Journal Entry: Joshua Mark Taylor-11/14/2023-A Master’s Degree in Hypocrisy

Journal Entry

When I consider my past, it seems like there were two realities. Josh was a professional with a wife, a college degree, and a career. At the same time, Josh was an immature, alcoholic, drug addict. My memories are often incongruous but they are very real. How did I form these two realities and how did I manage them for so long?

The Bible calls this type of man a double-minded man. The original Greek is “dipsuchos” which literally means “two-souled” or “two psyches.” Since his mind is divided, he is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). This man is far from God and has a defiled heart (James 4:8).

The word hypocrite also describes such a man; this comes from the ancient Greek word for a stage actor. The actor would wear a mask to disguise his face and use a voice augmenter to change his voice. The one seen on stage bore no resemblance to the one seen in the street.

My hypocrisy and double-mindedness was learned over time. Our paternal grandparents were ministers, and the children in our household visited them every weekend. While we were there, we were the ideal Christian family. We ate together, prayed together, and went to church together all the while having wholesome fun. I never wanted the weekend to end, but they would take us back to Mom’s house after Sunday evening church and ice cream.

I see that boy that loved visiting his grandparents, going to church, helping people, and being part of a loving Christian family forming one side of my adult double-mindedness. During college, I would take the 90 minute trip home each Sunday for church. It was the only place where I felt like I belonged. After college, as my career began, I taught an adult Sunday School class. However, this was only part of who I was.

During childhood, when the weekends came to an end, Nana would fix us ice cream after evening church and drive us home. We never knew what home would be like when we walked through the door. Our parents would be characterized, at that time, as severe alcoholics with seasons of drug abuse. Dad was working out of town and mom’s mood was largely determined by what she was drinking. What a relief it was to see Mom’s lipstick on a glass of beer when we walked in the door. This means we would have a fun night of television and storytelling. If there was a glass of wine, it was likely the music would get turned up loudly and stay on too late. There may be some arguments, but these nights were far better than vodka nights.

My mom had much unresolved childhood trauma which manifested as anger when she drank liquor. On these vodka nights, she would suddenly lash out at her beau or one of us kids. It was unprovoked rage channeled toward one who didn’t deserve it. Not every night was this way, but the ones that did began with a bottle of liquor.

These things which occurred during the week were forbidden to be discussed on the weekends. Likewise, we didn’t bring up the great weekends we spent at her former in-laws to avoid provoking her. I didn’t realize it at the time, but walls were being raised, compartments were being built in my mind, double-mindedness and hypocrisy were being learned.

My life as a teen and young adult did not seem incongruous because of my childhood. I did not thing it odd to serve the Lord on Sundays and Wednesdays while serving carnality the rest of the week. “Church Josh” and “Party Josh” never had to meet. I would shovel snow Saturday morning, in the church parking lot for a wedding, and drink the rest of the day only to get up early to teach adult Sunday School.

As a professional, this doublemindedness descended to deplorable depths. I felt that as long as I did my job well, I could spend my afternoons and weekends however I wanted. There were several problems with this which even started becoming obvious before I was arrested.

As a coach, what happened when the film study, scouting, and game planning took away from party time? Party time largely replaced sleep time as stoned time began to creep into work time. Managing the different Joshes became impossible as they began overlapping. The pain and brokenness which led me to party in the first place led to Xanax addiction which seriously affected my decision-making capability when paired up with sleep deprivation, stress, and alcoholism.

I make no excuses for the awful things I have done; however, reflecting on what led me to make poor decisions will stop these walls of duplicity from being rebuilt. I demolish hypocrisy two ways. Practicing integrity–being the same man consistently no matter who is watching–was how I began to destroy the duplicitous life. The other way is by inviting accountability from myself, my friends, and from the Lord. I promptly admit my struggle to the Lord in prayer. Admitting my weakness gives no opportunity for denial to begin and ushers God’s strength into the situation. Being vulnerable by inviting mature, Christian men into my struggles and successes encourages me to do well. God uses these to show me when I am on the wrong track. I do not have everything figured out, but I refuse to fall back into the sins of my past.