Jesonian: Faith Without Smart Is … October 5, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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woman touching

She had tried everything, depleting both her funds and energy.

A small trickle of blood was constantly flowing from her body, leaving her weary and exhausted, threatening to take away the will to persevere. But she knew one thing for certain: long before we arrive in the tomb, we haunt the graveyard of self-pity.

So she kept looking.

One day she heard about a young man who was touted to have healing powers. Too decimated by her illness to compete with the crowds that surrounded this wonder boy, she devised a plan. She would wait until he was passing her way, and then crawl through the sea of legs surrounding him, touch the hem of his garment and in so doing, trigger her needed recuperation.

She did not allow herself to second guess her own inkling. Such a reflection would have made her doubtful, causing her to give up.

It worked.

And her healing friend told her that it was her faith that made her whole.

****

He was a Roman Centurion, a stranger in a strange land. He was hated simply for the uniform he donned. When his servant became ill, he was frustrated that there was no remedy. All the Roman and Greek cures failed to provide comfort.

He heard about a carpenter from Nazareth who was supposed to possess a linkage with God, granting supernatural powers. He sent a messenger, telling this fellow of his situation.

When he realized that the young preacher was heading his way to assist, his wisdom told him that this was foolish. There was no need to come to his house. The Centurion was deemed unworthy by the citizens, and if the healer came, his reputation would be tainted by assisting a Roman.

“Just say the word and my servant will be healed.”

The Miracle Man smiled, shook his head and replied, “I’ve never seen such great faith.”

By the way, the servant was healed.

****

A prodigal son lying in squalor and self-imposed poverty comes to himself one night, realizing that it is prideful and unnecessary to remain indigent. He devises a plan, and because his humble reasonings produce faith, he ends up being returned to his position as son.

****

A Gentile woman comes to the young prophet of Galilee, wanting her daughter to be freed from demons. She is a bit surprised that he rebuffs her, being surrounded by bigots who deemed her less than human. But rather than being offended or full of self-contempt, she instead banters with him, explaining that although the people around her believed her to be a dog, that “even the puppies get the scraps from the table.”

The Galilean chuckles. “Your daughter is healed. Your faith has made you whole.”

****

Faith without smart is fear–and fear is always the unwillingness to conjure an idea. If it is faith that makes us whole, then our wholeness is determined by coming up with our own inspiration.

Sometimes we don’t know what to pray. (In that case, the Spirit intervenes on our behalf.)

But more often, we have the brain to attain what we are blessed to possess.

For after all, intelligence is not a rejection of grace. Intelligence is grace … with a map to Jesus’ house. 

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The Box I Built … February 9, 2013

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I gave my caretakers, instructors and the adult world nearly two decades to make their imprint on my life, to prove their case. I think that’s pretty generous.

And then I noticed “now abideth faith, hope and love…” I suddenly realized in my late teens that I did not believe in my clan’s faith. It’s not so much that I had doctrinal differences as that I was completely dissatisfied with the absence of a belief system. My parents adhered to God without ever allowing the influence to permeate the corners of their minds. I wanted more than that.

I also did not favor the hopes they had for me. They wanted me to be a slightly updated version of their rendition of the American pursuit. I was not very impressed with the American pursuit. It advertised great promise, with the fulfillment of a dream, but rarely delivered the goods. I went out looking for my own hope.

In our house, I always felt “love” was a word that was set off in an emotional parenthesis–assumed, as it were. I don’t want you to think I’m being critical of their choices. My parents were raised in an era when survival was much more important than hugs. So emotion was basically drained from the experience of affection, and intimacy was only expressed following moments of crisis.

Let me explain.My father passed away when I was seventeen. About three months before his death, realizing that he was terminal with cancer, he came in the room and tried to converse with me, ending our session by reaching over to tickle me. I was seventeen years old–not really “tickleable.” I pushed him away. As I look back on it now, it probably was a point of sadness to him. But the emotion of love does need to be expressed more frequently than when you’re afraid you’re dying.

So I pursued a “reborn” identity. I chose to be born again spiritually–in a way that my family would have considered to be over-wrought and overly involved with the Divine. I rejected working at the local retail store as a means of occupation and pursued the hope of being a writer and performer, even though I was qualified for neither. And with a very limited understanding of human sexuality, I went out to find love, experimenting with the ease and ability of a blind chemist.

It didn’t all go well. But I was satisfied with my choices.

I built a box for myself. It was still a box,. I was inhibited by my childhood fears, restricted by my family’s traditions and intimidated by my own insecurities. But I still stepped out and tried things. I did some things poorly; I did some things well.

But I got away.

It’s one of the first things you learn about Jesus of Nazareth. Had he never left the home fires and the carpenter’s shop, running away from his family (which pursued him to drag him back to his duty) we would have the story of a Galilean carpenter who found a new way to refinish wood, instead of a teacher who changed the world with the Golden Rule.

Unfortunately, many people never escape the box built for them. They live with their “born” identity, making excuses for their lacking while simultaneously being defensive over their choices.

Sooner or later, you have to build a box for yourself. It is the only definition that truly fits the  phrase “right of passage.” You have to find your own faith, you have to chase your own hopes and you have to define “love” for your world.

It is the box I built.

Yet one day I realized … it was still a box.

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