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

The Best Christmas Stories You’ll Ever Read!

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

Christmas Greetings A to Z … December 23, 2013

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A: Adorable adventX-men

B: Blessed bounty

C: Cherishing Christmas

D: Dainty dancers

E. Elation everlasting

F: Favorite fa-la-la-la-la

G: Gathering gaiety

H: Huddling home-fires

I: Ideally ingenious

J: Joyous joviality

K: Kris Kringle

L: Loving lullaby

M: Merry manger

N: Noel newness

O: Old-time ornaments

P: Precious Prince

Q: Quality quest

R: Reveling reindeer

S: Sleepless shepherds

T: Tree trimming

U: Untold unity

V: Vivacious vision

W: Wise wanderers

X: X-tra X-men

Y: You, yours

Z: Zany zeal

(Of course, if you insist, you can stick with “Merry Christmas to all!”)

 

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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Chris(t)-Cross … August 8, 2013

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crossA manger would have been nice … since he was born to be the Prince of Peace.

A Pyramid would have been in order … exiled in Egypt as a young boy during his FIRST rejection by the religious and political systems of Judea.

Water would certainly have been apropos …  baptism changed his life from being a carpenter to an itinerant messenger.

Even wine would have been a fascinating symbol  … his first miracle in Cana of Galilee was to turn water into wine.

How about loaves of bread and fishes? … an encounter he had with his disciples, when he asked them to bring what they had and then he reciprocated.

I just thought of another one.

A stone … he saved an adulterous woman by using one as an example of judging others and also allowed the Angel of the Lord to roll one away during his resurrection.

Yes, anything about the resurrection would have been absolutely lovely.

But the general consensus was to choose the cross.

I suppose it’s because salvation was garnered through the ordeal and we mortals selfishly focused on that particular image. The day of the cross was certainly not one of Jesus’ better days, but there is an impact to it that cannot be denied. It is so powerful that Jesus informs us that we each have to take up our own cross and bear it daily.

So I see the significance.

To Jesus the cross was not a sign of victory, but rather, of responsibility–a job he did because it was the next thing that needed to be done and he decided not to run away from it.

I travel tonight to the Cross of Christ Lutheran Church in Petoskey, Michigan. I don’t know anything about them. I don’t know whether they’ll show up, and have no assurety that they’ll like me or even listen. I don’t say this to be negative. I share it with you because it is the cross of my responsibility.

In tribute to my friend, I will not run away from it.

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Have Yourself a Mary Christmas… December 25, 2012

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1. Don’t be afraid. God really IS love.

Mary and Jesus

2. So therefore, God uses young and old alike. He picked a teenage chick and an old dame to birth two children of promise.

3. Your partner will come around. Don’t expect people to understand the seed that’s been planted inside your soul. If they love you, they’ll find you–and end up listening to an angel of their better natures.

4. Outsiders are critical. That’s why we call them “outsiders.” People who are frightened of change are either overly curious, jealous or prejudiced. It’s not that you can’t please everybody. If you’re trying to please people, you won’t end up with anybody.

5. It never happens the way you think. Everyone would love to birth their idea to great applause, notoriety and success. Yet every great idea has to spend its time stuck out in a barn somewhere.

6. Be prepared to travel. When your new idea of blessing and what you’ve birthed through your talent and faith is not immediately received by the hometown folks and is even attacked, you might want to slide on your shoes and see how you will fare in another locale. Remember, God never told you that what’s in your heart will be received by those who are closest to your heart. God just told you it’s important.

7. Leave a little bit of your own personality imbedded in the miracle. Sometimes we think that Mary was just a birthing chamber for Jesus. But she was his mother. So even though he had his Father’s soul and wit, the young Nazarene had his mother’s humor and determination.

If you believe that Mary of Nazareth was a one-hit wonder which will never be duplicated again, you will probably be willing to sit back and watch our generation flounder without the needed infusion of renewal, renovation and revival.

But if you realize that she was just a young girl who was willing to let the Spirit touch her in a unique way and then see it through instead of giving up, you can take a little bit of her spirit with you every day.

Yes, I have a little bit of Jesus in me–because of Mary. So on this beautiful day, when we celebrate the birthing of the Prince of Peace, let’s remember that his mother made it all possible.

So have yourself … a Mary Christmas.

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Sameness… December 24, 2012

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It was a time when the world was engrossed in a raging debate over taxes. The most recent Caesar was deliberating on how to maintain the integrity of his empire, keeping it from falling off the current “fiscal cliff.”

Poverty was everywhere. It was gnawing at the flesh and the innards of ever-increasing numbers of common people, who were only able to muster complaints over the sheer magnitude of lack.

