Good News and Better News… December 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3146)

good-news-december-5

Jesus is a lifestyle.

Every time we try to focus on the “Christ” of his Earth journey and turn him into a religion, it seems clunky, fabricated, forced, unreal and nearly irrational.

It’s similar to when we try to make George Washington appear to be a statesman. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were rebels. They were revolutionaries. They actually found it difficult to stop their struggle and create a government.

The early disciples had the same problem when it came to Jesus.

Jesus taught them how to have abundant life, good cheer, tolerance, an expansive talent base and generosity. He did not instruct them to maintain the integrity of Judaism with the purpose of including the Old Testament.

So every time we try to present a Judeo-Christian image, we lose the lifestyle of Jesus–which is the essence of the Gospel.

Our church services today have more of Catholicism in them than Nazareth.

So let’s look at it from the aspect of definitions:

Religion: an attempt to find God in ancient scrolls, mysticism and tradition, feeling that these sacraments are the divine path to reach the Creator.

Church: a system we have set up within this religious thinking, to define our style of worship, welcoming a contingency of people who are comfortable within the format.

Christian: a doctrine that has been established which includes the teachings of Jesus, but focuses equally on the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, to formulate a plan of salvation based upon the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah.

Then we have Jesonian.

Jesonian is a return to the simplicity of the lifestyle of Jesus, who told us that his “ways were easy and his burden was light,” and that the purpose for pursuing his values was to “find rest for your soul.”

So the religious system permeating our society today is a core belief in the atonement of Christ on the cross, the folklore of Judaism, mingled with Catholicism, punctuated with Anglo-Saxon traditions and peppered with American patriotism.

It is not the lifestyle of Jesus.

It lacks the personal responsibility, the joy, the freedom and the experimentation that he promoted as he walked among humanity.

The good news is that Jesus wants to keep things simple and easy.

The better news is that human beings are much more productive and happy when things are simple and easy.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … November 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3130)

Dear Man Dear Woman

Woman: I’m pregnant.

 

Man: What do you mean?

 

Woman: You don’t know what pregnant is?

 

Man: Yes, I know what pregnant is, I just don’t know why you would think you’re pregnant.

 

Woman: I was told I was.

 

Man: It’s not possible.

 

Woman: What do you mean, it’s not possible?

 

Man: I mean, I’m engaged to you and I know that I haven’t had sex with you, so the possibility of you being pregnant is zilch.

 

Woman: Listen, and listen carefully. I would like you to listen even if you don’t believe what I’m saying. And listen with the mind that the last thing in the world I would want to do is lie to you.

 

Man: You’re creeping me out. What are you trying to say?

 

Woman: I’m trying to say that I have been visited.

 

Man: You’ve had another man?

 

Woman: No, of course not. We’re going to be married. I… Well, I don’t know. Do you believe in angels?

 

Man: Are you asking me if I believe in angels or if I think there really are angels? Because it’s a different answer.

 

Woman: Are you saying you believe in things you don’t think are real?

 

Man: Hell, yes. There are two kinds of belief. There’s the belief that if I put seed in the ground, it will grow and I’ve got a good chance of a harvest. Then there’s belief in angels, which I’ve never seen, have no evidence of and just decide to go along with because the God who makes the seed grow insists they are real.

 

Woman: That’s interesting. Because the God who makes that seed grow has placed a seed in me that’s growing.

 

Man: Woman, you’ve lost me.

 

Woman: I hope not. I hope you can just listen a little bit more and understand. Because even if I’m crazy and this is all in my brain and I am stark raving nuts, I’m going to need you to hang around and take care of me. But if what I’m telling you turns out to be real, I’m going to need you to hang around to be part of it.

 

Man: Cut to the chase. What are we talking about?

 

Woman: An angel has told me that God is placing a baby inside me who is going to be the Messiah.

 

Man: What? Why you?

 

Woman: Thank you very much for that vote of confidence. I don’t know why me. Maybe it’s because everybody else turned Him down. Or maybe He knew that I was willing to at least consider it was possible.

 

Man: Let me go over what I’m hearing. You’re telling me that an actual angel spoke to you, telling you that God was going to give you a baby even though you haven’t been with a man…

 

Woman: Apparently that’s important–the fact that it isn’t coming from one fellow. The baby isn’t coming from one nation, or this baby isn’t the actual “seed of David,” but instead is a child of all the Earth…

 

Man: But you see, that’s where you’re wrong. The prophecies say that the baby will come through the loins of the seed of David, birthed from a Jew. Why would God have all these men in the Old Testament and then suddenly turn to a woman to deliver His messenger?

 

Woman: Actually, he’s supposed to be called Jesus.

 

Man: I am so freaking disappointed in you. If you made a mistake and slept with someone…I don’t know. Maybe I could forgive you. But at least I would not feel insulted that you thought you could deceive me with this tale of angels.

 

Woman: I completely understand your point. I knew when I came to tell you the story, I had to be prepared for the fact that it’s so unbelievable that you would not be able to comprehend it. I don’t know why the angel didn’t tell us together… but I think God just got tired of men dominating women, and He decided to do something with a woman, minus the man.

 

Man: There’s no history of it.

 

Woman: There’s never been a Messiah before.

 

Man: So what am I supposed to do?

 

Woman: You’re supposed to listen to me–which you’ve done–and decide for yourself if I’m a cheater, a deceiver, crazy, or blessed.

 

Man: No man could do that. No man could sort through this mess.

 

Woman: Maybe you’ll need an angel, too…

 

Man: Well, until my angel shows up, let me tell you that loving someone is not something that comes quickly and goes away just as quickly. Standing here, I feel bruised, upset, cheated… but in love. I need my thoughts to myself. I don’t want to say something stupid and hurt you, but I also don’t want to say something silly and find out you’re laughing at me.

 

Woman: I understand all of that. Parts of it hurt. Parts of it are reassuring. But I know this–even if I’m crazy, it’s my crazy. And I can’t turn my back on it. I promised I would be willing to see it through.

 

Man: Maybe we should sleep on it.

 

Woman: Maybe we should.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … February 24th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2854)

PoHymn Feb 24

Come With Me

Come with me, young Nazarene

Far away from the caustic scene

To live, to share another day

Escape the voices of disarray

Before they steal your mind

And treat your soul unkind

Remember the shores of Galilee

Thoughts were fluid, hearts were free

Come away to our special place

And teach us to love the human race

For they want to eat your skin

Drink your blood, remit their sin

An aching desire to be divine

Needing wisdom, seeking a sign

Trapped in a tomb of dead men’s bones

Muttering commands, misguided drones

Just this once, follow me

Time to leave Gethsemane

Crippled, anger in their eyes

Slaves to tradition, children of lies

Messiah has come, Messiah need live

The world must receive what you have to give

Run with me, Jesus, do not delay

Don’t take the time to stop and pray

Surely this cup must pass from you

God’s will is life, this is true

Hurry, Carpenter, they’ve brought the nails

Let’s make sure their plan fails

They’ll be here soon to do it again

Make you a sacrifice for their sin

Please, oh, please, keep the message alive

And grant the Earth a chance to thrive

But you sit calmly and patiently wait

For freedom of choice to seal your fate

Death with honor is poorly stated

But life with retreat is over-rated

You waited too long, young Nazarene

Your spirit willing, theirs just mean

So they return each Sunday just about eleven

To confirm their souls are bound for heaven.

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Jesonian: Head for the Hills … November 8th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2746)

Drachma

The Middle East is a muddled beast.

It has baffled politicians, military strategists and rational thinkers for generations.

Following a Jesonian philosophy, which is an attempt to tap the heart of Jesus, I decided to find out if the Nazarene had any insight on the issue.

Turns out he does.

It was in the latter part of his ministry when Jesus visited Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and took the opportunity to attack the religious leaders for their hypocrisy, excess, indifference and greed.

He spends quite a bit of time elaborating on the iniquity that filled the religious system of his day. But it is the closing of his speech which is most chilling. He finishes up his talk by saying that he had come to Jerusalem many times, trying to reason with them and get them to repent of their stubbornness and sense of superiority. But the continual rejection had caused him to decide that “their house was left to them desolate.”

Because they had killed the prophets, ignored wise men who had been sent their way, and shunned anyone who was practical enough to believe that spirituality could be best expressed through the love of human beings instead of the practice of ritual, he felt it was time for him to depart.

So the 24th Chapter of Matthew begins with a chilling proclamation: Jesus left the Temple.

He never went back again.

He never has.

All the dealings of the Christian faith are meant to be conducted in the streets and homes of human beings–at the point of need.

The ironic part is that the disciples try to draw him back to the Temple, to show him all the sights and wonders–a “Holy Land tour.”

He emphatically tells them that what they see before their eyes will be torn down, stone by stone. He even describes the process. He says that people will be so involved in their religion and their family life that they will not notice the signs of their times.

They will be “marrying and given in marriage,” oblivious to the dangers of conflict and generational revenge.

Jesus gave his disciples counsel. He said, “When you see there is conflict around Jerusalem and that there are armies gathering … head for the hills.”

Don’t stay and fight.

Don’t pick a side.

Don’t assume that God will protect those who are out to destroy each other.

Head for the hills.

We, as the United States, should take the wisdom of Jesus’ warning. There is no Armageddon unless all the armies of the world go to the desert and fight.

It is possible for us to support Israel and also welcome the Palestinians as long as the Palestinians accept the right of Israel to exist and Israel includes the Palestinians.

This is a family fight, and if we join it, both sides of the family will fight against us. So basically, we don’t please the Muslims and we don’t satisfy the Israelis.

Head for the hills.

It is possible to be an arbiter without putting on boxing gloves to join in the bout.

This should be our mission. We should watch the signs of the times, keep ourselves free from the conflict, and do our best to guide these lost brothers and sisters into understanding that the world is big enough for both of them, if their hearts can grow big enough for each other.

So I say to the Republicans and the Democrats: from a Jesonian perspective, you’re both wrong.

Jesus realized there is no negotiation with religion.

  • Religion will kill to fulfill its principles.
  • Religion will repeat instead of repent.
  • Religion is constantly looking for a new Messiah.
  • And religion invites war because it thinks peace is compromising doctrine.

But Jesus left the Temple.

We should do the same.

Stand back and let’s see if these warring factions will grow tired of burying their children, and begin to have a heart for making peace. And then, let us be the peace-makers instead of the fellow-warriors.

I believe it’s the only answer.

There is no Holy Land in the Middle East: people are dying, people are hurt, people are abused and people are marginalized.

It is the definition … of unholy. 

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Jesonian: Three Women…May 3rd, 2015

 

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2571) 

triplets for jonathots

Hagar was an Egyptian.

Sarah was “Mama Jewess.”

And Mary of Nazareth was a Palestinian virgin.

Although these three women are truly the intricate figures for a trio of religions, the doctrines of Muslim, Jew and Christian all still seem to be a little tilted towards male supremacy.

Hagar and Sarah were the wives of Abraham. Having two wives was just the beginning of his sorrows. They became jealous of one another and Abraham felt compelled to make a choice, rejecting his first Baby Mama, which turned him into the initial deadbeat dad.

So when it came time to birth a Savior, God decided to reject Abraham or any of his lineage to bring about the miracle.

On top of that, neither an Egyptian nor a Jewess were selected to fill the auspicious position of Mama Messiah.

God overshadowed a Palestinian virgin from Nazareth. It was a common joke that “nothing good could come out of Nazareth,” and certainly, Galilee was no breeding ground for prophets.

To further establish his point of separating the state of His affairs from the Middle East theocracy, God had His son spend the first 5 or 6 years of his life living as an Egyptian.

Yes, Christianity was meant to be a separate faith–non-Abrahamic–in order for us to minister to the squabbling brothers and sisters in what is deemed to be “The Holy Land,” as they continue to struggle in their ongoing custody battle.

So isn’t it ironic that for some reason, the more fundamental portions of the “Jesus faith” want to side with the Jews, and are then astounded that the Muslim world is offended by their favoritism.

Let me give you a quick numerical study:

There are 2.2 billion Muslims in the world and 14 million Jews.

I am not insinuating that our Jewish brothers and sisters should be given less attention–just that our Muslim family members should be more obviously included.

Jesus was not a Jew, and if he was, not a very good one–because his brethren killed him for poor attendance and unfaithfulness.

Jesus was born of a Palestinian virgin, spent his early years in Egypt, rendered unto Caesar, welcomed the Greeks, and now gives a hug to the entire world.

