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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Jesonian–Troubling (Part 2)… July 8th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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If Jesus is God, He had a lot of things to say. But if God is Jesus, there’s just way too much material to sort through.

Perhaps that’s why the writer of the Book of Hebrews pointed out that “now God only speaks through Jesus.” No prophets of old. No patriarchs–just Jesus.

And one of the first things you’ll notice–Jesus wants to be known for his words. Matter of fact, he told his disciples if they loved him, they would follow his teachings.

Do we? Or have we placed Jesus in a position to perform a human sacrifice, and then only give a cursory study of his thoughts and wishes.

For the sake of brevity (and also because I know that the subject of religion cuts our attention span in half) let me tell you the three things Jesus wanted us to know as he came to speak the mind of God. I refer to these as the “more than likely” approach to life.

1. More than likely, God is a Father instead of a prick.

As a Father, He does not deny, condemn, criticize, destroy, rebuke or disown His children. He hangs in there with us like a good Daddy should.

2. More than likely, it’s my responsibility instead of yours.

If I’m going to wait for you to change, react, initiate or create, I’m going to be constantly upset and full of antagonism. Here is a brain-cleansing notion: if I take on more responsibility for what’s going on, I don’t have to complain about you.

3. More than likely, being kind is going to work out better than trying to be tough.

You may initially strike a pose of power by being vicious, angry or intimidating, but eventually you will come across someone who has perfected nastiness. Kindness, on the other hand, buys time and gives us a chance for circumstances to change instead of finding us over-reacting to the present moment’s threat.

The problem is, these three principles are not taught in the church.

We are much too busy trying to make Jesus fit with an Old Testament God, and therefore we rationalize chapter after chapter of Old Covenant, which has absolutely nothing to do with New Spirit. As Jesus so eloquently said, “You can’t put new wine into old wineskins.” In other words, trying to stuff the Christian mindset into an Old Testament cranium is going to fracture the skull.

But when you believe Jesus is God, you can begin to decipher the message of the Nazarene, who came as the “only begotten of the Father,” to tell us what more than likely will work.

Untrouble yourself on this one.

Jesus wants to be more than the Lamb of God.

He wants to be your life coach.

Now, let me see. What else is troubling me … ?Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

 

 

 

Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … September 10th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: Where have you been? I’ve been trying to get hold of you all morning.

 

Dear Woman: I can see that. Six missed calls. What can I do for you?

 

Dear Man: Listen, I didn’t believe it, but I heard through the grapevine that you went to a Donald Trump rally.

 

Dear Woman: You heard correctly.

 

Dear Man: Why would you do that?

 

Dear Woman: I was curious. I wanted to hear for myself what all the fuss was about.

 

Dear Man: Curious? How can you escape the fuss? It’s on the television twenty-four hours a day.

 

Dear Woman: But that’s their opinions. I wanted to draw my own conclusion.

 

Dear Man: Okay, I guess. Did you learn anything?

 

Dear Woman: I did. What I learned is that Mr. Trump answers a need.

 

Dear Man: A need?

 

Dear Woman: Yes. There are times when things are moving so fast that I just need everything to slow down a bit so my head can catch up. Gay rights, gay marriage, transgender, immigration, Black Lives Matter… It just crowds my brain. It’s not that I want to prevent these people from having a voice. I could just use some time to get accustomed to it.

 

Dear Man: Well, you need to realize, all these people have been waiting decades–sometimes centuries–for the basic rights that you take for granted.

 

Dear Woman: I don’t need your sermon. I get that. But it doesn’t change how I feel. The world seems dangerous, and when you see something dangerous, you want a weapon. You want to protect yourself. I’m sorry. Hillary Clinton just doesn’t seem like a weapon to me.

 

Dear Man: She’s got so much experience! Why can’t you see that? Donald Trump doesn’t know anything about the world.

 

Dear Woman: I agree. But it’s not a geography test. It’s not a civics exam. It’s about leadership. And I just don’t know if Hillary has it.

 

Dear Man: Why do you say that?

 

Dear Woman: Well, first, she can’t even manage her own email.

 

Dear Man: Not that old story! She’s answered that a thousand times.

 

Dear Woman: Yes, but it’s the same answer. “I made a mistake but I didn’t know it was a mistake.” Is that what she’ll do as President? Constantly making mistakes but apologizing to us for fouling up? And speaking of that, the main thing that bothers me is having Bill Clinton in the White House again.

 

Dear Man: He won’t be President.

 

Dear Woman: I got that. But he’ll be back. And the things he did the last time he was there to defile the Oval Office with his immorality were nasty. And the fact that Hillary stuck with him makes me believe she’s kind of … girly.

 

Dear Man: You mean you’re mad at her because she forgave her husband?

 

Dear Woman: I guess so. I would just find it easier to vote for Hillary Rodham than Hillary Clinton.

 

Dear Man: I get it. It’s because she’s a women Answer me three questions, without thinking too much. Number 1, do you think women are weak? Number 2, do you think women are more emotional? Number 3, are men smarter?

 

Dear Woman: Wow. I don’t want to do this.

 

Dear Man: Come on. Be honest.

 

Dear Woman: Okay. Are women weak? They don’t have the same muscle mass as men. Concerning the second question, I was always told women are more emotional, even by women. And concerning men being smarter, well..they do win more often on Jeopardy!

 

Dear Man: What?

 

Dear Woman: I was just kidding about the Jeopardy! thing. I suppose you’re going to say my answers prove I’m a male chauvinist.

 

Dear Man: No, they just prove that you would vote against Hillary because she’s a woman instead of based on her qualifications.

 

Dear Woman: I just don’t want any more Orlandos or San Bernardino terrorist attacks. I would like to scare the shit out of them–the terrorists, I mean. Hillary is more like a queen. She’s stately, polite, on-point, courteous. But here’s the problem–the world is filled with pirates. Pirates take down queens.

 

Dear Man: So what is Donald Trump?

 

Dear Woman: He’s a pirate. So it’s a pirate fighting pirates. See what I mean?

 

Dear Man: No, I don’t. Because with a pirate you get thievery, treachery and the danger that he’s going to make everybody walk the plank.

 

Dear Woman: Well, anyway. Do you remember that story of the man who came across two doors, and behind one was a lady and behind the other was a tiger?

 

Dear Man: I think so.

 

Dear Woman: You see, that’s our choice this time. A lady or a tiger. I just don’t know if the lady can get it done.

 

Dear Man: You know that’s very prejudiced.

 

Dear Woman: Yes. But I don’t think I’ll be the only one thinking about that when I walk into the voting booth.

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G-Poppers … September 9th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sometimes G-Pop forgets.

He is suddenly overwhelmed by the nasty, cantankerous, mostly-cloudy conclusions, and then drenched in the negativity.

Weathering the storm.

What G-Pop forgets is that there are two worlds: the world around him and the world of his undertaking.

It is so easy to get trapped into believing that significant change can be accomplished by arguing, fussing, preaching or evaluating the lives and actions of eight billion other people.

But we’re all human. We want everything, everywhere, to be just fine. And by “just fine,” we mean “to our liking.”

There is only one world. It is the world where we live and have some sense of contribution.

But to keep on that straight and narrow of wisdom, G-Pop realizes that certain ideas need to be honored on a daily basis:

1. No one is better than anyone else.

Even if you have information to the contrary or discover evidence which contradicts such a noble notion, be intelligent enough to ignore it.

2. Don’t judge anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Even if you feel you have the backing of eternity or a stack of holy books, laugh at your inclination to be superior.

3. Stop thinking big.

It sets your mind to enormous expectation which causes the smaller opportunities to escape your vision. Life is not about a magic wand which causes dreams to appear, but rather, a pile of bricks, which we put in place one at a time.

4. Laugh.

It’s better than crying, and even if weeping comes for a season, be prepared for it to turn into giggling. Taking things seriously only puts you in serious trouble.

5. Don’t stop believing, but don’t rely on it.

Believing has an unrighteous tendency to wait too long before determining to do something. If you want God to know that you believe, start working with what you already have.

You see, sometimes G-Pop forgets these things. The bickering causes him to become cynical, or worse, proud.

When G-Pop lives in his own world, change actually seems possible.

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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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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 4) Good Cheer … December 27th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

In all of my numerous dealings with people inflicted by poverty, I have never met a single one who ever told me that they weren’t a “morning person.”

Matter of fact, most of them push through the terror of lack and manage a grin or two, perhaps for no other reason than to avoid a grimace.

No, I will truthfully tell you, complaining or selecting to be less than hospitable is an attribute which plagues those having enough, who pretend they are afflicted.

It causes the world to be a nasty place.

So I will tell you–it is the reasonable expectation of every human being to at least attempt to appreciate what is available and make the best of it.

I believe that with all my heart.

Therefore, to be reasonable is to have good cheer.

So I have a simple three-step process to remind me how things work, and how I might want to adjust my behavior if I want to work with things:

1. The Earth is full of situations.

Most of them are neutral. We love to tag “good” and “bad” on them based upon our mood swings.

2. I am full of ability.

This is not a conceited statement. There’s an awful lot you can do with over 200 bones–and that doesn’t even count your muscles, miles of intestine and countless clumps of blood vessels. Shall we even simply discuss the capacity of the brain? Then on top of all of these natural fortifications, we add experience. How about some inspiration? My dear God, dare I even say intuition?

It is rather doubtful that any of us are ever without means.

3. The Spirit is full of ideas.

And, by the way, if we think we’ve run out of ability and we don’t favor Earth situations, there is always the ingenious internal thought process of the Creator, available to us through the wisdom of time, history, and as some of us believe, even prayer.

Therefore, to select worry, which quickly turns most “pusses” into “sours,” is to totally ignore the provisions that have been granted to all mortal children.

Good cheer is not a choice we make because we want to come across as positive in our thinking.

Good cheer is the only choice to make to have a chance for any thinking to produce positive.

 

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A Life-Driven Purpose… May 25, 2013

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It’s really simple and not complicated at all.  If you’re waking up this morning in Moore, Oklahoma, your life has become free of entanglements–defined.

If the tornado missed your house, then there is a deep responsibility in your soul to go outside and do something for your neighbors, who were not quite so fortunate.

If the tornado blew your house away, yet you are still alive, you feel a deep sense of gratitude–and don’t have to be concerned about remodeling anymore, but can have full confidence that you are in the middle of a building project. Be prepared to receive help from those neighbors whose houses did remain firmly on their foundations.

If you were injured, you should sit back, relax, and let the beautiful healing process take shape before you concern yourself with anything else–in order to give your very best efforts to the next endeavor.

If you lost your life, you are presently in a heavenly home with no memories whatsoever of the struggle below.

If a loved one has died, your life, for this season, will be refined by allowing grief to bring out the good memories so that when you do finally press on, joy can come in your morning.

Yes, the people of Oklahoma have experienced a tragedy. But there isn’t one person in that town who would tell you they wish they were dead. That kind of nasty attitude only comes from people who have taken their lives for granted. No one in Moore, Oklahoma, is taking his or her life for granted.

In an odd sense, it is a gift when our journeys become defined by our need. Our purpose becomes obvious: Live on–because life is precious.

I have no argument with my conservative friends until they start saying life on earth does not matter. It does.

I have no fuss with my liberal friends, as long as they don’t try to convince me that one form of life is more precious than another. It isn’t.

Jesus came to give us life. Jesus came to give us abundant life. We were never supposed to live as underdogs–biting at the ankles of the rich and prosperous, but rather, discovering the very best pattern for doing things and then creatively finding a way to enact a glorious plan.

If church isn’t about life, then it starts to be about death. If all we have to offer is heaven, then we’re asking people to endure an awful lot of earth, which usually diminishes the enthusiasm for eternity.

Tomorrow morning I will be in Mabank, Texas. We’ll talk about life. That is one of the best ways we attribute honor–and even pray for the folks in Oklahoma. By joining them in the pursuit of the appreciation of life, we tell them that we get the message: even when nature blows you away, you need to blow back–with your best heart–and live large.

It’s about life. It’s about abundant life. And it’s about abundant life that brings full joy. So is it possible to be in Moore, Oklahoma, today and be joyful?

Yes. Especially if you realize you still possess life.

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