Integrity, Courage and Resistance

I had a missionary professor who spurned the pastoral care department as so much navel gazing saying that if we students go into missionary work we don’t need to take preoccupation with our Western hang-ups with us to superimpose them on an Eastern culture.

He was right about impositions; he was wrong about hang-ups. If we students were to spend the rest of our working lives caring for others, we would need to know as much as possible about how to care for ourselves through all the vicissitudes of life that would surely and inevitably come our way.

The Beatles may have meant drugs, but relationally speaking, we do get by with a little help from our friends and sometimes those friends, in a broader sense of that word, are the people who are trained to help with that introspection so we not only can survive but thrive in caring for ourselves and others.

We are at a time in our country’s history when we need all the self-knowledge, self-acceptance and I would even go so far as to say all the wisdom we may have accrued over the years not just to survive this trial but to thrive in integrity embracing our core values and living them for others.

So, it seems to me, we need to reflect on our past, conjure those saints and summon all the learning, nurturing, caring, clarifying moments that therapists, pastors, counselors and others facilitated for us and in us in our time of need and gather them all together renewing them in our heads, hearts, minds and spirits so that we will not be “beside ourselves” in this time as tempting as it is to cave and cower in fear, but will, in that integrated, whole self be equipped to meet the challenges of the moment. We need to give thanks for those who helped us recognize our dark side in the metaphor of a shadow and helped us come to terms with that shadow, befriend the shadow thus disarming our shadow so it doesn’t harm us or others.

For we all, this very moment, are struggling with what very well might be a time of national insanity and it is a time calling us to own personal integrity and claim the core values we inherited and made our own — love, morality, justice, mercy and peace — and stand in solidarity with those suffering and in non- violent resistance against all the lies of the present day principalities and powers.

St. Paul, using the metaphor of the armor of war, gave us the attributes necessary to stand against evil. Shed of the metaphor but with interpretation, St. Paul urges us to stand firm in non-violent resistance by clothing ourselves in the truth of Jesus’ self-sacrificial love for others, just living, peacemaking, faith in eternal, inclusive love for all people and the very creation itself, the saving knowledge that all will be redeemed and the word of life to speak that love in courage.

I’m Not a Celebrity, But…

There are people of celebrity and fame
who tweet that the president is to blame
for just about everything under the sun.
All I know is that he thinks he’s #1.
Some contend he is a malevolent narcissist
and that everyone should rise and resist.
All I know is that he thinks he’s #1
and all this resisting sure is fun.
I feel like a college kid protesting Viet Nam.
This time it’s to protest the flim-flam man.
Just ‘cause they’re celebrities doesn’t make them right,
but I have to concede, I’m having nightmares and daytime fright.
So, I guess I’ll keep beating the protest drum,
because no one should think he’s #1.
Just on the face of it that sounds sick
like he really could be a malevolent narcissist.
I may not a famous person be
but I concur with all those celebrities.
I think a guy blind enough to think he’s #1
should pack it in and say he’s done
and go back to his business of real estate
so we will not have to worry about the world’s fate.

To All My White, Evangelical Brothers and Sisters

He’s news today;
he’s news everyday
and he loves it that way.
He needs the adulation
and so creates situations
to stir up the crowd
while protesters march proud,
which hardens the face
of his mostly white base.
What of his followers,
all those frantic hollerers
screaming “Lock her up”?
Do they know what’s up?
He fills their ravenous needs
with poison seeds
which will grow
in the thin soil of their soul.
“Hey, I thought Jesus
sent his angels
to all you evangelicals,
you with hollow hearts,
but you are entertaining devils unaware
and you’ve gone whoring
and cry angrily in fits and starts
but beware.
False, hollow gods offering
a hate-filled salvation
will hurry your self-imposed damnation.
So, brothers and sisters,
read Jesus’ words
and let justice be heard
from your love filled lives.
Be eternally alive
in that for which you strive
but can only come with grace
that offers the joy of
the inclusive embrace.
Remember the Sunday school song
and walk forth gratefully
with the heavenly throng:
Jesus loves the little children,
all the children of the world.
Red, yellow, brown, black and
white, they are precious in
his sight. Jesus loves the
little children of the world.
Can I hear an AMEN!”

