Jesonian … October 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3827)

Jesus was right there with them and they still wanted to talk about Pontius Pilate.

Politics. It just makes fellows strange.

Obsessed with a candidate or a party, human beings try to make life fit around existing ideas and platforms. Here’s the problem–they don’t.

Every situation is different. Some human struggles demand a conservative approach–others, liberality.

REPENT OF POLITICS

Jesus warned them.

When they asked him about Pontius Pilate, he said, “You need to repent, or you’re going to perish.”

Here’s the meaning: repent of politics or you will perish along with your failing politician.

He also said “you can’t serve God and Mammon.”

What is Mammon? It is the misuse, misunderstanding and mistreatment of money. There we are–right back to politics.

The issue is not whether the Republicans are right or the Republicans are wrong.

The issue is also not whether the Democrats are in the catbird seat or if they’re fallen doves.

The issue is that the Spirit of God demands that we be led in the direction that will benefit other human beings.

It cannot be decided politically and too many Christians have turned their faith over to politics and their hearts over to their favorite candidate.

JESUS’ CAMPAIGN SLOGAN

For Jesus’ campaign slogan is simple: “By this people will know who we are–that we have love one for another.”

Politics is a blood sport. Jesus has already shed all the blood needed.

Politics allows for lying. Jesus said “the truth will make you free.”

Politics favors its own. Jesus said “when you only love them who love you, you’re no better than the heathen.”

Politics wants to bolster its constituency. Jesus wants us to find the “least of these” and relate to them.

DO NICE GUYS FINISH LAST?

The other day on television I heard a noted politician say, “Nice guys finish last.”

Let’s look at some people who finished last:

  • Julius Caesar
  • Attila the Hun
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Adolph Hitler
  • Idi Amin

Not a nice guy amongst them.

Nice guys just have to wait until the Earth is available for them to inherit–like allowing your landlord to wash and paint your condo before you move in.

Repent of politics or you will perish with your politicians.

*****

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Jesonian … August 4th, 2018

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“No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.”

The word “master” is such a nasty, archaic term. But basically, the message is that there is something that compels us. We fancy ourselves to be the compellers, but we actually spend most of our lives compelled. And when you take the word “compel” and look at the synonyms–constrain, enforce, urge, bulldoze, coerce and squeeze–you come up with a vision in your mind which gives you a sense of claustrophobia concerning being manipulated.

Perhaps that’s why people have trouble coming to terms with human life. They continue to pursue the fallacy that they call all their own shots and that everything is perfect if it is at their beckon command.

Unfortunately, Jesus was correct. From the time of our birth to the time of our death, we are obsessed with some compulsion. It is that compulsion that dictates our moods, our actions, our frustrations, our bigotry and to a large degree, our finance.

The reason I bring up finance is that the rest of the verse is a cold, hard statement from the Nazarene, telling us, “You cannot serve God and Mammon.”

Like master, Mammon is one of those words which is barely comprehensible to most of the population. Mammon is just a total obsession with things. Once we are obsessed with things, we are compelled to get them. Whatever stands in our way becomes the enemy.

I sat down before I wrote this essay and asked myself, “What is it that compels me?”

Much to the chagrin of my lineage, who may be waiting for an inheritance, profit and gain has never intrigued me in the least. I’ve had lots of money and I’ve had no money, and have found the two experiences to have little impact on my soul satisfaction.

So I would like to simplify this phrase down to one that may be easier to understand: You will be compelled, and the choice you are given is whether you are going to serve good, or goods.

Pause.

Your immediate instinct may be to say, “I’m not materialistic. I don’t want more than I need.” But there are three questions you can ask that will tell you if you’re being mastered by the good, or by goods:

1. Do you worry about money?

Since you know worrying about money doesn’t achieve anything, what is the purpose of worrying about it unless you’re compelled to do so?

2. Do you feel you would be happier and better off if you had more money?

Candidly, even though we don’t think money can buy happiness, we’re pretty sure it can rent it.

3. Do you have a wish list of things you hope to attain financially before the end of your life?

A large portion of the world will go to bed hungry tonight. In such an environment, having dinner makes you a rich person.

When you look at these three questions, you can ascertain whether you are being mastered by good or by goods.

What was the master of Abraham Lincoln? Saving the Union. To do so he realized he had to abolish with slavery. A double blessing.

What was the master of Napoleon? Conquering the world and proving that the French were superior. In attempting to do this, he ended up dying alone on an island.

What is the master of former President Jimmy Carter? This man just seems to enjoy helping other folks. He is well into his nineties and still keeps picking up a hammer.

