PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 14th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3337)

Simply Phrased

I have no wonder

About the human blunder

It’s common, don’t you see

Like rain and thunder

Or a rumble down under

Always appears naturally

So beware of those

In pious clothes

Strutting in a snit

Stick up their nose

At the common Joes

Downright full of shit

Whereas average people

Without a steeple

Who replenish the Earth

Without a word

They are heavenly preferred

Industrious since birth

So worry if you must

Yet I will trust

That all is truly well

For if me and I

Is not enough for the Sky

Then simply phrased: “What the hell?”

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … February 8th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3112)

pohymn-salva

Plantation Salva

A damning God

Seems quite odd

Why the fuss

Since He made us

Didn’t He know

How it would go

A fruitless problem

Closed the Garden

Making the nomad

Always a little sad

Chasing a dream

A meaningless scheme

Killing, making war

Settling an endless score

God sent preachers

Hideous, pious creatures

Listening to what they tell

Made us further rebel

Hate the wait

Fate is late

Will, for me

But it ain’t free

Sow and reap

Fail and weep

What a bore

Craving more

The color of skin

The depth of sin

Chosen people

Erect steeple

While we are here

Twisted in fear

God is over there

Cursed, so unfair

Settle the wild

Birth the child

He’s the Word

Judged absurd

A Master disaster

Kill the Bastard

Where can we hide

No place to abide

Then a voice

Offers a choice

His life, your Eden

Everything you’ve been needin’,

Your Plantation Salva

Is assembling

For you to discern

With a holy trembling

 

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Good News and Better News … April 18th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2908)

Good News Antioch

Yesterday it was my joy to share my heart with dear souls in Antioch, Tennessee.

In the Book of Acts, it informs us that Antioch was the first city where the new believers in Jesus were referred to as “Christians.” It was meant to be a derogatory term, thrown at this new movement by the arrogant Greeks, who were trying to connote that the people who believed in the Nazarene were just a bunch of “little Jesuses.”

In other words, they had no mind of their own.

I didn’t talk about this to the people yesterday because I figured that over the years they have probably grown weary of the reference. But it did help me realize that the term “Christian” has become synonymous with going to church, or being religious, instead of being like Jesus.

Jesus frustrated religious people. After a while they got tired of being frustrated, so they decided to murder him.

Even though your average church-going people will admit that attendance is dwindling and that people seem to be “leaving the steeple,” they still insist that there’s basically nothing errant with what’s going on behind the stained glass windows.

Here is something I have learned:

If it’s not working, it’s probably not going to get better just because you keep doing it. And if it’s not working, the first step is to admit it’s broken, and then commit to getting it fixed.

The problem in the church is simple–it is a body of believers working under a false premise. The false premise is that we please God by gathering to worship Him.

Jesus made it clear that we please God by being the salt of the Earth and the light of the world.

Can you see the difference?

So as I leave Antioch, having had a tremendous morning of fellowship with these dear friends, I can offer them a simple suggestion:

Do one thing.

Yes–just start pursuing one thing that’s different from what you’re doing now. And make sure it doesn’t resemble anything like the present menu offered in church.

Maybe you could adopt one family in the community every week, take $150 and buy them groceries and shoes for the kids. Put a committee in charge of this endeavor.

Then on Sunday morning you can share, having something for prayer time other than weddings, funerals, births and sicknesses.

How about challenging twenty people from your congregation to volunteer just one hour a week in area nursing homes, food banks or homeless shelters–and then have them testify of their encounters.

Maybe the pastor could do the same thing–or take a small part-time job to increase his or her humanity in the community. Play guitar? Start a cover band and play at the local bar on Saturday nights prior to the Sunday services.

Take something that is non-church but filled with Jesus and act it out in your community every week, and see if something doesn’t bloom.

It’s not complicated. I could probably sit here for another twenty minutes and pop off more ideas.

But the notions have to come from the congregation and be a source of excitement to them to make it work.

If we don’t develop a sense of mission about bringing the heart of Jesus to our community, we will gradually implode from over-reverence or bickering from the choir about which anthem should be used for the Introit.

Jesus was simple:

Find a way to be loving, and then go act it out.

So as I leave Antioch, filled with a spirit of joy from encountering these delightful “little Jesuses,” I tell you that your good news is that all you need is one thing to do that is not religious, and that will bring real people into your presence.

The better news is that you’re not responsible for the fruit.

Just the seed.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … December 2nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2770)

PoHymn Dec. 3

Merry Goes With…

Merry goes with Christmas

Of this you can be sure

As honey links with bee

And water prefers pure

As Baptist is to dunking

And Methodist welcomes eating

We’re all bound for Heaven

If we’ve secured reserved seating.

As Jesus embraces Santa dear

To join in the holiday cheer

And elves dance with angels

To dispel our human fear

Christmas belongs to people

Peace on Earth, you see

Those beneath the steeple

And others around the tree

For joy is a Godly thing

Birthed in heavenly trust

Hark the herald, angels sing

Worship the King, we must

For praise comes in many ways

But always brings sweeter ends

So let us take December days…

Merry Christmas, my dear friends.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 29th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2647)

PoHymn for July 29

Namey Name Name

Baptist, Methodist

But Mary called him Jesus

Lutheran, Presbyterian

Pentecostal, Unitarian

Latter Day Saint

Former day Jew

Assembly of God

No assembly required

Christian, Christos Iglesias

His buddies dubbed him Jesus

Catholic, Roman

Catholic, Greek

Catholic, schoolboy

Catholic, priest

Missionary Alliance

Missionary position

From this rock

I set sail

Calm the seas

Hell, it can’t fail

Revelation, Episcopalian

The lepers screamed for Jesus

Gay church

Black church

White church

Country church

Church in the wildwood

Church in the neighborhood

Church of the brotherhood

Every game has a name

But Jesus came to take the blame

Politics failed him

Religion nailed him

Wise folks trailed him

This one called Jesus

So let me say

In my simple way

I know Jesus of the people

Not Christ with a steeple

We were together

Long before he went

Non-profit.

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Untotaled: Stepping 20 (March 18th, 1965) Bible League … June 28, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2277)

(Transcript)

In the midst of puberty, football, family problems, unbearable school work, insecurities and an unwillingness to walk the dog, I managed to wiggle in time to attend church.

I didn’t go there because I loved God or was fond of listening to sermons. Matter of fact, I couldn’t recall one single point from one of these elongated discourses. No, I went to the Steeple House to see church friends and because I had an abiding love for gospel music.

So when it was announced by our pastor that a competition would begin in the style of College Bowl, using the Bible for questions and answers, and that we would be competing with eleven other churches in our district, to win a trophy, I was immediately on board. It would give me a chance to be with my friends, carpool to new locations, and actively participate in a way to prove that I was better than others.

The first category for our pursuits was Acts of the Apostles, which had intelligently been shortened to the Book of Acts. We studied the material for three weeks. The teams were divided into Junior Bible League and Senior Bible League.

I was at an annoying age–the oldest in the Junior League, but youngest in the Senior League. So they stuck me in the younger group. We went out for the first competition and won handily against Milford.

Having a disconcerting mixture of ability and ego, I quickly decided that the Junior Bible League was beneath me, so I immediately began to lobby to be in the Seniors. This stimulated many discussions, church board meetings, and phone calls among pastors, all trying to decide if it was righteous for me to be with the older participants.

I think they wanted me to give it up. Yes, they figured that eventually I would stop asking.

But I didn’t.

So by the third contest, studying the Book of John, I wore them out and was placed on the Senior Team. Within two weeks, I was one of the starting members and on the third week was voted Captain.

Can I tell you the problem with progress? The reason life has steps to it is so we can enjoy the graduations–because even though I got my way and was on the Senior Team, I was stuck there for four years, with no further encouragement for ascension–just an expectation of ongoing winning.

For the first three years we won the trophy for the best Bible League Team in our district. But by the fourth year, quite honestly, I just wore out.

My jot was exhausted and my tittle lay dangling.

So the lasting memory of this experience is that we lost, in my final year, because of my indifference, and I shall forever be remembered as the guy who almost pulled it off.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to stand up against unreasonable rules and regulations. But often they are there to ease us into a joyous journey, where we have the pleasure of growing instead of the aggravating expectation of doing well … again.Donate Button

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Arizona morning

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Will It Play in (east) Peoria?… June 23, 2013

(1921)

play in PeoriaIt’s the question the old vaudeville troops used to ask whenever they were breaking in a new act: Will it play in Peoria?

In other words, does it have enough appeal to mainstream America to immediately make an impact and cause ’em to want to come back for more?

Well, vaudeville has come and gone. We live in the age of the reality show, the Internet, Twitter and instant gratification. So as I get ready to go to East Peoria First United Methodist Church this morning, I realize that the minds of the congregation are scattered over any number of issues and pursuits.

  • I could probably get a good laugh if I walked onstage and talked about Miss Paula Deen using derogatory names for her kitchen crew of Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima.
  • Somebody might think it was interesting if I talked about Exodus, International, agreeing to remove the pray and welcome back the gay.
  • How about this for a headline? World War Z is panned by movie critics as F.
  • Or we just experienced the first day of summer, which officially allows us to complain for a season about the heat we prayed for in January.

Yes, I suppose any one of those would raise an eyebrow, produce a chuckle or evoke some chatter. But that’s just not the way of the gospel. The gospel is good news.

So to give it, the first thing you have to do is have a story. I learned a long time ago that you’ve got to do some living before you start giving. People get tired of hearing you talk about Moses and the Apostle Paul. They’d really like to see somebody stand in front of them who’s alive and well–who can give a story about how it works today.

So that’s the second thing I’ll do. I’ll share my story. And you know how I’ll do it? I’ll talk “people,” not “steeple.” I’m not going to try to impress folks with a demonstration of pronouncing all the cities in Asia Minor on Paul’s second missionary journey. I’m going to speak the words that are common to my life and enriching to the ears of my audience.

And then I’m going to make a story. I’ll reach out into the lives of those folks I meet, who might think we’re strangers, and turn the whole event into an experience. I’m going to have a hope that our faith will sprout some love.

Because without that, church is not only repetitious, it’s cruel to people who need an answer for their lives that is understandable, and not just some scripture verses that are meant to be comforting.

So I don’t know what the folks in East Peoria expect, but I have a story, I’m going to share a story, and I’m going to hug them around the neck and we’re going to make a story.

And I can guarantee you–it won’t just play in Peoria. It will resound all the way from earth … up to heaven.

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