Monday, July 31, 2006

Stress, Control and Rage

I get angry at small things on some days. For example as I am typing right now the computer has a delayed response between my typing and the appearance of the letters on the screen. The rage roils each time this delay causes me to respond clumsily in my typing progress.

I could turn off the BBC Wales radio station, but listening to the spoken Welsh language is more important to me than a smooth typing experience. So, I must move forward in jerky movements, and feel my rage rise steadily as I continue to write. Of course, I realize that I probably need to do some "spring cleaning" on the computer, but I don't have time right now.

Why am I like this right now? The small series of tragedies we have experienced are some months back. Shouldn't I feel better now?

Asking myself this question brings my mind back a few months. A lying, treacherous church leader stood close to my face, and suggested his treachery should be overlooked, and there was no place for disussion about it. To bring it up for discussion meant that I was not "moving forward, but choosing let the experience define me." At one point in the conversation he exploded in rage, and growled, "there's something deeper going on here." I suppose that was some sick Pentecostal way of getting out of being held responsible for one's sins - turn it around and accuse the other person of some deep problem which you pretend to divine by spiritual discerment.

Why is it that I am raging within lately? Did I pick up this sickness by being in the same contagious space as other sick leaders for too long? No, I know that's not the answer to the question.

The answer lies within me. I have the rage, and although it may be exaggerated by this season of stress, it lies within me nonetheless. Hopefully I have learned the lesson that it is wholly evil to lead others from the deep need to control, and that the rage which rises from a lack of control is sourced from below.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Getting Past My Cochlea

These are the times I feel trapped in my body - or, is it that my body is trapped in my experiences, and unlike my mind and heart can not escape?

She talked along. She talked a long time. I listened. I am sure that I listened longer than she talked. She was having fun talking, and unknown to Einstein was the fact that fun is the ingredient which compresses time. Fear holds the power to stretch time - especially the fear of being trapped in a monologue disguised as a discussion.

Along came another talker. Different than the first, but not different enough.

Now I was looking out through my eyes. I listened, but I wasn't really hearing. The words which passed beyond the cochlea, and into my auditory nerve were random snatches of the monologue. "I'm having a hard time with...unfair to treat me...smells bad...don't you think?" I was thankful that monologues have rhetorical questions. If you occasionally nod your head, you can appear to be paying close attention.

Actually I wondered if I really appeared to be paying close attention. The monologue became white noise. The white noise became unsufferable. My whole body was screaming at me, and rebelling at the fact that I remained in the presence of this incessant static. I wondered if the screaming of my mind was visible on my facial expressions. How long would it be until my body started shaking? I was beginning to feel the subtle body quakes of pent up tension deep inside me.

Many people say I am a good listener. Why was my listening being shortened? Why was I unable to hear all that was being said? Is there something about a monologuer which compresses the listener in me, and shortens my patience? Or could it be that I am still struggling with the stress of past treachery? Could it be that the failed, and lying leadership I have had to submit to and endure has caused me to struggle with listening for this season while I recuperate?

This Why Man Blog is all about questioning these personal responses and asking myself how they relate to my experiences in the last year. The extension of this questioning is to ask how abusive leadership effects myself, and perhaps the church as a whole.

I know I am a good listener, but it is not as true now as it has been in the past. I am sure it will return. The stress of this season is the primary reason for the difference in my attention span and patience. So I ask myself, "Could it be that Christians are not good listeners because their leaders are know-it-all blabber-mouths who speak without knowing, and judge without inquiry? Do conclusion jumping Christian leaders bring stress upon the church? Does that stress create a congregation of bland-minded, short-tempered, poor listeners who can not handle anything which does not fit their enjoyment experience?

I feel less the listener today than a year ago, but I am committed to being a good listener. I know my mind will stop screaming soon enough, and I will begin to hear a large percentage of the words once again. My monologuer is not the problem. I am, but the problem I am has been stretched by the abuse we've endured. Or so methinks for now. If you disagree, I might not hear what you have to say for a few more months.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Why am I so Sleepy?

For centuries revivalists have been speaking about the church being asleep. It has been a common theme to speak about the need to wake this sleeping giant. I have heard this so often I yawn when I hear it again.

I have been sleepier than ever lately. I am having a difficult time reading without wanting to visit the land of Nod. That is not a good thing for a Pastor, or a Teacher. Much time needs to be spent in reading, in order to have something worth saying.

As I continue to monitor my emotions following a year of great difficulty, I am wondering what part of this a response to the previous year of struggle. After a year and half of high stress dramatically crescendoing, could it be that I simply want to sleep for a year to make up for it?

Does this help explain the bland moments I have been experiencing. Is blandness my brain going to sleep while I stay awake?

I am going to stop typing now, and blow up the Hippo-doggie-pool my wife handed me. I hope I have the lung capacity to accomplish the task without getting dizzy and passing out. It really should be quite easy, but I am afraid my sleepy body and mind might trick me into unconsciousness. Check in on me to see that I am not sleeping in that Hippo-doggie-pool.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Bland with a B and the Creation of Brainless Christianity

I continue to have periodic attacks of bland moments. You know - my brain goes into that gelatinous, tasteless time warp. I had to add the word tasteless, because grape, or lime jello might actually be a cool thing to get stuck in for a few moments. So it happened again while I was looking at agent B's reply to my last post. I stared at a spot on the screen, and went blank. I think that I was staring at a little button on the blogger screen. I am certain it wasn't agent B's fault. I don't think that his writing has that effect on people, but then you'll have to check out his blog, and find out if it does that to you. Perhaps Mike of Earthsea could discover if agent B is a Jedi Master. Then I will know that I am being intellectually infiltrated by the undercover operatives from Abilene. Agent B does reference Obi Wan in his blog of July 8th, but then perhaps I developing paranoid moments along with my Bipolar/PTS/Autistic/Bland moments - and any other symptoms of stress I have not yet identified but may manifest like demons in a corny episode of Charmed. Oh right, there are no non-corny episodes of Charmed.

Well, back to my blandidity (which is cooler word than blandness.) I want to experiment with writing about what actually goes on in my mind in those blandiditynesses (which is now a really cool new word.) I was staring at the screen, and now I will write the thoughts that came to me while I looked at what I think was the "Save as Draft" button. This is what was in my mind for the those brief 5-7 seconds:


The end.

I think that this writing may have been more meaningful than the last. Last time I only thought "bug." Hmmmm may be pregnant with potential thought. I think. Then again maybe I didn't think. My wife was saying at church that scientists have proven that the mind is never in neutral. I'm not so sure after experiencing blandidity, because there truly was some blank space before and after hmmmm.


Okay that was a thinking hmmmm, and so I added the elipsees.

Is it possible that the manner in which heavy-handed Christian leaders abuse their flocks actually creates brainless Christians? My experience is that after having been treacherously treated blandidity (my cool new word for which I am really proud of myself) sets in. It attaches itself like that huge blob of tar which got stuck to our tire a few days ago.

Authoritarian Christian leaders creating brainless Christians through subtle abuse - is it possible?


or was that hmmmm?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Bland Leading the Bland?

My buddy Allan loves to use this quote which he picked up from his days working with YWAM. "It's the bland leading the bland." I'm sure it is a reference to non-pentecostal, unemotional worship found in many churches, but I am thinking that it might be a reference to my frame of mind from time to time.

Over the last three months I have been writing snippets of my story in experimental prose. I have attempted to write in such a way as to portray my thought life as outwardly unemotional and simple, but inwardly tumultous and confused - like a child with autism, because that is how I was feeling at times. With less success I have written stories in an attempt to portray the emotional rollercoaster of being bipolar. The same experiment was given to Post Traumatic Stress with greater success.

But what does one say about feeling like nothing?

I have been having a writing cramp. No, a full brain cramp. No, something more than that.

The church has been doing well. We have quite a few new faces which have appeared over the last couple months, and they are a really colorful bunch, who love being together - those who have met Jesus, and those who are only just discovering that He still hangs around humans in nearly tangible presence.

Despite this season of blessing, I could get stuck staring at a wall with barely a thought for extended time periods. What does one compose about these bland moments? I suppose I could fill a page with phony references to transendental states of consciousness, but the fact of the matter is that I am occasionally frozen in the present as though time became gelatin, and I was swimming deep in a flavorless vat of it. I suppose I could write about the things which I end up staring at, and the thoughts which fill my mind. Okay so the following is my first experimental attempt to write about my bland state of being, and my captivity in the object of my vision: