Lion Down

Never met him.

He let me know him.

I miss him.

No sense waiting for something.

Or, wanting someone.

What’s already here still

Can’t fill what’s missing.

He’s gone leaving us

One less layer,

One less veil to disrobe,

Less before,

When he was somewhere

And together we were becoming

Less unprepared.

Without choice the parting is conceded.

Without plea or need to attend anything.

The perennial burial of miscarried carols

Continues sung by a disembodied chantor.

Invisible priests mix his ashes and dust

As the daily digital offering sent out from

The commercial bowels of Sirius XM emptiness.

We’re left with the bloom without its forge or bulb

Listening to his ghost repeat itself.

But the man —

the living, breathing, kneeling, bleeding

Man — proved to be a neighbor,

Making us better ready to lay this burden down.

(We do not hear ourselves say “good,”

But he heard, “Why callest thou me good?

There is none good but one, that is, God.”)

How many times did he overhear,

“Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine own house”?

How many times did he dread the commandment ordained to life?

How many nights did he collect straw for his enemies?

How many times did he pass through the bars?

How many times like angels

Did his words slip him past the sleeping guards?

How many laden ashtrays in arrears?

How many homo sacer meals shared?

How many moments of incarcerated misery?

How may phrases heaped up as pyres for burning

Backstairs poetry?

How many Gideon bibles?

How many empty bottles?

Throw another chair on the fire.

His litter, his stretcher, his beautiful letters.

He taught us of the divine glory and of the shadow of truth

We are unloved.

To overcome despair he taught us how tired hope

Leans on the wall of defiance beat and cut and

Marlon Brando style, stares down the tyrant spitting out,

“Whatta ya got?”

He carried us.

He carried the grief he gave us.

He was a kind friend to every soul without wings or

The eyes to see the lights in the firmament for signs,

And for seasons and for days, and years.

He reminded us crawling this earth as if

Without end or worth the reason for tears and tears

Calls us, wants us, bitten with the serpent’s curse,

Free of the narcotic neurosis dulling our spirit’s purpose.

May his papers be found in order.

May they have the proper stamped time and date.

May he who draws us extend him a permanent state of grace.

May he be shown the place.

Give him residence.

A park bench perhaps between the few

Heaven sent and the hordes drunk on decadence.

Receive his frail frame drained of prayer and stained by sin.

Take him where pain can’t hurt him again.

Like a passed pawn let him enter your house of song.

Seat him among the last and least where no one asks,

“Who are ya?”

If it be your will, have it known you’ve said, “He’s Mine.”

Hallelujah.

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)

Thank you sir for the scars

Requiescat in pace

Published in: Uncategorized on November 13, 2016 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hard Eight

Seven days of creation without Sabbath.
Seven generations delivered and received one bad habit.
Seven sighs escape our aching eyes.
Seven steps in the line of descent with
The veil of the temple still not rent.
Seven beads of stolen sweat and the fever hasn’t broken yet.
Seven signposts mark America’s journey,
Our stumbling pilgrimage from Independence Day to the
Twenty-first century.
Sick from waiting and working in the house of hate,
We’re looking for the dice of life to roll a hard eight.
How close our lives live to the dead.
We hold their names in our
Handful of history like good luck charms
That guarantee we keep good company.
How pressed down and shaken together are our
Crops and cemeteries by which the dead are fed
And their secrets are buried.
How near are our neighbors and parishioners,
Our ancestors and friends,
Our enemies and strangers and children of
Masters and children of slaves and children
Of those who fled from being either a master or a slave.
All of our children and our children’s children
Have been godly taught that forgiveness
Given should gladly greet forgiveness sought.
But when did we meet?
When did we ever with one voice rejoice over
Avenging  wrong  for the innocence we say we’re seeking?
When was the longing, the mourning, the zeal and the sorrow?
When was the weeping?
During our separate but unequal segregated days?
During our civil rights ordered “equality” before the law days?
During our racialized ellipses and awkward silences
Over the sentences given and the prisoners taken and
Nobody’s listening days?
In this land of opportunity well-oiled in crime
The American soul is running out of time.
Who will climb the sycamore?
Who will hurry down to confound the fraud to
Restore beyond the law by a formula of four?
Who will be honored?
Who will be remembered?
Who will replace those it is now time to let go so they
May be gathered to their people and be forgotten?
In the land of the light and the glory who decides
What part of the greatest story gets told always and only?
Who fulfills the duty to give succor and who is nursed?
Who decides what will be censured and who is cursed?
Who decides who matters?
Who decides what does it matter?
Who decides how long until the sons and the daughters of
The robbed and the robbers agree together it does matter?
Who among the living or the dead will tell us how it is stopped?
Who will strip the demon of its whip with handle trimmed,
Plait undone and belly cropped?
Who will tell the children unless they choose to speak with those
We refuse to see but must be seen with, it does not?

Published in: Uncategorized on November 3, 2016 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Down Here

Tell them down here everything begins in the depths, in the Jewish womb of Mary and in the earth’s iron ore fire forged and hand formed for the Roman nails driven into her son’s yielded body. See him outside the gate drooped and draped in flood drenched blood, naked, cursed, hanging on the tree — see how he finished. In the eyes of the world he bowed his head, he breathed his last and he gave up his spirit between two thieves beneath the gaze of angels as it was written for him to do, between the overshadowing power of the Most High and the empty tomb hewed from rock in which he was enclosed and blocked by a large stone.

Tell them down here everyone watches the movies to hear what the Spirit has to say:  “I don’t understand.  You’re admitting evidence of a flight that never existed?” 

“We believe it did, sir.”

Tell them down here everybody arrives alone.

Tell them down here in the velvet underground darker than five hundred shades of gray, knowledge makes arrogant – deadifies – but without favoritism by the law of freedom love edifies.  Tell them down here in its own house death is a guest to mercy, without victory or sting or the power to take anything, entertained with no more aces up its sleeve, relieved of the keys to the grave; retired and fired, no longer the grim reaper or keeper of its ball and chain. Tell them down here everybody knows everybody by the same first name. Tell them down here everything exposed – reproved – by the light is light. Tell them down here everybody knows what time it is, and it’s never too late. Tell them down here we’re gathered at the bend by the river where the train goes slow. Or send them back up there where only they matter, where Aunt Jemima whipping up that pancake batter is still wearing that field-hand bandanna. And everybody knows.

Tell them down here it is better to be swallowed whole by a great fish than to die the death of a beached whale. Tell them down here captain Ahab came to see he’d been chasing his own damned tail. Tell them down here America’s white idol of old doesn’t fit the Master’s mold. Tell them down here with eyes to see we see.  We have fornicated with what we fabricated and taught our children to worship the idols we fabricated for them so they would fornicate accordingly. Tell them down here God is not mocked and without doubt is not deceived. Tell them down here ain’t nobody singing it ain’t necessarily so.  Tell them down here everybody agrees with John Jasper, that only if God wants it to, “De sun do move!” Tell them down here, “Salvation is from the Lord.” Tell them down here He knows the Bible too. Tell them down here everybody has nothing and nobody is put to shame. Tell them down here we have been found by the One we were not looking for. Tell them down here empty-handed we remember and recite His words night after night with the end of night in sight, the very words the Lord Jesus lives by, the words He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Tell them down here we bear his disgrace continually offering up to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips that confess his name so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything.  Tell them down here because He descended to the lower parts of the earth and ascended far above all the heavens the glory and the power belong to Him, forever and ever, and His kingdom will have no end. 

Amen.

Mark 5:19-20

 

Published in: Uncategorized on October 29, 2016 at 6:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Together (Explicit)

BLM

Lennon Wall, Prague, Czech Republic — Summer 2016

rememberr

“Remember,” Jewish Memorial, Flossenbürg Concentration Camp — Exodus 20:16

But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice, for about the space of two hours cried out, ‘Great is Diana of the Ephesians’.

Hey! You talking about my people.

Both [still] read the same Bible, and [still] pray to the same God…”

Corroded dialogue.

Give the Unheard a hearing

Drawing near to one another helps us better hear those whom we have been too busy listening to to bear the weaknesses of those without strength as anything other than a bother too costly to afford, leaving us suitably absorbed or bored enough to please ourselves listening to “ours” for our own selves. Gethering – gathering – without to-gathering is called taking or hording. Only together, gathering together twofold, that is, coming together and sharing together, are we blessed together in the way the Lord provides. The undertaking is neither an exercise in replacing dominance or overpowering dominance, rather, it ritualizes the end, the ending of dominance (Matthew 6:12; Exodus 34:6-8).   As the Lord Jesus He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Read me the Living Letter to the Saints who are in the Dead City Ephesus

(3:10-11, 20-21)

Sing me a choral arrangement a capella

(James 3:13-18/4:11-12, 16-17)

Teach me,

“Loving you is complicated.”

