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Tag: Community

Poems, Blogging, and Process

Austin Kleon wrote a book, Show Your Work. The premise is creativity is a process, not a product. It allows a public showing of the stages we go through in our art by sharing our process publicly.

After the process of importing my data from my old blog into my new one, I read through all my posts. Deciding which ones to keep and which ones to toss. Over the last year, I saw a progression of style and subject matter. I also did some deep thinking about the direction I wanted to take my new blog.

I desire to write more in-depth posts and return to writing poems, which went by the wayside. No more posting quote graphics and public domain poetry – for that I have started a Tumblr blog to complement this one. I will post once a week, Saturday, all prayer concerns for my readers to read and pray over as the Lord leads, called Prayer Points. I will be posting twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. And I plan on expanding my newsletter beyond just sending the last post via email. Finally, I am adding more graphics to my posts to make them more visually appealing.

It was an act of faith for me to start again. National news made me want to throw up my hands and say, “Lord, what is the point if censorship is rolling ahead full steam?” But I have learned to hear His voice over the years, and have seen His faithfulness. I know if He says, “Write!” then I need to honor this process and write, not only for Him but for my readers and for me too.

FaithPoetryWriting

Delayed Presents

I did not know my father except the first few years of my life and the last few years of his. After my mother passed away, I found a shoe box full of letters that he had written to her. I spent the next several weeks reading though them and learning about my past. It was a gift she left, which my brother graciously allowed me to keep. And so a correspondence began with him.

Fast forward several years. My father passed away. I changed one parent’s house for the other, announcing to friends and family I was moving. New starts and all that.

He had a long-time friend that became my friend too. She told me stories about him that had me laughing and saying, boy, that sounds like me! And she gave me a picture of him standing in the snow (if you aren’t familiar with the Oregon coast climate, that doesn’t happen very often).

Though I did not know him very well, he gave me a gift I am still treasuring today: Oregon.


Have a blessed weekend!

Faith

To Be Continued…

Several weeks ago, I felt the Lord say to me, my writing would save me. And it already has – the one good thing that came out of lockdowns was my learning discipline to blog and enjoying the likes and occasional comments. You really kept me going.

Many years ago I saved articles that decried the Church not meeting the needs of Christian artists.

I have held for a long-time desire to belong to a regular Christian writing community. I have pondered what that means specifically, or how it would play out. Not a how-to, marketing, or anything similar, but a place of support for Christian artists.

As they say, anything new begins with the first step, or in my case, the first blog post.

To be continued…

FaithWriting

All Things Oregon

When I moved here in 2013, many others were moving to Oregon too. It was the number one state to move to and I was proud to be one of the statistics. I came from Missouri, and for the most part followed the Oregon Trail all the way here.

My father passed here, so I decided to “go west, young man (older woman in my case)” and start a new life. And I have.

I have grown to love Oregon much more than Missouri: mild weather, beautiful shorelines, quiet community for the most part, the arts, the wide open spaces further east. No more tornado alley, however, I lived near the New Madrid fault line so that did not change here.

Many writing ideas came walking the beach with my portable radio and headphones on. Most of them haikus.

Politically, Oregon is not as liberal as many think. It is the same in most other states, the metropolitan areas are largely liberal and the rural areas are largely conservative. But I see much potential here in the days ahead. Dreams can come true here.


Have a blessed weekend!

Writing

Grieving Enemies

For upwards of 20 years, I had a dream to leave the Midwest and start a new life.

My dream became a nightmare. And the death of my dream entails grief. Because of the ongoing nature of my nightmare, I don’t get healing or closure.

Last night, I was listening to my usual line-up of sermons. And I was about to fall asleep when I was awakened, and knew this time it was the Lord wanting me to hear this particular sermon. It was on handling grief. At the end, he said we need time to process grief of the people who are our enemies – people who abuse us. That got my attention.

As I was mulling this over, it came to me that the nation is going to face grief in the death of what we perceived as the American Dream.

