Category Archives: Poetry

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I wrote a little poetry inspired by “How Not To Speak Of God” by Pete Rollins.  I hope the poem peaks your interest enough to make you get the book and read it.

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We have our divine explanations,

To explain our personal revelations,

Which reveal our very spiritual foundations,

That can get us out of all kinds of situations.

 

We simply love our theological musings,

That provide us with the perfect solutions,

In order that we may tie everything up nice and neat,

With our final resolutions.

 

We adore our idolatrous clarifications,

And really enjoy pondering our philosophical representations,

While we bow down before our conceptual creations,

And worship what we conjure up in our holy imaginations.

 

We don’t really want to think about all the inconsistencies,

And most certainly not about the baffling mysteries,

Of all his mind blowing conflicting identities,

Because we like to believe we understand all the intracies.

 

We reduce him to a reflection of human rationality,

Never owning up to our finitude or inability,

Refusing to face the obvious inaccessibility,

Because we don’t want to admit the utter impossibility.

 

We feel better if we believe our doubts and uncertainty,

Are just a stop on the way to spiritual maturity,

We like to babble on and on assuredly,

About comprehending atonement and heavenly eternity.

 

Our religion has become a science that places God within a realm of reason,

As if we could predict his coming and going the way we do a season,

We know and our knowledge just keeps increasing,

After all, being right is just so damn pleasing.

 

Now I’m not saying we should abandon our exploration,

Remaining silent doesn’t equal ending the conversation,

Transformative silence is a sacred and subversive vocation,

I mean, think about it – if it’s about God, should it be a 3 point presentation???

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We Had Him by Maya Angelou – For Michael

As a young girl I roller skated around the skating rink on Friday nights with the colored lights spinning slowly while “I’ll Be There” played so loud that you couldn’t hear your own voice singing along and later I sat in video bars and stared in awe at the tv screens while the “Thriller” and “Billie Jean” videos were played.  I’m sad at the passing of Michael Jackson – sad that his life ended so suddenly and because it seems as if it ended before it was finished.  I loved the poem that Maya Angelou wrote in his honor that was read at the Staples memorial and so I wanted to share it here.

 

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We Had Him by Maya Angelou

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing

Now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace

Sing our songs among the stars and and walk our dances across the face of the moon

In the instant we learn that Michael is gone we know nothing

No clocks can tell our time and noo oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone

Piercingly alone

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him

He came to us from the Creator, trailing creativity in abundance

Despite the anguish of life he was sheathed in mother love and family love and survived and did not more than that

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style

We had him

Whether we knew who he was or did not know, he was our’s and we were his

We had him

Beautiful, delighting our eyes

His raked his hat aslant over his brow and took a pose on his toes for all of us and we laughed and stomped our feet for him

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing

He gave us all he had been given

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana’s Blackstar Square, in Johannesburg, in Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama and Birmingham England, we are missing Michael Jackson

But we do know we had him

And we are the world.

It was almost enough to make me stop believing.

In 44 communities across the U.S., teenagers are competing for a spot on their regional teams in order to compete in Washington DC at the National Slam Poetry championship called Brave New Voices. Russell Simmons’ Brave New Voices is a new seven-part HBO series documenting the stories of six competing teams.

Last night I saw some of the HBO special “Brave New Voices” and I was inspired to give slam poetry a try.

Slam poetry is typically intended to be heard instead of read so I have recorded an audio version of my poem in addition to including the written version.

It was almost enough to make me stop believing

Defacto segregations

Emotional manipulations

Personal salvations

ALL the proclamations

I had taken the bait

Walked through the narrow gate

Learned what to hate

Was certain of my eternal fate

I could spew the roman road, so proud so bold, part of the fold, believed what I was told

 I’m in – you’re out – no doubt what I’m talking about

I know – I’m right – I’m the one walking in the light

You lose – I win – come on I’ll point out your sin

Prostituting every opportunity

Wanting to be the supermajority

Working to oppress homosexuality

Don’t forget about being offended by profanity

Let’s hang out in our Christian bubble

Let’s try to stay out of trouble

Don’t wander away from the holy huddle

Forget about conversation – debate for domination – practice your presentation – and talk about eternal damnation

Pick a verse to justify being chauvinistic,

Deny it when they say you are legalistic,

Preach a gospel that is individualistic,

Forget that it seems a little imperialistic.

Don’t question the authority, know what’s a priority, don’t worry about the minority, that’s our expository

The Christianization – the dehumanization.

The demonstration – the incorporation.

Made me start to question

What about the brotherly love – the justice that was spoken of –

the one we were in awe of – the mercy they talked of

Didn’t they get the memoranda that we were supposed to love with no agenda

Didn’t they notice the lack of transformation – the absence of civil conversation

Weren’t we supposed to be known by our fruits instead of our refutes

Weren’t we supposed to make the world a better place full of love and hope and grace

Where was the creativity – the spirit of generosity – the chance for serendipity –

Thank God I broke free

Cause it was almost enough to make me stop believing.