Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Unfinished poem

Perhaps the most recent one I have written:

First Become a Tree, then will come the fruit.

Once armfulls of brambles
spilled from my chest.
My rootless feet blew
and scraped across hardened ground.
A face full of rips and peels.
Just a bucket of dry brambles for the fire.

With hebel, wind and vanity
shouting in my ears ...

Until the golden silence,
The day of my vision.

A black sky with not a pinprick through the stormclouds
Crows surrounded the fruit tree.

One flew from a nest in my chest.
A giant crow, black as space.
With talons extended he latched into the tree
and ripped its flesh.

Then they all exploded into a violent wind.

When they settled the tree was bare of bark and fruit.

The tree was bleeding.

Christ have mercy,
I must flee before the crow returns to my bramble patch.

It was then that I saw hope
bruised fruit littered the ground.

I reached into my chest and tightened around the wirey thorns,
fire ran through my bloody hands
And I pulled the entire nest and cast it down.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Jay Percival

So I started a new blog called jaypercival@blogspot.com. For some reason I was listening to Robert Plant and thinking about the different persona/stage names that people come up with (Bono Vox is a good example) and decided that if I ever needed a persona name mine would be Jay Percival. SO, I decided to try out it out in blog form.

I hope you are laughing at me. ... but if you want to read some more recent posts than you see here, you will have to find your way to the new one.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Manifest Demise: Family, Home & Children vs. Career, Government and the Marketplace

Why is this fight so easily lost?
Our modern age has seen more bloodshed,
but at least as crazy is the loss of common sense.
We have lost the obvious wisdom of
family, home and children

Fight the government
Fight Wall Street and the Academy.

All of mankind might just be saved through childbearing,
Let us all settle down and raise kids.

The American apocalypse,
Manifest Demise
It is upon us and our only
hope lies in marriage and childbearing.

Lust and power
Money and fame
They are all shifty
houses on lose gravel.

The Rock is for the orphans,
The Rock will build a household.
The Rock will crush those upon whom it falls.

OR as the mythopoet Bonnie Prince Billy says, we must pass on so that when we die we will continue to live.

"My body fades, your life goes on." We must build and look forward to "A singing dawn."

----There are probably lots of qualifiers for my statements above ... but that would be tedious (and I am on vacation). All I will offer you is my favorite Walker Percy quote:

"To bed we go for a long winter's nap, twined about each other as the ivy twineth, not under a bush or in a car or on the floor or any such humbug as marked the past peculiar years of Christendom, but at home in bed where all good folk belong." (Love in Ruins)

By the way, Luther married as a monk to re-establish the idea of priests as family men, Kierkegaard rejected Regine because he felt that family and society and status were meshed together and the gospel called him to leave it all behind (he didn't say no one should marry, but he thought he was doing the exact opposite of Luther because of the times). I think that we are at another hinge and must see marriage and family again as a fundamental self-sacrifice and a taking responsibility for something larger and outside of our tiny cracked self ... this is one of the few ways left to us to escape the dread clutches of selfishness and individualism.

One last thought: God called Abraham to be a father (of the people of God). God called Mary to be a mother (of Jesus Christ). Stanley Hauerwas writes: "Just as Abraham is the father of Israel, so Mary is the mother of the church." We must take great care of what we desecrate.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Spiritual Audacity

In a telegram to President John F. Kennedy, Abraham Heshel writes:

"I look forward to the privilege of being present at meeting tomorrow at 4 PM. Likelihood exists that the negro problem will be like the weather. Everybody talks about it but nobody does anything about it. Please demand of religious leaders personal involvement not just solemn declaration. We forfeit the right to worship God as long as we continue to humiliate negros. Church synagogues have failed. They must repent. Ask of religious to call for national repentance and personal sacrifice. Let religious leaders donate one month's salary toward fund for negro housing and education. I propose that you Mr. President declare a state of moral emergency. A marshal plan for aid to negros is becoming a necessity. The hour calls for high moral grandeur and spiritual audacity."

Do religious leaders still write such letters to the president? I would like to repeat these words from 1963 for today: THE HOUR CALLS FOR HIGH MORAL GRANDEUR AND SPIRITUAL AUDACITY.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


My gospel text for mid-week service was Matthew 14:1-12, the intense story about the beheading of John the Baptist. It put me in mind of an old Bonnie Prince Billy song ... it works well as the voice of Herod.

there is grime on my face
there is crust in my eye
there is no one in this place
but no one said goodbye
this is how i start another day in my kingdom

there is hate in my heart
this is how my day starts
there is blood in my hands
from the murder of a man
this is how i start another day in my kingdom
this is how i start another day in my kingdom

This is from his ease on down the road album. Another good art reference is the short play by Oscar Wilde. It is pretty fantastic if my memory serves me. It is called Salome.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What do we think about this?

Fox-Genovese (whom I refer to quite often) writes: "Recent scholarship confirms the age-old wisdom that young women and young men have different sexual agendas: Young men are much more eager for sexual relations with their steady girlfriends than are the girlfriends, who are primarily seeking emotional commitment. The sexual liberation of women thus serves the interests of young men while compromising those of young women. In practice, the sexual liberation of women has realized men's most predatory sexual fantasies. As women shook themselves free from the norms and conventions of sexual conduct, men did the same. Where once young men had been expected to respect a young woman's no, they might now plausibly assume that the no really means yes. They might err in the assumption, sometimes at the heavy cost of being accused of rape, but not because any social rules discouraged sex between unmarried young people. .... George Akerlof, Janet Yellen, and Michael Katz have demonstrated that the increased availability of abortion and contraception in the late 1960s and early 1970s led directly to the dramatic rise in births to single mothers. The plausibly reason that ready access to contraception and abortion seriously undercuts young women's--and their fathers'--ability to use possible pregnancy as a means to avoid sex before marriage or to secure a promise of marriage should a pregnancy occur. In this climate, increasing numbers of young women appear, however misguidedly, to have used sexual acquiescence rather than sexual abstinence to attract and hold a man. The skyrocketing number of out-of-wedlock births and the declining rate of marriage testify to their miscalculation. But the young women who tried to cling to traditional norms of propriety fared no better. With easy access to women who had no objections to premarital sex, men have no incentive to meet the demands of women who sought to trade sex for marriage. It is not surprising that young men who can obtain sex without marriage defer marriage or avoid it entirely."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Culture of Death

Today on the way in to work NPR was running a story about overweight children ... one third of all children in America. I only heard the tail end, but you can listen to the whole thing here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90880182. This isn't just about kids being to fat, children overweight are unhealthy and more susceptible to disease and other major illness. Guess who is working on this issue for us ... the government. Schools are making major effort to help children assess their problems and training them on diet.

I am not opposed to this, but feel like there is a giant elephant in the room that no one will admit. The powers that be (global economy and intelligencia) have decided that all individuals must be liberated from any obligations ... that freedom means autonomy and choice. Parents have been severed from their children in search of a cheap and ultimately destructive freedom and so the children now have to make it on their own (with the help of public school). But no one can chastise the parents (and on some level they shouldn't) because we don't want to make anyone feel bad for divorce or careers or whatever.

And the real problem or the root of the problem and what makes me angry is the academy, philosophers of culture ... whatever you want to call the people that make up foolish ideas without any concern about how they will affect living people and popularize them without concern of their effect. In our "scientific age" we have more subjectivity than ever ... their is no objectivity when obvious dangers and problems are completely ignored because they will upset our passing fancies. I feel more than ever that our American world is a highly crafted one ... full of tons of unsubstantiated assumptions.

And as intelligent and honest critics admit, all of this comes at a great cost. The cost is falling upon our own children. It would seem that some form of survival of the fittest has shaped our worldview ... perhaps the most insidious version, one that is will to sacrifice its own children on the alter of personal happiness. Pope John Paul designated this "the Culture of Death, a culture that holds human life cheaper and cheaper until it drains it of all intrinsic value, a culture that transforms people into objects or even obstacles." (Fox-Genovese; Marriage, P. 160).