Ask Jonathots … September 24th, 2015

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It seems to me that you only win in life if you’re aggressive. For instance, Donald Trump, who is extremely defensive and cutting, leads in the Republican polls. I’m not asking you to talk about politics, just answer this question: how can Jesus suggest that we get anywhere by “turning the other cheek?” Or is he just talking about the afterlife?

I think the problem in most people’s thinking is that they like to characterize certain words as positive or negative. Putting it in simpler terms, most folks would consider passive to be the opposite of aggressive.

But the issue is not whether we should be aggressive. The issue is, to whom?

You are absolutely correct–aggression expressed to others as a means of domination or for generating payback is not only non-spiritual, but also generally considered, in the long run, to be a lame choice.

Yet we are certainly supposed to be aggressive to ourselves. Intertwined in the teachings of Jesus is a strong motivational message to go the second mile, be perfect even as the Father in Heaven is perfect, and take care of the beam in your own eye instead of worrying about the mote in your brother’s eye.

The foible in humans is that we would much rather be aggressive toward other people’s weaknesses than our own.

Donald Trump is characterized as aggressive, but he isn’t alone. There is a general consensus in our society that we can achieve success by–pardon the expression–“trumping” others. Nothing could be further from the truth.

After all, insult may be the only word that never requires a period. As long as an insult is hanging in the air, it’s just awaiting the arrival of the next insult.

So what does it mean–to be aggressive to yourself?

1. Take an inventory.

Consider what you actually can do instead of what you want to do, and then work on those talents.

2. Practice what you want to achieve until you reach the point that you don’t have to make excuses for your shortcomings.

There will still be failures but you want to make sure they are not caused by your lack of perseverance.

3. Don’t compare your work to the work of others.

Compare it to your own vision and what you desire to achieve.

The Jesonian life–a life following Jesus–is an aggressive one–but not in relationship to our judgment and critique of others.

Rather, in our own passion to perfect our ways … and learn how to go the second mile.

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Afraid … February 13, 2014

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Colorful Hand No one logoOnce you welcome fear into your lifestyle, everything you feel, each thing you believe, the thoughts in your brain and the actions you do will need to gain permission from this new ruthless master.

Fear chases away the reassurance of love.

Yesterday I had a strange experience. In the course of one hour, I talked to a religionist and an atheist, and after having these two exchanges, I realized they were both the same person. Each of them was afraid of God.

The atheist was afraid that God was out to control his life, and it was therefore easier to deny His existence. The religionist was afraid that God didn’t have enough control, and therefore some apprehension was required for him to stay pleasing in the sight of the Almighty.

Honestly, I was repulsed by both approaches.

  • I cannot believe in a God who tells me He is love and then instills fear inside me.
  • And I cannot deny a God who loves me, simply because I want to willfully do my own bidding and whim without any regard for personal responsibility for other people or the planet.

Somewhere along the line we just have to stop being afraid.

Although the atheist would insist that he or she is getting rid of the “fear of the Lord” by denying such a Being, and the religionist hides behind the promise of salvation while continuing to struggle with personal insecurity, I, myself would like to cash in on the promise that was given to me, of “life and it more abundantly.”

In order to do this and to dispel childish fear, I pursue three goals:

1. If God loves people, He needs to have a message that is sensitive to them. You get too much heaven and you confound the earth. Simply put: No one is better than anyone else.

2. The minute I believe that God’s love is contingent on me being error-free is the day that I lose the significance of expressing mercy to others, which grants me mercy for my own shortcomings.

3. God is as I do. The only God the world will ever see is the one I decide to portray through my sense of joy, creativity, giggle and willingness to change.

Any belief or non-belief that does not exude these three wonderful ideas is grounded in some sort of fear.

And I just happen to believe that when Jesus comes to me–even in the middle of my storm–his message is always, “It is I; be not afraid.”

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Where They Agree … June 5, 2013

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Little RockAtheists and religious folks do have one place where they agree. It seems that both of them don’t really care that much for people.

They love to tout their differences by emphasizing their contention about the existence of a God. The atheist wants you to know that it’s non-intellectual or superstitious to believe in such a mythical being, and the religious person wants you to know that it’s an issue of faith, and that he or she is enriched by holding onto the concept of a Divine Being.

This would appear to put them at odds with each other, but they actually cross-sect in their mutual disdain for humanity. Atheists generally have a gloomy vision of mankind, deeming them to be  animalistic, self-motivated and devoid of altruism. Religious people likewise think that humanity is pretty animalistic, self-motivated and absent a desire for goodness.

So the greatest commodity we have on earth–now upwards of eight billion units–is human beings and is rejected by both groups as either inept or totally worthless.

So I conclude that atheism and religion join together in a mutual mocking of a God who believed He was creating something in His image. We are now telling Him that it was a failed project.

As I get ready to go off to Little Rock tonight to share my heart and soul, I realize that coming from the perspective of the atheist by removing faith from human beings OR pursuing the agenda of the religious, by preaching against a common enemy and devilish concerns that taunt our world with weakness, is really just a proclamation of doom and gloom from different sides of a coin.

The uniqueness of Jesus of Nazareth was that to his dying breath, he continued to love and believe in humanity. For after all, it is very difficult, when pierced with three nails, to pray, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” unless you have an abiding affection for your fellow-travelers.

An atheist could certainly come up with my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” and a religious person might muster the energy to proclaim, “into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”

But it took Jesus to still love and forgive a world that had screwed him over and stabbed him in the heart.

That’s what I want to bring to Little Rock. I am sick to death of pseudo-intellectualism which chases God out of the tabernacle of our thinking because we believe we have become so grown-up and smart. And I am equally fed up with religion which keeps looking for an enemy to avoid dealing with our own problems and repenting of our shortcomings.

Where the atheist and the religious person agree is in the decision that the human experiment was a failure.

I don’t believe that. I refuse to believe that.

And when I arrive at the church tonight, I will be looking for brothers and sisters, not failures and enemies.

This is why I am Jesonian and not just religious. It’s why I’m Jesonian and not an atheist.

Jesus knew that human beings were God’s favorite creation. He refused to insult his Father by giving up on them.

And I refuse to reject the heart of Jesus by hating people.

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