Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sitting Thirty-Six

Most people knew him as the editor of the newspaper but were unaware of his name nor anything about his background.

He liked it that way.

It had been his experience that the more people know about you, the less they are truly concerned and the more interfering they become.

He knew who he was. His name was Alexander Omar Percea. He was a confirmed bachelor and he was old enough that it was wise to forget the exact number.

He had been raised by an Egyptian diplomat who had made it his mission to set in motion peace talks between the Arabs and the Israelis. His father was a gentle man, who became more irritated and agonized over the years as there was no progress toward understanding. Yet he taught his son one very important rule: once you have done what is available to be done by you, don’t do any more. He explained to his young offspring that lamenting the opportunity to change the world only leaves one hating the people in it.

Alexander considered many occupations where he could pursue his aspirations and finally landed on journalism.

But now that the printed word was becoming less and less appreciated and effective, he took his father’s advice. He continued to do what he knew how to do and let it play out however it wanted to play out.

Alexander had the guideline of never getting involved in the type of adventure which had left his father dead of a stroke at age fifty-six. He loved his father very much, but as a young man, he stood back watching the soul of his dad being eaten by the wolves of indifference.

Not for him. Matter of fact, he verbalized his feelings while standing over the coffin of his daddy. “Father, I love you. But I won’t be you. The world can have my time. The world can have my interest. But they shall not have my spirit.”

Alexander had settled into his role as an editor, behaving like an old chicken, pecking at words and sentence structure, putting out the very best newspaper he could. Confident that he had done so, he was able to sleep at night without having his internal being tugged from all directions.

That is, until Miss Karin (as he called her) lured him into the story of the two boys in the desert. Even while hating himself for allowing his mind to be fluttered away with concern for the lads, he acknowledged that he was entrapped—hoping that just this one time, there could be a merciful happy ending to a story in his homeland instead of death and destruction.

He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t think. He found himself worrying, much the way his father had over his two “children”—Israel and Palestine.

But as promised, Editor Alexander Omar Percea sat down and did what he could for the cause and was finally able to convince himself that it was enough—because it was all he had.

He prayed. Not just to one God; Allah, Jehovah, Jesus, Buddha–to every religious icon he could think of. There was no need to leave any deity ignored when Iz and Pal could use all the help that heaven and Earth could muster.

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Jesonian … October 7th, 2017

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It is nearly impossible to be Jesonian–a true follower of the heart of Jesus–without fully comprehending that there are two Gospels. Shall we name them the “Galilee Gospel” and the “Jerusalem Journey?”

It is the reason theologians struggle with the message of Jesus, finding themselves complicating it so that the dual approaches can co-habitate within one faith. But it’s an error to do so.

Jesus had one message but two missions. His two missions were:

  1. To bring the message to fulfill the love
  2. To present himself as the doorway to fulfill the law

In Galilee he talked about life–abundant life. He lived with his disciples in joy–fully. He spoke of God as a Father and all of us as brothers and sisters. He explained the dangers of anger and lust. He clarified that the things we do to other people are recorded as actions performed to God. It was human–everyday fodder for feeling and believing.

But to fulfill the Law of Moses and welcome the Children of Abraham into his mission, he labored among the stringent, inflexible Jews, trying to reason with them and gather them together under a new understanding. These religionists had “jot-and-tittled” themselves into frantic insecurity about the purposes of God, and even, to a degree, agnosticism about the existence of Jehovah.

The Jerusalem Journey was filled with thinking, musing, mulling, wondering, questioning and attempts at compromise. It was a futile effort to afford political correctness to a manifesto meant for the whole world, and not merely designed for one hundred miles of landscape in the Middle East.

Did Jesus know that the Jews were going to reject him?

Did Jesus know it would end so badly, with his execution on a cross?

You can debate that all you want, but we are certainly aware that he reached a point where he had to relent to the conclusion that you can’t “put new wine into old wine skins.”

The problem in today’s church is that we focus too much on the Jerusalem Journey and don’t thunder the celebration of the Galilee Gospel.

Too much musing, too much debate, too much thinking and too much meditation.

It’s time for us to return to the Gospel of Galilee, when life was abundant and joy was full. It’s an easy message to remember: go, do, give, be.

  • Go unto all the world.
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  • Give and it shall be given unto you.
  • Be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.

Such a message offers redemption for failure, while simultaneously providing exhortation to challenge indifference.

There is a danger that we in the church will stall–trying to fulfill the law instead of fulfilling the love.

Stop thinking so much about it.

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Jesonian–Troubling (Part 3)… July 15th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I must apologize. I’m still a bit troubled.

It’s the whole “Abraham” thing.

There are supposedly three religions–Judaism, Muslim and Christianity–that are knit together in a quilt based on a person named Abraham. If such a weaving is true, it is sewn with a dynamite fuse, ready to be lit at the least provocation.

A very simple study of the Gospels about Jesus will tell you that he was neither a practicing Jew nor did those around him deem him to be. If he felt he was Jewish, he certainly failed to convince anyone, and if they believed him to be their brother, they probably should not have crucified him.

On one occasion the Jews called Jesus a “Samaritan and a demon” while proclaiming themselves to be “children of Abraham.”

He alarmed them by stating that before Abraham existed, he was around. They did not muse his statement nor ask for evidence, but instead, picked up rocks to kill him, and he barely escaped with his life.

Christianity has many benefits but one of the main missions is to gently untangle itself from the Abrahamic family tree, so as to be able to make peace between these two feuding brothers–the followers of Abraham’s son, Isaac, and those of Abraham’s son, Ishmael.

Where would we begin?

We can commence this very worthwhile journey by understanding that Judaism is a culture, Muslim is a culture, but Christianity is a lifestyle.

So whether you’re from China, the Netherlands, Russia or Argentina, the ideas and message of Jesus will fit into your surroundings. Judaism basically works around Jews, and the Muslim faith has the greatest appeal to those who are Arab. That’s because they are cultures, not lifestyles.

As American Christians, we favor the Jews, not because they have any affinity for Jesus. Actually the Quran contains more respect for Jesus than the Old Testament. No, we favor the Jews because they were dispersed into Europe and they seem more American. Yes, it is another one of our racial bigotries–and when Jews look like Arabs, we are much less likely to be tender in their direction.

So let’s get over the foolishness and back to our theme:

If Jesus is God, then Jehovah and Allah are not.

If God is Jesus, then maybe there might be a little bit of Jehovah and Allah lounging around His man cave.

Christianity has the opportunity to heal one of the greatest family squabbles of all time. We cannot do so by saying we are “children of Abraham.”

In the Gospel of John, he clearly states that we are not born of flesh and blood, but of the Spirit. As followers of Jesus, we are not part of a lineage, but instead, linked by a salvation into what truly can be called the greatest opportunity for peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.

 

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Ask Jonathots … December 15th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Is Jesus really the son of God?

Which must be prefaced by an initial inquiry: is there a God in the first place, who could manifest a son?

Zeus, Jehovah, Allah, Vishnu and many other deities I personally find dissatisfying, if not unnerving. They seem to be divinities who insist we humans use our earthly journey to attain a heavenly destination.

This is where Jesus steps away from the crowd and offers a possibility:

What if God, rather than being Almighty, is a creative Father, who wants us to use the intelligence of heaven to enhance our earthly journey?

All at once, we are presented with a baby born in a barn to a peasant mother and a baffled “daddy figure,” who arrives under the banner of “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

Most interesting–as a grown man, this baby never abandons the message, even when confronted by the foolishness of religion and the tyranny of Rome.

If there had been no Jesus, would we find ourselves, every December, creating a story to motivate us toward brotherhood?

For instance, in attempting to survive 2016 with all of its selfishness, would we require a one-month reprieve of genuine affection and universal acceptance?

The reason I choose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God is because he taught about a Creator who chose to be a Father, but asks us to submit to the wisdom already placed in Earth by science, and learn how to use these resources to find reasons to establish commonality with all souls.

So I will tell you, if there is a God, Jesus would make a great son.

And if Jesus is the son of God, we have the promise of a Father who is gentle-hearted but also inspires us to respect the Earth. And if we respect the Earth, we are given the promise that God’s will can be done here, even as it is in heaven.

Even one drop of religion added to Jesus turns it into poison.

But when you take away Zeus, Jehovah, Allah and Vishnu from the equation, you discover a benevolent Father who sent His son to teach us the powers of Earth, the glories of kindness and the simplicity of eternity.

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Jesonian: Simeon Says… December 28, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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People often walk up and tell me they have a “word from the Lord” for me. Sometimes they refer to it as a prophesy, sometimes a word of knowledge or wisdom, and on occasion, they will even describe the coloration of my aura. Most of the time they’re just trying to connect and be nice.

I listen to them intently and thank them.

Yet every once in a while, these fine individuals will tell me something that has true spiritual significance or is a revelation they could not possibly have ascertained on their own.

It is a joyous, chilling encounter.

I bring this up because we are told in the Gospel of Luke, that Mary and Joseph, being good Jews, make a trip to the local temple to offer a sacrifice of gratitude for the birth of their son, Jesus.

They immediately come across an aged gentleman who seems partly senile and partly crazed, who has one of these “words of prophesy” for them.

Being an old man and probably well-set in his ways by his traditional upbringing, his message is contrary to his training.

His name was Simeon. Here’s what he told them about their baby, Jesus:

1. Jesus will be a light “to lighten the Gentiles.”

It is highly unlikely that Simeon would share such a notion, since he believed from his youth that those who were not Jews were basically dogs. He would not select to be so broad-thinking unless inspired by a divine source.

The first thing to remember about the gospel brought by Jesus is that his main goal was to get God out of Jerusalem and take the love of the Father on the road. For hundreds of years, belief in Jehovah had been stuck in Mesopotamia. It was time for the rest of the world to be included.

2. Find the glory of Israel.

  • What is the glory of Israel?
  • Patriarchs?
  • Dusty scrolls?
  • Stories of heroes who conquered giants?

No–the glory of Israel is that one man or woman can hear a message from God and launch out by faith. Honestly, the traditions only hinder that process.

3. The message of Jesus will be “a falling and rising to many.”

Some people just like to be prejudiced. They want to believe in a God who “hates somebody so He can love us more.” The message of Jesus eliminates that vengeful creature, replacing Him with a creative Father.

Some people rose with that authorization. Others fell in with the crowd who cried, “Crucify.”

4. Mankind’s heart shall be revealed.

The Jesonian is not a thinking man’s religion. It’s not a spiritualist carnival. It does not extol physical appearance above all else. Jesonian is the willingness to have our hearts exposed without fear, knowing that in so doing, the “truth will make us free.”

Religion studies God so that we don’t have to study ourselves. That is why the Jesonian is not a religion–it’s a lifestyle.

That day an old man in the temple broke through all of his pre-conceived ideas to share a message from on high.

It was a message of inclusion.

It was a message of challenge.

And it was a message that told us that as long as we’re willing to be real, the reality that comes our way can bless us.

 

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Jesonian: The Jesus Factor … June 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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It’s not that I’m intolerant or spiritually bigoted; it’s just that I don’t think I could believe in God if it weren’t for Jesus.notebook

  • Jehovah strikes me as a bit fussy.
  • Allah is too particular for my taste.
  • The gods of Olympus are pretentious.
  • Buddha offers an enlightened path–yet I need more.
  • Confucius says a lot of things.
  • Shinto offers possible doings.
  • And candidly, I get lost somewhere in the thousand deities of the Hindi.

So when I sit around in discussions, and people begin to explain how all the religions of the world get chopped up and put into a blender to make a pious “smoothie,” I quietly retreat and allow them their amalgamation while I pursue my simple friendship.

Even though somewhere along the line, Christianity has relegated the person of Jesus to the status of Savior and Coming King, I still have the magnificent words of his traveling companion and best buddy, John, who told me, with great certainty, that the Word became Flesh and dwelled among us.

Yes, it’s important to know that Jesus is a word. He is not merely the culmination of ancient Jewish prophesy, but instead, came to fulfill and complete wisdom through his philosophy. There is much I read in the Old Testament and Koran which are not earth-friendly. They are not people-considerate. But in the mind of Jesus, I find a will that can be done on earth as it’s also equally achieved in heaven.

Trying to preach Jesus without talking about the essence of his ideas and impetus of his teachings is merely promoting Judaism with a silent Messiah.

He wasn’t only the word, though. He was made flesh. My journey in finding the Jesus Factor demands that I discover his humanity. If his only purpose for donning a human body was to be sacrificed for our sins, then certainly that could have been achieved by allowing King Herod to murder the infant Christ. But instead, he lived thirty years as a family man and three years as the voice of the people. That’s worth studying, don’t you think?

And not only did the word become flesh, but he dwelled among us.

Yes, it’s my job to find Jesus’ spirit. I’m encouraged in that quest by being told that the same spirit that occupied him can fill my heart. I am also told that he gave us all the power to become the sons of God.

It’s rather ironic that a Christianity that cuddles up too closely to other religions loses the most significant portion of its appeal–Jesus.

