Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pray For Peace by Ellen Bass

There is nothing I like much more than finding a really good poem.  It doesn’t happen that often.  Here’s a really good poem by Ellen Bass.

Pray for Peace  by Ellen Bass
Pray to whomever you kneel down to:
Jesus nailed to his wooden or plastic cross,
his suffering face bent to kiss you,
Buddha still under the bo tree in scorching heat,
Adonai, Allah. Raise your arms to Mary
that she may lay her palm on our brows,
to Shekhina, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
to Inanna in her stripped descent.

Then pray to the bus driver who takes you to work.
On the bus, pray for everyone riding that bus,
for everyone riding buses all over the world.
Drop some silver and pray.

Waiting in line for the movies, for the ATM,
for your latte and croissant, offer your plea.
Make your eating and drinking a supplication.
Make your slicing of carrots a holy act,
each translucent layer of the onion, a deeper prayer.

To Hawk or Wolf, or the Great Whale, pray.
Bow down to terriers and shepherds and Siamese cats.
Fields of artichokes and elegant strawberries.

Make the brushing of your hair
a prayer, every strand its own voice,
singing in the choir on your head.
As you wash your face, the water slipping
through your fingers, a prayer: Water,
softest thing on earth, gentleness
that wears away rock.

Making love, of course, is already prayer.
Skin, and open mouths worshipping that skin,
the fragile cases we are poured into.

If you’re hungry, pray. If you’re tired.
Pray to Gandhi and Dorothy Day.
Shakespeare. Sappho. Sojourner Truth.

When you walk to your car, to the mailbox,
to the video store, let each step
be a prayer that we all keep our legs,
that we do not blow off anyone else’s legs.
Or crush their skulls.
And if you are riding on a bicycle
or a skateboard, in a wheelchair, each revolution
of the wheels a prayer as the earth revolves:
less harm, less harm, less harm.

And as you work, typing with a new manicure,
a tiny palm tree painted on one pearlescent nail
or delivering soda or drawing good blood
into rubber-capped vials, writing on a blackboard
with yellow chalk, twirling pizzas–

With each breath in, take in the faith of those
who have believed when belief seemed foolish,
who persevered. With each breath out, cherish.

Pull weeds for peace, turn over in your sleep for peace,
feed the birds, each shiny seed
that spills onto the earth, another second of peace.
Wash your dishes, call your mother, drink wine.

Shovel leaves or snow or trash from your sidewalk.
Make a path. Fold a photo of a dead child
around your VISA card. Scoop your holy water
from the gutter. Gnaw your crust.
Mumble along like a crazy person, stumbling
your prayer through the streets.

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Quotes Worth Repeating: Teaching Creating Loving

“When you die, only three things will remain of you, since you will abandon all material things on the threshold of the otherworld:

what you have taught to others, what you have created with your hands and how much love you have spread.

So learn more and more in order to teach wise, long-lasting values.

Work more and more to leave the world things of great beauty.

And love, love, love people around you for the light of love heals everything.”

-Francois Bourillion-

Quotes Worth Repeating: Why poor Americans hate themselves

 

From Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, 1969:

“America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, “It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.” It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: “if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.

Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.”

A Spoonful of Sugar

This post is part of the May Synchroblog: Lighten Up: The Art of Laughter, Joy & Letting Go.  I’ll put the links to the other contributions at the end of this post as soon as they are available. 

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I’ll admit that I can take myself too seriously – so, in the spirit of lightening up for this month’s synchroblog I am going to share some movie clips that make fun of Christians because being able to laugh at oneself takes honesty and humility which is stuff that I always need more of.

Studies have even shown that people who laugh at themselves are more optimistic, more cheerful and healthier. 

Who knows – if we allow ourselves to laugh at the way we distort what it means to be a Christian we might even get a kick start in the spiritual transformation area. 

So, lighten up and laugh at yourself a little – it’s like taking a dose of humility with a spoonful of sugar.

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Did you ever see the movie Saved?  I remember when it came out and some Christian’s were upset.  My son, who was a teenager at the time, commented to me that he thought the movie did a good job of using humor and exaggeration to point out some common mistakes that Christians and Christian communities often make.  He actually made the remark “we should learn to laugh at ourselves”.  I ended up watching the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it … and thanks to my son’s wisdom I was able to laugh and that led to me being able to look at myself more honestly than I was accustomed to doing.      Here’s a trailer and a couple of great moments from the movie:

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Some of my favorite movies weren’t box office hits and The Good Girl is on my favorite list.  It’s a dark comedy about a depressed woman stuck in an abusive marriage.  She works at the local discount store, “Retail Rodeo”, with a bunch of funny misfits.  One of my favorite scenes is when the store’s goofy security guard invites Justine (the main character played by Jennifer Aniston) to come to the weekly bible study at his church.  “I like to keep my nights to myself,” she explains to him, as a polite way to decline his offer. “Well, maybe you’ll have night after night of eternal hellfire all to yourself,” he quickly responds and then, after pausing, adds, “just kidding you.”  The scene is in this trailer.  I hope you get a kick out of it.

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I think it would be impossible to make a list of movie moments that make fun of Christians without including Ricky Bobby’s prayer to Baby Jesus from Talladega Nights.  It is the perfect reminder that we all have a tendency to make Jesus into someone he isn’t.

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Now that wasn’t too painful was it?

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Here is a list of other synchrobloggers writing on the same topic this month: