Ask Jonathots … May 5th, 2016

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What causes some siblings to grow up to be friends and others not? I’m forty and I’m not close to my sister at all. I have two teenage daughters, and I’m wondering what I could do to help them grow up to be friends. Your thoughts?

Perhaps one of the more egregious errors in our culture is the notion that the nuclear family is meant to remain intact.

It causes more stress, misgivings, grudges, insecurity, mishap and even murder than any other predicament facing our species.

If I were a coal miner in West Virginia, was unfortunately involved in a cave-in and spent nine days under the earth with eight other people, we would become very close. Matter of fact, we would share dreams, aspirations, prayers and any food and water available to sustain one another.

Yet to think that after I left that cave of impending death I should continue those relationships with my fellow-prisoners outside the mishap would be ridiculous, forced and disappointing.

For a season we share common goals and aspirations with our family. That experience can range from survival to ecstasy.

But humans are meant to come out of this cocoon and bloom in our individual lives, to start our own families, sustaining our species with new possibilities.

Some sisters have memories of the time when they grew up in the same house, but their journey takes them in completely different directions, with new friends, causing the old encounters to bring fond memories but not needful continuation.

Other sisters stay in the same communities, and it’s like their new families are extensions of the older rendition.

One thing is certain–it evolves naturally and cannot be manipulated through false emotion or guilt.

We must understand that for some people, the memory of their birthing family is pleasant but irrelevant, pleasant but valuable, pleasant but in the past.

For others such recollections are unpleasant and degrading, unpleasant and unnecessary, and unpleasant and harmful.

It is always better to look at the family of our youth as the ship that brought us to the New World. Sometimes that ship can sit out in the harbor of our environment as a memory of great times. And sometimes the ship is so full of holes that it needs to be sunk.

You can’t help people to be friends. Friendship is always based upon mutual concerns.

But what you can do is maintain the better parts of every experience as you launch out into newness of life.

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PoHymn… January 21, 2015

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Taking What They Gave

I was born in late December

Very young, but don’t remember

I grew up in small town digs

Only twelve for my first gigs

I never knew people of hue

Robbed of a differing view

So I preached a message of their design

Learned the ways and toed the line

‘Til lust led me to love

A divine push giving a shove

To look beyond my village scape

Write, record, share the tape

And find where I belong

Add some heart to my song

Denied by those who gave me birth

Forced to journey across the earth

To ask, hoping to receive

To seek, yearning to relieve

So knocking could open an unseen door

And blessing my way, could aid the poor

Now to be just as I am

Without one plea, a tinkered dam

And laugh my way to newness of life

Surviving the day

With all of its strife

For without the pain

I grow insane

And absent good cheer

Nothing seems clear

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Jesonian: The Pro Cons… October 19, 2014

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There is something comforting about finding yourself in the care of a professional who is willing to clarify and make things easier.

It is a beautiful thing.

It takes what would seem to be insurmountable–or even punishing–and transform it into merciful and workable.

Jesus was a pro.

He was a professional savior who was well-geared for ministering to human behavior because he, himself, was human.

But the first difficulty he faced in procuring this acumen was dealing with four “cons:” condemn, confront, control and console.

For generations, religious fervor and political bondage had created a climate of condemning and controlling. Matter of fact, even to this day a large percentage of those who claim to pursue the faith of Jesus Christ do so by condemning what they have determined to be iniquity, teaching their congregations that “God is in control of everything.”

So talk about walking into a hornet’s nest, or better phrased, a gathering of “shewbread conservatives,” Jesus arrived at the pinnacle of this judgmental juggernaut.

For the Jews had a system for condemning people for breaking the least little Sabbath rule, and the Romans had created such fear in the populace that the masses were contained and controlled by perpetual apprehension.

Our “Pro” had to dispel condemning and controlling. Had he not succeeded at that, all he would have accomplished was a new sect of Judaism, which would have no chance whatsoever of gaining attention in the Gentile world.

So the ministry of Jesus consisted of a confronting consolation, or sometimes it was a consoling confrontation.

As in the case of the woman caught in adultery, it was necessary to free her of the condemnation of the Pharisees, while snatching her out of the control of the murderous mob in order to console her and tell her that she was not condemned and confront her–to go and sin no more.

And in the case of the disciples, he confronted them in the Garden of Gethsemane–to stay awake and watch with him one hour, only to return to find them asleep, and relent in consolation: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

There is a great sense of relief when you’re in the hands of a pro–when you know that the God who made you has become the God who is like you, and has shared a message that does not condemn your ineptness, nor does it control your destiny.

Jesus was a pro.

His philosophy cost him his life. So please honor him by doing the Jesonian thing:

  • Take the time to confront so that you may console.
  • Or console those who are already being condemned, so you can gently confront them to newness of life.

 

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