Monday, August 29, 2011

never give up, never surrender.

"That is why we never give up.
Though our bodies are dying, 
our spirits are being renewed every day.
For our present troubles are small
and won't last very long.
Yet they produce for us 
a glory that vastly outweighs them
and will last forever!
So we don't look at the troubles 
we can see now; 
rather, we fix our gaze 
on things that cannot be seen."*

It seems like a bizarre solution, God;
to stare into the distance at what we can't even see, 
like lunatics dancing in an Elysian field, 
when they're actually standing in the middle of a busy highway
about to get slammed by a semi. 

It seems like a hopeless solution, God;
to regard our present troubles as small and fleeting, 
when the fear and dread and weight of them 
far outweighs the phantasmagorical mirage of future glory.

It seems like a pointless solution, God;
to never give up though our bodies are dying, 
a hopeless, helpless battle we cannot win. 
A solution that feels ineffective against the current situation. 

We cry out to you in desperate hope. 

I pray for us all that it is not a 
a feeble
for last minute items 
at the express checkout. 

I pray for us instead
that it is a 
that worthily honours
your righteous, 
perfect and 
loving self. 

I pray for firm resolve,
steadfast love,
faithful endurance, 
quiet joy
perfect peace.


*2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

I wish I was a tree...

I am like an olive tree,
thriving in the house of God.
I will always trust in God's unfailing love.
I will praise you forever, O God,
for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
in the presence of your faithful people.”*

Except it's bullshit.

I am silent Lord.
In the house of God
I have nothing to say.

Painful remembrance has shut up my mouth.
It is not my enemies who come seeking to destroy me,
but my own self, whispering evil to me in the night.

I wish I was a plant, a tree,
for then my roots would not stir,
roaming restlessly away from your grace.

As a tree I could stop still,
enjoy the sun,
bring forth fruit,
and think of nothing.

Please make me a tree.

*Psalm 52:8-9 NLT. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

motorhome Jesus

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. 
It's happened again. 
Another, awful, sinking of the stomach moment
where I realise just how small I've drawn my comfort zone
and how big you are
and how selfish I am... 
Oh dear oh dear...!
At first the idea sounded great! Exciting! 
But I just realised in the car on the way home that going through with it would mean 
living in a motorhome for Jesus
loooooooong term
no real bedroom
very little stuff
no place for all my books
cooking equipment
I feel sick now at how hard that feels. 
Sick that it so rarely occurs to me that following you might mean leaving
a lot of stuff behind. 
All of it in the end, obviously. 
I'm so slow and stupid and selfish!
I'm sorry!
Please help me to hold more loosely to these
acquisitions of my discontent. 
Please help me to honour you with all my life,
my stuff. 
Help me to make it all a sacrifice of praise to you. 
Please make me happy to live in a motorhome for you.
Not cos I have to right now, 
but because I want to be able to do that for you. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Our Father

Our Father who art in heaven...

(Who art? Or which art? Who knows! It's kinda sad though, none of us really use the word 'art' in that way any more... Maybe if I can ever have children and I have a son, I'll name him Arthur so he can be Art for short.) 

Hallowed be thy name... 

(I know, I know, cue a million terrible and imprecise explanations of how 'hallowed' means holy and set apart, blah blah blah. It's just funny that in my mind it always winds up as hello-ed be your name, which I think is equally nice in a strange sort of way.)

Thy kingdom come... 

(Yes, some theologians basically think JC came to usher in a socialist paradise for all, but in general, I feel kinda lost in this phrase... Kingdom for me invokes all those big, abstract, remote concepts of governance and jurisdiction, and a strange old person I've never met talking to me from the telly at Christmas... I know I'd prefer your political rule to any other I'm ever going to experience, and all those other lofty thoughts are probably good, but the sense of the remote is interesting...)

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven...

(Again, juggling difficult concepts here, of a separation between the physical earth I experience every day and 'heaven' as, what, another physical space? Or another way of referring to your kingly rule? A physical space that has not yet come into being? Or a strange, parallel dimension Sheldon Cooper would be fascinated to investigate?! And beside the concept juggling is the stressful walk along the tightrope between joyful, free obedience of your will and fatalistic automatism (is that even a word??!). Your planning-type will? Your moral will? All of the above?)

Give us this day our daily bread...

(Easy for me to spiritualise when I'm not starving... 'Nuff said.)

Forgive us our sins... 

(Oh, I am so happy to plead for this right now! Not even grasping the depth of my personal offences, you've restored enough of my senses to perceive the blackness there in the glimpses you give me...)

As we forgive those who sin against us...

(I just really have to hope that 'as we' doesn't mean 'in the same way' or, 'to the same extent', cos if it does, I'm screwed.)

Lead us not into temptation...

(Because I'm recklessly hopeless, and can't resist the bad very strongly. In fact, between the devil's schemes and my weakness, it's a wrestle to ignore the final TimTam let alone obey your good, pleasing and perfect will all the time!)

But deliver us from evil... 

(On every level please, global, social, physical and personal.)

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, both now and forever...

(Again with the weird remote other-ness... The reaching out into eternal spaces that I'm to small and distracted to fathom... Forever and ever. Forever and ever...

The breadth and depth of what I've just said are beyond me, and I've said this so often I've forgotten... 

And, to cap it all off, I can only pray this to you because of our brother who art in heaven, and that's only because in speaking of Him I'm not praying for the dead, cos He's alive...!

