Sunday, October 31, 2010


Dear Diary,

This is one crazy week.  On Saturday I helped out with a Fall Festival for kids in the neighbourhood.  Church was on Sunday.  On Monday I am going to a jewelry party for a good cause.  Wednesday is my book study, with the possibility of a music practice for worship on Sunday.  Thursday I am going to a C&C group at a different church where I don't know anyone.  Friday, I am invited out for coffee with a young adults pastor, who I don't really know.  And then, on Sunday, I am playing guitar for worship, preceded by worship practice in the morning.  And that all happens in between 5 days of work.

I will admit, I am excited.  That doesn't sound right coming from an introvert but I see God in all these things and I just can't not be excited.



Dear Diary,

I spent today helping out with a fall festival for kids at church today.  It was great.  I love kids.  They are authentic.  If they are happy, they will let you know.  If they are mad, they will also let you know.  They are honest and true to themselves.  I think there's a lot we (not kids) can learn from them.  I want authenticity in my life.  I also want authenticity from others, but that does not happen all the time.  Moving on, today was a great day.  I have missed working with kids the last few years, but today felt right.  Today felt like I was fulfilling my purpose.  Maybe that's too deep or maybe it's too superficial but it feels authentic.

Changing gears, it reminded me how much I miss AH and JH.  They are two awesome kids I know from up north where I used to work until several months ago.  I have always said I find it difficult to say I love anyone, but I love those kids so much.  Today was amazing and sad because I am reminded of how much I miss AH and JH.  The great thing though, is that I wouldn't miss them if I didn't care about them so much.  It reminds me that occasionally someone manages to break through my defences enough to affect me like this.

Thank you God for today.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tired Much? or 50 Things

It was a long, late day at work and now I'm finally home.  But I can't sleep, so, in this semi-conscious state I thought I would make another "Things List".  I'll be honest, I'm kinda curious to wake up in the morning and see what I wrote.  Maybe some subconscious gems or deep insights will pop out.  Here's 50 more things you may not know about me.

1. I have grown my hair shoulder length, had it braided and attached beads.
2. I have had dreads before.
3. I doubt I have drank more than 1 pot of coffee sum total in my life ever.
4. The scariest dream I have ever had that I remember involved a toilet trying to eat me.
5. I refuse to grow a mustache, by itself.
6. I want a dog.
7. I want to grow a bonsai tree from a seed.
8. I have mentioned the minimum amount of children I would like is 2, but I did not mention I am willing to go up to 10.
9.  My car is 15 years old.
10.  I don't like heights.
11.  I have gone bungee jumping.
12.  I have gone sky diving.
13.  I am a morning person.
14.  I am a night person.
15.  I used to only buy white socks so that every sock in my drawer matched every other sock in my drawer.
16.  I have decided that going out to the movies as often as I used to is a waste of money.
17.  I think I need a haircut.
18.  I can't stand on my head.
19.  I have had glasses since I was 12.
20.  I eat way too many desserts and junk food related items, but I don't think I care.
21.  Mmmmmmmmmmm.  Chocolate.
22.  The only tv show I make an effort to see is The Office.
23.  I think I think too much.
24.  I don't like sushi.  I tried to like it.  It didn't work.
25.  I like "Chic Flicks".
26.  I ran a marathon (42km) on a treadmill, the week before I ran a real marathon, just to see if I could do it.
27.  I put pumpkin pie in a blender.
28.  I should probably wash my glasses.
29.  I am going to make myself go skiing or snowboarding this winter.  I haven't done that since a school trip in Junior High.
30.  I worked in a dental lab after I graduated.
31.  Few pictures of me exist.
32.  I have 28 cousins.
33.  The smell of cigarette smoke reminds me of nostalgic Christmas memories I have from childhood.
34.  I remember learning to walk.
35.  I wish Christmas was as precious to me now as it was when I was young.
36.  I just read #18 and thought I wrote, "I can't stand my head".
37.  I have milked a cow.
38.  I have sat in the Canadian senate, in the lower chamber.
39.  Why am I hungry?
40.  I have never worn a kilt, yet.
41.  Is an odd number.
42.  I am really looking forward to helping lead worship again.
43.  I am sooooo tired right now.
44.  When I was 5, I put my dad's truck into neutral and rolled into the street.
45.  I wanted to be a janitor when I was 5.
46.  I want to learn French and Spanish.
47.  I found a book at a sale that was over 100 years old and bought it.  I don't know what it is about because I'm scared to open it and wreck it.
48.  I want to grow closer to God, but sometimes I can't figure out how.
49.  I wanted Jesus to return before I graduated so I didn't have to go get a job.
50.  I have seriously thought of getting a pedicure, just so I could say that I have got a pedicure.

I apologize for wasting your time.  I'm off to bed now.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Music and Christian Music

This will be a scatterbrained entry.  I'm just throwing stuff out there, without much organization or editing.

I'm a fan of music.  All music.  Yes, even that music.  I'm not a huge fan of the distinction of "Christian" music from other genres.  Really, what is Christian music?  Is it music about Jesus? Music for Jesus?  Music by Christians?  Music by non-Christians about Christ?  Jesus' own personal compositions?  How many JPM's do there have to be to qualify?  I find it amusing to go to a music store and find bands like TFK and Skillet in the Gospel section.  And for that matter, why aren't the Beastie Boys considered a Buddhist Band?  They are all Buddhists.  None of this really matters.  I'm just typing as I think, without much filtering.  Is there really such a thing as Christian music?  This is just a tiny piece of a larger thought that I have been wrestling with.  What does it really mean to be a Christian?  I'll try to tackle that one some day.

Blurring the line between music and "Christian" music is P.O.D.  They are a band of Christians, as opposed to a Christian band.  Obviously their style doesn't fit well in a traditional worship service, but it was never meant to.  One of the great things about P.O.D. is that they are musical trailblazers.  They forged their own trail.  No one sounds like them and they sound like no one else.  Fusing hip-hop, funk, punk, rap, R&B, rock, and reggae into a unique aural experience, P.O.D. has gained an immense following in the general music world, and somewhat coincidentally, Christian music world.

Jumping into the public's notice after releasing their CD Satellite, and it's first single Alive, on the infamous Sept 11, 2001, their positiveness offered a sharp contrast to a world of pain.  Alive was one of the biggest songs of 2002, which is amazing because it speaks of the joy of coming to a saving realization of who Jesus is.  Not something usually found in the public consumption of music.  P.O.D. received a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance for the song Portrait (warning: graphic fan vid), which includes the lyrics:
You're not who they say you are 
They made you the enemy 
(CHRIST-Jah flesh; CHRIST-Light within; CHRIST- Beginning and the end) 
Taken something so beautiful 
Painted a new picture that makes me sick 
(CHRIST-Witness; CHRIST-Living one; CHRIST-First and the last) 
Feed our minds confusion 
Sweeten the taste of pollution. 
(CHRIST-Word life; CHRIST-Resurrect; CHRIST-Everlasting Jah) 

I refuse to be like you 
Without life, empty, caving in 
(CHRIST-Jah flesh; CHRIST-Light within; CHRIST- Beginning and the end) 
I surrender, giving up all that is me 
Yielding to you 
(CHRIST-Witness; CHRIST-Living one; CHRIST-First and the last) 
Shape me in my brokeness 
Empower me forever 
(CHRIST-Word life; CHRIST-Resurrect; CHRIST-Everlasting Jah) 

I know you will complete this work started in me 
I need you more than ever now that I know who you are 
I know you will complete this work started in me 
I need you more than ever now that I've come so far
Where traditional Christian musicians may not have influence, like the bars, the night clubs, on Howard Stern and such, P.O.D. is a headliner.  They have toured with Ozzfest, Van's Warped tour, Virgin Music Festival, as well as Christian gatherings like Youth Quake and Creation Fest.

From their Testify album, here is their collaboration with Hasidic Jewish rapper, Matisyahu, entitled Roots in Stereo.  You may also like their more worshipful second collaboration, Strength of My Life.

Here's some more of their songs that the "World" has accepted without needing to label it "Christian" or rejecting it because it is by Christians.
Sleeping Awake from The Matrix: Reloaded
Rock the Party from Pay It Forward
School of Hard Knocks from Little Nicky
Whatever It Takes from Any Given Sunday
Murder One from D.O.P.E.
Booyaka 619 theme song of wrestler Rey Misterio
Chargers theme song of the Sandiego Chargers
Lights Out from the Pontiac Garage promotional video series

Other official Videos
Change the World
Will You
Youth of the Nation
Good-Bye for Now
Going in Blind
When Angels and Serpents Dance

So, is there such a thing as Christian music?  I don't think so.  Art is art.  Subject matter may vary but the content is what determines if we will assimilate it into our walk, or leave it by the wayside.  And that can be said of art that has no Christian origins at all.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Elephant and the Post

A man travelling through India was amazed to see all the elephants used to move heavy objects, barrels, boxes, trees, for their masters.  What amazed him more was that at night, these massive animals were tied to a small post in the ground with a flimsy rope, and yet they never tried to escape or run away although they could easily break the rope or snap the post.  The man asked one of the handlers why the elephants don't escape.  The handler told the man that since the elephants were very little, they were tied to the post with the flimsy rope.  They did try escape back then but they were too small and the post held firm.  As they grew up they stopped trying to escape.  The elephants accepted the fact that the post and rope could never be broken.  Now, here they were, giants of muscle and strength, and they were still held in place by a post and rope.  In reality, it wasn't the post or rope holding them any more, it was the lie that they accepted that held them captive.

I don't know much about the pachyderm freight moving industry so it's possible that this story isn't true at all.  In that case, consider it a fable.  There is still a lesson in there somewhere.  I think we all have posts in our lives.  I know I have a lot in my mine.  These tiny little lies, which we've accepted, hold us captive.  But the good news is we are bigger, stronger, faster and smarter than these lies.  Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  We don't have to be captive any more.

In an effort to escape some of my posts, the lies that I've accepted and allowed to hold me captive, I thought I would share some of them with you.

1.  I can't dance-  I can dance.  I may dance horribly.  I may have no rhythm.  I might never have a spontaneous ring of supporters form around me at a dance off, but I can dance.

2.  I can't cook-  I can cook.  Actually, I've been breaking down this post for a couple months now.  I will never eat another pizza pop as long as I shall live.

3.  People don't want to spend time with me-  This is an unfortunate carry over from my younger years.  As a shy, scared introvert, I just assumed this was true all the time.  I kept myself a lot more isolated than I would have liked.  Just like a reflex, I find myself still doing this today.  However, I am aware of it, and I am working on breaking down this lie.  It will probably take me a longer time to break than the dancing thing, but I will break it.  I am determined to meet people, make friends, increase my circle of relationships.  On a side note, if anyone out there actually reads this, I sure wouldn't mind you inviting me out somewhere.  I would appreciate it a lot, and I would try to return the favour.  I'm still working on this whole how to be a friend thing.  Also, give me a hug while you're at it.  Thanks.

That's probably enough for now.

You may have posts in your life too.  If you do, you probably know what they are.  Just fill in the blank.  I will never _____________.   Now, go prove yourself wrong.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back to the Box

No sooner had I made a decision to allow God into all the boxes of my life, or more accurately, allowed the contents of said boxes be turned over to God, a challenge popped up.  A box tried to reclaim its contents and keep God out.  It was a tough one.  It seems like any time a decision is made that allows the kingdom of God to gain ground, a challenge arises.  And I returned the contents back to God.  It wasn't easy.  I am definitely happy with the results.  I apologize for being so metaphorical.  I just want to let the interweb know I was serious about my decision and last night I followed through.

Proverbs III

Everything takes longer than you think, and if it doesn't, you've done something wrong.

Extraordinarily Deep Thoughts V

Lifehouse, a band of Christians, as opposed to a Christian band, has been doing their thing for a little more than 10 years now. They have achieved success in both the Christian and Top 40 music worlds, and their single Hanging By A Moment was the most played song of 2001. I like this song, Storm, because of it's simplicity and truth. This song is on my "life isn't going so well" playlist.


Here's a funny clip from Mark Gungor that only slightly relates to what I want to talk about.  Boxes.  A longer version can be found here

Men and women aside, I think people in general do take the items in our lives and put them in a box.  A box for each item.  A box for God.  It is quite popular in Christianity today to make claims that "we" or "they" are putting God in a box.  That is to say, limitting God, or confining God to our limitted understanding.  I'm using the term a little differently.  By boxes I am referring to the compartmentalization of our lives.  That's why it is so easy for Sunday morning Christians, to cheat on their taxes, spouse or final exam.  God is in one box, their marriage in another, their wallet in another, and so on.  No box exerts any influence on another box.  I know I've been guilty of that, and still am, but I am aware of it now, and so I have no excuses.  I have been reading through The Invitation by Eugene H Peterson.  In it he speaks about the early Hebrew nation and their culture.  It was all about God.  Work was about God.  Play was about God.  Life was praise to God.  That is so much different than life today, but I don't think it has to be.  I don't know how this is going to all play out in my life but I've decided to rearrange my boxes.  God is the box I want to place all other boxes in.  Now that I've written that, I've changed my mind.  I want God to be the only box.  I want to dump the contents of all the other boxes into the one box and be done with it.  Everything is God's, and nothing is separate from anything else.  That is a scary thought.  New Beginnings.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The End of the Introductions

Ok, I'm mostly ready to get on with this blog thing, and stop talking about how shy and scared I was as a kid.  But first I want to answer a few questions that you may have based on my Intro series.  If you haven't read them, this may not make sense and you may as well continue to the next post.


How did a guy who was scared of everything and everyone make friends?

Well, as hard as I tried, I couldn't avoid everyone all the time.  After being exposed to some people for long enough, I eventually began to realize they wouldn't judge me, and I began to open up somewhat.  The people I had been around long enough to start trusting tended to be at church / youth group or school, where some of my classmates followed me from grade to grade to grade.  I have noticed that the people I did become friends with I knew for at least a year before we ever became friends.  That seems to be the length of time it took for me to trust someone enough to let my guard down.  Even then I was still an introvert and so trusting someone did not mean we'd automatically become friends.  Despite myself, I did manage to make some friends at church and school.  And they did manage to drag me along to things like JHJ, Xtreme, and such.

Did you really never go to a school dance?

Kinda.  I went to one in grade 6.  It was a cake dance.  If you don't know what that is, it doesn't matter.  Before I continue you need to remember that someone with SAD always thinks they are being judged and rejected, whether real or perceived.  If someone actually does judge or reject a SAD sufferer, it is just confirmation of what they already think.  And, in my case, the SAD-sack will probably avoid whatever thing it was that lead to judgement or rejection in the first place.  Anyhoo, after a while all the guys started daring all the other guys to ask a girl to dance.  Somehow they managed to physically drag me over to Laurie O. and make me ask her for a dance.  She said yes, but really, we were all 11, who was going to say no.  What happened next is a bit blurry, but we went out on the gym floor and did our best impression of what I guess we thought was two people dancing.  For whatever reason, to this day, I still remember exactly how I danced.  The guys on the sideline started pointing and laughing at me, at least that's what I thought.  I doubt anyone there actually looked like they knew what they were doing but it hurt me inside.  That was my last dance, ever.

I did go to my grad thing, but being shy I never asked a girl to be my "date", I never went to the grand march, and the only reason I went to the grad party /  dance was to win door prizes.  I spent all night in the food room eating while everyone else was in the dance hall dancing and partying.  Grad was actually a depressing time for me because it highlighted to me how different I was from everyone else.  I do attend wedding receptions today but I'm never the first guy there or the last guy to leave and I still do not dance (with witnesses).

Did you really never go to camp?

All the church kids went to bible camps in the summer.  I did not.  I did not want to go.  I was terrified of all the strangers that would be there.  I did go camping several times with youth group but it was with the group I had known for many years.  Back to the camp thing.  I went to Covenant Bay Bible Camp in high school once, after my youth pastor, Cathy, pleaded with me to go because she was an organizer.  It was for an event called CYNC.  It was a precursor for everyone planning to go to CBC the next year.  This was our chance to meet our future CBCmates.  It was not a good experience for me.  You know how you go to camp and meet a lot of new people and at the end of the week everyone is friends, trading addresses, email, phone numbers, and hugging each other good-bye?  I don't.  I saw everyone else doing it and, like Jane Goodall studying the chimps, I tried to figure out this bizarre social behaviour.  I couldn't comprehend how all these strangers were now best of friends, and I was still a stranger.  Ironically, it was CYNC that convinced me I didn't want to go to CBC if these were the people with whom I would be attending.  I feel bad because after coming back from these types of things people from church would always ask me how things went.  I don't think they really wanted to know and I don't think I really wanted to tell them.  I would say, "fine," and they would say, "that's good," and we both went our separate ways. I want to end this answer by saying I was not really in a good place then and I am so thankful that my life is different and God has given me the opportunity to experience camp all over again, in a much better state of mind.  

So there you go.  That sums up my life until my Bible College years.  It was then that I really started to gain an understanding of, and relationship with God.  And through those years God has changed me.  I have had a chance to work on those social skills I obviously did not have growing up and I feel like I've gone through a second adolescence, a second chance to grow up.  And here I am now, trying to make the most of my second chance at this abundant life I've heard so much about.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Extraordinarily Deep Thoughts IV

This is one of the few songs I don't think I've ever made it through without crying.  There are many beautiful renditions of it out there but I chose a rougher live version for this post.  John Cooper's dirty vocals are how I feel this song needs to be sung.  Skillet has captured the abject desperation and joy of the sinner.  It is me singing.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Extraordinarily Deep Thoughts III

An oldie but a goodie.  Growing up I had no idea there was a world of Christian music that existed outside the hymnal.  My mom would listen to country gospel music, but I could never connect with it.  It always seemed so hokey and out of date to me.  I was embarrassed by it.  One day, at camp, (I know I said I never went to camp in a previous post so I will have to issue a disclaimer on my next post) I heard this CD playing in the background while our speaker and worship leader were setting up equipment.  I liked it.  I connected with it.  And, most surprising to me, it was a Christian band playing relevant Christian music.  When I got home from camp I went out and bought Jars of Clay's self titled debut, and hid it from my family, embarrassed that I even owned a Christian CD.  Songs like Flood and Liquid got air time on the radio but this is the song that stood out to me.  It was the first time I remember feeling a passion or desire to love God.  I think this song marks the beginning of my transition from head to heart as a Christian.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Proverbs II

Foremost brand sour cream, in the 4 liter pail, looks EXACTLY like Foremost brand yogurt, in the 4 liter pail.  Especially when you are in a hurry.  That's all I'm saying.  And I'm glad I really, really like perogies.

New Beginnings

Right now my life feels like a new beginning.  If you haven't read the previous sequential Introductions (A, BC) you may want to, just to understand what I'm talking about. Or you may want to skip them cuz they are a bit of a downer.  Your call.

My earlier life may seem a bit depressing, but I didn't write it for you to feel sorry for me.  I'm not sorry for me.  I'm excited.  I'm happy.  The old me is gone.  I am a new creation, in many different ways, and I am excited to discover how this will all play out.  It is as though my life has just started.  I appreciate the simple things so much more now because of what I went through before, and life is good.

I have had the opportunity to re-experience some of the things that I let pass me by growing up, and for that I thank God.  Growing up, I went to several JHJ and Extreme Impacts but did not have good experiences.  My head was not in the right place and I was very much under the influence of SAD.  However, as a youth leader I have had the opportunity to take my youth groups to events like Junior High Jam and Extreme Impact and YC.  I know these events were milestones in many of their lives, and this time they held deep meaning for me too.  God has allowed me a second chance to experience them, and I am so grateful for that.

And that is why I am excited.  I feel like I have a second chance to experience everything I missed out on growing up.  My life is just beginning.  My relationship with God is blossoming.  The opportunities are coming.

And now a quick nod to the very special people who have helped me out at the many stages of my life to overcome my obstacles.

RH from The Sanctuary
KB and BW from CBC and Club 428
Worship Warriors from Harvest
DH, CH, JH, and AH from YSF
Everyone who took an interest in my life growing up at Gateway
CBCers who went above and beyond to drag me out of my shell when I would retreat into it
And those crazy long term friends I've known for way longer than I'd admit

Thanks for putting up with me and helping me when I didn't want it.  I'll do you proud.


Introduction III C

Imagine walking into a room and knowing that everyone was judging you.  Judging your appearance, your intellect, your sense of humour, your clothes, your hair, how you walked, everything about you.  Imagine they were all waiting for you to do something they disapproved of so they could reject you outright and never associate with you again.  That is Social Anxiety Disorder.  That is how most of my adolescence felt.  I know now that it was all in my head but for the majority of my life, that's how I lived.  That is not my life anymore.

In the last two "Introductions" (lntroduction III AIntroduction III B) I wrote about my past with SAD.  In this post I want to write about where I am at now, the difference between SAD (which I have beaten) and being an introvert which I have accepted.  Finally, I want to go through a quick synopsis of my personality type so that anyone reading this has a better insight into who I am.  Apparently only 1% of the world is the same as me.  Crazy.  My goal is to be known and understood by the other 99%, or at least the people in my life.

Where am I now?

I'm busy living a mostly normal life.  I have a job, a few friends, some hobbies (which can mostly be done alone, go figure), a church, and a few regularly scheduled gatherings of people that I make an effort to attend. I no longer feel like everyone is judging me all the time.  I do not fear rejection like I once used to although it does pop up some times.  I am good at putting it in its place.  I am actively making an effort to be involved with things that excite me, like music or kids.  I don't look for excuses to avoid gathering with people, although many times I would prefer not to go.  That has more to do with my introvertedness than anything else.  I am an introvert and I have accepted that, but I still work on overcoming the weakness of being such.  As for the SAD thing, it is in my past.

The difference between SAD and being an introvert

SAD is fear.  Fear of social ostracism.  Fear of rejection.  Fear, fear, fear.  The end.

An introvert is a person who desires alone time and has ability to rest and gain strength by being alone.  This tends not to make sense to extroverts who, when tired, decide to go out to the bar or a party or hang out with friends to recoup.  Where do you recharge your batteries?  An extrovert draws energy from being around people.  An introvert needs time alone to be refreshed.

