Jesonian … August 11th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3761)

Astonished.

It is the word that Saint Matthew selected, in his Gospel, to describe the reaction of the audience which heard Jesus of Nazareth share the Sermon on the Mount.

Some synonyms for astonished:

  • Shocked
  • Confounded
  • Bewildered
  • Astounded
  • Flabbergasted
  • Startled
  • Stunned
  • Dumbfounded
  • Blow your mind

Astonished is a word that combines impressed and alarmed.

It is the way Matthew perceived the mood of the hearers.

He added that they felt that Jesus had more “authority” than the scribes. As you probably know, the scribes were not the Pharisees. The scribes were the local ministers in charge of writing and reading the Law of Moses.

The style they imparted in sharing those ancient words was: read, said, dead. When the scribes read, they said what was exactly there–as dead as they possibly could, so as not to add too much flavor.

So as you can see, it was not a roaring accolade, to say that Jesus exceeded the knowledge or enthusiasm of the scribes.

The importance to the verse is that the people departing that day were “astonished.” What do people do when they’re astonished?

On the way home, as the afterglow disappears, they begin to pick at the corners of great ideas until they disassemble them, convincing themselves that these principles are implausible.

How do we know this is true?

Most of them do not follow Jesus down the hill, but instead, go to their homes, where they justify their disbelief.

Meanwhile, Jesus, who has just delivered the most radical, truthful and practical message ever heard on Earth, descends the hill, and is greeted by one leper, who asks for healing–who had probably missed the sermon.

After twenty-two years of traveling with my dear friend Janet Clazzy, to thousands of churches, I will tell you this:

It is very possible to stir up a congregation, and even their local shepherd, to the point of astonishment.

You can raise dead spirits that haven’t been alive since Grandma and Grandpa sat in the pews.

You can get people to clap, think, react, smile, and even do their best impersonation of loving one another. But you can’t go home with them.

And home is where they rationalize all their present actions–to avoid the horror of repentance.

*****

If you like the mind of Jesus without religion, buy the book!

                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

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

Donate Button

Advertisements

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 1st, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3752)

Come, My Children

by Jonathan Richard Cring

Come, my children, let us greet

The rumble we hear on the street

Tear down the walls of religious tradition

Take a look at the human condition

Bring the drum, start the beat

 

Then let us dance to the sound

Of understanding spreading around

Love your neighbor is the scheme

Living out Brother Martin’s dream

May the blast of brass abound

 

Jimi arrives with his lick

Jesus comes and heals the sick

Love blends jazz to soul

A song celebration is our goal

 

Who am I in this holy jam?

An honest heart

I am what I am

In a climate of physical fitness

Can I get a spiritual witness?

 

Ease on down in the Muddy Waters

Bring your sisters and your daughters

‘Tis the season for the news

Race escapes into the blues

 

Gospel created the rhythm and rock

Join the festival on our block

Hometown boy is back today

His hair sporting a streak of gray

The shepherd seeking a groovy flock

 

So count your measures and blessings, too

The joyful noise is coming to you

 

This week’s reader is James, who lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, and shares his music, labor, love and ministry to everyone he meets.

*****

Enjoy today’s PoHymn? Buy the book!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

             $9.99 plus S&

*****

Donate Button

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

 

Catchy (Sitting 58) Sand Building…. July 22nd, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3741)

Shifting.

A gradual erosion of confidence among the populace about the once-favored “Jesus movement.”

It was difficult to know where it started. Perhaps this loss of faith was just a trait of the human race–just no longer able to tolerate goodness.

Although folks insist they are in pursuit of “peace on Earth, goodwill toward men,” they still continue to huddle around the television set to hear of wars and brood over body counts.

A movie–a parody–was released by Hollywood, entitled “Dullsbury.” It was supposed to be a gentle poking of fun at the Soulsbury experience. The premise was that the government and the elite of New York decided to isolate all of the “stupid people” and place them in a huge camp in Upper State, telling them they had won the lottery. For some reason, it didn’t occur to the “winners” why the settlement was called “Dullsbury” and had streets named “Retard Lane” and “Brain-Dead Boulevard.” Yet attempting to maintain some sort of evenness, the Hollywood ending to the motion picture was that many of the people who deemed themselves to be intelligent packed up their belongings to go live in the simplicity of Dullsbury.

But the message was clear: good is cool, but bad is hot–and the majority of the American people like their burritos caliente.

Things were further complicated when Michael Hinston was indicted on suspicion of breaking campaign finance laws and taking a bribe.

