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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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

Green and Peaceful Pastures

As Lent finds me, I pray that I continue to endure with courage. Courage to lower my defenses and reveal God’s beauty and humility. Endless are my prayers to engage others with the best version of myself. As Lent teaches and I listen and realize, that best version is the very image He breathed within.

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The Rest You Seek

I Am the rest you seek,
I Am the rest you seek,
Serene are my pastures,
Giving strength to the weak.
For I Am your rescue,
Your ransom and peace,
Open your hearts,
Awake to My mercy,
Find Me the humble,
The outcast,
The meek.

Come to Me brother,
Reconcile your sin,
Bathe in my mercy,
Let forgiveness begin,
Give me your burdens,
Your worries,
Your sorrow.
Give me your hurting
Your end of your rope,
For I Am your rescue,
The Giver of Hope.

I Am the rest you seek,
I Am the rest you seek,
Forgiven forever,
I Am the Word God speaks,
I’ll raise you in splendor,
From sin’s desolate bleak,
Rejoice with Me,
And sing of this glory,
Come live in my love,
My joyful,
Heartbeat.

By Chris Clody 2/20/2016

Revealing Thoughts…

My Body

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What is this I am hearing?
I cannot comprehend?
The child, now man,
From which I gave my flesh,
Offers it to me back again?

Vivid mem’ries explode,
A lowly handmaiden,
A virgin, with child,
Wraps so holy a seed,
Flesh of my flesh,
Bread now offered as bread to me again?

Once child, my only son,
Now Savior, still knowing,
He is truly Son of God.
Echoes of an Angel,
Merge with this bread He holds,
Impossible, yet not with God.

What is this I am seeing?!!
Fear tortures flesh I bore,
My Jesus, crowned Christ,
Now hangs in front of me,
Offers John, a son as your’s.

Alone.

Standing in disbelief.
A lance draws blood and water,
Cuts as deeply within my soul.
Motherhood dies,
To be given away
Once that soldier drew a hole,
Opening hope to hearts that grief once stole.

Sweet John,
Now offers me bread…

By Chris Clody
1/30/2106

Inner Sanctum

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My unsuppressible and irresistible need that shadows all what my soul craves coexists in my heart. There it lies, just a scratch below social formalities, waiting to ambush all my conversations or arguments. Like a propeller silently working below a silent blue surface moving water behind me towards some future nirvana leaving my soul and flesh wrestling at the ship’s helm. Despite my understood speed and progress, the horizon seems unchanged and unattainable. Years disolve like passing whitecaps as doubt lures my attention from ahead to an above darkening cloud. I’m getting old too fast and tired too soon.
Until…blue smoke and the motor quits.The propeller stops leaving me to drift in seemingly aimless silence. Despite the ebb and ever-rocking flow of want, I am drawn to a new horizon deeper within me. My implosion inward is effortless. I am disrobing the many layers that onced defined me. Skin’s secret pride is relinquished to vanity’s gravity. Letting go of life’s ‘needs’ never felt so freeing…so easy. I slowly reduce to the size of that seed God joyfully planted in hopes of great blooms within the potting soil of my reality. Finally I am small enough to trust whatever may come. I have no reason not to trust for now my very survival is beyond my control. Trust now to dive into a claustraphobic rabbit hole that wraps and zips me up in its undersized sleeping bag. I wiggle downwards guided by shards of glimmering light slicing through a zippered smile of metal teeth. Despite the dark, the heat, the exhaustion, and nauseous fight to control my shallow breathing, I plop out onto a soft landing. I am embraced by an extradinarary light as reality’s cocoon disintegrates immediatley around me. I breathe in the fresh, cool air. Still processing the visual extravagance before me. My breath catches as I stand thunderstruck, a gawking statue at this possible reality, this Kingdom at Hand, this Christ within our midst. This vast expanse of a limitless invitation that I somehow know expects me. Here I ponder within my garden, this spacious room in a mansion, the joy of peace in an unexpected pasture. Love, is the very oxygen and light of my contemplatived marvel lifts and holds my heart and head like the holy ground beneath me. Timeless as a memory, love redefines its insatiable quest to reconcile my soul to God and to others in my path. Its wonder and awe squinting through this childlike view radiates it’s kaleidoscopic possibilities and beauty. This newfound treasure that’s somehow expected yet not quite understood. Drawn by the ever magnetizing virtue of true beauty, my gaze is held as a willing prisoner. Still more beckons as my peripheral vision catches a mysterious glow of invitation lighting a narrow path leading to an ordinary yet rustic wooden door. Nearly weightless to the touch, I push, and it swings back open into my reality. Returning out through my in door, everything seems familiar yet something is different… very different. My thoughts give life to mercy, comfort, and gratitude more often then not. Sometimes an unwelcomed yet familiar voice breaks through and like muscle memory reacting to fire, I’m doing things I did not want to do! Reconciling through forgiveness of myself, others, and in all, back to God, banishes that unwanted voice back to its reptilian mindset so my soul my re-engage the hidden dignity and lost hope awaiting it. I expect anything and fear nothing  since I am not alone in my reality walking hopefully without tire nor shame. For grace nourishes my steps from hesitation. Grace is my soul whisperer to no longer choosing fight or flee but rather accept and help carry another’s weight as God accepted mine.

His,
Chris

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Our History of Wonder

Born To Please

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Unaware yet born to please,
Shedding blood in greed and fear,
Two wills, one selfish and one to appease,
Serving two masters is doubly clear
Divinity patiently waits to join us here.

Burning without destroying, man is drawn,
Confused by how this could appear,
Barefoot steps tremble on legs of a fawn,
The Irresistible orders Moses to lead on.
Ending man’s innate question with more to think upon.

Aware and finding reason to please,
A scapegoat is devised to lay their sins upon,
Yet power corrupts due to man’s disease
Laying law upon law, love is soon gone,
Replaced by our will serving our need,
Doubting even The Ten that convicts of our greed.

Undaunted and untamed, Emmanuel borrows skin,
Fragile and human, Jesus comes to feed,
Giving Himself as food for forgotten sin,
The Christ of God breaks Death’s final grin,
The grave once greedy cannot hold resurrection win.
Grace and peace, by loving God and neighbor begins.

Keys are given atop of a rock,
One day to surrender and led by an enemy’s whim,
Purity is from dross The Spirit continues the stock,
In spite of Power, soon time forgets and corruption begins,
Saints are sent while the encourage the true flock,
Laws upon laws, the slumbering are loyal yet God is mocked.

Still hope remains in the trusting souls,
Whose trust surrendered to their Redeemer’s knock,
Fearlessly led by the Anointed’s beatific goal,
Inexpressible joy is given when we relinquish control,
Loving God through our neighbor in forgiving revolt,
Until that Day of Wrath, when the Lamb pours out the bowls,

Yet, despite pious boast, regret will cover those who condemn,
Those unjustly shamed and discarded Christ collects from another fold,
For Heaven is not a room to secure to which we ascend,
But true community that weds a Groom who willingly descends.
The Bride’s “I do” is our present ‘Amen.”

By Chris Clody 5/9/15