work on your talent and what you have to share, more often than not, the place you end up seems to be better than where you were originally intending to go. I don’t know why it works out that way–maybe it’s just the way God rewards those who don’t get fussy about being stood up. But in a way, life is a lot like a game of poker. Between every hand, the deck is shuffled. Otherwise, you just keep dealing the same cards.

The question I ask myself tonight before I go and spend a wonderful morning with these new friends is: can I allow myself to be shuffled and dealt out in a new direction without feeling that I am a second-class citizen?

I really do think so.

I think the most intelligent thing we can do is realize that we become valuable to people when we bring something of value to them, and until then, we are just strangers.

So here I go, to Somerset, Ohio, being shuffled.

I guess what I’m hoping for … is a full house.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

%d bloggers like this: