Jesonian–Troubling (Part 7)… August 12th, 2017

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Troubling.

To see disciples of Jesus line up like sheep, with astrologers and superstitious, ignorant practitioners of religion, to pray their way to a blessing, is truly troublesome.

It is the byproduct of a gigantic misconception: God is in control.Nothing could be further from the truth.

We are told that Jesus came to Earth to give us the power to become the sons of God. He envisioned a church that was fired up to tear down the gates of hell:

  • More than conquerors
  • Salt of the Earth
  • Light of the world
  • Doing greater things
  • Pursuing the perfection they see in their Father

He never dreamed that those who chose to take up his cross would end up helpless, fearful, bigoted and hog-tied to tradition.

It is pitiful to see churches worshipping a God they believe has power, but selfishly refuses to impart any of that gift to His children.

When will we start teaching the truth?

Our lives do not spring from the soul. We are not mentally ignited. Nor will stimulation of our flesh make us content.

We are heart creatures. Out of the abundance of our heart we will speak. Out heart is our passion, our feelings, our sentiment.

Here’s the way Jesus intended it to be:

We start with the heart. This is simply what we feel. It does not need to be right–it just needs to be truthful. Having found the confidence to share our heart gives us the boldness to believe.

This leads to our soul. Our soul benefits us by teaching us how things work–both the tenderness of the Father and the practices of Mother Nature.

Once we’ve allowed ourselves to be students of the planet and the love of God, we’re ready to take our brain and see what we can do. Not what we wish we could do, but the ability within us. So we learn to be contributors instead of complainers.

And then we take this magnificent body–our strength–and go out and do it well. For as we run the first mile, we anticipate the second. We come prepared.

This is the teaching of Jesus.

The barbaric notion that God plays with human lives as the devil taunts them may be the foundation for other religions, but it is spiritually and intellectually unacceptable in the Jesonian.

The Jesonian is when we realize that our heart–what we feel–gives credence to our soul, where we learn how things work. This renews our minds, to find out what we can do, and then we take our energy to do it well.

Such a unity creates healthy human beings–instead of faltering followers.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … October 19th, 2016

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 Not Always Like This

Concerning this morning’s mode

I seem burdened, overload

Hampered by nagging retreat

Fostered through vague deceit

I pity again my worried self

Placing others on the shelf

Determined that I must be seen

Bubbling a heart of treacherous mean

I probe to find the callous slight

Denying the evidence of what is right

I am the critic for the meek

Sneering, I mock the lovely weak

Exposing their obvious lack

Hoisting burdens on their back

Enemy, I emerge of that deemed decent

Ruddy with anger over offenses most recent

Finding the Christ I deny

Shaking my head, I decline to try

To simply deal with my lot

The portion provided, what I’ve got

Frowning at the human race

Unmercifully mocking the joyous face

For goodness seems too good to me

Foolishness and fear are what I see

In this cauldron I melt into a creep

Unworthy to mingle with the holy sheep

Beware, my friend, something is amiss

Please understand, I’m not always like this.

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G-Poppers … October 14th, 2016

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Jon close up

Seduced by a warming sun, G-Pop drifts into the arms of a gentle sleep. He dreams–a vision of a scantily clad, ragged man, racing from a burning woodlands–frantic, screaming as he nears.

Follow the angry man

He seems to have a plan

“Who is he?” demanded G-Pop.

Like a burning star

He’ll take you very far

“What’s the plan?”

The frenetic announcer arrives, stopping short of overtaking G-Pop. He nervously bounces from one foot to another, continuing his proclamation.

Listen to his voice

Make the raging choice

She is a liar

Send her to the fire

“Who is she?” inquired G-Pop.

Trust his common way

Listen to what they say

What the hell

He lets us yell

Oh heavenly elation

He can save our nation

But boys need toys

To get their joys

“Who are the boys?”

The man grows weaker, slumping to his knees, but continues his speech.

