Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Mixtape: cleaning that shines

Welcome to Monday Mix Tape, in which I pretend I'm Ira Glass.  You know, I choose a theme and share with you several variations on the theme from the worlds of art, faith and culture.  To keep up the fun little facade of making a weekly mix tape, I label each of these finds as "track 1",  "track 2", and so on (and just like the stack of mixtapes you've got hidden in a box in your attic, you never know when you might see some love song from Journey or Lionel Richie show up here).

 We're in the midst of the weeks of Epiphany, the weeks we remember some of the key moments of Jesus' life starting with the visit of the magi to the Child-King, the baptism of Jesus, and the water turned to wine at the Cana wedding.    The word epiphany from ancient Greek speaks to a striking appearance, a manifestation. I barely know how to picture the word:  manifestation.  "To make manifest" does not help me at all, but synonyms shed more light:  clear, distinct, unmistakable, open, palpable, visible, conspicuous.  Oh, yes, this makes delightful sense to me now.

You've heard the pithy expression attributed to the theologian William Barclay, "There are two great days in a person's life -- the day we are born and the day we discover why."  These vigorous words help me frame the liturgical seasons of Christmas and Epiphany and could be restated:  In these two great seasons in the life of Jesus we celebrate the day the Messiah was born and the events Father, Son and Spirit reveal why.

Early on, only a few recognize the God in the boy body.  Only a few had eyes trained well enough to follow the natural and supernatural signs pointing toward ancient prophesy fulfilled through the virgin in Bethlehem.  Only a few were able to see by the light of stars only, everyone else needed the spiritual light bulbs of a divine epiphany.  The triune God wastes no revelation, he does not randomly scatter revelation as if pouring magic fairy dust over a sleeping kingdom.  With the accounts in the early chapters of the Gospels, God reveals not just the pragmatic truth of making invisible divinity visible in the body of Jesus; rather, He continues to reveal His very heart, His nature revealed carefully through the natural and supernatural moments of Jesus' life.  In other words, we do well to pay attention to the who, what, where and how of these accounts.  When we do, the eyes of our hearts will behold the face of God.

For the next few weeks, we gather round these flaming-bush moments in Jesus' life hoping for our sleeping hearts to be stricken with sight.  This week I'm thinking about the heart of God lived out in a Christ who wandered the earth healing, forgiving and cleansing those who'd walked in darkness for a very, very long time.

track 1: visual art

Artist statement:  The crisis has left important buildings in the city unused and in an appalling state of neglect, one of them was owned by Telefonica, the largest telephone company in Spain and it is located in the Plaza de España.This building was purchased with state money when Telefonica was a state owned company and sold when Telefonica was privatized in order to build a business park on the outskirts of the city. It is currently in a state of absolute disrepair and abandoned, waiting to be auctioned off following the bankruptcy of its current owners.

Passing in front of it, gives one a sensation of filth and sadness, especially at night, which could be lessened by a good cleaning.
Trying to call attention to its state, so that they proceed with cleaning it, we carried out the installation Things that would be better if they were clean, in which 100 pristine, white cloths, were placed on the entrance to this building, now darkened by filth and urine.
The photos, as always, are by Gustavo Sanabria.
Time of installation: 2 hours.
Damages: none.
Exhibition time: 12 hours.

track 2: music

A collection of some of my favorite hymns and anthems celebrating the way Jesus changes our broken, shameful, sorry pieces into whole, clean and joyous marks of redemption and grace.

Healing by Tamara Murphy on Grooveshark

track 3: a collect 
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christs’s glory,that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (via All Saints Church)

track 4: dance

This might be a tiny stretch and a touch sentimental, but  I decided it was close enough to this week's theme to include in the mixtape. (and definitely one of my favorite moments on season 7 of SYTYCD)

track 5: a poem

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
Mary Oliver, from her poem "Sometimes"

Happy Monday!
Won't you join me this week in keeping watch for every common bush afire with God....

Sunday, January 29, 2012

a house blessing for Epiphany

For several months, since moving into our rental home in August, we'd planned to ask some prayer-warrior type people walk through our house, praying blessing and renouncing curse in the space.  This would not be the first time we'd welcomed this sort of prayer.  As sure as God created and then incarnated physical space, we believe praying over space is no superstitious act.

Our intention took on more shape as we began to enter official ministry roles at Christ Church.  And as the adrenaline of the move began to wear off leaving behind a slithery trail of ennui in it's departing wake, we began to notice patterns of emotional, spiritual, and physical flare ups surrounding important ministry dates.  Or around times of planned rest and renewal.  We called time and again on our community of pray-ers, asking them to raise up a canopy of intercession over our tired and fearful selves.   

At the peak of an especially intense weekend, one which as I think back to describe it all I can imagine is 24 hours x 3 or 4 days of tears and door slamming, we knew the presence of a lower-case other in our midst.  Really just harassing us, lying to us, accusing us to ourselves and to each other.  We slammed doors as exclamation points on unspoken sentences of worthlessness, despair, fatigue, longing for something -- anything -- to feel just a tiny bit familiar to our adventure-weary souls.  Brian sat down yet again to type out needy words to those committed to our care, in the very same moments a piece of artwork in our sons' room seemingly jumped off the wall.  It's possible all those days of door slamming had shaken it loose, but it felt like it might have been the work of that lower-case other overplaying his hand.  

The print was a piece of artwork we'd purchased last Christmas for our son, entitled "A Clash That Speaks True".  Yeah, we didn't think that was a coincidence either.

Still, the weeks of Advent went by and Christmas shone in.  We rested, lived with the delights of comfort and joy for a few weeks.  On January 2, Brian was packing his suitcase to leave for ten days.  We were preparing for an important ministry meeting the day after he returned. I was reading up on the historical practices of Epiphany. I remembered reading about this tradition in Bobby Gross' devotional guide Living the Christian Year:
One Epiphany tradition, the blessing of the homes using holy water and incense, has been practiced since the end of the Middle Ages. The letters C, M and B are usually traced on the doors as a reference to the names of the Magi, although Adolf Adam reports an alternative interpretation: the initials stand for Christus mansionem benedicat, or "May Christ bless the dwelling." Frederica Mathewes-Green describes the use of newly blessed water in her church on Epiphany: "The holy water represents baptism, and during the period between Theophany and Lent each year, every Orthodox home is to be visited by the priest and sprinkled with the water, carrying our baptism home."
I am thankful for our Rector, Father Clifton Warner (known by most of us, most of the time, as Cliff) who generously met us late on a Wednesday evening.  He showed up with a small branch of evergreen, a small jar of clear water, another of anointing oil and a sheaf of papers printed with Anglican house blessing prayers.  We clustered around him -- uncertain, a bit awkward.  He asked if we owned a cross to carry from room to room.  Can you believe the best we could offer was a wooden cross on a loop of leather my son received for his birthday? 

One of us carried the cross, one the oil, one the water and we followed Cliff from room to room in this homely liturgy.  Praying against any evil plan ever made for each space in our home, against every intention opposed to the good will of our Father, every mis-invited spirit not from the Giver of every good gift.  We prayed for blessing, peace, purposes lined up with the Christ who is with us, before us, underneath and above us.  We prayed written prayers, words selected with wisdom and experience.  We prayed our own made-up words -- sometimes tears without words, sometimes with giggles (someday, have your teenage children stand at the foot of their parents' bed and see if you all can make it through without an escaped guffaw or two...).
Protect us, Lord, when we are awake, watch over us as we sleep; that awake we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in his peace. In the name of Jesus Christ, we claim this bedroom as a haven of rest and command any evil spirits to leave this place and never return. We ask you, Lord, to bless this room and this bed, and to send your holy angels to guard it and protect those who sleep here from every attack of Satan or his emissaries. Holy Spirit, we ask you to fill this place, and minister to the hearts of those who abide here, bringing comfort, peace and rest as they sleep.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
We agreed together with each word, each smudge of oil thumbed over doorways, each flick of water with evergreen stem.  We loved each other with prayer and fought for each other and said words of sorry, please, and help.  Perhaps, most powerful, though, were the thank-you words, the remembering together of the abundant generosity of our Father.  

(Click here for a pdf of An Anglican House Blessing)

Friday, January 27, 2012

7 quick takes! a photo diary

For some reason that I haven't determined, writing new posts on this blog has been slow and difficult the past couple weeks.  Not sure why other than my brain is plain old tired out.  And my life is full.  

Here's seven photos from our full life this past week....

--- 1 ---

This is a photo of tonight's dinner sponsored and prepared by our 20-year-old son, Andrew.  Yes, that's a ribeye (the best steak I've eaten in a very long time).  Also, a mozzarella/orzo/tomato salad and a sweet potato/carrot/turnip/almond/parmesan cheese veggie mixture.  Total delciousness!

Every time you hear me complain about Andrew eating up all my favorite breakfast granola, would you please remind me of this photo? K, thanks.

--- 2 ---

Yes, he managed to purchase a steak dinner for a family of six the same week he bought his first car.  It's good to be young and gainfully employed.  Of course, the car almost caught fire this morning so that's where the good part ends and the "welcome to the responsibilities of adulthood" begin.  We take great comfort in the fact that we've met more lawyers than we can count since moving to Austin and plan to remind the car salesman of this fact in case he tries anything tricky on us.  In the meantime, we're trying to find out if Texas has "lemon laws"?

--- 3 ---

We made some changes to the dining room when we put away our Christmas decorations.  It's amazing how much Scrabble playing happens around here by just setting out the board and letters on the dining room table.  By the way, this particular game was being played right in the middle of a weekday.  Just some photographic proof of this strangely wonderful "bonus season" I've been given.

--- 4 ---

Slowly, but surely, the kids' social calendars are beginning to fill up. They might be several years younger, but Alex had the best time hanging out with these guys all Sunday afternoon. Here they are commemorating his first bite of a P.Terry's all-natural burger.  

--- 5 ---

Brian preached his first sermon at Christ Church.  I was given a special sneak preview on Saturday afternoon.  You can see that Duchess is quite convicted (yes, she insisted at sitting by Brian's feet while he ran through the whole sermon).

If you'd like to hear for yourself, the sermon is posted online here.

--- 6 ---

This is Brian putting the finishing touches on his sermon.  I may get in serious trouble for sharing this photo.  As Brian's new favorite saying goes:  It's good to be Anglican.

--- 7 ---

It's also good to be Texan. At least in January.  Like the afternoon the girls and I walked around the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center without needing coats or boots or scarves or gloves.  

We definitely could get used to this....

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Mixtape: Epiphany!

Welcome to Monday Mix Tape, in which I pretend I'm Ira Glass.  You know, I choose a theme and share with you several variations on the theme from the worlds of art, faith and culture.  To keep up the fun little facade of making a weekly mix tape, I label each of these finds as "track 1",  "track 2", and so on (and just like the stack of mixtapes you've got hidden in a box in your attic, you never know when you might see some love song from Journey or Lionel Richie show up here).

 We're in the midst of the weeks of Epiphany, the weeks we remember some of the key moments of Jesus' life starting with the visit of the magi to the Child-King, the baptism of Jesus, and the water turned to wine at the Cana wedding.    The word epiphany from ancient Greek speaks to a striking appearance, a manifestation. I barely know how to picture the word:  manifestation.  "To make manifest" does not help me at all, but synonyms shed more light:  clear, distinct, unmistakable, open, palpable, visible, conspicuous.  Oh, yes, this makes delightful sense to me now.

You've heard the pithy expression attributed to the theologian William Barclay, "There are two great days in a person's life -- the day we are born and the day we discover why."  These vigorous words help me frame the liturgical seasons of Christmas and Epiphany and could be restated:  In these two great seasons in the life of Jesus we celebrate the day the Messiah was born and the events Father, Son and Spirit reveal why.

For the next few weeks, we gather round these flaming-bush moments in Jesus' life hoping for our sleeping hearts to be stricken with sight.  

track 1:  photography


photo credit:  An Orthodox priest conducts a service at an ice hole in a pond as part of Epiphany celebrations in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011. AP / Sergei Chuzavkov

I think the Eastern church has a good idea here.  Imagine the congregation in your last Sunday service taking turns jumping into ice-covered water?  Can you imagine a liturgy more striking to our sleeping selves?

track 2:  music

This may look like a Christmas album, this collection of songs arranged, prepared in 2009 by worship director Bruce Benedict for corporate worship at Christ the King Presbyterian in Raleigh, NC.  Spend some time listening and you with the lyrics weaving the wonder not only of the day Christ was born but the revealing of God's why.  It is in our understanding of the why, we come to know the very heart of God.  Look for the heart of God revealed in songwriter's poetry.

