Friday, June 26, 2015

a gay old time...

 “What has been will be again,what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say,'Look! This is something new'? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.”
-Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

So the Supreme Court has made it's decision in the United States regarding gay marriage and the decision is a barely passing (5-4 in favor) affirmation. Gay marriage is now legal, everywhere in the US. So we will have endless news stories to come, endless controversies about what this person said, about people's views concerning this and that. Get ready for the deluge.

This has been a controversial subject for many years. Of course, it hasn't been that big of a controversy across the entire world. In Canada, for instance, gay marriage has now been legal for a decade. The Netherlands allowed civil marriage of same sex couples as early as 2001. Denmark allowed registered partnerships for same sex couples all the way back in 1989, not the same thing as marriage but certainly progressive for the end of the 80's.

If you follow history far enough back you will see that kingdoms in various time periods engaged in same gender relationships long before the SCOTUS decided it was ok, by a slim margin. The United States is a relatively young nation with very few notches on her belt. But she sure likes to go around puffing out her cheeks as if she is the talk of the town, just hit the game winning run, and just impressed all the top dogs doesn't she? This debate has been around for many years.

Ancient Greece had homosexual relationships, so did ancient Rome. Some of the Roman emperors were in same gender relationships. The same is also true of women in ancient China during the Ming Dynasty. There is also some evidence of this existing among Native Americans. Now not all these examples were marriages, some were commitments, relationships of varying degrees, some were legally binding and some were not, but the idea is that this has been around for quite some time.

The idea is not new, you can put a “legal” or “illegal” status on it but the concept behind it is certainly not new. We keep taking ideas and concepts, controversial or no, and making them new when they are not.

Do me a favor, whatever your take on the ruling, on the concept of same sex marriage, approach it with respect and with grace for whomever you discuss it with, that's the right way to enter a conversation about any subject. Take it down a few notches. And as far as the SCOTUS? They don't really run my fantasy league so I'm not too worried about whether or not I agree with their rulings.   

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

a little poetry action for ya'


pushed into a field of breath
inhaled sharply towards a dividing measure of arrogant speech,
swept across hearts and placed into pale steps of ethos

Grab those handfuls of unweighted expectation,
full of vibrant liner notes
choruses and choruses of moments
caught in actuality.

Reaming off progress in successive handfuls.
And stout conclaves of fury compress themselves
in meek similitude
of engraved hearts
shaped as ivory banners,
over you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Jeremiah 8:11, “They dressed the wound of my people as though it were not serious, 'Peace, peace', they say, when there is no peace.”

There have been a slew of interesting news stories lately. The most recent one to capture my attention is the debate over the Confederate flag. I discussed this briefly with a co-worker just today. The extra attention is due to the recent shootings at a predominantly black church (is that even a thing? I know it is, but does that sound right? No...but anyway enough of that) by Dylan Roof. Apparently this kid had strong racist ties and had pictures, images and even a manifesto of sorts, all associated with racism. There are pictures of him with guns, on old slave plantations and yes, a Confederate flag.

South Carolina has a Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds. The governor of South Carolina has come out quite vocally in support of removing the flag and the big wigs are going to debate whether or not they should take it down. They recently voted on whether or not they should debate it, they haven't actually done anything yet. And while the vote to debate it was won by a large margin it was not unanimous.

A couple of things to consider in the aftermath of the Confederate flag issue. Let's go through a couple shall we?

It's quite easy to take a stand on something when you are already gainsaid a particular response isn't it? Why wasn't this idea to remove the Confederate flag brought up earlier? Oh...that's right the killing of black people didn't make the news so we did nothing about this particular flag. Why not? Does it really take the death of these good people to do something? If you feel this is the right thing to do why would it take something this catastrophic to push you to do it? Does that not say something larger about you rather than the event, the flag, and the debate around it?

What does actually taking down the flag accomplish? It's a flag. Yes I understand it is a divisive symbol but it is merely that. It is a symbol. Symbols can be powerful things. But does this symbol make anyone less hateful or racist? Does it make anyone more committed to their heritage and close to their family and homefire traditions? Don't get me wrong, removing symbols can have powerful affects but I think it's a small thing to put so much hope in if we think this will help in any meaningful way. I am not saying we shouldn't take it down or we should, I am saying this is a limited, tone deaf response to the suffering of the families in South Carolina and outcries nationwide. It's political and superficial.

Politics and taking stands on issues like these don't solve the bigger issues. My stand on whether or not we should take down the flag won't fix anything. The politics in play on whether the flag stays or goes will accomplish nothing. Going out into your community and becoming a part of the ever colorful tapestry of hope and healing will help more than 10,000 flags of peace waving at a parade to celebrate peace.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Tullian Tchividjian is big news this week. In case you are unfamiliar he is the grandson of world renown evangelist Billy Graham. He is also well known in Evangelical circles as the pastor of a thriving megachurch, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida. The founder of the church, D. James Kennedy was pastor from the founding in 1960 until his death in 2007. Dr. Kennedy was well known for his involvement in politics and he leaned quite heavily to the right.
Tullian Tchividjian has stayed away from politics during his short tenure at Coral Ridge but has been a rising start in the Evangelical publishing world. He has put out multiple books that have proved very popular, published multiple articles on well known Christian blogs, conducted radio interviews and been a popular conference speaker.  And he recently confessed to cheating on his wife and thus disqualifying himself from being a minister so he resigned.  
But this little post is not about Tullian, and in case your wondering, and I know you are, it's pronounced “cha-vi-jin”. This post is about the idea of faithfulness. Have you, have you ever really, ever really ever been faithful to anything, anyone, any idea, or any concept of any kind for any length of time?
Think about it before you answer. And let's preclude what your being faithful to right now, at this moment. Let's dredge the lake and take a look see.
Relationships? Oh you're married? Ever have a boyfriend/girlfriend? So you've never been faithful to that relationship have you? Let's not jump to conclusions and say it's bad or good. Is it a reality? Sit with that for a moment.
What about….oh let's pick a big one, what about your faith? Have you always been faithful to it? Is it important that you are? Has your faith ever become lost or unfruitful? Have you ever cheated your faith by considering the idea of abandoning it?
I suppose one might say that relationships and faith are not static things but are nuanced and subject to change, like the ebb and flow of a river. Increasing at times to a roar and rush of rapid tides and at other times barely a trickle over some mossy rocks. But then we must ask ourselves how closely are we measuring this thing called faithfulness and how much leeway are we giving?
I don't think there is any doubt that we frown on a man, never mind a pastor, cheating on his wife (or the fact that she reportedly cheated on him initially). We decry the lack of faithfulness. But perhaps we should pull the log out before we examine the speck. Perhaps we should take a peek through our own list of dreams and responsibilities and see if we have done them their due service.

“Everything is going to be ok”
How do you know?
“I don't but it just helps sometimes to say it.” –--Jermaine Clement, People, Places, Things.

Friday, June 19, 2015

thoughts on being sick

  When you're sick it's as if the world moves in slow motion. There is no past, there is no future, there is only the present, moving at a staggeringly slow pace. Every hour seems to last forever, ever minute in suffering, ever how minute, seems endless.

When you feel normal things move along at a regular clip, breakfast, off to work, busy with responsibilities and the stuff of life. Then you get home and settle in for an evening routine. A regular day filled with routines that we settle into and can appreciate and enjoy.

When you are sick your entire routine is interrupted. The normal becomes broken up into pieces of irregular patterns of minutes, dragging by in an endless abyss of fog and loneliness. Loneliness in thinking, “will this ever end”. And with most incidents of illness it does indeed end, and health comes back full throttle and we forget the sickness ever happened.

But in the midst of feeling bad we feel as if eternity has set up camp in our body and waits, laughing at our misery as we dance the slow dance of puny bodies wearing thin in a world full of sickness and disease only to be ultimately consummated by death.

 Illness leaving the body is a wonderful thing, like sweet tangerines being crushed in the palm of your hands and the juices running away. The scent of wellness is fresh and sweet but it can never come soon enough.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Isaiah 1:27a, “Zion shall be redeemed by justice...”

