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

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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

Get Dusty!

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Love conquers as it crumbles

For every broken hope,
For those outside looking in,
For what the pure see
And the poor unknowingly wait,
A Way begins to break through.

Bit by bit,
Love conquers as its crumbles.
Like temple stones slipping loose,
Falling, one atop another,
Revealing, what we disregard.
Amidst the cloud of crashing stone,
A Dust Covenant takes shape,
Like salve for beaten hope,
A key for the city’s stranger,
Cleansing for all hearts,
As the poor’s Perfect comes.

He is the Keeper,
He holds all,
For He is all.
Yet, to gather the small,
He becomes small.
Forgettable, meek, and poor,
Doubted and scandalized,
Dirty and dusty,
Scourged and crucified,
He offers The All,
To reclaim the small.

As the dust settles,
Something emerges,
Deep within the small.
A New Temple,
An unseen Kingdom,
A forgotten Way.
As Law gives way to Grace and Peace,
An Image taken granted,
Finally chooses Likeness.

The flightless find wings,
The blind now see,
The poor heirs to a throne,
Whose reign is everlasting to everlasting.

For the Breath He promised,
Is the very air of mercy.
Abandoned stones of crumbled Love,
Find new mortar in faith and hope.
Unseen except by the pure,
Are the flowers that sing,
And rocks that cry out,
The dimension of color,
And the Word of joy unspeakable.

Choose The Life.

By Chris Clody
4/23/16

Still We Suck

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Maybe it’s the early morning walks in the bitter cold with a mini-schnauzer who I swear was born to enjoy the Iditarod. By the way, talk about trust between the men and (usually winning) woman and their dogs. Maybe it’s that very trust that helps us understand what love is really all about. And yes…in a snuggly sort of way, I love my hyper, little Mia!

Oh yeah, this sucking thingy… Lent is more and more becoming less of a hardship or checking the new charity box endurance challenge and more of a jump into the abyss of myself. Let me explain. Consider ourselves born facing the whirling of all space and time, dimming as it enters a hole into our chest. The inhalation of possibilities is euphoric to our egos (especially those born with larger holes).

We all simply suck.

Yet, the ingenious vision of Lent, despite its common malpractice, offers a chance to turn. This incredible chance is preceded by first realizing why and how we suck. Why were we created to seemingly receive astronomic quantities of created awe surrounding the churning, dark, mysterious density hurling towards the center of ourselves. The moment of Lent’s true purpose is ‘given’ when we realize that what comes in must come out! Lent explodes in life and cosmic abundance, this moment of hysterical release while witnessing the sheer omnipotence directed as purpose and power flowing through us. God created us to turn on trusting volition to experience what was already happening behind us. My brothers-in-arms-and-prayer witnessing the outside of ourselves exploding in this whirling dervish of inconceivable joy unite in these moments of awe and humility. The magnificence hiding behind a humble turn! Just even a passing glimpse levels the Everest of hardened hearts.

So I beg, truly, break your eye-rolling ‘fast’ from chocolate, chips, beer, coffee, sex, porn, dressing up as a plushie…whatever that holds no inertia to turn and leap from that huge sucking sound… and realize the omnipotence of transformational love.

The beauty of Lent is learning to turn towards love. In other words, we are attempting to ‘fast’-forward our understanding why we were all meant to become ‘Easter people’. (Peeps? – I’ll let that go.)

Ultimately we’ll come to allow through us a love that is patient, kind, not envious nor braggadocios. Love that isn’t rude, selfish, or easily angered or resentful. Love that rejoices in truth not injustice. A profound love with a capacity to bear all things, believe all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Quite simply – a love that never ends (happily paraphrased from our most popular wedding vows – 1 Cor 13:4-8).

Look, we ALL suck and will continue to suck but it’s worth turning around to see the outcome of Grace. (For the contemplatives out there consider replacing Love with God’s charity towards us.)

Sidebar: Funny how Lent coincides with New Year’s resolutions and political primaries. Try to remember love is patient and bears all things (Yep, even offenses!).

“Most of us were taught that God
would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so
that you can change. It is the inherent experience of love that
becomes the engine of change.”
–Richard Rohr

Be brave and face the awaiting transformation of your soul and heart.
Become that little engine of change that said it could.

His,
Chris

Life is better with a friend.

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Just to know you’re near

If I could just tell you how I feel,
If prayers could talk,
they’d soon reveal.
This brother in arms would gladly steal,
This burdened life,
You’re cards cruel deal.

Yet… You smile.
Staring as if seeing through a child,
And share a joy,
A greater hope,
that bears your journey’s painful miles.

Again, you smile.
Offering grateful and knowing eyes,
And say to me,
Without regret,
“This cross I carry will soon baptize,
Our time as brothers,”
Which grows thick yet somehow disappears
Somehow knowing
Within our midst,
This Savior of Love has brought friends near,
Only to be said, “I’m just glad you’re here.”

By Chris Clody
2/9/2016

Hang tight Kev.

Words of Wisdom

community1My close friends and I continue a quest to reach out and add to the growing ‘net’ of support to buffer against whatever life throws at us. For the once, introverted, tough nut from Long Island, realizing the ease and gift of reducing the threat of loneliness is more than a comfort to me. It is in the beauty of the compromise, the give and take, the unconditional “How can I help” request, that truly warms the soul. Listening to the experiences and coping mechanisms of new friendships, broadens my perspective on the ingenuity and hope of humanity to rise above its trials and tribulations. Despite the constant gardening required despite friendship’s rich and holy soil, a solitary, red rose bloomed in wisdom unexpectedly before our eyes. In the passing of comforting emails between friends, these four words of advice were passed along from a caring soul named Kelli: “Trust in your life.” Just be still and breathe those words in. If Christianity had comfort food, these words of wisdom would be a delightful entree.

Trust In Your Life – Kelli’s Counsel

Gift

Trust in your life,
Four words to trust
Wisdom’s light from light,
Like bread below crust,
Awaits a knife’s thrust.

Peace is our want,
Sought and discussed,
This bubbling font,
Reality’s hidden detente.

Thank you my friend,
For despair’s taunt,
In words that transcend.
So hearts may trust and mend.

Trust in your life which you are given,
One that is led, that is loved, and forgiven.

By Chris Clody 2/10/18

 Make a familiar face a friend today and reach out!

His,

Chris