Jesonian … October 7th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It is nearly impossible to be Jesonian–a true follower of the heart of Jesus–without fully comprehending that there are two Gospels. Shall we name them the “Galilee Gospel” and the “Jerusalem Journey?”

It is the reason theologians struggle with the message of Jesus, finding themselves complicating it so that the dual approaches can co-habitate within one faith. But it’s an error to do so.

Jesus had one message but two missions. His two missions were:

  1. To bring the message to fulfill the love
  2. To present himself as the doorway to fulfill the law

In Galilee he talked about life–abundant life. He lived with his disciples in joy–fully. He spoke of God as a Father and all of us as brothers and sisters. He explained the dangers of anger and lust. He clarified that the things we do to other people are recorded as actions performed to God. It was human–everyday fodder for feeling and believing.

But to fulfill the Law of Moses and welcome the Children of Abraham into his mission, he labored among the stringent, inflexible Jews, trying to reason with them and gather them together under a new understanding. These religionists had “jot-and-tittled” themselves into frantic insecurity about the purposes of God, and even, to a degree, agnosticism about the existence of Jehovah.

The Jerusalem Journey was filled with thinking, musing, mulling, wondering, questioning and attempts at compromise. It was a futile effort to afford political correctness to a manifesto meant for the whole world, and not merely designed for one hundred miles of landscape in the Middle East.

Did Jesus know that the Jews were going to reject him?

Did Jesus know it would end so badly, with his execution on a cross?

You can debate that all you want, but we are certainly aware that he reached a point where he had to relent to the conclusion that you can’t “put new wine into old wine skins.”

The problem in today’s church is that we focus too much on the Jerusalem Journey and don’t thunder the celebration of the Galilee Gospel.

Too much musing, too much debate, too much thinking and too much meditation.

It’s time for us to return to the Gospel of Galilee, when life was abundant and joy was full. It’s an easy message to remember: go, do, give, be.

  • Go unto all the world.
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  • Give and it shall be given unto you.
  • Be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.

Such a message offers redemption for failure, while simultaneously providing exhortation to challenge indifference.

There is a danger that we in the church will stall–trying to fulfill the law instead of fulfilling the love.

Stop thinking so much about it.

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Good News and Better News … October 17th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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An explosion.

When an atomic bomb strikes Earth, those within a 25-mile radius are annihilated. The other folks who survive the initial blast are left behind as victims of a radioactive fallout that drifts from the skies, absorbed into the bloodstream, producing a delayed, miserable demise.

On November 9th, all the “bombing” that has been done by this Presidential election will be completed and we will have a new leader. There will be some cynical laughter from pundits about how “nasty” the campaign was and how good it will be to get back to normal

But it won’t be normal.

good-news-essexville-jon-mouthThe fallout from this mayhem will follow us and haunt us, creating tiny little tombs in our consciousness and interactions.

This was heavy on my mind yesterday–as I became the blessed soul allowed to share his heart at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Essexville, Michigan. Being the beneficiary of a warm embrace of welcome from Pastor Eric and the congregation, I realized that very soon these precious human beings will have to emerge from the bomb shelter of this contentious season of politics, and try to resume mission as followers of Jesus.

I hope they will be aware enough to notice the symptoms from the poison that remains after such a cataclysmic event. Because our country will struggle for some time–to regain gentleness, kindness, awareness and love.

All of these necessary virtues have been challenged during this back-and-forth exchange between the political parties, taunting us into believing that such tenderness is a thing of the past, insufficient for achieving modern goals.good-news-essexville-piano

So knowing that we’re going to have a couple more weeks of the bombardment, let us start protecting ourselves–making sure that the fallout does not poison our hopes.

1. Let’s be gentle.

“I think about how it feels for other people before I do it.”

2. Don’t forget kind.

“I’m always looking for a way to bless.”

3. Awareness.

“I’m not alone on this planet, so it’s a good idea to bring two of something–just in case my neighbor forgot.”

4. Loving

“I take the time, energy and intuition to rid myself of the fear that makes me ill-prepared to be a contributor to the common good.”

good-news-essexville-janMuch thanks to the folks in Essexville.

But like your namesake, Dr. Luke, you need to be prepared to be healers.

So the good news is, the strafing is nearly over.

The better news is: we will survive the fallout through gentleness, kindness, awareness and love.

 

 

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