Saturday, September 17, 2011

Broken Romance

His bride
stumbles in
drunk again
smelling strongly of other men.

She steps
in the door
falls to the floor
and sobs, "I'm just a whore."

And his heart
breaks as she takes
labored breaths,
sobs for her mistakes.
He aches
to hold her
nor scold her
his love is bolder
than the boulder
of the weight of
her sins.

And so begins
the dance of their
broken romance.
Each glance she steals
only reveals his look
of love that heals
as she feels
at peace again.

Again he dries
from red puffy eyes
tears cried a thousand times
'cause she tries and tries
but the lies
and eyes
of idols
passing idly by beguile
with a smile
and then
she's gone . . . for a while.

She turns, returns
as each lover spurns
and rejects her,
infects her,
neglects her,
ejects her.
She recalls the one who selects her.

He fights for her
delights in her
would change the sky's lights for her
because he'd die for her.
He did die for her.

So again he holds
her close
dries her eyes
with his clothes
and anew she knows
her first and only love.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wholly Bible

Thy word is a lamp for my own needs

And a torch for my wrath.

Take a look at the book

Your children forsook.

We casually peruse it,

Selfishly abuse it,

Confuse it,

Lose it,

Fuse it,

And accuse with it.

Exploiting your prophets for profits,

Plastering phrases and rhymes

On t-shirts and signs

Ignoring the lines above and


Because the context disconnects

Your intent from my desire.

These scriptures are a brick

Thick enough to pick up

And smash through

The windows and doors

Of the widows and poor

And anyone who offends

While we defend

Our cut-and-paste passage

And memory verse that assuage

Our guilt and fear that

What we see and hear

With our own eyes and ears

From our own fists and jeers

Might not be thy will as it is in heaven.

Your word is an answer key

To shut up those who disagree

With me in all my glory.

And each story, song, and letter

Serves me better

Cut up with chapters and verses

To bite-sized portions

Which make my distortions



We dissect, correct, and collect

Tidbits and scraps

To set our traps

That will prove we already know

And show our holiness and piety.

Still we print them,

Holy Bible blazoned on spine and cover.

But we need to recover what we’ve lost

Under the embossed leather.

To drink in your word,

Not probing or analyzing,

But being filled and thrilled

By what is

Wholly Bible.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Heads Up, Your Career Path Is...


I woke up at 4:30 today. That's PM! We finished out our summer with a 24 hour Secret Service Day. This event consisted of a full day of service projects followed by a lock-in. This is the sort of event that will not take place when I am in charge of a youth ministry. Oh, and I had to plan this event...

Anyway, I'm not just exhausted from this one event, but summers in youth ministry are just brutal sometimes. All the trips and camps and service projects and lessons and more and more... It's enough to drive you crazy sometimes. (If you know any youth ministers, you understand now why they are the way they are!)


There were days this summer that I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. Working with teens can be like surrounding yourself with bipolar ADHD kids sometimes. Working in churches has shown me that it is one place where there are plenty of people who are willing to tell you how you should be doing your job. I know that most people mean well when they give such advice, but (despite the many jokes as youth ministers make about our education) we've studied this stuff and there's (usually) a good reason for the way we're doing things.


Above all, my job is full of so many moments of joy and awe at what God can do through young people. I have watched these teens grow closer to God and to one another. His love has poured out of them in so many ways. Sure, they're not perfect, but neither am I. No one is. Having the privilege to work with teens and point them toward God is the greatest joy that I have known in my life. I am sad to be leaving such a great group of kids, but I look forward to the many opportunities ahead of me to serve God's kingdom in any capacity.

In two days I will be gone, but the lessons, memories, and friendships will stay with me as God continues to teach me more about loving and serving Him.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

2 Weeks Notice

Don't worry, I didn't quit my job.

The fact is 2 weeks from tomorrow will be my last day as a youth intern for the North Davis Church of Christ. I considered myself mentally prepared for this (as we all do with most deadlines, important dates, etc.). How wrong we can all be from time to time. (See how I cleverly turned the possibility of admitting I was wrong into an "Everyman" scenario?)

It hit me yesterday morning when the High School group got back from Mississippi. That was the landmark in my mind. I've been telling myself since we reached the midpoint of the summer, "When they get back from Mississippi, you'll basically have two weeks left." That's preparation right there. But I wasn't prepared for the feeling that hit me when they came bounding out of the vans to hug me and say that they missed me. I was joyful because I had missed them, but under the joy there came the sobering realization that the next time I am separated from them will be for a much longer time with no set return date.

I've said it before, that's the worst part about internships. I have missed the Hillcrest youth so much this summer. They have sent (oh so helpful) texts, facebook messages, etc. saying how much they miss me and asking over and over when I will be back. That has been unbearable enough. But what will it feel like when I have no answer to give to that question other than, "I don't know, I hope sometime soon"? What will it be like to miss these kids and not have the promise of seeing them again?

The path that I have chosen is difficult. I knew that from the start, but I learn more and more just how difficult ministry is. Dealing in relationships is messy because people are messy. Goodbyes with people are just as messy.

I was asked recently if I was still felt unsure about leaving. Is the glass still both half full and half empty? Yes, only the glass has gotten much larger in both cases.

Above all, I am thankful for the relationships I have formed and the things that I have learned this summer and also for the opportunity to return to relationships that have been put on hold.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Fine Line Between Complaining And...



You know, there may not be a fine line between complaining and anything. I think if we're honest with ourselves, complaining is pretty easy to spot. Probably because there is so much of it constantly bombarding us these days.

Lately, I haven't been able to escape the complaints that Christians are constantly making. On Facebook, Twitter, and blogs a steady stream of whining constitutes so many of the posts that I read. The easy solution would be to stop reading them, yes? Unfortunately, many of these posts are my close friends. I will not pretend that I am not also guilt of such complaining (for example, this post so far), but it still makes me a little sick.

In fact, that I am also guilty of such behavior is most likely the reason it sickens me. The faults we find in ourselves tend to stand out more to us in the lives of others.

What gets me down the most about all of it is that the majority of complaints are aimed at other Christians. Books and articles are published every day "about God" (but really should bear titles like "Why So-and-so Is Wrong and I Am Right"). People compare churches, raising one above the other as the model of Christian community. We tear at each other for...what?

What do we gain by firing these critiques back and forth?
A sense of superiority? Probably.
A greater conviction of our own rightness? Possibly.
A closer resemblance to the Body of Christ? Absolutely not.

It is so easy to belittle that which is different. We all believe that we are right, otherwise we would believe differently. The much harder and more Godly (funny how often those go together) act is to encourage and elevate that which is different.

If someone loves their congregation, community, or ministry, that's great! However, we must learn to love those who do things differently, who look at the world another way, and who may disagree with how we do things. Then we will know what it is to be the Body of Christ.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stolen Post

I stole this from Richard Beck's blog, Experimental Theology. It's a four-fold blessing that he found and it really touched me.

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God's grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

I hope that this can bless you as much as it has me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Longing to Shut-up

I came to an interesting realization today. I really want to shut-up.

Zip it
Put a sock in it
Shut my yapper get it.

Why do I want to shut-up? Well, I guess I should be a little wary of this feeling. I have been working as a youth intern for the better part of a year and four months. I've done a lot of talking. So, the swiftly approaching end of the summer offers me an opportunity that probably won't come up much for the foreseeable future after graduation: I get to stop talking (at least when it comes to church, anyway).

Don't get me wrong, I love teaching. Delving into a text and finding a way to present it that is engaging and new is something that I find a lot of joy in. However, I'm still learning. For the past year I have been regurgitating what I've learned almost as fast as I could soak it up. This final year of undergraduate education offers me the opportunity to soak up without having to spit back out so quickly.

The reason I am slightly wary of this desire to shut-up is that I will soon be entering into ministry in a much greater capacity. This break to shut-up will most likely have to last me a good long while.

Good thing I love to talk.