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

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Biblical Economics???

Sure, I know ... anyone can read the Bible and find what they want.

Yet, this morning's lectionary (October 5, 2017) caught my attention.

Paul the Apostle defends his work and offers a view of labor and wages that have wide implications for society, at least as I see it.

Paul writes (1 Corinthians 9.4-12):

Do we not have the right to our food and drink? Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostlesand the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not get any of its milk?

Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law also say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Or does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was indeed written for our sake, for whoever plows should plow inhope and whoever threshes should thresh in hope of a share in the crop. If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too muchif we reap your material benefits? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more?

Fair wages?

Adequate benefits?

Safety in the work place?

The right to organize?

Profit sharing?

God is concerned about the oxen, as Paul notes, and still more: God cares about the whole range of life, and those who work by the strength of their arm and the sweat of their brow ... which includes those on the shop floor and those who sit in front of a computer - all those who do not own the means of capital, but provide their own capital by labor.

Paul adds in his second letter (chapter 8.13-15) with regard to giving:

I do not mean that there should be relief for other sand pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundancemay be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,

“The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.”


There is always going to be owners and workers, those with much, and those with less ... and as I read Paul here, and consider the whole of the Sacred Text, it's the widening of the gap that concerns me, and it's the effort of a nation, a good government, and its people, who work to keep the gap viable for all - lest the spoils of the day go unreasonably to the few.

Some thoughts about Biblical Economics ... and how I read the Sacred Text.







Sunday, October 1, 2017

If Religion Has to be Sold

No doubt, one can look at State Churches and find a dozen or so reasons to dislike their story.

Yet, one good thing about State Churches, one very good thing: they have to advertise ... they just were (yes, yes, yes; I know all about how they were used by the State, and all other things that our Protestant forebears rejected). But here's the point: they didn't advertise, they didn't try to sell, and is there not a kernel of truth here for us to ponder?

Here in America, sans State Churches, we have churches competing with one another, and if it's bad enough among mainline groups, it's out of hand with evangelicals.

From the get-go, whether it be the original Anabaptist Movement or today's evangelicalisms and megachurches, it's all about salesmanship, promises and outlandish promises, about health and healing, prosperity and personal development, salvation and eternity ... all trying to sell themselves to the public, all boasting that "my church is bigger, better and brighter than your church."

We know, frighteningly so, how self-centered most of us are, so any effort at "selling religion" will have to appeal to self-interest, which means religions has to be skewed away from God to the believer, from the power of obedience to God's love (deliverance from the self) to the poison of fulfilling one's desires.

As for preachers: with their odd evangelical hair styles, it's all about eye-candy ... with preachers strutting across the stage like bantam-weight roosters in heat ... supported by the latest tech and music.

No wonder so many evangelicals have gone for 45 - with his evangelical hair and his trophy-wife on arm, private jets and gold-plated everything. He speaks in soundbites that sound great and mean nothing.

If religion has to be sold, it immediately loses some of its value, and the more it's sold, the more it cheapens itself.

So, whatever might be wrong with the State Churches, they didn't have to sell themselves, and perhaps, in the long run, they're better off, then and now ... as Christendom changes and the church loses its place in history.

God will provide, I have no doubt ... the Spirit of God is irrepressible ... and is always at work.

And as long as the Spirit works, Christians don't have to advertise, and preachers don't have to strut, causing a sharp decline in hairspray sales and eye-liner products.

We just have to be faithful to the Gospel!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Prayer for My Soul

Prayer for my soul.


Oh, my soul, be mindful of what is good.
Smart about what isn't.


Vigilante for opportunities to do good.
And prepared to stand against what isn't.


To cry out from the mountain top: God is still God.
And to know that such a God has been killed by us.


How many times?
Hard to say.


Oh, my soul, don't kill God with hopelessness.
Let God live by keeping watch in the Garden.


By not falling asleep.
Oh, my soul, be mindful.


Walk with God to the place of trial.
Don't deny knowing God.


Walk the streets with God.
To the place called Skull.


In God's agony, a terrible reminder.
Of worldly powers to kill.


Oh, my soul, be alert.
Oh, my soul, be ready.


Don't forget to sing.
And don't forget to love the flowers.


Oh, my soul.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Life Is a Mystery

Life is a mystery.
That’s what it is.
Crazy, wild, mean.
Stomach-tumbling.
Churning.
Burning.

Does anyone really know what it is?
I don’t think so.
That’s why we have religion.
It tries to tame the wild beast.
Give it some meaning.
Point the way and say it’s ok.

Is that what Jesus did?
And so they killed him.
His meaning wasn’t their meaning.

They meant money and power.
Temples and tables.
Full of money and meanness.
Dead lambs and throat-slit bulls.
All for a price, of course.
That’s what they meant.
To tame the beast.
The wild mystery.
We call life.

They thought in terms of conquest.
Who’s in and who’s ought.
Who’s naughty and who’s nice.

Jesus tried to tame the beast.
With tiny words of kindness.
A welcome to little children.
And the lady at the well.
And Mary who wanted to be a disciple.
And sit at the feet of the Master.

There’ll be none of that, they said.
That’s not how the beast is tamed.
Our way or the highway.
Make your choice.
The crown of gold.
Or the cross of misery

So they tamed him.
And we’ve been scratching our heads ever since.
Their way, or his.
Their way is money and power and glory and war.
His way, hmmm … different.
Frightening is his way.
Terrible and true.
Unsure and not so safe.

How do we tame the beast?
Ride the mystery?
Talk to the storm?
We call life?

The crown of gold.
Or the cross of misery.

Today you’ll be with me in paradise.
Balderdash.
Or is it?
Can there be something here?
To tame the beast?
Ride the mystery?
Go to the source and drink?
Cool water …

On a hot day?