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The Michaels Steps In


The Michael
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Just figured I'd introdce myself to the group at large.

 

My name is The Michael, although I have another name somewhere out here (Michael Mahan). I am a Quality Manager in the food manufacturing industry after many years of consulting. I used to live in Philadelphia, and think that Maryland was nor really a good move for me as I still cheer on the Phillies and miss my old digs.

 

I have a covenant style marriage to my second wife, MaryEllen; after my first marriage went south. Mary and I have been together eleven years, and married for nine. I have two children from my first marriage, but I have no contact with them and haven't since my mother passed away. We were my mother's sole caregivers and she passed in our home, where she wanted to. Problems with the will, abetted by much negativity from my first wife, combined with the fact that I am bipolar have led my kids to leave me exiled from their love, although they still remain strong in mine.

 

In addition to bipolar disorder, I also have Tourette Syndrome, OCD, and ADD. I function and survive mainly due to good medicine, the love of a good wife, will power, and a strong faith.

 

I am active on the Delphi Forums where for many years I have hosted a forum called The Forum for Progressive Christianity. We just recently celebrated our 5,000th visitor. We are a small group, but we treat each other with respect and love. We are probably the only religious forum on Delphi not populated by fanatics. As such, we are under much attack; but I keep the forum in moderation, which means new posters cannot have their posts appear until I or my assistants have approved of what they are trying to say or do. It keeps the condemnations and name-calling away from people who are sharing their spiritual journeys with us.

 

Although no longer an active member, I have maintained my membership at FUMCOG, the First United Methodist Church of Germantown, located in Philadelphia and an affiliate of TCPC. I have stopped looking for another church, as nothing is as good as FUMCOG, and instead use my forum on Delphi as my church. And perhaps, in time, here.

 

So, that's me in a nutshell. I am also a poet, and am self-publishing my first book this fall, 'from the dungeons of dawn', which my printer tells me will be available on Amazon.

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Hi Michael,

 

It is good to know that you are looking at TCPC. Sounds like you have traveled some difficult roads, and have come through it all with some success. I will be interested in hearing more from you as you study the various message boards.

 

Blessings,

 

Bob the facilitator

Edited by Robert Gutleben
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Guest billmc

Welcome to this little corner of the 'net, Michael. I'm glad you're here!

 

Just like your forum, we are trying to present a different facet of Christianity and other compassion-based views here.

 

I know it sounds cliche to say I'm sorry for all your setbacks, but I know somewhat what it's like as I have epilepsy and my son, though a Christian, is bipolar with ADHD and PTSD. It would certainly be nice if Jesus just showed up and healed us, wouldn't it?

 

But I know you're doing a good work there on Delphi and hope you can contribute here a bit as time allows.

 

Your friend,

billmc

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Welcome Michael,

 

Got your PM and am delighted you decided to finally visit. Lib Christian was one of the administrators here before me and i was not aware she started the Delphi forum, however i did not personally know her. Looked at your site and it is good to see people working together in support of each other and the ideals of progressive Christianity. I am reminded of the saying. "He/She that is not against us is for us".

 

Sounds like a sometimes turbulent life has been in your path but it is good to hear you are an over-comer and retained a living love for others through it all.

 

Perhaps you will find here some like-minded individuals as yourself sharing their support of others through dialog and encouragement on a sometimes difficult turn in the road.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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Thank you Bill, Joseph, and Robert for your words of welcome. Bill I know from my Delphi forum, and you are all invited to particpate at my Delphi site as I will ultimately come to be more involved here.

 

I have very limited time as I require much sleep, probably a side effect of some of my meds; yet also suffer from insomnia which is a side effect of being bipolar when I am in a low manic state. My medicine prevents me from going into a high manic or hypermanic state, which is when I am not a very good person. Sadly, my meds have just lowered my cycle, and as a result I very often go into very deep depressive states (called hyperdepression) which is when I can be a danger to myself. Again, with the nonsense with my kids, it is very easy to slip into this. My oldest graduated college this year and my youngest graduates high school and I was not invited to either of their graduation ceremonies. This hurt a lot. Sarah's high school graduation is this Saturday. Heather graduated from Temple on May 13. MaryEllen seems the only earthly salvation I have, and I have OCD so what will happen is I'll say the Lord's Prayer over and over again like a mantra, somehow thinking that I haven't said it right (or else I would have had my family healed and brought together by now).

 

FYI, OCD and ADD are often linked to Tourette Syndrome, which is a movement and vocal tic disorder. Too much dopamine, and this appears to be the causative link between TS and the OCD and the ADD. The bipolar came on its own to make things more entertaining. The OCD and the bipolar often feed into each other, and I cannot take meds for the OCD and ADD and must rely on will power and an understanding wife. Although the OCD makes me a much better Quality Manager (attention to little details).

 

I am also involved with the ASSISTANCE forums on Delphi, working with people with mental illness, people who are caregivers, people with diabetes, and people with Tourette. Again, this all limits my time.

 

I work about nine hours a day M-F and work Sunday morning, and I have put aside all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon as time with MaryEllen. I keep on hoping the phone will ring and it will be my kids. A friend of mine who is, of all things, a fundamentalist Baptist minister, is acting as a go-between right now between myself and my oldest daughter - but so far with no luck or movement on her part.

 

On my forum, I try to put my personal trials aside as I am constantly working on keeping the crazies and fanatics at bay. Then I do DVD reviews and CD reviews on two other forums, so my on-line work keeps me almost as busy as if it was a second full time job. Even though, for me, it is fun. My studies of the Bible and the Upanishads have come to a screaching halt for the time being, as, unlike movies or music, there are no time constraints on this. My studies of the Qur'an, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Old Testament Genesis through 2 Chronicles are on the delphi PC forum. Guaranteed to upset a lot of people, unfortunately.

 

Well, I'm rambling and I've got to get some sleep. One never knows when insomnia will strike.

 

The Michael

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Michael, it sounds like you have a lot to deal with. I assuming that you have a doctor (Psychiatrist) who prescribes your meds. Are you also involved with talk-therapy? I have worked with a number of bipolar clients and have observed that talk can be very helpful. Certianly your spiritual journey is an important part of your healing. Nevertheless, being able to talk with a therapist about the suffering you experience with mental health issues, and the pain you must feel over the estranged relationship with you daughter is a priority. God bless. You are among friends, and I will keep you in my prayers.

 

Bob the facilitator

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I have medicine prescribed to me by a psychiatrist. I do not have a therapist. I have found that these are not helpful to me and in fact have the opposite effect than what most people would think they would. In too many cases I have found myself to be more knowledgeable than the so-called specialist.

 

And I need to correct you on one thing - it is both of my daughters, not just one. Both of my children have disowned me. The older daughter is the gatekeeper and can successfully tell her younger sister what to do, and she'll follow her orders like a private listening to a captain. And she'll follow some pretty stupid orders.

 

Also, at the moment I am uninsured. I have Medicare which covers 80% (and 0% on prescriptions), but my job's insurance doesn't kick in until August 1.

 

As I feared, I had insomnia last night. Got up at 1 am, gave up trying to sleep at 2 am, and was at work by 3 am, where I stayed until 1:15 pm. Not complaining. I like my job a lot. I like the people, I like what I'm doing. And the people seem to like me. All my feedback so far has been positive. This does not mean I wouldn't retire in a flash if I won several million dollars with Powerball or Megamllions, but I do enjoy the place.

 

My wife says I have as much chance of winning as I would of being hit by lightning and surviving. Then I remind her that I HAVE been hit by lightning and survived, so I figure that improves my odds a little.

 

 

Michael

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Michael, welcome to this forum with all the love and cordiality of my heart and divine charms of my mind. It seems you have freely chosen unity in your studies and life and are surrendering to its flow of energy. On this forum we are assisting each other in the natural processes of relaxation, which seems to reduce mountainous problems to a size we can cope with while we learn to love. It seems your life is productive and fulfilling in proportion to the love you exchange. I can feel and appreciate your love for your daughters and your unity of consciousness with them even thought you have been disowned. To me an outsider, it seems your love is very deep for your daughters and when they are open they will feel it. We send out radio waves, but they aren’t received until the receiver is tuned to the frequency.

I seems you are being tested and transforming your problems into good. It is an inspiration to see you face up to and make conscious your ills and still see God’s pure consciousness, the inner source of life moving through and around obstacles and forward to the world. Yes, we forget our relationship with family members due to our interaction with material energy and because of this forgetfulness we face many problems. It is nice to see you have awakened your unity in God consciousness. It seems your love for your daughters is expressed in your removal from the material condition and becoming aware of spiritual side and your unity in God’s pure consciousness.

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Thank you, soma, for your welcome.

 

I have a couple of CDs by an Australian band called Soma (or was it a side project of Cabaret Voltaire? I forget).

 

I guess with my life, the Grateful Dead said it best: "What a long strange trip it's been!"

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I have medicine prescribed to me by a psychiatrist. I do not have a therapist. I have found that these are not helpful to me and in fact have the opposite effect than what most people would think they would. In too many cases I have found myself to be more knowledgeable than the so-called specialist.

