Archive for the '“Poetry”' Category

Send in the Clowns!

The Kingdom of God is a party!” So says Tony Campolo (and Robert Farrar Capon, and John Crowder, and Ben Dunn, and Sara Miles, and Bruce Chilton, and Hafiz…need I go on?), but so few people believe this.

I’ve mentioned previously my admiration for what Bruce Sanguin is attempting with a genuinely tradition-honoring yet scientifically-sensitive approach to Christian spirituality. So imagine my delight in a recent reading of If Darwin Prayed when I discover this poem – a feast for those who hunger after Jesus in all his subversive fullness. Enjoy!

Send in the Clowns

john 2:1–11

O Holy One,

what good news it is

that when the wine of abundant life gives out,

you find a way to keep the celebration going.

Just when we are convinced that the worst thing

that can happen is what always happens,

you send bright signs

that the party has just begun.

Just when we are happy to descend into despair,

you send in the clowns

and place party hats atop our frowning faces,

daring us just to try to not smile.

Into this world of wonder,

your beloved Cosmic Celebrant came,

with the last word on the subject—

silencing the political party poopers

and the religious prudes—

pronouncing blessing without end

and no good reason to stop the music.

Hallelujah! Blessed is your name.

Amen.

The Truth About Friendships and The Wisdom of Jesus & Songs

You have eyes like mine…
Are we strangers or am I you are I..?
Cloud Cult, Chain Reaction

Hopped a grainer out of Pig’s Eye toward Milwaukee
The Deer between the tower and the tracks saw right through us, said:

You don’t know where you came from, you don’t know where you’re going.
You think you’re you, but you don’t know who you are, you’re not you…
You’re Everyone Else.
You’re Everyone Else!
mewithoutYou, Cattail Down

Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you…All I have is yours, and all you have is mine…Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.
– Jesus, John 17

Love your neighbor as yourself.
– Jesus, Mark 12

Therefore,

The kindest thing you can do for those you love – and for those you hate – is to release them from your thoughts of them, anything they’ve ever meant to you, good or bad. This way, you and they are free to approach one another in the precious, unfolding present.

And –

If you find yourself overly clingy, overly attached, overly idolatrous toward a loved one or friend, get this: What you long for in this ‘other’ person is what you want to be in yourself – and you already have it within yourself, just waiting to be discovered! You’re already them – you’re already that!

For more on friendship, see Dan Brennan‘s excellent Sacred Friendships Project – it’s like the PostSecret of friendship.

Falling Upward

This life is a descent

To the center

Passed dissent to dissenter

Holy contagion

Scared discontent

(Gives way to)

Sacred malcontents

Who don’t pay this rent

(Which, after all, is too damn high)

But embrace the feast spread out;

The locusts and wild honey

of

Downward
Mobility.

Upward,

Falling

We don’t cling to the branches

But instead

eat straight

from the root.

Note: I have not yet read Richard Rohr‘s Falling Upward, but I’ll bet it’s good. Its very title touched off an inner impulse that’s been composting in me for some months now; hence this poem.

One Wild and Precious Year

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life

– Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

HT: Ronald Barnett

Behold, A Pale Horse

A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a corpse of course
That is, of course, unless the corpse is the heinous Mister Dead.

Gratefulness

For the stirring waters of Stillness

Three chords comprising one Song

Self melting away in Forgetfulness

The abundance and nothingness of Godhead

Nondual awareness of unitive Vision

Eyes gently closed, glossolalia Flows

For the generosity and power of Release

And the conducive, cohering energies of letting Go.

Tree of Life

WWJD?

It is evening, and you are gathered together with the other disciples in a small room for Passover. All the time you are watching Jesus, while he sits quietly in the shadows listening to the idle chatter, watching over those who sit around him, and, from time to time, telling stories about the kingdom of God.

As night descends, a meal of bread and wine is brought into the room. It is only at this moment that Jesus sits forward so that the shadows no longer cover his face. He quietly brings the conversation to an end by capturing each one with his intense gaze. Then he begins to speak:

“My friends, take this bread, for it is my very body, broken for you.”

Every eye is fixed on the bread that is laid on the table. While these words seem obscure and unintelligible, everyone picks up on their gravity.

Then Jesus carefully pours wine into the cup of each disciple until it overflows onto the table.

“Take this wine and drink of it, for it is my very blood, shed for you.”

With these words an ominous shadow seems to descend upon the room – a chilling darkness that makes everyone shudder uneasily. Jesus continues:

“As you do this, remember me.”

Most of the gathered disciples begin to slowly eat the bread and drink the wine, lost in their thoughts. You, however, cannot bring yourself to lift your hand at all, for his words have cut into your soul like a knife.

Jesus does not fail to notice your hesitation and approaches, lifting up your head with his hand so that your eyes are level with his. Your eyes meet for only a moment, but before you are able to turn away, you are caught up in a terrifying revelation. At that instant you experience the loneliness, the pain, and sorrow that Jesus is carrying. You see nails being driven through skin and bone; you hear the crowds jeering and the cries of pain as iron cuts against flesh. At that moment you see the sweat that flows from Jesus like blood, and experience the suffocation, madness, and pain that will soon envelop him. More than all of this, however, you feel a trace of the separation he will soon feel in his own being.

In that little room, which occupies no significant space in the universe, you have caught a glimpse of a divine vision that should never have been disclosed. Yet it is indelibly etched into the eyes of Christ for anyone brave enough to look.

You turn to leave – to run from that place. You long for death to wrap around you. But Jesus grips you with his gaze and smiles compassionately. Then he holds you tight in his arms like no one has held you before. He understands that the weight you now carry is so great that it would have been better had you never been born. After a few moments, he releases his embrace and lifts the wine that sits before you, whispering,

“Take this wine, my dear friend, and drink it up, for it is my very blood, and it is shed for you.”

All this makes you feel painfully uncomfortable, and so you shift in your chair and fumble in your pocket, all the time distracted by the silver that weights heavy in your pouch.

– from The Orthodox Heretic, out soon

O Sacred Wound, Now Headed – Rough Cut

So I’ve blogged for ages and ages about retooling sung worship, and adding more of the earthy and mystical and poetic and ancient and future into the lyrics, melodies, etc…pretty funny ’cause I’m not a songwriter per se.

As I said recently on Dan Wilt’s blog:

I’d love to take a lot of the practical developmental wisdom from Christian writers in the contemplative/mystical tradition, when they wrote of the disciple’s spiritual ’stages of ascent’ toward the ‘renewing of the mind’ and one’s conscious union with God. (Also the East Orthodox tradition of ‘theosis’ or ‘divinization’) I’d like to take some of this poetry, this wisdom, from writers from Meister Eckhart to Hildegard von Bingen (herself a composer) to Francois Fenelon to Evelyn Underhill, and put it to music, put it to worshipful poetry that will itself be a transformative contemplative experience, by God’s grace.

Well, now I’m putting my moolah where my mouth is, and am showing you, with fear and trepidation, a reworking/word-play of a revered hymn hagiographically attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux. I emphasise that this is a rough cut; it’s probably off-meter and incoherent and heretical and in need of cuts, rearrangements, and additional verses. If it helps you with the tune, read along with the instrumental video, below. Give me your thoughts – and additional/reworked verses! – in the Comments below. We’ll write us something good, uh-hunh.

O Sacred Wound, Now Headed

O sacred Wound now headed, with momentum unbound
Here so fully sustaining, G-D’s absence presence now
How thin the lines of aging, on his receding face
Molecules rearranging, in every moment’s grace

My G-d, what abyss endured, within her hollow eyes
Plunge in the darksome cavern, its here we realize
How long do we see faces ‘ere facing what we see
Vouchsafing quiet courage, for Others simply Be

Omega, now receive thee, G-dhead from you does pour
Lo, here we fall, Redeemer! Plunged outward and before
Our outstretched hand does meet yours, in emptiness delight
Our glasses flicker dimly dissolving light from light

Loving the Bible, Part Two: Creativity is ‘Holy’ Writ, Large

Psalm 92 (Re-Imagined)

1 It is good to give thanks to Adonai,
To make much of Your glorious reputation;
2 To publish word of Your grace by daylight,
And Your loyalty ’til the
midnight hour;
3 On parchment and in hypertext,
In prose and spoken word.

4 For you, Adonai, have turned me into an avid reader;
Your Story has me turning life’s pages in joyful anticipation.

5 What an awesome storyline, Adonai!
How layered are your plots!
6 The un-nuanced don’t know,
The hack critics just don’t get it;

7 Pop-bestsellers waste entire forests
While widening the wardrobes of one-book-wonder-writers.
But their books (so-called) are destined for the bargain bins—the recycling bins,
ultimately!—

8 While your Story, Adonai, is an enduring classic.

9 The characters who try to sabotage your loving subplots
Will meet untimely ends;
Their Injustice League will be disbanded.

10 You have imbued me with the strength of the animal kingdom,
And have deputized me a super-hero before you.

11 I don’t need super-sight to see my foes’ downfall,
Or super-hearing to hear my assailant’s doom.

12 The strength of the just flourishes like palm trees in nice weather,
They grow deeply-rooted like cedars in
Lebanon.

13 Planted firm in the dwelling place of Adonai,
Organic life flourishes in the soil of God’s courtyard.

14 Ancient trees will still produce fresh fruit,
Green and brimming with their life-giving energies.

15 If trees could talk they’d say Adonai is good and fair,
The embodiment of unadulterated, Rock-solid justice.

Continue reading ‘Loving the Bible, Part Two: Creativity is ‘Holy’ Writ, Large’

Taco Bell Troubles

Why, O Why,
Does every culinary kindness incur incredulity

And each burrito beneficence welcome wrath?

Sometimes a bite offered is simply that–a bite offered
If I wanted to marshal your Mexican pizza into my mandibles for mastication,

I would disarm your defenses through a more devious delivery
Positioning my pathos into something more palatable

I hope you enjoy your solitary entree
Me and my burritos are goin’ home


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