Archive for February 2009

How To Speak “Carter”

February 27, 2009

beverly-hillbillies

Although some of the things shared in this post may be funny, my purpose in posting them is to save them for posterity. My family moved to central Indiana from “very rural” Kentucky around 1950. Needless to say, by the third generation (my age) most of the “southernisms” have all but disappeared. My Grandparents and Great Aunts & Great Uncles have all passed on, and my Aunts and Uncles are getting older now (my father was the youngest child in the family). So I thought I would create a list of how they talked so that a) I wouldn’t forget it, and b) I could share it with my children.

My Uncle Ron is the source of many of these expressions.

1. “Pert’ner”. I believe this to be a form of “pretty near”, as sometimes the usage is like this: Me: “Uncle Ron, how far is it to Wal-Mart?” Ron: “Well, it’s pert’ner 8 mile.” The part that confuses me, however, is that he often uses this word in response to the question, “How you doing, Ron?” “Pert’ner.”

2. “Fine as frog’s hair split in two.” I take this to mean he’s doing OK!

3. Directly. (soon) as in “I’ll be in there directly.”

4. “Fixin’ to Get Ready.” An intention to get yourself out of the chair and actually do something.

5. If’n. – as in – “If’n you don’t stop teasing the dog. I’m gonna put the hurt on you.”

6. You’ns. Usually referring to your immediate family, as in, “You’ns coming over tonight?”

7. Nary, as in “Ain’t nary a one”

8. “Jerk a knot in your tail.” My dad used to tell me this to prepare me that a spanking was approaching quickly.

9. “High falutin.” Someone who is acting above their social status.

10. “Don’t go off half-cocked.” An admonishment to get all the facts before jumping to action.

11. “slicker ‘n snot.” My dad’s inevitable statement when driving on ice.

12. “might could.”, as in “I might could eat something about now”.

13. “showed his behind” – making a fool of one’s self publicly. “He sure showed his behind today.”

14. “how are you fixed for” – meaning “do you have enough of?”, as in, “How are you fixed for milk?”

15. “got yer ox in the ditch” – you got yourself into some real trouble and need some help.

16. “gag a maggot on a gut wagon” – something that’s disgusting or gross, as in, “That would gag a maggot on a gut wagon.”

17. okry. This is for my wife. She makes fun of me when, once in a blue moon, I slip and call it “okry” instead of “okra.”

I’ll post more as I think of them! (or after I talk to my Uncle Ron again).

Counterfeit Intimacy

February 25, 2009

This post is the 2nd in a follow-up series to Sharing Our Story (Jan 26). The 1st follow-up to that was the post called What Drives You To Act Out (Feb 19). This series is targeted to people who struggle with addictions and their spouses. If you’re not an addict (or married to one) the following info might be really weird for you. I’m just sayin’.

I wanted to write about the issue of Counterfeit Intimacy some more, as it has been a foundational issue in my recovery.

manequins

First, let’s define intimacy. I do not mean intimacy as sex – which comes immediately to a lot of people’s minds. Instead, I mean intimacy as an emotional connection, not a physical one. It is familiarity, a feeling of belonging together, closeness, of truly knowing each other, “to know and be known”, to not have secrets between you, to empathize with the other person, to share common experiences and goals, to be on the same team emotionally and spiritually, to be accepted and loved for the person you really are.

I never realized how important my need for intimacy, as defined above, was until I got into recovery. And then I came to learn that my addiction to pornography was linked directly to this idea of counterfeit intimacy.

Pornography is a fantasy – yes. It is an aid for physical pleasure and stress relief – yes. But for the addict, it is much more than that. Addicts are looking for something to fill the void which is created inside them by a lack of intimacy in their marriage. We crave that intimacy so much, that when our gauge gets low -and the need is not addressed in a reasonable amount of time – then we will turn to counterfiet intimacy in a lame attempt to fill that need.

