Jesonian … November 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Throughout the history of Christianity, a debate has raged over Jesus’ humanity and divinity.

Early in the 20th Century, a doctrine arose which found favor with many people because it stressed that Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine. The fact that this blending is ridiculous didn’t come to anybody’s mind at the time, and so the concept endures. If you study heresy and false teachings, you will find that most of the error centers in on trying to make Jesus too heavenly, instead of focusing on his humanity.

I think the clarifying statements are found in the Book of Hebrews. Allow me to give you three which center my mind on the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived a completely human life, while filled with the Spirit:

1. “He was tempted in all ways like we are yet found without sin.”

2. “He was touched by our infirmities.”

3. “He learned obedience through the things he suffered.”

That list just describes a typical human life. After all, nobody talks about how grumpy Uncle Ed was after he’s dead; likewise, the notion that “Jesus was perfect” was not touted during his lifetime.

The truth is, Jesus’ actions were found to be perfect. In other words, after the passage of time and working out of circumstances, we can say that he lived a perfect life.

Needless to say, when we’re told he “learned obedience,” it is perfectly understandable that he did nor arrive with it. Like all of us, instruction was in order.

But if you go to the statement, “touched by our infirmities,” a definition is in order. What are the infirmities of all human beings?

A. We get physically sick.

B. We get emotionally depressed.

C. We get spiritually misguided.

D. We get mentally confused.

These are our infirmities.

And since Jesus was touched by them, if we would take the time to more carefully study his life instead of working so desperately to discover a new twist on communion, we might just welcome in a new generation that would be blessed and astounded by His choices.

Now, I will not bore you with my many rambling examples of how Jesus suffered under these infirmities. To me, that’s what church and your search should be about.

Christianity could advance its cause by studying Jesus.

Did Jesus become physically ill? There are numerous activities that have no explanations–like him slipping into the wilderness for seclusion, or the fact that he waited four days to come and tend to his friend, Lazarus. Was he sick? Under the weather? Fighting off the “Galilee bug?”

We can make a good case for him being depressed. After explaining to 5000 people that he was not going to be their caterer, but that they needed to come to “learn his ways,” the Bible says they all left him–except the twelve. In a moment of true humanity, he turned to those twelve and said, “Will you go away also?”

Was Jesus ever spiritually misguided? I think choosing Judas to be a disciple, and on top of that the treasurer of the troop, was at least spiritually optimistic. And the faith he put into the man at the Pool of Bethsaida, who didn’t really want help–but Jesus healed him anyway and then the fellow turned into a snitch and sided with the Pharisees–shows that he was a bit misguided.

Was he mentally confused? He certainly stayed too long in Nazareth–so long that they resented him and tried to kill him. And I think he was a little confused by his upbringing and prejudice, when he called the Syrophoenician woman “a gentile dog.”

The Gospel writers had no problem including the foibles of the personality of Jesus in their story lines–and he was apparently fully aware of some indiscretions, because he came to John to be baptized. Was it just pretense, or did he have things he regretted?

We are also told by Jesus that we would do greater things than he did–because he was going to the Father to cheer us on.

If the church wants to survive the present dispersion, it needs to bring the focus back onto Jesus–his style, his personality, and his humanity. In doing so, he can become the Elder Brother we so desperately need, and he can truly fulfill his mission … which was to show us the Father.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … March 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

 

 

Dear Man: Have you done any thinking about our discussion?

 

Dear Woman: Discussion? What discussion?

 

Dear Man: Are you getting senile?

 

Dear Woman: Don’t you have to be old for that?

 

Dear Man: No, just forgetful.

 

Dear Woman: Oh, I know what you’re talking about. The flirting thing.

 

Dear Man: “Flirty Thirty.”

 

Dear Woman: You know, it’s really true. I just feel better when I know that I’m attractive, and I also feel that I am giving good things to people when I let them know that they have beauty also.

 

Dear Man: That was really well said.

 

Dear Woman: So therefore I’m not senile?

 

Dear Man: We shall see. Let’s continue. After you get done with the “Flirty Thirty”–that 30% of each of us that needs to feel attractive–you move into the “Heavenly Seventy.”

 

Dear Woman: The name’s a little cute.

 

Dear Man: I know. But it does help you remember it.

 

Dear Woman: I suppose. So what is the “Heavenly Seventy?”

 

Dear Man: It’s the part of the relationship between men and women which is completely lost because we’re so self-absorbed with maintaining differences, hoping that the thirty percent of flirtation will carry the relationship through.

 

Dear Woman: Thirty percent isn’t a whole of anything.

 

Dear Man: Exactly. But what we’re afraid of is the word “human.” Matter of fact, we’re so frightened that anyone who says “human being” or “human race” is looked on as a doctor–or a hippie from the 1960s.

 

Dear Woman: Why do you think that’s true?

 

Dear Man: I don’t want to subscribe to conspiracy theories, but there is an abiding notion that if we can keep each other separated by color, culture and gender, then we can continue to feel superior to some group and therefore, establish our dominance.

 

Dear Woman: I don’t want to be dominant.

 

Dear Man: Good. Then you’ve got a chance at being human.

 

Dear Woman: So what makes us human?

 

Dear Man: Are you really interested, or is it just that you can’t find a way to get out of this conversation?

 

Dear Woman: To be honest, I don’t know if I’m interested because I don’t know if what you’re going to share is interesting or not.

 

Dear Man: More than your approval, your affection or even your genitals, I need your humanity.

 

Dear Woman: That’s a bold statement. So what is my humanity? What makes up this seventy percent? How do we break down the walls and become human beings?

 

Dear Man: Well, this is just my opinion, but it’s kind of a process. And it starts with, “Will you listen to what I say?”

 

Dear Woman: Yeah, I listen.

 

Dear Man: No, I mean that being human is listening to what someone says without having an opinion about it.

 

Dear Woman: So what you’re saying is, you hear them. You just stop for a moment, listen, and hear what they have to say.

 

Dear Man: Exactly. And then you try to encourage what you can of what you’re hearing.

 

Dear Woman: Obviously, if they’re trying to commit suicide, you shouldn’t suggest methods.

 

Dear Man: Very funny. Obviously. But once you encourage what you can, then part of being a human being is gently but firmly holding them to their promise.

 

Dear Woman: That’s tricky. Some people would call that interference.

 

Dear Man: Not if it’s their idea and their words.

 

Dear Woman: What if they change their mind?

 

Dear Man: Then help them to forgive themselves for failing. It’s okay. It’s all part of being alive. If life was about success, most of the time we’d be depressed.

 

Dear Woman: So it’s important to forgive them and help them forgive themselves for falling short. I see that. So that gives them the chance to start over.

 

Dear Man: That’s why most people are miserable. They’re stuck in a failure from years ago without feeling they have the grace to start over.

 

Dear Woman: So it’s our job to help other people achieve that.

 

Dear Man: And it’s also our job to help them laugh. It’s rather difficult to forget stupidity unless you can laugh at it.

 

Dear Woman: That’s powerful stuff.

 

Dear Man: It’s why the “Flirty Thirty” makes us attractive, but the humanity makes us enjoy each other.

 

Dear Woman: Why isn’t this taught? Why are we so ignorant about this? Why is it all romance and flowers?

 

Dear Man: Because if every problem can be solved by sending flowers, then we don’t have to really care that much, do we?

 

Dear Woman: It’s a great process.

 

Dear Man: Now, let’s make it our own.

 

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Ask Jonathots …December 17th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I have a co-worker who thinks that all the religions of the world are the same. She believes that they all teach human beings to love and respect each other, take care of those in need, be honest and that there’s something greater than ourselves. I have other friends who disagree vehemently. What do you think?

Choosing up sides seems to be the great pastime of the human race. A sociologist might insist that this is natural since we basically are gregarious and like to clump together.

But I think it is often a sign of our insecurity and the lack of faith we have in presenting our individuality.

Is there a purpose for religion?

Is it the bastion for our souls or is it, as Karl Marx insisted, merely an opiate for the people, to keep them calm so they can be controlled?

If you remove the word “religion,” then you’re left with a term called “belief.” And belief should be an acceptance of scientific discovery mingled with a psychological profile of getting along with others, interspersed with our theories of what an afterlife might truly be.

If religion could transform into belief, then I think it would become rather obvious to us how it should play out in our society. Whatever the religion and whatever the contentions may be of those who deem themselves holy, there has to be some respect given to one another and to the planet, not merely a conjecture on for heavenly dreams.

So I will tell you–not all religions are the same, simply because not all religions honor Earth, humanity, justice and respect for the scientific community.

There are three questions you can always ask of anyone who claims to have a religious inclination, and from the answers, you can determine whether the religion is Earth-friendly or has a tendency to alienate human beings from their environment:

1. Does the religion believe that some people are better than others?

If it does, it generates the climate for dissension, which will never allow us to be peacemakers.

2. Does the religion accept the fact that the world is evolving, and that everything in it is expanding to a different situation?

If the religious community continues to insist that our creative God did not evolve things through time, then there will be a complete misunderstanding on how to handle the natural bumps that come in the road.

3. Does the religion believe that kindness can endure and win out, or does it demand or tolerate retribution? Even though we may have a desire for revenge, that particular action has no end game, since there’s always someone prepared to retaliate to the last attack.

