Friday, December 28, 2007

Rewriting my Life

I have never given a sermon I haven't written and rewritten at least five times. My Christmas Eve Sermon got three rewrites before I finally delivered it. Six hours before the service I was rewriting the sermon for the last time. Is it finished yet? I'm still not sure.

My friend Jeana Clark once said that we never finished our papers in seminary, we merely abandoned them. I believe sermons are the same way.

So right now I am in the process of a major rewrite of my life. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I turn 30 next week and find a huge part of my personality unsatisfied and restless. Maybe it has something to do with the new ministry position or the fact that my dog has decided to chew on all my shoes. I don't know. Regardless I am in a season of reconstruction.

This is an odd place to be really - rethinking your theological background and foundations. The things I'm sure of are ten million times more sure (Nicene Creed, Methodistm), but everything else is in flux. The odd thing is that I wonder what people who are in my life now will still be there when I reach the other side of all this. Who will still care and who will write me off as a heretic, a conservative fascist or liberal nutjob? What do I stand to lose or gain in all this rethinking?

It really doesent' matter. I just has to be done. Salve Rex Ioudorum

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bleeding Unexpectedly

Sometimes, in the midst of celebrations
I find myself bleeding.

Long pent-up emotions bubble, pour,
seep to the surface of the skin.

It is only when I see the blood that
I realize I'm in pain,
That I've been wounded

Some scrape while walking
Wome unknown cut from paper or
A carelessly worded comment.

A lonesome wound - the unreflected journey.

How did I get that?
How did I get here?


There is a bowl of fruit on the table
A mask on the chair
Fireworks in the distance
And love--
In the shadows the candles make on the floor

Like hands and bodies
Darkness and light mingle
melting the cracked surface of the walls
Tumbling over the gilded frames, painted faces,
Flesh and Fabric

They are violent lovers these two -
For the joy of one is the death of the other.

New Places

The boxes have yet to be unpacked
and I haven't time to do the dishes.
I cannot yet get used to the light
And the air that smells of water
grasshoppers and lake dwelling fish.

The curtainless windows are unknown to me
the settling sounds of the house are strangers
begging entrace into my consciencness

Still I am not lost here
Though I have not yet found
the rhythm of the days and weeks

I'm home but have not yet found my way home.
I think I'll finally arrive where I'm standing

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Genetti

So a few weeks ago I went to Pennsylvania to see the wedding of James and Michelle Wooster. We had a wonderful time. It was like an Asbury reunion and I met a new friend named Mark whom I've kept up correspondence with since last week.

So anyway, on Friday I stayed at this old fashioned and haunted hotel called the Genetti in Williamsport, PA. It was so totally cool. It was late, I was tired, so I went straight to my room and found this welcome letter on my pillow just like you would find at any hotel.

Now usually I don't read these but I read this one because I thought it might have some of the hotel's history... instead, what I got was a benediction. I copy it here so that everyone can read it...

"To our guest -- Because this hotel is a human institution to serve people, and not solely a money making organization, we hope that God will grant you peace and rest while you are under our roof.

May this hotel be you 'second' home. May those you love be near you in thoughts and dreams. Even though we may not get to know you, we hope that you will be comfortable and happy as if you were in your own home.

May the business that brought you our way prosper. May every call you make and every message you receive add to your joy. When you leave, may your journey be safe.

We are all travelers. From 'birth till death' we travel between the eternities. May these days be pleasant for you, profitable for society, helpful for those you meet, and a joy to those who know and love you best."

I remember reading this and thinking... "well... amen." I was utterly floored. I guess I didn't expect that much theological content that late at night. I slept well too... which is unusual for me. All in all... I recommend the Genetti if you're ever in Williamsport.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Upon this Mountain...

So Cathedraldays is on location in North Bend Pennsylvania at the home of my best friend, James Wooster. He's getting married on Saturday to my friend Michelle and I am here to be his best man... (Although my current title is "Awful Man". I worked my way up from "Worst Man". :)My counterpart Erica, "The Maid of Shame", is Michelle's niece.

Anyway, This is my first trip to the mountains of Pennsylvania. It is really quite beautiful here. We've had a wonderful time thus far and tomorrow we are going to the amusement park.

Anyway, James took us on a tour of three of his four churches today. One of which was an absolutely beautiful gothic beauty with 1800''s woodwork and wainscot panelling, Stained glass, stone work, beautiful masonry, an absolute archetectural gem.

Anyway, above are a couple pictures Erica took of Renovo First, the gothic glory, and North Bend, the beautiful white ship on a sea of green mountain.

Monday, August 20, 2007


So, yesterday I went to see the movie "Hairspray" because... well because I love musical theater. It was so much fun! Hilariously funny and I think I have a crush on the girl who played Tracy. Those brown eyes are gorgeous.

The fun thing was everyone in the theater was laughing together. Over and over again, people laughed and chuckled and giggled. And there is something wonderful about that. The last time I heard an audience laugh that hard was when I went to see "Groundhog Day" with my sister.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


So, is there anything more wonderful than finding that album or that song that rattles your soul? Oh it has been so long since I've had this experience with anything that calls itself "Christian Music". However, recently, I've uncovered a few bands that absolutely rock.

This leads me to an exposition on what music should be. You see we live in an age where the music has turned into corrupted, prepackaged, hastily produced musical snot. It's about as riveting as a head cold.

Christian musicians however, are much worse about merely mass producing copied sounds than most secular artists are. It's like we find the next popular sound and then steal it without ever bringing any new vitality or validity to it.

Music should be the ultimate sensory experience. It should have no boundaries at all. The entire world of sound should be used to make music as interesting as possible. Every genre, every instrument, every beat and bass line should be experimented with, stirred and mixed together until something completely new is born. Most Christian artists don't want to do the work apparently.

I lament the loss of the Bach like souls who seek out new and interesting sounds. Especially when Christian people are supposed to be the most creative... since they worship a God who created all.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Incarnation Precursors

So, because my inner timing is off lately, and because I my prayer cycles are off kilter and because I am still pretty packed up despite the fact that I have lived at my current location for two months... I thought I might speak about the primary mystery of the Advent/Christmas cycle, the incarnation.

You see the other day I was thinking about the concept of the tabernacle and how astounding it is that God would concede to live in a tent with the rest of Israel. Then it hit me...

In the garden, God wanted to walk along side Adam and Eve...

God had dinner with Abraham...

God wrestled with Jacob...

He let Moses look at him...

He lived in a tent with Israel...

He lived in Solomon's temple...

He became incarnate in Christ...

Is there then something in God that makes him desire to be with his people? More than that, I think that this trend of living with, staying with and coming along side humanity reveals that from the very beginning God was incarnational. He was constantly seeking our companionship and friendship. I think that if we view the movement of scripture we find that the incarnation, though surprising and myterious, actually fits qute well in the arc of the story. Including the return of Christ where the dwelling of God is with men, and he himself will be our Light.

I had never thought of the incarnation in the light of the OT before... any thoughts?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Warsaw and My New Life

Deep Breath...


Deep Breath...


Deep Breath...

On June 2nd,2007 I was commissioned a probationary elder in the United Methodist Church. It is hard to describe the feelings I felt, the joy, and the utter relief. I will merely try to capture it all in two brief moments during the worship service.

The first is the Gloria Patri where we all turned from facing forward and faced the cross and I felt small, and insignificant in the midst of a huge accomplishment. It felt so right to be utterly eclipsed, and made small in the face of the cross.

The second moment came after the laying on of hands... I was led to the conference Lay Leader who took my hand and said, "On behalf of the Laity we thank you for answering God's call on your life." It was beautiful.

Then, with conference over I had to return home to pack and spend time at Vacation Bible School at MOntpelier and on June 13, 2007 I moved out of Montpelier to my new house in Warsaw. I was exhausted but I got right to work at Warsaw First and Aldersgate UMC. It was a tough time dealing with all the change and even tougher trying to keep us with my new life... but it was a powerful time.

So these last few weeks have been all about getting to know people, and trying to find my way here... and this week, I took the Youth to camp.

The week was not without it's challenges but it was absolutely beautiful. These are extraordinary young people.

Anyway, I feel full of joy at everything that happened at camp this week. I also feel like I am starting to get on here. It's been a full, difficult and beautiful time.

I had lunch with some parishoners today, and I think I might work out here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Taking off Before Taking Off

So, Montpelier UMC. It is, a growing, living, breathing, vibrant congregation. This Eastertide, we have had, five new members by transfer, three upcoming baptisms over the next two weeks, our VBS is coming together, we are building a new youth group after an eight year hiatus, the nursery has been renovated, and the finances are stable.

And now, now that hope is sprouting up from the floorboards. Now... I'm leaving. I find myself begging God not to let the momentum die here and that this congregation will continue to take deep breaths of the Spirit and enliven it's heart for ministry. I'm also stressed, about the transition and everything I've got to finish up here.

Still, God is amazing. I am astounded at what he can do.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Having a bad night...

So, I've had an okay day despite the fact that I woke up in a bad mood. However, right now, I'm feeling... well there is no other word for it... Lonely. Ugh. I need something to do. Days have becme a bit monotonous lately. I'm overwhelmed and I have a thousand projects to figure out before I leave Montpelier. More than that I'm overwhelmed with a bunch of paperwork. I need a friend here. Someone to spend some time with... Oh well, tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So About That...

So, I was going to write a new poem for every day of Lent. Let's just chalk all this up to the best laid plans of mice and men.

Lent took a few unexpected turns. Things at Montpelier First are going gangbusters... We're starting a youth group, our children's ministries have doubled in size... rooms are beling cleaned out and rennovated the sanctuary is filling up... I have two Baptisms coming up and... I'm moving.

The call came in the middle of Lent and I was offered an appointment. Two appointments in fact. For weeks I couldn't tell anyone and I felt like there was this huge blockade between myself and my congregation. This thing that I could't share with them. The intake meetings, the travel, and now I can finally speak it out loud.

Just when things are taking off here I'm moving to Atwood Indiana to be the Senior Pastor of Aldersgate UMC (1/3 time) and the Youth and Young Adult Pastor at Warsaw First UMC (2/3 time). I'll be on staff at Warsaw first with two other pastors. Its the biggest church I've ever served. Montpelier hasn't had a pastor assigned yet but I'm sure that will come any day now.

Regardless my days have been spent rediscovering my inner youth guy. It's been a few years since I've done youth ministry. I'm excited about the new possibilities and overwhelmed at the same time. Warsaw also has an arts district and a playhouse. I can grow a few more skills there for a future art ministry.

More than that I am happy the Montpelier is filling with hope and I wanted to share the most important thing I've learned here.

I've learned that the biggest part of ministry has nothing to do with me and everything about God. I look around and find I've done so little and can only point towards God. It's his work. Completely and totally.

Not a bad lesson... in the meantime... until the day I move from my house... I am committed to Montpelier. Although it is quite painful that they have already begun the process of pulling away from me.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lent- Day 9

Upon this mountain
On these stones

On seashore
Field and vale

Forest, Fountain
Hills and Field

I declare that I am loved.

On this planet,
On these oceans

Volcano, magma
Shifting Earth

Orbit, moon
Solestial Voyager

I declare that I am loved.

In this smattering of starlight
On Galaxys tilted wonder

In the clash of planets moving
Stars escaping dust and ring.

In this universe of distance
Darkness light and Energy

I declare that I am Loved.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Lent - Day 8


Upon this mountain
On these stones
The Hand of God Hovers
Etching Law from Chaos

Not A Burden
But a Blessing
Not a Darkness
But a Flame

Carry these Commanments
Share these Words
Build my People
Bless this World

Lent - Day 7


Fire for Mortals
Clay for the Gods
Sculptured Fear
And Secrecy

Devoured by Sunset
Bounded Sacrifice
Punished Messiah
Suffering Savior

All for the sake of Light

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lent - Day Six

I thirst in this desert place looking for experience of God. Seeking among the stones and temple mounts a place to stand and proclaim my reality. I desire divinity all my own, a power and my own dominion. In this state I am given only graveyards to rule.

I would not last forty days in wilderness alone as I am only barely living now.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lent - Day Five

Church - Haiku

The Organ Plays On
The Congregants Drone Joyless
Their Song is Still Heard

Lent - Day Four

"My father was a wandering aramean..." - Deuteronomy 26:5

My father
Working Man
Steam and Coal
Built our World On Hardwork and Humor
Gathered us under his provision
Held us strong
In arms that never knew "Father"

One of ten
His Father never lasted
Long enough to see him
As a man any man would want to be

My father
Built our World on Hardwork and Humor

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lent - Day Three

Road Weary

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light." - Dylan Thomas

Close of day
Diminish - Breathe -
Cold stars and twilight

Rage not at the end of the day
But all through.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lent - Day Two

Today I went to a required continuing education event in Kokomo. "Defining Pastoral Boundaries" all about sexual harassment and misconduct. I feel tired and really slimy now that it's over. I don't know why. So here is a poem about sexuality.


When we reach up to
To push through
To make our way into intimacy
Coupled and Trusting
We find bodies are enigmas
Puzzles to solve

We manipulate
Feel the pieces
Discern pictures
In sound and heat
We try to find
Pattern, Rhythm
Seeking answers
To secret questions.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday -

So, today is Ash Wednesday and we are beginning our journey towards towards Easter. So this year for my Lenten discipline I will be writing a new poem every day of Lent and Posting it here. On days I'm away from my computer I will still write a poem and post here the day after.


It is a small small thing
It is a little thing
So little and so much can fell them
So strong and weak can overcome
So simple so profound may know them

Paradise in Ashes
Heaven in Oil
Blaring Paradoxes Side by Side
Strange Companions on a Journey Upward.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Football Fan

So I never considered football to be all that much fun. Until I watched the recent Colts/New England AFC Championship game. Then I was hooked.

I always told people I favored the Colts, and I never swerved... but I can't say I paid much attention one way or another. However, the NE/Colts game was so exciting I spent the days leading up to the Superbowl reading the Colts Website.

So I think in just a couple games I became a football fan. This is quite surprising really. I'm a poet, an artist, and football fan. People really do change.

Friday, January 05, 2007

January 6th



Thursday, January 04, 2007


So, I have a new interest that began a few weeks ago. I like millions before me have become interested in the continuing fictional saga of Lonelygirl15 and her compatriots. YouTube, the new forum for online creativity and derision. A place where people can come and create, and others can then mock what has been created.