Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 18) It’s Not Good For A Man To Be… August 28th, 2016

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Reverend Meningsbee

Alone.

More than lonely.

The frightening realization of having no one.

Unable to get the personal attention of another human being.

Meningsbee had settled in for his afternoon time of reflection, which usually started with pulling up some news stories on the Internet and reading some articles to sharpen his insight.

But there was a dark side to this ritual. Ever since he had lost his wife, Doris, the lack of intimacy had driven him to a nagging temptation to peruse pornography.

He hated the word.

When he pastored back East, he often counseled people who were completely obsessed with the practice.

He knew all the right answers but the loneliness overtook him–the sense of abandonment caused by losing his love.

For you see, Doris died as she had lived–suddenly.

She had an infectious spirit with a childlike quality that manifested itself in the belief that her whim was the same as God’s will. If bananas were on sale at the grocery store, Doris believed it was ordained to make banana splits.

Although Richard was a bit put off by the theology, he benefitted from the glow of her enthusiasm.

She loved him. She loved him all the way. If she was dissatisfied, Richard never knew it.

She laughed more than she cried; she planned more than she complained, and in the bedroom, she had the steaminess of the Queen of Sheba mingled with the mercy of an angel.

She granted Meningsbee the role of Midas. Everything he touched she called gold.

He never had a chance to doubt himself–until one morning, she sat straight up in bed and said, “My head hurts.”

They were her last words. She crumpled to the side, the victim of a simultaneous massive stroke and heart attack.

No history of disease, just a demise.

So now Richard was without his Doris, yet still needing the comfort and consistency of a gentle love.

He was repulsed by the images he saw on his screen. He was only interested in “peek-a-boo porn”–in other words, pictures of beautiful women yearning to be loved. But every time he pulled up an innocent profile, his inbox was inundated with popups of violent rape and sexual mayhem.

Strangely, he both hated and pitied himself at the same time–hated because he knew he was wrong, but pitied because he was forced into the wrong by an evil twist of fate.

He was more than ashamed.

He was intellectually disgusted by his choice.

He was spiritually bewildered by his weakness.

And he was mentally dissatisfied with the antidote provided to him via the Web.

So at the end of each one of his afternoon sessions, he scrubbed his browser and walked away from his computer feeling a little more decayed each time.

What right did he have to preach the Gospel when such desperation tormented his soul?

Meningsbee was in the midst of a fresh burst of incrimination when there was a knock at the door. He was startled.

He quickly made sure there was no evidence of his iniquity, and went to see who it was.

Matrisse.

He was so glad to see her.

She was like a supernal presence drawing him back into what he wanted his reality to be.

“I need to talk to you about Sassy,” she said solemnly. Meningsbee nodded his head and invited her in.

Once again, Matrisse was the needful distraction to draw him away from his own foolishness.

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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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Good News and Better News … January 25th, 2016

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Good News Messiah Lutheran

I arrived early.

Nothing had started popping at Messiah Lutheran.

I was sitting at my book table checking out a few details when I looked across the vestibule and saw the bulletin board pictured above.

My first instinct was to chuckle since I was peering at a snowman while abiding in Panama City, Florida. But I guess because it was Sunday morning and my thoughts had become a bit introspective, I considered the snowman.

It isn’t, you know–a man, I mean.

If you came across a snowman and decided to melt it and free the human being inside, after extensive warming, all you would end up with is a puddle.

There’s nothing within.

It’s an imitation of life–using lumps of coal, a broom, a button, a scarf, a carrot and a top hat.

But it got me wondering if there are frozen people crusted over by the iciness of our culture, who really are more than just snowmen. Is it possible to become so chilled by indifference that you live beneath inches of ice?

Well, I certainly see it in politics.

Freezing out your competition and appearing above the fray, free of fault, seems to be the “call of the wild” in Washington. But I fear if the real heat of pressure and responsibility fell upon any one of them, they would sink into a drippy mess.

How about entertainment?

What could be more hypocritical than a bunch of snowmen in Hollywood who think they are so open-minded and liberal, who make a stand against guns–even as they use pistils, automatic rifles and any number of instruments of mayhem to kill thousands of human beings in their plotlines.

Then there’s religion.

Seems to me that we have sunk to the position of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, who spent their time counting cups, cleaning plates and decorating their robes.

Snowmen.

Nothing really left inside–just a cold form of what they once might have looked like.

So as I prepared to share with the folks at Messiah, I was reminded of the sarcastic statement of the angel, speaking to the women who came to the tomb to embalm Jesus: “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”

I had to ask myself a two-part question:

  • Is my life the pursuit of melting snowmen, only to find there’s nothing really there?
  • Or, under this arctic exterior, are there still living human beings who would like to have joy and abundant life?

The good news is that Messiah lifted my spirits.

Although at first they treated us as strangers, our hearts soon burned within us, taking away the frigid fear.

It was powerful.

It was good.

It was hopeful.

And unlike the snowman on the wall of their bulletin board, what I discovered were human beings suffering from a little hypothermia from being exposed to too much cold. So here’s the better news: We can warm up society and find out where the snowmen are and where the people just need to come in out of the elements.

1. When you see somebody doing a good job and you know they make minimum wage, give them a buck and a word of encouragement for their extra-mile efforts.

2. When you’re in the doctor’s office, instead of pretending to read an out-dated magazine, attempt to strike up a conversation with a nearby human being and see where it takes you.

3. Let “thank you” come off your lips more and more easily.

4. Lead with a smile long before you come face-to-face.

5. Appreciate the small things and be amazed at how the big things begin to take care of themselves.

6. Sit in your quiet, staid church and clap your hands during one of the hymns and see if anyone joins you.

I could go on and on.

Here are two dangers in life: falling under the spell of the deep freeze, or believing that you have no power to thaw it.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … October 28th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Oct 28

Common

So much worse than dying

Is living without life

More agonizing than crying

Is suffering through the strife

Like having God absent grace

A head for knowledge minus a face

A faith with talk, no feet to walk

Or humans trapped within their race.

To really get along

We need a common song

Marching with integrity

Requires the drums of unity

Indeed, there is nothing worse

Than preaching from condemning verse

Refusing to grant saving release

Suffocating the mastery of holy peace

The letter kills the spirit to believe

The pious deny the option to receive

There is no power in repeated prayer

Nor sweet fellowship if we fail to share

For the God we worship is all-seeing

But came to us as a human being.

 

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Populie: Lying is Human … September 10, 2014

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two faces

I have had a cold where my nose ran incessantly.

Also, a toothache which persisted until I went to the dentist.

In addition, I have had a bout with diarrhea which perched me on the porcelain all day long.

In each of these cases, I found myself at the mercy of a situation beyond my control. I would characterize that experience as unpleasant. Yet for some reason, in the pursuit of avoiding personal introspection and repentance, we keep unnecessary, nasty vices inside us and rationalize them as part of being a human being.

Lying is one of them.

Even though religion tells us that we’re all basically evil and therefore prone to tell untruths and to deceive, and entertainment finds lying cute–especially between men and women–and politicians revel in the notion that a certain amount of lying is required to push forth the truth, we must comprehend that lying is a conscious decision made by each of us, even though we know the truth is readily available.

Lying is not spontaneous.

Lying is not something that overcomes us.

It is a choice we make–a fork in the road–and each and every time we do it, it is obvious and a spark of conscience flies off inside us, reminding us that what we just said is completely inaccurate.

But you see, here’s the kicker: even though we portray in all of our religion, entertainment and politics that lying is human, none of us will accept it when others lie to us.

We become enraged, self-righteous and swear to never trust them again.

Such hypocrisy.

And if you’re looking for a warning sign to foretell your failure and the demise of your character, hypocrisy is always the chief demon.

So let me tell you three things to help you understand why lying is not human, but rather, one of the more inhuman things we do to one another:

1. Doing what you hate is hating what you’re doing.

I have never known a liar who, in moments of reflection, does not suffer from self-loathing. Because we hate lying, we eventually have to hate ourselves. So all conversations about self-esteem are useless until we cleanse ourselves from the unrighteousness of lying.

2. If words permit lies, people just stop talking.

It’s why married couples stop yapping to each other. Because lies, cheating and missteps have been tolerated in order to maintain an unsettled peace, people stop talking.

3. When we finally accept that lying is a hypocritical option, then we discover that the three statements that slay the dragon of the forked tongue are:

A. “I was wrong.”

B. “I will do this.”

C. “I don’t know.”

When you’re willing to be honest about your mistakes, forthcoming about what you will and won’t do, and completely candid about what you know and what is beyond your comprehension, you become invaluable because people can trust what you say.

Human beings were created in Eden. Liars were kicked out.

While we are concerned about sins of the flesh, the real downfall in the human family is deception in the heart.

Lying is not human. It is a decision by people who could do better to do worse … and be mean to one another.

