Jesonian: S.I.N. (Single Issue Nerds) … January 11, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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Judas thought it was all about poor people. We’re not certain that he really cared about the poor–just that he thought it was a confirmation of being religious.

The Pharisees thought we proved our worth to God by performing traditional worship services. They did a lot of straining and ended up with more gnats than camels.

The disciples of John the Baptist believed that people appear more righteous when they fast–especially if you can go without food and look miserable while doing it.

The Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife–either heaven or hell. In other words, it all happens here or nothing happens.

In each one of these cases you are dealing with “Single Issue Nerds”–they believe that the way one does things is more important than the motivation–the faithfulness to a practice more powerful than a conclusion.

Dare I say, they all became the enemy, or at least the adversary, of Jesus of Nazareth? His contention about true religion was that “the kingdom of God is within you.” In other words:

  • If you’re not happy, your faith is failing.
  • If you don’t have peace of mind, your beliefs are weakened.
  • And if you’re not pursuing a life of good cheer and acceptance of others, you might as well be without any kind of spirituality because you’re really just mimicking the heathens.

I see it everywhere I go–“Single Issue Nerds.” They have grabbed some bauble from the Bible and made it their beating bongo. They are obsessed with their discovery, convinced that those who do not pursue their particular issue lack enlightenment and possibly totally misunderstand the will of God.

Let us never forget that Jesus did not have a single issue. It didn’t matter who he talked to, what nationality they were, or even if the people around them thought they were hopeless sinners. He always looked for three things:

1. Are you ready for a change? People who are not willing to change will spend all their time trying to change you.

2. Can you humble yourself? Are you willing to deny your sensation of wholeness, to admit your lack?

3. Can you extend the same mercy to others? Grace is soon dissipated by the absence of mercy. For as Jesus said, “The measure I measure out to others will be measured back to me.”

You may think you have a great social gospel or that your liturgy is significantly deep and meaningful, or maybe that your fundamentalism will squeak you through the doors of heaven when others are rejected.

I suppose you might consider yourself to be progressive–where you only use the Gospel to explain your own mission statement.

But you will find that in your hour of need, your faith has to be able to set you free–because if you’re not free, you can’t free anyone else.

And if you’re in bondage, no matter how good your intentions, you will soon bind up all the world around you.

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Jesonian: Content or Context … September 7, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2345)

Osteen

Once again, the religious community has blown up over the wording shared by a lady in Houston, Texas, as she attempted to explain how she believed that God “wants us to be happy.”

Was it simplistic? Perhaps.

Was it completely unbiblical? Of course not.

Was it unbalanced? Indeed.

The thing we have to remember about the Bible is that it offers us six thousand years of spiritual evolution, as human beings have come to grips with the heart of our Creator.

We start out in the book unwilling to speak His name, and by the time the volume is finished, we’re calling Him “Daddy.”

So it’s important that we learn the difference between content and context. Fortunately, if we’re willing to accept scriptural inclination, that direction is provided by giving special emphasis and recognition to the words of Jesus.

When we do this, we have an arbiter who literally does fulfill the law and the prophets, as he also teaches us to “render unto Caesar.”

But if you happen to be of a denomination which favors a specific doctrine and searches the Good Book to confirm that contention, then you probably will find yourself at odds with others on occasion and a bit zealous about proving your point.

So in my awkward way, allow me to take a series of the social issues of our day, and rather than addressing them by content, offer you the context I have found based on the inklings, words, personality and mission of Jesus.

1. Abortion.

“Don’t send them away.” Children are the closest thing to heaven that we have on earth.

2. The Internet.

“The light of the body is the eye.” Therefore if you fill your eyes with darkness, you will dicover darkness within.

3. Conflict between men and women.

“In the kingdom of God there is neither male nor female.”

4. Marijuana.

I think Jesus would say he wished we could get high on our own light.

5. Capital punishment.

“Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

6. Poor people.

They aren’t going away. “Do what you can for them.”

7. Culture clash.

God doesn’t have favorites.

8. Facebook.

“Don’t do your deeds to be seen of men.”

9. Homosexuality.

Why are you leading with your sexuality?

10. Guns.

“They that live by them shall die by them.”

11. Pornography.

Lust is emotional adultery.

12. Racism.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

13. Family.

“If you only love those who love you, you’re no better than the heathen.”

There’s my offering.

And when it comes to the issue of happiness, Jesus made it clear that it is primal in God’s mind. The Sermon on the Mount begins with “blessed,” and then it takes the rest of the time to explain our responsibility to ourselves, others and God in a quest to maintain that bliss.

So if we are going to live in a society filled with confusion, we must stop contributing to the baffling conflict and begin to simplify things down to a context which will clarify situations instead of further complicating them with more stipulation, legalism or “popcorn philosophy.”

This is why I use the word “Jesonian.”

It’s an attempt to find abundant life … through discovering the heart of Jesus. 

 

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Populie: Poor, Poor People … September 3, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2341)

bread line

The most wealthy woman I have ever known once complained to me that she was having difficulty meeting her needs.

I realized at that point that poverty is not merely a state of finance, but more often than not, a state of mind.

So it is popular to believe that there are poor people.

The populie comes when we say poor, poor people. It stimulates the sensation of pity. Unfortunately, pity is a two-edged sword.

There is pity that manifests itself as, “I feel so sorry for those homeless and impoverished souls.”

And then there is pity that proclaims, “Look at those people. I’m sure glad I’m not like them.”

They share one thing in common: they turn fellow-human beings into victims.

And once we victimize people, it is very easy to marginalize them and make them less important, or even worse, non-human.

Even though we profess to be a socially aware populace, we still subject those who are less fortunate to live in communities where there are more drugs, more liquor stores and no groceries available without paying a high price and selecting unhealthy foods.

Religion loves “poor, poor people” because it gives them a constituency. It grants them a congregation which is so dependent on mercy that they have to come to church, pray and believe in God.

Politics loves the issue because it divides people between believing we can solve the poverty issue and insisting that poverty is caused by laziness. Go to the booth and cast your vote.

Entertainment–well, entertainment loves it any time that it can box people up into categories and postulate on the extremes of the situation, to develop a dramatic or comedic outcome.

“The poor you will have with you always.”

  • Poverty is not going away.
  • We’re not going to wipe it out in our lifetime.
  • There’s no vaccine against it, nor medication to cure it.

Every chance we get, we should do what we can for others without becoming obsessed with the need. Here’s what is necessary to relieve yourself of the emotional, spiritual, mental and physical presence of poverty:

1. Change your location.

If you were a farmer planting seed in a field that bore no crops, you would certainly hunt out new ground. I have seen people improve their prosperity simply by moving. We have a tendency to surround ourselves with people in a similar plight to our own. This breeds a lack of motivation. Make a new plan, Stan, and hit the road, Jack.

2. Refuse pity.

Every time someone tries to be kind to me by feeling sorry for me, I reject it. Sometimes they’re offended, but usually they are so relieved that they don’t have to continue to be my support system that we actually become better friends.

Pity is offering to put you into a cave. Refuse it. Have an idea. And keep your faith.

3. Work your best.

Don’t wait for someone to give you something to do. You will always end up with what they don’t want to do.

Find out what you’re good at and start doing it–even if it’s in a small way–so people can find you, encourage you and use you to perform the duty for them.

Stop experimenting on things you hope for and start perfecting what you know.

“Poor, poor people” is the populie. It’s a formula for keeping people poor.

The only truly spiritual way to treat poverty is to do what you can for folks while you encourage them to go out and do what they can for themselves.

 

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

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