If Jesus Were in Charge… January 4, 2015

pastor Jesus big

  • Religion wants to worship God.
  • Hope wants to find God.
  • Faith wants to see God.
  • Love wants to share God.

Church is becoming an exercise in futility because man was not created to worship. Worship was created so man could revel with the joy, love, faith and hope that pulsate within. It is a chance to express the hope to find God, the faith to see God and the love to share God.

But how do we do it? What would a church service be with Pastor Jesus?

If you read the Gospels closely, the answers are pretty clear, at least to this pilgrim. Every time Jesus got together with people, there was some sort of transformation, victory or healing which occurred. People felt they could come with their illnesses, insufficiencies, questions and frustrations and not have to wait through an entire service to have them addressed.

Yes, I believe church should begin with prayer, hugs, words of encouragement or even just a good cup of coffee. We begin with a season of healing–heart, soul, mind and strength.

I think if Jesus were pastor of a church, next would come testifying. Those who have been blessed, healed or rejuvenated get a chance to share their hearts. Others who have had dynamic weeks can express gratitude for intervention.

So once people have been healed and given a chance to speak out as part of the family of God, then it’s time to teach. Instruction is motivated at this point. Healing and testifying have been accomplished, so we have the opportunity to explain the mind of our heavenly Father, and offer better ways for us to get along with each other.

Healed, testified and taught, we are anxious to celebrate. Let the music begin. I don’t know why we expect people to sing their way into a good mood. Music was meant to produce emotion and praise–which normally follows an experience.

And finally, after celebration, we give. We close out the service providing finance–as each one has prospered throughout the week.

It was the style of Jesus to heal, open the door to testifying, teach the masses, celebrate the message and then allow them to give of their substance so the work could continue in the next village.

Church has become a commemoration, when it was meant to be a combustion–stoking the fire of belief so it can burn brilliantly.

If Jesus were in charge, church would be about people instead of causes, concerns, committees or even communion. Will we ever see such an opportunity come our way?

I guess when we finally grow weary of being pious and become wary of being godless.

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Jesonian: Order of Importance… June 1, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesus in a fieldThere is the smell of “stale God” in the air.

It stinks.

The odious cloud has risen from a thousand misunderstood scriptures, ten thousand meaningless sermons and a million converts sitting around thinking that saying a prayer or munching on Holy Eucharist does anything of lasting quality.

Maybe it’s just this American attitude that everything is important, which makes us end up giving undue attention to the least effective path to progress.

I will tell you this–I’ve read the Gospels many times, and it doesn’t take much perusing to discover that Jesus had an order of importance when it came to human living. It may astound some of the faithful to discover that he doesn’t give prominence to prayer, fasting, church attendance or Bible reading. He assumed that we should just do those things on our own time, without any pomp and circumstance, to help us energize the things that are important.

From my discovery, these are the five that keep us alive:

1. No one is better than anyone else.

I remember when I was ten years old, I sat down and picked out my favorite army men. After that I never played with the others. I lost out on some great toys. The same thing happens when we pick our favorite people.

2. Don’t judge people.

Drawing conclusions makes ugly pictures and jumping to conclusions always lands you in a mud puddle.

3. “Give and it shall be given unto you.”

If you happen to be going through some lean times, you might want to fatten up your generosity. Human beings are led by example.

4. Don’t be a hypocrite.

Nobody expects anybody else to be perfect. But we do require honesty about faults.

5. Go the second mile.

Life is not meant to be easy; otherwise, lazy people would soon be in charge. It’s in the second mile of effort that we discover the treasures of our own perseverance and the mysteries of human life.

I can guarantee you that whatever afterlife awaits us will have little to do with piety or sanctimonious practices. But if you pursue these important things, you will find that whatever is awaiting us is merely a continuation of the joy we have found in our magical five.

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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Don’t Plant What You Won’t Eat … March 10, 2012

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It’s all about finding the right tree.

Every Wednesday morning, I slip away for three hours–just to have some time with paper, pen and my soul, to muse over ideas, feelings and consider the situation and ongoing progress of one mortal named Jonathan Richard Cring. I climb into my van and drive to a shopping area with a parking lot, find a nice tree and park beneath. I open the windows a little bit to allow air in to refresh my brain, and more importantly, I welcome my thoughts in the spirit that is within me–to show me some of the highlights of my heart, and perhaps even expose some foolishness in my mind.

While so perched last Wednesday, a young Hispanic man came and stood next to my vehicle. I thought he was about to ask me for some sort of assistance, when instead, he bellowed to another fellow across the parking lot, asking that gentleman for sixty cents for bus fare. The man refused. I turned around to look and saw that the individual he had beckoned to was also Hispanic. Thinking I was going to be next in line, I reached in my wallet to provide some immediate help to my friend. But instead of asking me, he turned on his heel and quickly walked away, disappearing into the horizon.

It perturbed me. It didn’t take me long to realize that the reason this fine ,young man resisted asking me was that he had literally sized me up as a fat older white guy, who was probably going to give him more grief than change. I moved from perturbed to pissed. There’s no other word for it. It just made me angry that we live in a society where boxes are provided and it is expected that the good citizenry will climb within the enclosure, discover their assigned seating and occupy space.

I don’t work that way. I was frustrated that a political, religious and social structure in this country forbade this young Hispanic man from feeling the liberty of sponging off of all races equally. I mean, if you’re going to beg, why become picky? So I was a little angry at him, too.

It’s so ridiculous that we continue to subsist in a less than productive environment, surrendering to the “standards” around us without ever stomping our feet and refusing to participate in the farce. I am not a fat older white man; I just resemble one. I am not a conservative–I am not a liberal; I am not religious just because I love Jesus. But how can you communicate that in a marketplace that works off of five-second sound bites and subsists on You Tube videos?

In the midst of the brawl taking place in my brain, the young man reappeared in the near distance, walking away from me at an angle towards a nearby store. He was about twenty-five yards away, but certainly going a different direction. I had to do something to break the spell. I rolled down my window and  yelled. “Hey! Com’mere!” I motioned with my hand for him to come my way.

He stopped, peered at me–and I know a hundred different scenarios must have run through his mind about what this invitation might mean. So I motioned again, and this time he slowly and cautiously ambled my way. He arrived about five feet from my door, not willing to come any closer, and said, “What do you want?”

“Did you need some help?” I asked.

The mere word “shock” would not describe the expression that crossed his face. He still was not convinced that my motivations were pure, but was so overwhelmed by curiosity that he tentatively replied, “Uh … yeah. I need sixty cents for the bus.”

So I reached into my wallet, pulled out two one dollar bills and handed them his way. “Here’s sixty cents for the bus and a little something to buy a drink to make the ride more refreshing.”

He stared at the money for a long moment, as if wondering if it were going to explode. Then he gingerly reached, took the two one dollar bills and said, with a bit of tear in his voice, “Thank you.”

I punctuated. “Hey, listen. You came by me and asked a guy across the parking lot for money because … well, I guess because he looked like you. I guess we old fat white guys can be intimidating and maybe a little bit cranky. But every once in a while, keep in mind that God is wearing a mask that doesn’t resembles what we think.”

I don’t think he totally understood, but the two dollars in his hand helped to clarify the point. He thanked me again and was off about his business.

I am tired of living in a society that sizes up the world around it and decides how everything should be. Here, let me say it aloud:

  • I don’t know how everything should be.
  • I don’t know whether what I think is right or wrong.
  • I don’t know if half the things I believe will sustain the test of time.
  • I don’t want to be mistreated, so I try never to do anything that resembles or is motivated by a foul attitude.
  • Here you go–I don’t plant what I won’t eat. It’s foolish. If you hate corn, don’t plant corn. And if you hate to be judged by other people, do yourself a favor and never judge anyone.
  • If you hate scrutiny, stop scrutinizing.
  • If you despise boring conversations, cease to contribute your boring, repetitive notions.
  • Don’t preach what you can’t prove. Stop using the Bible–or any other book of morality–to justify why you believe in things that you basically don’t even follow yourself.
  • Don’t teach what you don’t observe. There’s nothing more hypocritical than an English instructor using bad grammar.
  • And finally, don’t take what you haven’t given. If you’re known to be a stingy sort, always make sure you have prepared for rainy days with good provision, because you sure don’t deserve to ask anyone for anything. But if there is the possibility that you might become vulnerable, then it’s a good idea to sow two bucks to an Hispanic kid who thinks you’re just an old fat white guy.

There is nothing more simple in life than merely treating other people the way we want to be treated. And there is nothing more complicated than trying to apply two sets of rules–one for yourself and another for those who pass by.

It was a good Wednesday morning. I didn’t jot as many things down on my paper as I inscribed into my heart, reaffirming once again:

Don’t plant what you won’t eat.

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Got a question for Jonathan? Or would you like to receive a personal weekly email? Just click my email address below and let me know what’s on your mind! jonathancring@gmail.com

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

A Certain Amount… January 29, 2012

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From Miami, Florida
It takes a certain amount of doubt to allow faith to achieve its full potential. Without adding the element of searching, our quest for belief will often stagnate in repetition, making our attempts at worship pure vanity.
 
There must be a portion of sadness in order to achieve joy–for until we drain ourselves of tears in the nighttime hours, allowing ourselves the needful luxury of lamentation, we will speckle all of our efforts with flecks of unintentional intimidation, removing the possibility for liberating abundance.
 
