Ceasefire for the Sexes

I hate what we have become

Us siblings

Pitted against each other from puberty

Either divided and ruling

Or divisive and ruled.

Missing out on mutual flourishing

A destructive relationship

if ever there was one.

.

Men have blamed women always –

it was Adam’s second sin in the garden –

And then women were cursed to desire and resent them.

But we were (re)born to go beyond our ancestors

and to trust and understand what once they feared.

.

And we can fear to love because we think that love is unclean.

Yet surely it cannot be purity

When we distance those who give us life.

It insults the very Gospel

of the Son of Man who spent time with women

and looked to their souls not their sex.

.

I know of these things only partly

And often through a screen darkly, but

The way I’ve come to think is that

Sex should not be a battleground.

We are more united and

diversity is in high demand.

I don’t want to fight or fear my brothers

and we shouldn’t need to fear all attraction.

Honestly.

How I wish that sex would once again just mean

intercourse

and not war.

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Spirit groans and growing pain

I look down at the stars on my jumper

as I sigh

And I think of those Peruvian skies

Just northeast of Huánuco.

The entire sky was sprinkled with silver

Like molten metal dripping through a colander –

And yet you promised Abram that many children.

*

I run my fingers through my hair

as I try

to grasp that what I am reading is happening.

It grows back in patches where I’ve stress-pulled it,

kinking awkwardly beneath my curls –

And yet you know every strand.

*

I scale down my hopes and dreams

as I cry

at the million ways this world is dying and unkind

and really wonder how I’ll keep going

when the going is so bloody tough.

And yet you gave me my life and have kept me growing.

*

Emmanuel –

God the stranger who makes his home with us –

Help us keep on loving

and come quickly, Lord Jesus.

The Tortoise and the Porcupine

You burst out
And I retract
Sometimes you are too harsh for me
Your wits too spiky
Your words they stab me
Though you are just stretching
Scattering random blows for fun
Nothing really aimed at me
But it makes me fear what you say
When I am not there.
.
I’m a tortoise and you’re a porcupine;
we are strange friends perhaps.
My shell seems stone-like
But I’m so soft beneath
That self-defence is a necessity
All I can do sometimes
Is put distance between me and
The thing that stings –
On this occasion, you.
And you are the opposite:
Prickling at what hurts,
Sharpness taking me by surprise.
.
It’s like
We both taste poison in the water
But whilst I cry it out
You just spit
And I’m hit
In the heart
By the words that you emit.
.
What can I do to love you
When I share my vulnerability
And you unwittingly
Cause me pain?
And how on earth do I tell you
that it hurts?

Doing a Nathan

“Prophets are never welcome in their own town”
They decide to listen to
that holy discontent
That call to become a
divine pain in the ass.
.
I, like Isaiah,
Am only ever anointed
to fulfil a purpose.
We are called to be filled up
Not merely for fun
But in order to pour out again.
To “give good news to the poor
To bind up the broken-hearted
And proclaim freedom to the captives”.

If the way I must serve God
is by being an irritation
Like the prophets before me
And the parable’s persistent widow
That is what I shall be;
A grain of grit in their eyes
That produces
a pearl
of compassion.

God of Gideon,
Of David’s sling
And Nathan’s tale
Keep me being annoying
A teller of unpopular truths
For your good purposes
Even though it might get on top of me
And I feel fed up of opposition
And flee disillusioned like Elijah
Let me
Somehow be
The mother of pearls.

Noli me tangere

John 20:17
Koine Greek: Μή μου ἅπτου
Latin: Noli me tangere
“Stop clinging onto me”

.

I understand, you know:

the need of the feminine to cede to men

of which we were warned at the Fall

is a consequence not a curse,

though that doesn’t make it any less.

Nor does my human grasping for security, stability

necessarily indicate what is best for me.

But a tangible bird in the hand

is worth two in the prophesied future bush

and in the uncertainty we like to set more store

in those logical odds than in the word of our Lord.

So we cling to the devils we know

adhering to known quantities

“responsibly”

Foolishly.

But time doesn’t stand still

and you can’t hold on to the wind

And the Spirit will not be hemmed in

So sooner or later

Ideally before we return to our Maker

We have to let go.

*

Filling

 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

– 1 Corinthians 13 v 8 (NIV)

I’d rather be empty of certain knowledge

than a proud and friendless connoisseur.

Because I used to be the latter,

and filling the void with stuff

only expanded the cavity.

I would cram myself with media

Gorge on TV, drink in the radio

and drain the local library weekly

Trying desperately to hoover up

all I could about life and my fellow man

to the detriment of my social skills

when I should just have studied them

out in their natural habitat

as a participant observer.

I know that this is a false dichotomy

And trust me that I still love to study

But to put my identity in what I consume

Is an attempt I completely reject.

I freely admit

I know less now

Try to own less now

and believe fewer things for certain,

Letting my learning flow like water,

but I fear no FOMO

and am 100 times happier

because I know love

which we all need like oxygen.

When all else passes away

still I will be able to say

I lived a full life

and I think when push comes to shove

people are more important than things

Plus what is more

I’d rather have loved and missed out

than never have opened my heart.

Quidentity

I am not who I think I am

Nor am I simply what you want me to be

How I perceive myself to be, this is only part of me,

And what you see when you look at me, I can never fully know

Only the glimpses that you may show to me

My reflection in your eyes

that’s helping me grow, slowly

or perhaps not.

.

But what you see is not all of me either

All of us weave a

tangled web

of which quite little is outward thread

And the mess that we’re hiding

can be what’s most exciting.

But some feel this unsightly

so we tidy it quietly

and pretend we’re no more embroidered than an Amish nightie.

When secretly we’re more like lace lingerie.

So before you tire of me

Remember:

My identity is the entire me

And there is

plenty

more than meets the eye.