Monday, February 15, 2010

some days all i see is the cloud #2: three clouds, and me here wondering which will outlast the others

this is a poem that I brought to my friend C's birthday ritual the other day. for a while I thought it was going to be a song, but then I was too lazy to rhyme it.

some days all i see is the cloud #2: three clouds, and me here wondering which will outlast the others

some days my sidewalk seems clear:
lik the fog has lifted,
like my friendships are all easy,
like there is nothing to fear.

other days i only speak failure
i can't trust even my own heart
i can't walk for the murkiness:
some days all i see is the cloud.

some days i am absolutely certain
where Jesus is sitting,
and where he's patting the ground,
for me to lie down with my head in his lap.

other days, God is more invisible than immortal,
and i can't eat mystery,
and the unknowing will not sustain me:
some days all i see is the cloud.

on days when God and despair hang together
like thunder and lightning-
it is good to have some witnesses:
the sacred few and many-those pieces
of myself that walk the wider world.

some days, though leagues and odysseys would claim us separate,
they, like bread, like salt, like water in my body
are close enough to carry me
(with their arms entwined like a zipper
like keys on a piano
like books on my shelf):
some days all i see is the cloud.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

on my ordination council

As many readers will already know, I was approved for ordination by the Rochester Gennesee Region of the American Baptist Churches USA on January 31. I'm pretty happy about it, and it has been a long time coming, by some measures.

You know, when I sat down beforehand, I thought I might try to think about what kinds of questions I was likely to be asked, and what my answers might be. The story is that they go through your ordination paper, which talks about what you believe about God and the church and your call and your life and stuff, and they can ask you whatever questions they want. ("They" being a mix of pastors and lay folks, basically whoever shows up. There were about 25 or 30 people at mine, I'd say.)

Here's the thing: when I sat down to write about this, to brainstorm possible questions and my own possible answers, here's what I wrote instead. I liked it, so I read it to open the Council, and I'm putting it up here. There's three of these, in good Trinitarian format. (I only read the first one out loud...)

in no particular ordre:

by the harrowing of hell
by the wounds transformed
by the dry bones walking
by the tenacious widow
by the sea that makes way
by the star, by the bush burning:
by the tongues of fire,
and by the empty tomb:

the Risen Jesus demands
my presence in this place.


by iorek byrneson
by poncho starboard,
by maniac magee-
by wonky the duck,
by bearface and kleeborg
by charles finney,
by ammon hennacy,
by rick lance, gamma boy:
by the Right Reverend Stuckle Ninehammer,
and by Jeff Jones aka Klanky Pankelsmank:

the Spirit of God demands
my presence in this place.


by rachael and by my mother,
by emily jones and digger,
by mary and steve and ted,
by becca and kyle,
by sharon yetter and the wynns,
by mark peoples and mark winters,
by joanne terrell and lee butler,
by arlen vernava and alan newton,
by david gregg and larry greenfield,
by my dad and my sister and randy and kenneth,
by phyllis toback and pastor rosa,
by eliza nad nate metrick,
by nate dannison and tom ryberg
by madeliene, chris, korie and lauren,
by corrigan, brian, will, and ben,
by lisa, bj, megan and grace,
by liang and floyd and sophia,
by becky and mary, by layne and raisa,
by susand and emo,
by dave and tena,
by carolyn and mike
by all of the peacheys
by sylvia and carolina
and by their children:

demands my presence in this place.


standing on the shoulders of giants,