Good News and Better News… May 15th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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People are afraid of dying–even God-loving folks.

There are those individuals who insist they have no fear of journeying to the Great Beyond, but that is only because the Angel of Death is not presently circulating in their neighborhood, soliciting souls.

Realizing that this fear of death was in place, Jesus comforted his disciples by saying, “Let not your heart be troubled.”

What a magnificent statement–a balmy breeze of tenderness.

Yet I must tell you, the average religious organization in this country takes the basic fear we have of dying and scares the hell into us. Rather than comforting, they offer another apprehension–eternal damnation.

So now, because we are afraid of dying, and also of hell, we have a great tremor of anxiety over sin.

Am I sinning?

What is sin?

Do I sin more or less than you?

Can I cover up my sin so it doesn’t seem to be sin at all?

Am I more afraid of sinning, or getting caught with my pants in some unexplainable position?

We are supposedly born again, Spirit-inspired people, who are afraid of dying, hell and now sin.

But that’s not enough for the religious ramblers–the trepidation must be hammered into our souls.

So they begin to make congregations afraid of sinners. The notion is promoted that this sin thing can “rub off on ya'” if you get too close to it or accidentally condone it by refusing to judge people instead of condemn them.

In other words, you might be in danger of dying and going to hell because of the sin of loving sinners.

But that must be the end, right? No. There is one last fear stuck into the backpack of every hapless religious camper. Since dying is coming and there’s a hell to be avoided, which means you have to run from sin and the sinner, it’s just best to play it safe and be afraid of living.

We start sprouting nasty statements.

“Let’s not try that.”

“That might not be of God.”

“Let’s play it safe.”

“Until we see somebody else do it, let’s back off.”

“God may be more forgiving than we think, but just in case, let’s take away all semblance of joy in our worship, freedom in our walk and thought to our theology.”

So we have nervous ninnies serving a nit-picking Nazarene.

Consider: Jesus was in a boat when a squall came up on the Sea of Galilee. He was asleep. Matter of fact, they had to wake him up and tell him how desperate the situation was, because he had cuddled into his pillow. He did not rebuke the storm. First he asked the disciples why they were afraid. He told them to “be of good cheer.”

There you go.

Church of the Lord Jesus, why are you so damned afraid, and how about a little good cheer?

Here’s the good news–Jesus wants you to stop being afraid, followed by the better news: less fear, more love, more life and more love of living.

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Jesonian… February 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Christianity is not a religion–it is a lifestyle.

It is based upon the human example left behind by Jesus of Nazareth. Any attempt to build the Kingdom of God on doctrines, practices, rituals, worship, attendance, prayer, Bible study or fasting will flail, because the Kingdom of God is within us.

In other words, until we tap ourselves–our passions, our errors and get our questions answered–there really is no Kingdom of God.

Or maybe better stated, it’s a theory.

To emphasize this, Jesus told us that God is our Father.

Once we realize that He is our Daddy and not the smoke at the top of the mountain, an angry disciplinarian, the Force, or just karma, we can then predict what God’s reaction will be in situations due to His paternal instincts.

  • As a Father, He is certainly not going to plan our lives for us. Any dad who would do that would be considered a first-class asshole.
  • As a Father, He’s not going to give up on us, disown us, or throw us out in the desert with a canteen.
  • But as a Father, He will institute chores for us to perform–and by our faithfulness, evaluate our present mindset.

Jesus came to show us the Father.

We should be studying the life, ideas, tendencies and predilections of the Nazarene. Instead we focus on His arrest, trial and death.

In doing so, we attempt to divert the Christian message from being a revelation of the Father to a pre-destined, pre-ordained human execution in order to acquire blood atonement.

Actually, the crucifixion makes so much more sense when you realize that the Father was hoping his children would be more receptive–but still made a pathway of salvation for all of us through the courage and sacrifice of our elder brother, Jesus.

It is not that dissimilar to the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, who is thrown into a pit by his brothers, left for dead, only to redeem those same brethren in Egypt after he gained power, rescuing them from destitution.

Nothing good happens in the Christian church until we realize that the entire ministry of Jesus was about showing us the Father.

Even in the midst of the agony of the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

So if you’re wondering why religion is leaving you flat, and church seems redundant and meaningless, it’s because invented ideas have been passed along and given primary importance, while the congregation thirsts for the relationship with their Father promised to them by Jesus.

It is time for us to show Jesus to the community–so he can reveal the Father to all of us.

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Good News and Better News … April 18th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Antioch

Yesterday it was my joy to share my heart with dear souls in Antioch, Tennessee.

In the Book of Acts, it informs us that Antioch was the first city where the new believers in Jesus were referred to as “Christians.” It was meant to be a derogatory term, thrown at this new movement by the arrogant Greeks, who were trying to connote that the people who believed in the Nazarene were just a bunch of “little Jesuses.”

In other words, they had no mind of their own.

I didn’t talk about this to the people yesterday because I figured that over the years they have probably grown weary of the reference. But it did help me realize that the term “Christian” has become synonymous with going to church, or being religious, instead of being like Jesus.

Jesus frustrated religious people. After a while they got tired of being frustrated, so they decided to murder him.

Even though your average church-going people will admit that attendance is dwindling and that people seem to be “leaving the steeple,” they still insist that there’s basically nothing errant with what’s going on behind the stained glass windows.

Here is something I have learned:

If it’s not working, it’s probably not going to get better just because you keep doing it. And if it’s not working, the first step is to admit it’s broken, and then commit to getting it fixed.

The problem in the church is simple–it is a body of believers working under a false premise. The false premise is that we please God by gathering to worship Him.

Jesus made it clear that we please God by being the salt of the Earth and the light of the world.

Can you see the difference?

So as I leave Antioch, having had a tremendous morning of fellowship with these dear friends, I can offer them a simple suggestion:

Do one thing.

Yes–just start pursuing one thing that’s different from what you’re doing now. And make sure it doesn’t resemble anything like the present menu offered in church.

Maybe you could adopt one family in the community every week, take $150 and buy them groceries and shoes for the kids. Put a committee in charge of this endeavor.

Then on Sunday morning you can share, having something for prayer time other than weddings, funerals, births and sicknesses.

How about challenging twenty people from your congregation to volunteer just one hour a week in area nursing homes, food banks or homeless shelters–and then have them testify of their encounters.

Maybe the pastor could do the same thing–or take a small part-time job to increase his or her humanity in the community. Play guitar? Start a cover band and play at the local bar on Saturday nights prior to the Sunday services.

Take something that is non-church but filled with Jesus and act it out in your community every week, and see if something doesn’t bloom.

It’s not complicated. I could probably sit here for another twenty minutes and pop off more ideas.

But the notions have to come from the congregation and be a source of excitement to them to make it work.

If we don’t develop a sense of mission about bringing the heart of Jesus to our community, we will gradually implode from over-reverence or bickering from the choir about which anthem should be used for the Introit.

Jesus was simple:

Find a way to be loving, and then go act it out.

So as I leave Antioch, filled with a spirit of joy from encountering these delightful “little Jesuses,” I tell you that your good news is that all you need is one thing to do that is not religious, and that will bring real people into your presence.

The better news is that you’re not responsible for the fruit.

Just the seed.

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

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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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: Morning Person … August 9th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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sun rising

Jesus is a Savior because mankind decided to reject his first offer of Son of Man, and kill him off.

Jesus is the Christ because God ignored our verdict and raised him from the dead.

This is great stuff for Sunday. But my week has seven days.

So Monday through Saturday, I need the Nazarene to be something more than Jesus Christ.

Jesus is my Lifestyle Coach.

It’s really what he wanted. He desired us to believe in him for his words. That’s what he said (with his words, by the way).

So since my day begins with a morning–as does yours–it would be nice to know what Jesus felt about the morning, and how he suggested for us to become better “morning people.”

  1. Don’t be in a hurry.

The best way to ruin your day is to start off in a rush. Jesus hung around a lot. He escaped the crowds. The Bible says he “tarried” even when people wanted him to come quickly. Hurrying destroys us. It makes us lose our power while simultaneously taking ourselves too seriously

     2. Get rid of yesterday.

It is unlikely that we will be able to enter our time machine and go back and redo anything. So the power of refusing to think about yesterday, or as Jesus said, “Take no thought,” gives us the full capability of considering how we want to butter our daily bread.

      3. Ignore tomorrow.

People are only interested in the future because they believe it is beyond their control, and therefore they are victims to what will transpire. If you understand that the future does not exist until you craft it through your decisions, using your free will, then you will also comprehend the need to avoid crafting too soon.

Jesus comically told his disciples, “Today’s got enough problems of its own.”

        4. Be of good cheer.

  • I’ve achieved more in my life by joking than I ever did lamenting.
  • I’ve made more friends poking fun at myself than I ever have reciting my accomplishments.
  • And I’ve gained much more energy by smiling than by frowning.

Once you realize the world has tribulation, trying to stop the turmoil is fruitless unless you want to halt the insanity temporarily–with a good laugh.

      5. Be ready. It’s coming.

The next thing that needs to be addressed will become pretty obvious. You can make your lists, but sometimes, #16 bumps the 15 previous candidates out of the way and wins the debate.

It’s just the way things are. Flexibility makes us powerful. Stubbornness always makes us stupid.

So avoid the dastardly, useless statement that you are “not a morning person,” and instead, look at the direction your Lifestyle Coach takes you in dealing with the first fruits of the day.

 

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Jesonian: The Finisher (Part II)… June 21st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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hands woodworking

Jesus of Nazareth arrived on the scene in a cluttered atmosphere of laws that he characterized as restrictions “that were grievous to bear” and that those who made the rules “didn’t lift a finger” to aid people in fulfilling them.

There was a need for an edit.

The document, the commandments and all the interpretations needed to be trimmed.

So just as there was a need for an author, now came the time for a finisher.

It all came to a head one day when a lawyer asked a question of Jesus, trying to make himself look extremely profound, and also in an attempt to trick the Nazarene into saying something renegade.

“What is the greatest commandment?” he asked, feigning sincerity.

Here it was–the opportunity to take thousands of years of legalism and brush it away to discover the hidden meaning, powerful and applicable.

Jesus responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and the second is like unto it: love your neighbor as yourself.”

Even though Jesus insisted he came to fulfill the law, the definition of fulfillment in this case was to simplify it down to a lifestyle instead of packaging it in a religion.

When we continue to insist that the Torah and the Talmud, and even the Epistles of Jesus’ disciples carry the same significance as these two simple commandments of Jesus, we force people into primitive spiritual caves, from which they seldom emerge, just sitting around cuddling by the fire, frightened of the outside world.

We have an edit. The author of our faith came to be the finisher.

So what is the message?

God wants to be loved:

First with our heart–our emotions.

Then with our soul–the part of us that lives on.

But also our mind–having the warmth and tenderness of His mercy affect our thinking.

And finally, our strength–taking words and turning them into actions.

Jesus’ message was profoundly clear. The way we prove we actually love God is by loving people.

To the average Jew, Jesus was a law-breaker:

  • He did not honor the Sabbath.
  • He did not cleanse his utensils.
  • He did not fast enough to meet the qualifications.
  • And he certainly did not believe that the Jews were special because they were the “children of Abraham.”

This is what got him crucified.

The Jewish Council did not trump up charges to present to Pilate. They believed that Jesus was a heretic, a criminal and a threat to Israel.

Actually, the Author came to finish His work.

So those who criticze people’s choices, personalities, doctrines, predilections and lifestyles … well, they always refer back to material which has already been edited out of the final manuscript.

What remains are two simple opportunities and responsibilities:

Love God.

And love people.

Anyone who does this is living out the dream of Jesus.

Anyone who doesn’t is trapped in a legalism…which has already been deemed worthless. 

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NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

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Jesonian: Doctor’s Report… November 23, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus and MM big

Jesus had a penis.

Not only do these two words, “Jesus” and “penis” somewhat rhyme, but they are also included by a doctor named Luke in his account on the life of the Nazarene, stating that at eight days of age, the little fellow was circumcised.

Let me explain that circumcision is normally associated as a procedure done to the male penis.

So it is rather doubtful if any denomination or theologian would question the authenticity of Dr. Luke’s report, but instead, would find anyone such as myself, who would highlight it, as being gauche or perhaps sacrilegious. (For after all, our greatest concern is not to discover the truth, but instead, to make sure it fits in with present thinking.)

But it is very important to us that Jesus had a penis. And if you happen to be a male yourself, you understand that this appendage comes with a package of possibilities and problems.

The Good Book does nothing to deter us from understanding this. It states that Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are, and that he was touched with our infirmities.

But the importance does not lie in discussing the propriety of the “Jesus penis,” but to realize that deep within his teaching is a sensuality that cannot be mistaken.

  • He referred to the church, which he founded, as “the bride of Christ” and to himself as “the bridegroom.” What’s that all about?

He made it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that “he who looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery in his heart.” Is this speculation? Doctrinal intrigue? Or personal discovery?

  • He told Nicodemus that “we all must be born again.”
  • He brought everything of heaven down to earthly understanding. Thus the use of parables.
  • And even though the modern church focuses on the Eucharist, which, by the way, has us eating his flesh and drinking his blood–quite intimate–the shocking experience of that Last Supper was when he stripped his clothes away, wrapped a towel around his waist, and washed the feet of his comrades.
  • He felt no embarrassment in telling the multitudes that a man and woman were meant to cleave to one another and become one flesh.
  • He incurred the wrath of the sexually inhibited Pharisees when a woman who was a prostitute came and anointed his feet with her tears as she kissed them, wiping away the moisture with her own hair. That’s seductive.

His ministry was intimate.

  • So tender was his sensitivity that rather than healing lepers at a distance, he insisted on making a sensory connection by touching them.
  • He placed all the children on his knee and put his hands on them to bless them.

When you remove the sensuality from Jesus, you lose an understanding of the compassion he had for his fellow human beings.

And where did that compassion come from? Was it merely infused from a supernatural Holy Spirit, generating power from on high?

Or was it a man who had a penis, who was therefore made more sensitive to his brothers and his sisters?

Dr. Luke did us a favor. He let us know that Jesus lived a life with genitalia. Therefore Jesus pissed, he had wet dreams, he had erections and he had inclinations to lust–because the little fellow who rents the downstairs insists on all of that.

We will be a better church when we realize that Jesus was born with no advantage, but because he allowed the Holy Spirit into his heart, it opened the door to a love of others that was accentuated by his sensory anointing. 

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