Jesonian … February 10th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are two distinct types of abuse.

There is physical abuse, punctuated by an attack against body, heart or mind. It leaves cuts, bruises and scars. It is nasty, evil and inexcusable.

The other form of abuse is neglect. Being commissioned to perform a responsibility, someone decides to set it aside in favor of other pursuits, leaving that which was meant to be cared for destitute.

Although a case could be made that the religious system continues to physically abuse Jesus of Nazareth by crucifying him weekly in sermons, attempting to stimulate some sort of passion from the congregation, I shall step aside from such discussion in favor of presenting the true abuse.

We preach a Gospel of salvation which includes emphasis on “one time only, better do it today, this could be your last chance, hell is hot, Jesus loved you so much that he bled, and don’t you want to go to heaven” rhetoric in an attempt to frighten hearers who have already heard this many times before.

Meanwhile the real message of Jesus–the one that makes him our intimate, elder brother, and also affords the planet an opportunity for peaceful cohabitation–is often read aloud with the energy of reciting last week’s grocery list.

If you’re going to be Jesonian, you need to love Jesus. If you’re going to love Jesus, you’re going to get to know what’s close to his heart. And when you get to know what’s close to his heart, you will no longer be satisfied with a crucified Savior, but instead will become a disciple, pursuing a dynamic lifestyle.

You don’t have to go any further than the first three beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount to see what Jesus was all about. Matter of fact, I could spend the rest of my life elaborating on that trio and never run out of material.

It begins with the reality, follows with a challenge and culminates with wisdom.

The reality: we are happy because we are poor in spirit.

The reason that makes us happy is because we can stop trying to be spiritual instead of human. Once you find your classification, it’s so much easier to compete. Not an angel, not a saint, not a theologian, but rather, a human who is impoverished in the realm of spirit.

First realization: I am human and it is good.

God said so when He got done creating us. I don’t think He lied. Sure, we’re unpredictable, but since He’s not afraid of that, why should I apologize?

This is followed with a challenge. “Blessed are those who mourn.”

I have emotions and this is good.

Although we try to suppress them, these feelings continue to pop to the forefront, churn up our throats and waggle our tongues. Rather than deny them, we should use them to feel, to laugh, and most certainly, to mourn–to escape being uncaring bastards and instead, weep over the loss and pain in the world around us.

This climaxes with a bit of eternal, precious wisdom. “Blessed are the meek.”

Although there is a campaign to promote the notion that the more we brag, the stronger we are, the human race actually has a tendency to cut the stilts out from under those who try to walk too tall.

We honor humility. We are geared to destroy pride, even when it dwells within us.

Humble: “I am weak and it is good.”

In these three statements Jesus establishes a Gospel which is not only able to be mastered by humans, but can also be passed along as the living bread of truth that we all desperately need before we starve to death emotionally and spiritually.

I am human and it is good.

I have emotion, and it is good.

I am weak, and damn straight–it is good.

 

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G-Poppers … August 12th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop is finding it a bit difficult to speak to his children.

For it seems that ideas which once had universal appeal have now been categorized as antagonistic to certain political persuasions.

Matter of fact, just the other day he told one of his sons that “being kind is smart.” The young fellow, who is a Republican, thought he was speaking against the Grand Old Party, and espousing some namby-pamby liberal propaganda.

Likewise, G-Pop told one of his daughters that there is great wisdom in “minding your own business.” She concluded that he was a Republican who wanted to keep the government out of his affairs.

And G-Pop seems to baffle everyone when he contends that one of the greater axioms of life is “don’t complain.” To the majority of his children, this sounds almost un-American.

So in the quest to gain political footing or governmental control, virtuous principles are being abandoned in favor of temporary tantrums.

G-Pop thinks we’ve totally forgotten what makes America truly exceptional:

We are a people who are poor in spirit but mourn in our meek way as we hunger and thirst for greater understanding and righteousness, extending mercy to others, while keeping an eye on the purity of our motives. We are always looking for ways to make peace, realizing that doing so will bring some persecution from those who would rather destroy. But we take heart, knowing that our forefathers suffered the slings and arrows of the insane mob which tried to promote war, as we choose to rejoice and be exceedingly glad because we know that history is on the side of the nation that honors humanity.

You see, the problem could “beatitude.”

And G-Pop is curious.

