Thursday, September 06, 2012

On being a prophet

To be a prophet isn't just about making statements about the future. It more importantly is speaking God's words. For me, the gift God gives is to speak His words. I say that all i do is take dictation.

The most important part of prayer is listening. When you listen, and hear God, and share what you have heard, this then is prophecy. It isn't just taking the Bible and putting it in your own words, and claiming you speak God's word. It isn't being a puppet. 

It is misunderstood because we think the only prophecy is some kind of future foretelling. The best kind of prophecy is one that doesn't happen. Look at Jonah, he tells his enemy that he will be smashed by God. It doesn't happen. They repent. Jonah gets mad at God for His mercy.

Yet there are promises, like God's to Abram. Which Abram proceeded to totally mess up. Or to Elijah, "a widow with nothing will take care of you". What is interesting about both these prophecies are that they involve the person in a trust relationship. It is a partnership with God, having sons, being fed. 

When we listen, even when we hear God we can misunderstand. We may see a vision, and start to worship the vision, not the one who gave it. We can get stuck on the timing, sure God has told us what to do, we miss the important part of when. Waiting on the Lord can be the hardest part of obedience.

Prophecy is dangerous. How do you know someone else has actually heard from God? My tendency is to be suspicious of anyone who claims to hear from God. Including me! Today's poem is on that theme.

Three words God gave me "Fearless, joyful, obedience." Prophecy? Or prophecy!
These are some thoughts about this dangerous gift of prophecy.  

Who I am

A poet
who doesn't
trust poets.

A prophet
who doesn't
trust prophets.

A skeptic
who knows
God speaks.
© Presbypoet 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

How God answers prayer

Now that my arm is fully able to type, i have no excuses for not posting. Yesterday, there was an interesting lesson on how God answers prayer. The answer is that He is fond of answering us in ways we don't expect.

I talked with our music leader about the subject, and the example of Elijah at the brook, when the brook dries up, and he is thirsty. We would expect he asked God which rock to strike (ala Moses) for more water. Simple prayer request. "Lord I thirst. Which rock?". God tells him: "Go to Zarephath...I have ordered a widow to give you food." Not a simple answer. For the full story read 1st Kings chapter 17. The widow has nothing when Elijah arrives, yet they are provided for. When Elijah arrives, the situation seems hopeless, God has sent him to someone with nothing.

This is not the way we expect our prayers to be answered. When we need a job, we expect God to provide. When we are sick, we expect to be healed, and if we are not we wonder if we have done something wrong, or go to the wrong church. Perhaps that church down the road with that strange looking steeple has more powerful prayer warriors able to convince God to heal.

We talked about how often God's answers are not what we expect. For many when God doesn't answer the way we expect, we think our prayer has failed, not seeing that often God's answers are far more complex than we realize.

The next addition to this theme was from a woman who is also a poet. She told me of praying for new people to come to an AA meeting, wanting someone with experience to teach her. The ones God sent were not the ones she was expecting.

Three of the most miserable drunks, down as far as it was possible to go, showed up. Not what she asked for, yet God had sent exactly who she needed to meet. Like Elijah at Zeraphath, God's plan was far stranger than she had imagined. She saw God at work there, and she joined God ,in a prayer answered in a far different way than she had imagined.

Another take on this theme came from a friend without a job for two years, still looking, but loosing hope. Prayer seems to have had no effect on God.

Reading Psalm 74, the author starts "Why have you rejected us forever, O God?"...
It seems this writer of the psalms, also had this problem with God. Why did he seem asleep? In verse 10 he continues "How long will this enemy mock you O God?"

For many Christians, when God doesn't answer our prayers the way we demand, not healing, not providing a job, we are disheartened. We lose hope. It's easy to fall into that pit. What do we do when God is silent? Do we still trust Him? Read Job for a man who has God take all from him, family, money, health, any yet will not curse Him. Will you trust when God doesn't answer your prayers the way you demand?

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Back again

Breaking your left arm and having to wear a cast for two months is a good excuse for not posting. I could have typed with one hand, but only slowly.

I have much to catch up on, as the physical therapist helps me learn how to use my left hand again. My left wrist has a range of motion of about 20 degrees. It is easier to type now than with one hand, but i still need to teach my fingers how to reach the right keys. It hurts to type, but it is a good pain.

This series of physical limitations, the broken arm, major surgery to remove a blockage in my digestive tract, all have taught lessons in patience, gratitude, and being a blessing in your pain, and to appreciate a wife willing to drive you to all the doctors you need to see.

I broke my arm witnessing. I had just handed a tract to someone. I stepped back, lost my footing, and used my left arm to break my fall, and break my arm. (both major bones were snapped, so the muscles in my left arm shortened my arm about two inches).

I had an interesting conversation with God in the emergency room, as they tried to stretch my arm back into the right position. I heard God ask me "If it required my suffering, to save the man i had witnessed to, was i ok with that?" An interesting question as my left arm is stretched in a modern day rack. Was I willing to participate in blessing someone with my pain? After contemplating this strange question, and reluctantly agreeing that yes, i suppose i was willing to suffer to save a lost sheep. It was kind of cool. I could save someone through my suffering?

After agreeing, then came a harder question. Was i OK with suffering if it was not sufficient to save this guy i had fallen for? Not sufficient, but still required. I get no credit for saving this guy. He would have to accept salvation as a gift. So all my suffering might be for naught. Contemplated this more interesting question, as my arm slowly shifts. Contemplating the question, it came to me that this was exactly what Jesus did on the cross. He suffered for us, necessary, but not sufficient. His offer of eternal life still requires we accept this gift.

So during my 8 hours in the emergency room, there was a lesson taught about the cross, and Jesus gift to us. Will we accept? Are we willing to join Him in the fellowship of His suffering? You can learn so much from suffering.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Don't be discouraged.

For those who try to live life according to what God seems to direct us it can be discouraging when government and religious organizations seem to be on the wrong side. A poem from 2002 may shed some light on these times.

Fear & trembling

Work out your faith
in fear & trembling.
Knowing more certain you are
harder to find truth.

Know Me.
Knowing it’s impossible,
to know,
the whole unknowable truth.

Trust Me.
Trusting when storm,
I sent,
is beyond your control.

Be not afraid
in midst of terror,
beyond hope,
know Me, My beloved.
© Presbypoet, March 22, 2002

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Good dying young

Andrew Breitbart dead at 43. The pain is familiar. My brother died before 50 with three children under 10. I asked God about this familiar question. This is what I heard.

A question for God
Why do the good die young?
Why do evil monsters
die in their beds and
not in a roadside ditch?

It's not fair.
It's not right.
Why so short?
Such a loss.

My beloved:
Billy Graham lives at 93 &
wonders why he isn't home.
Jesus dead at 33. Holy sacrifice.
Richer life than any ever lived.

You think life's secret tis
to live long & die in bed.
True blessed life lives life fully
whatever gift of time is given.

Your problem is perception
of time and reward.
100 years is less of eternity
than planck's limit is to you.

Your time here is short
so live life to the fullest.
Then join Me my beloved
in joyful eternal bliss.

© Presbypoet 3-1-12

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm back

After a several month struggle with a computer infested with a virus that required scrubbing it to the bare walls, have finally managed to get the various parts to work, and am back with poetry and commentary.

Went to Presbytery meeting.

This meeting was remarkable mostly for what wasn't discussed. The room's elephant, is a Minneapolis conference in early January to start what may be a new denomination, the ECO. (Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians). Despite the fact our Executive Presbyter signed a letter to try to discourage congregations from leaving, no note of this potentially major event was made during Presbytery. It was as if an loyalist political body in late July 1776 met, and seemed to not notice that Declaration of Independence thing. Although if you had eyes to see, and ears to hear, a faint ripple could be seen or heard. The worship sermon theme was “Unity”. As though the speaker had been asked to address the matter without mentioning it. That “unity was a good thing” It was time for “unity”.

This is one of the major problems facing people going to Presbytery; what is not said is often more important than what is said. It is often hard to hear and understand the sound of silence.

The Justice folk spoke at length. They had a table at lunch where they sought political Petition signatures to kill the death penalty in California. Since they and their allies have made sure that executions are drawn out as long as possible, they claim this is a money saving effort. Since they view the death penalty as cruel, I understand their passion, but wonder if keeping someone alive for 60 years with no hope of leaving a prison isn't much more cruel to both criminal and the victim's family. “We will let you live, but not live.”

Just another example of how the denomination is used to push a specific political agenda. It assumes a christian is a pacifist, who opposes gun ownership, opposes the military and is pretty sure you can't be a Christian in the military, thinks peace will break out in the middle east if Israel just gets out of the way, and supports "Social Justice".

Despite the problems we face, I enjoy attending Presbytery. While I may not agree, it is important to go. As my daughter said when asked why she flew back home to vote. “I wanted to make sure my voice was heard”, That is why we need to go, otherwise silence can be seen as consent, and evil be done in our name without our presence.

Yet as a reminder that when we feel the most offended, this poem should be required reading:


As Paul & Barnabas,
split over John Mark,
You let hurts fester.
You let petty feuds divide.

You lose the chance to heal.
You lose connection.
You lose blessing.
My body is broken by you.

Like Jacob & Esau,
you miss your brother’s love.
You lose the years,
in fear & bitterness.

Reach out in love,
to the one you fear.
Reach out & hear,
how he hears My voice.

Come to Me together,
embrace, forgive.
Share My love together,
in My communion feast.
(Gen. 32: 3-23)
Inspired by David R 1-26-02
© Presbypoet 1-26-02

This is true unity. Not just pretending everything is fine if we ignore the elephant.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

A poem from God heard on 9-11-2001

This poem was written on that awful day 10 years ago. I knew nothing of who was guilty. I heard this question from God. I now know much more about the danger of Islam. We face an economic abyss that could make the “Great Depression” of the 30's look like a minor bump. So this question from God seems even more timely. “Will you trust Me...?” Will we “find joy in midst of suffering.”?

Being a disciple isn't easy. Never has been. Never will. This strange gift. God inviting us to join Him in the fellowship of His suffering. Can you “drink My cup”. Knowing we can trust Him. Knowing He loves us, yet He offers this most strange gift. Why do you offer someone you love the gift of suffering? Yet this is exactly what Jesus did for us. He not only died for us, but more amazingly, He suffered with us.

Today's question. What does it mean to be a disciple?
The rest is exactly as it was written on that dark day 10 years ago. A question from God. A poem from God. I just take dictation.

Suffering, God’s Gift

I offer gift to you
suffering, pain & woe.
All stronger than you
can stand or endure.
Will you trust Me
when I offer this gift?
Will you still follow
as you bear your cross.

Cross too heavy
to carry on your own.
Will you join martyrs
ready to die for Me?
In midst of senseless death.
Death of innocents
death unexplained
pain to no purpose.

Will you seek My purpose?
Will you follow Me?
Will you drink My cup
offered James & John?
Will you find joy
in midst of suffering?
Feel My love
in midst of tears?

© Presbypoet, 1: 15 PM, September 11, 2001, still in shock at unknown, awful, pain and loss.
Loss that served no good purpose, yet death planned by unknown killers. Lord, help us see you in this pain.
Help us see you in such awful death.
Help us say, forgive them, they know not what they do.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dangerous Certainty

Dangerous Certainty,.
We like certainty. I want to be certain of the truth. This seems a good thing:
“Is this who I'm to marry? I want certainty.”
“Is this the best investment for retirement? I want certainty.”
“Is this the right job? I want certainty.”
“Is this the right religion? I want certainty.”
“Is this the best place to put solar lights for my path? I must be certain.”
The list goes on, and on, as we seek certainty.

Certainty seems essential. When we decide, we want to be right.
But, certainty has a downside, expressed by the paradox:
The more certain I am, the harder it is to find the truth.

When I am certain of a political party, I can be blind to it's faults. Make excuses when it makes a mistake. Ignore a mistake, because my enemies made the accusation.

To hear God, and yet be both certain and uncertain, at the same time, is a hard paradox of being a disciple. Like a bad radio trying to pick up a station just at the outer limits of reception. What did He say? Did I hear correctly? How to confirm? A life of bewildered certainty.

Thus, certainty is both goal and temptation. Our goal to hear God, yet also verify. To know it's God we hear. Like that special forces soldier in enemy territory, ready to throw away assumptions. Always alert. Ready to discard certainties.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do Cats go to heaven

This question will not be answered until we get to Heaven, to be greeted by all who love us, including our dogs and cats. I do draw the line at rats, although i am prepared to listen to anyone who can make a special pleading or show why they should not be excluded. Since none of us can even begin to comprehend what Heaven will be like, my ignorance is no excuse to tell God, who He can't include.

This applies to people too. We will be surprised both by who we see, and who we don't see. I suspect that the most surprising thing when we get to Heaven will be the sheer joy of the place, joy beyond our comprehending. Although football fans who have rooted for a losing team for 20 years, when they finally win the Conference championship may have a slight edge on the rest of us.

Another poem about why we don't know joy.

Why You Don’t Have Joy

I offer you joy.
You want stuff.
You covet what isn’t yours.
Your greed buries My joy.
Your lust and jealousy
keep you from My joy.
Let Me strip all your stuff
that keeps you from My joy.

© Presbypoet, December 15, 2002

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Finding peace in the midst of suffering

An encounter with a pastor's daughter.

Sitting down to eat a hot dog, I didn't expect a divine appointment. I asked a 20 something woman, “Was this seat taken?” What ensued was a serious discussion about church, pastor's kids, divorce, unwed mothers, pain, pastors, forgiveness, being a real church family, and a very good hot dog.

As we talked, she reveled a horrifying story. Her married sister, is being threatened and stalked by her husband, who just served her with divorce papers. This sister has three close non-Christian friends. They say, “one thing they see in her is peace.” We saw how her sister's peace was an example of real peace available to Christians. Not peace in absence of pain, but peace in midst of pain. We pondered if pain is God's plan, or consequence of sin, and agreed it seemed a mixture of both. I told her how suffering I've gone through has refined. How God asked me. “What will you do when I allow it to rain.” Yet sin has consequences.

Then her story got even more interesting. It also included her. A reason her sister's looming divorce wasn't causing problems in their father's church, was the sister I spoke to, got pregnant when only 18. This horrified many in the church, who blamed her father for not keeping her from getting pregnant. As though being a pastor is a substitute for abstinence or contraception. She said, “I felt a need to rebel.” She estimated 250 people left the church over the issue. She thought the church was better for it. The church now was more of a family, where anything could be discussed, not a place people pretended to be nice. We agreed how dangerous it was, when people pretend they are nice.

I said, as a Calvinist, I was fully aware of the depravity of man, particularly men. How hard it was to forgive pastors. This story, an example how people look for perfect pastors. They will never find them.

She dismissed getting married. She didn't want to make another mistake, to hide the first one. It is interesting how her obvious “sin”, led to a more open church, no longer pretending perfection.

We seem to focus on visible sin. A guy gets away with it, (except for paternity suits). He can sit in church looking “innocent”, while she sits, exposed to all. Baby bulge impossible to ignore. We focus on visible sin, forgetting sins of omission are twice as bad. Easy to gossip about sin, indifferent to courage to keep a child, and not take the easy road of killing it to hide her sin. We all sin, it's just some are more visible.

Driving home, I thought how her getting pregnant, could be a consequence of her innocence. Not aware how passion's power hobbles women, she is tempted, then overwhelmed by feelings, her control center shut down. How can you know what it is like until you do it? It only takes one time to get pregnant. A lesson on sin's danger. So easy to be trapped by temptation.

Truth found with a hot dog. Another divine appointment,
A question from Jesus
Why do you pretend to be perfect?
Refuse to admit that you sin.
Who do you seek to fool?

Don't you know I forgive sinners?
Don't you know I died to free you?
Confess your need. Let me heal you.
© Presbypoet August 23, 2011

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Friday, August 26, 2011

To Be a Disciple

Jesus said “Follow Me.” to those He chose and Chooses. Follow Jesus. What does it mean? Simple answer? Just do what Jesus would do. The WWJD thing. Life as, ”Imitation of Christ”. Learn as much about Jesus as possible, and obey his teachings. The problem: This simple answer is wrong. This is why.

First, being a disciple doesn't flow from what you do, but from being intimate with Jesus. To walk with Him. Be filled With Him. When and IF you take communion, think...If I take Jesus within me, not as memorial for an amazing thing that happened around 1,981 years ago, but as a paradoxical blessing of power, Right Now, if it doesn't change me, calls into question if I truly took Him in.

It seems a paradox, if you don't believe you took him in, you don't. If you believe you took Him IN, then you do. So somehow, in the same way that an observer seems to effect what happens to electrons and slits or Schrodinger’s cat in quantum mechanics experiments, do we influence what happens in the mass? (as Catholics are fond of calling it).

I prefer to call it communion, because if lowly unworthy me somehow takes God within me, and this somehow transforms me, communion seems as close as we can to describe this amazing concept. I commune with God. Not in a master-servant thing that seems like getting scrapings from the table. Instead, this is the story of the Prodigal.

Son comes back. Father kills the fatted calf. I come to communion. I offer myself. Nothing more, nothing less. My best just filthy rags. Emptied, I can be filled. As Jesus promised, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, “Will Be Filled.” This is the amazing gift of the table. God invites me, an inconsequential being on the third planet from a mid-sized star, in a backwater galaxy, far from the center of said galaxy, TO BE FILLED. God threw a party for me. He killed the fatted calf for me. All I do is show up.

This is why following is misleading. You don't have to chase God. Seek to know “mysteries”. Study for 40 years to learn “All he commands.” All you do is show up. Offer to be emptied to be filled.

Ah, here is one major problem. We know we must surrender, but get it slightly wrong. We think it's about what we give up. We try to earn a gift. “Lord, look what I gave up for you.” As though that was of slightest importance. Remember pearl beyond price, or treasure in the field.

Or we tell God. “Look what I don't do.” I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't dance. I don't go to parties. I don't swear. I don't.”..The “I don't” list is far too long to be contained in any book short of a Steven King opus, another don't... “I don't read Steven King.”

God is like the father, he doesn't care what you gave up, anymore than the father cares his son gave up feeding pigs. His son is present. Back from the dead. God offers to throw the most wonderful party for US, the amazing party is communion. Come celebrate. Come join the party. Be filled.

This is being a disciple. Just show up, to be filled. Hunger for righteousness. A disciple of Jesus, ready to embark with Him on a journey of intimacy. Learn to hear his voice. Learn to be still and listen, then learn to hear Him in the midst of chaos.

This journey is a lifetime commitment. An infinite trail of sanctification, suffering, refining and divine appointments. Like a special forces soldier dropped deep into enemy territory, totally alert to all around. Mindful. Seeking to join God in His plan, to Be a disciple of Jesus.

For those committed to communion as memorial service, ask yourself if the remembering might be to remember that you have taken Jesus within you. This is the memory to remember. Not just the amazing event of nearly 2K years ago, but that Jesus is present in you now.

Revelation 3:19 &20 points to Jesus telling us that He stands at the door and knocks. If we let Him in, He will sup with us. This is at the heart of discipleship. We take God within. We are His. We sup with him, or better still, we have a feast of joy with Him.

Three words sum up a journey with Jesus. Three words, all at the same time, in a triple paradox: Fearless, Joyful, Obedience. Simple words to meditate on and to live in a life of intimate discipleship. So simple. So hard. Each one an infinity. Together a trinity of infinity. So join with me and Jesus on a journey into infinity. The journey of joy that is true discipleship.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

On Loss of a loved pet

During the time I have been cut off from Poems From God, life has continued. That includes loss of two of our close companions. The following poem was written to a friend of mine who's pet had died.

In Time of Loss

I never knew your friend
companion for too few years.
Tis familiar pain you travel through
empty absence, hole in heart.

My friends had different names
but shared a common bond.
Gifts of love & blessing
in daily companionship.

There is strange joy hid
deep in time of loss.
The pain so real yet from
it's heart flows eternal love.

The greater blessing,
The greater loss for us
when they leave
for heaven's joy.

Presbypoet, June 30, 2010

I am convinced with total certainty, we will see those we love when we get to heaven. This includes our beloved pets.

When we had to end the pain for one of our companions, I wrote this poem, and read it to him as he fell asleep for the last time. The separation of life and death so thin, as I held him one last time.

Farewell Calvin

Carol's lap cat.
You are her's.
Her empty lap
will remind us
of your absence.

Calvin sized hole
missing from life.
No more nightly
thumps & crashes
to wake us.

Goodby Calvin.
End of 18 year journey.
Your gentle soul
will be missed
by those who love you.

Say hello to Ninja
when you meet
where pain is ended
& joy complete
to wait for us.

We will meet again
to share eternity.
Mysterious journey
of infinite love.
God's divine surprise.

© Presbypoet July 24, 2011

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Another Paradox: Cynical Innocent

Here is another mind hurting paradox. Learn to be cynical innocent. Fully aware of how evil, untrustworthy, selfish and dangerous all others in the world are. Another way of putting it: agree with Calvin we all are depraved with no hope.

At the same time, holding that dismal picture of humanity firmly in your head, be total trusting innocent. Fully able to forgive, able to reach out knowing you will get your hand scratched, bit, clawed and shredded. Not 50/50, but 100/100.

Full cynic. That's easy for me. Betrayed by brother who killed my father. Betrayed by God. Betrayed by unfaithful denomination, determined to commit abominations. Betrayed by banks. Betrayed by politicians,(no surprise). Mindful of evil. Yet in the midst of all this horror, to somehow be innocent. Not just a little, but to trust in full innocence, knowing i will be hurt.

My response to God on this one is: This is impossible. Flat out impossible. You want me to do what? Easy to trust, if i just pretend everything is FINE. Hard to trust, if i admit the true horrors that lie beneath the placid surface. True trust isn't easy.

Yet this is at the heart of being a disciple of Jesus. To somehow hang crucified in the midst of this painful paradox. Innocence and cynicism. Both together at the same time. I've no poem to share on this strange blessing. I expect one is coming when God has stretched my mind beyond its safe design limit. To hear His voice explaining the impossible, in a simple paradoxical answer.


Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm back?

Google seems to have allowed me access to the account after months of being cut off. Not sure what happened, i prefer to think divine intervention. Thanks God.

A short poem, one of many not published, my fault.

Meek Not Weak

Power under control.
800 Horsepower
ready to be
turned into action.

Meekness is power
under control.
Ready to be
used by Me.

Special Forces
highly trained
knowing when
not to shoot.

Meekness isn't weakness.
Not wimpy door mat.
Divine Power to be
sent into the world.
(c) Presbypoet August 14, 2011, inspired by Dennis W.


Thursday, May 28, 2009


Andrea asked in an earlier post why a good God allows so much suffering.

The simple answer is that suffering seems required. When Jesus died for us, the confessions include that He suffered for us. Not just died, but suffered. When the Disciples are flogged for preaching the word, they rejoice that they were counted worthy to suffer for Him,(Acts 6:41). This is not a simple topic.

First, some thoughts about pain. Pain should be our friend.

Pain, a Friend

Pain comes to you,
as a friend.
To warn you,
of danger.

A friend you,
don’t want.
A friend you’d,
like to leave.

When pain is silent,
not a good friend.
Awful disaster,
may overrun.

Like a good friend,
pain talks to us.
Warns us of danger,
keeps us from death.

©Presbypoet, March 21, 2001

So is pain a good thing? In the right place it clearly is good. When you break your arm, if it didn't hurt, you would try to do things that would do more damage if you didn't feel pain. Yet pain can come not as a friend, but as a jailer. Do we know what we suffer?

An important aspect of pain and suffering is how we respond. When the storms of life assail, what do we do? This next poem offers a suggestion.

In Your Suffering find Joy

I offer gift of suffering.
Gift of unending trials.
Wilderness journeys.
Pain, loss and sorrow.
Cup offered James & John.
Martyrdom’s blessing.
Sending you to valley
shadowed by death.

You think suffering evil.
You don’t understand.
You demand release.
Escape from torment.
You don’t trust Me
in your wilderness.
Like Peter you must
step into your storm.

See Me in your suffering.
Feel Me in your suffering.
Know Me in your suffering.
Understand My plan.
Know I came
to suffer for you.
Know I came
to die for you.

In your suffering
be transformed.
A grain of wheat must die.
Must die to produce life.
Learn to trust Me
in your suffering.
In your suffering
find My joyful life.
John 12:23-27)
©Presbypoet, September 8, 2002, revised May 25, 2003

I know this is a hard topic. Do these poems help you understand?

Monday, March 23, 2009


We live in a world where hope seems endangered. Banks don't want to lend. The market is crashing. Greed seems endemic. Why should we hope?

There are two kinds of hope. The one we inflict on others is the wishful thinking kind of hope. "I hope you will be OK." No promises, no grasp of real danger, just whistling past the graveyard.

What we need is the other. Best expressed by this:


Real hope.
Not anemic
pseudo stuff
we’d settle for.
Real hope
foundation sure
when waves
crash against the rock.

Spirit comes
to fill us.
angel unexpected
we see.
When we have
no needs
we need
no hope.

It’s found in wilderness
parched desert
in rod poised high
to strike the rock.
In suffering
pain & uncertainty
listen to hidden wings
icon of invisible strength.
(Exodus 17:5-7)
© Presbypoet February 11, 2001

Gift of Hope

Give the world the greatest gift.
Not of money but of hope.
Gift of joy- the knowledge
I have come to save those
trapped in swamp of despair.
Trapped by sin and guilt.

Offer gift of hope.
Like Peter at the temple
who told the beggar:
Silver and gold have I none.
Instead I offer healing.
Gift of hope.
(Acts 3:1-10)
© Presbypoet, November 4, 2001

May you be blessed with true hope this dark day.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

No poem just paradox What we don't know

In addition to poetry, I enjoy paradox. We find the truth in paradox.
I collect paradoxes.
One important paradox:
Learn what you don't know.

The problem and paradox is; we don't know what we don't know. When we learn what we don't know, we think we know what we don't know, but still don't know what we don't know. So us finite mortals have been given an infinite task. To learn what we don't know.

This should keep us humble. Always open to learning what we don't know.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


My son recently went to a funeral for a 27 year old. He had commited suicide. It is hard to cope with. Painful. Difficult to understand. Here is a poem written earler on the subject. Still painful.


It’s not your fault,
you know.
You couldn’t comprehend the pain,
of guilt & shame,
& dark depression,
force driving her to end too short life.

Pain she couldn’t share,
made life unbearable.
Pain unconfessed,
festered inside.
She couldn’t confess,
to be healed.

She saw no way out,
guilt & shame & pain held her tight.
Blackness & depression,
Churchill’s black dog,
closed around.
Suicide seemed only way out.

Storms of Life too strong to endure.
Like Peter with waves too tall,
she started to sink.
Like Peter she lost sight of Me,
but she didn’t/couldn’t reach out,
In waves too tall.

They claim suicide’s unforgivable sin.
So what.
There’s nothing I can’t forgive.
Its wrong to try to control your life,
by choice of when you die,
rather than God’s will.

It’s no worse,
than any other sin,
where you seek control.
You all wander off,
going your own,
disobedient way.

Judas after his betrayal,
in dark guilt and grief,
Death seemed only choice,
alone in his bleak fatal field.
Death only choice,
to end dark sharp pain.

Peter the lucky one,
with brother,
who walked with him,
in time of sorrow.
Held him close and showed him love,
helped him go on.

Walk with those in their dark hour,
when pain seems oh so dark.
You cannot stop the awful pain,
but you can be a light.
Light of hope.
Light of joy & peace.

Like Andrew stay so close to them.
Let them know My love.
Love that reaches out to them.
Love that offers peace.
Hope in fiery furnace.
Joy in time of grief.

Be My hands and feet.
Hands to hold them close.
Feet to walk beside them,
in their valley of despair,
when dark shadows loom.
Threaten to overtake.

Minister to those,
trapped in guilt and shame.
Show them My love,
Joy & forgiveness.
Offer them healing.
Offer them Me.

© Presbypoet, January 25, 2002

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Saturday was Presbytery. No great issues discussed. No lines in the sand crossed. Just met with a hundred or so Presbyterian elders & ministers. No no votes. No one protested. You would think it would be boring for 6 hours. Yet time flashed past. We the people governing ourselves, inviting new ministers to join us.

One thing we do is have people pray during Presbytery. People volunteer to be a designated "pray-er" As a symbol, we have a stole we pass to the one praying. People just pray from where they are in the room, so it is truly prayer from the group, not someone outside. I got the chance to ask people to volunteer, then transfer the stole. A visible symbol of an invisible spiritual act. A "sacrament", even though we Presbyterians only have two official sacraments. I've thought we truly have more than two if we thought about it.

Marriage is one. You will find more long term marriages in the PCUSA than most places. 40, 50 years together. People for whom til death do us part is truly meant. Or death has not separated. The surviving spouse does not fear death, they know their beloved awaits. Marriage where God was part of the ceremony and the marriage. So even if we don't call it sacrament, it functions as one.

Today's poem was inspired by the question of what presbytery should be. What God intends it to be. What we fall far short of doing and being.


Are you a body
devoted to Me?
Serving together
rejoicing & grieving.

Or are you machine
chewing up people?
Concerned only with
process & rules.

Come together
in silence.
Hear Me - then
follow Me as one.
(inspired by...J)
© Presbypoet January 24, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Today a new President is sworn in. So many people have expressed great expectations of what they expect him to do. Are they right? No one knows. It doesn't change their expectations of what will happen.

Don't we do the same with God. We expect him to do things. We expect him to answer our prayers the way we want. The problem is that God likes to surprise us. To do the unexpected. To answer our prayers in ways we weren't expecting.

Today's poem is about our expectations, and God's response.

or God has Other Plans

You plant wheat.
You expect wheat.
I plant mustard.
A great tree springs up.

When the brook dried up
I sent Elijah to Zarephath.
Where a widow waited
with her last cake of bread.

My ways are not
your ways.
Your feeble plans
don't constrain Me.

Don't be limited by
your expectations.
Expect divine appointments
in your life.

Be a mustard seed.
I will surprise you.
Be prepared for
strange & wonderful things.

(Luke 13:18-19, 1st Kings 17:5-24)
© Presbypoet, September 15, 2007