Monday, April 30, 2012

A Letter To My Imposter

The inspiration for this comes from Brennan Manning's Sermon Jam entitled “Imposter”. Its worth a listen and will probably make the rest of this make a lot more sense


To: The Court Jester

From: The Healer Prince

Subject: Termination of Employment As Ship Captain


Upon the drafting of this letter, all of your privileges, rights, and responsibilities as acting Captain of a Royal Vessel have been revoked: YOU NO LONGER RUN THE SHOW.  This means an end sailing in circles to your heart’s content and putting holes in the bottom of the very vessel that carries you.

Your antics have been entertaining, that’s for sure.  While you were in charge liquor and laughter were never in short supply.  You looked good at the helm too.  Every man wanted to be you, every woman wanted to be your lover, AND they all were laughing with you.


You hate yourself.  You distrust and resent every single one of them.

Your humor is a grotesque and inhumane weapon.  You wield it maliciously against them, giving free reign to your anger and hatred.  You dismember them with the words from your smiling face, which doesn’t even attempt to hide the fangs drenched in their blood.  You hurl verbal bombs into their midst that explode sending out beautiful flames and brightly colored pieces of shrapnel that kill and destroy.  You feed them poison that smells of roses, and convince them that its medicine while it slowly brings about their demise.  As you lay waste to the objects of your hatred, you rise above the fray unscathed and victorious. 

Unfortunately, you’re the most frequent victim of that very weapon.  You have maimed yourself through cheerful self-deprecation: like a glittered razor blade carving smiley faces into your flesh.  What’s even sicker is you’ve used a weapon to try to heal yourself, dismiss your wounds, and carry on.  You’ve put cartoon-covered bandages over gaping, infected wounds that you reopen at every opportunity.

You are a WHORE.  You’ve devalued yourself, you’ve pawned your giftings, you’ve dismissed your integrity, and you’ve suffocated your passions in order to feed your constant and growing need for the approval of people you hate.

What appeared to be disheveled, unorganized, and sporadic maneuvers in the harbor actually was your way of avoiding your greatest fear: the open sea.  By hiding within the safety of not being taken seriously you’ve lost your identity and purpose.  You refuse to take risks in order to achieve great things.  You’ve crippled yourself with the fear of the unknown.

I, The Healer Prince, HAVE REPLACED YOU as Master and Commander.  The vessel you’ve commanded has become a contradiction and a joke.  It was designed to be mighty and powerful, a force to be reckoned with, AND IT WILL BE.

This is not to say that everything will run smoothly from this point forward: it won’t.  Certain parts of this ship have become accustomed to your wanton ways while others have atrophied from lying unused for so long.  They will strain, bend, and moan when used for their intended purposes; they will even break, but not beyond repair.  That will be perfectly all right, because this ship is headed out into the wild and dangerous sea to join the fleet.  There it will be strengthened by those that surround it and it will lend its strength to others. 

Out there it will finally become what it was meant to be.

Truly Truly,
The Healer Prince

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Facing The Necrosis Of My Soul

            Necrosis: the death of most or all of the cells in an organ or tissue due to 
            disease, injury, or failure of the blood supply
            --The New Oxford American Dictionary

In the second chapter of his book Redemption, Mike Wilkerson recounts the story of a man he calls Peter.  Peter married his high school sweetheart and eventually they had a little boy who Peter cherished.  3 days after being taken home from the hospital Peter’s son’s lips turned blue and he died from a rare defect.  The death of his son shattered Peter’s world.  It led to a divorce with an unfaithful wife, a meth addiction, the loss of his home, and disillusionment with all of his friends and family.  Wilkerson states that, “Peter never really faced the loss of his first son” and that seems to be the cause of all the loss and sorrow that ensued.

Peter’s story gripped my mind and my heart after I finished reading it.  It stirred something deep within me because I, like Peter, have failed to deal with the existence and extent of loss in my past.  Not dealing with loss leaves an open and gaping wound in my soul that became infected and spread necrosis to the rest of my life.

Infection: it’s an metaphor that I’ve used recently to explain what sin is to myself and others.  Infection is what I imagine it was the demise of the Black Knight in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail; which happens to be another reflection of myself in media that has come from processing through this issue.  Even in his dismemberment the Black Knight refused to acknowledge that he was affected by the loss of his limbs and maintained the illusion of his invincibility.

I feel like I haven’t dealt with the majority of my recent loss nor that of my past.  I have chosen, have been told, or was forced to believe that life after loss continues on in the same fashion: that I was unaffected.  Through Wilkerson’s book and being in the community that I am in, I’ve been forced to face the necrosis that exists within my own soul: giant swaths of deadness that has been spreading and deepening my entire life.

I don’t know the extent of the damage done to my soul by loss, originally or subsequently.  Regardless, the path to recovery will force me to face every loss I’ve refused to acknowledge.  Fortunately or unfortunately it’s the only way to heal and become alive.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why the Women of Fellowship Church Won’t Let Me Settle

A little over a week ago, I spent the afternoon with a woman who I refer to as “My Adoptive Church Mother”.  We spent hours talking catching up on one another’s lives and enjoying each other.  At one point in the conversation, after telling her about some of my more recent and painful “romantic failures” she looked me in the eye and asked:

“Patrick, have you been settling when you’ve pursued this women?”

I don't think her question sank in until today. For some crazy reason today during my 9½ minutes of morning prayer I uttered the request: “God, please show me what you want for me in a wife”.  I had no idea that my request would be answered as quickly and loudly as it was.

I went to church this morning, MY church, Fellowship in Chippewa Falls Wisconsin.  It is the only body of believers where I have ever felt that I truly belong as myself without even a hint of pretense. The members of the Fellowship Community help me live more and more like Jesus every day.

Soon after arriving at the movie theater where our services take place, I was elated to see my Church Mother by the coffee cart, as she has been absent from services for about the past month for a very good reason.  After a heart-felt hug and a brief conversation, we both were herded, along with the rest of the attendees, into Theater 3 because we always have the intention of starting on time.  While I was walking to my seat I couldn’t help but think how much this woman inspires me.  She is devoted and passionate about bringing grace to graceless spaces, she’s always been honest with her wounds and her mistakes, she’s strong, kind and compassionate, this woman is a warrior in every sense of the term, and I love her for it (and love the fact that she’s vocal about spiritually adopting me).

After getting to my seat I watched a brief intro video and then woman from our church stood up and talked about her ministry in Liberia, West Africa and her recent trip to that country.  Through passion and obedience this woman has joined God in accomplishing amazing things.  In less then a year, schools have been built, wells have been dug, pastors have been trained, and relationships have been formed that will positively influence generations of rural Liberians.  While she was talking I penned in my journal that my prayer had been answered: that God wants (and has designed) my wife to be extremely passionate about serving people in need and obedient to Him, even when it doesn’t make any logical or emotional sense.

Then, as if my prayer hadn't been answered enough, after the service I joined some friends at Culver’s for lunch.  During our time there my Church Mother, one of my friends, and the wife of another friend led a discussion about what it would look like to create a group for women that would promote further community and integrity among them.  While listening to these three women talk I realized that I was witnessing something that was simply otherworldly: from the Kingdom.

Today, I caught a glimpse of my future wife’s character through the women of Fellowship Church in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.  The majority of the women I just wrote about are already married.  However, that fact doesn’t make me despondent: thinking that “All The Good Ones” are already taken.  It actually makes me really hopeful because I know that as I continue in community with these women, women like them, and Fellowship as a whole I simply won’t be able to settle for anything less than amazing, passionate, captivating woman of integrity: the women of Fellowship won’t allow it.