Jesonian … July 28th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Today I’m doing something a little different. I’m sitting here with the Good Book open, peering down at John the 7th Chapter.

I have no intention of trying to impress you with my Bible knowledge nor attempt to turn some passage into a magical expression of salvation.

What I want to share with you is a pattern.

I would like to find an adjective to describe this pattern. Foolish comes to mind. Perhaps dangerous. But certainly repetitive.

The pattern is the ongoing belief in every generation that you can evaluate something by the numbers–“the bottom line.”

Ironically, it was verbalized perfectly over two thousand years ago by the brothers and sisters of Jesus of Nazareth when they critiqued him on his approach to promoting the message he had chosen to share.

Their insights are frightening to read because they are so current to today’s ignorance. They spoke the following to Jesus:

“For there is no man that does anything in secret but instead, wants to be known.”

Have you ever heard that philosophy?

“Promote yourself.”

“Get it out there.”

“Showcase it.”

“Use your tools.”

“Adjust your intensity to the present flow of thinking.”

Amazingly, through the whole 7th Chapter of John, this repeats over and over again. For later on in that same passage, the audiences that come to Jesus muse whether he could be the Messiah, because they’re concerned about where he was born.

Added pressure.

Not only do you need to promote yourself well, but you need a certain look–maybe even a color. How about a culture to back you up?

We have the mistaken idea that Jesus always had great multitudes following him. There were times that people hung around for a while–after all, if you turn water into wine and can take a Happy Meal and make a buffet, you will gain some attention.

But the truth of the matter is, as soon as Jesus started teaching, the crowd thinned, and on one occasion totally disappeared.

For after all, what concerned the average Jew was whether God would send a military man to destroy the Romans and establish the Kingdom of Israel.

On the other hand, Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God, which was within us, and would enable us to get along with everyone, including the Romans.

Conflict.

Yet it is best capsulized in that same chapter in a meeting among the Jewish leaders.

When they sat discussing the phenomenon of Jesus of Nazareth, what finally made them decide he was a joke, a hoax or at least a light-weight was the fact that none of the hierarchy of their religion–those considered intelligent, educated and astute–believed in him.

The premise was, “If you really are somebody, all the “somebodies” will recognize and promote you.”

“If you really are talented, you will be discovered.”

“If you really are bringing a possibility of hope and salvation, eventually you’ll be offered a platform instead of a cross.”

It didn’t work out that way.

Nowadays, I often sit around with my children, explaining to them that success is meaningless. In my lifetime, notorious people, who appeared to be powerful and everlasting, bit the dust and became cautionary tales of stupidity.

You can’t look at the numbers.

If you had lived in 1st century Palestine and looked at the numbers, the popularity, the acceptance, the blending and the support of the people in the know, you would never have found Jesus.

If you want to find out what is going to last, be helpful, truthful and carry the touch of God, do one thing–simply watch and learn.

How resourcefully does he, she or they use the resources?

*****

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Good News and Better News … July 11th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reformation 2Yesterday I was bestowed the great honor of sharing my traveling message with the dear hearts of the Reformation Lutheran Church in Reading, Pennsylvania.

There are certainly folks who would contend that Martin Luther did very little to reform the Catholic Church, but instead, ended up starting his own ecclesiastical order. Matter of fact, some people will tell you that he retained the worst of the Mother Church while losing the more endearing portions–like Bingo and delicious fish frys.

But undoubtedly, there is a need for the religious system to be reformed and become more like the church that Jesus envisioned. What would that church be?

If you recall, after his resurrection Jesus gave Peter a simple instruction about how to empower the believers: “Feed my sheep.”

Although it’s true that politics, entertainment and religion attempt to feed the populace, each one tends to focus on only a part of the human experience, leaving other aspects unattended.

Humans are heart, soul, mind and strength.

