Jesonian … March 10th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Not every morning supplies a miracle. Weeks can go by without walking on water–or water turning into wine, for that matter.

Truthfully, life is more like dry cereal looking for milk–not much to be excited about unless you brought along your own thrills.

This was true in the life of Jesus, too.

Fortunately, the Gospel writers tell us about the good moments and also the bad ones. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John share that sometimes Jesus just hung out, to “tarry” with his friends. And just like us, often his activities were dictated by the whim, intensity and preoccupation of his audience or critics.

In the Good Book, Matthew 19, there is such a situation. Jesus is minding his own business when he is confronted by the Pharisees, who seem to spend a lot of time worrying about things that don’t matter to anyone else. They were especially distressed over the issue of divorce–not because they were against it. The Law of Moses and also the Oral Law, which had been constructed by religious leaders over many centuries, allowed men to divorce their wives simply by leaving a note on the pillow.

The Pharisees felt that Jesus had a different outlook on the subject, so they confronted him about the dilemma.

Jesus made it clear that he believed divorce to be chauvinism. He explained that marriage is meant to be an experience between people of equality, who decide to leave their families to form their own union.

They were very upset.

Yet escaping their probing, Jesus arrives back in camp to discover that his disciples, who had been cut from the same homespun philosophies and bigotry as the Pharisees, were chasing away the women and children. After all, they thought, Jesus was too important to have time for women, who were lesser, and children, who were insignificant.

The feminist in Jesus comes to the forefront. He rebukes his disciples. He tells them to bring the children–which meant the women, also–to him, and he lays hands on the tykes, blesses and enjoys them.

Often we wonder how miracles occur. Miracles happen because people who know how to treat women and children humbly ask for them.

It isn’t about extended periods of prayer, nor ministers on Sabbatical studying the original Greek. Rather, miracles are about people who know how to play with children–people who are aware that a woman is not a “weaker vessel.” When these people pray, God listens.

Jesus treated women as humans. On this week, with “International Women’s Day,” we need to consider what this entails.

Jesus gave women empathy, but not sympathy: You are as good as men, but don’t pull up lame and fall back on femininity when you think it’s to your advantage.

So even though Jesus showed compassion on the woman caught in adultery, he looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Go and sin no more.”

He relished a conversation with the woman at the well in Samaria, but when she said she “had no husband,” he reminded her that she had married five husbands, and was now living with another man.

When his mother tried to interfere with his work, he spoke to her as an equal, not as a son, and said, Back off. It’s not my time.

And when busy Martha was doing all the housework, using the “gift of helps” to feed the disciples and Jesus, he stopped her and said, Your sister Mary has decided to listen to the teaching instead of playing “Harriet Homemaker. Follow suit.”

Life is not about what we do when we’re trying to be spiritual or contemplative. Life is lived in the cracks–those moments that seem insignificant when the world around us has cast a negative vibe and it is our job to bring the light.

Jesus believes that spirit begins with how women and children are treated.

I, for one, think he’s right.



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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … May 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Dear Man Dear Woman


Dear Woman: Happy Mother’s Day!


Dear Man: Well I’m not a mother…


Dear Woman: I know. But maybe someday you will be. I think ahead.


Dear Man: I suppose.


Dear Woman: You seem miffed. Does Mother’s Day bother you?


Dear Man: Yeah, but not for the reason you think. I’m not jealous because I don’t have children. Mother’s Day is just an example of another title…without entitlement. What I mean is that men hide their chauvinism and their dislike for women behind granting them certain space while forbidding them total equality. If you’re a woman you can be a mother. You can be in charge of the women’s ministry at the church. You make a great secretary. How about fund-raising? Can you take care of the food bank? “You’re so pretty.” All of these are titles but they fail to grant the entitlement of being treated as an equal and dealt with in justice.


Dear Woman: Wow. Am I ever sorry I said “Happy Mother’s Day.” But just to play devil’s advocate, is it possible that some of these stereotypes–titles, as you call them–exist because there’s truth to them?


Dear Man: Do you really want to start a fight?


Dear Woman: No. As I said, I’m playing devil’s advocate.


Dear Man: No. It’s the loaf of bread syndrome. Once we realize there’s one loaf of bread, we start thinking about how we can get the whole loaf instead of giving a needful half to someone else. To do this we have to rationalize and make sure it seems like we’re not being selfish, just practical. Men and women share so much in common that it’s ridiculous to separate them using the jargon of ignorance and the culture of male supremacy. So we pretend. We pretend women are smarter, even as we refuse to promote them. We pretend women are more thrifty, but we never make her the Secretary of Treasury. And of course, we insist that women are better with the children so men have a way of playing with the kids when they want to, and walking away when something else diverts their attention.


Dear Woman: I see your point. But are there enough differences that some sort of division of duties is warranted?


Dear Man: Let me give you an example. You’re a Christian, right?


Dear Woman: Yes. Right. What’s that got to do with anything?


Dear Man: Relax. I wasn’t trying to throw you to the lions. There’s a story about Jesus which is not talked about very often, because it separates him from all other philosophers, religious leaders and cultural icons of all time. Sitting at the house of Mary and Martha, two of his friends and the sisters of Lazarus, who rose from the dead, Martha interrupts Jesus’ teaching to complain about her sister, Mary. Martha’s complaint seemed very legitimate to her–and probably to most people in the room. Mary was sitting in, listening to Jesus teach instead of helping put the food together, which would be served after the lesson. First of all, realize that it was against Jewish law for men and women to be taught together. So Jesus was already making a statement, which he did throughout his ministry. Men and women traveled Co-ed–same space, same responsibilities. So when Martha brings up Mary helping her in the kitchen, there was no disciple who thought Martha was wrong. After all, Mary was a woman. She was supposed to be involved in the kitchen, the children, the day-to-day household activities and the general welfare of the home. Martha thought she was on safe ground. Damn, she thought she was quoting the Word of God. But Jesus rebuffs her. He tells Martha that she worries about too many things, and that Mary had picked the better part by sitting and listening to the teaching. So you see, this story contradicts the practices, doctrines and limitations that most Christian denominations place on women. That’s why you don’t hear it taught very often. But the truth is, after they got done with the teaching, the men and the women could have gone into the kitchen, put together the snacks, and had great fun doing it. Here’s a powerful thought–if you don’t break stupidity you never find wisdom. So I think it’s ridiculous to think that only women are mothers. Every man has to mother children, too. If a little boy falls down and skins his knee, the dad doesn’t wait for the wife to get home to take care of it. If he’s a good parent, he suddenly becomes the healer–the mother.


Dear Woman: That’s amazing. Why don’t they talk about that more?


Dear Man: Because they would have to give women their entitlement instead of just a title.

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