Jesonian … April 14th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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If you are in search of the ultimate right, all you will discover is the ultimate wrong.

Trying to purify humanity into a collected horde, responsive to a single code of behavior, is not only futile, but Jesus declares it fatal.

“Judge not lest ye be judged.”

And Jesus did not leave that statement open for interpretation. He went on to explain that the way we judge–the approach, the intensity, the verbiage, the facial expressions and the incrimination–will be identically applied to how we are evaluated by people and spirits.

This is why Jesus said that he, himself, does not judge. He insisted that he could, and would work very hard to make it just, but it’s absolutely useless.

Here’s why: God does not give the same amount of grace to everybody.

It’s one of the foolish teachings being propagated in the Christian church today. God does not pour out 14.2 ounces of grace for every convert and call it a day.

Some people get more grace.

Some people can do shit that you and I cannot get by with, and receive no judgment from their heavenly Father whatsoever, while there are those who had better not misquote a scripture, or they might be in danger of great tribulation.

For you see, grace is not a gift. It is a heartfelt consideration from a Creator who loves us, who only seeks one fruit from the human race: humility.

You may possess great Bible knowledge, and have never, ever looked at a piece of pornography in your life, but if you try to enforce that conduct on other people, you will be judged harshly merely for missing Sunday School. Grace will only be trickled your way and you will discover that the forces that be, including Mother Nature, resist you.

The deal that Jesus was making with his disciples in Matthew the 7th Chapter, when he told them not to judge, was not a “liberal, devil-may-care, who-has-the-right-to-throw-the-first-stone” proposal.

Rather, it remains the realization that as humans, we are required to exude a humble spirit, or else those around us will plot our destruction.

The Good Book says clearly, “God gives grace to the humble.”

The more we judge, the more we drain our humility.

The more we critique, the less able we are to bow our heads in comprehension of our own weaknesses.

You and I do not have the same amount of grace.

But since in our life span, gracious mercy is needed, our goal should be to stay simple instead of aggravating the journey of those around us.

Our mission?

To discover the many ways that we can remain humble.

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G-21: Blame or Bloom… April 25, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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holding hands… and then a remarkable occurrence …

Man and woman, expelled from the Garden by choosing the knowledge of evil and good over life, were thrust back out into the jungle for survival.

They were ill-suited.

Being monkey-angels, they had limited capacity for the grit of everyday sweat and pain involved in scrounging on their own. This introduced many scenarios–most of them dire.

But the remarkable part of the story is that rather than becoming extinct in an environment contrary to their natures–instead of sitting around blaming one another for misdeeds and weak character–they took the one enduring ingredient of the Garden which was formerly their home and carried it into the next part of their experience.

Love.

Man and woman loved each other.

Escaping the foolishness of finger-pointing and accusing arguments, they returned to the essence of why they came together in the first place. Realizing they knew too much and that this burst of information only made them feel despondent and worthless, they turned to one another to discover purpose.

  • They didn’t blame.
  • Instead, they sought to bloom.

Like “grandparents” of the entire human race, they acted out a living lesson of what makes our species valuable:

1. Who are we?

Not “who do we want to be?” Nor “who do we think we should be?” But instead, “who have we become?” minus shame over our nakedness.

2. What do we know?

Lacking pomposity and false bravado–just a simple inventory of the knowledge we possess that enlightens us instead of diminishing our capacity.

3. Where do we start?

First with each other. We aren’t going to make it out here in the jungle, to someday be worthy of the Garden, if we are constantly alienating ourselves from one another.

Man loved woman. He called her “the mother of all living.”

Woman loved man.

They trusted each other to be strong and were fully cognizant of each other’s weaknesses. They undergirded one another’s efforts.

And even though their bizarre selection of choosing to include evil in their thinking set the human race on a precarious journey into unnecessary failure, their love sustained us, pointing in the direction of life.

I know it is popular to glorify the Creator for His genius and generosity. Certainly He is worthy of all praise.

But let us not forget that our salvation story did require human beings to survive and prosper until such a time that the restoration of all things could be offered back to us … from another tree on a hill far away.

 

 

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A Very Good Question… January 8, 2012

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After I set up my equipment last night at the church, the fine pastor posed a question. “How will you be sharing the gospel message in the morning?”

I understood. He was basically curious about whether I would be preaching or teaching. I don’t preach, although I admire and honor those who do. Preaching, to me, is like walking into a room with a loaded gun, convinced you’ve gained the advantage, only to discover that the room is filled with those holding pistols. Not for me. And, there is no more honorable profession than teaching, but my inclination lies in stirring the hearts of people instead of engaging their minds.

My message transformed when I did. It was when I finally accepted that God is my Father, earth is my mother, Jesus is my elder brother, you are my brothers and sisters and I am a child who is wanted, appreciated and granted promise.

Theologians and philosophers would listen to that profile and deem it child-like. To that I would respond, “Thank you.” It is not that I am incapable of studying or comprehending deeper matters of spirituality, theology or even church history. It’s just that my journey has caused me to doubt the value of such eternal introspection, which doesn’t offer much internal peace of mind.

I don’t know what God did before He decided to be my Father. I think it would be a very bratty thing for a child to investigate his parents to find out all the hidden secrets of their particular lives–exposing them for who they are. I know God has a history. I will leave that to Him, as fortunately, He has forgiven mine. I am reassured that at some juncture, He decided to become a Father instead of just a universal Creator or a “sin-thumper.” I am glad He got together with Mother Nature and birthed a son named Jesus who became my brother and the “first fruits of many creatures.”

I stay away from two subjects–God and heaven. The debate and frustration that human beings have over those topics has generated more wars and discomfort on this planet than any other argument. To me, God is my Father … and that’s the end of it.

If you want to bring up the Old Testament or the thousands and thousands of interpretations of His persona by other cultures, you may feel free to do so. But I believe that knowledge which only produces aggravation is useless to those who only are able to relish mortality. If you wish to speculate on heaven, you may proceed with all liberty to do so. But eventually you will end up discovering that heaven is a place beyond comprehension, individualized to each believer in some magnificent, unique way which is beyond our understanding and devoid of sight or hearing.

It is a human journey we are on and when we fail to study our humanity, we actually cease to comprehend our Father. He wanted to start a family. Maybe you choose to believe that He “settled down” from previous escapades. It makes no difference. True spirituality is the study of humanity without fear or condemnation. When you try to delve into the supernatural, you fail miserably because you quickly realize that you are not super and therefore have lost sight of all the beauty of our natural world.

I did not give the minister of the church this particular answer. But I share it with you today because his was a good question. What IS it we want to share with our fellow human beings? What IS the good news?

  • God is our Father.
  • The earth is our mother.
  • Jesus is our elder brother, who has already discovered the secrets of the household.
  • We are brothers and sisters.
  • And I, like you, am wanted.

Stay away from discussions on God and heaven. What we don’t know won’t hurt us. Because someday we WILL know.Am I afraid of the future and the unknown? No. Because after all, He’s my Dad.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

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You’re Not Ugly… January 7, 2012

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We made a mistake. We do that every once in a while … just to maintain an obvious profile of needful humility.

On Thursday night we told two ladies where we were going to be on Friday night, but unfortunately, the information we gave to them was incorrect. And also, the starting time of the event was actually a half-an-hour earlier. We didn’t do this to be mean or evasive–we did this because it was our time to establish our quorum of stupidity. When we returned to our motel room we realized our error, but it was too late because we didn’t know who the ladies were or how to get ahold of them.

Move ahead to Friday evening. I was about half-way through our program, in front of the delightful and inspiring folks of Port Charlotte, Florida, when in walked those two charming women whom we had accidently misled. Even though I was singing a song at the time, I had to chuckle in my spirit. I started thinking about what these two individuals had gone through to actually find out where we were, arrive and come through those back doors. First they went to the wrong church, sat in a dark parking lot, coming to the conclusion that this must not be the place. Then, checking all of their GPS information, they came up with the correct location, only to arrive and find that the program had already begun because we told them the wrong time. What remarkable human beings.

So after the program, when I was at my book table, they came up and were so gracious about the whole event that it nearly brought tears to my eyes. As they were about to leave, one of the pair whispered across the table to me.

“And by the way … you’re not ugly.”

Now that might seem like a strange statement unless you understand that in my program I make it clear to the audience that I am not a physically attractive person and being beautiful is not my aspiration. I’ve never had any problem with that. Actually, I’m quite amused with desperate candidates who are always trying to win the beauty contest of life. I work on my love of people, my talent and my flexibility much more than I do my appearance. I’m not ugly–I’m just homely. “Homely” is about two fewer bumps and bruises from ugly, and about a mile and a half down the road from good-looking.

It has actually done me well. For in my case, all the Monica Lewinsky‘s I have encountered have actually wanted to be an intern to my ministry and business–to learn what I know instead of desiring to give me a personal “inter-office memo.” You see, that’s good stuff. (One of the easier ways to avoid sexual misconduct is to be a whole lot less sexually attractive. Then you never have to find out if you’d actually slip-slide away…)

So when she said that to me–“you’re not ugly”–I laughed. She was so sweet and gentle, but it just doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to me. What did register on my awareness scale was her and her friend–making such a noble effort to reconnect with us and spend a few more minutes together before our earth passages end.

Don’t give up on humanity. You may feel free to turn your back on organizations and those who have incorporated their ideas into a cement block–but don’t ever give up on people. For I will tell you two certain things right now: (1) Never over-estimate the willingness of any system to actually adapt to what needs to be done; and (2) never underestimate the power of an individual (or in this case, two) who want to overcome the dorkiness of a system.

There you go. Oh, and I thought of a third one:

By the way … you’re not ugly.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Finding Your Alva… January 6, 2012

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His name was Thomas Alva Edison, and considering the fact that he invented the light bulb, we can certainly credit him for helping to illuminate the world. We know three things about him:  he was kind, he was inventive and he had a funny middle name. What would have happened if Mr. Edison had decided to be overly sensitive about his middle name? What if he had heard the “Johnson jeers” of his young playmates as a boy and had become reclusive, burying his inventive nature and failing to birth his kind one? What if he had allowed society and the world around him to determine his reactions and destiny?

I don’t have all of the insight on Thomas, but I do know that his middle name is no secret and that it is often included as part of his whole signature. So somewhere along the line, Edison made his peace with his “Alva.”

The majority of humanity is stymied by their own obvious weakness. They become ashamed of their uniqueness, overwhelmed by critique or they just attempt to escape any further scrutiny. They are ashamed of their “Alva.” Rather than pushing their weakness to the forefront, making it obvious and developing a sense of humor about it, they become sensitive and often fail to unearth the better parts of themselves.

Yes, if Thomas Alva Edison had been intimidated by those who mocked his middle name, he not only would have failed to become kind–and an inventor–but would have remained a bitter unknown.

How about Jesus of Nazareth? He was a Galilean and uneducated–but who just happened to be the son of God. As you read his story, you discover that the world around him wanted to point out over and over again that he was “from Galilee”–and therefore meaningless–and that he had no formal education and should have been relegated to the status of a carpenter. If Jesus had a defensive nature, a fear of critique or had judged himself by the opinions of others, we would have nothing to show for him except a few artifacts of wood and maybe a partially destroyed wall. Jesus decided to make it clear that he was a Nazarene by beginning his work in Galilee, without apology. He never argued when they claimed he was not educated or not worthy to be a priest, because he ignored the standard teaching style of the religious folks of the day, and instead, just told stories. And because he was not fearful of what others deemed to be his weakness, he was able to play up his strengths. He found his “Alva”–and rather than fighting over it, hiding it or becoming despaired because he wasn’t viewed to be the “top dog,” he played up his weaknesses and the world ended up playing them down.

I have spent the past two days in a little town called Alva, Florida. The people there are isolated, not very wealthy, but tender-hearted. I will tell you the truth–if they look at themselves as isolated–stuck somewhere between Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers and Miami–and they spend all their time complaining about their lack of funds, they will never make it into the history books, let alone create a newness of life in their own community. Just as Thomas Edison had to learn how to laugh at his own middle name, giving the world no ammunition against him, and Jesus of Nazareth embraced being a Galilean and refused to be relegated to ignorance, but instead, told stories about real life, the people of Alva must lead with their tender-hearted nature, while freely admitting they are isolated and don’t have many bucks. If they do, they will disarm their critics and fail to give anyone the bullets to gun down their spirits.

My name is Jonathan Richard Cring. I am a fat boy who has no college education but was born with a creative streak. I could have spent most of my life apologizing for my lack of degrees, or hiding away in my house because my obesity was so obvious, but instead, I decided to laugh at my tubbiness, be honest about my schooling and lead with my creative streak. So what the world could have used against me, I stole from them.

The key to your success, my dear friend, is finding your “Alva,” and rather than denying it, fussing about it or becoming extremely angry over people’s reaction, play it up so the world has to play it down. Because Jesus said it well:

“He that will gain his life will lose it.”  He who thinks he becomes stronger by being angry at the criticism of others will end up at their mercy. “But he that will lose his life for my sake shall gain it.”

Bluntly, if your foibles are already spoken into the air, anybody else mentioning them becomes ridiculous and redundant.

Find your Alva.  Be honest about your weakness–which gives you permission to play up your strengths.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Three Comin’ and Three Goin’ — October 22, 2011

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Yesterday on our drive from Salisbury, North Carolina, down to Spartanburg, South Carolina, I told Janet and Dollie that I would treat them to lunch at a restaurant. (Actually, as we travel we spend very little time eating in restaurants because they’re quite expensive and also you never know what you’re getting in terms of nutrition. We do a lot of our own cooking and therefore can procure our own personal better choices. That said, every once in a while, we enter the mainstream of the dining world and allow other folks to do the cooking and serving.)

The ladies opted to eat at The Golden Corral. When they mentioned the name, I thought about how important it is to select a title for your particular organization or business. In other words, The Golden Corral sounds much better than The Yellow Horsepen. You see, I don’t see anything wrong with utilizing good promotional skills to put your best foot forward in the world of business–or even in personal presentation.

But I do think it’s important to be honest–and to use the wisdom of the Spirit to lead with your weaknesses and follow with your strengths. I know this is contrary to American capitalism, where we’re taught to lead with our strengths and play down our weaknesses, but there is a natural sensibility in human beings to do exactly what their Creator taught them to do, which is resist the proud and give grace to the humble. So when we lead with our strengths and trail with tiny increments of weaknesses, we encourage those around us to become investigative reporters and further probe into our history to find additional chinks in our armor.

It’s not good.

Honestly, the last thing in the world I want is for anyone to discover my hidden sins and stupidities because I have been unwilling to unmask them for myself. Yet we persist in this “social boomerang” in America–to push ourselves forward in a positive light instead of presenting ourselves truthfully in a more subtle beam of attention.

Let’s take The Golden Corral, for example. Using the concept of “Three Comin’ and Three Goin,” I think they could lead with the weaknesses of the restaurant and close with the strengths. So let’s look at the three comin’. The weaknesses of The Golden Corral are:  the food is high in calories, it has too much salt (so you’ll drink more and eat less) and has unknown content in the gravies, which lift both the fat and calorie count. The positives — or the three goin’–are that it’s reasonably priced, it offers a tremendous collection of fruits, vegetables and salads, and if you’re careful you can get some delicious casseroles and meats that would be very expensive to procure on your own.

The difficulty with leading with your strengths is in trailing with your weaknesses.  It comes across a bit insipid.  Back to The Golden Corral, for example. If I said to you that The Golden Corral has a great collection of fruits, vegetables and salads, casseroles and meats and is reasonably priced, but is high in calories, fat content and too salty, you would assume that the LAST thing I shared was my actual opinion. You would be left with a negative flavor. So it actually defeats the purpose.

If I tell you that I am man with an ever-growing love of humanity and a little dab of talent which I have multiplied into a lifestyle that reaches tens of thousands of people, but that I am fat, bald and have a high school education, I would be leading with my positives, but ending with my negatives, which would make you believe that I am insecure.  What I’m saying is that the American contention of leading with your positives actually doesn’t work UNLESS you leave out your weaknesses altogether, which also doesn’t work because people will find them out anyway.

That’s why I practice three comin’ and three goin’.  I always lead with my weaknesses and close with my strengths.  In so doing, I let you know of my human inadequacy, but finish off with how, by the grace of God, I have been able to overcome my lack.  So here’s how I would actually say it:

“I am fat, bald and have a high school education BUT have an ever-growing love of humanity and a little dab of talent, which I have been able to multiply into a life’s work which is reaching tens of thousands of people.”

You see what I mean? It’s better. If you decide to lead with your strengths, you’re going to have to leave out your weaknesses, or end up appearing to be a total short-comer. Unfortunately, this is what people decide to do–and it renders them prideful and fair game for scrutiny and criticism. If you lead with your weaknesses and close with your strengths, it shows how you have used your life to grow and overcome obstacles to gain a better footing.

I do not know why this escapes people. I do not know why we feel an honest assessment of our vacancies makes us look like we’re not worthy of occupancy. But because we do this, it puts us in a position to be vulnerable to the critique of others instead of being uplifted because we have led with humility.

I can recommend it. I’m not suggesting you change your name from The Golden Corral to The Yellow Horsepen. It’s always good to allow yourself a more colorful portrait. But I do caution you that leading with your strengths will tempt you to ignore your weaknesses. 

On the other hand, leading with your weaknesses will make your strengths ingenious and inventive, granting you the appearance of the persevering warrior instead of the hapless trainee.

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Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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