Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4119)

Sitting Thirty

There was an attempt at a silent meeting of the minds.

Those melting in the desert heat who were over eighteen years of age peered at one another, trying to decide who should speak up next to foil the efforts of the little ingrates. In the meantime, Iz frowned. He had grown weary of the conversation.

Before the inquisitors could come to terms on whose turn it was to interrogate the boys, Iz spoke up. “Here—I have some questions. Listen, if you can answer them, then I will certainly stay silent and receive what you have to say. Let me start with you, Rabbi. Are Ishmael and Isaac brothers—both sons of Abraham?”

The shirt and tie cleared his throat. “Well, actually, half-brothers. Abraham had Ishmael with a slave girl and Isaac was born under the true promise of God.”

“E-e-e-e-h-h-h, there’s the buzzer,” said Iz. “Wrong again. They’re either brothers or they’re not. And actually, Ishmael was Isaac’s older brother. Don’t you think God knew he needed an older brother? Weren’t they supposed to stay together?”

The mullah stepped forward. “My answer would have been quite different…”

“Yes,” Pal interrupted. “I know your answer. I learned it early on. You believe Ishmael was a child of promise, too, and he was mistreated by the Jews and forced into exile, where God raised him up to be equal. But here’s my question, Mullah. Doesn’t that make him the underdog? Aren’t you always teaching that we have to struggle to live up to the same standard as the Jews instead of having our own identity, our own mission?”

The mullah chuckled. “You are so young. You do not understand, and I don’t have the time to educate you.”

“Next question,” said Iz, inserting himself. “This one goes to the guy with the funny collar. Was your Jesus a Jew, and if he was, why didn’t he come as an Arab instead?”

The collar spoke. “By the way, I am Father Shannon, and you’re right. I believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, and we do believe Jesus was a Jew…”

Pal raised his hand. “So why should I care about him? Why do I want another Jewish guy to be in charge of me, telling me I’m not part of the promise of God?”

Blue jeans interceded. “Actually, according to Christian theology, Jesus was Jewish on his mother’s side, but spent most of his early years in Egypt, as an Arab. Lots of theologians believe God wanted Jesus’s disciples to take the message to the Jews, Arabs and Afrikaans first. Well, they really didn’t. They ended up taking it to the Jews, Greeks and Romans.”

“You see?” screamed Iz. “They screwed up, and because they screwed up, you all got different names for the same things that end up doing nothing for anybody. And Pal and I get messed up because we don’t get to be friends, ’cause you guys can’t even agree on what clothes to wear. One of you’s got a collar pinching your throat, another is dressed like a businessman, you over there—well, you’re wearing a robe like some sort of shepherd, and dude—you’ve got on blue jeans, trying to pretend like you’re young.”

“I hear a lot of anger,” said Blue jeans.

“I see a lot of stupid,” said Pal.

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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4112)

Sitting Twenty-Nine

A priest, a rabbi, a mullah and a professor of psychology went out into the desert.

Although it sounds like the setup for a joke, it was the actual makeup of a committee which had been formed to handle the situation created by an Israeli boy, dubbed Iz, and a Palestinian lad, Pal.

It was Tuesday—two days before the rally—and the four gentlemen of distinction, who had received permission from the town council to go out and try to reason with the boys so as to avoid a public display of confrontation, lending itself to shame, prepared themselves for what they might encounter.

Everyone agreed it was a noble venture. Blessing was given to the team, a few prayers uttered, plans made, provisions collected, and a scheme devised.

On that same Tuesday morn, Iz and Pal woke up to view four over-dressed grown-ups ascending their hill, breathing heavily and already perspiring in the heat. One was wearing a black shirt with a little piece of white collar. Another, a robe and turban. There was a younger one in blue jeans and a loose-fitting t-shirt, and the final gentleman sported a navy-blue suit with a striped tie.

When the entourage was within ten feet of the boys, the suit and tie spoke up. “Good morning, young men.”

Staring at the four intruders, trying to restrain a giggle because they all looked so very serious, yet appeared like a quartet of Frosty the Snowmen melting in the sun, all the two young fellows could do was shake their heads. They said nothing, so the robe spoke out.  “We’ve come to talk with you boys about what you are doing here.”

Pal held up a banana. “What we were doing was having our morning fruit. Did you know that this one has potassium?”

“Fruit, huh?” said the blue jeans. “What do you guys like to eat?”

Iz chuckled. “Are you here to become our friends, so you can talk us into going back home?”

“Why would home be such a bad thing?” asked the white-collared one in a soft voice.

Pal piped up, tossing his banana peel to the side. “I suppose yours would be just fine. So feel free to return any time you’d like. To your home, that is.”

