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Monday, December 28, 2015

Probably not an original thought

The Oath is forged in moment of peace
when witness shine upon the maker;
But in battle fierce and darkness deep
are the keeper divided from the breaker.

The Vow is not for when love's river
be swollen with the rains of Spring;
But when choking drought and love's stone well
naught but dust the lover bring.

None need promise what none doubt done
in joyful days when Satan slept;
The Promise is not judged on noble intent
but in the devil's hour when it is kept.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Of fog and crows...

For no one hopes in what they've seen.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Voice of the Apocalypse

It has become an uphill slog of gory hand to hand combat to write.  To force fleeting flickers of thoughts to coalesce into lamps of luminous prose.  And it's not a block.  A lump of wall between the world of words and i.  It is the i in i.

i just don't see the point.

Lately i think a lot about finishing.  A conversation with Jeff the Elder in which we lamented and he said something that my mind remembers as, "there is a dearth of men finishing well."  Ending their lives as firm and as solid and as noble as they began them.  There is a falling off which happens.  An inward curvature.  A parabolic arc that turns the man upon himself, inward, selfish, low.  As if we all, like Gollum, bury ourselves beneath the mountain, far from eyes, far from light, far from anyone and anything we need to care about.  Hobbies become obsessive.  My precious.

Depending on how you measure it, i am either in the last third of my life or the very middle.  i think of life in terms of twenties.  Scores.  The first Score: birth and childhood.  The second Score: marriage, family, raising my sons.  i am in the third Score now, what is it?  What's its purpose?  What is its mission?  Does it have one or can that only be determined in hindsight?  Mid-life crisis?  Would we have the stereotype if it weren't true?  To me this score is the last of my productive years.  Anything beyond sixty is bonus round.  But the life i've lived will most likely make it a wasteland of the physical.  My body won't be up for another twenty by then.  If i follow in the footsteps of some of my forebears, my mind won't either.  So i don't hold out much hope for a fourth movement (though who knows?  Moses did ALL of his work from eighty to one twenty).  This is it.  This is the time you have allotted to you.

How shall you spend it?  What shall you do?

i feel the deck heave beneath me.  The world at large and personal is a Titanic in her death throws.  Nothing holds together.  i can hear the screams of the metal as it tears away and it mixes with the fear of the dying.  What is yet worth doing?  Is there anyone listening?  Anyone i can give a life preserver to?  Should i just sit here and draw the bow along the cello until the deep closes over?  Would anyone draw strength from the music?  Would i?

Is it enough to be the last DJ on the overnight, graveyard broadcast, playing his songs as the stars fall?  Pappy Fricken here, your shepherd through the pilgrim's progress of the long, dark night of the soul.  The last watchman on the wall, talking to the crickets and the katydids.  "Watchman, what of the night?" they cry, "Watchman, what of the night?"  Morning comes and also the night, i would answer.  If you would inquire, inquire.  Come back again to WHUT, playing your musical score to accompany the end of the world.  Saying never forget, never forget, Salvation before Revelation, my friends, crickets and katydids.  The end is only a new beginning and you don't want to miss the next world.  It's going to be the one you thought this one should be.  One worth writing about.  Come Lord Jesus, come!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Excerpt of another conversation with Seamus

"Ye know what i hate?" Seamus asked me one cooling evening in our favorite publick house.
"Everything," i answered with the full weight of assurance.
"Now that's a lie you could'a-"
"Excepting Guinness."
"Oh well, then aye.  Pretty much," he admitted.  Small victories.  "So to be perfectly clear then, do ye know what's particularly chafing this week?"
"No, but i'm sure it's epic."
"Completely overused descriptor, lad, it's this generation's 'awesome."
"Paramount then."
"Better," he took a swig of his beer, "it's this whole business of being holier-than-thou."
"Run into that a lot do we?"
"More'n ye c'n know nor likely guess."
"Try me."
"Never ye mind, it's moot."
"How so?  Cuz it's not true?"
"Ach no!  It's dead nuts!"
"So your annoyed that your better than everyone or that they notice it?"
"Not better, ho-li-er," he drew out the key word.
"Ah well, we can't all be saints as righteous as you."
He slammed his hand down on the bar, startling me and not a few others.  "A fookin' cannibal pimp with blood on his fookin' lips could be as righteous as I fookin' am!"
"Right.  Yet it's accurate to label you holier-than-thou?"
"And that annoys you."
"Fook no," he took another sip, as if i didn't know it was for dramatic pause and effect.  "It annoys me that ..," he swept the entire pub and by extension, society at large in a roll of his eyes, "they..think the problem lies with me!"

Saturday, October 10, 2015

An awkward introduction

"Seamus!  You wazzock!  You never told me you were married?  This beguiling woman is your wife?"
"Wife?"  Seamus looked intently at the woman for a moment, "no.  'at's not quite it.  Is there a word for, 'stranger I 'appen to sleep naked in the same bed with?'"
"I hate you," she said to him.
"Nemesis!  That's the word.  Thank you darling."

Saturday, August 08, 2015

about cows

No, your confederate flag does not make you a racist...

But your dogmatic adherence to it does make you unloving...

"Therefore, let us no longer pass judgment on one another, but rather decide this: not to place a cause for stumbling or a temptation before a brother. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean of itself, except to the one who considers something to be unclean; to that person it is unclean. For if because of food, your brother is grieved, you are no longer living according to love. Do not destroy by your food that person for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let your good be slandered. For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For the one who serves Christ in this way is well-pleasing to God and approved by people.

So then, let us pursue what promotes peace and what edifies one another. Do not destroy the work of God on account of food. All things are clean, but it is wrong for the person who eats and stumbles in the process. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine or to do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is weakened. The faith that you have, have with respect to yourself before God. Blessed is the one who does not pass judgment on himself by what he approves. But the one who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not do so from faith, and everything that is not from faith is sin."  Romans 14

"But this knowledge is not in everyone. But some, being accustomed until now to the idol, eat this food as food sacrificed to idols, and their conscience, because it is weak, is defiled. But food does not bring us close to God. For neither if we eat do we have more, nor if we do not eat do we lack. But watch out lest somehow this right of yours becomes a cause for stumbling to the weak. For if someone should see you who has knowledge reclining for a meal in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, because it is weak, be strengthened so that he eats the food sacrificed to idols? For the one who is weak—the brother for whom Christ died—is destroyed by your knowledge. Now if you sin in this way against the brothers and wound their conscience, which is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat forever, in order that I may not cause my brother to sin." 1 Cor 8

Cows should be made meals, not sacred.

Monday, July 06, 2015

A contractor's thoughts on churches, chiefs and the confederacy.

It stands to reason, really.  There were only two kinds of people who hopped or were thrown on a boat back in the day and survived the trip to these bountiful shores:
  Those who couldn't live by the rules of their homeland.
  And those who wouldn't. 
With demographics like those, how could we not, as a people, prize and value independent spirits?  It's our legacy.  It's our common denominator.  It's our defining characteristic.  America has always danced to the beat of a different drum.  Its own.  We're the lone hippie at a hip-hop house party.  We stand in the concert of the world with headphones on listening to our own playlist.  We revel in our rebel image.  So much so that we still pride ourselves on a time when, having not been able to even stand our own rules, we thought it more expedient to slaughter six hundred and twenty thousand of our own people over the matter. 

Pride rules.  Any kind of pride.  We pride ourselves in the majority.  We pride ourselves in the minority.  We pride ourselves on our success, we revel in our outcastness.  We say we value team work and community but we turn the cameras upon and throw money at the bad boy, the salacious, the inflammatory, the rebel. 

It didn't take me long in the construction trades to realize that all of the owner operators have one thing in common, one over arching personality trait that binds them all together...
They cannot abide another person's rules.
They universally have a problem with authority.  It's why they stopped working for other men and started their own business.  'My way or the highway,' will be expressed in any number of phrases, but it's always credal. 

It took me a little longer to see this motto lurking behind churches.

Maybe it's a relatively new thing?  The church plant movement.  The independent church movement.  These have seemingly swelled in recent years.  But i doubt it.  We don't have denominations for nothing.  Even our denominations have denominations.  i suppose this is a good thing when the parent church has become heretical and needs reformation.  But that doesn't always seem to be the case, does it?  When we started using phrases like "relevant" and "rockstar pastor" i think we left reformation for holy purposes in the dust.  Part of me likes the phrase, "i wanted to create the kind of church i would want to go to."  Part of me sees Jesus in, "i looked around and i didn't see a church reaching out to people like me."  Jesus came for outcasts: lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, lame, blind, demon possessed, fisherman, the real dregs of society.  My denomination tends to look more like the successful and well adjusted members of society.  So there's a disconnect happening somewhere.  Possibly, it's in that little word, "look," but there's no denying that for all our efforts and well meaning, we have tended to create clubs for the "like me."

None of this is revolutionary.  None of this hasn't been said before by smarter people than me.  Most of whom probably had solutions and suggestions to suggest and solute.  i don't.  i just have a concern over the tribalism i see forming around every self-proclaimed chieftan, the clannishness of our people, the desire to follow any dynamic, charismatic rebel that walks in off the street with a tattoo and a stratocaster ready to rock you to heaven and rewrite the Bible in their own image. 

i just have two pleas.  Pray and Read.

Pray to see your own sin.  And don't stop at the surface.  Don't stop at the verbs, the lying, the yelling, the lusting, the partying.  Get down through the adjective layer, the selfish, the angry, the fearful and into the septic cistern of our souls.  The Pride.  The thing in you that makes you want to not just be a chief, but god.  See your sin so clearly that it breaks you, that it humbles you, that it makes you so distrustful of your own desires that you no longer are confident to tell another person much less yourself what to do or think or believe...
Except for what you have read and seen and come to know as the Truth in the Word that God himself revealed to us so we would know not what to believe or do or follow but Whom. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

stupid song

They saw us together
They saw a resemblance
They asked if we were brothers
And i had to tell them, “Once.”

once we had trust
we each spoke freely
once i knew him
and he, he knew me
and we loved each other anyway
another time, back in the day

You went away
you changed your name
you tried to change everything
but you’re still the same

once we had fun
we were a family
i didn’t choose you
you didn’t choose me
but we loved each other anyway
Another time, back in the day

No one really changes
We’re all what we were at the first
the only real difference
is we keep getting worse

We still live together
sleep in the same bed
still wear the rings
but now you wish i was dead

once we were one
in spirit and body
once i knew you
and you, you knew me
and we loved each other anyway
Another time, back in the day

No one really changes
We’re all what we were at the first
The only real difference
is we keep getting worse.

once we forgave
cuz we needed forgiving
once we knew dying
was the secret to living
Once we were blind,
poor, wretched, astray
But God loved us anyway
one dark morning, one good day

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A conversation from the Pub.

"I fancy he thought that was a prayer," Seamus sneered.

I don't know why but I offered the following weak defense, "I s'pose with some men, God takes what he can get."

Seamus just snorted.  "A garbage disposal takes what it can get, lad.  A King takes what He damn well wants!"

Friday, January 09, 2015

i am Charlie, unfortunately, i'm also Kouachi

"The Law is a blunt instrument. It's not a scalpel. It's a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible. " Neil Gaiman

See, this is where philosophy and reality diverge. Right here. Cuz what Mr. Gaiman says is true and rational sounding. But what happened is someone teased a bear and the bear mauled him to death and people are worried they will take away their right to tease bears. 

This is why we need something better than the Law. We need Gospel. You don't need laws protecting people's rights to do and say whatever the hell they want. If there's one thing we all can agree on, it's that people always do and say whatever the hell they want, a law doesn't stop that. We have laws that say you can't walk into an office and shoot people. That didn't stop anyone. We don't need to defend the laws or make new laws or talk about the laws. This isn't about the laws.

What we need are people wanting to do and say better things.