cat on the fence

June 29, 2008

.
cat on the fence
scanning up and down the alley
dusk turns to night
lines of plastic trash boxes
weeds and leaves
.
squirrels, rats, and lizards sleep
still there must be something to find
owners kicked him out of the house.
.

the reason for god

This interview with Tim Keller is pretty, pretty good (c Larry David)…..

Here’s a quote that resonated with me:

“C. S. Lewis says somewhere not to believe in Christianity because it’s relevant or exciting or personally satisfying. Believe it because it’s true. And if it’s true, it eventually will be relevant, exciting, and personally satisfying. But there will be many times when it’s not relevant, exciting, and personally satisfying. To be a Christian is going to be very, very hard. So unless you come to it simply because it’s really the truth, you really won’t live the Christian life, and you won’t get to the excitement and to the relevance and all that other stuff.”

fathers’ day

June 17, 2008

What does it mean to be a father?
Before the baby is born:

accepting the fact that your wife wants to get pregnant.

fearing with her that it may be harder to get pregnant than you think (I mean, don’t I know the birds and the bees pretty well by now?)

letting her tell you some great news that she’s about to explode with.

ignoring the fact that your life will change, pretending you can be the same person.

noticing a bump grow in your wife’s tummy.

hearing a heartbeat that sounds like a roaring train but you know it’s smaller than your thumb.

realizing that a heartbeat has started, but won’t stop beating for the next 80 years.

fearing the unknown about how you will provide for someone else you’ve never seen before, and don’t know what he/she/it will be like.

creating a space in your life, your heart, and your home for someone that is yet a phantom.

getting so excited to see any new picture, any new ultrasound, and hoping that the nurse accidentally slips up and says the baby’s gender, even though you’ve reluctantly decided to honor your wife’s wishes not to know.

going to awkward birthing classes with “normal” people who seem thrust into this with a teacher who seems abnormally into babies and the birthing process.

feeling like you’re running from a monster, but the monster doesn’t run, he only has a steady stride that’s dead set on hunting you down. You know it’s coming but you can’t ever relax.

being totally blindsided and relieved at the same time once the rollercoaster decides to depart…… six weeks early.

finding the strength to be strong for your wife as the baby pushes its way through her…. with no medicine.

After the baby comes:

being confronted with total joy every time you look at your baby.

having to learn quickly to do things like hold the baby, change diapers, and feed him.

checking to see if the baby is breathing every thirty minutes when he’s sleeping.

waking up early on a Saturday and not being able to sleep in like you could just six months ago.

taking as many pictures as you can, putting them online, and assuming everyone else thinks your baby is as cute as you think he is.

looking back at those same pictures six months later and realizing that your baby looked like a wrinkled old man, just like every other newborn.

watching him grow and do new things every day, week, and month.

seeing him transform from a newborn to a baby, and a baby to a little boy.

assuming you know how stressed your wife feels being a mother, but actually having no clue at all.

learning to listen to your wife in a whole new way and not act like you know anything.

working harder than you ever have before to make sure you can provide for this fledgling little family.

forgetting there ever was a time where you thought you were invincible and had the world figured out.

experiencing fears you never knew existed in you.

finding that the only way to deal with your fears is to step blindly into the arms of God more often and more completely than you ever have before.

having a heart that’s bigger and feels more deeply, and opening up in a new way to other people.

sharing someone you love with other people who want to love him, too.

being completely awestruck and thankful to God.

Rilke on God

June 9, 2008

“When I saw others straining toward God, I did not understand it, for though I may have had him less than they did, there was no one blocking the way between him and me, and I could reach his heart easily. It is up to him, after all, to have us, our part consists of almost solely in letting him grasp us.”

Rilke and Benvenuta: an Intimate Correspondence

day in autumn

June 5, 2008

The middle stanza of this poem is amazing. I couldn’t wait until fall to post it. Rilke’s such a wonderful writer. No wonder Steven Mitchell learned German to translate his poems.

Day in Autumn

by Rainer Maria Rilke

After the summer’s yield, Lord, it is time
to let your shadow lengthen on the sundials
and in the pastures let the rough winds fly.
.
As for the final fruits, coax them to roundness.
Direct on them two days of warmer light
to hale them golden toward their term, and harry
the last few drops of sweetness through the wine.
.
Whoever’s homeless now, will build no shelter;
who lives alone will live indefinitely so,
waking up to read a little, draft long letters,
and, along the city’s avenues,
fitfully wander, when the wild leaves loosen.
.

Homie

for the Grammy nomination and diamond grill

for my talented rhymes concerning my own prowess with bitches and hos

for all the Benjamins to start my own clothing line and spill Cristal on it

for my Cadillac Escalade stretch and/or H3 with 24s and spinners

for this article

Rome

June 5, 2008

I’ve come to appreciate Roman Catholicism as the potential via media for all branches of Christianity. While the Orthodox argue (quite persuasively) that Rome isn’t the “Prince of the Apostles” and that the Pope isn’t the only “Vicar of Christ”, and the Protestants argue (pretty well) that there are other ways of determining authority, we still owe some respect and reverence to Rome.

The Orthodox should not forget that Rome was the prima inter pares, the first among equals, of the first thousand years of the church. Rome was the capital of the West, even years after Constantinople became New Rome. Rome had to keep the crumbling empire together, often faced by near constant attacks or threats from the Germanic tribes, Huns, and others. The Roman church was the only de facto institutional vestige of the Empire in the West. No wonder the church developed the way it did in the Middle Ages. It’s easy for Orthodox to criticize Rome for theological deficiencies, but they should have more of a balanced view of how these things came about. The schism should not be a permanent state of affairs — “Western Christianity” isn’t a permanent whipping boy. Orthodox seem to care more about preserving their traditions than uniting followers of Christ from outside their tradition.

Protestants berate Rome for a whole host of other reasons, but these too are quite often overstated. Rome is not a false church, forcing legalism and false doctrine down the poor, unsuspecting throats of mindless, lifeless masses. Rome is a living church with a checkered, very human past, but it is also constantly reforming and renewing itself.  Protestants owe so much of their understanding of the faith to their Roman heritage. Our views of heaven, hell, sin, the Trinity, the Bible, justification, original sin, etc. have all come to us directly from Rome via such luminaries as Augustine, Aquinas, and Anselm. The Reformation produced a Counter-Reformation in the Catholic church that has not yet ended. The Vatican councils and much ecumenical dialogue have been extremely helpful in uniting Rome with many other Christian traditions in more visible ways. I do not believe that Martin Luther would have been excommunicated from Rome had he lived in our time (Hans Kung?). That’s why many prominent and unknown Protestants — Lutherans, Mennonites, even Reformed Christians have gone back under the ecclesial authority of Rome. The Reformation was only temporary.

I believe that because of its special historical and common-cause relationships with the Orthodox and Protestant traditions, Rome will be the center of any future rapprochement between communions. If there is one person whom Christians around the world could point to who embodies that unity and challenge, I would look no further than the Pope. He seeks to fulfill Peter’s role as the spokesman for the apostles, and I think he fits it better than anyone else. It’s not about who has the perfect tradition, even though tradition is immensely important; it’s about who is willing to bridge the gap between all who claim to follow Christ, and work to proclaim, embody, extend, and participate in His kingdom on this earth here and now.