You will be compelled, constrained, urged and coerced to do something from some thing which has gained the full attention of your passion.

Just keep in mind, it is impossible to serve the pursuit of good and the quest for goods.

*****

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G-Poppers … June 15th, 2018

Colin Kaepernick.

Here’s a young fellow who chose to protest alleged use of irrational violence by the police department against young black men. His method of objection was very simple:

He was a football player, so when the National Anthem was performed, he refused to stand, but at first sat, and eventually, along with many others, took a knee during the Francis Scott Key.

It was harmless.

Unfortunately, it became quite a row when capitalism and democracy were unleashed from their cages to wrestle with one another.

G-Pop wants you to understand that the two don’t get along. Democracy contends that individual citizens have the freedom to express themselves without inhibition.

Capitalism places the entire significance of its purpose in its name–capital. Money is the reason, money is the means, money is the passion and money is the bottom line.

So G-Pop found himself in an interesting situation two nights ago while having dinner with friends. Having not given adequate thought on this battle between capitalism and democracy, G-Pop stated that he felt the decision to forbid the protest of these excellent athletes was a sham and would eventually be perceived as a national shame.

G-Pop spoke too soon.

As long as we continue to have a democracy that is acted out through capitalism, those who work for the corporation will need to honor the tenets, principles and concepts of the company–even if they feel it deters from their freedoms.

Every day, each one of us sacrifices a little choice so we can be part of a bigger unit.

We do so because of money.

We do so fearing that launching too much on our own, without financial prospects, will leave us broke and busted instead of a fine bloke who’s trusted.

It’s really quite simple.

As long as Mr. Kaepernick was “Colinizing” an idea with his friends, to project their disagreement, and the National Football League was NOT insisting they follow any particular code, it was beautiful, totally sane and within the bounds of reason.

But when President Trump challenged the owners of the NFL to make the “knee salute” a profile against the policy of the National Football League, capitalism won over freedom.

Pardon the pun, but Colin and his buddies had no leg to stand on.

It was nasty.

It was plotted.

And it turned what could have been a dynamic discussion into a wicked slap on the wrist in the principal’s office.

G-Pop was wrong.

Capitalism–the pursuit of capital–will always trim back democracy, the insistence on freedom.

So Colin and his “Colinizers” will have to find a different way to protest. G-Pop is completely confident they will.

But until they do, let us not make it an issue of patriotism, but rather, conclude correctly that it is merely patronizing the bottom line.

 

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3 Things… May 31st, 2018

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To Make a Vacation Better

1. Drive fewer miles

2. Spend less money

3. Pursue well-chosen activities

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Catchy (Sitting 21) ‘Why’ Is a Nasty One … November 5th, 2017

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“So what brought you here?” asked Carlos, as he eased his way up to find a more comfortable spot on the bunk.

Matthew glanced around at the stark confinement of the cell and laughed. “I wonder how many times that question’s been asked in this jail.”

Jubal laughed very loudly, the way a man does when he’s nervous and doesn’t exactly know what to talk about and is grateful for a joke to fill the space.

Matthew said, “As I was telling you, we have this plan on how to use the money…”

Jubal interrupted. “No, I figure we’ve got more time than that. I already understand that story line. I was talking about what brought you to the point in your life where you want to take on some crazy idea to advertise Jesus of Nazareth.”

Matthew quickly fired back. “Money.”

“Nothing else?” inquired Jubal.

Matthew smiled. “We all keep pretending there is something else, don’t we? We discuss high-sounding values, which end up smashed to smithereens by the time they get through a budget meeting. Or somebody runs for President, promising a chicken in every pot, when actually they’re trying to figure out how much money they can make off of legalizing pot. My friend, it’s all about money, because without money, we can’t pay the light bill to sit in a room and argue about high-sounding ideals.”

Jubal tilted his head, frowning. “I guess I would be surprised with your answer–might even call it cynical–except, well, I live in Las Vegas. If they could, they’d wallpaper the casinos with money, just to tempt the tourists to come in and gamble to get it.”

“I know there are things that are important,” Matthew continued. “I know you have to have values you treasure. Otherwise, when you close your doors at night, you’d be terrified, with a gun in your hand, because the world is so screwed up.”

“The world is a screwed-up place, but we’re part of the screw-up, right?” inserted Jubal.

“I don’t like to think of myself as screwed-up,” said Matthew. “Imbalanced, a little greedy. Maybe sometimes I drink too much alcohol. But I can tell you–there are more times I don’t drink enough.”

Jubal laughed–this time, just a little. “So is it hypocritical to advertise a God that you don’t necessarily believe in?”

Matthew objected. “I didn’t say I didn’t believe. Goddamnit, you can’t live in this country without believing. You can’t do business. and expect to get customers if you’re going to deny their God. I just place God where he belongs.”

“And where would that be?” challenged Jubal.

“Watching,” replied Matthew calmly.

“Let me go with that,” said Jubal. “So let’s say I’m walking down the strip, and I see two men fighting and they’re really hurting each other–and I decide to watch. Who in the hell am I?”

“Smart,” replied Matthew quickly. “Look at you. You’re not a big fellow. What in the hell do you think you’re gonna do? You’re gonna get tied up in the mix-up and you’re gonna get hurt. And truthfully, every time we start believing that God cares or that God loves the world, all we do is start blaming Him for every little piece of shit we’ve come up with. I guess maybe I love God more than other people. I don’t want to believe in Him so much that I blame Him for everything.”

Jubal sat quietly for a moment. He decided to change the subject. “In about an hour, they’re going to give you the choice between a bologna and American cheese sandwich and a turkey pot pie.”

Matthew, grateful for a different topic, leaped in. “Well, I personally love a turkey pot pie.”

Jubal shook his head. “No. You loved the turkey pot pie your mother made when you were a kid. This variety comes in two forms–burned on the top or raw.”

Matthew laughed. “No, you’re wrong. It’s just like my mother’s.”

He sat for a second and then asked, “Why aren’t you eating?”

Jubal replied, “I don’t know. It seemed like a noble idea. I mean, I’ve heard of people fasting to make their point. I didn’t make any point–I just got hungry. And now, every time I shift my legs I can smell myself. Honestly, Matthew…that is your name, right?”

Matthew acted affronted. “How can you ever play the son of God if you can’t remember my name?”

“Play the son of God…” Jubal reflected. “Sounds wrong, doesn’t it?”

Matthew stormed. “No. What’s wrong, my friend, is for you to be in jail, smellin’ like my old dog, Bogo, because you were out helping the homeless.”

Carlos squinted. “What do you mean, smellin’ like your dog, Bogo?”

“When I was a kid, my dad found an abandoned sheep dog, and decided to bring him home. He was adorable and loving, but he had so much hair that every time he took a dump, some of it would stick to his fur. Being a good pup, he tried to clean it off himself, which was gross beyond all measure. But every few weeks my dad would point to Bogo, and I knew that meant I had to go and wash his behind and trim his fur. I remember that smell. I have not inhaled it since I was a kid–until I walked into this cell today.”

Carlos smelled his shirt. “Are you saying I smell like the back side of your crappy sheep dog?”

“Identical,” panned Matthew.

Jubal lifted his hand as if making a pledge. “I promise, the next time they offer soap and water I will participate.”

Matthew gave him a thumbs up and said, “Even though I’m not a religious man, I can say amen to that.”

“I’m not a religious man,” said Jubal. “When I’m working in the casinos and I see the pretty titties on the showgirls or some groupie who thought my drumming was particularly divine and tempts me with her entirety, I’m just as horny as the next guy. No, Matthew–I would make a terrible religious person. That’s why I decided to follow Jesus.”

Matthew quarreled, “Jesus was religious.”

“No, he wasn’t,” said Jubal. “If he had been, religious people would have really dug him and sinners would have run away in terror. Instead, sinners cuddled up to him, ate with him, drank with him, slept by the fire with him. It was the religious people who were terrorized.”

“Yeah, I get that,” said Matthew. “I’ve heard that old song and dance. But you see, move ahead and he’s nothing but an emaciated Jew hanging on a cross. Look at it this way. When we were kids we studied Zeus, Apollo, Mars, and Athena in class.”

Jubal nodded. “Yeah, we did. Except you mixed Greek and Roman gods.”

Matthew stood to his feet to accentuate his point. “You see, that’s what I mean. Nobody cares anymore. Even when we studied them in school, we didn’t study them as a religion. It was called mythology. They were myths–even though any Greek or Roman of the time would have vehemently objected to term. It’s all just a bunch of crap. The only reason the stories still exist is because they’re so childish and dumb.”

Jubal interrupted. “So I guess what you’re trying to say is that just as Poseidon and all the other gods disappeared and became part of an old culture, that the same thing will happen to Jesus?”

Matthew shrugged, easing back down onto the bunk. “Not for a while. It’ll start with Jonah and the whale, Noah and the ark. But eventually all these stories that have been called sacred will become mythology.”

“It’s been two thousand years,” Jubal noted.

Matthew considered the thought. “Yeah, I know. I’ve even had some moments when I thought having a God would be a good thing. Honestly, my friend, being around you has made me doubt some of my doubts. But we’ve already eaten away at a lot of the stuff. Because after all, what’s the difference between an emperor who thought he was a god, living in Rome, and the Pope?”

“Let me make something clear,” said Jubal. “I’m not asking you these questions because I’m trying to convert you.”

“Good luck if you are,” punctuated Matthew.

Jubal resumed. “No, I’m just trying to figure out who I’m working with. I’m just trying to decide if I should work with it. I’m just trying to clear my head about what parts of the story I believe and what parts are myth to me. Mostly, I’m trying to learn about you without asking ‘why.’ Matthew, I hate the word ‘why.’ It’s usually mean-spiritied, challenging, ferocious…”

Matthew chuckled. “I never thought of it that way, Jubal. ‘Why’ is the nasty one, isn’t it?”

“It is,” Jubal agreed. “But unfortunately, it’s the one that always demands to be answered first.”

 

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G-Poppers … October 13th, 2017

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In the course of human humblings, it becomes the responsibility of sane souls near and far to pose the blessed question: “What is truly important?”

Without pursuing this answer, we are soon bumbling, fumbling and stumbling our way to utter dissatisfaction, leaving us…well, grumbling.

Unfortunately, the answer to “what is truly important?” can not be derived by forming a committee. Committees critically over-analyze, dismiss with no resolution, to sip bitter coffee and crunch day-old Danish.

Some brave individuals seek solution in politics–but anything that has to be voted on can be controlled by either buying off the voter or fooling the electorate.

Pious souls across the globe go to prayer, asking God to bring solutions, believing their praise is sufficient involvement. But as most of us find out, God rarely does a one-man show. He works with an unrehearsed cast on an available stage.

I guess some people believe money is the most important thing in the world because it can buy the things we want, which keeps us from feeling in need. Yes–we are scared to death of being without. But then we encounter those souls who possess it all, who end up feeling they have nothing.

What is really important?

What is the reason for us to still be here in the midst of a common struggle for a common good?

For we do find some things to be self-evident.

Since God created us all, we have a common Father. It is a good place to start.

Since science and Mother Nature are at work in our world, there is much we can learn about ways to get along just by studying the atmosphere around us.

But it is the territory within our three square feet–where we live, breathe, eat, think and wrestle with our own appetites–that determines our true sense of worth.

So what is really important?

  • Find what you can do.
  • Do it well.
  • Let other people do the same.
  • Help out where you can.

Like so many solutions, it may seem simple and inadequate to cover the variety of conflict that threatens us. But when you look it again, you will grasp its scope.

Wisdom begins with knowing what is important:

This is what I can do. I will work on doing it better. I will give you the freedom to do the same. And if something comes up within my ability, I will try to help out.

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Jesonian–Troubling (Part 9)… August 26th, 2017

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Troubling.

Yes, it’s troubling to me that the American and the European church feel they can do what Jesus said was impossible to achieve.

When Jesus was confronted by a man with a complaint concerning a brother of his, who would not share the inheritance, the Nazarene refused to weigh in. He replied, “Who has made me a judge over such matters?”

He then offered a discourse on the dangers of greed.

So it is troubling that the present Christian movement believes it can negotiate the problems between the Jews and the Muslims–brothers–instead of declaring the feud to be exactly what it is.

Greed:

  • Greed over dominance.
  • Greed over money.
  • Greed over Jerusalem.
  • Greed over favor with Father Abraham.

Nothing can ever be accomplished unless we understand that Judaism and Islam are not religions–they are two different tellings of a mutual history. The feast days, rituals and story lines that are thrown in are established to add credence to a family squabble.

Christianity was never intended to be a religion either, but rather, a lifestyle.

The Jesonian–the life of Jesus, the teachings of Jesus and the heart of Jesus–is a lifestyle. It is an abundant life that was offered to counteract a historical squabble. When Christians side one way or another on this dispute, they err, failing to honor the mission of Jesus, who said that he was not a judge over such things–because the conflict was and is grounded in greed.

The Jews are my brothers and sisters by creation, but they are not my relatives in faith. The Muslims, likewise, are my brothers and sisters by genesis, but not my fellow-laborers in the matters of spirit and truth.

It is my job as a Christian to love these two factions into understanding that there are things more important in life than trying to possess control.

God favors neither Jew nor Muslim. The message of Jesus is “whosoever will may come.”

But they do need to come–instead of standing at a distance, screaming at one another.

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