Jesonian … November 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Throughout the history of Christianity, a debate has raged over Jesus’ humanity and divinity.

Early in the 20th Century, a doctrine arose which found favor with many people because it stressed that Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine. The fact that this blending is ridiculous didn’t come to anybody’s mind at the time, and so the concept endures. If you study heresy and false teachings, you will find that most of the error centers in on trying to make Jesus too heavenly, instead of focusing on his humanity.

I think the clarifying statements are found in the Book of Hebrews. Allow me to give you three which center my mind on the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived a completely human life, while filled with the Spirit:

1. “He was tempted in all ways like we are yet found without sin.”

2. “He was touched by our infirmities.”

3. “He learned obedience through the things he suffered.”

That list just describes a typical human life. After all, nobody talks about how grumpy Uncle Ed was after he’s dead; likewise, the notion that “Jesus was perfect” was not touted during his lifetime.

The truth is, Jesus’ actions were found to be perfect. In other words, after the passage of time and working out of circumstances, we can say that he lived a perfect life.

Needless to say, when we’re told he “learned obedience,” it is perfectly understandable that he did nor arrive with it. Like all of us, instruction was in order.

But if you go to the statement, “touched by our infirmities,” a definition is in order. What are the infirmities of all human beings?

A. We get physically sick.

B. We get emotionally depressed.

C. We get spiritually misguided.

D. We get mentally confused.

These are our infirmities.

And since Jesus was touched by them, if we would take the time to more carefully study his life instead of working so desperately to discover a new twist on communion, we might just welcome in a new generation that would be blessed and astounded by His choices.

Now, I will not bore you with my many rambling examples of how Jesus suffered under these infirmities. To me, that’s what church and your search should be about.

Christianity could advance its cause by studying Jesus.

Did Jesus become physically ill? There are numerous activities that have no explanations–like him slipping into the wilderness for seclusion, or the fact that he waited four days to come and tend to his friend, Lazarus. Was he sick? Under the weather? Fighting off the “Galilee bug?”

We can make a good case for him being depressed. After explaining to 5000 people that he was not going to be their caterer, but that they needed to come to “learn his ways,” the Bible says they all left him–except the twelve. In a moment of true humanity, he turned to those twelve and said, “Will you go away also?”

Was Jesus ever spiritually misguided? I think choosing Judas to be a disciple, and on top of that the treasurer of the troop, was at least spiritually optimistic. And the faith he put into the man at the Pool of Bethsaida, who didn’t really want help–but Jesus healed him anyway and then the fellow turned into a snitch and sided with the Pharisees–shows that he was a bit misguided.

Was he mentally confused? He certainly stayed too long in Nazareth–so long that they resented him and tried to kill him. And I think he was a little confused by his upbringing and prejudice, when he called the Syrophoenician woman “a gentile dog.”

The Gospel writers had no problem including the foibles of the personality of Jesus in their story lines–and he was apparently fully aware of some indiscretions, because he came to John to be baptized. Was it just pretense, or did he have things he regretted?

We are also told by Jesus that we would do greater things than he did–because he was going to the Father to cheer us on.

If the church wants to survive the present dispersion, it needs to bring the focus back onto Jesus–his style, his personality, and his humanity. In doing so, he can become the Elder Brother we so desperately need, and he can truly fulfill his mission … which was to show us the Father.

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Jesonian: The Rule of the School … November 15th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The latest piece of pseudo-intellectual drivel seems to be the jaded proclamation, “People don’t change.”

It’s especially disheartening when coming from the mouth of a prison warden, a psychiatrist or a minister.

I suppose we could take this entire essay to discuss the validity or over-simplification of such a decree. Matter of fact, as Christians we could cite that even though the disciples spent at least 38 months with Jesus of Nazareth, the amount of personality and ethical change inside each one of them was questionable.

Peter may have confessed his faith, but he was still prone to over-exaggeration and eventually, denial.

James and John may have ceased to be fishermen, but maintained much of their prejudice, wanting to kill a group of Samaritans.

Thomas certainly had a conversion experience, which he often chose to doubt.

And Judas was elected treasurer, only to betray his position… and his friend.

So it is obvious to me that Jesus was the Christ, but not necessarily able to completely change goats into sheep. No, it seems that we get lost in that process and end up basically being asses.

Yet I must tell you, if I thought that change was impossible, I would not be able to tolerate the mediocrity of the world around me.

So what is the truth?

Actually the truth is a coagulation of two principles. Whatever you are, whatever you were, whatever your inklings or whatever your genetics, you can be transformed by a pair of unchanging and necessary conclusions.

We call the first one the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Yet I must tell you, that single concept becomes merely idealistic if you don’t take the “rule to school.”

In other words, if you do not allow the truth of the Golden Rule to enter your daily activities, you will worship the premise as you simultaneously defile it.

There has to be an application for the cleansing power of “love your neighbor.” This is found in John the 8th Chapter, verse 15. Jesus makes a simple statement.

He says, “You judge according to the flesh. I judge no man.”

We do become different people when we realize that “loving our neighbor as ourself” is the survival mode for human interaction, and that the only way to apply it is to never judge anyone.

You may feel an inclination towards a lifestyle, a genetic predisposition, or have just developed habits which seem to cling to you like feathers in the wind, but you can still be completely reborn by realizing that loving your neighbor is refusing to participate in any judgment about him or her.

Are you ready for some truth?

  • Jesus did not believe in adultery, but he forgave an adulterous woman.
  • At no point in the Gospels will you find a situation when Jesus supported gay marriage, yet I guarantee you–he would never condemn a homosexual.
  • It would be difficult to make a case for Jesus being pro-choice, but it would be equally as difficult to think that he would forbid a woman the right to choose.

I am often confused why we think it is necessary to hold a conviction and then force others to comply.

For instance, I do not like alcohol and never have. Yet I would be completely against Prohibition.

I think smoking marijuana is granting yourself a license to be inept in the name of recreational drugs, but by the same nature, I think it’s wrong to condemn and incarcerate those who want to puff.

An obvious way we can all change is to admit that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the essential chemical compound of life, but the only way to take that rule to school is to refuse to judge anyone.

It is never all right, and certainly is never God-ordained.

Even though the Apostle Paul had his experience on the road to Damascus, by the time he got on the road to Corinth, he had somewhat turned back into an officious, overly opinionated Pharisee.

But there is one thing he never lost: the realization that we are to love one another … which means expressing mercy instead of judgment.

 

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F plus A equals A+… October 9, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

My granddaughter asked an intelligent question.

Now, I’m not trying to connote that it’s unusual for my granddaughter to be intelligent. It’s just that at thirteen years of age, she discovered a dilemma which plagues the adult world and causes us, as alleged grown-ups, to become very irritable and unproductive.

She was recently elected treasurer of her class and is also deeply involved in musical theater with her school. Matter of fact, she is attempting to write a script for a musical, and began to collaborate with several other individuals, who somewhere along the line, lost the “good will for the hunting.”

She asked me, “What do you do when people flake out on you and don’t want to finish a project?”

Isn’t that a great question? Little did she know that she just posed an inquiry that probably has Republicans, Democrats and the entire economic world embroiled in controversy and quandary. What do you do to make people do the people things that make life more tolerable for all people?

Well, the first thing I would tell my dear granddaughter is that when you believe a lie, and you notice that everyone else believes the same lie, it takes a lot of guts to be the first one to call it a lie.

And here’s the main lie in our society: life is tough. I don’t know if we feel more mature or responsible by grunting and groaning through our activities, displaying the same disconsolate countenance that our parents had, and their parents before them; I don’t know if we consider it to be more interesting to folks if we are struggling through our endeavors. I am not sure. But somewhere along the line, the belief that some pain is necessary to receive some gain has not only been ingrained in our thinking, but has become the motto of our pursuits. It just doesn’t work.

Teachers try to make students more responsible for their grades by telling them about their “permanent record,” college possibilities or potential future earnings if they get an A instead of a C, and even though we know this is unimpressive to the adolescent mind, we still continue to talk about “stepping up to the plate” instead of focusing on the things that are of true interest to human beings.

I am about to make a bold statement. There are only two things that edify people universally–and if you subtract them from your club, your church, your political party, your school or even your home, you will creep along at an ever-increasing level of misery.

All human beings require fun and appreciation.

If you do not afford this double blessing to people at all times, be prepared for them to become disinterested, start making excuses and eventually be absent.

I can certainly see it in the religious system, where I find myself working from time to time. Some ingenious theologian came up with the idea that the best way to motivate people to godliness was to encourage study, prayer, faithful church attendance and giving. On top of that, we are also asking these people to offer their services in a volunteer capacity to the kingdom of God without ever stroking their egos and telling them what a good job they are doing, but instead, demanding that they don the false humility of being undeserved of any attention. Then we wonder why people are leaving the church by the truckloads.

It certainly wasn’t the way God put things together. Whether you believe all of the Bible or not, you can relate to the story of Eden, where God creates man and woman and gives them two potentials–fellowship with each other and being in charge of caretaking their own property.

Yes, the original plan by God for human beings was for us to indulge in sex and gardening.

Once again–fun and to be appreciated, because there you have a partner for pleasure and rich soil for seed planting, which produces not only your food, but the sense of accomplishment that you have spawned a growing thing.

He suggested they culminate this daily sex and gardening therapy by joining Him in the cool of the evening for a nice walk and talk about the day. I suppose if you’re a religious fanatic, you could say that we forfeited that privilege through sin, never to attain it again until we reach heaven. But Jesus said that “God’s will should be done on earth as it is in heaven,” so it might be a good idea to get back to that sex and gardening approach by applying, in our lives, the activities of fun and appreciation.

I will not work with human beings if fun and a mutual appreciation is not thrust to the forefront. It is a waste of time. Trying to make people guilty, fearful, angry, nervous or pious in order to extract effort does not only produce weak results, but turns them fussy and old too soon.

So here’s what I tell my granddaughter, and I also tell you. If you’re trying to do something with other people:

  1. Don’t ever plan an activity without refreshments.
  2. Never discuss future work until you have thoroughly celebrated the accomplishment of the present labor.
  3. Show them that what has been done so far is really good.
  4. As much as possible, make all planned activities into a game.
  5. Plan laughter. Yes, purposefully include intervals where something funny is going to be shared or done.
  6. Appreciate effort, acknowledge improvement and therefore, stimulate the slackers to jealousy. (Everyone wants a moment of focus.)
  7. And finally, when the fake grown-ups come in and try to turn your activity into something painful, let them have their moment and then simply step up and return to the joy of the Lord.

There you go. That’s why F (Fun) plus A (Appreciation) equals A+. And what is A+? Accomplishment.

We are suffering in America because accomplishment is considered to be unusual instead of essential. We have tried to replace fun with entertainment. Appreciation has been bumped to the side in favor of pep talks and self-help books on our ultimate goodness and worth. It’s not the same.

So if God was smart enough to devise an original plan that was filled with sex and gardening, it might be a good idea for you and I to realize that fun and appreciation are the nourishment of all human progress.

So in answering my granddaughter, I thought I would pass along the same information to you. You can either act self-righteous and consider my advice to be trivial and childish, or you can give it a whirl, and see if fun plus appreciation don’t grant you accomplishment.

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