Jesonian … July 21st, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3740)

Jesus is not a conservative.

“He who is given much, much is expected.”

“Whenever you’ve done it unto the least of these, my brethren, you’ve done it unto me.”

Jesus is not a liberal.

“The poor you have with you always. Do what you can.”

“Every good tree brings forth good fruit.”

Jesus is also not a vegan.

Too much talk about killing the fatted calf and eating it, and of course, there was that time he devoured the grilled fish by the seashore.

Jesus is not a member of the NRA.

“They that live by the sword shall die by the sword.”

“My kingdom is not of this world; otherwise my disciples would fight.”

Jesus is not religious.

“Avoid vain repetition.”

“Thinking with their much speaking that they are pleasing God.”

Jesus is not an anarchist.

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”

“I have not come to destroy the world, but to save it.”

Jesus is a FAITHOLOGIST.

He studied faith, analyzed it, prayed for it, praised it, wondered where the hell it was when it wasn’t there, and showcased it.

He was a Faithologist.

First he taught people to have faith in themselves…

“You are the salt of the Earth.”

“Your faith has made you whole.”

…then God:

“Our Father, which art in heaven.”

“If you, being evil men, give good gifts, won’t your Father give even better?”

In his Faithology course, he taught faith in Nature:

“You can discern the face of the sky.”

“Consider the lily and how it grows.”

And he taught us to have faith in others:

“Give and men shall give to you, good measure, pressed down, running over.”

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

He came in human form to talk to human beings about human things in a human way, to encourage human excellence. He certainly was the Great Humanist.

But he taught this by extolling the power of faith–that even as a mustard seed, if we will not doubt in our hearts, we can move mountains.

*****

If you like the mind of Jesus without religion, buy the book!

                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

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G-Poppers … May 11th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3669)

G-Pop wants his children to know that there’s nothing terribly mysterious about the mystery of human relationships.

Basically, if you’re willing to show up without arrogance, some awareness of what’s going on, minus a personal agenda, then those who are like you–the human sort–will normally give you a chance to co-mingle.

Yes, it’s really that easy.

But we continue to stumble around acting like we’re a complicated traffic jam of cultures with deep-rooted traditions, making it difficult for us to include anyone else.

But if any of G-Pop’s children are curious, here’s a simple way of understanding how to get along with other people:

1. Find what is of interest.

Yes, topics come and topics go. There are times that subject matters are very important, and other occasions when they aren’t.

For instance, if you’re religious, no one is going to be interested in the story of a 3,000-year-old dead person. Faith must be for today.

If you’re political, what your candidate may decide to do with an endangered species in the Yukon probably won’t be as pertinent as tax reform.

It is necessary to stay current with what is of interest. Case in point: if there are seventeen people killed at a school, it is not the time to discuss gun rights. Likewise, if the Second Amendment is being threatened, it is not a good time to pander pictures of dead children.

Find what is of interest.

2. Be interested.

That means you might need to yank your gaze away from your iPhone. It may be necessary to listen and learn before leaping in to recite something you read on the Internet. You certainly should make eye contact with the speaker and turn your body in the direction of the conversation. Be interested.

3. And then suddenly, you are interesting.

No one will find you interesting if you do not know what is of interest, and have established that you’re interested. Conceit is locking in on your own devotion.

Truthfully, spirituality, which should be pushing us forward in our generosity of spirit, often clings to pillars in the past, unwilling to move and therefore ends up perceived ignorant.

And politics, which should be looking toward the daily bread of problems, is of little use if it is only rallying behind ancient, half-baked causes.

G-Pop wants his children to know that if they want to be successful with others, they should find what is of general interest, be interested and in doing so, become interesting souls themselves.

 

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G-Poppers … March 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3613)

 

G-Pop knows that nearly everybody is acquainted with the process–going out to dinner.

First, arriving at the restaurant, having the greeter seat you. And then the server comes by and sets the whole evening in motion by asking the question, “Can I get your order?”

Of course, if you are a veteran of the cuisine, you know there is an order. First comes the drink, then the salad, entree, dessert, concluding with the check and tip. Candidly, the management doesn’t like it when you get it out of order. Matter of fact, you could be corrected.

Likewise, G-Pop has realized there is an order to this journey. Perhaps we should have learned it by now but there’s so much confusion–and there are too many people who want to get dessert before their salad. So we get confused.

Just as a restaurant visit is “drink, salad, entrée, dessert and then check,” in our time on Earth, we have to discover the correct order for: me, God, people, science and animals.

Simply placing one of these pieces in the wrong position can send us awry. And by awry, G-Pop means a bewilderment which settles into our souls because something doesn’t seem right.

What should come first? There are dangers.

If you start off with God you become too religious. That soon makes you intolerant of people and sometimes even grumpy about including science in the family at all.

Those who begin the order with science often find it necessary to negate a Creator, and over the years may grow weary with people, ending up giving the bulk of their charity to animal rights organizations.

Should we begin with people? That can be a real mouse trap–especially when people act like rats.

How about if we just negate the whole mess and dedicate our lives to animals? They may be cute but they are still beasts, because they bite–sometimes when you least expect it.

So just as a journey to your local bistro is an adventure requiring some basic understanding, being a quality human being certainly means you need to be able to answer the question, “Can I take your order?”

What is your order? G-Pop is curious.

When considering “me” (yourself), God, people, science (Mother Nature) and animals, what sequence works for you?

The choices you make and the order they’re in determine the abundance of your heart–and therefore control your speech and interaction with others.

G-Pop would love to hear from some of his children on this subject. Rather than rattling on about it this week, he’ll wait and see what people have to say.

So in closing, from G-Pop: Can I take your order, please?

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Good News and Better News … February 19th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3588)

During a particularly glorious pee-pee break during the night, I turned on the TV to light my path, muting the sound (as I didn’t require any audio commentary while urinating.)

Upon returning to my bed, I reached for the selector to turn off the TV–my normal practice–so I could roll over and hook Sleep One up with Sleep Two, when I looked up and saw Joel Osteen on the screen.

I have no strong sentiment about Pastor Osteen. There are some people who think he is handsome, with his million-dollar smile and house to match, and others who call him everything from a charlatan to a heretic. (The worst thing I probably have done is finding myself holding the coats of those who were stoning the Houstonian.)

But I also do not favor his instruction. Oh, that’s stupid. I just really have never listened to him. After all, I find myself so fascinating there’s little time for others. (I hope you know I’m kidding…)

But on a whim, I unmuted the messenger and let him speak. Amazingly, for the next three-and-a-half minutes, this young gentleman spoke directly to my heart. His message was so specifically designed to my circumstance that I was startled. If I were the superstitious sort, I might even believe the actual show did not exist, but was manufactured in the heavens to be aired on my screen and mine alone.

For three-and-a-half minutes there was nothing but Joel talking to me. After that it got a little clunky, but I treasured my three-and-a-half minutes.

Clarity. It is one of the greatest things God can give us. We all pray for healing, finance and retribution, and He offers us wisdom and strength, knowing that these two powerhouses usually set everything else in motion. I was struck by the simplicity of it all.

You see, I’m tapped.

I’m not angry, I’m not frustrated, I’m not disillusioned. I’m just tapped.

I am drained of any further toleration for a religious system that spends time bickering instead of beckoning.

Drained of a political collision in Washington which is no merely longer involved in gridlock, but has transformed our country into bumper cars.

And a business world which decides to charge more for a candy bar while simultaneously shrinking its size.

So in a sense, I have great empathy for the WWE (another show I’ve never watched). I am tapped out.

I don’t want to wrestle any more. I’m tired of the struggle. I’m weary of watching people pretend they’re passionate, only to resume their mediocre lives once the cameras are turned off.

I don’t want to hear any more about school shootings–not because I’m indifferent to brothers and sisters who were slain, but rather, enraged by those who use the event to become overly religious, maudlin, improve ratings or posture for votes.

God came into my room last night with the aid of Joel’s words, calmed me down and gave me another gallon of hope for truckin’ on.

I am no longer tapped. I am open for business, to be gentle, kind, humble and therefore, powerful.

The good news is, God spoke to me through Joel Osteen.

The better news is, I didn’t act like a jerk, but instead, listened.

 

 

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Good News and Better News… October 30th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3476)

I have participated in thousands and thousands of …

Now, what shall I call them? For if I refer to these as “performances, shows or gigs,” religious people will give me the holy frown of disapproval because I have trivialized the spiritual significance.

But by the same token, referring to my efforts as ministry, worship leading or any other divine terminology makes me reek of pretension.

Of course, worst of all is the safe, but vanilla describer, “presentation.”

I run into the same problem when I try to decide whether to say a robust “Praise God” or a timid “thanks be to God.”

Do I go for the full dunk in baptism, or settle for some other plunk?

Should communion be unleavened bread, or a golden loaf?

Wine or Welch’s grape juice (which many denominations insist was Jesus’ preference)?

And I think the most intimidating crossroads of all is settling whether our Christian faith is ground in social commentary or revivalism.

That’s why the tambourine is pictured today. A tambourine can scare a Lutheran or a Methodist to death–almost as much as a printed bulletin with liturgy makes a Baptist tremble.

It just doesn’t seem to occur to us that defining the word “ministry” requires taking a long gaze into the lifestyle and actions of Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus was both contemplative and flamboyant.

He had the strange notion that the profile for what he did in blessing others was contingent on what they needed, and not confined to the Book of Common Prayer.

So to one person, he said, “Be healed.”

He touched lepers.

He spit on someone else.

He stuck his fingers in another person’s ears.

And he shouted to raise the dead.

He would have upset a lot of people.

Jesus didn’t worship miracles; he didn’t minister miracles–he performed miracles.

He showcased the Gospel in stories, told with colorful description and high-flung gestures.

The church has lost Jesus because it has focused on either social gospel or revivalism.

Jesus was the Son of God, who came to teach us how to get along with each other–with a tambourine in his hand.

So the good news is that we need both social commentary and revivalism.

The better news is, when we actually mingle the two, we suddenly become more relevant.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 17) Come and See … October 8th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3454)

 

Matthew stared at his computer screen which had a heading of “International Federated Mercantile Institution”–a fancy name for “bank.” He had been peering at the same page for nearly a half an hour. Actually, the same number. It read, “Balance: $248,798,565.38.

It was hard to fathom. He had mixed feelings. There was joy over having that much capital to play with, but also a responsibility to turn it into somewhat of a completed vision for what Old Man Harts had desired.

What was originally 250 million had been eaten away by legal fees, surveys, transportation and just the transactions that happen when legal and business minds collide. It was still a hell of a lot of money. A hell of a lot of money for a heavenly purpose.

Matthew remained uncertain about why he had decided to take on the project. Even a week ago his inclinations had been negative. But something happened in Vegas that didn’t stay in Vegas.

He’d had an awakening. Not so much a religious eruption, but rather, a clarity of thought. When he met Jubal Carlos, who was working frantically to assist the homeless, Matthew asked himself what was he doing to make the world just a little less crazy?

He didn’t want to be overly analytical. He was certainly basically a good person. He tried not to purposely do harm to anyone and on occasion his generosity was worthy of note.

But was it possible to do more? Especially if you were granted hundreds of millions of dollars to try?

So after the awkwardness with Jo-Jay and Soos in the suite at the casino, he decided to meet with Tomlinson, and see if he could change the attorney’s mood into a positive direction instead of the grumpiness that had ensued.

He stopped off at headquarters and picked up Sister Rolinda and Prophet Morgan, realizing that the uptight attorney with the bow tie, Tomlinson, would have no counter for such creatures.

Sure enough, when Prophet began to preach salvation to Tomlinson and Sister Rolinda recited promises and possibilities for inner healing, the barrister couldn’t wait to transfer the money and get the crazies out of the room.

It seemed strange to Matthew that in a world of emotional agnosticism, Prophet Morgan and Sister Rolinda carried the day with their passion.

But what finally sealed the deal, causing Tomlinson to loose the purse strings, was the plan. Matthew was going to get Jubal Carlos to travel the country, playing the part of Jesus–in character, in appearance, in wisdom, in knowledge and in pungency.

Jubal already had the look. He had the intensity. And he certainly had the inclination to be a helper of mankind. Keeping him out of churches and just in public arenas–colleges and even rock festivals–would create the adequate controversy that could simulate the upheaval which occurred two thousand years before in Israel, when the real guy walked the earth.

It was a plan that needed tuning, clever applications, great press releases, You Tubes and even maybe a short movie. But once again people could come and see Jesus–even though it wasn’t the actual one, but another human being, carefully crafting an image that was sensitive and faithful to the original.

The slogan for the campaign would be “Come and See.”

Prophet Morgan was ecstatic.

Sister Rolinda thought it had potential, but she wanted to meet Jubal to see if he had the goods.

All systems seemed an outrageously wonderful “go.” There was only one problem:

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Catchy (Sitting Two)This Young Man … June 18th, 2017

Matthew Ransley was an advertising agent but fancied himself an executive. He was a founding partner in a company called S.E.E.D.S.–an annoying, elongated acronym: “Selling Everything Everywhere, Delivering Success.”

Matthew was very good at what he did. He worked at being congenial but if sufficiently aggravated, could launch into a rampage to defend one of his well-guarded opinions.

It was Tuesday when the phone rang and Mariel, his secretary (though she preferred “executive assistant”) was not yet at work to answer, so Matthew found himself taking the call. It was from Marcus Tomlinson, an attorney—an attorney for the estate of Arthur Harts.

Matthew knew who Arthur Harts was, and had even heard that the old man had died. He listened carefully as Mr. Tomlinson explained about the recent reading of the will and the revelation of the “Make Jesus Popular” addition.

It did cross Matthew’s mind that it might be a crank call. But the attorney established credibility because he seemed to know what he was talking about, including an abundance of information about Matthew and his agency.

“The reason we called you is that we thought that your agency’s name, S.E.E.D.S., sounded a little religious, and in doing a background check on you, we also discovered that you had some interest in matters of faith and such when you were a student back in college.”

Matthew smiled. He remembered. College–a chance to plan your future while simultaneously ruining your life. After graduation he had included every piece of resume-worthy material possible on his application to gain employment.

He had begun a club during his college years, launching a fledgling organization initially called the “Son of One” (he being the only member at the time.) His vision was to create a para-religious/party-motivated/pseudo-intellectual club, which would attract both thinkers and drinkers.

Before too long he achieved a member and they became the “Crew of Two.” Then came another and they became the “Tree of Three.” When a fourth joined, they dubbed themselves the “Core of Four.” A fifth inductee created the “Hive of Five,” and a sixth, the “Mix of Six.” When a seventh young lady cast her lot with the organization, they became the “Leaven of Seven,” where they remained throughout their university years, garnering no new converts.

Matthew assumed this was what the attorney was referring to when he mentioned “some interest in matters of faith.” Honestly, the seven young folk liked to talk about God and politics until the wee hours of the morning while indulging in “the beer and bong.” It was hardly a consecrated conclave, but rather, dedicated to the proposition that all men–and women–are created equally arrogant.

“What is it you want?” Matthew asked. It was too early to chat–or reminisce.

Mr. Tomlinson proceeded to explain that one of Arthur Harts’ dying wishes was to give two hundred fifty million dollars towards increasing the popularity of Jesus.

“How popular does he need to be?” asked Matthew. “I mean, they named a religion after him, and, if I’m not mistaken, doesn’t our entire calendar run by the date of his birth?”

There was a moment of silence. Then Lawyer Tomlinson spoke in metered tones. “Let me just say that I don’t know much about religion, or God for that matter. I am merely performing the literal last request of a very wealthy man.”

“So what do you want me to do?” inquired Matthew.

“What do I want you to do? I guess I want you to tell me that your agency will take two hundred and fifty million dollars and at least try to make Jesus more popular.”

“We could start a rumor that he and Elvis are going to get together and cut an album.”

A pause. “Sounds fine with me,” replied Tomlinson.

Matthew chuckled. It was becoming quite evident that this lawyer was merely going through the motions of fulfilling a contractual oddity. On the other hand, as unusual as the request sounded, the two hundred and fifty million dollars did offer a bit of sparkle. As a founding partner in his business, did he have the right to reject such a lucrative offer simply because it was weird?

The lawyer piped up, uncomfortable with the delay. “Perhaps you could suggest someone else.”

Matthew laughed nervously. “No, I don’t really think I could suggest anyone else. I’m not familiar with any All Saints Agency or God Almighty, Inc.”

“It is two hundred and fifty million dollars. I mean, can’t you do something?”

“Yes,” said Matthew. (He figured it was always better to say yes to two hundred and fifty million dollars. You can revise your answer later, but in the meantime, well, it’s two hundred and fifty million dollars.)

Matthew punctuated his acceptance by adding, “Maybe we could get Jesus to date a supermodel.”

“I think he’s dead,” said Tomlinson, without inflection.

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