I would like to use a word that I can't find in any of my dictionaries: "symptomatography". I would like to use it because I believe that all the issues and problems that we normally treat are symptoms of a deeper malignant disease. It is crucial that we recognize this and develop the skill of diagnosing the disease and the symptoms it presents. The reason being that we settle with simply treating the symptom with band-aids... an interim measure that may decrease or even provisionally eliminate the presentation of the disease. Anyone can apply disinfectant, salve, gauze, band-aids; and some can even cut and sew. But fewer people can actually diagnose and confront the disease. I recognized this early in my relationship with Lisa. It was through our commitment to prove our love over the long haul that I learned that everything I do that hurts Lisa is not just a simple mistake or oversight. I began to realize that all my little trespasses against her were symptoms of deeper issues that needed astute diagnosis and serious attention if I wanted to stop hurting her. This is why, in the church context, I try to take the time to diagnose every little problem that comes along. This is why all the terrible things I have experienced in the name of love, God and the church are not simply written off as little slips or slights in human error, but significant manifestations of a deeper malevolence that need brutally honest detection and committed treatment. The abuse I've suffered at the hands of church leaders, other Christians, the insane chaos of a church split, being fired from another international ministry for "insubordination", etc., are all not just little episodic blemishes in church life, but revelatory symptoms of deeply serious defects, profound flaws, and continental faults that need immediate and radical treatment. I am not willing to say: "Well, let's go back and try that again!" Why? I ask again, Why? Why go back and apply the same old remedies to the same old problems ad nauseam? I contend that we need to cut open the chest, stretch apart the ribs and go in... straight for the heart! Or shave the head, peel back the face, saw open the skull and hold the diseased brain in our very hands!

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