He isn’t the son of meek

He is what you seek

“Where does he come from?” pleaded G-Pop.

He laughs at the truth

Offering no lasting proof

“I need truth.”

You are his child

Needy and so mild

“I am not a child,” objected G-Pop.

Counting your vote

Not the sheep, choose the goat

The stranger collapsed into a heap of exhaustion. G-Pop knelt by his side and said, “I am so confused.”

Breathlessly the depleted soul answered.

He is more exciting

He is ready for fighting

“I hate war.”

You need his power

For such an hour

Come join him in his tower

Suddenly the intruder melted into a puddle of oily slime. G-Pop lurched back in horror and said:

“I have to go.

This scares me.

I want to feel good.

I want to do good.

I want to love again.”

All at once, G-Pop was released from his dream … to awaken to the nightmare.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 5) Late … May 29th, 2016

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Reverend Meningsbee

Sunday morning, and Meningsbee woke up late.

He wanted to blame his alarm clock, but since he was fully aware that he was the master of all of its decisions, he scurried along, skipping two of his pre-shower rituals.

He scooted into his car, started it and zoomed toward the church at what he hoped was a reasonable speed. He was thinking about what he wanted to share.

The Gospel of Mark. Most certainly.

It had been an interesting week.

After the breakthrough, with Betty and Clarice being reconciled, there was a sweet buzz of contentment among those who were present, but simultaneously, there were around twenty-five former members who had begun meeting in the banquet hall of the nearby Holiday Inn Express. They were stirring a flurry of frustration through the town.

Their contention? Meningsbee had “stolen their church.”

He understood their perspective. Yet there was a push in his spirit to continue the experiment–to find the real meaning of gathering together instead of marching in time to the drone of repetitive hymns.

Arriving, he ran to the door of the church, and then paused. He could hear the sounds of conversation. It was not the usual pre-church verbal exchanges, but instead, purposeful–what sounded like meaningful, prayerful tones.

So Meningsbee chose to enter quietly and climb the stairs to the balcony, where he could view the proceedings.

He had noticed coming in that there were a few more cars in the parking lot, and was delighted to see, when he looked down from his perch, that there were four visitors and a few of the original congregation who had returned.

But most enlightening was the fact that the three chairs he had placed in the front on Saturday night were filled with people, surrounded by other folks who were sharing and praying for one another.

On the seventh row was a young family who Deacon Smitters had befriended, and was quietly but feverishly entertaining with one of his stories.

It was a reverent scene, in the sense of the true meaning of reverence–full of humanity, compassion, tenderness and just a bit of the childlike freedom that was so often absent from the normal Sunday morning drill.

Reverend Meningsbee wanted to just hang out in the balcony and watch. He knew that as soon as he entered, the holy spell would be broken and they would turn to him to find order.

Finally he decided that it was not good for him to stay away for the whole time. He climbed down the stairs and came into the church as the gathering fell silent.

He turned slowly and addressed them.

“I overslept. But I have been here for fifteen minutes, just watching all of you. It is so beautiful for you to treat each other so beautifully. I know that’s not a good sentence, but it’s what I feel. Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for loving each other.”

All at once, a hand went up. It was Clarice, from last week’s reconciliation.

“Hello, Pastor. I just wanted to let you know that after Betty and I mended our fences, I got inspired to contact my son in Lincoln, who ran away from home a couple of years ago because he was mad at me for being such a–can I say ‘bitch’ in the church?”

Meningsbee laughed. “You just did.”

Clarice continued. “Anyway, I invited Michael home, we made peace, and I told him to come here with me today to seal the deal.”

The congregation burst into applause without being coaxed. It was spontaneous and it was electrifying.

One after another, there were testimonies about those who came and sat in the chair to receive God’s grace through the kindness of God’s people.

The good Reverend just stood back and shut up. There was a small part of him that felt useless, but most of him felt he had discovered his true use.

Lead the sheep to the green pastures, and then let them eat.

