Sunday, June 11, 2017




Why do we have pain?

We do we suffer?

Is it something that we have done?

Are we at fault?


All around I see, the earth is full of pain

People turned inside

Numb and afraid,

They are in pain


I too am in pain

I too am hurt

Life has dwelt a rough hand

What is there to do?


I don’t want to know a reason

I don’t care about purpose

I just want relief

I just want “no pain”


Stay with me

Don’t talk me through

Let me share my pain

It’s all that I can do


Friday, April 28, 2017



We are the silent sufferers; the ones’ who never complain.

Brave and alone we are to endure, whatever the problem be.

“Oh, he never cried.”  They all would say, though he was in great pain.  “He kept a happy face. He seemed never to fret”.

Is this some kind of virtue, like honesty and love?
Are we to embrace pain and hide it from our friends?

This, we are told from an age quite young.

“Big boys don’t cry,” every young lad is reminded when after falling off the bike, a broken arm has made.

“Don’t be a ninny. Be strong Instead”; a message that even girls are told.

That, they say, is what it means to be an adult.

“Keep moving, don’t give up, nor give in. Fight to the end, true and bold”.

Has this become our mantra?


But, what if this is all a fancy façade, a way to pretend that we are tough?

Lo, our pain is real, whatever the cause. Should we keep it to ourselves and not let the world in?


Remember childlike innocence, when you said what you meant. If we were in pain, others were told. We did not keep it to ourselves. That was honest. That was real.

Ah, but we are adults. We are not to act like “little kids” full of emotion and strife. Instead we are chastised to be strong and composed, to remain above the fray.

And yet. . .  On a sacred day long ago, the Man-God was sentenced to die. On a cross he hung, vulnerable and alone. His life was to end, though his mission was peace, ahead only violence lay.

On at cross, in the midst of that pain, in the presence of that rejection, he cried as below the people gathered. “Why have you forsaken me”? He wailed. Yeah, he was not composed, neither was he singing or smiling the day away.


Earlier he had cried when his good friend died. Later he shed tears of blood when, in the garden he waited for that which was to come.


There was something real in his sorrow. This was not one who stoically endured.

He was not afraid of emotion. He showed anger as well as love. He was both tender and strong. He was full of passion.


Passion is the opposite of stoic. Is that not who we really are?

When I am in pain, I cry. When I am angry I get mad. These are just emotions. They are not to be ignored, though they ought to be tamed.


Are we the silent sufferers? Are we the stoic and brave?

Or do we tremble with fear and yell out in pain?

Be strong and be open also

Embrace passion just as The Passionate One embraced us












Monday, March 27, 2017

Over thinking

Over think

I tend to do.

Fret and worry

Doubts arise


Time to act

Must not choose

Anxious fear

Replacing hope


Over think

Too much unknown

Wondering if

Instead of going


Dove right in

But slowed by thought

Unable to move

Feet of clay


End of day

Little accomplished

Over thought

But missed the peace









Friday, March 3, 2017

I am Robin

I am Robin


Sometimes I hear people say, “I am Batman”.  This phrase refers to the famous cartoon crime fighter, who successfully defeats the villain. So when someone says that they are Batman, they are echoing the traits of such a person. They are saying that they are confident, strong, and in control. Ultimately they feel that they will be successful. But Batman did not do it alone; he had his sidekick. He needed someone who could assist him. He needed Robin—the Boy Wonder.

Everyone it seems wants to be the boss—the take-charge person who commands a certain presence and who confidently controls whatever comes their way; who rescues distressed “damsels” and vanquishes the villains. Batman is cool.  He comes into a crisis situation and, calmly takes charge. Results happen quickly.

Enter Robin! Where Batman is strong and confident, Robin is unsure and full of doubt. Though he willingly joins the “Caped Crusader” in fighting crime, he is always shocked at what he sees waiting for Batman to take the lead.  Robin does not rush in. Rather he follows, gladly it seems. Not one to complain, Robin debates what needs to be done.

Though rarely seeking the limelight, he is not without his own persona. Whenever something that is out of the ordinary or startling, Robin yells in astonishment, “Holy Whatever-the-thing-is”. Often these outbursts are humorous, though at other times they are annoying. Nonetheless, they have become a trademark; a way to identify that he is there—surprised, unsure, but ready nonetheless.

