Does Beauty Walk Within You?

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Does Beauty walk within you

Just beneath your skin?

Does it warm your breath

In the icy air

When your heart is quick with fear?

Do the scars of your living

Protect your tender dreams?

 

We need courage in this ugly world

And beauty within each breast.

Broken branches can grow strong again

As they shelter from the storm.

Sing with joy

Let your Beauty shine

Despite the glare of hate

Let it bloom like truth

The power within

Will never let you go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does the Sun

 

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Does the sun burn your skin

And the ocean freeze your bones?

Does the icy wind make you shiver

While the hot spring turns you red?

Come with me

There is a land

Where warm breezes blow

And gentle waves

Rock us into dreams.

Even the sun sleeps

And the tide is always turning.

 

Thicker than Air

 

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Thicker than air

The water flows

Through our blood

Washing our brains

Clean again and new

Holding these poor bodies

Sacred in the pumping rhythm

Of our hearts

Drink the water

Immerse yourself

In gladness

Entering the Water

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It is almost time

To enter the water

A sweet baptism of bliss

Floating weightless

In a liquid world

No drought here

No war

No crazy politicians

Dive deep

Your soul awaits some soothing

Within the water

Bundle it Up

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I would be a fool

To never say

That sometimes I’d like

To bundle it up

And put it away

They say and its true

Trouble don’t last always

But it lasts way too long

And its getting me down

The news cycle swarms

Into my brain

Panic and hatred

Fear and disgust

I’ll close up the paper

Turn off my screen

Look at my lover

And dream the good dreams

 

 

Easter

An easter Poem from several years ago

Sermons, Poetry, and Other Musings

easter stone

What an effort it must have been

To climb down from that cross

So many centuries ago

They thought you were dead forever

It certainly looked like that

You’d prayed your last prayer

Healed your last leper

Driven out your last demon.

They even buried you.

It must have felt so good

To lay your head down

The funeral cloths were soft.

The darkness was comforting

So weary you were

Tired, hurt, bleeding.

You’d seen so much

Suffered so much

Done so much

What harm could it do

To give into rest

For a few days

It must have been hard

To hear the weeping

Of those who had loved you

Of those who had betrayed you

The stone was heavy

But you had to push it aside

Rolling away defeat

Banishing hopelessness

Overcoming fear.

What an effort it must have taken

To come back not knowing

What people would…

View original post 48 more words

Just Wondering

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I am wondering why there is so much outrage about the long lines to vote in Arizona from Sanders supporters while there is virtual silence about the long lines for the Democratic caucuses in Utah.  Voter suppression is a terrible thing and we have seen it for a long time in many parts of the country and it almost always targeted at people of color.  Working class people of any race can’t usually give up a half a day to stand in line to cast a ballot, so when lines are long only the more privileged among us can afford to vote.  People with disabilities and the elderly also are more likely to just give up and go home than are the young, especially if they are both enthusiastic and  able-bodied.

Sanders won Utah and lost Arizona.

I think he would have lost Arizona had there been no lines, and I also suspect he would not have won Utah with as high a margin if the process there was less arduous.

Clinton has routinely tended to do much better with both older and minority voters whereas Sanders strength is primarily with young white voters , quite arguably a population relatively able to wait out a long line to vote.

If we look at the demographics of the two states, the election results make a lot of sense.  Utah has a very young population, because of their much higher than average birthrate, and it is a very white state.  Arizona is much more diverse and is a well know retirement destination.   These facts are reflected in their census data. *

Only 10% of Utah’s population is age 65+, while 16% of Arizona’s population is in that age group.  The median age in 2010 was 34.2 for Arizona and 29.2 for Utah.

Utah is also one of the whitest states, with 80% of its population listed as non-Hispanic white.  In Arizona that percentage is only 60%.

Given all of this, I am wondering why anyone thinks the results were somehow rigged.  They are exactly what was expected.  Please chill out.  Vote for the candidate you like the best, but it is time to lose the conspiracy theories.  They are frankly just silly. And, friends, please remember that they are both pretty red states anyway.

 

*census data

 

 

Spring Comes in Despite

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Spring comes in despite our fears

Flowers bloom in the dank soil of despair

The bloody streets and schoolyards,

Washed by a mother’s tears,

Reflect the sun on a dawning day.

 

We hear the voices of hate

The politics of greed

Anger pounding away at love

While children live in fear.

 

Don’t build the walls

Let the refugees in

Let our hearts open like the bud

So spring can come

To this troubled world.

 

A Pastor for Hillary

Sometimes you get to say just what you think….

Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate In New Hampshire

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Partisan politics was something I stayed far away from when I was serving a parish.  Aside from the need to retain the congregation’s tax exempt status, it also just felt wrong to be telling people that looked up to me as their pastor how to vote.  Ministers’s voices and opinions can carry a lot of weight with their congregants.  I may be on the heavy side, but I don’t like throwing my weight around that way.

I am not serving a congregation currently, however.

If I serve as a parish minister again, I will again stay away from obviously partisan positions while still advocating for compassion and justice.  Being anti-racist, for instance,  should be something we all are working on; it is something our faith demands of us.  Caring for the poor, the homeless, providing a healthy environment for our children and ourselves (which includes clean water and air) , welcoming the refugee, providing jobs that pay a living wage, should not be considered controversial among people of faith.  Individuals and groups can disagree about methods and strategies, but the goal of all political parties should be to insure a decent, peaceful, free, and prosperous life for all of our citizens and ultimately, for all the people in the world.

I have said most of the above from the pulpit and will do so again when I get opportunities to preach.

Now, however, not having parish ties, I can say publicly that I think Hilary Clinton is the candidate that is most likely to move us forward at this particular time in history. 

I like Clinton for some of the same reasons that other people heap criticisms on her head.

  • She has changed her mind over time about a lot of things.  All politicians do this.  All people do this, at least they do if they aren’t fossilized. Changing opinions and positions doesn’t mean Clinton is dishonest, quite the opposite is true in fact.  It means she is capable of listening and learning.
  • She has strong convictions, but doesn’t seem to particularly self-righteous about them.  Contrast this with Bernie Sanders or (shudder) Ted Cruz.  Cruz is clearly a zealot, a true believer,  and he is even scarier than Trump for that reason.  I am not as sure that Sanders is a true zealot, but he sounds like one when he talks. Clinton doesn’t. There is some humility in evidence.  Obama has some humility too, which has been refreshing and real.  Only Clinton of the current candidates exhibits any humility at all.  No one knows everything.  It would be best to have a leader that understands that.
  • She’s practical and willing to make some compromises.  I think that is a good thing.  Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good.  Obama compromised on health care and we have something much better than we would have had otherwise – which was nothing.  It is not perfect, single payer, medicare for all,  would have been better, but it just wasn’t possible.  Sanders now wants to throw it out and just start over.  That is exactly what the Republicans want too. We could easily end up with nothing.
  • She has the experience.  She is in fact more qualified to be president than any other candidate in my memory.  She has been part of the system and knows it well.  I think that is a huge advantage and not an indictment as some seem to believe.
  • She supports Obama and pledges to continue his policies.  I love having Obama as our president.  I love all that he has been able to accomplish despite the huge and racist opposition he has faced. I also love what Clinton has been able to accomplish despite the huge and sexist opposition she has faced. I think she will do even more as president.
  • Obama, as our first African American president, just by being who he is, has done so much to enlarge the vision of what is possible for our young people, especially our young people of color.  I’d like to see what a female president, just by being who she is, can do to enlarge the vision of what is possible for our young women, including our young women of color.

 

One last comment:  the recent debates between Sanders and Clinton were what helped push me more firmly toward Clinton.  Sanders repeatedly used his white male privilege during those debates, reacting grumpily every time Clinton interrupted him while arrogantly speaking over her many times.  I do not remember any of that going on when Clinton debated Obama, perhaps because both were aware of and sensitive to the racial and gender dynamics of the situation.  Sanders seems simply clueless of any such dynamic at all.  We don’t need any more clueless leaders.  We have plenty of Republicans to provide that perspective.  The two photos above and below demonstrate what I am talking about.  Clinton mainly uses open-handed gestures directed to the audience.  Sanders mainly points and he directs many of his gestures toward Clinton.  Body language speaks volumes.  Someone should tell Sanders to clean up his act.  Maybe he can learn and grow.

Dem 2016 Debate

(AP Photo/Mic Smith)

 

Anger

brittle as dry twigs

the angry words crack out

splintering the silence

the peace

wait I say

it’s not that bad

hold on to the hope

please

for the rains may yet come

even to this parched forest

together we may sip

once more the sweet dew

of friendship

if not

there is more than one way

through the woods

I will wish you well

on your journey

 

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