It came time for the end of the service, and Meningsbee wasn’t sure what to do.

Betty stood to her feet and said, “Did you know that Clarice’s son, Michael, plays a mean piano and can really sing?”

Michael feigned a bit of embarrassment, but also exuded a willingness to display his talent. So Meningsbee pointed to the piano, and Michael slowly rose to his feet, walked over, sat down and played and sang “Let It Be” by the Beatles.

It was an inspiring conclusion to the morning.

Meningsbee listened to the song very carefully.

“Let It Be.”

What good advice.

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Populie: You’ve Got to Play the Game … August 20, 2014

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monoplyThere is a popular assertion by the masses that “life is a game.” It is usually accompanied by the rallying cry–which is also a lie–that “you’ve got to play the game.”

Thus a populie.

Now, religion, politics and entertainment don’t always have to agree on a premise for it to gain popularity. Sometimes they disagree, which generates great tension, and therefore, press coverage.

So religion loves to believe that the world is kind of a bad place and the poor sheep must be careful not to be consumed by the evil lurking in every direction, thus giving their congregations the benefit of both being morally superior while also potentially victims.

Entertainment loves to bounce between promoting the game and criticizing the game of life, placing itself into the position of being the arbiter.

And of course, politicians love to portray their opponents as gamesmen, and themselves as “the straight arrows of truth.”

Oh, forgive me. I failed to mention what the game is. Here it is in a nutshell:

  1. Get mine
  2. Get it fast
  3. Get going.

We are convinced that life is much more exciting when we acquire what we need–perhaps to the detriment of others. It turns us into a vicious, nasty, grouchy, backbiting lot, always paranoid about the intentions of the folks around us, and never quite satisfied when we do achieve our goals because we’re afraid they’ll be stolen from us by those who want to “get theirs, get it fast and get going.”

So once you believe in this game you never have a moment of rest, because you are either involved in the pursuit or else cladding yourself in armor, to protect your valuables.

You can imagine–I disagree.

I will refrain from calling my idea a game. Rather, it is a lifestyle. It is as follows:

  1. Get mine.
  2. Get yours
  3. Get moving

There’s nothing wrong with me pursuing mine first, as long as I am willing to give the same passion, doorway and opportunity to you, to acquire yours. As a result, I make an ally instead of an enemy. I’m acquiring a comrade instead of competition.

So perhaps when we go on our next adventure we can do it together. We can get it for both of us, and get moving much more effectively.

The cynical American would insist that I’m opening my life up, to be decimated by the greedy. But I would point out that the greedy individuals in life don’t need me to open up in order to eliminate me.

I would rather make the choice.

As long as you believe that the game is about garnering your portion and being gleeful that someone else failed, you are just waiting for a bigger bus to come along and strike you down.

I don’t believe in the game.

I will not play the game.

I will get mine, and through that process have the confidence to help you get yours, so we can get moving … together.

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Untotaled: Stepping Six (May 8, 1965) … March 15, 2014

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When people control your food, water, hygiene, play and sleep, you learn to believe what they say–or spend a lot of time in your room without supper.

On May 8, 1965, I was thirteen years old and still a novice at any form of teenage rebellion. So when the church men decided to go to the mountains of Oklahoma for a meeting of all-male types–three thousand in attendance–to hear nothing but gospel preaching and gospel singing for a whole week, sitting on hard, knotty pine benches with a big knot just beneath my butt crack, I was compelled by those who controlled my supplies, to go.

It ended up being a week of firsts:

  • It was the first time I ever went skinny dipping in an ice-cold mountain creek.
  • It was the first time I heard that Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Communist and a womanizer.
  • The first time I had s’mores made with miniature marshmallows.
  • The first time I heard proclaimed aloud that Jews and Arabs were going to hell.
  • The first time I got poison sumac on my bum (thus the origin of “bummer,” I would assume).
  • And it was the first time I heard the word “nigger” used as a universal, collective pronoun, describing a group of people I didn’t understand and I suspect the speakers had little knowledge of, either.

The rally was forceful. It was intense. It was a meeting that peaked at times in jubilance. It was full of “god-talk.” It was permeated with self-righteousness.

And it was child abuse.

Because I needed …

Well, I needed tenderness. Instead, they gave me large doses of macho.

I needed an open mind. They worked very hard to seal mine shut.

God, I was desperate to know about girls. They proclaimed that women should “submit.”

Some laughter would have been nice. They reserved giggling for the older men around the campfire after they thought we young’uns were asleep.

And of course, I needed a world view. They provided God’s 40 acres.

After I got home and healed of my poison sumac, I started to think for myself. Yes, in my own simple way, I began to rebel.

I have never stopped.

I am still a warrior against anyone who has constructed a box for God … and wants the sheep to come passively, and worship.

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Painted Pigs … September 20, 2012

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One of the more intriguing chores while traveling on the road is arriving in a new community, establishing a headquarters and locating a grocer who doesn’t charge too much for basic grits and gravy. We used to eat out a lot at restaurants, but that is not only expensive, but much too high in calories and filled with so many unknowns that one feels like a culinary explorer. So we find it much more healthy and wise to eat off of plates instead of styrofoam.

In this pursuit in Marion, Indiana, I was cruising along in my van and was startled to look on one of the corners and see a pig. Now viewing myself as an individual with an open mind, I was willing to accept that in a small farming town, a pig might be allowed to wander at will. But upon careful inspection, I saw that this particular pig was purple, with stripes, and had flowers on his backside. Even though I’m not a farm boy and not very acquainted with the fashion statements of the herd, I was still pretty sure that this was unusual. With a more intense second glance, I realized that this was not a living pig, but rather, a ceramic or tin one, sitting on a street corner, decorated–painted, if you will.

It looked very authentic–so realistic that I was a bit creeped out by the whole experience; because as I turned to the right, there was another one–this particular one, plaid. Straight ahead of me was yet another, adorned in some sort of bonnet.

They were everywhere.

Even though I have lived for many decades on this planet, I suddenly realized that … I don’t like pigs. I don’t know what the source of this disdain for the creature may be. Maybe it’s because I read Animal Farm. Or was it that CSI episode, where they explained that if you threw a dead human  body into a pig pen, that within twenty-four-hours the pigs would eat everything, including the bones. (You have to admit, that’s creepy.)

I kind of think it goes back to the fact that when I was a small child, Porky Pig freaked me out. He was dumb. Or maybe not. But he stuttered. And he was always–pardon the expression–the butt of every joke.

And of course, the Bible doesn’t do anything to help the image of your basic porker. Jesus says not to “cast pearls before swine.” And we also have a gruesome image of hogs running down a hill, possessed by demons, leaping off a cliff and drowning in the water below.

So as I drove through town, I realized that what they were attempting to accomplish was a cute, quaint tipping-of-the-straw-hat to the rural culture that had formed the backbone of their community. And I do have to admit that painted cows on the corners of the street would not have been any more relaxing to this tourist. But there are swans. Ducks. Sheep might even have been better. But pigs … are best “baconed,” ribbed, barbecued, and chopped. And even then, they ultimately get their revenge by hanging around to clog up our arteries and terminate our lives.

I have since been back to the Marion community three times, and have not yet gotten used to the painted pigs. I still fail to remember that they are there and that they’re not really alive, and one time even reflexively slammed on my brakes, thinking that one of them was about to run out in front of me. So if the goal of Marion, Indiana is to present something intriguing or memorable for those individuals passing through their village, they really missed the mark with me. Pigs on the corner of the street do not bring out notions of warmth–fireplaces and farm houses with grain silos filled with provision and goodness. No. Pigs are … piggy.

So in my opinion, it would be better to select some other way to bring coloration to your community. Because honestly, if you’re not supposed to cast your pearls before swine, it probably would be true that putting pearls on swine isn’t any more effective.

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