Jesonian … December 2nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Whenever you’ve done it to the least of these, my brethren, you’ve done it to me.

This seems to be one of those idealistic, philosophical utterances of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. Most people nod their heads in agreement, while secretly pre-repenting over not doing it.

But it is not a statement.

It’s a puzzle–a riddle.

It’s an intertwining ball of confusion leading us to a universal realization.

First of all, let us understand that Jesus, who walked with equality among Jew, Greek, Roman and Samaritan, did not believe that anyone was “the least.” So him phrasing the word “least” was ironic rather than iconic.

Since he didn’t believe anybody was the least, we are given a bit of misdirection. Jesus was suggesting that we, as humans, are obsessed with subjectively examining those around us, with the goal of finding our level of superiority.

Because we don’t want to hunger and thirst for righteousness, we live off the fat of our own arrogance. In other words, “I am better than you because I say that I’m better than you–and everyone in our clan believes we are better.”

Nowadays we pass this prejudice off as culture, or loving our family, or appreciating our home town. It’s the Red States saying they are more righteous than the Blue States, and the Blue States claiming the Red States are imbeciles.

There are no least.

So Jesus traps us in the maze: “Since you think these people are least, then you need to realize they are me, and the only place you will find me is in them. I will not be available to you in your favored few. You will only be able to discover me in those you deem least.”

So if you think black people look like monkeys, if you want to find Jesus you’d better show up with some bananas–because he will situate himself right in the middle of the black race and evaluate you on how you treat them.

If you think women are weaker vessels and stupid, Jesus will grow a vagina. Yes, Christ will only be accessible to you through the female.

If you think gay people are destroying America, then be prepared to find Jesus as a flaming queen with a thick lisp.

And then, based upon how you handle this information–how genteel and kind you are–your true spirituality will be rewarded.

For Jesus told us that if we love those who love us, we are no better than the heathen. Anybody can do that.

But if we insist there is an inferior race, an abominable people or just folks that are “no damn good,” then we will need to go to the prisons, the hospital wards and the whore houses to really find the Master.

It is a nasty trap.

Perhaps it would just be easier to cease believing that anyone is least–smarter to drop the arrogance that keeps us in ignorance, where God has no tolerance.

The least of these my brethren is not actually a group of people. It is a gathering place for all of our bigotry–where Jesus is waiting for us so that we can find him and be blessed.

As soon as the church starts teaching a progressive message–that no matter how unique our fellow-humans may turn out to be, none of them are least–we will be at the mercy of cozying up to those we deem intolerable.

There are no third world countries.

There are no human abominations.

There are no inferior races.

There are no least.

If you believe there are “least” in the world, be prepared to journey to them to find your Master.

He will be sitting there–right in the middle of the people you hate, waiting for you to repent and find Him.

 

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Jesonian: He Was… November 2, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesus knocks

He was not a traditional Jew, though he loved his mother, father, sisters and brothers who were.

He was not an Arab, even though he spent his formative years in Egypt.

He was not a Greek, though like many of their philosophers, he had great “ideas,” which when applied, improved the human condition.

He was not a Roman, though he told his disciples to “render unto Caesar the things that were Caesar’s.”

He was not an African, though his goal was to make the whole earth a common tribe.

Nor was he Chinese, though in the tradition of Confucius, Jesus say: “What shall it profit man if gain world and lose soul?”

He wasn’t German, but instead, tried to envision a world that was “all the Father’s Land.”

Not French, but turned water into wine.

Was he British? No, but to this day, the sun never sets on his kingdom.

He was not Spanish, though he taught us all to explore the world within and to go into all the world around us.

He was not Native-American, though he introduced us to the “Comfort of the Great Spirit.”

And he was not American, though he certainly believed that all humans were created equally.

Isn’t it fascinating that perhaps in being none of these individually, he had room in his being to become all of them?

Jesus was the “Great Physician Without Borders,” who healed the heart, saved the soul, refreshed the mind and energized the body.

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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G-45: Dark Pages … October 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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What made you think I would tolerate your religion?

What caused you to believe that you were given permission to rustle up rules and regulations and herd spirituality into some stinky-hole corral of repetition?

Did you forget how I mocked the traditions of men when I walked among the Jews? I ridiculed their ceremony and chided them for their elaborate clothing, flaunting their position.

Therefore, will I accept your garb of garbled expression, touting sacrifice, or worse, supremacy?

  • Wash your hands? No, thank you
  • Fast? I am a glutton.
  • Pray? Only in my closet of privacy.
  • Stone that harlot? I do not condemn her.
  • Worship the temple? I shall tear it down.

I am nauseated by your praise without heart. They are words of explanation without meaning, droned in somber tones to establish solemnity.

Blind from your eyes plucked by bouts with vengeance.

Toothless, pleading for your mother’s milk.

Calling one another Master, Reverend, Bishop, Cardinal, Pope.

Yes, Pope.

Did you forget it was the Jewish Pope, Caiaphas, who condemned me to death, using the Roman puppet to act out the violent, fool-hardy charade?

It is as if the Pharisees have hijacked my work instead of the mission being heralded by cleansed lepers, freed whores and liberated Gentiles, dancing for joy.

You have taken the pages of my words and turned off the light, to revere the book and ignore the context.

When you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you are cannibals because you ignore my mind and reject my heart.

There are no kings.

There are no serfs.

You are drunk on your own swill of piety.

As I told the daughters of Jerusalem, your house is left desolate. It is a tomb, displaying silence as the evidence of a slaughtered hope.

I was here.

Did you fail to learn of my actions?

I despise those who feel they are better than others, even if they can recite a litany of their righteous deeds.

I never knew you.

I don’t want to know you.

You cannot imprison my healing virtue in the torture chamber of your tiny vision and narrow mind.

I am the wind. I will blow where I desire.

I will find liberty and immerse my efforts in the waters of freedom.

You have found the heaviest burdens and laid them on the shoulders of broken travelers.

You have made my name weary when it was meant to produce rest.

I hate your religion.

I shall create again, calling new souls … and bring your efforts to nought. 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Jesonian: Faith Without Smart Is … October 5, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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woman touching

She had tried everything, depleting both her funds and energy.

A small trickle of blood was constantly flowing from her body, leaving her weary and exhausted, threatening to take away the will to persevere. But she knew one thing for certain: long before we arrive in the tomb, we haunt the graveyard of self-pity.

So she kept looking.

One day she heard about a young man who was touted to have healing powers. Too decimated by her illness to compete with the crowds that surrounded this wonder boy, she devised a plan. She would wait until he was passing her way, and then crawl through the sea of legs surrounding him, touch the hem of his garment and in so doing, trigger her needed recuperation.

She did not allow herself to second guess her own inkling. Such a reflection would have made her doubtful, causing her to give up.

It worked.

And her healing friend told her that it was her faith that made her whole.

****

He was a Roman Centurion, a stranger in a strange land. He was hated simply for the uniform he donned. When his servant became ill, he was frustrated that there was no remedy. All the Roman and Greek cures failed to provide comfort.

He heard about a carpenter from Nazareth who was supposed to possess a linkage with God, granting supernatural powers. He sent a messenger, telling this fellow of his situation.

When he realized that the young preacher was heading his way to assist, his wisdom told him that this was foolish. There was no need to come to his house. The Centurion was deemed unworthy by the citizens, and if the healer came, his reputation would be tainted by assisting a Roman.

“Just say the word and my servant will be healed.”

The Miracle Man smiled, shook his head and replied, “I’ve never seen such great faith.”

By the way, the servant was healed.

****

A prodigal son lying in squalor and self-imposed poverty comes to himself one night, realizing that it is prideful and unnecessary to remain indigent. He devises a plan, and because his humble reasonings produce faith, he ends up being returned to his position as son.

****

A Gentile woman comes to the young prophet of Galilee, wanting her daughter to be freed from demons. She is a bit surprised that he rebuffs her, being surrounded by bigots who deemed her less than human. But rather than being offended or full of self-contempt, she instead banters with him, explaining that although the people around her believed her to be a dog, that “even the puppies get the scraps from the table.”

The Galilean chuckles. “Your daughter is healed. Your faith has made you whole.”

****

Faith without smart is fear–and fear is always the unwillingness to conjure an idea. If it is faith that makes us whole, then our wholeness is determined by coming up with our own inspiration.

Sometimes we don’t know what to pray. (In that case, the Spirit intervenes on our behalf.)

But more often, we have the brain to attain what we are blessed to possess.

For after all, intelligence is not a rejection of grace. Intelligence is grace … with a map to Jesus’ house. 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Joe-Pa … July 13, 2012

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1998.

I remember it well. It was a much different time in our nation. There was no 9/11. A war in Iraq was not viewed as an extended conflict costing billions of dollars and countless lives, but rather, a skirmish which we won, driving Hussein back to Baghdad.

There was more playfulness in the air–a devil-may-care, if you will. Howard Stern was considered to be a little bit risqué, but was also lauded with praises for his artistic feats.

And in the White House there was a scandal. It was discovered and exposed that the President of the United States was having sexual relations with a twenty-one-year-old intern named Monica Lewinsky. This particular indiscretion was not confessed by President Clinton, but uncovered by a series of news reports, which provided more and more additional, irrefutable details. Many people in the nation felt that the President had defiled the country–especially since the trysts occurred in the Oval Office–and these outraged individuals contended that he had disgraced the office, similar to the caretaker of the orphanage urinating in the daily porridge served to the children who were dying of cancer and had just found out that their surprise trip to Disney World was cancelled.

Still, with all that outcry and a lack of forthcoming information from the President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton not only survived the scandal, but finished out his term and is now generally regarded as an excellent pundit and arguably an example of American leadership.

At the same time, in 1998, Coach Joe Paterno faced a dilemma. He was America’s straight arrow. He was the symbol of “no-nonsense,” “taking care of business” and “you’d better not mess with me OR the rules.” He looked on his football team as a unit without stars, even insisting that their uniforms be as plain as possible, with no names ever appearing on the jerseys. He was America’s father, who coached a football team, and from behind his thick-lensed, black, horn-rimmed glasses, he demanded purity and devotion.

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Patern...

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno on the sideline during warmups prior to the 2006 Homecoming game versus the University of Illinois on Friday, October 20, 2006. Taken by me. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One day a report came into his office that Jerry Sandusky had been caught fondling a young boy in the shower room. Now, you must understand–the coach, fondly referred to as Joe-Pa, knew that his friend, Jerry Sandusky, was a goofball.We all have one. We all know one. Sometimes it’s a family member. Often it’s a friend we met along the way who attached himself to us, and even though we believe him to be less than perfect, we allow him to hang around because we don’t have the heart to send him away.

Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky was less than sound. But Joe Paterno also believed in his own reputation. He believed that he was the symbol of integrity and morality in the NCAA. He had no reason to doubt that his decisions, which up to this point had been resoundingly praised, would be equally as appreciated by what he attempted to achieve by maintaining his friendship with his goofball, Jerry.

Joe Paterno took three separate thoughts, which individually might have value, but collectively, ended up being a devastating lie.

1. I am in a position to decide what’s best. Actually, my friends, no one is in that position. Here’s the truth–the best has already been decided and if you don’t know what it is, pick up a history book or any volume containing the rules and regulations of basic human decency. Your amendments, additions and opinions don’t really matter much. The best has been decided. You either honor it or attempt to change it at your own peril.

2. People can’t handle the truth. There is a great fear in all of us that if who we are were revealed, we would not only lose our status, but would be relegated to caves and treated as lepers. Not so. Most of us would be astounded at how little other people care about our internal workings, especially when we are willing to admit our foibles aloud and face the music. Joe-Pa thought he knew Penn State. Joe-Pa thought he knew Pennsylvania. Joe-Pa thought he knew ESPN. Joe-Pa thought he knew America. What Joe-Pa didn’t stop to realize was that the horror and anguish to a young, emerging male being of raped in a locker room continues to scream out at the world all around us for years to come. He didn’t place himself in that shower stall and become that little fellow. Instead, he decided for everyone what they could handle and what they could not.

3. He followed an American tradition–a false one, mind you–that it’s better that a few suffer than many lose out. It’s the same philosophy that a high priest named Caiaphas presented when describing how he thought the death of Jesus of Nazareth would keep the Jewish race from being attacked by the Romans. He was wrong. And Joe-Pa was wrong to think that trying to quietly muffle the cries of the victims of goofball Jerry Sandusky’s insane mental disease was going to be acceptable because it kept the university from being embarrassed and the program he had forged with his own hands from becoming tarnished.

What I want you to understand today is that individually, each and every one of us might come to the same conclusions that Joe Paterno did.

  • We might think that we have the right to decide what’s best.
  • We might assume that the people around us can’t handle the truth.
  • And we might believe it’s more magnanimous to save the rights and privileges of many students by ignoring the pain of the afflicted few.

It might even sound noble to us. It certainly would make us feel that we were being generous of spirit, forward thinking and broad-minded.

Of course, we would be wrong.

There’s only one thing to do when you discover that hell has entered your sanctuary–stop the singing and prayers, and point to the evil. It may ruin the worship service; it may cause the love offering to diminish. You might have to actually take off the holy robes and cease to be the high priest of the occasion. But hell has no business pursuing heavenly ideals.

And even though I believe that very few individuals would have the fortitude to make a stand against the atrocity of child abuse that was perpetuated at the hands of Jerry Sandusky, I do expect a man who received such laud and praise for being ethical and moral to perform such a task.

Joe Paterno will always be known as the great coach … who was a lousy human being.

Even though William Jefferson Clinton never actually came forward to unveil his sin, because the scandal was exposed and popped like a pimple, his life continues today. What Joe-Pa didn’t realize was that the truth will make you free. It may take a year; you may suffer some sanctions. Perhaps your hopes for a national championship will be dashed in 1999. But sooner or later the American public would rise up and say, “Joe Paterno did the right thing–even though it cost him.”

And he would be remembered as the coach who made the tough decision, and as the example of a true American who stood up for what is right.

   

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