Jesonian–Troubling (Part 11)… September 9th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesonian-cover-amazon

Most troubling.

I was a very naive, impressionable fifteen-year-old boy with a volatile battle between carnality and spirituality raging in my soul. I was very enamored with the pastor of my local church.

He had baptized me. In many ways, he had befriended me. And he had welcomed me into the small-town church, which was now growing because young people were bumping up against each other, carrying the fellowship they felt at school into a second Sunday morning experience.

I had also made another friend. He was a young minister from a different denomination–a forbidden one–who was cool, cared about me and loved rock and roll music.

So when I was talking to the pastor of my “every week church” about this young fellow, he suddenly frowned and warned, “Stay away from him. He preaches a social gospel.

I did not know what that meant, nor did I ask. But it sounded really bad. And the delivery was enough to nearly make my heart stop. “Social” could be “socialist,” which was communist. Don’t want any of that. So I cut off all ties with the young minister, much to his chagrin.

For you see, my pastor taught redemption. “The blood of Christ cleanses from all sins.”

And later on in my life, as a young man, I ran across those who preached “the full Gospel.” They believed that the gifts of the Holy Spirit and miracles were just as available to believers today as they were in the time of Peter, Paul and Mother Mary.

The bizarre fact is that these three renditions of the Gospel of Jesus–social, redemption, and full–don’t generally get along very well.

It is troubling.

It’s what makes the evangelical church anemic–because it lacks social passion along with personal motivation.

It makes the “social Gospel people” appear to read from a book that in many ways they no longer believe in.

And often the “full Gospel people” contend that without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you don’t have the presence of God working in your life.

It’s really quite befuddling.

  • Because you can’t start a fire with just a match.
  • Nor can you ignite a flame with kindling.
  • And no fire is possible minus oxygen.

It is the joining of all these forces that makes fire ablaze.

Therefore, to follow Jesus, you must have a social consciousness that shares a redemptive message, believing that God is still in the business of healing and moving by the Spirit.

Why would we want anything less than that? Why would we want to focus on one of these factors of fire, yet end up flameless?

Troubling.

I deeply believe in the social Gospel of Jesus. I believe there’s no need for me to bring my gift to the altar if I am not reconciled with my brothers and sisters. I believe I am to be the salt of the Earth and the light of the world.

But I also believe that when I have obvious, evident weakness, it is the redemption of God’s grace, through the life-saving blood of Jesus, that pulls me through. But once I am redeemed, I am compelled, challenged and exhorted to trust that the same spirit that dwelt in Christ also dwells in me.

My gospel should be full.

And when it is full, redemptive and socially aware, I become of value to myself, mankind and the heavens.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 13) Logic … February 28th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

Logic is knowing what to use, how much to apply, how long to pursue and who to involve.

Logic is often avoided because people want to revere words like “faith” or “perseverance.”

Unfortunately, because we’re human beings, we often ignore logic–not out of some noble venture of scanning the heavens but rather, due to a stubborn nature or lazy disposition.

There are even those who contend that if they are true believers in a Divine Being, they must reject logic in favor of hope.

But in the Jesonian, we have the balance:  it’s knowing when to apply the right measure of faithful effort.

For sometimes …

1. Let it pay out.

In other words, get your hands on it.

It’s not anybody else’s business but yours. It is in the scope of your ability. It is part of your daily bread. It is the talent that has been given to you, which needs to be multiplied. It is God, sitting back in his easy chair in heaven, waiting for you to take authority.

It is important to know when we are supposed to get our hands on it and mold it into something beautiful.

2. Let it play out.

Get your hands off of it.

Once it has become obvious that our input is counterproductive or useless, the quicker we abandon the present dilemma and move on, the better the chance that the Natural Order can play it out and good things can be born.

We spend too much time arguing at walls about why they are there. We are not called to knock down walls. We are to avoid the walls, and let Mother Nature tear down the barricade.

People ask me what I think about certain issues. Truthfully, I don’t. They are often anti-human, anti-kindness, anti-wisdom and certainly anti-logic.

My job is to let it play out and get my hands off of it.

3. Let it pray out.

Get God’s hands on it.

There is a gap between what we are able to achieve and what needs to be done. It is what the Good Book calls the “need” that God is prepared to supply.

