Posted in PEACE GROOVES

Ending Online Defragmentation

Over the past year, I have:

deactivated 4 twitter accounts,

deleted 2 Facebook pages,

canceled 1 LinkedIn account,

deleted 1 Pinterest account,

let Google Plus die,

canceled 3 photography site memberships,

canceled my Amazon Prime membership and am no longer shopping on Amazon,

am no longer posting on or checking my Facebook account,

deleted both Etsy and Square Online stores for my inlay business,

deleted multiple apps from my phone,

unsubscribed from multiple email lists (ongoing),

unsubscribed from multiple Yahoo groups as Yahoo Groups has gone away,

And

removed many notification permissions from multiple apps on my phone (ongoing).

As a result, I am:

happier,

feeling less all over the place,

writing more,

feeling more centered,

having fewer interruptions,

praying more,

updating my resume,

dreaming again,

finishing art projects

and …

anticipating some thing(s) amazing just around the bend.

Posted in PEACE GROOVES

Between Mercy and Learning How to Pray

alas i am not unencumbered
nor unencumbered should i be

perhaps it as a goal has
in itself become a burden
a distraction from
the one necessary thing

to simply crouch
here at the callused
feet of the master
the hint of a future
resurrection of someone
precious to me
hovering above in the
air of busyness
between mercy for
the stranger and
learning how to
pray

(Luke 10 and 11)

Posted in PEACE GROOVES

Perhaps It’s Not About the Prophet

“There is still one prophet through whom we can enquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad.”

Such is the complaint of one King Ahab to the inquiry of King Jehoshaphat.

Which sounds eerily familiar to the complaints of one current “king.” And to those who are unable to, or refuse to, pause for even a brief moment of self reflection.

Rather than change one’s behavior in light of the truth, these “bad, very bad” prophecies are conventiently labeled fake news.

As the hawks squawk their tiresome calls to war, we might want to listen carefully to the still small voice of peace. And to the consequences of mistaking affirmation of one’s intention as validation from God.

In the words of Micaiah,

“So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”

I’m not making this up. You can read the full story in 2 Chronicles 18:1-19:3.

Selah.

Posted in PEACE GROOVES

Monday Monday Song 79 – A Body Was Found Down By The River (Final Mix 1.1)

“I read the news today, no, I can’t close my eyes and make it go away…”

The news can seem so cold and inhuman when an unknown person is discovered dead somewhere…a brief line or two in a small column in the newspaper is all that the loss of a precious life illicits.

Never lose your ability to mourn the invisible…

My response:

A Body Was Found Down By the River (Final Mix 1.1) by PeaceGroover https://api.jam-community.com/song/detail/c6a47f57-5479-11e9-99f7-064f3e9f608e

Posted in Longreads and Essays, PEACE GROOVES

You Scratch My Back – The Pacifist Itch

Pacifism is like that itch on your back in the place that you can’t reach no matter how hard you try.

I have found only three ways to scratch the itch.

1) I can rub my back against the nearest wall.

Pacifism begins with me. It is important that I take initiative and develop a conviction that peace is the way. But if all I do is rub my back against the nearest wall, then invariably the itch will return.

2) I can extend my reach with a backscratcher.

My conviction must lead me to discover the tools I need to be a better pacifist. Training and education in the ways of peace can extend my capacity to scratch the pacifistic itch.

3) Even better is having someone scratch that place for me. I can point them to the exact spot and they can tell me what is causing the itch.

My personal conviction and a full toolbox are not enough. Pacifism is best practiced within a community. I need to be in relationship with others with this same itch.

Together we can help each other discover the places that need our attention and in so doing become better pacifists.

Then we can give our full attention to this war-weary world and place our healing hands on its big broken back.

Midweek Essays are posted every Wednesday. Please see the publication schedule page for more info.

