H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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The Buzz

Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The MailBox Vandal...
I was reading a post over at Carla's blog, and found my comment was getting too big for haloscan - so I thought I would make a post out of it here.

My dad was declared a ward of the court when he was 15 or so because my grandfather had a history of abusing him physically. My father found a room-mate, and lived a rather reckless, lawless, and carefree life on his.

My mom was a farm girl, the youngest of a dozen children. She quit school in grade 5 and her aging parents let her move to the "big city" when she was still very young. She lived there, with her older sister, as her "live-in" babysitter.

To make a long story shorter, my mom met my dad, became pregnant - and was married by the time she was 16 (dad was 17).

In the first six years of their marriage they had all five of us kids. Dad didn't finish high school - which means that his wage was predictably low. It didn't help our bottom line that both he and my mother were chain-smoking coffee addicts. Of course, back then, it seems everyone was - but as a child growing up I even at a young age I was always upset when we didn't have enough money to buy milk, yet we always had coffee, cream, sugar, and cigarettes.

My Dad's father was against the marriage and for the first few years would have nothing to do with us. And my mother's parents were already in their seventies, and had nothing to offer as a dowry. There was no inheritance coming our way - my parents were wed into poverty, and remained thus, and even worse off as each new child came.

Which is to only to say that we grew up poor.

To be sure, whatever money my parents could have managed to put away was used up (and then some!) when my younger sister was born. She was born with a hole in her heart (smoking defect?), and before her first birthday it became clear that unless this anomaly was operated on, she was very likely going to die soon. I am not sure why our great Canadian medicare wouldn't pay for the surgeon to fly up from the states to perform the operation, but my dad had to shell out plane fare, hotel accommodations, and the price of the surgery to boot - to finance the operation. If we weren't in the poor house before that, we certainly were after it.

When my dad finally did get back on his feet (sort of), he tried his hand at business, but his business was literally sabotaged after he refused to sell it - and he lost what little was left of the shirt on his back. That all happened before I hit puberty.

My father did his best not to pass on that legacy of abuse that his own father had passed to him; and I am thankful that he was partially successful, for whatever I endured as the eldest boy, I am certain was nowhere near the torment my own father endured - but it is enough to say, and I can say it honestly - that I was the innocent target of a whole lotta frustrated anger, resentment, and only partially restrained fury.

As a child, your greatest joy (or at least what I presume would be one great joy) must come from doing something that pleases your parents. You would feel accepted by them not because of what you did, but because you yourself please them, and because of that they show a genuine delight in everything you do. That must be exhilarating! While I may have felt loved and wanted as a child, it was always mixed with contrary messages of dissatisfaction and resentment. In talking with my siblings we all agree, that we felt that we were a burden on our parents, and that nothing we did could ever please them. These mixed messages were understood by all my siblings to mean that dad didn't think too highly of us - that we were not good enough to be loved by him - and that feeling had some long reaching side effects.

For myself, I responded in this way - I thought I dad was sorely mistaken about my worth, and if he didn't think I was worth anything it was because he had misjudged me, and not because I was anything less than I should be. If I did anything well, it was to prove my worth, but when even excellence failed to please, I realized deep down (beneath my bravado - somewhere in the core of my being) that I secretly felt that he must be right or things would be otherwise. I railed against it of course - most of my life, but there is some scar tissue there, that's for sure.

The result of all that, in my case, was that as a teenager, all my relationships were filtered through a rather distorted sociological perspective. On the one hand, when I wanted someone to like me, I felt I had to demonstrate that I was worth liking. My default presumption was that I was unlovable, and I overcompensated for this perspective by moulding myself into whatever would best fit the friendship - I became a personality chameleon; on the other hand, I was most comfortable in the beta-male role. To be sure, it seemed the most natural thing in the world for me to find a person who was full of personality, authority, and power - and become their faithful shadow.

The trouble was that sometimes the most powerful and authoritive people were also the most criminal - and by the time I was fifteen, most of my friends were thugs, thieves, and junkies. I had a police record, and was building my reputation as a "tough guy."

My reputation was quite important to me. It was the ace in my hand whenever my father made me feel insignificant and unwanted - I knew that whatever he thought, others thought very highly of me. Whatever praise and acceptance was lacking at home - others were willing to provide - all I had to do was be bigger than life. I guess at the heart of it I thought that if I could demonstrate it loudly enough - even my father would have to admit there was some worth in me.

Which brings me to the disappearance of Carla's mailbox, and the reason for this post. Carla asks, what kind of person would destroy someone else's mailbox? You see, the other day someone totally blew away their mailbox, and it wasn't the first time. In the meta and in the post people were wondering out loud what kind of person - what kind of social reject could get their kicks by doing something like that? And I only had to glance backward in my own history to answer that I know of at least one kind.

I would not have hesitated in blowing up a mail box when I was running with the devil - if I thought I could get away with it and the people whom I was trying to impress by doing so took notice of it. I would have done it ostensibly for laughs - but ultimately my real motive would have been to receive praise from those people who themselves didn't have the guts to do something like that. I would have done it because I was so entirely certain that I was worth more than other people could see - that I was willing to do anything to demonstrate that worth - for the sole (though often obfuscated reason) that I might have the glory and praise that I was utterly convinced was my due.

Over time, and since I have come to know the Lord, I have understood with some clarity the reason why I was so offended by my father's mix of love and resentment. It was -not- because I was so hard done by - it was because I was so entirely certain of my own worth - that when my father didn't recognize it, all that is wicked inside of me rose again and again to demand that recognition. His failure to praise me caused the "real me" to come out of hiding and show itself as that which requires worship from others, and is offended when it doesn't receive it.

Oh, if you were getting a "boohoo" from my history - if you were feeling sorry for poor old Dan, and how miserable it must have been, - put the hanky away dear friend! Were I an humble man, I would have accepted my father's love and rejoiced instead of regretting that it came mixed as it was with resentment and strife. No, dear reader, I wasn't suffering from "low self esteem" that needed bolstering - hardly, like everyone else, my self esteem is so pie-in-the-sky that I was demanding recognition for a self-deluded superiority. This vile thing inside me caused me to respond as I did - the desire to be worshipped and praised - the desire to rule my every situation - the desire to be God. It shows itself in different ways to different people - but there it was for me.

Why does a man knock over a mail box? Not because he had a hard childhood, or has poor self esteem. Not because "he didn't learn any better" No, it is always and ever because he is a wicked sinner who doesn't understand that the desire to be worshipped as God drives every motivation he has.

That is ugly thing that Christ took to the cross for believers, and praise His name - it belongs there!
posted by Daniel @ 3:21 PM  
  • At 5:35 PM, October 18, 2006, Blogger Craver Vii said…

    Aahhh, sweet redemption. At the cross, all our lives have this "happy ending," and I think I can never tire of it.

    But those who do not go to the foot of the cross, well, that is another story.

  • At 8:24 PM, October 18, 2006, Blogger Suziannr said…

    Daniel, my comment was eaten by haloscan (or some such creature) but thank you for sharing you story and for reminding me where I came from and all He's done for me.

  • At 9:11 AM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    suziannr - Glad to oblige ;-)

    craver - amen.

  • At 10:25 AM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Kay said…

    Yep, yep yep. So glad you said what you said about motivation and your father. I have a rotten egg of a daddy (who is mellowing with age and grace, I hope) and I have good friends who are always eager to help me to see deficiencies in my sanctification in the light of his rejection of me.
    I'm all for personal responsibility, and this post was a really helpful encapsualtion of that.

  • At 11:25 AM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Libbie! I am just tickled that you visited my blog!

  • At 8:05 PM, October 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good post!

  • At 10:42 PM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Carla Rolfe said…

    The hymn Amazing Grace means more and more to me, the older I get and the more I look back at where I came from.

    Thank you for posting this Daniel.


  • At 9:52 AM, October 20, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Yes grace is truly amazing how it soothes the pains of the past and melts the hardness of the human heart.

    By grace, we can live a new life...and look back upon our former manner of living seeing through objective eyes how truly vile we were.

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