God will always give us wisdom and strength, and sometimes it is His good pleasure to give us the Spirit to intervene on behalf of humanity.

When something is important and your hands cannot touch it, and other hands need to be removed from it, then put it in God’s hands.

This three-part anointing of logic will suit you well in everyday life–just by simply posing the question:

Whose hands are needed here?

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Good News and Better News… November 9th, 2015

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Good News Osceola 2

I did not sit there and count, but I do believe it was about seven of the good brothers and sisters from Osceola, Indiana, who came up to me and in varying ways, exhorted me to “keep doing what I’m doing” and “please don’t stop.”

These lovely folks are pastored by a fine fellow named Bob. Yes, there’s something truly endearing about being associated with a “Pastor Bob.”

He was a kind, considerate fellow, and along with his wife, (who, by the way, has an infectious laugh) has taken on the responsibility of bringing joy and inspiration to dear folk living in Northern Indiana.

I was so greatly encouraged by all the individuals I met at this church.

Some were aspiring ministers.

Others were hard-working Hoosiers looking for a little piece of hope to both lift up their souls and challenge them to excellence.

There was even one young dude who had a heavy metal band.

It was a mixture of American humanity.

And out of that stirred-up bowl rose a voice challenging me to continue what I am doing, and never stop.

So I asked myself, “What is it these people want me to truck on, sharing across the United States?”

Well, first, I guess they want me to continue to speak to the weakness of power.

Yes, we have leaders who are in control in this country who often pull up lame because their goals are inhuman. In the secular community, it’s the notion that “the meaner you are the more powerful you become.” And in the religious community it’s the proclamation that “we need to get people to come to God.”

The truth of the matter is that it takes more guts to find a way to get along with people instead of fighting, and God never intended people to come to Him. That’s why He sent Jesus–to go to them.

A second reason folks might want me to keep on doing my little work is that I believe it’s important to bring true possibilities to humans instead of insisting that our race consists of either animals or angels.

We aren’t. We are human.

And unlike the animals, we require inspiration; and quite different from the angels, we desperately need to be entertained while receiving it.

When you arrive at that blending, you become a friend to the human race instead of putting them in the monkey cage, or thinking we can ascend to the heavens.

And even though I’m theorizing, I would assume that the Osceolians might want me to continue to broker a deal between “works” and “grace.”

I don’t know why we feel we always have to choose between these two. I, for one, am so blessed by the grace of God that I would like to go out and share some good works. It’s not that I think good works replace the grace of God. But I also do not believe that grace has provided me free admission to anything without tapping my involvement.

The marriage of works and grace is the definition of the life of Jesus: God graced him with being a son, and he returned the favor by making many become sons of God.

Osceola, I enjoyed myself so much, and send my love your way. You have the good news.

And in closing, I offer you one beautiful piece of better news:

There is the life we are given, and there is the life we return. Our only job on this journey is to make sure the life we return … is a bit better.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 49 (July 13th, 1969) My First Bikini…January 10, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2469)

(Transcript)

Being painfully bored, I was greatly relieved when Marsha called and said that some of the kids from school were getting together to hang out, drive around Westerville and see if we could have some fun without getting in trouble.

She wanted to use my 1962 Chevy Impala because it was big enough to seat seven people.

I agreed.

We had a great time, but we did start running out of things to do, so we headed off to an area of our community where all the rich people lived. The locals usually did this because we wanted to drive by their houses and talk about what brats they were.

Suddenly Marsha suggested that Carol, who was with us and was about to get her driver’s license, take the wheel and try her luck. As unbelievable as it may sound now, in a moment of sanity, we all thought it was a great idea on that day.

Carol got in the car and the first thing she did was put it in reverse and back my automobile into a deep ditch.

We spent the next twenty minutes trying to get out of the predicament. Then Marsha noticed we were across the street from one of our friends from school, so she walked down the long drive to try to get some assistance. While she was gone, miraculously, we were able to wiggle the car out of the ditch, so by the time she returned with her friend the problem was solved.

As I looked up, there was the girl from the house down the long driveway, standing there, wearing a bikini. It was my first bikini.

Normally Ohio people wear clothing–similar to the reason that bears have fur–for protection, warmth and of course, modesty. But there before me was a bikini, displaying its fruit like a bowl full of cherries.

I don’t know why it shocked me so much. Perhaps I had never been that close to breasts that didn’t belong to my mother. I tried not to stare, and of course, when you try not to do something, it becomes even more obvious that you’re doing it.

She was dressed in a bikini because she had a swimming pool, which normally would have caused us to make fun of her, but since she was wearing a bikini, I reconsidered.

She was the same girl who believed the Easter bunny lived at her house, and who sat next to me in biology class like a timid lump of nothing.

But today she was a bikini.

We didn’t stay long, but all the way back to town I was thinking about the sight. I thought about it all that night. I woke up the next morning thinking about my first bikini.

So later that afternoon, I called the bikini girl on the phone and I asked her out on a date. I realized that some of my friends would ridicule me because they had characterized her as a rich weirdo, but I didn’t care. I was driven by a higher force–certainly not as high as the heavens, but floating somewhere above the earth.

I learned that day that romance needs more than love. It requires lust.

And lust has a very brief lifespan without love.

 

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Do You …?… July 28, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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eyes

Do you care?

Do you have a way to help?

Or do you feel the need to push your agenda?

I woke up this morning with these three questions percolating in my mind.

Emotionally:

Can I be more honest about the extent of my real commitment instead of making too many promises which cause people to glow with enthusiasm at first, and then, when I fail to deliver, just burn out?

Spiritually:

Do I believe in a caring and helpful God who lifts burdens instead of loading the heavens down onto frail, earthly shoulders?

Mentally:

Do I realize that my training and experience are a beginning of understanding instead of the summit of knowledge? Degrees from universities eventually must translate into some degree of common sense.

Physically:

Can I package and present myself well without competing in an ongoing beauty contest or centering in on the differences in others?

Being valuable means possessing value.

It involves care and help with a minimal agenda.

  • Does my God care?
  • Does He help?
  • Is He locked into an agenda that sounds righteous in a heavenly board meeting that isn’t very practical on the assembly line?

Three questions.

Great questions.

To question is to care.

 

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G-30: Pouting … June 27, 2014

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Izzy PoutA monkey is normally satisfied with a banana.

A monkey-angel, on the other hand, requires a banana split.

From the understanding we gain from what we have dubbed The Good Book, the Creator experienced an adjustment period in trying to comprehend the mingled mess put together with the formation of the human race.

It was a rocky start.

Even though the Book dubbed Good has 1,189 chapters, within the first eight, the Father:

  • makes humans
  • places them in a Garden of Utopia
  • gives them a rule
  • catches them breaking the rule
  • kicks them out of the Garden
  • punishes them
  • sees one of their children murdered and another exiled
  • regrets that He made them
  • kills them with a flood
  • and finally, regrets killing them.

Not a stellar beginning.

So after the waters subsided, a mistrust grew between the heavens and the earth. It was actually more like an adolescent pout, where a child of a household who was once enamored with his or her parents lives long enough to discover inconsistencies, and along with the natural rebellion churning in his or her soul, decides to become non-communicative with the elders.

A quiet war started between God and man. (And by man, of course, I mean the female part as well.)

For thousands of years, attempts were made to repair the breach by using commandments, prophets, edicts, covenants, patriarchs, escape plans, and even miracles.

Nothing seemed to work.

Human beings were caught between a distaste for the jungle and a dislike for the heavens.

We pouted.

How could we trust a Creator who made us and then decided to break us? What could be done?

Yes … what could be done?

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G-17: Dust, Breath, Soul… March 28, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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Take a moment.cloud of dust

Step out of the jungle.

Walk away until all the noise disappears.

What do you feel?

Free. Separate. Valuable.

For you see, there must be more than survival.

There needs to be a special purpose and energy for welcoming the new day.

I will tell you of a certainty, eating and drinking are thought-clogging.

Dominance produces a winner with no real victory.

Yes, we need to have a creature possessing a brotherhood with the jungle, but a sonship with the spiritual.

Dust. I am of Earth. It is where I came from and where I return.

Breath. I am alive. I require sustenance but I share with the earth my best, also.

Soul. I am of God. Not personally divine. A pinch of salt for the earth, a single ray of light for the world.

I am compelled to escape mere survival in reverence to holy pursuits.

Dust of the earth. Breath of life. Living soul.

Blessed, but no longer suitable for the jungle, and much too unpredictable for the heavens.

Suspended…

A miracle in contradictions.

 

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

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