Monthly Archives: March 2016

Repent. Rinse. Repeat.

My heavy, arid mother’s heart
Beats with fury’s fire
Of humiliation
At the hands of the ignorant.

The little minded
With normal wiring
Who try to feel bigger
Through bullying and teasing
Of the broken wired…

The cruel children
Who have learned
No better
Than to rile
The simple hearted…

And yet fury’s fires
Face hell’s fires
And start to die.

The Heart of the Savior
Issues the challenge,
“Forgive as I have forgiven you.”

Lord–
Your challenge is too great;
The valley is too deep;
My pain is too searing.

And yet,
Life after life
Snuffed out too soon
Teaches the uncertainty of tomorrow.

The time is now.
Tomorrow may never come.

Unready, unworthy, uncertain…

Repentant, sorrowing, grieving…

Faltering, flailing, falling…

Having chosen Jesus,
I again choose Christ;
I again choose forgiveness.

Lead me to the foot of the Cross.
Strengthen my resolve in the choice.
Give me victory over this stronghold.

Repent. Rinse. Repeat.

Repent. Rinse. Repeat.

Confusion-Fanned Anger, Ninefold Challenge Week 6

Author’s Note: I’m responding to Ninefold Dragon and his Week 6 challenge. He truly does an awesome job of explaining the ninefold style, a formula he developed. And yes, it is my second Week 6 response. I didn’t have any good emotion words, so I tried to paint images of the emotions; I hope it works. Waiting for week 7…

My ethereal sprite is confused.
The rules have changed; we can’t comprehend.
Overwhelming differences scream.

I hurt, I ache, my soul spews lava.
Blazing comets threaten my sealed mouth.
Raging ire immolates willed-silence.

Self-control is no longer the goal.
Faux courtesy forces solitude.
Does connection matter anymore?

Easter Thoughts and a Whirling Dervish

It’s Easter, the day Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus who willingly gave Himself over to death. Although He had the power to call thousands of angels, He chose to submit to death so His perfect blood would atone for the sins of all.

Whether you agree with what Christians call sin, you have to admit that mankind has historically required rules and guidelines to permit orderly governance. When rules are broken, there need to be consequences, or there would be no point to rules.

In Christianity, sin is breaking Father God’s rules. He is so perfect and just that despite all the love He has for us, His perfection cannot let even one dram of sin, one little white lie, one little cuss word, stand in His presence. Hence, the concept of Hell.

To overcome the eternal death sentence, faith in the power of Christ’s death is all that is required. To believe that His grace is sufficient to cover sin is the only requirement to avoid Hell, and then in appreciation of His grace a sincere effort to follow the Word alone is an outpouring of this belief.

This great, fathomless, bottomless grace and love should bring most Christians to a great feeling of joy. The joy should be so great that the response to it should be more than an “Amen,” more than a “Praise the Lord! Love ya, Sister Jones.”

It should be an all-over, exuberant outpouring. A lot like King David had in 2 Samuel, chapter.

As usual, Israel lost the Ark of the Covenant through pride and disobedience. The Ark of the Covenant at that time was more than just a pretty jewelry box. It represented the place where the LORD God Almighty chose to put his mojo so that He could be with His people.

King David earlier in the book had recovered it and was preparing to bring it back to Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel. There was a mishap (the Ark started to fall, a man touched it in an unauthorized fashion, the LORD zapped him dead) so the Ark stalled out for a while on the threshing floor of Nashon in the care of Obed-Edom.

Over time, Nashon and Obed-Edom were getting so blessed that David decided after three months to try one more time to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. Jerusalem threw the biggest block party you could imagine, and King David felt such delight that the seat of the LORD’s presence was returning to his town and country that he started to dance.

Contrary to sensational rumors (and his wife Michal’s perception at the end of the chapter), he was not naked or half-naked. He was wearing a linen ephod. That was a piece of clothing worn by priests in those days. I guess the closest modern equivalent would be a tunic.

Back to the story… Most texts say he was dancing and leaping. This isn’t the waltz with a bunny hop thrown in. The Contemporary Jewish Bible actually describes it as “leaping and spinning.” This is a vigorous combination of step dancing and wild twirling, the ancient Israeli precursor for break dancing if you will.

