Prayer to the Living God

You’re untamed and wild and I but your child,
So I don’t say what I may want you to be to me,
For I’m not free to shake you and remake you;
I take you for who you are, my Morning Star,
Gratefully, not hatefully, ravished by your love,
Mindful you are far above me in your holiness,
And are blameless and shameless in all you do;
So, too, I worship you and praise you for being
Not only true but also Truth,
As well as Love and Beauty,
And it’s my duty and privilege to belong to you,
Eternal One, whom I’ve only just begun to love


Why the Crucifixion? An Explanation

When Jesus carried the cross of shame and blame, he carried me,
And when he was nailed to that tree, he was literally nailed to me,
Becoming one with me under bright sun and salvation had begun,
For in dying he took my death unto himself and died death for me
So that I could take his life unto myself and make it my very own
Thru his resurrection in which he put to death my death and lived
So that, being one with him, I can live beyond death by his breath
Of new and unending life, and this is why Christ endured the strife
And the blame and the shame of the crucifixion . . .
Not to assuage the wrath of some angry, blood-thirsty God, oh no!
That cross was an ultimate unity with humanity in the incarnation;
Yes, he carried me and was nailed to me, you see, not just my sins,
And if you can begin to understand this, then salvation takes on
An ultimately different hue: twas all about you and me, not just sin;
This is the explanation of the alleged complication of the crucifixion!

Sunday Musings: An Answer to Religious Critics

You are for me all that I need for you to be,
And you are my bright and morning star,
But some cry ‘heresy!’ without any mercy
And without truly knowing you, O my God,
And they walk the sod of earth in judgment
Of what they do not understand
In demands of ‘correct’ theology,
Soteriology, hamartiology and Christology
And all of their ‘ologies’ without an apology
Like the Pharisees of ancient days and ways,
And judge books like The Shack and back
This condemnation by hand-picked citations
From sacred writ while misapprehending
Cross and tomb and bloom of resurrection
And what you mean by that sacred scene,
But you’re still to me all that I need you to be,
And you are my brightest and morning star,
Who casts off all mourning for me to dance
And prance like newborn fawn in your fields,
Which all yield an hundredfold of treasures
For my pleasure without limited measures,
And I thank you that you come to me
Just as I need to see you day by days
Without changing the nature of your ways
Precisely because you are who you are,
And no one can really mar your true image
In seeing you in and through purity of heart
In every part of their being ringing so truly
So . . . thank you, my fair Beloved! Thank you!

Salvation: Come One and All

The intrinsic nature of God is light, life and love
So that God chose to send His Son from above
To become one with humanity in His identity
So that we might be united to Him in infinity,
And the desire of God is that all be redeemed
And no one be condemned for all of eternity;
Ah! This is an expression of His constitution
So that, though some might not be redeemed,
It is not His conviction to will condemnation;
Salvation is a door thrown wide open
On the floor of this darkened world
Into which we have all been hurled;
It is left to people to choose any given day whom
They shall believe and serve and receive ransom
From darkness, sin, death if they come to Christ;
God does not shut the door to any who comes,
Though some may not but He fought for salvation
For this world He so loves from heaven above!
And this is the Good News for everyone,
Not just some select few who do come!
God is love in His nature and exceedingly merciful,
Who invites everyone to drink from the river of life,
Ending their strife in uniting themselves to Him
By the power of His Spirit, through Jesus the Christ!
Amen and Amen.

Husbands, Headship and Half-Baked Ideas

I know I normally write poetry, but something has been on my heart lately and for good reason. An exceptionally close family member has spent virtually all of her adult life trying to be “a good wife.” She absolutely abhors the idea of divorce, but she also has a deeply rooted and, I dare say, almost fundamentalist idea of what it means to be “submissive to your husband.” Consequently, she has consistently blamed herself, and only herself, for some really serious problems in her current marriage. (Her first ended after 25 years solely by the decision of her then-husband. She was opposed, but that’s another story.)

So, okay then, I say let’s take the more evangelical-fundamentalist approach to the idea of marriage, and let’s use what is doubtless the most popular passage of Scripture about marriage. 

Let’s take a look at the fifth chapter of Ephesians, since so many Christians, both men and women (interestingly enough), love to point to the verses where St. Paul says, “Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior.”

The Apostle has far more to say to the husband in this passage of Scripture that, interestingly enough, begins with the injunction, “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Yes, he goes on to explain just how the husband is to subject himself to his wife in sacred marriage. And make no mistake: Paul is explaining how the husband is uniquely to subject  himself to his wife.

And how is this?

  1. He is to love his wife just as Christ Jesus loves the Church, His bride. And how does Christ love the Church? He loves the Church with perfect, godly love. (Here read the “love chapter” in First Corinthians, that is, chapter 13)
  2. He is to give himself up for his wife as Christ gave himself up for the Church. And how did Christ give himself up for the Church? He died for her! So this means that the husband is to die to self to, first and foremost, live for Christ and his wife! And, of course, this entails essentially placing his very life at the disposal of the wife; no, not to be hounded and ground into the dirt, because the godly wife would not attempt to do this. However,  his life is no longer his own! It belongs first to Christ, then to his wife.
  3. He is to care for her and nourish her. Think about how the mother cares for and nourishes her children and you have a pretty good grid into which to fit this command. This command certainly goes along with dying to self to live for Christ and his wife.
  4. He is to cleanse her “with the washing of water by the Word,” which at first glance can seem kind of esoteric. Is he to literally wash her? No. This is really a reference to baptism, which was and is the symbol of rebirth. So St. Paul is essentially instructing the husband to “baptize” his wife (continually) by, first, Christ Jesus, who was and is the Word of God incarnate and, secondly, by the written Word of God, holy Scripture. Now think for a moment about this awesome responsibility!
  5. He is to “make her holy . . . without spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind . . . so that she may be holy and without blemish.” Think about this for a moment. On the great and terrible Day of Judgement, it will be the husband who actually presents his wife before almighty God, and the Apostle is essentially saying to the husband, “You’d better be able to present your wife before God as an icon of holiness, godliness, and heavenly beauty.” This is what the Lord God expects!

So . . . Paul tells the wife to be subject to her husband, but as we can see he had an awful lot more to say to the husband, and he did so in really grueling detail! This is not something to be taken lightly, by any means. This is the written Word of God, holy Scripture, laying down very clearly and firmly the standard for a godly, Christian husband. The (alleged) Christian husband ignores this to his own peril!

And this, really, should be enough said on the subject, but it does raise an interesting question: If the husband, as in so many cases, is not even beginning to “measure up” to this standard, and not even really trying, then is it really possible for the wife to be submissive to her husband . . . at least in a godly manner? One might think the first question should be, “Is she even obligated to be mutually submissive to her husband, who is not mutually ‘submissive’ to her as outlined above?” But I’m skipping over that question to ask if it’s even possible. If so, how so?

Far too many conservative, evangelical Christian women, I’m afraid, are like my dear loved one: They are caught — or trapped — in a sterile, one-way doctrine of submissiveness without bothering to really consider to whom and to what they are attempting to be submissive! To this I make two observations: 1) St. Paul was speaking specifically about a truly Christian marriage, and 2) he begins with the instruction to be mutually submissive (so that it’s not just a one-way street!), though the submissiveness for each is unique (and far weightier for the husband than for the wife.) And those are biblical statements, too!

Thank you for your time and consideration. God bless!

Noble Epistle to Dear Siblings in Christ

You are not a doormat! From this mere mortal, saved by grace through faith in Christ, to my sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus, with the boldness of the Spirit I say to you that you have not been called to live your life in the dustbin as if you are worthless, insignificant, useless, or without authentic value. Some of you still live in the ignominy of your past while others of you have been shamed into believing that in order to be genuinely Christian you must live without dignity, decorum, nobility and excellence.

Yes, we have been commanded to live in “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness with self-control;”[1] but we have also been called to live as “children of the light, children of the day.”[2] We have been enjoined to live as “children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”[3] Yes, we have been taught that we will suffer, but we have also been taught that it is “no longer we who live, but Christ who lives within us,”[4] and Christ Jesus is “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.”[5]

God has called us to be meek and humble, not bleak and weak, “for we have become partners with Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.”[6] So “be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord our God is with us wherever we go.”[7] Filled with the Spirit of God and heavenly wisdom, “we shall govern peoples, and nations will be subject to us. Dread monarchs shall be afraid of us when they hear of us; among the peoples we will show ourselves capable” of mighty wonders.[8]

Yes, be humble and respectful and deferential, but not afraid. Fear has no place in the Christian life, for “perfect love casts out all fear.”[9] And remember that even though our Lord Jesus the Christ said, “In the world you will have tribulation,” he also said, “but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”[10] And our Lord also told us, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”[11] This is the one who lives within us, and “if God is for us, who can be against us?”[12] Walk and live in confidence, then – not self-confidence, but Christ-confidence!

And now He who “strengthens your hands for whatever work is to be done,[13] make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace,[14] and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”[15] Amen and Amen.

[1] Epistle to the Galatians 5. 22 – 23

[2] First Epistle to the Thessalonians 5. 5

[3] Epistle to the Romans 8. 16 – 17

[4] Epistle to the Galatians 2. 20

[5] First Epistle to Timothy 6. 15

[6] Epistle to the Hebrews 3. 14

[7] Book of Joshua 1. 9

[8] Book of Wisdom 8. 14 – 15

[9] First Epistle of St. John 4. 18

[10] Gospel of St. John 16. 33

[11] Gospel of St. Matthew 28. 18

[12] Epistle to the Romans 8. 31

[13] Book of Nehemiah 6. 9

[14] Book of Numbers 6. 25 – 26

[15] Second Epistle to the Corinthians 13. 14

Note: Inspired by a blog on Beauty Beyond Bones

Asking, Accusing, and the Answer

Does God tremble in fear when He hears the tough questions?
Does God hide rather than abide being harried and queried?
Does God recoil under the toil of humanity’s doubt and pride?
Does God shun all of what He has said and done under the sun?

Some point their bony fingers in accusation and condemnation
Of the God of heaven and earth, place of their birth, with mirth
In believing the Most High has placed Himself above every right
And wrong, above light and blight of evil just because He can…

Some say God made moral and immoral while being amoral,
Daring to violate His own code while staring all of humanity
In the face in defiance without reliance upon any explanation
For His commands and actions, and absolutely no reprimand

And so some say that God is a menace who ought to do penance,
That the Lord of heaven and earth is not worth our adoration
And the consecration of our lives, but rather our punishment
For the predicament we are in with darkness, death and sin!

But more than an impatient sigh just what reply does God offer?
Ah! the Almighty drew nigh to humanity in its horrid calamity,
And the Lord dared to offer Himself as an answer as He shared
In our flesh and blood, without apology, excuse or any abuse…

God dares to look at us from the cross across time and space –
Betrayed with a kiss – without dismay in display of bloody truth,
‘It’s not really me who should be hanging on this rugged tree;
You see, it is love from above that compels me to win over sin.’

God dares to look at us from an empty tomb devoid of gloom,
Victorious over dearth and death saying, ‘Here you should
Have been laid, but I paid the price for your wicked insolence,
Sacrificing innocence for guilt, majesty for malady … for you.’

So when someone dares point their finger at God,
They must finally linger in profusion of confusion:
This God allowed Himself to be accused and abused,
And with every right to judge was judged guilty
By the guilty, to win innocence by His innocence…

No, God does not run and hide from fools who drool with lies
That fly straight from the very pits of hell and dæmonic bells;
Risen and alive, the Lord abides in everlasting power and glory
And His true Answer to the cancer of humanity forever remains…
From everlasting to everlasting, ever unhidden and unchanged!