ProbThree: “It’s not my fault” … November 3, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2054)

Uncle SamFingers.

They perform two obvious functions: touch and point.

Touching is good. It’s a way of expressing our tenderness by putting our emotion into our fingertips. Pointing is when we try to place the blame on someone or something other than ourselves. We do this in three ways:

1. Pointing up.

Sometimes we feel so inadequate, inferior, ill-prepared and ignorant that we place all of our life concerns and journey needs on God in the sky, hoping for divine intervention. We use prayer to pass the buck to our heavenly Father. So we either procure our miracle or we get to act persecuted for the lack of attention.

Belief in God should build our character, not diminish it. It should make us more willing to serve ourselves and others instead of turning us into lazy supplicaters who feel that God has a responsibility to support us–since He fathered us.

2. Pointing down.

Some people, when they discover they don’t want to blame God anymore, decide to finger Satan, Lucifer or evil, which they can point down toward as the source of their failures. It is the ultimate superstition. Not only does it unrighteously free us of our own task and involvement, but it places good and evil on an equal footing and gives darkness too much light.

3. Pointing out.

This is very popular. When in doubt, accuse someone else. When confronted with deficiency, explain your indebtedness by insisting that another person has caused you to be a debtor. It is vindictive for two reasons: (a) it takes away the joy of achieving for ourselves, and (b) it often targets people we don’t like as adversaries, when those who really ARE against us are given a free pass because we like them better.

The three approaches of fingering–up, down and out–turn human beings into inferior, superstitious, vindictive souls.

The key to ProbThree–“it’s not my fault”–is to use your finger to point IN–not to create fault, but rather, to find your own definition of responsibility.

Here is my rendition of responsibility:

A. I have ability

B. I have problems

I will never be happy if I focus on one of those more than the other. If I only tout my abilities, I look like a jerk when it becomes obvious that I’m lugging baggage around. And if I only lament my problems, I become the buzz kill that turns every party into a departure gate at an airport.

It’s the blending of the two that creates responsibility. And responsibility allows me to point at myself without feeling the need to be guilty and faulty. Here’s how it works: I use my ability to help my problems and I use my problems to enhance my abilities.

Without abilities I wouldn’t have any way of addressing the problems that come up or possess the confidence to conquer. But I have to understand that if I never have a problem, I have no need to grow and increase my talents.

So every time I put the blame on God, Satan or others, I lose the capacity to become the beneficiary of a great life lesson. I also am admitting that I’m at the mercy of whatever I’ve fingered.

So ProbThree, “it’s not my fault,” is solved by the decision to point inward, taking responsibility and using my ability to solve my problems, knowing that my problems only enhance my abilities.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Super-ag-nuts … July 22, 2012

(1,584)

I should never have accepted the invitation. Sometimes I just have trouble saying no.

A very religious friend of mine invited me to come to lunch and meet his self-proclaimed agnostic brother. I know the aspiration of my ardent-zealot-religious comrade was that somehow I would be able to offer some sort of “smart” presentation of the gospel which would win over his brother, who was moving more each and every day towards complete atheism.

The luncheon started off all right, although a bit awkward, until my God-bud felt it was time to move into more supernatural topics and broached the subject of the divine with his less-than-willing family member. What ensued was a battle of wills, which had been in full swing for many years. It also became obvious to me that one of the brothers thought he was saved and the other one thought he was smart.

The one who thought he was smart equally believed that he would lose his entire brain if he was fully exposed to salvation, and the one who was saved was convinced that the introduction of too much knowledge could possibly dissolve any faith in God whatsoever.

I left that day feeling very unfulfilled and not certain where I fit in–because I am not a superstitious religious person. I don’t spend much time thinking about Jonah and the whale nor any one of the particular horsemen of the Apocalypse. I am also by no means an agnostic. There’s just too much flow of the Spirit and needfulness for God in our lives for any one of us to dismiss His creative presence merely to maintain a social strata of intellectual superiority.

The superstition of religion causes people to say, “I am afraid I am not pleasing to God,” which causes the agnostic to retort, “I think pleasing God makes me afraid.”

But a new phenomenon has now come onto the scene. People who formerly were involved in spirituality, which deteriorated into religion and eventually became mere superstition, have now been infected with a bit of agnosticism.

They are everywhere. They have just enough Bible in them to maintain a dangerous dose of superstition and a growing amount of agnosticism, which depresses them with the lack of God in their lives–similar to the temperament of a twelve-year-old kid after the first Christmas without Santa.

So just as a superstitious person believes he doesn’t please God and the agnostic thinks that pleasing God makes one afraid, this new group, which I have dubbed the super-ag-nuts, ends up trying to please everybody because they’re afraid. Do you see what I mean?

Because spirituality failed to maintain the integrity of its message, the superstition of religion took over the sanctuary and encouraged agnosticism, which has produced super-ag-nuts.

For instance, superstition says, “I want to go to heaven–because I don’t want to go to hell.”  The agnostic says, “I hate the idea of hell, so I reject heaven.” So this new super-ag-nuts philosophy blends the two and ends up with the assertion, “I am not sure if there’s a heaven or a hell, so I’m scared to die.”

It is the super-ag-nuts who are so politically motivated in our society. Like the Jews of Jesus’ day, they have lost all hope in their faith and are looking for a political solution here on earth to remedy their disappointment. The super-ag-nuts have a form of godliness but have begun to deny the power of it, creating such a boring relationship with the heavenly Father that they, themselves, yearn for an excuse to be absent from worship services.

