26Feb '15
War, American Style

War, American Style

“war, American style”
Sounds like something off a menu
“Sweet and sour chicken, Cantonese style”
“Mexican-style eggs”
“Southern-style cabbage”
American-style death
American-style shock and awe
Served with a hearts-and-minds parfait
Childhoods, finely chopped
In a crude oil dressing
Suffering à la carte.

Most of my poetry gets started in response to some phrase I’ve read or overheard that strikes me as interesting or important. This one is no exception, and it was born from reading Brian Zahnd‘s article on non-violence, “What if Hitler Invaded your House?” He says:
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26Feb '15

The Television Dot

The television dot has gone away
I bet you can’t remember
how the pictures
and the people
and the stories all condensed
into that perfect shiny dot
bang in the centre of the screen
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26Feb '15

The God of the Broken

I worship the God of the broken
The God of the also-rans
The God of the relegation zone
The God of the bungled plans
The God of the write-off
The God of the wrecked
The God of the usually late
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16Feb '15

Who’s Church Is It Anyway?

Here’s to the people
who quietly slipped out the back
while we all had our hands in the air
whose departure was covered by our applause
for the newcomers taking their place
Here’s to the people
we offended but never noticed
who picked up on the prejudice
we didn’t know we had
Here’s to the people
whose names we never really knew
whom we welcomed into fellowship
but never really fellowshipped with
the lost we rejoiced to find
and then allowed, or maybe told, to get lost.
They probably weren’t saved in the first place.

The title should say “Whose”, of course; but I wanted to say, obliquely, that people who think the last line is true don’t know their apostrophes from their elbows.

Image Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/door-revolving-door-input-113355/

9Feb '15
The Doorway to Hell

“If there is a hell”

If there is a hell
let every sermon burn there
that has ever robbed a child
of the joy of Father’s love
that has ever broken bruised reeds
or snuffed a smouldering wick
let each word of condemnation
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27Jan '15
Through a window at a Auschwitz

Tomorrow, we forget again

The world remembers Auschwitz , liberated 70 years ago today.

Tomorrow we forget again. We forget every time we treat someone else as a little less human than we consider ourselves. When we take individuals with their own hopes and dreams and laughter and brokenness and shame just like we have, and put them in a box labelled “different”, we forget.

We dare not remember the times when our anger would send the ones we hate to a place like this, when our prejudice locks them away, while we celebrate our liberty. And because forgiveness is so unthinkable at this scale, we pretend to forgive, confident that the God who is allowed to be angry, will do our hating for us.

We pretend to love, because to love those who do what is beyond imagination violates our sense of justice. We do not want a God of mercy, and so we do not deserve one; but that is who He is. We built Hell because we want a God who condemns the unbeliever, not a God who loves the unrepentant. And if this message offends you – I apologise – but don’t worry. Tomorrow, you will have forgotten.

21Aug '14

Greenbelt vs Grapevine

I’ve been trying to write a poem for years about my sense of being a misfit in the Church circles I usually move in. “I’m more Greenbelt than Grapevine” is the first line, “But I’ve never been to either.” Well, this weekend, I’m changing that! With some trepidation – and my flameproof suit ready, for those of you who think this means I’m a backslidden tree-hugging devil-worshipper – I’m off to Greenbelt tomorrow!

The comment above led to an enormous storm on FB… my flameproof suit turned out to be anything but :-(

I tried to put out the flames like this:

Whilst undoubtedly there are some excesses to be found, Christ’s Kingdom extends far beyond the well-guarded borders of charismatic evangelicalism. There might well come a point – as I’ve said to you before privately – where we disagree on more than we agree upon; in fact probably only my silence on issues I’m too cowardly to speak up about, has prevented that already. I have discussed my journey to a set of theological positions I find tenable with the leaders of my church, assured them that I love Jesus and affirm the historical creeds, which I see as touchstones of orthodoxy. Greenbelt won’t change that.

Now, if I can just master folding up this ‘takes 2 seconds’ pop-up tent I’ve bought… :-)

but it didn’t work.

3Aug '14


Ich bin ein Außenseiter
Je suis un étranger
ég er utanaðkomandi
Ja sam autsajder
externus sum, mi estas
Saya orang luar
Yo soy un extraño.
Omnis traductor traditor
Mais, Dieu a disposé le Corps
Ik heb zoveel leugens verteld –
But I
will lie
no more.

First eight lines all say “I am an outsider”. Last verse says:

Every translator is a traitor
But, God has put together the Body (i.e., 1 Cor 12:24)
I have told so many lies

Getting the rhymes to work in foreign languages was fun! And not entirely sure what it all means, if anything. But the context is this morning’s message at the Hub from Steve Watson and Daniel Skuce, “Insiders and Outsiders”. http://www.thehubcentral.org.uk/podcast-directory/

Image Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/girlfriends-girl-break-rest-sit-318340/

8Jun '14

Family Affirmation

There was a world
When I saw only black and white
There was a time
When I would not have clicked “I like”
There was a century
When I was prejudiced and blind
There was a hypocrite
But I have left that man behind

There was a wedding
That was radical in scope
There is a marriage
Formed in love and forged in hope
There’s been a change
That you have helped me to confirm:
Yours is a Family
That I honour and affirm.

I wrote this when a gay Christian friend of mine shared photographs of her wedding. It was an important step for me.