Populie: Christmas is for Children … December 3, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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star over manger bigger

I read it over twice just to make sure.

But even with this double scrutiny, I was unable to find the mention of any children in the original Christmas story, except for one baby born in a manger.

The tale contains a king, three astrologers from Mesopotamia, shepherds, a confused purported virgin, a bewildered carpenter-in-training, a prophet and a prophetess, a greedy innkeeper, and many souls who were finding their situation quite taxing.

But there was no one under the age of fifteen who was mentioned except the little fella with straw for a pillow.

Yet today you would assume that Christmas was conceived in the minds of the Madison Avenue elite, who were desiring to come up with a holiday that focused on “tots before they were teens.”

Politics loves this populie, because it provides new stumping ground extolling the family and high-sounding ideals.

The entertainment industry certainly focuses on kids because it frees them from having to put a spiritual spin on December 25th, but instead, advertises Santa Claus, candy canes and overgrown elves.

And religion can barely contain itself, trying to yank that baby out of the wooden cradle and on to the cross as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, the significance of “peace on Earth, good will toward men” dissipates into the background in favor of sitting back in our easy chairs, shaking our heads in awe as the youngsters rip open their presents.

Attention one and all: Christmas is for us. It may be our only chance.

It offers three very important possibilities which tend to escape us by the middle of January, and certainly have run away in horror by April 15th, when the IRS drains our sensibilities.

1. We are all the children of God.

If Christmas is for children, it is only because we live in the household of “Our Father which art in heaven.” We have lost our innocence. We favor a jaded outlook. We have resigned our place in the human family, running away to live in an orphanage, simply to make ourselves seem abandoned.

2. Children need to be taught.

For a very brief moment, we begin to look at the Jesus-born-in-the-manger as the life coach he was intended to be instead of the human sacrifice we have thrust upon him. After all, the angels foretold of “peace on Earth, good will toward men,” not a sacrificial blood-bath that ends up with us forming religious institutions with dark, dank corridors.

3. Going forward means going back to pick up what we lost.

There is nothing more precious than being nine years old on Christmas morning. To reject that memory as being idealistic, foolish or silly is to lose one’s soul before dying.

It’s not so much that “Christmas should be in our hearts each and every day of the year” as it is that our hearts should never surrender Christmas and the memories that make us chill with anticipation.

Bluntly, if you’re not excited about what’s going to happen next, you need to change what’s next.

So be careful with the populie that says “Christmas is for children,” because you soon will find yourself angry at the holiday, and also at the little fellows and ladies who keep trying to hang the holly and trim the tree.

It is only true that Christmas is for children as long as we understand that to gain a true spiritual and emotional sensibility… we must all become as a little child.

 

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Check out Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories’Til Christmas

The Best Christmas Stories You’ll Ever Read!

Click on Santa to browse "Mr. Kringle's Tales ... 26 Stories Til Christmas"

Click on Santa to browse “Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories Til Christmas”

Jesonian: Belly-Aching … May 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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belly acheHe said, “Everybody understands the problems. There’s no need to keep talking about them. We should stop belly-aching.”

He is a minister of the Gospel.

Over the years he has convinced himself that he prefers the “more positive” teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and wishes to focus on them in order to build a congregation of believers who think good thoughts and don’t generate any negative energy toward the world around them.

Here’s the problem: injustice will never leave as long as it’s making a profit. So it’s up to the prophets to chase injustice away through pointing out its hypocrisy and deceit.

Even though Jesus is portrayed by many churches as a combination of Gandhi and a hippie attending Woodstock, the young Nazarene actually has quite an edge.

Especially as he reached the end of his Earth journey, he began to spout off profusely against the excesses of religion, the selfishness of systems and the indifference of leadership.

There are three chapters in a row–Matthew 23, 24 and 25–where he exhibits his own form of belly-aching. Because you see, belly-aching occurs when you consume something that doesn’t agree with you, and is only relieved when you dispel the thing with which you do not agree.

Understanding that most of you may not want to read the three chapters, if you will allow me, I’ll summarize:

In Matthew 23, Jesus viciously attacks the scribes, Pharisees and lawyers who used their position to extort wealth while doing nothing to relieve the burdens of the people around them. He claims that they cared more for their traditions than they did for the human beings placed in their charge.

So because of their iniquity, in Matthew 24 he informs them that the Romans would come and dismantle their entire hierarchy and destroy their city.

