What I Believe

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Philo, part 1

This is what I’ve been working on lately. I will post the whole thing on my webpage when it’s finished (where I can actually format it right)

 

Philo

1

I sat in darkness,

Still and thoughtless,

Because the absence of light

Made me unable

To stand or form a thought.

A slight glow appeared around me,

And I became aware of my lowly position.

Though unaware of why,

I rose to my feet and sought the source

Of my sudden desire to rise and learn.

2

As the light grew around me,

I became more aware

Of the contrast between

The Chaos of emptiness,

The mental void, or absence, of perception

Versus the tinge of joy in knowing

That there was more than mere darkness,

More than existence itself.

Something cool ran down my cheek,

As I watched the light grow in intensity.

3

After awhile, the light began to grow dim,

But my sight did not leave me.

I was now aware

Of the difference between night and day.

I began, also, to understand the difference

Between the dark and the light,

But not between the good and the evil

As of yet. I was aware

Only of myself, even though

I did not know the how or the why of “I.”

2

4

As the light appeared again,

Slow yet becoming stronger

The longer it lasted, I decided

To walk. To see what else the light

Revealed other than myself. Was I still alone?

For the first time,

As I walked, I felt something

Invisible as it brushed by my skin.

I liked it because it felt cool and soft.

I felt it again and that small tinge of joy returned.

5

I was aware now of the power of joy,

A reason to look forward to something,

Whatever it may turn out to be,

Instead of inward. Though, a thought occurred

To me, that was a result of the appearing of the light.

In my previous, unenlightened state,

I looked neither inward nor outward.

I only existed,

Yet, I barely knew of my existence,

That is, until the light, invisible but revealing, appeared.

6

The coolness kept touching my arms and face,

Finding its way now

Down into my lungs. I felt

Joy had now entered my body. I began to run

When I spotted a different kind of light in the distance.

I knelt down next to this new light,

Which shimmered as it ebbed and flowed

Before me with its tips sparkling like the many little lights

That pierced the darkness. I saw a reflection of someone as I looked down.

7

I’m no longer alone, I thought,

As the person smiled back up at me.

I reached down to touch the face,

But it dissolved when I touched it,

Making my hand wet as I did. It was only a reflection of me.

Still, I considered the experience good.

I now knew there was more than me out there,

The light, the wind, and the water. My mind

Awakened to the idea of an adventure,

A journey of discovering even more of this world and myself.

8

Now, I could not only see,

But I could reflect on what I saw.

The how and the why remained within a shroud

But value and meaning now meant something to me,

Perhaps therein lay the reason for “I.”

As I walked, I noticed many new things.

I saw a Weeping Willow, shoulders shrugged,

In the not so distant distance and to the right of it,

Two fully leafed Maple trees with squirrels flying

In between them. I knew their names, but I didn’t know how or why.

9

I heard the shriek of an eagle overhead,

My head swung reflexively up to follow the bird,

But saw instead clouds above, drifting

Along leisurely, as if floating on calm lake waters.

I saw a bearded face, an owl, and a sleeping man.

My instinct now, was to write a poem.

I felt free.

I felt joy, now, in the possibility of “I,”

In the new world I found myself in, and also,

In the world forming fast inside my head.

Gentile Clause

For those of you who missed this last Christmas

Christianity Is A War

   12/24: This is the time when almost all believers let their faith out for a walk. They post Christmas messages on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media the use the most. Blogs are written, pictures are posted with Bible verses, proclaiming the birth of the Messiah, and people walk around wishing a “Merry Christmas” to people they’ve never met or wouldn’t normally talk to. And we should do that not only to share our faith with each other but also to remind people of the reason they get work off tomorrow and give and receive presents.

   Before I move on to want to write about, I want to share my latest t- shirt idea. This shirt would say something like, “You may not believe Jesus is Lord, but He’s the reason you’re exchanging presents on December 25, so may want to thank him for that.” Yeah, it’s…

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Christianity Is A War

Digital Camera

a sort of random prologue to whatever comes next

A few years back, I was sitting in a familiar coffee house talking with a friend of mine when the conversation went from art, faith, and friends to the struggles we were facing. I don’t remember most of the conversation, it was a few years ago after all, but I remember us talking about the uneasy feeling of being caught in the middle of a dark forest. We weren’t “missing the forest for the trees,” we were all too aware of the trees crowding in and around our lives, call them “the cares of the world” if you like, and our being tempted to run through the forest to try and out run or escape them. If that makes any sense.

