Fallback Position… July 8, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Lot's wifeNow abide faith, hope and love…”

Really?

Where do they abide? Do they have a home somewhere that we can visit? Or are they polite virtues, waiting to be invited into our houses?

Even though these three have great power to turn our race into a meaningful creation, there are forces at work in the human family which would love to limit their effect. And you know what the problem is? It’s all done under the guise of acquiring knowledge.”

Faith suffers because there are folks who promote the “regality of reality,” where faith is concluded to be ignorant, silly and unrealistic. I will concur with them that faith in the presence of stark reality does appear to be somewhat child-like. As I hear some talk show host decry the story of Noah and the Ark as being “foolish fable,” I have to ask myself, then why is this he still talking about it–after five thousand years? Faith has the luxury of longevity, whereas reality has about a twenty-four-hour lifespan.

Likewise, hope suffers from the same slings and arrows. Whereas faith is often attacked by a darkened reality, hope is buffeted by cynicism. The three mantras of the cynic are:

  • “We already tried that”
  • “People can’t pull that off;” and
  • “How do we know that the goal is suitable for everybody?”

Cynicism is the enemy of hope, who desires no enemy.

And then there’s love. Love is drained of its influence and passion by fear.

  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of strangers.
  • Fear of anyone outside our little circle.
  • Fear of being abandoned.
  • Fear of not being given our due.

So even though faith, hope and love try to abide, reality, cynicism and fear do their very best to evict them.

This would be fine if the battle lines were drawn clearly between two camps dubbed “Good” and “Evil.” But it isn’t that way. Even those who have a sustaining trust in God have relinquished their faith, hope and love–adapting to a society which touts a temporary reality, a growing cynicism and a penchant for fear.

Is it possible to have faith and still be so absorbed in this world that you remove the mustard seed from the ground so nothing grows?

How about claiming to have a hope, but still privately nurturing a cynicism about humanity, and therefore the Creator who spawned the idea?

You might even insist that you’re a loving individual, but so overtaken by your own worries and trepidations that you fail to step out of your circle and expand your vision.

I’m afraid the church has taken a fallback position, trying to be relevant to our society instead of being the great welcome wagon to faith, hope and love.

I reject all reality if it ignores the importance of faith.

I’m going to walk away from my cynicism because it taints my hope.

And I will allow the Holy Spirit to dispel my fears so that my love can be pure.

I am not ready to surrender.

I don’t need … a fallback position.

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The Two That Got Away… April 15, 2013

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MosesYesterday, as I had the honor and pleasure of sharing my thoughts and feelings in front of the beautiful souls at Helotes Hills United Methodist Church, it registered deep in my heart what is necessary for human beings to step out of their commonplace mundanity and reach for the heavens with their dreams.

We have to quell two nasty portions of our behavior that certainly cling to each and every one of us: rebellion and revenge.

Every fussy iniquity and mean-spirited event that has happened in the history of mankind has been initiated by one or both of these tyrants. You want to know what the problem is? Both of these can be backed up by individuals with a lack of understanding, grabbing pieces of the Holy Bible and using it to foster their rebellious nature or their instinct for retaliation.

I guess I would refer to it as the two that got away: “Thou shalt not” andan eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

These two statements are countermanded by ninety percent of the Bible.

“Thou shalt not…”

I’m sorry. I believe that God is my Father–and I, being a father, know that the LAST thing you want to say to your children is “don’t do this.” It is a guarantee of turning them into rebellious brats, totally preoccupied with what has been refused, until they finally partake of the forbidden fruit. I proved this once with my oldest son when he was thirteen years old. I walked in the room and said, “Jon Russell, whatever you do, don’t EVER chop off your foot.”

You know what he responded? He asked, “Why?”

You see what I mean? Even something obviously painful that is taboo draws us like flies to crap. God, being a wise Father, knows it is much better to extol the virtues of an issue than it is to turn it into cherry pie hidden away in the cabinet.

And the other one that got away is “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

I find it difficult to believe that a God who proclaims Himself to be love and light, and insisted that vengeance is up to Him and not us, would actually have slipped up and suggested that human beings wreak havoc on one another. Yet to this day in the Middle East, Abraham’s children by Sarah are poking out the eyes of Abraham’s children by Hagar, who quickly retaliate with jabs of their own.

Even though there are countless enlightened scriptures that contradict this philosophy, because it appeals to our darker nature of revenge, we keep it high and lifted up.

You will never become a good citizen of Planet Earth, a follower of Jesus or valuable to your fellow-man and fellow-woman as long as you live a life of “thou shalt not” and believe in “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

I insist that pair slipped through the cracks–and when they are mentioned, God rolls His eyes and says, “How many times must I send words to replace those before people will finally retire them?”

We had a great morning in Helotes Hills. It was an event free of rebellion and completely devoid of revenge. That’s what creates the possibility of revival and renewal.

So on behalf of myself, other human beings I know quite well, and an exasperated God who is fed up with rebellion and revenge, I would humbly ask you to erase these two notions from your mind and disinclude them from the holy writings.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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