Jesonian … February 10th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3579)

There are two distinct types of abuse.

There is physical abuse, punctuated by an attack against body, heart or mind. It leaves cuts, bruises and scars. It is nasty, evil and inexcusable.

The other form of abuse is neglect. Being commissioned to perform a responsibility, someone decides to set it aside in favor of other pursuits, leaving that which was meant to be cared for destitute.

Although a case could be made that the religious system continues to physically abuse Jesus of Nazareth by crucifying him weekly in sermons, attempting to stimulate some sort of passion from the congregation, I shall step aside from such discussion in favor of presenting the true abuse.

We preach a Gospel of salvation which includes emphasis on “one time only, better do it today, this could be your last chance, hell is hot, Jesus loved you so much that he bled, and don’t you want to go to heaven” rhetoric in an attempt to frighten hearers who have already heard this many times before.

Meanwhile the real message of Jesus–the one that makes him our intimate, elder brother, and also affords the planet an opportunity for peaceful cohabitation–is often read aloud with the energy of reciting last week’s grocery list.

If you’re going to be Jesonian, you need to love Jesus. If you’re going to love Jesus, you’re going to get to know what’s close to his heart. And when you get to know what’s close to his heart, you will no longer be satisfied with a crucified Savior, but instead will become a disciple, pursuing a dynamic lifestyle.

You don’t have to go any further than the first three beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount to see what Jesus was all about. Matter of fact, I could spend the rest of my life elaborating on that trio and never run out of material.

It begins with the reality, follows with a challenge and culminates with wisdom.

The reality: we are happy because we are poor in spirit.

The reason that makes us happy is because we can stop trying to be spiritual instead of human. Once you find your classification, it’s so much easier to compete. Not an angel, not a saint, not a theologian, but rather, a human who is impoverished in the realm of spirit.

First realization: I am human and it is good.

God said so when He got done creating us. I don’t think He lied. Sure, we’re unpredictable, but since He’s not afraid of that, why should I apologize?

This is followed with a challenge. “Blessed are those who mourn.”

I have emotions and this is good.

Although we try to suppress them, these feelings continue to pop to the forefront, churn up our throats and waggle our tongues. Rather than deny them, we should use them to feel, to laugh, and most certainly, to mourn–to escape being uncaring bastards and instead, weep over the loss and pain in the world around us.

This climaxes with a bit of eternal, precious wisdom. “Blessed are the meek.”

Although there is a campaign to promote the notion that the more we brag, the stronger we are, the human race actually has a tendency to cut the stilts out from under those who try to walk too tall.

We honor humility. We are geared to destroy pride, even when it dwells within us.

Humble: “I am weak and it is good.”

In these three statements Jesus establishes a Gospel which is not only able to be mastered by humans, but can also be passed along as the living bread of truth that we all desperately need before we starve to death emotionally and spiritually.

I am human and it is good.

I have emotion, and it is good.

I am weak, and damn straight–it is good.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … November 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3134)

pohymn-nuttin

Nuttin’

Nuttin’ else do I need

Got the soil and my seed

Lots of kin at my side

Full of joy, absent pride

 

Blessed we are, one and all

Little Bobby has grown so tall

God seems pleased with our whole

Winter was cold, took its toll

 

But healthy we remain to this day

Survived the tricks of the darkened way

Laughed enough to make us try

Hard enough to bring the cry

 

Wished for better but enjoyed the good

Harvested on time like good folks should

Minded our words and actions, too

Forsook the lie, pursued the true

 

No new shirt could Papa buy

Mama, stay simple–don’t ask why

The kids giggle to forget the lack

The work is tough, ‘twon’t break your back

 

Some say we ignorant, absent thought

Judging by what be sold and bought

But nuttin’ else do we require

A quiet place with a warm fire

 

‘Cause happy never treks to town

Just pleased to be still around

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … September 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3071)

pohymn-blackbird

The Crow

Here comes the crow

Flying very low

Peering for a weakness

Destroy the holy meekness

Render the nasty blow

 

Nothing of its own

Gnawing on the bone

Selfish and so vicious

Drooling with malicious

Cursed to be alone

 

Will you stand in the field

Your rigid post and never yield

Frighten away the wicked bird

Expose the taunting absurd

Until the victory is sealed?

 

The crow looms to steal

Mocking what is real

Pecking at the child’s dream

Disrupting the beauty of the rising cream

Removing the warmth to feel

 

Anger is not a way to think

Filth never a suitable drink

Pride always a bitter pill

Empty cup never refill

As the sands slowly sink

 

Scare the crow–start today

Wave your arms as you pray

Stop the menacing flying

Expose the nauseous lying

Choose the pearls to say.

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Good News and Better News … April 25th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2915)

Salem composite

Salem United Methodist Church in Blountville, Tennessee.

It was my pleasure to be with the dear citizens yesterday morning.

“Salem” means “a peaceful completion.” Ironic, since it’s contained in the name of the city, “Jerusalem,” which is hardly peaceful or completed.

But as I looked out at my new friends yesterday morning, I asked myself, what is peace?

Because Jesus told us that we are certainly meant to be peacemakers. As in most things in life, I think we get confused as to where to start.

The more religious among us believe we should make our peace with God first and foremost.

Those who are more secular-minded contend we should make our peace with ourselves–find our inner sanctum of tranquility. Then we would be in a position to make peace with others.

Even though these two schools of thought are very popular, they have not brought peace to the world.

Often when we feel we’ve made our peace with God, it makes us prideful of our salvation and therefore critical of others.

On the other hand, when we make peace with ourselves, we tend to get a bit pompous over our own satisfaction, feel no need for God, and pity the weaker humans around us.

Yesterday, while sharing with the Salem gathered, I realized that our job is to make peace with others.

Jesus made this clear in the Sermon on the Mount. He said if you get to church and you remember that somebody has something against you–maybe a grudge–you should leave church and work that out first. Otherwise, nothing good will happen.

Conventional thinking is that going to church would soften our hearts to be more forgiving, or that the solitude of prayer would prepare our souls for a peaceful resolution.

But Jesus said nothing is really achieved until we make peace with the offended. (By the way, that doesn’t mean we have a bone to pick with them, but instead, we recall that they want to pick our bones.)

I’ve got to be honest with you–sometimes those around me get miffed at something I’ve done and I couldn’t give a hoot owl’s “who-who” over it. But that’s because I think I can have peace of mind and peace with my God without having peace with my brothers and sisters.

That kind of attitude is the formula for conflict, feuds and even wars.

God has peace with me. He knows who I am. He still hangs around.

Generally speaking, under normal circumstances, I find a way to love myself–even if it’s the “ooey-gooey” of self-pity.

But true peace is when I become passionately concerned over trying to understand the situation of the individuals around me.

I can’t get peace with God or really have legitimate peace with myself until I attempt to make peace with others.

That’s the good news. Here’s the better news:

If we believe this to be true, we can get a jump on the situation … before misunderstandings become lasting conflicts.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … March 9th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2868)

PoHymn March 9

Well Handled

The reason I am here

Is to reject the nagging fear

Discarding the obvious delusion

I walk toward a better conclusion

Even when problems arise

I escape the trench of lies

For I am just a man

Nothing is as I plan

My power is in arriving

My joy lies in surviving

An awkward traveler I be

A humble attitude for me

Of a surety for one and all

Pride will make us fall

So sit before you stand

Survey your piece of land

Your enemy is always worry

Avoid the need to hurry

Working within your space

Handle your thoughts with grace.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … October 21st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2729)

PoHymn October 21st

Even When

I want to be a light

But often in the dark

I yearn to win the fight

But find I’m stuck in park

I dream of changing the tide

Of shining a better way

But joining the wrong side

Absent the words to say

At times I am a witness

Evidence of good thought

Then lazy, devoid of fitness

To complete what I sought

My failure makes me cry

Weakness tempts me to lie

Faith encourages the need to try

And pride wants me to die

I refuse to understand my appeal

Possessed by selfish zeal

To some I am a solution

To others, living pollution

But to each I bring my story

Filled with pain and glory

Yes, even when I am weak

My heart has a message to speak.

 

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Confessing … October 3rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2711)

XXII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

One of the dangers of doing noble deeds is the human tendency to desire to be treated with some nobility for doing so.

Of course, it doesn’t work that way.

During my years of living in Tennessee, I was party to beginning an orchestra in our hometown. It went well. Matter of fact, doors were opened so that we could offer an entertaining and enlightening musical program to the local elementary schools using a small ensemble from the larger body.

This project was so successful that we were invited to present these programs at ten elementary schools in the Roanoke, Virginia, school district.

We were thrilled.

The first day we did four schools and everything went well. At the end of the second day, we were finishing up our program when a teacher in the back of the auditorium began to gather up her children like little chickadees in preparation to take them out to the bus for departure.

We were at the height of the most important part of our communication with the students, and in my pridefulness, I became incensed at her insensitivity. So as soon as we finished our last note and took our bows, I immediately stomped over to the young woman and confronted her over what I considered to be an egregious error on her part–ignoring our work merely to prepare her children.

I was not foul or mean, but very confrontational–and I did it in front of the students.

She was shocked, offended, and immediately went to her principal to “tell on me.”

So by the end of the day, the principal of the school had contacted our sponsor and informed him of my breach,. Meanwhile, I was being reinforced by my own team, who told me I was being “honest and brave, sticking up for myself,” in dealing with this lady.

So long story short, the sponsor of our event was so thrilled with what was going on that he forgave my indiscretion and we continued the school concerts without any further furor.

Matter of fact, to this day those closest to me would consider me to be justified. That young teacher probably marks it as the day she was accosted by an asshole.

What is the truth?

The truth of the matter is, true beauty does not need praise.

Excellence can continue to thrive minus applause.

And the message will get through without us over-promoting it.

I was wrong.

I was wrong to accost a young woman, no matter what her motivations were. My job is to work on my own motivations.

I was wrong to do it in front of her students, and I was wrong to take a pass simply because I have enough talent that people are afraid to confront me.

Have I ever been so overwhelmingly egotistical and defensive again?

I suppose I have.

But I have taken the time to put a hole in that tank of ego and let it gradually drain out onto the ground–where it belongs.

 

confessing teacher

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