Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A dark poem at the end of a dark month

Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

My pastor related to me recently how a friend of the family was one of the over-100 US children killed in Iraq this month. Not to mention the hundreds of Iraqis killed there.

One would think that we might realize that, as Thomas Jefferson said, "War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses."

In horror of the bloodshed going on in my name, I will repeat a poem that I posted during my first month of blogging.


Shame on your god
Your arm-breaker
Your life-taker
Your freemarket witch
Your sonofabitch
Damn your god!
Who preaches war
That corporate whore
That distorts scripture
So the rich can get richer
On the backs of the poor
Taking more and more and more...

Shame on your god
Your upside down
Vulgar, hideous clown
Your backwards, inside-out
Bloodthirsty boyscout
And shame on you

We had a perfectly good God
Prince of Peace
Making a feast
For ALL God's children
Black, white, straight, gay
Preparing the Way
Good God! We had a Good God

And you killed him

You religious,
You white washed tombs,
You serpents,
You blind guides,
You gnat-straining, camel-swallowing, hellspawn-making
Blind Fools

Shame on you
And shame on your god.

And shame on us all - to the degree that we worship at this god's feet.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Blue Revolution

Gold Tree Blue Sky
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

From the Dem's website:


Comes this proposal, a call to action from a flawed party in response to an even more flawed party's seriously flawed current leadership:

When the polls close, we propose that Democrats across the country gather outside their County Election Office for a candlelight vigil to Count Every Vote, all wearing the same color: Blue.

Imagine a Blue Revolution, every bit as joyous and historic as the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Cedar Revolution Lebanon, the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, and the other democratic revolutions of recent years - right here in the United States of America.

Be sure to vote next week (unless you're voting for most incumbents, in which case, be sure to stay home). Time for a clean sweep, y'all. And by all means, let's keep an eye on them polls and not stand for even a bit of Dieboldery.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sour Grapes

Wild Grapes?
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

(As an aside: Anybody know what plant this is in the photo? The leaves and vine look very grape-like, but obviously, the fruit isn't grapes.)

A letter to the editor:

I must protest.

After weeks of misleading political ads from Republican Congresswoman Anne Northup, in which she distorts Democrat challenger John Yarmuth’s positions – using his words taken out of context – she’s complaining now that one of Yarmuth’s ads is taking her out of context? The Republicans seem to be doing their best to assassinate Irony!

But that’s not what has me irritated. What I want to know is why the Courier Journal considers Northup’s complaints against Yarmuth top-of-the-front-page material when she’s been doing the same thing to Yarmuth for weeks?

Northup and the Republicans in power are desperate and getting dangerous. They want to tell us NOT what they believe but rather what we ought to think the Democrats believe; and they’re doing so even if they (the Republicans) have to distort and lie to do so.

If Northup has a problem with deceptive ads, then let her lead the way to change by removing her deceptive ads and talk instead about her own positions. I’m guessing her votes and positions are nothing that will help get her elected, but at least she’d be honest.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Out of the Ashes

Burnt Sign
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

A couple of news notes:

First, I had my Yarmuth for Congress sign up three weeks ago. John Yarmuth is the Democrat running for the 3rd Congressional District here in Louisville against arch-Republican, Anne Northup. Northup has voted in support of Bush's and the Republican's policies nearly in lockstep.

In doing so, she has not represented her constituents in our progressive city and it is time for her to go. These policies are demonstrably failed policies.

Anyway, a week after having posted my Yarmuth sign, some coward came along in the dark of night and stole it. A horribly un-American action to take, but sadly not that rare. I promptly replaced the sign.

However, today upon coming home from church, I found my Yarmuth sign burned to the ground. Some fool came in to MY yard and started a fire! I've filed a police report and sent the story to the news. Hopefully, this is an isolated incident. Standing by...

Secondly, I want to announce that my church has kicked off our annual Reclaiming Christmas Project. Information about this year's project can be found at the Jeff Street blog.

The Reclaiming Christmas Project is an effort to simplify our extravagant Christmases and send support to (this year) our Muslim brothers and sisters in Morocco.

Out of the ashes of an unsustainable society, God's Kingdom can always emerge.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Welcome Home

Welcome (Clear Creek Music Festival sign)
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

Return from Sabbatical

Our pastor has returned from a Sabbatical and we are overjoyed to have her back. She preached her first sermon since returning this last Sunday and knocked the ball out of the park.

She tackled the tough passage where Jesus tells his disciples "The poor, you will always have with you..." which has so often been used like a club against the poor instead of in the context of a God who sides with the poor.

Here's an excerpt:

It was cold when I woke up on Friday morning. I lay there for a few minutes in my warm bed, and I thought of the women of Tarmilat [Morocco - one place Cindy has sojourned while Sabbating], and I wondered what it was like for them to wake up on such a cold morning. Would their blankets have kept them warm, I wondered, as I imagined them cooking bread over their fires in the early morning darkness.

That led me to think of the migrants that I heard about while I was in Morocco. I had the incredible privilege of sharing a lunch with two of Karen’s best friends, David and Julie, who work with migrants in Casablanca and Rabat. They explained to me that there are currently at least 15,000 migrants from Africa in Morocco, and that there another 300,000 on the way to Morocco.

These people have fled or are fleeing from their own violence-ridden, poverty-torn countries, and they come to Morocco hoping to be able to make their way to Europe, which most often involves a very dangerous crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar. Once they get to Morocco, however, they are often robbed and beaten and worse by gangs of thugs, this has already happened, most likely, in their countries of origin, but it happens again and sometimes again, they are sometimes rounded up by government officials and transported back out of Morocco, i.e., dropped out in the desert of Algeria with no more than the shirts on the their backs.

And though the King of Morocco says that they are allowed education and health care, they are always refused both when they actually show up to get it, which is seldom, because they don’t want to be rounded up and dropped out in the desert, right? Though a family was so desperate a few weeks ago that they brought their 12 year old daughter, to the hospital twice. She was denied service both times, and died.

So David and Julie, fresh from that great grief, told me how they provide for some of the very basic needs of these families. They do intake several days a week, and then have to decide who they can help with the little that they have. We talked about the possibility of Jeff Street entering into a sister church relationship with the church in Oujda, which is on the border of Morocco and Algeria, and is the entry for the migrants into Morocco. It was Karen’s idea, and David lit up at the prospect.

For $200 a year, he said, they could buy 50 blankets or 50 jackets for the migrants. They are living out in the woods, he said, waiting for a safe time to enter the country. And you could buy them some Bibles, too, he said, explaining that many of the migrants from Nigeria beg him, beg him for Bibles. In fact, I took him about twelve to give out, and he said, ‘Oh, they will be so happy!’

And so, back to my warm bed, after I thought of the women of Tarmilat, I thought of the migrants near Oujda who need blankets and Bibles so badly.

And then, I wondered about our homeless guys here, the ones who come to our Hospitality Program every morning. Many of them sleep outside, and I wondered if they had blankets yet, if they had jackets, if they had socks.

Oh yes, the poor are all around, and we can help them anytime we want. Here, and maybe in Oujda, too, down the road a ways.

And it strikes me that this is an invitation that we, in our particular place and time in history, must not take for granted.

Amen, and welcome home.

[See video below, featuring Jeff Street folk and friends and music from last Sunday. I experienced some technical difficulties in the recording, so there are a few hiccups. With apologies. - d]

Pastor Cindy's Back!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Woody's Roundup

Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

A poem from Woody Harrelson. Like him or not, you gotta admit he's an interesting fella, check out his website sometime:


Thoughts from Within

by Woody Harrelson

I sometimes feel like an alien creature

for which there is no earthly explanation

Sure I have human form

walking erect and opposing digits,

but my mind is upside down.

I feel like a run-on sentence

in a punctuation crazy world.

and I see the world around me

like a mad collective dream...

Morality is legislated

prisons over-populated

religion is incorporated

the profit-motive has permeated all activity

we pay our government to let us park on the street

And war is the biggest money-maker of all

we all know missile envy only comes from being small.

Politicians and prostitutes

are comfortable together

I wonder if they talk about the strange change in the weather...

Do you dare to feel responsible for every dollar you lay down

are you going to make the rich man richer

or are you going to stand your ground

You say you want a revolution

a communal evolution

to be a part of the solution

maybe I'll be seeing you around.

Here's hoping Woody wins an Oscar for his role in A Prairie Home Companion.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Father and Child Reunion

Dan and Sarah closeup
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

I'm posting this just 'cause I like it.

Also, I'll note that I've finally got around to adding Pocket Full of Mumbles to my sidebar, as well as a relative newcomer (new to me) whose page I like to visit, even though we seem to disagree: TigerHawk.

I've removed a couple of other links, not because I was unhappy with them but just because they hadn't been posting. Life gets in the way of blogging sometimes and that's a good thing.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Spirit Bear

Spirit Bear
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

We had a lovely pre-fall-peak trip to the Smokeys this last weekend. It was just a couple of days, but 'twas quite life-giving. While there, we had a chance to do a bit of nature-watching and made a few attempts at nature photography.

Unfortunately, the batteries gave out on me when we spotted the coyote (I believe it was a coyote) and the dusk was too much for my camera for the black bear and deer shots, which all came out quite fuzzy.

Instead of throwing them away, though, I just manipulated the fuzzy photos to retain a bit of a memory. This black bear bolted across the field and then the road in front of us, only 50 feet away and gave us the thrill of the weekend.

Spirit Deer

Spirit Deer
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

God Bless Them

Amish Crossing
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

In the aftermath of Monday's violence, the Amish have reached out to the family of the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, who committed suicide during the attack in a one-room schoolhouse.

Dwight Lefever, a Roberts family spokesman, said an Amish neighbor comforted the Roberts family hours after the shooting and extended forgiveness to them. Among Roberts' survivors are his wife and three children.

"I hope they stay around here and they'll have a lot of friends and a lot of support," said Daniel Esh, a 57-year-old Amish artist and woodworker whose three grandnephews were inside the school during the attack.

-from an AP story

Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

Sometimes, we are overcome with confusion, not knowing what is right and what is wrong. But sometimes a child, a friend, a community takes a sweet and impossibly powerful step and we know, beyond all doubt, that this is Right and Holy.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Cormorant Stretching

Cormorant Stretching
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

I have been called,
and am often called back, to the River.

There lies something compelling in her
lapping waves and
I of necessity return to the water,
mother of our town and
feeder of our thirst.

I approach the River's edge and reach
to feel the playful bounce of her wave,
to brush its cap back on windy days
and to slide my hand over its glass
on calm.

I want nothing so much, when
My body and soul
Have had enough of this old world,
As to lie there in the shade of a kindly sycamore
And the River's gracious presence.