Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

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wilderness

March 16, 2019

Desert

let us go out into the wilderness
let us sit in dust
in raw heat
and hunger
let our faces be tears and sweat
and lick the threat of thirst
and wipe our brow with a stone sponge
blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice.
let us leave all that we have built up
let us leave behind the cathedral sacristry
where we raped our children
let us leave behind the place of prayer
where we slaughtered the peaceful
how can we see God there
through the semen and the blood?
We forsook God
as have forsaken love
so we are godforsaken
blessed are the poor in spirit; they shall see God
let us abandon our plots
and our plowshare weapons
let us eat grasshoppers and grubs
scratched and scorched and scarred
let us go into the wilderness
far into the wilderness
deep into the wilderness
wilderness of God
let us hold our heads in the dizzy confusion
of moral and mental dehydration
knowing only that we do not know
that we are not the clever controllers of the cosmos
that we do not understand
let us be assailed by the epiphany of our
epic epistemological failures
blessed are the meek
let us shed our single right and left wing
pretense at futile flying
ever in self-bound vulture circles
let us crouch in dust
buttocks to the ground
til our bones grind
our muscles give us hell
and no position is sitting well
let us buy out of our stocks and shares in solutions
let us dry out from our intoxication with violence
let us cry out the floods of tears it will take
to know ourselves maybe human again
let us try out the truth of this:
all humanity is equal in vulnerability
cursed are weaponised
blessed are those who mourn
vulnerability
equality
humanity
humility
oh god. oh god. oh god.
have we any humanity left in your eyes?
can we ever be your people?
send us out into the wilderness
until we are weary and wrought
wasting away and wanting
then. then. then…
haste the day that we become utterly desperate for peace
are we there yet? no.
blessed are the peacemakers
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On any given day…

January 25, 2017

mccrae-water

On any given day

you just don’t know

which demons from history’s distant land

will walk in through the door

and say “I’ve come to shake your hand”

 

On any given day

you just don’t know

what strange log will fall

right in your way

diverting your steps a little

on that given day

and bending around

so as not to have faltered

you well may be saved

but your path ever altered

 

On any given day

you just don’t know

what new story you will hear

and so make lies of a truth

you had once held dear

or what your eyes

will yet perceive

making true what you dared not

before believe.

 

On any given day

you just don’t know

with what labour

the hour shall be tasked

that  yesterday you could not

have imagined being asked

On any given day.

 

Any given day is but

a gift  unknown unseen

any given day

these fraught and fragile futures

that have – as yet – never been

which on any given day

can unwrapped and opened be

for those who any given day would dare

and are given gifted free.

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four o clock brain

September 28, 2015

the four o’clock brain
wrings itself out
all its putrid dishwater
the mopped up
thoughts and feelings
dripping down
the inside of my skull
befouling the backs of my eyeballs

twitches and sounds
disrupt my rest
but I am the source of the disturbance
instinctively,

I rise to act

to distract
boil the kettle
wash the day’s past dishes
[always wise to leave a task for such a purpose]
make coffee
escape into the garden

the moon was large
and beautiful
and too bright to look at directly
this morning at 4:30 am.
Just for about 20 minutes
before it sank below the city horizon
I sat and stared at it
through the filter of the dark branches
of the liquid amber
while a single magpie
sang over me
sang over the morning

what strange prayers
we humans pray
stuck in our moment
yet conversing with eternity

what strange faith
I have received
that I would whisper words to God
at four and five in the morning
and expect to be heard
when a magpie carol
much sweeter sounds can offer

other birds sang
in complex layered loops
far off
and the gently the hum of the freeway
below me
rose and rose
restoring to my awareness
the other humans
the world

the cool fresh on my cheek
the hot cup in my hand
the huff of my breath
visible warmth in the chill air before me
evidence that I am alive

I down my coffee
bringing familiar comfort
bringing the flavour of courage
to close my eyes
and take my crumpled mind,
now rinsed and flapped and flattened a bit
still a little damp
inside the house
and I sleep again.

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Lacrymosa

June 16, 2014
Grief stricken american soldier; Haktong-ni area of Korea, 28 August 1950

Grief stricken american soldier; Haktong-ni area of Korea, 28 August 1950

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

will I ever be well again?

will I ever be whole?
If I grit my teeth
and stretch and strain
will I attain such a goal?

will I ever be strong again?
will I ever be brave?
If I set my face
and I raise my chin
will I dare to come out of the cave?

will I ever be useful again?
will I ever serve the cause I believe?
If I penitent crawl
and recant it all
will the powers yet grant a reprieve?

will I ever be normal again?
will I ever come close?
if I paint my face blank
and sing the same tune
will I strike a convincing pose?

will I ever belong again?
did I ever belong before?
we are born in the like
of the God spurned and killed
and our souls with each other still war

will I ever be real again?
no – not any more real than this
for I breathe in the atoms
of rocks and of waves
and the wind that stirred the abyss

oh, Christ of the whole
the ravaged, yet real
your used flesh and cast aside bones
your sick’ning death warns
of our terrible selves
and yet, reconciles all it owns

all you assumed
is somehow redeemed
in this murderous plot of deceit?
Can our streams of bitterly
acidly tears
no longer sting but pour sweet?

Yes – when shed for another’s pain
singing laments lacrymose –
of those locked out and locked up and locked in
those crushed and crunched in cathedrals of spin
those non-conforming non-compus non-grata
enigmatically ensconced in statistics and data
those not on the black and white-pink or blue end
those on the spectrum where the colours and categories blend
those invisible, vulnerable, valuable freaks
ignored or condemned when culture speaks –

If such sweet tears upon your cheeks stain
they be shed like Christ’s blood, for those.

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Hear many voices; Be many times sorry

May 26, 2014

indigenous map

Multivocality, apart from being the name of my blog, really is one of my favourite things about reality
– Bach chorales
– good conversations
– my husband’s readings of A.A. Milne
– pentecostal worship before it went mainstream and marketable
– Robin Williams’ Genie in Aladin
– the way I think

and of course, the deepest truth-telling I know – the multivocality of the Bible.

Today, on National Sorry Day, this map reminds me:
hear many voices…be many times sorry.

http://www.abc.net.au/indigenous/map/

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sometimes we break

July 1, 2013

sometimes we break
sometimes we can’t hold together

sometimes
-the sinews strain
we inhabit the creative tension,
we adrenalise in the challenge:

the exercise of risk,
the leap o’er hurdle
and the pushed-on pace
make us stronger

but sometimes we break
sometimes we can’t hold together

sometimes the invisible grace holds us
the miracle manna appears
and the stricken rock pours forth and sustains
and the precariousness of existence
brings us precious gifts from God
and our faith thickens and glistens
healthy and full.

but sometimes we break
sometimes we can’t hold together

and the God of sustaining and and securing
the God of saving and strengthening
becomes for us the God of emptying
the God of reliquishment
the God of release
of a pouring out of a different kind
the God of the Spent, and Wasted
who is the God of the unencumbered,
the unburdened,
the free.

God of the broken hearted and the empty hearted
there is yet more room in our hearts for you
than in those who are filled and rich
sealed and secured.
we are for you the open hearted.
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Boston, disability and apathy.

April 24, 2013

I subscribe to a news feed called ‘Disability Scoop’ which tracks the incidence of ‘disability’ related stories in the media.

Over the past decade as I have waded deeper into the theological discourse around  children and age and maturity, theology of (dis)ability has become a natural interest, provocateur and conversation partner. It seems that once we depart from the hegemonic mainstream of independent free-agent rationalist culpable anthropology, everyone gets lumped together as ‘the exception’.

So for example when orthodoxy speaks of  repentance and reconciliation with God,  the ‘norm’ assumes a rational, intentional, act of intellectual acquiescence of the will, or as our shorthands cast it, ‘making a decision for Christ’, ‘accepting the gospel’, ‘choosing to follow Jesus’.  Though they are framed in the regenerative initiative of the Spirit, the idea of ‘decision’ and especially in reformed theology, making one’s own decision (reverberating against historical practices of mediator priests) forms the key criterion of ‘conversion’ and ‘faith’. Where children, or those with (dis)abilities or mental illness are judged not to be of a constitution that might be held rationally accountable for their independent decisions, theology has typically shifted into exceptional or provisional mode.

