Catchy (Sitting Three) And Then There Were Three … June 25th, 2017

 

Randall Caron and Landy Loren were Matthew’s partners in S.E.E.D.S.

Randall was Matthew’s junior, a gentleman in his thirties–skinny, with the energy level of a mosquito, and the greed to match. Matthew always lamented that Randall seemed to lack sufficient conscience to balance his ego. But it was hard to argue with his productivity and the ruthlessness he employed to plump the bottom line.

Landy was a woman in her forties, which she coyly referred to as “fortyish.” She was short and pudgy enough to disguise a fading attractiveness which had once dazzled young men and now left the same suitors satisfied with conversation.

The three partners met every morning at 9:30 to discuss upcoming projects and share a cheese Danish, an English muffin and an Irish coffee—a personal nod to continental cuisine.

On this morning, Matthew wasted no time, feeling idle chatter should not trump a two hundred and fifty million dollar proposal.

“I got a call.”

“And…?” said Randall, with a crumb or two of muffin creeping out the corner of his lips.

“It was a lawyer,” Matthew continued.

“Uh-oh,” inserted Landy.

Matthew interrupted. “No. A good lawyer, if such is possible.”

“A good lawyer?” questioned Randall. “What would that be?”

“Good in the sense of. . . well, good in the sense of money.”

“A lawyer offering money instead of demanding payment?” questioned Landy.

“Freak show, huh?” Matthew smiled.

“Where did you ever get that saying, ‘freak show’?” Randall asked, irritated.

“College.”

“Well, it’s weird,” said Randall. “Kind of gives me the willies.”

“The willies?” Matthew chuckled. “Now, that’s weird.”

“Sorry–works for me,” Randall responded.

“Anyway,” continued Matthew. “It seems that old man Harts—you know, the billionaire that died a couple of weeks ago?—left two hundred and fifty million dollars for some advertising agency…”

Randall almost spilled his Irish coffee on his gray gabardine slacks. “You’re shittin’ me.”

“What do you mean? Who? You mean us?” Landy could not contain her excitement.

“Maybe…” Matthew said tentatively.

“Maybe?” Randall leaped to his feet. “I’d do anything for two hundred and fifty million dollars.”

“Sit down. Now, tell me what you’re talking about,” Landy demanded.

Matthew leaned back in his chair and dropped the remaining portion of a Danish into his mouth. “Here’s the catch,” he said as he brushed his hands to dispel morsels of sticky crumbs.

“There’s always a goddam catch,” said Randall, sitting back down.

“For two hundred and fifty million dollars I might put up with a hundred catches,” said Landy.

“The old fart wants some agency to take two hundred and fifty million dollars to promote—are you ready for this?”

“Stop stalling and tell us,” interrupted Randall.

“…to make Jesus popular again.”

“What?” Landy gasped.

“Popular with who, or is it whom?” asked Randall.

“I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I guess popular with everybody,” said Matthew.

There was a sudden stillness—not reverential, but more a stomach-aching quiet that ensues upon seeing two hundred and fifty million dollars tumble into a bottomless cavern.

“What a crock.” Randall finally broke the silence.

“Who could do that?” Landy asked.

“You mean make Jesus popular?” Matthew smirked.

“Yeah,” replied Landy. “I mean, Jesus is Jesus, right?”

“Well, there’s our slogan,” said Randall with a grin.

“No, I’m serious,” said Landy. “I mean, if you’re looking at him like a product…you know what I’m saying? There are only certain things you can do with it.”

“New and improved…” ticked Randall.

“Misunderstood and now finally revealed…” added Matthew.

“Under new management,” concluded Landy.

“Okay, I’ll grant you, it’s bonkers,” said Matthew. “But it is two hundred and fifty million dollars.”

“I don’t care if it’s two hundred and fifty billion dollars,” said Randall. “It’s impossible, therefore it’s immoral to take the money.”

“Ahh. Suddenly a man of principle,” said Matthew.

“The main principle I’m interested in is the principle in my bank account,” said Randall. “But…”

“Can we get back to the proposal?” Landy broke in.

“You’re not taking this seriously, are you?” Matthew was shocked.

“I can think of two hundred and fifty million reasons to be very serious,” said Randall.

Matthew got up and walked across the room. “I was just making conversation. I mean, obviously, I told the guy we weren’t interested.”

Randall leaped to his feet. “You what?”

“Without asking us?” Landy challenged.

Matthew sighed. “Come on, guys. It’s ridiculous. You said it. Jesus is Jesus. The product is worn out. I mean, for instance, what could you do with Quaker Oatmeal?”

“Lace it with grass. I don’t really care. For two hundred and fifty million dollars we could at least try,” said Randall. “I mean, someone’s going to get that money. Why not us? We can fail at this just as well as anyone else, and have a few dinners and a new swimming pool at the same time.”

“I want a Lexus LE,” said Landy.

Matthew strolled across the room and sat back down. “Don’t you think it’s kind of creepy—I mean, weird—to take money that you know you’re just spending because the project you’re working on is—well, it’s non-promotable.”

Randall sat down beside him and patted him on the leg. “Maybe not. What do we know? I mean, are we theologians? Why don’t we do this–why don’t we express an interest? Why don’t we ask for, say, a hundred thousand dollars in advance to do a feasibility study?”

Landy crossed the room.  “A feasibility study? Go on.”

“Yeah, you know,” said Randall. “Subcontract. Ask for a few ideas. Take some surveys. Who knows? It might be fun.”

“Fun?” asked Matthew flatly. “And you’re not worried about your immortal soul?”

“Hell, I sold that years ago for stock options in Microsoft.” Randall downed the last bit of his Irish coffee and winked.

So it was decided.

Randall called up the lawyer, Mr. Tomlinson, who readily agreed to release a hundred thousand dollars for a study on the feasibility of making Jesus more popular.

Contacts were made for slogans, surveys were passed out to testing groups and a panel of theologians was invited. The date was set a month in the future when all the participants would gather and share their ideas.

Hopefully, divine ideas on how to promote the founder of Christianity.

 

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Jesonian… April 15th, 2017

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A Saturday many, many years ago, the beaten, bruised and bloodied body of Jesus of Nazareth lay still in the darkness of a borrowed tomb, as his spirit communed with the angels and his mind reasoned over the unfoldings of a truly abundant life.

We are not privy to those thoughts.

Matter of fact, all we know of the life of Jesus comes from four major biographers who borrowed pieces from one another, and each, in his own way, had an agenda to offer insights to please his readers.

There is no autobiography.

So we aren’t sure of the emotion in the words attributed to him. Therefore theologians decipher and agnostics disembowel the remnants of the script left to us of this magnificent life.

Yet every once in a while, we get a deeper glimpse. Such is the case in Matthew the 23rd Chapter, Verse 37-38:

“Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Thou that killest the prophets and stone them which are sent unto you. How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”

The great debate over the centuries has been whether Jesus was Jewish or whether he came, in a certain sense, to abolish Judaism in favor of the New Covenant.

If you study the writings of Martin Luther, you might begin to believe that the Great Reformer was anti-Semetic. Yet in many evangelical churches, there seems to be a return to Jewish traditions, including them with their Christian rituals.

What did Jesus feel about the Jews?

What was the heart of the matter?

First and foremost, you must understand, for Jesus to include Gentiles and Samaritans in his movement immediately made him an outcast from the Jewish religious community.

Matter of fact, the Jewish Council that condemned him to death granted him none of the courtesy that was normally extended to brethren.

The reality that Jesus did not believe that the Jews were special because they were the “children of Abraham,” but rather put forth the opinion that God “could take stones” and make offspring of Abe, certainly did not put him in favor with those of the Zionist profile.

Yet John tells us that he “came to his own and his own received him not.”

When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, he did use the phrase “we Jews.” It is the only time he did, but he certainly had a kindness and favorability for those who lived in Judea and Galilee.

But Jesus was a man of vision–the Gospel would never reach China or the Native Americans if it were left in the hands of the Jews. The Jewish people had already aggravated the Romans to the point that the annihilation and dispersion of their kindred was inevitable, if not imminent. The Gospel would only survive in the hands of the Greeks and the Romans, who would take it to the rest of the world.

