G-Poppers … August 21st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

 

His name was Richard Milhouse Nixon. He was the 37th President of the United States.

In 1972, he pulled off a landslide victory for a second term, even though it was reported that some of his cohorts had broken into the headquarters of the Democratic Party at the Watergate Apartments.

He was so popular that he could have told the truth. But he made two mistakes–missteps that our politicians and celebrities continue to do today.

When the press found out about the break-in at the headquarters, questions arose. Nixon believed two things:

  1. They’re out to get me.
  2. Deny and let it die.

Because he felt that there were those individuals who were determined to destroy him, and that if he just denied the rumors that the confrontation would eventually go away, he set in motion the destruction of a President–similar to the demise of Frankenstein.

We created him, therefore we had to kill him.

As G-Pop sat down to think about those times in the early seventies, when lies were passed on as explanations, he realized that he needed to talk to his granddaughters about a human being who just happens to be a woman who is running for President.

She is making the same two mistakes.

Her name is Hillary Clinton. And even though she saw her husband err, deny and ultimately experience humiliation because of it, she is traipsing down the same path because she believes that politics has a different set of rules than real life.

Perhaps it will just go away.

But for every Watergate break-in which could be quickly handled in two news cycles through veracity, there is always a Woodward and Bernstein who will get to the bottom of the story and expose the coverup.

I do not know what possesses fully grown, allegedly mature human beings–to think that they can escape the scrutiny of a society that gets its kicks off of scrutinizing.

G-Pop wants his granddaughters to know there’s only one way to handle an error–especially if it is a mistake that was committed in ignorance or innocence.

A. This is what I knew.

Yes, at the time the flaw was perpetrated, this is what I knew about the situation, this is what I believed and this is what I thought.

B. This is what I know.

Now that time has passed, I see what was incorrect or insufficient.

C. So what now?

Since you are involved and I have told you the truth of the matter, how shall we proceed?

It is the natural inclination of human beings to forgive–unless they’ve been deceived. If we are deceived, all bets are off.

It’s really that simple. It doesn’t mean that all human beings will grant you pardon, but the ones who don’t look foolish and small.

Most Americans would have easily given grace to Richard Nixon if he had just been forthcoming about his involvement–or lack of involvement–in the Watergate break-in. For after all, they voted for him. They wanted to feel like they made the right choice. He turned a pimple into a cancer.

Hillary Clinton is doing exactly the same thing.

G-Pop just wants his granddaughters to know that this is not the way to act to be a solid citizen, or even to survive adversity.

He wants them to know that Hillary Clinton is first and foremost a member of the human race … not the only woman we could ever find to run for President. 

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Confessing… July 4th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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IX.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Mack was gay.

Actually, in 1980, such a term did not exist. The nicest word we had for people who pursued that lifestyle was “homosexual.”

Mack never told me he preferred men. I never asked him.

Mack was my friend but also my benefactor. He believed in my ability to be creative, and thought the things I came up with were worth promoting.

So when I wrote the musical, “Mountain,” Mack got right behind it, insisted we put together a cast to tour across the country, and on his own, raised $10,000 to fund it.

After the tour we parted our ways but not our affection.

A few months after we had finished our business, he called me and told me he had a lead on someone who wanted to sign my musical and publish it.

He only required one thing from me. The publishing company wanted a score of the music. In other words, they wanted all the music written down on staff paper in a fashion that could be read by musicians and performed.

It was at that point that I should have told Mack that even though I was able to compose music, I had no idea how to score it.

I didn’t. I didn’t tell him.

Oh, I had my reasons.

Since I had last seen Mack, I had moved away and was working in a terrible situation. One of my children had been hit and run by a car, and I was in the midst of moving to another community to acquire a new job.

It’s the classic situation–when we transform our circumstances into excuses, which we turn into reasons. But the reasons soon lose their power and have to be fortified by lies.

So at first I just cited my circumstances to Mack. He was understanding, but persistent. So I made promises.

But then when I failed to meet my deadlines, I had to move to excuses and then try to manipulate them into reasons, and ultimately ended up lying.

And of course, the greatest lie was when I sat down and tried to write the score of the music with my limited ability, and ended up with the manuscript equivalent of manure.

I sent it off anyway.

Mack trusted me, so he forwarded my work to the publisher, and ended up humiliated because the material made no sense whatsoever.

Mack forgave me–but we never did business together ever again.

I tried to justify it. I remembered the few occasions that I told him I didn’t know what I was doing instead of recalling how I insisted I would do it anyway.

I owe this fine person a huge apology.

I also need to realize that every time I’m tempted to pretend I’m something I’m not just so everyone in the room will feel that I am “hip” or part of “the gang in the know,” that I do much more damage than I ever thought possible.

The truth is, God has blessed me.

If I don’t think His blessing is enough, my exaggerations and lies will not make it any better.

 

Mountain Music

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… July 1st, 2015

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PoHymn for July 1st

Read Between the Stripes

My country ’tis of Free

Sweeter land as we grow to be

Of this I sing

More than a history

An unfolding mystery

How shall we endure?

Holding priceless the sacrifice

Of those who expose the vicious lies

Fearlessly speaking a truth

Enslaving souls to free the same

A national disgrace, we take the blame

Hoping to learn much better

What will next question our dream?

Unscrupulous thieves hatching a scheme

To rob justice from all

Yet we will learn from our past

Or risk the glory will fail to last

Awaken our sleepy dread

Land where my brothers die

Repent to see the children cry

Changing to a better good

For to be a living American

Demands we pursue what’s still undone

Refusing no one a chance

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Never Worship Where You Vote… January 5, 2013

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sock snowmanYes, the snowman always votes for more snow–just as the surfer casts his ballot for bigger waves. Politics is the selfish game of pursuing our own ends while insisting it’s for the good of the country and relegating our dissenters as unpatriotic opponents.

It is not suited for children like you and me.

Now a worse thing has happened: political parties are being worshipped. Indeed, it seems to be a godly mission to advance the platform of your party while invoking the name of the Most High as your major contributor. So we’ve moved from the necessary to the ridiculous to the nasty, ending up in abominable. It is time to hide the children from such mayhem.

Here’s why: children need to learn to tell the truth. We insist on it. There is no greater punishment for a youngster than lying and covering up an iniquity that is usually easily exposed. If the truth “makes us free,” it is simply because we are relieved of the burden of maintaining an ever-expanding, ongoing fable about misdeeds. It is exhausting to be politically correct instead of forthcoming.

Yes, all parents want their children to be considered top-notch, but to achieve that status it is also necessary that each child of the household learn that there are seasons for setbacks and disappointments in order for us to grow more fully into completeness.

Children can’t be involved in politics because they need to tell the truth, and obviously, veracity is optional “amongst them who seek votes.” By the time we get done spinning, expanding, promoting, advertising and sowing disinformation about reality, it is often difficult to attain a clarity of thought.

Children should also stay away from politics because children must hear the truth before they can tell the truth. There you go. Lying parents bring forth lying offspring:

Parents who keep alcohol in their refrigerator should not be surprised when their fifteen-year-old comes home drunk from a party that was supposed to feature pizza and root beer.

Parents who fib on the phone to creditors should not feign shock when their dear little ones lie about their grades.

To tell the truth you have to hear the truth. There is a very intelligent word that says “faith comes by hearing.” We build up the confidence to say our individual situation aloud because we’ve heard other people do it without fear.

What is the worst atrocity about our political system? The lies of the Republicans and the Democrats will come down and crash on us for two or three generations to come. We have made it acceptable to be misleading. It is not suitable for children. It is the R-rated movie of government.

And finally, concerning those who desire a childlike faith, we must comprehend that to hear the truth, one must be willing to be wrong. Politicians are never wrong. If you don’t believe me, just listen to them. They are often misquoted, misunderstood, caught on a bad day, taken out of context, targeted by the other party’s kill committee, or they are just victims of a vicious news cycle.

It is rather doubtful in our present political climate if we will ever hear anything that resembles the truth.

