Jesonian … February 24th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Throughout the ten thousand years of chronicled human history, three repetitive actions have continually pushed their way to the forefront:

  1. Human beings resolve conflict through war
  2. Women are considered inferior to men
  3. Children are property and can be treated any way deemed necessary for maintaining order and discipline

Only in the past seventy-five years has the concept of equal rights for women and the possibility of child abuse even been considered.

Although we consider our species to be continually learning and growing, at the core of our actions–our relationships with each other–we are still neanderthal.

This is why the character, personality and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are so radical, even to this day. In a world where children were considered “chattel,” Jesus demanded, bring them to me because they are the symbol of heaven.

He warned that anybody who offended one of these “little ones” should have a millstone hung around his neck, drowned in the deepest sea.

And when trying to describe the temperament and energy of believers, he suggested that we find the heart of a child.

Even though in his day this teaching in itself would be enough to have him ridiculed and perhaps murdered, our society has not progressed much beyond believing that our offspring are community property which can be split down the middle into “visitation sessions.”

We leave our children confused over the term family because they often find themselves having to call a half-dozen or more people grandma or grandpa. And we make them privy to our “love struggle” instead of granting them the security of growing up in peace and finding themselves.

We are a wicked generation, mocking the foolishness of the past while keeping souvenirs.

This is also true with women. Jesus doubly astounds his disciples by going to Samaria–a forbidden area for any good Jew to even enter–but while there, talking to a woman in broad daylight, and using her as a conduit for revival. It left them speechless.

Also, forgiving a woman caught in adultery in the midst of an all-male audience was certainly not a popular choice, and having his ministry underwritten financially by three women of means raised a few eyebrows over the water being drawn from the community well.

I have always felt that Jesus made a mistake in not having a female disciple. But he quickly corrects this after the resurrection by appearing to Mary Magdalene first, making her the messenger to tell his disciples that he was raised from the dead.

Please do not come into Christianity thinking you can use Jesus to undergird your misogyny or disdain for children. Matter of fact, you can judge a nation by how much equality is given to the women, and how much true respect is offered to children.

We don’t need to “harden” our schools. We don’t need to tell our sons and daughters that they must be surrounded by guns or they won’t be safe.

It is our concern, love, mercy, tenderness and watchful eye that is the source of their protection.

If you’re going to be Jesonian, you need to stop living with a caveman consciousness toward children and women, while holding an I-phone in your hand.

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Jesonian: Mothering Women … May 11, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus with womenThe conservatives insist that they honor women by extoling the difficulty of being a housewife and a mother.

The liberals scoff at these limitations, claiming to offer choice and equality while promoting young artists who refer to their sisters as “chicks, hoes and bitches.”

We are in a perpetual cycle–which ends up being vicious, may I add–because it offers women sympathy and mothers them without ever pursuing parity.

Oprah Winfrey, who would certainly claim to be a twenty-first-century feminist, still giggles along with comedian Steve Harvey, as he segregates the sexes by their cultural predilections, maintaining that it is some sort of God-ordained division.

Meanwhile, we’re in search of humanity, since masculine and feminine restrictions are driving us off the road and into the ditch. We really don’t have to look far.

Jesus came along to set people free so they wouldn’t have to be victims. He did the same thing for the ladies.

1. Even though he lived in a male-dominated society which had created a system of divorce in which a man could abandon his partner over any whim that might cross his mind, Jesus insisted that women were not emotional ditzes, and that the only reason for breaking a marriage apart was adultery, committed by either party.

2. Jesus made it clear that there was no need to have two different gospels–one pink and one blue–but trudged through all the areas near his home with men, women and children listening to the same teachings and commandments.

3. Jesus also made it clear that women’s money was good. Matter of fact, Mary Magdalene, Susannah and Joanna, three of his more affluent followers, were listed as underwriters of his traveling outreach; no men were ever given credit for donating funds.

4. Jesus wouldn’t let women play the victim. Whether it was the woman of Samaria, who wanted to produce a little deceit about her marital status, or the woman caught in adultery, who was forgiven by Jesus but also told to “go and sin no more,” Jesus made it clear that the true path to equality is to shoulder responsibility.

5. Jesus believed that women could “carry the baggage.” It was Mary Magdalene who announced his resurrection. The Book of Acts is filled with women who befriended nomadic disciples and opened their hearths and homes to the message of the Nazarene. If you remove the women from the early church, you have a lot of sermons, but no follow-up for the converts.

Jesus never mothered women, making them feel less.

He would not permit a condescending tone in their direction.

He challenged them to achieve humanity.

As long as women are talking about glass ceilings, unfair pay, mistreatment in the workplace, and even sexual harassment, they will continue to place themselves in the back seat of the vehicle of commerce.

Jesus only made one mistake when it came to women: he ended up betrayed because he picked Judas instead of Judith.

It isn’t that women aren’t treacherous–it’s just that the Jewish Council didn’t allow females into their meetings … even if they were plotting murder.

 

 

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After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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Jesus Chicks … August 5, 2012

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The dude was surrounded by women.

I don’t say that to try to be relevant or cool. It’s just a fact. When Jesus of Nazareth lived on earth and did his public work, a strong portion of the constituency of his following consisted of women.

It was unusual. Women were generally relegated to the position of servanthood, bound by their ovaries and breasts to motherhood. Jesus invited them into the Kingdom of God, with equality. But that in itself would not have caused women to want to be around him. He succeeded in blending the perfect batch of compassion and confrontation, to manifest the magical, chemical concoction of legitimate concern.

Too many men treat women with only compassion, which reeks of being condescending and pandering, and eventually is a major turnoff to the ladies. On the other hand, a lot of men try to be confrontational and domineering and may temporarily gain the attention of members of the opposite sex who have poor self-esteem, but ultimately, this rudeness and chauvinism is unmasked.

Jesus found women who were trapped in difficulty and he looked for perseverance that caused them to believe ina possibility instead of whining or falling into deep pits of self-pity.

There was one lady who was caught in adultery. What a bad day for her. She was thrown down in the midst of a group of men, threatened with a death sentence, and only rescued from the misadventure by the clever juxtopositioning by Jesus, who turned the tables and caused the accusers to reflect on their own weaknesses. But rather than giving her a big hug after the crowd had left and the danger dissipated, Jesus looks her right in the eye and says,”I don’t condemn you either–but go and sin no more.”

There’s that balance: compassion and confrontation.

Another woman had an issue of blood for twelve years. She was broke because she had spent all of her money on a bunch of doctors with cures that didn’t work. But once again, she didn’t feel sorry for herself. She decided on her own that simply touching the hem of Jesus’ garment would make her whole. And because she did, her faith produced a miracle, and Jesus whirled around and celebrated with her.

Another woman at a well in Samaria was divorced from five men and living with a new guy. I don’t think I am speaking out of turn to say that this lady had certainly experienced abuse, but she was still in the hunt for answers and was willing to believe that another man sitting by the well might just have the ability to help her escape her trap.

These women were everywhere. They brought to Jesus desperation accompanied by a refusal to give in, and Jesus responded with a compassion and a confrontation, determined to not allow them to view themselves as the weaker sex.

When Martha of Bethany told Jesus to command her sister to help serve food, Jesus confronted her and said that Mary, the non-domesticated sister, had chosen the better part by listening to the teaching instead of serving up grits and gravy.

Most people don’t realize that three women, Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna gave of their substance to financially underwrite the ministry of Jesus. In my study, recollection and comprehension, there has never been another spiritual leader who drew women to him, treated them as equals and blended compassion and confrontation to create a climate of transformation in the lives of these dear feminine heroes.

They were Jesus chicks. They were battered, beaten, demon possessed, had daughters who were vexed of Satan, were members of Herod’s court and prostitutes. They all refused to give up, but instead reached out one last time to someone who would give them compassion with a necessary dose of confrontation.

