Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission 2017-06-24T18:57:55+00:00

The Exuberant Life

It is a curious request to make of God. Shield your joyous ones, asks the Anglican prayer: Shield your joyous ones.  ~ Kay Redfield Jamison, Exuberance: The Passion for Life. I stayed up reading poetry one night.* And the next day. And into the next night. And the following day. A poetry marathon. And the more I read the more enthused I became. Each poem put a longing in me to read the next. I felt so alive. My skin tingled. Pathways to my brain that had been blocked for almost 25 years were cleared. A lightning bug floated in the air around me, dancing with the illumined sparks on the screen that spoke inspired words to me. The next day a friend asked me, "Are you manic?" Maybe, I thought. Or maybe I'm just excited. Enthused. On fire with life. Staying up all night, and the next day, can [...]

By | June 27th, 2018|Categories: Spiritual Reflections|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Poetry: Now and Then

I have been writing a good bit of poetry and fiction over the past 4 years that I've reserved for conventional publication.  I've finally reached a point where I feel the desire to share some of it with you who read my work and respond so graciously. These pieces do not directly address topics of faith and mental illness, but they are examples of how one person of faith who struggles with mental illness finds a measure of healing in the written word. I wrote the core of this poem the day I received word that my ex-wife had accepted the terms of our divorce. It also happened to be my birthday.   I drive through my hometown; Nothing is the same.   Heinz’s Grocery is gone; Bud’s Bait Shop is boarded up; The school has been torn down.   My lawyer calls;   Everything is settled.   Joint custody, [...]

By | June 22nd, 2018|Categories: poetry|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Remembering

Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. (Deuteronomy 32:7) Memories are pliable things. They are easily bent by life experiences and influenced by the shape of our faith. What happens to us and what we believe colors our memories. No two persons share identical memories, even should they grow up in the same family -- perhaps especially if they do. This weekend we are having a celebration of life for my grandparents. With their passing, we have lost a generation that may never be replaced. There has been a tear in the fabric of our family. No one to unite us in faith. No one to gather us for games or work projects. We miss them terribly and we don't want them to just disappear as if they never existed. We want [...]

By | June 20th, 2018|Categories: Family|0 Comments

Happy Daddy Day

It's Fathers Day. I've celebrated with my Dad the blessings he has brought into my life. Now I'm doing an honest assessment of who I have been as a father to my four children. I want to steer clear of a depressive pity party as well as a manic recounting of my amazing moments. Just remember. The good along with the not-so-good. I was not prepared to be a father. Is anyone? But when they handed me my bundled baby girl, my heart melted. I was as grateful to God as I have ever been. The prospect that this child was mine filled me with delight as well as desperation. How would I provide for her? What if I screw up? Who the hell did God think I was to deserve such a blessing? It's been over 26 years now since that glorious day and here are three things I [...]

By | June 17th, 2018|Categories: Family|Tags: , , |0 Comments

John Prine: From Mailman to Americana Icon

Last Friday I went to a John Prine concert at the Louisville Palace with my friend Les Rust (see "A Character in the Making").  My history with Prine goes back to a PBS documentary on him I saw in December, 1982. Les goes back further. He saw John in a Louisianna dive not much bigger than the Skyline Diner where we had our pre-concert meal. Prine is now 72. He has survived two bouts of oral cancer. His voice sounds more like the grinding gears of semi than a virtuoso. But his lyrics speak God-given redemption to the human condition. John took his young son to one of his concerts and asked him what he thought. It's okay Dad, but it's not real. Not like baseball. That's real. I  beg to differ with a Prine heir, but let me tell you. His music is real. A whole genre of musicians look [...]

By | June 13th, 2018|Categories: Spiritual Reflections|Tags: , , |0 Comments

A Faithful Response to Suicide

I am a man of faith who has attempted suicide. As such, I feel a unique responsibility to share my story. I want to stress that this is my own story. Not the story of Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. Robin Williams. Or the countless others who don't make the news. Still, maybe my story will contribute to a better understanding of how someone like me could choose death over life. First, my own story. In high school, I was a star athlete and a stellar student. I gave a speech at my high school graduation and shared a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson called, "Richard Cory." It begins: Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole to crown, Clean favored, and imperially slim. And ends... So on we worked, and waited for the light, And went without the [...]

By | June 11th, 2018|Categories: faith, Spiritual Reflections|Tags: , , |2 Comments

The Exuberant Life

It is a curious request to make of God. Shield your joyous ones, asks the Anglican prayer: Shield your joyous ones.  ~ Kay Redfield Jamison, Exuberance: The Passion for Life. I stayed up reading poetry one night.* And the next day. And into the next night. And the following day. A poetry marathon. And the more I read the more enthused I became. Each poem put a longing in me to read the next. I felt so alive. My skin tingled. Pathways to my brain that had been blocked for almost 25 years were cleared. A lightning bug floated in the air around me, dancing with the illumined sparks on the screen that spoke inspired words to me. The next day a friend asked me, "Are you manic?" Maybe, I thought. Or maybe I'm just excited. Enthused. On fire with life. Staying up all night, and the next day, can [...]

By | June 27th, 2018|Categories: Spiritual Reflections|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Poetry: Now and Then

I have been writing a good bit of poetry and fiction over the past 4 years that I've reserved for conventional publication.  I've finally reached a point where I feel the desire to share some of it with you who read my work and respond so graciously. These pieces do not directly address topics of faith and mental illness, but they are examples of how one person of faith who struggles with mental illness finds a measure of healing in the written word. I wrote the core of this poem the day I received word that my ex-wife had accepted the terms of our divorce. It also happened to be my birthday.   I drive through my hometown; Nothing is the same.   Heinz’s Grocery is gone; Bud’s Bait Shop is boarded up; The school has been torn down.   My lawyer calls;   Everything is settled.   Joint custody, [...]

By | June 22nd, 2018|Categories: poetry|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Remembering

Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. (Deuteronomy 32:7) Memories are pliable things. They are easily bent by life experiences and influenced by the shape of our faith. What happens to us and what we believe colors our memories. No two persons share identical memories, even should they grow up in the same family -- perhaps especially if they do. This weekend we are having a celebration of life for my grandparents. With their passing, we have lost a generation that may never be replaced. There has been a tear in the fabric of our family. No one to unite us in faith. No one to gather us for games or work projects. We miss them terribly and we don't want them to just disappear as if they never existed. We want [...]

By | June 20th, 2018|Categories: Family|0 Comments

Happy Daddy Day

It's Fathers Day. I've celebrated with my Dad the blessings he has brought into my life. Now I'm doing an honest assessment of who I have been as a father to my four children. I want to steer clear of a depressive pity party as well as a manic recounting of my amazing moments. Just remember. The good along with the not-so-good. I was not prepared to be a father. Is anyone? But when they handed me my bundled baby girl, my heart melted. I was as grateful to God as I have ever been. The prospect that this child was mine filled me with delight as well as desperation. How would I provide for her? What if I screw up? Who the hell did God think I was to deserve such a blessing? It's been over 26 years now since that glorious day and here are three things I [...]

By | June 17th, 2018|Categories: Family|Tags: , , |0 Comments

John Prine: From Mailman to Americana Icon

Last Friday I went to a John Prine concert at the Louisville Palace with my friend Les Rust (see "A Character in the Making").  My history with Prine goes back to a PBS documentary on him I saw in December, 1982. Les goes back further. He saw John in a Louisianna dive not much bigger than the Skyline Diner where we had our pre-concert meal. Prine is now 72. He has survived two bouts of oral cancer. His voice sounds more like the grinding gears of semi than a virtuoso. But his lyrics speak God-given redemption to the human condition. John took his young son to one of his concerts and asked him what he thought. It's okay Dad, but it's not real. Not like baseball. That's real. I  beg to differ with a Prine heir, but let me tell you. His music is real. A whole genre of musicians look [...]

By | June 13th, 2018|Categories: Spiritual Reflections|Tags: , , |0 Comments

A Faithful Response to Suicide

I am a man of faith who has attempted suicide. As such, I feel a unique responsibility to share my story. I want to stress that this is my own story. Not the story of Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. Robin Williams. Or the countless others who don't make the news. Still, maybe my story will contribute to a better understanding of how someone like me could choose death over life. First, my own story. In high school, I was a star athlete and a stellar student. I gave a speech at my high school graduation and shared a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson called, "Richard Cory." It begins: Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole to crown, Clean favored, and imperially slim. And ends... So on we worked, and waited for the light, And went without the [...]

By | June 11th, 2018|Categories: faith, Spiritual Reflections|Tags: , , |2 Comments