You are the one! (2 Samuel 12)

Somebody find a prophet to tell a parable
about two countries –
one rich and one poor.

The rich country had many times
hosted the Olympics
but Rio de Janeiro
threw a brave and beautiful party
this first time
and was so proud of it,
celebrated for global generosity,
and even through hard times
brought welcome to all.

A hooligan from the rich country,
was so puffed up by twelve crowns,
he thought
it gave him and his friends the right
to urinate on that party
and vandalize property,
to tell lies, buy their way out
of consequences, run away,

and apologize so slightly
it is as if all the rest of the world
is meant for
ewe-lamb-taking, mockery
and defacing.

To be perfectly honest –
they might have behaved the same way,
drunk, in the middle of the night
in an American gas station —

doubly shame on us
for we are their teachers,
and we never muster
an ounce of Nathan among us all.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Distilled Hope

I was so touched by these words.

Visionarie kindness

Friday Aug 192016 004

The evening and the morning, are one and the same-

beckoning my loins to pray.

And yet a little while – our bodies exude a mist of metaphysical liberation

with limits because we have forgotten our tongues, uttering the essence of being.

My knees are wrapped in the riverbeds in the east

stroked by lightning, caressed by thunder, the angel passes by

I’m encouraged to believe these storms aren’t man-made.

The old men on corners, the children refused to play.

And yet for a little while, I beseech the one who made the skies.

The one who transforms rain to fire.

The one who gives inspiration.

The one who plants cellular bones in the womb.

The one who knows the seven wonders of the earth.

It’s the only one who listens when I pray….

View original post

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Go to the ant … poem from South Africa

From the remarkable poet Isobel DeGruchy of South Africa. This personal zoo comes
from her 2010 book From Well and from Woe.

Isobel Degruchy

Isobel Degruchy

Go to the Ant…

The ant is always hurrying from place to place,
appearing industrious;
I am the ant.

The squirrel gathers food and stores it,
sometimes forgetting the place;
I am the squirrel.

The mouse tries to be invisible,
avoiding the eyes of others;
I am the mouse.

The buck will not fight,
but flees when she takes fright;
I am the buck.

The hyena lives off what others
have exerted themselves to obtain;
I am the hyena.

The cat pretends to be obedient,
while really doing what she wants;
I am the cat.

The hybrid flower will spend hours,
producing something beautiful,
that has lost its usefulness;
I am the flower.

The weaver-bird’s wife is always critical
of what the weaver-bird weaves;
I am the weaver-bird’s wife.

The fiscal shrike prefers to hunt alone,
she does not like others around;
I am the shrike.

The snail takes her time to follow her way,
and quickly withdraws from disturbances;
I am the snail.

The goat will be on the wrong side of the divide,
come Judgement Day;
Am I the goat?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Not a children’s story with zoo animals

What that long-ago rainbow meant
was that now
we are all called to be Noah
in our neighbor’s flood.

We are the boat-builders
of rescue for the frightened,
care for the homeless
and advocacy that does not cease

for all the damage being done
to the earth and its climate.

Look – the waters are rising
in Louisiana,
as they have in Wisconsin, New Jersey,
Maryland, Texas, West Virginia,

and the only ark is the love
we share –
with everyone who is living
where the water rises,

and our willingness to shape a future
where doves find a branch.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Wherever you are bent on your journey

Psalm 126:2a Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy. Luke 13:13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.

Prayer
God, I laugh and I move through my arthritis,
I laugh and I decrease my stress.
I laugh and my mind is clearer –
no, I don’t remember everyone,
but I remember
how people who love me make me feel.

I laugh and I relax in chemo or dialysis.
I laugh and I feel control over my chronic pain.
I laugh and I boost my immune system.
I laugh and I do not need to self-harm
to think about fentanyl, a drink, a bet.

God, I laugh and somebody believes
my faith is full of joy,
and one day that I will never see
slides into the back of a church.

I laugh and I have the energy for one more
letter, email, meeting for justice.

God, I listen to someone else’s laughter
and my grief eases just a little.
I see the humor in squirrel’s antics,
or my hat-hair or a cartoon strip —
then my next choice of words are kind ones.

Teach me to laugh, God
who made aardvarks and adolescence.
place your hands on the bent place,
turn my wrinkles up,
and open my heart —

for I am ready to praise God. Amen

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

Reflection on Luke 13: 10-17

So here is my favorite
transgender story of all time —
and I don’t suppose you can tell
whether the one bending over
was someone everyone saw as a man
bent over the woman inside,
or the bowed shape of a woman
crouching for years over
the little boy she knew
himself to be …
the youth, the bearded man.

We readers of Luke
are never told whether the person
in the synagogue,
who had for eighteen years
looked at feet that wanted to run away
was dressed with or against
the deeper truth, but we know

that Jesus saw the stenosis of the soul
and called and touched and healed.

We also know it made people angry,
because it is so easy
to argue for more waiting
when it is someone else’s bondage,
bathroom or blessing,
and some people are convinced
that God needs their advice
in defining — “standing up straight.”

And, as Jesus had
the sheer sarcastic sabbath
to point out —
many have an easier time
with rescue at the animal shelter
(which in our day
has more dogs than donkeys)

than rejoicing when any queer person
praises God!

The book I co-authored with Leanne McCall Tigert, Transgendering Faith — Identity, Sexuality and Spirituality (Pilgrim, 2004), has a series of ten bible studies — each with text and five questions chosen to highlight issues facing trans members of congregations or congregations seeking to reach out to transgender people. Each session also asks questions that invite all participants to share personally rather than just “discuss issues.” (For example, in studying Psalm 139 everyone is asked: “Have you ever tried to run away from God?”) If you are interested in these bible studies please contact me through giftsinopenhands@gmail.com and give me an email address to send you a copy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

A confession — stifling imagination

Prayer of Confession

God we confess that we stifle our imaginations
and the imaginations of others:

We value productivity over prayer,
personal training over play.

We become addicted to the gifts of technology
and choke daydreaming hours with app and twitter.

We boast of our busy retirements, organize our vacations,
and are embarrassed by our hobbies.

We do not walk the beach without a pedometer or
stay up for the Perseids without a camera.

We remove art and music and theatre from schools,
handing our children snake-education
when they want to fish for possibilities.

We ignore slashed subsidies to artists and programs
that nurture economically diverse audiences.

We stop going to museums; we leave singing to the choir,
and watercolor, poems and fanfic to the talented …
and children are learning from us.

Heal us, hope us, help us when we shrivel all our horizons. Amen.

*Assurance of Grace

God who rebukes images when they become graven and sent Jesus with the time-wasting riddles we call parables, challenges us. Forgiveness is possible and the Perseids can be seen tonight.

NASA, public domain

NASA, public domain

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment