Christian Porn…

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If we dared to dip more of our big toe into the cool, clear waters of G-d’s love we may never experience the depth of transformation our Savior can offer.  Through out my neighborhood, I’m encouraged yet pensive by seeing the little “You Matter” signs advertising a local big, box church.  Certainly the love of G-d for every Image-bearer is inexhaustible.  This type of keen marketing has led to building multiple sites with many satisfied attendees.  Yet bad theology is no different from self-serving pornography objectifying the mission of Christ without chancing the intimacy of experiencing His relationship with the marginalized. The blood sacrifice hyped from the popular mainstream pulpits or stages, has left nothing for the hearer to do but be joyful and grateful.  Joy and gratitude are wonderful psychological building blocks for a healthy mind.  Both add a sense of patience and positivity to a friendly perspective. Was obtaining a state of joy and gratitude the reason for sending a Savior?

Is there more than “You Matter”?

What does it mean to be a disciple? What does G-d really envision for our lives? What really is the “purpose driven” life? Is scripture more than an inspirational tool that ingratiates a selfish sense of self-piety wrapped in the white-washed sheets of self worth and gratitude? …but “You Matter”?

Instead of the false cloaks of “spiritual awareness” and vanity of “gifts”, what if we wrapped ourselves in what we profess as sin?  What if we became that sin you find worthy for the heat of Hell and pleaded for forgiveness? Seriously…”You Matter”!

Good theology finds true freedom to fearlessly protest the oppression of any Image-bearer of G-d. Pick your favorite hatred or prejudice, button-up, and become one with those you despise.  Plead for their forgiveness even when they do not understand. Becoming at-one with atonement theory allows the curious disciple to plumb the depth of the final plea from a crucified Messiah; “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”

If your religion has an obsession with purity codes or vices that justify a Hell for the sinners they envy… run.

If only joy and gratitude from hearing such a “wonderful message” fill your Sundays…run.

If your hear a message that ‘cuts to the heart’… stay.

Unless we are moved to spew more than a “good word“, we will only cool the big toe of our curiosity.  We must realize John 3:16 builds the mind and soul towards the new freedom without fear – even that of persecution or death. Unless we become wrapped in our neighbor’s oppression we will cheat ourselves of ever knowing a G-d willing to bleed for us! Otherwise the cross is just a murderous, Roman tool of fear void of any meaning of our Father’s scandalous love for the Image we bear.

Its not about you. Fearlessness Matters.

“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace.
In the world you face persecution.
But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
John 16:33
(NRSV)

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I Stand At the Door…Let Me In

aammf5lLet them in,
And love them anyway.
Walk their mile of oppression,
To love them endlessly,
Become family,
A new community.
Let them in.

Let them in,
Free love freely given,
Love is a flame meant to shine,
Flickering bravely,
Courageously,
And fearlessly.
Let them in.

Let them in,
For more is expected,
To feed and clothe the naked,
Unconditionally,
Cheerfully,
With empathy.
Let them in.

Meet them at the border and find ME,
Resist, demand, and persevere to expose ME,
Fight for My Life and I will yours,
I am here waiting….
Let Me in.

by Chris Clody,
1/29/2017

Heaven Can’t Wait

There’s a world I’m not part of and I’d bet if your playing facebook right now, then neither are you. There is a coldness my bones have never felt, a hunger I’ve never known, and a loneliness I cannot comprehend.

Then there is a young girl I’ve come to know.

I’ve yet to see her face but my prayers are soaked by her tears. Maybe someday I’ll share the extraordinary particulars about a woman’s impossible triumph against her slavery and brutality forced upon her innocence. Maybe. Yet something strongly tells me I can’t even go there. Now a source of maternal light and hope, this woman is also a mother. It is the ache within her heart that holds Heaven – her daughter. My prayers are stretching and now my clock ticks ever more slowly throughout the night wondering of Heaven. She knows nothing of me. I’ve only been mercifully tasked to pray for both of these incredible and valuable woman. Everything in my world has lost its shine except love. Heaven’s weight and wait extends beyond ceaseless thoughts of charity and mercy that I can’t reach. My world must be deconstructed to enter Heaven’s Kingdom. I’m grateful my eyes have not dimmed nor my heart weakened to approach whatever steps love will lead me. For now, I’ll simply send her a warm, soft blanket to let her know she is profoundly loved by the same Who salts my tears.

