Catchy (Sitting 23) Dorbe and Candy … November 19th, 2017

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Matthew was elated.

Not only did the great hamburger give-away get coverage from all the major networks, but McDonald’s chose to throw in 5,000 free hot apple pies in appreciation for the large order. Every newspaper carried the same picture–a little four-year-old boy sitting on a curb eating a hot apple pie, Coke next to him, with a huge smile on his face.

It was epic–the fresh burst of optimism which had been absent in the media for years. There had been attempts to create positive stories, but rarely did one seem to fall from the heavens, right into the laps of weary journalists.

Matthew wanted to do something special for Jubal, so while Carlos finished up at the rally, Matthew raced back to the complimentary suite that had been provided and made a few phone calls. The last contact was to the GG Escort Service.

So when Jubal Carlos arrived at the suite a couple of hours later, Matthew greeted him at the door, giggling from the effects of two slurped-down martinis.

“I’ve got a surprise for you, my friend,” said Matthew.

Jubal smiled. “I don’t know whether I can take any more surprises.”

Matthew chuckled. “I think you can take this one,” he said, with a slight slur in his speech. “You see, what I did was I called the GG Escort Service. Do you know what GG stands for?”

Jubal was surprised, but played along. “No. What does it stand for?”

Matthew patted Jubal on the back. “It stands for ‘Good Girls.’ You see, they promise that all their ladies are good girls. And I thought a good fella like you and a good fella like me deserved a couple of good girls.”

Jubal crossed the room and sat down on the plush couch. “I don’t understand. Why did you do that?”

Matthew, still standing at the door, responded, “I thought you might like to relax. Sit back. Have some fun.”

“Didn’t we have fun today?” asked Jubal.

“I meant you have fun,” said Matthew.

“I did,” replied Jubal.

“Are you gay?” asked Matthew.

Jubal stood to his feet, angry. “No, I’m not gay. I just don’t know why we’d want to end this day with women that you’ve purchased.”

“Sorry,” said Matthew. “I’ve already paid for them. They’re in the other room, waiting for us.”

“They’re here?” inquired Jubal, panic in his voice.

“Yes,” Matthew answered. “And calm down. You’ve had sex before, haven’t you?”

Jubal stepped across the room. “Yes, I’ve had sex before. I’m a Las Vegas musician. Are you an idiot?”

Matthew tried to lighten up the moment. “Yes, matter of fact, I am an idiot. I thought you might like to have some female companionship.”

Jubal stepped closer to Matthew. “You don’t get it, do you? This is just a game to you. It’s like you’re playing with Mommy and Daddy’s money. Or worse, it’s Monopoly money, so what difference does it make? So you think you can go out and buy whatever you need.”

Matthew was pissed. “Hey, back off, fella. You don’t know anything about me.”

“I know you think you can buy love,” spit Jubal.

“I’m not buying love, and we’re not little boys in grammar school,” said Matthew. “It’s just sex–and a chance to have it without having to apologize, explain or woo.”

Jubal returned to the couch, sat down and turned away from Matthew. “This is not my life. This is not what I would do. I thought we would come here, order some steaks, celebrate our independence and maybe even be grateful for what happened. Do you get it? People came together today. It wasn’t a mass shooting. It wasn’t a hateful demonstration. It was people eating hamburgers, listening to music, believing.”

Matthew shook his head. “You worry me, buddy. I thought you were a professional. You know–someone who had been around the block a few times. But you’re acting like you buy into this.”

“I’m not acting,” said Jubal.

As he finished his thought, the door of the bedroom opened and in walked two lovely women in their early twenties.

“What’s the holdup?” said one of the girls.

Matthew spoke up. “I’m sorry. My friend is just a little tired.”

The second girl walked over to Jubal, rubbed his shoulders and said, “That’s okay. I’ll do all the work.”

Jubal slowly turned around and looked her in the eyes, and asked, “What’s your name?”

Matthew interrupted. “I named this one ‘Yes’ and this other one ‘O-h-h-h, yes.'”

Matthew laughed uncontrollably, apparently having consumed more than two martinis. Jubal ignored him and took the young lady by the hands, and asked again, “No, what’s your name?”

She squinted, and then cautiously replied, “My name is Dorothy Beth, but my friends call me Dorbe.”

“Where are you from, Dorbe?” asked Jubal.

“Yankton County, South Dakota.”

Jubal motioned for her to sit down and she eased her way onto the cushion. “I’ve never been to South Dakota,” said Jubal. “What’s it like?”

Dorbe thought for a second. “Well, it’s like North Dakota. Just a little further south.”

Jubal laughed. “You are very funny, Dorbe.”

He stood up, walked over to the other young lady, took her hands, and said, “What’s your name?”

She glanced at Matthew, who just shook his head, so she replied flatly, “My name is Candy Cane.”

Matthew rolled his eyes. “No, your real name.”

She placed her hand on her hip and blurted, “It is my real name. My mother loved Christmas.”

Jubal thought that was funny, too. “My friend, Matthew, tells me you’re good girls.”

“No, that’s our escort service,” said Dorbe. Candy Cane threw her a darting glance.

Dorbe stared back, and said, “He’s a nice guy. I thought I could say ‘escort service.’ I don’t think he’s a cop.”

Jubal motioned for Candy Cane to sit down, too. She complied.

“No, I’m not a cop,” said Jubal. “But I do try to be a good guy. And so does my buddy, here. He’s just like all of us–he gets some things mixed up. You see, he’s the guy that’s thinking about starting a campaign to make Jesus popular again.”

“I read about that in the newspaper,” said Dorbe.

“When did Jesus get unpopular?” inserted Candy Cane.

Jubal stepped toward Matthew. “You see, my man? These ladies don’t think Jesus is unpopular. You know why?”

Matthew shook his head, like he was caught in a bad dream. “No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.”

“It’s because they’re working people,” replied Jubal. “They’re the kind of people who not only know Jesus, but they want to be friends with him.”

“You do know what we do for a living?” interrupted Dorbe.

“Hush, bitch,” said Candy Cane in the nicest way possible.

“Yes,” answered Jubal. “I know what occupies your time. But not tonight. You see, my friend and I were about to order some steaks. Or was it lobster? How about both? And we were wondering if you lovely ladies would join us?”

“You know we’re already paid for, right?” asked Dorbe.

“I suppose,” said Jubal. “But I want to give you a choice. You can keep your money and leave, or you can stay here and eat a delicious dinner with us and join in conversation.”

Just conversation?” Candy Cane asked, suspicious.

“Just conversation?” Matthew repeated.

“Yes,” said Jubal. “There is so much to talk about, so much to celebrate, so much to be thankful for that we don’t have to go weird to have our fun.”

Dorbe shook her head. “You are an odd man. Are you a preacher? Don’t get me wrong–I’ve been with a lot of preachers.”

“No, Dorbe, actually I’m a drummer. Congas.”

Candy Cane stood to her feet and clapped her hands. “Oh, I love congas! They’re just so … drummy.”

“I couldn’t have said that better myself,” said Jubal.

“Yes, you could,” said Matthew.

“So what do you say, Matthew? Shall we order in some dinner for our ‘Good Girls?'” asked Jubal.

Matthew stood quietly in the doorway, where he had been stuck the entire time. He was still waiting for an exciting evening of pleasure, and was being offered dinner and talk.

He didn’t understand Jubal. He was aware of people who were self-righteous, or just hated sex–but Mr. Carlos didn’t seem to fit into either of those categories. There was something mysterious about the story of this man that he knew he would have to uncover so as to protect himself–and the money.

But not tonight. Tonight belonged to Carlos. Tonight was a time to submit to the common good.

Tonight was a celebration with two good guys and two good girls.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 18) Where in the Hell Is Exactly Where … October 22nd, 2017

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After an exhausting three-day search through the streets of Las Vegas, Prophet Morgan finally ran across Jimmy the Runt (that’s what folks called him), who tried to explain in an animated and often-squeaky voice what had happened to Jubal Carlos.

Matthew had contacted Prophet and asked him to go to Vegas, locate Jubal and keep him in a safe place until Matthew could join them and make the proposal to Mr. Carlos about what certainly might be the bravest and most bizarre promotion in the history of mankind.

It was not an elaborate ruse, but rather, a performance art piece, presenting Jubal Carlos as Jesus–in character, personality, mannerisms and speech. That was the idea.

So Prophet Morgan was sent to locate Jubal, only to discover that he was nowhere to be found. After Jimmy the Runt nervously offered his rendition of the events that had brought about the disappearance, which only left Prophet Morgan with more questions than answers, the Prophet decided to go a little deeper into the honeycomb of the homeless community.

There he met an old Indian chief named Plato. The street folks called him Plato because they thought he possessed great wisdom (and because he insisted that was his name). Plato was just the opposite of Jimmy the Runt. He was slow of speech, overly thoughtful, and unwilling to change his pace for anyone, especially Prophet Morgan, who apparently resembled some of the early settlers who had stolen his people’s land. After three-and-a-half hours of interrogation, Chief Plato finally came out with it.

“They have arrested young Jubal and taken him to jail.”

Prophet Morgan squinted. It seemed completely unlikely. Jubal was well known up and down the Strip, and unless he had gunned down a showgirl outside the Golden Nugget, he probably was not going to find himself in trouble with the law.

But just to make sure, Prophet Morgan headed down to the Clark County Jail, and was able to confirm that there was a Jubal Carlos being held prisoner. He not only was in jail, but had already been tried, convicted and sentenced to spend thirty days there, courtesy of the county.

It was all too odd–and when Prophet Morgan demanded to see Jubal, he was told that unless he was an attorney or had clearance from the federal government, there would be no possibility of making contact.

“What was he convicted of?” demanded Prophet.

A policeman in his late forties, who had obviously forgotten how to smile two decades ago, looked down at the arrest orders and said, “Not that it’s any of your business, but Mr. Carlos was arrested for second degree disturbing of the peace.”

Morgan frowned. “What is second degree disturbing of the peace?”

The cop, without missing a beat, replied, “It’s one degree more serious than first degree disturbing of the peace.”

Prophet Morgan smiled, hoping it was a joke, as the cop stared at him without moving a whisker on his 1973 mustache.

Prophet Morgan left the Clark County Jail and called Matthew, giving him the status. Matthew swore in four languages, three of which he did not know. He hung up the phone and he took the first plane to Las Vegas. Arriving in town, he immediately took a taxi to the Clark County Jail, where he, too, had the pleasure of meeting the Mustachioed Quiet Man, clad in Baker’s Brown.

As Matthew was trying to convince the constable of his need to meet with Jubal Carlos, he glanced down at the file on the desk and noticed that written across it in large letters was the word, “PRIORITY.”

Pointing at the file, he asked, “Is that Jubal Carlos’s file?”

The cop fired back, “It’s none of your damn business, but yes.”

Matthew giggled because even though it wasn’t his business, he still got a reply. He continued, “Why is ‘priority’ written on the file? And while you’re at it, answer another question. What is second degree disturbing of the peace?”

The policeman opened a book, thumbed a few pages and came to Statute 469-374-8. He read from Paragraph Three: “Any individual who engages in any activity which causes the disruption of the common good shall be arrested and pay a fine of $264 and spend thirty days in jail.”

Matthew shook his head. “That’s the weirdest damn thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”

The cop half whispered, “It’s from 1954. Vegas was weird back then. There were a lot of gangsters running around town, carousing and shootin’ their guns off at night. The good folks of the community wanted to make sure they had some law to protect them from the hooligans.”

“Hooligans,” repeated Matthew. “Have you met Jubal Carlos?”

“I have not had the pleasure.” At this point, the cop turned on his heel and walked away. Matthew thought he was going to retrieve another document, so he waited for a few minutes, but the stoic law enforcement officer never returned.

Matthew wasn’t sure what to do. He didn’t have enough legal training to know whether a writ of Habeas Corpus could be rendered, since Jubal was already convicted.

So figuring that Mr. Carlos could be no more than three or four rooms away, he ran through the police station screaming at the top of his lungs, “Jubal! Jubal!”

Actually he was fairly astounded at how long he was able to continue the rampage before he was tackled and thrown to the ground by two burly cops.

Still, they would not throw him into the common clink, where he could be united with Jubal. Desperate and not willing to wait, he shoved one of the policemen, who fell over a trash can, landed against a computer, which knocked over a desk and spilled over to a nearby secretary, who was innocently watching but suddenly found herself tipped over in her chair, unceremoniously landing on the floor. She squealed like a family of mice.

The original cop, who had been watching the strange scene from a distance, ambled over to Matthew and said, “You are under arrest.”

Matthew took a deep breath and replied, “It’s about goddamn time.”

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Catchy (Sitting 18) Clippings … October 15th, 2017

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Michael Hinston sat back in a leather chair which had been a gift from a Congressman from Mississippi who had recently remodeled his office, had no need for the extra furniture piece and “saw no reason for it to go to waste.”

In Michael’s hand was a plain manila envelope–the kind you would buy at a dollar store. There was no writing on the outside, except in the lower right hand corner, in small letters, was the name, Milford Hayes.

It did not take Michael any time at all to recollect who Milford Hayes was. Ever since the visit in his office, when he was given the fifty thousand dollars from Caine Industries, he had recalled the conversation with the stranger many, many times.

He hated himself because he hadn’t kicked the bastard out the door.

He hated himself for being part of a political system that allowed such corruption.

He hated himself because corporations thought they could buy and sell politicians like sides of beef.

He also hated himself because he had already spent some of the money.

And unlike more noble souls who could suddenly possess a fit of conscience and give the money back, he had no such resource.

He was in.

Whatever “in” meant.

And apparently, with the arrival of this envelope, he was about to find out.

He picked up the phone and asked his secretary to hold all calls, though nobody was actually phoning him. This was another troubling part of his journey in Washington. He had been elected by rural hometown folks in Ohio, but nobody in the Capitol even knew he was alive.

He had thought he was going to be invited to dinner with the President, but when it turned out that his vote was not needed for an upcoming piece of legislation, apologies were offered and he ended up eating pepperoni pizza with his family.

So now, sitting in his cast-off chair, in his uncomfortable office, with the knowledge in his mind that his wife and children despised their new home, he slowly opened the envelope.

Pulling out the contents, he found a clump of press clippings held together with a paper clip, and a white business envelope with the words “For the Kids” written on the outside.

He set the white envelope to the side and thumbed through the articles. They had one central theme–they were tiny news announcements, reports, opinions and press releases about his friend, Matthew, taking on the Harts fortune to popularize Jesus.

Included was an 8 X 10 glossy picture of a young man with long hair. Scrawled in magic marker across the photo was the name, Jubal Carlos.

Satisfied that he had discovered the essence of the newspaper clippings, he moved toward the business envelope. He opened it. Inside was a note written on 20-pound typing paper, along with ten one hundred-dollar bills. The note read:

It’s time to do something. It’s time for you to earn your money. Your nosy friend has decided to take on the challenge and we must do what is necessary to stall his efforts. The picture is of Jubal Carlos, a freelance musician from Las Vegas who lives on the street with the homeless and the indigent. Your buddy from college plans on using him. Don’t you think it would be a good idea for you to use your congressional clout to have the local authorities investigate him? It couldn’t hurt, right?

I have enclosed some “pin money” for little Alisa and Bernice. Stay faithful. Milford Hayes.

Michael put the letter down and stared at the picture of Jubal Carlos. He didn’t know what to do. The young man in the photograph certainly seemed likeable–a bright countenance.

Why would he want to trouble someone causing no trouble?

Why would he allow himself to be part of some plot against an old friend?

Why should he care what a dead, old billionaire wanted to do with the rest of his money?

But what truly haunted Michael was the thousand dollars. Just twenty minutes earlier, his wife, Barbara, had called to tell him that the school was launching a field trip to New York City. There would be additional expense. The secretary from the school said it would cost $500 for each daughter. Barbara apologized for laying a thousand-dollar burden on his mind while he was at work.

Michael paused, shaking his head. Now, twenty minutes later, he was staring at a thousand dollars in cash. A coincidence? A miracle? A blessing?

Or did Milford Hayes and Caine Industries know too much about his daughters?

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Good News and Better News… October 9th, 2017

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This weekend was the Fall Festival at the Emmaus Lutheran Church in Orange City, Florida. Also appearing, on the under card, were Cring & Clazzy.

Please understand, I am not lamenting having second billing. After all, the church does use the occasion to raise funds for a very worthy cause.

It’s just that in this season of mediocrity colliding with confusion, the church can no longer take an approach of “business as usual,” as it prepares for the Pumpkin Patch sale, while the huge hand basket arrives to take everybody to hell.

What are the needed adjustments?

What is the responsibility of the fellowship of the followers of Jesus in this season of turmoil and tribulation?

The first and foremost principle that we as Christians and churchgoers need to understand is the power we possess, instead of complaining over our inability to affect circumstances.

One of my sons contacted me this weekend in frustration and said, “Pop, what can we do?”

From his message I sensed that he had a real heart to make a difference, but all he sees are gray walls of discontentment closing in on him. Perhaps the answer is so simple that it escapes those who are trying to participate in complex study. Here’s the path:

Stop trying to do what you can’t do.

In the pursuit of equality, we believe that everybody, everywhere, has equal ability for everything. What could be more ridiculous?

About fifteen years ago, I was traveling with my family band. During a performance, I turned to the audience in speaking about my oldest son’s bass guitar playing, and shared that Jesus was impressed, because “my boy plays bass guitar better than Jesus.” It was a jocular toss-off, based upon Jesus himself saying that “greater things would we do because he goes to the Father.” But it offended the pastor, who insisted that if Jesus wanted to play bass guitar, he’d be the “best bass guitar player in the world.”

We have become defensive. Desiring to do everything, we’ve ended up doing nothing. Keep in mind that perseverance is a virtue–but “stubborn” is a vice.

God the Father has given Mother Nature to us to clarify what we are good at and what we aren’t. If you have tried to do something five or six times and failed on each occasion, number seven is not going to work either. Although you may find testimonials of people insisting it was on the 28th occasion of launching their idea when it finally worked, God is pretty merciful. He lets us know when something is growing and when something is dying.

So that’s my message to the people of Emmaus and also to the folks who faithfully read this blog.

Stop trying to do things you can’t do.

It opens the door for others to perform their talent and magic, while you watch. And then they can step back and allow you the platform for your gifts.

We will continue to flounder in a series of projects, proposals and even prayers–unless we begin to assess what we do that actually works, and what we continue to chase, hoping it will catch fire.

The good news is that each one of you has gifts that have market quality and human ministry.

The better news is, if you will stop trying to do what you can’t do, you’ll have so much more time for what you do well.

 

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Jesonian … September 30th, 2017

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It had been a day of storytelling.

Launching out into a boat so that the audience on the seashore could hear more clearly, the young teacher, formerly from Nazareth, had shared great yarns about faith–three in particular.

Taking an ethereal subject, he translated it into the human and earthly. It was what he did best. He had no intention of having followers with heaven on their minds–not when there was still so much to do here on earth.

The first story was about a sower. The lesson was really simple. The seeds of hope, love, contentment, joy and even confrontation have to be sown–whether the inhabitants of Earth received them or not. You just never know what patch of soil might sprout promise.

Another story was about how to showcase faith. It really is not a private matter–it is something that needs to be shown forth, demonstrated, put on a candlestick so the light can fill the room.

And then there was that closing story that finished out the day. An inspiring one. “Faith is like a mustard seed…” In other words, it may be small, but its original girth does not foretell what it will eventually be. Don’t despise small beginnings.

At the end of the day this young teacher, Jesus, decided he wanted to go on a late-night sail across the sea to the other shore. It was a family aatmosphere, and so other folks who had been moved by the message decided to join him on the journey. Jesus had a big boat but those who followed him were in little ships. Exhausted, Jesus grabbed a pillow and headed to the back of the boat to get a snooze on the way across.

Then the atmosphere changed. (It nearly always does.) Into a quiet, peaceful night, a storm arose–a big one. The waves began to splash into the boat.The disciples were frightened. All the stories of faith dissipated in the presence of this threat. They screamed at Jesus, asking him why he didn’t do something. Why didn’t he care that they were dying?

Every teacher in the world will understand his feelings at that point. What is the purpose of sharing a lesson if no one applies it?

But Jesus had other concerns. This was no time to put the disciples to the test to see if they could survive their anxieties. Because, you see, there were other little ships. And if the big boat was in trouble then the little ships were in desperate straits.

So Jesus calmed the storm–not because he wanted to appease twelve frightened men in a big boat, but because he was concerned about the little ships.

Jesus was always sensitive to the little ships. Matter of fact, he made it clear that if we don’t take care of the “least,” we’re really not in fellowship with him at all.

We’ve lost our hearts for the little ships.

Storms come to our country and ravage the land and we scream to the government to help us rebuild our houses. Meanwhile, the least of these–the little ships–aren’t even getting water and food to survive.

I spent three days this year locked up in a hot house, sweating, my brain fried because I had none of the conveniences of which I was accustomed. I was fit to be tied.

In Puerto Rico, it’s been many,many days without food, water, cooling and relief.

Can we care about what’s happening to the little ships, or are we only concerned for our own losses and perishing?

That night, terrified disciples were saved because Jesus took care of the little ships.

I suggest that if we find the little ships in our lives, in the process of doing so, all the boats will be brought safely to the shore.

 

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G-Poppers … September 8th, 2017

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Jon close up

G-Pop sat back with the rest of the American population and watched the national media turn the 2016 Presidential election into a cavalcade of bizarre claims and accusations.

It has not stopped.

We are still in the midst of an entertainment-driven news force which delves into critical issues by exposing the scandals that surround them. We have become a nation that reveres the messenger. We are intrigued with personalities. We are possessed by finding heroes who can just as easily be transformed into villains.

G-Pop would like to encourage his children to regain sanity by placing matters in the right order:

First is the message.

  • What is being said to us?
  • What is being communicated?
  • What is at the heart of the movement?

Secondly, messaging.

  • What style, restrictions and kindnesses are being recognized by an organization, a party or a church in promoting its cause?

Number three, the messenger.

  • Who is the face on the body?

For instance, Islam asserts that it is a religion of peace.

So if Islam is peace, what is the messaging? Are the talking points of the Islamic faith peppered with peace, brotherhood and kindness?

And who is the messenger? Is it some Mullah from a small mosque in Kansas who’s feeding the hungry in his community, or is it a well-advertised murderer from ISIS?

Another case in point: we are told that the message of the Republican Party is small government.

The messaging is the ridicule of anyone who would suggest anything other than that, casting aside other issues that don’t fall into the purview of that spotlight.

Who is the messenger? Well, President Trump is the messenger of the Republican Party.

What is the message of the Democrat Party? “Government is here to assist.”

What is the messaging? “The one percent is out to destroy the ninety-nine percent.”

Who is the messenger? It would appear that Bernie Sanders has become the messenger of the Democrat Party.

What is the message of the American Christian Church? “We are still here, we care and we’re important.”

What is the messaging? As in the case of Islam, it ranges from the promise of peace to extreme forms of bigotry and intolerance.

Who is the messenger? Well, it isn’t Jesus. There is a struggle in the church right now to fill the shoes vacated by Billy Graham.

So what is the true message of Christianity? “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

What should the messaging be? “Take responsibility for your own life and never judge others.”

Who is the messenger? Well, I do believe Jesus could get behind that message and messaging.

Be aware. Cease to be enamored with messengers and track back to the message. Then consider the messaging that’s being used, and finally, look at the messenger.

Is he or she an adequate, intelligent representation of the message?

If we do this, we have a chance to make a decision about our lives based upon the quality of the vision instead of blindly following the loudest, the meanest, the wealthiest or the brashest braggart in the room.Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

 

 

Jesonian–Troubling (Part 10)… September 2nd, 2017

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Troubling.

In the Gospel of John, the 9th Chapter, the disciples of Jesus get into a rather frumpy, cheesy, theological mood and approach Jesus with a question.

They had come upon a gentleman who was blind from birth, and they officiously asked the Master whether this happened to him due to his own sin, or the sin of his parents?

Keep in mind–these are the same fellows who had seen water turned into wine, five thousand folks fed with five loaves and two fishes, demons cast out and the dead raised. Yet when it comes to discussing the nature, tenderness, mind-set and intellect of God, they revert back to their small-village, Sunday School mentality.

They made two errors:

First, they contended that God punishes people for their sins. Nothing could be further from the truth. And Jesus made it clear–good things happen to good people and bad people, and bad things happen to everyone equally. (Otherwise, there would be great impetus to be good instead of bad, just to garner the material blessing.)

The second mistake was that they believed that people were “born a certain way.” Obviously, this notion permeates our society as well. We are convinced people are born athletes, born musicians, born leaders, born dexterous…shall I go on? We take comfort in the assertion because it gives us all an excuse for not taking the abilities we see in ourselves and multiplying them to make our lives more abundant.

These two completely errant ideas were put forth by these Galileans two thousand years ago–ideas which are still an intricate part of the doctrinal DNA of the average Christian.

  • “Don’t sin or God will punish you.”
  • And “you are destined to be something by birth.”

I think it is important to note Jesus’ response. He completely dismisses both possibilities. He makes it clear that God doesn’t punish people for their sins–and especially not for the sins of their parents. And he also says that destiny is a myth because free will is extolled throughout the Universe as the “go-to plan.”

You can’t have both free will and destiny. They do not co-habitate. Even though you may have a certain genetic makeup, it does not overtake you and turn you into something you do not choose to be.

It is also why the Bible makes it clear that part of the salvation experience is to be “born again”–becoming a new creature in Christ.

Jesus said that God was not punishing anyone, and that the man was not born blind. He said that blindness was in his life so that God could be made manifest through him in a unique way.

There’s nothing wrong with taking what seems to be a weakness and turning it into a strength so that God might receive glory. This blind man is not complaining; he is not joining into the theological discussion about his plight. Matter of fact, he’s not even begging to be healed.

He has found a place in his place to make a place for every place he goes.

That’s our job.

I was dealt a certain hand and so were you. Now, through the blessing of free will, I have the ability to turn those circumstances to the positive instead of internalizing them to complain about my pain.

It is troubling that we still have a church that believes if bad things happen to people, the people must be bad–and that we live in a society which insists we were all “born” with a certain destiny.

God gave us free will. We can deny it and wait for Him to plan our lives, only to discover that He doesn’t do that, and our time on Earth has slipped away.

Or we can take a look at what we have–an inventory, if you will–and see what great things we can accomplish–simply by stepping forward instead of backward.

 

 

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