Jesonian … December 2nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3509)

jesonian-cover-amazon

Whenever you’ve done it to the least of these, my brethren, you’ve done it to me.

This seems to be one of those idealistic, philosophical utterances of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. Most people nod their heads in agreement, while secretly pre-repenting over not doing it.

But it is not a statement.

It’s a puzzle–a riddle.

It’s an intertwining ball of confusion leading us to a universal realization.

First of all, let us understand that Jesus, who walked with equality among Jew, Greek, Roman and Samaritan, did not believe that anyone was “the least.” So him phrasing the word “least” was ironic rather than iconic.

Since he didn’t believe anybody was the least, we are given a bit of misdirection. Jesus was suggesting that we, as humans, are obsessed with subjectively examining those around us, with the goal of finding our level of superiority.

Because we don’t want to hunger and thirst for righteousness, we live off the fat of our own arrogance. In other words, “I am better than you because I say that I’m better than you–and everyone in our clan believes we are better.”

Nowadays we pass this prejudice off as culture, or loving our family, or appreciating our home town. It’s the Red States saying they are more righteous than the Blue States, and the Blue States claiming the Red States are imbeciles.

There are no least.

So Jesus traps us in the maze: “Since you think these people are least, then you need to realize they are me, and the only place you will find me is in them. I will not be available to you in your favored few. You will only be able to discover me in those you deem least.”

So if you think black people look like monkeys, if you want to find Jesus you’d better show up with some bananas–because he will situate himself right in the middle of the black race and evaluate you on how you treat them.

If you think women are weaker vessels and stupid, Jesus will grow a vagina. Yes, Christ will only be accessible to you through the female.

If you think gay people are destroying America, then be prepared to find Jesus as a flaming queen with a thick lisp.

And then, based upon how you handle this information–how genteel and kind you are–your true spirituality will be rewarded.

For Jesus told us that if we love those who love us, we are no better than the heathen. Anybody can do that.

But if we insist there is an inferior race, an abominable people or just folks that are “no damn good,” then we will need to go to the prisons, the hospital wards and the whore houses to really find the Master.

It is a nasty trap.

Perhaps it would just be easier to cease believing that anyone is least–smarter to drop the arrogance that keeps us in ignorance, where God has no tolerance.

The least of these my brethren is not actually a group of people. It is a gathering place for all of our bigotry–where Jesus is waiting for us so that we can find him and be blessed.

As soon as the church starts teaching a progressive message–that no matter how unique our fellow-humans may turn out to be, none of them are least–we will be at the mercy of cozying up to those we deem intolerable.

There are no third world countries.

There are no human abominations.

There are no inferior races.

There are no least.

If you believe there are “least” in the world, be prepared to journey to them to find your Master.

He will be sitting there–right in the middle of the people you hate, waiting for you to repent and find Him.

 

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Good News and Better News … February 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2838)

Good News Better News McCormick

Pictured above is a Kleenex, which I discarded yesterday when I was sitting at my book table, enjoying the blessings of being in the presence of delightful souls in McCormick, South Carolina.

I thought I was going to sneeze. I grabbed the Kleenex, and when I did not sneeze, I wadded it up and put it to the side, having never put it to use. But since it was rejected, it no longer had any purpose, even though it was not trash.

That’s the way I feel about the church.

Many people have wadded it up and cast it to the side, and it looks a little dilapidated even though it has not completed its purpose.

Yesterday, while relishing in the interaction with Paul and Kay, and the local congregation, I was inspired by the fact that they succeeded in getting people from the whole community to come out to church simply by being excited themselves over the prospect of a special event.

Here’s the question: can we get excited again about being together and celebrating the life of the church, instead of being like a used Kleenex which hasn’t even absorbed a sneeze?

Because once people get excited, they will do the work.

Once people believe that something different from the commonplace will happen, they will be prepared to rejoice, clap their hands and even hug one another.

But if you’re going to treat the Gospel message like it’s used Kleenex, don’t be surprised if people choose to ignore it.

The good news is that the citizens of McCormick, South Carolina, rallied together and had a sweet time in the spirit.

Now let me tell you some better news–you can have that same thing happen every week if you take three things into consideration. The Gospel needs:

1. Humanity

We spend too much time talking about God and not enough about how to be better people. Jesus was not interested in exploring new ways to worship God. He was concerned with how we treat the least of our brethren. This defines our belief.

2. Humor

I don’t know how the humor of Jesus escapes theologians. I suppose it’s because they read everything he said as if Jesus just finished sucking on a lemon.

But Jesus had a dry wit.

  • He told his disciples to “be of good cheer.”
  • He told them “the blind can’t lead the blind–otherwise, they’ll end up in a ditch.”
  • And tongue-in-cheek, he told them they were “worth many sparrows.”

A humorless Gospel is a discarded tissue.

3. Honesty

If we’re going to teach our congregations to approach life as if it’s a political campaign, attempting to dodge charges instead of facing realities, the church will become a sanctuary for losers.

Jesus was clear. “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.”

Stop trying to make explanations. He said anything that is not a yes or a no is usually born of evil.

So to all of my new friends in McCormick, thank you for being who you are. And I encourage you to keep the humanity, the humor and the honesty in your gathering.

It will make every Sunday a Super Sunday.

 

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

 

Ask Jonathots … September 3rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2681)

ask jonathots bigger

 

I like animals more than people. I own four dogs and volunteer at the animal shelter once a month, and regularly canvas my co-workers to donate to the shelter and also to other animal charities. I dress my doggies for the weather and buy them special cakes for holidays and their birthdays. Two of my co-workers referred to me as “unbalanced” because I treat my dogs like they’re my children. I told them that I think animals are more trustworthy than humans. What do you think?

I am curious about the way you have framed your paragraph and question. In other words, if you had begun your statement by telling me about your delightful four dogs, your work with charities and the fact that you treat these animals as your children, I would have said,”Absolutely fabulous.”

But the fact that you chose to begin your feelings by saying that you like animals more than people does warn me that you are dealing with a neurosis.

I would feel the same about someone who led off by saying they liked people more than animals. My question would be why?

If you truly contend that animals are part of God’s creation and therefore deserve our respect, tenderness and appreciation, that is one thing. But to isolate them off as superior to people–another part of God’s creation–is no different from someone telling me they like gay better than straight, white better than black and female better than male.

The unbalanced part of your personality lies in your need to prefer instead of just honoring.

Honestly, animals are not more trustworthy than humans. I have very few friends–or even enemies–who would eat my dead body if they were locked in a room with me for three days without food.

But animals not only have a purpose, they are symbolistic of what Jesus called “the least of these, my brethren.” They need our care, they need our attention, they deserve our respect, and they also anticipate that we will have the insight to place them in the correct position in our lives.

It’s not that people are better than animals or animals are better than people. It’s just that when you set apart some segment of creation as superior to another segment, you are on the slippery slope of bigotry which lends itself to tyranny.

  • I love animals. I love animals to let them be animals.
  • I love people. I love people enough to let them be people.
  • And I love God. I love God enough to let Him be God.

Because in your hour of need, you can certainly believe that God cares about your situation and will help. There is also the potential that people will come along and assist, based upon their compassion.

But if you’re broken down along the side of the road, your dog will just sit there and bark, waiting for a treat.

 

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

***************************

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

 $3.99 plus $2.00 S&H

$3.99 plus $2.00 S & H

$3.99 plus $2.00 S & H

Buy Now Button

 

Jesonian: Born… December 7, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2436)

baby born bigger

Being born is important, necessary, a boat launching.

If you were born in a manger, there is certainly some significance to that, along with an accompanying story. Yet we often determine the success of an individual based upon his or her roots, or as we phrase it, “humble beginnings.”

So it is markedly amazing that some of the greatest people in history were given extremely stressful or poverty-stricken conditions at birth.

Jesus was born.

We have a whole holiday about it. While some people debate whether the season is given enough reason of spirituality, I would rather focus on that night–when a virgin was placed in a dastardly position, and asked to perform a task, minus any experience.

Nothing of any significance in faith can be achieved unless we understand the purpose of the mission of that evening in “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

Actually it never changed. Although we have many Calvinistic preachers who want to insist that the reason for the appearance of the Christ was for him to die on a cross, that fatalism removes our choice.

“Peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

  • It was the byline of the night.
  • It was the ‘holy tweet.”
  • It was the mission statement.

And it didn’t change when Jesus became a man:

  • “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
  • “My peace I give to you.”
  • “Peace be unto you.”
  • “Love one another.”
  • “Be reconciled to your brothers.”
  • “Whenever you’ve done it unto the least of these my brethren, you’ve done it unto me.”

Here’s a strong statement: Jesus was not born to die, he was born to bring peace and good will.

(Don’t argue with me–take it up with the angels.)

And he faithfully conducted his business, echoing the voice of these heavenly proclaimers all through his ministry, until humanity came along and put nails in his healing hands and his traveling feet. It was only then that they could stop him.

So we have to learn the difference among these words: mission, free will, insanity and grace.

  • The mission was “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”
  • The free will was offering humans a chance to decide what they thought about it.
  • The insanity was rejecting it and killing the messenger.
  • And the grace is that if we choose to still believe in that “peace on Earth, good will toward men”… we can be born again.

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling.

*****

Check out Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories’Til Christmas

The Best Christmas Stories You’ll Ever Read!

Click on Santa to browse "Mr. Kringle's Tales ... 26 Stories Til Christmas"

Click on Santa to browse “Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories Til Christmas”

Texas Two-Step… September 28, 2012

(1,652)

Everybody in America is religious.

If you don’t understand this, you will find yourself looking from the inside out or from the outside in–completely incapable of relating to your brothers and sisters in the red, white and blue. Even those who insist they are atheists or agnostics carry around the specter of religion from their upbringing, still haunting them with memories of ritual and practice.

Yet to gain true spirituality and the realization that you are fathered by God requires that you abandon most of what you revere and cling to what is real and authenticated. That’s not easy–especially when you’ve been raised in the great state of Texas.

I love Texas, but Texas is the biggest mish-mash of faith, fantasy, foolishness and fables that you will ever see compressed into one single land mass. Catholicism, Tex-Mex, Southern gospel, Bible-belt, cowboy, bigotry, enlightenment, culture–and rodeos all collide within the confines of one state, which though quite large, still seems to bulge with an over-activity in contradictions.

So you can imagine–when I arrived in Texas with my simple, little saying, “NoOne is better than anyone else,” the Lone Star folk were ready to debunk my gunk.

Two-Step One: Brother Jonathan, if no one’s better than anyone else, why does the Bible say there are ‘weaker brothers’ amongst us?”

I never quite know why holy words are misquoted, misunderstood and misrepresented, always for the purpose of establishing that one group is better than another. Honestly, the Bible does not consider the word “weaker” to be a negative. We are the ones with the jungle philosophy, insisting that sprouting any kind of lacking is detrimental.

The people of Texas believe that some individuals are unique by ability–just better because they do things better–they think better, they move better, they raise cattle better, they tap oil wells better and they play football better. Everyone else, who can’t do that or who doesn’t participate in those activities is often deemed “weaker.”

But you see, the beauty of true spirituality is that it creates a sensitivity in us towards people who have weaknesses in a particular arena, so that we have sympathy for ourselves when we also demonstrate a shortcoming.

Here’s the truth: we are all weaker brothers. All we have to do to prove that is be put in a vulnerable position, where our deficiency can be aptly demonstrated.

Let me give you an example. When I arrive at a church for a presentation, after all my years of travel and being sixty years of age, I am not able, physically, to carry in all of my equipment and tote my necessary belongings. I require assistance. Fortunately for me, I meet the most divinely inspired human beings walking the face of the earth, and they give this grace to me. I’m not sure–maybe some of them deem me very weak when they first meet me because I am not “muscling” my way into their lives. But later on, when I am able to do the things God has given me to do, demonstrating my abilities, and my strengths come to the forefront, there is a look of comprehension on their faces. They realize that just because I am weak in one area, it doesn’t mean I should be cast aside. And likewise, just because they may be weak where I am strong, I am not their superior.

Each one of us is given a weakness to make sure that we acquire fellowship. Without acknowledging the weakness, we tend to claim self-sufficiency, which obviously becomes destitute in its conclusion.

The reason the Bible tells us that there are “weaker brothers” is that we all take our turn, and if those stronger in that moment do not have an eye on their own rear-view mirrors of inadequacy, they will have a tendency to reject us instead of assist us.

Two-Step Two: “Brother Jonathan, if we don’t place ourselves in a position of ‘better’ by our deeds and excellence, how can we ever help others?”

In other words, “If I had a million dollars, I’d give half of it to the poor.”

Matter of fact, that exact thing happened to me one night after a performance. An extremely excited audience member came to my table and said, “Mr. Cring, if I had a million dollars, I’d give it to you.”

I said, “Well, I wouldn’t know what to do with a million dollars…but do you have twenty?”

He froze. He nervously giggled and walked away–as quickly as possible.

We have a nasty rendition of capitalism in this country, choosing to believe that some people have a unique prosperity. In other words, they were “born to be rich.” They have a knack for being rich–and they take great pride in giving a certain amount of their income to the less fortunate–of their acquaintance. You must understand, the “less fortunate that you know” as a wealthy person may not be less fortunate at all. Your circle of friends may not be the ones God wants you to help.

Jesus refers to the truly needy as “the least of these.” By his description, they are people who are terminally sick, running around naked because they likely are mentally ill, or in prison. It is rather doubtful that the average prosperous individual who gives a carefully selected percentage of his or her income to charity actually encounters this particular segment of society. So it doesn’t do any good to give more money to rich people when they have already decided that their form of donating is adequate to the need. Here’s the truth–any money above what is absolutely required to live and sustain oneself that ends up in the bank is a wasted opportunity to bless those who just might be a dollar short of their miracle.

This was the principle of Andrew Carnegie. He said that any wealthy man who dies with money in the bank is foolish. To have more than you need and tuck it away for a rainy day, when most rainy days are spent inside anyway, is to audaciously lack faith in your own abilities to make more and God’s promise to bless generosity.

There is no such thing as a unique prosperity.

If you have five dollars left at the end of the week and you don’t give something to someone out of your abundance, you would never give even if you had a million dollars. This is why  “NoOne is better than anyone else.” Because each one of us has to deem whatever we have to be our prosperity–and from that sum, joyfully relinquish a gift to the “least of these, my brethren.”

It doesn’t make us better. It puts us in line to be blessed by those who possess a little more than us–right above our financial heads. You see, the “trickle down” theory propagated by political pundits only works when we have accepted the axiom, “NoOne is better than anyone else.” If you believe your prosperity speaks for itself and grants you license for discretionary generosity, then you will certainly end up being tight-fisted and selfish.

So I’m sorry, Texas–we do not possess a unique ability. All of us, at one time or another, are weaker brothers and require strengthening in an hour of shortage.

And we are not unique in our prosperity because we have stumbled on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Rather, each one of us is required to give of our substance to the least of those around us, to confirm in our own minds that we are part of the human race and also a part of the human need.

I love Texas. But Texas has a tendency to reflect a silly pride that permeates our nation from time to time with a self-righteous cheer over our own excellence.

The purpose of prosperity is to give me a chance to lay up treasure in heaven, while securing for myself enough treasure on earth to keep the wolf from the door.

So I left Texas and headed off to the place of my birth–the state of Ohio. I was very curious how this native-born son would fair with his little motto in the Buckeye State.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

%d bloggers like this: