G-Poppers … April 14th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3277)

Jon close up

Jesus.

What does the name evoke?

G-Pop remembers a time when the mention of Jesus would flood one’s mind with images of mercy, kindness, forgiveness, tolerance and most certainly, love.

But the years have pressed on, and the insanity of religious fanaticism has begun to lump Jesus in with all his errant practitioners and sour-faced sheep.

It may be the greatest tragedy of Good Friday. Not only was he crucified by ignorant rabble, who had memorized scripture but had no Word in their hearts, but he is now re-wounded by those who fail to comprehend that they are imitating the primer of his murderers instead of the mindset of the Master.

G-Pop recalls a phrase Jesus once used: “Except your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Exceed.

Exceed what?

Prayer? No–it can’t be that. Jesus warned his disciples not to advertise their prayer life, but instead, find a closet, shut the door and create intimacy.

Study? Highly unlikely. Jesus accused the Pharisees of parsing every jot and tittle as they “strained at the gnat and swallowed the camel” forgetting the “weightier matters” of God’s message–that being justice and mercy.

Fasting? Once again, both he and his disciples were accused of never fasting, and Jesus told them that if they did, to make sure they literally put on a happy face.

So how did he want his disciples to exceed the religious people around them?

In the humanities.

  • Training themselves to give a damn instead of insisting that they just couldn’t muster the energy.
  • Refusing to judge other people, even though it temporarily makes us feel ooey and goooey with superiority.
  • Realizing that the folks who are considered the least on Earth have the heavenly Father’s eyeball–to see who will come and gently tend to them.

G-Pop points out that as we consider the crucifixion of Christ, we have to ask ourselves, why such a drastic measure? Why kill him?

And the answer is simple. There was a danger that if Jesus lived, or his disciples were still filled with his power and spunk, that religion would not be able to manipulate people into enough guilt to trap them in ceremony–as it robbed their pockets.

“This Jesus, this Jesus, this Jesus must die.”

G-Pop thinks the best tribute we can give to Jesus on this dark day in history is to exceed the Pharisees that walk the Earth today–by using the humor, kindness, gentleness, cleverness and mercy that he taught us to possess.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … November 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3134)

pohymn-nuttin

Nuttin’

Nuttin’ else do I need

Got the soil and my seed

Lots of kin at my side

Full of joy, absent pride

 

Blessed we are, one and all

Little Bobby has grown so tall

God seems pleased with our whole

Winter was cold, took its toll

 

But healthy we remain to this day

Survived the tricks of the darkened way

Laughed enough to make us try

Hard enough to bring the cry

 

Wished for better but enjoyed the good

Harvested on time like good folks should

Minded our words and actions, too

Forsook the lie, pursued the true

 

No new shirt could Papa buy

Mama, stay simple–don’t ask why

The kids giggle to forget the lack

The work is tough, ‘twon’t break your back

 

Some say we ignorant, absent thought

Judging by what be sold and bought

But nuttin’ else do we require

A quiet place with a warm fire

 

‘Cause happy never treks to town

Just pleased to be still around

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Good News and Better News… November 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3132)

good-news-summit-heights

Fifteen friends and family joined us yesterday at the Summit Heights United Methodist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, to celebrate and fellowship over our final gig of the year.

What a year.

Twelve states, thousands of people and memories to last a lifetime.

The Summit Heights congregation was a beautiful human concoction of simplicity and joy, with a great sense of humor–guided by a bright, hopeful and forward-thinking young man named Todd.

So when I took the stage to begin the morning with our prelude, there was an eagerness and energy in the air. I thought to myself, This is what God wants. He wants His children showing up to His house ready for cookies and milk instead of thinking they’re going to have to stomach the medicine.

As I continued in the service, an abiding notion suddenly permeated my mind.

God is not going to do anything without us.

We can pray, we can study, we can hope, we can criticize the world, we can judge others–and God will ignore our feeble, religious efforts. For God is not going to do anything without us.

When Jesus wanted to feed the five thousand, he required the five loaves and two fishes from the disciples.

When it was time to preach the good news, he sent them out two by two.

When desiring to make wine, he requested water.

When people came for healing, he told them that their faith made them whole–and when their faith was absent, it says he was not able to heal many.

And certainly when God wanted to save humanity, He found a willing woman to bring the Savior into the world.

I don’t know why we’re so afraid to become involved in our own life, ministry, outreach and salvation–but it will take our spirit, our countenance and our heart to transform America from its angry position of self-absorption, back into one nation that truly is under God’s guidance.

What kind of spirit?

It’s a spirit of repentance. “I could be wrong and because that’s possible, I am prepared to change.”

What is the countenance?

It is a full-faced expression of joy, which shows that we’re aware of life’s pain, but we realize it can only be conquered through good cheer.

What is the heart?

It is a heart of compassion–letting everyone know that because we have weaknesses, we feel a tender kindness to those like ourselves, who find themselves weak.

It is my prayer that Summit Heights will take on the power of the Gospel, which is: “Christ in me, the hope of glory.”

 

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Good News and Better News… November 14th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3125)

good-news-belmont-sunflowerJesus offered a tender warning to each of us: Mother Nature does not favor us more than a tree branch full of sparrows.

Therefore we will be greatly disappointed if we do not access our willingness to repent and our endearing quality of good cheer. Without repentance and cheer, we become exhausted in our futility.

What is it that exhausts us?

This was fresh on my mind when I drove to the Belmont United Methodist Church in suburban Dayton, and encountered some excellent new friends. Pastor Randy, Mike, Janet, Terry, Larry and a whole bunch of other sparkling souls made us feel at home (once they realized we had arrived with no intention of robbing the joint.)

And as I had the blessing of standing in front of the congregation on Sunday morning to share my vision, it occurred to me that the actions and craziness of our society had worn out the people sitting in front of me.

But there were some surprises. There was one lady who came all the way from Mansfield, Ohio, after seeing us last week, and brought along one of her friends, who lives in Dayton. There was a great sense of anticipation in the air–that the spirit of innovation might just visit us with a baptism of rejuvenation.

Being exhausted is debilitating. It makes us believe we can’t do what we once did, and if we could, we’d rather not. So to get rid of that exhaustion that causes us to falter in the midst of our journey, we need to declare war on two nasty little faith drainers:

The first one is judging.

It will nearly wear you down to a nub of nothing if you think it’s your job to evaluate the lives of other people. It’s hard enough to breathe on your own. It’s even worse when you try to take the breath out of the life of someone else.

We are grouchy when we judge, we are ill-tempered, we are picky, we are fussy and we end up taking our eyes off of our own ability.

The second exhausting activity is complaining.

Every time we convince ourselves that we don’t have enough, we always end up failing to use what we have. Complaining happens when the brain overrides the spirit and creates an unholy alliance with aggravated emotion. We have an exaggerated sense of importance which causes us to think that we’re worthy of more than our daily bread.good-news-belmont-sign

So the first thing we did in Belmont yesterday was judge judging and complain about complaining.

Suddenly energy began to fill the room. We were no longer feeling the need to criticize other people or critique God and Nature because they failed to give us the quality we think we deserve.

The good news is that when you stop judging others and complaining about your life, exhaustion gets tired and leaves.

The better news is that when exhaustion stumbles away, we actually want to do things instead of feeling like we have to.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … September 28th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3078)

string

A Sort Meant

Today is sufficiently constructed to handle the problems provided.

Worry is the drain on time that steals the energy to try.

Childish people lure you to their playground, where they can bully you with ease.

If we refrain from judging one another we might uncover our common core,

You will never find God if you’ve lost your humanity.

Out of the abundance of God’s heart, He speaks.

But religion is using God’s name in vain.

Love is the correct pronunciation.

Caving into pressure forces you to dig your way to freedom.

Every time you kill a jesus, you get a christ

And every moment you respect the Christ, you resurrect some Jesus.

The profit margin of gaining the world ignores the deduction of losing your soul.

For when words are organized into ideas, and ideas are granted heart, then the human race can breathe again.

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Good News and Better News … March 28th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2887)

All the holy books

It would only take me a few moments to point out the verses from the Good Book that are often used in solitary context to promote gender bias, prejudice, ignorance, arrogance and selfishness–and truthfully, those who stump these verses outnumber my simple faith.

So I am a bit confused when Muslims pretend they are bewildered by what causes the zealots within their ranks to interpret the teachings of Mohammed in a way that fosters terrorism.

Yes, it really is a source of aggravation to me that a Muslim woman will sit on television with her head covering, sharing that the Muslim faith has nothing whatsoever to do with anything but peace and love.

I will tell you–most Christians are not concerned about peace and love. Many of them only want to go to heaven while keeping the club as exclusive as possible.

So let’s stop all the bull crap.

Muslims know what their book says, just like I know what my book says. And some of the things in my book make me nervous–especially when they are isolated by mean-spirited people who are determined to hurt others.

Likewise, the Koran has passages that welcome the decimation of the infidel.

So it’s time for us, as intelligent, evolving, loving and giving people, to realize that religion needs some restrictions.

After all, we have already done this. Even as we insist that religious freedom is holy in this country, we certainly do not tolerate human sacrifice in a religious service, nor have we granted tax exempt status to the Ku Klux Klan, even though they insist they’re the white Christian church.

We cannot live on a planet that allows people to worship a God who is anti-human.

I will give you three examples. This trio of holy principles must be honored in every religion–otherwise, it is not a true expression of faith, but rather, a secret plot against mankind.

When you tell me you have a religion, I have three questions:

1. What does your God think about women?

Since women are at least half the planet, if they aren’t given equality in your religion, then your belief must be ignored.

2. What does your God say about free will?

If your religious observance contends that we are all bound by destiny, God’s will and God’s law instead of choosing our decisions for ourselves, then you will eventually start hearing voices telling you to kill off the competition.

3. What does your God think about judging the lives of others?

For if you’re following a deity that is more concerned about the “jot and the tittle” instead of the “tot and those who have little,” then I will tell you that you will gradually try to eliminate the sinners, thinking that you’re pleasing the saints.

If religion does not provide equality for all, free will for each one of us and the righteous position of being able to make our mistakes without being judged by others, then it is really not a belief in a Creator, but rather, pursuing an avenger.

That’s the good news.

Please don’t tell me you are baffled by how religion hurts people. Instead, follow some better news:

Start encouraging belief in a heavenly Father who honors men and women, offers free will and refuses to allow us to judge.

 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 2) … December 13th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2762)

Jesonian hands

Liberty.

Find God, discover liberty.

Stumble upon liberty, see God.

It was something that the Apostle Paul said. He equated God and liberty–an inseparable pair.

He also went on to intelligently point out that human beings initially use their liberty to generate sins of the flesh.

Yes, they do.

It does not matter. Just as free will is more important than love and law, liberty is the evidence that free will is in motion.

So what is reasonable? We deal with two dangers:

  • Being so meticulous in trying to control people’s choices that we suppress human passion deep inside, where it becomes perverted;
  • Or there is the danger of having an “anything goes” philosophy, which makes people think they have a free pass, creating equal peril.

Being reasonable is understanding what your job is, doing it well, and not assigning yourself the mission of quality control for others.

As human beings, we have two areas where we can interact with each other without fear or intimidation: the heart and the spirit.

At any time, I can cross paths with each and every one of you, and as long as I am trying to help you feel deeply about life or encouraging you to increase your faith, I am on solid turf, free of being a condemning force.

Yet I will tell you that your mind and your morals are your business and your business alone. I have no authority to control your thinking nor judge your choices.

The church should take this position.

We need to trust that exploding good emotion with spiritual renaissance is enough to allow human beings to renew their own minds and define their morality.

I have no intention of taking these daily essays which flow from my heart and do anything but stir your emotions and touch your spirit. It is up to you to use them to replace ideas in your brain and to reference your own behavior.

As long as we think we control the minds and morals of those around us, we are not only annoying to our brothers and sisters … but completely out of the will of God.

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