Tag Archives: Poetry

Weekend Picks ~ 1-27-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Dear Fellow Christians: It’s Time to Speak Up for Refugees
Ed Stetzer
Dear Fellow Christians: It's Time to Speak Up for RefugeesIt is not wrong to be wise and cautious. And part of President Trump’s plan is, I think, wise. For example, his call for safe zones in affected areas is good policy. Yet I’m grieved by other parts of the policy.

You see, too much of the policy is driven by unfounded fear of refugees…

I deeply believe that this is a Kairos moment in which God is calling us to be the people He has called us to be in hard, but life-changing ways.

Banning is the Wrong Decision

If America bans refugees, it makes a statement to the world that we don’t want to make. It is the picture of someone who sits, arms crossed and turned away, with a raised eyebrow and a ready attack on the helpless, the homeless, the broken.

We must do better.

This is the Washington Post Column referenced in the above blog post…

Evangelicals, we cannot let alternative facts drive U.S. refugee policyEd Stetzer
As fear overcomes us, our ability to see facts clearly also dims. We need clear facts on the issue, not alternative erroneous ones, when it comes to refugees. “Alternative facts” can have incredibly harmful consequences for people made in the image of God who are seeking refuge from violence, oppression and poverty.

And, here’s an important fact: coming to the United States as a refugee would be one of the worst ways to try and get in our country if you wanted to do harm. There is simply no evidence that our refugee program has created a significant problem of terrorism. Anyone saying anything else is making up false facts.

I love this piece by Tim Fall

I am not enamored of perfectionTim Fallhttp://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2016/02/10/635906686103388841-366754148_perfection1.jpg

We all stumble in many ways. (James 3:2.)


I am not enamored of perfection.

For me the off-centered, the imprecise, the slightly askew.

This is where people are found: among the stumbles, the trips and falls, the toe stubs and heel slips, the missed opportunities.

This is how life is lived, in the toe stubbing, heel slipping, stumbling trip and fall spaces that open up before you every day, the spaces where people give life a shot anyway. That’s where people live.

I am enamored of such people.

I am enamored of people who are off-centered, imprecise and slightly askew.

Which is everyone.



We slightly askew.

I am enamored of you.


Shared reality, diverse opinionsSeth Godin
Image result for seth godinWe’re not having a lot of trouble with the “diverse opinions” part.

But they’re worthless without shared reality.

At a chess tournament, when the newcomer tries to move his rook diagonally, it’s not permitted. “Hey, that’s just your opinion,” is not a useful response. Because, after all, chess is defined by the rules of the game. If you want to play a different game, begin by getting people to agree to the new rules…

Make America Unified Again: 3 Social Divisions We Must OvercomeBruce Ashford & Michael Graham
Make America Unified Again: 3 Social Divisions We Must OvercomeCan “We the people” honestly deal with our deep divisions “in order to form a more perfect union?” We can, and we must. But before we talk about how to deal with those divisions, we must be willing to recognize them for what they are. Some of those divisions—such as ideological, racial, and economic—have been apparent for years now, but there are at least three significant divides that were “off the radar” for many Americans until the 2016 election cycle put them on full display:

Rural vs. Cosmopolitan

Nationalist vs. Globalist

Warrior vs. Cultivator

(Click through to see what he means by these.)

Remind you of anyone we know?
Dilbert – Click image for a larger view.

The Nativity

Source: more-sky.com – Click image for a larger view.

Among the oxen (like an ox I’m slow)
I see a glory in the stable grow
Which, with the ox’s dullness might at length
Give me an ox’s strength.

Among the asses (stubborn I as they)
I see my Savior where I looked for hay;
So may my beast like folly learn at least
The patience of a beast.

Among the sheep (I like a sheep have strayed)
I watch the manger where my Lord is laid;
Oh that my baaing nature would win thence
Some woolly innocence!

 C.S. Lewis, Poems

Them Apples

Image result for honeycrisp applesYou know what
It is about TV?
You can turn it off,
“Click,” just like that!

You know what
It is about doors?
You can close them,
“Slam,” just like that!

You know what
It is about people?
You can leave them,
Turn and walk, just like that!

You know what
It is about books?
You can quit them,
Close the covers, just like that!

You know what
It is about God?
You can’t do anything about him,
He’s there, just like that!

How do you like them apples!


Number ninety-two in God Is No Fool by Lois Cheney

(I’ve always loved this little book since I first discovered it while I was in college. Click the image for purchase info.)

My Picks for Opening Day

It’s Opening Day in Cincinnati, the best day of the year! So I’ve decided that all of today’s picks will be devoted to baseball. Some are old, some are new, but I love them all for one reason or another. I hope you can find some time to enjoy them as well…
This one is fairly short and to the point, but right on target…

Baseball: The Only Sport That Reflects Real Life
Tom Egelhoff
Cincinnati Reds v Washington Nationals
“Every spring the “Boys of Summer” celebrate the “Great American Pastime.” As I watched the Padres and Dodgers duke it out today, I was struck by the similarity between baseball and the way our society works. Perhaps that’s why, as other sports gain in popularity, baseball still retains its popularity and historic significance after 100 plus years. It reflects each of us and how we live our lives…”

I shared this when he wrote it a couple years ago, but it’s definitely worth re-reading….

Our National PastimeKevin DeYoung
I know the many knocks on baseball: The games are too slow. The season is too long. The contracts are too big. I know about steroids and strike-shortened seasons. I know the players chew and spit and adjust themselves too much. I know every pitcher except for Mark Buerhle takes too much time in between pitches. I know that purists hate the DH rule and almost everyone hates the Yankees. I understand if baseball is not your thing. You don’t have to like our national pastime. But you should…”

You should probably get another cup of coffee and settle in for this one. You’ll need time to soak it in, and it’s worth it. You’ve got to love it when a Greek Orthodox theologian writes and subtitles his piece  “The Metaphysical Meaning of Baseball.” You also might want to open an online dictionary in another tab, just in case…

A Perfect GameDavid Bentley Harthttps://d2ipgh48lxx565.cloudfront.net/uploads/article_5522ceeb24136.jpg?Expires=1461860766&Signature=aDsYIcP0LQf1Lv6Co2JRZtm5vkzdjTrFDRf4h~GLXEzzRM65TDK7J6ckHufQ5kF4HMsABkLZUuB0v1u8VKGm7sWEFyOAiRR7GoS~-94G1Zq8Ngc1szu9r0K20g~B~LbIRGjlJnoWmfhQpJedaDOl1h83Gq1gz5udkc0FrjNBqW808ViAU654hWo80~4LfGrvg~droq5~Sdq~0Y-x-eWA0Xge5cFMvFnGnLWEzGuNl7Y9PwdsnhMLIFxrgsHIRiakXZSWf16RWRo1SfK1BAWVQKljx62KFGSNqd~e4br4cM6pyyvOWMtNc3ttq-xKDZWTkmFDbsoXZ6CmhryyEDJ3Bw__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAIN7SVXNLPAOVDKZQ“I know there are those who will accuse me of exaggeration when I say this, but, until baseball appeared, humans were a sad and benighted lot, lost in the labyrinth of matter, dimly and achingly aware of something incandescently beautiful and unattainable, something infinitely desirable shining up above in the empyrean of the ideas; but, throughout most of the history of the race, no culture was able to produce more than a shadowy sketch of whatever glorious mystery prompted those nameless longings.”

I think Joe Boyd may be on to something here…

 Is Baseball Really Dead?Joe Boyd
The Reds take the field at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio. ©The Cincinnati Reds“Here’s the truth. Nobody watches baseball anymore because they are too busy watching baseball. Let me try saying that another way. Baseball isn’t the national pastime anymore. It’s the local pastime. Baseball isn’t built to compete with the National Football League, mixed martial arts, the National Basketball Association, or the Olympics. It’s built to compete with Jeopardy and another boring summer night on the couch.

The culture is telling us something through our great American sport. Not everything that is “working” is national or global. People want something rooted in their own community—something stable, something with 81 opportunities to go to the park each year, something they know will be on TV 162 nights each season. Something social, nostalgic, and community-based. Man cannot live on the NFL alone. We need something slower, more reliable, and less in-your-face to find a pace within.

This, I believe, is a warning shot across the bow of the local church, and more directly, her leaders. Odds are, your church is never going to be the focus of national attention. (And if it is, that may not be good.) Ministers and elders, you’re called, like baseball, to grow a church that is there every day and every night, providing a space for people to live life in your community.”

Casey At the BatErnest Lawrence Thayer
The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that –
We’d put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.

And, of course, no baseball collection would be complete without Abbott and Costello…



Easter Sunday #HolyWeek

John 20:11-18
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

 Seven Stanzas at Easter
John Updike

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

Revelation 5:5

Saturday #HolyWeek

Matthew 27:62-66
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

On this day—this last, final day of Lent—it may be tempting to skip ahead to what awaits us on Sunday, without giving Holy Saturday its due. We know the rest of the story. Yet how might it be to linger with these words of lamentation, as if we did not know? What if we sat ourselves down with the women opposite the tomb, and listened to their grief and longing, and waited with them? When times of darkness come in our own lives, and we don’t know the rest of the story, how does what God has done for us in the past give us cause to hope for what God will yet do?

Therefore I Will Hope
A Blessing for Holy Saturday

I have no cause
to linger beside
this place of death

no reason
to keep vigil
where life has left

and yet I cannot go,
cannot bring myself
to cleave myself
from here

can only pray
that this waiting
might yet be a blessing
and this grieving
yet a blessing
and this stone
yet a blessing
and this silence
yet a blessing

Jan Richardson

Wednesday #HolyWeek

Matthew 23:37-38
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.”

Jesus Weeps

Jesus comes near and he beholds the city

And looks on us with tears in his eyes,

And wells of mercy, streams of love and pity

Flow from the fountain whence all things arise.

He loved us into life and longs to gather

And meet with his beloved face to face

How often has he called, a careful mother,

And wept for our refusals of his grace,

Wept for a world that, weary with its weeping,

Benumbed and stumbling, turns the other way,

Fatigued compassion is already sleeping

Whilst her worst nightmares stalk the light of day.

But we might waken yet, and face those fears,

If we could see ourselves through Jesus’ tears.

-Malcolm Guite

Will I Welcome Him? Sunday #HolyWeek

Palm Sunday

Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,

The seething holy city of my heart,

The saviour comes. But will I welcome him?

Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;

They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,

And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find

The challenge, the reversal he is bringing

Changes their tune. I know what lies behind

The surface flourish that so quickly fades;

Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,

The hardness of the heart, its barricades,

And at the core, the dreadful emptiness

Of a perverted temple. Jesus come

Break my resistance and make me your home.

-Malcolm Guite

John 12:12-16
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,


“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

A Hymn of Grateful Praise

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01552/sky2_1552774i.jpgFor the joy of ear and eye,

for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
For the joy of human love,

brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
For thy church, that evermore

lifteth holy hands above,
offering upon every shore
her pure sacrifice of love;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

DSC_0950For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

-Folliot S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)


How do you like them apples?

You know what
It is about TV?
You can turn it off,
“Click,” just like that!

You know what
It is about about doors?
You can close them,
“Slam,” just like that!

You know what
It is about people?
You can leave them,
Turn and walk, just like that!

You know what
It is about books?
You can quit them,
Close the covers, just like that!

You know what
It is about God?
You can’t do anything about him,
He’s there, just like that!

How do you like them apples?


Number ninety-two in God Is No Fool by Lois Cheney

(I’ve always loved this little book since I first discovered it while I was in college. Click the image for purchase info.)