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that when the early church was trying to force Gentile converts to comply with Jewish practices, the former Pharisee condemned them and called them “Judaizers” for limiting the scope and power of the message.

In the two verses recited above, Jesus announces the fate of Judaism.

It is in a coma.

It is left desolate and abandoned.

It is awaiting a day when it can be awakened and all the promises given by the prophets can be fulfilled.

But for a season, it was set aside in favor of salvation and “loving your neighbor” being shared with the entire world.

Basically, if you want to sum up Jesus’ feelings on Judaism, it’s very simple: Jesus loves them.

He just does not believe they’re “chosen people.”

There are no chosen people–just people who choose well.

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Ask Jonathots … April 21st, 2016

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My three grown children were raised in the church, but not a single one of them goes to church now, although they all claim they are believers in God. Sometimes it bothers me and sometimes I think it doesn’t matter. What do you think?

I think the first question we have to determine is–what is church?

There was a major shift in our society in the 1980’s, when the church house changed from being a center of fellowship, awareness, social interaction, self-improvement and community concern to being an organization focused on the worship and discovery of God.

The whole concept of this transition seems so noble to theologians and ardent zealots of our time that we have failed to return to church being a center for emotional, cultural and spiritual expansion.

Like any functioning business or social awakening, when the purpose of that institution is defunct, it ends up dying.

So the church of your memory no longer exists.

It has been hollowed out of its message and purpose in favor of traditions, hyper-spirituality and seminars on self-worth and prosperity.

So the question you have to ask yourself is this:

Are my children better off by joining in to the efforts of a religious system that has abandoned its calling, or are they better off without it?

Now, your summary would be that the church, even though weakened by its introspection, is better than nothing.

Their conclusion would probably be that “no church” gives them a free Sunday to enjoy their friends and family.

So here’s the question: can we all begin to go to church–not with the idea of swallowing the provided pill–but instead, transforming it back to the vibrant, living organism that Jesus intended it to be?

After all, Christianity is not a religion–it is a lifestyle. And if the church is not promoting the lifestyle of Jesus, it is watering down the message to include pop psychology and Judaism, which are not fulfilling to a New Testament life.

So if I were you, I would sit down with my children and tell them of the regrets, misgivings and frustration you have with the present religious system, but also inform them of the hope you have to see it transform itself back into the heart of Jesus.

Because here’s the truth–even if the church remained as anemic as it is today, it is still necessary to be a buffer against the insanity of selfishness and rage.

Challenge your children to become the church by changing the church.

After all, they want to change the politics.

They want to get rid of Wall Street’s greed.

Why not step into a situation where they really could affect a lasting change … and turn the American church back into a place where Jesus would be proud to be a member?Donate Button

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … December 9th, 2015

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PoHymn Dec 9

Broken Earth

You gave us a baby

We have acted childish

You hung a star

We have polluted the Earth

You called shepherds

We honor theologians

You summoned angels

We seek the bedeviled

You said “Peace on Earth”

We have broken the earth family into pieces

You were born of woman

We deny her rights

You were sought by the wise

We applaud the foolish

You arrived in humility

We demand recognition

You were a refugee in Egypt

We reject those who flee

You came to unite the human family

We promote our cultural barriers

You arrived at our crossroad

We pushed you on a road to the cross

You died because we denied

We cried because we have lied

You raised from the dead

We are still dead

So you became human

Because we cannot be God

And you are completely God

When we embrace our human.

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Jesonian: 10 Interpretations … August 16th, 2015

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Matthew 7:1–“Judge not lest ye be judged.” (KJV)

Over the years, cultures/humanity/theologians have viewed this simple statement and decided to offer translations and interpretations to clarify the meaning:

1. Judge cautiously, making sure you are around friends of like prejudice.

2. Judge morally, knowing how much God hates immorality.

3. Judge infrequently, using it only for obvious situations and blatant evil.

4. Judge lessers, and grant them no voice to object.

5. Judge righteously, applying a scripture to back up your verdict.

6. Judge by age, fully aware that the passage of years has made you wiser.

7. Judge privately, keeping your strong feelings to yourself.

8. Judge culturally, saying you honor the customs of others while inwardly repulsed.

9. Judge meticulously, coming up with a very specific objection, thus being helpful.

10. Judge sexually, communicating both yours and God’s anger over aberrant lifestyles.

May I, simple traveler I be, offer an 11th possibility?

  • Don’t judge.
  • Never.
  • Make it extinct.
  • Bury it in a grave.
  • Refuse to discuss the word.

Or end up banished yourself from all that is truly good, and perhaps discovering that your eternal reservation has been canceled… without notifying you.

 

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Jesonian: Before Abraham… July 27, 2014

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The words infuriated the crowd.

They were so incensed by the sentiment expressed that they picked up stones to hurl in his direction to silence the blasphemy.

It was just five words.

“Before Abraham was, I am.”

Yet even today, theologians miss the significance and impact of the statement. With one brief “tweet,” Jesus eliminated over two thousand years of religious struggle, spiritual depravity, social reclusiveness and abiding ignorance.

He claimed that his thoughts, his spirit and his being existed before Abraham, which means he was around before Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, a multitude of Caesars, Alexander the Great, Mohammed, Joseph Smith and a myriad of prophetic sorts and conquering kings who felt they possessed the magical key to human victory.

The power of the Jesonian lifestyle is that we do not claim Abraham as our father, but instead, honor the teachings of one who preceded Abraham. This enables us to love both our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters without favoritism.

For the teachings of Jesus–what we call the Jesonian–are very simple.

1. We are heart, soul, mind and strength.

2. In the matters of the heart, try to tell the truth. Any detours from honesty always end up back at the truth, with us exhausted and humiliated.

3. In the realm of spirituality, no one is better than anyone else. Love your neighbor as yourself. For after all, it’s very difficult to be angry with someone who takes just as good care of you as they do their own three square feet.

4. How about the mind? Because we are going to need to learn to do many things, it is necessary to establish the idea of going the second mile. Exceed expectation. Don’t be self-condemning, but also, be self-aware enough to know that there’s always more to learn and attain.

5. How about our body? Very simply, what a person sows, that shall he also reap. It is the wise human being who considers the consequence while becoming excited about the opportunity.

Can you imagine how much religious nonsense, superstition, self-destruction and genocide we could have avoided if we had caught Jesus before Abraham?

It is the power of the Gospel.

It’s not that we don’t love the people of other religions; it’s just that the Jesonian does not believe that we need an Abraham–or any other mediator–to reach God. 

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Jesonian: Making a Mark … March 30, 2014

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Sometimes it’s best to go back to the beginning if you’ve arrived at a conclusion which doesn’t seem to be in line with the facts provided.

The Christian religious system which is presently revered by the remaining faithful has stayed rigorous to a plan of salvation, but somewhere along the line has misplaced the heart of Jesus–to create followers who are the “salt of the earth, the light of the world” and an obvious “city on a hill for all to see.”

So if you’ll allow me, I’d like to go back to what is considered to be the first gospel written about Jesus’ life, and not do some elaborate teaching trick, but instead, just outline the elements of the first chapter as it beautifully lays out the purpose for the ideas and goals of the Master.

It is the Gospel of Mark (even though modern theologians have robbed John Mark of the authorship. You’ve gotta keep an eye on those religionists.)

And you don’t have to go any further than the first chapter to understand what the writer believes the journey with Jesus should be all about:

1. The gospel invites spirit into human life.

2. The gospel brings repentance.

3. The gospel is sensitive to humans, fishing for them.

4. The gospel is astonishing.

5. The gospel scares away evil.

6. The gospel causes a stir.

7. The gospel finds time to be alone.

8. The gospel travels well.

9. The gospel cleanses.

10. The gospel draws people.

If we are going to have a Jesonian movement of spirituality in this country, where we honor the life, times and mission of Jesus, we might want to take a good, long look at that list and ask ourselves if we are welcoming such a message into our midst, or merely celebrating an idea of salvation.

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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