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Luke 13:30: Tired Application

The last/least of me, buried with cares, shall be first, and vice versa. Go ye. Tell that gnawing coal fox there’s One coming who’s casting out devils, making the blind see. He’s gathering awed children together, hen-like. The yard, too, shall be spared. The omens are many.  Read More


bejesus: by Jesus, an alteration of Jesus Christ; a mild expletive of the temple of the Holy Spirit, e.g. <scare the bejesus out of me>   Sunday morning Grandmother and I walk down the alley to the Pentecostal church. Dust puffs lift from the toes of my shoes, powdery as Grandmother’s talcum. In the children’s room, I play until it’s time to march down the center aisle (the congregation singing “Praise Him All Ye Little Children”) to where she usually sits... Read More

For Money

I opened mail. I tugged clumps of blueberries from twiggy branches into a red pail. I saved the files. I stamped them “confidential.” I answered the phone in a calm and friendly voice. I pinched the dollar bill with the receipt and tucked them in your palm. I packed the berries gently in pint containers, wrapped them, carried trays onto the truck. I signed for the freight. I transplanted seedlings into four-pack flats. I told your future. I took notes. I washed dishes, wiped... Read More

For Hannah

I couldn’t pray. I tried. In the family waiting room, elbows propped on the plastic seats, I bent my head, opened my mouth, and waited. Then I stood and left. Back in the room, I joined my wife. Staring at our daughter, we inclined our heads and listened to doctors and nurses and machines. Nodding, miming comprehension, I concentrated on the soft, steady exhalations of the ventilator. Whispers that sounded like it’s OK, it’s OK, it’s OK. Later, we tried together. Kneeling,... Read More

Tiniest Prayer

What you said is all I say. All you said is what I learn. Your will, your will. I move myself out of the center.  Read More

Prayer, Insisting

Lord, if I can hold this one syllable with sincerity. Lord Jesus, if I can just hold my mind together. Lord Jesus Christ, if I can hold my mind for one genuine place. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy for a single moment of real intensity, myself letting go into the genuine. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me who wishes for only one pure moment of sincerity, to be honest with the Lord and real with my own repentance. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner who wants to be sincere... Read More

Light Adaptation

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser. AudioPlayer.embed("audioplayer_1", {titles:"Light%20Adaptation",soundFile:"aHR0cDovL3RoZW90aGVyam91cm5hbC5jb20vd3AtY29udGVudC91cGxvYWRzLzIwMTIvMTIvTGlnaHQtQWRhcHRhdGlvbi5tcDM"}); Reflection, the moon’s milk and penumbra, yields to source, brash shine, exact expression. I have seen the same, a broken... Read More

Prayer as Definition

I must tell you this for there is no one else here save my breath and your presence  Read More

Theater of the Absurd

During the first act of the play I decide to pray for the man with Tourette’s who sits behind us, his tics like feral hiccups, each tremor a tiny shock rocking the scaffolding in the black box. I somehow know better than to turn and look, though at first I suspect him part of the cast, his presence a director’s trick—everyman’s condition caught up in his broken gasps and strangled sighs. But no, he is simply a man with Tourette’s at a play. I commit to pray for him,... Read More

Water Mission

My father is a missionary in Saigon, and every day he sits or stands in his white cotton shirt and talks to servicemen and the Vietnamese about Jesus. While my mother rests through the heat of the day, I walk behind him to Buddha’s temple. There, in a small public pump house, open on four sides and draped in flowers, he chooses one of the dozen brass water spouts under the pagoda-shaped roof and fills our collapsible plastic vessels with water purified by filters and blessed... Read More