Heaven on Earth

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Heaven on Earth is not what she expected…

Sirens blaze throughout the night,
Angry words crash outside her door,
Clinging to a dirty pillow,
Dirty clothes carpet floors.

Beer cans kicked on cracked sidewalks,
By high-heeled shoes in tiger print,
Momma vanishes inside a car,
Smelling soon of cologne and gum mint.

Heaven must wait till midnight,
To eat the cold pizza Momma brings,
Her belly grumbles at the thought,
Distracted; she hears a cricket sing.

She falls asleep within blue and red rays,
Just the faintest of hue dancing on waves,
The beams cross to form a warm purple,
Singing a song, to be brave…

Be patient my little one,
I am the wind in your dreams,
I hold your heart so close to mine,
I direct the warmth of all sunbeams.
You are not alone Bakhita,
You name is ‘favored one’.
I’ll take the fear within you now,
And burn it in the sun.
Know that I am with you always,
In songs little things sing,
Be brave my little child…”
Heaven awakes – when her cell phone rings.

“Momma’s comin’ home, Heavy baby, you hungry?”
A sleepy whisper, “Yes, Momma, I’zz soooo hungry,”
“Sounds like your singing Heavy?”
“I dream happy Momma. I dream happy.”

Momma enters her dirty room,
Smelling of cologne and mint,
Purple glints from neon lights,
Heaven’s eyes sparkles Momma’s lament.

Momma begins to hum Heaven’s song,
She gathers Heaven to her breast,
“No more baby, I’ve done you wrong,”
A cricket sings as Heaven’s blessed.

By Chris Clody
12/6/16

The Human Solution

Spoiler alert! There is no one politician that is going to solve our problems. One of my mentors, Richard Rohr, offers the following “solution”:
Those who agree to carry and love what God loves, both the good and the bad of human history, and to pay the price for its reconciliation within themselves–these are the followers of Jesus. They are the leaven, the salt, the remnant, the mustard seed that God can use to transform the world.
The answer is left to the ways of forgiveness, hospitality, and enough compassion to embrace the whole imperfection (sigh) of humankind.

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The Guest

It shines in hospitality’s welcome,
The unlocked door that leads to rest,
Exhaled it rises like cool breath at dawn,
Love offers warm drink and bread for our guest.

Resuming his journey towards life’s end,
Suffering at times from dim hearts and minds,
Find security in only their own reflection,
Demonizing instead of embracing humankind

False piety teach scripture as the Word passes by,
Yet welcome by homeless pushed outside town,
Encouraged by their new brother’s light and warm voice,
The sing and dance at the great pearl they have found!

His eyes beckon all thirsty into God’s ocean,
His words like water that drench dry souls,
His journey to reach the frightened with hope
His touch heals broken hearts joyfully whole.

Only love of neighbor can recognize love of God,
Not words spewed justifying isolation,
Only mercy received knows the grace of mercy given,
Not hearts abandoned to fear and desperation.

Spare us perfection’s reckless anxiety,
The haughty discernment that offers no rest,
Instead we welcome the “unwashed” and “unblessed”
To dine and sleep in our hearts as a guest.

By Chris Clody
7/30/2016

The Consuming Fire

Heart shaped splash

Sin is a droplet

Sin is a droplet turned steam,
Barely approaching Mercy’s flame,
Like darkness found by sunbeams,
God delights in all repentant claims,
Quickly banishing whatever blame,
“At Last!” His image now reclaimed.

Merciful, forever, merciful,
God and love shines one in the same,
A shoulder to the remorseful,
Holding our hand when we’re unable.

Faith, hope, and love give us soulrest
Deep within Messiah’s cradle,
We emerge baptized, wet and grateful to bless.

The doomed droplet mists a saving rain,
Death becomes life when repentance gained,
Knowing that in Christ there is no shame,
This excited bride awaits her Husband to claim.
…if we but turn and believe the reason He came.

“Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall not suffer
the just to waver for ever.”

(Psalm 55:22 Douay-Rheims Bible)

by Chris Clody
7/20/16

Cancer. Is that all you got?

There is nothing like a friend who ‘gets ya’ – …and so it was also with Kevin and his God. He had every reason to reject the maelstrom cancer always brings. Yet Kevin chose to hold that cup knowing his God of opposites came with sufficient grace. That cup was bitter, like swallowing broken glass, especially when he coughed. The chemo, what he delightfully called ‘Drano’…well, yea, that sucked. Still, he allowed me, and many others in where bitterness would have closed a door. He allowed us to walk with him, to touch his cross which he embraced with the very dignity God infused into him. Personally, it was a pleasure looking up and hugging this gentle bear of a man whose laugh could be heard for miles while his sincerity found soft and humble tones shared in honest. I am grateful he is free from pain, immobility, and a prison of shallow breaths. However, I cannot control my grief, but if I learned anything from my good friend, I don’t want to control it. Despite its unpredictable waves I will allow it to go as deep as it dares knowing the longsuffering leaves a transformative pearl. Only faith can reveal the silver lining of grief. For it is through this process towards death that the veil becomes thinner. We see time and time again if the unwanted ‘gift’ or opportunity one receives with grace deeply impacts and inspires “the more” just waiting in the hearts and souls surrounding that person. We are all cups of different sizes (and whether realized or not) overflowing with abundant blessings. But like Kevin’s Savior, he realized that his cup was also to be pierced to become a channel for grace and no longer concerned for holding onto his cup of comforts.
Like many brave cancer soldiers, they not only battle this beast but also keep fear from damaging the time their friends share together. The love bound within Kevin’s relationships was something to experience. So when I say he’s the type that really ‘gets ya’ – I mean it. He was a profound listener that taught us patience and humility with quiet nods of understanding as he pressed us to prattle on. I will miss his bear hugs of friendship most. I will miss looking him in the eye and saying, “You know I love you, right?” followed by his quiet nod and, “Me too, bro, me too.”

Kevin didn’t just got lemons and made lemonade…He smiled, laughed out loud, and made a freakin’ business out of it. Not one person left the presence of Kevin thirsty.

 

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You ain’t heavy, bro.
For we’re bound by New Blood,
Yoked by an understandin’
Wrestling fear into the mud.

Never were you heavy,
Even when I felt goodbye,
Even when the beast progressed,
And heard of your final sigh.

“You know I love you, right?”
And that’ll never change,
No, you ain’t heavy, bro –
‘cause love crushes what grief remains.

See you soon.
C

Morning has broken!

Yep, I’m a morning person, that’s confirmed with the first, brisk inhale as my ears gorge on birdsong.  Seeing my puff of breath brings out new depths of personal gratitude while this background symphony by feathery friends assist my morning prayer. These are the moments that leave me truly awestruck and wanting to see the face of God. I anxiously await another sunrise that will soon still me so I may blush along with the clouds at the promise of forever and a new day. I pray for those who miss this opportunity, to truly breathe Mercy, and make ready our will to love another.

Surely….God is amazing.
sunrise

Someday…

Someday, sooner or later,
Life becomes something more,
When the hidden songs of birds,
Overwhelm and occupy the soul,
And desperation opens a new door.

Surely, we all will realize,
Entitlement’s thin veneer,
That stuffed us full of sugar,
Catering buffets of the ephemeral,
Petrified of the beauty we might hear.

Someday, now sooner than later,
That sunrise will catch our breath,
And draw us out like a moth to light,
Into that early morning dawn,
to doubt the finality of death.

Surely, in that golden gaze of sun,
The veneer will melt away,
A smallness will overtake us,
Grateful to feel our soul’s first yearning,
while repressed love blooms its first bouquet.

Someday, has come today,
Transfixed, unsure, willing and trembling,
Like a beggar holding flowers,
Stands now at the door crying,
Instead of excited and holding an engagement ring.

By Chris Clody
6/18/16