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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.
“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
Hat tip: Hope Clark
I made Silliman’s blog. Twice actually. May 29, 2009. (scroll down)
My interview with Nic Sebastian of Very Like a Whale is linked on Silliman’s Blog.
Thank you, Nic Sullivan. Thank you, Ron Silliman.
So I begin again in solitude
on the morning of the first day in January.
The sky is dark, and the Christmas tree not
yet removed. Gently the rain starts falling,
making the trunks of the back-yard trees
barely visible. A light shines in a window.
An American flag on a pole
blows in the breeze. The pole is beside the house
across the right of way. I’ve not noticed that flag
before. Perhaps, it’s a Christmas flag. One our
neighbors got as a gift, and just now—
in the new year—found the time to install.
When the wind stops blowing, the flag disappears,
and all I see is a yard full of trees. So did
anything change while I slept? I
imagine a garden with a wrought iron gate.
The gate opens to a world in which
John Lennon is a younger man. I see, too,
the famous “Godfather of Soul,”
humming to yellow roses:
Humming the prayer of my heart:
O my God, to see.
Better With Friends
Rank Stranger Press (2009)
$14.00 (plus $2.50 S & H)
send check for $16.50, your mailing address, and any instructions for personalization to:
2569 Wood Valley Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
All copies will be signed.
Better With Friends is a book of poetry that explores the intersections of memory (factual and embellished), dreams (daydreams and night dreams), reverie, and prayer, so that all of one’s thoughts can be envisioned as prayer. Although the book has strong spiritual overtones, it is not a religious book nor a book of poetic devotions. The events that serve as story in the poems make possible a life in which one can “pray without ceasing” (II Thessalonians 5:17) through the bad and the good.
Jesus, the Blessed Son of God, hungers and thirsts for uprightness. He abhors injustice. He resists those who try to gather wealth and influence by oppression and exploitation. His whole being yearns for people to treat one another as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the same God.
With fervor he proclaims that the way to the Kingdom is not saying many prayers or offering many sacrifices but in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting the sick and the prisoners (see Matthew 25:31-46). He longs for a just world. He wants us to live with the same hunger and thirst.
Nic Sebastian of Very Like a Whale has interviewed me as a part of her third ten questions series of interviews about poetry. This series deals with the opinions and habits of poetry editors, and I was asked to participate because I am the Poetry Editor for The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.
The Mule was begun in 1995 by Valerie MacEwan as a print magazine under a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. It soon become an online only literary magazine. I joined the Mule staff in 2005 as a Poetry Co-Editor and became Poetry Editor in 2007. Since then, poetry submissions at the Mule have increased.
Read all about it. Ten Questions for Poetry Editors – Helen Losse.
We love our Mule.
Thanks to Nic Sebastian for the interview.
EDIT: Oh, by the way, Nic Sebastian has been in the Mule. Read her poems here.
SECOND EDIT: See also, or Why I love Val.
Last week Nic interviewed Steve Schroeder. And look for interviews with eight other poetry editors in weeks to come.
Coming up (once a week on Tuesdays):
Susan Culver, editor of Lily and Poetry Friends
Justin Evans, editor of Hobble Creek Review
Paul Stevens, editor of The Shit Creek Review, The Chimaera and The Flea
Nicolette Bethel, editor of Tongues of the Ocean
James Midgley, editor of Mimesis
Reb Livingston, editor of No Tell Motel
Kate Bernadette Benedict, editor of Umbrella
Christine Klocek-Lim, editor of Autumn Sky Poetry
John Wang, editor of Juked
Mary Biddinger, editor of Barn Owl Review
Edward Byrne, editor of Valparaiso Poetry Review
Jesus, the Blessed One, is gentle. Even though he speaks with great fervor and biting criticism against all forms of hypocrisy and is not afraid to attack deception, vanity, manipulation and oppression, his heart is a gentle heart. He won’t break the crushed reed or snuff the faltering wick (see Matthew 12:20). He responds to people’s suffering, heals their wounds, and offers courage to the fainthearted.
Jesus came to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, and freedom to prisoners (see Luke 4:18-19) in all he says, and thus he reveals God’s immense compassion. As his followers, we are called to that same gentleness.
I’ll be reading today at 2 pm at Edward McKay Bookstore in Winston-Salem.
I’d like to have great turnout both for them and for me. If you live in or near Winston-Salem, NC, please consider dropping in to Edward McKay Bookstore between 2 and 3 pm on Saturday.
I’ll be reading from and selling and signing copies of Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009).
Jesus says: “Blessed are the poor, the gentle, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for uprightness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness” (Matthew 5:3-10). These words offer us a self-portrait of Jesus. Jesus is the Blessed One. And the face of the Blessed One shows poverty, gentleness, grief, hunger, and thirst for uprightness, mercy, purity of heart, a desire to make peace, and the signs of persecution.
The whole message of the Gospel is this: Become like Jesus. We have his self-portrait. When we keep that in front of our eyes, we will soon learn what it means to follow Jesus and become like him.
See, it isn’t complicated.
“If a man acts in a mechanical way, reacting to external demands or instruction rather than in ways determined by his own interests and energies and power, we may admire what he does but we despise what he is.”
Hat tip: Funds For Writers Newsletter
What do you think?