Thursday, June 29, 2017

Called to Shine!

When I hear of young black men brutalized, stigmatized, and warehoused; 
When I hear of women being objectified, commodified, and subjugated;
When I hear of the elderly, the children, and the poor being used and abused;
When I hear of those protesting against a system of injustice being beaten and gassed;
When I hear the ensuing silence...
I think upon Jesus.

At night, in the dark, Jesus was arrested;
But Jesus was the Light.
At night, in the dark, Jesus was tortured;
But Jesus was the Light.
At night, in the dark, Jesus was mocked;
But Jesus was the Light.
At night, in the dark, Jesus was denied;
But Jesus was the Light.
At night, in the dark, Jesus was put on trial;
But Jesus was the Light.
At night, in the dark, Jesus was convicted;
But Jesus was the Light.
At night, in the dark, the tomb was sealed.


At dawn, in the light, the tomb was empty.

We have been called to reflect the Light.
We have been called to be the Light.
We have been called to reveal the Light.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Life and Death

They utter Their Voice.
     They breathe Their Breath.
          They speak Their Word.
And so there comes,
     A deluge from the sky,
          A mist rising from the ground.
To pair with the rain, 
     They make lightning;
And from Their treasure-house,
     They release the winds.

Everyone is ignorant
Without knowledge
The rich are brought down by their money:
     For the faces on bills and coins are false;
     For there is no Breath within them -
          They worship dead and deadly idols.

from Jeremiah 10:13&14

(photography by tiwago)

Monday, June 26, 2017


In the Garden of God, there are many colors. 

(photography by tiwago)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad In It

when i need to be alone
i go out
when i am lonely
i go out
when i need to get out of my head
i go out
when i need to be with him
i go out
when i need to find me
i go out
when i need to find peace
i go out
when i need healing
i go out
when i close my eyes
i go out
when i fold my hands
i go out


(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Love Wins

People say "Love wins"
As if it was a magic spell
Hoping to ward off Evil
Without their loving first.

People say "Love wins"
As if it was an iron shield
Hiding behind its strength
After first shooting arrows.

People say "Love wins"
Then let Hate beat the crap
Out of someone else because
They're from another tribe.

People say "Love wins"
Then let plutocrats destroy
Country and environment
And make us hate each other.

People say "Love wins"
Meaning that I have to love them
And let them hate me all the while
And let them hate who they want.

People say "Love wins"
While children are dying
While women are beaten
While men are murdered.

People say "Love wins"
Telling me to be a "good" boy
That I be quiet and complicit.
That we must look out for us.

I only see Hate winning today
Christians dance with the devil
The Law has been purchased
Yet people say "Love wins"?

Love is the mortar of civilization
But roaches are eating away at it
Love is the meaning of existence
Dear Lord, help us to get it back!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017


individually we
are such wispy things
but when we grow
and when we stand
we become green


(photography by tiwago)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Am Ishmael

My name is Ishma-El - in the language of my people, it means "God Hears". When I was young, I was always taught to believe that it meant that my birth (that I) was the answer to a prayer! But later, on the verge of manhood, I learned a truth that no child should know; one full of both bitterness and grace. I had two mothers, and when I was young, I thought that they both loved and cherished me above all else in the world. But again, there was that coming bitter truth waiting to be revealed.

My father was Abraham, and his beloved wife was Sarah. God promised them that Sarah would bear my father a son to be the caretaker of God's covenant with mankind. But Sarah grew tired of waiting - they weren't getting any younger after all! So she directed my father to be with her slave girl, Hajar. As long as there has been slavery, masters have always had children by their slaves. But this was not technically a rape or other illegitimate birth. By the laws of the Patriarchs like my father, his child born through the property of his wife was legally Sarah's child. So my birth mother was Hajar, and my legal mother was Sarah; both cared for me and raised me. 

When I was thirteen, God in his time, fulfilled the promise and Sarah gave birth to a son of her own blood. She still treated me as a son, but more and more it became clear that I was not her favorite. Three years later, at my brother Issac's weaning party, the depth of her love became clear. I was a good big brother and loved Isaac; we were playing together on the floor when my mother Sarah spoke in her loud and commanding voice so that all at the party would hear: "Get rid of this slave and her bastard. He must have no part of my son's inheritance!"

One of my mothers didn't want me? Did I accidentally hurt or insult my little brother? Why all of a sudden? I thought she loved me? She was my mother, didn't she have to love me? What was worse was how my father reacted. He did as his wife told him! When did a Patriarch ever, in the history of the world, ever do as his wife told him? "Ishma-El," he said, "I love you, but you and your mother must go. Here, take this loaf of bread and water-skin." One lousy loaf of bread? One dried goat-stomach of water? He sent the two of us out into a God-forsaken desert with just a snack and a day's worth of water? Did he think he is being merciful by not selling us to the slave-traders? Or did he want to wash the blood from his hands by sending us out into the desert like scapegoats to let God kill us as sacrifices? I still don't know to this day, but he must not have loved me as much as he claimed.

Soon the bread was gone. Soon the water was gone. Soon, our lives would be gone. Before she collapsed, my true mother put me in a small spot of shade. Maybe someone would find me after she died? She could not bear to watch me die, so she moved away from me to lay down and die herself. I cried. I was alone, hungry, dehydrated, sunburned - I cried because I was afraid. And then, only then, did I learn the miracle of my name; God heard me.

God spoke to us: "Hajar, why are you frightened? You don't need to be afraid. I AM here! I have heard - Ishma-El. Come, help him up and take his hand. I am not done with him yet, for he will be the father of a great people, and you their grandmother."

Then, God opened our eyes so that we could see that all along, right there in front of us, was a well! How did we miss it? Was it the heat-stroke? Sand in our eyes? Were we blinded by our despair? We drank of the cool clear life-giving water, and we lived. We moved on, out of the desert of Beesheba south into the Sinai to the desert of Paran. There I grew strong, and became an expert in living freely among the sands. I married a woman from Egypt, the land of Hajar my only mother; and Hajar became the grandmother of many.

Genesis 21:8-21

(photography by tiwago)

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Certain Way of Lighting

There's this "thing";
This early morning before the rush thing;
A when the sun rises above the false horizon of the tree-line along the creek thing.

The yellow light of a fresh-risen sun,
Selectively graces the tender new leaves of a compass-plant -
Transfiguring glorification from ephemeral light.

Once Lord,
Just once,
I want to glow like that;
But it is no longer morning,
And I worry that my leaves,
Are too old, too hardened, and too thick,
To ever glow like that.

And, what if Lord,
What if the light has passed me by Lord, while I was too busy?
What if I have glowed once, but was tragically unaware?


(photography by tiwago)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Stepping Out

eve i
adam i
stood there
stand here
in the dark
looking out
from a threshold
within a nexus
of space and time
of heart and spirit

entrance or exit?

reluctant to take
the first step
reluctant to forget
primordial memories
of woods and savannas
of groves rich in trees
of two trees that rose above
of a single tree with fruit
of a garden left behind

the light out there
is so very bright
so harshly strong
testing and tempering
blessing and gracing
i am only newly clothed
yet feeling naked

must we walk into it?
must we strive with that?
can not we stay here at home?
can we not live in soft comfort?

but nevertheless we walked into it
determined to defeat and tame it
longing for the shade we knew
longing for our lost childhood
making church a formal garden
forsaking the wild woods

we stride into the world as giants
small inside but outwardly large 

we see not who walks beside us
the light within the light


(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Human Flora

But not too

But not too

But not too

But not too

But not too

But not too

We strive towards the Light
But also need the cool shade
Or we burn up and blow away

We reach for nourishment, but
We die if we exceed the need
Fire cleanses away the weeds
As long as we stay deep-rooted

Water is a sign of God's blessing
But a flood took the blessing back
A rainbow is a sign of God's love
Living water dancing in the Light

Pneuma, breath of creativity
Spirit touching and soothing
Singing and flowing through 
Carrying hope upon the wind


(photography by tiwago)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Who Does That?

We are aligned with God's will
By our faithfulness to Christ,
We are in shalom with Lord God.

By Jesus we have access
To God's grace and mercy.
We may boast
In our hope of sharing Christ's glorification,
In our hope of sharing Christ's mortification;
We may boast during, in, and of, our suffering.

Suffering trains our minds and bodies to endure fleshy pain and mental weariness.
Endurance builds a character of persistence, resistance, and resilience.
Character allow us and others around us to have hope and trust for tomorrow.
And hope -
Hope does not disappoint!
Because love -
Because God's love
Poured into us
By the flowing Spirit!

Here is the mystery of faith,
The mystery of God's faithfulness:
God did not wait for us to make ourselves "good".
While we were weak, God joined us in our weakness!
While we were still bad, God died for the ungodly!

Who does that?
Rarely would anyone die for even a good person;
Rarer still would they die for an average person!
Christ died for all of us: good; bad; and even evil...
Who does that?

Romans 5

(photography by tiwago)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Harassed and Helpless

As he and his team moved about on their ministry of teaching, healing, and giving hope, he saw them. The invisible. The downtrodden. The poor that propped up the rich. The marginalized who propped up the powerful. He saw them. Not as census numbers, customers, work-units, herds, "others", inhuman subhumans, fodder, pawns, losers... he saw them as people like him. He saw them as a flock that did not know where to turn because the harassing wolves nipping at them. He saw them as helpless lambs without a protector. Lost sheep.

He turned to his students: "The need is great, but the Helpers are few. Pray without ceasing, asking for more Helpers."

Then he sent out the Twelve, that they may start their own ministries. He sent them first to their sisters and brothers, the lost sheep of Israel. Later he would tell them to expand their mission field to the rest of the world. But for now, familiar territory, shepherds with familiar faces and voices sent to the flocks. He sent them unencumbered.

"Make sure they know the good news of the Kingdom's closeness that they won't lose hope this close to home. Use your gifts to minister to them freely, for freely they were given to you for such purpose. Find good people who will support you and lift you up. If some won't listen don't shout, or berate, or argue, or intimidate them, move on - there are many in need of your presence. I'm sending you to stand between the sheep and the hungry wolves, so take nothing for granted; be not too comfortable. You must be wise and discerning to know the wolves, to discover their tactics, to avoid their traps. You must be good people or you too will become wolves.

Beware of them. Do not ally yourselves with wolves. The wolves will hate you because by refusing to become like them you judge them in their eyes. Those in power will try to humiliate you, beat you down, drown you out, but your persistence will encourage the sheep, your resistance will give them courage, your love will give them hope. There will come a day when the wolves can no longer tolerate you, when your mere existence is a challenge to their power and wealth. And that day, the Spirit will be with you. No longer to speak to you, but to speak directly to the wolves through your mouth.

There will be intentional division and fragmentation to weaken the flock. Families will be divided. Friends will become afraid of being open with each other. You will be hated by wolves, and jackals who would be wolves, because you speak up for the sheep in my name. But endure. Abide until the end of your life, and you will be with me forever."

In our reading from Matthew 9:35-10:23, Jesus tells his followers that if they become persecuted for following the way of his teachings, they should move on down the road. Jesus for much of his ministry did this same thing. But let us remember, there may come a time when your choice may be to stand and die for others, or to become a wolf. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

May Your Way

May your way
Be ever blessed
With the guidance
Of flowers.

May your way
Be ever blessed
With light and shade
In healing measure.

May your way
Be ever blessed
With soft green grass 
Under your feet.

May your way
Be ever blessed
With an abiding earth
To hold you up.

May your way
Be ever blessed
With fecund blessings
Of love
Of grace
Of mercies...

