Jesonian … November 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Throughout the history of Christianity, a debate has raged over Jesus’ humanity and divinity.

Early in the 20th Century, a doctrine arose which found favor with many people because it stressed that Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine. The fact that this blending is ridiculous didn’t come to anybody’s mind at the time, and so the concept endures. If you study heresy and false teachings, you will find that most of the error centers in on trying to make Jesus too heavenly, instead of focusing on his humanity.

I think the clarifying statements are found in the Book of Hebrews. Allow me to give you three which center my mind on the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived a completely human life, while filled with the Spirit:

1. “He was tempted in all ways like we are yet found without sin.”

2. “He was touched by our infirmities.”

3. “He learned obedience through the things he suffered.”

That list just describes a typical human life. After all, nobody talks about how grumpy Uncle Ed was after he’s dead; likewise, the notion that “Jesus was perfect” was not touted during his lifetime.

The truth is, Jesus’ actions were found to be perfect. In other words, after the passage of time and working out of circumstances, we can say that he lived a perfect life.

Needless to say, when we’re told he “learned obedience,” it is perfectly understandable that he did nor arrive with it. Like all of us, instruction was in order.

But if you go to the statement, “touched by our infirmities,” a definition is in order. What are the infirmities of all human beings?

A. We get physically sick.

B. We get emotionally depressed.

C. We get spiritually misguided.

D. We get mentally confused.

These are our infirmities.

And since Jesus was touched by them, if we would take the time to more carefully study his life instead of working so desperately to discover a new twist on communion, we might just welcome in a new generation that would be blessed and astounded by His choices.

Now, I will not bore you with my many rambling examples of how Jesus suffered under these infirmities. To me, that’s what church and your search should be about.

Christianity could advance its cause by studying Jesus.

Did Jesus become physically ill? There are numerous activities that have no explanations–like him slipping into the wilderness for seclusion, or the fact that he waited four days to come and tend to his friend, Lazarus. Was he sick? Under the weather? Fighting off the “Galilee bug?”

We can make a good case for him being depressed. After explaining to 5000 people that he was not going to be their caterer, but that they needed to come to “learn his ways,” the Bible says they all left him–except the twelve. In a moment of true humanity, he turned to those twelve and said, “Will you go away also?”

Was Jesus ever spiritually misguided? I think choosing Judas to be a disciple, and on top of that the treasurer of the troop, was at least spiritually optimistic. And the faith he put into the man at the Pool of Bethsaida, who didn’t really want help–but Jesus healed him anyway and then the fellow turned into a snitch and sided with the Pharisees–shows that he was a bit misguided.

Was he mentally confused? He certainly stayed too long in Nazareth–so long that they resented him and tried to kill him. And I think he was a little confused by his upbringing and prejudice, when he called the Syrophoenician woman “a gentile dog.”

The Gospel writers had no problem including the foibles of the personality of Jesus in their story lines–and he was apparently fully aware of some indiscretions, because he came to John to be baptized. Was it just pretense, or did he have things he regretted?

We are also told by Jesus that we would do greater things than he did–because he was going to the Father to cheer us on.

If the church wants to survive the present dispersion, it needs to bring the focus back onto Jesus–his style, his personality, and his humanity. In doing so, he can become the Elder Brother we so desperately need, and he can truly fulfill his mission … which was to show us the Father.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … May 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Woman: Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Dear Man: Well I’m not a mother…

 

Dear Woman: I know. But maybe someday you will be. I think ahead.

 

Dear Man: I suppose.

 

Dear Woman: You seem miffed. Does Mother’s Day bother you?

 

Dear Man: Yeah, but not for the reason you think. I’m not jealous because I don’t have children. Mother’s Day is just an example of another title…without entitlement. What I mean is that men hide their chauvinism and their dislike for women behind granting them certain space while forbidding them total equality. If you’re a woman you can be a mother. You can be in charge of the women’s ministry at the church. You make a great secretary. How about fund-raising? Can you take care of the food bank? “You’re so pretty.” All of these are titles but they fail to grant the entitlement of being treated as an equal and dealt with in justice.

 

Dear Woman: Wow. Am I ever sorry I said “Happy Mother’s Day.” But just to play devil’s advocate, is it possible that some of these stereotypes–titles, as you call them–exist because there’s truth to them?

 

Dear Man: Do you really want to start a fight?

 

Dear Woman: No. As I said, I’m playing devil’s advocate.

 

Dear Man: No. It’s the loaf of bread syndrome. Once we realize there’s one loaf of bread, we start thinking about how we can get the whole loaf instead of giving a needful half to someone else. To do this we have to rationalize and make sure it seems like we’re not being selfish, just practical. Men and women share so much in common that it’s ridiculous to separate them using the jargon of ignorance and the culture of male supremacy. So we pretend. We pretend women are smarter, even as we refuse to promote them. We pretend women are more thrifty, but we never make her the Secretary of Treasury. And of course, we insist that women are better with the children so men have a way of playing with the kids when they want to, and walking away when something else diverts their attention.

 

Dear Woman: I see your point. But are there enough differences that some sort of division of duties is warranted?

 

Dear Man: Let me give you an example. You’re a Christian, right?

 

Dear Woman: Yes. Right. What’s that got to do with anything?

 

Dear Man: Relax. I wasn’t trying to throw you to the lions. There’s a story about Jesus which is not talked about very often, because it separates him from all other philosophers, religious leaders and cultural icons of all time. Sitting at the house of Mary and Martha, two of his friends and the sisters of Lazarus, who rose from the dead, Martha interrupts Jesus’ teaching to complain about her sister, Mary. Martha’s complaint seemed very legitimate to her–and probably to most people in the room. Mary was sitting in, listening to Jesus teach instead of helping put the food together, which would be served after the lesson. First of all, realize that it was against Jewish law for men and women to be taught together. So Jesus was already making a statement, which he did throughout his ministry. Men and women traveled Co-ed–same space, same responsibilities. So when Martha brings up Mary helping her in the kitchen, there was no disciple who thought Martha was wrong. After all, Mary was a woman. She was supposed to be involved in the kitchen, the children, the day-to-day household activities and the general welfare of the home. Martha thought she was on safe ground. Damn, she thought she was quoting the Word of God. But Jesus rebuffs her. He tells Martha that she worries about too many things, and that Mary had picked the better part by sitting and listening to the teaching. So you see, this story contradicts the practices, doctrines and limitations that most Christian denominations place on women. That’s why you don’t hear it taught very often. But the truth is, after they got done with the teaching, the men and the women could have gone into the kitchen, put together the snacks, and had great fun doing it. Here’s a powerful thought–if you don’t break stupidity you never find wisdom. So I think it’s ridiculous to think that only women are mothers. Every man has to mother children, too. If a little boy falls down and skins his knee, the dad doesn’t wait for the wife to get home to take care of it. If he’s a good parent, he suddenly becomes the healer–the mother.

 

Dear Woman: That’s amazing. Why don’t they talk about that more?

 

Dear Man: Because they would have to give women their entitlement instead of just a title.

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G-38: Poised… August 22, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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spikenard

A quick checklist.

Becoming human, born of a woman, living as a man. Accomplished.

Exiled, time in Egypt. There are no chosen people, just folks who choose well.

Living. Thirty years of just being an everyday brother, friend, son, merchant and helper. Done.

Baptized. Cleansed from inadequacy, tempted as we all are.

The message. We are meant to be blessed. We are called to bless. Amen.

Challenged. Answers without anger; a philosophy put to the test.

Healing. Compassion for the ravaged, opportunity for the depressed. Their faith made them whole.

Resurrection. Lazarus brought back to life. A stir of hope in the hopeless surroundings.

Poised.

Perhaps mankind can get it right this time.

Waiting to see.

The religious rowdies are too scared to intervene, frightened of government and the crowd.

Then…

Spikenard. A gesture of reverent friendship poured out in gratitude, followed by a self-righteous, angry disciple, challenging the waste and leaving the room feeling rebuked.

Suddenly the Spirit of Cain: jealousy, lethargy, mediocrity, arrogance, despair and unresolved conflict.

Murder enters the heart of Judas Iscariot.

Free will shall be honored.

Things have changed.

It is time for Plan B.

 

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Jesonian: Say, Do, Become … April 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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big I'm picWhen I heard him say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” honestly, I rolled my eyes.

It sounded like one of those statements made by someone who feels he is spiritually or intellectually superior, but tempers it with a short burst of manipulated humility.

But then, when the Centurion told him that he didn’t need to come to his house to heal his servant–just speak the word–and instead of becoming defensive or flexing his religious muscle, he praised the gentleman for the enlightenment, I realized that this one had the capacity to become a friend to the faithful.

Likewise, when he touted the importance of mourning, my cynicism came to the forefront. It’s so easy to elevate distress to a status of soulful discovery when you aren’t actually going through it.

But later, when he wept with his friends at the grave of Lazarus and shed tears for Jerusalem because of its hard-heartedness, I grasped that he had the capacity to become the savior to the ignorant.

“Blessed are the meek.”

Time after time he put that into practice as he was rejected by his family, the religious leaders, and even close friends. Yes, a respecter of the choices of others.

He told us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” He backed it up by fasting in the wilderness for forty days. A source to the seeker.

Being merciful is often a politically safe phrase to mouth in front of the masses but not so easy to enact–especially when they bring to you a woman caught in adultery, and the socially correct position is to condemn her.

He didn’t.

A champion of the lost.

I was a little surprised when he spoke about being “pure in heart.” And then, when I stood at his side, looking down at the very cold, pale and still body of a twelve-year-old girl who was obviously deceased, and he turned to the room with an almost foolish glee and told us not to doubt, “she’s just asleep,” my eyes filled with tears over such genuine simplicity. He became a child of the children.

A peacemaker? In our day and age? When it’s considered to be noble and righteous to stand up for your turf and proclaim your worth? I watched him carefully. When he was obviously snubbed one day by a Samaritan village which had formerly welcomed him, and now had decided to renege on the invitation, and those around him wanted to declare war on the inhabitants, he stopped them, and said that his was a spirit of reconciliation. God knows we needed it. Behold, a repairer of the breach.

I winced a bit when he suggested to the masses that they should be happy when they’re persecuted. But when his entourage grew into the thousands, only to shrink to a tiny handful every time a new rumor or misrepresentation of his words filtered through the crowd, he still pursued his calling.

In so doing, for all time, he shall be deemed the voice of reason.

I, myself, was startled by the notion of trying to find tenderness for those who speak evil against us. And then, at his trial, when the false accusers literally stumbled over one another to incriminate him, he remained still, and became the calm in the storm.

  • I listened to what he had to say.
  • I watched carefully what he chose to do.
  • And I was there when the friend of the faithful, the savior of the ignorant, the respecter of others, the source of the seeker, the champion of the lost, the child of the children, the repairer of the breach, the voice of reason and the calm in the storm–yes, I was there when he rose from the dead and became the Son of God.

I learned from him. Choose what you say, because you will have to back it up with what you do.

Only then do you become what you believe.

 

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Good Golly, Miss Dollie … August 25, 2012

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Two score and twenty years ago, our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be His signature, brought forth on this continent a new lady, conceived in Kansas and dedicated to the proposition that a young woman could grow up in Harlem and as long as it was a township in Central Ohio, might still end up healthy, wealthy and prized.

Her name was Elizabeth. Her papa, not so cleverly, decided to call her “Dollie” because he thought she looked like a doll. She had a swimming pool, horses, nice duds and a credit card from Lazarus, where she raised a debt.

One day she met a fat boy who dreamed of one day being a fat man, with an additional aspiration of becoming an artisan of music, notes, composition and thoughts, with a mind to whirl the change. They were attracted. Some would say it was chemistry, but in this case, it was biology class, sophomore year.

They started to date and developed a lust, which after all, is only three letters away from love. They consummated their collision on the dew-covered grass on the night of the last prom underneath the stars, with her Arabian looking on in bewildered horse-sense.

  • She went to Europe. He went to the mailbox to retrieve no letters.
  • She went to Mexico. He went to Taco Bell to purchase some Nacho Supremes.
  • She went to college in Arizona.  He crawled into a big bird and flew out to disrupt her plans.

For you see, a baby had been conceived on that night of the last prom–a child that needed some immediate attention and was basically, at this point, being ignored. You may or may not know this, but it was against all traditions in the Buckeye nation to allow children to be pre-planted before weddings. So it was difficult to determine what to do next.

