Friday, January 12, 2018

Travels to Florida

Travels to Florida.
I was six or seven, maybe five or eight.
Maybe all, because we went most every winter.
For a couple o'weeks to Miami or St. Pete.

I remember leaving Sheboygan in the morning.
I said, "I have so my butterflies in my stomach, I could fly."
My parents laughed, and I always remember that.
My brother was in the back seat, too. No seatbelts of course.

I remember going south ... once, I got the flu.
And we holed up for a few days in a Georgia motel.
A kindly doctor came to look at me.
He gave me a shot. I remember that.

I remember seeing the first palm trees on our way south.
I remember seeing "Colored Only" signs.
By movie theaters and drinking fountains.
I think I remember because of the dissonance.

I remember the "colored gentlemen" on the sidewalk.
An elderly man, as I remember.
My mother and I were walking toward him.
And he stepped off into the gutter, to let us pass.

I remember that.
It causes me some pain today to remember.
It was odd at the time; now, I know how cruel it was.
I don't remember what I felt, but I remember.

It was odd.
I guess that's why I remember:
The gentleman.
Who stepped off the sidewalk so my mother and I could pass.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Turn

The turn of the year.
Just another day.
Time moving away.

And that's the point.
Like sticking a hand out a car window.
We realize how fast we're moving now.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Time Moves ...

The end of the affair.
And so it goes.
Time moves ahead.

And things feel new again.
Time moves on.
Another chance.

To make some sense.
Human sense, we hope.
Time bids us journey.

All along the way.
Brief for some.
Long for others.

Hard it can be.
Tears it demands, at times.
Laughter it brings.

The end of 2017.
A year of surprises.
Politically, ugly.

Personally terrific.
A move to a new home.
A new town.

Time moves, quicker these days.
2018.
Can it bring some political relief?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

1 Peter 4.7-19

Morning Musings on the Lectionary, 1 Peter 4.7-19.

I've read this before, but this morning, it hit me hard:

"Maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins" ... the point being, nothing is perfect, and no one has it all put together, and in the midst of chaos and turmoil, to hang on to one another, to help, to assist, to encourage ... because "love" isn't just a pleasant feeling, which it is sometimes, because "pleasant feelings" aren't the point, but rather hiking up one's pants, rolling up one's sleeves, to seek one another's welfare, do what's right for one another, and the larger the circle of life, the more demanding it becomes, to live Micah 7:8

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?


Peter makes clear to his readers that suffering is sometimes part of the deal ... and for some of his readers, and for many within the folds of history, the suffering has been immense, horrible and deadly.

For others, it's a suffering of the spirit, an anguish of soul, a conscience bleeding for the sake of others ... a desperate desire to make a difference, to plead the cause of justice, to lift up the voice of hope, to hold in mind and heart an image of life that reflects the image of God's Edenic purpose.

Peter offers what I think is a bit of gallows humor: "If you're gonna suffer, be sure it's for the right reason. Don't complain if you suffer for being a murderer or a thief [and here, it's helpful to understand this as taking life away from others, if not literally, then economically and socially through a sadistic manipulation of the system to feather one's own nest] ... a criminal or even a mischief maker" (I imagine Peter winking as he writes this, and his readers winking at one another). In other words, "don't be a jerk."

The reading ends, not with hope, but with encouragement to keep on keepin' on ... an echo heard throughout the Book of Revelation ... because, for sure, in the long run, the long, long, long, run, things will end well, but in the short run, remember love, accept whatever suffering comes your way for the sake of the gospel, remember that you're in good company on this score, and continue to do good (which sounds very much like Micah).

I laid awake last night, pondering ... with a sometimes clenched gut ... I see the outskirts of hell sometimes, I hear the demons laugh, and I smell the stench of power, power run amok, and power's kin, greed and lust ... and the consequences of God Mammon: the death of the soul of those who have too much, and the death of the mind of those who dare not think about what they do.

And then, this morning, I read Peter ...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Con-Fusion

What is exceptional about America?
Is not that we're white, because we're not.
Is not that we're Christian, because we're not.

Want is exceptional is our profound con-fusion.
We're this and we're that.
And have always been so.

But some, who love their whiteness.
And some, who love their christianity.
Couldn't see, refused to see, hated the con-fusion.

The word con-fusion is a good word.
To mingle together, some of this and some of that.
That's what exceptional about America.

Like salt and pepper on some eggs.
Or peanut butter and jelly on toast.
Or a Buddhist who marries a Lutheran.

Now, that's con-fusion ... as it should be.
A world of light and dark.
Cold and warm.

Clouds and sun.
Rain and heat.
Love and hate.

You see, there is season for every thing under heaven.
Because heaven wants con-fusion.
The original garden, a con-fusion of many and all.

And Adam and Eve ate the damn apple.
Because they didn't want con-fusion.
They wanted to own it all.

The took, and they lost.
They closed their eyes and were ashamed.
As any should be, for wanting it all.

So, here we are.
In a nation that exults in a bastardized exceptionalism.
A blinded craziness that refuses to see.

Con-fusion.
The mingling.
Of the many and the all.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Be Not Merciful


Merciful God, be not merciful to us.
When we prefer the lie.

Be harsh to us, awaken us.
To hear those who cry.

Save us from cheap words.
That take your name in vain.

While bullets fly and people die
In noise and smoke and pain.

Merciful God, unto the dead and dying.
Be close and kind, with mercy untold.

But unto us who must decide.
Be not merciful, until truth shall unfold.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Eyes of Christ

The eyes of Christ:
May they be mine.
And your's, as well.

For what we see is seen within.
What we see is seen of the heart.
It's the heart that sees, first of all.

And the heart can be soft and kind.
Or maybe not.
And what the heart is, is what the eye will see.

The eyes of Christ:
May they be yours.
And mine, as well.

𝑾𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒉𝒆 π’”π’‚π’˜ 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π’„π’“π’π’˜π’…π’”, 𝒉𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒅 π’„π’π’Žπ’‘π’‚π’”π’”π’Šπ’π’ 𝒇𝒐𝒓 π’•π’‰π’†π’Ž, 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒔𝒆 π’•π’‰π’†π’š π’˜π’†π’“π’† 𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒉𝒆𝒍𝒑𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒔, π’π’Šπ’Œπ’† 𝒔𝒉𝒆𝒆𝒑 π’˜π’Šπ’•π’‰π’π’–π’• 𝒂 𝒔𝒉𝒆𝒑𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒅. ~ π‘΄π’‚π’•π’•π’‰π’†π’˜ 9.36