Monday, April 26, 2010

Men I'd die for.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Charity as commanded, 2.

I often attempt to justify ignoring others' needs or not loving them. This rebellion surfaces when my own needs--especially pain--make me feel entitled to whatever I want and feel. I have rejected community, to avoid getting messy and enmeshed and also to avoid being a burden, to pursue self-sufficiency and my own benefit. Fear is masked with intentions of love and protection. I draw lines:

Me, mine, you, yours.

If you love me, respect the boundaries: Those are yours, these are mine, don't touch. My needs are mine, my gifts are mine, my time is mine, my goals are mine, my life is mine. My friends, my family. My purposes, my plans, my pursuits... Mine. To choose to give or to keep.

I have asked:
Why is such costly, crazy love owed in obedience?
And how is it possibly sustainable?!

I have not gone unanswered:
You are not your own. Your land is Mine. Its produce is Mine. The labors of your hands and of your heart are Mine. All that is yours is yours because I give it to you. It is Mine to give and Mine to take away. You are Mine. I made you for Myself. Lev 25, 1 Chr 29.10-19, Col 1.16, Augustine.

I command and enjoin you to share what is yours—which is Mine—with all who are Mine. Don't worry about not having enough to live. I will give manna for the day. Deut 8.
By faith you will leave the corners uncut—they belong to the poor and needy ever amongst you. You will not wait for them to beg. They will come to your corners—even your home—in dignity, for I have shown you to love mercy. Lev 19.9, Deut 14.22-29, Micah 6.8.
You also are poor and needy, yet this is no excuse to withhold good. Even if you feel you have nothing and feel justified in your selfishness, even if you come to depend entirely on others’ obedient caregiving, you shall first give your uncut portion. Numbers 18:26
I am enough. Trust Me. Believe into My sufficiency for your weakness, My fullness for your hunger, My riches for your wretchedness, My help for your unbelief. I am gracious.
If you remain in me, your cup overflows even as it is emptied and poured out--I will be your portion and the strength of your heart. Ps 23, 2 Tim 4, Ps 73.26
Through many means, I am reminded of who God is, of what nothing I am and have without him. Knowing him, his name, his character are key. Doubting and forgetting these cause me to disobey...

so Lord, show me Your heart and lay mine bare. Show me Your way and give me strength to obey. Help me remember.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Charity as commanded, 1.

Today I helped a stranger in need and got very shaftly screwed.

Hebrew צדקה, like Latin caritas, also often gets translated as "charity." But it renders literally as "justice" or "righteousness."
צדק צדק תרדוף
Justice, and only justice,
you shall follow,
that you may live.
Deut 16.20

Tzedakah is the right responsible way humans care for each other--for each image and representation of God, independent of feelings, whim, finances… It is as optional as obligations are; as with any commandment, the choice is whether to obey. The law is not contingent on the heart, rather, the heart must subject itself to the command.
Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart.
Deut 15.9

There are always opportunities to obey and do tzedakah. The poor, the heartbroken, the widow, the orphan, the sojourner, the sick... Those in need are always among us.
There will never cease to be poor in the land.
Therefore I command you,
"You shall open wide your hand to your brother,
to the needy and to the poor in your land."
Deut 15.11
Me? My hand? My brother? My land?
Well if it's mine, don't I get a say?
You shall not harden your heart or shut your hand...
But you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need,
whatever it may be.
Deut 15.7-8

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What I look like, a charity case?

Thankful for today's new mercies as I reflect
on what hurt about yesterday,
on my subsequent recoil and fear,
on imperfect love foolishly given and miserably received,
1 Jn 4:18 on God's perfect love whereby fears are stilled and hope remains. 

Your charity wounds. Throw it on the ground.
If you would do right, love God and love your neighbor.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Because He loves jealously--

let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,
and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship,
with reverence and awe,
for our God is a consuming fire.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Altar of love.

A sonnet written for James Heup, November 2006.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Love of a jealous kind, 7.

therefore, behold, I will allure her,
   and bring her into the wilderness,
   and speak tenderly to her.
and there I will give her her vineyards
   and make the valley of trial a door of hope.
and there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
   as at the time when she came out of the land of egypt.
and in that day
declares the LORD
you will call Me "my Husband"
and I will make you lie down in safety.