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Turning Kids into Humans–Part 3 (Age 1-3) Events … September 1, 2014

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HumanatingAmazingly, almost sixty to seventy percent of what we learn how to do and apply every day is discovered between the ages of one and three–forming sounds, tactile skills, crawling, walking, making words, constructing sentences, pooping and peeing in a pot and even many of the basic human-family attributes of conscience and manners.

Needless to say, it’s a very important transition.

And it certainly can’t be shoved to the side with an exasperated excuse about “the terrible twos” or “they’re just too young to understand.”

Since we’re trying to initiate a human being into the landscape of Earth instead of just a monkey with too much money, we need to focus on what generates empathy and gratitude into the bosom of the tiny tyke.

It is not sufficient to instruct your little one in the essential nature of empathy (feeling for other people) and gratitude (appreciation for what has been offered) by merely dealing with the activities that transpire in a normal day. Yes, by the time little Johnny is stealing the toy from Kathy during playtime or he has stuffed half a candy bar in his mouth as you plead with him to say thank you, the moment will have passed and you will be left exasperated, swearing to never bring it up again.

It’s why I believe that anointed, intelligent parents plan events which are teaching tools for taking the heart, soul, mind and strength of a toddler into arenas where he or she can discover humanity.

What do I mean?

Make sure you place your child in a position where he or she is around other children who are weaker, in need, impoverished or even infirmed–so that the child you love so dearly can learn to love so dearly.

  • Create an event.
  • Manufacture an opportunity.
  • Make your offspring see that it’s eternally significant to feel for other people.

Likewise, sit down and generate predicaments and possibilities for your child to be grateful.

That does entail a very intricate procedure–it means that sometimes you’ll have to say no, so when a yes does come, it is greeted with glee and appreciation.

If you are under some sort of misguided notion that you want to give everything to your child that he or she desires, you will destroy them for future interactions, making them poor candidates for relationships.

Each and every week, you should have two events planned to spotlight the need for empathy a pair to stimulate gratitude–because if you’re merely relying on the course of human events to teach these valuable lessons, you will lose the potential of your best classroom.

You are the adult. You are the brains of this operation.

So use those brains to take little Johnny or Kathy down to the homeless shelter to see other children who are living without–and bring them a blessing.

It is the old-fashioned common sense of kindness.

And the only reason it’s old-fashioned … is because people have stopped doing it.

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

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Three Ways to Avoid Arrogance … July 24, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ThunderlipsIt’s always easy to identify the loser.

On a show like America’s Got Talent, you can always pick the ones who have absolutely no ability by how much they jabber about the quality of their gift, and also brag about winning the contest.

Yes, I will say it clearly: talent does not dissipate with age but certainly dribbles away with much-speaking.

It’s called arrogance.

Even though we live in a society which insists that a certain amount of self-confidence is necessary to get the job done, every single one of us despises another human being who touts his or her prowess.

With that in mind–fully aware that the herd of humanity will kick you out of the corral if you become too bossy–let’s look at three ways to avoid this nasty tendency for over-wrought boasting:

1. Never talk until you “do.”

Even if someone asks you about the extent of your work, always choose to demonstrate instead of becoming demonstrative in your language. Each one of us has a market value. Certainly, we have personal value to ourselves, our families and even to God. But our market value is what the other travelers on the road consider our attributes to be worth.

Let your light shine. Then you have a chance to be proven successful and rather than needing to bolster your own ego, you can be uplifted by others, and therefore choose an adequately humble response.

2. Don’t “do” without a story.

In other words, if you don’t have something to say or share, don’t jump into the race just so you can tell folks you were there for the running.

After all, is there anything more comical than a fat person saying they plan to start an exercise regimen tomorrow?

Or in my profession, I run across people who claim to be writers but have no daily output. Can you tell me a job you can do once a year and still be proficient at it?

Have a heart that can tap your experience that gives you a reason for what you do, which makes you precious to others.

3. Let the story bring the glory.

If you’ve got a good message and you’re sharing it with people who need a good message, then a better message will come out of it as proof of the value of your efforts.

It’s why Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them.”

  • Not their claims.
  • Not their degrees.
  • Not their position.
  • And not even their potential.

Does your story create another story which brings glory to the situation?

There you have it.

Anything you do to try to convince people of your quality before you do it is wasted time. Trying to do something without having experience and a goal of edifying is equally as annoying. And finishing up what you do without having an obvious experience for the common good is just aggravating.

Arrogance is where non-talented people go when they feel they can intimidate the audience into being appreciative.

 

 

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Arizona morning

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