Emotions need to be fed. This is what Jesus meant by “blessed are the pure in heart.” We must cease being afraid of our feelings, and air them out to see if they have any validity.Reformation 4

Feed the soul. The spirit of humankind lives off of a truth that makes us free to pursue wisdom. When the truth is diluted or hidden, we become religious instead of soulful.

Feed the mind. The brain retains. To get rid of faulty retention, there has to be a renewing, with fresh information and invigorating dialogue.

Feed the strength. We have bodies. They run on fuel. The more we feed our bodies the correct fuel and exercise, the healthier we feel.

As I spoke to the folks in Reading yesterday, I realized that they had arrived at the church weary from a week filled with bad news. They needed to be fed.

So emotionally, we told them that nothing happens until we show up, and nothing is over until we give up.

Reformation 3Spiritually, we shared that nothing of quality begins on Earth unless we understand that judging one another closes the door to fellowship.

Mentally, we challenged them that a God who loves us wants us to be happy instead of sacrificing our dreams to restricted religious regulation.

And physically? Well physically, we told them that the doorway to good health is to start off by enjoying the life God has given us and finding pathways to make it more abundant.

We can become the reformation church if we realize that those who come through our doors need to be fed–heart, soul, mind and strength.

That’s the good news.

The better news is that we don’t need to make up a program or draft a fresh constitution. Jesus has already laid out a terrific platform for complete human growth through his Sermon on the Mount.

Reformation 1

 

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Populie: It’s a Free Country … May 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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it's a free country

POPULIE: an idea that is so popular that we feel there’s room to stuff in a lie or two to plump up the concept.

Freedom is a wonderful expression but the notion that we’re all free to do whatever we want, based on our whim or citizenship, takes a precept and turns it into a populie. America is not a land of freedom–it is a community of diversity, grounded in liberty.

First and foremost, we have to understand that religion, politics and entertainment, once again, love the populie.

Politics extols the virtue of “it’s a free country” to promote planks in its platform which may historically be proven to be erred, but for the time being, gain applause from the crowd and votes on election day. Remember, politics doesn’t care about posterity–just the temporary tally.

Entertainment, of course, wants to advertise the notion of abstract freedom because then really trashy ideas or short-sighted philosophies can be inserted into movies, music and television and presented as reality, under the guise of free expression.

And religion screams of the glories of the First Amendment when insisting that there is a need to alienate some faction or movement from their ranks due to its absence of reverence.

But actually, the word “freedom” needs to be replaced with “liberty”–and there is a great phrase in the Good Book, which states, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

In other words, if you’re going to do anything in the name of God, make sure you grant the human race liberty.

What is liberty?

Liberty does not require that I give permission, or even approval, of what is done. It is the offering of choice–as long as that decision doesn’t rob choice from another.

When you place that definition on our current social environment, much clarity comes to the forefront. I am not trying to tell you that I’ve discovered the Rosetta Stone for Earth’s peace and harmony. There are many complicated discussions which will ensue on a myriad of topics, but in a nation that allows for diversity, but also still pursues righteousness, you can account for both by opening the door to liberty.

For instance, I don’t believe in abortion. But I do believe in choice.

The pro-life people would find that wishy-washy. My response? If you really think it’s wrong to kill babies, then help advertise birth control, personal control and open up more adoption centers. You do not have the right to steal the liberty of choice from your fellow-citizens.

To those who are pro-choice, who would be angry with me because I disapprove of the procedure and therefore cast a dim light on ladies who pursue it, I would say, “You can’t have it both ways.” Most people don’t advertise their abortion on Facebook. There is a stigma to it. It is a needful hesitation, giving respect to life. If a woman chooses that path, she should be granted the liberty, but it does not require my rubber-stamp.

I feel the same thing about marijuana. I don’t like it. It doesn’t meet my specifications for quality or even inclusion, but if marijuana wants to come in as a choice for people in our country, and fall under the same scrutiny as all other smoke products–in other words, being forbidden in public places, never sold to children and studied continuously for its health difficulties–then so be it.

