Jesonian: Mastering Service … September 21, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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john marcus

John Marcus was a “householder.”

It was the title granted to the colored slave to afford just enough dignity with a King James flavor, without bestowing elaborate honor for his needful subservient status.

Yes, John Marcus did it all. Cook, clean, repair, blacksmith, minister, caretaker and physician.

And because he took the jobs on–often that no one else wanted, including the white family which became very accustomed to being served–he was granted more and more liberty to work solo in order to achieve his ever-expanding, sophisticated results.

Today he was given a new job. He was to be mentor, and even punisher if necessary, to a belligerent sixteen-year-old runaway named Zachary. The little tyrant was placed in his care to train and also temper into achieving his place as a worker on the plantation.

So John Marcus decided to give the angry lad the job of cleaning the pots and pans. It was done alone in the back room of the kitchen and could be achieved even by a fitful worker without destroying too much private property.

When Zachary got John Marcus alone, far from prying ears, he shouted, “Why do you walk around with a smile on your face playing good house nigger?”

John Marcus smiled and gave no response, wiping the bottom of a dirty pot as any good instructor just might do.

After a good season of pan-scrubbing, Zachary challenged again. “Are you deaf? Why do you give in to the Massa?”

John Marcus paused, ceasing to scrape at the blackened pans. He stepped about five paces away and gently and tenderly stirred a cauldron of delicious stew he was nurturing for the evening’s consumption.

Zachary shook his head.

Suddenly John Marcus spoke. “There’s one Massa. His name is Jesus. He told me that the only way to gain mastery in life is to serve.”

“Weak words,” spit Zachary.

John Marcus chuckled. “And where have your strong words gotten you, boy? Lassoed? Drug through the dirt? Rejected? Listenin’ to some old man chaw at’cha while you’re scrubbin’ pans? And you know what else? You’ll be here scrubbin’ these same pans, cursin’ these same whites two years from now, nary feelin’ any better or makin’ any progress.”

Zachary shook his head again. “I’d rather be an angry man than a happy nigger.”

John Marcus took him by the shoulders and looked him square in the eye. “That’s because you don’t know what happy is because you’re too busy bein’ angry. I don’t like what’s happenin’ around me, but I know one thing. It’s not gonna change tomorrow. It’s gonna be the same next week. Probably even by Christmastime, I’m still gonna have the same color they have decided is less than ‘dem. But I know this–if I believe they’re wrong, then there’s a God in heaven who knows it, too. And He told me there ain’t nothin’ a man sows that he doesn’t eventually have to pull up out of the ground and reap, and eat. So I’m workin’ on what I sow. I’m quietly learnin’ more than they want me to, and there are things around this ‘ole fifty-three acres that nobody knows how to do but me. Because when it came time for doin’ it, I learned it. And they were completely happy with me bein’ the pack mule.”

Zachary interrupted. “So what? So you’re a smart nigger without ever being able to be called smart, and being able to take the smart and use it for yourself.”

“Maybe so. But every time I master something of service and I serve it well, I gain the attention of the master who controls this household and I make myself of great value. Just the other day, young boy, several of the farm hands who own the plantation just south of here had to come to me to find out how to fix their plowshare and what to do for an ailing mule. Did they appreciate it? See, it doesn’t make any difference. In that minute, they had to admit they needed me. Maybe they choked on it; maybe they refused to completely give in. But they needed me. My Master is Jesus, and he told me that the more I serve, the more territory I gain.”

Zachary just shook his head, but he returned to his labor with a bit more respect.

In March of 1861, John Marcus passed away. He was the only slave allowed to be buried in the far corner of the white cemetery. Many of the townsfolk turned out to see the old servant put to rest. He had made more friends than enemies and to the surprise of a young worker who had finally adopted his philosophy…

Yes.

Zachary was set free.

It was the last request made by a servant to a plantation owner … but granted because of the teachings of a greater Master. 

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Jesonian: Before Abraham… July 27, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2304)

The words infuriated the crowd.

They were so incensed by the sentiment expressed that they picked up stones to hurl in his direction to silence the blasphemy.

It was just five words.

“Before Abraham was, I am.”

Yet even today, theologians miss the significance and impact of the statement. With one brief “tweet,” Jesus eliminated over two thousand years of religious struggle, spiritual depravity, social reclusiveness and abiding ignorance.

He claimed that his thoughts, his spirit and his being existed before Abraham, which means he was around before Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, a multitude of Caesars, Alexander the Great, Mohammed, Joseph Smith and a myriad of prophetic sorts and conquering kings who felt they possessed the magical key to human victory.

The power of the Jesonian lifestyle is that we do not claim Abraham as our father, but instead, honor the teachings of one who preceded Abraham. This enables us to love both our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters without favoritism.

For the teachings of Jesus–what we call the Jesonian–are very simple.

1. We are heart, soul, mind and strength.

2. In the matters of the heart, try to tell the truth. Any detours from honesty always end up back at the truth, with us exhausted and humiliated.

3. In the realm of spirituality, no one is better than anyone else. Love your neighbor as yourself. For after all, it’s very difficult to be angry with someone who takes just as good care of you as they do their own three square feet.

4. How about the mind? Because we are going to need to learn to do many things, it is necessary to establish the idea of going the second mile. Exceed expectation. Don’t be self-condemning, but also, be self-aware enough to know that there’s always more to learn and attain.