Such a gift demands that someone be wrong. Until you are willing to say you are wrong, you can’t hear the truth. If you can’t hear the truth, you can’t tell the truth. And if you can’t tell the truth, you can’t be made free.

The combination of self-righteousness, combined with an unwillingness to negotiate, culminating in a worship of political ideals, has rendered our society crippled of the change which only occurs by the real truth convincing us of the error of our ways … and making us free.

I will not participate.  I have never participated, but in 2013, with my desire to have a childlike faith, I must avoid the bad boys and girls of the political system, who require that I worship where I vote–but won’t give me the freedom of truth.

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A Way That Seems Right… October 4, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

Simply put, I liked it–speckled with pickles and pimento, with a sweet-tasting lunch-meat flavor.I was twelve years old and madly in love with pickle-pimento loaf.

We did not purchase it very often, for two reasons. My mother thought it was a little too expensive at 79 cents a pound, when bologna was 58 cents a pound. The second reason it was rarely purchased in our household was that I was fully capable of eating a pound of it in one sitting without blinking an eye (even though I am not sure what eye-blinking has to do with consumption…)

But you see, there is one little sidebar to my story. My mother and father also liked pickle pimento loaf, so from time to time they bought it and hid it–never fully aware of my skills of investigation.

Yes, I always found it.

I knew they didn’t want me to have it; I knew it had been set aside for adults only. So I carefully stole a couple of pieces from the package and then supplanted some Saran wrap underneath the remaining lunch-meat to make it appear to still be a full unit. I thought I was extraordinarily inventive–that is, until my appetite caused me to go back for more and more of the delicious treat–until eventually my saran wrap facade was unable to disguise the depleting pile.

I always got caught.

I didn’t care. I was twelve years old and working under a singular philosophy: I want what I want. It was a way that seemed right to me.

Time presses on–and fortunately for my moral character, my fervor for this particular outlook matured and evolved. If it hadn’t, I probably would have become a drug dealer, a criminal, or worse yet… a politician.

Move ahead in time to when I was twenty-one years old. I started a music group. We were desperately trying to do three things at the same time, which as you know, is the definition of juggling. We wanted to be great entertainers. We wanted to make enough money so that we could continue to travel around and share our talents. And we also needed to make enough moolah to pay bills in our stationary life, so we would not be regarded as dead-beats. It’s an awful lot of pressure when you’re twenty-one.

So when I arrived at a motel one night in Smyrna, Georgia, I told the innkeeper that I wanted a room for one person when actually there were four of us. The difference between purchasing a room for one person and four was seven dollars. I wanted the seven dollars and didn’t see any reason why the innkeeper should have my money–when whether I had one person or four in the room, the room was still occupied. It made sense to me. It was a way that seemed right. After all, I was only trying to save money.

I was living under a new precept, having tempered my original “I want what I want.” I now honored “I need what I need.”

Unfortunately, one of the members of our troupe was not a very good sleuth, so we got caught with four people in the room and were asked to leave the premises because of our lie. Amazingly, I was infuriated at the proprietor and spent the next twenty minutes driving down the road, cursing him for being a greedy and selfish loser.

It would be many years before I realized that I was the culprit of mediocrity that evening. Yes, it would be some time before I abandoned the idea of I need what I need, and gained a functioning mindset for a mature adult. I did, however, eventually vacate the useless idea. If not, I would have become a small-minded, provincial individual, trapped in a little world of my own, with no perspective on the needs and feelings of those around me.

When I was twenty-five years old, a new spiritual rave was sweeping the nation. It was the belief that as long as “God was on our side, He would pay all the bills.” Yes–we didn’t need to worry about stepping out in faith and spending money, as long as our mission was ordained by the Most High. I read in a book that a famous evangelist wrote a check on a Friday afternoon with no money in the bank, trusting God to provide the funds by the following Monday, when the check would arrive for cashing. In the story, God not only provided, but gave abundance above the original written amount.

I was so impressed. I was so overtaken by the concept that I wrote my own check with no funds to back it up. All the giddiness mentioned in the story–stepping out and believing–flooded my soul. After all, I was doing what was considered to be spiritual work. I was saying to the world around me, “I believe what I believe.”

When Monday morning rolled around, unlike the testimony shared in the book, I did not receive financial manna from heaven. I had to scamper around to figure out how to cover the check and in the process, ended up setting in motion a series of very bad choices, which ultimately ended up with me deeply in debt to an individual who had trusted me, and now was stuck holding the bag of my foolishness.

I was devastated. I didn’t understand why God forsook me. After all, “I believed what I believed.” There was not a smidgen of doubt inside me. Truthfully, it would be many years before I realized that the promise for daily bread is actually a promise for daily bread. It’s not even a promise for weekend bread. I would have to shed the fantasy that believing something was like building a concrete wall and recognize that the Word of God is actually more like water–yes, the water of the word–moving along towards actual solutions instead of insisting on its own way.

When I was twelve years old I lived under the concept of “I want what I want.” It was a way that seemed right to me. The problem? It forced me to steal, lie and deceive.

When I was twenty-one, I pursued a path that proclaimed, “I need what I need.” It caused me to be self-righteous and arrogantly angry at people who insisted I follow the rules.

When I was twenty-five, I jumped on a bandwagon in a false parade of Godliness, and decided I would force the hand of my heavenly Father by writing a check in His name. I thought that if “I believed what I believed,” then God was bound by his Word, and His love for me, to perform tasks.

It has been a journey. Now I only have one moving part to my faith, philosophy and interaction with others. I pursue what is true. And you know something? It changes on me every day. It requires that I revise my thinking and shed stubborn little pieces of “I want what I want,” “I need what I need,” and “I believe what I believe,” which still try to cling to the inner lining of my soul.

  • It leaves me saying “I’m sorry” more often than ever shouting “I’m right.”
  • It makes me vulnerable, but valuable.
  • It causes me to pause instead of leap.
  • It thrusts me forward towards revelation instead of merely talking about consecration.
  • It permits me to listen to people I never thought I would agree with, and discover that they hold a piece to my puzzle.
  • It allows me to go to bed at night with a bit of uncertainty over the quality of my efforts, but rejoicing in that precious insecurity.

If I had stopped at twelve years of age and made it my lifestyle to want what I want, I could never have expanded beyond my limited appetites.

If I had insisted that I need what I need, I would have justified decisions that would have kept me from meeting the quality folks who have assisted me in discovering a better path.

And if I had locked myself into I believe what I believe, I would be defending my religion instead of living it out in joy.

I now pursue what is true. I often fail, but the failure is merely confirmation of the veracity of the mission.

“There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end of it is destruction.” That’s what Solomon said in the Book of Proverbs.

I wonder how he knew that. Do you suppose they had pickle pimento loaf back then?

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False Witness… October 3, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

“Can I get a witness?”

I remember the first time I heard those words spoken–I was in a tiny Church of God in Christ on the south side of Chicago. I think the pastor had scheduled me in thinking that our particular music group was “colored” to his favor, only to discover upon our arrival that we possessed paler possibilities. There was only a smattering of folks in the audience that night–mostly women. I did not know what I was doing there and they certainly joined in my confusion.

When the pastor asked for a witness, there was a long delay. At length, a young woman (who was later identified to me as the pastor’s daughter) stood and rattled off a little speech.

“I just want to thank the Lord for saving my soul and giving me the strength to go from day to day, though the burdens of life are so heavy that sometimes I want to fall. His grace is sufficient for me, and therefore I will continue to serve him, no matter what the devil lays in my path.”

She spoke it quickly, without the use of inflection or punctuation. She sat back down.

I don’t think I was alone in assuming that this testimony from this young girl was less than truthful. It was a false witness.

It was something she said because at one time or another, she really did believe it, and even though events had come to rob her of her original enthusiasm, she pursued the same party line, without revision.

It is the sixth thing that God hates. The Book of Proverbs says that “God hates a false witness that leads to lies.” Now we would think that a false witness is lies, but actually a false witness is a misrepresentation of facts, in order to maintain an original premise.

