Jesonian … March 10th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Not every morning supplies a miracle. Weeks can go by without walking on water–or water turning into wine, for that matter.

Truthfully, life is more like dry cereal looking for milk–not much to be excited about unless you brought along your own thrills.

This was true in the life of Jesus, too.

Fortunately, the Gospel writers tell us about the good moments and also the bad ones. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John share that sometimes Jesus just hung out, to “tarry” with his friends. And just like us, often his activities were dictated by the whim, intensity and preoccupation of his audience or critics.

In the Good Book, Matthew 19, there is such a situation. Jesus is minding his own business when he is confronted by the Pharisees, who seem to spend a lot of time worrying about things that don’t matter to anyone else. They were especially distressed over the issue of divorce–not because they were against it. The Law of Moses and also the Oral Law, which had been constructed by religious leaders over many centuries, allowed men to divorce their wives simply by leaving a note on the pillow.

The Pharisees felt that Jesus had a different outlook on the subject, so they confronted him about the dilemma.

Jesus made it clear that he believed divorce to be chauvinism. He explained that marriage is meant to be an experience between people of equality, who decide to leave their families to form their own union.

They were very upset.

Yet escaping their probing, Jesus arrives back in camp to discover that his disciples, who had been cut from the same homespun philosophies and bigotry as the Pharisees, were chasing away the women and children. After all, they thought, Jesus was too important to have time for women, who were lesser, and children, who were insignificant.

The feminist in Jesus comes to the forefront. He rebukes his disciples. He tells them to bring the children–which meant the women, also–to him, and he lays hands on the tykes, blesses and enjoys them.

Often we wonder how miracles occur. Miracles happen because people who know how to treat women and children humbly ask for them.

It isn’t about extended periods of prayer, nor ministers on Sabbatical studying the original Greek. Rather, miracles are about people who know how to play with children–people who are aware that a woman is not a “weaker vessel.” When these people pray, God listens.

Jesus treated women as humans. On this week, with “International Women’s Day,” we need to consider what this entails.

Jesus gave women empathy, but not sympathy: You are as good as men, but don’t pull up lame and fall back on femininity when you think it’s to your advantage.

So even though Jesus showed compassion on the woman caught in adultery, he looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Go and sin no more.”

He relished a conversation with the woman at the well in Samaria, but when she said she “had no husband,” he reminded her that she had married five husbands, and was now living with another man.

When his mother tried to interfere with his work, he spoke to her as an equal, not as a son, and said, Back off. It’s not my time.

And when busy Martha was doing all the housework, using the “gift of helps” to feed the disciples and Jesus, he stopped her and said, Your sister Mary has decided to listen to the teaching instead of playing “Harriet Homemaker. Follow suit.”

Life is not about what we do when we’re trying to be spiritual or contemplative. Life is lived in the cracks–those moments that seem insignificant when the world around us has cast a negative vibe and it is our job to bring the light.

Jesus believes that spirit begins with how women and children are treated.

I, for one, think he’s right.



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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … October 29th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I just saw this guy that was really pissed off.


Woman: What was the problem?


Man: Well, he held the door open for this lady and she waltzed through without smiling or saying thank you, so he called her the “b word.”


Woman: You mean “bitch?”


Man: I don’t like to say that word.


Woman: Unless you get angry enough, right?


Man: That’s not fair.


Woman: You know what’s not fair? When men or women do kindness to one another and attach onto it the notion that they are performing this graciousness because the other party is inferior.


Man: I don’t know what you mean.


Woman: It’s the difference between being considerate and condescending.


Man: Give me an example.


Woman: It’s like that guy you saw. He held the door open because he looks at women as weaker vessels who need to be treated carefully and given space.


Man: What’s wrong with that?


Woman: It’s coming from his head. It shows that he thinks females are not as capable as he is. The same thing’s true if he buys his girlfriend flowers. She may not like flowers. But she’s supposed to like flowers because it’s built into our system that men can manipulate women with flowers. Or guys who buy women drinks at a bar. They figure by putting ten or fifteen dollars into an investment, they can purchase her time and affection.


Man: I don’t get it. So what should a guy do to show that he’s honoring women?


Woman: Stop honoring us and start accepting us. For instance, it’s all right for a woman to hold a door for a man.


Man: Maybe. But it feels weird.


Woman: Why? Because women can’t open a door?


Man: No, that’s not what I’m saying. Tension exists between men and women, so any piece of courtesy should be revered as helpful.


Woman: Wow. That sounds weird. The truth of the matter is, it’s not considerate if you think you’re going to get something off of it by doing it. Then it becomes condescending. It’s like giving two dollars to a homeless person and then chatting with your friend about how you didn’t think he or she appreciated it enough. What are homeless people supposed to do? Jump up and down? Quote scriptures? Hug you around the neck? Speak in tongues?


Man: No, just be grateful.


Woman: So how grateful should they be for two dollars? What are you expecting? What do you need to happen when you hold the door open for a woman? Must she admire you and think you’re a knight in shining armor? Or is it just a door? There’s nothing wrong with being mannerly if it is your manner. But if you’re being mannerly to try to control other people it’s condescending. And that goes for women, too–women who think men are incapable of sharing their feelings, so they check out their emails to find out what they’re thinking. Equally as despicable.


Man: So what do you think we should do?


Woman: I would rather you be rude to me and have it be natural than have you think you’re my superior simply because you opened a door for me. That’s not considerate. It’s condescending.


Man: Give me another example.


Woman: Chick movies. I’ve heard you say that one. There’s no such thing as a chick movie. There are good movies and bad movies. For instance, girls went to see Star Wars and Silence of the Lambs. And boys like to watch date movies like Love Actually when they allow themselves to escape their silliness of fear.


Man: You have to admit, there are things that women like and things that men like.


Woman: I will not admit that. Just like I won’t say that all black people like watermelon, all Mexicans make tortillas and all Chinese people like to sit around and do math problems. It’s condescending under the guise of considerate.


Man: So what do you think men and women should do when interacting?


Woman: Practice being natural until it’s natural, and until then, keep practicing. Alternate who opens doors for each other. Let me buy you a drink. How about this time I carry the extra bag of groceries instead of you. It won’t kill me, believe me. And for the record, it would be all right if you came to me and said, “We need to talk.” I don’t have to be the initiator every time. We’re all so afraid of breaking our stereotypes that we’ve stopped dancing to the same tune.


Man: So let me get this straight. It’s considerate if it’s in the flow and I don’t feel superior to you or magnanimous by doing it.


Woman: Yes–and once we get into the flow, we’re going to stop worrying about manipulating one another, relax in our own skin and find out exactly how much we have in common.

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