Jesonian … March 31st, 2018


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3628)

 For thirty-six hours, God walked away and left humanity to dangle in its notorious decisions.

Long ago, from six o’clock Friday to six o’clock on Sunday morning, the conclusions derived by the honoring of religion, the promotion of politics and the inclusion of jealousy reigned supreme on the Earth.

In the process, a hapless lamb was slaughtered so that a less-than-noble tribe of Bedouins could believe they were special because their ancestors had the fortitude to escape Egypt.

A governor of Judea slinked away to Caesarea to spend a quiet weekend with his wife, only to discover that she was enraged because he had failed to take her dream into consideration when judging an innocent man.

A betrayer from Kerioth who was blindly jealous of his Master, his best friend, climbed a small hill, tied a rope around his neck and hung himself from a tree.

Soldiers were demanded to guard a tomb to make sure that nobody went in, or for that matter, nobody came out.

Disciples who had followed a messenger of love were scared into hiding because they simply believed that “loving your neighbor as yourself” was not a greeting-card sentiment.

Repairmen came to clean up after an unexpected earthquake shook the region, leaving behind great damage, even in the Temple.

The world proceeded with a nauseating sameness, which gained the smugness of superiority because it appeared that any variables were nailed down and silenced.

The kingdom of religion seemed to succeed–a philosophy contending that tradition must decide.

The kingdom of politics stomped around the Great Hall, believing that greed decides.

And the kingdom of jealousy slithered away to lick its wounds, confident of temporary victory because fear had made its decision.

For thirty-six hours, God removed Himself from the circumstances, leaving religion, politics and jealousy to win the day.

It seemed that the obvious forces in power were as formidable as advertised–because everything which had objected, contradicted or shared a different approach was beaten, crucified and buried.

At first sight, there was no light.

And then God returned.

Actually, it was the Kingdom of God, which is within us. It is a Kingdom where faith decides because we are the ones who offer the input.

Even though the disciples of the slain Master were still tucked away, three women bravely made their way to a tomb.

They were not expecting a resurrection.

They were not anticipating finding a miracle.

They did what women have done since the beginning of time–they viewed how men had screwed everything up and they came to clean up the mess.

No bands played, no dignitaries arrived with a key to the city, no men who had pledged eternal allegiance surfaced.

Just three women carrying a bunch of spices, which they immediately dropped when they saw an empty tomb.

Easter is a time when we celebrate more than a resurrection. It is a moment in history when God shows us that even though insanity may temporarily take control, His grace, mercy, understanding and wisdom are never far away.

It was not easy to survive thirty-six hours without God. But because those thirty-six hours showed us the foolishness of religion, politics and jealousy, we can now revel with great joy in the Kingdom of God, which allows our faith to decide.


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Good News and Better News … March 12th, 2018


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3609)

“There’s blues in the pews.”

A quiet resignation to what is deemed to be an acceptable despondency: “Just a few more weary days and I’ll fly away.”

Motivated to only share a Gospel that gets us to heaven while maintaining a cultural grouchiness on Earth, the church is not ready to tear down the gates of hell.

Instead, the American church spends too much time tearing down one another. Congregations often act like they’re in the middle of a mine cave-in, where there’s a shortage of oxygen and those around them seem to have too many nostrils.

Abundant life and an existence filled with joy seem to be Biblical promises of a coming kingdom instead of the Kingdom of God, which is declared to be within us.

There’s blues in the pews.

It won’t do any good for us to ignore it. There’s no reclamation by refusing to discuss the problem out of political correctness. After all, there are some subjects we are not supposed to broach. For instance, it’s not proper to complain that a funeral is too long nor that Grandma’s Thanksgiving turkey is too dry. And it’s completely unacceptable to insist that for some reason, this year Santa Claus was too cheap.

But if we are willing to quietly consider the situation, we could come up with three realities which create some of the blues in the pews:

1. This is what we do.

Even though the Bible says “the Lord’s blessings are fresh daily,” we continue to warm up leftovers and pass them off as new recipes.

2. This is who we do it with.

We get to know each other too well. It invites criticism. And because no fresh blood is being infused, we “clot up” in disrespect and confusion.

3. Simultaneously, we are defensive about how it is done.

It may not make us happy, but “God bless America, we’re gonna keep on doing it because we’ve always done it this way.”

There will be blues in the pews until we realize that church is not meant for God–it’s meant for His people. It’s a place intended for fellowship–where folks can mourn, consider and embrace.

The good news is, Jesus left us a beautiful example of what church should be–for those around him said, “We have never seen it in this fashion before.”

The better news is, it stands to reason that if we follow the example of Jesus, we just might start getting “Jesus results.”

 

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Good News and Better News… May 22nd, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3314)

There’s a question hanging in the air, waiting for a brain to slurp it up and a tongue to dribble it off. If it isn’t expressed, we will continue to live in a world of assumptions.

I am not speaking of answers. I’m talking about beliefs people hold because of the dark side of their experiences and the edge of prejudice maintained from their upbringing.

Ask the question. If possible, ask it without being disgusted. Inquire with a thirst for knowledge instead of attempting to trick someone into saying something you can leap upon in anger.

The church has lost its questioning. Out of fear of making waves, we have decided to just never get in the boat. We stand on the shore and curse the ocean because it seems unchangeable. Yet there is an energy in the air. While people are despairing, sparring and spitting, the Holy Spirit is quietly seeking out those who will question and wait for the answers.

It sounds simple enough.

It even seems to have a spirituality unto itself. After all, Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given.” He never said, “Assume and you will be proven.” Jesus believed you could seek and find, and even, with a bit of perseverance, knock and have the door opened.

What Jesus never intended for his church was a gathering of smug converts who assume that getting their butts in the door was the last thing necessary to fulfill the quorum for the pearly gates.

Here’s the truth: you can join the church if you are a questioner. Even if it aggravates the worship committee, you can continue to pose questions in pursuit of finding a better way of doing things.

Likewise, you are certainly welcome in the church if you have answers as long as they are well-salted with humility and lit up with evidence.

But nowhere at any time did Jesus welcome the complainer. The complaint will be the death of the American church if we don’t call it out and exorcise that demon from the sanctuary.

How can you tell when someone’s complaining?

1. There’s an absence of a question.

They may speak to you for ten minutes about the problem, but never formulate an inquiry.

2. There is a complete denial of an answer.

They begin to enjoy hearing the sound of their own voice lamenting the difficulty–and if anyone suggests a solution, they will bury the notion as “impossible” so as to maintain their frustration.

3. They’ve rejected good cheer in favor of a bad sneer.

They think it’s ridiculous to maintain joy in the midst of difficulty and transition.

Beware complainers who pretend they have answers or insist they are just questioning.

The good news is that questions are always welcome in the Kingdom of God.

The better news is that answers will come if we don’t grump our way to fatalism.

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Jesonian… March 18th, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3249)

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Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Caiaphas immediately objected to the use of the word “Lord.”

He said, “Jesus is a seditionist, an enemy of the people who caught the masses at a vulnerable time when they desperately needed hope, advertised some well-paid shills with proclaimed miracles, and robbed the children of Israel of their personal identity in favor of what he referred to as the ‘Kingdom of God.’ He did not honor our traditions, he did not recognize the birthright we possess through Abraham, to be the chosen Children of God. He was rude, contemptuous, bawdy, loud and hung around with a bunch of sinners, welcoming iniquity.

“It was necessary to evaluate him by our laws, judge him and therefore condemn him, to make sure we keep the House of David first and foremost. We must go on.”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Pontius smiled and then snickered. “Jesus was a peasant, and deluded on top of that. Certainly harmless. I never made any doubt in that conclusion. Truth is, I saw him as a bargaining chip. I was constantly at war with the Council of the Jews over tiny matters which should have been insignificant, but they claimed had heavenly proportions. I needed one over on them. I needed to grant them a favor which would grant me a host of favors from them. I am not an animal. I am not a barbarian. I do not slaughter people just to behold the mayhem. But when the dignity of Rome–my only Lord–is put in jeopardy, then Rome must come first. Rome is greater than any man–even Caesar. Just one Galilean was lost, opening the door to a plethora of negotiations, where the Jews would be at a disadvantage.”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Peter wasn’t. He was scared. Outnumbered, without any weapons, he ran. And when confronted with his involvement with Jesus of Nazareth, he denied him three times. Quickly. For Jesus had jokingly said that Peter would do so before the cock crowed three times. But as anybody knows, the cock crows quickly. Ashamed, broken, but also defensive, Peter stalked away into the night, cussing up a storm, insisting that it was merely human for him to put himself first.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