Robin’s proclamations of surprise break the tension and allow Batman time to devise a plan. Soon the “Dynamic Duo” are fighting evil together; each in their own way. While Batman targets the main villain, Robin hones in on the leader’s assistants.  Less goal-oriented the more pragmatic Robin does whatever needs to be done to achieve victory, even if that means handing his partner the alphabet-soup decoder so Batman can interpret a message hidden in its broth.

Robin retains largely a supportive role, out of the limelight as Batman is the leader. He is one who is credited with defeating the enemy. He is the one, who asked Robin to use that soup decoder that allowed for the capture of the Riddler. No wonder a lot of us proclaim in moments of triumph, that we are Batman.

At work there are those who like to take charge, who wants to be seen as the go-to person. Sometimes, though in their push towards leadership, these people forget the contributions of their teammates. Bigheadedness can be a problem since they want to do it alone. Yet, inevitably those who think that they are Batman, need the aid of Robin.

I am Robin. I have come to terms with that. Sure, there are times when I want to have more input—when I feel put-upon, but this is  also where I feel I am the most effective  in a supporting role.  Sure, I contribute. I am part of a team—a vital part working in the background to ensure that everything runs smoothly, as our task is completed.

Therefore I should not have rancor at those are the leaders like Batman. True, they can become bossy, and have a do-it-alone attitude. But I, and those like me, know better. They are who they are, and we are who we are. Whereas Batman may need to have a little more humility and patience, Robin may, need a little more pride and assertiveness. Sometimes, we need to shout, to let them know that we are here—with ideas, with resolve and with our own unique skills.

To all the Robins of the world, I say, “Be yourself”. Though we are not Batman, we are not less-than. Our contributions matter. The unique way that we see things, the humanity that we possess; these are things that may not be easily quantified.  Though we may not be the stuff of leaders, we are nonetheless vital to the success of the group. Besides, who else can they turn to when, in the midst of fighting,  a can of alphabet soup can hold the one clue that will solve the problem and   win the battle.



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A response to the “Immigration ban”



As a Christian there are aspects of President Trump’s so-called immigration ban that are on the surface troubling. Some have thus stated their opposition to the ban based on theological concerns. Many of these are planning a boycott, or organized resistance as a way to mark their disapproval.   Generally, however I am opposed to these efforts, for I believe that they are largely ineffective and even counter-productive. So, given that there are some concerns with the ban, or more precisely with the language and implementation of the ban, while also recognizing a reticence with the use of political activism, how then should a thoughtful Christian respond?

There are perhaps many options. However, these are my thoughts on this subject. I claim no moral high-ground, nor demand a fealty to my conclusions; as they are mere suggestions, since I believe all Christians have the freedom of conscience to follow God as they see fit.

First I agree that among our Christian duties is the call to stand-up for the disenfranchised and needy. The refugees in the Middle East and northern Africa are among the most in need of support. Images of them suffering are seen regularly on the television. It is heartbreaking.

Yet I also recognize that this part is world—partially because it is troubled—has become a hotbed for terror groups who are at war with Western Civilization. To deny this is to deny reality. Almost weekly a successful plot has been pulled off in Europe or in the Middle East. Hotels airports and other places where Westerners have gathered are being targeted. For this reason, the President instated this ban. It is meant to be temporary. It is meant as a stop-gap to allow for a necessary review and overhaul of our nation’s intelligence and security apparatus.

I am not privy to this intelligence therefore; I must trust that those in authority—who have the ability to look and analyze this information—will make the proper decisions, for the good of the nation. To speak out against something based on limited—and often—incorrect information is, I believe, wrong. It connotes a type of arrogance; that we are able to better understand the complexities of a situation than those who are actually in power. It also appears to manifest as cynicism in our government—a cynical belief that our leaders are not working in the nation’s best interest. This cynicism often leads to distrust and antipathy, which can have a deleterious effect on peace.

It is true that we are to be critical of the government. Our faith does not call for blind allegiance, but neither does it call for an overly antagonist approach. We should be circumspect; not jumping to conclusions, but recognizing our own biases and hostilities, approach the topic with patience and humility, giving it both the time and the space—free from animosity—to work.

