Sunday, June 7, 2015

Christians, It's Time to Stop Parsing Sins

I hadn't intended to make any commentary on Caitlyn Jenner. I figured there were more than enough people doing that already. This morning though, after reading a Christian response from Motherhood...Unscripted, I felt some words well up—not concerning Jenner herself as much as the people surrounding her with comfort blankets and Hellfire, both in the name of God.

There is a fine duality we're called to walk in following Jesus—that is, living in unjudging love while still understanding within ourselves the realities of sin and salvation.

The Jenner transition is just the most recent opportunity for this duality to be seen in Christians, and while many—maybe most— of those commenting on the topic of trans will actually show themselves teetering to one side or the other (reacting with either uselessly-scalding condemnation or equally-useless sycophancy), the thing to be remembered above all is the way we all are equal partakers in the curse that drives our hearts from God.

"...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).

This is a wound and salve in one. We tell ourselves that everyone has sin, but how do we actually apply that truth? By honing in on one sin above all the rest? By throwing up our hands and treating it as some vague law of nature taken care of by a God who is more concerned with us feeling good than knowing Him? No. Neither of these are extremes those of us called to live as Christ should be leaning on in a world stuck between Edens.

Understand this: the "falling short of God" manifests in each of us uniquely. Every one of us is born with sinful inclinations and a challenge to pursue God despite them. No hurdle—regardless of how uncomfortable the idea of it may make us—is more Hell-bound than any other, and the person who has made their hurdle into a finish line will see little worth pursuing in the vociferous scorn of people who forget they are still running the very same race.

So what do we do?—concerning ourselves, our families, our friends, the strangers on the street, in comment sections on the Internet, and the other side of the world? To use a phrase all but co-opted by Christians with good-but-compromised intentions...we love. We who desire to live in the Spirit of our Saviour should be satisfied with nothing less.

Let motiveless love be the foundation upon which every interaction and thought is built. Understand within yourself the nature of our "falling short"—the diversity with which our inter-Eden struggle manifests—and always be ready to acknowledge this universal necessity for salvation, if prompted. But do not, do not—do not!—make any person's sin a battleground for the selling point of Heaven. Do not think someone's hurdle as something to be mended with castigation and shame. Love. Trust the power of salvation to the One whose blood and breath established it, and believe He knew what He was doing when He said "'a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another,'” (John 13:34).

Love everyone. Without intention or pretext. Let your interactions be full of love and your heart full of prayer. That is what Christly love looks like and, unlike the Old Testament law, it is a commandment we actually have the power to keep.

So keep it.

Thursday, May 14, 2015



Onset: rays of bleach,
trees—their ghosts courting rooftops—
and my melting face.

Tiger-stripe highlights,
earth and asphalt illumined
the stink of summer.

Its yawning azure,
crowned with unseeable teeth—
no such vertigo.

Seafloor, its burden
made wasp and mirage, no light-
er for the transfer.

Exeunt: twilight—
early, with ice on its breath—
leaves, allowed to sing.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

5 Oh, Hi!-ku for The Room

5 Oh, Hi!-ku for The Room

"Oh, hi, Mark!" A phrase
made strange linchpin to a script
like Full House on meth.

Rosé wallpaper,
fur-shawled couch—and underwears
that don't belong to you.

Vodka-sloshed acting…
You're tearing me a—oh, hi,

Orajel and ice;
you too can have lips fit for
Wiseau's scripted gibberish.

There isn't a time
that awkwardly-tossed footballs
can't improve… Oh, hi!

Friday, May 1, 2015

That's All (for NaPo), Folks!

Whew...what a month. I've said it a couple of times, but this really feels like my strongest NaPoWriMo yet. I did a lot of new things, and I also did a lot of old things, but in stronger ways. A clerihew, 8 landay, 25 abecedarian, a riddle...15 of the month's 30 poems were geek-oriented...this has just been a wildly-satisfying month. I'm excited for what the rest of the year holds, and I look forward to reading and writing much more great work.

Also, as promised, the Big Poetry Giveaway has ended and I, with the help of a random number generator, have picked my two winners. Drumroll please...

Allyson Whipple and Laurie Kolp! You two have won a book of poetry! Wahoo and huzzahs all around.

I want to thank everyone for visiting, for reading throughout the month, for entering, commenting, sharing...for spreading the love of poetry and making April the worldwide reading nook that it's become.

Here's to the rest of 2015!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

V Haiku for Final Fantasy - NaPoWriMo 30/30

V Haiku for Final Fantasy

Asymmetry, the
aesthetic of the slums where
good comes dumpster-chic.

Who concussed Yuna
to turn her strength to something
stinking of Mattel?

Airship, canvas fin
carving through cloud, a freedom—
tire, left to its dust.

Protect your honor,
or try—gods' fists of lightning
prevail where you fail.

Fifteen games, fifteen
times reminded that "Final"
means anything but.

* * * * *

Last day of NaPoWriMo 2015. I'm sad to see it go, but at the same time, I'm glad to too. The past few days have been a real stretch for me. I've been scraping ruts into the bottom of the barrel, and I will be relieved to not have to get up tomorrow and complete a poem. Not saying I'm getting myself off the nib-shaped hook...I just will be happy to ease off for a bit. My brain needs a recharge.

Anyway, thank you all for following me this month. I hope you enjoyed at least some of what you read, and I also hope your month went well in the way of writing or whatever it may have held for you.

Here's to the rest of the year, and whatever will come!

See you around.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

5 Haiku for Kratos - NaPoWriMo 23/30

For day 23, another Thursday, I have five more haiku - this time about that Playstation All-Star with a pantheon's worth of blood on his hands: Kratos, from God of War. (Question though: if you've been following these haiku, do you prefer them with or without the numbers? Do you think they detract from the flow?)


5 Haiku for Kratos

The man who quails at
hands extracting their solace
has not lost enough.

Olympus, its flies—
however crowned—are still flies,
and will die as such.

Helios, the glow
known to warm mountains, best a
headlamp bled of light.

Minotaur and god:
so varied in lot, so like
when ripped inside out.

The temple that burns,
the worship shrunk to sorrow—
a great place to start.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

5 Haiku for Sailor Moon - NaPoWriMo 16/30

Another Thursday, another series of fandom-centric haiku.

Today's haiku come from that interplanetary band of middle-schoolers/warriors of justice, the Sailor Scouts!


5 Haiku for Sailor Moon

The Negaverse, ghouls
made stardust and shade by her,
justice in pigtails.

Every tiara,
a death sentence—each compact,
a princess' wrath.

Never seen cats browed
with crescent moons. That doesn't
mean I'm not looking.

When not stuffing boots
down the throats of evil, snacks
make pleasant fallbacks.

Rei's peach-mouthed scowl, proof
even saving the world can't
back-pocket our peeves.