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Re: [ExGDBd] Re: A Q on Yahoo! Answers asks about the "meaning of life"

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  • Thomas Morey
    Sorry for the delay in responding, JMC, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe the Lord is preparing you in the years to come to be a minister to the broken
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 1, 2008
      Sorry for the delay in responding, JMC, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe the Lord is preparing you in the years to come to be a minister to the broken American clergy?!

      --- On Tue, 11/25/08, JMC <rmaecu@...> wrote:

      From: JMC <rmaecu@...>
      Subject: [ExGDBd] Re: A Q on Yahoo! Answers asks about the "meaning of life"
      To: exgaydiscussionboard@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Tuesday, November 25, 2008, 11:13 PM


      I hear you brother and yet what I and many like me who walk on
      eggshells around people with personality disorders do is focus
      everything on others and hardly anything on ourselves. It took a few
      years before in therapy, I started talking about myself instead of
      about my wife's recent irrational and intensely hurtful borderline
      personality thing or something her mother did.

      I've found that the more I focus on my own issues, my search for a
      healthier path in life, the less I walk on eggshells and the more free
      I am to be the me God created me to be. Too often what I hear preached
      in extreme evangelicalism, pentecostalism, and charismatic is a
      self-denial that ends up denying the very self God created you as.

      In our tae kwon do senior belt codes, one of them is be faithful to
      yourself, before we say be faithful to a list of others. Not that we
      are saying martial artists should be self-centered, but if we are not
      faithful to our own well-being we are no good for others.

      So, there is a balance. My therapist has said that earlier I wore my
      pastor hat too tight, and now I must learn to be. My seeking to be a
      super pastor, super husband with a mentally ill wife and a super dad
      who was also having to play mom as well was both my trying to become a
      saint and a reaction formation to my same sex attraction.

      My biggest challenge has been finding an overall sense of purpose in
      my life which has been so radically changed since 2003. The fact that
      I flit from one thing to another without any consistency shows that I

      While I am still ordained, the church treats me as well as other
      clergy on disability in our denomination like I'm a third class
      citizen not even with the respect of like being a retired person. Yes,
      we are helped with some money every month and some extra health
      insurance but the personal touch of someone really caring is not there.

      Since, 2002, I advocated for the mentally ill and their families on
      the state level of my denomination and got involved with the faith
      based movements of some mental health groups here. Praise God, some
      good took place and now is in place to keep going.

      However, as of late myself, another male clergy on disability and my
      sister in law who is on disability felt this past year like we were at
      someone else's family reunion.

      In the last couple of years, I've not had the energy to get on the
      floor of our state meeting and debate like I once could. However, I
      found people who have such energy to work actively in areas that I can
      point out. They are the future spiritual Luke Sky Walkers, but I'm
      more like the aging Yoda.

      There were a few limited and select times when I perceived I needed to
      show up, and once I got in there I could see why, and mustered up
      enough energy to get on the floor, but I could not even do that this
      year. I would love to get back on the state board of directors of NAMI
      and I know they would love to have me back, but it an't in me to do
      right now. My sister in law has a humor ministry for clergy and cancer
      survivors. I'm now back to writing book reviews for a clergy journal
      as well as an article or two (I did have a quarterly column at one time).

      With all of the post traumatic pastoral stress syndrome plus the
      trauma of a mentally ill spouse with BPD that I carry, just getting to
      Sunday worship plus sometimes to Sunday School is tough. This being
      the case, my therapist and I have paid dearly for not doing this has
      said go to church and don't volunteer.

      I'm convinced that the trauma of my wife's borderline personality
      disorder is one major reason that I've come out to myself about my
      same sex attraction. I read an article somewhere that said, if the
      romantic in one's marriage has gone, the often same sex attraction
      that has been there will come to the forefront. I can see why. Who
      wants to make love with a woman who one moment rages at you like you
      are the pits and as if that did not take place acts like sugar and
      spice--all so nice. when I was younger, my testosterone went past all
      that, but no more. At one point in my journey I wrote a very toxic
      anger statement at God about sex, marriage and the current state of
      the church was beneath being a good future bride of Christ with all
      sort of cutting adjectives but no cuss words.

      My sister in law who is clergy and a male clergy friend of mine have
      talked about this whole identity thing. We agree that there needs to
      be some kind of support process for people like us who are no longer
      the ministers we once were nor will we be again, but nevertheless by
      God's grace we often discover a new ministry.

