The E Word … March 5th, 2019

THE

WORD

 

There are words that are so vile with violence and bedeviled by bigotry that they should never be written or spoken again. But there are also words, shrouded with sinister self-righteousness, which are equally poisoned.

Such is the case with our E word this week:

EXCEPTIONAL

From the Greeks feeling philosophically elevated to the Romans commanding allegiance through their powerful armies, to the Jews believing they were “the Chosen Ones,” to the touting of a Holy Roman Empire, there have always been cultures, races and faiths that have attempted to establish their dominance over fellow-humans.

I must be candid. My skin crawls whenever I hear my American brothers and sisters bolstering our national ego by referring to the United States as “exceptional.” It is the kind of blatant arrogance that made us pursue “manifest destiny,” stealing land from a native people, while simultaneously shipping in souls from Africa to become our slaves.

It is evil—not just because it is pompous and misrepresents reality, but because it works hand in hand with two other failing thoughts.

For you see, people who think they are exceptional eventually believe they are superior. And those who proclaim they are superior eventually insist they are supreme.

After World War I, the German people were devastated in morale and financially destitute. A little man came with a huge idea. He told the German people they didn’t need to be the doormat of the world. He raised the consciousness of their Germanic roots. He told them they were exceptional.

In doing so, he stirred the pride of the nation. They began to rebuild.

Once they contended that they were exceptional, the evil little fellow then told them that they were superior.

He gave them a common enemy. By the end of the 1930’s, nearly every German, in some capacity, believed that he or she was superior to a Jew.

But to go to war, the small man, who in the meantime had become their dictator, needed to convince them they were supreme—a Super Race. This became something worth dying for—at least tens of thousands of them believed so. Unfortunately, it was not a suicide mission, but also took the lives of hundreds of thousands of other people who had to break the hypnotic spell.

Yet I will tell you, preaching “exceptionalism” is not different just because it is hatched in America. The notion is already beginning to make us contend that certain individuals are superior to others, and if we’re not careful, we will start reacting as if we are supreme.

Exceptional is a word that not even God will use. The Good Book makes it clear that He is no “respecter of persons.” If God makes no distinctions among His creation, why in the hell do we think we can?

“Exceptional” is our E word—a misguided attempt to build patriotism or national pride by ignoring the beauty of commonality and the glory of “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”


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Good News and Better News … December 25th, 2017

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I went to church today.

There was no choir. There were no pews. There was no sermon. There was no invocation, except the squealing delight of children. There was no real benediction, but for the promises of those who had gathered to stay more in contact.

There was no threat of damnation, nor promise of streets of gold. There was so much contentment in being together that intimidation was unnecessary, and coercion, meaningless.

You see, I’m a father.

As a father, I do not evaluate my children by how much they adore me or praise my name. I determine the health of my children by how much they love each other–because it would be easy for them to despise their siblings so as to gain my favor, and perhaps, secure a sweeter inheritance.

So praising Daddy does not mean nearly as much as honoring one another.

In the church service this morning, there was respect for humanity. There was anticipation in the eyes of those who were giving, and a nervous jubilance twitching in the fingertips of those who were preparing to receive. An electricity filled the air that could only be adequately fueled by a perpetual flow of sweets and treats.

It was a worship of the Christ child–a salute to a simple birth, which simply ushered in the possibility of “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

It was an intergenerational feast day of emotion and anticipation, culminating in the removal of all vexation, curses and grudges.

It was the kind of meeting of souls that causes the angels to sit back in awe, pricked in the heart with a bit of jealousy over not being human.

For we do everything best just as we do everything worst. We are God’s creation, who knows both the knowledge of good and the depths of evil.

Oh, but when we want to be good…we can be amazing.

We can bring tears to our Heavenly Father’s eyes when we tenderly take our human flesh and extend it from His mind and soul to reach into the hearts and lives of others.

Today I went to church. Some people would call it Christmas morning.

The good news is that Christmas morning is church.

The better news is, the more we take every church service and make it like Christmas morning, the more blessed the world would be.

 

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Ask Jonathots … December 22nd, 2016

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Do you think there’s a need for saying “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas?”

Mary and Russell were my parents, and when they birthed me they named me Jonathan Richard Cring.

I had an uncle who immediately dubbed me “Johnny.”

One of my older brothers called me “Rock.”

Aunt Mary thought I was better suited to “Little Jon.”

I had one friend, Mack, who always enjoyed referring to me as “J.”

Many, many friends rejoiced over proclaiming me “Big Jon.”

One business associate in Nashville, Tennessee, recognized me as “J. R.”

And of course, countless folks have shortened my Jonathan to just Jon.

At no time during all these transitions did I lose my identity, nor fail to respond to a beckoning.

Likewise, Christmas does not lose any of its impetus by being referred to as “Happy Holidays”–especially when you consider that the word “holiday” is an Old English version of “Holy Day.”

Jesus is not diminished by “Season’s Greetings,” since he is the “reason for the season.”

And even the tiny handful who might call the occasion “Winter Solstice” are still surrounded by innumerable manger scenes dusted by snow.

Yes–the critics are outnumbered.

Sixteen million Jews worldwide may celebrate Hanukkah and twenty million African-Americans may honor Kwanza, but two-and-a-half billion people over the Earth worship the Baby of Bethlehem.

It’s not even close.

And when we become defensive over the terminology of Christmas, we miss the whole point of the message of “Peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

We fail to recognize that Jesus, himself, said “those who are not against us are for us.”

So a Jewish family which lights a candle, and a family in the inner city of Chicago which dresses in African garb and jubilantly trumpets the celebration are certainly not against the Christ child.

Jesus was not defensive.

Jesus did not insist on silencing those who had different opinions, but rather, welcomed questioning.

So I will tell you, it doesn’t matter what people say to me–what I hear is “Merry Christmas.”

And may I point out–it is impossible to hide, disguise, obliterate or even marginalize the effects of that one solitary life which changed the dynamics of the planet–whose birth even set time in motion.

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Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

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Ask Jonathots … December 15th, 2016

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Is Jesus really the son of God?

Which must be prefaced by an initial inquiry: is there a God in the first place, who could manifest a son?

Zeus, Jehovah, Allah, Vishnu and many other deities I personally find dissatisfying, if not unnerving. They seem to be divinities who insist we humans use our earthly journey to attain a heavenly destination.

This is where Jesus steps away from the crowd and offers a possibility:

What if God, rather than being Almighty, is a creative Father, who wants us to use the intelligence of heaven to enhance our earthly journey?

All at once, we are presented with a baby born in a barn to a peasant mother and a baffled “daddy figure,” who arrives under the banner of “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

Most interesting–as a grown man, this baby never abandons the message, even when confronted by the foolishness of religion and the tyranny of Rome.

If there had been no Jesus, would we find ourselves, every December, creating a story to motivate us toward brotherhood?

For instance, in attempting to survive 2016 with all of its selfishness, would we require a one-month reprieve of genuine affection and universal acceptance?

The reason I choose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God is because he taught about a Creator who chose to be a Father, but asks us to submit to the wisdom already placed in Earth by science, and learn how to use these resources to find reasons to establish commonality with all souls.

So I will tell you, if there is a God, Jesus would make a great son.

And if Jesus is the son of God, we have the promise of a Father who is gentle-hearted but also inspires us to respect the Earth. And if we respect the Earth, we are given the promise that God’s will can be done here, even as it is in heaven.

Even one drop of religion added to Jesus turns it into poison.

But when you take away Zeus, Jehovah, Allah and Vishnu from the equation, you discover a benevolent Father who sent His son to teach us the powers of Earth, the glories of kindness and the simplicity of eternity.

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The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this inspirational opportunity


Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

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Ask Jonathots … December 8th, 2016

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What do you think about the idea that people get depressed during the holidays? Do you believe in “Blue Christmas?”

The diagnosis of depression is applied to everything from copouts to extreme physiological disorders. It is a shame that such a legitimate concern is rendered questionable by people who simply want to feel sorry for themselves.

So when we talk about depression, we’re referring to three different regions of human behavior:

  1. Fear of the afar
  2. Fear of our surroundings
  3. Fear borne from a chemical imbalance within

So when dear hearts come to us and say they’re in no mood to celebrate Christmas because it leaves them sad, it is important that we listen to them and decide if they’re expressing some apprehension about the world around them, some feeling of a lack of appreciation by those they interact with, or whether the recent concern about the holidays is aggravating what seems to be an ongoing thread in their lives.

Those who are involved in conspiracy theories or worry about what’s going on in our world can often be comforted with good cheer, a sense of well-being and the knowledge that someone cares for them.

Others who are disappointed by their surroundings or who have been subjected to mistreatment are often healed right before our eyes by a spirit of gentleness and kindness.

And those who have physiological roots for their depression need our encouragement to see a doctor so they can feel better.

So during this holiday season, when you run across people who are expressing misgivings, start with some good cheer and give them a listening ear, and see if that doesn’t lift their spirits.

If it does, you are like the angels on high, who declared “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

But if your attempts at healing still leave them feeling empty, you might use your holiday joy to encourage them to seek an answer and find out the source of their depression within.

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The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this inspirational opportunity


Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

 

Jesonian: Born… December 7, 2014

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Being born is important, necessary, a boat launching.

If you were born in a manger, there is certainly some significance to that, along with an accompanying story. Yet we often determine the success of an individual based upon his or her roots, or as we phrase it, “humble beginnings.”

So it is markedly amazing that some of the greatest people in history were given extremely stressful or poverty-stricken conditions at birth.

Jesus was born.

We have a whole holiday about it. While some people debate whether the season is given enough reason of spirituality, I would rather focus on that night–when a virgin was placed in a dastardly position, and asked to perform a task, minus any experience.

Nothing of any significance in faith can be achieved unless we understand the purpose of the mission of that evening in “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

Actually it never changed. Although we have many Calvinistic preachers who want to insist that the reason for the appearance of the Christ was for him to die on a cross, that fatalism removes our choice.

“Peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

  • It was the byline of the night.
  • It was the ‘holy tweet.”
  • It was the mission statement.

And it didn’t change when Jesus became a man:

  • “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
  • “My peace I give to you.”
  • “Peace be unto you.”
  • “Love one another.”
  • “Be reconciled to your brothers.”
  • “Whenever you’ve done it unto the least of these my brethren, you’ve done it unto me.”

Here’s a strong statement: Jesus was not born to die, he was born to bring peace and good will.

(Don’t argue with me–take it up with the angels.)

And he faithfully conducted his business, echoing the voice of these heavenly proclaimers all through his ministry, until humanity came along and put nails in his healing hands and his traveling feet. It was only then that they could stop him.

So we have to learn the difference among these words: mission, free will, insanity and grace.

  • The mission was “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”
  • The free will was offering humans a chance to decide what they thought about it.
  • The insanity was rejecting it and killing the messenger.
  • And the grace is that if we choose to still believe in that “peace on Earth, good will toward men”… we can be born again.

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The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling.

*****

Check out Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories’Til Christmas

The Best Christmas Stories You’ll Ever Read!

Click on Santa to browse "Mr. Kringle's Tales ... 26 Stories Til Christmas"

Click on Santa to browse “Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories Til Christmas”

Populie: Christmas is for Children … December 3, 2014

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I read it over twice just to make sure.

But even with this double scrutiny, I was unable to find the mention of any children in the original Christmas story, except for one baby born in a manger.

The tale contains a king, three astrologers from Mesopotamia, shepherds, a confused purported virgin, a bewildered carpenter-in-training, a prophet and a prophetess, a greedy innkeeper, and many souls who were finding their situation quite taxing.

But there was no one under the age of fifteen who was mentioned except the little fella with straw for a pillow.

Yet today you would assume that Christmas was conceived in the minds of the Madison Avenue elite, who were desiring to come up with a holiday that focused on “tots before they were teens.”

Politics loves this populie, because it provides new stumping ground extolling the family and high-sounding ideals.

The entertainment industry certainly focuses on kids because it frees them from having to put a spiritual spin on December 25th, but instead, advertises Santa Claus, candy canes and overgrown elves.

And religion can barely contain itself, trying to yank that baby out of the wooden cradle and on to the cross as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, the significance of “peace on Earth, good will toward men” dissipates into the background in favor of sitting back in our easy chairs, shaking our heads in awe as the youngsters rip open their presents.

Attention one and all: Christmas is for us. It may be our only chance.

It offers three very important possibilities which tend to escape us by the middle of January, and certainly have run away in horror by April 15th, when the IRS drains our sensibilities.

1. We are all the children of God.

If Christmas is for children, it is only because we live in the household of “Our Father which art in heaven.” We have lost our innocence. We favor a jaded outlook. We have resigned our place in the human family, running away to live in an orphanage, simply to make ourselves seem abandoned.

2. Children need to be taught.

For a very brief moment, we begin to look at the Jesus-born-in-the-manger as the life coach he was intended to be instead of the human sacrifice we have thrust upon him. After all, the angels foretold of “peace on Earth, good will toward men,” not a sacrificial blood-bath that ends up with us forming religious institutions with dark, dank corridors.

3. Going forward means going back to pick up what we lost.

There is nothing more precious than being nine years old on Christmas morning. To reject that memory as being idealistic, foolish or silly is to lose one’s soul before dying.

It’s not so much that “Christmas should be in our hearts each and every day of the year” as it is that our hearts should never surrender Christmas and the memories that make us chill with anticipation.

Bluntly, if you’re not excited about what’s going to happen next, you need to change what’s next.

So be careful with the populie that says “Christmas is for children,” because you soon will find yourself angry at the holiday, and also at the little fellows and ladies who keep trying to hang the holly and trim the tree.

It is only true that Christmas is for children as long as we understand that to gain a true spiritual and emotional sensibility… we must all become as a little child.

 

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling.

*****

Check out Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories’Til Christmas

The Best Christmas Stories You’ll Ever Read!

Click on Santa to browse "Mr. Kringle's Tales ... 26 Stories Til Christmas"

Click on Santa to browse “Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories Til Christmas”

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