Sunday, April 30, 2006

Getting the Blog Out

Quickly one discovers the wonderful cathartic power of the blog. Being new to bloggerville, I am only beginning to sense its power. Of course, lawyers realize this power of the keyboard (mightier than the sword), and have created seminar classes on building lawsuits around libel from our blogs.

It is not the fear of lawyers which makes me think what I am now thinking, but the ever present work of the Sneaky Fellow. I can't get rid of Him. He ever intrudes upon my thoughts with His own, and insists on challenging my self-presumed sense of justice. I could blog like a hellhound if it weren't for Him! But he has snuck into my thoughts with His gentle proddings once again, and made His thoughts sound like my own.

Am I blogging for freedom's sake, or do I really just wanna kick some butt? Am I blogging to express lessons learned in hardship, or to simply work toward a book deal out of what could someday be a fantastic story?

I guess I need to ask the question: Do I need to get the blog out? or do I need to get the blog out of my own eye?

My guess is that this is not an either/or situation. The answer is yes to both sides of the question.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

How I Know the Butterfly Effect is Real

I know it sounds like a really weird hypothesis to many people, but I am now convinced the Butterfly Effect is real. The hypothesis has been proven true for me.

Sure it is weird to surmise that flapping from a butterfly's wings in Papua New Guinea can cause a hurricane off the coast of Sierra Leone which will wipe out trailer parks in Florida, but it must be true. I have discovered that simple little decisions from high muckity-muck corporate positions can cause great violence far away in some little city.

Someone probably rolls their eyes, or says something non-intrusive like, "I'm not sure we should do anything about that." Perhaps a VP, or CEO simply signs a paper, or takes one of the good ol' boys' words for granted. But back on the homestead where the decision has its effect, people's lives are turned upside down.

CEO's break a little wind, and it unleashes a big stink thousands of miles away.

I think that God holds those decision makers responsible for the big stink, not the little wind. It sure makes me think differently about how I will approach decisions which effect other people's lives.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Bipolar disorder is viral!

I have a new theory. Bipolarity is viral, and it mutates in the next generation of hosts to Tourette Syndrome.

One day I was a hero, and two weeks later I was a goat. This came from the the same individual - the same "leader." I was talking to my buddy Steve shortly after I became a goat, and he responded with these words, "What is he? Bipolar?" I laughed for a long time, and still laugh when I think of that moment. Not that I think that being manic depressive is funny, but that it so perfectly defined the moment.

Unfortunately, leadership which works from a bipolar model creates tensions in the people who suffer under its cruel mood swings, and in turn we become moody by virtue of the pressure, and the suffering we endure.

I have noticed a growing tendency for Christians to swear like bikers. (Hmmmm, did I just speak disparagingly of the noble class of individuals who ride chopped Harleys? I must rethink my typecastings.) And when the new found variety of Christian curses like a sailor, it holds less guilt than purchasing an ugly sweater. (Whoops, my brother was a sailor, and he is extremely polite. Typecasting #2 down the toilet and out into the ocean.)

I have noticed that cursing Christians are generally non-institutionally minded, tired of the same old churchlife, seen enough to feel sick about the state of Christianity kind of people. Many of them have been burned by leadership in the church, and its politics. They have experienced the mental and emotional sickness of manic-depressive, two-tongued leadership, and have suffered under its frightening vacillations.

I have been vacillating emotionally myself lately. It has been brought on by being jerked back and forth by a bipolar leadership style. That bipolar leadership has spoken its own cursings to me. Not the four letter word variety, but the formal curses - those words of destruction which tear at the soul. In turn I find my mind filling up with words of the four letter variety, and having to fight them back.

I've always hated the word "crap." I even dislike typing it at this moment. It is considered a minor curse by some, and a simple descriptive exclamation without the typical "four letter" distinction by others. Despite not liking the word, it has been rolling off my tongue in moments of frustration when I am alone. Unfortunately, because the pressure of life is great, the lone moments of frustration come far too often each day. Simple things like waiting in traffic, or hearing a crying kid in grocery store can frustrate me. I normally can smile about those things.

Have I contracted the bipolar disease from bipolar leaders? Has it infected my mind, and is it mutating to Tourette Syndrome?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Talking to the Shah of I Ran

I was talking to the Shah of Iran yesterday.

You don't believe me? Which one? you ask. Okay so I have a slight problem. The modern Iranian monarchy began in 1501, and was abolished in 1979 under the leadership of a guy with a far more intimidating name than Shah - he was called Ayatollah. I realize that Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was the last Shah, and died in 1980, and is buried in Egypt.

But some guy named the Shah of Iran called me anyway.

He suggested that I do something quite difficult. He suggested that I invite some antagonistic people to come speak to our group, and describe the reasons for their aggressive actions. He suggested it would be healthy to do so.

Darn, I just want uncomfortable things to go away. Why does he have to go and suggest something self-depricating, and dangerous. I feel like I can only handle so many days of Crow for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Of course, he said it was for my good, and for the churches' good too. Well, I am not sure what I will do, but the fact that I struggle with the idea challenged my level of courage.

Dave said to me a month ago (yep, that's the same Dave who is the original "everybody ought to have a Dave" guy) "Phil, listen to me carefully, I need to tell you this. Don't let them wear you out."

Darn again. I think that Shah and Dave are saying the same thing: Face the fan.

I remember back in 1979, when the Shah had to flee Iran, people wore T-Shirts which had a picture of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, and the shirt said, "I Ran." That's what I want to do, but the Shah who called me said I should not. Dave said that too.

How can he ask me to do this?! Who does he think he is? The Shah of Iran?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Everybody Should Have a Chuck, or What's my stomach doing down there?

Today Chuck called. I like Chuck. I even think I trust Chuck. I have never met Chuck in person - but how can I not like Chuck?

Chuck is a name which reminds me of eating time on the trail. Like when the big triangle rang for grub at the Chuck Wagon on Wagon Train. Chuck is the guy who has some stew made out of who knows what, but it hits the spot when you're tired, and feeling like a homeless, friendless dog looking for a handout.

Of course, I could be living an Esau moment, and might be willing to sell my birthright for a bowl of lentil stew, but I don't think Chuck is a conniver like Jacob, so I should be safe.

I've been talking with Chuck for a number of months. That's what Chuck does. He talks to people, and he does it well. But he does it well because he listens well also.

Everyone should have a Chuck.

I've only said that line about two people. The first was Dave, and I still think everyone needs a Dave too.

Well, here's the real reason I am writing today: This is one of the things Chuck said, "Phil, in all the time I've been talking with you, this is the first time I've heard you sound down. I've never heard discouragement in your voice before."

I did not think that I was particularly down, but when he said those words, I realized it was true. 'What's my heart doing down close to my stomach?' I thought.

I've been going through some completely ridiculous, incomprehensible things for about 6 months, and I am ready for them to end, but they keep dragging on. False accusations, and absurd conclusions by superstitious Christians have been haunting us for some time.

I guess there comes a time when you get so captured by the transitory struggles of life, that you don't even realize that you have created a new mode of normality, and it's far lower than your previous state of being. I thought I was doing fine when I was talking to Chuck, but he knew better. I guess I do too now.

Really I am fine, or I guess what I mean is, really I will be fine.

Thanks Chuck.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Deconstructing My Own Name

Well this is the beginning. Or the end. Or maybe the beginning of the end. Or maybe even the end of the beginning. What I really mean is that I have no idea what comes next.

21 years is a long time to serve one denomination as a pastor, and now the church I pastor, and myself are moving on to another pasture to graze in.

The beginning of my blogging is the end of something, and hopefully the beginning of something else. So it's time to break my system of thoughts into it's lowest common denominator and see what's most important. I've spent quite a few years deconstructing church life in hopes of discovering what was critical, and what was just something I did because everyone else did it too. Now it's time to deconstruct my name.

Some people say that Wyman comes from the River Wye in Wales, and the original Wyman lived by the River Wye, and ferried people across the river. I walked Afon Gwy (River Wye in Welsh) from Rhayader to Chepstow Castle with my wife Bev in 2002. Well okay, we cheated and took a bus the last few miles from Tintern Abbey to Chepstow, and we didn't start in the mountains at Plynlimon, but started at Rhayader instead. We also paddled in a canoe for two days, and nearly got beat up by some nasty swans, but we did walk a good 10-20 miles a day for two weeks, and I had cuts from blackberry bushes, and burning welts from stinging nettles to prove it.
  • See Wye Valley Walk Here

  • I've never felt so much at home as I do in Wales, except perhaps when I drive across the city limit sign in my little city of Salem, Massachusetts.

    But now I need to consider my name once again. Who am I attached to? and what do I stand for?

    As a serial deconstructionist I suppose taking myself apart is the natural conclusion to any season of change. So that's why little Mr. Wyman is The Why Man. "What is man that thou art mindful of him?"? I ask again.

    One thing I do know - Christ and Him crucified. Other than that I think I will change my name to Jake - Lame Jake. I figure I've still got some wrestling to do with God, and I am sure that I will end up limping when the match is over.