A sampling to start your listening journey (click on the link or the album title to visit the bandcamp page that includes a lyrics option):  
  • "Savior of the nations, come..." (track 1, verse 1)
  • "...That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet." (track 3, verse 4)
  • "...Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor." (track 5, verse 5)

track 3:  poetry


A momentary rupture to the vision:
the wavering limbs of a birch fashion

the fluttering hem of the deity’s garment,
the cooling cup of coffee the ocean the deity

waltzes across. This is enough—but sometimes
the deity’s heady ta-da coaxes the cherries

in our mental slot machine to line up, and
our brains summon flickering silver like

salmon spawning a river; the jury decides
in our favor, and we’re free to see, for now.

A flaw swells from the facets of a day, increasing
the day’s value; a freakish postage stamp mails

our envelope outside time; hairy, claw-like
magnolia buds bloom from bare branches;

and the deity pops up again like a girl from
a giant cake. O deity: you transfixing transgressor,

translating back and forth on the border
without a passport. Fleeing revolutions

of same-old simultaneous boredom and
boredom, we hoard epiphanies under the bed,

stuff them in jars and bury them in the backyard;
we cram our closet with sunrise; prop up our feet

and drink gallons of wow!; we visit the doctor
because all this is raising the blood’s levels of

c6H3(OH)2CHOHCH2NHCH3, the heart caught
in the deity’s hem and haw, the oh unfurling

from our chest like a bee from our cup of coffee,
an autochthonous greeting: there. Who saw it?
Source: Poetry (November 2011).
track 4:  video

When we listen to the clues of God's true heart in the scriptural accounts of epiphany, we also gain insight into our own true selves.  God does not waste revelation -- as we recognize Him, He names us. (from The Work of the People)

track 5:  web links

  • Songs for Epiphany: Bruce Benedict's blog, Cardiphonia, is an excellent resource of tunes and chord charts for those responsible for leading congregations in worship, but also those who hunger for lyrically-rich hymnody to mark the liturgical seasons.  
  • Epiphany at Cana:  I enjoyed Malcolm Guite's sonnets all during Advent.  He continues writing good words in the season of Epiphany as well.  This link takes you to the latest, but track back through his blog the previous posts for more.
  • Clean House, Hold Steady:  Good Letters contributer Allison Backous shares her   epiphany on the difference between living life as a victim and life as needing Christ's strength in her weakness.
  • The Kingdom of God is near you...and far away:  I shared this post from my musings in January 2010 at an Epiphany night celebration with new and dear friends here in Austin.
  • Epiphany 2011: To see more profound photographs of the Eastern church celebrating Epiphany, view this article at The Sacramento Bee.  Totally fascinating.....

bonus track:  another icy baptism photo

photo credit:  A man enters the water of Komsomolskoe lake through a cutout made in the ice, in downtown Minsk during the Orthodox Epiphany holiday service late on January 18, 2011. People take part in a baptism ceremony during the traditional celebration of Epiphany, one the biggest events in the Christian Orthodox calender. AFP/ Getty Images / Viktor Drachev

Happy Monday!
Won't you join me this week in keeping watch for every common bush afire with God....

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

from the book pile, 2011: Mary Karr, Julia Cameron, Susan Wise Bauer, Image Journal, No. 70

I've been working my way through the tower of books teetering off the antique writing desk that serves as my nightstand.  Working my way through reading and working my way through the thoughts and learnings each title provokes.

When I first started this blog in 2006 one of my goals was to nurture a forum that kept me accountable for the cultural goods I consume.  Of course, I didn't really know then to articulate the goal in those terms.  The truth dawns gradually: as in in worship so as in culture -- I did not make it, but it is making me.

Having also gotten quite clear with the truth that I will never be a professional book reviewer, I've let myself off the hook and changed up the way I document my reading.

Every new year, I consider making a number goal for books read in the coming twelve months.  It's never a good idea; rather takes away the enjoyment of arriving at December 31 and tallying up titles from the previous year.  Feels like an accomplishment no matter the number!  

  Hope you enjoy!


Author:  Mary Karr

Genre: memoir, autobiography

Published: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009

General Impression:  
My friend Micha generously loaned me her (signed!) copy of Mary Karr's newest memoir.  My interest was piqued after hearing Micha's own memories of her MFA grad school experience at Syracuse University.  

Mary Karr represents plainly the kind of person I am most afraid to know.  She is blunt. She is sometimes crass.  She is unsentimental.  She is irreverent.  She sounds like she could make me run to the girls room crying and not care.  She knows a wide range of obscenities I'm not savvy enough to even imagine.  She knows a depth of rescue I've never experienced.

She's also a damn good writer.  

And while this seemed an odd selection for the quiet candle-lit evenings of Advent, I found night after night that the raw longing for healing, wholeness and peace her words expose were, in fact, perfect reminders for the longing in us all.  I'm glad for the re-gained shalom Mary Karr seems to find before the final paragraph of the book and pray that it increases beyond her experience to the family, friends and readers around her.

One more thought:  during Christmas vacation a friend and I were talking about the relational ethics memoirists encounter in their work.  He was sharing an example of an author he knew who chose to work out her own demons in her published memoir, seemingly at the expense of working out the grievances that had accrued between herself and her loved ones.  We both shook our heads in disappointment over the ongoing grief her action will likely nurture.

During that conversation I tried to compare what I was reading in Ms. Karr's book. She tells personal stories that not only expose her raw vulnerability, but also that of many others in her life (her parents, siblings, husband, son, fellow support group addicts and institutionalized roommates).  In this case, though, the author made me feel very comfortable throughout each chapter that she had done due diligence to not only include the various perspectives of the people in her life but also their own responses to her writing.  She shares stories of her own mother reading the rough draft, her son's requests for stories to be brought into the light of print, her [ex] husband's decline to alter or add to her writings.  She also goes beyond the somewhat obsequious self-deprecation we've come to expect in the modern memoir and displayed a gracious humility that appeared even more starkly when compared to the harshness of her everyday language.  In my opinion, Lit uses a model voice for other autobiographers to mimic.

An excerpt from chapter 18, "Ivy Beleaguered":

"The image of my blond three years' son this morning, sobbing and holding out his arms to me while Warren strapped him into the child seat, is a hot stove I can't stop touching.

Warren drops him off at daycare now for reasons that are complex.

Sure, I need to get in early to copy course materials illicitly -- an infraction the secretary, who comes in at nine --warned adjunct teachers about back in the August training session, copies being too costly for the sniveling, no-hope-of-tenure human I am.

Also, on the snowy road here some mornings, I stop to puke out the car door, releasing into a snow bank an acidic coffee bile that stays on my teeth despite brushing vigourously enough to bloody my gums, leaving a bile taste no mint can mask. At the daycare center, mommy-vomiting is frowned on.
But even if I didn't want to vomit before  I got to the daycare center --which resembles a modest colonial parson's house like in The Scarlet Letter -- the perky bustle of the place would incline me in a vomitous direction.

The last time I did the morning dropoff was right after Christmas break. The director had waved me into her office, walls tacked with the bespattered finger paintings of Harvard's budding geniuses. I'd sat on a stiff chair while she told me Dev was so anxious he couldn't fall asleep at naptime.

Is everything okay at home? she asked. She had front teeth like fence pickets, and the reflection on her octagonal wire-rims was my puffy face.

Of course everything was great. I was great and my husband was great. Happiness was the currency we paid to get our kid accepted here.

So I failed to tell her that my husband and I had barely spoken that week, and sometimes, before I made dinner, I considered dousing the oven's pilot light and sticking my head in. Or that -- driving to my in-laws' for Christmas dinner -- I'd risen at four, ostensibly to bake pies, but actually to drive around the local reservoir, finishing a six-pack of beer while listening to Argentine tangos."


Author:  Julia Cameron

Genre: nonfiction

Published: Jeremy P. Tarcher / Putnam, 1998

General Impression:  
On a scale of 1-10, I give this book a "meh".  I suspect it's more me than the the book because it's written well, easily accessible for any one no matter their individual writing experience.  It's just that even though I read three-quarters of the book before shutting it for good I felt like I never really got too far with it.  

You could argue that it is intended to work for only those who take the writer prompts at the end of each chapter and do something beside yawn and turn off the nightstand lightswitch.  You'd probably be right.  

My best two take-aways?
1.  Just write.  Don't get hung up on yourself (or anyone else, for that matter) and just write.
2.  Start each day with "morning pages" as a sort of priming the pump without any expectation or judgement on the actual words that come out of the pen.  


Author:  Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

Genre: nonfiction

Published: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2009

General Impression:  
I read this sort of because I had to.  When we moved to Austin in the middle of August and landed here one week before the public school year began, we promised our kids that we'd keep every educational option on the table for them (for this year) in order for them to not just survive the move but to also find a way to thrive because of the move.

By October, our eighth-grader was home and by mid-November her sophomore sister joined her.  I'd perused The Well-Trained Mind out of curiosity a few years back and it was the first place I looked when I found myself suddenly a homeschooling mom.

To be fair, I didn't read every word in this book in 2011.  I did read every word that had to do with training an eighth-grader and a tenth-grader and several other words that caught my fancy along the way.  And while I'm not very widely read on the subject of teaching children at home, I'd have to guess that when it comes to practical how-to resource guides this book is one of the best out there.  From detailed resource information to detailed guidelines for structuring the days of each week in the life of a homeschooled student, I'd be lost without the information included here.

I'd also recommend this book for parents with kids in a more traditional school environment, wanting to supplement their education.  If nothing else, you could always use the suggested reading guides for each grade level to bribe your kids to read the way we did a few summers back!

An excerpt from a suggested reading list for 8th grade and for 10th grade:

8th grade, top 3 suggested titles in Fiction: 
1. Robert Louis Steven, Kidnapped or Treasure Island
2.  Edward E. Hale, "The Man without a Country"
3.  Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

in Poetry:
1.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Song of Hiawatha"
2.  Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken" and other poems
3.  E.E. Cummings, collected poems

in Drama:
1.  Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
2.  George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion
3.  Arthur Miller, The Crucible

10th grade, "Great Books" titles:
1.  Augustine, Confessions
2.  Augustine, City of God, Book 8
3.  Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy
4.  Koran (selections)
5.  Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
6.  Beowulf
7.  Mabinogion
8.  Anselm, Cur Deus Homo
9.  Robert Goodwin, ed., Aquinas: Selected Writings
10. Dante, The Inferno
11. Everyman
12. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
13. Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
14. Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe
15. Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur (selections)
16. Erasmus, Education of a Christian Prince (selections)
17. Machiavelli, The Prince
18. Thomas More, Utopia
19. Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians
20. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (selections)
21. Christopher Marlowe, Faustus
22. Teresa of Avila, The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself
23.Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene
24.William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
25.William Shakespeare, Hamlet
26.William Shakespeare, any other plays


12Image Journal, No. 70 (fall 2011)
Author: Edited by Gregory Wolfe
Genre: anthology creative work
Published: Center for Reglious Humanism, Seattle Pacific University

General Impression: I'm not sure if it's cheating to include a journal in my reading list for the year?  Anyone?  I figure it's 118 pages of short story, poetry, articles and reviews and that should count for something.

The contributors in this issue include  Rubén Degollado, Alison Pelegrin, Martha Serpas, Brad Davis, Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Daniel A. Siedell, Michael McGregor, Steven D. Greydanus and others.  The artwork this issue features artist Enrique Martinez Celaya

Enrique Martinez Celaya, The Orchard, 2009

Favorite Poem In This Issue: "Charisma" by Alison Pelegrin


They say statues wept
when she passed -- gypsy girl
in the choir who spoke
in tongues. I thought she
was faking, but prayed,
just in case, that I would
never babble, or, during the peace,
slump over and writhe. I hid
behind my knotted hair
to plot her expose'. Her
and her clan of women, smoke
and mirror Christians
hogging the potluck roast,
flocking to the best cuts
in a cloud of scarves
and perfume. Mother looked
back at me, me with my 
tell-it-like-it-is tongue,
my sundress in haste
on backwards, and I knew 
she wished for an afflicted girl
sick enough to sass in a holy fire,
one who wept not tears but oil,
or blood. Charisma, same page
as Charlemagne in the dictionary
a giant with brown ringlets
handling the church like a dollhouse
in his hands. Like her -- imposter,
and but for me the congregation  rapt --
white robes, white pure, white gloves,
white sandals on her feet as if
that were veil enough
to make me believe her whole
body were made of light.

To subscribe to the Image Journal, click here.
To enjoy their excellent blog, Good Letters,  click here.

To find the rest of my 2011 reads, click here.

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