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My latest chapbook, Paper Snowflakes, is available from Southern Hum Press. Scroll down.
Jesus, the favorite Child of God, is persecuted. He who is poor, gentle, mourning; he who hungers and thirsts for uprightness; is merciful, pure of heart and a peacemaker is not welcome in this world. The Blessed One of God is a threat to the established order and a source of constant irritation to those who consider themselves the rulers of this world. Without his accusing anyone he is considered an accuser, without his condemning anyone he makes people feel guilty and ashamed, without his judging anyone those who see him feel judged. In their eyes, he cannot be tolerated and needs to be destroyed, because letting him be seems like a confession of guilt.
When we want to become like Jesus, we cannot expect always to be liked and admired. We have to be prepared to be rejected.
“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” – Henry W. Longfellow
“Be not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self- respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Maybe this will help explain why I refer to white people as racists or recovering racists. Recovering racists have left the past to join with African Americans to become a part of the future. We no longer bear guilt nor expend energy denying we had it. We listen – in the ‘sublime seas” where we study the works of black scholars and preachers who give us hope for the future and respect for all of God’s children - and return to those who look like us (skin just as white) but aren’t. We let them know they can become recovering racists, too.
Sound like a Christian conversion? It is. As Emerson says, It is the experience that explains.
Jesus, the Blessed Child of the Father, is a peacemaker. His peace doesn’t mean only absence of war. It is not simply harmony or equilibrium. His peace is the fullness of well-being, gratuitously given by God. Jesus says, “Peace I leave to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you” (John 14:27).
Peace is Shalom — well-being of mind, heart, and body, individually and communally. It can exist in the midst of a war-torn world, even in the midst of unresolved problems and increasing human conflicts. Jesus made that peace by giving his life for his brothers and sisters. This is no easy peace, but it is everlasting and it comes from God. Are we willing to give our lives in the service of peace?
A certain man had a leg removed.
That same man’s in a coma now
in a hospital room with a single feather,
lying unnoticed in its darkest corner.
He a crocus, yellow and asleep:
an albino rabbit, dozing in old snow.
Was this man hurt in the war?
Will he awaken to let praises roll
from a bloated tongue,
or die—straight from that coma—
now that the air has absorbed
a vapid symbolism?
first published in Left Facing Bird
Today I am living my poetry,
just as Val—living with Ruth—lives her fiction,
just as the fire burns in a wash tub
on the back porch. Never mind the house
is a hundred years old, the little burner over ninety.
Going to Pittsburgh is a dangerous move,
even without that cashier in Restaurant Depot
who wrapped her head in tin foil, saying,
“No aliens gonna’ get my brainwaves today.”
And I bet they didn’t. I’m home living my poetry,
while Val’s telling the truth, in that photos
are forthcoming but not of the fire. Damn Republicans,
little is left of your message. I can barely discern ican
from the rest of your rubbish. Better not mess with
the little engineer. She might sew you to her Aida cloth.
first published in Left Facing Bird
Sherry Chandler has one of most well-written blogs I know. She posts about politics, literature, family, nature, and just about anything else she wants to. She also does a bit of cat blogging.
Sherry is intelligent, educated, and witty. Check her out.
“… a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” — Thomas Jefferson
Do we really renounce ourselves and the world in order to find Christ, or do we renounce our alienated and false selves in order to choose our own deepest truth in choosing both the world and Christ at the same time? If the deepest ground of my being is love, then in that very love, and nowhere else, will I find myself, the world, and my brother and my sister in Christ. It is not a question of either-or but of all-in-one. It is not a matter of exclusivity and “purity” but of wholeness, wholeheartedness, unity, and of Meister Eckhart’s gleichheit (equality) which finds the same ground of love in everything.
Thomas Merton. Contemplation in A World of Action (New York: Doubleday & Company, 1973: 171.