Sit Down Comedy … June 7th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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My favorite passage comes from the First Book of Pissed Off, Chapter 13, Verse 1: “Dammit to hell, Amen, what the shit, thank you, Jesus.”

There is no other collection of words that so typifies the balance of my walk in the Spirit. For I can tell you of a certainty:

Faith without frustration is fake

People who think they can cruise along and never want to spit at the heavens nor ever feel the need to praise the same are forgetting how easy it is for us to bounce between “Doctor Saint and Mister Sinner.”

You don’t have to go any further than Jesus of Nazareth to see faith and frustration at work. He constantly marveled at people’s unbelief. He yelled at the disciples, asking them when they were ever going to get some understanding of what he was trying to teach them. He scratched his head and inquired about how they could come up with so much doubt when they had seen so much happen. And on the night he was betrayed he lamented, “The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,” and noted that he would sure appreciate if this cup of poison could pass from him.

Frustration brings faith

Faith is the only thing that keeps frustration from taking over our whole being.

But faith offers its own banquet of frustration:

  • Who is God?
  • What is God?
  • Where is God?
  • When is God?
  • And why is God?

The five Great W’s that keep us in a constant quandary in the sixth:

  • Wonder

On the other hand, I know that frustration brings out the validity of my faith and makes it easier for people to understand both who I am and why I believe.

Some people are turned off by street language, and others completely repulsed by Biblical words. Yet a careful look at the history of great men and women of the scriptures shows that each of them had a very colorful faith—“faith” in the sense that they believed in something beyond themselves, and colorful because they spoke from their hearts, which included cursing this and sometimes cussing a blue streak.

So stop trying to remove the frustration from your faith or becoming agnostic by refusing faith to allay your frustration.

We will not know all the answers until we no longer need all the answers.

This in itself is enough to create frustration.

But may I say, the possibility that there will be a place to go where answers will be provided is why we require faith.


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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 15) Doubt … March 13th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

Somewhere between faith and unbelief lies doubt.

As faith is promoted as a God-pleasing virtue and unbelief is denied by those who are fearful of coming across calloused, doubt is universally regarded as a negative. Yet doubt is the most prevalent sensation that inhabits the human heart.

Yesterday, former First Lady Nancy Reagan was laid to rest next to her husband, Ronald. When asked, the most common response given by the surrounding mourners was, “At least Nancy is where she wants to be–with her beloved Ronald.”

No one knows that to be true.

No one is certain of any factor that occurs after human life has ceased. Our information is not even anecdotal.

It is based solely on faith–or a deep, abiding worry that we will be considered unbelievers if we don’t say something hopeful.

Actually, we all doubt.

So the correct way of addressing the issue should be, “I do think it would be Nancy’s hope to finally be back together with Ronald.”

That’s factual.

That comes from a place of uncertainty that keeps us searching, and also humble.

Jesus, himself, had doubts.

There were moments when he spoke to the crowds with great faith, saying, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

But time would pass, rejection would come his way, and in unbelief, he would turn to the multitudes who were leaving him because of his teachings, sigh, and ask his disciples if they were going to go away also.

Yet he would then land in the middle of doubt, where the balance of his hope and the tentative nature of his mortality could mingle, and he spoke in great mercy: they’re human. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

Even as he was hanging on the cross, he shared with great faith, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But only moments later, he cried out in an agony of unbelief, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

But realizing that only his death would reveal ultimate truth, with his doubts intact, he cast his eyes to the heavens and said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Doubt is a powerful emotion:

  • It lets people know that we have hopes that we cannot prove.
  • It informs those around us that we still keep pursuing even though the present moment offers no reinforcement to our contention.

Without honoring doubt, we give up too soon, we divorce too early, we despair too often, and we abandon frequently.

Doubt is where our miracle begins.

It is when we continue to believe without being sure.

It is Jesus who shouted in faith, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son,” only to be cast aside by his brethren and to bitterly tell them “not to weep for him, but for their own children and themselves.”

Not positive, not negative, but with a certain amount of doubt, he finally landed on the balance:

“Whosoever will may come.”

Doubt is where faith continues its work–to avoid the emptiness of unbelief.

 

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