Jesonian … September 23rd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus got angry.

There’s no doubt about that. The Gospels make it clear that he frequently spilled out his wrath to those around him.

We don’t like this. The mind of the present theological times wholly disagrees because we desperately need to keep Jesus sheepish, quiet and gentle so that he can be the “Lamb of God slain from the foundations of the world.”

What’s amazing is, for a man who was destined to die on a cross, he put up one helluva fight. Let’s take a look at it:

He was angry when they criticized him for healing a man on the Sabbath.

He was angry when he came into the Temple and saw the money-changers cheating the faithful. (Actually, he put together a pre-meditated action of violence by making a whip to use on them for their thievery.)

He was angry at the man by the pool who was healed, who decided to turn Jesus into the scribes and Pharisees.

He was angry at his family when they thought he was crazy, and came out to take him home when he had disconnected from them.

And certainly, when the people of his home town pushed him to the edge of the cliff, it says that he “passed through the midst of them.” Perhaps you were taught that he evaporated and disappeared, but that’s not what is stated. The Bible portrays a man of strength and determination who turned to a mob and pushed his way through them.

We also know that Jesus understood anger because in his Sermon on the Mount, summarizing the Ten Commandments, he explained that the basic struggle in humans is finding a way to deal with anger and lust.

In a man, it is called testosterone. Jesus had plenty. He was not an anemic personality with pale skin, trying to love a world which only understood hate.

He was virile.

He was stubborn.

And when he saw injustice, he attacked it. Sometimes he called people hypocrites. Other times he referred to them as “graves.” And of course, he was not beyond comparing them to Satan.

So we know this: a man who deals with anger also deals with lust. For anger is often what leads us to conceive our lust, and when lust is conceived, it brings forth sin.

Jesus was surrounded by women. Oh, by the way, it wasn’t a “hands off” policy either. They were close to him, they embraced him; they even kissed his feet. It was intimate. Being intimate, the door was always open to seduction.

If the Jesus you worship could never be angry, nor lust after a woman, then you completely misunderstand the purpose for God sending His son to be a human. Being human, he was able to talk to humans–to explain humanity in a human way.

Yet Jesus did not want to be so angry that he destroyed others, and he definitely did not want to use his lust to take advantage of women who had been broken and even demon possessed.

So Jesus did the following:

1. He had three burly bodyguards around him at all times.

We often wonder why Peter, James and John never left his side. They were a trio of intimidating fishermen who scared away assassins, and made sure Jesus was never alone to be tempted by women. It was brilliant.

2. He escaped.

When he became angry or tempted, he went off by himself and navigated his own wrath and lust. He made peace with himself before he made the mistakes.

3. He created equality.

Jesus made sure that he preached the same Gospel to the women and the men. He demanded the same thing from the ladies and the gents. He created equality, which prevented him from favoring the females–coddling them–which could have led to affairs.

No man who treats a woman as an equal will ever accidentally slip and have sex. It’s only when he’s expressing sympathy, or trying to be the “knight in shining armor” to save her from her problems that he gets in trouble.

Jesus dealt with anger and lust.

He did so by refusing to trust himself, but instead, closed the door on the possibility of disaster.

 

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Cracked 5 … August 8th, 2017


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Things a Pirate Might Bring or Wear to a Church Service

A.  2 eye patches (to eliminate lust altogether)

 

B.  His “Holey Bible,” which slides easily onto his hook

 

C.  A cross to replace the peg in his leg

 

D.  A “prayer rat” instead of his usual parrot

 

E.  A praise bandana

 

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Good News and Better News… June 26th, 2017

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It is a tale of two Mounts.

One is called Mount Calvary, where the Prince of Peace was crucified at the bequest of angry religionists and indecisive politicians who were bound and determined to maintain the status quo.

The other mount was a place where Jesus came face-to-face with the human race and made his case.

He talked about personal responsibility–how we are responsible for our own lives, responsible to study Mother Nature, responsible to take care of one another, responsible to curb our anger and lust and responsible to be the “light of the world” and the “salt of the Earth.”

Yet the American church is totally obsessed with Mount Calvary, spending countless hours teaching all congregants about the atoning gift of the blood of Christ and even sharing a meal of remembrance.

The other Mount–the Mount of Message, the Mount of Human Transformation–is parsed and referenced, but rarely presented as the necessary philosophy for human beings to get along.

Although we should never forget the courageous sacrifice of Jesus on Mount Calvary, we must realize that what sets Jesus apart from Buddha, Moses, Mohammed and any other religions icon, is that he taught us to use our talents, love one another and remain in good cheer instead of blaming other religions, cutting off the lifeline of our emotions, or spending countless hours pleading with the heavens.