Posted in PEACE GROOVES

Ash Wednesday on Surfers Point

here at the point
where the waves explode
against the rocks
and the fishermen
come to cast out upon
the water
i stand
my face into
the wind

there was a fire here
charred driftwood lying
waiting to be
rekindled
warmth to share
and cook the coming feast

faith is the spark
memories of another
distant shore
lost followers found again
by their teacher

remembering
i reach down to
what the flames touched
rub my finger against the ash
and draw a cross on my
forehead

when the ocean
washes the soot away
it feels like
a gracious savior’s
kiss

Posted in PEACE GROOVES

The Shapers

Last night I dreamed the Shapers came around again.
They dropped by the cottage as we were sitting down to dinner.
I invited them in.

Jesus and I laughed about the first time I gave my life to him down deep inside a sleeping bag trying to make the tears come while my mocking friend pulled the covers back to see what I was doing. It was he who had told me that I could not eat the Lord’s Supper unless I was born again.

A rocky start I guess, but honored nonetheless. Jesus loved me for who I am.
And I began learning
to love myself and everyone around me,
It and I always turning, turning from truth and back again.
Jesus loved me for who I am.
I still do, he said.
My Shapers and I bowed our heads in silence while the Prince of Peace broke the bread.

After grace, I turned to Dr. King.
“I’m Martin to my friends.”
He pointed at his head and then they all showed me the places where the bullets and the nails had gone in.
Loving your enemy is no guarantee he will reciprocate or give love back again.
I used to wonder whether I would go up and out like Martin.

I grew up in Mississippi and I met him though his people,
still getting used to the changes,
showing patience with the foot draggers,
paying no mind to the word daggers, the tut-tutters and finger waggers,
so willing to forgive and forget.
Martin smiled. “I have a dream,” he said.
“And the dream ain’t done being dreamed yet.”

Next I spoke to Gandhi.
“Please pass the Satyagraha.
I need some more spices from the mouth of the Mahatma.”
So we spoke of truth and love, with a dab of philosophy,
how the tooth for tooth just leaves everyone’s mouths empty.
“Did you like Ben Kingsley and the length of the movie?”
“Not bad,” Mohandas smiled. “Though I would have made it shorter with a little less of me.”

My church saw the movie together.
I was young, and it was long, but my life was changed forever.
I remember how I cried,
how it felt to be with the adults outside
at intermission talking peace to the cool Southern night air.
I’m still figuring out how to be salt of the earth and
where.

“How are you, Romero?” I asked.
“I’m well,” he replied.
I told him of the time I spent at the church where he died,
how I wore a black cross around my neck for years in solidarity with his people, who shared their hopes and
fears with a naive college student, how we cried and laughed,
how reading Exodus could make you disappear,
how the soldiers who killed the priests shot up his photograph. “Monsignor, you were more alive dead than
you were before.”
To which he said, “My son, that is the essence of resurrection.”

After that I spoke to Menno and thanked him for my heritage. “I would gladly have been martyred like these,”
he said. “But I did not have the privilege.”
“How does a mortal, fearful man have such courage?” I asked.
“Be faithful. Life is in God’s hands.
Do not take upon yourself what is the Creator’s task.”

After too short a time, it seemed,
they pushed back their chairs to take their leave from my dream.
“We have far to travel yet,” Jesus said. “And many more Shaped to see.”
So I bidst them farewell and thanked them for their lives.
They laughed and laid their hands on me.
“Freely given, child, freely receive.”

When I awoke, I lay still for awhile and listened to her breathe,
this woman whom I’ve known for a short time who is already shaping me with her love, encouragement, and commitment to peace
in our lives together and communities.

I thought of Mom and Dad, my friends and my family,
the shapers I carry inside from their stability,
the learnings and the laughings,
and our shared history.

These are my Shapers, the makers of me,
the famous and the not so well known
who have scribed these patterns on my bones.
There are many, many more unmentioned, and more shapes for me to see,
for I am a grateful man who contains a wonderful
geometry.

September 2003

Posted in PEACE GROOVES

The Power of Words

http://tbibl.es/7fsJ