Thursday, January 15, 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy 2015!

May our new year be blessed with music
and great joy
and a certain strength of will
and a hard-earned peace...
one for which we're willing to work
and in which we're willing to invest.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Prayer of Off-Guarded Joy

I saw you today, God.

As an elderly lady walked through my
Urban neighborhood
She tripped and fell
Spilling the contents of her purse.

From nowhere, a thug appeared -
Hoodie hiding his face
Prison tattoos scarring his knuckles
Pants sagging nearly to his knees

He quickly reached down and grabbed her purse and...

...and gently assisted her to her feet, returning her purse and
Tenderly wiping the dust from her clothes and
Tending to her as if she were his own grandmother
As if she were the Daughter of God
As if he were the Son of God.

Thank you God, for
Sudden moments of off-guard joy and
Gentle rebukes from
Unknown and intimidating saints.


Friday, December 12, 2014

In This Bleak, Beautiful Mid-Winter

Some of my photos featuring the wintry, the dying, the passing away... set to music by my friend, Kate and performed by her band, Down to Earth (and friends).

Unlike many, I love this time of the year. Wintry walks beneath bare trees and across brown fields are some of my favorites. I find great beauty and comfort in the passing of seasons.

Seasons blessings...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ring Them Bells

Music and artwork to begin the Advent season...

The artwork is a collage, made from reclaimed "Black Friday" ads. Our theme for Advent is the Alternative Narrative, and taking the themes of Buy, Get, Acquire from the commercial ads and subverting those messages to create a message of a new hope, a new season, a new Way... seemed appropriate to us.

"Ring Them Bells," by Bob Dylan, performed by some friends at Jeff St Baptist...

Happy Advent Season.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lazarus and the Rich Man

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, "Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire."

But Abraham replied, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us."

He answered, "Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment."

Abraham replied, "They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them."

"No, father Abraham," he said, "but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent."

He said to him, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead."


Some thoughts:

It is interesting that for many of our homeless and marginalized brothers and sisters, they are forced into a life of wandering anonymity whilst the rich are celebrated and honored, but Jesus here names and welcomes the poor man and leaves the wealthy one anonymous.

The rich man is not condemned as evil or a non-believer, it just notes that he is rich and literally outside his gate, the poor were literally suffering and dying.

The rich man appeals for Lazarus' help, after apparently ignoring Lazarus all those years.

There is no help forthcoming, because there is a "chasm" that had been set in place... one can't help wonder: Who set the chasm in place? Could it be that this is the rich man's own chasm that he had separated himself?

The rich man was worried about his presumably also-wealthy family, that they might suffer the same fate as he did.

Whatever your thoughts about the Bible, this is a great story - powerful, moving, tragic and compelling. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Finding Hope

Words of hope and rebellion, from Wendell Berry...

...So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. 
Love the Lord.
Love the world. 
Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. 
Hope to live in that free republic 
for which it stands.

Give your approval to all you cannot understand. 
Praise ignorance, 
for what man has not encountered 
he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.

Invest in the millennium. 
Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. 
Prophesy such returns...

Put your faith in the two inches of humus 

that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion – put your ear

close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. 
Laughter is immeasurable. 
Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts...

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. 
Rest your head in her lap. 
Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.

~excerpts from Wendell Berry's Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Friday, October 24, 2014

I've Been Around the World

An Anniversary, of Sorts, or a Milestone, Perhaps...

I realized today that it was about 15 years ago that Donna and I moved from a two car to a one car family. I began biking to work, church and other >5 mile trips and biked for the first 7 years or so, then started walking in lieu of biking (which took more time, but I enjoy walking even more). 

And I further realized that I've now walked the equivalent (give or take) of one lap around the globe. 

Assuming walking (round trip) 5 miles to work, 5 days a week and 5 miles to church... that's about 30 miles a week. Multiply that times 50 weeks (allowing that there have been exceptions) and that times 15 years and - if my math is correct - I've walked and biked over 22,000 miles. 

Or, in another way of looking at it, that is the equivalent to having walked from the northernmost point of Alaska to the southernmost tip of South America, with plenty of room to ramble around in between... it's a whole a bunch of walking.

According to one "carbon calculator" I found, that means we've saved about 43,000 pounds of CO2 emissions and, they said, "altogether you will save or get benefits worth $155,131.60" I'm not sure what that's based upon, but it sounds sorta cool.It's certainly saved some. AAA estimates that each car in a house hold costs, on the low side, $6,000/year, so that's $90,000 for 15 years.

Anyway, it's been a great 15 years of Human Powered Motion. Here's hoping for at least one more trip around the globe... To honor the event, I present a bit of HD Thoreau, on Walking...

"I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks—who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering, which word is beautifully derived "from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la SainteTerre," to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, "There goes a Sainte-Terrer," a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander...

They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea...

...To come down to my own experience, my companion and I, for I sometimes have a companion, take pleasure in fancying ourselves knights of a new, or rather an old, order—not Equestrians or Chevaliers, not Ritters or Riders, but Walkers, a still more ancient and honorable class, I trust. The Chivalric and heroic spirit which once belonged to the Rider seems now to reside in, or perchance to have subsided into, the Walker—not the Knight, but Walker, Errant. He is a sort of fourth estate, outside of Church and State and People...."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Come, Dance With Me...

Every child has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does Anything weird,
But the God who knows only four words.
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come Dance with Me , come dance.”


Thursday, October 2, 2014

spare some change?

     I saw him all crumpled
  on the ground like a
         temporary spirit
  and I thought I knew him
            like an old classmate
      or a distant cousin or
   maybe a neighbor
    from back in the day
  and I couldn't place him
           but maybe, he was the
  guy who used to fix
         my car or
           deliver the paper
  I was certain he
           was familiar
        maybe my son or
                   my daughter, my sister or
brother and, the more I looked at him... I think maybe he was.

        And I wondered if I could
   if I should
              spare some change.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Post for Marshall...

Years ago, I wrote a two part post that explained how I moved from "here" to "there" on the topic of marriage equity. I was raised and lived for the first ~30 years of my life as an extreme conservative Christian in the traditional Southern Baptist church mode. Given that, I was, of course, extremely opposed to any normalization of "the homosexual agenda..." I certainly did not intend to be unloving or ungracious towards anyone, but in hindsight, I surely was.

At any rate, I was solidly opposed to "gay marriage" - vehemently, so. I was absolutely certain that not only was the Bible and reason clearly against any sort of gay behavior, I had no room in my worldview for any Christian possibly even hinting at thinking it was possible. And yet, here I am today, fully recognizing (and repenting of) my errors in thinking and behavior from that time. In these two posts, I explained  how I moved from one position to the other and, not only that, but how I did it based on Bible study, prayer and reasoning from those two alone. At that time in my life, there was no room for any other way to "prove" anything.

Here are those posts...

My Journey, Part 1

My Journey, Part 2

Conservative blogger, Marshall recently said that I left questions unanswered there. I'm putting this post up to give Marshall a chance to ask a question that he thinks I left unanswered.

He, of course, does not find my process or reasoning compelling. That is fine, I wouldn't have found it compelling before I reached this point in my life, either. Now, I could not imagine anyway to find it anything but compelling.

The point I always make with Marshall and his comrades is that, just because the argument is not compelling to them, does not mean, 1. That there is no rational argument being made or, 2. That no one else could possibly find the arguments compelling.

It would be my guess that the main reason he doesn't find my arguments compelling (other than the cultural bias against it, and cultural biases being very hard to overcome) is that he approaches the Bible differently than I do. Where he finds literal history and literal commands from God, I find interesting stories that are told in mythic or epic fashion, and NOT literal commands from God.

Maybe, if one accepts the more fundamentalist view of the bible, my reasoning is terribly faulty. However, the real world fact is that not everyone finds the fundamentalist view of the Bible to be rational, moral or, in fact, biblical. So, you can't say, "You HAVE to hold my view of these texts and, given my view, you are wrong..." That is true only if I hold your view and I do not, so I am not in any rational, moral or biblical way compelled to accept your view.

Having said that: Feel free to ask your question, Marshall.