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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Witnesses

The children of God gathered in a musty, decaying hall but the lights were too low to see. Shadow hid what was undesirable and flashes of color sparkled in whirling, unceasing motion that made focus impossible. Conversation and communion were given up as the thumping music drowned out all but the shouted exchange. Alcohol dulled pain, lowered inhibitions and substituted for brotherhood. The creatures designed for glory chose to hide in darkness and noise and drunken revelry. The bride of Christ gave up her husband for a grope and bad dancing.

It’s their right to choose. A right they’ve been given. It just made the witness sad. So he wandered out into the night where the moon seemed bright in comparison and bird and frog spoke in more reverent tones. Away, away from the revelers, away from the noise, from the shouting, from the over-stimulation, from the false camaraderie, away from the bad dancing, he found a refuge beneath a great and ancient oak. Leaning back he gazed up at its proud height and strong, still branches and in its quiet way, it seemed to him that the tree was a wise old witness too. Here was a living thing that though without thought or self-awareness, fully knew its Creator, what He expected of it and its place in creation. That a tree could, in the very act of being what it was meant to be, shame those of us in rebellion.

Two thousand years ago, witnesses threw their clothing and branches before their King, their Creator, their Husband and shouted and sang his praises while they danced for joy in broad daylight even though they didn’t understand his Kingdom and that, in just a few days, he would soon hang on a tree for them. The grumps of their day told Jesus to make them stop their unseemly display. He told the grumps that if the revelers stopped, then the very stones would cry out. Creation was so intoxicated with the Holy Spirit that even stone witnesses would cry out. I wonder how often creation looks at us and just wants to cry?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

first things first


i got up to write at a quarter to four
but it turns out i had nothing to say
so i bowed my head and took it to God
and it turns out i had plenty to pray.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Something i lack the talent to say...


From his lofty perch
in his tower of bone
He thinks he wields
power alone.
All that he sees
and all that he hears
is tested and weighed
against the wisdom of years.
His scales are just.
His vision is pure.
His library vast.
His verdict is sure.
Cold knowledge his counselor,
decisions of steel,
based on what's firm,
proven and real.

But alas, his nose tickles
with the scent of perfume;
A warm, rare aroma
rising up from her room.
A ballad of destiny
with a drumbeat for dance
of risking it all
on a sliver of chance.
Passion blind, she knows
only what she can feel.
Feathery touch, silken skin
quickly bruised, slow to heal.
She keeps the fire.
She feeds the fuel.
Hers is the longshot,
the feud and the duel.

Who rules the kingdom
will it be fire or steel?
What he can know
or what she can feel?

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Peek-a-boo with Dad.

It's a dirt road switchbacking through the besieged Pennslobovian wilderness. The last island of natural wonder in the Commonwealth Sea of Humanity. And even it has an old trainbed converted to yuppie bike trail snaking through it. Ease of access. It lowers, cheapens the experience. One no longer has to work just to get here. Daytrippers can cruise up, snap their pictures and leave in a carbon monoxide fog and say they've been there, done that. They can be back in a "quaint" (their code word for anything not a Starbucks) coffee shop in less than a half an hour congratulating themselves for experiencing nature AND alternative cultures in the same day.

The dirt road has a number given it by the state. It also has a sign warning travelers that the road is not "maintained" (their code word for occasionally sending some guy up there with a chainsaw and a winch to get the fallen trees out of the way) for three months during the winter.
It was winter. Rascal and i drove right in.

That's right, we drove. We daytripped through with our cameras out the windows, like gang-bangers on foreign turf. It was our last day of camping and we had to get home. There was no more time for nature, money had to be earned, state-approved lesson plans had to be learned, so fuel and film were burned.

But we went slow. Not just because the dirt road is one lane of potholes, downed trees, crazy hairpins and sloped to boot. We wanted to go slow. It was the four-wheeled equivalent of dragging our feet. We may have been daytrippers, but we were Sunday daytrippers. There was so much to see in the golden, stained glass glow of sunlight through the leaves. Actually, there was really only one thing to see: trees. i can be realistic. We were in awe of dirt and trees but maybe what we were really in awe of was the artistic arrangement. God's a florist.

Then it would happen. i would stop. Put the Tick (my name for my little, black blazer) in reverse, back up and just sit in wonder. There were tears in the veil. Windows where the trees parted enough to see the valley below and the mountains beyond and gain a glimpse of the deeper, wider story through which we journeyed. An oh, so, narrow window into how the beauty up close fit into a beauty all around. How the vignettes fit into the epic. Vistas that made your breath catch. God is a showman. How i longed to get out and disappear on foot into that wonder. To explore, not at thirty five miles an hour. But at a mile a day. Or maybe even slower. To sit in it and give glory to it's Creator.

It's a desk in our living room/foyer/kitchen/office. i wanted to scan something into the computer. Some artwork. Just a quick sketch, all i have time for but make time for every day. My life is a regimented repetition of requisite responsibilities. i need art.

Then it happened. i stopped. i picked up the picture that Happ the Elder had drawn and left. An explosion of weirdness that wasn't an aching attempt at something he thinks he should draw and struggles with but a free expression of just something he thinks is cool. Incomprehensible and complete, cute and cartoonish yet wicked and sinister. Marveling, i continued on. Then, astoundingly, it happened again. i reversed. Backed up to the frame on the computer where Rascal the Younger had written the beginning of a story. It was him but so much different. An uncanny voice that i at once recognized but didn't. It was so much more mature than my eleven year old. There, in my daytrip, glimpses of the wider, wilder, deeper stories that i was journeying through. Vistas that make me catch my breath and want to get out of the rut and meander, explore and savor these creations, their creators and their Creator.

Maybe we can talk about that sometime in a quaint, little coffee shop.

Monday, March 01, 2010

its the end of the world as we know it

This is for anyone who ever attended Christ Church, Peace Valley Church, Peace Valley Community Church or New Life at Five Points. Alright, here's what you do...
Put on REM's It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine). Don't have it? Go get it, it's worth it. Good song. Now, turn the sound down just enough that you can hear the beat but not so much the words and then read really fast.


God’s Great,

It starts with a Sunday, leap of faith, PCA,

Christ church is not afraid.

Plumstead Elementary, turn a gym into a church

Here to serve each other’s need,

Regardless of your own need

Barely getting up to speed

Oh no, gotta go

Getta pastor, finda pastor, New Life Sonship

Suddenly there seems to be Jack Miller’s whole family with an overhead projector and felt tip pen

Some Left, those that stayed

voted to change our name

and join New Life

Say Hello to Alan Lee, Now we’re called Pvc,

Worship goes to tennessee

What then…Uh Oh, Gotta Go

Finda building another school, but it’ll do

Blind side, lake side

Pine Run, Lenape, CB west, Unami,

Buy some land but lose it in a pyramid scheme-What?

Ran the Gamut, door slam it, shut, Trust Christ’s cross, Feeling punched in the gut

It was the end of the world as we knew it

It was the end of the world as we knew it

It was the end of the world as we knew it

And God is fine

Tabernacle – Blue Van.

Still trying to buy some land.

Funerals, weddings, Go to Landis cabin

Wexford, West Virginia, Team goes to Uganda

Saint James, Square the C,

Sherry bird is cancer free

Alan’s weary, Alan wants to

Step down, step down

Bought some land, lost some land

Alan comes and goes again, oh dear, Blair’s here, Why that sudden look of fear?

On our own, on our own, on our own again,

We need solutions, we need alternatives, two years go by

It was the End of the world as we knew it…

It was the End of the world as we knew it

It was the End of the world as we knew it

God’s still fine

God’s still fine

It was the End of the world as we knew it

It was the End of the world as we knew it

It was the End of the world as we knew it

God’s still fine

Bill Senyard, Movie clips

Kissing God on the lips

Sanctuary, Broken Bread

What the heck are pickleheads?

Have communion every week, N-L-F-P

Theater has comfy seats, Children’s pageant lost a sheep,

You Incendiary, Misfit toys, get slammed but Trust God, right? Right.

It’s the end of the world as we know it

It’s the end of the world as we know it

It’s the end of the world as we know it

But God’s still mine

Yes God is fine