I am going to pray to God for wisdom and insight at all times before I begin writing

I am going to pray to God for wisdom and insight at all times before I begin writing. I am not writing just to be comforted by my own thoughts appearing in words before my eyes, but am writing to be transformed by the Holy Spirit.

I want Jesus to come and be with those who are suffering. The people of Brazil, the people in Iraq and Syria. I want Jesus to open the eyes of the refugees flooding Europe, that these souls may see His light still does abide in so-called Christian countries.

I want a flood of goodness and mercy to arrive in our own country, and for those who are making decisions about our next President to be filled with the capability to be discerning and mindful of what their choices mean for the country.

Please, Lord, help me to become desirous of seeking first Your Kingdom, and seeking it from within. I know that there is so much more in my heart that you have planted that I have yet to reap. There is a brand new life for me, that will transform my puny soul into something more robust, and will help me touch the lives of others.

Please be with me when I am trying to sort myself out, and find myself on the verge of taking Your name in vain, cursing, or having lustful thoughts. I need your presence at all times, and welcome it when it appears.

Lord, You know how much I am a sinful man, and am not worthy of your grace, if my ability to receive it were to be measured by mere tit-for-tat or karmic worth. If I were to get what I truly deserve, it would be eternal damnation, but I fully understand that this is why you sent Jesus to our earth some two thousand years ago.

It is an amazing thing, the fact that I exist and breathe air. The fact that I am aware of my existence in such a way that I can at times feel as if I could live forever, and at other times sense the awfulness of having my consciousness snuffed out permanently, or forced to go where it doesn’t want to go.

There are beautiful things about being alive, and there are terrible things that bring great desperation.

I know that my consciousness could conceivably access so much more beyond my language and my senses, but I am limited by my physical self. The blend of limitations and freedoms is perfect for me, but might be incorrectly calibrated for someone else. In a close reading of theories of physics, it is easy to imagine dimensions higher than this one, and it is conceivable that my consciousness touches these dimensions. In these dimensions, someone who is big in personality and/or physicality here will be quite small. In our own three-dimensional world, someone who was big in the higher dimensions will usually appear as small in insignificant.

God made our 3D space + time universe this way to protect and nourish us while we are living within it. This keeps us mostly safe from malicious spirits, but if we grant them entry via our own consciousnesses, they will appear as possessors of our very souls. People who know nothing about what they are playing around with will end up terribly lost and sometimes inextricably intertwined with malicious parts of the spirit world.

Christ is truly the only way you can safely and happily navigate the process by which your soul matures, your spirit reflects on higher things, and your body decays within this world where moth and rust do corrupt. This impure world is a gift to sort things out and once and for all be clear on which side you are going to choose to be on. Christ can help you stay on the correct path of goodness, but rejecting him or ignoring him can mean that you will stray toward evil, or simply never decide once and for all.

Christ is God’s own son, God’s gift to us. Christ will take on the burden of your sins, and the more you give everything to Christ, the more you will choose Light in your actions and not Darkness. Paul is pretty clear in scripture as to which are the ways of Light, and which are the ways toward Darkness.

The temptation to get concerned with the material things of the world is very high. Also, the temptation to turn your back on others, under the guise of seeking to be a more spiritual thing. Think about what you would try to save if your house caught on fire. You would start with all of the living ones in the house. So it is with the world. Save the living first. Include those texts which seem to be living, such as the Bible, and books and art by people who were divinely inspired during deep walks with Christ.

The Holy Spirit is Life itself. The giver of life. Without the Spirit, the planet would simply be another round rock, spinning in our solar system. Is there life on other planets? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s not a question you need to concern yourself with. See how difficult it is for life to exist outside of the perfect conditions and distance of Earth from the Sun. There is a reason these conditions are the way that they are. There is a reason that it is almost impossible for us to travel to another solar system within a person’s lifetime.

The focus for seeking the Source of life should be on the inside, but the Love must flow out to other living things, namely human souls.

The temptation to go look at the news and see people who appear to be worse off than me

The temptation to go look at the news and see people who appear to be worse off than me is a terrible temptation. I end up feeling better about myself instead of praying for others. I end up feeling miserable about the prospects for my son to have anything close to the kind of life I had–the world starts to look as if it will fall apart at any second.

I am deeply connected to the rest of the planet. There is no denying that I could never completely separate myself from others. As the planet breathes, so do I. As the planet finds itself in a joyous mood, so do I. When the planet weeps, I do, too.

People don’t always seem to understand the degree of empathy I feel. My heart breaks for so many souls who appear to be lost. I don’t just bleed inside for the souls that are clearly victims. Many times, I bleed for the perpetrators as well. After all, they are more lost. A man like Bill Cosby is clearly disturbed beyond any repair that humans could do. Only the Lord could save him. I pray that he and others like him will confess publicly their crimes, do the time here on Earth, and prepare their souls for eternity. Living in denial for what you have done to others isn’t a way to heal.

Healing is the important thing. It’s not so much that you get sick because you sin, it’s because you are sick mentally and spiritually that you are often sick physically as well. Healing one dimension of the sickness doesn’t necessarily mean that you will become completely healed.

I know what it means to be sick in all of these dimensions of mind, body, soul, spirit, etc. I know what it means to find the right Physician–Jesus Christ–and let Him begin to heal. I know what it means to continue to hear voices of demons that scream at me to do terrible things–things that could send my soul to perdition forever. I know what it means to spend a day pleading to God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit for help in combating these voices. I know what it means to be victorious in Christ and what it means to let this kind of work slide after the demonic voices seem to go away.

Only Christ can heal broken parts that are beyond the reach of human physicians. No amount of tonics or pills can rectify a soul that has been bombarded with suggestions to participate in evil since childhood.

Really, the amount of time required to clean up all of the mental crud

Really, the amount of time required to clean up all of the mental crud I’ve collected since Junior High is quite astounding. The more shit I shovel out of my brain and replace with thoughts about God and Love and Jesus, the more thoughts seem to flow in that are anything remotely Christian.

Why am I so susceptible to such careening madness? Probably because I opened myself up to the “universe” in a bid to increase my knowledge and capacity to have empathy for others.

The downside of trying to always be in a purge mode is that I rarely receive much of anything that could be described as inspiration for writing. Maybe this is for the best, that I am not writing just anything and everything. Maybe because I am writing mostly nothing, I am keeping the world of the collective psyche less polluted.

It’s not that I want to bury my head in the sand

It’s not that I want to bury my head in the sand when it comes to adult things like money and sober, responsible living. It’s that I need to come to these things on my terms, and not on the terms of the world or my parents, or anyone else.

My parents did a good job of teaching me to mistrust the instincts of the herd, and I took things a little further. But, community became more and more important to me. I needed people in a simple, basic sort of way–one heart and soul connected to another via the Spirit. No business of business or sex, just warm, careful connections.

I use the word careful, because I have been very careless with my words. My words have often scared away those who saw something of a broken soul, or an ignorant, mildly bigoted man. I spent a few years hoping to be the king redneck, or at least the number one rebel.

Being a rebel for its own sake is the luxury of the young. If you don’t die in your twenties, you had better be prepared with answering questions about how you plan on spending many decades to come.

You had better start considering how you are going to get focused on a thing or two instead of trying to know everything there is to know about everything.

I loved people.

I loved people. You may not have known this from the scowl upon my face, but I truly loved all kinds of people. This made me very alone, because I was always taking a step back and considering both sides. There was a wretched country and western song someone quoted in my face one time when I didn’t appear to want to take a side. The truth is, you can stand for nothing and go through life falling for very little. Always a few steps outside of the tribal fire, watching the active participants, sizing them up, and trying to figure out when to jump in and dance. And then, of course, you wake up one day and you are almost forty, and you have done nothing but watch others dance.

But, the truth for me is that I did dance occasionally, just enough so that someone who was bothering with attendance registered me as present. Being barely present for life and not there at all–these are pretty much one and the same, though.

I wanted to be a lot of different people. I loved soldiers and I loved the hippie types. I wanted to get involved with financial wizardry, fashion, art, music, municipal government and food when I finally moved to New York City. I even wanted to spend time living like a monk in a tiny studio overlooking Central Park. To be in the middle of one of the hottest spots to be, and not even being present, except in spirit. Of course, I never made it to New York. You have to sign on with a club that is very active and present with what they do, and get messy and dirty in the ways that they do.

I hated being poor, but I never owned much of anything when I did have money. I liked the idea of having nice things, but nice things were probably better left inside other people’s homes and museums. I just wanted to be as completely free as possible, and I probably enslaved myself a little more with each bid for freedom.

I liked the idea that words could be more for me than simply words. Except, I was generally unfaithful to the concept in practice. I made a lot of words, hoping that some combination of them would be the right combination key to unlock a great secret or mystery of the universe.

I was petty, selfish, shallow, egotistical, prideful, bitter, wrathful, lustful, full of drink and slow to forgive. I made three times as many enemies as I did friends. All of my vanity stemmed from a part of me that wanted to be flesh in this world authentically and not just a disembodied spirit propped up by a body. I wanted to know forbidden things, and was shocked to learn how easy it is to get burned. But, so many people I met were happy to be in the thick of the flames of their future perdition. They were unequivocally divorced and cut off from their Creator, and they liked it that way. Theirs were the melodramatic stories young adults have always told and dressed up in epic garb. The more routine and shallow their lives were, the more they tried to cloak themselves in epic garb.

Once, one of them called me a dud almost to my face. He was whispering it at a happy hour table to a lady who had taken a small bit of interest in me. She clearly valued his assessment and opinions of individuals, and stopped talking to me and inviting me to events after he loudly stated that I was a dud. I don’t think I was more or less of a dud than anyone else. I was just a man.

I was a lonely man.

I didn’t want to admit just how lonely I was. I was desperate and sad most of the time. I would jump too close to the tribal fire, get burned, and then jump back for months on end, opting to be merely an observer.

The world seemed to know where it was headed, but I grew less and less sure of myself. I couldn’t say for certain if I would be alive throughout the very day I was in. My health wasn’t poor, but my uncertainty was enormous. I was uncertain if I would die and go to heaven or die and go into the earth, or die and never be anything or anyone ever again. The cold comfort of atheism was too frightening. I wanted to believe that I would live on, but I didn’t want to know if I would live on in a happy place or not. I wasn’t a very happy person most of the time, and so it would naturally make sense to anticipate my afterlife not being a very happy place.

Jogging, walking or riding my bike through these neighborhoods

Jogging, walking or riding my bike through these neighborhoods, I tend to see the same thing: nobody gets out much around here. Not out in front or on the street, anyway. These are nice neighborhoods, and traffic is minimal. Do I have a romanticized memory of my early childhood in the suburbs of Denver, where people of all ages were out riding bikes, walking, throwing a football around? Maybe I am making up the idea that adults who could just as easily hop into their cars and go down to the gym or athletic center or country club would choose to ride bikes in the evening for exercise and socializing with neighbors. Adults had low-cost ten-speed bikes from Sears or Wards, as did most teenagers.

The tennis courts are almost always empty down at the playground, too. For some reason, I remember everyone in the 70s and early 80s owning a tennis racket and playing tennis.

Were those times more filled with people out doing stuff because of gas prices? Are people today filled with paranoia and fear that killers and perverts are lurking around every corner? Are they too caught up in the digital world, and are happy enough rebooting their gym memberships for a few weeks at the start of every year? Or do people not realize how much they are afraid to go out in their own neighborhoods? Maybe they rationalize and make excuses: we were too busy today and it’s getting dark soon, anyway. We do have old bikes, but it’s always a hassle to air up the tires and tighten the brakes, and people drive like maniacs through our neighborhood and we don’t have/want to have bike helmets.

