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Monthly Archives: January 2008

“The gospel of grace begins and ends with forgiveness.  And people write songs with titles like “Amazing Grace” for one reason:  grace is the only force in the universe powerful enough to break the chains that enslave generations.  Grace alone melts ungrace.” (from What’s So Amazing About Grace pg. 90)

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They are dragons— no, swans— maybe just people.  On second thought, perhaps they are only clouds.  One thing is certain. They float in the sky waiting for the perfect time to unleash the waters on this land of love at the foot of the mountain.

It’s the sound of cars dancing to an endless eternity with no direction, only wishes.  In the distance, headlights can be seen driving to the soundtrack of the engines’ growling bass.

By the highway, a sign looms far above anything else.  It is lit by red lights, which have seen better days – it is too far away to be read, but close enough to be seen.

Open fields lay between me and the highway. Fields like dreams, ready to be sown, not yet able to be harvested.  Along the road nearest to me, not a car is to be seen— just a road, half covered by cement.

The house down the road with its lit nightlights lays still, not a sound to be heard or person to be seen.

Behind the clouds, the clear blue skies of the west can be seen, but on the edges of my view, I can see other colors too, orange and blue.

These are the ideals of a fictitious life or the beginning of a journey of self-reflection and discovery.  Will the story end with the phrase “the characters of course are all fictitious,” or will it end with the light of day and me, standing before the grassy fields which lay between me and the mountains— a book full of thoughts, only to realize that I’ve only just begun?

I drove past this construction sight(a new development in the Imperial Valley-yes we are growing) just the other day and I had to drive back, I stopped in the middle of the street just to take this picture. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I’ll let you use the words you want to describe this picture. But I will say this, if you look carefully the writing on the wall (I am thinking of a biblical narrative) is written so big I wonder how they were able to write this without getting caught becuase this was no easy feat and must have taken some planning.  I never thought graffiti could be so beautiful.

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This poem paints such a vivid picture of life…if you listen close enough you might find yourself in it. This poem was written by my friend Giselle. Enjoy.

Dodging a young bareback rider
I land 1 meter from a capoeira roda
Where 2 dark men dance their fight
I flee those vulnerable cobblestone streets
of old Bahia

The downtown prostitute
In a faded torn t-shirt only
Dances at liberty with a cigarette
Dangling on the edge of cracked lips.

She spots me through jaded bloodshot eyes
A yellow frenzied haze
In the green plaza
Standing naively in new leather sandals
I bought that morning in the Bahia markets.

Her hand
My physican’s-daughter’s eyes see
Pus
Seeping from
Swelling
Erupting sores
I didn’t know Brazil had any volcanoes.
Reaches me before the tin-din music
Of the steel band next to the dry fountain.

Money.

She looks for in a muddle of Spanish and Portuguese
She wants my money.

I ask what her name is,
I think it might be Yula
But I am dismissed by a husky groan for a laugh.

I see
Missing molars
Rotting gums.

Baby girl, you don’t need to know my name.
You just need to know.

Renato chases her away.
She spits at him (Yula has good aim).
Renato shows me his paintings,
Cheap landscape on discarded metal.
I humor him for 22 seconds before turning away.

She has AIDS, he calls after me,
But he still won’t get my money.
Renato has never known life like Yula.

Evening mass begins in the tiny basilica around a brick
Corner.

I light a candle for 2 flawed silver coins and think of hungry
Yula.

The priest is old.
80 at least.
Simple robe. I don’t see any gold, on him.
I put more silver in the wooden box by the door
And go find sallow Yula.

I hear her
Singing brashly about corpulent lovemaking in the rain.
I think how unfortable.
Before I reach her
Fishing from a bin 2 ragged cats dip their paws into
On the deserted docks of this old slave port.

For her hunger so deep
2 tall loaves of coconut bread
3 tins of anchovies in rows assembled at Maslow’s lowest level
a flask of bourbonly potion, salve for that peculiar nature of pain.

I stand watch as Yula
Fades away into Bahia’s nights secrets
Tottering vulnerable
Down these cobblestone street
Of the crippling old slave port
That never truly became extinct.

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There is always more than one side to every story. That is especially the case when it comes to politics. In politics it seems that every side of the story is the rights side and yet it is the wrong side. It just depends who tells the story. I wouldn’t say that I am into politics too much, but it is interesting and exciting at times. Tonight as I browsed some of the headlines I came across the article, “Reporter offers Bush a Gaza, West Bank misery tour” by Ben Wedeman, and I just felt like I need to direct your attention to this. This isn’t about being Republican or Democratic, this is about being human. This is what bothered me,

“But he’s(Bush) trapped inside his security bubble, his every step mapped out in great and precise detail by teams of security experts and handlers. In the end he’ll see a side of this unhappy land that bears as much resemblance to reality as Hollywood does to real life…President Bush won’t see the hospital wards where babies, just weeks old, are dying because their doctors can’t get permission from Israeli authorities to go to Israel for treatment as they did in the past.”

Click HERE to read the full article.

It seems to me that too often Sabbath has been viewed as a distinguishing mark for Seventh-day Adventist’s from other Christians. When we view Sabbath like this it says more about our set of religious beliefs and less about what Sabbath can be like. We rob the Sabbath of all that makes it sacred, holy and beautiful-a day that transcends all reality and yet is embraced in time. I have been trying to making sense of Sabbath in a way that is meaningful for the last several years and I have come to the conclusion that the miracle of Sabbath is that Sabbath brings Shalom, Restoration and reconciliation(among other things). So for now let’s let the phrases “You must keep the Sabbath holy” or “You must not break the Sabbath” subside and think about Sabbath in the following words that I read in the book Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell.

“Sabbath is taking a day a week to remind myself that I did not make the world and that it will continue to exist without my efforts.

Sabbath is a day when my work is done, even if it isn’t.

Sabbath is a day when my job is to enjoy. Period.

Sabbath is a day when I am fully available to myself and those I love most.

Sabbath is a day when I remember that when God made the world, he saw that it was good.

Sabbath is a day when I produce nothing.

Sabbath is a day when I remind myself that I am not a machine.

Sabbath is a day when at the end I say, “I didn’t do anything today,” and I don’t add, “And I feel so guilty.”

Sabbath is a day when my phone is turned off, I don’t check my email, and you can’t get a hold of me. (Velvet Elvis 117-118)”