Pornography is a counterfeit intimacy because it plays on the illusion of closeness and familiarity. It gives the user a cheap imitation of actual acceptance and love. But it is not real. It is hollow. It cannot fill up the void that exists within. It can only temporarily delay the feeling of isolation. Because the truth is – as soon as you’re done looking at it – the empty feeling wells up from within and is even more powerful than before. And on top of that – you pile guilt and shame on top of it.

It is at this point in the cycle, that you see why people get trapped with it. When you feel that guilt and shame, you can’t look your spouse in the eye (because intimacy and trust has been broken). You now have a secret that exists in the space between the two of you. This makes getting your need for intimacy filled all the more unlikely, because NOW you not only have the normal lack of connection with that person that has to be rekindled through communication and understanding, but now you have actual barriers you have to cross before you can even GET there.

The first barrier is honesty. You have to come clean with your spouse. This will take courage and humility. But most certainly, your spouse will react negatively (obviously.) So you will reach another barrier.

The second barrier is forgiveness. The spouse will need time to process things, to go through anger and frustration and letting their emotions out. And once they get through all that, (hopefully with God’s help and some time), they will offer you forgiveness. This will free you from the guilt and shame, but now you’re on to the third barrier to restoring intimacy.

The third barrier is rebuilding trust. There can’t be intimacy without a component of trust. After all, why would you open up and re-give your heart to someone who is likely to break it again? How do you rebuild trust? My counselor gave me this little tidbit to remember. Trust is easy to define, but hard to build. Trust is: consistent behavior over time. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But for the addict, it’s very hard to get through. You have to consistently make right choices over a long period of time in order to earn back someone’s trust.

holding_hands

Once you’ve made it through those three barriers, now you’re back to ground zero and back to building intimacy between the two of you. Talking, sharing, laughing, crying, communicating, sharing experiences and setting common goals and just generally being on the same page. THAT’s how you create intimacy – and it is its own reward.

Sex between two people who are connected in that type of intimacy is always amazing – not because there’s anything diffeent physically, but because you are living out the biblical promise – “and the two shall be one flesh”. United as one. Sharing everything. Holding nothing back.

So the next time you feel that intimacy in your marriage is on the decline, DO NOT PUT IT OFF. Do whatever it takes to regain it. If your “everyday” efforts do not get you back to that place, then ramp it into overdrive! Take time off work. Get a babysitter. Go away for the weekend. IT’S THAT IMPORTANT. Once you settle for the counterfeit intimacy, you start a cycle of separation that will last a long time and lead to a lot of un-necessary pain.

God Comes From The Austrian School

February 24, 2009

In Matthew Chapter 20, Jesus tells a parable of a “landowner” who owns a Vineyard. Here it is, in the NIV version.

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

1“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.3“About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5So they went.

“He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7” ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13“But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

This parable has a lot of pretty straightforward application to the spiritual life.

  1. It is obvious that the landowner is meant to represent God in this parable.
  2. If you go back to Chapter 19, you will see that this parable was given in response to a discussion the disciples were having. Peter, specifically, seemed to be concerned about the rewards of being a follower of Jesus. The parable is meant to illustrate for Peter and the others that rewards in the kingdom (both immediate and ultimate) are not dispensed according to senority. The disciples are the “first workers”.
  3. There is an equality in the abundance of blessings citizens in the kingdom receive, that is reckoned by grace not time cards (so much work, so much pay). So the last to enter the kingdom have full remission of sins and hope, just as those who are veterans. It is all about grace, not about when you enter or some human standard of rank.

But now let’s have a little fun with this verse. Here are some alternate lessons we can take from this passage. [note: this part is not meant to be taken as real theology – I’m just having a little fun here. Lighten up.]