Tidal waves of exposures are hitting our shores, sending many who have not been reading outside of the main stream media into denial, anger, bargaining, and depression – what some would call the first four grief stages of five. Some will feel guilt at being happy that enemies are gone. Some will feel regret that we could not unify and bring closure. Some will be angry that anyone will even be grieving.

Just as I yearn for healing and closure in my personal life, I yearn for the same for America. There will be a need to process grief once this scourge is over. America will not heal if we do not process the what and why of this loss. However, I believe God has better plans for us. Plans that are above and beyond our wildest imaginations, if we chose to accept it.

Faith

History Repeats?

Out of the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, the Communards were born. As the name suggests, Karl Marx agreed with the political form of government, although he disagreed with the methodology. They followed the socialist philosophy of the 1790’s French Revolutionaries.

In a nutshell, Germany provoked France in a war with Prussia as a ruse to unite German peoples as nation-states. France invaded Germany and Germany then invaded France. They marched onward into Paris. At the time, it was one of the most heavily fortified cities.

When Germany invaded France all of the government officials and upper to middle classes fled Paris, leaving only the poor working class behind. The national guardsmen from this class wanted to form a new government called communes. Elections were held and they won.

After the win, they seized Catholic property, arrested Catholic clergy, and executed the Arch Bishop of Paris. National monuments were defaced.

Germany released French prisoners to counter, since a peace treaty had been signed. In what was called “bloody week,” many Parisians died. Some escaped, some were lined up and shot, and others faced war councils.

Though you can not fit what is happening now neatly into what I have written here, similarities do exist and lessons are to be learned. Betrayals abound, and fortifications are not foolproof. Sow violence, and you reap violence.

Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah,
As on the day of Massah in the wilderness,
“When your fathers put Me to the test,
They tested Me, though they had seen My work.
For forty years I was disgusted with that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
Therefore I swore in My anger,
They certainly shall not enter My rest.”

Psalms 95:8-11 NASB

Faith

Losing Face

Listening a sermon on the radio, I heard the preacher address the issue of losing face. I have no experience in Asian culture, so I went to the World Wide Web for rudimentary knowledge. Losing Face is a complicated ideal, but basically incorporates acts that deal with individual and corporate respect and embarrassment issues.

Some aspects to this concept are praiseworthy: acts of kindness towards others and a civil society.

Moses and Aaron lost face with God when he publicly struck the rock in anger to produce water for the wandering Israelites. God had instructed him to speak to the rock. It cost them entering into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:1-13).

But I do have experience with American culture, and as I heard this phrase I immediately thought of mask wearing.

The masks have long been debunked as being safe in most situations. Now, it is being seen as a political tool to homogenize American citizens and rob us of our God-given individuality. A step towards transhumanism. I watched a YouTube video of a very angry young lady telling the mask mandaters where they could send the masks – definitely rated PG-13 for language and body language.

In the days ahead, as this plot – yes, plot – is exposed, many people are going to lose face. Compassion for those forced to wear masks is crucial in rebuilding in the days ahead. As a nation we will not heal if judgment reigns supreme. However, for those that mandated them, it can only be seen as a national security risk. On the surface, that seems harsh. But, our nation was founded on individual liberty and it is being stolen from us on the staircase to Hell.

If God would have wanted us to wear masks permanently, we would have been born with them on our faces.



Have a blessed weekend!

Faith

Modern Day Revolution

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” is the opening line of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. Setting the stage of the book is the French Revolution, both before and during, in Paris and London.

Roughly 230 years ago, a European country had a revolution.

Today another revolution is touching all areas on the globe, and with few exceptions, no one is exempt from the blazing news cycle of events.

On a personal scale, moving to Oregon taught me the true meaning of the A Tale of Two Cities quote. Clarity (and a bit of anger) replaced pain and confusion, with beauty driving the day to day wheels. I did not chose the consequences of moving here, but here I believe I was sent for such a time as this. How that plays out in the weeks ahead is my guess, but I know Who holds my future.

As Gandalf said in The Lord of the Rings, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

And as the Bible would say,On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days So that we won’t take anything for granted.

Faith

Solitude and Community

I decided seven years ago to move from Missouri to Oregon. Roughly my modern day version of the Oregon Trail. I had high hopes of making a new life here, and to be fair, I have, just not in the way I expected.

I am finishing Walden, and in the chapter called “Former Inhabitants; and Winter Visitors,” Thoreau talks about the lack of human companionship during the snowy winter months, and how he would visit people in his memory for company. It is with the beautiful geography I have made friends, along with a few hardy souls here. In a waiting room a few years ago, I read a travel magazine in which the writer stated the Oregon coast was more beautiful than Costa Rica. Very surprising to me, but understandable.

In The Imaginative Conservative, this article confronts the loneliness of our times. It mentions two books that I have read, which stress the importance of community, and more specifically, conservative communities – The Benedictine Option by Rod Dreher, and Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. What these two books also say, is sometimes it is necessary to be in the world but not of it. During Germany’s pre-WWII and beginning years, Bonhoeffer ran an underground seminary, and his book is the story of how it actually worked.

That being said, the hiding of our identities behind masks, the stay at home orders, and the lack of human touch through certain businesses being shut down is cruel and inhumane treatment. Even the most introverted people – that would be me – crave some social time every now and then. Some of us do not have the local option of community. And social media helps.

While on the run from the Catholic Church and living in a redoubt at least part of the time, Martin Luther translated the Latin Bible into German for everyone to read. I have a plaque in my house that artistically says, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” I could be bitter about my lack of local friendships, but I see it as a time of learning to be a writer. And as much as I despise this time of separation we are living, Romans 8:28 (KJV) states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Faith

Imprecatory Prayers and Poetry

King David, from the Old Testament, wrote many imprecatory prayers, or I would say imprecatory poems, otherwise known as psalms. From my NASB Study Bible, the footnote from Psalms 5:10 states “they are appeals to God to redress wrongs perpetrated against the psalmists by imposing penalties commensurate with the violence done – in accordance also with also with normal judicial procedure in human courts.”

According to Crosswalk, “Imprecations … are found in high poetry and are the product of reasoned meditation (not to mention divine inspiration!).”

Along with being “high poetry,” imprecatory prayers can mean the difference between living or dying. They are reserved for life threatening situations that have no relief available, and must be within God’s will. People praying these prayers have no human recourse for justice – and the evil never stops.

It is an attack not only on the person crying out to God, but an attack on God Himself. Most attacks of this kind are to destroy a person’s God given purpose, a way to shut him up permanently. Today this is extremely pertinent.

It has to be prayed with great humility, relying on the Lord Himself to bring justice and relief from the evil. Rom. 12:19 says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord.” Humility includes no gloating during and after justice is served, or the Lord could stop his judgment on the evildoers. And if you are in such a state as to need answers to this prayer, relief means no gloating. Joy that the evil is over is very biblical, a way of thanking God for answering prayers.

Many years ago, I spent two weeks in a women’s shelter to get relief from a shaming relationship. The last several years, I am currently surrounded in a situation that requires these type of prayers daily. At the beginning of this current situation, the Lord gave me Psalms 35 to read, verses 26-27 catching my attention. It has been extraordinarily difficult, but God has been good, taking care of the big things and the small details. And I attribute a large portion of my protection to these prayers. As far as poetry, most of my posts tagged under “Empowered Individuals” describe my life in very metaphorical terms.

I feel the Church has, by design, been neutered in spiritual warfare. I believe we are where we are today because the Church is uncomfortable with spiritual warfare. Actually, with any form of power from the Holy Spirit. Jesus said we would do greater works than Him (John 14:12). The power is there if we use it according to biblical standards.


I have been hard-hitting this week. I normally like to encourage, but felt led to post the way I have. Tomorrow I will end the week with something light-hearted. Joyful.

FaithPoetry

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