The Melody

The human song is a kaleidoscope of harmonies

Blinding bright

Fallen and triumphant

And only resonant in the choral room where no one is left out

A response to open eyes and to creation’s cry

Love and its adoration is all there is in the end

And so we build and destroy

Give birth and take life

And only the poets can even come close

To telling lies that point to the truth

Because there are no words

No symbolic utterances

That can capture the dimension from which our harmonies emerge

The source behind the longing

The ripple from before eternity

The hanging note humming within all

Love and its adoration from beginning to end

What was it?

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Was it the taps of fermented barely in the lobby?
Or the artsy-theater aesthetic
Maybe it was the apologetic and all-inclusive welcome video
Set to scenes of the town and magnetic melodies of mercy

Was it the organic and inspired narrative?
An identity of roots deep and branches wide
Perch, shade, and grace for the hurting and rejected
A holy family of heretics, queers, addicts, and even clergy

Was it the deconstructed and unorthodox poly-doxy?
Relationally centered on a strange old story of divine embodiment
Or maybe it was the randomly perfect group of people gathered
Eclectic, messy, and sacredly sincere

Maybe it was the willingness to follow the questions?
To challenge the norm and live in the tension
Learning to find home in the unfamiliar wilderness
Finding that the Something Beyond was there all along

Was it the fragrance of justice and generosity?
Monthly gifts to the good-seeking from outside our tribe and within
Or maybe the salvaged tires from a forgotten creek
A water table made slightly more Eden than Gehenna

What exactly was it that made this place so blessed?
Which one of these accidental saints can take credit?
Who orchestrated this symphony of souls
Out of tune in the most harmonious and heavenly of ways?

Father

Few words carry as much weight
To some, warm feelings of affection and gratitude
Tender memories of playing catch & life lessons you never knew you needed
To others, affliction and longing
A relationship you never had, or one that you wish you could erase

It’s a mantle too heavy to carry alone
A yoke that can’t fully be lifted
Protection, provision, direction – ‘manliness’
All convoluted expectations from within and from without a culture that doesn’t know father

We imagine Mufasa, Atticus Finch, Sandy Cohen, or God himself
But we get humans figuring it out
A flawed fraternity
A cocktail of testosterone and benevolence

So our unmet images manifest mocking caricatures
The Homer Simpsons, Peter Griffins, the Al Bundy,’s
Some deserving, some not.

But inspiration is always more transformative than critique
Aspiration more valuable than defeat
Hope victorious over all that’s bleak

So this Father’s Day we proclaim
To the fatherless
or father wounded
To the father-rich
or father-called

Let us honor the pain of all those limping
AND reverently cherish the love of all those who carry the title

To all those who father
Thank you, don’t give up or give in
Keep loving with fierce tenderness in a way that reflects one of the Divine’s faces

Because fatherhood is a holy order
Not for the faint of heart
But open to all willing to walk the path of love on behalf and alongside emerging souls
That they would know the love of an Abba

—-

Opening Day

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Breaking clouds, Spring’s warmth
A resurrection aroma in cut grass
Memories and highlight reels yet to become
Another year and hope invites to lean in

Rosters set, scorecards blank
A book of life with stories to be written
Caps on hearts and calls to worship
Familiar hymns of stars and stripes

It’s a grace to hear those words once more
After the slumber of Winter’s tomb
Like a newborn’s song, “Play ball, He is risen”
An euangelion proclamation at first pitch

Like a ripened fruit or hanging punchline
Anticipation and promise are everywhere
In each cracked bat and triumphal entry
Hosannah, Holy Toledo, Hallelujah!

Caught in the Divine rhythms and seasons
Opening day points towards our destiny
This pastime will surpass our lifetimes
Until at last we sing the anthem in Heaven’s sandlot

Let in

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I didn’t know why I started to cry
It was mile 2 on the skyline trails
The cold before the atmospheric river
And the dam burst

The weight of a thousand rejections
Tears of finally being seen and loved
Souls who’ve been told they were abominations
Now cherished and free

That was yesterday
When I held a microphone, mostly just trying to make sense
Sharing a heart as flawed as any
And a hope –  blurry but bright
Stories of acceptance and embrace and a Love beyond love
All to a church of randoms becoming family
In a dark graffiti adorned pub theater

When it was over
Two hugs turned to three and four
Salty soaked eyes, torrents from the the heart
All of it sacred and holy

What a privileged
What an honor
To bear witness to a healing soul
It’s too much for me to hold

And so in the middle of mile 2
My eyes broke from the status quo
And it came out

Gratitude for being let in
Let in to the divine work in the midst of our mess
My mess

This poem was written the day after our church talked about it’s inclusive love for all regardless of gender or orientation. 

Here

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We live at the epic-enter
Patient zero in consumption’s AI revolution
Where excessive capital and extreme poverty
Dot the skylines and fill the gutters
The bookends of our taxonomy
Homo-Sapien, the wise-ape
Here all of our contradictions are undressed

Beauty and depravity
Within each symbiotic breath
In and out, out and in
The foggy, salty air of this place
Love’s holy name on our lips

Here
Where golden hills cradle
Piercing glass
Protected waters
And the first-fruits of the connected age

This place is where each new flashy screen is imagined and monetized
Follow the algorithms upstream and you’ll find it
The source of our great epidemic

Bent necks and drained adrenal glands
The pursuit of the digital novelty
Hearts, clicks, and likes
Behind each one a desperate search for meaning and identity
“Can anyone see me, do I matter?
A prayer of all history and all hearts

The bay and the redwoods paint a mirage of wholeness
But the bridges and the lights are not the promised land
Ones and zeros are not our home
Curated profiles are but empty calories

There was a time before our madness when we,
The we we’ve erased by destiny manifest,
Lived in melodic harmony with these lush shores
Like a nursing newborn and her mother’s magic

The seasons
Rain and dry`
Were our agenda

The neighborhood
Brother oak and sister marsh
Was our network

But those days are long gone

Now it’s the hum and hurry
Legions of the earbuded and laptop hooked
Avoiding the suffering and squalor below
Spinning the endless wheels of educations debt and technology’s promise

From dawn to dusk we fight and climb
Ignoring the depths of reality within

This place is stunning and stark
And if you’re not careful its spell will always entice
The promise of boom
In endless veins of gold and silicone

This is home
It’s all here
The bookends of humanity

Salvation is here too
And like the keys you lost but were in your hand the whole time
It’s right here

Breathe it in
Notice it
Let it out

Because we are patient zero
An epicenter of life
A contagion of love
An ocean of grace
Here

This is the gold rush beyond
The transcendent burst behind the bubble
The novelty that can’t be grammed or tagged
The promised land is here
Within

When

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When your sea-deep and sky-bright eyes lock mine
And your beaming cheeks raise a two-toothed smile
A few syllable-less grunts and cackles move through the air
As sound waves of heaven’s joyful arrows, and they pierce my insides

When those same glossy blue eyes sparkle with the reflection of Christmas lights
And your three inch hands grab my experimental and coarse ginger beard
And you guzzle and suck down your 6:00 AM bottle an hour early
The melting of my heart outweighs the grief of sleep lost

When a day’s gone by and we’re filled with the good kind of tired
And our gaze catches photos from a few months ago
And we see that same smile in a body closer to the womb
We feel the anxiety and bliss of how fast and slow time’s march leads

When your tumbling-tossing body rolls near the cradled horizons
And I pluck and sing my abbreviated bed-time playlists
And you climb my arms and mute the curious strings with your fragile touch
The melody of the moment rings louder than the incomplete verse

When my mind surveys tomorrow’s foreign labyrinth of limits and limitlessness
And the benchmarks not promised that will one day be memories
And there are less ahead than already lived
I’m brought back to this instant, and your breath on my neck

The altar of this moment is the greatest of gifts
An eternal declaration of life’s victorious blinding light

Love’s claim to all things and all time
To behold and yield are the its most urgent grace

This time, this day, these voices, these souls
Your tinny squirming body in my arms and relentless pursuit of new things
Your angel red hair and innocent sapphire eyes
That nuclear smile, and your short crested giggle

Your very being is evidence of Divine reality
Truer than truth
And yet only a glimmer of its Source
When I but open my eyes, it’s there every time.

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