In Season

a pair of bald eagles 

soaring over the waters

flycatchers flitting

piliated calling

turkey vultures riding 

the wind currents.

a small ship, 

chugs towards the bay

hoisting halyards, cranking winches, chipping hammer

i swung in decades past ringing in my ears

i wonder who this ship’s deck apes are as

i follow her in my imagination down the Chesapeake 

and out into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

a sailboat beats to windward, dingy in tow.

and i, like the planet that sustains my life, 

am in the dark about half the time. yet

i learn from earth to stay centered 

and turn towards the light. 

and so, with the dogwoods, 

i bloom in season.

LRT April 2022

Babylon the Great

There is nothing more dangerous than, more threatening, more destructive, eviler, than the marriage of Empire and Religion. When the brutal military machine of the empire becomes inspired and sanctioned by the fervor of religious conviction the results are heinous – crusades, inquisitions, genocide, slavery, wars, dictators, oppression, injustice – all perpetrated by people convinced they are carrying out the work of God. 

Singing worship songs and waving flags, embracing conspiracy theories, and endorsing the least Christlike man ever to be President, whose policies are the antithesis of the teachings of Jesus, a strange civil religion emerges draped in the language of Christianity. Its agenda: Build walls, militarize the police, permit all to carry guns and kill if they “feel threatened,” produce more fossil fuels, destroy the environment, criminalize abortion, whitewash history, reject science, ignore public health, support autocrats and dictators, tromp on the rights of the oppressed, blame the poor, prioritize America at the expense of all others, control the media, and deny truth. 

Militant, it destroys the immigrant, attacks intellectualism, joins hands with tyrants, and seeks to return society to a mythical time of white innocence and a very real time of white supremacy. Babylon threatens to swallow Lady Liberty. Sea and land monsters empowered by the satan are rising. Soon the red horse will charge. 

“Come out of her my people! Join the way of the Lamb – the way of self-sacrificial cruciform love, the way of the eternal upside-down kingdom where enemies are loved, transgressors forgiven, cheeks are turned, and crosses borne.”

Everything that can happen will happen

Everything that can happen, will happen 

In a parallel universe spirits rebel and chaos reigns.

Energy from a big bang

Bundles of energy become quarks

And darkness enshrouds the deep

Matter becomes cells

Cells become life

A few thousand beings named

“Human” and “Life” emerge,

Learn to enslave and kill

Build cities and empires

Invent gods; make meaning.

Relentless love never quits

Redeems, makes new, transforms

Until all know the Name above all names

And all is shalom.

Psalm 107

Psalm 107

How long had she been wandering?

Alone, lost, confused, disconnected 

From her true self, unable to find her

Way into authenticity?

How long had he been in this dungeon?

Chained in dark dampness, warmed only

By vermin vying for crumbs of stale bread?

Addiction’s vile tentacles wrapped around his spine?

How long had her body been wracked with pain,

Shivering and vomiting, sweating, delirious?

Attached to dripping tubes and whirring machines

While physicians prodded, poked, and ignored?

How long had they endured this eternal hurricane?

Tossing the tiny ship to the sky,

Plunging it to hell, chaos, darkness, 

Watery grave from which none return?

How long must they withstand this tyrant?

Suffering the brutal oppression of bitter totalitarianism?

Where no one dare call their soul their own,

And injustice sits enshrined alongside of greed?

There, on the horizon lies the bright city

Garden city

City of lights

City of peace

City of connectedness

Freedom city

Beloved city

City of health and vitality

Peace and equanimity

Justice and joy

City with foundations 

Whose architect and builder is God

Redeemed from wandering, into the fellowship of the city

Redeemed from bondage, chains, and prison into freedom and light

Redeemed from sickness and pain, into health, vitality

Redeemed from the storms of watery chaos into safety, peace, equanimity

Redeemed from oppression by evil rulers into familial freedom

The unwavering, 

eternal, 

universal,

unconditional

steadfast love of YHWH never ceases.

Woods Hole, Massachusetts

she was a day-sailor designed for

sounds, bays, harbors, lakes, not

open ocean, and indeed, she was not

in the open ocean, but instead well

within the sight of land when the 

fog fell like a thick wet blanket

obliterating any possibility of sight

his left hand on the tiller, his right

holding the mainsheet, he could not

see her bow, nor the top of the mast;

even the jib was shrouded in grey

she had no motor, carried no compass, 

no radar, no navigation aids of any kind,

not even a bucket to use as a sea anchor

only the airhorn he blasted at the 

top of each minute as he luffed 

her into irons and waited, drifting

with the tide, which he knew would

eventually suck him through the hole – 

the narrows between the islands where

the current rushed with strength that 

put many a large vessel on the rocks

he hoped the fog would lift before the

current gripped her in its clutches, but

it did not. helpless to do anything except

don a life jacket, lash to the boat,

drop sail and cling to the gunnels, she

spun like a bubble swirling down a drain

bumping rocks like a pinball, jarring,

dizzy and dazed, surreal as he observed that,

contrary to nature, he had no fear, but

instead was almost able to stand beside

himself observing with curiosity as the

salt spray burst through the fog to soak him

he licked the salt on his lips as a strange

joy washed over him, still spinning, still bumping,

Until 

as suddenly as it began

the waters calmed and he knew he had

shot through the hole from the sound into

the bay without harm, but yet still

cloaked in thick fog, and now, with the

current against him, without possibility of 

sailing back to the harbor, drifting, drifting,

as if veiled from 

Reality, 

sensing an unreachable connection, adrift from identity

the glass through which he peers is warped,

thick, wavy, malformed, scratched by 

abandonment, smeared by envy – only

shadows, glimpses, hints of 

Truth, yet

Enough 

Enough to reveal the sunrays of

Perpetual Love

LRT January 2022

Unnamed

A vibrant dancing rainbow of 

Redemptive rhythms

Echoes through the cosmos

Cetacea, Cranes, Wrens and Beech trees 

Join the Hymn of the Universe,

Wonderland of colors swaying in liquid love – 

Ever-flowing Love blowing warm from conception

And flowers waltz with bumble bees while

The Maker, fastened to a Roman gibbet,

Wears as his only earthly possession the

Aroma of spikenard mingled with 

Tears of love.

