Jesonian … June 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3712)

“He turned the water into wine.”

Let’s just stop and think about that. Jesus had a cousin named John, who took a Nazarite vow. No liquor.

A very popular religious cult of the time, the Essenes, also were teetotalers.

Even though many historians will note that wine was a common drink of the masses, it was often considered forbidden–actually uncommon among those who deemed themselves religious–especially if you were just starting a movement.

What were you trying to communicate? After all, water is the symbol of life–to such an extent that we often refer to “the water of God’s word.”

Why would Jesus care that a young married couple ran out of wine during their reception? What was that to him?

To me, the message is clear. Water is what you drink when you’re thirsty. Wine is what you select when you want to get buzzed.

A transition was in order. A New Testament was about to be unleashed on the world. What better symbolism than to make it clear that water–in other words, our lives–was meant to be wine, thus intoxicating?

No longer were we to merely survive, but celebrate.

It wasn’t an issue of sustaining our beings, but rather, imbibe by getting drunk on the Spirit.

You don’t have to go any further than the commands he gave to the servants, who were to set the miracle in motion.

1. “Fill it to the brim.”

Six water pots in all, holding at least fifteen gallons each. So we’re talking about ninety gallons of wine. This was not a gift to “finish up the party.” Rather, it was an inclination to keep the party going.

2. “Pour it out.”

Get it into people’s cups. Don’t display it. Don’t revere it. Don’t call it “holy wine.” This is drinking vino. This wine is for the purpose of people “rejoicing and being exceedingly glad.” No longer are our lives supposed to be watered down, but instead, juiced up.

3. “Make it the best.”

Jesus told the servants to take the wine to the governor of the feast, who sardonically panned, “Usually at these weddings they bring out the crappy wine at the end. But you’ve saved the best for last.”

What is crappy wine? It’s wine that is either freshly-squeezed grape juice, or so old that it’s almost turned to vinegar.

There’s a message here–we need to stop acting like we’re grape juice–pure and without sin–or that we’re turning into vinegar in our pews because we’re so soured by our life and our experiences.

Taste good.

Inebriate.

It was the message of Cana of Galilee.

You don’t start a revolution by walking away from a wedding feast, refusing to make wine over spiritual pettiness.

You create an international revival by being the one who has the sense, at the right moment, to put the “juice on the loose.”

 

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G-Poppers … May 18th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3676)

G-Pop would like to address two words with his children: constraint and restraint.

Although they have similar definitions, their application is quite opposite.

Constraint is normally a commandment or demand placed on others, and restraint is a restriction we apply to ourselves.

Even though we certainly would love to place many constraints on the world around us and guide it into deeper understanding of what we envision for an excellent planet, the fact of the matter is, no one really listens to anyone else, especially when controlling through instruction.

When constraint is in the air and cultures, religions and political parties are attempting to convert one another, the end result is usually violence. Of course, long before the mayhem, painful discourse ensues, often punctuated with insult.

G-Pop wants to tell his children that it is time for good-hearted people of good cheer to take on some selected restraint, with the goal, in so doing, of making it much easier for people to see the vision of the choice–and judge for themselves what they want to do.

Here are G-Pop’s Four Posts of Personal Restraint:

1. I will live and let you live.

2. I will be odd, and not get even.

3. I will make more and take less.

4. I will be kind and ease my mind.

No human being will be able to pull these off every day, or even for the preponderance of a week. But just doing it every once in a while changes the quality of the air we breathe, and lightens the burdens of the load we bear.

You can try to force these on other people, but they will resist you.

Or you can simply take them on as a goal, a mission, a blessing and a great relief to your own brain.

Constraint leaves the world bickering over details and never taking on the “weightier matters” of mercy and love.

Restraint opens the door, showing others what it’s like to clean up your own house before you try to dust the furniture in someone else’s living room.

 

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Good News and Better News… December 4th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3511)

Somewhere along the line, we have convinced ourselves that church is supposed to be a service–a program put together with songs, testimonies and a sermon, where those in attendance can worship God.

There is no Biblical basis for this kind of thrown-together event. It is a by-product of Catholicism, which borrowed many of its ideas from the Roman hierarchy or the other religions of ancient times, which were ceremonially based.

In pursuing this piety, we have removed two of the basic powerful principles that provide the righteous realization for coming together: including and using.

Yes–church is supposed to include me and you, and find ways for us to discover our usefulness. When you remove a sense of inclusion and the possibility of a person being useful, the motivation for merely gathering in order to revere is not enough to keep the pews filled.

It was the heart of the Master to include people and then make them useful–or maybe not make them useful–just find out where they were useful.

Whether a prostitute or demon-possessed man, Jesus surrounded them with a sense of inclusion and then put in place a purpose and use for their presence.

So a woman at the well became his advertising agent for a revival.

A man who had been possessed by a thousand demons became his public spokesman for a whole region.

And Mary of Magdala, who herself was possessed by seven demons, became one of his right-hand people.

We have lost the power of inclusion. Matter of fact, the church is notorious for disincluding certain groups of the community because of their wickedness or weakness.

So when you walk in the door, you’re handed a program–or not, for those churches which think they are free-wheeling and fancy-free–and you listen to an eight- or nine-piece praise band, which has over-practiced facial expressions while under performing musically, and stare at a screen to sing songs of repetition, waiting for the hour to creep by.

“Not my church!” you say.

But the reality is, just because you have grown accustomed to your surroundings and are accepted within the cave of understanding does not mean a stranger could come in and access the same gentleness.

Here is our new truth:

How big is your congregation? Eight billion and growing, because we include the whole world. But every week we have about two hundred people who attend who are so useful we couldn’t do without them.

Now, that’s church.

Until we abandon a fear of God which has us stuck at the beginning of wisdom, unable to progress, we will gradually see people trickle away because they don’t feel included, and they certainly do not sense they are useful.

The good news is, “whosoever will may come.”

The better news is, we sure hope you show up, because we could sure use you.

 

 

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Catchy (Sitting Four) Ideas Are a Dime a Dozen… July 2nd, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3356)

The day arrived for the meeting of the minds. Landy rented a small conference room and catered in some delicacies and drinks. The three partners sat at the head of a table like a trio of judges at a Miss America contest.

The Shelley Corporation was the first to present. They had been given the job of producing three slogans. The first was a poster–a man dressed in a plaid leisure suit with his hair slicked back. The caption read, “But Jesus—He will never go out of style.” There was a grunt or two and a threat of applause.

The second poster was a close-up of a Jesus look-alike. The caption read, “Here’s lookin’ at you, baby.” Too commercial and might raise some objections from Hart’s estate (and perhaps from relatives of Humphrey Bogart).

The third one was a cartoon of Jesus playing soccer, kicking in the ball for a score. The caption, in large red letters, read, “Goal? He loves you.”

The partners liked this one least of all, finding it a bit confusing and reiterating to one another that soccer would never be an American sport, anyway.

Next on the chopping blocks came the “You Want to Know Survey Company,” with the results of a questionnaire that had been given to over fifteen thousand registrants. The ten questions were as follows:

  1. Would you enjoy eating dinner with Jesus?

The choices were:

  • very much
  • might be fun
  • never thought of it
  • might give me the creeps

Fifteen percent of the people said they would enjoy dining with Jesus. Fifteen percent said it might be fun. Sixty percent said they had never thought of it and ten percent said it kind of gave them the creeps.

  1. Do you think that Jesus is popular today?

Four percent said “Very popular.” Eight percent said, “Somewhat popular.” Eighty-eight percent said, “Don’t know” or “Don’t care.”

  1. Do you think Jesus would be more popular without his beard?

One percent said, “Maybe.” Ninety-nine percent said, “No.”

  1. Do you think Jesus would be more popular if he weren’t so religious?

Fifty percent said “yes.” Fifty percent said, “Don’t know.”

Randall stifled a yawn. There were six questions to go and he was already bored. If they couldn’t come up with an interesting survey, how could they ever come up with a campaign to promote Jesus to the marketplace?

The questions droned on as Randall began to think about his own experience. He was raised in a church environment, learning about the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and Jesus all in the same week. At four years of age, all three seemed equally plausible. By age ten the tooth fairy had fluttered away. At twelve, Santa Claus was “sleighed,” and at sixteen—well, at sixteen, girls came into the picture and Jesus got in the way.

So the crucifix was tucked under the t-shirt, the Bible inserted in the closet with the Scrabble game and the Ouija board, and he was off on the pursuit of hormonal surges, drinking binges and mandatory orgasms. After exhausting all known religions, he formed his own—a delicate blending of humanism, hedonism and Methodism.

Meanwhile back at the meeting, the survey was completed, rendering no results. The only thing remaining was the panel of theologians– four in all. There was one Catholic, one Protestant, one evangelical Christian, and, for some reason, a Jewish rabbi (who was possibly selected to avoid any hint of anti-Semitism).

The Catholic priest spoke first. “If by popular you mean the Savior of the world in conjunction with his mother, Mary, and the intervention of the Saints, then Jesus is already truly the most outstanding figure in all of history.”

The partners nodded an exhausted assent.

The Protestant spoke next. “I think we have to do something to make Jesus groovy to the young people. You know how they came up with ‘Rock the Vote?’ How about ‘Vote for the Rock’?”

This time there was no way Matthew, Randall and Landy could hide their disapproval. After all, he said “groovy.” Matthew, who had long ago lost the ability to disguise his disgust, groaned audibly.

The evangelical literally leaped into the moment. “I think you need to just let Jesus be Jesus, because He said if He be lifted up, all men would be drawn to Him.”

“He has been lifted up,” inserted Matthew. “And Arthur Harts, the billionaire, didn’t think all men were drawn to him.”

“All men who have a heart for God,” replied the evangelical.

Matthew winced. He hated religions jargon. He called it “the God-out.” When in doubt, religious people would always bring God into every situation, so you could never argue with them without seeming that you were trying to disprove the heavens.

Randall smiled and thanked the enthusiastic believer.

That left the Jewish rabbi. “Well, I don’t know why I’m here, exactly, because, you may have heard, we accept Jesus as a great teacher, but we contend the problem is, he’s really not the son of God. I mean, if I were promoting him to Jerusalem, I would just put up his picture with a caption that read, Hometown Boy Is Acquitted.

This brought some laughter throughout the room, but Matthew sprang up to terminate the meeting.

Even though it was a minor disaster, both Landy and Randall still wanted to pursue the project.

Greed. No other explanation.

They had pledged long ago that when two of the three partners were in accord on anything, they would do it. But it looked bleak. The slogans had been drab, the survey droll, and the theologians a drone.

Matthew had one idea. One wild and crazy notion. He got on his computer and looked up six names.

Michael Hinston, whom he knew as Mikey.

Joanna Lawrence, Jo-Jay.

Susannah Lacey, Soos.

Paul Padwick, who tolerated the nickname, Pee-pee.

Mary Rogers, who was now Mary Rogers-Kent, known by everyone as Mother.

And Lydia Lars, who loved Eric Clapton, and so was surnamed Layla.

Along with Matthew Ransley, whom everyone affectionately called, “God-guy,” they formed the Leaven of Seven.

They were his best chance at making some sense of this queer mission.

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G-Poppers … September 25th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2703)

Jon close up

Practicing: working on something to get it to where you want it to be.

Practicing piano, football, dance, law–each one has a process. Each has a defined path which determines quality.

So let’s look further:

  • Practicing Judaism.
  • A practicing Muslim.
  • Practicing Buddhism.
  • A practicing Republican.
  • A practicing Democrat.
  • A practicing atheist.
  • A practicing Christian.

No difference?

In each case, there is a philosophy, a platform, a journey, an insight, a doctrine or a purpose which has to be acted out faithfully in order for the practitioner to be proven worthy.

G-Pop feels that we err when we think the conclusion of all the organizations and religions listed above are moving in the same direction. As ignorant as it is to be intolerant, it is equally as ignorant to be unaware of what the end result is to the religions, politics and procedures around us.

To find out what a Muslim believes, you have to study Mohammed. He is their prophet.

To find out what a Jew believes, you must combine the Torah with the prophets, and a study of the Jewish kings.

To understand a Buddhist, one must consider Buddha.

A Republican is comprehended by looking at the climate of the Party in its present form and also perusing the platform.

Likewise with a Democrat.

An atheist seems to make it quite clear that his or her pursuits are absent any recognition of a deity.

So it may seem to be intelligent or even high-minded to throw everybody in a big pot and say we’re all the same, but as long as the people in that pot believe they are unique or even superior, then you’re not making a human stew–just a pot with stewing humans.

Even as G-Pop looks at his life as a Christian, he sees that it falls into three categories:

Is he a Judeo-Christian, believing that the Old Testament has as much anointing as the New Testament?

Is he a Catholic Christian, in the sense of finding his solace in the teachings of the Roman Church and the authority of the Pope?

Or is he a Pauline Christian, pursuing the instruction of the Apostle Paul as regards the formation of a New Testament congregation?

G-Pop offers a fourth alternative: Jesonian–basing one’s faith and practice on the heart and mind of Jesus.

So before you condemn others–or condone them–sit down and read up a little bit on what they treasure, and realize that in the eyes of God there are only two standards for a civilized and spiritual society:

1. How do we treat women?

Are they equals or subordinate in any way?

2. How do we educate our children?

Do we lock them into a narrow-minded curriculum, force them into a limited culture or give them more of a world-based view?

G-Pop passes this information along to all of his children.

“Study to show yourself approved unto God.” Don’t make so many blanket statements.

Understand who and what you’re talking about, and realize that what people practice they will not only preach … they will also act out.

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Cracked 5 … May 19th, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

(2585)

cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Possible Names for Churches or Religions Founded by Women

A. Rutherans

 

B. Breasbyterians

 

C. Womenites

 

D. Muslins (Women of the Cloth)

 

E. Panticostals

 

clapboard church

 

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G-50: Going Forward… November 14, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2413)

better garden sized

That pretty much concludes everything. At least for now.

Every intelligent creature willing to move toward wisdom is learning. And all learning requires both a willingness to make mistakes and a desire to repent.

After billions of years, the process continues.

It’s not so much that we search for knowledge as that knowledge is waiting for true searchers. And what makes a true searcher?

That’s easy.

Not being afraid to be wrong–or at least mistaken.

Good will come. Evil will challenge. Kingdom will rise against kingdom and nation against nation.

Those who get caught up in the temporary conflict of the moment will soon be forgotten.

The earth is stronger than any of its occupants. The universe has more purpose than any poet can imagine.

But when all has been said and done–and that is unlikely to happen soon–the desire of the heart of the Creator is to bring us back to the Garden.

So how can you make sure that you’re moving toward the Garden instead of glorifying the arid desert?

1. Find enjoyable work.

Stop hanging on the cross, trying to suffer for being a grownup. Once and for all, a crucified man set us all free. Anything you do that avoids joy is wasted breath and exhausting effort.

2. Be equal partners.

Avoid those who make distinctions between men and women, colors and races, religions, sexuality and just general preferences. Equality is the only form of humility that has everlasting power.

3. Honor nature.

The Earth brings forth fruit of itself. Stand back in awe. You are not absent from the process, but rather, included. Don’t abuse your Mother and expect your Father to stand idly by, approving.

4. Meet your Creator at the end of the day and enjoy the cool of the evening.

Life is not a perpetual prayer session nor is it a fit of anger, shaking a fist at the heavens. It is understanding that there is a time for work and a time for commiserating.

5. And finally, choose life over knowledge.

As beautiful as knowledge can be, and as essential as it is to your well-being, it is life that brings you abundance.

So I speak to you:

  • Use life to pursue desire.
  • Employ your desire to acquire knowledge.
  • Let knowledge advance science.
  • Realize deep in your soul that science will always lead you to God.
  • Worship God for the purpose of loving humans.
  • And finally, enjoy humans to better your life.

 

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