Lent 32 (Vinyls)

My heart skips — 33 —
not the wild leap to express joy
but the weary limp to avoid a pain
the wince — 33 — the accommodation
of a long-standing scar
Like scratched vinyl
and a track that misses its beat
so — 33 — familiar that I sing along
with the flawed syncopation
as though
this is the way
the song was intended
as though — 33 —
the lyrics make perfect sense
when that needle skips
the occasional
— 33 —
I learned to dance to broken records
so long ago
that I hardly notice any more
and really — 33 — it’s okay
but sometimes
when the day’s music is turned down
and there’s only
the off-rhythms of my heart
dodging and dancing with the shadows
— 33 — I confess to wondering
how vinyl is really meant
to sound

Lent 30 (Beati-bulls)

I call bull*.

Tell me, Jesus, what good is the kingdom of God to those who are barely scraping by, living paycheck-to-paycheck (or not even!) without a moment of relief to separate the hours of haunting stress?

What good is a heavenly feast to someone who’s not had the luxury of sitting down to a hot meal for days, feet weary, back sore, soul pricked and admonished and scattered by the gatekeepers of respectability?

Bull* on your beatitudes.

The blessing of laughter is an empty promise to those who have lost their breath at the hands of another, and an insult to those whose tears have become the fuel of protest; laughing tomorrow does not create justice today.

How tolerant of hatred, of slander or exclusion, of defamation, of bias do your children need to be before they are guaranteed to dance on streets of gold, and why — in the name of Holy Life — would you see us put up with that?

Bull*, Jesus.

And about those woes: it should be said that I can’t be trusted to abstain from pursuing satisfaction and satiation in this life just so I won’t be hungry in the next; really, I don’t think you should trust me with that kind of decision.

Truth be told, I don’t only want joy and justice today for all of humanity and creation — I want it for me, too, preferably yesterday but I’m willing to wait until tomorrow; I don’t care if you call me “blessed,” Jesus, most of all I want to be blessed.

So in fairness: I call bull* on me, too.

on Luke 6:20-26

Lent 29 (Offering)

Take my boat
(yes, the one I’m still bailing)
and use it for your teaching;
turns out it’s no good
for fishing anyway.

Take my days
(yes, the ones I’m grinding through)
and use them for your witness;
these days certainly aren’t
turning for my good.

Take my heart
(yes, the one that is breaking)
and employ it for your life;
I wasn’t using this thing
for love anyway.

on Luke 5:1-11

Fifth Sunday in Lent (With Us or Against Us)

Dear Jesus,

I like to think that snark is a spiritual gift, that the well-executed side eye is a liturgical act, that being driven to inwardly climb walls is an act of spiritual sacrifice. Sarcasm and self-righteous frustration are essential spiritual disciplines for bridging that convenient chasm with annoying, insulting Christians who I’m sure you love dearly but oh. my. god. I’m not sure how you do.

Tell me, please, that you too had #headdesk moments — when the Pharisees scolded you for not washing your hands before a meal, for example, or when your friends tried to shoo away the children who ran to see you. Tell me that you wrote #smh on the ground when a crowd of men asked you to publicly shame an adulterous woman but protected the identity of her lover.

Are not irritation and silent condemnation enough to qualify as “relating” to those aggravating brothers and sisters who also claim your name, if not quite in the way I believe they should? Won’t you please give me a gold Sunday School star for bearing the small-mindedness of your devotees with patience, or must I also suspend judgment?

You who provoke us to honesty in faith and consistency in practice, surely you must rage when Christians preach love but damn & deny others’ lives. Can’t I rage about it too? Must you also provoke me to examine my faithful practice (or lack thereof) of fellowship and commitment to the health of the whole Body? Cannot the arm simply allow the foot to be consumed by its own demons?

Srsly, Jesus.


#headdesk: banging one’s head against a desk in frustration
#smh: shaking my head or smacking my head
srsly: seriously