Jesonian… April 15th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A Saturday many, many years ago, the beaten, bruised and bloodied body of Jesus of Nazareth lay still in the darkness of a borrowed tomb, as his spirit communed with the angels and his mind reasoned over the unfoldings of a truly abundant life.

We are not privy to those thoughts.

Matter of fact, all we know of the life of Jesus comes from four major biographers who borrowed pieces from one another, and each, in his own way, had an agenda to offer insights to please his readers.

There is no autobiography.

So we aren’t sure of the emotion in the words attributed to him. Therefore theologians decipher and agnostics disembowel the remnants of the script left to us of this magnificent life.

Yet every once in a while, we get a deeper glimpse. Such is the case in Matthew the 23rd Chapter, Verse 37-38:

“Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Thou that killest the prophets and stone them which are sent unto you. How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”

The great debate over the centuries has been whether Jesus was Jewish or whether he came, in a certain sense, to abolish Judaism in favor of the New Covenant.

If you study the writings of Martin Luther, you might begin to believe that the Great Reformer was anti-Semetic. Yet in many evangelical churches, there seems to be a return to Jewish traditions, including them with their Christian rituals.

What did Jesus feel about the Jews?

What was the heart of the matter?

First and foremost, you must understand, for Jesus to include Gentiles and Samaritans in his movement immediately made him an outcast from the Jewish religious community.

Matter of fact, the Jewish Council that condemned him to death granted him none of the courtesy that was normally extended to brethren.

The reality that Jesus did not believe that the Jews were special because they were the “children of Abraham,” but rather put forth the opinion that God “could take stones” and make offspring of Abe, certainly did not put him in favor with those of the Zionist profile.

Yet John tells us that he “came to his own and his own received him not.”

When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, he did use the phrase “we Jews.” It is the only time he did, but he certainly had a kindness and favorability for those who lived in Judea and Galilee.

But Jesus was a man of vision–the Gospel would never reach China or the Native Americans if it were left in the hands of the Jews. The Jewish people had already aggravated the Romans to the point that the annihilation and dispersion of their kindred was inevitable, if not imminent. The Gospel would only survive in the hands of the Greeks and the Romans, who would take it to the rest of the world.

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that when the early church was trying to force Gentile converts to comply with Jewish practices, the former Pharisee condemned them and called them “Judaizers” for limiting the scope and power of the message.

In the two verses recited above, Jesus announces the fate of Judaism.

It is in a coma.

It is left desolate and abandoned.

It is awaiting a day when it can be awakened and all the promises given by the prophets can be fulfilled.

But for a season, it was set aside in favor of salvation and “loving your neighbor” being shared with the entire world.

Basically, if you want to sum up Jesus’ feelings on Judaism, it’s very simple: Jesus loves them.

He just does not believe they’re “chosen people.”

There are no chosen people–just people who choose well.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … April 12th, 2017

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A Goddam Hill

I’ll bring the nails

You get the wood

The plan never fails

Who thinks it should?

He plays the hurt one

Toying with fire

Claimed he was God’s son

What a fuckin’ liar

I’ll find the place

You smack his face

Plenty of blood to drink

Never the time to think

Man lives by bread alone

We are merely flesh and bone

Shut the hell up about your heaven

First there’s four, five, six and seven

Give me that spear

I’ll stab the queer

Your putrid love

Is cursed by fear

Die today

For all the sin

Then on Sunday

Pronounce your win

Bring the whip

I’ll do the beating

Losing my grip

Passion is fleeting

Why won’t he leave me

In my misery?

Die, you feckless teacher

Alone, sucking for air

Be silent, ragged preacher

The world does not care

We are filth, a moral flirt

Squeezed together from the dirt

We are nothing but skin and trash

Shut your mouth, take the lash

We just won’t, can’t you see?

