haiku: sign of my birth

Being that today is my 73rd birthday, I wrote this haiku in an effort to find some thread through all the years and answer the question of what has brought me here and now.

haiku: sign of my birth

under Pisces born
at the end of long winter
Earth child, Mystic heart

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
February 21, 2021

photo by Herb Stone
‘The Warm Heart of Winter Buddha’

(reader’s note: Born a Pisces
in the age of Pisces, February
is a raw, bitter cold, icy snow,
muddy month when our minds
long for Spring. I am aware of
the signs influences on me,
Earth lover, Cosmic being,
Creative soul longing for the
Divine that unites it all in
a story I am always trying to
tell.)

Reflection: The role of the contemporary white institutional church in the rise of alt-right politics in our nation

Reflection: The role of the contemporary white institutional church in the rise of alt-right politics in our nation

The alt-right political movement, emboldened by ex-president X over the past six years, found a safe haven, and in many cases support, in the contemporary white churches of the U.S. With their cheap grace, free of repentance and confession, and their ‘country club’ mentality of catering to members for a membership fee, .i.e, tithing, these churches and their members invoke the name of Jesus in heretical blasphemy.

It is, of course, ironic that the contemporary church offers sanctuary and support to the modern empire and its oppressive regimes. As far back as the medieval church, the doors of churches were painted red to signify they were places of refuge and sanctuary for those needing to escape oppression, particularly the oppression of the Empires, who were all powerful and whose citizens had no rights. And today, it is just the opposite, with the church providing sanctuary to the oppressor Empire.

And so, tragically, we find the contemporary white institutional church simply to compromised and complicit with the dominant culture of power, control, and violence to do anything about this subversion of its’ true mission which is to act according to the Gospels and its’ kerygmatic vision of God’s kingdom, i.e., the alternative community of true belonging of all through radical grace and radical love as proclaimed by Jesus, the Christ.

This interjection of the dominant culture into the churches true mission is called ‘Christendom,’ and more contemporarily ‘Christofascism,’ and has been around in the history of the church since the Edict of Milan signed with Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire in 313 which established the Emperor’s protection for the then persecuted Christians. ‘Christofascism’ is reflected in the Nazi’s political efforts to subvert and control the Christian church in Germany in its’ efforts of ethnic cleansing, mass genocide, and world domination.

And so what does the future hold for these failing churches? The theologian and author, John Douglas Hall, asks in his 2010 article in The Christian Century, ‘ “What then is the mission of a church that can no longer count on its favored status in Western civilization to ensure its meaning and its continued existence?” Hall’s answer is that the church must recognize its failure to act according to the Gospel and begin to witness and serve outside or on the edge of the dominant culture. For the church to survive and be faithful to its message, it must change, or ultimately die, according to Hall.’ (note: the Hall quote is from an article in ‘Sightings’ by Charles Maynard, a professor at the University of Washington).

The role of the white Christian church in the rise of the alt-right political movement can not be over-emphasized, and its’ untenable consequences for our democratic nation and all its citizens must be recognized. Those white churches so complicit and supportive must be resisted at every turn by people of good conscience, and its influence eliminated by those of the true faith knowing truth will overcome the lies of the alt-right.

Book suggestions for further reading regarding Christianity’s complicity with the dominant culture and its’ failing churches: 1) ‘The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance’ by Dorothee Soelle, and 2) “What Christianity is Not” by John Douglas Hall.

poem: blue Christmas tears

💓 For you Beloveds this Christmas Eve with All Our Love 💓

poem: blue Christmas tears

Christmas is not a one size fits all
it is multicultural and reflects many traditions
it is not all Merry Christmas
and ‘hail fellow well met’
we are not mid-nineteenth century Victorians

or all fans of secular Santa

nor do we all cherish the ‘true meaning’
of tenderness for the baby Jesus
and sentimentality for the manger scene
in the children’s play,
charities for the poor,
and candle light and caroling services

on these longest nights of winter
there are those for who ‘Merry Christmas’ is frivolity
and who no matter how gay or true the festivities,
they will experience grief, suffering, brokenness, loneliness,
these blue feelings and pains only finding some relief

in a return to ordinary time

Beloveds, let us see and hear one another
keeping one another in our hearts and prayers
bearing one another up always through grace and love
sharing our deepest truth together, wiping tears,
walking each other home with hope and peace,
certainly the most true meaning of all

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
Christmas Eve 2020

photo by Herb Stone
Blue Winter Night in Snow

(reader’s note: I searched for a poem, a quote, a song
about blue Christmas and found nothing satisfactory,
so I wrote this poem in an effort to express some
conversations I have had with Beloveds
over the last few days concerning their struggles
at this time of the year. And especially this year
which has left us scarred and seperated from political
division, injustice, and the pandemic. Many can not be
with family due to estrangement, or covid restrictions,
or separation, religious services are canceled, many
without jobs and income. Yet we always have each other
in our shared suffering and deepest needs. Let us always
see one another, hear one another, reach out to one another
in mutual grace and love which is after all the highest
meaning of all in the sharing of Universal Cosmic Christ
Consciousness by whatever name we know it.)