5. How about our body? Very simply, what a person sows, that shall he also reap. It is the wise human being who considers the consequence while becoming excited about the opportunity.

Can you imagine how much religious nonsense, superstition, self-destruction and genocide we could have avoided if we had caught Jesus before Abraham?

It is the power of the Gospel.

It’s not that we don’t love the people of other religions; it’s just that the Jesonian does not believe that we need an Abraham–or any other mediator–to reach God. 

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So, Sow… December 19, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2096)

farmerEveryone wants to be unique–yet no one wants to be peculiar.

Unique means “one of a kind.” To gain that individuality, you have to step away from the herd, chew your grass differently and end up producing fortified milk.

But in our society unique is defined as “doing what I want in the moment.” The absence of finding a position makes it unclear to those around where to find you.

Our culture teaches this ridiculous concept: let me reap and then I’ll sow–I promise.

In other words, “give me a reason to become excited and I’ll become excited.”

“Give me money and I’ll invest.”

“Give me a climate where everyone agrees with my philosophy, and I’ll embrace them with love.”

“Give me the funds for education, the books for reading and the classroom for receiving and I will eventually turn into a student.”

“Give me sex and I’ll consider love.”

“Grant me financial security and I will give my best impersonation of happy.”

“Take away hassle and I will try not to be grumpy.”

“Remove intimidation and bullying and I will show up to give you a better adequate performance.”

“Take away all the things that make life human and I will show you how divine I can be.”

This insipid thinking revolves around the word “unconditional.”

  • Unconditional love: take me as I am and critique nothing.
  • Unconditional faith: believe as I do and question nothing.
  • Unconditional politics: be Republican or Democrat, swallow the pill and support the party.
  • Unconditional romance: love me even though I have stopped loving myself by refusing to move in the direction of improvement.
  • And on top of this, we use the dynamic of God‘s love, God’s grace and God’s mercy as the model for this ludicrous acceptance of mediocrity.

Let’s look at the way it was meant to be from the foundation of the world:

I promise to sow so I can reap.

There is nothing that will be harvested from our life journey unless we have first planted our seed.

There is nothing that is guaranteed without our focus and commitment.

And there is no way that reaping will occur before sowing–or the entire cosmos will implode.

I sat around a table last night with family and friends to celebrate my birthday. But we did not celebrate the passing of a year adding to my longevity. What we celebrated was my belief in the treasure of sowing … to reap.

Stop cheating yourself out of the joy of human life. You will never reap until you sow. No matter how much you plead and beg for a loan from the universe, the heavens will turn a deaf ear … until you can bring collateral.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

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Scared Cropless… January 3, 2012

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Jonathan in Miami

I just found out that she’s very sick.

I met her thirty years ago when she was just a kid and I really was, too, although I had a few years on her. She wanted to be a singer but had settled for a husband. He was a religious fellow who ended up procuring some violence and repression along with his favorite Bible verses. He didn’t want her to sing–so she didn’t do much.

She was an idealist. An idealist is a person who cleans up the messes in life, convinced that it’s just preparations for a great big party. More often than not, the party doesn’t arrive. Her life became a journey of disappointment, masked by moments of religious euphoria. In a juncture of weakness, she obtained a lover who fathered three children with her but never quite got the idea of being a husband. She was a damaged soul with a pasted-on smile, singing hymns with tears in her eyes.

She was always in financial need, always praying for God’s grace and always talking to me about how “next week” she planned on doing “something” with her abilities. She never did.

She did the three things that we humans perform when we are silently frightened of trying to compete and still want to appear self-righteous. She settled in, she hid away and she checked out. She settled in to a life of domestication, making her children her life. She hid away in the choir at a large church, pretending she was using her gift to full capacity, and she checked out of any responsibility to sow her seed and reap. And the Bible she honored so dearly made it quite clear that God is not mocked–that “whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”

The problem with that concept is that most people are scared cropless. Out of fear of reaping the wrong conclusions, they just refuse to sow anything into the earth and they sit back and do their best impersonation of patience.

She was a princess, expecting a prince. She was a believer, demanding a miracle. And she was a talent, waiting for opportunity. She failed to realize that the Prince has already arrived and is offering us peace; that miracles are what God provides when He encounters an exhausted believer who is still moving forward faithfully, and that opportunity only comes to those who refuse to bury their talents, but place them out visibly for others to see and enjoy.

Tears came to my eyes when I heard about her illness, mainly because I love her and I’m very sad that she’s not well. But I’m also greatly angered by a religiosity that still permeates our society which keeps people crippled in their inadequacy instead of telling them to rise and walk in the newness of life. The fact of the matter is, most people don’t reap bad things in their lives because they sowed poorly–the majority of the populace reaps nothing because they planted nothing. They played it safe, they waited for the next train, and they passed on the possibility. So the time of harvest comes around and they have very little to celebrate. They falsely believe that it is the lot of those who follow Jesus to be the underdogs.

How sad.

Please pray for her. I hope she recovers and gets another chance to stop expecting, demanding and waiting. I hope she gets a door to escape settling in, hiding away and checking out.

Don’t be scared cropless. Take what you have, plant it, water it and see what happens. You never know. It just might grow.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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