Persecutors or Complainers of Persecution: The American Church

“If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution." [Letter to the London Packet, 3 June 1772] ― Ben Franklin, The Life and Letters of Benjamin Franklin It is a peculiarly unpleasant time to be an American Christian these days. Gone are the days when the Church ruled the roost as the center of community life, the influencer of governing affairs, the bedrock of family values. In its place we have turned to an amalgam of human rights designed to protect individuals, building borders for what is deemed safe. To do this, we practice a ruthless form of censorship that is the antithesis to freedom of expression. As an example, back in "the glory days" a tenured professor could only be dismissed if he had his hands in the [...]

Persecutors or Complainers of Persecution: The American Church2020-10-08T08:20:20-04:00

The Spiritual Delight of Writing, Being Read, and Receiving Responses

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though. ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye. I delight in writing. I delight even more when people read what I write. And I delight the most when people respond to what I've written. When I was in pastoral ministry, there were many things I enjoyed about my work. The process of preparing a sermon was exhilarating. Delivering it was another story. It made me nauseous. It wasn't so much that I had stage fright, but that I was terrified that my presence would get in the way of God's Presence and my words would not communicate God's Word. I much preferred follow-up conversations on [...]

The Spiritual Delight of Writing, Being Read, and Receiving Responses2020-07-15T21:36:44-04:00

The Loneliness of Mental Illness

One of the tragic things about living with bipolar is that I have often felt very much alone. When I am depressed, I feel unworthy of anyone's love or attention. When I am manic, I can be so grandiose that I feel set apart from the "average" human race. When I am in a mixed state, I become agitated with anyone trying to get close to me. Even as people try to care for me, I can get terribly lonely. My heart goes out to those without the support system I have -- those trapped in delusional minds, those wandering the dangerous streets, those languishing in solitary prison cells. I have been manic for some time now, since I made the commitment to publish my second book. It has been wonderful, but I knew it wouldn't last. It didn't. Last night, in the midst of sharing my exciting news with [...]

The Loneliness of Mental Illness2020-05-18T15:47:17-04:00

A Burning Fire; A Wisp of Smoke

Writing, then, was a substitute for myself: if you don't love me, love my writing & love me for my writing. It is also much more: a way of ordering and reordering the chaos of experience. ― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath I keep a daily journal of happenings in my life. Some of these things emerge in my public writing. Literary quotes. Character sketches. Story outlines. You will also find less assuming material in my journals. Financial profiles. Schedules. Contact information. To call these daily journals is generous at best. Sometimes weeks go by without a single entry. Then I'll go on a binge and nearly fill a book in a week. If my journal could speak in those gaps, it would cry out in anguish, wail in sorrow, moan in despair. But the pages are blank. Like my mind. Unborn words. Aborted sentences. Silent stories. Flannery O'Connor [...]

A Burning Fire; A Wisp of Smoke2020-04-27T19:05:51-04:00

Disability Rights and Serious Mental Illnesses (SMIs)

Those who know me best know that I am not into partisan politics. My stomach churns equally from the Left and the Right. This does not mean I don’t care about political issues. It is simply not possible to live well in a Democratic Republic unless we are concerned citizens who keep abreast of current affairs and think critically beneath Facebook fodder and Twitter tweets. Politics is personal. It is not surprising that we care about issues close to us. If we are parents, are our children getting a good education? If we just graduated from college, what is the job market? If we are approaching retirement, how are our investments doing in the economy? In our diverse society, politics impact not only generations, but genders, ethnicity, faith, sexual identity, and other aspects of our lives. You don’t have to know me very well to know that my identity as [...]

Disability Rights and Serious Mental Illnesses (SMIs)2020-02-10T21:43:54-05:00

Disability Rights and Serious Mental Illness (SMI)

Those who know me best know that I am not into partisan politics. My stomach churns equally from the Left and the Right. This does not mean I don’t care about political issues. It is simply not possible to live well in a Democratic Republic unless we are concerned citizens who keep abreast of current affairs and think critically beneath Facebook fodder and Twitter tweets. Politics is personal. It is not surprising that we care about issues close to us. If we are parents, are our children getting a good education? If we just graduated from college, what is the job market? If we are approaching retirement, how are our investments doing in the economy? In our diverse society, politics impact not only generations, but genders, ethnicity, faith, sexual identity, and other aspects of our lives. You don’t have to know me very well to know that my identity as [...]

Disability Rights and Serious Mental Illness (SMI)2020-02-10T15:27:16-05:00

Revealing Voices: A Faith-Based, Peer-Led, Story-Driven, Stigma-Breaking Podcast

I was over at Studio E recording Revealing Voices with my good friend Eric over a glass of wine. Between sips, Eric looked at me quizzically and asked, "How many of your readers listen to our podcast?" I was dumbfounded. Literally found dumb. "I have no idea!" I exclaimed, "Furthermore, I don't even know how many of my readers know about Revealing Voices." [Note: Eric and I don't always drink wine, but when we do, we can be redundant and say things like furthermore.] How about you? Yes, you, Delight in Disorder reader out there. The one looking at this post on your mobile phone, your iPad, laptop, PC, or God-knows-whatever-other-kind of technology. Do you know about Revealing Voices? If so, have you checked us out? Let me share a little about our show: Several podcasts touch on mental health. Others bring up topics of faith. We offer a unique faith-based, [...]

Revealing Voices: A Faith-Based, Peer-Led, Story-Driven, Stigma-Breaking Podcast2020-01-26T20:25:49-05:00

Writing Like Crazy: living, loving, and laughing word by word.

You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world. ~ Ray Bradbury.   I fell in love with writing at a very early age. I've kept journals throughout my life and they have been some of the only things I've held onto in my many moves. Next to my faith, my body of work is the greatest heritage I hope to leave. One of my greatest regrets in life is the day I discarded a collection of love letters never sent. I did it out of embarrassment and a senseless notion that I needed to do in order to forsake all others. Losing these was like [...]

Writing Like Crazy: living, loving, and laughing word by word.2019-12-19T17:02:07-05:00

Where My Money Goes: A Heart Exam

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6.21)   “But money spent while manic doesn't fit into the Internal Revenue Service concept of medical expense or business loss. So after mania, when most depressed, you're given excellent reason to be even more so.”  ~Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness.   I did a financial review today. I do these frequently. Mostly when I'm manic. Instead of spending extravagantly, God has blessed me with an obsession to track my expenses down to the penny. This time I discovered that I pay $0.99/month for an iTune subscription I wasn't aware of. It may take several months, but I'll track it down so I can spend that $12/year on something more gratifying. Like a 12-piece Chik Fil A nugget meal. Many folks with bipolar have exorbitant episodes of spending when they are [...]

Where My Money Goes: A Heart Exam2019-10-16T23:33:44-04:00

My Angel of Mercy

It's been a busy week. We are at the National Correctional Education Association (CEA) conference. I have come along to support my wife Susan, who is President. While she attends to many various and sundry presidential matters, I am staffing her display table, selling her book Kicked to the Curb, encouraging people to subscribe to her blog, and sharing information about her business Nexus Point Consulting. Often, a week of being around people would do me in. While I flock to the spotlight, I can be consumed by the energy of crowds. When I took the Myers-Briggs I scored off-the-scale Introvert. I have learned to endure public duties, but they clearly drain me. As I write this alone in our room, listening to the white soul sounds of Slaid Cleves, Susan is still going strong at a reception honoring teachers of the year. It may take me a week or [...]

My Angel of Mercy2019-07-29T20:22:58-04:00
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