I recently started reading Philip Yancey’s The Jesus I Never Knew. With only the first two chapters under my belt, I’m already beginning to think about Jesus’ life and work in a new way.
For instance, I’ve been thinking hard about just how difficult it must have been for Mary to bring a son into this world, seeing as she was subject to the law and to a society which viewed her birth as scandalous. That’s how Yancey’s book starts: revisiting this man Jesus we’ve heard about for so long and in so many different contexts and reexamining the birth story I heard every Christmas Eve as a kid (usually while obsessing over the presents I knew were waiting in my parents’ closet). Yancey’s book is a necessary eye opener for sure.
I bought the book a few days ago, and on that same day, I saw two Jehovah’s Witnesses walking down my street. In the past, whenever I saw Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door, I recoiled in horror at the thought of talking to two stranger’s at my doorstep. Perhaps because my view of the life of Jesus was fresh in my mind, I realized that I wished they would knock on my door. I had a few questions to ask them…
Continue reading “Questions for a Jehovah’s Witness”
Our stories revolve around the sons of…
Of harpy and of Jacob
From which fathers are they?
Is their devotion to violence in the alley
Merely a skewed reading of scripture
They call themselves the sons of…
Of ones whose hearts are all-consuming fire
And disgust in the bedrooms.
Their loyalty unfaltering, unmoved, and solid
Their causes horrifically misplaced
These are the sons of…
Broken men following broken men following broken men
But believing in something real.
Enforcing the laws of the land
They forget the good news that made them
Andy, I’ve gotten fat and happy
I wonder if you’d say hey if we passed on the street
I just remember driving down Clearwater together
We kept saying god he’s got a voice
You can’t help but sing like it pulls you
Even now as I write this and I think of where you might be
I hum along – Young Pilgrims – you know
God he’s got a voice
If you’re interested, this was inspired by The Shins’ song “Young Pilgrims.” Careful: it’s catchy.
I peer into the bowl
Black wet fruit drip
A sweet acrid smell
I poke the rind curious
The skin gives way
Mush into the core
Sick juice covers my hand
Sounds of moldy muscle
Decomposed meat old
Sitting in a bowl of its own
Blood-like sweet liquid
Bedridden by time, I am
Lying flat and useless
While night’s nothingness
Is drowned out by the sound
Of a rainstorm on my phone,
A gale on my nightstand
My eyelids hang low and heavy
My head pounds quietly to
The rhythm of the rain
While I lie awake with distant thoughts
Running laps from ear to ear
The race won’t end, and my eyes won’t close
Those voices I used to listen to
Sing about the Brakemen
And I found those old tracks recently
They sound so hopeful
But I remember listening in despair
Learning their harmonies in the back room:
“This one’s for the Brakemen”
Who are they?
And who am I? I remember thinking between songs
don’t think just write spill it out for once just let go it doesn’t matter how many words or how long how do you feel are you being real with me are you being real with yourself just put the words down don’t ask questions just write who cares what I think what do you think how many pages you ask who cares just write for yourself you have to write you can’t keep it inside anymore be honest be genuine be vulnerable like this poem here no punctuation no capitalization no sentence structure just words on this page talking to you and you only do it for yourself don’t do it for anyone else you can make a difference if you put truth into your writing you don’t like this poem I don’t care I’m writing it anyway it’s done
The person and work of Jesus Christ –
His sinless life –
Can be yours
By faith alone
And I’m spiteful
And I’m so angry
And my heart is rotten
And I fall short every day
But you love me. All is well.
Words? In devotion to me?
No. No my name is small and can’t be heard
Yes, yes, yes, Your name
Should be sung loud
Let us sing loud!
“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be…”
Which facet of this Diamond should we sing of tonight?
What color is Your character?
What color do you see, brother?
Every color is beautiful
In its own way
And we look to this, our Prism
The grace-giving summation of everything good
We look to Him
I look to Him
Without Him, none of this means anything
It’s all just a useless few years
In which we keep yelling our names
Never to be heard