The problem here is that the percentage of Australians who experience mental illness is between 40-50% depending on gender, 2% of the population have a diagnosed intellectual disability, children account for around 20% of the population and around 20% of Australians register in the bureau of statistics as having a disability. The ‘exceptional’ category here is bursting at the seams.

These categories do not all speak of impairment of judgement – far from it. But the theological fantasy of  a human able and accountable in intellect, body  and psyche to make free will decisions of eternal import leaves most of us out at least at some points in our chronology human existence.

Which is precisely the important contribution that (dis)ability theologies make. We are all both abled and disabled. The tiny embryo, the President of South Africa, the Octogenarian who is house-bound and the teenager with autism all have both great ability, as well as real limitations. Here we are offered the generous idea of humanness as intrinsically ‘ambiguous’, and  affirmation that the ambiguity is good. (If you are interested in pursuing this idea further, I recommend Deborah Beth Creamer, Disability and Christian Theology: Embodied Limits and Constructive Possibilities. (2010). It’s in the Dalton McCaughey Library for the Melbournites.(dis)Ability theology challenges the normativity of the rationalist free-willed human and the primary task of faith as believing certain things, which then are verified and expressed through consequent behaviours. Rather, the diversity and ambiguity of humanity articulated, and given voice in (dis)ability (and child) theologies calls us to re-examine the breadth and depth and multiformity of the gospel.

Across the past decade, exploring disability and child theology, raising my own children, wrestling with my own mental tectonic rumbles and workshopping an autism diagnosis in the family with a thoroughness that only the survival instinct inspires, the profile of disability and the ‘non-normative’ has become, well, normative.

So it was with interest that I saw that Disability Scoop channeled an article about the Boston Marathon bombing.
They reported –

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two alleged bombers, spent time volunteering with an organization that promotes social and employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities while he was in high school.

In a statement, Best Buddies International acknowledged that Tsarnaev participated in their program — which pairs students in one-on-one relationships with peers who have intellectual disabilities — during the 2010 academic year through a chapter at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Mass.

Bombing suspect had tie to special needs community

The article goes on to make it clear that Tsarnaev had no further connection with the Best Buddies program and to maintain a safe distance from his current reputation, one of violence and public outrage. I wonder what we think the significance of his former role is?

Are we surprised that a bomber was a buddy? Do we think this is a conflict of ethos, or demonstrate consistency in personal integrity.

Are we shocked at the history of compassion in one who has been revealed to us only through an act of violence? Are we being encouraged to construct a narrative that moves from one with compassion for others to one of heartless destruction?

Or, do we see the thread of concern linking a student who cares and engages with peers whose inclusion required active advocacy and countercultural mechanisms to catalyse connection, and the young man who intentionally risks his own safety in order to express resistance to  something yet to be identified and articulated.

We are perhaps trying to second guess what that resistance might be, and certainly early media insinuations solicit our imaginations to recreate a religious and politically fuelled motivation. We do well though to exercise our own little bit of (non-violent) resistance to these, as-yet, unsubstantiated hypotheses. The jury is not only, still out, it not yet in.

One thing stands though. The two vignettes I have of Tsarnaev’s life show me a man who cared about things beyond himself. This is a rare thing. I am not sanctifying or justifying his actions. But I note that for a person to live a life of both compassion and non-apathy, to take seriously the things that confront us is a difficult and probably disruptive life.

I admire and align myself with the anabaptist traditions of non-violence as a strategy for conflict resolution and as a way of living and being in the world. I can’t say I support the actions of Tsarnaev. But I recognise in him a person who cares, and acknowledge that his actions, though bloody and tragic both for him and others are perhaps not senseless, compassionless cold-heartedness. If we are stirred with grief on behalf of those who are mourning, or if we experience anger at the injustice of the damage, it seems we may share more with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev than we might first imagine.

Life on the fringes of the prophetic has taught me that to care deeply takes courage and will injure me – it is not a safe path. To disallow the tides of apathy to carry us out to drift on the ocean of overwhelmed impossibility, is to be disruptive in some way or another. If there was one thing that would entirely upset our world today- it would be an explosion of justice and peace. I tender that we would so barely survive, that we would need to be made wholly new, but let us pray and pursue it anyway.