We do a disservice when we go to Children’s Court and testify for Sarah over Hagar.

 

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Reservations… December 16, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2094)

angel light“Behold, the handmaiden of the Lord…”

These were the words uttered by the Virgin Mary of Nazareth upon hearing that she was to be the human incubator of the Messiah. Of course, she had no idea what the project entailed, nor exactly how God works with people to perform greatness.

  • Jesus was an idea.
  • God loves ideas.

The problem with our comprehension of the Divine is that we believe the “idea person” should jump in and do all the work. It doesn’t happen that way.

Actually, if you study the story carefully and put it into the context of Mary’s lifespan, it is a tale of unfulfillment, punctuated by obedience and highlighted by very brief moments of encouragement.

For after all, getting pregnant in a small town when you’re not married is not pleasant whatsoever–especially among people who consider stoning. Being a teenage girl going through morning sickness, swollen legs and a growing belly leaves little time for reflections on angels and promises.

And then to discover that your family is about to be taxed and you will have to leave town during your third trimester to journey over a hundred miles away–only to have your water break right outside the town of your destination, while your husband is unable to find any kind of lodging without situating you next to an animal–well, it certainly takes the glimmer off the original statement of acceptance and willingness.

But it didn’t stop there.

She was chased out of Israel, lived for at least five years in a foreign land, returned home to renewed gossip from non-forgiving-nor-forgetting townsfolk, and settled into what seemed to be a quiet life with a normal family, with no signs of her “miracle son” being particularly special, except for the one time when he was twelve years old and disobeyed her by hanging out in the temple.

When he was grown, she watched his erratic behavior as he lived among wild beasts and fasted, preached against religious intolerance and was rejected by his home town and nearly killed.

Shortly after that, his execution was completed on a hill–hung between two thieves and thrown into a tomb, where to her amazement, he was resurrected. But even at the point of her death, his movement and words had not traveled much beyond the borders of Judea. Hardly confirmation for a world-wide savior.

All of this was initiated by an angel’s proclamation and the only further confirmation she received to give strength to the original promise was an occasional dream, which she had to choose to believe was significant.

The Christmas story is a beautiful insight into the mind of God. It reminds us that everything which is eventually deemed heavenly is brought to pass … through earthly sacrifice.

 

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Messiah Comes … June 26, 2013

(1924)

I’ll bet it didn’t even cross their minds.

The average Jew walking around prior to the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth probably never considered that the Messiah they were looking for, to solve all their problems–well, that the word “Messiah” begins with m-e-s-s.

Yes. A mess.

If they had stopped for a moment to realize that God was not going to jump through religious hoops to confirm their wishes, they might have been more prepared to hear the message, consider the toleration and move forward in their enlightenment.

After all, they thought the Messiah would be born of the seed of David. That meant that Jesus needed to be the son of Joseph. As it turns out, he was the son of Mary, with a contribution from an overshadowing Holy Spirit.

They deeply contended that the Messiah would come and preach the Law of Moses and install it as the edict of the land. Instead, Jesus brought a mess. He challenged the Law of Moses, referred to it as old-fashioned, and explained that he came to fulfill the law by offering common sense applications.

Likewise, they were totally convinced of the supremacy of their Jewish race–how they were children of Abraham. Jesus certainly messed that up, by telling them God could take stones and turn them into “Abe’s children.”

  • They wanted a conqueror. He came to explain that it was the peacemakers who were blessed.
  • They wanted a fighting king like David. He flatly announced that “those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.”
  • They thought their Messiah would live on and reign forever. Instead, he died at thirty-three-and-a-half years of age, on a cross outside of Jerusalem.
  • He promised them he would come again, so they thought they could predict such a time and place. Then he robbed them of that game, by saying that his return would be in such an hour as they could not conceive.

Their Messiah was a mess to them–rather disappointing. Instead of conquering the Romans, he welcomed them into the fold of God’s pasture. Refusing to condemn the Samaritans, he held a revival with them. And rejecting the practice of cursing the sinners, prostitutes and tax-collectors, he ate and drank with them.

I am heading off tonight to Messiah Lutheran in Galva, Illinois. For the handful of folks who will gather to see this simple man that I am, let me explain one thing, and one thing only: it won’t be what you expect.

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