A Slow Jog On a Perfect Sunday Afternoon in the Wet Desert

He started out just putting
one running shoe fitted foot
in front of the other with

the synchronized swing of
two hiking sticks – left
foot, right stick/right foot,

left stick. It was the last
thing he wanted to do on a
lazy, overcast, on again/off

again rainy, Sunday after-
noon, but his conscience got
him and out the back parking

lot onto the Phoenix trail he
went, moving out-of-the-way
of two, courteous, fast-moving

trail cyclists who took the
time to say thank you as
they sped past and one,

attractive, female jogger
to whom he simply nodded
as she passed. Forty minutes

of very slow jogging later
and a little wet from the
small, desert rain drops

which would have soaked
him with monster drops back
home, he stopped his stop-

watch wrist watch his wife
bought him on sale for five
bucks three years ago (only

needing one new wrist band)
and does exactly what he
needs done, held the mis-

matched hiking sticks in
one hand while “air high-
fiving” with the other and

looked forward to an even-
ing of British drama on PBS
and a couple of glasses

of cheap bubbly which will
do exactly what he wants

Rain Check Please

He felt sorry for the
to the Valley of the Sun
when there was none.
Stuck in their resort room
how could the family
have any fun?
Think about that — a
family of four; it doesn’t
even take more
to experience life
as a series of skirmishes
and fights
because life in paradise
is an incredible bore.
All the money on the
cards and out of the
saving and checking
and just plain out the door.
While cold outside, the
in the room just
mounts and mounts
and soon it will be
about as high
as the blue sky temps
back in sweet home
Chicago (really blue skies?)
where they would be
having cheap fun
which they aren’t having
here in the Valley of the Sun —
where it is overcast
with a lot of rain,
if you can believe that,
because around here
the sun is the source for
the Valley’s fame.
He and his wife
are snowbirds
who stay around for
a few months
when it is cold back
home and can wait out
the rain
while hearing the residents’
grateful refrain,
“Thank the Lord for
all this beautiful rain.
Don’t worry; the sun
will be out in the Valley
soon again.”
Unfortunately, not
for the vacationers.

A Note to the Kids During This Trying Time


I thought you might like this link I found at the site On Being today.
It is strategy to thrive personally during this federal administration:

We are doing the following to take care of ourselves during this trying time for our country.

*I read three meditations a day;
*I read three or more poems which I get on a daily basis;
*I write poetry daily;
*Chris creates her art on a daily basis;
*Chris and I are starting to do some easy yoga (really easy);
*we jog and cycle;
*we read murder mysteries as a diversion (It actually works.
I started years ago with Agatha Christie.);
*we watch all the British and Australian dramas on PBS;
*we have the companionship of the dog;
*we eat well;
*we eat a lot of homemade soup;
*we try to get a good night’s sleep;
*when I remember, I do deep breathing;
*we attend a great, progressive church where we worship,
have fellowship and get ideas for ways to take action and protest;
*we get out in nature regularly and often;
*we listen to a lot of classical music on the radio.
*we go to the 11 a.m. coffee concerts at the Phoenix Symphony.

Basically, this is our lifestyle and it is helping to keep us sane in this sudden, shocking, scary, traumatic, national experience that none of us ever could have imagined.

I realize we are retired and have time, but simply having time on our hands isn’t necessarily good.

You don’t have that kind of time with your busy schedules but I know you are doing good things for yourselves and your families. Keep up the good work.


He Channeled

He channeled George Orwell,
Aldous Huxley, Ray Bradbury
and Rod Serling for what they
might say about what the new
president has said and may say.
They all rolled over in the
grave, waved him away as
they did say in great dismay
that they just never could,
under any circumstance, en-
vision such an utterly
dystopian day.