Three Ways to be Spirited Without Becoming Religious … August 28, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I shall refrain from beating the dead horse of religion (even if it’s one of those horses of the Apocalypse).

Religion has historically, and even currently, displayed the by-products of its foolishness and bloody miscalculations. The reason religion has been so unsuccessful is because it works under the faulty premise that we are trying to please a God who has already told us that He’s pleased. Upon finishing His creation, God said, “It is good.”

There you go.

Yet at the same time, to try to run away from the “spirited” side of life in an attempt to avoid the superstition of religion, one can end up creating a vacancy while simultaneously failing to fill one.

So let me tell you the three ways I believe you can be spirited without ever falling under the flea-infested dogma of organized religion:

1. Let people know you’re human.

It was eloquently phrased in the Good Book: “By your fruits you shall be known.” Being human is not an insult nor an excuse for weakness. It is the honor of possessing the greatest soul and intellect on our planet.

But we are also vulnerable–and we become valuable to each other when our honesty allows for revelation.

2. Let people know you have hope.

Once again, well phrased with the passage, “Let your light shine before men, that they’ll see your good works and glorify the Father in heaven.”

There’s no power in being human if you’ve given up on your race. Yes, I’m human, but I’m hoping for so much more. I’m reaching for vistas beyond my carnal senses. I’m believing for better.

3. Let people know you’re learning.

For after all, the kingdom of God is within you. Every new revelation, discovery and spiritual explosion is going to come from the hearts of men and women.

Certainly we can garner comfort and joy from reading the testimonies of the forefathers in the scriptures, but unless we’re writing a living testament through our own learning process, we become worshippers of a book instead of lively stones of faith.

These three things appeal to everybody.

They are completely accessible simply by having a pure heart.

And these three things produce fruit, which lights up the world with the knowledge that God is not dead … but has established a kingdom within your heart.

 

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G-18: Fellowship or Companionship … April 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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Adam it's not enough

It’s not enough

I don’t know how to tell you

You have given me so much

I value your love

I treasure our relationship

I feel you inside me

I am thrilled with my work

I am enthralled by my home

I adore the creatures around me

If perfect is possible, then here it is

At my fingertips

In my pulse

Yet sadly, my friend, it is not enough

I simultaneously feel a vacancy and a sense of shame over the lack

I really tried to make a go of it

I felt as if work, fellowship and purpose should be sufficient to my need

I was wrong

I do not want to lie to you

I do not want to sneak away in a corner and pretend

I yearn for companionship

What is that?

Someone to hold in my arms

To confirm my presence

Someone to share blessing and blame

Someone for me to pleasure, and in turn, draw my pleasure from

Someone who disagrees, but remains

Someone who is like me but in a different sort of way

Someone who is sometimes stronger

Sometimes weaker

Honestly, someone who isn’t you

Someone who is, well … me

I don’t want to complain

But it is not enough

 

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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.

Peace with the Pieces… March 10, 2013

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piecesIt was odd.

I was suddenly overwhelmed by the notion of my own inadequacy.

Thinking about the sharing I would be doing tomorrow morning at Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, I was confronted with my lacking. I am a bald, aging man with limited mobility, who has suffered–or at least struggled–with obesity all my life.

To say that I feel humbled by the notion of offering exhortation, edification or even insight into the lives of others would be an oversimplification of my vacancy. I don’t know whether anybody is worthy to be a voice crying in the wilderness–especially entrusted with the concept of challenging people to “prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight.”

Somehow or another it seems prudent for me to straighten some of my own paths before instructing others in path-straightening.

But what does that mean? Am I to sit around and wait until I am a worthy representation of goodness in order to praise goodness, point to goodness or even stand in awe of what goodness can do?

I am pieces, trying to make peace with myself.

I am chunks of what could be a whole, but doesn’t really promise to ever coagulate.

I am an incomplete vessel who really has only one responsibility–don’t lie about my insufficiency. Don’t exaggerate my qualification. And don’t pretend to be anything other than the subtotal of my pieces.

When my knees gave out on me late last year, I thought my time  of speaking in front of audiences and pouring out my heart was over. I honestly did not want to be a disgrace to the kingdom of God through my weakness. I was determined to develop an excuse for escaping my continued participation in the unification of the human spirit with the presence of God by pulling up lame–literally.

Maybe it’s just that I felt stupid. Maybe “wheeling” my way in front of an audience to hobble to my keyboard was just a little too much hyperbole of uselessness.

I don’t know. It wasn’t that I wanted to quit. It just seemed that quitting was an honorable thing. Make room for someone who’s more … whole.

And then I remembered the words that God said to Adam in the Garden when his little buddy was hiding among the fig leaves.

“Why are you hiding?”

“I’m hiding because I’m naked,” said Adam.

“Who told you that you were naked?” asked God.

Yes–who told me I was unworthy? Who told me I was weak and beyond redemption? Who told me that it was time to graze in the grass instead of  shepherding people to greener pastures?

I did.

I decided what was righteous.

I decided what was beautiful.

I decided what was marketable.

God hasn’t worked with me for these many years and seen me crash and bounce to the earth to not allow me to continue to speak my mind.

I’m finding ways to be at peace with my pieces. For after all, being complete is over-rated. When we express our weakness, those around us perceive us as stronger by the confession. When we pronounce our strengths, yet obviously sprout flaws, we are only made weaker by our boasting.

I come to you in pieces, trying to find a way to have peace with them.

You can decide … whether it’s worth hearing.

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