Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shadows of the Nativity.

By Keith Patman (©1980)

Was it a cold awakening Christmas morning
In a wooden trough,
In spite of straw and swaddling clothes and angel songs?
That was not to be the last time you’d be laid upon the wood
(There were Herods, Judases from the start
Among the stars and shepherds).
And did they smile, those simple folk,
And kiss your tiny hands and weep delight?
They’d touch those hands again someday,
Believing you through cracks and scars.
Then oh! the million Christmas mornings
When you’d lie, a babe again,
Beneath a million million trees
And hear the countless tongues chanting your name.
And oh! the white snow on black shingles
Where icy crystals capture windows
And fires glow and mistletoe is wreathed and strung.
But ah . . . will they remember crimson
Dripping from the iron nails
And will they pray and will they know
A whiter white than

[from the album Centerpoint, by Jeff Johnson]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For Your Meditation and Edification.

"Mary's Song"
by Lucy Shaw

Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest.....
you who have had so far
to come.) Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled
a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.

His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world.
Charmed by dove's voices, the whisper of straw,
he dreams,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed
who overflowed all skies,
all years.

Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught that I might be free,
blind in my womb to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth
for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From the Things-That-Seem-Too-Good-To-Be-True-But-Are-True-Anyway Dept.

Who doesn't love a good 20 minute prog rock epic, with great Hammond organ, fat guitar tones, and cool vocals and harmonies? (The correct answer, of course, is: "no one".)

Who cares if the band is Norwegian, and their English is good-but-not-perfect? (Once again, the correct answer is: "no one".)

Who wouldn't find their life greatly improved (dare I say, blessed, even?) for having such a wonderful piece of musical magicality in their possession ‒ especially if it's FREE??? (Yet again, the correct answer is: "no one".)

So go to the following link, and partake of this bounty of prognificent profundity. (The song is called "Change".) Trust me. It is good ‒ it is very good.

Oh, and while you're there, you might as well grab the song "Pointless Masquerade", too. It's from their second album and is also offered as a FREE download (I know, I did that same high-pitched girlie squeal, too!). It only clocks in at 8:59, but don't let it's relative brevity dissuade you.

Go to

So go get them. Both of them. NOW!!! And PLAY THEM LOUD!!!! And if they don't make you smile, and want to jump and dance around the room, then you're probably going to hell or something (hey, I don't make the rules).

Did I mention that the band is called Magic Pie? This is good pie.
Bon appétit!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Remember...

I remember people thinking that Jimmy Carter would be a great President because he was a born-again Christian.

I remember people wringing their hands in despair, convinced that Ronald Reagan would get us into World War III.

I remember people thinking that George H. W. Bush would not raise taxes.

I remember people thinking that Bill Clinton would neither balance the budget, nor pursue welfare reform.

I remember people believing that George W. Bush would reign in big government, and be fiscally conservative.

It's both funny and sad how often people fail to meet expectations (whether good or bad), but that's what happens when you put too much confidence in flawed, fallen human beings.

Why do people expect more from their government than they do from their friends, their neighbors, or their selves? We want a government that is fiscally responsible – but, too often, we are not fiscally responsible ourselves. We want honesty and integrity in our elected officials, but we often don't exhibit those virtues in our own lives. Elected officials are generally a reflection of the people who elected them. In other words: we get the government we deserve (even if we don't vote).

It's as if Christians in America have developed spiritual dyslexia. Jesus said to "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s." But the excessive pessimism and optimism, about exactly how President Obama will govern, seem to indicate that far too many professed Christians are rendering unto Caesar the things that are God's – namely, the faith that our ultimate prosperity or poverty are dependent on government legislation.

I'm not saying that getting involved in politics (or social causes) is pointless or wrong. But if you find yourself in a state of hopelessness or despair, because your candidate didn't win – or just the opposite, because your's did – then perhaps your political or social cause has become your religion.

Whether he is a success or a failure as Commander-in-Chief, only time will tell. But one thing is certain: he's neither the Messiah, nor the Anti-Christ. And those who think he's one or the other are bound to be disappointed, either way.