  • It’s when we say we feel good when we don’t.
  • It’s when we insist that a congregation of believers recite that “God is good” without asking them if they might need a rejuvenation or a clarification of that concept.
  • It’s when we say “amen” to prayers that do not bear our personal conviction.
  • It’s when we align ourselves with some political cause or spiritual direction, which ends up adding doctrines or ideas to its dogma, and we still insist on backing the whole package.
  • It’s when we define “faithful” as refusing to question a lack of common sense.

It is a false witness. And whenever we begin to speak things that we no longer exactly believe, trying to reignite our energy, we set in motion the imminent need to lie–because the minute life comes along, or even a person, to challenge our witness, we will have to decide whether to come clean and admit we have lost our fervor, or manufacture a series of excuses and explanations about our present status. It is nasty business.

The American culture is permeated with it–to such an extent that we no longer trust each other by word only. We want to “check out” people on the Internet, to find out if what they claim about themselves is true, because the presence of “false witness” leading to lies has turned us into a nation of suispicious investigators and proven liars.

I think I have tracked down the source of much of what I would call the false witness in the United States of America. Once again, it is caused by our division into two camps. Here are the two false witnesses promoting a series of manufactured lies designed to reinforce original misinformation:

1. “God is in trouble.”

I don’t know how we have been able to convince so many people in this country that God is a loser. Maybe it’s because we have made Satan such a prevalent part of our thinking, portraying him much more powerful than even Biblical theology allots. But there are a bunch of people in this world who believe that God is in trouble. There are ministers who make millions of dollars off of innocent believers, predicting pending doom from some evil that lives in the secular world or in the demonic realm, and is coming to undo the sweetness of God.

Sometimes they proclaim that “Jesus is coming soon and the world is going to end.” Sometimes they spread false rumors about companies being owned by Satan worshippers. Often, they will produce vicious lies about intellectual pursuits in this country that are supposedly trying to eliminate the name of God from our government and society.

Once you have convinced someone through false witness, that God is in trouble, it then becomes necessary to produce a series of frightening lies to back up your assertion and keep the faithful terrified. It changes people who are called to be lovers of mankind, salt of the earth and light of the world, and turns them into a bunch of haters, tasteless infidels and dim bulbs.

I met a man the other night who was very sad and lonely. We were having a delightful conversation about his pursuit of female companionship, when out of the clear blue sky, he told me that the New World Order had just been brought to fruition, and that soon the anti-Christ would attack Israel, and Armageddon would begin. He wasn’t bad–he was sad and lonely, and fell victim to a false witness filled with lies.

I have been told since I was a little “scamperer” that Jesus was coming soon, when my dear friend Jesus made it quite clear that no one knows the day or the hour. It is a rotten false witness demanding that we produce lies to prop it up for the few who are looking for a quick way out from the responsibility of living the gospel to their neighbor.

2. The other false witness that is kicking around in our society is “God IS the trouble.”

Unlike the other misadventure, this one insists that if we could just eliminate the foolishness of believing in a divine being and open the doors to understanding between the races, then we could imagine a world where there is no religion, imagine a world where there is no God, and therefore, imagine a world where mankind is free of the restrictions that cause us to become hateful instead of loving.

There is a false witness in this country that blames conservatives, Christians, Muslims, Jews and anyone who dares to look skyward, for initiating all wars, rumors of wars and inquisitions of all types. They continue by propagating lies about how human beings are innately good, and that left to themselves they will always find a way to cohabit in peace.

Through this false witness, God becomes the enemy–because after all, God leads to religion. Religion promotes intolerance, and intolerance generates the wars which pile up the dead bodies of the innocent.

Atheism and agnosticism have become “hip.” They are equated with the presence of intelligence. Younger folks are jammed by their friends to reject the fantasy of fairies in the sky and lightning bolts from heaven in favor of more mediocre pursuits and numerous downloads on the Internet.

These two false witnesses not only square people off against each other, but force them to produce lies about the other party, which by the time they are disproven, have already assimilated into the mainstream of thinking, never to be retrieved.

If you dare call these two false witnesses out for the charlatans they truly are, you will incur wrath from both camps, because the lies are so ingrained that they are seemingly incapable of shedding their own fantasy in favor of reality and truth.

God is not in trouble.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” God has Mother Nature to give us a balance in our daily atmosphere and the presence of the Golden Rule to allow true goodness to always win over annoying evil.

God is not the trouble.

Once again, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” God is not against human beings doing their best to save the whales and address difficulties with climate. God sits in the laboratories as scientists try desperately to take the fruits of the earth and find cures for disease. God is in the recording studios as true artists look for ways to create beauty in the earth instead of just adding to the clamor. God is not merely the promoter of intellectualism–He is the source of all intelligence.

But as long as these two false witnesses walk the earth, we will be pummeled and punished by an onslaught of lies which try to prove the validity of errant ideas. God hates it.

So all you televangelists who think you are doing such a wonderful work by attacking the evil in the world in order to protect the Kingdom of God, be aware that the Creator is sending tiny tape worms to eat away at your finance, eliminate your power and expose your lies.

And for those of you who feel you have reached a mentality that is beyond faith, understand that the God of miracles will continue to evolve the earth in directions beyond your comprehension, blessing where you have already cursed, enlightening where you have already given up, and exposing the ridiculous nature of doubting when resurrection is standing right in front of you.

God hates a false witness. Why? Because it always leads to lies. And lies are what rob us of the truth that can make us free. We are not free in America. We are entangled in a web of lies brought on by leaping on the bandwagon of our favorite false witness.

May I suggest that you get off, and instead of believing that “God is in trouble” or that “God IS the trouble,” you understand that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

Get out there and study the fullness of the earth and be prepared to come and dine with your Father.

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Jesus Was a Communist… June 24, 2012

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Jesus was a communist.

I know that’s quite a shocking opening statement. I was equally as surprised as I perused the Gospel accounts and realized that Jesus traveled with his disciples, living off the land and sharing all things in common. Thus, a communist.

Upon additional research, I realized that my first assertion of a Communist Jesus was totally erroneous. As it turns out, Jesus is a capitalist. For he said, “He that has shall more be given, and he that has not, even the little he has shall be taken away from him.” Capitalism.

I also discovered through my readings that Jesus would be very upsetting to the NRA, because he was anti-gun, proclaiming that “they that live by the sword shall die by the sword.”

Yet ironically, he did support the troops, because he praised the Centurion who was in charge of one hundred Roman Legionnaires, by saying, “Never have I seen so great a faith—no, not in Israel.”

A bit befuddled, I pressed on with my project. Turns out that Jesus is in favor of gay rights. He said we should not judge, lest we all be judged, for “the measure that is measured out by us to others will be measured back to us.”

I was about to unveil this revelation to some acquaintances, when, with further perusal, I realized that Jesus was also in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, and might even be a homophobe, because he explained to the Pharisees quite clearly that God made male and female and that from the beginning that this was called true marriage—“that a man should leave his mother and a woman leave her home, and the two would be one flesh.”

By this point, I was fully intrigued, yet a bit shocked when I uncovered that Jesus was an Anti-Semite. Speaking to the women of Jerusalem on the day of his crucifixion, he told them that their “house was left to them desolate.”

So imagine how perplexed I was when I also read that he was a Zionist. Giving a partial rebuke to a Syro-phoenician foreigner, he told her it was not good to “give the children’s bread to the dogs.” That’s right—he called her a “Gentile dog.”

Now my curiosity was really piqued, so I started reading indiscriminately, trying to keep an open mind.

Jesus was a party animal. People referred to him as a “wine-bibber, a glutton and a friend of sinners.” Yet, bewildering, he was also a “refrainer.” For after all, he went into the wilderness and fasted for forty days and forty nights, and was hungry.

I then ascertained that Jesus HAD to be a Republican, because he bluntly said that “every good tree brings forth good fruit and every evil tree brings forth evil fruit.” So I was about to make my proclamation on the political nature of his message, when I determined that he was a Democrat, because he strongly believed in the separation of church and state.Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.”

