Tuesday, June 28, 2005


when hear that word (even in writing), i think of jean-luc picard, his finger erect arcing through the air, and his confident directing of the enterprise on it's next voyage.

at our most recent choich i decided, we need to engage. decide to become a part. commit. just take the plunge. the body of Christ is imperfect, and i'm living proof.

then our friend began to teach bible study at our former choich. sigh.

the sojourn continues.

as i work at vbs, i realize how just participating in the work and activities of the church can open the door to relationship and commitment (at least on my part). but i'm still reading during sermons and bible studies. it is no one speaker in particular. and i'm not quite sure what it will take to get my attention (a commitment on my part perhaps) maybe i need to just leave the books at home.

i did that last week for vbs, and then a friend brought a book for me to read. lolita. so the last day i sat in my booth, reading.

i'm back at vbs and trying to help. praying for new mercies every morning. hoping to convey some bit of the Love of God to these kids (and the other adults there). but i have more questions than answers.

who knows, but i am certain it is not my part to figure it all out. but merely to engage.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


teach me to sing
with a voice
long silent
teach me to dance
with feet
teach me to play
with aged
teach me to laugh

teach me to hope
the dreams
long forgotten
teach me to trust
not recoil
in pain
teach me to sing
with a voice
long silent
teach me to laugh

perhaps one of the most beautiful sights i have ever seen is the field i pass on my way to town. such a goldenrod blanket of wildflowers as i had never spied before, nor will again i imagine. i thought about taking a picture of it, but knew it would pale in comparison, and i would want for the memory of golden fields seen once with waking eyes. these moments when the full color glory of the Lord is revealed to me are the ones which remind me the darkness has passed, day is come. all is well.

the field was plowed under and i could not help but mourn the beauty lost for another season. spring seems so far away and my eyes long for the goldenrod beauty they once glutted themselves on.

there is another field with great bales of hay, rounds of straw strewn among the golden blanket. but this field is situated in a pasture which backs up to homes and i cannot help but hear my heart lamenting the encroaching development. the fields lost to half-acre homes with manicured lawns and winding streets. sidewalks are nice, but they do not bloom in spring.

at my piano i sit and play. seldom do i sing. but the keys cry out a melody that lightens my heart and expresses the as yet, inexpressible longing for God. just as i am is the hymn of choice and it's words minister to me. as i labor to play it through without error i am reminded of my many flaws. of how late in life i've come to the piano and must with fumbling fingers and awkward time persevere.

every now and again i sing. but not the confident bellowing of my youth. but rather a subdued prayersong of worship. and i am reminded of the corn.

fields behind our home are planted with corn, some stick their kerneled heads high above the others. drinking in full sun. soon, those heads mature and are bowed down low with the great weight of their fruitfulness. perhaps that is where i am now. bowing, steeping under the weight of maturity. i cannot say. but hope has returned and i am alive again. back from the dead.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


i must confess, i have a great aversion to jocks.

my husband will tell you, i stop during a meal and ask, were you a jock? then eye our friends until they answer (holding my breath for the shock of a yes).

fortunately none have slipped in unawares (except my husband, but i love him).

but i am on the look out now.

i am realizing a similar aversion to scholars. not secular scholars (they don't bother me. i've noticed a very different/tolerant/winsomeness about the secular scholars i've studied under), but theologians. they are the jocks of the church to me. and i dislike them greatly(i'm trying to sin not). [NOTE: not all of them, i do know a few who are easy as sunday morning and i praise God for them and their words of correction and wisdom to me.]

when a woman (or a man for that matter) sits in a Bible study and says,
i'm not qualified to teach

i want to scream.

that particular exchange took place just a few weeks ago and i came home and went straight to my garden and watered, for about an hour, while i wept and prayed.

my frustration was the us and them of laypeople and theologians.

i don't like theologians taking the Bible captive and making women (or men) say things like i heard.

God is our heavenly Father. to be unable to communicate with Him, unable to convey His truths to others is essentially what i heard in that statement "i can't teach the Bible."

when i heard it i said,
the Bible was written for ignorant men

i have told my dear pastor friend repeatedly,
i am willing to BE that ignorant man
(i hope it means a bridge between the theologians and laymen)

it occurred to me today as i was vacuuming, the Bible was written BY ignorant men. fishermen, tax collectors. of course some theologian will tell me every jot and tiddle about the disciples and you know what, sadly, i don't really care.

i just want to know God. i don't want to know how old Peter was on the day he penned his letter. i don't want to know what he looked like, or what his favorite color was (i'm sure one of them has that figured out). interesting facts all, but none of them change my life or matter at all in my journey. i'm not a short bald man (so paul's ugliness matters not).

i don't want to know every nuance of the greek and hebrew, because the Spirit will lead me (and you) into all truth.

no scholar has a corner on the market of truth.

a man who cannot read or write can know God more intimately with more theological accuracy than a scholar (in my opinion).

but the one upsmanship in the church of who knows what, who can dialogue with whom about the subtleties of the Word (whose to say those are the Keys of the Kingdom? whose to say for certain any of their theologizing amounts to a hill of beans in God's take on things?). WHATEVER HAPPENED to the servant-leader. the warrior-king? i see a lot more pencil pushing than shepherding from my vantage point. a lot more strategizing and fraternizing than battling for the children of God.

you cannot say to me that because i don't know a dead language, or can't trace a word back to its origin that i can't get to God. no one can keep my from Him. not my lack of knowledge, not my lack of degrees. not nothing nohow never (that's a quad! and i stuck the landing).

so i'm tired of this separation between the scholars in chruch and the rest of us. there is no division in Christ Jesus. i'm glad you have your degrees and read difficult books which put me to sleep, but you're no better off in God's eyes, than i (or me).


(no jocks or theologians were hurt in the writing of this piece--intentionally that is).

Saturday, June 18, 2005

with fear and trembling

during the darkest days of the past four years, reading was a necessary diversion. it kept the mind off my life. it kept me contemplating things other than our seeming inevitable demise.

i was without book yesterday, by choice. one of the few times in the last four years i've gone out without my diversionary tactic.

writing reviews is a hobby, let's say. one i gladly and constantly pursue.

being a lover of roller coasters, fast rides, and anything that is not a large boat swinging ad nauseum, or deliberate plunging after rising to the height of a modest skyscraper. all other rides i enjoy.

i had hoped my girl would follow suit. but this was her first venture to six flags, and i knew to push too hard would result only in aversion. and i do want to groom a ride companion after all (since the hubby won't go on rides).

i spent the better part of the day in looney tunes usa, parked on a bench while she went on the teacups (which resembled shot glasses or oil barrels), the little swings, the bumpercars, and assorted train type rides, most of which my abundant derrier would not have enjoyed. this is one instance my being undertall was not an issue.

i used to love to watch people but seldom do i have the time or inclination to do that. bookless, my mind roamed through memories long gone. i noticed the streaking grey on the heads of others waiting for their little ones.

short hispanics, tall anglos, colorful african americans, the odd native american, men with blinding white legs all wandered by.

i remembered all the years my brave--now eighty plus year old--grandmother took us to disneyland. i remember weeping in line for space mountain and taking the chicken exit. sitting on benches with grandma until the older cousins and my sister appeared.

i have become my grandmother. and my mother. it seems. and i quite enjoy the role.

so many memories returned to me yesterday and i was present in the making of new memories with my girl.

it is worthwhile and perhaps ideal to block out pain, but in the blocking out of pain, one must try not to block out life. i've noticed my reluctance to let the books go. to return to a more natural contemplation.

but as i sat there at the end of a very long day wanting only to go to bed, i realized how i'm in the older set now. and i can check out from the pain completely (thereby checking out of relationship with family and friends) or i can choose to return to the engaged life (at a slower pace perhaps).

i've begun my return. hestiantly. cautiously. but alas, i've begun.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

art begets art

i've not felt inspired (or had the time) to write a poem in a great while. those are the times one wonders if the muse has left. if the gift, revoked. if the talent shriveled up and blown away like a dry leaf.

but then at long last, another poet comes along and shares their words. in this case a dear friend. and in our banter, she lights upon me again and a poem comes without warning. that is the gift of community.

for jon

on days like today
when i have
enough "to do"
for three
and i long
for tuesday
when the rush
and harrying
will be over
i am
may never

i must
take my fill
of pleasure

i must speak
my heart
to friends

for tuesday
may never

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

ms. perceived

my girl just spent a week at day camp.

she had a difficult time of it. for she was misperceived.

i grieved over the situation but managed to keep from swooping in to rescue her. i coached her, i listened as she lamented about the poor treatment. i watched and prayed as she struggled to understand why she was being treated ugly.

my brother in law takes issue with the way i use the word ugly. in our family we say, you're being ugly. don't be ugly. and things of that nature.

i like the way we use it because it is a transient descriptive not a curse.

so many times i've heard of so and so being ugly as a unatlerable fact. but it doesn't have to be.

so when i asked why people were being ugly, she replied, the first rule and the last rule of camp is HAVE FUN. "mom, i'm trying."

my heart ached for her. i wanted everyone there to know what a stellar child she is. how intellectual and kind. but no. they saw her as disobedient and whatever-else.

i heard their part of the story first, so figured she was ms. behavin'. when in fact, when i heard her part, i knew it was just a big fat misunderstanding.

we prayed. i had her apologize for any perceived misbehaviour and to commit to doing better at communicating. and off she went.

i began to think of all the christians who have come and gone in my life, misunderstood, misperceived, mistreated by my judgments of them. i began to feel how God must ache and grieve over His children being misperceived.

and i must repent. for all the times i chose to believe the worst about people.

i try to be a glass half full kind of gal, but it gets hard when people are cranky (or have chronic back pain).

some old dead guy said, be kind to one another, for each is fighting a great battle.

i need to be kind with those whose stories i don't know (and even those i know).

the more i learn, the less certain i become that i actually know anything.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


at a women's conference, a speaker said,
Jesus can handle difficult women.

then she moved on, never returning to the statement and never developing the thought. which was, to me, the most intriguing of the whole lot.

i've thought of it much over the years. as it soothes me. you see, i am a difficult woman. i've always been too outspoken, too honest, too loud, too rough around the edges, too impolite, too careless with my appearance, too barefoot, too whatever.

i used to care greatly that i be neither a stumbling block nor pariah.

i don't care so much anymore. i don't see my life as amounting to which groups i am "in" anymore.

i'd rather be lonely as a cloud and wander amongst the flowers, than be "in" if in means zero spiritual depth and intelligence. but there you go, i'm being difficult yet again.

i'd rather be silent as the grave, than politely chattering on mindlessly about nothing.

i'd rather speak of God, than anything else in the whole world, except maybe poetry.

but few and far between are those who delight in such topics. and they don't frequent my days, so i tend toward silence in crowds.

i find myself reading during bible studies, church, meetings, (they never have much to say, so why not get something from a book? you know it is bad when i can be reading a book AND interacting with the goings on of my bible study never missing a beat. sigh).

i find i don't care for church anymore. and it breaks my heart.

i have a friend who described one service at her Anglican Church where the priests bowed down on their knees before the cross. she detailed how she touched the feet of the crucifix and electricity passed between her and the image of Christ on the cross.

i no longer experience such things at church and i hate that more than anything.

not so much the experience of God (for He is with me always, and never am i wanting of His presence), but the communal nature of such exchanges in a corporate setting.

part of me knows i must commit to where i'm at and be a part of the church i drag my body to weekly. (we only go for sunday school. this is a great compromise from just dropping off our girl for her sunday school and reading in the parking lot. but am i getting any more out of it? no. not really.)

i do serve a bit in the church, once a month (i'm telling you this so you'll think better of me, i'm sure). but i'll say no more about that now. your approval is not my point.

see, i'm difficult.

Jesus can handle difficult women. Jesus can handle me. Jesus can handle you. hallelujah! we have hope, all!

so many times my mind goes to the samaritan woman at the well. approaching at an hour so as not to have to deal with the religious types. Jesus asks for a drink.
Sir, do you know what you ask?

of course He does.

He wants to draw her back into community.

i think of the leper who was shunned by all good "clean" community. and for good reason. no judgment there, they were just opting for ceremonial cleanliness. not something evil. however, they forgot about mercy.

so the leper walks up,
Jesus, heal me
and Jesus stretches out that holy hand and says,
Yes Beloved. I will not only heal you, I will restore you to community.

my heart cries out for this touch from the Saviour. my religous leprosy has kept me away from "good" fellowship for sometime now. it is high time i am healed.

how difficult that can be. but Jesus can handle it.

another difficult woman is the issue of blood lady. what a wreck she was, physically. she had spent everything trying to get well, and nothing. nada. zip. she wraps her unclean self so the "good" ceremonially clean community won't shun her, and she slips into the crowd. stretching out her hand, she feels the power shoot through her.

perhaps it was the same power my dear friend felt when she touched the crucifix. some would call that sacrilege but i don't box God in. He can do whatever He pleases.

someone touched Me.

the apostles, always difficult, say,
yeah. whatever, we're in a throng here Jesus. and you want to know who touched You?
i like the honesty of the Bible. showing me foolish men can be "in" with Jesus.

daughter, your faith has made you well.

He stretched out His hand (no doubt) and brought her back into community.

perhaps my difficulty then is not so much with the throngs about Jesus, as it is with my failing to reach out and touch His pierced feet.

perhaps the difficulty i face now is not the lack of community in my church, but my need of the great Mediator to come and restore me to community.

i will avoid the eyes of those who pry, until i see the Eyes that pierce my soul. and undoubtedly, He will reach out and restore me, once again, to community.