Jesonian … June 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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“He turned the water into wine.”

Let’s just stop and think about that. Jesus had a cousin named John, who took a Nazarite vow. No liquor.

A very popular religious cult of the time, the Essenes, also were teetotalers.

Even though many historians will note that wine was a common drink of the masses, it was often considered forbidden–actually uncommon among those who deemed themselves religious–especially if you were just starting a movement.

What were you trying to communicate? After all, water is the symbol of life–to such an extent that we often refer to “the water of God’s word.”

Why would Jesus care that a young married couple ran out of wine during their reception? What was that to him?

To me, the message is clear. Water is what you drink when you’re thirsty. Wine is what you select when you want to get buzzed.

A transition was in order. A New Testament was about to be unleashed on the world. What better symbolism than to make it clear that water–in other words, our lives–was meant to be wine, thus intoxicating?

No longer were we to merely survive, but celebrate.

It wasn’t an issue of sustaining our beings, but rather, imbibe by getting drunk on the Spirit.

You don’t have to go any further than the commands he gave to the servants, who were to set the miracle in motion.

1. “Fill it to the brim.”

Six water pots in all, holding at least fifteen gallons each. So we’re talking about ninety gallons of wine. This was not a gift to “finish up the party.” Rather, it was an inclination to keep the party going.

2. “Pour it out.”

Get it into people’s cups. Don’t display it. Don’t revere it. Don’t call it “holy wine.” This is drinking vino. This wine is for the purpose of people “rejoicing and being exceedingly glad.” No longer are our lives supposed to be watered down, but instead, juiced up.

3. “Make it the best.”

Jesus told the servants to take the wine to the governor of the feast, who sardonically panned, “Usually at these weddings they bring out the crappy wine at the end. But you’ve saved the best for last.”

What is crappy wine? It’s wine that is either freshly-squeezed grape juice, or so old that it’s almost turned to vinegar.

There’s a message here–we need to stop acting like we’re grape juice–pure and without sin–or that we’re turning into vinegar in our pews because we’re so soured by our life and our experiences.

Taste good.

Inebriate.

It was the message of Cana of Galilee.

You don’t start a revolution by walking away from a wedding feast, refusing to make wine over spiritual pettiness.

You create an international revival by being the one who has the sense, at the right moment, to put the “juice on the loose.”

 

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Good News and Better News… October 30th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I have participated in thousands and thousands of …

Now, what shall I call them? For if I refer to these as “performances, shows or gigs,” religious people will give me the holy frown of disapproval because I have trivialized the spiritual significance.

But by the same token, referring to my efforts as ministry, worship leading or any other divine terminology makes me reek of pretension.

Of course, worst of all is the safe, but vanilla describer, “presentation.”

I run into the same problem when I try to decide whether to say a robust “Praise God” or a timid “thanks be to God.”

Do I go for the full dunk in baptism, or settle for some other plunk?

Should communion be unleavened bread, or a golden loaf?

Wine or Welch’s grape juice (which many denominations insist was Jesus’ preference)?

And I think the most intimidating crossroads of all is settling whether our Christian faith is ground in social commentary or revivalism.

That’s why the tambourine is pictured today. A tambourine can scare a Lutheran or a Methodist to death–almost as much as a printed bulletin with liturgy makes a Baptist tremble.

It just doesn’t seem to occur to us that defining the word “ministry” requires taking a long gaze into the lifestyle and actions of Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus was both contemplative and flamboyant.

He had the strange notion that the profile for what he did in blessing others was contingent on what they needed, and not confined to the Book of Common Prayer.

So to one person, he said, “Be healed.”

He touched lepers.

He spit on someone else.

He stuck his fingers in another person’s ears.

And he shouted to raise the dead.

He would have upset a lot of people.

Jesus didn’t worship miracles; he didn’t minister miracles–he performed miracles.

He showcased the Gospel in stories, told with colorful description and high-flung gestures.

The church has lost Jesus because it has focused on either social gospel or revivalism.

Jesus was the Son of God, who came to teach us how to get along with each other–with a tambourine in his hand.

So the good news is that we need both social commentary and revivalism.

The better news is, when we actually mingle the two, we suddenly become more relevant.

 

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Cracked 5 … August 29th, 2017


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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Ironic Things Overheard on the Deck of the Titanic Shortly Before It Left on Its Final Journey

A. “Reginald, do we need more life boats?”

 

B. “No, Horatio, I just finally got the number even on both sides.”

 

C. “God, I hope I get to see an iceberg–a big’un!”

 

D. “I wonder if they’ll ever make a movie about this boat?”

 

E. “Tell the stewards to save the best wines and caviar for when we get closer to New York.”

 

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Ask Jonathots … January 14th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

I’m fifteen years old and want to be an actress. I watched the Golden Globes and it looked like everyone was intoxicated. Some of my friends think that drinking is no big deal–after all, it’s not “doing drugs.” Their parents drink, after all. Their older brothers and sisters drink. Everyone drinks. What do you think about it?

I personally am not a big fan of camping.

Matter of fact, I only have one clear memory of going on such an excursion. What I do remember about the experience is that you do a lot of walking and while doing this peddling along, you are also carrying everything you need on your back, so that when you arrive at the campsite for the evening, you can open it up and have your “stuff” to make the journey tolerable.

You know what I discovered on the first night? Half of the things I brought were useless, making me tired carrying it around.

I found a nearby trash can and threw these items away, which someone had told me were necessary to have a woods event.

My second day was so much more pleasurable, and when I arrived for the evening’s rest, I had everything I needed–and if I didn’t, I was still happy that I had a lighter load.

  • Thus drinking.
  • Thus smoking.
  • Thus obesity.
  • Thus nervous energy.

Anything we decide to tuck into our lifestyle which we have to carry only makes the journey a bit more difficult, will slow our pace, and in the long run, when we arrive at our destination, will probably have to be abandoned in favor of more freedom.

I’ll tell you what I feel when I watch the Golden Globes and see people drinking. Since they are actors, directors and producers, I would like to follow the story line of their alcoholic curve. Are they really able to hold it to a couple of glasses of wine and an occasional beer, or does the liquor begin to control the dialogue, the circumstances, the party or even the friends?

I would say if you’re able to drink a glass of wine at a meal or have a beer with a bratwurst without feeling the need to carry alcohol into your life for inconvenient times, then you should be just fine. But to look at alcohol as a social statement, a way of relaxation, a means to unwind or a must so that you can garner the right people for your party, is to set yourself up for arriving at your goal toting a burden rather than a benefit.

How many people sitting at the Golden Globes have already been through rehab and countless attempts to stop drinking, or are short months away from a DUI which will place them in the public eye with a frown?

Alcohol is a substance. It warns us of its potency and danger by its flavor and after-effects. If you can incorporate that taste and responsibility in your life without losing control or feeling compelled to imbibe, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

But many have insisted they can, and crashed.

Yes, many have lost their way.

Keep this in mind.

Alcohol never helped anybody get to their dream. 

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Jesonian: Just Add Water … March 29, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2546)

water into wine

He turned the water into wine

Come, celebrate

“No thanks,” we replied.

“We shall hide out in our fears

And cuddle up to our traditions.”

So he transformed the wine into blood

Here is my death

I give you my life

Nailing him down

We tried to bury his memory

Yet the blood became salvation

What was meant for evil

Has been given to us as good

Now salvation returns to waters

The water of His words

He that is thirsty

Come and drink.

 

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Jesonian: We Are Not the Bread … September 28, 2014

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(2365)

We are not the bread, we are the yeast.

We are not the world, but rather, the light.

We are not the meat. Salt, we are.

We are not the soil, but seed to be sown by the sower.

We are not the wineskin. Behold, new wine.

What does Planet Earth need?

  • Spirit: God is with us if we are with each other and sensitive to his creation.
  • Life: abundant possibilities producing the opportunity to use what we have instead of lamenting our lack.
  • Joy: be of good cheer. Nothing happens until we involve ourselves in the process.

Jesonian is not a religion, a belief, a system of worship or a moral code for judging others. It is when we add our lifestyle of effort, mercy and love to what is available.

It transforms entertainment into inspiration, business into creativity, faith into living works, politics into compassion that counts the cost, family into an every-growing inclusion of our brothers and sisters, and relationship into eternal connections.

We are not the bread.

We have not come to be served … but instead, to serve.

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

Chris(t)-Cross … August 8, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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crossA manger would have been nice … since he was born to be the Prince of Peace.

A Pyramid would have been in order … exiled in Egypt as a young boy during his FIRST rejection by the religious and political systems of Judea.

Water would certainly have been apropos …  baptism changed his life from being a carpenter to an itinerant messenger.

Even wine would have been a fascinating symbol  … his first miracle in Cana of Galilee was to turn water into wine.

How about loaves of bread and fishes? … an encounter he had with his disciples, when he asked them to bring what they had and then he reciprocated.

I just thought of another one.

A stone … he saved an adulterous woman by using one as an example of judging others and also allowed the Angel of the Lord to roll one away during his resurrection.

Yes, anything about the resurrection would have been absolutely lovely.

But the general consensus was to choose the cross.

I suppose it’s because salvation was garnered through the ordeal and we mortals selfishly focused on that particular image. The day of the cross was certainly not one of Jesus’ better days, but there is an impact to it that cannot be denied. It is so powerful that Jesus informs us that we each have to take up our own cross and bear it daily.

So I see the significance.

To Jesus the cross was not a sign of victory, but rather, of responsibility–a job he did because it was the next thing that needed to be done and he decided not to run away from it.

I travel tonight to the Cross of Christ Lutheran Church in Petoskey, Michigan. I don’t know anything about them. I don’t know whether they’ll show up, and have no assurety that they’ll like me or even listen. I don’t say this to be negative. I share it with you because it is the cross of my responsibility.

In tribute to my friend, I will not run away from it.

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