Is there a political party that believes in this?

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 15) The Word Went Forth… August 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

There was a pretty good crowd gathered.

Apparently in the midst of a whole lot of shuffling going on in Garsonville, some aces were being dealt in the direction of the church–new people, searching folk and “institutions” who had been around so long that they had streets named after them.

Meningsbee quickly introduced Kitty and Hapsy to one of the dear ladies of the church, who opened up her wing and pulled them close, sitting them on the fourth row next to her. Kitty looked frightened, but sufficiently worn out that she didn’t put up much of a fuss.

Meningsbee stopped worrying about his surprise visitors because he was so excited about today’s service.

He didn’t sing a hymn, figuring there was enough melody in his heart for the whole room, and he skipped the prayer, assuming the Heavenly Father fully knew his intentions.

“Okay, let’s get this rolling!” he said with the vigor of a football coach. “I’d like to invite up Number 1 and Number 2 of the pieces of paper I passed out last week.”

After a brief pause, Carl, one of the long-standing members, and Kimberly, a new mother, eased their way to the front and stood side-by-side.

“Well, since I have two, that must make you one,” said Carl with a wry smile.

Kimberly nodded, and shared, reading from her paper, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

She stopped.

Carl waited momentarily and then looked at the audience with a twinkle in his eye. “Well, I guess that’s all she’s got to say.”

He opened up his paper and read aloud, “My dear friends, we are not spiritual. We are just people, so stop trying to act like you’re angels.”

His delivery was perfect, because everybody burst out laughing. Carl looked over at Meningsbee, who had posted himself nearby at a grease board, magic marker in hand.

The good reverend wrote down, “Number 1.”

He turned to the congregation and said, “True words. So based upon what I’ve heard here, I would sum it up with this.”

He turned back to the grease board and wrote in big letters:

1. WE’RE HUMAN.

From over his shoulder he said, “I’ll take the next two.”

Up walked Dexter, about nineteen years of age, and Brian, maybe fifteen.

Dexter read, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Brian, confident that Dexter was finished, leaped in and added, “It won’t kill us to feel for other people.”

A few more giggles.

Meningsbee wrote down on his board:

2. WE CARE.

Monique, the church secretary and Mr. Jackson, Vice-President of the bank, offered:

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” and, “Don’t be in such a hurry to worry.”

To which Meningsbee responded, compiling his list:

3. WE CAN WAIT HERE TOGETHER.

Things took off.

Martha and Mary, who amazingly actually reversed the roles from the Bible, with Martha being the more studious one, shared, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled,” alongside, “We ain’t smart enough to not listen.”

Meningsbee jotted down:

4. WE’RE STILL LEARNING.

Meanwhile, keeping up with the names was a real trick for Meningsbee, who had only been there a little over a month. So the next pair slipped up and said their piece, Meningsbee unable to retrieve their names.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,” and, “Don’t look down on other people because down is readily available.”

Meningsbee listed:

5. WE NEED MERCY

Next up was Mrs. Mason, in her eighties, and Toby, who was, well, just Toby–one of those young men who can lift half a file cabinet but doesn’t say much about anything else.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” and, “If you’re not going to be clean with people, you come across dirty.”

Meningsbee’s translation:

6. WE ARE GROWING TO SHARE.

Then someone named Steve, and Billy, who liked fishing:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,” and, “Eventually you’ll start a fight that will finish you.”

7. WE WANT TO GET ALONG.

(Meningsbee’s writing on the grease board)

Next was Hector, from the grocery store, and Sharon, leader of the women’s Bible study, who popped right up and pointed out, “Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven,” along with, “You can’t do enough good to be considered good by everybody.”

Up on the board:

8. WE BETTER NEED CRITICS BECAUSE THEY’RE HERE.

Then came Mr. Tomlinson, whom the Reverend didn’t know much about, and Thomas, who was anything but a doubter. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil things against you for my sake.”

Thomas looked down at his note and smiled. He proffered, “Some folks ain’t happy unless they make you unhappy.”

Meningsbee scrawled on his board:

9. BUT CRITICS CAN BE NASTY.

For some reason, everybody really enjoyed that one, and just giggled on for a few seconds.

The next two up were Sandra and Cory, who were engaged to be married in a couple of weeks at the church. After some “oohs and aahs” of admiration for the cleverness of luck putting them together, Cory said, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Sandra tagged on, “People like good if they don’t have to change.”

