Showing posts from October, 2017

Holy Ground (a poem)

How often have I  failed to notice the bushes the trees the grass the fields ablaze  yet not consumed? How often have I  failed to hear the rustling the wind the whisper the voice  calling yet not audible? How often have I  failed to feel the soil the dirt the ground the earth holy  yet not different? All trees are burning All winds are speaking All ground is holy Yet, do I not notice?

Religion at it’s best and worst

At its best, religion is the poetic expression of the divine writ large across the multivalent human experience. At its worst, religion is the legalistic demand of humanity scribbled in illegible small script imprisoning the divine.

No Ban on Humanity (a poem)

You can’t ban me from being;      I am not illegal. You cannot tell me       I am less than equal. You’ll never convince me      my existence is inconsequential. For this breath that fills me,      it is eternal. This breath contains power;      I am beyond mortal. I will never cease;      I will always be. The plans devised by men      won’t strip my humanity. What you fear      isn’t my singularity. What you fear      is called eternity.  I am fierce;      I will always be           me.   — bshivers

Tolerance Is Not Enough

Tolerance is not enough. Tolerance allows me the luxury of staying right where I am. Tolerance allows me to continue to view others with all the same prejudice, disdain, and hatred. Transformation, radical change, requires a move toward compassion. Compassion leads to relationships. Relationships open us to understanding. Understanding provides the firm ground for reconciliation. Reconciliation changes everything.

Apology, Repentance, Action

I must apologize. I must apologize for the way in which I have perpetuated and benefited from the systems that are designed to leave people out, let people down, cast people aside. Systems that subjugate and neglect. Systems that block access and deny personhood. This apology is not enough if it is qualified in any way in order to salvage my pride or prove my personal righteousness. This apology is not enough if it is only for the sake of placating those who have been crying out for action and equality. If this apology is going to mean anything at all, it must be accompanied by repentance - a changing of my ways, a turning away from old patterns of behavior. This repentance must then lead to a commitment to speaking out and standing up against the systems that maintain privilege for a few. This repentance must then lead to action alongside those who are most deeply affected by the unjust systems. For far too long, the cries of those who have felt the boot of the oppressor on th

Lines, Walls, and Circles (a poem)

Hate is a cancer.  Hate consumes  individuals, groups, communities from the inside out.  Hate seeks out and destroys that which it cannot understand. Hate masquerades  as pietistic religiosity, as egoic correctness, as sanctimonious chatter hiding its insidious presence behind that which it calls  good and  righteous and faithful. Hate draws lines  of demarcation  in the sand and  constructs  walls of  stone, steel, wire, glass - ever tightening  walls of exclusion constructed on an imaginary border of codified  behavior, appearance, allegiance, and beliefs choking all that are living, separating all life from its source, and fear forms its foundation.  Love . . . Love  conquers hate.  Love  dispels fear. Love  gives life.  Love births hope.  Love  seeks mercy. Love pursues justice. Love demands action.  Love  requires response.  Love  erases  lines of division.

Narrative (a poem)

The narrative we chase  often  is not our own. It’s an undesirable dream  dwelling outside self; a nightmare  of someone else’s choosing. Its presence, its pressure, its urgency make it seem the only story  to be lived if one is to be deemed successful, worthy, accomplished, more than nothing, something  in this world.  Many todays, futures, and yet to be’s  have been and continue to be  crushed under its unbearable weight.    Yet, in the center  of who it is that is you  dwells a different tale, a story of promise, a narrative born with humanity’s first breath, a divine blessing as old as time, a memory engrained  in the foundational elements of you, of all of you.  The story you are living  that grows  from the depths of you is the only life you can live.  If you sit still long enough you can hear  it’s ancient rhythm beat within your heart.  It belongs to you.  It is you.  You

The Interior Life (a poem)

We project evil   onto inanimate objects   and that which is beyond our understanding. We project evil   onto peoples, places, and circumstances   that don’t fit into our convenient categories and tidy boxes. We project evil   convincing ourselves we can see it coming   in order to protect me and you. We project evil   hoping to identify it out there, somewhere,   without realizing its presence within self. We project evil   a failure to acknowledge it dwelling inside   allowing it to parade about about as personal piety. We project evil   while claiming righteousness,   a righteousness which strangely, coincidentally looks like us and our desires. We project evil   in an effort to avoid confessing our duplicity,   the both/and of our own interior life.   — bshivers

Gently (a poem)

We must hold one another gently.  The fresh wounds      evidence of battles fought;  The visible scars       proof of a difficult path traversed; The unseen bruises      testimony of a lived story.  None of which we may fully understand.  We must hold one another gently.    — bshivers

There are no words

Now is the time to be quiet. Now is the time to sit in grief together. Now is the time to join our hearts, our souls with those who have suffered deep loss and unimaginable violence. There are no words. There are no words. Do not confuse this silence with inaction. This is the most important and most difficult work any of us can do right now. And then may our words "my thoughts and prayers are with . . ." be evidenced in the passion of our heart, the ache in our back, the sweat on our brow, the callouses on our hands, the worn out soles on our shoes, and the fatigue in our bones. Our pious words must be met with action verbs that sweep us off our knees onto our feet, into our streets, into our statehouses, into our neighborhoods, into our places of worship, into the world, and back onto our knees. May it be so for me. In your mercy,