I am not looking for a God to believe in so I can separate myself from the rest of the people on earth. I want a God to believe in so I have a reason to enjoy, understand, appreciate, tolerate and embrace my other brothers and sisters.

Jesus gives me that.

Could I do it without him? I would find it difficult to find an ancestor or historical figure who had the compassion, insight, earth-savvy and eternal focus that I find in his person.

It is the Jesus Factor.

He is the word–so I will find his philosophy.

He became flesh–so I will find his humanity.

And he dwelled among us–I will find his spirit.

It is what I call Jesonian.

I can recommend it. Or you can feel free, with my love and blessing, to pursue your favorite blending.

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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5:02 A.M. … August 15, 2012

  • Loser — Part 2
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Death stinks–the smell of dried blood, perspiration and urine, scents that rattle the consciousness to a new awareness of mortality.

Fifty-seven minutes to complete the job. For after all, if we’re going to be good little Jewish boys and girls, we must get this body off the cross, wrap it up and place it in the tomb before six o’clock or somebody will be mad. It seems that the religious system is not satisfied to merely, try, convict, condemn and execute. They also want to make sure there’s not enough time for a decent burial.

A decent burial–what does that mean?

He’s dead. How? Why does the healer lose to the executioner?

It took us thirty minutes to get the nails out of his hands and feet. Even though he was stone cold, respect for his body made us do the labor gingerly, so as to not further tear the flesh. So broken. Nearly drained of blood, yet still his legs are purple and bruised. Wrapped in a cloth, to be thrown in a tomb for future consideration.

I just don’t understand. Why didn’t “love your neighbor” work? Why did it all come down to the masses, who benefited so much from his love, and the disciples, who were so enriched by his life, standing up for him instead of proclaiming openly that “they didn’t know him?”

Sitting here thinking about “blessed are the meek” when it is so obvious that the strong, willful and arrogant have won the day. He warned us not to judge others, yet he, himself, was judged and killed. He proclaimed that he was Lord of the Sabbath. Now he is “lorded over” by the approaching Sabbath, crowding out any moments for reflection and dignity.

Is it wrong of me to say I didn’t want to lose? Can I tell you that I’m disappointed? That I thought I had backed a winner? And now here I am, covered in his blood.

But I have no place to go. I have nothing to believe in. You see, what I have is a God who appears to be without love. I have a religion without mercy, a country without a leader and I am a follower … without a friend.

I try to remember better times in Galilee. I think about the conversations we had while fishing. It was so rich with humanity and tenderness, and now it’s relegated to a thirty-minute race to drop the body off in a cave and head back home–supposedly to honor Jehovah.

But I do remember he told us that a prophet “has no honor in his own country and amongst his own kindred.” Just last night he told us he was going “to prepare a place for us.” And even though our ears were not tuned to the message, on many occasions he warned that he would be delivered into the hands of evil men, but on the third day…

The third day. When would that be? Was he counting today? Or does it begin with the morning? What did he say would happen on the third day?

He would rise again. A quick glance down at the corpse removes any inkling of that possibility.

So who am I without him? Are we all losers? Is losing inevitable? Can I afford to give three more days to find out what his message might have meant?

Interesting. Maybe I could use the time wisely.

So what is this loser from Capernaum supposed to do when his best friend, Jesus,  is brutally murdered and jeered at–as a loser?

I guess, on Day One, I should just sit and heal. What does that mean? Healing is always when we cease to consider our pain and we start to believe in our restitution.

Day Two. Maybe I could just take time to rediscover my vision. If Jesus is dead forever and I am still alive, what can I take of Jesus into my life? Do I just want to go back to fishing? Or am I curious enough to find out what he meant by me becoming a “fisher of men?”

And on Day Three, it will either be disappointment or perhaps … resurrection. Why do they spend so much time in life instructing us on how to win when most of the time we need to know what to do with a losing situation–to turn it around to better ends?  Am I prepared to go to Day Three if it holds disappointment instead of resurrection?

Yes. Because even having the blessing of believing for two days that there might be more to come is well worth surviving the disappointment.

When did we become losers? For a brief time it seemed like we were going to rule the world. And now we don’t even have enough control to bury the dead.

Loser. I never associated that word with my friend. But maybe if he didn’t make himself vulnerable enough to be cast away from success, he would never have truly been one of us.

  • I will heal.
  • I will restore my vision.
  • And I will prepare for resurrection.

My name is John. And I have decided–believing is always preferable to self-pity.

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