They talked, fussed and argued while eating the cheapest pizza available in Tucson. She bravely made a decision to fly back, against her parents’ wishes, and join him in the quest to find out if it was possible to live on nothing and have something.

Four children, one miscarriage, thirty-nine disasters and seven hundred and fifty thousand giggles later, she is still here. Many years ago, lust got bored, packed its bags in disgust and departed. But the love has remained.

Today is her birthday. What do you say about someone who has hung around for the better and the worse–and more frighteningly, has survived the mediocre? What do you say about someone who has shared a bed with you, rolling over in the middle of the night without commenting on who’s responsible for the aroma in the room? What do you say about an individual who has hung in there through criticisms, persecutions, prosperity and perfectly awful nothingness?

I know the normal procedure is to insist that when two people have been together, then ergo, everything has been terrific and no problems of any significance have ever cropped up. Of course, that is not only a lie, but would also be extremely boring. Every relationship is full of mistakes and regrets–because without doubt we would not have faith. Without some anger, we have no reconciliation. And without fear, we never really learn to appreciate the contentment of love.

What do I know about my little Harlem Township girl? She likes to have fun. That comes in handy. A stick-in-the-mud, after all, is just a broken piece of wood positioning itself in a nasty place. She likes to laugh. Fortunately for me, I have learned how to manufacture silly. She’s scared of responsibility. That can be rather endearing if you catch it in time. She’s drawn to her family. Blessedly, she extends that same courtesy to the other human beings she meets. She’s kind of lazy, which, as long as we don’t both do it at the same time, can be a source of delightful motivation.

And she has stayed. There is a lot to be said for remaining. Although people extol the great value of contribution, such blessing is impossible if you’ve already given up on the idea. She didn’t give up on the idea. I’ve been with her for forty-two years. There is no year that has ever been the same. We have been the subject of praise; we have been the target of criticism. But even though they tell you that marriages by teenagers cannot work, especially when they begin with a baby out of wedlock, we are the exception and we ignore the rule.

So I say, “Happy birthday.” You know, maybe that’s a very bad term. Because our real birthday is when we take the morning of our present existence and believe that God’s blessings are fresh daily.

So to you, my dear, I send this greeting. Happy Earth Day. This is your day. So we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Good golly, Miss Dollie. Two score and twenty years. Who ever would’ve thunk we would get this far? Certainly not that suspicious United Methodist minister who reluctantly married us in Sparta, North Carolina.

But he was wrong.

Thank you for staying on for the entire mission–looking for more trips to the moon.

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Marketing the Big TE… April 1, 2012

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As it turns out, Lazarus, who was recently saved from the grave, was the owner of a public relations firm in Bethany. Being so grateful for not being dead anymore and also as an act of appreciation for his friend Jesus, Lazarus made his public relations efforts available to the Nazarene for his upcoming arrival into Jerusalem. Lazarus had partnered for some fifteen years with his good friend, Hermotheus Goldstein, forming Lazarus and Goldstein.

Hermotheus’ friends knew him as “Hermie”–a quiet, unpretentious man, but quite on top of his game, with a tremendous eye for the bottom line. So Lazarus, respecting his partner’s skill, asked Hermie if he would take over the “Jesus promotional scheme.” A meeting was set for the Tuesday prior to the planned entrance into town.   The time arrived.

Hermotheus introduced himself to Jesus. “Hello, Jesus, my name is Hermotheus, and my friends call me Hermie–Hermie Goldstein.”

“Hermotheus?” repeated Jesus.

“Yes,” said Hermie. “My father was Greek and my mother was a Jew. I guess that makes me a Jeek.”

“Or a Grew…” said Jesus, with a smile peeking through his bushy mustache and beard.

“I suppose,” said Hermie. The uncomfortable silence that often accompanies the minutes after first introductions ensued. At length, Hermie filled in the gap.

“So…how long have you known Lazarus?”

Jesus smiled again. “Long enough to have seen him at his best … and worst.”

Hermie pursued. “So you’re going to be making an entrance of sorts, into Jerusalem–with your entourage?”

At this, Jesus laughed. “Entourage? You know, I never thought of these fellows and ladies as an entourage.”

