Good News and Better News … October 17th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-essexville-window

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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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 3) Go Before You Come … May 15th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

Monday, between 10:00 A. M. and 2:00 P. M., twenty-three calls came into the Garsonville church.

Two were positive.

The other twenty-one fell into three categories:

  1. “Our family has sat on that same pew for three generations.”
  2. “I don’t think it’s good for us to sit so close together, especially during flu season.”
  3. “It’s a free country. No one’s gonna tell me where I can sit.”

So it was no big surprise when the next Sunday rolled around and fifteen less faithful attended the worship service.

Once again, they were handed a half-sheet as a bulletin, and the information was much the same, except that this week’s thought was taken from Matthew the 5th Chapter, verses 23-24.

After the requested hymn, “Stand Up for Jesus,” was sung, the pastor pulled up a chair, sat down, and addressed the congregated.

“Thank you all for being here. Thank you all for being faithful. Thank you all for remaining close. God wants His house full. From where we’re sitting, it looks pretty stuffed. There’s plenty of room to the rear, but that is a matter for the leading of the Spirit and time.

But the next thing that makes us a ‘Jesus church’ is found in Matthew 5:23-24.

We have to stop believing that coming here is about worshipping God instead of honoring God by how we fellowship, enjoy each other and how we treat our brothers and sisters.

In this little piece from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes a very simple point. He says don’t smugly come to church if you know there’s somebody who’s angry with you.

He doesn’t say it’s about us being angry with them. But sometimes other folks get mad at us. We don’t always understand why, so we hope it blows over, or even pray that they’ll grow up.

Church is not about God. It’s about people.

So in a few moments we’re going to have a season of silence with our heads bowed. I want you to do something for me–actually, for yourself. If you know there’s somebody who’s upset with you or if you have an unresolved conflict, or you’ve heard that someone is offended, I want you to get up from your seat, and before you go home, stop off, see them and make your peace, so when you come back here next week you will be reconciled with them and you’ll have a great story to share.”

It would be difficult to describe the collective expression on the faces of the gathered. Although they comprehended Meningsbee’s message, application seemed a little awkward, or maybe even intrusive.

Yet when silence ensued and heads were bowed, twelve people rose to their feet and departed the sanctuary to find the soul that was miffed.

When the rest of the folks opened their eyes, Reverend Meningsbee asked if anyone had a testimony of how reconciliation had already been achieved.

There were four shining examples, a closing prayer, and everyone was on their way.

Although it was a very tiny group that still remained, there was a warmth, gentleness and simplicity in the hearts of each one–with a tear or two in view.

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Ask Jonathots …December 24th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Do you think it would be a good thing for the United States to have a woman President? Why or why not?

With no disrespect to your question, the issue of the Presidency of the United States has nothing to do with gender or race.

It requires a leader who represents all the people in all ways possible, keeping an eye on better choices which will progress our humanity.

It shouldn’t matter if it’s a woman, a black, a gay person or any particular inclination.

There are four things I think are necessary to consider in selecting a leader of the United States–a champion for our cause and a motivator for the free world. Is he or she:

1. Idealistic enough to pursue the heart of the Declaration of Independence instead of merely discussing the mechanics of the Constitution?

Let us never forget that the Constitution originally insisted that black people were less than whole individuals. But the Declaration of Independence said that all men were created equal. Without this kind of idealism, we will begin to believe that maintaining the status quo is ultimately better in order to keep peace.

2. Able to endure suffering.

If you’re going to be the President of a diverse nation, a certain percentage of those people will be angry with you at all times. To secure the freedoms and rights of a minority does risk being attacked by the majority.

3. Living a life of good cheer.

I’m not talking about being able to tell jokes at an expensive dinner. I’m speaking of a sense of joy about one’s own life and expressing great hope that things can become better instead of always focusing on the next torpedo which just might sink our dreams.

4. Non-partisan.

Our country is neither conservative nor is it liberal. We require the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, who refused to accept dividing the country simply because the North did not understand the lifestyle of their Southern brothers and sisters.

If you show me candidates who possess these four attributes, their genitalia does not matter, but rather, their gentleness. 

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