Monday, February 29, 2016


Silence is death
Transform conflict into restoration.
Hear at least two sides.
See through the eyes of the enemy.
Draw lines where all may thrive.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Seeing the Little Match Girl, taking her up and giving her a place before the fire for the winter.

Commanding the wicked stepsisters to help their sister clean up the cinders.

Listening to Hansel and Gretel and giving them safety.

Walking with Little Red through the woods for protection.

Counselling the Little Mermaid to wait for he who cares for her soul.

Escorting Alice through a door in which a world is support more than wonder.

Realizing that we live in a world full of fairy tales
  and that we can take a hand to avert tragedy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Holy Lord

The holiness of the Lord is that which cannot be found created by the world.

It is not the absence of any one thing
   the use of a body or a vulgar tongue.
Holiness is the presence of love, restoration to God.

Jesus is holiness.
He is the healing of the sick
The welcome of the sinner
The touching of the leper
The calming of the insane
Hatred into peace
Evil speech corrected.

Which means, for holiness to exist,
for Jesus to do his work,
There must first be the sick, the sinner, the leper, the insane, hatred, and evil speech.

Friday, February 19, 2016


There is, in this life, but one fear.

We must not fear pain, for bodies heal. 

We must not fear death, for after is rest.

We must not fear loss, for more will come.

We must not fear hate, for love overcomes.

The only outside force to fear is God,
   for only He can take and not restore.

Yet He is in your ear, whispering,
“Peace. Peace. Peace. Peace. Peace. Peace.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


To look toward the sinner with kindness and say, “welcome.”

To stretch one’s hand toward the shamed and say, “You’re forgiven.”

To draw the hungry to the full table and say, “Eat, be satisfied.”

To open the door to the stumbling and say, “Rest.”

To hand a key to the homeless and say, “This is your home.”

To listen to the offender and say, “I understand.”

To embrace the outcast and say, “We are your family.”

Friday, February 12, 2016


Greed is to claim as one’s own when it is not needed

Greed is to store for the future when another needs now.

Greed is to demand of the poor what they cannot afford.

Greed is the non-stop growth of wealth.

Greed is to keep in one’s pocket what should be in the hand of the beggar.

Greed is a community of excess beside a community of lack.

Beware the many manifestations of greed, for in it one finds only death. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Death of MarShawn McCarrel

It was no accident.  It was a suicide by gun.  He knew he was going to do it.  He regretted his action, but he could do nothing to stop it.  His suicide note on social media read, “My demons won today.  I’m sorry.”

His suicide was a political action.  He was a Black Lives Matter activist. He participated in many protests at the Columbus Statehouse in Ohio.  He rapped, shouting his poetry about oppression and freedom to those who would listen.  After his compulsion drove him to commit suicide, he decided to perform this act at the Statehouse.   No one saw him shoot himself.  He was found that night.

His suicide was a result of oppression.  Maybe oppression he experienced himself.  Maybe the oppression that his brothers and sisters experience every day.  Certainly his action is a result of mental illness.  His suicide isn’t the best response to oppression.  His note admits this.  That it was a result of compulsion, not the best choice he could make.   So he apologizes.

But sometimes, sometimes death feels like the best response to oppression. To obtain rest.  To no longer have to watch the ones you love suffer anymore.  To no longer be harassed.  Sometimes death feels like an answer. 

Death felt like an answer to Elijah.

His people, the worshipers of Yahweh, were being oppressed and their people were illegal.  Elijah was chased around the country again and again with a death threat on him.  But he remained faithful and spoke and created opportunities for the government to end the oppression.  All to no avail.

Finally, he cried out to the Lord, “Kill me!  I’m done!  Haven’t I done everything you wanted me to?  Haven’t I suffered enough?  Kill me now.”

He experienced a hurricane.  But the Lord wasn’t in the hurricane.
Then he experienced an earthquake.  But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake.
Then a fire raged before him.  But the Lord wasn’t in the fire.

Then a small, quiet wind whispered to him , “Elijah, why are you here?  What do you want?”

Elijah repeated his complaint.

And the Lord said, “Just do three more tasks for me.  They are big, but once you have finished these, then I’ll take you.”

After Elijah finished those three actions, the Lord didn’t have him go by a shameful suicide.  Rather, the Lord sent a heavenly vehicle to pick Elijah up and take him away.

When we face oppression every day, either through our own experience or through the experience of others, it takes a toll.  Eventually, we cannot endure life anymore.  We want out.  Maybe we contemplate suicide.  Maybe we just wish we could have a stroke or go into a coma.  We just want the world to go away, for the suffering to end.

There is an out.

Perhaps it will be a world-wide out.  That’s what we all hope for.  For oppression to end and peace and justice to reign.  But that seems so far from our experience, it’s tough to hope for.  But God promises us exactly that.  In his time.  By his power.

Perhaps it will be a personal out.  Maybe there are more chariots of fire reserved for those who suffer and work every day to bring justice.  Maybe there will be a rash of them, delivering many to rest.  Or maybe God will provide a respite, a retreat, a deliverance from the experience, even for a time.

But until then, we still have work to do.  It would be great if God gave us just three more tasks, something clear, numbered and once we are done, we are done.   But as long as we live, we must still work to change the world.  We must keep saving lives.  We must keep shouting. 

So that when we do achieve our rest, we know that we will have done all we could. 

This post is part of the MennoNerds February Synchroblog: Perspectives on Black Lives Matter. Please visit the synchroblog page for links to more insightful posts on this topic.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


God is all grace, all generosity. He never pulls back his hand.

God gives the sun to all, without exception, for warmth, for food, for joy.
If the sun is gone,  God gives the clouds, without exception, for shade, for cover, for rest.
If the clouds leak, God gives the rain, without exception, for growth, for quenching, for life.
If the rain freezes, God gives the snow, without exception, for cover, for retreat, for silence.

God gave to humanity all the earth, not to keep, to withhold, to build up oneself.

He gave to us to teach us to give as He gives, all for all, to those who need, to be sure that no one lacks.

Generosity is the path of God.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Humility is not silence, meekness or obedience.

Humility is the surrender of power, prestige and privilege. 

Humility is the weakness of this world through which God can prevail.

Pride is not ego, self-esteem or over-estimation.

Pride is stepping on others to obtain more power so one might be better protected.

Pride is the strength of this world, for it is the only path one can see.

Only in humility will one be raised.  
Only in humility is peace.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Joy in God

The life of joy is found in the community of the poor.  Among the most needy, we can see God’s power at work, bringing deliverance and justice.  

The sorrow of God is among the powerful, those who need ask for nothing, for with them Lady Justice strives.  

Sorrow is found in the midst of the elite, joy among the marginalized.  Make your community choice wisely.