Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Legacy

A Song, a moon, a melody, a harp of ten strings
A poem of renaissance glory, of Pallas Athena fame.
A star in eastern skylines, a prophesy in tongues
Scrying through the crystal oceans... looking for a home.

Cutting through the mountains, wretching gashes in the earth
We are searching for a memory,
To tell us who we were.

Finding sense in insense,
Finding truth in pain,
Finding only bloodshed,
Find no water in the rain.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

American Idolatry and the "Christian" Media

So the other day I caught part of JD's favorite show "Extreme Home Makeover" and a new thought came bubbling up to the surface.

Admittedly I don't watch alot of "Christian" Television or listen to alot of "Christian" Radio... It does not intersect with my life, I find the music and the programming poorly written and executed and lacks the quality needed to be a real influence in the world. (I also won't get into the fact that it is usually of such poor quality that it is not glorifying to God... ) However, I do know that in October 2004 TBN had their own version of American Idol called "Gifted". It was sort of a whitewashed, blander, "Christian" version of the original.

So anyway, I was watching Extreme Home Makeover and realized that in many ways what they were doing was the social justice ministry that the church, in all her various manifestations, should be doing. We should be the ones seeking out persons in need and providing new homes for them, providing scholarships for children in poverty, and renovating neighborhoods. More than that, all the persons featured on the show are usually doing some kind of mercy ministries on their own at great personal cost. The church should be coming along side those persons.

Now before you respond I do know that their are many many many many Christian persons who are doing just that... rebuilding and transforming lives... However, I thought it was interesting that when it comes to making television shows... "Christian" media seems to want to be as "cool" as everyone else by emulating American Idol and not spend the time or money the same way that that they do on Extreme Home Makeover. Instead of doing that ministry that seems natural for the church- transforming lives through mercy and justice ministries- they want to create a sanitized version of our culture.

I think that in this way "Christian" media has fallen into their own American Idolatry. The idolatry of thinking they are God's Public relations firm rather than his servants called to change the world.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I'm Busy Writing Reflections

So, it's been a few weeks since I returned from Rome, and so lately, I have been writing a long document for my oblate brothers and sisters reflecting on that experience. When I have it finished, and someone shows me how, I will post it here.

So lately, I've had this poem rattling around in my head... by Robert Frost.

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

JD introduced me to this poem, and since it is fall, and the golden leaves are falling at an alarming rate, this poem has been flying around the borders of my mind. I know that Robert Frost is speaking of Spring in this poem, but still as I watch the leaves reveal their true golden nature, and then watch them fall, this poem seems almost doubly true.

Did you know that leaves are not actually green? The come in all sorts of colors that are only revealed at death. The tree stops supplying the leaves with water, scar tissue forms, photosynthesis ceases, and the leaves start to die, revealing what color they really are.

In the same way Eden (mentioned in the poem) revealed alot about the character of God. In the moments after the fall, we see violence in Adam, manipulation in Eve, and in God we see hope. He could have destroyed them, he could have punished but instead, he explains what has happened, and promises redemption. The first action of God, was to clothe them and remove part of their shame.

God reveled his character as "Eden sank to grief".

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Live from Rome V - Why Church and State Separation is Such a Good idea.

Well as I mentioned yesterday today was the day that we visited Monte Cassino, the first Benedictine Monastery founded by Saint Benedict himself. It was beautifully situated on a mountain, baroque glory, marble, fountains, statues, frescoes, mosiac, and canvas... BEAUTIFUL.

Apparently, in WWII the allied troops destroyed the town of Cassino and the Monastery of Monte Cassino thinking that the monastery was keeping German troops. Everything was destroyed except the high altar, underwhich the bones of Saint Benedict and his twin sister Saint Scholastica reside. In fact, the altar was hit by a bomb... but the bomb stopped, embedded itself in the floor, and didn't go off. The only things left standing after the attack were Saint Benedict's statue, and the altar.

However, the government rebuilt the monastery according to it's original specifications which were kept in the archives in Rome. The monastery is now the property of Governmenta Italiana, not the monks. According to the tour guide: '' This is our national treasure.''

The Monks for their part, own only the liturgical appointments in the monastery (Vestments, Chalices, etc.)

When the time came for mass, it was the guard who unlocked the tabernacle so the priest could take out the reserve elements. The guard walked up and down the isles during mass to make sure people didn't have their cell phones on. The guard also served as acolyte and silenced the people by saying SHHHHHH!!!!

More than that, after mass, and after the tour, we were all sitting in the plaza and on the steps. We were tired, the weather was perfect, fountains were splashing, and we had our shoes off, we were enjoying being in our ''Mother House''. All of a sudden, the guards came through... and made everyone stand... Apparently you aren't allowed to sit! He then made everyone be completely silent rather than the quiet banter we experienced before.

So there we were... standing in the middle of the plaza... standing there completely quiet, uncomfortable and confused! You see, Benedictines are all about hospitality... the moments before the guard came we were talking about God and what we had learned, about Mass, and becoming better friends... After, we were almost afraid to be community.

I know that this guard was merely doing his job, but his ethos was vastly different from the ethos on which the Monastery was originally founded: ''All guests are to be treated as Christ''. It was then I realized what it meant for the government to own the church, and what effect that can have on Christian community. I could not imagine, if Jesus had traveled for miles and walked up a mountain, and was tired that we would make him stand and not speak. As wonderful as it all was, something is wrong in Monte Cassino.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Live From Rome IV - I am SO moving to Rome!

Oh my goodness! I am moving to Rome!!!!!!!!It is the most beautiful, gritty, real, gorgeous, fantastic, rich, city I have ever been in. Today... I stood beside the grave of Raphael, the reliquery of Saint Agnes, and stood beside the Altar of Saint Katherine of Sienna. I have seen beautiful artwork, beatiful churches, drank wine, ate good food, and tomorrow I go to the Abby at Monte Cassino... AAAAAHHH!!!! I AM SO EXCITED I HAVE TO WRITE IN CAPITAL LETTERS!

Okay now that that is over... let's talk about poverty. At the entrance to every church there is a poor or disabled person begging for alms. They are in the square... they are everywhere. Meanwhile the police take posts outside every ATM machine to protect against theives... So here is the question... Why in the center of one of the most powerful churches in the world, is noone doing anything about the theives and the poverty? Why is it that tourists are picking up the slack of feeding the hungry when the church is not?