Remind me,

When all things are subjected to Him, then

The Son Himself will also be subjected to Him who

Put all things in subjection under Him, that

God may be all in all

Endgame stays the same.  During Ornette Coleman’s giving eulogy at Finnegan’s Wake somebody’s telling me the meaning of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. What do I need that for listening to Lamar again?  Harmolodic hermeneutics.  It hurts to kick against the goads (Ecclesiastes 12:11; Acts 26:14).  It’s hard work doing maintenance on a god we made with our own two hands.  And if by the light I find shining in me I see fit to fault you for your tribal idols but cannot find where I hid my own what good is there being left loving those who love me? (Matthew 5:46; 6:23; 7:4-5; Genesis 31:30-35).

Liberty Tree bears strange fruit.

Rain can’t wash clean Red Wing bloodstained boots.

Latte leisure black valet takes the keys.

Strange fruit still hanging still sight unseen.

Light arises in the darkness for those held upright. Illuminate me Lord.  Fumigate me that I might live defunerlized, disease-free.

I’m dying of the disease me.

Never been seen.

Never been believed.

My country ’tis of thee.

Everything is pretend.

I’m dying of the disease me.

Let me join with those who resonate with the rhythm of history while listening to your LP. Produce us, arrange our performance for exhibition and dissemination.  Make us your series of rhapsodies. Take the salt from the wound. Turn bitter water sweet.  From our many cycles of minstrel travesty and our mensual recitals devoid of tragedy compose a poem of provenance.  Sing your song of providence.  Let us be the fruit of your lips  (1 John 4:15-21).  Give a white guy a break.  Lost in a post-whites only country on the verge of learning the geography of yearning somewhere between El Dorado and Terra Incognita (Eric Overmyer), “for what are whites to hope” [Vincent Lloyd, (2016) Political Theology, vol. 17: n. 2, pp. 168-181]?  Fan mail from some flounder?  A post card from Warner Sallman, “Wishing you were here”?

Head of ChristHead of Christ, 1941, http://www.warnerpress.org.

The primal divider is the progenitor  of perpetual division, the inciter of every incision. Get me away from the listeners not listening to one another, who hear different sets of temptation, each carried away and enticed by one’s own damned self (Mark 8:31-34).

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness!

No matter the trial in Thy word we trust.

All  we have needed Thy hand hath provided.

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto us!

Evils don’t line up, a house divided, etc., etc. “Fondly”? “Fervently”? Or just busy running the business instead of the race set before us, making friends instead of amends, hiding disgust behind a mask of self-indulging benevolence, milking victimization bragging about victimless crime? When was the last time we listened together to our last call (Revelation 13:9-10), performed as a solo by a grieving voice of greatness?

“If God wills that [the dyed-white lie] continue until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years

[+ one hundred fifty-one more and counting years

“tired of playing victim N-E-G-U-S”]

of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword

[Revelations 19:15,

— I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel;

‘As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall

Deal;

Let the hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,

Since God is marching on’ –]

then, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said

[M-U-S-T: Acts 3:21; 4:12; 14:22],

‘The judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous all together’.”

Seven beads of sweat and we ain’t there yet.

Seven beads mark America’s journey,

Our stumbling pilgrimage from Independence Day to the

Twenty-first century.

How close our lives live to the dead.

We hold their names in our

Handful of history like good luck charms

That guarantee we keep good company.

How pressed down and shaken together are our

Crops and cemeteries by which the dead are fed

And their secrets are buried.

How near are our neighbors and parishioners,

Our ancestors and friends,

Our enemies and strangers and children of

Masters and children of slaves and children

Of those who fled from being either master or slave.

All of our children and our children’s children

Have been godly taught that forgiveness

Given should gladly greet forgiveness sought.

But when did we meet?

When was it written,

This joint communicant standing we’re seeking?

When was the longing, the mourning, the zeal and the sorrow?

When was the weeping?

During our separate but unequal segregated days?

During our civil rights ordered “equality” before the law days?

During our racialized ellipses and awkward silences

Over the sentences given and the prisoners taken and

Nobody’s listening days?

In this land of opportunity well-oiled in crime

The American soul is running out of time.

Who will climb the sycamore?

Who will hurry down to confound the fraud to

Restore beyond the law by a formula of four?

Who will be honored?

Who will be remembered?

Who will replace those it is now time to let go so they

May be gathered to their people and be forgotten?

In the land of the light and the glory who decides

What part of the greatest story gets told over and over?

Who decides what is succored and nursed?

Who decides what is censured and cursed?

Who decides who matters?

Who decides what does it matter?

Who decides how long until the sons and the daughters of

The robbed and the robbers agree together it does matter?

Who among the living and the dead will tell us how it is stopped?

Who strips the demon of its whip with handle trimmed, plait undone

And belly cropped?

Who will tell the children unless they hear us we speak to those

We cannot see it does not?

Asymmetrical judgments hold sway over then and now whether wrong or right.  Come on, could The Hamptons, could Compton, been that bad? – same statement two judgments. Fantasies, competing conspiracies.  Nevertheless He remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).  But there’s no quit in us.  Quis?  Quid?  Joyful mediocrity, “merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a scheme,” the banality of evil.  Kierkegaard’s authority — totalitarian — arranged by guitar genius Frank Zappa through…wait, what?  Frank who? As Frank as digesting sunset history impresses rejection of any serious consideration of this moral equivalent of war. No picnic, no holiday, no party.  Edom doing Eden to a film noir soundtrack.  Been there. Stays there.  Divided shares, graceless care.  Loose square cold stares peeking through boarded up windows everywhere. No credit cards.  No backyards. a little somethin’ for somethin’.  What goes around comes around.  When the chickens come home to roost (Psalm 109:16-17; Proverbs 26:2; Matthew 7:2-3). We’ve only two things to worry about:  America’s quiddity and, quid nunc?  same ole, same ole.  As Said as, well, you decide.  do you like the status quo ante and its living heir the status quo or does this living, breathing heritage make you sick?   Despair is the sickness and the cure is simply to die, to ‘die from’ despair — acting on the courage to fear the still more dreadful than the spiritual sickness unto death (Hebrews 10:19-25; James 4:11-12; 5:9; 2:8-13; Hebrews 10:31; 12:29; 1 Corinthians 3:15; Matthew 3:11-12; Ephesians 5:21).  Remember, He who said we must all pass through fire, the Lord Jesus; He Himself also said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.

Who believes in the Word of God?

“By the time you hear the next pop the folk shall be within you.”

Das Volk —

Sons of Oden

Blut und Boden

Fury and Führer

The barbarians at the gate

Whose gate?

Gaming the game named holding a grudge as judge

Whose grudge?

Nobody got time for the expiration date

Who cares about the nobody cares about kind of hate?

Hendrix, rigger without a parachute, patagium edged out golden psychedelic Star-Spangled classic Woodstock rock star, tried.  Died beside Morrison.  Prince and the King, spoon facing spoon making one empty room like a bullet exit wound, prescribed and petitioned; they overcame the condition but could not bring an end to the bleeding, breeding thing. no boat, no shore. no message, no more. Does it matter for the citizen or alien resident if by crack pipe or car accident? When the dead stop dying there’ll be time enough for surviving.  Don’t want no son of Amittai role, crying out against the heartless soul of the great city administrating the wickedness that has come up before the Lord. Don’t flee. The Spirit of Jesus don’t permit it, “Come over to the great city and help us.” Just a dream whose dream?  Don’t pay that fare. Don’t fall asleep. Everybody knows what time it is.  The hour has come for us to wake from sleep.  For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  The night is far gone; the day is at hand.  Fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land. What is this that you have done?  Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer (Genesis 4:9-11; Isaiah 26:19), a land of mendacity without martyrs marketed by true believers sleepwalking like Zombies, who without knowing it, are treading water in the sea of the unwashed masses, the wretched of the earth, where “even no child believes, in the dream of safety.”

Pay that debt in full — or won’t while still got pull on a mission making them white decisions?  Cooking the books (Leviticus 19:35-36; Deuteronomy 25:13-16; Proverbs 11:1; 20:10, 23; Micah 6:9-16), and for good measure giving account for the two effects of debit and credit in life’s double entry ledger using one bad eye (Matthew 5:23; Luke 6:36-38)?  Sixteen tons and what did we get?  Nothing but sweat and more debt (Matthew 20:10-16: Job 35:7-8).  Do not boast about fleeing the presence of the LORD. For Thou, O LORD, hast done as Thou hast pleased. Three days and three nights. No other sign shall be given. Give the gift of repentance. Be the sign given to an evil and adulterous generation. Those descended to the roots of the mountains He has brought up for life from the pit of corruption.  Without care for reputation or seeking advantage tell the truth to those who have regard for vain idols, having forsaken their faithfulness (Acts 8:20-23, 1 John 5:20-21).