Here I am, a few years later, sitting in a booth at the same coffee house in the expanded section. In a receding economy, my favorite haunt has figured it out. It has not only survived the storm, it has thrived. The continual buzz of coffee drinkers and organic salad eaters is the soundtrack of success and busyness. I’m happy for them, though I do miss the library feel it used to convey to those few who first discovered “the little coffeehouse that would.”

What am I trying to do here? I’m not quite sure yet. Frustrated with the modern state of poetry, I set it aside over a year ago. Frustrated by the many factors that have contributed to a lack of opportunities for my books and screenplays, I quit writing all together. I’m not an Art-for-Art’s sake kind of guy. So, what am I trying to do here? I can’t keep up with journals. My autobiography doesn’t interest me. Yet, there seems to be a story in here somewhere.

It’s not like I haven’t tried. I wrote a pilot for a television series I titled “What It’s Like To Die” as a sort of comical autobiography of my life but it took on a life of its own despite the real life references to my experiences as a would be, frustrated, professional writer. I have started a legitimate autobiography, whatever that means, a few times that I want to call “I Am Daffy Duck” with little luck. I like the premise, though. Daffy is the quintessential “other guy.” You know who I mean. You always hear people say things like “I love Bugs Bunny! And also Daffy.” Or, “Taz, Marvin the Martian, the Tasmanian Devil, etc is my favorite, oh, and I like Daffy, too.” That’s what happens when you’re the nice guy. Everyone’s glad you’re around but you’re not the one they’re seeking out at the party, as it were.

Still, while I want the t- shirt, I’m not concerned with that as an overarching theme or issue. I’m stuck in this forest, and I want out. And the more I run, the deeper in I seem to find myself. Maybe that’s why I started writing my blog titled “Christianity Is A War.” I will say, it was kind of exciting, or at least a little intriguing, to start a blog with a potentially controversial title without knowing where this was going to lead. So, I sketched out a feeble, poorly written explanation of what the blog was going to be about. I did know that as a Christian, this would not be an anti- Christian blog, obviously, and it would not be pro- war, either. It ended up being what I should have expected it to be, musings on what was on my heart at that particular moment, how my faith infused how I approached and reacted to it, and whatever insight I thought came from the experience. Pretty much what I tried to do with my poems, stories, and songs.

So, here I am, outside my blog trying to figure out what I’m doing here. And come to think of it, you may be wondering the same thing about yourself. What in the world are we doing here? I mean, besides looking, straining for the good life, whatever we happen to think that is at any given point in our stories. Let’s start with what we do know about life; it’s a journey, and every journey has a story.

6

There it is, a story to tell. Now we’re back in my territory, or comfort zone, you might say.

Where to begin? I was born into a pretty typical American family and led a pretty typical Middle Class American early life. Yeah, that as a story doesn’t interest me either, even though I’m grateful for it. I could use the Daffy Duck metaphor to spice things up a little bit but then this would be little more than an autobiography at best or a low budget comedy at worst.

It does get a bit more interesting in my early twenties as I began my studies at Kansas University. Not just because attending KU was such a great experience but because it was also during this time that I made an adult decision to follow Christ, or “J” as I oftentimes refer to him in my blog (see the appendix, “J’s Coming: Look Busy” at the back of the book). My decision launched the happiest decade, I mean years, of my life. The next four years were a time filled with a new found innocence and grace that allowed me to grow into a more mature man with a much sunnier outlook on life.

Those days ended eventually, of course, worn away as real life and daily decisions began to form my adult life. Thus, the happy, grace filled life was replaced with bad decisions and the ensuing consequences. Maybe there’s a movie in there somewhere but no decisive ending (as of yet). The journey, with all its bumps, bruises, and moments of comic relief continued and continues.

****

GK Chesterton would surely have some witty observation right about now what with my dragging you all along with me possibly kicking and screaming, or at least head scratching, as I try to figure out where all this began, or more rather, at what point I intend to pick up this story. Let’s start here:

“Our hero, we’ll call him the Runner, stands alone in a forest with no visible record of a name. It may, in fact, have its name posted on the outskirts but that’s not where the story begins. The Runner, dressed in slightly faded blue jeans and white pull over stares at the ground with an almost blank look on his face. He hears a sound overhead, which turns his attention upward to the slumping tree limbs heavy with a quiet darkness about them, looking as if they intend to grab hold of him. The air that manages to make its way through these gray sentinels of the forest makes no noise nor gives any warmth or even coolness. It’s just there, filling in the gaps between runner and forest. Something has to give. The Runner takes a deep breath and begins to run down the narrow path before him.”