Jasper also ran into problems on his comedy tour. In trying to explain the evils of racism, he used nasty words like “nigger, chink and wetback,” causing an uprising leading to cancellations. Liberals everywhere denounced his offensive terminology.

Not to be outdone, Jubal was recorded at a rally in Egypt saying that “it was up to the Israelis to come to the peace table in good faith, and compromise.”

He was immediately dubbed anti-Semitic. He refused to retract his statement, and so became the subject of great debate on talk shows.

It wasn’t an uprising–it was a deterioration.

Like so many things that happen in life, it simply took the steam out of a heated movement and turned it lukewarm.

The two surviving graces were Jo-Jay and Carlin. Both stayed faithful to the cause. Jo-Jay kept marching in the same direction with her boots on the right feet. And Carlin continued to counter the cynicism and scandal with humor and humility.

But pretty much single-handedly, he took on the brunt of communicating the mission with little reinforcement coming from anywhere–especially Las Vegas.

Matthew completely checked out–whatever interest or intrigue he once had for the project was gone.

He pursued a love affair with an oboist. He studied her. He played her. He leaned his feelings in her direction.

Day and night he thought of new ways to pleasure her in the bedroom, and when he wasn’t thinking of sexual techniques, he was remembering the ecstasy he felt when he was in her arms.

He was smitten.

He was old enough and smart enough to know it wasn’t love. He certainly could have called it by that name, but he knew it was actually an advanced dose of infatuation, mingled with personal affection.

But it was all about the sex.

Over the past year, Matthew had indulged in so much intercourse that he had forgotten what it was like to be sexually entwined–what it meant when someone kissed you deeply without fulfilling a checklist, racing toward orgasm.

The relationship between Matthew and Leonora would have been perfect if they never had to leave the bedroom. But even though the joy between the sheets was exhilarating, both of them struggled during their conversational times to make it seem purposeful, or perhaps, meaningful.

Interaction was awkward–especially since Jasper and Soos had dropped in, and it was obvious that Leonora possessed a hostile profile toward all things divine.

Matthew was not so inclined. He didn’t hate God–he just wished that God would move to the other side of town, and not frequent the neighborhood shops. He didn’t want a world without God, but he wanted no God in his world.

Unfortunately, he felt compelled to follow the energy of Leonora’s atheism. To compromise, he stopped taking all phone calls from his cohorts on the front lines of the Jesus campaign. It was his way of tipping his hat to Leonora’s aggression, without shaking his fist at the sky.

Carlin, realizing he needed to have contact with Matthew, flew into Las Vegas. But even though they found themselves in the same building, Matthew was careful to avoid placing them in the same room.

There was no meeting. There was no agreement.

Carlin felt that the weight of the calling shifted to his shoulders, and he was ill-prepared to play the part of “Chief.”

In despair, frustrated and angry, Carlin headed back to the airport to return to Washington, D. C., to meet up with Jo-Jay and try to find a way to still “go into all the world” and share the Gospel.

As Carlin stood in the security line at the airport, two gentlemen in black suits, white shirts and black ties approached him on his right and left sides.

Lefty whispered in his ear, “Would you please come with us?”

Carlin looked to his right and then back to his left and realized he was wedged between two mountains of male humanity. He thought it best not to make a scene. He was led down the thoroughfare, through a door. A private jet stood ready.

Safely out of the airport, Carlin began to struggle with his captors. They were too strong. He shouted, but the roar of the jet engines covered his screams. In no time at all, the two hooligans physically lifted Carlin and carried him up the air steps and into the Learjet.

They dumped him into a large, comfortable seat.

Carlin quipped, “I sure hope this flight has a meal. So far the service sucks.”

 

Donate Button

The producers of Jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation for this inspirational opportunity

Catchy (Sitting 46) Liary… April 29th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3658)

Carlin Canaby was the only son of Joshua and Myrtle Mensterhall, itinerant evangelists who toured the south, holding revival meetings in Southern Baptist churches.

Carlin was born in a tiny town in Mississippi and by the time he was two years old, was singing “Jesus Loves Me” to congregations to help promote his father and mother’s ministry. He was as cute as a button, but became more and more unfastened as he got older, and was privy to the hypocrisy of the whole process.

His mother and father were often cheated out of offerings, as churches insisted there was some errancy in the message which caused them to dock the payment. But more often than not, there was no explanation at all–just a paltry sum handed over after fourteen days of work.

This never seemed to hamper Joshua’s enthusiasm to “preach the Gospel to every living creature.” That is, every living creature unless they were black, Hispanic or involved in some untoward practice viewed as heinous by the religious system he revered.

