Jesonian… January 14th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Seven hours and thirteen minutes of sleep.

Three meals–well, kind of.

 

A couple of snacks.

A wash-up–bath or shower–cleaned my teeth.

 

Two good ideas that went bad.

One bad idea that surprisingly became good.

 

Got verbally attacked.

Tempted to retaliate.

 

Ate something that gave me gas.

Oops–diarrhea.

 

Someone betrayed my confidence.

Awaiting a delivery–very late.

 

A headache after lunch. Am I imagining it?

A little sore throat. Probably.

 

An unexplained, very temporary depression.

Inspired by the sight of a beautiful lake.

 

Paid bills. Short on money. Or am I really?

Grateful for opportunity.

 

Birthday for old friend.

Tired as the day goes on.

 

Don’t want to think about tomorrow.

Not supposed to…

 

This is a summary of my day.

Jesus, too.

I’m not saying Jesus had the same day that I did. But somewhere along the line, he had the same elements in his day that I do all the time. You see, God believed He was being very intelligent when He sent Jesus to Earth to be totally human.

We, on the other hand, have spent 2,000 years trying to prove he was perfect, even though we don’t like perfect people–they turn us off.

Perfect people are too damn perfect.

Even though the Bible tells us he was tempted in every way, just like us, touched by our infirmities, and learned obedience through the things he suffered rather than having it absorbed from heaven, we continue to be uncomfortable with the idea that he shared our “goofyness.”

Matter of fact, insisting that Jesus had diarrhea would cause some of the more holy saints to stomp out of the room, considering you a heretic or at least gauche.

But here’s the question: why would we care about anybody who didn’t care enough about us to be one of us?

So we portray Jesus as half-God, half-man, like some sort of Greek mythology, or all-God and all-man.

We lose the effect of the Gospel because we’re afraid to show that Jesus had days just like ours.

If we can’t relate the Gospel to the 21st century, we need to stop expecting 21st century people to find the Gospel relatable.

 

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Peter Thomas … April 21, 2013

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I speak boldly in the shadows and whisper in the light

I proclaim the goodness of God, yet pout when it rains

I am a fisher of men, trapped in my own net

I pray for miracles while growing weary in well-doing

I am a voice crying in the wilderness, complaining of a sore throat

I hurl rocks at the castle and quickly run away before the giant eats me

I love my neighbor in theory as I challenge him on the facts

I am outraged by the atheist while frequently ignoring God

I believe in the whole Bible and dust it off each month

I am the beckoned explainer who arrives confused

I am the singer of the hymn and the doubter of Him

I am an insecure expression of belief

I am a concession of faith

I am Peter, the preacher

And Thomas, the tongue-tied

I am both, as ordained to be

For too much faith makes me obnoxious

And an abundance of doubt renders me powerless

I am as God would have me

Sentenced to be an exclamation point

Sitting next to a question mark

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

Yellin’ … February 11, 2012

 
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Yellin’ is what we do when mere shouting proves insufficient to propel the magnitude and importance of our necessary opinion. It is an exercise which seems brutally–yet reverently–valuable in the moment while rendering us rather embarrassed upon later reflection. So humiliated are we at times that we choose to “re-write”  the tale of the event, using much softer tones. 
 
For instance:  “We weren’t yellin’–we were having a discussion.” (That is one often used to explain to the children when Mom and Dad have increased the decibels so much that the young ones hear. Unfortunately, there isn’t a child born since Cain to Adam and Eve who actually buys that particular excuse.)
 
The new one in our society to describe yelling that really isn’t yellin’ is “we were involved in a heated debate.” Of course, the difference between yellin’ and heated debate is that in any form of proper exchange, space for breathing air and allowing the hearing of your opponent is provided.
 
Then there is the more spiritual approach, which is calling it a “disagreement” or the famous “we just agree to disagree.” Of course, none of us ever do agree to disagree–we just take our complaint to someone else and talk about you behind your back.
 
I bring this up because I was involved in one of those “yellin’ sessions” yesterday. Now, it’s always been my intention with jonathots to be as forthcoming with you as possible, so as to keep our lines of communication pure in heart. So even though I’m not proud of the fact that I was involved in a heated debate fostered by a disagreement further nurtured by an avid discussion, giving me a sore throat–I must be truthful that such outbursts in the human expression are real and part of our lives. The only true danger is when we are so ashamed of our own part in the childish rant that we try to disguise the event or even pretend that nothing really happened.
 
Yellin’ is important. The reason it’s important is that we know it occurred because talking had stopped, thinking was on vacation and respect had taken a holiday. When we have respect for ourselves and others and we think about what we feel and what they must feel, the normal response is to talk. But when respect has gone into the wind and thinking is clouded by fear and ego, talking seems quite inept–especially when our newly-found opponent has already ramped up the volume.
 
Here are the main reasons we yell at each other:
 
1. We don’t understand, and rather than asking, we have already developed a scenario that suits our fancy.
2. We are offended and haven’t taken the time to express our pain but would rather live it out in vivid description to the offender.
3. We are jealous but find that childish, so we opt for some moral, spiritual or mental high ground to justify our nastiness.
4. We are drawn to this other person, but feel they do not care about us and therefore our affection is unrequited.
5. We have some half-baked notion that God is angry at our adversary and will really be happy if we “go get ’em.”
6. We need a nap or a good dinner and we opt for a riot.
7. And finally, we have convinced ourselves that the best way we are heard is by screaming.
 
Now, when you look at those seven motivations for verbal mutilation, you begin to humbly understand how yellin’ comes to be. It’s going to happen, my dear friends.
 
And the best thing we can do is avoid the shame, check over that list and find ourselves, and then, as Jesus suggested–heal the inner parts of our heart and purify our own motives before we next hop on any train of thought towards our brother or sister.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

The Faith Count… November 27, 2011

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Charlotte, North Carolina

I woke up with a sore throat.

I haven’t had a cold in two years so let me be the first one to say that I’m grateful for the reprieve from such escapades and appreciative of the ability to use all my faculties to communicate my message. For 181 shows this year, I’ve been able to dip into my talent, ability and confidence to propel the notions and inspiration that have been granted to me to share with my fellow-travelers.

Today my throat is sore. Before me are two programs for St. John’s United Methodist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. So what should my profile be? I still have a voice–that’s good. I just don’t have a sense of my talent, ability and confidence. That leaves me with my faith.

It is amazing what we discover about the true nature of our faith when our talent, ability and confidence have been shaken–because there are a lot of scriptures that tell us that God’s grace is sufficient for us. But I am staring down at a line-up of songs and stories that require more than my particular belief in God’s grace. I could piously tell you that I am completely reassured that the presence of God will be enough for me in my morning’s activities, and even though that statement would not be a lie, it also would not be completely forthcoming.

I find that a good portion of my faith in God is wrapped up in my ability, talent and confidence. I guess there are theologians that would object to such an assertion as being faithless–or even anti-God. I don’t know. I’ve just never been a “let go, let God” person. And allow me be so presumptuous as to say that most of us aren’t. Unlike the typical student of the Bible, when I run across something that most humans are NOT comfortable in performing, rather than assuming we are depraved and indifferent, I choose to consider the fact that maybe some of the ideas we have about God and life are ill-informed.

I think it’s an issue of the faith count. For instance, in today’s programs, I believe I truly will have to have faith that God will be with me as I share. But I also need to count the cost and take a good assessment of my talent, ability and the confidence I possess. False spirituality is the belief that how we are created and how we act is an abomination to God.

Would I rather not have a sore throat? Absolutely. Would I rather have my ability, talent and confidence at 100%? Darned tootin’. I am not thrilled to be less. But what I CAN be is overjoyed that wisdom trumps it all–and all wisdom is given by God to those who will ask.

So even though my talent, ability and confidence may be shaken a bit, if I will use a little wisdom to count the cost and truly decide what I can and cannot do, I therefore am able to present God with a possibility which He is able to bless. For after all, God has no intention of doing it all, nor does He particularly favor being left out. He rather likes our partnership.

So even though my throat is sore, I can still speak and I still have some talent and ability–and if I choose the right things to do instead of over-extending myself, my confidence should reappear.  This gives God the chance of surprising me with the ability to do more than I thought I could, yet without dumping the entire gig on Him.

It is the faith count. I will count factually what I think I can do, reestablishing my talent, ability and confidence, and then place it in God’s hands for His brilliant distribution. It’s the five loaves and two fishes brought my me to feed the five thousand. It’s the woman touching the hem of Jesus’ garment for healing. It is the decision that Jesus made not to tempt the Lord his God, but rather, use what he had instead of trying to jump off the pinnacle of the temple. Yes, I shall not jump off the steeple of St. John’s United Methodist Church. Instead, I will take what God has given me on this Sunday morning and use it as efficiently and wisely as possible. But I will do so by taking an accurate count of my talent, ability and confidence.

It is the faith count--and like everything else that is truly spiritual, it is the intelligent blending of the human with the Divine.

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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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