Hi all, I’m tired so I won’t be able to go into a lot of detail about Jake’s diagnosis. Here’s a quick def from the doc and the internet:
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an allergic inflammatory condition of the esophagus that involves eosinophils, a type of white blood cell. In healthy individuals, the esophagus is typically devoid of eosinophils. In EoE, eosinophils migrate to the esophagus in large numbers. When a trigger food is eaten, the eosinophils contribute to tissue damage and inflammation. Symptoms include swallowing difficulty, food impaction, vomiting, and heartburn.
Jake Bruehl has had milder episodes of what happened yesterday in the past, but never like this and the episodes were few and far between. That’s why it never occurred to us this was something that needed medical attention. The amount of stress he’s under brought this to light. The body keeps the score.
He’s home sleeping and I’m about to do the same.
Please pray. This will require follow up consultations and medical care.
Dear friends, I am home safely from my trip. It was beautiful and fulfilling in many ways, but I also noticed I’m still under a lot of stress and not really okay right now.
I came home to find out my partner, @jakebruehl , is in the ER. I did not find out until I landed. My soul sister and best friend, @stephmcarroll , came to pick me up. Jake has gagged on some meat and it’s stuck in his throat. He’s been to two places and nothing has worked so far to make it go down. He’s breathing and talking, thankfully, but he can’t keep anything down, so he’s being admitted over night.
I’m not sure why so many things are happening right now, but I know these seasons can happen to anyone and even the strongest struggle to withstand it. If I don’t take some time to rest, I won’t be able to withstand these massive storms happening right now.
With that said, I’m taking time off from everything until I start my residency. All the things I’ve signed up for, I need to withdraw from at this time. I can’t minister or be ministered to in this state.
My family is going to focus on our mental, physical, and spiritual health these next few months. Feel free to call, text, email, and come by to see us. We’d love it if you would. I just won’t be on the socials or at events for a while. We need healing in every way.
Bless all of you and the love you’ve given to our family through thick and thin. We love you.
Teachers are consistently becoming collateral damage to other people’s inner demons. It is time to raise awareness about this.
The Uvalde teacher, the one the authorities accused of leaving the door open that allowed the shooter in the school (the shooter who was also a TEEN!!!!), has had to hire a lawyer because of this. The authorities added to her trauma and the report says her body was shaking and she was completely heartbroken. That is trauma showing up in her body. The lack of care for a teacher who just went through unimaginable tragedy is so revealing of the times we are living in.
What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? It was radical inhospitality. The people were overfed and unconcerned.
Since this is Pride Month, I am also going to let this be another clearing up of sin we as a community have committed against our LGBTQIA+ siblings. This passage has been irresponsibly and dangerously used by Christians who are anti-gay; and, ironically, they are the ones who are consistently guilty of what the passage actually means. I am so sorry this trauma has been placed in your bodies by bad theology. You should not be the collateral damage of someone’s theology as Sarah Bessey says.
The trauma we are inflicting on each other is severe because we as a nation, society, community, and people are not doing the healing work our bodies desperately need. We are continuing to do the same damn things and think all of the victims coming out of the system are just bad people and not the system itself.
Our bodies are not made to carry all of this trauma and the helpers are the ones being crucified because the toxic system is what tries to save itself.
Desmond Tutu said this: “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river.
We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.”
The door thing would not even be an issue if any of our political leaders had passed any gun laws. Our political leaders and all leaders who have power over people’s lives are not taking any responsibility for how they have not only contributed but are also largely the reason we are in this situation. And there are other issues with having to keep the door closed at all times. The system is completely broken. We have to pass gun laws. We also need to get trauma informed. Teachers are the ones at the intersection of all the pain and are taking the blame.
Make it stop.
This cycle of abuse has got to stop.
Schools are not the enemy. Teachers are not the enemy. It is time for a change.
Yesterday, Kirk Cameron wrote public schools are a place where sexual chaos, racial confusion, and “grooming” occur because LGBTQIA+ students and teachers exist. He just opened the door to a conversation that we need to have right now. This is bigotry and needs to be called out. Grooming is also a term being used loosely and it’s dangerous. It has surged since the “Don’t Say Gay Bill. “ It is now going to be a go-to accusation in public schools and Kirk Cameron just made the case for them. We need to understand what grooming actually is. And stop associating it with the LGBTQIA+ community and men who are tender and kind.
Another term conservatives are misusing and not seeing in themselves is narcissism. Here are two Facebook posts I made addressing this today.
