Good News and Better News … December 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Christmas takes my breath away because it removes the stale air of predictable behavior and infuses the pure oxygen of the beauty of life.

It took a baby in a manger to address my childishness–because I am guilty of making the unimportant valuable, as I set aside the truly significant parts of life, praying in my soul that one day I will be able to give them their due.

Heft.

Yes, Jesus said there are “weightier matters” in life–things with girth, depth and breadth, which need to be addressed before all others, but are often ignored in favor of the pursuit of solvency.

It’s absolutely ridiculous.

The difference between religion and faith is that religion is satisfied to perform a service, and faith requires our full mustard-seed.

The weightier matters:

Mercy.

Mercy is not a lip-service devotion, but a proving ground, where those things that make us uncomfortable are forgiven so that we might retain human souls within the borders of the Earth.

Justice.

Escaping our family, clan, kin and even our country to catch a world-wide vision of equality within our race.

Faithfulness.

It is more than telling the truth and escaping the lie, but rather, making sure that the truth endures so that the lies don’t have a chance to gain root.

There is no season like Christmas.

There is no time during the year when “good will toward men” is considered a plausible possibility. There is no other occasion when redemption is viewed as a message rather than a human sacrifice.

The good news is that God weighs matters and gives them importance.

The better news is, if we place our concerns on the scale, we will know what value to give to each and every offering.

 

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Good News and Better News… November 30th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Newnan Tree

Having spent four days with friends and family, dissecting the “outers” and innards of the seasonal bird, yesterday we found ourselves in Newnan, Georgia, fellowshipping with Kingdom folk at Cornerstone.

We had met Pastor Rick many years ago when we still called ourselves middle-aged, so it was a delight when he extended an invitation for us to come and present a Christmas show for those who would dare to congregate on this particular Sunday morning.

I do love Christmas–not only the festivity of joy and giving, but also the focus it brings to the true message of Jesus.

Although Easter affords us the promise of salvation, Christmas explodes with the thrill of heaven coming down and bringing glory to our souls.

There are two abiding messages that erupt from the birth of Jesus:

  1. Don’t be afraid.
  2. Peace on Earth, good will toward men.

In this era in human history, when people are making huge sums of money by scaring the crap out of us. and peace on Earth seems as likely as me becoming thin, it is good to remind ourselves that the only way to strive for such a condition–where fear is diminished and peace is increased–is to allow ourselves to have good cheer and feverishly chase down common sense.

I cannot tell you how delighted I was at all the enlightened souls I met at Cornerstone. Such stories they possessed–from gospel quartet singers, to engineers, to people of great diversity and struggle. Each one found a level of contentment.

It was a beautiful morning to set in motion the miracle of Christmas: new things can be born which really can change the world.

That’s the good news.

The better news is that my dear friends at Cornerstone can avoid all the rhetoric and anger of the upcoming election by keeping their eyes on those two central truths demonstrated so beautifully on that first Christmas night.

We must learn to listen to the angels of our better nature, which tell us to stop being afraid.

And never doubt that the only way we will ever achieve our purpose is to be in the camp of those who work for peace on Earth and good will toward men. 

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G-Poppers… December 26, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Popper

 

After the presents were opened, the children quickly disappeared to gather all their treasures for deep consideration of play-status preference.

An hour passes. The little ones begin to dribble back into the room. One of them asks G-Pop, “Are you sad Christmas is over?”

G-Pop: It’s not over until we say so. It doesn’t stop unless we cease to give. The songs are not silenced, waiting for another year. Bits and pieces of them are contained in every tune we sing. “Peace on earth” awaits champions. “Good will toward men” is the needed mission of every soul who chooses sanity.

The baby born stirs the child within us. The shepherds remind us that God is alive in our work. The angels recruit giddy believers, summoning the willing. The wise men keep us all chasing our dreams.

Christmas is ours and ours alone, if we will take rightful ownership and refuse to relinquish our deed.

It is a lifestyle, not a holiday.

It is yours and mine to possess … and release. 

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Prince of Pieces … December 22, 2013

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big pharisees

Little fellow, what happened?

Prince of peace

Good will toward men

Come and see

Good tidings of great joy

Welcoming working-class stiffs

Wise souls heading westward

Excited young virgin

Questing young man

Simple and free

Do unto others

NoOne is better than anyone else

Judge not

Whosoever will may come

Then … the message was altered, the guest list trimmed.

Over the passage of time, those creaky patriarchs of purposeless passages, who once provided for a wicked king insight about your life and birthing locale, so that he could go and take his evil might in an attempt to slay all innocents–yes, those notoriously negative ninnies who sit around dusty books with dirty minds and prohibit gentleness to permeate the cause, indeed, religionists crept in and gradually ate away at the peacefulness of the baby and replaced it with the growling, garbled language of self-righteous philosophers.

Of course, such self-proclaimed notables are never satisfied with one another, so discussion became debate, which raged into a debacle and devastated everything once laced with good cheer.

Even though you told them to “remain as one,” they defiantly disintegrated into hundreds of pieces, holding fast to their own traditions, proclaiming them to be the commandments of God.

What happened, sweet baby?

Where is your holy loneliness?

Where is the message of hope?

Why is it replaced by doom and gloom?

Are we the light of the world?

Or are you the only beam provided?

Are we the salt of the earth?

Or do you deem us tasteless?

Prince of pieces

I fear, young heart, that we no longer listen to the angels of our better nature

Or follow the star in the sky

As you spoke to an aged, cranky Pharisee so many years ago, warning him of his loss of identity and true heart, I must tell you, Babe of Bethlehem, with all the gentleness I possess and humility of my soul … you, too, must be born again.

 

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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Sameness… December 24, 2012

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It was a time when the world was engrossed in a raging debate over taxes. The most recent Caesar was deliberating on how to maintain the integrity of his empire, keeping it from falling off the current “fiscal cliff.”

Poverty was everywhere. It was gnawing at the flesh and the innards of ever-increasing numbers of common people, who were only able to muster complaints over the sheer magnitude of lack.

Kings were concerned about maintaining their power, ignoring the needs of mothers and children in order to maintain the supremacy of their positions.

Zealots roamed the terrain, performing terrorist acts against perceived injustice–all in the name of their favorite gods.

Religion, having stalled in its own inadequacy decades before, was trying to discover new life through regulations, restitution of historical moments and rigid application from the pages of dusty scrolls.

The cultures were segregated. Some say it was done so that the traditions of each group of people and their customs could be honored, but more often than not, the separation just created misunderstandings and blockades to communication, sprouting feelings of superiority.

Nations were rising against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms.

It is into this environment that God inserted Himself in human flesh as a baby–birthed in obscurity.

As I sat over a meal last night with the lovely members of my family, I looked around and realized that they were an intelligent lot, filled with creative energy, but still sheep heading to the slaughter of the sameness of “olden times.”

For today, we suffer from the same conditions that greeted the Messiah. We are trapped in the inflexibility of men’s wills and purposes. We extol our differences and tout our uniqueness, never having a chance to absorb deeper fellowship through commonality. We have trapped ourselves in religious and political upheavals that threaten our future, overemphasize our past and leave our present stalled–void of purpose.

I suppose I could tell you that some things have changed. We have computers, which quickly inform us of our disjointed status. We have penicillin to heal diseases (until those same infections discover ways to outsmart our drugs). We dress differently, if not better. We drive cars instead of camels and we eat with knives and forks instead of our fingers.

But the main demons that possessed our society all those years ago remain intact, having survived all of our attempts at deliverance.

I have decided not to join the melee. I resist all attempts by the masses to deem me odd,  not slithering into the present pit of lava. I have decided to shepherd the sheep that are sent my way, simultaneously listening for the angels of my better nature. I am trying to gain wisdom as I look to the skies. And I travel the earth as a student of discovery instead of a know-it-all.

I am not interested in taxes and I’m quite intent on avoiding kings. I may appear to the common man to be insensitive as I move in and out of cultures, seeking similarities instead of accentuating differences. And most of all, I find my source of worship and meaning in barns and mangers instead of sanctuaries and the halls of Congress.

Call me weird.

Most of the world slept through the night some two thousand years ago, wondering how things could ever get better when everybody seemed content with them remaining bad. It took a child–and it will take a child in each and every one of our hearts–for us to birth peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

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I’m One of Them … November 26, 2012

(1,711)

He was very serious.

It was the kind of somber, cranky style that gives me the creeps. Maybe it’s the furrowed brow. It could be the long pauses between sentences to connote deep thought in the process of excavating some powerful piece of truth from a private cavern in his brain. I don’t know. I just don’t like it.

Here’s what he said: “The trouble with people of faith is that they like Christmas more than Good Friday–and unfortunately, our world is geared more to the latter.”

I turned it off. For you see, I was watching another talking head on TV expound upon his particular revelations–to sell a new book. When did smart become so complicated? Why can’t smart be simple? Why do we have to establish our preeminence through the surrender to sullenness?

I said to myself, I’m one of them.

Yes, I am one of those knuckle-headed “people of faith” who’s a sucker for a good baby-in-the-manger story over the mauling of a human being on a cross. Shoot me. Or better yet–cover me in tinsel.

I don’t like Christmas better than Good Friday because I’m stupid and vacant of a world vision. I like Christmas because it’s the only time of the year when we actually focus in on what Jesus really came to do instead of commemorating what he ended up accomplishing. I love Christmas because it tells us that God was smart enough to realize that commandments, voices from mountains, burning bushes, and even prophets were not getting the job done.

The message of Christmas is that God became human because human beings only speak and understand that language.

When I was a blessed man yesterday and had a chance to perform in front of the inspiring Tennesseans at Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church, I could see it in their faces. Written all over their beautiful countenances were the words, “Tell us something good.”

Even though my friend on the TV would probably call them shallow or ill-prepared to handle the tribulations of the world, I truthfully have never seen anyone who’s more prepared for battle simply because they wear armor.

So here we go–into another Christmas season. I’m on my way to North Carolina to tell people, without apology, that Christmas IS better than Good Friday.

And if we will take this season and learn the message of the angels and start spreading a little “peace on earth, good will toward men,” maybe by springtime a few less brothers and sisters … will end up crucified.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

I’m One of Them … November 26, 2012

(1,711)

He was very serious.

It was the kind of somber, cranky style that gives me the creeps. Maybe it’s the furrowed brow. It could be the long pauses between sentences to connote deep thought in the process of excavating some powerful piece of truth from a private cavern in his brain. I don’t know. I just don’t like it.

Here’s what he said: “The trouble with people of faith is that they like Christmas more than Good Friday–and unfortunately, our world is geared more to the latter.”

I turned it off. For you see, I was watching another talking head on TV expound upon his particular revelations–to sell a new book. When did smart become so complicated? Why can’t smart be simple? Why do we have to establish our preeminence through the surrender to sullenness?

I said to myself, I’m one of them.

Yes, I am one of those knuckle-headed “people of faith” who’s a sucker for a good baby-in-the-manger story over the mauling of a human being on a cross. Shoot me. Or better yet–cover me in tinsel.

I don’t like Christmas better than Good Friday because I’m stupid and vacant of a world vision. I like Christmas because it’s the only time of the year when we actually focus in on what Jesus really came to do instead of commemorating what he ended up accomplishing. I love Christmas because it tells us that God was smart enough to realize that commandments, voices from mountains, burning bushes, and even prophets were not getting the job done.

The message of Christmas is that God became human because human beings only speak and understand that language.

When I was a blessed man yesterday and had a chance to perform in front of the inspiring Tennesseans at Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church, I could see it in their faces. Written all over their beautiful countenances were the words, “Tell us something good.”

Even though my friend on the TV would probably call them shallow or ill-prepared to handle the tribulations of the world, I truthfully have never seen anyone who’s more prepared for battle simply because they wear armor.

So here we go–into another Christmas season. I’m on my way to North Carolina to tell people, without apology, that Christmas IS better than Good Friday.

And if we will take this season and learn the message of the angels and start spreading a little “peace on earth, good will toward men,” maybe by springtime a few less brothers and sisters … will end up crucified.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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