The ideological is idol-logical

[Oswald Bayer riff, living by faith, pp. 22-23]

“Justifying thinking seeks to mediate and reconcile all things.  Its driving compulsion is to prove that everything individual and particular has the general as its basis.  This is how it links up with justifying action.  In so doing, it becomes ideological, blind to reality.  It ‘calls evil good and good evil’.  It misunderstands and perverts the truth of things and relations.

“The ideological thinking of justifying metaphysics, allied as it is to morality as justifying action, [if not] put to death in the passive righteousness of faith” reveals itself to be a tyrannical, unjust and unforgiving idol, the work of “a fabricating heart [that] constantly produces and projects in its justifying thinking images of meaning: idols to which the heart attaches itself, stars, models, the goals of good fortune and success.

“Christian theology does not begin in the [idol-logical heights]; it begins in the depths, in the [Jewish] womb of Mary and the [Gentile’s nail driven] death of Jesus on the cross” — played out between the overshadowing power of the Most High and a tomb, hewn out in rock covered by stone.

Down here everybody arrives alone.

Tell them down here in the velvet underground darker than five hundred shades of gray, knowledge makes arrogant – deadifies – but without favoritism by the law of freedom love edifies.  Tell them down here death is a guest to mercy in its own house, entertained, holding no acres or aces or keys to the grave or its long-feared ball and chain.  Tell them down here everybody knows everybody by the same first name.  Tell them, down here everything exposed – reproved – by the light is light. Tell them down here everybody knows what time it is, and it’s never too late.  Tell them down here we’re gathered at the bend where the train goes slow. Or send them back up there where only they matter, where aunt jemima whipping up that pancake batter is still wearing that field-hand bandanna.  And everybody knows.

“When a social world succeeds in being taken for granted — as white Protestant Christianity was at the height of its powers — cultural meanings merge with ‘what are considered to be the fundamental meanings inherent in the universe’

[long nursed

cleaver cut and exposed

the uncut curse burst beneath

his cold-stored blow, once

a soul fast-freezed kept on ice

now on wings of grace he flies

above the eagle’s sky watching

the tasteless, colorless

power go out across America and cries,

“some February in your living room or

coming soon to a theater near you

the prefix finally dies”:

  1. The strength and permanence of ‘white backlash’ in America is just…an illusion. However much this rear-guard action might seem to grow in strength, the initiative, and the future, rest with those whites and blacks who have liberated themselves from the master/slave syndrome.
  2. What has suddenly happened is that the white race has lost its heroes. Worse, its heroes have been revealed as villains and its greatest heroes as the arch-villains.  The new generations of whites appalled by the sanguine and despicable record carved over the face of the globe by their race in the last five hundred years, are rejecting the panoply of white heroes, whose heroism consisted in erecting the inglorious edifice of colonialism and imperialism; heroes whose careers rested on a system of foreign and domestic exploitation, rooted in the myth of white supremacy and the manifest destiny of the white race.
  3. The rebellion of the oppressed peoples of the world, along with the Negro revolution in America, have opened the way to a new evaluation of history, a re-examination of the role played by the white race since the beginning of European expansion.
  4. The foundations of authority have been blasted to bits in America because the whole society has been indicted, tried, and convicted of injustice.
  5. From the beginning, America has been a schizophrenic nation. Its two conflicting images of itself were never reconciled, because never before has the survival of its most cherished myths made a reconciliation mandatory.
  6. Separate-but-equal /still running without sequel\ marked the last stage of the white man’s flight into cultural neurosis, and the beginning of the black man’s frantic striving to assert his humanity and equalize his position with the white.
  7. This produced a pathological motivation in the blacks to equal or surpass the whites, and a pathological motivation in the whites to maintain a distance from the blacks. This is the rack on which black and white Americans receive their delicious torture.
  8. At first there was the color bar, flatly denying the blacks entrance to certain spheres of activity. When this no longer worked, and blacks invaded sector after sector of American life and economy, the whites evolved other methods of keeping their distance.  The illusion of the Negro’s inferior nature had to be maintained.
  9. One device evolved by the whites was to tab whatever the blacks did with the prefix ‘Negro’. We had Negro literature, Negro athletes, Negro music, Negro doctors, Negro politicians, Negro workers. The malignant ingeniousness of this device is that although it accurately describes an objective biological fact – or, at least, a sociological fact in America – it concealed the paramount psychological fact: that to the white mind, prefixing anything with ‘Negro’ automatically consigned it to an inferior category.

………………………………..

White people cannot, in the generality, be taken as models of how to live.  Rather, the white man is himself in sore need of new standards, which will release him from his confusion and place him once again in fruitful communion with the depths of his own being.  James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

…………………………………

It was on fire and his glasses were the same

This thing knows if it was tinted

But to me it isn’t

To me it is meaningless

White noise for sleeping

Like listening to the Beatles

Revolution Number 9

1963, ’68, pp. 69, 70, 73, -74, 77, 81; ‘68/2-12]

Until its powers failed, White Christian America served as a kind of ontological cartographer for both mainline and evangelical Protestants, and to some extent for the country as a whole.”  Tell them down here now is another now, an acceptable time when God listens to us yes; however, this now is the day of salvation when “White Christian America’s faded cultural map is increasingly inaccurate” leaving those who follow it with “a haunting sense of dislocation (Robert P. Jones, The End of White Christian America).”

Tell them down here it is better to be swallowed whole by a great fish than to die the death of a beached whale (Ecclesiastes 9:3-6).  Tell them down here captain Ahab sees he’s been chasing his own tail.  Tell them down here Melville recants of having said, “We Americans are the Israel of our time…. Long enough have we been skeptics with regard to ourselves, and doubted whether, indeed, the political Messiah had come [as if] he has come in us, if we would but give utterance to his promptings, [trusting] national selfishness is unbounded philanthropy; for we can not do a good to America but we give alms to the world  [White Jacket, 1850].”  Tell them down here America’s white idol of old no longer fits the mold. Tell them down here with eyes to see we see we have fornicated with what we fabricated and taught our children to worship the idols we fabricated so they would fornicate accordingly.  Tell them, God is not mocked and without doubt is not deceived.  Tell them like John Jasper, when God wants it to, “De sun do move!”  Tell them, “Salvation is from the Lord.” Tell them He know the Bible too. Tell them down here there ain’t no one put to shame.  Tell them down here we have been found by the One we were not looking for.  Tell them, down here we remember His words night after night with the end of night in sight, according to the command of the eternal God to advance the obedience of faith among all the nations, down here we remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Lynchpin a locking pin, inserted crosswise.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any likeness of anything (Proverbs 30:20; 5:6).  In plain sight for all to see, a white market of licit trade in goods and commodities, services and identities in full compliance with official regulations.  Do not speak out so they speak out, let the words flow. Let the gift go. Do not His words do good to the one walking uprightly? Listen to those you cannot see, great city sitting in the grave of grace, is it not for you too to know justice? You who hate good and love evil, who tear off their skin from them and their flesh from their bones, and who eat the flesh of the people you keep in darkness, strip off their skin from them, break their bones, and chop them up as for the pot and as meat in a kettle. Therefore it will be night for you – without vision, and darkness for you – without divination, because there is no answer from God. But you, whom He wraps in the mantle of Amittai, are filled with the power – with the Spirit of the LORD – go to the great city, an exceedingly great city until they call on God earnestly that each turns from their wicked ways and from violence. Because He hath shown strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent – empty – away. Who knows? Then might they wonder, “God may turn and relent, and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish.” Remember, if it wasn’t to bring the word of God to free the blind child living in the great city why did He put you in the stomach of the fish? Has He a right to relent concerning the calamity He declared He would bring upon them? Help us remember together the words of the Lord Jesus, that we might receive the gift you offer. He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

