Ask Jonathots… July 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Last year my friend’s fiancé drowned in a flood. He is very bitter and blames God. What can I say to him?

Before we discuss what you can say to him, let me ask you a question: is it possible that this fiance would have drowned in a flood if there were no God?

In other words, are there floods on Earth? Does water rise? Do people find themselves caught in odd circumstances? And does water filling the lungs kill a person?

The question that’s actually being posed is, “Should God intervene in every situation to eliminate death and destruction?”

And if He were to do that, how would He determine when it was time for someone to actually pass on? In other words, if there were no bad things that happened in life, would there be good things that happen, or just sameness?

We appreciate blessing because we’re fully aware of the possibility of difficulty.

We appreciate our loved ones because we know we’re mortal and susceptible to termination.

So if there were no God, how could one get rid of humans from Earth to make room for more humans? Would we be satisfied with that system, or decry it for its unfairness?

God had an important decision: How could He create a Natural Order which could be studied, but also does its best to keep things even so that the rain and the sunshine “fall on the just and the unjust?”

And after developing this system, was God willing to take the criticism from those who presently feel cheated, and receive too much praise from the ones who are overly confident?

  • Equity.
  • Fairness.
  • Justice.

The best thing God could offer was a clear statement to humanity–study the face of the sky and learn the ways of Nature.

Case in point: I was heading out on tour this year to California when I realized that the weather patterns were forbidding such a maneuver. I changed my itinerary. I based that decision on what I knew about El Nino, and how I have seen it work in the past. I ended up not being caught up in floods and blizzards, but instead, continuing my work unabated.

I used the greatest blessing–it’s called knowledge.

So what do you say to your friend?

I don’t know.

I don’t know what he can hear.

Sometimes it’s just better to hug people until they get their wits about them again.

 

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Austin Without Limits … July 13, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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First United Methodist Church BuildingThe population is 24,834.

Truthfully, I must apologize to the 24,684 people in Austin, Minnesota that I will not be able to communicate with tomorrow morning, simply because I have not been creative enough to find a way into their lives in a realistic form which would reach into their homes instead of asking them to come out to the first United Methodist Church to peer at me.

I do not begrudge them their privacy. I am not critical of their position of needing to be elsewhere. I think it falls my lot, as the person driving the wagon, to find a way to deliver the goods.

I have decided to be on the road, which does make it much easier to find Austin, Minnesota, instead of checking the itinerary of a major airline, thinking they might have a terminal in the burg. Yes, it’s best to motor into Austin.

And I have taken some time to learn a bit about the city. It is the home to a large Hormel plant, which specializes in making spam. I have eaten spam. I like spam. Spam is a lot like me–it’s a bunch of pork products with gristle, held together with fat. I have an affinity for the little square.spam

Candidly, I’ve heard there are those who are not sentimental about this canned delicacy, but that’s because they haven’t fried it up in the skillet with some over-easy eggs and a tiny bit of maple syrup on top.

Maybe that’s the whole key to everythinghow we serve it.

And it is my full intention to serve the good folks of Austin tomorrow instead of arriving there requiring service.

It was Jesus who made that brilliant point. I think he realized there would be an awful lot of people in life who would arrive needy and greedy instead of ready and steady.

So it’s my job to have most of my hang-ups out of the way, my expectations low enough that the folks of FUMC Austin can exceed them, and to have my ABCs in place:

A. Accept the job. These folks will not immediately embrace me as a long-lost cousin from Birmingham. They’ll probably sit at a distance on the back pews and leer at me, waiting for me to do something worthy of their consideration. That’s just part of the job. Folks don’t owe us props. But it sure is nice when they give us a chance to open up our traveling trunk and display our wares.

B. Be humble. Now, here’s what I think about humble: humble really doesn’t mean a whole lot if you end up doing a crappy job. Humble is good when most people think you might have a right to be conceited, but instead, you choose to be simpler, gentler and friendlier.

C. And finally, care as you share. After all, ministering to people is not giving a speech. It’s using as few words as you possibly can to let them know what you believe, so if they have a need, they can open up their hearts and inform you where it hurts. How do we care? I think the best way to let people know you care is to tell them what you’ve seen and heard, and freely admit you haven’t seen and heard everything.

I am looking forward to being in Austin in the morning. Matter of fact, they’ve invited me back to do something in the evening, and the audience that gathers for that particular excursion will be based upon how well I displayed my ABCs in the morning.

All I can say is, I hope they receive my message … and I don’t end up in spam.

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