Freedom and Responsibility

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When I was younger (in my teens) I was forced to go to adult “T-Group” encounter sessions weekly. Counselors later would wince when told this knowing how disreputable such “therapy” became and how much damage it did to many. In effect a person was placed on the “hot seat” in the middle of the room (of about 35 people or so) and then they would tear down your carefully constructed fictions and defenses until you were forced to see the “truth.”

The problem, in my case, was I was 13 and not old or shrewd enough to have constructed such defenses. I told the truth that first night when they seated me right away and tore into me like fresh veal.

I learned very quickly how to lie after that -and how to play their game – masterfully; and it would not be until my conversion 5 years later that the arduous task of deconstructing that thick fabric of defenses would begin.

Little did I know that religious leaders can be just as bad (and I heartily recommend Coleman Luck’s upcoming book, Day of the Wolf: Unmasking and Confronting Wolves in the Church.)

Not comfortable with leaving healing and change up to God and just “walking alongside,” (which I have always found to be ten times more effective); they just cannot keep their mitts off even if it defies reason, common sense and science.

And by all means do NOT tell the truth. They will slap you with a “You are in Denial!” so quick it could make your head spin. But only if you accept their utter lack of legs to stand on.

Majority does not rule. The masses used to think the world was flat. They were mistaken. So were the religious leaders.

*******

I could rag on AA, but to do so would be counter-productive. People who have the mental obsession need SOMEPLACE to go and talk about it. And an 18% success rate is better and a zero success rate.

Me? I do not share the obsession. I think about alcohol about as much as I do my ex-wife (just not fondly – I miss her laugh.)  If I do have a passing thought of alcohol (rare) it is reminiscent of someone who was once a very stupid and bad friend who often lost or lighted my stuff on fire. No thanks.

But the Church, having no idea at all how to handle emotional, psychological or interpersonal problems biblically (perhaps Larry Crabb has some clues) resorts to stuffing its members into 12-setp programs whether they work or not (is it because Jesus had 12 disciples -so one for every step?)

They wag their finger at me (but you drank!) Yeah, and to misquote Churchill “and you’re ugly, but I sobered up!)”

That’s it. Watch what people do, not what they say. I’m in a pressure cooker right now. Am I drinking? Then shut your cake-hole. Care to trade places and see how you’ll do?

It’s important to see the larger picture. God is about love and freedom (and this is not often talked about or known and if we let these Yahoos have the floor all the time it will never be known).

Jesus talks of those who have enslaved themselves to sin (“missing the mark of their true humanity”) and as not free, but that freedom was available for those who would follow His teaching and become disciples. This is not to be confused with religion. The closest equivalent we have might be something akin to become a “patowan” to a Jedi. It is taking responsibility and learning disciplines that result in great freedom.

The freedom to love.

God has given humanity a terrifying amount of freedom. Doubt me? Pick up a newspaper.

Prior to the proper diagnosis of my simple condition (which will be discussed tomorrow) and the proper medications, I was stuck in an intractable situation with no second choice – not really. Live in a state of utter inertia for a longer period of time; or die sooner with some passion and activity. Two guesses what I was gonna do.

But released of the burden of any need for the “substance” to “move,” I could clearly choose (in freedom) to embrace nothing but life. It as an adjustment, and I had to still deal with the PTSD from Portland (which is what is being dealt with now by being homeless again and being stress-tested.

Life is too good, rich and lovely to cloud it with any substance – yes, even sleeping on a pad with a bunch of smelly guys who swear at me in the morning (this a.m. guy walks up “Goddamn mutherfucker” he growls..then moves off. I call out “And a wonderful morning to you too!” Eh… what do I care?)

God would rather take me through the tougher fire of dealing with my PTSD in being homeless (so I will never fear it again) than leave me in constant danger of being triggered. God doesn’t want me to be obsessed with avoiding some substance in life when I can actively embrace all that is good, lively and holy.

Freedom, for me,  is for life and service – not fear and avoidance.

I also think he doesn’t want my future woman to live in fear either. Just a guess.

I am being stress tested at I figure 150% right now and all the welds are holding solid and I am supple and sweet. The real test comes in three weeks if I lose my bed and I am out in the cold roughing it, dodging police (against the law to sleep…what a country), keeping electronics dry,  and having to show up to work with food and also looking like I have had a great nights rest in my nice apartment.

I figure that raising the stress level up to 200-300%. See how those welds hold then.

If that is Gods will for me, so be it. I am doing all I can with my freedom – then I trust in His character and provision. I have not been disappointed yet and do not suspect I will be.

As for those who wanna shoe-horn my size 14 feet into a size 7 shoe?  I figure their argument is not with me really – it is with God. Have at it boys, I got stuff to do.

********

As for responsibility?

I can really understand -especially in September in Santa Cruz – why some people just decide on Homelessness as a lifestyle.

One guy, just 11 days older than me just lives the lifestyle. Smart, handsome, erudite – he meets women, scores weed, sleeps on the beach – sometimes alone, sometimes not. He works the system.

Me? I’m gonna be smart, especially about my Medi-Cal – but I want to get off any public assistance as soon as I can.

It is part of a social contract. I needed help and I got minimal help – but I did get some. When I can get enough scratch together for a place and to pay for my own food I need to get off food stamps. Other people need that money. Same with health care.

True, we all know I have more earning potential than many. Once established in Santa Cruz again, I can shoot at SF and a 100k a year job (it would take at least a year to get one) based on my resume and past successes. I know this because I know people making 150k and I could do their job with one hemisphere tied behind my back.

And a lot of people have already seen my work in the Bay Area whether they know it or not (Mavericks and Saving the Bay).

But first things first. And I just got my “Bengal Tiger” back – been a long time coming. Easy does it Big Guy. Don’t listen to the bullshit. And remember one of those cool sayings in AA: “One Day at a Time.”

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