I will betroth you to Me

I will betroth you to Me
in righteousness and in justice,
in steadfast love and in mercy.

I will betroth you to Me
in faithfulness.

and you shall know the LORD.
and in that day
I will answer

// hosea 3.16-21

Friday, April 16, 2010

Love of a jealous kind, 6.

the Lord very frequently addresses us in the character of a husband... so He requires love and chastity from us; that is, that we do not prostitute our souls... as the purer and chaster a husband is, the more grievously he is offended when he sees his wife inclining to a rival; so the Lord, who has betrothed us to Himself in truth, declares that He burns with the hottest jealousy.

// institutes II.viii.18, calvin.

how can I give you up?
how can I hand you over?
My heart recoils within Me;
My compassion grows warm and tender.

// hosea 11.8-9

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Love of a jealous kind, 5.

My child, listen carefully.

I have written your name on My heart

you are Mine

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Love of a jealous kind, 4.

for the LORD your God is a consuming fire // deut 4.24
 until You have it all

come be the fire inside of me
come be the flame upon my heart

// "You won't relent," misty edwards.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Love of a jealous kind, 3.

 is jealous for me
 loves like a hurricane
 am a tree
 bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy

Monday, April 12, 2010

Love of a jealous kind, 2.

what art Thou to me? in Thy pity, teach me to utter it.
or what am i to Thee that Thou demandest my love, Ps 8.4
and, if i give it not, art wroth with me, and threatenest me...
is it then a slight woe to love Thee not? oh!
for Thy mercies' sake, tell me, o Lord my God
what Thou art unto me.
say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. Ps 35.3
I am the LORD your God
from the land of egypt;
so speak, that i may hear.
behold, Lord, my heart is before Thee;
open Thou the ears thereof, and
say unto my soul. I am thy salvation.
you know no God but Me,
and besides Me there is no savior.
// the confessions, aurelius augustinus.
// hosea 13.4

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Love of a jealous kind, 1.

i'd rather feel the pain all too familiar
than be broken by a Lover i don't understand

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bleating for comfort

from your staff and your rod.

and finding only your rod of jealous discipline.

consider, lord, how it looks to us.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Family Fun

Uncle Tim, Dad's little ninja brother who lives in the city and who has a glass eye and who married a Brazilian lady whose last name is Castro and who we like to call Uncle Ted a la "Bobby's World," came over today.

We told him his eye needed polishing and suggested Windex, then glitter, and then wasabi; when it gets dull you can tell that his left eye is fake. I never could tell as a child which one was real, and if he told me I wouldn't remember. I'm pretty certain he alternated his answer each time anyway. And I would ask to poke his eyes to verify.

He asked about life in Harlem and my week in South Bronx, and of course the stories included Minnow's of Shadynasty [ʃə˧-daI˦-nə˧-sti˨]... which steered the conversation to other favorites like La-a (Ladasha) and Lashlasha, Lacomma, Watermelondrea, Usnavy, Cherokee (Shiraq-i), Lemonjello, Orangejello, [ə˧-ʃo˦-leI˨], [ʃə-θid]...

In the words of Jonathan Walton's embarrassment: "Are we blacks the only ones who do this to our children?!" Well, Jonathan Paul Walton himself having maybe the whitest appellation ever appears to have been spared.
E: Uncle Ted, if you were black, what would you name your children?
Tim: 那個... and... 這個 (Nigga and Chigga. Their approximants in Mandarin mean "that one" and "this one" respectively.) 
At one point this afternoon Ma had Josh and me stretch her by the hands and feet. Hello? Did this actually happen?!? Also she let me punch her armpits as a "massage."

Around 8:30pm on 3 April 2010 as I was about to make a 10-min drive to Franklin's:

Ma: Remember to drive carefully, don't come home too late [...clipped...] and if you are getting tired, call and we can talk and I can keep you awake ... but don't call while you are driving ...
Josh: ... and if you need to pee, do it in little spurts so you can wait for it to evaporate. Also if you need more advice, call me.