Jesonian … November 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Throughout the history of Christianity, a debate has raged over Jesus’ humanity and divinity.

Early in the 20th Century, a doctrine arose which found favor with many people because it stressed that Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine. The fact that this blending is ridiculous didn’t come to anybody’s mind at the time, and so the concept endures. If you study heresy and false teachings, you will find that most of the error centers in on trying to make Jesus too heavenly, instead of focusing on his humanity.

I think the clarifying statements are found in the Book of Hebrews. Allow me to give you three which center my mind on the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived a completely human life, while filled with the Spirit:

1. “He was tempted in all ways like we are yet found without sin.”

2. “He was touched by our infirmities.”

3. “He learned obedience through the things he suffered.”

That list just describes a typical human life. After all, nobody talks about how grumpy Uncle Ed was after he’s dead; likewise, the notion that “Jesus was perfect” was not touted during his lifetime.

The truth is, Jesus’ actions were found to be perfect. In other words, after the passage of time and working out of circumstances, we can say that he lived a perfect life.

Needless to say, when we’re told he “learned obedience,” it is perfectly understandable that he did nor arrive with it. Like all of us, instruction was in order.

But if you go to the statement, “touched by our infirmities,” a definition is in order. What are the infirmities of all human beings?

A. We get physically sick.

B. We get emotionally depressed.

C. We get spiritually misguided.

D. We get mentally confused.

These are our infirmities.

And since Jesus was touched by them, if we would take the time to more carefully study his life instead of working so desperately to discover a new twist on communion, we might just welcome in a new generation that would be blessed and astounded by His choices.

Now, I will not bore you with my many rambling examples of how Jesus suffered under these infirmities. To me, that’s what church and your search should be about.

Christianity could advance its cause by studying Jesus.

Did Jesus become physically ill? There are numerous activities that have no explanations–like him slipping into the wilderness for seclusion, or the fact that he waited four days to come and tend to his friend, Lazarus. Was he sick? Under the weather? Fighting off the “Galilee bug?”

We can make a good case for him being depressed. After explaining to 5000 people that he was not going to be their caterer, but that they needed to come to “learn his ways,” the Bible says they all left him–except the twelve. In a moment of true humanity, he turned to those twelve and said, “Will you go away also?”

Was Jesus ever spiritually misguided? I think choosing Judas to be a disciple, and on top of that the treasurer of the troop, was at least spiritually optimistic. And the faith he put into the man at the Pool of Bethsaida, who didn’t really want help–but Jesus healed him anyway and then the fellow turned into a snitch and sided with the Pharisees–shows that he was a bit misguided.

Was he mentally confused? He certainly stayed too long in Nazareth–so long that they resented him and tried to kill him. And I think he was a little confused by his upbringing and prejudice, when he called the Syrophoenician woman “a gentile dog.”

The Gospel writers had no problem including the foibles of the personality of Jesus in their story lines–and he was apparently fully aware of some indiscretions, because he came to John to be baptized. Was it just pretense, or did he have things he regretted?

We are also told by Jesus that we would do greater things than he did–because he was going to the Father to cheer us on.

If the church wants to survive the present dispersion, it needs to bring the focus back onto Jesus–his style, his personality, and his humanity. In doing so, he can become the Elder Brother we so desperately need, and he can truly fulfill his mission … which was to show us the Father.

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Jesonian… February 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Christianity is not a religion–it is a lifestyle.

It is based upon the human example left behind by Jesus of Nazareth. Any attempt to build the Kingdom of God on doctrines, practices, rituals, worship, attendance, prayer, Bible study or fasting will flail, because the Kingdom of God is within us.

In other words, until we tap ourselves–our passions, our errors and get our questions answered–there really is no Kingdom of God.

Or maybe better stated, it’s a theory.

To emphasize this, Jesus told us that God is our Father.

Once we realize that He is our Daddy and not the smoke at the top of the mountain, an angry disciplinarian, the Force, or just karma, we can then predict what God’s reaction will be in situations due to His paternal instincts.

  • As a Father, He is certainly not going to plan our lives for us. Any dad who would do that would be considered a first-class asshole.
  • As a Father, He’s not going to give up on us, disown us, or throw us out in the desert with a canteen.
  • But as a Father, He will institute chores for us to perform–and by our faithfulness, evaluate our present mindset.

Jesus came to show us the Father.

We should be studying the life, ideas, tendencies and predilections of the Nazarene. Instead we focus on His arrest, trial and death.

In doing so, we attempt to divert the Christian message from being a revelation of the Father to a pre-destined, pre-ordained human execution in order to acquire blood atonement.

Actually, the crucifixion makes so much more sense when you realize that the Father was hoping his children would be more receptive–but still made a pathway of salvation for all of us through the courage and sacrifice of our elder brother, Jesus.

It is not that dissimilar to the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, who is thrown into a pit by his brothers, left for dead, only to redeem those same brethren in Egypt after he gained power, rescuing them from destitution.

Nothing good happens in the Christian church until we realize that the entire ministry of Jesus was about showing us the Father.

Even in the midst of the agony of the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

So if you’re wondering why religion is leaving you flat, and church seems redundant and meaningless, it’s because invented ideas have been passed along and given primary importance, while the congregation thirsts for the relationship with their Father promised to them by Jesus.

It is time for us to show Jesus to the community–so he can reveal the Father to all of us.

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Part VI: And Finally … December 5, 2011

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Live from Fernandina Beach

I always try to give you a good report about my travels and journeys across these United States. Generally speaking, this narrative is positive because most of my experiences are either extremely joyful or at least I find a way to coax some jubilation out of them. But there are times that I go into places and see the effects of religion, politics and desperation on the faces of the people sitting in front of me. It is a strange cocktail of hapless, helpless and hopeless.

Because quite bluntly, my dear friends, if you tell people there is nothing they can do about their situations–that it’s either beyond their pay grade or completely in the hands of God–you will make them feel hapless.  It’s a quiet desperation that eeks out of the eyeballs with a pending sorrow which could, at any moment, produce a bit of rage.

And if you tell people they are hapless for too long, they will begin to abandon all of their talents and walk around in a coma like the living dead, feeling totally helpless. Helpless people resent the notion of solution. Helpless people are angry with those who appear to be doing well. Helpless people find testimonies of God’s grace to be annoying rather than uplifting. Helpless people like to discourage any attempt at transformation and revival in favor of maintaining a unsatisfying status quo.
 
And if you keep helpless people in an environment that is always in a state of flux, like our world is, they will most assuredly become hopeless. And hopeless folks are self-destructive and don’t mind spreading their mayhem out to others.
 
So if we’re going to change this, we have to empower people with a message that tells them they are not without resource or absent ability; and not only do they possess these gifts but it is actually anticipated that they use them and multiply them. They can no longer hide behind a sense of inadequacy, pretending that their particular brand of depression gives them a pass from participation. They need to be encouraged.
 
This is exactly why I believe that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
 
1. Jesus knows the hearts of people. We are a baffling, befuddling, bewildering and bewitching blend of ego and power. But you do not separate ego from power in the onset. You must allow them to coincide until accomplishment proves that skill is available and then it will be time to teach humility. I just don’t see the power of instructing people in humility when they haven’t yet established that they can do anything. Humility is the virtue of those who are accomplished, not those who are inept. Jesus allowed people to experiment with their abilities and then he challenged them that ego was unnecessary because the fruit of their labors screamed their prowess much louder than any stump speech ever could.
 
2. Jesus despises religion. Why? Because religion keeps people hapless–overly dependent–which makes them feel helpless and at the mercy of the world around them, which then renders them hopeless and angry at the world, taking it out on its inhabitants. Religion waits for a heavenly pay-off without any earthly investment. Religion weakens the human spirit instead of manifesting it. I use the word “despise” because Jesus didn’t hate religion, as if it were some powerful force to be reckoned with, but rather, just found it despicable. In other words, religion is unable to deliver any of its promises, but insists on being worshipped.
 
3. Jesus marvels at faith.  And faith is when we teach people to take the mustard seed they have and instead of pocketing it, plant it in the nearest soil and then do everything possible to use effort towards the second mile. No one ever became exhausted from pursuing excellence. There is just too much energy infused into us through that quest for us ever to sense weariness. On the other hand, we do become exhausted, waiting for something to happen that never comes our way, because we didn’t plant our mustard seed, nor did we pursue the second mile.
 
4. Jesus believes in the Father. Matter of fact, he made a very bold statement. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but by me.” I suppose you can pursue other paths to God–or gods–or even religious fervency, but the only path to the Father is Jesus. And the only way to truly understand the divine nature of a creator who inserted his own image into his offspring is to realize that He truly is a Daddy. I don’t know if there are other paths to heaven and I don’t care, because quite bluntly, if I can’t find a way to enjoy my journey here on earth and live in a household of a Father who loves me, why would I want to spend eternity with this being? I know this–Jesus came to show us the Father, to reveal the Father, to talk about the Father and culminated his ministry by saying that he was one with the Father.
 
So who is God? The closest representation we have is Jesus–and we know that he knew the hearts of people, despised religion, marveled at faith and taught us of the Father. Can you imagine what would happen if ONE church in a single community decided to abandon the futility of religious practice and simply taught these four principles to those who would dare gather and have an ear to hear? We would remove hapless, replacing it with intelligence. People would no longer feel helpless, but instead, empowered by the gifts God has given them. And hopelessness would be out of the question because enthusiasm would spring out of our souls over the successes we would be experiencing through communion with our Father.
 
intelligent, empowered and enthusiastic. Do you really believe that these three emotional energy boosts would be against God’s will? Of course not.
 
So Jesus IS the same. It’s just that we’ve changed … to become religious instead of like him.
 
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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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