Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm With Stupid

Have you ever had someone you confided in only to discover they were the laaaaaaast person on earth whom you should have trusted with your secrets? You thought you had found a kindred spirit in an oasis of friendship, only to discover it was all a mirage. You think you have found a soul mate, someone you could really share your true self with, only to find that your personal business was less than sacred territory in the eyes, ears and more importantly the mouth of the one you had trusted so deeply. When such rude awakenings come in my life, for some bizarre reason I always see Yosemite Sam storming around my mind and hear his voice calling me, "Eeejit." And God knows I feel like one.

The warning signs are always there. But we never stop to think that the one who so freely shares the personal information of others might also be sharing ours. We stumble onward, foolishly engaging in emotional russian roulette, while telling ourselves, " Oh, they wouldn't do that to meeee." and whispering a silent prayer that the bullet that has struck so many others won't hit us. Mother's advice was right, don't play with a loaded gun, honey. When the light does dawn, we feel so foolish, gullible, and deceived. It sucks to be sure, but even the great wheeler - dealer business man Donald Trump owns up to the fact that he is capable of being duped. And honestly, anyone who beleives they are incapable of being deceived, already is.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Conscious Victory

I have long been a fan of John Lake. John lake lived around the early part of the twentieth century. His life was marked by extraordinary miracles. In his devotional he speaks of conscious victory. Lake refers to conscious victory as the ultimate note in the heart of the Christian, and states "The nearer our life is tuned to that note of conscious victory, the greater the victory will be evidenced in our lives."

He further states, " It is a note which is so fine and sweet and true and pure and good that it causes all our nature to respond to it and rejoices the soul with a joy unspeakable."
The idea of conscious victory to my mind is a concept of choice. In other words I choose victory, regardless of my circumstances, my health, wealth, job, spouse, church, etc . . . I am not looking for outside situations or people to "make" me happy. I understand that this is the day that God has made and I WILL rejoice and be glad in it. And sometimes it really is an effort of "willing" yourself to be glad in it.

Conscious Victory - not something that just "happens" to us, not something we stumble into and not something we look to others for. Something in which we are full participants, fully alert, fully aware, fully active, and fully alive.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

More Suheir

" a woman will tell you
every home she has ever inhabited
has been broken into
starting with her body."

Monday, August 21, 2006

More Suheir Hammad

More from the beautiful poet Suheir Hammad. This is an excerpt from

the poem "letter to anthony (critical resistance) "

i have always loved criminals
i tell people who try to shame
me into silence

with words like television conjugal
college libraries they say
can you imagine a library in a nigerian chinese a
columbian prison do you know what happens
in the world americans are so spoiled no idea
how lucky we are here

even you often write how
your time has offered reflection
meditation deepened your faith
but you 27 and have 10
years to go nowhere how much deeper
you going to get until a system based
on money deems you rehabilitated

i have always loved criminals
and the way you bomb my tag
butterphoenix all across your letters
reminds me our affirmation is considered vandalism

i have always loved
criminals and not only the thugged
out bravado of rap videos and champagne
popping hustlers but my father
born an arab baby boy
on the forced way out
of his homeland his mother exiled
and pregnant gave birth in a camp

the world pointed and said
palestinians do not exist palestinians
are roaches palestinians are two legged dogs
and israel built jails and weapons and
a history based on the absence of a people
israel made itself holy and chosen
and my existence a crime

so i have always loved criminals
it is a love of self
and i will not cut off any part of
me and place it behind fences and bars
and the fake ass belief
that there is a difference between
the inside and the outside

there is no outside anywhere
anymore just where we are and
what we do while we are here

and there
are people anthony who make a connection
between you puerto rican ryme slayer beautiful man and
young girls twisted into sex work and these
people nazim they are working to stop prisons
from being economically beneficial to depressed
communities and these people
bronx bomber they imagine a world
where money can't be made off the hurt
of the young the poor the colored the
sexualized the different and these people
nymflow they never heard you
spit lyrics and they won't
see the cut of your brilliance
from these mere words
but these people
42851-054 5812
they beleive human
beings can never be reduced
to numbers not in concentration
camps or reservations not in
refugee camps not in schools
and not in jails

these people
brother they resist

i will share these words
with them and i will
in your name and in the names
of all who imagine

stay well
and safe
and love

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Great Quotes

“ He would have been a great, great man

had somebody loved him.”

Henry Kissinger speaking of Richard Nixon

I have been involved in a debate over on Fr. Neo's Blog about why our nation is so divided over Bush. During the course of our very interesting and heated "discussion" Dan Trabue, from Payne Hollow Visit posted these points. I was so impressed that I asked him if I could post them on my blog and he has done so on his as well. A BIG THANKS TO YOU MY BROTHER!

1. It is on the surface, a good thing that we have these differences between us. We have this chasm because we are striving to oppose injustice, oppression – in short, what I’ll call “evil.”

The Bush-types out there perceive there to be a great threat from “terrorists” which some have defined as “Islamo-fascists.” And there ARE those out there who’d harm innocent people and standing in opposition to them is a good thing.

Those who distrust Bush and his invasion of Iraq do so because they believe Bush’s actions are possibly illegal and that they encourage, not discourage terrorism. And standing in opposition to that which is illegal and which would encourage terrorism is also good thing.

And so, this desire to set our faces against evil is a good, wholesome desire. BUT…

2. From there, too many of us have decided that because we’re standing against evil, those who disagree with us must be standing in support of evil.

3. And from there, it becomes relatively easy for many of us to speak ill of They That Support Evil, to twist their words (“He said he doesn’t trust Bush’s leadership. He obviously hates America!” “She said that it’s a good idea to try to understand WHY the terrorists are acting like they do. She obviously supports terrorism!”) - EVEN if the twisted words are patently false – and to generally demonize the enemy.

4. Once we’ve accepted that the “other side” are not merely brothers and sisters with whom we have a disagreement over vital issues, but they are in fact monsters or monster-supporters, then they become less than human.

5. Once the enemy is less than human, it becomes all that much easier to further twist their words and demonize them and even want to see them stopped, even with violence, EVEN with deadly violence. EVEN deadly violence that kills innocent bystanders in the process.

And so, even though the initial starting place of opposing evil is a good, if we allow that opposition to begin to allow us to demonize the other side, then we have taken steps down a twisted path that can lead to terrorism, that can lead to evil, that can lead to becoming that very thing which we had hoped to oppose to begin with.

Standing in opposition to evil is vital, but HOW we do so is more vital, yet.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Repost - Persepolis

This is page one of Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. It is the autobiographical story of a child in Iran just trying her best to grow up. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is a beautiful read. Don't let the unique format fool you. It can be deeply touching and heart wrenching. She also wrote a sequal Persepolis 2, which I find to be as equally appealing. It certainly gives the "enemy" a very human face...
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Also a quote by Marjane Satrapi
"...this old and great civilization has been discussed mostly in connection with fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism. As an Iranian who has lived more than half of my life in Iran I know that this image is far from the truth. I believe that an entire nation should not be judged by the wrongdoings of a few extremists. I also don't want those Iranians who lost thier lives in prisons defending freedom, who died in the war against Iraq, who suffered under various repressive regimes, or who were forced to leave their families and flee their homeland to be forgotten."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Box

Where are you in relation to the box?

Maybe I should explain myself. Last weekend I had a small birthday dinner for two friends. I recently moved into a home that is only partially renovated and we hadn't gotten around to painting the dining room walls. I was a little vexed about this at first, but then I decided to break out my colored markers and allow our guest to write their birthday blessings on the wall. It turned out to be a lot of fun and drew attention away from the ugliness of the need for a paint job.

Well anyway, my oldest son Abe came home and drew a stick man in a box and wrote "Abe" with an arrow pointing to the little man in the box. A while later, another stickman appeared drawn outside the box by my youngest son, Jonathan. The caption with an arrow read, "Jon, outside the box." So of course, Mom haaaad to get in on the act and I drew a stick person flying over the box with the caption, "Mom, flying over the box."

So my question to you is this, where are you in relation to the box? Are you in the box? Outside the box? Flying above the box? One foot in one foot out? Is it a box you constructed for yourself, or did others place you there? Perhaps society has placed you in the box, family, friends, or even your church.

But you need to know, box inhabiters, you don't have to stay inside the box unless you choose to.

So I ask you again, where are you in relation to the box?

Friday, August 11, 2006

I heard this poem read by the incredible female poet, Suheir Hammad. I am not sure of the author and believe that she credited it to someone else.

