Thursday, February 25, 2010

How to End World Hunger

Consider the flower.
Don’t pick it.
Not yet.

Don’t make it into a movie.
Don’t make it go to work.

Paint it.

Make it elegant.
Make it tall.

Give it a shadow.
Purple kissed in blue.

Make the petals yellow.
Make them look like sun.

Balance it on one leg.
Give it a skirt of sand.

Be a woman with an empty pail.
A woman waiting.
A woman sitting on a white ladder.
Be a man rising from a white sea.
Find an umbrella.

Paint rain.
Paint a billowing white dress.
Paint it on yourself.
Paint the wind. Give it language.

Speak for the wind.
Speak for the woman
Speak for yourself.
Speak for the man rising from the white sea.

Make his language reluctant.
Make him want to stay.

Paint ears on the man.
Paint words on the lips of the woman.

Return to the flower.
Return to the man.
Return to the white sea churning.

Paint the woman walking.
Paint her stepping through the sand.
Paint the man pursuing.
Paint the woman praying.
Paint them together.
Paint them as friends.
Paint them eating a petal.
Paint the woman held by the man.
Paint the man held by the woman.

Paint the sea devoid of salt.
Make the water yield.
Make it spill upon the shore.

Paint the woman digging,
her hands plunging through the earth.

Paint the man beside her.
Paint him digging also.

Paint the need for beauty.
Paint the need for food.

Paint the man and the woman tugging.
Paint the flower prostrate.
Paint the flower felled.
Paint a storm of banished seeds.
Paint a crop of doom.
Paint a crop of angst and war.
Paint the reign of greed.

Paint the woman weeping.
Paint the man distraught.
Paint a field of fallow earth.
Paint a sky of brown.

Paint the woman sans her gown.
Paint the lost and drowned.
Paint the starving children,
Paint the forests slain.
Paint the earthquakes.
Paint the greed.

Paint the birth of grace.
Paint the sky returned to blue.
Paint the green as proof.
Paint the sprout of tender shoots.
Paint the clap of clouds.

Be a man with open palms.
Be a woman bowed.
Plant the seeds that grow to love
and never eat alone.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What stands in the way of prayer?

I think my difficulty in coming to Jesus in prayer, and when I say Jesus I mean also The Father and the Holy Spirit, has to do with mistaken identity. Not only my own but God's identity is hidden from me. To give an almost comic example - and one I often reflect, is the allogory taken from a short story called "Three Lessons from the Amazonian Jungle."

Renato, a character in Pamuel Houston’s book, Waltzing the Cat, tells an interesting story that speaks to this phenomena of misunderstanding. "Monarch butterflies make blue jays throw up. That is how monarch butterflies keep from being eaten. But over the years, by a process known as Batesian mimicry, several other butterfly species have learned how to color themselves to look like the monarch every time a blue jay comes around. The problem arises when a blue jay’s first experience is with an impostor butterfly. If the blue jay doesn’t throw up that first time, he will spend the rest of his life not knowing which are the safe butterflies and which are the ones that will make him sick."

In this I see my problem as so clear. I keep mistaking God for what I know of others. My experience with others, their experiences with me invariably come down to disappointment and confusion. Of course, it is not always disappointment. I have many wonderful (if I can use an overworked word) experiences with others. (meaningful, profound, healing, deep, truthful, etc.) But those experiences are limited. I am, for the most part, (hopefully) behaving with civility. My raw neglect of others, my propensity to gussy up and garner praise always creeps into the picture. But going to God, (the God of Abraham), going to Jesus (the manifestation of God is human form - fully God and fully human), I have nothing with which to impress. And if I step into the nothingness with which to impress, for even a glimpse of his merciful love, I am flattened by the absence of any way to appropriately respond. How do I show appreciation? How do I love back? Enough??? Of course, I can't EVER.

This a fragment of the thinking that comes into play when the question of "why don't we pray more?" arises.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I thought I

tossed the magic bean.

Threw it deftly

past my shoulder.

I took credit.

Impossibly it flew.

Out through strained glass.

Caught by dirt.

Cooked by sun.

Served by rain.

That there was life at all

was not enough to make me believe.

I needed grace for that.

I didn’t mind the hoeing,

the sweating,

the building.

I loved my castle in the sky.

Goliath arrived singing,

sweetly pursuing,

eventually bellowing,

bruise over promising bruise.

Then gone.

Golden hens and golden hatchlings
could not quell his lumbering greed.
Oh the grace that backed me down and down and down.
A humbling descent.
The sky all push,the ground all pull.
I praise the ax that cut me toppling to the truth.