May your way
Be ever blessed!

                ~ Tiwago

(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Reality Perceived As Such?

Is the light dappled by shadow 
Is the shade dappled with light?
Sunlight filtered through a canopy of leaves.

Is my cup half full
Is my cup half empty?
Abundance filtered by my perception of plenty.

Am I a broken vessel that can't hold water
Am I a broken vessel that allows light out?
Meaning shaped and interpreted by intent.

Do I approach the world half-assed
Do I approach the world full-moon?
Striving for participatory apartness.


(photography by tiwago)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Who Pays the Price?

Meditation upon Deuteronomy 28:1, 15-21 - Who pays the price for "progress"?

My UMC Annual Conference this week discussed the idea of divestment of our fossil fuel investments, so that we would not profit from non-sustainable consumption of the earth's gifts. We tabled it out of concern that those who depend upon employment in the industry would suffer.

"God created humans to live as a harmonious part of the created order, as the caretakers of all that God made. When we as human beings forget that calling, the earth pays the price. Famine, drought, disease - these are not part of god's intentions for the earth. They are what come from human selfishness and greed. When we pollute the air, the rain becomes toxic. When we pollute the earth, the earth's resources become toxic. And when the earth suffers, people suffer, Our disobedience brings about devastation." Carla Barnhill

Our consuming habits are "overgrazing" the resources of the earth: fertile soil; breathable air; clean water; healthy food; beauty; interest... Like a modern plague of locusts, we denude the land of God's beatific Face, and dishonor the glory of Their Name. Life is a complexity of interacting cogs, organs of a body (of the Body). When too many organs fail, death is inevitable. 

Who pays the price for "progress"? The order of God's creation: an environment of grace and blessings; an ecosystem of diversity and community.

Who pays the price for sin? First, that which we sin against - nature. We think we are writing a check that someone else will pay; we are forgers and frauds. We have forgotten in our pathological hubris that we are a part of the Body, and that we are killing ourselves a body-part at a time. We have become Unclean by making God's world unclean.

"Forgiving God, we confess that we have not cared for the earth as you have called us to. We have failed to love your creation as you do and have ignored the calling to live as your people in the land you gave us. By your grace, heal us of our shortsightedness, our selfishness, our ignorance. restore in us a vision of partnership and interdependence with all of creation." Carla Barnhill

(Barnhill quotes from: The Green Bible Devotional)

(photography by tiwago)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Beyond Limits

"Great God, we have taxed ourselves and your creation beyond our limits. Give us the strength to rest, the power to slow down, the will to relax. Let us be agents of healing and restoration as we allow the earth to rest with us. And as we rest, turn our eyes and hearts to you. Help us find meaning not in activity but in your peaceful presence."

Carla Barnhill

Prayer from: The Green Bible devotional

(photography by tiwago)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Red Shirt Day

Luke: When the day of pentecost arrived, they came together and spontaneously combusted. A raging fire-tornado filled the room. They ran outside and all spoke at the same time in every language of the world. Cacophony. Chaos. Observers blamed it on bad dope.

John: Evening settled. "Peace be with you." Hands shaken, held, kissed. "Peace be with you." A soft, warm, caressing breath. "Receive the Holy Spirit."

Luke's Pentecost is a violent affair; John's is a loving one. Many people wear red on Pentecost. I can not help but think of Star Trek when I wear a red shirt. 

Luke is STOS.  

John is STNG. 

In Star Trek the Original Series, you knew the red-shirt would die - the story's sacrificial goat; while in Star Trek the Next Generation, the leaders wore red. As servant leaders, our Pentecost must embrace both the self-sacrifice and the inspiration. We must boldly go. "As the Father sent me, so I send you."

Breathe on me, Breath of God, 
fill me with life anew, 
that I may love what thou dost love, 
and do what thou wouldst do.

Edwin Hatch


A great storm churns here within my soul. A great storm churns deep in my Church. And a great storm churns apart my Nation. I stra...