Archive - 124, 0

#NaPoWriMo 11: The Kidney Stone

After that first wave of pain
was determined to be a kidney stone
friends suggested
I write a poem about it.

Really?

As I took pain relievers
drank gallons of fluids
and the symptoms subsided
I wondered,
“Did the stone break apart
and pass secretly
or do my kidneys contain
a ticking time bomb?”

With the stone dormant
my thoughts shifted
to other concerns
family, finances, and politics,
but still the stone remained
in the back of my mind.

This morning
as I doubled over in pain
beside the toilet bowl
I was reminded
of the suffering in the world
and in my kidney.

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#NaPoWriMo 10: Infirmity

I didn’t make it to church today
I tried,
but the pain was too great.

I love the story of Ananias
praying for Saul
in Damascus
and I wondered
whom I was supposed to pray for.

I love the story of Jesus
being reveal to the disciples
in the breaking of bread
after the resurrection
and I wondered
what will be revealed to me
today.

I love the story of Peter
saying “Yes, Lord, I love you”
and being told
to feed the sheep.
Who am I supposed to feed today?

But the pain was too great
so I laid down and rested.
When I awoke
it seemed
I could still make it
if I rushed.

But I couldn’t rush
and before I knew it
church was starting
and I wasn’t ready.

Someone else
can sit in the pew today.
Someone else
can greet the visitor.
Someone else
can taste
the body and blood.
Someone else
can pray for the infirm.

Today, I am the infirm
and others are praying for me.
Perhaps
being a person prayed for
is another way
we can serve God.

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#NaPoWriMo 9: The Rainbow

Off to the east, the sky is still grey,
and it is probably raining
in the next town over.

The road is still wet
and I’ve set the wipers
to intermittent.

The storm has passed
and in the west
the sun is breaking through.

It is too easy to think in binaries;
rain or shine,
black and white,

but in doing so
we sometimes miss
the beauty of the rainbow.

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Christianity and Isolation

In a Facebook group, someone brought up this:

"One cannot function in isolation from others and still be a Christian."

It has resulted in many different comments, and I have a lot of different reactions. Here are some of my thoughts.

First and foremost, there seems to be little potential benefit and much potential harm in trying to decide if we think someone else is a Christian. What is much more important is trying to live a Christ like life, trying to live a life we feel called to by God.

It reminded me of a different question that came up in that group about post-theism. It felt like the person asking the question had a lot at stake in receiving a positive response to the question and I asked why the response to the question were so important to people. I asked why the opinions of others were so important to people in the group, an honest question, which people complained about.

I really do believe we need to spend less time worrying about what we consider other people to be or worrying what they consider us to be.

Another thought was that ultimately, none of us really function in isolation. We are all connected in one way or another to others around us. The carbon dioxide we exhale may be inhaled by others. It may be converted back to oxygen by plants around us. The words we say affect others.

Some people brought up the desert hermits and it was noted that they were not in complete isolation. Some mentioned Thomas Merton, yet he was very connected to others through his words.

One issue that came up in the comments seemed to be a confusion between being in isolation and being part of a traditional Christian community or regularly visiting a building in the United States, commonly called a church.

As I think more about missional Christianity, of getting Christians out of the box they attend on Sunday mornings, I think it is important to differentiate between being in isolation and not visiting specific buildings at specific times.

Where does this leave us? The first is the command Jesus gives to love one another as He loved us. While it may be possible to love others in isolation, that seems like a rare exception. I also like the line from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, “The mission of the church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”

Restoring all people to unity with each other in Christ does not sound a lot like something normally done in isolation.

#NaPoWriMo 8: Road Poem 2

Careening down the interstate
I pass the spirits
of drivers long past
who in their rush
listening to NPR, Springsteen, or Rap
have left their souls behind.

The spirits pause
to drink from the glistening dew
beside the road
carrying their dreams
in handkerchiefs
tied to long sticks
like hobos
of yesteryear.

On my way
to soul crushing work
I wonder
where I’ve left
my spirit
and what I can do
to protect it.

The travel guide of souls
is hidden
in the white washed graffiti
of bridge abutments
where the homeless sleep
and the Gospel of the travelers
once easier to find
in the eyes of waitresses
at the Mom and Pop diners
along the way
are still there
obscured
in the bright plastic light
of fast food joints.

I look for hints in the differing
groves of trees
along the way,
in the sunlight
reflecting off the reservoir
and the giant fluffy clouds
which seem to be
in no rush.

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