Posts

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 their nec…

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.  Love  tears down  walls of hostility.  Love repairs  the breach.  Love beckons all  toward a new way.  Love  is  ever incre…

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 are the beloved.  You are accepted.  You are enough.  This narrative, this eternal,  this internal story i…

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,