Populie: Is There a God? … May 7, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2224)

worldIt is very popular to question the existence of God.

It is usually accompanied with the lie that in doing so, we, as humans, become more powerful and intelligent. Thus the POPULIE, delivered with a quizzical, doubtful tone: Is there really a God?

Politics favors this quandary because it promotes the notion of “us against them.” We can talk about culture wars. One party can be on the side of faith and the other on the side of knowledge. We can even present it in a dramatic form as “the saved against the damned.” What a great way to get people to the voting booth.

Entertainment pushes the concept by showing us through movies and television shows, that truly intuitive and mature people are always at least perplexed by the question of the presence of God, and usually in choosing disbelief, are proven to be more intellectual.

Ironically, even religion desires this discussion be thrust to the forefront because it provides the sense of being “persecuted for righteousness sake,” proving our devotion by defending the Almighty against His foes.

Yet the foolishness of the process leaves us stymied as human beings, without the ability to make quality decisions in our lives based on the truth that surrounds us instead of chasing dreams–whether they be in Bible learning or college classrooms.

Let me tell you what I feel. I do not have enough faith to accept the idea of a spontaneously spawned universe. When I watch a show like Cosmos, to follow through on the precepts presented by scientists about how all this began is much more of a fairy tale to me than accepting the potential of a creative force.

Yes, I doubt too much to be ignited by the Big Bang Theory.

There are three factors that scream at me that there is a divine reasoning in the universe:

1. An order in the chaos.

Even though the world is filled with tribulation, upheaval and ongoing evolution, there is always an order, sensibility and common agreement that steps forward to greet the next possibility.

If everything was chaos we would have to believe that luck was in charge, which is no different from believing that God is.

2. A respect for nature.

Since I believe God to be the Creator, He has put a team in charge of the maintenance of His creation. It’s called the natural order. And when you respect the rules of the system which flourishes around you, you set in motion the possibility of prospering. When you deny them, you are at the mercy of an evolutionary chopping block, which is not afraid to bring the hammer down.

3. A faith in progress.

The whole panorama of the law of physics points in the direction and favor of those who step out, try new things and acquire the instinct to go forward.

  • After all, the single cell had faith to become two cells.
  • The first fish emerged from the water to dry land, becoming the grandfather of the amphibians.
  • And dinosaurs, who learned to accept their surroundings, eventually became crocodiles.

There is a faith involved in what we do.

I guess I could be sympathetic to the agnostic or atheist if it weren’t for the fact that there are laws in nature which are immutable. We call it science.

It is just impossible for me to believe that laws can be instituted without a legislator. And to me, that legislator is God.

So even though it may be the populie of our day and age, to try to be cool by questioning the reality of a Creator, I cannot muster enough trust to believe that all of this around me … spontaneously came from the dust of nothing.

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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It’s My Party … July 29, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1958)

party hatI went to a party last night.

Some of you might not consider it to be that type of gathering–perhaps not festive enough for your taste. For instance, there was no alcohol. Nobody was smoking. As far as I know, the only pills popped were four Tylenol–by me, for my achy knees.

Laughing was available but not because somebody made a funny bodily noise and because the joint was inebriated everybody burst into guffaws. People at this party laughed just because things were funny.

There was no big stereo system in the corner, piping out the latest hits at ear-piercing decibels. Just music. Maybe to some people, simple music.

No huge buffet of food spread so that everybody could overeat as they complained about their waistlines, vowing to do better on the morrow.

No one was getting high–except for the fact that spiritually, they were being filled … as promised by their heavenly Father.

Yet it was quite a party. The kind where designated drivers were not demanded. Part of the joy was reveling behind your wheel about the fun you had.

It wasn’t even a party of friends who had known each other for years, so comfortable with one another that they can resort to personal insults and call it “poking fun.” No, most of the people at my party were strangers to each other except for embracing ideas like brotherhood, love, peace and joy.

  • The world has its own way of doing things.
  • The world lets you think that you’re an individual and your opinions are welcome–until you dare to disagree with the mentality of the mob.
  • The world is more than happy to have you in its conclave as long as you don’t excel too much, step out of the box or dare to suggest some sort of more righteous approach.
  • The world is selfish but hides behind the notion of “freedom for all.”
  • The world is uncaring but tries to take the sting of that revelation away by offering you a “swig.”
  • The world preaches individuality yet extols and advertises conformity.

It’s not that my party was better than the party down the street, where they drink, smoke, carouse and curse. It’s just that after a party is over, what remains becomes our lives. We can either have memories of tender thoughts filtering through our minds, enlightening us, or a series of regrets that we try to assuage by going to the next party.

“In the world you have tribulation.” That’s what Jesus said.

So once the world realizes that everything will be in a constant state of upheaval, it tries to intoxicate itself and warm in a blanket of self-love.

Jesus said this was not a good idea. He said the only way to handle the uncertainty of this world is to “be of good cheer.”

Start a party in your emotions.

Invite your spirit.

Welcome your mind.

And encourage your strength.

I went to a party. I wake up this morning rejuvenated, not hung over. I wake up this morning with everything the world promises me from its party–individuality, freedom and acceptance.

Those waking up from the party held by the world are lamenting it’s over and hoping that another one will come soon, to take away some of the confusion and pain.

Thanks to Faith Lutheran.

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Party Planners… November 7, 2012

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Ellie and Don wanted to plan a party.

They decided to work together on the idea. It was exciting. But within a few days they ran into some problems. Don wanted to try some new concepts and experiment, and even though Ellie was intrigued by the possibility, she wanted to make sure she didn’t disinclude old friends. What at first was a casual conversation changed into a disagreement, became a conflict and ended up in a rift.

So Ellie decided to have her own party, and Don likewise pursued his. Ellie got all of her old friends acquaintances and they defined exactly what they thought a party should be. Even though they wanted the occasion to be rich with expansion and open to new encounters, they also were intent on maintaining the integrity of their lifestyles and positions. It was an intense discussion.

Meanwhile, Don got together with a few of his chums and began to assemble a format–or actually, more a direction–for their particular party. Don’s idea was different. He candidly told his gathered helpers that he really liked them a lot, but that he was also interested in trying to enlarge his surrounding host of friends to include new faces. To his amazement, his committee agreed.

So Don went out and bought a book on party planning, shared it with his little council of helpers, and they followed the guidelines meticulously. The first step in planning a party, according to this book, was to invite more people. So instead of relying on a Rolodex of names and telephone numbers, they spread their net out to welcome people from everywhere, most of whom they did not know personally. As Don read the book, he realized that it was impossible to make new, lasting relationships if you didn’t go out and meet new people.

Meanwhile, Ellie and her cohorts decided to limit the guest list of their party to people they knew or people who understood the style and approach of what this particular extravaganza needed to be. So it was agreed in Ellie’s meeting that each member would be given a couple of tickets to pass out to their immediate family or individuals they deemed would be comfortable with the scheme.

As Don read further into his book, he discovered that the second step to having a great party was to serve good food–lots of it and different types. So as they sat down to plan a menu with the caterers of the event, the party planners for Don’s little foray actually picked delicacies that many of them had never even tasted. They were a little bit nervous, but also excited at the prospect of spicing up their lives through variety.

Ellie also planned a menu. It was decided to go with foods that were tried and true–possessing the quality of the taste of time. A couple of suggestions were made to Ellie that they include a few unusual recipes, so cautiously, they inserted one or two of these unknown quantities, but in very limited amounts.

Meanwhile, back at Don’s party, the book suggested that the party have easy directions to a known location. The point the book made was that it’s ridiculous to have a festive occasion if people have difficulty finding it or they are completely unfamiliar with their surroundings. So Don and his little group found a lovely facility right off the freeway, well-lit, with lots of parking.

At Ellie’s session, one of the members mentioned that there was a beautiful mansion available up on top of a hill, about twenty-five miles outside of town. It was practically abandoned and they could probably get it for a song, and people would enjoy the adventure of finding this remote location and strolling around the old halls, viewing the ancient architecture. Everyone was thrilled.

So Don’s party was held–right off the freeway in a simple building–and Ellie’s was out of town, but in an elegant, traditional setting.

Finally, as Don read the last chapter of his book, he concluded that the overall message he received from the volume was that the party should be a place where people could have fun. Of course, everyone had a different definition for fun, but it was generally agreed by one and all that having fun had something to do with pursuing your own happiness without being restricted by others.

Ellie brought up the same subject to her friends. They agreed that fun was a wonderful idea, but in the process of trying to achieve this levity, they should be careful not to lose control of the situation and to make sure to put enough guidelines in place so as to avoid the danger of activities that might be beyond acceptability. Matter of fact, a huge discussion ensued, which raged into the night, about what actually WAS permissible. They decided to make a list of forbidden practices and include it in the invitation sent out to the chosen few.

All was prepared. Both Ellie and Don finished their preliminaries, dates were set and advertising was put in motion.

Don trusted his book and invited all the people he could find, served good food and lots of it to stimulate any taste bud, printed out easy directions for their common location and advertised clearly that all those who came could have fun as long as they didn’t infringe on the rights of others.

It was uncanny that Ellie actually ended up reading the same book that Don pursued–but her conclusions were quite different. The guest list at Ellie’s party was more trimmed and tailored to the specifications of her existing friends. The menu was limited, but tasty. The directions were quite complex, but there was the promise that upon arrival it would be well worth the journey. And fun was so well-defined that confusion and rabble-rousing were absolutely eliminated.

Don’s party was packed. It was disorganized, rowdy and at times bordered on a bit of confusion. Ellie’s party was less well attended, but much more specific to taste, and proper in its proportions.

Over half the people at Don’s party were strangers–unknown to the committee which had originally initiated the idea.

Ellie knew everyone at her party and actually was related to most of them.

Ellie and Don caught up with each other a week later and shared their findings. Of course, each of them put a bit of “spin to the positive” on the affair. Don shook his head as he explained that his results were a little rowdy, but certainly filled with inclusion and excitement. Ellie smiled and said she was glad that her party was much more orderly and contained, even though not nearly as unpredictable and crowded.

But the biggest shock was when they realized that both of them had consulted the same book to plan their parties. It was a volume that had been around for thousands of years and was available to anyone who was willing to learn and receive.

It was the Bible of the party, and from this Bible, Don had learned to invite more people, serve great food, make things easy and have fun. Ellie gleaned from the message to limit invitations, go with tried and tested formulas, make it a little more difficult to get to the destination, but reward those who made it, and to carefully define what was acceptable pleasure so as not to end up with undesirable results.

Two parties. One book. Different ideas.

The amazing part of the whole endeavor was that the book that Don and Ellie consulted did contain information to support both of their assertions, so it was no longer an issue of who was right and wrong–but rather, which idea bore the most fruit to benefit humankind.

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If I Were a Republican … May 10, 2012

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If politics were farming, the farmer would rise from his bed in the morning, sow salt in his own field and by lunchtime, be complaining about how the former landowner had ruined the property. By dinnertime, at a fundraising banquet, he would be asking everyone to vote for him as “Farmer of the Year,” having never planted one seed.

Just my opinion.

But setting aside personal assertions and convictions, let me take one day and tell you what I would do if I were a Republican.

  1. I would take specific responsibility for my part in the present “Bungle in the Jungle.” The beginning of this century was a difficult time in this country and decisions needed to be made–some of which were overwrought. No one really denies that except when they want to portray that they are squeaky clean and the other side is stained with guilt. Any Republican politician who would take on the specific errors that were made during the previous eight years of administration and isolate them off, while temporarily ignoring the faults of the adversarial party could look like a freaking genius.
  2. I would keep the discussion on governing and stay out of religion. A quick opening of the history book will show you that whenever religion and politics have mingled, the results have been dastardly, if not lethal. Governing demands the ability to see the view of all of your citizens instead of trying to climb the Tower of Babel, to look down on the hapless masses who are lost, without a savior. Traditionally, the elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party. The creature has big ears and a long nose. The Republicans would do better to focus on their ears, to hear, and stop being quite so nosy. Is it possible to be a good Christian and be a politician? It is if you know when to render and how to render–like Jesus said. What I believe cannot be what I enforce. The minute it is, it is no longer true faith–it is legalism.
  3. I would discover a historical sense. If I were a Republican I would stop trying to be the party of Ronald Reagan, and rather, emphasize that I was the party of Lincoln. Ronald Reagan, like all Presidents before and after him, found his own unique way to place our country deeply in debt. But Abraham Lincoln did three things the Republican Party could still use–and advertise–instead of allowing the Democrats to claim Honest Abe as one of their own.  (a) Lincoln taught the sanctity of the union over the preeminence of state’s rights; (b) he freed the slaves even though he, himself, was hardly absent bigotry or misconceptions. Why? Because it was the right thing to do; and (c) he used government to keep the people in power instead of allowing corporations and business to control the issues. If I were a Republican I would talk more about Lincoln than Reagan.
  4. I would stop the battle between men and women. I do not understand what politicians think they’re going to achieve by continuing to propagate a struggle between the genders in our species. Any party that comes along and generates equality between men and women, and refuses to join into the foolish cultural battle of the struggle between the sexes will gain the respect of both sides. You can’t win an election with just men. And you can not win an election with just women.
  5. And finally, I would focus on finance. If you really believe in the free enterprise system and smaller government, favoring businesses to prosper instead of going into bankruptcy caused by the difficulty of obtaining start-up cash and high taxes, then stay on point. The issues of abortion and gay rights will not be settled in a political campaign. They will be discussed and ultimately concluded in the judicial branch of our checks and balances. So drop all of the pretense of self-righteousness–and focus on money. Do I think the Republicans have an advantage over Democrats with this issue? If they don’t naturally, they surely can promote it as such. If I were a Republican, I would never stop talking about the economy and the steps necessary to return us to a sense of responsible capitalism.

Absent of these five steps, the Republican Party greatly resembles the organization of our moms and dads, with no understanding of the current top forty. My parents were staunch Republicans. But all of my brothers became Democrats, except me–who is apolitical. The party loyalty did not continue to the next generation. Why? Because it appeared that the organization was always defending instead of leading.

So if I were a Republican, I would strongly invoke the name of Abraham Lincoln as I led our country forward to the aspirations of even greater freedoms for its people. Of course, I’m not a Republican, and if I were, they probably wouldn’t listen to me anyway. But I thought you might be interested in some of my thoughts, although they are just as valuable and worthless as everybody else’s. To be completely fair, if you will allow me, I will take the position tomorrow of explaining what I would do if I were a Democrat.

Of course, as I have stated before … I am not.

I have always made a rule in my life to never go to any party that doesn’t have refreshments. 

  

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A Petty Party… April 16, 2012

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Apathy, lying and envy.

They are like three homely sisters perched on their beds late at night, brushing their hair, gossiping about all the faults of their friends and neighbors until they are adequately convinced they are better than everyone else and can ease into their beds to snore the night away.

A petty party.

It begins with apathy. “I don’t care to become better.” The only trouble with the doctrine of self-esteem is that it often stagnates the human spirit into accepting the present status instead of improving the situation. We are just “better” when we’re trying to do better. We are happier when we don’t accept sadness as “our lot.” We are more spiritual when we don’t settle for religion.

Because after we become apathetic, lying joins the party. “I will lie and do whatever is necessary to deceive people so that I look better.” Once you accept the fact that apathy is going to be your profile for ongoing endeavors, you immediately face a difficulty. The world around us demands improvement, so if we’re not going to actually improve anything, we’re going to have to lie about it. And if we do decide to lie about it, there will be a challenge to our claims–which brings us to envy.

What is envy? “I will destroy what you are doing–which is obviously better–with my lies.”  For after all, the accomplishments of a dedicated soul can be devastated in a  moment of time by a careless lie told by an envious bystander. It’s what concerns me about our country. You see, “patriotic” I understand–loving the freedom, liberty and “justice for all” that sets this nation apart as a beacon of the possibility of truth. What I do not understand is the apathy that creates lying and a nasty bit of envy, causing us to replace “patriotic” with “pettry-otic.”

Yes, we have begun to tear down other people’s ideas, the endeavors of governments not our own and the accomplishments of individuals across our world simply because they’re not American. Rather than setting a higher standard for ourselves based upon the luxuries and freedoms we enjoy, we have decided to lower our standards and simply criticize the rest of the world.

I refuse to join this petty party. I feel the only way I personally achieve greatness is by utilizing my gift, enjoying the fruits, and simultaneously analyzing how I can do it better. I am astounded that both Republican and Democrat are guilty of pandering to the American public with a political philosophy of, “I’m okay–you’re okay” instead of challenging this great nation to greatness. There is no excuse for a country with as much financial possibility as we possess to either be in debt or to lack in the creative abilities to place us at the forefront. But because we’ve decided that we don’t want to get better, and no one can tell us that we should, we welcome the spirit of lying, which causes us to become envious of other cultures, attacking them and finding fault with their ways. Here is the definition of greatness:

“I will continue to do what I know to do until I am shown something better and then I will gratefully receive it and include it in my life–to pursue better.”

If that is not the mission statement of our country, then we have lost our way. In this election year, I don’t know if there will be anybody with enough guts to say that we Americans have become lazy and have replaced the pride over past accomplishments for the pursuit of present ones. Will anyone have the truthfulness to tell the American people that we JOINED the banks and Wall Street in a financial gluttony that has left us all a bit destitute? Will anyone have the audacity to say how ridiculous it is that we are still fighting racial issues in our country after nearly four hundred years of struggle? And is there any politician who will be willing to speak aloud that American productivity has dropped as we’ve allowed apathy, lying and envy to replace workmanship?

As I stood in front of the congregation in San Diego yesterday morning, I gazed upon a group of people who had so much potential, yet are told by their society that they need not concern themselves with transformation, but instead are given the constant message that “they are all right because they are Americans and Christians.” Well let me tell you, being American and Christian comes with a truckload of responsibility. Being an American means to give freedom to everyone else if you expect it for yourself, and being a Christian requires that you love your neighbor everywhere just as much as you love yourself.

There’s a petty party going on. Criticism, sarcasm and frustration have triggered apathy, lying and envy in us instead of challenging us to ask that most holy question:

“Thank you Lord, for blessing me. Now … how can I do it better?”

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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