An excellent website that deals with all things introvert can be found here.  Introverts aren't always the wallflowers at the dance although, I was so introverted at times, I aspired to be a wallflower.  Steve Martin is an example of an introvert who I don't think anyone would consider a loner or withdrawn.  I mentioned several posts ago that those who only knew me slightly would have no idea of the struggle I have gone through.  Part of that is because even though I am an introvert, there were times where I took the lead or got the party started.  Even when suffering from SAD, if I was in a group that I absolutely knew for years and years, and could be 100% sure no one was judging me (usually family or sometimes church youth group), I was the life of the party. No one ever thinks the guy "up front" is scared or shy, but I was.

For the longest time I always asked God, "What is wrong with me?  Is there something broken that needs to be fixed or something different that needs to be accepted?"  I gradually came to the realization that I was dealing with two distinct issues.  During my recovery I had to differentiate between my introvertedness and my SAD which was not always easy.  For example, I hated meeting new people.  The SAD part of me would say, "I am scared this stranger will not like me or make fun of me."  The introverted part would say, "I have enough people in my life, lets go somewhere alone and think."  Both responses would be to avoid the new person, but for entirely different reasons.  I am glad to say I no longer fear strangers, however, I still prefer to travel in circles where I am already known.   Having said that, I know life can't be lived to the fullest by hanging with the same people all the time.  Luckily I have made the effort to go to small groups or pizza nights (that I would have preferred to avoid) where I have met some amazing people who I hope will one day be a part of my new, larger circle of friends.

My Personality Type

If you haven't heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test I encourage you  to look it up online and take a brief personality test.  In addition to determining degree of introversion or extroversion it deals with other motivations, skill sets, strengths and weaknesses.  It is a valuable tool for for those looking for a little more insight into who they are.  There is a great book called, "Please Understand Me", which expands greatly on the personality types.  I am an INTJ.
INTJs are rare, comprising no more than, say, one percent of the population, but INTJs are head and shoulders above all the rest in contingency planning.  INTJs are analytical. They are most comfortable working alone and tend to be less sociable than other types. Nevertheless, INTJs are prepared to lead if no one else seems up to the task, or if they see a major weakness in the current leadership. They tend to be pragmatic, logical, and creative. They have a low tolerance for spin or rampant emotionalism. They are not generally susceptible to catchphrases and do not recognize authority based on tradition, rank, or title. INTJs are strong individualists who seek new angles or novel ways of looking at things. They enjoy coming to new understandings. They tend to be insightful and mentally quick; however, this mental quickness may not always be outwardly apparent to others since they keep a great deal to themselves. They harbour an innate desire to express themselves; that is to be creative by conceptualizing their own intellectual designs. Analyzing and formulating complex theories are among their greatest strengths.  They are very determined people who trust their vision of the possibilities, regardless of what others think. They may be considered the most independent of all of the sixteen personality types.

As for social relationships, where I still struggle with most, here's what you can expect from an INTJ:
The most independent of all types, INTJs trust their intuition when choosing friends and mates—even in spite of contradictory evidence or pressure from others. The emotions of an INTJ are hard to read, and neither male nor female INTJs are apt to express emotional reactions. At times, INTJs seem cold, reserved, and unresponsive, while in fact they are the opposite, almost hypersensitive to signals of rejection from those they care for. In social situations, INTJs may also be unresponsive and may neglect small rituals designed to put others at ease. For example, INTJs may communicate that idle dialogue such as small talk is a waste of time. This may create the impression that the INTJ is in a hurry—an impression that is not always intended. They generally withhold strong emotion and do not like to waste time with what they consider irrational social rituals. This may cause non-INTJs to perceive them as distant and reserved; nevertheless, INTJs are usually very loyal partners who are prepared to commit substantial energy and time into a relationship to make it work.In their interpersonal relationships, INTJs are usually better in a working situation than in a recreational situation.
Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon them in interpersonal situations.
This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation (which most types consider half the fun of a relationship). To complicate matters, INTJs are usually extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense.

Wow, that was a lot.  My apologies.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Extraordinarily Deep Thoughts II

Whether you realize it or not, deliriou5? is a band that changed Christian worship music in the 90's.  If you've ever attended church you've probably sung some of their songs.  Beginning as a group of guys writing some songs for some youth events, their genuine passion and emotion poured through the lyrics and melodies, and pushed them to the forefront of a wave of new worship in the church.  I did not come across deliriou5? until late in their career while at bible college.  I was unaware of the world of Christian music that existed outside the hymnal until stumbling upon Jars of Clay in my late teens.  This recording is from their farewell performance, 18 years after they started, and about 15 years after this song was originally released.  The raw emotion still keeps me in awe.  The original release, from the Cutting Edge, is just as amazing if not more so.  I don't know how they managed to capture it on tape.  This song is on the playlist of my life, for both the good times and the rough times.

Introduction III B

I don't know when I first started exhibiting symptoms of SAD.  I know as a young child I was extremely outgoing and social.  I would bring random kids home from different grades that I had met only minutes before on the street.  I first remember being afraid in grade 2, around the age of 7.  I moved from PA to Calgary for the first half of Grade 2 because my family was planning to transition back to Calgary, where we were originally from.  That didn't work out, and after Christmas we moved back to PA.  I was returning to my old school with my old friends who I hadn't seen in 4 months.  I remember being terrified they wouldn't remember me, or, if they did, they wouldn't like me anymore.  I tried to convince mom she shouldn't send me to school because I couldn't remember where it was and I would get lost.  It was hard to argue convincingly because we lived 1 block from Vickers and could see it from our deck.  I did go to school and it did turn out ok, but I relived this situation every time I went into a new grade or got a job.  By the time I graduated I was terrified of the real world.  I didn't want to leave home or go to school.  (Thankfully my friend, Gary, found me a job which helped me transition into life after graduation.)

