Jesonian … February 10th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are two distinct types of abuse.

There is physical abuse, punctuated by an attack against body, heart or mind. It leaves cuts, bruises and scars. It is nasty, evil and inexcusable.

The other form of abuse is neglect. Being commissioned to perform a responsibility, someone decides to set it aside in favor of other pursuits, leaving that which was meant to be cared for destitute.

Although a case could be made that the religious system continues to physically abuse Jesus of Nazareth by crucifying him weekly in sermons, attempting to stimulate some sort of passion from the congregation, I shall step aside from such discussion in favor of presenting the true abuse.

We preach a Gospel of salvation which includes emphasis on “one time only, better do it today, this could be your last chance, hell is hot, Jesus loved you so much that he bled, and don’t you want to go to heaven” rhetoric in an attempt to frighten hearers who have already heard this many times before.

Meanwhile the real message of Jesus–the one that makes him our intimate, elder brother, and also affords the planet an opportunity for peaceful cohabitation–is often read aloud with the energy of reciting last week’s grocery list.

If you’re going to be Jesonian, you need to love Jesus. If you’re going to love Jesus, you’re going to get to know what’s close to his heart. And when you get to know what’s close to his heart, you will no longer be satisfied with a crucified Savior, but instead will become a disciple, pursuing a dynamic lifestyle.

You don’t have to go any further than the first three beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount to see what Jesus was all about. Matter of fact, I could spend the rest of my life elaborating on that trio and never run out of material.

It begins with the reality, follows with a challenge and culminates with wisdom.

The reality: we are happy because we are poor in spirit.

The reason that makes us happy is because we can stop trying to be spiritual instead of human. Once you find your classification, it’s so much easier to compete. Not an angel, not a saint, not a theologian, but rather, a human who is impoverished in the realm of spirit.

First realization: I am human and it is good.

God said so when He got done creating us. I don’t think He lied. Sure, we’re unpredictable, but since He’s not afraid of that, why should I apologize?

This is followed with a challenge. “Blessed are those who mourn.”

I have emotions and this is good.

Although we try to suppress them, these feelings continue to pop to the forefront, churn up our throats and waggle our tongues. Rather than deny them, we should use them to feel, to laugh, and most certainly, to mourn–to escape being uncaring bastards and instead, weep over the loss and pain in the world around us.

This climaxes with a bit of eternal, precious wisdom. “Blessed are the meek.”

Although there is a campaign to promote the notion that the more we brag, the stronger we are, the human race actually has a tendency to cut the stilts out from under those who try to walk too tall.

We honor humility. We are geared to destroy pride, even when it dwells within us.

Humble: “I am weak and it is good.”

In these three statements Jesus establishes a Gospel which is not only able to be mastered by humans, but can also be passed along as the living bread of truth that we all desperately need before we starve to death emotionally and spiritually.

I am human and it is good.

I have emotion, and it is good.

I am weak, and damn straight–it is good.

 

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Jesonian … December 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A day in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Although most theologians would like to focus on the 24-hour period leading up to his crucifixion, the Gospels do offer us other examples. One of the primal outlines is found in Matthew, Chapters 12 and 13. You may feel free to read it–I will not tax your spirit or patience by parsing it verse by verse–but there are six things that become clear from perusing the story line.

1. Jesus was not a theologian.

His disciples walked through a field of corn, and even though it was forbidden by religious edict to eat it–especially on the Sabbath–they partook. Jesus defended them to the Pharisees, who were ready to leap upon the activity to prove the unworthiness of Jesus’ Kingdom movement. During this exchange, Jesus makes a profound statement: “The Sabbath is for man.”

It is geared for us, in order to replenish, rejuvenate and renovate our thinking.

2. Jesus was not a rabbi.

He strolls into a synagogue and disrupts the service by healing a man with a withered hand. He is accosted for this untimely interruption, and replies, “Each one of you will save a donkey from a trench, but you won’t do anything to help this fellow.”

Yes, Jesus was guilty of interrupting the flow of worship.

And contrary to the common patter:

3. Jesus was not a Jew.

Not only did he break the Jewish laws, taunting them in doing so, but we are informed that he was a voice, a spirit and a teacher in whom the “Gentiles could trust.”

Even though his proximity to Jerusalem might generate the assumption that he was a Son of Abraham, he made it clear that he was around “before Abraham.”

Shall we press on?

4. He was certainly not a traditionalist.

The religious leaders believed he was satanic. They swore he was casting out demons by the power of Satan. Of course, none of them could cast out a demon, but Jesus made it clear that he had come to destroy the works of the devil and that they needed to be careful not to mock the moving of the Holy Spirit just because it was inconvenient to their case.

So Jesus is not a theologian, a rabbi, a Jew or a traditionalist. And by the way:

5. Jesus was not a family man.

When interrupted by his mother, brothers and sisters during a time of ministry (because they wanted to take him home, thinking he was crazy) Jesus turned to the crowd and claimed them as his new family.

Yes, Jesus might find it difficult to be in a church service, welling up over allegiance with people simply because of shared DNA.

So as Matthew describes a day in the life of Jesus, when he defies theologians, upsets a rabbi, walks away from Judaism, breaks traditions and sidesteps family involvement, he ends the discourse by establishing who the Nazarene really was.

For the Master sat down and told a story: “The sower went forth to sow seed.”

6. Jesus is a sower.

He’s not concerned about isolating off perfect soil, but merely casting the seed in the direction of any possibility.

A day in the life of Jesus will let you know that his message was human, geared for humans, addressed to humans, human-friendly and human-saving.

He discarded religion in favor of the reality of those souls God sent his way.

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G-Poppers … December 23rd, 2016

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Christmas is one of those rare occasions when we actually get to lead with our heart, lighting up our soul, renewing our mind, to energize our strength.

Too often we become “soulish,” espousing doctrines dusty with meaningless detail, or “mindful,” relying on the existing training in our brain.

Perhaps worst of all, we surrender to the notion that our “body of work” is really just our body.

Christmas is different.

Christmas breaks all the rules of conventional wisdom by asking us to be emotional instead of prescribing medication to inhibit it.

Christmas is when we have a choice to become the best child of our possibility instead of languishing in adult complaining.

Christmas is when we insist that there has to be joy instead of yielding to the nonsense of “nothingness.”

Yes–Christmas is a state of “somethingness.”

It is a dream which becomes a plan and is implemented by a spirit of giving and surprised by receiving.

Without Christmas, we would imitate our “sick-in-bed” face 365 days a year–a frown that leaves us pale, with a sense of hopelessness.

Christmas is beautiful–if for no other reason than the fact that it pisses off arrogant, self-righteous, intellectually elite and bigoted souls.

It exposes the Scrooge while pointing at the Grinch and making us consider the power of the Little Drummer Boy.

It is “somethingness.”

It is daring to conceive a dream, and then being willing to chase it through the snow “on a one-horse open sleigh.”

We need Christmas much more than Christmas needs us.

We need a Baby Savior. Otherwise, we are drawn into the pit of the pernicious boredom of theologians.

To break our chauvinism, we require that the Prince of Peace was born of a woman–without the assistance of a penis.

It shatters our images of dreary sameness.

And when it arrives we guzzle from its trough like dying men plucked from the desert.

So here’s to the state of “somethingness.”

Here’s to your joy.

Here’s to our hope.

And from G-Pop to you, Merry Christmas.

 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 8) Priority … January 24th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

I am often reluctant to quote directly from the Good Book.

It is not due to a lack of respect or devotion to the volume. I would have a similar sensation about reading passages from Moby Dick if historically the Melville work had brought about horrific division and chaos.

But sometimes a particular passage from the Bible needs to be shared in its simplicity–and entirety–to point out how misunderstanding has driven us away from the consensus of what makes things good.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”

It is virtually impossible for a theologian to interpret that verse without adding his or her religious convictions, practices and pious overtones.

Yet it’s really quite simple. It’s divided into three sections:

  1. The kingdom of God.
  2. His righteousness.
  3. All these things.

To identify what these mean, you must have an awareness of the overall and abiding principles that are represented.

The kingdom of God is not a church, a belief system or a denominational approach to religion. Jesus made it clear that the kingdom of God is within us.

So the first step to establishing priority in our journey is to find ourselves.

The creation story tells us that God breathed into humans the breath of life and we became living souls. So if we can’t find that breath, we don’t know how to breathe. And all attempts we make to find the kingdom of God outside the confines of our own created space are not only futile, but often lead us in the wrong direction–trying to become sanctified without really being holy.

Here is the kingdom of God: I am happiest when I can be strong enough to help others.

  • We are not happy when we are weak.
  • We are not happy if we have sufficiency and choose selfishness.

The breath of God is the blessing of finding ourselves and then dispensing mercy to others.

We are told to seek this first.

Dare I say that many religious people are so riddled with insecurity and superstition that the only way they know how to express salvation to others is to load them down with guilt, intimidate them over their lifestyle, then stand back and judge their actions. It is a waste of time.

Get happy, be happy, and from that position of joy, find a way to make others happy.

Which brings us to His righteousness.

This is not my righteousness. This is not a general righteousness. This is God’s righteousness.

It doesn’t take too long in perusing the Good Book to discover that God is content when we grow in confidence so we can help others around us whom He would love to touch with His grace.

If you believe that God is stomping around Heaven, angry about the Ten Commandments being broken, you should probably read the Good Book a little more carefully.

“It’s not His will that any should perish, but that all come to repentance.”

Exactly.

Which brings us to the final thought: “all these things.”

While Wall Street and business tycoons try to figure out the secret to accumulating loot, the process is accessible. Satisfied souls who manifest a creative and passionate life become a magnet to material goods.

It’s just the way it works.

Everybody who chases money, fights for money or kills for money always ends up vanquished by those who are stronger. All the things we desire in life will be at our disposal when we find the breath so that we can breathe, become creative and allow our lives to be filled with passion.

So this little journey we have taken in the Gospel of Matthew is summed up best in this way to discover priority:

I will find the breath of God within me, which will enable me to breathe and become strong so I can help others. I do this because God has one great mission statement: help people. And in the process of finding my confidence, being creative and having a passionate life, the opportunity to gain what I need will be readily available.

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Jesonian: Doctor’s Report… November 23, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus and MM big

Jesus had a penis.

Not only do these two words, “Jesus” and “penis” somewhat rhyme, but they are also included by a doctor named Luke in his account on the life of the Nazarene, stating that at eight days of age, the little fellow was circumcised.

Let me explain that circumcision is normally associated as a procedure done to the male penis.

So it is rather doubtful if any denomination or theologian would question the authenticity of Dr. Luke’s report, but instead, would find anyone such as myself, who would highlight it, as being gauche or perhaps sacrilegious. (For after all, our greatest concern is not to discover the truth, but instead, to make sure it fits in with present thinking.)

But it is very important to us that Jesus had a penis. And if you happen to be a male yourself, you understand that this appendage comes with a package of possibilities and problems.

The Good Book does nothing to deter us from understanding this. It states that Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are, and that he was touched with our infirmities.

But the importance does not lie in discussing the propriety of the “Jesus penis,” but to realize that deep within his teaching is a sensuality that cannot be mistaken.

  • He referred to the church, which he founded, as “the bride of Christ” and to himself as “the bridegroom.” What’s that all about?

He made it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that “he who looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery in his heart.” Is this speculation? Doctrinal intrigue? Or personal discovery?

  • He told Nicodemus that “we all must be born again.”
  • He brought everything of heaven down to earthly understanding. Thus the use of parables.
  • And even though the modern church focuses on the Eucharist, which, by the way, has us eating his flesh and drinking his blood–quite intimate–the shocking experience of that Last Supper was when he stripped his clothes away, wrapped a towel around his waist, and washed the feet of his comrades.
  • He felt no embarrassment in telling the multitudes that a man and woman were meant to cleave to one another and become one flesh.
  • He incurred the wrath of the sexually inhibited Pharisees when a woman who was a prostitute came and anointed his feet with her tears as she kissed them, wiping away the moisture with her own hair. That’s seductive.

His ministry was intimate.

  • So tender was his sensitivity that rather than healing lepers at a distance, he insisted on making a sensory connection by touching them.
  • He placed all the children on his knee and put his hands on them to bless them.

When you remove the sensuality from Jesus, you lose an understanding of the compassion he had for his fellow human beings.

And where did that compassion come from? Was it merely infused from a supernatural Holy Spirit, generating power from on high?

Or was it a man who had a penis, who was therefore made more sensitive to his brothers and his sisters?

Dr. Luke did us a favor. He let us know that Jesus lived a life with genitalia. Therefore Jesus pissed, he had wet dreams, he had erections and he had inclinations to lust–because the little fellow who rents the downstairs insists on all of that.

We will be a better church when we realize that Jesus was born with no advantage, but because he allowed the Holy Spirit into his heart, it opened the door to a love of others that was accentuated by his sensory anointing. 

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Jesonian: Fire, Wind and Water … July 13, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PentecostFire, wind and water–the three ingredients of the Day of Pentecost.

It was the appointed time in the history of human kind when God once and for all infused His spirit inside our spirit, to create what He hoped would be a spirit of revival.

  • The fire–the spoken word through our tongue.
  • The rushing mighty wind, displaying the power of God.
  • And the water of baptism, to wash away the enormity of sin.

But you see, this all just sounds like a sermon–the kind of clever parallels that ministers and theologians put together in the privacy of their “den of simplicity,” to try to impress congregations with a bit of insight to mingle with their devotion to God.

Honestly, it’s just too religious. Truthfully, it bores.

Because if you get fire, wind and water out of order, nothing is effective.

To lead with fire–or talking–burns everybody up.

Too much wind of religious practice blows out the fire, leaving just a hint of smoke.

And water can just drown us, dousing everything so that it’s impossible to ignite the flame.

What I would like to do is take the religion and holiness out of all this speak and instead, make it clear exactly what it means to be Jesonian, a follower of Jesus, instead of a generic Christian–one who reveres Christ.

HandBecause if the ideas of Jesus of Nazareth did not set us free by offering truth, but were just another path of righteousness, then perhaps the notion that one well-beaten path is as good as another would be well-founded.

But Jesus didn’t come to start another religion. He came to generate a reasonable and transferable lifestyle.

So here’s the real fire:

No one is better than anyone else.

These words set ablaze all the prejudice, superiority, self-righteousness and arrogance that exist in our world, and purge the forest of misunderstanding.

Here’s the wind:

Find out what you can do and do it well.

After all, just speaking, promising, blustering and preaching don’t carry any mighty effect. But the confidence you gain by realizing that you have a talent and purpose, and then multiplying that ability to the point where you believe you can do it well, creates a breeze of creativity and hope to those around you.

And the water:

Get what you need out of life and then share the balance with everyone else.

Life is neither about fasting nor is it about hoarding. It is about securing the air mask on your own face before you try to help others breathe.

It is knowing exactly what satisfies your soul and not feeling the need to have more–or less–but if you do have more, strategically getting rid of it to the souls that God sends your way.

The Jesonian lifestyle is realizing that the power of God is in the fire, the wind and the water. But rather than teaching about it figuratively, we go out and speak and live that “no one is better than anyone else” as we find out what we can do, discover opportunities to do it well, and in the process get what we want–and give away the rest.

It is why I am a follower of Jesus. Every other philosophy and religion deals in too much symbolism.

These three abide.

These three can change our world.

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Jesonian: This Ole’ House … July 6, 2014

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housePictured is a house I ran across in Janesville, Wisconsin, during my touring. It is owned by somebody, but unoccupied. There are no people on the premises because the residence is broken apart, the windows are shattered, and the general appearance is deteriorating.

A thought came to my mind. What does the owner think when he drives by the possession? Does he remember former times, when the edifice was beautiful and a source of joy to a family? Or does his mind race with ideas on how to renovate the surroundings, making them livable again and restoring the glory?

Or I suppose a third choice is that he turns their head away so as not to deal with the eye-sore.

I think this is the situation we face in the church.

We know that people are supposed to be changed. An encounter with Jesus historically, and certainly Biblically, always resulted in some sort of massive transformation.

But often, it seems the best we can offer to the congregant is the chance to give a testimony about how bad things were or how great things will be someday “when we all get to heaven.”

In the pursuit of showing compassion, we may have accidentally drained the actual passion out of the soul and faith of the believer.

For after all, we spend so much time talking about God’s grace and so little time reminding people that Jesus told folks it was their faith that made them whole.

Matter of fact, it doesn’t take a theologian’s understanding to comprehend that Jesus was in the business of making abundant life for people on earth, not just in heaven.

You can the teachings of Jesus balance beautifully on two axioms:

  1. He that endures to the end will be saved.
  2. Go the second mile.

After all, what got Jesus very excited was when people showed initiative, reached out and touched the hem of his garment, had faith for their servant to be healed, or lepers who tracked him down to gain cleansing.

He admired initiative. Dare say, he rewarded it.

Removing such initiative from our faith in an attempt to establish the supremacy of God is unfortunately the way we remove the glory from God, which He would receive from people praising our good works.

Jesus is to appreciate that he was a teacher who wanted to impart a lifestyle, not just a salvation plan.

I don’t know whether that house in Janesville will ever be restored, but for it to happen, someone will have to admit that it’s messed up, the glory days are not coming back and there’s no guarantee that the future holds promise for miraculous renovation.

It will need work.

We do need endurance. And we do require the energy and excitement to go the second mile.

So don’t rob people of the blessing of having Jesus speak to them admiringly: “Your faith has made you whole.”

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