So I need to move here with my methodist sensibilities... I need to start a mission here... or... I need to pray that someone will take on the mission here... because as much as I want to move to Rome... it is not my calling to start a mission here... however, I am going to find some missions here in Rome to contribute to...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Live From Rome III

So I got sick today... bad things were happening is about as far as I will go to describe it. The food here is great... but not in reverse. Anyway, I'm fine now except when I was sleeping off the effects of sickness earlier today I made it hard to sleep now... it is three AM here in Italy.

Tomorrow, or is it today, I am going into the city. The friend I was going to go with had to back out suddenly so I will be going with another group of folks. A poet and his wife actually. We will all be traveling into the city to see several of the sites. I hope the cappella sistina will be among them... but the wait can be as long as three hours so at this point it looks doubtful.

So here is emergency alternate plan B... I will save every red cent and and come back here again with a friend... and I will take a Michelangelo Tour of Italy... I'd go to Florence, the chapel, the Musea De Vaticano... I'll visit anything Michelangelo. Who among my many readers would like to come with me? (Please note that I am completely serious so if you say yes plan on saving up for the trip as well.)

Anyway, I've gotten some really great pictures that I will post to my blog as soon as Isaac shows me how. The food here is fantastic... I am thinking about buying an Authentic Italian Cookbook so that I can make real italian food at home... Every night we have wine with dinner... but the wine isn't very good so I usually drink water. (Before you contact the Ethos Committee please note that I have graduated and drink no more than one glass which I sip all throughout the meal. Because it is not very good wine I never have a second glass and I don't think I'll be having another glass with dinner anyway. I think I'll have to wait to have good wine at Christmas.)

Today's talks were about the mission of the Benedictine Oblate... and wouldn't you know it this is where we disagree. They talked about the importance of interreligious dialogue and how we oblates are called to have a hand in that... however, as much as I appreciate Intereligious Dialogue I would not go so far as to say other religions are right... headed toward the same truth or some such nonsense. I of course advocate respect and dialogue, but am not blind to our differences. So I guess in that way I differ from many here in the congress.

One more thing... my roomate Anthony is from Trinidad and Tabago... he is really cool! More on him later!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Live From Rome II

Well, here I am in Rome again writing to you about everything that is going on here at the Salesinium. This morning the congress discussed "Oblation as Family Communion" where we discussed how the loving family has been appointed by God to be Salvivic. That through Christ's eartly ministry, and now in the church the family can be a herald of salvation.

Beyond that, I have a friend who will be traveling into the city with me on Friday to go and see the sights... including my blessed Sistine Chapel. O Lord, let them be open!!!

Anyway, much love from Rome. Continue to pray me through friends...

Michelangelo

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Live fromRome

Hey everyone, I am writing to you from Rome. While i have been away Isaac has been working on my blog. He's done a great job huh?

So here I am writing to you from Rome where even the keyboards are different. I have learned the meaning of jet lag... and am suddenly thankful for the reformation. Having a great time... but sadly, I might not be able to see the Sistine Chapel as planned.

Michael

Friday, September 16, 2005

Almost Time...

In between now and noon tomorrow I still have to...

1.) Finish packing
2.) Finish cleaning the house (I hate to come home to a dirty house)
3.) Finish Laundry
4.) Finish leaving instructions for church on sunday 18 & 25
5.) Send out my final emails before leaving

Writing this blog is another thing I wanted to do before I left. First of all, you can read up on the events of the congress at the website...

www.oblatesworldcongress.com

I don't know what I am expecting... but God has pulled me behind the proverbial woodshed. I AGAIN started to think about what would happen if my wallet was stolen... I started to stew and worry... and then God started firing off questions...

"Michael... if your wallet is stolen... will you fall over dead?"

"No Lord"

"Michael... if you are robbed... are they going to send you home from the congress in shame?"

"No Lord"

"Michael... If you lose your wallet do you think Italy will just keep you and you'll never see home agajn? Is that reasonable?"

"No Lord"

"Michael... If I am sending you to Rome out of the thousands and thousand of oblates, monasteries and not to mention catholics, is it not also true that whether you have the time of your life or the worst trip ever, I will in fact bring purpose to it? Whatever happened to that Wesleyan admonition to 'suffer me what you will. Let me be brought high by you or laid low by you?' What happened to 'I heard and my bones wasted away but the Lord is in his Holy Temple?' Michael, what happened to faith?"

"Ouch Lord, that one kind of hurt..."

"Good."

And so here I am... doubting my faith. I do not doubt the object of my faith but instead, my own faith in it. To be abundantly clear... I can with my whole heart affirm the creeds of our church and the teachings of scripture... but I see in this conversation a chink in my armor. A place where I distrust God. A place where I believe in God, but do not believe God. I have not even left the house... and the dialogue with my soul has already begun...

THE PRAYER OF SAINT BENEDICT

O Lord, I place myself in Your hands and dedicate myself to You. I pledge myself to do Your will in all things: To love the Lord God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength. Not to kill, not to steal not to covet, not to bear false witness, to honor all persons. Not to do to another what I should not want done to myself. Not to seek after pleasures. 

To love fasting. To relieve the poor. To clothe the naked. To visit the sick.To bury the dead. 
To help those in trouble. To console the sorrowing. To hold myself aloof from worldly ways.To prefer nothing to the love of Christ. 

Not to give way to anger.Not to foster a desire for revenge. Not to entertain deceit in the heart. Not to make a false peace. 

Not to forsake charity. Not to swear, lest I swear falsely. To speak the truth with heart and tongue. Not to return evil for evil 

To do no injury, indeed, even to bear patiently any injury done to me. To love my enemies. 
Not to curse those who curse me but rather to bless them. To bear persecution for justice's sake. 

Not to be proud.Not to be given to intoxicating drink. Not to be an overeater. Not to be lazy. 
Not to be slothful Not to be a detractor. 

To put my trust in God. To refer the good I see in myself to God. To refer any evil I see in myself to myself. To fear the day of judgment. To be in dread of hell. 

To desire eternal life with spiritual longing. To keep death before my eyes daily. 
To keep constant watch over my actions. To remember that God sees me everywhere. 

To call upon Christ for defense against evil thoughts that arise in my heart. To guard my tongue against wicked speech. To avoid much speaking. To avoid idle talk. 

Not to seek to appear clever. To read only what is good to read. To pray often. 
To ask forgiveness daily for my sins, and to seek ways to amend my life. 

To obey my superiors in all things rightful. Not to desire to be thought holy, but to seek holiness. To fulfill the commandments of God by good works. 

To love chastity. To hate no one. Not be jealous or envious of anyone. Not to love strife. 
Not to love pride. 

To honor the aged. To pray for my enemies. To make peace after a quarrel, before the setting of the sun. Never to despair of your mercy, O God of mercy. AMEN

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The New Harry Potter IPod

Okay, I know I already have an IPod and that I probably don't need two but Apple just announced that they were selling a New Harry Potter Special Edition IPod with all six of the books downloaded into it... oh help me I want one I want one I want one... The back of the IPod is embossed with the Hogwarts Crest. SIGH... Now all I have to do is justify the purchase and scrounge up the money...

Hmm... I am going to Rome soon... Maybe I can sell indulgences! I'll say a prayer for you in Vatican City and you can commit the sin of your choice. Going rate: $50.00 per sin. (No COD's)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Which Saint are you?

Julian
You are Julian of Norwich! It's all about God, to
you. You're convinced that the world has a
happy ending. Everyone else is convinced that
you're a closet hippie, but you love them
anyway.


Which Saint Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Storm Paths

Charity Hospital in New Orleans saw the darkness of the human heart, as a sniper fired upon the sick fleeing the rising flood waters. The heart of darkness, the hand of the evil one, the result of sin seen both in the presence of illness and the presence of terror. Marti Gra like madness in real life, the crazed debauchery of attempted murder. The sick and innocent --as always-- the first victims.

Slowly methodically the storm of sin rages a path through the human heart as people loot and steal televisions when they have no power with which to watch them. An unknown fear as the French Quarter may never be seen again. These days we have seen the storm of sin rage a path through the human heart. Natural disaster brought out the darkness of the stained human soul.

Storms move fast and interact and there is a God whose path is dark on the wings of a storm, a different storm developing. This, stripped naked by the evil, beat bloody with the irrational, hands empty with the poverty, arms outstretched with the hungry, died with the empty... God. Gathering his people to forge a storm path of righteousness through the ravaged south.

The sound of his lightning proclaiming this is not a moment to ruminate on death and air, but to proclaim in the storms wake, the soft miracle of the spring rain.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

All About My Trip to Rome

So, many of the readers of this Blog already know that on September 18-26th I will be headed to Rome to take part in a week long Oblate World Congress (www.oblatesworldcongress.com).

However for those of you who don't. I am a lay affilate (oblate) of a Methodist-Benedictine Monastery called Saint Brigid of Kildare Monastery in Minnesota. I have traveled there every summer for retreats, pray for my brother and sister oblates as well as take part in Spiritual Formation Groups.

Anyway, Benedictine Monasteries around the world were chosen by lottery to send one Oblate Delegate to this special conference in Rome. My monastery was chosen, and then they chose to send me to the conference.

I have my ticket, have started gathering together the supplies I'll need, am having my license renewed with my new address, and am preparing to leave. While I am at the conference, there is also a change that we will be given an audience with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

I am however, nervous and filled with a bit of trepidation. I have never attempted international travel nor have I ever flown for 14 hours. Also, on my way home I have a 13 hour layover in London... fun huh... except for the fact that it is in the middle of the night. 8:00pm - 9:45am. Can you imagine?

I just keep thinking, I wish I had someone to go along with me... oddly enough, though I have been given an all expense paid trip to Rome... it is scary to attempt on my own.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Beneath the Surface, Something Shines

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and void, and empty darkness covered the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters… And God said, let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness and he called the light day, and the darkness night. And their was evening and there was morning the first day.

We worship a God of order and light. A God who sees through darkness, through brokenness and despair, a God who creates, and restores.

Have you ever thought about the fact that the goodness of our God is known even in the darkest depths of our oceans. Far beneath the surface, in places where the water is cold and the light never reaches, even there God’s goodness is seen. There are creatures and plants even in the deepest darkest part of the earth that possess the ability to shine and glow with their own rare luminescence. Somewhere beneath the surface of our deepest oceans even there, something shines…

So too are we, mired in the dark cold depths of sin… and yet under the surface, something in who we are shines forward. Beneath the surface of our lives, something shines… the glorious truth that we were created by God, and God considered us worth dying for.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Impression - A Slam Poem

Sometimes I sit on the roof of my house and read the kind of books that get you noticed. Sometimes I go to coffee shops and peer over the words of the page and watch people, and wonder who they are, and who their friends are while I sit, hating coffee and loving blueberry scones. I wish Orange Julius would become the coffee shop of our age.

I remember reading an old tattered copy of Wuthering Heights on a plane so that people would think I was intellegent, and interesting to talk to. Sometimes I sit and look at the books on my shelves and am proud of their diversity and number. I love to go to bookstores and look through the classics section so I seem well read but I never read cookbooks in public because I have a weight problem and it makes me look bad, like the only thing i am interested in is where and how to get more food. Books have a way of making an impression, a way of telling a story about the reader and I do read.

And what I read says that I hope for a spooky supernatural kind of love like Heathcliff and Catherine and that I dream of Gatsby's Green Lights and Ash Heaps. The books I read say that I have stood on Boo Radley's front porch and looked around at a place where, "I would be but little happy if I could say how much." I have seen the Phenomenal Woman, stood in the city by the sea, wept over the desolation that I found there, and I reached far in the distance Olympian Glory that Hercules saw when his labors were done.

You see, books have a way of making an impression, a way of telling a story about the reader.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Music - A Poetic Essayish Kind of Thing

Years ago, before the Wesley's and the Gospel hymns... the church sang only the Psalter. In lilting, haunting, melodies they sang out old Hebrew woe, and exaltation. It was the kind of music that made you ache inside, and beg for more of God...

The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want... He maketh me to lie down in green pastures... He leads me beside the still waters...

Fannie Crosby, Charles Wesley, Isasc Watts brought us the wonder of hymnody, story songs that connected the lives of Christians to the stories of Scripture. They painted word images powerful in the imagination, and just a lucid as any painted image. It was the kind of music that made you ache inside, and beg for more of God...

O Sacred Head now wounded, by grief and shame bowed down... now scornfully surrounded... with thorns, thy only crown...

This only recently gave way towards a new movement of music, scaled down from the orchestration of the past, simple ideas strung together with fearless devotion. These modern Psalms of Ascent mark a new journey for Christian persons. The kind of music that makes you ache inside, and beg for more of God...

Indescribable, uncontainable, you placed the stars in the sky and you call them by name, you are amazing God! All powerful, untameable, awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim, you are are amazing God...

Sadly however, you are forced to choose one or the other. You can have only one. God's people, are simply not creative enough to imagine both a guitar, an organ, and the schola in the same room. It must be one of the other... choose you this day...

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Budded Cross

So now that I am all moved into a new parsonage. I have created a prayer room and I bought a large cross for the wall. Oddly enough in my search for this cross I came across several that I didn't really want. Then, as I was looking through several wrought iron crosses, they suddenly all fell off the wall and behind them was the perfect cross I wanted. I took it home, and put it on the wall, and it was perfect...

In my reflections on this new cross since then I have realized that it is a particularly powerful symbol for this time of life. I used to have a cross on my bookbag when I first arrived at seminary. The cross on my bookbag was called a "Budded Cross" and it actually represents Christian immaturity, the tree before it is budded.

This new cross that found me... is made up of carved twined leaves and flowers. It is more than a tree that is budded, but a tree that is growing... and I am humbled... I wonder if I want to paint it... Make it an even more living symbol... Hmmmm...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

So, I finished it last night... all 652 pages...

It was beautiful, sweet, exciting, funny, brilliant, and terribly, terribly, sad. Truly among the best in the series. THANK YOU JK ROWLING!

I cannot say much more as I will not want to spoil the wonders for others who might wish to read. Instead, I will simply say that, part of the reason that I love the characters in these books so much is that, I realized they remind me of persons in my life.

I can't wait for the next book.

God Smack Greeting Cards - Greeting Cards from God

(Because I thought it would be a funny idea I started coming up with Greeting Cards from God. Thank you Jeana for the inspiration)

Cover -
In this time of sorrow just remember...
Inside -
It's all your own fault. How many ways do I have to say it? "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery"

Cover -
Happy Birthday
Inside-
By the way, everyone knows you are lying about your age... especially me. So stop it.

Cover -
Congratulations!
Inside-
I have never seen anyone climb the ladder as fast as you have... so... why don't you tell me how disappointed are you now that you're at the top? Maybe I can help.

Cover -
Merry Christmas!
Inside -
I'm in the manger... not the shopping mall.

Cover -
Congratulations on your Confirmation
Inside -
I guess I won't be seeing you in church anymore?

Cover -
Happy Wedding Day!
Inside -
If you spend half as much time on the marriage as you did on the wedding you'll be okay...

Cover -
Happy Forth of July!
Inside -
By the way, just so you know... I care about the other countries too...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Rant Against the Church Corporate

Okay, so this one is a long time coming. I think if I had time I would create a conference built around the ideas that I am about to present to you. You see, I am sick to death of watching the church recreate God into a corporate image. We streamline him, we make him safe, accessable, and in many ways, the church has decided to act as his publicist, or campaign manager rather than pilgrims on an unsafe journey.

Consider for a moment the fact the people such as Joel Olsteens of the world who package God as though he were the first bright hope of self-actualization. According to his Billboards his church will help you "Release Your Inner Champion." Excuse me Joel, but last time I checked my inner champion looks out for his own perverse desires and to hell with God and everyone else. If I could do it on my own, as you so wickedly propose to our "be all you can be" culture, I would not need God to be my champion.

Look even futher however, at how we dress ourselves. In order to be cool and clever we take corporate logos and rework them with cute little christian messages for our t-shirts. In doing so, we adopt the ethos of the corporations whose symbols we are STEALING and are therefore now only on the earth to sell our religious product and make money. Our God technology that works for you is now proudly displayed to a culture that is saturated with advertising images to the point that we barely notice them anymore.

Meanwhile, Christian music, art, poetry, books, and any other form of cultural expression are sorrowfully following corporate trends. Boybands in fashion? Try the Christian Alternative. Grunge? Try the Christian alternative. It just a bit blander than the original.

Long ago artists and musicians like Bach and Michelangelo found thier own voice and spoke with it. God wanted to create something with them, not lead them copy someone else.

The church that allows itself to be tempted into the evil of the corporate businesslike, technological "Gospel Product" is in danger of losing it's soul to the powers of the world.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Widgets - I have to beat JD to the punch...

So I just had my computer updated... and let me tell you OS X Tiger is really really cool. The coolest new feature are this little devices called "Widgets!" They are little icons that give you information. I even downloaded one that will give me the song lyrics of whatever CD is in my diskdrive or whatever song I am playing on iTunes. Rock on!

This brings me to my point for the day and I think Bill Gates is not going to like me. Apple is tremendosly better than PC. It looks cooler, it has cooler features... Apple is the best computer ever.

I wish PC people knew the joy they are missing out on with their clumsy huge boxes of a computer. I mean think about it people. The very look of the computer says something about it. "Look, I'm a gray box.... A great big, hulking gray box that takes up alot of space at your desk. Aren't I boring... linear, modular, manufactured. I have no idea what style or imagination are... I am just one great big hulking calculator!"

Apples on the other hand are desinged, beautiful, portable, and livable. They practically breathe.

So PC people... turn away from your darkness and into the calm soothing light of the Apple!!!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Tin Lizzy Gift Shop - A poemling

Across the sky I see letters proclaiming
"ANGELS ANGELS ANGELS"
And I wish to myself that there would be angels around me
And that I could see them and have a conversation
And talk about God and Saints, sanctuary and pierced sides.

I wish that we laugh and sing and fly together
And that they would bless this flat vast farmland that is my hope and home.
Blessing it that I too may be blessed because from this land was I grown.

But no sooner am I lost in dreams of flatlands, blessings and curses then
The writing changes and I am suddenly pulled from my all things celestine:

"ELVIS STATUES HALF-OFF"

Monday, June 20, 2005

I guess that makes me a pastor...

In the past week I have gone from two to seventeen keys on my keychain. I have moved into a huge parsonage, and preached my first Sunday in church... I guess that means I'm a pastor.

My first Sunday went just fine... I got up at 6:00 was in church by 7:00, in my robes by eight... to serve at 9:30. I guess you might say I was a little high strung and nervous.

So I guess now I'm a pastor. Oddly enough I feel completely uncomfortable with the idea... which tells me I am ready to be a pastor.

When I began seminary back in 2001 I was completely confident. I was sure I could be a pastor with little to no trouble. Now I recognize that I cannot do my job. I am what God wants me to be... pliable in his hands, helpless, in need of his strength and wisdom to complete even the smallest of tasks. It is in this state of utter abandon that I feel like everything is going to be okay. It is like the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer in many ways... the Lord has many services to be done and I am open to them all. Whatever should happen, so long as God is my father it is all going to be alright.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Strength in the Father

So you may ask yourself... why am I up so late. The answer is because I am making the bulletin for church this upcoming Sunday and without ever having worshipped at this particular congregation; it has been quite difficult. In fact, there have been alot of unknowns lately. That is what the world is right now, one great big unknown.

However, I have something to write about that may help. You see the other day everyone in my family came over for dinner... my brother and sister in law, my nephew Seth, my sister and my nephew Logan all crowding with me around my parents table with... well my parents. As inevitably happens, the nephews were playing a game in which Logan was chasing Seth throughout the house pretending to be a monster. So convincing was he that Seth ran into the kitchen where we were all seated and jumped into his father's lap. He was scared at first but as soon as he was in his father's arms, he turned and started to do his "strong man" poses where he shows off his muscles. I laughed when I realized that Seth, safely in the arms of his father was now strong enough to encounter the monster. He was posing to show how invincible he was when he was within his father's arms. With his Dad, monsters were no longer a problem.

So now I reflect on a simple basic truth of the Gospel... which basically means that we will spend the rest of our lives trying to unpack this simple, basic idea.

In our own strength we are filled with fear and weakness incapable of overcoming anything. In our Father's strong arms... we are invincible.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

"There is nothing that man needs more than Divine Mercy -- that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights of the holiness of God." -- His Holiness Pope John Paul II (June 7, 1997)

One of my favorite devotions is a prayer given to Saint Faustina called the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It contains within it "a message that is clear and understandable for everyone. Anyone can come here, look at this image of the merciful Jesus, His Heart radiating peace, and hear the depths of his own soul what Saint Faustina heard: 'Fear nothing; I am always with you'. And if (we) respond with a sincere heart, 'Jesus I trust in you,' (we) will find comfort in all (our) anxieties and fears."

Saint Faustina had a vision of what it meant to share acts of mercy with the poor and dienfranchized. She sought to live the mercy of Christ in the world. I too, despite my own fears in this season of my life, wish to see the Divine Mercy of Christ wrought with remarkable zeal and exuberance in the world. I want the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the poor to be full of good things. So I pray tonite:

Eternal Father, you offer us the body and blood, soul and divinity, of your dearly beloved Son, in atonement for our sins. For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One have mercy on us, and one the whole world. AMEN.

"I come here to commend the concerns of the Church and of humanity to the merciful Christ. On the threshold of the third millenium, I come to entrust him once more.... "Jesus, I trust in you."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Another Day Dead and Gone

Another day dead and gone-
Much like a promise to
Be and Stand with me against the torrent
Of rain, flooding out of an already empty
Vessel on the waves charting lost courses towards
Somewhere warm and safe
When apparently safety comes in numbers
Bigger than just one ship on
Waves of the kind of loneliness that comes from
Standing alone at the end of
Another day dead and gone.

Wrote this poem tonite, I kind of like it. We'll see...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sometimes it just has to hurt...

So one of my all time favorite movies is the move "Garden State".

The movie follows the story of Andrew a young man who had been medicated for most of his life as a result of a trauma that occurred when he was a child. As a result, his father put him on anti-depressants to the extent that for most of his life, he has been completely detached from his emotions.

The moment the movie came together for me is a moment after the medications have stopped and the feelings have started to surface, Andrew starts to cry for the first time and says: "This #&*%'en hurts." I know what you are thinking: "What horrible language!"

Look beyond it though... Doesn't it hurt sometimes... So much that normal words won't accurately convey the depth of the emotion? Sometimes, feeling the depth of who you are hurts and we live in a culture that does everything it can to avoid it.

We try to create a million distractions that keep us from recognizing how much it sucks to live in a fallen world and to experience that fallen nature in and around ourselves. We surround ourselves with televisions and movies, and games and noise noise noise, not to mention pornography, materialism, intellectual elitism all as means to numb ourselves, drug ourselves from feeling the pain of living in a fallen world.

It is however important that we do not numb ourselves to the realities of our falleness. It is only then that we can hope to realize the depth of our Father's love and mercy for us. Only by seeing the effects of fallen world not only as an abstract removed external reality, but also an internal reality as well do we realize how important the relationship with our Heavenly Father really is.

Feeling bad, though not pleasant, is a natural and important facet of sanctification. When we acknowledge the hurt that the fall has had on our lives we are then gifted with the power and grace to overcome it. Pain in this case is a very healing thing, much more than the shallow medications we use to not to feel.

The truth is, even in life with God, it sometimes just has to Hurt...

(If you don't believe me, ask the psalmist.)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Cathedral Days

I wish, that right now... I could be in a cathedral (I use the term loosely not meaning the Church of a Bishop but just a big church). A cathedral I mean, of three dimensions. A lot of people are intimidated by the massive architecture of cathedrals. I however, feel at home there. Imagine for a moment the stone and statues, stained glass and artistry. I love these kinds of big places where everything is symbolic. I find such places where the story is carved into the very stone very reassuring.

Right now however, I am on a pilgrimage between one world and another. Hanging out at my parents house before taking my first appointment. I feel naked and oddly alone in the midst of this. There are people that I talk to, even people in the same or similar situations... but they are not HERE.

So I wish I were in a Cathedral, where the wide open freedom of the space welcome me, to inhabit the story of God.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

In this moment...

So as you can tell by my previous post... life has been a bit... intense lately. I have been running from one thing to the next to the next and even now I am in that place between one world and another. My room in my Kentucky home is now empty and I am back at my parents house for two weeks until I move into a parsonage later on next month (June). H0wever, my heart is full to breaking with goodbyes... wedding goodbyes, school goodbyes, roommate goodbyes... it really has come to an end this Asbury Theological Seminary thing... It really is over. Now I need to press into the Father more than ever, rely on my friend and brother Lord Jesus, and breathe deeply the Holy Spirit. Only this will produce in my heart the sweet fragrance of rest and peace. Only the love and unbroken community of the Trinity will remind me that though miles part me from my loved ones' in Kentucky who themselves will soon be spread to the four corners, we remain the Body of Christ. Baptized into constant Communion with one the Lord and one another.

The Last Few Weeks

May 15-19 - Finals Week (All my papers needed to be rewritten due to computer failure.)
May 20 - Family and Friends Arrive for Graduation
May 21 - Graduation Day at Asbury/Graduation Reception Party afterward
May 22 - Family and Friends Leave/Church/Jeremy's Graduation Party
May 23 - Travel to Indiana to meet with Church
May 24 - Travel Back to Kentucky
May 25 - Meet with Father Peter for Goodbye Lunch
May 26 - Go to monastery for much needed reflection
May 27 - Have Lunch with Harriet/Clear out box at work/ Assist at Friends wedding rehursal dinner
May 28 - Go to lunch and Museum with Friends/Decorate altar for wedding/attend Wedding/ Attend Reception/ Clean up after reception.
May 29 - Begin Packing/Last Sunday at Saint Patrick's Church
May 30 - Pack, Pack, Pack/Spur of the moment bar-b-que with Friends/Pack, Pack, Pack,
May 31 - Turn in keys at Asbury/Have Pizza with James/Load truck/ Say goodbye :( / Travel to Indiana
June 1st - Wash Car - Breathe (hopefully)
June 2-4 - North Indiana Conference (www.nicumc.org)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Bare Essentials...

I am going to the monastery for a day and I was told to "pack light". You know, just bring along the essentials...

My Essentials -

Benedictine Cross
Anglican Rosary
Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller
Celtic Daily Prayer Book
The Holy Rule of Saint Benedict
Bible
Poetry Journal
Pencils x 2

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Spring Music Recital

So tonite was my final music recital as a seminarian and besides the lovely tunes from Les Miserables, I sang a song entitled... "Savior of my Heart" by Sheila Walsh, Bonnie Bielec, and John Hartley. I want to tell you about music in my life.

When I joined the Frankton United Methodist Church, we used to sing the most wonderful little song: "There's a Quiet Understanding". It was the song that characterized my early Christian Life. I still remember waliking into my dorm at a secular university and hearing someone plaing the piano in the lobby a song that was familiar to me and my not being able to remember what it was. Perplexed, I asked the gentleman playing at the piano what the title was and he told me, "There's a Quiet Understanding". The walls came crashing in, and filled me with memory.

There's a quiet understanding
When we're walking in the Spirit
There's a quiet understaning
When we gather in his name...
There's a love we feel in Jesus
There's a manna that he feeds us
That's a promise that he give us
When we gather in his name...
And we know when we're together
Sharing love and understanding
That our brothers and our sisters
Feel the oneness that He brings
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Jesus!
For the ways you love and feed us,
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Jesus!
Thank you, thank you, Lord.
This song was an Ebeneezer in my life, and now that I am finished with Seminary, the Lord has placed a new stone of memory, a stone of help into my life:
You alone, are the savior of my heart
Tender and Kind and true;
You alone are the shepherd of my soul,
Gracious in all you do
I will seek you in the morning
I will seek your face at night.
How lovely is your presence to me....
Oh Lord to me!
Take my heart, with all it's wandering ways,
Shelter me in your grace;
There I'll stay, till all my days are through
Then I shall see your face.
I will see you in the morning
I will see your face at night
How lovely is your presence to me...
O Lord to me!
This song above all the others that we have sung in Seminary is the perfect note to end on. There is more narrative here than usual, more music than is usually heard, more story than I will relate tonite. I will probably write more on this later.
I merely want to mention that oddly enough, after my recital... I have more peace about leaving this Blessed Holy Ground that is Asbury Theological Seminary.

Post Baptismal Drip

I remember something very powerful about the moment of my baptism many years ago in 1995. Particularly... I remember a single drop of water pouring down my cheek to the bottom of my chin... I remembered thinking that I wanted to wipe it away... but didn't. I didn't because in the moment, my heart welled up within me... overpowering my senses with the Spirit of God.

I remember the warmth of my pastors hand on my head... I remember the smell of the sanctuary... I remember... I remember... I remember...

So seminary has been the awaited consummation of my baptism... If you'll remember, at Baptism, they invoke your name over you... Naming and identity are very important parts of Christian life.

I remember arriving at seminary with one question: "What does it mean to have an identity in Christ?" I remembering praying the same question... and now I know.

"You are my Son in whom I am well pleased..."

Friday, April 22, 2005

Wisdom from The Muppets

The other day my roommate James let me listen to his "The Muppet Show Album." (I recommend you buy it.) The last song on the album, from the movie Muppets in Space, is called I'm Going to go Back There Someday and contains one of the most profound statements I've ever heard:

"There's not a word yet, for old friends who've just met..." -- Gonzo
So incredibly true I think. In fact, it led me to the conclusion that The Muppets, much like life... are all about friendship. Seminary in many ways has been nothing more and nothing less than connecting me to friendships, and teaching me how to trust in those friendships.
Recently, I made a new friend who I feel like I've known all my life, and somehow, I don't have word to describe the friendship. This is a very annoying thing to a poet.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Interior Castles - Where I am today...

"I am not saying that God calls to us directly, as he will do later. For now, his voice reaches to us through words spoken by good people, though listening to spiritual talks, and reading sacred literature. God calls to us in countless little ways all the time. Through illnesses and suffering through sorrow he calls to us. No matter how halfhearted such insights may be. God rejoices whenever we learn what he is trying to teach us.

Don't underestimate this first favor, friends, or be overly saddened if you cannot respond instantaneously to the call of the Beloved. His Majesty has no trouble waiting for many days, even years, especially when he sees that we are persevering and that our desires are good. Perseverence brings great gains.

But the spirit of evil assaults the soul in a thousand ways now and her suffering is deeper than it was before. In the first dwelling she could hear almost nothing, and she resisted less. The soul was a warrior who had lost hope of victory. The intellect has sharpened now and the faculties have grown more skillfull. The clash of arms and explosion of mortar are so intense that the soul cannot help but perceive them. Now the little demons present these serpents -- which are worldly attachments and earthly pleasures -- as if they were abiding realities."

-- "Interior Castles"
Saint Teresa of Avila
(Translated: Mirabei Starr)


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Easter Sunday (We've Made It!"

The one sentiment I take with me from Easter Sunday. It was a full day of celebration and immersion into the Scripture, we feasted and sang and spent time together, we read we toiled and we shared the Eucharist together. However, it was Father Peter’s words in the sermon that put the exclamation point on the “Fullest Lent Ever”. The Lections for the day was the Road to Emmaus, and Peter said again and again, “We have journeyed forty days, and we’ve made it. The Risen Christ has brought us here.”

He has indeed.

Holy Saturday (Invocation of the Ancient)

On Holy Saturday I attended the Easter Vigil at Pax Christi Catholic Church in Lexington. Our church is currently too small to sustain a vigil so we got together and went to Pax Christi. Oddly enough for a Protestant, the most meaningful moment came when we began a part of the baptismal liturgy called the “Invocation of the Saints”. This is a moment when the Church asks for the Saints to intercede on behalf of the church and those about to be baptized. As the names of various Saints were read, I knew their stories. I love to study the lives of the Saints because I believe that we can all be encouraged by those who have led lives of holiness, sanctified to God. As the names were intoned I knew the stories of many of them, and the prayers they had prayed, and the memories of their lives paraded through my memory and I suddenly felt connected. These are my brother and sisters, these are my people and kindred, I remember them and we belong to one another. Suddenly I realized even more how ancient the church is and that I was a part of something extending through and across time.

Holy Saturday (Invocation of the Ancient)

On Holy Saturday I attended the Easter Vigil at Pax Christi Catholic Church in Lexington. Our church is currently too small to sustain a vigil so we got together and went to Pax Christi. Oddly enough for a Protestant, the most meaningful moment came when we began a part of the baptismal liturgy called the “Invocation of the Saints”. This is a moment when the Church asks for the Saints to intercede on behalf of the church and those about to be baptized. As the names of various Saints were read, I knew their stories. I love to study the lives of the Saints because I believe that we can all be encouraged by those who have led lives of holiness, sanctified to God. As the names were intoned I knew the stories of many of them, and the prayers they had prayed, and the memories of their lives paraded through my memory and I suddenly felt connected. These are my brother and sisters, these are my people and kindred, I remember them and we belong to one another. Suddenly I realized even more how ancient the church is and that I was a part of something extending through and across time.

Good Friday (Wounded Creativity)

During our Good Friday Services last week our Priest, Father Peter, went forward and began to play his guitar. With him were two master violinists and together they played an exquisite rendition of “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”. As I watched them play their instruments I thought about how all of their instruments were made with beautifully polished wood. Then as I scanned the room I saw the altar table, also made of beautifully polished wood. Finally, I saw the large wooden cross. As I listened to the music and took in what I was seeing, I caught a new glimpse of the fall on humanity. Had we never have fallen, we would have used the resources of our world to make instruments, tables to gather at, and homes for people to live in. As things are however, we use our ingenuity to create torture devices, and walls between one another. Have you ever considered how creative we are in doing evil? We not only hurt one another, we do so artfully. How interesting then that the church has become a sanctuary for music and art! How interesting that played out before us as we reflected on our own sin was redemption in a rosewood violin, and tall wooden altar. The cross was not only a reclamation of our souls but of our lost creativity.

Mandy Thursday (Ugly Feet)

So, let me just be honest. At our Maundy Thursday Service, we shared in the ancient practice of foot washing. I stayed in my seat. It would have taken wild dogs to pull me to have my feet washed. It terrifies me. Through four years of seminary, I have never conquered this fear. It is just too intimate, too personal, and too close. There is no one… and I mean it…no one at all that I would trust enough to perform this action. Oddly enough, I would happily wash the feet of others. Oddly enough this is the struggle of my Christian life… I am more than willing to love others… I find it much harder to be loved… I am more than willing to serve others… less willing to be served but, I know this has to change… after all, does not our Lord tell us “If I do not wash your feet you have no part of me”?

Urgh… the Liturgy has ripped me open.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

A Palm Sunday Reflection

Have you considered that in this moment in the Gospel, the triumphal entry, Jesus wept over Jerusalem? This is one of the three instances in the Gospels that Jesus is recorded as having wept. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus, he wept over Jerusalem, and he wept in the Garden.

Luke 19:42-44 says - As (Jesus) approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.”

We discussed in church today how, Jesus wept as he imagined the ruin of Jerusalem as a result of their unbelief. The simply could not imagine what God was doing in their midst through Jesus. He simply did not fit their preconcieved notions. In my own life, time being as full as it is, I too am having a hard time believing all the wonderful things God is doing in my life. Yet that is the challenge of the day, not to believe in what I think God would or should do, but to believe in what he actually has done. I must believe even though believing is dangerous, vulnerable, and costly.

Friday, March 18, 2005

His Love...

HIS LOVE IS NOT CONDITIONAL...
HIS LOVE IS NOT CONDITIONAL...
HIS LOVE IS NOT CONDITIONAL...
HIS LOVE IS NOT CONDITIONAL...
HIS LOVE IS NOT CONDITIONAL...
HIS LOVE IS NOT CONDITIONAL...
HIS LOVE IS NOT CONDITIONAL...
HIS LOVE IS NOT CONDITIONAL...
HIS LOVE IS NOT CONDITIONAL...
HIS LOVE IS NOT CONDITIONAL...
HIS LOVE IS...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Dimensions of the Cross

I have just caught another dimension of the cross that I have never encountered before. I have through the years grappled with the reality of the cross, the suffering of the cross, the guilt of the cross, the overarching dominion of the cross, but I have never realized how hard it is, to grapple with the love of the cross. Somehow I always took it for granted.

But now, despite everything, as God seems to shower more and more love down on me. As one miraculous thing after another happens in my midst. I am astounded to see how fully God loves me. Lately I have not been especially "holy" I have not been stepping up my Spiritual Discipline beyond any other Lent, I have not been especially charitable, or loving beyond that which is normal for me. Yet he continues to pour down blessings without any sign of letting up.

God loves me beyond what I could imagine. The cross of Jesus is the greatest intersection of love Human existence has ever known. I am astounded by the flooding waters of God's love.

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Days are Full

I am going to buy a purple t-shirt and some of those iron-on t-shirt things... The slogan on the t-shirt will say. "Year of Grace 2005: Fullest Lent Ever!" All around me chains are falling off, people are being set free, tears are falling. My own life feels like I am being sculpted... God is just banging and banging away at me, one sore place after another. Oddly enough though, I feel myself starting to take shape... and I am not afraid. I trust this sculptor, I know his work.

In fact, today I saw his work in my friend Peg, who spoke on forgiveness in chapel. I saw it in a community that surrounded one another in love and I see it more and more in God's Word in depths and dimensions I never have before. I see the work of the sculptor in my roommates and in the life of my friends, and in the life of my church. I am getting ready to graduate and all I can think of is how the community at ATS has changed me. How God has reached through my years here and through these people to show me who he wanted me to be, and then, without my ever raising a finger, seeing to it that his desires for me are fulfilled.

I simply cannot believe what happened in chapel today... the more I replay and replay it in my mind the more surreal it seems. Right now as I remember it in my imagination I feel like the room was filled with light, I see in my heart demons fleeing in the face of Jesus, his face filled with anger at their ministrations against his children... I see the Holy Spirit hovering over those at the altar surrounding them with his wings, protecting them in his love. I see saints singing in the choir loft and angels dancing upon the altar. I see holy love in touching and holding, God's children loving one another... I see heaven dancing, I see many waters flowing from heaven... I see orchards and butterflies, and horses, and lions and freedom as tangible as fresh fruit. As I rethink and rethink what happened the story gets fuller and fuller in my mind. I wish I could paint what happened today but somehow any earthly painting would fail. Michelangelo himself would fail to do it justice. It is too much, it exhausts and excites me too much to think of what God has done in our lives as a community, in history, IN CHRIST. Yet I cannot shake the images from my mind of how salvation history played out in our midst today.

Oh Happy God that is such love that even in the wretchedness of our sin you would choose to reach into the murky waters of our existence and bring forth joy. O Happy God who is Father to many children. Oh Happy God who showers down on us light and love and hope even when we seek to find shelters in darkness and hate and luxury. O Happy God who chose us not only to be servants but Brothers (Sisters), Friends, and Children as well. O Happy God we love you, we love you, we love you!

God gave me a special gift today that I will treasure for a lifetime.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

(Title Withheld)

(I have withheld the title of this poem because I want to elicit some responses to it without the final piece of the puzzle that details meaning.)

There among the fields unended
Corn and sky, path unintended
Walking on the song rescinded
Stands alone a heart unmended

More alone than ever, kildeer
Sound of wounded, dying in fear
Must move on or else I die here
Shadows grow for sunset looms near

Darkness brings it's own vibration
Sounds of silent alienation
Yet I stand there in frustration
The shadows growing more impatient

Uneasly silent, the fields grow colder
Every moment, getting older
Yet the kildeer cry out bolder
"Lonely" cries the wounded soldier

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Stand Maya Angelou: A Tribute

I once heard a poet.
Speak with languid tones,
Jazz verses of African Pride.

She was a woman,
"A black ocean" and...
Her words were powerful,
Set against the backdrop
Of a smooth and quiet voice.

She murmered such intensity that
I resented that I was not near her.
Wishing to sit at her feet as she spoke,
Words as tall as the African Sky...
But far more beautiful.

A friend of mine mentioned Maya Angelou the other day which lead me to post this poem. A tribute to the voice of African Poetry. I would love to hear what everyone thinks.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Theandria

The pain of Christmastide
God Confined
Echos forever in Bethlehem skies

Creation touches mystery,
God became Man
Hope of human history
In fragile baby's hand

Man who walks with footprints
God who bleeds and cries
Man who speaks as Carpenter
God who suffers -- dies

One God commands eternity
Was bound in time and space
Now God of cross and gravestone
Now God with human face

(I was issued a challenge to write a poem on the concept of the theandric union, the concept that Jesus was both very God and very Man. I hope you like it.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Suffocation

The world is sometimes too much for me... I know that there are those who say that "it's all small stuff." However, I find it hard to look on creation and believe that. Lately, I've had this odd feeling like I am walking through mud up to my knees. Everything is so much harder than it should be. Everything remains just out of reach except for a constant lonely/empty kind of feeling. Every breath seems like too much trouble.

I more afraid of the dark than usual...


Saturday, January 22, 2005

About Writing

Sometimes the best writing is just that... written. You start out with no purpose but you desire to write something... it may have been weeks since you have written last but you cannot live under the writers block any longer. So you write... chipping away at the blank page until finally you begin to see your writing take shape... eventually you come to a conclusion... or a nice phrase that sets you off on a whole nother (good word) direction. You write a story... you capture a moment, and then from that flawlessly depicted moment you know that your writers block is over, and you have reached a new summit... As for my promised study of Matthew, expect to see it on Monday along with a nice exposition on diets.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Better Poetry

You should be expecting within the next few days the beginning work on my study of Matthew. However, in the meantime, I would like to talk about poetry... specifically, better poetry.

Brother Killian McDonnell OSB, is a monk who wrote a wonderful book of poetry entitled "Swift, Lord, You are Not." In it he has a poem that tells how there are too many poets in the world. I often return to this poem because it speaks to my own fear that my voice is not original enough.

Funny thing about poets though... they are all fearful of vulnerability. The fact that you write your world down means that someone might read it... and if they read it... they might see you. That is a fearful thing but not as terrifying as the fact that after reading, they might consider your writing not worth the time it took to read.

Perhaps there needs to be some distance between the writing and the writer. Perhaps space between poem and poet... but I don't know. All I do know is... I desire a better poetic voice. I desire and pray for better poetry.

Gracious God, give me a staff to carry, and a harp all my own. AMEN