Archive for Poetry

Loving the earth is not satanic

Canticle-print-smallIn the beginning when god began creating the heavens and the earths manifestations of god’s self of gods love, and god saw that it was good. And god created humans as embodied manifestations of gods consciousness, god’s glory and god’s love. God charged humanity to be stewards of the earth, to love it and care for it.

It should not be a big surprise to us that we as gods image bearers also have a deep love for the creation that we are a part of. We are hardwired to be awed and swept away by god’s creation. The forests and the oceans are part of us, or we are part of them, they are our external lungs and without them we cannot live. At the core of everything we are connected, we are one with all of creation and it’s divine source. All is one. because in the end there is only the divine source and the source is love.

How is it then, that as soon as we express this deep devotion and love for the manifestation of the divine, the Christian tribe quickly labels it as heretical, pagan, new agey and even satanic?

Wouldn’t it be natural for us to join in with saint Francis in the canticle of the sun?

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.

There is a clear connection between our embodied state and our spirituality, this connection needs to be honoured if we are to truly manifest missio dei, god’s dream or god’s kingdom.

Thomas Merton makes this connection clear when he writes:

By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.

C.S Lewis also beautifully describes this heavenly music of the spheres in his space trilogy. So can we be still and hear the music of creation humming and drumming deep within us, can we feel the connection to the earth, to the sun, to the moon and stars, to all of creation, without being afraid that we are becoming pantheist, pagan, wiccan, or as some Christian tribes would have it, thereby satanist? Can I honour and love the divine in mother earth, in sister moon, in father sky and in brother wolf, without thinking or worrying about being heretical? All is one with the divine source and I want us all to have the freedom to honour the divine in all. Because loving the earth is our task, it’s in our DNA and it is a sacred connection with the divine source.

To be embraced …

That you would embrace me
That you would surround me your divine light

That is bliss to me

That you would surrender to my embrace
That you would allow me to lead you in our dance

That is to wondrous for words

That you would look at me and smile
That you would accept me as your equal

That is to me a miracle

Oh beloved how I wait for you to do it again!

This is my voice

imagesRecently at “Subverting the norm II” I was challenged by Katherine Sara Moody who took the platform together with some heavy hitters in radical theology and opened up with “as a woman and a theologian I am still looking to find my voice”.

She made me reflect, and I think I have been reflecting on, what is my voice, ever since I came back. Apart from realising (once again) that as a cisgendered white male in the clergy I am always going to speak from a position of power and privilege, no matter how much I deconstruct this and show how unprivileged I have been as I grew up. I also realised as I invited all these fantastic theologians to read my blogs that I did so with a certain trepidation. The old fear: “what if they find out that I am a fake”, quickly reared it's ugly head.

It's not that I am ashamed of what I write/have written, I'm not. It is the fact that I do not write with an academic voice like for example Christena Cleveland or with the philosophical depth of Peter Rollins. I write like, well like me.

This is where it hit's me, I am no academic. Don't get me wrong, I love academia, I want to read books that make my brain hurt as I strain to encompass the grand idea, philosophy or theology in them. But I do not write with an academic voice, and I never will.

In my writing, I am first and foremost a poet, sometimes a pastor and often a preacher. I am a pirate and at my best I manage to marry this to being a good parent.

This is my voice, I write not for the academics admiration or to enter into an academic conversation. Sometimes I am philosophical but, I tend not to delve to deep and often lack the philosophical discipline to truly enter into the philosophical dialogue. No, I reach up and pluck ripe fruits from the top of the tree and try my best to serve a nice fruit cocktail for my friends down here on the ground. I am not an academic, or a philosopher, I am a preacher/poet with my feet planted firmly on the ground looking for a theopoetic that will part the veil and allow me to, if only for a moment, experience the divine.

This is my voice.

 

The return of the blog

tumblr_m9pb53vJjx1rnmfgho1_500After a long hiatus in blogging I have decided to warm up the keyboard and start blogging again. Any long term reader will immediately notice that the name of the blog has changed and with that maybe the direction of the blog as well.

Personally I think the new name “Theopoetics” better reflect the direction the blog has had for a long time and that the byline: Life is my religion also reflects this direction.

The return of the blog will start with a blog series that will unpack that very statement over the course of the next few months.

If you are familiar with the kind of theologians that move in more progressive circles (process theologians and radical Christianity etc) you will already be familiar with the term theopoetics. But for those of you who wonder here is the Wikipedia entry on theopoetics:

Theopoetics is an interdisciplinary field of study that combines elements of poetic analysis, process theologynarrative theology, and postmodern philosophy. Originally developed by Stanley Hopper and David Leroy Miller in 1960s and furthered significantly by Amos Wilder with his 1976 text, Theopoetic: Theology and the Religious Imagination. Recently, there has been a revitalized interest with new work being done by Rubem AlvesCatherine KellerJohn CaputoPeter RollinsScott HollandMelanie MayMatt GuynnRoland FaberJason Derr, et al.

Theopoetics suggests that instead of trying to develop a “scientific” theory of God, as Systematic Theology attempts, theologians should instead try to find God through poetic articulations of their lived (“embodied”) experiences. It asks theologians to accept reality as a legitimate source of divine revelation and suggests that both the divine and the real are mysterious — that is, irreducible to literalist dogmas or scientific proofs.

Theopoetics makes significant use of “radical” and “ontological” metaphor to create a more fluid and less stringent referent for the Divine. One of the functions of theopoetics is to recalibrate theological perspectives, suggesting that theology can be more akin to poetry than physics. It belies the logical assertion of the Principle of Bivalence and stands in contrast to some rigid Biblical hermeneutics that suggest that each passage of scripture has only one, usually teleological, interpretation.

Whereas these strict, literalist approaches believe scripture and theology possess inerrant factual meaning and pay little attention to historicity, a theopoetic approach takes a positive position on faith statements that can be continuously reinterpreted. Theopoetics suggest that just as a poem can take on new meaning depending on the context in which the reader interprets it, texts and experiences of the Divine can and should take on new meaning depending on the changing situation of the individual.

 

 

Going about…

I am preparing a teaching for tuesdays youth meeting at Metro. I have been asked to preach on time, how to plan it what to do with it. As I am exploring my Ideas of Gods time or the art of becoming, I ran across this fantastic poem written by [[Toyohiko Kagawa]], a Christian and a lay leader in Japan during the early part of the twentieth century.

I read
In a book
That a man called
Christ
Went about doing good.
It is very disconcerting to me
That I am so easily
Satisfied
With just
Going about.

So many of us become the restless wave of the sea James is talking about1 content not to make any choices but merely float on the river of life and let it lead you. Just going about our business, doing what we always have, like we have always done it. Days becoming, weeks, weeks becoming months, months becoming years, years becoming decades. Without change, without purpose, without direction.

Where are you going? And what are you going to do?

  1. James 1:6-8 []

Drown me in your Love

Drown me in your Love
Love me tlll I die
Die from this world
world of corruption
corruption of Love
Love me till I drown
Drown in your Love
%d bloggers like this: