Jesonian … June 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3712)

“He turned the water into wine.”

Let’s just stop and think about that. Jesus had a cousin named John, who took a Nazarite vow. No liquor.

A very popular religious cult of the time, the Essenes, also were teetotalers.

Even though many historians will note that wine was a common drink of the masses, it was often considered forbidden–actually uncommon among those who deemed themselves religious–especially if you were just starting a movement.

What were you trying to communicate? After all, water is the symbol of life–to such an extent that we often refer to “the water of God’s word.”

Why would Jesus care that a young married couple ran out of wine during their reception? What was that to him?

To me, the message is clear. Water is what you drink when you’re thirsty. Wine is what you select when you want to get buzzed.

A transition was in order. A New Testament was about to be unleashed on the world. What better symbolism than to make it clear that water–in other words, our lives–was meant to be wine, thus intoxicating?

No longer were we to merely survive, but celebrate.

It wasn’t an issue of sustaining our beings, but rather, imbibe by getting drunk on the Spirit.

You don’t have to go any further than the commands he gave to the servants, who were to set the miracle in motion.

1. “Fill it to the brim.”

Six water pots in all, holding at least fifteen gallons each. So we’re talking about ninety gallons of wine. This was not a gift to “finish up the party.” Rather, it was an inclination to keep the party going.

2. “Pour it out.”

Get it into people’s cups. Don’t display it. Don’t revere it. Don’t call it “holy wine.” This is drinking vino. This wine is for the purpose of people “rejoicing and being exceedingly glad.” No longer are our lives supposed to be watered down, but instead, juiced up.

3. “Make it the best.”

Jesus told the servants to take the wine to the governor of the feast, who sardonically panned, “Usually at these weddings they bring out the crappy wine at the end. But you’ve saved the best for last.”

What is crappy wine? It’s wine that is either freshly-squeezed grape juice, or so old that it’s almost turned to vinegar.

There’s a message here–we need to stop acting like we’re grape juice–pure and without sin–or that we’re turning into vinegar in our pews because we’re so soured by our life and our experiences.

Taste good.

Inebriate.

It was the message of Cana of Galilee.

You don’t start a revolution by walking away from a wedding feast, refusing to make wine over spiritual pettiness.

You create an international revival by being the one who has the sense, at the right moment, to put the “juice on the loose.”

 

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G-Poppers … March 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

The advantage of getting older is that you have been out-smarted so many times that you just might have stumbled upon some “in-smarts.”

At least, that’s what G-Pop thinks.

In a day and age when ragged ideas are being touted as well-sewn pieces of truth, it is important to remember how ignorance is born.

Ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, it is the carefully planned de-bunking of truth.

Ignorance begins with a critical nature.

Although G-Pop would love for his children to be able to discern what is real from false, he also would warn them not to develop a critical heart in performing this mission.

Critical people have one phrase which falls off their lips too easily: “I don’t like it.”

And the more they say it, the more they become accustomed to the intoxicating sensation of power they feel when they reject ideas that come their way.

The beginning of all ignorance is to be critical.

For after all, from “I don’t like it,” it is a simple few steps to, “I don’t like you.”

Once we express our disdain over the flavor of eggplant, it is just too easy to start looking at other human beings as if they were eggplant.

This is the first fruits of prejudice.

All prejudice comes via the misuse of a critical nature. If you’re not looking for reasons to dislike people, you have a much better chance of learning to live with them. But if you’ve convinced yourself that you should be allowed to have preferences, you will soon turn those inclinations into prejudices.

And G-Pop will tell his children that once we don’t like someone, it becomes easier and easier to generalize into, “I don’t like them.”

Bigotryturning one face into condemning a race.

To see change in our country, we must stop believing that “critical” has anything to do with intelligence. We should be looking for reasons to praise instead of criticize–because once critical, it’s easy to become prejudiced.

And once prejudiced, it is a “trip and fall” to bigotry.

There are stereotypes in life. If you spend time with any culture, you will find that many of the claims made about the group do have some foundation.

Those who are born of spirit and wisdom ignore the stereotypes. Once we start pointing out the stereotypes, it is a brief season until we begin promoting them and making up new stereotypes, producing hate.

G-Pop would love to see his children learn the dangers leading to the path of ignorance.

Stop being so quick to criticize: it is the gateway drug to bigotry.

 

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The Story Goes On… July 14, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Daniel in the lion's denI was having trouble dealing with the stories: Jonah and the whale, Daniel in the lion’s den–even Jesus walking on the water.Three little pigs

So when I was fifteen years old, for a season I embraced agnosticism.

It was pretty easy. For after all, I never believed in religion. Church was tolerable. I had a curiosity about God.

