Wednesday, April 30, 2008

5 Poets worth hearing...

In the beginning was the word and...
It brings...communion.
It's full of....Divinity.
Pregnant....with creation and a thousand dawns.
Ever is life.
An eternal light...that illuminates the souls of men.
A which you can see or become blind.
(A reshuffling of John 1:1-5)

Warning: These poets have something to say and they say it raw, earthy and from the street and its bloody, painful and in your face. Some of it is so deep that you might drown. I hope you do.

Suheir Hammad
We spent 4th of July in bed
Not Your Erotic, Not Your Exotic

Black Ice
Part One
Part Two

Oscar Brown
Children of Children
I Apologize

Def Jam

Taylor Mali
What Teachers Make

Sunday, April 27, 2008

More than a dog...

“The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.” - G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Czeslaw Milosz...

Well, well, well, after visiting 4 bookstore's poetry sections and coming up empty, I finally found Polish Poet Czeslaw Milosz's New and Collected Poems (1931-2001). I was stunned by one of his poems I posted on my WILD MAN site, so I had to get my hands on more of his work. I am not disappointed...I think I have found one of my favorite poets.

But one thing I did discover that pangs me deeply...there are four rows of Christian books at Hastings in the Valley and most of them couldn't lift the eyelid of a pubescent schoolboy at Victoria's Secret! And to Hastings shame, there is just a half of a shelf for poetry. And even the poetry that is on that shelf is suspect...I mean, since when is Tupac Shakur and Jewel more important to carry than Milosz? I mean common Spokane.

Does Poetry matter anymore? I believe it does. It's an art of the finest skill to cram all of heaven into a few words. It takes a sermonic alchemist of the highest order to transform a pile of ink into a phoenix of revelation with a simple linguistic nudge. Writing prose is like firing a shotgun...its hit and miss most of the time but poetry is like russian only takes one never know when it will fire but when it does its deadly.

You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul. --George Bernard Shaw, Back to Methuselah

I smell a whore...

I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues." "All the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality and the kings of the earth have had sex with her and become rich by the wealth of her sensuality." She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. (Revelations 18)

Condom wrappers, purple panties and surgical tube...strange items to find littered at the feet of a beautiful wooded grove. I guess devils and saints find such places perfect for solitude. I was reflecting on my walk through our little neighborhood forest today. In moments like these, I hear a "voice from heaven", a quiet call that is whispered in the cool breeze of the just awakened spring air. It speaks of a tragic emptiness that these unholy sacraments offer. A fleeting pleasure that tastes sweet to the tongue but ends with bitterness in the belly. A brief connection, but not of souls, only of genitals. A wild rush of chemical escape that becomes a noose around the will, not just the arm; a piercing of not only the skin but the spirit. An infusion of fire that kindles in the here and now and grows into a pyre of eternal smoke and flame. This is polluted ground that writhes and moans with twisted contortions of sensuality that lock its victims into a prison. The dirt here smells of sulfur. The gravel is pregnant with talons that prick the flesh like a double barbed hook...easily it goes in...but damned are they that try to pull it out.

"Come out of her" is a biblical sexual reference with all its potent imagery. A pleading as much as a warning, you can hear the desperation in the prophetic sigh. I feel it often walking and living among these homes, hovels and desecrated places, unholy altars to sensuality.

Man-made idols to the Great Whore.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How we get there...

"So when Jesus came, He found that he (Lazarus) had been in the tomb four days." -John 11:17

Jesus was slow.

In fact, one of the "ways" Jesus got things done in His ministry life was by "walking". Strange choice of transportation. You would think that the Messiah would have a 1 century Pope-Mobile or something. Wasn't there places to go, people to see, citiies to evangelize? What kind of admin assistants did He have for dead and dying people's sake?

Didn't he know that "night was coming" and "the time to work was almost gone?" Was walking really the best way to "maximize his ministry"? Are you telling me there wasn't a host of fine, Arabian horses around Palestine that He and his disciples could have used to gallop through Galilee, Judea and Samaria on a city reaching tour? Didn't He know that walking was really slow and not an efficient use of the really small amount of time He had on Earth. Was it really necessary to spread the kingdom via hitchhiking, boating and sightseeing?

Instead of strolling on lakes and riding donkeys and meandering along beaches, instead of hanging out in the country, mountain climbing and camping in the desert...couldn't He have travelled faster, farther and to more places along the famous Roman roads? The very roads that connected the then known world with unparalleled ease?

Walking isn't 'How" you should spread the good news of the Kingdom...not many people will hear it or be able to experience the ministry God gave Him to accomplish.

But to God walking is the means by which we get most things of value done. To God "how" we do something is more important than "what" we get done. It was the same then as today, the how isn't really important to most people...we just want to get something done. The means are justified, if the end is accomplished. We are less concerned about "who" we are, than "what" we do.

I think this is the message of Christ in walking, more than anything. I'm not saying we shouldn't do anything...I think we all long to accomplish much in this age and justice calls for it in the streets. But how we choose to engage that work in the streets is critical to the formation of our soul and the kind of community of faith we become. Jesus heard the call in the streets but according to his disciples He didn't even raise His voice in the streets. He chose to hide more than reveal, He spoke in parables instead of writing out His teaching in clear and concise pamphlets. He told people not to tell others about their miracles instead of sending them off on a "Go and Tell" evangelism campaign.

Yes, He walked...and sometimes people died because He took so long getting there.

His ways are so...not like ours.

I remember taking this picture on one of my canoe trips. I also remember the ski boats whizzing past me in a surge of water and ear splitting noise. I am sure it was fun...but I will never regret the steady, slow, meandering pace of my time in Upper Priest Lake. It was much slower for sure...but in that pace, I experienced life in a way that could only be felt. I came alive because I went slow.

I think less people would stay dead if more people walked like Jesus walked.

Slow is needed today...more than ever.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I wanted to change the world...

"When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town.
I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself,
and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself,
I could have made an impact on my family.
My family and I could have made an impact on our town.
Their impact could have changed the nation
and I could indeed have changed the world."
-By Unknown Monk, 1100 A.D.

One of the paths of thought I have been traveling upon lately is the dawning realization that I am facing 40 and many of the ideals that I have pushed towards for so much of my life are probably not going to be realized in the ways that I thought. This was brought home to me yesterday as I was watching my oldest son play drums and my daughter play electric guitar during both of our Sunday worship services. I remembered that for so many years as a youth pastor I had prayed for the Lord to send us great musicians to help us actually play the worship music we longed to hear live instead of on cd's as a youth church. As I was admiring Destiny filling in some sweet notes during the song...the thought occurred to me: We can pray for God to send us a great musician or He can grow a great musician from among us. Both would be a answer to that prayer...but one is far more rich, meaningful to me and rewarding to see...even if it takes longer than we would expect or always think we want. In the end, the Lord has answered that prayer but in a way that I didn't perceive He would.

Isn't that the whole message of the gospels...God coming and doing stuff in ways and with people who we wouldn't expect? I am realizing this "way" is more true than I can ever organize around, plan for or always facilitate...God is more like wind than I can comprehend (John 3).

In fact as a pastor, I am finding that in order to be a faithful and fruitful pastor, I have to be more of a "seer" or "prophet". They are people who spend more time listening and looking than anything else; but occasionally have something to say once those observations form into understanding. This isn't always the best or most accommodating to the current business world model that churches seem to morph towards. The end product is allusive. I find that I can't "change" much at all. I can't awaken desire, impart dreams, open eyes or instill love. I can't create community or eliminate poverty. I can't take back the land, or pull down fact, I am pretty weak, ignorant and clueless when it comes to figuring it all out.

The older I get the more content and free I am becoming to surrender my world conquering dreams to just simply be...a follower of Jesus.

“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community even if their intentions are ever so earnest.
But the person who loves those around them will create community.”
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I see two paths as a pastor before me...kind of like Jesus was offered at a lonely time in the desert. One is full of miracles, productivity, needs being met, people being fed. It holds a lot of's all about going up, getting higher, taking more ground, getting bigger, rising...all the way up to the pinnacle. It's a really visible place to climb towards. People know you, they call you, they invite you...they want you. But it ends in bowing to things, to people, to a way of life that causes you to lose your soul. You end up losing it all trying to gain it all. I tell you the is tempting, but it is a lie.

The bread is a won't fill you.
The pinnacle is a won't make you feel important.
The bowing is a won't get it all.

The truth is...hunger, insignificance and not having it the way.

I pray I will continue to choose it.

I'm the Wiz and nobody beats me...

Im the wizz!!

Thanks are in order to my dad for that awesome comment in the He-Man post. I appreciate it deeply. But I couldn't help but think of this clip from Seinfeld after reading all you said about me. I'm grateful for having a father in my life that is able to share so openly, lovingly and fact, you did such a great job, I just might have to include that selection of praise in my future Pulitzer Prize acceptance well as the Wiz King hat.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Steampunk Starwars

steampunk starwars.jpg

Muffin Tops...

When I saw this I thought of this Seinfeld episode....which was one of my favorite ones.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Colbert makes the dogs whine...

A couple days ago, I was watching the Colbert Report and in the opening of the show he was singing the national anthem with some music he joined the singer in song, Kona sat up and started whimpering. She clearly didn't approve of Colbert's singing, it was hilarious.

Too funny...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gay or Straight or...huh?

"Contradictions in evangelicalism are clear. Take divorce, for example, a sin Jesus spoke clearly about. The divorce rate of evangelical Christians now surpasses that of the rest of the population in the United States. Evangelicals are getting divorced and gay folks are wanting to get married and the religionists keep accusing homosexuals of destroying the family." -Quote from "Jesus For President" pg 233

We have a neighbor who is a transvestite. Not someone who you wonder about but the obviously man dressed as a women situation. This person usually is talking to himself and acting in a manner that unfortunately draws even more attention to him. I noticed this person walking down the street as our family was working in our yard Saturday. At first I was wondering about how Micah was going to react to seeing this person meandering down the sidewalk in a quite flamboyant way. I felt a tinge of disgust at first but then as he passed by a house on the other side of the street that changed. My disgust turned to concern as I saw a pack of bandana, shaved headed homies come strutting out of the house like wild west gunslingers through a saloon door. They were laughing and pointing at him and for a moment I wondered if they were going to do something violent to this person. There I stood frozen, in a split second I found myself on the verge of coming to the potential defense of this human peacock that was strutting down the street. My feelings went from judgment to compassion, it was an interesting flush of dichotomy. But the potential dance of death passed and everyone went their separate ways...just another afternoon on 5th Ave.

I wrestle at times with the way this world is changing....and my place as a loving disciple of Jesus within it. My community is confronting and challenging me to make room for more and more confused, broken, different, odd, offensive, newly defined cultural situations; that leave me with questions more than answers. It's often a confusing and vulnerable place to be. But love has a way of breaking in unlikely moments and showing that sometimes God has chosen the weak and foolish to confound the strong and the wise. This is a mystery indeed.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Christianized Militarism...

Jesus AR15.jpg
"Having found the atomic bomb, we have used it. We shall continue to use it...It is an awful responsibility which has come to us. We thank God that it (the atomic bomb) has come to us instead of to our ememies and we pray that he may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes." -President Harry Truman, after dropping the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Jan. 9th, 1945 (quote from Jesus for President)

I am currently reading "Jesus for President" and throughly enjoying the engaging and thought provoking material. I find the quote troubling as a follower of the Prince of Peace and the One who will eventually burn in fire every "warrior's boot used in battle ad every garment rolled in blood" (Isaiah 9:2-7). I encourage you to read the book if you find yourself struggling with where faith and politics merge.

Jesus a good sort of way.

One of the most moving moments to me in the movie "The Passion of the Christ" is when Peter denies Christ and the film captures that split second when the eyes of Jesus and Peter meet. It happens as Peter is mouthing the denial...and the Lord looks right at him. It's brutal. Last night I had something similar happen at our evening service. Someone before the service made a comment to someone about not doing something "retarded", it was a harmless statement that I heard and joked about how we wouldn't want to do anything labeled "retarded"...I was cleaning up before service and was more mumbling to myself than anything. I said I reflect now...about 3 times.

Then after the service started a man came in that I have never seen before in the neighborhood. He came up to me...looks me in the eye and says hello and then: "I AM RETARDED". It's one of those moments as you are caught eye to eye and you know you are busted. God's got your pulled the shortest straw. He explained to me how he had been to over 100 churches in Spokane and nobody talks to him. He shared how just because he is retarded that doens't mean he isn't going to heaven. He showed me his camera and explained how he likes to take pictures. He asked me if I thought retarded people were going to go to heaven. I felt like a shmuck. He said he was going to have to go catch his bus, asked for a bible and smiled a thousand times...shook my hand a bunch...talked to people during the service and expressed his enjoyment of the songs.

I gave him a cd of worship and he about had a melt down of joy. I felt it was an offering of penance in case this man was really Jesus or an angel sent to fill our sanctuary with the holy incense of BO, mess up our neatly structured flow with the whip of awkwardness, rebuke the pastor with a smile and leave in a whirlwind of divine visitation...all with a poloroid in his hand...I am sure to show me the picture of my "look" someday, when I meet Jesus.

Later someone made a comment after the service about needing to get some fans in the room because of the smell on Sundays...I agreed.

But now I wonder...if that isn't the smell of Jesus.

Friday, April 11, 2008

My head is hung in shame...

If you are white or want to understand "white culture" this site nails it perfectly...oh so sarcastically correct...we are pathetic. God have mercy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I saw...what I saw.

song by Sara Groves
This song is so moving to me, the lyrics are so deep, especially the last few, this messed me up. I've been wrestling with the weight of eternity lately and the realization that our days are so few.
"We will have all of eternity to boast about the victories won on the earth, but we have only a few hours left in which to win them ." -author unknown

Confusion, doubt and....false teaching.

So, then just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught...see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." -Colossians 2:6-8
I am currently engaged in a ongoing sermon series dealing with doubt's about the truth of Christianity and the Bible. After watching this video clip, I am reenergized about the necessity of helping seekers & believers understand the truth of God's word even more. I am not a fan of the "left behindish" flavor of the this clip, its melodramatic and painfully reminiscent of the old "Mark of the Beast" movies in the 80's. But even still, the false teaching the Oprah is presenting is alarming. Scripture warns of being led astray from Christ through men and women who reframe, reinvent, redress and repackage age old lies:
"Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost his connection with the Head (Christ)." -Colossians 2:18-19a

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

BSG Season 4...

I finally was able to watch my recorded season opener of twig fix was oh so delightfully satiated. The whole Baltar messiah thingy is weird, I wonder where they are going with this plot line. He prayed to the 'One true God" for a boy in the episode and he was healed. Of course the mixing of sexuality and spirituality is problematic...spirituality is now hot and sexy I guess. One of my problems with the show is the blatant sexism of only having pretty chicks being all over the Galatica not to mention the Cylon vixens. The obnoxious playing to the demographic is so juvenile. But other than that the show is a mature look at contemporary issues with great acting and amazing special effects. It's not a show for the kiddies or anyone who is not comfortable with PG-13 or almost R type movies the subject matter is adult in both intensity and life situations.

I exalt ME...

Oh sweet fancey Moses...this made me laugh. (Thanks Mary)

All Shall Be Restored

The grains shall be collected
from the thousand shores
to which they found their way,
and the boulder restored,
and the boulder itself replaced
in the cliff, and likewise
the cliff shall rise
or subside until the plate of earth
is without fissure. Restoration
knows no half measure. It will
not stop when the treasured and lost
bronze horse remounts the steps.
Even this horse will founder backward
to coin, cannon, and domestic pots,
which themselves shall bubble and
drain back to green veins in stone.
And every word written shall lift off
letter by letter, the backward text
read ever briefer, ever more antic
in its effort to insist that nothing
shall be lost.

(In loving memory of Jenny, LeeElla's grandmother who passed away this week)

Fly in my cup

fly cup.jpeg
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

What kind of day are you going to have, when you look down into your morning coffee and see a little fly swimming around? Ugh...

Jesus my boyfriend....?

Finally vindicated. This issue has gotten me in more hot water than almost any I have written about. Pointing out the over mothered church and the under fathered church is painful for most people, most who are women. The rub gets really raw when it comes to the language and theology of worship.

Artists are sensitive people, they often recoil with defensiveness at being held accountable for the content of their music. They fail to realize that worship isn't primarily about us, what we feel, what we want to say about God or how you may feel about the Lord. Worship as it relates to corporate singing is first and foremost about glorifying God. Worshipping Him for who He is and what He has done is the sweetest goal of worship. Helping people get their eyes, hearts and thinking off of themselves and onto the Lord. We want to lead people deeply into the heart of biblical theology through the arts. Christian spirituality has its place in the content of worship but our place must decrease and His place must increase as a general rule. The gospel involves us but the message is about Christ. Worship has navigated to far into the dangerously shallow waters of self and needs to steer back into the deep sea of God.

This is a humble journey that we all must be on. We grow in our understanding of God, the gospel, the Christian life and even in how and what we worship. I am not in favor of sterilizing all our human expression or ministry. I do not fear humanity...God is enfleshed in humanity by His own choice. We are not a disease that the church must continually sanitize like some over protective mother. The truth must be handled accurately as Paul taught Timothy. We must strive to express it as purely and honestly as possible with the amount of light we have. Stuff we write or sing or preach at one time of our lives is most likely going to be less mature in most ways as we reflect back later in life. I think that is a sign of growth. As a child we think as a child...when we become adults we must start thinking and believing like adults too. This is true about worship as well.

I appreciate Matt's humble and honest reflections...he is to be admired to admit and point out such things as one of the world's most influential worship leaders. The hard work of understanding the context of culture and being faithful to scripture is critical in any position of ministry. I wish more people were willing to undergo such a self examination for the sake of God's glory and the fruitfulness of reaching people who have not come to faith in Jesus. I am blessed to have a team of worship leaders who are on the hunt for such realities and are doing the hard work of presenting God focused worship that is accessible and honest for any heart. A balance indeed.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What a day...

Ok, the day starts with taking my car to the find out why the engine is running bad, the engine light is on and it wont go into a higher gear. Bingo...problem with hoses into radiator and transmission. Next...long convo with Micah's teacher, heavy, slightly challenging, emotionally draining...afternoon, big counseling session....emotionally draining. basement flood.JPGThen I receive frantic phone call from Christian at home, "Dad, there's two inches of sewage water in the basement!". Go home...yep the sewer pipe overflowed onto our basement floor...destroying everyhting that was sitting in the mess: 3 air conditionars, all our luggage, video games and system, keyboard, clothing items, Christians coat and various other little things. Call the plumber, he snakes it out but informs us that it appears that there is some "issue" in there that we will have to get a camera out her to find out what is going on. He leaves, with his $150 bucks...I slop up sewage for an hour or so...LeeElla cleans, mops and steam cleans the caprpets where poo feet walked through the house.You ever have one of those days that literally sucks and stinks? Yesterday ranks up there pretty high on my suck list.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Bloody pits on a snowy day...

Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear. Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty men. He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard. -2 Samuel 23:20-23

It can't be done. I've heard this often castrates vision and hamstrings dreamers. It's the same kind of small minded thinking that Jesus rebuked the disciples about when they couldn't drive out a devil that had tormented, terrorized and almost destroyed a helpless child in Mark 9:14-29. Matthew records that in the same private discussion, Jesus chastised them for "the littleness of their faith" (Matt. 17:19-21).

Small thinking is at the root of much of the stagnant, powerless, storyless christianity that plagues many churches and too many Christian's lives. We've got no guts! Where are the Benaiah's? Those vision driven men and women who will hunt down a lion and dare to face him even in a pit on a snowy day! Not the most opportune situation I would imagine. Not great odds, not very sensible, thought out, wise or leveraged to his advantage. But there is a madness common to those who dare to follow God. Yes, an illogical bravery that teeters on insanity that leads them into bloody pits on a snowy day. What comes over a man to put everything on the line? What stirs in his blood to awaken him to risk everything for the chance to gain something that can only be grasped by those willing to lose it all?

The older you get, the more comfortable churches become...this spirit is often driven out by those who have forgotten the lure of such exploits. Neurological studies have shown that over the course of time, there is a cognitive shift from right-brain to left-brain. And if we don't find a way to stop the shift, memory overtakes imagination. We stop creating the future and start repeating the past. We stop innovating and start imitating. We stop doing ministry out of imagination and start doing ministry out of memory.

Other's mumble about not being called...

"Not called!" did you say?
"Not heard the call." I think you should say.
Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face...whose mercy you have professed to obey...and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world. -William Booth

The times call for wildmen and women who will venture out of the cocoons of complacency and risk what they can not keep to gain what they can not lose.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Yah...that's what I thought.

NPR talked to scientists who say that the benefits of drinking tons of water are overrated, and that you don't need to carry a water bottle for a stroll around the park -- "Just drink when you're thirsty."

Myth No. 1: Drink Eight Glasses Each Day
Scientists say there's no clear health benefit to chugging or even sipping water all day. So where does the standard advice of drinking eight glasses each day come from? "Nobody really knows," says Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney expert at the University of Pennsylvania.

Myth No. 2: Drinking Lots of Water Helps Clear Out Toxins
The kidneys filter toxins from our bloodstreams. Then the toxins clear through the urine. The question is, does drinking extra water each day improve the function of the kidneys?
"No," says Goldfarb. "In fact, drinking large amounts of water surprisingly tends to reduce the kidney's ability to function as a filter. It's a subtle decline, but definite." (Boing Boing)





Look out Elvis & Billy...

rock stars....JPG
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

I didn't think I would get a rock star when we named our daughter...Destiny.

Billy Collins: The Trouble with Poetry

The trouble with poetry, I realized
as I walked along a beach one night --
cold Florida sand under my bare feet,
a show of stars in the sky --

the trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry,
more guppies crowding the fish tank,
more baby rabbits
hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass.

And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world,

and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks.

Poetry fills me with joy
and I rise like a feather in the wind.
Poetry fills me with sorrow
and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.

But mostly poetry fills me
with the urge to write poetry,
to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame
to appear at the tip of my pencil.

And along with that, the longing to steal,
to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.

And what an unmerry band of thieves we are,
cut-purses, common shoplifters,
I thought to myself
as a cold wave swirled around my feet
and the lighthouse moved its megaphone over the sea,
which is an image I stole directly
from Lawrence Ferlinghetti --
to be perfectly honest for a moment --

the bicycling poet of San Francisco
whose little amusement park of a book
I carried in a side pocket of my uniform
up and down the treacherous halls of high school.

(pic from Steve)

The Country

The Country by Billy Collins

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


I watched "Appleseed Ex Machina" last week not realizing that there was a first one called "Appleseed". I watched it this last weekend while all my family was in Oregon, making my movie catch up marathon a total of 5.5 movies. I tried to watch Casshern but it just didn't catch me and I found myself not wanting to loose precious movie time on a flick I didn't like too much, so I ejected it. Appleseed was great, this one and its sequel are in my top more mature animation films. Titan A.E is another of my faves. I also enjoyed "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within"and Steamboy.


-Billy Collins "Budapest"
A great illumination to the process and joy of writing.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April is when Erato speaks...

"It is time to experiment, time to leave the well-ordered but stuffy classroom, time to restore a vulgar vitality to poetry and unleash the energy now trapped in the subculture. There is nothing to lose. Society has already told us that poetry is dead. Let's build a funeral pyre out of the desiccated conventions piled around us and watch the ancient, spangle-feathered, unkillable phoenix rise from the ashes." -Dana Gioia

As I sat in my makeshift art studio the other day...I wrestled with the challenge and sometimes guilt I feel being an artist and a pastor. It takes time to be an artist...scribbles, countless hours writing, still born sketches, used paint, brushes, paper, canvas...oh the expense. Sometimes it feels vain. But then I remember and or see the apparent waste of beauty all around me and realize God is just as condemned as I.

One of the dreams I have had as a artist and a pastor has always been to plant a Church, a Christian community that an artist could live among and in. Help restore the wonders of expression in all her forms in our telling of the greatest tale to be told. A house with open windows where Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia and Urania could be once again experienced in their humble place under the altar. Oh, lets not allow them to ascend above the altar ...but instead be incarnated as simple offerings to be laid upon it.

As national Poetry month commences...I pray that the Lord will stir the blood of the poets to let loose their finely worded blades; severing the serpent entwined woman's head, whose gaze has silenced too many voices. Indeed, way too many hearts have turned to cold, dreamless stone but I hope you know that poetry can turn stone to flesh again and again. It has mine.