Unsay Me

Unsay me
Uncall my name
Unbraid this coil of hair
Unspeak these things
Unspell these words
Untie this knot
Unhand me, fear
Unbreakable Love
Unquenchable fire
Undo this curse
Under this tree
Unbearable pain
You spoke for me.

A Terrible Christian

The essay appeared to be heartfelt–urging people to brook the barriers of their resistance to organized religion and find a church, any church…because churches do good things.

Do they?

I spent the better part of my (Christian) life believing this. I still do, generally, on principal.

There was one thing missing from the impassioned church essay. One Person, actually.

You should go to church to see Jesus.

You should do everything to see Jesus.

“Christian” means “little Christ.” What happens to us when we excise Christ from our identity? All that is left is the “little” in us.

It is not easy to follow Jesus. Recently I gave a dramatic depiction of Jesus to someone who would definitely identify as a believer. This person rejected my gift with forthright disgust.

Did not actually watch the DVD….

I thought, huh…not an unusual reaction really.

How many of us would dare stand at the foot of his disfiguring Cross? How many of us have the courage to identify with our naked, broken, bloodied Savior?

I am a terrible Christian, unwashed and unlovely. But no one said redemption would be pretty.

Just absolutely essential for life
Eternal life.

The Alabaster Jar: what we used to be

The story goes like this:

A woman who owes a great debt to Jesus takes her expensive dowry perfume and breaks it, then pours it over his head.

The scent wafts throughout the house. Beautiful, costly, extravagant.

She weeps and wipes his feet with her tears.

Humbling, intimate, kinda embarrassing.

Onlookers don’t get it.

Jesus does. He is the ultimate gift of love, she responds with the next dearest thing she possesses.

Because he has returned life to her.

Because he has redeemed her soul.

We have an impulse to scramble either to embrace or evade the expectations of our “love holiday.”

Perhaps we don’t need to do either.

Perhaps we already possess the most priceless gift of love–a perfume born of sacrifice and redemption.

More satisfying than chocolate, far more enduring than cut blooms.

The cost and burden of love is a Man who pours out the only life he has for us.

I have a theory about all of this–overpriced roses, fancy chocolates, even costly French perfumes are all nice, but the real symbols of love are often more like the tears at his feet–baby wipes, paper towels, mops, and detergent.

Often it is the daily, ordinary sacrifices we make, the humble and invisible things we do without any glory whatsoever, which in the end define love…

in the shadow of his Cross.

Exercising Ghosts

I often tell myself–don’t write in the wee hours of the morning.

But I still do. Because I am a ghost. I am the only kind of ghost I believe in–a human, ordinary human, haunted by the past.

Losses of the past. No one is haunted by the gains, the victories, the trophies.


We are haunted by the what-ifs, would have beens, and hairpin turns on dark highways.

I have been a ghost since 1998 when I lost Veronica.

I began to rattle my chains in 2009 when I lost a slew of other people.

Also ghosts, all of them.

I say all of this because tomorrow I will exercise my ghost. Myself.

I will run, jump, and glide in order to remind myself of the very most fundamental lesson of metaphysics–

How we live matters
How we die matters more
And how we live again: most of all.

There are no ghosts in heaven
You must wake
To get there.

I bet you think hell..

Is a place of great
And universally unpleasant activity
A mine of infinite sorrow and regret
Or the ordinary home of men like Stalin and Hitler
Locked in an endless game of twister
Or country and western karaoke

But what if you are wrong?
And it is this instead–
The nightmare we have all had once
We are the supine
We scream
We try to scream
But there is no sound
No noise comes out of our fire-
Parched throats
Utterly helpless
Crave even Hiroshima rain

Kayleigh Slusher, Girl in the Refrigerator

This is a test. Read just the following sentence then follow the prompt:

3-year-old Kayleigh Slusher was murdered in San Francisco shortly after police responded to reports of violence and abuse at her home.

Her body showed signs of sexual assault and blunt force trauma.

Okay. Deep breath.

Now. What do you think?

How long will Kayleigh’s untimely death remain in your thoughts?

I ask because Kayleigh’s violent death allegedly at the hands of mom and mom’s boyfriend coincides with the death of Kevasia Edwards, the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and a flurry of editorial opinions about Dylan Farrow, abuse survivor.

If you want to take my test a step further google each of these stories then scan for how much air each story has gotten.

Hoffman’s death is a tragedy, no doubt, but while police in New York and San Francisco are scrambling to punt responsibility for Kayleigh and Kevasia, people have been arrested for selling drugs to Hoffman.

Don’t get me wrong. People got arrested for the deaths of the two little girls. People who were known to be dangerous parents? People who had already incited the scrutiny of neighbors, authorities?

What should have been done to save them?

And why wasn’t it?

Should a grown man choosing to engage in deadly behavior warrant more intervention than helpless children? Helpless because we turn away.


Don’t want to get involved.

Kayleigh was a citizen of Napa, California. Early reportage placed her brief life and tragic death in San Francisco.

Kevasia Edwards

Bear with me here….

It is possible to be a poor parent and never run afoul of the law.

It is also possible to be a decent parent and have to submit to the scrutiny of a caseworker.

But the stories that are the hardest to bear are the ones like Kevasia Edwards.

Little people whose whole lives have been marred by pain, hunger, violence, and the state walks into and then out of their lives only to do nothing.

Until it is too late and they have been murdered.

Phillip Hoffman…Phillip Seymour Hoffman

It was just about grief, when I sat in the dark car in my driveway listening to his voice.

He had a wonderful voice.

He played ordinary men well.

And I, as a human on this planet, will miss him being on this planet.

But not as much as those who needed him.

Which is why I say this–of course he was a consummate actor…


… until the Heath Ledger and Phillip Seymour Hoffman stories are moneyballed for why?

Why do talented (famous…rich) young men kill themselves with dangerous drugs and too fast cars?

Then I will say it–better for his partner, his children, his mother if he had been an ordinary man with an ordinary job and no bags of death hidden in his apartment.

We will miss his acting, do we have the guts to admit he would have been safer as a plumber or a high school English teacher?

Do we dare?