The Namesake Dilemma

I have been waging a Sisyphean campaign to draw scrutiny to a large business deal.

One of the companies involved has clearly secular goals which are in frank opposition to the stated identity of the other.

The other bears the name of a good friend of mine. My best friend–

It troubles me that in recent years this second company seems to be more concerned with monetary transactions than honoring the name applied to its legal entity.

It is a good reminder for me–if I want to mark my life, my identity, my business, my things, with the name of my Beloved, well

I better make sure

They all really belong to Him

And we both know

He is my best friend, my boss, my king

Savior, Redeemer, Lord

God’s strong right arm.

Revelation 12:17 NIV

[17] Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

All hat, no cattle

I once did a series of poems called the calvarium poems. I called them that. They remain in a kind of womblike obscurity, you could say the poems were like children

If only an ordinary person like me could

Cast a spell with words

Hocus pocus–live!

Abracadabra–live!

I alternate between believing

That the dry bones are the children tossed away from their mothers, their doctors, their strangers holding signs and vigil across the street from the alien clinics, iron bars on windows, misleading titles, security guards and not enough imminently visible heartbreak over this or

The people, the-all-of-us, too craven to save their little, perfect, amazing

Calvariums.

The Invisible World

Not often enough

Do I think about the light I cannot see

The whole beings made of it who

Could be standing right beside me

defined by light not visible to me

Or smell, or touch or sound or taste

All senses which could be

Stronger somehow–

A male polar bear can smell a mate from 100 hundred miles away

Sharks can smell single droplets of

Blood in the water miles away

What portion of my human brain is cordoned off for

My sense of Love? How far, how long, how wide a net

Will you cast for me?

Solomon

Ecclesiastes 4:1-2 KJV

[1] So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. [2] Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.

I generally chafe at the wisdom of Solomon. I want to measure my “wise guys” by their lives–faithfulness, sobriety, compassion. S-man seems to fall abysmally short on all categories.

When I read this verse from Ecclesiastes it resonates with my own sense of the fragility and tenuousness of life, but then I cannot help that Solomon had so many powers the ordinary dude did not have to:

Stop oppression

Comfort the bereaved

And use his power as a monarch to generally improve his culture

He had the power to live a different life, to show a different way. I am no king, but I will be judged by how much better or worse I use my power

To change things.

God Calls Us to Pursue

I break the second commandment all the time, sow dragon’s teeth in this suburban front yard, draw the greenest leaves down and through my fingers loosing embryo acorns and the shifting compass of the setting sun. It is the girls who say these most beautiful things, white linen things pinned to a line and lifted by the wind beneath a slivery moon

“It looks like a stone rolled away

Like a stone in the very act of being

Rolled away

Matthew 2:1,2 and 28:1,2

When you and I were unborn

An image has been taken, carefully constructed–a smiling woman with her small child, a pink placard, and a message of support for the categorical destruction of babies remarkably similar to her own.

When I was younger the rhetoric surrounding the clinical extermination of humans before the age of birth was careful, reluctant, almost sheepish or apologetic. Famous among these voices was Hillary Clinton who said that the aim of promoting legal abortion was to make it, “…rare”

When I was younger “the unborn” were called babies by those on both sides of the argument.

When I was unborn, abortion was illegal.

Not now.

Now there is a veritable cacophony of irate institutions and voices–democratic presidential hopefuls, movie streaming services, (ironically) the Disney company, a long list of celebrities, and that smiling lady with her baby on the grass

All bent upon promoting and facilitating medical murder.

And with each carefully posed picture, each premeditated exclamation of outrage they push down the simple facts–we have laws in this country which promote and facilitate the brutal, violent, dehumanizing murder of millions of people.

People who would one day watch Disney movies

People who might subscribe to Netflix

People who would argue unequivocally for their own right to life

If they were allowed to live long enough to

Sing

where have all the flowers gone?

Our children all

Gone.

Justice is Love’s Surname

Survivors get to decide what they do with their story.

My daughter reminds me of this when I complain about a particular rape narrator who seems to be exonerating people who actively refused to value her need to be heard over points in a game.

What I would tell if she answered my email is:

  • Describing your rape in sexually explicit details obscures the message that rape is always about anger and power and objectifying the victim. Do not give potential felons a script for how to commit a crime.
  • Why exonerate anyone who has now or in the past facilitated rape culture? Anyone who actively compensated for rapists needs to be called out and fired, not hugged and beatified–no matter how many teams he or she has taken on to victory.
  • What happened to you has and will happen to a lot of other people–male, female, gender non-binary, old, young, non-consenting. Don’t sell all of them out by sanitizing or excusing deeply broken human systems.
  • Don’t unwittingly hand potential perpetrators a script for rape. Whether or not you realize it, when you tell a story where no one has enforced negative criminal or civil consequences for raping you, you are not changing rape culture.
  • No victim of rape should walk down the road you have. Every person deserves incisive rules for sexual safety. We need to change those rules.
  • Most victims chose or are pressured into silence. They should not have to fear the stigma of being a crime victim who speaks out..

…but they are, and as long as they are, your message is not enough, whether it is what you say or don’t say to a group of athletes, or what you tell the mother of a rape victim

By not answering her at all.

Writing about terrible things

I have known for some time that using the clipped, incisive, deliberate forms associated with poetry was one way to write about the devastation caused by my adopted son.

I started writing the poetry publicly when the prose seemed too difficult for people.

You could call this the “it’s too awful” syndrome, or you could call it the complicity principle. People either do not want to face the devastation and intimacy of sexual assault or they have their own story and do not really want to scrutinize how their story was handled. Notice the passive tense–change the passive tense–how they handled their story.

We have debilitating and unwarranted stigmata which we apply to the victims of sexual assault in a highly prejudicial and unscientific fashion.

All cases of sexual assault are woefully underreported, yet we claim to understand rape victims.

You cannot have a principled, scientific understanding of a condition if you force the sufferers of the condition into silence.

Nor can you ever separate the “symptoms” of victimhood out from the original crime or the subsequent, devastating consequences of enforced silence.

Every victim of a crime deserves relief, but in rape, the victim often faces subsequent harm.

They are told to be quiet or they will be marginalized.

That marginalization never stops. It can happen any time a victim shares their story.

I know because I just watched it happen again, and again, and again when my daughter wrote her college entrance essay on her rape story.