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yesterdays – switchfoot

“Yesterdays”

Flowers cut and brought inside
Black cars in a single line
Your family in suits and ties
And you’re free

The ache I feel inside
Is where the life has left your eyes
I’m alone for our last goodbye
But you’re free

I remember you like yesterday, yesterday
I still can’t believe you’re gone, oh…
I remember you like yesterday, yesterday
And until I’m with you, I’ll carry on

Adrift on your ocean floor
I feel weightless, numb, and sore
A part of you in me is torn
And you’re free

I woke from a dream last night
I dreamt that you were by my side
Reminding me I still had life
In me

I’ll carry on

Every lament is a love song
Yesterday, yesterday
I still can’t believe you’re gone
So long my friend, so long

a poem and three songs

in this post, i wish to share the lyrics of a few songs, and another poem by mary oliver. i hope you enjoy.
Little Summer Poem Touching The Subject Of Faith by Mary Oliver

Every summer
I listen and look
under the sun’s brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can’t hear

anything, I can’t see anything —
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green
stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,

nor the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
And still,
every day,

the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker —
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.

And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing —
I am deaf too
to the tick of the leaves,

the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet —
all of it
happening
beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.

And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hidden in the dirt

swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?

One morning
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn’s beautiful body
is sure to be there.
the following song hit me as i listened to it. i just wanted to share the lyrics with you. it’s beautiful.
hold the light – caedmon’s call – from overdressed

it’s been a long year
like a long sleepness night
Jacob wrestled the angel
but I’m too tired to fight

every Wednesday
for two years we’ve met
I’ve showed you all my anger,
my doubts and bitterness

there was no judgment in your eyes
just the silent peace of God
that felt so real in you

will you hold the light for me?

and I stay up late
because I cannot sleep
I don’t want to face the quiet
where its just God and me

I’m waiting for the gavel
handing me the sentence down
because I don’t believe forgiveness
or even repentance now

I want to feel redemption
flowing through my veins
I want to see with clear eyes
beyond lust and hate

I want the war to be over
and know the good guys won
and I want love to hold me
to know I’m not alone

standing around a willow weeping
we were praying in the backyard
in the chill of the night
the friendship light reminded me who we are
another song that has hit me in the past couple of weeks is agnus dei by rufus wainwright. i was exposed to it on jared cramer’s blog http://www.jaredcramer.com/?p=845

here are the lyrics:
Agnus dei
Agnus dei
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Agnus dei
Agnus dei

Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona nobis pacem
Dona nobis pacem
pacem
Dona nobis pacem

[Translation:]
Lamb of God
You who take away the sins of the world
Lamb of God
You who take away the sins of the world

Give Us Peace
Give Us Peace
Peace
Give Us Peace.

these lyrics are quite beautiful. the way he sings them is amazing. jared has a youtube performance on his website, and you can find the song on itunes, as well. rufus is a gay man who is crying to God to give us peace, and identifying Christ as the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. i think the whole world needs to hear him crying out like this, but the church especially needs to hear this, though i expect some might say that why he is crying out for peace is because he is gay. consider, though, that it may be how the church treats homosexuals.
another song that hit me lately is jesus in new orleans by over the rhine. it brings up the question of where jesus is in this world. here are the lyrics:Jesus In New Orleans

The last time I saw Jesus
I was drinking bloody mary’s in the South
In a barroom in New Orleans
Rinsin’ out the bad taste in my mouth

She wore a dark and faded blazer
With a little of the lining hanging out
When the jukebox played Miss Dorothy Moore
I knew that it was him without a doubt

I said the road is my redeemer
I never know just what on earth I’ll find
In the faces of a stranger
In the dark and weary corners of a mind

She said, The last highway is only
As far away as you are from yourself
And no matter just how bad it gets
It does no good to blame somebody else

Ain’t it crazy
What’s revealed when you’re not looking all that close
Ain’t it crazy
How we put to death the ones we need the most

I know I’m not a martyr
I’ve never died for anyone but me
The last frontier is only
The stranger in the mirror that I see

But when I least expect it
Here and there I see my savior’s face
He’s still my favorite loser
Falling for the entire human race
another book to recommend: holy long by richard rolheiser
this book is fantastic. there will be an upcoming post about rolheiser’s view of spirituality and that of the mystics. in order to link these two together and pique your interest, i’ll let you know that the idea for this post came from a conversation in my readings in christian spirituality class where we were discussing mechthild of magdeburg’s writings. she uses much erotic language in her writings, and rolheiser has interesting things to say about the erotic and spirituality. check back for more.
so, yeah. that’s my life right now. music. poetry. holy longing. washing coral rocks and selling them for people to use in their saltwater aquariums (www.rockquatics.com). working as an RA. and being a theological graduate student. i assumed you guys would rather hear about the songs, poems and books than about my graduate work. but, something might strike me at some point and show up here anyway.

in the midst of graduate school and working two jobs, i have recently run across some amazing musicians. so, i’m going to recommend those to you at this very moment. you may already know of them, but since i didn’t, i’m assuming some others haven’t. this is pretty much my play list on my ipod at the moment. all right. here goes:

rufus wainwright
jeff buckley
regina spektor
jeremy casella
micah p. hinson
mat kearney
over the rhine
peter bradley adams
chris thile
sean watkins
waterdeep

i think that’s enough for now. enjoy. oh, and if you already love these artists, go listen to them!
also, look up a great anthology: theology and sexuality edited by eugene f. rogers, jr. he’s the same guy who wrote sexuality and the christian body, which is also fantastic.
happy reading and listening.

still alive

just a quick note to say i’m still alive. life has been busy, from trips to tennessee to training for the beginning of another year in residence life. also, graduate school has begun again. so, i’ll write again at some point, i’m sure.
for now, i’m reading a book called “sexuality and the christian body” by eugene f. rogers, jr. it’s a quality book.
more, possibly about the aforementioned book, later.

all right, folks. i’ve perused multiple nouwen books, and come up with two passages i want to share. i think they both correspond to the question i asked in a previous post about mary oliver’s poem. the words and the passages i quote here are my response to the mary olivers in the world, and my response to the part of me that feels unwelcome.
again, here is the poem (and, yes, i keep reposting this poem because i think her voice is NOT HEARD enough in this world by Christians. so, listen!):

in the afternoons,
in the almost  empty fields,
i hum the hymns
i used to sing

in church.
they could not tame me,
so they would not keep me,
alas,

and how that feels,
the weight of it,
i will not tell
any of you,

not ever.
still, as they promised,
God, once he is in your heart,
is everywhere –

so even here
among the weeds
and the brisk trees.
how long does it take

to hum a hymn? strolling
one or two acres
of the sweetness
of the world,

not counting
a lapse, now and again,
of sheer emptiness.
once a deer

stood quietly at my side.
and sometimes the wind
has touched my cheek
like a spirit.

am i lonely?
the beautiful, striped sparrow,
serenely, on the tallest weed in his kingdom,
also sings without words.

why do people decide who is not welcome in the community of God? and, yes, i include paul as a person here. the Church hurts too many people.

the past few days, i’ve been reading henri nouwen, again. he became a beloved writer of mine in 2001, when a preacher mentioned from the pulpit that he had been a Christian, a priest, one of the foremost Christian writers of the 20th century, and a gay man. i was hooked. i wanted to know more. so, i read. the first book i picked up was “life of the beloved”. here is an excerpt i have read over and over since reading the book:

“We are the Beloved. We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children and friends loved or wounded us. That’s the truth of our lives. That’s the truth I want you to claim for yourself. That’s the truth spoken by the voice that says, ‘You are my Beloved.’ Listening to that voice with great inner attentiveness, I hear at my center [God’s] words that say: ‘I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own as I know you as my own. You belong to me. I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover and your spouse…yes, even your child . . . wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are one.’”

the second excerpt is from a book called “the inner voice of love”. this book is actually his personal and secret journal written during a 6 month period of mental and spiritual anguish, during which he was dealing with his homosexuality, among other things. here it is:

Know That You are Welcome:

not being welcome is your greatest fear. it connects with your birth fear, your fear of not being welcome in this life, and your death fear, your fear of not being welcome in the life after this. it is the deep-seated fear that it would have been better if you had not lived.

here you are facing the core of the spiritual battle. are you going to give in to the forces of darkness that say you are not welcome in this life, or can you trust the voice of the One who came not to condemn you but to set you free from fear? you have to choose for life. at every moment you have to decide to trust the voice that says, “i love you. i knit you together in your mother’s womb” (psalm 139:13).

everything Jesus is saying to you can be summarized in the words “Know that you are welcome.” Jesus offers you his own intimate life with the Father. he wants you to know all he knows and to do all he does. he wants his home to be yours. yes, he wants to prepare a place for you in his Father’s house.

keep reminding yourself that the feelings of being unwelcome do not come from God and do not tell the truth. the prince of darkness wants you to believe that your life is a mistake and that there is no home for you. but every time you allow these thoughts to affect you, you set out on the road to self-destruction. so you have to keep unmasking the lie and think, speak, and act according to the truth that YOU ARE VERY, VERY WELCOME.

so, listen to the mary olivers of the world. and consider these words, and, therefore, your responses to them carefully.

henri nouwen

if you’ve never read any of henri nouwen’s works, you should. now, i know many people have read “the way of the heart”, and i’m told it’s amazing. no, i’ve never read it. i’ve read many of his less popular books, which i’m sure is quite surprising to those who know me best. see, i have this thing…if something’s popular, i have a really hard time liking it or even giving it a chance. i’m working on that.

anyway, back to nouwen. yesterday, a friend told me to re-read an article written by him, “moving from solitude to community to ministry”. i’ve read it in the past, and it is quite good. i had a couple of copies of the article at my apartment, but i soon found out that one was only half complete and the other had many words cut off of the copy. so, no reading the article for now. but, this friend got me thinking about nouwen again. i began to ransack my shelves. i have an entire section dedicated to nouwen. so, i pulled quite a few of the books off of the shelf to give a chance again: clowning in rome; the return of the prodigal son; the life of the beloved; here and now; the inner voice of love. i then proceeded to go the bookstore, and i bought a version of the gospel told through his writings and rembrandt’s drawings. i’m excited. so, seeing as it’s early in the morning, and i’ve woken up and can’t sleep because of a sore back, i’m not willing to type out any excerpts. wait until tomorrow, or another day. you might just get to see a few things i need to hear from henri nouwen, and maybe something in you will need to hear them, too.

in the afternoons,
in the almost  empty fields,
i hum the hymns
i used to sing

in church.
they could not tame me,
so they would not keep me,
alas,

and how that feels,
the weight of it,
i will not tell
any of you,

not ever.
still, as they promised,
God, once he is in your heart,
is everywhere –

so even here
among the weeds
and the brisk trees.
how long does it take

to hum a hymn? strolling
one or two acres
of the sweetness
of the world,

not counting
a lapse, now and again,
of sheer emptiness.
once a deer

stood quietly at my side.
and sometimes the wind
has touched my cheek
like a spirit.

am i lonely?
the beautiful, striped sparrow,
serenely, on the tallest weed in his kingdom,
also sings without words.

why do people decide who is not welcome in the community of God? and, yes, i include paul as a person here. the Church hurts too many people.