January 12, 2018

All Our Yesterdays

Wind changes direction
this way, that way, it tells me that
All Our Yesterdays
are gone.
Blown out to sea, crashed into trees
Broken by speed and momentum,
Crushed beyond recognition

Light moves from East to West,
moving yet unchanged it tells me that
All Our Yesterdays
are gone, but still here
Heat and Cold rise and fall
Broken yet remaining still
Shadows of memory

Water flows and recedes
in and out, moving sand to bury
All Our Yesterdays
under the tidal pools filled with
Life. Life moving and changing over the
Impressions of Love

Earth stands still,
unmoved yet lifting up
All Our Yesterdays
to the light that gives
Life. Life now and yesterday and forever
Formed as an imprint of

January 9, 2018

Kenosis 2

is what He desires
us to realize, our basic nature
of seeking to be filled is against
His will

is what we hate
we search and grasp at anything
that will relieve this feeling of

is what He tried to teach us
that we cannot be filled
without draining our lives of

is what we need
freed from the falseness of ego and
desire, then we can receive what is

as He emptied Himself
He was filled with the fullness
of Heaven, of the Father, of the

brings us what we seek
the fullness of Love
that can only enter us as we pour out


We are solid
We feel, we touch, we interact in a solid world
We grasp for solid things
but solid cannot enter solid without

We are solid
But we take in liquid, something slightly
less than solid, but
not what we can grasp without

We are liquid
But we must have a solid world
To grasp for liquid things,
things liquid cannot hold without help from

We are liquid and solid
Yet we take in vapor at the interface
Of solid and liquid,
a thing neither can grasp on their own.

We are Solid, Liquid, Vapor
Yet we grasp for something
That is none
of those, things we see only through clouded

We are none of these things
Yet we still grasp for that which is
None but Spirit.
that which exists in a different plane than things

We are Love
Solid, Liquid, Vapor, yet also what is beyond these
love of Love drives us to grasp what cannot be

We are Love
Yet we cannot grasp ourselves, we cannot grasp the
Other, we can only feel
love slipping through our fingers, something that is

We are Spirit
We thirst and hunger, yet we cannot be filled
Our Solid leaks, Our Liquid drains, Our Vapor
disappears into the emptiness, leaving us with nothing but

We are Spirit, and
Solid, Liquid, Vapor, yet our physical
Nature cannot be satisfied with
seeking to be filled, we gain only by pouring out

We are Love
And God is Love, seeking to fill us
As we empty ourselves to fill
others we encounter in this dim world of
Love and Spirit

January 5, 2018


They don't do anything. Nothing at all.
Except for making noise. They're good at that.
I fix them breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and all I get in
return is their noisy scolding when I feed them.

Some of them are communists; I know this from their red clothes.
A few wear a patriotic blue, and some wear the black flag of anarchy.
Most of them just wear dull browns and beiges, fleeing
when the more political ones begin to argue.

They all left after the storm; it was finally quiet for a while.
But, once they didn't need to be in the shelters anymore
they came back. But they didn't come back making
demands upon me.

They didn't come back until I had set up the buffet again.
And they brought more with them.
Ones with nerve enough to wear tuxedos and red hats.
Hadn't seen any of that crowd in quite awhile.

But, just think about them a bit. They don't work, but their Heavenly
Father feeds them. I'm neither Heavenly
nor Fatherly,
but still, I feed them every day.

Even though they scold and complain when I bring their food
I'd miss them. I'd miss getting to see their courtships and their children
new outfits as they grow, and I would miss their songs of praise to
Heaven when they think I'm not listening...


When Peace, like a river, attends my way
I cannot recognize it.
The surface rolls and moves past, leaving me
Behind. Behind my blind eyes
I cannot see underneath
to the still silence at the bottom of the river.

I know that Peace is down there, but it is not
where I want to be
No Light, No Air, No Motion, just a cold
I have to Breathe, See, Move, Exist in life's

Yet I seek Peace that I cannot grasp.
It is my promised reward, my Birthright,
my rest.
One day, It will come for me
and I will not refuse it.
It is our salvation.

When Peace, like a river, moves past me
every day, changing yet changeless
I know it is mine. It is yours.
It is our Birthright
We shall enjoy it

She came to me...

She came to me in a dream,
but she wasn't there.
She had been there, but she was already gone when we were talking.
We talked about her fun, her laugh, her love,
and how we missed her.
Memories crashing down upon us from a
Time that was another world for all of us.

She had come to you in this same dream,
but she wasn't there
and yet she was still with us.
We knew from her presence that things would
be alright, that we would be alright.
Memories washing over us, of many worlds
reminding us how she still loves us.

We laid down the books filled with memories
and walked down the beach, our hands
in hers.

December 18, 2017

"Free" Speech Has a Personal Price...

It seems to me that most people today have a very strange understanding of what "Freedom of Speech" actually is. Twitter is about to shut down "far-Right" accounts (it's a haven of pure negativity now, it will just become a left-wing haven of negativity.) Young (and quite a good many old) communists and socialists think "freedom of speech" is their right to shout down and silence anyone whom they choose to vent their anger upon. They couldn't be further from the truth. Free speech demands a very personal price from all who would claim to use it.

It's much less about your right to speak than it is your opponent's right to speak.

Yep, it's about you speaking your piece, AND then allowing the other person to speak theirs.

No matter how offensive, bigoted, ignorant, etc., you feel the other person's opinion is.

No matter how convinced you are of your own correctness.

Free speech is by its very nature the right of others to voice a different opinion than yours.

But free speech is a right that can only be employed and enjoyed by mature people.

If you feel the need to shout down someone's right to speech, then you're not mature enough to appreciate and utilize true free speech.

If you feel the need to pressure a media outlet to restrict someone's freedom of speech, then you're not mature enough to practice any speech in the public forum.

If you feel the need to resort to violence and lawlessness over someone attempting to speak freely, then you're not mature enough to participate in public discussion.

You don't have to agree with them. You don't even have to listen to them (seriously, whatever happened simply to ignoring offensive things?)

But, you do have to let them speak. That's just adolescent-level maturity in public discourse.

If you think you're truly mature, you might want to listen, then try to engage respectfully. Spiritual maturity is all about equality between people, and it begins with reaching out from your own perspective to try to understand others. That's the true courage of maturity.

Of course, you're perfectly free to shout down anything and everything that doesn't fit exactly into your worldview.

Just don't expect me to take your immaturity very seriously.

December 11, 2017

Christmas is not a pagan holiday...

So, it's that wonderful time of year. Trees, lights, presents, family meals, etc. Christmas carols, Advent candles, midnight Christmas Eve church services. Things that many people look forward to since the previous year. But not everyone thinks this is a wonderful time of year. Today I'm writing about a subset of Christians who think this is a time of malevolence and deviltry. You know who I'm talking about; the people who start railing that "Christmas" is a pagan holiday, stolen by the Romans to make it easier to draw pagans into the Byzantine empire. I've heard this for many years now, and have known some who are militant in attacking everything about Christmas. I think they're horribly misguided, and I'm going to lay out just three of the reasons why I believe that to be true.

1. Christmas refutes anti-semitism.

What could be more Jewish than to be born, circumcised on the eighth day of life, and to learn Torah in the Temple under the most learned of scholars of the day? To declare that the moneychangers in the Temple are defiling "My Father's house?" To quote the prophets to the Pharisees, telling them to "go and learn what this means; I desire mercy, not sacrifice?"

Marcion of Sinope (c. 85- c. 160) was the first major anti-semite voice in the church. He denied that the God of the Old Testament ( יַהְוֶה, Yahweh, YHWH, Elohim, etc.) was the "Father" of whom Jesus spoke. He referred to the OT God as the "demiurge" who created the physical world, while the "Father" to whom Jesus referred was a completely alien deity not in contact with our universe outside of His creation Jesus.

Matthew and Luke take pains to give us a genealogy of Jesus that shows He is of King David, and of Abraham. Why would this be important enough to write about were it not to demonstrate that Jesus IS, not was, a Jew?

2. Christmas refutes Gnosticism.

Gnosticism posits that the physical and spiritual realms are entirely different and separate from each other. It also holds that the man Jesus and the spirit Christ are two entirely separate and different persons. In this way, they claim that the "Christ" did not suffer death on the cross, or decay in the tomb.

What could be more "physical" about an existence that to be born, nursed as a baby, be cleaned up as any other baby, and to go through the physical rituals of Judaism? If Christ was nothing other than a spirit which descended upon the man Jesus, then why do the Gospels spend any time at all discussing His birth?  Why would an angel have appeared to the shepherds proclaiming "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, The Lord" and "Glory to God in the highest Heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests" had this not been the true presence of God in physical form on the Earth?

3. Equating Christmas with Paganism is superstitious.

If, and this is a big if, we actually believe what the Bible says about Jesus and our salvation, then why would we fear a supposedly pagan holiday when we have been told, Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives." (Hebrews 2:14,15)

The devil has been rendered powerless, and we are no longer slave to the fear of death. How then shall a supposition of paganism in a holiday affect us? In Colossians, Paul wrote, " See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10\and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority" and, "Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ." Christmas and any religious opinions of it are dim images of what is to come, and these dim images are sanctified because their essence belongs to Jesus, who has freed us from the slavery of the fear of death.

Enjoy the holidays. Live a life of "Peace on Earth, and goodwill towards men."
Proclaim Glory to God in the highest because God is with us.
Smile, and enjoy the wide-eyed children looking at lights and Santa Claus.

As Therese of Lisieux put it, may we all become victims of Love.

April 7, 2017

In Defense of Love

As happens occasionally when my two brain cells collide, my thoughts got sparked yesterday during a conversation with my best friend, accomplice in thoughtcrime and philosophical conversation partner, Ed. We use these conversations to have a sounding board to crystallize our own thoughts most often, and sometimes find a new avenue of exploration. Yesterday, Ed's lead-in was a topic we really haven't covered specifically on its own: the dichotomy in the contemporary American church of a wrathful and punishing God that is the darling of fundamentalists and new Calvinists, and the newer trend of seeing God as love and nothing more. The thing we immediately agreed upon is that the church in America needs to have more discourse in seeking a viewpoint of God that has balance. (Yes, I know that there are plenty of churches that discuss God in this manner, but it's not the viewpoint that gets much publicity.)

So, let's dispense with some preliminaries. First, God is as perfectly balanced as can be possible, simply because of His nature. The problem lies in how we perceive and define that balance. Second, that in His nature He is ineffable, that we can never truly define or comprehend that nature. Given those points, the problem lies not in God or His nature, but how we perceive Him, present Him, and live in Him.

Addressing the three previous problem I mentioned, perception and presentation are inextricably linked. Much of our perception is based on how He has been presented to us by others, and by our own experience in our earlier lives. Likewise, the presentations given us are formed by those people's experiences and how God was presented to them. These perceptions and experiences are powerful enough to persist through our whole lives, even in contradictory experience and evidence. But, at some point in our lives, to become mature in our spiritual belief, we must put our ideas to some rigorous examination. That is what I wish to discuss here.

However we do perceive God, we must consider how we might perceive God. When we look to scripture to see who and how God is, we always view this through the lens of our experience, learning, and environment. As we gain maturity in mind, soul, and spirit, we become able to choose the lens with which we view the scriptural portrayal. I was raised in a church culture of legalism; the Bible said what it said, and that was it. As I aged, I realized that we all tend to cherry-pick the scripture to support our internal viewpoint; we give more weight to some scripture than others, even when we deny that fact. Several years ago, I was challenged to consider Grace in its fullest, and to look at scripture through that lens.

This led me to try and reconcile some scriptures that are seemingly in contradiction. But the conclusion that I came to is that there is one over-arching concept and several subordinate concepts with which we might want to view scripture and God. All through the Bible we read that God is (wise, angry, tender, protective, saving, condemning, joyful, sad, ever-faithful, wrathful, etc.); a list of adjectives. These adjectives describe God in terms we can grasp, but not in His fullness. God = adjective, a word that only describes an aspect of His. However in 1 John (as well as 2&3 John and 1&2 Peter) we see God equated with a noun: "Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8. This is an equation God = love. From the context, we can also deduce that love = God, since not loving equals not knowing God. This is not a description of an aspect of God, it is a declaration of His essential being.

Since the basic essence necessarily underlies, informs, and controls His aspects, it may be very beneficial to us to view Him through that essence, and then fit His aspects into that viewpoint. This can bring a greater depth of understanding to the seeming contradictions we may see in scripture, and bring a deeper wisdom and compassion into how we live in and present Him. We can find a balance between the "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" God of Johnathan Edwards and the laissez faire flower-child God of the nouveau hippies.

But, truly finding this balance in our view of God requires a drastic internal shift. Subordinating our ideas of God's aspects under the idea of love as God's essential being is a radical idea from any side. For some it might mean diminishing concepts of punishment and wrath under the essence of love. For others, it can mean bringing ideas of justice and judgment into the idea of love. For all of us, it needs to inform our internal and external reactions to others.

How does this work out in our everyday lives? That's the hard thing. Should we refuse to use violence to defend the defenseless? I certainly think not. There's nothing loving about allowing someone to be injured, nor to continue allowing someone to injure others. Mahayana Buddhists understand that very well. This is bringing the uncomfortable aspects of God under the essence of love.

What about the other side? Should we confront "sin" in others when no one is being harmed? (Yes, I'm talking about gay people here, not alcoholics, addicts, or other people causing a real and tangible harm to themselves and others) Putting the Law and judgment underneath God's nature as love itself demands that we not cast any stones unless we are without sin. That's the point Jesus was making, IMO. This brings the essence of love to the uncomfortable aspects.

All of that was merely my long argument in support of having the tough discussions about God to reconcile his essence and aspects in our faith communities and relationships. It's far too easy to preach and defend and extreme, but these extremes ultimately wind up hollow and unfulfilling. The narrow path demands we walk between these extremes, and this is where Christ has asked us to follow him.

Love your neighbors as you love yourself.
So, love yourself.
Love God with all your heart.
God is love, so where love is, there God is.
May His peace be with us all.

March 23, 2017

The Human Stock Show

Grey and drizzling, I approach you, a smile and a
Quick turn away the welcome given me
Provisions are needed for this journey
However long or short it may be

Your guards arrive, an unsecret service of
Your protection, not knowing the stranger beside
Walking hesitantly, masked in my unease
In plain sight, I struggle to hide

Swerving through the herd of steel and bone
You laugh, they laugh, I can only smile
Abducted from my better judgment
I am both safe and on trial

Wet crowds pour through the sieve of
Counting and control, into the concrete
Pasture of color and light, wandering
With purpose as the footstep's beat

A march of hunger to feed the senses
With sound light color taste scent
We feed, we wait, we watch the rain
The herd huddles under a tent

The corral awaits, a funnel for eyes
Ears hands feet hearts heads
Tension oppresses; in your hair
there is a kiss to relieve the dread

In the arena, we live through pain pleasure
Fear treasure disappointment relief delight
Memories spring from music, songs bring
Wistful nostalgia, old smiles shine bright
We arise to cross the bridge of sighs; you
Relax, our hands join to enter the night