Good News and Better News … April 2nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Little Jonathan, Jonny, Precious, Jon, Big Jon, Rock, singer, artist, Jonathan Richard, lover, boyfriend, daddy, Papa, father, traveler, performer, controversial, G-Pop, blogger, songwriter, friend.

These are all names associated with me over the years. What a list.

I am not that significant. But I also must tell you that Alexander the Great was not that great, and Ming the Merciful was often fussy.

Names are bandied about to explain what we feel rather than to clarify what someone or something is. This came to my mind last night when I watched the NBC version of “Jesus Christ, Superstar.”

Not only did he need to be “Jesus,” but someone required him to take on the name “Christ.” And not only “Christ” but now, by reputation, he has become a “Superstar.”

A list of such names and adjectives is accumulated in Isaiah from the Good Book.

  • Wonderful
  • Counselor
  • Mighty God
  • Everlasting Father
  • Prince of Peace

I suppose most people would proclaim that Jesus was all of those. But I’m sorry. “Wonderful” just does not do it for me. Sitting around and praising a deity for his goodness does very little to enhance my life.

Some folks would find it essential to establish that he is a “Mighty God,” but I think mastering the rising of the sun and the setting of the same makes that pretty clear.

“Everlasting Father?” I actually need a father here. I don’t know if I need one for eternity.

“Prince of Peace?” That’s cool, but the Prince of Peace also required that I be a peace-maker.

As I look at all the superlatives used to describe the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the one that stands out to me from the list is “Counselor.”

Jesus is my counselor. He has kept me out of jail. He has assisted me in maintaining my fibers of sanity. He has led me in understanding how to become more valuable to the human beings around me. He has informed me on discovering when a door is closed and when it is open.

He taught me to ask and seek and knock instead of complaining about the menu that life has thrust at me.

Because I have accepted him as my counselor, wonderful things have happened. I have been able, through my testimony, to confirm that he is a “Mighty God” and an “Everlasting Father.” And peace? He has been a Prince.

But more importantly, he is my counselor because he is my confidante, and for those who pursue the path of atheism, he is my invisible friend, whom I frequently talk to. And if he doesn’t exist, he’s still a great therapy session. After all, not everyone can afford two hundred dollars an hour for a professional.

I do believe that what you call Jesus does determine the level of religiosity which plagues your soul–because every drop of traditional religion that inhabits us also inhibits us.

So the good news is that Jesus, being versatile, has many names, and just like you and me, has taken on a variety of personas.

And the better news is, you can feel free to call him anything you want.

 

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Come To Think Of It … Sunday, December 25th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3166)

christmas

Come To Think Of It

I am not Santa Claus. Ho, ho, NO.

I am not Jesus. I can turn water into ice.

I am not an elf. Closer to Santa Claus there.

I am not snow. I find it impossible to melt–especially pounds.

I am not a Christmas tree. I would find it difficult to be evergreen.

I am not a manger. HAY!!

I am not Joseph. I have mistrusted women.

I am not Mary. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a virgin.

I am not a donkey, though I can act like…you got it. An ass.

I am not a star, but I’ve been a good warm-up act.

I am not a promise. I fail too often.

I am not salvation. But… where do we stand in line?

I am not the Prince of Peace. Too often I find myself in pieces.

I am not a shepherd. I can be impatient with sheep.

I am not an angel. I have a list of people who will confirm this.

I am not the King of Kings. I’m learning to be crowned with humility.

Of course, not the Lord of Lords. Though some of you may think I lord it over you.

I am not the Little Drummer Boy. Simple: not little, can’t drum, not really a boy.

I’m not Rudolph, though my nose gets red when I have high blood pressure.

I’m not tinsel, although I’m working on being the light in the world.

I am not Christmas. Just trying to be merry.

But today I looked out at a crazy world which pleaded to me with sad, distraught eyes. Help! So…

I must be Santa Claus. Time to pull on my boots.

I must be Jesus. Where is that neighbor to love?

I must be an elf. I’m practicing my “giddy.”

I must be snow. If you get my drift. (No flakes allowed.)

I must become a Christmas tree–standing tall for those who want to decorate me with great possibilities.

I will become the manger–a humble home for the Master.

I can become Joseph–believe in the people I love.

Mary? All I have left is a virgin heart.

I will be a donkey, making an ass of myself for a good cause.

Star light, star bright–I shall be the first star you see tonight.

I make this promise: no promises–just the truth.

I will become salvation in the sense that I will show you how powerful that gift can truly be.

I will be the Prince of Peacemakers, so I can be a child of God.

I will shepherd myself and as many souls as possible, to safety from the wolf.

I will become an angel by visiting those who haven’t seen angels for a long time.

Can I be a King of Kings? If by Kings, you mean helping those who need to find their personal place. Then, yes.

Lord of Lords? Certainly not. But I can show people that to be master is to serve.

Forget about the Little Drummer Boy. I’ll leave that to the marching band.

I certainly am Rudolph. I have strange things about me that I’m trying to use to get through the fog.

And like tinsel, I will find a place to hang in there and shed some light.

I am Christmas.

I am the only Christmas that some people will see.

I am Christmas, and without me, Christmas could become just another day of the week.

****

Meningsbee will return next week with the ongoing saga.

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G-Poppers … February 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

On any given Sunday, G-Pop has the honor of sitting and sharing in front of an audience that mingles Republicans and Democrats indiscriminately.

Matter of fact, the Sunday morning church service may be the last location in our great country where conservatives and liberals have to sit side-by-side and crack open a common hymn book and sing harmoniously.

One of G-Pop’s sons suggested that such an environment demands too much compromise to be of use in the “kingdom of truth.”

Not so.

In the realm of reconciliation and the pursuit of being a peacemaker, there are only two enemies, and only one true danger.

Separating these two enemies is the job of every good-thinking man and woman. The two enemies are arrogance and ignorance:

  • Arrogance contends, “I am smarter than you.”
  • And ignorance insists, “I am better than you.

Every tragedy which has befallen our species has occurred when the statesmen and spiritual leaders of our time became too busy with politics and religion, allowing arrogance and ignorance to coalesce.

As long as we keep them separated, we can address the insecurities they possess individually.

Case in point:

Racism is the merging of arrogance and ignorance–people who think they’re smarter than other people, who also have decreed that they’re better.

It happened with the Nazis–the arrogance of Germanic tribes who thought they were smarter led to the conclusion that they were better–a Super Race.

It is what festers in the Middle East.

And it is what causes us–a supposedly enlightened people–to still be struggling over issues of color, sexuality and gender, far beyond the time of reasonability.

G-Pop teaches a simple message.

He tells people clearly, “If I am smarter than you in some areas, you are certainly smarter than me in others.”

And … no one is better than anyone else.

 

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Seek a Salem … July 16, 2012

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Seven Mile Ferry — a well-traveled path with, I’m sure, a tale to be told. Yet I was not in the mood for the ramblings of some roadway. I had come to share, and hopefully to be shared with, by some of God’s good folk. My destination was Salem.

The word has two meanings for me. First, “Salem,” from the Hebrew, means peace. Of course, any good reader who has spent any time in the gospels will tell you there’s really no such thing as an actual location for peace. Matter of fact, there’s a warning that those who pursue such a utopia will often find “sudden destruction”–or a “sword.”  No, the Good Book tells us that peace requires a maker.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Which, by the way, is a far cry better than being referred to as the “Brats of Beelzebub…”)

The second image that pops into my mind when I think of “Salem” is the town in Massachusetts, which for one reason or another, decided to begin looking on its young lasses as witches. Although we might be tempted, after an evening of perusing reality television, to sympathize with these forefathers, it’s rather doubtful that any of these characters are possessed with much more than themselves. Yes, Salem, Massachusetts, went on a witch hunt–and even though the conclusions were rather dubious, there was an awful lot at stake, so they went ahead a burned a bunch of ’em anyway.

So I was curious, upon arriving at this new sanctuary of possibility, which Salem lay before me. Would it be a building filled with peace-makers or those who are just making pieces out of everything, breaking their world apart into black and white?

The difference is really quite simple. Those who have decided to make peace always arrive in life with anticipation. They have discovered the key to making the human journey pleasant and plausible lies in determining that God is ready to bless instead of curse or ignore. If you really believe that we have all fallen so short of the glory of God that He’s basically abandoned the human part of His creative mission and is searching for the nearest whack to destroy us, then you will find it very difficult to want to make peace. You will also find it unnecessary to have “ears to hear”–because one of the true signs of a peace-maker is that he or she has taken their anticipation and has put on ears because they believe there are blessings to be had.

On the other hand, those who make pieces out of life, looking to fragment everything into its parts for careful scrutiny, always lead with suspicion. Let’s be honest–if you’re convinced the world is evil and God is doing battle with iniquity, then the only conclusion you could possibly come to is that most people you meet are flirting with darkness, and it is your duty to expose their bleakness and proclaim them to be transgressors so as to do the will of God and protect yourself from destruction. It is a fascinating fact that those who have suspicion crawling up their spines only have ears to fear. It doesn’t matter what you tell them–they will translate it into some sort of horror or pending doom.

So you can imagine–I was curious upon arriving at this beautiful, well-constructed, country church, whether I would find Salem, the peace makers, or Salem, occupied by those trying to make pieces out of something truly holy.

Walking into the building, I was greeted. That’s always a good sign. A hand should always come our way before a stare. At least that’s my opinion. I was engulfed by a sea of hands, and proclamations from people’s lips that they had been looking forward to what God was going to be doing. The comical part of the preamble to the service was that these delightful human beings were so anxious to communicate their excitement that I got prayed for three times. Usually, in a United Methodist Church, if you get one prayer, you are fortunate. But I got a triple anointing. So that put a giddiness in my heart–that the message my Father gave to me to share with my brothers and sisters was actually going to be heard instead of being criticized by those wanting to find something absurd. Because as I told you, when there’s anticipation in the room, there are ears to hear. And as Jesus said, “when people have ears to hear, let them hear.”

Salem United Methodist Church has discovered a great truth–God doesn’t bless us. Blessing is everywhere and we either arrive to receive it or we stand firm in our stubbornness, to reject it. It really comes down to one question–is peace in my control? Or in the control of God and the devil?

If you think that the heavens or hell are manipulating what happens next in your life, you will very suspicious and have ears to fear. But if you know that we are the peace makers, the children of God, then you will show up in life with anticipation, with ears to hear. Ears to hear? Or ears to fear? It’s the difference between finding God or fearing life.

I had a beautiful morning. People were touched and likewise with me. But it all revolved around the fact that this little chapel out on Seven Mile Ferry Road decided to be filled with anticipation instead of suspicion. They made a decision not to hunt for the witch, but to be a congregation which hunts … for peace.

   

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