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Orient Lodge Music Review and Sonicbids

Orient Lodge has entered into an agreement with Sonicbids to use Sonicbids’ platform for handling electronic press kits for review. Musicians wishing to present their music to Orient Lodge are urged to use the Orient Lodge Music Review Page on Sonicbids.

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The Priest the Church Needs Today

You are the priest the church needs today:
For the fifteen-year-old girl
who was raped
by someone she trusted
who is just uncovering her pain,
and has no one to talk to
especially not a priest.

For the seventeen-year-old transgender woman
who thought the transition
would make everything better,
but still she lives
in the spotlight of loneliness
and wonders if it’s all worth it,
and has no one to talk to
especially not a priest.

For the thirty-seven-year-old mother
who loves her son with muscular dystrophy
more than she can bear
and needs a rest and a loving ear.

For the forty-five-year-old couple
whose life seems perfect
as they help with coffee hour
because they hide the bruises
from their bitter fights so well
and can’t talk to anyone about it,
especially not a priest.

For the fifty-three-year-old wife
whose life did not turn out as planned.
Now she has the same symptoms
her mother had
at the onset of her cancer,
and has no one to talk to,
especially not a priest.

For the sixty-two-year-old homeless man
who tries so hard
to address his substance abuse problems
and put his life back together,
but the ancient traumas are too great,
and no one understands,
especially not a priest.

For the eighty-seven-year-old widow
who has never, in all her life,
let her children know
about her child born out of wedlock
that they always called their cousin.
and it is too late to tell anyone
especially not a priest.

And every day, more people are hurt,
often by the church itself,
and you are needed to be
the priest they can tell.

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, April 2021

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit. The wind blows outside like it is the beginning of March instead of the beginning of April. The crocuses are up but the lilacs have yet to mix memory and desire. It is National Poetry Month.

I have not written for my blog in nearly a year; since National Poetry Month last year. My personal writing had waned as I started seminary and the pandemic put it on a long-term hiatus. Now, God willing, I am less than three months away from completing seminary. Now, God willing, despite the recent variations in the virus and the rising number of cases, large-scale vaccination will get the pandemic under control.

I am hesitant to make a commitment to my personal writing at this juncture. April will be a long hard month, with lots of schoolwork, and made harder by my wife’s upcoming surgery. Yet it is April, a time for new dreams and new hopes. Can I fit a daily poetic examen back into my schedule? Can I write about other things without getting too bogged down in politics or recent schoolwork? We shall see.

In the news, there is talk of a large national infrastructure bill. There has been another mass shooting. The police officer who killed George Floyd is on trial. I’ll skip these for the time being.

In my schoolwork, I’ve started to read some of Homi Bhabha’s The Location of Culture for my class on James Baldwin. I turned in a paper starting to explore some of this for class this morning. There’s a lot to unpack there, and perhaps I will at a later point.

It is also Maundy Thursday. I will help with a vaccine clinic in the afternoon, and then head up to help with the service in the evening.

Coronavirus Poetry about Productivity on Cold Mountain

For the past few years, I’ve been seriously overscheduled. I’ve been working full time and supporting my family as I work on an M. Div. in seminary. The past several months became more overscheduled as I started my internship at a nearby church. Now, we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Some people are furloughed or working from home with fewer work demands. I am part of a communications team for a health care organization, so I’ve been working harder than ever. Likewise, the church I serve at has moved to online services. As a digital communications specialist, this has resulted in a lot more for me to do for church as well. To top it all off, we are entering Holy Week.

There are so many things I would like to be doing or feel like I should be doing. For our wellness program at work, I had a goal of walking at least 6,000 steps each day. I completed that in January when I was on campus in California. February was not so successful. March was looking really promising until the final few days of the month. April hasn’t started off all that well either.

Also, April is National Poetry Month. Other years, I wrote a poem every day for National Poetry Month. I would have liked to have done that this year. I would like to be journaling every day during the pandemic. I am working on a research paper for my class on Buddhism in the West. I’m exploring the impact of Buddhism on American Poetry and am, among other things, reading Han Shan. Really, I’d love to write a journal/poem each day addressing the coronavirus tied to poems of Han Shan.

Yet I’m tired. Really tired. It doesn’t seem like I should be so tired, especially if I’m not getting time to get out and walk. It occurred to me, this morning, however, that part of the reason I’m so tired is because of the heavy weight I’m carrying, the heavy weight we’re all carrying. It is okay to be tired. It is okay to grieve. It is okay to be sad.

A couple article have been talking about this in terms of productivity. The New York Times has told us to Stop Trying to Be Productive and the Chronicle of Higher Education is talking about Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure.

So, you’ll probably have to wait a little longer for the Han Shan inspired coronavirus journal entry.

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