Jesonian … November 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Those that are not for us are against us.

Those that are not against us are for us.

These seem to be two contrary thoughts–even a contradiction. Yet Jesus said both of them.

And due to a lack of understanding, the soldiers of the cross all line up behind one campaign or the other.

Some churches firmly believe that the Gospel is under attack by a sinful world, manipulated by Satan.

Other churches insist that people are basically good, and it’s up to us to help them through their hard times so they can find themselves.

We even divide our political parties along the same lines. Devout Republicans tend to favor isolation, and the Democrats are proponents of intervention.

We also see this clearly with James, John and Judas. James and John were isolationists. When they came to Samaria and the people rejected them, they were angry and suggested the folks should be destroyed for their lack of hospitality.

Jesus rebuked them and said they didn’t understand what spirit was working inside them.

Judas, on the other hand, criticized Jesus for spending money foolishly instead of taking the funds and using it to feed the poor. Jesus replied to him that the poor were never going away, and if we try to resolve poverty, we’ll end up angry and bitter. He said the best we can do is offer what we can afford.

The battle still rages today:

Are we going to be a church of isolation, a country of isolation, or should we favor intervention, both spiritually and politically?

What is the way of the Earth? What is the true message of the Gospel?

Did Jesus come to isolate off a group of believers, or did he come to intervene in the lives of everyone?

Neither.

The Gospel interrupts.

It offers an alternative. It sheds light and produces salt as evidence of another possibility.

The Gospel interrupts the process by offering a more common sense, logical, easier and gentle approach.

When the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, they asked him what he thought they should do. He doesn’t answer specifically. He says, “If you have no sin, you should feel free to cast the first stone to kill the woman.”

The Bible says at this point, he turns around, stoops and fiddles in the dirt with his finger. He leaves it to them to come up with the right answer.

It is rather doubtful if we can live in a world that is an Internet click away from covering 25,000 miles, and believe we can isolate ourselves from other nations.

It is equally as ridiculous to contend that our intervention–taking over the circumstances of nations–will do anything to generate permanent resolution.

Jesus has called his church to be an interruption. While enjoying our lives of simple Gospel bliss, we offer an alternative to others through our example and our generosity.

We interrupt.

Jesus said, “I didn’t come to bring peace. I came to bring a sword to divide people.”

The ultimate interruption.

To be a Jesonian believer is to understand that isolating ourselves from others does not alleviate being at the mercy of their insanity, but also understanding that intervening and thinking we can feed all the poor is equally as unstable.

What we can do is interrupt.

In the process of living a full, joyful life, we brush up against others, and in doing so, we plant the seeds of better notions. For after all, people are not changed by being ignored or controlled.

They must see our good works to glorify the Father in heaven.

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Neurotic … September 4, 2012

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I am fairly healthy. Of course, these could be the classic “famous last words” of the guy about to receive his final delivery of carnations … graveside.  But barring some unforeseen bus with my name on it, I persevere. Yet there are little twinges, pains, losses, discrepancies and weaknesses that have crept onto my path to make me aware that I am probably on my way to Grandma’s house. Or in my case, Grandpa’s.

Arriving at my lodging last Thursday, I came up to the front door and realized that the step into the room was fairly high. This wouldn’t be an obstacle to most of you, but I have a bad right knee that doesn’t like to step up and certainly cringes at the necessity of stepping down. So I got myself into the room at a fairly awkward, if not comical, angle, and the first time I left the room I experienced quite a bit of discomfort. Therefore I was intimidated by both entering and leaving my own quarters.

Here’s what I knew immediately–if I kept the situation to myself, it would quickly grow into a fear inside my being. Fear is not unusual to any of us. The trouble with fear is that it is a lousy roommate for other, more congenial tenants. The first thing fear likes to do is cast out love. Then it likes to get confidence evicted. It sits around and debates with faith and chides and criticizes talent. Fear sucks. That may be a rather blatant way of explaining it, but it’s true.

So if I kept my apprehension about this step coming in and out of my door to myself, I would soon be looking at ways to avoid leaving my room and therefore, place myself in a sedentary position, which is not particularly beneficial to me for maintaining my first statement, which was, “I am fairly healthy.”

I was on the verge of becoming neurotic.

Now, I know “neurotic” is relegated to a psychological condition, but it is really so common to all of us that it should be talked about more often and explored like daily bread instead of viewed as a psycho-babble croissant. Here’s what makes us neurotic: a fear unexpressed is the seed of distress.

Whenever we find ourselves in the position where we choose, refrain, refuse or avoid sharing our fears, we plant a seed of distress in our souls. Distress grows into suspicion. Suspicion sprouts some isolation and isolation is what produces rage in us, and turns us into emotional ticking time-bombs.

In my case, if I was not prepared to admit that I was intimidated by a step up into my lodging, I was certainly going to become distressed by my own foolish pride and weakness. This would make me suspicious of any attempt to come and go or avenues that might be achieved in overcoming the situation. That suspicion would isolate me. Instead of moving around–going and doing things–I would look for reasons to stay in the room, and once isolated in that condition, my grumpiness would soon turn into a picky attitude, which could explode into rage if someone challenged me.

We meet neurotic people every day–even after we leave the mirror. Inside them is a fear that they are too intimidated to express. Even as I sat down to write this jonathots to you, I wondered how I would look to my readers, having such a weak knee that I was unable to climb twelve inches without discomfort. Actually, I came inches–or may I say, sentences–from backing away from the whole idea of being so transparent. But because I shared my fear of the step with my traveling partner, Janet, and have now voiced it to you fine folks, I not only have a renewed sense of vigor, but also a comforting presence of good cheer which will not only get me out the door and back in again, but will allow me to do it without feeling shame.

There is only one thing that stops each and every one of us from finding the platform from which we can voice our ability to the world around us: we’re afraid. We share that in common. Not all of us are beautiful. Not all of us are white. Not all of us are black. Not all of us are talented. Not all of us are intelligent.

But all God’s children are afraid.

And if we want to avoid becoming neurotic–gripped by suspicion, isolating ourselves until we become inexplicably enraged with stupid little things that come our way–we must find a way to express our fears. Let me tell you some of mine:

  • I have a fear of small talk with new people, even though my occupation requires it.
  • I have a fear that my obesity will eventually keep me from doing something very important in my life.
  • I have a fear that my children don’t completely understand my mission nor embrace my message.
  • I have a fear …

You see, I could go on and on.

But each time I write one down, I am just a little less afraid. Having the ability to verbalize our trepidation allows us to receive a hug from the love that had been chased away.

I don’t want to be neurotic. It makes me suspicious. It makes me isolate myself. And then, at the wrong moment I can become enraged, with nobody around me understanding the source for the burst of anger.

It doesn’t hurt less to climb the step into my room, or to step down to depart. I know two things–there is one other person, and now a bunch more, who comprehend a little piece of my displeasure. And on Thursday I get to check out and go somewhere else. I just thought I would share this with you. After all, it doesn’t do any good to be intelligent or spiritual if you allow your life to become neurotic.

And neurotic is a fear unexpressed that plants the seed of distress.

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