Monday, January 25, 2010

maybe the poet

i'm sure the psalmist was bipolar.

reading the psalms can sometimes feel like trying to make sense of the journaled ramblings of a paranoid schizophrenic. in one moment there are words of hope, victory, assurance, confidence and vision, while in the next there are the muffled sounds of someone tearfully whimpering from under a rock somewhere, whispering curses and justifications or frank, shame-filled confessions. often these drastic swings are found in the same post.

and yet, as i look at the rollercoaster ride of my own emotions, which seem to regularly take me into the funhouse to gaze at the distorted image of myself reflected there, inviting acceptance, i cannot help drawing some comfort from the fact that the psalmist does not seem to be able to get it all together for very long before he has to step outside of himself and regroup yet again.

perhaps we're all crazy and this, in and of itself, is the key reason why the psalms have survived in some written form these three thousand years- to give us someone to talk to while we wait in the dark for the coming dawn that always arrives.

in addition to spending time dialoguing with the psalms, i've been thinking about an old song by bruce cockburn over the last couple days...

Maybe the poet is gay but he'll be heard anyway
Maybe the poet is drugged but he won't stay under the rug
Maybe the voice of the spirit in which case you'd better hear it
Maybe he's a woman who can touch you where you're human

Male female slave or free
Peaceful or disorderly
Maybe you and he will not agree
But you need him to show you new ways to see
Don't let the system fool you
All it wants to do is rule you
Pay attention to the poet
You need him and you know it

Put him up against the wall, shoot him up with pentothal
Shoot him up with lead you won't call back what's been said
Put him in the ground but one day you'll look around
There'll be a face you don't know voicing thoughts you've heard before
(Toronto January 1982)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


it just wasn't meant to be

recently, someone i love made this observation and i had to just shut up and let it go by without a comment. some things are more useful blogging than they are in polite familial conversation over the holidays.


how can we say this with any rational basis at all? there's this silly entitlement thinking that seeps into our reason and our faith, prompting these ridiculous cosmic harmony notions that are uniquely western world in their perspective... as though the only things that are meant to be (ie: God's will) are graced with only circumstancial compliments.

all this talk of thorns and the 'sweat of your brow' in genesis 3.17-19 are summarized in a word that is often used to speak of the damned: curse. phrases like 'painful toil' are used by God to describe the way things are to be following humankind's first person embracing of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. however, if this 'curse' were not somehow the will of the sovereign, almighty God, then it would be lifted. i mean, one could easily argue that if God is truly omnipotent then nothing that exists or takes place can really do so outside of God's wanting or, at very least, tolerance.

so to default to the thought that, because something doesn't simply fall together in easy consonance and effortless balance, 'it must not be meant to be' is to have theological and situational expectations that are neither realistic, nor biblical.

perhaps there is room in my theology for luck after all...