It is impossible to have equality with people if all you’re doing is feeling sorry for them. It is also equally as implausible to view each other as equals if all that stimulates the relationship is domination.

Jesus explained exactly the way things work. You find a woman who is not complaining, who has not given up, who is refusing to drown in her own self-pity, and you grant her compassion. Then you gently confront her–to do more.

It’s an amazing process. And because he took this profile with these dear hearts, they were drawn to him and ended up being a major thrust in the foundation of the new faith, called the Kingdom of God. It is why we can say with confidence, “In the Kingdom of God there is neither male nor female.”

There are just people who refuse to give up, won’t feel sorry for themselves, receive the compassion of the Holy Spirit and the confrontation of truth–and start over, completely born again.

Jesus chicks–women who had more to believe in than to complain about.

 

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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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Dreadfully Dull… April 7, 2012

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It’s the Saturday part that always interests me. Looking at the days of Easter, from the arrest of Jesus through the crucifixion and on to the resurrection, we often leave out that twenty-four-hour period when he’s dead, beginning to stink and absent of any prospect of life.

Yes, for one day evil has won. Oh, shoot–that’s too dramatic. It would be easier if it were evil. Then we could take a gun out and shoot it, or send Navy seals over to exterminate it. But no. That Saturday between the crucifixion and the resurrection was a day when much more common, but sinister, concerns were given free rein.

It was a day of dreadful dullness. Because when you turn out the light what remains is darkness. Unacceptable. Yet time passes, your eyes adjust and it suddenly gains plausibility. Adaptation. Yet still, dreadfully dull.

It is a time when the consequence of extinguishing our possibility taunts us in our foolishness and inefficiency, leaving us to either repent in great sorrow for our short-sightedness or stubbornly insist, “It was my choice.”

Yes, it’s the Saturday that fascinates me–a Saturday when the street cleaners of Jerusalem are scraping up the bowels and remains of Judas Iscariot, who has hung himself and has fallen to the earth, gushing in all directions.

It’s a day when a disciple named Peter realizes that he has chosen his own bodily life over the spiritual life he gained from his friend. For denial, after twenty-four hours, reeks of betrayal. And unfortunately, there is no way to recreate beauty by removing truth.

It’s when a woman named Mary, from Magdala, is trying to figure out how in the hell her friend has been snuffed out by a religion she had honored all her life, and also how she was going to be able to roll away a stone to prepare his body for burial.

It is the Sabbath Day, a day of reverence in the midst of a season of redemption–Passover–a day when Caiaphas, the high priest, has symbolically given absolution to a race of people when he, himself, has blood on his hands from slaying the promise of God.

It is a day when people huddle in their houses of worship to commemorate the great deeds of the prophets of old, who were slain by their fathers and mothers–and now they, too, have followed suit, eliminating the greatest possibility.

Nicodemus has to wonder whether he said enough to defend the young man he came to visit by night, who told him to be “born again.” Perhaps he should have heeded the advice.

And Pontius Pilate has clean hands but a cluttered mind, wondering whether his latest decision might have eternal consequences.

But sanity often demands that we escape our conscience through the back door of excuse. The only recourse is to find inane activities that generate a dreadful dull–to anesthetize the guilt and leave us absent sensation.

It was a long day. It was a day when the world was without a Prince of Life and the Light of the World.

I’m not so sure we would have survived two of them–more lies and deception would have been needed to keep us from wondering if we were wrong.

  • Religion–without God.
  • Politics–removing purpose.
  • Friends–breathing, minus love.
  • And dreams–vegetating, devoid of fulfillment.

‘Twas a dreadful dullness–a warning. For resurrection loses some of its sweetness with the memory of indecision.

Only Mary Magdalene and her female companions could tout the glory of victory–having remained each step of the way, faithfully observing the unfolding of the magnificent plan. All others have the aching memory of twenty-four hours of dreadful dullness. 

Victims? Perhaps. But also culprits … in a crime against the universe.

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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