20 Jan 2017

The Orchard and the Enchantress

Long ago, in a far off land, there lived a noble king. The king and his wife had an extensive orchard full of every fruit one could imagine: pears, plums, apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, and the like. This fruit was picked by the king’s servants and made into jellies, jams, and preserves. In accordance to the proportion of this orchard, nearly everyone in the kingdom would enjoy the jellies, jams, or preserves at feasts and

Johanna Byrkett 0
11 Jan 2017

Water and Fire

There’s water in everything and everything is in water— except fire. Fire changes water completely: too much fire makes steam, which returns back to water as it cools; and too little fire makes ice, which melts. We are all steam engines: mostly water, with a fire in our bellies making us do more or less based on temperature and control. We can be hard to keep stoked up and fed with enough coal. Jesus didn’t

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
14 Dec 2016

Dark and Still

There was a universe wrapped in dark In silence and waiting for the “Hark!” Planets moons and stars inside it spun All processing around a rising sun Within this whirling assembly Was a whole world made for you and me And dark and still, and still and dark Waiting for “Let it be” and “Hark!” There was a world wrapped in dark In silence and waiting for the “Hark!” The nations had sent their wisest

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
09 Dec 2016

Adventus

Time dawned and chaos was made order, man came alive within a garden’s border, within the garden’s border man died when he disobeyed God and bowed to pride. Darkness and chaos twined the world ’round, but with the curse a promise was found, up would grow a tender young shoot; A King would rise from Jesse’s root. A King would rise like light in the dark, One unbranded by sin’s cruel mark, to free his

Johanna Byrkett 1
30 Nov 2016

A Holy Hallelujah – A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

2016 seems destined to be remembered for some time as the year we lost the most icons. Obviously, I mean that in the popular entertainment sense, rather than the religious sense. Growing up Fundamentalist Baptist, I was not introduced to pretty much any of these folks until well into my adulthood at best, and so I’ve been getting acquainted with them posthumously, in turn as they each pass. The latest loss, Leonard Cohen, has been

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
16 Nov 2016

Crucifixion Night 2016

I had to get up out of the muck and mud slinging – you can’t sling mud without getting your own hands dirty – so I climbed up the only thing high enough to be looking down on the world, a cross. I had some help up; some friends who knew I needed crucifying nailed me. From up here I can see a lot of other crosses, people put there against their wills, the people

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 10
15 Nov 2016

Encountering Aslan in the Wild

The first time I met a lion in the flesh was on a playground in suburban Nashville. I must have been only five or six years old when the enormous golden cougar peered out from its perch on the edge of the little park, its lithe, muscular body stretching out behind its curious face. Next to it was another feline comrade, an exotic, ebony-black wildcat, lying gracefully alongside the more familiar mountain lion. As would

Guest Author 1
14 Nov 2016

Anointing of the Sick – A Reflection

Anointing of the Sick Song of Songs 5:2-8   What voice called when I lay silent on my bed?   Was it the voice of my Beloved, soft as the thief who enters when the light has fled; come to break my lesser loves from where they lay in jars and by a sacred power change the spilling oil– the slow oil of suffering into the shining oil of gladness poured on my hands, dripping

Daniel Hyland 2
11 Nov 2016

Swallowing Light

i am alive. i am awake. i am aware of what [life] tastes like.1 It tastes like meteors. Like sunshine spilling warmth over me as I lie on a mound of wood chips. Like black currant tea and dark chocolate. Like thought-full and heart-felt conversations. Like fear from a film—and fear of the unknown. Like crisp autumn air, scented by leaves crunched. Like solitude under the moon. Like sorrow piercing my heart. And it tastes

Johanna Byrkett 0
02 Nov 2016

A Psalm for Tearless Eyes

Why art thou not cast down, o my soul, Why art thine eyes not flowing as rivers after the winter thaw, washing away thine every stain and uncleanness? Thou liest with unplucked eyes and uncircumcised arms and unquenched passions for the unquenchable fire. If a thou burnest a candle from both ends thou art in timeless darkness. Why, o my soul, dost thou not sleep in peace, since thou eatest the bread of idleness? Instead,

