Friday, February 29, 2008

"The True Joy In Life" (On a special leap day)

This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

George Bernard Shaw

the trash men

by Charles Bukowski

here they come
these guys
grey truck
radio playing

they are in a hurry

it’s quite exciting:
shirt open
bellies hanging out

they run out the trash bins
roll them out to the fork lift
and then the truck grinds it upward
with far too much sound . . .

they had to fill out application forms
to get these jobs
they are paying for homes and
drive late model cars

they get drunk on Saturday night

now in the Los Angeles sunshine
they run back and forth with their trash bins

all that trash goes somewhere

and they shout to each other

then they are all up in the truck
driving west toward the sea

none of them know
that I am alive

Thursday, February 28, 2008


by Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue
or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall

on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

"A Living Mystery"

To be a witness
 does not consist 
in engaging in propaganda,
 nor even in stirring people up,
 but in being a living mystery.
It means to live 
in such a way 
that one’s life 
would not make sense if God did not exist.

Emmanuel CĂ©lestin Cardinal Suhard

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rainer Maria Rilke

"As though eternity stretched before them..."

In this there is no measuring with time. A year doesn’t matter; ten years are nothing. To be an artist means not to compute or count; it means to ripen as the tree, which does not force its sap, but stands unshaken in the storms of spring with no fear that summer might not follow. It will come regardless. But it comes only to those who live as though eternity stretched before them, carefree, silent and endless. I learn it daily, learn it with many pains, for which I am grateful: Patience is all!

Glen Hansard: Fingerprints(Rumor or Reality)

There is a rumor of a Glen Hansard Belmont Shore visit around the Oscars this Sunday. So today I went into Fingerprints to get to the bottom of this. The blond lady behind the counter told me that it was still up in the air.
There you have it maybe, maybe not. That's all for now!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Gerard Manley Hopkins

"God's Grandeur"

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Wendell Berry: Our story/ God's story

The significance - and ultimately the quality - of the work we do is determined by our understanding of the story in which we are taking part. If we think of ourselves as merely biological creatures, whose story is determined by genetics or environment or history or economics or technology, then, however pleasant or painful the part we play, it cannot matter much. Its significance is that of mere self-concern. "It is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing," as Macbeth says when he has "supp'd full with horrors" and is "weary of the sun."

If, on the other hand, we believe that we are living souls, God's dust and God's breath, acting our parts among other creatures all made of the same dust and breath as ourselves; and if we understand that we are free, within the obvious limits of mortal human life, to do evil or good to ourselves and to the other creatures - then all our acts have a supreme significance.

"Saying Grace"

You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and the pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

by G.K. Chesterton

How would Jesus throw a party?

Luke 14.11-14
11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."12He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."

What does this mean for us in Long Beach as we think about throwing city parties? These words are just as challenging today then it was in the first century. I think the words "fear" and "trust" are the major issues that we need to begin to deal with.

Jesus says hang out with the losers of society, that's how to party! May this be who we are in this world in the weeks to come.

Combine this passage with

Luke 6.27-36

27"But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 "If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Does anyone hear echoes of Paul in Romans 12 (What it means to be human,worship as living sacrifices)?

This is the church. This is what it means to be human, and I strongly suggest that there is no excuses for anything otherwise.

I hope we can begin to wrestle with this stuff. I know it rubs me wrong. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Funniest Film of All Time!!!!!!!

Love Tails of Morrocco

Lighthouse Christian Book Store: Here we come...

Million Dollar shirt/bumper sticker idea:

Prayer-oritize Your Life!

Any Buyers???

For the
Judeo-Christian-Muslim-New Age market...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Can't wait to read! All God's Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence by Fox Butterfield

This is really two books in one, though they are tied together seamlessly. On the one hand, the book is a fascinating and detailed true crime study of Willie Bosket, New York State's most notorious criminal and considered to be their most violent and dangerous prison inmate. On the other hand it's a study of the origins of violence in America.

Amazingly, the author was able to trace Willie Bosket's ancestry back to his slave ancestors, and in so doing trace the escalating evolution of violence and criminality in each succeeding generation of the Bosket family. The book begins in pre-Revolutionary times with a study of white violence in the region of North Carolina where Willie's ancestors were enslaved. The author persuasively argues that the primary origin of black violence is the tradition of white violence that was transferred to them from their former slave owners.

Monday, February 18, 2008

One Heart by Franz Wright

It is late afternoon and I have just returned from
the longer version of my walk nobody knows
about. For the first time in nearly a month, and
everything changed. It is the end of March, once
more I have lived. This morning a young woman
described what it’s like shooting coke with a baby
in your arms. The astonishing windy and altering light
and clouds and water were, at certain moments,
You. There is only one heart in my body, have mercy on me.

Thank You for letting me live for a little as one of the
sane; thank You for letting me know what this is
like. Thank You for letting me look at your frightening
blue sky without fear, and your terrible world without
terror, and your loveless psychotic and hopelessly
with this love

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Psalm of the week: Bias... maybe?

Psalm 133

Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the LORD has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore.

I can't stop listening to this album...

The Snake The Cross The Crown

Album title:
Cotton Teeth

Good wisdom...

Rainer Maria Rilke is considered one of the greatest 20th century poets. His stuff on solitude is life changing. It doesn't get much better than Rilke. Blah, blah, blah.

Come yall, trust me for once.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tough Questions (Lesson 1): What is heaven?