We just can’t, leave us be

Yet the stranger of Galilee

Continues to smile at me

Though wracked with pain

He will never refrain

So we murdered a King

On a goddam hill

Let his praises ring

For he trusts us still.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … February 24th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Feb 24

Come With Me

Come with me, young Nazarene

Far away from the caustic scene

To live, to share another day

Escape the voices of disarray

Before they steal your mind

And treat your soul unkind

Remember the shores of Galilee

Thoughts were fluid, hearts were free

Come away to our special place

And teach us to love the human race

For they want to eat your skin

Drink your blood, remit their sin

An aching desire to be divine

Needing wisdom, seeking a sign

Trapped in a tomb of dead men’s bones

Muttering commands, misguided drones

Just this once, follow me

Time to leave Gethsemane

Crippled, anger in their eyes

Slaves to tradition, children of lies

Messiah has come, Messiah need live

The world must receive what you have to give

Run with me, Jesus, do not delay

Don’t take the time to stop and pray

Surely this cup must pass from you

God’s will is life, this is true

Hurry, Carpenter, they’ve brought the nails

Let’s make sure their plan fails

They’ll be here soon to do it again

Make you a sacrifice for their sin

Please, oh, please, keep the message alive

And grant the Earth a chance to thrive

But you sit calmly and patiently wait

For freedom of choice to seal your fate

Death with honor is poorly stated

But life with retreat is over-rated

You waited too long, young Nazarene

Your spirit willing, theirs just mean

So they return each Sunday just about eleven

To confirm their souls are bound for heaven.

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Iffing Way (Part 6): I Quit … November 24, 2014

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If bigger

What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

He asked for a private meeting.

It is very difficult to spit out your feelings while swallowing your pride.

He was insulted. Being a fully grown man, he had been called down in front of his colleagues with no regard for his position.

It was certainly improper. If there isn’t a free flow of ideas, then there is tyranny.

Yet somehow or another he had succeeded in calming his spirit to request a moment of time with this friend who had offended him.

It was all a little silly, yet grounded in a principle which was important enough for making a stand.

Mary had no business taking such an expensive amount of ointment and pouring it out on the Teacher’s head and feet. Three hundred dollars! Did he have any idea what three hundred dollars could do to aid at least five hundred families in this poverty-stricken area?

Yet when he lodged his objection, he was tersely set aside and told that he shouldn’t criticize Mary for her deed because she was anointing him “for his burial.”

What a drama king! What burial? He was thirty-three-and-a-half years old and as healthy as an ox.

Judas could not understand why the Teacher was pulling up lame at this point instead of standing strong and propelling the mission to a glorious conclusion. It was ridiculous.

So feeling confronted, Judas had stomped out, not wanting to say something he might regret later.

Judas chose to be the mature one. But now what was he going to do? He would not play the role of the bruised puppy who had been slapped on the nose by his master.

He had been taught by his father Simon to stand up for himself–to find what was important and risk humiliation and even alienation to defend it.

Once, when he was a kid, one of his playmates had stolen some toys from him and he was in the middle of plotting for the young fellow a painful retribution. His dad stopped him, telling him never to betray his own conscience and soul, but instead, to confront his adversary and try to find terms of peace.

So Judas decided to talk to Jesus.

“Listen, I was really offended by what happened last night.”

Jesus remained silent.

Judas continued slowly. “I want us to be able to discuss this without me playing the part of the disciple and you being the big boss.”

Jesus continued to listen.

“You see, Jesus, my problem is that I don’t think we should waste money and then preach a message of taking care of the poor when we, ourselves, are squandering cash.”

Jesus sat quietly without moving a muscle.

A bit frustrated, Judas pushed on. “Are you listening to me? Do you feel what’s in my heart? Do you appreciate my opinion, or since it’s different from yours, is it irrelevant?”

Finally Jesus spoke. “What is it you want, Judas bar Simon?”

“That’s easy,” replied Judas. “I want to be heard.”

Jesus paused and then looked into his eyes. “I can hear you–unless what needs to be done is more important than your words.”

“Are you pushing me out of this?” demanded Judas with a bit of heat.

Jesus sat quietly, without speaking a word.

“Then I quit,” said Judas. “I cannot stay somewhere that I’m not respected, and my father taught me not to seek revenge or betray people just because they disagree with me.”

“Your father taught you well,” said Jesus.

“So this is it?” punctuated Judas.

“That’s up to you,” said Jesus.

“It doesn’t seem to be,” replied Judas. “It seems like you want me out.”

“No,” said Jesus. “There are just certain things that have to be in my message, in timing and in the flow. Your comments were not within those boundaries.”

Judas wanted to continue to argue but found it difficult to do so because Jesus was still warm, but no longer open.

“I guess this is it,” said Judas.

“I guess so,” said Jesus, and inserted, “I wish you well.”

Judas turned and walked from the room. He should have known it wouldn’t work out–he was from Judea and the rest of the followers were from Galilee. It wasn’t an issue of prejudice–rather, culture.

He went back home to South Judea, to Kerioth, where he settled in, started a family, but tried to keep up with the affairs and times … of the every-growing Kingdom Movement.

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G-40: Practical … September 5, 2014

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hand of JesusCrucifixion should never be discussed casually.

Damn those who study it as a theological necessity or a part of any kind of holy plan.

For after all, the idea of capital punishment isn’t particularly “capital.”

I came to live as a human. Of course, somewhere along the line, that does entail death. I guess I was hoping this would occur as an old, old man, from a mild heart attack as I was sleeping in Rome, after finishing up a spectacular revival.

Just not to be.

If God has a plan, He must desert it because He has cast his lot with humans.

Golgotha–the place of the skull. A cranium without face or brain, for that matter.

My feelings are mixed, tossed to and fro, squeezed by reality, only prohibited from smothering me by the expansiveness of faith.

The trial they put me through came to an awkward impasse–the witnesses against me constantly contradicting each other. It became apparent that I might be cleared on a technicality–maybe exiled back to Galilee.

Yet you can’t go back, can you?

What is their concern?

They say they are worried because I call myself God.

Alexander did it.

Caesar, likewise.

It’s nothing new. Whenever men gain power, they like to claim some aspect of divinity.

But see, here’s the problem: if God really has visited mankind, then why do we need religion or priests anymore? Scared the bejesus out of them.

So I stepped in and simplified their plight.

I told them I was God. I told them that they would see me one day and know I was God.

They deemed this arrogant and blasphemous. The proclamation sealed my fate.

They are killing me.

I am a reluctant martyr, a disappointed teacher, a rejected friend and a lonely savior.

I must warn them that their deeds will reverberate back to them with future consequences.

“Your house is left to you desolate!”

How can I tell them that chosen people must be replaced by people who choose?

I know this–you can’t save the whole world if you’re trying to promote one race.

So I took a haggard breath, wincing in pain.

I am trying to die well.

It is all they have afforded me.

 

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G-37: Pivoting … August 15, 2014

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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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Jesonian: 12,206 … August 10, 2014

 

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carpenter young Jesus12,206.

It’s the number of days that Jesus of Nazareth lived on this earth. Give or take a hundred here or there.

I would never be so presumptuous as to tell you that I know all the specifics of the times and dates of the life of the Nazarene. But for the sake of discussion and discovery, come along with me, and let us agree that 12,206 is pretty close.

The reason I want you to examine this with me is that six years of that life was spent in Egypt, as a boy in exile, having been threatened by Herod the Great. So for six years of his life–or approximately 22% of his existence–he was a stranger in a strange land, alienated from the people of his origin and left to discover, along with his refugee parents, who were aliens in Egypt, exactly who he was, what he could do, and survive all the difficulties associated with the process,

For twenty-four years, or approximately 71% of his term, he lived as a carpenter in a tiny village with a family of about seven people.

Only three years, or about 8% of his life, was spent traveling, sharing, teaching and interacting with people in his ministry. And only about two of those years included healing, exorcisms and resurrections of dead people. So although we consider him to be the celebrated healer of Galilee, only about 5% of his life was spent in that pursuit.

He had one night when he was arrested, about 4.5 hours on the cross of his death, thirty-six hours in the grave and forty days of life after the resurrection before he ascended to heaven.

He spent forty days in the wilderness preparing himself by challenging his appetites and being tempted.

All of those moments in his life which we call his ministry, was less than 10% of his journey.

Almost 3/4 of the time he was alive, he was Jesus of Nazareth, son of a carpenter, brother to Jude, Simon, James, with at least a couple of sisters, and with his mother, Mary.

To me, the message he left behind through this lineage of his life is:

1. Learn to get along with people.

2. Take some time to get to know yourself; otherwise you’ll enter life much too defensive to be any help to others.

3. Don’t be afraid to be a stranger because in doing so, you find out what you’re really made of and the power of your values.

4. When you do finally decide to travel, move among your fellow-humans with a heart to forgive and a desire to heal.

5. Understand that there will be those who will try to hurt you.

6. Be prepared to lay your life on the line.

7. Trust God to bring you through.

He was a human being who lived for 12,206 days, spending most of them communicating, through his life, how to better understand the people around him … and offer a helping hand instead of a critical spirit.

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