Cracked 5 … August 10th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Cracked 5

Unique Ways to Avoid Gun Violence

A.  Make simpler bombs

 

B.  Cut the price on knives

 

C.  Pay women to go out with losers

 

D.  Body armor for the entire nation

 

E.  Stop making fun of loving one another

 

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Jesonian … August 11th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Astonished.

It is the word that Saint Matthew selected, in his Gospel, to describe the reaction of the audience which heard Jesus of Nazareth share the Sermon on the Mount.

Some synonyms for astonished:

  • Shocked
  • Confounded
  • Bewildered
  • Astounded
  • Flabbergasted
  • Startled
  • Stunned
  • Dumbfounded
  • Blow your mind

Astonished is a word that combines impressed and alarmed.

It is the way Matthew perceived the mood of the hearers.

He added that they felt that Jesus had more “authority” than the scribes. As you probably know, the scribes were not the Pharisees. The scribes were the local ministers in charge of writing and reading the Law of Moses.

The style they imparted in sharing those ancient words was: read, said, dead. When the scribes read, they said what was exactly there–as dead as they possibly could, so as not to add too much flavor.

So as you can see, it was not a roaring accolade, to say that Jesus exceeded the knowledge or enthusiasm of the scribes.

The importance to the verse is that the people departing that day were “astonished.” What do people do when they’re astonished?

On the way home, as the afterglow disappears, they begin to pick at the corners of great ideas until they disassemble them, convincing themselves that these principles are implausible.

How do we know this is true?

Most of them do not follow Jesus down the hill, but instead, go to their homes, where they justify their disbelief.

Meanwhile, Jesus, who has just delivered the most radical, truthful and practical message ever heard on Earth, descends the hill, and is greeted by one leper, who asks for healing–who had probably missed the sermon.

After twenty-two years of traveling with my dear friend Janet Clazzy, to thousands of churches, I will tell you this:

It is very possible to stir up a congregation, and even their local shepherd, to the point of astonishment.

You can raise dead spirits that haven’t been alive since Grandma and Grandpa sat in the pews.

You can get people to clap, think, react, smile, and even do their best impersonation of loving one another. But you can’t go home with them.

And home is where they rationalize all their present actions–to avoid the horror of repentance.

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Cracked 5 … August 7th, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Plans, Schemes and Promotions Organized by Vegetables to Help Promote Their Brand

A. Hail a Cabbage!

 

B. Lettuce Love One Another

 

C. Broccoli–Never Grew On Bush (George Herbert 41)

 

D. Caul-i-flower Bouquet

 

E. Corn–We’re All Ears

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Good News and Better News … August 15th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Bauchman name tags

Name tags hanging from a peg board

 

 

Bauchman treat table

Coffee awaiting the faithful

 

 

 

 

Bauchman door windows

 

Beautiful mahogany walls with colored glass

 

 

An old-fashioned radiator, Bauchman radiatorreminding us how long the church has been established

 

 

 

 

Bauchman stained glass window

 

A skylight, welcoming the sunshine from the heavens

 

 

 

 

Another Sunday morning in America.

This time, it is Baughman United Methodist Church in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

Busy folks.

The morning announcements took ten minutes–just to cover the expanse of activity and planned events.

Matter of fact, if I were evaluating the church in America as a whole, I would conclude that it is an extremely proficient organization.

Here’s the problem: the church that Jesus came to “build on the rock” through his words and the essence of his life was never meant to be an organization. He punctuated this by saying, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

The Jesonian church is meant to be an organism.

Here’s the difference:

  • An organization needs plans.
  • An organism needs food.

And although we are meticulous in the religious system to organize, put in place and promote a series of determinations, these plans themselves offer no nourishment to the starving souls trying to find their best-seated positions in the back of the sanctuary.

The church is an organism because it’s filled with people, and people need:

1. Emotional food

Yes, we require a diet of “love one another”–and all the awkward situations that produces.

2. Spiritual food

Living our lives out, finding what is real and then discovering where Jesus dealt with it in his earthly time, and studying his insights on the matter

3. Mental food

Challenging all the opinions of our youth and renewing our file with ideas that are edifying to the people around us instead of alienating them.

4. Physical food

Honest to God, we need to eat together. Jesus said “as oft as you do eat together, remember me.”

We’re better people when we’re eating. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of having a restaurant on site at every church, so on Sunday we could file out of the service to a dinner table, where we could discuss what had warmed our hearts as we fill our tummies.

The good news is that the Baughman church was filled with delightful, enterprising and searching human beings.

The better news is that if we stop approaching Christianity as an organization, we might be able to feed the organism of faith … and change the world.

 

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Jesonian: Horizontal … October 4th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus with starsWhen disciples start thinking about Heaven, they soon lose interest in the Earth.

It’s the weakness of religion.

It is the erroneous, and perhaps devious, perception that pleasing God is the only thing necessary, even if we have to hurt people to do it.

