Archive for the 'Misc' Category

Devotional Writing

Oct 04 2020 Published by under Misc

I am honored to report that I have contributed to a devotional project. In The Beloved Disciple: A Prayerful Reading of The Gospel of John, Volume I, I contribute two entries: Day 11 and Day 23. You can bee the project here: https://www.csmedia1.com/downtown.newvalleychurch.org/beloved-devo-digital-1.pdf

I contributed to Volume II as well, which is not yet released. I will update when that one is published!

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Imagined World #1: The Canyon

Sep 29 2020 Published by under Misc

Farmers sat at the top of society. Engineers built huge platforms that spanned the whole width of the canyon to hold plants. Farmers did their work on those platforms, tending plants high enough up the canyon walls that some light could directly reach the needy, weedy stalks. The air was thin, and the plants were not large, but they grew. 

Slightly farther down was the government. They held the peak position outside the farmers—everyone knew the farmers had to be at the top for the light, but the government was at the top because it required the most flying to reach the buildings. The location reminded the politicians that it was work to govern, a burden and not a privilege, not a thing to be reveled in or enjoyed for its perks, but hard work that must be done. 

And so the government was the hardest thing to reach, but for the farming. The farmers, their burden was great, but the work was satisfying. Who could say that they held the society together but the farmers? The government was always reminded that they were not holding society together, no matter how much they felt like it, by the ever-present example of the farmers above them. The farmers sacrificed for noble work. Who can eat laws?

Below the government were the professions: those who get things done and also create the problems that government must create laws for. 

Then, a great space with sheer walls, no outcroppings, no planes jutting out from the sides, no caves, and few strains of rock good for holding platforms. The Empty. Above the empty, we worked. Below the empty, we lived. 

From the empty on down, a wild mass of things, all together and apart: neighborhoods and schools and shops and parks and wing repair and hammocks all strung across the canyon. Some clusters of activity strung out deep in the walls of the canyon, receding back for a long ways, long chains of roads and open spaces and roads. Some life took place on platforms stretched across the canyon, interconnected bits attached by slim roads. Collections of smaller platforms, unconnected to the canyon-spanners, clumped on the walls of the canyon, connected vertically by tradition and our ability to fly. 

At the lowest level were areas of recreation, wide open spaces where the young learned to fly, the youthful learned to socialize, the mature relaxed, and the old rested. Falling was not a significant problem. The lowest level lay mere feet off the bottom of the canyon. The earliest memories of many children included tumbling from parents’ arms onto the soft moss of the canyon floor or into the shallow river itself, flapping fruitlessly until some primal instinct kicked in and the flaps became lift-producing, surging the young off the ground, awkwardly efforting toward normalcy, toward light.

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Symbols

May 19 2020 Published by under Misc

So life goes on, as people eat brunch
and chat and twiddle on their phones
the concrete actions of life, their symbolic meaning hidden
from me. I am okay with, even comforted by, the concrete
but the symbolic is unknowable, even if I could hear
the conversations or hear the texts. What does it say, what
does it mean? Why do you mean it the way you do?
Why do we want such different things?
For we have what seems like cross purposes /
we are all trying to make the world better —
but with different goals, different ends, different means.
I wish in one way that we would all think similarly–
that there would be no conflict on anything, ever. And
so this, I suppose, is the way I grasp ineffability, heaven.
In another way, pragmatically, I wish we could all just agree
to disagree, to be kind to each other in concrete ways,
regardless of the symbolic meaning. But we don’t trust each
other enough to be okay with that: we humans love power
and that is a shame. We like to punish each other for not agreeing–
or maybe we don’t, and my skepticism goes to show a lack of trust.

so let me call it what it is: I don’t trust anyone to pull up
short, to say, “this is enough, thanks.” Everyone wants
everyone to think exactly as they do, and thus there is no
“enough” while we are still individuals separated by the frames
of these bodies, by the following of different leaders, by
the memory of different experiences uninterpreted by the same lens.
For we will never be the same, reformed to a single consciousness, but
we will be ourselves, interpreted by the same arbiter.
We all would like it to be the arbiter of our choice, be it
God or reincarnation or nothingness. Our choice of final arbiter
is how we structure the rest of our lives, as they keep going,
concretely and symbolically.

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