The answer to this dilemma is easily understood by paraphrasing a comment from Jesus. He once said, you shouldn’t leave this one undone, but you should pursue the “weightier matters” of life.

Amen.

Once I understand that Jesus was so enthralled with the propagation of his message that he was willing to die for it, I can go back into those simple, practical axioms and find the way, the truth and the life.

For you see, the good news is that Jesus died for our sins.

The better news is, before he died, he taught us how to live.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … July 9th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: She was born in the middle of America, in the middle of the century, in the middle of a great struggle of human advancement.

 

Dear Woman: His roots were more Southern, in a climate of quaint settings and reverence to Good Book passages.

 

Dear Man: She was a simple young lady with farm-girl beauty, possessing a great curiosity for knowledge.

 

Dear Woman: He was a lad with charisma who found schooling too easy, opening the door for plotting mischief.

 

Dear Man: Though conservative at first, she gradually realized how expansive the world was around her, and set out, in her own simple way, to try to find a means of understanding it.

 

Dear Woman: He, on the other hand, felt destined for greatness, even though his beginnings foretold of poverty and a life too common.

 

Dear Man: She met him at college. She was immediately struck by his ability to communicate, seemingly without ever needing to coordinate his ideas or organize his approach. She was drawn to him. She was not the only one–but she was drawn to him.

 

Dear Woman: He found college to be the perfect atmosphere to spread his wings and launch his self-belief into a dynasty of friends, arrangements, love affairs and universal embracing.

 

Dear Man: Her path was not so obvious. So she studied, she worked, she succeeded, she failed–trying to gain her visibility through academic achievement.

 

Dear Woman: When he met her, he knew he needed her. He required her. She was the common sense for his wild notions. She was the appearance of respectability to his more erratic demeanor.

 

Dear Man: She was in awe of the fact that he was interested. The world stopped. She was being pursued by one of the more popular, dynamic young men, who had been selected by many for greatness. Within a few dates, she became devoted. He, on the other hand, understood that she was coming from a place of invisibility, and what she yearned for was approval–mostly his approval.

 

Dear Woman: They went on a journey together. She remained devoted and he continued to provide her approval, even though his lust for power and for the affirmation of his masculinity, through the appreciation of other women, was a source of conflict and aggravation.

 

Dear Man: She objected. But she persevered. She saw a bigger picture instead of the snapshot of the present moment’s annoyance. She stayed with him.

 

Dear Woman: And he stayed with her, because he needed her. To some degree, he wanted her. So he continued to provide her the necessary blood-flow of approval that pumped her full of life.

 

Dear Man: They went to great places and did great things. And then it was her time–her chance to step out of obscurity and have a say in her own life, very possibly positively affecting the lives of millions. She devotedly asked for his approval.

 

Dear Woman: He seemed excited. Yet because the warmth of the spotlight was too prevalent to his skin, he was somewhat disheartened by the backstage. So even though he promised to approve her, a lingering stupidity deep within his heart caused him to sabotage her efforts.

 

Dear Man: She had been devoted through the affairs, the winks, the rumors, and the issues. Now she needed his devotion, and was failing to get his approval. She was hurt, but she was still loyal.

 

Dear Woman: He was approving, but so preoccupied with his own concerns that he left very little air for her to breathe.

 

Dear Man: For you see, love is more than devotion.

 

Dear Woman: And certainly more than mere approval.

 

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Good News and Better News … July 4th, 2016

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Good News Effort 1He was Saul of Tarsus, who after a dramatic Damascan conversion, began to travel the ancient empire under the stage name, Paul the Apostle.

He once said, “By grace you are saved through faith.”

Little did he know that this quote would become one of his greatest hits. Matter of fact, the doctrine of grace, which emerged from this statement, is preached every Sunday.

The validity of the statement is powerful. The salvation of our souls is a free gift from God through the love, mercy and sacrifice of Jesus. It blooms the potential of eternal life. But it doesn’t tell us what we’re supposed to do with our emotions, brains and bodies through this process called human life.

Because those who live on grace, hoping it will cover a multitude of their annoying practices, do very little to promote the expanse of the Christian message.

This came to me yesterday when I arrived at the Effort United Methodist Church near the Poconos in Pennsylvania.Good News Effort 2

Effort.

What a great word.

It is ridiculous to think that Jesus took the time to preach the Sermon on the Mount about character, bearing fruit, loving your neighbor, avoiding hypocrisy, channeling your lust and respecting the planet if he wanted us to merely lounge on the cushion of grace.

Belief in Jesus does give you salvation, but to live on Planet Earth, we require sanity. Sanity is achieved by accepting the Gospel of Jesus to free us from fret, worry, pride, prejudice, anger and fear. It simplifies our emotions so that our minds can be renewed and we can gain strength.

Religion does not grant us this peace.

Religion wants to give comfort to the convert and condemnation to the world.

It’s when we take grace and blend it with effort that we meld the alloy of faith–certainly trust in God, but also reliance on “Christ in me, the hope of glory.”

In the long run, there are two salvations–there is the salvation that is a free gift of God through acceptance of Jesus.

Good News Effort 3And there is a salvation which each one of us, individually, “works out with fear and trembling” as we journey, simplifying our lives with joy and understanding.

I had a monumental time yesterday with the folks in Effort.

They did put up an effort.

They showed up on July 4th weekend, when they could have gotten by with “pew hookey.”

They listened to this stranger expose new ideas about abundant life.

And they allowed themselves to be impacted rather than insisting that grace eliminates any need to learn.

The good news is that we are saved by grace through faith.

But the better news is that we save our sanity by taking the beautiful Gospel of Jesus and putting some Effort into it.

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G-Poppers … January 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop took a moment to stop and think.

Sometimes we have to do that. If we don’t stop and create a window to think, we shall not become thoughtful.

G-Pop believes we have created a problem.

For instance, the goal of politics is to convince people that things are really bad and we need this particular candidate to come along and save the situation.

Likewise, the goal of religion is to make people feel bad about themselves–at least enough that they will come and accept God.

And entertainment has an aspiration to make money by manufacturing ideas which make folks feel good about themselves–perhaps even to the detriment of others.

What’s missing? Anyone or anything that offers the wisdom that problems exist, we are part of them, and ventures a guess at possible resolution.

  • So politicians get elected by being negative, and then we’re surprised when they don’t end up with a positive agenda.
  • Religion claims to save souls, only to leave them dangling in their inadequacy and frustration.
  • And entertainment plays to the lowest common denominator of intelligence, lust and self-righteousness in order to get us to buy a ticket to the never-ending show.

But where is the prophetic voice which reminds us of the mistakes of the past, while addressing our present and offering an ingenious pathway to escape?

Such a voice might lack the pizzaz of doom or the glitter of self-esteem.

Such a proclamation will never be allowed in politics because it offers too much possibility, including the assertion that we could actually agree with our adversary on certain issues.

Religion will certainly reject the message because it involves too much human inclusion and not enough heavenly dominance.

And entertainment is just playing it safe by making sequels of sequels, ending up with the desperate decision to create prequels.

So G-Pop wonders what he can tell his children. What would be a simple axiom which could be applied in every situation as a way of assessing the current twittering mindset?

How about this:

Does this new idea encourage us to love our neighbor as ourselves?

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Jesonian: The Name Game … August 30th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesus and woman caught in adultery

2000 years later, Jesus is called the Son of God.

When he was a man sporting sandals, they often drew different conclusions:

1. He’s a bastard.

As difficult as it may be to believe, Mary’s little story about being impregnated at the beckoning of an angel did not fly with all the residents of Nazareth. So to those who festered in disbelief, he was born illegitimately.

Jesus is proof positive that there’s no such thing as an illegitimate child. How we get here is not as important as what we do upon arrival.

2. He’s an illegal.

The fussy Jews on the issue of immigration found the arrival of the little boy and his family from Egypt to be disturbing.

Yet there’s no such thing as an alien, just people who need to learn how to get here with an ingenious way to help.

3. He’s a devil.

It is so easy to characterize anything that is foreign to our little box as being “born from the pits of hell.” The truth of the matter is, if you want to determine the origins of my purpose, you should watch what I do–and then watch who I praise.

4. He forgives sexual immorality.

Even though we insist that Jesus was perfect and free of any encumbering notions of lust, when asked to condemn a woman caught in adultery, he challenged those around him to consider their own impurity. And since he didn’t stone the woman himself, that would include his own introspection.

5. He’s crazy.

This assertion was not made by competitors or critics, but rather, levied against him by his own family.

We must always remember that family is great for holidays, birthdays and special occasions, but rarely do they ever comprehend our mission.

Jesus embraced his life by being willing to take on the brunt of human critique. Although he was saddled with great difficulty, he turned his life into a tableau of colorful and creative emotion and forgiveness.

We will be called many things.

But history will only recall what we accomplish to include humanity instead of deterring or destroying it.

 

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