Kirk Cameron has me on a roll. It is important to highlight what he has done to influence the dangerous end times prophecies that are wreaking havoc in our lives. He is one of the biggest influencers of that movement.
Kirk said what he said yesterday to Fox News. A news source that can rightfully be called pure propaganda now.
Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade said Mr. Rogers was the cause of our narcissistic culture because he taught children they were special and valuable just because of who they are. He said that he raised a generation that does not believe they have to do anything. The hosts agreed that Mr. Rogers ruined a generation. They (Fox and Friends hosts) were advocating the idea that kids only have worth if they prove themselves by what they do.
Friends, I am here to tell you that my generation was saved b/c of Mr. Rogers. We had access to the tenderness and love we needed and we got it through public television. Holy Spirit uses whatever she wants to reach people who are being harmed by toxic theology and are experiencing a cruel world. Love is present–even in this, always. This I know. The Bible and Mr. Rogers both taught me that truth. My generation, GenX, is a generation that has been skipped and is talked about very little. We are the prophets who have something to say right now.
My next post is going to be about narcissism. I am trying to keep these posts shorter, but it is hard when there is so much happening.
Let’s talk about narcissism now. These far-right wingers are throwing terms around they either do not understand or do not see in themselves.
A therapist, not mine, once said that accusations made by a narcissist are actually confessions. Found the name: Manjit Ruprai
Let that sink in. Maybe we should be slower to accuse in light of this truth. (I am not talking about victims here–people like Fox and Friends).
I am not going to give the clinical definition of narcissism. I welcome any of my therapist friends to chime in here if I am not stating this as clearly, concisely, and as accurately as needed.
Here is what I know about narcissism: It is NOT loving yourself too much. It is quite the opposite. It is not knowing your worth at all–that your inner knowing can be trusted.
Narcissism is finding one’s worth through external sources–the self is not distinguished from external objects. This is why it is so prevalent in people with power. The world has always worked for them on some level and it has not required them to become self-aware or challenge what they might know internally is not right. The results are telling them a different story. So they learn to trust results over their own intuition. And that is really sad. They never are at peace because they do not know themselves. This is why they are so fragile when challenged on anything.
We need our ego on some level to survive. But as we grow and become more confident in our own self-worth we are able to let the ego/mask we wear for self-protection go and become who we truly are. We learn who we are through love. We have to experience love on some level to be able to grow. To know we are accepted no matter what. This does not happen for narcissists. The false self takes over. From what I am learning it can be reversed, but it will take rewiring the brain. I heard a therapist say that narcissists are actually worse when they get therapy if do not want the therapy for themselves. They will use therapy to learn how to manipulate people better.
Evangelicalism in our culture is prime for creating narcissists. It teaches people not to trust themselves. That is one of the core tenants of their teaching. A person’s instincts are wrong because people are depraved and unwhole until they find God. Only God can be trusted, but it is their version of God who has to be trusted. One cannot search for who God is on their own or they might come to the wrong conclusions. Trust the narcissistic preacher to tell you who God is. Evangelicalism works hard to get people not to think for themselves. Why do you think they go after education when they feel threatened? Education disrupts unholy power.
Trump is a classic narcissist. He talks about himself in the third person all the time. I believe he really does see himself externally, not internally. He is not connected at all to himself. Narcissists are people who never had a chance to grow.
Mr. Rogers said this: A child cannot grow if they are not accepted as they are.
Now I want to say a bit more about Mr. Rogers being a male in this post. What Mr. Rogers did was completely counter-cultural to what is acceptable for a man to do. And they even said in the documentary that there is no place in public television today for a nice man like Mr. Rogers. I can testify this is true in public education too.
As a kid, I was not around many men who were tender and kind and wanted to work with children. Men were taught not to do that–unless they were dominating kids in youth sports (ex. gymnastics and soccer). Educating and teaching children they are enough just by being who they are is not manly enough. That is not a winning message. And a man who is tender gets called all kinds of names and gets accused of the unimaginable. Because of this, I do believe this is why we have a massive amount of violence that is coming from men. Men are the cause of most of the violence in our society and that cannot be denied; it is statistically proven. Toxic masculinity. We are in desperate need of healing masculinity. All of us, no matter our gender identity, would do well to get in touch with our masculinity. It is part of being human. I am not opposed to dropping the masculine and feminine adjectives and just calling it human, but we are not there yet as a society. I learned that in the “Undong Gender” conference. We need the language to be able to move forward and heal what is wounded. Here is Mr. Rogers who is so tender and kind. Because of that, he was questioned in interviews if he was really straight; which, by the way, would not be a problem if he was not straight. It is a problem to believe that a straight man cannot be tender and truly kind. I needed a Mr. Rogers in my life. I know he would be accused of so much more if he were alive today because of how good and kind he was to children. I love he said this when he was angry:
(This is my language used with his. We are a duo): I am not here for the people who have long set aside what children need. I will tell you what children need.
Mr. Rogers was also a lifelong Republican and had to witness his own party turning against children, starting with Nixon. It was Nixon who began going after public television and wanting authority over those he did not believe were behaving. He needed money for the Vietnam war. Mr. Rogers was able to talk to people in authority, not Nixon, but Senators (oh, how I wish he could talk to our Senators today and appeal to their humanity!!!!) and help them find the goodness in what he is doing. I have been doing this past three weeks too and it is working–not with Senators, but with city officials. What he told them that is so significant to me is this:
The first thing a child learns in a healthy relationship is how to trust.
We are living in a world that is untrustworthy. Our children have not learned to trust because so many have been violated both at home and in public life (see USA Gymnastics). And goodness can be misinterpreted when that is not what they are conditioned to. I was surprised to see how many people believe Trump loves them. Abuse and love are confused. This is another great argument as to why we need to end punitive systems. That is not love. Abuse is never an avenue to new creation. The best it can do, and it won’t last, is obedience out of fear.
Two Sachse High School teachers have quit on the spot this year and the kids have laughed. People in our community need to understand what teachers, as well as the kids, are dealing with. People in authority have their hands off and are not getting in the ring with them. They are judging from afar and we are losing the people who are actually trying to make the world better.
The Bruehls are not taking that path. I am reading the story of Solomon who judged wisely in a whole new way. I think we give Solomon too much credit and not enough to the brave woman who would not compromise on what is true. It would have been easier to cave according to society’s rules, but that would have been a rejection of herself, her child, and what is true. She kept facing the challenge and the truth won the day. Maybe we need more judges like Solomon, but we also need more bold truth tellers (advocates) like the mother in the story.
Last night I watched Mr. Rogers’s Documentary again, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” I needed to be reminded that someone who believed in love and tenderness as the only way to heal was also misinterpreted and called all kinds of names. Especially because he was male. I am not going to make his maleness my focus of this post, but I hope it comes through as a secondary topic quite clearly to an overarching problem we have in our society–specifically, in our schools and churches. Mr. Rogers was headed to seminary when he saw how television was being used and targeting kids. He saw a wonderful medium being used in a horrifying way that was teaching kids not to value human dignity. He delayed seminary and went to work in television and got a child development background to do it. He took everything that made television popular and did the exact opposite. Low-budget props, he used time in a different way–things were speeding up and he was slowing down–, he kept things simple and consistent in each episode knowing kids who have experienced trauma (may not have named it that then) needed consistency in their lives. He was an unlikely star and it shows how something borne out of necessity can have a lasting effect long after we are gone. Mr. Rogers might not think his program had much of an impact based on how society looks right now. I cannot imagine what he might say, or if he might actually have given up after all (he was pushed to that point several times) if he knew about all of our school shootings. But I think he would have found a way to persevere. He definitely would not have avoided the conversation about them. As I look back at his shows, I am stunned by what he took on to share with us as children. Nothing was off the table to talk about, even in deep despair. He did not want children to be left alone in isolation with their own fantasies of loss and destruction. As a child, I did not notice how bold this was because he made it feel safe to talk about these issues. He made a home for so many of us. My therapist tells me what she is noticing in me is I am always trying to create a home. This is why I responded so strongly, in a good way, to the idea that the book of Romans is a homemaking letter. We are a bunch of people who are prone to homewrecking because of unhealed wounds and it is wreaking havoc in our neighborhood. I want people to feel at home when they are with my family, and most people do. But it takes only one person to misinterpret and attempt to wreck what is sacred. And the most painful admission I can say about this is that they know not what they do. We are a trauma uninformed neighborhood and it is time to talk about that.
I am going to continue this line of thought in another post. This will be a multi-post reflection and one blog post.
See these pictures below? These are images from the first week Mr. Rogers was on the air. Look at what he was taking on right from the start: Building walls, resisting change, authoritarianism due to fear. But the neighborhood sent messages of peace to the king: Tenderness and peaceful coexistence.
I’m a public school advocate. I’m connected to several advocacy groups and my family works in the system. With that said, there’s rot in the system. It is not bc of the schools—it’s who we are as a community and as a nation. We are a group of people who would rather watch people fall than help advocate for them. Everything we once knew/believed might have to crumble in order to do that. And our comfort zone will be gone. It requires risk and trust and it doesn’t matter who the person is that you are advocating for. Everyone needs advocates. That’s what the Holy Spirit reveals to us. Go and do likewise.
It’s one thing if the person doesn’t want help, that happens, and there’s nothing you can do but try to stop them if they are causing harm. But even then, it takes action to find out if that’s true. It takes noticing and caring.
I have been loosely collecting data on what is happening to public school teachers in the classroom; I’m stunned. Private school and homeschooling parents are not exempt from responsibility here. What affects one, affects us all. The ability to attend private school or homeschool is only afforded to a few. Your lives will be harmed if public schools fail, and they will if we do not CHANGE.
Earlier this month I thought I was done with everything. People are rotten, and I had no more energy for this betrayal that has come to meet us once again. Communal betrayal is the worst kind of betrayal. What I’ve seen and learned cannot be unseen or unheard. What people are capable of doing to each other —even if it’s silence—is so violent. We are not going to be quiet.
It did not kill us though. Now we know a lot more and are more resolved to demand change, and we demand it NOW.
Look at the age of this shooter. This age is not uncommon in all our schools shootings (and there are many). He waited until he was legally able to buy a gun to do this. Laws do work! Also, to say more police on campus misses the fact police failed in Uvalde. But even if they hadn’t, you are asking police to kill teens who have become so violent bc of white supremacy and lack of resources for their mental health. That’s not good for the police mentality either. This is traumatizing everyone. I can also testify that kids who are having negative interactions with police are not dealing with that well. It doesn’t help them. And it doesn’t help teachers to have negative interactions with police either. Shackles and chains are signs of a low moral creative imagination.
Our kids are living as if there is no hope bc we are telling then that story.
The whole is crumbling.
I have posted several times about the passage in Mark 5 with the man in the tombs. He was unwell and crying out. He was ignored by his community bc the shackles and chains they put on him previously no longer worked, and the community was too tired to deal with him now. Can’t be bothered too much. The man was ailed by the Roman militarization of his society. We know this is true bc he named what had a hold on him.
Jesus cared and wasn’t the least bit concerned about the economy. Jesus sure wouldn’t care about the gun industry in the USA. Just like he allowed the unclean spirit to enter the hogs, he’ll send the unclean spirit in the USA into the gun industry. This industry has so many crying out for healing but are instead met with an apathetic community and uncaring lawmakers.
The Bruehls aren’t going anywhere. For such a time as this. Teachers do not deserve to have to deal with violent kids either. They are disrespectful and undisciplined. It’s time for change.
Y’all, we need gun legislation, no doubt, but due to the circumstances my family is under, I want to bring up another really important point: the age of the people who are doing the school shootings.
I read a report that shows that 70% of the school shootings since 1999 have been carried out by people under 18. This is something to really dig deep into and consider. Think about the Tik Tok challenge and the damage done to schools. The slap your teacher challenge too. The list goes on.
The kids have not been given a future to live into by the adults who should be guiding them and it shows. The school board meetings and the absolute abuse against public school educators is a sin. It is time for a culture change. And now!
Kids are becoming violent in our schools in a variety of ways and that is not being addressed. Teachers are fleeing public education for good reason. And the system is not considering how it perpetuates this problem by not working together. The individualism that allows us to blame a person is killing the people who did not want to give up.
My heart weeps for the loss in Ulvade. I have been advocating change for years and I will not stop. There are a lot of things happening at the intersection of this latest tragedy–including personally. It is time to look within to see why the kids are not okay.
They are spiritually dry. Spiritual violence is violence. It is time to take that more seriously and stop the spread of trauma. We are spreading trauma by not recognizing it.
Today’s reflection comes from Mark 5. The title is “Jesus Heals the Gerasene Demoniac” but that title is misleading and I will walk you through why.
In this story, Jesus and his followers are going to the other side of the sea to the country of the Gerasenes. They are going into new territory because Jesus is not confined to staying in his lane. Every BODY matters.
When they arrive, immediately upon getting off the boat, a man who lived among the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He was a man who could not be restrained anymore. The chains and the shackles that people had put on him could bind him no more! Y’all, this is clearly systemic evil and sin that had a hold on him. He was not a demoniac—the system was demonic. Now he is bruising himself with stones and howling on the mountains and people are just letting it go. They are too tired to help him in a meaningful way, because a moral creative imagination takes too much time and effort.
This man immediately goes to Jesus and asks “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Do not torment me. (v.7). The principality that had a hold on the man knew who Jesus was. It announced him accurately and knew Jesus had the power to send it away.
Here is what I love the most: Jesus, recognizing there is an unclean spirit, asks the spirit its name. He knows the only way to heal what hurts is to name it.
My name is Legion; for we are many. (v. 9)
Legion is a Roman military term. It is an evil principality that had a hold on many. Law and Order. Pax Romana. And people were comfortable with it. They let the people harmed by it cry out and ignored the pain. If you ignore it, then it does not exist, apparently. The only imagination they had for healing were shackles and chains. Peace through violence. Spiritual violence is violence. It hurts people in the same way physical wounds do, but it is invisible and there is a believed ability that spiritual wounds can be ignored. They cannot! It comes out eventually—maybe through bruising and howling.
The unclean spirits ask to be sent into the heard of swine, and permission was granted. Approximately 2,000 swine were affected by these unclean spirits and they rushed down the steep bank into the sea and were drowned. The swineherds ran off to tell everybody.
The people came to see the man who had been infected by Legion healed and in his right mind. That made them afraid, not relieved. Their economy had been affected, and for that they sent Jesus away. No celebration for a man in his right mind now. Jesus cares more about the parts than the whole. The economy is not what Jesus is going to try to save when someone is harmed by it. The system gets crushed. Not the person.
The man wanted to leave with Jesus, but Jesus told him to stay. Share with your FRIENDS what has happened to you. And he did. He began to proclaim in Decapolis what Jesus did for him, and everyone was amazed.
Friends, I am coming to you because there is a story brewing that needs a name. Documentation is happening right now and friends are being gathered. An unjust system is leaving people in the tombs crying out, and many are just walking by. The system feels normal and the only imagination we have had—until now.
This story will have a name. Let the reader understand. Jesus did not come to save unjust systems. An unjust system is what killed him, and that is when everything changed. Rome fell. The Temple fell. People were healed and faith was restored.
If your name isn’t known, then it’s a very lonely feeling. Madeleine L’Engle.
Every time I have a revelation, a Madeleine L’Engle instagram post backs up what the universe has revealed to me. Look at this book advertised on the page—the foreword, specifically. God hears me. I know this is true. Read the caption on the picture. That caption is what is inspiring this post.
I have been on two sides of our very broken justice system now. I have discovered we are living in a world that is separating from each other and it is a disaster. The apathy that is coming from our systems is literally killing your neighbor—your friend.
A therapist on twitter said recently that while they know there is a mental health crisis and a lot of people need therapy—that is not the answer for everything. WHAT WE NEED IS A REVOLUTION. I have been saying we need a revolution of friendship. Jesus is with me on that. John 15:15. Also, side note: our family has called six different therapists this past week and none are taking new patients. They also rarely take insurance because the insurance system is a mess. Y’all, the problems we are facing are big. Best not to sacrifice people on the altar of self-interest and self-preservation. It will come for you too. To back up the quote on L’Engle’s post—our insistence upon our independence is causing us to become malignant. That is exactly what is happening.
We as a society are telling people to go to therapy for the trauma created by the damn system. A system that refuses to self-reflect and reconsider its ways. A system that sacrifices people working on the ground nearest to the pain while people further from the pain are making sure their ass is covered and not taking responsibility for what we needs to be learned.
What I find most troubling is how the system aims to get people to forget about you. It counts on that short-term memory that so many have in our culture because it needs to be able to manufacture whatever it needs to be true in that moment and for the people to believe it. But it is not true. And if we are a society that says the truth does not matter or is whatever we believe it to be, then we are heading toward what is coming with our own permission. We broke from the inside—not the outside.
I hear the quote “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” often in the world of faith. Y’all know that is Aristotle, right? Not Jesus. Jesus was one of the parts sacrificed by a system attempting to maintain the whole that really was not whole. Easier to wash its hands like Pilot. Jesus leaves the whole for the one. There are a series of parables in Luke demonstrating the joy of finding what was lost and what was lost seemed so small, but the joy was big!