Carlin’s mother, Myrtle, had the personality you would expect from someone named Myrtle. She was nervous, uptight and deathly afraid of anything that resembled a germy speck of dirt. She played just enough piano to accompany Joshua’s incompetent singing.

The pair had very little appeal, and even though revivals were scheduled to last for two weeks, they were often cut short due to lack of attendance.

Still, everything went along reasonably well, with biscuits, grits and gravy provided by the local churches, until Myrtle became involved with Reverend Rudy. Reverend Rudy was a chunk of a man, with a girlish giggle and a prancy walk. He loved to lean down into the faces of young boys and ask them what they wanted to be when they grew up–with a big whiff of tobacco bouncing from his breath.

Carlin didn’t like him. He especially found him distasteful when he walked into the room and discovered that Reverend Rudy was very interested in his mother’s groin. Rudy pretended to be dabbing off some imaginary coffee which had spilled on her lap, but it was obvious to the thirteen-year-old Carlin that there was more going on south of the border than picking cotton.

Sure enough, 24 hours later, Reverend Rudy and Myrtle announced their intentions to pursue a life together, just as soon as a quick divorce could be acquired from Joshua Mensterhall.

Carlin’s dad was devastated. He had lost a wife, a piano player and an accountant to try to keep the wheels of the Gospel somewhere in the middle of the dirt road.

And even though Joshua was not the unfaithful one, word spread that he was “a divorced man,” so the revivals lined up for the future canceled, one at a time.

Myrtle made it clear that she didn’t want the boy, so Joshua took Carlin, and for a season they were homeless, panhandling and street preaching.

One day an old black gentleman named Carlton Canaby happened by while Joshua was pontificating to passers-by on a particularly difficult passage from Jeremiah. The Negro gentleman asked him what he was trying to accomplish. Matter of fact, they decided to have coffee together, careful not to enter any restaurant, but instead, getting styrofoam cups from the local gas station, and heading for a nearby park.

Joshua poured out his heart to Canaby, who ended up being a reverend himself, with the National Baptist Church. (This was the Negro outgrowth from the Southern Baptist.) Pastor Carlton decided to invite the pale preacher in, to hold a meeting. Even though many of the parishioners at Pastor Canaby’s church objected to a white man preaching–especially one teetering in an adultery situation–the friendly pastor insisted, and Joshua and Carlin were scheduled in for a two-week revival, complete with eats.

Joshua was horrible. Being a white man raised in the south, he thought himself superior to those he was teaching. On the third night, a young man in the congregation rose to his feet, interrupting the sermon time and said, “You don’t know much about colored folks, do you?”

Those in attendance burst into laughter and Joshua stood, red-faced and defensive. Canaby came forward, easing the tension, and said, “Our brother is here to learn, to heal, to grow and to be himself without apology.”

For some reason, this touched the heart of Joshua Mensterhall. He burst into tears and fell on his knees, pleading to the heavens with an anguished cry. The congregation surrounded him and the true revival began.

It lasted for two months, until one night, after the service, Pastor Canaby was abducted by some angry white men in a pick-up truck. They did not approve of mixing races, so they took Canaby into the woods and hung him from a tree. Fortunately for Reverend Canaby, they had twisted the rope too tight around his neck. It caught on his shoulder muscle, which sustained his life until others arrived and cut him down.

But he was never the same. Perhaps it was the lack of oxygen from the hanging, or just a good old-fashioned dose of fear. He retired into his own soul, where he seemed to receive some comfort.

Shortly thereafter, Joshua died.

Carlin was made a ward of a missionary family named Richardson. They were traveling on mission to Equador. Carlin hated every minute of it. He nearly burst in anger, waiting for his eighteenth birthday so he could run away and start his own life.

When he did, he rejected the name “Richardson” and “Mensterhall,” and took on the name “Canaby,” in honor of the brave dark man who had befriended a bewildered white minister and his frustrated son.

Since that time, Carlin had made it his life work to expose hypocrites with his organization, “Liary”–which was defined as finding a way to tell the truth in the most pleasant way possible, without flirting with the lie.

Carlin had recently received a phone call from a notable businessman, asking him to intervene in the Jubal Carlos campaign, to assist by softening some of the blows of disapproval that were coming over assumed scandals.

This is what brought him to the hotel, where he found an extremely defeated Matthew Ransley.

Matthew immediately liked Carlin, but Jubal Carlos was quick to express his disfavor. Jubal didn’t like anything associated with lying–even if it was an attempt to prevent its severity.

Matthew found himself in a war: one in his heart, his soul, his mind and the excesses that were gradually eating away at his body.

He thought to himself, I wonder how Carlin would spin my life? What positive things could he find that would sweeten my tale?

It was obvious there was a transition coming. Would it take them deeper into the discovery of Jesus, or just make them another clever organization with a hint of charlatan?

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation for this inspirational opportunity

Jesonian … April 7th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3635)

Every story is better told and more effective when the facts are allowed to line up in a reasonable order.

Such is true of the Gospel of Jesus.

Theologians spend so much time proclaiming him the Son of God that they lose the fragrance and uniqueness of the Son of Man. In an attempt to make the tale “super” they lose all of the “natural.”

The average person going to church is deluded by an array of facts which just don’t add up to a crucifixion.

One of those great misconceptions is that Jesus was extremely popular. There were certainly occasions when his crowd appeal spiked, but it always revolved around three stimuli:

A. Was he doing miracles?

B. Was he feeding people?

C. Did it look like he was the Jewish Messiah?

Whenever the populace became convinced through these three “signs and wonders” that God was going to save them from the Romans, they rallied around Jesus. Whenever it was obvious that he was intent on sharing a more universal message which included people that were not Jewish, they slipped away.

Let’s look at some facts:

1. Jesus was rejected by his home town, Nazareth, and never able to return again. Not only was he ignored, but threatened with death–dangled from the edge of a cliff.

2. Even though Jesus held a great revival in Samaria with the testimony from a woman at a well, when he returned to the city, he was forbidden to enter by the town fathers because they found out he also ministered to the Jews.

3. When he fed the 5,000 in Galilee, the hordes followed him for a while–until he told them this was not a food pantry, but rather, that his words and life were the message they were supposed to “eat.” They all departed–except for the twelve.

4. Over and over again, interest sparked with the Pharisees, but when Simon, one of their number, invited him to a special meal, the Pharisee snubbed Jesus and treated him like an outsider.

5. After the resurrection, it is recorded that over 500 people saw Jesus–witnesses of the miracle. But on the Day of Pentecost only 120 remained. Kind of a drastic drop-off.

I guess we feel the need to believe that Jesus was greatly appreciated by the people in his generation, and taken to be crucified only by a handful of powerful critics.

It’s just not true.

We are told that most of the time he dealt with twelve disciples–and he focused on three of them, to be the core leaders. We have some idea of the size of a normal following of Jesus when the scriptures let us know that he sent seventy out to share in his name.

If you are trying to give credence to the message of Jesus by pointing out how enthralled the Jewish community and the Roman oppressors were, then you will be sadly disappointed when you read the actual accounts of his mistreatment and the number of individuals who desperately tried to ignore him.

We’re even told that John the Baptist’s disciples did not believe in him.

Jesus had a model. It’s very simple: Develop a hot core of followers and let them radiate the message.

Nowadays we are so eager to build up numbers in the sanctuary that we fail to build up people. Jesus basically spent three-and-a-half years working on twelve human beings.

  • One of them betrayed him and killed himself.
  • Another denied him, and was prepared to leave the work.
  • Yet another one doubted that a resurrection was possible.

Do not despair–Jesus suffered the same slings and arrows of human apathy that you and I encounter every day. He just had a great system. So when he left the planet, there was a handful of people who knew what he taught, knew what he stood for and were prepared to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to give them the power and insight to take the Gospel to the whole world.

*****

Like the mind of Jesus–without religion? Buy the book!

                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

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

Donate Button

Jesonian … March 17th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3614)

Setting the stage:

Jesus is in the beginning of his ministry. Fresh. Optimistic. Sharing high-sounding principles to what most people might consider a low-brow audience.

One day he is interrupted by the arrival of elders from a near-by town. They are Jewish leaders. The strange thing about the situation is that they have been sent by a Roman Centurion to intercede on the behalf of his servant, for healing.

The elders waste no time. They interrupt Jesus, testifying about the quality of the character of this Centurion.

“He is a friend of our nation. He even built us a synagogue,” they tout.

Most Romans were considered by the Jews to be conquering terrorists–not that different from ISIS in our day. So for the elders of a Jewish town to bear testimony for a Roman Centurion was not only peculiar, but inspirational.

Jesus drops what he’s doing and heads off toward the servant.

Then another strange thing happens. The Centurion rethinks his position. He obviously has a keen mind, and realizes that if Jesus enters his home–the domicile of a Roman–he could ruin his ministry for all time. It would be a disgrace to be in the house of a Gentile, and Jesus would be considered unclean.

So he suggests that Jesus just say the word, proclaiming the healing. The Centurion cites that he lives by commands all the time.

Jesus is astounded. Jesus learns from him, and says he has “never seen so great a faith in Israel.”

So Jesus says the word, and the servant is healed.

It’s a beautiful story. It lets us know several things.

1. The Gospel is not a Jewish Gospel.

2. It is possible for people of all races to get along as long as they show respect to one another.

3. The power in faith is in always simplifying your belief instead of complicating it.

But let us consider a possible scenario:

Such a man as the Centurion certainly, in three year’s time, moved up in promotions. Because he got along so well with the occupied people, he would be very valuable to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. There would be a very good chance he would end up in Jerusalem.

In the Holy City, he would have been given authority and respect, and placed in charge of difficult situations–maybe a predicament like carrying out a capital punishment during Passover week–because we are told that there is a Centurion at the cross.

Just for the sake of discussion–what if it was the same man? What if he arrived at his job early that morning and discovered that he was supposed to escort a prisoner to Golgotha–three of them, actually–and crucify them before six o’clock that night?

What if he was shocked to find that one of them was Jesus, the young man who had healed his servant three years earlier?

What should he do? His heart is torn apart. Yet to try to rig an escape would be complete death for Jesus, himself and many other innocent people.

What is left to him?

The keen mind is set in motion. The Centurion realizes they’ve already taken Jesus and beaten him, and that the Temple guards had cruelly mistreated him. There’s only one thing left for him to do–a single mission to honor the one who healed his servant. He tries to make the end easier.

After all, somebody gave the command for Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross.

Someone allowed John and his mother, Mary, to be near the foot of the cross to listen to his words and encourage him.

Someone kept the soldiers from tearing his Jesus’ apart, and instead, gambled for it–with him possibly winning the prize.

Someone knelt down, and as they nailed his hands, tenderly looked in his eyes, to comfort him.

Somebody asked them to be careful when they dropped the cross in its place.

Somebody grabbed a long reed and put vinegar and medication on it for him to drink when he was thirsty.

There was compassion at the cross.

And if it was the same Centurion, he did the best with what he had, to make things better than they might be.

Maybe that’s the definition of faith–doing the best with what we have, to make things better than they might be.

And when the Earth shook, the skies darkened and Jesus took his last breath, could it have been the same Centurion who looked up at his friend on the cross, and said, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”

*****

Like the mind of Jesus–without religion? Buy the book!

Jesonian   $7.99 plus shipping and handling

                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

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

Donate Button

Good News and Better News … March 12th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3609)

“There’s blues in the pews.”

A quiet resignation to what is deemed to be an acceptable despondency: “Just a few more weary days and I’ll fly away.”

Motivated to only share a Gospel that gets us to heaven while maintaining a cultural grouchiness on Earth, the church is not ready to tear down the gates of hell.

Instead, the American church spends too much time tearing down one another. Congregations often act like they’re in the middle of a mine cave-in, where there’s a shortage of oxygen and those around them seem to have too many nostrils.

Abundant life and an existence filled with joy seem to be Biblical promises of a coming kingdom instead of the Kingdom of God, which is declared to be within us.

There’s blues in the pews.

It won’t do any good for us to ignore it. There’s no reclamation by refusing to discuss the problem out of political correctness. After all, there are some subjects we are not supposed to broach. For instance, it’s not proper to complain that a funeral is too long nor that Grandma’s Thanksgiving turkey is too dry. And it’s completely unacceptable to insist that for some reason, this year Santa Claus was too cheap.

But if we are willing to quietly consider the situation, we could come up with three realities which create some of the blues in the pews:

1. This is what we do.

Even though the Bible says “the Lord’s blessings are fresh daily,” we continue to warm up leftovers and pass them off as new recipes.

2. This is who we do it with.

We get to know each other too well. It invites criticism. And because no fresh blood is being infused, we “clot up” in disrespect and confusion.

3. Simultaneously, we are defensive about how it is done.

It may not make us happy, but “God bless America, we’re gonna keep on doing it because we’ve always done it this way.”

There will be blues in the pews until we realize that church is not meant for God–it’s meant for His people. It’s a place intended for fellowship–where folks can mourn, consider and embrace.

The good news is, Jesus left us a beautiful example of what church should be–for those around him said, “We have never seen it in this fashion before.”

The better news is, it stands to reason that if we follow the example of Jesus, we just might start getting “Jesus results.”

 

Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

%d bloggers like this: