Jesonian–Troubling (Part 1)… July 1st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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“Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.”

These are the words of Jesus.

But you see, there’s my problem. Believing in Jesus is simpler for me. It’s believing in God that itches my brain.

You see, God has a lot of history–thirty-nine books of Old Testament, filled with murder, mayhem, racism and contradictions–before we arrive at the doorstep of the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth, where Jesus emerges and begins to speak to the world.

Every once in a while, I’m sitting in a room by myself and a sudden gust of realization sweeps in and blows my mind.

God?? What in the hell am I thinking? How could there be a God?

And this isn’t because there are bad things happening–it’s just that the stories told about this god are similar to the Greek mythology concerning Zeus. All at once, I am inundated with feelings of foolishness and slowly, bitterness jumps into my heart, mocking me for following such ancient tales.

Sometimes the Holy Bible reads like a Grimm fairy tale, full of witches, warlocks and little boys and girls threatened because they’re on their way to grandma’s house.

But then I pause. Why? It’s the chimpanzee.

Although I believe that science is the favorite hobby of the Father in Heaven, the order in the Universe, even in the midst of chaos, and the fact that human beings exist, hearkens to the presence of a Universal Creator. Feel free to try to deteriorate the human spirit, soul and intellect, and place it side-by-side with the animals–but if any one of us spent a week trying to reason, infiltrate and dine with chimpanzees (supposedly our closest relative) we would quickly return to the human race with newfound appreciation.

I’m sorry–animals are animals and people are people. There’s a huge gap. Somebody–did you hear me?–somebody put that gap there.

On the other hand, upon spending several weeks with the chimpanzees of theology, I am equally as baffled by the fact that for some inexplicable reason, they want to blur the God of Judaism with the person of Jesus.

So if the proclamation is, God is Jesus–I’m there, and the spiritual evolution from God and the devil playing poker with Job’s soul, to “love your neighbor as yourself” was needed and makes complete sense.

But if Jesus is God, I really have to include stories from the old volume, which are absolutely implausible, without merit and of no benefit to any creature on heaven or Earth.

It is troubling.

Without being accusatory, may I suggest that all of us, to some degree, are turmoiled by this mish-mash and collision of meaningless facts being thrown together into one book called the Bible and then dubbed “Holy.”

If you will allow me, over the next couple of weeks, I would like to deal with this troubling situation–because to a certain degree, all an atheist has to say to any Christian is, “Really???” and we are immediately defensive.

Because we possess our own doubts.

So doubts be damned and discussion begun, I will see you next week.

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Jesonian: Carpenter Logic… August 31, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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carpenter's tools

Janice has a five-year goal spectrum which she has laid out, printed and shares with anyone who’s interested and quite a few who truly aren’t. Unfortunately, five minutes after Janice shared her sixty-month roll-out, she discovered that her mother had just passed away from cancer and that her services would be needed to assist her father in finding a new place of residence. Unable to muster the kind of logical profile to continue her dreams, she abandoned them in frustration.

Mark has a business plan and has filed corporation papers to start a company to pursue one of his adventures. In the process of gaining investors, he uncovered some unsavory facts about his helpers and was forced to walk away from the money because he wasn’t sure how to logically handle the adversity.

Even though planning is a terrific way of proving to yourself and others that you are serious about your aspirations, what really determines our success is the path of logic which we pursue when our “best-laid plans of mice and men” go ker-plunk, ker-plop.

It is unfortunate that religious people don’t study the life of Jesus. They would see that he spent thirty years as a carpenter’s son and only three years concentrating on his sonship with God. So the logic of the carpenter permeated his dealings and helped him get through many a tight spot and tribulation.

What was his carpenter’s logic?

1. What’s the job?

A powerful question. Because oftentimes we prepare for a job we have created in our minds rather than dealing with the actual task set before us. When we ask ourselves, “what’s the job?” we have time to get focused on the moment instead of finding ourselves discussing logos to adorn our five-year goal plan.

2. What materials are needed?

Even though we may be familiar with the old street phrase, “don’t show up to a gun fight with a knife,” there is great depth of wisdom hidden beneath that dark thought. Knowing what materials you will need in order to pursue your situation and keeping yourself flexible for changes and revisions proves that you have the kind of logic to get you through tight times.

3. How much?

Yes–count the cost. And then, if you’re smart, ask yourself the question of what happens if the budget doubles.

4. How long?

Since the philosophy of the carpenter was “he that endures to the end shall be saved.” what might be some of the obvious and tell-tale signs of where and when the end might be?

5. Build it to last.

Even though sand is on sale, it’s not a good deal because you have to keep rebuilding. The rock might cost more, but anything that’s built on it will remain.

And when you build things to last, you not only communicate the level of your commitment, but you have an obvious passion for your work which tells people you can be trusted.

Your plans in life only work if you are following a logic which survives pettiness, stupidity, and human frailty.

 

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Starting Position… November 10, 2013

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leechesNo young woman interns in a hospital, training to be a doctor, struggling with leeches, a mustard poultice and liquid opium to make sure that she fully comprehends the history and journey of the medical field.leather helmet

Likewise, no young rookie in the National Football League is given a leather helmet and sawdust to stuff in his pants to protect him from the numerous collisions on the field.

Wouldn’t it be silly to give a young man completing basic training a revolutionary war musket as he heads off to battle, to honor and salute the forefathers who founded this country?

flyingAnd I don’t think a person who is training to be a pilot needs to attach wings to his arms and jump off a cliff, trying to fly, just to have an appreciation for the trial and error that transpired in the pursuit of aviation.

So let me be blunt–I am not a follower of Moses. More power to Jonah, Job, David, Goliath and all the other characters in the stories, but they are experiments on a quest to find the real heart and spirit of God.

I am not a Muslim. I don’t need to know all the dictates of Sharia Law, which to me are superseded by the liberty given by our heavenly Father to all humanity.

I signed up to be a Christian because I believed in Jesus and found the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” to be the only logical axiom to energize our planet to maintain human life. I want to take the Golden Rule and dig for MORE gold.

Christianity suffers under a foolish need to teach history rather than encourage research. When we finally tire of defending a book that is evolutionary in its message, and is fulfilled in the life of Jesus, we will actually be able to offer something to mankind that meets the need instead of accentuating our differences.

“For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

I am working for that day.

I won’t settle for less.

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It Still Works … August 1, 2013

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nooseThree hundred and sixty five days.

That’s a year, right? I mean, I know it’s a year, but sometimes you look at a number you’re totally acquainted with and it looks weird to you.

But anyway, it was one year ago that a friend of mine called me on the phone, distraught, disappointed, disgusted and feeling generally … dissed.

He had faithfully worked a job for three years, trying to improve the quality of his performance and expand as an individual, only to be struck down in an ego battle with a new employee who decided that my friend was in the way and needed to be disposed of quickly.

He was fired from his position.

He was hurt. He had never experienced such humiliation.

It is difficult, at that point, for anyone to believe that anything good will come out of the situation. Foolishness, self-righteousness and revenge seem to have great power when we’ve been laid waste by the selfishness of others.

It’s because we have all been taught a lesson or two about “might making right.” We all think the Marines should sweep in and punish the evil-doers. We succumb to the notion that if God really loved us, He would destroy our enemies.

So I was pleasantly surprised when my friend received my counsel. My advice was simple:

“Stupid that pretends to be smart always eventually gets exposed as stupid and then–ends up smarting.”

For instance, we see Haman in the Old Testament, plotting against Esther, to murder the competition by building a gallows where he hoped she would be hung for being a traitor. But move ahead a few months. Truth comes out, lies are exposed, plots are revealed … and Hamen is hanging from his own gallows.

Meanwhile, back to my friend: one year to the day after he was demoralized by the foolish avenger, he not only has grown, prospered and enricheded his sitruation, but the gentleman who decided to mark him for destruction–he, himself, is now gone to parts unknown.

The good news of the gospel WORKS.

Jesus never told us that wisdom is a fully grown plant. It is always a seed. It demands that we place it in the ground provided for us and then have a bit of patience to see goodness come to fruition.

The only other alternative is to indulge yourself in a bloody hand-to-hand combat with other human beings until you are eventually vanquished by someone stronger.

When my friend called yesterday, to tell me of the fate of his foe, I was relieved. I was not comforted because someone suffered the slings and arrows of his own device, but rather, I felt a sense of great wonder–that the gospel of Jesus, which is normally eyeballed as a philosophy of the weak and poor–had once again proven that it triumphs over the rich and the haughty.

It still works, my friends. Normally, it demands that you swallow a lump of pride and digest it out of your system in order to give God a chance to prove the point … and bless you.

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May I introduce to you … November 23, 2012

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I hate my job … in a loving way.

I love my job, although sometimes it aggravates the hell out of me.

You can probably tell from these two statements that I’m a bit conflicted. But the conflict is very necessary in order for me to be successful, fruitful and relevant to my times.

This morning, I would like to introduce you to Jesus. Now, this is a name that evokes  everything from a collective yawn to a congregational cheer. But in a season in our world when we need direction and wisdom grounded in common sense and an eye on history, to most hearers, the name “Jesus” conjures images of crosses, wooden pews and starched, white collars.

Thus my aggravation.

On the other hand, I open up the life and times of this exciting adventurer, and I uncover not merely the spiritual energy of my Creator, but also the flesh, bone and true essence of what human life was abundantly intended to be.

Therefore my joy and love.

How am I supposed to communicate to a world determined to separate everything into boxes labeled A and B?  Yet the power and pungency of a human life lived two thousand years ago does bear consideration in our twitter world.

Let me make three things clear to you as I introduce you to the real Jesus. You may be able to find exceptions to what I share because you’re desperate to maintain your theology or your atheism, but the general consensus of the information provided will contradict your meager holdings. In other words, it’s pretty obvious that Abraham Lincoln had a beard, even though I’m sure you could find someone who would promote the idea that he glued it on every morning.

There are three things that are not only obvious about Jesus, but also important because they are human-friendly and therefore, God-ordained.

1. Jesus hated religion. Just to keep all things fair, religion hated him right back. It was not the Romans, the constables, the tax collectors or the whores who nailed him to the cross. It was the First United Methodist Church in cooperation with the Southern Baptists, who for the first time, had a joint resolution to do something in correlation with one another by ridding themselves of a teaching and infestation that would eventually rob their ranks of parishioners and also steal money from their coffers. Got it?

You may ask what Jesus hated about religion. The answer to that is simple: religion always makes faith about reaching God instead of about God reaching people. There you go. If you’re presently in some sort of doctrinal quagmire, constantly trying to figure out what is pleasing to God, you are in religion, you will live in confusion and you will die in ambiguity. The purpose of faith is to make everything heavenly earthly so that while we are here, we have a working plan, and when we finally are NOT here anymore, God can “surprise the heaven into us.”

2. Jesus taught that humans are heart, soul, mind and strength. If you are attending a church which insists that we are body, soul and spirit, you are pursuing a line of thinking that has no line. Because placing the emotions and the brain in the same container and believing they are able to work together without having a buffer between them consisting of some sort of conciliatory force is absolutely ridiculous. Here’s the truth: I FEEL and I THINK. Those two things normally HATE each other. If there were not a spirit between them negotiating deals, we would live in a world of total confusion, war, political upheaval, financial disaster, anger and inequality. Wait a second…! We do. Could something as simple as a misunderstanding over our nature bring about such devastation?? Absolutely. Jesus came to teach us that out of our heart we speak. So if we don’t keep our hearts pure and understand our motives, recognizing our emotions, we are still going to jabber off things we don’t want to say at the wrong moment, and end up pissing off everyone in the room. That’s why we receive in the heart and we take it to our spirit. And what is our spirit? Our spirit is the place where what we’ve experienced and what we believe sit down and negotiate peace with one another. It is only the spirit that can renew the mind and teach the brain something new–which then gives our body an opportunity to become excited about living again.

3. NoOne is better than anyone else. Jesus lived in a time when the Romans thought they were gods, the Greeks were so confident in their intellectualism that they believed that molesting children was permissible, and the Jews were absolutely convinced that they were the “chosen dudes of God.” This is not exactly the formula for the possibility for a great “mixer.” Jesus broke the curse. Jesus told us that Hamas is not better than Israel. Jesus told us that Japan is not superior to China. And Jesus told us that the United States is not the God beacon and favorite over Russia.

So you can see that I am not a religious man because I really love God and I like the heft of a good hymn book in my hand. I have become a follower of Jesus because I am a true environmentalist, I am a true patriot, I am a true believer, I am a true humanist, I am a true internationalist, I am a true man, I am a true woman–and most of all, I am a true human. This is the only philosophy ever offered that affords me the ability to be all of these without trying to eliminate the competition.

So let me introduce you to Jesus. If you don’t mind, I’ll have to pull him down from the cross where you have placed him in storage. If it doesn’t offend you too much, I will have to tear up his papers of being “only a Jew.” And if you will not crucify me, I will have to let you know that he doesn’t think Americans are “the best.”

If you’re interested in him, you might want to continue to read my column from time to time because I will speak to you of his escapades. If you found something in this essay to be distasteful, disrespectful or unrighteous, I recommend the pabulum from any one of a number of denominations which also offer blogs on their take on the notorious Nazarene.

It’s just that I am angry enough that I am ready to release my love without apology, to unleash the spirit once again of Jesus of Nazareth, whom I believe has earned his “stripes” to be the Son of God.

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Two Speeches (not from the stump) … September 23, 2012

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I don’t agree.

Political parties and pundits tend to aggravate some little open wound in my soul which refuses to heal, becoming calloused to the bizarre. I guess the popular thinking is that a certain amount of lying, cheating, attacking, fussing and maneuvering of truth is necessary to win an election. I not only disagree with this premise, but I wonder if anyone has actually ever tried to utilize the facts faithfully to a conclusion before giving up early in the pursuit to strike back over a recent smarting smack.

What I will share with you today are two speeches–one from each of the men running for President of the United States. These discourses don’t actually exist, of course. They are what I feel each individual candidate might want to express if he was intent on winning the job on both merit and humility. I will begin with the incumbent:

My name is Barack Obama. I would like to continue being your President. I guess, in a manner of speaking, you could say that I won the job four years ago. I have learned that there is a difference between winning and succeeding. I was not ready for all the surprises. No one can be prepared–because, dear folks, there is a world of problems out there in what we call the world. It is impossible to understand that in entirety until you actually get in the position where you need to make decisions that affect the lives of millions. But I have learned. May I tell you this–it is not easy to learn. You are tempted to explain your mishaps and trumpet your victories. Here is an assessment: some of my decisions were good. Others are still working out. Some of my choices, though, didn’t completely address the need. Once again–learning. To be President of the United States, in my opinion, means you have to know the difference among those three conclusions. I will tell you, after four years, I understand so much better what is going to be effective and what is a waste of energy. So let me tell you what I would like to do, should you grant me four more years:

1. Abandon all bad choices and pursue the path that is fruitful.

2. Listen to all people who actually want to help the country, no matter what affiliation or what party.

3. Be a President of the conservative, the liberal, the independent and anyone else who is blessed to be an American.

4. Tell you the truth, even when it makes me look bad.

I ask you to give me a chance to use what I have learned. Thank you for your trust.

Another offering:

My name is Mitt Romney. I want to be President of the United States. I have no experience in this job. I have lived a full life. I have a collective understanding of business and commerce, discovered through my work,  family and adult journey. I am rich. It doesn’t make me better. It also doesn’t make me the enemy. I understand that when you are given much, much is required of you. I realize that I will be taking what I have experienced and using it the best I can, while learning how to be a good President. I will need help–not because I am helpless; it’s just that some of the assistance will need to come from Republicans, Democrats, independents and Americans of all types. I will need to listen to all of these voices because they are you. I will:

1. Abandon all bad choices and pursue the path that is fruitful.

2. Listen to all people who actually want to help the country, no matter what affiliation or what party.

3. Be a President of the conservative, the liberal, the independent and anyone else who is blessed to be an American.

4. Tell you the truth, even when it makes me look bad.

Thank you for your time. I can’t promise you an easy solution–I can tell you that we will be able to do this together. I will bring all I know and a heart to learn more. Thank you for your trust.