To further reiterate the necessity for repentance, he tells a series of parables in Matthew 25 about a Judgement Day in which God, our Father and Creator, will expect us to deliver evidence of our faith and victory during our human escapade.

The three chapters are full of complaint, warnings, admonitions and some downright insults.

We forgive this belly-aching because the prophesy came true and we understand that the message Jesus preached survives today. To determine whether we are just purveyors of doom and gloom or messengers of hope, we have to keep three things in mind:

1. Never do anything to hurt people, but also do not permit anything to happen that is hurting people.

2. Never offer a warning without giving an olive branch of hope. Nothing is over until God says it is.

3. Always note progress–even if it’s a little–and appreciate it when you see movement toward sanity.

So am I a belly-acher?

If I run across ideas which historically have been proven to be foolish, and I see injustice which is cheating people out of the value of their human lives, or if I come across greed which is suffocating the life out of the needy, I will speak out, using every bit of cleverness, comedy and even cunning that I can muster.

Because without doing this, we become part of a third clump … the ones who stood by and watched the oppressor oppress the helpless.

 

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Faith and Such … May 31, 2013

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Faith Bible College

Faith without faith is faithless

Love without love is loveless–and lonely, by the way.

Hope without hope is a hopeless pile of meaningless, constantly demanding tending.

Fellowship without fellow ships is a dry dock.

God without God is unfortunately religion aplenty, minus divine results.

Family without family is a family circus, with clowns crawling out of your car.

Life without life is lifeless, still insisting on breathing.

Creativity without creative ideas is a non-creative loop to nothing.

Jesus without Jesus’ heart is an obnoxious Jewish prophet who keeps dying–when I require a chance to live.

For a brief season I entered a world where a man decided for everyone else the definition of purpose. I gently resisted the tide of opinion. I was honored for a time as a genius, later to be branded a renegade. Being young and impetuous, I fought back with toothy nails. But struggling in quicksand only hastens the demise. I was fortunate to escape. I was truly amazed that others followed–yet I was heart-broken that many suffered emotionally and spiritually–and died.

Faith is not a Bible, a college, a church–and certainly not the essence of one individual person’s opinions. Faith is the work that prevents our death, allowing for joy.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

******

Jonathan’s thinking–every day–in a sentence or two …

 Jonathots, Jr.!

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https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

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Sympathizer … February 20, 2013

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Black Jon

Two Johns.

Two men living at the same time.

John Brown.

John Booth.

Two men with B names.

Two men with nine letters in their names.

Two sympathizers.

One a sympathizer for the cause of halting slavery.

The other, a sympathizer for maintaining the dignity of the south, states’ rights and  slavery

Both men took up the gun.

Both men ended up dying in Virginia.

Both men made the history books.

Both men took lives.

But one of these sympathizers, John Brown–although viewed by some to be a domestic terrorist–is revered as a forward thinking abolitionist and even a prophet, who foretold of a bloody struggle to rid our nation of the scourge of slavery.

The other, John Booth, a well-respected actor, took a small hand gun and walked into a theater and killed the President of the United States, thinking he would be known as a hero, and ending up arguably the most notorious man in US history.

In the season of their lives, they were viewed quite differently.

John Brown was hated, tried, convicted and hung–with John Booth in the gallery.

John Booth was considered by many to be one of the greatest actors of his time, and had at least half the nation believing in his cause of maintaining the integrity of the hinter lands and the necessity of slavery.

Move ahead in time.

John Brown was right.

John Booth was wrong.

*****

What did you think of my picture? I think I make a fairly striking black man, don’t you? Some people would think such a photograph is tasteless. I understand their sentiment. Many people are frightened of any semblance of controversy for fear it might lead to a discussion that demands transformation.

Some folks might think it’s clever–but only from an artistic angle, not realizing the significance of the timing of the artwork. For I am trying to learn to be a good sympathizer. I am studying what history, God, common sense, liberty and free will tell us are the landmark issues that cannot be restrained and must be allowed to play out with full bravado.

I am attempting to navigate course across a sea of confusion and land in a safe port, where in the future they will look at my dealings and say, “Jonathan Richard Cring made some good choices.”

I want to be a sympathizer. To do this, I must occasionally abandon my own predilections, sensations and even the tenets of my faith to allow free will to have its holy moment–because to remove liberty is to chase away the spirit of God.

I want to become a sympathizer. I want to find myself erring on the side of liberty instead of faltering in the fables of my youth. How can I know that I am sympathizing with the right causes? The truth is, I will never be a black man. How can I sympathize with my brothers and sisters and still demand of each one of us that we be conscious of goodness and mercy?