Second I think we need to recognize that this ban is, like most things, subject to change. Most people seem in agreement that the executive order was not well-crafted. This created confusion and hostility. People were caught in the maelstrom that followed. Some of these stories have become plastered in the news by those who are opposed to the decision. I hope that these people do not become mere pawns for political propaganda. To avoid this, those in the faith community should be reluctant to base objections on these heart-tugging stories, as it is difficult to know for sure whether there are other factors at play in these specific cases. We also do not know what happened behind the scenes. It is thus very easy to believe these stories of suffering without further investigating their veracity.  Rather we should strive to become as educated as possible. This will help to temper the often unsubstantiated claims that run rampant in social media.

Thirdly we need to use the right words in describing the situation, and thereby avoiding “bearing false witness”. One of the problems with most discussions of this ban is the mis-use of the phrase “banning Muslims”.  This executive order, as written, does not mention Muslims or any other religious group by name. Leaving questions of intent aside, it would seem prudent to at least let the order speak for itself, and thus critique on its own merits—as a geographical ban—than on a supposed ethno-religious ban. Words are often loaded in today’s political climate. Yet, our goal as Christians  should be  in clarifying and in  promoting  peace and comity.

Likewise in our attempt to be as honest and forthright as possible, we need to also admit that this ban, even if largely affecting Muslims from the Middle East and northern Africa, does not purport to mean all Muslims worldwide. It is easy to use the term “Muslim” as a shorthand way of describing the ban, but the effect of using this word, is that it is often conflated to me all followers of Islam. If that was the intent or practice of such a ban, then it would be unconstitutional and rightly criticized for this is not a nation of only one faith tradition. However, this is not its purpose. We should be clear on that point, even if we have concerns about its implementation.

Objections to this ban are valid. We should not demonize those who are opposed to this ban, and who feel that it is a sad indictment of the president’s views. But neither should we demonize those who are in favor of it, and who feel that this is a necessary and temporary order so that our nation’s intelligence and security can be thoroughly overhauled. Those on both sides of this issue are motivated by their Christian ideals. We need to respect those who disagree, even vehemently with us.

Finally what we can do? We can pray. We can, and should pray for those who are fleeing persecution and terror, and for all of those groups like the Red Cross that are helping re-locate those at need. We should also pray for our military, president and others who are likewise concerned with our nation’s security. Lastly we can pray for our nation, that we will not let this ban become a shibboleth, dividing us into polarized camps. Rather we should pray for understanding and peace, recognizing that regardless of our position “we see only in part” (1st Corinthians 13:12). Humility, temperance and honesty are as important Christian virtues as compassion and empathy. Our overriding goal should be to live in peace with each other.




Thursday, January 5, 2017



We all have them. Like a mis-cut diamond, or an off-key song

There is something about us that is not right.

Things are said wrong

Actions are mis-timed


There is a crack in our façade—a weak point in the main

Sometimes it get punctured

Frivolously on money we spend

Vainly we see ourselves


We act as if we know, but certainty is the Devil

It destroys all in its wake

Stubbornly we cling to our facts,

If only everyone can just agree


What is may not be what we become

There is more out there

If we listen to our flaws

Mistakes can be our teacher











Saturday, December 24, 2016

       The Gift                       
Under the tree the package sat
Small and plain it was hidden from view.
All other packages neatly wrapped
Crowded it out as it lay unadorned.
One by one as fancy boxes were opened
 The gift remained hidden and covered with trash.
Under colored paper, ribbons and streamers
Alone it sat, forgotten amidst the plunder.
But then little Jake who was crawling around
Saw the gift as his race car zoomed by.
He picked it up and held it in the air
But it did not impress, for it was so small.
Then Billy who was older arrived at the tree
To steal the gift from Jake’s little hand.
He tugged so hard that he pushed the tot down
“Give it to me,” he yelled as Jake’s head hit the ground.
First came the tears, then came the crying
As Jake ran to his mother for aid.
Now everyone turned and stared hard at Billy
Whose innocent face could not hide the guilt.
“Go to your room,” Mom’s voice rang out!
“What you did was wrong, now go be alone.
But hand me that gift that you stole from Jake
Let go of it now for it is not yours to keep.”
Without looking up Billy gave Mom the gift
And stomping his feet and screaming “not fair,”
He ran down the hall to his bedroom and wailed
“This is my house! I can do as I want.”
Now the crying of kids had frightened the cat

Who ran out of hiding from under her chair.
She collided with Mother who was looking away.
Who then slipped on the floor and crashed with a bang.
There lay the gift on the floor beside Mom
Who painfully groaned as she held her sore wrist.
Soon all came to help Mom to the couch,
While Rover the pup spied the gift from the hall.
Now growling and barking and wagging his tail
He picked up the gift with his slobbering jaws.
So as Mom sat at the sofa resting her leg
The pup grabbed the gift and trotted away.
Elizabeth watched as the pup stole the gift
“Hey,” she yelled as it ran down the hall!
But Elizabeth knew she have to get it herself
For all the adults were with Mom on the couch.
Rover ran hard till he came to the den
There he laid with the gift, in front of the couch.
Where big brother Tim watched T.V. in the dark
With his girlfriend Micki who had just been let in.
Now Rover let go of the gift awfully quick
When he spied Micki’s shoes that were emptied from use.
Quickly he pounced on the bright colored Keds
As his tail pushed the gift just under the couch.
Just then the light flashed on with a yell
For little sister had caught their loving embrace.
With her face turning red, Micki hid in the quilt.
But toes underneath told she was still there.
With that little girl’s yell came the crowd of adults
As Dad led the way like a knight on a quest.
It was his little girl for whom something was wrong
Most likely he thought she had fallen or tripped.
First came the shock and then came the yelling.
Then Dad told his son “you’re grounded, now go”.
 But Tim hollered back with voice a-quivering
“I am eighteen now and I can do what I want!”
Just then Micki reached low for her shoes.
When her hand touched the gift, eyes widened bright.
Was it she wondered the ring they had seen?
Or was it a necklace with a trinket from Tim?!

“Ooh” she exclaimed as she picked up the gift.
 Then she eyed her sweetheart who leaving the room.
“Wait” Micki yelled as she jumped off the couch
“Is this my special gift, the one sent from you?”
Tim turned at her with a face full of rage.
“Your gift is upstairs, in my room like I said.
Are you dumb, do you listen? I’ve told you before!”
He yelled at his girl, as he raced out the door. 
For a second she stood there as everyone stared.
Then eying Mom who had entered the room
She angrily yelled “Boy, your son is a jerk.”
As she tossed the gift onto the couch where it stayed.
Micki gathered her things and stomped out the door.
As now everyone looked at the gift that was left.
There on the couch it sat in the middle
On paper now covered with pup’s teeth marks.
For awhile no one moved; they just stared at the gift
That laid on the couch and caused grief to all.
But the silence was broken by the opening door
As Micki stood there all covered in snow.
That look on her face told the sad truth
She could not leave now, for a blizzard had come.
Elizabeth raced to the window to see.
But nothing was there except swirling white snow.
But just as she turned away from the view,
A mighty wind howled as the shutters shook hard.
Rover the pup barked as Elizabeth ran,
Away from the window and over by Mom.
Then Jake started crying and Mom had to sit
On the couch by the gift with two scared little kids.
Soon Rover followed all nervous and scared
But when he saw the gift he started to wag.
Now everyone smiled as Rover played on the floor with the gift.
As cares went away!
But then someone noticed the flickering lights
That quickly turned off as the storm rattled on.
Then Billy and Tim ran in from their rooms
As Dad and Uncle Ray built a fire by flashlight.
All the adults tried to comfort the kids
Except for Tim the teen who tried to look cool!
As the flames started rising, the kids all sighed
“It looks so pretty,” Mom said as she cried.
Then everyone huddled in close to keep warm
As Rover placed the gift in Mom’s lap with a bark.
The pup kept on barking while everyone watched
“He must want it opened,” said Uncle Ray from behind.
So carefully Mom took the gift from her lap
That was now covered in drool and smelling of dog.
All eyes were upon her as she pulled back the paper
And pulled out the box inside, with a gasp.
“It’s from Cousin Terry who died in the war”
 He must have bought it when he was on leave.
Then Mom started crying and she couldn’t stop.
She gave it to Elizabeth who opened it up
A small golden key chain had but one word
“Love” it read, and everyone hugged.
Soon the storm ended and the lights came back on.
And not long thereafter all the guests said “goodbye”
Now it was just Mom, Dad and the kids
And a cat and a dog and a house that had Love!