Advice for the dictator

Lately he doesn’t seem to smile much, hardly a surprise when his latest hobby is world domination.

I pray for him, but how?

How do you pray for a monster?

By acknowledging we are all monsters, only some monsters do not obey the voices in our heads which

Reduce cities to rubble and children to dust.

The advice is simple–

You are a man, just a man

And you are dying

You cannot, no,will not, outrun God

Repent and change

Leave everything but your soul behind and say you are sorry for what you have done

Replace your illusions of control with the acknowledgement of your weakness

For we are all monsters here

Debtors all to grace

Altos De Betania

John 1:26-28 NIV

[26] “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. [27] He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” [28] This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

I was once set free in Bethany, so far from Jerusalem the rainy season fills the streets into rivers and the dry season ignites the hills, black ash a veil, a shroud over all

Who are you?

In the house of figs and sadness, blessed are the poor in spirit who

Know they cannot raise themselves to life

Let all the other signifiers change for us

To Lazarus to life

gather the souls

Genesis 12:5 KJV

[5] And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

My daughter has to do a slide show about very small souls, cupped in the hand souls, lost at sea souls, their tiny lives made consciously insignificant by human design alone

There are quiet, tree-lined lanes in the arteries of the capitals of the world where pretty twins play while their siblings become the interstitial jigsaw pieces of a world built without reference to

The souls they had gotten in Haran

What is a man’s soul?

And what will he give in exchange for it?

For what does it profit a man

If he gains the whole world

And loses his own soul?

Well, will He?

A little over a year ago I wrote emails to Catholic official all over the state of Texas. Called some. Beseeched others. Got one response and one sympathetic conversation with a lady who said she would send along a message.

At the time I was deeply concerned because an international healthcare system with a Catholic identity was facilitating the expansion of a medical records system owned by a woman with very un-Catholic values.

I wrote the Vatican.

No response.

As Biden announces he has been blessed and authorized by the Pope to get communion and keep doing what he is doing, I can’t help but think that the list of bad popes is incomplete , and should include a few more, the guys who weren’t active felons or thieves, just cowardly or selfish or fooled by the allure of celebrity or power.

It raises two questions for me–when is a useless police department better than no police department? A bad police chief better than no police chief?

And more importantly–will Jesus find faith when he comes back? Will any of us have the courage to stand for peace for the vulnerable children targeted for destruction in their mothers’ wombs?

Luke 18:7-8 NIV

[7] And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? [8] I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

What Angels Do

Daniel 10:12-14 KJV

[12] Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. [13] But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. [14] Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.

We have so misunderstood and utterly misrepresented

What angels do

Who they are

Or how they might appear

(While surely they might be anyone–

Women, children, the dispossessed)

They stand their ground

Fight for us

Maybe when it would seem

We are otherwise entirely

Abandoned

Let us write a book, my loves

Let us write a book my loves where each of you gets at least a single word because, as the Good Book says words are signifiers of eternal things and you are nothing if not eternal.

This time only you and God will be able to decide what words your little lives will signify

And how much each is worth

Words for children

A progeny of words

Like the teeth of a dragon

Sewn beauty in the field

Where once was only sorrow

Jerichos

Long before her son’s whirling and untimely demise, my paternal grandmother believed in her traction with elected officials. I remembered this belief upon my first campaign, which was, parenthetically, about the loss of a single child and an unjust judge.

Who save me

would draw a line between Mamaw and the rise and fall of Hasmonean kings?

Amidst all this talk of unjust judges and rising kings

I tell myself there must be

sycamores in Jerichos still

Awaiting His return

Machine Translation

The old woman and the older woman sit down across a flimsy folding table. Between them there is a plexiglass barrier, the kind you might encounter now at a doctor’s office or the checkout line at the grocery store.

This time we all know we are contagious, right?

They type into complementary machines–one English to Korean and the other Korean to English

Do not forgive these Korean letters, forgive something else if you will.

The devastating depths men may plunge to

If the womenfolk fail to speak.

The Remarkable, “Yes!”

John 4:12 KJV

[12] Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

I have sat in the noonday sun with these two people for hours here and there over the course of my own friendship with the Man in the story.

He could have just answered her–

Yes!

You betcha!

Absolutely!

But he knows I will be listening, that others will be listening so..

John 4:13-14 KJV

[13] Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: [14] But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

A person cannot go wrong with living water.

But it is worth noticing the question she asks–

Is Jesus more powerful than Jacob?

Strange to think of all the days when

The hope of Mankind hinge on the Jacobs of history.

When Jesus was coming

The Breaker

The strong right arm of God

The one who makes all other heroes look

Like chumps and losers

Jesus–

Living Water