Salient…June 25th, 2018


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3714)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Shall we take a look at a fascinating window of time that occurs in all human beings, from birth to about five years of age? Each one of us is so vulnerable, so needy, so inquisitive and so desperate that we are prepared to be taught to be Earth-dwellers by our parents. Sometimes this extends all the way up to age ten.

Three very intricate systems are introduced: manners, morals and motivation.

This is the period when we develop our ethics–perhaps a work ethic or a social one, but certainly a mental gear we adopt to deal with life and with others.

Most generally this instruction is completed by age eleven, because here comes puberty. For the average parent puberty can be best defined as this: “My children have lost their hearing in favor of their genitals.”

It is difficult to provide additional instruction during this period. Sometimes after a serious error, there will be a brief season of curiosity from the adolescent, but then the trio of temptation, taunting and teasing pulls them right back into the melee of mayhem.

This lasts until about age twenty-five. (Of course, it could be twenty-two, or thirty, depending on the person. But for the sake of this brief essay, I shall characterize it as twenty-five.)

At twenty-five young folks wake up–sometimes after a hangover or after getting their first threatening letter from a bill collector for their student loans, or perhaps realizing they might be in love.

A realization strikes: “Maybe me, an individual, could become us, a family.”

So three new friends show up to invigorate manners, morals and motivation. They are concern, confidence and clever.

We, as humans, develop a legitimate concern for others while building confidence and finding clever ways to use what we have more expansively.

It is a massive transition–a needful one. Without it, many young persons never become actual adults at all, but linger around their families, particularly their parents, coming back for another schooling in morals, manners and motivation.

This concern, confidence and clever births some children, buys a house, acquires job promotions and takes us, as people, to about the age of fifty. (Once again, this could be younger or a little older.)

At fifty, having tapped the fruit of concern, confidence and clever, people want more. There is a wrinkle in the spirit of human beings which causes them to wistfully wish to make a difference and leave behind a legacy.

It is at this point that we pursue wit, words and wisdom. It carries us through to our dying breath.

Yet we certainly know individuals in their seventies who have never escaped concern, confidence and clever–or maybe never even learned morals, manners and motivation.

This is a passage. All human passages are entered only through the power of repentance.

So here is your salient moment:

Gather up all your manners, morals and motivation, and stir in your concern, confidence and cleverness. And if you have reached the age, add on your wit, words and wisdom.

Finish the job.

Of course, if you’re led of the Spirit and you’re a creature who knows how to use faith, you don’t have to wait for birthdays to dictate your future.

As the Good Book says, “today is the day of salvation.”

 

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Jesonian… February 25th, 2017


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Completely inundated by a traffic jam of divergent opinions, many of which are directly or indirectly attributed to the thinking of Jesus of Nazareth, I decided to sit down one afternoon this week and spend some time with my good old buddies, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John–reading all the “red stuff.”

Yes, I still have one of those Bibles where all the things Jesus said are highlighted in red, granting them the significance of being the thoughts of God.

The purpose for my quest was simple–I wanted to narrow down the three basic topics of Jesus’ mindset. Because when you finish perusing all this material, you realize that he said a lot–and you also quickly conclude that he intended his words to be honored, to the point that he measured the love of his followers by how much they held his teachings in regard.

I finally came up with three. You might have different suggestions. Honestly, there were a lot of great runner-ups.

My three statements of Jesus that punctuate his ministry are as follows:

1. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Just about a third of what Jesus talked about has to do with human relationships.

Candidly, Jesus was not terribly concerned about our relationship with God. Instead, he paralleled and intertwined it with our interactions with our fellow humans. So even though “turn the other cheek” was nearly a winner, it fell under “love your neighbor as yourself.”

And “loving the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength…” was included because Jesus closed it out by saying “… and your neighbor as yourself.”

2. Count the cost.

This is about human common sense.

Anyone who believes they can live a life to honor Father God by spitting in the eye of Mother Nature is in for a sorry conclusion. Jesus never suggested that we ignore the signs of the times or even the color of the sky, if it might give us wisdom on whether to bring an umbrella.

In other words, get saved but don’t lose your brain. You’ll need it.

3. Go the second mile.

This is human motivation.

Try as I will to find teachings of Jesus where he advocates languishing in grace or getting sleepy in our salvation, I fell short. He believed that “by our fruits” we will be known. He also said, “if somebody takes your coat, give them your cloak also.”

He contended that the power we have is our ability to continue the race when others have fallen out.

So a third of the Gospel is about human relationships. Another chunk is about human common sense, and the final piece is human motivation.

If we simply return to that glorious format laid out for us in the writings in red, the people around us who desire relationships, common sense and motivation will find the BEST FRIEND they ever had in the world.

Until Jesus is honored as a life coach instead of merely a baby born to die for our sins, we will hemorrhage people from the church.

 

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G-Poppers … January 6th, 2017


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Awakened in the middle of the night, G-Pop took an extra moment or two to ponder a question.

Actually, the inquiry in his mind was the by-product of a whole series of conversations and interactions over the holiday season.

He realized, looking at friends and relatives, that each one had acquired a profile based upon their opinion about Earth’s origins.

It’s really rather simple: Is Earth cosmic or is it comic?

Does the path we choose take us into a realm of greater understanding because we accept that there was some sort of Great Architect who laid foundations for future building, or is it all just jumbled atoms colliding into one another to generate mutations which gradually move us forward in tiny increments?

A third option is that it’s both–in other words, mutations which the Great Architect scribbled into the blueprints.

But here’s the difference–without believing in a cosmic intelligence, we are bound by luck or controlled by destiny.

If I’m manipulated by destiny, what in the hell would I care about my own personal attitude or sense of motivation?

And if it’s all luck, I’m just waiting to tumble into one bucket or another.

Yet if it is cosmic–if there’s a way things work and a function to the fiction–then even limited mortals such as ourselves could learn a note or two to participate in the concert band.

This was brought to G-Pop’s mind last night when viewing a project by loved ones, and wondering what prompted these souls to envision a world so out of control, so beyond redemption, that even the “good” characters in their little movie were inflicted with disaster.

Do we have any control toward our own happiness?Because if we don’t, three score and ten years is much too long to endure.

And if we do, then the entire focus of our educational system, our spiritual upbringing and our moral code should be to discover the messages built into the eco-structure which foretell of possibilities.

Is it cosmic? In other words, was there an energy that initiated energy here on Earth?

Is it comic? Is it a collision of haphazard events, with me being the latest accident?

Or was this Master of Wisdom able to blur and blend the two possibilities together–cosmic and comic–to confound the wise and stimulate the simple?

It’s a very important question.

It informs us whether we can master any of our future, or whether we’re at the mercy of the latest splatter.

As G-Pop was thinking, he realized that the difference between the words “cosmic” and “comic” is a single “S.”

Perhaps the “S” stands for Savior.

For in the cosmic world, we struggle and fall short–and find our ultimate peace in accepting grace from our Creator through the Savior.

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Cracked 5 … August 2nd, 2016


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Motivation for Dogs to Eat Homework

A. They are saps for the sob story from teenagers who are flunking algebra

 

B. Somebody mysteriously smeared peanut butter all over it

 

C. Determined to keep the myth alive

 

D. Pages from books are glossy and have a bitter aftertaste

 

E. Hungry for knowledge

cracked 5 doggie

 

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Jesonian: S.I.N. (Single Issue Nerds) … January 11, 2015


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Judas thought it was all about poor people. We’re not certain that he really cared about the poor–just that he thought it was a confirmation of being religious.

The Pharisees thought we proved our worth to God by performing traditional worship services. They did a lot of straining and ended up with more gnats than camels.