That was the beginning.  The ending started sometime after I graduated.  One night I was randomly reading blogs after work, jumping from link to link, not paying attention, when I came across a blog of someone who wrote about living with SAD.  I had never heard that term before but, as I read his symptoms, I had a Kiros moment.  He was describing my life.  Every fear was listed there.  I finally knew what was wrong with me.  It was such an amazing relief to find out I was not alone.  Apparently there are a lot of us out there, but how would we know, all hiding in our bedrooms, not communicating with each other.  Thank you Interweb!  I have since forgotten the blog but this amazing person listed treatments he sought and what seemed to work for him.  There were medications and counselling and therapies.  Unfortunately for all us SAD-sacks, the most effective treatment was exposure therapy.  I had to expose myself to the things I feared.  The purpose was to experience the fear and realize that it would not kill me, or hurt me, or embarrass me or cause me to be rejected, and thus I would desensitize myself to the situation through constant exposure.  It sounds really simple, but it is difficult.  Examples would include calling the operator and asking for a phone number or going through an express check out line at the store with 15 items instead of 12.  The most difficult thing for me though, was joining groups of people, at parties, church, college and career, etc...  Remember, during my most formative years, when most people learn to socialize with adults, friends, the opposite sex, I was busy hiding from everyone.  Now I had to go and interact with these strangers and I didn't have the experience or social skills to pull it off at first.  I was like a bull in a china shop.

My first real "exposure" was a newly started College and Career group.  I dropped out after 4 or 5 weeks because I just couldn't seem to connect with anyone.  I didn't give up though.  I enrolled at Fountain of Life School of Ministry which just opened up in PA the year before.  That really was my first big breakthrough.  It was also the place of many setbacks for me, socially speaking, but it was a great experience.  During FOLSOM I started teaching Sunday School at my home church, Gateway Covenant.  I had to speak and lead worship occasionally for morning chapel, and I even preached at the Apostolic church in front of a congregation of several hundred people. Through FOLSOM I went on a promotional tour of the province, speaking and teaching at many churches in many cities.  I started leading a youth group in Saskatoon on weekends at Harvest Christian Fellowship after they approached FOLSOM looking for a youth pastor.  I played guitar regularly during worship and sometimes bass and drums (which I learned from watching other people play them).  Also through FOLSOM, I assisted at the Christian school as a TA, interned at the Provincial Correctional Institute (once teaching a class on decision making to inmates by myself), and took a brief internship in Regina at the Sanctuary Church.  Soon after, our youth pastor in Prince Albert left and myself and a few others took over the youth group in the interim.  I even delivered a few sermons at Gateway.  All these things helped me immensely get over my fear of being judged and rejected.  Then, to top it all off, I ran for city council (somewhat impulsively) in the Spring.  There were interviews with the newspaper and door to door campaigning and signs, of which I still have a few for souvenirs.  I didn't win, but that was a good thing.  Several months later I would find myself moving to another city.

At that point in time I felt God leading me to Covenant Bible College.  I can't say I have felt God leading me all that often, but this particular time I can.  So, several years after all my friends, and my younger brother had gone to CBC, I packed up, and really moved away from home for the first time to start another crazy adventure.  I left everything and everyone I knew, except for Logan (who helped run the PA youth group and came to CBC my year) and moved to a place with 86 strangers all living in the same complex together.  Now that was exposure therapy.  CBC was great.  Some of the best and worst experiences of my life were there.  I could talk about it a long time, and if you are ever interested, ask me some questions and we can chat about everything that happened my year.

If that random website was the beginning of my recovery, CBC was the middle.  I was not totally fixed by the time convocation rolled around but I had experienced some incredible breakthroughs.  God worked in my life both spiritually, and in social situations, and I am so grateful for my experiences there.  Since CBC I have managed to put myself in a lot more interesting social situations, which will probably come up in future posts, and I have become a relatively normal and socially functional human being.  I occasionally have setbacks, but I can usually reason my way through them.  I can make phone calls, talk to strangers, and go to weddings without feeling like the walls are closing in around me.

Continue on to Introduction III C

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Introduction III A

Most of the blogs I read tend to deal with current events and insights and discuss how they effect the present and future.  I think for the next couple days, my entries will deal with the past and how it shaped my history up to now.  It's a little different than usual and if any entry on this blog will be boring it will probably be posted over the next few days.  I apologize in advance.

I've mentioned that I was a sufferer of Social Anxiety Disorder, which is sometimes known as Social Phobia.  It's still kicking around in my life but to a much lessor extent.  From this point on I'll just call it SAD to save time.  To understand me, which seems to be the purpose of my blog so far, you need to understand SAD because it controlled a large part of my life.  I was not like other people growing up.  I know everyone thinks that, especially during our early teens, but it was much more true of me.  I did not behave like other kids and to some extent, I don't behave like other adults now.  I'm sure my motivations or actions have been misinterpreted in the past and even today.  I want to explain myself and ask you to please understand me.  Here's a little definition I grabbed off the interweb.

Social anxiety disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people fear social situations where they might be embarrassed or judged. When put in a social situation where they might become anxious sufferers have symptoms such as a racing heart, trembling, blushing or even sweating. This anxiety disorder is not uncommon by any stretch of the imagination — some sources say it affects more than five million Americans any given year.
A diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder can indicate either a “specific disorder” or a “general disorder”. A specific disorder is when only some particular situations cause social anxiety. A generalized social anxiety disorder typically involves a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being judged by others and of potentially being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions. These fears can be triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny by others. While the fear of social interaction may be recognized by the person as excessive or unreasonable, considerable difficulty can be encountered overcoming it. Approximately 13.3 percent of the general population may meet criteria for social anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetime, according to some estimates. In general, males are slightly more disposed to suffer from social anxiety disorder than females.

In addition to the key statements like fear of being judged, embarrassed, humiliated, I would also add the fear of being rejected.  To illustrate what SAD looks like in real life, here's a few examples.

In Junior High and even High School, I used to take up to 2 hours to make a phone call.  That's right.  I would pace back and forth trying to work up the courage to talk to a stranger on the phone.  I was terrified I would say something stupid.  If I was calling someone I knew, like a friend, I could usually make the call in 10 to 20 minutes.  I know it sounds ridiculous, even to me now, but that's just the way it was.  As a result, if I had to call anyone for any reason, it could eat up a good chunk of my day.  That's how debilitating it was.  As a young kid I would actually run away from the phone when it rang so that I wasn't expected to answer it.
Obviously this affected my life.  I would say that a normally developing child would use the phone occasionally to call friends or talk to grandparents or some such things.  I avoided it as much as possible.  And so I missed out on all those normal developmental opportunities that would come from communication.

And that was just the phone.  I avoided real live social situations as much as possible.  I remember being about 10 years old and my Aunt and Uncle and cousins from Norquay spent the night at our house because of a wedding in Prince Albert.  I stayed in bed pretending to sleep for 4 hours until they left because I was terrified to interact with them.  Even at that age I knew it wasn't normal.   

I missed out on many developmental opportunities growing up because I was scared of social situations.  I never went to camp.  I would hide out in the coat room during wedding receptions, or wait in the car for 2 or 3 hours, only taking breaks to go back inside and beg with mom and dad to leave.  I would pretend to be sick to avoid going to Sunday School.  I tried to avoid church related youth events our denomination held like Junior High Jam and Extreme Impact, although I had enough friends to drag me along to a couple of them.  I never went to a school dance.  I didn't go to CHIC when I was eligible (although I did work up enough courage to go the next time around because my birthday was right on the cut off date and I had that option), and I didn't go to CBC after I graduated like so many in our church did.

Wow, this is getting depressing.  Don't worry.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  This was just an introduction to SAD and the effect it had on my developmental years.  I'm much better now, as evidenced by the fact that I am actually blogging about it.  Keep following along in Introduction III B.


While dicing habanera peppers, if you think you have an eyelash in your eye, don't try to remove it with the hand previously holding the pepper.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Extraordinarily Deep Thoughts

To me this song carries the passion of the Song of Songs (or Solomon).  I am not an expert on romantic love, but I feel God's love for me through this song, as a husband loves his wife.

100 Things

I've been thinking a lot about how I want this blog to progress.   I'll write more about that later.  One thing I have decided though, is that I want to be me 100%, no matter what.  It may be a little raw but it will be accurate.  I have read blogs that come across as textbooks (yawn) and others that have been so emotionally honest I almost felt guilty for reading thoughts so personal.  If those are my only options though, I want my blog to be like the latter.  It is tough for me to be myself all the time, open and vulnerable, but that is the goal with this blog.  I hope that anyone reading will get a chance to know me a little better by the time they leave.  

So here's my first attempt.  A 100 things list.  Lets start simple.  Here's 100 things you may not know about me. It will be long but probably also embarrassing, so there's your incentive to keep reading.

1.   I like doing lists like these.  It gives me a framework to express myself in ways I wouldn't in real life.
2.   I could ride my bike all day long up and down the river and never get bored.
3.   I don't like wearing socks, but I don't like looking at my feet either.  Catch 22.
4.   I had a pretend marriage with Dixie D in kindergarten during recess.  We kissed.
5.   My initials are CCC.
6.   I like alone time, with my thoughts.
7.   Any day I can spend in pajamas is a good day.
8.   I had a 94% average in high school (Carlton Comprehensive)
9.   I had a 92% average at Fountain of Life Bible College
10. I had a 95% average at CBC and won the Student Achievement award.  My real incentive though was to beat my brother who received the same award the year previous.
11. I was abducted once by aliens but returned several days later.  Just kidding.  I want to keep you on your toes.  Actually though, I once thought I was being followed by a UFO as I rode my bike.  When I got home I whipped out my dad's binoculars only to discover it was a satellite orbiting overhead.
12.  I like math.  And by extension physics, chemistry, calculus, etc...
13.  I had a 90% average at the U of S over two years before I dropped out to do something a lot funner.
14.  I fly planes for a living.
15.  I have no grandparents or great grandparents anymore.
16.  I was a premed student.
17.  I ran the Calgary Marathon in 2007.
18.  I hope to do the Canadian Iron Man in 2011.
19.  I play more video games than an adult should
20.  I have lead 2 different youth groups at 2 different churches (at the same time).
21.  I have never been on a vacation with my family growing up.
22.  I once went to a tanning salon.
23.  I don't like wearing watches.
24.  I pray a lot, at random times.
25.  I have a sunken chest or Pectus excavatum.
26.  I want to have at lest 2 kids when I get married.
27.  I have cried during animated movies.  Curse you Disney.
28.  I can count all my friends on a single hand, but I would consider them much closer than most people's friends.
29.  I find thinking of 100 things about myself really difficult.
30.  I want to be a better Christian.
31.  I want to grow closer to God.
32.  I have a degree.
33.  My only ring is a twisted wire from a champagne cork from my grandpa's 3rd wedding.  I've had it for over 10 years. It carries a special meaning for me.
34.  I wish I could sing, at least good enough that other people wouldn't point and laugh.
35.  I play guitar.
36.  I fool around on drums.
37.  I embarrass myself on piano.
38.  I submerge myself in music.  I absorb it.  I dissect and assemble it.
39.  I can't stand music in the background.  I have to give it my full attention if I hear it.
40.  I have a filling.  (Wow, I'm really running out of things now.)
41.  I could stare at leaves on a tree or stars in the sky for hours.
42.  Sometimes I care about people so much it's overwhelming.  Sometimes I care very little.  I would prefer the first one.
43.  I think clouds are amazing.
44.  I was named after my mom's dad who passed away shortly before I was born.
45.  I find it difficult to show emotion.  I wish I didn't.  I'm sure there will be an entry about that at some time.
46.  I had a cat raised by a dog.  It was "different".
47.  I used to kayak years and years ago.  I was asked by our coach if I would like to train for the Olympics. I declined.  I don't regret it.
48.  I like soccer, basketball and volleyball, but am only average at all of them.
49.  I always wanted to be 6 feet tall. 
50.  I am not 6 feet tall.
51.  My brother is my best friend.
52.  I tend to get along better with females than males.  There will be a future post about this some time too.
53.  I took several years of biology, calculus, chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, stats, physics, anatomy, economics, business law, accounting, history, and english at the UofS and found the class I disliked the most was poetry.
54.  Sugar is my kryptonite.
55.  Collective Soul is one of my favorite bands ever. 
56.  I really really wish I could play the piano better.
57.  This is my first blog.
58.  I rarely say, "I love you".  If you've ever heard me say it, I really really meant it.  There will be a post about that sometime as well.
59.  I want to be like David.
60.  When no one can hear me, I sing.  
61.  When no one can see me, I dance.
63.  I wish I could dance.
64.  I have designed my own tattoo, which I will probably never get.
65.  I think Vivaldi has written some of the greatest music ever.
66.  I struggle to read the bible.  I wish I didn't.  I wish it was water to my soul.  I have read it though.
67.  I don't like hugging people but I like being hugged.  I'm sure that would take a couple therapy sessions to figure out.  If anyone is reading this, hug me the next time you see me.  Please.  Thank you.
69.  I have never smoked anything in my life ever.
70.  I can say the alphabet backwards in under 6 seconds.
71.  I put 7 habanero peppers in my last chili.  I will not do that again.
72.  I like cooking.  I'm pretty good at it too, although when I experiment, there's usually burritos in the freezer as back up.
73.  I feel like a 22 year old stuck in a 30 year old's body.  How did this happen?
74.  I wish I knew how to hold a baby.
75.  My brother's initials are CCC.
76.  I want my life to be consumed by God.
77.  I want to be a better person.
78.  I am not who I should be but I am not who I was so I'm heading in the right direction.
79.  I am not affectionate but I wish I was.  I'm working on that.  If/when I have kids I promise to smother them in hugs and kisses until they are big enough to get away.  Same goes for my wife.
80.  My favorite color is purple.
81.  I love pumpkin pie.
83.  I like comfortable silences with people I know and who know me.
84.  I have had "God" moments in silence and listening to Kanye West, POD, Hedley, Creed and Linkin Park.  Not exactly what you'd expect.
85.  I ran for city council a couple years after graduating in PA.  I didn't win but I did well.
86.  I am cheap.
87.  I don't like wearing jewelry.
88.  I prefer when girls don't wear make up.  I'm not sure why, but there's something about natural beauty.
89.  As long as the sun is out, I don't mind the cold.
90.  I tend to live life inside my head, which I am actively working to change.  
91.  I tend to avoid meeting new people, which I am actively working to change.
92.  I tend to spend too much time by myself, which I am actively working to change.
93.  I rode my bike from Saskatoon to PA one day, spur of the moment.  
94.  One Saturday while at CBC I rode Logan's bike from Strathmore to Calgary, cruised around the Bow River for the day and then rode back to Strathmore.
95.  I like tapioca pudding.
96.  For someone who struggles with showing emotion, I think I cry too much.
97.  I don't hate anything, except doing dishes.  Arg.
98.  I have dyed my hair twice in my life.  I didn't really care for either colour, but I think it would be fun to try blonde for a little bit.
99.  I was once pulled over by the police for speeding on the wrong side of the road while running a red light without my lights on in the fog at night, not wearing my seatbelt with an intoxicated minor in the car.
100.  I have never gotten a traffic ticket.

Frivolous Fluff

Is it wrong to like this so much?

Introduction II

Allow me to introduce myself, again.  You can call me Clint, but I will always call me Clinton.

For those that know me well, there won't be much new in this post.  However for those that don't know me or merely know me somewhat some of the following may come as a surprise.

I am shy.  I used to be shy to the point of it actually being a debilitating condition.  That's because I was a sufferer of Social Anxiety Disorder.  I have it under control now, but it has taken me a long time to figure it all out.  I am also an introvert.  Although I enjoy the company of others occasionally, I prefer to be alone.  It's wonder I don't live in a cave =).

As I said in Introduction, I think everyone wants to be known, and this blog is part of my attempt to be known, despite myself.  Not everything I will share will be tied up with this SAD thing, but it will be the subtext of much of what I write.  Just like a lover sees everything through rose coloured glasses, my perspective was tinted by my social anxiety disorder.  If anyone else out there is going through something similar, I hope this blog can offer you hope.  And if any normal person (if such a creature exists) has stumbled on my blog, I hope you gain something from my ramblings too.

Lets see where this thing takes us.


Hello family, friends and stalkers.

After reading other people's blogs for years I have decided to start my own.  I'm not really sure why.  I tend to think too much and I've already thought about this more than is required.  I think all people have a desire to be known, and know others.  This blog will be one tiny step in that direction.

I promise you, O Great Interweb, to only publish extraordinarily deep thoughts, or frivolous fluff, but never ever any boring, "Today I went to the store and bought toothpaste" entries.