G-44: Blogging… October 3, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Paul writing

Paul was a blogger.

Although it’s commonly accepted that he authored books, what he really penned were entries which he posted to various individuals and congregations, expressing his mood in the moment.

So sometimes we have:

  • happy Paul
  • sad Paul
  • angry Paul
  • theological Paul
  • philosophical Paul
  • bruised Paul
  • attacking Paul
  • judgmental Paul
  • merciful Paul
  • Pharisee Paul
  • and Gentile Paul

Nothing much is achieved in reading the New Testament without understanding this concept. For if you isolate off one of Paul’s posts and attempt to characterize his entire message by its content, you will soon be frustrated by another entry, which seems to be contradictory.

Before you become critical of this grab-bag styling, you might want to consider the audience Paul was trying to reach. First, he worked around the erroneous premise of trying to be “all things to all men so that he might save some.” Here’s the problem with the idea: the Jews seek for a sign, the Greeks want wisdom, the Romans crave power and the Barbarians yearn for an identity. It’s difficult to believe that any singular paragraph, clump of verses or accumulation of chapters could appease all of these sensitivities.

So by the time the first century came to an end, and all of the original folks who ate and lived with Jesus were dying off, the message was suffering from a “clarification crisis.”

Some people favored Paul, some Peter, some Apollos, and others, some no-name who didn’t make the Biblical cut.

Simultaneously, the Romans were gradually getting tired of killing Christians and because of the failings of their Empire, were looking for a fresh motivation. So as time marched on, the Romans embraced this “Mesopotamia Message” as their own, and of course, in the process, swallowed it up with their bureaucracy.

The Romans, being authoritarians, felt that the weakness of the Pauline preaching was that it allowed too much freedom for the individual, without the structure of a governing body filled with superiors.

So this new Roman church was structured exactly the same as Rome itself–with an Emperor, a Senate, tribunals and even, to a certain degree, legions of soldiers.

The ironic result was that a God who came to study man was ignored in favor of men who decided to study God.

Meanwhile, the Barbarians discovered a potent identity. They could defeat Rome and rule the world, such as it was.

So a message which was intended to place the Kingdom of God within the heart of each believer was now placed within the whim of a potentate.

Alas, my friends … leave it to human beings to make things worse when they organize. 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

G-35: Purposeful… August 1, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2309)

Roman Empire

It took four hundred years to arrive at the right hour.

During that time, the Greeks, the Macedonians, the Persians and the Carthaginians struggled for control over the piece of the world which is now blithely referred to as “the Holy Land.”

Yet rather than expanding the vision of the planet or becoming more inclusive, it seemed, during this juncture of time, that the earth shrank. Matter of fact, to many of those who had been created by the Emerging Father, life was defined as Jerusalem plus a hundred miles in every direction.

No one was aware there were seven continents. None of them had any idea of the discoveries of the Chinese, the intellect of the African, the industrious nature of the North American natives or the creativity of the Angles, Saxons, Mongols and Huns.

The hour was not right.

To do something purposeful, there had to be the right climate, attitudes and vehicle to propel the message–not just to circumcised Bedouins, but to the whole earth.

Then came Rome.

The Roman Empire was fully aware that the earth was larger than just the small territory around the Holy City. They were prepared to travel as far as land or sea would offer, to discover new people and new opportunities.

Even though their motivations for such a journey may be questionable, they still provided a passage to the world. With the Roman Empire arriving in Mesopotamia, it was now the season to make a move.

  • For after all, it would be the Romans who would introduce culture and commerce to the rest of mankind.
  • It would be a Roman citizen named Saul of Tarsus who would eventually carry the purposed message into the far-reaching provinces.
  • It would be an Italian-Roman named Marco Polo who traversed to China, climbing over the great walls to create connection.
  • And it would be an Italian of Roman descent who would take three ships and discover the New World–Christopher Columbus.

The notion that the Creator is merely a dreamer or Spirit with no sense of science, geography or history is a foolhardy misconception. For He waited patiently for the right era, to share a message of Fatherhood and brotherhood which could travel into the deepest recesses of Planet Earth.

Now, the next question … how to do it? 

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Arizona morning

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

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Jesonian: Every Week at 11 A. M…. May 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2237)

serviceChurch.

Some people revere it; other folks revile it.

I am curious if anyone’s interested in attempting to revive it.

Yes. What is a Jesonian church?

What would a church be if it was headed by Pastor Jesus?

We don’t need to speculate too much because it was Jesus’ custom to be at the synagogue on the Sabbath. When there, we have several accounts of his deeds, predilections, preferences and even aggravations.

He had definite ideas.

1. Welcoming.

Any church that is Jesonian needs to be welcoming. We often forget that along with the teachings, the miracles and the plan of salvation, Jesus is the only leader in history who was able to take Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, Romans, Syrians, Phoenicians and Egyptians and bring them under one banner through his story. We must remember that the church is an organism, not an organization, so no application is necessary to fill out for membership.

2. Equality.

A Jesonian church would be one filled with children and women–given a place of equality. Much to the chagrin of his disciples, Jesus was surrounded by children, and in an extremely male-dominated society, welcomed females freely.

3. Stories.

Not preaching. Parables of everyday life, relating what had been considered to be the mystery of godliness to common topics such as farming, fishing, parenting and even sweeping one’s own house.

4. Spontaneity.

I chuckle sometimes when I hear ministers tell me they have their services planned six months in advance. Without being judgmental, let me tell you–spirituality does not work that way. A Jesonian church would permit itself to have some ideas or jot down some possibilities for the service, but would always be ready to minister to the daily need and the primary concern at hand.

We often see Jesus healing on the Sabbath–not merely to object to the rigidity of Mosaic Law, but because someone present was in need of immediate attention.

5. Breaking tradition.

It is incorrect to portray Jesus as a renegade, but certainly, including his reformation spirit and his renaissance creativity is essential if you’re going to have a Jesonian church. Jesus had only one qualification for any religious practice: can it come from the heart?

In other words, can we be emotionally involved in it, or is it just vain repetition?

6. Repentance.

To be a Jesonain church, repentance and transformation are necessary. Repentance does not follow a sermon of condemnation. Repentance happens when we are overwhelmed with the goodness of God and realize we are living beneath our privilege, often in the pig pen.

The church needs a revival.

This will not be achieved by either revering it or by reviling it.

It will be accomplished as we awaken the parts of us that are more spirit than the letter of the law.

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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!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

May I introduce to you … November 23, 2012

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I hate my job … in a loving way.

I love my job, although sometimes it aggravates the hell out of me.

You can probably tell from these two statements that I’m a bit conflicted. But the conflict is very necessary in order for me to be successful, fruitful and relevant to my times.

This morning, I would like to introduce you to Jesus. Now, this is a name that evokes  everything from a collective yawn to a congregational cheer. But in a season in our world when we need direction and wisdom grounded in common sense and an eye on history, to most hearers, the name “Jesus” conjures images of crosses, wooden pews and starched, white collars.

Thus my aggravation.

On the other hand, I open up the life and times of this exciting adventurer, and I uncover not merely the spiritual energy of my Creator, but also the flesh, bone and true essence of what human life was abundantly intended to be.

Therefore my joy and love.

How am I supposed to communicate to a world determined to separate everything into boxes labeled A and B?  Yet the power and pungency of a human life lived two thousand years ago does bear consideration in our twitter world.

Let me make three things clear to you as I introduce you to the real Jesus. You may be able to find exceptions to what I share because you’re desperate to maintain your theology or your atheism, but the general consensus of the information provided will contradict your meager holdings. In other words, it’s pretty obvious that Abraham Lincoln had a beard, even though I’m sure you could find someone who would promote the idea that he glued it on every morning.

There are three things that are not only obvious about Jesus, but also important because they are human-friendly and therefore, God-ordained.

1. Jesus hated religion. Just to keep all things fair, religion hated him right back. It was not the Romans, the constables, the tax collectors or the whores who nailed him to the cross. It was the First United Methodist Church in cooperation with the Southern Baptists, who for the first time, had a joint resolution to do something in correlation with one another by ridding themselves of a teaching and infestation that would eventually rob their ranks of parishioners and also steal money from their coffers. Got it?

You may ask what Jesus hated about religion. The answer to that is simple: religion always makes faith about reaching God instead of about God reaching people. There you go. If you’re presently in some sort of doctrinal quagmire, constantly trying to figure out what is pleasing to God, you are in religion, you will live in confusion and you will die in ambiguity. The purpose of faith is to make everything heavenly earthly so that while we are here, we have a working plan, and when we finally are NOT here anymore, God can “surprise the heaven into us.”

2. Jesus taught that humans are heart, soul, mind and strength. If you are attending a church which insists that we are body, soul and spirit, you are pursuing a line of thinking that has no line. Because placing the emotions and the brain in the same container and believing they are able to work together without having a buffer between them consisting of some sort of conciliatory force is absolutely ridiculous. Here’s the truth: I FEEL and I THINK. Those two things normally HATE each other. If there were not a spirit between them negotiating deals, we would live in a world of total confusion, war, political upheaval, financial disaster, anger and inequality. Wait a second…! We do. Could something as simple as a misunderstanding over our nature bring about such devastation?? Absolutely. Jesus came to teach us that out of our heart we speak. So if we don’t keep our hearts pure and understand our motives, recognizing our emotions, we are still going to jabber off things we don’t want to say at the wrong moment, and end up pissing off everyone in the room. That’s why we receive in the heart and we take it to our spirit. And what is our spirit? Our spirit is the place where what we’ve experienced and what we believe sit down and negotiate peace with one another. It is only the spirit that can renew the mind and teach the brain something new–which then gives our body an opportunity to become excited about living again.

3. NoOne is better than anyone else. Jesus lived in a time when the Romans thought they were gods, the Greeks were so confident in their intellectualism that they believed that molesting children was permissible, and the Jews were absolutely convinced that they were the “chosen dudes of God.” This is not exactly the formula for the possibility for a great “mixer.” Jesus broke the curse. Jesus told us that Hamas is not better than Israel. Jesus told us that Japan is not superior to China. And Jesus told us that the United States is not the God beacon and favorite over Russia.

So you can see that I am not a religious man because I really love God and I like the heft of a good hymn book in my hand. I have become a follower of Jesus because I am a true environmentalist, I am a true patriot, I am a true believer, I am a true humanist, I am a true internationalist, I am a true man, I am a true woman–and most of all, I am a true human. This is the only philosophy ever offered that affords me the ability to be all of these without trying to eliminate the competition.

So let me introduce you to Jesus. If you don’t mind, I’ll have to pull him down from the cross where you have placed him in storage. If it doesn’t offend you too much, I will have to tear up his papers of being “only a Jew.” And if you will not crucify me, I will have to let you know that he doesn’t think Americans are “the best.”

If you’re interested in him, you might want to continue to read my column from time to time because I will speak to you of his escapades. If you found something in this essay to be distasteful, disrespectful or unrighteous, I recommend the pabulum from any one of a number of denominations which also offer blogs on their take on the notorious Nazarene.

It’s just that I am angry enough that I am ready to release my love without apology, to unleash the spirit once again of Jesus of Nazareth, whom I believe has earned his “stripes” to be the Son of God.

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