I really upset some people with my post yesterday. Some folks assumed I was referencing The Church: The Bride of Christ when I was critiquing American Church Culture. Others took it personally which I don’t understand. I’m writing from a place of pain and loss… not from judgement and condemnation. You’ve got to be in some place of authority to do that… and I’m far from it. I find it a little ridiculous that some people would respond in anger to a plea for acceptance and understanding.
Things will be written in this update that people won’t want to read. That’s because there is a side to depression that’s uglier than depression itself. It’s way society deals with it, the way the church deals with it, the way we deal with it… the way I’m dealing… and I’m going to talk about how all of that has affected myself and my family.
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It’s hard finding a church when church doesn’t want you.
Jenn and I have been visiting churches for the past few months now. The one we were at is great… but we worked there… and now we don’t… and it’s awkward and a little weird for everyone. So we’ve been looking for somewhere to take the kids and possibly be ministered to ourselves. It’s hard for several reasons. One, because we haven’t had to sit through regular church services for over 10 years. Two because as we were children’s pastors we’re pretty picky about what a church offers it’s kids… and we can see issues from a mile away. Thirdly, because church just doesn’t seem to be set up to accept, support and love broken people. And that’s what we are right now. Very broken people.
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Lately in my free time I’ve been making Minecraft skins. It started when I wanted to update my old Buzz Lightyear player skin. Then I couldn’t find a good Tardis that I liked. Same with the Alien from Toy Story and Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. So I made my own. Feel free to download and use!
To download right click on the skin under each display picture and save.
Buzz Lightyear Minecraft Skin
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Okay so hi. I’ll just jump right in. I’m doing loads better in the big picture. It’s up and down from day to day. Even within the same day I can have several mood swings. I have always been thankful that I’ve never swung toward the Anger spectrum of emotions. Sadness and Not-sadness has been the span.
Chest pain is gone… replaced by chest pressure, but only during times of severe anxiety… which are rarer and rarer… long sentence. I never know when or why I’ll feel anxiety about whatever is going on or about to happen. Unless my Mom calls. That’s 100% anxiety for sure.
Sleeping at night is pretty awesome. I’ve had problems sleeping at night for years. My mind just wouldn’t shut down. Between some medication and a “bedtime ritual” (basically doing something until I can’t stay awake then passing out on the couch). [click to continue…]
I’ve noticed that now that everyone knows what I’m dealing with and going through that they don’t know how to act when they see me or my family. It’s awkward and people don’t know what to say. So I’m writing this to help you how to interact.
Don’t ask, “How are you doing?” or “How are you feeling?” The reason: I feel worse than you can imagine. There are levels and levels of pain and issues that come up as a result of that. You don’t really want to know and I don’t really want to trap you with a long explanation I don’t even want to tell you the truth… that I feel completely crappy. You can imagine how that would go. No, I’m going to lie to you. I’m going to tell you that I’m just fine. Right as rain. Because I don’t want to drag you down or be rude… and explaining how I am doing would take a while… and you’re not aware of the Pandora’s Box you’ve opened. So I protect you from that with a fake smile and a quick lie, “I’m fine!” Please don’t make me lie.
I understand that this is a natural thing to ask anyone, especially someone that’s ailing… but with depression it’s the worst question you can ask. My wife doesn’t even ask. Asking that puts my brain into a self aware state. In an instant I realize that I don’t feel well, that I’m going to disappoint the person asking with the truth, how awkward the situation is, that my whole life, even silly little human interactions, has been affected by this disease and that the future is most likely going to be filled with more things like this and pretty much my entire life and future is screwed. So yeah. It’s a bad question to ask.
Just say, “Hello”, “Good to see you,” or “Please walk away. You’re depression is getting on me.” It doesn’t require a response and doesn’t force me to lie to your face. [click to continue…]
“Depression, that’s why”.
Whatever question you may have about my lack of social media interaction, lack of podcasting, lack of artistic expression, and more recently, lack of job, can be answered by that sentence.
Depression is a broad term that people like me say so they don’t have to talk about anxiety, mood swings, physical pain, hopelessness and more. Especially when talking to people who don’t know much about it. Which is most people. Not that I’m actually talking to that many people.
I’ve struggled with depression in general for a few years now. It started as a general feeling of doom. I went through every day just feeling like everything I did was bound to fail. A friend suggested I see my doctor for this, which blew my mind that you could (or would) see a doctor about such a thing. So I did and I was given a series of meds. Some worked for a while, some didn’t work at all, others brought out anger, and another made me want to sit on the floor all the time. Eventually through months of trial and error we found a drug that managed my serotonin levels and things were just dandy. They stayed that way for about three years.
