A Thin Blue Line

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I prayed with a cop today,
A young man named Gabe,
Swollen in his bullet-proof vest,
A holster enclosed on his hip,
Bearing the weight He knows all to well.
I prayed for both our protection,
I prayed for our safe communities,
We held hope in our hands,
We prayed for a greater peace.
Both of us carried weapons,
His, an oath and a Glock 22,
Me, a trust and a rosary,
Him, to serve and protect,
Me, to hope and pray.

Just a thin blue line,
Connected us,
Joined as one bloodline,
Joining hearts in trust,
To God’s beating vine.

Wispy veins of blue,
Networks of armor,
Protecting tissue,
Called by our Framer,
Sticking gum to shoe.

Blue are the days though,
To be strong when life,
Burdened by grief’s blows,
Must prepare to fight,
Despite vertigo.

Imperfect is blue,
Being so human,
Failing as tissue,
Wanting more than planned,
Instead of being glue.
Organs bear coercion,
Squeezing them blue,
Robbing Wrath’s portion.

Imperfect humans,
Rebel and swell with
Overgrown organs,
Swollen in resist,
Forgetting God’s plan.

Nevertheless…

Forgiveness awaits,
Patiently it cures,
A salve for the hate,
Within a savior,
Calming this stalemate,
Restoring grandeur,
Allowing Love’s free state.

Yea.. I prayed with a cop today.

By Chris Clody
11/29/2017

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To Hate Evil

I believe this is our greatest struggle, especially returning evil with good. I was moved by the following video:

I hoping against all hope that our culture is evolving towards redefining this word tolerance. As mentioned in this short clip, “Tolerance is a cold, dead term…even dismissive.” The video concludes that this ‘problem’ and resolution begins with each of us.
How does change for a better society happen? Leadership. Society needs brave voices both politically and spiritually. Faith promotes the most unlikely solution to this problem that seems to kick against the goads. Found within our human history, an enticing contradiction collided with our hearts and mind. From the revelation at Sinai to its climatic and mysterious fulfillment in an itinerant man, in a G-d, named Jesus. This single and profound thread of repaying evil with good seems to have no place to lay its weary head. Whether upon the Palestinian-Israeli border, Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, or within the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort.Jason-Aldean-fans-flee-the-scene-after-Mandalay-Bay-shooting-in-Las-Vegas-670x454 What good can be considered tribute towards carnage in the hearts imprisoned by faith? Seriously, what would Jesus do? What could we do when killers have committed suicide? How in hell can parents explain this to kids fully informed and influenced by the rabid and biased social media? How can even the highest platform of leadership, the president of the United States, who is disregarded, discounted as ’45’, and devalued as a person by half the country as without virtue or character, inspire leadership? Where do our hearts and America turn from here?

Restrict guns or ‘weapons of war’? Maybe…but that argument, despite America’s heritage and fascination with guns, holds both little promise and very little water.
Promote Conceal and Carry? Maybe…but carrying a gun changes the human psyche for it weighs upon the soul to employ its use. Remember when you first learned to do the Heimlich maneuver or CPR how you felt somehow responsible to save a life in need? Imagine the burden of taking a life – something that is repulsive to our souls. Could one with proper training and attitude help in taking down a shooter at Orlando or Las Vegas, surely that possibility exists however slim. I can only assume adding more fire to the flames of gunplay would only add to the chaos adding only to the victim count as people run in all directions. I would hope our first reaction focused on attending to the wounded and dying.

To be clear, I don’t believe in passivism but cling to a nonviolent perspective; there’s a difference.

Maybe the answer lies unexpectedly between the Palestinian-Israeli culture. It is bred within both cultures to defend what is believed rightfully theirs. From Kindergarten, especially Palestine, the formation of a child’s will is forced to hate. Both sides kill each other without hesitation over a narrow strip of land. I honestly cannot fathom the sadness and regret if the a repentant conscious was awakened to the dignity inherent within both cultures. Unfortunately the violent legacy continues in throwing rocks, spewing lead,  and launching mortars as the genetics of hate and intolerance dictate.

Dare we see the other side of the coin with hope? This is what best depicts the contradiction found hidden in Jesus. First and foremost, is to trust that love has no equal. None. Prayer is also the flipside of distrust. Prayer is a power we cannot understand just like forgiveness. The combination of faith, hope, and love is irresistible to both the human psyche and heart. To trust this power that we cannot feel is the gift patiently waiting to be unveiled within us all. Although we may not understand its practicality, love that is experienced can embrace it. If we just submit to the courage to embrace love then we can begin to redefine tolerance from its cold, dead, dismissive state.

Life, in all forms, is precious. It helps me imagine that I would not exist is G-d stopped hoping for my priorities to return to His higher will. Consider how patient, hopeful, and compassionate this same perspective of Christ who promises to unveil this newness in each and everyone of us when we seek this higher will.

So America is racing towards or running from a new definition of tolerance. We are all patiently given time to reflect or distrust the possibilities of adopting this culture of Heaven.

Remember, the greatest authority we are given is forgiveness not slander, a rock, a mortar, a bullet, or worse. America was solely founded in the hope and trust that our forefathers seeded in community. Community can only come about when we love G-d through our neighbor.

I’m a reminded of the words of Dorothy Day:
We love G-d as much as we love those we love least.

Maybe… that’s how we should redefine tolerance.
Just maybe….that’s how would should also hate evil.

Become new.
Become change.
Become love.

Peace,
Chris

Broken Sidewalks

Just thought I’d share a song that’s been stuck to the sticky side of my soul. Today I hear His call.

sidewalk

Broken Sidewalks

If I walk,
These broken sidewalks,
To find
The Christ I see,
Will You Talk,
Talk,
Through Me

If I stand,
To face the powers,
That force,
Their poverty,
Will You send,
Send,
Send me

If this cross,
A gift given me,
To raise,
In front of me,
Will you walk,
Walk,
With me.

You’ve captured my heart to go where you will,
Fearless with joy and awestruck when still,
Your Kingdom appears when love is fulfilled,
Lord, make holy my Heart when bridges are built,
I’ll follow you Jesus, wherever you will.
I’ll follow you Jesus, wherever you will.

Give me strength,
Spirit rise in me,
And shine,
Your love through me,
Spread Your hope,
Hope,
Through me.

Now I see,
You’re all around me,
I am,
Your pierced hands and feet,
Your mercy,
Lord,
Inspires me.

By Chris Clody
8/24/2107

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My All

I could complain and empty my anguish regarding war and its consequence of the unnecessary sufferings of poverty and sickness. My rage towards humanity’s grabs for power and pleasure instead of honest, loving, vibrant communities. Thankfully, my faith rudders my contemplation away from this imploding darkness towards the hopeful glow of finding some way to love my God through my neighbor. Yet before I can prayerfully think towards mercy, I am drawn to first hallow The Ineffable Name* of Mercy itself.

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YOU Are

YOU are my endless epiphany,
My eternal morning glory,
Breathtaking yet life-giving,
My soul’s majestic sunrise,
One man’s hope for brotherhood.

YOU’re wild and uncontainable,
My swirl of curiosity,
Man’s DNA for mercy.
My horizon of glory,
And newfound purpose to love.

YOU are my wonderland of tomorrow’s hope,
For eye has not seen,
nor ear has heard,
nor heart imagined,
all YOU have prepared,
for those who love YOU. (1 Cor 2:9)

By Chris Clody
8/21/16

*Inspired by Abraham Joshua Heschel and his poetry in The Ineffable Name of God: Man: Poems. 2004. ISBN 0-8264-1632-2

The Bridge

homeless1I was awed by the provocative words I heard this Sunday at church regarding the separation between people as was related to a biblical passage between a very poor and sick man named Lazarus and a rich man found in Luke 16:19-31.  Drawing from the unnecessary, continuous separation experienced between both men on earth and in the afterlife was simply sad. If within every “hello” there is a chance for compassion, the oblivion of the rich man’s radar for Lazarus was simply turned off.   If the works of Jesus is our tangible, visible expression of the invisible and incessant grace of Our Father, then the opportunity to dig deeper behind each “hello” is the path Christ’s beckons us towards.

bridge1It was the beautiful analogy of building bridges explained on Sunday by first using thin, lightweight lines to first “bridge” the distance by which the gap separates each side.  Slowly, thicker and thicker lines are used to pull the more substantial cords used in its construction.  Whether the bridge is a place to meet in the middle or used only for one to cross over completely to the other side to be with another, either way demonstrates our humanity’s need to draw together into communion and community despite what separates us.  For the Christian, their ability to seek communion regardless of differences is their litmus test – for those they love the least is a reflection of how much they love their Savior.  It is necessary to throw out those long, thin lines for want of communion so more substantial relationships can be slowly drawn closer together.  To dare to accept the radical nature of Christ’s compassion and unstoppable forgiveness revealing His Father’s will towards our and His communion, we must become fearless bridges – if even if they fail and come crashing down.  forgive2Often, actually too often, Jesus is used as a metaphor as a bridge between Heaven and Earth, bridging the damnation every soul has been born into under the genetic curse of Original Sin. But my friends, Jesus is much more than a bridge spanning the merciful arm of redemption from Heaven to Earth – He is fill.  Although we may not see the abundant grace that can move God to forget all our offenses, it is the tangible, visible love for neighbor that builds a community joyfully gathering without condemnation in the promise of salvation.  If souls that die in friendship with this immaculate heart and soul of a forgiving Redeemer, then cast forth those thin lines of hope to love your God through your neighbor…regardless…community1

His Peace,

Chris