Not all religions of the world are sensitive to these three ideas.

If they aren’t, they hinder the progress that God intended for human beings.

If they do offer agreement in these areas, then they are not only acceptable, but necessary to our emotional and spiritual growth.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… December 31, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn 12 31

I v. You

I want more

Less is available

I am beautiful

Others, insist plain

I can sing

Where’s the audience?

I can love

Find the loveable

I am happy

Keep sadness away

I am lonely

Are you home?

I am valuable

See my worth

I am white

You have color

I am believing

You question me

I am laughing

Stop your mourning

I am crying

Cease the show

I am hungry

Fed, see more

I am earthly

You are heavenly

I am religious

You are irreverent

I am prejudiced

You are sensitive

I am weary

You are well-doing

I am here

You are there

I am absent

You are available

I am tired

You look exhausted

I am ready

How about you?

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12:37 A.M. … June 30, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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bird at nightI awoke suddenly. Or is it better phrased, “I suddenly awoke?” Either way, it’s a little erroneous, isn’t it? It’s a little unlikely to gradually awake. We may decide to react to our new station of alertness at a snail’s pace, but once consciousness arrives, it’s here.

Setting all of that aside, though, let me explain why I was suddenly fully aware in the middle of the night.

I had to pee. A decision was necessary. Should I get up, walk to the bathroom and do my duty? Or roll over and dream of peeing–which is always fairly dangerous.

I chose to put my feet on the ground and make the journey. Returning from the excursion, I laid down and immediately realized it would be a while before sleep overtook me. So I decided to enjoy the solitude and the silence.

And it was very quiet.

Except for one single bird perched outside my window, singing at the top of its little lungs. It was so bizarre. It wasn’t a duet or a barbershop foursome and certainly not a chancel choir, just a single soloist pounding away, a tune which I could only assume was an aviary version of “We Are the Champions.”

What was this bird doing up so late? Or was he just confused and starting early?

Unfortunately, once I became obsessed with listening to the bird, it was the only thing I could hear. And then my brain latched onto it, refusing to relieve me of the tedium and repetition of the refrain.

At length I had an idea. Since it was just me, alone in the room, and no one else would need to know, I got this energizing, private, whimsical idea of asking God to share His presence and proof of His existence by silencing the bird.

I know it sounds stupid, but keep in mind–it was the middle of the night. After all, I can understand why God wouldn’t want to speak to me as I walk through the mall, to the shock and awe of other patrons. But why not reinforce my faith by nudging a tiny miracle in my direction–quieting this “gale” in the middle of the night, giving me a chill down my spine over the beauty of heavenly possibilities?

So I prayed. I asked God to still my little singing friend.

Nothing changed.

I am a little bit ashamed to admit that I was disappointed. And then the true voice within me spoke–that internal sense of communication that tries to create lines of conversation between my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength.

  • Abraham Lincoln referred to it as “the angels of our better nature.”
  • Jefferson knew it as the “truths that are self-evident.”
  • Beethoven probably acknowledged it as the muse that created the music.
  • And Moses believed it to be a burning bush that was not consumed.

Saint or sinner, we all hear a piping within our breast, which sounds a lot like our own voice, but often offers contrary opinions to our will.

So this little conscience of mine asked me why I was so disappointed. My response was that I wasn’t asking for much.

“Exactly,” came the reply. “Think of it from my perspective. I am the Lord your God, the source for all of your belief, and you want me to covenant with you, creating an intimate back-and-forth whispering campaign, and you don’t ask me for world peace or the location of the Holy Grail or even the healing of the body of a friend–your cosmic wish is for Me to silence the good intentions and joy of a little bird.”

I mused for a moment and then smiled. I chuckled, realizing that I could not be trusted with such intimate sharing.

Monday morning smack-down.

 

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Christmas Council … December 25, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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council in heaven

God was angry–more with Himself than anything else. The connection He had once made in a Garden had failed to bloom.

So he called a Council together–of a heavenly sort.

Yes, the God of heaven and earth called the best of the sky and the land together to discuss a problem: what shall we do with humankind?

The noble notion of creating a fleshy creature in His image had deteriorated to wars, fear, anger, lust and mainly, most appalling of all, perpetual indecision.

  • The angels were invited to this Council.
  • Philosophers throughout history who had passed on to reward.
  • Lovers
  • Writers
  • Musicians
  • Craftsmen
  • Architects
  • And even the handful of professional religionists who had actually made it to the other side in spite of their predilection for “straining at the gnat and swallowing the camel.”

It was a lively discussion.

The angels were completely perplexed by why creatures who had been endowed with such insight spent all of their time using their wits to destroy one another.

One of the angelic messengers inserted, partly tongue-in-cheek, “If they want to destroy each other, why not give them an assist?”

The philosophers insisted that the problem was poverty and ignorance, some earthly travelers plagued by one, others cursed by both.

The lovers insisted on romance and the poets proclaimed the satisfaction of deeper thought.

One brave former priest challenged the Almighty by suggesting that human beings might be more spirited if the conversation with the heavens was not so one-sided.

On and on the debate raged.

God quickly realized that certain words were leaping from the discussion–repeated constantly:

“King.”

Jew.”

“Priest.”

“Philosopher.”

“Man.”

“Woman.”

“Politician.”

“Savior.”

After the passage of time (though being in a supernal location, such tick-tocking never actually occurs) God announced His decision.

“Human life is a theory. At least, that’s the way humans are approaching it. And I believe they’ve come to the conclusion that success at such an endeavor is completely impossible. I believe they require a picture–an example, as it were. Yet I know some of you think it would take a king. But actually, what we need is a kingdom that can live inside the emotions and soul of every son or daughter of Eden.”

“Some of you think he should be a Jew, born of the House of David. But I’ve grown weary of relegating a special position to one race of people.”

“A philosopher? Perhaps…but with a simple idea: Love your neighbor as yourself.

“A man? A woman? The better parts of that union: a child.”

“A politician? Truly, wise as a servant, but may I add, harmless as a dove.

God paused for a minute before He continued.

“Members of this august Council, what we need is a human who gets it. A human being who understands his own limitations while believing that limitations don’t really exist.”

God stopped his speech and looked into the faces of the assembled. They were puzzled.

“You see? Now you all look human.”

There was a laugh in heaven, as there always should be. Now the key was to bring the laugh to earth.

So one night God joined His spirit with a woman, to birth a baby who became a child and never lost the glee for living, teaching us that we, too, must become as little children.

God called the experience Christmas.

We called it Jesus.

 

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Duck for Cover… December 21, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Duck DynastyHere was my plan.

Having grown sick of seeing people park at shopping malls in total disregard to the rules and regulations, in a fit of what I would call righteous fury, I decided I would go out and make a citizen’s arrest of individuals who were impinging on the rights of others by where they perched their vehicles and even how they decided to wiggle into spaces.

I found myself a fake prop gun and headed out toward my local shopping establishment. Of course, it didn’t take me any time at all to locate transgressors. If you’re looking for people who make mistakes, who are breaking the law AND you have enough pickiness in your own soul to incriminate them, you can quickly discover a whole prison-load of infractors.

Lickety-split, using my fake gun to intimidate, I wrangled up fifteen perpetrators and forced them to get into my big, black van, slamming the door, locking it, intimidating them with my presence, and gleefully dialing the police department, to inform them that I had faithfully executed the mission of honoring the laws of the land.

To my surprise, when the police arrived, rather than cuffing these illegal parkers, they instead placed the shackles on my wrists and led me away as I screamed my objections to such foul treatment for a faithful disciple against moving violators.

The individuals I had detained were released and offered apologies by the police department, as I turned to one of the nearby officers and said, “What did I do wrong? I just followed the letter of the law and discovered those who weren’t, pointed it out and detained them until such time that YOU could offer sufficient punishment.”

He replied, “The law has justice and justice has mercy.”

So true.

Of course, I didn’t actually go to the mall with a fake gun. I share the story to make a point.

It’s something that Phil Robertson forgot a few days ago when he ran into the public square and insisted that people listen to the law of religion and theology and follow it because it was written a certain way at a certain time.

Mr. Duck Dynasty forgot that God often contradicts His own edicts by offering grace for a multitude of sins. Even if Phil feels that homosexuality is a sin, he didn’t take into consideration that Jesus, when confronted with the blatant interpretation of Mosaic law concerning stoning a woman caught in adultery, turned his back on the commandment and rose up and forgave her.

In the process of pursuing justice for each and every one of us, God frequently contradicts the laws that mankind interpreted to be His will–in order that He might rescue people from destruction.

Because it’s not just about the law. Justice comes to play.

And justice is when we’re each given a chance, individually, to be viewed by a loving Father who evaluates us personally. And even then, when justice has had its day, mercy is greater than all of it.

My advice to anyone who thinks they understand the Bible, especially as it pertains to someone else’s life, is to just shut the hell up.

Because even though people may commit indiscretions by your standards, God does not look on the outward appearance.  He looks on the heart.

And if He peers, from His heavenly home, on the hearts of two people in love, don’t you ever assume that he turns them over to check what gender they are.

My brother, Phil, is probably a good and kind man in his normal moments, but he mistakenly thinks he can detain others because there may be some sort of law permitting him to do so.

Justice and mercy always trump the cold reading of heavenly commandments.

 

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