PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 31st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn changing history

Changing History

What do I look like to you?

Take a moment–what’s your view?

Do you merely see my hat?

Or make note that I am fat?

Please share–give me a clue.

What do you think of my song?

Is it pleasant or just seem strong?

Do you enjoy the beat?

Were you tapping your feet?

Or did you find it too long?

Bother you I’m a stranger?

Do you sense hidden danger?

But are you sure you are right?

How about some fresh insight?

Or are you the only voice?

Yet faith demands some hope

And love is how we cope

To inhale a breath of air

Welcoming what is fair

Expanding our limited scope

I am not the Master

That would be a disaster

But you are not the King

Just blessed with what you bring

Sooner, better, faster

For when the day is done

With the setting of the sun

One truth will still remain

A glistening, golden refrain

If I can find you

And you can find me

We can find God

And change history 

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Ask Jonathots… August 27th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

My friend Rob is the smartest man in our workplace. He happens to be quite overweight. Recently I found myself in a discussion about who would get an upcoming promotion. I said that Rob would probably get the job, and was surprised when another man in the room said he wouldn’t because of his weight. I told the guy he was not only wrong, but also bigoted. He argued with me, and said that you can’t be bigoted against people who are overweight because it’s a condition they choose. I completely disagreed. What do you think?

It is a difficult path to negotiate when you start insisting that one group of people was born with a certain predilection, but this other group over there has made a choice instead of finding themselves genetically wired.

So to be honest with you, I prefer, for the sake of sanity and the purposes of having more personal control in my life, to choose to believe that even though there are certain features that may come with our human package, that we don’t necessarily need to use them.

Otherwise, we’re going to begin to contend that each and every weakness or strength in the human body is beyond our control and that we’re destined to become something rather than having the free will to guide our own direction.

That said, let me tell you that obesity is close to my heart. Literally.

I was born at 12 1/2 pounds, so I have a very strong case for believing that I was put together to be a fat man.

It doesn’t help me.

I don’t improve my life or increase my longevity by insisting that I’m cursed with an oddity which, as it turns out, could also be lethal.

So you have to make up your mind. Are we at the mercy of our genetics and destined to be a certain way from our birth? Or can we be born again and find a path divergent from the genetic pool?

It isn’t split down the middle, it’s one way or another.

So the truth of the matter is that since obesity is such an obvious visual impairment, the bigotry against it will never go away. Someone can be gay and not visually appear to be a part of the homosexual community.

Not true with fat.

So since human beings look on the outward appearance instead of the heart, it will be impossible to avoid the bigotry, but not impossible to dodge the people who are bigoted.

With that in mind, here’s what I suggest for your friend, Rob. Without mentioning the name of the acquaintance who said he was not going to get the promotion, ask Rob what he, himself, thinks about his chances and if they are hindered by his size.

He knows your heart; he knows you’re not bigoted.

But the question will get Rob thinking, which is what Rob needs to do.

Obesity has three terrible aspects to its pain:

  1. You can’t ever act or not look fat.
  2. There are so many stigmas put upon the fat person that whether you like it or not, they will be placed upon you.
  3. Obesity always leads to some sort of health issue, which might not have come to play without it.

So it is your job to both communicate love to Rob, but also make him aware that there’s a portion of society which is silently killing off his possibilities through its prejudice. He is strong enough to handle it–and you never know what will be a wake-up call to someone.

I do not believe we are born any particular way.

We have free will  and choice.

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Confessing … August 15th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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XV.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

It took a comedian.

Yes, listening to a stand-up joker alerted me to a little piece of hypocrisy which has found root in my heart, and therefore has infiltrated my conversation.

The comic said, “Don’t be sayin’ you got bad knees. You just be fat.”

The whole audience roared with laughter.

Truthfully, I cannot say that I was quite as enthusiastic, but certainly impacted.

When I was twelve years old, I tipped the scales at 300 pounds and have never descended below, and over the decades, I have claimed to have bad knees, even though those joints have afforded me a brief football career, hundreds of tennis games, swimming, setting up equipment in all sorts of difficult environments, thousands of shows performed, nearly a million miles driven and carrying a parcel of kids here there and everywhere.

  • I don’t have bad knees.
  • I have good knees that were prepared to last a lifetime–if I hadn’t decided to be overweight.

Nobody wants to come across as either weak or a jerk.

One also doesn’t like to appear to be making excuses.

So I shall not do any of the above. I will just say that I am so blessed that my knees have done so well … considering the fact that I’ve asked them to perform their duties with twice as much weight as was recommended by the manufacturer.

 

Confessing knee

 

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The Night Visitor… October 2, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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shadow manHe comes very late at night, although I think he would insist it is actually early in the morning.

You see, that’s the problem. He not only has his own opinions, but definitions for terms that are separate from mine.

The creepy part is that he insists he IS me–and in my weakened state of sleepiness, I find it difficult to resist his will.

  • He has the same memories I do.
  • He has many similar beliefs.
  • He has encountered the emotional conflicts and victories which are part of my history.

But physically, he is smaller. Yes, he takes up less room. And he lets me know it.

He shares ideas with me which certainly make sense in the dim light of the evening, which don’t come to mind when I’m in the shining light of the day. He has four repetitive, nagging subjects:

  1. Why didn’t you act kinder?
  2. Do you really think you’re achieving your goal?
  3. Why do you think you can continue to be so fat and survive?
  4. Wouldn’t it be easy to change these things?

You see what I mean?

It’s an annoying mixture of reality, self-righteousness, valid points and impossibilities.

But when I’m lying there on my bed, it does make sense. I do feel the inadequacy and the conviction to improve my situation. But somehow or another, this vigorous being who visits by night is completely vanished by the morning light, leaving me with the emotions of upheaval without the step-by-step solutions to victory.

Yes, I am abandoned.

It doesn’t make me angry. It doesn’t make me sad. It just baffles me enough that I want to eat something. It triggers the worst part of my appetites, which are devouring my future birthdays.

I want to figure out how to turn the conversations with my night visitor into a true motivation, to trim up the areas of my life that have caused me to become lumbering and clumsy.

But how can I retain the impact of the midnight confession into breakfast time  and the construction of a realistic “things to do today” list?

The truthful answer is I don’t know.

I’m not sure if my visitor is an incriminator to demean me or an angelic presence trying to spur me on to more noble causes. I’m not positive that the encounters I have with him are beneficial or just aggravating enough to cause me to slip a little further down the rock-slide of bad habits.

But I guess it’s just like everything else–if we view it as good, we can somehow carve it into a position to strengthen us. If we view it as bad, it can be used to discourage us and leave us wanting.

There are parts of the philosophy of my night visitor that I desire to possess. Honestly, I can’t be as hard on myself at ten o’clock in the morning as he is at two o’clock in the morning.

But if I can take bits and pieces, maybe I can launch a great idea which could eventually cause the man that I am during the day to make peace with the visitor who comes by night.

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

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Shell-rocked … July 27, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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faithlutheranshellrock

  • The me you see
  • The me that’s me
  • The me I’m freed to be

 It’s three different people, you know. Maybe success in life is about getting that trio of personalities to blend into oneness—for if they stay separate, there can be a lot of frustration.

As I head off tomorrow morning to Faith Lutheran Church in Shell Rock, Iowa, I am completely aware that God was speaking the obvious when He said that “man looks on the outward appearance.”

Honestly, my dear friends, my outward appearance has never been my “best foot forward,” unless you are fond of stumbling:

  1. I am fat.
  2. I am certainly NOT tall, dark and handsome.
  3. The aging process has relieved me of my hair.
  4. And I don’t seem powerful because my knees are pretty bad and I utilize a wheelchair to cover long distances.

Now at first reading of this description, you might be sympathetic, or even feel that I need your pity. But that’s the me you see. That is not the me that’s me.

The me that’s me is a father who has raised six sons, traveled the country many times over, written symphonies, books, movies, and has performed in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

I learned early in my life that my best shot was to abandon beauty, my “good looks,” and instead, take a good look at myself and find the best way to be of benefit to others, and therefore find great prosperity in my soul.

new jon and janSo what does that mean?

It means that I’ve developed a sense of humor about how I look, a sense of passion about what I do and a deep abiding gratitude for who I’ve been freed to be.

For you see, that is the third process. God has come along and given me permission to be a new creature—born again, as it were. He has implanted in my spirit notions, ideas and promises that don’t always jibe with my reality, but still remain available if I’m willing to accept them by faith.

Take salvation, for example. I’m glad He handles that particular arena. If I were in charge of salvation, I would first of all have to always be a good person, saying all the right things, while being that guy who believes in life after death even in moments of doubtful consideration.

But I don’t have to worry about that.

The reason most people get shell-shocked on their way to Shell Rock is because they become anxious about what other people are going to think about them and they don’t have much confidence in God pulling off His part. They have bookends of insecurity, making them very nervous about their own package of talent.

I fully expect the people in Shell Rock to initially see me as a fat guy rolling along in a wheelchair. In fact, if it were a silent film, that would be it. But life isn’t a silent film:

  • We get the chance to have a voice.
  • We get the chance to express ourselves.
  • We get the chance to be loving.
  • We are afforded the opportunity to be generous.
  • We are provided moments when we can be confrontational in a way that benefits the common good.

And I am not about to ever forget that even though people may have an immediate visceral reaction to me and I may have gifts that can overcome that prejudice, it still holds no candle to how much I am loved by my Father.

If you’re going to be successful on Planet Earth, you have to realize that the me that people see can never, ever be perfected. No matter how many times you lift your face, tuck your belly or comb your hair, someone will have a problem with your appearance.

So spend more time with the “me that’s me,” and perfect the art of being yourself. And don’t be afraid to move towards excellence.

Because when it’s all done, even when people reject your offering as a whole, you can come home to the “me you’re freed to be” … in the arms of your Father in heaven.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Petering Out … April 26, 2013

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jon St. PeteLong before we abandon our faith, we lose our perspective. Our passion “peters out” because we forget how to use what we are.

It reminds me of a story of a guy named Peter. He was a fisherman–at least, that’s how the story goes. But considering he was a fisherman, this dude had more trouble with boats and water than any “landlubber” ever dreamed. Somewhere along the line he had convinced himself that his particular occupation, pursuit of life, and dreamscape was difficult.

Matter of fact, the first time he met Jesus, he was casting his net into the sea from the shore. Now, this is not exactly the most effective way to catch fish. Everyone knows that only the little guppies exist near the shoreline. But apparently, the previous night’s escapades in the boat were not successful, so in desperation, he just started throwing in a net from the sand. Or who knows? Maybe his ship was full of holes.

He was in a boat one night in the middle of a storm and his friend, Jesus, came walking on the water to join him and his buddies. For some unexplained reason, Peter decided he needed to walk on the water, too. It wasn’t necessary. Jesus didn’t come strolling to their aid to get everybody in the pool. But Peter was so insecure that he wanted to be better than everybody else around him in the storm, so he ended up nearly drowning in the process.

And after Jesus was killed and Peter felt great guilt over denying him to the officials, he stomped off in a huff to go back to fishing–even though his life had been permanently altered by the experience of being with his Nazarene friend.

He is an excellent example for us because at one moment, he’s being heralded as “a rock” and in the next moment he goes back to his former behavior and is dubbed “satan.”

What causes all of us to “peter out?” We make one of two mistakes, which actually end up being the same error:

1. “I’m so bad that no one could ever love me, so I will pretend that I am not worthy of being blessed.”

2. “I’m so good that everybody should love me, so what the hell is wrong with the world?”

What’s missing in both cases? An honest assessment of who we are.

Let me be the first: I am a fat, bald, aging man with bad knees who has been blessed with talent, which I have multiplied, and in the process of doing so, I have learned to be more tolerant of others and generous in my spirit with the world around me.

There you go. As long as I keep that in mind, I am balanced, humorous and useful.

Tonight I head to St. Peter Lutheran Church in Elgin, Texas. They named their church after that fisherman, who thought he could get a good catch by standing on the shore instead of getting in the boat.

Are we much different? No. But remember–God doesn’t love us because we’re going to be saved and escape humanity. God loves us because we’re humans and we can escape the fear of being so, and end up saved.

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Balder … April 18, 2013

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hatI like hats.

I think I always have liked hats, even though I don’t remember wearing one until I was into my mid-thirties. Before that age, I took great pride in having hair. Matter of fact, in my twenties I grew it down to my shoulders and flipped it in the air when I sang, pretending I was Roger Daltry from the Who onstage at Woodstock, although obviously metabolically challenged.

But as I lost my hair I started wearing hats, the premise being that if you covered up the disappearing area of locks, people would not know that you were actually bald and you could still pull off being extraordinarily youthful and virile.

But I always ran into one problem: sooner or later you have to take your hat off.

Even though I would arrive at my engagements and set up for my show wearing a hat, it was generally considered inappropriate to sport one during the presentation. So actually, donning the beanie on top of my head for the first part of the event made the removal of the same more noticeable–and truthfully, I ended up looking … balder.

I know that sounds odd. But if people don’t know what’s under your hat, when you do finally expose it, it’s even more shocking. So about four or five years ago I stopped wearing hats so as not to send unnecessary electrical waves through the minds of those who meet me. Instead I establish my baldness from the beginning and never have to appear balder.

It’s a powerful idea–and can be applied in so very many ways.

About eight years ago I lost eighty-one pounds. I was VERY, VERY fat. I succeeded in shedding enough tonnage that I became just VERY fat. At that point there was one remaining goal–don’t get fatter. Traditionally, those who lose weight put all their weight back on. So even though I may be fat my whole life, I don’t have to get fatter. There is a certain regality to that which I shall rejoice in, even as I attempt to address losing additional ounces.

You want to know what the problem is with being angry? No one takes the advice of the Bible, which states, “Be angry and sin not.” So instead of getting angry and getting over it, we try to put a hat on it–a lid–and in the process, we become angrier.

Have you ever been hurt? If we’re not able to express the emotion of that pain, crying out some of the frustration, there is a great danger that people who are hurt become hurters.

We have a decision to make. Are we going to take what we are and share it from a pure heart, unashamed, or are we going to put a hat on it and pretend for a while that we really don’t have a problem?

Because I will tell you, I sin–but I am not a sinner. A sinner is someone who attempts to hide from what is done by sporting some fig leaves over the problem area, and end up looking more ridiculous.

  • I am bald–but I will not wear a hat, cover up, and end up looking balder.
  • I am fat, but plan on being conscientious enough not to become fatter.
  • I have been hurt, but I am going to work it out to keep myself from becoming a hurter.
  • I can’t lie to you–I do get angry. But I express it so I don’t become angrier.
  • And God and I both know that I sin. But I like to let my Daddy know when I break a vase in the house, so I don’t become a sinner, hiding out in my room and missing out on the blessings of the household.

So I am bald. But ironically enough, if I try to hide it under my hat, it really does become … a hairy situation.

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