Jesonian: Say, Do, Become … April 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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big I'm picWhen I heard him say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” honestly, I rolled my eyes.

It sounded like one of those statements made by someone who feels he is spiritually or intellectually superior, but tempers it with a short burst of manipulated humility.

But then, when the Centurion told him that he didn’t need to come to his house to heal his servant–just speak the word–and instead of becoming defensive or flexing his religious muscle, he praised the gentleman for the enlightenment, I realized that this one had the capacity to become a friend to the faithful.

Likewise, when he touted the importance of mourning, my cynicism came to the forefront. It’s so easy to elevate distress to a status of soulful discovery when you aren’t actually going through it.

But later, when he wept with his friends at the grave of Lazarus and shed tears for Jerusalem because of its hard-heartedness, I grasped that he had the capacity to become the savior to the ignorant.

“Blessed are the meek.”

Time after time he put that into practice as he was rejected by his family, the religious leaders, and even close friends. Yes, a respecter of the choices of others.

He told us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” He backed it up by fasting in the wilderness for forty days. A source to the seeker.

Being merciful is often a politically safe phrase to mouth in front of the masses but not so easy to enact–especially when they bring to you a woman caught in adultery, and the socially correct position is to condemn her.

He didn’t.

A champion of the lost.

I was a little surprised when he spoke about being “pure in heart.” And then, when I stood at his side, looking down at the very cold, pale and still body of a twelve-year-old girl who was obviously deceased, and he turned to the room with an almost foolish glee and told us not to doubt, “she’s just asleep,” my eyes filled with tears over such genuine simplicity. He became a child of the children.

A peacemaker? In our day and age? When it’s considered to be noble and righteous to stand up for your turf and proclaim your worth? I watched him carefully. When he was obviously snubbed one day by a Samaritan village which had formerly welcomed him, and now had decided to renege on the invitation, and those around him wanted to declare war on the inhabitants, he stopped them, and said that his was a spirit of reconciliation. God knows we needed it. Behold, a repairer of the breach.

I winced a bit when he suggested to the masses that they should be happy when they’re persecuted. But when his entourage grew into the thousands, only to shrink to a tiny handful every time a new rumor or misrepresentation of his words filtered through the crowd, he still pursued his calling.

In so doing, for all time, he shall be deemed the voice of reason.

I, myself, was startled by the notion of trying to find tenderness for those who speak evil against us. And then, at his trial, when the false accusers literally stumbled over one another to incriminate him, he remained still, and became the calm in the storm.

  • I listened to what he had to say.
  • I watched carefully what he chose to do.
  • And I was there when the friend of the faithful, the savior of the ignorant, the respecter of others, the source of the seeker, the champion of the lost, the child of the children, the repairer of the breach, the voice of reason and the calm in the storm–yes, I was there when he rose from the dead and became the Son of God.

I learned from him. Choose what you say, because you will have to back it up with what you do.

Only then do you become what you believe.

 

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Jesonian: Making Better Humans… February 23, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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drawing of jesusWhat would it be like to spend one day with Jesus?

Would there be a lot of prayer involved? Or would it end up that he was being honest when he said he did most of his praying in a closet by himself?

Would you get lunch, or would he be in the midst of fasting? Actually, the religious leaders criticized him for not fasting, and called him a wine-bibber and a glutton.

Would there be a lot of preaching and studying of Old Testament scrolls? Word has it that when he was around folks he just told stories, inviting them to interpret and therefore involve themselves in their own spirituality.

Would he be critical of the weaker members who surrounded him? I’ve read stories in which he was willing to forgive even adultery, if there was a heart for transformation.

Was he a good Jew? Jews sure didn’t think so. Matter of fact, it was against their law to kill one of their own, but they had no trouble putting a hit out on the Nazarene.

Was he a theologian? A deist? A philosopher? A manic healer? Or a humanist?

This is what we know for sure–he marveled at two things: people who had great faith and people who had no faith.

He believed his mission was to make better humans, not to make people dependent on either their faults or some vision of God.

He was delighted when he saw those who broke through their own insecurities and frustrations, to believe there was more. And he was equally as surprised with those who decided to ignore the evidence of blessing in their lives and take the road of doubt.