It was Dr. Luke, in the 9th Chapter of his story about Jesus, who highlights this unfortunate practice.

In the process of just a few verses, the disciples make it clear to Jesus that they are no longer interested in humanity or any improvement in their own personal growth.

  • They want to chase their destiny.
  • They want to point out division.
  • And ultimately, they want to dominate.

Let’s be precise: Jesus was interested in horizontal relationships between human beings instead of a vertical connection with God.

He explained it this way: “By this they shall know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another.”

But this didn’t stop the disciples from coming to Jesus, wondering who was going to be the greatest.

They also were very upset about some individual they ran across who was doing miracles in Jesus’ name, but would not submit to the common curriculum.

And it culminated with wanting to rain fire down from heaven because a Samaritan village failed to recognize them.

But drawing from a deep well of patience, Jesus answers them. “Who is the greatest among you? It will be the one who receives a child in my name and the one who contends they are the least that truly shall be the greatest.”

What should you do with someone who believes the same way you do but won’t join your club?

“Those who are not against us are for us.”

And concerning fire from heaven, he told the disciples they did not understand what Spirit they were serving, because “the Son of Man came to save lives, not destroy them.”

The Gospel of Jesus is about horizontal relationships among Earthlings.

So even if we insist that some particular scripture is true and it is being broken by brothers and sisters around us, our only responsibility is to love them.

The disciples were baffled because the disciples were religious. They never totally understood Jesus. Why?

Jesus was not religious.

He came to show us how the Kingdom can work, how Father God and Mother Nature are in unity, and how we–the children of Earth–can get along together.

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Jesonian: Born… December 7, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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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.

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

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

Sweet, Salty and Hot… October 6, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

At last night’s gig, we received a “chili” reception.

What I mean is, they had a chili cook-off before our show. Fortunately for us, they set aside some of the magic potions for us to take back to our motel and enjoy. As I sat down in front of my bowl, I thought about how marvelous chili really is.

The first magnificent thing about the concoction is that it’s simple. Three major ingredients–beans, meat and tomatoes. If you don’t have those three elements in your chili, you may have come up with something that is in the household, but not in the immediate family. It takes beans, meat and tomatoes to make a basic chili.

Now, some people like their chili sweet, others salty and certainly there are those who prefer it hot. Each one of these groups would insist that their particular preference is the actual definition of chili, but truthfully, the mixture is best presented by the inclusion of  … beans, meat and tomatoes. Otherwise you end up with goulash or Sloppy Joe. Whether it is sweet, salty or hot, it is still called chili and therefore gets included on the menu.

As I munched on my meal, I thought about how much better off we would be if we approached our Christian faith the same way. In other words, once all the ingredients are in place, whether you like your faith sweet, salty or hot makes little difference. As long as you don’t mess with the holy three, you’re in pretty good shape.

And what would those three be? What would define a good Christian experience, establishing the necessary pieces to call it such?

1. We “bean” with Jesus. (I apologize for the pun. It was available, I was weak, I took it.) How can you tell that someone has “bean” with Jesus? They consider him to be the example for living instead of just the sacrifice for sin.

2. We “meat” the requirement of loving one another. (Again, my apologies.) Referring back to Jesus, he established this as the criterion for knowing whether someone was his follower. If they do not show love one for another, they have started their own club, just displaying a cross on their steeple.

3. No tomato is better than any other tomato. Hop in the pot and join the stew. Anyone who makes distinctions about human beings and judgments based upon any feeling of superiority has ceased to follow a Christian philosophy and has amalgamated into their thinking some sort of cultural preference that shuts out those folks that Jesus loves.

There you go. That’s how you make a Christian. Those are the ingredients.

Now, to continue, some people like it sweet. Their God is love and will always love, in a loving way, the whole world, which needs a loveable hug.

I don’t care if it’s sweet, as long as they’ve “bean” with Jesus, “meat” the requirement of loving one another and accept all the tomatoes off the vine.

There are those who like it salty. They’re interested in points of doctrine, deep theological discussions and will even dabble in some of the psycho-babble of our time, linking it with Biblical implications.

Who cares–as long as they stir in the beans, meat and tomatoes?

And certainly, there are those who like it hot. They want the message to burn all the way down to their innards, believing the Word of God to be infallible, without question, searing away the evil in our world and establishing the good.

More power to them–as long as they accept Jesus as the source of wisdom, they love one another without question and they include everybody in the gift of salvation.

You see? Chili is like being a Christian. If you get the basic ingredients in place, flavoring it is just fun, and I don’t mind if you flavor it one way or another, as long as you can still see the evidence of those three main ingredients: Jesus, loving one another, and an open door to everyone.

They sent home a couple of different kinds of chili with us. I ate one of the warmer varieties, which stung my tongue, and Jan opted for the more benign, kindergarten variety.

But you know what? We both had chili.

And just like in the Christian experience, when you get it right and all the ingredients are in place, there’s one thing for certain: it’s a gas.

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