I feel our country becomes much simpler when we allow for debate, we arrive at liberty, we provide choice, but we guide the results in the direction of a common good instead of cheering on the noisy rabble.

It is not a free country–it is a country of liberty.

And liberty requires that we offer one another choice … while allowing others to have an equal amount of choosing.

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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

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POPULIE: It’s Just the Way It Is … April 30, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Don and girl“It’s just the culture. You can’t change it.”

This is a quotation from Don Sterling during one of his recent conversations with his girlfriend about his beliefs and contentions concerning racial and ethnic issues. And even though his words and ideas were so egregious that they raised a national “stir over Sterling,” the heart of his principles exists as a cancer in our society and permeates the thinking of most Americans.

Because we have been raised with the foolish notion that “popular” means “right,” we are constantly sucked in by lies and deception, drawing us away from our better nature into seasons of temporary insanity and regression.

  • Not everything in life is up for votes.
  • Not everything in life is debatable.
  • Not everything in life can be a button on Facebook, which you punch if you “like” and when you realize you’ve accumulated enough of these approvals, you can proceed with confidence.

It is a POPULIE: “It’s just the way it is.”

Yet sometimes, we have to say, “It’s the culture, and not only is it wrong, but we’re going to change it.”

Politics discourages this, because to maintain a platform on which to base political leanings, you often find yourself defending arcane ideas and ridiculous notions.

Religion enjoys this prospect of not being able to change matters because it takes the responsibility for “storming the gates of hell” away from the local congregation and also allows for the anemic proclamation of the “soon return of Christ” because the world is in such a mess.

And entertainment loves to hide behind the populist notion that society has moved into some sort of new acceptance of an obtuse idea which has been rejected by time so they can flaunt it and call it “reality.”

Here’s something I want you to remember:

It isn’t a way if it doesn’t tell the truth that brings life.

And every true way believes that we are together.

Truth holds us together and life brings us together.

If you’re not arguing for these points, you’re jumping on a band wagon that’s playing so loudly that you may not notice that you’re heading for the edge of a cliff.

I do not care if social, spiritual, moral or even political issues have gained a following. I only care if they are a way that tells the truth that brings life.

If they aren’t, I will refuse to believe “it’s just the culture and the way it is.”

As people line up to give a gut punch to Don Sterling for his outlandish remarks, we need to realize that we all are in danger of falling victim to the quotation that fell from his lips. “It’s just the culture. You can’t change it.”

Well, I will tell you this: if we can’t change it, it will change us–and that particular transformation will not be life-giving, but rather, suck the possibility of true humanity and joy from our lives.

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

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

Fairfield’s White Unto Harvest… November 12, 2012

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Life is awkward.

Nothing of any significance will occur in the reading of this essay unless you understand this. Life is filled with moments of inconvenience which can either mount up in your mind and seem unconquerable, leaving you in despair, or can be taken on one at a time, with a tenacious sense of humor and be overcome.

It’s really that simple. Those who try to supersede the awkwardness of life by avoiding nervous encounters end up in a smaller and smaller world with fewer and fewer possibilities and more predictable friends and circumstances–which annoy them because of how bland they are.

Now, I had a fabulous Sunday morning in Fairfield, Ohio. It wasn’t fabulous because everything worked perfectly. It wasn’t astoundingly delightful because the cosmos came into synchronicity with my purpose. No–it was awkward.

Arriving at the gig, I discovered there were three big steps leading to the platform. Right now I don’t do steps. Sometimes I can successfully pull it off without looking like a worm ascending a plank–if there is a handrail available. You guessed it–no handrail.

Awkward.

On top of that, before we came on to share our bits and pieces, there was a march of children bringing in boxes of toys for the needy and a very well-produced salute to the military by the chancel choir, complete with veterans standing up in correlation to their particular armed services song.  Let’s review: marching children, a salute to supporting our troops.

Awkward.

Following the introduction by our dear sponsor, we received no greeting of welcoming applause, so I had to begin my show in total silence. It would be difficult to explain to you how awkward that feels without placing you in that position–which I mercifully do not desire to do.

Did I mention that life is awkward?

At the end of my program, during my final song, the ushers suddenly decided to start collecting the love offering used to defray our expenses. I have a particular hatred for this. It makes me feel like I’m either singing for my supper or I’m trying to drain the audience of finance by emotionally stimulating them with one of my musical selections. I gently requested that they stopped passing the plate, but they ignored me. It bothered me enough that I missed one of my lyrics, but then I shook it off and completed the song.

I want you to understand that this is not an indictment of Fairfield or an attempt to get you to feel sorry for me. This is life at its best–awkward as hell, waiting for me to bring a little heaven.

If you’re going to live on a planet that decides to rain whenever it wants to, using machines that have parts that break down, surrounded by fellow travelers who are convinced they have the right of way and subsisting in a body that is racing towards death, you might want to adjust your thinking and be prepared for a bit of evolution.

I loved those people yesterday–but what I want them to understand is that our country will never be what it was or become what it needs to be without them first learning to take awkward and change it into possibility. As long as you run away from awkward, you will run right into the arms of defeat.

Life is about overcoming awkward moments.

Take this morning: we are packing up our headquarters, loading it into a van, and driving down to Louisville, Kentucky, to unpack it and start another week. There are folks who would be convinced that is virtually impossible, and if not impossible, certainly a hassle– and henceforth unwarranted. As long as you maintain that mentality, you will be at the mercy of tribulation and under the control of those who have figured out a way to survive a moment’s fussiness.

Nothing is easy. I have been on a food regimen now for a month. So yesterday, I decided to go to the pot luck dinner provided by the church. It was lovely, generous and delicious, but NOT low-calorie. So the amount of food I was able to put on my plate and still maintain my regimen would have caused a hummingbird to complain to the restaurant management. It made me a little grumpy in the afternoon when I didn’t have any calories left to consume.

Awkward.

We as human beings have no way of gauging our success unless we can look back on how well we handle ourselves in awkward moments. I was hesitant to write about this today because I don’t want the folks I fell in love with yesterday in Fairfield to think I am complaining. Quite the contrary–I relish them. How will I ever get a chance to prove the value of my philosophy of life if what I believe and think isn’t challenged?

I feel good this morning–not because every aspect of my plan came off with utter precision. It’s because I devised a scheme through a series of well-placed chairs to mount the stage and get to my keyboard and off the stage and into the wheelchair, cruising on to my book table, without falling flat on my face. Glory be to God and praise the Lord and pass the ammunition (in honor of Veteran’s Day).

I am grateful that when the offering plates were passed, completely against my wishes, that my wilfulness did not win out, but instead, I went with the flow and the sun still shone and the earth revolved. Not everything has to be done my way in order to end up working out for my good.

I am overjoyed that I survived a church potluck and somehow or another made it to 5:15 that evening, where I was once again permitted to be a consumer and enjoy additional nutrition.

Life is awkward.

As Jesus said, the fields are white unto harvest but the laborers are few. Why are the laborers few?

Is it because people are lazy? Absolutely not.

Perhaps people are looking for a handout and don’t want to work? I don’t believe so.

I believe it’s because people are scared hopeless over the prospect of the shifting sands moving beneath their feet, changing their circumstances and creating an environment they were not prepared for. So they try to play it safe.

You have to decide–is life a shooting range where you stand at a distance and aim for paper targets, hoping to achieve a bull’s-eye? Or is it a forest where deer hunting season is in full progress and you’ve just discovered you’re a buck? Yes, the buck starts here.

Thank you, Fairfield. I am so grateful for you proving once again that love is not a confirmation of what we believe, but rather, an extremely awkward process wherein we continue to believe, often without ANY confirmation.

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5ive … March 17, 2012

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Barack, Mitt, Newt, Rick and Ron (alphabetical order)–the five left standing, as it were, desiring the post of President of the United States.