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
19 Oct 2016

We Don’t Belong in the Woods

This poem was mostly written on the Appalachian Trail between Max Patch and Hot Springs, NC, where I was walking for two days with my son Andy last week. You can see our hike in photos here: Ken & Andy Hike the AT I suppose my attitude may morph with remembrance rather than endurance, but I think my final conclusion still holds true.   God put nature out where we Can ignore it except on

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 3
05 Oct 2016

Will Beg For Work

Ray Gator was the owner of a successful family hot dog stand named O’Peter’s Pedigreed Dogs. Ray decided it was time to expand his borders, so he went to the best corner in town to open a new stand. When he got there, he found the corner was already occupied— by a homeless man, holding a sign that said “Will Work For Food”. Ray saw this as a boon: he acquired a corner and a

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 3
21 Sep 2016

Walking on Waves

I am always walking on waves – the formless void of earth Whose walls are made of the wind And whose roof is the cloud Like Peter I sink in the storm Thinking it is the storm outside And not the Charybdis within Although I am looking only inside I reach up before I look up Hands have more faith than eyes What comes into an eye twists And colors everything wrong You see with

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
08 Sep 2016

“Do not be afraid” ~ {While Experiencing the Abandonment of God}

I1 am nearing the end of a really beautiful book, called Dimitri’s Cross.2 Right now I am reading the letters he wrote his wife, Tamara, from his first place of imprisonment.  I already know, from reading this book, that he is later sent to Dora, a camp called the “Man-Eater” where Fr. Dimitri is forced to work in horrid, extreme conditions, ages quickly, becomes very ill and at the end, speaks of feeling the abandonment of

Elizabeth Roosje 3
25 Aug 2016

Perspective, Choices, and What a Picture From 1904 Taught Me

  Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. – Frederick Buechner1 When I lived in Ottawa, I went through a time when I was unemployed, spent my carefully tended savings to survive and then ran out of money completely. For a few months I did not know how I was going to pay rent or buy food. Scary. Twice in my life I went through

Elizabeth Roosje 9
24 Aug 2016

#OneLifeMatters

Lest I be misunderstood: ____ Lives Matter because this one does.   One life matters, there is no other Passed down to you from Son to mother A life that only begins with death A spirit bequeathed with latest breath A breath that whispered a single Word That by the hosts of Heaven was heard And even the depths of Hell were stirred As living corpses were given breath Having died with that one in

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
19 Aug 2016

Resuscitated by Art

Does music ever make you see? Does it break your heart or spill hot tears over your lashes? Does music become your voice when you cannot find the words to express your grief, sorrow, or hope? Music paints vistas on the mind—sunsets over mountains, starlight over tawny grasses bent by the breeze, snow on trees, russet leaves kicking up in the dirt lane. Certain songs carry a mood with them—autumn fog and rain, driving under

Johanna Byrkett 4
10 Aug 2016

Hey Jude

~Apologies to Paul McCartney   Hey Jude, don’t leave her burning Save a lost soul out of the fire Remember, hate the garment spotted with sin Then you’ll begin to make it better Hey Jude, build up your faith You were made to go out and get her In God’s love and in the Spirit pray Then you can say it can be better And any time you feel hope’s gone, hey Jude, keep on

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
27 Jul 2016

St Matthew

Matthew was only working the system Didn’t make him right or wrong, just smart You know you would have done the same If you had been the one playing his part You’ve got to play by the rules If you want change the game Then the rulemaker came And nothing was the same   Why would the rabbi sit and eat with you? Doesn’t he know you are not a good Jew? Consorting with sinners

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
22 Jul 2016

Through the Cracks

Violence cracks our world, leaves lives black and blue emptier than when day broke, leaves lives numb and days grey   Shadows crawl stealthily, silently blotting the beauty that our eyes can only see by the sun’s bright rays   Darkness is like a shroud, clothing our dying senses too poisoned to see value in life or how gaping death is   Hope seems like a dream in the inky night, intangible, unreal, a delusive

Johanna Byrkett 1