      One of the early church father's defined the glory of God as man fully
      alive. I think that I'm becoming more fully alive although I'm much
      less fully active. I appreciate those like the author of Journey
      Towards Hope who call for more transparency in Christian testimonies
      for too often we feel we must basically put a spin of well this
      situation was really bad, but then Jesus came, and it's been glory to
      God ever since. Like my sister in law and I have discussed the hymn
      Every Day with Jesus is Sweeter than the day before is not true for so
      often the day before was a long time ago.

      It is so sad to me that the writer of It is Well with my Soul lived
      the last years of his life as a very broken man following another
      major tragedy in which his fellow church members said there must be
      some great sin in your life for all these things to have taken place.
      I've read in hymnal handbooks the advice to not tell that part of his
      life's story.

      It is exceedingly tough for us wounded, often disabled clergy to find
      much comfort within the Christian church for that is where the abuse
      came from. Frankly, I see far more real respect, etc. taught and
      practiced in the tae known do circles that I move about in than I see
      in church. The American (USA and Canada) church as a whole is sick.
      The current clergy health crisis reflects the unhealthiness of a great
      majority of our churches.

      I guess I must not have a purpose driven life for I have no dreams or
      ideas of where I want to be or do a year from now, five years from now
      or 10 years from now etc. I've been almost everywhere in this country
      a person would ever want to visit as well as seen and done more than
      enough. I'm glad there is more to life and our Christian faith than
      just this world. Despite all of the books and sermons of popular
      Christianity, there are no pat answers, but best of all as you point
      out and John Wesley said on his death bed, best of all God is with us.
      However, I must say that as a human being God's presence being with me
      through some flesh and blood is greatly needed sometimes and very nice.

      For example, my sister in law and I are like mental health jedi
      constantly having to deal with the darkness of borderline personality
      disorder in her sister and in their mother. We educate each other with
      the latest books to read, encourage each other, really listen to each
      other and support each other. All of this has in turn helped her
      improve her relationship with her husband whom her mother wishes she
      would divorce and my wife sometimes does too.

      Her husband struggles with same sex attraction and she has an aunt who
      fully lives in her same sex attraction, thus she is very understanding
      of my journey. I probably have one of the most unique sister in law
      relationships, but it was born out of a necessity to survive. My
      therapist is glad that we lives many hours apart.

      Well, thanks for reading my very long, somewhat unfocused at times,
      bipolar influenced e-mail.

      John (JMC)

      --- In exgaydiscussionboar d@yahoogroups. com, Thomas Morey
      <moreytom@.. .> wrote:
      > I thought that this would be helpful to post here due to many of us
      having the propensity towards overfocusing on SSA issues, at the
      expense of so much more that there is in life.
      > This is an absolutely incredible interview with Rick Warren, author
      of "Purpose Driven Life" His wife now has cancer, and he now has
      "wealth" from the book sales. In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with
      Rick Warren, Rick said: "People ask me, 'What is the purpose of life?'
      And I respond: 'In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We
      were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.'
      > One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my
      body--but not the end of me. I may live to 100 years on earth, but I
      am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up
      act, the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we
      will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and
      until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.
      > Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just
      coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The
      reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than
      your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He
      is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on
      earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in
      character, in Christ likeness. This past year has been the greatest
      year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.
      > I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a
      dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't
      believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I
      believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at
      all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No
      matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad
      that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your
      life, there is always something good you can thank God for. You can
      focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems. If you
      focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, 'which is
      my problem, my issues, my pain.'
      > But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus
      off yourself and onto God and others. We discovered quickly that in
      spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not
      going to heal Kay or make it easy for her. It has been very difficult
      for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a
      ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her
      closer to Him and to people. You have to learn to deal with both the
      good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with
      the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden,
      when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.
      > It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with
      before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own
      ego or for you to live a life of ease. So I began to ask God what He
      wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me
      two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II
      Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.
      > First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our
      lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases. Second, about midway
      through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church. Third,
      we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call 'The Peace Plan'
      to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick,
      and educate the next generation. Fourth, I added up all that the
      church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I
      gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.
      We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions?
      Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness?
      Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?
      > When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say,
      'God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more
      and love You better.' God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a
      to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's
      why we're called human beings, not human doings.
      > Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. Quiet
      moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK
      GOD. "

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