I sometimes wonder if living in isolation from your neighbors makes you more afraid of the outside world and the big Other, whether your fear is fueled by people like Donald Trump or not. No matter how nice and well-meaning and gregarious you are, if you spend too much time inside your house and your backyard, you start to mistrust people you don’t know or know that well.

Maybe it’s just these particular neighborhoods in Waco. Waco isn’t exactly a yardstick for the entire rest of the country, but I would notice something similar in Austin, and I see it to some degree when I visit the in-laws in Dallas.

I am guessing there are a number of factors involved with why people aren’t seen out in front of their houses and around their neighborhoods anymore (if it ever was so). The feeling of comfort and security provided by some modest amount of wealth probably acts like a balm at the end of a work or school day where peers and coworkers are constantly trying to find cracks in your armor. The idea of being more open to people in your immediate physical living space might seem to invite the likelihood of your neighbors feeling like they can come and go to your house as they please. Although, it would seem like this, too, might have been more prevalent at certain times and places–you were happy to have a neighbor watch the game and have a beer with you, or set a place for them at the dinner table, if they showed up uninvited at your house to hang out. It is probably why we were so charmed by the character Kramer in the 90s. We like the idea of having neighbors like that even if we really wouldn’t want our real-life neighbors to behave that way.

For me personally, it requires some effort to pick up walking, running and biking around the neighborhood after I’ve left off from it. I am overly mindful of which neighbors might be peeking out their windows and making assumptions about me, or excessively concerned with how best to greet the various neighbors who do happen to be outside (if ever so briefly). I am always sensing the raising of the psychological armor when I have a garage sale, and open my doors to whoever may come by. But afterward, I usually feel better for having done it. If anything, I might feel a little sad for all of the neighbors who pretended not to notice me or shot back inside or crossed to the other side of the street when they saw me coming.

I can see the land of lost souls quite clearly sometimes

I can see the land of lost souls quite clearly sometimes. In my dreams, I think I am experiencing the tribulation, more often than not. God has come, and taken the righteous, and left me, a terrible sinner, to try to survive with the other sinners who didn’t beg forgiveness enough, or act sincerely enough when they cried out to Jesus for salvation.

The story is one that seems kind of sexy, like any apocalyptic or zombie tale. Of course, I am among the survivors, while millions perish from disease, war and natural disasters.

It shouldn’t be my story.

I don’t really want or need that kind of story, anymore, no matter how appealing it is to other people.

Why am I sitting here, asking God for deep guidance, when I just got done sinning in a most terrible sort of way? I have come to expect God not to respond–I certainly don’t deserve it.

The feeling of release and ecstasy that washed over me, even as I knew the entire time I was doing a bad thing that will be plainly put before me and God and others on the day of Judgement–the feeling was mechanical like my body had become purely a machine that needed watering, feeding and occasionally gratifying.

I am done with mechanical men–men like AS who seemed to live for being a man of his times–possessing the latest Apple gadget and driving a BMW–divorced from the first, misguided marriage, and happily (or so he told himself) married to an upgrade. The way a man like that might consume fantasy football, poker, UFC fight nights, etc. is the same way that a boar might consume rotten melons, cabbages and other garden leavings.

I am a man with a soul who wants to know others who believe that they, too, have souls, and also believe that things are not quite right or perfect between them and God. But, I don’t want to carry about this soul sickness of sin forever. I want to drop it, and become someone who can relate to others because I am a servant leader, a wounded worker, a tortured healer. I want the place where my heart is broken to always be aligned with the place where Jesus’ heart breaks.

I am tired of breaking Jesus’ heart.

The land of the lost doesn’t consist of those who are purely evil and have completely lost their humanity. It has for its membership those men and women who once knew about their own immortal souls, and cried out to God in the night. The land of the lost holds us like in a limbo or purgatory state. Where to send us? Our wicks aren’t trimmed and our lamps are almost out of oil, but not quite. We still have some small flames burning–perhaps ones we ourselves have forgotten existed.