Jesonian … August 25th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3775)

Jesus without religion--the mindset of Jesus

Temperamental.

Yes, I do believe that would be the word that the folks of our culture nowadays would attribute to Jesus if they carefully studied his actions and reactions with the human race.

He wasn’t always sweet.

He wasn’t always kind.

He wasn’t always compassionate.

But in reviewing his lifestyle and his personal moods, you get a good glimpse of what the Gospel is truly about instead of what it’s purported to be.

We take great pains to convince people that they’re sinners, but it doesn’t make any difference–God’s grace covers it all. But if the motivations of Jesus are any indication of the mind of God, I think we’re sorely mistaken. After all, Jesus did say he “came to show us the Father.”

Based on that premise, what do we know about God through Jesus?

Jesus had no mercy on incompetence.

When he told the parable of the virgins, he made it clear that they were foolish because they didn’t think ahead and provide enough oil for themselves to last until the bridegroom came.

He also stated that people laugh at anyone who builds a foundation but doesn’t have the time and money to finish it.

And of course, let’s not forget the basic teaching of “counting the cost” before leaping into a project.

Jesus had no mercy for judgmental people.

When the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, Jesus weighed the value of a human being against the sin of adultery, and determined that the soul was more important than the judgment.

He explained the same principle to James and John, who wanted to hurl fireballs from the sky down on the Samaritans. He challenged them, “You don’t know what spirit you are of.”

And Jesus certainly had no mercy on people who were self-piteous.

When the man at the pool insisted that he was too weak to get into the healing waters–that everybody beat him to it–Jesus later told him, “Be careful how you think and what you do, because something worse could befall you.”

And we must understand that Jesus never visited a leper colony. Those who felt sorry for themselves because of their disease never found the healing touch of the Master.

Christianity would prosper if we would let Jesus be Jesus instead of insisting that he fit into the mold of a Christ who salves the Old Covenant while initiating the new one.

Jesus had no mercy for the Old Covenant.

He told them their “house was left desolate,” and that they couldn’t put “new wine into old wineskins.”

Would you call that temperamental?

Maybe not–just impatient with those who make excuses and end up losing the opportunity to be fruitful.

 

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Jesonian … October 28th, 2017

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It’s called a non-sequitur.

Jesus was downright a master at it.

It’s when folks are talking about a particular subject, and you come along and insert a completely different idea, which takes the conversation in an unexpected direction.

Once, when confronted with a cynical young man named Nathaniel, who had pompously posed the nasty question, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Jesus popped off with a non-sequitur. Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

Was it true? Was it an accurate representation of Nathaniel? Who knows? It was a non-sequitur. The boy thought he was going to say something stinky, and Jesus freshened it to something different.

Just like the woman at the well, who thought she was going to get into an argument with a Jew about how they treated Samaritans, and Jesus replied, “I can give you living water.”

You see, it wasn’t on point. But it chased away the stink.

Likewise, when he was conversing with a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who wanted to exchange compliments about being teachers of God, Jesus commented, “You must be born again.”

And he did it again with a bunch of people lamenting a tower falling on innocent people and killing them. Jesus’ non-sequitur was, “If you don’t repent, you will likewise perish.”

He frustrated his critics by refusing to allow them to control the topic.

A bunch of angry religionists brought a woman caught in adultery, quoting scripture about how she was to be killed. Jesus inserted a non-sequitur. “Well, I guess the person who throws the first stone should be without sin–otherwise, it wouldn’t be proper.”

The use of the non-sequitur peppers the ministry of Jesus, allowing him to spice the hot topics.

It is his way to chase away the stink.

Rather than talking about how crappy people act, or how negative the thinking may be, simply having the ability to steer the conversation in a meaningful motion by using a non-sequitur, without making apologies for diverting the subject, is truly an act of brilliance.

If you want to be Jesonian, you’re going to learn how to use the non-sequitur.

What non-sequitor would you use when somebody wants to talk about the end of the world and nuclear annihilation?

How about a non-sequitur when someone wants to grump, complain, or even brag about President Trump and Washington, D. C.?

Can you come up with something to chase away the stink of those who insist they hate change while living in a world that does nothing but evolve?

Jesus did not come to bitch about the bad attitudes that surrounded him. He ignored them by enlightening the mindset, using the non-sequitur, and in the process, chasing the stink away.

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Jesonian … October 21st, 2017

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Even though I am an admirer, believer and follower of Jesus, there are things that bother me.

Yes, some attributes of Jesus give me the creeps.

Let’s start with the fact that he claimed to be “one with God.” Normally when folks make such an assertion, we give them a free trip to a mental hospital instead of building churches in their name. “I am God”–the classic statement made by megalomaniacs throughout history.

Secondly, he seemed to have a strong death wish. About halfway through his work, he became obsessed with his own execution. Needless to say, this is repeated throughout history by leaders who ended up being nefarious.

Can I give you a third one? How about this–he invited his disciples to drink his blood. That’s creepy. Although you can point out that it was a symbolic act, I don’t like to think about even symbolically taking in hemoglobin.

And there is the fact that he is traditionally reported to have stayed away from sex. Although surrounded by women and a plethora of men, it is alleged that he was as pure as the driven snow. We can certainly attest to the fact that those who pursue that lifestyle often end up being perverted, using their abstinence to injure the lives of others.

I’m sorry, these are some creepy things.

If I walked into your house and said, “Hey, did you hear about that guy down in Texas who thinks he’s God, hangs around with a bunch of women but says he abstains from sex, prophesies that the government is going to come and kill him, and it is reported that he makes his followers drink his blood…”

Come on. This is going to freak you out.

So why, since I know all these creepy things, do I still follow Jesus? It’s because of what he taught and how he followed up with it in his own life.

His teachings were non-violent. Most people who claim to be God want to kill you to prove the point.

Jesus didn’t care if you didn’t believe. He just went to another village.

His teachings were forgiving. Even though his disciples were a bunch of hotheads who wanted to kill their enemies, he rebuked them, told them to put their swords away and taught them that no one is better than anyone else.

His teachings were inclusive. Even though the average Jew of his day had a hit list of cultures which needed to be destroyed, Jesus walked freely with the Romans, the Greeks, the Samaritans, the Jews and the Afrikaans. He gave the same respect to everyone, whether a Pharisee or a man possessed with a thousand demons.

He also loved human beings. Even those who hated him.

He refused to take his claims of supremacy and force other people to submit to them. His philosophy was, “Whosoever will may come.”

So here’s an amazing fact: Jesus’ claims become viable because of his actions. It’s not that his actions are worth studying because of his claims.

I can accept some oddities in his choices, phrasing and mannerisms because his life was drenched in love.

Love is not creepy.

 

 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 19) Apolitical … April 10th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

It is impossible to pursue the dictates of a political party and stay faithful to the Jesonian.

There. I said it.

Anyone who follows a political persuasion is bound by that party to defend the stances presently being taken in the moment instead of embracing a more historical and eternal view.

Politics are for those who have given up on the power of the Gospel.

It is a way of trying to convince Caesar to accept your principles, or a way of forcing your principles into becoming “the new Caesar.”

Let us realize–they were constantly hounding Jesus to become political. They wanted him to fly the flag of Judaism and reject the Samaritans, or criticize the Greek woman who came for healing, attack the tax collectors, who were considered betrayers to the seed of Abraham, and most certainly, deny Rome the authority to rule and reign.

He disappointed all of these factions by living off of two simple concepts:

  1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  2. Go the second mile.

There is no political party in the United States of America that fully lines up in agreement with either of these concepts.

For “do unto others” is a decision to include all of humanity into your circle instead of rejecting some. So as the Republicans are infuriated with immigrants and the Democrats despise the South, the Jesonian individual must remain apolitical–loving the new visitors to our country and honoring the brothers and sisters in the Southeast.

No political party in this country believes in going the second mile. Going the second mile is finding out what energizes us instead of exhausts us.

The constant debate, attacks, and gridlock caused by political maneuvering becomes a national fatigue which removes the initiative to do just a little better than we did the last time.

  • “Do unto others” is spiritual.
  • “Go the second mile” is practical.

But you will find that when you do unto others, it has a practical edge, making you a friend of all tribes.

And you will discover that when you go the second mile, you gain spiritual credibility, as bystanders view your endeavors.

It is not reasonable to be political.

What is reasonable is to maintain a profile that is apolitical, while doing unto others and going the second mile–allowing the future to be determined by the wisdom of inclusion and the impetus of excellence.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 12) Repairing … February 21st, 2016

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Jesonian hands

Jews hated Samaritans. And by the way, the Samaritans were very willing to do their part to uphold the grudge.

Pharisees despised Romans. The Romans basically ignored them–until they occasionally got a murderous urge.

Zealots fought the Legionnaires. It was an unfair battle–Rome had too many weapons.

Lepers were separated from healthy people–and not nicely, may I add.

Men hated women. Women were in bondage to men.

Merchants killed thieves. Thieves stole from merchants.

This is the scene that was in full force when Jesus of Nazareth stepped into the melee to express his voice.

What pressure was put upon him? “Pick a side.”

  • The Jews got mad because he wasn’t Jewish enough.
  • The Romans were unimpressed because he was raised Jewish.
  • Even the Judeans and the Galileans–who were both Jewish–looked down upon one another, always pushing and shoving for predominant favor.

What did he do?

He set out repairing.

Rather than picking the Jewish side or the Samaritan side, grabbing a placard and protesting, he went to the Samaritans and to the Jews with the same message.

Rather than grabbing a sword and becoming a Zealot, his communication was that it was more important to give to the Romans what belonged to the Romans and to give to God what belonged to God.

He upset the Judeans by inviting Galileans to be his disciples.

And he really pissed off the boys from Galilee by appointing the Judean to be treasurer.

He touched lepers to heal them, which scared the hell out of his hypochondriac-followers.

And rather than submitting to a teaching arena, which was segregated for men, he blended men and women into a common camp of discovery.

You can’t repair if you’re going to insist that one side is better than another.

For instance, you will never be able to solve the problems in the Middle East if you favor the Jews over the Muslims or the Muslims over the Jews.

It is a reasonable process to go about the business of repairing. But to do it, you have to keep three things in mind:

1. Find the breach.

In other words, where has this group over here decided to hate that group over there, and how willing are you to stand between the two?

Since the black community feels persecuted by the police, and the cops feel targeted by that community, it is important for someone to stand in the middle, clean up the corruption in the police force, and teach the black community how to represent itself clearly and well in our society.

If you’re always going to try to find the victim, you’ll spend all of your time bandaging wounds instead of healing conflicts.

2. Situate yourself in the middle.

Black lives matter. Absolutely. No doubt about it.

Policemen have to make too many split-second decisions while holding life-threatening weapons. Absolutely.

Both camps need to realize the weakness and the strength of the other.

You can’t minister to Republicans if you’re a Democrat. And you sure can’t reach Democrats if you’re pounding them with the politics of Ronald Reagan.

Situate yourself in the middle where repair is needed and the breach is obvious.

3. Reach out in both directions.

Jesus found himself on the cross, nailed between two thieves, one hand reaching to the right and the other to the left. From that position, he was trying to salvage two lives which would soon be extinguished.

You can not repair if you choose to believe that one side is better than the other.

It is reasonable to go about the business of repairing.

You will have to free yourself of the unnecessary need of having an opinion on everything … and instead have a yearning to bridge the gap.

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Jesonian: The Rule of the School … November 15th, 2015

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The latest piece of pseudo-intellectual drivel seems to be the jaded proclamation, “People don’t change.”

It’s especially disheartening when coming from the mouth of a prison warden, a psychiatrist or a minister.

I suppose we could take this entire essay to discuss the validity or over-simplification of such a decree. Matter of fact, as Christians we could cite that even though the disciples spent at least 38 months with Jesus of Nazareth, the amount of personality and ethical change inside each one of them was questionable.

Peter may have confessed his faith, but he was still prone to over-exaggeration and eventually, denial.

James and John may have ceased to be fishermen, but maintained much of their prejudice, wanting to kill a group of Samaritans.

Thomas certainly had a conversion experience, which he often chose to doubt.

And Judas was elected treasurer, only to betray his position… and his friend.

So it is obvious to me that Jesus was the Christ, but not necessarily able to completely change goats into sheep. No, it seems that we get lost in that process and end up basically being asses.

Yet I must tell you, if I thought that change was impossible, I would not be able to tolerate the mediocrity of the world around me.

So what is the truth?

Actually the truth is a coagulation of two principles. Whatever you are, whatever you were, whatever your inklings or whatever your genetics, you can be transformed by a pair of unchanging and necessary conclusions.

We call the first one the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Yet I must tell you, that single concept becomes merely idealistic if you don’t take the “rule to school.”

In other words, if you do not allow the truth of the Golden Rule to enter your daily activities, you will worship the premise as you simultaneously defile it.

There has to be an application for the cleansing power of “love your neighbor.” This is found in John the 8th Chapter, verse 15. Jesus makes a simple statement.

He says, “You judge according to the flesh. I judge no man.”

We do become different people when we realize that “loving our neighbor as ourself” is the survival mode for human interaction, and that the only way to apply it is to never judge anyone.

You may feel an inclination towards a lifestyle, a genetic predisposition, or have just developed habits which seem to cling to you like feathers in the wind, but you can still be completely reborn by realizing that loving your neighbor is refusing to participate in any judgment about him or her.

Are you ready for some truth?

  • Jesus did not believe in adultery, but he forgave an adulterous woman.
  • At no point in the Gospels will you find a situation when Jesus supported gay marriage, yet I guarantee you–he would never condemn a homosexual.
  • It would be difficult to make a case for Jesus being pro-choice, but it would be equally as difficult to think that he would forbid a woman the right to choose.

I am often confused why we think it is necessary to hold a conviction and then force others to comply.

For instance, I do not like alcohol and never have. Yet I would be completely against Prohibition.

I think smoking marijuana is granting yourself a license to be inept in the name of recreational drugs, but by the same nature, I think it’s wrong to condemn and incarcerate those who want to puff.

An obvious way we can all change is to admit that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the essential chemical compound of life, but the only way to take that rule to school is to refuse to judge anyone.

It is never all right, and certainly is never God-ordained.

Even though the Apostle Paul had his experience on the road to Damascus, by the time he got on the road to Corinth, he had somewhat turned back into an officious, overly opinionated Pharisee.

But there is one thing he never lost: the realization that we are to love one another … which means expressing mercy instead of judgment.

 

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Ask Jonathots … July 16th, 2015

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I love my church and my pastor, but every four years my preacher tells us who to vote for. I really don’t like this. Should I speak to him about this? Write an anonymous note? What is the best way to handle this? I don’t want to leave the church because of this one issue.

Well it really comes down to this point: does a minister of the Gospel have a responsibility to steer his congregation concerning a political decision?

It is not a question of whether he has the right. If a preacher insists he has a calling from God, then he can’t use the Constitution of the United States as proof of his legal authority to voice his opinion in the pulpit in political matters. If you’re going to claim a higher purpose, then you must live by the dictates of that higher calling, not merely the civil rights afforded to you by your government.

So it comes down to the question of how did the Good Shepherd handle the issue of political favoritism? And of course, when I say Good Shepherd, I am speaking of Jesus.

  • Jesus had a congregation.
  • Jesus had a flock.
  • Jesus had a following.

Unquestionably, they were swayed by his opinions.

Judea in the 1st Century A.D. was politically charged. It was Jews against Samaritans, Samaritans against Gentiles, Gentiles divided over their allegiance to Rome, and Rome basically swallowing up most of the air with its imperialism and desire to conquer.

There was tremendous pressure on Jesus to pick a side. For instance:

He was invited to the palace of Herod to discuss his work. He declined.

The woman at the well suggested that he should show a bit more favoritism to the Samaritans to balance things out. He didn’t.

And of course, the Jewish hierarchy wanted him to speak out against Rome. And his classic phrasing of “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” still remains as a guideline for those who preach the Gospel.

They even wanted Jesus to express sympathy for Jewish folk who had been killed by Pontius Pilate while merely worshipping in the synagogue. Although it would have been easy for him to do so, he remained neutral.

Since he taught that “the Kingdom of God is within us,” how we are governed doesn’t make nearly as much difference as the decision we make on how to live our personal lives. Your pastor has absolutely no right to color the vote of his sheep. But confronting him on such an issue is not only disrespectful, but would certainly be unproductive.

If your church does not use Jesus as the primary example, then your pastor will probably fall back on Old Testament nationalism to condone his choices.

At that point, you have to make a decision.

Do you want to be part of New Testament church that follows Jesus, or a church which haphazardly mingles Jesus and Moses together with equal authority and power?

I see nothing wrong with posing the question to your pastor, “Do you think Jesus would campaign for a candidate, and if you do think so, what story from his life do you use to confirm that?”

Even the Apostle Paul told us to pray for those who are in authority over us–not campaign against them.

The church will become a much more powerful unit for spiritual and social change when it pushes for separation from the state.

 

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