The creative fires of

Life and of Death are

One and the same, and 

“All will be

Well, and all will be 

Well, and all manner of

Things will be well.”[1]


[1] Julian of Norwich 

Father’s Day or Juneteenth on June 19 2022?

Father’s Day stirs mixed emotions. 

On the one hand, I love being a father and always had. I became one quite early – I was only 20 when Elliott was born. I have loved every phase of fatherhood. Today, I have four living children and one with God. I’m grateful for all of them. Their personalities and life trajectories are quite different from one another, but I am proud of all of them. I love it when they call me. I love their expressions of love. I love who they are.

I honor my son Josh, who is probably the best father I’ve ever met. I hope his kids recognize that. 

I also honor my own father, now passed these many years. He gave me unique gifts and insights. He was a Naval officer in WW2, an oceanographer, a marine ecologist, a university administrator, a skilled artist and woodworker/furniture maker, widely read, deeply educated, and good at most everything he did, from coaching baseball to gardening to building radios. He was quiet, introverted and deep. I miss him.

But …

I’m also very aware of the many people who had absent, abusive, neglectful, emotionally distant, or disconnected fathers. I realize that Father’s Day is painful for them, that it stirs up horrible memories in some cases and inflicts deep pain. 

So, this year, instead of Father’s Day, I celebrate a more worthy holiday – Juneteenth, African American Emancipation Day. 

Slave owners in Texas chose to ignore President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official January 1, 1863. Slaves in Texas had no idea that they were free until Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston on June 19, 1865 with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. 

General Granger issued “Order No. 3,” which read in part: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.” 

President Biden made Juneteenth an official federal holiday on June 17, 2021 when he signed a bill Congress passed the previous day.

Between 1525 and 1866, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America depriving the African continent of some of its healthiest and ablest people.

Slavery began in this country in 1619 when a privateer ship called The White Lion landed at the Jamestown Colony with 20 enslaved Africans. Throughout the 17th, 18th, and half of the 19th centuries, people stolen from Africa were forced to work land, much of which was stolen from Indigenous people. 

Enslaved women were frequently raped; obedience was rewarded, and even perceived rebelliousness was brutally punished. A strict hierarchy among the enslaved (from privileged house workers and skilled artisans down to lowly field hands) helped keep slaves divided and less likely to organize against their masters. 

Marriages between enslaved men and women had no legal basis, but many did marry and raise large families. Most owners of enslaved workers encouraged this practice because it added to their wealth. Many did not hesitate to divide families by sale or removal, however.

After emancipation, Jim Crow, black codes, red-lining, convict leasing, “war on drugs,” mass incarceration, and unabated white supremacy have prolonged oppression and inequality. No follower of Jesus can ignore that.

Yet, in spite of slavery, oppression, inequality, and racism, African Americans have given us a wealth of art, music, culture, inventions, and achievements. Most importantly, they have gifted us all with a deep spirituality and dedication to truly following the ways of Jesus. My African American friends are gifts from God to me. People like Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others, are gifts to humanity.

All of us would do well to learn from them.

We Rose

From Africa’s heart, we rose

Already a people, our faces ebon, our bodies lean,

We rose

Skills of art, life, beauty and family
Crushed by forces we knew nothing of, we rose

Survive we must, we did,
We rose

We rose to be you, we rose to be me,
Above everything expected, we rose

To become the knowledge we never knew,
We rose

Dream, we did
Act we must

Living in the Holiest of All: an audio teaching on Romans 5-8

Sheep

In his The Book of Soul, Mark Nebo relates a conversation with the Abenake elder Joseph Bruchac who shared the lesson inherent in how the Diné (the Navajo) teach their children to care for flocks of sheep.[1]Rather than herding them, as we of European heritage are wont to do, the Diné children are taught to be present in the middle of the flock until the sheep accept them as one of their own. Then, they need not drive the sheep – they simply walk, and the sheep tag along.

God does not whip us or nip at our heels. God does not drive us or motivate us by fear. Instead, God simply became one of us, living in our midst. God in Jesus, the good shepherd. He comes to us and stays with us, saying little, until we are comfortable with him, until we accept him as for us, on our side, one of us. In intimate relationship, we naturally follow along wherever he goes. We love being with him. He loves being with us. With him near, we feel safe, no longer worried about wolves and lions, assured that even if we wander off, he will personally come to fetch us home. 

When we simply sit with others, being present with them without expectations or agendas, they come to know and trust us. There is no need to coerce or manipulate or lord over. There is no need for power, other than the power of love.


[1] Nepo, Mark. The Book of Soul (p. 220). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Good News for the Universe! An audio teaching on Romans 1-4 with Dr. Larry Taylor

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