Both of the boys laughed and gave each other high fives. There was a tightness—an inflexibility—in the air. Iz and Pal were gleeful over their tart responses and precocious language, but the foursome of invaders seemed less than impressed, and absolutely determined to demonstrate their control.

Blue jeans spoke again. “Hey, guys. My name is Mel Rollins, and I’m a professor of psychology at the college.”

“A head doctor!” Pal poked in an attempt to keep things salty.

Mel paused. “Okay,” he said. “That would be fine. I just want you dudes to know that I’m not here to change your minds or get you to do anything you don’t want to do.”

Iz smirked and nodded his head. “Good. Then this should be easy. We want to stay here. We thank you for coming, and please pass the message along that we’re just fine.”

The robe interrupted, absent any civility in his tone. “You children know we can’t do that. I am the mullah at the mosque, and I have a responsibility to carry out the wishes of our people. We cannot allow wayward sons to do as they please.”

“Why not?” asked Pal. “You certainly allow grown-ups to do as they please.”

“Listen, I am Rabbi Molstoy,” spoke the shirt and tie. “What has possessed you boys to do this?”

“Where do you get ice cream?” asked Pal.

The one with the white collar spoke. “Well, first you get milk and sugar…”

Pal interrupted. “No, no! I didn’t ask you how to make ice cream. I asked you where you get it. You see, that’s the trouble with you guys. You want to find the hardest way to do everything—anything that makes you feel miserable enough to appear like you’re really smart. We’re kids. We know you go to the store and buy ice cream. Our goal is to get the ice cream, but not have to make it, or even wonder if it’s got too much sugar in it. That’s you. We just want ice cream.”

Blue jeans eased in. “So, this is about ice cream?”

Iz burst out laughing. “No,” he said. “Get a grip. It’s about us. We want to be friends. Our families won’t let us because one of us is a Jew and one of us is a Palestinian.”

“Now, that’s not true,” said the shirt and tie. “Mullah Tianza and I talk together all the time. Enjoy a meal.”

Pal clapped his hands. “Great, Iz! Did you hear that? We can go home, because there’s no longer a separation between our faiths! There is no mosque and synagogue. There is no killing in the street. The rabbi and the mullah are eating together! So everything has changed. What are we thinking? Maybe we are just crazy boys. Maybe the sun has scrambled our brains. While we’ve been out here the world has reformed and everyone loves each other. How foolish can we be? We should listen to them. Right? Right, Iz? We are absolutely out of our minds.”

Iz looked over coldly at his sarcastic friend. “Wrong,” he replied.

There was a moment of silence. The committee which had come to gather up foolish boys was left standing in the desert heat, staring at one another. Now they had a choice.

Were they going to listen, or had they just come to talk?

 

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Jesonian … December 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3523)

jesonian-cover-amazon

A day in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Although most theologians would like to focus on the 24-hour period leading up to his crucifixion, the Gospels do offer us other examples. One of the primal outlines is found in Matthew, Chapters 12 and 13. You may feel free to read it–I will not tax your spirit or patience by parsing it verse by verse–but there are six things that become clear from perusing the story line.

1. Jesus was not a theologian.

His disciples walked through a field of corn, and even though it was forbidden by religious edict to eat it–especially on the Sabbath–they partook. Jesus defended them to the Pharisees, who were ready to leap upon the activity to prove the unworthiness of Jesus’ Kingdom movement. During this exchange, Jesus makes a profound statement: “The Sabbath is for man.”

It is geared for us, in order to replenish, rejuvenate and renovate our thinking.

2. Jesus was not a rabbi.

He strolls into a synagogue and disrupts the service by healing a man with a withered hand. He is accosted for this untimely interruption, and replies, “Each one of you will save a donkey from a trench, but you won’t do anything to help this fellow.”

Yes, Jesus was guilty of interrupting the flow of worship.

And contrary to the common patter:

3. Jesus was not a Jew.

Not only did he break the Jewish laws, taunting them in doing so, but we are informed that he was a voice, a spirit and a teacher in whom the “Gentiles could trust.”

Even though his proximity to Jerusalem might generate the assumption that he was a Son of Abraham, he made it clear that he was around “before Abraham.”

Shall we press on?

4. He was certainly not a traditionalist.

The religious leaders believed he was satanic. They swore he was casting out demons by the power of Satan. Of course, none of them could cast out a demon, but Jesus made it clear that he had come to destroy the works of the devil and that they needed to be careful not to mock the moving of the Holy Spirit just because it was inconvenient to their case.

So Jesus is not a theologian, a rabbi, a Jew or a traditionalist. And by the way:

5. Jesus was not a family man.

When interrupted by his mother, brothers and sisters during a time of ministry (because they wanted to take him home, thinking he was crazy) Jesus turned to the crowd and claimed them as his new family.

Yes, Jesus might find it difficult to be in a church service, welling up over allegiance with people simply because of shared DNA.

So as Matthew describes a day in the life of Jesus, when he defies theologians, upsets a rabbi, walks away from Judaism, breaks traditions and sidesteps family involvement, he ends the discourse by establishing who the Nazarene really was.

For the Master sat down and told a story: “The sower went forth to sow seed.”

6. Jesus is a sower.

He’s not concerned about isolating off perfect soil, but merely casting the seed in the direction of any possibility.

A day in the life of Jesus will let you know that his message was human, geared for humans, addressed to humans, human-friendly and human-saving.

He discarded religion in favor of the reality of those souls God sent his way.

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Jesonian… June 17th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3340)

jesonian-cover-amazon

 

 

Leprosy is a loser.

You lose feeling. You lose your fingers and your toes; you lose your friends. You lose interaction with the world around you. You lose control of your life. At least, that’s the way it was in Jesus’ day.

That is why it’s so remarkable that ten lepers got together and overlooked their angst to come up with a plan. They decided to go see Jesus.

I’m not so sure lepers do a whole lot together. I suppose there would be the fear that the infection in your brother or sister might even be worse than yours.

But ten of them planned a road trip. They even included one Samaritan, which all the Jews hated. I guess they gave him a free pass since they shared dying in common.

Ten lepers traveling together caused quite a stir. Everyone was frightened of the disease. Multiply that fear by ten. Therefore, getting anywhere near Jesus must have been a feat, and being granted an audience–the first miracle.

So when Jesus tells all ten lepers to go and show themselves to their priest, they launch off together on a mission of questionable potential. They are not immediately healed, nothing is changed and they’re on their way to see an aged rabbi who certainly possessed no remedy..

But along the way, suddenly each one of them is restored to wholeness, with beautiful pink flesh (or whatever color they originally had). We don’t know how long it took.

But being faithful, and even more aggressive to achieve their mission because of their restoration, they plunged ahead to come in contact with what would surely be a dumbfounded clergyman.

All except one.

The Samaritan–that renegade outsider–decides to turn back to see Jesus and thank him for the miracle. The other nine shake their heads in disbelief. They view themselves “the good ones”–the souls being obedient. They trudge on, praying for their errant companion as he races back to express his gratitude.

When the grateful, healed man from Samaria arrived and worshipped Jesus for giving him back his life, Jesus had a very interesting response.

First, let’s look at what he did not say. Jesus didn’t say, “Why are you here? I told you to go to the priest. Just like you Samaritans to not follow the rules.”

Or, “Because you didn’t do what I said, here’s your leprosy again.”

No–Jesus says something surprising. “Where are the other nine?”

This strikes me as a bit hypocritical, since Jesus sent them on a specific task to show themselves to a religious fellow to confirm their healing. But Jesus not only asks where they are–he mocks the nine for not having the gumption of the Samaritan, to return and express appreciation.

I view this as a warning–a gunshot in the air for all the righteous rowdies in our world who think because they follow some verse of scripture or some isolated command that they are viewed by the heavens as supernally superior. They tell you everything they are sure God finds unfavorable, and cite verses to prove their point.

They are wrong.

Jesus makes it clear–there is something greater than the written or spoken Word of God. It’s called “being led of the Spirit.”

And when the Spirit confirms to you that you’re healed and no priest had anything to do with it, and that the most valuable thing in life is to be grateful, you will bypass the initial command in order to follow the greater calling.

You don’t have to look very far in the life of Jesus to see that the scribes and Pharisees constantly reminded him that he was breaking Jewish law. His response was always basically the same: “You pursue the traditions of men instead of the heart of God.”

A Samaritan former leper broke a rule to fulfill a promise. Because he did, he was praised. And those who did everything by the book were mocked.

If you’re not prepared to go against the rules to fulfill the righteousness of where the Spirit is leading, don’t call yourself a follower of Jesus.

 

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Cracked 5… December 30, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2459)

cracked 5 logo keeper with border final

 

Rejected New Year’s Resolutions

A. Learning Greek from a Zionist rabbi in Baghdad

B. Eating from only the white and tan family of foods

C. Spending more time listening to my senile grandma share romantic tales of her youth

D. Installing “clappers” for the lights in funeral homes

E. Devouring more pickled calamari

Picture by Smarttie Panntts

Picture by Smarttie Panntts

 

 

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