God Joined Me for a Drink. A Sunday Psalm.

The trickle of unconsciousness

filled the tin cup

I dragged along the bars.

I couldn’t handle the glass half empty

of hope and a future.

I drank and drank to quench

the mystery of the largess of God.

Instead, God salted the water

and assaulted my soul

with an eternal thirst.

He held out his hand

and I set the dented tin

over the scar imbedded

in His lifeline.

He looked in my eyes,

right through and down

into my arid heart.

“Here, take, drink of this cup

In remembrance of Me.”

The chalice, cool in my grasp,

brimmed with blood red wine.

I sipped and sipped

of God’s consciousness.


“…you have kept the good wine until now.” John 2:10

Jesus Is Full Of It

He is full of grace and truth. There are a couple of verses in the gospel of John that have fascinated me.   

“And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

Grace and truth. Off the cuff these two words seem like the odd couple. When I think of grace I see a ballerina floating across the floor. Grace seems soft, gentile, beautiful, no rough edges. Thinking of truth I see a gavel slamming down and the echo of oak on oak in a court room. Those are just accumulative feelings of experience and cultural influence.

There is some truth to those definitions but not ‘the whole truth’ as they would say with right hand resting on the bible. Grace does have in it simply an essence of ‘always welcome.’ Who would shun grace, really, no matter how it is defined. Truth is not always welcome but it will prevail as they say.

Jesus is full of both…grace and truth.

I am contemplating these concepts afresh.  

What is your knee-jerk, off the cuff definition of grace and/or truth?


Or this



Not only circumference

but an orb

of circumstantial evidence.


What keeps us from flinging

into thin air, breathless

to the pin drop darkness?

Every spinning and expanding

island riding on predestination.


What keeps us from bringing

a thin air of presumption?

What great expanse of reason

finds its edge, its end?

Thought rides tides to the Temple.


And Jesus writes in the dirt with his finger.


John 8:1-12John 1:5


Charlie Brown = Jesus…Better punt that idea before Lucy gets ahold of it.

Could Jesus have succumbed to a Charlie Brown attitude?

The Scribes and the Pharisees often would hold the football for him to kick.


Jesus never attempted the running toward the football held by the Lucy’s of the time. Instead he magically switched places with the cunning and held the football with the laces out.


He switched places with questions. He asked a lot of them. He asked the lot of them.

He didn’t do it for kicks. I don’t believe he would have pulled the ball away either.


His goal was to allow them to kick it and kick it through the uprights. His questions were always leading questions to aim the kickers to the truth. That was the “kicker” always, to place-kick the truth through the uprights.


Jesus gave the opportunity for the Scribes and Pharisees to see themselves in between the goal posts of false piety and humble confession.


When I am feeling like Charlie Brown at least I know Jesus will hold the ball still and reveal some truth about who I am. He holds the questions steady and an honest answer will kick it through the uprights.


John 8:1-12 is a good example.

Lucy, Charlie Brown, Jesus…which one would you wish to be like?


Pop Quiz. What is the definition of impunity?

“You can lie to a building; you cannot lie to a person with impunity.” Ravi Zacharias

“Alone, we cannot face ‘the mystery of iniquity’ with impunity. Only Christ can overcome the powers of evil. Only in and through him can we survive the trials of our solitude.” Henry Nouwen

These quotes were read the same day from two different books. The word ‘impunity’ stuck out because I have never read the word impunity before. I did not know what it meant. I keyed it into my Word program, highlighted it, and looked it up.

Impunity: Exemption from punishment, harm, or recrimination.

Recrimination: An accusation made against somebody who has brought a previous accusation.

I have read or heard, however, the word impudence before. Must likely I heard it in a movie, set in an 1800’s time-frame in England. The word impunity isn’t heard in conversations with the local present day crowd, unless one is a lawyer or a judge or something of that nature. Yet the concept of impunity is woven throughout our culture and beyond.

Really, who wouldn’t want to claim impudence? Honestly, when I make a bad decision, either premeditated or thoughtless, my wish is to not suffer any consequences. I drift toward impunity. Who wouldn’t?

My wife and I have a houseful of children. I wonder if some of them took a seminar on how to garner impunity. They are experts at turning on tears, deflecting, finger pointing, changing the conversation, and I get ‘played’ quite often. But Barbara, my wife and in-house prosecutor is well read. Crime And Punishment you will find tucked nicely under her pillow. She, bless her, has had a ‘head-tilt arms-on-hips’ response for me when I try my ‘lawyer’ on with the children. All she has to say is ‘Gerald!’ and I know I missed it again. She then steps in and I listen and learn as she prosecutes and doles out the sentence. She doesn’t flinch when they say sympathetically “I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean kick him in the shins.” I am sure any mother reading this is nodding in agreement and the fathers are grunting and scratching their scalps.

I have been meditating on a passage of scripture in which a woman was brought to Jesus. She was accused of adultery, caught in the very act, and the religious high-brows brought her to trap Jesus. Read it in the beginning of chapter eight of the gospel of John. If there was anyone who had the authority to grant impunity it was Jesus, especially because no recriminations could be tossed his way. Impunity was granted to all in the scene. The woman and the high-brows walked away impudent.

Thanks for listening as I wrap my brain around a newly learned word.

Bonus phrase for parents: “Be careful not to point a finger at others, because three are pointing back at you.” My Wife (An oft used phrase she learned as a child.)

Challenge: Try to use the word impunity or impudence in a sentence today.

Stones In Hand

Are stones for throwing?


I threw them

at miniature plastic tanks and army men.

The images on CNN framed grown men

heaving stones at armor and assault rifled soldiers.

We were boys once.


Mr. Johnson across the street taught me

to search for rolling rocks.

The roundest rocks would roll

all the way down and around the corner.

Gravity and grace on asphalt.


One of my older brothers showed me

how to skip stones at Hogset Lake.

Flat stones were prized skippers.

Side armed flings placed abbreviated touch points

across the water and we counted.


The gravity has weighted the stones

in my hand and I stand.

Shoulders slumped and a loose grip

on judgments to be thrown.

Will I be the first to cast one?


Or will I let it roll or skip and wonder?

I would cast one for fear of being found out,

and Jesus would keep writing with his finger.


Would Jesus have stopped writing if they handed him their stones?

First Communion: The Crux of the Matter.

It rose like a round wafer,

magnified on the chilled horizon.

I heard the deep Bishop voice…


“Body of Christ.”


I gazed at the moon.




The Eucharist suspended

in my imagination

a remembrance.


A fear filled day

of consumption.

I swallowed Jesus.


Like the reflection

of a lifeless body

in the night sky


the body of Christ

hung on the Southern Cross

to intersect our planet’s pulse.


I remembered first communion.

The Southern Cross is the smallest of the constellations. Its proper name is Crux, Latin for cross. I am protestant now but I will never forget the day as a young boy receiving first communion.

Siloam. We can’t see through the tears. Prayer poem for those affected in Conneticut.



Lay these tears

over each other.


Let them roll

and fall on down

like a five year old.


May they collect

and form a pool of Siloam

while we wait for angels to stir.


Lay these tears

over each other.


Let them magnify

our crippled hearts

in the reflection.


May Jesus help

us into the salt water

of our own weeping.

Freedom and Dependency: Fraternal Twins

“Are you going to be okay without me?”


Right before I leave for work I pop a question. It is always the same one with the same response. It is not that my wife can’t live without me. She is strong. She will survive. I can hear her singing Gloria Gainer song in my head right now. She sings along every time Gloria belts it out. The reality is she has allowed me much freedom over the years. I can be pretty independent and she knows it all too well. I roam and she trusts.

Monday morning different words came out of me. They weren’t formed in a question. They were a response to a question she didn’t ask. She probably would ask it eventually, but my answer couldn’t wait.

“No, I am not going to be okay without you.”

She smiled. We made eye contact as we always do and “I love you” was swapped as we always do. *kiss


I walked out and got in the driver’s seat and a voice filled the dashboard.

“Are you going to be okay without me?”

Neil Diamond nudged me and whispered something about being a solitary man.

“I am an island…I have my books and poetry to protect me…” Geez Simon and GarFUNKel, I would rather find a bridge over troubled water. It is tempting to hide behind someone’s thoughts instead of walking through them.

“Psssst, are you going to be okay without me?”

Give me a minute. Did you mean, like, I need to come to the garden alone all the time to catch the dew on the roses? Do you want every word that proceeds out of my mouth to be laced with religious overpinnings?

“Shhhh, are you going to be okay without me?”

No, I’ve tried before. It’s okay for a while, but then I can’t receive the beauty around me or hug my kids authentically or lay next to my wife in peace. I can’t hand out hope or smiles after a while. You are love and without you this bruised, groaning world makes little sense and eventually sucks the life and meaning out of me.

“I know. Did you know that I am not going to be okay without you? I want to bring my creation close.  I want to ease its groaning. That includes you. I gave freedom in the beginning knowing there was a chance of people running away with it. Silly ole humans, do they really think they can out run my love? My Jesus came to snap people out of it; that blank stare of independence clutching freedom like a teddy bear.”

The bear is a bit tattered isn’t it?

“Listen, freedom is a wild concept. True freedom doesn’t necessarily expand, at least not in the way some understand it. Independence is good, but interdependence is better. Not co-dependence. Interdependence.

True freedom is not freedom from dependency


freedom in dependency.”

The original intent was to allow us to reciprocate your love, right? Not just to you, but especially with each other. I think I get it. I hope I grow in freedom to love better. To be dependent on and be dependable; that is love in action isn’t it?

“Yes, now go ask your wife a question and go to work. Feel free to live and love. I am here, all the time. I am love.”
Are you free to love? Love God? Love people?