Kings were concerned about maintaining their power, ignoring the needs of mothers and children in order to maintain the supremacy of their positions.

Zealots roamed the terrain, performing terrorist acts against perceived injustice–all in the name of their favorite gods.

Religion, having stalled in its own inadequacy decades before, was trying to discover new life through regulations, restitution of historical moments and rigid application from the pages of dusty scrolls.

The cultures were segregated. Some say it was done so that the traditions of each group of people and their customs could be honored, but more often than not, the separation just created misunderstandings and blockades to communication, sprouting feelings of superiority.

Nations were rising against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms.

It is into this environment that God inserted Himself in human flesh as a baby–birthed in obscurity.

As I sat over a meal last night with the lovely members of my family, I looked around and realized that they were an intelligent lot, filled with creative energy, but still sheep heading to the slaughter of the sameness of “olden times.”

For today, we suffer from the same conditions that greeted the Messiah. We are trapped in the inflexibility of men’s wills and purposes. We extol our differences and tout our uniqueness, never having a chance to absorb deeper fellowship through commonality. We have trapped ourselves in religious and political upheavals that threaten our future, overemphasize our past and leave our present stalled–void of purpose.

I suppose I could tell you that some things have changed. We have computers, which quickly inform us of our disjointed status. We have penicillin to heal diseases (until those same infections discover ways to outsmart our drugs). We dress differently, if not better. We drive cars instead of camels and we eat with knives and forks instead of our fingers.

But the main demons that possessed our society all those years ago remain intact, having survived all of our attempts at deliverance.

I have decided not to join the melee. I resist all attempts by the masses to deem me odd,  not slithering into the present pit of lava. I have decided to shepherd the sheep that are sent my way, simultaneously listening for the angels of my better nature. I am trying to gain wisdom as I look to the skies. And I travel the earth as a student of discovery instead of a know-it-all.

I am not interested in taxes and I’m quite intent on avoiding kings. I may appear to the common man to be insensitive as I move in and out of cultures, seeking similarities instead of accentuating differences. And most of all, I find my source of worship and meaning in barns and mangers instead of sanctuaries and the halls of Congress.

Call me weird.

Most of the world slept through the night some two thousand years ago, wondering how things could ever get better when everybody seemed content with them remaining bad. It took a child–and it will take a child in each and every one of our hearts–for us to birth peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

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The Real War on Christmas… December 22, 2012

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The early followers of Jesus of Nazareth were isolated and persecuted. They had no homeland–no sympathetic government. They were considered to be a fleeting, temporary cult. Therefore, they had no holidays. All the holidays available around them were salutes to gods, goddesses and emperors who were NOT born in a manger in Bethlehem.

These Christ instigators developed the philosophy of redeeming the time. Instead of complaining about their low status on the totem pole, they took the existing celebrations and used them to worship, appreciate and commemorate moments and traditions in their own faith. In so doing, because of things like governments toppling, religions crumbling and just the passage of time changing circumstances, these rag-tag believers ended up inheriting almost all of the holidays.

So Christmas, which for most of its existence, was more or less a feast (which did, at times, lend itself to a bit of debauchery) has become, over the last 150 years, more sacred, more worshipful and more reverent than it ever was in its inception, when it was an explosion of carnal pleasure saluting Mithra.

So all of this fuss–this so-called “war on Christmas” because some geeky atheist in upstate New York wants to file a lawsuit because of a nativity scene in the town square–is utter hogwash. If you’re looking for the real war on Christmas, that conflict is being waged by the very religious system which should be supporting the celebration of the birth of Christ.

First of all, let me make one thing clear. I do believe in the church. The church was Jesus’ dream of a world connected by a great idea through a Golden Rule, and that we could transform the fallen state of affairs gradually through the Spirit to more resemble the Garden of Eden of our origins.

But the church has been overtaken by a religious system which was founded in the style of the Roman Empire and therefore is more interested in relics, traditions and the maintenance of coffers than in the idealistic pursuit of spiritual fulfillment. Let it never be said that I am anti-church–but I am against a religious system that would love to take the joy of Christmas over the birth of the Prince of Peace and focus on turning it into either a “Blue Christmas” or a “Bloody Christmas.”

Let us start with this pseudo intellectual–and recent, I may add–journey which has been taken by religious leaders, to provide comfort and sympathy to those who either don’t like Christmas or are finding themselves experiencing their first December 25th without a loved one, a job or family. We cannot take the joy, meaning and importance of this experience called Nativity and spend one minute trying to dilute it so as not to offend a handful of people who need to understand that sometimes we celebrate on behalf of others instead of licking our own wounds.

I do it every time I go to a shopping mall. Because I have bad knees I am in a wheelchair, but I don’t roll in amongst my walking brethren, bitching and complaining about their presumptuous trodding about. I celebrate them. I worship God that I am still able to be among the living and participate. The more briskly they walk, the more I appreciate the gift they’ve been given and my opportunity to still be a part of the human tribe. You do not overcome depression during Christmas by bypassing the unique opportunity to be surrounded by “good tidings of great joy.”

The second war on Christmas comes from the religious system which is in a desperate hurry to break apart the manger cradle and quickly turn it into a cross. Many of them will not even give us one moment to appreciate that God’s original idea was for the world to receive His son, not to crucify him. The heavens would have rejoiced if mankind had accepted the message from the Sermon on the Mount instead of marching the sermon-teller up a mount and killing him. So they turned Christmas into a bloody holiday. They want the baby to become the lamb of God instead of the sweet promise of God’s love for mankind.

For after all, Christmas was God-ordained. It is Easter that is man-made. It is manking which decided to reject His hope and put nails in the hands that came to heal them.

Yes, the true war on Christmas happens in the pews, as we remove part of the great happiness of the season, supposedly in deference to those who are choosing or experiencing blueness. It also is diminished by religionists who can’t wait to get Jesus to a cross.

I love Christmas. It is a reminder to me that if I accept the birth of true mission, then I don’t ever have to die in the hands of my own stupidity.

Be smart. Atheists will never destroy God, because privately, they want God. Otherwise they wouldn’t spend so much time fussing about it.

Christmas will not be taken apart–because everyone needs it. But we should be careful that we are not pushing the baby away from the “inn crowd” and leaving him out in the cold. There’s nothing to be blue about–even if it’s a sad time for you. Celebrate the joy of others. It’ll do wonders for your soul.

And let’s not crucify Jesus so soon. Let’s at least give him three months to make things better.

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Taxing the World… December 17, 2012

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Jon Signing

Let’s assume the story is true. For the sake of today’s essay, let’s agree to believe that the tale told by Matthew and Luke in their gospels is factual.

Caesar decided to tax the world. There’s always someone trying to do that. We live on a globe that is continually bombarded by frustrated individuals who feel that one more annoyance, one more trial, one more war, one more evil or one more excess isn’t going to make any difference one way or another. They are deliverers of straw for the backs of camels–never quite sure if this present shipment is going to break all of our backs.

They are just people who tax the world. They don’t bring anything to the party–they just fuss. They extol the virtue of “debate” and perfect it to the greatest levels of dissension, all in the name of a cause which rarely is developed because there is no time left over for progress. That part of the story makes sense to me–Caesar taxing the world.

Then there are people. Good-hearted, yet not good-natured folks, who end up spending all of their time bitching about the taxes. They try to free themselves of the bondage to the latest Caesar but because they are always complaining about the actions of the government or the mis-deeds of the disenfranchised, they openly admit they’re at the mercy of these merciless politicians and ne’er-do-wells. So Caesar bewitches and the mass of humanity…well, “we bitches.”

It is a nasty, immovable gridlock of meaningless conversation lending itself to deadly delay, opening the door for tragedy to slip into the back windows of our lives because we are too busy discerning the unchangeable. Yes, there are those who tax the world and there are those who bitch about the taxes.

So it was over two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, Judea. It seemed that the most important thing going on was the present affliction being levied on the masses by the Romans, who were trying to raise money to pay for a war in Britannia against the Angles and the Saxons.

And then there was a handful.

In the moment, they seemed meager–a carpenter and his pregnant, besmirched wife, arriving too late into town, not having made preparations for lodging and ending up stalled in the stable; shepherds who certainly wanted to complain about taxes, but found themselves interrupted by more angelic possibilities and needing to make a choice, and wise ones from the East, who were probably mocked by their neighbors as star-gazers with their heads in the clouds, who evidently were completely oblivious to Caesar’s latest imposition.wisemen under star

Yes, there were a few people who decided to birth a new idea.

It is a lesson for all of us. For I will tell you bluntly–CNN and FOX News don’t care one whittle that I write a daily column on the Internet, that I was able to reach tens of thousands of people this year through my travels or that I am recording a new album of music. They are following the latest story of “whoever is taxing the world.” They are also quite interested in those who want to bitch and complain about how over-taxed the world is by problems and difficulties. If you want to send in a tweet or email lamenting some evil in our world, you might get your twelve seconds of fame flashed across the bottom of the screen.

But just as it was in our original story back in Bethlehem, those who are trying to birth a new idea are relegated to obscurity and stuck in a barn somewhere.

But also, just like those so many centuries ago, you have to decide whether you want to be there for the birth, whether you want to worship or whether you want to be one of the wise people.

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