The super-ag-nuts are the ones who have found pet Bible verses and use them as a reason to advance a cause rather than using the cause to advance reasonableness. It is the super-ag-nuts who foster prejudices using the scapegoat of Godliness, alienating  certain groups from being included, even though Jesus was intent on establishing that no one is better than anyone else.

The superstition of religion teaches that in theory we should love people, but it’s really okay not to like them. Agnostics, on the other hand, are very suspicious of people individually, but will boldly tell you of their love for humanity. It has caused this new generation of super-ag-nuts to focus on family and friends, hoping that will be enough in the eyes of God.

I’ve always hated superstition. Honestly, agnosticism kind of makes me laugh. But when you blend superstition and agnosticism together, you get a belief system without joy. And what could possibly be the reason for seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness if all these things were NOT going to be added unto us? If we weren’t going to end up more content? If we weren’t going to become more loving? If we fail to multiply our talents? If we maintain our dreary outlook on life instead of being free–because the Son has set us free?

I am very concerned that we are becoming a generation of super-ag-nuts, having just enough Holy Book in us to answer questions on Jeopardy! and enough agnosticism and doubt to steal our faith in the moment of need.

Call it out–first in yourself, then in the superstitious agnostics around you, who are too frightened to admit they don’t know and too prideful to be willing to allow knowledge to confirm the power of belief.

My luncheon with the superstitious-religious brother and the agnostic-emerging-towards-atheist sibling was a wash. But it did make me more determined to remove the superstition from my faith and allow the truth to make me free.

And mainly free of disbelieving just because I’m too lazy to experience God for myself.

   

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

Man-Goes Well… March 14, 2012

(1,453) 

James was black.

His mother noticed shortly after his birth and the trend continued throughout his childhood, into adolescence and was still in full swing when I met him in 1980 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

We became friends. This was frowned on in our community, where it was highly recommended that “coloreds and whites” not be mixed–and I’m not talking about doing the laundry. We didn’t care.

Matter of fact, we planned on taking a missionary trip together to Haiti. Honestly, it was more the desire for adventure than evangelism, but both motivations still welcome the presence of God.

Haiti. It is a land infested with poverty, which welcomes the supernatural, primarily in mysticism and voodoo, but also embraced the Catholic Church when it arrived, possibly because she brought in statues, saints and a bit of her magic–and even smiled a little when the Baptists came in offering redemption through dunking; and certainly the Haitians were intrigued when the Pentecostals arrived, blabbing away in tongues. I even ran across a lady who had built an altar out of cardboard boxes which contained a statue of Mary alongside a goat’s head. (I would assume this would be Holy Mary, mother of goat…”)

James and I created a lot of interest in the city of Port-au-Prince. After all, a black man and a white man strolling along laughing was an unusual sight–especially when the black man was tall and skinny and the white man was not as tall and was “skinny-free.” Walking down the street we looked like a bat and a baseball striding side by side.

Invitations to come and speak in churches in the local communities began to pour in. There were so many that we eventually had to split up–James going to one possibility and I, to another. How disappointed the young, single ladies of the church were when I arrived instead of James! They were yearning for Billy Dee Williams, and they got Billygoat Gruff.

But in one particular hamlet, we ended up together, and in the midst of our presentation, an older lady burst into the church. There was a collective gasp from the gathered. She kind of stomped up to where we were, shook some sort of rattle in our faces and danced around us four or five times before coming to a halt and pointing her finger into my face. James and I, being the rubes we were, applauded her dance, deeming that appropriate. Offended, she plodded out of the room and we were warned by our interpreter that we had just been cursed by a sorceress who was deeply involved in voodoo–and that we should be careful because she had great power.He explained to us that she had wooed a young sixteen-year-old boy away from his home and family, to live with her and be her slave. Honestly, James and I were a bit amused by the whole tale, having dispelled most of our trepidation over fairy tales years earlier.

Now, we decided to stay overnight in the little town, and when we rose in the morning from our pallets, we discovered, outside of our little enclosure, a basket filled with mangos–I think about ten in all. Both of us were hungry, because being not very adept and aware of traveling expenses, we had run out of money and were at the mercy of grazing off the local fare. So we cut into those mangos and began to enjoy a delicious fruit-filled breakfast. When we were about halfway through eating our basket of plenty, our interpreter showed up, absolutely horrified at the sight before him. He explained to us that the mangos had been cursed by our local witch doctress–the lady who had attended the service the night before and that we were eating death and destruction.

Who would know? They tasted like mangos.

Soon a small crowd of the townsfolk gathered around, more or less on a death vigil, to see when we would fall over, foam at the mouth and croak. Hours passed and we continued to giggle, clap our hands and talk with surrounding friends about the goodness of life and God. When it became obvious that the spell must have been somehow “mis-spelled,” the people began to rejoice.Matter of fact, the mother of the young boy who had been taken prisoner gathered a couple of her matronly allies and headed over to the witch doctress’s hut and reclaimed her son, bringing him home.

The woman of alleged magic did nothing. She was powerless.

You see, as it turns out, the boy wasn’t under any spell but lust, and didn’t need any deliverance except to come home and return to sanity. It also turns out that the mangos refused to be infused with anything but good taste.

We stayed on that evening and practically the whole little village came out to hear our message. Superstition was exposed. All it takes is turning on a light, because when you turn on a light, fear scurries away … and faith remains, smiling.

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

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

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

%d bloggers like this: