Do Good and Trust

Do good and trust.

This is a must.

When’s life’s a bust

And we are thrust

Into distrust,

Remember, just

Ignore the fuss,

Forsake disgust,

Fight for “us.”

Things will adjust.

Thanks for Reading! Be Blessed!

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Needed Thought for the Day

Bear fruit worthy of repentance… His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” — Matthew 3:8, 12, NRSV

I’m reading and sitting with Matthew 3 tonight. We are the trees and the wheat. We bear fruit and are the fruit. We produce and are a product of our efforts and deeds.

Growth requires the transformation of not only what we produce in life, but also of our relationship to those words and deeds. Our heart, our intent, and our actions are all called up for consideration and transformation.

Needed that today. ❤

Thanks for Reading! Be Blessed!

Tension’s Grasp

Tension is the place of change,

The factory for all things new.

We find the path to what can be

Between what is and all we knew.

When we flee from Tension’s grasp

So all our comforts can be clasped,

We find our progress, growth have lapsed

To keep our structures from collapse.

And yet, if we would just lean in,

Accepting that we need the stress

To forge a novel way ahead,

We’ll heal our worst and fuel our best.

Thanks for Reading! Be Blessed!

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Faith is Fight

Faith is fight in the face of fright,

When froward, fearsome foes to light

Come forth and blight the path of Right

Til Justice seems so out of sight.

Faith is founded not in gods,

Gleeful giants playing odds,

But from the Light that lingers lightly,

Loosed by Love til shining brightly

From the depths of human hearts

That witness evil, break apart,

And, showing faith, decide to start

The journey to

The world a few

Know we can view

If we dare to

Begin anew and see it through.

Thanks for Reading! Be Blessed!

Click HERE to leave a gift for the Poet to keep me going!

Tomorrow’s Child

Have heart, have heart,

Tomorrow’s child.

Things will totter for a while.

Days will darken,

And nights grow long,

Yet such is what will make you strong.

Guard your light,

And let it shine,

Sweet, resilient child of mine.

You cannot know

Or yet perceive

The breadth of what you can achieve

If you but hold on

And

Believe.

Thanks for Reading! Be Blessed!

Click HERE to leave a gift for the Poet!

Help Promote Equity in Education

Greetings, dear Reader!

My friends and brothers have co-founded a nonprofit that has been KILLING IT when it comes to promoting equity in education.

Through the Leadership Brainery, diverse and first-generation student leaders are empowered and given the tools necessary to succeed and change their communities.

I’ve been a part of the LB family since its inception, and if you’ve been reading my work, you know the Quaker values of Community and Equality mean a lot to me.

That’s why I am asking you to consider giving to their end of year campaign. It’s a chance to let your gift of any amount go toward changing the world for a student, and for us all.

Click HERE to read about the Leadership Brainery’s work.

Click HERE to give to the campaign!

Thanks for Reading! Be Blessed!

Blessed in the Bad

I need only say, ‘I am slipping,’ and your love, YHWH, immediately supports me; and in the middle of all my troubles you console me and make me happy. — Psalm 94:18-19, JB

It’s been a trend for quite some time that the Christian world, particularly in the U.S., has associated blessedness with ease of life. When we have faith, our lives should become easier, right? After all, to consider one’s self “blessed” is to acknowledge the smooth ride life has been and/or all the material blessings one has accumulated.

Or not.

Take this quote from Psalm 94. For me, it hearkens back to the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. In both of those texts, a person is considered blessed right in the middle of their suffering.

Why?

“Blessedness” has to do with one’s connection to God’s love, not the abundant or enjoyable nature of one’s earthly life. Scripture regularly assumes that life is going to be hard, perhaps even more so for the faithful. This is precisely why being “blessed” can’t be related to our comfort. Rather, it refers to our state within our discomfort.

If, when sh*t hits the fan, we consider ourselves to have lost the blessing of God, the situation ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy because we are blinded to the activities of Divine love in the midst of our struggles. When we get stuck thinking God is absent or angry with us, we fail to utilize what befalls us as an occasion to lean on and share the love of God. Our tragedies and failures become means of humiliation rather than transformation.

Does that mean God makes bad things happen to teach us lessons? I don’t believe so. But bad things do happen, and we can either be destroyed by them or educated/transformed through them. This is the choice before us, and whichever one we embrace determines whether or not we are truly blessed.

To connect with God is to choose hope in the face of tragedy, kindness in the face of evil, love in the face of hate. This is the example Jesus leaves us, and to imitate it is to embody the powerful love of God in our own lives.

That, dear reader, is what it means to be blessed.

But Did You Change, Though?

For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! — Galatians 6:15, NRSV

I grew up mostly “in church.” I was baptized, confirmed, took Communion once a month, and attended all the Bible studies and youth events I could. When I became an adult in ministry, I read the Bible daily, studied the faith at seminary, prayed multiple times throughout the day, and participated in service and worship projects all. The. Time.

With all of that said, it’s only been in the last year or so that I feel I have actually experienced the grace of God for myself. When I was a kid and when I was a minister, I made lots of selfish and harmful decisions. I had scars that I had never healed and unacceptable ways of coping with them. While I had affirmed all of the doctrines, aligned with all of the beliefs, and performed all of the pious acts, I had not yet been transformed by a real encounter with the grace of God.

A lot of us are like that. We use the symbols, say the right words, agree to the right doctrines, and do all the right “stuff,” yet our scars remain unhealed, our habits remain unholy, and our lives have yet to be transformed. We talk about the grace of God we see in Jesus, but we don’t feel or know that grace on a real, personal level.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians, the Christians in that area were being led astray by those who valued the outward expressions of faith more than the internal transformation brought about by it. Adult Gentiles were getting circumcised to please a particular religious faction, but that sign ultimately proved empty because it amounted to “checking a box” rather than transforming one’s life to follow Jesus. This leads Paul to say what he says in chapter 6, part of which is quoted above.

The truth is that what we believe is irrelevant if it only amounts to being a part of “the club.” If we claim to believe all the right stuff, say and do all the right things, but our lives remain unchanged, it’s time to re-evaluate the depth and meaning of our relationship with God.

The love of God, when experienced and truly understood, is a powerful, deeply moving reality that soaks into one’s very being and provokes change. It inspires us to live differently because we simply can’t afford not to do so when we finally become aware of God’s loving presence throughout this entire created universe. We can’t help but treat ourselves, each other, and this good earth with the respect and dignity of beloved creations of God!

When I was faced with this grace, this unmerited love, I had to change. I had to see a counselor and heal the wounds that had long influenced my behavior. I had to make apologies and find a different path forward. I had to take a step away from what was causing me to stumble so that I might be free to minister effectively in my everyday life. I just had to do all this because it meant I could more fully participate in the love I was experiencing!

If you feel like you are just going through the motions, checking the boxes, and joining “the club” because it’s all you know, there is good news for you. If you have left faith behind because you didn’t see any depth or meaning to it, there is good news for you. If you feel that God can’t possibly love you because of the life you’ve led, there is good news for you.

The good news is that it’s never too late to change. The good news is that God is not a doctrine, a building, an altar, or a ritual. The good news is that God is already present with you and reaching out to you!

I pray that you will ponder this good news and seek to put it into action by changing your approach to life. Live as though the love of God is for you and for all others. Live as though the image of God rests upon you and all whom you encounter. Live like this world is not a resource, but a beloved creation designed to be cared for and protected. After all, it’s true.

Peace be with you!