We even need hate to bring love to fruition. Without teaching ourselves to despise the fear that holds us back from our true power, we will compromise with less affection, meager commitment and tepid embraces.
 
Dare I say, though, a certain amount of fear is necessary to usher in true bravery. Knowing when to stand and when to move–when to express your sentiments and on what occasions to remain silent–is the true wisdom of courage. For after all, ignoring “Goliaths” is usually the better life choice for “Davids.”
 
You will discover that “taking” is also the initiator of a lifestyle of “giving.” Because wishing that you had more does not provide the sustenance for those in need. There certainly is a season in our lives when we need to acquire so that we can truly express greater heights of generosity.
 
There is a certain amount of asking that leads to receiving, a certain amount of seeking rewarded by finding and a certain amount of persistent knocking that finally causes the doors to be opened.
 
For, my dear friends, every emotion is like a vitamin. Each vitamin can serve as a medication. But a medication, if improperly prescribed and ingested, can become a poison. How can we know what to do? What gives us the wisdom to determine the dosage?
 
Ah, you see?  It takes a certain amount of spirit . . . to create life.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

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Getting and Giving — October 23, 2011

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It probably really IS that simple–we get so we can give.

Some of what we get is for ourselves; some of what we give out is also for ourselves–to take care of our basic needs. We hope that our “get” will be large enough that we can increase our “give.” But those two words have an interesting prefix to them which affords a greater spiritual understanding. It’s the prefix “for.”  FORgetting and FORgiving–even though we would insist that forgetting has nothing to do with acquiring something and we might be hard-pressed to prove that forgiving has anything to do with imparting a tangible substance. But when you put it in context, getting DOES need a “for” and giving could use the same. 

The only way I can really get anything in my life is by abandoning that which has proven to be extremely unsuccessful  and reaching out for something that has greater capabilities to match my talents. Most people are unable to forget because they’ve stopped getting–and they’ve stopped getting because they’ve continued the same dissatisfying practices that have garnered no productivity. The first time I hit my head against a wall and the wall doesn’t fall over, it should be safe to assume that the tenth time will not be any more workable. But stubbornness is considered to be a virtue when actually it’s just a way of making repetition seem noble.

In addition, very few of us learn to be forgiving souls unless we learn what giving is for.  Giving is to get rid of the excess we really don’t need. If we feel like we’re in a constant state of need, perpetually frightened that we’re going to lose what we have, then giving will be out of the question. The same thing is true with “forgiving.” There are really three things necessary to find out what giving is for–or to generate forgiving.

1. It is highly likely that someone is going to offend me. We need to stop acting surprised when human beings bump up against each other and some bruising occurs. There are just too many different styles for us all to end up viewing “stylish” the same way.

2. People have a right to offend me. Probably the most useless phrase in the human realm of speech is, “How dare you?” The fact of the matter is, you not only dare, but often are absolutely delighted to do so.

3. The only way to guarantee that I will have a chance to survive in my everyday life is to release you from your responsibility to meet my needs. People are not here for me. People are not encompassing the planet for my pleasure. People are selfish–and as soon as I understand that, I can stop trying to hide my own selfishness and set aside some time to make sure they have adequate opportunity to meet their own requirements.

Forgiveness is not a holier-than-thou attitude, piously looking over at someone and saying that although they have wronged you, you are ready to move on, beyond the pain. Forgiveness starts long before any wrong occurs. It is a philosophy that knows that interaction with other human beings will inevitably lead to a combination of pain as well as pleasure. Therefore, prepare for both.

Likewise, forgetting is not attempting to ignore unpleasant matters in your mind, but instead “getting” by reaching forward to new things, knowing that we have a small attention span and as along as we divert it to other activities, it soon will not recall the previous misadventure. No one remembers anything as long as they’re replacing it with something else.

So there is really only one bad way to live in this world, and unfortunately, lots of people find it. They stop “getting” because they forget what creativity is for. It is a distraction–to take us away from activity that has proven to be non-beneficial and into worlds where we can excel. So the absence of teaching excellence is the presence of regret, resentment and frustration.

To achieve “giving,” we must find out what it’s for–because FORgiving is budgeting in human frailty and disappointment instead of constantly being shocked when your fellow-man falls short of the glory of God.

It’s all about getting and giving–but you have to know what they both are for.  Forgetting is always knowing that the best way to get a bad taste out of your mouth is to quickly insert something sweet. Giving is being intelligent enough to know what it’s for–because the only thing I want to have in the realm of giving is control. In order to have control, I must plan for the fact that human beings are going to be in need and are capable of hurting me, but as long as I am aware of that I can deflect the pain and offer absolution.

It’s all about getting and giving–but you can’t forget without reaching.  And you can’t forgive without planning.

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Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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