Holy crap!)


Friday, August 12, 2011

an Alanis kind of day

I don't want to pause and ponder today...
Any spare second I give my brain
it cycles back down quickly to the depths of despair.

I hate myself so much today.
I keep catching sight of my face in my computer screen
and I want to slash it open, smash it, grind it into the ground.
Appropriate punishment of the self.

It helps to talk to you about this, 
helps to tell you. 
And I certainly can't focus on my work right now, 
but I want to focus on something!

Paul would tell me to focus
on whatever is pure and noble and true
something lovely. 

That's the problem, 
I'm stuck with my self, my face, my mind to brood over
again and again. 

I need a circuit breaker.

Something lovely, something lovely, something lovely...

I know this is somewhat stupid, 
this casting around for something good to focus on
when you've promised so much good, 
delivered it, surrounded me with it. 

But I'm to upset to see it right now...


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

underpants confession

Dear God,

I'm sorry I judged that woman so harshly this morning,
the woman with her underpants showing under her skirt
as she rode her bicycle to work.

I don't know where those voices came from,
the ones in my head that yelled,
“disgusting! Whore! Should be ashamed of herself!”

Are they really the voices of a mature Christian perspective
of humanity? Identity? Gender?

Or the horrific voices of human nature twisted,
bent out of loving shape by
centuries of habitual blaming of Eve?

Wherever they came from,
please take them away.

Never let me again scream inwardly in hatred
at a woman not trying to be sexual, sensual or tempting,
but just going about her business,
riding to work, focussed on her task, not her clothing.

Thankyou so much that you don't condemn me
for my iniquities,
or shut me out from your love in screaming hatred.

Thanks that you screamed at Jesus instead.

I don't understand why.
He never allowed voices in His head to judge unjustly.

But you forgive me, love me, because of Him.



Heavenly Father, God of sexiness.
Thankyou for side-long glances, subtle stares.
Thankyou for blushing,
the thrill of the chase.

We praise you for slippery foods, wobbly custard.
For red meat, oysters and wine.

Thankyou for round bottoms, firm forearms,
thankyou for curls on the nape of the neck, 
black, brown, blonde, red, green and purple hair. 
Thankyou for tatts, for piercings, 
for long lashes, man-boobs and a thousand other little vulnerabilities.

Thankyou for making men strong, energetic and comfortable.
Thankyou for making women soft, curvy and inviting, literally.

Thankyou that, apparently, men want it any which way and how, 
whenever they can,
so that when we feel fat, ugly and over it, 
they're still gunning their engines, keen for a race.

Thankyou Jesus that even though you died a 33 year old virgin, 
you were sexy.
Thankyou that virgins and singles everywhere are sexy too.

Thankyou Jesus that some people would've found you sexy, irresistible,
that you would have admired others, but never stuffed it up like we do.

Thankyou for being our partner, the bridegroom of the church, our lover, our friend.

We praise you Holy Spirit, God In The Room, God In Our Hearts.
May our unions reflect yours, the way you've bound us together with Christ,
monogomous, yearning, eternal.
Thankyou that you're God With Us in the Bedroom too.

We praise you God of sex for showing us the power, the vulnerability, the transcendent, excruciating, exciting glimpse into you. 

We thankyou for all the 'little deaths', all the thrusting, vernal energy,
all the hoping, rejoicing, crying, falling.
We thankyou that you show us the way to be so close, so intimate, so loving, so perfectly different yet one.

We thankyou for every 'flower born to blush unseen' because with you, nothing is wasted. 

We look forward to the greater joy, the greater reality, that outweighs even this, our greatest pleasure. 

We thank you for the invitation to the dance. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

prayer after Hebrews

Almighty heavenly Father, 

You know where the mountain goats give birth, 
and you watch when the doe bears her fawn. 

You let the wild donkey loose, you untied his ropes
and gave him the desert as his home. 

The hawk takes flight by your wisdom
and spreads his wings toward the south. 

Father, you made creatures we've not even seen
and you know every detail of their lives. 

We cry at destruction we do see 
but you're so much more aware than us of every detail that is wrong in this world. 

So we pray for our brothers and sisters in the horn of Africa, 
those people you've made who we've never even seen. 
We don't know their names, their families, their faces, 
but they're starving to death and being swallowed up in violence. 

Rescue them Father in your compassionate wisdom!
You are holy, powerful and loving! 
You can fix this!!

Search us Lord, and examine our hearts. 

You know already what you'll find there, 
a totally muddled confusion of good and bad motives,
strong desires you've given us, 
and twisted plans for feeding them... 

Sometimes we even deliberately do the wrong thing, 
thinking wrongly, or acting wrongly, 
knowing what you really want from us. 


Thank you so much that when you examine our hearts
you wash and clean them also
and love us fully. 

Help us not to shrink back and be destroyed. 


Monday, August 1, 2011


Lord of all creation,
thanks for pancakes.
Flat and floppy, light and puffy.

Thanks for making wheat so we could eat them.
Thanks for making sugar cane so we could eat them.
Thanks for making cows and chickens so we could eat them.

Yummy pancakes.

Ooh, and thanks for making sap come out of trees so we could eat them.

Thanks for blueberries, lemons, and other variations.
Thanks for generously providing all that we need for sustenance, more than we need, for taste.

Mmm mmm.
That is a pancake 'amen'.