November 2nd – November 9th, 2004

I want to climb out of my skin! I’m realizing that I’m such a HUGE sinner! My heart is so corrupt. I think of myself and myself and myself and myself…I sit in judgment on others. I’m lazy. I’m not a very good husband or father. I’m a worse friend and a mediocre pastor.

What’s worst of all, is that I’m a lousy follower of Jesus. If he COULD be embarrassed He would be. If it weren’t for his nature NOT to be ashamed…He would be ashamed of me. I don’t love ANYTHING or ANYONE more than myself! I don’t love God more than myself, I don’t love Brenda or the girls more than myself.

It’s like a hall of mirrors…everywhere I turn there is my own hollow reflection leering back at me from atop the throne. There is SOMETHING in me that knows this is wrong and doesn’t want it to be like this…but it is mute. It cannot speak. I do not have it in me to live as I long to. I want to be free. I want to go home. I don’t know how to get me off the fucking throne! How do I depose myself?!

Brenda, I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I’m slipping into this place again. I don’t know why you’re always the first to suffer. I want so much to blame you. The truth is sometimes all I can see is what you are (or are not ) doing and I can’t see anything else.

That’s just the truth. I don’t know why. I guess there’s something still missing in me. Even when I DO the right thing it’s corrupted with thoughts of “what does this mean to me.” I manage to eek-out credit somewhere, for everything.

Maybe that’s why I’m supposed to be silent. I eventually end up …

…I have repeatedly spoken the unspeakable. I have clutched at the unattainable, and I have tried to restrain the omnipotent.

I must be truly silent.

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I have no idea if that period of silence did any good or not. It seems that biologically it had little or no impact. But I’ll wait until the end of the week to call it for sure. Emotionally. I feel drained. I’m grumpy and irritable. Spiritually: vacuous. I can’t concentrate on prayer. The scriptures hold no allure for me at all. Project Va’[our church’s first foreign mission trip to Brazil] is barley intriguing. Everything else is less than that.

I’ve been disciplined this morning. That’s good. I prayed my prayers. I even briefly prayed for others. I didn’t cheat and look through e-mail first.

What is my real purpose? I have a list of 12 people to contact today. From musicians with whom I need to confirm their schedule, to a sick friend, to thank-you notes, to Project Va’ business.

All of these people represent this damn amorphous BLOB of a community/work/relationship/church. I know that this is supposed to be how it is on some level…but on another level I feel like I’m cheating when I pick up a pay-check for spending my day communicating with people like this, in this way. I feel like I’m supposed to be doing something else…behind the controls of a machine somewhere, working levers, and switches, and all of THIS stuff is supposed to be happening OUT THERE Somewhere….

I know the answer to this; it’s in me somewhere: It’s BOTH / AND …I am to do this kind of “work” and it will result in others doing the same….but I don’t know where this knowledge resides. Do I KNOW it, FEEL it or do I SENSE it in my spirit?

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