Sunday, October 31, 2010

He was a good man

One of my favorite new to me voices I've been reading lately - John D. Blase

Taken from his blog Dirty Shame:

In our efforts to see a savior beyond the gentle, meek and mild variety, I fear we've constructed a golden calf of the word great. But riddle me this, batman, when God created the world, you know, back there in Genesis, when all was said and done each day, what was his refrain? and it was great? No, I'm pretty sure it was and it was good. Not a page later and God said it wasn't good that man be alone, so along came the lady, yeehaw! The psalmist wrote it is good and pleasing when folks dwell together in unity. It'd be pretty cool if we could read Acts 10.38 in a Tony the Tiger voice:
Jesus went about doing gr-r-r-r-r-eat!...

but we can't. Jesus went about doing good. Even the word 'gospel' describes a news clarified not great, but good. Don't forget the Bible itself used to be known as the good book. And one of these days, I hope to hear the words well done, good and faithful servant.

Why has this word, that seems to mean such a great deal to God, fallen on hard times? What if God doesn't really want us, or our churches, or our organizations to move from good to great? What if he's quite delighted if we live good in this world gone bad? Remember that childhood lunchtime prayer - God is great, God is good? What if God's the only one who can be both, both great and good, and we, his children, are to be good? We can't be both because we're not God. Maybe that was the banana peel Lucifer stepped on, he tried to be both great and good, like God, but he slipped...and fell. Maybe the road to great is broad and wide, but the road to good is a knife-edge you must be faithful to each mundane day, and it'll take the great God's help if you ever hope to be a good man, or a good woman, or a good kid, or a good neighbor, or a good pastor, or a good friend.

I hope one of these days, when my wife and children and friends and acquaintances and creditors are gathered around the funeral canoe, getting ready to set my body ablaze and send it out upon the waters to Avalon, that somebody, maybe a little kid just happening to walk by will ask was he someone great? and one of you will chuckle, reverently of course, and say nope, not a chance, kid...but he was a good man.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bold tracks in the land of now

I was telling my friend Rachael about the level of frustration I was feeling as so much of my journey seems familiar to me again. I have been shaming myself with "You should be past this" and "You know better than this" self-talk and I realized that on the spiral staircase that is my life I am passing by some very familiar pain and wounding. I am not going backwards, but I am re-feeling and learning healthier ways to move through this stage in my life.

We used this poem last night at group and I wanted to remember it again this morning.

Help Me to Believe in Beginnings

God of history and of my heart,

so much has happened to me during these whirlwind days:
I’ve known death and birth;

I’ve been brave and scared;

I’ve hurt, I’ve helped;

I’ve been honest, I’ve lied;

I’ve destroyed, I’ve created;

I’ve been with people, I’ve been lonely;

I’ve been loyal, I’ve betrayed;

I’ve decided, I’ve waffled;

I’ve laughed and I’ve cried.

You know my frail heart and my frayed history -

and now another day begins.

O God, help me to believe in beginnings

and in my beginning again,

no matter how often I’ve failed before.

Help me to make beginnings:

to begin going out of my weary mind

into fresh dreams,

daring to make my own bold tracks

in the land of now;

to begin forgiving

that I may experience mercy;

to begin questioning the unquestionable

that I may know truth

to begin disciplining

that I may create beauty;

to begin sacrificing

that I may make peace;

to begin loving 

that I may realize joy.

Help me to be a beginning to others,

to be a singer to the songless,

a storyteller to the aimless,

a befriender of the friendless;

to become a beginning of hope for the despairing,

of assurance for the doubting,

of reconciliation for the divided;

to become a beginning of freedom for the oppressed,

of comfort for the sorrowing,

of friendship for the forgotten;

to become a beginning of beauty for the forlorn,

of sweetness for the soured,

of gentleness for the angry,

of wholeness for the broken,

of peace for the frightened and violent of the earth.

Help me to believe in beginnings,

to make a beginning,

to be a beginning,

so that I may not just grow old,

but grow new

each day of this wild, amazing life

you call me to live

with the passion of Jesus Christ.

Taken from Guerrillas of Grace by Ted Loder

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

this is so me right now

Waiting for the pen to dry up so he can start fresh with thoughts that are worth new ink.

via Brian Andreas, The Story People

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Risking Everything

I want to give myself
as this maple
that burned and burned
for three days without stinting
and then in two more
dropped off every leaf....
Source: Jane Hirshfield, from Lake and Maple in Risking Everything
via inward/outward
image credit