Catchy (Sitting 34) Three Fronts … February 4th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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It didn’t take long.

Twenty-four hours after the announcement of Morgan’s murder, the country was ablaze with controversy, assumptions, conspiracy theories and accusations.

There were enough questions about the circumstances (and since it was well-known that Prophet had betrayed Jubal Carlos by holding interviews) it was determined that Jubal was to be brought to headquarters to answer some questions.

Unfortunately, Jubal and the band had hopped the jet, along with their merry patrons, flying to Europe for a five-city tour–which he had dubbed “The New Jesus.” London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin and Rome were about to get a healthy dose of “the gospel according to Carlos.”

It was a ten-day tour, so the authorities in Clark Country agreed to wait until Jubal’s return to hold the session.

At the same time, in Washington, Congressman Michael Hinston stepped out of the shadows, where he had been disguising his plot, and stirred up the House of Representatives and many in the Senate to demand that the Justice Department conduct a thorough investigation of the murder.

Normally such a request was ignored, but the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptists added their “yeas and amens” to the demand. Since these two institutions were not known to agree on much of anything, the investigation was sanctioned and set in motion.

With Prophet Morgan dead and Jubal in Europe, the work in America was left in the hands of Sister Rolinda. She had been taken out of the spotlight and placed, as Jubal called it, “backstage” ever since she had ruffled the robes of the Pope in Rome. But now, since there was no one to take over the work in Las Vegas, she was called forth and put in authority, with the assumption, “What harm could she do?”

Matthew checked out.

He refused to take calls, only allowing his two old friends, Jack Daniels and Jim Beam, into his sanctuary. It was all so crazy. All he had ever wanted in his life was to make money without hurting anyone, with his name in the paper every once in a while. Now he wasn’t making money, it seemed like people were getting hurt (if you counted a murder) and his name was in the paper with slanderous overtones.

He also received an accounting from his financial advisors on how much money had been spent of the 250 million dollars. $31,285,652.38. It was a staggering sum. Yet truthfully, in the world of advertising, the amount of publicity that had been received was worth ten times that much. Still, what did they have to show for it? Matthew mulled as he communed with Jack and Jim.

The press arrived for the first night after the announcement of the murder at the Las Vegas “warehouse-turned-church,” to see what would transpire. There was a large crowd, and since the band was overseas, Sister Rolinda had decided to invite a black choir from Los Angeles. They sang the place happy, they chorused the room sad.

At length, as the entire gathering fell silent, Sister Rolinda took the stage, wearing a little nun hat, a gingham dress and an apron.

She clumsily grabbed the microphone and began to speak. “I’ve lost my friend, Morgan. I hurt so badly I can’t breathe. He was not perfect. I suppose some of you wouldn’t even think he was good. He was arrogant–in a humble way. He was loving–with a spiteful streak. And he was a human, searching for his humanity.

“I saw him literally give the coat on his back to a stranger. I was with him when white supremacists beat him up because he condemned their ignorant bigotry. Did you know he was abused himself? But considering that, he tried very hard not to be an abuser.

“I loved him. Did you? Or did you find yourself judging something about him? Maybe it was his funny, overstated hair. Maybe it was because he was so young, he still had pimples. Maybe it was because he dressed like a 1950s backwoods evangelist.

“We feel very powerful when we can criticize. We think voicing our opinion is our God-given right. We have only one God-given right: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Suddenly Rolinda raised her voice to a scream. “Did you hear me? Love your goddamn neighbor as yourself!”

The building fell more silent than the silence it already possessed. Rolinda continued, softly.

“I am not a speaker. I am not glib. I am not full of wisdom. When I became a nun, I asked God to fill me with only one thing–compassion. That’s it.

“Tonight we need to rid ourselves of revenge, attitude, discussions of foul play and just general stupidity. We don’t need to celebrate Prophet Morgan. He would tear his shirt off in horror if he knew we were doing that. We need to acknowledge the Jesus who Prophet loved, and the best way to do that is to love one another.

“So since the press has shown up tonight, I am going to take this time to answer any questions they may have, to the best of my ability.”

Sister Rolinda paused, lifting a finger, ready to point in the direction of anyone who might want to pose an inquiry. But perhaps for the first time in the history of press conferences, no one had anything to say. There was nothing to ask.

Rolinda took a deep breath, and suddenly tears began to stream down her face. More and more she cried, until she was squalling. Buckling at the knees, she nearly fell on her face, catching herself with her hands, until members of the audience rushed forward to lift her and comfort her.

As if on cue, everyone else who remained turned to each other and embraced, then quietly moved toward the exit.

Meanwhile … Jubal and the band performed in front of ten thousand screaming, hollering Germans, sharing bratwurst and beer.

Meanwhile … Michael Hinston perused a private email from the CLO which applauded his efforts to instigate an investigation.

Meanwhile … the decomposing, chopped-up body of Prophet Morgan lay very dead in the morgue.

And meanwhile … Matthew just drank.

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Good News and Better News … January 1st, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3539)

“When life gives you lemons…”

Hold out for some nice oranges. See if you can’t pick up some fresh strawberries. Even some marked-down bananas would be better. Lemons need too much sugar to be drinkable–and often still end up tart.

It was my deep, abiding pleasure and joy to begin our 2018 tour across this great nation by sharing my heart at Saint Andrews United Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

It is ably and gently pastored by an open-faced and friendly brother named Brad. He sent along Jim, Chris and David to help us set up on Saturday, and they all treated us like kings instead of the vagabonds we be.

As I sat behind my keyboard before the service began and watched the congregation gathering, my heart was ablaze with the blessing of contentment. Even though I have lived for a decent season on Earth, I am still jubilant and optimistic over the possibilities of seeing humanity achieve its better potential by negating the available lemons and shopping for more fruitful possibilities.

And the lemons are available.

So my message to all I will encounter this year will be very simple:

  • Stop believing that lying is acceptable.
  • Mean is not and never will be good.
  • And prejudice is not common–just prevalent.

Once we accept these lemons, attempting to sweeten them, we can find ourselves frustrated and stuck with a drink that is still sour. Why? Because it’s got lemons in it.

So stop accepting the social lemons that make us believe we are trapped in our humanity instead of blessed by God to revel in it.

The command for this year is monumental: We will be kind to those of our own kind.

Of course, I’m talking about people. You may feel free to enjoy your pets, you can admire the wonders of nature, you can insist that you have the loveliest home in town, but we will be evaluated on how kind we are to our own kind.

The good news is, Saint Andrews has got the message.

The better news is, they don’t have to make lemonade.

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Good News and Better News … December 25th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3539)

I went to church today.

There was no choir. There were no pews. There was no sermon. There was no invocation, except the squealing delight of children. There was no real benediction, but for the promises of those who had gathered to stay more in contact.

There was no threat of damnation, nor promise of streets of gold. There was so much contentment in being together that intimidation was unnecessary, and coercion, meaningless.

You see, I’m a father.

As a father, I do not evaluate my children by how much they adore me or praise my name. I determine the health of my children by how much they love each other–because it would be easy for them to despise their siblings so as to gain my favor, and perhaps, secure a sweeter inheritance.

So praising Daddy does not mean nearly as much as honoring one another.

In the church service this morning, there was respect for humanity. There was anticipation in the eyes of those who were giving, and a nervous jubilance twitching in the fingertips of those who were preparing to receive. An electricity filled the air that could only be adequately fueled by a perpetual flow of sweets and treats.

It was a worship of the Christ child–a salute to a simple birth, which simply ushered in the possibility of “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

It was an intergenerational feast day of emotion and anticipation, culminating in the removal of all vexation, curses and grudges.

It was the kind of meeting of souls that causes the angels to sit back in awe, pricked in the heart with a bit of jealousy over not being human.

For we do everything best just as we do everything worst. We are God’s creation, who knows both the knowledge of good and the depths of evil.

Oh, but when we want to be good…we can be amazing.

We can bring tears to our Heavenly Father’s eyes when we tenderly take our human flesh and extend it from His mind and soul to reach into the hearts and lives of others.

Today I went to church. Some people would call it Christmas morning.

The good news is that Christmas morning is church.

The better news is, the more we take every church service and make it like Christmas morning, the more blessed the world would be.

 

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Jesonian … November 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesonian-cover-amazon

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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Jesonian … September 23rd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3438)

jesonian-cover-amazon

Jesus got angry.

There’s no doubt about that. The Gospels make it clear that he frequently spilled out his wrath to those around him.

We don’t like this. The mind of the present theological times wholly disagrees because we desperately need to keep Jesus sheepish, quiet and gentle so that he can be the “Lamb of God slain from the foundations of the world.”

What’s amazing is, for a man who was destined to die on a cross, he put up one helluva fight. Let’s take a look at it:

He was angry when they criticized him for healing a man on the Sabbath.

He was angry when he came into the Temple and saw the money-changers cheating the faithful. (Actually, he put together a pre-meditated action of violence by making a whip to use on them for their thievery.)

He was angry at the man by the pool who was healed, who decided to turn Jesus into the scribes and Pharisees.

He was angry at his family when they thought he was crazy, and came out to take him home when he had disconnected from them.

And certainly, when the people of his home town pushed him to the edge of the cliff, it says that he “passed through the midst of them.” Perhaps you were taught that he evaporated and disappeared, but that’s not what is stated. The Bible portrays a man of strength and determination who turned to a mob and pushed his way through them.

We also know that Jesus understood anger because in his Sermon on the Mount, summarizing the Ten Commandments, he explained that the basic struggle in humans is finding a way to deal with anger and lust.

In a man, it is called testosterone. Jesus had plenty. He was not an anemic personality with pale skin, trying to love a world which only understood hate.

He was virile.

He was stubborn.

And when he saw injustice, he attacked it. Sometimes he called people hypocrites. Other times he referred to them as “graves.” And of course, he was not beyond comparing them to Satan.

So we know this: a man who deals with anger also deals with lust. For anger is often what leads us to conceive our lust, and when lust is conceived, it brings forth sin.

Jesus was surrounded by women. Oh, by the way, it wasn’t a “hands off” policy either. They were close to him, they embraced him; they even kissed his feet. It was intimate. Being intimate, the door was always open to seduction.

If the Jesus you worship could never be angry, nor lust after a woman, then you completely misunderstand the purpose for God sending His son to be a human. Being human, he was able to talk to humans–to explain humanity in a human way.

Yet Jesus did not want to be so angry that he destroyed others, and he definitely did not want to use his lust to take advantage of women who had been broken and even demon possessed.

So Jesus did the following:

1. He had three burly bodyguards around him at all times.

We often wonder why Peter, James and John never left his side. They were a trio of intimidating fishermen who scared away assassins, and made sure Jesus was never alone to be tempted by women. It was brilliant.

2. He escaped.

When he became angry or tempted, he went off by himself and navigated his own wrath and lust. He made peace with himself before he made the mistakes.

3. He created equality.

Jesus made sure that he preached the same Gospel to the women and the men. He demanded the same thing from the ladies and the gents. He created equality, which prevented him from favoring the females–coddling them–which could have led to affairs.

No man who treats a woman as an equal will ever accidentally slip and have sex. It’s only when he’s expressing sympathy, or trying to be the “knight in shining armor” to save her from her problems that he gets in trouble.

Jesus dealt with anger and lust.

He did so by refusing to trust himself, but instead, closed the door on the possibility of disaster.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … May 10th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3302)

Mother

There truly is no other

Quite like your earthly mother

She struggles with her life

Lover, healer, giver, wife

Pushing past the pain

The temptation to go insane

She refuses to abandon and roam

But clings to heart and home

Yet there is a human sacrifice

Spilling sugar and sprinkling spice

Life is never what it may seem

Crushed feelings dishonor the dream

But she makes a casserole from the pieces

Her sense of purpose never ceases

She believes in you–no question or doubt

But takes the time to challenge the pout

Year after year a repeating sequel

Working harder but never an equal

For sometimes she feels very sad

When good mingles too much with the bad

But then in a gasp of humanity

She triumphs without vanity

She loves you–yes, you silly one

She tries to make a rainy day fun

So once a year you honor this dear

And ponder amazing things

In awe of the spread of her wings

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G-Poppers … January 20th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3193)

Jon close up

G-Pop loves the Gospel.

Not because it’s religious, but because it’s good news. And good news always has a market, an audience and a possibility.

Many religious people think the Gospel is Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the world. This is the invitation to salvation, not the solution to human conflict. After all, you can have seven billion baptised believers in the crucifixion who still want to kill each other.

The power of the Gospel is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

For years, it has been honored as a sacred oracle, and even though tarnished, attacked and ridiculed, it stood the test of time–the only hope for us getting along with each other.

Then came 2016.

Under the masquerade of a Presidential election, the Republicans, Democrats, press, pundits and lobbyists worked together to dismantle the integrity and power of the Golden Rule. Through countless proclamations, we were told that “loving your neighbor as yourself” was too weak a position to defeat ISIS, negotiate Syria, overcome racism or eliminate terrorism.

You and I were there for it. It was televised nightly–a four-step process:

  1. People are different.
  2. Difference makes conflict
  3. Because there’s conflict we need to be strong
  4. Because we’re strong, we will make enemies

It was a macho, self-righteous belief that the “exceptionalism of America” means that we have a duty to view ourselves as superior to the rest of the world.

Both political parties utilized the platform, abandoning the Golden Rule in favor of alleged “brass balls.”

What is G-Pop telling his children?

What is our mission in 2017?

Get out there and renegotiate the Golden Rule.

  • Stop advertising violence and the aggressive idea that another drone strike will take care of our problems.
  • Stop focusing on our differences.
  • Stop colorizing people with blue, black, red, yellow or orange.
  • Find common ground and build a hope there.

Yes, the Golden Rule is under siege.

For thousands of years, it has prevented us from dissolving the human race

The Golden Rule is still gold.

It just needs people who will continue to tout its value.

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