The pundits would not like with these two speeches. They would insist that showing vulnerability is displaying weakness, and since they believe that politics is a jungle, that such openness would turn a candidate into a lame antelope instead of a roaring lion. Maybe they’re right. But see–we don’t know. There is no way to be sure, because no one has ever had the guts and determination to stay faithful to the understandable truth throughout an entire campaign. I will tell you this–without a heart filled with simplicity and a humble spirit, the responsibility of guiding human beings is carried out by a fool instead of a righteous king.

Two speeches–it is my offering for today. I guess my only counsel to you would be that the more you hear of these admissions from which ever candidate, the better prepared he will be for the inevitable struggle of leadership.

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Seven Days Later … July 27, 2012

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One spoiled rotten boy

In a desperate attempt to annoy

Took his dastardly grown-up toy

And acted out his lethal ploy

Intent to kill off all our joy.

Seven days after Theater Nine. People trying to understand why.

Yet if our frustrated little boy from Colorado had come to us with a paint brush, we might have told him that “art is for pussies.”

If he had shown up with a hammer, we would have suggested that he go build something, and that we would decide if he was worthy of future constructions.

What if he had shown up with a song? The suggestion would have been made for him to audition for American Idol and hope for the best.

What if the little boy had arrived with just an idea? We more adult types would have smiled, patted him on the shoulder and offered a dubious “good luck.”

He could have completed his education. We would have handed him an application and told him to get in line.

And if our young, confused lad had brought along his dream, we would have felt the need to provide him with a big dose of reality.

But because he showed up with a gun, we have given him the entire twenty-four hour news cycle. What is the message?

  • “Be a dreamer or pursue something good … and be relegated to obscurity.”
  • “Devastate and decimate the body of humanity … and receive acclaim.”

It is because the infernal battle between conservatives and liberalsin this country squares us off into camps that possess jargon and slogans, but no real, practical way to make the American dream

English: Percent of self-identified conservati...

English: Percent of self-identified conservatives in the United States, broken down by state, according to Gallup, August 2010. http://www.gallup.com/poll/141677/Wyoming-Mississippi-Utah-Rank-Conservative-States.aspx#2. 49% and above 45%-48% 41%-44% 37%-40% 33%-36% 32% and under (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

wake up to personal success. The conservatives will tell you that all you need is a job, a family, a home and a faith. The liberals will postulate that human beings require opportunity, respect, equality and freedom. Here’s the truth: when our principles of purpose cease to produce better and happier human beings, they need to be revised, no matter how many times our forefathers may have endorsed them.

How about a true insight into our country? And it isn’t found by becoming a conservative or a liberal, but rather, by amalgamating all the better choices and forging them into the steel of a great American.

Here’s what somebody should have told the brat from Colorado:

“Welcome to America. You have the opportunity to get a job as long as you’re willing to use your ingenuity to work your way up. If you respect people and grant them equality, you might just get the blessing of having your own family. If you keep using your integrity, after a while you can buy a home–even though truthfully, you actually can make a home anywhere you decide to settle. You have the freedom to express your faith and convictions as long as you allow others unbridled liberty to live out their choices. There is no lifetime guarantee. There is just the guarantee that you have this lifetime. Please join us.”

That’s what someone should have told him. Instead, he was cast on a sea of division between conservatives and liberals that eventually caused him to decide that violence was the better way to gain notice instead of patiently being creative.

Seven days later, what have we learned? What do we know?

I will tell you what I perceive. Until the conservatives and liberals get off their high horse and we join together as people, to discourage violence and give great honor and place to creativity, we will continue to bury victims–many of them our children.

   

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