Good News and Better News… April 10th, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I grew up in a church which contended, believed and insisted that baptism was only to be performed through immersion. No “sprinklin’ on the head” for our parishioners. It had to be a full, “ear-washin’, born-again, dunkin’ hullabaloo.”

Our church also believed that communion needed to be served every Sunday, not every once in a while, leaving a congregation spiritually malnourished due to the fact that they had not sufficiently partaken of the wafer and juice.

There were also other fragments of doctrine which were enforced by numerous sermons, as the minister often mocked other ways of thinking, which he deemed heresy.

Even nowadays, every single church on every corner has some pet portion of the Good Book they feel supersedes all others, and sets them apart as the “true Chosen of God” instead of the errant rabble.

Although the mainline denominations, such as the Methodists, will smile at you and promote their flexibility, they still would never think about saying “hallelujah,” clapping their hands, or allowing for the possibility of the miracle of healing in the middle of a service. I guess we need Pentecostals for that.

Every single fragment of a once-noble, unified body of Christ is positive that they are the heartbeat of the Gospel.

Over the years it has become very simple to me–I don’t give a tinker’s damn what people believe. I watch how they act.

Some of the most intolerant, inflexible and mean-spirited people that I’ve worked with over the years seem to possess the most intense Bible knowledge. And other folks, who the righteous would consider to be damnable sinners, have taken the time to wash the shirt on their back before they gave it to me.

Of course, there are all sorts of Christians out there who will tell you that I’m promoting a Gospel of works rather than grace. Actually, all I’m saying is that I can’t thoroughly confirm that grace is at work unless the recipient is gracious.

I’m not so sure people are forgiven if they can’t forgive.

And I definitely don’t see them possessing the Spirit of God when they’re prejudiced against other people.

If you want to find out if a man, woman or child is a Christian, take one morning of your life and work on a project with him or her. Then go back and look at what the fruit of the Spirit is. Because if memory serves me, it is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

When I see those virtues at work, I begin to believe in what people say they believe that they truly do believe.

When I run across grouchy, short-tempered, fussy, back-biting, gossiping and aggravated individuals, I think they are disconnected from their beliefs, even though they seem to be very proficient at quoting scripture.

Don’t tell me what you believe. Show me how you act. And if that has too much “works” in it for you, then go cuddle up to your dead faith.

The good news is that Jesus said “by their fruits you shall know them.”

The better news is that a Gospel that can be acted out is much easier to imitate than trying to mouth holy words.

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Cracked 5 … May 19th, 2015


   Jonathots Daily Blog

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Possible Names for Churches or Religions Founded by Women

A. Rutherans

 

B. Breasbyterians

 

C. Womenites

 

D. Muslins (Women of the Cloth)

 

E. Panticostals

 

clapboard church

 

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***

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

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$3.99 plus $2.00 S & H

$3.99 plus $2.00 S & H

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Jesonian: It’s Just Church … May 10th, 2015


 

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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church without walls

Each of us has a social lifestyle, a business profile and a religious inclination.

The difficulty we face is when we fragment these into three different campaigns.

Unfortunately, there is a tendency to look on the church as the scratching of our religious itch.

We tend to get our social lifestyle and business profile from the world around us. So two-thirds of the makeup of the average Christian is forged in the world instead of the philosophy of Jesus.

To further complicate matters, the religious system seems completely incapable of sharing Jesus’ ideas on social lifestyle and business profile. Instead, the church focuses on salvation and heaven.

Therefore, the interest we have at any given moment in salvation and heaven becomes our intensity and intrigue about God.

Obviously, we are more intent on expressing our social and business profiles, so eventually our religious inclination yawns, climbs into bed and takes a nap.

So ministers scratch their heads, trying to figure out why people are leaving the church.

It’s because it’s difficult and almost psychologically impairing to constantly think about the crucifixion of Christ and streets of gold. What kind of person would you end up being? Some sort of fruitcake, heavy on the nuts.

So the more honest-minded humans, who don’t want to be hypocritical, abandon the church and try to find satisfaction for their religious yearnings in everything from Oprah Winfrey, to self-help books, to, ironically, even atheism. (At least atheism gives you something definitive to believe against.)

So what is the Jesonian?

It is the knowledge that Jesus gave us a social lifestyle, and even though there are many tenets to it, it is best summed up with the wonderful phrase: “To he whom much is given, much is expected.”

Jesus gave us a business profile: “Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Stop making excuses and keep evolving toward excellence.

And certainly Jesus gave us the spirited lifestyle goal of “loving our neighbor as ourself.”

While the Church of Christ may be concerned about baptism by immersion, and the Pentecostals may tout the significance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Jesonian is concerned about immersing ourselves in the lifestyle of Jesus.

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A Third Option … May 29, 2014


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Maple Avenue UMCThe summer is nearly upon us so it is time once again for conclaves, church camps, seminars and conferences, where the more religious of our populace will gather to consider the questions of the day which plague the faithful.

There is an “unsettling” in the religious system.

Yes, we have baffled Baptists, muddled Methodists, petrified Presbyterians, confused Catholics, puzzled Pentecostals, mystified mega-churches and leery Lutherans.

All of them are trying to separate the sheep from the goats, but are finding out that the real problem is separating the sheep from the sheep. For within our congregations we have those who are literal and those who are lateral.

The literal souls believe that even if the Good Book speaks only on a few occasions on a certain morality, that it is important to enforce it as church doctrine and apply it across the board, to all individuals.

The lateral believers contend that the most important parts of the Good Book need to be honored over obscure passages which hinder the execution of love and forgiveness.

So the literal people turn to the lateral people and say:

If you accept that the Good Book does not accept you as you are, I can accept, as you repent and gain acceptability.

The lateral contingency comes right back and replies:

Accept me as I am, even though your beliefs don’t accept what I do. Then I believe that because you accept me, that you are acceptable.

Most church leaders have found that this problem is insurmountable. They think their denomination will have to go one way or another, and that a schism is nearly inevitable.

So let me pose the question: is it righteous to speak against something we find morally wrong, or is it more righteous to support people as they are?

If you will allow me, I choose to ignore that question, and offer a third option to both literal and lateral. It’s quite simple.

1. Read the Gospel.

Preferably the Sermon on the Mount.

2. Let it settle.

Let’s be honest–none of us are immediately smart. We need time to absorb.

3. Talk about it.

As you chat, realize that for every point you make, the Good Book has an annoying way of offering a counter-opinion, just to keep things lively.

4. Leave people alone.

Yes, this is a Jesonian idea.Let the wheat and the tares grow together, because we aren’t good at separating the truth from fiction.

5. Love and live.

If you find yourself leading with a desire to love people instead of instructing, you will find that living is much easier for you in the long run.

6. Let the Spirit do the work.

That’s why we call it Holy.

So this is an option to avoid exploding the Kingdom of God because one group is literal and the other is lateral. It is not your decision.

Let the Spirit do the correcting and leading.

 

 

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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!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Man-Goes Well… March 14, 2012


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James was black.

His mother noticed shortly after his birth and the trend continued throughout his childhood, into adolescence and was still in full swing when I met him in 1980 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

We became friends. This was frowned on in our community, where it was highly recommended that “coloreds and whites” not be mixed–and I’m not talking about doing the laundry. We didn’t care.

Matter of fact, we planned on taking a missionary trip together to Haiti. Honestly, it was more the desire for adventure than evangelism, but both motivations still welcome the presence of God.

Haiti. It is a land infested with poverty, which welcomes the supernatural, primarily in mysticism and voodoo, but also embraced the Catholic Church when it arrived, possibly because she brought in statues, saints and a bit of her magic–and even smiled a little when the Baptists came in offering redemption through dunking; and certainly the Haitians were intrigued when the Pentecostals arrived, blabbing away in tongues. I even ran across a lady who had built an altar out of cardboard boxes which contained a statue of Mary alongside a goat’s head. (I would assume this would be Holy Mary, mother of goat…”)

James and I created a lot of interest in the city of Port-au-Prince. After all, a black man and a white man strolling along laughing was an unusual sight–especially when the black man was tall and skinny and the white man was not as tall and was “skinny-free.” Walking down the street we looked like a bat and a baseball striding side by side.

Invitations to come and speak in churches in the local communities began to pour in. There were so many that we eventually had to split up–James going to one possibility and I, to another. How disappointed the young, single ladies of the church were when I arrived instead of James! They were yearning for Billy Dee Williams, and they got Billygoat Gruff.

But in one particular hamlet, we ended up together, and in the midst of our presentation, an older lady burst into the church. There was a collective gasp from the gathered. She kind of stomped up to where we were, shook some sort of rattle in our faces and danced around us four or five times before coming to a halt and pointing her finger into my face. James and I, being the rubes we were, applauded her dance, deeming that appropriate. Offended, she plodded out of the room and we were warned by our interpreter that we had just been cursed by a sorceress who was deeply involved in voodoo–and that we should be careful because she had great power.He explained to us that she had wooed a young sixteen-year-old boy away from his home and family, to live with her and be her slave. Honestly, James and I were a bit amused by the whole tale, having dispelled most of our trepidation over fairy tales years earlier.

Now, we decided to stay overnight in the little town, and when we rose in the morning from our pallets, we discovered, outside of our little enclosure, a basket filled with mangos–I think about ten in all. Both of us were hungry, because being not very adept and aware of traveling expenses, we had run out of money and were at the mercy of grazing off the local fare. So we cut into those mangos and began to enjoy a delicious fruit-filled breakfast. When we were about halfway through eating our basket of plenty, our interpreter showed up, absolutely horrified at the sight before him. He explained to us that the mangos had been cursed by our local witch doctress–the lady who had attended the service the night before and that we were eating death and destruction.

Who would know? They tasted like mangos.

Soon a small crowd of the townsfolk gathered around, more or less on a death vigil, to see when we would fall over, foam at the mouth and croak. Hours passed and we continued to giggle, clap our hands and talk with surrounding friends about the goodness of life and God. When it became obvious that the spell must have been somehow “mis-spelled,” the people began to rejoice.Matter of fact, the mother of the young boy who had been taken prisoner gathered a couple of her matronly allies and headed over to the witch doctress’s hut and reclaimed her son, bringing him home.

The woman of alleged magic did nothing. She was powerless.

You see, as it turns out, the boy wasn’t under any spell but lust, and didn’t need any deliverance except to come home and return to sanity. It also turns out that the mangos refused to be infused with anything but good taste.

We stayed on that evening and practically the whole little village came out to hear our message. Superstition was exposed. All it takes is turning on a light, because when you turn on a light, fear scurries away … and faith remains, smiling.

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

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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