“Well, you know what I mean,” said Hermie, a bit nervously. “I guess my job here is to showcase this event in the best light possible.”

Jesus nodded. Hermie continued. “Have you thought about how you’ll be set apart from the rest of the crowd surrounding you? For instance, riding a horse might make you look like a king or a great general of the legions of Rome…”

Jesus shook his head. Hermie tried again. “Okay. No horse. How about a camel? That would make you high and lifted up.”

Once again, Jesus expressed his disapproval, so Hermie asked, “What were you thinking about as far as your way of portraying yourself upon entering into our holy city?”

Without hesitation Jesus piped up. “I was thinking about a baby donkey.”

Hermie paused. “A donkey?” he asked.

“A baby one,” Jesus added.

“Aren’t you afraid your feet will scrape on the ground?” Hermie inquired.

“Actually I thought it would be rather nice for the young animal if I was able to occasionally stand up and walk for myself.”

It took a moment for Hermie to realize that Jesus was kidding. “So you have your heart set on a baby donkey…?”

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly phrase it that way. Actually, any little ass will do…”

“All right,” said Hermie. “Let’s talk about people. Your audience. The crowd. Your followers. The individuals that will propel and spread your message. I have inroads into the top dignitaries, the religious community, business men and the wealthy Who’s Who of Jerusalem. We obviously want them to be in the forefront…so that the significance of your arrival in town will be heralded by those in the know.”

“Well, Hermie,” said Jesus. “I would like to go with my standard friends and acquaintances.”

“Okay,” said Hermie. “And who would they be?”

“Let’s see,” said Jesus. “There are the poor. Quite a few former lepers. Those who were blind. Got lots of women. Tons of children. And honestly…a strong contingency from small towns and rural areas of Galilee.”

Hermie sat silently, so Jesus continued. “This isn’t going to be a problem, is it? Honestly, those dignitaries and those religious people … well, I do see them from time to time, but there’s something missing in my chemistry with them. Do you understand what I mean?”

Hermie was frustrated. Out of respect to his partner, Lazarus, he continued faithfully. “I was thinking about some banners, lots of flowers … ”

“I was thinking of palm branches freshly ripped from the trees,” interrupted Jesus.

“How about a chant?” Hermie suggested.  “Something like Israel is great’ or even Yea, Jesus’…

“How about this?” replied Jesus.Hosanna.”

Hermie peered at the backwoods preacher for a long moment. “I can see that many of our ideas are … well, let me say … divergent from each other. But I think we both can agree that it’s important–especially entering the Holy City, and also during this sacred time of Passover–that you do nothing to upset traditions, disquiet the religious leaders or to rob any sense of national pride and sanctity towards our religion.”

Jesus smiled and said softly, “Too late.”

Hermie was disquieted. He wanted to do right by Lazarus, but it seemed everything he attempted to suggest to make Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem successful was being thwarted by the young Galilean. He offered one final suggestion. “Well, I think you pretty well have decided what you want to do, but can I recommend that you at least call it something like ‘The Triumphal Entry,’ which could easily be marketed as The Big TE? And honestly, if I had been given two months notice, I have a team of ladies down in Jericho who could have woven that onto your robes in a beautiful style, to advertise the event.”

Jesus patted Hermie on the back and said, “Thank you, my friend. The Triumphal Entry it shall be. Of course, without the accompanying souvenier robes.”

Five days later, the entrance into Jerusalem happened on a baby donkey with palm branches and hosannas. It was not a Goldstein production. Hermie had tried to bring Jesus into the first century but he was stuck somewhere back with old ideas.

On the Monday following the event, Hermie, who had missed the actual entrance, caught up with his friend, Lazarus. He detailed his meeting with Jesus and asked Lazarus how things had gone. Lazarus told him it was super.

Hermie said, “Well, he didn’t listen to much I said. But at least I believe he probably took my advice and didn’t upset the religious leaders or go into the temple and create a scene and get them all upset during Holy Passover.”

Lazarus put his arm around his old friend and said, “Well, Hermie, let me tell you …”

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Listen to Jonathan sing his gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, accompanied by Janet Clazzy on the WX-5 Wind Machine

 

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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