I Want A Church

I want a church
That from the inside out
Avoids manipulation;
That admits there is a difference
Between believing
And knowing.

I want a church that practices
Without preaching;
A less mouthy church
With holy words-
Guiding less holy bodies
Through the night.

I want a church
That gives thanks
When you walk in its doors;
And when you don’t:
A believing body
Of realists,
Who love the day.

I want a church that reaches out
Into humanity with friendship
Offering a body, heart, hand and mind.
Without requiring
Something in return.

I want a church that creates
A longing for the truth
Without asserting
That the truth is so simple
That it was always right
In front of our noses.

I want a church that celebrates
When real wounds are bound;
So that healing plays
A more important role
Than sacrifice.

I want a church that knows fantasy
Without fantasizing knowing;
That gives to those in need
Without needing to call it lent.
A church that prays only once
And moves on about its mission.

I want a church that believes evil
Is in decline
Because love just makes more sense.
A church that knows pain is for sharing.
A church that spends it’s all
On embracing with both hands
With all ten fingers in a firm grasp.

I want a church
That doesn’t point when it’s loving:
That is always loving.

I want a church that forgives
All trespasses-
All trespasses.

I want a church that
Offers it’s body and blood
Everyday to everyone.
To everyone.

I want a church that whispers
Beautiful music
So soft, so low, so melodious;
That hearts, minds and souls are lifted:
A church that changes
Like a river.

I want a church that plays outside the boundaries
Instead of working to strengthen them;
A church without a plan;
A church that feeds from its plenty.
So that the plenty are fed.

I want a church led by children
I want a church without hideous dreams;
A church without chains,
A church without claims;
A church that tells us
We are all equally imperfect.

I want a church that promotes safety
Without scaring the shit out of us.
I want a church that knows
Mistakes are not sins.
And that they are all mistakes.
I want a church that’s flawed.

I want a church that shows He has a will;
A church that knows His will is Being.

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Not A Love Poem

Love is not a rose
A sweet flower bouquet,
A sexy pair of hose,
Or a weekend getaway.

Love is not a ring,
Or a guy poling a gondola through Venice.
It’s not a song of longing,
Or wine with lobster bisque.

Love is not a golden sunrise on the ocean,
Nor Is love an exotic cruise on Carnival.
Love is not a basket of sweetly scented lotion,
Or a trip to Mexico to see a fighting bull.

It’s not an orange sky sunset on the plain,
Or slots ringing as you spend some change in Vegas
Love is not warm water swirling over a hot tub drain,
it’s not the Impressionism of romantic Edgar Degas.

Love is not a novel plotted to embrace a handsome hunk.
It’s not looking from a castle wall at ruins far below.
Love is not the lulling voice of a bald Tibetan monk.
Nor is it cupid’s arrow tensed upon his bending bow.

Love’s not a bug named Herbie to Monte Carlo racing,
It’s not factory boxed chocolates in a Whitman cardboard heart.
Love’s not soft lips about to touch as young blood begins it’s pacing.
Or a Hallmark Card with gushy words from some street vendors’ cart.

Now you know the things in life that definitely love is not.
I have listed all the things I know-not of love-right up to this minute.
Love is not a sentiment, a scene, a trip or some unfolding plot.
For everything that’s love I know has got to have you in it.

Why Church and State should not be separate.

Is it just me, or do others see that it is irrational to expect that church and state should be mutually exclusive? I know there has been a big brouhaha over the past umpteen and a half centuries about the Pledge of Allegiance God thing and the Ten Commandments on stone tablets in government buildings and schools. But those issues are so trite and stupid. Isn’t it true that one can’t wear their religion on their sleeve, or on their public building if they are so disposed; but that one has to LIVE a religion or else it is just a mindless muddle of fantasy, an ungrounded nursery rhyme.

If you are grounded in a religion isn’t it the way you live. For a church, which supposedly houses religious practice, to advocate that it is in conflict with the state, with public policy which is aimed at serving and protecting then isn’t the church actually denying it’s members the right to live a public life?

Andy Bandy, Mandy Shandy, Randy Gandy and the sandy candy!

Mandy Shandy called Randy Gandy and said she was going to play with Andy Bandy because Andy Bandy promised Mandy Shandy that with her he would share his Candy, but Andy Bandy’d ate all the candy so he wouldn’t have to share the candy with Mandy Shandy. To top it off, Andy Bandy failed to tell Mandy Shandy
Before Mandy Shandy arrived for candy. When Mandy Shandy found Andy Bandy full of all the promised candy, she told Andy Bandy that she was going to play with Randy Gandy. Now, Randy Gandy got his Uncle Landy Gandy to buy him a bag of candy to share Mandy Shandy. As Randy Gandy ran down the stairs, he spilled the candy. So, Randy Gandy and Mandy Shandy shared on the stairs the sandy candy.
Ain’t that dandy.

Day 6 Begin a story with a ransom note.

I have your child and your crock pot with your supper. I was only going to take the kid, but the roast smelled so good. And besides, you’ll probably lose your appetite when you find out how much money I want for the kid’s safe return. A side note about the dinner: you should have added a bell pepper, an onion, a few carrots and a little more cummin. If you want your supper and your kid, place 1 million dollars in unmarked twenties behind the wood pile in the abandoned lot adjacent to Stoudemire’s Park (I think I spelled it correctly.) Anyway, that’s the park where you and I used to play when we were BFF’s. Do you remember the time Belda Donda tried to steal your boyfriend only to discover I had already stole him? Now, back to the business of this ransom: there’s an old duffle bag in your basement. I found it behind the hot water heater, which, by the way is leaking. Tell the cops that since I am wearing gloves, a black body suit and a plastic garbage bag over my head with eye holes, that they’ll probably not find any trace evidence. I hate to leave them completely in the dark, so here is one clue. My dog is a Chauaua. Put the money and if you want me to finish seasoning the Roast, some roast seasoning, in the duffle bag. You must make the delivery without any tails. No funny business. One slip up, the kid gets it and I eat your supper. Just so that you know I am not a completely insensitive psychopath, I did allow your child to pack her Mr Winky Dinky toothbrush, a pair of clean socks, underwear, and those cute little fluffy airplane pajamas. We took three books. And yes, she has her Twinkie Moonshine Bear. Don’t try to contact me. It will be very stuffy inside this garbage bag while I await your strict compliance. Sorry about the gravy stain on the back of the note. Btw: I used six newspapers, a Glamour and a Mademoiselle magazine to find all these letters, not to mention the four bottles of glue.

Day 5 Describe your perfect day as an astronaut.

I’m nestled in the shuttle, just broke 3g’s with a small sneeze. The earth looks splendid from up here. It pleases me that my effort to keep the Space Station running is part of the greater plan to be able send human garbage to space rocks where no one will notice the stink. Where’s my Tang? Oh, there it is floating on the ceiling.

What is that huge tumbling ball flying towards my window. That looks like a woman’s behind. Houston, Houston, we have a problem. OMG, it’s Sandra Bullock. There she goes sailing off towards the moon.

Never mind, Houston. Somebody tell George Clooney that I saw her. Thank goodness, she’s out there and I’m in here. Slurp.

Day 4 :Facebook status updates for 2017. .

Here’s 12

January status: I’m trapped in a time warp. It’s 2017. Is anyone out there?
February status: I just had my nose pierced. Ooh. So much blood and pain.
March status: Have you tried the new McDonald’s barbecued cheesy fries? Yummmm…
April status: Looks like President Clinton had another bad hair day.
May status: isn’t ten years early for your first gran girl to be kissing a boy?
June status: I like the shot of Pope Francis eating a chili dog. There’s another good reason for not wearing white.
July status: I need to go pick Sharon up from geriatric class. She’s learning to be old.
August status: just got back from Spain. The rain does not fall mainly on the plains.
September status: It is a long time coming, but Elena finally embarrassed herself. The best education is the one you give yourself.
October status: Have you tried the new double pickle meatless jalapeƱo bluecheeseburger at Burger King? Fantastic!
November status: Looks like Jadaveon’s returning to Carolina. He and Marcus will be roommates. They’re going to co-coach Injury Avoidance.
December status: That little Callum is so cute riding his first motorcycle. Too bad Lusie wouldn’t get out of his way.

My First Lie

Yes. I admit it. I know it’s an ignominious thing, but I am a liar. I told my first lie before I knew what it was and that one little fib grew into a storm of lies. We all know that one lie leads to another, blah, blah, blah and fairly soon the lie spider has you tangled in his web. and only learned later that we find how for the rest of our lives, we will be haunted with the family moniker, “you big fat liar.” Now, I once asked my dear mama… My mama is so sweet. Why, she is sweeter than an oven fresh cinnamon roll. I asked my mama, once, “Mama, where can I find out more about lying?”

And she replied with her usual sagaciousness, “Why, Jimmy dearest. It’s right there in the Good Book. Mama’s eyes glow when she mentions the Good Book. As a matter of fact, I always figured she got most of her sweetness from the Catholic Sisters who trained her in the intricacies of the Good Book.

You see, I was never able to find out about lying in the Good Book. The Good Book is full of all sorts of wonderment. There are tales about a flood, a multi colored coat, a horn that makes concrete walls crumble, and about a nice lady who told God she would have his baby. My Sunday school teacher, once told me that the Good Book has so many words in it to hide the good stuff from the bad people. I figured pretty early on that I was a bad person, because I never could find the stuff about lying. When I open the Good Book to the front, I read a fantastical story about a woman named Eve. She allows this beautiful snake that is standing upright on its tail to convince her that Eve can know everything if Eve eats an apple. Well, I know the story can’t be true because I never knew a woman who didn’t already know everything. When I open the good book to the back, God’s holiest apostle, John, is revelayting a dream that describes how God is going to destroy 99% of creation and reward one tenth of one percent of mankind by giving them what is left. I mean what kind of a reward is a half cracked planet weighted down with the sun and numerous stars that have fallen on it?

So, all I really know about lying comes from first hand experience. One time, and this is after I had told my first lie and quite a few more, I am sitting down to breakfast right next to my brother, Millicent. Millicent has ninety or so, freckles per square inch of his body to go along with his red hair and happy disposition. Mama comes into the dining room with a pot of buttery grits and plops two scoops on each plate. While I am reaching beneath my chair to retrieve my spoon which Millicent has knocked off the table, Millicent quickly slurps up both, mine and his grits. As I sit back up, and get ready to scream about my stolen breakfast, Millicent yells, “Mama, mama. Jimmy ate all my grits and his too.” Knowing that a denial will only be seen as another lie, I quietly watch as Millicent gets rewarded with a second helping of grits and half of my eggs and my cinnamon toast. Such is the life of liars. We are doomed to a life of shame.

Here’s how the first lie happened.

I was was seven or eight years old living in three bedroom brick ranch style home with three brothers, Lars, Millicent, and Zintsky and three sisters, Dorma, Betty, and Lagalicious. One afternoon, after school, everyone but me is busy doing homework, chores or watching “Leave It To Be Beaver” reruns. Mama asks if anyone will go down to Cantwell’s fresh market to get the milk jar filled. I volunteer. Mama gives me a nickel and a clean milk jar. I remember her caution as I walk out the door. “That’s our last nickel and it’s just enough to fill the jar.”

On the way to the fresh market, I meet an old man who asks me, “Hey little boy, do you have any belly button ponies?” He has a slight build, a pleasant face, and he’s wearing a jello sweatshirt. The front of the shirt has a parfait cup filled with lime green jello. The back of the shirt has the jello man wearing a half moon smile saying, “Fill your belly with a great big jello smile.” Holding my milk nickel in my pocket, I decide to talk with the strange guy. After all, this neighborhood is filled with friendly people and I figure I will be safe as long as I don’t tell him my name or where I live. Mama hates it when strangers come and try to sell her meat packages or fancy vacuum cleaners.

“No sir,” I reply, “I don’t believe I have any belly button ponies. What are they, anyway?” He pulls up his sweatshirt, exposing a great expanse of black belly hair. Then he reaches a finger into his hairy belly button. Immediately, a minuscule, “Neigh, neigh, neigh” fills the air.

The man proudly displays a tiny pony about the size of a brown tick standing on a finger tip. The pony is white with a black patch across its left eye. It’s busily chewing on a small wad of sweatshirt belly button lint. “Well,” begins the old man, “I would like you to meet one of my finest little ponies, Bendly Dilton. He’s been living in my belly button stable for three years now. Came to me from France.” Bendly begins rearing back and neighing. “Oh, alright, Bendly. I’ll put you back.” As he slowly pokes Bendly back into the nether regions of his belly button he begins calling the other ponies to perch on his finger. Soon three little ponies emerge. He introduces then as Samdin Boolicot, Redmust Popsicle, and Dellis Frouty. “Would you like for me to give you a couple ponies. They are very quiet and clean. Samdin and Dellis would love to go home with you.”

“Where will they live? What will I feed them?”

“Young man, all you need is a belly button and a ready supply of lint hay. Now, how much money do you have. The ponies are free, but I will have to charge you the for the lint hay. Five cents will buy you a weeks worth of sustenance for these two very fine ponies. By now, Samdin and Dellis have packed their pony bags and are standing proudly on the old man’s fingertip. He reaches again into his hairy belly button and pulls out a nickel’s worth of lint hay. I seal the deal by handing over the milk nickel in exchange for the two ponies and a wad lint the size of a Peanut M&M. As I release Samdin and Dellis into my belly button, the old smiles, “Them ponies sure are lucky to have such a fine little belly button stable to habitate.” As the ponies emit a slight neigh of contentment, he continues, “Feed them a pinch apiece two times a day and let them have belly races in the morning.”

Here’s where the lying begins. Mama asks, “Jimmy, did you get the milk?”
“Yes ma’am.” I lie.
“Where is it?”
“I put it in the refrigerator right next to the left over spaghetti,” I lie again.
“I don’t see it. I need a cup for the mashed potatoes.”
“Maybe Lagalicious drank some and forgot to put it back.” Another lie. The storm is brewing.
“Tell Lagalicious, I need that milk right now.” Mama sounds irritated.
“She went over to Bernigans to play pilots and parachuters.” Another lie.

I lost track of how many lies were bound into that web. I know that we had cubed potatoes with our barbecued chicken and that Millicent doesn’t like cubed potatoes.

So this is how I became the family’s Big Fat Liar.

A story a day: Day 2

The Worst Thanksgiving Dish Ever

Before I met my lovely wife, way back during the Paleolithic Era, my college roommate recommended that I date his ex girlfriend. He said, “She’s a real dish,” so. I decided for our first date to take her home for Thanksgiving to meet the White Clan. As we sat before the huge spread of sweet potato brown sugar patties, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole and cranberry jelly setting beneath the mound of luscious carved turkey, my date pulled out her retainer and set it on the table next to her glass of cold iced tea. As dad, gave grace, with all heads bowed in thanks, she blew her nose into her table napkin. As dad continued to recite thanks, she said to my my dear momma, “Excuse me, Mrs. White, but do you have a spare napkin, as this one is no longer accessible?” While eating her third helping of mashed potatoes, she told the family about the time her brother fished a bloated dead bullfrog out their swimming pool. She finished her meal with a glass shattering burp which left a lingering odor of digested scrum…