Meningsbee jotted:

10. WE’RE IN GOOD COMPANY.

And finally, up popped Tracy, the photographer, and Russ, who aspired to be a movie-maker. Tracy went first. “These are the ideas that we will use to run this church. We’re going to call them The Ten Dears of the Garsonville Church.

Russ jumped in. “We know it sounds kind of corny, but after all, we do live in Nebraska.”

Great laughter.

Russ held up a finger, letting everyone know that his little speech wasn’t over. “Hold on!” he said. “There’s more. To use movie lingo, I have a sequel. Now, if you’ll look on the board and join me:”

Meningsbee pointed to #1 and everybody read aloud: WE’RE HUMAN.

Then #2: WE CARE.

#3: WE CAN WAIT HERE TOGETHER

#4: WE’RE STILL LEARNING.

#5. WE NEED MERCY

#6. WE ARE GROWING TO SHARE

#7. WE WANT TO GET ALONG

#8. WE BETTER NEED CRITICS BECAUSE THEY’RE HERE

#9. BUT CRITICS CAN BE NASTY

#10. WE’RE IN GOOD COMPANY

The congregation burst into applause. Meningsbee took that moment to look over and see what Kitty and Hapsy were doing. Hapsy was sitting upright, clapping her hands, only pausing to chew on a cracker that had been graciously provided for her.

And there was Kitty–sound asleep.

Meningsbee felt a twinge of disappointment that Kitty had missed the impact of the service. But there would be other days.

Yes…many glorious other days.

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Getting in Character … June 15th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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cryingFrom Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage,” and all the men and women, “merely players.”

Scribbled in the margin of the script was a note from the director: “This scene requires real tears.”

The actor stared at the instruction and was immediately struck by two words: “requires” and “real.”

In other words, this was a non-negotiable situation. It was required.

The director had already decided that based upon the construction of the scene and the characters involved, that the emotion would demand some weeping.

Then there was the word “real.”

For after all, nothing is more displeasing to an audience than someone sprouting crocodile tears which obviously are being dribbled by force.

So what to do? How does one tap the real heart of the matter, and find the deep-down growlings that generate the kind of energy that fosters tears?

The actor thought for a long time and finally came to a conclusion.

Tears are the release of our fears.

Our apprehensions lie within us, trying to hide in corners and disguise themselves as temporary apparitions until we finally break down and admit that we’re scared to death, and allow the tears to flow freely.

Matter of fact, it’s impossible to get in character without tapping the sadness of your role. Every human has fears. Masking them turns us into chilly lumps of flesh or causes us to concede that belief is a joke and never really offers any lasting solution.

After all, most people do not become atheists because they don’t believe there’s a God. They become atheists because they hurt and don’t believe that God gives a damn.

Without tears our fears remain.

And when our fears remain, we are defensive to the world around us rather than optimistic about the possibility of relationship.

We all need comfort. But there’s no comfort given to us unless we mourn.

How would anyone know? Are they supposed to read our minds? Should they anticipate that merely because we wear human flesh, there’s some devastation within?

Without the comfort, the fears remain, taunting our talent and making us believe that our ability is never enough. But when real tears are required and we feel the freedom to weep … we are suddenly afforded the healing of comfort.

 

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Jesonian: Mike, Carol, Alan, Suzanne, Bill, Alicia, Dan, Becky and All of Us… November 30, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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guns in dumpster

He said he “did not come to be served,” but to be a servant to all.”

Yet we turn Jesus of Nazareth into a religious icon instead of a person of purpose who was out for the best of mankind.

Mike wants to know if you really meant what you said, Jesus. You told us to be “poor in spirit.” So would you do us a favor? Tell those preachers to stop pushing your perfection. It’s not impressive–it’s intimidating. We don’t need you to be perfect–just aware and understanding.

Carol is curious if you really do “mourn.” You told us to do it. But it’s really important to Carol that you’re touched by her difficulties, even if, from your lofty perspective, they seem silly. After all, silly is something we have to discover for ourselves.

Alan asked me to inquire of you if you think “being meek” is an actual power position, or just some pious platitude. Can you show us, in your life and teachings, and in your dealings on earth, how your gentleness actually wins the day?

Suzanne contacted me and wondered whether you still “hunger and thirst” for truth and knowledge. It sure seems like some of your followers have frozen themselves in time, refusing to thaw out and learn much of anything. Can you take your words and spirit and prove to us that God is still growing in His experience of being “Our Father” every day?

Then there’s Bill. Bill’s going through a rough time. He wanted me to ask you if you really are merciful. Are you giving out second chances? Would you consider granting a third opportunity? And Bill knows that in some areas of his life, he requires a fourth go-round.

Do you know Alicia? She wishes to find out what you mean by “pure in heart.” You asked us to be pure in heart–yet can you share in some detail how you continue to be honest with us and grow with us?

Dan wants to be a “peace-maker.” Yet he hears the rumble and rumors of war everywhere. What does it mean to you? That’s what Dan wants to know. Are you still backing nations and cultures? Or are you pursuing any human being who has a desire to bring peace instead of murder and destruction? Is “whosoever will may come” your plan of action? Or just a campaign slogan?

And Becky. Oh, my dear Lord. Becky has had a hard time with people gossiping about her and criticizing her. She reads over and over again that you say, “Blessed are those who suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake.” She just wants to understand how to let it roll off her back without stuffing the pain down in her gut, to resurface at a later time.

And I guess all of us want to know how you expect us to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad” when we’re hurt and shunned. It seems to be a bit more of your divine nature than your human one. Did you really have a divine nature? Or were you a human being who discovered the secret of “being of good cheer,” jumped on board and rode it all the way to resurrection?

I guess it’s pretty simple. Mike, Carol, Alan, Suzanne, Bill, Alicia, Dan, Becky and all of us really need you to be more like Jesus, instead of so much like God.

If we understood God, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus.

Can you tell us how you did it?

Would you relate what it was like to be human–just like us–and still find a way to be blessed?

 

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“A Little Piece of …” April 20, 2013

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church Wimberley betterI am off next to Wimberley, Texas, which touts itself, in its town slogan, as “a little piece of heaven in Texas.”

I’m sure I will soon find out if there’s any validity to the proclamation, but to be completely fair, I would have to clarify what the attributes of heaven just might be, let alone its manifestation in the Lone Star State.

I am told that heaven is a place with “streets of gold.” Although I’m sure the folks of Wimberley are very kind and generous, it’s rather doubtful that their pavement is actually golden. (Matter of fact, gold would make a very poor road surface. It’s too soft, would crumble and can you imagine the difficulty in getting the city workers to fill those potholes??)

Likewise, I’ve heard rumors that there will be “gates of pearl” in the eternal home. I suppose that would have been impressive to someone in a foregone time, but I don’t know that much about gates, nor do I know very much about pearl–except it would sadden me think that a bunch of oysters would be overworked just so I could have a spectacular vision.

Traditionally, we have the story of angels singing and strumming their harps. I’m just afraid if I heard harp music, I would be waiting for a dream scene in a movie.

There is that scripture that tells us that we’re all going to be living in mansions. Here’s my problem with that–I don’t want to have so much room that I have to clean it all the time or move the clutter around so I don’t trip over things, so I really don’t think that everybody in Wimberley has a mansion, nor would they promise such to incoming citizenry.

There is some sort of buzz about heaven being a place of “no more tears.” That, of course, does have immediate appeal to me as a mortal. But I have to be honest–some of my best discoveries in life have occurred in the midst of tears. Matter of fact, I don’t know who I’d be if I hadn’t learned to mourn over some things from time to time.

So I’m curious about what Wimberley, Texas, thinks “a little bit of heaven” would be.

Perhaps it’s a place where people stop judging each other and each person believes that “NoOne is better than anyone else.” You see, the power of that is that we get a chance to rise and fall on the merits of our talent and passion instead of the cut of our jib, our lifestyle choices or the color of our skin.

I guess that’s what Wimberley, Texas, must mean. They must be offering a location where human beings can come in and not be judged and NoOne is better than anyone else.

That truly would be a little bit of heaven, wouldn’t it?

So I’m going to make my appearance there tomorrow under the assumption that this is what they’re offering rather than streets of gold, gates of pearl, harp music, mansions and a tear-free environment. Because basically, if we give one another a chance to do good things free of prejudice, all these other things just might come our way.

At least,  that’s what I’m going to share with those heavenly folks in Wimberley.

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More or Less … July 31, 2012

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Hearsay.

It’s when I hear something and go ahead and say it, sharing it with someone else without totally confirming that it’s true. It can be nasty stuff. So since what I am about to share is a bit of hearsay, we will make it hypothetical rather than real, to salve my conscience.

There was this guy who said that he believes what the world needs is MORE. Therefore, he felt that everybody requires more Jesus, more money and even more pornography. He was determined to do his part to bring this abundance to mankind.

It’s similar to the way Congress is trying to cut the deficit. They all seem to understand that the amount of indebtedness needs to shrink, but they fail to comprehend that to accomplish that, we have to stop spending more money. It’s tricky business.

That’s why I sought out the wisdom of a friend on this issue of “more.” I trust his counsel because he, too, has a desire to bring happiness to the world.

But his first suggestion was that happiness is achieved by discovering a “poverty of spirit.” I would have to agree that if we had fewer people in this world using their intellect and spirituality to lord it over other folks, and instead, were spending more time examining their own hearts, motives and efficiency of choices, things would be a lot better. Some people think the earth would be enriched by more religion, when actually, we need less religion and more personal responsibility for our spirituality touching our own lives and making us more pliable to others.

My friend also said that happiness can be achieved by mourning. It’s that old “less and more” thing again–many of us do a lot of crying, but truthfully, much of it is self-pity. Would we be happier if we had less self-pity? I think so. We’d also be happier if we had more emotional investment in the pain of others around us instead of being completely preoccupied with our own narcissism. So once again, you can see, as in the case of poverty of spirit, we need less of one thing and more of another.

This is the same way you balance a budget, right? You take less of something so you that can have more of another.

How about another thought from my wise friend? Happiness is best achieved by understanding how to use meekness. This one is pretty simple to me. There is always something on earth to be inherited. Many times we just disagree on the plan of action. We may even feel that if we don’t stand up for our rights and fight for our cause, we may end up defeated and destitute. Actually, when we find ourselves taking a profile of being less overbearing, we buy time for more opportunity to come our way to insert our opinions, ideas and ultimately, even our will.  Less and more. There it is again.

Then my friend had this idea that happiness is like hungering and thirsting for righteousness. What is one of the more unattractive things about human beings? That’s a tough question, but I would have to say that within the top five is acting like a know-it-all. There is something appealing–even sexy–about people who long for more knowledge and wisdom, even though you can see they have already stockpiled a lovely arsenal. Yes, we need more hungering and thirsting and less patting our bellies like we just had a good meal and are completely satisfied.

Can happiness really be achieved by being merciful? Yes–if you extend it more to others and spend less time demanding grace, which you neither deserve and is being blocked from delivery because of your pride.

Likewise, how do we achieve happiness by being pure in heart? Would you agree that the world might be a better place if there were less lying and more transparency? It might even enable us to see God in more parts of our lives instead of looking for the devil behind every mishap.

And finally, my friend put forth the premise that happiness is possessed by being a peace maker. This does demand that we cease to be too nationalistic, gain a vision for the entire world, understand the customs and beliefs of other nations and have more diplomacy and less saber-rattling. Yes, I guess I have to say that my friend with his plan for happiness suggests to us that the human experience is a very delicate understanding of where to apply less and when to go for more. Because the danger of “more” is that we always hit the limits on our ability to acquire and start stealing from others.

So as I said, having not confirmed my story, I don’t know whether this fine fellow I originally referred to actually voiced this opinion or not. But it is a prevailing thought–that if we could just “give more” to everybody, all the problems of the world would go away.

But sometimes, a poverty in spirit leads us to mourn the loss of others instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, which causes us to slow up our egos and buy time instead of tramping through other people’s turf, trying to dominate them. Once you see that’s effective, it causes you to hunger and thirst for more information to empower you, instead of making you look calloused and stupid. On that journey comes the opportunity to be merciful, which also enables you to obtain mercy. Guess what? You also realize that telling the truth keeps your heart clean and enables you to see God in life. Now you are finally prepared to go out and make peace with folks who are just determined to take more–even if they have to rob, kill and destroy.

I have actually experienced a situation where more was given to someone who was not prepared to appreciate it. I watched in surprise as this individual did less with it than I could ever have imagined.

More or less? Happiness, I believe, lies in knowing when to chase more and when to relax with less.

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