Archive for the ‘Storyboard’ Category

Connecting a Glorious Mystery of the Past

Were you ever allowed to offer literary criticism of the writer of Acts of the Apostles? In English, any way? Literary criticism about the object in a sentence, per the rules of grammar. An antecedent for? In a personal pronoun which seem so impersonal? A reader will know the reference being referred … to? And if you ever read the Gospel of John, you might be shocked by the reference to “devout Jews” from every nation, mentioned by the writer of the Acts of the Apostles, unlike in the Sunday Gospel reading on Penecost, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews….”

“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, ‘they’ were all in one place together. Suddenly there came from the sky …. a noise like a strong driving wind. And it filled the entire house in which ‘they’ were. Then there appeared to ‘them’ tongues as of fire … which parted and came to rest on each one, of ‘them’[which sounds wrongly impersonal in the use of the personal pronouns].”

“‘They’ were all filled with the Holy spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled ‘them’ to proclaim.”[to whom?]

“Now there were ‘devout Jews’ from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, [an attribute which sounds wrong and too impersonal, as if “this sound” rather than the noise which came from the sky] ‘they’ gathered in a large crowd. But ‘they’ were confused because each one heard ‘them’ speaking in his own language. So ‘they’ [which sounds wrongly impersonal, as if each individual sensed and reacted the same] were astounded, and in amazement ‘they’ asked: ‘Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia….’ ”

In the story of Firsts, like in the Book of Genesis, did you ever notice all the mistakes the first time? And, by the way of amazement, if ‘they” all were each so separated by language, how could ‘THEY” ever ask, ‘How then does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia….”

Yes, so the second time. “So Jesus said to them AGAIN: ‘Peace be with you!'”

And did you notice the chronology, in these new commandments about this living dynamic Peace that had been passed down since Abraham? About a closeness, along with a Spirit that came out of a Dynamic Peace. Forgive the ones you seemed closest, too! Like in Temple or Church and in families. And on matters of power and shared dominion, between Church and State, what had been the cause of your Crucifixion?

“And when he had said this, he breathed on THEM [which sounds much more personal] and said to THEM: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit! Whose sins you forgive are forgiven THEM. And whose sins you retain, are retained.'”

Somehow, I imagine it was a lot more personal than as recorded. For all these Jews in the world, who go out to share their inheritance. As “they” came to understand “it.” Like the Apostle John, who is NOT the evangelist writing the last Gospel, John, if you did the chronology, after the second Temple was destroyed. Mostly, rather personally. To take that kind of destruction so personally. So is it the sins you forgive or THEM that sinned?

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill.

Like in Psalm 104, concerning the face of the Earth.

When you send forth your spirit, ‘they’ are created, and you renew the face of the earth….

….stolen from Cecilia Wessels’ Facebook, like suddenly there came from the sky …. a noise like a strong driving wind. Thanks Cecilia.


Did Abraham ever find God, like yesterday, in the emptiness of famine. At the end, in an Evangelical call for prayer together – as if he could convert me and this food through his prayer – The Muslims, and I along with them, left.

Abraham, trying to design God, through sacrifice, was like Alexander Hamilton, trying to design a nation, if you have seen the play or read the book by Chernow.

Money. The systems, created. With Land. Would there be land banks, since the currency was so worthless? In the beginning, inventing a national currency? Did you know all the Troubles in creating?

In post-Revolution, this first Civil War, Hamilton is manipulating George Washington? And then Jefferson – yikes! – with his thinking, and with his slaves.

Abraham. Count the moments of the Great Unsettlings. In his life. In contending with what is private and what is public, there is great irony in giving up the Land, as well as a home. In replicating the Great One, like Abraham, how?

With balance, in Somalia, Church/Mosque and State? Is there even a section of the news for today’s obituaries in Somalia. . . for the Somalis who are dying in hunger? There was at the end of the day, a photo projected of a mother of eight, now down to five.  In the photo, she had just received a box of food from the American charity, addressing famine. Of her future – should she lose five more, would she be a mother? And as she is all alone, where is her God of Abraham, for the mother?

Surviving, after every war, In a public sector?  Social justice, over who might stay there.  Taking what had been so public – in war – private?  Like The American Revolution, with the split.  On what side were you?   Loyalists, post-war?  Did you know the ongoing clash among the survivors, after every war in a public sector?  So, social justice?  That the Somalians might stay!  So, taking what was public, private, keeping their land in the hands of the Somalis like never has been allowed in Syria in the past six years?

Who might stay there?  “Why me? Why have I survived and my three children have not? Or all my relatives born in Somalia now in Minnesota?”

Goodness?  In invisible famine, feed MY starving Children, oh God!  Like in The Great Flood, there were the Loyalists who never moved from their lands, like Noah did.  Not unlike these times, with the oceans under threat like never before – defending much more than the fish, from rising temperature.

Humans living in denial.  Unable to look too close?  Leaving?  Staying? The Choice, for the wealthy?  Taking what was not yours to take?  Sacrifice, Abraham?  When there is nothing left, maybe like for you in old age? Taking what is private, so public. Group our kids by age…by place in neighborhoods, by gender – to hear, if not learn, stories!  But all  translators betray what they attempt to convey – this is a truism – as every reader comes to their Scriptures with a history.  And some with head scarves.

Did you ever consider the eight survivors eating during the Great Flood? Did you ever contrast dryness to a great flood? Like these days in Somalia. In the emptiness of famine, Feed My Starving Children, during Ramadan, was addressing the six million in Somalia this morning in need of food.  I gave some time yesterday to their cause which involved, for me, too much cheer-leading and too little humility. I walked home later wondering, why am I able to help the starving, in Famine? Like the one in Ireland, that seemed to teach a people, forever after, something about sharing. Why in Somalia is their Land like this and mine is not? Why are we not all starving? Together!

Valuations. Counting the cost, through sacrifice. And at the end, the representative of Feed My Staring Children, an Evangelical – part of The Evangelical Movement – wanted in a too loud moment of his prayer, over the just packed food, when the sun had risen at 5:30 am and would set after 9:00 pm, wanted the Muslims here to pray. With him over his food, while they fasted? Taking what was private a little bit too public, for me. This morning, I am considering, again, over breakfast, “the right hand of God” moment that both saved the first born son as well as split the son, along with that photo depicting the right hand of God, in the “why me?” moment, of what can come out of sacrifice. Given life… a second time, if I keep losing more, will I still be an Evangelical? As I ate my food and contemplated Grace, I wonder at what point I might stop being Irish, or a Somali, or even an American, after being given life a second time. 

Did you know all the Troubles that come in creating?  Like a Nation Once Again?


The Storyboard

Art. To sell one book at a time. The magic. On issues of an established baseline of shared belief. When you see shared belief grow into the public sector. The developing bonds of trust.

In all the personal vanities of religion, God. Beyond the different divisions and conferences of Judaism, beyond the 20,000 fragmentations of Christianity. The vehicles of travel. The movement in the story. With Islam and Bhudha. With Taoism and Confuscious.

An arranged marriage. Looking for stability for your kids. When a love based upon romance goes bad. A marriage arranged for sex? When the charm eroded. When you lost your sex appeal. Letting someone place something inside of you. Like an idea about the future. It was probably the most feminine experience for a male. When the future was always left inside a woman.

To write about China. And to come from a culture, from a community that fostered concepts of one child per couple. Without protest, without voice, without memory, based upon oral tradition? Where the Gladys Kravitzes had united to formulate fertility policy. Politicians not so unlike the Russian Bolsheviks who broke away from socialism and like in the Youtube video called “I am God,” imposed their concepts of money and living on everyone. With new standards of living for health care and military service. And work. When one day the people pretended to work, behind the Iron Curtain. Like deep echos of both deep cannons and the neighborhood dog, the people there were still frightened by echoes in the dark of barking animals.

Private matters with such a public affect. When you see shared belief grow into institutions. Powerful institutions. Knowledge. Wealth. Fertility. Love. God. As the private and the public sectors intersect.

Art, as the measuring stick. What was the artist trying to say? In Art and language and culture? When the measuring stick of currency was oh so broken. When the language of art revealed your caste.