 

And I need to correct you on one thing - it is both of my daughters, not just one. Both of my children have disowned me. The older daughter is the gatekeeper and can successfully tell her younger sister what to do, and she'll follow her orders like a private listening to a captain. And she'll follow some pretty stupid orders.

 

Also, at the moment I am uninsured. I have Medicare which covers 80% (and 0% on prescriptions), but my job's insurance doesn't kick in until August 1.

 

As I feared, I had insomnia last night. Got up at 1 am, gave up trying to sleep at 2 am, and was at work by 3 am, where I stayed until 1:15 pm. Not complaining. I like my job a lot. I like the people, I like what I'm doing. And the people seem to like me. All my feedback so far has been positive. This does not mean I wouldn't retire in a flash if I won several million dollars with Powerball or Megamllions, but I do enjoy the place.

 

My wife says I have as much chance of winning as I would of being hit by lightning and surviving. Then I remind her that I HAVE been hit by lightning and survived, so I figure that improves my odds a little.

 

 

Michael

 

Michael, please excuse me for failing to include both your daughters in my last post to you. You sound like maybe you had a bad experience with a talk-therapist somewhere in the past, and are reluctant to see another right now. That's understandable. But don't give up hope. Try to be open to possibily finding a good therapist in the future. Even without your bipolar disorder, your discription of your life suggests that is it difficlult to maintan your mental balance. In my experience, when people are suffering, it often feels difficult to do anything but survive. Keep in mind, when we are hurting, if often turns out that the help we need most, is the help want least.

 

I pray you will find the help you need.

 

Bob the facilitator

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MaryEllen is my foundation right now. My children will eventually come around. But not on my time. On theirs.

 

Today was Sarah's high school graduation. I was not invited, as I was not invited to Heather's college graduation last month. It hurts.

 

Not in my time.

 

Michael

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Michael, welcome to this forum with all the love and cordiality of my heart and divine charms of my mind. It seems you have freely chosen unity in your studies and life and are surrendering to its flow of energy. On this forum we are assisting each other in the natural processes of relaxation, which seems to reduce mountainous problems to a size we can cope with while we learn to love. It seems your life is productive and fulfilling in proportion to the love you exchange. I can feel and appreciate your love for your daughters and your unity of consciousness with them even thought you have been disowned. To me an outsider, it seems your love is very deep for your daughters and when they are open they will feel it. We send out radio waves, but they aren’t received until the receiver is tuned to the frequency.

I seems you are being tested and transforming your problems into good. It is an inspiration to see you face up to and make conscious your ills and still see God’s pure consciousness, the inner source of life moving through and around obstacles and forward to the world. Yes, we forget our relationship with family members due to our interaction with material energy and because of this forgetfulness we face many problems. It is nice to see you have awakened your unity in God consciousness. It seems your love for your daughters is expressed in your removal from the material condition and becoming aware of spiritual side and your unity in God’s pure consciousness.

 

What!?

 

Bob the facilitator

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Bob, Thanks, I see I did not express myself very clearly, for example my quote,"It seems you have freely chosen unity in your studies and life and are surrendering to its flow of energy." I see unity and love interchangeable and I see Michael has fanned his spark of love with service and sacrifice. To me a great expression of love of God, (unity) is sacrifice and service to others. It is hard to take the time to do service on a good day, but I see Michael serving, loving and sacrificing on his bad days and not only on days when he is happy and full of energy, but loving even when he is dull and troubled. It seems he is not sitting back in the status quo, but stirring his life with sacrifice. I feel his service and sacrifice are his studies. It seems his work on his forum is given with joy and liberality without haggling or complaining so I would say he has surrendered to the love and unity that has been presented to him.

 

I feel his daughters have detached themselves from Michael, but that has not changed his love for them or anyone. It seems his avenue is to love his daughters in God more and more, not less and less. I am impressed with all the turmoil surrounding Michael how he can still stand with reverence and a sacredness of things without being bitter. I am impressed he has a deep concern for his fellow humans and his daughters. I feel his love is not apart from his daughters, but united with his daughters. I feel his growth in unity or holiness has inclined him to love his family more, not less even though they express that they want separation. I feel this is raising his love to the highest pitch to love without expectation. The interior love he is feeling, I feel comes from the one love, one mind, divine mind and divine love. I feel when his daughters tap into this source and direct inspiration they too will feel his love. Thanks for the clarity.

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Aw shucks

 

Out of curiousity, when does my status change from Guest Member to New Member. I'm not sure how that works, as Delphi has no such nomenclature for its people.

 

At 10 posts. It is just a rough indication of ones level of experience on this particular forum and is a feature of the IPB board. It doesn't affect any ability or privilege in posting or using features.

 

Joseph

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Just curious.

 

Over at Delphi, we added a new assistant manager. I have to show him the ropes. Very intelligent man. I believe he'll be an asset. He's been a steady poster for five years. But keeping the nutcases out, the people who would attack and condemn and evangelize, is more than Kevin and I can handle. There are a lot of fundamentalist fanatic forums on delphi, and they love to come swarming in to try and "save" us, usually done by insulting people and condemning us all to the hot place where the man in the red suit with the pointed stick conducts his business. I post a picture of my wife on my signature, and she's a good looking woman and will often wear dresses above the knee. The minute that kneecap shows, they come swarming in and calling my wife a "whore". I immediately ban people who bring family members into the battle. But we try to keep these at bay or don't let them in at all. We moderate all posts by new people until we feel comfortable with them. Usually they show their true colors within about two weeks. Our major rules are to not question another's standing with God, not to condemn any group of people, not to condemn other religions, no name-calling, and no dragging fights from other forums into our forum. We have our Start Page rules that we abide by very strictly. LibCristian wrote most of the Start Page rules, but I did some heavy amending when I took over the forum, based upon experiences over the years.

 

People whom we don't trust but who haven't blatantly crossed the Start Page line (but who are close to it) we keep on constant moderation.

 

At some point I'll hit ten. I guess it depends upon when people reply to me and I have something to say back to them. I posted something on the thread about Progressive Christianity and divorce, but nobody's responded to that one yet.

 

How many are on your staff. Are you the same people who maintain the entire website? Is it a full time job for you.

 

 

Michael

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Michael,

 

There are three of us moderating this board. Soma, Mike and myself. It is not a full time job. No one at the present is assigned to have their posts moderated before posting. A different group of people handle the main TCPC site. We have no major problems here with posters.

 

Occasionally there is a subtle insult which can be reported by any member by use of the report button but most often is picked up and handled privately by PM by moderators. Posts are not censored or as a rule deleted without being instructed or retracted by the member and occasionally where the offender has been warned repeatedly, we make a public example in that post. Only one member has been permanently banned since i have been acting as Admin. Most all here are interested in growing in tolerance and hearing different views as long as people are respectful . People usually leave on their own if they don't get what they are looking for. It takes 2 for a heated argument and it seems to me most PC's here and others place behavior and love above the uncertainty of views and positions in-line with point 6 of the 8 points.

 

Joseph

 

 

 

 

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That's the difference with being in a private community where everyone is on the same page and a forum community where all sorts of personality types can drift in and out. Here, everyone is on the same page. On Delphi, we always have to be on guard. People seek tcpc.org out to express a shared belief, where on delphi people often seek you out to cause problems or to "convert/save/proselytize" the 'heathen unsaved" progressives.

 

I need to go back in my archives and pull out some of my older posts that might be of interest here.

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Soma, You have good intentions, but you are way underestimating the depth of Michael's need. When someone suffers from a bipolar mood disorder, ADD, ADHD, and insomnia he needs much more than spiritual advise. I am aware that we are in no postion to offer him medical or therapudic help, but suggesting that TCPC offers a forum where "... we are assisting each other in the natural process of relaxation, which seems to reduce mountainous prolems to a size we can cope with while we learn to love," is counterproductive for someone in Michael's situation. BPD is not an emotional problem, it is a mood disorder. Suggesting to Michael that his participation in the forum will somehow help reduce his "mountainous problems," to a managable size, is like suggesting to someone with appendicitis, that good energy make the symptoms go away. Your comments to Michael is not helpful. We would all like to avoid the pain that healing often involves, and people in Michael's position are particularly susceptible to suggestions that there may be a way to wellness, which dosen't involve the hard work of therapy.

 

People who suffer from BPD, not to mention all the other mental health issues Michael suffers from, calls for both professional medical pharmaceutical and therapudic help. Based on my experience of working with Bipolar clients, they suffer a great deal of pain, which they want to stop. But the process is a difficult one and people who are Bipolar need all the encouragment they can get from their friends to get into therapy. If you would like to understand the problem better I suggest you read "An Unquiet Mind," By Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison.

 

Michael, I am sure you are probably reading this post too. I am deeply concerned about you. It sounds like you have suffered much more that your share. But the reality is that you need to be on your meds, and looking at how you can get into a county mental health program for Bipolar disorder, or ask your psychiatrist if he/she will help you find a therapist. If you have not read "An Unquiet Mind," try to get hold of it. It is nationally recognized as an excellent look into the life of a BPD sufferer like yourself. I understand from some of your past posts, that you don't want to go to talk therapy -you think it will be counter productive. That has been the feeling of every BPD client I have ever worked with. It takes time, and getting into some difficult issues before the stability and peace come. Every client I have worked who chose to enter therapy, in the end, where glad they did. Please, give it another try.

 

 

Bob the facilitator

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I have all the help I need through my meds and the love of my wife and my online friends. My work with the ASSISTANCE mental health forum on Delphi is also of great benefit. I have found by helping others worse off than myself, that I end up helping myself.

 

I found that I was in worse condition when working with a therapist than I am now not working with a therapist. The meds and a good home life is all I need.

 

My life is wounded only by the intense pain from the loss of my children. A therapist cannot bring my children back. Only they (my children) have that power.

 

Every person with a disorder is different. I have found that I am better off without the potentially damaging input from a therapist.

Edited by The Michael
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I've tried about five or six churches down here, and was anything but impressed.

 

I have groups on line that are just as good as any church down here. Better, in fact.

 

If I still lived in Philadelphia, I'd still go to FUMCOG. But nothing down here even comes close to that church's shoetops.

 

But I'm not going to go to some place that I find lacking just to go through the motions of going to a church. I don't need a church. FUMCOG I didn't need - but they had something I wanted, they were open-minded and didn't believe in inerrancy. The congregation had a voice. It wasn't all just what the preacher thought.

 

I tried some churches like that down here, but I found too many hypocrisies in them or found that they were just trying to be hip - too hip.

 

Tragically hip, I call them.

 

I'd rather experience God on my own than go through what I've seen down here.

Edited by The Michael
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I in no way was suggesting anyone should go to church. I am simply interested in the reasons why a person chooses to go or not to go. Additionally I wold be interested to know what might draw you back to attending church on a regular basis.

 

again welcome

 

steve

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I have no interest in church. I don't want some preacher telling me what to believe. God gave me a brain and a mind and, intellectually and spiritually, they both work fine.

 

I am probably more knowledgeable than most people of the cloth. Most of these can quote scripture, but are themselves mindless sheep and have not made up their own minds based upon study, but rather repeat what their seminary and their denomination's rules tell them to say.

 

That's what was different about FUMCOG. The preachers spoke their own minds, often in contrast to the viewpoints and dogma of their very denomination's rules. Especially when it came to being gay affirming. The church's standpoint was they were all going to Hell. Our ministers believed in inclusivity.

 

I have tried a number of churches down here, but always I found either straight dogma or hypocrisy to be their bread and wine.

 

Right now, on my delphi forum, my forum is under a mild attack by fundamentalists who think we're all going to Hell in a handbag and are trying to "save" us. These deluded and misguided individuals think that if you don't believe and think the way that they do that you're damned. And I'm sure they got that way by listening to a church's and a preacher's dogma; unaware of that dogma's hypocrisy and implied exclusivity and hatred.

 

The only way I would return to church would be if I moved back to Philadelphia and could return to FUMCOG. That is why I have kept up my membership there even though I am 2-1/2 hours away.

 

I have been to many churches in my life. Only one was a good fit for me. The rest were much less than what God speaks to me in private.

 

May I assume that you believe very strongly in the necessity of church in the life of a Christian? If so, may I turn the tables and ask you why you feel this way in light of what I have just written?

 

Please do not take my tone of voice to be me being on the offensive. I have been dealing all night with fundamentalists attacking my forum on delphi, and my patience is not what is normally is.

 

michael

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Michael,

 

In no way do I think a person has to go to church. I am interested in why a person chooses or chooses not to attend and what might attract them to begin again. I do think there is much to be gained by attending church but as you have pointed out it has to fit. I truly believe that there needs to be a variety of spiritual home situations and one is not any better than the other. I have found a spiritual home with my friends at church , you on your discussion groups others at home church type situations ...... All relevant and meaningful. Please don't feel I am judging nothing could be further from the truth. The Congregational Church hangs its hat on Jesus saying "Wherever two or three are gathered...." and I suspect if Jesus knew about the internet he might have said "wherever two or three are in conversation"

 

The reason for my interest is that I an involved in the re-planting of a church as an inclusive, progressive, missional Christian church I suspect and hope will be similar to FUMCOG. ( see the posts http://tcpc.ipbhost.com/index.php?/topic/1805-new-church/ ) My interest is in knowing what you found relevant there so we might learn.

 

steve

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