It’s hard to concentrate
as the helicopter
flies up and down the river,

I read old emails
from a father and son
about a website
we worked on,

Then I glance at the news
about the father
whose only son
was stabbed to death.

I can’t imagine the pain.

It’s hard to concentrate
as the helicopter
flies up and down the river.

I read Facebook
where a friend posts
about the seven year old boy
who was killed by a gunman
aiming for his father.

I can’t imagine the pain.

It’s hard to concentrate
as the helicopter
flies up and down the river,

I take a walk at lunch time
Three rescue trucks
return to the firehouse
and the baby boy
believed to be thrown
from the arching bridge
by a young man attempting suicide
still hasn’t been found.

I can’t imagine the pain.

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Rent: What Would Jesus See?

In the 1980s I lived in New York City and attended an East Village church with many friends who were struggling artists. I would go to off off Broadway shows to see them perform in Israel Horowitz’ ‘Line’ where the cast often outnumbered the audience made up of friends of the actors, and if they were lucky a potential manager who had already seen Line forty-three times but wanted to see how well a potential client could really act.

The adult Sunday School classes were often on topics like Christianity and literature and we would discuss Christian themes in the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, W. H. Auden, and Flannery O'Connor. We would talk about what it means to be created in the image of our Creator. We would talk about the Gospel in the contemporary context of AIDS and drug addiction.

Years later, I saw a local high school production of ‘Rent’ and thought back to those days, those friends and their struggles. Four years later, after Sandy Hook, the local high school produced Sweeny Todd and a group of townspeople organized against it, led by a local priest. They were concerned about the depiction of violence. I attended a Board of Education meeting, and spoke in agreement with those concerned with the depiction of violence I encouraged everyone to attend the musical, and then to gather with friends to discuss it and broader topics of violence in society.

Another person who testified at that hearing was Howard Sherman, and I started following his blog. Recently, he wrote about church leaders in Tullahoma, TN criticizing a production of Rent there.

I shared the following as a comment on Howard’s blog post:

As a devote Christian, I agree with part of what Pastor Wayne says, "Jesus should be our moral compass". If we look at the New Testament, we find Jesus healing and breaking bread with characters not much different than the characters in Rent. Personally, I believe that one of the best ways to get a richer understanding of the Gospel is to attend Rent, asking yourself, when Jesus told us to love or neighbors as ourselves, who did he have in mind?

As I suggested when our local school produced Sweeny Todd, go see the play, and then get together with friends and discuss the underlying themes. In the broader context, I’ll take a phrase kicked around a bit and apply it here. “What Would Jesus See?” I suspect Jesus would see plays about suffering, love, and redemption. Rent would probably be high on that list.

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It’s been a fairly quiet Fourth of July weekend. The past few weeks have been really busy, so it has been a time to catch up on my rest. My stomach was also bothering me a little, making the need for rest even more important. I played Ingress. I wrote. I read. I visited with family. I played with the new kitten.

Today, I learned that a friend’s son was killed In Washington DC this weekend, so I mourned.

Often, when I sit down to face the blank page, I am bothered that I can’t find something to write about. I wrack my brains trying to find a starting thread. This evening, it feels like I don’t have much to write about, but that is a good thing. I did have a little bit to write about, and that was resting.

Now, to read and rest a little more.

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The Fourth

“and the rockets’ red glare”
had lost some of its luster
over the years.

Once they were the high point
of family outings.

He would run around
the local park
with his siblings
chasing fireflies
until the first loud boom
it was time to settle down
on the itchy old wool
army surplus blanket
they always sat on
at family events.

Once they punctuated
adolescent dreams of romance.

He would stroll around
the town fair grounds
with his friends
chasing girls
or more accurately
talking about who they liked
who they wished
they could talk to
maybe put an arm around
or even kiss.
Standing as close
as possible
to the fireworks
and the girl he had his eye on,
he would feel each explosion
in his gut, in his heart.

Once they were big extravaganzas
during his early career.

He would dance around
the city park
with his coworkers
enjoying the day off,
the music,
the street food,
and the spectacular show
which signaled
the great opportunities

Once they were obligations
he would take his young kids to.

He would push the stroller
to the country club
with his family.
Dolling out crackers
and juice,
he would make sure
the kids stayed close
stayed safe
and had comforting arms
if the explosions were
too loud.

he sat at home,
thinking about the nephew
who lost his legs
in his second tour.
He thought about a friend’s
who suffered
visions of Fallujah
when he heard
the distant explosions.
He patted his dog
cowering on the couch
with each burst
and waited
for the long night
to be over.

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Ingress Level 16 and more…

Today, I reached Level 16 in Ingress. For those who don’t know Ingress, it is sort of like a 21st century version of capture the flag played on mobile devices. Level 16 is currently the highest level you can reach.

There are two teams in Ingress, the Enlightened and the Resistance. I play for the Enlightened and was the third Enlightened player in Connecticut to reach Level 16. I ended up reaching Level 16 when I captured the portal at the church I attend.

I takes forty million points to reach level 16, and I was about three hundred thousand points away. So, I spent much of the day walking around capturing different portals in different towns.

Also in Ingress, they’ve added a new item, a MUFG capsule. If you put other items in the capsule, over time, they earn interest, although the details appear uncertain. I’ve now got eleven MUFG capsules which I’ve loaded with various items over the days. I’ve been observing the results.

For me, it seems like all of my dupes come in the evening. I have yet to see dupes come at other times. It also seems that I've had to have a full cycle with no adds or deletions before I get any dupes. I've seen capsules with as few as 15 of a given item dupe, but I've had to have over 40 to get more than 1 dupe of an item. If there are different types of items in a capsule, it seems like only one (randomly selected) dupes.

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