Sunday, July 11, 2004

A touch of schizophrenia

I am a number of people, rolled up into one body (albeit a rather BIG body...). And I wonder how it is to deal with all those personalities and roles in one blog.

I am a child of God...though it took me a long time to figure out that the first two words of the Lord's Prayer mean exactly what they say. That means that I face the world much differently than a significant portion of the world, who do not believe as I do. It follows, too, that my questions and answers about "life, the universe and everything" are framed differently because of that understanding, as well.

I am a Christian (though my urge is to jump in here and say that whatever ugly image of that group of people you might have, I try daily to NOT be like them). I am also part of a significant minority among Christians - one who fell away for a goodly time in my life (17 years, give or take a month or two) and then came back. So I have lived both as a Christian "outsider" and an "insider" (or, to put it more Biblically, I have lived both with "the sheep" and "the goats") (see Matthew 25:31-46).

And I am a man in recovery in multiple ways, from multiple addictions. I have been in and around the 12-step programs for over 13 years (as of this writing). And it was my experience in the 12-step communities that helped push me into this pursuit of ministry to begin with. So I have these three separate, but linked, roles and lives that I live - all in the same body!

In my Christian life, I have always identified more with the "outsiders" and the "goats" than I have the "truly faithful" and "the sheep." And my hope was to try to wrestle with issues of faith, and ministry, and recovery all within the confines of this discussion. But I the people in recovery really want to hear my struggles with Lutheran theology, let alone how I understand the nature of God as revealed in the Christian Bible? Do the people in the faith communities really want to hear about my wrestling with the steps of recovery?

In pondering all this, I thought briefly about breaking the theological parts of my life - both in ministry and at seminary - off into its own blog. But the difficult decision for me is this: how do I slice those things apart? My credo (Latin for "I believe") is as much a product of the community of recovery as it is the community of faith. In fact, there are parts of my struggle with Christian (and Lutheran) theology which have become a struggle precisely because either the church's understanding of God (and faith) or the text of the Bible somehow conflicts with what I understand of God through the process of recovery. So in many ways, there is really one life, with many facets - as a friend of mine often says, " a diamond solitaire, each with beautiful reflections..." (Not sure I see the beauty, very often, but I'm workin' on it.) So perhaps it's grandiosity to try to split this life down into its component thoughts and truths, eh?

Well, I leave it up to you, gentle readers (assuming that there's more than one of you out there!). Should this be one blog - or three? For now, you're stuck with it all...but if there is a significant desire expressed to see some "specialization", I may do something different. For now, I think I'm just going to give thanks that my life's needs are taken care of this day (thanks to some very loving, caring folks) and put myself to bed. Sweet dreams, y'all.


MesoEd said...

Steve, Steve, Steve...

You are beautifully and wonderfully made! God made all these parts of you. He has used, and will continue to use each together. When we compartmentalize our lives, we deny God our entire self. To seperate your recovery from your theology would be like seperating hydrogen from oxygen in water. It can be done, but it's very difficult. Seperately, one is explosive, the other fuels the explosion. Together, they support life. In otherwords... one blog is a good blog. :^)

Lisa P. said...

Steve-o, my friend,

Screw specialization. I'm not into the boutiquing of blogs. If this is a blog about your life, keep everything here that you feel is appropriate for public consumption. Life is messy - don't try to clean it up and parcel it out for our convenience.

Lisa P.