If riding the snake swallowing its own tail where do we sit? In the shifting shadow, the shadow of turning, always learning never making out the truth. Lord, to whom shall we go? Who will help us?  This is a world filled with mirrors (1 Corinthians 13:12; Revelations 22:4) reflecting the two faces of resentment, the one of debt from immoral gain, the other the burden of moral outrage.  Since Babel confused speech, natural wisdom — inescapably earthy, Adamic, demonic — and Divine Law bear witness together.  Not one of us admits the pleasure we enjoy inflicting pain on our neighbor (Hebrews 1:9); nor does any one of us rejoice over the pain we suffer as fulfilling God’s desire (Hebrews 12:2).  O Lord, lou reed me, let me be your mirror reflecting who You are.  so sick of seeing only myself, knowing the answer never hearing the question asked, “Do you have good reason to be angry?” By draft or graft, sons and daughters of the American Revolution, shallow waders, careless haters, brokers of guaranteed certainty; Lord, teach us the perseverance borne in futility.  Trophy winners, advertisers, boastful branders of the Jews first and then the nations; we do not know the difference between our right hand and left hand. We were not cast into the deep, into the heart of seas. Roaming about on the earth and walking around on it (and the moon), we convinced ourselves we were not like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind (Matthew 14:28-31; 1 John 5:19), that we were immune to those twice dead.  Never pushed to the point of breathless, irredeemable silence.  His current did not ever surround or engulf us, nor did water encompass us to the point of death with the evil Luci all around us (Job 1:8; Luke 22:32). The Exodus 14 forced conversion coming — no diversions, no exceptions — crashes in from within (Mark 7:14-23; Revelation 14:6-12). Whoever mutters, “Diaspora America,” utters blasphemy.  Apotheosis of Democracy?  Here is the mystery of lawlessness, spurious reasoning American made, the chora of America, the point of origin from which the Genius of America keeps inventing the Progress of Civilization.  Apotheosis of Washington?   The “Tissue-Culture King,” America’s tin foil hat, the sign that makes white come to mind behind the things we’re told to teach if we want to sell ourselves as those well taught.

Who believes in the Word of God?

Virgin’s hymen without breach

Gave us God with us whom we beseech

This we believe —

This we teach.

But a foreign power

Quick to the plunder,

Penetrating America

Swift to the spoil —

Making us their slaves

Swearing ourselves to them be loyal?

This though the Lord command us

That for which we condemn the Jews,

This we will not do:

Be obedient to Him so by another to be ruled.

(1 John 5:2-9; Isaiah 7:10-14; 32)

Complexion don’t mean a thing for those who, without seeing, commit it without knowing it, producing excuses stretching from lashes to nooses, from acquiescence to neglect, busy counting the same counted-on things, things tied down tight, verified, proven right.  The salt of the earth claiming to be the crown of the highway busy bowing down to the henotheistic goddess historia — seeing the temporal scene through a cerebral screen machined to mean the normative without alternative, the unilateral supreme unnamed, unexposed, in explicit (fully unfolded) darkness, when if seen in the light that gives light is called, “Whiteness.”  The double foundational truth of America stands above ground in marble and bronze as whiteness begets blackness and endures below ground in the streets and communities as blackness annuls whiteness.

“And the fact that we are still here — even in suffering, darkness, danger, endlessly defined by those who do not dare define, or even confront themselves — is the key to the crisis in white leadership…[for] it is the Black condition, and only that, which informs us concerning white people.  It is a terrible paradox, but those who believed that they could control and define Black people divested themselves of the power to control and define themselves (James Baldwin, On White People & Other Lies).”

Who has heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”  And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand.”  Will we define and address our “foundational past (Alon Confino, Foundational Pasts, The Holocaust as Historical Understanding, Cambridge University Press, 2012)” that has framed us, represented us and given us standing as a people?  The foundational past we seed and tap into, that fuels our fantasies and feeds our homes, our marriages and our children?  The foundational past arranges appointments, allots resources, launches careers and serves as the glue for folding together our culture of consensus.  For over four hundred years the heart of our foundational past has been the moral-historical contrivance — the idol — of whiteness.  This idol of whiteness has functioned as our normative sense of what it means to be an American; it makes sense for our sense of self-awareness; it calibrates our eye, focusing it to its field of vision so we see one another through its idolized line of sight, thus guiding our historical understanding of ourselves and directing our future under its watchful command. In the words of a blind man whom the Lord Jesus healed, “Well, here is an amazing thing.”  We don’t see this idol because the producers of professional knowledge filling the established halls of academia have studied it only since the 1980s (see Peter Kolchin, “Whiteness Studies: The New History of Race in America, in the American Historical Association’s, The Journal of American History, Vol. 89, Issue 1, 2002, read at http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jah/89.1/kolchin.html).

We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly. If we listen perhaps we can repent of our wickedness.  Might we pray to the Lord that if possible the intention of our heart may be forgiven.  Will we read the Bible together without politely leaving unasked the questions we require one another to answer about how we are to take up and take into ourselves who we are suppose to be together?  Will the church give the American people the example they need?  Like the Lord multiplied the fish and loaves to feed the masses, so too we must trust Him to multiply Lincoln’s “both” in our minds and hearts that we might hunger for His variegated wisdom ours to enjoy in receiving it as we offer it to one another to His glory.  The things not seen are eternal except for the blind who say, “We see.”  The only faith to be taken seriously is to take the Word of God seriously, confident the Lord remembers His word.

The melody of Providence brings to pass the one song sung before the world was (John 17:5)

from before the foundation of the world (John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20)

through one woman’s Jewish womb (Luke 1:26-35; Matthew 1:22-23)

unto the Messiah’s living room (Genesis 12:7, 12, 14-17; 13:15, 17; 15:7-21; 17:8; 22:17; 26:3; 28:13; 35:11-2; Leviticus 25:23; Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Psalm 10:16; 78:54; Isaiah 11:12; 43:5-8; Ezekiel 258; 34:13; 36:20-24; 37:21; 38:12; Amos 9:14; Zechariah 9:16; Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 21:24; Revelation 20:1-10)

and into New Jerusalem, “the central source of glory radiating out through the entire new creation and the focal point of universal worship, containing as it does the throne of God Incarnate, Jesus Christ” (Romans 8:18-23; Revelation 21-22).

Together, today, now, we,

who for His glory, to the praise of His glory,

He made His Body (Ephesians 1:3-12);

We are His beautiful Body of many colors,

the richly ornamented display of His wisdom

before the principalities and powers in heavenly places (Genesis 37:3; Ephesians 3:10-11; James 1:2; 1 Peter 1:6; 4:10)–

that He may receive glory

in the Church and in Christ Jesus

through all generations,

for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Together, we sing in the power of the Holy Spirit with the Son this one song of praise to the Father as brothers and sisters in Christ, both the natural branches and those grafted into the rich root of the olive tree of life.  We sing together in the one voice illuminated by the imagination the Spirit has set free in all matters of delusion, disillusion and disgust (without apology to William Ian Miller, Revelation 22:17). It is for freedom He has set us free from the vain work at trying to legitimate our existence our own selves, as all outsiders still must, who in ignorance and hardness of heart and in the futility of their mind wander as downcast and distressed and deaf without God or hope in this world, who must “demonstrate each moment that [they] deserve to exist, to be noted, addressed, welcomed, and honored, even if it is by contradiction (Oswald Bayer, Living by Faith).”  In this regard the political is a living, suffering parable of the personal that teaches us what we want we can receive only as a gift (Ephesians 2:8-21).  What we hear together is the Spirit singing in us the song of mercy triumphing over judgment.  But we must learn to sing this song in a different key, one that resonates with the moment in which He has placed us, a moment witnessing the growing ineffectiveness of whiteness as the symbolic core of America’s foundational past.  Christians can better compose and perform this different arrangement if we remember together how we became who we are —

Sola fide is history’s unexpected ground of political unity.  It robs political actors of the incentives to warfare and domination by giving them that which all people, nations and armies primally seek — justification, standing, the recognition of existence…  Ever since God was dismissed as our source of standing, we have had to find it in ourselves, which leads to one-upmanship, boasting, war.  But the person justified by faith

M-U-S-T 

[to avoid sin and not to prevent a violation of logic]

no longer prove or justify himself or herself by any earthy measurement: race (I’m Aryan), ethnicity (I’m Serbian), gender (I’m male), class (I’m aristocracy), nationality (I’m Prussian), wisdom (I’m Progressive) and all those things that lead to war and political oppression (see Jas 4:1-2).” Jonathan Leeman, Political Church (IVP Academic, 2016), pp. 325-326.

Otherwise, we will not be able to absorb and overcome the aftershock of the further weakening of whiteness that is coming. Yet, who can do this without practicing a kind of “kitsch morality (David Rieff, In Praise of Forgetting, Yale University Press, 2016)” for conjuring up of a cheap collective memory that either promotes or punishes prejudice (James 1:5-8; 3:13-18)?  Like all nations, America too bears its cross of reality, its “institutional structures [that] carry out the task of teaching the young to be morally earnest about the tragedies and heroes of times past.” The crux of collective identity “ultimately rests on such acts of transmission, allowing groups of people to have shared touchstones of collective meaning.”  We receive “who we are and who we are not, and we learn what and whom to admire, who to hate or fear, and we develop some sense of piety [or distain] toward ancestors (Ted McAllister, ‘Remembering and Forgetting’, libertylawsite.org/book-review/remembering-and-forgetting/8/1/2016).”  By exercising humility and courage in its example of lament over the hiddenness of God while openly admitting its moral failures, the church, the entire church and only the church, is best equipped to encourage the American people to be good stewards of the past in the cultivating of healthy patriotic loyalty without harboring odious nostalgia or inciting vengeful violence.  By preaching the gospel as a political message of freedom and judgment the church should serve as an example in how to offer our Lord’s invitation and instructions without succumbing to a rhetoric of destructive iconoclasm or to acts of proselytism by way of spewing poisonous propaganda. The church will not provide this political service without suffering persecution.  What will happen?  The Lord knows, and the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous all together.

End song one song.  All good things come to those who stay true. Face the Offence of Slavery. Doesn’t matter what percentage of what part of us owned slaves.  We are together the generations (Nahum 3:2), “We the People,” from mother to child, America’s burning wheel. Together we must confess its tainting effects. Ain’t gonna be no playing, it’s gonna happen. Nothing’s finished ’til it’s done. We the People of the United States, one people separate and equal of station among nations entitled by the laws of Nature and Nature’s God, in Order to form and preserve a more perfect Union, establish Justice, and insure domestic Tranquility do still hold to be true that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness then, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  May each murderer hear the prophet (2 Samuel 12:7).  So, if we condemn anyone, we have no excuse.  What we condemn in anyone else we condemn in ourselves, since, we who judge, are doing the same things.  Who is jealous without sin?  Who saves and destroys (Exodus 20:5; James 4:5)?  Do you suppose, O man — you who judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself — that you will escape the judgment of God?  Let us rush together with confidence to the throne of grace to speak what is right of the Lord that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help us in this our hour of need.  Together, let us confess to the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, the only Lord God our Lord Jesus Christ, that this is not a Christian but a sinful nation, that we are a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers that are corrupters.  Those who know His voice (John 10:3, 4, 5, 16, 27) are His, and we, together, must learn how to behave around one another, together, in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.  For in everything we have been shown that together by working hard WE must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.

Read me the living Letter to the Saints who are in the Dead City Ephesus

(3:10-11, 20-21).

Sing me a choral arrangement a capella

(James 3:13-18/4:11-12, 16-17)

Teach me,

“Loving you is complicated.”

Remind me,

When all things are subjected to Him, then

The Son Himself will also be subjected to Him who

Put all things in subjection under Him, that

God may be all in all.

Romans 1:16-17; Timothy 6:11-16; 2 Timothy 2:8; 4:1-2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The holistic consummation of history is God’s “worldwide multinational kingdom order of redeemed peoples on a renewed earth.  The nations constituting this mulinational order are Israel and various Gentile nations.  Israel is a key irreducible and indissolvable feature of this kingdom order whose national and territorial identity is guaranteed by divine  promise.  Gentile nations are also explicit elements of this prophesied pattern.  This multinational structure of the kingdom consummation is a consistent expectation of biblical eschatology from Genesis to Revelation… The capital of Christ’s worldwide kingdom rule w1ll be a restored, enlarged, and glorified Jerusalem in accordance with prophetic prediction (Isaiah 60-65).  To it the nations have access and from it will come the guiding rule of the Lord Christ that unifies the world order in peace and righteousness.  Nations will turn their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; they will learn war no more (Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4).  Craig A. Blaising, “God’s Plan for History: The Consummation” in Dispensationalism and the History of Redemption (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2015), pp. 210, 213.

Without grief or anger we must realize together the white Protestant church on both sides of the yet upending, unending civil war in America meant evil against black children of God, yet God meant it for good in order to bring about this day to preserve many people alive.  Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.  What shall we say then?  Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?  May it never be!  How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

“Therefore, as a twenty-first-century discourse, Christian theology must take its bearings from the Christian theological languages and practices that arise from the lived Christian worlds of dark peoples in modernity and how such peoples reclaimed (and in their own ways salvaged) the language of Christianity, and thus Christian theology, from being a discourse of death — their death.  This is the language and practices by which dark people, insofar as many of them comported themselves as Christian subjects in the world, have imagined and performed a way of being in the world beyond the pseudotheological containment of whiteness.  To the extent that they have done this, they mark out a different trajectory for theology as a discourse.  The language and practices therefore, of dark people who have lived into a Christian imagination can no longer be deemed theologically irrelevant nor made invisible, which is what white intellectuals in the theological academy have tended to do.”  J. Kameron Carter, Race, A Theological Account (Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 378.”the-creation-of-adam

http://www.michelangelo.org/the-creation-of-adam.jsp.

Your right: You are right.  Being loved is complicated.  This explicit representation ain’t right in so many ways.  Lord, give us an eye of repentance, provide us a godly perspective on changing the total direction of our lives, give us the faith to carry out the good decision of turning away from our old ways and to commit ourselves to your way.  O God, hear me, search and try me, see if there be any hurtful way in me, see if any part of me still cherishes a way of pain that another must travel.  Lead me Lord in the everlasting way, and deliver me from evil.

Help us Lord turn from the hate we trade in using the loves that please which we ply, practice and perform: that we fold together — complicare — take them Lord and make them your love, your desire (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26; John 12:23-26; 17:24).  What we fold together the Lord Jesus, He Himself, holds together.  He guards, protects and looks after us together.  He gives us His grace to graze upon together.  He takes delight in us gazing upon Him together — seeing Him in one another until He appears, knowing when He does we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.  Together we will serve Him; and we shall see His face, and His name shall be on our foreheads…because the Lord God shall illumine us; and we shall reign forever and ever.  Come, Lord Jesus.  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints [together].  Amen.

jesus-ghost-gone

Canal & Madison, Chicago Ghost Jesus Gone Leftovers Loved

Published in: Uncategorized on August 2, 2016 at 7:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Yesterday I visited

Flossenbuerg guard tower

Yesterday, July 7, 2016, I visited KZ-Gedenkstätte Flossenbürg, the place of preserving remembrance of the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp 1938-1945. Yes, literally, I went to see – to attend to the single object of remembering those killed and their killers or to leave there evading this light-duty, which makes me a voyeur, a kite and a shirker of the service I owe to humanity. I walked past the former SS headquarters, past the roll call grounds, and past the rear of the detention barracks where Bonhoeffer was martyred. I entered the Jewish memorial and then the chapel. I followed the path leading through what came to be called the Valley of Death. I climbed the stairs back up from this quarry pit. They took me past the crematorium up to the rear gate of entry into the camp – there was no exit. I took pictures of the guard tower made to stand as a sentry condemned and empty over the burial mound below, now named the “Pyramid of Ashes.” Here the Polish prisoners upon being liberated by the 3rd Infantry Division erected a station of reflection to memorialize the victims murdered by the German perpetrators of the Holocaust. I watched the documentary we survived they remain – I listened to the survivors tell their stories, their gruesome stories. I saw their fresh tears flow from their old faces, their beautiful faces. I watched as they walked the confines of the camp. I listened to how they spoke of those who remain. Honor is too worn a word, heroic too thin. What did you write in your book almighty God? What words did you use? What commands did you see these men break to survive? How did you judge the sacrifices those who remain made to give them one more cycle of reflex, one more muscle contraction, one more mite of hope, one more step – all unto once more to get up, to work, to suffer humiliation and be beaten for being alive?

I have no interest in solving the problem of evil, of playing tic-tac-toe with the mind of God or with those who claim they can read it, or with those who seek out injustice — who say, “We have accomplished a diligent search.” I want to do the good needing done. I want to do this good together with my sons, in this favorable time even now the day of salvation, so that we do our share to assure the Holocaust survivors are not forgotten – for ours are the parting generations, to us it has been given as parents and children – we will decide over the few remaining old men and women, what is to become of them once they die, if they will still be remembered.

Tomorrow, when we die will those who remain remember the Holocaust?  Will they remember the names of those who were killed?  Will they remember how and why they were killed and who were their killers?  Will they remember to remember there was the Holocaust?  Will they remember we taught them to face, resist and, with good, overcome the hatred for the Jewish people that fueled the reactor of evil called the Holocaust?

“To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.” Elie Wiesel (September 30, 1928-July 2, 2016)

Psalms 22/44/88/132

Published in: Uncategorized on July 8, 2016 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Long Beached

Words Paint Our Life

Long beached we left ourselves.

Together,

We turned away to play.

We drew lots.

We intertwined our skin.

We exposed our souls.

We drank wine.

We laughed at the lies we told.

We signed our names in the sand, “Forever love!”

The very names He gave us to be blotted out to rot if not

Born from above.

Bleached out without wisdom or salt

We bound ourselves to the wheel of the earth.

We changed ourselves.

We broke our vows.

We learned to curse and quench our thirst on bowdy lay

And vulgar verse.

Sun burnt, leached out,

Each of us our own cult,

We became useless to be cast out.

Our hearts cut across the great divide,

Taking sides on both sides.

We became good for nothing won or lost,

For neither grave nor garden.

We became scavengers who seize and sift,

Who twist and bend,

Who shift and spawn,

Who look behind rather than beyond,

Who, refused by the land, water and wind,

Even the dunghill frowns upon.

Endured with much patience only to be thrown out,

To be trampled under foot by mindless beasts

And heartless men, we answered back with

Counter-attacks bleak and dark by club and pen.

We give no quarter to the living or the dead.

We care not for season, promise, or kingdom come.

We tire of the beauty we abuse.

We rush to speak harsh things against the

One son of man who said,

“My flesh is the life of the world,” yet

Twice dead without rest,

We loathe him as having been

Either the living word or life-piercing text.

We revile ordained majesties.

We malign the proof of judgment.

We dismiss the examples exhibited of undergoing

Punishment.

By instinct we exalt our emptiness.

We pay false tribute to recuse ourselves,

While running with fools like wolves

We eat the poor and innocent.

Listen to us!

We speak great things.

“With our tongue we will prevail.

With this our hollow fist, our forge and kiln,

We conquer and devour.

It sets aflame existence,

Consuming after nothing any origin and all endings.

To the flames!  To see the flames!

What power!  What wonder!

We mock the heights and speak from on high.

We blaspheme God, His name and those who dwell

Unfinished ready to obey in heaven.

We have set our mouths against the stars and angels.

We market prophecy pushing violence for profit.          

We brand the apocalypse to maximize the gate.

To our hearts’ content we invent, we deceive,

Invented and deceived.

We bellow with the doors of our mouths wide open,

Armed with the swords of our lips –

Unguarded, unsheathed –

Who hears and does not follow?

Our lips are our own – our words are with us –

Who is lord over us?

We make our plans.

We conspire.

We form our thoughts.

We include with a nod.

We let the imaginations of our heart run riot.

We tell ourselves, ‘There is no God’.

We record screams and censure silence.

It tickles us to diagnose the source of hope.

‘He suffers a dementia praecox,

This make-believe friend of the effete and gentle

Keeper of children.

Look at Him!

Ecce Deus!

He lingers like a scorned lover.

He haunts our drawing sleep.

He hovers over our weakest moments,

A ghost, a ghoul, a fallow memory,

A passing amusement entertained,

An adolescent entail satisfying our premature fancy.

Away with this, the first pathetic atheist.

He cannot hear us.

He cannot help us or cause us harm.

It is pitiful to see Him forever dying,

His remains decaying,

A drooling fog feeble and confused,

Sometimes claiming He is a father, other times a son,

Or a lion, or a pillar of fire, or a lamb.

A vacuous ventriculus,

A lump of mental flatulence we once molded like clay.

What can He uncover?

The watchmen in His eternal home tremble.

Mourners stumble about His blood-stained streets.

He cannot see iniquity.

He cannot hate.

He cannot remember.

He has hidden His face.

He is not to be feared.

Let the demons shudder at His tricks and be tricked

By His disguises.

His lies cannot fool us.

He will never see it.

What does God know?

Can He judge through the thick darkness?

What can the Almighty do to us?

There is no knowledge in the Most High.”

O! 

What worlds through all

The ages of wrath and labor we covet

Only to live as we ought not where we do not belong.

The debt we owe we cannot pay.

Even with floodborne tears,

The words we want we cannot say.

We, who are destroyed in a moment,

Whose destiny is desolation,

Are swept away by sudden terrors to lie down in torment.

We, who walk in the light of our own fire,

Who encircle ourselves with kindled sparks,

Who christen ourselves charge over every facies and species,

We have left our names as an inheritance to another.

We have lost our names,

And if not found in the Book of Life

We are bound for the Lake of Fire.

Like in a dream when one awakes, O Lord,

I hear the heavens tell of your glory.

Their expanse declares the work of your hands,

Though there is not speech, nor are there words.

We are your words Father,

The fruit of your lips, but we falter

Among all that bears witness to you,

From the earliest soft song to evening’s last yawn,

Among all the things that together give you praise.

We mistreat your uncomplaining servant.

We have squandered you carrier of patience.

We have wandered from creation’s consort.

We rupture its ordered course and concert.

We who should be their readers and teachers have become

Dull of hearing.

The eyes of our heart need enlightening.

We cannot see the wild flowers spreading the good news.

The dandelion and the golden rod

Like dumb statues stare back at us as if our idols.

We cannot hear the one tell,

“I too am under authority,

For He spoke and I came to be.”

Or the other report,

“We too are soldiers in His service,

He commanded and we stand firm.”

The stones beneath us suffer increased pressure.

The rising heat incites them to a molten frenzy.

They long for release from their a priori fever, 

To burst into flames and melt.

They yearn to cry out, “The wrath of God is finished,

Making the second day complete.”

Not once have we lowered

Ourselves

To look at them with compassion or

Stoop low to handle them with respect.

When have we comforted them, urging them,

“Rest for a little while longer”?

How hard it must be to have locked in their molecules

Their pent up sinfonia,

Their prelude prepared to expose

The earth and depose the works done on it.

When have we sought to soothe them in their agony,

Singing,

“Blessed be the King who cometh in the name of the Lord;

Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest”?

We cannot understand our errors.

Cleanse us Father from our secret faults.

Give us the desires of our heart for we

Delight ourselves in you,

The promise and the promise fulfilled of all pleasure,

Its purpose, its power,

Its consummate knowing being known

By having your name be made known to us

By the Son without end:

Living your love for the Son

In us and the Son in us and us in Him.

We want to see Jesus when He appears just as He is,

To gaze upon the beauty of the LORD,

The Builder of all things.

Open our unfeeling hearts to comprehend with all the

Saints what is 

The breadth, and length, and depth, and height…

We give you thanks Father,

You are our light and salvation,

You, who can destroy both soul and body in hell,

You, who by your authority fxed the great chasm,

Who by your own authority has fixed

The times and the seasons for destroying every rule,

Every authority and cosmic power, every spiritual

Force in the heavenly places, every enemy,

Even death in the end,

When your anointed delivers the Kingdom to you,

Our only Sovereign,

Who knows how to rescue the righteous from trials,

And to keep the unrighteous under punishment until

The Day of Judgment —

Especially indulgers in the lust of defiling passion

And despisers of authority.

We thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth,

For making known to yous saints the mystery

Hidden for ages and generations, for you have

Qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints

In light, you, who called us out of darkness

Into your marvelous light.

In your light we see light.

Give us Father light to see ourselves together in your sight,

For everything that becomes visible is light cloaked in your

Unapproachable light.

You are light,

The Father of our spirits,

The Father of all flesh and of all light.

You are the Lord,

The God of the spirits of the prophets.

You are the great Three in One,

Holy Trinity,

The blessed and only Sovereign

Who alone is worthy to receive glory and honor and power,

For you created all things and by your will

We exist and were created.

We worship you,

We, who go as you command.

We, who have been baptized with the giver of life

By the first to rise from the dead,

The founder of our salvation,

The first and the last and the living one;

And by his church  

With weeping waters and by his word,

We, who baptize all who believe

The faithful and true witness into

The name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

This day we pray, illumine us.

Sorrowful yet ever joyful, we pray, deliver us from evil.

We, who are exiles grieved by various trials,

Pray for one another —

Increase our faith that we might feed one another. 

Like you did with the fish and loaves hear the blessing

And our giving thanks; multiply to us you grace,

Your peace, your mercy and your love as we sojourn

Home to the city illumined by your glory, the

Light of life,

Where the nations will walk in that light and we shall reign

Forever and ever.  Amen.

Now,

May the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the fellowship of the eternal Holy Spirit be with all so all things may be subjected to Him from whom all things come that God may be all in all.  Amen.

Image from http://www.jkevinjohnson.com/words-of-hope/give-voice-to-his-word-and-speak-life-by-minister-trina-johnson.

Published in: Uncategorized on June 9, 2016 at 4:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Loose Ends

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The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch (1490-1510) http://www.britannica.com/topic/Garden-of-Earthly-Delights

Give us your name stranger.

By your leave what gift do you bear?

With what benediction do you banish fear?

For what danger do you caution we should take care?

We are all here present before God to hear

All He has commanded you to share.

He rose and then spoke: 

“If anyone has an ear, let that one hear:

Storm clouds, heaven’s loose ends

Like old friends, are gathering.

The quest for truth subdued accrues,

Slowing, maturing, settling into the grief

Gained with wisdom: knowing Him

Who has been from the beginning.

See everything groaning and writhing, singing,

Hoping believing in the finale soothes unnecessary despair.

Hear death’s mimesis of His good confession,

Together with this –

Read its smiling, lying, foreboding lips as agreeing,

‘The One who is first is with the last’.

Otherwise, deceiving and being deceived,

You will proceed from bad to worse,

Praying between labor pains and painful labor,

‘Bless us Father,

For we have sprung from strange fire

Spawned by lust taken in sin’.

Disgust loathed, aroused, advances,

Prodded by its murderous master,

Who, without reason or laughter,

Evades the Question to disguise the Answer,

Dressing Him in colors of many meanings

Darned from fathomless motives.

Each prick of sorrow by stab of pain,

Vain and abortive,

Needles flesh torn and tossed,

Driving to Bosch’s madness

The craven and playful,

The grumblers and strip-teasers,

The power-wielders who make life easier

For the appeasers of evil who,

ad libitum eat the poor, the down, the meek,

The starved, the kind, the pure,

Queer beaters, crowd-pleasers and man-stealers

Who molest the makers of peace and those already

Molested by the whores of war –

These are the filthy who call themselves holy,

The dogs and sorcerers who try the Lord

Never tasting to see He is good.

Avoid such as these, the undisciplined

Who refuse the tradition.

Instead, listen!  

With the Spirit of the living

And the Bride, the wife of the Lamb,

And with those who hear and are healed,

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,

Calling out in the streets and in the public squares,

‘Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;

The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world

Shall be your Shepherd, and shall guide you to springs of

Living water; and God shall wipe every tear from your eyes.

Let whoever wishes take the water of life without cost.

For He who testifies to these things says, 

‘Surely, I come quickly’.” 

And then, as if we entertained an angel without knowing it,

He emptied his glass and vanished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: Uncategorized on March 29, 2016 at 2:31 pm  Comments (1)  

Muslim and Christian Together

Muslim and Christian together can agree there is one God who governs over all our affairs and who judges us all. We know the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.  Christians know this because the Scriptures teach that which is known about God is evident to all; for God made it evident to us. He did not leave Himself without witness in that He does only good and gives bountifully our heart’s fill with food and gladness. Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. Our Father who is in heaven, causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that we are without excuse should we deny Him, rail against Him, or replace Him in our hearts with anything He created or with any vain thing we formed, conceived or contrived on our own for ourselves. Lord we pray; be merciful to those who receive what You have created with gratitude even if they are without saving knowledge of You. Sanctify what You give them Father, by Your word and by the prayer of Your people.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God. Who will listen? Their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Who will praise Him? The heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge. Who among us will be vindicated by our conscience when it bears witness against us, as our thoughts alternately accuse and defend us on the day when God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus? For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. So then, each one of us shall give account of himself to God, who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this purpose the gospel has been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the Spirit according to the will of God because if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to our mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells us.

Believing these things to be true the Christian cannot before God the Father accept that the same Holy Spirit who gave us the sacred writings of the Bible, which are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, also had dictated the content of the Quran to Muhammad. The two books are not from the same spirit. The Muslim mind that believes the Bible and Quran came from the same spirit has been deceived, led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion which is ours in Christ. The Quran preaches another Jesus whom the apostles did not preach. To accept the message announced by the Quran is to receive a different spirit than the Spirit of God, who is the Spirit of power, and love and sound judgment. No matter how handsomely or finely born, no matter how sincere the sense of superiority, no matter how eminent the scholarship advanced still, the spirit behind the Quran is a spirit of slavery leading again to fear of death and timidity.

The message of the Quran troubles the church and distorts the gospel. Its content cannot evoke godly sorrow that is according to the will of God, whose kindness in withholding our merited everlasting torment is meant to lead us to repentance without regret, resulting in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  Instead, the Quran yields a sorrow that still suffers the sting of death in accordance with the traditions of men and the elemental forces of the world — poverty-stricken forces wanting power that Christ has disarmed and triumphed over, thus forces that cannot make us complete in Him.  Everyone who tramples under foot the Son of God, and regards as unclean the blood of the covenant by which He was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace deserves severe punishment. For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

O Lord rain down Your mercy upon us, Muslim and Christian alike.  Give us eyes to see the beauty of Jesus.  Give us ears to hear the poetry spoken only by the Word of Life, Who was with You, beheld by angels and manifested in the flesh to take away sin and destroy the works of the devil.  Keep us from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  Today Father we commit ourselves to turn from an evil, unbelieving heart to unite our faith with Your precious word.  For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge our thoughts and intensions of our heart.  And we know there is no creature hidden from Your sight, but all things are open and laid bare before Your eyes.  Therefore Lord we pray, give us the confidence to draw near to Your throne of grace that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help us in time of need.

This living God who gives us grace through Jesus Christ our Lord is alone our Savior. He does not show partiality, and everyone who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. All of us however are under sin; God has bound all men over to disobedience so that He may have mercy on us all. Jesus, Lord of all, was handed over to die for our sins and was raised to make us righteous.  God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of this truth. Having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through the Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Jesus from the dead. The Lord is not slow about His promise, but is patient toward us, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. Therefore the Spirit of God and the Bride of Christ say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. Jesus said, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’” Thus, having believed in Jesus through the word of the apostles we declare what God commanded them to proclaim: Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household!

Published in: Uncategorized on February 6, 2016 at 7:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Dip in the Life of Johann Georg Hamann (1730-1788)

I found the unity of God’s will in Jesus Christ’s redemption, realizing that the entirety of history, every miracle, all the commandments and works of God flow together at this central convergence upon the soul to free it from slavery, bondage, blindness and futility and move it from the death of sin to the life of greatest bliss, highest blessing and of a bountifulness of such goodness; that the greatness of which, if it is fully revealed to us, has to frighten us still more than our unworthiness or the possibility to make us worthy of it.

The Holy Spirit continues forth and has wielded diligently His emotion (seine Rührung), disregarding my infernal weaknesses, and in spite of my long-standing and still too often ongoing resistance to His witness, to reveal to me always more and more the mystery of divine love and the relief ours from faith in our one and only gracious Savior.

The witness of the Holy Spirit in our soul is not dependent upon any memory, and if we forget everything, even so Jesus the crucified represents all wisdom and all power, all reason and all the senses. It is more likely we could live without heart and head than without Him. He is the entirety of our nature and of all of our strengths and powers. He is the source of change and movement. This source of life in a Christian can no more remain still or stagnant than can the pulse in a living person. The Christian alone however, is a living person and an eternally immortal person who lives because he is in God and lives with God, moves and is da – there – yes for God.

God regularly gives me the exceptional grace to take part in Holy Communion. By doing so I am greatly encouraged and strengthened for spiritual life in God. The Spirit of God, this faithful One who remembers and reminds (diese treue Erinnerer), desires to keep the memory of death not only in my soul, but also to provide me the power to portray and proclaim this death of the Lord in my life of renewal and transformation until He comes. Amen.

I close with an exposition on my own experience by way of a heartfelt and sincere giving of thanks to God for His soul forming, soul-fulfilling word, which I tested and found not only to be the one light by which we come to God, but also the only means by which we come to know ourselves. So tested by personal experience the Bible is found to be the most precious gift of divine grace that exceeds by far all of nature and all its treasures as much as our eternal spirit does the glue of flesh and blood now holding us together. The Bible is the most astonishing and most esteemed revelation of the deepest, most sublime, and most wonderful mysteries of the deity in heaven, on earth and in hell. It reveals God’s nature, His qualities and His great effusive will directed particularly toward us, who together make up suffering humanity. It is full of the most important discoveries made through the course of all times into eternity. It proves to be the sole bread and manna of our souls, which a Christian can do without less than the natural man can skip his regular bowel movement or dispense with his daily wage. Yes, I confess, that this word of God does greater wonders in the soul of a pious Christian, may he or she be naïve or learned, than those that its pages tell about, that therefore, the understanding of this book and faith in its content is to be reached through no other means than through the same Spirit who pushed and stirred the authors who wrote it. His unspeakable sighs, which He creates in our heart with inexpressible images are of a type, which are heaped up in the Holy Scripture with greater abundance than all the seeds of the whole of nature that are scattered throughout its teeming realm.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

From Michael Holzinger, ed., Johann Georg Hamann, Gedanken über meinen Lebenslauf – Thoughts about My Life Story – 1758 (Berliner, 2014, 3d ed.), extracts, pp. 30, 31, 32-33, 38 – mcduffee translation.

Published in: on February 6, 2016 at 1:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Third-Hand Gossip

“Language exists primarily, and in the end only has meaning as, the praise of the Divine.” Catherine Pickstock, After Writing: On the Liturgical Consummation of Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998)

Thereafter as before He stands,
Between Marcus Aurelius and Augustine,
Our Brother in Arms,
The Last Other –
He is the Image of the invisible God.

“A rich man had sent his son so that Socrates might look him over and judge of his talents. ‘Well, then, my lad,’ said Socrates, ‘Speak, so that I can see you’.” Erasmus translating Plutarch attributed the quote to Socrates. Hamann, not willing to boast beyond the measure of the sphere which God apportioned him, appropriated the saying for offering it back up to God as a prayer, believing creation’s savor is dressed, embellished, adorned and seasoned to suite our tastes because “God speaks to the creature through the creature.” As one who learned from him Oswald Bayer said, “There are no creatures that God cannot use as His messengers: human beings and stars, animals and elements, a particular succession of notes in a fugue by Bach, Apollo’s torso that says to us, ‘You must change your life’, music, the beauty of art, and even the ugly.  God can make everything that is created, the visible and the invisible, into His angels” — sent to announce His judgments and deliver His grace.  Help us remember Lord that all things are ours in Christ and that from any tree of the garden in accordance with Your command we may eat freely.  Everything You have created is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.  Who dares to stand exonerated by the law?  Who does not want to hear the Gospel as Your promise ours in Christ? For as many as may be the promises of God in Christ Jesus they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to Your glory.  Who is not terrified by Your hiddenness?  Who is not thankful that Your divine providence conserves the world?  They are like chaff which the wind drives away.  They will not stand in the judgment, nor in the assembly of the righteous.  For the Lord knows, approves and has regard to the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Michael Hanby, Associate Professor of Religion & Philosophy of Science at the Catholic University of America, wants us to take up the project of retrieving ‘the Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo from the distortions imposed upon it by the totalizing claims of positivist science and especially by that most theological of sciences, evolutionary biology’.  Our doing this will give sight to those who follow us so that they may realize ‘science is constitutively and inexorably related to metaphysics and theology, [which are] internal to science even as they are distinct from it’. This is the case because all sciences and metaphysics are ‘theologically grounded’ in our ‘creaturely constitution’.

Professor Hanby teaches God’s benevolence like His transcendence is more profoundly entertaining than our verge for desire or measures of power, even exceeding our surveying skills at marking the makings of our inherited mentality, speech habits and ex opera operantis social imaginary. “God as Creator is the immanent source of the very existence of all that is.” Ordinary time and daily life show creation “discloses the ontological structure of the world and is the necessary precondition for the world and for science itself [which, were we honest, we would admit we designed to serve ourselves as the mirror of our making for seeing ourselves reflected in our best light].

Therefore, to grow up into the full stature of the universal man requires our taking to heart “the doctrine of creation [as] essential to an understanding of the universe that is both comprehensive and nonreductive; [seeing] that the scientific and Darwinian revolutions, for all their stunning success in increasing our knowledge of the universe, have left us with a universe so reduced and fractured that it threatens to undermine the rationality and intelligibility of their own achievement.”

By our straining to scientifically see all things we have taught our children to turn a blind eye to the God who gives us everything we can possibly see for seeing His “abiding presence as cause of existence immanent in the world.” He whom we cannot banish we blaspheme by insisting His abiding inherence is in fact absence. “As a result of embracing an extrinsic notion of God as Creator, the [secular] modern world ‘evacuates creatures of the unity, intelligibility, and interiority inherent in our elementary experience of them’,” as if by vacuum aspiration with cannula in hand we could suction out Father, Son and Holy Ghost from His creation like fetus, placenta and the promise of a child’s future from a mother’s womb. “[D]efective notions of God, creation, and causality [cast a] vision of God as an artisan/designer [proposed] in the natural theology [of] contemporary ‘intelligent design’ theories’.” These well-meaning idolaters do “not see the Creator as the interior source of the creature’s very existence but as an extrinsic cause who imposes order and design on the world,” making it a “‘cluster of contrivance’” and “God the master contriver.”

Catechist Hanby exhorts us, saying:

We must restore to the things of the world the unity and the interior depth of being that was taken away from them in the [secular] modern conflation of nature and art, being and history, truth and utility, and knowledge and power. We must dispose with the natural theology and mechanistic ontology commenced in the seventeenth-century and brought to fulfillment by Darwin and his disciples, a theology and metaphysics which continue to deform the meaning of the doctrine of creation and the stakes in its confrontation with the totalizing claims of evolutionary biology. We must distinguish the act of creation – that gratuitous gift of being that calls forth its own recipient – from a process of immanent manufacture, and we must distinguish the doctrine of creation from any mechanical explanation seeking to account for the ‘how’ of the world. To do this, we must begin by setting aside that finite and idolatrous God simultaneously affirmed and denied by Darwinian biology and approach, at long last, the Creator God.’

Let those who think otherwise work the way they sense they must. But as for us, let us examine the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, ours to reflect upon as given in the Scriptures and taught by the living witness of the church. We cast our curiosity like a net, hoping to capture the full counsel of God. How little however, we attend to God Himself, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Why are we afraid? Why are we bothered by so many things? We’re so busy trying to prove He exists we’ve no time to rest, to taste and see that the Lord is good.

Adapted with interpolations from “Science, Philosophy, and God,” by William Carroll, research fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, and a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion of the University of Oxford. A review commentary of Michael Hanby’s No God, No Science? Theology, Cosmology and Biology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) accessed 2/1/2016 at http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/01/15597/.

Everywhere saints, listen! The “eternal note of sadness” tires, groans and travails with the pains of childbirth until now, yearning to share our freedom freed from the slavery that destroys it. We have received the Spirit, moving us to call God, “Father!” This Spirit assures our spirit we are God’s children, and if children, then heirs, God’s heirs, who share Christ’s inheritance with Him – if we really suffer with Him in order to be glorified with Him. O Lord may we so suffer…and sing! Do we see Him? Then we worship Him! Still we doubt? Then we’ve new prayers to pour into old wineskins; we read further:

Brad S. Gregory, “No Room for God? History, Science, Metaphysics and the Study of Religion,” History and Theory, Vol. 47, No. 4 (Dec, 2008), pp. 495-519.

Abstract

Despite widespread beliefs to the contrary within the secular intellectual culture of the modern academy, scientific findings are not necessarily incompatible with religious truth claims. The latter include claims about the reality of God as understood in traditional Christianity and the possibility of divinely worked miracles. Intellectual history, philosophy, and science’s own self-understanding undermine the claim that science entails or need even tend toward atheism. By definition a radically transcendent creator-God is inaccessible to empirical investigation. Denials of the possibility or actual occurrence of miracles depend not on science itself, but on naturalist assumptions that derive originally from a univocal metaphysics with its historical roots in medieval nominalism, which in turn have deeply influenced philosophy and science since the seventeenth century. The metaphysical postulate of naturalism and its correlative empiricist epistemology constitute methodological self-limitations of science – only an unjustified move from postulate to assertion permits ideological scientism and atheism. It is entirely possible that religious claims consistent with the empirical findings of the natural and social sciences might be true. Therefore historians of religion not only need not assume that atheism is true in their research, but they should not do so if they want to understand religious people on their own terms rather than to impose on them an undemonstrated and indemonstrable ideology. Exhortations to critical thinking apply not only to religious views, but also to uncritically examined secular ideas and assumptions, however widespread or institutionally embedded.

Lord, who are we?  Who are we to restore, dispose, distinguish or begin?  When have we lived the meekness and gentleness of Christ, strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might armed as He is with His weapons of warfare powerful for the destruction of fortresses, speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, ready to punish all disobedience when our obedience is complete?   Help us see things inwardly.  Keep us according to the sphere You have apportioned that we may be approved as You commend.  Be merciful to us whom You have forgiven by the blood of our Brother whom we have murdered, Your only begotten Son who for us and for our salvation became flesh and dwelt among us.   O Father, remember how it pleased You that Your Spirit, the Holy Spirit, led us disregarding our infernal weaknesses, and how, in spite of our long-standing and still too often ongoing resistance to His witness, as the Lord and Giver of Life, nonetheless brought to bear in us His impassioned fervor for glorifying Your Son such that He continues more and more to increasingly reveal to us the mystery of Your divine love and the benefits of relief and kindness ours by faith in our one and only gracious Savior, Christ the Lord, Son of the most High whom You will give the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.  ‘Speak that we may see You’.  Behold, we are Your bondservants; be it done to us according to Your word.

Published in: Uncategorized on February 4, 2016 at 2:01 am  Leave a Comment