The latest in the news, on the internet, on the tv, and the talk around all the workplace water coolers is the case of Rachel Dolezal. John Stewart, the brilliant comedian who brings us savvy insights on today's issue and culture had a recent segment on Rachel Dolezal entitled, “WHAAAAAAAT?”.
A very quick synopsis for those not in the know. Rachel Dolezal is the president of a local NAACP chapter (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in Spokane, Washington. She is a civil rights activist and former professor of Africana studies at various universities and colleges. She has been identifying herself as African American but was recently outed by her biological parents (both very white) as having no identity other than Caucasian and they even pleaded with her in one interview to “get some help”.
This has caused quite a stir, to say the least. Rachel Dolezal does not talk with her parents and has effectively disowned them. Even more recently she resigned as the NAACP president amid the controversy and there has been much discussion as old photos come out showing a very white Rachel Dolezal.
This makes me wonder what else we can claim, in this day in age, that is not really ours. We didn't really mean to commit these crimes, we are an addict. We didn't mean to yell at the teacher/co-worker, we have a psychological disorder, we didn't mean to run late for work 5 days in a row, we were unmotivated and let's put a label on that.
Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn, claims he is not a man but a woman. I'm not making light of this issue, I'm sincerely wondering, what else can we claim that is one thing because we feel or desire it to be another?
There is no doubt we can struggle with depression, or sexual identity or many other things. But where do we draw the line? Can we “identify” as African American as has been the rallying cry of Rachel Dolezal? Because it seems that you can identify as almost anything now-a-days so it seems just as likely as anything else.
One line of thought, among many, in this debate is the issue of subjective feelings. However, because you “feel” a certain way doesn't make that a reality. Just because you “feel” something does not make that thing true. To “identify” with something is similar to “feeling” something, one definition from the dictionary defines the word identify as the following: “to associate in name, feeling, interest, action, etc”.1
Very subjective, that definition. You can “identify” with something all day long but it does not make you a part of that movement, idea, or culture. In a world of misplaced definitions we are listening more to what we feel than whether something is objectively true and we have started redefining definitions to the point that we don't know what a definition is, and that is a dangerous and bizarre world to enter.

1 Referenced June 17th, 2015.    

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Brief Introduction

I've been writing since I can remember....I have journals that I wrote in all the way from junior high to college with poems, short stories, and snippets.  I have done this mostly as a fun, creative outlet, like reading, which I also have been doing for quite some time and enjoy just as much.
      I have recently decided to get more serious with my writing and one of the things suggested was to start a social media platform, hence the blog.  I will be sending off some short stories and poems to literary magazines in the coming days (yes those still exist) with the hopes of getting published.  It's a small chance, because lots and lots of people submit their work and few get published.  But a boy's gotta dream and I can start submitting now and hope that one day I will be submitting full length stories packed together in a book form and write full time.
     It could happen.  So for now, this is my platform, I will jot down half finished stories, poems and short stories as well as sermonettes and my thoughts on various issues.  Hit me up on facebook or email me, you can even comment and tell me what you think.  Remember xanga?  Back in the day people would post things with what they were reading and listening to but it quickly got gobbled up in the advances of the internet.  Well here is some insight into what I"m reading and listening to lately:

Music:  The Doors-their greatest hits.
Book:  The Man Called Cash:  The Authorized Biography by Steve Turner.

thanks for reading!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tomorrow's Dream

In darkest sleep of tiring slumber
come dreams of flawless beauty,
of winter and snow, of changing in seasons;
shifting like time passing.
The flow of time is a season, everlasting.

Inhabitants of worlds never seen,
appear, and burn bright in a dream.
Emancipated from never existing,
to be alive and real, to breathe,
and make worlds anew bright with sights unseen.

The wakeful wisps of dream fly up,
like smoke to the chimney and fog in mid morn'
drifting to lands waiting for dream,
flying like sunshine replacing moonbeams.
One waits for the other to shine.

The songs that play in the minds of dreamers,
mean things profound and glorious.
Seldom remembered and pressed hard to understand,
we never quite reach that distant land...

So sleep a little while more,
and rest in worlds unknown,
think of the pleasant thought gone by,
wondering as you forget them.
Will you remember me when I am only a dream,
after aged reality has brought much sorrow?
I would hope to find you in my dreams,
and see you all of my tomorrows....

Sunday, June 14, 2015

All the Small Things...

A sermonette...

“Be careful that you never despise a single one of these little ones—for I tell you that they have angels who see my Father’s face continually in Heaven.”
 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one wanders away from the rest, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hill-side and set out to look for the one who has wandered away? Yes, and if he should chance to find it I assure you he is more delighted over that one than he is over the ninety-nine who never wandered away. You can understand then that it is never the will of your Father in Heaven that a single one of these little ones should be lost.” -Matthew 18:10-14 (JB Phillips translation) 

The importance of small things is not lost on Jesus. This parable is a great illustration of the power of small things, of their worth.

To drive home the point before He even tells this short parable Jesus takes a child in vs. 2 of this chapter and sets the child down on His lap. He has a visual focus for His audience and for us as He tells this parable about small things. A child on His lap and a story about small things with big worth coming from His mouth.

The disciples ask Jesus who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus gives them answers they don't expect and He gives them a story.

I live right next to a cemetery, and in my office there is a large window that overlooks our backyard and right behind our backyard you can see the sprawling cemetery with all the gravestones stretching out in every direction. You can see the path that winds down down the cemetery so that people can walk down the path or drive down it as they often do. People come and visit quite often, and one older man comes regular as clock-work to visit his wife, place flowers and keeps the place looking nice. There are others who keep the place tidy and mow and trim up the trees and bushes why go through the extra effort? It's a small thing and it makes no difference to his wife, she's dead. But somehow it's very important, this ritual.

Probably it's important for many reasons, this ritual, but I suspect that one of them is the same reason we have ceremonies every year to remember the cost of terrible wars long ended, and monuments with names listed. Scores and scores of people who have died or who have gone missing and are presumed dead.

And people go and visit them and they take flowers, and they salute and they cry. And we keep those memorials clean and tidy because they are important to us, we want to remember, we want to keep those people with us. We don't want to lose them.

A quote by Madeline L'Engle expresses some of this idea nicely:

“If you're going to care about the fall of the sparrow you can't pick and choose who's going to be the sparrow. It's everybody.”

This parable has an Old Testament counterpart that it is probably based on, in Ezekiel 34. In vs. 6 of this chapter we have the opposite of the New Testament parable, Israel's leaders were not looking out for their people and the results are summarized in this verse, “My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.”

There is nothing worse than being lost and having no one to look for you, that's a lonely, depressing feeling.

In Luke's account of this same parable when the sheep is found the people from town get together and have a party. The sheep owner calls everyone up and they come over and have a get together and celebrate over finding what was lost. Same thing happens with the lost coin and the lost son, the prodigal. When they are found people get together and have a party. There's nothing more sad than the thought of going missing and nobody noticing.

That is, I'm afraid, the reason a lot of people don't go to church. They used to go, used to be part of the flock, but they missed some weeks, got sick, had work, and no one came looking for them.

Oh you say, if they were part of the flock they'd come back, the Holy Spirit would convict them. Perhaps….but who wants to be part of a flock that doesn't even know one of it's own is missing,who leaves it to the wolves and the weather? Nobody.

One of the reasons we lose people in the church is that we make a big push to proclaim the gospel and get them in the flock. And then we leave them to fend for themselves. We don't pay attention, we push around to ask, “who's the greatest” and push for numbers, push for proclaiming the gospel.

We should be paying attention to the child on the lap of Jesus and the graveyards in our backyard that might need tending.

wait for it

 While I finish my post I am working on for today as I re-coop from surgery here's a little something for you by Madeline L'Engle from her book of poems called, "The Weather of the Heart" 
At Communion 
Whether I kneel or stand or sit in prayer
I am not caught in time nor held in space, 
But, thrust beyond this posture, I am where
Time and eternity are face to face;
Infinity and space meet in this place
Where crossbar and upright hold the One
In agony and in all Love's embrace. 
The power in helplessness which was begun
When all the brilliance of the flaming sun
Contained itself in the small confines of a child
Now comes to me in this strange action done
In mystery.  Break time, break space.  O wild
and lovely power.  Break me:  thus am I dead, 
Am resurrected now in wine and bread.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I've been a bit preoccupied today and did not get a chance to post...I will be out tomorrow to have surgery and probably sedated most of the day Friday...hoping to return Saturday or Sunday....Monday by the latest!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

progression of linear thinking

further seems forever
in my elementary counting table
the hours, minutes and seconds
pass by slowly, like unexpected weather

and sheaves of rain
that are gathered on porches, driveways and fields
remind the old ones of their youth
and lost promises, empty and never filled.

further seems to be never,
when the moon shines bright with sound.
I listen in the quiet, reverential,
when commotion and nose seem to sever.

further seems better,
when hearts are but distant thunder,
waiting for the storm to break
and look for more fair weather.

further seems forever,
in the times that I miss you,
I bide my time with expectation
and blame it on the southern weather.

Monday, June 8, 2015

trip to ashdown

Vehicles dwindle as trees speed up
in perfect synchronicity
the flowers bloom and the month
is an eternal May.
May we never leave and always say
It really isn't any better,
it really has no strange appeal
except that it's wonderfully pleasant
and feels like home here.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Dumpster Church

I was around 9 or 10 years old, an innocent age if there ever was one. Full of sweet naivete and yet old enough to want to grow up and be complex and mature and knowledgeable of the ways of the world.
Scrawny and tall for my age, I had thick brown hair with big front teeth that protruded slightly. My two front teeth also had a rather large gap between them, like Michael Strahan but without his appeal. Think more along the lines of the appeal of a early Steve Buscemi who couldn't act and never got his SAG card stamped.
I lived next to a small but affluent church that bordered on being a cult in the small town I called home. One of those churches where people shouted and ran around the church, cast out the devil and wore outdated clothes all in the name of religion. They also got filled with the holy ghost, which I found odd, as I never saw any church members filled anywhere but the church, so I assumed the holy ghost was like a gas station and you went to the church to get filled. After all, I never saw anyone get "filled" at the local hardware store or at the goodwill shop.
The pastor's son, who is long since dead so I don't think it matters if I share this story. He was a good friend of mine, and by good friend I mean he hung out with me when none of his other friends were around as he had lots of friends and I had very few. Plus, there was an age gap of about 5 years so it was not cool to hang out with a little kid my age.
At any rate, the pastor's kid was popular, he was handsome, charismatic, both in the theological sense and in the personality sense. He had girls in his front and back pocket. He was a small town James Dean.
Being popular always nets you plenty of followers, both adult and child along with kids your own age. Adults adore you and think too much of you, children worship you and your own peers want to be just like you in every way. So he was everything to me and I was nothing to him as I would find out the older I got.
I was the frequently the butt of jokes that I didn't understand until years later. Jokes where he would simply be crass or cruel because he could be that way and get away it.
Like the time I got left alone in the woods after I got off the 4 wheeler when he went too fast. I got picked up after 15 terrifying minutes by myself and was so angry I refused the ride and walked home. I thought he and his friends would get into trouble. Little did I know that he was the pastor's son and the pastor of this church carried a Jim Jones like persona and could do no wrong. Even if I told my dad, who attended said church, about the horrible incident, he would never speak up for me and right the wrongs that were done to me. I always assumed he would.
Or the many other times that he lied to me for no other reason than to be cruel. The time I caught him and another friend watching a porno and he tried to explain it away as a "anatomy documentary". There are too many too list and the list is quite painful so I'll leave those examples as enough to suffice.
One day, in the early evening, late Fall so that it was just getting to the cusp of being winter, I was playing around the back of the church. The pastor's son was hanging out with an older teenager right on the edge of being an adult, he was caught in the sway of this effervescent popularity. This older teenager happened to be the trouble making son of my dad's best friend, who was another cult follower of the pastor.
We were shooting off fireworks as I remember, it was a small town with not much to do and this was a frequent activity. However, we had run out of targets, we usually used each other or stray cats or squirrels. Or we would make home made targets and see who could get closest.
Suddenly and very much without my permission the older boy, who was roughly 6 feet tall and a stocky 200 pounds give or take, picked me up along with the pastor's son and shoved me into the church dumpster. It was at the end of the hill leading away from the back of the church towards the graveyard, isolated. I thrashed and kicked, thinking it was a joke at first. It was not a joke and then as I look back on it I realize that it was a joke just not to me but it was very much a joke to the both of them. I was then wrangled into the dumpster and they both immediately took up sides and pinned the exits and held down the top flip cover. The dumpster was quite big for a 9 year old kid. There was, of course, trash, not much but enough for me to not want to be in there. The next thing that happened was funny to the both of them and terrifying to me. The fireworks that were left over were lit and thrown into the dumpster and the sides were slammed shut. So the bottle rockets, which is mainly what we had left, began shooting around the dumpster, ricocheting off the walls and barely missing me each time.
This went on for what seemed like forever. I banged on the walls and begged to be let out. I yelled and no one came to my rescue. After the last of the fireworks were thrown in I heard the two of them laughing hysterically and running away, leaving me alone in the dumpster.
The night was descending, streetlights were soon to come flickering on and I would be called for supper soon. I sat still for several minutes, surrounded by exploded firecrackers and garbage. I flipped the heavy lid of the dumpster after several tries and climbed out. least I wasn't hurt.

the front porch

There were red wasps on the rocking chair. In the corner pocket of the the front porch, out the front door, there was a rocking chair. Old cedar redwood, scraped and faded, wore in from hours of rocking and slightly creaky. The perfect rocking chair for your front porch.
Daylight was creeping out of the edges of the horizon. Evening was wearing on and that almost melancholy part of the day was breaking fresh into people's emotional palette. The homefires were being stoked, moms and dads were pulling into the driveway. Ovens were being turned on to preheat for cardboard meals, prepacked, precooked, preloved.
Work shoes taken off, ties loosened and removed. Blouses removed and traded in for tshirts. Families of all sorts settled in for the second part of the day. Preparing dinner, watching favorite tv shows, reading blogs, books and news articles from the days news. Playing with the kids, the dog, the family cat, and if you are a dad who is so lucky, sitting in your favorite chair.
A bulky record player sat on an unused computer desk. Smooth and black wood edges, gilded with smooth plastic edging and a solid, heavy frame. I came in put on the next record on the stack and recognized the long drawn out soulful sounds of Gabriella Climi coming from the player.
Popping some organic peppermint tea in a clean cup I found behind a stack of books I started the water. Sitting down at my work desk I checked my email. Lots of "exclusive deals" for only a few more days, or a few more hours. Buy a few hundred dollars worth of merchandise and get free shipping. Buy fifty dollars worth of pillows and get 10% off...before taxes and shipping of course. A few short notes from old acquaintances asking how I've been and inquiring if I want to meet with up a few old friends and hasn't it been so long and wouldn't it be good to see everybody.
I delete the emails. I'm not interested in any pillows or free shipping. I am even less interested in meeting up with friends I used to be close with over 15 years ago and now have nothing in common with but old stories of how things used to be. Old reminiscing is not something I care about and not something I feel any indulgence for simply for the sake of other people revisiting old times.
The phone clanged on the corner table, a landline, I didn't own a cell phone. I had an old tan phone with no caller id so it was a fresh surprise every time someone called. I cradled the phone against my shoulder, "Hello?".
It was Clarence, the grocery store owner from down the road.
"Leon...sorry to bother you, do you think you could come down and..."
"Sure Clarence, I'll be over in a few."
I hung up the phone and got some jeans and a halfway decent looking pullover to put on. Clarence had, for some reason, taken to asking me to help bag groceries. He just seemed to think I put things together better and he didn't trust the teenagers he hired and so he eventually fired them.

Friday, June 5, 2015

elephant tears

The overwhelming bleak
and bitter taste,
of sadness...
like the lingering taste of bile, stuck in the throat of despair,
Opiates of pleasure, purpose,
and happiness.
Rise, come down, and withdraw.
That red wagon, pulled along side streets in the dusk
carrying treasures collected,
but they won't be enough,
and they won't all fit.
Filled up already,
with loneliness, no warm herbs of sweetness.
But the daylight will expose the cracks in the street,
as we walk
toward infinity.