This I know–Jesus wanted to make better people.

It’s why the religious people didn’t like him. They wanted a quick work of salvation that got them off the hook through the shedding of blood through sacrificial lambs.

He asked them to be involved in their lives and take responsibility for their actions. They left him hanging, on the bad side of town.

If you’re not grounded in a place where Jesus is being taught to you, with the aspiration that you will continue to grow in your love, appreciation and creativity, then you’re just at the mercy of a gaggle of religious fanatics.

And all religious fanatics have one thing in common–when they run out of enemies on the outside, they start killing off each other.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Palm of the Hand… March 24, 2013

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Breathlessly, the young tyke ran up to me, thrusting a palm branch in my face, screeching, “Come on! Join us!”

I took it from his hands as he quickly ran away and I watched his retreating form, wondering what it was like to be so young, energetic and completely overtaken by joy.

I was curious, which is the best I could do at my age. I had heard a lot about the young Nazarene preacher and even had a cousin who knew a friend who was acquainted with  a fellow who claimed to have been healed of leprosy by the mob-proclaimed miracle worker. My cousin was rather dubious about whether such a transformation had actually occurred, thinking perhaps it was merely one of those remissions common to the disease. Or perhaps a hysteria that had merely been exposed. But still … I was curious.

I was not one to become quickly duped or overtaken by fits of emotion or passing fancies. As I stared at the palm branch in my hand, I was suddenly surrounded by a horde of adoring folk, mostly women and young children, making their way down the road toward the gates of the city.

I decided to follow at a distance, to learn more. For after all, I had enough dissatisfaction in my soul to wander from the common, acceptable procedures, to peruse the thinkings and aspirations beyond the normal scope. I wasn’t normally a participant, but rather, a student. So on this day, I was out on a studious hike, to learn the ways of a crowd in the midst of an exciting journey into the big city.

Yet I was careful. Trooping along with them, I noticed that the religious leaders were standing at a distance, expressing their disapproval, some even scoffing. The Roman soldiers were less offended, but treated it as a lark, or, if you will, a bit of comic farce. It was a bit humorous. Peasants marching along with palm branches instead of swords, following a vagabond minister who was bouncing on a small donkey, unarmed, with a pleasant smile spread across his face. He was innocent, inane and dangerous, all at the same time.

I suddenly discovered myself lagging behind, careful not to appear as if I were part of the reverent masses. I gingerly fingered the palm branch so as to appear to be an observer rather than a worshipper.

I caught a glimpse of the young boy who had given me the present and had encouraged me to join the flock. He motioned for me to move forward and become part of the procession. I smiled at him–so beautifully youthful and idealistic. Yet my feet, which had begun to delay further motion, now completely stalled.

It seems I had decided. Let them parade without me.

I was curious–but just not enticed. And most definitely not prepared for the condemnation that might be awaiting these creatures of adoration when they reached the gates of the city.

Unsettling times–and certainly no season to take undue risk.

I turned on my heel and headed home. I stared down at the palm in my hand. I lifted it to my nose and smelled the pungent fragrance. And then … I let it fall to the ground.

The further I walked away the less I could hear, and the less I heard, the more distant it became in my consciousness. I made a decision.

Not today.

I would salve my curiosity in some other fashion. Maybe listen in on one of the young man’s talks. Maybe question some of his disciples on his stance on issues. Maybe wait for the religious leaders to draw their determinations and glean wisdom from their experience.

Or maybe just wait for the next time. Yes.  The next time.

I was nearly home when I concluded that the next time I saw the Galilean in the street, in the midst of such a jubilant march, I would join in.

I would be bold. I would grab my palm branch and in my own way, celebrate the moment.

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

Dreadfully Dull… April 7, 2012

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It’s the Saturday part that always interests me. Looking at the days of Easter, from the arrest of Jesus through the crucifixion and on to the resurrection, we often leave out that twenty-four-hour period when he’s dead, beginning to stink and absent of any prospect of life.

Yes, for one day evil has won. Oh, shoot–that’s too dramatic. It would be easier if it were evil. Then we could take a gun out and shoot it, or send Navy seals over to exterminate it. But no. That Saturday between the crucifixion and the resurrection was a day when much more common, but sinister, concerns were given free rein.

It was a day of dreadful dullness. Because when you turn out the light what remains is darkness. Unacceptable. Yet time passes, your eyes adjust and it suddenly gains plausibility. Adaptation. Yet still, dreadfully dull.

It is a time when the consequence of extinguishing our possibility taunts us in our foolishness and inefficiency, leaving us to either repent in great sorrow for our short-sightedness or stubbornly insist, “It was my choice.”

Yes, it’s the Saturday that fascinates me–a Saturday when the street cleaners of Jerusalem are scraping up the bowels and remains of Judas Iscariot, who has hung himself and has fallen to the earth, gushing in all directions.

It’s a day when a disciple named Peter realizes that he has chosen his own bodily life over the spiritual life he gained from his friend. For denial, after twenty-four hours, reeks of betrayal. And unfortunately, there is no way to recreate beauty by removing truth.

It’s when a woman named Mary, from Magdala, is trying to figure out how in the hell her friend has been snuffed out by a religion she had honored all her life, and also how she was going to be able to roll away a stone to prepare his body for burial.

It is the Sabbath Day, a day of reverence in the midst of a season of redemption–Passover–a day when Caiaphas, the high priest, has symbolically given absolution to a race of people when he, himself, has blood on his hands from slaying the promise of God.

It is a day when people huddle in their houses of worship to commemorate the great deeds of the prophets of old, who were slain by their fathers and mothers–and now they, too, have followed suit, eliminating the greatest possibility.

Nicodemus has to wonder whether he said enough to defend the young man he came to visit by night, who told him to be “born again.” Perhaps he should have heeded the advice.

And Pontius Pilate has clean hands but a cluttered mind, wondering whether his latest decision might have eternal consequences.

But sanity often demands that we escape our conscience through the back door of excuse. The only recourse is to find inane activities that generate a dreadful dull–to anesthetize the guilt and leave us absent sensation.

It was a long day. It was a day when the world was without a Prince of Life and the Light of the World.

I’m not so sure we would have survived two of them–more lies and deception would have been needed to keep us from wondering if we were wrong.

  • Religion–without God.
  • Politics–removing purpose.
  • Friends–breathing, minus love.
  • And dreams–vegetating, devoid of fulfillment.

‘Twas a dreadful dullness–a warning. For resurrection loses some of its sweetness with the memory of indecision.

Only Mary Magdalene and her female companions could tout the glory of victory–having remained each step of the way, faithfully observing the unfolding of the magnificent plan. All others have the aching memory of twenty-four hours of dreadful dullness. 

Victims? Perhaps. But also culprits … in a crime against the universe.

**************

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.

Friday, It Better Be Good… April 6, 2012

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6:41 A.M. I wake up and realize it’s time to take a shower–and in the midst of my thick-headedness, I step into the enclosure and immediately drop the bar of soap, having to bend down and pick it up, which is followed by two identical droppings. Three times–bending down in the shower to pick up my bar of soap. Why can’t I hold on to the slippery little booger?

Meanwhile, Jesus is carted off and then ridiculed in front of King Herod and his court because he refuses to do miracles as parlor tricks for their amusement.

7:21 A.M. I find it difficult to enjoy my breakfast because I only have two strips of turkey bacon. Even though it’s a decision of my own making, I’m a bit aggravated because several days ago I allowed myself four strips. Honestly, four strips would not kill me. It’s just that in the pursuit of trying to lose some weight, I felt it was a simple area to cut back on. It doesn’t feel simple today. It feels like someone stripped me of my bacon.

Simultaneously, Jesus is unceremoniously returned to Pontius Pilate because he failed to gain the approval of King Herod. The religious leaders, lacking footing for their charges, decide to accuse him of sedition against the Roman government in order to gain the attention of the single-minded governor. There is no truth to their statement, but as is often the case with those who have a “political mind,” the mere whiff of impropriety frightens him.

8:30 A.M.  My right knee is sore. It’s sore because I’ve been exercising to try to achieve a status in which my right knee will cease to be sore. So what is the purpose of exercising to make your knee stronger, if in the short run it makes it more sore, which makes you want to exercise less? It may be the true definition of a defeated purpose.

Baffled as to what to do, Pontius Pilate makes a decision to whip Jesus thirty-nine times with a cat-o-nine tails to satisfy the blood-thirsty nature of his enemies, without completely draining the life from his body.

9:51 A.M. I open up my Outlook Express to discover that I have no emails from friends and family today. I do not understand why they forsake me, considering that I am faithful to write them each and every week. Would it kill them to put down a few words or send along some niceties? Or just type in my email address and claim they forgot to include a message? I do not understand why people are the way they are. It doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I don’t think it’s mean to lack understanding. I think it’s kind of mean to not send an email to somebody as cool as me.

Following typical human logic (which lacks any true merit) the decision on the fate of a young man from Nazareth who preached love and healed the sick is left in the hands of a howling mob which has been paid off to yell the correct phrase: “Crucify him!”

11:32 A.M. I just realized I left two things in the van that I need–and it’s also laundry day. These are in two different directions. It’s not that I’m lazy. It’s just that I’ve reached an age where I like to economize my efforts. Also, I’ve been exercising and my knee is sore. And more walking will just make it sorer, right? So I’m going to take a few moments to figure out how I can lessen my activity without coming across as perniciously unmotivated–and still get the two things out of the car I need and also help out with the laundry. Maybe if I think long enough Janet will get tired of the delay and do it for me.

A night without food. A night without water. A severe beating and numerous verbal and physical attacks. A beam is placed on the back of Jesus of Nazareth as he is commanded to climb up the Via Dolorosa to his position of death. It’s too much. He falls under the weight of the cross. He feels humiliated that he’s unable to man up to the moment. Another is called to bear his load as he stumbles his way to his execution.

12:21 P.M. I open up my cupboard. Lunchtime. And I realize that several days ago I purchased the wrong soup for lunch. I was looking for some sort of chicken soup, but ended up with an anemic chicken noodle that tastes like you hosed down a hen in the coop. Suck.

Jesus is nailed to the cross and in the midst of the initial burst of agonizing pain, he speaks to those who will hear and says, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

1:41 P.M.  Jan drank all the diet Coke and all that’s left is diet Sprite. Do you think I’m being picky to be upset about this? There’s plenty of diet Sprite. Of course–because it’s NOT diet Coke. I don’t want diet Sprite, but I don’t want to fight with her about it. That would make me seem small. So I pour myself a cup of water, which I really don’t want, so I don’t have to drink diet Sprite, which would make me mad because she drank all the diet Coke.

At this point, nailed to the cross, having lost nearly a third of his blood, he is plagued by a nagging thirst. With a dry, parched throat, he rasps out to the surrounding guards, “I am thirsty.”

2:22 P.M.  Taking a few moments to check out the television shows available, nothing looks good. There is a Law and Order episode available but I’ve seen it too many times. Daytime talk shows and HBO has its crappiest movies on. So many television shows, so little potential. And all I want is a bit of entertainment to pass the time.

In the midst of the agony of dying, a companion on a cross nearby asks for grace in the upcoming realm of the afterlife. Jesus takes a moment from his own concerns and tells the young fellow that “this day you will be with me in Paradise.”

2:59 P.M.  Television is a bust. It’s not time to do my next project. I’ve already completed my other work. I can’t eat any more because I’ve used up all my calories for mid-day, so I allow myself the grace of becoming bored, which soon leads to believing I’m tired, as I settle down on my pillow and give in to a delicious nap.

Back on the cross, Jesus has lost all energy to lift himself up to gather a breath. His chest is heaving; his muscles are cramping. Right before his heart explodes from all the pressure, he says, “It is finished.” And into the Father’s hands he commends his spirit. He is dead. He is alone.

Epilogue

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Why? So I can be petty, trivialize important things and search for reasons to be dissatisfied? Maybe someday, because you died with such dignity, I will finally live long enough to learn how to take my cushy, relaxed and privileged life … and make a difference.

**************

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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