Every once in awhile someone will come up to me off the street and ask me, "hey St. Joseph, what is heaven?" And usually I'll fumble around will my words, "Ugh, Ugh" and try to think of something theological like. It just doesn't ever come out right though. It always seems sooo abstract for their pea brained minds.
Well I have to be purely frank with you all, those days are over.

I think heaven is like relaxing with my lady in matching Terry Cloth jumpsuits. You know me and her alone, tarrying around our pad hand in hand, madly in love!!!
She looks into my eyes and I look back in hers. I might give her a wink for the hell of it, I mean... for the heaven of it, and just pretend that I know something she doesn't. When in all reality I know nothing except that moment, that one special moment of me, her, and Terry in heaven. Just think about it. Meditate on it and slip into heaven.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A unique Jewish documentary:PRAYING WITH LIOR

"If there is a God, Lior is definitely closer to God than anyone else I know."
-- Yoni Liebling, Lior's brother

An engrossing, wrenching and tender documentary film, PRAYING WITH LIOR introduces Lior Liebling, also called "the little rebbe." Lior has Down syndrome, and has spent his entire life praying with utter abandon. Is he a "spiritual genius" as many around him say? Or simply the vessel that contains everyone’s unfulfilled wishes and expectations? Lior – whose name means "my light" — lost his mother at age six, and her words and spirit hover over the film. While everyone agrees Lior is closer to God, he’s also a burden, a best friend, an inspiration, and an embarrassment, depending on which family member is speaking. As Lior approaches Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony different characters provides a window into life spent "praying with Lior." The movie poses difficult questions such as what is "disability" and who really talks to God? Told with intimacy and humor, PRAYING WITH LIOR is a family story, a triumph story, a grief story, a divinely-inspired story.

Finally shall come the Poet...

After the seas are all cross’d,(as they seem already cross’d,)
After the great captains and engineers have accomplish’d their work,
After the noble inventors—after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist,
Finally shall come the Poet, worthy that name;
The true Son of God shall come, singing his songs.

Then, not your deeds only, O voyagers, O scientists and inventors, shall be justified,
All these hearts, as of fretted children, shall be sooth’d,
All affection shall be fully responded to—the secret shall be told;
All these separations and gaps shall be taken up, and hook’d and link’d
The whole Earth—this cold, impassive, voiceless Earth, shall be completely justified;

Trinitas divine shall be gloriously accomplish’d and compacted by the the Son of God,
(He shall indeed pass the straits and conquer the mountains,
He shall double the Cape of Good Hope to some purpose;)

Nature and Man shall be disjoin’d and diffused no more,
The true Son of God shall absolutely fuse them.
Walt Whitman

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Delightful Read...

Reframing Paul: Conversations in Grace & Community

By Mark Strom

Top Three Reasons why you need to see the new Rambo movie!

#1 Hot missionary girl #2 More Violence than ever! #3 Lots of ManoCamouflage
"Exhibit A" (Rambo's Body Double)

Some Thursday thoughts for ewe...

I have been on this kick as of late on pondering the question of what does it mean to be fully human? Maybe this is where I always need to be, but anyways that is where I am now.
As I look at Jesus and Paul the theme of power and status is woven through the texts. So my question for the week is this: As the people of God, what should our approach be when we encounter the issue of power and status?

Look first at Jesus: Paul says in Philippians 2 that Jesus lived with all status and power in heaven and he made himself nothing taking the form of a servant, being found in human form and became obedient to death on a cross. We see it lived out in John 13 Jesus shows what it means to be in the reflection of God by taking a towel and a basin and begins washing his disciples feet, though they are against the entire notion of Jesus doing so. We also see it in the life of Paul. Here is a guy in Philippians 3 who is the Hebrew of Hebrews, a lawyer of lawyers and he says "all my status and power is worthless for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." In the Graeco/Roman period, to be human was to have status, to have power, to have knowledge, and to have wealth and property, It is interesting two thousand years later it is still about status and power. Paul confronts the status and power of his time and says in 1 Corinthians 4 when speaking to them we are fools, you are wise, we are weak you are strong, you have honor, but we are low, we are persecuted but we will endure, when we are reviled by you, but we will bless you. Paul is saying there is a new way to be human and it does not look like what the dominate culture thinks it looks like. It is the reality that there is strength in weakness, there is wisdom in foolishness, there is riches in being poor, there is joy in suffering, there is pleasure in giving, there is daily dying and rising, dying and rising, dying and rising, because we know and understand that there is life through death. Think about how beautiful that really is. It is one gigantic paradox that exist in, and we are able by the grace of God to live it out. Think about how many people that you know that live for status and power, yet for some reason or another God lets us see a bigger picture of what our lives are able to look like outside of status of power. As children of God we want to get it, we want to live it, but like the the disciples James and John we want to sit on the right and the left of Jesus. In the end we are so drawn to the status, the power, the fame, the glory, and the American dream. It is deep inside us, we fight it, we massage it, we hate it we welcome it. So where do we go from here? It is interesting that Jesus says to us give in secret and pray in secret, don't trumpet hows great you are but allow your lives to point to me. Remember I shaped you out of the dust, I gave you the gifts that you find your identity in. I am Lord and you are not. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul speaks of the final trumpet that will sound, not for us and our glory though we will have new bodies and be like him, not for the new earth that will have new glory, but the trumpet is for the arrival of our Jesus who makes his way back to earth to be with his people once again and forever. Let us be thankful for his grace and let us be sober of our calling as servants and slaves to the most high God. My hope is that our hearts, minds, and lives may continue to mirror the face of Jesus, the perfect example of what it means to be fully human:)