I will not dance to your war drum.
I will not lend my soul
nor my bones
to your war drum.
I will not dance to your beating.
I know that beat
it is lifeless.
I know intimately that skin you are hitting.
It was alive once
and hunted
I will not dance to your drummed up war.
I will not pop
for you.
I will not hate for you
or even hate you.
I will not kill for you.
I will not die for you.
I will not mourn the dead
with murder nor suicide.
I will not side with you
nor dance to bombs because everyone else is dancing.
Everyone can be wrong.
Life is a right
not collateral or casual.
I will not forget where I come from.
I will craft my own drum.
Gather my beloved near
and our chanting will be dancing.
Our humming will be drumming.
I will not be played.
I will not lend my name
nor my rhythm to your beat.
I will dance
and resist
and dance
and persist
and dance.
This heartbeat is louder than death.
Your war drum ain'’t louder than this breath.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Dan Trabue over at Payne Hollow Visit allowed me to share this post from his blog.Thanks Dan!!!

Have a Blessed Peace Sunday

The following was written by Gary Kohls. I'm sharing it here because this Sunday is Peace Sunday, the time we stop to recall the devastation of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to rededicate ourselves to the work of peace.

Gary is a Christian peacemaker whose writing I've read as a result of my connections to Every Church a Peace Church ( It's a timely history lesson.

Nagasaki is famous in the history of Japanese Christianity. Not only was it the site of the largest Christian church in the Orient, St. Mary’s Cathedral, but it also had the largest concentration of baptized Christians in all of Japan.

It was the city where the legendary Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier, established a mission church in 1549, a Christian community which survived and prospered for several generations. However, soon after Xavier’s planting of Christianity in Japan, Portuguese and Spanish commercial interests began to be accurately perceived by the Japanese rulers as exploitive, and therefore the religion of the Europeans (Christianity) and their new Japanese converts became the target of brutal persecutions.

Within 60 years of the start of Xavier’s mission church, it was a capital crime to be a Christian. The Japanese Christians who refused to recant of their beliefs suffered ostracism, torture and even crucifixions similar to the Roman persecutions in the first three centuries of Christianity. After the reign of terror was over, it appeared to all observers that Japanese Christianity had been stamped out.

However, 250 years later, in the 1850s, after the coercive gunboat diplomacy of Commodore Perry forced open an offshore island for American trade purposes, it was discovered that there were thousands of baptized Christians in Nagasaki, living their faith in a catacomb existence, completely unknown to the government - which immediately started another purge. But because of international pressure, the persecutions were soon stopped, and Nagasaki Christianity came up from the underground.

And by 1917, with no help from the government, the Japanese Christian community built the massive St. Mary’s Cathedral, in the Urakami River district of Nagasaki. Now it turned out, in the mystery of good and evil, that St. Mary’s Cathedral was one of the landmarks that the Bock’s Car bombardier had been briefed on, and looking through his bomb site over Nagasaki that day, he identified the cathedral and ordered the drop.

At 11:02 am, Nagasaki Christianity was boiled, evaporated and carbonized in a scorching, radioactive fireball. The persecuted, vibrant, faithful, surviving center of Japanese Christianity had become ground zero.

And what the Japanese Imperial government could not do in over 200 years of persecution, American Christians did in 9 seconds. The entire worshipping community of Nagasaki was wiped out.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bless God

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In many churches you can hear people say quite often during worship, " We bless you Lord!" or "Bless your name God." or something similar. After years of hearing this, I've got to thinking about it quite a bit lately, and I'm asking myself if blessing God is really something we can do with words. Think about it. How do you know when you have been blessed? Isn't it because of some type of manifest evidence? We know that we are blessed by God every morning that we wake up and in countless ways throughout the course of the day. In fact the blessings that we receive from the hand of God throughout the course of any given day are innumerable and impossible to even begin to tally. But how many of us bless God in ways other than what we offer during worship on Sunday? In pondering this question, I have begun to ask God about even the most mundane aspects of my life. I want to know that apart from my, "Bless you God!" on Sunday that God is truly blessed by what manifest in my life Monday through Saturday. I want to know that He is blessed by the way I respond to someone who might be a wee bit cranky. I want to know that he is blessed by the way I respond to the young person I witness making the wrong choice. I want to know that He is blessed by the way I speak to the bus driver and the blue collar employee. I want to know that not just my words during worship bless Him, but that my actions after worship bless Him as well. I guess I'm just feeling that words with out actions to back them up are just little more than lip service - which really blesses no one at all.