Denial. Acceptance. The movement. Of scatter-brained nomads, amidst so much stimuli, looking for God in all things.

Presumed dead. The anger. The fear. Following a war. Missing. Like Abel. At what point did the authorities allow a “missing person” report? The stories of identity. With poets and bards trying to capture in words the spirits within, into stories without. Into the terra firma world. (Looking for images and reflections of ourselves in other cultures.)

The attraction to Mystery. The magic in just the attempt to identify God. For someone else, through issues of an established baseline of shared belief. How much these stories – a primate trying to find the measured words – meant, to me. Looking for a vocabulary concerning spiritual matters. At some point to come to a story. And you are in the story. How much these stories mean, to me.

TO create humanity, with a desire for God. These eleven apostles. Waking up when their traveling companion was declared presumed dead. The thing buried by Fear? The story over and over: born into everything, and losing it. In the garden. And going in search once again. With this mutual desire. God and His people. And fertility. The shared choice to love, to reproduce. The things that stayed with you. Every day. The collegiality. The unchanging law. When you appeared to be losing everything at the end of the story. And always the fear. Of exile.

When you no longer were Chosen People? How things kept changing. Contemplating the change. And the emotions, the perspective which went with the change. In the outside world. Did you feel the inner tension of Cain, not satisfied to stay in one place –like the Garden — and not satisfied to till the soil. The inner tenion over accepting that he himself was from dust, and all the irony in the turmoil and the dust-up after killing his brother.

The buried anger. The buried pain. The exile. Until the day it came out in the wandering. With a deep sense of good and evil, about unrighteous affluence. Those who desired to hang onto what they had.

Power. The evolution. Of human power. The battle over acceptance of power with its institutions. Faith versus reason, in the aftermath of the Renaissance. What was the artist trying to say? In the art of the Renaissance? What was the artist trying to say in his/her Art and language and culture?

Quarterly reports of the prophets. Navigating closeness. To stay close to God. Life, like on a great river. Looking for mentors in life. People trying. People really caring to stay close to God. Like Adam had not. Mostly because of Eve.

Adam lost his mentor about the time Eve came around. When he learned for the first time we were all gonna die. Somehow. With others. Or alone. When you were forced. Into relationships, with your co-workers. Or born into relationships. Like Cain. In family. Not unlike Eve. When you were born into something – the movement in the story – born to be this tiller of soil. The movement in the story, with your assigned place, or job description. And your jealous human perspective about it all. And anger.

Power. Force. Authority. To return to the world we had before a crime was committed. Talion law: An eye for an eye. The change from the Talion Law, called Reconstruction. Converting mechanical energy of downward-flowing water into thermal and acoustical energy. In the age of terror….that replaced the age of consolidations. On matters of faith and morals, after the leveraged buyouts. Energy of Chosen People, given some direction in life. The Dissipation, with a concept of a wandering formalized. In the mainstream. With a certain idea of movement and birthrights and inheritance.

Run. Hide. Escape. Missing. Presumed dead. Following a war. The anger. The fear. Again.

The loss of an audience, without a story board. The power. Of Art. The need for the story board, for the artist. . . to figure out the puzzle. I happen to talk to my ophthalmologist twenty-four hours ago – my one time cross-country captain. And he mentioned the importance of a story board, beyond long distance running, that he heard a world-famous author mention at a recent dinner at the high school we once had attended. So how can you either put together or try to read the Hebrew Bible without a story board? Where are you taking Me? How are you describing Me? The bulls in a china shop, what are you doing to the vehicle? How are you tending it?

And about the end of the story. In the mystery, where does the story line end? The loss of an author, without a story board. With themes of population. And growth, in fertility stories. In what had always been arranged marriages. After Abraham. Then the modern world, is God still in the arranged marriages?

To lead to an end. To tie it all together. What you need to live. Beyond yourself. With a certain esteem, in this creation. With seeds and harvest. To try again, In another new spring.

The ultimate honor killing on Good Friday that so many Muslim women could identify with. In not another crime against humanity, but of divine sacrifice. For Resurrection.

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