The disciples of John the Baptist believed that people appear more righteous when they fast–especially if you can go without food and look miserable while doing it.

The Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife–either heaven or hell. In other words, it all happens here or nothing happens.

In each one of these cases you are dealing with “Single Issue Nerds”–they believe that the way one does things is more important than the motivation–the faithfulness to a practice more powerful than a conclusion.

Dare I say, they all became the enemy, or at least the adversary, of Jesus of Nazareth? His contention about true religion was that “the kingdom of God is within you.” In other words:

  • If you’re not happy, your faith is failing.
  • If you don’t have peace of mind, your beliefs are weakened.
  • And if you’re not pursuing a life of good cheer and acceptance of others, you might as well be without any kind of spirituality because you’re really just mimicking the heathens.

I see it everywhere I go–“Single Issue Nerds.” They have grabbed some bauble from the Bible and made it their beating bongo. They are obsessed with their discovery, convinced that those who do not pursue their particular issue lack enlightenment and possibly totally misunderstand the will of God.

Let us never forget that Jesus did not have a single issue. It didn’t matter who he talked to, what nationality they were, or even if the people around them thought they were hopeless sinners. He always looked for three things:

1. Are you ready for a change? People who are not willing to change will spend all their time trying to change you.

2. Can you humble yourself? Are you willing to deny your sensation of wholeness, to admit your lack?

3. Can you extend the same mercy to others? Grace is soon dissipated by the absence of mercy. For as Jesus said, “The measure I measure out to others will be measured back to me.”

You may think you have a great social gospel or that your liturgy is significantly deep and meaningful, or maybe that your fundamentalism will squeak you through the doors of heaven when others are rejected.

I suppose you might consider yourself to be progressive–where you only use the Gospel to explain your own mission statement.

But you will find that in your hour of need, your faith has to be able to set you free–because if you’re not free, you can’t free anyone else.

And if you’re in bondage, no matter how good your intentions, you will soon bind up all the world around you.

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Populie: We’re Only Human… November 26, 2014


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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animal man

A mite of monkey

A little lion

A bit of bird

A teaspoon of turtle

A cup of camel

A dab of dog

A pinch of perch

And a dash of dinosaur.

Human beings. That’s who we are.

We are the storage warehouse–the culmination of all evolution–and the art museum for the Creator’s masterpieces.

Yet “we’re human” is used as an excuse instead of a motivation.

Politics loves the populie, “we’re only human,” because it provides an adequate excuse for the latest scandal.

Entertainment extols the virtue of our limitations so as to look on the darker side of our appetites, providing for a more venial outlook on our progress as a species.

And of course, religion feels the need to make us look as weak as possible in an attempt to maintain the strength of the Almighty.

We get sucked up in it.

We begin to believe that we are just part of the animal kingdom, even though Jesus jokingly, tongue in cheek, told the disciples they were worth “many sparrows.”

If we do gain a moment’s breath of spirituality, we’re encouraged to seek false humility in our attempt to worship God instead of seeking the “Christ in us,” which is the hope of glorious things happening.

Here are three things about human beings. I would ask you to place them deep in your memory banks and make sure, the next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself, that you recall these ample axioms:

1. We are created in God’s image.

If you’re an atheist, you are still aware that going into business with what you perceive to be your nearest relative, the chimpanzee, would certainly make for a failed project. We are unique by creation. If you do not believe in such a thing, we at least are unique by design.

2. We can feel, pray, think and do our way into or out of any difficulty.

There is no other species which has ever lived on earth with that quartet of possibilities.

3. We can choose to love.

Other animals mate, have bonds, maintain connections through offspring, but never really get the choice of loving.

These three things, combined, grant us an inner aura of divine nature, which can either be tapped or drained. The choice is yours.

But do not allow yourself to become part of a culture which, in an attempt to do away with God and personal responsibility, degrades the human being down to the level of porpoise instead of uplifting us to purpose. 

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