1. The “landowner” obviously subscribes to the Austrian School of economic thought. It is HIS money. HE earned it. He feels that he should be able to do with it as he pleases. His actions are free-market. He is not penalizing anyone unfairly – each worker got what was agreed to in advance (a private “contract”). He was good to his word. He is proactive (going into town searching for workers). We must assume he is a law-abiding, tax-paying, contributing member of society who has benefitted from sound and ethical business practices. (If he were otherwise, he couldn’t stand in for the role of God, could he?)
2. By contrast, the first group of workers appear to be under the influence of Keynesian economic thought. Their primary concern is FAIRNESS. (and by fairness, of course, they totally mean a system which would benefit them beyond what was promised to them.) They grumble. They complain. They want to challenge the authority of the landowner. You get the impression that if they could, they would look outside the free-market system for a government authority to step in and arbitrate the situation. They want to appeal to someone else who will FORCE the business owner to distribute wages in a different manner.They will likely form collective bargaining to prevent this from ever happening again. They are entitled to higher wages than the last workers hired, aren’t they?
3. Last thought. So if the landowner is meant to represent God, then could we safely assume that God believes in the Austrian School?

Proud of Our Teams!

February 23, 2009

Our creative ourts teams did some awesome music this past weekend at Oakbrook. Here’s a video recap:

First up was a new prelude that the music team worked up. It’s a cover of a Dave Matthews Band song titled, “The Idea Of You”. It was really sent over the edge by adding guest violinist Joan White.

Next was a transition piece that consisted of an instrumental cover of the song, “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve, synchronized with a Call To Worship Video made by Travis Carpenter.

After that piece, worship leader Jason Lee led the congregation in an old favorite, “Let God Arise” by Chris Tomlin, and a new song by Stee Fee, “God Is Alive.”

Twitter Startup Kit

February 22, 2009

So you’ve got yourself a twitter account. Awesome! So that you can make the best use of it, here are some suggestions.

  1. Watch this short video: Twitter in Plain English
  2. Be sure to post a picture, fill in your location, and put your interests in your Bio. This is how twitterers weed out the spammers and salespeople. Fail to do these things and most people won’t follow you back.
  3. Avoid answering the question, “What are you doing?” with life’s trivialities (ie: “drinking a coke and checking email.”). Instead, think of the question more in the light of, “What’s on your mind right now?”. You’re likely to get more response that way.
  4. One of the great things about twitter is that it can be very conversational. Avoid thinking of it as a news feed, to ONLY make general statements or link to your blog posts. While those are OK to sprinkle in your twitter stream, you’re likely to get a more active following by asking questions, replying to queries, and commenting on things others have said.
  5. Be yourself! When your personality comes through in your posts, you’ll be well on your way to being an expert twitter-er.
  6. Follow some people! Twitter is an awesome way to get to know people you know in real life, but it can also be a cool way to meet new folks with shared interests, to get the inside scoop with industry leaders, or to rub elbows with some VIPs! The rest of this blog post should help give you some ideas on who to follow.

Oakbrook Staff:
@jermtech, @jlee268, @artsymom31, @joellarison, @jbbraun, @samburke,¬† @morgancafe, @nikochiko, and don’t forget the church account, @oakbrookchurch

Other Kokomo/Indiana people:
@hollering, @nursemandis, @aubstar, @megs_, @sarafuller,  @natrino, @stevenlowry, @chris_fairchild, @mandymalin, @avinkline, @lindsykline, @derekweed, @lindsayweed, @brandonlowry, @roguepuppet, @mmercenary, @bradconner, @jeffhart321, justindavis33,

Interesting people in Ministry:
@perrynoble, @markbatterson, @shawnwood, @kemmeyer, @tonymorganlive, @loswhit, @dinorizzo, @GeoffSurratt, @edyoung, @ShaunKing, @MarkLWaltz , @scotthodge, @pwilson, @daveferguson, @lensweet, @donmilleris

Businesses/Organizations:
@oakbrookchurch, @ecrossroads, @buckheadchurch, @gccwired, @NCC, @newspring, @IndianaChamber, @TheJazzKitchen, @espn, @DunkinDonuts, @totalfilm, @MonsterCable, @InsideRedbox

News Outlets:
@BreakingNewsOn, @theindychannel, @USAT_Breaking, @cnnbrk, @Colts, @WTHRcom, @WISH_News, @indystar, @Drudge_Report

Technology:
@mashable, @WFX

Entertainment:
@perezhilton, @mutemath, @coldplay, @hoobastanktwit, @philwickham, @charliehallband, @johncmayer, @alisonkrauss, @michaelwsmith, @wendyandlisa, @mchammer, @thirdday, @marklee3d, @willie_nelson, @sarabareilles, @jimmyfallon, @DaveJMatthews, @davebarnesmusic

Celebrities:
@The_Real_Shaq, @hodgman, @wilw, @levarburton, @brentspiner, @tavissmiley, @mrskutcher, @aplusk, @pennjillette, @richard_branson, @johncleese, @tylerperry, @GregGrunberg, @BreaGrant

Politicians/Policy Wonks:
@danburton, @mymanmitch, @karlrove, @sarah_palin, @newtgingrich, @tomcoburn, @michaelsteele, @BeckySkillman, @JimDeMint, @JohnBoehner, @BobbyJindal, @israelconsulate

What Drives You To Act Out?

February 19, 2009

iceberg_blog

From time to time, I thought I would do some follow-up posts to us Sharing Our Story. The purpose of these posts will be to help people who might be struggling with an addiction. I will share some of the things that have helped me in my recovery, with the hope that it could also help others.

One of the diagnostic tools that has helped me the most is something I simply call, “What Is Driving You?” It is an assessment tool for trying to drill down to what the root causes are. In recovery circles, the behavior we’re trying to avoid is often called, “acting out”. This could be defined differently for each person, but would consist of things like drinking (for an alcoholic), using (for a substance abuser), viewing pornography, visiting a prostitute, or having a one-night stand (for a sex addict).

The thing that many people don’t understand is that the “acting out” is not the real problem – it is only the outward symptom of an underlying, legitimate need that is going unmet. (for example, in my case – viewing pornography is not about “sex”. It is about receiving a counterfeit intimacy that temporarily relieves feelings of anxiety, depression, frustration, lonliness, or low self-esteem.)

But most of the time, those of us who fall into these cycles do not recognize when we are in one. (Although the behavior may be very apparent to everyone around us.) Because addicts are capable of unbelieveable amounts of self-deception and denial, we often don’t see the cycle until it is too late. So learning about how the cycle starts, how it manifests, what needs it fills, what purpose it is serves, etc. is vital to overcoming the grip it has on us.

So here is the little self-assessment.

In the hours, days, or weeks prior to “acting out”, which of these “needs” do you feel is driving the behavior?

  • lack of intimacy (connection with another human being; being known and understood)
  • need for acceptance (validation, affirmation, self-esteem)
  • need for nurture (to be loved, cared for, safe, protected, provided for)
  • something to “fill up” the lonliness
  • need to “medicate” emotional pain (ease, salve, dull)
  • relief from stress (anxiety, worry, tension, frustration, anger)
  • simply the need to feel “something” vs. total supression
  • need for excitement (risk, danger, adventure)
  • need for desperate attention (getting progressively bolder, more brazen, possibility of getting caught)
  • Other: ________________________________

If you will answer this little quiz honestly, you will have some huge clues into what the underlying causes of the addiction are. These answers would be an excellent resource to share with your counselor, spiritual mentor, spouse, and 12-step sponsor.

Book Reading Challenge Update: Jan 2009

February 2, 2009

Well, I guess there’s no sense hiding the truth. I’ve only finished one book so far – UnChristian.

woodlief01202

But in my defense, I’ve had two major distractions this month. 1) The sharing of our story at Oakbrook, and the many conversations that we’ve had afterward, have taken time and emotional energy. And 2) My nerd friends got me hooked on watching a new show: BattleStar Galactica.

battlestar_galactica

Honestly, I never thought I would like it so much – but I do. And oddly enough, so does Mandy. We’ve watched the entire first three seasons on DVD and are starting on Season 4 (the curent season). Soon, we’ll be caught up to enjoy the rest of the final season with all the die-hard fans.

But what about you? What is your current progress?