Category Archives: Christianity
Nam soli Deo speravit anima mea in silentio
He was a very elderly man in his early 40s, sitting so still even the deer did not notice, although the red-tailed hawk had him in her sights.
Sitting on the now branchless trunk of a long ago fallen elm tree that must have remembered some of what he remembered.
Rugged and battered grizzled sophistication, lip swollen, still bleeding from the mugging in which he lost most everything except that which mattered.
The log of repose rested eternally on the edge of a wood that sloped away from the winding dirt road down towards a creek below where frogs could dance and sing harsh lullabies of prognostication.
To say the road was sparsely traveled would be an understatement. One or two passersby a day at most.
Like the bangers who took his wallet.
Like the occasional merchant plodding along with his cart, unaware of anything but the steady rhythm of hooves.
Like the kerchiefed woman, infant on her breast, basket of vegetables balanced on her head.
A specter drifted by on the breeze. Stately, stunning, robed in the stellar heavens, moonlight glowing from her face, long black hair drifting behind – she alone smiled at him, but did not stop.
To the cadence of the snare they marched past him to the battlefront where their lives would be wasted but mythologized.
Herald on his horse, racing, stirring up the dust, horse panting and sweating, determined to arrive nowhere with nothing to say.
Ragged children, happy in spite of faces smeared with dirt and empty stomachs, skipping into grudging survival mode.
Prancing steeds, gold-studded carriage, curtains drawn to preserve the falsehood.
Coachman, footmen, imagining superiority.
Giggles of gaiety, forbidden whispers, bantering maidens skipping happily to early graves.
Silently, the old man watched each go by, observing with awareness-awakened sadness.
No one stopped. No one spoke.
Which was fine with him.
He took some hardtack from his rucksack and washed it down with stiff cold coffee from a pitted canteen.
The sun was warm but waning – the breeze fresh and zephyr-like gentle. Clouds slowly morphed into fantastic shapes of unicorns and Qilin.
The old man leaned back against a maple tree whose leaves had only just begun to blaze with reds and oranges. A wolf howled in the far distance.
He had lived a hundred years before his 40thbirthday.
Now it was time to wait.
The ragged stranger shod in worn sandals and threadbare robe, matted dreadlocks, tangled beard, paused, smiled at him in spite of missing teeth.
The old man gestured and the stranger sat next to him on the elm log.
Two wrens sang their exultant song back and forth to each other, each taking a verse, both joining the chorus.
The red-tailed hawk pierced the sky, announcing approval from on high.
The rugged ragged ageless stranger took flatbread from his pouch, broke it, and together, in silence, they ate.
Still silent, they passed the wineskin back and forth.
And all was made whole.
None of us saw it coming. A gale with hurricane-force wind gusts, sideways rain so hard it cuts skin like razors, enveloping in icy fire.
She’s a good a ship, but all vessels have limits. Her seams groan, her reefed square’s’ils, saturated in salt water, bend to the sea, as if longing to return.
The mizzen snaps with a sound like a mortar shot. Lines tangle. A young man screams as rebellious canvas yanks him to his death.
She’s taking on water over the gunnels and from a sprung seam below. Ship’s carpenter works frantically. All hands shiver and bleed in slippery darkness.
A deckhand collapses and is washed overboard.
The old man clutches the foremast and curses.
A yardarm shatters. A shard impales the second mate.
Four helmsmen wrestle the wheel.
Will she flounder?
Unrelenting nor’easter derecho:
Loss after loss after loss
Will it never stop? Where, oh where, are the Tradewinds and Zephyrs? The God who calms the seas, and turns back Rahab?
My Dear African-American and Native American friends,
I am so very sorry.
On behalf of my tribe, I ask for your forgiveness.
My tribe calls itself “white.” There is no such thing as a white race. That was invented to justify chattel slavery. There are multiple ethnicities but only one race: human.
My tribe invaded what we now call North America.
At the time of that invasion and colonization, Native peoples, who owned the land collectively, had been living in thriving civilizations throughout all of North America for 10,000 years.
My tribe stole their land and destroyed their civilization.
My tribe reneged on treaties.
My tribe either murdered or displaced the Natives, forcing them into poverty and kidnapping their children into special indoctrinating schools.
My tribe did so in the name of Jesus, claiming to be Christians.
My tribe purchased captured and trafficked human beings from Africa, enslaved them, and forced them to work the stolen land for free.
With stolen land and stolen people, my tribe built a powerful economy supplying the newly industrializing world with cotton for its textile mills.
My tribe enslaved, murdered and abused human beings in the name of Jesus, claiming to be Christian.
My tribe invented, implemented and enforced Jim Crow segregation, redlining, mass incarceration, convict leasing, and systemic racism.
My tribe elected Donald Trump – the most corrupt, immoral, racist president in history.
We did so in the name of Jesus, claiming to be Christians.
My tribe spread chaos worldwide – apartheid, colonization, war.
I know not every member of my tribe wrecked havoc. I take some solace in the fact that some of my direct ancestors were abolitionists and that my parents supported the civil rights movement, as did I.
Nevertheless, I have benefitted from the sins of my tribe.
My parents could buy a small row home in Baltimore in an all-white inner-ring suburb in 1952.
I went to good public schools.
I took music lessons.
I got jobs no person of color would have been offered.
I’ve never had to worry about being shot if I’m pulled over by the police.
Security officers don’t follow me in stores.
Women don’t cross the street when they see me coming.
On behalf of my tribe, I am so sorry. Please forgive us. Please forgive me.
And, please, my dear Native and African-American friends, help us see how we can right the historic wrongs. Thank you.
Yours because His,
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