Almost Booted for getting Bronchitus

I had pneumonia last week and it slid back hard into bronchitis over the weekend. So, knowing the politics around here (anarchy meets the suck-of-self) I asked to go to the ER immediately to get a real doctor’s diagnosis. Safe right?


I was given an ultimatum in a “Big Meeting” (that is four or more staff. Less than four is just a meeting) which is meant to intimidate the person called in. I am nearly impossible to intimidate. I remain calm which always results in others losing it like 14 year-old boys (which I am used to since half the guys in program are functioning like 14 year-old boys…It’s like being at Calvin Crest in the Summer only most of these guys are criminals…see “I’m gonna stick him” article).

Anyway, “work sick and do your 12-hour days or get well and pack it up and leave after that”. Oh, and you gotta love this…they offered to allow me to stay and get well (before booting me out) out  of “Christian charity.” (More on this at the end).

Caveat: I really do not know how people navigate without divine help. Without it I would be reduced to something akin to a jellyfish with the inner constitution of tapioca pudding. But, with real direction I am ridiculously calm, strong and intent.

So I had this dream the night before. I had gone to sleep thinking about the vast difference between isolation and solitude. One is destructive, life-denying and alienating. The other is life-affirming, open, peaceful and connecting. I am a big fan of the latter. I also have formed the habit of discussing my day with my Creator as I fall asleep. There is this remarkably clean and simple passage in the Psalms (27) where God basically says “Hey, come on over here and talk to me:” and David says “I’mma com’n”. So it is a lot like that.

I talk over the solitude/isolation thing, then I drift off into a dream in which I had just walked over the Sierras and there was a vast plain of sand that went for hundreds of miles. I started to walk and realized, in the dream mind you, that it would take me 90 days to cross.

So my dream was cross-referencing with my reality for I am looking down the barrel of 90 “Groundhog Days” here at the Mission before I hit the next phase and start to enter work-phase (and freedom with some limits). I call them Groundhog Days for obvious reasons..every day is just like the one before it and the next will be the same…seemingly endlessly. I see myself from above, at the end of the walk. My hair is four inches longer and braided on the sides. I am thinner (hooray!) and I look peaceful and strong. It FEELS right.

I have my cool hat in the dream and the long coat I love so much. I am wearing my bright green KEDS with the Zen patches. I am obviously traveling very “lite”.

Comes the morning and the threat.

This is not new territory except for one thing: I haven’t done anything but be human and get sick. In most every other case when I have been summoned I can pretty much always find “my part” in it. More often than not I am the SOLE reason for the meeting and I am busted.

Because of that, I generally have a working level of shame as I go in. Interesting, I also have a near equal  of personal arrogance that rides shotgun in those cases. See how that works?

Well this time I have neither. It’s freeing. No shame, no arrogance.

I take the meeting. I do very well and actually have the wherewithal to listen carefully to other points of view. In the end, it’s a flat choice: “Our way or the highway?”

This actually makes me happy, not because it is fair, “Christian” or comfortable. No, it makes me happy because I have grown new muscles in my soul that can handle this. Even a few years back and something like this would send me tumbling down a vortex of self-mutilating destruction that I might or might not recover from.

Now? “Eh.” I handle it, then do the Jeb Bartlett line from West Wing “what’s next?”

The one benefit of a life given wholly over to God (and every area of my life is right now in an unprecedented way…to GOD, not religion) is that it is no longer your life. I don’t need to defend myself. Tell the truth? Yes; Defend myself? No.

Christian mystics have always understood this…how suffering and deprivation lead to greater life and fulness. If it helps think of it simply as “pruning”.

Well, enough of all that. I am staying. I have 90 days of GroundHog desert walk to do alone. I am still sick (I just hacked up a lung unloading a truck) but my spirit is upbeat and at peace. My body will recover in time. I will lose 40 pounds and my hair will grown out another 4 inches and take some braids down one side. The Groundhog Days will dwindle; I’ll get work, teach a class at church, meet new friends..get a bicycle. Before I know it Summer will be here and my life will be very different and I will have changed too…in ways I cannot change if I leave.

God is good. I trust God. People? Naw.


“Christians” is a horrible word. I cringe when I hear it ballied about in a sea of ignorance, misuse and abuse. It should simply be banned along with the word “contemporary”. It all depends on who is saying it. In that it is a unique word. Originally it was a term of derision in the Book of Acts. We should have settled for that and used other terms like “Believer”, “Follower of Jesus”, “Disciple of Christ”, hell…even “Jesus Freak” is better.

Recently, Semi-Stalker Woman texted me and said I was a “so-called Christian man”. I don’t call myself a Christian often, and usually it is in the form of “Non-asshole Christian”. If anyone calls me a Christian it would have to be the Risen Christ Himself. That would seem to make it more meaningful.

By “Christian” people refer to a gooey-semi-moralistic substance that reeks of blatant hypocrisy. You definitely do not wanna get any on ya!  So I personally bypass any talk of “Christian” things. Biblical? Sure…there ya go.

Which explains how a large number of people who identify themselves as “Christians” vote for a “Christian” like George W. Bush. It’s sociology nor spirituality; it’s fear not faith.


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