In those three years I had left my children’s ministry position at a large church in Kansas City for a church in St. Petersburg. Florida was where my wife wanted to raise our kids. Closer to family… and the beach. I was convinced that the high-stress of my former job was the cause of my depression. I didn’t even think to mention it to my new employer and pastor. It was something in my past that we had gotten through and over. The new job surely would make taking any pills unnecessary. [click to continue…]
We saw this little guy laying in the Pumpkin Patch and both Jenn and I thought it was the perfect shape to become a skull. An hour later here’s what it turned into. (Click to make it bigger).
Some more not-so-artsy shots after the jump. [click to continue…]
Years ago I was invited to participate in a contest to create a theme song for the Major Spoilers podcast. I won that contest and had my song featured on every podcast they produced for the next couple of years. The other week a listener to that show requested a chord chart for the guitar so they could play it themselves. this renewed interest in the song prompted me to remake it using my iPad and the Garageband app. Enjoy!
And if your into comic books and trades check out Major Spoilers. It’s the best show of it’s kind! (RSS | iTunes)
Major Spoiler by James Kennison (mp3 download)
The requested Chord Chart.
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We’ve been doing a 9-week series at my kid’s church called “Post-it Notes from God“. We’re using the theme to help kids hear messages from the Bible as if God were writing them a Post-it. Examples are “You Matter”, “I Have A Plan For You”, “Slow Down” and “Take Out The Trash”. It’s been a blast. Each week I’ve tried to take it to the next level by revealing a piece of Post-it Note art live during the service. It’s always a surprise and so far have all been well received. We just finished week 5 of the series and it’s been fun watching the pieces slowly take over the stage and set.
After the 9-week series is over we’ll be giving them away to children who can say the 66 books of the Persistent Bible. So far my daughter and one other young man have met that challenge and will get first and second pick! They decided to wait till the end before deciding in case I make something they like even more.
First in the series was (of course) Buzz Lightyear. He’ll be a properly listed Buzz eventually. I just need to get a better picture of him.
Week three was a little Hello Kitty.
Even Nathan my sound man has gotten into the action. He’s surprised me with a Creeper Face and a recreation of my 8-bit Character Icon that I recently set as my Facebook and Twitter profile pic. You can see the kids have had unlimited access to pads of post-its as well and have had a grand time every week trying to make anything and everything they can think of.
I’ll have to go and take some photos of the ones I’m missing. Stay tuned!
Thanks everyone for a wonderful week! It was my pleasure to step WAY out of my comfort zone (Hometown Children’s Pastoring) and wear a “Kids Evangelist” cap for a while. I saw God do amazing things with your kids! Forever kind of stuff!
Below are a few resources that I used in the services this week. I hope you will find them helpful.
The game songs were all written by Parry Gripp on YouTube. You can download my countdowns below. Baby Monkey, Dog With A Box On His Head, Boogie Hedgehog, Lalalala Wee (Turtle)
Praise & Worship Songs:
The other songs are available from Hillsong Kids, Group Publishing.
Downloads: The videos and resources that I used for camp can be downloaded! I created the videos for most of the songs myself using a video editing program.
UPDATE – Camp Notes
By request: Below are the Victory Verses, Main Points and Big Deals from each night of camp. Each night’s topic goes back to what you need to become a “Camp Champ” aka a champion in your walk with Christ.
Night 1 – You Need Jesus
- Main Point: Jesus is the way to God. He’s the truth about God. He’s the only way to eternal life beyond and a joyous life now.
- Victory Verse: John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life… “Without me, no one can go to the Father.
- Big Deal: Separated from God because of sin but Jesus can bring me back again.
Night 2 – You Need Power
- Main Point: Do you have the power of the Holy Spirit living in and around you? Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Do those describe you?
- Victory Verse: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses… Acts 1:8
- Big Deal: I need the Power and the Fruit of the Holy Spirit! Cause people wanna see it before they hear it!
Night 3 – You Need To Represent Your Team (Are you Super-Normal?)
- Main Point: The world’s normal isn’t our normal. We are to live as sacrifices to God… that’s the norm for Christians.
- Victory Verse: Offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God. Romans 12:1
- Big Deal: I’m set apart I’m on God’s Team that’s what Super-Normal means!
Night 4 – You Need A Goal
- Main Point: What is God calling you to do? Whatever it is, you can’t reach it without Him and Us. A God sized dream is bigger than you can ever ask for, think of or do on your own.
- Victory Verse: I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
- Big Deal: I may not know what He wants me to do but it’s going to require both Him and You!
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