Jesonian … December 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A day in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Although most theologians would like to focus on the 24-hour period leading up to his crucifixion, the Gospels do offer us other examples. One of the primal outlines is found in Matthew, Chapters 12 and 13. You may feel free to read it–I will not tax your spirit or patience by parsing it verse by verse–but there are six things that become clear from perusing the story line.

1. Jesus was not a theologian.

His disciples walked through a field of corn, and even though it was forbidden by religious edict to eat it–especially on the Sabbath–they partook. Jesus defended them to the Pharisees, who were ready to leap upon the activity to prove the unworthiness of Jesus’ Kingdom movement. During this exchange, Jesus makes a profound statement: “The Sabbath is for man.”

It is geared for us, in order to replenish, rejuvenate and renovate our thinking.

2. Jesus was not a rabbi.

He strolls into a synagogue and disrupts the service by healing a man with a withered hand. He is accosted for this untimely interruption, and replies, “Each one of you will save a donkey from a trench, but you won’t do anything to help this fellow.”

Yes, Jesus was guilty of interrupting the flow of worship.

And contrary to the common patter:

3. Jesus was not a Jew.

Not only did he break the Jewish laws, taunting them in doing so, but we are informed that he was a voice, a spirit and a teacher in whom the “Gentiles could trust.”

Even though his proximity to Jerusalem might generate the assumption that he was a Son of Abraham, he made it clear that he was around “before Abraham.”

Shall we press on?

4. He was certainly not a traditionalist.

The religious leaders believed he was satanic. They swore he was casting out demons by the power of Satan. Of course, none of them could cast out a demon, but Jesus made it clear that he had come to destroy the works of the devil and that they needed to be careful not to mock the moving of the Holy Spirit just because it was inconvenient to their case.

So Jesus is not a theologian, a rabbi, a Jew or a traditionalist. And by the way:

5. Jesus was not a family man.

When interrupted by his mother, brothers and sisters during a time of ministry (because they wanted to take him home, thinking he was crazy) Jesus turned to the crowd and claimed them as his new family.

Yes, Jesus might find it difficult to be in a church service, welling up over allegiance with people simply because of shared DNA.

So as Matthew describes a day in the life of Jesus, when he defies theologians, upsets a rabbi, walks away from Judaism, breaks traditions and sidesteps family involvement, he ends the discourse by establishing who the Nazarene really was.

For the Master sat down and told a story: “The sower went forth to sow seed.”

6. Jesus is a sower.

He’s not concerned about isolating off perfect soil, but merely casting the seed in the direction of any possibility.

A day in the life of Jesus will let you know that his message was human, geared for humans, addressed to humans, human-friendly and human-saving.

He discarded religion in favor of the reality of those souls God sent his way.

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Catchy (Sitting 15) Being … September 24th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jubal Carlos lived among the immense homeless population of Las Vegas, Nevada. He, himself, was not homeless. Matter of fact, he was a percussionist who was much in demand on the strip for his talents. National acts would even procure his services to add some “spice” to their musical “nice.”

His specialty was congas. People in the audience often commented that he was a one-man show, using nearly every part of his body to strike the drums, creating amazing tones.

But when the concert was over and the other musicians headed off to their suites to eat and drink, Jubal stepped out into the night air and headed to the land of the unwanted.

He had purchased an old airport limousine, removing all the seats, which left just enough room for four mattresses. Every night he walked the street until he encountered three different souls he felt would benefit from an evening in his makeshift motel. He welcomed them, fed them a little food, talked of the good things in life and slept side-by-side with them.

In the morning he gave each one of them five dollars for breakfast, went back to the casino to his room (which they provided for him), took a shower and got ready for rehearsals.

He stood six feet tall, about two hundred pounds, with black hair which had turned a mysterious crimson and amber from time in the sun. He sported a beard which was just short of unkempt, wore baggy Hawaiian shirts and tight-fitting bell-bottom jeans.

He was a walking anachronism–a throwback to a former time, when simplicity was regaled as holy.

Matthew Ransley made a trip to Las Vegas to see Jubal.

Sister Rolinda had mentioned him in a passing conversation, and Matthew was curious to encounter such a creature who was so ill-suited for the jungle.

He first went to hear Jubal play his congas, and afterwards requested a time when they could sit and talk. Jubal was suspicious. Many reporters, budding authors, film-makers and entrepreneurs had crossed his path, trying to turn his story into their personal gold mine. He always resisted.

Jubal viewed himself as a practical man who was given the ability to have much, but because he didn’t need much, could do much. It was a magnificent formula for happiness.

Matthew saw Jubal’s reluctance, so quickly capsulized the purpose for his request for a sit down, explaining a little bit about the two hundred and fifty million dollar proposal. Jubal’s face lit up with a grin which quickly turned into a giggle.

“Yeah, I’ve heard about this crazy scheme.”

Matthew was a little unnerved. Neither the word “crazy” or “scheme” seemed a favorable take. “Just fifteen minutes. That’s all I ask.”

Jubal contemplated. “The reason I hesitate, Mr…what was your name again?”

“Just call me Matthew.”

Jubal grinned from ear to ear. “I love Matthew. It may be my favorite Gospel–mainly because it contains the Sermon on the Mount, which is still the most radical manifesto ever spoken to human beings.”

Matthew nodded, pretending he was keeping up. Jubal continued.

“As I was saying, Matthew, it’s not that I consider my time so valuable or that I feel I’m better than anyone else. It’s just that what I do is so personal and important to me that I don’t want to lose it in a flurry of fake interest.”

Matthew smiled. “Well, I can tell you, Jubal, my interest is not fake, and I haven’t seen a flurry since the great snowstorm of 1978.”

Jubal laughed, agreeing to meet with him the next day.

But Matthew had a little bit of the investigative reporter in him. Even though he was impressed with Jubal’s talent and somewhat convinced of his sincerity, he decided to put on a disguise and follow him around the rest of the day.

Rehearsals, a sandwich for lunch with a bowl of chicken noodle soup, more rehearsals, time in his suite to clean up and get ready for the show, the show, and then, all at once, Matthew lost him.

Matthew had assumed Jubal would join the rest of the band backstage for deli trays and shop talk. He didn’t.

So believing the story about the homeless, Matthew headed off to the area of town where the ignored souls were relegated a place. He asked around about Jubal. Most of the folks were tight-lipped, suspicious. But with the aid of a twenty-dollar bill, one fellow told him the location of the limousine motel.

Matthew had no idea what he was going to do when he got there. He certainly didn’t want to interrupt, but he did want to experience. So when he was about twenty paces from the limousine, he got down on his stomach, crawled the rest of the distance, and cuddled up to the back door, where he could hear what was going on inside.

Actually, it was not much. A quiet hum of conversation, a few laughs and then everyone fell quiet except for the voice of Jubal Carlos.

Jubal explained to the other three souls who had been invited to his little palace that he was going to offer a very brief devotion.

“When we woke up this morning, none of us knew we would be together this evening. You know what that tells me? Life is uncertain. Life is not that different from a game of chance you might participate in down at one of the casinos. I’ve lost plenty of money gambling on what might happen. I need to tell you that I believe in Jesus. I don’t believe in Jesus because I’m religious–I believe in Jesus because he’s the only person in all of history and all time who believes in everybody. He doesn’t like the Jews better than the Germans and he doesn’t like the casino owners better than you. I thank you for joining me in my little escape capsule, but I want you to know, you’re not forgotten. And the Jesus in me loves you, and the Jesus that could be in you loves you more.”

Suddenly there was the sound of a man weeping. Jubal obviously moved to comfort him, but the whispers were too soft for Matthew to hear. It was time for him to leave.

After crawling away, he stood to his feet and nearly fell over. Matthew was shaken.

For you see, Matthew had found Jesus.

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Taxing the World… December 17, 2012

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Jon Signing

Let’s assume the story is true. For the sake of today’s essay, let’s agree to believe that the tale told by Matthew and Luke in their gospels is factual.

Caesar decided to tax the world. There’s always someone trying to do that. We live on a globe that is continually bombarded by frustrated individuals who feel that one more annoyance, one more trial, one more war, one more evil or one more excess isn’t going to make any difference one way or another. They are deliverers of straw for the backs of camels–never quite sure if this present shipment is going to break all of our backs.

They are just people who tax the world. They don’t bring anything to the party–they just fuss. They extol the virtue of “debate” and perfect it to the greatest levels of dissension, all in the name of a cause which rarely is developed because there is no time left over for progress. That part of the story makes sense to me–Caesar taxing the world.

Then there are people. Good-hearted, yet not good-natured folks, who end up spending all of their time bitching about the taxes. They try to free themselves of the bondage to the latest Caesar but because they are always complaining about the actions of the government or the mis-deeds of the disenfranchised, they openly admit they’re at the mercy of these merciless politicians and ne’er-do-wells. So Caesar bewitches and the mass of humanity…well, “we bitches.”

It is a nasty, immovable gridlock of meaningless conversation lending itself to deadly delay, opening the door for tragedy to slip into the back windows of our lives because we are too busy discerning the unchangeable. Yes, there are those who tax the world and there are those who bitch about the taxes.

So it was over two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, Judea. It seemed that the most important thing going on was the present affliction being levied on the masses by the Romans, who were trying to raise money to pay for a war in Britannia against the Angles and the Saxons.

And then there was a handful.

In the moment, they seemed meager–a carpenter and his pregnant, besmirched wife, arriving too late into town, not having made preparations for lodging and ending up stalled in the stable; shepherds who certainly wanted to complain about taxes, but found themselves interrupted by more angelic possibilities and needing to make a choice, and wise ones from the East, who were probably mocked by their neighbors as star-gazers with their heads in the clouds, who evidently were completely oblivious to Caesar’s latest imposition.wisemen under star

Yes, there were a few people who decided to birth a new idea.

It is a lesson for all of us. For I will tell you bluntly–CNN and FOX News don’t care one whittle that I write a daily column on the Internet, that I was able to reach tens of thousands of people this year through my travels or that I am recording a new album of music. They are following the latest story of “whoever is taxing the world.” They are also quite interested in those who want to bitch and complain about how over-taxed the world is by problems and difficulties. If you want to send in a tweet or email lamenting some evil in our world, you might get your twelve seconds of fame flashed across the bottom of the screen.

But just as it was in our original story back in Bethlehem, those who are trying to birth a new idea are relegated to obscurity and stuck in a barn somewhere.

But also, just like those so many centuries ago, you have to decide whether you want to be there for the birth, whether you want to worship or whether you want to be one of the wise people.

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