Archives For Addiction

I once met with a man—let’s call him Nathan—who described himself as a, “recovering charismatic.” He was open to it; but his experience of modern worship gave him pause.

As he grew up, his mother frenetically flitted from one worship experience to the next.

© United Methodist News Service

© United Methodist News Service

After Toronto she visited Florida, then Bethel Church, and then anywhere she heard “something” was happening.

Worship music unceasingly blared throughout the house. She seemed to need its euphoric “oomph” to motivate her for the tiniest of tasks. Wiping kitchen counters took the combined efforts of Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, and Paul Baloche.

Don’t ask what spring cleaning required.

But she remained anxious, fearful, self-concerned, and neglectful of her husband and sons. She’d say, “I just want to go where God is working,” but it really seemed she just wanted an escape, a place where her problems could be sedated.

After describing all this, Nathan added, “A friend of mine became a crack addict. Frankly I didn’t see much difference between him and my mom. They got their highs in different ways, and their lives remained a mess.”

I wonder,” he continued, “if modern worship is like a cocaine rush.”          Continue Reading…

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Years ago I witnessed a curious interaction between a client’s president and his secretary. I arrived at their office mid-morning and found the secretary crying in the parking lot, crying because of a tongue-lashing she had just received.

Apparently her president had wanted new conference room table and chairs. He found a set man-pointing-fingeronline and asked his secretary to buy it. She found an identical set from another distributor with a better offer: it was several thousand dollars cheaper and it included an extended manufacturer’s warranty.

When she told the president about the better deal, he was furious, and he shouted, “Don’t you know who I am? I am the president!”

The president and I had lunch later that day. During the lunch, the president gave me his version of that morning’s story, and his story matched hers—almost word for word. He ended by asking, “Didn’t she know I am the president?”

The thing was, everybody knew he was the president. He owned the company. He basically operated as the CEO, COO, and CFO. There was not a single person with a hint of a shadow of the tiniest doubt who he was. Everyone knew it.

Except maybe the president himself. Continue Reading…

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Years ago I had two friends with almost opposite personalities and with almost identical approaches to life.

John (not his real name) was direct, and I mean really direct. You always knew his opinion. He spoke his mind without hesitation. On any topic and at every opportunity. You always knew where you stood with him.

He took a personality test which confirmed he was direct. He decided to “play to his strengths,” and he became ever more direct (and also a bit harsh and insensitive). He said, “God has given me a spirit of boldness.” And he boldly told everyone what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.

Instead of a friend I had a drill sergeant.

Linda (also not her real name) was a servant. Always serving, whether you wanted her to or not. She’d grab you a cup of coffee, fluff your sofa pillow, and stare at you with big attentive eyes. Unlike John, you never knew what she thought. When she hinted at a problem, you weren’t sure if your shirt was unbuttoned or your house was on fire.

Her personality test affirmed her “servanthood,” and she became insufferable. Her creed was, “I just want to serve,” her mantra was “Let me help you with that”, and her affect was suffocation.

Instead of a friend I had a butler. Continue Reading…

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© United Methodist News Service

I once met with a man—let’s call him Adam—who described himself as a, “recovering charismatic.” His mother fanatically—maybe frenetically—flitted from one worship experience to another; she visited Toronto, Florida, Bethel Church in California, and anywhere she heard “something” was happening.

When she wasn’t traveling to Christian conferences, worship music blared throughout the house, or her iPod (filled with worship songs) was glued to her ears. She needed the euphoric “oomph” of worship music to provide motivation for the tiniest of tasks.

However, she remained anxious, self-concerned, and perhaps narcissistic. She’d say, “I just want to go where God is working,” but it seemed she really wanted escape, a place where her problems could be anesthetized.

Adam added, “A friend of mine became a crack addict. Frankly I didn’t see much difference between him and my mom. They got their highs in different ways, and their lives remained a mess.”

“I wonder,” he said, “if modern worship is just a cocaine rush.” Continue Reading…

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A few weeks ago I met a twenty-eight-year-old woman who told me of a struggle. Growing up, she longed for a good husband, a nice family, and a moderate house.

Shortly after college, she married a really good man. They found good jobs in their fields. They bought a nice house. A year later they got pregnant and had a healthy baby.

She had all she had wanted but she still felt restless.

They bought a newer car. They repainted the house. They added granite countertops; then stainless steel appliances. They were promoted. Her husband got an MBA. She quit her job and become a full-time mother. It felt good but the satisfaction didn’t last.

Soon, again, she felt discontent and restlessness. She asked herself, “Is this all there is?” She saw the same restlessness in her friends. Then she read an Einstein quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.

She said, “I wonder if we’re all spiritually insane.” Continue Reading…

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