Category Archives: poetry

You are what you’re doing right now

"You aren't what you have."
"You aren't even what you've done."
"You are what you're doing right now.
Come with me." 

I am with you as you pray.
I am with you in your prayers.
I am praying as you're praying.
I am paving the way as you pray.

(...does God pray? 
Who does God pray to? 
What would God pray for?
Surely, God doesn't ask things of him/her/themself.)

Prayer is a posture
Prayer is a listening
Prayer is a companioning
a compassionate caring.
Prayer is walking
Prayer is a talking or un-talking
Prayer is a being, 
really, a with-being
Prayer is a lifting, a holding, a carrying, a crying,
a drying of tears.

"I am never angry with you when you pray.
Whatever you pray."

"You are what you're doing right now."

Gun Violence: I’ve reached my breaking point

You can tell a lot about a culture by how it treats its children.

I don’t remember who first said that to me, but when I heard it I knew at once it was true. The children among us … Do we support them? Do we include them? Do we honor them? Do we fund their endeavors? Do we prioritize our work with them? Do we care for them and hold them close? Do we respect them, whether they are part of our family, of another family or of no family?

This question was foremost in my mind several years ago when I read an awful account of the inhumanity waged against a child in the name of religious warfare. Unconscionable, I thought, How can one who bears the image of God act in such a way toward another who also bears the image of God?

I could only conclude that the one didn’t recognize this image in himself and thus didn’t recognize it in the other. If he did, I supposed, he could never behave so.

And that, naively, was the initial impetus for my book whose working title was taken from this blog, the Kinesthetic Christian, and which was ultimately titled Made to Move: Knowing and Love God Through Our Bodies. If people knew what a miraculous masterpiece they were and all of humankind was, how could we hate? How could we kill? How could we do other than honor all those we met?

Yet, here we are. Killing the other who is different, who is defenseless, who is innocent. Each one, created as a masterpiece and gifted with a life over which to discover and display it, denied it. God help us.

And God has. Through Jesus, God issued instructions, to seek to “Love God with heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourself.” Our lives are our practical exam. Our place to chisel away all that is not loving in order to uncover the masterpiece within.

However…

O Lord, we don't trust we are loveable.
We don't believe we are a masterpiece.
What we see in ourselves, we often don't like
And too often we take it out on others.

We say things we don't mean.
We act in ways that are "not us."
Confirming what we believe about ourselves, 
not the truth of who we are,
at least who we are truly meant to be.

O Lord, today I recommit to your life's work in me. 
I acknowledge and accept your assignment as my instructions, 
trusting that the world you created
and the circumstances in which you placed me
are designed to chisel away the ugly and leave the lovely.

My charge: 
To seek to act in ways which show my love for you and the whole of your creation: 
with whole heart, whole soul, whole mind, and whole strength
for the good of my neighbor because of Your Good in me.  

If the life I am leading is the practical portion of my life’s exam, I pray there is still time for me to earn a passing grade. And I pray the same for you. Each of us are commissioned into the work of our lives. Surely, in our day, there is enough work to go well around.

Today, I took my first step in addressing the gun violence being perpetrated in my country. I learned that my church denomination passed a resolution to end gun violence at its 2016 Conference. I will be participating in a group pledged to respond and to act on these measures. Not only is it way past time to do this but our very lives may depend on it. So many lives have already been given for it…

Perhaps, the same Spirit is prompting me that inclined the rich young ruler of scripture to fall on his knees before Jesus and inquire, “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life? ~ Mark 10:17

It is probably no accident that in the moment just before the encounter above we’ve just read, People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. ~Mark 10:13-16

If you would like to join the group we are gathering to learn more about the gun violence issue and ways we can address it, please send me an email here or leave your contact info in the comments below. 

There’s a light in our darkness

I didn't see the light left on. 
It was such a small beam directed downward.
A task light, meant to illuminate
what was cooking, to give a
progress report on the scrambled eggs
which had been long since consumed.
I didn't see the light left on. 
What with the sun's rays drowning it in their showy display,
splashing their way across the fingerprint-streaked kitchen appliances and reflecting onto the floor,
where yesterday's crumbs mixed with this morning's paw prints all clamoring to be cleaned.
I didn't see the light left on. 
The overhead luminescent so immediate and far-reaching.
The days' news face-up, unwilling to wait with its urgent communications,
and night-before items strewn, awaiting retrieval,
while two impatient hounds whine their displeasure
from sleeping quarters half-a-room away.
I didn't see the light left on. 
Those perpetual under-the-cabinet LEDs so unforgiving!
Every corner exposed, every surface uncovered.
"Coffee's ready!" insists a tiny green light, dismissing its "2:00 AM" digital display.
Little liar. Pay no attention to the coffee pot clock.
It used to brew on command, back in the day.
I didn't see the light left on
until it was time to leave; and I
switched off the overheads,
extinguished the LEDs and
bid the sun's rays farewell as they moved mercifully
onward taking their attentions and affections elsewhere.

"Excuse me," beckoned the light,
its beam still focused on its solemn assignment --
standing sentry over the cooking coils,
long cooled and fully forgotten.

until the darkening dared it to proclaim itself.

"I'm still here."
I wonder what else I am not seeing,
drowned as it often is in the invading ambient light.
I wonder what else I am not hearing, 
quenched as it often is by the parading ambient noise.
I wonder what else I am not sensing, 
habituated as I've become to the pelting of ambient turmoil.
I wonder what I might discover, if
I let myself attend to the light left on:

Its dedicated beam
Its resolute stare

Its stalwart attention
Its deep concern

What is it trying to show me?
what is it trying to tell me?
What is it dying to say?
Perhaps only darkness could bring this to light.  
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