After much thought, I came up with a simple conclusion. I will allow you to muse over its deeper meaning:

You can’t build up any idea, organization, doctrine, faith or political movement that tears down other people. If you do, you will be John Booth instead of John Brown.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Sackcloth and Ashes … February 13, 2013

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ashesLong ago, when fire-breathing dragons stomped across the earth and a gallon of gasoline cost less than milk, prophets would occasionally ramble into town, condemning the deeds of the wicked, speaking forth the chilling but effective sound bite, “Repent or die.” Even more disconcerting was how little the prophet actually cared about whether his message was received in a positive light, and often actually would have preferred it if death was the result of his invitation. I suppose there were those cities which would resist the opportunity to save their lives–we wouldn’t be that familiar with them because they are no longer on the landscape. But often the ruler of the nation would comprehend the seriousness of the situation and repent, ordering all of his subjects to do so, demonstrating their regret by adorning themselves in sackcloth and smearing ashes all over their bodies.

Time marches on. (Or does it creep? I’m not sure.)

We now have advanced in our self-esteem to the extent that we would never consider lowering ourselves to wear sackcloth and display bacteria-ridden ashes on our faces. Yet it doesn’t change the fact that we are still doing many of the same ridiculous practices that should require a bit of reflection, if not repentance brought on by the threat of doom.

I’m not a prophet. (I guess that would make me a non-prophet organization. But I digress.) Yet, to me there are three obvious things that need focus in this country as primal objectives, allowing for a discussion about the implementation of how to achieve them, but not whether they are righteous and necessary.

1. Let’s stop killing. There you go.  I’m not picky. Let’s stop killing babies so much. Let’s stop killing people with capital punishment. And let’s stop starting wars because we have a big military and they get out of practice if they hang around the base too much with no real combat experience. I think it’s a good start. Every time you stop something in life, two things happen: you cease a few things and you start up other things. Stopping killing would probably take away some of our rights in this country. But it would give us a sense that we were trying to address a murderous history of rampage that seems to be threatening to infest our national DNA. Yes–stop killing. Then have the debate about how to actually make it a practical or legal application.

2. Stop stealing. Let’s not ask people to do jobs that we don’t want to do and then continue to insist that they live in squalor and poverty in order to serve us. Let’s stop taking away from people their praise-worthy actions and pretending they’re lesser fellows. Let’s greatly discourage corporations from becoming so greedy to feather their nest that they kill off all competing birds. Let’s stop stealing. That would be good, right? We could decide that refusing to steal is a good thing and then have a healthy debate on ways to initiate integrity.

3. Why don’t we stop destroying? If there is any chance at all that we are party to affecting the climate on this earth, why don’t we just grin and bear it? Why don’t we find out what we can do and instead of arguing about whether it is pleasant or within our wheelhouse of understanding, and just stop the destruction. Why don’t we become the nation that makes it “uncool” to be unfeeling? Why don’t we stop destroying our own psyche by peppering our young people with violence and encouraging them to use technology incessantly–which is gradually fostering an epidemic of indifference?

Why don’t we stop destroying our bodies? Why can’t we encourage farmers to raise more vegetables so you can get a tomato at the grocery store for less money than a greasy eight-hundred-calorie hamburger at McDonald’s?

Certainly it would demand that we abandon hypocrisy. It would require that we forfeit some of our abstract definitions of freedom to provide for the common good. The same people who extol the beauty of marriage–which is the setting aside of sexual freedom, the possibility of many partners to cling to one–feel grieved over the notion of making it more difficult to get a gun for themselves in order to possibly save the lives of those on the perimeter of their understanding.

I don’t think we’ll ever get our nation to sport sackcloth and ashes. But I do think we could sit down and agree that killing, stealing and destroying are really bad things, and even though we may have varying definitions, in the long run, we could come up with a FEW ideas limiting death, thievery and destruction.

Ash Wednesday–a religious holiday when people commiserate for an hour or so about whether they treat those friends around them with enough respect and if they should eat less chocolate.

Maybe it’s time for some real repentance. In the absence of a prophet who isn’t afraid of the king, queen and parliament, let me proclaim, stop killing, stop stealing, stop destroying.

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So … they made Andrew a saint … April 23, 2012

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“Bring it.”

That was his philosophy. He was a young fisherman who was searching. He was tired of religion–or he would have ended up at the local synagogue, passing out shewbread. Instead, he found himself at the Jordan River, chasing down the latest crazed prophet who was dunking people in the muddy water to change their lives. When that same grasshopper-eating preacher told him that one of the people who was just baptized was the Messiah, he picked up his belongings and followed the new trend.  He was so impressed with what he heard that he got his brother and brought him along. That led to two other brothers joining up pretty quickly–also fishermen.

He got voted in, to be part of the top twelve, but soon saw the honor diminished when the dozen honorees were basically shrunk down to three of an inner circle–he not being one. His brother was, though, and his other two fishing buddies. Apparently, there was something wrong with him.

But he didn’t let it get him down. When five thousand people needed to be fed, he was the one who found a kid who had the only food available to even begin to address the problem. He brought it.

We don’t know if he was miffed because he wasn’t part of the inner circle; we don’t know if he resented his brother for seemingly being favored over him. We know this–he hung in there. He knew that religion didn’t have anything for him, fishing had lost its hook and the crazed prophet had lost his head. The only place to go forward was in the direction of the teachings, the love, the ideas and the spirit of the Nazarene.

So yesterday I went to a church called St. Andrew‘s. You see, it turns out that this guy who “brought it” put up with being left out of the inner circle, hung in there, lived and died long enough to be called a saint. I met some enlightened people. But I must tell them that it wouldn’t hurt them at all to study the life, style and mindset of the individual after whom they named the church. Andrew was not religious. Yes, I will tell you right now that belief in God would be a wonderful thing if it weren’t so damned religious.

For instance, my daughter-in-law, who has come over here from China to study business at UCLA, invited some of her friends out to see her father-in-law perform while in Los Angeles. All of her comrades were greatly enthralled with the possibility of the encounter until they found out it was going to be at a church. They refused to come. Now, I know this would make some people think that these little renegade agnostics need to “open their hearts to God” and receive the truth. But honestly, it’s not what Jesus would do–nor Andrew. Jesus would find a way to change the wording, the approach and the atmosphere so that those who need the help would be comfortable enough to receive the message.

There are just too many words in churches that are never used any other time during the week. There’s a stuffiness that makes you anxious to leave quickly and even causes the congregants to collect in the BACK of the auditorium–to prepare for a hasty retreat. No, I will tell you, St. Andrew’s, that your namesake, Andrew, would never have allowed a religious service in which he was participating to be so eclectic that people who need the message the most would be frightend to indulge.

Until we understand that we need limited use of religious jargon–just enough to communicate the ideas as quickly as possible–we will just have our little cult of the unrenewed, who cannot draw to the side of Jesus the people he desires the most.

It is in the heart of the folks I met yesterday to be real. All of them lead real lives with only a brief interspersing of religious rites and practices intermingled on Sunday. So why not make the leap? Why not do what Andrew did?

Bring it.

Stop apologizing during the confession of sins for not loving your neighbor as yourself–when we all know that it is the primal directive and the mindset of Jesus. You simply cannot keep coming every week to apologize for the same inadequacy when that particular flub is at odds with the entire mission statement of the gospel.

My words are not a critique, but rather, a challenge to intelligent people to be intelligent. When you spoke to me at the table or in the vestibule, you were delightful, engaging, beautiful, humorous and expansive. So why do we have to change when we enter the sanctuary and sit in the pew? Is God really so insecure that He needs to make us bow down in abstract brokenness before we are worthy to be heard? As you well know, ninety-eight percent of the things we do in churches are less than three or four hundred years old in practice. We can change them–not because we want to be nefarious or revolutionary, but because we would like to let those students at UCLA know that we are a congregation that speaks human and does it plainly–and like our friend, Andrew, when we get together, we “bring it.”

There are two concepts that make life work, whether you’re religious or not. (1) Bring it; and (2) be prepared for it to change. Andrew had both concepts down. He “brought it,” and when it ended up that he was one of the top twelve but not the “magnificent three,” he evolved. And because of that, we call him a saint.

We should, you know. He learned how things worked and rather than resenting it and hiding behind religious fervor or false humility, he changed.

So St. Andrew’s, I love you. And there are so many more people who would love you also if you just spoke your heart instead of the musings of the Common Book of Prayer. I will tell you this–you would have had a half-dozen more student there yesterday. And who knows what might have happened?

Who knows what can occur when you’re intelligent enough to put your five loaves and two fishes into the right hands?

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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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