Sunday, June 14, 2009


i am thankful,
but not with that gratitude
which is unmingled with sorrow.

i am grateful for encroaching blindness
which has moved from the outer boundaries of my peripheral vision
to the center.
i am thankful with sober gratitude
that the cones and rods are falling off
the pigment layer
of my retina
just a little faster
than they are replaced.
i am thankful that every little cone
and every rod
is under the complete control
of its Creator.

this is his intentional good for me,
and i want to receive this gift
with courage and trust.

there is a time to grieve
and a time to laugh,
a time for dancing,
a time for mourning.
those times come to each of us.
but underneath,
i have a sense of the goodness
of both sorrows and joys.

i am thankful
that God has given me a supportive family,
compassionate friends,
a measure of independence,
much healing of physical weakness,
awareness of other senses to compensate
for the loss of vision.

but these are transitory gifts,
and many of them may be lost
in time or circumstances--
lost without diminishing
what is truly valuable in them.

i am more thankful for what cannot be lost.
i am thankful
because the Lord is my shepherd.
he is everything that i need.
he nourishes me in green pastures,
and leads me by quiet waters.
he restores my soul.
he leads me in paths of righteousness
because of his own good name.
even when i walk through the shadowy valley of death,
i need not fear anything.
i will not be overcome by any evil,
because he is with me.
i am comforted by the protection of his power.
even in the presence of people who hate me--
people who desire to harm me--
he prepares a feast for my soul.
my cup of joy overflows.
certainly goodness and mercy
follow me
each and every day i live.
and after this,
i will live in the house of the Lord

that is why i am thankful.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


dear Lord,

tomorrow we come together to worship you.

if one of us loves himself more than he loves you,
he brings that into the body of believers
like an infection.

if one of us loves someone
or something
more than you,
we bring that offense into the midst of our worship.

if one of us uses your name lightly
we bring that defilement into your congregation.

if we are unwilling to set aside a day to seek you,
a day to delight in you,
and we want to seek our own pleasures
and despise spending time at your feet,
we bring that insincerity into the time
we set apart. . .
that one hour,
those two short hours.

if one speaks dishonorably about his parents,
treats them as inferiors,
disdains them,
then this offense is mingled with our praise.

if one has murderously hated,
if one has committed sexual offenses,
if one has spoken untruthfully and hurt another,
o, Lord, it pollutes our worship.

if one has desired what belongs to his neighbor
or his friend,
desired his possessions,
his relationships,
his assets,
Lord, you know even the thoughts of our hearts.

our Father,
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
thy kingdom come
and thy will be done
on earth,
in our congregation,
even as it is done in heaven.
give us today
our daily bread.

forgive us,
o, please forgive us,
as we forgive those
who offend us.

and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

yours is the kingdom.
yours is the power.
yours is the glory.



i like silence.

oh, not true silence,
but the sounds that fill
the space between
radio noise
and television noise
and endless recordings.

i like the yellow hum of the refrigerator
or of the computer.
i like to listen to the bird's singing
and the cars that pass.

i like conversation
and the sound of someone practicing musical instruments.

i like to hear myself think.

i like to hear the things
that God speaks to my heart
in the silence.


she told me that she hates a certain bible teacher.
and then she said
that she cannot grow spiritually
unless she gets to listen to another one.

she said she hates a certain song,
and another one too.
Lord, i lift your name on high.
it's all about You, Lord.

they passionately dislike certain books of the bible;
1 and 2 peter.
they dislike them so much,
they stop coming to church
so that they didn't have to hear about them

why all this passion,
this wasted emotion,
this defiance
against God?
and yet,
they do not see the situation that way.

they are church leaders,
and they think
they are looking out
for the best interests of the congregation.

no one,
they insist,
loves the church more than they do.

i am affected viscerally.
a chill of fear sweeps over me
in their behalf.

even the church at corinth was not so bad;
they had preferences of teachers,
but we are not told
that they hated those
whom they considered inferior.

o God, how long will You delay?
quickly deliver Your people.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

a hope and a future

“The great Gardener of the soul--will not, and cannot be disappointed. What He sows--shall flourish in defiance of all opposition! And, if at times it seems to wither--He can and He will revive it!” John Newton

Friday, June 5, 2009

infantile faith

he said: Christianity (at least in the infantile version so popular here . . .) is the ultimate Tails I win; heads you lose method of arguing.

i think:
infantile is not all bad.

since we are a small part of an enormous universe,
and since even the smallest entity amazes us with its complexity,
a certain sense of our own smallness is probably commendable.

even Jesus commended those
who would receive the kingdom of God as a child,
or who became as children.

consequently he has given us a great compliment,
though i understand that he didn’t intend it that way.

God have mercy on us all.