PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 25th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The Process

by Jonathan Richard Cring

Ineffective

Stalled

Broken

Evaluated

Rejected

Offered

Refused

Presented

Snubbed

Condemned

Abandoned

Worthless

Available

Comical

Revisit

Curious

Concerned

Careful

Courageous

Cleanse

Scrape

Repair

Replace

Restructure

Reinvent

Renewal

Reveal

Tepid

Uncaring

Critical

Short-sighted

Persevere

Time

Chance

Music

Dance

Notice

Appreciation

Praise

Admired

Mine

Our guest reader this week is Janet, who lives in Florida with her family, and is a master musician.

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Jesonian… April 29th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesonian-cover-amazon

I’ve done enough.

Had enough, given enough, loved enough, lived enough.

Prayed, worked, cried…

ENOUGH

Laughed enough, cared enough and decided enough.

Tepid.

The temperature of America.

Ninety-eight point sick of buying, crying, lying, sighing, trying, vying…but in no hurry for dying.

Somewhere along the line, lukewarm has been presented as a virtuous temperance. Matter of fact, in our religious communities–especially Christian churches–the concept of pursuing, believing, striving and reaching has been discounted in favor of “immeasurable grace” that seems to cover a multitude of misunderstanding.

Yet the GPS of the Gospel is definitely set for the second mile.

Jesus had a disdain and dislike for anyone who was trying to glide through life without offering full commitment. From the manger in Bethlehem, where shepherds were beckoned from their work and wise men were required to travel hundreds of miles to follow a star, to the Book of Revelation, where Jesus tells one of the new churches that they were so noncommittal that they made him vomit, we see a Savior who wants us to be involved in saving ourselves.

It is the woman who touched the hem of his garment who was healed.

Another lady crawled across the floor so that she could stand upright and walk.

The blind man screamed at the top of his lungs for healing, even though the crowd thought he should shut up.

A centurian broke all protocol to ask a Jewish teacher to heal his servant, while admitting he was not worthy to have the Master come to his home.

It was the thief on the cross, who expressed faith in a “fellow criminal” hanging by his side, who achieved Paradise.

We are lying to people when we tell them that simply showing up will get them “up for the show.” The mere presence of praise songs in a church service does not promote worship–unless the people’s hearts are ablaze with gratitude.

Clever teaching of the Gospel with insightful stories falls flat unless it is heard by human beings who are looking for reasons to be energized.

The Pharisees hated Jesus because he was passionate. He ate, he drank, he fellowshipped, he interacted with all cultures, while never condemning anyone unless they condemned others or sat idly by, waiting for life to get better.

Don’t ever forget his words to the Jewish elder, Nicodemus: “You must be born again.”

And don’t ever think that you can tiptoe up to Jesus with a tepid, American attitude, feeling you’ve already done your part–and ever get his attention.

 

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A New Trinity… March 22, 2013

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Trinity First UMC

The three men I admire the most

The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost

Lyrics from American Pie, written by Don McLean. I doubt if too many people remember it, but every time I hear the tune I get tickled by that passage.

The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit have been really good to me–mainly because I have escaped the futility of looking at them as religious icons and instead, have taken them into my heart.

My Father created me, was there at my conception and promises to stay with me until the end.

Jesus, the Son, is my elder brother, who’s gone before me and knows where all the pitfalls may be, and graciously has taught me how to avoid them and live successfully.

And the Holy Spirit, as promised, is a comfort to my soul, and gently nudges me, reminding me of the beauty of the message which gives me hope.

But as I said, there are those who have taken this Holy Trinity and used it for their own agenda or made it just some sort of repetition of worship that is visited once a week at the great museum of spirituality. Too bad.

You see, I find myself headed this weekend to Trinity, Texas, population 2,712 delightful souls, whose main industry is attempting to stay industrious in this tepid economy. I’ll be sharing over there Sunday morning, at the First United Methodist Church, with Pastor Russ and all the good souls.

I’m sure they believe in the Trinity–but I will be gently informing them that the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost needs to be translated more simply to our generation, which is quite reliant on visual aids to understand great concepts.

Truthfully, placed gently somewhere between Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore is the conscience and spirit of the United States of America. Most folks are not hyper-liberal OR conservative. Honestly, most of us are not righteous Republicans or determined Democrats. We are people, trying to do our best. And if we’re not trying to do our best, we at least are trying to remember what the best looked like when people were actually doing it.

So along with teaching the doctrines of the Bible and the beauty of the original Trinity, we should be aware that the average person is in need of a new Trinity.

Yes, the Father they need to see is a church in the middle of town that is a welcoming center for the children of earth. All of us know there are different types of fathers. There are grumpy fathers, who scream if the children run too loudly through the house. There are cheap fathers, who turn off every light when they walk through the home, frowning at everybody for using too much electricity. And then there are those young fathers, who like to giggle, run and play–and make their children feel loved while they push them in the swing or play a game of tag in the yard. Dare I say, I believe we might err in presenting too grouchy of a God?

So I will tell those good folks in Trinity this weekend that the house they’ve built to welcome the spirit of God should be a friendly place, where the people of the community can come and see their Daddy instead of being on a weekend visitation with their estranged Father who has divorced Mother Earth and reluctantly pays child support. Yes, the church at 131 North Elm Street in Trinity, Texas, needs to be a beautiful home for Daddy, where all of His children are welcome.

And when they get there and they feel comfortable in the presence of the Father, in His house, they should be able to see the Son. Not just hear about him through the parables and tales of the Bible, but they should see Jesus in the eyes of the congregation. It is why Jesus said that “greater things would we do” because he goes to the Father. He said we are “the light of the world”–and we are supposed to grow to “the fullness of the measure of his stature.”

No matter how good you teach the New Testament, people will believe that the Jesus you share is the Jesus you live.

And then, the Holy Spirit, which should fill that house of the Father, should be a warm blanket of mercy. Mercy is easy for me–it’s when I remember how much I am in need of grace before I ever start doling out judgment. The Holy Spirit, to our generation, is mercy. It’s what our people need. They are being bombarded with ideas and emotions from all sides, when what they require is a moment of peace and sanity, so they can hear the still small voice within them talk some sense.

So as I head off to be with Pastor Russ and all the gang in Trinity, I will tell them that they have the opportunity to present a new Trinity:

  • a Father who lives in the house they’ve built on Elm Street, who is more of a Daddy than a detached bread-winner;
  • a Son who is well-represented by a gathering of believers, who still think it’s important to live out the Golden Rule instead of just storing the gold in a safe somewhere;
  • and a Holy Spirit that leads with mercy, because each and every one of us sitting in the pews know that we need mercy ourselves.

If you add onto that a simple message–for instance, I recommend “NoOne is better than anyone else”–you would be surprised at how many folks will be drawn to such a sanctuary of hope.

The Father is God’s house located, in this case, on Elm Street.

The Son is Pastor Russ and all the good members of the church.

The Holy Spirit is the mercy we feel for those around us.

And the message is NoOne is better than anyone else.

We’ll be there on Sunday. We’ll be honoring the original Trinity of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, while also presenting our new “visual aid”–us.

I‘m looking forward to it.

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