Jesonian … December 30th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A message does not change simply by revising the tone or the tune.

Our churches across America are convinced that if they became either softer or louder, the Gospel message will land on the hearts of the people more efficiently. There is also a strong contingency which contends that the music, styles and even instruments used in worship services are the key to drawing in the masses.

We have tried both of these methodologies, and we’re still losing people–and the general empathy for Christianity is diminishing.

What’s wrong?

Whatever Jesus did to share his thoughts and mission with the people around him was obviously more impactful and efficient than what we presently do. Matter of fact, Matthew the 9th Chapter, Verses 35-36, describe a day when Jesus enters the synagogue, teaches, preaches the new Gospel of the Kingdom and heals the sick–what you might call a complete package.

In other words, people come into the meeting, are challenged, changed and rid of some of their difficulties.

But it’s the next verse that makes me curious–that’s verse 36. It states that Jesus was “moved with compassion because the multitudes were harassed and helpless, like sheep having no shepherd.”

I guess I’ve always heard that interpreted in a positive way, spotlighting Jesus as the solution to the problem. A solution he may be, but not by offering the same insipid message that was already harassing the multitudes, leaving them helpless.

The present thrust and blending of Judeo-Christian values which is presented in the average church harasses us in our sins and inadequacies while simultaneously putting us at the mercy of society, and sometimes even the devil–helpless.

I do not understand what the value is of going to church if you’re going to be harassed and left helpless.

I also do not know how value could come to your life by constantly wandering around like a sheep looking for someone to give you directions.

Jesus was not describing a situation which he planned on addressing with a band-aid. Jesus intended to remove the harassment, empower the people and take away the silly, unfortunate profile of being sheepish.

How?

1. Even though we’re sinners, it does us no good to languish in that knowledge. We need to repent and move on, not hear it preached at us every single week.

2. We need to stop harassing the congregation with foolish discussions of worship approaches, prayer seminars and new ways to express our hospitality, and instead, give people tools to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.”

3. We need to stop victimizing the people who come to the church building by making them feel like they’re the underdogs in a world of tribulation.

4. We need to understand that Christianity is not a religion, but rather, a lifestyle, and therefore works best when it’s presented in small doses of ideas which enhance human life, and then follow it up through patient trial and error.

5. There is no Christianity without love and appreciation of one another. We cannot replace it with worship or ignore it with prayer, and merely attending the church service does not guarantee that we “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

6. We would do better to teach people to want God in their lives instead of making them needy.

7. And even though we are “sheep in the midst of wolves,” we gain the advantage by being “as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.”

Jesus was moved with compassion because religion had harassed the people, leaving them helpless, stumbling around like lost sheep.

The harvest he suggested his disciples pursue was to gather those souls from the danger of meaningless proclamations of faith and lead them to a place where their faith had meaning and their proclamations began to move mountains.

 

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Unboxed … February 10, 2013

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jon in a boxFor eighteen years I had a “born” identity. My family, friends, schooling and even church did their best to teach me, basically, what was wrong. They would have insisted they were instructing me in the ways of righteousness, but more often than not it consisted of a series of warnings about dubious behavior and the ramifications of stepping out of the box of security found in “the training.”

I will not tell you it was an unpleasant experience–and certainly not without merit. But it was limited because it failed to give me the emotional release allowing me to live freely among my fellow men and women without feeling the need to scrutinize.

I guess I rebelled a little. My particular path to revolution was to pursue the creative and spiritual. I gained a “reborn” identity. In this new transformed personage, I went out looking for what was right. I did so like a sheep in the midst of wolves, often failing to use the wisdom necessary to discern the charlatans that came my way.

My disappointments in finding what was “right” made me flirt with the dangerous depths of being jaded. It took me a while. I knew that the box I had built for myself was no better than the one provided to me at birth. After all, a prison of our own construction isn’t any more releasing than one constructed for us. I knew I had to once and for all escape boxes. For to merely understand what is wrong, or to pursue what is right, is the path to madness. Just as soon as you think you have arrived at permanent conclusions, a shift in the universe, an outpouring of the mercy of God or just a bit of logic that may have escaped you moves through the scene and leaves you in error, looking ignorant.

I decided one day to become unboxed–a new creature, neither bound by my genetics, upbringing or held in place by my talents and desires. It really wasn’t that complicated. I decided to stop pleasing my family and satisfying my own desires and appetites, and instead, became a student of history, reality and free will. For it is the cohesion of those three that creates truth.

As we study what has happened before us (history), appreciating what is available to us (reality) and understanding that the personal choice given to every man, woman and child is immutable (free will), we finally touch the mind of God, arriving at truth.

It’s made all the difference in the world to me.

I now realize that my job is to recognize the truth–and even when it’s contrary to my ways or confirming of my inclinations, knowing that truth and embracing it is what makes me free.

But free to do what? Escape the box and be on the edge of beautiful, inevitable change.

It’s not so much about being a liberal or a conservative. It isn’t even about Christian, Muslim, Jew atheist and Hindu. It’s about being willing to allow the lessons of history, the value of reality and the love of free will to welcome truth into your heart, to grant you freedom.

So what will be the next big issue? I can either live in the box created for me by my family and judge accordingly. Or I can evaluate circumstances based upon the box I’ve created for myself. But if I want to be a new creature, free of all those boxes–unboxed–I must let the truth make me free.

Sometimes the truth is cruel to me. Sometimes the truth feels warm and cuddly.

But the truth is always freeing.

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

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