No, Deborah was asleep. She was exhausted. Since “that day,” she had found the need to take on numerous chores and occupations to earn a decent living for herself and her son. It was difficult to imagine what she would have had to do to stop the insanity that led the mob to Golgotha. But maybe if she had just seen him one more time.

She remembered the first occasion. Financially devastated, with no food in her house, she decided to sell her body to get money for food. Obviously possessing the luck of a witch, her would-be lover ended up being a member of the Pharisees who was conducting a “sting operation” to capture a prostitute who was ready to commit adultery, then drag her off and throw her down in front of the crowd at Jesus’ feet. They wanted to stone her. She just wanted a loaf of bread. But Jesus, using his compassion, his wit and his style, saved her life. He told her to go and sin no more. She heeded his advice. Unfortunately, “sinless” takes more work. Exhausted, she fell into bed every night, setting aside a crust of bread for her little boy in the morning. So when they were crucifying Jesus, she was asleep, trying to build up the energy to honor her promise to never be so foolish again.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Who, me? No. I wasn’t born. I honor his life everyday by trying to understand what he was communicating to us.

Caiaphas thought he was a phony.

Pilate thought he was a pigeon.

Peter thought he was a great distraction.

And the woman caught in adultery knew him only as a Savior.

He’s my friend.

What would I have done if I knew they would crucify him? How would I have tried to stop it? Would I have written a nasty editorial to the Jerusalem Times? Would I have stood there as one voice among so many, demanding his release?

Or would I have rolled over and gone back to sleep?

 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 16) Purify … March 20th, 2016


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2879)

Jesonian hands

Jesus was not Jewish.

This doesn’t mean he hated Jews. He was like you and me. That’s what the Bible says.

Being like you and me, he was one-half jungle and one-half Garden. So he was Jewish on his mother’s side and Holy Spirit on his Father’s side.

It’s an important point.

Jesus did not come to Earth to confirm Judaism, nor was he a forerunner for Mohammed.

Yes, we must understand that Jesus did not establish his message in order to create a third generation for Abraham. He said quite clearly that “before Abraham was, he existed.”

He pre-dated the Patriarch of Judaism and the Muslim faith.

Why is that important?

Because Christianity is here to bring peace to the Earth, not pick a side in the fight.

Until we purify the Christian message, we will miss the essence of the struggle in the early church, when Paul told the leadership that they needed to stop acting so damned Jewish. The message needed to survive Jerusalem so that it would be well-understood in Hoboken and Siberia.

So if we’re going to be like Jesus, we must purify the mission in the following seven ways:

1. I am not political.

Whoever is the next President will be my President and I will honor him or her with my prayers.

2. I am not religious.

The simple truth is, God loves me and there’s no act of contrition or worship that will make that any better.

3. I am not a skin color.

God has vision for only one thing: He sees my passion because He looks on my heart.

4. I am not a culture.

The whole Earth is the Lord’s–therefore I am part of His greater vision, not His local flavor.

5. I am not confined to my nuclear family.

Even though I love my offspring, my real family is anyone who is interested in pursuing the Kingdom of God.

6. I am not afraid.

Fear weakens my love, so I choose good cheer as my refuge.

7. I am not better than anyone else.

There are no chosen people, just people who choose well.

Until the message of Jesus is purified as the “repairer of the breach” for mankind’s misunderstanding, we will be tempted to pick sides and will wage a political conflict…instead of welcoming a human unity.

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Ask Jonathots … January 21st, 2016


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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When is it right to fight–to stand up for yourself? Everyone I know and everywhere I look, people say you have to “fight back” and “defend yourself.” So what does it mean to “turn the other cheek” or even “thou shall not kill?” And how is it we are a “Christian nation” when fighting and killing and wars are constant?

Let’s begin with the concept of a “Christian nation.”

Jesus never envisioned his work as a country. He said his “kingdom is not of this world.” So the Christian message was intended to be an individual experience. Then these converts were challenged to become “the light of the world,” and affect the climate of society.

So to tout ourselves as a Christian nation, we have blended in the concepts of the Old Testament so that we can obtain a nationalistic flavor. And when you include the Old Testament, you get “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” and vendettas against enemies.

So I don’t know if it’s possible to approach this as a Christian nation without including ideas which Jesus said had been cast aside in favor of more loving and noble adventures.

If we were a Christian nation, our agenda would be simple: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

In other words, take care of those around us and develop a healthy, prejudice-free environment where people can prosper, and in so doing, gain personal peace of mind and solvency.

Then that “city on a hill” could be a testimony to the world and they could begin to measure their philosophies against our philosophy, and decide where they might want to revise their thinking.

Of course, in the process, we must realize that enemies still come along due to jealousy and revenge, but when this happens, we can stand guard without totally destroying those who attack us.

This is exemplified in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus takes eleven men into this secluded place for a time of prayer, asking them if they had the means to defend themselves, and when they said, “We have two swords,” he replied, “It is enough.”

So if we could put together a military without trying to overwhelm our enemies with our prowess, then we would be in a position to take the rest of our money and use it to improve the lives of our citizens instead of constructing an arsenal of intimidation.

You will be told by most people that this idea is childish and stupid. This is why Jesus never intended to take over countries and rule them.

The Christian message is intended to be placed in existing cultures, and through its charity, affect the climate that surrounds it.

So I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this question. Yet I will tell you that the fighting and killing that goes on in our world cannot be attributed to the message of Jesus of Nazareth, because he never intended to possess turf.

And if you ever have to add Old Testament to New Testament to justify your actions, then you are not living under the total spiritual impact of the Kingdom of God.

So I walk in a simple situation:

  • If the United States is attacked, we should defend ourselves.
  • We should also protect the innocent of the world as much as possible without entering into old grudges that are thousands of years in the making.
  • And we should take most of our financial power to build up the lives of our people so that we can offer a testimony of peace and prosperity to the world around us.

Whatever it would take to do this is what would be sufficient. Because when eleven men told Jesus they had two swords, he said it was enough.

It certainly is not enough to attack, but it did end up being enough to allow them to escape.

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Jesonian: Baby Talk… December 21, 2014


  Jonathots Daily Blog

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Goo-goo.

Da-da.

Ma-ma.

La-la.

Baby talk.

Jesus was a baby.

He didn’t come out of Mary’s womb espousing great parables with immaculate diction. Being human and very tiny in his understanding, he pointed to things and tried to express his inner feelings.

So “goo-goo” was goodness.

“Da-da” was Father God.

“Ma-ma” was Mother Earth.

And “la-la” was love your neighbor.

The magic of the Christmas season is that Jesus was a baby, pooping his pants, urping up mother’s milk and using baby talk.

I am one believer who feels we would be better off if the entire gospel of life was expressed in baby talk, so that we all could become children and therefore inherit the Kingdom of God.

So on this day, I say to you: “Goo-goo,” which means that goodness is achieved when we confront the mediocre before it slides into the pits of evil.

I mouth to you: “Da-da.” God is my Father, and in that position, He is not my Creator, but rather, my parent.

With a bit of drool around the corners of my mouth, I say: “Ma-ma.” Learn Mother Earth. Discern the signs of your times. The Earth is the Lord’s so respect it. Don’t be ignorant of what is current.

And finally, “La-la.” We should love our neighbor as ourselves. Without this, we become dangerously self-involved, precariously at the mercy of others who possess too much self-love and ignore us in our time of need.

Baby talk.

For after all, out of the mouth of a Babe we received great words of wisdom. 

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