The United Church of Christ, Mormon, two Catholics and a Baptist, respectively, are their religious affiliations. They all love to talk about God. I do not know when, in our body politic, that the pursuit and discussion of the Divine gained such prominence, but now it seems the main arm wrestling occurring over issues is being decided by who, presumably, God likes the best.

Is God a Republican or a Democrat? Since these five individuals are so intent on invoking the name of the Most High, I just wondered whether they would be willing to run on God’s platform, based upon what we know about His character and concerns. Yes, would Barack, Mitt, Newt, Rick and Ron have the intestinal fortitude to abandon previous stances in favor of the universal mindset of the Almighty? Because as I see it, God’s political position would be in four parts:

1. God is no respecter of persons. That means He wouldn’t play one race or group of people against another to gain support, but rather, would promote the notion that no one is better than anyone else, and that the human race is born with complete equality of possibility. Granted, some people choose to use their birthright as emotional toilet paper, to degrade themselves instead of uplifting their situation, but that has nothing to do with the fact that God placed within all of us the ability to overcome our weaknesses, and to temper our strengths, to keep us from feeling dominant by circumstance of birth. Yes, I wonder what these five candidates would think about running on a platform of NO PREJUDICEnot in theory but in practice.  It would mean we would have to take Iran seriously as a sovereign nation and therefore negotiate with them instead of threatening them.

2.  Where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty. How popular would it be to run a campaign with a plank in the platform that proclaims there will be no limits placed on liberty. In other words, anything that inhibits the rights of an individual in our country to express him or herself equally with anyone else would be anti-God. Such a concept would be considered pure idealism and debunked as impossible because we extol our particular rules and regulations, while eschewing the restrictions of our opponent.

3. God is love, and perfect love casts out fear. Would it be possible to be President of the United States if you weren’t able to scare the voters into selecting you as their savior from terror? If you removed apprehension and worry from the equation and had to run a race for the White House based upon NO FEAR, would you be able to do it and still gain enough attention from the electorate to get them to the polls to choose you? Certainly some great men in history have said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” but we have not heard much affirmation of that concept of late. After all, frightening the peasants is a great way to get the serfs to pay taxes to the castle. It is rather doubtful that any of these five individuals would want to renounce that practice in entirety.

4. And finally, God is light and in Him is no darkness. Would Republican or Democrat be willing to present himself to the American public based solely upon his ideas or aspirations, without trying to attack his adversary? And that would include, of course, allowing their names to be sold off to Super Pacs, running negative ads against any competitor who dared to surface. Could we actually have a political climate that was free of darkness, free of deception, free of lying–in other words, transparent as much as human beings are able to become? Would this quintet of wannabes be willing to remove darkness from the table and enlighten us?

So let’s take another look at a platform that really would represent the spirit of God rather than invoking His name to evoke controversy.

  • No prejudice. That means gays, women, Iranians, Jews and immigrants.
  • No limit on liberty. That means gays, women, Iranians, Jews, immigrants–and you and me.
  • No fear–skipping the step of terrifying people, but instead, informing us on the legitimate information available to make an intelligent decision.
  • No darkness–precluding the instinct to exterminate our opponent with vile threats and less-than-truthful assertions. Are we prepared to speak the truth in love and let it make us free?

So in the midst of all this discussion, where the political parties think that God is more concerned about a woman’s menstrual cycle than He is her personal freedom, we might want to stop for a second and consider what our government would become if it really was one nation under God, indivisible. Are we ready for such a step? Or is there still enough carnality left in us that a spirit-led administration, inclusive of everyone, would fall flat on its face and be deemed impractical?

So I don’t mind you Republicans being conservative. And you Democrats, feel free to pontificate on your issues with great aplomb. I would just request that you both be a little bit more careful in assuming that the Father in heaven has signed up as an advocate for your particular side.

Because He would lobby for no prejudice, no limit to liberty, no fear and no darkness.

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

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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