PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 27th, 2016

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PoHymn Crying

crying

I am a voice crying in the wilderness

My throat is parched from screaming the need

Excuse me, sir, can you take a moment’s thought

To wonder why the Earth won’t move?

 

Flowers in the spring dare to bloom in front of us

Deserts of dreams simply blow away

A smile on the street seems to be suspicious

Churches that pray never seize the day

 

Come with me

(we’re too busy)

I have life

(so do we)

Where’s your joy?

(nothing’s funny)

Deal with me

(we have bigger barns to build)

 

I am the voice pleading in the land of less

We pan for gold in fields of debris

We seek for truth and draw swords of selfishness

We bless a lie and curse the truth

 

Come, won’t you join me in Jordan’s waters?

Cleansing the soul which has lost its feel

Tumbling the dice as you kneel before us

Casting your lot through the holy meal

 

Festering frightened

Ever enlightened

Joyfully jumbled

Wistfully humbled

 

I’m the voice

(crying)

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G-Poppers … July 8th, 2016

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G-Pop watches.

He observes.

He listens to the cacophony of opinions colliding in levels of frustration and disagreement.

Meanwhile, the world continues to careen toward calamity.

There are two abiding misconceptions which hold us prisoner to our own understanding:

  1. “More is always better”
  2. “There has to be a little bit of what I believe in everything I do”

While we seek for a destiny, the world itself actually evolves, discounting the notion that there is some sort of pre-determined path. Evolution was meant to be our friend. It grants us the opportunity to see change coming and preface that transformation by writing our own rendition of the future. But we have to escape the fallacy of thinking that doing more of “our thing” will make situations better.

For instance, there is an abiding foolishness that proclaims the answer to “mean” is to be “more mean.”

That the solution for violence is more violence.

That the best way to handle the quandary of gun control is to sell more guns.

Lying is overcome by developing our own sophisticated lies.

We also contend that religion just needs more religion.

Prayer is faulted by not having a hefty enough amount of supplication.

We also believe that bigotry can be quelled by more bigotry.

War with more war.

Fear with more fear.

Selfishness by touting our own nationalistic chest-thumping.

And stubbornness–yes, stubbornness.

Stubbornness is the abiding notion that “there must be something of what I presently believe in what will happen next.”

It doesn’t work that way.

It is not only the “survival of the fittest,” but also the survival of the wittiest. Get your wits about you.

As we sit in the ashes of forty-eight hours of tragedy, we must understand that all the parties involved, including the victims, had guns. It didn’t help the two victims who were murdered because…

Because someone did not question his lingering training.

If you’re a policeman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or Minneapolis, Minnesota, you are on your way to a call or you’ve picked up somebody for a busted tail light. and you realize that they are of a different color, before you climb out of your car to approach them, you need to take a half a second to ask this question:

“What prejudice is there in me that might make this situation difficult?”

And if you’re a black person in this country who is fully aware of the abiding racism, you must ask yourself:

“What can I do to remove the apprehension of the white police officer who’s about to confront me?”

It is not an issue of being fair, but instead, gaining the wisdom of the serpent. Because the serpent is quite capable of biting–but also is extremely vulnerable to being stepped on and killed. So the serpent slithers away from trouble.

G-Pop realizes that we will not get anywhere in this country until we question what we do, instead of assuming that doing more of it will solve the problem.

It begins in a small way–when we acknowledge that the person who refuses to let us into the flow of traffic is not really a “goddamn-son-of-a-bitch.”

Just doing more of what he or she was trained to be.

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Ask Jonathots … April 21st, 2016

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My three grown children were raised in the church, but not a single one of them goes to church now, although they all claim they are believers in God. Sometimes it bothers me and sometimes I think it doesn’t matter. What do you think?

I think the first question we have to determine is–what is church?

There was a major shift in our society in the 1980’s, when the church house changed from being a center of fellowship, awareness, social interaction, self-improvement and community concern to being an organization focused on the worship and discovery of God.

The whole concept of this transition seems so noble to theologians and ardent zealots of our time that we have failed to return to church being a center for emotional, cultural and spiritual expansion.

Like any functioning business or social awakening, when the purpose of that institution is defunct, it ends up dying.

So the church of your memory no longer exists.

It has been hollowed out of its message and purpose in favor of traditions, hyper-spirituality and seminars on self-worth and prosperity.

So the question you have to ask yourself is this:

Are my children better off by joining in to the efforts of a religious system that has abandoned its calling, or are they better off without it?

Now, your summary would be that the church, even though weakened by its introspection, is better than nothing.

Their conclusion would probably be that “no church” gives them a free Sunday to enjoy their friends and family.

So here’s the question: can we all begin to go to church–not with the idea of swallowing the provided pill–but instead, transforming it back to the vibrant, living organism that Jesus intended it to be?

After all, Christianity is not a religion–it is a lifestyle. And if the church is not promoting the lifestyle of Jesus, it is watering down the message to include pop psychology and Judaism, which are not fulfilling to a New Testament life.

So if I were you, I would sit down with my children and tell them of the regrets, misgivings and frustration you have with the present religious system, but also inform them of the hope you have to see it transform itself back into the heart of Jesus.

Because here’s the truth–even if the church remained as anemic as it is today, it is still necessary to be a buffer against the insanity of selfishness and rage.

Challenge your children to become the church by changing the church.

After all, they want to change the politics.

They want to get rid of Wall Street’s greed.

Why not step into a situation where they really could affect a lasting change … and turn the American church back into a place where Jesus would be proud to be a member?Donate Button

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G-Poppers … February 12th, 2016

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 G-Pop remembers when he bought a dog for his youngest son.

A trip to the rescue shelter, a scanning of canine candidates, and a selection of the family mutt–an animal with so many donors that breed identification was laughable.

The whole process, counting food and bowl, was $45. For that sum, a family friend was acquired, absent any pedigree.

Yet buried in the genetics of this pup was a little bit of hound.

The young son discovered this one night when he imitated a dog howling, and the mixed-up barker launched a woeful moaning into the air.

The dog resisted his inclination. He tried to refrain from being “nothin’ but a hound dog, cryin’ all the time.”

But eventually, the sound of hound came forth.

He was embarrassed.

Matter of fact, after the outburst, he drug himself from the room to reflect on his folly.

Just for the record, we are all mutts, too.

All us Americans.

We have so many breeds within that it would be impossible to find purity in any of us. And we’ve certainly got some hound.

Yes–there is much that hounds us:

  • We are hounded by our selfishness.
  • We are hounded by our fears.
  • Certainly hounded by our sense of entitlement.
  • And also, by our prejudices.

So politicians, ministers and corporations try to get us to release our disconsolate, mournful bay.

They tempt us to be mean and grouchy.

They lure us to our worst place, where we wallow in dissatisfaction, “the hound of hell.”

So then we whine. I do think we’re embarrassed by it–we want to run and hide because of our weaker nature taking over.

But shame on those who draw out the parts that hound us.

Our dog was noble, loyal and loving.

But sometimes, to establish our pleasure–and dominance–we made him howl like a hound.

G-Pop thinks it’s time for us to stop barking at the moon.

Matter of fact, maybe it’s time for all of us to find our better pooch.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 8) Priority … January 24th, 2016

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Jesonian hands

I am often reluctant to quote directly from the Good Book.

It is not due to a lack of respect or devotion to the volume. I would have a similar sensation about reading passages from Moby Dick if historically the Melville work had brought about horrific division and chaos.

But sometimes a particular passage from the Bible needs to be shared in its simplicity–and entirety–to point out how misunderstanding has driven us away from the consensus of what makes things good.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”

It is virtually impossible for a theologian to interpret that verse without adding his or her religious convictions, practices and pious overtones.

Yet it’s really quite simple. It’s divided into three sections:

  1. The kingdom of God.
  2. His righteousness.
  3. All these things.

To identify what these mean, you must have an awareness of the overall and abiding principles that are represented.

The kingdom of God is not a church, a belief system or a denominational approach to religion. Jesus made it clear that the kingdom of God is within us.

So the first step to establishing priority in our journey is to find ourselves.

The creation story tells us that God breathed into humans the breath of life and we became living souls. So if we can’t find that breath, we don’t know how to breathe. And all attempts we make to find the kingdom of God outside the confines of our own created space are not only futile, but often lead us in the wrong direction–trying to become sanctified without really being holy.

Here is the kingdom of God: I am happiest when I can be strong enough to help others.

  • We are not happy when we are weak.
  • We are not happy if we have sufficiency and choose selfishness.

The breath of God is the blessing of finding ourselves and then dispensing mercy to others.

We are told to seek this first.

Dare I say that many religious people are so riddled with insecurity and superstition that the only way they know how to express salvation to others is to load them down with guilt, intimidate them over their lifestyle, then stand back and judge their actions. It is a waste of time.

Get happy, be happy, and from that position of joy, find a way to make others happy.

Which brings us to His righteousness.

This is not my righteousness. This is not a general righteousness. This is God’s righteousness.

It doesn’t take too long in perusing the Good Book to discover that God is content when we grow in confidence so we can help others around us whom He would love to touch with His grace.

If you believe that God is stomping around Heaven, angry about the Ten Commandments being broken, you should probably read the Good Book a little more carefully.

“It’s not His will that any should perish, but that all come to repentance.”

Exactly.

Which brings us to the final thought: “all these things.”

While Wall Street and business tycoons try to figure out the secret to accumulating loot, the process is accessible. Satisfied souls who manifest a creative and passionate life become a magnet to material goods.

It’s just the way it works.

Everybody who chases money, fights for money or kills for money always ends up vanquished by those who are stronger. All the things we desire in life will be at our disposal when we find the breath so that we can breathe, become creative and allow our lives to be filled with passion.

So this little journey we have taken in the Gospel of Matthew is summed up best in this way to discover priority:

I will find the breath of God within me, which will enable me to breathe and become strong so I can help others. I do this because God has one great mission statement: help people. And in the process of finding my confidence, being creative and having a passionate life, the opportunity to gain what I need will be readily available.

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Three Ways to Be Yourself in a World of Them…May 7th, 2015

 

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us them street sign

Even though I would agree that “us against them” can be a very unhealthy mindset, I also think it’s important to separate oneself from the herd–or you will end up spending all your time marching around in the surrounding crap.

There are three very distinct attitudes that have snuck into the common consciousness of our society, which even 20 years ago, would have been looked on with a bit of disapproval.

  1. Get your own.
  2. It’s no big deal.
  3. You deserve better.

These slogans conjure up selfishness, procrastination and complaining, which are gradually becoming acceptable human behavior, and can even evoke tremendous applause on a talk show if uttered with enough defiance.

The basic problem is that every philosophy has a door in and a door out. The door in is where you apply it, and the door out is when everybody else applies it against you.

So even though I may want to “get my own,” think “it’s no big deal,” and insist “I deserve better,” if other folks start popping these ideas back my way, I will be perpetually aggravated.

Thus, the philosophy doesn’t work.

So how can you live in a world of “them”–who think these ideas are popcorn, to be buttered up and consumed rapidly–and still have the integrity of having a way to believe that is acceptable if it’s projected back in your direction.

Let me offer you my three concepts:

1. Share what you can.

No one is asking anyone to live a sacrificial life. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of your own needs, but there is something wrong with making up additional needs and forbidding blessing to others less fortunate.

2. Pursue what works.

We often procrastinate because we’re not convinced that our efforts amount to much. But if you have newfound vitality in knowing that something is going to work, it’s much easier to chase it down with gusto.

3. Let everyone know that you can work with what you’ve got.

I don’t know if I deserve better–because I’m too busy trying to better what I apparently deserve.

  • A genius is not someone who is given much and returns much.
  • A true genius is someone who’s given little and finds a way to make it more.

Be careful running towards the cheers of a generation that is completely befuddled by the inconsistencies of its own preaching.

There will never be any law against sharing, pursuing and working. Even those who don’t do it will eventually express their admiration.

Your job is to find yourself in a world of “them.”

You might be surprised how many “thems” see your path … and decide to pursue who they really are.

 

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Jesonian: Front Loading…February 15, 2015

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I am traveling this year all across the United States, putting on a program with a musical and spoken rendition of the Sermon on the Mount, complete with stories and humor.

It has stimulated great interest, mainly because hundreds, perhaps thousands, of musicals and spoken-word pieces have been done on the last twenty-four hours of Jesus’ life, but very few have been written and shared on his body of work.

Perhaps this is due to the fact that we have two dangerous misconceptions about the ideas of Jesus. We think:

  1. The teachings of Jesus are hard–too idealistic and don’t work well in the real world.
  2. Jesus bided his time teaching while he was waiting for his true mission to be fulfilled–to be the human sacrifice for the sins of the world.

I am convinced that these two theological missteps are causing the message of Jesus to be misconstrued, which forbids the world to tap the obvious logic contained in his philosophy.

For after all, there is no other idea that works among people other than “love your neighbor as yourself.” The absence of applying this thought places the world in chaos. It is only when that principle is applied–even if it’s only partially done–that we have the foundation for financial prosperity and peace.

So when we portray the teachings of Jesus to be impractical “in the real world,” and to more or less be the fodder for a future heavenly existence rather than an earthly one, we rob our generation of the tools necessary to communicate.

Here are the three things that Jesus was against:

  • Hypocrisy
  • Selfishness
  • Intolerance

If you were listing three of the greatest problems in our world, these would certainly be included.

Jesus’ response to hypocrisy was, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” We could go a long way with that simple concept.

His response to selfishness was, “If you’re given much, much is expected of you.” This certainly would encourage initiative, but also would foster generosity.

And Jesus told us not to judge other people–that even he would not do so. This would eliminate our opinions from seeping through, insisting they are “God’s will.”

Secondly, for those who believe that Jesus was merely God’s pin cushion to extract a blood atonement for the foulness of mankind, we must admit that this is contrary to what the Nazarene said:

  • He wanted people to believe him for his words.
  • In the Garden of Gethsemane, before his crucifixion, he claimed that his work was completed.
  • And in Nazareth he quoted from Isaiah, saying that his mission was to “preach the good news to the poor.”

The greatest theological insult of our time is the notion that God, who hated the sacrifice of turtle doves and bullocks, would suddenly change His mind and favor the human sacrifice of His son.

What makes the death of Jesus not only an atonement–a salvation for our sins–is how he was willing, while still a human being, to take on the rejection of his peers bravely–and give his life for what he taught.

I am Jesonian.

Jesonian people are front-loading Christians. That means we give more significance to the life, teachings, inspiration snd spirit of Jesus during the thirty-three years of his ministry than we do for the back-loading of his three hours on the cross.

I believe with all of my heart that if we honored his words more often, while celebrating his death as a brave act of mercy, we would reach more people–and a message free of hypocrisy, selfishness and intolerance could find its simple place toward solution in our time.

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