I then realized that some women might find him to be a chauvinist, because arriving at a well in Samaria, he ordered a woman to bring him something to drink. But this was quickly dispelled by viewing the narrative about the day of his resurrection, when he turned to Mary Magdalene and told her to go and tell the other disciples that he was risen from the dead. Yes. He made a woman his first apostle.

Did you know he was pro-life? He told the surrounding audience that if they “offended one of these little ones, it would be better that a millstone be hung around their neck and that they be cast into the sea.”

Of course, a case could be made that he was pro-choice. He said, “If your right eye offend you, pluck it out.” And we certainly know that some women would find an unwanted pregnancy much more disturbing than bad vision.

Was he a saint? Pontius Pilate, a completely neutral bystander, claimed that he found no fault in him.

Was he evil? The religious leaders claimed that he was “a sinner, a Galilean.”

I pressed on. With my additional readings, I discovered that he was a religionist. He advocated that we fast, that we pray, that we give alms, and even mentioned that we should continue our tithing. So you can imagine how I was a little bit astonished to comprehend that he was a revolutionary, standing toe-to-toe with the religious system. He told them that “he was the Lord of the Sabbath.”

A strong case could be made that Jesus was a humanist, for he told his followers that the”Kingdom of God was within them.” Yet, he did not leave out the presence and power of the Almighty, because he spoke clearly and said that “you should love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”

Did he favor men? Well, he did have twelve disciples, all circumcised. Yet you might have the inkling that his heart went out to women, because Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna, members of his troupe, gave “of their substance” to make sure the work went on. (You’ve got to love contributors.)

Are you tired yet? Because honestly, I found out he was a liberal. Defending a woman caught in adultery, he turned to a gathered audience of those who assumed they were righteous and said, “Let he that hath no sin cast the first stone.”

Yet I have to tell you, he could just as easily have been a conservative. Because in his Sermon on the Mount, he warned his followers that “he had not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it—and not one jot or tittle of the Law would be cast aside until all was completed.”

Well, you can see—I’ve had quite a journey. But there were still a couple more that jumped out at me.

I had always believed that Jesus was forgiving, because even hanging from the cross, he insisted, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But also, he was a bit vindictive—because he warned that the individuals who did not stand with him were against him.

An environmentalist? Well, certainly a case can be made, because he said that “not one sparrow falls from the sky without God being fully aware of the loss.” But also a pragmatist, because he claimed that nature is fickle and unpredictable, with “the rain falling on the just and the unjust.”

So finally I asked myself the supreme question. Was he a savior? He made it clear that he laid down his life and it wasn’t taken from him. But you have to ask yourself whether he was perhaps a victim, because in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed in great anguish, “Father, let this cup pass from me.”

I finished my pursuit of finding the true nature of who Jesus was. And I ended up, as you see, with so many representations that it is no wonder why we have denominations aplenty, and nearly incomprehensible that we don’t have more.

Jesus can be just about whoever you want him to be. That is why over the years he has become the champion for many causes, some noble and others destructive. So my dear friends, how do we know who he really is? How do we know the best way to represent him? It didn’t take much more investigative reporting on my part to come up with a very simple outline—a prism, if you will—which we shine the light of Jesus through to determine his true colors. Because he makes it clear on three occasions why he came to this earth:

1.”I have come give you life and it more abundantly.”

2.”I have come that your joy might be full.”

3.”I have come to show you the Father.”

So as I looked over my thirty-two insights on the life of Jesus based upon fragments of his filibustering, I passed them through the acid test of these three obvious callings.

I decided not to teach anything that did not bring life to people in abundance.

No matter how many times it is shouted, I will not take partial theology to teach anything that does not encourage full joy.

And finally, it is ridiculous to pursue any path that does not show us a glimpse of God the Father.

  • Full joy.
  • Abundant life.
  • Revelation of the Father.

It’s what human beings need.  Therefore, it’s what Jesus is.

   

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