But overall, the religious system asked me to swallow things without question, never realizing how they might affect me.

It was just too much.

Now I know there are those who would like to believe that departing from the church leads to all sorts of depravity. But I did not become a drug addict. I did not start mistreating my dog. I didn’t develop a pornography addiction.

Moses and the Red SeaActually, I rather enjoyed sleeping in on Sunday mornings, and took the extra time to audition for a play, and won the lead role.Little Red Riding Hood

I was happy.

I made new friends, since my Christian ones turned their backs on me. I joined with these acquaintances to discuss intellectual matters and expound on the problems in our society. I felt like a budding genius. It was like I was on a Mt. Olympus of knowledge, looking down on the world around me, trying to find a way I could assist the mere mortals below.

It was intoxicating.

In a strange sense of speaking, it was a religious experience. Yes, there is a religiosity to atheism. It was the comforting sense that I was self-contained. I needed nothing else.

Everything seemed really positive except for one factor. As time went on, the conversations I had with my new comrades became more bitter and nasty. After a while, we judged those who were not part of our confluence to be inferior–ignorant, if you will.

So one day it occurred to me that this new “religion” I had taken on had the same viciousness and prejudice as the one I had walked away from. There was still a plan of salvation, in the sense that you had to reject anything that might even hint toward the supernatural. There were sermons, as we disemboweled the character of those individuals who dared to disagree with us.

So finally, one night lying on my bed, I realized that the true story was not confined to the sixty-six books of the holy scripture. The story is actually compacted into the message that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

For even though I hated religion, had grown weary of church and felt like I could do without God, I had no idea, in my agnosticism, what to do with people. They seemed cumbersome. They were in the way.

Because as noble as it may sound to give freedom to everyone, when you have eight billion freedom-headers crashing into one another, it’s quite a headache.

My new-found lack of faith caused me to be irritated with the very creatures with whom I shared a species.

We need the story.

Maybe we don’t need all the stories that have been collected and called divine within the volume, but we do need The story:

  • Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Give and it shall be given unto you.
  • Go the second mile.
  • You are the salt of the earth
  • Love your enemies

Without this narrative, we learn to hate religion, disdain the church, ignore God, and unfortunately, also end up disliking one another.

I went back to church.

I don’t agree with everything that happens there, and when I don’t, I question it. I rail against religion because it is a man-made infestation, formed to cripple the creativity of humankind.

I maintain a curiosity about God, though none of us know what happens a hundred and twenty seconds after we die.

But I believe in people.

I consider it to be the sign of spiritual energy–when the love we have for one another becomes the symbol of our devotion to God.

The story goes on. The story needs to be told.

Because without the story… we become discouraged in our own lack of appreciation for one another.

 

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Populie 3: Family is Everything … February 12, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2149)

Cring family

Things become popular because they make us feel good about ourselves without challenging us to improve.  The sensation is so intoxicating that we’re often willing to bottle lies in order to guzzle it down.

This is how we arrive at the infamous Populie, Family is everything.”

It is really an Old Testament approach to believing that our particular lineage, descendants and tribe have been granted a special anointing from on high–superior in some way to other groups in our nearby community.

Even though in the Good Book, Jesus makes it clear that if you love those who love you, you’re no better than the heathen, we are on some sort of “birthright high” right now, in pursuit of giving extra love to those who possess our DNA.

You might ask, “What’s the big deal? So what if people embrace their own personal households with greater intensity and fervor than they do the other humans around them? Isn’t that natural?

When you become too intensely involved in your own concerns, you are a clan–and I’m not talking about the Ku Klux version. A clan is just a group that gets together and says, “We are us.”

It sounds like a celebration of life, but clans quickly become clubs. Clubs: “We are different–and special.”

Once you’re a club, you may find it necessary, in order to keep your rendition pure, to become a cloister. “We are separated from everyone else so as to remain free of interferance.”

And unfortunately, cloisters quickly become cliques: “We are better.”

So the same segregation which occurs in high school, forbidding a nerd, a geek, a jock and a prom queen from interacting, is continued on in adulthood, as we establish our own form of that campus life in our family.

We are us too easily becomes we are different–and special. Since we are special, we need to be separated, so we can celebrate how much better we are.

And I must tell you, whenever any group of people are convinced that they are better than others, they soon feel compelled to hurt, or even kill, the inferiors.

What should we feel about family?

  1. We are blessed to have one.
  2. It is a great climate for learning patience, and how to treat all people.
  3. We have a fellowship in agreement with the principle that we are going to love the whole world.

The Old Testament was full of families. When Jesus came on the scene, he started talking about the whole world.

So I will tell you–I am a family man who takes the experience I have with my own kin to reach out to the kindred of the earth.

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