In the presence of the LORD, David chose an exuberant, wild physical show of love and affection and joy for the LORD who loved him, saved him physically, and raised him to follow the call on his life (in this case, lead all Israel).

In light of all that Christ did on the Cross for eternal salvation and demolishing sin’s hold on us, how can we modern Christians deny our Lord any less than our own wild, exuberant love, adoration, and worship?

PS–You are free to see something else in this passage. To you I say, “I will play and become even more undignified for Father God.” Oh, and if you’re prone to contempt or criticism, you might want to pay attention to Michal at the end of the story. There are truly physical consequences for living in a state of criticism and contempt, even in modern times.

People Aren’t Hammered Dulcimers

Bet you read the title and responded, “Well, duh!”

Or maybe you wondered what a hammered dulcimer is and whether it had anything to do with alcoholic beverages.

Let’s start with a hammered dulcimer. It is considered a percussion instrument. It looks like a big box with criss-crossed strings. To make the sound come from the instrument, the player hits the strings with a mallet (or hammer). You can go out to Youtube and see any number of instances of hammered dulcimer pieces. My personal favorite is a Rich Mullins piece (why yes, yes, he is deceased), Calling Out Your Name.

If you visited the video, you know that the hammered dulcimer produces a sweet sound. It has an initial tone of the strike, followed by a decreasing string vibration. I wish I could give you all the music theory and acoustic science, but I’m not there yet.

That said, people are not hammered dulcimers. You cannot produce sweetness, goodness, and light in people by striking them.

Spanked children don’t learn that they broke rules and can choose better. They only learn that violence gets them what they want, that they have no power to challenge authority (just or unjust), and that they have no personal space. In addition, spanking is linked to sexuality in some cultures, so pain and pleasure become linked in a disturbing way.

A slapped woman doesn’t learn that she is loved enough to have better expected of her. She learns that she is unloved, and her ideas and words have no value. Silence is safer, and she learns to deceive those around her into thinking all is well.

Belittled teens, slapped by nasty names and ugly adjectives, don’t learn to be productive, contributing members of society. They learn to silence themselves, hate their thoughts and feelings, and try to be an invisible as possible.

Without the healing of Christ, humans hammered by physical, verbal, and emotional blows make noise of increased medical costs, decreased tax base, and decreased participation in society. There is no music at best, and silence at worst.

People despised and avoided him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness. Like someone from whom people turn their faces, he was despised; we did not value him.

In fact, it was our diseases he bore, our pains from which he suffered; yet we regarded him as punished, stricken and afflicted by God.

But he was wounded because of our crimes, crushed because of our sins; the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him, and by his bruises we are healed.

–Isaiah 53:3-5 [Complete Jewish Bible]

Murmur of the Magdalene

The sacred feminine squares off
Against the historical, hierarchical, misogynistic masculine.
Round and round we go.

A stab:
Saul of Tarsus, a most excellent writer,
Is a die-hard misogynist.
Freedom’s words deadening
Soul’s liberty
With chains of genetic gender.

A dodge:
She passes a cup of coffee
With a “yes, sir,” “no,sir,”
“Ya want some sugar with that?”
Narrow escapes of assumed roles
Never feed full freedom.

And on and on it goes…
It never stops. We all know.
I never win…
The harmony of chromosomes
Dooms me to dissonance in life.

Stepping Stone and End Points

You dance to the music in your head,
And you reach a good place.
You don’t know anyone,
But that’s okay.

You all hear the music,
You all want the music.
You think it’s the best place.

The music begins…
And it’s just not right.
You have all the right attitudes,
You have all the right platitudes.
But it’s not right.

You leave,
Disappointed by the end of the journey.
Tears begin to fall
As silence roars and shouts the music down.

On your knees,
Sobs declare the brokenness, the emptiness, the aloneness.

As silence descends again, another tune rises from the sky.
It is your music, and it is different.

You dance off, grateful that you weren’t at the end.
What looked like an end crystallized, metamorphosed, reformed
Into a stepping stone to the next best place.